Monthly Archives: December 2012

Build a Better Breakfast- Quick Fixes!

December 30, 2012

Breakfast- dubbed the most important meal of the day, and yet, also the most skipped or hap-hazard meal of the day.  Why?  Because for most of us, it’s hard enough to get out the door on time…let’s be honest.  That being said, please consider the following before looking at some quick, tasty, and healthy options to start your day.

Consider this- the average adult stops eating for the day around 7 or 8pm.  You relax, sleep, wake up, get ready, and then zoom off to work with only a coffee in hand.  No breakfast.  “No problem” you tell yourself, “I’ll grab a snack mid morning, or probably won’t even be hungry til lunch.”  Let’s assume you have that snack mid-morning at 10:30am.  Your body has gone about 15 hours without food!  15 hours!  Not only is your blood sugar level totally wonky, but your metabolism is grinding to a screeching halt and your body is in starvation mode.  You’ll be more likely to eat a ton more by lunch…but your body has decided to not give up any of your fat stores for fear that you won’t feed it.  Thus sabotaging any plans for weight loss.

So, what can you do?
The obvious answer is EAT SOME BREAKFAST…  but it’s easier said than done, right?  That is, until you try some of these…  Most of these are things put together over the years, and a few are from different recipe guides from fitness programs (ChaLEAN Extreme, for one!)  Most are pretty healthy, and all are QUICK!!  Here are my weekday breakfast GO-TO’s:

1.   Flat Belly Pancakes- I LOVE these little babies.
     2 frozen oatmeal pancakes
     1 TBSP Almond butter
     1/2 cup fresh berries, rinsed.

Toss your pancakes in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Top with almond butter and toss back in for another 30 seconds.  Take out of microwave, throw your berries on, and eat.

(286 calories, 12 g fat, 4.5 grams protein)

2.  Mug O’ Eggs- You can do these so many ways, and they are ready in 1 minute flat…who doesn’t have a MINUTE to make some eggs?  Here are 3 of my favorites from Hungry Girl’s 300 Under 300: ( Add a piece of fruit for a filling breakfast!

Bacon, Tomato, Avacado Egg Mug(175 calories, 7.25 g fat, 3 g fiber, 19.5 g protein)
1/2 cup fat free liquid egg substitute  (I’ll admit, I usually use just a real egg…)
2 tbsp real crumbled bacon bits
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes, patted to remove excess moisture
1 ounce diced avocado (about 1/4 of an avocado)
2 tbsp salsa

Spray your mug with nonstick spray, add egg substitute. Microwave for 45 seconds, then add bacon and tomato.  Microwave for 45 seconds more.  Top with avocado and salsa- Dig in!

Greek Style Egg Mug
(117 calories, 2g fat, 1 g fiber, 16 g protein) 
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp diced tomato – patted to remove moisture
2 tbsp reduced fat feta, crumbled
1/2 tsp chopped basil
1/2 cup FF egg substitute

(TIP:  If you take a few minutes to chop and prepare the veggies/ cheese on Sunday and put them into measured baggies, you can just dump it all in)

Spray mug- add egg substitute, add veggies and cheese…mix.  Microwave for 45 seconds, stir, 45 seconds more- Dig in.

Taco Egg Mug (168 calories, 1 g fat, 2 g fiber, 26.5 g protein)1/4 cup frozen ground beef-style soy crumbles (They really aren’t bad, I swear!)
1/4 tsp taco seasoning
3/4 cup ff egg substitute
1 tbsp ff shredded cheddar cheese
4 multigrain tortilla chips, crushed
1 tbsp salsa
1 tbsp ff sour cream

Spray mug, add soy crumbles and microwave for 45 seconds til thawed.
add taco seasoning, mix.  Add egg substitute, stir and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and add cheese,  Microwave for about 45 seconds to a minute more.  Top with crushed chips, sour cream, and salsa. YUM!

3. It’s Breakfast, Aye?- Canadian Bacon Breakfast Scramble! (285 calories, 3 g fat, 31 g protein)
(WARNING: This one takes a little time!)
    3 slices chopped Canadian bacon
   1/2 cup frozen shredded hash browns
   1 cup chopped bell pepper
   1/2 cup chopped red onion
   1/2 cup egg substitute (again, a lot of the time I just use real eggs)
  2 tbsp ff shredded cheddar cheese

Spray skillet and bring to medium high heat.  Add bacon and hash browns and cook about 2 minutes- stir it now and then.  Add peppers and onions to the party… stir and cook another 4 minutes.  Toss in your eggs (substitute or whisked)  and scramble it all up for about 3 minutes.  Top with your cheese and let it melt.  Eat up!  OK, so it took like 10 minutes… some mornings that just won’t work, but if you have the time- try this one, it’s tasty!

4. Make Ahead Pumpkin Spice Muffins
These are seriously easy. 2 ingredients…12 muffins…duh.
Literally- 2 ingredients.  A lot of the versions of this recipe don’t specify what kind of cake mix, so I will just tell you through my trials and tribulations with making this as tasty as possible, USE THE SPICE CAKE MIX.  I’ve done chocolate, I’ve done yellow, I’ve done angel food (which turned out REALLY wrong) – use the spice cake mix.

Alright so you dump your boxed spice cake- DRY- into a bowl. Then you dump 1 15 oz of canned pumpkin in, and you stir like hell.  If you want to avoid dry little lumps, I recommend dumping 1/2 the pumpkin, then half the cake mix, STIR LIKE HELL, and lather, rinse, repeat with the second half of both the pumpkin and the cake mix.  When it’s good and mixed, it will be really thick and kind of sticky- thats why we sprayed the tin, my friend… make it easy on yourself and spray your big spoon before you scoop these into the muffin tins- helps the batter slide off easier! Pop them in @ 350 for 22 minutes. 

That’s it- thats all you do. If you feel so inclined, add some powdered sugar on top!

5. Breakfast Burritos to Go!
Another one of those “make a huge batch and freeze them” meals.
1 pack of white flour tortillas (unless you want to be crazy healthy and go whole grain- good for you!) 
1 cup LF or FF shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked cubed hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup diced onions (sauted for a few minutes)
1/2 cup diced peppers  (Sauted)
1 cup Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage crumbles
10 large eggs, scrambled.

Divide ingredients among your tortillas, roll up, wrap in wax paper, and place in freezer baggies.  I usually do 2 per baggie because usually Kevin wants one too.  You can also substitute in a slice of precooked turkey bacon if you prefer.

To thaw and eat- Take out of freezer, remove from baggie and wax paper, pop on a paper towel lined plate… heat for 1 minute in the microwave, flip, heat for 1 minute.

6. Goat Cheese and Tomato Omelet- from ChaLEAN Extreme food guide! (250 calories, 16 g fat, 18 g protein)

2 whole eggs, whisked with 1 tbsp fat free milk (or skim- whatever!)
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 oz crumbled goat cheese

Heat skillet over medium and coat with nonstick spray.  Add eggs and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.  add goat cheese and tomato and fold over into an omelet.  Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.  Top with green onion or scallions if desired.   Freaking delicious.

7. Cinnamon Ricotta Crunch (I use to make this in college- little did I know it’s a ChaLEAN recipe too!  200 Calories, 6 g fat, 12 g protein)

1 cup skim ricotta cheese
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp slivered almonds
1/2 cup mixed berries

Scoop ricotta into a bowl, mix in cinnamon and berries. Top with slivered almonds. 

8. 90 Second Egg Sandwich
Remember how we made mug cups?  Well, you can do that for a sandwich too.

1 egg, cracked into microwave safe ramekin
1, 100 calorie sandwich thin- toasted
1 slice low fat or fat free cheese of your choice
1 slice Canadian Bacon

Crack your egg into the ramekin, pop in the microwave for 1 minute (don’t whisk it)
While that’s cooking, throw your sandwich thin into the toaster.
Assemble your sandwich.

9. Smoothies- Always a good “on the go” go to…
I use Shakeology ( but whey protein powder or yogurt works too.

My favorite is this:
3/4 scoop chocolate shakeology
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup orange juice.

Blend in Magic Bullet blender, dump into To Go cup.

10. Waffle with Ham and Egg (from Cook This, Not That)
1 frozen multigrain waffle
1 slice Canadian Bacon
1 egg
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp shredded cheddar

Spray a skillet and heat over medium- cook Canadian bacon for a few minutes each side until browned and a bit crispy. (yum!)  Remove.. coat same pan with another quick spray of cooking spray.  Cook your egg sunny side up til whites have set but yolk is still runny.  Meanwhile, toast your waffle.  Top with your bacon, maple syrup, cheddar cheese, and your egg.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper…and parsley if you so desire.

(Calories- 270, Fat- 11  grams)

There you go!  10 breakfast ideas to get you started for 2013…I hope you find a few that work for you.

Until next time,
Happy Eating!

Sorry for the lack of pictures… I swear, I’ll post some from the new camera soon!

2 weeks of dinners- 14 meals!

December 9, 2012

Two weeks’ worth of healthy meals are in today’s post- that’s right- TWO WEEKS.  I love when I know what I’m eating, and what to plan for, so this week, I decided to share some of these options with all of you.  Additionally, I’ll throw in a few tips to make your weekly meals run smoother. 

For me, Sunday is always my meal planning day.  It’s the day that I sit down with my notebook, my recipes, my coupons, and ads, and plan out our week accordingly.  It takes a bit of time – maybe an hour, but then I know what to shop for, what to prep, and generally, just feel way more relaxed.

Then after I grocery shop, I come home and start to prep some things to save time later in the week.  Sometimes that means roasting a big bunch of vegetables, sometimes it’s dividing up a rotisserie chicken into baggies for meals, and sometimes it’s chopping various things for meals throughout the week.  Everything gets baggied, and some things get frozen.   It never takes very long, and then, it’s done.

Here are some dinners to try out (for the record, this isn’t my personal meal plan for the week, but a combination of some of our favorite  healthy “go to’s”.  I’ve included some of the nutritional breakdowns, just so you have an idea if you are keeping track.  A lot of these have come from Hungry Girl’s 300 under 300 cookbook, some from on my own, others from the TurboFire or Chalean Extreme cookbooks, and a few from Pinterest.

1. Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes  seriously, one of the easiest meals ever.   Start to finish in 10 minutes flat.  This serves 4.
4 sweet potatoes
1 can of sweet corn, drained
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatos, drained
Chopped green onion, optional
1 dallop low fat or fat free sour cream per potato
1 tbsp low fat cheddar cheese per potato

Poke your sweet potatoes with a fork, and microwave for 7 – 8 minutes.
While they are baking, combine your corn, beans, and tomatoes and give them a little toss in a bowl.
Let your potatoes sit for a moment after being microwaved, and microwave your corn, bean , and tomato mixture for 2 minutes.  Cut open your sweet potato and give them a good fluff with a fork.  Top each with ¼ of the corn, bean, and tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with low fat cheddar cheese and top with a dallop of sour cream.  If you so desire, add some chopped green onion on top.

The breakdown- 257 calories; 6.5 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 298 mg. sodium; 39.8 g. carbohydrate; 8.2 g. fiber; 11.3 g. protein

2. Chicken Ratatouille- A good “stick to your bones” meal (serves 2)  This is one that I try to pre-prep my veggies for…it’s nice to able to toss it together and toss it in the oven
8 ounces raw, boneless chicken- cubed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 and ½ cups cubed eggplant
¾ cups cubed bell pepper
¾ cup sliced and halved zucchini
¾ cup chopped onion
1 cup canned fire-roasted diced tomato, drained
½ cup canned tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

preheat oven to 375 degrees
place chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  In a bowl,  combine the diced tomato, tomato paste, basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Add eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, and onion- Give it a toss to coat  the center of the foil.  Place another sheet of foil over the top and seal the edges, forming a packet.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few moments before cutting the foil to release the steam.  Eat up!

The breakdown- (½ the recipe) 300 calories, 2 grams of fat, 660 mg sodium, 32.5 g carbs, 9.75 g fiber, 18g sugar, 37.5 g protein

3.Southwest BBQ Chicken Quesadilla (serves 1)
1 tbsp bbq sauce (try for one that’s about 45 calories per serving)
1 wedge Laughing Cow light creamy swiss cheese
1 medium-large high fiber tortilla (about 110 calories)
2 ounces cooked and shredded boneless, skinless chicken (A rotisserie chicken works well for this)
1 tbsp canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp corn kernels, thawed from frozen
2 tbsp shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
1 tbsp chopped green onion
Optional dips- bbq sauce, salsa, fat free ranch dressing

In a small bowl, mix bbq sauce and cheese wedge until blended- spread over ½ the tortilla.  Top with all other ingredients and set aside. 

Spray a pan with nonstick spray and heat over medium high.  Place the half-loaded tortilla flat in the skillet for about 2 minutes.  Carefully fold up the other half and gently press down with a spatula to seal.  Flip, and continue cooking for 3 minutes, until both sides are crispy.  Once cool, cut into wedges, and dunk into dipping sauce of your choice! 

The breakdown: 1 quesadilla- 300 calories, 7.75 g fat, 940 mg sodium, 35g carbs, 7g fiber, 7g sugar, 27g protein

4. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with wilted spinach-  serves 2
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup white flour
swirl of olive oil
2 tilapia filets, thawed from frozen

Set up a breading station (I use paper plates for easy clean up) 1 with the flour, 1 with the egg, and 1 with a combined mix of the bread crumbs and your parm cheese.  Take the tilapia through each step- flour, shake excess, egg, and then bread crumbs on both sides.  Coat a pan with a swirl of olive oil, and toss your tilapia in- Cook for roughly 3 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 4 minutes.

While that is finishing, in another skillet, toss a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan with about 1 tbsp minced garlic.  Add an entire bag of baby spinach and give it a toss over medium heat- add 1 tbsp lemon juice ( just a good hearty squeeze and swirl will do)  and continue to toss as the spinach wilts.. the whole process will take about 3 minutes… it’s good to start it when you flip your fish- they’ll finish at the same time that way.

The breakdown: Fish-  167 calories, 6.5 g fat, 275 mg sodium, 26 g protein
                              Spinach- 45 calories, 4 g fat, 303 mg sodium, 12 g fiber, 4 g protein

*note- we often eat this with a dinner roll as well.  I like Alexia’s Ciabatta Rolls- the breakdown for the roll is as follows:  1 roll – 120 calories, 1.4 g fat, 230 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein *

5.Bacon Wrapped BBQ Chicken with Baked Sweet Potato
(yes- I said bacon… )
1- 5 oz boneless skinless lean chicken breast cutlet
2 tbsp bbq sauce (look for about 45 calories per serving- I use Stubb’s which is 30 calories per 2 tbsp)
2 slices turkey bacon
1 sweet potato

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray.  Season chicken with a dash of salt and pepper and coat with bbq sauce.  Wrap bacon around chicken and place in pan.  Bake about 20 minutes, then set oven to broil and broil til bacon is crispy- about 4 minutes.

While cooking, bake your sweet potato in the microwave during the last 8 minutes.  Be sure to poke holes, or it will explode!

The breakdown-   Chicken- 267 calories, 7 g fat, 802 mg sodium, 11 g carbs, 10g sugar, 37 g protein
                                Sweet potato- 102 calories, 0 fat, 40 mg sodium, 24 g cabs, 4g fiber, 2g protein
                               (if you add butter, add 100 calories and 11 g of fat)

6. Microwave White Chicken Chili
(A hearty meal from start to finish in about 10 minutes…1 bowl, and 1 microwave.)

2 spoonfuls minced garlic
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 poblano peppers
1 medium onion
2 packs of tyson’s precooked diced chicken breast (or about 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken)
1  16 oz jar salsa verde
2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp taco seasoning

Mix all together in microwave safe bowl, heat for 7 minutes… stirring halfway through- top with your favorite chili toppers such as tortilla strips, sour cream, quac, salsa, or cheese.
Yep- that’s it.

the breakdown- (per 1 cup) – Calories 230, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 70 mg, Carbohydrate 21 g, Protein 21 g, Sodium 750 mg, Fiber 4 g

7. A+ Avacado Burger
1 100 calorie bun
1 wedge laughing cow light creamy swiss cheese
¼ cup shredded lettuce
1 slice tomato
1 slice red onion
1 frozen meatless hamburger style patty- about 100 calories
1 ounce sliced avocado (about ¼ of an avocado)
Optional- BBQ sauce- I LOVE mine with BBQ (30 calories per 2 tbsp- so about 15 worth it!)

Split bun in half and lightly toast on a medium hot skillet.
Spread bottom half with cheese wedge and top with lettuce, tomato and red onion.
Bring skillet to medium and add the “hamburger” patty.  Cook 4 minutes per side and place over veggies.  Top with BBQ sauce and sliced avocado.  Top with your other bun half!

I like my burger with fries- lets be honest…

the breakdown-
burger- 292 calories, 9.2 g fat, 728 mg sodium, 33.5 g carbs, 11g fiber, 5 g sugar, 19g protein
fries- (3 oz- about 30 fries) 150 calories, 6 g fat, 440 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein
(sometimes, a girl just wants FRIES)

8. Sausage- Spinach Rice Bowl
1 pouch precooked brown rice (think Uncle Ben’s microwave pouch)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage, casing removed (I’ll be honest, I often use Jimmy Dean precooked turkey sausage crumbles)
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1tbsp minced garlic
1 6 ounce pack of fresh baby spinach
¼ cup parm-reggiano cheese, shaved

Heat rice.
Heat large skillet over medium-high.  Swirl with oil and add sausage and red pepper.  Cook about 4 minutes, add garlic, and cook an additional 30 seconds, stirring.  Add spinach, cook a minute more- still stirring.  Add rice, toss, and sprinkle with cheese.

The breakdown- (per cup) 333 calories, 15.4 g fat, 17.5 g protein, 33g carbs, 4 g fiber, 610 mg sodium

9. Broiled Tenderloin Steak with Ginger-Hoisin Glaze- serves 4
(serve with wilted spinach, balsamic marinated tomatoes, asparagus, or over top a big salad)

1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
1 ½ tsp grated ginger
1 ½ tsp honey
1 ½ low sodium soy sauce
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
4- 4 oz beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (1 inch thick)

preheat broiler to high
combine your first 5 ingredients and stir with a wisk (or fork)
Place steaks on a foil lined broiler pan coated with nonstick spray; sprinkle with salt and broil steaks 5 inches from heat for 2 minutes, flip and brush with half the glaze mixture.  Broil 1 minute.  Flip once more and brush with remaining half of glaze- broil 2 minutes, or to desired degree of doneness.  ( I like ours medium rare)

Breakdown Per Steak- 194 calories, 7.8 g fat, 24.5 g protein, 4.9 g carbs, 278 mg sodium

asparagus with balsamic tomatoes
1 pound of asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups halved grape tomatoes
½ tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
½ tsp black pepper

cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain
heat oil in skillet, add tomatoes and garlic- cook 5 minutes.  Stir in vinegar, cook 3 minutes.  Stir in salt.  Arrange asparagus on plate and top with tomato mix- sprinkle with goat cheese and pepper.

(serves 4, per serving: 69 calories, 4 g fat., 3 g protein, 6.5 g carbs, 181 mg sodium)

10. Country Style Pork Chops with Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes
5 oz center cut lean, boneless porkchop (or 2 smaller thin boneless chops)
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
2 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tbsp country style mustard
4 cherry tomatos, halved
2 cups spinach
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
Season pork with salt and lemon pepper, and sear in a nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes per side.  Remove from pan.  In the same pan, sauté shallots for about 2 minutes.  Add mustard, chicken broth, and water… reduce until thick.  Top the pork with the sauce.  In same pan, sauté spinach and tomato for about 2 minutes. Spoon alongside pork and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

The breakdown- 382 calories, 14 g fat, 49g protein, 14 g carbs, 9.5 g fiber

11.  MA! The Meatloaf!
1 and ¼ pounds raw lean ground turkey
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
¼ cup shredded carrot
tiny bit of oil
2 tbsp bbq sauce

Heat oven to 375
Chop and Saute your onion, peppers, and carrot- about 3 minutes.
Cool the veggies a smidge, then mix in a large bowl with your ground turkey. 
Form a loaf, top with BBQ sauce, and bake in the oven for about an hour.

OR if you’re like me, and you don’t have that kind of time… MUFFIN PAN TO THE RESCUE!
Spray your muffin pan, press your meatloaf mixture into each cup (you should get about 6), and top each with a tiny hit of bbq sauce.  Those babies will bake in 15 minutes instead of an hour. 

The breakdown per “muffin” – 200 calories, 8 g fat, 436 mg sodium, 10g carbs, 2 g fiber 3.5 g sugar, 25.5 g protein

12.Skillet Lasagna- Adapted from Weight Watchers
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
About 6 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds & fully cooked
2 tablespoons parsley (dried or fresh)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, salt and pepper. Cook mixture until it thickens up a bit, around 5 minutes.  Add noodles to skillet and stir into the mixture well. Add scoops of ricotta cheese over the noodles; add in mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir in parsley.  Cook about 2 more minutes, or until mixture is thick.  Serve immediately with additional basil or parsley.

    The breakdown: per 1 cup:  275 calories,  3 g fat,  42 g carbs,  9 g fiber,  15 g protein
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 7

13. Eat This, Not That- French Onion Soup
1 Tbsp butter
5 medium onions, sliced ( I like to mix yellow and red for flavor profile)
½ tsp salt
2 bay leaves
6 cups low sodium beef broth
½ cup dry red wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 slices of baguette or sourdough
½ cup shredded swiss cheese

Heat butter in a large pot over low heat.  Add the onions and salt.  Cover and cook, about 30 minutes until caramelized.  Add the bay leaves, broth, wine, and thyme.  Simmer on low for 15 minutes.  Season with pepper, discard bay leaves.

Preheat broiler- divide the soup among 4 oven proof bowls.  Top each with a slice of bread and some cheese.  Broil until cheese is bubbly (about 3 minutes)

The breakdown- 230 calories, 8 g fat, 720 mg sodium 

14. Steak Fajita Pile-Ups
2 tsp oil
¾ pound beef top sirloin steak, trimmed, and cut into thin strips
½ medium lime
2 medium bell peppers, one red, one green- cut into strips
1 large onion, cut into ½ inch wedges
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ tsp cumin
4, 6 inch corn tortillas
½ cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Heat 1 tsp oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add steak and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until slightly pink.  Transfer to a plate and squeeze ½ a lime over the steak.  Add remaining tsp of oil to the pan along with bell peppers, and onions.  Cook for about 8 minutes or until tender.  Add tomatoes and cook another minute.   Return steak to the skillet for an additional minute.  Warm tortillas, and top evenly with fajita mixture.  Top with sour cream and cilantro, and garish with lime wedges. 

Great with black beans or Spanish rice.

The Breakdown per tortilla pile up- 252 calories, 7 g fat, 90 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 4g fiber, 24 g protein

Hope you enjoy some of these recipes this week!
Happy Eating,

“Appy” Holidays!

December 8, 2012

I love the holiday season.  Everyone gathers together bringing tidings of good cheer, and there just seems to be a magical buzz in the air.

Last weekend we hosted a holiday cocktail party, and great fun was had by all!  Cocktail parties keep things pretty light, and allow for more conversations over appetizers.  PLENTY of appetizers.

Here are some of the things in our spread- and yes, many were crockpot friendly… take the help where you can!

Holiday Meatballs
3 ingredients…and a crockpot.  It honestly doesn’t get any easier than this.
1 bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
1 can of jellied cranberry sauce
1 bag of frozen party meatballs
Mix all together in the crockpot, heat on low for 8 hours….or pretty much as long as you wish.
I like ours with a little extra kick, so I add in some red chili flakes.

Reuben Dip1 package of deli corned beef- chopped
2 blocks of cream cheese
2 cups of shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup of russian dressing
1 cup of sauerkraut, drained…and pressed with towel to remove excess moisture

Toss is all in a crockpot “little dipper” on low for 6-8 hours, stirring now and then.  Serve with party rye!

Sesame Chicken Wonton Cups

Sesame Chicken Wonton Cups3 cups cooked, diced chicken (I use Tyson’s precooked diced chicken- saves on time)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup snap peas, chiffonade
50 wonton wrappers
2 tbsp plum sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1tbsp soy sauce
sesame seeds as garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.  Press a wonton wrapper into each muffin cup, and spray again with nonstick spray.  I found it worked best to trim the corners off of the wontons so they were more of an octagon.  They stayed more “open” that way for filling.  Bake about 8 minutes until golden brown.

Mix all of your remaining ingredients- the chicken, carrots, snap peas, and sauces. 
Fill each wonton cup with a spoonful of the mix, and garnish with sesame seeds.
Tasty little bites!

Say Cheese!

A Good Cheese Plate
Never underestimate the power of an easy and delicious cheese plate.  We served 4 varieties of cheese, along with a sweet italian salami.  We served it with a variety of crackers and baguettes.  Some special mustards or savory jellies go a long way as well.  Pick out cheeses that YOU love to eat, along with 1 or 2 that you haven’t had or don’t normally buy unless it’s a special occasion.  Being able to recommend a favorite cheese to your guests, or describe the cheeses, opens up conversations. 
For this party, we chose:
                                       A 1 year aged white cheddar
                                       A Stilton with cranberries
                                       A goat cheese rolled in fig and walnut
                                       An apple wood smoked provolone (Our favorite cheese)

Cannelloni Bruschetta- Food Network Version

Cannelloni Bruschetta– I’ll admit it.  Food Network let me down on this one.  It was in their tiny pull out book of easy appetizers, and I thought “SURE! Why not?!”  It did n’t go over well- it wasn’t bad…but it simply could have been made better.  It called for Giardiniera originally, and I found that it was just too many variations in texture. It did not make for a pleasing bite. Here’s how I will change it for the future.

1 can of cannelloni beans, drained, rinsed, and heated in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
1/2 cup roasted  red, orange, and yellow peppers- diced
1/2 cup roasted tomatoes-diced
1 TBSP Italian seasoning- parsley, basil, etc.
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix all together and top garlic brushed crostini’s.

Delicious Blue Cheese-Pecan Spread

Blue Cheese- Pecan stuffed Celery
Holy Moly- I could have eaten these all night.  The picture simply doesn’t do them justice.
1 small tub of marscapone cheese
1 small tub of crumbled blue cheese
1 cup of finely chopped pecans
3 tbsp honey

Mix it all up, and stuff your celery with a spoonful a piece..or two depending on the size of your celery.

We also served nuts, chocolate dipped milanos cookies, and some other pre-made treats, and buffalo chicken dip.  No one ever goes home hungry at our parties.

We had a few signature cocktails, and punch as well.  Maybe I’ll post those recipes next.  They were fairly simple!

Keep it easy on yourself, and realize that you don’t have to make absolutely everything.  The easier you can make it, and the more that can be tossed into a crockpot… the more relaxed you’ll be when your first guests arrive. 

Until next time,
Happy Eating!