Don't be haters, but guess where I'm heading on Thursday? NEW ORLEANS, baby!! Yup, I'm returning to the Big Easy - one of my fave cities in the whole word - for our third consecutive Jazz Fest. If you've never been, allow me to wax poetic...you will never find better festival food! From cochon de lait po boys to fried boudin balls, jambalaya and cracklins to spicy meat pie, the food is ri-donk-ulous. Thank goodness we will be walking everywhere! As for music, we've got our eyes on Jimmy Buffet, Florence & the Machine, James Cotton, Ani DiFranco, Dumpstaphunk, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Funky Meters, Galactic, Bonnie Raitt, Neville Brothers and more.
Can you tell I'm excited? And yes, I'm fully prepared to come back lugging a few extra pounds around my waistline, because let's be frank...NOLA is not a city for dieters. However, rather than drinking only light beer during my trip, I promise to wash down some of my favorite festival snacks with diet soda too. Happy?
Anyhoo, for all of you who sit by jealously as I enjoy my trip to the Crescent City, here are a few low-calorie variations of some of their most famous menu items.
1 spray non-fat cooking spray
2 1/2 oz raw turkey sausage, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium celery, stalk, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium chicken breast, cooked, skinless, cubed (about 2 cups)
28 oz canned tomatoes, whole, plum, peeled with juice
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 cup uncooked white rice, long-grain
1. Coat a large, nonstick saucepan with cooking spray. Over high heat, sauté sausage until crispy on edges. Add onion, celery and green pepper; sauté until tender.
Reduce heat and stir in cayenne, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic; sauté until garlic is fragrant.
2. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, broth and rice. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Flavor Booster: Popcorn rice, a specialty of Louisiana, is a delicious substitute for long-grain rice. The rice, which has a mild nutty taste like basmati rice, is available through gourmet food stores and Internet specialty shops
2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
* 2 oz passion fruit juice
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
* 1 tbsp simple syrup
1 tbsp grenadine
* For a healthier recipe, use some V8 Splash Guava Passion and make sugar-free simple syrup combining 1 cup of sucralose with 1 cup of boiling water. Once it has cooled, strain the sucralose and water through a coffee filter.
Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, pour into a hurricane glass and garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
2 tablespoons granulated Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for frying
1. In a saucepan, combine Splenda, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil.
2. Add flour and cook over medium heat, beating with spoon until dough forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Remove from heat.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth.
4. Mix in vanilla.
5. Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into 2-inch squares.
6. In skillet, heat 1 to 2-inches of oil. Then fry dough (three or four pieces at a time) until puffy and golden brown on both sides.
8. Remove beignets and drain on paper towels. While hot, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.