Archive for October, 2010

…have about a billion versions, each incredibly tasty and easy.  We made this healthy turkey enchilada casserole from Taste of Home a few weeks ago and loved it!

For enchiladas that won’t hurt your waistline you need:

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 30 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 16 oz. salsa
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz. Mexican tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 12 6″ corn tortillas
  • 2 cups reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 and coat a large skillet with cooking spray.  Cook the turkey, green pepper, and onion over medium until the turkey is done.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then drain the mixture.

Stir in the beans, salsa, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and spices and bring to a bubble.  Knock the heat back to low and simmer the filling for 10 minutes.

To assemble the enchiladas, spread about a cup of meat sauce in a 13×9 that has been coated in cooking spray.  Top with 6 tortillas, half of the remaining meat sauce, and 1 cup cheese.   Add the rest of the tortillas and meat.  Cover and bake the casserole for 20 minutes.  Then, uncover, add the rest of the cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly (about 10 minutes).

We made some yummy refried beans to go with the casserole.  You need:

  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 30 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 oz. chopped green chilies
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add one can of beans, the chilies, and cumin.  Mash the beans, then stir in the other can of beans and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the beans for a couple of minutes to heat through.

Serve a plate of casserole with a scoop of beans on the side.

These enchiladas and beans are absolutely delicious!  And, this casserole is great to cook on the weekend and serve throughout the week–it yields 10 servings!  And, with only 300 calories per portion, it’s a tasty meal that you can feel good about serving your family.


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…was a meal of whole wheat pancakes topped with berries.  It was one of our healthier recipes and these pancakes (from the book, The 4 Day Diet) are delicious.  And, who doesn’t love an SMB that is nutritious?!

For Dr. Ian’s whole wheat pancakes you need:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (the original recipe doesn’t call for it)
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-calorie syrup
  • 1 cup berries

Start by combining the flour, oil, honey, baking powder, eggs, and milk.  To make the pancakes even healthier, you can sub in blue agave for the honey.  It will taste the exact same, but won’t spike your blood sugar!  Whisk the batter until smooth.

Spray a skillet and place it over medium heat.  Add 1/4 cup batter and cook until the top is bubbling.  Then, flip the cake and cook for another minute until springy to the touch.

Top a pancake with a drizzle of syrup and some berries.  We love buying bags of frozen fruit–especially the ones that have no added sugar.  We toss them in cereal, on top of pancakes, or just eat them out of the bag!  It makes a great healthy snack that you can enjoy year-round.

Another awesome way to eat a pancake  is simply top top it with a fried/sunny-side-up egg.  We got this idea from Papa Lawson (the pancake king), and believe me when I tell you this is the one, true way to eat a pancake!!!  Simply fry your egg, place it on the cake, and add some maple syrup.  It does NOT get better than this!

Oh pancakes, how we love thee!  A stack of these tastes delicious and only has about 350 calories, so you can enjoy your SMB without that pesky guilt factor!


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Pad Thai…

…is one of the best Asian meals you can eat, period.  But, it is pretty terrible for you (think, over 2,000 calories a serving!).  As you probably already guessed, Rocco has a healthier version, yet again.  Thank goodness!  His recipe for Pad Thai is fantastic and you will never even know it’s homemade!

For Rocco’s amazing Pad Thai you need:

  • 4 oz. brown rice noodles
  • 12 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 cups beans sprouts
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 3/8 cup Rocco’s Asian sauce
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Boil a large pot of water and cook the noodles as the package indicates.  When 2 minutes are left, add the shrimp, 2 cups of sprouts, and the peas.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat Rocco’s Asian stir-fry sauce  over high.  Bring it to a boil, then stir in the peanut butter, lime juice, fish sauce, and scallions.  Pour into a large bowl and add the noodles and cilantro.

Serve a plate of Pad Thai topped with some more bean sprouts and edamame on the side.

As usual, this recipe is a major win.  And, a plate of this Pad Thai has under 300 calories and 5 grams of fat!


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Linguine with clam sauce…

…was my favorite meal as a child.  In fact, I have specific memories of giving up pizza at a friend’s house because knew Mom was making linguine with clams for dinner.  I found a RR recipe for a new version of my old favorite, and absolutely loved it!

For Rachael’s linguine with white clam sauce for 2 you need:

  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb. linguine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tin anchovy fillets, drained
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 15 oz. whole baby clams (we used unshelled clams)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped

Boil a large pot of water, salt it, and cook the pasta 6-7 minutes.  You want it to be slightly underdone.

Heat a big skillet over medium heat.  Add the oil, garlic, and anchovies, stirring until the fish dissolve into a paste.  Add the thyme and wine and simmer for a minute until reduced.  Stir in the clams and their juices along with the lemon zest.

Add the fettuccine to the pot and toss to coat with the sauce for a couple of minutes.  Mix in the parsley along with a bit more salt and pepper.  Serve up a plate of pasta with some crusty bread and asparagus alongside.

While i will gladly eat my mom’s linguine with clam sauce any day, this is a wonderful version of the dish.  When lemon zest, wine, and garlic combine, you know you are in for a treat!


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…is not something we prepare often, unfortunately.  I do have Julia Child’s first cookbook, and we never use it enough!!  French cuisine is excellent and we always enjoy it when we make a French-inspired dinner.  Recently, we tried RR’s chicken paillard and it is delicious!  This dish brings several of our favorite ingredients together to make one tasty chicken and gravy dinner.

For chicken paillard you need:

  • 8 chicken breast cutlets (we used 4 chicken breasts)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • mixed salad greens

Heat a large skillet over medium-high.  Place the chicken in a shallow dish and drizzle with enough oil to coat the meat.  Then, combine the herbs, lemon zest, and flour.  Season with salt and pepper and spread the mixture over the chicken to coat.  Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes a side.  Don’t move the chicken while it is cooking, as it won’t caramelize as nicely.  Remove the meat to a plate and cover in foil to keep warm while you make the gravy.

Add the butter to the skillet.  When it has melted, whisk in the flour.  Whisk the roux for a couple of minutes, then whisk in the broth.  Continue whisking the gravy until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Toss your salad greens with the lemon juice and some salt and pepper.

To plate the chicken, spoon some gravy onto a plate and top with a piece of chicken (or two cutlets).  You can also add the salad, or simply serve it alongside.

When you want chicken and gravy, this should be your go-to recipe!  It is absolutely delicious and could not be more simple to throw together.


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Moroccan meatballs…

…are probably one of my most favorite meals by RR that we have made yet.  This delicious recipe was featured in Every Day, and we were so excited to try it!  And, as expected, a bowl of delicious tiny meatballs smothered in homemade sauce and an egg cracked on top is absolutely fantastic!

For Rachael’s Moroccan meatballs you need:

  • 2 lbs. ground lamb ( we used elk and beef)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 6 gloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 28 oz. fire-roasted tomatoes
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment for the meatballs.  Mix the meat, a good amount of salt and pepper, the parsley, 4 cloves of garlic, the lemon zest, chili powder, paprika, and cumin and form about 65 tiny meatballs.  Place them on the baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of oil, and bake for 10 minutes until the meatballs are browned.

Heat a big skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high.  Toss in the onion and 2 cloves of garlic.  Cook until softened, then add some salt and pepper, chicken stock, and tomatoes.  Bring the sauce to a bubble, then add the cloves and cinnamon.  Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until it has thickened up a bit.

Then, add the meatballs in to simmer for a few minutes.

Pour the meatball and sauce mixture into a bowl and crack an egg on top.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for several minutes to cook the egg.  This didn’t work great for us the first go-round, so we ended up cooking our eggs in a skillet and just sliding them onto the meatballs after.  Serve your bowl of meatball goodness with some crispy bread (you will want it for that sauce!!) and a fresh salad alongside.

I could really go for another bowl of these meatballs!  They are absolutely fantastic.  Trust me–this is one dinner you do not want to miss!


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Papa Lawson…

…is a darn good cook and has handed down many a delicious dinner recipe.  Most recently, we had a craving for some good ol’ spaghetti, and knew that his family recipe would hit the spot!

For Papa Lawson’s spaghetti you need:

  • 1 lb spaghetti (we used whole grain)
  • 2 lbs beef (we used elk and beef)
  • a few Italian sausages
  • 1 large jar of Prego
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 stick butter (we only used a few tbsp…sorry, dad!)

Not only is this spaghetti delicious, it is super-simple!!!  Simply brown all that meat in a skillet (try to chop it finely as it cooks).

Then, add in the sauce, sugar, and salt.

Boil some salted water for your pasta and cook it for about 9 minutes.  When they are done, toss the noodles with some butter to loosen them up and help the spaghetti sauce stick.

Add the spaghetti sauce to the noodles and you are already done!  Serve up a plate of pasta and meat sauce with bread and, yes Dad, a salad, alongside.

When you are craving a plate of spaghetti, this is what you want!!!  It comes together so quickly and is absolutely delicious.  Plus, it makes a boatload of pasta, so you won’t have to worry about what’s for dinner for days!


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…in combination with mustard makes a great hamburger condiment!  We recently made apple maple turkey burgers and greatly enjoyed this tasty fall-flavored meal.

For these delightful burgers you need:

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup real bacon bits (we used chopped turkey bacon)
  • 1/2 cup chunky applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons  maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • hamburger buns

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mound the mixture into an oval-shaped mound.  Score the meat length ways and across  into four equal portions to make four patties.  Be sure to make them slightly thinner in the middle for more even cooking!

Grill the burgers in a skillet drizzled with oil and over medium-high heat.  Cook them for about 6 minutes a side.

Meanwhile, make that delicious maple-mustard sauce!

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.

We made smashed sweet potatoes to serve alongside.  You need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • a splash of milk
  • a drizzle of maple syrup

Bring a pot of water to boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes (until fork-tender).  Then, add the syrup and milk to your desired consistency.

Serve a freshly grilled patty on a toasted bun topped with a dollop of sauce and any of your favorite burger toppings.  We kept ours simple and stuck with just the sauce.  Delicious.

These burgers are so nice and moist and the sauce is delightful!  With the creamy smashed sweet potatoes on the side, this is a wonderful meal, particularly for Fall.


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…is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things we have  “pioneered” in our young marriage.  I mean, really.  Who wouldn’t love waking up on a Saturday morning and cooking a delicious breakfast with their best friend?  Anyway, this past weekend we indulged in Noble Pig’s pumpkin pancakes.  I must say that we couldn’t be more happy that last year’s pumpkin shortage is over!  We have been hording a precious can of it for months and are excited that it is now readily available again.  Phew!!

For pumpkin pancakes and a delicious syrup you need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices.

In another bowl, mix the egg yolk, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla.  Then, mix in your melted butter (if it is hot, add it slowly to avoid scrambling the egg!)  Add this to the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is combined.

Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the batter.

Grease a skillet over medium with butter or vegetable oil.   Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the hot skillet and cook until the top is bubbly, then flip and cook until the bottom is also golden.  Pop each pancake into a 200 degree oven to keep warm while you finish cooking the batter.

While the pancakes are going, make a wonderful syrup to coat them in!  You need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup water

Simply combine all of the dry ingredients in a saucepan, then add the vanilla and water.  Bring the mixture to a bubble and keep warm until you are ready to eat.

Serve up a stack of pancakes covered in ooey, gooey syrup.

Oh my goodness.  IHOP has nothing on this recipe for pancakes!  It’s hard to beat crisp, fluffy, pumpkin pancake goodness on a Fall morning!


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Tuna salad…

…has become a staple in our lunch menus!  As I always say, it is just too easy and there are a million ways to make it, so why not?  We made up our own Italian version and enjoyed it quite a bit.

For our Italian tuna salad you need:

  • 2 big cans of tuna, drained
  • a few tbsp. of Italian dressing
  • juice/zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

The first step is to soak the diced onion in cold water for about 5 minutes.  This dilutes the taste just enough so you can actually taste the other ingredients!

All you need to do now is stir the items together!  You can serve the salad several ways–on bread or in a wrap and stuffed with sliced cucumbers or on a bed of greens.

Any way you fix it, this salad is pretty darn tasty and is a great option for a healthy lunch!


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