About Me

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Who am I? Wife. Mother of 2. "Newbie" to fitness. Personal Trainer-in-training. Lover of health. Fitness. Religion. Family. Gluten and refined sugar intolerant. Welcome to my journey. Learn with me.

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Menu!

Oh wow... so the menu got pretty neglected last week. Let's see if I can do a bit better this week...

*Please note that all menu plans are subject to LIFE! If you get your heart set on seeing a particular recipe appear on the blog within the next week and it never appears... just send me a message and I will send the recipe on to you.

MONDAY, APRIL 30TH =  Avocado Pesto Pasta (Yes again. We are craving it!)

TUESDAY, MAY 1ST  = Key West Chicken-Avocado Sandwiches

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2ND = Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas

THURSDAY, MAY 3RD = Two-Bean Sloppy Joes

FRIDAY, MAY 4TH = My cute hubby's celebration dinner at Outback since he is graduating with his Associate's degree in Business and then to see The Avengers!
(Picture sources : HERE and HERE and HERE)

SATURDAY, APRIL 21ST = Two-Bean Sloppy Joes

(All food pictures are from Pinterest and I stake NO claim to them! I will site proper sources with each recipe as I make them this week!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jay's Signature Pizza Crust - Healthified!

I have published about this recipe before (seen here: http://shaylaskitchen.blogspot.com/2011/10/jays-signature-pizza-crust.html) but I made it again last night and I made it better for you and it still tasted chewy and delicious! 

Calculated on MyFitnessPal.com based on 15 servings:

ORIGINAL RECIPENutritional Information per serving: Calories 105, Carbs 20, Fat grams 2, Protein 3 

HEALTHIFIED RECIPENutritional Information per serving: Calories 92, Carbs 20, Fat grams <0.47, Protein 4

Pretty cool, huh? And all you have to do is switch the all-purpose flour to 100% whole wheat and the oil to unsweetened applesauce. I promise you that it works and it is delicious and filling and satisfying. You lower your calorie and fat intake per slice and up your protein. Do it!!!

I am kicking myself for not taking a picture... I will try and do better next time. The picture attached to this post is the closest picture I could find that looked like the pizza we had last night - except we had onions instead of pineapple. The picture is courtesy of BettyCrocker.com and can be found at this site here: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/hawaiian-whole-wheat-pizza/db2e359f-8a16-4c46-b5df-ecf7b3c69d08


Adapted from Allrecipes.com

·         2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
·         1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
·         1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
·         3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

1.      In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
2.      Stir the salt and applesauce into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
3.      Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.
4.      Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
      5.      Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quick & Crusty Whole Wheat Baguettes

I always love the idea of quick breads. I don't often have time to wait for rolls that take hours and hours to rise and so when I come across a recipe for quick breads I am always intrigued.

This baguette recipe is supposed to come together in 30 minutes with only 5 ingredients - that is pretty amazing. Of course, I always like to make things healthier when I can so I made a few changes to get more health benefits out of this yummy recipe.

Now, you have to remember, wheat has a different texture than white bread. My baguettes came out soft and chewy and delicious. Myself and my children loved them (my husband would probably as well but he is at work...) But don't expect them to be quite as soft and airy as white bread. Wheat makes these filling and hearty and a lot better for you.

Also, using wheat will give the baguettes the classic "nutty" wheat taste. Delicious.

I state this in the recipe but I want to be extra clear - I don't think you should try to do these in just 30 minutes. The only rising step in the entire recipe is "optional" but a lot of the reviewers have cautioned against skipping it. I let mine rise for 30 minutes while I taught an early morning piano lesson. Super easy.

This recipe is adapted from The Family Kitchen. The original recipe can be found at this site here: http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/02/21/crusty-baguettes-made-fresh-in-30-minutes/

Quick & Crusty whole wheat French Baguettes
Adapted from The Family Kitchen

Servings about 22 pieces
Nutritional Information per serving (calculated on MyFitnessPal.com): Calories 70, Carbs 15, Fat grams <0.37, Protein 3 (Calculated based on 2 tbsp honey and whole wheat flour)

  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1 packet yeast (2 ¼ tsp equivalent)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used 1 Tbsp + ½ Tbsp Stevia)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cups flour (I ONLY used whole wheat)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven (or a warm heating pad) for ten minutes.  Stir in the salt and add the flour a half-cup at a time, until the dough becomes soft but not sticky.  Knead the dough until elastic. (about 3-5 minutes)

Cut the dough into four even pieces.  Roll each of them into four long, thin ropes.  Twist together two of the ropes to form one loaf.  Twist the other two ropes together to form a second loaf.  Transfer both onto a large baking sheet.

You can now bake the loaf right away (if you’re in a hurry) or allow it to rise for an additional 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven. When you are using whole wheat flour you will NOT want to skip this step. I let my loaves rise for 30 minutes on my warm heating pad.)

Now for the SECRET: Fill a cake pan with 3-4 cups of ice.  Open your hot oven and place the baking sheet with the baguettes inside, then the cake pan as close as you can to the bottom heating coils.  Do NOT open your oven for 15 minutes.  Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. (The original recipe states that you should throw the ice directly on the bottom of your oven; however this can cause your oven to warp after a while so if you go this route be warned!)

*Hint on Whole Wheat – You might panic after the 15 minutes that your loaves are overdone because of the color. Whole wheat SHOULD be a darker brown. If you want the crusty outside make sure to watch it carefully but don’t pull it out too soon.

Serve fresh and hot with your favorite olive oil for dipping.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Menu!

*Please note that all menu plans are subject to LIFE! If you get your heart set on seeing a particular recipe appear on the blog within the next week and it never appears... just send me a message and I will send the recipe on to you.

MONDAY, APRIL 16TH =  Out to Dinner and then to the Off-Broadway Theater (Show playing: The Adventures of Sheer-Luck Holmes and Snotson)

TUESDAY, APRIL 17TH = Breakfast Pizza

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18TH = Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas

THURSDAY, APRIL 19TH = Two-Bean Sloppy Joes

FRIDAY, APRIL 20TH = Family Dinner to meet our sister's fiance from Texas!

SATURDAY, APRIL 21ST = DATE NIGHT!!! (But without the handsome, blue-eyed baby boy)

(All food pictures are from Pinterest and I stake NO claim to them! I will site proper sources with each recipe as I make them this week!)

The last two weeks have been kind of crazy and unusual. Did you notice that I didn't post any new menu ideas from last week? We got by on a lot of leftovers last week. Oh well. I told you these plans are subject to life!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I really did just say that this post is titled "Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins." And I will also tell you that they are fabulous. Moist and delicious and (according to my husband) they only taste "slightly" healthy. But guess what? They are healthy!

I had a friend ask me recently what I do about dessert. How do I manage to say no to all of the deliciousness in this world? I told her that I don't cut out dessert. But when you can find things that you can eat for dessert that leave you feeling better afterwards instead of worse, when you can find things that you can eat that are good for you and don't make you feel guilty - THAT is the kind of dessert I want! And these muffins fit into that category.

I am not sure how this girl got her muffins to look so pretty. Mine were not nearly as pretty looking as hers. But they tasted delicious. I used 1/4 cup stevia and 1 Tbsp honey as my sweetener. They tasted like a pretty rich and dark chocolate. If you used agave nectar or only honey then I think that they would taste like a lighter chocolate. I love dark chocolate and so this was right up my alley.

I would ABSOLUTELY suggest that you follow her suggestions for the chocolate chips. Don't add them all at once - they sink to the bottom of the bowl really fast. Adding them to the top later gives you an excellent distribution of the chocolate chips. What this meant for mine was that there was the infusion of the semi-sweet chocolate chips with each decadently moist bite of rich dark chocolate muffin. Yum yum yum!

I will be repeating this recipe in my house for SURE! Try it and see if you like it as well!

This recipe and picture are courtesy of some girl who posted on Tumblr from the Netherlands. :-) If you would like to see her original post you can visit this link here: http://healthyisalwaysbetter.tumblr.com/post/6583755120/lessthan300kcal-triple-chocolate-chunk-muffin

Knock-Offs of Whole Food’s 6 Dollar per 4 Chocolate Chunk VitaTop Muffins

From Tumblr

  •  1 3/4 c oats
  •  3 egg whites
  •  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar) (I used the vinegar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar substitute OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia (I used ¼ cup stevia and 1 Tbsp honey)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth. (I am wondering if following these directions exactly is the reason my muffins didn't "fluff" as much as hers... I think next time I will mix together all of the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately before blending them in my blender.)

Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.

Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.

Place  the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. *Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!
Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!!

Servings: 12 Big Muffins or 24 Smaller Muffins
Calories: 116 Calories Per Muffin or 58 Calories Per Muffin 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Okay so I debated and debated about putting the nutritional information on this recipe - please don't freak out! Yes, the numbers are a lot higher than most of the things that I post on here. But you have to remember that a GOOD deal of that is from the avocados. Avocados are high in calories and in fat but they are really good for you. They are packed with good for you monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) that are really good for your heart. This is information from http://www.avocado.org/nutrition/:

"Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit."

See? Lots of benefits. But still, if you are on a diet or watching/counting calories you will want to be moderate about your avocado intake. And if you want a comparison:

Okay, so back to my recipe. This recipe contains NO cheese and NO butter and it was amazing. It was creamy and delicious and my husband absolutely went gaga over it. I loved the texture that the avocados contributed - you would have sworn that I made this dish with all different kinds of creams or cheeses. And it is also meatless! It comes together in the time it takes to boil your noodles. Really. I didn't add the tomatoes this time around but I would love to try it with some sundried tomatoes. It doesn't NEED it but it would be yummy. They have a great brand that you can find that are dried sundried tomatoes - not packed in oil. Fantastic meal! Try it!

This recipe and picture are courtesy of Chef Chloe and can be found at this site here: http://chefchloe.com/entrees/avocado-pesto-pasta.html

From Chef Chloe

Servings 6
Nutritional Information per serving (calculated on MyFitnessPal.com): Calories 432, Carbs 55, Fat grams 19, Protein 11 (Calculated on whole wheat linguine and Classico Traditional Basil Pesto)

  • 1 pound linguine (I used 13.25 ounces of whole wheat linguine)
  • *1 bunch fresh basil, reserve some leaves for garnish
  • *½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 avocados, pitted and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • *3 cloves garlic
  • *½ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
*All of these ingredients can be replaced with 1/2 of an 8.1 ounce jar of Classico Traditional Basil Pesto. That is what I did because I didn't want to buy the rest of the ingredients individually.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper. 

Toss pasta with pesto. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with a basil leaf.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cranberry Sauerkraut Meatballs

Sound nasty? Well guess what? IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! Love love love love love. Not only did I love it, but so did my husband, mother, father, brothers, little sister, 3 year old toddler and 9 month old baby! It was great fresh, it was great as leftovers and it was REALLY easy to put together. 4 ingredients for the sauce? I can handle that.

If you have ever bought bagged meatballs you will know that they are expensive. I was interested in eating this for dinner, not in making this for a party. So I did homemade meatballs. I think I ended up with.... probably about 15 meatballs. What this means is that the sauce to meatball ratio was MUCH higher. But we loved the sauce so much. My kids ate no meatballs - just sauce over brown rice.

The nutritional information I have included with this recipe is based on the 66 servings you can get from the bag of meatballs that you buy. This is assuming you are taking this to a party. I made my meatballs homemade style and I have included my recipe for basic meatballs as well.

The recipe and picture are courtesy of Taste of Home and can be found at this site here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Cranberry-Sauerkraut--Meatballs?pmcode=IMADV01T&_mid=2325232&_rid=2325232.558202.228586

From Taste of Home

·         1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce
·         1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
·         1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce
·         3/4 cup packed brown sugar
·         1 package (32 ounces) frozen fully cooked homestyle meatballs, thawed

In a 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, chili sauce and brown sugar. Stir in meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.

Nutritional Facts1 meatball with about 1 tablespoon sauce equals 53 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 11 mg cholesterol, 142 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchange: 1/2 starch.

From Shayla's Kitchen
Servings 15

1 lb. hamburger (or pork, chicken or turkey)
1/2 cup oats
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 tsp salt
Few grains pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup milk

Mix together all ingredient and roll into balls. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place meatballs in skillet and brown on all sides. Drain meatballs on a paper towel. Place browned meatballs in sauce in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pineapple Lime Glazed Ham

Holidays are a bit unconventional in our family because my little brother is a VERY VERY VERY good chess player and he travels a lot to different tournaments with my mom. Since they were in Philadelphia over Easter we had to delay our Easter dinner. Trust me, this ham was well worth waiting for. It is so much better than a Honey Baked/Glazed ham, I don't think we will be able to go back. The entire family loved it and we all agreed that we would rather eat that any day.

We BARELY adapted the recipe at all from Real Mom Kitchen. She used 1/4 cup honey dijon mustard, and we used 2 Tbsp normal dijon mustard. We definitely felt like it was the perfect amount. The taste of the mustard was not prevalent but just enough and we felt that the honey dijon would have made the glaze unnecessarily sweet.

This wonderful recipe and picture are courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen and can be found at this site here: http://realmomkitchen.com/10777/pineapple-lime-glazed-ham/

Pineapple Lime Glazed Ham
Adapted from Real Mom Kithcen

Servings 12
Nutritional Information OF GLAZE! per serving (calculated on MyFitnessPal.com): Calories 83, Carbs 20, Fat grams 0, Protein 0 (Full nutritional count will depend on what kind of ham you use) 

o    1 (9-10 pd) fully cooked bone in ham, butt or shank portion 
o    2 limes
o    8 thin slices of fresh ginger
o    2 cups pineapple juice
o    1 cup apricot preserves
o    2 Tbsp dijon mustard

1.      Bring your ham out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you are going to cook it.
2.      Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Oven the ham with the flat side down. Now using a paring knife, score a crosshatch pattern around the ham. Try to just pierce through the top layer. The cuts will expand with the cooking process.
3.      Line your roasting pan completely with foil. You will thank me later for this one. Place your roasting rack in your roasting pan. Place the ham on the roasting pan flat side down. Then pour some water into the bottom of the roasting pan, you want it about 1/4 inch deep.
4.      Place ham in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes per pound.
5.      While the ham bakes, prepare the glaze.
6.      Zest the limes and set zest aside.
7.      In a sauce pan, add the juice of the limes you just zested, along with the ginger slices and pineapple juice.
8.      Bring to a boil and boil for about 8-10 minutes until reduce to about 1-1/2 cups.
9.      Remove from the heat and remove the ginger slices. Then mix in the apricot preserves, dijon mustard, and reserved lime zest until well blended.
10.  Remove the ham from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. If there is no water in the bottom of the pan, add more. Brush the entire ham with a coat of the glaze. Once the oven has reached the 425 degrees, return the ham to the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
11.  Remove the ham from the oven and baste with glaze again cook for 15 minutes. Baste the ham with the glaze 1 more time and cook for 15 more minutes. Slice ham and serve. if any glaze remains, you can microwave it until bubbly, about 30 seconds, and drizzle over the ham sliced if desired. (I highly recommend it) A 9-10 pound ham should serve 12.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Menu

*Please note that all menu plans are subject to LIFE! If you get your heart set on seeing a particular recipe appear on the blog within the next week and it never appears... just send me a message and I will send the recipe on to you.

MONDAY, APRIL 16TH =  Cranberry Sauerkraut Meatballs (No... I didn't end up making these last week even though they were on the meal plan. We had leftovers instead. So I am making them tomorrow!)

TUESDAY, APRIL 17TH = Avocado Pesto Pasta

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18TH = Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas

THURSDAY, APRIL 19TH = Breakfast Pizza


SATURDAY, APRIL 21ST = Two-Bean Sloppy Joes

(All food pictures are from Pinterest and I stake NO claim to them! I will site proper sources with each recipe as I make them this week!)

Eggs and Canadian Bacon in Pita Pockets

As I was reading through this recipe when I was about to go and make it I thought... wow... I bet this is going to taste pretty bland. I wasn't okay with that and wanted something with a WOW factor. So... I changed it. Quite a bit. The recipe below is my adapted recipe (which we loved as did my mom and family when she made it with my changes the next day).

The great thing about this recipe is that it is really versatile. You could add whatever you wanted to the recipe: green peppers, red peppers, fresh red or yellow onion, etc. Tailor it to fit your own preference. The following recipe fit ours. :-)

The original recipe and picture are courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens and can be found at this site here: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pork/eggs-and-canadian-bacon-in-pita-pockets/

Eggs and Canadian Bacon in Pita Pockets
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Servings 4
Nutritional Information per serving (calculated on MyFitnessPal.com): Calories 259, Carbs 21, Fat grams 10, Protein 22 (Based on using 1/2 cup cheddar cheese) 

·         2 eggs
·         4 egg whites
·         2 cups baby spinach leaves
·         3 garlic cloves, minced
·         3 ounces Canadian-style bacon, finely chopped
·         4 ½ teaspoons water (or milk)
·         2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (or sundried tomatoes or roasted red peppers…)
·         Salt and Pepper to taste
·         Crushed red pepper (optional)
·         Nonstick cooking spray
·         2 large pita bread round
·         ¼ - 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat a nonstick skillet lightly sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Add spinach, garlic, chives and Canadian bacon. Cook until spinach is wilted.
2. In a small bowl beat together egg, egg whites, water, salt & pepper and crushed red pepper (if desired).
2. Add egg mixture to skillet. Cook, without stirring, until mixture begins to set on the bottom and around edge. Using a spatula or a large spoon, lift and fold the partially cooked eggs so the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking about 2 minutes or until eggs are cooked through but are still glossy and moist. Remove from heat.
3.Cut pita bread in half crosswise. Fill pita halves with egg mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos

Well, it does happen occasionally. We didn't like this one. I even added the juice of a whole lime and about 16 oz of sweet corn. It tasted spicy and that was about it. The adobo sauce could have had a lot more of a presence and the cayenne didn't add anything to this dish - it just took away. All of the other reviewers on the recipe did like this one and said it was the "perfect amount of spice." I disagree, but maybe you want to give it a shot? I didn't like it enough to try it again and try to "fix it."

My husband did try one of his burritos with cheese (we don't normally eat a lot or any cheese) and he said it made a big difference in the taste. Good luck if you try it!

*UPDATE 4/15/12: Okay.... so I couldn't just leave it alone. This recipe makes a TON and we had so many leftovers that I just didn't want to see going to waste. Besides the corn I added originally, I browned a pound of ground pork and mixed it with a can of tomato sauce, about 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1 1/2 tsp paprika. I added this to everything we had leftover (which was most of the recipe) and it tasted SOOO much better! We had it for dinner last night and again for lunch today. And there are STILL leftovers. I told you it makes a TON!

Follow this link to see the recipe, courtesy of Tasty Kitchen: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/spicy-bean-and-rice-burritos/

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spicy Garlic-Ginger Noodles

Okay people. I have now made this recipe 5 times. In a month. No I am not kidding. When recipes are this easy and this delicious they MUST be repeated. Multiple times.

I have made this recipe with regular spaghetti noodles, whole wheat spaghetti noodles, and special rice noodles that I bought from this cute little Asian market. It is fantastic every single way. If you are looking for the most nutrition - go with the whole wheat.

The measurements are a bit odd on this since the original recipe calls for 250 grams of spaghetti. I used 400 grams of rice noodles tonight and doubled everything else and it was perfect. If you double the recipe don't completely double the noodles and go to 500 grams. At most I would use... 12 ounces of spaghetti noodles.

If you do not like spicy things you can still make this dish. Don't use the sriracha at all. If you have no idea what that is it is available in every grocery store and looks like this:
It is HOT. I never double this when I double everything else and it is still quite a spicy dish. You can also cut back on the amount of jalapeno you use.

We love this dish. Even my 3 year old ate a whole bowl with a whole jalapeno and a tsp of sriracha in the dish! Yum. Yum. Yum!!!

This recipe and picture are courtesy of Poppytalk and can be found at this site here: http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/2012/03/simple-addiction-spicy-garlic-ginger.html

Spicy Garlic-Ginger Noodles
Adapted from Poppytalk

Makes 6 Servings
Nutritional Information per serving (calculated on MyFitnessPal.com): Calories 334, Carbs 57, Fat grams 8, Protein 10 (Based on using whole wheat noodles) 

400 grams (about 12 ounces) spaghetti (whole wheat or 100% buckwheat soba is fine)
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 large red pepper, sliced thinly (or use 2 carrots julienned, or 1 or 2 bulbs baby bok choy, sliced)
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds and membrane if you want less heat)
4 tablespoons soy sauce (1/4 cup)
3 - 4 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce (optional but I have never left it out)
1 teaspoon sriracha
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoon sesame seeds + additional for serving

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in noodles. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter and add in onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté over medium heat. Let this get soft but not browned. Add in the red pepper and jalapeno.

In a small dish, stir together the soy sauce, honey, hoisin, sriracha, and sesame oil together. Set aside.

Drain pasta when cooked to al dente, add to pan with the onion-pepper mixture and pour over the sauce. Toss well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Garnish with additional sesame seeds.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monterey Chicken

Monterey Chicken used to be one of my favorite things to get at Chili's. Moist and juicy chicken covered in barbecue sauce, melted cheese and bacon. Needless to say, this is a pretty indulgent meal. But I have good news for you - there are things you can do to make this dish without having to feel super guilty for eating it!

First off, acquaint yourself with turkey bacon. Yes. Do it. Don't whine at me and tell me that it isn't the same. It has EXACTLY the same flavor! And if you cook it correctly, it has the same texture. And guess what? It only has a portion of the calories and fat of normal bacon. And no, it is not packed with tons of sodium to make up for the taste. AND it is only $10 for a box of 3 big packages at Sam's Club. Just do it!

Secondly, you do not need a ton of cheese to enjoy a meal. Let me repeat. You DO NOT need a ton of cheese to enjoy a meal. Cheese should be viewed as a condiment. It doesn't have much of its own flavor - it relies on other things. Just a little sprinkle of cheese and you will be set. Plus, I challenge you to cut back on the amount of cheese you use and be AMAZED at the flavor that your food has all by itself.

Thirdly, there are a lot of options for barbecue sauce. Read some nutritional labels. I have heard tell that Harmons has some amazing 0 calorie sauces. I haven't checked it out yet but I am definitely interested. However, if you follow the other suggestions I have made and just use your barbecue a bit sparingly you should be just fine. (I used Sweet Baby Ray's.)

Fair enough? Okay. If you want to use normal bacon, smother it in cheese and use a cup of barbecue sauce per chicken breast that is totally your call. But I promise you, this is a fantastic and flavorful recipe as is.

From Shayla's Kitchen

Makes 6 Servings
Nutritional Information per serving (calculated on MyFitnessPal.com): Calories 196, Carbs 11, Fat grams 7, Protein 24 (Based on 1/4 cup each cheese and BBQ sauce)

6 large chicken breast halves (for easier cooking on the grill cut the fat half of the breast in half lengthwise again)
6 slices of cooked turkey bacon, cut into small slices
1/4 - 1/2 cup cheese of choice (I used mozzarella)
1/4 - 1/2 cup barbecue sauce of choice (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
*2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles
*3 sliced green onions
*Juice of 1 large lime

*I had homemade pico de gallo that I used instead of the Rotel, onions and lime. If you don't have it, this will be a good substitute.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grill chicken for 5-7 minutes until chicken is just cooked through. You want it to be tender and juicy, not tough. Place chicken in a 9x13 dish and top with barbecue sauce. Spread the barbecue sauce around so that it covers the top of your chicken breasts. Sprinkle each breast with bacon slices and cheese. Pour both cans of Rotel on top of the chicken followed by the green onion slices and the juice of the lime. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.


ROASTED BROCCOLI: Cut up a 1 lb head of broccoli into florets. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp EACH salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and roast in oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

SAUTEED GREEN BEANS: Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and heat on medium high heat. Rinse 16 oz. frozen green beans so there is no visible ice. Place green beans in skillet and sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Sautee until beans are hot and start to brown and blacken (just a bit) on the outside.

My Menu

*Please note that all menu plans are subject to LIFE! If you get your heart set on seeing a particular recipe appear on the blog within the next week and it never appears... just send me a message and I will send the recipe on to you.

MONDAY, APRIL 9TH =  Monterey Chicken (with homemade pico de gallo & turkey bacon!)

TUESDAY, APRIL 10TH = Garlic Ginger Noodles (for the... 5th time? :0))

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11TH = Eggs & Canadian Bacon in Pita Pockets

THURSDAY, APRIL 12TH = Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos


SATURDAY, APRIL 14TH = Cranberry Sauerkraut Meatballs

(All food pictures are from Pinterest and I stake NO claim to them! I will site proper sources with each recipe as I make them this week!)