Healthy Recipes…For Life!

Low-Sodium Spring Rolls with Thai Dipping Sauce
Shrimp is a good low-fat, high-protein substitute for meat and does not raise cholesterol. This recipe has a lower sodium content compared to other spring rolls, which can be fried and loaded with blood pressure-raising sodium.

6 spring roll wrappers (available in Asian markets)
12 medium shrimp, cooked and shelled
1 c. shredded leaf lettuce
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 c. peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber
1 medium carrot, julienned

In a bowl of cool water, soak a wrapper until limp.  Lay wrapper out flat. Place 1/6 of each ingredient down middle of wrapper, starting with lettuce.  Fold over each end and tightly roll the wrapper around the contents, as if making a burrito.  Moisten at seam; press to close. Lay on plate, cover with moist paper towel and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Slice in two and serve with Quick Thai Dipping Sauce, below, or peanut sauce.

Quick Thai Dipping Sauce
1 T. light soy sauce
1 T. white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
3 T. mirin (sake vinegar)
1/4 tsp. grated ginger root (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Yields 6 rolls.

Fall Famous Cream of Chicken and Rice Florentine
Football and cool weather aren’t the only signs that fall has finally arrived. Grab a bowl and dig in to this diabetic friendly comfort food that brings out the best fall flavors, and is loaded with protein, calcium, vitamin C, and iron!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions (3 medium)
1 8 – ounce package fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrot (1 medium)
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1/3 cup long grain rice, uncooked
1 14 – ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 12 – ounce cans evaporated fat-free milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups packed fresh spinach
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium. Add chicken; cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink (170 degrees F), turning once halfway through cooking. Remove chicken to a plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, use two forks to pull chicken apart into coarse shreds.  Meanwhile, add onions, mushrooms, carrot, and garlic to the Dutch oven; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; cook for 1 minute more. Add broth, the water, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  In a small bowl, stir together 1 can of the evaporated milk and the flour; stir into mixture in Dutch oven. Stir in the remaining can of milk. Cook and stir until bubbly.  Stir in spinach and the shredded chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in lemon peel and lemon juice. If desired, sprinkle with additional ground black pepper.

Yields 6 servings (1-1/3 cups each).

Super Summer Strawberry–Vanilla Milk Punch
Perfect for those warm nights when you’d rather drink your dessert. This frothy tippler is spiked with Cognac, vanilla syrup, cream, and sweet muddled strawberries for a decadent summertime drink that will have you thanking the heat!

strawberry vanilla milk punch_erick castro blog

2 ounces Cognac
1 ounce cream
½ ounce vanilla syrup
1 strawberry
Nilla Wafer for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberry with a wooden spoon. Add the Cognac, cream, and vanilla syrup and shake to combine. Pour into a double Old Fashioned glass and garnish with the Nilla Wafer.

Yields 1 cocktail

Mini Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pies
What’s better than pumpkin pie?  How about a whole pumpkin pie in a bite!  Great for saving room for several Thanksgiving desserts at once!  What’s your favorite fall holiday treat?


2 pre-made pie crusts (refrigerated)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons homemade pumpkin pie spice
1 large egg
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 5-ounce can evaporated milk (small can)
Whipped cream or Cool Whip, optional garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease with a muffin tin with a small amount of butter or non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer, combine sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, egg, pumpkin, vanilla, and evaporated milk.  Beat until well combined and smooth.
Roll out pie shell and cut out small rounds with either a shaped cutter or a coffee cup.  Pumpkin-Pie-Muffin-Tin-FillingPlace shells in prepared muffin tin. Using a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons), fill each mini shell with pumpkin pie filling.
Carefully transfer pan to preheated oven and bake for 15-17 minutes or until shells are golden and the filling appears to be set.
Carefully remove mini pumpkin pies to a cooling rack.  If desired, top with freshly whipped cream or Cool Whip


Strawberry Jicama Cucumber Salad
The light taste of fresh vegetables make this salad a nice heart healthy summer treat!
large (1)
Serves 4 | 130 Calories | 10 mg Sodium

2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled, chopped
1 jicama, peeled, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, chopped
1 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
(note: for more spice, leave the seeds and white membrane intact. For less spice, omit)

2 Tbsp. lime juice, fresh OR from jar
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. no-calorie sweetener (granulated, 1 1/2 packets)
1 tsp. poppy seeds

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, jicama, cucumber, jalapeno, and cilantro and toss lightly.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil and no-calorie sweetener. Add lime juice mixture to strawberry mixture and again toss lightly. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Pairs excellent with grilled chicken or pork; or serve chilled as a salad.


Zucchini salad with Parmesan cheese
Drizzle grilled zucchini with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and it becomes an easy vegetable salad. Want a little heat? Add minced fresh jalapeño. This is a great spring or summer recipe, very light!

Total Time:  45mins

1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds small zucchini, cut into lengthwise slices about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Yield: 6 servings


Diabetic friendly Tiramisu!
Growing up in Chicago, this was one of my favorite desserts & this is a lighter version of an awesome indulgence!  

TOTAL TIME: 35 min Prep: 25 min  Cook: 10 min. + chilling

1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided 1-1/2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 cup water
2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers, split
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon baking cocoa

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping; set aside. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg whites and water in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. With a hand mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low over low heat until mixture reaches 160°, about 8-10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Arrange half of ladyfingers in an ungreased 11-in. x 7-in. dish. Combine the boiling water, coffee liqueur, coffee granules and remaining sugar; brush half of mixture over ladyfingers. Top with half of cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Spread remaining whipped topping over the top; sprinkle with cocoa. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Yield: 12 bars.


These Almond Cheesecake Bars are a recipe that I’ve used for my diabetic patients. It’s not very sweet but can curb the sweets craving. Be sure to check your blood sugar before snacking!11169865_1427034294268559_4173977399177313019_n

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min     Bake: 35 min. + cooling

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar FILLING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 to 5 teaspoons milk

Combine the flour, butter and confectioners’ sugar; press onto the bottom of a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. For filling, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and extract until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Combine the frosting ingredients until smooth; spread over bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 3 dozen


It’s important to eat breakfast every day! Studies show that if you eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, your metabolism will kick in right away helping to keep the pounds away & giving you more energy. This is a great, tasty & healthy recipe from the Food Network. I love Eggs Benedict & this is packed with protein, fiber & use a whole wheat English muffin for positive carbs!

Total Time: 30 minutes     Prep Time:  15 minutes     Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings     Level: Easydownload

Blender Mustard (Hollandaise Sauce):
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper

Eggs Benedict:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into small chunks
1 shallot, thinly sliced
8 cups petite kale or baby spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large ripe tomato, cut into 4 slices
4 large eggs

2 whole wheat English muffins, split

Hollandaise sauce:

Combine the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon warm water, mustard, lemon juice and cayenne pepper in a blender and process until combined. Scrape out and set aside.

Eggs benedict:
Fill a wide pot with about 3 inches of water. And the vinegar and bring to a low simmer.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the Canadian bacon and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the kale, remove from the heat and stir until the kale wilts, about 2 minutes. Season with pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Toast each English muffin in a toaster oven or under a broiler until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Top each with a tomato slice and toast until the tomato is just slightly warm, about 1 minute.  Top each muffin with the Canadian bacon-kale mixture.

Crack each egg into a mug and slip into the simmering water. Cook until the whites are at desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on each benedict. Drizzle with hollandaise and serve.


Avocado Cheesecake
Anyone that knows me will say that I’m not big on desserts. As a former overweight person, I’m very conscious about what I may indulge in. This recipe makes my indulgence guilt free! It’s not very sweet but the avocado gives it a creamy texture. Not to mention that avocado is good for you & the walnut crust is high in protein. I hope you enjoy!

3/4 cup shelled walnut
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
1 lemon
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 fully ripened Avocados from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1 (8 ounce) package fat-free cream cheese, softened and cut in pieces

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a food processor, pulse walnuts until finely ground. Add graham cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar, anise seeds and salt; pulse just until combined. Add 2 tablespoons water; pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined and resemble wet sand. Press into bottom of an 8 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake 20 minutes; cool completely.In measuring cup or small bowl, combine gelatin with 2 tablespoons water; let stand for 5 minutes. With vegetable peeler, remove strips of lemon zest (yellow portion only). In saucepan, combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla and lemon zest; bring to boil. Add gelatin; simmer until gelatin has completely dissolved, about 1 minute; strain and discard lemon zest.In food processor, combine avocados and cream cheese. Pour hot milk mixture into processor; process until very smooth. Pour into baked crust; cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until set. Remove side of pan; cut cheesecake into 10 slices. Serve with raspberry sauce, if desired.

Footnote:  Cheesecake is best when served the same day; any leftover cheesecake should be securely covered with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate


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