Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back in the Saddle!!

By The Numbers...

So, I haven't been on here since February 6th...and I've missed blogging about my foodie adventures in the kitchen, so it's great to be back!!

My son broke his leg and had emergency surgery on February 9th...I spent 12 days in Utah helping him through the ordeal, and when I got back, life got away from me.  So I made the decision that I was going to get back at this, because honestly, I have really missed it!

Remember way back when, in January, when I first started this blogging adventure??  I shared that I had started the P90X workout series at work, and at that time made the decision to change the way we eat, how I had been cooking, and to share those adventures with anyone who cared to take a look...

After 90 days of the workout program including the changed diet...
Here's the update for you, by the numbers:
Pounds lost=26
Inches lost=15.75
Blood Pressure=100/76  (used to average 140/110)
Cholesterol =167  (was 204 a year ago)
All other numbers are in range...just don't remember the details!!

I am proud to say that I have never felt better in my adult life.  I have made the decision to continue the P90X series of workouts, and I have continued to develop recipes that are mostly carb free, high in lean protein, low in fat and include lots of great options for those of you who hate to diet.  It can be done, you don't have to give up on tasty meals...nor do you have to give up on meals you enjoy when dining out.

We follow this simple motto:
Do your best, forget the rest!!

What this means for us is that we make an effort every day to exercise, eat healthy, and take care of ourselves.  We also remember that it's important to take those days for enjoyment, too...we dine out occasionally~having our favorite Mexican or Sushi dishes.  Everything in moderation and you don't have to cut anything out.

I have about 8 recipes to post, so check back later this week!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Devil's Squash-ta...

So "what" you ask is "Squash-ta"???
To quote Jessica, "Mastering the Art of Paleo Cooking":
Squash-ta (noun): From the Native American word 'squash' and the Italian 'pasta'. Used in reference to the delicious goodness that is spaghetti squash as a non-starch pasta substitute: "Did you try the squash-ta salad? Its amazing!"; "I think squash-ta sounds good for lunch."; "I would love some pasta but I don't eat wheat.... maybe I'll have the squash-ta."

We have been "pasta free" for 5 weeks now.  And I won't lie to you...we miss it!!  We used to hunker down on a cold Sunday to a steaming bowl of 'sketti, with meat and mushroom sauce and some big ol' hunks of garlic bread...Mmmmmmm!  But no more.  I have been searching for something to replace this tasty meal, and after reading many blogs and recipe sites about the wonders of Spaghetti Squash, I knew it was time to give it a whirl...And this my friends, is my version: The Devil's Squash-ta

The Devil's Squash-ta
1 large Spaghetti Squash
1 jar Bertolli Arrabbiata Spicy Tomato Red Pepper sauce (This is where the "Devil" comes in...this is a spicy little gravy!!)
Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Wash the outside of the squash and pierce with a knife about 8 times all over the squash.  Place on 2 paper towels in the microwave.  Cook on HIGH power for 15 minutes, turning the squash 3 times.  (Turn it over even if you have a rotating table in your micro)

Check at 12 minutes...just in case...you'll know the squash is done when it has a little give to it. Kinda like when you feel the end of a cantaloupe...

Let sit in the microwave, once it feels this way, for 5 minutes to allow the inside to continue to steam.

Be Careful!!  It's gonna be HOT, HOT, HOT!!

Pour your sauce into a saucepan, and heat over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally.

Cut in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and "gunk", just as you would a pumpkin.

Using a fork, start pulling the sides of the squash away from the shell.  You will not believe how the strands just start coming to the middle like a hot, heaping pile of spaghetti!!  It is the coolest thing!!

Repeat with the other half. 

Fill your pasta bowls, ladle on some sauce and give a few healthy grates on the Parmesan to top it off!

This is an incredible meal!  The squash-ta has a little bit of a crunch, but takes on the sauce just like a regular bowl of pasta.  

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 
Serving size: 2 cups Squah-ta; 3/4  cup sauce

234 Calories
10 g Carbs
5 mg Sodium
3 g Protein

4.5 g Fat
11 Carbs
450 mg Sodium
2 g Protein

Surprise!! Fabulous Fiesta Bowl...not what you'd expect!

Fabulous Fiesta Bowl
Muy Grande Sabor!!

Who can pass up a good Mexican flavored meal?  We are kind of missing our weekly trip to our favorite Mexican restaurant and we aren't willing to give up our healthier lifestyle to do so...this means I had to come up with something healthy as an alternative that would be tasty, but not kill us with carbs and calories.  So, I did a little experimenting today, and this is what I came up with:

Fabulous Fiesta Bowl
19 oz. Honeysuckle White 97% fat free Ground Turkey
1 can Rotel Original Tomatoes with Chiles
1 can Goya Black Beans (I know...carbs...bad....but read on...), rinsed. 
1 head Cauliflower; flowerettes only
Penzey's spices: Adobo, Cumin, Chipotle Pepper; 1/2 tsp. each
Liquid Smoke
Olive Oil

Top with: Sliced Avocado and just a sprinkle of shredded sharp cheddar or 1 oz. Queso Fresco

Serves 8

Using your food processor, put 6-8 pieces of the cauliflower florettes into the processor.  Don't put too many pieces in, nor should you use really large pieces.  Pulse in short shifts and watch as the cauliflower chops into rice like pieces.  Don't over process--you'll have cauliflower sand!  Put into a bowl after each batch is chopped.  Repeat until all cauliflower is "riced".  Add Adobo, Chipotle, and Cumin.  In a large skillet, pour about 1 Tbsp. juice from Rotel tomatoes and a scant turn of Olive Oil.  Heat skillet well, and pour in bowl of cauliflower.  Begin mixing together right away, stirring continuously to mix spices through and through.  Remove from heat.  (Don't cook until soft...you kind of want to "fry" the mixture)

Give a large skillet 2 turns of Olive Oil and heat well.  Brown ground turkey, breaking up with a spatula as it browns.

Add Rotel tomatoes, black beans and the cauliflower mixture into the skillet with the browned turkey. Add just a few shakes of Liquid Smoke. Fold all ingredients together, keeping heat on medium high.

Once all ingredients are mixed well, serve immediately...Top with avocado slices and cheddar cheese/Queso Fresco cheese. 

I know, I know....the black beans!!!  The carbs!!!  But look at this way:  This recipes makes 8 servings (4 if you're really hungry)...and we didn't serve it with rice, which is a killer for carbs and calories....

Here's the breakdown per serving:
208 Calories
8 grams Fat
51 mg Cholesteral
522 mg Sodium
10 Carbohydrates
2.4 G Fiber
21.3 G Protein

NOT BAD, huh??!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Super Breezy; Quick and EASY!!

Looking for an EASY, really great meal???  Here's your ticket!!

Caramelized Onion and Gouda Cheese Chicken Burgers 
with Tri-Color Peppers

Amylu Caramelized Onion and Gouda Cheese Chicken Burgers; 1 per person (get these at Costco)
1 each: Red, Yellow, Orange pepper; cleaned and sliced into 3/4 inch slices
Olive Oil

Give 2 turns of Olive Oil in a skillet and heat well.  Add all peppers and begin to saute; allowing for browning of the peppers...being careful not to burn.

Toss often while sauteeing.  Add the burgers right into the skillet with the peppers; browning on both sides.  They are already fully cooked, so they will brown quickly. Turn once or twice.

I thought this would be a nice addition to the blog, just because it is so darn easy. Sometimes, there's nothing better than knowing you can put together a delicious, nutritious meal in just a few minutes flat.  After working all day, who doesn't want to come home and have a hot meal without a lot of fuss?!!  

The chicken burgers are only 140 calories.  Although they have 6.5 grams of fat, they also have only 3 carbs and 22 grams of protein.  This is perfect for you carb watchers and those on high protein diets!!  

This quick and easy meal is a perfect family dinner and another one that the kids can get into the kitchen and give you a hand cooking!!  YUMMY!!

Can't Miss Turkey and Swiss!

A different take on traditional meatloaf...

We've decided that the age-old meatloaf just isn't for us anymore.  Besides, we don't really do red meat and since we are pretty hooked on Ground Turkey, I figured out a way to make a delicious stuffed mini-meatloaf.  Of course, I'll never "diss" traditional meatloaf because my mom makes a killer loaf!!  So, here's to you, Mom!!

Can't Miss Turkey and Swiss
1 pkg. 98% fat free Ground Turkey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
8 Flipsides crackers, crumbled + 14 additional crackers, crushed; set aside
1 Egg
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 cup Mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup Swiss Cheese, grated
Olive Oil

Mix first 5 ingredients together.  Divide into 2 equal portions.  Form into "large burger shapes"; creating a well in the middle.  Fill the well with equal parts of mushrooms and swiss cheese.  Gently begin to push the sides of the burger up and over the filling, continuing to keep the burger shape.  Continue this until you have covered the well and stuffing, and have reformed into a solid burger shape.  

Put the 14 additional crushed crackers into a shallow bowl.  Take each burger and press into the crackers, covering both sides and also the edges.

Give a skillet 2 full turns with the Olive Oil and heat well.  Place burgers into the skillet, browning until a crispy brown on both sides.  Also, using 2 spatulas--turn burgers onto their sides and brown the sides as well.  You will need to add little additional drizzles of the Olive Oil as the burgers continue to brown so that they don't burn.  Once you get the initial browning, cover with a lid.  Turn often during cooking. 

Cook until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.

We served ours with steamed broccoli.

Let me tell you....traditional meatloaf has NOTHING on this new version!!!  The cracker crust creates this toasty, crunchy outer shell that holds in all the juices and melts the cheese with the mushrooms into this yummy, gooey center. Those flavors all melded together into such a satisfying blend!!  There weren't really words to describe how absolutely tasty this meal turned out!!

Definitely worth the time and effort to prepare; don't hesitate to try this one!!

De-constructed Lettuce Wraps...A Dave Fave!!

A new take on the old Lettuce Wraps!!

Today we planned to have one of our favorite meals: Lettuce Wraps...with our favorite Asian-inspired coleslaw.  We set about preparing the dinner and much to our dismay, we discovered that our Butter Lettuce had frozen in the fridge.  Big Bummer.  Nothing is worse than frozen, translucent lettuce!  So, I decided to compromise...

De-constructed Lettuce Wraps
Using the recipe from my earlier post for Lettuce Wraps, prepare the Ground Chicken as directed.  While the  meat is browning, prepare the following Coleslaw recipe:

1 bag Coleslaw ready shredded cabbage
1/3 bottle of Lighthouse Toasted Sesame Ginger dressing

Mix slaw and dressing together.  Set aside.

Julienne carrots and green onions into matchsticks for toppings.

Once your meat is prepared as directed for Lettuce Wraps, turn off the heat.

Place about 1 cup mixed slaw in the bottom of the bowl.  Top with about 1/2 cup ground chicken mixture.  Top with carrots and green onions.

We were so pleasantly surprised by this dish...Dave immediately declared it one of his favorites!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.... also known as Green Salsa Chicken Soup!!

EASIEST soup.  Ever.

We are soup lovers. There is nothing like a steaming bowl of soup on a cold day to warm your tummy.  We have been making soup all winter...Cream of Chicken Wild Rice, Poblano Corn Chowder, White Chicken Chili' Black Bean Soup...and boy, let me tell you: every one of them is delicious.  But, we also realized that those soups are not really the healthiest for us.  But again, we are soup lovers.  And why shouldn't we be with soup like this?  This is the easiest soup to make and you can whip it up in no time flat.  We thought that anyone with kids should bring them into the kitchen and let them have at it!!  It's a great way to get them cooking!  Also...it's kind of a "cheater" soup...all the ingredients are really ready to go, you just need to put it together.(Just don't tell anyone how easy this was!!)  Give it a try~you won't regret this one!

Green Salsa Chicken Soup
1 Roasted Chicken; pulled and broken into bite sized chunks
6 cups Chicken Broth; fat free, low sodium
2 cups Green Salsa
1 can Great Northern Beans; drained
1 can Light Red Kidney Beans; drained
1 can Dark Red Kidney Beans; drained

Avocado Slices
Queso Fresco Cheese; crumbled
Tortilla Chips (3 per serving...this is healthy, remember?!)

Throw it all in a soup pot. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Top with all or none of the suggested toppings.  Serve immediately.

That's it!  Super duper easy and a big hit with my hubby!!