Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meals for the Week of January 30, 2012

So we're coming into the "big game" weekend, Super Bowl Sunday, or for many people it's all about the food and the commercials, who cares about the football game.  I wanted to share a few recipes this week that you might be interested to make for the game whether you are hosting people or need to bring something over.  Some of my suggestions I have in a blog post over  on the Mama Bootcamp website.  Each week Mama Bootcamp has a challenge and week #5 is a challenge to keep it healthy when eating and watching the game.    So besides those recipes, here is one more that you might like-  Loaded Skinny Turkey Nachos- I suggest instead of using a low fat bean dip as listed in the recipe, just mix the turkey meat with beans.  I will also leave you with one dessert that would be fun to bring to a party- Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

Meals for the Week of January 30, 2012

Pecan Crusted Trout- I don’t know that I have ever listed a trout recipe here.  I’m usually a shrimp, salmon or tilapia person, but I grew up eating trout.  The crunchy, nutty crust is great.  But you could use this on any fish for that matter. 

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions-  An easy pasta sauce.  No garlic, no seasonings.  The key is good tomatoes and the butter makes it rich.  Don’t be too worried about the butter, if you’re only eating a 1 cup or even a little less than one cup of sauce, it’s under 200 calories.  Have it over whole wheat pasta for good added fiber.
Pasta with Butternut Squash and Pecans- I like to take this up a notch with a little browned butter, because it tastes so good with the squash.  However, the olive oil is healthier. 

Low Fat Baked Ziti with Spinach- Comes together quickly on a weeknight or you can make it in advance. 

Slow Cooker Rosemary Pot Roast- This recipe includes something I really try to avoid; canned cream soup.  I’m not totally against them, I grew up with canned soup and various casseroles created from canned soup.  I do like that this one lists the low fat and low sodium kind, which is a good option. 

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema- This is a recipe using baked, not fried fish and you can easily substitute shrimp if you prefer.  Serve it with a creamy and tangy cilantro sauce. 

Chicken Parmesan with Easy Marinara sauce-  This is a low carb chicken parmesan as it’s not breaded like the traditional recipe, it’s just coated with some grated parmesan cheese.   I also include a simple marinara sauce to use with it, but you can always use your favorite store bought sauce. 

BBQ Beef Casserole-  This is spicy and sweet with jalapenos and barbecue sauce, topped with a cornbread crust.  But it’s very simple to throw together and you can control the heat by using more or less jalapenos.  The recipe calls for a Jiffy brand cornbread mix, my suggestion is to use Marie Calendar’s low fat mix instead. 

Parmesan Rosemary Chicken- The method used in this recipe is one of my favorite ways to cook; diced up chicken, cooked hot and fast in a pan, then you deglaze the pan and make a sauce (in this case a gravy).  Very simple and delicious.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Meals for the Week of January 23, 2012

Although many parts of the country have had typical January/winter weather, here in Northern California, we have had very cold nights, but beautiful, days of sunshine.  Until finally this week we have received the desperately needed rain and snow.  So this week I've got a lot of comfort food recipes for you.  Several are still low calorie and healthy and I have quite a few quick cooking or crock pot recipes.
Have a great week!!

Meals for the Week of January 23, 2012

Lemon and Herb Crock Pot Roasted Chicken- Super easy and very flavorful. 
Slow Cooker Spinach and Chicken- Just 4 ingredients dumped into a slow cooker and it’s done.  Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese when you serve it. 

Low Carb Italian Bake- This is sort of like lasagna without the noodles, adjust the ingredients to use what you like for the vegetables. 
Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole- This actually relies on a roux to create a thick and creamy sauce and not actual cream.  I make it using fat free milk instead of the whole milk called for in the recipes and it’s just fine. 
Chicken Enchilada Soup- This is basically all the flavors of enchiladas in the form or soup.  And it can be made in the crock pot which makes it super easy. 

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta- Make a nice little cheese sauce from scratch and toss with cooked chicken.  Yum! 

Penne with Cannellini Beans- A very quick to fix meatless meal, you can make changes to suit your taste, I suggest using Italian style tomatoes that come already seasoned.  

Buffalo Chicken Tacos- Looking for something different to have while watching football playoffs?  Try these tacos. 

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese- This is pretty indulgent, but you can actually make it with fat free evaporated milk if you want.  I use this recipe in my cooking class at my kids’ school because I think it’s important for them to learn to make a dish they probably love from scratch instead of from a processed package. 

Salsa Chicken Soup- A change from your usual chicken soup- this one comes together in 30 minutes and you can make it spicier depending on the salsa you use. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meals for Week of January 16, 2012

I decided to go with the January healthy eating trend this week and provide you with a variety of low fat, low calorie and nutrient packed recipes.  I suppose I try to always do that, but this week I have more than a few that fall into that category.  I like that I'm finding more and more recipes like these that are naturally low calorie with not so much use of processed low fat or low calorie ingredients.
I also wanted to share this handy chart for making recipe substitutions that can help make something healthier.

This week I have several recipes that include cannellini beans as an ingredient.  They are basically a white kidney bean frequently used in Italian cooking. Like many beans they are low fat, high in fiber and protein. Contain minerals and B vitamins.  Give one of these recipes a try this week!

Meals for the Week of January 16, 2012  

Beef Stew with Noodles- The key to this recipe is the meat is cut into small pieces which allows it to cook quicker.  Stew meat you find in the store will be cut in larger cubes and would need more cooking time to get tender, so cut them into smaller pieces.

Quesadilla Pie- Great way to use leftovers, and actually perfect for leftovers from tacos.  Serve with salad for an easy meal.

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia- Very easy and just lightly pan fried in a little oil, you could serve this with salsa and black beans as suggested in the recipe or with salad and roasted vegetables.  You could even make smaller pieces of fish and use it for fish tacos.

Paprika Shrimp Green Bean Saute
- Shrimp are always so quick and easy to fix on a weeknight. 

Japanese Mums Chicken- Funny name, when you see the recipe, there is a story behind the name. This is a chicken that has a soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and garlic glaze.  It sort of reminds me of Filipino adobo.
Slow Cooked Sweet Barbacoa Pork- This is a two step process so it’s not exactly the kind of thing you can just cook in the crock pot while you’re not home, but you could do it on a weekend and then it’s ready for you to eat during the week. 

15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta- Meatless, super easy to whip up pasta with a creamy avocado sauce.  There’s actually no cream, it’s just the avocado that creates a creamy sauce. 

White Chicken Chili- A healthy and filling chili using white kidney beans (aka Cannellini beans) and chicken. 

Homemade Spinach Manicotti- This is something you can make on a weekend and re-heat leftovers.  It takes a little extra time to prepare each element, but it’s well worth it. 

Chicken with Green Curry Sauce- If you are interested in trying to make your own Indian food, this is a super easy recipe to start with.  You may already have some of the ingredients on hand, the garam masala is not too hard to find these days. 

Cannellini Beans with Wilted Greens- Good side dish with plenty of healthy greens and protein rich cannellini beans.  You can simplify the recipe with canned beans that don’t need the overnight soaking.  Spinach or any other green like kale or collard can be used too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Meals for the Week of January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!
As much as I wanted to write a Christmas post, life got in the way.  I baked A LOT.  Between pie and cheesecake orders, homemade gifts and several big cookie and candy platters that were ordered, I was grateful to have cooked some meals ahead of time so that my family was not totally neglected.  On top of that, I came down with a nasty 24 hour flu 3 days before Christmas and from there it proceeded to take each one of us out one day at a time.

But now, it's a new year, it's unseasonably warm and it's time for new beginnings and new ideas.  I've got goals and ideas swimming around in my head and I'm going to put them in writing soon.  I'm also training for a triathalon in June.  That is probably the biggest goal I have ever set in my life.  I'm sure I'll be sharing some of that journey here, especially as it pertains to food and fueling for exercise.

For this week, I have some make ahead meals, some quick ones, a few that are lightened up versions of comfort food and a couple of extra recipes for breakfast and sides.  Have a great week!

Meals for the Week of January 9, 2012

Seared Chicken Salad with Green Beans, Almonds and Dried Cherries- If you need/want to eat lighter and healthier, this main dish salad is a good choice.  You can make the chicken in advance and prep the other parts of the salad.

Chicken and Dumplings-This is a healthy version of a traditionally very heavy comfort food meal.  The pastry flour in the dumplings is important for keeping them light and fluffy in texture.  Look for it in your bulk food section of your store.  Or in the baking aisle you may find Bob's Red Mill brand.

Farfalle with Sausage, Tomato and Basil- Very quick and easy, with such a variety of sausage available in stores, use your favorite. 

Crock Pot Taco Soup- Super easy to prepare, serve with warm tortillas or quesadillas and a salad.  The recipe does call for using taco seasoning mix and a ranch dressing mix.  Pay attention to the sodium content or unnecessary preservatives in those.  I like to use Pampered Chef’s  Southwestern Seasoning.  Costco also sells a good one and so does Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. 

Spicy Turkey Sloppy Joes- A bit of a grown up version of Sloppy Joes.  They don’t have to come from a can, you can adapt the seasonings in this recipe for the taste buds in your house.

Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken- Here’s a good main dish salad that is also low calorie.

Ranch Parmesan Chicken- I like to make this as chicken strips instead of whole chicken breasts like the recipe calls for. They will also cook quicker than whole pieces. Highly recommend using panko breading for a lighter, crispier chicken. 

Spaghetti Pie- A bit of a change from the usual spaghetti and a great way to re-do leftover spaghetti.  Use your own homemade sauce or choose a jar sauce. 

Tuscan Kale, White Bean and Ciabatta Soup- The soup uses day old bread to give it a bit of thickness.  The recipe instructions is for using dry beans, you can skip that to use canned beans if you want.  It’s also very easily adaptable to adjust the spices and herbs to suit your tastes.  I would also suggest trying a rustic whole grain bread. 
Healthier Hamburger Helper- The Meal Makeover Moms have taken boxed Lasagna Hamburger Helper and re-done the dish in an easy, from scratch healthier version. 

Peanut Butter Oatmeal- Here's a change from what you might usually put in your oatmeal.  Yum! 

Savory Greens Stir Fry- This is a super-food side dish.  Winter greens like kale are in season right now and packed with health.  If you don’t want to buy mirin for this recipe, you may skip it or get less expensive rice wine vinegar. 
Peanut Butter Power Cookies- Here is a cookie that is a little lower in fat and has some extra fiber and protein.