Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys today.  This recipe is the first (of many) that I’ve made from one of my new favorite bloggers, Emily Bites!

She is ah-mazing.  Emily writes about lightened up fun comfort food, often with a twist on the original.  She is so super creative and I love that she lists the Weight Watchers point values on each recipe- one less step for me!

This recipe is Continue reading

Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

It’s finally summertime again!  

Well, not officially, but once Memorial Day is here… it’s summer as far as I’m concerned!  What types of food remind you of summer?  For me, it’s Watermelon, Peaches and Plums, Ice Cream, and of course Grilling.  Last week, we fired up our grill and made an amazing BBQ spread with tons of veggies and juicy chicken covered in our Homemade BBQ Sauce.

Dave really wanted pasta salad for a side dish but I wasn’t interested in getting  all Mayo-ey.  I adapted this Tex-Mex Pasta Salad from Cooking Light to make it into a side-dish.  The pasta salad turned out fabulous, we all really liked it.  It was a nice light side that went along perfectly with our grilled veggies and chicken.  I’d love to try this with ground turkey as the original recipe calls for to make a complete meal next time!

Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 box Short Pasta (I used Pipette)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 clove of Garlic, minced
1 packet of 40%-less-sodium Taco Seasoning or 1-2 Tbsp pre-made seasoning
1/2 cup Shredded Reduced-Fat Cheddar or Mexican Blend Cheese
1/2 pint Grape Tomatoes, sliced
1/2 Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped
1 small can Sliced Black Olives, drained
1/2 can (15.5oz) Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 Lime, Juiced
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt & Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cumin

1 Jalapeno, chopped, for topping optional

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain; set aside.
  2. Combine the garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, green onions, olives, and black beans in a bowl.  Carefully stir to combine.  Add the pasta and stir again.
  3. Add the oil, lime juice, taco seasoning, salt, pepper, cumin and stir until combined.  Add extra taco seasoning if desired.  

Recipe inspired by:  Cooking Light

We grilled Zuchs, Onion, Bell Pepper, and Tomato Halves (which is my new fav thing)

We grilled Zuchs, Onion, Bell Pepper, and Tomato Halves (which is my new fav thing)

So many pretty colors!

So many pretty colors!

photo 3 (31)

photo 3 (30)

The original recipe not only included ground turkey, but the sauce was made with sour cream and topped with salsa.  I was planning on using some fat free sour cream to keep it healthy, but when I tasted the pasta salad just using the seasonings, oil, and lime juice… I loved it so much that I just left it alone.  If you prefer a creamy pasta salad, go ahead and add some sour cream.  OR, if you want it to just be a little less dry, you could always add the salsa.

Do you have an awesome pasta salad recipe?  Please share!!

Mexican-Style Couscous Salad

OMG!  I’m sitting here drooling while I’m thinking about this lunch I made! I cannot wait to share this recipe with you, it will for sure be a lunch staple in our house from now on.

The best part about this recipe is that it’s so easily modifiable for your own tastes and pantry supplies.  I got the idea for this lunch from my dietitian, John.  His original recipe calls for Quinoa (which would be more protein, so use it if you have it!) but I had already made Couscous for a different recipe so I simply substituted this time around.

Mexican-Style Couscous Salad

Recipe for 1 Serving

Ingredients:

1/3 cup Couscous (or quinoa), cooked

1/3 cup Black Beans, rinsed

1/2 cup Chopped Broccoli, frozen

1/2 cup Mixed Vegetables, frozen (I used the “baby” vegetable mix with corn, peas, carrots, and green beans)

handful of Chopped Tomatoes

1/8 cup Shredded Cheese

2oz Cooked Chicken Breast, cubed (optional)

1/4 cup Salsa*

Directions:

Microwave the frozen veggies and then put everything in a tupperware for the following day.  Reheat if you want, it will also taste delicious room-temp.

Recipe adapted from John the Dietitian

*I HAVE to share this recipe for homemade salsa with you.  It was ridiculous how simple it was to make, how much it makes, and how amazing it tastes.  Shoutout to Dave, he actually made this himself!

This recipe came up because both Dave and I wanted to try something new for our lunch this week.  We pretty much bring all of our meals with us to work, to stay healthy and save money.  I love this recipe because I could use whatever I wanted and had on hand.  The chicken and couscous had already been made for a dinner, so I was able to use that without cooking anything extra.

I love this recipe for lunch, give it a try!

photo (3)

Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Burgers

This week I made my very first from SCRATCH veggie burger.  I also made an orzo pasta salad.  And I also made dinner that night too.  This was all about an hour after going for a run for my longest distance ever- 7 miles (1 hour and 3 min!).  What an exciting day.  I don’t know what got into me but I like it.

Dave, Donny and I are running the Broad Street race in Philly next month.  Well, they are running it and I am going to attempt to run it.  I have always had the most trouble with running and have never done a race or anything like this before.  I decided I wanted to give it a try and here I am, running 7 miles outside on the Schuylkill River Trail.  It has been difficult training, since I re-injured my back a few weeks ago and was forced to “lay low” on the exercise front for a while.  Now I’m hoping the 7 mile run this week put me back in gear and I’m ready to go for 10 on Broad!

phoebe-running-o

Let’s be honest people… I might be running 7 miles now, but I totally look like Phoebe when I do it.

With my running out of the way for the day, I was dead set on making these Veggie Burgers from the How Sweet It Is Blog.  I thought I had everything I needed at home, but it turns out I was fresh out of White Beans… so I replaced the White Beans with Black Beans and got goin’.

Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Burgers

Makes: 4 Burgers

Ingredients:

1 can Black Beans (15oz), drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked

1/2 cup Roasted Red Peppers, chopped (I used homemade but if you use jarred make sure you pat them dry first)

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Large Egg, beaten

1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Dried Basil, Smoked Paprika, Pepper, Salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each)

1 Tablespoon Flour

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (or other oil, I’m using Grapeseed Oil right now)

Toppings: Toasted Bun, Bacon, Red Peppers, Mayo, Ketchup, Jalapenos, whatever you’d like!

Directions:

1.  Mash the beans coarsely with a potato masher or fork.  Stir in quinoa, garlic, and roasted reds and mix well to combine.  Add the Panko, Seasonings, and Egg.  Mix with clean hands to moisten and combine.  Add the flour in and continue to mix well.

2.  Form into four equally sized balls.  Smush a little and form into patties but make sure the sides are formed as well to keep them together while they cook.

3.  Heat a large skillet over med-high heat and add the oil.  Once the oil is hot (you can test by just a drop of water to see if it sizzles), add the quinoa burgers carefully.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side until they are crisped up.

Recipe Adapted from:  How Sweet It Is

Nutrition per Serving

Calories: 221

Fat: 9g

Protein: 9g

Fiber: 6g

Carbs: 26g

Sugar: 2g

It was so hard to not eat these burgers immediately!  I had made them for lunch so once they cooled off a bit on some paper towels, I wrapped them up in foil and saved them for Dave and I to eat the following day.  They heated up really well in the microwave and were even still crispy on the outside!

Pre-Mixing

Pre-Mixing

The patties are pretty big!  Ready to be fried.

The patties are pretty big! Ready to be fried.

 

I could not believe how delicious these burgers were.  I have tried veggie burgers in the past, you know, the frozen Boca Burger kind.  They are fine but these are delicious.  They are big and hearty and have great flavor.

Next time, these will be topped with some avocado and sriracha mayo… or even some cheddar cheese & bacon!  YUM!

Four Burgers ready to be packed up for lunch :)

Four Burgers ready to be packed up for lunch 🙂

Slice of delicious Quinoa Burger!

Slice of delicious Quinoa Burger!

 

B+W Bean Quesadillas w/ Avocado Ranch Dip

Hi friends!  On Fridays around here… I always like to say “Happy Friday” to everyone at work, the blog, and well… anyone I talk to!  What am I supposed to say on Mondays… “sorry it’s Monday” or “I know how much today sucks for you too”?  UGH!  Mondays are the WORST around here!

Just about the only thing I’ve been liking Mondays for lately has been sharing fun & new meatless recipes with all of you!  I have been enjoying jumping on this blogging bandwagon of Meatless Mondays… it typically saves me some moolah & lightens up my meal for that day.  Are you in on Meatless Mondays yet?

Today’s meatless recipe was so much fun to make.  I felt really fancy making HOMEMADE ranch dipping sauce.  The best part of it all is that this meal was so simple to make, that I only needed to buy an avocado for it.  I had everything else already at home.  Love it!  I barely adapted this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica from How Sweet It Is.  She not only makes some delicious food, but she takes gorgeous photos too!  This recipe was a great find from her blog.

Black & White Bean Quesadillas w/ Avocado Ranch Dip

Serves: 2 for dinner, 4 for lunch or snack

Ingredients:
(for the Quesadillas)
1 cup Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese (or you can use shredded)
8 small Corn Tortillas
Olive Oil for the pan
Hot Sauce Optional for topping
(for the Avocado Ranch Dip)
1 ripe Avocado
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Olive Oil (reduced fat) Mayo
2 Tablespoons Parsley (I use freeze dried, you can use fresh or 1T dried)
1 Tablespoon Dried Dill (or 2T if you have fresh)
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (orig. calls for white but I was all out!)
1/2 teaspoon Hot Hungarian Paprika (use Smoked if you don’t have this)
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
1. In a bowl, mash together Black Beans & Cannellini beans with a fork.
2. Heat a large pan, skillet, or flat griddle over medium heat. Add a Tablespoon or so of Olive Oil (just to coat). Once the oil is hot (a minute or so), depending on the size of your pan, place 2 or 4 corn tortillas down on the oil. Cover each with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Add a heaping Tablespoon-1/4 cup full of the bean mixture and top with 1/2 slice of Pepperjack Cheese. Take another corn tortilla and place ontop, gently pressing down to smush the bean mixture evenly. (Repeat with other tortillas) Cook until the bottom tortilla is golden brown, then gently flip and cook the other side for 2-4 more minutes until that side is also browning.
3. For the Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until creamy, scraping down the sides several times as needed. Taste and season more if needed. You can store this dipping sauce in a sealed container for an extra day or two for other recipes if you’d like!

Recipe adapted from Jessica @ How Sweet It Is

So, while the ingredient list here is a little on the long side- don’t get intimidated.  Like, seriously.  It’s mostly stuff you have in your pantry or spice cabinet.  You could also of course, just skip the sauce all together and just use store bought ranch… but that wouldn’t be as rewarding and impressive as making your own.  Try it!

I have a few comments about this one- besides telling you how fabulously amazing these were. (THESE WERE FABULOUSLY AMAZING!!)

1.  Keep in mind that I have been trying to be healthy and lose weight.  While this recipe isn’t the top of any dieting how-to, you should remember this when looking at my recipes.  I cut down on cheese.  I use whole wheat, whole grain, low fat, etc. versions of everything.  I’m sure this recipe would be seriously more fabulously amazing with some extra cheese.   Try it if you’d like!

2.  I typically try to modify recipes not only to make them healthier when possible, but to try to use ingredients I already have in my house.  For this recipe, the small corn tortillas were fine… but if you have large wraps or burrito wraps in your house- go ahead, use them!

3.  I remember from school that you should always have at least three points when you are making lists or numbering… so it only felt right to do that here.  I really only have those two things to say.  🙂

4.  Okay, maybe I should also tell you that you have to try this for your own Meatless Monday and ENJOY!

B&W... not to be confused with the milkshake!

B&W… not to be confused with the milkshake!

This is all I needed for the dip... I had it all at home already.  (Don't you LOVE my moo-cow salt and pepper shakers?? My Mommom bought them for me :) )

This is all I needed for the dip… I had it all at home already. (Don’t you LOVE my moo-cow salt and pepper shakers?? My Mommom bought them for me 🙂 )

Everything into the food processor to be whipped up into your homemade dip

Everything into the food processor to be whipped up into your homemade dip

Nom nom nom!  Delicious quesadillas.

Nom nom nom! Delicious quesadillas.

quesadilla

 

Dave bought me these gorgeous purple flowers from TJ's this week :)

Dave bought me these gorgeous purple flowers from TJ’s this week 🙂

They make my kitchen look so pretty!!

They make my kitchen look so pretty!!

 

Or…. try one of these other Meatless Monday Recipes!

Butternut Squash Tacos

Butternut Squash Tacos

Portobello Mushroom Burgers w/ Balsamic Glaze

Portobello Mushroom Burgers w/ Balsamic Glaze

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry (Crockpot!)

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry (Crockpot!)

 

 

 

Tilapia w/ Black Beans & Zucchini

My 2nd gym (Planet Fitness) is right next to a supermarket.  How convenient.

The other day after I worked out, I hurried over to purchase a few healthy snacks, some turkey for lunches, and dinner- as I was on my own for the night.  Passing the seafood area, I noticed how cheap Tilapia was!  I really have never made any type of fish except salmon, so I was super excited to try Tilapia out.

With a whole 1/2 lb of Tilapia only costing me 6 points, I was able to have some fun with it!

Tilapia w/ Black Beans & Zucchini

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1/2 lb Tilapia (usually 2 pieces), rinsed and patted dry
Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, Minced, divided
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1/2 can Black Beans
1 Zucchini
1/2 Onion
8 Green Beans
1 Tomato
2 Green Onions
Directions:
1.  Cut up all of the veggies.  In a large saucepan, heat just a little bit of olive oil (teaspoon?).  Add 1/4 teaspoon Garlic.  Saute for 30 seconds before adding the onion, zucchini, green beans, and green onions.  Stir around until the veggies become softer- I like to get it to the point where the zucchinis are browning just a little bit.
2.  Meanwhile, heat another teaspoon of Olive Oil in a separate pan over medium heat.  Season both sides of the Tilapia with Sea Salt, Pepper, and the other 1/4 teaspoon of Garlic (and a few shakes of Red Pepper Flakes if you’d like!).  Place the Tilapia gently in the pan over the oil.  Add the lime juice.  It only takes  about 4-5 minutes on each side.  Try to only flip it once to avoid it falling apart.
3.  When the veggies and fish are almost done, add the black beans and tomatoes into the veggie saucepan.  Stir to combine.  Serve together!

Here are my veggies sauteeing, before the beans and tom’s go in!

Delish Tilapia! I’d love to try this again.

This was really simple and completely thrown together last minute.  It worked out really well.  The simplicity was really nice, because you could really taste the flavors of the veggies and fish.  This would be really yummy too, if you’d add just a few shakes of Parmesan cheese ontop.

It was a nice change from my normal asian or cajun fish seasonings and marinades.