Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Posts tagged ‘dinner’

Pot Roast Remix

 

We "meat" again...

It’s another cold night in Orlando!  Corey and I knew we were going to be in the mood for some hot food when we got home, so, this morning, I got to work on a pot roast and put it in the slow cooker.

I’ve posted a pot roast recipe previously, but this recipe is a little different.  I actually forgot to buy celery, so that didn’t make it in the mix.  As I mentioned in the other pot roast post, Corey’s mom has a great recipe which uses a jar of gravy, along with the other liquids.  I decided to go that route this time, except, a jar of Heinz Homestyle Rich Mushroom Gravy caught my eye, and I decided to go with that instead of turkey. When I was at the produce market over the weekend, I happened to pick up some white mushrooms, so I also added those to the pot, as well.  We cooked a big roast (3lb), so we will be eating those leftovers all weekend!

There’s just one problem.  The first step of slow-cooking pot roast involves browning each side of the meat before adding it to the pot.  Living in an apartment means my kitchen, and basically every other room in the place, gets filled immediately with smoke anytime I cook something on a higher heat level.  Not that big of a deal, right?

Tell that to this crazy dog:

“Let me in! LET ME IN!!!”

Every single time I cook and the slightest bit of smoke gets in the air, Bella goes running for the closet and hides until the smoke disappears.  This time, the door happened to closed, so she panicked even more.  I opened the door for her and got this look:

"Why must you torture me so?"

I guess we will be safe if there’s a real fire in the apartment!  Or…she will be safe in the closet?

We’re off to watch a movie, go to bed, and get our stomachs prepared for the Chili Cook-Off tomorrow morning!  We’re gonna get to taste over 50 chili’s…including one made with kangaroo meat?  Not sure how I feel about that, but I’ll take pictures!

Mushroom Pot Roast

Servings: 6

Ingredients:


3lb. Chuck Tender Roast

1 large onion, peeled and sliced into wedges

6 medium red potatoes, washed and cut into quarters

6-8 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks

8-10 white mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced

3 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 for the meat, 1 for the pot

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

3 cups beef broth

1 jar Heinz Homestyle Rich Mushroom Gravy

1/2 cup water

Directions:

 

Before...

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and spray with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle each side of the roast with 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 2 teaspoons salt.  Brown on each side, about 4 minutes each.  Remove from skillet and place in slow cooker.  Add chopped veggies to the cooker.  Pour in the broth, water, gravy, and seasonings.  Give everything a big stir and place the lid on the cooker.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours.  Shred meat with 2 forks and serve!

 

After!

 

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Back in Business! Recipe: Asian Turkey Burgers

If anyone were to look up the term “dumb blonde” in the dictionary, I am almost positive my picture would be next to it.  Remember my “broken” camera I’ve been going on and on about?  Well, as soon as I walked out of Best Buy with this little beauty…:

Canon Powershot SD1400

I got home and inserted my memory card from my old camera.  The screen read “Memory Card Locked”.  Oh, crap.  That’s the message that popped up on my old camera! That wasn’t the issue, though.  I had this problem a long time ago on my old camera, and I Googled it and found out that there is a switch on the memory card that you have to push the opposite direction to unlock it.  When the message popped up the second time on my old camera, I had forgotten that the switch was on the actual memory card, and instead, flipped some tiny switched that was on my camera, which then fell off.  Well, as soon as I saw the message on my new camera, all the previous Google-knowledge I obtained months ago came flooding back, and I remembered what the problem was.  I flipped the switch on the memory card, stuck it back in my old camera…and what do ya know? Back to normal.  So, now, I have two perfectly functioning Canon PowerShots sitting in front of me.  However, one is older and is not a beautiful shade of pink.  I guess I have a decision to make!  Anyways, let’s move on to dinner.

I have never been a big fan of ground turkey meat, but, once I started eating healthier, I developed a taste for it.  Even so, I have still never been a fan of turkey burgers.  Corey and I were out of dinner ideas when we shopped last weekend, so we just picked up a package of pre-formed turkey burgers and decided to save them for later in the week when we were feeling less-than-motivated to cook up a big dinner.  That would be tonight.

Turkey meat is very lean, and pretty bland, as well.  You really have to give it some flavor unless you want to bore your tastebuds to death.  I decided to make a marinade for our burgers.  I don’t think marinating burgers is really a normal thing to do, but I gave it a try anyway.  I went with an Asian-flavored marinade, covered the burgers, and refrigerated them for 30 minutes.  After grilling them on an indoor grill pan, I sliced an onion and caramelized it in a saute pan.  I topped the burgers with the onions and served them on Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Rounds with a side of roasted broccoli.  The burgers turned out perfectly.  Great flavor, and the grill pan gave them a nice crust on the outside.  Crunchy, delicious, and healthy!

Asian Turkey Burgers


Servings: 4

Ingredients:

 

16 oz. ground turkey, formed into 4 burger patties

5 tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

2 tablespoons Stir-Fry Sauce or Teryaki

1 tablespoon Ken’s Herb & Garlic Marinade

1 tablespoon Makoto Ginger Dressing

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Caramelized Onions:

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 white onion, thinly sliced into rounds

2 tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

After forming patties, place in a container that has a lid.  In a bowl, mix together the above ingredients after “ground turkey”.

Pour marinade over the patties, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

After marinating, heat grill or grill pan, spray with nonstick spray (for grill pan), and cook burgers about 5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the middle.

 

 

 

In a saute pan, spray with nonstick spray and add the onions.  Cook for about 5 minutes, add soy sauce, and then cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until caramelized.  Top burgers with the onions and serve on whole wheat buns.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I’m thankful for…

FOOD!!!!

Among other things, of course.

I’m not usually one to toot my own horn, but I have to say, this Thanksgiving feast was one of the best I’ve ever had- and I happen to be the creator of my favorite parts of it!

Sistas in the Kitchen

I made two great dishes last year for my family that I found from my favorite chefs on Food Network.  I made Giada’s Baked Mashed Potatoes with Pancetta, and Emeril’s Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing.  The potatoes were a hit, so I knew I was making them again this year.  The stuffing was really good, but I made a mistake by using bread that was too fresh, which resulted in a slightly soggy texture.  My sister made sure to make me aware of it =).  I knew I was on the right track with the stuffing, so I decided to make it again, using really stale bread instead.  It was…amazing. I could eat it three times a day, every day for the rest of my life. Not kidding.  I was extra proud of myself this year, because I decided to tackle dessert- no pumpkin pie for us, it was all about Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dulce de Leche sauce! YUM!  You guys know I never claim to be an expert baker or dessert-maker of any kind, but somehow, this came out perfectly.  Definitely a must-try!  Also on the menu: FRIED Turkey, Peas & Onions (my sister’s must-have dish), Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, and Homemade Gravy!

Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

YUM!

The Fam (minus Dad the photographer)

Cooking in College: Another dish to keep you skinny and your wallet fat.

According to my feedback from the last post, you guys are fans of cheap dinners!  I’ve decided to add a Part 2 to my affordable feasts.

Pork chops are really one of the best things you can pick up at the grocery store.  I always buy the lean cuts, in packs of four.  They are just as versatile as chicken, but pork is actually almost always cheaper than chicken breasts, at least, that’s how it is at my grocery store.  Our pork chops cost us about $4.

Because Corey and I are leaving town tomorrow, our refrigerator and pantry are as bare as can be, so it was actually a little challenging to come up with a dinner last night.  What I came up with was definitely a random assortment, but it turned out to be a great dinner.

I meant to write a post a few weeks ago about my recently discovered obsession with a little something called polenta.  Polenta is made with cornmeal, and when it is cooked, it has a similar appearance and texture to mashed potatoes or grits.  However, there is another way to prepare it- you can pour it into a baking dish and stick it in the fridge until it sets, then cut it into squares or rounds and grill it.  I call this the restaurant preparation, because I feel like that is something you would only see during a fancy 5-course dinner.  Hey, if you want to impress somebody, give it a try! You can flavor it an endless amount of ways, by adding herbs, cheeses, garlic, bacon- anything you want!  Another bonus? It’s CHEAP! All you need is course ground cornmeal, which should cost around $3 for a medium-sized bag, and several cups of chicken stock ($2-$3), depending on how many cups of cornmeal you add.

Dijon Pork Chops

with Caramelized Balsamic Onions and Garlic Polenta


Servings: 4

Ingredients:

For the pork chops:

4 lean cut pork chops

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Cooking spray

salt, pepper, garlic powder

For the onions:

2 tablespoons EVOO

1 large onion, sliced

4 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

salt

For the polenta:

1 cup coarse ground cornmeal

1 quart chicken stock

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon EVOO

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Season the pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Using the back of a spoon (or a cooking brush, if you have one) spread the Dijon mustard on both sides of each pork chop.

 

Pork+Mustard+Breadcrumbs

Sprinkle the bread crumbs on both sides of each pork chop, place them in a baking dish and spray each side with cooking spray (to help the bread crumbs brown).  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (more or less, depending on thickness of the pork).

In an oven-safe pot, heat one tablespoon EVOO over medium heat.  Throw the chopped garlic in the oil for no more than 30 seconds, because it will burn.  Pour the quart of chicken stock into the pot and bring to a boil.

When it is boiling, slowly add the cornmeal, while continuously whisking, to prevent lumps.  Cover the pot and place in the oven for about 15 more minutes (certain types of cornmeal take longer).  Check on it every 5-8 minutes and give it a good stir so it does not stick.

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium heat.

Throw in the sliced onions, and stir to coat in the oil.  They should begin to brown and caramelize after about 8 minutes (make sure you stir them every so often so they do not burn).

At this point, pour in the balsamic vinegar and give it a stir.  Keep stirring every few minutes until the balsamic thickens and the onions are completely caramelized (about another 6-8 minutes).  When they are done, remove from heat and set aside.

To serve, top the pork chops with the onions.  Serve the polenta on the side.

*Note* If you would like to make the fancy version of the polenta, follow the above directions.  After removing from the oven, lay a sheet of parchment paper down in a 9X13 baking dish.  Pour in the polenta and place in the fridge.  It should be set after about an hour.  Use either a round cookie cuter, a wine glass sprayed with cooking spray, or just your spatula to cut out individual rounds or squares.  Spray each side with cooking spray and place in either a skillet over medium heat or a grill for a few minutes, until slightly browned on each side.

 

 

 

Cooking in College: Five Dolla Dinna

I would like to clear up a commonly believed myth that floats around college campuses everywhere.  You’ve probably heard it before, and you’ve definitely wanted to believe it.  Your professors and friends and parents have all said it.  When you graduate college, you are going to get a job that only people with college degrees can get, and you are going to make a lot of money and life will just be a piece of cake after that degree is finally in your hands.  Hate to break it to ya, kids, but that ain’t happenin’ in this economy! In fact, you might actually be more broke after college than you were in college, thanks to the slow but sure disappearance of Mommy and Daddy’s credit cards, gas cards, and especially those wonderful monthly bank account deposits.  Say goodbye.  Unless, of course, you’re just really lucky, in which case, I hate you.

Anyways, cooking in college or even right after college can be quite a challenge when you’re working with a budget.  That’s why there is only one thing to do when times are tough:

Drink.

Just kidding.  Kinda.

This week, I thought it would be fun to try and make dinners that cost under $5 per serving.  It was a success!  Cooking really is a lot cheaper than eating out for every meal; you just have to know how to shop!

Pesto Primavera


Servings: 4-5

Ingredients:


3/4 bag frozen vegetable medley (I used Japanese blend)

1/2 box Whole Wheat Fettucine

2 1/2 tablespoons pre-made Pesto

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, shredded, for topping

salt and garlic powder, to taste

Directions:

You will need 2 pots for this recipe.

Bring one pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt to the water.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain pasta.  Fill the other pot with water, but only fill it about a quarter of the way up.  Bring to a boil, add the frozen veggies, and cover with a lid.  Cook for about 5-6 minutes, until tender.  Drain the vegetables.  Add the pasta and the veggies to the bigger pot.  Add the pesto, salt and garlic powder, and stir everything together.  Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan.

Salad with Buffalo Ranch Dressing


Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 heart of Romaine, chopped (or 2 cups of already-chopped Romaine lettuce)

1 tablespoon Light Ranch Dressing

2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

Directions:

Chop Romaine and add to 2 bowls.  In a separate bowl, mix the Ranch and Buffalo sauce together.  Drizzle over Romaine and serve.

Swordfish with Sauteed Eggplant and Baby Bok Choy

I never buy fish at our grocery store because it is just too expensive.  That’s why we love the fish market! Much better selection at practically half the cost.  Swordfish steaks are one of my favorite fish to cook.  I think swordfish is a great option for someone who is not sure if they really like fish.  It is much thicker and hardier than, for example, tilapia.  Anyways, the fish market didn’t have swordfish steaks, but they had swordfish “pieces” available- basically, it was just large chunks of swordfish sold by the pound.  We got a pound of the pieces, and then headed over to the produce market for some veggies for a side dish.  One of our new favorite veggies is one that I think scares a lot of people- bok choy!  There are two types of this green, leafy veggie- the regular size, and then there is baby bok choy.  We got the babies this time.  It turned out great, although, I think I will stick to swordfish steaks from now on.  The pieces weren’t quite as good, so I’m going to suggest using the steaks for this recipe.  The great thing about preparing a swordfish steak is that it is one of the easiest things in the world- hardly any ingredients are necessary to make the flavor stand out.  My kinda fish!

Seared Swordfish


Servings: 2

Ingredients:

2 swordfish steaks, about 5 oz. each

salt, pepper and garlic powder, enough to sprinkle on both sides

1 lemon

1 tablespoon EVOO

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat an oven-proof skillet with the EVOO over medium-high heat.  Place steak in the hot pan and sear on one side.  When slightly browned, flip to sear the other side.  Place skillet in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the fish is no longer opaque in the middle.  Squeeze lemon over top before serving.

Sauteed Eggplant and Bok Choy


Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into chunks

2 heads baby bok choy, cleaned and chopped into chunks (trim off the ends and throw away)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste

2 tablespoons EVOO

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Heat a skillet with the EVOO over medium eat.  Throw the bok choy and eggplant into the skillet and saute for about 4 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger and soy sauce.  Pour in the chicken broth, and cover skillet with lid for 5 minutes.  Eggplant should be soft and bok choy should be wilted and tender.

 

Best Dinner EVER! Scallop Risotto served with Roasted Butternut Squash, Broccoli and Sweet Onions

I’m never one to toot my own horn, but this is definitely one of the best dinners I have ever eaten.  Corey and I stopped by our local fish market this afternoon to pick up some fresh seafood for this week’s dinners.  We are big fans of scallops, and they were having a sale on bay scallops, so we decided to bring some home.  Bay scallops are the small ones, not the big diver scallops that you get at fancy restaurants (which are also delicious, of course!).  I often use bay scallops for pasta dishes, but Corey was actually the one who suggested we make a risotto with our scallops.  The wheels started turning in the kitchen part of my brain, and this recipe was born!

I think most people automatically assume risotto is a very fattening dish, because of its creamy texture and rich flavor.  However, there is not an ounce of cream in this recipe!  The creaminess comes from the starches in the rice that develop from the continuous stirring that you have to do when making risotto.  I love dishes that taste fattening but really aren’t!

I had a bunch of vegetables that I bought last week at the produce market that needed to be used up, so instead of just making my usual roasted broccoli, I decided to throw in a Vidalia onion and some chunks of butternut squash.  They added great color to my plate and were oh-so-flavorful!

I have to warn you, this dish is a major arm workout! You really can’t leave the stove for the 20 minutes this takes to cook, because you have to keep stirring everytime you add liquid to the pot.  It’s worth the effort!

Scallop Risotto


Servings: 4

Ingredients:

3/4 pound bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry

2 cups Arborio rice

8 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 tablespoons EVOO, divided into 4 and 2

1 celery stalk, diced

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons Smart Balance spread

1 lemon

Directions:

You will need two pots for this dish.

In a larger pot, heat the 4 tablespoons EVOO over medium heat.  Add the celery and onion to the pot, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  In the other pot, pour in the 8 cups of chicken stock and heat over medium until hot.  Add the garlic to the pot with the celery and onion.  Cook for a minute.

Drunk Rice

 

Pour in the white wine and cook, stirring continuously, until almost all the liquid is evaporated.

Add one cup of chicken stock to the pot, and continue stirring until almost all the liquid is absorbed by the rice.  Repeat this step for about 20 minutes, or until you taste the rice and it is cooked but still has a “bite” to it.  Remove from heat.  Add the parmesan cheese and the butter and stir together.  Cover with a lid and set aside.

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat.  Season the scallops with salt.  Add the scallops to the skillet and sear on one side for about a minute.  Turn over and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.  Squeeze the lemon over the scallops.  Add the scallops to the risotto and combine.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve with an extra sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Broccoli and Sweet Onions


Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes

2 cups fresh broccoli florets

1 1/2 Vidalia onions, peeled and cut into wedges

3 tablespoons EVOO

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons EVOO

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  On a baking sheet, lay out the vegetables in one layer.  Pour EVOO over top of the veggies, and sprinkle with the salt and garlic powder.  Use your hands to toss everything together.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 425, use a spatula to flip the vegetables, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.


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