Tag Archives: veggies

Thai Style Zucchini

5 Jun

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I am a big advocate for semi-homemade dinners during the week.  By semi-homemade, I mean getting fancy on the main dish or side dish of the greater meal and opting for convenience for the rest.  Have you all heard of Campbell’s Skillet Sauces?  Here is the Thai Green Curry one I used just last week:

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They are a perfect way to achieve a semi-homemade meal.  You simply add chicken.  This semi-homemade meal would involve channeling my cooking energy into a side dish.  I did a little searching and found this Food.com Thai Zucchini recipe.  It turned out to perfectly compliment the green curry chicken.  I also got to have fun with these adorable baby zucchini from Trader Joe’s (below).  TJ’s was out of regular-sized zucchini, but I think these little ones ended up being much easier to cut into thin strips so I am recommending you grab these if possible.  I hope you’ll enjoy this flavorful side dish as part of your own semi- or fully-homemade meal. 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts
  • 3 teaspoons chicken broth
  • 3 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 3 medium zucchini or 12  oz bag of baby zucchini, cut into very thin strips

Directions:

  1. Cook garlic, ginger, and red pepper in oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add peanuts and next 4 ingredients (chicken broth through sugar), stirring well.
  3. Add zucchini, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until crisp tender.
  4. Serve immediately.
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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.

BBQ Chicken Chop Salad

17 Dec

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This recipe from Fitness Magazine will have you wondering why you’d bother eating the unhealthy version of this type of salad when you can make this one.  This is equally booming with flavor (337 calories/ 13 g fat (3 saturated) per serving= WINNING!)  It serves 4 so I usually cut in half and it is plenty for the two of us.  Although full disclosure, I don’t half the dressing because I like a little more of it!  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much.  I recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce as it my absolute favorite BBQ sauce from the grocery store (Andy Nelson’s BBQ sauce holds the all-time favorite BBQ sauce spot in my heart).  It really works with this salad.  Have a good week and stay tuned for some treats I made for a recent holiday cookie exchange.  They’re easy and your friends/fam will love ’em (and you for making them) this holiday season.

Ingredients:

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Salad

  • 4- 4 ounces boneless chicken-breast halves, visible fat
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  TBSP BBQ sauce
  • 10 cups finely shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups seeded, diced, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded, diced cucumber
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 2 ounces (or 4 TBSP) light cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion ( I leave out because I’m not a fan of red onion!)
Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • TSBP Dijon mustard
  • TSBP honey
  • TSBP extra virgin olive oil
  • TBSP finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • pinch salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rub each breast with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through, or cut into cubes and saute in a pan (the latter is my preferred method. Let chicken cool.
  2.  Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey. Slowly whisk in the oil. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.   IMG_20121211_191801_440
  3. Chop the chicken (if you grilled the breasts) and transfer it to a medium bowl.
  4. Mix in the barbecue sauce and stir to coat.
  5. In a large serving bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, cheddar, red onions, and dressing. Top with the chicken and serve.   IMG_20121211_194151_273

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!

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.  

Lightened Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie

17 Sep

Adapted from Hungry Mom on the Run’s Leftovers Chicken Pot Pie recipe, I present to you the feel less guilty version of Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie!  I’ve made the Chicken Pot Pie from Hungry Mom on the Run a number of times but with the top and bottom pie crusts.  Bryan requested a biscuit topped version based on a yummy experience he had at home once upon a time.  The pie filling in this recipe has been a winner a number of times so stuck to what we knew was good.  This was course 2 of 3 for football eats yesterday.  The various array of dips and the Rolo Cake Mix Bars as the other courses leave me waddling around today.  See you later Cardio Kickbox class.  Without the other two courses, you’ll still feel light as a feather though.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (grab a rotisserie chicken for convenience sake!)
  • 1 cup frozen veggies (good mix I’ve found is one with peas, corn, lima beans, and green beans)
  • 1 cup frozen veggies, defrosted and excess water dabbed away with paper towel
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 1/3 cup milk, 1% or skim
  • 1/2 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
  • a little thyme, fresh or dry
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1- 7.5 oz can of biscuits, reduced fat if you can find (2 cans pictured above, but I only need one)
  • 1 egg and dash of water for a simple egg wash
  • large disposable foil pie plate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a medium-large pot, add chicken broth, thyme, and your defrosted veggies over a medium heat.  Bring to a low boil.
  3. In another large saucepan, have your milk ready to go and whisk together flour and olive oil over a medium-low heat.  Immediately add your 1/3 cup milk to avoid lumps (I’ve messed this up a few times). Add your veggie broth and continue whisking away.  
  4. Add chicken, greek yogurt, frozen veggies, and salt and pepper and heat through.  Meanwhile, crack egg in a bowl and mix with  water for your egg wash.                                                        
  5. Pour into foil pie plate and arrange biscuits atop the chicken pot filling.  With a pastry brush, paint the top of each biscuit with the egg wash.  (Photo below is pre- egg wash)                 
  6. Pop into the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits have a pretty deep golden brown hue like the photo at the beginning of the post.  Enjoy!

Another Way to Get My Veggies In: Parmesan Kale Chips

3 Jul

I get some serious anti-oxidants in on the reg with my mass consumption of berries, but I am always looking for ways to eat more veggies and LIKE them as you know.  I have been doing great with veggie intake across the day as of late.  I have ensured that my lunch/snacks for work include one if not a few veggie options such as salad, baby carrots, pepper strips, or sugar snap peas.  I have even made a smoothie for breakfast with spinach in it.  I don’t want to get bored though so it’s a must that I expand the veggie repertoire.  I have been wanting to see what this kale chip rage is all about so thought I’d give it a go.  I was pleasantly surprised and will be making them again in the future.  I have heard of others dressing up their kale chips with garlic and onion powder and even soy sauce.  I chose Parmesan this time, but I plan to try other flavors down the road.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of fresh Kale (10-12 oz.)
  • A few tsp of olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat Parmesan cheese (I used grated because it’s what I had, but shredded would be better I imagine)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet with olive oil spray.
  2. Wash and dry kale (For a snack I only used a little over half of the bag) and tear into bite-sized pieces discarding the stem portions.
  3. Arrange the bite-sized pieces on the cookie sheet and spray with additional olive oil until covered or drizzle olive oil evenly if you elected the liquid OO.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes occasionally (and carefully- that oven is hot hot hot!)  moving around the kale to ensure it crisps evenly.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle your parm evenly atop the kale chips.  Bake for 4-5 minutes more.  Keep an eye on them though as you want crispy kale not burnt offering kale!
  6. Enjoy this low-cal/carb/ fat snack that is rich in anti-oxidants.  Go you!