Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hearty and Healthy Eggplant Stew


We've never really cooked with eggplant around our house because our parents were never big fans of it. I can honestly say I have NO memories of it being served... none.... at all when we were growing up. Which is really odd because our parents were big advocates of cooking all sorts of different things. 
Oh well... it's never too late to try something new.
I have dived into the realm of eggplant and - so far - I've been pretty happy with the results.
This stew, for example, is amazing. It's healthy, low cal, filled with nutrients, is delicious, smells soooo good while it is cooking, is filling, and easy peasy to put together. Plus, the serving sizes are humongous. Which is always a plus in my books. 
According to Myfitnesspal 1 serving (recipe makes 6) is - 
360 calories, 36 carbs, 14 fat, 25 protein, 10 fiber. 


Healthy And Hearty Eggplant Stew

Ingredients
2 Tbsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb extra lean ground beef
12 oz mushrooms (about 2 cups), sliced
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 eggplants, cubed
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 medium acorn squash, cubed
1 (540 ml) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Directions
Using a very large pot, over medium/high heat, heat oil, garlic, onion, and ground beef. Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. 
Add in mushrooms.


Cook and stir for about 5 - 10 minutes (until mushrooms have reduced). 
Add in tomatoes.


Bring to a boil then add in eggplant.


Reduce heat and simmer, stirring every once in a while, for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, add in spices.


Stir in and then add in the zucchini, squash, and chickpeas.


 Let simmer, stirring every so often, for another 20 - 40 minutes or so. Until veggies are tender. 
Serve hot.


Like any stew recipe, this one is easily adaptable to fit your favorites. Change up the spices or add and subtract veggies as desired - just keep in mind that will change the nutritional counts. 
FYI - There is no added liquid to this stew. It is extremely thick. The only liquid is what is released from the veggies as they cook down and the little bit from the tomatoes. 
This may not look pretty BUT it is very tasty and will fill you up when you are needing something hearty. Our mom wasn't even going to try it as "it just didn't look like something she'd like" but she gave it a go and ended up loving it. You can see where we get our "pretty food" snobbery from,...
Anyways... it's delicious. You should try it.  
 
Be sure to visit these fun linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, Memories By The Mile,
 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Philly Cheesesteak Salad


Now you can make a salad even your hubby will approve of. 
So.
Much.
Meat.
Oh, yeah, and mushrooms and onions and green peppers and cheese. 
*drool*
Sue was the one who came up with this salad and was a telling  me about how good it was and how much even her hubby (salad hater!) LOVED it. She even sent me this photo from her phone to torture me...


Looks ridiculously tasty, am I right?
Anyway... she gave me her list of ingredients and I went from there. She used cucumber and a bit of ranch dressing but I decided to use a bit more "pure" Philly cheesesteak ingredients plus add my favorites. The recipe below is my take on Sue's salad. Sue gets full credit for this one. (P.S. - she told me to tell everyone that. I quote, "you aren't allowed to steal this one.")


Philly Cheesesteak Salad (a la Sue)

Ingredients
2 cups lettuce, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 slice tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 small onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 lb (250 gr) lean steak, sliced and diced
1 slice Armstrong Cheese Melts (ie: processed cheese)
Salt & Pepper

Directions
Place lettuce, spinach, and tomato on a serving plate. Have mushrooms, onions, and green pepper cut and ready to go. 


Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat.
Take your sliced steak....


Cook until steak is almost at your desired done-ness level.
Throw in the mushrooms, onions, and green pepper. Cook and stir until vegetables and steak are done to your preference, about 5 minutes for me...
Tear the cheese into pieces and place in random spots on top of the mixture in the pan.


Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for about 2 minutes - until cheese has melted. 
Scoop the meat/veggies on to your lettuce/spinach on the plate, season with salt & pepper, and serve immediately.


As I mentioned above, Sue drizzled a little ranch dressing over the lettuce and spinach before putting the meat and veggies on top. I didn't find it necessary. The juices from the meat and veggies plus the fact that the heat wilts the greens a little adds up to enough "dressing" for me. 
Now, of course you can add more veggies and more cheese if you prefer. I used the amounts above to calculate the nutritional info.
(One serving - recipe counts as one serving - is 435 calories, 23 carbs, 10 fat, 63 protein, 4 fiber)
You can also switch out the processed cheese slices for either shredded cheese or even heat up some cheese whiz and drizzle it on top. 
I counted this as one serving because I eat it as a meal. If you were serving it as a side dish you could probably get 4 servings out of it. It is very filling!
 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rhubarb Pecan "Bread" Pudding (For Two)


Do you enjoy being all sneaky and tricky when it comes to "secret ingredients" in your recipes?
Have we got a deal for you!
We fooled everyone before with our "What-Do-You-Mean-It's-Not-Apple Apple Crisp (click HERE for that recipe) that was made with zucchini and have been on the look out ever since for another tasty way to trick people. 
Enter Maria Mind Body Health. I came across her intriguing recipe for bread pudding that didn't use any bread (Click HERE for Maria's version).
You will never guess what you substitute for the bread. 
Well, you might if you looked at the photo above.... but otherwise, you'd never guess.
Eggplant!!
Crazy, right?
I was skeptical but have been craving bread pudding but am going bread free for this month (Long story short - I eat waaaay too much bread) so anyways, this recipe needed to be tried.
I made some changes to suit my taste and it turned out amazing!
If you had told me eggplant could be a dessert I would not have believed you. Needless to say, my mind has been changed. 
You should definitely give this a try. Don't be all judge-y and say it looks yucky. (Sue, I'm looking in your direction...) Looks can be deceiving. It's the opposite of yucky AND and and... according to Myfitnesspal, 1/2 of this recipe is only 212 calories, 9 carbs, 18 fat, 8 protein, and 4 fiber. That's like a bajillion times healthier than "normal" bread pudding. 


Rhubarb Pecan "Bread" Pudding
(Adapted from Maria Mind Body Health)

Ingredients
1 cup eggplant, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil melted (scant)
2 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use Almond Breeze)
2 Tbsp Sugar Twin Granulated Brown (or similar sugar replacement)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp pecans, finely chopped

Toppings
1/2 cup 0 fat Greek Yogurt, frozen 
1 Tbsp fat free caramel ice cream topping

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. 
Place chopped eggplant and rhubarb in a 5 - 6 inch oven safe dish. Drizzle with the melted coconut oil.


Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
While eggplant and rhubarb are baking, whisk together eggs, almond milk, sweetener, cinnamon, and vanilla until well mixed. 


After eggplant and rhubarb has baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir in the pan. Pour the egg mixture over the eggplant and rhubarb. Squish down to help the liquid be absorbed.
Sprinkle top with pecans.


Bake for another 45 - 60 minutes - center should no longer be jiggly at all and top will be browned.


Let cool for about 10  minutes before serving. Divide in 2 equal parts and place on serving dishes.


Top each serving with 1/4 cup of the Greek yogurt.


Drizzle each with 1/2 Tbsp of the caramel topping.


Dive in! Careful! It's hot.
You can also serve it cold - but I definitely prefer it warm. You can heat up leftovers in the microwave and it is just as good as out of the oven.
The nutritional counts with the Greek yogurt and caramel are: 250 calories, 9 carbs, 18 fat, 14 protein, and 4 fiber. 
The texture is pretty darned close to "normal" bread pudding. I was being a little judge-y because it looked a little sketchy but I was very pleasantly surprised. This definitely calmed my bread pudding cravings AND in a very healthified and tasty way!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sugar Cookie Cheesecake Fruit Cups


I made these for our Easter supper this year (Click HERE to see all our dinner recipes) and just about forgot to post them!
These are a super simple yet very pretty dessert. Perfect for spring! You can top them with your favorite fruit or just a dollop of whipped cream or even some chocolate.
The recipe posted here is for the sugar cookie cups but in the photos you might notice there are also chocolate chip cookie cups. I bought a packaged, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix from the store as we also had some gluten free guests for dinner. 
Pretty much any cookie dough will work!


Sugar Cookie Cheesecake Fruit Cups
(Slightly adapted from Life, Love, & Sugar)

Ingredients
Sugar Cookie Cups
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
pinch salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch

Cheesecake Filling
1 1/2 bricks (12 oz) Cream Cheese, softened 
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Fruit Topping
strawberries, diced fairly small
bananas, diced fairly small
(use your favorite fruit!)

Directions
Prepare Sugar Cookie Cups - Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray, set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch. 
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined. Dough will be very thick.
Make balls of about 2 tbsp of dough. Press cookie dough in bottom and about 1/2 way up the sides of each muffin tin, forming a cup shape.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. 
Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling. If the centers have puffed up too much then use the end of a wooden spoon, a tart shaper, or the bottom of a tablespoon to press the center down. 
Let cool completely. 


Prepare Cheesecake Filling - Beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Gradually beat in the icing sugar and vanilla until well combined. 
Pipe or spoon the filling into the cookie cups.


Top with as much of the diced fruit as you would like. Chill, covered, until ready to serve.


So tasty! 
Who doesn't like cookies and cheesecake?
Don't answer that. 
I don't want to know.
 How many cups you get will depend on the size of your muffin tins and how full you fill them. I did mini ones but you can also do them in regular size muffin tins.


Also perfect for potlucks and such when you don't want cupcakes but still want hand-held food.
 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties - Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, My Turn (for us), 
 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tandoori Chicken Salad With Tomato and Cucumber Raita


Now THIS is what a salad should be.
Tons of flavor, different textures, hearty and filling, colorful, and overall a feast for the eyes. 
Normally I'm  not a huge fan of salad. I eat it because "it's good for me". Bah-humbug. Why can't chocolate cake be good for me?
Anyway.... knowing that I should include more salads in my diet I try to make them fun and interesting. Sue and I have done tons of salads-as-meals. (Just search "salad" in the bar at the top corner to see all our offerings, or hit the "salad" button under labels at the side of the blog.)
This one is definitely a keeper.
Indian spices, veggies, and chicken make this a fresh, new, and very tasty addition to your dinner rotation. Plus, you get a HUGE portion for only 417 calories. 
(According to Myfitnesspal one serving - and recipe only makes one serving! - it is 417 calories, 17 carbs, 7 fat, 56 protein (whaaaaaaaat!), and 6 fiber.)


Tandoori Chicken Salad With Tomato and Cucumber Raita

Ingredients
Tandoori Chicken
1/2 pkg Clubhouse Tandoori Seasoning
1/2 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt, plain
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips

Raita
1/4 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt, plain
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded, finely diced
1/4 cup tomato, seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp coriander
salt & pepper

Salad
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 cup lettuce, shredded
1/2 cucumber, sliced

Directions
Prepare Tandoori chicken - Mix together the Tandoori seasoning and Greek yogurt until well combined. Place in a seal-able plastic baggie and add in the chicken breast. Squish around to coat. Marinate for at least 2 hours - up to overnight.
Prepare Raita - In a small bowl, add the yogurt, cucumber, tomato, onion, and spices.


Stir well to combine.


Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours for flavors to blend - up to overnight. 
After chicken has marinated and Raita has sat - prepare your salad.
Prepare salad - Heat a non-stick frying pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Place the marinated chicken into the pan. Discard the extra marinade.


Cook until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Cover and set aside to keep warm.
Place spinach, lettuce, and cucumber on a serving plate.


Top with the cooked Tandoori chicken.


Lastly, drop the Raita by the spoonful over the top of the salad.


Serve immediately. 


FYI - You can make your own Tandoori seasoning if you can't find pre-made at the store. (HERE is a great link for an easy Tandoori Spice Blend courtesy of Epicurious,) 
Salad as a meal is the way to go. 
Throw some meat on top and suddenly salads don't seem so bad. :)
 
Looking for some fun and tasty links? Check out these fab linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food,
 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chickpea Salad Lettuce Wraps


Once again we venture into the world of ugly food. By that I mean - food that is ridiculously delicious but just isn't pretty to look at. 
Chickpeas struggle in the beauty department in general but mash them up and we are deep in ugly territory.  Deep. Deep. Deeeeeep.
Anyway... looks aside, this is one of my new favorite meals. 
It is filling, tasty, easy to put together, inexpensive to buy the ingredients, and is very healthy. 
According to Myfitnesspal, nutritional info for 1 serving (recipe makes 2 servings) it is:
287 calories, 41 carbs, 7 fat, 16 protein, and 10 fiber. 
True story. 
Trust me, eating half of this entire recipe will leave you feeling very full. 


Chickpea Salad Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients
1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
1/4 cup purple onion, finely diced (or regular onion)
1 med/large dill pickle, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt & pepper
3 Tbsp light mayo
approx 12 leaves Romaine lettuce
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

Directions
In a mixing bowl, mash the rinsed and drained chickpeas using either a potato masher or fork. It doesn't have to be completely smooth - leave a few chunky bits for texture. 
Stir in the onion, pickle, celery, dill, turmeric, salt & pepper, and mayo. Mix until well combined.


You can proceed now and finish making the wraps OR cover and chill until ready to use. Can be made a day or two ahead of time.
Prepare wraps - Place a generous spoonful or 2 in the center of each lettuce leaf and gently spread down the center with the back of a spoon. Top with a generous sprinkling of alfalfa sprouts.


Serve immediately. 
Depending on the size of your leaves - you will get more wraps with the inner leaves and less with the outer leaves. You can spread as much or as little on each leaf as you like. 
You can also add more onion or celery or pickles or mayo as you prefer - just keep in mind it will change the nutritional count. 
Oh, yes... I also found this tastier if the mixture has time to chill a bit (like at least an hour or so) but this is not necessary. I just find the chickpeas are better cold and the flavors have more time to blend. 
And... don't leave off the alfalfa sprouts. They make these wraps uber amazing.
I brought these to the office for lunch - perfect office lunch BTW.


And all my co-workers loved them. They reminded some of a tuna sandwich without the tuna-iness and others of an egg salad sandwich without the egg-iness. 
Tuna-iness.... Egg-iness...yeeeeaaaah, my co-workers make up words sometimes. 
Completely accurate descriptions though. 
 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties - Lou Lou Girls, Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Adventures of Mel, Cookin and Craftin,  Feeding Big