Grilled Low-fat Turkey and Cheddar Burgers – My Weight Loss Journey

turkey burger

These low-fat turkey and cheddar burgers have long been a favorite of my husband and me! Ground turkey breast tends to be dry because of the lack of fat, but adding grated cheese, minced onion, and shredded zucchini to the mixture make them tender, juicy, and flavorful! We don’t have a charcoal or gas grill, so we use a countertop grill (using the contact method with two grill plates). I have also pan-fried these in a large frying pan with a lid and nonstick cooking spray. If pan-frying, you need to use a lid to make sure the burgers are thoroughly cooked.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 pound ground skinless turkey breast
  • 1 small zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper or to your taste
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 4 whole-wheat buns
  1. Heat a nonstick grill over medium heat. (I use a countertop grill, and I set mine to 350 F and that seems to work okay for me. Please your best judgement when grilling these. I assume everyone has grilled burgers before.)
  2. Combine the turkey, zucchini, cheese, onion, salt, and pepper in a bowl until blended. Shape into four equal patties.
  3. Grill the patties until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, about 7 minutes for each side (I use both ridged plates on my electric grill, so my grilling time is only about 7 minutes.)
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the ketchup and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
  5. Layer the lettuce, burgers, and tomato slices on the bottoms of the hamburger buns. Top with ketchup mixture and then bun tops.

special sauce



Low-fat Angel Hair Pasta with Plum Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

angel hair pasta

This is another recipe from one of my old Weight Watcher’s cookbooks. It’s very light and simple to make. The little bit of balsamic vinegar adds just the right touch!

You will need the following:

  • 6 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh, minced basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, set aside, and keep warm.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring as needed, until softened, about five minutes. Stir in the basil, salt, and pepper; cook until the tomatoes are very soft, about five minutes. Pour over the pasta; toss with vinegar. Serve topped with the Parmesan.

Low-fat Spicy Garlic Shrimp – Tapas, Appetizer, or Light Bite – My Weight Loss Journey

spicy shrimp 1

This dish is quick and simple to make and very delicious! It can be served hot or at room temperature.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound (about 24) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat a very large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Swirl in the oil, then add the garlic. Sautee until softened about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, oregano, and crushed pepper; saute, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are just opaque.


spicy shrimp 3

Classic Vanilla Cake Recipe – Vintage 1940’s “Master Cake Recipe”

light blue 1

This is my favorite vanilla cake recipe which I found in a 1942 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I’ve seen a slightly different variation of this recipe in later versions of Better Homes and Gardens (also called “Best Two-egg Cake”). This version is called the “master cake recipe” because there are a few different variations such as the “gold cake”, “orange cake”, “white cake”, and “Boston creme pie”  which are all based on this classic vanilla cake recipe. It makes two 8″ (or 9″) layers or 2 dozen cupcakes.

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar; add eggs and vanilla extract; beat until fluffy. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Bake in 2 8-inch cake pans for 25-30 minutes (I use cooking spray). PLEASE NOTE that not all ovens are the same and you may have to adjust your temperature and baking time (I do). For three 8 -inch layers increase recipe by one-half. This recipe and any of its variations will make about two dozen cupcakes.



Lower-Fat Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot cake is one of the yummiest cakes around! I found this particular recipe years ago (it’s not a diet recipe) and I used the original once to make a three-layer cake. Even though it came out well, I found it to be too oily for my taste. I felt really guilty for eating it. So I decided to try substituting applesauce for some of the oil and voila! It turned out to be unbelievably moist and delicious! The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, but I would only recommend doing half oil and half applesauce because you still need some oil in order for the cake to be moist. This recipe also works well for cupcakes. You can either frost it with the traditional cream cheese frosting or buttercream (I prefer buttercream). For this batch (shown in my pictures) I decided to go with the cream cheese frosting. Even my little girl loves this carrot cake! We made it for her first birthday! It’s always a hit with everyone! And another plus is that it also stays fresh for a few days.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs, unsweetened applesauce, and vegetable oil and mix well. Add grated carrots and pecans. Pour into three 9-inch round greased and floured pans or in cupcake pans with liners (I use cooking Wilton “Bake Easy!” non-stick spray for most of my cakes). Bake CAKES for about 40 minutes (cupcakes are generally half the time it takes to bake cakes). PLEASE NOTE that not all ovens are the same and you may have adjust your oven temperature and baking time (I do). Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a cooling grid (I place parchment paper underneath my cakes). Cool completely before frosting.


Brownie Pizza Made with a Low-fat Brownie Recipe

brownie pizza 1

This is a really simple, beautiful treat which everyone will love! I recommend using bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and kiwi (whenever you can find it in stores). Use my low-fat brownie recipe here:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a 12″ DEEP DISH PIZZA PAN with aluminum foil and grease the foil with shortening (you must use shortening or else your brownies will stick to the foil and that won’t be good). Leave a 4-inch overlap on all sides of the pan. PLEASE NOTE that if you don’t like the idea of using aluminum foil in your baking, you can TRY to use parchment paper with this recipe instead (I haven’t). The foil is just easier to manipulate than the parchment paper would be.
  3. Make the brownie batter using my recipe (or any brownie recipe you choose – from a box or from scratch).
  4. Using a rubber spatula, spread the brownie batter in the deep dish pizza pan.
  5. Bake the brownie pizza anywhere from 15-30 minutes. I say 15-30 minutes because no two ovens are the same and you may have to adjust your temperature and baking time. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
  6. Cool the brownies on a cooling grid. Once cooled, carefully remove the brownies from the pan and then carefully peel the foil off. Place the brownie pizza on a plate or dish of your choice.
  7. To make the white pizza “sauce”, mix the following ingredients together in a large mixing bowl: 11 ounces low-fat softened cream cheese and 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar. Mix well with an electric mixer.
  8. Spread the cream cheese icing on the brownie pizza and then arrange your cut fruit on your pizza as desired.
  9. You can drizzle either melted semisweet chocolate over the pizza or use commercially prepared chocolate syrup (dark chocolate is much better than milk chocolate). I used chocolate syrup on mine to save me some extra steps and time.
  10. Serve immediately! The fruit tends to “wither” quickly. Be sure to refrigerate any unused portion right away.

The BEST Low-Fat Brownies!

brownie pizza 3

I found a recipe for low-fat brownies several years ago. I tried it because I thought it sounded good; however, the brownies came out too dry. I even baked some and took them to work once, and my co-workers also offered the same opinion (that they were too dry). One lady told me to try adding a little more oil. I thought the recipe had potential but needed improvement, and though it was a low-fat recipe and I didn’t want to start adding things like more oil, I knew my co-worker was right, and I had to face the fact that some things in this world just aren’t possible (meaning that you can’t have a delicious, rich-tasting dessert that is low in calories and practically fat-free). I had two choices: either give up on this recipe entirely OR try adding a little more oil (and applesauce). I chose the latter.

Replacing oil, butter, margarine, and shortening with substitutes like applesauce and low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt is an excellent way to cut down on the fat and calories in baked goods; however, you cannot omit these things entirely and just use applesauce or yogurt because if you do you will end up with very dry baked goods (I know from experience). I usually find that doing half and half works. You can always experiment on your own if you have time and the inclination to do so. Certain things work well in certain recipes. For example, if I were making carrot cake I would substitute applesauce for some of the oil but wouldn’t use yogurt, and if I were making apple cake, and I would use low-fat yogurt instead of applesauce as a substitute for some of the oil. I hope that makes sense. Keep in mind that making substitutions can change the overall taste and texture of your baked goods.

By the way, low-fat mayonnaise is also an excellent substitute for oil and eggs when making brownies, chocolate cake, and chocolate cupcakes (it works well for chocolate cakes but I’ve never heard of it being used in other types of baked goods that aren’t chocolate).

If at all possible, I prefer one bowl mixing, and this is one of those recipes that you can get away with doing just that! You also don’t need a mixer for this. Easy peasy!

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose white flour (you can use unbleached if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup (or you can use HONEY as a substitute if you prefer)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  •  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (345 F for my oven because it tends to cook things very fast).
  2. Melt the chocolate square in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s directions (The original recipe called for heating the oil in a saucepan and melting the chocolate square in the oil as it was heating the stove, but I didn’t like this method because it made the brownies have a peculiar kind of scorched flavor.) Let the chocolate cool.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add beaten egg and egg white, vegetable oil, applesauce, corn syrup (or honey), vanilla extract and mix. Add the melted chocolate and mix well. And that’s it!
  5. You can add walnuts if you like (optional).
  6. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the brownie batter into a lightly greased 8 x 8″ square baking pan (I use cooking spray instead of shortening for this recipe).
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. You don’t want to overbake these, so please pay attention to your baking time. No two ovens are the same, and you may have to adjust your baking time and temperature (I do).

I used this brownie recipe for my Brownie pizza, but instead of baking the brownies in an 8 x 8″ inch square pan, I baked them in a  12″ deep dish pizza pan. Here is the link to the brownie pizza: