Tag Archives: healthy

January Cooking Club: GINGER

12 Feb

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The January edition of my co-worker cooking club/Iron Chef competition centered around the ingredient ginger.  The funny thing is that I threw that ingredient out there jokingly having initially thought, “What the heck can you do with ginger?”  I came to find that it is actually a very versatile ingredient and the dishes at this gathering were a testament to that.  I made Asian-Style Turkey Burger Sliders with a ginger soy sauce that was simply to die for.  They were so good that you would be shocked to know the recipe comes from a Weight Watchers cookbook I borrowed from my Mom.  Other contributions included: homemade ginger ale for Dark and Stormy’s, Moscow Mule (has ginger beer in it), lemon ginger scones, a chicken curry dish, orange ginger beets, and ginger snap breaded fried chicken with apple and onion slaw.  What a treat it all was for the tastebuds! This group continues to amaze me with their culinary know-how.  Besides the fantastic eats, the ambiance was particularly welcoming.  Our host, Scott, had us at his almost finished house which he had spent countless months upgrading into a nothing shy of a masterpiece home.  February’s cooking club appropriately requires the ingredient cocoa.  I wonder if this will be a mostly dessert-focused gathering.  I wouldn’t mind a bit 😉

Ingredients:

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Turkey Burger Sliders (NOTE: I doubled the below recipe as the cooking club crowd was bigger than your dinner for two or family dinner of four crowd):

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped onion
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 1 packages of sliders rolls (usually come in 12 packs so you may have a few left-over rolls)
  • lettuce, tomato, onion (optional)

Sweet Ginger Soy Sauce (Adapted from http://disgustinglygood.com/):

  • 4 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 TBSP sherry cooking wine
  • 5 TBSP turbinado sugar
  • 2 TBSP minced fresh ginger, or 1/2 TBSP ground dry

Directions:

  1. Prepare grill or large cast iron skillet (we used the latter.)
  2. Combine turkey and the next 7 ingredients in a large bowl.  Divide into 8-10 equal portions shaping into 1/2 inch thick patties. 
  3. Place patties on grill or in your skillet with a healthy amount of of cooking spray.  Cook approximately 5-7 minutes on each side or until done.                                                              IMG_20130127_105554_722
  4. For the sauce, simply combine all ingredients with a whisk and cook over a medium heat.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for several minutes.  It will thicken as it cools.
  5. If desired, toast your slider rolls and melt a little butter to brush on top immediately adding sea salt.  Top with lettuce, tomato, and onion if you wish, but definitely spoon some of the ginger soy sauce for a flavor bomb!
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January Cooking Club Spread

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Perfect Tortilla: How Perfect Are We Talkin’?

18 Jan

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You may have seen the Perfect Tortilla infomercial which boasts its product’s ability to provide a healthy and fun way to enjoy a tortilla bowl.  Bryan really wanted this item to be added to our repertoire of fun kitchen items (other such items we own include a tabletop popcorn maker, deep fryer, fondue pot, and Skookie which is a cookie skillet.)  The set comes with 4 tortilla molds and a recipe booklet with sweet and savory ideas. 

I typically buy 10-12″ whole wheat, low carb tortillas and simply heat them in the oven until a little crisp.  I fill them with low-fat browned ground turkey seasoned with El Paso low-sodium taco seasoning.  I’ll top with myriad of extras like lettuce, salsa, Wholly guacamole, a little reduced-fat cheese, and greek yogurt in place of sour cream.  Serve with black beans on the side and you’ve got yourself one flavor-bursting, reasonable meal!  The only change to this is that I used the Perfect Tortilla this time.  I simply put the tortilla in the mold, ensured it was flush with the edges, and baked for about 8 minutes.  It did, in fact, make the normal taco meal I love a lot more fun!  This goes to show that a little novelty can go a long way.  I’m excited to try different recipes  in my Perfect Tortilla. 

Do you have a favorite fun kitchen item that makes a meal 10x more fun?

Protein Bar

9 Nov

Protein Bar, a quick/casual restaurant that offers healthy, high-protein  meals passed the test for me earlier this week.  Currently, there are eight locations in Chicago and one in DC with another on the way in the District and another still in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, VA (very close to my home base.)  The ambiance was pretty slick and chic and the customer service was top-notch.  Our cashier offered suggestions and allowed us to tweak our items to exactly our liking.  For an area like DC full of active and busy people, Protein Bar is a perfect fit.

So the idea of this place, the interior, and customer service is great.  What about the food, Carrie?!  Here’s a look at their menu offerings which, yes, are quite tasty!  I was craving some keen-wah (properly spelled quinoa-Who just learned how to say that word?) and a smoothie.

I decided on the Spinach & Pesto bowl which includes all-natural chicken, organic quinoa, spinach, basil pesto, and shredded parmesan cheese.  The nutritionals?  Here they are: 371 calories, 21 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 805 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 35 g protein.

In addition to the bowl, they had a special, seasonal smoothie that called to my inner pumpkin obsession.  While a 12 oz was fairly pricey (about $5),  I really enjoyed the combination of pumpkin puree, organic quinoa, almond milk, vanilla protein, pumpkin spice,  and pepitas.  For the 12 oz Pump-Quinoa treat, you are taking in 210 calories, 3.5 g fat,  .5 g saturated fat, 85 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 20 g sugar, and 18 g protein.

I’ve never had quinoa in a smoothie before!  I really enjoyed it and all this quinoa in my meal makes me want to have it more often.  This whole meal yielded me 53 g protein.  I was satisfied for a number of hours after it and plan to try more Protein Bar items when the Ballston location opens up.  Go visit Protein Bar in Penn Quarter at corner of  7th & D soon!  Have a great weekend all.

Southwestern Chicken Casserole

26 Oct

Love those casseroles that are as good at the leftovers period as the dish was when it was fresh out of the oven?  THIS is your casserole! Additionally, it is low in calories and in fat making it deliciously, guilt-free lunch or dinner option (8 total servings at 260 calories/serving and about 5 g fat)  Can of chicken soup or other can of’s are often found in casserole dishes.  The combo of can of chicken soup and the Rotel tomato and green chilies will blow your mind here though.  This dish does have a kick to it, but not a giant kick rather more of a flavor explosion in your mouth.  Unless you’re one of those pre-disposed to hating the taste of cilantro*, you’ll want to make this and then make it over and over and over again. 

*Fun Fact: Those people who dislike the taste of cilantro have taste buds that receive cilantro much like the taste of soap.  I most certainly do not have this pre-disposition.    Any of you out there that do, though? 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (99%) fat free
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 can Rotel (10 oz) tomato and green chilies
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • nonstick spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder evenly over bite-sized chicken. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add cilantro and chicken and cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is tender and juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Remove from heat.
  3.  In a small saucepan, combine cream of chicken soup and Rotel. Stirring occasionally, cook over medium low heat until warmed through. Remove from heat.      
  4. Spoon rice into a non-stick sprayed 2 1/2- 3 quart casserole dish.  Next, spoon chicken mixture over rice. Pour soup/Rotel mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.       
  5. Cover and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes w/ Pumpkin Butter

24 Oct

Incorporating pumpkin more and more into the start of my day = success.  This recipe was adapted slightly from the Skinnytaste version.  I wanted a bit MORE pumpkin and I used pumpkin butter from a country store.  In the future, I’d sub the oil for greek yogurt to save more fat and add some additional protein.  These are so good and fluffy- you’ll have no regrets cooking these up.  A nice Halloween weekend breakfast perhaps?  I promise it won’t ruin how awesome you look in your costumes 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  •  cooking spray
  • pumpkin butter or maple agave for topping

Directions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In medium bowl, combine milk, egg whites, canned pumpkin, and vanilla.  Mix until no dry spots remain, but be careful not to over do it on the mixing.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Spray nonstick spray to lightly coat and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter.
  4. When the pancake starts to bubble and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. Top each serving with an about 2 tbsp pumpkin butter or maple agave if you prefer.

ANOTHER Pumpkin Chili

19 Oct

You might be asking yourself, “Didn’t she already post a pumpkin chili recipe?”  Yes I did but that recipe had a chicken broth base and this one is tomato-based.  Worlds of difference.  Also, I’m going to do as much pumpkin cooking as possible.  You’re not surprised, are you?  This recipe screams comforting fall/winter meal.  This will also give you an abundance of leftovers.  As with the chicken broth-based chili, this one has enough of a hint of the pumpkin to taste it but you won’t feel like you’re eating pumpkin pie in a chili.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2-3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

Directions:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain.
  2. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes.                                   
  3. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.                                                                                                 
  4. Top with a dollop plain greek yogurt and some fresh herbs and eat up!

Pomegranate-Glazed Skirt Steak with Roasted Green Beans

24 Sep

This recipe was one of my blast from the past ones.  I’ve made it once or twice before and had in the recipe box, but didn’t get around to making again till now.  MISTAKE!  It is so so so flavorful in addition to being a great shake it up recipe as it is probably not the sort of recipe you are making for din all the time.  It comes from a Fitness Magazine series called One Recipe, Two Meals where you make one recipe and use part of that recipe for a whole new concoction.  This recipe’s leftovers lend themselves to an Asian Steak Salad.  I made it and it was enjoyable, but I recall that I would have preferred to have leftovers of this recipe even if it meant making more green beans and glaze.  That  would be my recommendation for you all too!  Be forewarned though…it is TOUGH to reserve 1/3 of the steak as the recipe guides you to.  Have a great start to the week!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 1/4 pounds skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice ( I used Lite POM)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (could not find this time around ;()

Directions: 

1. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, and salt. Rub the spice mixture into the skirt steak and set aside 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the honey, pomegranate juice, and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer until reduced by half and thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. (The glaze will continue to thicken as it cools.)

3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the green beans in an even layer on a large baking sheet; drizzle with the oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Roast until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with the almonds and pomegranate seeds.

4. Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Cook steak 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes, then cut against the grain into 1/2-inch slices.  (NOTE: I tried broiling the steak this time for approximately 4 minutes on each side and it turned out well.  This is a feasible alternative to the recipe’s directions.) Drizzle with pomegranate glaze and serve alongside roasted green beans, reserving 1/3 of the steak for the Asian Steak Salad.