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Chicken Parm Meatballs

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I love ground chicken. I love ground turkey, too. Basically, I feel like the chicken has a slightly creamy texture when cooked with. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but beef seems too, basic. It’s almost like it’s drying. Which isn’t the case if it’s not in ground form. Obviously, I’m not talking about the super lean beef, but the ground chuck that you’re supposed to use for good flavor. Nope, I just can’t do it lately, I can’t cook with beef.

I suppose that’s good for me, in the long run, so it works out.

But I have to say, I’ve used ground chicken in pasta sauces, with lasagna, stuffed into peppers, and made chili with it. I’ve been working with ground turkey less than chicken, but today I’m returning to my old poultry friend in these delicious, and giant (!) meatballs.

From Dinner, A Love Story

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill or parsley
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino (or Parm)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • paprika to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or there abouts)
  • 1 14-ounce can store bought pizza sauce (or pasta sauce, I had pasta sauce so that’s what I used)
  • about 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly (I didn’t have that, so I used a shredded mozzarella blend, with a bit of cheddar mixed in)

Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.

In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 11 ingredients (everything up to the olive oil). Shape into lacrosse-ball size balls (that would be somewhere between golf and tennis) and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet.

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Brush oil on top of each meatball (I just drizzled it around them and on top so some oil got under the meatballs as well. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese. Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.  Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan.

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Serve with some pasta or potatoes. I used some spaghetti squash, to keep it healthy.

These meatballs (if the same, large, tennis ball size) are about 128 calories each. Two is more than enough, especially with a side, for a meal.

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Triple Banana Walnut Muffins

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I have finally done it! I have created (sort of) my very own recipe. Let me explain, in terms of baking, I don’t really have any skills, simply because it’s more precise than cooking. Although I love to bake, I cannot say with full confidence that I’ve never not followed a recipe. Sure, I can sub in ingredients and maybe add more of one than another, but that’s adapting a recipe in it’s most basic form. Here, I barely followed the recipe at all, and I feel so proud.

Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures, but as I was just messing around in the kitchen, I honestly didn’t think that my first attempt that not following a recipe would come out so successful. 🙂

These muffins are very healthy, by muffin standards. They do have flaxsee (not a flax egg) for extra healthiness. Also I bought a lot of flaxseed and was trying to figure out where to use it.

This recipe was adapted, in part, from skinnytaste.

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Triple Banana Walnut Muffins

  •  3 bananas (decent sized, not large, but not too small, preferably very ripe)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of chopped  walnuts
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash bananas in a medium bowl. To that bowl, add 1 egg, oil, yogurt, flaxseed and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix.  Finally, add in the vanilla, salt and the chopped walnuts. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

Line your muffin sheet with cupcake liners.

Fill your tins to the top. Mine made exactly 12 muffins. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are firm and risen.  I started to check mine at 16 minutes (just to be sure, but they still had a bit of cooking to do).

Turkey Meatloaf

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I’ve never made meatloaf. In fact, I’ve always turned meatloaf recipes into meatballs. However, today was the day that was going to change. I just didn’t feel like making endless balls of yummy meat goodness, and instead decided that a meatloaf would be perfect. It’s been a lazy Monday,  so to celebrate lazyness, my BBQ meatloaf hit the spot.

I used my own BBQ sauce for this. But you can use any kind you like, or even just some ketchup to make the top moist and delicious.

Adapted from Skinnytaste

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Turkety Meatloaf

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.3 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I use 4c Whole Wheat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 2 tbsp ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cut up the onion as finely as you can, or if you like (which is what I did), add them to a food processor (I have a mini one, so my clean up was a cinch) and puree the onion.

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In a medium bowl mix turkey, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, salt and marjoram. Place mixture into a loaf pan or shape into a loaf and place on a baking pan. Spoon sauce on top and sides. Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes, and halfway take out of the oven to add your extra sauce if desired (like BBQ).

uncooked

uncooked

Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

My First Time with Spaghetti Squash

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It has been a crazy few months. This last class has been too hard to put into words. Needless to say, I have been aware that I’ve been away far too long from the blog here. I am sure that I will be keeping up now that I’ve gotten my grade for the class back (an A- woo hoo!), and with some unexpected free time, be prepared for lots of summer, healthy fun.

Onto to today’s recipe…

I’ve never eaten or cooked spaghetti squash. Till today. I went out to my local grocery store and bought it. I did the deed. And I have to say, that it was fantastic! I can’t believe that I’ve been missing out for so long, on such a delicious and simple meal. A half or a whole, with marinara or alfredo sauce, with meat or without, it’s delicious.

It took an hour to actually bake the squash, and maybe ten minutes to make the sauce and prep everything. That includes cleaning and doing the dishes while the sauce was simmering. I’m in awe, simple as that.

Recipe  slightly adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

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  • 1/2 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 milk or heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tablespoons extra for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, for optional garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, prep the squash. Cut spaghetti squash in half using a large sharp knife, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender, about an hour.

As an alternate way of baking: Poke a few holes deep into the whole squash with a paring knife. Bake for 60 minutes, remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing in half with a large serrated knife. Scoop out the seedy inside leaving the spaghetti strands.

Once squash is cooked, use a fork to gently scrape the “spaghetti” strands into the center. Place in a bowl.

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For the sauce, melt butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in milk or cream until no lumps remain. Once hot, add cheese, salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add to bowl and stir. Taste and season further.

Top each half with a pinch of red pepper flakes and fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot.

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Thursday’s “Meatless Monday” Inspired Breakfast Treat

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As you may know I’m in love with blueberries, lately. I know once blackberry season starts back up then I’ll be “in love” with blackberries, and forgot about my blueberries till I go into my freezer around Fall.

I got this lovely post in my email about “meatless Monday” from Prevention RD. I bookmarked the link to make this delicious breakfast food as soon as I got home but I couldn’t move.

Over the weekend I got a sunburn, I felt weak, and hot, and my legs were on fire, and I couldn’t even do my daily pilates routine before dinner. I was craving anything but homemade baked goods. Instead, I really wanted frozen pizza.

Luckily, I didn’t have that, and as I’m feeling much better (thanks to time, and aloe vera), Thursday will have to be the day to make this Monday dish.

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

  • 1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced (or whatever lemon you have handy)
  • 2 cups nonfat milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (FRESH! for me)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.

Zest lemon; set zest aside. In a bowl, combine milk and juice from the zested lemon to make “buttermilk”.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt, spices, and lemon zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the “buttermilk”, butter, egg, and sugar.

Spoon half of the oat mixture into the baking dish, and then half of the blueberries. Add the remaining oat mixture and scatter the remaining blueberries on to the top, pressing them in slightly. Pour in the milk mixture and place in oven.

as you can see the milk mixture doesn’t cover both layers of the oatmeal. That’s completely fine.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the mixture is a light golden brown along the edges, and the center has set up.

The blog was nice enough to provide some nutrional information… though mine came out to be 200 calories because I used the almond milk.

 

 

original from site:

Nutrition Information (per serving): 399 calories; 10.5 g. fat; 49 mg. cholesterol; 486 mg. sodium; 67 g. carbohydrate; 7 g. fiber; 12.3 g. protein

Egg Noodles with Leeks, Peas, and Lemon

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It’s still April and I’m looking through my wonderful issue of Martha Stewart Living.  I’m starting to realize that I’m a closet housewife, only not married, not in a house with a beautiful kitchen and not a backyard for all my gardening and bbq needs.

In any  case I invited my friend over for dinner and Gilmore Girls; a well deserved girls night in. The only person that I could turn to was the one I was holding in my hand: Martha Stewart. She had the best recipe on hand for pappardelle noodles, and while I’ve never seen, nor ever will purchase these noodles (by simple lack of proximity to any stores by me) I decided a good egg noodle will work just as fine.

Egg Noodle with leeks, peas, and lemon

  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks (I used three) cut into half moons
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup peas
  • 9 oz of egg noodles, you can boil the whole package and just use 3/4 of it (a package is usually 12 oz)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz pecorino romano cheese (I used Parmesan, grated)

While bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt; cook until leeks begin to soften and are bright in color, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 5 minutes or so (mine got brown, and almost caramelized, although the pictures in the magazine suggest that wasn’t supposed to happen).

Turn off heat. Finally grate zest of lemon directly into skillet, and season generously with pepper. Cut a lemon in half and add 1 lemon’s worth of juice. Stir.

When water boils, add egg noodles and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Do not dump out water! Use a strainer to transfer the pasta to the skillet. Add peas and stir. Gradually stir in 1 cup pasta water, about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating between the water and ricotta and parmesan.

Toss until completely combined, add more salt to taste, and sprinkle with more cheese. Serve**.

At least I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow

 

**Serves 4 generously (and once again I did the math and it’s about 190 calories per serving, maybe we can say 200 calories depending on the amount of cheese you use. But that’s still pretty good!)

 

Unlikely Inspirations: Lentil Marinara

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I was looking through FoodGawker and I found this lovely blog that I’ve since been slightly obsessed with for the great food photography and inventive recipes. One recipe that caught my eye was this Lentil Marinara.

Original Lentil Marinara

Looking at the recipe, and knowing the taste and heartiness of the lentils myself, I thought putting them over pasta would be a bit too much for me. My version is “lite” if you will, adding in some chicken for the meat and a bit of cheese for some flavor.

My Version

my Lentil Marinara

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 anchovies in oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons oregano (I used fresh)
  • 1/4 cup port or red wine
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup mozerella cheese
  • Chicken stripes/ breast (I had strips, about 7 oz for all 5 of them)

Start off by adding 1 tbsp of oil to a deep braiser dish, I used my Lodge 3-quart dutch oven. When it’s just about heated, about 2 minutes, add in three anchovies and let simmer down, slowly stirring and turning to a paste/mush.

you don't taste the anchovies at all, they just add a natural salty seasoning

Add in the can of whole tomatoes and with some kitchen shears cut them up into eighths. The water goes in next and let simmer for 4 minutes.

While that simmers down you can cook the chicken. It shouldn’t take too long to heat the remaining oil in the pan and add in the chicken. Flavor with salt and pepper to taste. Let cook, about 3 1/2 minutes each side till golden and slightly charred (lovely!)

Add in the lentils and cook on low for about 25 minutes. I like mine a little under cooked so I simmered mine for about 15 minutes, so they still had a bit of bite. Add the oregano, spices of your choosing (I used nutmeg, paprika, and granulated onion), and the port.

oregano and tomatoes just go together, I can't not add them.

Cook for about 8 more minutes and start to layer on the flavor.

nice and marinated together

Place the chicken on the bottom of a plate and layer on some mozzarella. Ladle about 1/2 cup or so on top of the cheese to melt it, and garnish with some more oregano.

delicious end result

Now, for the healthy part: I’ve been dieting and I wanted to see if I could get an accurate number calories counted, or at least, close to it. And I think I’ve done just that. For the whole kip and kabootle it’s around 650 calories. There are meant to be two servings (perfect for lunch tomorrow and Friday), so the total damage, including the chicken and the cheese is: 325!

Happy Eating~

 

**note: my apologies for the poor picture quality, but  I was too darned lazy to get anything but my iphone. Thanks.