Monday, April 25, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is one of my most asked for dishes, and pretty tasty.
You will need 4-5 skinless/boneless frozen chicken breasts, or fresh ones if you can afford them.
one large can of cream of chicken soup (low fat preferred)
one large can of cream of mushroom soup (low fat preferred)
One large pack of white corn tortillas
one large bag of low to non fat shredded cheese
one large can of stewed (seasoned) tomatoes
2 small cans of green chili's chopped (mild or hot whatever you prefer)
optional : can of sliced olives, chopped green onions, sour cream, guacamole

First of grab a big pot and add water, when boiling add 4-5 chicken breasts (skinless/boneless)
cook until done. They should look like this :


Set these aside to cool.
Grab your bag of white corn tortillas.

You will probably use 3/4 of the bag. You will want to chop them in long strips like this:

I like to cut these in half but it's really up to you.
You will want a glass casserole dish if possible but this can be made in a corning ware pan as well.
I usually line mine with foil because I hate scrubbing the dried food later on.
Now set the tortilla strips aside and grab a large mixing bowl. Empty the two cans of soup into the bowl and both small cans of chili's


Stir these together and set aside.
Grab another mixing bowl and start ripping the chicken into shreds like so :

Add the cans of stewed tomato's and stir until the chicken is coated.
now on to the easy part. Grab your bag of shredded cheese :
Sprinkle a small handful of the tortilla strips on the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle a thin layer of shredded chicken on top of that and then drizzle some of the soup mixture on top of that. Sprinkle a handful of cheese and keep repeating this until you have a final layer of tortillas on top.
Sprinkle the last of your cheese on top and bake at 425 until the cheese bubbles and browns. I usually let mine bake about 30-35 minutes the most. Depends on how much you like your cheese browned.
This serves easily 6-8 people. I like to have one decent sized square with steamed veggies.
If you like olives I suggest you mix the olives in with the chicken mixture, and the green onions to the soup mix if you like those.

It's almost like a chicken enchilada lasagna when it's a finished product.
Like this! 


Sorry for the bad picture, but I blame the lighting. This is a smaller dish I made just for a few servings, but the recipe above can fill two this size, or one really large one.
I hope you guys try this, it's one of my favorites! If you balance it out with steamed veggies, it's not so bad for you with the carbs. And it's full of protein!
You can substitute the chicken for beef, or turkey. Go crazy :)
Add sour cream or guacamole as a garnish!



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sorry for not posting lately

Hey all, I recently started a job and it's been wearing me out since I haven't been working in a while.
I promise soon that I will start posting recipes again as soon as my body adjusts to the change.
Sorry for not posting anything lately but there will be more to come. I hope you guys understand!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Smoothies

I had a request for smoothie ideas.
So, I'm going to tell you right now. In my experience of smoothies, you need a blender.
I've tried stick blenders, and they don't work as great as a real blender.

You can do smoothies several ways.
I prefer to use frozen fruit, instead of fresh for a few reasons.
You don't have to add ice because the fruit is frozen, which gives you more options. Not to mention the blades sometimes have a hard time chopping the ice and it dulls the blade.

For a basic smoothie. I use one cup of frozen fruit, a scoop of protein powder if I'm going to make a meal out of it, agave nectar, or honey
A spoonful of peanut butter works good in case you don't want the taste of the protein powder.

One of my favorite smoothies I created, is:
one cup frozen blueberries
one small container of low to nonfat yogurt ( i like vanilla or blueberry but you can mix flavors if you like)
3/4 - 1 cup Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry blend juice (they have a few types) or any kind of juice works.
Just blend until smooth and pour into a cup

Another I like is:
one cup of tropical fruit (frozen) (this medley usually has strawberries, mango chunks, papaya chunks, and pineapple chunks)
One cup pineapple juice
One small container of pina colada yogurt (or I just use plain vanilla)
Blend and pour into a glass :)

These smoothies are NOT sugar free, but they don't boost my blood sugar up that much, especially if I add a good heaping of fresh ground cinnamon.

Speaking of cinnamon.. If you like fresh baked apple pie..

Caramel Apple Pie Smoothie
One apple cored (if you don't like the skin peel it)
1 graham cracker broken up
one small container vanilla or apple yogurt (freeze first)
dash of cinnamon
sprinkle of agave nectar or spoonful of brown sugar splenda
Blend until smooth and serve it up


Strawberry Banana smoothie
One cup frozen strawberries
One whole banana
One cup orange juice or strawberry banana juice (any kind of juice works)
One cup vanilla or plain yogurt
Blend and serve

Get creative. Try to use frozen fruit, and yogurt together.
You can add protein powder with it or in it's place.
Agave nectar adds a good healthy sweetness.
Juice is okay but full of sugar. Try to water it down before adding it if you are diabetic.
I like to use fresh coconut milk when I can.
You can add cinnamon to reduce sugar generated in your body.
Let me know if you try any of these :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

High Protein Breakfast ideas

So I'm not a huge breakfast person. But I know some of you are. One of you asked me to post some High Protein stuff, so besides the usual protein shakes, here are some tasty alternatives to high protein low carb stuff. Let me know if you try them and like them :)


On The Go Breakfast Cookies


**Flax Seed Meal (ground flax), 16 tbsp (remove)
*Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, 8 tsp (remove)
*Peanut Butter, chunk style, 1 cup (remove)
Baking Soda, 1 tsp (remove)
Egg, fresh, 2 large (remove)


Directions

Pre heat oven to 350 . Mix flax and baking soda together then add egg and cream together with peanut butter . Teaspoon onto and bake on a no stick baking pan for 12 mins. 2 cookies per serving.

Number of Servings: 12



Breakfast Yogurt Parfait


Ingredients

8 oz Plain or Vanilla low fat yogurt
1/4 cup cooked Wheat Berries
1/2 T Honey
1/2 Cup Strawberries sliced
1/4 Cup Blueberries


Directions

Mix yogurt and honey together. In a large glass layer 1/3 of the yogurt then wheat berries and fruit. Repeat ending with the fruit.
You can add vanilla to the yogurt if you desire and feel free to switch up the fruit with what ever you have on hand.

Number of Servings: 1


Soy Protein Pancakes



Ingredients

1 Whole Egg (*2 egg whites or 1/4 C. Egg Beaters)
1/4 C. Fat Free Cottage Cheese
1/4 C. Old Fashioned Oatmeal (powdered in blender if preferred)
1 Tbsp. Soy Protein Powder
Vanilla or Maple Extract to Taste
Ground Cinnamon to Taste
Water



Directions

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until it forms a batter like consistency.

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray & cook batter into 3 pancakes.

Optional: Top with sugar-free syrup, fruit or applesauce.


Number of Servings: 3



Peanut Butter and Egg Sandwich (doesn't sound good but is quite tasty)


Ingredients

Egg substitute or if you prefer the real thing is okay too, egg whites would also work (1 egg or equivalent)
2tbsp Reduced fat Peanut butter
2 slices Sara Lee 45 calorie bread.


Directions

Makes one sandwich. Cook egg or egg substitute fully. Toast two slices of bread and spread on peanut butter add egg to middle and enjoy

Number of Servings: 1


Oatmeal Yogurt Delight


Ingredients

1/2 cup of Quick Cooking Oats
1 4 oz Dannon's Vanilla Carb Control Yogurt (you can also use other flavors if you want)
1 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon to taste
a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries. Also can use cut up peaches or apples in season instead of blueberries.
The recipe is sweet enough for me--but you can add a packet of Splenda if you want it sweeter.


Directions

In a microwave safe container, add quick cooking oats, water, cinnamon, and blueberries. Cover with wax paper and microwave for 2 to 2.5 minutes on high. Before serving stir in yogurt. It makes a large, hearty breakfast that will stay with you for the whole morning.

Number of Servings: 1


Peanut Energy Bars


Ingredients

Peanut Butter, smooth style, .75 cup
Liquid Honey, .75 cup
Brown Sugar, .75 cup, packed
Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, .5 cup
Quick-cooking oats, 1.5 cup
Rice Krispies Cereal, 1.25 cup
Raisins, 1 cup (not packed)
Peanuts, coarsely chopped, unsalted, 1 cup, shelled


Directions

Spray 13 x 9 inch cake pan with cooking spray.

In saucepan, combine peanut butter, honey, brown sugar and cocoa. Cook over medium heat for 6 minutes, stirring often, or until smooth.

Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in oatmeal, cereal, raisins, and peanuts. Press batter firmly into prepared pan. Cool before cutting into 32 bars.

Makes 32 servings. For a change, use dried cranberries or apricots instead of the raisins.

Number of Servings: 32

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Does anyone have any new requests for recipes? Post them here and I'll put something up for ya!

So the last week of training at my new job has totally drained my brain.
I'm frustrated and think I'm totally going to crash and burn when I start, but at the same time I'm totally excited and ready to take new responsibility on.
With this new feeling I've totally lost my brain. So because of this I'm not sure what to post for you guys to cook.
If you have suggestions or desires, please comment here and I'll try to post something to match it.
For now, I apologize in advance for lack of posts, or lack of energy to brain things. Thanks for understanding and request away!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sorry!

I apologize for not posting for a few days, but as some of you know I just started a new job after searching for a few years.
So I'm focusing on that right now, and have FOUR weeks of training.
I will post when I can but the last few days have been exhausting.
I hope you understand and will check back for more yummy food!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chili recipes

Fat: 12.6 g

Carbohydrates: 10.0g

Calories: 196.5

Protein: 12.3g




1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup diced celery
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 small can diced green chilies
1/4 cup chopped raw onion
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
3 tsp ground Cumin Seed
6 tsp Chili powder




Brown ground beef and drain.
Add all ingredients to crock pot and stir. Set on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 4 hours so the spices have a chance to really stew.

Serve hot with cheese if you would like.

Number of Servings: 8


That was for Kristi since she requested a crock pot chili recipe.
I like to substitute ground beef with pulled pork, chicken or turkey.


Regular stove top chili


Ingredients

2 onions, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 pasilla peppers, diced
3 lbs beef chuck (cut to 1-inch cubes)
2 Serrano peppers, diced
4 tbsp virgin olive oil
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp Del Arbol chili powder (or Mexican Red)
6 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes, crushed
1 can beef broth
3 tbsp canned chipotle chile, diced

Optional Garnishes
grated pepper jack
cilantro leaves
Lime wedges
dollop of sour cream

Preparation
In a large pot, heat half the olive oil with the diced onions and peppers. Cook at medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions begin to caramelize.

In a separate skillet, use the other 2 tbsp of olive oil to brown the cubed beef. After the beef is browned, use a spaghetti strainer to drain off the beef renderings into the trash (Hint: Wad up about 5 paper towels into your trash, pour the renderings into the towels. Otherwise there is a chance the renderings will melt the trash bag.)

Add the browned meat to the onions and peppers, and cook for another five minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except vinegar): paprika, coriander, oregano, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, tomatoes, beef broth, and chipotle. Kick the heat up to high, until the chili is boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer (usually lowest heat), cover and cook for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

After 1.5 hours, remove meat, shred with a fork, and add it back to the pot. Cook for a final 10 minutes uncovered, and add the red wine vinegar right before serving. Garnish as desired. Serves Six.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recently a new follower posted on a back post so here it is:

"A little birdie told me you've had great successes in the weight loss/control department. What did you feel were the secrets to your success? Now that spring is coming, and gardening will begin soon, what are your tips for healthy snacks come harvest? How do you put up food for the winter - as we all know grown in the yard trumps bought-in-can-in-store for healthy? What do you like to make for snacks? We make hummus at home, but what else can be made easily? And what can be approximated at home in healthier ways than are found at the store? I think that's all I have for the instant, but I'll be back!"


I'm glad you asked about weight loss. As you know for everyone it can be a different experience. Some people lose easier by eating carbs and exercising. Some people can eat what they want and they lose weight loafing on a couch. For me, it was matching foods up towards being diabetic that did it for me.
For every carb, I have 6-8 oz of protein, and two servings of fiber.  Fiber can be MANY things. People think of fiber as being like a laxative. It can be at first if you are not used to it. But your body will adjust.
Some examples of fibers you can have as a free food (meaning there is no limit to serving size), are:
Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:
legumes (peas, soybeans, lupins and other beans)
oats, rye, chia, and barley
some fruits and fruit juices (including prune juice, plums, berries, bananas, and the insides of apples and pears)
certain vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokes
root tubers and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and onions (skins of these are sources of insoluble fiber)
psyllium seed husk (a mucilage soluble fiber).
Sources of insoluble fiber include:
whole grain foods
wheat and corn bran
nuts and seeds
potato skins
flax seed
lignans
vegetables such as green beans, cauliflower, zucchini (courgette), celery, and nopal
some fruits including avocado, and bananas
the skins of some fruits, including tomatoes
If you would like other examples, please check the chart at :
http://www.mamashealth.com/nutrition/fibersource.asp


I didn't do this diet without exercise. I hauled heavy firewood from outside, down into a basement level days at a time. Of course at the time this was a necessary thing to do and I lived in the middle of what seemed nowhere.
Now I can just go to the gym for an hour and walk a treadmill and do some weight lifting.
The key to losing weight, actually is eating. You want a sensible breakfast.
An example of my day is:
Breakfast
a bowl of one serving plain oatmeal with sprinkle of cinnamon, spoonful of splenda brown sugar, and a pat of Smart Balance
Before lunch snack
Fiber One snack bar
Lunch
Small Tupperware of fresh spinach, chopped red cabbage or Cole slaw mix dry, handful of dried wasabi peas or dried cranberries, and low cal or homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing
apple or banana
Snack
one cup popcorn dusted in paprika, garlic salt, sweet and low
Dinner
6-8 oz. meat (burger, steak, chicken, fish, etc)
1/2 brown rice 
1-2 cups steamed vegetables with small handful of crushed cashews, almonds or peanuts, spices, and dash of olive oil and cooked together
Dessert
one cup of fresh strawberries, sliced and cooked in a pan with lemon/lime juice and served over one serving of low fat or sugar free vanilla ice cream


See, you don't even go hungry. It really equates to a lot of food.


To address the next question, I'm not much of a gardener. When I can find deals at the store on produce I go for it even if I don't need it. I also like to hit the farmer's market and support local growers over the supermarkets.
If you are able to purchase large amounts of produce but know you can't eat it all before it goes bad, there are several options for you.
I have been known to love squash, and usually after the holidays, the stores are trying to get rid of it after seriously overpricing it. 
You'll want to cook up batches of it. If you can scrape it out of the shell and into a mixing bowl, you can make, soup that freezes nicely, puree for baby food, and you can even sprinkle it over a food dehydrator plate, and dry it out. This can later be used in soup.
Speaking of which, if you can, invest in a food dehydrator. They run about 25-30 bucks new or you can find them used on Amazon, and Ebay.
You asked about winter stuff, and my favorite thing to do is make my own soup mix. For a while I got my mom hooked on it.
What you'll want is an old Mason jar, or several. If you can go to the store and look in the pasta section they have tiny pasta, or rice like pasta you can get rather cheap. 
Get 2 bags of Puntalette (to the left), small macaroni, or my favorite Alphabet noodles (pasta shaped like letters and numbers)
1 bag of lentils
1 bag of small beans
5 mason jars with lids






All you do is make sure the mason jars are sanitized and completely dry. If they are not dry, you will get mold, and that's the last thing you want.
I like to take the items above, and layer them in the jars. No particular order. Just a variety of the items you like as long as they are dry items.
After the jar has about 1-2 inches left on top, I like to add spices and seasons before sealing it up. I like adding garlic powder, paprika, bullion cubes, dried onions, dried carrots, bay leaves, etc. Be creative!
The jars will look pretty like these:

or 


When the time comes, you will just add enough water to cover the mixture inside plus 1-2 cups more while it cooks. You can add in fresh sliced chicken breast, hamburger, or whatever meat you can find on sale. It's really easy, and cheap to make, and you can make a bunch of it and reuse the containers!

Another thing you can do is go berry picking in the summertime. There is always something wild growing around outside, or crab apples, wild strawberries. Just check out what's close to you or find out by word of mouth. If you are not sure you can always pick something, and have a ranger check it out for you.
In this case, lets say you picked a bunch of wild blueberries and you don't know what to do with them?
Wash them really well. Get a cookie sheet, and put wax paper over the surface. Dump your blueberries on top and try to spread them out as best as you can. Freeze them until they are hard. Grab some of those really good freezer bags, and the blueberries can easily be poured into one since they don't stick to wax paper. It keeps them whole, and unbruised by freezing them this way. You can use this technique for most fruits and vegetables.

You asked what I like to make for snacks.. What don't I like to make for snacks!
I like getting pita bread and cutting it into triangles. I'll drizzle a little olive oil and spices on top, and bake them until they are crisp.  You can also mix 1/2 cup wheat flour to a mixing bowl, and add 2 cups of vegetable puree (frozen peas, carrots, squash, potato, etc) some spices to taste (curry is a good one), and bake it until crisp and you've made your own vegetable crisps!
Fresh fruits and veggies are always my favorite snacks. I love ranch and fattening dressings, but a good substitute is buying those salad dressing packets of the dry herbs and seasonings, and adding them to nonfat yogurt. It makes a good substitute for actual salads as well.
If you like cheese, and you can find a big bag of it on sale, get a non stick cookie sheet, and put small mounds of shredded cheese about 2 inches apart from one another, and bake those until melted and crisp. Carb free cheese nips made of all cheese. No flour or chemicals :)

You asked what can be made besides hummus...
Hrmm that's a tough one. Most people like their fattening dips.
I like getting a can of low fat to no fat re fried beans and making my own bean dip with stewed tomatoes, diced jalapenos, lime/lemon to taste, and paprika/Cayenne to taste, with a little low fat cheese thrown in. It's really good warm but can be eaten cold as well.
If you have the time, you can also slow cook beans and make it yourself.

Another thing I like is fresh non to low fat plain yogurt, with chopped garlic or oven roasted garlic, and fresh chopped mint, with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

As to your last question, about making things approximated as to compared to the store.. That's different for everyone.
When you are cooking stuff from the store (from boxes, cans, bags, etc), Always always always pay attention to the label. The best food has high fiber, low sodium, and low to no carbs. Depending on your diet you want the least amount of sugar too. Many times you can find stuff with sugar alcohol, which is better than regular sugar.
Pay attention to the serving size listed. It will probably seem pretty small, which is why I prefer to cook fresh than from a box. 
I've noticed one box of mac and cheese is equal to 4-5 servings. Really?
I know I've probably missed a question or an answer here somewhere, so if I have or you'd like a recipe on anything I mentioned above, just comment and I'll get it up on here. This was a pretty big entry and I know I've missed something!






Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tom Yum Soup, two ways

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

5-6 cups good-tasting vegetable or faux chicken stock (makes 4 servings)
1-2 stalks lemongrass , minced (see link below), OR 3-4 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian stores)
3 whole kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian food stores)
1-2 cups soft tofu, sliced into cubes
1-2 red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili, OR 1-2 tsp. chili sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced into thin matchstick-like pieces
1 cup fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake) , sliced
2 cups baby bok choy, leaves separated or chopped if large, OR substitute broccoli or bell pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
1 tsp. brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp. soy sauce (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup fresh basil + 1/3 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped



Preparation:
Pour stock into a soup pot. If making the stock from cubes or powder, but sure to make it strong (if it tastes good on its own, it will make for a better Tom yum soup!). Now add the prepared lemongrass, plus the lime leaves, chili, garlic, and galangal or ginger. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, or until broth is very fragrant.
Add the mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.
Add the bok choy and cherry tomatoes. Gently simmer 1-2 more minutes (bok choy should remain on the crisp side).
Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, and lime juice. Finally, add the soft tofu and gently stir.
Do a taste-test, adding more chili or chili sauce if not spicy enough. If not salty enough, add more soy sauce or a little more stock cube/powder or salt. Add 1 more tsp. sugar if too sour. If too salty or sweet, add another squeeze of lime juice.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls with fresh basil and coriander sprinkled over. Enjoy!

Regular Tom Yum Soup


3-4 cups chicken stock (this makes enough soup to serve 2 people)
1 stalk lemongrass, lower 1/3 finely minced (for instructions on how to prepare lemongrass, see link below)
3 kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian food stores)
12-14 medium or large raw shrimp, shelled
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1-2 small red chilies, minced OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced
optional: a handful of cherry tomatoes
generous handful fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 green and/or red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 can coconut milk (add more or less to taste)
1/3 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
optional: additional red chilies, OR Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce (1-2 tsp.)
optional: 1 tsp. brown sugar, and a sqeeze of lime juice


Pour stock into a deep cooking pot and turn heat to medium-high.
Add processed lemongrass  to the pot, including the parts of the lemongrass stalk you didn't slice. Boil for 5 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add garlic, chili, lime leaves, and mushrooms to broth. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
Add shrimp, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes (if using). Cook 5-6 minutes, or until shrimp is pink and plump.
Turn down the heat to low and add 1/2 can coconut milk plus fish sauce. Test-test the soup for spice and salt, adding more chili and/or fish sauce (instead of salt) as desired. If too sour for your taste, add 1 tsp. brown sugar; if too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. Add more coconut milk if you want your soup richer/creamier, or if it's too spicy for your taste.



This is a great soup if you like Lime leaves and lemongrass. I'm a little partial to disliking them both, and have made this without, but for those that love the flavors try it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Request from Zillafan for Bento boxes (i hope this is what you wanted!)

I am a huge fan of Japanese culture. And I've always wanted a Bento Box so I can make some creative lunch ideas.
For those that don't know what Bento is,  Bento's are Japanese lunch boxes, which are prepared for school or picnic. It often contains rice and many other things like sausages, eggs, vegetables and fish.
To me Bento's can be a form of food artistry. If I could afford a Bento Box, I'd assume it would look like one of these:


Cute aren't they??
You when you open them, there are compartments you can fill with food. It's pretty much up to you what you can put in them. I'd go healthy of course, with maybe a little side dessert!
Here's some examples of what some Bento's can look like:






A lot of people make rice molds that are totally cute! You can get these:
All you do is fill them with rice and press them firmly and out pops a cute rice bear, star, or whatever shape you have chosen. If you want to season the rice, or make features more apparent, use this stuff:

or 



A lot of times Bento boxes come with small bottles you can put condiments in, like soy sauce, mayo, ketchup, wasabi, or whatever you like :)

If you want to make those adorable egg molds it's easy!
Get these:


I know they look cute now, but how about when you can make an egg look like this:


or 


It's cute!
Bento's may seem a little tedious to some of you, but imagine the look on your child's face or significant other's face, when they see this bit of artsy cuteness you've created.

Another idea you can use, is to make sandwiches and use these cute Bento cutters to make shapes:


or 


And you can make stuff like this:



So many possibilities!
You can totally nuts and make stuff like this:


I know if I was making a Bento, it'd include the little rice sculptures, egg molds, or fresh cut veggies. I'd probably make my own fried rice, or noodles with soy sauce and sauteed vegetables. There are so many possibilities. Just look at the creative pictures posted above!!

Sorry Zilla, I don't have any specific recipes, because, well I can't afford a Bento box, but if I could, I'd definately fill it with some of the yummies I've seen on these pics!





Sunday, March 20, 2011

Carb free Lasagna (possibly gluten free)

I LOVE this, but it is a bit of work. If you are going to make this and end up liking it, I'd make extra and free one so you don't have to go through all the work, unless you are like me, and okay with that kind of thing.

Stuff to have on hand:
4-6 small zucchini or yellow squash or both!
One can of stewed tomatoes
One large container of ricotta cheese
One small container of shredded Parmesan
1 lb of ground turkey
one cup of mozzarella
Olive Oil

(you can also add mushrooms and olives to the sauce you make or you can switch in other ingredients like eggplant instead of the zucchini)



First you want to get a potato peeler or if you have one of those straight edged mandolin graters. After washing your zucchini, squash or eggplant cut off the ends.
Now peel or grate them into long type noodles. They should look like this:


Preheat the oven to about 425, and grab your ground turkey. In a saucepan just brown a packet or a pounds worth of ground turkey. You can use ground beef instead if you like that, or ground pork sausage. I like to use the pork sausage from time to time because it gives it a little zip. You can also use firm tofu and cook it up just like you would ground beef.

 It is your choice to add garlic and onion to the mix and cook it on low.
Add a can of stewed tomatoes. If you can get the kind with olive oil, garlic and onions already cooked in:

I get the kind above when I can because it adds a little extra flavor in.  You want to cook the turkey mix on low and set it aside to cool a bit. Should look like this:

Grab a small mixing bowl and put in your ricotta cheese. Try to get the low skim one. The less water in your mix, the better. If it's too soupy, get a paper towel and dump it on top and let the towel soak up some of the water. 
Add about one cup of mozzarella to this, and salt/pepper it to taste. Set this aside.

Now you want to grab a glass lasagna dish or metal one, doesn't really matter. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom and layer your "veggie noodles" on the bottom like you would regular noodles.

Now you want to put a layer of the ground turkey mix on top of this. Don't make it too thick, if you want to have more layers. take small spoonfuls of the ricotta mix and randomly put them on top of the meat mixture. 

Sprinkle a little Parmesan on top of that, then add a new layer of veggie noodles. Add another layer or turkey, then ricotta, and cheese, then continue until you get to the top of the pan. Try to save some of the tomato sauce for the top and spread it over the vegetable noodles. Drizzle fresh grated Parmesan on top, and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. I sometimes just do this until the cheese on top bubbles because I don't like soggy vegetables, but it's pretty much what you eye it and want it to be like.
When finished it will come out like this, hopefully:


I  promise it will look better than this picture and it tastes great!  It usually takes me about 15-20 minutes to prepare it then with the baking time another 20-30 minutes, so look for about an hour until you eat.

As I stated at the beginning with the ingredients, you can add olives, mushrooms, onions, garlic, carrots, or any vegetable to the sauce.
Even better is when you can add a cup of drained spinach to the ricotta. I REALLY love that and the extra fiber is great.
If you can, experiment with this, post pics, or just let me know that you've tried it. I used to make this for a friend with gluten problems, and it's great for diabetics.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Best Pancake EVER! Dutch Baby Pancake

Tonight I introduced my b/f to the best pancake ever. Totally homemade, (low carb but don't tell him), and really easy to bake. And I'll truth be known I fail at baking.

You will need the following:

Circular pyrex or oven safe pan
3 eggs
3/4 cup white or wheat flour
3/4 cup skim or 2% milk
2 tsp sugar
powdered sugar
lemon/lime juice

First you will preheat your oven to 425
Scramble the three eggs in a small mixing bowl, and slowly add the flour until smooth.
Stick your circular oven safe pan into the oven with two tablespoons of butter or Smart Balance
Add the milk slowly until fully mixed. It should be a little on the runny side. Don't worry!
Add the 2 tsp of sugar and give it a final stir.
Once the butter is melted in the pan, pour the batter right on top and bake for about 20 minutes.


This will be the fluffiest, tastiest pancake in the world. It's got a lot of egg in it so it'll be like an omelet pancake so to speak. It's low in carbs and high in protein.
Sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top, and squeeze lemon juice on top of that, and you are done.
Simple!
Tasty!
You can be creative and add fruit on top with a little marscapone or creme fresche.
I like to add fiber induced fruits like strawberries or blueberries.
Keep it simple. The less syrup or sugar the better for you.
Splenda brown sugar can be used instead of powdered sugar, agave nectar or honey.

This recipe is supposed to either serve 4 for a dessert (cut into quarters and top with fruit) or 2 people. I admit it. I can easily eat this by myself and I did for the most part tonight, with some turkey sausage on the side.

Try to use fresh ingredients when you can. Frozen fruits usually have sugar or syrup added into them. Fresh produce is ALWAYS cheaper!

I love doing the above and making an egg and sausage/turkey bacon in it like a bowl.
Another recipe where you can be creative! AND FYI. Kids love this and don't know it's good for them. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For Toka! She requested a healthier Tuna Noodle Casserole

    2 cans condensed Campbell's 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup (see below for alternative soups)
    1 cup skim milk (I use 2% or regular)
    2 cup peas (see below for alternative vegetables)
    2 cans (6oz) Solid White Albacore Tuna, drained
    4 Cups Cooked  Whole Wheat Pasta
    2 tbsp dry bread crumbs (i use the seasoned italian ones or i mix in a small bowl 2 tbsp of bread crumbs, a pinch of paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper, and cumin)
    1 tbsp Smart Balance Buttery Spread (or one tbsp of regular butter if you aren't watching your figure)

Mix ingredients (except bread crumbs and Smart Balance) and put into 3 quart casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out and top with bread crumbs and melted Smart Balance. Bake for another 5 minutes. Makes 8 servings. (I included the serving size because this is something you can make for a big family, and on a tight budget!)

You can also substitute bread crumbs for low fat Mozerella.
I've also been known to change the soup around to the 98% fat free Cream of Chicken, Broccoli, Celery or one of two different kinds.
I've substituted tuna for canned salmon, (or fresh for you fellow Alaskans), flaked halibut or lump crab.
This is just the basic style recipe and it's low fat and if you use the whole wheat pasta it's better for you than the regular flour.
I add other veggies in mine though.
Peas, carrots and corn are high in sugar (if you are diabetic), so I use chopped squash that's been cooked, spinach, greens, onions, sweet potato's, swiss chard, chopped steamed cabbage, or tomato's.
Just make sure any raw hard veggies are steamed first before making it or you will have pretty crunchy, almost raw vegetables in your casserole.

Thank you for the support!

If you have family that has special needs, from gluten free, diabetic, cancer patients, or just allergies, please direct people to my blog!
I can help make recipes easier and better for you to eat!
Thank you for reading and please feel free to suggest recipes you'd like to see made less fattening or just better to eat :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Breakfast Quesadilla

One of my favorite breakfasts ever!
You will need Tortilla's (i like the spinach ones)
low fat shredded cheese or fat free cheese slices
one cup spinach (fresh if possible)
2 strips per person of turkey bacon or regular bacon. (you can also substitute ham, steak, chicken, tofu or seafood)

one egg per person


First you will want to use Egg Beaters or eggs. If you've never seen an egg beater here it is!

They are actually tasty and I don't really see a difference in taste or cooking them from a regular egg. If you don't like yolks they even offer an egg white option as seen above. 
You will want to scramble cook either one egg per person or one serving of the egg beaters. After they are cooked, set them aside to cool in a bowl.
Depending on what you want to fill your quesadilla with, you will either want to precook your bacon, or turkey bacon. The ham can be added cold and cubed up. Once you cook the bacon/turkey bacon you will want to cut it into small strips like so: 

Add a some oil to a frying pan and grab your tortillas.
You can use any flavor or brand but I prefer spinach myself, extra fiber never hurt anyone!
You are going to want the flame on medium. Take your tortilla, and put it halfway in the pan, meaning half in and half out.
You will want to sprinkle some of this cheese on the half in the pan:
It melts really good. 
Now sprinkle half of your egg on top of the cheese. Add as much protein (bacon, ham, cubed steak, cubed chicken, crab, shrimp, tofu, etc) as you'd like. Add the rest of the egg on top of that.
You can choose to add vegetables if you want. I like to add some chopped fresh spinach, tomato, onion, or slice some avocado on top. Sprinkle some more cheese on top of that and flip the other half of the tortilla over. You want to cook this until it browns, and then lightly flip it over and brown the other side. Turn the flame onto low and let it slow melt for a bit.
It should look like this after flipping:

After it's done to your desired taste, slide onto a plate. I use a pizza cutter and just slice it into 3 or four pieces.
I sometimes share this with someone else, because it is filling. I either make a fruit salad on the side, or have half  a grapefruit with sweet n low.
You can do lots of things with this recipe. The more veggies the better. The tortillas are pretty low carb, and you can even buy the lower carb ones as well.
Remember fibery veggies are a freebie and you can have as much as you'd like. (within reason of course).
I hope you try this recipe. It's a favorite with my mom and myself.


P.S. - you can also choose to scramble the eggs with the other ingredients, and then just layer it with the cheese in the tortilla. It's up to you what you want to do. It all turns out the same in my opinion!
ENJOY!!