Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pasta no sauce

Many of you fellow foodies watch Food Network and I know we all sit there and watch Giada make some delicious pasta dish by only using the water that the noodles were cooked in, but I have always been hesitant to do this. I mean, its just starchy water, how can that taste good? Well I still stand by that statement but I will say that adding some of the extra pasta water to this dish made it really good.

I marinated some chikcen in olive oil, lemon juice & pepper. I then grilled the chicken in a grill pan (only b/c there was a torrential downpour taking place outside) However, this worked in my favor b/c I had extra juices from the chicken to use in the sauce. I sauteed some mushrooms in a separate pan then dumped everything into a big pasta bowl to mix up. I added about 4-5 Tbsp of noodle water to the dish, then sprinkled it with parmesan cheese. I also had some toasted pine nuts to use, so I tossed those in as well.

This was really good (not colorful by any means) but nice & light which is something you dont normally find in a pasta dish.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Moroccan Chicken

You know how we all find diet food bland? Well, I really want to stick to this diet, but still experiment with different foods. My South Beach Diet book had a recipe for Moroccan Chicken w/Summer Squash. The Moroccan part didn't stick out to me as much as the summer squash part, b/c I need to use up our squash!

This was a little different-so you picky eaters-be weary about trying it. Cinnamon + Chicken seems a little weird to me, but it was good. Not GREAT by any means, but good. The only difference in this recipe is that I used black olives instead of green. And I made some whole wheat cous cous to round out the meal.

Moroccan Lemon Chicken w/Summer Squash and Green Olives
South Beach Diet

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 lemon
4 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
¾ lb summer squash
1/3 cup pitted green olives
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Pound chicken breasts between wax paper until ¼ “ thick
In a small bowl, mix cumin, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, allspice, salt & cayenne. Squeeze 1 Tbsp juice from the lemon and add to the spice mixture. Add 3 tsp oil to spice mixture. Spread over chicken, on both sides.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, in batches if necessary and cook, turning, until blackened on the outside & cooked through. 3-4 mins per side. Transfer to a plate & keep warm.
Add remaining 1 tsp oil to the skillet & return to med high heat. Add onions slices & cook, stirring w/a wooden spoon & scraping up any brown bits, about 3 minutes. Add squash, olives & water. Season lightly w/ S&P. Cover and cook until the squash is tender, 4 to 5 mins. Remove pan from heat, squeeze a little more lemon juice over chicken & veggies, sprinkle with parsley & serve.

No parsley for us- we have a bunny that is attacking our garden!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Got Lots of Summer Squash?

Well its that time of year again. Our garden is producing more than we can handle, at least in the squash territory. Still waiting on some ripe tomatoes.
Anyway, if you have an adbunance of summer squash-Make this!

Its good! Double the recipe b/c 4 cups of sliced squash is about 1 squash in my garden.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vegetable Hash

We eat a lot of egg beaters/egg whites on this diet. It truly is the easiest way to get a lot of protein in your morning meal. I like this "hash" because it is hearty, but it doesn't have any potatoes in it. I have been adding it to our morning eggs, but you could also serve it as a side dish to any meal. The best part is that I cooked this up on Sunday so I was able to just add it into my eggs without the added sauteing time.

Chunky Vegetable Hash
South Beach Diet Book

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
pinch of dried thyme
pinch if paprika
1/8 tsp salt
1 small red pepper, diced
4 large button mushrooms, diced
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 small garlic clove

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, thyme & paprika, reduce heat to medium low & cook, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until soft. Stir in remaining items. Cover & cook, stirring occasionally 4 more minutes.

Spicy Shrimp & Bok Choy Stir Fry

This was so good, but I didn't make enough! I always forget that ingredients like bok choy, spinach, etc... They cook down. So I thought, oh one head of bok choy will surely be enough. Yeah, not so much.

Spicy Shrimp & Bok Choy Stir Fry

South Beach Diet Book

1 ½ lbs large shrimp
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 lbs bok choy, sliced crosswise
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp chile garlic sauce

Combine shrimp, scallion whites & garlic
In a wok, heat oil. Add shrimp mixture & cook until shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Return pan to heat, add bok choy, cover & cook until crisp & tender, 3 to 4 mins. Drain any liquid from the pan & add to the shrimp.
Return pan to heat, add soy sauce & garlic sauce. Stir to combine, bring to a boil. Add shrimp mixture & toss to coat. Cook just briefly. Stir in green scallions & serve.

** This was really good, the sauce had just the right amount of spice to it. I will use the sauce again, but probably add more stir fry veggies. It just seems really plain-not in taste-just in looks.

Turkey Meatloaf

This recipe is packed with protein and fiber. It filled us up pretty quickly.

Home-style Turkey Meatloaf w/Mushrooms & White Beans
South Beach Diet

2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¾ lb mushrooms chopped
4 large garlic cloves minced
1 15oz can great Northern beans, drained & rinsed
1 ¼ lb ground turkey
2 large eggs
½ cup chopped parsley
4 tsp Worcestershire
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 375F. Spray 8x4x2 ½ w/ olive oil.
In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and seasonings. Reduce to medium low & cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook until onion is softened & mushrooms are Incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add beans & stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a bowl & let cool.
In a large bowl, combine cool bean mixture, turkey, eggs, parsley & 2 tsp Worcestershire. Mix well with wet hands to combine, form into a loaf & place in a pan. Stir together mustard & remaining sauce. Set aside.
Bake for 50 minutes. Brush with reserved Worcestershire sauce & return to oven. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until temp registers 170F.

** 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper is a lot. I only did 1/4 tsp
** I also used 93% lean ground beef for this since we had just had turkey burgers
** My husband doesn't care for Dijon mustard, so my glaze was just ketchup.

I served this with some baked sweet potatoes & grilled summer squash

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sun Dried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Chicken

I grabbed a copy of South Beach Diet at the library a few weeks ago. A lot of the allowable food items on that diet are approved for P90X so I've snagged a few recipes from it & will be making them this week.

Last night was Sun Dried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Chicken. I found sun dried tomatoes in a bag in the produce section-kind like craisins- and I was so excited. See usually sun dried tomatoes are in a jar with lots of oil. This is a much healthier option.

Sun Dried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Chicken
SB Diet
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1 Tbsp EVOO

Mix the tomatoes, cheese, basil & EVOO in a bowl.
Lay mixture in chicken & roll the chicken up. I use a toothpick to secure the chicken in place.
In an oven proof skillet, spray with Misto & heat over medium-high heat.
Heat oven to 425F.
Place chicken in pan & brown on one side. Season with S&P.
Place pan in oven & cook until chicken is no longer pink.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Grilling Garden Delicious

Not only did the Hubs get a new smoker this year, but he also got a fab grill for Father's Day-man am I happy!!!

So we grilled some garden harvest. We just picked whatever was ready in the garden & grilled them up.

Some squash, zucchini & green onions.

And some store bought mushrooms (boo to the store bought food ;) )


We were invited to our friends house for BBQ on Friday night. A little early 4th of July celebration. The last time we went over to their house for dinner, I made this trifle. I mostly just made it b/c I wanted to use my trifle bowl, but wow did it make an impression on our friends! I heard about the trifle for weeks, if not months, afterwards.

So I thought it was only fitting to make it again. Happy 4th Justin & Shonna!

Brownie Trifle-4th of July Style

1 box of brownie mix
Cool Whip

1) Make brownies according to package. (Before I had a baby & my husband left for a week, I probably would have made these by scratch. Not so much now)
2) Let brownies cool completely
3) Meanwhile, slice up the strawberries
4) Once the brownies are cool, cut into squares and place in the bottom of the bowl. Layer with cool whip, then top with strawberries & blueberries.
5) Repeat

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Its that time of year again!

The garden is in full swing!!! Well it has been for awhile, I just haven't had time to do much with it.

We harvested our peas & snap peas awhile back. I cant wait to make some pea baby food for Jayson! And the past few days we harvest our green beans:

And our first squash! (We now have 3 more)

I know some of our stuff is blooming later than everyone else, but the hubs started everything from seed this year. EVERYTHING (herbs,carrots, green onions, shallots, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes)

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

On this diet, I almost always make salads to go with our dinners. Since typically do not get carbs, I like to fool myself into thinking I am not missing them. Ask yourself, if your meal choice was either a chicken breast, sauteed squash & steamed green beans OR chicken breast sauteed squash & a Greek salad-which would you pick?

So I look for ways to make salads a little more fun than just your basic side salad.

Greek Salad: mixed greens, tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, feta cheese. Balsamic Vinaigrette
Apple Cheddar Salad: Mixed greens, apples, cheddar cheese, balsamic vinaigrette.
Spinach Mushroom Salad: Spinach, mushrooms, red onions, Italian dressing

You get the idea. Just something to give us a better variety of vegetables. Sometimes I will even top them w/almonds or pecans. (I am crazy like that)

Anyway, 1 oz of goat cheese is equivalent to one dairy serving in this diet plan. I bought some to stuff into chicken but had some leftover & was trying to figure out what to make with it. I found this recipe on

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1/3 cup olive oil --> OMIT
1/3 cup lemon juice --> OMIT
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions --> OMIT
1 tablespoon honey --> OMIT
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard --> OMIT
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs --> whole wheat breadcrumbs that I seasoned w/Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds --> OMIT
3 (4-oz.) goat cheese logs
1 large egg, lightly beaten --> 1/4 cupegg beaters
3 tablespoons butter --> OLIVE OIL
1 1/2 (5-oz.) packages sweet baby greens, thoroughly washed
12 pitted ripe olives, sliced --> OMIT

1. Whisk together first 5 ingredients.

2. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and sesame seeds.

3. Cut each goat cheese log into 4 slices. Dip in egg, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Cover and chill 2 hours.

4. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry goat cheese, in 2 batches, 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned; drain on paper towels.

5. Toss salad greens with olive oil mixture. Top with olives and warm goat cheese rounds.

As you can tell, this isn't very diet friendly. So I had to adjust. I didn't use their dressing-i just used a store bought low fat balsamic vinaigrette. I didn't chill the goat cheese (oops!) and i just drizzled a little olive oil in the pan to "fry" the logs.

This was really good & made my grilled chicken breast dinner a little fancier.