Coconut Oatmeal Cookies


I have always enjoyed all things coconut, so one night while browsing cookie recipes because I had a craving for something sweet I found these and knew I HAD to try them.  Besides the use of both coconut and coconut extract, both already promising for a very Coconutty cookie, I was intrigued by the use of coconut oil in place of butter.  Having read my fair share about the benefits of coconut oil both for the outside and inside of your body I was really excited about these.

These cookies are so incredibly good!  Not only do they deliver on coconut flavor, but the oil makes them so “buttery” without butter!  And you can’t help but feel like you’re doing something good for your body by indulging in one.. or two… or three!  They have a nice soft, but chewy texture.  I used walnuts, and really liked the combination, I just might add a few more next time.  If you go with the written instructions you’ll yield a lot of cookies out of this, and because there are so many the walnuts just seemed sparse in some.

Rather than scoop my dough onto cookie sheets, I actually rolled them into balls and then lightly pressed them flat onto the sheet which gave me better looking cookies.  This is especially nice if you plan to give some away.

_MG_1281-1 copy

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients :

  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil (measured solid) melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or coconut extract, or do half and half which is what I did)
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (can also use pecans, sliced almonds, or macadamia nuts) optional

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.  Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together granulated sugar, brown sugar and coconut oil until fluffy.  Mix in the eggs and extract.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the shredded coconut, oats and nuts.
  6. Scoop about a Tablespoon of dough at a time and place onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until very lightly golden.  Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the sheet before moving to a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe from eat.drink.love

Published in: on May 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken


Who doesn’t love a bit of Chinese takeout?  Problem is they are often pretty unhealthy, and sometimes you just have no idea what goes into it, but likely MSG.  I actually really enjoy recreating our favorites at home, and there are no shortage of recipes floating around the net from which to do so.

Although I have made other versions of Orange Chicken in the past in the more traditional way of a breaded chicken bite, and they were great, I was very excited to come across this recipe which eliminates the breading making it not only healthier but a thousand times easier!  This recipe was so easy in fact I could hardly believe it!  It’s also made with honey in place of some of the sugar which helps keep it lighter and better for you.

I honestly didn’t miss the breading, and felt this had a nice heat level and orange flavor.  We had ours with some rice, which I also like to take a little shortcut with and use boil in a bag.  For me it just turns out way better than our rice maker which I have yet to perfect.  Overall it was a great dinner and one I would make again!

_MG_1268-1 copy

Healthy Chinese Orange Chicken

Ingredients :

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 T. oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 T. white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 T. corn starch
  • zest from 1 orange
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I think I used about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • sesame seeds and more green onion slices for garnish (optional)

Directions :

  1. Heat 1 T. of oil in a pan.  Add salt and pepper to chicken and saute until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove any excess water or oil from the pan.
  2. In a saucepan mix together the rest of the ingredients minus the garnish.  Bring to a boil and stir a few times until the sauce thickens.
  3. Pour sauce over the chicken and mix thoroughly.  Serve.

Recipe from Clever Spoon

Garlic Shrimp Bake


I save a lot of shrimp recipes, but I realized I don’t often MAKE shrimp dishes.  Likely due to the cost of fresh shrimp, which can be pretty high.  I am not opposed to cooking with frozen shrimp, but it’s not my preference.  It’s just too watery, I hate thawing it, and they don’t quite live up to their fresher cousins.  Anyway, shrimp is something I really enjoy when I do get a chance to make it and this dish is no exception.

It has SO much flavor it’s unbelievable, especially considering how simple it really is.  Everything goes into one dish and gets thrown into the oven.  Of course you will want to make some bread to go along and sop up that amazing sauce in the bottom of the pan.  I also chose to whip up some orzo (which I flavored with a quick gremolata) because as usual my husband wouldn’t have called it dinner without some form of starch.  They all went very nicely together.

_MG_1244-1 copy

The shrimp has such a freshness to it from the lemon, garlic and parsley.  Then you get that heat from the red pepper flakes that really kicks it up a notch, while still having a sweetness to it as well.  The tomatoes become little jewels that soak up that liquid in the bottom and they literally burst in your mouth.

Though the cost of shrimp often leaves me a bit shocked, I would gladly pay it a little more often to enjoy such fantastic dishes as this.  This dish would also be a great dinner party addition, perhaps justifying the cost even a bit more.  If that wasn’t enough to convince you, I would even go so far as to say it’s a pretty healthy dish, with most of the fat coming from the olive oil which is said to be good for you anyway.  So with those great excuses, you have no reason NOT to go out and pick up some nice shrimp and treat yourself to this dish!

_MG_1246-1 copy

Garlic Shrimp Bake

Ingredients :

  • 1.25 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (if you are making this for two as we did you could easily get away with a lb and not have such a crowded pan)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 T. lemon juice (I actually just used the juice of one lemon and the zest as well)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • splash of white wine (about 2 tablespoons or so)
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (I used one roma tomato)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Arrange all the ingredients except the parsley in an oven-safe skillet (cast iron works great for this).  Bake for 10 minutes, or until shrimp is done (depending on the size of shrimp you buy).
  3. Remove from oven, top with parsley and serve along side some bread or pasta.

Recipe from Nutritious Eats

Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter


So I know it’s been a while again since my last post, but what can I say….. I just get busy and unfortunately my blog and even making new recipes in general takes a back seat for a while.  But I always come back!  I left off with my first installment of a new project called Kids in the Kitchen, and though I haven’t had time to fit in another between busy school schedules, mini vacations and illnesses it’s still on my to-do list so be watching for that!  In the meantime I am hoping things have settled down enough that I can focus on making new and, in keeping with my current mindset of eating lighter and losing some of this holiday weight, healthier recipes.

First up on the menu is this Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter.  I will share my technique/recipe below, but this is one of those great recipes that has a lot of versatility.  All you’re doing is preparing a piece of salmon and mixing whatever flavors you want into some butter to top it off.  Super simple.  I served this with some grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, and some smashed potatoes.  This was my first time trying smashed potatoes and all I can say is now I am a believer!  So good, with a crispy outside, seasoned just right, and soft in the middle….. but let’s get back to the salmon lol.

I will admit, I have struggled to cook salmon in the past.  It’s not particularly hard, but cooking fish in general takes practice to get it done right where you get that nice crust on top and the fish is nicely cooked through.  I have either had it stick in my pan, or ended up with somewhat undercooked fish in the middle of a nice thick piece of fish.  With time, however, I have gotten the hang of it.  Although I switched over to stainless steel cookware some time ago to cut down on my use of non-stick and their chemicals. fish is something I pretty much always use nonstick for.  Specifically, I use a a Rachel Ray Anodized Nonstick skillet and it works beautifully for giving me a nice crust, but avoiding the dreaded stick.  Another very important tip when cooking fish to ensure it doesn’t stick and gets great crust is to leave it alone once you have placed it in the pan.  It may be tempting to lift the edges to check, or slide it around to see if it’s sticking but don’t.  Trust me.  And don’t forget to use oil or butter or something to grease your pan.  Once it’s done on one side according to your recipe’s directions flip it once and again leave it alone til it’s time to come out.  It also helps to take your fish out a few minutes early to bring the temp up just a bit before you start, and make sure it’s dry…. especially if you are cooking with previously frozen fish.  Of course, as with pretty much all food, seasoning is important, so don’t forget to season before you place it in the pan!

Now that we talked a bit about cooking a nice piece of salmon, let’s talk about the butter…. as I mentioned it’s a versatile method.  You could put whatever herbs or seasonings in this you like.  The butter will melt beautifully over the warm fish and give that richness that takes a boring piece of fish to a whole new level, imparting the flavors you incorporated at the same time.  For this recipe I used some fresh chives, dill, garlic, lemon and some salt and pepper.  It’s important to start with room temperature butter for this, so don’t forget to take it out in advance.  You could even make the butter in advance and either use it hard from the fridge, or take it out a little before for a softer butter…. and any leftovers can be used on other meats, bread, or whatever sounds good to you.

As a natural casualty to having to photograph my food before I can eat it my salmon had cooled a bit while I was setting up so my butter wasn’t melting over it right away as I would have liked for the photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

_MG_1079-1 copy

Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter

Ingredients :

  • salmon fillets (about a lb) * I used salmon with the skin
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T. butter, at room temp * I just eyeballed how much butter so this is estimation
  • drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 tsp. perhaps)
  • fresh chives, chopped (about 1 tsp. or so)
  • fresh dill, chopped (about 1 tsp or so)
  • salt and pepper to taste (separate from the salt and pepper above)
  • garlic clove, minced
  • lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges (for serving with the fish)

Directions :

  1.  Make your butter first.  To your room temp butter add your herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest (by preference but about a tsp or so), and some salt and pepper.  Using a small spatula sort of stir/whip it up until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead put back in the fridge.  You can either use it straight from the fridge later on, or let it warm up just a bit so it’s a little softer.
  2. Prepare you salmon.  If you are using previously frozen salmon be sure to pat dry before you start.  Season your salmon with a bit of salt and pepper (I like to use coarse salt when seasoning meat).  If you are using salmon with skin you don’t need to season that side, but if not I would suggest doing both sides.
  3. Heat the T. of oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  If using skin-on salmon place it in your pan skin UP so you get the nice crust from that first bit of heat on the top of your fish first.  Once you have set your fish in your pan DON’T TOUCH IT for about 4-5 minutes.  You see the fish start to turn opaque towards the middle and the edges will start to brown.  Flip it and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Of course the cook-time depends on the thickness of your fish, so take that into consideration, and watch for the fish to become opaque all the way through.
  4. Remove from pan and top with a dollop of your prepared butter.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note : Amounts for the herbs in the butter are estimations and I encourage you to use more or less to your tastes.  I like a nice punch of flavor and likely used more than stated above.

Pasta with Shrimp, Lime & Saffron


Whenever I make a dish with fish or shellfish in it I just feel like I am eating better.  Obviously that is not always the case, but generally I do feel it holds some truth.  Fish and shellfish are both very low calorie and fat, and generally are prepared in ways that keep things light and fresh.  Despite the large amount of olive oil in this dish (but keeping in mind olive oil IS good for you lol) I do feel like this is a pretty light, yet satisfying dish.  The nice fresh, slightly sweet taste of the shrimp pairs perfectly with the bright tangy and spicy sauce.

Let’s talk about saffron for a minute.  It is the most expensive spice on the market and most people have probably never tried it.  It is actually the stigma of a certain type of crocus.  It lends a sort of sweetness to a dish, and a little goes a LONG way.  When you buy it you often get a tiny amount and you really only need a few threads for a dish.  If you just can’t justify spending so much on a spice, I think this dish would still be a winner without it, but if you’re curious definitely give a shot!  It will probably last you a long time because not many dishes call for it.  A tip I found for dispersing the flavor more evenly in your dish is to soak the threads for about 5 minutes in a teaspoon of warm water or white wine to then be used in your dish.

The recipe I followed actually had a slightly different name (Pasta with Scampi, Lime & Saffron), but I don’t think it’s correct.  When I think of scampi I think of shrimp cooked in a garlic butter sauce, and there is no butter in this dish.  There is however a good deal of garlic.  Don’t shy away from it, it’s not nearly as intense as it seems lol.  I used a shallot as my onion for a more mild onion flavor.  The recipe was also originally written for a full lb box of pasta, but I used a bit less (11oz).  I didn’t end up needing any pasta water to thin my sauce out, but don’t forget to hang on to it just in case.  The recipe I followed called for Nolly Pratt, but I have no idea what that is (however they referenced white wine in the article so that’s what I went with), instead I used a chardonnay.  And, as always, if you can get your hands on some nice fresh shrimp that would definitely be best.  However frozen is fine too.  I wanted to leave the tails on for a prettier picture, but the part of me that can’t stand food that is a hassle to eat won in this case.

_MG_0922-1 copy

Pasta with Shrimp, Lime, & Saffron

Ingredients :

  • 12 oz. linguine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 18 medium sized shrimp (about a lb)
  • 1 onion finely chopped (or shallot)
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 100 ml white wine
  • few strands of saffron (remember a little goes a long way)
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 sliced green onions
  • black and white sesame seeds for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Clean, devein, and prepare shrimp how you like them.  Salt and pepper them.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat with a bit of your oil and cook shrimp on each side for about a minute and set aside.  They should be mostly cooked through because they won’t cook much longer after this, but remember shrimp are easy to over-cook.
  3. Add the rest of your oil to the skillet and saute onions for a few minutes until softened.  Add garlic, chili flakes and saffron (on medium so your garlic doesn’t burn) and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add white wine, and scrape any bits off the bottom of your pan.  Bump it back up to medium-high and let it simmer for a couple minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and reserve some of the starchy pasta water to thin your sauce as needed.
  6. Add to your pan the chopped parsley, lime zest, lime juice, green onions, and drained pasta.  Add a little of the pasta water at this time (only if necessary) as well.
  7. Add your shrimp, toss to coat, and heat through… make sure your shrimp are now fully cooked through.
  8. Garnish with a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds and a wedge of lime.

Recipe from My Kitchen Treasures

 

 

Healthy One Pot Chili Mac


Look at me, two days in a row cooking… lol.

Anyway, if you can’t tell, I am ready for cooler weather and the kind of foods that warm your belly.  What originally drew me in to this recipe was the “one pot” promise.  Even though in our house the dishes fall mainly on my husband as a sort of way to show his appreciation for all the wonderful meals I make, it’s always nice to have LESS dishes, and especially on a weeknight.  This particular dish also comes together easily and quickly making it perfect for a busy work day.

You could definitely use beef in this recipe, the turkey just goes along with the “healthy” claim.  I didn’t plug the numbers or anything, but I imagine it’s not too bad, though I definitely added more cheese than it called for so that made it slightly less healthy.  Another change I had to make was to use a Serrano pepper because believe it or not my grocery store was completely out of jalapenos the other day.  I am not sure it really makes much difference though.

Chilis vary so greatly from person to person, and what is good to some may not be to others.  So with this in mind I will say I really liked this chili.  For me it had the right amount of chili powder and spices.  I also felt the additions were well balanced in this.  I did use 1.25 lbs of turkey, only because that’s what the package came as and I didn’t want to put .25 lbs back in the freezer.  I realize that the addition of macaroni to chili is probably a strange concept to some, but I grew up with my mom making something quite similar actually (though it was more of a soup) so it wasn’t new to me at all.

One note I would make…. the recipe says to use a large pot, and it shows them using a large saute pan…. I imagine things would be hard to fit in there without making a mess.  I used my dutch oven and it worked perfectly for this.

_MG_0672-1 copy

_MG_0676-2 copy

Healthy One Pot Chili Mac

Ingredients :

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (I used a Serrano)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 Cups water
  • 1 1/2 Cups macaroni noodles
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions :

  1. In a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat, add oil and saute the onion, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add turkey to the pot and break up, cooking until browned.
  3. Add the seasonings, tomatoes, beans, water and macaroni, stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer until macaroni is soft, about 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheese.
  5. Serve with additional cheese on top if desired.

Recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil

Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Peppers


Going to try to keep this simple because I have a million and one things to do… but as I mentioned on my facebook page, I have been trying to find some healthier recipes to get me back on track after the holidays.  You know how it goes… beginning of the year, time to diet and make all sorts of promises to eat healthier and yadda, yadda, yadda…  Well, for now I really am trying to eat better and we’re counting calories so that means a lot of my usual recipes just don’t make the cut… boo!  So you may find that it takes me longer to get up new recipes as I wade through the world of “healthy recipes”, because after trying many of them I just don’t feel they are blog worthy, or even worth finishing my plate at times.  Anyway, that’s where I am at and why it’s taking me so dang long!

I have made stuffed bell peppers in the past, usually with some sort of rice, and beef.  Jeff claims to have hated them, so I don’t make them often, though I always enjoyed them.  I figured it was time to try again however, and have been wanting to try them with quinoa for quite some time.  So glad we did!  They are definitely filling/satisfying with the quinoa, and the flavors were great.  The recipe I was following didn’t call for any meat… afterall quinoa has a good deal of protein itself, but Jeff is usually more willing to try things if it has some meat in it lol.  I think the addition of the ground turkey I used, seasoned with a bit of chili powder and smoked paprika worked really well in this.  Jeff even gave them rave reviews and said I could make them often… quite the turn around I’d say. 

My only issue with stuffed peppers is that I can never get them tender enough… at least not following the cooking instructions.  I feel like they maybe need a headstart in the oven before stuffing them to really soften them up.  Of course this just depends on your preference for texture.  I don’t mind them firmer, but I think I would like them even more if they were soft.  So my plan next time is to try cooking them a bit first and then finishing with the filling.  As it stood, with these, I ended up cooking them probably closer to 40 minutes and there was still a good deal of crunch to the peppers, but we really didn’t want to wait any longer as it was getting late.

Quinoa & Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Makes : 6 peppers

Ingredients :

  • 6 bell peppers of your choice (make sure to pick well rounded ones that can stand up)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (cooked and seasoned to taste)
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen and thawed them in a bit of water)
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 3 T. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine your stuffing ingredients. 
  3. Cut tops off peppers, and remove seeds.  Spoon stuffing in peppers.
  4. Bake until peppers are tender and filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes (see note above).

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

_MG_8957-1 copy

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff


This dish has almost all the elements that to me make a perfect meal…. pasta, mushrooms, garlic, meat, bold flavor, creamy sauce, and some fresh parsley!  The only thing it IS missing to be a perfect combo of my favorite things is some cheese, but this isn’t really a recipe that needs it, so I guess I will give it a pass on that lol.  This is not only a tasty dish, but is also very visually appealing.  The red/orange color of the sauce, the white of the pasta, and the bright green of the parsley make it look like a piece of art!

As if those elements alone weren’t enough to make me or anyone else want to try this, I was also intrigued by the use of Greek yogurt in the dish.  When I think of stroganoff I think of cream of mushroom soup, or some other variety.  If the recipe is more health conscious or just more involved it at least calls for cream or butter or something to make it so good and creamy, but not quite so healthy.  With this dish there really was no need.  The sauce was thick and creamy from the yogurt and the flour alone.  This for me at least cuts back on the guilt of either using cream and butter or “cream of soup” (which I am trying to phase out in our house).

I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, which for me is rare lol.  So with that, I will just get on with it and share the recipe.

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium  yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour whisked with 1 T. water
  • 1o oz. dry egg noodles
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions :

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the cubed chicken with the paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on top of the chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink (no need to cook through); remove the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the last teaspoon of oil to the pan and allow to get hot, about 1 minute; stir in the onions and mushrooms. Saute the mixture, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onion is translucent and the onions and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of water in a large pot. Bring water to a boil and add noodles. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  5. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the bay leaf, whisking well. Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer the mixture over medium-low to medium heat, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer.
  6. Add the flour and water slurry to the simmering mixture in the skillet, whisking quickly to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve over hot noodles and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe from Prevention RD

_MG_8318-1

Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza


Sounds odd right?  Well I thought so at least, but I am only just starting to come around to using pumpkin in anything other than dessert.  Still, I was intrigued, and put it on my menu as soon as I saw it.  I love Thai pizzas, so I figured why not?  If it turned out I would have an interesting post for my blog, and if not, at least it would be simple to make and I won’t have wasted too much of my time.

Turns out it not only doesn’t taste like pumpkin… something I was rather concerned about given the amount of pumpkin vs the amount of other ingredients… but it tastes great too!  My husband said that he felt it wasn’t too different from a more traditional peanut sauce which is a good thing because that’s definitely his favorite part of Thai pizza, but also the highest portion of fat/calories!  My only critic on this would be that I felt it had room for more flavor.  Perhaps some red peppers!

In regards to the ingredients… I had way more sauce than I needed for one pizza.  I could have probably gotten two out of the amount I had.  The only problem was I didn’t have enough chicken for two pizzas.  I also don’t feel like the amount of cheese listed is enough for a pizza…. I probably used 3 times that to be honest, and I encourage you to use however much you like.  With such a simple pizza I like there to be a nice layer of cheese.  I used a store-bought crust, it was a large square one, that bakes in 8 minutes according to the package, so I ended up basing my time off that, and then at the end I broiled it for just a minute to get some color on the top too.  My last change was to use chicken breast I seasoned with some salt and pepper and cooked in a skillet.

I would definitely make this again, and perhaps try it with the addition of the peppers I mentioned.  It came together easily, and was a nice change from the more traditional pizzas.

 

Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza

Ingredients :

  • pizza dough, prepared (I used a prepared crust)
  • 1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 T. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, shredded (see note above)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (see note above, I used a lot more)
  • 2 thin slices of onion, chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions :

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper.
  2. In another smaller bowl mix together the cut chicken, curry paste and lime juice.  Mix together until the chicken is evenly coated with the red curry paste.
  3. Flour your surface and roll out the prepared pizza dough.  Sprinkle the pizza stone or cookie sheet with corn meal and place the dough on the sheet/stone.  Evenly spread the pumpkin mixture on the dough leaving about an inch bare for the crust.  Sprinkle the chicken on top of the pumpkin mixture and evenly place the onion slices on the chicken.
  4.  Finally sprinkle with cheese and bake for 16-18 minutes until cheese has melted and crust is a light golden brown.
  5. While it’s baking chop or tear the cilantro.  After you take the pizza out and it’s cooled sprinkle the cilantro over it and serve.  Enjoy!

Recipe from Seaweed & Sassafras

_MG_8280-1

Cheesy Chicken Stroganoff Bake


If you are looking for a dish low in calories, while still allowing you to eat your fill, this is a great one for you.  It definitely resembles that stroganoff taste, but tastes lighter.  My husband liked it, but when asked to elaborate he said it tasted like health food lol.  Well he’s right, it is health food, but that’s not a bad thing.

It came together easily, and I didn’t change a thing.  I would say it is somewhat thinner than I might have liked, but not terribly so.  I didn’t get a chance to eat the leftovers (my husband took them to lunch) but I imagine by then it soaked things up a bit better.  I almost broke from the directions and put more pasta in, but I really wanted to give the dish a chance because of the low calorie count.    For a whopping 2 cups it boasts only 390 calories.  And while I know my husband would have appreciated more pasta, I was fine with the smaller amount.

Overall, if you are watching what you eat, and don’t mind compromising just a bit on those comfort food dishes this is one to try!

Cheesy Chicken Stroganoff Bake

Makes : 4 servings

Ingredients :

  • 5 oz. whole-wheat or multi-grain rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 6 cups small broccoli florets
  • 12oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • optional : salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste (I just did salt and pepper)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 11/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup (about 1 can) 98% fat-free condensed cream of mushroom soup (I used the whole can)
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, season chicken if you like (I definitely recommend this!). Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook and stir for about 2 – 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook and stir until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add soup and sour cream and cook and stir until hot and well mixed. Remove from heat. Add drained pasta and broccoli to skillet and mix well.
  4. Spoon mixture into baking pan, cover with foil, and bake 15 minutes. Uncover, top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and bake uncovered until cheese is melted, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Recipe from Callie Cooks

 

_MG_8065-1
_MG_8073-1

Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili


I have to admit, I did not choose this recipe based on the self-proclaimed title of being kid-friendly, knowing all to well my kids would in fact NOT eat it.  Rather I chose it because it boasted of a mere 226 calories a serving.  Whether or not that is fully accurate I can’t say, and I am too lazy to plug it all in to a nutrition calculator myself, but I figured it can’t be much more and that’s definitely low enough to have some wiggle room and fit into anybody’s diet!

So as I said I had no intentions of my kids eating this, but I did urge my oldest to at least try it.  He actually gave it the thumbs up, which is no small feat, but then after a few bites decided maybe it wasn’t for him.  But trust me, that the fact that he liked it at all speaks volumes.  My husband and I, however, thought it was very good.  We topped ours with a bit of sour cream, cheese and chips as suggested, which I am sure brings the total up, but as I said the calories are so low that’s no problem, and you can certainly choose healthy versions of your toppings such as low fat, or multigrain chips like we did.  I actually made this with plans to use the leftovers for the blogger’s Turkey Chili Loaded Baked Potatoes, but then my entire family ended up really sick and my meal plans went out the window.  It was just as good heated up though the next few days.

I did alter things a little to suit our tastes…. I added black beans and some more tomato sauce.  I actually doubled the recipe, and used two cans of the beans, and 2 (15oz) cans of tomato sauce.  I also cut the meat back to an even 2 lbs, rather than 2.6 as it should have been.  Other than those changes I made it as stated and thought the seasoning in particular was just right.  I have made many chili recipes with a lot more chili powder, and wondered if this would be too bland, but it really wasn’t.

 

Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili

Serves : 5

Ingredients :

  • 1.3 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 10 oz. can Rotel Mild Tomatoes
  • 8 oz. small can plain tomato sauce (see notes above)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Optional : black beans (see note above)

Optional Toppings :

  • diced avocado
  • reduced fat sour cream
  • reduced fat shredded cheese
  • baked tortilla chips

Directions :

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the turkey, season with salt and cook, breaking up with a spoon until turkey browns and is no longer pink; place into the slow cooker.
  2. Add the oil to the skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon over turkey into the slow cooker and stir in corn and tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt, mix until well blended.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours or LOW 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings.

Note : the original recipe said to add a bay leaf after adding the spices in step two, but I wasn’t sure if it was a mistake since there was no bay leaf listed in the ingredients list and I didn’t really think it was necessary so I skipped it, you are welcome to put it in though if you prefer.

Recipe from Skinny Taste

_MG_8052-1

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Walnut Streusel


Continuing on with my Fall cravings I had to try these when I came across them.  I have been trying to be really good and not bake every day even though that’s exactly the kind of food I want this time of year, but after reading that these (without the glaze on top I think) were only 150 calories a piece I all but ran to the kitchen to whip them up.  Luckily I already had everything on hand.

These muffins are fantastic!  They aren’t really sweet, but the addition of the glaze and streusel on top lends just the right amount of sweetness to make these healthier little gems taste as indulgent as the not so healthy ones.  The pumpkin flavor comes through nicely and the spice is just the right amount to not seem overwhelming.  And while these are not large muffins, you could eat two and still be under calorie compared to some of the muffins you COULD be eating.

True to their usual selves neither of my kids would even try these, but I did give some to a friend and she reported that their family loved them, kids included.  My husband and I had no trouble devouring the rest of them.  I would absolutely make these again, and again, and again.  The only slight change I made was to add a little bit of vanilla to the glaze because I just don’t like the flavor of straight powdered sugar.

 

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Walnut Streusel

Makes : 24 muffins

Ingredients :

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg + 3 egg whites
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Streusel :

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 T. butter, diced
  • 2 T. oats
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 T. flour

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a mixer or separate bowl, beat the egg, egg whites, and pumpkin puree together until combines.
  4. Mix in the olive oil, both sugars, and vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly combine the flour mixture and wet mixture, stirring to just combine.
  6. Grease a muffin pan and fill each section a little more than half way.
  7. To make the streusel, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, using a fork or your hands to make rough crumbs. Top each unbaked muffin equally with the crumbs.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.
  9. Optional: drizzle with powdered sugar mixed with milk!

Recipe from Apple of my Eye

_MG_8043-1

Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese


I always see recipes for these healthier versions of dishes that are made with things like pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, etc, and I find myself skipping over them more often than not because I haven’t enjoyed those ingredients in the past.  I love pumpkin in desserts though.  The funny thing is, though, that I really WANT to like those things because they just scream Fall to me, and they are pretty healthy obviously.  I kept telling myself I just had to find the right dish for me, and this dish proved that theory!

I had no idea what to expect, whether it would taste like pumpkin and just have that cheesy texture, or if the pumpkin flavor would disappear all together like certain other alternative ingredients.  The answer is that it falls somewhere in between.  I could taste the pumpkin, but with the marscapone, garlic, onions and sage it takes on a somewhat sweet quality that takes it far enough away from that raw pumpkin taste that I really enjoyed it.  Texturally it reminded me a lot of mac ‘n cheese, but if you are hoping for that really cheesy flavor this may fall a little short.  Personally I am not a big fan of boxed mac ‘n cheese, and prefer more “grown-up” versions anyway with a variety of flavors and cheeses so I did not find it lacking at all.  Visually it definitely resembles traditional Mac ‘n Cheese.

To make more of a meal out of this I threw in some pan-fried chicken sausages and frozen peas.  I think mine were an Italian variety, but I can’t remember now that I have thrown out the package.  I imagine many of the different varieties available out there will work with this based on your tastes though.  The same goes for the peas.  You could use whatever vegetable you like, just be sure to allow for some cooking time if you are using something other than peas (I just threw them in frozen and the heat of the dish softened them up enough).

One side note…. the recipe calls for grated parmesan cheese, but I am fairly certain they meant the shredded variety.  I HATE when a recipe calls for grated and I get the powder because that’s what it’s called only to realize later they meant shredded.  It doesn’t matter that much in terms of flavor, but sometimes it does in terms of texture.  For this I just added some of it to the sauce as it heated, and then topped with a little more of the powder.

Anyway, both Jeff and I agreed this was a great dish and that we would make it again.  If you have kids that eat real food they would probably like this as well.

Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese

Serves : 4-5

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/4 cup marscapone cheese (I added about 1 T. more)
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 12 oz. whole wheat pasta (something with ridges will catch the sauce best)

Directions :

  1. In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and sage and saute until the onions are translucent.
  3. In a blender, combine the pumpkin puree and cooked onions, garlic and sage, and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the blended mixture into a saucepan and heat through.
  5. While the sauce is heating, cook pasta according to package directions.
  6. Add the mascarpone and parmesan to the pumpkin sauce and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Drain the pasta once al dente, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water.
  8. Place the drained pasta back into the pot and add the pumpkin sauce, stirring until all the pasta is coated. Add pasta water if necessary to thin out the sauce.
  9. Any add-ins should be mixed in next – I sauteed chicken apple sausages and added frozen peas to give a little more substance.
  10. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and devour.

Recipe from Bites N Brews

_MG_7997-1
_MG_8007-1

Mediterranean Pasta


This was another fantastic dish.  Judging by the ingredients I didn’t expect it to be as flavorful as it was.  While I am all for eating healthier, I will admit that at times I find the food to be a bit on the bland side.  There wasn’t much in this recipe that made me think it would be otherwise, and especially in regards to the sauce.  But somehow, when you put these simple things together, magic happens and as I said, there is an abundance of great flavor.  There is a nice not of heat from the chili flakes, plenty of freshness from the lemon and basil, and a great Mediterranean flavor blend from the garlic, artichokes, capers, and sundried tomatoes.  It’s just another added bonus that this dish is so healthy for you!

For the pasta, I suggest using something like Barilla Plus.  It has the health benefits of other whole wheat pastas, but resembles white pasta more closely in texture and appearance which makes it a bit more enjoyable.  I used regular spaghetti because it’s the size I had on hand, although the recipe calls for thin.  I really don’t think it matters.  For the artichokes I used marinated hearts from a jar, and I used sundried tomatoes packed in oil to save time.  I just squeeze as much oil off them as I can before cutting them up.

As you can see from the picture, this is also a beautiful dish with all the colors.  As you know, I am a firm believer in the enjoyment of foods based on not only how they taste, but also how they look!  This one was so good, and so simple I think I will be making it again soon!

 

Mediterranean Pasta

Makes : 4 servings

Ingredients :

  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 8 oz. multigrain thin spaghetti
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. red chili flakes (I think I used about 1/3 tsp.)
  • 1 (9oz) pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or canned)
  • 2 T. capers
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 2 T. grated parmesan cheese

Directions :

  1. Place the sundried tomatoes in a small bowl and soak them in warm water to soften them.  If using tomatoes packed in oil, you can skip this step. 
  2. To make the sauce, stir the chicken stock, lemon juice, zest and flour together in a bowl.  Set aside. 
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti.  Cook according to package directions, until al dente.  Drain and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water. 
  4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook without moving it until it is browned on one side, about 3 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and cook on the other side until browned.  Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining teaspoon oil.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir the sauce mixture and pour it into the pan.  Stir to pick up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Drain the sundried tomatoes and slice them.  Add them to the pan along with the artichokes, capers and chicken.  Simmer for a few minutes to allow the ingredients to heat up and the flavors to meld.  Add the pasta along with the basil and cheese.  Toss to combine all ingredients well.  Add some of the reserved pasta water as needed until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

Recipe from The Foodie Physician

_MG_6745-1

 

Orzo Chicken Asiago


There are times when the simplest of recipes to prepare end up being some of the best to eat, and this is one of those times.  I could see this becoming a regular in anybody’s household.  It’s far within most people’s comfort zones, simple to make, and has everything most people look for in a meal.  You have your starch, your protein, your dairy, and your veggies all in one colorful dish!

While trying to get my husband’s opinion on the dish for this blog, as I often try to do because I feel like he is a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy and therefore harder to please when it comes to trying new things, I was given a rating of 8 out of 10.  When I asked him to elaborate on that, he simply said “the tomatoes weren’t terrible”.  Not exactly helpful if you ask me… I mentioned such to him and that my readers are not going to want to try a dish that is described as being “not terrible”.  He said that if someone like himself, who hates tomatoes, would say the dish was an 8 and that he liked it in spite of the tomatoes that it must be good.  So there you have it… the tomatoes aren’t terrible.

I, on the other hand, and I might add I also don’t like large pieces of tomato, thought they were not only “not terrible” but that they were a key ingredient in the dish, and part of what makes it so fantastic.  All the freshness added by the tomatoes, onions, peas, and parsley give this a light feeling not typical of most pasta dishes. This is also true because of the orzo, which is a small pasta, but seems a lot like rice in shape and texture.  The orzo is perfect for this because it gives it a risotto feel and leave it so creamy in texture with the Asiago.  The only change I made to this recipe was to pre-cook my chicken.  I did this mostly because it had been in my fridge for a few too many days and I was nervous to leave it in there a couple more until I was ready to cook it.  As often happens, I took my meat out with specific dates in mind, but plans changed, and things got pushed back a couple days.  Rather than waste the meat I just cooked the chicken with a little salt and pepper in the skillet and put it back in the fridge.  I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about boiling the chicken for so little time in this recipe (and especially now because my orzo only took 9 minutes to cook) from a raw state, and it being done properly.  So even when I make this next… and there will be a next time…. I will pre-cook the chicken as I did this time.  For the wine I again used the Moscato I had opened the night before and it worked very well for this….. and was also quite enjoyed straight from the bottle as I was cooking… shhh!  Good thing I was only cooking for my husband and I lol.

Anyway, I highly recommend EVERYONE try this recipe.

 

Orzo Chicken Asiago

Serves : 4

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces (see above, I pre-cooked mine)
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked Orzo
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh grated Asiago cheese
  • parsley

Directions :

  1. Do your prep work ahead of time so you can keep your attention on the pasta, and stirring it.  You also don’t want to over cook your pasta into mush!
  2. In a dutch oven combine broth and white wine.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and orzo.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 9-12 minutes or until pasta is done, but still a bit al dente.  Mine took about 9 minutes.  Stir frequently the entire time.  About halfway through cook time add your dry herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. In the last minute add the tomatoes and green onions. 
  4. Remove from heat, add in the frozen peas and stir around to help cook the pasta.  Add in your cheese and parsley and serve.

Recipe from citronlimette

_MG_5798-1
_MG_5792-1

Published in: on March 9, 2013 at 9:19 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,