Category Archives: Recipes

Mashed Potatoes – a showdown with a nemesis

Back when my husband and I were first married, we basically stopped eating regular potatoes. Our apartment had a VERY warm kitchen, where they always seemed to rot. And sweet potatoes were less expensive at our local produce market. We made the switch and didn’t look back for several years.

In the past three years, I’ve started moving back into the realm of regular potatoes more. My kids really like them. I have run across a problem though – mashed potatoes. They seem to be my nemesis. The only way I could make edible mashed potatoes was turn off my dietitian brain and add so much salt, butter, sour cream, cheese, etc. They were delicious, but I knew I needed a compromise.

I found this recipe and LOVED it. I will say, I don’t know that they are a good stand in for ALL uses of mashed potatoes. For a holiday dinner, I would still go for regular and just turn off my dietitian brain. It’s the holidays. It’s ok. But for a regular weeknight, these are quick and delicious!

Mashed Potatoes with Turnips and Apples (Serves 4)

Mashed Potatoes with Turnips and Apple

2-3 large turnips, chopped (1½ cups)
1 large yukon gold potato, chopped
1 fuji apple, chopped
1 bay leaf
¼ cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

1. Place turnips, potato, apple, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Discard bay leaf.

2. Return vegetable mixture to pan. Add remaining ingredients; mash to desired consistency.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories:
Protein:
Fat:
Saturated Fat:
Cholesterol:
Carbohydrates:
Fiber:
Sodium:

Recipe notes: I have subbed russet potatoes here, although I did peel it then. I’ve also subbed gala and red delicious apples. All worked fine. If you are concerned, you can flip the turnip to potato ratio and gradually play with the amounts over time to find the taste that best suits your family. I’ll post the recipe that includes the gravy pictures soon!

Source: Cooking Light

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Chili Sauce Salmon

Lent season is coming soon, which for many people means Fish Fridays. We like fish at my house. Even my kids eat it well, which surprises me literally every time I make it. As a kid, I only ate fish sticks. But the mild flavor of salmon really appeals to my kids. Which I think is a win.

This salmon is super simple to grill or bake in the oven. Chili sauce is kind of a random ingredient, but I’ve never had trouble finding it in the condiment section at the grocery store. Enjoy!

Chili Sauce Salmon (Serves 4)

Chili Sauce Salmon

4 (6-7 ounce) salmon fillets
¼ cup chili sauce
¼ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1. Combine chili sauce thorugh soy sauce. Place in a resealable bag. Toss salmon to coat in marinade. Refrigerate and marinade for at least 30 minutes, up to 4-6 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375. Bake salmon 30 minutes, or until internal temperature is 145 degrees.

OR Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill salmon 5-7 minutes per side, or until internal temperature is 145 degrees.

Recipe notes: You have a couple options on the marinade. It is delicious just marinated and cooked. If you want sauce (like picture), you can save the marinade and boil it and use it as a sauce. Or make a second batch of the marinade after. I did the later to have something to picture, but I halved the amount which was plenty.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 287
Protein: 36 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 79 mg
Carbohdyrates: 18 g
Fiber: less than 1 g
Sodium: 623 mg

Source: original recipe

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Mu Shu Pork Burritos

Growing up, my family ate the same few things from Chinese restaurants: sweet and sour pork, cashew chicken, and beef and broccoli. Don’t get me wrong. Those are delicious and easy crowd pleasers with kids. But as an adult, I’ve branched out a bit more and discovered and AMAZING world of options. One of those: mu shu.

These mu shu pork “burritos” simplify homemade Chinese by subbing easy access flour tortillas for the delicious little pancakes you get at restaurants. These are super simple to throw together and delicious! Have a great weekend!

Mu Shu Pork Burritos (Serves 4)

Mu Shu Pork Burritos

1 lb pulled pork
8 small whole wheat flour tortillas or 4 regular tortillas
3 eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ head green cabbage, thinly sliced
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vineagr
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
sriracha, to taste
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Wrap tortillas in foil. Place in a 300 degree oven to warm (5-10 minutes at most).
2. Heat a large nostick skillet over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add eggs and scramble. Remove to a plate/bowl and set aside.
3. Add cabbage, onion, carrot, and garlic to skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.
4. Mix vinegar through sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour over vegetables. Stir until thickened. Stir in eggs and pork until all combined.
5. To serve, make “burritoes” of pork/vegetable mixture and top with green onions.

Recipe Notes: You could sub ground pork for the pulled pork. I would brown it first, then remove it from the skillet to scramble the eggs.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 445
Protein: 26 gm
Fat: 21 gm
Saturated fat: 6 gm
Cholesterol: 197 mg
Carbohydrates: 38 gm
Fiber: 4 gm
Sodium: 878 mg

Source: adapted from Keeping Up Cookbook

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Chicken Fajitas, two ways

I love making big spreads of Mexican food. Much of it is easy to prepare and not incredibly time consuming. Mexican food is also a crowd pleaser – people can choose their own toppings to make everything customized. And let’s be honest, it’s delicious.

A friend told me recently about oven baking her fajita mix. I tried it, and it worked really well. Time wise, I think it takes about the same amount of time. But it is less hands on if you that helps in these hectic dinner times. Who knew winter could be so busy?

Chicken Fajitas (Serves 4)

Chicken Fajitas

½ tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
½ jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, sliced
3 large chicken breast, cut in strips
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 large whole wheat flour tortillas

Stove top:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. When hot, add chicken. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until done. Remove to a plate.

2. Return skillet to heat. Add onion and peppers, cook until beginning to soften. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook, stirring until fragrant 1-2 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes and chicken. Cook until most of moisture is gone from tomatoes. Serve on tortillas with cheese.

Oven:

1. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine vegetables, chicken, oil, and seasonings in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

3. Spread in one layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken reaches 165 degrees F.

4. Serve on tortillas with cheese.

Nutritional information (amount per serving):

Calories: 489 kcal
Protein: 59 g
Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 163 mg
Carbohydrates: 29 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 501 mg

Recipe notes: You can obviously mixup the toppings here. I just kept it simple. You could also increase the amounts of peppers and tomatoes if you like them. Mixing up the colors of you peppers is fun, too.

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Creamy Orzo with Bacon and Peas

Getting back into a groove after the holidays can be rough. I know I’ve felt a little off my game. And with it getting dark so early and quickly, it seems like it magically is dinner time RIGHT NOW every night. Any one else?

I’ve resorted a lot to quick meals. This one is nice because it is enough like macaroni and cheese that my kids will eat it; has bacon so my husband likes it; and has vegetables and is delicious so I like it. Wins all around. And it cooks in 1 pan. So easy clean up. Enjoy!

Creamy Orzo with Bacon and Peas (Serves 4)

Creamy Orzo with Bacon and Peas

4 ounces bacon, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cups orzo
3 ¼ cups water
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 eggs
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon pesto

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until mostly browned. Add in onion. Sauté 2-3 minutes.

2. Add in orzo; cook until toasted. Add water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until water is almost absorbed.

3. Stir in tomatoes and peas; cook 2-3 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and parmesan together.

5. Turn off heat. Stir egg/parmesan mixture and pesto into pasta until well combined and creamy. Serve warm.

Recipe notes: I turn off the heat but then keep it on the burner to make sure the eggs actually cook. You could also cook it on low. You just want the eggs to cook slowly or you’ll have scrambled eggs.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 366
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 23 g
Saturated Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 133 mg
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 708 mg

Source: lightly adapted from Giada de Laurentis

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Beef and Spinach Enchiladas

Do you have recipe pet peeves? If you do, I’d love to hear them in the comments. I have a few. I don’t love when something is listed in a smaller unit of measurement than necessary (don’t say 4 tablespoons, say ¼ cup, for example). I prefer when something says the whole amount need in the ingredients list rather than list it 3 times (say 1 teaspoon of salt, divided). But those are mostly my preferences.

I do have conflicting pet peeves, actually. I hate when recipes call for an amount of cooked meat, like chicken. I rarely have precooked chicken just sitting around. And without the steps in the recipe, sometimes I find myself half way in and realize I need to cook the darn chicken. BUT another pet peeve is to have a million steps to make something that is just one part of a larger whole that also has a million steps.

Unfortunately, this recipe hits those pet peeves. There is no way around it. Enchiladas need cooked meat. BUT, the good news is this recipe for meat is super easy and delicious AND makes more than you need for the enchiladas (or easily does) so you could have sandwiches, meat on salad, etc for awhile afterwards. So forgive me for doing what I actually hate myself. The end result of these is pretty darn delicious! And please pardon the photo. I tried several times and couldn’t get an appealing shot of enchiladas. While tasty, they aren’t photogenic.

Beef and Spinach Enchiladas (Serves 6-8)

Beef and Spinach Enchiladas

3-4 lb boneless chuck roast
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 teaspoon canola oil
½ onion, chopped
9 ounces fresh spinach
2 tablespoons water
½ cup low fat sour cream
16 corn tortillas or 8 large flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
2. Combine salt through cumin. Rub on all sides of chuck roast. Place in a shallow baking pan. Cover with onions, broth, and tomatoes. Cover pan with a lid or with foil.
3. Bake for 3-4 hours, or until meat is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
4. Remove meat and shred. Pour juice/tomato mixture from pan into a saucepan. Heat over medium heat to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Puree. Add ½ cup sour cream. Set aside.
5. Heat a large nonstick skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and water. Cover with a lid. Cook 2-3 minutes, until spinach is wilted, stirring as needed. Remove from heat. Add shredded beef to spinach mixture.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
7. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Fill tortillas with beef mixture and cheese, placing in pan seamside down. Reserve ¼ cup cheese for topping. Pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese melted.

Recipe notes: I use my Traeger to cook the meat at 275. If you have a meat thermometer, you want the meat at about 195 degrees F. My meat was quite frozen the last time I made this, and it only took 3 hours to get there. So I recommend watching it. I’ve cooked thawed meat for over 3 hours to get it tender as well. Also, it seems like a lot of sauce. I’ve put all of it and not put all of it. More sauce is always better.

Nutritional information: (amount per serving)

Calories: 453
Protein: 44 gm
Fat: 18 gm
Saturated fat: 8 gm
Cholesterol: 131 mg
Carbohydrates: 32 gm
Fiber: 4 gm
Sodium: 623 mg

Source: adapted from Traeger and various sources online

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Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

So this makes the third recipe in a row that requires a pressure cooker. But I feel like almost everyone has an Instant Pot at this point (or is getting one for Christmas). I actually don’t, but I do own a stove top pressure cooker.

The awesome part of pressure cookers is how quickly things come together. I love using mine to make brown rice in about 30 minutes, much faster than the hour suggested on the package.

Meat dishes are a little trickier since you can’t know if it is “done” without opening it. But the chicken pieces in this dish cook quickly so that isn’t a concern.

This dish is as good as take out. And can be made very quickly, if you are in a rush (which who isn’t this time of year?). Enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken (Serves 6)

Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
½ tablespoon canola oil
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup ketchup
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
2 green onions, chopped
4 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat pressure cooker. When hot, add the oil, onion, garlic, and chicken to the pot. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens.

2. Stir in the soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Lock the lid in place. Once the cooker comes to pressure, cook for 3 minutes.

3. When the cook time ends, a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Add the sesame oil and honey to the pot and stir to combine.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Add to the pot. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the green onions. Serve over rice

Recipe Notes: I really like to serve this with a cooked bag of stir fry vegetables as well. Really rounds out the meal.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 531
Protein: 47 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 132 mg
Carbohydrates: 66 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 945 mg

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

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