Greek Salad Nachos

Greek Salad Nachos

Give Greek salad nachos a try for when you're watching football. They're healthier than regular nachos, and it's a refreshingly different choice.

See how easy they are to make:


The recipe calls for chicken. But you could add in some cooked ground lamb if you want to add in more protein.

These come together quite quickly if you do use the rotisserie chicken. And let's face it. You'd rather be hanging out on the couch enjoying the game, right?

Sauces Add Flavor Instead of Fat

Sauces Add Flavor Instead of Fat

Sauces can be a great way to add flavor instead of fat when finishing a plate of delicious food. It can add that extra delicious mouth feel that improves your feeling of satisfaction.

I love a bit of Bearnaise or Horseradish with my steaks. (I add in unsweetened whipped cream too my horseradish sauce so it's lighter)  I don't need a lot and it makes me happy.

Making Bearnaise

I usually buy Knorr Bearnaise sauce mix in a packet and make that. But since I'm accountable to you all and touting cooking more from scratch, I made it on my own the other day. Disaster doesn't quite describe it. I made a few mistakes.

I was making it with my stick blender and I couldn't find the beaker. So I was using an old Tupperware container that fell over and spilled out 2/3 of the sauce.  Then I knocked it over again and spilled out 1/2 of what was left.  However, the final product was super delicious. But I'm still trying to clean up egg on my stovetop.

Chimichurri and Variations

My latest find is Chimichurri sauce. It adds an amazing herb flavor to the beef that's refreshing. Just one note…this is not a classic Argentinian Chimichurri sauce. I liked this one because it was more herbs and less oil, and I liked the flavor combinations with adding in lime juice and cilantro.  Remember, if you are allergic to cilantro (ptoi! soap!), add in other herbs.

And watch how easy it is to make when the meat is resting.

This is also great on fish and chicken.

What are your favorite sauces? Leave me a comment and let's look at how to either lighten them up or make them more flavorful so you can enjoy less.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Let’s Scream for Nice Cream

Let’s Scream for Nice Cream

Nice cream is a healthier ice cream made from bananas instead of cream. And let's face it. Some days we need something cold and creamy to eat.

Watch this video on an easy way to make Neapolitan ice cream:

And you can see the full recipe at the Food Network.

My Only Concern

Bananas are healthy. They're full of potassium which helps your body regulate blood sugar as well as bloat. It helps your body absorb calcium.

But it is pretty sweet. A few scoops is like eating a few bananas. So if you try this, keep it simple with the servings.

Crazy Flavors

Ok, lecture's over.  Now let's look at all the flavor combos you could do.  For the most part, if you make it with cream, you can make it with bananas.

Here's some other ideas:

  • Blueberries
  • Chocolate mint
  • Pina colada
  • Coconut
  • Coconut Lime
  • Chocolate chip (hey, why not put in some of those mini-chips)
  • Orange
  • Cinnamon
  • Coffee
  • Blackberry
  • Cherry

You can use avocado to increase the creamy factor without impacting the flavor. And it's OK to use frozen fruit for your nice cream.

Other Paleo Frozen Treats

There are ways other than bananas to make frozen treats.

You could make your own Fudgecicle (wait, can I use that without the TM?)

I'm also very fond of Orange Creamcicles.

What about you? What's your favorite?

Baking In the Slow Cooker

Baking In the Slow Cooker

I have no doubt that most of you have a slow cooker hiding in your home somewhere. Maybe it was a gift. Maybe you bought it awhile ago thinking it would help you.

I'm here to tell you it can help you. You just need to know what it's good for. Did you know you could bake a cake or bread in one?  It can be a great way to make cornbread or biscuits when it's hot and humid.

Watch this video on how to make sourdough peasant bread. (some comments felt it wasn't “real” sourdough)

You still have to knead and let rest like any yeast breads. It takes 2-2 1/2 hours in the slow cooker using high heat. They recommend putting it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to toast it up. But honestly, if I'm cooking to keep the kitchen cool, I'd rather just pop one slice in the toaster.

No Knead Bread

If you don't want to knead, here's a video from Garden Fork

It reduces what you have to do with kneading. You will have to let the dough rise.

Alternate Grains and Gluten Free

My friend made a grain-free “sourdough” bread from Urban Poser that turned out great.

Bread Experience discusses what grains are better to substitute in for wheat in this great article. They also discuss which grains are better for what type of baking. For example buckwheat is high protein and will produce a tender baked product. But it can be bitter.

Cakes and Quick Breads

You can also make some great cornbread in the slow cooker. No kneading and no heating up the kitchen.

And chocolate cake, pineapple upside down cake, and lava cake.

But wait, Lara, cake? Well, you can make it lighter with less sugar. And you can use alternative ingredients like applesauce instead of oil. Sure, you probably aren't going to eat it every day. Even if you do, you just cut back in other areas.

I don't snack because I like 2-3 glasses of wine at night. It's all about knowing who you are and what you like and working with it so you don't feel deprived.

What Do You Really Need In Your Kitchen to Cook Yourself Thin

What Do You Really Need In Your Kitchen to Cook Yourself Thin

Last night, I made the Purgatory Eggs with Sausage. I posted images and a video of me cooking it on the Facebook page. I hope you'll check it out if you're not already there. And post comments and thoughts there as well as here. I love the interaction.

Anyway, in a prior video, I realized how dirty my stove was (whoops). But then I realized I was being silly. Ok, I did clean the stove a bunch before doing the next video.  I'm a messy cook.  I also have an electric stove from 1978 and Marigold Yellow counter tiles with brown grout.  Some day, I'll remodel with granite and a gas range. But until then, I cook with what I have where I'm at.

And that's what I want to encourage you to do as well. Some kitchens are TINY. I know…I've lived in some places like that. When my husband and I first started shacking up in college, we had a small studio with the bedroom and bathroom in a loft above the living area slash kitchen area.  I'll tell you my story at the end of this post.  I used to call it my Worst Day Ever story and usually would get people laughing.

Gordon Ramsey goes over the basics in this video:

My Thoughts

I have to agree. Just buy the best quality you can. But honestly, you don't need that much. I find I really only mostly use two or three pans and one pot for most of my work. I use ScanPans for my frying and sauteing. It has a lid so I can also do some braising.

I think you could get away with two knives: a chef's knife and a paring knife.

Do I ever really use my mortar and pestle? No. I need to get better about buying whole spices and grinding them myself. Also I want to get over my fear of toasting nuts and spices so I'm watching the videos in Cooking With Spices: Techniques for Big Flavor. I'm going to buy some star anise and try poaching apples since I have those in the house.

Worst Day Ever

It had an electric range and not a lot of counter space especially around the sink. To the right of the sink was just enough room for the dish drainer. The left side was maybe three inches.  And no built in paper towel holder. We were afraid to screw one in under the cabinet for fear we'd get dinged on the deposit.

Let me just start off by saying it was one of those days. I got up early and turned on a burner to make some instant coffee. I thought I had the burner under the kettle but it was the one under the wooden chopping board.  (small kitchen with little space for storage…I wasn't kidding)  And it caught on fire and set off the alarm which woke my hubby up and not in a great way.  There were pop quizzes. I tripped over roots.  It was just a day.

I got home and made supper. I found cooking to be soothing even then. And it was my turn to do the dishes. A brand new roll of paper towels was kind of close to the edge of the right side of the sink next to the dish drainer. It kept getting moved around since we didn't know where to put it.

Then I turned to see if there were any more dishes and knocked the roll underneath running water.

I sighed. Turned off the water and put it in the drainer.  Looking at my husband, I said “I'm going to take a bath.”

Back then, I used St. Ives makeup remover. The are squat wide-mouth jars.  I should mention that as small as the kitchen was…the bathroom was even smaller. It had a tub and toilet. When I finished taking off my makeup, I put the jar and lid on the back of the toilet and finished my bath.

A Bath Solves Everything….Almost

I felt ready to take on homework!  I picked up the jar. It had cold cream on the outside so when I went to put the lid on, it slipped through my fingers and landed flat on the floor.  I heard a voice from downstairs asking me if I was ok.

“Bring the paper towels!” was all I could say. I saw cold cream all over the walls.  Mind you, I had forgotten what happened to the paper towels. And being poor college students, we only had one roll at a time.

I used my towel to clean up what I could and grumbled wondering where my hubby was.  He finally showed up looking unhappy with a soggy roll of paper towels.  I sighed and looked up to heaven for strength, and that's when I saw the cold cream on the ceiling.

Naturally I did the only thing I could. I burst into tears. Husband tried not to laugh.  I could laugh about it later. But at the time, I just wanted to go to bed and wait for another day. Which is what I did.

So In Conclusion

Not every day is going to be great. Not every meal is going to be perfect. Be gentle on yourself. Laugh where you can. Do the best job cooking where you're at.small kitchen

If you don't have a lot of budget, go look for things at thrift and secondhand stores. You'd be astonished how many people donate their cast iron pans.  Sure, they're heavy, but they're wonderful to cook on. They cook very evenly.

If you have one with rust spots, use steel wool to clean it up. Then it's time to reseason the pan. Rub the pan with a good high heat oil (vegetable, canola, grapeseed, peanut) and put it upside down in an oven at 350-400F for about an hour. Turn off the oven and let it cool down.

Keeping a pan well seasoned ensures food doesn't stick naturally.

Look for sales. Look for wood utensils. Start small and build it up.  You got this.

Portobello Mushroom As A Bun

Portobello Mushroom As A Bun

Did you know you can enjoy a hamburger using a Portobello mushroom as a bun? It's a good alternative when you're going lower carb. It feels like a real bun too. I usually use a lettuce wrap but that can get messy. And it's hard to pull a leaf off of iceberg lettuce in one piece. Yes, I probably should just use romaine.

But now I can have my burger with a bun.

Watch this video to see how easy it is to do:

You can find the full recipe at Low Fat Low Carb.

Hamburger Variations

I've never added an egg into the burger patty. I always think of that more as a meatloaf ingredient. Have you done that? Does it make the meat moister?

You can substitute ground turkey or chicken. In fact, you could do half ground turkey and half ground round or chuck.

I remember watching a show on one of the cooking networks. They took 1/4 ground pork, 1/4 ground chuck and 1/2 ground round. Chuck and Round come from the muscles that are more used and have a beefier flavor.  Jaques Pepin said his favorite burgers are made from ground brisket.

You could cook up a salmon filet and use that in place of a burger. Some may call it a sandwich. I say you should do what you enjoy and if you're grilling anyway, make what you want to eat.

Burger Seasonings

You can do so much to add in flavor. I love using Greek seasoning with feta cheese, tomatoes, and red onion.

There are the purists that feel if you're using great meat, all you need is kosher salt and a little fresh ground pepper. Again, do what you like. You should mix in the salt at least half an hour before you're ready to shape the patties.

Meat cooks better and more evenly when it's closer to room temperature. Adding in the salt pulls out some excess moisture so you're left with even more meaty goodness.

I like adding in the seasoning when I add salt so the dried herbs can absorb that extra moisture and have a better flavor after cooking.

More Burger Recipes

17 Amazing Burger Recipes from Reader's Digest

Next Level Burger Recipes from MyRecipes

11 of the Weirdest Burgers Ever from Neatorama

Books On Burgers and Meat

Super Slim Veggie Soup

Super Slim Veggie Soup

Some days, you just want to eat everything in site. Use a super slim veggie soup to feel full and tame the tiger.

Check out this recipe from Hungry Girl on how to make a super slim veggie soup quickly.

I think it looks tasty. But, I hear you saying, that's a lot of knife cuts.  Sure, but that's OK. It can be fun.  I found this video showing easy ways of cutting up carrots that can also be used for the zucchini.

Remember how we were talking about how important knife skills are for being able to cook yourself thin. This is a great recipe for practicing all of those knife cut skills.

I just got some golden beets in my CSA box. A few years ago, a friend asked if I wanted to share their CSA so we alternate weeks.  Usually I like to roast the beets, slice them up and chill them. I add them to salads. But I like the idea of cutting them into matchsticks and pickling them too.

Other Knife Skill Resources

Our local Sur La Table has classes on knife skills. I would like to take that since it's great having a teacher with you. But the best online resource I found was Complete Knife Skills with Brendan McDermott.

That boy cuts everything. From cauliflower to melons. It helped me so much. I need to go back and refresh. He had a different method of cleaning the pepper of the ribs and seeds.

Another one that I enjoyed was A Modern Take on the Mother Sauces. Jason Hammond showed how to really prepare tomatoes. I found out my husband doesn't like the seeds in the tomatoes in our salads. In fact, he likes them diced. My mom always put big wedge slices, so that's what I like.

But the best way to prepare the veggie is the way they'll eat it.

Other Slimming Soup Recipes

Let's be honest. When we think of diet soups we think of cabbage soup, right?

So here's more recipes for you to play with. I like adding in a dash of sriracha sauce to warm up the soup's flavor.

Another option is to make leek soup. I learned this from the book French Women Never Get Fat. She recommended taking three large leeks and cooking them in water for a few hours. Then eat some of the leak and drink some of the soup throughout the day. Leeks are a natural diuretic. It didn't work for me. I ate all three leaks in three hours and the broth was long gone. So that's why I like these more balanced vegetable soups.

What about you? What have you tried?

5 Essential Cooking Skills

5 Essential Cooking Skills

You can read recipes, but until you have some essential cooking skills, you won't feel confident in trying them. In today's video, Gordon Ramsey will teach you the five essential cooking skill you need in the kitchen.

  1. Chopping an onion
  2. Cooking rice
  3. Sharpening a knife
  4. Deboning a fish
  5. Cooking pasta

Chopping An Onion

I confess to being lazy. I buy frozen pre-chopped onion. Since i'm only cooking for two, I don't need a whole medium onion because I'm halving the recipe. Most markets have diced onion in their produce department.  I don't use it up quickly enough unless I have three dishes in a row that require it.  I will buy an onion and cut it in half like he showed with the root on. Then I take the skin off, and slice along the onion to create the strips.

My favorite thing to do with them is cook them with a bit of olive oil on medium low heat until they're brown and caramelized. They go great with burgers.

Cooking Rice

I confess to rarely rinsing my rise. And I should because when I don't, the rice is a bit more gummy. I cook in my Instant Pot. One thing to pass along is that their rice setting is the lower pressure setting. You can cook on high pressure, but you have to make sure you use a shorter time.

The Instant Pot is also my favorite way of making risotto.

Sharpening a Knife

Gordon is actually demonstrating honing the knife, not sharpening it.  Honing is essential to keep the point of the blade straight. But sharpening is actually grinding it to a finer point. You should hone your knife frequently with the steel. And you should get your knives professionally sharpened regularly depending upon how often you use them. As Gordon said, a dull knife is dangerous. It could slip on the food and cut you.

honed edge

Deboning a Fish

Watching him do this was cool. You definitely need to set aside time to debone with a pair of tweezers.  I like having the skin on, but it is easier to pull out the pinbones from that side. Or you can cheat, like I do, and buy the fish already deboned.

Cooking Pasta

I was really happy when I learned to salt the water when cooking pasta. It really provides it with a better flavor. I don't put oil in anymore. I never have problems with pasta sticking after it's been sauced. And I'd rather use my oil on other things for my calories.

And I definitely prefer my pasta al dente. I'll sometimes slightly undercook it, sauce it, and leave it in the pan on the stove so the sauce gets absorbed into the pasta.

What other skills do you want to learn?

Strategies On How To Cook Gourmet Food

Strategies On How To Cook Gourmet Food

Are you a person who loves all kinds of different foods? Can you never get enough sweets, and find yourself craving them? Do you like food from different ethnic backgrounds? You may have always wanted to figure out how to go about cooking these types of food at home. Well now you can, thanks to the information provided in the following article. The tips in this article can teach you how to cook tasty meals.

When you are going to be cooking for someone important, whether it's a boss or a potential love interest, make certain you are cooking something you are familiar with. That would be a bad time to experiment with the unknown, whether it is an untried recipe or ingredient. This will help you feel less stressed when preparing your meal.

Quick Cooking Tips

Leave raw potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes before frying them to make crispier French fries. Soaking potatoes accomplishes two important things for your French fries; it takes out sugar and starch during the soaking process.

They'll just simply work as a sponge and soak up the majority of the water. A better option is to use a clean, damp cloth to hand-wipe each mushroom.

Get the freshest garlic you can when making a dish that you must add garlic to. It's well-known that fresher garlic equals sweeter taste. You can see fresh garlic when it is not shriveled, soft, bruised and the skin is firm.

Make your own dried tomatoes. You can use Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise, or ripe tomatoes sliced about a half inch thick. Take a cooling rack and place the tomatoes on it. Sprinkle them with salt. After placing the rack atop a cookie sheet, allow the tomatoes to dry for 10 hours in an oven at 190 degrees. Finally, place your dried tomatoes in freezer safe bags and store in the freezer. Dried tomatoes may also be stored in a jar containing fresh herbs and olive oil. This jar should be used within 2 weeks and kept refrigerated.

Quick Healthy Tips

If you want to eat well and lose weight, it's a good idea to decrease the amount of oil you use in cooking. Oils and butters generally contain needless fats. Consider using a nonstick cooking spray as replacement for oil.

You should read the labels when you are buying ingredients for a recipe. Most common cooking supplies have hidden ingredients that are unhealthy. Look for hidden amounts of sodium and sugar that will contribute over time to reduced health.

Replace the standby liquids of milk and water in recipes to mix things up. Substitute plain water with juice, broth, or the water that you cooked your vegetables in. Instead of milk, try sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk. Changing up the liquids in your recipes can add nutrition, while livening up a standby dish.

Quick Lifestyle Tips

If you enjoy utilizing herbs and spices, keep them fresh and flavorful by storing them in an area that is dark and cool. Keeping herbs and spices in cabinets above the stove or other warm locations will cause them to lose their flavor.

Organization is key to cooking efficiently and not letting anything burn. A well-organized cooking area is conducive to great results. Get organized to cut back on unnecessary food waste.

Blotting ground meats prior to preparing them is advisable. Take a paper towel and soak up any extra moisture on ground beef before you cook it. If there is too much liquid left on the meat, the cooking process will boil it off. Sizzling will occur. This could cause your meat to steam, instead of searing.

If you follow the above tips, you will be steps closer to creating meals you will love! Use your creativity to try out new and unique spices and flavors. Maybe in the cooking process you discover a new food that becomes your favorite! Follow your tips and experiment with new things to become a better chef.

Elevate The Style Of Your Cooking With These Tips

Cooking Meets TechnologyIs cooking for the entire family beginning to drive you crazy? Do not get frustrated when cooking. Get inspired.  Let me get you some helpful advice that can make cooking meals less stressful and more enjoyable.

I've had this happen to myself before. I find that I was so focused on other things that I'm just making the same dish over and over again.  And I'm bored of it. But I have no one to blame but myself.

And usually, it's not healthy cooking. So let's elevate the style of your cooking.

That's when I know I have to get reconnected back to what I enjoy. Making healthy meals that help me achieve my goals while providing a fulfilling meal for my family.

Get Inspired

A great starting point when looking to expand your cooking repertoire is your local library or bookstore. Look for cookbooks which contain basic and simple recipes for you to practice and have fun preparing. Try some recipes and be patient as you develop your skills.

There's also a lot of online classes available now. It's all the fun of going to a course while being able to hang out at home. Plus, you can back it up and rewatch if you spaced out or got interrupted.


There are also a lot of blogs out there depending upon what you're interested in. And there's always Pinterest.

Cooking Techniques

Overdo it a little when you bake a pie crust. The crust should have a nice golden color to be fully cooked. The darker color results when the sugar from the crust has started to caramelize and will have a much sweeter and crisper flavor.

When stir-frying meat, it should be thinly sliced on the bias. It can be a tedious, lengthy process. Retrieve the meat after it has firmed a bit, and cut thin slices across the grain, holding your knife at a 45-degree angle to the cutting board.

Here is a way to save your sauce and use it in your recipes. Combine two tablespoons filled with water and one tablespoon filled with cornstarch in a small dish. Add this mix to the sauce little by little until it becomes thicker. The mixture should be added slowly and constantly stirred so that it doesn't get too thick.

When seasoning meats, try a little piece before cooking the entire thing. It is important not to over-season foods such as hamburger, meatballs and other meat-based dishes. Don't cook the whole thing after seasoning it. First, make a little patty out of it and cook that first. Once you like the way this piece comes out, you can cook the rest.

Spices and herbs for cooking on white background, Top view spices on white background, indian spices for making something food on the world, spices content, Various kinds of spices background

It's vital that you always use sharp knives when cooking. Make sure your knife is not dull when you are cutting something, this is very dangerous. It is very easy to accidentally cut yourself when you're struggling to cut something with a knife that is dull.

One way to make mashed potatoes retain their taste but contain a little less fat and calories is to replace some of them with equal amounts of cauliflower. You will not even taste the cauliflower in with the potatoes, because it is so bland. Cauliflower also matches the color and texture of the potatoes. This is a great way to add veggies and eliminate calories from a favorite dish.

Cook your vegetables quickly to retain quality and nutrients. Vegetables that are cooked slowly lose a lot of their taste and nutrition. These quick cooking techniques will produce generally, healthier vegetable sides. So in summary, cook your vegetables for the shortest amount of time possible.

Fresh ingredients are much better to use in all of your cooking than those that are frozen or dried. Fresh ingredients can really enhance the flavor of your meal, as well as be more economical to prepare.

And a few more ideas

Much like a sponge, the mushrooms will absorb the water. A better option is to use a clean, damp cloth to hand-wipe each mushroom.

Cook your vegetables in chicken broth. It will keep veggies from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan and add a little flavor. Chicken broth is dirt cheap, and can be bought at any supermarket.

Take the time and steps necessary to accurately measure any oil used for cooking. This will help you reduce how much fat is present in your cooking. By carefully doling out the oil, you will know the true amount of fat you getting when you cook.

A good cook will have their utensils and ingredients well organized. If they aren't organized, you will waste valuable time getting everything together at the last minute. Consider storing similar things together. For instance, keep your spices in a cabinet, your baking goods in another, and cooking utensils together in a drawer.

Get your cooking utensils squeaky clean before starting a new dish. If your utensils still have food in them, it can ruin what you are trying to cook. This can allow harmful bacteria to spread.

Make homemade stock to create tastier dishes. Store extra stock in bags in the freezer that are resealable. You will have stock on hand for soup and other things. Making the stock yourself will allow you to know that you are using a stock that is not loaded with preservatives. An electric pressure cooker will make this a snap.

Digital pressure cookers are also a great way to make a meal that seems like you've been cooking all day. But you get a pot roast in ninety minutes rather than five hours.

Making meals for your family can become a tall order. There are many things that you may do to simplify your cooking process. When you go back into your kitchen, you can relax.

And find the right tools to make your cooking easier so you are enjoying when you are cooking and yet you're still able to go out and do something fun. And I don't mean laundry.