Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sloppy Joe. Slop, Sloppy Joes!

I disappeared from this site for a while, my apologies. It's been a busy couple of weeks for my family, but I have still been cooking. So, this might take awhile to log all of these meals, but I will start with Sloppy Joes.
I used to love Sloppy Joes when I was younger. It's not the most healthy recipe, however, so I found a recipe for a healthier version in my Healthy Meals cookbook.
This recipe calls for a lot of veggies. I chose to use onion, squash, and zucchini. I have to tell you that I love slicing zucchini! It has such a smooth feel to it. The knife just goes right through like I am slicing my hand through water, or cutting through a banana that is perfectly ripe.  I would eat zucchini every day if my life allowed for it. They are so beautiful.
Okay, okay. Back to the recipe. First I thawed some ground beef. I browned it in a skillet with half of an onion and a clove of garlic.
Next I added the cut veggies.
I covered the mixture and let it simmer for about five minutes. I added 16oz of Mild Salsa.
I served it over a toasted Hawaiin rolls, and enjoyed it with my husband. He liked it too!
It had a very "garden" taste to it. I loved it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas!

This recipe is from Healthy Meals, and calls for:
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
½ one ten ounce package frozen chopped spinach
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 8-oz carton Light dairy sour cream
¼ cup plain fat free yogurt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup fat free milk
1 4/12-ounce can diced green chile peppers, drained
6 7-inch flour tortillas
1/3 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
chopped tomato or salsa.

    I was skeptical of this recipe when I first read it. This was due mainly to the fact that my mom makes some of the best chicken enchiladas I’ve ever had. But I decided to try this out for fun. It’s much healthier than my mother’s recipe. This dish is about 248 calories per serving.
    First I placed the chicken in a saucepan with enough water to cover. I simmered the chicken for about 15 minutes. After the chicken was tender, I shredded it with a fork into bite size pieces.

    In a large bowl I mixed the chicken, spinach, and green onions.

    For the sauce, in another bowl, I combined the sour cream, yogurt, flour, cumin, and salt. Add the milk and chile peppers (I didn’t add any chile peppers because I don’t like spicy food).

    For the filling I mixed half of the sauce and the chicken-spinach mixture.

     I divided the mixture among the tortillas, and rolled them up before putting them in the casserole dish. I had extra filling, so I used it to fill in the spaces in the pan, and I covered it with the rest of the sauce. I sprinkled cheese over all of it and baked it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. I topped mine with salsa. These enchiladas tasted so good! It tasted so clean, and I didn’t feel guilty for eating it. The leftovers made an excellent lunch for my husband the next day. Enjoy!

Friday Night Pizza

Though I am almost always watching my weight, I do enjoy a Friday night pizza every once in awhile. I tried “recipe” after “recipe” for a good homemade pizza with no success. I even tried to make my own whole wheat crust that ended up too big of a taste for the pizza. I persevered, however, and finally, after months of attempts, I found a recipe that my husband said was the best I had ever made.
    Now, this recipe is not exactly healthy, but it’s not expensive. This is, however, one of the easiest homemade pizza recipes I’ve ever made. I believe that the whole preparation process took about 11 minutes (including cooking time).
    I call this Friday night pizza because since I’ve been married, Fridays are the nights we like to stay at home. I’m usually so tired from the week that I don’t want to spend an hour making dinner. We usually grab a bite, a movie, and are in the bed by 9:30. So this recipe is dedicated to all of those women who want “fast food,” but don’t want to spend $20 at Panera (our fast food of choice).
    The way I make it easy for myself is to buy an already made crust. I buy a Bomboli pizza crust, or I get a crust that needs to be rolled out and baked.
    Today, I used the already baked crust. I used to buy smoked Gouda and Havartey cheeses to make it a richer flavor, but my tastes have changed.
    The most important ingredient, I would say, is smoked turkey sausage. It has a very strong taste, and I love it (I would put it in everything if my husband didn’t object). I start by chopping up a turkey sausage link into thin quarter-size pieces. I do ‘em up right in the skillet with a little white cooking wine, garlic, oregano, and my secret ingredient: SUGAR! I like a little bit of a sweet taste to my pizza, but I used to put the sugar in the sauce. But I’ve found that if I sweeten the toppings instead of the base of the pizza it adds a more subtly sweet taste. So, in the meat, I put half of a tablespoon of sugar, garlic to my heart’s content, and oregano (probably my favorite herb).
    On the other side of the stove, I cook the sauce. Now, just use the $0.99 jar of Prego three cheese tomato sauce. I add a couple of shakes of Rosemary, oregano, and salt.
    While those are heating up, I lightly salt the crust with garlic and parsley. When all of that is complete, I top the crust with sauce, spread Mexican three-cheese blend over the sauce and top with Turkey sausage. Tonight, I was not in the mood for veggies, but I usually cook red pepper and onion with the turkey. I bake it for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees, take it out, and enjoy! I'm sorry there are no pictures. There was a glitch with my camera.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Now, I do not pretend to be the cupcake aficionado like my friend Laura, but I decided to try these out. These cupcakes have 166 calories per serving. I love chocolate. Right now my family is doing a fitness challenge, and I'm trying to walk/run/swim eight miles a day, so I figured I could spare a few calories for a much needed chocolate break.
After a long/short day of cleaning houses, I wanted a bite of chocolate. I bought the ingredients for these cupcakes while planning for my meals this week, and I waited a whole day before I made them.
First, in a small bowl I beat 4oz of fat free cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and egg product for about a minute.

Next, I mixed the batter in a large mixing bowl. It contains 1 cup of sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. SO GOOD!
Finally I spooned the batter into a cupcake pan, and topped it with the cream cheese topping and granola.

They tasted good, let me tell you! They are not pretty, but they came out okay. Now I'm going to work-out for about two hours to burn everything off.
Tonight, we eat creamy chicken enchiladas!

Oregano Chicken and Vegetables

A few days ago, after a frustrating experience finding only enough chicken to make dinner for my husband, I decided that it was time to come up with a dinner plan for the week. So, I went to the bookshelf and picked up the cookbook I bought from Borders a few months before I got married (over a year ago). It's called Healthy Meals, and I had never used it before. After a few minutes I compiled a list of meals to make over the next week. First, I looked through my cabinets to see which ingredients I needed to buy, and then I made a grocery list (I categorized the list into the different sections of the grocery store so that I won't have to back-track. It saves me time at the store).

So last night I decided to make Oregano Chicken and Vegetables. The ingredients (I bought them at Aldi), cost me about $7.75. This is including the dried spices I had to buy for my cupboard.

First, I thawed two chicken breasts, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper before putting them in a skillet over medium heat for 15 minutes.
Next I added 1 clove of minced garlic, half of a thinly sliced lemon, half of a chopped large tomato, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1/4 cup white wine (you can use chicken broth instead, I happened to have some white wine in my fridge), and 3/4 cup chicken broth to simmer for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes, I added 1 medium green sweet pepper and 1 red sweet pepper (oh my goodness, I love red peppers). I also added the rest of the tomato, and cooked it covered for seven minutes.

Ta-da! I served the chicken concoction over brown rice. My camera is not great, and I don't have good lighting in my kitchen; but I think it turned out okay. The food tasted great. I did add a little salt to the finished dish.

This meal took me about 45 minutes to prepare, but it's because I haven't cooked with vegetables in a while. I didn't think I could buy vegetables without breaking my budget, but I found that if I bought as many of the ingredients as I could at Aldi, I could afford to buy good vegetables (from Kroger).
This is my first post, so please forgive the boring monologue. I'm very excited about this blog, and I hope you'll enjoy it too.