Tag Archives: dinner

Red Curry Tofu With Spaghetti

I’ve given in to the fact that this blog will be more to remember the recipes I create than a lifestyle blog with weekly or even monthly posts. Ah well, this RD is fine with that.

Back when Alex and I first moved in together, we participated (Read I made us participate) in meatless Mondays. And, by meatless Mondays I mean we ate at least one meal weekly with no meat. We would have eggs or pizza or some crazy recipe I found on pinterest. Lately, we have been eating more poultry and less veggie focused meals. This is one of the first tofu recipes I found in those first few months and we had all but forgotten about it until I let Alex meal plan this past weekend.

I had spent the weekend up at the lake with my family and Alex stayed in the city. Since, I was getting home later than usual on Sunday he did all of the meal planning. I was pretty impressed with his selections: fried chicken, shrimp curry with rice, and this curry with tofu. Two out of three recipes were actually pretty healthy.  And the proteins were much more diverse than last week. He must have been craving curry with two different dishes set for this week. He found the recipes on the recipe book/app that came with our computers-lenovo yoga pro 2. It has a wide selection of different meals, sides, and desserts. I adapted the recipe to better fit our tastes as the recipe called for it to be eaten cold or at room temperature which Alex dislikes greatly. Plus I prefer cooked veggies to raw nine times out of ten.

This recipe is delicious, filling, protein and fiber packed! Winning all around plus there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow and maybe for Saturday too.

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Red Curry Tofu with Spaghetti (makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:

1 package extra firm tofu

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin slices

2 bell peppers, sliced lengthwise thinly (julienned)

1 package peeled edamame (I got it at Trader Joe’s)

1 1/2 Tbsp Canola oil

3/4 jar of Thai Red Curry Sauce (from Trader Joe’s)

3/4 package of whole wheat thin spaghetti (I used aldi’s fit and active brand)

Directions:

1. Drain the Tofu and cut into bite size squares. Place onto paper towels to drain

2. Cook the spaghetti per directions on the box. Drain once done and mix with ~ 1/4 of the jar of sauce

3. Heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Add in the carrots, bell peppers and tofu. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add in the  and the sauce. Cook for 3-4 more minutes

5. Add about 1/6 of the pasta and veggie/tofu mixture on a plate and eat!

Nutrition Facts: 390 calories, 44 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein, 15 grams total fat, 9 grams fiber

So nutritious, so delicious. What’s your favorite way to eat tofu?

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Coconut Rice with Shrimp Curry

Well it’s amazing how time flies when you are having fun! The past few months have flown by with wedding planning and family events. Congrats to my little bro for graduating college and my little cousin for her graduation from high school. There has been a ton of family time along with lovely relaxing up at the lake house.

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My cooking in the kitchen has been less than creative. I’ve been following other people’s recipe and while everything was been delicious it hasn’t been original. This one itself was tweaked from a  recipe online that I found and wrote down. Cannot fine the original recipe so I figured I’d give it to all of you. It was quick and easy, perfect for a weeknight dinner

I used raw shrimp but you could use cooked if you prefer which would shorten the cooking time by 4-5 minutes. The recipe is also pretty spicy so feel free to cut back on the red pepper flakes if you don’t like heat.

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Coconut Rice with Shrimp Curry (serves 4)

2/3 cup jasmine rice

1 can light coconut milk

1.5 tbsp canola oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped small

3/4 bag of devined, raw shrimp, peel if not already done so

1.75 Tbsp sweet curry

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup frozen or fresh peas

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups hot water

Directions:

1. In medium sauce pan heat coconut milk and rice, cover and cook over low heat for 12-13 minutes until rice is cooked. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving

2. Meanwhile heat half of oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven, salt and pepper shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked. Remove shrimp from pan

3. Add rest of oil and chopped onion. Cook for 3 minutes until softened.

4. Add in curry powder and cinnamon. Add in the hot water and peas. Cooked for 5 minutes.

5. Add the shrimp back in and cook for another minute until the sauce is thickened and the shrimp are warm and fully cooked

6. Serve a quarter of the cooked coconut rice with a quarter of the shrimp mixture

Nutrition Facts: 1/4 recipe 335 kcal, 15 grams protein, 13 grams fat , 40 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber

What has been cooking in your kitchen?

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Kale, Mushroom, Tomato Frittata

Not sure about you but I am ALWAYS looking for quick meals during the week. Most days I will get home, change into workout clothes, and head straight to the gym to meet Alex. We spend about an hour at the gym and both end up starving when we get home. Alex will usually grab a snack while I head straight into the kitchen to start dinner. I rarely let him cook. Call me crazy but the kitchen is my place. I don’t really even let him help prepare the food. Which I should probably work on doing… anyways, my goal on these nights is to have dinner ready as soon as possible. Frittatas are starting to make their way into our rotation quite often. Frittatas are a great way to use up those veggies that are about to go bad or overflowing from the fridge. This happens often with our tiny little fridge. Our landlord, back when we weren’t living here, bought a small “apartment” sized fridge. Now, yes, we live in an apartment. But it is a nice spacious apartment with more than enough room for a full size fridge. The tenets who lived here before us never cooked. Ever. Blows my mind considering I cook 5-6 nights a week. It is hard to fit a weeks worth of fruits and vegetables into our little fridge which means when the weekend gets close, I need to use up veggies to make room for next week’s meals or leftovers.

The other day I had half a bag kale, a container of mushrooms that were on their last leg, a random roma tomato and about a 1/3 container of cherry tomatoes hanging out in the kitchen. First thought was omelets but that’s too hard because I can never flip them or keep them from falling apart. Plain sauteed vegetables with some protein side didn’t really sound appetizing. Next logical step was frittata. They are quick, easy, and delicious. Plus they make great leftovers!20140407_184536

I sauteed up the veggie, added the eggs, a few seasoning and some cheese then let it cook up first on the stove top then under the broiler. The whole dinner took about 20 minutes from start to finish. It helped that the kale and mushrooms were pre-cut. Frittatas are versatile, use what you have on hand! I had some Parmesan and some scamorza cheese. The scamorza cheese is a wonderful melty Italian cheese that I bought for pizza. We have a ton of it leftover after making our one small pizza. It added a fun stringy, melty, gooey aspect to our frittata. Sooo good.

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Veggie Fritatta with Kale, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 3.5 cups Kale
  • 1 pint sliced mushrooms
  • about 1 cup tomatoes diced (I used 1/3 container of cherry tomatoes and 1 small roma tomato)
  • 1.5 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 ounce shredded parmesan
  • 1.5 oz scamorza cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried minced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Using a large oven safe skillet (I used my cast iron skillet), heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, throw in the mushrooms and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and minced onion

2. Beat the eggs with the milk, and garlic powder. Add in the cheeses

3. Once the mushrooms and tomatoes are cooked thoroughly, add in the kale and let wilt for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently

4. Add in the egg and cheese mixture and distribute evenly

5. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.

6. Turn on your broiler and pop the entire pan in the oven about about 6-7 minutes. Watch carefully and rotate your pan as needed to avoid burning. Mine took 6 minutes until the eggs were set.

7. Let sit for a couple minutes before cutting into the frittata. Serve with a side salad or fruit.

We also like ours with some ketchup and mayonnaise.  This comes from when we spent a semester in Spain and would have tortilla de patata. It was always served with mayo and ketchup. Alex’s senora would send him and his roommate Andy on trips with tortilla on french bread with mayo as a travel meal. Frittata leftovers are wonderful this way too. Give it a try. Absolutely delicious.

What are you favorite frittata ingredients? Do you have a go to weeknight meals that shows up regularly in your meal rotation?

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Spicy Chickpea Black BeanTacos

I’m making a big effort this year to make more meatless meals. Alex and I eat at least one meatless meal per week, usually on Monday. Now, when I cook dinner, I like to make enough for both of us to have leftovers for at least lunch the next day. Its a must to make life easier during the week. Back when Alex and I moved in together, he would always “complain” about our meatless Monday meals, especially at work. So much so, that his coworkers actually thought I was vegetarian. There is nothing wrong with being vegetarian but I like my animal meats. Over the summer, his coworker had a group of the boys and a few of us girlfriends over for a barbecue and was so confused as to why I chose a turkey burger that night. Now they poke fun at our meatless Monday meals. But that is okay with me. I love the experimenting I get to have in the kitchen to create healthy, fun, and vegetarian meals that Alex will, hopefully, like to eat.

These chickpea tacos were one of my favorite new meals so far this year.  They were easy to make, came together in no time. A perfect weeknight meal, especially after coming home from the gym starving! If you don’t love spicy foods then cut back on the cayenne pepper. These have quite the kick but it’s cooled off by delicious guacamole. If you haven’t tried the Trader joe’s reduced guilt guac I highly recommend it! It has a wonderful tangy taste and is indulgent without breaking the calorie/fat bank.

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Spicy Chickpea and Black Bean Tacos (serves 6, each serving is two hard shell tacos)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 C water
  • Shredded cheese. I used a taco blend we had in the fridge
  • Package hard shell tacos
  • Reduced Guilt Guacamole (or homemade or other store bought. it is up to you)

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a medium skillet pan

2. Add garlic and onion to pan, saute until translucent and soft. About 5-7 minutes

3. Add in chickpeas, black beans, spices and water. Stir well and let cook/simmer for 7-10 minutes. Add more water as needed to keep things moist

4. While everything is simmering together warm your taco shells in the oven per package directions

5. To assemble fill the shells about halfway with the black bean and chickpea mixture, then sprinkle on some cheese, and finally your guacamole. Serve with some salad or your favorite taco sides.

What is your favorite meatless meal?

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Italian Quinoa Stuffed Portabellas

Hi every body. Hope everyone had a great weekend. I had two of my best friends come in to visit this weekend. We hadn’t seen each other since June for Sarah’s wedding and it had been entirely too long. Thanks to both of them for making the drive! I  know it can be a slow, long drive. We spent the weekend eating deliciously salty, not the healthiest food and I personally enjoyed every minute of it. Except now my stomach may hate me. This week my goal is more veggies and less salt which is quite the opposite of this past weekend. Just want to point out all three of us are dietitians. See it is OK to have a splurge every so often. Even we do it! Below is the breakfast Amanda and I split on Sunday. It was a steak and eggs benedict with Parmesan hollandaise. Absolute heaven! Good thing we split it because I was stuffed after only half.

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Since Alex and I moved in together I have implemented a meatless monday dinner rule in our house. It is just a simple way to get more veggies and explore with alternative protein foods. Tonight’s dinner highlighted quinoa, pronounced keen-wah. Though I love the football commercial where they pronounce it Key-no. I die everytime I watch that commercial. ugh kills me. Quinoa is a wonderful grain. It is gluten free, packed with vitamins and minerals, considered an anti-inflammatory food and a complete protein. It is a great alternative to rice or wheat products such as cous cous. I used quinoa to make an Italian stuffing for some mushroom caps. This would be great to scale down to an appetizer size by stuffing it into small button mushroom caps instead of large portabella caps. Just a thought!

I started by putting 1 cup water, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt into a pot and cooking according the the quinoa’s package directions.

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Once it was cooked I mixed in chopped up sun dried tomatoes, basil, olive oil, a little more salt and gave it a mix before adding in some goat cheese. After stirring in the goat cheese well I spooned the mixture into the portabella caps. At this point I covered it with plastic wrap and shoved it in the fridge. I prepped it early while Alex was running because tonight was my first night back at Zumba. Late last week Alex and I joined our local YMCA with my sister and tonight I gave a class a go. I had high expectations as, if you remember, I loved my zumba instructor at my home gym. Unfortunately this class did not live up to my expectations. My search for a new zumba class continues.

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Around 7-715 I had Alex preheat the oven and then throw the mushrooms in for about 15-20 minutes to cook. First tag teamed dinner was a success other than him leaving them in a little long.  A couple of the sun-dried tomatoes got a little burnt but we could pull them off and it was perfect.

We served our mushroom caps with a simple side salad. I am loving on Ranch dressing right now. Cannot get enough. Yum!20131007_194100

According to Alex, this meal was good. Not his favorite Meatless Monday meal but I enjoyed it immensely. I could have eaten another one but wanted to save room for some pumpkin ice cream which I am savoring slowly as I write. MMMM to all things pumpkin.

Italian Quinoa Stuffed Portbelaas (serves 4-5)

5 portabello caps (I grabbed two packages at TJs)

1/2 C dry quinoa

1 C water

1/2 tsp garlic powder

pinch red pepper flakes and salt

1/2 C chopped sun dried tomatoes

2 Tbsp thinly sliced basil leaves

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 ounces goat cheese (crumbles would work better than a log like I used)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine water, quinoa, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and salt in a small pot. Cook according to quinoa package directions

2. Once quinoa is cooked, add in sun dried tomatoes, olive oil and basil. Stir well to combine.

3. Add in goat cheese and mix well.

4. Spoon mixture into the mushroom caps

5. Bake 15-20 minutes until the quinoa mixture is heated through and portabellas are warm and soft.

What is your favorite way to stuff mushrooms?

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Spaghetti with Mussels

How is everyone doing today? I have been exhausted all day for no apparent reason. I even set my alarm 20 minutes later just to get those few extra minutes. Didn’t seem to help. Anyone else have one of those days recently?

Any who, anyway. This week Jewel had mussels on sale. It has been quite some time since I last had some mussels so I knew that we would be buying them this week. Here are a few fun nutrition facts about mussels: they are very high in vitamin B-12, selenium and manganese. A 3-oz. portion of cooked mussel meat provides 20.4 mcg of vitamin B-12, or roughly 340 percent of the recommended daily value. They are low in calories and fat. Mussels contain appreciable amounts of the health-promoting Omega-3 fatty acids.

I soaked the mussels in some water for about 10 minutes to get rid of any sand/grit leftover after harvesting. Once soaked and cleaned, I removed any already open shells. When they are open before cooking it is likely that they were poorly handled or exposed to too much air prior to buying. Only one of my mussels was open already.

I started by cooking some whole wheat spaghetti in one pot and sauteing minced garlic in olive oil in a second pot.

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Once the garlic was soft, I added in white wine, vegetable broth (the only kind in the pantry at the moment), red pepper flakes and some salt. I mixed the broth up before adding in the mussels and placing on the lid to let the mussels steam. Every few minutes I would give the pan a shake to mix that tasty broth up. After about 10 minutes the pasta was done and the mussels were open. Prior to draining the pasta, I reserved 1/2 cup pasta sauce to help thicken the broth to coat the pasta. It was added into the mussel broth and then the pasta was added. Everything got mixed up and covered in the broth before serving. We had side salads of simple mixed greens to add color and veggies to the meal.

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After dinner, Alex and I shared some ice cream while watching the season premiere of NCIS season 11. It was pretty good but I’m feeling sad at the ending of the episode. One of the team not returning??? What? Why? How have I been so out of the loop on this? At least dinner was tasty.

Spaghetti with Mussels and White Wine Sauce (Serves 4)

1/2 package whole wheat spaghetti

1-2# mussels (2# was a lot even for 4 servings but it means Alex will get a bunch in his lunch tomorrow)

3/4 C vegetable broth

1/2 C white wine (I used Pinot Grigio because I had a bottle open)

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp olive oil

pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

1. Cook pasta according the directions on the package, prior to draining reserve 1/2 C pasta water

2. Add olive oil to a large sauce pan that is big enough to hold all of your mussels. Saute garlic until soft and just turning golden brown

3. Add in broth, wine, salt, red pepper flakes.

4. Pour in the mussels and cover the pan with a lid. Let steam for 10 minutes. Don’t lift the lid until after 10 minutes otherwise you lose the steam and it will take longer for the mussels to cook.

5. Remove any unopened shells, they were likely dead before going into the pan. Add in the reserved pasta water and the pasta. Mix well.

6. Serve immediately. You can remove some of the mussels from their shells prior to serving to make it easier to mix, serve, eat. I ended up taking about half out of their shells so it would fit our plates better.

How do you like to prepare your mussels or favorite shell fish?

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Life Update and Some Soup

Well, last time I posted on my little blog was entirely too long ago. I have plenty of excuses but none are a true reason as to why I have left my space here for over 4 months! Let’s start with an update on my little life. Last we left off, Alex and I had just gotten engaged. We have now set our date and booked our ceremony and reception venues! The planning process is slow due to my moving to full time at work.

Starting in mid-July, I took over the pediatric position at my hospital. I am now the RD for our PICU, peds floor and step-down unit. I am absolutely loving it and cannot believe my first full time job is my dream job! It has been a learning experience to say the least.

Earlier this month I ran my very first half-marathon. It was a wonderful race. I ran the Chicago Half-Marathon. I felt great most of the race and finished right at my goal time which was something of a miracle due to how poorly I trained. I am really going to try writing a race review but I am putting it out there if you love running and half-marathons, run the Chicago Half-Marathon. It is well run, a flat course and has awesome crowd support. Can we talk about what a goober I look like in the below picture? Almost every picture my family has of me running the race looks like this.

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Alex and I celebrated our 6 year dating anniversary this month and I cannot believe that in just over a year he is going to be my husband. I worked on our actual anniversary and he greeted me at the door when I got home my favorite flowers. Wonderful surprise! Speaking of celebrations, we celebrated the two marriages of some of our undergrad friends, family friends and my oldest cousin Matt. It has been a wedding filled summer.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time in my wonderful new apartment kitchen but many of the recipes I’ve been making are from other blogs or ones I found on pinterest. I feel like my own personal creativity in the kitchen has diminished some due to “being busy” with all of the changes in my life. It seems that when one thing happens, everything else changes. All in good ways though. It appears that I have now settled into my new routine of living with Alex, being a full time dietitian, managing our own apartment, and planning a wedding. Hopefully this means I can spend more time here on the blog.

To make up for my absence I have a wonderful fall soup for you! Since it is now officially fall and football season, nothing sounds better than soup. I originally found a vegetarian soup on pinterest then took it an ran to make my own version. I added chicken, some other spices, and more beans. This is a protein packed soup that is perfect for a crisp cool fall night of watching football. I made Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s Cheesy Italian Quick Bread to go along side our soup to round it out.

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Chicken and Bean Soup  (serves 6+, We will probably get 8 bowls out of it which is reflected in the nutrition facts below)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can white beans (I used cannellini), drained and rinsed

1 can tomato sauce

6 cups vegetable broth (or use chicken)

1/2 cup brown rice

2 cloves garlic

1 yellow onion, diced

6-8 cups fresh spinach

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft

2. Add in all of the ingredients except for the spinach and let cook until rice is cooked. You can let it cook longer if you would like to let the flavors blend together. I ended up letting mine cook for about 2-3 hours but it could be as little as 50 minutes if using uncooked rice. Use 1 cup cooked brown rice to cut the cooking time, all you would need to do is let it all warm up together before eating.

3. Once rice is cooked and you are ready to eat, stir in the spinach and ladle into bowls. Top with some Parmesan if you feel so inclined and dig in!

Nutrition Facts: 1/8 recipe (~1.25 cups soup): 290 calories, 5 grams fat, 23 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber

Hope all is well with you, my internet friends. What have you been up to all summer?

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Italian Turkey Burgers

Well hello there blog world. I’m not quite sure what happened to all the time lately but let me fill you in on my life the past month! First off, Alex and I found an apartment! No pictures because our phones were dead but it is a beautiful 2nd story apartment of a little duplex in Chicago. Absolutely love it. The kitchen walls are greenish blue which I love and it has a walk in pantry. I was sold the moment I saw it. I can’t wait to start cooking in it!

Alex and I leave for Germany in less than two weeks. I am more than excited for this. We are spending ten days traveling Germany and Austria and plan on seeing many castles, cathedrals and beer gardens while over there. Oh, and doing a Sound of Music Tour. I’m totally going to sing the hills are alive. I’m sure Alex will be extremely embarrassed by me.

Other than that my life has included: zumba, tap, some running, lots of rain (we got hit hard up here last week), and a ton of eating out. I feel like I really need to get back to my roots here and watch what I’m eating again. Even if you work out a ton you really need to watch what you eat. Even fit people can have heart attacks if they eat like crap.

Today, I vow to reignite my love for cooking healthy foods. I promise to myself that I will limit the eating out and eat my leftovers instead. I’ve already started by making some turkey burgers. Dad told me yesterday that he was craving a burger but he would be ok with a turkey burger. I had originally planned to make this soup and cheese bread so I instead took idea behind the ingredients and made turkey burgers. Wonderful, delicious, full of flavor turkey burgers.

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I had bought ground turkey on sale a few weeks ago and it was the perfect excuse to break it out even though I had ground beef in the freezer. I mixed the ground turkey with Italian bread crumbs, an egg, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. I formed the burgers into 6 large patties and one small one that I plan on using on a salad tomorrow for lunch.  I froze two of the turkey patties for future use since we are leaving for Iowa this weekend and I didn’t want them to go to waste. The rest were then grilled on the stove top because the grill isn’t set up yet outside and topped with an Italian 4 blend cheese. The flavors were so good I am already looking forward to my leftovers.

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I served the burgers with a side of baked sweet potato fries. I could have added a salad but I just wasn’t feeling it. One step at a time back into the healthy eating right? For dessert I had a lovely bowl of fresh berries that were supposed to be my afternoon snack but I ended up not needing.  Look at that.. I had burgers and berries tonight! Didn’t even plan it. There is no picture of my pretty berries because I ate them out of an ugly orange bowl.20130422_174224

Italian Turkey Burgers (makes 6.5 patties)

1.25 pounds ground lean turkey

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary about 1 sprig

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

2 Tbsp Italian herb bread crumbs (I used 2 Tbsp regular and added a few dashes each parsley, basil and oregano)

1 egg

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.

2. Form into 6-7 patties

3. Grill for 3-5 minutes per sid  e, until browned on each side

4. Top with preferred cheese and let melt. I used Land o Lakes Italian 4 blend. Soo tasty

5. Serve on a bun. Top with some romaine and tomato. Onion would probably be good too if you like that sort of thing.

Each burger has about 160 calories, 18 gm protein, 1 gm fiber. Not too bad. It’s definitely something I can feel good about eating.

I was definitely a happy and satisfied girl after eating my burger. Cannot wait for leftovers!. Yum. I realized after mixing my patties and forming them that I forgot the salt and pepper and ended up forgetting to add it to the burgers as they were cooking. I didn’t miss either one. Feel free to go salt-less on this one. The tang of the sun-dried tomatoes and zesty cheese gave them all the flavor they needed.

What are you trying to work on this month?

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Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Happy Easter!

Hello everyone, long hiatus again. I got hit with some serious writer’s block,  lack of inspiration in the kitchen and gym and just plain old busy schedule the past few weeks. But, I am now on a four day weekend which means time to refocus and get back in the kitchen. My little break started Friday and I spent it over at my Grandma’s house with my cousin Sara making cake for Easter.

Sara and I make a cake every year. Usually, it is a bunny cake that we make different colors but we decided to make a carrot cake this year. We are decorating it on today as an Easter egg hunt. I’ll make sure to get a picture and put it up here to see. It looks cool so far and it’s only frosted white with a green hill up on top.

The recipe that I have for you today is from a week ago. I had some inspiration in my kitchen but then couldn’t write the post. I think I am back on track with my mindset. I’ve been seeing some recipes like this around Pinterest. Growing up, I loved cheesy chicken casserole with rice or some kind of pasta. The gooey cheese wrapped around the pasta screamed comfort to me. I wanted to make a more healthy, veggie-filled, low carbohydrate (for mom and dad) version of that childhood memory. Thus my cheesy chicken spaghetti squash casserole was born.

It was a little runny when I made it because I forgot a step but I’m adding it here so you don’t run into the same problem. It thickened up when I reheated the leftovers but the first day was a little too runny. But, still tasted awesome. We were all going back for more.

I took my spaghetti squash and cooked it how I showed in this post. You want to do this ahead of the rest to give it time to drain. Set the cooked spaghetti squash noodles in a colander over the sink or a bowl and let it drain off for 10-20 minutes. This will help decrease the amount of liquid in the baking dish and cause a more firm, held together casserole.

Once the spaghetti squash is set to drain. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Take diced zucchini, onion, and garlic and sprinkle with oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Diced chicken and season with the same 4 seasonings also. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over med-high heat. Once heated, add the chicken and veggies. Cook 7-10 minutes until the chicken is browned and the veggies are soft.20130323_164729

Next, mix the chicken and veggie mixture with the spaghetti squash. Try and keep most of the cooking liquid out of the mixture. I used a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and veggies into a bowl with the spaghetti squash. Give it a good mix until all is incorporated. Add in half the cheese and stir well. Pour into a casserole/baking dish. I used one of my mom’s which she got for Christmas this past year. Isn’t it pretty?20130323_171146

Then top the casserole with more cheese and pop it into the oven for 30-35 minutes. I let mine go the 35 because it had too much moisture in the dish and I wanted to evaporate some of it.

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Let it sit 5 minutes to let everything settle and serve in bowls or on plates. Enjoy your slightly less sinful cheesy chicken casserole.20130323_174507

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash, baked and set aside to drain

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb chicken breasts, diced

oregano, basil, salt and pepper

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

2-3 cups cheddar cheese

1. Cook spaghetti squash, scrape out with a fork and set aside in a colander to drain

2. Preheat oven to 350 F

3. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat

4. Season chicken, zucchini and onion with oregano, basil, salt and pepper

5. Saute chicken, zucchini, onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until soft

6. Combine chicken and veggies in a large bowl with the spaghetti squash. Taste and add more seasoning as needed

7. Mix in half of the cheddar cheese and pour into a large casserole/baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese

8. Cook 30-35 minutes until cheesy is bubbly on top

9. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving

Enjoy!

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Taco Night-Tequila Lime Steak Tacos and Chipotle Lime Coleslaw

I am a big Mexican food lover. Chips and salsa, tacos, burritos, and queso. Oh, I love queso. If I go to a Mexican restaurant, I will most likely order some if they have a queso on the menu. But, tonight’s dinner had no warm, gooey queso. Instead, the highlight was chipotle lime coleslaw. The day I was making my weekly menu, Alex said I should make steak tacos. What torture since he isn’t even here to eat them! But, I was sold. It had been months since we had a taco night at home and flank steak was on sale at the grocery store. It must have been meant to be. My next thought was what to serve on the side? I mentioned before that my parent’s are trying to avoid starchy sides as much as possible and I wanted something healthy and fresh on the side. Coleslaw! I didn’t want a mayo-laden, creamy dish though. I thought about what we were marinating our steak in-lime and cumin. We had some pureed chipotles in the freezer from when I made a creamy chipotle coleslaw over the summer. I figured I’d take that recipe and make it healthier to get a fresh, crunchy, healthy side dish to tacos.

Mom was in charge of marinating the steak. Mostly because I forgot about it last night and she was off today. She likes to cook too and misses being in the kitchen so we tag-teamed dinner tonight. She put the flank steak in a baggie with 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 Tbsp tequila (some Jose Cuervo), 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 large clove minced garlic, 2 tsp honey and 1 tsp cumin. We let ours marinate for only 2 hours. Like I said, I forgot! Ideally, doing this overnight imparts the best flavor into the meat and makes it tender.

While the meat marinated we started on the coleslaw. Mom was in charge of shredded the veggies and I got to work on the sauce. We used 3/4 of a head of green cabbage and 3 carrots.

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For the sauce, I combine about 3-4 peppers worth of chipotle in adobo puree, defrosted plus 1/4 tsp salt, juice of 1/2 lime (we didn’t realize the limes were bad and both ended up with less than we wanted in our dishes, I’d recommend using about 1-2 limes for this dish), 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp cumin and about 2 Tbsp canola oil.

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It was all mixed up and poured on top of the cabbage, carrots, and about 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro. We let the flavors blend together for a bit to let the heat kick in and the other flavors to brighten.

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I topped my tacos with some taco blend cheese, chipotle corn salsa, avocado and greek yogurt. The coleslaw was piled high next to my tacos to add volume and nutrition to my plate. Yummy!

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Tequila Lime Flank Steak (serves 6)

1.5 lb flank steak (or skirt)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 Tbsp tequila of choice

4 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp honey

1 tsp cumin

Mix all but the steak together in a large plastic bag. Add in steak and let marinate at least 2 hours. Best is all day or overnight

Grill 4-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat. This will give you a nice medium-rare cooked steak. Cook 2-3 minutes longer per side for well done

Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly

Chipotle Lime Coleslaw (serves 6-8 as a side)

3/4 small head cabbage, thinly slices

3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp canola oil

3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Juice of 1 limes (or 1/2 lime and 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar)

1/2 tsp honey

1/4 tsp salt

Mix together everything but cilantro, cabbage and carrots

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Let sit for 15-20 minutes for flavors to meld.

This was one tasty, flavor-filled meals. So many flavors competing and complementing each other all at once. I cannot wait for all of the leftovers the next couple of days.

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