Friday, December 30, 2011

Pop Pop's Mashed Potatoes

I made this on Thanksgiving and Christmas because it's such a popular thing in my family. I know you're thinking, what's the big deal? It's just mashed potatoes. I dont know what it is but, my grandfather's mashed potatoes are the best thing on the planet for me, next to his kielbasa (&Ill be posting that recipe soon!).

Funny story, though. I was cutting it really close on Christmas day & made this dish last thinking it would be quick. Ohhhh no. It took so much longer than it should have and I pretty much was freaking out. My amazing boyfriend swooped in & save the days (&the potatoes)! He's officially in the family now. Haha. :]

Since this is considered an indulgence recipe I didnt bother to come up with serving size or calorie information. I just thought it would be neat to pass on a family recipe to those of you who read this.

5lbs potatoes, scrubbed
1.5 c buttermilk
1 stick margarine, melted
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Place potatoes in the pot & cook for 8 minutes.
Remove potatoes & let cool.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle peel & cut into quarters.
Bring the same pot to a boil & cook for 8 more minutes.

Drain water & place potatoes bake into the pot.
Add margarine, buttermilk, salt, & pepper.
Mix with an electric hand mixer.

Again, I dont really know what makes these so special but they are freakin' delicious. Im not sure if it's the buttermilk or the way the potatoes are cooked but ohhhh man. I could eat the entire pot of these.

Mexican Sausage Strata

I wanted to make something really good for breakfast on Christmas Day but I didnt want greasy or extremely fattening. This seemed like a good choice & it took more effort than my usual quick breakfasts.

Yields 6 servings.
288 calories per serving.
Recipe from BHG via Recipe dot com emails.

5 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
6 oz turkey sausage, ground
3 eggs
1 c skim milk
1/2 c light sour cream
1/2 c monteray jack cheese, shredded
1/3 c reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 c salsa

Coat a 10 in quiche dish with cooking spray.
Spread bread evenly on the bottom of the dish.

Crumble turkey sausage into a medium skillet.
Cook until brown over medium high heat.
Drain & sprinkle over bread.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together eggs, milk, & sour cream.
Stir in monteray jack and cheddar cheeses.
Pour egg mixture over sausage.
Cover & refrigerate for 2 hours, at least.

Preheat oven to 325.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes.
Remove from oven & let stand for 5 - 10 minutes before cutting.

Spoon salsa on top and enjoy!

The other really great thing about this dish is that it yields pretty large portions for such a low calorie count. I always find that to be a plus!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mexican Skillet

Another fast weeknight dinner!

Yields 8 servings.
277 calories per serving.
Recipe from Spark People.

12 oz 93% lean ground beef
1 c canned black beans, rinsed
1 c canned corn, drained
2 c water
1 c picante sauce
2 c minute brown rice, uncooked
1 c reduced fat mexican cheese, shredded
1 c low fat sour cream
1 tbsp chili powder

In a large skillet, brown ground beef.
Stir in beans, corn, water, chili powder, & picante sauce.
Bring to a boil & then stir in rice.
Turn heat down to low and cover until rice is cooked, about 5 minutes.

Turn off heat & sprinkle with cheese.
Cover until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Top with sour cream & serve.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Ive said it before but, my boyfriend loves bacon & one of the few veggies that we both like is asparagus so I felt that this was a rather fitting side for Sunday dinner last weekend. It was easy & reasonably fast.

My only real tip with this is to use two strips of bacon to wrap the bunches of asparagus because one just didnt hold very well. Unfortunately, that advice doesnt stay consistent with a low calorie count. So, what I did is wrap his bunches with two strips & mine with one strip.

Yields 4 servings.
180 calories per serving.
Unsure where this recipe came from.

1 lb asparagus, washed
6 slices of bacon
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Cut asparagus into 4 - 5 inch pieces.
Toss asparagus with olive oil (just enough to lightly coat) & season with salt and pepper.
Separate asparagus into bunches of 4.
Starting at the bottom, wrap with one slice of bacon.
Repeat with remaining 3 bunches.

Place bunches on a broiling pan & bake at 500 for 5 minutes.
Turn them over & cook for 5 more minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350 & bake for 20 more minutes.

Ziti with Blue Cheese Sauce

You know, I tend to think of any pasta dish, especially with creamy sauce, as really high in fat. I stumbled across this in one of my daily emails & was taken aback by the low calorie count. So, of course, I had to make it. Plus, blue cheese sauce? Of course I wouldnt pass this up!

Yields 6 servings.
Recipe from BHG dot com via Recipe dot com emails.
223 calories per serving.

1 c whole wheat ziti, dry
3 c frozen broccoli, cauliflower, & carrot mix
2 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 c 1% milk
1/2 c blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 c low fat sour cream

In a large sauce pan bring 2 qts water to a boil. Add pasta, return to boil, & cook for 5 minutes.
Add frozen veggies, return to boil, & cook for 6 minutes.
Drain pasta & veggies.

For sauce, melt margarine.
Stir in flour, salt, & pepper.
Add milk.
Cook and stir until thickened & bubbly.
Remove from heat & add blue cheese.

Pour sauce over pasta mixture & toss to coat.
Top with a sprinkle of blue cheese & serve.

This was so good & an easy Sunday dinner. I served this with bacon wrapped asaparagus, which will be the next recipe I post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pasta and Broccoli

This is a simple, weeknight dinner. Im too tired to go into the details but, there really arent many.

Yields 6 servings.
290 calories per serving.
Recipe from Skinny Taste dot com.

12 oz uncooked pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
6.5 c broccoli florets
5 cloves garlic, smashed & chopped
1/4 c parmesan cheese, shredded
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil & add pasta & broccoli & cook according to instructions on box for al dente.
When pasta is almost done cooking, reserve 1 c of pasta water & set aside.
Drain pasta & broccoli.

Return the pot to the stove & set heat to high adding 1 tbsp of olive oil.
When hot, add garlic.
Cook until golden, reduce flame to low & add pasta mixture back into the pot.

Mix well & add remaining olive oil, cheese, & salt and pepper.
Add 1/2 c reserved pasta water & mix well.
Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chicken and Potato Stir Fry

This was a little higher in calories than I normally like to make but then I realized that I didnt really need to serve a side with it because it is a rather heavy dish. It's called a stir fry but, the potatoes turned it into more of a stew. Still delicious, though. And a little more time consuming than usual for a weeknight dinner but, worth it.

Yields 4 servings.
Recipe from BHG via Recipe dot com email.
323 calories per serving.

4 medium potatoes, cut into 3/4 in pieces
4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
12 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 c water
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
1 lg onion, chopped
3 tbsp parsley

In a medium saucepan, precook potatoes & carrots, covered for 10 minutes.
Drain & set aside.

Cut chicken into bite-size strips & set aside.

For sauce, in a small bowl, stir together water, cornstarch, bouillon granules, thyme, salt, & pepper; set aside.

Pour canola oil into a large skillet.
Preheat over medium-high heat & stir fry onions for 2 minutes.
Add chicken to skillet & stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes.
Push chicken to the center of the skillet.

Stir sauce & add to the center of the skillet.
Cook & stir until thick & bubbly..
Add potatoes & carrots & stir together until all ingredients are coated.
Cover & cook for 2 more minutes.
Stir in parsley & serve.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sticky Chinese Chicken

I have to say that this is probably the best dinner Ive cooked ever. I had a VERY hard time sticking to one serving of this, despite how low in calories & sizeable one serving is. Im usually very hesistant to make any Asian cuisine because my boyfriend is half Korean. His mother is 100% Korean &, from what Ive told, can whip up some Asian food.

Yields 6 servings.
276 calories per serving.
Recipe from Family Circle via Recipe dot com.

1 c garlic & onion flavored croutons, finely crushed
1/4 c corn starch
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, & cut into 1 in pieces
1/4 c canola oil

In a large bowl whisk crouton crumbs & cornstarch.
Stir in soy sauce.
Add chicken & toss until completely coated.
Cover & refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add chicken & cook, covered, for 20 - 25 minutes until nice & crispy.
Turn about 4 or 5 times during cooking to avoid burning.
Drain on paper towels.

I served this along side of cauliflower. So freakin' good.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oven Roasted Green Beans

I was actually sort of scared of this recipe when I was reading the ingredients because Im not the biggest fan of vinegar. I figured that it was such a small amount that it wouldnt make a HUGE difference. When I put the vinegar in one of the mixtures, I was over-fucking-powered with the smell of vinegar but still, I proceeded. This ended up being delicious & not at all vinegar soaked. I think after roasting in it, it was diluted a bit & not so over powering. Success!

Yields 4 servings.
55 calories per serving.
Unsure where this recipe came from.

3/4 lb fresh green beans, boiled to crips-tender
2 cloves garlic, peeled & thinly sliced
1 small onion, peeled & sliced into thin rings
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste.

Preheat oven to 450.

Toss green beans with olive oil & vinegar to coat evenly.

Spread green beans in one layer across a baking pan.
Scatter the garlic & onions over the beans.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Chicken Fajita Chili

Yet another crock pot Sunday dinner. I know, how monotonous. (Side note : the word monotonous is really boring to spell. Haha. Irony.) Anyway, my dinners on Sunday have been fast lately because during the holidays I always have a lot happening. Speaking of, I have a very short time to get Christmas dinner together. It's going to be a lot more mellow this year but it's still a lot to put together. Thankfully, Im serving a small crowd.

Okay, enough rambling. Onto the food.

Yields 6 servings.
261 calories per serving.
Recipe from Better Homes Test Kitchen.

2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1 in pieces
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp fajita seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 15 oz can white kidney beans, rinsed & drained
light sour cream
reduced fat cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl combine chicken, chili powder, fajita seasoning, cumin, & garlic.
Toss to coat.
Coat an unheated large skillet with cooking spray.
Preheat skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook chicken, half at a time, in hot skillet until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally.

Place chicken in crock pot.
Add undrained tomatoes & beans.
Cover & cook on low heat for 4 - 5 hours or high heat for 2 - 2.5 hours.

Top with sour cream & cheese.

Personally, I think that this couldve used more fajita seasoning, maybe 2 tbsps because you really couldnt taste too much of it. Other than that, it was pretty damned good.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Potato Pizza

Technically this recipe is an appetizer but, I served it for dinner last night along with some broccoli & it was incredibly filling, not to mention delicious. Also very fast & easy. My only real suggestion is that if you're mincing your own cloves, dont keep the larger chunks that you accumulate.

Yields 10 servings.
206 calories per serving.
Recipe from BHG dot com.

10 oz pkg refrigerated pizza dough
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 medium red potatoes, cooked & cut into 1/4 in slices
2 tsp rosemary

Preheat oven to 425.
Lightly grease baking pan.
Unroll pizza dough onto pan & slightly build edges.
Bake for 7 minutes & remove from oven.

Combine olive oil & garlic in a small bowl.
Brush over hot crust.
Sprinkle with half of the cheese & arrange potatoes on top.
Sprinkle remaining cheese and rosemary over potatoes.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Smashed Potato Soup

This was a very easy recipe, not to mention delicious. My only real beef with this is that is turned into glorified mashed potatoes moreso than a soup but, it worked. I got my boyfriend to eat green onions without him even knowing it, or not mentioning it anyhow. VICTORY.

Yields 8 servings.
260 calories per serving.
Recipe from BHG dot com.

3.5 lbs baking potatoes, peeled & quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
1/2 tsp pepper
4.5 c chicken broth
1/2 c half and half
1 c reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c scallions, thinly sliced

In a crock pot combine potatoes, pepper, & garlic.
Pour chicken broth over top.

Cover & cook on low setting for 8 - 10 hours or on high setting for 4 -5 hours.

Mash potatoes slightly with potato masher.
Stir in half and half, cheese, & scallions.
Serve & enjoy.

Perfect for a weeknight!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicken Taco Pizza

Tonight was the first night that I made a meal on the weeknight that wasnt Nutrisystem. For me, this is a HUGE deal. It's kind of hard to explain. Regardless, big step. And I ate about 45 minutes ago & Im still, which is another huge step for me.

These were so fast to make, ideal for a weeknight when you're exhausted from the day's work and/or lack of sleep.

Yields 4 pizzas.
248 calories per pizza.
Recipe from Better Homes Test Kitchen.

2 pita rounds, split horizontally
1 tsp olive oil
10 oz canned chicken, drained
1/4 c salsa
1 c shredded cheddar cheese, reduced fat
lettuce, shredded

Preheat oven to 425.

Place pita bread pieces, cut side up, on baking sheet.
Lightly brush with olive oil.
Bake for 4 minutes until crisp.

In a small bowl, mix chicken & salsa.
Spoon evenly over pita pieces.
Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes & remove from oven.
Top with lettuce & a small dollop of low fat sour cream.

Cutting the pita rounds was a bit of a challenge because they're so thin to begin with. Really, it just takes patience.

These are so filling. I had dinner about an hour ago & Im still full, which is pretty unheard of for me. ANOTHER MILESTONE.

Bacon-Wrapped Breadsticks

My boyfriend loves bacon. It's his favourite food group. So, I figured this would be a perfect side to our Sunday dinner this week. (Im not posting the main course because it didnt turn out very well! D: Well, it wasnt bad but, it was a little dry. I saved the leftovers to see if maybe it's better re-heated.)

Anyways, this is very easy & fast. In hindsight, I probably shouldve served a vegetable in addition but, oh well. Next time.

Yields 6 breaksticks.
135 calories per serving.
Recipe from BHG dot com.

8 oz pkg refrigerated breadsticks (12 count)
2 tbsp margarine, melted
1/4 parmesan cheese & more to top with
6 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 425.

Unroll breadsticks & brush with margarine.
Sprinkle with 1/4 c parmesan.
Fold in half & wrap each breadstick with a slice of bacon.
Place breadsticks on cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes & remove from oven.
Turn over & bake for 5 more minutes.
Set on paper towels to drain grease.

Make sure that you use a pan with ridges so that the bacon grease doesnt go all over your oven!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mini Cheese Danish

As you all know, Im a major cheese junkie. I love cheese in ALL forms (except Swiss) & cheese danish are one of my favorite fattening treats. These, however, are not so fattening. At 100 calories a pop, you really cant go wrong as a perfect weeknight dessert. My boyfriend swore that they were more fattening.

My only real issue with this recipe is that mine only yielded 32 danishes, instead of 40, as the recipes states. Also, the glaze required 2 tbsp of milk as opposed to one. (Im going to go ahead & list what I used, though.) Other than that, I had no issues.

The perk of this is that it's REALLY fast. In my mind, making any sort of danish seems rather time consuming. This was quick & baked quickly. I think that the only pain, as with any dessert that requires glaze or icing, you have to wait for them to cool.

Yields 32 danishes.
100 calories each.
Unsure where I got this recipe.

8 oz pkg cream cheese, diced
2 10 oz cans crescent roll dough
1 tbsp margarine, softened
2 tbsp 1% milk
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp fat-free sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
1 c confectioners sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice unrolled crescent dough into 1/8ths & then slice 1/8ths in half; each can of dough should yield 16 pieces.
Place the dough slices onto 2 cookie sheets & make an indentation in the middle.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice & vanilla extract.
Add a tbsp of filling to each roll.
Bake for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl stir together confectioners sugar, margarine, & milk.

After danish have cooled drizzle with icing.