Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mediterranean Meatloaf

I love mediterranean food. I had some ground turkey in the fridge and was wanting something yummy to eat. Here is my brainstorm on my road home from school! Enjoy!

1 package ground turkey
1 box chopped frozen spinach
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped or minced
2/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
olive oil
Couple splashes white wine or brandy
1 small package tomato basil reduced fat feta cheese crumbled
2/3 cup oatmeal ground fine in a blender

Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Once lightly browned, add spinach and continue to cook until heated through. Add sundried tomatoes and wine/brandy, salt, pepper and oregano.
Take off the burner and let cool. Once cool, mix half of the spinach mixture with the ground turkey, feta cheese and half of the ground oatmeal. Add more spinach and oatmeal as needed to give it a good consistency. Make sure there is enough spinach mixture to be evenly distributed throughout the meat. Shape into a loaf shape and cook in a 350 degree oven for 45 - 60 minutes or until cooked through.

I added my extra spinach mixture to some whole wheat couscous that I cooked to serve as a side dish. Made a great spin on the regular couscous we eat.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Five Bean Baked Beans

I love baked beans, but the cans of baked beans have a lot of sugar in them. So I started playing around with some different cans of beans I had on hand. These turned out really yummy!

5 cans of your favorite beans drained ~ I used 1 can each of black beans, northern beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans. (The different beans all have slightly different textures and tastes. Made the dish more interesting and tasty!)

1/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sugar Free Maple Syrup
3 TBSP mustard
1 1/2 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
3 - 6 shakes Tabasco sauce (can omit or add more to your taste)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup ketchup (I used 1/3 regular, 1/3 sugar-free)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
4 - 5 slices center cut lower fat bacon (optional - Omit for vegetarian dish)

Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in a nonstick skillet with some nonstick spray until lightly browned.

I mix my beans right in the pan I'm going to bake them in. No need to dirty an extra dish. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray. Dump all the cans of drained beans in the baking dish, add onion/pepper/garlic mixture (if you are not a fan of any of these feel free to omit - it is your dish!). Add brown sugar, maple syrup, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce. Mix well. Season with black pepper. TASTE! You may need to add more mustard or brown sugar at this point. Lay bacon slices on top of the beans. Cook in a 275 degree oven for 1-2 hours (this dish can keep for a while in a warm, not too hot, oven; but make sure it doesn't get dried out!). Can also omit bacon and cook in a slow cooker on low for 7 - 8 hours.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Saving Money the Healthy Way

In this declining economy, I am constantly looking for ways to save money and still eat healthy. As I come across good ideas, I am going to start posting them so other can benefit too!

Longer-Lasting Lettuce
Here is a great idea for how to keep bagged or heads of lettuce fresher longer. Often the lettuce turns brown after a few days. Rinse the pre-bagged salad/lettuce and break it up. Then, air-dry it for awhile in the strainer and then dry it off as dry as possible with paper towels. After it is dry, dump it into a large square plastic container and put three to four balled up dry paper towels all through it top and bottom, seal it, and shake it up. The paper towels will absorb the extra water before it could rot the lettuce. When you use the salad, replace the damp paper towels with new crumpled up dry paper towels and your lettuce/salads will last over two weeks! Savings and fresh lettuce too!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Turkey Breast in the Crock Pot

Made this for dinner and it was super easy and super yummy!!! Lots of good leftovers too!

1 turkey breast with bone in
1 package powdered soup mix (onion, garlic herb, etc)
1 1/2 cups baby carrots or whole carrots cut in pieces
5 stalks celery cut in big pieces
1 onion cut into big pieces
2 tsp. dried sage
2 tsp. rosemary

Put vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot. Place turkey breast on top. Rub powdered soup mix into the skin of the turkey breast. Also add herbs to the skin of the turkey breast. Cover and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours. If cooking longer, turkey breast should be a bit frozen. Do not add broth, the turkey will make plenty. The vegetables in the bottom won't be good to eat after the turkey has cooked, but will flavor the broth nicely. Strain the broth and heat in a pan and mix with a little corn starch for a great tasting gravy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Apple Pork Loin - Crock Pot or Oven

I cook this in the crock pot, but it can also be cooked on low (250 degree oven) for about 5 hours.

4 lb. pork loin roast
4 apples
1/4 cup no sugar added apple juice
3 T. Splenda brown sugar
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, beer or white wine
3 Tablespoons brown mustard
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp ground dried ginger or fresh finely minced ginger

Directions: Rub roast with salt and pepper. Core and quarter apples. Place apple quarters in bottom of crockpot. Place roast on top of apples. Combine apple juice, mustard, Splenda brown sugar, wine/beer/broth, onion, rosemary and ginger. Pour over top surface of roast. Cover and cook on Low for 10-12 hours, until done.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

4 - 6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/3 cup favorite bottled buffalo sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons melted margarine (non trans fat)
1 - 2 teaspoons Paprika

Place chicken breasts in the crock pot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. If you need to cook it longer than 8 hours, put chicken in frozen.
Tabasco sauce can be added to taste if you want it spicier.

Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing to dip it in along with celery and carrots.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu

Now that school is back in session, I LOVE crock pot or slow cooker recipes. Nothing is nicer than coming home to a good smelling dinner you can serve right away!

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (10.75 ounce) can 98% fat free condensed cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup skim milk
2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 ounces sliced ham
4 ounces sliced low fat Swiss cheese
6 slices of whole wheat bread (use food processor or blender to make crumbs)
1/4 cup trans fat free margarine, melted

Mix together the cream of chicken soup, milk and sour cream in a small bowl. Add thyme. Spray crockpot with non stick spray. Pour enough of the soup into a slow cooker to cover the bottom. Layer chicken breasts over the sauce. Cover with slices of ham and then Swiss cheese. Pour the remaining soup over the layers, stirring a little to distribute between layers. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top, and drizzle margarine over stuffing. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, or 2 to 3 hours on High.

NOTE: If you will be gone longer than 8 hours, make sure chicken breasts are frozen when put in the crockpot - cook on low. They won't be overcooked this way!

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Here is a cookie recipe you can feel good about!

1/2 cup margarine (non trans fat such as Smart Balance), softened
1/2 cup honey
1 egg (or two egg whites if watching cholesteral)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 apple, cored and chopped, finely

Optional mix-ins: 1 cup raisins, craisins or other chopped dried fruit, 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, honey, egg and vanilla until smooth. Combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Delicious California Slaw

My mom turned me on to this super easy veggie side dish! My kids love it and it is ready to serve in 10 minutes.

1 bag of prepared California Slaw (found near the bagged salads)
1/3 cup sliced almonds or sunflower seeds
1 TBSP favorite flavored oil (Sesame oil, 5 pepper blend oil, garlic oil)

Heat oil in a non stick skillet. Add bag of California Slaw and nuts/seeds. Cook on med/high heat stirring frequently until cooked (don't want to over cook this, just until slightly tender). Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Yummy Chicken Strips

2 cups finely crushed whole wheat crackers
Salt and ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide strips
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a shallow dish, combine yogurt with chicken broth and salt and pepper (can add bottled buffulo wing sauce if you want it spicy).
In a t second shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, add cracker crumbs. You can also add any spices you like here - such as: Lemon Pepper, Italian seasoning, or chili powder
Dip chicken into flour and turn to coat.
Dip chicken into yogurt mixture and then transfer chicken to cracker mixture.
Turn to coat chicken (or shake bag) until well covered with oat mixture.
Place chicken on prepared baking sheet and spray the top of chicken with cooking spray.
Bake 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. (bake, then turn on the broiler for a few minutes to really brown/crisp them and get the coating crunchy)
To freeze, let them cool completely then lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they are frozen, pack them up into packages that are the amount you think your kids will eat in one meal. To reheat just pop them in the oven on a baking sheet.