Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spicy Chipotle Meatballs with Rice

Spicy Chipotle Meatballs with Rice
Recipe adapted from Real Simple
Makes 4 Servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes
3 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, diced
1 cup jasmine rice, cooked per package instructions
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
kosher salt and black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and half the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes (with their juices) and chipotles; using a potato masher, break up the tomatoes. Simmer, partially covered, until the sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add up to ½ cup water. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. While the rice is cooking, in a medium bowl, combine beef, cilantro, bread crumbs, egg, cumin, the remaining garlic, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Shape the mixture into 16 same-sized meatballs. Heat broiler. Place meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning once with tongs, until almost cooked through, 7 minutes. Add meatballs to the sauce. Cook 2-3 more minutes in sauce. Serve over the rice and sprinkle with additional cilantro.

Nutritional Information: 426 calories, 53 carbs, 8 fat grams and 31 protein grams.

Review: We really liked these! Very filling, good nutritional values for the amount you get and a great, adobo-spiced flavor. I will say spicy was RIGHT, if you're not into spice, I'd simply take out one pepper and you'd be good to go! I thought the cilantro added a lot, and I liked that it was over rice, almost like a jambalaya (but without the cajun seasonings!). We'll make this again for sure, and because it was so saucy I think it would freeze very well - bonus.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mexican Quinoa Skillet

Mexican Quinoa Skillet
Inspired by a $5 Dinners Recipe
Makes 4 Servings

2 tsp minced garlic, jarred
1 pound 96/4 ground beef
½ cup onion, diced
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large tomato, diced
2 small summer squash, diced
hot sauce, to taste
1 cup quinoa, dry
1 1/2 cup water
Optional: 2 green onions and fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Add large pan to medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add beef and onion and stir until beef is mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Add taco seasonings and stir for 1 minute. Add black beans, tomato and squash. Drop in a bit of hot sauce. Stir, and then add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove lid, stir, then add lid and cook for another 5 minutes until quinoa is done and most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat, divide into four servings, and top with green onions and cilantro.

Nutritional Information: 450 calories, 59 carbs, 8 fat grams and 36 protein grams.

Review: Awesome, healthy, filling, rainbow recipe! I was really happy with this one, especially since it's a one-pot (or skillet!) recipe - I love when you don't have to cook the carb in a separate pot! I especially enjoyed all of the colors and flavors from the tomatoes, squash, black beans and green onions. And of course - finding another quinoa recipe we love  makes me very happy. This one is a winner and will be made again, and again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Beef & Noodle Toss

Beef  & Noodle Toss
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

8 oz. lasagna noodles
12 oz. boneless beef sirloin, cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups grape tomatoes
8 oz. mushrooms
2 tsp minced garlic
1 14-oz. can beef broth

Break noodles in half. Cook according to package instructions. Drain (do not rinse). Meanwhile, season beef with ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Toss with flour. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat, any remaining flour, add tomatoes to the skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes until beef is browned, stirring often. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook 5 minutes more. Add broth; cook 3-4 minutes more or until beef is done and liquid is slightly thickened. Add cooked noodles to skillet; stir gently to coat. Heat through. Spoon into pasta bowls to serve.

Nutritional Information: 430 calories, 46 carbs, 12 fat grams and 37 protein grams.

Review: We liked this one a lot, but I will make a change next time. Basically, the sauce  is thin, so the big lasagna noodles made it a bit difficult to eat. SO, I will either leave the lasagna noodles but thicken up the sauce with cornstarch/water OR go to a smaller pasta shape. Other than this future change, I will leave it EXACTLY as is. The steak was great, the fresh tomatoes were yummy and the sauce blended well. Great, easy recipe with common ingredients so easy to throw together at the last minute!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Italian Egg Bake

Italian Egg Bake
Makes 6 Servings
Inspired by a Pillsbury recipe

1 pound reduced fat sausage
4 cups frozen hash-brown potatoes, thawed
4 oz. (1 cup) Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
6 tbsp diced sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
6 large eggs
¾ cup fat-free milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup Progressso Panko Italian bread crumbs
4 tsp (10 grams) shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
¼ fresh basil, diced
Red pepper flakes, garlic powder, Italian Seasoning to taste

Heat oven to 450. Spray rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until browned, stirring occasionally. In medium bowl, combine potatoes and 2.5 oz. cheese. In baking dish, layer potato mixture, sausage, tomatoes and half of the basil. In medium bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, salt and pepper; beat well. Add optional seasonings to taste (red pepper flakes, garlic powder, Italian seasoning). Pour evenly over potato mixture. Top with bread crumbs. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1.5 oz. Cabot cheese and Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 3 minutes until cheese melts.

Nutritional Information: 353 calories, 24 carbs, 17 fat grams and 24 protein grams.

Review: Winner! Tasted great and was very filling - didn't take long either which is always nice. I'd pre-cooked the sausage, so it was already in a box cooked and ready, and the cheese was already grated too - this helped! I loved the addition of the fresh basil, it definitely made the recipe along with the sundried tomatoes. I also liked the add of the Italian bread crumbs - the crunchy topping was nice with the softer, fluffy egg/potato layer. I will absolutely make this again, and of course it's great that it makes 6 servings AND reheats well. And I've added it to my new favorite breakfast - move over brunch pizza squares- there's a new casserole in town! (forgive my cheesy lameness) :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lemon Basil Almond Pesto

Lemon Basil Almond Pesto
Adapted from Tastespace
Makes 4 Servings

1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
Juice from ½ lemon
50 grams almond slivers
1 packed cup basil (about 40 leaves)
1 tbsp minced garlic, jarred
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp hot water

Add almonds to food processor. Puree. Add remaining ingredients except for water and pulse until well blended. If too thick, add hot water and pulse.

Additional Items to make Meal:

16 oz. chicken, diced and sprinkled with salt
8 oz. pasta, cooked per package instructions

Heat large pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook for 5-6 minutes until chicken is just cooked, still a little pink. Add pesto. Stir until blended well. Add cooked, drained noodles. Stir until well coated. Add 1tsp of hot water at a time to loosen up the mixture if need be. Divide into four servings. Top with additional basil as garnish if desired.

Nutritional Information (with Chicken & Pasta): 418 calories, 46 carbs, 11 fat grams and 36 protein grams.

Nutritional Information (pesto only): 94 calories, 4 carbs, 9 fat grams and 3 protein grams.

Review: Awesome. I'm a huge fan of lemon and basil anyway, so knew this would be a favorite. I was intrigued at using the almonds instead of the pinenuts, but it gave it a sweeter, nuttier flavor. I liked it a lot! This was more of a lime green than a deep green, but of course I could have added more basil. That's kind of the beauty of making your own pesto - you can add more amounts of low-calorie or no-calorie ingredients like lemon juice and basil to make it your own. We tasted as we made it (with cooked noodles - just dipped them into the blender). So while the above mixed worked for us (i.e. half a lemon of juice was plenty!), mix it up - just know that if you add more almonds or olive oil the nutritional information WILL be impacted. I hope this helps, I hope you try it and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I'll let you know how it freezes. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baked Turkey Egg Rolls

Baked Turkey Egg Rolls
Makes 4 Servings (of 2 egg rolls each)
Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

2 celery stalks
½ head cabbage, shredded/diced
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
½ cup onion, diced
1 pound purdue 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
5 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp red chili pepper flakes
1 tsp siracha
8 egg roll wraps

Chop celery into small chunks in food processor. Combine in a microwave safe bowl with cabbage and microwave, covered for 5 minutes. Add onion to food processor and chop until slushy. Add garlic and ginger until all are blended. Heat large pan over medium heat with oil. Spoon mixture into skillet and sauté in oil for 2-3 minutes. Add ground turkey and 3 tbsp soy sauce; cook until no longer pink, breaking up turkey further as you cook it. Drain any excess liquid and return to skillet. Add cooked cabbage and celery, remaining soy sauce and red chili pepper flakes. Stir until combined, remove from heat and allow to cool for 4-5 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees, spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and get out a small cup of water. Lay 8 egg roll wrappers on a big sheet of wax paper. Spoon mixture onto each, ensuring they have the same amount of filling. Roll each and seal with water. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake for 5 minutes or until browned.

Nutritional Information: 354 calories, 42 carbs, 5 fat grams and 34 protein grams.

Review: The outside was really crispy and they had a nice spicy taste. I thought the turkey added an interesting twist - I liked how much it broke up - the pieces were tiny and so every bite tasted meaty rather than cabbagey if you know what I mean! The ginger/garlic/onion mixture was a great add too, and made the turkey taste extra juicy. I also liked that the meal was two packed egg rolls, very filling and a good, light eat. I worried it wouldn't reheat well, but we tested it with a George Foreman and it crisped right up! So good to reheat at home, but not at work (unless you can bring a panini maker to work!).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Margarita Pasta

Margarita Pasta
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Real Simple

10 oz. spaghetti
3 large beefsteak tomatoes, each cut into 4 thick pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
4 oz. reduced-fat mozzarella, grated
6 tsp full-fat grated parmesan
2 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp crushed red pepper
¾ cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
Salt and Pepper

Heat broiler. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, arrange tomatoes into a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, sprinkle the slices with mozzarella and parmesan. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, warm oil with garlic and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the garlic oil, basil, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with tomatoes and additional basil.

Nutritional Information: 449 calories, 56 carbs, 15 fat grams and 23 protein grams.

Review: What's not to like? I'm a  huge margarita pizza fan so I figured i'd be a fan of this! The pasta really gets a lot of flavor from the garlic mix, and the tomatoes came out super juicy and cheesy. Just make sure to use large ones so you have enough surface for the cheese to go on! We thought this one reheated well, too. The tomatoes weren't as crispy, but still good, and since the pasta had so much juice with the tomatoes and "sauce' it didn't dry out, always a must for reheating! This was also a 20 minutes or less recipe for sure - and another yummy meatless dish. To reduce the calories/fat, I'd suggest using 2.5 or 3 oz. of mozzarella instead, I don't think it would be missed! I would definitely leave the olive oil at this level though.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Egg and Bean Breakfast Tostados

Egg and Bean Breakfast Tostados
Recipe adapted from a nacho recipe at My Bizzy Kitchen
Makes 2 Servings

4 small corn tortillas
2 eggs and ¼ cup egg beaters (1 egg and 2 tbsp egg beaters for each)
1 tbsp fat-free milk, divided
½ oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar, grated
1 can black beans, drained
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp hot sauce
Cilantro, diced (for garnish) or dry
2-4 tbsp salsa, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Lay corn tortillas on cookie sheet and spray them with Pam. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 9 minutes. Cook bean/garlic/hot sauce mixture in pot for about 10 minutes. Mash beans with potato masher. Set aside. Whisk half of egg mixture with milk and a bit of salt; microwave in bowl (about the size of tortillas). Repeat with second serving of eggs. When tortillas are done, divide bean mixture. Spread half of bean mixture carefully onto one tortilla, then top with second tortilla, then round, now-cooked egg. Add cheese. Repeat for second serving. Broil until cheese melts, about 4 minutes (watch it or it will burn!). Then top each with cilantro and salsa if desired, or serve on the side.

Nutritional Information: 383 calories, 57 carbs, 9 fat grams and 26 protein grams.

Review: This meatless breakfast is insanely filling – must be all of those beans! I loved the garlic and hot sauce in the beans – great kick, but not too spicy. The tostado was crunchy, but the beans helped soften it. To make the tostado less crunch, I’d suggest lightly spreading salsa on one side of each tortilla. I would consider this one a weekend recipe – I worry it would lose its crunch on the reheat. This is a great recipe, ready under 20 minutes, and a great, filling start to the day! We will make this again. And it's easy to double if needed!
A look at the inside! I cut mine in half and dipped each bite in salsa!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creamy Chicken Noodle Skillet

Creamy Chicken Noodle Skillet
Makes 4 Servings; Total Time: 20 Minutes
Adapted from Slim Shoppin' and My Bizzy Kitchen

2 tbsp light butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups skim milk
8 oz. egg noodles
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup parmesan cheese (4 tbsp)
16 oz. raw chicken, diced and sprinkled with salt and pepper

Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid. While noodles cook, in a large skillet, cook chicken over medium heat. Brown on all sides but don’t cook all the way through. Remove chicken from skillet and set it aside. In the same large skillet add butter. Once melted, add flour and, using a whisk, break it up. Add skim milk, salt, Dijon mustard and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Whisk until sauce starts to thicken. Add partially cooked chicken into the sauce and continue to cook until no longer pink in the middle. Add noodles and stir to coat all the noodles. If it’s too thick, add reserved pasta liquid to thin it out.

Nutritional Information: 455 calories, 52 carbs, 8 fat grams and 40 protein grams.

Review: Crazy creamy - almost like an alfredo sauce but better. I love the difference that little bit of dijon mustard makes. I used very little pasta water (maybe 1 tbsp) - everything cooked up well and blended together great. Definitely used the whisk - I tried at first to use just a fork but it didn't work nearly as well. I used the wide egg noodles and really liked the texture over regular pasta. Great comfort food, great classic chicken dish - and super easy to put together. Austin said it was almost like an 'alfredo gravy' - yum.