Tag Archives: protein

Cottage Cheese – Countless Ways

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Growing up, I was always a savory cottage cheese girl. Add a little salt and pepper and I was good to go. I don’t think it was until high school or college that I discovered that people added fruit to their cottage cheese! I’ve tried it and it’s not really my thing; even though it isn’t too much different than fruit with yogurt… or fruit preserves atop a log of cream cheese or chèvre.

Lately, I’ve been eating a lot more cottage cheese.

I’ve found that it really satisfies me. Sometimes I’ll just add a little salt and pepper. Other times, I’ll sprinkle some Herbes de Provence or other savory seasoning on top. Or I’ll just to top it with some chopped scallions.

And still, other times, I just add some to my leftovers!

Cottage Cheese

Here, I stirred some leftover chicken into some leftover sauteed mushrooms and onions. I topped it with some diced tomatoes, but still felt something was missing. A little cottage cheese was the perfect touch to change the flavor and texture!

And by now, you know how much I love making a good Poorman’s Caprese in the summer when tomatoes are in season.

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Well, I’ve created a new-to-me version of the Poorman’s Caprese!

It came about because my cousin gave me a big jar of her homemade salsa. And once I opened it, I didn’t want it to go to waste. Then, I dumped some into my cottage cheese and a new and delicious creation was born.

Salsa Caprese!

Salsa Caprese!

It doesn’t look all that pretty when you mix it all together; but it is oh-so-good!

Cottage Cheese Salsa Caprese

One other way that I’ve liked to eat cottage cheese is rather strange…

And I didn’t think it was the healthiest either. I’d take about a half-cup of cottage cheese and top it with a few almonds, then sprinkle it with a little shredded cheddar cheese. Weird, right?

But then I read this suggested snack on Livestrong for a Cinnamon Almond Spread that consisted of cottage cheese, chopped almonds and cinnamon. I didn’t feel so strange anymore! And their Mini-Mexican Pizzas are very similar to my Salsa Caprese.

In fact, I’ve been seeing a lot of snack-like recipes with cottage cheese as an ingredient lately. What an easy, versatile protein! Oh no. I just did a search for cottage cheese recipes on Pinterest. I could be there all day… 😉

How do you like your cottage cheese?

Any crazy combinations out there?

Cheers~
Carrie

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High Protein Dinners?

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I’m looking for some more ideas for high-protein recipes to make my husband for dinners. There’s only so much you can do with just beef and pork before it can get boring.

These are a few favorites that I have recently tucked in my arsenal:

Then there are few that I want to try out on him! Although, some of these are chicken dishes. Unless I am dining alone, I plan to substitute pork for the chicken in those receipes for Rob. What do you think?

I’m in search of more high protein recipes! While beef and pork ones are preferred to keep them Rob-friendly, I am working on adapting chicken ones to pork, too!

Have you tried any of the recipes above? If so, what do you think?

What are your favorite beef, pork or other high protein recipes?

Cheers~
Carrie

Protein for Salads

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About six months ago, we started Salad Mondays at our house. It came about because I wanted my husband to eat more vegetables. Sure, I can also make vegetable side dishes from time to time, but I wanted to have a quick and easy way to do salads without having to do too much thinking on a Monday.

However, due to my husband’s allergies and a few other reasons (to be listed shortly), it’s very hard for me to get protein in these salads for dear hubby. I can top mine with chicken or turkey any time!

Until yesterday.

Because I made him a Big Mac Salad.

That’s right. I found *this recipe* for a Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing. And, yes, it does taste just like the sauce on a Big Mac!

At first, I was a little leery about putting ground beef on a salad. That just sounded weird. But after thinking about it, we eat taco salads topped with ground meat with taco seasoning all the time!

And when I was taking our bowls back to the sink, it sort of smelled like McDonald’s in there! It was a combination of the cooked ground beef smell and the dressing from the bowl in which I made it.

I completely forgot to take a photo, but this is a salad that will be going into our rotation.

The only things I changed from Andie’s recipe:

  • I halved it because leftover salad just doesn’t sound good!
  • I used non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because it’s what I had on hand (It added a little extra protein, too!)
  • I used white wine vinegar instead of white vinegar.
  • I finely chopped a dill pickle instead of buying relish. (We never use it, so why buy it!?)

I don’t think these minor changes affected the flavor of the salad in any way.

I cut my tomatoes in wedges and arranged them around the outside edges of the bowl, just in case Rob didn’t want them. He normally doesn’t eat raw tomatoes. I also cut a couple of small dill pickles in half and put them around the bowl for the same purpose.

Success!

Now I’m in search of more novel ideas to make Rob’s salad nights more protein-filled for him. Normally, the salads I made him included veggies, shredded cheese or blue cheese crumbles, some bacon bits (the real ones, not the soy ones), and a few croutons. I him put on his own dressing.

Here are ideas that I know will be suggested that I can’t do:

  • Flank steak – He doesn’t like this cut of meat.
  • Poultry, fish or shellfish – He’s allergic.
  • Beans – He’s allergic to some and doesn’t fancy others.
  • Chickpeas – He’d probably eat a salad with these if I put it in front of him, but would say that he wouldn’t want it again.
  • Eggs – While he likes yolks in fried or scrambled eggs, he doesn’t like the yolks when their hard-boiled. I can add hard-boiled whites, though!
  • Nuts – I’m going to try this one, but when I’ve asked if he’s wanted them in a salad in the past, he always says “No.”
  • Cheese – I already add this, but it doesn’t offer a lot of protein and if I added more, that’s just adding more fat, too.
  • Tofu – Neither of us are fans. I don’t mind it because it takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. But I just don’t get the whole processed soy thing. If I’m going to eat something processed, I want it to be something I really enjoy!

Ideas I came up with while writing this post:

  • Barbecued Pork Salad – I don’t like BBQ sauce, so I’d be making this for just him. Does anyone have a recipe that I can use to know what else to add?
  • Taco Salad

So my question for you today is:

What protein ideas do you have for salads?

Recipe sharing encouraged!

Cheers~
Carrie

Post-Op Foods & Saga Hill Cooking Class

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I’m putting together a grocery list of items I need to buy to have on hand after my surgery. They are warning me that the pain killers are going to have some side effects, in which plenty of fruits and vegetables should help do the trick. 😉 Also, since my husband does not cook, I want to have some easy, fast – meaning 5 minutes or less! – healthy go-to meals and snacks so he doesn’t bring me take-out every night. {Although it’ll be nice a couple of times!} I may be off of work for up to two weeks; but even if I’m not, I want some easy things to grab so that I don’t make any poor choices out of inconvenience. Planning ahead and taking out the guesswork, ya know?

I do know that I could do a few make-ahead meals, but with the pain I’ve been in, it just sounds exhausting at the end of the day. Even after sitting all day, my legs feel like they can’t take any more. I have been cooking a bit, but not enough to put that much effort into it.

Here is my list of meal and snack ideas and the corresponding list of groceries that I will need to shop for since they are not currently in my pantry:

Meals & Snacks

  • Egg Bagel Sandwiches {aka 90-second Breakfast Sandwich}
  • Lean Cuisine Frozen Entrees  – I always have a few of these in the freezer. I don’t eat them everyday, only when I’m in a pinch. My favorite? Salmon with Basil!
  • Chipotle Black Bean Burgers – Currently in my freezer. I can just pop them between a bagel thin and or smear on some guacamole.
  • Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup – I know that we are talking a lot of sodium here, but it’ll be an easy way to get in some needed veggies
  • Peanut Butter Toast
  • No Hassle Fruits – see grocery list below.
  • Magic Smoothie
  • Fiber One Brownies
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Grocery List

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Clementines
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Carrots – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Cucumbers – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Bell Peppers – cut and put in baggies or containers
  • Hummus
  • Spinach
  • Eggs
  • Lean Cuisines
  • Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup
  • Wholly Guacamole or Avocado

To prep

  • Make sure dishes and ingredients are reachable from hip to chest level
  • Cut veggies
  • Hard Boil Eggs

That should be it! This also serves as a reminder if I find myself thinking that there is nothing to eat in the house. I can come back to this past to read about my available options!

But of course, Rob, I won’t mind a little takeout now and then, or even a little ice cream. 😉 I’m just trying not to go overboard while I’m immobile!

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Food Journal for Thursday:

Breakfast

I was running late, so I made a 90-second Breakfast Sandwich to take in the car (not pictured because, uh, I was running late). But if you want to see a photo or learn how I heard about these, click here. Approximately 300 calories with blueberry bagel thin (sweet and savory sandwich!), one egg, and one ounce cheddar cheese.

At work – 2 cups of black coffee with a piece of Dove Dark Chocolate (the one with almonds). Isn’t this message appropriate right about now?

Thurs-Choc

Lunch

Salad

Salad with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, chopped carrots & celery, chopped almonds and avocado

I put the avocado in the container the night before and squeezed a bit a lime juice over it, but it still browned. It tasted fine, though. And that little jar is leftover from a Love with Food sample. Guess what I put in it? Leftover Balsamic Glaze from my Avocado-Bruschetta-Mozzarella Chicken dinner. I used it as my salad dressing!

Afternoon Snacks

Banana (not pictured).

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Kind Bar courtesy of my February Foodie Penpal. 😉

Kind

Peanut Butter and Dark Choclate Kind Bar

Last night, I went to a Saga Hill Cooking Class with some friends. Knowing that we probably wouldn’t eat until later, I snacked again after work. I had an apple with some Biscoff Spread. Then I went to a small wedge of double cream brie. It could have turned into an all-out binge, but I stopped myself and called my mom instead.

Dinner

When we arrived at cooking class, we poured ourselves some wine. I started with a glass of white, but it was too warm, so I switched to red. For $15, wine is unlimited for the evening. My friend Jen was driving and I could no longer be on meds before surgery, so I took full advantage! Actually, I was a little apprehensive on how I would hold out for the evening. By this time of night, I’m usually just wiped. Luckily, from where I was sitting at our table, I could sit on the stool or stand up whenever I needed to.

I lost count of my wine, but I think we concluded that I had five of their bar-sized glasses. This is equivalent to probably 2 and 1/2 to 3 glasses the size that I would have at home.

In the past three classes I’ve done at Saga Hill, we usually don’t eat until she’s done her explanation of what to expect and have cooked our first item. However, this time she served us little dishes of jambalaya right away!

Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage

Jambalaya with Smoked Sausage

This class was All About The Pig. I thought this would be a good one to give me some ideas and what else I could make for Rob. We learned about pre-packaged bacon versus pork belly. We cut the pork belly into lardons and sautéed them in a little oil. We then learned how to make scrambled eggs the correct way! You should not beat the crap out of thembut should be patient and guide them to ebb and flow in the pan. We finished the eggs with some chives and butter and served them with the bacon and toast:

Scrambled eggs with lardons and toast

Scrambled eggs with lardons and toast

I don’t know if I can ever eat packaged bacon again! Next up, we made our own sausage. Chef Marianne taught us that sausage is made of one-half pork belly and one-half the middle section of the pig (the loin). We each got some raw ground pork and were able to make our own sausage in a way that could easily be replicated at home. We were given ingredients such as thyme, fennel, cayenne, nutmeg, maple syrup, chedder, etc. and were told to be creative. My sausage included fennel, cheddar {like I would have done anything else!}, with a pinch of cayenne, and some salt and pepper. We rolled them in plastic wrap and poached them for four minutes in boiling water. While that was going on, we were served some pork carnitas on a small baked corn tortilla. (Not pictured, the wine must have kicked in at this point.) The carnitas had a great warmth of spice and were uber-flavorful. They were topped with some sour cream and cilantro.

After our sausages were poached, we browned them in a little bit of oil:

Medley of Sausages

Medley of Sausages!

Since there were six of us at our table, we cut each sausage into six pieces to try a little bit of each creation! Here is what my plate looked like:

Sausage bites with potatoes

Sausage bites with potatoes

To be honest – I loved all of them! Each sausage had a very distinct, unique flavor! And each time we tasted one, we could figure out who made it. It was a fun guessing game and a test of our taste buds.

Then we finished off with dessert – which had nothing to do with pork. We learned how to section/supreme citrus. We put Lynn at our table to work and they turned out beautifully!

Thurs-Citrus

One of the chefs gave her the wonderful compliment that in all of his years as a chef, he’s never seen in any kitchen a more beautifully sectioned/supremed selection of citrus!

We each had to make and flip our own crêpe. For some reason, this was a challenge for me. I could get it out of the pan, but not flipped over. One of mine landed on the floor. I guess I just don’t have that flick of the wrist! The citrus {lemon, clementine and grapefruit} ended up in the pan with some sugar and after reducing, some brandy was added to flambée the mixture. We topped our crêpes with the sweetened and flambéed citrus, folded them up and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Thurs-Citrus Crepe

Overall, it wasn’t a low-calorie day. However, I’m glad that our portion sizes were small enough at the cooking class that we didn’t get overly stuffed. And it was still enough to feel like you’d had a good meal!

When I got home, I started to eat a double cheeseburger because Rob had brought home an extra and I didn’t want it to go to waste. WHAT?! What kind of thinking is that? I had already had plenty of food. Lesson learned. I have to eliminate that kind of thinking.

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What easy, fast, healthy ingredients, snacks and meals would you add to my post-op lists above?

Cheers~

Carrie