Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Risotto Style Barley

I bought a huge bag of barley from an Asian food market last week. I went to make it and all the directions were in Japanese! So I searched on the Internet a little and found out how to cook the stuff. Barley is high in Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin and Folate. One cup cooked is about 190 calories and 10 grams of protein. I can eat about a half a cup with dinner. *Note 1 cup dry makes 3 cups cooked*

  • 1 cup regular barley (not pearl barley) drained with cold water

  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup white wine (you can leave this out, but it makes the flavor awesome)

  • 1 Tablespoon dehydrated onion flakes

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup frozen vegetable of your choice (I used frozen peas, but this would be really good with cup up mushrooms, asparagus, or peppers.

Add first 5 ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. After you get a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium-low heat, and cover with a lid, stirring occasionally for 30-35 minutes. The barley will be done when all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add in parm cheese and frozen vegetables. The heat from the barley will melt the cheese and heat up the vegetables. This is so yummy and tastes like a fancy risotto at a nice restaurant.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Italian Roasted Red Pepper Broccoli

I love roasting vegetables. It brings out a nice toasty flavor. This recipe is so simple, cheesey and a little spicy.

  • 1 head of broccoli

  • 2-3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • salt and pepper to coat

Preheat oven to 375. Cut up the broccoli into little florets. Pour olive oil over broccoli, then sprinkle cheese, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Toss all together with tongs. Roast on 375 for 15 minutes. This is delicious!

Italian Meatloaf (very moist)

If you are looking for a delicious, moist, flavorful meat loaf, you have found it. It is so easy. So good for leftovers too.
  • 1lb ground turkey or lean ground beef (I used turkey)

  • 1/2 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 egg

  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (or ketchup)

  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder

  • 2 Tablespoons each fresh basil, parsley and oregano. (Or 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings)

  • 1 slice of wheat or whole grain bread soaked for 5 minutes in water or skim milk, broken up (I used water)

  • Ketchup for the top of the meatloaf

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all the ingredients together except the ketchup for the topping. Put in loaf pan or place on a baking sheet shaped into a loaf shape and brush a few tablespoons of ketchup on top. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sausage, Peppers and Sweet Onions

I like to experiment with the different ways to make this dish. I make a really good version with mango's, but I couldn't find good ones at the store. This is a great dish with minimal preparation.

  • 1lb chicken sausage, cut into half inch pieces (I used al fresco garlic chicken sausage, but I usually use trader joes mango chicken sausages.)

  • 2 peppers, one red or orange, sliced thin

  • 1 large vadalia onion, sliced thin

  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • salt and pepper

  • cooking spray

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and brown. Add in peppers and onions, salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down heat and add in basil, parsley and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes. Then add in tomato sauce and stir til heated through. Serve with wheat pasta or brown rice, or by itself!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chinese "Lo Mein" with Chicken Meat Balls

If you're like me, you used to eat Chinese food a lot. But it's expensive, greasy and NOT good for us. This recipe was adapted from a recipe I saw on Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals, but it looked like it could be made into a bariatric meal, no problem. Do not be intimidated by the ingredient list. This whole thing only cost me 10 dollars for all the ingredients. I had about half of them at home. This is easy to make, and very good.
  • 1lb whole wheat spaghetti (This time I used America's Choice Plus spaghetti. It had more protein, fiber and less calories than the wheat. This is a knock off version of the barilla plus, but I'm cheap.)

  • 1 lb ground chicken, turkey or pork (I used chicken)

  • 1 egg

  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs (I found these in the Chinese food aisle, 1.19 a box)

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice, plus a pinch to put in the spaghetti (also found in the Chinese food aisle, it was 2.19 for a jar, pretty cheap)

  • 8 green onions, 2 finely chopped for the meat balls, the rest chopped regular for stir fry. (these are in season right now, I got a bunch for 50 cents)

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce for meat balls, plus 1/2 a cup for stir fry

  • 1 box frozen sugar snap peas

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, cut in thin strips

  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder

  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped garlic

  • 1 large bag spinach, remove the big stems, and rip apart coarsely

  • 2 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil

  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds

  • salt and pepper

  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375. Boil a pot of water and add spaghetti and a little salt to the water. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Place chicken, turkey or pork in a mixing bowl. Add the egg to the bowl. Add panko bread crumbs, a pinch of salt and pepper, five-spice powder, 2 chopped scallions and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Mix the meat balls thoroughly. Form 1 1/2-inch balls and spray balls with cooking spray, scatter onto a baking sheet and roast 15-20 minutes.

When the meatballs are close to done and the pasta is in, heat a large skillet over high heat with enough cooking spray to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the sugar snap peas, red pepper, remaining cut scallions, ginger powder, a pinch more 5 spice and garlic, stir-fry 2 minutes add spinach and wilt, 1 minute. Add the remaining soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and the sesame oil. Drain pasta, add in pasta cooking water, and pasta and toss to combine so pasta can soak up sauce, about 1 minute. Garnish with sesame seeds and top with lots of meatballs.

This is really good, and it's actually simple, even though it sounds like a lot of steps! Try it out! Warning this makes a TON!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Holy Moly Unfried Chicken Thighs

I was craving some crunch for dinner. Yesterday I bought 5lbs of chicken thighs for 3 dollars (whoo hoo). Usually I would do something with the crock pot, but these thighs had the bones and skins on it. And I do not feel like deboning. So I remember my mom used to make a corn flake chicken breast, she also used to make very fattening ranch chicken breasts. I decided to combine the two and lower the fat content. These thighs are crispy and awesome. For those who have problems with chicken, especially baked chicken, seriously try these. They are soo moist, I had absolutely no problems!

  • 6 chicken thighs, with bone in, skin removed

  • 1/2 cup flour (I used wheat, you can use what you have)

  • 2 table spoons chili powder

  • 3/4 cup FF or LF ranch dressing (I used low fat)

  • 3/4 a cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

  • 1/2 cup crushed corn flakes

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • foiled lined baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 375. Remove the skin from your chicken thighs. You will need 3 bowls or dishes. In the first bowl add and mix the flour and chili powder. Dredge the chicken in the flour and chili powder mixture. Then dip the chicken in the ranch dressing. Add together the bread crumbs, corn flakes, parm cheese and garlic powder. Dip each chicken in bread crumb mixture. Place chicken on baking sheet. Cook for 40-45 minutes. These are soo good and crispy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Best Shrimp Tacos You Will Ever Eat...Ever

I made these tacos last week, my husband is still talking about them. They are ceviche style which means they are very acidic (limes) and are served cold. Yum!

  • 3 limes (the zest and juice from all three)

  • 1 cup tomato, seeded and chopped

  • 1 cup avocado, diced and peeled

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped very fine (my own addition)

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped very fine (another addition that I added)

  • shredded cheddar

  • 4-6 low carb corn tortillas, or wheat (smaller tortillas work best for this)

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. In a bowl add peeled shrimp, chili and cumin powder. Mix well. Add to skillet and cook through. Then in a bowl add all the additional ingredients, except tortillas and cheese. Cover and chill in fridge. When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350, lay out tortillas on baking sheet add some cheese and bake for 4-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Assemble and enjoy.

For the topping, buy some prepackaged cole slaw, add 2-3 teaspoons lime and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.