31 December 2013

Baked Portobello Parmesan

What an awesome meal. Let me start by saying even if you're not the biggest fan of mushrooms, you will still probably like this! One of Will's friends was here and stayed for dinner. He usually stays away from mushrooms, but thought these were super good! You bread the mushroom caps (no frying!) and they get so crispy and amazing. 

1/4 c Italian-style bread crumbs
1/4 c Panko
1 c  freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided use
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 c fresh minced parsley, divided use

2 tsp salt, divided use
3/4 c egg substitute
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano leaves
4 large (5 to 6-inches wide) stemmed portobello mushrooms, brushed clean (mine were slightly smaller so I made six)
1-1/2 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 c marinara sauce
cooking spray

Position a baking rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. Mist rack with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine bread crumbs, Panko, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp parsley, paprika and 1 tsp salt in a shallow pan. Mix well. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine egg substitute, remaining 1 tsp salt. pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Mix well.

Dip both sides of mushrooms into egg mixture. Dredge in crumb mixture until both sides are completely coated. Transfer, stem side down, to prepared wire rack. Spray tops with cooking spray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and the tops have browned a bit. Remove pan from oven.

Carefully turn mushrooms stem side up. Cover each mushroom with remaining Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce. Spray tops lightly. Return to oven and bake until cheese melts and mushrooms are warmed through, about 10 minutes. I broiled for a minute or so. Use a wide spatula to transfer mushrooms to a serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

We had these with roasted broccoli and these zucchini rolls. I didn't have a recipe for these, but I had seen a picture of something similar. I used a mandolin to slice the zucchini thin lengthwise. I broiled the zucchini for about 3 min per side, then I put them on paper towels and tried to soak up as much water as possible. I spread a little laughing cow cheese, rolled them up, secured with toothpicks, then heated up. I just put them in the 350 degree oven for about 7-10 min. DELICIOUS. 

29 December 2013

Spaghetti Squash & Peppers in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Obviously I'm obsessed with spaghetti squash. I came up with this recipe on my own, because I was limited on what I had and needed to use some things up. I had half a bag of sweet mini peppers, half an onion, and a spaghetti squash. I was going to combine that and make the skinny alfredo sauce (from Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo), but I know Will prefers tomato-based sauces, while of course I love creamy sauces. I compromised and mixed the skinny alfredo with some marinara to make a delicious creamy tomato sauce! I love the flavor the peppers gave to the dish. Winner!

1 large spaghetti squash, baked/shredded (See Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese to see how I prepare my spaghetti squash)
1/2 large onion, minced
1 1/2 c diced sweet mini peppers (about 14 peppers)
olive oil spray

1 tbsp light butter
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c skim milk 
1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese (I used Garlic & Herb)
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt/pepper, each
1/2 c marinara sauce
crushed red pepper flakes, fresh parsley, green onions (optional, for garnish)

Place cooked & shredded spaghetti squash in a large bowl. Spray a skillet with olive oil spray and heat over med-high. Cook onions and peppers for a few minutes until slightly soft. Add to bowl with spaghetti squash.

Now prepare your sauce. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a sauce pan over med-high heat. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add flour and mix with a whisk. Slowly add the milk next, while stirring with whisk. The chunks of flour/butter will melt. 

Once the milk is warm, add the wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. Continue stirring and let the cheese melt. Heat the sauce until boiling, but stir the entire time. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Next add the marinara sauce. Stir well, then pour into the bowl with the spaghetti squash & peppers. Mix it all together and pour into a greased 9x13" dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 min. Enjoy!!

I made the Roasted Parmesan Green Beans to go with this.

Baked Butternut Squash Fries

I had some of my mom's butternut squash sitting on my counter for a while... I came across this recipe for fries on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a try. Really good! They get crispy like real fries.

butternut squash (the longer the trunk of it the better for getting more fries. I used 1 small squash, but I was just making enough for myself. You can use however much you want.) 
salt (coarse sea salt is best)
parchment paper

Pre-heat the oven to broil. My oven has low and high broil options, I used low.

Using a a strong vegetable peeler or knife. Peel the outside of the squash. Cut off the bulb shaped part of the squash. Cut the long part of the squash into skinny even fry like strips. They should be as uniform as possible for best results. If you make thicker fries you may need to bake them after the initial broiling at 400 degrees or until done.

Lay the fries out on a paper towel. Sprinkle evenly with FINE salt and let sit for 30 minutes. This helps the squash to 'sweat' and pull some of the water out. When they are finished sweating pat dry.

Place the fries on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Broil the fries for a few minutes on one side. You want them to start getting a little bit of  a 'skin' but not to burn. Take the pan out of the oven and using a spatula flip the fries over. Do the same for this side. You will need to keep broiling and flipping a few times to ensue even browning and dryness. 

Everybody's oven is different, so cooking times will very. For this reason, it is normal to have some of the fries burn (the smaller thinner ones of the bunch, that's why uniformity is so important). You can take out the fries that finish early and continue to flip and broil till they are done.

If you find that your broiler is too hot, you can lower the oven rack. Just remember, the goal is to cook the fries quickly (as you would in frying) That way the inside doesn't have time to get mushy. 

Butternut squash can burn easily, so toward the end of cooking keep a close eye on them or you will end up with a heap of charred squash. But don't take them out too soon either, be patient enough to let them get browned.

When finished sprinkle lightly with salt. Cool the fries slightly on a paper towel, spreading them out so they are not laying on top of each other. This will make them get soggy. Eat and enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

Oven Fried Eggplant

I didn't expect this recipe to be so good! These get nice and crispy. I always thought my favorite way to eat baked eggplant was with tomato & Parmesan on top... but this is equally delicious!

1/2 c fat-free mayonnaise
1 tbsp minced dried onion
1 lb unpeeled eggplant, sliced (1/2 inch slices) (I always peel my eggplant)
1/4 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1/4 c Panko
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
cooking spray
Combine mayo & onion, stir well. Spread evenly over both sides of eggplant slices.

Combine breadcrumbs, Panko, cheese, and Italian seasoning in a shallow bowl; dredge eggplant in breadcrumbs mixture.

Place eggplant on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. I used a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. 
Bake@ 425 degrees for 12 minutes. Turn eggplant over; and bake an additional 12 minutes or until golden. I broiled mine for about 1 min per side to get them a little more brown. You could also dip these in marinara. Yum!
Original recipe found here.
I made one of my favorites - Zucchini & Carrot Cakes with Basil Chive Cream - to go with these. I also roasted some broccoli.

27 December 2013

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

I lost 22 lbs between early July and mid October. Then Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas came along. I weighed this morning and I've gained 5-6 lbs back. What does that mean? I will be buying massive amounts of produce, thus having veggie mania, plus logging everything in My Fitness Pal app again! I set a goal a couple lbs less than what I made it to last time. I feel pretty confident I can do it. There's nothing like putting on pants you wore in May-June, that are 2 sizes too big, and they hang off you. That's enough motivation right there!

In other news, I have 9 glorious days left of Christmas break. Main goal: Complete resume (ugh), and start application process. I am dreading this. I'm very excited about our move to Houston... but NOT excited about the process of getting there. In addition to the application process, I've been doing some major house cleaning... like scrubbing cabinets, floorboards, etc. Ahhh, the joys of getting a house ready to sell!


Wow, that was like a journal entry above. Sorry about that. Let's get to THE RECIPE!! Y'all, this was seriously good. First of all, this was my first experience with a head of cabbage. I've always bought the shredded cabbage if I needed any. It was super easy to use it and then I cut up the leftovers. Also, the recipe called for raisins... I didn't have any so I used dried cranberries instead. Delicious! Don't leave them out. This is kind of like a mini meatloaf wrapped in cabbage! You can also prepare this beforehand, then just drizzle the tomato sauce mixture over the top when ready to bake.

olive oil spray
1 c diced onion
1 medium head green cabbage
1 lb lean ground beef (I use the 96/4%)
1/2 c cooked rice (I used some brown minute rice)
1/4 raisins (I didn't have any, I used dried cranberries)
1 tsp salt
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 c fat-free beef broth
1/2 tsp paprika (I used 1 tsp, we like spice!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13" dish with cooking spray. Spray a medium skillet and heat over med-high heat. Add the onion, cook about 5 min, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Using a small, sharp knife, cut in a circle all around the stem of the cabbage and remove the core. Place the cabbage in the boiling water. After about 2 minutes an outside leaf will come loose--pull it off and out of the water using tongs. After another minute the next leaf will come loose. Remove and repeat until you have 8 to 10 leaves. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels. Cut out the thick part of the rib from the bottom of each leaf, but don't cut more than a third of the way into the leaf.  **This was so much easier than I thought it would be. 

In a large bowl, combine the beef, cooled onion, rice, raisins, and salt - I used my (clean!) hands. With the stem side of the cabbage leaf facing you, place about 1/3 cup of the beef mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom edge over the mixture and then fold the sides over and roll into a little packet. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, broth, and paprika. Pour evenly over the cabbage rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Original recipe found here.
After I peeled 8 cabbage leaves off the head of cabbage, there was enough left over to make a side out of it. I immediately took it out of the water, easily chopped it up, let it dry, then just sauteed it with a little light butter & olive oil, plus salt, pepper, and garlic powder. We drizzled some of the tomato sauce from the cabbage rolls over it. Delish!!

I also made some mushroom pizza bites. They are just baby bellas, stems removed. You bake the mushrooms for about 7 min @ 350 degrees. Then pull them out, add a little marinara, part-skim mozz, sliced olives, and turkey pepperoni. Broil on low for a few minutes. Mmmm.

25 December 2013

Slow-Cooker Breakfast Casserole

For the last few years, I've made these amazing Sticky Buns for Christmas morning breakfast. This year I wanted to try something different. It was a success!! It smelled delicious and was just perfect when we woke up.

If you have a big crock pot (6 quarts or so) you will probably want to follow the original recipe. But the site said you can't make it in a smaller crock pot because it won't fit. I think my crock pot is somewhere around 3-4 quarts, so I just (kind of) halved the recipe. Below I posted how I made the casserole in my crock pot.

20 oz hash browns (I used a bag of the shredded "Simply Potatoes" hash browns, near the eggs - you can also use frozen, shredded or cubed)
12 oz ground sausage, browned (we used the reduced fat kind)
1 c shredded 2% cheddar cheese
1/2 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 of an onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
8 eggs
1/4 c skim milk
1 tsp salt/pepper, each
additional seasonings (use whatever you like, I also used some seasoning salt, this stuff called bacon salt, and some parsley)

Spray a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes on the bottom of slow cooker. 
Top with half everything else: the sausage, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, onions, and red peppers. Repeat the layers again, and then top with the last 1/3 of potatoes.

Beat eggs, milk, and salt, pepper, and other seasonings in large bowl with a wire whisk until well blended. Pour egg mixture evenly over potato-sausage-veggie mixture.

Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours or on high setting for 4 hours or until eggs are set. Sprinkle a little cheddar over the top, let it melt, and enjoy! 
Top with green onions, salsa, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado- whatever you like!

Original recipe found here.

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

I think I have gained a solid 5 pounds alone just by eating these!! They are DELICIOUS! I rarely make desserts, but I gave the gingerbread cheesecake bites to my team, and I made the Reeses Bites (see the end of this post) for Christmas. I have eaten way too many of both! Operation Veggies happens tomorrow. ;)

1 (30 oz) package Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough (refrigerated section)
4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll two teaspoons of cookie dough into a ball for each cookie. Place balls of dough into paper liners mini cupcake/muffin pan. Make a well/indentation into each ball of dough with a flour dipped mini rolling pin or the back of a measurement teaspoon. Bake for 9 min. The dough will rise a lot. I just pushed the indention back down and baked about 3 more min. Let cool a little bit while you make the frosting.
Beat room temperature cream cheese with powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla. Place filling into a piping bag, cut off edge of bag. Place one teaspoon or so of filling into each area of cookie dough. Then I placed mine in the fridge to help harden the cream cheese.
Original recipe found here.
This recipe inspired me to try something similar! I used peanut butter cookie dough and Reeses cups instead of gingerbread & cream cheese. You make them the exact same way, just with peanut butter dough and Reeses! Very tasty.

11 December 2013

Crock Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup

I noticed I hadn't posted since Nov 29. I've been cooking tons - just not trying many new recipes. But I did tonight and it was a success!! (Last night's Skinny Chicken & Dumplings was good, but not good enough to post!).

This is like a stuffed pepper, in soup form! VERY tasty. I browned the ground beef and put everything together in the crock pot the night before. So this morning all I had to do was move it from the fridge to the crock pot, and set the timer! So awesome.

1 lb lean ground beef (I used Laura's Lean Beef 96/4%)
1 small onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
29 oz (2 cans) tomato sauce
29 oz (2 cans) petite-diced tomatoes
3 beef bouillon cubes
2 c water
1/2 tsp salt/pepper, each
1 bag instant rice (I used the Success brand brown rice)
shredded part-skim cheese (optional)

Brown the ground beef. Add ALL ingredients --except rice-- to your slow cooker. Cook on Low 5 hours. Remove lid and pour in the bag of instant rice. Replace lid and let cook about 30 more minutes. Top with cheese if you'd like, and enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

29 November 2013

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash & Zucchini Tomato Bake

I just threw this together myself - didn't have a recipe... but it's pretty simple, and pretty DELICIOUS! After our amazing Thanksgiving feasts yesterday, I felt like I definitely needed a veggie dinner tonight. I had two zucchini I needed to use, plus some tomatoes, and a spaghetti squash... so I just combined it into something that turned out very, very tasty! Will thought this was awesome too. He thinks it should be in regular rotation.

1 large spaghetti squash
2 large zucchini (made into noodles using mandolin, or you could just cut it in chunks too)
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 c (or more) marinara sauce
1/2 c shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/2 c (plus a little extra) shredded Parm

Bake and prepare your spaghetti squash. To see how I do mine, see the recipe for the "Mac & Cheese" Spaghetti Squash.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash strands in a large bowl. Stir in marinara sauce. In a sprayed 9x13" baking dish, layer tomato slices (I used six), then sprinkle shredded Parmesan over tomatoes. Pour spaghetti squash & zucchini noodles with marina over tomatoes. Layer with six more tomato slices. Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese around the tomatoes, and then some Parmesan cheese on top of each tomato. Bake for 15 min, then broil on high for a couple minutes to brown the cheese. Enjoy!!

13 November 2013

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This was incredible! The recipe came from SkinnyTaste.... however, adding crescent rolls over the top was not part of the recipe. But we could spare some calories in order to have a warm delicious crescent crust over the top of our soup!

1/2 c flour
1/2 gallon skim milk
4 c water
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
16 oz bag frozen mixed veggies
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed small
1 lb cooked chicken breasts, shredded or diced

Create a slurry by combining 1 cup of the cold water with 1/2 c flour in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.

Pour remaining water and milk into a large soup pot and slowly bring to a boil. Add celery, onion, mushrooms, potatoes, chicken bouillons, thyme, fresh pepper, frozen vegetables and return to a boil. Partially cover and simmer on low until vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Add chicken, and slowly whisk in slurry, stirring well as you add. Cook another 10 minutes, until soup thickens, adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve.

If you want to put crescent rolls on top, get the reduced-fat ones, and make sure you have oven-safe bowls. Just lay a couple crescents over your soup and bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. ENJOY!!

Original recipe found here.

Baked Vegetable Casserole

The tomatoes MAKE this dish! I would have used more if I had extra tomatoes! YUM!

2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
2 tomatoes
1 eggplant
2 medium sized zucchini
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 c chopped onions

1/2 c marinara sauce
2 c part-skim mozzarella cheese
pepper to taste 

Cube up your zucchini and eggplant. In a large skillet heat oil and toss in your cubed vegetables & onion over medium heat, sprinkle salt on top (I also used Cavenders).  Heat and toss until vegetables are a little tender. Add marinara and stir well. Transfer the vegetables to a sprayed or foiled baking dish - I used a 9x13". Slice your tomatoes and arrange slices on top of other vegetables. Sprinkle a bunch of cheese on top! Sprinkle with pepper to taste and bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned, and veggies are tender. I broiled mine for a minute to really brown the cheese! 

Original recipe found here.

10 November 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Bites

These are awesome! Kinda of like quiche we decided. Easy and delicious! We had just a little lite sour cream on ours.

16 oz pkg of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained of liquid
1 1/2 c of grated 2% cheddar cheese
3 eggs
salt & pepper
1 c seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. With your hands, form small patties and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes, turning the patties after the first 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

We had these with our favorite: Cilantro Sweet Chili Chicken Skewers and Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Well, Will had a baked potato... he does not like sweet potatoes.

30 October 2013

Spaghetti Squash Marinara Bake

I just threw some stuff together for this. I have made spaghetti squash several different ways, but never with marinara or tomato sauce. Now Will typically prefers less creamy tomato-like sauces, and I always prefer creamy (of course). So I figured this would be his favorite spaghetti squash recipe. It was. Don't get me wrong, he loves all the others, but since he likes tomato sauce so much, this is his fave.

1 spaghetti squash (cooked, shredded)
marinara pasta sauce
1/2 c shredded Parmesan
1/2 c Panko

To see how I prepare my spaghetti squash, see previous recipes. (Listed below)

Put your shredded spaghetti squash in a big bowl and add as much marinara sauce as you want, it's up to you. Put that in a sprayed 8x8" cooking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then Panko. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 min or until slightly browned on top.

Other spaghetti squash recipes:
"Mac & Cheese" Spaghetti Squash (favorite)
"Skinny" Spaghetti Squash Alfredo (favorite)
Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin
Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Tomato Bake
Simple Herbed Spaghetti Squash

We had this with Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes" and mushrooms stuffed with Laughing Cow cheese.

29 October 2013

Mini Pepper Nachos with Corn & Black Beans

These are so amazing! The original recipe called for avocado, but I didn't have any so I omitted that. It also called for cheddar cheese, but I was out so I used part-skim shredded mozzarella. Delicious!

  • 1 c corn (I used canned)
  • 1 c black beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1 c salsa
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb mini peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1 c cheddar cheese, shredded (I used mozz)
  • 1/2 c green onions

  • Mix the corn, black beans, 1/4 c green onions, salsa and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet, fill with the filling, sprinkle on the cheese and broil until the cheese has melted, about 4 minutes. I broiled on Low 4 min, then on High for 1 min. Top with the rest of the green onions.
Original recipe found here.

22 October 2013

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup

It's been a while since I had used my trusty crock pot. With a 12 hour days today because of conferences, I knew it was time to break out the crock pot again. But I wanted to stick with something healthy and with plenty of veggies. I came across this healthy soup on Pinterest. It includes lean ground beef, and of course you could leave the beef out, but I think it really added to it! This was so tasty and I can't wait to take leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

The original recipe is doubled for a larger size crock pot. I halved the recipe and it still made plenty! So what I have posted below is the recipe halved - how I made it.

1 lb lean ground beef
½ medium onion, diced
1 (15-ounce) can mixed vegetables, drained
1 (15-ounc)e can Lima beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can niblet corn, drained
1 (15-ounce) can carrots, drained
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes and okra
1 c water

Brown your ground beef in a large skillet. Combine beef, along with all other ingredients in the crock pot. I put everything together the night before, put the crock pot bowl in the fridge, so I just had to put it in the crock pot this morning. Cook on Low 5-6 hours.

Original recipe found here.

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

Oh my - delicious. I have seen this on Pinterest for a while - claiming that it's like hash brown casserole (a favorite of mine). I tried it. It's amazing and I enjoyed leftovers for lunch today even more! YUM.

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tbsp light butter
1 small yellow onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh thyme
½ c light sour cream
½ c red-fat shredded cheddar cheese

This is how I always prepare my squash: Poke holes in squash with a fork and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for about an hour at 375 degrees. Let it cool off and then slice it down the middle. Remove the seeds and things from the middle. Then just use a fork to shred the strands of squash out. Lately I've been baking and prepping my squash the day before I need it. That way it's all shredded in a big bowl in the fridge ready to go. 

In a skillet over medium heat, add the butter, onions, red pepper and thyme and cook until the onions are slightly brown in color. Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Combine the shredded squash, onions, sour cream and half the cheese together and mix well.  Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

Place in oven at 375º for 20 minutes until golden brown on top. 

Original recipe found here.

We had red wine & garlic mushrooms and roasted broccoli with this! I love how the broccoli gets crispy when roasted. 

17 October 2013

Baked Cauli-tots

Another awesome way to use cauliflower!!! These are great. We decided they are almost like a mix of tater tots and cornbread. The original recipe serves them with ketchup, but I ate mine plain! I didn't think they needed anything with the cheddar cheese in there. Oh, I had to buy a mini muffin pan to make these - worth it!

3 c (about half of a head) shredded cauliflower
4 oz (about 1 c) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used light sharp cheddar)
1 egg
¼ c cornmeal
1 tsp salt
a few grinds black pepper
½ tsp ground mustard

I shredded my cauliflower in my Ninja. Use a food processor or something like that. You shred it raw. 

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spray a mini muffin tin with oil or coking spray. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together thoroughly. I used a fork. Using a spoon, divide the mixture between the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Original recipe found here.

15 October 2013

Pizza Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Yum - definitely one of my favorite stuffed pepper recipes. Tastes just like a delicious pizza but without the crust. Mmmm.

2 c cooked and cooled quinoa (1/2 c dry)
3.15 oz pkg sliced pepperoni, slices cut into quarters
8 oz of perline (pearl) mozzarella, liquid drained (I just used shredded mozz)
3/4 c pizza sauce
1/2 c loosely packed fresh basil, more for garnish
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 c grated Parmesan
4 red bell peppers, sliced in half and hollowed out

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Place red pepper halves in boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove and let cool so that you can handle them. (I did not do this part and my peppers were not too hard.)

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except Parmesan cheese and bell peppers. Fill pepper halves with quinoa mixture and place in a large baking dish (9x13 or bigger). Repeat until all pepper halves are full. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and peppers are heated through. Enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

13 October 2013

Black Bean & Corn Baked Egg Rolls

These are so yummy. I have made something similar before: Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls with Cilantro Cream Sauce. Those are made with tortillas and chicken (the sauce is amazing), but these are made with actual egg roll wrappers and no meat. Both are delicious. I love how crispy the egg roll wrappers get.

1 can corn (15 oz)
1 can black beans (15 oz, drained/rinsed)
1 1/2 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 can diced green chiles (drained, 4 oz)
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pkg egg roll wrappers (about 20)

In a large bowl, combine everything but the egg roll wrappers. Mix well to blend. Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and place ¼ cup of the filling in the center. Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll a bit, then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center. Continue rolling into an egg roll shape until a small part of the remaining point is still free. Dip a finger in water or beaten egg and lightly brush on the edges of the free corner. Finish rolling and press to seal closed. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Lightly oil a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the sealed egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown, turning halfway through baking. Serve warm with salsa.

Original recipe found here.

12 October 2013

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes

YUM! Delicious. Like I've mentioned before... I am obsessed with sweet potatoes right now.

1-1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
2 medium to large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp melted light butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut into 1 & ½ inch thick slices. Boil water in a 3 quart sauce pan with a tsp salt. When the water is simmering, add the potato slices and cook for around 10 minutes, until the slices are getting a little soft.

Oil a large baking sheet and mix together all of the dry spices in a small bowl.

Remove the slices to a cooling rack. You can leave them on the rack until they cool off and the outsides are dry, or if you are in a hurry, blot all of the moisture from the surface of the slices. This is important – they have to be dry on the outside or they won’t get crispy.

Start the oven preheating to 400º Lay the slices of sweet potato on the prepared pan, and use a water glass to gently compress each slice – you want them to flatten out and the edges should get kind of ruffly. Mix the butter and oil together. Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, spread a thin layer of the oil and butter mixture on each slice. Sprinkle some of the spice mixture over each slice, and press onto the surface lightly so that it sticks to the potato slices. Gently turn oven each slice, and repeat the oil/butter and dry spice application as you did on the first side.

Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the bottom of the slices is getting caramelized and crispy. Carefully flip over each slice and roast another 10 minutes or so, until both sides are crispy and the spice mixture has melted together and turned all nicely brown. Serve immediately.

Original recipe found here.

09 October 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower

I've been looking for other ways to prepare our favorite veggies, since we have been eating so much of them. Will and I agreed this was interesting... and in a GOOD way! It's really easy to do too. If you're a fan of buffalo sauce, buffalo wings, whatever... I'm sure you'll love this! We dipped ours in some lite ranch dressing.

1 head of cauliflower

For the batter
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c water
dash of Frank's Wing Sauce (or Frank's Original Hot Sauce)
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp dried onion

For the buffalo sauce
1/4 c Frank's Wing Sauce
3 tbsp salted butter, melted
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray (I always use olive oil spray) and set aside. Wash your head of cauliflower and cut into pieces. I made a variety of sizes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the batter ingredients. 
Dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter until fully and evenly coated. Place onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 15 minutes until the batter just hardens.

In a small bowl, mix together the buffalo sauce ingredients. 
Once the cauliflower are done, remove from the oven and brush with the buffalo sauce. Again, fully and evenly coat each piece.

Put back into the oven and bake for a few more minutes (I think 5-7 minutes was my range), until  the sauce has mostly dried and the cauliflower is crispy. 
Remove from the oven, let cool, then enjoy! 

Original recipe found here.

08 October 2013

Eggplant Lasagna

This was seriously good and Will thought it tasted like Eggplant Parmesan. The top gets nice and crispy, even though the eggplant aren't pan-fried at all. YUM! I cut the original recipe in half and just made half, which is what I posted below.

1 large eggplant, sliced thinly & peeled (I sliced mine into circles instead of lengthwise)
1 c marinara sauce
3/4 c low-fat ricotta
3/4 c shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/2 c shredded Parmesan
1 c Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8x8" baking dish and lay out one layer of eggplant in the bottom of dish. Mix ricotta & mozzarella together. Layer half of mixture on top of eggplant. Cover with marinara sauce, and top with some Parmesan. Repeat: eggplant, ricotta/mozz mixture, sauce, Parmesan. Then I did one more layer of eggplant, a little bit more sauce, Parmesan cheese, and then the Panko. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is nice and brown. Enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

Easy Cheesy Zucchini & Squash Bake

Simple. Easy. Delicious!!

2 medium-sized zucchini, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2 medium-sized yellow squash, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2-4 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp thinly sliced green onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup low-fat white cheese (I used lowfat mozzarella)
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with olive oil or non-stick spray. Combine the sliced squash, chopped basil, sliced green onions, dried thyme, garlic powder, and both kinds of cheese and stir together until the veggies are coated with cheese and the herbs are well-distributed. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Put the mixture in the baking dish and bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes.

When the zucchini is nearly cooked through, take the casserole dish out of the oven and sprinkle over the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Put the dish back in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and nicely browned and zucchini is fully cooked.  Serve hot.

Original recipe found here.

01 October 2013

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I never liked sweet potatoes. Even with all the marshmallows on top during Thanksgiving... I just couldn't do it. I recently found out that these days I LIKE sweet potatoes. Will's mom made some roasted sweet potatoes a couple months back that were delicious, then I tried sweet potato fries and they were amazing! So now my mom has a bounty of sweet potatoes from her garden. I made these baked sweet potato fries and they were SO delicious. Super tasty. I like to say my tastebuds have matured. ;) I should try fish again to see if I like that now too!

Another time I made these thinner:

2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 large ones)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp spice of your choice (I had no idea what to use so I just used some Cajun seasoning - one of the suggested spices...)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut up. I did flat sticks kind of, but you could also do rounds or wedges. Put sweet potatoes in a large bowl, and add the olive oil, sugar, salt, and spices. Toss and mix well.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place wire rack on top of it. Spray with olive oil. Lay potatoes on the rack and bake for a total of 25-30 min. After 15 min I flipped them over and continued cooking. I didn't need anything with them, they were so good!

Original recipe found here.

Baked Zucchini Fritters

I thought I'd use my extra time at home (I am sick) to catch up on a couple recipes I needed to post. So I have made 2 other kinds of fritters/cakes before: Zucchini Carrot Cakes with Basil Chive Cream, and regular Zucchini Cakes. Both are amazing. But these are BAKED! Really delicious.

2 large zucchini, grated
1 small red onion, grated
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
a splash of milk

Heat oven to 425°F. With a grater, grate zucchini and onion. Place grated zucchini and onion in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let sit about 20 min. Squeeze out as much water as you can. Add to a bowl and combine whole wheat flour, salt, pepper, milk and egg, mix well.
Drop small to medium-sized rounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 16-20 minutes, depending on the size of your fritters. Then flip and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown on each side. Enjoy with whatever sauce you like.

Original recipe found here.