Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Posts tagged ‘dinner’

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

On Saturday, Corey went up to Jacksonville to help his brother, Drew, move into a new apartment before his classes started back at UNF.  Since I had two huge final exams on Monday, I decided to stay behind so I could study.

I knew Corey and his parents would be exhausted after moving all day, so I thought it would be nice to make them a good dinner for when they arrived home.

I picked up some big poblano peppers earlier in the week, and since I got four of them, I thought this would be the perfect chance to use them up!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

4 large poblano peppers (sometimes they’re really small)

4 chicken cutlets, chopped into bite-size pieces

1/2 onion, chopped

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

8 oz. white mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup 2% shredded cheese (I used Mexican Blend)

3 wedges Laughing Cow Queso Fresco Cheese (if you decide to skip

this ingredient, just add 1/4 cup more of the shredded cheese)

non-stick spray

1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

*You will also need a plastic bag*

Directions:

Pre-heat broiler.

Place washed and dried peppers in a baking dish and put them under the broiler.

Keep them under until they are blackened and blistered.

Use tongs to flip each pepper onto the other side, and put them back under the broiler until that side is also black and blistered.  Note: Don’t be afraid to keep them under “too long”…all of the skin needs to be blackened so that the next steps will work.  It should take 10-15 minutes total.

Remove the dish from the oven and use the tongs to place each pepper inside the plastic bag.  Tie the bag shut tightly.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Allow the peppers to steam in the bag while you do the next steps.

Place a skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray.  Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes before adding the mushrooms.

Cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken.

Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Add the tomatoes after the chicken is no longer pink.

Let these cook for 2 minutes, then transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Stir in the Laughing Cow wedges, followed by the shredded cheese.

Mix until creamy and well combined and set aside.  Open the plastic bag with the peppers inside.  Use your fingers to peel the blistered skin away from the rest of the pepper (it should come off easily).

This is what they should look like when you finish peeling:

Next, you will need to remove the seeds and ribs of the inside of the pepper (also known as the spicy part!).  To do this, use a knife to gently make a slit down one side of the pepper.

Carefully grab the bunch of seeds at the top and pull downwards- this will loosen the roots that the seeds are attached by.  Use running water to help rid the inside of seeds.

When the peppers are all cleaned out, lay them back in the baking dish going opposite ways, with the slit facing up.

Use a spoon to carefully fill the peppers with your prepared mixture.

After each pepper is stuffed, sprinkle a little more cheese on top of each one, and place in the 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, you will have beautiful, cheesy-yet-healthy, stuffed poblano peppers!

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Not a Pretty Day in Food…

Today was not a pretty day in food.

Yesterday, I bragged about how when most people go home they eat badly, but not me.  Well, I take it all back!  Today, I totally gave in to every temptation that beautiful Ft. Lauderdale has to offer.  However, my morning started off on a great note!

My mom woke me up around 8AM, and we headed to her gym for a morning spin class!  I’ve actually been to this particular class once before with my mom, a few visits ago.  Although the class is a little slower paced when compared to my college spin classes,  it is still a great class and I definitely had a great work out!

Breakfast

After our class, my mom and I headed to Starbucks for something to warm us up from the chilly Florida weather this morning!

The Usual

My mom asked me what she should get, so I went ahead and ordered us two Venti Sugar Free Vanilla Soy Lattes.  Delicious as always!  Still hate their new logo, though.

When we got home, I spotted these and decided that a breakfast sandwich sounded like the perfect post-workout meal:

Spotted

I cooked an egg in the skillet, sliced out half of the yolk, and placed it on a toasted sandwich thin spread with 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Sundried Tomato and Basil, and topped with a slice of reduced fat provolone cheese, just to make it extra cheesy.  My mom saw my creation and offered me some of her fresh basil from her AeroGarden!  This addition took my average breakfast sandwich to the next level.

I ❤ Basil

Herby Egg Sammy

This sandwich made me decide that I will definitely be re-planting my own AeroGarden that I recieved as a Christmas gift a year or two ago.  The fresh herbs just bring so much to the table!

After breakfast, my mom and I watched the Lifetime movie about Amanda Knox– so depressing!

Lunch

After my sister woke up, (she’s still feeling pretty “tired” after her Spring Break cruise…) we decided to head to the one and only place that’s an option when my sister and I come home to visit.

It is our tradition to make a trip to a little place called Skyline Chili. What we order  there may or may not have the potential to make you vomit.  I will never forget the time in high school when my best friend and I explained to one of our friends what we order at Skyline, and she actually threw up out of her car window.  It’s SO bad for you, yet SO amazing…

Enter, the Skyline Chili 3-Way:

Hello, old friend...

Spaghetti, topped with Skyline’s famous chili, topped with a pile of cheese.  That’s it!

Growing up, I always ordered the Regular 3-way whenever we made a trip to Skyline…however, today, I had an ounce of discipline, and ordered the child’s portion, which looks much bigger in the picture than it actually was- it was really about four big bites.  Now do you see why I had a weight problem growing up?!

This is and always will be my favorite thing in the world, but I have to admit, I felt pretty sluggish and gross for the rest of the day after eating it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing girl things- mainly shopping!  My sister scored a new purse and bathing suit from one of our favorite stores that I refuse to tell people about (shorry!) and then, my mom and I both got new bathing suits from Victoria’s Secret.  My mom noticed my amazing Nike Free Run shoes that I wore to the gym this morning, and I convinced her to get a pair for herself while we were at the mall…

Twins!

So, she got the same exact pair!  Now, we’re twinsies :).

I absolutely love my Nike Free Run’s- they are the best running shoes I’ve ever owned.  Light as a feather, comfortable, and accented with pink.  Best Christmas present, by far!  Thanks, babe <3.

On our way home, we got into a discussion about how my sister’s bed has the hottest and most uncomfortable sheets on it, and she and I barely slept last night because of it.  My mom said she also desperately needed new sheets on her bed.  As if it was placed there on purpose, we just happened to pass one of those tents on the side of the road that claim to sell 600 thread count sheets!  I’ve seen these plenty of times, but I only started to believe that they were actually nice sheets after our friend, Buxton, told me that he got some and loved them.  For only 20 bucks, I figured, you can’t go wrong!

False Advertising

Turns out, you can.

Upon further review, my mom and I discovered that these “sheets” are basically sheer curtains that look like they were sewn together 6 hours ago by blind children in China.

But, keeping true to my family’s fashion, they are washed and tucked onto our mattresses, anyways!

After the mall, my sister took a nap (go figure) while my mom and I went on a walk in our matching shoes.  We did a 5K route that she mapped out through a bunch of the neighborhoods near our house.  We love to take walks when I visit- it’s the best way to catch up!

Dinner

My mom has more gift certificates than any single human on this planet.  You really can’t blame her, though- she’s a double teacher!  She has so many students, and gift certificates are the go-to gift around the holidays.  Therefore, our restaurant of choice for dinner centered around the sacred gift certificate stash.  We ended up at Carrabba’s!

This is where it gets ugly.  We decided on an appetizer, which somehow ended up being the “spinach” dip.  They might as well call it the “cheese fondue” dip, because there were about two specks of spinach, and the rest was greasy, yet, amazing, cheese.

 

Cheesy Spinach

I tried to have some self control, but it was tough around this stuff.

My sister and I decided to split two dinners, simply to get the best of both worlds.  I ordered a small order of Chicken Parmesan, which I split down the middle for us:

 

My portion of Chicken Parm

I ate a salad with balsamic dressing before my meal came, so by the time I finished my half of the chicken parmesan, I was pretty full.  I ended up having just a small bread plate filled with my sister’s order of linguine with clams, and then we took the rest home.

It’s always fun to go out to dinner with the family, but seeing that I totally pigged out, I’m very happy that my mom and I were able to get two solid calorie-burning sessions in today!

What is your favorite thing to eat when you visit your family?

B.U.I.

Blogging Under the Influence.  Is there some type of virtual infraction issued for this?   Guess we’ll find out!

Before I get to the good stuff, let’s talk about breakfast and lunch.  I had to teach today, so breakfast and lunch were kind of as easy and boring as it can get:

Breakfast

I got up at 6:30AM and made a bowl of Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal, topped with sugar free maple syrup:

Lunch

For lunch, I packed my adorable Vera Bradley lunch bag (Thanks, Mom!) with a pre-made tupperware full of broccoli slaw and chopped almonds, topped with Kraft Toasted Sesame Dressing, and a side of OIKOS Greek Caramel Yogurt:

Vera + Tupperware + Yogurt

I was so excited when I saw that one of my students had the same lunch bag as me, so I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Hey! We have the same lunch bag!”  She gave me a weird look and hurried away.  Apparently, it’s not cool to match the substitute teacher.

Dinner

I want to address my thoughts on healthy eating and the weekend.

Life as a post-college graduate hasn’t exactly been the cake-walk I’d always imagined.

Now that I’m paying for my own post-graduate classes and taking a full-time courseload, working as much as I can, and worrying about my own bills, the weekend means more to me now than it ever has.

All we have are those 2 1/2 fun days!  That’s why I tend to loosen the healthy eating reigns during the weekends.  I’ve really been trying to not go too crazy, but it just doesn’t make sense to deprive myself of the good things in life!  There is definitely a balance to be found between living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying life’s indulgences.

If you’re actively trying to lose weight, then the weekends are a time of focus and continued effort in your weight loss goals.  However, if you are at a healthy and happy place in your life, I think you can afford a “free” day or two in your schedule.  This is tricky for anyone, especially me, but I think I’ve finally gotten to a place where I understand how to balance these one or two free days into my lifestyle.  Caution: the following drinks and meals are NOT by any means low-calorie!

I don’t know when I started loving beer, but I do.   I like to try all different types, and so does Corey.  It’s one of our favorite pass times!  To start our “Friday Funday”, we headed over to my favorite restaurant, Mitchell’s Fish Market. We indulged in my favorite appetizer in the world, Mitchell’s Crab & Spinach dip.  We also enjoyed Happy Hour drinks: Chardonnay for me, Magic Hat #9 Draft for Corey.   That crab dip is to die for.  (Confession: At this point, I was too embarrassed to take pictures of our drinks and appetizer, because we were sitting at the bar in front of everyone! I’ll get there one day….or maybe after a few drinks…)

After happy hour, we debated about new places to try out for our actual dinner.  We settled on one that we’ve been talking about for months:

Shipyard is a brewery/restaurant.  We browsed the gift shop while we waited for our lobster buzzer to go off:

Beer Here!

Lobsta Buzza

This little entity alone was enough to make me want to come back!

We sampled a beer that was on display while we waited:

Sampling Shipyard Expo

Please note how tightly Corey is hugging the lobster buzzer.  I think he wanted to bring it home.

When we got seated, I ordered a Flight of Beers which included:

Shipyard Blue Fin Porter, Shipyard Light, Shipyard Expo, Shipyard IPA...have I told you how GREAT you look lately?!

For an appetizer, we shared the White Bean Hummus:

White bean Hummus

The hummus was not good.  It was more of a “bean dip” than a hummus, and I hate bean dip.  I also wasn’t a fan of the crostini’s it was served with-hummus should always be served with some type of pita, don’t you think?

For our meal, we split a flatbread:

Mmm...meaty!

I kind of forget what the name of this was, but I know it had a lot of meat- salami, capicola and proscuitto.  I would never order this normally, but a) it was date night which = compromise, and b) Shipyard has an awesome deli that is part of the restaurant, so I trusted their meats and was interested to try this particular creation.

While Corey got the car, I snuck back into the gift shop, and I returned with some delicious treats for us:

Jane's Shortbread Cookies + Box of Shipyard Mini Cupcakes

Mini Cupcakes

The shortbread was devoured in literally 2 seconds.   Even after Corey told me he “doesn’t even like shortbread”.  HA! It was so amazing.  Our cupcake selection included 1 strawberry cheesecake (yuck, I gave it to Corey), 2 mint chocolate (yum!), and 1 cookies ‘n’ cream cheesecake (double yum!).

After our trip to Shipyard, we decided to head to a brand new place that opened in our neighborhood, called “CaddyShanks“.  It’s a virtual golf bar, but we weren’t there to hit balls.  We went to watch the Orlando Magic play the OKC Thunder!  We sampled a few different beers and then headed home around 9:30.

MORE Shipyard beer?!

Stay tuned for some serious foodie blogging tomorrow, because we are going to our neighborhood’s Chili Cook Off to sample LOTS of different eats!

Hope you’re having a fun start to your weekend!

OCD Runner

I am by no means a person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  But today, I felt like I may have needed to be institutionalized for it.  I opted for an afternoon workout so I could study in the morning, so we headed over to the gym when Corey got home from work.  I don’t exactly have a plethora of workout clothes, but I have a good amount that usually lasts me between laundry loads.  I was running low today, so I grabbed two things I don’t normally wear to workout- a purple, stretchy tank top that is made for exercise, and a pair of Nike running shorts.  The shorts were laughably big on me.  I don’t even know where they came from, or why I own them, but I pray that they never actually fit me in this life.  Anyway, I had nothing else, so I had to make it work.  I pinned the shorts a little on the sides with safety pins, rolled them twice, and headed out the door.

Here’s the thing- it takes a lot for this chick to actually go running, so when I do, everything must be perfect!  By that I mean that my hair has to be pulled completely away from my face- not a single hair can touch my face- my ponytail needs to stay put and not fall out or touch my shoulders when I’m running.  My shorts have to fit and stay put, my iPod cannot even insinuate that it’s about to run out of battery, and it can’t be too hot outside!  Today, was not my kind of running day.  And I wasn’t even outside!  As soon as I started running on the treadmill, everything went to crap.  My T.V. wouldn’t go to the one channel I wanted to watch, my hair, which was in a bun, flopped up and down until it came completely out, my stretchy tank was riding up to the point where my entire stomach was showing, and my makeshift shorts were getting stuck up my butt thanks to the safety pinning job I did.  I honestly almost lost my mind.  To top it all off, there was some girl behind me on the bike who appeared to be one of those I-weigh-89-pounds-but-go-to-the-gym-to-watch-TV-and-look-hot types, and I’m pretty sure she was laughing at my visible frustration.  I’ll deal with her next time.

Anyways, I ended up only completing 20-minutes of semi-running, but I used my anger to power me through a great weights session.

Today’s workout can be found here.

Lunch

For lunch, I grabbed something new that I’ve never tried before:

An EatSmart Asian Salad Kit!  The kit included a mixture of shredded lettuce and cabbage, a packet of Asian dressing, and a small packet of “crunchies”- wonton noodles and almonds.

I will definitely be buying another kit in the future!

Dinner

Before I left for class, I decided to try a new recipe.  I threw some ingredients in the Crock Pot, and when I came home, dinner was basically ready to go, and it smelled delicious.  Here’s what I made:

Smokey BBQ Pulled Chicken

Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:


2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 oz. tomato sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon Chipotle mustard

1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

1 onion or shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

Several shakes of your favorite hot sauce (I used Paula Deen’s!)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon paprika

salt and pepper, several pinches

Directions:

Mix together all of the above ingredients, except the chicken, in the crock pot until smooth.

Before

Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook on low for 6 hours.

Pull, pull, pull!

When the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the pot and place on a cutting board.  Use two forks to pull the chicken apart, then add it back into the pot with the sauce and mix together.  Serve!

After

I have to say, this was awesome.  It’s so easy to get sick of chicken when you run out of ideas for making it, but this made me want to eat it every day!  I served our chicken with two frozen sides:

Frozen Friends

Dinna

After dinner, I was craving something sweet (of course) so I asked Corey if he was in the mood for frozen yogurt.  He wasn’t, but that wasn’t the right answer, so we hopped in the car and hurried over to the frozen yogurt place down the street.  Alas, we were too late and they were closed.  I was on a mission and wasn’t about to go home empty-handed, so we went to Publix and I grabbed our favorite flavor of their Premium No-Sugar-Added, Light Ice Cream:

Butter Pecan

Why would I buy evil ice cream instead of perfectly healthy frozen yogurt, you ask? Well, I used to buy their frozen yogurt all the time, until I decided to check the Nutrition Facts one day, and realized that this was a huge mistake!  In comparison to the above ice cream, Publix’s Premium Frozen Yogurt has roughly 13 more grams of sugar, which is bad.  Therefore, we eat light ice cream sweetened with my B.F.F., Splenda.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I have to go study AGAIN.  I can’t wait until this week is over!

 

Loser, Loser Chicken Dinner?

After my afternoon class, I came home for a short break and made some lunch.  Once again, I ended up compiling a random assortment of things.  I added a few slices of chopped Golden Delicious apple to a bowl of broccoli slaw and topped it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Makoto Ginger Dressing.

The apple added sweetness to the salad that went well with the dressing.  I also had a handful of almonds paired with a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Garlic and Herb Cheese:

"Have you laughed today?"

I would like to point out that those commercials really bother me.  No, lady, I’m not laughing just because I’m eating a wedge of cheese.  Moving on…

I feel bad that Corey has been getting left with the task of making dinner during the week because I don’t get home until so late.  Since I had some down time, I decided to be helpful and cook part of our dinner ahead of time, and then stick it in the fridge for later.  I grilled up two Publix Ready-to-Cook chicken breasts we bought this week.

I forgot that everytime I use the grill pan, someone gets verrrry upset…

Smokey the Dog

It took me forever to find her! She was hiding under the desk in our office.

Dinner

When I got home from class, I decided to make the rest of our dinner as simple as possible.  This meant using up my favorite go-to items in the freezer.  I microwaved two sides along with my pre-cooked chicken, and dinner was ready in 8 minutes flat.

I love frozen veggies.  Especially the ones that come in some sort of sauce but are still low calorie!  I also had a small glass of Chardonnay.  Too small.

Unfortunately, as soon as I took one bite of the chicken, I suddenly remembered why I vowed to never buy that particular Ready-to-Cook item again!  It’s like putting a cube of salt in your mouth!  The ingredients claim that they are lemon and garlic marinated, but all I tasted was salt.  Naturally, I still ate every bite, but it wasn’t very good.  And now my sweet tooth is kicked into high gear!

I’m off to go finish watching Glee that I have recorded, and then I need to get started on studying for my first Microbiology lab practical tomorrow.  Scary!

What is your favorite go-to frozen food item?

10-Minute Chicken Stir Fry

There’s really nothing better than a recipe that requires minimal ingredients and comes together in less than 15 minutes.  Especially when you happen to be taking classes at night that have you walking in the door around 10p.m. Monday through Thursday. Not the ideal situation for someone who likes to spend some time in the kitchen, but I’m making it work!

Because of my schedule, it’s essential that I have recipes on hand that are simple and healthy.  I really hate to have to grab fast food or order take out just because it’s late and I don’t want to wait any longer to eat dinner.  Enter: 10-minute stir fry.

This recipe is similar to my Shrimp and Brown Rice stir fry, but with much fewer ingredients!

10-Minute Chicken Stir Fry


Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

The Asian Trinity

1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables (mine was a mix of mushrooms,

water chestnuts, red pepper, and broccoli)

3/4 pound chicken tenders (about 8), chopped into bite-size pieces

1 bag Steamfresh Brown Rice (cooked according to package directions)

1 tablespoon Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce

3 tablespoons Stir Fry Sauce, divided into 2 and 1

1 tablespoon Kraft Toasted Sesame Asian dressing

salt, garlic powder, paprika, to taste

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Directions:

In a wok or large skillet, spray non-stick spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Throw in the chicken, season with salt, garlic powder and paprika, pour in 1 tablespoon stir fry sauce and cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the bag of frozen vegetables and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining stir fry sauce, soy sauce and dressing.  Stir together and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Serve over brown rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

On this particular night, I was in the mood for something sweet (OK, fine, that’s what I’m in the mood for every night after dinner).  Anyways, I picked up a box of Fiber One Banana Nut muffins, and I was excited to try them out as a breakfast treat for the following morning.  I was somewhat expecting them to be dry or bland, probably due to the fact that I opted to purchase them as a healthier alternative to the Betty Crocker box I was holding that called for 2 sticks of butter (my skinny bitch conscience got the best of me).  Well, I’m happy to report that they were delicious!

 

may have snagged a few bites when they came out of the oven.

 

Shhh!

Sweet ‘N’ Spicy Turkey Meatloaf

It’s been a long time since I was able to just sit at home and watch Food Network, but I finally got to have one of those days this week.  I caught an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Garlic”, and Ina Garten introduced me to the most delicious-looking meatloaf I’ve ever seen.  I don’t even like meatloaf.  It was a mixture of beef, veal and pork, with a head of roasted garlic thrown in the mix.  The chef served it with a sort of meatloaf au jus over the top.  My mouth was watering.

Since seeing that glorious meatloaf, I’ve been telling Corey all week that I was going to make my own version of it.  Healthified, of course.  Tonight, I finally got around to it!  I searched the internet for some tips and tricks, and compiled a recipe of my own for this sweet ‘n’ spicy creation.

There were two perks to making this dinner.

A) I got to use my new garlic press that Corey found for me at a garage sale

 

 

 

 

And B) I got to finally use my loaf pan by Giada de Laurentis!

It’s the little things in life.

Sweet ‘N’ Spicy Turkey Meatloaf


Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1.4 pounds ground turkey

2 Spicy Italian Turkey Sausages, removed from casing

1/4 cup beef broth

1 Vidalia onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons tomato sauce

3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 egg

For the top:

4 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons BBQ sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saute pan, spray non-stick spray and place over medium heat.

Throw in the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are browned.

Pour in the beef broth and deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom.  Add the tomato sauce and remove from heat.  Stir in the parsley, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Allow mixture to cool.

 

 

 

 

 

In a bowl, add the turkey meat and the sausage meat.  Pour in the onion mixture, egg, and breadcrumbs.  Use your hands (washed!) to mix everything until well combined.

Place meat into a loaf pan and use a spatula to spread it around evenly.  Pour the ketchup and BBQ sauce over top and spread into an even layer.

Place in the oven for 40 minutes.  Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook for another 20-25 minutes, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. *Tip*: I placed another loaf pan on the bottom rock and filled it with about 3-4 inches of water.  The moisture keeps the meatloaf from drying out.

 

 

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