Tag Archives: protein

Skinny Cilantro-Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk

29 Mar

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Have you been observing Lent?  Congratulations to those who have and those who have not been eating meat on Fridays.  If you’re a vegetarian or vegan it probably was not too tough for you, but us carnivores have a little challenge remembering that chicken, beef, pork etc. may not make participate in our meals on these days.  Remember that while I’m not married to observing Lent and the meatless Fridays tradition, I do generally follow it since I eat with Bryan most Friday nights.

Here is one more dish that is quick and super tasty for your last meatless Friday!  The tomato-coconut broth is velvety smooth and tastes indulgent, but this is a Skinnytaste recipe so your fat content is far less than what you might assume as you munch away (10 g fat/ servings with 4 total servings in this recipe).  Have a fabulous Easter weekend!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (weight after peeled)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can light coconut milk (50% less fat)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat  OO over a low heat. Add red peppers and sauté until soft (about 4 minutes).
  2. Add scallion whites, 1/4 cup cilantro, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, coconut milk and salt to taste.
  4. Cover and simmer on low about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend together and to allow the sauce to thicken.
  5. Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes. Add lime juice.
  6. To serve, divide equally among 4 bowls (or 2 for double servings.  You’re looking at around 520 calorie meal if you have 2 servings/person like we did) and top with scallion greens and remaining cilantro.

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

12 Mar

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Modified ever so slightly to a more semi-homemade version (I used jarred sauce instead of making my own and made a few other minor adjustments), this Skinnytaste recipe simply put floated my boat (see what I did there?!)   Ironically I had chosen this recipe to another the night I made it thinking it would be less labor intensive.  Not the case and I ended up shoveling down before a yoga class, but it was SO worth it.  Like stuffed peppers, this recipe has your protein atop/inside your main veggie.  You can almost eat it like finger food.  I stress almost.  It is a little messier than that!  I am going to try changing this up with some alternative ingredient/flavor combinations as I was so impressed how this recipe came together.  Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

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  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 12 oz lean Spicy Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
  • 8 tsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick walls of the zucchini. Chop up the scooped out flesh of the zucchini into small pieces and set aside.           IMG_20130107_182203_701
  3. Drop zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove from water.
  4. Place 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12″ baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up.
  5. In a large saute pan, brown sausage, breaking up as it cooks into smaller pieces until browned; set aside.
  6. Heat oil and add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add sausage and cook a few more minutes.
  7. Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with 1/3 cup cooked sausage, pressing firmly. Top each with 2 tablespoons each of sauce, 1 tablespoon each of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 teaspoon each of parmesan cheese.                                                                                                                      IMG_20130107_191055_444
  8. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and golden brown on top and zucchini is cooked through.

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

Chicken with Vegetable Ragout and Polenta

7 Jan

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I am always a fan of polenta as a side at restaurants and had been eye balling the pre-made polenta tube at Trader Joes for awhile.  I stumbled upon this Sandra Lee Food Network recipe on my hunt for including polenta in a home cooked meal.  It was unique and very satisfying.  The tube of pre-made polenta from Trader Joes yielded more polenta than the recipe called for so I added a little milk and blended the remainder of the tube with salt and pepper, added some reduced fat shredded cheddar, and heated it up for a side to a meal later that week.  Get creative and enjoy polenta on the side as an alternative to boring old rice or potatoes!  Mmm mmm mmm.

Ingredients:

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  • 3 cups frozen primavera vegetable medley (recommended: Birds Eye)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (recommended: McCormick)
  • 1 (14-ounce) jar pasta sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (I didn’t have so I used red wine vinegar)
  • 1 (24-ounce) tube pre-made polenta, sliced 1/2-inch thick (recommended: Trader Joes brand)
  • Grated Parmesan, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine frozen vegetable medley in the bottom of an at lease 3-quart pyrex baking dish or a 5-quart slow cooker.  If you have chosen to cook in the oven, preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Place chicken on top of vegetables.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together pasta sauce, tomato paste, garlic and sherry (or red wine vinegar). Pour 2/3 of the sauce over chicken and vegetables. Top the chicken with polenta slices and cover with remaining sauce. Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 4 to 5 hours or bake on 400 for around 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout (this will differ depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts- ours were big boys.)
  4. Serve hot with Parmesan.

December Cooking Club’s MUST Ingredient: Maple Syrup

3 Dec

2012-12-02_12-34-56_899Are you drooling over this spread?!  This photo depicts yesterday’s maple syrup-infused brunch gathering for our December iteration of cooking club.  This cooking club was a little different than past ones.  Lauren and Bryan, our fantastic hosts this month,  decided the format would be like Iron Chef.  Here were the rules bestowed upon the group.

Iron Chef Rules:

1.       All competition dishes must be “mostly homemade” and include the spotlight ingredient

a.       December spotlight ingredient: maple syrup

2.       Participants can enter up to two dishes in the competition

3.       Entries can be food or drink

4.       Dishes will be judged on a scale of 1-5 in each of the following categories: taste, presentation, and originality

5.       The winner will receive the coveted Iron Chef Champion trophy to be kept until the next competition

a.       The winner is responsible for adding at least one upgrade to the trophy before it gets awarded to the next champion

The result?  Candied maple bacon with assorted dipping sauces, pumpkin bread pudding, creamy maple polenta, baked maple french toast with praline topping, maple glazed potatoes, and my maple pecan coconut breakfast quinoa.  It was not simply bragging rights that were on the line here.  A gold plated gnome trophy you see sitting on the middle of the table taunted us all.  Claire and Grant ultimately won the competition with their fantastic bacon entry, but I don’t think anyone’s dish was short of tasty, presentable, and creative.  Here’s a picture of the winners and the gnome they get to don in their home for the next month:

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A good nap on the couch happened that afternoon- that’s when you know you were well-fed!  Another successful edition of cooking club.  Next month we are looking at a ginger ingredient theme.  Ironically, I made this suggestion but am not too familiar with cooking with ginger.  Any suggestions out there for me?

A quick look at my contribution.  I followed this recipe for Maple Pecan Coconut Quinoa and added raisins within the quinoa as well as coconut flakes for a topping option.  It turned out great and I recommend it wholeheartedly for a balanced breakfast option.  You’ll get protein, fiber, and healthy fats out of this meal.  Further, it is dairy and gluten free so even those with dietary constraints can enjoy this.  I hope you’ll give it a try.  I can see it becoming an addition to my breakfast staples for sure! 

Ingredients:
Serves 6
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  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 can light organic coconut milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • coconut flakes, enough to sprinkle

Directions:

  1. Pour coconut milk into medium saucepan and put over high heat. Add quinoa and heat until boiling. Once mixture is boiling, stir and lower to a simmer. Cook covered for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add maple syrup as well as raisins. Stir.
  3. Serve with pecan halves and coconut flakes.2012-12-02_10-38-34_76

It’s OK to Cut Corners: Easy Soup and Salad Night

28 Nov

Some nights don’t you just want a tasty dinner that involves a little novelty, but requires minimal efforts?  Last night was one of those nights.  Change it up, but let’s not go overboard on the prep.  We have had this French Onion Soup from Trader Joes for a while.  It was time to break that out and pair it with the sort of minimal effort salad I mentioned before.  Our uh oh moment was the fact that we don’t have anything even resembling soup bowl stoneware to cook the individual, frozen soup portions.  Hello addition to the Christmas wish list!  We had to improvise which resulted in cooking the soup portions like so ( I hope you get a good giggle here):

As you can see from the photo at the beginning of this post, it turned out fine ultimately!  As for the salad, I adapted a Pillsbury.com recipe for Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Cherries and Gorgonzola.  As the soup offered plenty of cheese indulgence, I forewent the gorgonzola as much as it pained me to do so.  (Just a side note: the soup is not too evil considering all of the cheese and croutons.  One individual portion comes in at 210 calories, 10 g fat (7 saturated = :-/), 31% daily intake of sodium (pretty standard for canned soups), and 13 g protein.) For some crunch and a different sort of fat (good fat!), I added slivered almonds.  The change-up with fresh instead of dried cherries I normally have on hand for salad in addition to the rotisserie chicken as opposed to George Forman-grilled chicken go-to cooking method around here resulted in exactly the novel yet easy dinner I had hoped for.  Key takeaway here is that you can whip up something easy and exciting and cut some corners with other parts of the meal and still end up with something very satisfying!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Dole spinach, divided
  • 2-3 TBSP per serving of light champagne dressing (Trader Joes has AMAZING champagne dressing)
  • 1/8 cup slivered almonds per serving
  • apprx. 1/2 cup rotisserie chicken, chopped or sliced per serving
  • apprx. 1/2 cup cherries, pitted and halved per serving

Directions:

  1. Assemble and enjoy!

Turkey Meatballs

21 Nov

Mmm mmm healthy meatballs anyone?  This lean ground turkey meatballs (93/7 fat free to fat ratio) come to you from a Fitness Magazine “One Recipe, Two Meals” series.  That may sound familiar because another favorite recipe I shared with you from that series was the Pomegranate-Glazed Skirt Steak with Roasted Green Beans.  I love making these meatballs because they are super easy and versatile.  Throw them with sauce atop pasta, or on a sub roll and melt some reduced-fat provolone cheese (as the other meal option Fitness Mag suggests), or even nom on them as a protein-laden snack.  So good!  I made these recently before Hurricane Sandy hit full force.  We literally took our final bite when the power went out.  I was happy to have cooked dinner on the earlier side that night.  What did everyone make or buy frantically in prep for Sandy?

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • Fresh basil, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg with the milk, bread crumbs, and Parmesan; mix until well combined. Add the turkey and mix gently to avoid overworking the meat. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Shape into golf ball-size spheres and place about 1 inch apart on baking sheet.                                        

3. Bake 15 minutes. Flip and bake until starting to brown, about 5 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once meatballs are done, carefully transfer to marinara and toss to coat; simmer 5 minutes. Reserve 4 meatballs and 1/2 cup sauce for the sliders recipe on the next slide.

5. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to sauce, tossing to coat. Garnish with the basil if desired