Simple advice for a better life.

Pasta e Fagioli – Light Recipe

Pasta e FagioliThis cold weather calls for a cup of hot, hearty soup, so Pasta e Fagioli is a perfect solution.

Being of Eastern European background, I enjoy homemade  soups anytime, but especially on cold winter days.

Pasta e Fagioli, is one of my favorite Italian soups, so today I am posting its lighter version recipe, made with ground turkey, less beans, and low fat cheese.


Pasta e Fagioli - Low Fat Recipe

Serving Size: 6-8 servings

Pasta e Fagioli - Low Fat Recipe


  • 1 lb. Turkey, ground
  • 4+ cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth (32 oz)
  • 1 tsp. Basil, dried
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 30 oz. Crushed Tomatoes (2- 15 oz cans)
  • 2 Tbs. Tomato Paste (I use Contadina Italian Style)
  • 2 Carrots, shredded
  • 2 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 15 oz can of Great Northern Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp.Oregano, dried
  • 3/4 tsp.Thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. Dry Wine (red or white)
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Low fat cheese, shredded (Swiss, Havarti, Gouda)
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (small cut - Elbow, Ditalini, Shells)


  1. Place 1 Tbs. of olive oil in a sauce pan, add ground turkey, and saute for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Drain and discard any excess fat. Remove meat from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add another Tbs. of olive oil to pan, add onions and saute until translucent.
  4. Add garlic and leeks, and saute 1 minute.
  5. Add carrots and celery, and cook 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
  6. Remove from heat. Mix veggies with ground turkey. Set aside.
  7. Pour the Vegetable or Chicken Broth into a 6 quart pot, and bring to boil.
  8. Add the turkey/veggie mixture, and bring to boil.
  9. Turn the heat to medium, and continue simmering.
  10. Add the Crushed Tomatoes, Beans, Oregano, Thyme, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, and wine.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Mix tomato paste with 1/2 cup of water, and add to the soup. Simmer 2 minutes longer.
  13. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove and discard Bay Laves.
  14. Remove from heat.
  15. Serve hot with 2 Tbs. of pasta per serving, topped off with 1 Tbs. of shredded cheese.


To make this recipe even lighter, this soup may be served without any pasta. It still tastes wonderful.....very full body and delicious.




Mahi Mahi in veggies -  serving sizeI am not a big fan of seafood, but this Mahi Mahi recipe was a special treat for me, prepared by a friend for a special occasion.

She assured me that I will not even taste the fish, and she was right.

Mahi Mahi is already a mild tasting fish, but the veggie vinaigrette seasons it further, masking the fish taste even more.

Mahi Mahi pieces






This dish may be served hot as a meal, or at room temperature as an appetizer.  For best results, serve it the next day, so all the flavors have time to absorb and marry.

Mahi Mahi in Veggie Casserole – European Recipe

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

Mahi Mahi in Veggie Casserole – European Recipe


  • 1 lb Mahi Mahi fish fillets (fully deboned)
  • 6 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 Allspice peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, or vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • oil for frying


  1. Cut each fish filet into 3 sections, top to bottom, to form small rectangles.
  2. Dry off by a paper towel, and season each with salt and pepper.Set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, using a large eye shredder, shred the carrots and celery.
  4. Add to sauce pan, add 1/2 cup of water, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes,gently stirring.
  5. Cut each onion in half, then cut into rings. Also clean and chop Leeks.
  6. Saute onions and leeks in 1 Tbs of canola oil for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chopped garlic, and saute another minute.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Season carrots/celery mixture with salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix in the tomato paste with the 1/2 cup of water, add to pan, and simmer 5 minutes longer. Season with lemon juice and sugar, to create slightly sweet-and-sour taste.
  9. Mix in the sauteed onions, add bay leaves and allspice. Set aside.
  10. Dip fish fillets in flour, until well coated on all sides.
  11. Heat 1 Tbs. of canola oil on medium heat, and fry fish on all sides to a golden color.
  12. Remove from frying pan onto paper towel to drain off any excess oil.
  13. Remove and discard the bay leaves and Allspice peppercorns from vegetable mixture
  14. Spread 1/2 half of the veggie vinaigrette on the bottom of a casserole dish, then lay side by side the fried fish fillets over the veggies. Cover the fish with remaining veggies.
  15. Cover and heat in the oven at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes, so the fish may absorb the veggie flavors and moisture.



Breakfast-Mini-Quiche-servingVeggie BurgerThe-Fat-Smash-Diet-book

If you have been following my blog, you already know that I am very impressed with The Fat Smash Diet, and love following all the phases at least once every year, with very rewarding results.

Some people think it is too harsh (no coffee or alcohol for 9 days…wow…), but it is perfect for my taste and my lifestyle.

The holidays are over (I have been really bad); the cookies and chocolates are gone…or almost gone: the three-way mirror and the scale are not my best friends at the moment, so the Fat Smash Diet comes back to life.

My most effective motivating factor for The Fat Smash diet this year is  a very special wedding I will attend this  May…then two more after that…so it’s perfect time to clean up my act, and start eating healthy again.

At the beginning of this week I began Phase I, and hoping that some of you will join me on this journey of healthy eating and fitness.

In preparation for this journey, I shopped for the staple foods used in Phase I:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Veggie burgers
  • Low fat milk
  • Low fat cheese
  • Saltines
  • Nuts
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Lots of water

Have you noticed there is:

  • No pasta
  • No bread
  • No white rice
  • No potatoes
  • No meat or fish
  • No coffee
  • No sugar
  • No chocolate

These NO foods are excluded during the Detox Period – Phase I of the Fat Smash Diet, which lasts only 9 days.

Many of these NO foods get introduced slowly back into the daily menu, as we progress further into the other phases.

You may click on the links below for a closer overview of The different phases and foods of the The Fat Smash Diet.

Phase I – Detox (only 9 days)

Phase II –  Foundation (3 weeks)

Phase III – Construction (4 weeks)

Phase IV – The Temple  (for Life)

I love The Fat Smash Diet, because it is NOT a real diet, but rather a healthy lifestyle.

My body feels so much lighter and energetic after only few days of following the Phase I regimen.

Healthy Lifestyle also means keeping your body in motion, hence the need to dedicate at least 30 minutes per day to some type of physical activity, which for me is outdoor walking, stretching , and exercising on the elliptical machine.

The Fat Smash Diet book has a variety of recipes, some of which I tested and posted previously (see links below).


Delicious Smoothie

Fruity Smoothie


Mini Breakfast Quiche


Carrot Soup

Green-Bean-VinaigretteGreen Beans Vinaigrette

Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger

I hope you enjoyed this post, and will consider joining me now, or at your convenience, on the journey of healthy lifestyle.

I am looking forward to hear your comments, please.

Thank  you.


Ukrainian-Meatballs-Eastern Europeans like their meatballs served with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and a side dish of well seasoned sautéed cabbage.

You might think this is a strange combination, but it’s just a matter of acquiring a taste for it, and loving it.

Meatballs and cabbage stew is another interesting dish you might think is different, yet very tasty.

Today I will share my recipe for the Ukrainian Meatballs with Mushrooms.

This recipe yields 4-6 servings.

Meatballs Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground meat (I prefer meatloaf mix – pork/beef/veal)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients:

  • 10 oz white mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (trim off the stem ends)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Canola or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Half and Half
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. Dill weed, fresh or dried
  • 1/2 tsp. Maggi Seasoning, optional

 Meatballs Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, egg, milk, seasoning, salt, pepper and Parmesan Cheese.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and saute the onions, until translucent.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, and saute for 1 minute longer.
  4. Add onion to the seasoned mixture.
  5. Mix in the meat, to incorporate all ingredients into uniform paste.
  6. From 1.5 inch size meatballs, and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminium foil, greased with cooking spray.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake 10 minutes on each side,  turning once.
  8. Remove from oven, and transfer meatballs into a medium pot.  Set aside for now.

Mushroom Gravy Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan
  2. Saute onions until golden.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, and saute a minute longer.
  4. Add sliced mushrooms, and saute until they begin to release their juices (5 minutes), stirring often.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a small cup or bowl, combine the cream with flour, to form a smooth mixture.
  7. Mix the cream/flour mixture with the mushrooms.  Bring to boil.
  8. Pour mushroom gravy over meatballs,  and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  9. Season with Dill Weed, and Maggi seasoning.
  10. Serve hot, over mashed potatoes, or your favorite pasta.




White mushroomsUkrainians looooove mushrooms.  They incorporate mushrooms into numerous every day recipes, but especially for their Christmas Eve  12 course meatless meal.

Traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve menu will include mushrooms in Mushroom soup, varenyky filling (pierogi), Holubtsi filling (Cabbage Rolls), Vooshka filling (dumplings which accompany Ukrainian Christmas Borscht), mushroom gravy (referred to as, Machka, in some households), mushrooms with cabbage, and of course marinated mushrooms.

Today I will share my favorite recipe for Marinated Mushrooms, which will be part of our Christmas Eve dinner menu.

This recipe yields 1 mason jar of marinated mushrooms.

Marinated Mushrooms


  • 4 lbs of white mushrooms
  • 2 cups of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 8 Whole Cloves
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 20 Allspice peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 Onion, sliced to rings
  • 4 Tbs. Canola or Olive oil
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, sliced to strips
  • 1-2 mason jars


  1. In a 3 quart pot, add the vinegar, water,Cloves, Garlic, Allspice, Bay leaves, and salt.
  2. Bring to boil.
  3. Trim off the bottoms of mushroom stems, and discard.
  4. Wash mushrooms under running water to rinse off any soil particles (no need to peel mushroom caps).
  5. Cut each mushroom into quarters or halves.
  6. Add mushrooms into boiling marinate, lower heat, and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from heat, remove garlic and discard.
  8. Cool to room temperature.
  9. Remove  1 cup of the marinate and add to a small saucepan.
  10. Bring to boil.
  11. Add the sliced onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove from heat and set aside to cool off.
  13. Once all cooled, fill a mason jar with alternating layers of mushrooms and onions, and place few pieces of green pepper slices for color and additional flavor.
  14. Top off with oil, to seal it off, and help the marinating process.
  15. Close the lid on the mason jar, and refrigerate the mushrooms for few days, to achieve the full flavor of the marinate to penetrate the mushrooms and onions.






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