Illness can be connected to food in ways that you might not have ever thought about before. Most of us realize that having food allergies should be taken seriously, but we sometimes don’t consider the health ramifications of food sensitivities. An allergic reaction to a food usually happens quickly. For example, it is a food allergy in which someone eats shellfish or a peanut and all of a sudden, they cannot breathe. On the other hand, you may not recognize food sensitivity immediately. It is one of the causes of low-grade chronic inflammation. You keep taking in a food, and your body keeps seeing it as a foreign invader, and your body works constantly to clear the toxin from your system. Even though the reaction may not seem severe, the long-term consequences can be enormous.

  • Arthritis, muscle stiffness, and joint pain can be caused by or exacerbated by the protein in cow’s milk; it’s not just about having gas and bloating.
  • Fatigue, trouble sleeping, mental fogginess, mood changes, headaches, irritability, anger, skin irritation, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, sinus infections, ear infections, and rashes are common signs and symptoms of food sensitivity.

If you have any of these signs and symptoms, there is a possibility that you have food sensitivity. Research has shown that the symptoms of food sensitivity are most likely connected to six common groups: dairy, gluten, corn, soy, peanuts, and eggs.  Remember, food sensitivities can develop over time. What was once okay, might not be anymore.

The Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is a dietary program that is designed to clear your body of foods that you may be allergic or sensitive to. For best results, you should strictly stick with a diet that completely eliminates dairy, gluten, corn, soy, peanuts, and eggs for two weeks. The tricky part is to not eat a group of foods either whole or as ingredients in other food; you must eliminate a group in its entirety. This means paying careful attention to food labels and recipe ingredients.

  • Start this program by eliminating all six common food irritants on day 1. Before you start, you may want to have a list of foods you can and cannot eat, and you want to have the right foods in your house.
  • Between days 2 and 7, you may start to feel like your symptoms are getting worse, but this is expected. As you clear your body of the toxins, sometimes they flare up. Usually between days 8 and 14, your symptoms should disappear. If they do, then you know that one or more of those six food groups is causing your symptoms.
  • To determine which of the six foods is causing your symptoms, on day 15, reintroduce one of those foods. Have a small amount for breakfast, some for lunch, and some for dinner. Then, stop consumption of that food after that day, and wait to see how your body reacts to the reintroduction of this food.
  • On day 16, resume a total elimination of all 6 groups. On day 17, introduce another group back into your diet for a day. Notice for reactions, give a day of elimination in between, and repeat this process until you have worked your way through all 6 groups.

Tips for the Elimination Diet

  • Make extra food at night so that you have some leftovers for the next day. If you are dedicating time to cook and prepare foods when on the elimination diet, you should prepare extra when possible.
  • During this process, drink plenty of water. In addition, don’t exercise too much or too intensely during this time. Your body is clearing toxins, and it needs time to heal.
  • When you start this diet, you may experience some fatigue, you may get a headache, and your joints may ache a little, but this is only because your body is withdrawing from these foods and cleansing your body of toxins.
  • When you start craving the foods you have eliminated, stick with the program. These symptoms don’t last long, so be strong.
  • Get the guidance and support that you need. You have the ability to transform your life if you are able to eliminate allergens from your diet.
  • Literally separate the “safe” foods in your kitchen from the “unsafe” foods. It will make things easier and faster.
  • Avoid eating out.
  • Plan your meals in advance. There are plenty of cereals (hot or cold) that pass the criteria and even gluten-free pancake mixes or gluten-free frozen waffles. Fruit is also a good thing for breakfast.
  • Protein powders can be helpful. Just be sure to take your time and read the ingredients carefully (whey, soy, and casein proteins are off limits).
  • Think salads (be careful of the dressings) or sandwiches for lunch. Franz makes an acceptable gluten free bread or bake your own. The other brands were pretty disgusting. Be careful when choosing lunchmeat though, as many contain cornstarch. Mustard is a safe condiment.
  • Find recipes for dinner with simple ingredients (I’ll include some at the end of this article).
  • As a substitution for cow’s or soy milk, try drinking rice milk, coconut milk, or almond milk.
  • Remember the details. For example “corn” also includes corn products such as corn syrup or corn starch.  Even baking powder frequently has corn starch in it. Read food labels carefully.
  • Some breads are advertised as gluten-free, but they often contain spelt, and rye. If you see the word “multigrain” on a product, it usually contains a mixture of things, and there is a good chance that it has gluten.

My Personal Experience with this Process

I decided to do the elimination diet myself, mostly to support my 16 year old daughter who needed to do this diet due to chronic headaches. Sure, I had a few abnormalities going on myself (headaches, morning joint stiffness, swelling in my hands in the morning, etc.) but most of those things I was writing off because of other reasons, including the fact that I’m getting older (we’re supposed to start feeling a little cruddier as we age, right?).

As I started out with my food planning and grocery shopping for the next few weeks, I found the first week rather annoying. Frankly, it was a pain in the butt! It was tricky to find recipes and reading the ingredients on every food label while shopping was time consuming. In addition, packaged or prepared food items that were geared towards this type of diet were expensive and didn’t taste that great. There were exceptions of course (rice, fruit, veggies, beans, meat).

During the 2nd week, we had company that wanted to eat out. Determined to not un-do our diet, my daughter and I went and quickly realized that eating out was practically an impossibility, as nearly every food item offered contained the offenders in one form or another. This was easier done at home.

As our 2nd week neared the end, and our 1st test day approached, my daughter and I practically fantasized about what to try first! It was a little like Christmas morning!

As we progressed through this test-eliminate-repeat phase (another 12 days), we took notes on any symptoms or reaction we had.

After this phase was complete we completely reintroduced any foods that were deemed “safe”.  In my case, the only foods that passed the “safe” test were soy and eggs. Oddly enough, once I got a couple of groups back, it became immensely easier and I no longer felt some great urge to hurry to get the others back.  I decided to re-test the groups that triggered any type of reaction in order to determine whether or not it was coincidence or an actual food sensitivity.

Throughout this process I decreased my exercise and leveled out my exercise intensity so that physical exertion couldn’t factor in, although I continued daily exercise. Still, this activity decrease made me feel a little “off.” My teenage daughter (not a regular exerciser), did not notice this “off” feeling. Also, my normal dietary practices were pretty good, so I did not lose weight during this (which isn’t the purpose anyway), but my daughter lost several pounds. Also interesting to note, was although I did not gain or lose a single pound, I actually looked like I’d picked up weight. The change in diet caused differences in intestinal chemistry as my body learned how to process things differently. This all went away once I reintroduced the “safe” foods back in and resumed my normal activity levels.  Focusing on the increase of vegetables also helped.

As a result of this, we discovered that eggs triggered my daughter’s headaches. I learned that peanuts and corn could give me headaches and that dairy was the cause of morning swelling and pain in my hands (not getting older).

One of the things I learned was that I stopped caring about not being able to have certain foods and found a groove of sorts where it wasn’t such a big deal. I also figured out that the longer I continued (it’s been 6 weeks at the time of this writing), the better I felt! My daughter and I learned some valuable information that we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. It was totally worth it! Perhaps it would be worth it to you to try as well.


“Safe” Dinner Recipes

Marinated Flank Steak
½ cup salsa
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
1 lime
1 flank steak

Put the salsa, garlic, olive oil, the juice of the lime, and the steak in a zip lock plastic bag, or a glass dish. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Flipping the steak occasionally. 

When ready to cook, remove the steak and discard marinade. Grill or broil the flank steak to medium rare – medium (about 5-6 minutes per side). Remove from heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice the meat against the grain into thin slices.

4 servings, each serving has 257 calories, 14g fat, ½g carbohydrate, 32g protein, 0g fiber


Beef & Spicy Rice
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup white rice
1 (16 oz) jar Salsa
2 cups water
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Brown meat and drain. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

 4 servings, each serving has 340 calories, 7g fat, 32g carbohydrate, 34g protein, 2g fiber

Cuban Picadillo
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
½ cup sliced pimiento stuffed green olives
¼ cup raisins
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cups hot cooked rice

Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook ground beef, green pepper, and onion in a large nonstick skillet until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, olives, raisins, and vinegar. Simmer 5 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice.

 4 servings, each serving has 486 calories, 20g fat, 49g carbohydrate, 25g protein, 2g fiber

Italian Beef Roast
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves. minced
3 lb. rump or round roast
Aluminum foil

 Preheat oven to 275°. Mix the Italian seasoning, salt, and garlic in a small bowl. Rub seasonings onto all sides of the roast, using all of the spices.

 Tear 2 large pieces of foil, about 18” long each. Lay the foil down in a crisscross pattern. Place roast, fat side up, in the middle of the foil. Fold in the first layer of foil loosely around roast (don’t worry of it doesn’t cover it all). Take the 2nd layer of foil and wrap the roast using double folds to seal the roast in the foil. Put in a small casserole dish. Bake for 6 hours.

 Allow to stand for 10 minutes inside foil before unsealing.  Skim fat from reserved juices. Slice roast and serve with reserved juices.

 8 servings, each serving has 339 calories, 18g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 43g protein, 0g fiber

Corned Beef &Cabbage
1 (3-4lb) corned beef brisket
4 medium potatoes, peeled & quartered
4 medium carrots, peeled & quartered
8 small onions
3 medium parsnips, peeled & cut into chunks
2 medium rutabagas, peeled & cut into chunks
1 small cabbage, cored & cut into wedges

Place meat into a Dutch oven (or large pot); add juices and spices from package. Add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

 Add all vegetables, except cabbage. Cover and return to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add cabbage to pan. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 8 servings, each serving has 411 calories, 10g fat, 46g carbohydrate, 35 g protein, 8g fiber

Cinnamon Chili
3 small zucchini, diced
8 oz ground beef (or ground turkey)
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 small onion, diced
1 jar (8 oz) mild salsa
¼ cup red wine
¼ cup raisins
1 Tbsp ketchup
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained

 Place zucchini, beef (or turkey), green pepper, and onion in a large saucepan. Sauté over medium heat 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender-crisp.

Stir in salsa, wine, raisins, ketchup, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans. Continue cooking 5 minutes or until heated through.

 4 servings, each serving has 267 calories, 7g fat, 32g carbohydrate, 19g protein, 7g fiber

Black Bean Chili
1 lb. boneless lean stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
¼  tsp salt
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can tomatoes
½ tsp garlic powder
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded (keep the seeds if you want it spicier) and minced (optional)

 Place beef in a slow cooker. In a cup, mix chili powder, cumin, salt, oregano, and black pepper. Sprinkle over beef, tossing to coat. Stir tomato paste into tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients and pour over the meat. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.

 4 servings, each serving has 495 calories, 12g fat, 46g carbohydrate, 52g protein, 14g fiber


Beef Stew
1 ½ lbs lean stew meat
5 medium potatoes, pared and cut into eighths
2 cups cut-up carrots (1” pieces)
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup sliced celery (½” pieces)
2 (14 oz each) cans stewed tomatoes
1 Tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

 Put everything in slow cooker. Toss to blend. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours (stirring once or twice if possible), until vegetables are tender.

 5 servings, each serving has 403 calories, 11g fat, 59g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 8g fiber

Shrimp & Red Pepper Risotto
3 to 3 ½ cups water
3 ½ tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup Arborio rice
12 oz shelled, de-veined, medium shrimp
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups coarsely chopped spinach
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice, to taste
¼ tsp hot pepper sauce
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

 Bring water and bouillon to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and keep at a low simmer.

 Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Cook and stir onion 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds. Stir in rice. Add ½ cup of the hot bouillon. Cook and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding bouillon ½ cup at a time, waiting until most of it has been absorbed before adding more, stirring constantly. Continue this process for 20 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Stir in shrimp and bell pepper, cook for 4-5 minutes until shrimp are pink and opaque. Stir in remaining ingredients.

4 servings, each serving has 227 calories, 3g fat, 33g carbohydrate, 15g protein, 2g fiber

Fish Piccata
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 (6 oz) snapper or rock cod filets
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

 Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Sprinkle filets with salt and pepper. Add fish to the pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

 Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thick, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in the capers and parsley. Spoon sauce over the fish.

 4 servings, each serving has 173 calories, 2g fat, 1g carbohydrate, 30g protein, 0g fiber

Salmon & Red Peppers

Red Pepper Mix:
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp diced red onion
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 ½ tsp lime juice
⅛- ¼ tsp salt, to taste

 For Salmon:
2 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
4 salmon fillets, skinless

 Combine the ingredients for the red pepper mix in a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, combine the spices for the salmon in a small bowl and then rub into the salmon. Cook the salmon in a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or in a grill rack on the grill until done. Serve red pepper mixture on the top.

 4 servings, each serving has 212 calories, 6g fat, 3g carbohydrate, 35g protein, 1g fiber

Salmon & Spinach
4 salmon fillets (about 6 oz each)
1 lemon, halved
2 tsp olive oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
10 oz spinach leaves

Squeeze half of the lemon over the salmon fillets, then brush with olive oil.  Begin cooking salmon on either an indoor or outdoor grill until opaque throughout (about 5 minutes per side).  Remove skin when done cooking.

 Meanwhile, spray a pan with cooking spray, add mushrooms, and begin to sauté mushrooms, for 3 minutes or until they begin to get tender. Add spinach to pan (gradually, if needed), and sauté with mushrooms until wilted.

 Divide spinach mixture between the plates and then top with salmon fillets. Squeeze remaining lemon over all.

 4 servings, each serving has 233 calories, 8g fat, 4g carbohydrate, 36g protein, 2g fiber

Tilapia & Tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 serving size portions tilapia fillets (or other thin white fish)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 Tbsp lemon juice

In a non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the fish, gently turning once, until done (it should turn white and flake easily). Transfer the fish to serving platter and keep warm.

 In the same skillet, sauté the tomatoes, parsley, and olives for 2-4 minutes until the tomatoes are softened. Stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Pour the sauce over the fish.

4 servings, each serving has 240 calories, 14 g fat, 8g carbohydrate, 24g protein, 3g fiber


Basil-Lime Salmon
3 Tbsp sliced fresh chives
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp lime juice
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 salmon fillets

 Mix chives, basil, oil, lime juice, garlic salt and pepper in a bowl. Place salmon in a glass pan. Pour marinade over salmon. Marinate for 10-15 min.

 Heat grill. Place salmon on grill; grill 8 to 10 minutes turning once until done.

 4 servings, each serving has 184 calories, 6g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 32g protein, 0g fiber

½ cup chopped onion
1 green pepper, chopped
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup diced lean ham
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1½ cups water
½ tsp dried thyme
⅛ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup instant rice
10 oz shrimp, cooked & peeled

 In a Dutch oven, sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic powder in oil. Stir in ham, tomatoes, water, seasonings, and rice. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add shrimp. Return to a boil and cook for 1 minute, or until shrimp are heated through. Remove bay leaf.

 4 servings, each serving has 297 calories, 6g fat, 38g carbohydrate, 25g protein, 5g fiber


Shrimp Noodle Bowl
1 lb medium or large shrimp
2 ½ cups water
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 sliced fresh ginger, sliced ¼ “ thick
1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 small red pepper, julienned
¼ cup sliced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup sugar snap peas
2 tsp chili garlic sauce or ½ tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
¼ tsp salt
3 oz rice sticks (thin rice noodles)
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves

Peel and devein shrimp, reserving the shrimp tails. In a large saucepan, combine shrimp tails, water, bouillon, ginger, and clam juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Strain broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the pot and return to a simmer.

In a skillet, sauté bell pepper, onion, and garlic until crisp-tender. Add to broth. Add peas and salt and stir. Add chili garlic sauce (or crushed red pepper) to taste. Add noodles and cook 5 minutes or until noodles are done. Add shrimp during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Top each serving with fresh cilantro leaves.

 4 servings, each serving has 209 calories, 2g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 24g protein, 1g fiber


Lemony Steamed Fish
4 (4 oz each) halibut or cod fillets
1 small onion, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ tsp dill weed
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
aluminum foil

 Preheat oven to 400°. Place each fillet in the center of a 12” square of aluminum foil. Sprinkle each with divided up onion, parsley, dill weed, paprika, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Fold foil over each fillet to make a packet, pleating the seams to securely seal. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

4 servings, each serving has 105 calories, 1g fat, 3g carbohydrate, 20g protein, 0g fiber

Dijon Salmon
This recipe is for 1 serving. Start out with as much salmon as you’d like, and top each piece with the mustard and spices.

1 piece (6 oz) salmon for each person you want to serve
Top each serving with:
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
¼ tsp garlic powder
⅛ tsp black pepper

 Preheat oven to 375°.  Spread 1 tablespoon of mustard on each piece of salmon and sprinkle garlic and pepper. Put on a baking dish lined with foil and spray with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until fish flakes.

 Each serving has 212 calories, 6g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 34g protein, 0g fiber

Tuna Sesame Steaks
4 tuna steaks (about 1” thick)
½ tsp salt
½ cup sesame seeds
4 tsp sesame oil

 Sprinkle both sides of the tuna steaks with salt, and rub with sesame seeds. In a large skillet, cook tuna in oil over medium heat for 2-4 minutes until slightly pink in the center, or cooked to your liking.

 4 servings, each serving has 433 calories, 26g fat, 4g carbohydrate, 46g protein, 2g fiber

Maple Glazed Salmon
¼ cup ruby red unsweetened grapefruit juice
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar free pancake syrup
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil
4 salmon filets (4 oz each)

In a small saucepan, bring the grapefruit juice, vinegar, syrup and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the mixture to a small bowl; add oil. Set remaining glaze aside.

 Spray grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon skin side down on grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with maple-oil mixture. Drizzle with reserved glaze.

 4 servings, 164 calories per serving, 5g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 28g protein, 0g fiber


Blackened Salmon
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp dried parsley flakes
1 ½ tsp dried basil
¾ tsp thyme
½ - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp sea salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
¼ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
4-8 serving size salmon filets

 Mix seasonings together. Rub the seasonings into the salmon fillets, coating on all sides.  Heat the oil over med-high heat. Cook salmon flesh side down for 3 minutes or until seared. Carefully turn over the fish, and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.

4-8 servings, each 3 oz serving has 118 calories, 5g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 0g fiber


Balsamic Glazed Salmon
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh chives, minced
1-3 lb. salmon fillet (4 oz = 1 serving)
1 tsp sea salt (or ½ tsp table salt)
¼ tsp pepper

 Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the oil, garlic, vinegar, mustard and chives.

 Sprinkle the salmon the salt and pepper. Place salmon in a grill basket that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Grill the salmon flesh side down for 3-4 minutes, with the lid closed. Turn the salmon over and baste the fish with the vinegar mixture.  Reduce the grill’s heat and cook (covered) for 10 more minutes until it is cooked through.

 4-12 servings, each 4 oz serving has 143 calories, 5g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 0g fiber


Crockpot Chicken
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1 large whole roasting chicken
1 onion, chopped

 In a small bowl, combine the spices. Remove any giblets from chicken, wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub spice mixture onto the chicken.

 When ready to cook, put chopped onion in bottom of crock pot. Place the chicken on top (no need to add liquid). Cook on low for 4-8 hours. Use a pop-up timer or meat thermometer to make sure chicken is done.

 Each 3 oz skinless serving of white meat has 142 calories, 3g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 28g protein, 0g fiber. Each 3 oz skinless serving of dark meat has 178 calories, 9g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 22g protein, 0g fiber


Vegetable Chili Soup
8 oz ground turkey (optional)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, quartered
2 (15 oz each) cans kidney, pinto, or black beans, drained
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
3 ½ cups water
½ tsp pepper

 Spray Dutch oven with cooking spray. Brown turkey meat (if using). Sprinkle with salt, remove from pan and set aside.

 Re-spray pan and sauté onion and garlic for 1 minute. Add eggplant, zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently so nothing burns.

 Add beans, tomatoes, salt, cumin, oregano, water, pepper, and cooked turkey. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

 6 servings, each serving with turkey has 241 calories, 4g fat, 36g carbohydrate, 19g protein, 12g fiber
6 servings, each serving without turkey has 188 calories, 2g fat, 36g carbohydrate, 11g protein, 12g fiber


Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili
1 medium onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups water
3 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes, un-drained
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp chili powder
1½ tsp dried oregano
1½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt

 In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic until crisp- tender. Transfer to a slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.

 10 servings, each serving has 116 calories, 1g fat, 18g carbohydrate, 9g protein, 6g fiber


Chicken With Spanish Olives
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
¾ tsp ground cumin
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 chicken, quartered
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
16 pimento stuffed olives, sliced in half
1 lemon, thinly sliced
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Combine juices, oil, honey, cumin, and garlic together in a large bowl, dish, or resealable bag. Add chicken and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. When done, pour marinade in a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.

 Preheat oven to 400°. Heat a large non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Cook drained chicken 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. Place chicken in the baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with olives and bake for 20 minutes. Add lemon slices and bake an additional 20 minutes or until chicken reached 165°.

 Remove chicken from baking dish to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Strain and reserve the solids from the pan and pour the liquid into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add in the reserved solids then immediately pour it over the chicken.  Sprinkle with parsley.

 4 servings, each serving without skin averages 240 calories, 12g fat, 2g carbohydrate, 30g protein, 0g fiber


Lemon & Rosemary Chicken
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

 Preheat oven to 425°. In a small bowl, combine rosemary, salt, and pepper. Rub mixture all side of the chicken. Place chicken in a 2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

 Shred 1 tsp of lemon peel and put into a bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from half of the lemon into the bowl. Whisk in oil and garlic. Drizzle over the chicken. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over and bake another 15-20 minutes or until chicken is done.

4 servings, each serving has 150 calories, 4g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 27g protein, 0g fiber

Tuscan Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
½ cup white wine (or use chicken broth)

 Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Brown chicken on both sides over medium heat, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle Italian seasoning on the chicken. Add wine (or broth) and olives to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

 4 servings, each serving has 211 calories, 7g fat, 3g carbohydrate, 27g protein, 0g fiber


Chicken Chili

8 oz ground chicken or turkey
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms (drained)
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped onion
1 small can tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
¾ cups water
¾ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp basil

Cook green pepper, onion, and ground turkey until brown.  Add remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling and then simmer for 25-30 minutes.

4 servings, each serving has 146 calories, 1g fat, 20g carbohydrate, 18g protein, 6g fiber


Chicken &Vegetable Medley
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
½ cup water
2 tsp Chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp Thyme leaves
¼ tsp Onion powder
1 cup carrots, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 med. yellow summer squash, sliced
1 med. zucchini, sliced

 Spray large skillet with cooking spray & brown chicken. Add water, bouillon, thyme, onion powder and carrots. Cover; simmer 10 minutes. Add remaining vegetables; cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until tender.

 4 servings, each serving has 159 calories, 2g fat, 8g carbohydrate, 28g protein, 3g fiber


Glazed Ham with Sweet Potatoes
1 (16-20oz) slice ham steak
1 (15 oz) can sliced peaches in light syrup, drained
1 (15 oz) can sweet potatoes, drained
2 Tbsp sugar free maple flavored pancake syrup
2 Tbsp apricot fruit spread
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard

 Preheat broiler. Position oven rack about 8 inches from heat source. Place ham in shallow pan. Surround with peaches and sweet potatoes; drizzle peaches and sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Broil 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

 Meanwhile, combined jam and mustard and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or until jam is melted; stir until well blended. Turn ham, peaches and sweet potatoes over; brush ham with jam mixture. Drizzle peaches and sweet potatoes with remaining maple syrup. Broil 5 more minutes or until heated.

 4 servings, each serving has 400 calories, 11g fat, 52g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 6g fiber


Costa Rican Beans
1 cup rice, uncooked
¼ cup diced onion
1 green pepper, seeded & diced
½ mild chili pepper (or use the whole thing if you want), seeded & diced
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained
⅔ cup water
1 tomato, chopped
3 oz cooked ham, diced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and sauté onions 1 minute. Stir in peppers and sauté until crisp-tender.

Pour beans into a bowl. Mash about ½ of the beans. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour the bean mixture into the pepper mixture in the skillet. Cook until heated through. Serve over the rice.

4 servings, each serving has 257 calories, 3 g fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 11g fiber


Pork Ragout
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1½ lbs lean pork, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
½ cup water
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
½ tsp thyme leaves
16 oz frozen Brussels sprouts
4 carrots, cut into 2” chunks
4 oz small whole mushrooms

Heat oil in a Dutch oven (or large sauce pan) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

 Add pork cubes to pan and cook until browned. Stir in onion, un-drained tomatoes, water, salt, thyme, and pepper over high heat. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Add carrots to Dutch oven. Continue cooking 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. Cook an additional 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

 5 servings, each serving has 428 calories, 20g fat, 19g carbohydrate, 44g protein, 6g fiber


Boiled Ham & Veggies
6 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large potatoes, and chopped into chunks
3 cups water
16 oz lean ham, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 med onion, chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp zesty seasoned salt
¼ tsp pepper
5 cups chopped cabbage
1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans (optional)

 Combine all ingredients except the cabbage and garbanzo beans in a Dutch oven. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and optional garbanzo beans. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender.

 6 servings, each serving has 228 calories, 3g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 6g fiber


Vegetable Chili
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (16 oz each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1(16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1-3 Tbsp chili powder (to taste)
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tsp sea salt (or use 1 tsp table salt), or to taste

 In a Dutch oven, sauté onion, carrot, green pepper, mushrooms and zucchini in olive oil until just tender. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce, green chilies, and seasonings (start out with smaller amounts of chili powder, salt, and dried pepper flakes and add more if you like it spicier). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 6 servings, each serving has 213 calories, 4 g fat, 38 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 10 g fiber


Southwest Chili
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
⅛ tsp salt
⅛ tsp garlic powder
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies, un-drained
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp dried oregano
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, un-drained
1 (15 oz) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender.

 Stir in tomatoes, chilies, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and beans. Bring to a boil.

 Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle individual servings with cilantro.

4 servings, each serving has 241calories, 5g fat, 40g carbohydrate, 11g protein, 13g fiber

Moroccan Stew
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 ¾ cups water
1 ¾ tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 large carrots, sliced diagonally into half inch thick slices
1 zucchini, sliced into half inch slices and quartered
⅓ cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

 Spray a nonstick Dutch oven with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook five minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic, curry powder, and cumin. Add beans, tomatoes, water, bouillon, and carrots. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini in raisins. Cover and cook 5 more minutes or until zucchini is tender. Stir in cilantro and cook uncovered for 1 minute.

 4 servings, each serving has 214 calories, 2g fat, 46g carbohydrate, 8g protein, 8g fiber


Summer Vegetable Stew
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried thyme
1 small eggplant, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, un-drained
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded

 Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients, except basil. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the basil and serve.

 4 servings, each serving has 113 calories, 4g fat, 19g carbohydrate, 4g protein, 8g fiber


Black Beans & Rice
4 cups cooked rice
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, un-drained
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
½ cup salsa
¼ - ½ tsp garlic salt, to taste

 Cook rice according to package directions to make 4 cups. Meanwhile, heat remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Serve beans over the rice.

 4 servings, each serving has 384 calories, 1g fat, 76g carbohydrate, 15g protein, 10g fiber


New Orleans Red Beans
1 lb. dry red beans
8 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
4 bay leaves
1 large green pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1- 1 ½ tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
¼ tsp celery seed (optional)

Rinse beans and pre-soak according to package directions. Drain.

 In a large pot combine beans, water, onion, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and cook over low heat for about 1½ hours or until beans are tender. Stir, mashing the beans (about half of them) against side of pan. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered, over medium heat until creamy and thickened, about 30-60 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

 8 servings, each serving has 110 calories, 0 g fat, 63g carbohydrate, 12 g protein, 27g fiber

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