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!

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Salsa Omelette

I’ve made a couple new exciting discoveries lately.

1.  Happy Hour Oysters are seriously awesome.  Buck a shuck?  I think I will.

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2.  These chips from Trader Joe’s are amazing.  There’s flax seeds in them… so that means they’re healthy.  Yup!

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3.  A guilty pleasure:  The Carrie Diaries.  The prequel to Sex & the City.  I forgot how dramatic high school is, and I LOVE it.

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4.  THIS list of 50 Nacho recipes.

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and 5.  I LOVE corn tortillas.  I don’t think I’ll ever buy any other type again!

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While one might think that corn tortillas = tacos (and they may be right), corn tortillas to me = eggs.  It’s the perfect crispy, salty, warm vessel for eggs.  Goodbye english muffins … hello corn tortillas.

My new favorite thing to do is to saute up one or two corn tortillas (2 are only 80 calories! omg!) with some sea salt and stuff them with eggs.  Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and now even a delicious omelette covered in salsa.

Salsa Omelette

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Butter

3 slices of Onion, chopped

1 Jalapeno, chopped

1 handful Fresh Spinach

1 handful Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half

2 Egg Whites & 1 Egg

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese

Red Pepper Flakes, Ground Pepper & Sea Salt

1-2 small Corn Tortillas

2 Tablespoons Salsa (I use Jack’s Special from Wegman’s… its the BEST)

Directions:

1.  Heat the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and jalapeno.  Stir and cook for a few minutes before adding the spinach.

2.  Meanwhile, scramble the egg whites, and egg into a separate bowl.  Add the water and scramble with a fork.

3.  Switch the heat on the pan to medium so you don’t burn the eggs.  Pour the egg mixture into the pan.  Let sit for about 4-5 minutes.  Make sure to tilt the pan so the uncooked egg covers the entire pan.

4.  With a spatula or silicone scraper, lift the sides of the egg up to make sure it’s not sticking. (If it is, forget the omelet and just scramble it up… it will taste just as good!)  When there isn’t much runny egg left on the top, add the cheese, then lift one side up and flip it on the other (creating a half moon shape).  Let cook for another 4-5 minutes or until it looks like there is no runny egg left.  You might want to put a lid on the pan… it will help with the cooking time.  Season w/ Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper Flakes and remove from the pan.

5.  Add a few drops of olive oil to the hot pan and place a corn tortilla or two onto the pan.  Season with sea salt.  Flip after two minutes of cooking.  Add the salsa and tomatoes to the omelette and enjoy!

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Try one of my other favorite Omelettes!

The Ultimate Jewish Omelette

The Ultimate Jewish Omelette

Portobello Omelette

Portobello Omelette

Salami Omelette

Salami Omelette

Salsa Chicken & Southwest Quinoa

After my “John the Dietitian” meeting last week, I was inspired to try something new.  I like to ask John for suggestions of meals and snacks, and he’s helped out so much with that.  John has me addicted to plain fat free greek yogurt or fat free cottage cheese… topped with berries and a tablespoon of Polaner All-Fruit jelly.  YUM.

This week, John recommended cooking a chicken breast in a skillet… smothered in salsa.  Um, WOW!  So good.  The salsa is like, zero calories and absolutely zero points for Weight Watchers.  It has fiber and hardly any sugar.  What a great idea.

Beth’s Salsa Chicken

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Serves:  2 (1 WW point per oz of chicken)
Ingredients:
  • 2 Chicken Breasts (i use 6-8oz)
  • Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper (if you dont’ want spicy try Paprika!)
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded & sliced thin
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Jar of your Favorite Salsa (15 oz)
Directions:
  1. Marinate the chicken in the salsa for as long as you can.  
  2. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray.  Heat to medium-high temperature.  Take the chicken out of the salsa.  Reserve salsa.  Place the chicken on the hot pan and season the top.
  3. Place the onion and jalapeno ontop of the chicken.  Let the chicken cook for about 5 minutes (or longer, depending on thickness) without touching it.  Now, carefully flip the chicken to make the onion and pepper side-down.
  4. Let it cook for another 5 minutes, flip again, then dump the salsa ontop.  Cook until the chicken is done (reaches 165 degrees inside).  Serve and enjoy!

My chicken grilling with some seasoning!

How pretty!

Oh… and by the way… I’ve fallen in love.

I’ve fallen in love quinoa (keen-wah… in case you’ve always wondered) !  I know I’m a little late to the Quinoa Party… but seriously.  WOW.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve enjoyed it or tried it, but the first time I’ve made it myself.  I had always been a little intimidated and I don’t know why… doesn’t get much easier than that!

I made this “Southwest” Quinoa to go along with my Salsa Chicken.  I totally wished I had fresh Cilantro to really complete the southwest feel… but I didn’t.  Oh well!  It was still so good!

Southwest Quinoa

Serves:  4-6 (4 Points per Serving if you do 6)
Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 Cups Water (or chicken broth… I just didn’t have it)
  • 1/2 Can Corn
  • 1/2 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 1 Tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Directions:
  1. Cook Quinoa according to the package directions:  Combine Quinoa and Liquid in a LARGE pot (it will almost triple in size!).  Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower temperature to LOW, then cover.  Simmer for 15 minutes covered.
  2. Fluff with a fork when it’s done and take off of the heat.  Make sure all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Add all of the rest of the ingredients and stir.  Serve!

    The uncooked quinoa floats ontop of the water before it boils. Just stir it in and get it goin before you turn the heat all the way down.

    Everything that’s going into the Quinoa

    Finished product

I loved this and it went perfectly with the salsa chicken.  It was fresh and spicy and delish.  Try Quinoa ASAP… it is awesome and so healthy!

YUM!

ABC Salsa (Avocado, Bean, & Corn)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe.  Where have I been?

Besides spending the last two weekends at “the shore”, I have started up a new diet.  I re-joined weight watchers, and also saw a dietitian (John) who filled in a lot of the blanks that Weight Watchers leaves out.

The basic jist of my new “lifestyle” diet.

1.  Weight Watchers:  I’m using the new point system that is a definite upgrade from when I did it two years ago.  It now uses CARBS & FAT = more points and FIBER & PROTEIN = less points.  I get to eat what I want but have to be aware of serving size.  They also allow you to have almost 2 full days extra allowance for days you need some extra points or “splurging” days.  You also gain extra points for workouts.

2.  Tracking on WW:  Since I already have the knowledge of what I should and shouldn’t be eating… the most important part of this all for me is the tracking.  Being held accountable absolutely makes me eat better and be aware of everything going in my mouth.  The new program for WW has an unbelievable Iphone/Ipad app that has made this all a breeze.  You can even scan things right into your phone and their nutrition, point value, and serving size come right up.  Cool.

3.  Upgrade my eating schedule:  The biggest problem John had with my current diet (besides my eating Fiber One “candy bars” he called them) is my eating schedule.

What I was doing:  9am Coffee , 11am Breakfast , 2pm Lunch , 3pm Snack , (workout) , 8:30pm Dinner

What he wants me to do:  8am Breakfast , 10am Snack , 12pm Lunch , 2-3pm Snack , (workout) , 6-6:30pm Snack , 8pm Dinner

He says that my body won’t burn calories until I have actual food in my body… not coffee.  So I had been wasting 2-3 hours every day of time not burning calories.  

4.  Snacks are not Snack-Food:  John’s thoughts on snacks are that they should consist of a protein and a fiber.  He wants me to start thinking of “Snack” as a time to eat, not a type of food.  I’ve been eating fat free Greek Yogurt w/ Allfruit spread or Fig Butter, Cottage Cheese w/ blueberries, Cucumber and Carrots w/ Laughing Cow or String Cheese… etc.

So far, I’m loving the combination of the two!  The weight watchers gives me direction when I want to eat and the motivation to keep track while John is helping me out with what’s really healthy and how to help my body make the changes I want to see.  From now on, I’ll try to remember to include the WW Point Values on all of my recipes!

With all of that being said, I’ve been busy food shopping for new foods and getting used to this new diet.  This past week, I went to the movies and I didn’t want to be hungry, so I made myself a nice little batch of this delicious salsa to much on before I left.  I ate it with Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Blue Corn Chips (which are so salty and delicious!).

ABC (Avocado, Bean, & Corn) Salsa

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Makes 4 Small Servings @ 4 WW Points Each
Ingredients:
1 Tomato, chopped
1/2 Avocado, cut into small squares
1/2 can Corn
1/2 can Black Beans
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
Hot Sauce (a couple of shakes)
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper
Directions:  
1.  Simple… combine all ingredients and stir, adding the Avocado in last to avoid mashing all of the pieces.

This recipe is similar to my Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa (I really like corn salsa, could you tell?!) but has the beans and a few less ingredients.  It is very easy to make but tastes very good!

Foodie Penpals: May

The day is here!  I get to reveal what I received from my Foodie Penpal!

Who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail?  This is the first month I participated in the Foodie Penpal program.  It’s simple:  spend $15 on goodies for a fellow foodie, someone else will do the same for you!  It’s open for both bloggers AND readers, so if you’re interested, definitely read below!

My fabulous Foodie Penpal in May was Kristi Baldwin.  I could not wait to receive my package once I heard from her… she warned me it was Mexican themed (YUM!)  and that she makes her own salsa.  I was super excited.

The package came to my house the day I was packing to leave for the beach for Memorial Day Weekend.  Perfect.  I ripped it open and here’s what I found:

My yummy package!

Tortilla Chips
Fajita Skillet Sauce
Salsa
Chile con Queso Dip
Somersaults
Dolfin Lavendar Chocolate

Dave wanted to pop open the jar of homemade salsa right away, but I made him wait until we got to the “shore”.  However, the Somersaults weren’t as lucky.  They were ripped open and devoured by myself and Dave almost immediately.

YUM! Love Somersaults!

I had never seen these babies before, but I’m glad Kristi introduced me to them!  They are a delicious perfect little snack.  I will have to buy some online ASAP!

Dave and I finished Kristi’s homemade salsa in one sitting.  It was so tasty.  I am dying to know what she used in it.  It had a great kick but wasn’t too spicy, and even some bites were a little sweet.  It tasted so fresh, I’d love to try to make one on my own.

Thank you, Kristi, for your awesome package!  It made my day, and I loved trying all of these new products 🙂

As for the package I sent, I got fellow blogger, Steph… who is a dairy-free Mommy of THREE adorable little girls.  She blogs @ Dairy-Free Omnivore, giving some awesome recipes, stories, and fun pictures of her and her family.  Check out her site! 

& Click HERE if you want to see what I got her!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

The Lean Green Bean

Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa

Ever since I started to eat tomatoes, I’ve had the urge to try to make fresh salsa.

For as long as I can remember, I wouldn’t even look at fresh salsa.  The chunks of raw tomato seriously disgusted me, and fresh salsa was just one thing I was missing out on for years and years.  With Cinco de Mayo quickly approaching and nothing to eat for dinner last night, Dave and I decided to give it a-go!

This recipe sounds like a lot of ingredients, but I promise it’s so easy and you probably have mostly everything already in your house.

Cinco de Mayo Corn Salsa

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1 cup Grape Tomatoes
1 Avocado
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
a few shakes of Green Tabasco Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt (or to taste) & Ground Pepper
a pinch Cayenne Pepper
Directions:
1.  Finely chop all veggies except the avocado.  Place in a bowl with the garlic, parsley, vinegar, lime juice, and Tabasco sauce.  Add the sugar, a little at a time and stir everything together.
2.  Add Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne.  Again, add everything a little at a time so you don’t overdo it.
3.  Pit and slice the avocado into small hunks, then add to the bowl.  You want to add this last so it holds its cubed shape.  If you stir it too much after this point, the avocado will mush up.  It will still be delish but it won’t be as pretty.
4.  Stir lightly and serve with tortilla chips!  I recommend UTZ Baked Tortilla chips or any Corn Tortilla.

Everything chopped!

all ready to eat 🙂

Results:  OMG!  Loved it.  Both Dave and I were impressed with our ability to throw this one together… together!  He was really helpful, besides just being a wonderful taste-tester…hehe.  This was the freshest “fresh” salsa ever (it was my first ever! lol) and had great bold flavors despite it not being very spicy.  You could remove or add more jalapeno, cayenne, or hot sauce to add or remove the spiciness.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Pork Carnitas

Trader Joe’s Pork Carnitas & Peach Salsa

Want a great, inexpensive idea for dinner? Pick up a package of Trader Joe’s Pork Carnitas and a jar of Peach Salsa. It is so simple! Here is what I did with it… it only took me five minutes.

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings):
1 package TJ’s Pork Carnitas
1 jar TJ’s Peach Salsa
10 drops Tabasco Sauce (green kind!… optional)

Directions:
1. Cook pork according to directions on the package… Microwave for 2-3 minutes, then shred.
2. Put the pork in a bowl and dump the entire jar of salsa into the pork and combine. I added the Tabasco sauce for some heat.
3. Enjoy alone, over rice, or in a corn tortilla.

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