Your " Work" Pantry – Healthy Snacks

Keep these on hand in a drawer or box in your office and you won’t have to resort to fast food or expensive lunch delivery on a day you don’t have time to pack a lunch.

Oatmeal
Natural peanut butter
Tuna, salmon or chicken in foil pouches
Low sodium soups
Healthy crackers
Nuts
Dried fruit – (mix with nuts protein powder and oatmeal, assuming you have a microwave to cook the oatmeal)
Protein powder
Laughing Cow cheese
Applesauce cups
Rice cakes ( top with peanut butter or Laughing Cow cheese)
Apples – they will keep for a few days.  Slice and dip in peanut butter or top with Laughing Cow cheese.
Healthy protein bars – check the labels carefully for sugars
Canned olives ( dice them up and make a tapenade to spread on crackers)  You could also mix this with the cheese and tuna.
Pita Crisps ( top with PB and sliced apple)
Mini packs of mustard and mayo
English muffins ( toast and top with PB)
Canned white beans ( rinse and mix with tuna, salmon or chicken) for a quick salad,
Can of chick peas ( you can mash them, add some olives and use for a topping on whole grain crackers)

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Sunday Dinner

Today felt like a comfort food day.  After playing around on Pinterest, I wandered over to the Pioneer Woman’s blog.  Her Pot Roast caught my eye.    Something about simmering good smells put me in the mood to make this.

The menu today:  Serves 4

Pot Roast
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Apple Pie

Here are your recipes:

Pot Roast

2.5 lb chuck roast, well marbled
1 yellow onion -remove skin and chop into 4 pieces.
12 baby carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and/ or thyme
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2- 3 C beef stock
1 C red wine

Season the roast with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a dutch oven.  When it’s very hot, sear the roast on each side – about 1-2 mins per side.  Once the meat is nice and browned, remove it from the pot.  Add the garlic, onions and carrots and just brown them. You are not cooking the veggies at this point – just browning a bit to add flavor to the juices. Add a little more olive oil if needed.
Once the veggies are browned, remove them from the pot. 

Add about 1/2 cup  of broth and deglaze the pan.  Using a whisk, scrape the pan and get all those good brown bits incorporated.  Return the meat and veggies to the pan, add the wine, herbs and  enough broth to almost cover the meat.  Add the garlic,  rosemary and thyme sprigs.   Cover and simmer for about 2.5 hours.   Alternately, if you are using an ovenproof pot, you could place the roast and veggies in the oven at 325 for the same amount of time.
The roast is done when the meat falls apart when you cut it.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes – peeled and quartered.  These are really the best for mashing – so please get the Yukons.
1/2 stick of butter – sliced 1/4″ thick
1/2 heavy cream

Peel potatoes and place in a bowl of cold water until ready to cook.  Get some boiling salted water going and cook the potatoes for about 30 minutes.  You’ll know they’re done when you can pierce them easily with a fork.  Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander.  Turn the heat on the stove down low and return the potatoes to the pan.  Mash them with a hand masher.  This will let steam escape and get rid of any excess water.  Next, add the butter and heavy cream and mash until silky smooth.  This should not take long at all and you will have creamy potatoes with no lumps πŸ™‚ And yes, this is with a hand masher.
Add more butter if you like.

Apple Pie

Ok, I’m telling you ahead of time that I cheat with frozen pie dough.  I do have a couple of tricks to make it flaky and golden…if you and pie dough are friends, feel free to make a homemade dough.  One of these days I will practice, but for now my kitchen is not equipped with a rolling pin.  Sigh

Ingredients:

2 9-inch pie crusts (one for the top crust, one for the bottom crust)
 Scant 1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 T (seperated to sprinkle on the top of the crust.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons butter – cut into 6-8 small cubes.
6 cups thinly sliced and cored apple
Healthy squirt of lemon juice
1 egg, beaten ( you could also use 1/4 C egg beaters, which I did since I had no eggs on hand)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel, core and slice the apples.  Drop them into a bowl of cold water and add the lemon juice to prevent browning while you are working.
Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch, and salt. Drain the apples and add to the dry mixture.  Toss until the apples are evenly coated.  Place apple mixture into the crust and dot with the cubed butter. Cover with top crust, and make 2-3 slits to let steam escape. Seal the top crust to the bottom by pinching the edges together.

Using a pastry brush, coat the top crust with the beaten egg.  Use a paper towel to soak up any egg that pools on the crust. Sprinkle the sugar on top.
Cover edge of the crust with a strips of aluminum foil – don’t skip this step or you will end up with burnt edges… Bake 40-50 minutes, until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through top.

Tricks:  The butter cubes will help make the crust flaky and the egg wash and sugar will reward you with a nice golden crust.  Looks and tastes homemade πŸ™‚

Serving

Slice the roast to your preference.  Heap some mashed potatoes on a plate and top with the beef and veggies.  Ladle some of the wonderful juice on top and enjoy.

This Week’s Clean Eating Meal Plan

Most times I’m organized enough on the weekends to pull this off.  I browse for recipes and meal plans, then hit the grocery store.  I do my cooking on Sunday for the entire week.    I do repeat a lot of the meals.  Since I’m a single, I have a lot of waste if there is too much variety.  Leftovers need to get used up. This meal plan is for 5 days worth of meals, since I eat most of my meals at work.  Mix and match here.  3 meals and 2 snacks each day.  Once all the prep is done, I usually pack my meals the night before.

I try to follow this advice: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.  In otherr words, larger meals earlier in the day, and a light, low carb meal for dinner.

Here is what I will be cooking/prepping today:

Black bean soup
Cauliflower and broccoli au gratin – healthy version πŸ™‚
Rosemary Walnut chicken fingers( recipe to come)
Raw veggies get prepped and placed in individual serving baggies. Just grab and go.

Other notes:  For the turkey salad, I went to the deli counter and ordered a 1/2 inch slice of good quality roasted turkey breast -this will be easy to dice for the salad.

I cook the egg beater breakfast at work using a paper plate and the microwave.  Pour desired amount of egg mixture in the plate, add the cheese, spinach and halved grapr tomatoes and cook for 45 seconds, or more if needed.   Really simple and tastes great!

MON
TUES
WEDS
THURS
FRI
Egg beaters with spinach, shredded cheddar and halved grape tomatoes.  Slice toasted Ezekiel bread with natural peanut butter, slice of cantaloupe.
Apple Cheddar Frittata,   oatmeal with berries, walnuts and honey
Egg beaters with spinach, shredded cheddar and halved grape tomatoes.  Slice toasted Ezekiel bread with natural peanut butter, slice of cantaloupe.
Apple Cheddar Frittata,   oatmeal with berries, walnuts and honey
Egg beaters with spinach, shredded cheddar and halved grape tomatoes.  Slice toasted Ezekiel bread with natural peanut butter, slice of cantaloupe.
Fat free Greek yogurt mixed with berries and walnuts, and drizzled with honey
Grapes with whole grain crackers and 1 oz good swiss cheese
Sliced apple with slice of cheddar cheese and whole grain crackers
Fat free Greek yogurt mixed with berries and walnuts, and drizzled with honey
Hardboiled egg  and broccoli florets dipped in hummus
Turkey and swiss sandwich ( Ezekiel Bread) layered with lettuce and tomato, Dijon mustard.  Baby carrots with hummus
Rosemary Walnut Chicken tenders, serving of cauliflower and broccoli cheese casserole.  Side spinach salad
Turkey and swiss sandwich ( Ezekiel Bread) layered with lettuce and tomato, Dijon mustard.  Baby carrots with hummus
Rosemary Walnut Chicken tenders, serving of cauliflower and broccoli cheese casserole.  Side spinach salad
BLT with nitrate free turkey bacon
Grapes with whole grain crackers and 1 oz good swiss cheese
Hardboiled egg  and broccoli florets dipped in hummus
Grapes with whole grain crackers and 1 oz good swiss cheese
Hardboiled egg  and broccoli florets dipped in hummus
Raw veggies with Dijon hummus
Salad with diced turkey breast,  sliced hard boiled egg,diced carrots, halved grape tomatoes, sprinkled with walnuts.  Fat free ranch dressing
Black bean soup, whole grain crackers spread with hummus
Salad with diced turkey breast,  sliced hard boiled egg,diced carrots, halved grape tomatoes, sprinkled with walnuts.  Fat free ranch dressing
Black bean soup, whole grain crackers spread with hummus
Tomato and cheddar sandwich with spinach, Dijon mustard.  Veggies and hummus.

Apple Cheddar Frittata

Great brunch idea – serve this with some chicken sausages and a green salad.  Soooo easy.
BTW – my photos don’t so this justice – I’m just using a simple digital camera with zero photography skills.  I’m sure I won’t be on FoodGawker or Tastespotting anytime soon  lol.  But, I thought it was important for readers to have an idea of how this comes together.

I made this in a small saute pan, so I was able to flip it instead of putting the pan in the broiler.  If you’re not crazy about doing the flip thing, or are using a larger pan , place the pan in the broiler in the middle rack ( after the bottom browns) for about 10-15 mins until the top browns.

Ingredients:
Serves 1-2
3 eggs
1 T heavy cream
1/2 shredded cheddar cheese (gruyere would be nice too)
1/2 thinly slice gala apple – peeled or unpeeled – your choice
1 pat of butter
P.S. – double the recipe and use a larger pan if you want more servings.
Place butter in 7 inch non stick saute pan and add apples.  Saute apples until soft.  ( you can skip this step if you are using the broiler). The apples will soften with the additional cooking in the broiler.
Whisk eggs with cream.

Remove apples from pan.  Add eggs and cheese to pan, top with the apple slices arranged in a circular pattern.

Cook on medium heat, pushing the edges with a rubber spatula so the uncooked parts run to the edges.
Push gently  only on the edges, so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.  After a few minutes, gently use the spatula to lift the frittata to check for browning on the bottom.  Once the bottom is browned, carefully lift the frittata with a wide spatula and flip it over to brown the other side.  At this point, you can elect to skip the flipping and place the pan in the broiler to brown the top.  Mine got a bit messy when I flipped it, but that’s ok.  Once I plated it, it was fine.

Once both sides are browned, platter this puppy and you have yourself a delicious Apple Cheddar Frittata!

Herbed Baked Eggs – thank you Ina Garten!

Ina is one of my favorite cooks.  Her dishes are simple, delicious and fabulous. This recipe is no exception.  Less than 15 minutes from start to finish. 

These will be the best damned eggs you have ever had!  I used fresh herbs from my herb garden – this dish is really best with the freshest ingredients you can find.  If you are lucky enough to have farm fresh eggs and organic cream – even better.  If not, store bought works perfectly fine as you can see with my ingredients.  You can change up the herbs if you like. 
If you’re like me and you don’t use a lot of cream, buy a small carton.  Use the leftover to add to soups or  add a bit to eggs and whisk together for rich, fluffy scrambled eggs.  Or, buy a larger carton and make your own butter πŸ™‚

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan  – please use the good stuff – it makes all the difference!
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Good country bread for dipping in the yolks
Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, herbs and parmesan and set aside. Crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls without breaking the yolks.  You will be sliding the eggs from the bowls into your baking dishes in a bit. Do not put the eggs into your baking dish yet – you will need to broil the cream and butter in it before you add your eggs.

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle  with salt and pepper to taste.

Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked.  The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to rest for a minute or so.  Toss some lightly buttered bread in the oven while you wait for the eggs to cool a bit – they will be piping hot!.
Cook a little longer if you like your yolks hard. I prefer mine runny so I can soak them up with the good bread.

Boca Raton Green Market

My first trip to the Green Market this year.  In Florida, the markets don’t open until October.  Got myself a pretty nice haul on Satuday:

I think my favorite was the fresh eggs -first time I’ve seen them at the market. Love the whole farm to table concept – still bits of grass and dirt on them ( and maybe chicken poop?? ) lol.  I did some research and found out you are not supposed to wash them.  They are protected with a “bloom” that keeps bacteria out.  Just crack them open when ready to use, being careful not to get any bits of the shell in your dish.

I scrambled 2 this morning – delicious.  I had some heavy cream on hand, so I added about 2 T of that to my eggs and scrambled them.  Bright yellow and fluffy.

As for the rest of the haul, here’s what the plans are:

Acorn squash with wild rice stuffing
Roasted the carrots with some other veggies to make vegetable stock, used in Italian Wedding Soup and Vegetable soup.
Asparagus – chopped a few stalks and added to my veggie soup.  I’ll roast the rest and top with parmesan cheese. I’ll save a few spears for my tomato/mozzarella stack.
Apples – diced a half and used in the wild rice stuffing.  The other half will be sliced and used for my Apple Cheddar Frittata.  The other one will be a snack.
Oranges – those will go to work with me as part of my lunch.
Romaine and cuke – salad -what else πŸ™‚
Mozzarella cheese – I’ll make tomato, cheese and asparagus stacks – then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The cheese guy also makes butter from the mozzarella whey – it looked delicious.  A larg tub was $3.  I passed because it was too much butter for me. Although he did say I could freeze it.  I ended up getting some heavy cream and making my own butter in a smaller portion.

More posts to come – I’ll add the recipes for the dishes I mentioned in this post.

Corn and Tomato Salad

It doesn’t get any easier than this  πŸ™‚  This is really best if you can get the corn and tomatoes from a local farmers market.  If not, store bought will be delicious as well.

4 cups frozen corn ( use 6 ears fresh sweet corn shaved from the cob if in season)
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice ( adjust to your taste)
ssea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mix well and refrigerate for 1/2 – 2 hours so the flavors marinate.

Before serving, top with fresh julienned basil or chopped cilantro

You could also add black beans and diced avocado.

.

Chitpotle Chicken Tortilla Soup

Adapted from Cooking Light and Eat Yourself Skinny

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups chicken broth ( I make my own) or use Kitchen Basics low sodium broth
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes ( I used some diced plum tomatoes instead)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 (6-inch) tortillas, cut into strips
Cooking spray – I like PAM olive oil spray πŸ™‚

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add minced garlic and shredded chicken; saute for about 2 minutes.  Add chipotle chile powder and cumin; stir well.  Add water, salt, chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place tortilla strips on a baking sheet.  Spray strips with cooking spray and sprinkle with a touch of chipotle chile powder or chipotle seasoning blend.  Bake at 350 for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Top soup with baked tortilla strips, cilantro and a lime wedge.

Romaine, Mandarin Orange and Feta Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Poppy seed dressing recipe – from Betty Crocker:

3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons poppy seed

* 1 In small bowl, mix all ingredients with wire whisk. Store covered in refrigerator.

Pour over mandarin oranges, feta cheese and romaine lettuce – thank you for the suggestion Cathy Velte!

 

 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar add flavor to this yummy side dish.

 

3 large sweet potatoes

1/4 stick butter

1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 fresh ground nutmeg

3 T brown sugar

Directions:

Pierce potatoes andΒ  cook in microwave for 15 mins.Β  Remove and and let stand until cool enough to handle.Β  In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat and add the spices and brown sugar.Β  Add the pototoes to a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher.Β  A few lumps are fine.Β  Stir in the butter and spice mixture.

Top with toasted walnut bits if desired.