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Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal

How are your health resolutions going? Are you going strong or have you fallen off the bandwagon already? No shame either way. I’ve met some of my goals, slipped at others. Here’s the thing I think most people forget: it is a goal for ALL of 2018. So if it takes until December 31 to do it, that is 100% ok.

My #1 advice I can give you if things aren’t going so well is to TRY AGAIN! But before trying again, think about what went wrong. For me, I often make really good goals then don’t set myself up for success. For example, I wanted to eat more vegetables at lunch. But then didn’t buy anything. Oops! So now I bought a bunch of salad stuff that is really easy to throw together at lunch or into my smoothie at breakfast. Magic! I’m eating more vegetables.

Another tip to succeeding is to move decisions from a hard time to an easy time. For example, if you made a resolution to eat breakfast, help yourself out and make things ahead of time. Then, when it is morning and you are rushed and busy it is easy to eat rather than easy to skip it.

This overnight oatmeal is great for that. You mix it and put it in the slow cooker before you go to bed. Then you have warm, healthy breakfast waiting when you get up. This is great for families with a variety of schedules because everyone can just grab some when it is convenient. Just don’t forget to plug in the slow cooker like I did once. That leads to frowns in the morning.

Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal (Serves 4-6)

(Sorry no pic right now. Life happens a lot in the morning at my house.)

¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups skim milk
1 cup water

1. In a glass bowl, mix ingredients.
2. Place bowl inside slow cooker. Pour enough water around bowl up as high as the oatmeal mixture.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Stir and serve.

Nutrient Analysis (amount per serving):

Calories: 198
Protein: 6 gm
Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fat: less than 1 gm
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Carbohydrates: 43 gm
Fiber: 2 gm
Sodium: 60 mg

Recipe Notes: It does HAVE to be steel cut oats. I have used the Coach’s oats from Costco, which work well. You could mix everything straight in the slow cooker. However, it is likely to burn/stick to the sides and bottom and be somewhat difficult to clean. Putting it in the bowl keeps that mess from happening. Also, I think it is a gentler cook in the bowl. So I have cooked mine for longer than 8 hours and it is fine.

Variation: Peach Oatmeal

Add in 2 large peaches, sliced (about 2 cups) or 28-ounce can sliced peaches in juice, drained; 1 teaspoon ginger; 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg; and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Nutrient Analysis (amount per serving):

Calories: 222
Protein: 6 gm
Fat: 1 gm
Saturated Fat: less than 1 gm
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Carbohydrates: 48 gm
Fiber: 2 gm
Sodium: 60 mg

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Shrimp and Creamed Corn

Fall is here, and I couldn’t be more excited. Fall is my favorite season – crisp air, beautiful colors of leaves, pulling out sweaters and blankets. I love the flavors too – apples, pears, pumpkin, squash.

Today’s recipe is none of those things. I promise I’ll bring those soon. But this is a delicious throw back to summer that still sticks to your ribs like a good fall dinner. Slightly spicy shrimp on a delicious, creamy base. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Creamed Corn (Serves 4)

Shrimp and Creamed Corn

8 ears of corn, shucked
1 ½ cups skim milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
12 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
½ – 1 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup halved grape tomtoates
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup sliced green onions

1. Cut kernels from corn; reserve cobs. Set aside ½ cup kernels. Pulse remaining kenrels in a food processor until almost creamy.

2. Using dull side of knife, scrape corn cobs to remove “milk” and pulp into a medium saucepan. Add processed corn, milk, and cornstarch to pan.

3. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low or low; simmer until thick (about 5-7 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in 1 ½ tablespoons butter and ¼ teaspoon salt. Keep warm.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and remaining ½ tablespoon of butter. Once butter is melted, add shrimp, Creole seasoning, paprika, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme, garlic, onions, and reserved corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are done. Serve over creamed corn.

Recipe Notes: If you can’t find corn on the cob or it is too pricey out of season, I’m guessing you could use frozen corn. When I made this, I didn’t get much “milk” out of my cobs. And it would likely be a lot less messy. Also, the full 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning made this fairly spicy. You might want to opt with less if you are sensitive or want small children to eat this.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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End of Summer Pizza

Summer is over, or at least it seems to be now that Labor Day has come and gone. However, my garden is just starting to come into it’s own with tomatoes and zucchini. Anyone else?

I saw this trick of shredding zucchini in with cheese on smitten kitchen awhile ago. I loved it in the original grilled cheese sandwich, and I have taken to trying it in other “cheesy” foods like quesadillas. Pizza seemed like a no brainer.

Full disclosure: I thought this was delicious. It tasted fresh and just like late summer/early fall. My kids definitely picked out all the zucchini they could. BUT, I have tried the zucchini/cheese trick with older kids (8 years old) and they liked it; even the kids who said they hated vegetables generally.

End of Summer Pizza (Serves 4)

(Sorry, I was too busy eating to take a picture. Oops!)

½ recipe pizza dough
½ cup marinara sauce
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped or torn into large pieces

1. Heat oven to 400. Prepare pizza dough through parbake.
2. Spread sauce over dough.
3. Squeeze zucchini between towels to remove much of the moisture. Toss the zucchini with the cheese. Sprinkle over the pizza. Top with tomatoes.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until desired doneness. Finish with basil before serving.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 147
Protein: 9 gm
Fat: 7 gm
Saturated Fat: 3 gm
Cholesterol: 18 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 gm
Fiber: 3 gm
Sodium: 246 mg

Notes: I’m writing the recipe here for one large pizza. For a quick dinner, we actually ate this on naan breads, which was great. English muffins would also work. Sometimes fun “dough” makes it more interesting to kids, too.

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Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Nothing screams summer to me like watermelon. But I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to watermelon. I see recipes for grilling it or combining it in salads all the time, and I’m skeptical. How could that even taste good?

Well, I finally broke down and tried one. And…it was delicious! I was shocked, I’m not going to lie. I really only tried it to prove a point that these recipes are gross. So, believe me when I say this is worth trying, even if you are skeptical. Hope you give it a try!

Watermelon and Tomato Salad (Serves 4-6)

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup arugula
2 green onions, chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cups seedless watermelon, sliced thin
1 ounce feta cheese

1. Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 86
Protein: 2 gm
Fat: 5 gm
Saturated Fat: 2 gm
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 9 gm
Fiber: 1 gm
Sodium: 217 mg

Recipe notes: Everything about this salad saves well except the arugula. So, if you anticipate leftovers, maybe put in less arugula and add in more as you eat it.

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Chicken Kebabs with Blueberry Salsa

I hope you had a great Fourth of July, full of food, family, fireworks, and fun.

When you hear “barbecue” what do you think of? Smoked meat? Burgers? Grilled meats? I find all of the above come to my mine in different ways.

These kebabs were some of the best “barbecue” I’ve made in a while. I was so busy making and then eating them, I forgot to take a picture. Sorry. I threw some veggies on other kebabs and had dinner ready with very few dishes. Win!

Chicken Kebabs with Blueberry Salsa (Serves 4)

1 clove garlic
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
grated rind of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 pint blueberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons finey chopped red onion
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (or to taste)

1. Combine garlic, parsley, cilatnro, oil, lemon rind, lmeon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor until well chopped. Combine mixture with chicken in a resealable bag. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Combine ½ of the blueberries, vinegar, and honey in a small pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally pressing on blueberries with a spoon to break them up. Place in a medium bowl.

3. Place remaining blueberries in a food processor; pulse 5 times. Add to cooked berries along with onion and jalapeno.

4. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Thread chicken pieces onto skewers, not packing them in tightly. Grill for 10 minutes, turning occasioally. Serve with blueberry salsa.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 268
Protein: 31 g
Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 102 mg
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 202 mg

Adapted from Cooking Light

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Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Goat Cheese Frittata

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a couple months. I’ve had several projects taking up my time, including a nutrition project I’m hoping to share with you all very soon.

Whenever I think about frittatas, I picture Harrison Ford in the movie Morning Glory. If you haven’t seen it, he plays a crusty old man who drives a young TV producer crazy with several antics, including making a frittata.

Making this frittata shouldn’t drive you crazy. Frittata are actually quite easy. And it’s a one pan dinner. Cook up your veggies in a skillet, add you eggs, then slide that same skillet into the oven. So make sure your skillet is oven safe before you start, or you might be very sad. And as Harrison tells us in the movie, you can eat frittata warm or cold.

You can mix up any assortment of vegetables, meat, and/or cheeses. I liked these spring inspired flavors. Enjoy!

Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Goat Cheese Frittata (Serves 4-6)

Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Goat Cheese Frittata

1 bunch asparagus, chopped (12-16 oz)
¼ onion, chopped
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
2 ounces ham, diced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped spinach
6 eggs
2 tbsp skim milk
⅛ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1-2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1. Coat a large oven safe skillet (cast iron works well here) with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Heat skillet over medium high heat. When hot, saute aspragus, onion and ham until vegetables begin to get tender (about 3-5 minutes). Add in garlic and spinach. Saute, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, until spinach starts to wilt.

3. In a bowl, whisk together, eggs milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture into skillet with vegetable mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until edges of eggs begin to set.

4. Sprinkle goat chese over top of eggs. Put skillet in oven for 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are set. Let cool slightly before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 186
Protein: 16 g
Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 289 mg
Carbohydrates: 7 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 566 mg

Source: Adapted from The Kitchn

Recipe notes: The best part of frittata is you can throw in whatever you have on hand. This is a great way to use up any leftover meat, veggies, and cheese you may have floating around your fridge. And if they are leftovers, you won’t need to “cook” them, just reheat as you cook the eggs.

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Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

I hope you’ve had a great 2016. Every year has its ups and downs. But hopefully the ups were high enough to offset the downs. I wish you all a Happy New Year this weekend.

One quick recipe to end the year – vegetable chowder. Hopefully it will be helpful in clearing out your fridge of any remaining holiday foods. And keeping you warm, as I see the forecast for many early next week is rather cold.

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for awhile, and I’ve made most of my batches with leftovers from holiday veggie trays, cheese trays, etc. It is great for just cleaning out the fridge and pantry, which is great any time of year. Enjoy!

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder (Serves about 8)

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

4 cups low sodium vegetable (or chicken) stock
4 cups vegetables, chopped (broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, etc)
1-2 cups small diced potatoes
2 tablespoons no salt added butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk (preferably skim)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon fresh thyme (optional)
2 cups shredded cheese (something more flavorful than mozzarella)

1. Heat stock to a boil in a large stockpot. Add potatoes and other long cooking vegetables (carrots, celery). Add other vegetables sporadically so they all finish cooking about the same time (total time, 15ish minutes).

2. When the vegetables are almost done, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add in flour. Stir for 1 minute. Add in milk, pepper, and thyme, stirring frequently. Cook for a couple minutes, until beginning to thicken.

3. Add milk mixture to vegetable pot. Cook until desired consistency (about 5 minutes or so). Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted throughout.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 236
Protein: 13 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated fat: 8 g
Cholesterol: 36 mg
Carbohydrates: 20 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 491 mg

Recipe Notes: Sorry the recipe is a bit vague in places. It really depends on what vegetables you have, how big you cut them, and how crunchy/soft you like your veggies in the soup. If you have leftover cheese slices from a cheese tray, just crumble them up or dice them up small. They’ll melt faster that way than in slices.

Source: adapted from my mom’s broccoli cheese soup recipe

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