Tag Archives: Hungry Girl

Quick and Cool

22 Jul

As per the subject line, this is just going to be a quick post, as I was gone for about 12 hours yesterday (funeral out of town).

Tuesday night I needed supper fast. It was after 6 o’clock, and I was hungry. It was IMG_2222hot outside, and I didn’t want to make something that would require a lot of time and heat. So I went for something burger-inspired that only needed a microwave – no grill, stovetop or oven – Hungry Girl’s Big Bad Burger Wrap. I have to say, this is one of my favourite HG recipes. It comes from her 200 under 200 Cookbook. It’s easy to make, and full of classic burger flavour. Here’s how it all goes down.

Hungry Girl’s Big Bad Burger Wrap from 200 under 200

    1 large tortilla (low calorie if possible – I use my beloved flatout wraps)
    1 Boca Original Meatless Burger (or whatever type you can find here in Canada)
    1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese
    1 pickle spear, chopped (you can also add chopped onion, as I often do).
    1 teaspoon mustard
    1 teaspoon ketchup
    2 dashes Hot Sauce of your choice
      Prepare Boca patty according to box directions, either in the microwave or in a pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Chop patty into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
      To make sauce, combine mustard, ketchup, and hot sauce in a small dish. Stir well and set aside.
      Warm tortilla in the microwave for 10 seconds. Lay tortilla flat and spread cheese wedge on top.
      Place chopped burger and pickle in the center of the tortilla. Top with sauce. Fold the sides of the tortilla in, and then roll it up from the bottom. Enjoy!

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    On the side, I had a HUGE, super-awesome Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. As best as I can remember, here’s what went in it:

    • chopped tomatoes
    • chopped pickling cucumbers (LOVE the crunch!)
    • spinach leaves
    • chopped green onion
    • chopped red onion (hey, I love onion – what can I say?)
    • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I love cooking up a big batch and having it leftover in the fridge)
    • chopped red pepper

    My dressing was a mix of fat-free Italian salad dressing, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and olive oil. Of course, there was salt and pepper over it all. Mmm….this salad was absolutely delicious, very filling, and loaded with fresh summer flavours. In other words, pretty much perfect – I’d definitely make it again!

    Happy weekend friends! Hope you can enjoy the beautiful weather – but stay cool! Any exciting plans? I’ve got 2 pool parties on the horizon (I’ll be sharing the tasty appetizer recipe I made for today’s party shortly).

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    Ring around the Burger

    24 Jun

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    Life is funny sometimes. On Wednesday, I knew I was going to be on my own for supper. So that morning, I was thinking about what I’d make for myself (yes, I am completely and totally consumed by food…I am always making it, eating it, or thinking about it…deal with it). I thought about the PC Blue Menu Chicken Sliders I had in my freezer, and thought they’d be good with some Hungry Girl onion rings, and it had been ages since I made them. Then, when reading my emails before leaving for work, my daily Hungry Girl email told me it was National Onion Ring Day – it was meant to be!

    This recipe is an HG oldie, but definitely a goodie! For some reason, this time the ground-up cereal didn’t stick to my rings to well (I think maybe it wasn’t finely ground enough), but I made it work, cranked up the oven temperature a bit at the end of cook time, and dipped ‘em in my delicious BBQ ranch dip (sour cream, ranch dip mix, light BBQ sauce, brown sugar twin, cumin and liquid smoke) and they tasted great! As you can see from the ingredients picture and then reading the recipe below, I switched up my spices, using cumin, chili powder and garlic salt. Feel free to try any blend you like! Here’s the recipe:

    Lord of the Onion Rings 2.0
    PER SERVING (entire recipe): 155 calories, 1g fat, 515mg sodium, 41g carbs, 16g fiber, 7g sugars, 9g protein

    Ingredients:IMG_1879
    1 large onion
    1/2 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original)
    1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
    1/4 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste
    1/8 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste
    1/8 tsp. salt, or more to taste
    Black pepper, to taste

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Slice the ends off the onion and remove its outer layer. Cut onion into 1/2-inch-wide slices, and separate into rings. Set aside.

    Using a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Season the crumbs with spices and transfer to a plate.
    Fill a small bowl with egg substitute. Prepare a baking sheet (or two, if you have a lot of rings) by spraying with nonstick spray. Set aside.

    Pop-Up Tip! For this next step, try using tongs or a fork to dip the rings into the egg substitute and cereal crumbs — it’ll keep your fingers from getting eggy & crumb-covered. (Don’t pierce the rings with the fork; just balance them on it.)
    One at a time, dunk each ring in egg substitute, give it a shake to remove any excess, and then coat it in the seasoned crumbs. Evenly place rings on the baking sheet(s).

    Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, carefully flipping rings over about halfway through. Enjoy!
    MAKES 1 SERVING

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    I used a nice, sweet Vidalia onion. Here are the rings, all sliced and separated.

     

     

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    The egg substitute-coated ring goes for a dip in the cereal “crumbs” (best photo I could get while my hands were all goopy). If you’re familiar with HG, you’ve seen the fibre one/egg substitute “faux-fry” tip before. It works great for anything you want a crispy coating on…veggies….chicken…the list goes on! Check out the HG site for more cool ideas!

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    Now onto the sliders. First of all, anyone notice how HUGE sliders are lately (which is a bit of an oxy-moron, since sliders are actually mini burgers, but I think you got the drift)? Sliders, mini sausages and buns are all over the new PC Insider’s report (and I sampled the mini sausages and ciabatta buns at last weekend’s visit to the PC Summer Tour…yum!). The sliders are great, but the calorie counts on the buns are a tad higher than I’d like for a mini bun…so I problem solved and found these great whole wheat mini pitas with only 20 calories AND one gram of fibre each and halved them for my buns…perfect!

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    I opted to go for a Mediterranean vibe for my chicken sliders – on the halved pitas, I put the chicken sliders, some of my fav PC Blue Menu Tzatziki, sliced Vidalia onion (leftover from the rings), a slice of grilled mini eggplant, a piece or jarred roasted red pepper, and fresh dill….um…YUM! So, summer-y, fresh and delicious!

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    So many layers of delicious flavour – I think we need a close-up! And don’t the frilly toothpicks complete things nicely? FYI, sliders are great party food. Last year for my birthday, I did a build-your-own slider party – big hit!

     

     

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    My other side dish was a salad of grilled asparagus and grilled portabella mushroom (sliced) with fresh basil and a quick balsamic vinaigrette, plus a few cucumber spears for extra dipping in that ranch dip.IMG_1886

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Dessert was also quite delicious and summer-y: pineapple mango soft serve! IMG_1888This stuff rules. The combo of fresh and frozen fruit blends up beautifully, no added liquid necessary. And somehow, the lack of banana really lets the tropical flavours shine through. I also snacked on some of these new Rold Gold 1oo calorie caramel-glazed pretzels that I am loving these days….I Red heartsweet and salty! (can’t find them online, otherwise I’d post the link).

    Speaking of burgers, quick update on the bean and the chicken ones I made a while back. I said that I wasn’t sure how they’d thaw from the freezer. I’m happy to report that both thawed beautifully!

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    The waxed paper layers made both easy to remove from their containers. I let the chicken burgers (pictured above right)thaw on the counter (I know that’s a food safety no-no, but it hasn’t killed me yet) and I microwaved my veggie burger for a minute on high. And, when topped with a slice of melted Velveeta cheese, a touch of salsa, a slice of sweet onion and a slice juicy tomato on a lightly toasted English muffin, the bean burger was simply OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD! I WILL be eating it this way again!

    Happy first official weekend of summer!Sun Any plans? I’m making some food for my cousin’s grade 8 grad party and on Sunday I’ve got a church picnic – lots of food and fun all around!

    If you don’t know what you’re cookin’ yet, why not give one of these burger recipes a try? And/or some soft-serve. Both are light yet amazingly satisfying ways to ring in summer!

    Pretty Ziti

    23 Jun

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    Mmmm….how I love baked ziti (or really any creamy, baked pasta dish). What’s not to love about carb-y pasta goodness, creamy melted cheese, and a nice bubbly top? For those of you not in the know as to what baked ziti is, allow me to enlighten you (courtesy of Wikipedia).Baked ziti is a popular baked Italian American casserole dish made with ziti and sauce. In many recipes, the ziti are first cooked separately while a tomato and cheese sauce is prepared, which may include meat, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and onions. The cooked and drained ziti are then combined with the cooked sauce, which may be layered with additional varieties of cheeses, baked in the oven, and served hot.” Sounds good, but totally off-limits with all those carbs and cheese, right? Wrong, oh SO wrong.

    Thanks to Hungry Girl (whatever would I do without her), we can enjoy guilt-free ziti! She takes the traditional dish, uses whole-wheat ziti, bumps up the veggies, and uses low-fat cheeses for a dish that satisfies those creamy Italian pasta cravings we all have (let’s not deny it). I got this recipe from her 300 under 300 cookbook, but it’s also online, and right here on HHH….read on!

    HG’s Takes-the-Cake Ziti BakeIMG_1864

    Ingredients:
    5 oz. (about 1 1/2 cups) uncooked whole-wheat or high-fiber ziti or penne pasta
    1 cup thinly sliced onion
    2 cups chopped brown mushrooms
    1 tbsp. chopped garlic
    2 cups fresh spinach
    3/4 cup low-fat/light ricotta cheese
    2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil (as good as this was, if it’s winter and/or you don’t have/want to buy fresh basil, you could probably get away with dried or Italian seasoning)
    1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
    1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (I used light Kraft Italiano cheese…it’s what I had…worked fine)
    2 tbsp. reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain well, place in a large bowl, and set aside.

    Meanwhile, bring an extra-large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat on the stove. Add onion and, stirring occasionally, cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and raise temperature to medium high. Continue to cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes.

    Add spinach to the skillet and, stirring often, cook until spinach has wilted and excess moisture has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in ricotta cheese and basil.

    Transfer contents of the skillet to the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Toss gently to mix. *Note…I added a bit of salt here because I thought it needed it…but it’s your call on your version!

    Spray an 8" X 8" baking pan  (mine was 9 x 9…I’m a rebel like that) with nonstick spray, and carefully fill with contents of the bowl. Evenly top with Parm-style topping and remaining 2 tbsp. mozzarella cheese.

    Bake in the oven until entire dish is hot and cheese on top has melted, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, and then serve and enjoy!
    MAKES 4 SERVINGS

    Serving Size: 1/4th of recipe
    Calories: 286
    Fat: 7g
    Sodium: 455mg
    Carbs: 41g
    Fiber: 5g
    Sugars: 7g
    Protein: 16.5g

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    Right after I added the spinach.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Now in goes the ricotta!

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Stir it all together (veggies, cheese, pasta, tomatoes) before topping with cheese (I skipped the extra bowl and just cooked the veggies in an extra-large pan – one less thing to clean). Side note: I just love the sound that creamy cheesy pasta and sauce makes when you stir it – does anyone else know what I mean? I can’t really describe it – just that pleasant, sort of smooshing sound – but that really doesn’t do it justice. Guess you’ll just have to try it for yourself so you know what I mean.

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    It’s ready to go in the oven! See the top for a close-up of what it looks like after it comes out.

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    Now, I know this might not be considered the most summer-y meal to have on the first day of summer, being that it doesn’t involve the grill, but paired with an asparagus salad, it sure was tasty! And I made it on hooping night (Tuesday), so with the asparagus salad marinating in the fridge and my mom popping this into the oven, a delicious Italian meal was waiting for me when I got home…can’t beat that! Added bonus? Two delicious servings of leftovers…score!

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    Dessert was another one of the strawberry squares I told you about yesterday fancied up even more. I topped it with leftover filling from my grandma’s rhubarb cake, sliced fresh berries, cool whip and a touch of light chocolate syrup….delish!

    What are your favourite Italian dishes? And do you have any tips or tricks for lightening them up?

    How to get to Sesame-less Street

    30 May

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    Remember Saturday’s tasty supper that I showed but didn’t tell about yesterday? Because I love you, today you get a show AND a tell (side note: don’t you just love how in this photo, you can see a bit of all 4 of my colourful new napkins? My mom laid them out on the dining room table, ‘cause she likes ‘em). And the title will make sense in due time….patience, my friends. Smile

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    So the inspiration for the protein part of my meal came from something I made for the birthday party I catered back at the beginning of May: pineapple chicken teriyaki kabobs (that and the fact that I still had some of the marinade I bought left over: Clubhouse Teriyaki). I pierced a chicken breast with a fork (since I noticed on the bottle it said to pour over “pierced” meat), poured on some marinade, put in a ziploc bag, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes (I would have done it for longer, but I had a busy yet delightful Saturday filled with an amazing workout, baking muffins, yard work, baby holding and a quick grocery trip, so I didn’t get back home until almost 6).  IMG_1598

    I liked the teriyaki and pineapple combo at the party (I’m a big fan of sweet and meat. Well, who am I kidding, I’m a big fan of sweet and anything), but didn’t really feel like going to the trouble of making skewers just for myself. So when it came time to grill, I preheated the grill to medium-high, sprayed it with a bit of PAM for Grilling, and threw on the chicken and one nice slice of pineapple, which I lightly brushed on each side with a bit more marinade.

    Now for the “sesame-less” part of the title. IMG_1597In the first Hungry Girl cookbook, there is tasty recipe I’ve made once before for “Crazy Good Cold Sesame Noodles.” Only issue? No sesame seeds in this house (I think maybe you see where I’m going with the title). I made my own version, omitting the sesame seeds (it’s only have a teaspoon anyway) and making a few other substitutions which created a delicious end product. Again, dear readers, because I love you, I will show (and tell) you how I did it. Here’s the link to the original recipe, if you want to go by-the-book.

    Side note: I used my last package of tofu shirataki noodles for this ( Sad smileWaaah! Happily though, my sister informed me that they are available at the natural foods store right across from her new house!!!!! Smile Road trip soon)!

    HHH Crazy-Good Cold Sesame-less Noodles (adapted from Hungry Girl)

    Ingredients:

    1 package tofu shirataki noodles (I used the fettucini, because that’s all I had, instead of the spaghetti ones).

    1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. reduced-fat peanut butter, room temperature (I had to microwave mine a bit for easier stirring)IMG_1600

    2 tbsp. skim milk

    2 tbsp. chopped red onion

    A handful of chopped fresh chives and cilantro

    2 tbsp sliced snow peas

    1/2 tbsp. light or low-sodium soy sauce

    1 small clove minced garlic

    A pinch of brown sugar twin

    Optional: salt (I used garlic salt, naturally)

    Directions:

    Rinse and drain noodles well. Pat VERY dry with paper towels. Place noodles in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. Drain excess liquid from noodles, and pat them again until thoroughly dry (the more dry the better!). Cut noodles into spaghetti-length pieces.

    Set aside. In a separate small dish, combine peanut butter, milk, soy sauce, garlic and sweetener. Mix well. Feel free to season this sauce to taste with salt. Pour sauce over noodles, add chopped veggies and mix thoroughly. Allow to chill in the fridge (I was a bit time crunched, and they weren’t as cold as I wanted, so I actually popped mine in the freezer for a few minutes: true story). Then enjoy! MAKES 1 SERVING

    IMG_1601The veggies you see on the plate (sorry I didn’t get a better close-up) are a garlic-ginger stir fry. I heated one teaspoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan (I know you’re not really supposed to cook with sesame oil because of its smoke point, but what can I say, I’m a rebel, and I love the flavour). To that, I added chopped garlic (a shocker, I know), TONS of chopped fresh veggies (celery, cauliflower, snow peas, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus…think that was it) and a little bit of chopped fresh pineapple. Seasoning-wise, I added ground ginger (would have used fresh if I had it), and after a couple of minutes cooking, a couple of splashes of soy sauce, salt, and then a touch of white wine vinegar (probably not a traditional Asian ingredient, I know) and a hint of brown sugar twin (going for kinda the sweet ‘n sour vibe).

    The whole meal came together wonderfully and was a delicious Asian flavour combo. Mmmm…I Red heartgrilled pineapple.

    That same pineapple found its way into dessert (cold though, not grilled), and my newest (banana-less) venture: pin-ango soft serve: a nice cold bowl of IMG_1602tropical goodness. On the previously mentioned quick grocery trip, I decided to pick up some form of frozen fruit to make my carb reduction slightly easier (an update on that: carbs are slowly coming back into my life as of last night). I briefly flirted with the 5 fruit blend (mango, strawberry, grape, melon and cranberry I believe) but ultimately went for the mango chunks. Really, that bag was only $2.99 (I think…or maybe $3.99). If you think about how much fresh mangoes usually cost (unless you’re lucky and score a cheap case), and consider the quantity you get, and it’s already peeled, chopped and frozen, it’s a pretty good deal.

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    As you can see from the photo, I combined the frozen mango with the fresh pineapple. I did the usual procedure of my banana soft serve, except that since I was using half fresh fruit, no added almond milk was needed. The fresh pineapple made it a bit softer than usual, but it was still nice and chilly, and there were a few mango chunks (which I actually enjoy). Mmmm….double pineapple pleasure in this meal!

    This delicious, fresh, fruity supper was the perfect end to a perfect day. It was low-key, I was able to get some stuff done around the house/yard, and meet the beautiful baby daughter of a long-time friend. She slept in my arms for over an hour…I was all warm and fuzzy inside after. Seriously, I felt like I had a big grin on my face as I walked around the grocery store! Open-mouthed smileGotta love babies!

    What makes you warm and fuzzy inside?

    Back from the Great Beyond

    22 Apr

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    Remember when I posted about how my own foolishness caused me to lose a bunch of food pictures? Well, I made one of those recipes again, so this time, I made sure to upload the pics to my computer so I could share them with YOU! This recipe for Dreamy Butternut Chicken Foil Pack comes from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300, so no doubt it’s healthier than what I’m eating today/the rest of the weekend at Easter family functions. Smile with tongue out

    I was attracted to this recipe because of the butternut squash, and the creamy comfort food aspect of it. This recipe calls for condensed soup, an ingredient that I don’t normally cook with. I’m all about whole/real foods most of the time, but once in a while, if I see a recipe that looks good that calls for condensed soup, I’ll go for it. The only problem is using up the leftover soup that stays in the fridge!

    So what’s the recipe review? I LOVED the absolutely HUGE portion size. Again, that’s one advantage of eating veggie-packed meals. Flavour-wise, I liked it. It wasn’t absolutely fantastically delicious, but obviously I liked it enough to make it twice within 2 weeks, so it had to be pretty good. Wanna give it a try for yourself? Read on! Note: the recipe below makes 2 servings – both times I made it, I was cooking for one, so I halved everything.

    Dreamy Butternut Chicken Foil Pack

    From Hungry Girl: 300 under 300 Serves 2 – 292 calories, 3.25 g fat, 6 g fiber per serving

    1/2 cup canned low fat condensed cream of chicken soup

    1/2 cup fat free sour cream

    1 teaspoon chopped garlic

    2 cups peeled and sliced butternut squash

    1 1/2 cups cauliflower

    3/4 cup chopped onion

    8 ounces raw boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

    1/8 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

    1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste (I found I needed more of both)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream, and garlic. Mix well. Add squash, cauliflower and onion, and stir to coat. Set aside.

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    Lay a large piece of foil on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray. Lay veggie mixture on the foil sheet and set aside.

    Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place it on top of the veggie mixture.

    Place another large piece of foil on top. Fold together and seal all four edges of the two foil pieces, forming a well-sealed packet.

    Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.

    AIMG_0833llow packet to cool for a few minutes, and then cut to release steam before opening it entirely (watch out for the steam). Mix well and serve, seasoning with salt and pepper if you like. Look at all that creamy chicken and veggie goodness – that is ONE serving size! You can’t argue with that.

    This meal was perfect for Tuesday, as I had hooping at 6:30 – so I set my oven timer and had it ready when I got back.

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    On the side, I enjoyed an Asian slaw that I made ahead of time (slaws are better this way anyway, they can soak up the flavour). My base was broccoli slaw mix and some assorted fresh veggies, and my dressing was a mix of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil and fat-free Italian dressing. I served the chicken over a package of tofu shirataki fettucini – the perfect vehicle for my creamy saucy supper (I rinsed, drained and cut them before I left so they’d be ready to rock when I got back).

    All in all, a tasty supper – and like I said, perfect for a make-ahead. What’s your take on condensed soup? Do you stay far, far away from it, cook with it all the time, or use it every once in a while, like me?

    P.S….today’s the first of the family get-togethers of Easter weekend, which = lots of delicious food. Wish me luck! Hopefully I’ll be back with updates!

    One hot tamale

    8 Apr

    IMG_0665So…after a few days break…return to another DELICIOUS recipe from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300. This one goes south of the border for some delicious Mexican inspiration. Another bonus? It’s a crockpot recipe! So it was perfect for Tuesday night: I had hula hooping at 6:30, and my mom had an appointment out of town. So I browned the meat, she finished the prep and we had a hot and healthy meal waiting for us at 7:30 – I just added sides of sweet ‘n spicy squash and a salad and we were good to go.

    What were my thoughts of this recipe (sorry, just realized I hadn’t told you the recipe titleEmbarrassed smile: Outside In Turkey Tamale Pie)? I thought it could have used a tad more salt, but other than that, I really liked it. And what I liked even better? I re-imagined the leftovers to make 2 SUPER-tasty meals (read more about that below). One caveat to this recipe: it stuck REALLY badly to the slow cooker…if making it again, I would spray it first with cooking spray. And the picture doesn’t really do the recipe justice…it tastes better than it looks!

    Outside-in Turkey Tamale PieIMG_0664

    from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300 – makes 7 servings (230 calories, 7.5 g fat, 3 g fibre per serving)

    1 1/4 lbs. raw lean ground turkey (I used part chicken, part turkey, it’s what I had)
    3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
    1 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
    One 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles (we didn’t have this, so substituted plain canned tomatoes with the addition of some pickled jalapenos)
    1 small onion, chopped
    3/4 cup canned sweet corn, drained (the day after eating this, we realized that my mom forgot to put it in! So I added some corn when reheating leftovers)
    1/2 cup canned kidney beans, drained
    1/2 cup sliced black olives, drained (I don’t like olives and I couldn’t even taste them)
    2 tsp. chili powder
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    Optional toppings: fat-free shredded cheddar cheese, fat-free sour cream

    Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add turkey and spread it around to break it up a bit. Cook and crumble until meat is brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and add turkey to the crock pot.

    In a bowl, combine cornmeal with broth and whisk thoroughly. Let stand for 5 minutes.

    Add cornmeal mixture to the crock pot along with all other ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

    Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours or on low for 7 – 8 hours.
    Serve and, if you like, top each serving with cheese and/or sour cream.

    So what did I do with the leftovers? I made one tasty supper and one great lunch. Wednesday’s supper? A burrito bowl with a side of kale chips. And Thursday’s lunch? Southwest veggie/turkey soup. Read on to find out how to make this deliciousness.

    IMG_0672I divided one serving of the tamale pie leftovers in two…using 3/5 for the burrito bowl and the other 2/5 for the soup. Burrito bowl first. I cooked some of the worst butternut squash I’ve ever had (so woody and fibrous, but I guess that’s what I get for buying from Mexico), diced and a bit of diced cauliflower in salted water in the microwave. I mashed the cooked veggies with some salsa and lots of ground cumin. I topped this with 1/2 cup refried beans (NOT the flavourless organic ones this time, good ol’ El Paso) and then the 3/5 of a portion of leftover “pie.” I heated this in the microwave for a few minutes, then topped with one Velveeta cheese slice, torn into pieces, and microwaved for another minute to melt the cheese. I topped it all off with 6 crumbled Guiltless Gourmet spicy black bean chips, chopped onion tomato and pickled jalapeno pepper, and plain fat-free Greek yogurt and salsa. YUM YUM YUM! I am glad that there are more leftovers in the freezer so I have the ability to make this again….loved it!

    IMG_0673As for the kale chips? Usual routine except I added some Cajun seasoning along with the garlic salt and olive oil…I couldn’t really taste the Cajun seasoning, but the chips were still delicious as usual.

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    Now onto the soup….this one was easy. All I did was sauté an assortment of veggies (I opened my fridge and saw what I had/what needed to be used up, that was my inspiration) in a tsp of olive oil  for a few minutes.  Then I added some canned tomatoes, a few pieces of a dried  chile pepper I had in the cupboard, a bit of chicken broth, the 2/5 portion of leftovers, and salt, pepper, cumin and various Mexican-ish spices (Epicure nacho cheese dip mix, Pueblo bean dip mix…and I can’t quite remember exactly what else…just use chili powder and cumin to get the essential flavour), brought it to a boil, then reduced heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. It reheated nicely the next day for a satisfying lunch.

    I know I’ve said it before, but let me say it again, loud and proud: I LOVE leftovers….this meal was great, and the other two that came out of it were great too! And There are 3 more servings in the freezer. Smile What’s your favourite freezable meal?

    Nachos + Cheeseburger = A healthy meal?

    5 Apr

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    …the answer is yes (when the nachos are No-Nonsense Nacho Lettuce Cups and the cheeseburgers are Cheeseburger Mashed Potato Parfaits from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300. This was the perfect sort-of-junk food-tasting supper to eat on the couch while watching a movie Saturday night. My mom rented 127 Hours because we are going to have the opportunity to hear Aron Ralston (rock climber who cut off his own arm) speak in May (more on that in the weeks to come, don’t want to spoil the surprise). It’s pretty intense in parts, needless to say (we had to cover our eyes). Even though you know what’s going to happen, it’s still a nail-biter.  Whether or not you choose to watch this movie, you definitely want to choose to make this meal! Read on to see how to do just that (note: both of these recipes are written to serve 4 – I halved them since I was cooking for two). Another note: the cheeseburger parfaits use instant mashed potato flakes – not something that I’m really a fan of or would use on a regular basis. But I actually had some in my cupboard that I had bought last summer for another recipe – so when I saw this one, I figured it was a good way to use them up!

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    First of all, I preceded this meal with a salad. Although it wasn’t “unhealthy,” it didn’t include a lot of veggies, so I made sure to get them in this salad (which was extra basil-y….my mom re-organized the spice drawer, and 2 jars of basil got put together in one, but the strainer part didn’t get put back on, so I dumped and got WAY more dried basil than I bargained for!

     No-Nonsense Nacho Lettuce Cups (serves 4 – 236 calories, 6.75 g fat, 4.25 fiber per serving)

    from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300

    8 ounces raw lean ground turkey

    2 teaspoons taco seasoning mix (I didn’t have, so I substituted other spices)

    1 cup fat-free refried beans

    1/2 cup chopped onion

    1/2 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

    1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese (I just used low fat Tex-Mex in place of both cheeses)

    1/4 cup sliced olives (I don’t like olives, so I omitted them and my mom just topped her own plate at the end)

    2 tablespoons jarred jalapeno slices

    20 small leaves butter or romaine lettuce

    1/2 cup shopped tomatoes

    1/2 cup fat-free sour cream (I substituted Greek yogurt, it’s what I had)

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    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine turkey with taco seasoning and mix well.

    Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spray with nonstick spray. Spread beans onto the center of the foil. Use your hands to break up turkey and evenly spread over beans. Evenly top with onion, both types of cheese, olives and jalapeno slices.IMG_0632-1

    Place another large piece of foil over the mixture. Fold together and seal all four edges of the two foil pieces, forming a well-sealed packet. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until turkey is cooked through.

    Allow packet to cool for a few minutes, and then cut to release steam before opening it entirely (watch out for the steam – it’ll be hot)!

    Evenly distribute nacho mixture among lettuce cups, about 2 tbsp per lettuce cup, and top with chopped tomatoes and sour cream.

    Cheeseburger Mashed Potato Parfaits (serves 4 – 168 calories, 1.5 g fat, 3.25 g fibre per serving)

    from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300

    1 1/3 cups instant mashed potato flakes

    1/4 tsp onion powder

    1/2 tsp salt (instead of both of these, I just used several dashes garlic salt)

    1/4 cup fat-free sour cream (yogurt, same as above for me)

    2 frozen meatless hamburger-style patties with about 100 calories each

    2 slices fat-free American cheese (mine were Velveeta), broken into small pieces

    1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

    1/2 cup chopped onion

    4 tsp ketchup

    4 hamburger dill pickle chips

    In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine potato flakes, onion powder, salt, and 2 1/3 cups water. Stir until completely moistened, cover and microwave for 4 minutes, or until hot.

    Once cool enough to handle, add sour cream and stirl until blended and smooth. Re-cover to keep hot and set aside.

    Prepare burgers according to package directions. Let cool and chop well, set aside.

    Scoop about 1/3 cup potatoes into each of 4 parfait glasses. Evenly distribute chopped burger patties among the glasses, followed by cheese pieces.

    Evenly distribute remaining mashed potatoes among the glasses, followed by tomatoes and onion. Top each with 1 tsp ketchup and a pickle chip.

    These recipes are both great spins on old favourites…and the best part? They’re both guilt-free! Try them both….you won’t regret it! Do you have any favourite recipes that are unconventional takes on classics?

    Abort Mission

    3 Apr

    So yesterday, I did something I’ve never done before….I shortened a training run. I’ve run through incredible blister pain, gone barefoot on the the sand, run in the dark, run in the snow. So why did I bail yesterday? It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t snowing, it wasn’t even that cold. In fact, the weather was gorgeous! I felt fine, no blister or muscle pain in sight. So why the shorter route? Well, in short, I just wasn’t feeling it.

    For one thing, I went out much later than usual…I started out for what I planned to be an eight mile run around 12:15….every time I exercise at a time other than the morning, I am reminded how much I like running/exercising in the morning…I like to get up and go and just have my workout out of the way for the day. So I was already dreading the run before I started out, since it was later in the day.

    I was also kind of hungry. Since I’m not used to running in the middle of the day, I’m not used to eating/fuelling my body at that time of day…does that make any sense? Although I did eat a good breakfast (more on that below), my tummy was rumbling during my run.

    Now…before I conclude this post-run analysis, this run wasn’t an epic failure or anything. I had planned to run 8 miles, and I ended up doing about 6. I was still out there for over an hour. Plus, I completely made up my half training plan. I used 8 miles as the distance for the “shorter long runs” because that’s what I did for my full marathon. But I feel like if 8 is good for a full, 6 is more than enough for a half, right? Plus, it’s not like I totally skipped a workout or anything. I’m trying to get better at the whole “listen to your body” thing….so I feel like it’s all part of the journey…and I’m feeling no guilt at all! Smile

    Onto the eats…IMG_0623 my mom requested a breakfast from my new Hungry Girl Cookbook, and I delivered with 2 Crunchy Beefy Taco Egg Mugs (actually made in bowls). Here’s how to make ‘em.

    Crunchy Beefy Taco Egg Mug – from Hungry Girl: 300 under 300

    1/4 cup frozen ground beef-style soy crumbles

    1/4 teaspoon taco seasoning mix (which I did not have on hand, so I substituted some Epicure seasonings and cumin)

    3/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

    1 tbsp low fat or fat-free cheddar cheese (I used Tex-Mex blend…it’s what I had)

    4 low-fat baked tortilla chips, roughly crushed (mine were blue, hence the colour in the photo)

    1 tbsp salsa

    1 tbsp fat-free sour cream (I substituted Greek yogurt)

    ….after typing out this recipe, I realize how much I substitute in recipes and don’t even realize it!

    Spray a large microwave-safe mug (or a bowl) with non-stick spray. Add frozen crumbles and microwave for 45 seconds, or until thawed.

    Add taco seasoning and mix well. Add egg substitute, stir, and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

    Gently stir and then sprinkle with cheese. Microwave for 1 minute, or until scramble is just set. Top with tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream.

    We enjoyed these with sliced pears on the side, and I also made an almond milk “latte” (not pictured).

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    The post-run lunch was also quite a treat. I had part of an avocado leftover in the fridge from my BLTA Club so I put it to good use: a Southwestern Avocado cheeseburger (my own delicious creation). I simply smeared 1/4 of an avocado over one half of a thin bun. I melted one Velveeta slice over a veggie burger (one of my Buffalo Bocas), put it on top of the Avocado-topped bun, and topped with salsa and sliced onion). OH YUM! I heart avocado. Would certainly make this one again. The veggies you see on the side are an eclectic mix of what I had in my fridge/needed to use up, sautéed in one tsp olive oil, and the seasonings are salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice, and garlic. I finished up the meal with an HG Raspberry Mocha. More  HG: 300 under 300 recipes will be coming up this week…so I hope you don’t get sick of them!

    Have you ever bailed/shortened a planned workout or training run and why? And…do you make a lot of substitutions when you cook/bake? Any favourites?

    Hungry for More

    2 Apr

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    Hungry Girl has a new cookbook: 300 under 300! That’s right…it has 300 recipes! It came out on March 29, so I ordered it immediately online, and it was here the next day. Thursday night, I tried my first recipe: the BLTA Club on page 53. The sandwich in this picture may look average, but the picture doesn’t do it justice…it is WAY beyond average….because BLTA stands for Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado….AWESOME!

    On the side of this splendid sandwich, I enjoyed an HG classic…an oldie but a goodie, butternut squash fries. I seasoned mine with sort of a quirky (but delicious) combo of flavours: garlic salt, cumin and Epicure’s salsa seasoning….enjoyed with one of my “secret sauce” originals – a mix of light ketchup, light BBQ sauce, salsa, yellow mustard, cumin, liquid smoke and sweetener. The veggies you see are cauliflower and green/yellow beans, roasted with olive oil and the same seasonings as the fries.

    Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging on the sandwich, here is the recipe! IMG_0616See this picture? It is a photo of the recipe page with my comment…AWESOME! I always write the date I make a recipe and a review….does anyone else do this?

    BLTA Club

    From Hungry Girl: 300 under 300

    2 slices light bread

    3 slices turkey bacon

    1/4 avocado

    1 tbsp fat-free mayonnaise (or in my case, Miracle Whip)

    1 slice tomato

    1 piece lettuce

    1 slice onion

    Salt and pepper, to taste (not in the original recipe…but my additions)

    Cook the bacon as desired (recipe says on the stove in a non-stick pan, but I went for my classic, the quick and easy route, on paper towels for 3 minutes in the microwave). Toast the bread. Mash the avocado on one slice of bread, season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayo on the other slice of bread. Layer the bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion and then sandwich the bread together. Eat and enjoy, with a huge smile on your face Smile (unless you don’t like avocado, then you’d be frowning…but if you don’t like avocado, you probably wouldn’t have bothered to make this sandwich in the first place). Don’t be surprised to see more recipes from this cookbook appearing in the future….after all, I’ve got 299 to go! Winking smile

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    You know what’s the only thing that made this dinner better? The fact that it was followed by some of this deliciousness at the Cold Stone Creamery – more specifically, a “Like-it” sized cup of Peanut Butter Cup Perfection – chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, fudge and peanut butter cups….it was EVERY bit as delicious as it sounds! There has been a Cold Stone in a Tim Horton’s 15 minutes away from our house for several months, but we still hadn’t been. When coupons came with the paper this week, I suggested a field trip with my mom….and she agreed! It’s a good thing we left when we did….I said that it was so good that I could eat another one….and my mom suggested we order another to share…yikes!

    Although this ice cream was a splurge (hello 80/20!), it was a well-deserved treat. A couple of weeks back, I wrote about my Thursday night “splurge” mentality. I like to think of this ice cream as “Thursday night – done right!” This ice cream was something decadent that I certainly wouldn’t have on an every day basis, but I enjoyed every bite of it. I will confess, I still had a slight case of the “Thursday night munchies” when I got home and found some chocolate and dried fruit…but I didn’t do too badly (could have been better, could have been worse). And Friday was right back on the healthy track.

    Do you have any new cookbooks/recipes you’re excited to try? And what flavour is your pleasure when it comes to ice cream splurges?

    Chinese Fake-Out

    24 Mar

    So last Friday, I was hanging out with my good friend Megan. Her husband works shifts at a local factory, so when he’s on nights, it’s girls’ night for us. 🙂 Since they often order in Chinese at work, we wanted to compete and order in Chinese for ourselves. We also recently had a conversation lamenting how our Chinese food doesn’t come in those cool traditional takeout containers (is this universal in Canada, or just here in Simcoe….anyone?). Another factor was that Friday came at the end of a week of lots of eating out, so as much as I love Chinese food, I wasn’t feeling up for the added calories and sodium that come with it. My solution? Purchase some adorable takeout containers (see photo, they’re from Bulk Barn) and make my own delicious swaps!

    I remembered seeing a Hungry Girl recipe for egg rolls and thought that would be a fun swap to try at home. You can purchase the egg roll wraps at the grocery store…they are usually in the refrigerated section in with the produce (there are a lot in that package, so maybe I’ll have to make some more egg rolls or get creative with them ;)). I tweaked the recipe a bit…Megan and I aren’t shrimp lovers, so I eliminated the shrimp and instead browned 4 oz lean ground chicken in a nonstick frying pan, let it cool, then proceeded with the recipe as directed, swapping the chicken for the shrimp. I skipped out on the bean sprouts, because I’ve bought them before and they go bad FAST! It’s nasty….they get all slimy and smell awful. 😦 Since the recipe only called for 1/4 cup, and you can only buy them pre-bagged in quantities much larger than I need at my grocery store, I didn’t think it was worth it (I would have bought them if I could have gotten them in bulk/picked the quantity myself). I just bumped up the quantities of the other veggies.

    Final verdict on the egg rolls? They were really yummy….loved the filling….but not quite as crunchy as restaurant ones, probably because they are baked and not fried (next time I might try flipping them over during baking).

    To go with the egg rolls, I made a delicious stir fry. Sort of a take-off on Hungry Girl’s chicken lo mein. The veggies I used were celery, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper and leftover water chestnuts and coleslaw mix from the egg rolls. Side note: I LOVE water chestnuts…I never buy them unless I’m using them in a recipe but they are super-crunchy…and the snow peas as well. I put them both in a salad the next day and loved it…I need to buy both of them more. I thinly sliced up 2 chicken breasts (tip: to thinly slice meat for stir fry, do it while it’s partially frozen…I’ve seen this on tv. I was using frozen meat anyway, so I just didn’t thaw it all the way). And of course there were a couple of cloves of chopped garlic in there too!

    I started off by sauteing the chicken and garlic in a tsp of olive oil in a large nonstick wok until almost cooked, then adding all the veggies. I seasoned with salt, pepper and soya sauce. I let cook until the veggies were tender-crisp, then added 2 packages of tofu Shirataki noodles, spaghetti shape (rinsed, drained and patted dry first) and 1 tsp of Sesame Oil (love the flavour of sesame oil for Asian cooking, but it gets lost if you add at the beginning of cook time) and about a tsp of cornstarch dissolved in a little bit of water, just to thicken things up. Doesn’t that look tasty?!?

    This was a fun and delicious swap for take-out. Megan and I both enjoyed it all, and for a fraction of the calories that we would have consumed had we ordered in (and no MSG). Ok…I’ll admit…we did order chicken balls to go on the side….how was I going to swap those? And the sweet and sour sauce that comes with them was perfect for dipping the egg rolls (as much as I love sweet and sour sauce, that stuff sort of freaks me out…I mean, that colour isn’t natural! It seems almost radioactive…anyone with me?). And our containers were much cuter than the takeout ones, to be sure. I will definitely do this again (and will have to, with all those egg roll wrappers).

    Have you ever tried to make Chinese/Asian at home? If so, what dishes?