Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breakfast Nachos

4 corn tortillas
4 TBSP refried beans
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 small onion
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar
jalapeno rings
your favorite hot sauce

Place tortillas on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven until browned and crispy, turning once to toast both sides.

Spread 1 TBSP of beans onto each tortilla. In a microwave safe bowl or skillet, scramble eggs with onion and season with salt and pepper. Add half of the cheese in the last minute so that it melts into the eggs.

Divide eggs among the tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Top with salsa and jalapeno rings, and hot sauce for the spice-lovers. Serve with fresh fruit and yogurt.

Makes 4 servings

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Stew

This is a great meal to throw together and forget until dinner time, AND by adding potatoes to each portion, you can please even the picky eaters and waist watchers. In my house, either I am skipping potatoes, or wanting sweet potatoes over white so its a win-win.

1 lb pork loin,  cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 packet onion soup mix
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry
1 large onion, chopped or sliced
3 carrots, peeled and thin sliced on an angle
3 celery stalks, thin sliced on an angle

Place above ingredients in a slow cooker and add enough water to cover. Cook on low 8-12 hours, depending on how hot your crock gets. Add :

1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce or 2 TBSP tomato paste
2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables (like diced carrots, peas, green beans)
1 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in 2 TBSP cold water

Cook another hour on high until thickened. While thickening, bake potatoes of choice in the microwave or oven. Cut potatoes into 1" cubes and place in bowls before pouring stew over them.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

5 large bell peppers, tops/ribs/seeds removed
1 cup dry quinoa
1/2 lb ground turkey, chicken, pork or beef
small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 cups fresh spinach (or 1/2 cup frozen chopped)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cups marinara or tomato sauce + 1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place peppers in a glass baking dish cut side down with 1/2" water in the bottom and steam in the microwave about 6 minutes until tender. Remove from pan and set upside on paper towels. Dry baking dish.

Cook quinoa to package directions. I use an electric rice cooker and it takes about 20 minutes.

In a saute pan brown meat (stirring only as needed to prevent burning), seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add onion and garlic and cook a couple minutes until translucent. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Mix with cooked quinoa. Place peppers in baking dish cut side up and fill with the quinoa mixture.

Divide sauce equally over peppers and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon juices back over/into peppers, and top with mozzarella. Bake another 15 or so minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vanilla Green Tea Latte (Protein Shake)

8 oz unsweetened* vanilla almond milk
1 scoop (28g) unsweetened* protein powder, vanilla flavor
8 oz fresh brewed chilled green tea (or brew 1 bag in 1/4 cup boiling water for 5 minutes and add ice to cool)

Mix protein powder and almond milk well in a shaker container. Add green tea and ice to fill and shake well. Want it frozen? Throw it all in the blender and pulse until ice is finely chopped and all ingredients combined.

* I drink my drinks unsweetened (coffee, tea, etc) SO if you need a little something in yours, sweetened with honey, sugar, sweetener as you would your morning coffee or cup of tea.

Exact stats will vary based on the product brands used. With Almond Breeze, Sprouts Non-GMO Soy Protein Powder, and Tazo Green Tea- my shake has:

150 calories
2g carbs
5g fat
25g protein
1g fiber
430mg sodium

Need a great little leak-proof shaker to make and take your drink? Check out the Quick Shake and contact me to place an order!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

I have been making a pot of oatmeal a couple times a week lately so we have quick easy breakfast in the morning. You can eat it right away, or reheat 1 cup portions for 1 minute in the microwave when you are ready. It doesn't dry out at all, and if you like it thin, you can add a little more water or milk when you are ready to eat it.

1 large apple
2 medium carrots
2.5 cups water
1 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp flax seed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 chunk fresh ginger (about 1" square)
1/8 cup honey
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel and finely chop or shred the apple and carrots. Place in a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add all but the vanilla and stir well to combine. Turn off the heat and add vanilla. Let stand about 5 minutes to thicken.

Makes 4-1 cup servings.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shrimp with Wine Sauce

1 lb raw shrimp
1 lemon
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBSP chopped cherry peppers
1 sprig fresh thyme*
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth**
Salt and pepper
1/2 box wheat pasta ***
Shredded Parmesan
Red pepper flakes

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, reserving about 1-2 cups pasta liquid*.

Peel shrimp and remove tails. Rinse and dry well, squeeze half the lemon over shrimp and set aside. Save the other half of the lemon for sauce.

In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, melt butter with the olive oil. Add garlic, cherry peppers, and thyme sprig and cook until garlic is browned and crispy. Add broccoli and shrimp and cook about two minutes, stirring often to prevent garlic from burning. Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Combine juice from the rest of the lemon, wine, and broth. Pour over shrimp and broccoli and bring to a boil. Add pasta and toss to coat, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking liquids if it needs more saucy-ness. Remove the thyme sprig and discard. Serve topped with shredded Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

* No need to remove the individual thyme leaves, just throw the whole sprig in and pull it out before serving.

** If I don't have stock or broth defrosted, I add 1 chicken bouillon cube to 1 cup pasta liquid instead. Stir to dissolve and add the wine and lemon and you good AND the dish cooks a little quicker because you don't have to heat cold broth to a boil.

*** While we always make this with angel hair, I didn't want the stress of my 3 year old trying to swirl his pasta, so rotini it was. Still just as delicious, just easier to eat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Egg Roll Soup

If you are a Chinese food lover like me, this is the soup for you.

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
6 cloves garlic, smashed (about 1/3 cup)
6 celery stalks, sliced (about 2 cups)
4 carrots, grated (about 1.5 cups)
1/2 head cabbage, sliced (about 6 cups)
4 cups low/no sodium chicken stock

2 cups frozen edamame
1/2" piece of ginger root, grated (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
3 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice seasoning
1 TBSP sesame oil

OPTIONAL: 6 egg roll wrappers
In a dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil on medium heat and saute onions and garlic. Once soft, add celery, carrots, and cabbage and cook until slightly wilted. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, reduce to medium.

Add edamame, ginger, soy sauce, five spice, and water to cover. Cook about another 10 minutes and add sesame oil.

OPTIONAL: In a medium saucepan with at least 4" sides, heat 1" vegetable oil  until bubbling. Cut egg roll wrappers into 1/2" strips and deep fry a couple minutes until golden. Serve on top of soup.

Makes 13 cups.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cranberry Pumpkin Oatmeal

1 cup fresh cranberries
1.5 cups water
1 cup rolled oats
1 TBSP whole flax seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 can solid packed pumpkin
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a medium saucepan, bring water and cranberries to a boil. Cook about 5 minutes until they have all burst.

Add oats and flax seeds. Once oats begin to absorb water, add walnuts, pumpkin, and maple syrup. Stir well and let stand 5 minutes to thicken.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Not SO Bad Rosemary Scones

Until now, I have never had a scone I didn't like. Then again, I have never had one that wasn't about 500 calories, so I didn't have them too often. By swapping out some of the gut busters like heavy cream and butter and cutting them a little smaller, these are a little easier on the waist with only about 150 calories and 5 grams of fat. Even leaves room for a little smidge of honey butter.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raw sugar (or white if you don't have it)
1 TBSP baking powder
zest from 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 TBSP fresh chopped  or 1 1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
3 TBSP cooking oil
2 egg whites

Heat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, orange peel, rosemary, and salt. In another bowl stir together milk, oil, and egg. Add milk mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
On a lightly floured surface knead dough 10 times. Lightly roll or pat dough to a 10-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 12 wedges with a pizza cutter and transfer wedges to baking sheet. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve warm. Makes 12 scones.

1/2 stick butter, softened at room temperature
juice from 1/4 orange (leftover from zesting)
1 tsp honey

In a mini food processor or a mixing bowl with a whisk, whip until ingredients are combined and butter is fluffy. Serve on warm scones.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thrifty Tip: Bulk Cut Cheese

It sounds like a lot of hassle, but if you can find a good sale on bulk cuts of cheese you can save big bucks over buying the pre-shredded variety AND it tastes much better. I grabbed up several blocks of this Colby Jack from our local Sprouts (natural foods grocery store) and just froze them right in the plastic they came wrapped in. When we are low on cheese I just defrost and shred. If you prefer, you can also shred the cheese first, and freeze it in quart or gallon bags.

Pictured is a gallon bag, half full for $2.57 (it was $2.99/lb). The price varies depending on where you are, but here in the Dallas area we pay anywhere from $3.49 (Aldi) to $4.19 (Wal-Mart) for a bag of the shredded stuff.

Since Santa bought me a slicer for Christmas, I also plan to check out the blocks at our local wholesale store so I can do up some sandwich slices too!

Monday, January 2, 2012


We make tons of quesadillas in my house. They are great for lunch, dinner, or a little snackin' and can be made to use up almost anything around the house, and with as little as tortillas and cheese on hand. They are also easy to take in lunches or picnic baskets. By making them at home, you can control the cheese to veggie ratio, and eliminate the butter-drenched tortillas served in restaurants.

Per serving:
1 burrito size tortilla (preferable whole wheat)
1/4 cup shredded cheese

plus optional fillers:
grilled chicken, steak, pork, or shrimp
chopped grilled veggies
chopped fresh veggies
bacon bits
refried or whole cooked beans

Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Lightly spray pan with cooking spray (if it browns right away, gently wipe it away with a paper towel and turn the heat down a little). Spray one side of tortilla with cooking spray, and put in sprayed side down on the pan. Sprinkle cheese across tortilla and scatter with optional ingredients. Once cheese is completely melted, fold the tortilla in half and cook until both sides are golden brown.

Making them for a crowd? Don't fold in half, but instead add extra toppings and top with another 1/4 cup of cheese, top with another tortilla, spray the outside of the 2nd tortilla with cooking spray, and carefully flip it over once the top cheese starts to melt.

Serve with your choice of salsa, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, or chopped tomatoes. 

Not sure what to combine? Here are some of my FAVE combos:
#1- chicken, grilled onions and peppers, and bacon bits
#2- steak, grilled mushrooms, fresh onions and jalapenos
#3- shrimp and sliced avocado
#4- fresh spinach, chopped aartichoke hearts, and fresh tomatoes

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top Ten Recipes of 2011

2011 was an eventful year for this girl, both good and bad. I was honored to be named Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Blog of the Month in May, and was invited to cook at the Aetna Healthy Food Fight Semi-Finals round State Fair. I was also deeply saddened to lose my mom, who was the foundation of my healthy eating habits and my motivator in starting this blog. At the start of this fresh New Year, I want to thank all of my faithful and supportive readers who support me with your interest in my food obsession.

Here are the recipes that received the most reads in 2011:

10. Pizza Chicken  Not to be confused with Chicken Pizza, this is a low-carb entree with the flavor of pizza without the crust!
9.   Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce A great substitute for dishes that use Alfredo or cream sauce without all the fat and calories!
8.   Healthy Cheesy Potato Fakeout Tastes just like the hash brown casserole you love, with CAULIFLOWER instead of the taters to save your waist ...a little!
7.   Sesame Chicken Make some take-out style food at home-cut the sodium, fat and calories!
6.   Mom's Signature Grilled Chicken So simple I almost didn't post it, but our family's go-to method used for salads, pasta, or just a light dinner.
5.   Broccoli and Cheese Potato Skins Baking these guys helps keep them lower in fat and calories than their fried counter parts!
4.   Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Because everyone needs a treat, why not enjoy one with the health benefits of a lil pumpkin!  
3.   Pecan Crusted Tilapia Fish my kids devour, mild white with a sweet, crispy coating-just writing this makes me want some!
2.   Buffalo Chicken (or turkey) Meatloaf- prepared in the Aetna Healthy Food Fight Semi-Final Round at the Texas State Fair!

And the NUMBER ONE most popular recipe of 2011... possibly due to Tracy Foley making it so often for her Foley Five...

1.   Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders Sweet and crispy, this are a DELICIOUS substitution for those frozen nuggets that your family will adore.