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Cheesy Vegetables and Chicken

October 13, 2014

Another one of the clean out the fridge recipes, you will have to control yourself on the portions of this. The original recipe (no clue where I got it from) was also a throw together, but I have skimmed down the cheese and sour cream, added a ton of additional veggies, and most definitely achieved perfection. (My lovely cousin Marcia says she makes this with plain yogurt )There is still a reasonable amount of cheese. Since it is evenly dispersed in 4-5 servings ( or less if you have a teen age son!) the overall quantity per serving is not substantial, and it is of course very low in carbs. The original recipe also called for a 13 x9 pan. I scaled it down to a 9×9 pan so there is less area that needs to be covered by cheese. You can switch up your choice of vegetables. This is what I had on hand last night. It comes together quickly and since every thing is pre cooked, the bake to serve time is minimal.

2 boneless chicken breasts

1 can diced tomatoes, drained well.

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets and lightly  steamed

1/2 large red pepper

8-10 mushrooms, sliced

2 C. fresh spinach, chopped

3/4 C. sour cream (or plain yogurt)

1 t. black pepper

3 t. smoky paprika

1 1/2 C. shredded cheese – Mexican blend. Cheddar, Monterrey Jack (anything but Mozzarella)

Put the cauliflower in a large frying pan and sauté a bit after steaming. Add remaining vegetables in according to the length of time they need cooked. Mine went in the pan in this order: red pepper, mushrooms, diced tomatoes  and lastly, spinach.

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I made my chicken in the Foreman grill.. I love my Foreman grill.. Four minutes- done enough  as it will cook more in the casserole.

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Cut it up in bite size pieces, and add it to the vegetables in the pan.

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Mix in your sour cream and add 2 teaspoons of the paprika, and pepper. Combine well and put in a 9×9 pan.

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Bake covered in a 350* oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, top with shredded cheese and sprinkle with  paprika.Return to oven until cheese is just melted. I shut the oven off and left it in  for  about 5 more minutes.

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We had no sides with since there are so many vegetables in it. If you want to add carbs,  rice would be wonderful as there are plenty of juices from the tomatoes.

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Cauliflower Tabouli

October 6, 2014

Tabouli  or Taboulleh is a traditional vegetarian  Middle  Eastern dish, most closely classified as a salad. Usually made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some type of grain like bulghur  is often added to the dish. This is my variation of it. It’s a pretty flexible recipe. I added some jalapeno because…well because I add jalapeno or some kind of heat to most things we eat! Tomatoes, unless straight off the vine or green and fried, also don’t do it for me in most dishes. In this I have substituted red pepper, which also makes it less watery than tomato. I am not much  a bulghur fan (but  then I also haven’t given it much of  a chance) and I wanted to keep this grain  free. Quinoa would make a tasty addition and add  a nice texture contrast and I might try it another time with that. Crumbled feta took the place of salt in my version, but if you are looking to make it dairy free it can be omitted.

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1/2 head cauliflower grated

1/2 red pepper. diced

1 finely minced jalapeno

1 medium cucumber. seeded and diced

3 diced scallions. including green tops

1/3 C. chopped fresh mint

1 C. chopped fresh parsley

1.4 C. olive oil

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice

1/2 C. crumbled feta (optional but will need salt if this is omitted)

1/2 t. pepper

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 Here is a close up of your cauliflower. You want it “grainy” not mush. I grate it rather than process it.

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Combine your lemon juice and oil and whisk a bit.Mix all your veggies together. Pour the olive oil and lemon over all. Stir to coat all of the vegetables. At this point you can add in a 1/2 cup of cooked bulghur, quinoa or couscous. Lastly stir in your feta if you are using it.This is best if left to sit a few hours. but it is  really hard  not to keep  tasting it! This didn’t last very long and I would definitely double it all next time.

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This dish is so colorful, and it tastes as happy as it looks.

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Micaela’s Healthy Hotcakes

July 16, 2014

I am VERY proud  to be  featuring a  special  guest  blogger! This recipe is courtesy of my daughter, with her  pointers to make a filling and healthy version of pancakes. Just a few ingredients and you have a delicious and healthy breakfast,lunch or dinner!

1 medium banana

1 egg

1/3 C. oats, ground in a processor

1/4  t. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon – or to taste- Micaela uses  more

Peel banana,  put in a medium bowl and microwave for 15 seconds on high. Mash the banana very well with a fork or  whisk. making sure there are no lumps. Add one egg and beat well.

Mix the baking powder and ground oats. Combine with  the  wet ingredients and let sit for about 5 minutes.

In a hot pan, melt a scant  teaspoon of coconut oil.

Spoon the batter into  the pan into two equal pancakes. When bubbly on top, gently turn, and cook for a minute or two longer.

Top with a schmear of peanut or almond butter, and  your favorite fruit.

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<3

 

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All in One Salmon

May 7, 2014

A complete meal served packaged like a gift! Salmon papillote, salmon in packets.. salmon in a   pouch.. whatever you call it this is  an easy and delicious way to prepare fish and fresh summer veggies together. It’s light and flavorful, and the prep and presentation make it  a quick clean up as well. You can’t ask much more on a hot summer night, can you? Served on a bed of garlic and oil flavored cous cous , and layered high with fresh bright garden delights and seasoned well, the combinations are left to your imagination. The most important thing is to keep all things  sliced about the same and use  vegetables that need  around the same cooking time.  This can also be made in foil and cooked on the grill.

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Approximately 2 C. cooked and seasoned cous cous, orzo or rice

4 salmon fillets, 5-6 oz. each

1 red pepper, cut in half and  sliced in 1/4 inch strips and steamed for 5 minutes

16 thin asparagus, cut in half and steamed for 5 minutes

20  grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 t. Old Bay

4 t. dill

A shake of salt and pepper

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4 12×16 pieces parchment, folded in half, and then folded again

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Open the parchment on a cookie  sheet. In the center where the creases meet, mound 1/2 C cous cous. Top with one fillet. Sprinkle with 1 t. Old Bay.

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On top of fish, layer steamed pepper,  8 asparagus and 10 raw tomatoes halves. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil and top with 1 t. dill. Continue on with remaining fillets

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Bring the two long ends of parchment together and fold tightly. Bring ends under fish, making a pouch. continue with  remaining fillets and veggies.

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Bake 20 -30 minutes,depending on thickness of fish. Serve in the parchment and open at the table. Savor the scent of the steam as each pouch is opened!

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Poblano,Chicken, and Sausage Casserole

April 26, 2014

Several weeks ago, someone in one of my cooking groups posted a recipe for a Chili Releno Casserole. There was no link, just a recipe. so my concoction is loosely based on her recipe, with several changes made by me (as usual, I can’t make a recipe without some alterations!) Having plans for a hamburger based meal later in the week, I decided this casserole was a good for for two lone sausage in my freezer  along with a boneless chicken breast. Black beans were added for  texture and more flavor. Are you getting the idea that this is  an extremely flexible recipe?  It can be done vegetarian using two cans of beans. Skip the sausage, and use two chicken breasts. Be conventional and use hamburger. Double the ingredients  and make a 13×9 pan to take to a Cinco De Mayo Party!  Very flavorful, not too spicy and could be enjoyed by any crowd.

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1 large boneless chicken breast, cut in 1″ cubes

2 sausage links, any kind, cut in 1″ cubes

1 can black beans, drained

3 Poblano  peppers, cut in 1″ pieces

1 onion, small dice (not pictured- I didn’t have one)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs

1/8 C. flour

3/4 C. milk

1 T. chili powder

1 T. oregano

2 t. cumin

2 t. black pepper

2 C. and mixed  Cheddar, Monterey Jack or shredded “Mexican” cheese

Sour cream for garnish

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)

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In a large frying pan, sauté poblanos (reserve 1/4 C. for top, and dice them smaller) and onion with sausage. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the garlic and chicken. To the pan, add 1 teaspoon of each of the seasonings (chili powder, oregano, cumin and black pepper). Toss well to distribute seasonings. I think it is  important to season the ingredients  while sautéing, adding the rest  when baking. It enhances the flavors and brings out their oils. Cook for just another 3-4 minutes.

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Combine eggs and flour and remainder of seasonings. Whisk until no visible  lumps of flour are gone. Add milk next. I find the flour combines more smoothly when done in this order.

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Spread your meat and peppers in the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Top with the drained and rinsed black beans.

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Top with cheese and the reserved 1/4 C. of poblanos.

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Pour egg, flour and milk mixture over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

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Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a dash or red pepper flakes.

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Tamed Tuna Casserole

March 10, 2014

I  know, I know…you’re turning up your nose. No one “loves” tuna casserole, in addition to the fact that it is loaded with  fat and carbs. I encourage you to try this version.. just once.. I guarantee you will put it into your menu cycle.  With Meatless Mondays, Lent, and the cost of meat soaring, now is the perfect time to try this. Using half spaghetti squash and half pasta you are cutting your carbs significantly. Because the  spaghetti squash brings a creamy texture to the dish, you can also cut down on fat from added  cheeses and milk.. No flour-y roux in this either. And if you “really” can’t stand tuna, cooked chicken is  always a viable alternative. The end result was such a hit I do not  have step by step pics,  but thought it was  worth sharing.

1/2 lb. angel hair or spaghetti, cooked and drained

1/2 roasted spaghetti squash, made into strands (directions here)

1 large can solid white albacore tuna, in water

1 C. Ricotta cheese

1/2 C. Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

1/3 C milk (I used 2%, fat free  would work as would cream)

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (any salty dry cheese will work )

1 t. Old Bay

1 t. dried dill

1 t. pepper

1 T. butter

1/4 C. bread crumbs or panko

A sprinkle  more of  Old Bay, and dill for the top

Combine ricotta, milk , Parmesan and seasonings. Prepare pasta and drain. Mix with strands of spaghetti squash.While pasta and squash  are still hot, mix in ricotta until it is evenly distributed throughout.

Add the tuna, and break the chunks up so it is also evenly distributed  throughout the pasta and squash. Pour into a 9×9 pan.

Optional: Dot with  a little butter and sprinkle bread crumbs or panko on top.

Pre heat  350 degree oven. Bake 40 minutes until brown and bubbly.

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Served with some asparagus on top, this looks like a gourmet dish!

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Slightly Sweet and Spicey Swordfish Stir Fry

March 5, 2014

Every once in a while my local Publix has swordfish “nuggets” These are the pieces that are left once  bigger quantities have been sold. They are perfect for a stir fry, since the nuggets are all different sizes.  Swordfish is such a great fish, light in flavor like many  filets, but meaty in texture. It picks up the flavor of anything you put on it, and is filling so a little goes a long way. It also pairs well with any vegetable, so if you don’t have zucchini on hand you can switch  it up in a variety of ways.

1 lb. swordfish, cut in 1 inch cubes

2 medium zucchini

1 large can pineapple chunks

3 T. soy sauce

1 lemon, juice and zest

2 T. Brown sugar

1 T. Simply Asia ginger garlic seasoning (you can sub 1t. ginger and 1 t. toasted sesame seeds for  this)

2 cloves garlic

1/2 t, red pepper flakes

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In a container or Ziploc bag, combine juice and zest from half  the lemon, one grated garlic clove. 1 T. of soy, and  1T. of pineapple juice. Add in the fish and coat well. Allow to marinade for up to an hour,   but no more than two. Fish will start to “cook” if left in marinade too long. It  only take a little time for it  to absorb flavor.

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In a separate bowl, combine the remaining pineapple juice drained from chunks, 2 T. soy, juice and zest from other half of lemon, 1 clove garlic grated, Asian seasoning, red pepper flakes  and brown sugar. Let sit while you prep your veggies. Cut zucchini however you like- I prefer two cuts length wise, and then in one inch slices.

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Add a scant 1/2 t. of vegetable oil to a hot pan. Toss in  zucchini. I like it to brown a bit to add color and  natural sweetness.

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Pour off any juice from the swordfish. Add the swordfish to the zucchini and toss for about 2 minutes.

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Add in pineapple and pour on the sauce.

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Serve over  rice, (this is a mix of brown and wild) orzo or quinoa!  A light but filling meal.

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Enjoy!

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