Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mini Paleo Muffins

Mini Paleo Muffins
Makes 6 Servings

12 eggs
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 Jennie-O Sweet Italian Sausage links, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup Red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup Mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp Sundried tomato, diced
2 tbsp Scallion, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tbsp water
Optional toppings: 2 avocados, divided into 4; salsa

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 6 ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add garlic, sausage, vegetables, salt, pepper and water; stir to combine. Carefully pour into ramekins. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean.

Nutritional information (per serving; without toppings): 250 calories, 5 carbs, 16 fat grams and 22 protein grams. (per serving; with toppings): 325 calories, 10 carbs, 23 fat grams and 23 protein grams.

Review: Fabulous! I served each of mine with 1/4 of an avocado and dipped it in salsa - yum! It was very filling and had a good kick from the spicy sausage. I liked how easy these were, too, and that you can easily make more (assuming you have the ramekins) or less. They reheated well, and were a great 'work' breakfast, too. I just brought one (wrapped in foil) to work (along with a bag of toppings!) and it was great. And note: It may be easier to put sausage and vegetables into the ramekins first, then pour egg over it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pesto Butternut Squash Pizza

Pesto Butternut Squash Pizza
Makes 4 Servings
Adapted from Cooking Light

6 (1/4-inch-thick) slices peeled butternut squash (about 1/2 pound)
2 tsp splenda
1 tsp olive oil
Cooking spray
1 pound pizza dough OR 1 Pillsbury crust (thin)
2 oz. shredded reduced fat mozzarella
2 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
1 14.5-ounce can finely chopped tomatoes, drained well
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup pesto (12 tsp)
10 grams (4 tsp) shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Place squash mixture on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. If using Pillsbury dough, pre-bake on its own for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle dough with mozzarella and grated parmesan. Top with squash mixture, tomatoes and oregano. Drop Pesto by 12 level teaspoons onto pizza; sprinkle with shredded fresh parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Nutritional Information: 428 calories, 58 carbs, 19 fat grams and 15 protein grams.

Review: YUM! I never would have thought about putting squash on a pizza, but it tasted wonderful and i'm so glad I did it! The pesto went well with it, as well as the parmesean. Although, next time, I will spread the pesto across the top instead of the drops. The drops were fun, but I wished I'd had pesto in every single bite! I will definitely make this again - loved the colors, the taste, how filling it was and think it's a great seasonal meal.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Creamy Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Creamy Cajun Chicken Alfredo
Recipe adapted from Food Network
Makes 6 servings

1 pound raw chicken (3 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
1 tbsp blackened seasoning (Seasoning: 1 tbsp salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme; 1 tsp cayenne pepper, black pepper, basil and oregano; you will have extra – I jarred mine for later use!)
2 tbsp minced garlic, jarred
½ cup sundried tomatoes, minced
¼ cup chicken broth
1 jar light alfredo sauce
1 tbsp creole seasoning
8 tsp parmesan cheese
11 oz. linguine, cooked
½ cup green onions, diced

Place chicken and blackening seasoning in a bag and toss to coat. In a nonstick pan over medium high heat, cook chicken until blackened on the outside; 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing into bite sized pieces (if it is still a bit pink in the middle do not worry, it will cook more in the next step). In the meantime, reduce heat to low. Add garlic to pan and tomatoes; sauté 1 minute until garlic browns. De-glaze pan with chicken broth. Add alfredo sauce and creole seasoning, stirring 3-4 minutes until warm and bubbly. Add chicken back to pan. Turn heat to medium for 4 minutes while chicken continues to cook. Add parmesan cheese and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in linguine and green onions for 2 minutes until mixed well.

Nutritional Information: 392 calories, 46 carbs, 11 fat grams and 28 protein grams.

Review: Great dish! Very spicy, but not too spicy. It was definitely a cream sauce, that tasted very sinful and like something I wouldn’t order at Olive Garden for fear of it being calorific. The sundried tomatoes added a lot, and with the small chicken bites it blended well. The parmesan at the end really helped thicken it up. All in all, a new favorite around here. Very filling, sinful-tasting and something I would make for guests for sure! To make it easier to eat, use a smaller pasta shape. To reduce spiciness, use ½ tbsp blackened seasoning and ½ tbsp of creole seasoning. (and note: I froze a serving of this to test it - it reheated SO well - just as creamy!)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos

Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos
Recipe Inspired by One Heatlhy Apple and Dinners for a Year and Beyond
Makes 4 Servings

1/2 pound ground turkey
1 tsp olive oil
salt, pepper and paprika to taste
1 4 oz. can green chiles
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked butternut squash
1/2 can black beans
1 batch homemade enchilada sauce (add 1 can tomato paste; ¾ cup water; 1 ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp chili powder to  a small sauce pan over medium heat; whisk together for 1 minute; Add in 1 14 oz. can vegetable stock and ½ tsp kosher salt; Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes)
4 large tortillas
Cilantro to garnish (optional)

Brown turkey in a skillet with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika, and set to the side. Mix cooked turkey with chiles, shredded cheese, butternut squash and black beans in a bowl. Pour a layer of enchilada sauce at the bottom of your baking dish. Stuff each tortilla with 1/4 of the stuffing and roll up; repeat until finished. Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Nutritional Information: 397 calories, 56 carbs, 9 fat grams and 25 protein grams.

Review: I find these amazing. Not going to lie – the sauce absolutely makes them. Typically I’m not a big fan of ground turkey, so to be able to ‘mask’ it in this soft tortilla and yummy sauce is wonderful! The beans went really well with the squah, and like always, the squash made this super filling. It reheated very well, and is a winner with us. Definitely make this your own – try other squash or veggies, try chicken or beef – it’s easy to mix this one up and make it your favorite. Just make the sauce and you’ll be fine!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Egg and Cheese Breakfast Tacos with Homemade Salsa

Egg and Cheese Breakfast Tacos with Homemade Salsa
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Recipe

½ cup tomato, diced
2 tbsp diced red onion, diced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely diced
½ jalapeno pepper, ribbed and deseeded, finely diced
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp lime juice, divided
1 tsp minced garlic, divided
1 can fat-free refried beans
¼ tsp cumin
1 tbsp fat-free milk
6 large eggs, beaten lightly
¼ cup green onions, diced
8 small flour tortillas
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
8 tsp fat-free sour cream, divided

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in 1 tsp lime juice and ½ tsp garlic. Combine beans, remaining 2 tsp juice, remaining ½ tsp garlic and cumin in another bowl. Combine milk and eggs in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add green onions to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in egg mixture; cook 3 minutes until scrambled, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Warm tortillas in microwave. Spread 2 tbsp bean mixture on each tortilla. Spoon 2 tbsp egg mixture down center, and top with ½ tbsp tomato mixture, ½ tbsp cheese and 1 tsp sour cream.

Nutritional Information per serving (2 tacos): 386 calories, 46 carbs, 10 fat grams and 25 protein grams.

Review: At first I was like really? Make my own salsa? But it added so much to these beans and eggs! I was also nervous about refried beans but they went so well with the green-onion eggs and everything had a lot of flavor. I wouldn't change a thing - it was a wonderful, filling breakfast that tasted excellent! I will say that it had about 10 minutes of prep work, and I think it would be best served on the weekends so that all servings are eaten when made - we had to box up half of the bean mixture, the egg mixture and the salsa for next time, which was kind of cumbersome. Although it did reheat well, it was just kind of a pain. All in all, i'd make these again and i'd make them for a crowd if you had visitors on the weekend! Great, meatless meal!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Turkey & Squash Risotto

Turkey & Squash Risotto
Recipe inspired by Closet Cooking
Makes 4 Servings

2 tbsp light butter in canola oil
1 onion, raw, diced
1 cup butternut squash, raw (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 cup arborio rice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cumin
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 pound turkey (cooked, cut into bite sized pieces)
12 tsp parmesan cheese (ground)
10 grams parmesan cheese (fresh)

Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add onions and squash and simmer for 5 minutes to start softening them. Add rice and spices and coat with butter. Add wine and stir until evaporated. Add 1/4 cup of stock at a time and stir until it has evaporated over 20 minutes of cooking time. Add cranberries after 1 cup of stock has been added (after about 10 minutes). Once it’s done, add turkey and parmesan; stir until turkey is heated.

Nutritional Information: 369 calories, 46 carbs, 10 fat grams and 18 protein grams.

Review: Excellent! Such a great fall/winter dish. The turkey added a lot to make it more filling, and the risotto and butternut squash blended together so well. I did add a bit of salt, but that was about it! You would be fine to sub 96/4 ground beef for it if you preferred, but the turkey was a nice change of pace. I don't normally like the taste of turkey, so it's great to find recipes that have enough flavor to mask it a bit - and this did - so it's a winner with me! Also, while I said the little cranberries were optional, I must say I really liked these surprise bites of sweetness!