Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creamy Taco Mac

One serving
Creamy Taco Mac
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Makes 4 Servings

1 pound 96/4 ground beef
8 oz. dry pasta
½ cup onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic, jarred
1 (14 oz.) can plain or mexican/zesty diced tomatoes, drained
1 pack taco seasoning
3 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
½ cup fat-free sour cream
Salt and pepper
1 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onions over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beef and cook until beef is no longer pink. Once meat is cooked, mix in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.Mix in tomatoes and taco seasoning and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 4 minutes to reduce the sauce. Turn off heat. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and cilantro. Cover and let it sit off the heat until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Nutritional Information: 457 calories, 58 carbs, 7 fat grams and 34 protein grams.

Review: Creamy is right - the sour cream/cream cheese mixture made the red sauce a lighter color -  it was so creamy! I loved it with the pasta shells - it was really like Mexican Mac and Cheese! Big fan. I will say I only had Italian diced tomatoes on hand (boo) so I drained them, but next time would like to use zesty jalapeno diced tomatoes - or just plain. This is a great recipe and makes HUGE servings - I couldn't even eat the whole thing! We'll definitely put this one in the rotation!
Whole pan!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spicy Beef Lo Mein

Spicy Beef Lo Mein
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

8 ounces uncooked wide rice sticks
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
12 oz. top sirloin steak, diced
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 tsp minced garlic
1-2 oz. spinach, diced
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, jarred
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onions and steak; stir-fry 1 minute. Add mushrooms and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add spinach; stir-fry 1 minute or until greens wilt. Combine rice vinegar and the next 4 ingredients (through Sriracha) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add vinegar mixture to steak mixture; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in noodles, sesame oil, and salt; cook for 1 minute or until noodles are thoroughly heated, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Nutritional Information: 437 calories, 50 carbs, 11 fat grams and 32 protein grams.

Review: Spicy is right! That word wasn't in the original title but I felt I had to add it -the sriracha went a long way! (easily reduce to take out some heat). This was my first time cooking with sirloin and I have to say, it was very easy and tasted great! The portion was just right and definitely tasted like something I'd order (well, I wouldn't order it because it would probably double the calories at a restaurant). Anyway, great recipe, a favorite for Austin and quick - put it together in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mexican Breakfast Burritos with Avocado

Mexican Breakfast Burritos with Avocado 
Makes 4 Servings

4 large La Banderita tortillas
1 can black beans, drained and very lightly rinsed
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp hot sauce
4 eggs
4 tbsp egg substitute
1 tbsp fat-free milk
4 tbsp salsa
1 avocado, removed from skin, sliced long and divided
4 tbsp fresh cilantro, diced and divided

Set pot over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add black beans and hot sauce. Cook for 7-10 minutes over medium to low heat, then mash with potato masher and divide into 4 servings. Meanwhile, combine eggs, egg substitute and fat-free milk – sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in a large pan over medium heat until cooked.* Wrap tortillas in a towel and heat in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds until warm. Top each with black beans (mine came out to 64 grams each), salsa, one quarter of the egg mixture, one quarter of the avocado and cilantro. Sprinkle lightly with salt again if desired. Repeat with other 3. Roll them up and enjoy.

*If making an individual serving, I’d suggest using the microwave. Combine 1 egg, 1 tbsp egg substitute and a bit of milk in a small bowl and cook in 30 second increments until cooked, then slice into long pieces. This way, you can easily take a tortilla, a serving of cooked beans, a cut avodcado, diced cilantro and salsa to work, and then just make the egg at work so it’s fresh.

Nutritional Information: 414 calories, 56 carbs, 15 fat grams and 20 protein grams.

Review: My favorite kind of recipe - fresh ingredients, good fats, colorful and filling. I really enjoyed this recipe and think it's a pretty awesome start to the day. It made a big, filled burrito, but the calories weren't too high. My favorite meatless breakfast recipe for sure!

All wrapped up! (microwave egg process shown - long egg pieces)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna
Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen CafĂ©
Makes 6 servings

1 pound 96/4 ground beef
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 small (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 no-boil lasagna noodles
3 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
½ cup fat-free sour cream, light or regular
5 ounces fat-free cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan. In a large skillet, brown beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add minced garlic and tomato paste. Stir to combine well and cook for a minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Add black beans. Mix well and heat through, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Spread 1/2 cup beef mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer four noodles on top. Spread 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture over the noodles. Dollop 1/2 of the sour cream and 1/2 of the cream cheese (pinch off chunks) across the top. Repeat layers (4 noodles, remaining beef mixture, remaining cream cheese). Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover, add all cabot cheese on top, and bake 12 minutes, until lasagna is hot and bubbly.

Nutritional Information: 421 calories, 56 carbs, 6 fat grams and 36 protein grams.

Review: We loved this! The little bits of cream cheese added a lot, and the sour cream added a lot, too. I was so glad to find a Mexican lasagna recipe that used lasagna noodles. It seemed like all of them used smaller pasta shapes, no layers, etc. This one was great, made a lot of food, hearty servings and had a lot of flavor. Note, the original recipe called for corn, but I just doubled the black beans and was glad I did -I loved that every bite had beans! This was a fairly simple recipe with common ingredients - I have no doubt we'll make it again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crispy Honey Chicken

Crispy Honey Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced
2 tbsp egg substitute
1/3 cup cornstarch
½ bag frozen Asian vegetables
2 tsp minced garlic, jarred
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/4 cup honey
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup basmati rice, cooked per package instructions

Se rice to cook (takes about 20 minutes). In 2 separate bowls, add egg substitutes and cornstarch. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add ½ tbsp olive oil. Add veggies with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add in soy sauce and garlic and stir so veggies are coated, about 60 seconds. Remove from skillet and set aside in a bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the same skillet over medium-high heat and add remaining oil. Dip chicken pieces in egg and then lightly dredge in cornstarch. Add to sheet of wax paper. Once done, add all of the chicken to the skillet and let brown for 2-3 minutes, then flip and add half of honey, stir. Once chicken is cooked, add veggies back in the skillet. Add remaining honey and red pepper flakes; mix to combine. Season with salt, pepper and remaining soy sauce. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: 425 calories, 63 carbs, 5 fat grams and 31 protein grams.

Review: Great, light dish! I made this for Austin, my mom and my sister and we all enjoyed how light it was and how nice that honey made it taste. Super simple, quick to put together (under 20 minutes including rice) and a definite keeper. We each did add some salt - but that's all. I think it will reheat nicely too, so long as you really mix the rice into the chicken mixture so it's all coated in sauce.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Pizza

Spinach and Ricotta Pizza
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
Makes 4 Servings

16 oz. Trader Joe’s plain pizza dough
Cooking spray
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup low-calorie spaghetti sauce
2 tbsp grated, full-fat Parmesan cheese
1 cup spinach leaves
1 tsp minced garlic (from jar; or grate a bulb of roasted garlic)
100 grams fresh, full-fat mozzarella cheese
85 grams fat-free ricotta cheese
2 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced

Remove pizza dough from refrigerator, cut open bag and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Coat pizza pan with cooking spray. Spread dough on pan. Brush evenly with oil. Spread sauce evenly over dough. Sprinkle with Parmesan; top evenly with spinach and garlic. Sprinkle mozzarella over spinach. Spoon teaspoonfuls of ricotta over mozzarella. Bake at 500° for 4 minutes. Turn, and bake for 6 more minutes, or until crust browns (keep your eye on it!). Remove from oven and carefully add tomato slices. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information: 416 calories, 56 carbs, 14 fat grams and 16 protein grams.

Review: Awesome - broiling pizza is genius - more crispy but not too crispy. The spinach was a nice add as was the garlic. The olive oil went a long way, and each bite tasted juicy. Austin (our tomato grower) suggests that this not be made in the off season. Since tomatoes are the star of the recipe, definitely go with fresh, in-season tomatoes - so just make it while it's hot! The cheeses blended well, and that tiny bit of Parmesan still made an impact. We will absolutely be making this one again - may add fresh basil next time but honestly, it didn't need anything else!
Individual serving = yummmmm!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Breakfast Sausage & Gravy Pizza

Breakfast Sausage and Gravy Pizza
Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen
Makes 4 Servings

1 package Trader Joe’s pizza dough
2.5 servings Jimmy Dean reduced fat crumbles
1 envelope country gravy mix, prepared (takes 4 minutes, 1 pot and 1 cup water)
4 eggs
1 tbsp fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 oz. 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese (Cabot)
2 green onions, diced

Preheat oven to 500. Remove pizza dough from refrigerator, open bag and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.Coat pizza pan lightly with cooking spray. Spread dough on pan. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. In a large skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium heat, add egg mixture; cook and stir until just solid, not set. Spread prepared gravy mixture over dough. Top with sausage, eggs and cheese. Bake for 6 minutes, until eggs are set and cheese is melted. If needed, bake in additional 1 minute increments but watch carefully. When complete, into sprinkle with green onion. Wait 5 minutes before serving (the heat from the pizza will 'cook' the onions).

Nutritional Information: 466 calories, 56 carbs, 15 fat grams and 19 protein grams.

Review: A-mazing. This is one of my higher calorie breakfasts but well worth it. It was SO filling with the eggs, gravy and sausage, and I loved how it all meshed together with cheese on top. The green onions added a nice crunch, but if you're not a big green onion fan I wouldn't worry - it would be great without them! This was my first time cooking with gravy and won't be my last - it added a nice country kick and made the breakfast recipe more traditional. If you wanted to lower the calories on this, I think you could take the cheese down by an ounce, and sub 1 of the eggs for egg substitute! This reheated well and will be made again for SURE.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Inside Out Egg Roll Stirfry

Inside Out Egg Roll Stirfry
Recipe adapted from
Makes 4 Servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 pound 96/4 ground beef
½ tsp siracha
½ tsp lawry’s seasoning salt
1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
4 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 cup beef broth
1 tsp ground black pepper
2.5 cups white microwavable rice, cooked with 2.5 cups beef broth and 1/2 tsp lawry's

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil. SautĂ© garlic for 5 seconds, then add ground beef, siracha and lawry’s. Stir-fry until beef is just brown, 5 minutes. Add cabbage and bell pepper, and cook until vegetables are tender, and beef is fully cooked, 7 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and cornstarch mixture. Season with pepper. Cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened.

Nutritional Information: 438 calories, 58 carbs, 8 fat grams and 29 protein grams.

Review: This was unexpected! I'd never cooked with beef broth before, so to cook it into the rice and meat dish added a lot of flavor. The lawry's added a lot to both dishes. It tastes just like an inside out egg roll (original recipe name: Beef & Cabbage Stirfry). It had lots of sauce and if you'd replaced the rice with an egg roll wrapper, I swear it would have been an egg roll. The servings were large so it was super hearty. Between the rice, beef and cabbage it was filling - almost like a chili.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
Makes 4 Servings
Adapted from Sweet & Savory

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
6 tbsp Frank's Cayenne pepper sauce
3 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
12 pasta wraps (egg roll wrappers)
8 tbsp fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 packet ranch seasoning

Preheat oven to 400. Combine shredded chicken, Frank's and parmesan cheese. Stir well. Combine softened cream cheese with ranch seasoning. Stir well. Lay out wax paper and place 12 pasta wrappers on top. Top each with about a 1/4 cup chicken mixture and a little less than 1 tbsp of cream cheese mixture. Roll up, sealing with water. Cook for 10 minutes, flip, then cook for 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information (per serving/3 wraps): 436 calories, 2 fat grams 56 carbs and 36 protein grams.

Review: Awesome. I loved that you got three wraps for one serving - lots of bang for your calorie count. The cream cheese/ranch mix added a great kick, and the buffalo chicken really was awesome - that parm/frank's paste gives it a  lot of flavor, which helped balance the plain, crunchy shell. These are winners - Austin is a HUGE fan. I haven't tried reheating yet, but plan to microwave for 30 second on medium, then "toast" on the George Foreman, so these will be best for dinner meals, rather than lunch (unless you're home for lunch - lucky!). OR just have the chicken mixture and cream cheese mixture ready/mixed, but don't wrap in roll/bake until you're ready to eat.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chinese Garlic Chicken

Chinese Garlic Chicken
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Blog Chef

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp minced garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
¼ cup honey
4 tsp canola oil, divided
1 tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbsp green onions, diced
2 ½ cups white rice, divided
Optional: 1 cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen/defrosted

In a bowl combine garlic, soy sauce, water, honey, 2 tsp vegetable oil, cornstarch, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well. Stir chicken into marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cook rice per microwave instructions. In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tsp of oil over medium heat. With a slotted spoon remove chicken from marinade and add to the skillet (reserve marinade). Stirfry chicken for 3 minutes. Add green onions (and any other veggies) and stirfry for 2 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Add reserved marinade and cook until thickened.

Nutritional Information: 451 calories, 66 carbs, 6 fat grams and 28 protein grams.

Review: Seriously authentic! I'm SO excited. This is what I order at restaurants: "white rice, chicken and brown sauce." I never thought it was made with soy sauce, garlic and honey - go figure! And marinating the chicken overnight in this sauce made it extra tender - I may try this with other Asian-inspired recipes. Me and Austin were both really happy with this dish, didn't change a thing, and are excited about adding more veggies next time - I think broccoli and water chestnuts would be great. Even edamame - it would all taste great!