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!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Caramelized Onion & Pork Flautas

Caramelized Onion &Pork Flautas
Recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking
Makes 4 Servings

1 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced
1 pound pork
Chili powder, Paprika, Coriander, Garlic Powder, Cumin & Oregano to tatse
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
8 small tortillas
4 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
1 avocado, divided
Optional: side of salsa

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 6-7 minutes until caramelized and tender. Remove from the pan and set aside. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium HIGH heat. Once the pan is HOT add the sliced pork then season, to taste, with all of the spices. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown but not yet cooked through (it will finish cooking in the oven). Remove from the stove. Wrap flour tortillas in wet paper towels and microwave for 1 minute or until soft. Place a bit of cheese in the center of the tortilla first then add caramelized onion on top of the cheese, then pork; roll. Place, seam side down, on a baking sheet that’s been coated with cooking spray. Finish rolling, then spray each with cooking spray. Place into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes then turn over and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Serve with a side of avocado and salsa.

Nutritional Information: 449 calories, 37 carbs, 17 fat grams and 38 protein grams.

Review: Yum! Loved the soft yet crispiness, and the little bit of cheese went a long way! I also liked the avocado side, and the sprinkle of cilantro - it added a little something extra. The pork was definitely the star, and the small flour tortillas were great. You can easily take down the fat grams and calories by removing the avocado slices – we just really like them so we added them! I recommend this - easy and quick!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

20 Recipes Ready in 20 Minutes (and under 460 calories!)

So often I'll find 20-minute recipes but they start with pre-cooked chicken, pre-cut veggies and cooked rice or pasta. That's not 20 minutes for me! I want 20 minutes, from opening the fridge/pantry to in my belly. :) Here are 20 of our quick, HOT meals - all under 460 calories per serving!

1. Spaghetti Carbonara
Nutritional Information (per serving): 460 calories, 58 carbs, 13 fat grams and 30 protein grams.

2. Pork Sesame Noodles
Nutritional Information (per serving): 463 calories, 55 carbs, 11 fat grams and 37 protein grams.

3. Creamy Taco Mac
Nutritional Information (per serving): 457 calories, 58 carbs, 7 fat grams and 34 protein grams.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 377 calories, 36 carbs, 20 fat grams and 15 protein grams.

5. Eggs & Sweet Potato Hash
Nutritional information (per serving): 301 calories, 23 carbs, 17 fat grams and 15 protein grams.

6. Egg and Cheese Breakfast Tacos with Homemade Salsa
Nutritional Information per serving (2 tacos): 386 calories, 46 carbs, 10 fat grams and 25 protein grams.

7. Lemony Chicken & Rice Soup
Nutritional Information (per serving): 358 calories, 44 carbs, 5 fat grams and 35 protein grams.

8. Peppery Pork with Creamy Tomato Sauce
Nutritional Information (per serving): 432 calories, 51 carbs, 8 fat grams and 38 protein grams.

9. Asian Basil Pesto
Nutritional Information: 417 calories, 43 carbs, 10 fat grams and 38 protein grams.

10. Mexican Breakfast Burritos with Avocado 
Nutritional Information: 414 calories, 56 carbs, 15 fat grams and 20 protein grams.

11. Chipotle Bean Burritos
Nutritional Information: 429 calories, 74 carbs, 6 fat grams and 23 protein grams.

12. Skinny General Tso’s Chicken
Nutritional Information (per serving): 441 calories, 65 carbs, 6 fat grams and 30 protein grams.

13. Beef  & Noodle Toss
Nutritional Information (per serving): 430 calories, 46 carbs, 12 fat grams and 37 protein grams.

14. Spinach and Ricotta Pizza
Nutritional Information (per serving): 416 calories, 56 carbs, 14 fat grams and 16 protein grams.

15. Inside Out Egg Roll Stirfry
Nutritional Information (per serving) : 438 calories, 58 carbs, 8 fat grams and 29 protein grams.

16. Margarita Pasta
Nutritional Information (per serving): 449 calories, 56 carbs, 15 fat grams and 23 protein grams.

17. Spicy Orange Chicken
Nutritional Information (per serving): 372 calories, 49 carbs, 7 fat grams and 30 protein grams.

18. Sausage, Tomato and Argula Pasta
Nutritional Information (per serving): 373 calories, 43 carbs, 12 fat grams and 24 protein grams.

19. Best Ever Chicken Soft Tacos
Nutritional Information per serving (two tacos): 421 calories, 37 carbs, 6 fat grams and 51 protein grams.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 360 calories, 44 carbs, 5 fat grams and 30 protein grams.

Hope you try some of these and enjoy them! Great, weeknight, ready-in-under-20-minute dishes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Slowcooker Creamy Mexican Chicken

Slowcooker Creamy Mexican Chicken
Adapted from
Makes 4 Servings

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can fat-free cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup fat-free sour cream
Cilantro, optional topping
8 oz. pasta (dry)

Put chicken, soup and salsa in slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything. Cook on high for 2.5 hours. After 2.5 hours, pull the breasts out and shred. Return them back to slow cooker and stir in the sour cream. Cover and heat for another 20 minutes. While it’s heating, cook pasta in boiling water on stovetop per package instructions.

Nutritional Information: 458 calories, 64 carbs, 3 fat grams and 35 protein grams.

Review: Excellent! Interesting that it was creamy and spicy. It was like an thick, heavy alfredo sauce - but instead of an alfredo flavor it was taco flavored! We're fans. We tried it reheated and frozen and it kept its thickness very well. You could easily do a smaller shape, but we liked the long noodles. To reduce the calories a bit, I would consider 3/4 cup sour cream and salsa, and you could probably take the pasta down a 1/2 ounce or ounce.