Southwest Chicken Chili

One of my healthy and hearty favorites, I love making this chili on a cold snowy day! (recipe courtesy of my mom!!)

You'll Need -

1 Teaspoon of oil
4-5 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts (shredded)
1 Medium Onion
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 4oz Can of Chopped Green Chilis
1 Can Cannelloni Beans (undrained)
1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Cilantro
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper

Garnish with shredded cheese and scallions

Sauté the onion in oil, once the onion is translucent, add the chicken broth and remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Thicken by slowing adding in some flour if necessary!

Makes 6 Servings

Approximate Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories - 243
Total Fat - 5 ( 0 Sat)
Carbs – 12
Fiber - 3
Protein - 36

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Swedish Meatballs

A LeRoux family favorite...if you've ever been to a party at our house, you've had these amazing meatballs! Everyone who has tried them, has loved them!!!!

You'll Need -

2 Lbs Lean Ground Beef or Turkey
1 Egg
1 Package of Onion Soup Mix
1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese


1 Can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 Cans of Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup

In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, egg, cheese, and onion soup mix. Mix well and then form into small meatballs. With two pounds of meat I make 60. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Flip meatballs and bake for another 10 minutes.


In a separate oven safe bowl combine the soups. Once meatballs are nice and brown add them to the bowl and gently stir them into the soup, cover the bowl and bake on 375 for about 40 minutes.

Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving -

Calories - 379
Fat - 17 (Sat 7)
Carbs - 12
Fiber  - 1
Protein - 36

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Spinach Tortellini Soup


You'll Need -

1 Tsp Vegetable Oil
3 Stalks of Celery (chopped)
1 Medium Onion (chopped)
10 Baby Carrots (chopped)
2 Cloves of Garlic (one minced & one grated)
32 oz of Chicken Broth
16 oz of Water
1 14 oz Bag of Cheese Tortellini (Seviroli)
2 Bags of Baby Spinach
1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
3 Bay Leaves
Crushed Red Pepper to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, add the olive oil, celery, onion, carrot & minced garlic and sauté until veggies are al dente. Add the chicken broth, water, bay leaves, and grate in the second clove of garlic. Increase heat and to bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and tortellini. Simmer until tortellini cooks to al dente. Once the pasta is cooked add in the baby spinach and cheese and stir to combine.

Makes 8 servings

Approximate Nutrition Value Per Serving

Calories - 150
Fat  - 3.3 (1.8 Sat)
Carbs - 19
Fiber - 2
Protein - 11

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Mr. Chow - TriBeca

"To eat at a Mr Chow restaurant is to participate in a roving party, one that has migrated through four decades, three continents, & an awful lot of soup dumplings." -- NY Magazine

"Mr Chow is home to over-the-top everything, from the celebrity scene to the superior spin on Chinese cuisine." -- Zagat

The Tribeca location opened in 2006 by world famous restaurateur Michael Chow and the reviews and buzz about Mr. Chow have been fabulous!

I met some friends here after work one night and right off the bat I was ready to give this place five stars for service and decor! The dining room is stunning and the attention and service from the very beginning was great! When I arrived my friends were at the bar, as soon as we were ready to be seated we were offered their coat check the drinks we had ordered from the bar were taken and actually carried to our table for us!

Mr. Chow serves very upscale Chinese food, family style! The menu is large so I was happy that one of my friends had been there before and could make some recommendations!

We started with the Shanghai Little Dragon, Mr. Chow Noodles and Squab Lettuce Wraps...

Shanghai Little Dragon

Shanghai Little Dragon is simply steamed pork soup dumplings, they were served right out of the steaming baskets and came to the table super fresh and piping hot! They were reeeeally good!

Mr. Chow Noodles

These are classic handmade Beijing noodles. Mr. Chow introduced these to the west in 1968 as one of his signature dishes, so of course we wanted to try them! When they arrived at the table, the noodles were were a little too sticky and clumped together and were topped with what I would describe as an Asian Bolognese. I expected them to have a bit more flavor because they were a little bland, but after adding some of the spicy sauce that they had on the table, I enjoyed them!!

Squab Lettuce Wraps

Next, we had the Squab Lettuce Wraps. Squab is meat from a young pigeon and is very similar in taste to dark meat chicken. I love lettuce wraps and thought these were very good! Even with the meat being squab, they were very simple and light! I loved the plain iceberg lettuce as well…it was cold and crunchy and the perfect vehicle for the filling!  

Emperor's Crab

Because it's October and fresh crab is out of season our Emperor's Crab was made with sea bass instead. My friend had ordered this her first time at Mr. Chow and raved about it! When it got to the table the sight, slimy texture, and the raw egg kinda freaked me out! My friend and I are usually on the same wave length when it comes to food so I trusted her and dug right in!! At first, I was turned off by the texture but after a few bites I came around and really enjoyed this dish! One of my favorite things about eating out with other people is that you get to try so many things that you may have never ordered!

Sliced Pork With Chili

Our waiter recommended this dish and we were very happy with his selection. There was nothing really fancy about it, it was just wonderfully elevated Chinese food! The spices were bold, the pork was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside and the mixed Asian veggies were fresh and delicious!

Sautéed Baby Bok Choy

Steamed Rice

The sides that we ordered... Bok Choy and Steamed Rice were both pretty standard!  Very good, but nothing really extraordinary about them either!

Overall this dinner was great... and I'm so happy that I've now experienced what the buzz is all about!!

Baked Onion

You'll Need -

Large Sweet Onion (Vidalias are my favorite)
2 Tsp of Light Butter
1 Beef Boullion Cube
1 Tsp of Minced Garlic

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the ends and skin from your onion. Use a spoon to dig a hole into the center the onion...dig about halfway down.  Next, cut the onion into quarters from the top down, stopping within an inch of the bottom. Place the bouillon cube, butter and garlic into the hole. Wrap the onion tigltly in tin foil.

Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour...until your onion is nice and tender all the way through. Enjoy!!

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Onion

Calories - 93
Total Fat - 3.5 (1.4 Sat)
Carbs - 14
Fiber - 2.5
Protein - 1.6

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Grilled Pork Chops

You'll Need -

Pork Chops
McCormick Steak Seasoning
Minced Garlic
Worcestershire Sauce

Rub both sides of the pork chops with steak seasoning, garlic and worcestershire sauce and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat grill (we used our Cuisinart Griddler) on high. When hot, arrange the seasoned pork chops on the lower grill plate. Close and grill for 5 to 6 minutes... grilling time will depend on your grill and thickness of the chops. Internal temperature of pork should be between 155°- 160°F when tested with a meat thermometer.

Serve with just about any veggie...asparagus, baked onions (see separate post), or corn on the cob are some of my favorites! Baked or mashed potatos are also a good match!
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The Penny Farthing

My friend lives around the corner from Penny's and 5 of us went there for a quick dinner on a Monday night! There was a small crowd at the bar and it seemed like a nice neighborhood gathering spot!

Steak & Potato Flatbread with onions, spinach, provolone & truffle oil...

I was not expecting the potatoes on this dish to be mashed! I thought they'd be sliced super thin and baked on top. Although I was surprised by the appearance, the flavors were spot on and the steak was delicious!

 Butternut Squash Risotto with pancetta, squash, sage & shrimp...

I'm a total sucker for risotto, and this one did not disappoint! The squash, pancetta, and sage created wonderful fall flavors!

Fish N' Chips - beer battered cod, malt vinegar & tartar sauce...

The batter was nice and crispy and fish was so light and flaky! I'd recommend trying this if you ever come to Penny's!

Steak Frites - 12oz. NY strip steak served with fries...

The steak came out cooked perfectly and the little shoe string fries were unexpectedly really really good!!

Meatloaf with roasted garlic mashed potatoes & veggie of the day...

I've never ordered Meatlaof while out to dinner...and I must admit, the last time I made it at home it was an epic fail! Penny's meatloaf was quite good and you could actually taste and see all of the fresh veggies that were baked in!

Gastropubs in Manhattan are a dime a dozen...I wouldn't venture to say that Penny's is one of the best...but it's worth trying if you're looking for upscale "pub grub" in the East Village.

Teriyaki Beef Skewers

You'll Need-

Steak (cut into super thin strips)
Teriyaki Sauce
Soy Sauce
Fish Sauce
Minced Garlic
Crushed Red Pepper

If you can’t find pre-sliced steak, buy a flank steak and use a very sharp knife to slice the meat into thin strips. Cut against the grain and on a bias to maximize the surface area of each slice! Traditional teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce, mirin and sugar. For my marinade, I use store bought teriyaki and then doctor it up with a little bit of extra soy sauce, fish sauce, minced garlic, crushed red pepper and sriracha for a kick! Start by adding just a little of each and season to taste! Once you are happy with the flavor of your marinade, add the beef and refrigerate for one hour!

Then skewer each piece and grill them! Make sure to soak the skewers beforehand so they do not burn. We have a Cuisenart counter top grill and it is GREAT for our apartment...they take about one minute on there! You could also grill outside or on a grill pan…cooking times will vary based on your grill!
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Chicken Fried Rice

You'll Need -

1 Cup White Rice
1 Cup Diced Chicken
2 Eggs (raw, scrambled)
1/2 Medium Onion (chopped)
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts
1 Tsp Olive Oil
Soy Sauce
Fish Sauce
Crushed Red Pepper

Cook one cup of rice according to package directions. While the rice is cooking, dice up the chicken and sauté it in a frying pan, set aside.  Next, sauté the chopped onions until they are translucent and set aside as well.  Once the rice is done, add a small amount of oil into the bottom of a large frying pan and add the egg and rice. Stir until the egg is incorporated into the rice. Then add in the chicken, onions, peas, and water chestnuts. Season to taste with soy sauce, fish sauce (just a little), and crushed red pepper!

Once the rice, chicken and veggies are heated through...enjoy!

Makes 6 servings -

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving -

Calories - 211
Fat - 3.2 (.8 Sat)
Carbs - 31.9
Fiber - 2
Protein - 12

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Ameera's Halal Food Cart

Yes...New Yorkers actually eat the stuff! Street food in NYC has become an art and you can find anything from your average hot dog or pretzel to gourmet meals from chefs like Mario Batali! Ameera's Halal Food is the first one I've's around the corner from my office and unfortunately I'm hooked now!

Prices are cheap, portions are huge and the chicken and lamb over rice is delicious!! Other options include chicken and/or lamb pitas and chicken and/or lamb over salad. One tell-tale sign that the food is good...there is always a line!

When I go, I pass on the rice and get chicken, lamb and veggies over salad with their hot sauce on top. If I  want to "treat" myself I'll get the white sauce too...It's sooooo good but I usually pass and save the extra calories (which I realize is at that point THOSE calories are really going to make a difference?!?!)

There are tons of websites that are dedicated to finding the best food carts and trucks to visit....and I certainly plan on seeking some of them out!

Here are some of the links that highlight the best:

Potato Leek Soup

I loooove potato leek soup but don’t like the super high calorie count in most! This is a lighted up version that I love! I also highly recommend the garnishes, they really make this soup extra yummy without tipping the scale!

You’ll Need-

2 Large Leeks (remove the green leafy parts and chop)
1/2 Large White Onion (chopped)
2 Potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter
4 Cups Fat Free Chicken Stock
1 Cup 2% Milk
Salt & Pepper


Turkey Bacon Crumbles
Light Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Scallions

Chop and wash the leeks thoroughly and make sure to remove all of the dirt. In a medium pot, melt the butter on low heat, add flour and mix well. This will help to thicken the soup and give it more flavor. Add the chicken stock, leeks, onions and potatoes and bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer on low for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. If you like your soup a little on the chunky side you can use a potato masher or electric mixer to combine. If you like it on the smoother side, mix in a blender! Either way, mix the soup until desired consistency and slowly add the milk. Stir in salt and pepper. I think it needs quite a bit of both, but add seasoning in batches and taste along the way! Serve immediately.

Top with turkey bacon crumbles, shredded light cheddar cheese and scallions.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving (without garnish)

Calories - 120
Fat - 1
Carbs - 23
Fiber - 2.3 
Protein - 3.5

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Broccoli Slaw

My friend Dana made this slaw as a snack for a day at the beach! Don't let the Ramen Noodles freak you out! This dish is very light, refreshing and so yummy!

You'll Need -

2 Packages of Chicken Ramen Noodles (crushed)
2 Bags of Broccoli Slaw
1 Cup Almonds (whole or sliced)
1 Cup Sunflower Seeds
½ Tsp Chopped White Onion

Dressing -

½ Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Veg Oil

1/3 Cup White Vinegar
Seasoning From Noodles

Layer in order of ingredients (Don't mix)! Pour dressing over salad and chill for 12 hours. Mix right before serving.

This slaw is great alone, as a side dish, or top with some roasted chicken or grilled shrimp and make a meal out of it!

Makes 12 Servings -

Calories  - 251
Fat -  19 (Sat 1.7)
Carbs - 17
Fiber - 2.8
Protein - 4

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Steak with Mushrooms & Onions

You'll Need -

1 Medium Onion (sliced)
1 Package of Sliced Mushrooms
1 Tablespoon of Minced Garlic
Crushed Red Pepper (to taste)

Place steak on an oversized sheet of tin foil (make sure it'll be large enough to hold all ingredients). Pile veggies, garlic, and crushed red pepper on top. Wrap the tin foil packet all the way around the food and seal it in tightly. Place packet in an oven safe baking dish and cook until steak reaches your desired temperature. I've found that if you like steak on the "rarer" side... sauté the onions and mushrooms in a pan on the stove and cook them about half way through before piling them on the steak.

For a good hearty "meat and potatoes" meal serve with mashed or baked or french fries...a side salad or a steamed veggie would be good too!

Or... serve with my favorite "side dish" below...

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The Iron Horse

If you know what Coyote Ugly is, you also know the theme of the The Iron Horse! Although it's located in the heart of the financial district, this is not the average bar down there filled with men in suits. In fact, it draws quite a diverse group of crazy folks!! With bartenders who dress sparingly and dance and swing above the bar...This is a wild place!

We went on a Sunday afternoon so things were pretty mellow...there were no shows on the bar and the bartender was on her best behavior! We were surprised and happy to learn that their Sunday Special is a free hot dog or burger with a drink over $3!! And it was not too shabby at all for free bar food!

I'd really like to go back to see what this place is like in it's full glory!!