Follow by Email

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Alaska on my mind

I came across the following recipe on Pinterest and it caught my eye for it's simplicity and warmth. Turns out, it's from a blogger in Alaska. Having been to Alaska just a few months ago it made me even more inclined to give it a try. I can just picture the author cooking up warm and delicious meals in such a rustic setting.

Maple Dijon Potatoes with Apples and Chicken Sausage

I pretty much stayed true to the recipe this time. While it may not be enough to stand by itself for a hungry family, it was a perfect small supper for us as we took a break from putting out the Christmas decorations. It goes wonderfully with a good glass of red.
It would also make a great breakfast dish, tossed around with some scrambled eggs. This dish may make a reappearance on Christmas morning, along with some homemade cinnamon rolls.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I have a new obsession in the kitchen and online. It's The Fit Cook. This lovely lady has some tasty recipes that I've been making for a couple of months now. Her recipies are simple, fresh, and best of all...healthy. Keep in mind many of the recipes serve 2, so you may have to double to feed a family. Some of my personal favorites:

BBQ Chicken Salad
Fruit and Feta Salad
Coconut Chicken and Banana Waffles - a serious family favorite for dinner at my house.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn Cranberry Apple Chicken

We've had our first couple of really cool nights here in the deep south, so naturally I'm craving meals with warmth, spices, and smells of autumn. This is a cozy meal to warm up the whole family. It's definitely adaptable to the crock pot as well.

Autumn Cranberry Apple Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts, whole or sliced in half (can also use legs, thighs, etc.)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cranberries, fresh, frozen or dried. (If using dried, try to find good quality, plump cranberries)
2 granny smith apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup catsup
1 teaspoon dry mustard or 2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 cup chicken broth or white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a dutch oven or deep baking dish, rub a pat of butter over the bottom and sides. Place the apples and cranberries in the bottom.

In a small bowl, mix together the cider vinegar through the mustard. Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth; stir and set aside.

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper and other seasonings you desire (herb mix, rosemary, etc.).
Heat a large skillet with a Tbsp. of butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Sear the chicken for about 2 minutes on first side, just until lightly browned. Toss in the onion slices and garlic. Using tongs, flip the chicken over and give the onions a stir. Sear the chicken for another minute or so, until browned. Place the chicken and onions over the apples and cranberries in the baking dish. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken broth, or white wine, if you have it on hand. Once reduced, pour over the chicken. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until apples are tender and chicken is cooked through. 

Accompaniment ideas:
green peas
braised red cabbage in apple cider vinegar and grainy mustard
grainy bread

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I haven't posted in awhile. That's my life. Real quickly, though, I wanted to get this post on here before I forgot. It's actually a review of a new recipe I tried out tonight. It turned out really good, but I think it needs a little more tweaking. It's one I pinned on Pinterest. Funny, it seems that most of the recipes I've tried out on Pinterest are very good, but need a bit of work. It's definitely great for getting new ideas. It's helped me out when I'm in a real cooking rut.

So, this one is a homemade sweet and sour chicken. Here's the link: Sweet and Sour Chicken
Everything's great, until you get to the sauce. That's when things can get tricky. 3/4 cups of sugar seems a bit much (especially if you double the recipe, which I did, since I like to cook the chicken in the sauce and pour the sauce over the rice, veggies, etc). Doubling the sauce recipe would call for way too much sugar. Also, I felt that there was too much apple cider vinegar called for, as well as catsup. I'd decrease both of those a bit. Especially the vinegar. Here's the gist of what I did differently:

  • I fried the chicken in coconut oil instead of canola. Grapeseed oil would have been nice as well. 
  • mixed up the sauce, decreasing the sugar called for and adding a can of chunked pineapple, juice and all to help sweeten it. I also threw in some agave nectar. Next time, I'll further decrease the sugar. 
  • I heated the sauce on the stovetop, dished out a small amount of sauce into a small bowl to mix up with cornstarch to make a thick paste, and poured it all back into the simmering sauce. I let it simmer a bit to reduce and thicken. Then I poured some sauce over the chicken before popping the chicken into the oven. 
  • While the chicken baked (which I baked for more like 30 minutes instead of an hour), I cooked up a bag of frozen TJ's stir fry veggies. Instead of using the prepackaged frozen sauce packet that came with the veggies I poured in a little of the sweet and sour sauce. 
  • Plated the whole thing up...brown rice, veggies on top with more sauce to soak into the rice and then the chicken placed around everything else. 
All that being said, it really was a great dish. I was impressed with how good it was. Using organic chicken and brown rice made me feel so much better about eating a dish like this. 

Oh, and if you're wondering...I stopped following the Weight Watchers plan officially over the summer. I really think it taught me how to eat, and I've been able to maintain the same weight now for 3 months. I'm happy with the results and I know if I ever need to start it back up again, it's always there. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gourmet Gouda Turkey Burgers

So it looks like the 130's were not just a fluke! I've been holding steady around the 138/139 mark for over a month now! While my goal weight has been 137, I'm very happy to consistently stay under 140. I'll take it! And hasn't been much work. People say Weight Watchers teachers you how to eat. Turns out, they're right! If I have a day that I regret, feeling like I've overdone it in the food department, if I honestly take a good hard look at what I've eaten, it's not nearly as bad as what I would have considered to be overdoing it 4 months ago. Thanks to Weight Watchers, my once too skinny jeans have now become my too loose jeans! 

Now for a recipe or two. It may still be May, but as far as I'm concerned, it's summer. We've been utilizing our grill a lot more, grilling salmon, kebabs and bratwurst for the boys. One morning, in a slump as to what to make for dinner, David ran across the following recipe for gourmet grilled turkey burgers. I do like a good burger, but I like them simple. I wasn't so sure about this recipe. Willing to give it a try I discovered they turned out excellent! They were hefty, so I cut my burger in half for my portion. As always, I changed things up a bit...I skipped the Canadian bacon, used my own bread crumb mixture (much healthier than regular) and only added the breadcrumbs to the turkey mixture; I did not coat the patties in the breadcrumbs. We did grill out some mushroom caps but I took my burger without one. It's hard to eat a tall burger! David loved his with the mushroom, though, so its definitely worth a try. 
Gourmet Gouda Turkey Burgers

For a nice, cool side dish toss some sliced seedless red grapes with low fat vanilla yogurt and pecans or walnuts. That'll cool you down!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A new chapter

It must seem I'm fallen off the face of the earth with this blog. I'll admit, motivation has not been there, neither has there been the time to post. Blogging is so two years ago, LOL. Seriously though, I have wanted to post a few recipes here and there, but then the moment passes, I don't do it and I end up regretting that I "lost" the recipe I originally wanted to keep a hold of. After all, I know I use this blog more than anyone else.

 So I'm moving forward with what I have on my mind now, and that is a confession to make. Back in February I started Weight Watchers. I've never in my life done a "real" diet. When I've seen the scale creep up to the high end of my comfort zone I've always relied on myself to step up the water intake, bump up the exercise, and focus on eating whole foods. Not to mention laying off the dessert. It's always helped me get back in my comfort zone quickly. And being honest here, my comfort zone for the past several years has been a 5 pound range of 142-147. This seems to be where I landed years ago when I lost weight and it's where I've hung out for several years now.

 However, the scale was consistently hovering around the high end of the zone for a year, then started creeping up to the 150 mark. Yikes!! I swore I'd never see the 150's again. My old methods were not working (I'm not in my early 30's, after all) and I needed a real kick in the butt. I had turned a blind eye to my eating for so long and relied on working out to allow me to eat whatever I wanted. Bad idea.

 So, on Valentine's day I decided I had had it. I needed an intervention for myself and it needed to be a real plan, not just my own. I'd seen WW work for others so I knew it was legit. I decided to give it a real effort, setting a "goal" weight of 137. I figured if I really stuck to it, I could feel good about myself by bathing suit season. So I signed up for the online program and jumped into the world of "points." I decided I'd have my own rules, though. I refuse to count my 1-2 cups of coffee (with real 1/2 & 1/2 and agave). It's not sustainable to me to alter that long term. I also decided to not count wine, so long as it's up to two glasses a week. Beyond that I'll count it. I'll be honest, I hated the whole thing at first. Just the figuring out of it all was frustrating. I was hungry a lot. I felt like it was impossible to do life on only 26 points a day. But, as with most things new, once I figured out a system that worked for me, found food "finds" that I love, and watched portion control, I've grown to really like it. Or I at least think it's doable.

The weight has consistently come off each week, even on weeks where I felt I've blown it. I'm always surprised to see a weight loss after a weekend of social activity and eating out. I no longer feel guilty and puffy when I go to bed at night, and I feel more confident throughout the day. I'm definitely eating more whole foods and less of the "bad" stuff. Portion control and stopping when I'm satisfied have been a tough lesson for this Southern girl, but it's been a valuable lesson. Oh, and I've had to buy new jeans because my old ones are too big!

 And just today, I stepped on the scale and it said "139.2". I had to weigh myself repeatedly just to make sure it was right. I haven't seen the 130's in about 15 years! Yay!! Along the way I've found a few recipes that are weight watchers friendly and totally yummy. I wanted to make sure I posted these because truly, they're great whether you're watching what you eat or not. I hope these links work and that you don't have to be a WW member to access them. If you can't connect, please let me know!

  Arugula, roasted red pepper and white bean salad - I'm obsessed with this salad. It's amazing. I squirt a little fresh lemon juice over it and add a few of Trader Joe's marinated mushrooms. This is a salad you'll crave, I promise!

  Grilled meatball Kebabs - I added chunked pineapple to the kebabs and brushed on some Trader Joe's Island Soyaki marinade. My 7 year old even ate them!

  Mushroom Bisque - I really couldn't believe this was a "diet" recipe. So rich and creamy.

  Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Stew - packed full of good for you ingredients and flavor. She's got some great recipes on her blog. Also check out her Slow Cooker Pot Roast. She uses coffee and it really adds a depth to the dish. My aunt said it's the best pot roast she's ever had.

 Over time I'll keep adding to this list, but these are just a handful to get started!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sweet potato chicken pot pie

This is a recipe I stumbled upon once and I've made it a couple of times. Let me say that I only use this recipe as inspiration. There's a lot about it that I don't do, such as I omit mushrooms, add a few other veggies not listed, and I don't make it in individual ramekins. However, I like the essence of this recipe and once I truly get a good flow of my own system down, I'll change this post up to have my own method.

Sweet potato chicken pot pie