Buffalo chicken salad

Sanj decided to whip up the bleu cheese stuffed buffalo chicken after reading my post. She sliced it up and put it on top of a delicious looking salad…and sent me a picture to prove it!

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Just can’t beet it

I’ve never liked beets. Last week I went on a health and wellness tour with my friend Sanj. We stopped at the farmer’s market. She tried to convince me how good roasted beets are. I was skeptical. Then, at the beet stand another woman was raving about them. I had to try roasting them.

We also took shots of wheatgrass. Delicious. It’s like two bags of leafy greens in a shot glass. Talk about effective nutrition!

The tour also stopped at Starfruit. They make some sort of “ice cream” that is highly delicious and quite healthy. They gave us wheatgrass, green pepper and spinach “ice cream” that was horrible. You can tell by the look on Sanj’s face. Fortunately, they also gave us delicious pomegranate.

Back to the beets! Well, I’m hooked. I’ve eaten roasted beet salad twice in 3 days. I had to go to another farmer’s market to get more beets to feed the need. Seriously. The second time I made the salad, I made one for Brian(also a fan of the beet).

How to roast a beet:

  • Remove leafy greens(you can steam those and eat them). Wash beets well. Create a foil packet for your lovely beets. Drizzle them with olive oil. Seal up your beet-filled foil packet. Place in a 425F oven for 40-70 minutes depending on the size of your glorious beet.
  • Pull packet out when beet is slightly tender. Open up top of packet and let cool to a temperature where you can handle the beets. Peel skin off your beets with your hands(and get beautiful beet hands). The skin will come right off if they are done.
    Now they are ready to be sliced and put on the salad or used however you would like. Tasty.

Roasted beet salad

Ingredients(for 1 salad):

  • 1-2 medium to large roasted beets, skinned and sliced
  • lettuce of choice, field greens work well(2 cups per salad)
  • 1/2 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 orange, in segments
  • a few thin slices of red onion(optional)
  • vinegarette of choice

Directions:

  1. Place clean lettuce on a plate.
  2. Top with 5-7 beet slices(depending on your love for the beet).
  3. Add orange segments.
  4. Top with crumbled goat cheese and optional onion.
  5. Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegarette of choice.

I used a light basalmic vinegarette on one and a light raspberry walnut vinegarette on the other. Both were out of this world. Now that I think about it, a few chopped walnuts would have been a tasty addition to the salad. I guess I had better get back to the farmer’s market for some more beets.

Bleu cheese stuffed buffalo chicken breasts

I love buffalo chicken. It was the only meat item I craved while I was a vegetarian. I craved it so much that I made batches and batches of buffalo tofu. Just not the same, but still delicious.

I had seen several recipes for some sort of buffalo chicken with some sort of bleu cheese middle. I combined several recipes to make it more healthy, leaving off breading and frying. I did increase the bleu cheese mixture slightly, as the only negative reviews of the recipe that I took the mixture from said that there wasn’t enough of the cheesy goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 4 4oz chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • 1 bottle of your favorite wing sauce
  • 1 cup bleu cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Directions:

  1. Place pounded-out chicken breasts in a one-gallon ziplock bag. Add enough buffalo sauce to sufficiently cover breasts when tossed. Marinate for 30-90 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Mix bleu cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Spray cooking sheet with non-stick oil or use non-stick foil and cover baking sheet. Place chicken breasts flat on cooking sheet.
  5. Spoon 1/4 of bleu cheese mixture in the middle of each breast. Fold breasts over, keeping bleu cheese mixture from seeping out too much. Alternatively, you could split the breast open and stuff it with bleu cheese mixture instead of pounding out the breast. Drizzle more buffalo sauce on top of breast, if desired.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F or until chicken is no longer pink.
  7. Serve while hot, bubbly and delicious.

The pictures do not represent how tasty this chicken actually is.

Portabello, kale and spinach pasta bake

I’ve always found casseroles and pasta bakes to be great comfort foods. Growing up in Iowa, we ate dinner as a family most night of the week and casseroles were frequently served.

Building upon things I like and healthy options, I concocted the portobello, kale and spinach pasta bake.

Ingredients:

  • a pint of baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • a few cups of kale, torn and stems removed
  • a few cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 box of high fiber pasta
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce of choice
  • 1 bag morning star farms soy crumbles
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Boil pasta al dente according to directions on box. While waiting for the water for the pasta to boil, heat up a large skillet to med-high heat. Spray a skillet with olive oil spray and add the garlic. Let cook for 1-2 minutes making sure not to burn it.
  2. Add portobellas and give them a covering of cooking spray. Add salt and pepper to season. Cook until slightly tender. Add in kale. Cook for another minute or two then add in the spinach. Cook until spinach is starting to wilt…will only take 30 seconds or so.
  3. Heat oven to 325F.
  4. When pasta is al dente, drain and put pasta in a 9×13 casserole dish. Add cooked mushrooms, kale and spinach to 9×13.
  5. Cook soy crumbles according to package directions. Add to casserole dish.
  6. Add jar of pasta sauce to 9×13. Stir veggies, soy crumbles, pasta, and sauce together. Top with 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake in 325F oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This dish will not disappoint. It’s so versatile too. Switch up the veggies. Add crushed red pepper for spice. Pasta bakes every night of the week!

Mashed sweet potatoes

This was my least favorite recipe of the bunch. I think I would rather have a plain, baked sweet potato over this mash, but it won’t stop me from eating them.

Recipe adapted from weightwatchers.com:

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup plain, fat-free yogurt, greek-variety recommended
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp table salt, or more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
  • lime juice(optional)

Directions:

  1. Place potato chunks and garlic in large saucepan; pour in enough water to cover potatoes. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil until potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 minutes.
  3. Drain potatoes and garlic and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add yogurt and sugar to bowl.  Mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 8 servings(1/2 cup each).

After I made these and had Brian and I taste them, we decided that we could taste the yogurt too much. Brian had the genius idea to add more pepper and a little lime juice to them. It completely cut the yogurt taste.

Schezuan Shrimp

My friend’s husband Darrin had made this several times. Everytime he does, I always hear about how delicious it is from Megan. After having the recipe sitting in my inbox for months, I finally got around to making it. I’m glad I did. It’s easy to make, healthy and has the perfect kick of spicy.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces cooked shrimp, tails removed
  • 1 large bag frozen stir-fry vegetables

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper, and ground ginger. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in green onions and garlic; cook 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in shrimp, and toss to coat with oil.
  4. Stir in sauce.
  5. Stir in bag of frozen vegetables.
  6. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thickened.

I served this atop some cooked quinoa. Thanks Darrin and Megan for the great recipe!

Sour cream and garlic mashed potatoes

My original plan for dinner on Saturday night was steak, garlic mashed and steamed asparagus. By the time I got to the grocery store the night before the meat counter was closed. So I opted to substitute the bleu cheese-stuffed chicken breasts. I’m just glad the grocery store wasn’t out of potatoes because these are deliciously creamy and garlicy. Perfect for a holiday meal or anytime you need some comfort food.

Recipe adapted from weightwatchers.com:

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds small red potatoes
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 Tbsp low-fat sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Instructions:

  1. Combine the potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 25-40 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 14/ cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. Mash the potatoes and garlic in the sauce pan.
  3. Stir in the sour cream, oil, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in the cooking liquid, 2 or 3 Tbsp at a time, until the potatoes become creamy. Makes 8 servings(3/4 cup per serving).

This makes a large batch. You might want to halve it but I’m sure once you taste them you won’t mind having left overs. I also added more salt and pepper than the recipe called for.

Someone’s in the kitchen…

This past weekend I spent most of my Saturday slaving over a hot stove so that Brian and I could have meals for the week. Really, I just wanted meals for the week and Brian benefitted because I don’t really like eating the same thing over and over. So, I got half of the recipe and he got half. Works out pretty good, huh?

I’m going to try to post one recipe per day for the next few days. What did I make?

  • schezuan shrimp
  • bacon wrapped pork filets
  • bleu cheese-stuffed chicken with buffalo sauce
  • Portobello, kale and spinach pasta bake
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • Sour cream and garlic mashed potatoes
  • steamed asparagus
  • sautéed zucchini

Salad with egg and herbed goat cheese

After a weekend of social events and eating out, I was craving a salad. A big salad. With lots of vegetables.

I started with a bed of red and green butter leaves and added sauteed asparagus, portabella mushroom chunks, zucchini and red peppers. On top of that I added a diced tomato fresh from my patents garden and less than an ounce of herbed goat cheese. To top off that heap of deliciousness, I added a cooked egg.

No dressing needed for this fresh salad! Just what I needed.

Some like it hot…

A few highlights from the month of August:

Brian and I ran the Elvis 5K at the beginning of August. While neither of us are where we want to be with our running yet, our times had improved from the previous 5K.

After the 5K, we showered and got ready to met Aaron who was in town for some meetings. The meeting of Aaron and Brian turned into a draw-off. A Justin Bieber draw-off to be exact.

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