31 July 2014

Healthy Slow-Cooker Steak Fajitas

Well, I have a little over a week left of summer, so of course I'm starting to look for more healthy slow-cooker recipes. I knew I was going to be busy most of the day Tuesday, so I googled "skinny crock pot recipes" and found this "10 Skinny Crock Pot Recipes" from Texas Fit Chicks.

I did prep it the night before: I sliced up the onions & peppers, and Will went ahead and sliced the steak for me. I even mixed the marinade so it would just be ready to pour on. That made it really quick and easy to get ready in the morning. I was able to find my favorite 60 calorie low-carb tortillas, which made these a healthy, delicious dinner. This recipe will be utilized often during the school year!

3 bell peppers, any color (I used red, orange, yellow) (cut into 1/2 in strips)
1 onion (cut into 1/2 in strips)
2 lbs beef (cut into thin strips - skirt steak is perfect)
3/4 c water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8 tortillas
1/2 c salsa
1/2 c shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
light sour cream (or plain nonfat Greek yogurt)diced green onions

Place the peppers & onion in slow-cooker. Top with beef. Combine the water, vinegar, lime juice, seasonings; pour over meat. Cover & cook on low for 8-9 hrs or until tender. I cooked mine on Low for about 6 hrs and it was perfect! Using a slotted spoon, place a little meat mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with salsa, cheese, light sour cream (we use plain nonfat Greek yogurt), green onions.

Original recipe found here.

I made Roasted Okra and baked jalapenos stuffed with Laughing Cow cheese. 

Spicy Eggplant Fritters

Yum!! I pinned these a while back, but just never got around to making them. I found myself with an eggplant in the fridge that I needed to use, and thought I'd give it a try. So glad I did! I never would have thought to make eggplant like this, and it was really delicious. I think the hot sauce is what makes these great, but if you don't like hot I'm sure you could leave it out and add some other good stuff.

1 lb eggplant, cut into 8 1/2" thick rounds
2 large eggs (I used EggBeaters)
1/2 tsp hot sauce of choice (I used WAY more)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 c + 1/2 tbsp minced basil
Cooking spray

Pound each eggplant slice on both sides with a meat tenderizer (using the rough side - see pictures from original recipe if needed). Set aside.

In a shallow large dish with edges whisk the eggs, Tabasco, salt, black pepper and 1/2 tbsp basil for 20 seconds. Dip an eggplant slice into the mixture on both sides and set aside inside the dish. Repeat the same step with remaining eggplant slices and set aside.

Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Saute the eggplant for 5 - 7 minutes per side. Discard the egg wash/marinade. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with remaining basil. 

Original recipe found here.

We had these along with Baked Portobello Parmesan and Balsamic Roasted Green Beans. DELISH.

Blueberry Pancake Squares

Now THESE are genius! Want to make pancakes for a group of people, but don't want to stand over the stove doing batches and batches of pancakes? THIS is the answer! These are thick, fluffy, delicious pancakes, but you make them in a casserole dish and cut a square (or two or three) however big you want. Adding fresh blueberries was absolutely delicious... they got all melty and syrupy. We also put some sliced bananas over the top with some sugar-free maple syrup. YUM!

The recipe below makes an 8x8" dish... just double it for a 9x13" pan!

3/4 c skim milk
2 tbsp light melted butter
1 large egg
1 tbsp sugar
1 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, beat together milk, butter and egg. Add sugar, then gradually beat the flour in. Carefully stir in the baking powder and salt. Add in blueberries and stir. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Original recipe found here.

30 July 2014

Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

These were AH-MAZING!! The sauce is completely delicious and perfect over rice or noodles - I served it over brown rice, but noodles would be yummy too.

For Meatballs:
2 lbs ground turkey, extra lean
1 c zucchini, shredded & liquid squeezed out
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 c green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated (I used minced)
1 tsp red curry paste
2 tbsp coconut milk, light (canned)
1/8 tsp hot pepper chill flakes
Cooking spray

For the Sauce:
1 + 1/2 cup coconut milk, light (canned)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp hot pepper chili flakes, or to taste

In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for meatballs, mix with your hands thoroughly. Make 28 meatballs by spooning heaping 1 tbsp of mixture and rolling between your hands. Lay on a cutting board or plate. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Preheat large, 12" or larger, skillet on high, spray with cooking spray. Add meatballs and cook until brown, for about 2-3 minutes. No need to cook the meatballs through. Add the sauce, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Serve warm with brown rice or brown rice noodles. Add garnish like fresh cilantro and green onions.

Original recipe found here.

20 July 2014

Asparagus-Spinach Pesto Pasta with Blackened Shrimp

Oh. My. I barely have the words to describe the deliciousness of this dish. I LOVE making my own pesto because I can control how much olive oil goes into it. This pesto is (obviously) made with asparagus and spinach... two ingredients I don't even usually like. But this is awesome. If you love pasta (seriously, who doesn't?), pesto, and shrimp... this is for you!!!

Pasta Ingredients:
1 lb (16 oz) dried pasta (I used Ronzoni Veggie Pasta)
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I buy frozen shrimp - peeled, deveined & caught in the US!)
2-3 tbsp blackening powder
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
asparagus-spinach pesto (see ingredients below)

Asparagus-Spinach Pesto Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus spears (about 1 lb), ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 c baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil (or less)

To Make The Pasta:
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water al dente according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, add the shrimp to a small bowl and toss with the blackening powder until covered. Spray olive oil in a large saute pan and heat over medium heat. Add in the shrimp, and saute for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through and pink and no longer translucent. Turn off the heat, and transfer shrimp to a separate plate and set aside.
When the pasta is al dente, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water then drain the pasta. (I did not need to use this 1/2 c water). Return the pasta either to the stockpot where it was cooked, or to the saute pan (with the stove heat turned off). Add the pesto to the pasta, and toss until evenly coated, adding in a bit of the reserved pasta water if needed to thin the pasta. Then stir in the shrimp and pine nuts, and serve immediately sprinkled with some extra Parmesan cheese.
To Make The Pesto:
Fill a separate medium saucepan or stockpot with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus spears and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking.
Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts, lemon juice and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until combined. Then, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it is incorporated. As mentioned above, if the pesto seems too thick, add in a bit of pasta water to thin it out.
Original recipe found here.

16 July 2014

Spinach & Cheese Eggplant Rollatini

Hands down, AMAZING. Definitely a fave eggplant recipe, and this one isn't even pan-fried! I just love the recipes at SkinnyTaste, and this one is no different. It would be a recipe better saved for the weekend, since it requires more time - or in my case, a teacher who has all the time in the world during the summer. :) Full disclosure, I may have eaten half the recipe all my myself...

Also, if you don't like eggplant, you won't even know it's in this recipe... AND I really dislike spinach, but that didn't stop me from eating half of this!!

Be sure to check out some other eggplant recipes I've tried:
Oven-Fried Eggplant
Eggplant Lasagna
Eggplant Roll-Ups (similar, but these are pan-fried & no spinach)
Eggplant Parmigiana

2 medium Italian eggplants, cut lengthwise into 10 (1/4-inch thick) slices (21 oz total when sliced)
salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c marinara sauce (just whatever is your fave)
1 large egg
1/2 c part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 c grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
8 oz frozen spinach, heated through and squeezed well
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c (4 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella

Cut the 2 ends off the eggplants. Cut the eggplants lengthwise, into 1/4-inch thick slices until you have a total of 10 slices about the same size. It's easiest to do this with a mandolin. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt to help remove excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplants. Set asidefor about 10 to 15 minutes. Pat dry with a towel.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Season the eggplant with a little more salt and pepper, then arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover tightly with foil and bake until eggplant is tender and pliable but NOT fully cooked, about 8 to10 minutes. I only cooked mine 6 min.

Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, beat the egg then mix together with ricotta, Pecorino Romano, spinach, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.

Pat eggplant dry with paper towels. Dividing the ricotta-spinach mixture (about 2 generous tablespoons each) evenly and spoon onto one end of each eggplant slice, spreading to cover. Starting at the short end, roll up slices and arrange them each seam side down in the prepared dish. Top with remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and tightly cover with foil.

Bake until the eggplant is very tender, about 60 minutes. (I only baked mine 45 min & it was perfect). Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving with additional Pecorino Romano if desired.

Original recipe found here.

15 July 2014

Burrito Bowl with Homemade Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Now this was easy and delish! You could easily add meat (shredded chicken, ground beef) if you wanted to. It's yummy and filling just like this though. This recipe came from The Garden Grazer blog, and I love the tip for mixing the rice with some salsa. Never thought of that!

1 c uncooked brown rice (or quinoa)
1/2 c salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed/drained
1 can corn, drained
1 onion, diced

tomatoes, diced
shredded lettuce
green onions

Creamy Chipotle Sauce:
1/2 c plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 chipotle pepper
1 tsp chipotle sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
(I added 2 tsp honey for a little bit of sweet)

Cook rice according to package directions. Mix in some salsa and a little cilantro & lime juice when cooked.

Make your chipotle sauce. Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

Saute diced onion over medium heat for a few minutes. Add in your black beans & corn. Stir and heat through. Then, you can assemble your burrito bowl! Start with your rice, black bean/corn mixture, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, green onions, etc. Drizzle some delicious chipotle sauce over the top, and enjoy!

Original recipe found here.

04 July 2014

Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles

Cooking Light posted a recipe for Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles. I love anything Chinese and anything noodles, so I knew I couldn't go wrong! Delicious!! You could easily add meat to this and I think broccoli would be yummy too. 

  • 8 oz Chinese egg noodles,
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 c sliced cremini mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bundle green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 c lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp chili paste
  • large eggs
  • 2 cups spinach, trimmed
First, combine your sauce ingredients in a bowl: soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, sesame oil, ketchup, and chili paste. Set aside.

Go ahead and scramble your eggs in a small skillet, and set aside as well.
  1. Boil water for the egg noodles. Cook according to package directions.
  2. About the time you put the noodles in to cook (mine only needed 3 min), heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and green onions; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir soy sauce mixture into mushroom mixture; bring to a boil.
  3. Add noodles to pan; toss to coat. Add eggs;  Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Enjoy!

    Original recipe found here.