Tag Archives: recipe

Chicken with Green Beans and Pesto

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I’m still making my way through Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes and let me tell you; the latest recipe I tried was a real winner! (But almost all of them seem to be.)

I had a great big jar of pesto from Costco that was quickly approaching had just passed it’s “Use or Freeze by” date. I wanted to use up a bit more before I sectioned it out into portions for the freezer. That’s when I found this recipe in 5 Ingredients, 10 minutes.

In truth, this recipe took me about 20 minutes, not 10. But there are a few things that can account for that, as you’ll read below. It still came together rather quickly and was so deliciously satisfying and healthy to boot! This is one of those recipes that’s great to make if you want to pound out some aggression…

~

Chicken with Green Beans & Pesto

Ingredients: chicken breast, dried chili flakes, fresh green beans, pesto, lemon

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • I used almost a full pound of chicken breast because that is what I had thawing in my fridge. The recipe was to serve two (as most of Clancy’s do) anyway and I thought three portions might be nice for leftovers!
  • I substituted frozen green beans rather than fresh just because that is what I had. I also finished off the bag, so it was probably about 1.5 times the amount called for in the recipe. Hey, that will even out with the chicken, right?!
  • Part of the reason this dish took me longer than the estimated 10 minutes was that I used those frozen green beans. Instead of 4 minutes in the pot of boiling water (which took a few minutes in its own right), my bag said to give it 5 – 7 minutes.
  • I loved using dried chili flakes as the seasoning on this chicken. It made it so flavorful! I might just make some pork chops this way so Rob can eat them. {For future reference, Carrie: 1 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil to one (heaping) teaspoon of red chili flakes per one pound of meat. Rub on meat and season with salt and pepper, as well.}
  • Another reason why I didn’t finish in 10 minutes was that my chicken was not cooked all of the way through. 1.5 minutes per side was not quite enough. Despite the fact that I felt like I pounded the hell out of that chicken, I apparently needed to do a little more!
  • Even though I used more chicken breast and more green beans, I stuck with the measurements of the seasoning and the pesto to the recipe and it was still full of flavor.
  • I omitted the lemon, only because I forgot about it.
  • My version made 3 generous servings.
  • The only thing I’d probably change for next time is slicing the chicken before topping it with the green beans and pesto. While the presentation is prettier as is, slicing the chicken just makes for easier eating!
  • This dish took me approximately 20 minutes.
  • Will make again. This recipe is definitely a keeper!!

Like pounding the meat thinner before cooking, what time-saving tips do use in the kitchen?

Cheers~
Carrie

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Pizza Crusts, Meal Plans and Repurposing Leftovers

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This past week, I tried a new pizza crust that we picked up at Cost Plus World Market.

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I’ve had a hard time finding prepared pizza crusts that aren’t insanely high in calories. I’ve also tried to make my own; but I’ve got a picky husband! I was sold when I saw that these mini crusts are only 150 calories!

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On Wednesday, I decided to make one because I was looking for a way to use up the Roasted Tomato Dressing that I Want to Pour Everything that I had leftover in the fridge. I wasn’t sure if it would work in place of pizza sauce, but it was worth a try.

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It was so incredibly good! But it was also so easy…

Single Serving Pepperoni Pizza

  • 1 Pastorelli Ultra Thin 7″ Pizza Crust
  • 3 Tbsp Roasted Tomato Dressing or your pizza sauce of choice
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 10 pepperoni

Layer as listed and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 7 minutes, or until golden brown.

I forgot to use the Italian Seasoning, so I just sprinkled some on top before putting it in the oven.

Rob wasn’t a fan of the Roasted Tomato Dressing. So when I made us each one of these yesterday, I made my own pizza sauce with tomato paste, water, garlic, olive oil and pizza seasoning.  We will be buying these crusts again.

And now for this week:

planning

 

Food

Rob and I are still on our eat-on-our-own kick like we did last week and the week before. Although it may sound a little strange for us to eat separately, it’s been working out really well! I love being able to eat chicken at home. Neither of us need to plan around each other either.

Here are my plans for this week.

Dinners:

  • Monday –  Running with Rachel’s Husband Dan’s Feta & Spinach Turkey Burgers with Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions and Red Potatoes
  • Tuesday – Leftover Turkey Burgers & Roasted Veggies
  • Wednesday – Greek Turkey Burger Salad – I’m attempting to re-purpose the Turkey Burgers! I’ll use the rest of my spinach, add tomatoes, cucumbers and olives, crumble the turkey burger, add a bit more feta and top with tzatziki sauce and/or hummus. Sounds delicious, no? If it turns out okay, I’ll put it up next week!
    Thursday –  Greek Turkey Burger Salad
  • Friday – Dinner out – TBD
  • Saturday – Off to Green Bay! Tentative dinner at Hinterland Brewery.
  • Sunday – Meals TBD. It’s my final game of the season as a Packers Gold Package Season Ticket Holder.

Lunch:

Breakfasts:

Fitness

  • Monday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Tuesday Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Wednesday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Thursday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – REST
  • Sunday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.

What is your favorite way to re-purpose leftovers?

Cheers~
Carrie

Quick & Easy English Muffin Croutons

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This post is for me more than anyone else. Did you ever make something once, then try to make it again; then completely forgot how you made it taste so good?

This is so I don’t forget.

Last night, I was making a variation of these Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Onions that I shared in yesterday’s post. When I calculated the recipe, it occurred to me that it was very low-calorie and was not going to be a very filling meal. I could have served it over rice, but my husband isn’t really a rice-kind-of-guy. And I wanted something quick. I had leftover romaine lettuce, so I thought I’d make a simple salad. But my husband isn’t really a salad-kind-of-guy, unless it has some good croutons or pieces of bacon. 😉

So I looked up a few recipes, adapted them to what I had on hand and came up with these croutons! I have no photos because I didn’t even think of it at the time. But I do need to know how to make these again because Rob said the recipe is a keeper!

Quick & Easy English Muffin Croutons

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 English Muffin, split and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Toss English Muffin pieces in a bowl with other ingredients until coated evenly.
  • Spread on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until slightly browned.

That easy!

Of course, you can always double/triple/quadruple the recipe to have some on hand, but I like the warm crunch with a bit of chewiness in the middle that I didn’t really notice until Rob pointed it out to me. They only have that texture coming out of the oven! The next day, they’ll just be crunchy.

Do you make your own croutons?

What is your go-to recipe or method?

Cheers~
Carrie

Make Ahead Egg Bakes to Feed a Crowd

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Has it really been a whole week since my last post?

That’s probably the longest I’ve gone without blogging since I’ve started this blog.

Well another Christmas has come and gone.

xmas tree 2013

Now it’s time to wrap up 2013 and celebrate the New Year. I’ve got some ideas on how I want to review this past year, but that’ll be for an upcoming post. For now, let’s talk about how to feed a crowd for breakfast or brunch any time of year!

Y’all, I’m talking about Egg Bakes or Egg Casseroles.

Over the Christmas holiday, my mom was going in to work at 1 am and working ten to twelve hour shifts. She had little time to sleep on such a schedule.

And knowing full-well that she’d have to feed six adults, one teenage girl and three growing boys on Christmas morning, she was thinking ahead. She wrote down the recipes for two egg bakes – one savory and one sweet – for me to assemble on Christmas Eve and pop into the fridge while she was at work pounding out last-minute dinner rolls, Christmas cookies and croissants for all of the last-minute shoppers.

On Christmas morning, she slid them in the oven…

and they turned out beautifully.

Unfortunately, I can’t give credit to the origins of these recipes because my mom copied them down by hand.

Sausage And Egg Casserole Recipe

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices bread, cubed {I only had a French Loaf, so I used 12 slices of that.}
  • 1 lb sausage, browned, drained
  • 1.5 cups shredded Cheddar cheese {or more!}
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Method:

  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish. {I used butter.}
  • Cube bread and place evenly in greased 9×13 pan or baking dish.
  • Sprinkle evenly with browned, drained and cooled sausage and then the cheese.
  • Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture over ingredients already in pan.
  • Cover and chill overnight.
  • Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before baking.
  • Bake 45 minutes at 325 degrees or until set.
  • Cut into squares to serve.

*NOTE: I thought that the dish didn’t look saturated enough with the egg mixture and that the dish would come out dry, but this was not the case. So fear not!

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Baked French Toast Casserole with Praline Topping

Casserole Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread {The one my mom left for me was gigantic!}
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half {Tip: 1 pint = 2 cups}
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt

Praline Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb butter, melted {Tip: 1/2 lb = 2 sticks}
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Method:

  • Slice French bread into approximately 20 slices.
  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish. {I used butter.}
  • Transfer slices to the dish, arranging in two rows, overlapping the slices. {I got creative here because my baking dish was a little bigger and I wanted to fill up some holes. It worked just fine.}
  • In a large bowl, combine eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  • Beat with a hand mixer or by hand until combined, but not bubbly.
  • Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure to cover evenly to saturate all of the bread pieces.
  • Spoon some of the mixture between slices, if needed.
  • Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all praline topping ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover praline topping mixture and refrigerate over night.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread praline topping over the bread.
  • Bake 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden brown.
  • Serve with maple syrup, if desired. {We didn’t think this was necessary. It was sweet enough!}

*NOTES: While the Sausage Egg Bake seemed like it wasn’t saturated enough with egg mixture when assembled, the French Toast one seemed overly saturated and runny after I put it together. However, they both turned out wonderfully.

~

My mom put both of the Bakes in the oven at the same time and just adjusted for time and temperature. When combined with bagels and mom’s family-adored cheesy potatoes, this was more than enough food for ten people. It was a Carb Overload! But Oh. So. Good.

My friend Sally recommended this Eggs Benedict Casserole recipe when my in-laws were in town earlier this year. It was hit! My husband, who often shies away from anything with the word “casserole” in it, even loved it. He couldn’t stop telling me how good it was for an egg bake and how surprised he was. Sally’s tip for this recipe: “I use a little more Canadian bacon. I use two packages of the sliced Canadian bacon you buy in the store. One layer on the very bottom of the pan and another layer on top.”

When you are feeding a crowd, egg bakes and casseroles are perfect any time of year!

What is your favorite Egg Bake or Breakfast Casserole recipe?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Easiest Two Ingredient Crockpot Recipe {Food & Fitness Link-Up}

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Last week, I made the easiest Crockpot Recipe ever. {That sounds a little redundent, though, doesn’t it?} But the best part about it?

ROB LOVED IT!

I found it on this Facebook post link by Katie from Runs for Cookies. There are a lot of great ideas there; so just go grab a few!

But for now, I’m going to type out directions for the simplest Crockpot recipe you’ll ever make. Seriously. I’m going to list directions as if it was an actual recipe.

Carnitas

(Makes 4 – 6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • Pork Tenderloin (I used 1.5 lbs)
  • Jar of Salsa Verde (I used a 12 oz Trader Joe’s jar)

Method:

  • Put pork loin in Crockpot
  • Pour jar of salsa over loin
  • Cover
  • Put setting on low and let simmer all day

I let ours simmer from 7am to 4:30pm. Then I shred the meat and put it on warm until we were ready to eat, which was somewhere between 6 and 6:30pm.

It was perfect! This meat is so versatile. You can eat as is. But here is what we did:

  • I put it on a plate for Rob and topped with shredded cheese and dollop of sour cream. He raved over it.
  • I made mine into quesadillas by heating a corn tortilla in a pan spritzed with olive oil, removing it to a plate, heating another corn tortilla, topping with a little cheese, then the pork and the previously heated tortilla. Once the cheese is melted and the tortilla slightly crunchy, remove and cut into triangles. I served mine with a little Spicy Wholly Guacomole.

BUT… There are so many other ways to enjoy. Here are a few ideas:

    • Wrap in tortilla.
    • Put in tacos.
    • Make a plate of nachos.
    • Serve over rice.
    • Use red salsa instead of green.
    • Add black beans for even more protein
    • Use a can of tomatoes with garlic, onions and other seasonings to make it Italian.

I forgot to take a photo when I cooked it, but here are the leftovers I brought to work, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I enjoyed it with some black bean chips that came in one of my Food Boxes.

Carnitas

I’ve been trying to turn many chicken recipes into pork ones since Rob is allergic to poultry. I get nervous when I try new ones, not being sure if the pork will dry out. But this one worked with pork chops. And after the success with the above recipe, I’m thinking I can do these Slow Cooker Chicken recipes with pork, too!

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Last week was a strange one. I cooked {if you call that Crockpot recipe cooking!} only that one day. Then we sustained on leftovers, some easy eats, and dinners out with family in town! It was wonderful. But my fitness was minimal, too.

But here’s what’s in store for this week!

planningIt’s going to be another strange week with appointments and such after work. So these are my ideas for the week. I have all of the ingredients, it’s just a matter of choosing each day which one is easiest depending on how I’m feeling.

Dinners:

Lunches:

  • Leftover Meatballs from the weekend
  • Any leftovers we may have this week
  • Soup

Snacks:

  • Piece of fruit, applesauce, piece of dark chocolate, almonds

Breakfasts:

Fitness:

  • Walking. Lots of Walking. Since it’s going to be a strange play-it-by-ear week, let’s say at least 30 minutes 5 out of 7 days.

What’s your favorite Crockpot recipe?

Please share it in the comments!

Cheers~
Carrie

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins {Recipes}

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A while back, this recipe for Banana Chocolate Chips Oatmeal Cups arrived in my inbox. I had all of the ingredients on hand {which include ripe bananas, almond milk, eggs, baking powder, oats, vanilla and chocolate chips}; so I made them.

And fell in love.

Although I don’t normally bake, I’ve made them several times since. I’ve found that I can’t have baked goods in my house, because I have trouble with eating them in moderation. When I make these, I eat one warm, let the rest cool and then put them in a Ziplock bag to freeze. This works well because:

  1. They are out of sight and out of mind.
  2. When I want one, I have to take it out of the freezer and nuke it for minute.

I guess I could be putting them in the microwave one after the other; but for some reason, I don’t!

They aren’t as sweet as many muffins, so you can always add some sweetener, like a Tbsp of honey or something to make them sweeter. But I kind of like them like they are. Except, I just *might* add a little bit more chocolate chips to the mix! 😉

However, the last time I made them was after a night of very little sleep. I forgot the chocolate chips! DOH! No worries. I figured it out only about a minute after I put them in the oven. So I pulled them out and just topped the mixture with said chips. It worked okay. I definitely prefer the chips distributed throughout; but that’s okay!
055I like these so much and found them so easy that when a Foodie Penpal of mine said that she loved banana bread, I sent her some of the ingredients and the recipe to make them. Her only complaint? Now she needed to make them AGAIN! 😉

The last time I made these muffins, I had some extra overripe bananas and decided to give these Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies a try, too. They didn’t turn out as nice, but they tasted just fine. And pretty easy for only three ingredients {ripe bananas, oats, chocolate chips}!

054Looking for some other versions of Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins? There are so many variations! Here are some links for you:

Do you have a favorite Banana Chocolate Chip Bread or Muffin Recipe?

If so, please share!

Cheers~
Carrie

Italian Done Right: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

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Sounds simple, right? Maybe even boring.

To be honest, I never really made meatballs before those Award Winning Poker Meatballs… you know, the ones stuffed with cheese? What, I may have made some another time a while back when we had friends over and did a holiday potluck… If I remember correctly, they were really big.

In any case, at our last Cooking Class at Saga Hill, the theme was Italian Done Right. The premise was that although it can be satisfying, places like Buca di Beppo and Cossetta’s aren’t truly Italian. So one of the things we learned was to make meatballs in tomato sauce.

This dinner is one of those high-protein, minimally processed ones you can be proud of.

At Saga Hill, Chef Marianne likes to teach the “method” rather than a recipe. She sends the recipes out after the class via email. After following the pretty easy approach in class, I was determined to action those meatballs again right away for Rob. I pulled up the recipe she sent and realized that it was actually quite different from what we did in class!

This made me realize that it was more important that I learned the method… and that there was room to improvise. I could take that method, along with her tips and tricks that I learned in class and use the recipe as a guide. Then I just used what was in my pantry… and followed my gut.

meatballs

Here is the Rob-Approved-Keeper-Recipe that I created. He didn’t want me to change a thing for next time, so I thought I’d make an account of exactly what I did so that I don’t improvise next time!

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • garlic, minced
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained {I used the kind with onions and garlic.}
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c panko (or bread crumbs)
  • 8 oz lean ground beef
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • finely chopped fresh rosemary and thyme (about 1-2 Tbsp)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan
  • shredded parmesan for garnish (optional)

Method:

  • Heat large skillet with olive oil.
  • Add diced onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent.
  • Add crushed red pepper and stir in quartered cherry tomatoes.
  • Stir in canned tomatoes (with juices!)
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low to simmer.
  • In a medium bowl, beat one egg.
  • Mix panko into beaten egg mixture.
  • Add meat, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and parmesan.
  • Mix well with hands so that seasonings are well-distributed. Add water if needed to get desired texture.
  • Form into about one-inch diameter balls (maybe a little less). I yielded exactly 30 balls.
  • Stir the sauce before adding balls because you won’t be able to stir it for a while.
  • Add balls directly to simmering sauce and increase the heat.
  • Turn balls often and continue to until cooked through. (You may have to sacrifice a ball or two to check!)
Keep turning those balls!

Keep turning those balls!

When meatballs are just about cooked, you can stir the sauce with the intact balls to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Serve alone or atop pasta or spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese. (Optional)

Ta da!

Get in my tummy!

Some tips I learned from class:

  • Traditional Italian meatballs call for a combination of beef, pork (sausage) and veal, but you can work with whatever you have.
  • It’s best to use a combination of raw and canned tomatoes.
  • Use whatever herbs you’d like – oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, etc.
  • Use 1 egg per lb of meat.
  • If you are tearing bread to create breadcrumbs, soak them in a little bit of milk.
  • Don’t make your meatballs too big. Make an “O” with your thumb and forefinger. That should be about right.

I like that I usually have these kinds of ingredients on hand, so it’ll be an easy go-to “recipe” that Rob will love!

What is your favorite meat combo for meatballs?

What herbs do you like to use?

Cheers~

Carrie