Strawberry, avocado & feta salad

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I am always trying to get more veggies into my diet, and salads are a great way to do so. But no one likes a bowlful of lettuce leaves with just a splash of dressing for flavor. I like to add extras to make my salads more interesting. Since I had just bought a fresh head of lettuce, I used the fruits/veggies I had on hand, and it turned out great!

The lettuce was $1 and I will probably get at least 5 salads from it. The avocado was also $1, as were the strawberries. The feta was left from a while ago (and you can omit the cheese or use whatever kind you like/have) as was the dressing. So for 5 salads worth, the cost per serving is only $0.60! Plus it’s good for you, and a great side to just about anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
1 cup torn lettuce leaves
3 large strawberries, quartered
1/4 Haas avocado, diced
1 tbsp feta cheese
1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

Simply toss and enjoy!

Garlic pot roast & winter veggies

Since it’s been cold here in Colorado lately, I’ve been craving your typical cold-weather, stick to your ribs type foods. So I got a nice 1.5 pound beef roast to slow cook all day. It’s a perfect lazy, cold, Sunday meal.

Ingredients:
1.5 pound roast
Garlic cloves
3 large carrots, peeled and cut up
1 large potato, rinsed and diced
1 celery stalk
1 cup beef broth
1/2 onion, cut into quarters or eighths
Salt & pepper (or Nature’s Seasons)

Step 1: Brown the roast on all sides in a frying pan over high heat. It only takes a few minutes per side. It will be nicely browned. Place in the crock pot.

 Step 2: Peel several cloves of garlic. (Don’t do this part if you don’t like garlic, obviously.)

 Step 3: Cut small slits in the roast and stick the cloves inside. Season the roast all over with Nature’s Seasoning or salt & pepper.

 Step 4: Cut up veggies and add to the roast. Pour in beef broth.

 Step 5: Cook on high for at least 4 hours, up to 7 hours. The roast should be cooked through, and fall-apart tender.

 I cut 1/2 inch slabs of beef and a big spoonful of the veggies. Delicious with a piece of bread & Country Crock and a glass of milk. It really hits the spot and makes your tummy happy!

My boyfriend came up with another way to eat this, by taking a piece of buttered bread and topping it with a thick slice of beef and some veggies, then adding a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top. Also a great way to enjoy this fall favorite!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I was in the mood for something sweet but that I could rationalize was good for me. My sister’s birthday party was having red velvet cupcakes, so I thought why not make some myself?

And to pretend they’re good for me, I would make carrot cupcakes!

So I found this recipe on Food Network and followed it (mostly) for some of the most delicious cupcakes ever! I cheated and didn’t make my own icing, I used Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting. However, it doesn’t affect the light, moist deliciousness.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon & nutmeg
  • Sprinkle ground ginger
  •  3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Handful chopped walnuts

Step 1: Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and seasonings in a small bowl.

Step 2: In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, and oil. Add the vanilla, walnuts, carrots, and applesauce and mix well.

 Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until well blended.

 Step 4: Spray or line cupcake tin with 12 liners. (It actually made 13).

 Step 5: Bake at 350 for 20-23 minutes, until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Step 6: Let cool completely, then frost and enjoy!

These cupcakes were so deliciously moist and light, it is easy to rationalize having 2… or 3…

Easy chicken, rice & veggie casserole

For a day when you want to spend minimal time cooking, but want something hot, filling and delicious. It takes only minutes to prepare, then you just stick it in the oven and forget about it for a while. It is also extremely versatile, since you can use any mixture of frozen or fresh veggies.

Ingredients:
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced in 1in cubes
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup jasmine rice (or any kind)
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup salsa
~1/4 cup shredded cheese

Step 1: Dice chicken (and veggies if using fresh, make about 2-3 cups worth).
Step 2: In a greased 9×9 casserole dish, add all ingredients and mix well. Bake, uncovered at 375 for 90 mintues or 400 for 1 hour. Rice & chicken should be fully cooked. If crunchy or chicken is still pink, bake 20 minutes longer.

Super simple, and delicious. I used a mix that included beans, so I’m sure the protein & fiber was a bit higher, but so were the calories. But it’s worth it for 2 tasty dinners plus lunch the next day!
As always, to make it vegetarian don’t use chicken, and for vegan use veggie stock instead of milk and omit the cheese.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 3
  • Amount Per Serving: ~1 cup
  • Calories: 280.2
  • Total Fat: 5.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 57.8 mg
  • Sodium: 544.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 31.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.3 g
  • Protein: 27.1 g

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2253930

Feta and Red Pepper hummus

 

As a spread, appetizer or snack, hummus is filling, satisfying and nutritious. You can eat it with fresh veggies or crackers, or spread it on a sandwich, wrap, burger, gyro and more. I love hummus, and had some chickpeas left over from an earlier curry recipe, so I decided to make a snack.

Most hummus recipes call for tahini, of which I had none, so I created my own recipe. I love garlic hummus, and red pepper hummus, and feta cheese hummus. So I figured, why not combine it all!? Turns out that was an excellent idea, and I hope you think so too.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup garbanzo beans/chickpeas
2 tbsp feta (~1 oz)
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp water
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tbsp red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seed
Dash salt & pepper

Step 1: Blend the first 4 ingredients in the blender, scraping sides with a spoon. Add water until desired thickness.

Step 2: Add all spices, mix well and pour onto serving dish.

Step 3: It’s that easy, now enjoy! I cut up a carrot, a celery stick, a roma tomato and had some wheat thin crackers. Delicious!

Amount Per Serving (1/4 cup)
  Calories 215.4
  Total Fat 15.9 g
  Saturated Fat 3.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 10.5 g
  Cholesterol 6.3 mg
  Sodium 298.6 mg
  Potassium 140.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 14.9 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
  Sugars 0.2 g
  Protein 4.2 g

Spinach & feta egg white omelet

I had some egg whites still left from my coconut cream pie the other day, so I decided to take an extra 10 minutes and make a hearty breakfast. I had spinach and green onions which I had recently bought, and some feta still in the fridge, so that left itself perfectly to my egg white omelette. And I calculated it on Sparkpeople.com, the whole thing is just barely over 100 calories!
Ingredients:
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 handful spinach, cut or torn (~1/4 cup)
1 green onion, diced
1 tbsp feta

 Step 1: Heat a skillet and spray with oil. Add the egg whites, torn spinach, onion and feta on top. Heat until you can see the egg bubbling and a spatula lifts the edge completely.

 Step 2: If you’re brave or talented, you can simply flip the omelet by tossing the skillet. However, I used 2 spatulas on either side to lift and flip. Cook another 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until egg is full cooked and beginning to brown.

 The feta delivers nice little pockets of salty cheesiness, the green onion is still slightly crunchy and flavorful and the spinach is perfectly wilted. Enjoy with your favorite breakfast beverage. As always, substitute whatever veggies and/or cheese you prefer.

Coconut cream pie

Well, since I had almost a whole can of cream of coconut leftover from my Indian curry, I didn’t want to waste it. So I looked online forever trying to find a recipe for which I had all the ingredients. With some creativity, I could doctor this recipe for coconut cream pie and make a dessert to go with the curry.
Ingredients:
1 can cream of coconut
1/2 cup flour
3 cups skim milk
4 egg yolks (I saved the whites to make breakfast omelettes the next day!)
1 tbsp vanilla flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring
3 tbsp butter
1 package Jiffy pie crust mix
4 tbsp cold water

 Step 1: Mix coconut, milk and flour in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat until mixture gets nice and thick.

 Step 2: While boiling milk mixture, add water to Jiffy mix, and roll flat. Bake the crust in the oven at 350-400 for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

 Step 3: Slowly stir the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then put back into the pan and simmer 5 more minutes.

 Step 4: Pour the whole thing into the pie crust, and let it cool. Once cool enough to touch, you can refrigerate until ready to eat.

I added a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, but if I had whipped cream you better believe I would put that on it too! This is perfect for me because I like the flavor of coconut, but absolutely hate the texture of shredded coconut. Win-win.

Crock Pot Indian Yellow Chicken Curry

Over the weekend we went to an Indian restaurant downtown and the food was absolutely excellent! This inspired me to try my hand at Indian cooking, because it is generally healthy and uses spices which are great for you. The spices were by far the biggest investment, but I can use them many many times, so the cost per use is not too bad. As long as you’re willing to invest in good spices and cook Indian food several times, it is worth it! The original recipe I found here, and there are tons of great Crock Pot recipes if you’re pressed for time during the day and looking for ideas. I of course altered it to fit what I had, and the results were pretty darn good. This makes about 5 servings of curry, and 2 of rice. But I would recommend making fresh rice when you eat the leftover curry anyways.
Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
SAUCE
2 tbsp cream of coconut (I was supposed to use 1 can of coconut milk. Couldn’t find it at King Sooper, so I figured cream of coconut would be the same. False, it is thick like syrup and WAY sweet! So I omitted the sugar from the original recipe, and added a lot less of this, hoping the coconut flavor would still be there.)
1 cup skim milk  (Since I didn’t have enough liquid from the lack of coconut milk.)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can tomato sauce
SPICES
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp cumin (mine was not ground)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red Thai spice (for a bit of a kick. Can use Tabasco or omit for no ‘bite’)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
VEGGIES
1/2 can garbanzo beans
1/2 vidalia onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, diced small
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 cup rice (basmati or jasmine is best)
1 1/2 cup water to boil rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

 Step 1: Whisk the tomato sauce, milk, sour cream, and coconut. Add all your spices and set Crock Pot to heat up.

 Step 2: Dice up all your veggies, chicken, garlic, etc.

 Step 3: Add the chicken and mix to coat with sauce. Add the veggies on top. You could choose not to mix them in, they will steam as the Crock Pot cooks.

 Step 4: Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low 7-8. Mix once or twice. It smells divine after an hour or 2!

 Step 5: Cook rice according to directions. Add in chopped cilantro when finished, fluff with a fork.

Step 6: Serve curry over rice, and enjoy! The chicken is so tender and flavorful, the potatoes and chickpeas add a nutty, soft texture, and the green beans are cooked perfectly. You could certainly omit the chicken and maybe add extra veggies like eggplant or mushrooms to make this a hearty vegetarian dish. I will definitely make this again, especially since I have all the spices now. I will remember to get coconut milk next time though!

Quick & Easy App: Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is one of my favorite appetizers, but it always irritates me how expensive 2 little pieces of bread with the equivalent on 1 tomato on it is. Since I had some homemade bread in the freezer and some tomatoes that needed used, I decided to make my own for cheap!
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Ingredients:
1 long, thin loaf of homemade bread (or 1 loaf Italian or garlic bread)
2 roma tomatoes, diced small
1/4 onion, diced small
Italian seasonings
Garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
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Step 1: Slice the bread into small, thin pieces
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Step2: Dice up tomatoes & onion very small. In a bowl, combine with seasonings and lemon juice.

Step 3: Sprinkle a healthy tablespoon of topping onto each piece.

Step 4: Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until crispy on top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Serve warm, and try to keep from eating the whole loaf at once!

Creative leftovers: Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese

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The best recipes in my opinion are the ones that either get eaten the first time around, or lead to easy leftover combinations. I hate to see food go to waste, and unfortunately when you’re cooking for only 1 or 2 people that can happen quite often.
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You make something that tastes great the first time, and the second time, but by days 3 and up you are sick of it. So it sits in the back of the fridge, hidden by water bottles and fresher produce until you clean out your fridge tri-monthly and get grossed out by the mold and bacteria on it.
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Therefore I try to cook things which easily lend themselves to meal makovers to dress up the leftovers and make it feel like a whole new meal. So I took some macaroni & cheese I’d made earlier, leftover chicken, and bruchetta topping (since the bread was now mush) and mixed it up for a super-easy, quick & healthy lunch.
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Less wasted food = more money in your pocket = win-win.
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Ingredients:
2 diced roma tomatoes
1/4 white onion, diced small
3-4 oz cooked chicken breast (or meat of choice, or no meat if you prefer)
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Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave on high 1-2 minutes. You can sprinkle with extra cheese, or add any kind of cooked veggies you like. Enjoy!

 

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