Saturday, January 16, 2016

Taco Chicken and Quinoa Salad bowl

I have been doing the 21 Day Fix since last August... I have lost 20 pounds and last time I measured 16 inches over all. I FEEL better and have more energy and eating healthy has become a happy habit and exercising is my way to unwind after a day a work instead of vegging on the couch and eating.... My challenge is to come up with healthy recipes that are ok for the 21 day eating plan. I love making meals that aren't just meat and salad but a little more exciting. I came up with this recipe the other night and it's delicious! Feel free to substitute things that you have on hand... I just added things I thought would be delicious. Enjoy!

Taco Chicken and Quinoa Salad bowl
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 taco seasoning packet (your choice of brand)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Lime juice , optional
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I only used about 1/2 a can)
1 can corn, drained and rinsed (I only used about 1/2 a can)
Salt and pepper
Cumin, if desired

1 cup Quinoa, cooked according to package directions
   Salt and Pepper, Garlic powder, and onion powder for seasoning, unless you use an already       seasoned package of Quinoa

Salad mix
Grated cheese
Ranch dressing

First- Mix the taco seasoning with 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a couple of splashes of lime juice in a large bowl. Slice your chicken into thin bite size strips and place in bowl with marinade. Toss to coat. Set aside.
In Large skillet heat a Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced bell pepper and onion and saute about 5-10 minutes until tender. Add the Black beans and corn and saute another minute or two, season to taste with a little salt and pepper and cumin if desired.
When veggies are tender remove to plate and heat another Tablespoon of Olive oil in your skillet and add the chicken-marinade and all to the pan. Cook over medium high heat until chicken is cooked thru and no longer pink. Your marinade should evaporate or become thick as well.
When chicken is done , add your veggie mixture and toss until combined and warmed thru.
While the veggies are cooking start your Quinoa. I followed the directions on the package and since mine wasn't already seasoned I added a dash or two of salt and Pepper and a little onion powder and garlic powder.  Could also add a little cumin to this if desired.
 When everything is cooked Assemble your salad.
I did this by placing 2 cups of my salad mix to a bowl. Then I added a 1/2 cup of Quinoa, then 1 cup of my chicken mixture. Next came about a Tablespoon of grated cheese, A Tablespoon of Salsa sprinkled around and A light drizzle of ranch dressing...

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Eggplant Involtini

Eggplant Involtini
The classic approach to these cheese-filled eggplant rolls—breading and frying—is tedious, and it obscures the signature ingredient. We ditched both steps for a lighter, less fussy dish.

Serves 4 to 6
Select shorter, wider eggplants for this recipe. Part-skim ricotta may be used, but do not use fat-free ricotta. Serve the eggplant with crusty bread and a salad.
  2 large eggplants (1 1/2 pounds each), peeled 
  6 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  Kosher salt and pepper 
  2 garlic cloves, minced 
  1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 
  Pinch red pepper flakes 
  1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, chopped coarse 
  1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces 
  8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese 
  1 1/2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese (3/4 cup) 
  1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 
  1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese for topping

1. Slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks (you should have 12 planks). Trim rounded surface from each end piece so it lies flat.
2. Adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 8 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray generously with vegetable oil spray. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared sheets. Brush 1 side of eggplant slices with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Flip eggplant slices and brush with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake until tender and lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using thin spatula, flip each slice over.
Heat broiler.
3. While eggplant cooks, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch broiler-safe skillet over medium-low heat until just shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
4. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses. Combine bread crumbs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Pecorino, 1/4 cup basil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
5. With widest ends of eggplant slices facing you, evenly distribute ricotta mixture on bottom third of each slice. Gently roll up each eggplant slice and place seam side down in tomato sauce.
6. Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until eggplant is well browned and cheese is heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino  and 1/2 cup grated Mozzarella and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil and serve.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus

I got this recipe on the Food Network here. I am reposting because this recipe site is for me and my daughter and it's easy to go to and find recipes that we love rather than hunting on the internet. Loved this... but keep in mind with the jalapeño and the chipotle pepper it's rather spicy... you can use less if desired. Try putting in half the required jalapeño and chipotle then adjust to your taste. You can always add more but once added you can't take it out. This is a great healthy snack served with pita chips or I served it with sliced red and green bell peppers. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus

16 ounces can chickpeas, drained
6 ounces jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 jalapeno, seeded, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves(or use the already chopped in a tube)
1teaspoon paprika 
3 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo (I used 1 pepper)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Toasted pita bread, for serving

Mix all ingredients, except olive oil and pita bread, in food processor until pureed, then slowly add in olive oil.
Let set up for 1 hour prior to serving.
Serve with toasted pita bread.

Cinnamon Syrup

I am reposting this recipe.. I made it again Christmas day and it was the consistency of camel snot...LOL. I decided to try without the flour. MUCH better. Enjoy!

After Christmas, while trying out my new Waffle iron, I decided I needed to find a Cinnamon Syrup recipe... I love Cinnamon and it just seemed like there should be a Cinnamon syrup to go with my waffles. I ran across a few recipes for Cinnamon syrup on random Internet sites, and looked them over, then took what I liked from some of them and made up my own. This one turned out YUMMO! and on a Hot Waffle on a Cold winter day it warms you right up! Enjoy!

Cinnamon Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons butter
In a small saucepan, whisk together your sugar, salt, and cinnamon. (you could sift together just to make sure you don't have any lumps of flour).
Add the water, and stir to combine. Cook  and stir over medium/high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn the heat down slightly and let boil until thickened slightly. (this takes about 3 to 5 minutes)
Remove from heat and add the vanilla and butter; stirring to combine and melt the butter.
Serve over pancakes, waffles or french toast! YUMMO!
This is what I woke up to that prompted me to make Waffles w/cinnamon syrup....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Eggnog Bread

I found this recipe on pinterest and it looked so good I made it for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning it was yummy! It's a moist bread and not too sweet, the frosting is sweeter but goes great with the bread. I have made this into muffins and it works, they are just a tad dryer than the bread. 
Great for mini loaves for neighbor gifting. 

2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups of regular eggnog (not low fat)
2 tsp Spiced Rum
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter @ room temperature
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 (3.4 ounces of powdered) package of instant French vanilla pudding mix
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Spray your loaf, muffin etc. pan with non stick spray with flour. 
In your mixer using the paddle – mix together the eggs, eggnog, rum, sugar, vanilla and butter. The butter will remain clumpy but that is just fine. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add the dry mixture to the wet and blend until incorporated. Avoid over mixing. Again, the butter will remain clumpy and this is to be expected. The butter will melt when cooking. The dough will be thicker – be aware.  Pour into your prepared choice of pan(s). Bake your mini loaves for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. A regular loaf pan will take about 45-55 minutes. 

Rum glaze:
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
2 tsp eggnog
2 tbl Spiced Rum ( I used Butter Rum extract in the frosting instead of Rum, just use 1 teaspoon though)
1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg

Whisk together and pour over your cooled eggnog bread.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sticky Asian Ribs

I know rib and grilling season is about over, but I didn't get a chance to post this until now. And who knows, you may get a nice Winter day and say hey, I need ribs today. This recipe also mostly cooks in the oven at a lower temperature and then I finish grilling at the last and baste with the sauce. I served mine with an Asian noodle salad, but it would also be great with "Rumbi" rice or an Asian cole slaw. I looked up "best ever Asian Ribs" and found quite a few recipes. I took what sounded good from those recipes and added a few ideas of my own and this is what I came up with. LOVED them!

Sticky Asian Ribs
2 slabs meat baby back ribs, cut into 3 or 4 bone pieces
Hoisin sauce
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice (more or less)

Preheat oven to 275.
Brush Hoisin sauce over both sides of the ribs, then sprinkle with your rub mixture. Place one piece of rib in aluminum foil, and fold to make a tight little packet, place on Cookie sheet. Continue until all of your rib pieces are in foil packets and in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
Bake in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from oven and let cool just so you can handle the foil.

While ribs cook make your BBQ sauce:
1 Tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon chili sauce
Whisk all of the BBQ ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let cook until thickened. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium heat while ribs cool. Once you are able to unwrap the foil, carefully grab ribs with tongs and place on grill, top side down. Brush the side that is up with BBQ sauce and grill for about 5 minutes with grill lid closed.
Carefully turn the ribs over, brush the tops with more BBQ sauce and let grill for another 5 minutes. Remove to large cookie sheet or serving platter.
Garnish with toasted Sesame Seeds and chopped green onion if desired.
*Remember you can adjust seasonings to taste....

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Salad with Grilled Shrimp with a Lime Vinaigrette

Since starting my 21 day fix journey, I have been eating healthier... I love trying to find healthier recipes to try and experiment with. And you know I LOVE watching the food network on my Saturday mornings, so when they did a version of this recipe I just HAD to try it out. I love shrimp and Jamaican flavors so I tweaked this recipe just a bit to my taste. Loved it. And a salad like this a great light evening meal. The original recipe is here but I did tweak it a bit. Enjoy!

Salad with Grilled Shrimp with a Lime Vinaigrette
Shrimp Marinade:
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 Tablespoon Lime juice
1/2 (scant) teaspoon Jamaican Allspice
1/4 teaspoon smokey paprika
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
Whisk this together in a large bowl, then add:
1 to 2 pounds large Shrimp, peeled and deveined and tails removed
Let your shrimp marinade while you prep the rest of the salad.

3 ears corn, cooked and cut of the cob (you can grill this or cook in the microwave)
4 cups Spring Mix Salad
1/4 to 1/2 cup lightly chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 cup lightly chopped fresh parsley
1 avocado, pitted and diced
One 14-ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
One 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 of a red onion, finely diced
Place salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss together. Set aside while you make your salad dressing.

Salad Dressing:
1/4 cup lime juice
1/8 heaping teaspoon smokey paprika
a dash or two chipotle powder
1-2 teaspoons agave (to taste)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk these ingredients together then drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil while still whisking until it comes together. 
This is your salad dressing, add more salt and pepper to taste.
Now grill your shrimp.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. If you are grilling on an outside grill preheat your veggie grill pan (I used this then I didn't have to skewer my shrimp and it didn't fall through the grates).
Grill the shrimp until  no longer pink, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
Drizzle the salad with your desired amount of dressing. Serve in individual bowls or plates and top with grilled shrimp. Enjoy!!