Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crockpot Turkey Black Bean Tacos

So easy, and made with ingredients I pretty much always have on hand! These will also make great leftovers.

What you need:
1 lb. ground turkey (or ground meat of choice)
1 packet/1/4 C. taco seasoning
2 cans black beans (drain one and leave one with liquid)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can chopped green peppers
1 red pepper, chopped
about 3/4 C frozen corn

taco shells
toppings: cheese, cilantro, sour cream, lettuce, whatever you like
optional:  a few dashes of cumin, a dash of cayenne, and a sprinkling of garlic salt, diced onion

What to do:
Brown the meat, drain off fat, and add taco seasoning and recommended amount of water, allow to soak up the spices. (At this point I put the meat in the fridge overnight so I could throw it in the crockpot in the morning).
Dump meat, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and optional spices and onion into the crockpot.

Cook for as long as you want....everything is already cooked! Mine was fine in the crockpot on low while I was at work, about 9 hours.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup in the Crockpot

I woke up to snow on the ground and a temperature in the teens...DEFINITE comfort food weather! The chopping is pretty time-consuming so it was perfect for a lazy weekend. It's a forgiving recipe so add and subtract ingredients depending on your tastes and contents of the crisper drawer. The beef was unbelievably tender after cooking all day!

What you Need:
-1-1.5 lb. of beef, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-size pieces
-6 carrots, chopped
-1/2-1 onion, diced
-5 stalks celery, chopped
-1/2 C. barley
-1 beef bullion cube
-4 cups water
-1/2 C. red wine (optional)
-1 can diced tomato
-1/2-1 bell pepper, chopped
-1-2 C baby bella mushrooms, quartered
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/2 t. thyme
-1 t. garlic powder
-2 bay leaves

What to do:
-Heat oil in a skillet, cut beef into small pieces, and brown the meat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. While it's browning, start chopping all those vegetables!
-Put meat and all other ingredients into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mexican Chicken, Bean, Corn, Cheese Casserole

 I love Mexican food and I love casseroles. This is good enough to eat all week! Good thing, serves 6-8.

What you need:
1 can refried beans
1 (16-oz) jar or can of green chili sauce
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 diced onion
1-2 diced jalepenos (optional
1 can green chilis
1 C frozen corn
1/2-1 C canned hominy (optional)
2-3 cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2-1 T cumin (see note)
2-3 (1-1.5 cans) black beans
1-2 cups cheese of your choosing (I used 1/2 pepperjack, 1/2 Mexican combo)
sour cream or greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350.
Turn burner on to medium, spray a pan with non-stick spray
Pour green chili sauce, garlic, onion, and jalepeno into pan, turn to low and let it thicken
Put a can of refried beans into the bottom of a greased 13x9" pan, spread into an even layer.
Let the sauce mixture simmer on the stove for a while to thicken, then add chicken, corn, chilis, hominy and let it warm for a couple minutes.
Drain black beans into a colander and rinse until no longer foamy
Spread 1/2 of chicken mixture on top of refried beans, then 1/2 of black beans.
Add a layer of cheese, remaining chicken mixture, remaining beans,and a final layer of cheese.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
Top with yogurt/sour cream and cilantro, enjoy!
Verdict: Delicious, I'd definitely add cilantro as a garnish. And maybe stir some cumin (about 1T) to the mixture in the pan. If I had a bell pepper, I would've chopped that up and thrown it in as well.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lightened Up Bison Shepherd's Pie

We just got our first snow, and shepherd's pie is the ultimate comfort food! I made it with ground bison (fine with beef or lamb), and lightened it up a bit by using mostly cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes (that way you can just eat more!!). Of course, you could use plain spuds if that's what you like!

I know it is not the TRADITIONAL shepherd's pie with lamb. That's okay. You don't need to leave any angry comments or anything. It's not a quick recipe, and it dirties a lot of dishes-may be preferred for weekend cooking! That said, it is so worth the wait!

What you need:
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb. ground bison
handful of green beans, cut into 1" pieces
handful of frozen peas
onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T flour
1 C red wine
1/2 C broth

Your favorite recipe for mashed potatoes, about 6 cups (or use mine, below)

For the faux-ta-toes
1 -1.5 heads cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 potatoes, diced
2 T butter
2 T chicken broth
2 T cream cheese
salt & pepper
garlic powder

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 400
Start boiling water for potatoes and cauliflower (see separate directions below)
Put the cut carrots in a large frying pan with a little oil, let cook for a few minutes.
Add the meat and brown. Drain fat and, if desired, rinse meat in a strainer to clean off additional grease
Add onions, green beans, peas, ketchup/tomato paste, garlic and flour to pan, mix well.
Add wine to pan, turn heat to low, and reduce. When it's reduced, add chicken broth and reduce again, until you have a gravy-like consistency.

Spray a 13x9 pan with non-stick spray
Spread the meat in the bottom of the pan.

Top with potatoes (see below)

Put in oven for about 20 minutes, until potatoes brown.

Potato/cauliflower directions
Boil a large pot of water or 2 smaller pots of water. Put diced potatoes into the water. About 5 minutes later, add cauliflower to boiling water. Allow both to soften (10-15 minutes for potatoes, depending on how small they're cut, 6-8 minutes for cauliflower). Drain both and pat dry without rinsing. Put in food processor and add butter, broth, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Mix to desired consistency and taste test.

Verdict/what I'd change

This was DELICIOUS! I'd probably use an 8 x 8" pan for a "deeper" pie if I made it again. Otherwise, it was fantastic!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pesto Tilapia

Fish on the grill, almost no prep, cooks in about 10 minutes, healthy and keeps the house cool! What more could you want? And pesto makes everything taste better. I have a prolific basil bush on my patio so I eat the stuff on everything this time of year!

What you need: (Serves 2)

2 4-oz filets of tilapia or other white fish
olive oil
lemon juice
salt & pepper

3 T. store-bought pesto, or make your own. Making your own is so delicious, but you MUST have a food processor! This will make plenty extra.

2 cups of basil leaves, washed and packed as tightly into a measuring cup as you can fit them
3/4 C grated parmesan cheese
1/2 C good olive oil
1/2 C pine nuts (or substitute walnuts)
A splash of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

What to do (if you're making pesto)

  • Put all ingredients into a food processor, one at a time starting with the basil, and blend until the nuts are ground up. 
  • Taste and add salt, just a little at a time, until it tastes right. You can also add more oil, cheese, or nuts until you like the proportions and consistency.

I keep some in a small jar in the fridge, and put the rest in an ice cube tray in the freezer. Then I have it all through the winter!

What to do, now that you made/bought pesto:

  • Lightly brush fish filets with oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for up to 30 minutes. 
  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • Grill, on a piece of lightly oiled aluminum foil, for about 4 minutes.
  • Flip, spread with pesto, and grill for about another 4 minutes, until fish flakes easily
  • That's it! Serve with fresh vegetables or a green salad. 
A note on the foil: I tried one filet on the (oiled) grill to see how it was. I liked how it got a little crispy but it started to stick to the grill after it was flipped, so I eventually moved it onto the foil. Do as you wish; I was worried I'd lose too much of the fish if I left it directly on the grill!

Nutrition Info:
1 fish filet and 1.5 T. pesto = 5 WW points+  (I only ended up using 1 T of pesto but am leaving this at 5 due to the olive oil brushed on the fish. But if 4 makes you feel better, go with that!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homemade Pico de Gallo Salsa

This is healthy, fresh, and delicious! It's also a great way to use up a surplus of tomatoes if you garden. I'll write down how much of each ingredient I used as a rough guideline, but it is a fun recipe to adapt to your own tastes! All the chopping takes a bit of time but it is so good! This makes a pretty big bowl but it's easy to adjust to any proportion.

What you'll need:
ripe tomatoes (4)
bell pepper (1/2)
jalepeno pepper (1)
red onion (1/4)
garlic cloves (3)
cilantro (about 1/4 of a bunch)
lime juice (3 T. maybe?) I only had 1 hard lime so had to add some from a bottle.
salt to taste

What to do:
Chop all vegetables. Squeeze extra juice and seeds out of tomatoes (into trash) so it doesn't get too watery. Take out seeds and ribs from jalepeno. Pull off bigger stems of cilantro, but don't stress about it too much. Put all ingredients into a bowl and taste. (The tasting is really important!) Then add whatever you think it needs more of! That's it!

Nutrition info:
0 WW points! (until you use chips to scoop it up...)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quinoa, Broccoli, Shrimp Curry Casserole

 Sometimes mistakes turn out okay, and sometimes they're even worth blogging about! I was daydreaming about doing some curry shrimp kabobs using a delicious sauce from a Kalyn's Kitchen recipe I used for marinating. The sauce was part of a casserole, but I thought it would be great to give my shrimp a nice flavor.

That's not what ended up happening. Since a pound of shrimp seemed like a lot, I made the original quantity of sauce and it was WAAAAAY too much. I was heartbroken by the thought of throwing it all out after fishing the shrimp out, so I decided to makeover the original casserole recipe and see how it turned out. I liked it!

Also it was pouring, and who likes grilling in the rain? Not me.

Inspired by Kalyn's Kitchen's chicken recipe, which you can view here.

Curried Shrimp, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole
Serves 6
What you need:
1/2 C dried quinoa, rinsed until no foam appears
1 C water to cook quinoa in
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces (the stalk "trunk" part is totally worth peeling and cutting up too!)
1 C diced bell pepper-about 2/3 large pepper
1 lb. shrimp (I used raw, deveined, peeled shrimps with tails on. If you don't like picking out tails, opt for tail-less shrimp!)

1.5 C. light sour cream
1/2 C light mayo
1 t dijon mustard
3 t curry powder
3 T lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

What to do:
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cook quinoa according to package directions-in case you bought it in bulk, after rinsing, put quinoa into a small pot of water, get it to a boil, cover and cook on low for 10-15 minutes.
  • Start water boiling-enough to fit the broccoli and pepper in. Cut up broccoli and pepper. When water is boiling, dump veggies in and cook for about 3 minutes-broccoli will turn bright green. Then drain or immerse in cold water to stop cooking.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients in a jar or bowl and mix well. Taste. Taste again. Try not to eat the whole bowl with a spoon. Mix well with the shrimp in a big bowl.
  • Lightly spray an 8x8" casserole dish. Layer quinoa, veggies, and shrimp/sauce mixture. 

  • Cook for 30-35 minutes, until bubbly and browning. 
It showed up on the blog and I wouldn't give you a flop! Delish and healthy to boot! I'd top with parmesan if I had any. Or could find it in the fridge. Anyway. I'll try the shrimp skewers another time and let you know how those turn out, too. 

1/6 of this dish is 7 Weight Watchers Points+.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Baked Anaheim "poppers"

These are not so much inspired by, but a direct copycat attempt of Toni's cousin Kim's appetizer. We had these in Alaska and gobbled them up! I liked the anaheim peppers (in Alaska) because they were much milder than jalepenos. But the ones I got in Colorado were H-O-T! I guess it just depends on the pepper, like jalepenos, but if you really don't care for spice or are feeding these to kids, you can always use bell peppers.

These are traditionally appetizers, but I ate them all myself and called it lunch. :) Obviously if you are serving a crowd, make more!

What you need:
-Anaheim peppers (3)
-2 Laughing cow cheese wedges of your choice
-1 egg white
-1 C. corn flakes, crushed

What to do:
-Cut the peppers in half longwise and scoop out seeds and ribs-I'm thinking my peppers might have been hot because I was a little lazy with the ribs.

-Spread about 1/3 cheese wedge in each pepper
-brush with egg whites and coat in corn flakes
-bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until corn flakes turn brown

One thing I struggled with was getting the cornflakes to stick. My mom recommended whipping up the egg whites next time before dipping so hopefully that helps! Let me know if you have tips, too!

Nutrition info
For a serving size of 3 poppers (appetizer), 2 WW points. If you eat them all, 5 points.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Carol's Famous Portabello Mushroom Marinade

This is a family favorite and one my mom has been asked for again and again. These mushrooms are great as a side dish or a main dish for vegetarians. We're making them again for the 4th!

What you need:
Portabello mushrooms-as many as you want, at least 4.

1/3 C. of canola oil
3 T. lemon juice
4 1/2 T. soy sauce
2 1/2 T. sesame oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. ground ginger

What to do:
  • Cut of stems and clean gills from the mushrooms with a spoon. Cut into thick slices, or, if you prefer, leave a few whole. Lay out in a baking pan or other flat rimmed dish.
  • Mix ingredients for the marinade in a jar, shake vigorously, and pour over the mushrooms. Allow to sit for several hours if possible, turning a few times so both sides can soak up marinade.
  • When ready to cook, lay foil on a heated grill and lay mushrooms out on foil. Let cook for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush leftover marinade over mushrooms while cooking.

Nutrition Info: Weight Watchers calculates this as 8 points, but not all marinate is used....so I'd guess 6 or 7.

Note: I'm sure leftovers would be great in an omelette, on a sandwich, a pizza, or a salad. But we've never had leftovers. True story.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Shrimp Broccoli Bok Choy Stir-fry

I got some bok choy in my produce box last week and had no idea what to do with it. This is the result! Feel free, as always, to experiment with what you have in the fridge and leave a comment if you find a good combo! Once you have your veggies chopped this comes together very quickly. I also think it would be great with diced chicken, which would just need longer to cook than the shrimp, or tofu!

What you need:
1 T oil of your choosing (I used sesame oil but the soy sauce overpowered the flavor anyway)
1 T minced garlic
minced ginger if you're into that (I'm not)
2 pieces (heads? units?) of bok choy, sliced
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 head broccoli, chopped up
a few green onions (pictured but I forgot to add them, oops)
about 1/2 lb mushrooms

1 lb. shrimp (I used peeled, tail-on. If you don't like having tails, get it without)
1/4 C. soy sauce
sesame seeds for garnishing (I didn't use but wish I had!)

What to do:
Wash and chop up all the veggies.
Heat oil in a big pan (medium low). Add garlic and ginger, if using and give it about 30 seconds.
Turn heat to high. Add the bok choy and carrots, give it a stir, add broccoli, stir again.

 The bok choy pretty much disappears as it cooks, but I did add it, see?
Give these veggies about 3-4 minutes to soften. Then add mushrooms and green onions, give another minute.
Add shrimp and soy sauce, making sure that shrimp is toward the bottom of the pan. Let cook shrimp through until pink, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle some pepper on top, as well as sesame seeds.
Serve! Serves 4. It would be good over rice but it was pretty darn tasty on its own, too!

Verdict/what I'd change:
I'd remember to use the scallions and sesame seeds, and probably add more mushrooms!
5 Weight Watchers Points + per serving

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grilled Salmon with Mango Cilantro Salsa

I'm not sure what it is, but the combination of salmon, mango, and cilantro is DIVINE! It's mango season and grilling season! This is a great, healthy dinner.

Serves 2.
What you need:
 1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 T minced garlic
1/2 T minced jalapeno (more or less to taste)
1 T lime juice
1/8-1/4 C chopped cilantro
3 green onions, green part only, chopped

2 salmon filets, mine were skinless (scale-less?) and about 7 ounces
salt and pepper
1 t. olive oil

If possible, make salsa ahead of time. Peel and chop mango, getting as much flesh off the pit as possible. Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl and put in the fridge to chill.

Rub salmon fillets with olive oil and a dash of salt at pepper. Let them warm up as you preheat the grill to medium heat. I have a thing about scales so I buy fillets without-but if your fish has scales, put it scale-side down. I cook it on foil so it doesn't fall through and because I lost the neat cedar planks I bought. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish, but it should be pink and flake easily. I like my meat pretty well-cooked, and I'd say it took mine about 10 minutes per side.

Top cooked salmon with salsa and enjoy!

Suggested side: any veggie, especially one you can throw on the grill. Look, no dishes to wash! (Well, not too many)

Totally delicious. I could eat this just about every night. This time my mango salsa seemed to make more than the first time I made it; could possibly cover 3 salmon pieces.