17 June 2015

Sweet Corn Cakes with Roasted Vegetable Salsa

This amazing dish is courtesy of SkinnyMs. I halved the recipe below, because Will is out of town and I didn't think I needed to eat 18 corn cakes. It was SO HARD to not eat the entire recipe - these are amazing, y'all. I mean really, really, really tasty. You can have 3 tasty pancakes with 3/4 c veg salsa for only about 350 cal. Yes.

The recipe calls for goat cheese - I didn't have any, so I used a bit of light sour cream. I guess I like to put a little sour cream on all veg cakes, fritters, etc.

The recipe below will make about 18 (3-4 inch) corn cakes.

Roasted Vegetable Salsa:
1 zucchini, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 ttbsp olive oil
1 c halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 c fresh corn kernels
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime

Corn Cakes:
1 1/2 c corn flour (I used this, but you can also grind corn meal into a flour using your blender)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 c low-fat milk
1 tbsp honey
2 eggs
2 c corn kernels
1 tsp olive oil

For serving:
1/2 c crumbled goat cheese (I used a couple tbsp light sour cream instead)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Toss the zucchini and onion with the seasonings and olive oil and lay on the sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender.

Combine the tomatoes, corn kernels, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice in a large bowl. When the vegetables are done roasting, toss them with the tomato mixture.

To make the corn cakes, combine the corn flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter, milk, and honey and stir. Beat the eggs until light yellow and add to the mix. Stir and fold in the corn.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Drop the batter onto the pan to form 3-or-4 inch pancakes and cook until bubbly. Flip and cook until browned on both sides.

To serve, top the corn cakes with the salsa and the goat cheese (or sour cream!).

Original recipe found here.

Made them again the next week for Will. :)

Lighter Chocolate Soufflé

Never made souffles before! But these are easy, decadent, delicious, and a little bit lighter than your typical soufflé. A great treat! Apparently only 3 Weight Watchers points... I don't do WW, and I'm not sure of the exact calorie count, but I'll calculate the calories next time. Update - each souffle is only 130 calories!

cooking spray
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
3 tbsp low-fat chocolate milk
1 large egg white
½ tsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 6 oz. ramekins with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, whisk together cocoa, flour and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar; set over medium heat. Add milk; cook until smooth, stirring constantly, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg white until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Fold cooled chocolate mixture into egg whites, a little at a time, until no white streaks appear.

Pour batter into prepared ramekins; baked until set and tops look dry, about 16 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar; serve warm. 

* Do not open oven until the souffles are done. Cold air can cause them to sink. This recipe can easily be doubled or triples for larger gatherings.

Original recipe found here.

Zucchini & Squash Oven Chips

I actually thought I posted this recipe a looong time ago when I first made it. As it turns out, I do have another zucchini/squash oven chip recipe... but it's not the same one. Those are kind of breaded with Parmesan and Panko, and they are delicious... but..... these aren't breaded at all and practically zero calories! So anyway, I added the word "breaded" to the other recipe, and I'm just calling this one Zucchini & Squash Oven Chips.

squash/zucchini (however much you want to make)

Generally, you'll need 1 baking sheet per zucchini/squash.

Cut your zucchini/squash very thin. You can use a mandolin blade, but I find I can actually slice them thinner than that myself. So whatever works for you.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Lay chips flat on sheet touching each other - they'll shrink when baking. Spray olive oil over the top and sprinkle with a little salt & pepper. Bake 20-30 min.

You will really need to stand there and watch for the last 10 min or so. Since I sliced mine by hand, they weren't all the exact same thickness, so they finished at different times. I started pulling the thinnest off the sheet at about 20 min, and left some on until the 30 min mark, even 35 min. Pull them off the sheet and let them cool right as they start to brown and get crisp.

15 June 2015

Quinoa & Black Bean Protein Wraps

We loved these, and they also made for delicious leftovers for lunch the next day. These wraps get nice and crisp in the oven, they're super tasty, and full of protein! Can't go wrong.

2 c cooked Mexican Style Quinoa (click here for recipe)
1 c black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c (reduced-fat) grated Mexican style cheese
1/2 c salsa
8 (8-inch) whole grain wraps or tortillas (I couldn't find the 60 cal ones I like, so I had to go with some 100 cal whole wheat)

There are two methods to prepare our Quinoa & Bean Burrito Wrap recipe.

Method 1: (This is the Flauta method, crunchy and yummy!) ** This is the way I did it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the first 4 ingredients to a mixing bowl, toss to combine. Evenly divide mixture along the edge of each tortilla. Roll snugly and cut each burrito in half. Lightly spray each side with non-stick cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Place seam side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet or non-stick baking sheet. Don't allow wraps to touch so that they get crispy on all sides.

Bake approximately 16 to 20 minutes, or until wraps are lightly golden and crispy. Turn over after 10 minutes of cooking time. If desired, serve with either fat-free Greek yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream, and additional salsa. Serve immediately.

Method 2: (Burrito method)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Stack tortillas, wrap in foil, place on a cookie sheet and warm 15 minutes while quinoa & beans are heating up. In the meantime, combine in a skillet the cooked quinoa, black beans, and salsa. Heat over medium-low heat until hot.

Evenly divide quinoa & bean mixture over the edge of each tortilla. Evenly distribute the cheese over the quinoa mixture. Snugly roll each tortilla then cut in half. If desired, serve with fat-free Greek yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream, and additional salsa.

Original recipe found here.

12 June 2015

Mexcian Cabbage Rolls

Y'all, these are basically enchiladas made with cabbage leaves instead of tortillas. The lean ground beef is mixed with lots of veggie to help lighten it up as well. The tomato sauce is tasty and creamy, the mixture is delicious, and the gooey cheese tops it off. I'm not saying it replaces real enchiladas made with tortillas, but it is a delicious lower carb alternative!!

1 head of cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, divided, minced
2 tbsp flour, divided
1 c skim milk
1 – 14.5 oz can tomato sauce 
2 tbsp chili powder, divided 
4 tsp ground cumin, divided 
1 lb extra lean ground beef (I used 96/4)
1/2 yellow sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced 
1 small yellow squash, diced 
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced 
2 tbsp water 
3/4 c 2% shredded Mexican cheese blend

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut a small circle around the core of the cabbage head and remove. Once the water is boiling, drop the cabbage head in. In a few minutes, the outside leaf will come lose. Using tongs, pull it out and lay to to dry. A minute or so later another leaf will come off. Repeat this until you have 10-12 leaves. There will probably be a couple you can't use anyway. Set leaves aside to cool.

In a sauce pan, heat 1tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of the minced garlic over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant. Add 1 tbsp of flour and whisk, cooking the flour for a minute. Add the cup of milk, and whisk to combine with the flour mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomato sauce, 1tbsp of chili powder, and 2 tsp of ground cumin. Stir to combine, and simmer while preparing the filling.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x11" baking dish with cooking spray. Brown the beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, yellow squash, remaining 2 tsp garlic, and jalapeños. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of flour, remaining 1 tbsp of chili powder, and remaining 2 tsp of ground cumin. Add the 2 tbsp of water, and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Ladle some of the tomato sauce into the baking dish, coating the entire bottom of the dish. Spoon some of the beef mixture into the center of each cooked cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf, tucking in the sides, similar to wrapping a burrito. Place each cabbage roll seam side down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Let stand for 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

Original recipe found here.

10 June 2015

Turkey Sausage Peppers & Sweet Potato Hash

Clearly I'm obsessed with making stir-fry/skillets/stove-top meal since I've been out on summer break - 6 days now. :) I'm sure it's because typically these take a longer time to prep - all the veggie chopping and whatnot. But even so, I could always prep it on Sunday! Once it's prepped, it took less than 20 min to put together. So yummy.

The original recipe used kielbasa.. I used turkey sausage. I also added mushrooms, and instead of regular potatoes, I used sweet potatoes. I finally found a way Will will eat sweet potatoes - roasted, brown, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. So I roasted the sweet potatoes in the oven instead of cooking them in a separate skillet like the recipe called for.

Low carb and deliciousness all in one dish... mmmm!

1 (14 ounce) pkg turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, diced
6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
olive oil spray
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put foil on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil. Put the diced sweet potatoes in a bowl, and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Sprinkle some salt/pepper and toss. Spread the potatoes on the foil. Bake for about 15 minutes, toss, and then bake them about 10 more minutes. Remove from oven & set aside.

In a cast iron skillet sprayed with olive oil, brown the sliced turkey sausage for around 5 minutes over medium high heat. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Spray pan, and add the peppers and onions to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add sliced mushrooms and stir for another minute or so. Last, add the cooked sweet potatoes and turkey sausage to the skillet with the onions/peppers/mushrooms and mix everything together. Serve nice and hot!

Original recipe found here.

"Fried" Zoodles and Veggies

Once the prep for this dish was done, I had it cooked in less than 10 minutes! During the school year, it would be easy to prep all the veggies on Sunday, then make the stir-fry Mon. or Tues. This is so low calorie, healthy, and delicious! If you haven't bought a spiralizer yet, you need one!! (I have this one from AmazonPrime!)

4 c zucchini peels (spiralized, mandolin, peeled, etc.) (I had 3 medium zucchini & used my spiralizer)
1/2 c diced white onion
1 1/2 c broccoli florets
1 bell pepper, chopped
6-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 eggs
olive oil cooking spray

Coat medium sized skillet with cooking spray and under medium heat scramble the eggs and set aside.

Spray a large pan with cooking spray, heat over medium-high heat, and add garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, and add the onion and broccoli. Stir and continuing cooking for a few minutes. Add bell pepper and mushrooms, cooking 2-3 more minutes. Add in soy sauce, stir all veggies together. Add zucchini noodles, stir. Last, add in the scrambled egg. Give it a big stir, season with salt/pepper, and serve! YUM!!!

Original recipe found here.

Asian Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry

This was the best! A favorite out of all the Asian stir-fry dishes I've made. (Click here for other Asian stir-fry recipes!) I found this super thin flat sliced sirloin at HEB. Side note - HEB is the best. Anyway, all I had to do was slice the thin, flat pieces into strips. The beef in takeout is always so thin, and that's one of the things I love. Most of the time I'm not able to get mine that thin, but thanks to HEB this was perfect!

The original recipe just included mushrooms and snow peas. I went ahead and added additional vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and then squash & green beans from my mom's garden! Steak delicious, sauce delicious, veggies delicious. Thumbs up big time!

Oh also - the original recipe called for serving over rice, which would be delicious. But trying not to cook with as many carbs right now. The extra veggies made it perfect and filling!

Homemade Asian Sauce:
1/2 cup light soy sauce (or low-sodium soy sauce)
5 tbsp brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ginger (I use the tube kind)
2 tap rice vinegar

10 oz snow peas
4 tablespoons olive oil
10 oz mushrooms, sliced thinly
* Add whatever veggies - I added squash, green beans, broccoli, and bell peppers
1 lb beef, thinly sliced (sirloin steak strips, flank steak, or any other steak)

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl - whisk to combine. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet until hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, let it sizzle. Immediately add thinly sliced meat. You might want to do this in 2 batches, because you will want each slice of meat to touch the bottom of the skillet and for meat slices not to be crowded - I was able to do all of mine in a really large pan. This will ensure that meat will brown on high heat. Cook meat on one side until it browns nicely. Turn over all meat slices to the opposite side, and cook more, on high heat, until all slices brown nicely. Remove this batch to a bowl. Add a second batch of meat, and repeat (if needed).

With meat sitting aside, add a little oil to the pan. Add in garlic and let cook for about 30 seconds. Then add your veggies you have - first I added the broccoli and green beans, cooked those for about 2 min. Next I added in the squash and snow peas, cooked those for maybe another 2 minutes. Last I put the mushrooms in, continued stir-frying for about 1 minute.

Return all of the cooked meat back to the skillet. Add in your prepared Asian sauce. On high heat - stir everything to combine, for about 1 minute. Turn off heat. Cover the skillet with a lid.
Serve over rice (if you want to!),

Original recipe found here.

Easy Key Lime Pie

Whoa guys - this was my first real pie ever. I do have some lighter pie options on the dessert page that I made many years ago. In fact I need to make those again and take my own pictures of them. But I bought prepared graham crust and they just didn't seem like "real" pies.

ANYWAY, I made this pie for a friend's birthday at school, and it was so amazing. I looked at a million key lime pie recipes, and went with this one I found on allrecipes.com. I decided on this one because 1) it looked super easy, 2) the reviews were really great, and 3) only a few simple steps.

1 9-inch graham crust (you can buy prepared, or make your own. I made mine and followed this recipe)
3 c sweetened condensed milk (2 cans)
1/2 c light sour cream
3/4 c key lime juice (I did not juice limes, just bought the juice!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime rind. Mix well and pour into graham cracker crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes (I ended up baking mine for about 11-12 min), until tiny pinhole bubbles burst on the surface of pie. DO NOT BROWN! Chill pie thoroughly before serving. Garnish with lime slices and whipped cream if desired.

Original recipe found here.

Guacamole Stuffed Chicken

These were so yummy! Yes, a little time consuming, so probably not the best for when you're short on time. But if you have a little time and want a delicious meal, this is it!

3 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp diced red onion
¼ c chopped tomato
1 tsp lime juice
¾ tsp salt, divided
2 large eggs
1 c plain panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp lime zest
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use a mallet to pound each chicken breast thin and flat. I put mine in a big ziploc bag and put a towel under & on top of it. Set aside.

Remove the peel and seed from the avocado. Place the avocado in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Add the onion, tomato, lime juice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.

Divide the guacamole between the chicken pieces and spread it into a thin layer. Roll up the chicken, starting with the skinniest edge (the part that comes to a point). Secure the seam with toothpicks.

In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. In a separate shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs, lime zest, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, ¼ teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Stir to combine. Roll the stuffed chicken in the eggs. Let the excess egg drip off. Press and roll the chicken in the breadcrumbs. Shake off the excess breadcrumbs. Place the chicken seam-side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and it’s coating is golden brown and crispy.

Original recipe found here

We had this with roasted okra and one of our fave kale salad mixes.

Summer Veggie & Shrimp Stir-Fry

I can't think of a much better way to use all these amazing summer veggies! My mom is kind of notorious for making meals out of stir-frying a ton of different veggies together... except she usually likes her stir-fry with pasta! So this reminds me of her, I just wish I had the veggies from her garden to use! No pasta for us though - trying to reduce those unnecessary carbs. ;) This yummy recipe idea comes to you from The Pioneer Woman.

2 tbsp light butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
12 whole jumbo shrimp, peeled/deveined (I just buy these frozen and thaw)
2 whole zucchini, sliced
2 ears corn, kernels sliced off (can also use frozen or canned)
1/2 c grape/cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
salt/pepper, to taste
chopped fresh herbs, if desired

After I thawed my frozen shrimp, I sprinkled salt, pepper, & garlic powder on them before cooking.

Heat 1 tbsp light butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic. When oil/butter is hot, add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Do not clean skillet.
Add the rest of the butter and oil and heat over medium heat. Add zucchini slices in a single layer and cook for one minute, tossing once. Scoot the zucchini to the edges of the pan, then add corn kernels to the middle of the pan. Cook for one minute. Add grape tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss around, then add shrimp. Cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Serve on a big platter.

Original recipe found here.