September 05, 2014

Hawaiian Grilled Cheese

(Photo from Fitness Magazine)

Over Summer break Little Man took cooking classes at his Summer camp. One day he told me about something he made that was "even better than peanut butter and jelly!!!". He ran through the recipe for Hawaiian Grilled Cheese sandwiches and requested we make them sometime. Later that weekend I came across a recipe in Fitness Magazine for them, ripped it out, and posted it up on our family calendar as a reminder to grab the ingredients on our Sunday grocery trip.

These sandwiches are so good with a tropical twist from the pineapple. So good, that Little Man requested I make an extra to pack for his school lunch tomorrow.

Because the ham and pineapple combination reminds me of one of my favorite pizza combinations I think substituting the BBQ sauce for marinara would be amazing or doing as Little Man did and using his favorite, honey mustard. No matter the condiment choice, give these a try. Yummy!

Adapted from: Fitness Magazine
Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 8 slices multigrain bread
  • 8 oz Virginia ham
  • 1 cup pineapple, sliced thinly 
  • 4 slices muenster cheese
  • 4 tsp BBQ sauce
And Action:

Divide ham, pineapple, and cheese among half the slices of bread. Spread the BBQ sauce on remaining slices and top sandwiches.

Cook sandwiches in a panini press or do like I did and spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray over medium heat. Place sandwich in skillet and place another skillet on top of the sandwich weighing it down with a heavy can. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes and then flip, once again topping with the skillet and heavy can. 

May 30, 2014

Quick Lemon Chicken with Rice

This meal is so easy to make and very satisfying. You can throw this together after a long day at work and have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. 

(Photo from Women's Health Magazine)

Adapted from: Women's Health Magazine
Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp black olives, sliced
  • 2 cups quick cooking white rice
And Action:

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink and the juices run clear. During the last few minutes of cooking, add the garlic and onion.

When the chicken is done, stir in the carrot, lemon zest, broth, parsley, olives, and rice. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Nutritional Facts per serving

CALORIES375.8 CAL

FAT5.8 G

SATURATED FAT0.9 G

CHOLESTEROL65.8 MG

SODIUM592.8 MG

CARBOHYDRATES45.9 G

TOTAL SUGARS1.8 G

DIETARY FIBER2.4 G

PROTEIN31.3 G


May 21, 2014

Miso Salmon

Omega-3 rich salmon that is sweet, salty, and heart healthy. Salmon is one of my favorites and this entree is easy to prepare especially on a work night.


Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 3 tbsp white miso
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 8 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets, about 1 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
And Action:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk miso, mirin, and soy sauce in a small bowl until well blended. 

Add oil to a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add salmon, skin side up, and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Flip fish over, brush salmon with the miso blend and place skillet in the oven. Roast salmon until it reaches desired degree of doneness, 6 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions (optional). 

Nutritional Facts per serving

CALORIES365 CAL

FAT16.1 G

SATURATED FAT2.4 G

CHOLESTEROL120.8 MG

SODIUM931.5 MG

CARBOHYDRATES5.7 G

TOTAL SUGARS2 G

DIETARY FIBER0.8 G

PROTEIN45.5 G

May 05, 2014

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Meals such as, Penne with Chicken Marengo and these Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps have made the 30-Day Bikini Body Meal Plan less of a struggle to demonstrate willpower. I've made it to day 9 of 30 and find myself looking forward to the next meal even when it's a salad or veggie tray as a snack. In these 9 days I've lost 2.3 lbs. That loss is solely focusing on diet alone, not the intentional plan, but how it worked out this week. I need to get my ass back to the gym in order to maximize the weight loss results. On a side note, for anyone who thinks eating healthy costs a lot of money... they are wrong! We shop at Whole Foods and this week's grocery bill was $207. Imagine how much less it would be if we went to Kroger. 

These lettuce wraps are perfect for entertaining and have a balance of sweet, heat, and acid. I set up the ottoman with the steak in a bowl and the lettuce leaves and toppings on a plate for a DIY assembly. Whenever a craving for Thai food hits, I've got this recipe to come back to, and since leaving the Pacific NW I haven't found a gem yet here in Houston. 

(That's not blood, it's the Sriracha sauce.)


Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 12 oz flank, skirt, or sirloin steak
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 jalapeƱo pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 head bibb lettuce, washed and dried, leaves separated

And Action:

Heat the grill or grill pan over high heat for at least 5 minutes. Season the steak with salt and pepper and toss it on. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until it's firm but yielding to the touch. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Combine the chili sauce, fish sauce, and juice of one lime in a small saucepan over low heat.

Slice the steak thinly (if it's skirt or flank steak, be sure to cut against the grain) and drizzle half of the warm sauce over it. Set out the jalapeno and onion slices, cilantro, carrot, lettuce, and remaining lime wedges and sauce. Use the leaves like tortillas to wrap up the steak slices with the other ingredients. (Save some lime and sauce to use on your wrap as you eat.)

May 04, 2014

Penne with Chicken Marengo


Chicken Marengo has a history that dates back to Napoleon's chef who legend has it made this for the General after a battlefield victory. That dish was chicken braised with tomatoes and garlic. This recipe kicks it up a notch with citrus in the sauce. Served over penne this makes a well rounded meal for any solider in your family. 

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 8 oz penne
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
And Action:
1.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander and transfer to a warmed serving bowl.
2.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water and soak for 5 minutes. When softened, drain and chop coarsely. Set aside.
3.
Toss the chicken with the flour, thyme, and pepper. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of the broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are barely softened and have begun to release their juices.
4.
Add the crushed tomatoes (with puree), orange juice, orange zest, sugar, salt, the sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release the browned bits. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the flavors are blended.
5.
Pour the mixture over the pasta and toss to coat well.

Nutritional Facts per serving

CALORIES389.9 CAL

FAT5.8 G

SATURATED FAT1 G

CHOLESTEROL32.9 MG

SODIUM513.8 MG

CARBOHYDRATES61.6 G

TOTAL SUGARS9.5 G

DIETARY FIBER5.4 G

PROTEIN25.7 G

May 02, 2014

Spinach Chicken Parm

(Image from Women's Health Magazine)

Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken cutlet
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup marinara
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
And Action:

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. As the oil is heating, mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Pressing the chicken into the mixture to get the crumbs stick. Place in the pan with the garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Top with hot marinara. Add the spinach, turning frequently with tongs until it wilts (about 6 minutes).

Nutritional Facts per serving

CALORIES366 CAL

FAT17.4 G

SATURATED FAT2.9 G

CHOLESTEROL70 MG

SODIUM806.3 MG

CARBOHYDRATES21 G

TOTAL SUGARS6 G

DIETARY FIBER4.1 G

PROTEIN32.1 G

May 01, 2014

Steamed Snapper with Pesto

(My photo does not do this justice.)

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 snapper fillets (about 6 oz each)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp pesto - I used sundried tomato pesto.
And Action:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat one side of four 12" x 20" sheets of foil with nonstick spray.

Top each half of foil sheet with 1 1/2 cup spinach, 1/4 of the bell pepper, and 1 snapper fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the other half of each foil sheet over the filling and crimp the edges tight.

Arrange the packets on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the packets are puffed. Transfer each packet to a serving plate. Carefully slit the top and let the steam escape. After a minute, peel back the foil to reveal the fish and make sure the fish flakes easily. Top each serving with 1 tbsp of the pesto. 

Nutritional Facts per serving

CALORIES264.7 CAL

FAT9.5 G

SATURATED FAT1.6 G

CHOLESTEROL64.4 MG

SODIUM581.5 MG

CARBOHYDRATES6.7 G

TOTAL SUGARS1.4 G

DIETARY FIBER2.9 G

PROTEIN37.4 G



April 29, 2014

Hilary's Eat Well "World's Best" Veggie Burger


I'm on day 3 of 30 of the 30-Day Bikini Body Meal Plan and on today's menu was a ham and egg microwave breakfast (effin' terrible!) that tasted like rubber and also a veggie burger that was a success!

Sunday morning I planned ahead by mapping out of my meals for the week and made my grocery list before going to Whole Foods. A veggie burger... hmmm... I have never made/bought a veggie burger and had no idea what to expect. I took to the Internet to find some direction and came across a blog, Yum Veggie Burger, and scrolled through until I saw a post about a veggie burger made from a frozen patty. This sounded like an easier approach then making my own veggie patty or not being in control of the calorie count by ordering one out.

I followed the inspiration from the blog and pan fried the patty then dressed it up with sauteed garlic spinach, roasted red pepper, and a black pepper mayo.

This is a filling burger without giving you an overstuffed feeling. The patty fries up nicely getting a crispy coating and it is absolutely tasty. As far as the "world's best" veggie burger... well it's the best I've ever had. Ha!


April 26, 2014

Spicy Chicken and Pasta

Every Sunday is my weigh in day. Depending on the number returned on the scale determines if I need to step up my diet and exercise or ride out the current plan another week. This past Sunday's weigh in reflected a gain so I spent some time browsing Pinterest for some thinspiration.

Women's Health Magazine published a, 30-Day Bikini Body Meal Plan, and given that Summer is right around the corner and Texas has hit temps close to the 90s I figured this would provide some good direction. I started Day 1 of 30 today... after four failed attempts. Day 1 was a success... 29 left to go.

(Photo from Women's Health Magazine... WTF?! The recipe doesn't mention cheese.)

Tonight's dinner was the Spicy Chicken and Pasta. Very easy to make, super tasty, and filling which is perfect for a weeknight. The name is somewhat deceptive as this is not spicy but has a subtle hint of heat.

Adapted from: Women's Health Magazine
Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 4 1/2 oz angel hair pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 lb ground chicken - Made my own in the food processor.
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
And Action:

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground chicken and season with onion powder and chili powder. Saute until cooked through. While browning the chicken cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain. Add the spaghetti sauce to the chicken until heated through and then toss with the pasta. 

Nutritional Facts per serving

CALORIES464.3 CAL

FAT10.3 G

SATURATED FAT1.3 G

CHOLESTEROL66.7 MG

SODIUM375.7 MG

CARBOHYDRATES56.7 G

TOTAL SUGARS8.8 G

DIETARY FIBER2.6 G

PROTEIN35.4 G



April 06, 2014

Tropical Green Smoothie

Even though it's Spring and rain showers are in the forecast today it's okay to start fantasizing about summer and a dream vacation to Anguilla. Sigh. A girl can dream. This is my first time using spinach in a smoothie and I'm surprised that I couldn't even taste it since the fruit masks the flavor.

Spinach is bursting with antioxidants and disease-fighting phytonutrients. The pineapple and mango reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, boost your immune system, improve digestion, and protect your eyesight. These ingredients also add fiber which help keep you full.

This is such a healthy breakfast option and a perfect way to sneak a serving of veggies in first thing in the morning or after my workout like I did this morning... like being on a classy Spring Break. This smoothie is thick, cold, and a refreshing balanced meal.

Little Man entertained a sip but quickly stated his distaste for it. Oh well... more for me!

The best thing about smoothie recipes are how versatile they are and you can make numerous servings and freeze until ready to enjoy. You can substitute or omit any ingredients to suit your taste.


Adapted From: Averie Cooks
Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen is ideal
  • 1 cup milk - I used 2%. 
  • 1 tsp pure cane sugar
  • 1 small container Fage nonfat yogurt
  • 1 scoop protein powder - I used Tera's Whey Goat Whey Protein. 
And Action:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately and freeze extra portions in a freezer safe container for up to 1 month (thaw before serving). 

March 28, 2014

Pasta Al Pomodoro


I tend to stay away from ordering pasta at restaurants. These so called chain-Italian restaurants can't get pasta right. It's such a disappointment especially when it's my cheat day of my "diet". Sigh.


Pasta al Pomodoro couldn't be easier to make. The key ingredient in this dish is tomatoes hence it's name, translating to "pasta with tomato". It's best to save making this one until the end of summer when tomatoes are at their best, however, for busy mama on a Spring/work/soccer practice night, a giant can of peeled tomatoes works just fine.

It's important to cook the pasta al dente (about a minute or two less than what is stated on the package) since the noodles will continue to cook once you toss the sauce with them.

Serve with garlic bread, (recipe to follow). Yummy!

Pasta al Pomodoro
Adapted from: Epicurious: Dinner Rush Summer/Fall 2013
Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz) can peeled tomatoes
  • kosher salt
  • 12 oz bucatini or spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino
And Action:

Puree olive oil, onion powder, garlic, red pepper flakes, peeled tomatoes, and salt in food processor. Pour into a sauce pot and heat over medium until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Season with salt, add pasta, and cook stirring occasionally until 2 minutes before tender.

Drain pasta.

Combine pasta and sauce. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Enjoy!

Garlic Bread
Epicurious: Dinner Rush Summer/Fall 2013
Makes 4 to 6 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 loaf Italian bread - I used French bread.
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan
And Action:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash garlic to a paste with 1/4 tsp salt.

Stir together butter, oil, and garlic paste in a bowl until well combined, stir in parsley.

Halve loaf horizontally and divide butter mixture between halves and spread it in an even layer. 

Divide cheese between halves and spread in an even layer.

Put halves, cheese side up, on a large baking sheet. Cover bread with a large piece of foil, tenting it slightly on the top and tucking it under the bread.

Bake 15 minutes.

Remove foil and turn oven to broil. Broil bread until golden, about 2 minutes. 

March 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie


Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie
Makes 1 Serving

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/8 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 10 oz nonfat milk
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal 
  • cinnamon, to taste
And Action:

Combine all ingredients in the blender until smooth. Enjoy!

February 25, 2014

Apple and Kiwi Green Juice with Ginger

Blend of green apples, kiwi and ginger. 


Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 granny smith apples, cored, and sliced
  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • small chunk of ginger
  • 1 lime or lemon
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/2 cup parsley 
And Action:

Run all ingredients through the juicer and enjoy!

January 11, 2014

Crock Pot Whole Baked Chicken

Whole chickens used to turn me off. The whole pulling out their insides and plucking any stray feathers thing really grossed me out. My mama handled the cooking in our household growing up and I became spoiled. When I moved out and a craving for baked chicken hit I would grab a rotisserie chicken at the checkout line at the grocery store. But something was missing... the aroma that fills the house while the chicken bakes. It's part of what makes it taste so good.

This blog actually pushed me out of my comfort zone and I made my first baked whole chicken. Pulling the guts out and all. It wasn't until I started shopping at Whole Foods that I discovered whole chickens with the dirty work already done. Granted, there is still the rinsing of the bird and a few stray feathers to pluck but I don't have to stick my hand up in the cavity of the bird.


Santa brought me a 6 qt Crock Pot for Christmas, my first!, and the first recipe I came across was for this Crock Pot Whole Baked Chicken. The stars had aligned. Whole chickens were on sale at Whole Foods, this Crock Pot came into my life, and then I stumble on this recipe. Let me tell you... This recipe is EASY! The meat was falling off the bone. As of now, this is my go to method for cooking a whole chicken. I'm not intimidated anymore and I get what I want... a house filled with the aroma of baked chicken and it tastes so much better homemade. I paired the chicken with broccoli and brown rice. Yummy!!!


Stars of the Show:
  • 1 whole chicken (2-4 lbs)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
And Action:

Wad up two pieces of foil and make them flat on top.

Place in 5 qt crock pot and pour 1/4 inch of water in the bottom. 

Rinse and dry the whole chicken. Make sure to clean the kitchen really well!

In a small bow combine the spices.

Rub onto the chicken.

Place chicken on top of foil balls.

Cook on high for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, switch to low and cook for 5 hours. Temperature should read 160 degrees then it's time to enjoy!






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