Corn Salad With a Kick!

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This is the perfect salad to accompany any dinner or lunch dish in the summertime. Or even on top of a bed of lettuce for a healthy salad with a twist! Here’s what’s in this refreshing salad…

-4 ears of corn (grilled)

-1 small red onion

-1/2 cup chopped green onion

-4 fresh garlic gloves (minced)

-about 1 cup of sliced cherry or grape tomatoes

-1 whole chopped cucumber

-1/2 orange pepper (chopped)

-1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)

-3 TBSP Olive Oil

-4 TBSP White Vinegar

-1/4 Ground Cayenne Pepper

-1 TBSP Hot Sauce (I like Pepitos πŸ™‚

-1 TSP Sugar (I used a Stevia Plant sweetener and it gives it plenty of sweetness )

-3 Limes squeezed

-Dash of S+P

Start by peeling and cleaning 4 ears of corn. I opted out of grilling outside in the heat and used my Cast Iron πŸ˜‰ Grill with olive oil and rotate with tongs to get an even cook on all sides…

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Collect all the veggies you’ll be using then get to chopping! The smaller the chop the better. It’s a better consistency with all the ingredients similar size…

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Throw in a large mixing bowl as you chop them, then add in your fresh squeezed lime juice, (note-if you’re out of limes, lime juice from concentrate works too, Add about 1/4 cup).

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Then collect your corn off the grill or skillet once you see these smokey grill marks…

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Slice the corn right off the cob. Then add into your salad and lime mixture. Then add in your 3 TBSP Olive Oil, vinegar, cayenne pepper, hot sauce,Β  sweetener of choice, and dash of S+P. Mix all around with serving spoon or spatula and then chill for a minimum of hour.

Enjoy this light, healthy, and zesty summertime salad!

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Flourless slice of heaven!

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This is the first recipe I’ve posted that is %100 not mine! Haha, but it was just too divine not to share! Now that I’m expecting our 3rd baby I’m being a lot more conservative when it comes to the sweets, so I couldn’t be happier to have found this killer flour less, sugar free, chocolate, pecan torte recipe! It nets only 2grams of carbs per serving! I made mine with a baking Smart Balance butter blend, and Truvia baking sugar substitute. I cheated andΒ  topped with some Redi-Whip, but with only 15 calories a serving who’s gonna tell? I hope you enjoy this almost “guilt-free” recipe as much as I do!! It was the perfect reward for being “Mom” today πŸ˜‰Recipe below my fellow foodies!

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/desserts/r/chocpecantorte.htm

Cheesy Chicken Bean Bake

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This is my version of a similar recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I loved the idea of all of these flavors together baked into a casserole and the fact that it is a South Beach Diet Phase 1 friendly dish makes it even better πŸ™‚ I just added a few extra and swapped out a few ingredients. Here is how I put this yummy dish together…

Begin to heat up one can of Mild Enchilada sauce in a small saucepan. You want to cook it down to about one cup.

Then start dicing up the following…

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Green Pepper

4-5 cloves of Garlic

1 Large Yellow Onion

Get two tbsp of Canola oil hot in a pan. Then add these ingredients in.

In a colander drain one can of low sodium black bean and one can low sodium kidney bean. Drain well and set aside.

Then begin to cube up about one lb of Chicken Breast. Cook up in separate pan with 1-2 tbsp canola oil.

Once the Veggies begin to cook down, add your beans, a dash of S+P and 1 1/2 tbsp Cumin, and a splash of lime juice. Turn on low heat and let flavors simmer.

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Continue cooking chicken until fully cooked and lightly browned from the oil

In a larger side bowl add the Enchilada Sauce (one cup worth), a small can of diced green chiles, and 10oz light Sour Cream. Mix well together. Let cool down then add your chicken and mix thoroughly

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Then grab a glass baking dish. The deeper the better. I like to use a 9×9 pie pan. Start to layer with half of your bean mixture. Then top with half your chicken/sour cream mixture, then sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese on top. Then repeat for one more layer.

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Bake on 375 for 30-35 minutes depending on how fast your oven cooks. You want your cheese to be browned on top before removing.

Once cooked. Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes. If it’s too hot it wont hold very well.

I like to serve with a side salad and top it with a dollop of sour cream and a little scallion.

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Enjoy this yummy and oh so healthy dinner!!

Sweet Chili Salmon with Jasmine Rice

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This is such a great “go-to” quick and easy Thai recipe that we crave a lot in this house. I like to serve it over Jasmine rice or Rice noodles, but most of the time I’m at the store I forget to pick up rice noodles where as I usually have a good supply of Jasmine rice on hand. Oh and if you want to go semi ‘low carb’ you can always just serve it without rice or noodle. Here is how to make this tasty Thai dish…

Start by chopping up the following:

1 red bell pepper

1 orange bell pepper

6-10 cloves of garlic. (as always the more garlic the merrier in this house πŸ˜‰

2 small red onion (sliced)

3 heads small Bok Choy-(I didnt have any tonight so it is not featured in the photo. Really sad about that because I love Bok Choy in this dish)

Heat up 2 tbls canola oil in a saute pan. Once it is hot add all your veggies together on medium heat and start to cook down.

At this point you want to get your rice or noodles on the stove top and begin to cook.

Then take four Salmon fillets and begin to saute in another side pan in about 1-2 tbls canola oil. Be sure to cook them down into finer chunks. I find using a potato masher really helps get the salmon minced down quicker.

Salt and paper both veggies and Salmon. Then once they are cooked down combine…

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Once combined turn and low heat, then scramble in a side pan two eggs…

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Then once cooked down into finer pieces combine with your Salmon and veggies.

Then add about 1 1/2 cups Sweet Chili Sauce. I have not branched into the homemade category for this versatile sauce, but maybe one day soon I will. Until then I use…

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Good. Great. Grand πŸ™‚ Once that has been added thoroughly mix all the ingredients together. Then serve a nice generous portion over a bed of Jasmine Rice or if you want to go for some tasty Pad Thai add your noodles to the pan and toss all together.

Once plated I like to garnish with some chopped scallions and Sriracha Sauce.

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Finally. New Knives!

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So after years of cutting with dull and boring knives IΒ  decided it was time to upgrade to something a lot more sharp and a lot less, “conventional” looking. I came across the Pure Komachi 2 set on Amazon and was blown away by their low price for the set. The ratings were superb and the lowestΒ  someone gave out of 115 reviews was a 3 out of 5. For an Amazon savvy shopper like me that says a lot πŸ˜‰ I had also heard about these knives before and the durability of them so I figured it was only a sign that my internet browser brought me back to them. What I love the most? (aside from the razor like sharpness and colors of the blades!) Is the color coding system which prevents cross contamination. The acrylic block design isn’t anything to write home about, but I love that it shows off the color of this playful cutlery set and makes for easy cleanup. Ever wonder what kind of crud gets stuck down in the bottom of wooden knife blocks? With this I need not worry about that because of the open design that guards against bacteria growth. While I have only cut a few items so far with this set, they have proven to be sharper than anything I’ve ever cut with. Here is what is included in this set:

  • piece knife set includes 8-inch chef’s, 8-inch bread, 6-1/2-inch Chef, 4-inch tomato/cheese, and 4-inch citrus
  • Also includes 3-1/2-inch paring, 6-inch utility, 5-3/4-inch sandwich/bagel, and acrylic storage block

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These knives are made with a high carbon stainless steel coating so you will find the sharpness on these will last a heck of a lot longer and make for easier food preparation-they slice through vegetables and potatoes like butter! Note: Because they are so sharp and lightweight cut with caution the first few times. I’ve almost nicked myself a few times but am quickly getting used to them.

Oh and one more thing, even though it says they are, “dishwasher safe”, try your best to hand wash then dry immediately. From what I’ve read you will get a lot more life out of these if you do.

What about steak knives you ask? Well I picked up the “J.A. Henckels International Stainless Steel 8-Piece Steak Knife Set”. I haven’t cut through a piece of steak yet with them, but the corrosion-resistant, stainless steel serrated edges (which by the way NEVER need to be re-sharpened), look like there is no cut of meat they won’t be able to handle. Not to mention they are very eye-catching!

So there is my “rave” on the latestΒ  addition to my kitchen counter tops. If you end up getting a set please leave a review here. I’d love to know how they’ve worked out for you! I have a feeling these will be my new “BFF’s”Β  in the kitchen πŸ™‚

Summer Sausage Pasta

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This one is definitely a favorite in our house. I came up with this recipe several years ago, and cannot count how many times I’ve made it. I haven’t changed much to it, because the flavors are just so good together! Here is how to make an easy, healthy, pasta dish perfect for summer time or anytime!

Ingredients:

One package Italian Turkey Sausage

One box Whole Wheat Linguine

1 package Portabello mushrooms

1 Yellow or Orange Pepper

6-10 cloves garlic

1/2 shallot

1/2 bag fresh spinach

1 red onion

Italian herbs-(1-1 1/2 tsp oregano, basil, parsley) Use a fresh Italian herb paste if you can. But it’s not necessary if you don’t have one.

EVOO

About 1 cup fresh Parmesan and a little extra for garnishing

s+p

Start by getting your water boiling to get your pasta cooked. Get the heat going on it because you definitely want your pasta to be ready by the time the other ingredients are finished cooking.

In a saute pan get anywhere from 2-3 tbls EVOO heated up. Start to chop up all your veggies and garlic

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Love the colors in this dish!

Then in a seperate pan get it nice and hot and coated with a canola oil spray. You are going to use this pan to cook your Italian Turkey Sausage. Now there are two ways you can cook up your sausage. One would be to slice then into 1/2 inch pieces. The other would be to remove the casing completely and just cook it up into finer pieces. I personally like slicing them into thicker pieces because its adds the perfect amount of sausage into each bite. However, I don’t like the casing of the sausages they sell here in Missouri. So I just remove the casing. It really works either way.

Moving forward…once you get your veggies, sausage, and pasta water going this is what your stove top should look like…

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Note: this is not the meal you want to make if you have a lot of distractions going on. While it’s easy and quick to make it demands your undivided attention for at least 5-10 minutes πŸ˜‰

Oh and it helps if youΒ  have an adorable Sous Chef like mine to help you out…Don’t worry mommas, I have pretty long arms and do a lot of my cooking these days with one hand and body angled on the side to keep this little one from catching a spatter of something. Hey I’ve got two under two…you do what you can to make dinner happen πŸ˜‰

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My little artist keeping us company πŸ™‚

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Once your pasta is done, drain and set to the side. In the large pot that you cooked your pasta in add your cooked veggies, cooked sausage, and top with all of your seasonings and s+p. I usually eyeball this stuff, but I add a pretty generous amount of the Italian seasonings. I’d say about 1tbls of each. Then dump your drained pasta on top and add a generous amount of olive oil and 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, (note do not use grated, you will not be happy with the taste or texture) Then you’ll want to use either tongs or a spaghetti tongs and mix all the ingredients together until they have all blended. Serve in a pasta bowl and sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan. I hope you enjoy this pasta dish as much as my family and I do. Bon Appetit~

Cumin Cilantro Pork

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This is one that I recently came up with, so I’m still working out a few “kinks”, but this last time I thinkΒ  I got the right ingredients down. Here is how to make this zesty and healthy pork dish happen…

Ingredients:

2 thick cut boneless pork chops

1 can low sodium black bean

1 can low sodium red beans

1 small can diced green chiles

1/2 fresh and seeded jalapeno

1 red onion

1 red bell pepper

4-6 garlic cloves

2 tbsp cumin

1/4 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

s+p

1 lime

cilantro and green onion for garnishing

EVOO or Canola oil

Cask iron skillet if you have one.

First put your beans in a colander and rinse them off any juices left over from the can. Let sit and dry for a few minutes. Meanwhile start to chop up all your veggies and garlic-set aside. Then trim the fat off your pork then cut into strips about an inch thick. Get one pan hot with about 2 tbls oil, then in another (cask iron if you have one) do the same. Place your veggies+peppers in one pan, and start to cook down. After about 3-4 minutes add your beans, green chiles, and add your cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and a good dash of s+p. Let that cook down with all the flavors on low-medium heat for about ten minutes.Image

At the same time, get you skillet nice and hot then lay your strips of pork on top. You can add a dash of some of the same spices you put into the bean mixture to add a little more flavor to the pork. Image

This is about the time I turn around and see this mongrel staring back at me ;p

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Flip the pork over once its about half way cooked then take half of your lime and squeeze over entire skillet. Then squeeze whatever is left of lime over your bean mixture.

Then plate about 1 1/2 cups of the bean mixture over your plate and top with the pork. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and green onion and a side wedge of lime. Enjoy this easy, healthy, and oh so tasty meal!

Bangin’ Brussels Sprouts

Okay all you Brussels Sprout haters out there…Just give this a try just once and I’m sure at least half of you will convert into Brussels Sprout lovers πŸ˜‰

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I too grew up not liking them very much (what kid does?) But somehow I stumbled across fresh Brussels sprouts on sale last year, and I developed a new found love and appreciation for them. This is how I love to serve these delectable edible buds πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

1lb Fresh Brussels Sprouts-Note “FRESH”! If you buy the frozen kind you will not become a born again believer. Stick with “fresh” πŸ˜‰

1lb baby purple or baby fingerling potatoes. You want a Potato with a lot of flavor. The smaller the better. Red potatoes work fine too.

1 red onion-thinly sliced

6-10 cloves of garlic (again this is a preference thing)

EVOO

Italian seasonings (dash of basil, oregano, and parsley)

s+p

Fresh grated Parmesan

Start by slicing your Brussels and potatoes up in half. Meanwhile get two pans heated up with about 2 tbls EVOO in each. Preheat your oven to 375. Mince up your garlic and slice your onion. Begin to cook BrusselsΒ  and potatoes in one pan and onions and garlic in the other. Sprinkle with your herbs and s+p.

Once the Brussels and taters begin to brown lightly mix them with you onion and garlic. The goal of sauteing them for just a few minutes is to brown them lightly and get them good and coated in the oil. Once they have been combined saute for about one minute

Place them in a canola oil sprayed 8×8 glass baking dish, then sprinkle about a cup or so of Parmesan cheese on top. Just enough cheese to bake on top. Then sprinkle with a little more s+p and pop into the oven for 30-45 minutes, (depending on how HOT your “375” is…)Image

Note-I did not make this batch with potatoes. We really cut back on the carbs last week, (recovering from a carb heavy week before last, haha), but I am telling you make them with it the first time, just so you know how good all the flavors are together.

This is the perfect side dish for the Turkey Meatloaf I make πŸ™‚

Enjoy!!

Ground Chicken Spring Rolls

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I gotta say I’m getting better that the whole homemade spring roll deal. Such a tasty, healthy, and fun way to make dinner! Here is a breakdown:
1.25 lb Ground Chicken (Ive cooked them with Salmon too, but ground chicken has better texture if you ask me :))
5 garlic cloves
One red onion
1 Red Bell pepper
1 package bean sprouts
1/3 of a small head of Red cabbage
Rice Vinegar
Canola oil
Low sodium soy sauce
Cook up your chicken in separate pan. I use a potato masher to ground it up even finer once its cooked. You don’t want big chunks of food in your rolls πŸ˜‰
In a separate pan cook up all your veggies. I start by getting a splash of your oil really hot, then add in all the veggies, garlic first. Make sure your veggies are cute up super fine. Once veggies get crisp, add in about 2 tbls of rice vinegar and pour in a generous amount of low sodium soy sauce (Eyeball 2tbls or so, this is really a taste preference. I don’t like much soy sauce on my food, I like to taste the veggies and believe soy sauce should compliment flavor, not mask it). Cook veggies down in liquid for another 5 minutes or so.
Then once everything is cooked combine all ingredients and lay out on a cookie sheet. The goal is to let the ingredients cool to make for easier rolling. That and increases chance of your ingredients staying in the roll when you fry it in the pan.
I use the Lumpia wrapper rolls found in the freezer section. They have 20 calories per sheet, 4 grams of carbs, and no sodium. My best suggestion is allow them to thaw for about an hour before you start your rolls. Once they start to thaw too much its dang near impossible to peel them off without ripping them :/ This has been my biggest challenge so far.
I didn’t get a pic of actually rolling up the spring rolls, but there are plenty of tutorials online to help with that πŸ™‚ fyi, I put about 2-3 tbls of mixture into each roll. I load mine with more ingredients so I only eat about 3-4 rolls as opposed to 5, haha!
Oh and before you begin to roll them up, create on the side a small amount of corn starch slurry on the side. This is what you’ll use to seal the spring rolls shut. ps…a little bit of this goes a long way. A little dab L’ do ya πŸ˜‰
I recommend getting all of your rolls together before you cook them. At first I would roll five at a time then cook them, then rush to roll the next 5 in order to keep pan from getting too hot, (these cook VERY quickly once in hot pan, because the lumpia paper is so thin), so I’ve learned that its best to get all your rolls in order before you cook them πŸ˜‰ I don’t know about you but when I’m cooking stuff quickly in a hot pan I get super flustered so less stress is best when I’m dealing with hot oil, lol!
Oh and before you begin to roll them up, create a small amount of corn starch slurry on the side (dash of corn starch/dash of water then mix into paste). This is what you’ll use to seal the spring rolls shut. ps…a little bit of this goes a long way. A little dab L’ do ya πŸ˜‰
So, as for amount of oil in the pan, that is up to you. I use very little because I try and keep these as lean as possible. I really just coat the pan with oil, then turn these bad boys just seconds after I start cooking them. They really do cook up that fast so be sure to pay close attention to how much time you allow them to cook. I only load up about 5 spring rolls into the pan at a time. You want to allow yourself enough space to get your tongs in there to properly turn them πŸ˜‰
After they cool I lay them to drain on paper towels to pick up excess oil. Garnish with green onions and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. I personally like sweet chili sauce and Siracha πŸ™‚
So there is my version of yummy, tasty, homemade spring rolls. We love them. Even Maddy had seconds! PS, this always leaves us with leftovers too. This is in the hubby’s lunch box today πŸ˜‰

Steak Wrapped Asparagus

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This is one I just came up with the other night. I don’t buy red meat often but when I see a good deal, I go for it. It turned out pretty good, there are some things I’d change for the next go around but I’ll be sure to write the recipe how I intend to cook it next time.

Ingredients:

-2lbs sirloin. I sliced them thin then beat them down to flatten them out. Placed them in a Pyrex dish and marinate with chopped garlic, Worcestershire, low sodium soy sauce, olive oil and s+p.

1 cup sun dried tomatoes

1/2 package of Portabello mushrooms.

1 stalk of asparagus. The thinner the better.

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Don’t start cooking until youΒ  have allowed the steaks to marinate for several hours.

Start by chopping up your veggies (Mince up mushroom, sun dried tomato, and garlic but only cut Asparagus in half)Β  and get a pan of Grapseed or EVOO oil heated up.

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Cook up your garlic, mushroom, and sun dried tomatoes in one pan and saute up your Asparagus in another. Once they are about %75 cooked, begin to roll them up into your steaks. Before you roll completely top with about a tbls of Parmesan for each roll

Image then add about 4-5 half stalks of asparagus and roll em up! (fyi-Do not be alarmed at the one I rolled up with like 10 asparagus, haha, I was super hungry that night and once I realized we weren’t going to be serving it with Pasta I panicked and was all about loading up on my veggies! But, really stick with 4-5 because it has so much more flavor and is easier to cut with a knife)Β  Be sure to toothpick each one at least twice. Then lay over on a baking pan that has been sprayed with some kind of canola or olive oil

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Once they are complete bake at 375 for 20 minutes. You can also cook these in a pan, but baking for me is easier and leaner.

You can eat these as is, or serve them with a side of pasta. We were going to serve them with Pasta the other night, but were trying to limit our carb intake that night due to a “weigh in” for my husband the following day, haha, gotta love the Army πŸ˜‰Β But, if I were to serve it with a side of pasta I would do something light. Angel hair tossed with EVOO, garlic, Parmesan, and s+p.

Another thing I want to try with this is eliminating the sun dried tomatoes/Parmesan and replacing with red onion/freshly grated ginger and serving over a jasmine rice. The steak/ Asparagus combination could really be served either way πŸ™‚ Oh and be sure to drizzled any marinade that has cooked out over the pan over top your steak once its done cooking. It gives it that right amount of juiciness right when you bite in~