Friday, April 30, 2010

Sloppy Joes

We grew up with just my dad. He didn't cook. He did good for having 3 kids but we did eat a lot of frozen TV dinners, pot pies and hamburger helper. A lot.

One of the homemade meals we ate were sloppy joes. I remember it just being ground beef, tomato soup and maybe some mustard or a dash of bbq sauce. They couldn't have been that bad because we did eat them often.

These are way better.

I have since made sloppy joes many different ways. This recipe is one of my favorites. So is this recipe. I usually use ground turkey but I bought a 3 lb. ground beef chunk on sale and used that instead.

This recipe makes a lot so I ate it for lunches for a couple of days. So not an issue since they were fantastic.

Sloppy Joes
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

3 lbs. ground chuck, 80% (or sub ground turkey)
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced (you can use any color)
5 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

1 1/2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Add ground beef (or turkey) to large pan and cook until brown. Drain fat. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until veggies start to get soft. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I made these pretty mild but go ahead and add some more seasonings and spice if you want!

Total calories with lean ground turkey = 2695 calories

I didn't count how many portions were in this. I will next time I make them. I am guessing this made about 15 sandwiches for about 179 calories + a 100 calorie Arnold Selects Sandwich Thin = about 279 calories. I often estimate these sort of sandwiches at about 300 calories a piece, if they are packed with veggies they often come in at less.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheese Ravioli with Onion Butter Sauce

This isn't exactly low calorie. I apologize.

But it was good. So gooooooooooood.

I tried to help the calories by not putting extra parmesan on it and using light butter. But really, how can cheese filled ravioli smothered in butter sauce be low calorie? Unless you eat an incredibly small portion of it.

I don't have that much control.

I ate so much of this. Seriously. I smelled of onion and garlic all night. But enjoyed. Every. Minute. Of. It!

I also loaded up with much more of the onions after I took the picture, the onion sauce just rocked.

I really can't say enough good things about this recipe. Go make it. Now. Then go to the gym. For a long time. :-)

Cheese Ravioli with Onion Butter Sauce

2 lbs. fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
2 tbsp. olive oil
6 tbsp. butter
5 medium sweet onions, about 2 lbs, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Optional: Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Additional parsley and italian seasoning for garnish

Cook the ravioli according to package directions, don't overcook. Heat a large pan, add olive oil and butter. Add the onion and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and saute, tossing occasionally, until the onions are caramelized and nicely browned, about 20 - 30 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the parsley and marjoram, add the drained ravioli and a little bit of the cooking water to the sauce if it needs more moisture. Toss gently and cook for about 1 minute. Sprinkle with cheese if desired and garnished.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

I tend to get excited when we have overripe bananas. It doesn't happen often. We go through a lot of bananas here. A lot. Between my 3 kids, 3 adults and 6 daycare kids, we go through a ton of bananas.

You can see why having overripe bananas is such a rare occurance around here. Last week when I made the carrot banana bread, my dad had given me 2 older bananas to use. This time, I guarded my last 2 bananas until it was time to make the muffins.

I am glad I did because these were awesome! My kids loved them too. I love the oatmeal on top, it makes them look healthier. The kids of course, dug into the ones I sprinkled with chocolate chips. It made them seem more like cupcakes to them.

I loved how heathy these muffins are and at only 95 calories per muffin, they make a fantastic snack. Slightly more calories with the chocolate addition. This is 100% kid tested and they loved them and didn't know they were getting a healthy treat.

I'm going to have to hide some more bananas.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins
Adapted from GreenLiteBites

2 1/2 cups (300 g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
2 large overripe bananas
1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt (I use lite n fit)
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. molasses
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Topping: Either quick cooking oats or mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Add the egg whites, yogurt, honey, molasses, applesauce and extract. Whisk until blended. Mix the sifted flour with the banana mixture until just moistened. Don't overmix. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. Evenly distribute the batter in the muffin tin cups. Sprinkle with either the quick oats or mini chocolate chips. Bake for about 18 minutes. Makes 18 muffins.

Total calories = 1704
18 muffins = 95 calories per muffin (without topping)

2 muffins = 190 calorie snack

Calories calculated from Some numbers may be rounded or approximate.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ham and Swiss Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Not a beautiful meal by any means but very good and hearty. I usually make this when I have leftover ham chunks in the freezer. I often have cooked, shredded chicken on hand so this comes together fairly quickly.

This makes a lot, I had plenty of leftovers for the next couple of days. It still doesn't look pretty reheated but it tasted excellent!

Ham & Swiss Chicken

1/2 cup egg beaters
2 cups milk, 1%, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
10 slices bread, cubed (I used Wonder Whole Wheat 55 calorie bread)
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1 lb. chunks of ham (I used leftover from a whole ham)
1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese, 8 oz.
2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used about 10 oz)
1 can cream of chicken soup, healthy request

In a large bowl, stir the egg beaters and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Add butter, celery, onion and spices to taste. Stir in the bread crumbs. Place half the mixture in a crock pot sprayed with cooking spray, top with half of the ham, cheese and chicken. Combine soup and remaining 1/2 cup of milk, stir until combined. Pour half over the chicken, repeat layers once. Cover and cook for 5 - 6 hours on low.

Total calories = 3421 calories
8 servings = 428 calories per serving

Ham & Swiss Chicken + broccoli = 468 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from Some numbers may be rounded or approximate.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garlic, Tomato Cheesy Zucchini

Garlic is a popular thing in this household. It pretty much goes in anything. Except ice cream. We have a whole bunch of heads of garlic, 2 huge jars of minced garlic in the frig, (2 jars?), garlic powder, garlic salt, garlic pepper and fresh grated garlic salt. We even bought garlic Jelly Belly jelly beans once in Wisconsin at the Jelly Belly factory. They weren't good, don't try them.

So with a couple of needing-to-be-used zucchini in the frig and loads upon loads of garlic on hand, this seemed the perfect side dish for tonights meal.

These are seriously garlicky. While incredibly delicious, this is not a good date night meal. That would be a mistake. I would have liked to use parmesan cheese but we only had mozzerella cheese so that worked to get in my cheese fix for the evening.

Garlic, Tomato Cheesy Zucchini

2 medium zucchini, cut into slices
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 large tomato
2 oz. mozzerella cheese (or parmesan)
Salt and pepper

Saute zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper for about 4 minutes until just tender. Add tomato and stir. Turn heat to low and sprinkle with shredded cheese and cover until melted. Serve immediately.

Total calories = 312 calories
4 servings = 78 calories per serving

1 Spicy Turkey Burger + 100 calorie Arnold Selects Sandwich Thin + salsa sour cream + 1/4 cup baked beans + Garlic, Tomato Cheesy Zucchini = 478 calorie dinner

Calories are calculated from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Haitian Chicken Puffs & Caribbean Black Bean Soup

Haiti. We've certainly been hearing a lot about them lately. I admit, until recently, I didn't know much about Haiti. I know Port-Au-Prince was the capital and they spoke French. That's about it.
So when Joanne announced that we were heading to Haiti for the Regional Recipes tour, I figured I ought to do some research.
I knew they were poor but it turns out they are the poorest country in the America's.
It is also where Columbus landed in 1492 and claimed it for Spain.
Around 1700, the French were in control.
In 1804, the Haitians won their Independence and became the first African American republic in the New World.
About 200 years ago, they were the richest French colony, due to sugar, coffee and indigo production. This was possible because they had tons of slaves.
Wyclef Jean is from Haiti.
They tend to have a lot of earthquakes. The recent one killed anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 people. Sadly, they don't even know for sure how many died.
Haitian food tends to get lumped together with Caribbean Cuisine but does have a unique flavor based on Creole and French cooking styles.
Haitians tend to use a lot of peppers in their dishes and they are well seasoned, known to be moderately spicy. Not to mild but not too spicy. Just the way I like it.

So I'm flipping through my recent issue of the Cooking Light magazine while watching Parenthood on my computer (multi-tasking, you know). And out pops an article about Haitian Cuisine with a heartwarming story about a woman talking about the Haitian foods she grew up with and how she still feeds her children and grandchildren the food that she grew up with.

It was there I found the recipe for Haitian Chicken Pate Puffs. Apparently these Pate Puffs are a family favorite appetizer and are made at almost all family gatherings.

I also had been hanging on to a Caribbean Black Bean Soup recipe that I've been meaning to make for a long time. I LOVE black bean soup and this one proved to be awesome!

I love how the soup is very thick and chunky. Just the way I like it. You certainly could thin it out if you'd like more broth. This was spicy but it didn't knock your socks off. Actually, it did knock one of them off.

It's the addition of the orange juice that gives it the Caribbean flair. It's nice. You can taste it but unless you know it's OJ, you don't know what the flavor is. It pairs beautifully with the spices.

I had never used puff pastry before. I was initially pretty clueless as to how to do it and was wondering if they would turn out as pretty as the picture shown in the magazine. (Ha, is ANYTHING ever as pretty as the magazine?).

They really weren't that difficult. I do recommend that you get all the ingredients out and ready to go to make the filling. That worked well for me and it came together pretty fast with everything all prepped.

I did make some changes. It asked for raw ground chicken, I had some cooked chicken that was from the soup so I just used that. I finely chopped it and it seemed fine. My grocery store also was out of habaneros. Grrrr. So I used a jalapeno. I have heard that the flavor of the habanero is better though and I would have liked to try that.

If you notice, my title doesn't call them Pate Puffs while that is what the magazine calls them. That's right. I didn't choose to "pate" my filling. I felt I would like the consistency of the filling better without throwing it in the food processor. The only benefit of the food processor would be that it would be more gloppy and I think that I would have been able to get slightly more filling inside. When it was crumbly, it was too hard to press the sides if there was too much filling.

These were excellent. Really. I would recommend them as an appetizer anytime. In fact, I WILL be making them again for an appetizer party of some sort. I won't be making them for a normal dinner however as they are 137 calories a piece and I ate WAY too many of them.

I think I ate 4 of them for dinner.

We won't talk about the 2 more that I ate for "dessert". Oops! I told you they were good!

Caribbean Black Bean Soup

1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. molasses
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice (I went a little heavy on this and liked it)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and chopped
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt
Cilantro, chopped

Saute onion, splenda, molasses, chili powder, cumin, and coriander for about 2 -3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, orange juice, tomato paste and stir until well blended. Stir in chicken, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for about an hour or more if you want. Add black beans and cook for 10 minutes more. Stir in salt and cilantro or garnish bowls with cilantro.

Haitian Chicken Puffs
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, May 2010

1 habanero pepper, finely diced (I used a jalapeno as it was all I had)
Cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion, finely diced
2 tsp. garlic, minced

6 oz. chicken, cooked and finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot, shredded
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. green onion, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped (I used about 1/4 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 - 17 oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water

Coat pan with cooking spray. Add habanero pepper, onion and garlic to pan. Saute 3 minutes. Add chicken, cook 3 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add carrot, cook 2 minutes, add tomato paste, cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add lime juice and vinegar, scraping pan to loosen the browned bits on bottom of pan. Add green onions, parsley and seasonings. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

If you want this to be a pate mixture, you can place cooled chicken mixture into a food processor and mix until almost smooth. I didn't do this.

Preheat oven to 400. The puff pastry I used came in 2 sheets and I cut them each into 9 squares. Combine egg and water, stirring with a whisk. Brush egg mixture along the edges of pastry squares, spoon about a tablespoon of filling in center of each pastry square. Fold each pastry square in half, press edges closed with tines of fork. Brush top with egg wash, arrange 1 inch apart on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.


Total calories for Black Bean Soup = 1846 calories

I didn't measure how many cups were in this but we got about 8 medium sized bowls from it.

8 servings = 231 calories per serving

Total calories for Haitian Chicken Puffs = 2464 calories
18 servings = 137 calories per Puff

1 servings Black Bean Soup + 4 Haitian Chicken Puffs = 779 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.
Information about Haiti from Wikipedia and

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Carrot Banana Bread

This is my second time making this bread. The first time I used a loaf pan and it just didn't cook right in the middle. We did end up eating it and it was delicious so I wanted to try it again.

This time I cooked it in an 8 x 8 in. pan and it worked much better. It still came out pretty moist but it was done which was good enough for me.

I do think that if you used different ingredients, it won't be quite so moist. I got this from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice and she says to use either Greek yogurt or regular sour cream. I used light sour cream which is much goopier. I have a feeling using the greek yogurt would have been better. NOT that this was bad. It was super duper delicious, just a bit wet inside.

Carrot Banana Bread
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

3/4 cup sour cream, light
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup egg beaters
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 large)
1 1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or any kind of nuts)
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a bread pan. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another large bowl, whisk the sour cream and honey together, add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Alternate the flour mixture and the banana and mix them with the wet ingredient mixture, ending with the flour. Add carrot, raisins and sunflower seeds (nuts). Pour into a greased 8 x 8 in. glass pan. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the top. Bake 60 - 70 minutes at 350. Cool for 15 - 20 minutes.

Total calories = 2833 calories
16 servings = 177 calories per serving

1 piece of Carrot Banana Bread = 177 calorie breakfast or snack

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sweet Asian Chicken Salad Wraps

My love for chicken salad is strong. I have had long, deep, meaningful discussions about chicken salad. And not just once. It comes up in conversations often. It makes me happy. And I'm all about being happy.

I really loved the texture of this chicken salad. Between the crunch of the peanuts and the celery and the sweet juiciness of the oranges, it was fantastic. I put mine on a whole wheat tortilla but they are just as good on bread or a bun.  Whatever strikes  your fancy!

I ate a lot. I ate 2 of these. They were that good.

My motto:

Be happy. Make chicken salad.

Sweet Asian Chicken Salad Wraps
Adapted from $5 Dinners

2 cups shredded chicken, cooked (about 10 oz)
1/2 cup light mayo
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. juice from mandarin oranges
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped (about 2 oz)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 - 8 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
Salt and pepper
6 - 100 calorie whole wheat tortilla wraps

Boil chicken until done and shred. Make asian dressing by whisking together mayo, soy sauce, juice, garlic powder and ground ginger. In large bowl toss shredded chicken, oranges, peanuts, celery with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Total calories = 1960
6 - slightly heaping 1/2 cup servings = 327 calories per wrap
2 Sweet Asian Chicken Salad Wraps = 654 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded or approximate.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Zucchini, Peppers & Potato Bake

It was a cool day so I decided that leaving the oven on for a long time was okay. These are pretty quick to prep up but do take quite a while in the oven. Very tasty and can be made according to your own tastes. Add some cayenne pepper if you like it spicy.

I actually ran out of onions *gasp* so I just made it without. I thought I had another onion but alas, there was none to be found. It still rocked and we ended up eating practically the whole thing. As usual, I wish I had added more zucchini and less potato. Don't get me wrong, I love potatoes but the zucchini are SOOOOO low in calorie that I would rather fill up on those. This seriously an awesome meal though.

Zucchini, Peppers & Potato Bake

3 potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), cut into bite size pieces
1 zucchini (about 1 lb), quartered and cut into bite sized chunks
1 onion (I didn't use this but I usually do), chopped in large chunks
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/3 cup bread crumbs (I used garlic and herb)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss together veggies in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss with bread crumbs. Season with paprika, salt and pepper. Put on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour or 1 1/4 hours. Stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender and lightly brown. You may need to adjust cooking time depending how done you want your veggies.

Total calories = 1170
6 servings = 195 calories

1 Orange Chipotle Rib + Zucchini, Peppers & Potato Bake = 595 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded or approximate.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Orange Chipotle Boneless Ribs

This is a meal that we have made often. You could certainly use regular rack ribs or the boneless. We prefer boneless. We're not big eat-meat-off-the-bone people around here.

Cooking these gives the ribs the most wonderful flavor. It's a little zippy but not too much. Just the right amount of heat.

Orange Chipotle Boneless Ribs
Adapted from A Year in Slow Cooking
2 pounds beef or pork country style boneless (I used pork)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange marmalade, low sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T soy sauce
3 T splenda
1 tsp. molasses
2 t chipotle chili powder
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t ground ginger
4 cloves smashed and chopped garlic

In a mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the sauce.
Put the ribs into your crockpot.

Pour your sauce over the top.

Close and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on high for 5-6. The meat is done when it has reached the desired tenderness and is no longer pink.
The rib I ate was 5 oz. cooked, much of the juice and sauce was left in the crock pot. I estimate it to be about 400 calories. That is hopefully a high estimate.

1 Orange Chipotle Rib + Zucchini Potato Bake = 595 calorie dinner

Calories calculated by Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sweet Potato, Potato Salad

Potato salad = summer. To me. I know it's not summer but it's feeling like it! I've been making potato salad for many years and usually make it about the same way. So when I read a recipe that was pretty much like mine but included sweet potatoes, I was delighted.

I usually add a bit of vinegar, sugar and maybe some spices to my dressing but I kept this simple. I did still change the recipe some to my taste.

The main thing I liked about this was that it made the salad so much prettier than regular potato salad. For that reason alone, I will always use sweet potatoes in my potato salad. They tasted great too!

I did overcook my potatoes so mine was a bit mushy. I tested them and they were perfect and then left briefly to go deal with a child and by the time I came back, they were mush. I tend to overcook things quite often. So especially the sweet potatoes did get mushy but it was still pretty and tasted fantastic.

Sweet Potato, Potato Salad
Adapted from Allrecipes

3 regular potatoes, I used a bit less than 1 1/2 lbs.
1 sweet potato, I used a bit less than 1 lb.
3 hard boiled eggs
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup mayo or miracle whip, light (I used miracle whip, light)
1 tsp. mustard
Salt and pepper

Dice potatoes into very small chunks and boil until done but still slightly firm. Drain and cool potatoes in refrigerator. Chop eggs and add them, the celery and the onion to the potatoes. Whisk together the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. Add to potato mixture, toss well to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Total calories = 1318
8 servings = 165 calories

Green Chile Pepper & Cream Cheese Burger + 1 serving Sweet Potato Salad = 536 calorie dinner.

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Taco Pasta

Did you know that Chuck E. Cheese sells beer and wine? Is this because they want to simply appeal to the adults taste in beverages or does it mean that the only way to endure the pain of Chuck E. Cheese on a Saturday afternoon is with the help of beer or wine? I admit, a glass of wine helps me endure the insanity. I don't have to drive either. :-)

We're not big beer drinkers here. I used to drink beer when I was way younger and we went to the bar and got pitchers of beer. It's been awhile since we've been to the bar so we only buy them for the occasional adult parties. Most of our parties of late, have been with kids. In fact, I can't remember a party without the kids in quite a while.

Moral of the story: When I popped the frig for a beer for this recipe, I found that my few bottles of Miller Genuine Draft had long since expired. Embarrassingly long ago. Also embarrassingly why I keep them in the bottom of the frig. I just keep putting mass amounts of veggies on top of them and they just have become "part of the frig". Sad. Makes me wonder what else is "part of the frig". Anyways, I did however have a couple of cans of O'Doul's that were were in better shape. We have a friend who likes it and we keep some around for him. Thank you David. :-)

I could have simply used chicken stock instead of the beer but the thought of pouring in an entire beer into the sauce sounded intriguing. I am glad I did because the sauce was delicious. You couldn't exactly taste the beer but it did enhance the flavor nicely. We deemed this recipe for sure a keeper, maybe with a bit more zing of some kind as it was fairly mild. Super flavorful but mild.

I guess I'll have to go buy some more beer...

This is my submission to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Cynthia at The Kitchen Slave.

This is also my submission to Friday Favorites and Foodie Friday.

Taco Pasta

1 lb. whole grain penne pasta
1 lb. ground turkey, 93%
1 large onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno chile, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 - 12 oz. bottled beer (I used O'Doul's, you could use chicken stock too)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese or whatever kind of cheese you like
2 small plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 head lettuce, chopped

Boil pasta, cook until done. Drain and return to the pot. While pasta is working, cook ground turkey in a pan until browned, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 of the onion, the jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin, season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is soft, about 6 - 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute and then stir in the beer. Add the sauce to the pasta, spoon into a serving dish (I just used a 9 x 13 glass pan), add cheese immediately so it will melt. Then top with onion, tomatoes and lettuce.

Total calories = 2877 calories
6 giant servings = 480 calories per serving

1 serving Taco Pasta Toss = 480 calorie dinner

These really were huge servings, I doubt that I ate 1/6th of this. I probably ate more like 1/8th for 360 calories. But it's nice to know that if you are super hungry that you can eat a LOT of food for under 500 calories!

Calories calculated from Some numbers may be rounded or approximate.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green Chile Pepper & Cream Cheese Burger

My kids love tongue twisters. Especially since we started learning about alliteration they have been going crazy with it. Reeni has started a blogger burger club. Unbeknownst to her, my kids have renamed it the:

Build a bountiful, bedazzling, beautiful blogger burger club.

It changes often. It might be longer by now.

So the awesome idea is for her to create a mouthwatering, delightful burger that she would like us to make, rate and give our opinion about it. This is nice because it's awesome to see your creation or idea on other blogs. It's also nice to be able to see if it is a user friendly type meal or if you are just the only one who likes it and we all think your crazy. I have come up with some meals in the past that I am quite sure the mass populous would not find approving at all.

This is a fantastic recipe on so many levels. I know it's just a burger but really, it's awesome.

I know many people put mayo on burgers. I'm telling you, skip the mayo and just use cream cheese. Seriously it tastes so much better and it creates a similar texture.

I for one, love fried onions on my burgers. But to add a can of green chiles really just puts it over the top. She says chilis or jalapenos but I am a much bigger fan of chiles. The green chilies add a fantastic flavor without making it too spicy. Between the bread, burger and cream cheese, you won't find it overly spicy, just flavorful.

Also, it's really simple!!! The topping just takes a few minutes to prepare and your done!

I used an Arnold Selects sandwich thin tonight on my burger but I often just eat it plain with out a bun and this would completely still work for that. I would just spread a bit of cream cheese on the burger and dump a bunch of the chili onion mixture over it.

I did lighten it up a bit and use cooking spray instead of oil and light cream cheese, and I used less cream cheese than she. Although I'm sure the more the better as it was wonderful!

She asked us to rate it. I would give it the highest rating at a 4. I make burgers often summer or winter and I will for sure make this topping again. Her pictures are way more phenomenal than mine so make sure to check out her site!

Green Chile Pepper & Cream Cheese Burger
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

1/2 of a large onion, diced
1 - 4 oz. can of green chiles
Salt and pepper
4 - 4 oz. burgers (recipe I used below)
4 - 100 calorie Arnold Selects Sandwich Thins
4 oz. cream cheese, light

Saute onion in a small skillet with some cooking spray until softened. (I over cooked mine a bit but that's how I like them on burgers). Add chiles, season with salt and pepper, saute for about 5 minutes.

Cook burgers.

Put 1 oz. cream cheese on each bun and divide the chile pepper onion mixture among the burgers.

Turkey Burgers (this is the basic go-to recipe for us)

1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey, 93%
1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup mix
1/2 cup salsa

Mix everything and form into 6 patties. Mix in a bit of water if you need more moisture.

Total calories for 4 of these burgers with the green chile pepper and cream cheese topping = 1482 calories

4 burgers with topping = 371 calories each

1 Green Chili Pepper & Cream Cheese Burger + 1 cup Sweet Potato Salad = 536 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cranberry Roast in the Slow Cooker

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love my crockpot. Stephanie, the most amazing slow cooker artist in the world has time and time again helped to gain even more love and appreciation for my crock pot.

Dinner was practically done at 9 am. And it was seriously simple. I just nuked some baked potatoes and quick cooked some green beans (which I didn't feel like eating) and dinner was done.

The meat was delicious. It had just the right amount of sweetness. You don't have to be a cranberry fan to like this. I don't like canned cranberries at all but this was excellent.

Cranberry Roast
Adapted from A Year Of Slow Cooking
3 lbs. beef chuck roast
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 - 16 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce

Trim whatever excess fat you can off the roast. Put chuck roast in crock pot, mine was partially frozen. Add onion, soy sauce and cranberry sauce. Cover and cook for 7 - 9 hours.

I'm still not exactly sure how to calculate beef roast accurately for caloriesthe meat and a lot of the sauce flavored the meat but was not all used so I don't have an exact calorie count for this. I had a moderate size meat portion and a small baked potato with light sour cream so I feel this was a very decent and healthy meal.

This is linked with:
Crockpot Wednesday at Dining with Debbie

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spicy Turkey Burgers

Not the prettiest burgers but boy do these babies pack a punch! They had some serious flavor going on! I bought a bunch of ground turkey and made several batches of burgers, meatloaf, taco meat, the works all in one day. These came out of the freezer tonight so they did have time to marinate.

I like sauce. I always need some kind of sauce with my food. Regular ketchup and mustard wasn't going to work for these burgers so I mixed up some spicy sour cream to put on mine. I use half light sour cream and half salsa and mix it together. It went really good.

Spicy Turkey Burgers
Adapted from Allrecipes

1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. ginger (I used from a jar)
1 1/2 green chile peppers, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. pepper
2 1/2 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 dash worcestershire sauce

Combine everything and form into 6 burger patties. Cook on stovetop or grill until done. They are quite moist, I made mine in a pan on the stove and they held together fine.

Total calories = 1139 calories
6 burgers = 190 calories per burger patty

1 Spicy Turkey Burger + 100 calorie Arnold Selects Sandwich Thin + salsa sour cream + garlic zucchini + 1/4 cup baked beans = 478 calorie dinner

Calories calculate from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chipotle BBQ Pulled Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Cole Slaw

I've never really been a huge barbeque sauce fan. When everyone else was dipping their chicken nuggets in BBQ sauce, I'd go for the sweet and sour. There are certain store bought brands that I do accept better than others though. I am liking the homemade versions of BBQ sauce much better. The tomato sauce is low in calories and I can add whatever spice, sweetness, or flavoring I choose.

I've been loving my chipotle sauce lately. It really has an awesome flavor. This was a new blend of sauce for me. I make one that has a ketchup base, a blueberry bbq sauce and this one is tomato sauce. So it's different and definitely took some tweaking as I was going. It's good though and of course the chipotle sauce is the shining star in my opinion.

My recipe below calls for both chipotle chili powder and adobo sauce. This is because I didn't have the can of chipotles in adobo sauce like I thought until my daughter scoured the cupboards and at last, found one. Yea!!! So after the meat had been in the slow cooker for a long time, I added a bit of the adobo sauce. I would use a chopped up chipotle and some adobo sauce instead of the powder. Next time.

I also adore coleslaw on my pulled chicken. I knew I wanted to use chipotle adobo sauce in a coleslaw and it turned out fantastic. Thank goodness the daughter had found the can of it by the time I got to it!

This was spicy. Really. Using one whole chipotle plus sauce may have been a bit too much. (but I would do it again). I'm not a spicy girl but I enjoyed this. Rather than the coleslaw cooling the flavor of the meat, it proved just the opposite and revved it up quite a bit.

I loved the results.

If I was planning to eat the coleslaw by itself, without the meat and bun, I would tone the spice down. It was a fantastic flavor, the lime shined thought, the cilantro sung to me. Can you tell that I liked this meal??
This is linked to Food on Fridays and Foodie Friday and Crock Pot Wednesday.

Chipotle BBQ Pulled Chicken

3 lbs. chicken
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
5 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tbsp. paprika
1/2 small can tomato paste
2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. adobo sauce

Put chicken in the crock pot. Add the chopped onions. Stir the sauce ingredients in a bowl and add to crockpot. Cover and cook on ow until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5 - 6 hours. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve.

Total calories = 1940 calories

Spicy Cilantro Coleslaw

5 cups shredded cabbage mix
3 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 cup mayo, light
1/4 cup sour cream, light
2 tbsp. honey
1 chopped chipotle pepper and a 1 tsp. of adobo sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
4 or 5 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Make the dressing by combining the lime juice, mayo, sour cream, honey, salt, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Taste and add spice as desired.

Total calories = 460 calories

I didn't measure how many servings this made. I froze half of the chicken for another meal and the coleslaw we ate most of it during one meal.

I estimate each sandwich or tortilla to be a about 300 calories, probably a bit less if you keep the portions pretty reasonable.

We used both 100 calorie Arnold Sandwich Thin Selects and 100 calorie Whole Wheat Tortillas for these. I had one of each.

Calories calculated by Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chicken Stir Fry with Sesame Sauce

Tonights planned dinner didn't work out. I didn't have the ingredients that I thought I did. Whoops!

I did however, have a bunch of veggies in the refrigerater just calling out "stir fry" to me when I pondered what was for dinner. It was either that or Pizza Hut. Thank goodness stir fry won!

So I chopped up what I had, made my favorite stir fry sauce and we were good to go. I made rice for the husband but didn't need any myself, it was fine just the way it was.

I usually love to put sugar snap peas in my stir fry but didn't have any today. I also meant to chop a carrot but that got left behind in the frig at some point. The husband added after that it needed water chestnuts, I had them, I just didn't think of them. Maybe next time.

It really was too nice outside to chop vegetables so I did it as fast as possible and dinner turned out great.

Chicken Stir Fry with Sesame Sauce

1 1/2 lbs. chicken, cut into bite size chunks
1 1/2 lbs. broccoli
1 zucchini
1 yellow summer squash
1 red pepper
1 1/2 onions
3 green onions

3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. garlic, pressed
3 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup splenda
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. red pepper

Chop all the veggies into bite sized chunks. Brown the chicken in a pan with a bit of cooking spray. Add onions and red pepper, cook for about 2 - 3 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and the sauce and cook until veggies are done and sauce is thickened, about 6 - 8 minutes.

Total calories = 1662
4 huge servings = 416 calorie dinner

Chicken Stir Fry with Sesame Sauce = 416 calorie dinner

Calories calculated by Some numbers are approximate or rounded.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chilaquiles Casserole

Isn't it amazing that you can take the same ingredients, mix them around in different ways and yet, they still taste unique and special? I swear I have 11 billion recipes that ask for black beans, corn, onion, tortillas and sauce. Yet, they do taste different and I love them all.

I like this for when I have nothing planned and I don't have any thawed meat. I always have beans on hand. Always. It comes together pretty quickly without a lot of fuss. A nice quality in a meal.

This is one that I have made before and change the amount of spices everytime. I do need to make a note, I always say to myself when I eat this that I should add another zucchini but I never make a note of it so I forget. Haha! So here it is on the official blog.

Add another zucchini.

It is just nice to pump up the veggies and zucchini is practically a freebee when it comes to calories that you might as well. I meant to add some green onions or cilantro to it but forgot as well. It is pretty tasty just the way it is so it doesn't need anymore.

Chilaquiles Casserole
Adapted from EatingWell magazine

1 onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz. can corn
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
8 - 8 in. 100 calorie tortillas, cut into 6ths
1 - 15 oz. can red or green enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 6 oz.

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 in. baking dish with cooking spray. Heat a large pan with cooking spray, add onion and cook until starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the baking dish. Top with about half the vegetable mixture, about half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil, bake casserole for about 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until casserole is bubbling around the edges and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.

Total calories = 2508 calories
6 servings = 314 calories per serving

1 1/2 servings of Chilaquiles Casserole = 471 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jambalaya Chicken & Sausage Casserole

I almost didn't get a picture of this because it went so fast. I started eating mine and I realized I hadn't taken a picture and thought I'd just wait and take a picture of the leftovers. I soon realized that everyone else was continuing to heap their plates and I'd better snap the photo soon. So as my husband was about to sit down to his second plate of food, I snatched the plate and took the picture.

I never even got chance at seconds. Everyone else did.

Seriously, this was good.

It is more high calorie than I usually go for but it could be toned down. I could have bought a turkey sausage or a low fat sausage but that might not have been as tasty. This stuff rocked.

I based it on a recipe that I made many, many years ago. I just changed up the amounts and spices this time and it seemed to work well.

Jambalaya Casserole

1 lb. chicken breast, cut up into bite size pieces
16 oz. smoked sausage, sliced, I used Hillshire Farm
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup water
2 cups brown minute rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Cook chicken in pan with cooking spray and salt and pepper until lightly browned. Add sausage, pepper, garlic, onion, celery. Cook until veggies are just tender, about 5-8 minutes. Mix in tomatoes and water, bring to a boil. Stir in rice, salt, Cajun seasoning and tabasco sauce. Cover and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes until rice is tender and most of the liquid has absorbed. If there is too much liquid, just leave the cover off for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Total calories = 2877 calories

5 servings = 575 calories per serving

1 serving Jambalaya Casserole = 575 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from Some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thai Peanut Pork in the Slow Cooker

I haven't had good luck cooking pork. I always seem to over cook it. I tend to overcook everything actually but pork seems to take it the hardest. It really doesn't like to be overcooked.

I had about 1 1/2 lbs. of very thin pork chops so because they were so thin, I cooked mine in the crock pot for less time than the recipe called for. They were a little over done and a little dry but not too bad. They seemed a bit forgiving today.

With the sauce and the asian coleslaw, they were delicious! This meal came together quick and was fantastic. Plus getting to eat peanut butter for dinner was a definite perk!

Thai Peanut Pork

2 red peppers, sliced into strips
1 1/2 lbs. pork chops
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup green onions

1 lb. broccoli

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Put peppers and pork chops in the crockpot. Pour teriyaki sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes and garlic over the pork chops. Cover and cook on low until the pork is very tender, about 7 - 8 hours on low. Remove the pork chops carefully and whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Return pork and cook 10 minutes more. Steam broccoli in a bit of water for about 8 minutes. Serve with peanut pork. Garnish with green onions.

Total calories = 1427 calories without broccoli
4 servings = 357 calories per serving
Thai Peanut Pork + Broccoli + Asian Coleslaw = 503 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Asian Coleslaw

I think I've mentioned before that I buy things at Sam's Club and then have to find creative ways to use up stuff. That happens with shredded cabbage. I love BBQ chicken sandwiches with coleslaw, so when I'm at Sam's, I buy the huge bag. Though I don't need the ginormous bag, I buy it anyways because it is cheaper than the small bag I can get at the grocery store. This happens with a lot of items.

So I've had this recipe sitting here for awhile but I don't know where I got it. I really need to start writing down where I get things to give credit where credit is due. It looks similar to a recipe from Simply Recipes but I don't think I got it here. She uses way more oil than I did BUT she gave me the idea to use cilantro. I might try that next time.

I loved, loved, loved this salad. The tasty tang from the vinegar was perfect. I used as little oil as possible and it really was fine. I also left out the peanuts. I didn't have any and I used chunky peanut butter. Sure, peanuts are good but they are so many calories and this was zippy and delicious the way it was.

So the moral of the long winded annoying story is I found a very delightful, scrumptious way to use a portion of the mass amounts of shredded cabbage sitting in my frig. I've made the BBQ chicken sandwiches and now the Asian Coleslaw. Any more ideas???

Asian Coleslaw

1 tbsp. chunky peanut butter
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
4 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp.sugar
4 cups shredded cabbage
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup grated carrots

Place peanut butter in medium bowl. Add oils and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the season rice vinegar vinegar and sugar and taste. Add sugar or salt depending on taste. In a large bowl, toss the shredded cabbage, carrots and onions together and add dressing right before serving.

Total calories = 432 calories
4 servings = 108 calories per serving

Thai Peanut Pork + Broccoli + Asian Coleslaw = 503 calorie dinner

Calories calculated from, some numbers are rounded and approximate.