Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meat Muffins

I know we all like a good meat loaf and this is a rocking, easy way to do it and have something on the go afterwards. It's also portion friendly :)
This is going to be a quick post because one of my readers requested it and I have a feeling it's what's for dinner tonight for them :)

Meat Muffins
2 lbs lean ground beef (now if you are going extra lean you will need to lube the tins)
1 medium size sweet onion
a handful of chopped chives
1/3-1/2 cup of crushed up melba toast
2-3 eggs
2 small cans of tomato paste
2 TBSP Chicken Broth
2 TBSP of Liquid Aminos (it's like soy sauce)
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning mix (I have a homemade one; mostly oregano, basil, majoram, & parsley)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I like a little spice to mine)
1TBSP of Salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp of Spicy Mustard
splash of red wine vinegar

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together until it is thoroughly combined.Reserve just enough for the tops of each muffin about 1/4 cup worth, just enough to lightly coat each one.

Mix all other ingredients with your meat. once thoroughly combined add remaining sauce, saving the reserved for later.

In a muffin tin* almost fill each tin with the meat mixture, coat with the reserved sauce. 10 minutes before pulling them out of the oven, place just a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese on top and place back in oven to finish cooking.

*Again if you are using meat that is about 96/4 or leaner you will need to spray or thinly coat the pan with oil or the meat will stick.

Cook in a 350 oven for about 30-45 mins.

These are perfect with faux mashed potatoes or even better my spaghetti sqaush-n-cheese. I'll have to post that one later :)
Alright, hope I didn't forget anything, doing one this one straight from memory. If so, I updated it later :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Alla Vodka

Now if you know me, you know I love cooking with alcohol. I know, I know, but it gives such great flavor to foods! This was not the dish that I had intended to spend my weekend experimenting with, actually didn't even get to work on that dish. I only found a few of the ingredients but I will be working on it soon. So yesterday as I was getting ready to go to church I had the tv going and of course it was the Food Network. The Pioneer Woman came on, never seen it, but she was talking about this Penne pasta recipe that she was working on and I thought to myself, "I can easily transform this dish and cut over half the calories down." I also thought that I could spice it up because hers seemed rather bland and you may know that just won't cut it for me. So without further delay, I present to you Spaghetti Squash Alla Vodka, yum :)

Spaghetti Squash
Cooking instructions as follows

After cooking let it rest for about 20 mins and begin the making the sauce.

Vodka Sauce
1 large shallot or small sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
2 pads of butter, divided
Olive Oil
1/3 cup of Vodka*
Half a large can of Tomato Puree
1 Cup plus splash of Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Sugar Sub
1 tsp Italian Herb blend
1TBSP Ancho Chili Pepper Flakes
1TBSP Fresh Chopped Basil, plus some for plating
1/3 cup Grated Percino Romano or Parm, plus some for topping
Salt/Pepper to taste

*Now if you are not one to add a little booze to your dish you can do the same thing with a low sodium 99% fat free Chicken Stock, it won't be quick the same but it will still be good. My true suggestion is to run down to the local liquor store and grab a 1/2 pint of a cheap vodka :)

In a large sauce pan with one melted pad of butter and olive oil set to medium heat, add your diced onion. Cook until it is transparent, then add your minced garlic. Let that cook for about 2 mins, the name of the game is low and slow, you get the best flavors that way. While this is cooking and you are moving those onions around often, slice your spaghetti squash lengthwise making sure you cut off both ends first and let it cool for a few mins. before attempting to scoop out the guts. It's okay if it gets a little cold, we are going to toss the "noodles" in the sauce later and that will warm them back up.

After you have cooked the garlic and onions down some, add the vodka. I turned down the heat to medium low for this part. You will want to let the vodka reduce down to about half it's size, this will take about 2-4 mins. but keep an eye on it and stir frequently That's when I started to scoop out the guts of my spaghetti squash. *(Now if you are using chicken stock, it will likely take longer for it to reduce and there is no need to reduce to heat.)

Once your vodka has reduced, add half the large can of tomato puree and stir well making sure everything is thoroughly incorporated. Turn up the heat back to medium and add the one cup plus a splash of heavy cream. Now I know what you all are thinking, "that's not healthy"! I never said that it was fat free, I believe that fat is okay in moderation and you can cut back in some areas to give way to others. Also because we don't have a true starch our bodies are able to dispose of the fat a lot quicker.

After adding the cream, add the spices, pepper flakes, sugar sub, 1 pad of butter, salt/pepper** and let cook for about 5 mins, again stirring often. When this is happening begin to scrape down the sides of your spaghetti squash to get your "noodles". After the 5 mins, add the "noodles" and cheese and let cook on low for about another 5 mins. Before the last minute, add the chopped basil, reserving a few pinches for plating.

Top with some more grated cheese and a pinch of basil. It's so good!!!!

**TASTE, TASTE, TASTE! I always taste my sauces while cooking, it's the only way you will know if it is seasoned right. For me that meant about 1 1/2 TSP of Salt and 1 TSP of pepper.

Now if you have to have a meat with this, which to be honest I didn't miss it, you can cook some boneless chicken breast in the oven in chicken broth and slice them up and toss them in.

Well I truly hope you enjoy this dish and don't be afraid to lick the plate, I sure did :) Til next time.

Oh and depending on the size of your spaghetti squash you can get about 4-6 portions out of this and for a cup of this dish, less then 250 calories.

 Next up, Chocolate Brownies!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm BACK!! Berries & Lemon Whipped Cream

Well I am so sorry for extended silence. My life got pretty crazy there for a few months. As I said in my last blog, I have recently moved to Texas to start a new job. I am really enjoying my job but it has definitely changed my former routine. As a person who lives her life based on routine, it's really easy to get off course when life happens and interrupts our daily patterns. I have really had to pull myself back to living a healthy lifestyle. It's real easy to get out of cooking healthy foods because we had a long day and Chickfila is so much easier and a salad is healthy, right? Well those stops add up and prevents a healthy variety of good foods. I realized that I was getting sick of being on this "diet" and wanted real food. STOP, there was my problem. I was having so many salads that it felt like I was on a diet. The key to living a healthy lifestyle is to not eat so many salads, yes they are good and the dressing in moderation is okay, but we will find ourselves bored of the plain salad day after day. We NEED that variety of veggies, lean meats, and fruits. It's what makes this easy. So here I am going back to the basics with myself. It happens folks, we are not all perfect. The key is to see it, stop it, and fix it. That being said, I have started to experiment in the kitchen again and I am excited about it. This weekend I will really be setting time aside to focus on this and make it a priority in my life again. That being said, I have this great recipe idea floating around in my head that I am dying to try out!!!

Until then I will leave you with this one.

Berries and Lemon Whipped Cream

So I first had this dessert dish when I was in Italy a few years back and it was full of sugar and all that goodness, but with today's sugar substitutes it's so easy to transform this dish to a healthy yummy dessert for the whole family. It's one of my go to recipes. With 4th of July right around the corner, this dish will most certainly impress your guest! It has beautiful colors and very patriotic!

5lbs of washed, hulled, slices Strawberries
2 pints of washed Blueberries
1 Pint Raspberries
(Add 1 pint of blackberries if you like them.)
1/4 Cup Xylitol or Erythitol
*Orange, optional

Mix all of theses together in a large bowl with the juice of 1 small lemon along with 1TBSP of the lemons zest. Some times I like to throw in a little fresh squeezed orange juice. Mix all of this together with about 1/4 cup of Xylitol or Erythitol. I prefer the Erythitol because it doesn't bother my stomach as much but I understand that it's kind of hard to find. Let all of this sit and soak up those juices for about an hour in the frig. While that is all going on, time to make the Lemon Whipped Cream.

Lemon Whipped Cream
I have to confess, this I could, (and have), eat this all by it's self. IT IS SO GOOD!!!

2 1/2 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 cup of Xylitol or Erythitol
1tsp Vanilla Extract (make sure it's sugar free)
Zest of a Lemon
The juice of 1/2 a lemon (if you like it tart, add the whole thing)

Begin by making a simple whipped cream. Grab your mixer and go to town on the Cream, Sugar Sub, and Vanilla. Once you are just about to get stiff peaks toss in your lemon juice and zest. Mix until you get stiff peaks. refrigerate for about 30 mins.

This dish screams for a beautiful clear bowl!!! I have a cool cake stand that you can flip the lid over and it fits perfectly into the base and makes a beautiful parfait bowl.
This a great layered dish. You can add a layer of mixed berries and spread some of the lemon whipped cream, then repeat, oh man my mouth is salivating for this already :)
 Prefect for your 4th of July party!
Or if you are having a dinner party these are beautiful to serve in martini glasses with a dollop of the cream on top.

*Now I know some of you want an even easier way to do this dish. I do have one quick shortcut. If you find Sugar-Free ready made whipped cream, you can just stir in the zest and juice and it works just as good.

Well I hope you and your family enjoys this dish like I do! Next time I am hoping to have my secret dish ready to share, I am really pumped about it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Broiled Squash- Phase 3

Well I know it has been a while since my last post, but so much has happened since then. I ended up in the hospital to have an unexpected surgery, then Thanksgiving hit, then I started interviewing for a couple of job, then landed one of the jobs, and finally I moved to Texas for the job.

 Even though all of the chaotic things we going on in my life I still made healthy food a priority, I didn't cave in because of the stressed of life.
3.5 oz Squash: 35 calories

Well this recipe is for all of those squash lovers, I am not one of them. My parents love squash and really enjoy this dish.

1lb Summer Squash, sliced 1/2" thick
1tbsp of Olive Oil
1tbsp chopped fresh Rosemary
1/2tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
1tsp Kosher Salt
1/4tsp Ground Pepper

Add all ingredients and toss to combine.
Place squash on top of a metal cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
Place in oven that is set to broil for 8-10 mins or until golden brown.

Phase 2 revision, just substitute the oil with chicken stock.