Friday, February 26, 2010

Honey Sesame Pineapple Chicken

I'm not a cook. Not at all. In fact, I've always claimed that I really don't LIKE to cook. So cooking has always been about quick and convenience. Thus I often called on Manwich to help me with sloppy joes or Old El Paso to get me through tacos. Convenient prepackaged foods were used weekly in my house to help with the chore of cooking. It's only been in the last couple of years that I have dared venture away from them and try actually cook and prepare the food myself. Once I started reading labels and practicing with flavors, it got easier, healthier and tastier! Plus, now I actually enjoy cooking and coming up with new things. Shush! Don't tell!

All that being said...

I still use packets for some things. Like this meal. I don't know if these Asian seasoning packets are available but I get them at Cub or Walmart in the Asian section. We've tried most and this one and the Kung Pao Chicken are the best, the others are just mediocre. Although the Kung Pao chicken I made was way better than the packet. Anyways, I still like to make this meal with the seasoning mix and it turns out delicious. I could probably experiment and come up with something healthier and tasty but for now, for this meal, the packet works.

I change the recipe a bit from what they have on the back and it's great. It's one of our favorites and very simple. I use Splenda to cut the calories quite a bit and it tastes great. I find in baked desserts, I can sometimes taste the difference with Splenda but in meals like this, I haven't been able to tell the difference at all.

As usual for me, I put this over broccoli rather than rice. I LOVE broccoli and really don't like rice enough to justify the carbs and calories. I'd rather save my carbs and calories for the chocolate donut that was brought into the house that I just KNOW I am going to have for dessert!

Honey Sesame Pineapple Chicken

1 1/2 lbs. chicken, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 cup Splenda
1 can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 - Sunbird Honey Sesame Chicken packets
Green onion for garnish

Marinate chicken in soy sauce and cornstarch for about 5 - 10 minutes. Heat pan with cooking spray and cook chicken until done. While chicken is cooking, put pineapple, seasoning packets, sesame oil and sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine. When chicken is done cooking, add pineapple mixture to chicken and cook until hot and slightly thickened. Serve over rice or broccoli.

Total calories = 1865 calories
4 servings = 466 calories per serving

1 serving Honey Sesame Pineapple Chicken + broccoli = 516 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheese Ravioli Bake with Italian Broccoli

Ravioli. It just sounds like a cool word doesn't it? Sadly, when I think of ravioli I think of the cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli that plop out in a tomato-y glop and are only slightly edible. I'd never made REAL ravioli before this. Well, this is frozen so maybe it's not as real as it could be. It was delicious however.

I don't know where I got the recipe for this but I changed and altered it quite a bit as making it so it hardly resembles the recipe anyways. I often just think of recipes as stepping off points just to get you started.
So we started with the ravioli. I got cheese, it called for chicken, really any kind would work. It called for refrigerated ravioli, I used frozen. Again, does it really matter? I upped the onion, pepper and spices because I really wanted this sauce to TASTE good. And it did.

They also told me to use 4 cans of whole tomatoes which I didn't have. So I used 3 cans of diced tomatoes and a can of rotel. Well, they must yield a LOT more sauce because I had a LOT of sauce leftover.

Hmmm... So what to do with the sauce. I was thinking about adding some green to the menu anyways and even thought about adding the broccoli right with the ravioli but that would have required a larger pan and I just didn't feel like going there. SO. I just cooked the broccoli right in with the extra sauce. This resulted in an extraordinary dish of italian broccoli.

When it was done, we decided that we liked the ravioli on top the best. It was slightly crispy from the oven and not as slimy and wet. Though slimy and wet ARE scrumptious too! But, if I make it again, (and I so will), I will put it in a 9 x 13 pan and make it a bit thinner. That way more of the ravioli will get crispier.
Also, annoying and long as it was, when I did make my first ravioli, they were outstanding. Really tasty. SO, I think that I would rather use homemade ravioli instead of the frozen next time. Frozen or refrigerated is nice in a pinch but the homemade just rocked my world. I didn't care for the whole dough rolling process but if I can find some pre done ravioli doughs (which I know they have I just haven't used them), I will go that route.

Cheesy Ravioli Bake with Broccoli

1 - 24 oz. cheese ravioli, I used frozen Rosetto
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped (I had red)
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can rotel tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
1/4 cup each colby jack and parmesan cheese (recipe called for 1/4 cup mozzarella but I didn't have any)
1 lb. broccoli

Bring pot with water to boiling, add frozen ravioli. Turn heat down and cook for 5 - 6 minutes until they begin to float. Drain and set aside. heat large skillet with cooking spray, add onion, pepper, oregano. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute for 1 - 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, white wine, spices and tomatoes. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add pasta to tomato sauce. Spoon pasta into an 8 in. square dish*** (see note below) coated with cooking spray. Leave some of the tomato sauce in the pan to use for the broccoli, I kept probably about 2 cups of sauce out. Sprinkle ravioli evenly with cheese. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Throw broccoli in with the extra sauce, cook for about 8 minutes until cooked. You may need to add some water if your sauce is dry, mine wasn't.

***Place in 9 x 13 pan if you want the ravioli's to be slightly more crunchy all over. Heating time may need to be adjusted.

Total calories = 2061
4 servings = 515 calories

1 serving Cheese Ravioli Bake with Broccoli = 515 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Split Pea Soup with Ham

I had bought a super duper cheap ham during the holidays for like $8 or something. We got a lot out of that ham. Leftovers I chop up and add to tons of things eggs, quinoa, potato toppings, the list is endless. We love ham here. Then the ham hock goes into the crock pot for some sort of delicious soup. Today we have split pea.

My dad loves split pea soup. I mainly make it for him. I like it and will eat it but it's green. I have a hard time with it because it's green. Odd, huh. So I ate a big bowl, my daughter ate a bowl and then I packed up the rest for grandpa. He loved it and will eat it for many days.

Split Pea Soup with Ham

6 cups water
1 ham bone with leftover ham
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1 large onion
1 lb. split peas
2 bay leaves
3 small chicken bouillion cubes

Place water, ham bone, bay leaves and chicken bouillion in crock pot on high heat for about 4 - 5 hours. Remove ham bone and remove any leftover ham and add ham back to crockpot. Add veggies and cook on low heat for about 3 - 4 hours or until veggies are desired consistency. I like my soup pretty thick and chunky so feel free to add water if you like it thinner. My peas dissolved so there was no need for me to puree as I like it chunky.

Total calories = about 2150
Yield about 10 cups = about 215 calories per cup**

**I didn't measure how much ham went in the soup so the calories are an approximation.

1 1/2 cups soup + 1 salad = 398 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken Casserole

This recipe goes way back. Way back to when I was first married and really didn't know how to cook. There weren't too many meals like this that I made. It was all pretty much tacos, sloppy joes and frozen pizza back then. We ate out a lot.

This is a wonderful dish but for some reason I just haven't made it for several years. I think we got out of making things with rice and I just kept passing it over. When I finally did find this recipe my archives, I noticed it called for 1/2 tsp. ginger. My first thought was, real ginger or ground ginger? Duh! Then I remembered that back 10,000 years ago when I made this, I didn't even know what real ginger WAS!

A lot has changed, that's for sure, but this is still an outstanding dish and the calories were not bad at all despite the rice! 4 of us at this and there were NO leftovers.

The only change I made from the original recipe was to use brown minute rice instead of white. I still keep a small box of brown rice for the husband who still likes his asian food over rice instead of broccoli. I also buy the pineapple chunks in the huge cans so I used 2 cups pineapple and 1/2 cup juice which is probably about what a regular 20 oz. can is.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Casserole

1 lb. chicken, cut into cubes
1 green or red pepper, chopped (I had red today)
1 cup carrot strips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups pineapple chunks with 1/2 cup of juice (about 1 can)
1 cup crushed pineapple with juice (about 1 small can)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. brown sugar splenda blend
3 tbsp. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 1/2 cups Minute Brown Rice

Cook chicken until browned. Add peppers, carrots, onion and garlic, cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Add broth, pineapple with juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and ginger. Bring to a boil, stir in rice. Cover. Cook on low for about 10 - 15 minutes until rice is cooked and there isn't much liquid left. Stir occasionally.

Total calories = 1979 calories
5 servings = 396 calories per serving

1 serving Sweet and Sour Chicken Casserole + 1 small salad = 456 calories

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Very Veggie Chicken Fajitas

I had nothing planned for dinner tonight. I hate when that happens. Often that means pizza or something incredibly unhealthy. I really have a lot of food around here so I debated between chicken stir fry or chicken fajitas. Hmmm... I liked the idea of fajitas so we would have lots of leftovers for the week. But I had quite a lot of veggies that needed to go. So I went with fajitas with extra veggies that I don't always put in them. They turned out really good. I personally could have nixed the chicken altogether and just went with veggies but the meat eaters of the family would have attacked.

I added zucchini and carrots that I don't usually put in fajitas. They turned out very well and I liked how the veggies seemed to be the main focus rather than the chicken.

The extra carrot and zucchini pretty much disappeared. That was good for the ones in the house who don't think zucchini and carrots belong in fajitas but good for me that I got to use up some more vegetables and make this meal go further without adding many calories at all. Feel free to add any other spices that make you happy. I keep them pretty mild for the masses and I those who want more spice just add it to their own.

This makes a lot of food. We will keep this in our frig and eat it for lunches over the next few days but we have froze it before works well.

Very Veggie Chicken Fajitas

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into strips
1 1/2 tbsp. fajita seasoning, or use whatever spice you have
1/2 tsp. adobo seasoning
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
3 peppers, I used a yellow, an orange and a red
2 large onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 fairly large jalapeno, minced
2 zucchini, sliced into strips
2 carrots, shredded or sliced into very thin strips
1 cup corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 green onions
2 plum tomatoes
handful of cilantro
Optional toppings: sour cream, lettuce, cheese, avocado

Cook chicken with cooking spray and spices until done and slightly browned. Remove and place in bowl. Add onions, peppers and carrots to pan and cook for about 6 - 7 minutes until tender. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for about 2 minutes. Add zucchini, corn, black beans, green onions and cilantro and cook for about 5 - 6 minutes or until everything is hot. Makes 18 - 1/2 cup servings.

Total calories = 1580
18 slightly heaping 1/2 cup portions = 88 calories per portion

2 1/2 Chicken Fajita portions + 2 - 100 calorie soft shell tortillas + 1 - 50 calorie hard taco shell + sour cream = 490 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Raspberry Glazed Rosemary Chicken Breasts

This sounds really fancy doesn't it? Really it was very simple. So after the outstanding Monte Cristo sandwiches I made awhile back, I had some seedless raspberry preserves in the frig. I used a bit of it on my morning bagel but then I found this recipe. I had just enough for these chicken breasts. The recipe actually called for 1 cup of preserves but I'm quite sure this would be too much. I used about 1/2 cup and I still had some left over, but if I had used the 1 1/2 lbs. chicken that I usually make, it would have been perfect. As it was, I just had 3 - 6 oz. breasts in the freezer so we went with those.

The rosemary was the predominant flavor on this. If you love rosemary, you will love these. The raspberry preserves resulted in a very nice sweetness that wasn't overpoweringly tasting like raspberry. They really were well flavored and sweetened. I would make these again for sure.

Raspberry Glazed Rosemary Chicken Breasts

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts (I used 3 - 6 oz. breasts)
1 tbsp. crushed rosemary
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 tsp. honey mustard
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I left this out)

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, stir together crushed rosemary, sage and oregano. Rub each side of the breasts with herb mixture. Place chicken in a baking dish and pour broth over chicken. Bake for about 20 minutes. Place raspberry preserves in microwave and heat for 20 - 30 seconds to soften. Stir in honey mustard and fresh rosemary. Spread preserve mixture evenly over each breast. Bake about 10 minutes more or until chicken is done.

Total calories for 18 oz. of chicken = 902
3 servings = 301 calories per chicken breast

1 Raspberry Glazed Chicken Breast + 1 small baked potato with sour cream & onion + 1/2 cup corn = 527 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carrots with Maple Balsamic Browned Butter

I grew up hating cooked carrots. I also grew up for much of my childhood with a single father who loved frozen TV dinners, frozen pot pies and hamburger helper. I still can't eat a frozen pot pie. So I've always said that I don't like cooked carrots, yet I think the only cooked carrots I ever had were the ones in a TV dinner. So I'm sure you completely understand why I have held on to this loathing of cooked carrots.

Throughout the years, they've been growing on me as I add them to roasts, stews and soups.

Hmmm... They aren't really that bad. In fact, they are quite good when prepared better.

Now that I know how to flavor them correctly and add delicious spices, herbs and sweetener, they are MUCH more enjoyable. I really, really liked these. They resembled nothing close to the TV dinner carrots from long ago. Thank goodness.
I ate this with meatloaf tonight. I've had this in the freezer for a long time and didn't write down the recipe when I made it. It was fantastic and made with ground turkey, salsa and oatmeal. Super healthy and delicious. I'll make it again and write down the recipe when I do.

Carrots with Maple Balsamic Browned Butter

1 lb sliced peeled carrots
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley (I used jarred, I didn't have any fresh)

Steam carrots, covered, for about 15 minutes or until tender. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook butter for about 4 -6 minutes or until lightly browned and you get that nutty smell. Yum. Stir in syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add carrots, cook for another minute until heated stirring to coat. Stir in parsley.

Total calories = 338 calories
4 servings = 85 calories per serving

Meatloaf + AuGratin potatoes + Maple Balsamic Carrots = 500 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Egg Foo Yung

I remember my dad ordering chinese for us about once a month when we were young. He'd get chow mein and egg foo yung. The egg foo yung was our favorite. It really was the reason to get chinese in the first place. We all loved it. I grew up rating chinese restaurants based on their quality of egg foo yung.

Then I learned to make it.

That was a glorious day. The fact that it is SOOOOO much healthier than restaurant egg foo yung is just a bonus. They fry it in a ton of oil which, come on, is really why it tastes so incredibly delicious. Mine is simply fried on a non stick pan with some cooking spray. Mine is incredibly delicious too. Really, really.

The sauce is the key I think.

The whole thing is fantastic but the sauce is what makes it egg foo yung to me. Interestingly, I don't use much sauce at restaurants though. Hmmm...

Here they are floating around in the pan being cooked. By the way, anybody know actually how to spell it? Egg fu young? Egg foo yung? Egg fu yung? There seems to be many different spellings.

*** While I have made this many, many times, we did change it this time. I used egg beaters instead of half whole eggs and half egg whites. They tasted the same but didn't stay together as well and many didn't form as patties they way they usually do. I had to pick and choose to get a couple for the picture. I'm not sure if the egg beaters just didn't bind them as well or what. They still tasted awesome but didn't present as well. My pan has seen better days too and the non stick isn't as non stick as it should be so it's time to replace it. I don't know if it was the pan or the egg beaters causing them to crumble or a combination of the two. So even though the calories and fat were lower with the egg beaters, I think that I will stick with half whole eggs and half egg whites. I think that 6 eggs and 12 egg whites would work or however you want to do it.

Variations: feel free to add mushrooms or green peas.

Chicken Egg Foo Yung

1 carton + 1/2 cup egg beaters ***see note above
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 medium finely chopped onion
1 or 2 green onions
1 can bean sprouts
1 can water chestnuts, diced
2 cup chopped cooked chicken, 10 oz.
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Foo Yung Sauce
4 small cubes of chicken bouillion
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 1/2 tsp. splenda
2 tbsp. soy sauce
5 tbsp. cold water
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

Cook celery in sauce pan for about 5 - 6 minutes to soften. I do this otherwise the celery is a bit too crunchy in the egg foo yung. Let the celery cool. Mix celery, onion, bean sprouts, chicken, salt and pepper. Stir in the eggs. Heat cooking spray in pan, brown egg mixture 1/2 cup at a time on both sides until done.

To make sauce: Dissolve the bouillion in the hot water in a small saucepan, add sugar and soy sauce and blend well over medium heat. Combine cornstarch with a bit of cold water to dissolve and stir into the bouillion mixture until thick and smooth. Serve over the Egg Foo Yung.

Total calories = 1157
13 patties big 1/2 cup patties = 89 calories per patty

4 Egg Foo Yung + 1 egg roll = 476 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Apple Juice Pork with Squash & Golden Raisins

Is it just me or do you think of the Brady Bunch when you hear the words "Pork chops and applesauce"? Specifically, Peter Brady saying it in a Bogart - ish way and I remember seeing it on the blackboard in the kitchen. I feel really old now. I seriously thought about that like 10 times while making this meal even thought it's not applesauce, it's apple juice. Close enough.

We don't eat a whole lot of pork chops around here. We're more chicken people. I was actually going to sub chicken for this recipe when I found some pork chops in the freezer. So pork it was! I do pick them up when they are a fantastic price and I just can't resist.

We had 4 very thick chops so I cut them in half lengthwise and made 8 smaller chops. That made them cook much faster. This recipe says to put them in the oven after they are browned which we didn't even have to do as ours were so thin. They are drier that way so you're probably better off sticking with the thick ones.

The original recipe also told me that I would have to boil the extra liquid and serve it over the pork chops but I didn't have any extra liquid. So if you want more liquid, I would up the juices. I just cut my pork chop and ate it right with the squash. It was very good. I ate a ton of the squash. Really.

Apple Juice Pork with Squash & Golden Raisins

2 lbs. pork loin chops
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup apple juice
1/2 butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 in. pieces
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (I used 1/2 tsp. dried sage)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy skillet, heat cooking spray and add pork chops and brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a oven proof dish and tent with foil, place in oven.

Add more cooking spray to pan and add onion and cook for about 2 minutes, scraping up any bits off pan. Stir in the apple juice, squash, raisins and sage, season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve pork with the squash and any pan sauce.

Total calories for 8 pork chops = 1071
8 pork chops = 134 per pork chop

Total calories for squash with raisins = 575 calories
4 servings = 144 calories per serving

1 pork chop + 2 serving Squash with Raisins + 1 cups broccoli cauliflower salad = 483 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ham, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Quesadillas

I made a huge ham last week. It was one of those super cheap ones I got around the holidays. So we had extra ham to use up. My kids LOVE ham and it's the one thing that isn't a struggle to get them to eat. These little quesadilla's were perfect. I would have loved to put some green chiles or some spice in the eggs but that would have rendered them useless to the children as no amount of delicious ham in there would have caused them to eat them. So they are pretty basic but the spicy sour cream helped for me. I just mixed about 1 tbsp. sour cream and 1 tbsp. salsa for dipping.I didn't really measure everything for this recipe. So I sorta used approximations in the recipe below. It is pretty close to accurate but I didn't measure how much egg mixture I actually put on the tortilla. This is the kind of recipe that could be made a zillion ways with whatever you like in your eggs. Here is my nicely toasted tortilla with the egg and cheese melting.

Then I added some more green onion and tomato to the egg mixture. I folded it in half, cut it into wedges and dipped it into the nummy spicy sour cream.

Hubs actually dressed his in the pan and put the spicy sour cream on the tortilla and ate it like a giant taco. Works the same but mine was prettier. :-)

Update:  I've been eating gluten free so I've been eating these with corn tortillas. I pretty much eat these every morning with asiago cheese on the top. It's delicious!

Ham, Egg and Cheese Quesadillas

5 eggs
5 egg whites
1/4 cup milk
1 cup diced ham
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red pepper
Seasoning salt and pepper
2 green onion
5 tbsp. cheese (I use asiago cheese)
5 whole wheat 100 calorie tortillas
Toppings: Green onions, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa

Saute onion and red pepper in cooking spray for about 2 - 3 minutes. Add ham and saute for 2 -3 more minutes. In separate bowl, add eggs, egg whites and milk and whisk together. Add egg mixture to the ham mixture and cook until eggs are done. Add seasonings as cooking to taste. Add 1 green onion when eggs are cooked. Toast tortillas add egg mixture on 1/2 tortilla, add 1 tbsp. cheese and desired toppings. Mix 1 tbsp. sour cream and 1 tbsp. salsa for spicy sour cream dipping sauce.

Total calories = 1370
5 Quesadillas = 274 calories per quesadillas

1 Ham, Egg & Cheese Quesadilla + spicy sour cream + hash browns + cantaloupe = 504 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Sweet Potatoes

Ooooohhh, these were good! I was a bit skeptical that there were TOO many spices. I panicked and only put in 1 tbsp. of paprika rather than the 1 1/2 tbsp. that the recipe called for. I also upped the sugar as I like things sweet. And I cut the olive oil. Really, these were perfect. I will totally make these again. We had leftover ham and broccoli cauliflower salad to go along with this and it was a great meal.

Sweet & Spicy Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and cubed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. brown sugar splenda blend
1 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Put sweet potato chunks in a big bowl, drizzle olive oil over potatoes, then sprinkle the sugar and seasoning and toss until potatoes are evenly coated with the seasoning. Spread onto baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, turn over and continue baking until they are golden and tender about 10 - 15 minutes.

Total calories = 483 calories
3 servings = 161 calories per serving

5 oz. ham + Sweet and Spicy Potatoes + Broccoli Salad = 472 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

This is a fantastic low calorie tasty salad. I used to make the super fattening broccoli cauliflower with tons of mayo, sugar, sunflower seeds and tons of bacon. Delicious yes, but so fattening, you can eat such a tiny portion compared to this salad. The red wine vinegar is so good in this. It's a nice make ahead salad but I wait until about an hour or two before serving time to add the dressing.

I got this recipe a long time ago from Cynthia at What's For Dinner? She uses fat free sour cream and mayo. I used light for both as I usually prefer the light over fat free. However, in this recipe, the red wine vinegar is the star and it is fine with the fat free, the sour cream and mayo just add a bit of creaminess. So you can lower the fat and calories even more than mine by using fat free.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

3 roma plum tomatoes
1 lb. fresh broccoli florets, about 8 cups
1 small head of cauliflower, about 1/2 lb.
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped (I didn't have this today)
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup light sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup Splenda

Dice tomatoes, chop broccoli and cauliflower. Mix veggies together in a large bowl. Mix mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper, Splenda and red wine vinegar together in a small bowl. Add to veggies. Stir thoroughly and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours, stirring often. Keeps in the frig for about 24 - 36 hours nicely in my opinion.

Total calories = 791
13 loose filled cups

61 calories per cup
5 oz. ham + 2 cups Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad + 1 cup cantaloupe = 427 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Turkey Chipotle Tacos

Have I mentioned that I love tortillas? Maybe. I love tortillas and how you can put so many different things on them. Taco's of course, are the most familiar to the tortilla. Taco meat just makes the tortilla happy. And me too of course.

I especially love how quick and easy taco meat is to make. When I make it, I make a ton so I can freeze it for future use. The many uses of taco meat. Soft shell tacos, hard shell tacos, tostados, taco salads, nachos...are you thinking about the shrimp scene from Forest Gump yet??

Can't get the kids to eat beans? Put them in the taco meat and they will never know they are in there. Trust me.

The chipotles add an awesome flavor. If you don't have the canned with adobo sauce, just use chipotle chili powder and you will get a similar flavor.

Today we were low on the optionals for taco fixings. I would have loved to add avocado or tomato. I was even low on lettuce and had to use salad lettuce. Hey, whatever works. They were delicious and now I have a freezer full of taco meat.

Turkey Chipotle Tacos

2.5 lbs. ground turkey, 93%
3 cups medium salsa
1 can refried beans
1 chipotle pepper with adobo sauce
Optional toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado, cheese, or sour cream

Brown ground turkey. Add salt as desired. Add salsa and refried beans. Stir and heat. Chop chipotle pepper finely and add to taco meat. I added a couple of teaspoons of the adobo sauce as well. Add as desired, taste for spicyness. Cook for 10 minutes for flavors to combine. Serve on 100 calorie whole wheat tortillas or over lettuce.

Total calories = 2270
8 cup = 284 calories per cup
1/3 cup taco meat = 95 calories

2 Turkey Chipotle Tacos with lettuce, onions & sour cream = 430 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vinegar and Coarse Salt Chipotle Roasted Potatoes

So Kristen over at Dine and Dish has a cool little adopt-a-blogger thing going on right now. Basically, a bunch of newbies get paired up with a more experienced blogger to serve as their "mentor". It sounded interesting so I signed up, what did I have to lose. I certainly don't know everything about the blogging world (or much at all actually). So I am paired up with Lys from Cooking in Stiletto's. She has a great blog with a bunch of fantastic recipes.

She just wrote up one that she got from Ingrid Hoffman from The Food Network for Vinegar Chipotle Roasted Potatoes and Coarse Salt . I was making steak tonight and was in need for a side dish. The husband is quite the meat and potatoes kind of guy so I knew this would work great.

These were good, I liked the flavor of the spices and the salt. I did leave off the olive oil so I'm sure there would have been extra flavor from that but they were good without it. I just sprayed a bit of cooking spray on them and with the vinegar and spices, they were fine.

The steak were just No Name Steaks marinated in a bit of garlic and worcestershire sauce with a lot of steak seasoning and pepper. It was a good meal. Thanks, Lys!

Vinegar & Salt Chipotle Roasted Potatoes

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
6 small or 4 large russet potatoes (I used about 2 lbs.)
Cooking spray
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 small red onion, cut into small wedges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix vinegar, cumin and chili powder. Slice potaoes into 1 in. chunks. Toss potatoes with vinegar mixture. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes. Spray cooking spray over potatoes adn place them in a single layer on a baking pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered fro 40 minutes, stirring occcasionally. Remove potatoes from oven, add onions and mix together. Return pan to oven and roast for an additional 20 minutes. If still not fully roasted, add another 15 minutes to the time.
Total calories = 889 calories
5 servings = 178 calories per serving
1 steak + 1 tbsp. Heinz 57 + Vinegar and Salt Roasted Potatoes + green beans = 408 calorie dinner
Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Maple Orange Chicken with Squash & Sweet Potatoes

Ok, I know I've done the orange squash thing before but it is SOOOOO good! Really, really. These chicken breasts were super moist and tender and the flavor was fantastic. I loved the orange marmalade with this. The low sugar stuff tastes excellent and you won't be missing anything but the extra calories.

This was from a Food Network Robin Miller recipe. I subbed butternut squash rather than acorn squash because it's easier to peel and I just like it better. I also used onion instead of leeks. I love orange flavor so this was a definite winner for me. Plus, anything I can throw in the crock pot by 10 am is a great thing too.

Maple Orange Chicken with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2 in. pieces (I used about 1 lb)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 in. pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 boneless chicken breasts (I used 4 - 6 oz. breasts)
Salt and pepper
1 cup low sugar orange marmalade
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. maple syrup

Place squash, sweet potatoes and onions in the crockpot. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place on top of vegetables in crock pot. In a medium bowl, combine orange marmalade and remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. Garnish with green onions if desired.

Total calories = 1748 calories
4 servings = 437 calories per serving

Maple Chicken with Squash and Sweet Potatoes = 437 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Veggie Burgers

These were good, but not great. I think they could have been great though.

I first saw this on Dairy Free Betty who got it from Oh She Glows. They looked amazing. She used spelt flour which I have not used but have heard good things about. I used whole wheat flour but I wish I had used the spelt or regular flour. They tasted a bit too floury for me and I think it was because of the whole wheat flour.

Also I SO wished I had pumpkin seeds and spinach to put in these. So I just used the sunflower seeds (which are fantastic in this) and threw in some cilantro. The recipe I used is below but check out Oh She Glows so you can see how she did it. Really, these could be made so many different ways and I am eager to try them again.

I used some garlic yogurt from my middle eastern experiment on these and that was wonderful! Red pepper spread would be awesome too. I put my burger on a 100 calorie Arnold Select sandwich thin which I think are phenomenal.

Veggie Burgers

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
3 fresh basil leaves or 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. adobo seasoning
1 clove minced garlic
small handful cilantro
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place all ingredients except the seeds and flour into a food processor. Process until mixture is blended well. Remove mixture and put into a large bowl, add seeds and stir well. Add the flour slowly, stirring until well blended. Shape into patties and bake for 15 minutes and then flip and bake for another 10 minutes.

Total calories = 940 calories
9 patties = 104 calories per patty

1 veggie burger on 100 calorie bun + tomato and garlic yogurt + 2 leftover stuffed zucchini boats = 402 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Southwestern Chicken Wraps

This is a quick and easy meal. Very quick. I totally cheated and used "chicken". That's what we call the frozen precooked bagged chicken. It's interesting because it is 110 calories for 3 oz. Yet real chicken breast, cooked is about 140 calories for 3 oz.


So the "chicken" has water and broth filler which makes it less calories per ounce. So while it IS real chicken, we call it "chicken". I don't get it too often but if I can get it for a decent price, it does make for a quick meal.

I also used a packet of fajita seasoning. Using Penzey's Fajita Spice or making your own really is tastier but like I said, we were going for quick and easy tonight. I love how you can just put this together whenever and it stays in the frig until ready to eat. Nice.

I would have loved to top this with avocado and tomato but I didn't have any avocado and the tomatoes were fuzzy. Gross!

Southwest Chicken Salad Wraps

Cooking spray
1 1/2 lbs. chicken (I used precooked strips tonight)
3/4 cup fat free ranch dressing
1 pkg. fajita seasoning mix
1/2 cup light mayo
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp. green onion, chopped
10 - 100 calorie whole wheat tortillas, toasted
Optional toppings: tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, sour cream, cheese

Cook chicken in cooking spray until browned. Combine ranch, mayo and seasoning mix. Add chicken, celery, peppers and onion. Toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours. Spread generous 1/2 cup of chicken mixture over toasted tortilla. Top with additional toppings as desired.

Total calories = 2640 calories
10 - 1/2 cup servings = 264 calories per wrap
Add calories for optional toppings

1 Southwestern Chicken Wrap and 1 - 100 calorie bag of popcorn = 364 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

These would make a nice healthy vegetarian appetizer. They are pretty too look at too. They were fun to eat and tasted awesome.

It was sorta difficult to scoop the zucchini out without completely annihilating the entire thing. I ended up cutting the sides diagonally with a sharp knife like a triangle and then scooping it out. Just using a spoon would have drove me crazy. It was worth it because they are very good.

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

5 zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs. total)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz), drained with juice reserved
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Garlic and Herb)
1/4 cup parsley
6 - 10 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn

Preheat oven to 400. Halve the zucchini lengthwise and hollow them out with a small scoop or spoon. Spray with cooking spray and place them the oven to roast, for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them.

Chop zucchini centers. Saute zucchini with cooking spray with onion, 1 garlic clove and red pepper flakes. Cook 5 - 6 minutes. Finely chop the drained tomatoes and add them to the zucchini mixture. Stir until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and deglaze the pan with the wine. Cook until the wine evaporates, then stir in the reserved tomato juice. Reduce the heat and let the tomato juice slowly cook off as well.

Melt butter in small saucepan and add the other 4 cloves of garlic and cook for about 2 -3 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and lightly toast them for about 2 minutes. Add the cheese, parsley and more pepper. Remove from heat.

When tomato juice and liquid has almost cooked out of the stuffing, stir in the bread crumbs mixture and the basil and remove from heat.

 Remove zucchini boats from the oven and fill each with a mound of stuffing. Place the boats back in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes to crisp the bread crumbs.

Total calories = 887
10 zucchini boats or halves = 89 calories per boat

2 zucchini boats + small amount of rotini with sauce + cantaloupe = 478 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

White Chicken Chili

So now that it's February, winter is nearing the end.

Oh, that's right, I live in Minnesota so winter REALLY won't end for at least 2 more months.


I do love that it is not pitch black at 5 pm any more though.

So I'm looking at my recipes and I noticed that I have a lot of chili recipes. A lot. Even thought I typically will make chili all year long, it seems more appreciated on these cold winter days.

This chili rocks.

It is super thick, hearty, chunky, flavorful and delicious. It's zippy but not super spicy, just the way I like it. The freshness of the green onions and cilantro is wonderful, don't skip it. Many people put Monterey Jack cheese on this chili but I think that it just dulls the flavor rather than enhance it so I skip the cheese.

White Chicken Chili

2 lbs. skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. coriander
2 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
2 1/2 cups water
2 chicken boullion cubes
2 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Heat a large skillet, coat pan with cooking spray, add chicken to pan, cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is browned. Remove chicken, coat pan with cooking spray, add onion to pan, saute for about 6 minutes. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, oregano and coriander, saute for about a minute. Stir in chilies and chicken, reduce heat to low, partially cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add water, bouillion cubes, beans and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stir in hot sauce. Ladel into bowls and add cilantro and green onions to the top.

Total calories = 1828 calories
8 - 1 cup servings = 229 calories per cup

2 cups White Chicken Chili = 458 calories

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Middle Eastern Manti & Mixed Fresh Vegetable Salad

Today we head to the Middle East. Joanne over at Eats Well With Others is hosting Regional Recipes. A new country is picked each month so we can all take a culinary tour of the world, while sitting in the comfort of our own homes! Check out the details on her blog if you'd like to participate and find out what country we'll be visiting next month.

The first thing I thought of when I heard Middle Eastern food was hummus. My love for hummus runs deep. But I have made many versions of hummus so this was not a challenge for me and I wanted this to be somewhat of a challenge. I saw many recipes for falafel. While I have never made falafel, I have several recipes that are on the back burners just waiting to be made so the challenge was still set before me:

**Find something that you wouldn't ordinarily think to make and is out of your comfort zone**.

Ok, so I found a Turkish recipe for
manti. Turkey is in the middle east, right? It was in the middle eastern section of so I went with it. It essentially is homemade ravioli with a garlic yogurt sauce. I have never made this before nor would ever think to make this. This works. Totally out of my comfort zone, and it sounded intriguing. I did choose to use ground beef over the lamb, I didn't want to venture too far out of the zone. I was skeptical, it sounded like a lot of work for some basic ingredients. I was amazed how it all came together and was unbelievably delicious! Garlic yogurt! Who would have thunk it! I also never make home made doughs. I didn't even have a rolling pin. So I did have trouble making the manti and getting the dough thin enough.

They weren't pretty.

By the end I pretty much got the hang of it and figured out how to get them thin enough. It was quite time consuming but they really were delicious. My red pepper oil didn't turn out as well as it should have either. I don't know if I used the wrong kind of flakes or something but the oil didn't turn red at all and it didn't flavor as much as I think it could have. I think I would have rather just use the garlic yogurt and a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes on it.

The onions. I use onions in everything. I have cut them into chunks, chopped, diced, minced, blended, everything. My eyes were always fine. I thought my eyes to be impermeable. But I had never grated. This was different. Holy cow, I never knew about the huge amount of juice in an onion! Grating an onion is like juicing an onion! I read the directions to drain the onion and I'm thinking "Are you kidding me?" The jokes on me apparently because yes indeed, you need to drain the onion. If I had thought of it, I would have saved the juice as it probably would have tasted good in a sauce or something. Or even funnier to put it in a wine glass and give it to the husband.

I needed a side dish.

So we headed back to the middle east to see what they would have prepared. I found a recipe for Salatit Khodar Meshakel. That sounded interesting for sure. It's basically just a mixed fresh vegetable salad. Yet, I enjoyed cutting the veggies in a small dice, as I don't usually do that.

I also was careful about the presentation. I feel that a family in the middle east wouldn't just toss lettuce from a plastic bag into to a bowl and throw some veggies and dressing on it as we often do for dinner. So I chopped then all into a small dice and made it look pretty before we all dove in. It really didn't take that much longer and somehow I enjoyed it more because I took the time to make it look nice.

I've never been to the middle east but I certainly enjoyed the small amount of culinary knowledge that I picked up while researching recipes for the middle east. I can't wait to see what others prepared. I would make this again. It would be a great dish to serve to company. If you can make your manti pretty and all the same size, which I feel I could do now that I have "practiced", it would be an impressive meal.

Manti (Turkish Dumplings)

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tbsp. water, or as needed for dough
2 onions, peeled
1/2 lb. ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
3 - 4 cloves pressed garlic
8 oz. plain lowfat yogurt

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and the water, mixing well with your hands. Add water as needed to form a soft dough. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.

Shred the onions with a grater and place them in a colander and drain the juice. Discard the juice or save it for something else. Combine the onion and ground beef, season with salt and pepper as desired. Mix well.

Divide the dough into 2 portions and lightly flour a work surface. Roll the dough as thin as you can into a rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 2 in. squares with a knife. Place about 2 tsp. of the meat mixture in the center of each square. Seal the dumplings by gathering the edges of the dough and pinching them together at the top to form a bundle. Transfer the finished manti to a floured plate and sprinkle more flour to prevent sticking. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Heat the oil and red pepper flakes in small skillet over low heat just until the pepper flakes have started to color the oil, don't let them burn. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Stir the minced garlic into the yogurt and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the manti until the filling is no longer pink and the dough is tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. Drain well. Divide the manti among 4 plates, spoon the yogurt sauce over the manti and drizzle each serving with the hot pepper oil. Enjoy.
Total calories = 1923 calories
4 servings = 481 calories per serving
1 serving Middle Eastern Manti & Mixed Vegetable Salad = 631 calorie dinner

Salatit Khodar Meshakel = Mixed Fresh Vegetable Salad

This is a popular Arab salad that is different from conventional Western salads in that all the ingredients are finely chopped and absorb the dressing and each others flavors better. Do not prepare it too long before serving as the ingredients will wilt. Dress it just before putting it on the table. Ingredients can vary according to taste.

1 small romaine lettuce bunch
2 small cucumbers or 1 longer one
2 tomatoes
2 green onion
1/3 cup cauliflower
1/4 cup carrots
3 tbsp. finely chopped parsely
1 tbsp. finely chopped dill (optional)
1 tbsp. finely chopped mint (optional)

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed with salt
Salt and pepper

Wash lettuce, shred. Cut vegetables and herbs into a small fine dice and mix with lettuce. Mix the dressing ingredients thoroughly, sprinkle over salad and toss well.

Total calories = Varies depending on how much dressing you used and what veggies. This recipe with this dressing is about 500 calories.

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.