Back On Track Once Again/ Breaking Records/A Healthier “Us” Anniversary

After two weeks of meal time chaos, I feel like I am finally back on track. Everyone was home and accounted for so I knew exactly how much I needed to prepare each night for dinner this week. This makes this wife/mom happy.

Things that did not make all that happy this week was the fact that we broke records here in Green Bay with our newest snowstorm. It was the biggest snowstorm in over 100 years coming in at a whopping 24.5 inches in 48 hours….I guess winter is not quite done with us yet.

IMG_0916

IMG_0928

IMG_0929

IMG_0926

Anyhow, back to better topic, this week we tried two new recipes and one new product I have been dying to try out on the family. Here, take a look….

Saturday: grilled chicken brats, grilled zucchini, and perogies

Sunday: Lentil veggie soup and chicken pita sandwiches

IMG_0888

Monday: slow cooker burrito bowls(new recipe that is a keeper for sure)

IMG_0891

Tuesday: dynamite stovetop casserole

***This recipe was very tasty and basic. As my boys both commented during dinner, mom why did you think this would be a keeper, you can do so much better than this on your own? Well, now, didn’t that make me feel good…although, I thought the recipe itself was quite good. Yes, basic but still good. And how often do you make a recipe that actually turns out to look just like the picture in the book?

IMG_0894

Wednesday: chili stuffed sweet potatoes

***I loved this so much that I needed to make it again so soon after the first time so my husband could enjoy it this time also. Last time I made it he was traveling for work and missed out.

IMG_0836

Thursday: out….tonight plans got scrapped for some unexpected events that happened which left no time for dinner preparations

Friday: red lentil pasta with ham, zucchini, spinach,and parmesan cheese sauce

IMG_0896]

IMG_0902

Have you tried red lentil pasta yet? This was our first time and I must say, it won’t be our last for sure. It tastes no different and the texture is very close to regular pasta that it was very acceptable. All of us said this is a good healthier option in pasta dishes….yeah, another win for mom!!!!

Swapping something unhealthy in your diet that you have eaten and enjoyed for years is often hard and will, without a doubt, be different BUT change is hard and sometimes has to happen. Whether for health reasons, allergies, or you are just getting on the healthier eating train, I believe you mentally have to prepare yourself for the reality of what I eat now is slowly killing me and I HAVE to change to better myself. If this mental transformation don’t happen then you will never find something you can live with in place of another product you have eaten for years and is bad for you in some way. I touch on this subject because coming up here in a few days we will hit the 1 year anniversary of eating completely artificial sweetener free in our home. Yes, at the time it was for major medical issues my husband was having. However, now those issues have all cleared up and he is feeling fabulous. We now all find ourselves reading the label and often times putting a product back on the shelf to find a healthier alternative. I guess maybe one has to be miserable enough to want to make a healthier change before it can happen long term…but for us here, only one of us was suffering with issues and instead of signaling him out we all made the change as a family unit and we all could not be happier.

 

 

Advertisements

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Another meatless option I recently tried preparing with great success is mexican quinoa stuffed peppers. Again, like most my recipes, the ingredients are easy to find or are readily available in your pantry already.

This recipe makes 8 halves…..one per person. And since everything is precooked they are great for on the go lunches since you can either bake them until warmed through or store them in a microwave safe dish to grab and heat when your ready at work, school, etc.

IMG_0912

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

1 cup quinoa

4 large sweet peppers-any color you desire

2 cups vegetable stock (you could use water if its all you have)

1-15oz.can whole kernel corn-drained

1 can black beans-drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes

1-4oz. can green chilies-drained

1 clove of garlic-finely chopped

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. paprika

First, you must cook your quinoa in the vegetable stock according to the directions. About half way through the cooking time add your chopped garlic clove to the pot to cook the remaining time.

While this is cooking, put a pot of water on to boil. Then clean and remove the seeds and ribs from your peppers.

IMG_0907

Once your pot with just water comes to a boil, toss your peppers into this for 4 minutes to blanch. You only want your peppers to soften, not cook all the way through. This is what makes microwaving them faster and easier to prepare on the go when its time to eat them.

IMG_0908

Once the four minutes is up, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process and lay them out on paper towels to dry. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl.

IMG_0910

When your quinoa is done, add this to the large bowl and mix all the ingredients together. Take this mixture and stuff your peppers with it. Place them either in one big casserole dish to heat in the oven when your ready to prepare them or place them in single portion dishes to eat when your ready.

IMG_0913

To prepare you could bake them until heated through at 350 for approx 20-30 minutes. Or you could microwave them until heated through at various time settings according to the size of your microwave.

Enjoy!

 

 

Party of 1/Party of 2….Sometimes You Never Know!

This week I was once again on my own except for the nights when our son joined me for dinner time after work. Which, for me, is tough not knowing but also not so bad depending on the day. I knew dinners would be hit or miss all week being our son had friends home for the week due to spring break….and the fact that young adults don’t plan anything too far ahead could mean I would get short notice of being a party of one or a party of two for dinner time. Yes, a fact that drives me a bit crazy but I have learned to roll with it. Add this with the fact that my husband was traveling for work for the week, meant that I got to choose when, if, and what, for that matter, I cooked each and every night.

 

IMG_9904

So here is what my week looked like:

Saturday: my own homemade spicy black bean burgers

IMG_0785

Sunday: tortellini veggie soup with bread sticks

***Although I still made this soup for me to enjoy for lunches all week long

Tonight we ended up going out for Chinese instead…my husbands request before he flew out in the morning.

Monday: Annie’s biscuits with eggs, cheese, and homemade chicken breakfast sausage

IMG_0094

Tuesday: chili stuffed sweet potato…OMG they were so good and easy

IMG_0836

Wednesday: pulled pork salad ( my remake of the salad I had in Port Washington, WI a few weeks ago) IMG_0638

Thursday: pesto chicken and quinoa with cucumbers

IMG_9934

Friday: out

I also threw together a quick mixture of artichokes, spinach, sundried tomatoes, olives, garlic, mushrooms, and chicken sprinkled with Greek seasoning for my lunches this week. So easy and quick to make, yet so tasty and filling. IMG_0832

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

We all love spicy black bean burgers here in our home but when my husband found out artificial sweeteners were the cause of all is abdominal issues we began reading labels on everything in our home. Believe it or not, a very popular brand of spicy black bean burgers we consumed on a regular basis had artificial sweetener in them. Which then made it yet one more food he could not eat. So I thought about it, read many other recipes, and did a bunch of research on how to make my own so we could all eat these as a family again. Then I finally gave it a try and made my own with success all the way around.

These burgers are basic, most ingredients many people will have right in there home pantry, and they literally take minutes to make.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

4 sweet baby peppers or 1/2 of large bell pepper

1/2 small yellow onion

1 lg clove of garlic

1-15 oz. can organic black beans, drained and rinsed

1 lg egg

3/4 cup quick cooking oats

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp sriracha sauce

dash of salt

First, seed your peppers, peel your garlic, and rough chop your onion. Toss this all into a food processor and blend until finely chopped.

IMG_0775

Next, remove this mixture and lay it on some paper towels to squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

IMG_0776

In a medium bowl, take your drained and rinsed beans and roughly smash them with a potato masher or another appropriate kitchen tool.

IMG_0778

IMG_0779

Then add the remaining ingredients along with the dried pepper mixture and mix this all together. When your finished, score the mixture evenly making four sections….each to form one burger.

IMG_0784

Form your burgers and lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet. IMG_0785

Place them in the freezer for 1.5-2 hours or until frozen firm. Next, you can either package them for later use or bake them immediately. For freezing, I wrapped mine individually and placed them in a  freezer safe container to store.

IMG_0787

IMG_0789

To prepare, I took them out of the freezer, placed them on a tin foil lined baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. I baked them from a frozen state at 450 for 15-20 minutes minutes per side.

Serving: 4 burgers per recipe

Enjoy!

 

Mom….I’ll Make Dinner Tonight!

Apparently, many of you still would like to see this weekly posting about what I prepare for our meals so I will continue writing these. However, I cannot promise they will be as exciting come summer time since I would much rather be outside than in my kitchen cooking. That being said, with the way we now eat, I will still have to be in the kitchen somewhat everyday and would be happy to share what I come up with to eat with all of you.

Anyhow,  it’s been an exciting week for us all here. So much happened on all angles of life that the week flew by. Stressful but all good at the same time. Everyone in my family is finally happier and then I got my bonus for the week when my son announced to me that he wanted to prepare dinner one evening. I was all for it. I had mentioned to him I wanted to try making my own butter chicken and he took this suggestion and ran with it. It turned out really good and surprisingly enough even my husband liked it….since he is not a big fan of this type of food.

Here is what meals were at our house this week:

Saturday: homemade salmon patties…one on toast and one in a spinach wrap, with dill yogurt sauce, and potato leek soup (meatless technically, but it was fish)

IMG_0760

Sunday: grilled chicken brats, basil dill coleslaw, and perogies

IMG_0438

Monday: butter chicken, broccoli, and bulgar with a side of grilled naan

***You may ask why not on rice as its traditionally served. We have been doing our best not to eat rice since this is a high inflammatory food that seems to be a big trigger food for me. So we have been trying other grains and bulgar is one of our favorites.

***Also, I cannot take credit for this meal since our son prepared this for us for dinner tonight. He is quite the cook when he has the time which makes his mom pretty darn proud.

IMG_0801

Tuesday: cheese tortellini with veggie marinara sauce and grilled flat bread (meatless)

Wednesday: chicken and homemade mac and cheese

IMG_0803

Thursday: pepperoni pizza quesadillas
We changed plans quickly due to some family logistics and had to celebrate a birthday dinner a week early so our son could join us. Sushi is what my hubby (the birthday boy) chose for his birthday dinner. IMG_9812

Friday: out

Food prep for the upcoming week looked a bit like this. I finally made my own spicy black bean burgers. We have yet to eat them but if they taste good I will share my recipe with you all in an upcoming post. If they are a failure, then back to the lab (my kitchen) it is to try again.

IMG_0785

I also prepared some roasted veggies, quinoa, and an asian type sauce to drizzle over this for my lunches.

IMG_0792

IMG_0793

IMG_0796

IMG_0799

And the usual pre chopped veggies and hard boiled eggs were also prepared in advance for the upcoming week.

 

A Good Mixture Of Meals

When I meal plan I try hard to mix things up and have a bit of everything during the week. If it were up to me I would probably stick to all mexican meals but it’s not just me after all. So this week I really outdid myself with bit of everything. Plus, to top this off, three were new recipes and all successful at that.

Saturday: Mexican lentil soup….a new recipe and a wonderful one at that. I think I have my husband hooked on lentils…..this I assure you is an accomplishment!!!! (meatless)

IMG_0721

Sunday: Unwrapped egg roll bowls with lime….another new recipe and another BIG winner. Truthfully, I read a few different recipes and then made my own up according to what my family likes. So I better write this one down before I forget what I did since it ended up being delicious. IMG_0723

Monday: chipotle chili with corn bread IMG_0725

Tuesday: Crock pot braised beef over fettuccine with parmesan cheese…another new recipe….it’s rare that I prepare beef…but it was amazing and a pleasant surprise.

IMG_0745

Wednesday: lentil and ground turkey nachos (This only happened thanks to my husband and son since I was feeling really rough by this time in the week. They prepared and cleaned up….I fell asleep on the couch when my kids left for the day. Apparently, what ever I woke up with Sunday morning has gotten worse.)

Thursday: bean burger wraps with fresh fruit(meatless)(I was still feeling rough, so quick and easy was the name of the game for tonights dinner)

IMG_0691

Friday: leftovers since illness was still lingering

Even though I probably did not get the full experience of tasting all my new recipes this week due to illness, I can say they were still all winners. However, if not for my boys and my trusty old crock pot I would have struggled to get dinner on the table most nights this week with the illness that had me down and out by the end of each day. So thankfully, when in need, I can turn to them to help….both to cook and to clean up.

Chimichurri (my version)

Chimichurri is apparently what most people call this decadent sauce of green goodness. I however, literally threw what I thought would taste yummy on roasted veggies one evening and hoped for the best. After doing some research after I had made mine, I noticed it already had a name and that most people use vinegar, they also add red pepper flakes, and many times they add oregano. I did not add any of these since I did not want my veggies flavored with oregano and I also used lemon in place of vinegar since that’s what I had on hand. My outcome was amazing….light, tart, and it adds a burst of freshness to every dish. So I thought I  would share it with you all today.

IMG_0499

Chimichurri (my version)

1/2 red onion-rough chopped

1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley

3 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp salt

juice of 1 lemon

olive oil….amount varies

Directions:

You literally just toss everything into a food processor and slowly add the olive oil while its running until you have the consistency you want.

IMG_0493

IMG_0494

IMG_0495

It will then keep in the refrigerator up to a week. IMG_0498

As for usages….. go crazy and use it almost anywhere. I mixed mine into tuna pasta salad, put some atop a bowl of soup, and also mixed potatoes with it and roasted them in the oven for a few minutes. All this was fabulous…..I can’t wait to try it a few more places.

IMG_0517

IMG_0508

I am thinking it would be terrific on cod, with a leafy green salad, in a summer salad of cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives….or just about anywhere. Shrimp sauteed in this sauce and laid atop a big bowl of pasta…..yeh, like I said, anywhere would be good. Oh my, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I better add these ingredients to the grocery list again since I do believe it will be a common thing I keep on hand.