Thursday, August 30, 2012

Healthy Sausage-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

These poblano peppers make a very hearty and fulfilling dinner. This recipe makes enough for 2 people with a few leftovers. I usually am not a big fan of sausage but it is a great substitute to your usual ground beef or turkey. To make this meal complete, serve with an ear of corn and a large salad!
3 large Poblano peppers
16 ounce package of Jimmy Dean Light (reduced fat) Sausage (You can also use ground beef or turkey)                  
3/4 cup long grain wild rice (buy the 90 second Uncle Ben's long grain & wild rice)   It may have mushrooms etc in it.  You can also use leftover rice if you have it from another dinner.
1 small white onion, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce (no salt added) or mild picante sauce
1/3 pkg. McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix (refrigerate rest of pkg for something else)
1/4 cup shredded monterrey jack or mild cheddar cheese + more for garnish (I use reduced fat
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the core out of each poblano with a skinny sharp knife. Save or keep intact as much of the pepper flesh top as possible. Lay the poblano flat (the way it naturally sits without falling over) and then cut in half lengthwise. Using your fingers, pull the seeds out, tossing into a trash can. If you want your peppers spicy, leave a few of the seeds in!
Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add your sliced poblanos to the baking dish.
  In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 7-10 minutes until the onions are tender.  
Microwave sausage until done (about 4 minutes total) and keep it crumbly by stirring.  Tip: I usually heat the sausage up for 1.5 minutes and then stir/chop with a fork to make it crumbly. I repeat this 1 or 2 more times until the sausage is cooked through. Drain the fat when finished. 
Add the onion and rest of the ingredients to the sausage (rice, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and cheese).  Stir.  
Stuff the sausage mixture into the poblano pepper halves.  There will be just enough for all 6 halves.  It will look a bit shallow, but it’s plenty.                                                
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 35 minutes until the poblanos are tender yet still a bit crisp. After 35 minutes, remove the poblanos from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven, covered, for 10 more minutes until the cheese melts!
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Basil Chicken Marinade

Chicken is a great source of protein! I love this recipe because the marinade allows the chicken to hold its moisture when cooking! For those of you that have been reading my blog for over a year now, I posted this recipe last August but I am updating the pictures! The recipe hasn't changed and it is still just as good! This is one of my all time favorite marinades.
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil (double the amount if using fresh basil, the more the merrier)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (at least 4)
Combine all of the above ingredients in a small dish and mix together.
Place your chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and pour the mixture over it. Marinate overnight.
*I like to put the bag of marinated chicken in a glass bowl just in case the ziplock leaks.
You can marinate for two days if the chicken breasts are thick. Grill chicken until the juices run clear but be sure to not overcook!
My husband heated the grill to 300-350 degrees. He cooked the chicken for 10 minutes on one side then flipped it over and cooked it for another 5 minutes. Remember, all grills are different and depending on the size of your chicken, your time may vary. This is just a guideline.
Other Hints:
You can actually cut your chicken breasts in half if they are too thick. You can also use a meat tenderizer and pound your chicken to about 1/4" thick. Either way, it will cut down your cooking time and ensure you cook the chicken all the way through.
Do not use a metal container to marinate the chicken in.
Grilled chicken breasts are great for eating plain, cut into strips for a grilled chicken salad, or for a grilled chicken breast sandwich!! Pin It

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grilled Pizza

This recipe comes from my cousin, Todd. He has now mastered the art of grilling pizza. I am sold and can't wait to try this myself. Since most of us do not have a fancy wood burning oven like Gwyneth Paltrow, this is a great alternative to getting that same kind of flavor. Todd kept it simple and made your classic Margherita pizza but feel free to add whatever ingredients you would like! Gwyneth also has some great ideas for pizza on her blog, Goop. I had to link her blog because she actually burnt her pizza which makes us amateur cooks feel better about ourselves.
Mozzarella or "Provel" cheese
Your favorite pizza dough
*You need a grill, obviously

Todd's directions

Turn the grill on. You want to turn half of the grill to high heat and the other half to low.
Put olive oil on a paper towel and spread across grill grate. Don't burn yourself!

Oil a baking sheet and roll your dough to whatever size you want on the baking sheet.
Now you are ready to put your pizza dough on the grill!
Place your dough on the high heat side of the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes until sturdy enough to flip.

Put olive oil on the top of the dough that is not cooked and flip to the low heat side of grill. Add tomato sauce and toppings of your choice. Place your cheese first (we used "Provel" because it is a St. Louis specialty), and top with tomatoes and basil.

Close grill and cook for 3-5 min.
This will be your finished product. Yum!
Optional: drizzle with balsamic glaze for added flavor.
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Saturday Wasted

This was not how I planned on spending my Saturday morning.
I heard a big "bang" and I knew something bad happened. Let's just say it took seconds to happen and hours to clean up. My living room is now my makeshift closet. Jealous?
I wish I could say I learned a lesson from this but unfortunately I just cleaned out my closet and gave a way a bunch of clothes. I decided though, that where ever I move next, I must have a coat closet!
My Saturday did end on a happy note as I got to have a little R&R here which is always a good time.
Oh and sorry for the blurry pictures. After a year plus, I am upgrading from my iPhone to a real camera. Stay tuned!
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Creamy yet Healthy Chicken Enchiladas

This was the first post I ever wrote! I decided to update it with some new pictures and a few changes that I made to this recipe. This is one of the easiest recipes to make and tastes better than most enchiladas at a Tex-Mex restaurant. This recipe originated from the side of the "Old El Paso" Green Chile Sauce can but I have tweaked this recipe to make it a lot healthier!

1 lb. of cooked chicken breasts (NOTE-you can buy an already cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store but only use 4 cups of chicken)
1 pack (8 oz) light or fat-free cream cheese (you can't tell a difference between the light and fat-free cream cheese in this recipe)
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1 package (8) white corn, whole wheat or flour tortillas (get the larger tortillas otherwise the tortilla will break)
2 cans (10 oz each) of OLD EL PASO green chile enchilada sauce
1 yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup of cheddar cheese (low fat)
Cilantro (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly grease rectangular pyrex dish.
If using a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and peel the chicken. Then, chop your onions.
Use a skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook chopped yellow onion for 5-10 minutes until onions are translucent. Don't let them turn brown!
Add cooked chicken, chilis and cream cheese. 
Reduce heat to medium, cook and stir until blended and melted.
Spoon mixture into tortillas, roll and place seam down on baking dish.
Pour Old El Paso enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheddar cheese (NOTE-i only used 1.5 cans of the enchilada sauce but the recipes calls for 2, it just depends how many enchiladas you are able to get out of the mixture).
Put casserole into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Garnish with cilantro.
Makes about 8 enchiladas depending on the size of tortillas you buy.
Serve with black beans (drained) with corn and mexican rice (box kind). Keep in mind though that a lot of the boxed rices are loaded in sodium so make sure to look at the sodium content before you buy the rice if you do not want to have high blood pressure!

***If you buy uncooked chicken, season it will olive oil, kosher salt, ground pepper, smoked paprika and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. However, I really think it is easier to buy a rotisserie chicken that is already cooked.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Favorite Tuna Salad

I am a tuna salad snob. My mom made this for me ever since I was little. She always insisted that I liked her tuna salad because it was made with "solid white albacore tuna in water." Yes, it is the more expensive kind of tuna but I promise you will notice the difference. You will be grossed out at the site of "brown" tuna. I never order tuna salad at restaurants unless I confirm they use solid white albacore tuna. Picky, I know, but I do make an exception for Dean & Deluca's tuna salad because it is amazing!

  • I use Bumble Bee solid white albacore tuna packed in water. Light tuna is not good!
  • You may need to add more salt, pepper and mayonnaise.
  • Adding hard cook egg whites extend your tuna salad and make it healthier
2 cans (5 ounces) or 1 (12 ounce) can of Bumble Bee solid white albacore tuna
5 Tbsp of celery, finely chopped
2 scallions, chopped (including green tops)
1/2 cup of your favorite mayonnaise (I use Hellman's light)
***2 hard boiled eggs (peeled and chopped) and 3 more eggs without the yolk, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon of dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
2 teaspoon of dried parsley or 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh parsley (optional but fabulous)
Place raw eggs in a saucepan covered with an inch of water. Cook on high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a moderate boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes (no more). Remove your eggs from the stove. Pour out boiling water. Hit each egg with a spoon to crack them (this allows for the egg to cool quicker). Quickly run cold water over cracked eggs for a few minutes. Now, you can peel the egg!
More tips to cooking the perfect hardboiled egg:
Overcooking the egg will cause the (harmless) grey/green film of sulphur to form around the yolk. 
Fresh eggs are very hard to peel. Use 2 week old eggs (eggs are usually 1 week old by the time they arrive to the store). 
Egg shells can clog your disposal. Make sure to throw them in your garden!
Either chop your eggs up with a knife or use this handy egg slicer.
Finely chop your celery, scallions and fresh parsley.
Mix all your ingredients together.
Serve on your favorite kind of bread. You will love it and so will everyone else.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pesto Chicken

This recipe is definitely going to be added to my weekly rotation. It took seconds to prepare and my husband and I savored every bite. If you do not know what to cook tonight, this should be it. I recommend this recipe for anyone short on time which I bet is everybody!!!
Adapted form Kalyn's Kitchen
1 lb of chicken tenders
Salt and fresh ground pepper for seasoning chicken
1 container (7 ounces) of reduced-fat Buitoni pesto (you can make your own pesto if you are so inclined)
1/2 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
Spread 1/2 the pesto over the bottom of the dish. 
Lay the chicken strips over the pesto. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. 
Spread the rest of the pesto over the chicken.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until the chicken is barely firm and cooked through. 
When the chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 3-5 minutes more, just until the cheese is melted. If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it when you take the chicken out. 
After I melted the cheese, I switched my oven to broil and broiled for 3 minutes longer, until the cheese lightly browned.
Serve hot. The juice at the bottom of this dish is DELICIOUS so you may want to serve this with crusty bread, couscous or quinoa to soak up the juice. 

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cilantro-Lime Jalapeno Chicken Salad

I am giving my fellow MOH, Chels, a shout out here with this recipe! She sent me this recipe over a year ago and I forgot about it until the other day. I am so happy I tried this chicken salad because I have never had chicken salad quite like this. A lot of chicken salads are overpowered with mayonnaise but you do not get that from this version. The combination of ingredients, especially the cumin, make this chicken salad special and one that is memorable if you serve guests! You must try it!
Adapted from Tastebook
3 cups of rotisserie Chicken, peeled into pieces (FYI-an entire rotisserie chicken is ~5 cups when peeled into pieces)
4 Tbsp cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño diced (with seeds scraped out)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Honey Dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
2 ripe avocados (optional for serving)
Peal your rotisserie chicken into pieces.
Remove the seeds from the jalapeno. The easiest way to do this is to slice the jalapeno in half and scoop out the seeds. Then, chop the jalapeño, red onion and cilantro.
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together, except the avocados.
You can serve this scrumptious chicken salad in an avocado half or over a bed of lettuce if you want to eliminate the carbs or you can make the best chicken salad sandwich ever!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Balsamic Strawberry Pizza!

I am two for two this week! However, if I had to choose my favorite dish from this week, I would have to go with this tasty pizza. I love a sweet and savory pizza and this pizza was all that and more! I was not sure how the strawberry jam and Sriracha chili sauce would taste in this pizza but it really made the pizza. I know it sounds weird but I promise it is so so good!!!
Adapted from Cafe Sucre Farine
1/2 cup strawberry jam or preserves (I used sugar-free and you couldn't even tell!)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha Chili Sauce (found in the oriental section of the grocery store)
Pizza dough
1 cup shredded chicken breast, from rotisserie chicken or left over chicken
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
Reduced-fat shredded Italian blend cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh strawberries, diced small
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Wash, hull, and slice your strawberries. Then slice your onion and chop your cilantro. Set aside.
Place 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan and carmelize the onions over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. You just want to get them soft and not brown them.
Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes or until reduced to half of the original volume and mixture is thick and syrupy. Add strawberry preserves and Sriracha and mix well. Set aside to cool. *It may be lumpy at first but give the strawberry jam time to heat up so it will dissolve in your balsamic mixture.
Combine chicken with 2 tablespoons of the balsamic-strawberry mixture and mix to coat all chicken with sauce. Pour rest of sauce onto pizza dough and spread to cover. Scatter chicken evenly over the pizza.
Place about 3/4 of the cheese on top of the dough. Scatter onion over cheese to distribute evenly. Scatter remaining cheese over this layer.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and fresh diced strawberries. Serve and enjoy!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

No Peek Chicken & Rice

I "pinned" this recipe a few weeks ago and figured I would put it to the test. At first glance, this was one of those recipes that seemed too good to be true. Let me begin by telling you that the the rice part of this dish is okay but the standout part is the chicken!!!

You do not have to be a good cook to make this meal. It took me literally seconds to prepare and if you use the EXACT ingredients below, I can assure you that your chicken will turn out as good as mine. I recommend using the reduced-sodium versions of the soups otherwise your dish will be too salty!
Serving size-4+
Adapted from Thrifty Decorating
1 box Uncle Ben's original recipe long grain wild rice
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (reduced-sodium)
1 can of cream of celery soup (reduced-sodium)
1.5 cans of water (use the empty to soup cans to measure)
1 pound of chicken tenders
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Mix together the rice, seasoning packet from the rice, soups and water. Pictured below is what the rice and seasoning packet will look like when emptied into the casserole dish.
Place raw chicken breasts (not frozen) into the baking dish. Do not worry if your mixture is lumpy. It will eventually thin out as it cooks.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 2.5 hours. Do not peek!!!
Your result will be some of the moistest chicken you will ever eat! I served my chicken with corn on the cob and green beans and it was a hit!
***I found that some of the rice still stuck to the bottom of the pan so make sure you generously spray the bottom with nonstick spray before you begin!
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