Monday, August 3, 2015

Zucchini/Squash/Spinach Pasta Bake

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We had an abundance of zucchini and yellow squash, so I modified a recipe using an unexpected source, found here, I adjusted it to what we had, what we like and the quantities (we like leftovers, and protein!) and made it as written below.

I'm usually not a huge fan of yellow squash, but it was really good in this dish. I would for sure make this again. I don't know how it will freeze, but have a small portion to test and see!  It was a good throw together on a weeknight. Would be even quicker if I had already cooked chicken, and leftover pasta! Give this one a go!

ZUCCHINI/SQUASH/SPINACH PASTA BAKE

INGREDIENTS:
  • 8oz.  (1/2 of 16-oz. pkg.) pasta, uncooked (I used shells)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked, diced
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 3 zucchini, sliced
  • 3 yellow squash, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • ½ tsp. each dried basil leaves, oregano leaves and crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8oz cream cheese cubed
  • 4 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (any kind is fine)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

 DIRECTIONS:
  1. Pre heat oven to 375ºF
  2. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add zucchini, squash and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 4 min. or until zucchini is crisp-tender (not mushy) 
  4. Add flour, basil, oregano and crushed red pepper, and cook and stir 1 min.
  5. Stir in broth; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until thickened. Add cream cheese; cook and stir 2 or 3 min. or until melted. 
  6. Drain pasta; return to pan. Add chicken, zucchini mixture, spinach, parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella; mix. 
  7. Pour into casserole dish; top with remaining mozzarella 
  8. Bake 10 min. or until mozzarella is melted, and beginning to brown on top
  9. When it is done, let it sit for a few minutes, so you can get some good "slices" out, without it all falling apart.






Monday, July 27, 2015

Thai Chicken Meatballs

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We are a house that loves MEATBALLS - have a look at this one!

This is a different take on your traditional meatball, adding in thai flavours, and using chicken rather than beef/pork.

I found this recipe in a magazine (Every Day with Rachael Ray), and it was really good as an appetizer - using thai sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy) for dipping.  

THAI CHICKEN MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp chopped lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the ingredients (except for oil) in a bowl.
  2. Roll into 1 tbsp sized balls.
  3. In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook through, 6 to 8 minutes (you can also bake these)
  4. Serve with a dipping sauce and enjoy!



Monday, July 13, 2015

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

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I'm a huge Food Network fan, and once saw Tyler Florence make these pork chops on his show "Tyler's Ultimate". Ultimate, indeed. These are awesome.


Not nearly as much work as you'd think, but don't skip the brining!

HAM & CHEESE STUFFED PORK CHOPS

INGREDIENTS:
Brine
  • 1 quart water 
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 allspice berries

  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick 
Stuffing

  • 2 slices ham  
  • 2 slices swiss cheese  
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the brine ingredients into a zip loc bag.
  2. Add the pork chops, seal the bag and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or however long you have.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (about 220 C)
  4. Take the chops out of the bag, and pat dry. 
  5. Make a cut into the center of each chop to make a pocket. 
  6. Stuff the cheese and ham inside each pocket and secure with a toothpick. 
  7. In a cast iron skillet, heat some olive oil over a medium high heat. 
  8. Cook the chops for 4 to 5 minutes until golden on each side. 
  9. Put skillet directly in the oven (If you don't have a cast iron skillet - switch the chops into an oven safe dish)
  10. Roast chops for 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through and cheese has melted. Remove from oven, put the chops on another plate and keep warm.
  11. Put the skillet back on the stove, and heat to medium high. Add chicken stock, scraping the bottom. Stir in the cold butter while whisking. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chops and drizzle the pan sauce over the top.
  • It would be excellent if you remembered to remove the toothpicks. Apparently, it hurts when you bite into them. Just a tip. 
  • Collect all compliments gracefully, and deny all knowledge of Tyler Florence. Hehe.


Adapted from Tyler Florence

Monday, July 6, 2015

(Freezer Friendly) Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Okay, so this is kind of like Spaghetti Bolognaise (or spaghetti meat sauce, or GRAVY, depending on where you live).. in that EVERYONE seems to have a favourite or signature chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I do not.

I have always just used the one off the back of the bag of chocolate chips. 

Is this blogworthy? Probably not. However, I told my Mum I was making some chocolate chip cookies, and she said "recipe please". Mum is in another country, and I don't even know if her chocolate chip bags have recipes on them. So, I am absolutely sharing for her, and for the rest of you that aren't in the USA.

It also occurred to me that I hadn't shared how I get to look like the best wife/mama ever, with a lot less effort than it looks like.  This is where it gets good, folks....

I make a batch of cookie dough. I cook 1/3 of the recipe right away, then I freeze the cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet, put them in a ziplock bag ready for when we "need" fresh cookies, but don't have time (or interest) in making them from scratch again, then I just pull out as many cookie dough balls that I need (I have totally used a toaster oven and made just 2 before). Voila!

Can YOU resist a fresh from the oven cookie?

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12oz) chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in bowl, set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, or large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. 
  5. Reduce speed, and gradually mix in the flour mixture. 
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Use a small cookie scoop, and scoop onto ungreased baking sheets. 
  8. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. 
  9. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.
If freezing
  1. Go through to Step 7, then place the cookie sheets in the freezer until hard. 
  2. Put the uncooked dough balls in a zip loc bag, label it, and place back in the freezer until needed.
  3. To cook - pull out the number of cookies you need, and put them (still frozen) onto a cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes, cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks and cool





Friday, July 3, 2015

Bailey's Chocolate Mousse

Yum

Need a really easy, really tasty and impressive dessert for a special occasion?

Hi there. Meet this Bailey's Chocolate Mousse.  It's decadent, it's rich and it absolutely hits the spot after dinner. 


I couldn't believe how easy this was, and how quickly it came together. The husband went outside to swim with the boys, while I whipped this up and put in the fridge to set. After we got done swimming, and eating dinner - these were ready to be devoured. AFTER the boys were in bed, of course! 

Ha, no really. We stashed these in the fridge because we didn't want to have to share with the boys. I mean, all that alcohol... and chocolate... and deliciousness...


BAILEY'S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • ¼ Cup boiling water
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (for a more intense chocolate flavor, add 1 additional Tbsp.)
  • 1½ Cup heavy cream, very cold
  • ½ Cup Bailey's, very cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Before preparing mousse, prep bowl and beaters by placing in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
  2. Mix the gelatin into the cold water in small bowl and let sit about a minute, to soften/gel.
  3. Add boiling water then stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Let stand to cool(it will resemble a thick paste)
  4. Combine the sugar and cocoa in small mixing bowl and add  the heavy cream.
  5. Beat at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  6. Pour in Bailey's, vanilla, and gelatin mixture, beating continuously at high speed until well-blended and soft peaks form.
  7. Spoon into serving dishes and place in refrigerator to chill for about an hour or until ready to serve.
Source: http://www.lemontreedwelling.com 

Monday, June 29, 2015

(Freezer Friendly) Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

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Clearly, we love stuffed shells at my house - since I have posted (plain) Stuffed Shells, Mexican Stuffed Shells, and Chicken/Broccoli Stuffed Shells in the past.

This is one I make pretty often when doing shells - because:

1) my kids snarf this like it's their job, 
2) it contains spinach, and if the kids are willingly eating it without me renaming it to something fun, I win, and 
3) they're just so darn GOOD

I like to make two pans at a time (using just one box of the shells) so that there is a decent amount of leftovers, or one batch for the freezer.

The problem with these shells is, I can never get a good picture of them because evenings are chaos at my house.  But I never let the lack of a good photo stop me from blogging (perhaps I should), so here they ARE!

FREEZER FRIENDLY SAUSAGE & SPINACH STUFFED SHELLS

INGREDIENTS:
  • 12 oz large shells (can sub manicotti tubes, if you can't find shells)
  • 1lb mild italian sausage
  • 12 oz frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed)
  • 2lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper
  • 24oz pasta sauce (homemade or store-bought, I'm not judging)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan - you choose
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook the pasta shells according to package directions, drain and let cool. 
  3. In a large skillet, cook the sausage until done, and in crumbles. Let it cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, garlic powder and seasonings.
  5. Add the cooled sausage crumbles.
  6. Add a cup of the pasta sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish (or two smaller ones if you are freezing one).
  7. Fill the shells with the mixture, and place (filling side up) in the dish.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, and serve.
Freezing directions
  1. In a foil or other disposable dish, complete to Step 8. Cover with foil, label with "thaw, then bake 30 minutes at 350" or "from frozen cook 1 hr at 350"
  2. Wrap plastic wrap over the foil, and freeze (I also put this in a ziploc)
  3. Freeze for up to 6 months.




Friday, June 26, 2015

Grilled Zucchini with Lime Salt

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When the heat is in the 100s (37C+), the last thing we want to do is cook inside and heat up the cool oasis that is our air conditioned house.  With severe heat warnings across the valley, it was time to get out the grill, for sure.

Enter....vegetables! On the grill!

Yeah, okay FINE, nothing unusual about that - but these were a great addition to a steak dinner we had, and meant that the majority of the cooking was done outside. Best of all, the cooking was taken care of, while I sat in the pool. I did do all the prep, but apparently it's the actual COOKING that counts, when it comes time to shirk clean up duty.  Hmph.

I really enjoyed this dish - grilled zucchini alone is great, but the lime takes it to a whole other level. I had leftover lime salt, and think it'll be great on the rim of a big frosty margarita. Mmmm.... margaritas....

GRILLED ZUCCHINI WITH LIME SALT

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coursely ground black  pepper
  • 1 lime, zested, divided, and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (additional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Cut off the tops and bottoms of the zucchini and then cut into quarters, lengthwise. 
  2. In a large zip lock bag, drizzle in olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 the lime zest and all of the juice. 
  3. Add the zucchini, then seal the bag, and make sure the zucchini is covered by the marinade.
  4. Set aside for at least 30 minutes (not much more though) to marinate 
  5. Preheat the grill to a medium heat, and grill the zucchini on all three sides until tender, but not mushy.
  6. Combine the remaining lemon zest and extra salt in a bowl.
  7. Sprinkle the limed-up-salt over the plate of grilled zucchini and serve.

Based on a recipe from http://thepioneerwoman.com/

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Button! (And a good way to save recipes for later)

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So, if you're browsing the blog and see this at the top of the photos - and wonder what it is.... well, wonder no more.

If you click it, it will save the recipe to your recipe box on Yummly. You can save recipes from pretty much any site (it's similar to Pinterest I suppose, but is just for recipes).  

I've got a recipe collection there of just my own stuff, as well as recipes others have made - so I can go back later - and see the recipes I've saved, and find a few more!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Mesquite Marinated Chicken with Pico de Gallo

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Super simple meal idea - thrown together with what I found in the fridge.

It is: chicken, marinated in a smoky mesquite marinade (store bought), and thrown on the grill.

Topped with pico de gallo, and some cheese (could melt this on top, or use queso from a jar like I did), this made a great dinner with very little effort and lots of pretty colours.

Yum!

MESQUITE MARINATED CHICKEN WITH PICO DE GALLO

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Store bought mesquite marinade
  • 6 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper (finely diced)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup queso cheese dip, or shredded cheddar cheese (you choose)
  • Cooked rice, for serving
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Marinate the chicken breasts in the marinade for at least an hour (best when done overnight)
  2. Get the grill good and hot, and grill til the chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees F)
  3. While the chicken is cooking, cut the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno , and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. 
  4. Test for seasoning, add more lime or salt and pepper if needed
  5. When the chicken is fully cooked, plate it, and add some of the pico de gallo to each, and top with the queso or cheese if using.
  6. Serve with the rice.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pineapple/Coconut Cheesecake (Minis)

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"Hello, lover... "  

Oh my goodness, those exact words came out of my mouth when I bit into one of these little lovelies. The pecans in the crust, the sweet pineapple flavor in the creamy cheesecake layer, and the coconut on top completing the deliciousness... oh MY.

I immediately packed a half dozen (hehe, I'm not THAT generous) off to a neighbor who appreciates some home cookin' (Hi Wyatt!) so that I wouldn't eat the entire batch.

I saw these on Pinterest, drizzled in chocolate syrup, so they looked amazing. I definitely don't think they need that syrup though!

These were SO easy to make, I swear. I made them while the boys napped. I used a mini cheesecake pan that had 12 individual wells, with removable bases. Made these a snap to pop out and cool!

You really should make these. Immediately.

Makes around 24-30 minis

PINEAPPLE & COCONUT CHEESECAKE (MINIS)

INGREDIENTS:
For Crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
For Cheesecake
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 16 oz crushed pineapple, drained (I used the kind in juice, but the kind in syrup would be great too!)
  • 1.5 cups flaked coconut, sweetened
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In a food processor, add the pecans, flour, sugar and melted butter. Blend until crumbs form.
  3. Pat about 2-3 tablespoons of crust mixture into ungreased mini cheesecake pan in each individual cup (you could use mini muffin pans)
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool slightly.
  5. Using a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, milk and eggs. Fold in vanilla, and drained pineapple. 
  6. Add the cream cheese mixture to each cup (almost to the top)
  7. Sprinkle each cheesecake with flaked coconut. Bake 15-20 minutes. Let cool, then pop out.
  8. Refrigerate leftover crust and cheesecake mixture until the pan is free 

Source: Adapted very slightly from http://www.jocooks.com

Monday, June 15, 2015

Classic Crunchy Chicken Salad

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Okay, so the last time I took a blogging break, and actually acknowledged it, I came back with the news that I was pregnant with Hayden (my 3 year old), and didn't feel at all like cooking or blogging.

The time after that, I think I just posted a picture of Cameron (my 1 year old), and let it be.

I really need to get back into meal planning. It just makes my life a bunch easier if I have things prepared and ready or planned, so that when I get home with kids in tow, it's not the mad-dash to the fridge/freezer/pantry trying to figure out what to make in 30 minutes, while juggling snack-demands from both kids, and the clock ticking.

THIS time, I'm just going to post a  picture of chicken salad, tell you I'm not at all pregnant - I just haven't really made anything new lately.  I've been in survival mode, and flying by the seat of my pants at dinner time, just hoping to make it to bedtime.

This chicken salad recipe is super basic, and easy to throw together. I like to make it and keep it hanging out in the fridge ready to throw in a lunch bag with some bread for a yummy lunch.

Switching out most of the mayo usually found in chicken salad for greek yogurt is a great way to keep the calories down, and still have that creamy taste.

This recipe makes enough for around 4 1 Cup servings.

CLASSIC CRUNCHY CHICKEN SALAD
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 Cup plain free greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs low fat mayo
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 Cups cooked and diced chicken breast
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs red onion, finely diced
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Whisk together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended, and set aside.
  2. Combine the chicken, celery and onion in a bowl.
  3. Add dressing, and toss to combine completely
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Grilled Pork Chops with Spring Succotash

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Thsufferin' Thsuccotash!!

I can never say "succotash" without hearing it in a cartoon voice, complete with listhp... and I don't know that I've ever even MADE succotash before.  I have nothing to compare it to, but this is apparently a different spin on a typical succotash, as it uses edamame beans.

Adapted from Cooking Light, this has amazing flavor and comes together fast - great for a weeknight, and the succotash makes excellent leftovers for lunch the next day.

GRILLED PORK CHOPS WITH SPRING SUCCOTASH

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 x 4oz pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup halved and thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Combine garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan and cook to your liking. 
  3. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm.
  4. Return pan to medium heat. Add garlic mixture; cook 1 minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add 1/2 of the stock to deglaze, scraping pan to loosen browned bits, then add the remaining stock.  Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, . Remove pan from heat; stir in butter. 
  6. Pour into another container, then heat the skillet again to medium heat.
  7. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.
  8. Add carrot and onion; cook 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons water, and pepper.
  10. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender.
  11. Stir in edamame and cook until thoroughly heated. Pour a little of the sauce into the mixture.
  12. Divide succotash among 4 plates.
  13. Top each serving with pork and a little sauce.
Adapted from Cooking Light
7 WW Points+




Monday, April 27, 2015

Turkey Sausage, Cannellini and Tomato Ragout

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A delicious and lighter version of a traditional ragout, that doesn't skimp on the flavour!

I have started getting a few cooking magazines again. There was a time where I wasn't reading them, and they were collecting dust. In the interest of my sanity, I am again making time to do the things I enjoy - and I flip through them as they arrive now. I have decided to make at least 1 recipe from each issue of each magazine. If I can't find one I'd make after 3 issues, I'll cancel the subscription. 

This one comes from Cooking Light magazine, and when I saw it, I knew I'd be making it - because I had all the ingredients, and the cooking time was minimal. I actually made this in 20 minutes, including making the polenta to go alongside it.

And it was goooood. H wanted no part of it and demanded mac n cheese (denied). Cams tried the polenta, and wasn't a fan, but then he pretty much only likes yogurt anyway, so there's that. 

The Husband and I thought it was yum. I took leftovers for lunch!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 oz hot turkey sausage (can sub regular sausage)
  • Cooking spray (or 1 tsp olive oil)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring to crumble.
  2. Remove sausage from pan.
  3. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  4. Add onion; cook 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Add ¼ cup of the stock, cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in remaining stock, salt, pepper, oregano, tomatoes and beans.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 8 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  7. Stir in cooked sausage, cook for a few more minutes.

SIDES: Rosemary/Parmesan Polenta

Yum

Aaah, polenta. Such an underused side dish. It's so good, and goes perfectly with italian food, can be made, cooled, cut into squares and then fried, if you really want to make it super special.

For me, the simple preparation of boiling some water, adding the polenta and then some flavouring (in this case, salt, pepper, parmesan and rosemary) was decadent enough.

Inexpensive, too - and something different to the usual pasta, mashed potatoes or rice type sides.

Yum!

ROSEMARY/PARMESAN POLENTA
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS


  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup instant polenta
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Add polenta in a thin stream to the water, stirring constantly. 
  3. Reduce heat to low, and cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. 
  4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in cheese, yogurt, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

1 serving is 3 Weight Watchers Points+

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spicy Chicken Soft Tacos

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I know for a lot of you, any season is taco season. I personally think they're a great summer time dish, with their fresh flavours, and char-grilled tortillas adding that extra "outdoors" taste.  

These tacos, however, can be made inside right on your stovetop, and still taste like you slaved over a hot grill.

The leftover chicken is great in a quesadilla the next day, or made into taco bowls with rice, beans, chicken and the pico de gallo.

Hayden ate some of the chicken, a lot of the cheese and declared the sour cream to be "yogurt" and attempted to eat it with a spoon. Cameron rejected all components aside from a corn tortilla.

One day... one day... my children will eat like real people, and not like tiny neanderthals... some day...

Jaida, over at Sweet Beginnings often posts amazing looking taco recipes. Although it's not Tuesday, Jaida - I totally thought of you while I served these!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Cup tomato sauce (tomato puree, NOT ketchup, Kiwis and Aussies)
  • 1 Cup onion, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced very finely
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, butterflied or pounded to 1/4 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 small corn tortillas

Optional toppings:
  • Cheese – feta, goat, queso fresco, whatever you like - crumbled
  • Fresh limes, cut into wedges
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de gallo
  • Sour cream
  • Extra cilantro

DIRECTIONS
  1. Mix together the tomato sauce, onion, jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Spray a large skillet with olive oil (using a mister); heat over high heat. 
  3. Season chicken lightly, then add to the skillet.  Cook for about 2 minutes per side (we're just browning here, not cooking through).
  4. Add tomato mixture to pan and pour in about 1/4 cup water (or as much as is needed to just cover chicken). 
  5. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate to rest.
  6. Increase heat to high and cook sauce, stirring a few times, until sauce reduces and thickens, about 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, shred the chicken, then add to the reduced sauce to heat through.
  8. Heat the corn tortillas in another skillet until warmed/charred.
  9. Serve and top as you want!
Source: Weight Watchers
This comes out to 8pts for 2 tacos (with a half cup of filling in each, plus some pico de gallo and some feta cheese), additional points for sour cream and guacamole.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Turkey & Black Bean Enchiladas

Yum

Oh myyyyy.  In my efforts to shed a little heft, I've been actively seeking out healthier, lower fat options for us to enjoy as a family - without compromising taste and enjoyment of the family dinner.

These enchiladas really really hit the spot! With a really simple and fast filling, you could cheat and use canned enchilada sauce (but if you have the time - definitely make the sauce - it's out of this world good), and have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes. Even less if you prep ahead!  If you were to use corn tortillas, it's gluten free, too!

If you care, each enchilada is 7 weight watchers points on the points plus program, without the sour cream.

TURKEY & BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS

INGREDIENTS:


For the Enchilada Sauce:
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

Filling
  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 15.5 can black beans, drained
  • 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • salt
  • 8 (6-inch) low carb whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese  
Optional toppings:
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Olives
  • Avocado or guacamole
DIRECTIONS: 

Enchilada sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté garlic. 
  2. Add the chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. 
  3. Bring to a boil then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. 
  4. Set aside.

Filling
  1. In a large skillet brown the turkey and season with salt then drain any liquid.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, black beans, chiles, diced tomatoes, cumin and chili powder and combine well.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes.  Add the cilantro at the very end, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Spray or grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray/olive oil.
  6. Pour about a cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish.
  7. Put 1/2 cup turkey mixture into each tortilla and roll it tightly. Place in dish seam side down and repeat with the rest of the tortillas (see below pic).
  8. Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.
  9. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 20-25 minutes, removing the tinfoil for the last 5
  10. Top with low fat sour cream, extra cilantro, olives and/or avocado/guacamole if you wish. 
Approximate amount of filling

Source: http://www.skinnytaste.com/

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Broccoli Chop Salad with Garlic Honey Dressing

Yum

With temps in Phoenix at 97 last weekend, I guess we can officially say that winter is over (bye bye soups), and Spring/Summer is on its way!

This means we have maybe a month or two where we can "live" outside and use the barbecue, eat outside, etc before the real heat begins. If it's 97 in March, I'm really really dreading June.

Guess this means we really need to clean up the back yard, wipe down the patio table, dust of the seat cushions and get ready for swimming?

ANYWAY - what I like about spring is that we CAN just come home, and go outside to the patio and hang there. Having a salad made ahead in the fridge ready to go as a great side with steak means I can spend more time with a glass of wine than in the kitchen madly prepping dinner.

This salad is super good for you. It brags lots of nutritional buzz words, and can be vegan if you switch out the honey for agave or maple syrup.

Plus, it's yummy. Sorry cilantro haters, this one isn't for you!

BROCCOLI CHOP SALAD WITH GARLIC HONEY DRESSING
INGREDIENTS:
For the Salad
  • 2 small heads broccoli
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 3 carrots shredded
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • chopped cilantro to taste
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

 For the Dressing
  • 1/2 cup Organic Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS:
Salad
Pulse broccoli and cauliflower in food processor until chopped roughly (don’t overchop, you don’t want mush).  Add broccoli and cauliflower to a large bowl, add shredded carrots, onion and cilantro.

Dressing
Make dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a lidded jar, and shake until well blended. Or use a whisk and a bowl, whatever... you choose.

To serve:
Mix salad and dressing together (add some, taste then add more until it's dressed how you like), then add the sunflower seeds on top to serve.


Source: http://eastplum.blogspot.com

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lemon Butter Chicken with Egg Noodles

Yum

Quick, easy, great for a weeknight when you are staring at the fridge and pantry "what to make... what to make?!"

I don't know about you, but my weeknights are chaos. In midst of washing bottles, packing bags for the next day, making lunches, folding laundry - somewhere in there, I need to produce something for us to sit down and eat for dinner.

I don't always have time to get fancy, sometimes I just need to cover the bases. Protein, vegetables and optional carbs. Ha. Right, like carbs are optional!

So, HERE WE GO:


LEMON BUTTER CHICKEN WITH EGG NOODLES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4  cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, diced finely
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8oz dry egg noodles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice chicken into bite sized pieces, and toss with flour.
  2. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  3. Add the chicken and cook until done, remove and keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to package directions, drain and lightly butter.
  5. Add onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add chicken broth to pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the pan.
  7. Add lemon juice and boil until mixture is reduced to about 1/3 cup.
  8. Remove from heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  9. Return chicken to pan and heat through.
  10. Serve with egg noodles and steamed vegetables

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