Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Classic Tomato Soup

Classic Tomato Soup Recipe 
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen CafĂ©
Makes 6 Servings

2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons light butter
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a colander set over a large bowl, drain canned tomatoes, pressing lightly to release juices. Transfer tomato juice to a large measuring cup and add chicken broth. The mixture should measure 3 1/2 cups. Set liquid and tomatoes aside. In pot, melt butter in a 4-5-quart pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it is softened, 5 minutes. Add 2/3 of tomatoes, the bay leaf and brown sugar. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, the tomatoes are sizzling and fragrant. The mixture will be very thick. Stir in tomato paste and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to darken, 1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in reserved tomato juice/broth mixture, the remaining tomatoes, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Puree soup in batches (in a blender) Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information: 203 calories, 23 carbs, 11 fat grams and 4 protein grams.

Review: LOVED - had so much flavor and tasted 'restaurant' to me. The cream probably did it. Very healthy servings, and with the calories being where they are you have room to add a 200-calorie grilled cheese to it. PERFECT cold-weather food or in my case, pregnant food - this baby loves some tomato soup! Great classic i'll be making again and again. I bet it freezes good, too - yum!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from Real Simple Magazine
Makes 4 Servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 pound chicken thighs, bone/skin removed, diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
10 wonton wrappers, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
2 tbsp juice squeezed from one small lime
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook until browned, 7-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and salt (to taste). Cook 3 minutes. Add broth, fish sauce, soy sauce and 1 cup water to the saucepan. Bring to boil. Add wonton wrappers, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Nutritional Information: 244 calories, 14 carbs, 13 fat grams and 21 protein grams.

Review: VERY good - love the broth, the fun use of the wonton wrappers and the chicken thighs went great in this. Yes, the calories are a little low for a full meal, but you can easily up the meat or wrappers, or take it down to 3 servings. Or, just leave it at 4 servings, but serve it alongside a simple salad of lettuce, carrots and Asian salad dressing. Great, easy soup that's quick to put together and super yummy. If you use ground pork, it ups the calories significantly!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bacon Ranch Wrap

It's not the prettiest thing I've ever made, but it was awesome!
Bacon Ranch Wrap
Makes 4 Serving
Recipe adapted from Hungry Girl

4 tbsp light ranch dressing
4 tsp taco sauce
1 bag Boca crumbles
4 tbsp salsa
4 slices butterball turkey bacon
4 large La Banderita tortillas
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat shredded fat-free cheddar cheese, divided
1 avocado
1/4 cup shredded lettuce

To make the sauce, combine ranch dressing with taco sauce in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside. Heat boca crumbles and salsa over medium heat in a large skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for about 9 minutes, stirring frequently. In the meantime, cook bacon in the microwave per package instructions. Lay tortillas on a flat, dry surface and spread with sauce. Top with cheese, bacon, avocado, lettuce, and boca crumbles. Roll up and serve.

Nutritional Information: 438 calories, 49 carbs, 15 fat grams and 33 protein grams.

Review: YUM –loved the ranch/taco seasoning sauce, as well as the crunchy lettuce with avocado and bacon. Could have easily done without the cheese – couldn’t taste it! But the boca went well. If anything, you could do less boca to make sure the wrap stays together easier! Super easy, ready in under 15 minutes, and very filling. If you’re looking to take down the calories, reduce/remove the cheese or take down the boca a bit – I wouldn’t mess with the sauce – it was the best part!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Top 5 Recipe Cravings

 In case anyone missed the Facebook "announcement"...
I thought it was somewhat subtle?
One of the biggest things I'm disliking about my new preggo state is not being Paleo. I miss it, truly. But meat had been making me very squeamish. In truth, just thinking about it made me a little sick to my stomach and vomity. Clearly, without meat, Paleo wouldn't be an option, and I decided If I couldn’t be Paleo, I wanted to be healthified. (I came to this realization after a couple of days of fast food - the baby made me do it - and of course the resulting tummy ache, thirst, et.c). I found that I was able to get to visit my blog (before the thought of food disgusted me; yes, even photos). I found 5 recipes that sounded good. Food sounded good!! I made them, repeated, and was in heaven! 

While it's not entirely ideal, and it's certainly not paleo, this is pretty much my diet right now.

Q: Any preggos out there - what are you craving or what did you crave when preggo? I'm pretty much like give me some carbs with a side of carbs on top of carbs. Oh, and a dessert of sour candy.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spaghetti with Bacon Meatballs

Spaghetti with Bacon Meatballs 
Recipe adapted from Real Simple
Makes 4 Servings

 1 small onion
4 slices raw turkey bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 pound 96/4 ground beef
2 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
1 large egg
kosher salt and black pepper
7 ounces spaghetti
1.5 cups marinara sauce

Heat broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. In a food processor, combine onion, bacon, garlic, and parsley; pulse until finely chopped, 10 to 15 times. Transfer to a medium bowl, add beef, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and mix gently to combine. Form beef mixture into 16 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each) and place on a foil-lined broilerproof rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning once, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat spaghetti sauce in a large skillet over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes; add the meatballs and toss gently to coat. Serve over the pasta and sprinkle with parmesan. 

Nutritional Information: 458 calories, 50 carbs, 10 fat grams and 40 protein grams.

  Review: I can honestly say that i'd never thought to put bacon in my spaghetti - but this tasted great! I loved how easy these cooked in the oven, too, and the macros made it a nice, filling meal with lots of protein - awesome! It reheated great at work, and made a nice lunch and dinner. I'll be making this again - too easy not to.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shrimp Etoufee

NO! this is not paleo... but i'm still finding some recipes I never posted pre-paleo!
Shrimp Etoufee 
Adapted from Family Circle Magazine
Makes 4 Servings

2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil 
1 cup onion, diced 
½ cup green pepper diced 
1 cup celery, finely diced 
2 tbsp mincd garlic 
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce 
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
2 tsp Cajun seasoning 
1 pound shrimp, peeled/tail-off 
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped 
1 cup Jasmine rice (dry) 
1 lemon, cut into wedges 

 In a large pot, whisk together flour and oil until combined. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes until reddish-brown in color. Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic. Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato sauce, 1 cup water, Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning; simmer 15 minutes until celery is soft. Cook longer if it’s still ‘crunchy.’ Add shrimp and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in parsley. Serve shrimp over rice. Squeeze lemon wedges over each plate. 

Nutritional Information: 407 calories, 53 carbs, 9 fat grams and 28 protein grams. 

Review: Powerful dish! It had so much flavor and everything mingled together great! We used fresh shrimp and it was excellent. Shrimp dishes typically don't reheat well, but the heavy sauce made this one do well, just heat at 50% so that the shrimp doesn't become rubbery. I thought this dish was easy to put together, although my processor made it easy to dice up all of the veggies. Make SURE you dice the celery well - no one wants a crunchy bite in the etoufee! I still can't get over the calorie counts - it tastes much more calorific.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Dip

Paleo Buffalo Chicken Dip
Recipe adapted from Katie Did
Makes 4 Servings

1 pound chicken
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp mustard
½ cup lite olive oil
¼ cup hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover chicken breasts in water and bring to boil for 3-4 minutes until white; cook through. Drain and allow to cool. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend together egg yolk, lemon juice, garlic and mustard. Slowly stream in olive oil until thick mayonnaise is made. Add hot sauce and chicken. Pulse until blended and chicken is shredded. Pour into small casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes. Serve with celery.

Nutritional Information: 389 calories, 1 carb, 30 fat grams and 27 protein grams.

Review: WOW. This tastes amazing. I’ve eaten it straight, as well as over lettuce as a Buffalo Chicken Salad. The dip is great with celery, and you can just make it 8 servings for 8 snacks. We’ve already made this twice and it’s easy to double for more meals or snacks!
As a salad!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paleo Coconut Curry Chicken

Paleo Coconut Curry Chicken
Recipe adapted from Cosmopolitan Girl
Makes 4 Servings

1 ½ pounds chicken thighs(still in tact), skin on
1 cauliflower (to make the rice)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup onion, finely shopped
5 tsp minced garlic
1 red chili pepper – seeds removed, chopped
1 can light coconut milk
2 tbsp curry powder

In a large skillet, heat coconut oil to a med-high heat. Put chicken pieces into the skillet and cook until each side golden-browned (about 3 min per side). Remove chicken and set aside.Add onion, garlic and chili – saute for about 3 min or until soft. Add the coconut milk and curry powder – mix together thoroughly. Add back chicken and simmer at medium heat covered for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. (The coconut milk the chicken is simmering in should cover about 1/2 of the chicken; if it doesn’t add chicken stock.) For the cauliflower rice, use your food processor to chop the cauliflower to a rice consistency. Cook, covered, in microwave for 3-5 minutes (no need to add water).

Nutritional Information: 379 calories, 18 fat grams, 18 carbs and 40 protein grams.

Review: We love this one! Next time, I will probably use full-fat coconut milk, but other than that it was great and super creamy. The minced garlic added a lot, as did the chili pepper. If you can't find the chili pepper, use red pepper flakes and/or hot sauce for some kick. Great paleo recipe!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Paleo Slowcooker Curry Beef Soup

Paleo Slowcooker Curry Beef Soup
Makes 6 Servings
Recipe found on Everyday Paleo

1 tbsp of Thai red curry paste
2 cans coconut milk (not light!)
1 cup chicken broth
2 pounds cubed stew meat
1 cup baby carrots
½ bag shredded cabbage
16 oz. sweet potatoes, sliced or diced
Optional: red pepper flakes to taste

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low 8 hours or until sweet potatoes and carrots are soft and stew meat falls apart.

Nutritional Information: 521 calories, 22 carbs, 33 fat grams and 29 protein grams.

Review: Thee difference between full vs. light coconut milk  is amazing - this was SO tasty and brothy - lots of good fat, and lots of protein, too, from the meat. And of course, the sweet potatoes helped beef it up, too. If you're worried about calories being too high, sub in 1 can of light coconut milk. I'm realizing with Paleo that calories just don't matter - it's low-carb, higher-fat and higher-protein which is so hard to get used to. However, recipes like this remind me why - it's so much more satisfying and filling to eat this way, and this is a great recipe that supports this Paleo-style eating!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paleo Southwest Frittata

Southwest Frittata
Makes 6 Servings
Recipe adapted from Everyday Paleo

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
2 tsp minced garlic
16 oz. sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 pound grass fed beef
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup salsa verde (I used Whole Foods Salsa Verde)
12 eggs
Sea Salt and hot sauce to taste
optional toppings: red, green, peach, mango, etc. salsa (for more calories - add avocado or guac)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large pan over medium heat, add coconut oil. Saute onions and jalapeno until onions are translucent. Add ground beef and cook just until it starts to brown. Add grated sweet potato and garlic. Cook until beef is browned and  sweet potato is soft. (consider adding 2 tbsp of water  Add chili powder, cumin, and salsa, stir and cook until heated through. Taste and season with a little sea salt and hot sauce if desired.  Transfer meat mixture to rectangular  baking dish and spread evenly. In a large mixing bowl, beat together 12 eggs with a bit of seal salt and hot sauce; pour over meat mixture. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional15 minutes or until the eggs are set in the middle.

Nutritional Information: 400 calories, 19 carbs, 24 fat grams and 27 protein grams.

Review: Yum! I loved the shredded sweet potatoes - first time having those! And I haven't had ground beef for breakfast either - but i'm a fan - this whole recipe was excellent and I loved that it made 6 servings and had a good bit of protein, too. This is a new favorite of mine - I also liked that you could top it with lots of different stuff to give it different flavors - so easy! I ate it plain the first day, then added green salsa the next. It also reheated very well!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sesame Ginger Salad (Paleo)

Sesame Ginger Salad 
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from crossfitcda.com

½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
4-6 cups romaine lettuce
1 cucumber, deseeded and diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp tamari
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Sauté red onion and garlic in olive oil. Stir constantly for 3 minutes. Add beef. Once beef is cooked all the way through, 4-5 minutes, place it in a bowl to cool. While the beef cooks, prepare a salad with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and avocado. Once beef has cooled, add to salad and add dressing on top.

Nutritional information (per serving): 420 calories, 8 carbs, 34 fat grams and 21 protein grams.

Review: LOVED - I had tried a few recipes like this and wasn't a fan - I felt this needed a bold dressing and i'm not a fan of the ones with fish sauce. This one was perfect, had a lot of flavor and the cucumbers added a nice little crunch. I will say that it was SPICY - so i'd suggest taking the red pepper flakes down a bit - maybe to just a dash or to 1/4 tsp. It's like the dressing activates the spiciness!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Paleo Spicy Eggs and Chicken with Homemade Salsa

Paleo Spicy Eggs and Chicken with Homemade Salsa
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Recipe

¾ cup tomato, diced
3 tbsp diced red onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, ribbed and deseeded, finely diced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp lime juice, divided
1 tsp minced garlic, divided
8 large eggs, beaten lightly with 1/2 tbsp water and a few dashes of hot sauce
16 oz. chicken, cooked with ½ tsp chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and cumin
1 avocado, divided into 4

Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Stir in lime juice and garlic. Process until smooth. Break eggs into a medium bowl; stir with a whisk and add a splash of hot sauce. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add eggs; cook 3 minutes until almost cooked, stirring constantly. Add already-cooked chicken and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Top with homemade salsa and serve with avocado.

Nutritional information (per serving): 287 calories, 5 carbs, 12 fat grams and 40 protein grams. 

Review: Nothing beats homemade salsa and the food processor makes it so. dang. easy! From there, it was just cooked chicken, whipping up scrambled eggs and cutting up an avocado. This is great for leftover chicken, which is what we used! So just make a bunch of 'taco chicken' and you can have it for breakfast, salads, or even snacks (cut them in long strips and dip in guacamole). This also reheated well which of course makes it a winner!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stars, Spinach and Sausage Stew

Stars, Spinach and Sausage Stew
Recipe adapted from Woman’s Day
Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp olive oil
3 links Hot Italian turkey sausage
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine (chardonnay)
2 cups chicken broth
5 oz. pasta stars
1 can white beans, rinsed
Black pepper to taste
1 5-oz. bag spinach, fresh
8 tsp/20 grams Sargento grated parmesan cheese, divided

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add wine and simmer, scraping up any brown bits, for 1 minute. Add broth and pasta; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the pasta is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add beans, sausage and a pinch of pepper and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add spinach, stirring gently until it begins to wilt. Top with cheese.

Nutritional information: 412 calories, 46 carbs, 13 fat grams and 27 protein grams. 

Review: Yum! This dish had great flavor and lots of protein. Loved using the stars, and the spicy sausage gave it a nice flavor. The spinach added a lot of nutrients, but it definitely didn't taste 'spinachy.' 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thai Chicken Pizza

One serving!
Whole pizza!
Thai Chicken Pizza
Adapted from a Tasty Kitchen recipe
Makes 4 Servings

1 batch Trader Joe’s dough
½ cup Sweet Asian Chili Sauce, Plus 1 Tablespoon For Drizzle
1 whole Shallot, Thinly Sliced
½ whole zucchini, Thinly Sliced
1 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
4 oz. chicken, cooked in salt and pepper and shredded
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheese
¼ cups chopped peanuts
2 tbsp fresn cilantro
2 tbsp fresh basil

Preheat your oven to 500. Spray round pizza pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Spread dough evenly on pan. Spread Asian chili sauce on the dough. Add sliced shallots and zucchini. Top with red chili flakes and shredded chicken. Top with the cheese. Place pizza into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, keeping an eye on your crust and toppings so they do not burn. Once the pizza dough is golden around the edges and the cheese is bubbly, remove from oven. Drizzle more of the Asian chili sauce over the top, top with the crushed peanuts and fresh cilantro and/or basil.  

Nutritional Information: 453 calories, 83 carbs, 8 fat grams and 19 protein grams.

Review: Spicy fun! I loved this pizza - the zucchini slices were great and added a lot of nutrients without affecting the flavor. The chili sauce was awesome - i'll definitely be using it again. To reduce the heat, take down the red pepper flakes. Definitely keep the fresh spices, and the peanuts on pizza was crunchy, yummy and unexpected. I loved it and would make it again for sure!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Caprese Breakfast Cups

Caprese Breakfast Cups
Makes 4 Servings (12 cups/3 cups per serving)
Recipe adapted from Cooking with Mel

12 Wonton Wraps
2 oz. (56 grams) reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (divided)
5 eggs
½ tbsp garlic powder
½ tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup fat-free milk
24 slices turkey pepperoni, quartered
12 grape tomatoes, quartered
12 tsp parmesan Cheese, shredded
4 tbsp fresh basil, diced

Preheat oven to 400. Spray nonstick spray into muffin tins. Add one wonton wrap to each muffin cup and add all of the mozzarella cheese at the bottom (14 grams of cheese for each 3 cups/serving). Bake for 5 minutes. Combine eggs, garlic powder, minced garlic, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper and milk. Whisk together.Carefully pour egg mixture evenly across each cup. Quarter tomatoes and add to egg cups along with basil and pepperoni. Use a spoon to ensure that toppings are covered with egg mixture. Top each cup with parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (or until the eggs are set).

Nutritional Information: 253 calories, 15 carbs, 12 fat grams and 18 protein grams.

Review: LOVED. Great little breakfast bites and I loved that you got 3. The caprese taste really came through - definitely use fresh basil! And they reheated wonderfully the next day at work. I'll definitely have these again, would even consider dipping in a side of spaghetti sauce! The calorie count is a bit low, so definitely consider a side of fruit or a healthy bar to have before lunchtime. These were TOO easy - next time I'm going to make 2 batches and try freezing half - I have a feeling they'll reheat from frozen very well!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef
Adapted from Taste & Tell
Makes 4 Servings

4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
3 splenda packets
1/4 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
20 oz. sirloin, diced
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic, jarred
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
3 green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
4 servings Jasmine rice, cooked per package instructions

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir in beef. Marinate for 15 minutes. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Stir fry beef until the outside is brown, but the inside is still pink. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same skillet, add remaining oil. Add garlic and ginger; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add beef back in and cook until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add green onion and stir to combine. Serve immediately with rice.

Nutritional information: 400 calories, 44 carbs, 8 fat grams and 35 protein grams.

Review: AWESOME. Me and Austin agreed though, it didn't EXACTLY taste like Mongolian Beef, however, it was a great Asian beef dish that was easy to cook, reheated well, and will be made again. I could also see making this beef and serving it over lettuce with a homemade ginger dressing - the beef had a great flavor and was, again, so easy to make!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Breakfast Casserole with Biscuit Crust

Breakfast Casserole with Biscuit Crust
Found on Food.com
Makes 8 Servings

1 can biscuit dough
1 pound reduced fat sausage
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
6 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a medium-sized pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add to medium heat, and cook sausage for 7 – 8 minutes until no longer pink. In the meantime, spray a rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Press biscuits into bottom of dish, sealing areas to make a crust. Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper together. Sprinkle now-cooked sausage on top, then cheese. Pour egg mixture over the meat and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until firmly set in center.

Nutritional Information: 344 calories, 26 carbs, 19 fat grams and 16 protein grams.

Review: Fab - easy, peasy, 8 filling servings, not a lot of work - YES, a keeper. And bonus, it looks pretty and puffy and reheated well. Done and done and quickly to the top of our always-in-rotation dishes!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kielbasa Breakfast Fried Rice

Kielbasa Breakfast Fried Rice
Inspired by Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
Makes 4 Servings

1 tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
4 eggs
4 tablespoons soy sauce
8 oz. Jennie-o Lean Turkey Kielbasa cut into coins
90 grams (1/2 cup/2 servings) Trader Joe’s Jasmine rice cooked, boxed and refrigerated for at least 4 hours)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Mix together 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with the eggs and beat well. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture to pan. Swirl and scrape egg to cook until almost solid; err on the side of not done because you will be adding this back to the pan later. Remove soft eggs from pan and set aside on a plate. Return pan to stove. Add 1 tbsp oil. Add rice and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until rice is starting to lightly brown. Add remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce and the rice vinegar. Stir for 1 minute. Then add egg back to the pan along with the meat. Cook for 4-5 minutes until meat is heated through.

Nutritional Information: 310 calories, 59 carbs, 13 fat grams and 18 protein grams.

Review: WOW. I was nervous about using on 2 servings of rice for 4 servings. I was concerned about using rice vinegar, as opposed to my normal stand-bys of garlic, ginger, onions and hot chile sauce. I was wrong - this was fabulous! Loved the consistency, how far the oil went to make it feel authentic, the spiciness of the kielbasa - forget just breakfast, this would work for any meal! It was ready in under 20, BUT that's only if you have rice already made (which we did) - so you would definitely have to plan ahead with this one so I won't be adding it to my quick recipes list because of that. However, if you have leftover rice you can make this in 15 minutes for sure!

Monday, April 9, 2012

BBQ Ranch Chicken Pasta

BBQ Ranch Chicken Pasta
Recipe adapted from Picky Palate
Makes 4 Servings

1 pound defrosted chicken tenders
3 tbsp barbecue sauce
½ tbsp olive oil
8 oz. spaghetti (dry)
1 cup red onion, diced
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
3 tbsp cilantro leaves

Set two pots of water to boil. In one, cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions; drain. In another, add chicken and cook 7-8 minutes until cooked. Remove from water, shred and stir in barbecue sauce. While chicken and pasta are cooking, place olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Saute red onions until softened and golden. Add now cooked spaghetti to onions; mix and add dry Ranch Dressing seasoning and cilantro leaves. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Place noodles onto serving plates and top with warm shredded BBQ chicken. Garnish with cilantro leaf and serve.

Nutritional Information: 402 calories, 50 carbs, 5 fat grams and 37 protein grams.

Review: At first I was like what? BBQ ranch pasta? But alas, I had a TON of red onion that needed to be used, so this was a perfect way to not waste an onion! The BBQ sauce combined with the carmelized red onions was great, and I loved the ‘cool’ that the ranch and cilantro brought to the recipe. This reheated well, and we froze/reheated, too, and it was great! Like so many recipes, the only downside was that it used 2 pots and a pan – I heart my one-pot meals – less cleaning afterward! Still a quick, easy recipe that you can have done in under 20 minutes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Loaded Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Loaded Scalloped Potatoes
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com
Makes 4 Servings

22 oz. peeled, raw sweet potato, sliced
3 tsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cumin
Sea salt to taste
4 slices turkey bacon
1 tsp minced garlic, jarred
6 oz. raw sirloin, diced into tiny pieces
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
4 tbsp green onion
1 tbsp diced pickled jalapeno, jarred
2 tsp jalapeno juice (from jar)
4 tbsp reduced fat ranch, divided

Preheat oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with foil for easy clean-up. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Add all potatoes, olive oil, and spices (down to sea salt) to a gallon size bag. Toss to coat. Place potatoes in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake uncovered for 12 minutes; flip each potato over, then bake for another 12 minutes or until tender crisp. While potatoes bake, heat a large pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick spray and add bacon. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and add garlic to pan. Stir for 30 seconds, then add steak and cook for 3 – 5 minutes until no longer pink. Add to plate with bacon. Dice now-cooled-off bacon into bite-size pieces. Remove potatoes from oven; place them into two piles in one large ovensafe dish. Top each of the two piles with 1 oz. cheddar cheese, ½ tbsp. jalapenos, 2 tbsp green onions, 2 strips diced bacon and 3 oz. steak. Spoon jalapeno juice carefully over the top of each pile and return to oven for 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Serve each serving with 1 tbsp ranch.

Nutritional Information: 339 calories, 39 carbs, 12 fat grams and 18 protein grams.

Review: Tasted great! Loved the idea and it had a lot of flavor from the potatoes, jalapenos and spices. I will say that because I used the food processor to slice, it made it to where you almost had to eat it with a fork (even though the original intention was "fries" that would be eaten with your hands). Oh well - we made it work and loved the loaded scalloped potatoes (even if the original name was texas cheese fries. hehe).

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Taco Bites

Taco Bites
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Emily Bites

16 oz. chicken
1 packet taco seasoning
24 wonton wrappers
12 tbsp salsa, divided
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed
6 tbsp guacamole, divided (we used wholly guacamole)
Cilantro, to garnish

Preheat oven to 375. Heat a pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, and add chicken, taco seasoning and 1-2 tbsp water. Cook until no longer pink, then shred with two forks. In the meantime, spray a 12-whole muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Push a wonton wrapper into each muffin tin. Spread no more than a tsp of salsa in each, then top with 1/12 of the chicken and beans. Top with a bit more salsa and a bit of cheese, then cover with another wonton and top with remaining salsa and cheese. Bake for 18 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, then each with 1/2 tbsp guacamole and a few cilantro leaves.

Nutritional Information per serving (3): 435 calories, 49 carbs, 7 fat grams and 41 protein grams.

Review: Great little guys! Loved the crunchiness and the idea that I get 3! I will say that the chicken/bean mixture fills up those cups, so definitely consider  using half of the beans, which would take down the calories, too! I thought it was plenty of cheese, loved the layers of the bits of salsa and the guacamole topper (we used Wholly Guacamole) was perfect! I'll definitely make these again, too easy not too, and am still loving those wonton wrappers!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Pot Spaghetti

One Pot Spaghetti
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

1 pound 96/4 ground beef
8 ounce fresh mushrooms, diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 1-pound jar light spaghetti sauce
½ cup water
7 ounces uncooked pasta, broken into pieces
2 tbsp reduced fat Parmesan cheese, divided
parsley for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan cook meat and onion until onion is tender and meat is browned. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms are tender. Add broth, spaghetti sauce, and water and bring to a boil. Add noodles and reduce heat.Cover and cook 17-20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary (I didn't have to!). Stir in Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information: 455 calories, 8 fat grams, 55 carbs and 38 protein grams.

Review: So easy and so good! Loved that it cooked the pasta in the sauce (nice to not have to get tons of dishes dirty!), and it made large, hearty portions. This one was too easy to make, we'll definitely be having it again. Great weeknight meal, too - ready in under 30 minutes and only required onion chopping. And lastly, it reheated well - haven't tried the one we froze for testing - i'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Simple Sausage and Squash Pasta

Simple Sausage and Squash Pasta
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Real Simple

8 oz. egg noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
3 Italian-style turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 pound summer squash
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water; drain pasta and return it to the pot. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned and, 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tsp of oil to the skillet. Add squash, onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are golden and tender, 10 minutes (reduce heat if pan begins to darken). Toss pasta with sausage, vegetables, Parmesan, oregano, and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry). Serve with more parsley to garnish.

Nutritional Information: 429 calories, 51 carbs, 15 fat grams and 24 protein grams.

Review: Great, simple recipe! Ready in under 20 minutes, so another great weeknight meal! The sausage and garlic gave it great flavor, and I didn't miss a heavy sauce at all. It was a great, light meal that reheated well the next day and was too easy to make. I'll be making it again!

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Beer Fest & Menu for 30

This weekend we had our third St. Patty's Beer Fest! Austin does the yard and games, I do the cooking and decoration - it's a lot of work but a lot of fun! We used this menu for daytime food. I modified it a bit though to add more food/new recipes. And for nighttime food we did:
Now that I'm typing this up, I may post a modified meal plan with all of the new recipes incorporated.  In the meantime, here's some pics from this year's party:

Hydration station = important for a beer fest!
Love all of the green!
Me & the food!
More food! Added 3 new dishes to the Mediterranean menu!
This is still one of my favorite recipes - love these little crostinis!
outdoor foosball = good idea
and what's a party without cornhole?
Most of us girls stayed in the shade! 
Great to see Shana & Sharon!!
Andy won best beer, and Teresa won worst! :)
Beer station = just as important as hydration station!
Fun shot - this is where the pups chilled and sun bathed!
That is when they weren't flocking to Karly - they were LOVING sitting on her preggo belly! it was SO DANG CUTE!
Loved all of the green! The buckets and linens from Austin's birthday last year came in handy - we even painted the keg trash can green. hehe
Such a pretty day to be outside!
Great to see Jamie! It had been too long!
Always fun to hang out with the Blancos!!
And these ladies!!
And these guys! Yes, it got late! 
Q: How did you celebrate St. Patty's?!

Q: What's your favorite St. Patrick's Day recipe?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Baja Pork Stir Fry

Baja Pork Stir Fry
Recipe Adapted from Dinners for a Year and Beyond/Cooking Light
Makes 4 Servings

1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic, jarred
3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 pound lean pork, sliced in strips
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sliced red onion
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 thinly sliced jalapeno
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 cups jasmine rice, cooked over stove per package instructions

First, prepare rice to cook and set for 15-20 minutes (so it cooks while you do the rest!). Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well and set aside. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add 2 tsp of olive oil. Add pork and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set on plate. Heat same pan over medium heat and add last tsp of olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno and stir fry for 3 - 5 minutes. Return pork to pan along with chicken stock mixture and toss to combine. Cook for 1 minute until sauce coats all the ingredients. Stir in tomatoes and cilantro. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 359 calories, 42 carbs, 7 fat grams and 30 protein grams.

Review: So fresh and spicy! Loved all of the veggies and the chicken stock mixture really added a nice blend. The jalapeno was spicy, but tamed by the chicken stock, and I loved the cilantro combined with the pork. Overall, great, easy recipe ready under 20 (especially easy if you have a food processor!). Could do with or without the rice – for Paleo peeps- just leave the rice out and make it 2 or 3 servings!