Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Easy Comfort

So last night hubby was going to eat out with the boys. This means I got to make something for myself - ALL for myself. None of that, "I don't like that" shit! Yippee! The only problem was I had too many things to choose from and had a hard time deciding. Even after a 2.5 mile run I was still undecided! I had polenta, quinoa, hummus - what to do! By the time I got home from work, dropped hubby off, returned home and fed the dogs, my thoughts had shifted from what can I make for my self to what can I have on my plate in the next 10 minutes. With that I concocted the most delicious treat for myself and I kept it on the lean side as I am still trying to cut the fat and calories where I can. Success all the way around! What was my dinner - Italian sausage and broccoli over cheesy polenta. OMG YUM!!! I mixed the Italian sausage with some lean ground beef and browned and drained it to cut out some of the fat. I also prepared the polenta with just water and salt instead of my usual half and half and chicken stock. I restrained myself with the cheese too. All in all I ended up with a delicious, comforting meal that was not too fattening and very tasty! Hope you like it!

Sausage and Broccoli with Cheesy Polenta

1-2 Sweet Italian sausages
1/4 Lb lean ground beef
1 head broccoli
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs olive oil (if needed)
crushed red pepper flakes

1 Cup instant polenta
2-3 Cups water
salt to taste
1/4 C shredded Cheddar Cheese

Brown ground beef and sausage in a pan until cooked, drain fat and set aside
Add oil, garlic and broccoli to pan and saute until broccoli is is crisp tender
Return meat mixture to pan and add red pepper flakes to taste

While meat is browning bring 2-3 cups water to a boil in a medium sauce pan.
Add polenta and reduce heat, stirring frequently
When polenta is soft add salt to taste and cheddar cheese
Once cheese is melted and fully incorporated transfer polenta to a plate and top with meat and broccoli mixture


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shedding Pounds

I have to admit that I have jumped on the spring bandwagon and have made a conscious effort to lose a few pounds before spring sets in. The main motivations are 1- Mermaid Parade - I have registered and want to look fabulous in my costume (if I ever get it done) and 2 - I don't want to be disappointed when I switch from the winter to summer wardrobe and find that NONE of my shorts fit me anymore. When we went to Las Vegas in October I was VERY surprised at how uncomfortable many of them had become and I know I have added even more weight since then. So, starting this week I have gotten back into my exercise routine AND have been making better choices regarding what and how I eat. Usually I would go all day with nothing to eat other than diet soda and then go home and eat everything in sight. Now, I keep a package of celery in the office fridge to munch on during the day. I do dip it in a little honey mustard dressing to give it some flavor but I certainly don't drown it in the stuff. I am trying to stay away from bready, buttery and creamy things. I still eat pasta - but in moderation and put cream in my coffee and take a swig out of the milk jug (yes, I do that) every now and then but no more alfredo, nachos with cheese sauce or any of that crap. My Ice Cream consumption has been reduced to a few spoon fulls when I simply MUST have it. Portion control and healthier choices - that's how I am approaching this. Brown rice instead of white. Salads instead of sandwiches. And when I do eat bread, rye instead of white. So far it seems to be working. I recently was able to zip up a skirt I had fatted out of a while back (YAY). Small victories mean a lot! Anyway, after a 4 mile run and a hardcore 1 hour cardio kickboxing session, I went home and made this for hubby and I. Ideally I would have used whole wheat pasta but since I have an entire cupboard full of the regular stuff I opted for that but controlled the portion. All in all it was very tasty and definitely not extremely fattening.

Erika's Chicken Saute with Grape Tomatoes and Broccoli

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and diced
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1 Cup chopped broccoli florets
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup white wine
2 green onions, chopped

1 small handful linguine, cooked to al dente

Parmesan Cheese

Season chicken with salt and pepper and saute in olive oil with garlic until almost cooked through
deglaze pan with wine and add lemon juice
Add broccoli then tomatoes
Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through
Stir in green onions
Serve over linguini with a little grated parmesan

For the record, this recipe was inspired by this picture I saw on Pinterest. One look and I knew what I was making for dinner!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl Snacking

Yes, we went to a Superbowl party. Yes, I drank too much. Yes, I didn't make it into work yesterday. Yes, they should make the day after the Superbowl National Holiday. Seriously.

This year I made this pizza bubble ring brought to you by the creative minds over at Pillsbury. So easy to make and delicious too. This was well received at the party and will become one of my go to party recipes. I used the standard homestyle grand biscuits and cut each in half to stuff. Work out just fine!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A little something different

So, the hubby and I have decided to try and eat a little bit healthier. Nothing too extreme, mind you, LOL! We are just feeling like fat slobs these days. All week I have been trying to cook a little lighter, using less cheese and cream in the recipes. The fact that it has been a very mild winter is helpful because I am not craving rich heavy meals like I would normally in the winter. This week we had chicken ravioli in a light wine and tomato sauce, lemon chicken over spaghettini, corned beef with barley and vegetables and last night we went a little heavier with stuffed peppers. Now, right off the bat I get negative comments from the hubby - "I never really cared for stuffed peppers". Well, that's because you have never had MINE! Shut up and eat it or die! (I didn't really say the eat it or die part but I thought it really loudly, LOL). Now it's no secret that I love, love, love Mexican food so I decided to make these stuffed peppers with a south of the border twist. Needless to say hubby has joined the dark side and now likes stuffed peppers, at least this version, anyway. As with all my recipes, everything is approximate. I am too lazy to measure, LOL!

South of the Border Stuffed Peppers

3 Red Bell Peppers
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 C uncooked white rice
1 can rotel tomatoes (UNDRAINED)
2Tbs tomato sauce
1 carton chicken broth
1 package Goya Sazon Cilantro-Achiote Seasoning
salt to taste

1lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1Tbs garlic powder
1 Can kuners Southwest Black Beans with Cumin and Chili spiced (UNDRAINED)
1C shredded cheddar cheese
salt to taste

1 can enchilada sauce or salsa verde

Pre heat over to 400F

Cut the tops off of the red peppers and clean out insides, set aside reserving tops

In a medium sauce pan bring about 1 cup of chicken stock to a boil. When boiling add rice, rotel, tomato sauce and goya packet. reduce heat to a simmer and cook until rice is tender. add additional stock if needed. salt to taste

While rice is cooking brown ground beef with chopped onion, drain off fat. Turn off heat and add garlic, salt and beans. Stir to combine. Add shredded cheese and stir to combine

Add rice to meat mixture and stir to combine

Stuff rice/beef mixture into peppers and stand upright is a baking dish. Top with additional cheese and pepper tops. Pour enchilada sauce or salsa verde over peppers. Cover with foil and bake at 400F for approximately 30 min or until peppers are soft. Serve with sour cream and avocado slices. Enjoy!

You will most likely have more filling for these peppers than you will need (a LOT more) so use it inside a burrito or quesadilla or just eat it by itself! The filling would also taste good with shredded chicken instead of beef or even as a vegetarian option.