One of the first things I wanted to try when I went off the Swank diet was Fettucini Alfredo.  Pre-diet days, that was my absolute favorite Italian dish and I always ordered it at restaurants.  Post-diet days, it's still delicious, but the fat content is just too much for me to rationalize making at home on a regular basis.  I'm still supposed to eat healthy, people!  Plus, the five pounds or so that I have gained is enough for me.  :)

Anyway, I came across this Ellie Krieger recipe, and decided to try it.  I always love her food makeovers!  This one is definitely one of my favorites and I'm so glad that I have a light alfredo dish to turn to when I'm craving a creamy pasta dish!  I love the light sauce and the addition of the zucchini.  I also add mushrooms because I just love them.  You can pretty much add any veggie you like to this.  My hubs isn't a fan of anything creamy, and even he loved this dish.  When your picky eater husband approves a meal, you know that means the dish is a hit!  

  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (garlic press)
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons (used food processor)
  • 1 container of baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold 1% milk 
  • 1/2 cup evaporated nonfat milk
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


Cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set the cooked pasta aside.  

Meanwhile, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet/dutch oven.  Add 1-2 cloves of garlic and saute over medium heat for 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes.  Transfer the veggies to a bowl. 

Heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.  Cook the chicken in the pan, about 2-3 minutes per side depending on thickness.  Set the chicken aside.  

In a small bowl, whisk the low fat milk and flour together.  Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet with the remaining garlic.  Cook 30 seconds on medium heat, until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the milk-flour mixture and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, continuing to stir, for about two minutes.  Finally, add the evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the grated cheese.  Stir to melt the mixture, for approximately one minute.  

Cut the chicken into strips and toss together the pasta, alfredo sauce, zucchini, mushrooms, and parsley. Add reserve pasta water to loosen if necessary.  Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.  Enjoy!   

*Omit the chicken and add more vegetables to make delicious vegetarian dish!

I have been wanting to try this recipe FOR.EV.ER (said in Squint's voice from The Sandlot).  It's a Giada recipe, which almost never disappoints, and it has 575 reviews on Food Network with a 5 star rating.  Seriously, this is a no brainer. However, my husband thinks Chicken Cacciatore is absolutely disgusting.  He hates it at restaurants and has been scarred by previous bad experiences with this dish.  Every time I mentioned it while I was meal planning, he would make it abundantly clear that he would not eat this meal if I made it.  Finally, I decided to make it anyway and not tell him. Guess what??? I'm sure you know what comes next...HE LOVED IT.  I actually made him repeat to me at least five times that he loved it and that he was wrong for discouraging me from making it before.  I also made him swear never to question me and my cooking skills again.  I won this battle! HA!  

Try this recipe.  It's a healthier version of Giada's and its delicious and easy. 

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp of salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp drained capers
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped coarsely 

Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Then, dredge the chicken lightly in flour. 

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side.  Depending on the size of your pan, this could take a couple of batches.  Set the chicken aside on a plate. 

Now add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the pan.  Add a little oil to the pan if necessary (since using skinless breasts, there may not be much grease to work with).  Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper.  Add the wine to the pot and cook it until it reduces by half, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Then add the tomatoes with their juice, chicken broth, and the oregano. Return the chicken to the pan and make sure to cover with the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook the chicken for about 20-30 minutes.  Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken with tongs and place on a platter.  Cook the sauce a little longer if necessary to thicken it. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with basil. 

I served my chicken on a bed of spaghetti with some garlic bread on the side. This is a really delicious and easy weeknight meal.  Enjoy! 

*Note: This picture does not do the dish any justice.  I was too hungry to take a decent photo!*

Ok this is by far the most mouth watering, amazing, and flavorful macaroni and cheese ever.  I decided to make this while my husband was out of town, since he isn't a big fan of mac and cheese.  I intended to eat it for a about a week for lunch, but that did not happen.  I finished it in about two days!  All by myself! I was a bit upset with myself for eating like such a pig, but I just couldn't help it. The regular ol' mac and cheese that I make is definitely good, but this one doesn't even compare.  The sauteed mushrooms and herbs add so much flavor to this dish, which is great when cooking with something flavorless like fat free cheese.  The blend of cheeses worked very well too.  I was wary about substituting gruyere cheese for fat free swiss cheese, but the results were surprisingly good.  The bread crumbs on top also add a nice crunchiness to each bite. Overall, I was ecstatic with the results.  I cannot wait to make this again and this time I will have my husband try it as well.  I highly recommend this and think everyone should add it to their grocery list...now! :)

  • 1 lb of corkscrew pasta (or your mac and cheese favorite)
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 gloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 cups 1% milk 
  • 6 oz of fat free american cheese (Lifetime)
  • 6 oz of fat free swiss cheese (Lifetime)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs, lightly toasted (I used Italian seasoned)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and set aside. Then, chop the shallot, mince the garlic and herbs, and shred the cheeses. Set aside all ingredients.  

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the chopped mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, add the white wine vinegar and set aside. 

Next, in a medium saucepan heat the other tablespoon of olive oil.  Whisk in the flour and make a paste.  Continue whisking the paste for a couple of minutes until it turns golden. Stir in the fresh herbs and continue whisking for about 1 minute, until they are fragrant. Pour in the milk and whisk constantly while the mixture simmers and thickens.  Finally, add the shredded cheese gradually, stirring constantly so that there are little or no clumps.  

Add the cooked pasta and mushroom mixture into the cheese sauce.  Stir really well to combine everything together evenly.  Pour the mixture into abaking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let it cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.  Enjoy! 
I  love, love, love lasagna.  Who doesn't though?  I mean it's great for large crowds, great to freeze, great to reheat, and just tastes amazing.  Recently I was invited to a large family party where they served lasagna.  Of course I could not eat it, which made me want to make a michi-friendly version at home immediately.  There are a million lasagna recipes, but I think the classic recipes are the best.  Of course, when cooking low fat nothing is "classic", but I try to make dishes taste as close to the original as possible.  I used turkey instead of sausage or ground beef and fat free cheese instead of full fat cheese.  The outcome was definitely better than expected.  The spinach in the dish added a lot of delicious flavor and the Lifetime cheeses have yet to disappoint.  I'll definitely be putting this into the rotation.  Enjoy! 

  • 9 - 12 lasagna noodles (depending on the size of your baking dish)
  • 1 pound of extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2/3 cup of onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, minced and divided
  • 3 (6oz) cans of  tomato paste 
  • 15 oz tomato sauce (I used Classico Tomato & Basil)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 15 oz fat free cottage cheese
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 
  • 1/4 cup of Rice Grated Topping, Parmesan Flavor
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups fat free mozzarella cheese, shredded (Lifetime brand is best!)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cook the lasagna according to package directions.  Make sure to salt the pasta. Once al dente, take the noodles out of the water carefully with tongs and place them in a single layer on kitchen or paper towels.  This allows the noodles to dry straight without curling, which makes it easier to assemble the lasagna later. 

While the pasta is cooking, brown the turkey on medium heat in a medium pot with the olive oil. Crumble the turkey and make sure it is cooked evenly.  Add the onion, garlic, and 1/3 of the parsley to the pot.  Cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.  Mix in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, basil and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup of parsley, cottage cheese, spinach, parmesan topping, eggs, garlic salt, and pepper.  Beat the mixture well until everything is blended evenly. 

After the sauce has simmered, spread two cups of the tomato sauce evenly into a 9x13 baking dish (or the closest size you have).  Then, place 3-4 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.  After that, spoon the spinach mixture on top of the noodles evenly in a thin layer.  Spoon more tomato sauce on top of the mixture and then sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Layer 3-4 more lasagna noodles on top and then the remaining spinach mixture.  Then spread half of the remaining sauce and another cup of mozzarella cheese.  The final layer will have 3-4 noodles, the remaining sauce, and the remaining cheese. 

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook 10-15 more minutes until the cheese is bubbly (remember fat free cheese melts and looks differently than regular cheese).  Let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes and serve.  

Bon Appetit! 

My husband and I went to a hole in the wall Italian restaurant a couple of weeks ago and as I was reading the menu, I came across Pasta Primavera.  I was really tempted to order it, but my husband informed me that Pasta Primavera is , "gross and has lots of weird vegetables in it".  I decided to listen to him because the place was a bit scummy, but since then I had wanted to try this pasta. I thought that pasta with lots of yummy vegetables actually sounded quite delicious and enticing!

When I got home I found a five star rated Ellie Krieger recipe that I used to guide me for this dish.  I loved that I could basically put any vegetables in it that I wanted and take away any that I didn't want either.  I also added grilled chicken since my husband isn't a fan of vegetarian dishes.  The end result of this meal was delicious.  The vegetables are yummy and fresh and the pasta sauce is perfectly flavored.  I was afraid that the sauce may be a bit too dry, but it was light and creamy at the same time. Even my husband, who was less than thrilled that I decided to cook this, was impressed and said it was really good! This one is definitely a keeper. 

Oh and for all my veggie followers (all two of you!), this one is for you! :)

  • 1 TBP extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in 1/2
  • 1 cup low sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 TBS all purpose flour, dissolved in 3 TBS of water
  • 1/2 sp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, sliced into strips with food processor/peeler
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into strips with food processor/peeler
  • 1 pound linguini
  • 2 TBS parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, shredded


Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. 

Prepare all your veggies first. Mince the garlic, cut the asparagus, slice the mushrooms, and slice the carrots and zucchini. This will save you lots of time!

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Cook the garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and asparagus and cook until softened for about 5-10 minutes.  Add the flour, stir and cook for oneminute. Then add the chicken broth, milk, salt, and pepper and stir some more. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for a few minutes until the liquid has thickened a little. Add the carrots, zucchini, parsley, and basil. 

Mix in the pasta with the vegetables and toss everything around well.  Add pasta water to the pasta if necessary to loosen the mixture.  Taste for seasonings and serve.  Enjoy! 
Print This Recipe!


Tasty Treats By Michi Original

*I'm fully aware that this picture looks like a bunch of slop on the plate.  I was too hungry to take decent pictures! :)* 

My husband loves eggplant, so he actually introduced me this dish.  I have never really been into eating vegetarian meals for dinner, but this is absolutely amazing! Tonight was the first night I made this and we ate like pigs (as you can see from the humungous portion on the plate).  This is actually a pretty easy recipe to make, and a great recipe to freeze.  I had planned on making this last week but wasn't able to finish cooking it, so I froze the eggplant after breading it (before I even got a chance to fry it).  Today I took it out of the freezer, fried, and baked it and it was perfect.  This is definitely a great meal to prepare in advance and heat up later on when you are too tired to cook! 

  • 1 medium to large eggplant 
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 4 egg whites, beaten 
  • 1/2 cup Panko Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs 
  • 1/2 cup Ians Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs (or your favorite organic brand)
  • 1/4 cup Rice Grated Parmesan Topping from Galaxy Nutritional Foods
  • Olive oil for frying 
  • 2 jars of Classico Tomato & Basil (or your favorite sauce)
  • 8 oz of fat free mozzarella cheese, grated (Lifetime or Kraft)
  • 1 box of spaghetti 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch circles and set aside.  Prepare your breading assembly line by putting the 1/2 cup of flour into one bowl, the beaten egg whites into another bowl, and both breadcrumbs and rice parmesan into the last bowl.  Make sure to mix the breadcrumbs and rice parmesan together well. 

Dip the eggplant rounds first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs mixture. Make sure to let the excess egg drip off each piece before dipping into the breadcrumbs mixture.  Pat the breadcrumbs onto the eggplant so that they adhere well. Set breaded eggplant pieces aside. 

Put half of 1 jar of tomato sauce into a large baking dish and set aside. 

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium or medium low heat.  Fry the eggplant for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are browned and crispy (not burned!). You may need to add a little more olive oil if the eggplant soaks it all up while frying.  Do this in batches until all the eggplant is fried.
Place the fried eggplant in a single layer in the baking dish with tomato sauce. Pour the remaining half of the jar of sauce over all the pieces.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top of the eggplant pieces and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and soft. 

While the eggplant is baking, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Make sure to salt the pasta well.  Also, in a small saucepan, heat the second jar of tomato sauce on medium-low heat until warmed through. 

Serve the eggplant on a bed of spaghetti with tomato sauce.  Bon Appetit! :)

I believe this was the second recipe I ever learned how to cook, about 10 years ago when I was in high school.  The recipe has completely changed since then and now it's one of my quick and easy go-to meals that uses only a few ingredients that are standard in our household.  This is a an easy recipe to make your own by adding or changing ingredients.  I basically eyeball everything while I make it, so make sure to taste it as you go along and adjust the seasoning to your liking! 

Oh and I know it kind of looks like some green slop, but it's a very tasty green slop! 

  • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast 
  • Spaghetti or your favorite pasta (I love rigatoni with this dish but my husband hates it!)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1/2 yellow onion, halved or quartered (small or medium onion depending on how much you like onion)
  • 4-6 garlic gloves, smashed with skin removed (can you tell we love garlic?)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking chicken
  • 1 TSP lemon zest, or more if needed 
  • Juice of about half a small lemon 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Make sure to salt the pasta and set aside. 

While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken into cube or bite-size pieces.  Heat a large skillet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the chicken on medium-heat, stirring occasionally. 

While the chicken is cooking, put the onion chunks, whole garlic cloves, lemon zest, and entire bag of spinach into a food processor.  Pulse until everything is f minced and a pesto consistency.  Then, while the food processor is still on, add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to the pesto.  Turn off the food processor, remove the lid and add some salt and pepper and taste.  

After the chicken has cooked, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the pesto to the skillet.  Also add the juice of about half a lemon, or more according to taste.  Stir well to combine the chicken with the pesto.  Simmer the pesto on low heat for about 5-10 minutes so that the garlic and onion cook a little.  Taste the pesto and see if it needs more salt, pepper, or lemon juice.  

Once the desired flavor has been created, add the pasta to the skillet and stir well to combine. 

WOW! This Giada recipe was absolutely delicious.  I stumbled upon it on The Food Network's website last week and bought all the ingredients to make it ASAP! While making it I became a little concerned that the end result may be a little to "lemony" tasting, but the flavoring was absolutely perfect.  This is definitely going into the regular rotation! 

Lemon Oil Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 lemon, zested 
Pasta Ingredients: 
  • 1 pound linguini pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I used three instead of the 2 in the original recipe)
  • 16 ounces of frozen shrimp
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces of arugula (about 3 packed cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the lemon oil: 

Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve. 

For the pasta: 

*Tip - Prep all the ingredients before you begin cooking.  Dice the shallots, mince the garlic, zest the lemons, chop the parsley, etc. This will make the cooking process much less stressful when  you get started! 

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Make sure to salt the water! 

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook for about two minutes or until soft and fragrant.  Add the frozen shrimp and cook until pink, which should be about five minutes.  Stir the shrimp a little bit so that it thaws out quicker and breaks apart.  I found that putting the lid on the skillet sped up the cooking process of the shrimp.  

Once the shrimp is cooked, add the cooked linguini, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Toss well to combine.  Turn off the head and add the arugula.  Toss more so that the arugula is evenly distributed throughout the pasta.  

Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta.  Discard the zest.  Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss more to combine.  Serve immediately. 

Try this recipe, it's perfect! 
Macaroni and Cheese is one of the best comfort foods, hands down!  I hadn't had it for many years because I couldn't find a decent fat free cheese that melted well or tasted good, but once I did, I make it whenever I am craving something cheesy for lunch or as a side for dinner.  I absolutely love this simple dish! 

*If you can, buy Bordens Fat Free American Cheese Slices, this is the BEST. Other fat free cheeses work fine (like Kraft) but Bordens definitely makes a huge difference in the taste.*

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder 
  •  1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 and 1/2 cup of skim milk
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 12 slices of Borden Fat Free American Cheese Slices
  • 8 OZ of elbow macaroni 
  • Pam Cooking Spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Boil the macaroni according to package directions. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, combine the cornstarch, salt, dry mustard, and pepper.  Stir well so there aren't clumps and everything is incorporated. 

Stir in the skim milk until it's smooth.  Then, stir in the olive oil.  Continue to stir constantly, and bring the mixture to a boil for one minute. Turn the heat down to low and remove the pot from the heat.  Mix in 10 of the cheese slices and stir well until all the clumps are gone and you have a cheese sauce.  If necessary, put the pot back on the low heat in order to make this job easier (be careful not to burn the sauce).

Strain the elbows and add them to the cheese mixture.  Mix well so that the cheese sauce is coating the noodles evenly. 

Spray a two quart casserole dish with Pam. Pour the macaroni and cheese in the dish. Break up the remaining two cheese slices into strips/pieces and scatter on top of the macaroni. Bake the dish for 20 to 25 minutes or until it's hot and bubbly and the edges are browned.  

We eat leftovers pretty much every single day, so eating them in a new way is always a great thing!  The day after we make Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs (link to recipe above) we almost always make meatball subs.  This is a quick and easy meal and it really makes our leftovers taste like something different.  Enjoy :). 

  • Turkey Meatballs
  • Kraft Fat Free Mozzarella Cheese
  • Tomato Sauce (I like Classico Tomato and Basil)
  • 1 loaf of Italian Bread
  • Oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the spaghetti and meatballs from the night before in the microwave until hot.  While the meatballs are heating, slice the loaf of bread in 6 inch or 12 inch pieces, or however large you want each sub be.  Then, slice each piece in half lengthwise.  Put as many heated meatballs in the sub that can fit.  Spoon some spaghetti sauce over the meatballs, sprinkle with oregano, and then top with some fat free mozzarella cheese.  Spoon some more sauce on top if you like. 

Put the subs on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted.  Serve with some leftover spaghetti on the side. 

Yummy and filing!