Archive for the ‘ Recipes ’ Category

Recipe: Soda Roasted Root Vegetables

So, it’s been a pretty long time since I’ve had a recipe up heer, much less a healthy one. Well I have been off experimenting in the kitchen, and here is one of the results: Roasted Root Vegetables using soda! More specifically with root beer.

Now before you freak out, it’s not that horrifying. Cooking with diet root beer imparts an extra sweetness when roasted with vegetables I’ve found. In this rendition I used sweet potato, onion, and carrots with some salt, pepper, and garlic for seasoning. Oh yeah, and the root beer.

Now I roasted this for about 35 minutes, and found that I could have actually probably gone for 45 minutes (but I was hungry). The result was the always pleasant taste of roasted vegetables, but the root beer made it special. It gave it a caramelized taste that you really usually can’t get without butter. Using diet soda really is a great way to add sweetness to a recipe when you are trying to keep it healthy as well.

Well, as random as this post is (I’m feeling off my game as of late), give this kind of cooking a try. What else could you cook with diet soda?

Advertisements

Attempted: Two Ingredient Brownies

I know, I say brownies, and then I show a  picture of truffles. I’m a horribly confusing person I know. Still, there is a connection here! This Halloween weekend, like most 20-something adults, I decided to throw a small, spooky shindig. As such, food was in order, so I decided to get creative and adapt this interesting brownie recipe into something to serve to my friends…

So, this is actually a  recipe post for my version of 3G brownies. With my odd fascination with pumpkin, and creative cooking, the idea of simply mixing a chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree was pretty enticing, especially with everything else I needed to do to get ready for a party. Oh yeah, here is the recipe form if you want to get professional:

Two Ingredient Brownies:

  • 1 box dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Mix cake mix and puree
  2. Put in pan
  3. Bake according to box directions

Yeah…it really is just that easy… I did try and mix this up a little. In an attempt to be classy, I actually baked these in a muffin tin, and put Lindt White chocolate truffles in the center in my attempt to create “Monster Eyes”. Yeah, it failed. The truffles browned in the heat of the oven, and caved in on themselves creating something that didn’t really…look..like..anything…Still, the flavor combination was spot on.

The pumpkin and dark chocolate really make to form a velvety cake texture. Yes, that means these really weren’t brownies, more like very silky cupcakes. Still, they were enjoyed by all, and the pairing of the white chocolate added the sweetness that was needed to make these truly a dessert item. My goal is to try them again with Ghirardelli white chocolate chips next time to more evenly spread the sweetness, and not waste Lindt truffles.

The best part of these though has nothing to do with their simplicity or their flavor. I got my friend who loathes pumpkin (or at least thinks he does) to eat one, and say that they were awesome before telling him halfway through a mouthful that 50% of what he had just crammed into his mouth was pumpkin. He wasn’t thrilled, but the rest of us sure got a good laugh. Just goes to show you that it’s always good to try new things, and expand your horizons…or ask what something is made of before eating it.

Oh, last note on the nutrition of these things. It’s just a guess, but I think we’re talking somewhere in the vicinity of 200 calories a muffin without the truffles in them. No point value as of now as I wasn’t aiming for health food on Halloween.

What’s for Dinner: Grilled Zucchini and Pasta Medley

So this week has been a little different in the dinner department. I’m not sure why, but my dojo is closed all this week, so no class. What does this mean? It means I get to cook five meals this week instead of three.

So, what does one do when faced with options? See what’s on sale! And this week, fresh zucchini and summer squash were on sale. There isn’t much that’s better in the way of fresh summer ingredients than that. So, to mix it up, I decided to try grilling my veggie’s, an serving them with dill pasta and chicken medley.

To make the recipe a bit more interested, I found Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Balsamic Vinaigrette, a great 0 calorie cooking aid. It packs a ton of flavor to the point where I like to cook with it a bit more than slapping it on a salad.

Skimming over the pasta, as it was the standard (cook chicken and pasta, add pasta to chicken, add dill, cook in pan),  we’ll get into how I prepared the zucchini and summer squash. I began by slicing them at an angle, creating what is more of an oblong disk than the standard spear, or cucumber style cut. This was to expose more flesh, and angle the seeded centers so that they wouldn’t soften too much, and fall apart while cooking. Next, I threw my veggie’s into a bowl, and added some salt, pepper, garlic, and my balsamic, hand tossing it all together lightly.

While I was preparing this, I had started to preheat my pan. I wanted it up to a good high heat so that I could produce some nice dark grill marks, and at the same time keep some firmness to the veg while it cooked. Once my pan was hot, and the veggie’s had marinated a little, on they went. I had thrown down a little cooking spray to keep them from sticking too bad. After a couple minutes, I flipped them over, and there were those gorgeous grill marks that make a food stand out. Same on the other side, and I was off eating dinner.

This was incredibly easy, and tasted amazing. If you’re looking for a fresh food, and a fun and easy way to cook it, try grilled zucchini and summer squash. Oh, and yes, for once I actually provided my own picture. I’ll try to be better about that when I talk about my cooking. Helps when you can see what I’m talking about. Oh, and before I forget! Zucchini and summer squash: zero points baby!!!

Healthy Cooking: Zucchini and Summer Squash Pasta Medley

Ok, so vegitables aren’t for everyone. Exhibit A is my roommate. He has nothing against them in particular, but won’t go seeking them  out any time soon either. Me, I’m a different story. I LOVE fresh produce in my cooking, but due to expense, time, yadda yadda yadda, I usually limit it to some salad, green peppers, and onion.

Well due to an uncertain dinner schedule this past weekend, I came into my Monday night meal cooking with a little extra weekly produce: green and yellow zucchini, and of course an onion.

Now I know the whole zucchini and summer squash like group of veg isn’t for everyone. To some it’s taste, others texture, and still some simply un-adventurous people. Well dieters, and specifically Weight Watcher’s in particular should take note of these because they’re free (that’s 0 points folks) and can be cooked in any number of ways.

Well, at first I was thinking about grilling these things. It looks great, and tastes better, but laziness, and a lack of balsamic dressing scratched that plan. Instead I decided to create a pasta medley with my ingredients. Here’s how it went:

  • 1 green zucchini sliced (like cucumber), and then quartered to get reasonable chunks
  • 1 yellow zucchini chopped up the same way
  • 1 onion (your pick) sliced into half rings
  • 1 perfect portions chicken breast cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta
  • calorie free butter spray (my cooking crutch)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasoning (Italian blend, garlic, pepper, salt, and dill…and more dill)

So clearly my ingredient list wasn’t that awe inspiring, but still it was what I had. So after all the chopping, and prep work, I got my vegis cooking in one pan, chicken in another, and pasta boiling on a back burner. All of these things are pretty easy to cook, and fairly forgiving with their finishing times.

Once the chicken was cooked, I just dumped it in with the zucchini and onions to start those flavors working together. Then the pasta was done so I drained it, and chucked it in with everything else. A couple minutes, and some work with a spatula, and wallah: something edible looking.

Really, not that hard to do, and delicious would be an apt description. Oh did I mention that it made a TON!? It could probably feed two people, but it’s so low in points (2 for chicken, 4 for pasta, and just say 2 for the vegis due to volume), and I needed to get a bit closer to my total for the day, so I ate the lot. I walked away happy, and that’s all there is to it.

A New Way to Cook Sweet Potato

Shredded Sweet PotatosSo I love sweet potatoes. I like them as Fries. I like them as chips. I like them baked. I like them mashed. That’s okay because these spuds are uber healthy. One average sized sweet potato is only 3 points for Weight Watchers.

Now there are several ways to cook these, and I usually bake them as “chips” in the oven (400 degrees for 35 min). Still, that gets  a little old after a while, and I need to get created. Well, you see the above picture correctly. This past Friday, I tried something new, running my sweet potato through a cheese grater. With that I had a typical breakfast ingredient with a twist.

For cooking these, I went simple. I heated up a fry pan to a good high temperature, and simply cooked the potatoes with salt, pepper, and garlic powder….and lots of calorie free cook spray. These things love to stick, and since I don’t use butter, the cook spray is a savior in copious amounts. It’ll probably catch up with me someday, but so will everything (the world gives you cancer).

Anywho, to mix up your sweet potato eating, and continue to keep it healthy, try these shredded sweet potatoes out. And, if you have some extra points, add some sugar free maple syrup as it’s the perfect companion to sweet potato.

Nom!: Fueled by Caesar

Ok so I’ve mentioned that I am now taking Shaolin Kempo lessons twice a week. Well, as the crazy person that I am, I’m still running my 4+ miles before class. With that, I understandably have a limited meal time. To the left is my healthy, light, and refreshing dinner…Well at least half of it.

I believe I’ve mentioned the Perdue Perfect Portions Chicken Breast previously, but if not, check them out. I cook one of these hunks of tasty bird up the night before, and shred/chop it up. Into a this bag of awesome it goes, and walla shake for instant dinner.

The best part is that this Fresh Express Caesar Salad doesn’t taste lite. I think the only difference between it and the regular is a lack of cheese…Hmm, should probably check that…Anyways, this acts as a nice refueling meal, hitting my body with vitamins, minerals, and punch of chicken-tastic protein before my class. Also, it is diet friendly at 8 points with the chicken added. Can’t go wrong there!

Healthy “Fried” Rice

Minute Rice So I think that we’ve all seen this box floating around in the cupboard at some point. Some of us keep it for that emergency dinner, while others use it as a staple for every meal. No matter how you use this rice, you can give it a bit more life, and make a healthy, delicious, 7point weight watchers dinner.

To start, simply cook a single serving of the rice (that’s half a cup people). Once the rice has cooked, throw it into a Tupperware container, and toss it into the fridge. I try to do this in the morning before work so that I don’t have to worry about the cooling process when I get home.

The key to GOOD fried rice is to pre-cook it, and let it cool thoroughly.

Now when you get home, prep some vegis. I like to use red onion and green pepper, but feel free to be a bit more traditional and through in some green onion or bean sprouts. Once they’re all chopped, get them sauteing in a decent sized fry pan. To keep it healthy, use liberal amounts of calorie-free cooking spray; NO OIL!!! Through in some salt and garlic powder for flavor.

Now to get some chicken going. I use Perdue Perfect Portions Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts in Roasted Garlic and White Wine. These are 2 points a piece, and like the name says, the perfect portion. Chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks, and toss them into another fry pan with more cook spray,  and some pepper. Also give them a liberal dousing of Worcestershire sauce.

Once your chicken is going, get that cold rice into the fry pan with your vegetables. Hit it with another liberal dousing of cook spray, and also add salt, pepper, and some more Worcestershire. Keep this on a high heat. Once your chicken is done, toss it into the rice and vegis, but keep the pan on the heat. If you have it empty a package of egg beaters into the pan, and scramble that.

As a note, you can buy packages of three two serving cups of egg beaters in the grocery store. One while cup, two servings, is only 1 point.

Once your eggs are done, throw them in the rice, and turn it all together. Make sure that you are getting a slightly brown color, and you will just know when your rice is there. It sounds a little hectic to make, but is actually pretty easy.

Now sit back and enjoy a heaping portion of healthy chicken fried rice. 🙂