Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

I Feel like Laura Ingalls

My Pinterest addiction is in high gear and I am finding all sorts of recipes, workouts, and cleaning tips.  I’m so busy pinning that I really don’t have time to cook, exercise, and clean!

Seriously, I have found lots of good stuff on Pinterest and decided to try making homemade laundry soap.  In the words of my daughter, “Now why the hell make your own detergent when you can just pour it out of a bottle?”  Good question.  I’m not really sure why.  Perhaps because I am tired of buying soap and tossing the plastic containers.  I already add Borax to the stinky loads so why not just use it as part of the soap?  It also makes me feel very Laura Ingalls.

And–it costs about 6 cents per load, the usage is 1 tablespoon per load so this will last me for YEARS!!  I have a top loader, if you have a front loader and use HE soap, this will save you even more as HE detergent is more expensive.

The original post explains it perfectly so go here: http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-soap/ to check it out.

Here are my notes after making it.

-I was able to find all 3 ingredients at Festival Foods but I would guess these are available at pretty much any store that has cleaning supplies.

-I used Ivory soap because I wash a lot of athletic wear and I read the Fels Naptha is rough on polyesters. A Fels Naptha mix would be a few pennies less and probably better if  you have really dirty laundry.  Mine is mostly just sweaty laundry, not many stains or dirt.

-Instead of grating the Ivory soap, I used the microwave suggestion and it is SO cool!  Unwrap the bar, put it on a plate in the microwave, I hit 2 minutes but it didn’t take long at all before it turned into a “cloud.” I pulled it out when it was huge, let it cool a bit and it just flaked in my hands.  I kept putting the non-cloud portion back in the microwave until it was all flaked.  This is almost too much fun!

Ivory Soap after a minute in the microwave!

This batch was made  with 1 bar of soap and 1 cup each of the other ingredients.  It filled a 1 lb. deli tub with a little left over.  If I only use 1 tablespoon per wash load this is going to last forever.  From start to finish this took 10 minutes to make and there is absolutely no mess.  And…my hands are super clean from flaking that bar of soap.

I haven’t had a chance to use it but I am also going to add vinegar to the softener dispenser instead of liquid softener and see what happens.  Another suggestion is to throw some balled up tinfoil in the dryer to eliminate static.  I’ll report back after trying this.  If it works I will be very happy to eliminate lots of chemicals from the detergent and softener.  (and save money, too!) More info on that: http://www.ehow.com/how_12167905_natural-ways-eliminate-static-build-up-dryer.html

 

I’m not quite this much of a pioneer woman. yet…

I will not be churning my own butter any time soon, mostly because I don’t eat butter, but I might try making my own toothpaste!

 

 

 

 

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Greek Yogurt Pancakes

This plus flour and egg=pancakes. For real.

 

This ranks right up there as on of the oddest recipes I have tried.  The great thing about Pinterest is that I can find so many good-looking recipes and read the comments before actually trying them. Back in the old days, we had to assume the finished product would be as easy and beautiful as what was pictured.  Through the internet we can hear from real people and learn from their mistakes!  This recipe had lots of positive comments and very little tweaking to the original so I gave it a shot.

I love pancakes but they are loaded with carbs (which I am not totally against) and calories so I have always been looking for an alternative.  I also dislike Greek yogurt (oh, stop looking shocked) but bought some when it was on sale.  Why?  I don’t know.  Perhaps I thought I would wake up one day and decide I liked it.  Imagine my delight when I saw a way to make healthier pancakes AND use up the Greek yogurt.

The recipe sounds bizarre and there is no way it should work, but it does.  Here is the link to the original post:

http://www.everydaybelle.com/2011/06/greek-yogurt-pancakes/

My comments are in parentheses.

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 6 oz of your favorite Greek yogurt ( I used Chobani 0% vanilla/honey for the first batch, black cherry for the second batch )
  • 1 egg
  • scant 1/2 cup flour (I used white, might try whole grain next time)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • (I added a splash of vanilla but it’s optional)

Directions

  • Open the yogurt container and stir the yogurt until it’s smooth and creamy.  Crack an egg over the yogurt and stir to combine.   The resulting mixture should be pale yellow in color and have a few lumps here and there.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda.
  • Pour yogurt/egg mixture into the bowl with the flour and baking soda.  Stir to combine.  The batter will be extremely thick.
  • Spoon the batter onto a sprayed griddle or pan heated to medium-high. I usually make four big pancakes, but you could also make 8 smaller ones. (I made 4 big pancakes)
  • Flip the pancakes when they start to bubble a bit on the surface. (I had trouble flipping so these weren’t pretty but they tasted good)   Cook until golden brown (mine were more dark brown) on both sides and serve with butter, syrup, fruit, Nutella….anything! Enjoy!

Seriously, that is the whole recipe.  I actually had everything on hand and it took all of 2 minutes to throw together.  The batter is pretty thick and not as easy to work with as regular batter but my second batch turned out better once I knew what to expect.  We topped it with sugar-free syrup.  Nutella is mentioned in the original recipe but take a look at the ingredient list.  You might as well melt a candy bar, most have more nutrition that Nutella.

So- is this crazy pancake healthier than the original?  You bet!

Each pancake:

Calories= 76

Fat=1.3 g

Cholesterol= 46 mg (you could lower this by using just egg whites but I like the whole egg)

Sodium=36 mg (awesome!)

Fiber- .2 g (whole grain flour or some flax seeds would increase this)

Sugar=3.3 g (watch it with the syrup to keep this sugar nice and low)

Protein=6.4 g (hurray for Greek yogurt!)

While recipes may vary, a standard buttermilk pancake has 175 calories, 7.2 g of fat a whopping 402 mg of sodium.

As you can see, the Greek pancake is WAY healthier and it also tastes great.

Try them and let me know what you think.  With this recipe you can even have some bacon on the side and not feel guilty.

This picture is from the original blog. My pancakes were flatter and darker but still really, really good. I also don’t put butter on my pancakes to save some saturated fat and calories for the bacon.

 

 

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A Little Something after Dinner

I always need just “a little something sweet” after dinner.  This can really add up if that little something is chocolate or some other sort of candy.  I try not to keep to many sweets in the house but if I don’t have anything I start climbing the walls!

Thanks to Pinterest, I found a great new dessert, the apple sandwich.

Slice an apple horizontally, cut out the center.  Spread with peanut butter, press some chocolate chips into it and top with another apple slice.  You could put a bit of granola on it as well but that’s just extra calories.  1 apple made a sandwich for both of us and we both enjoyed it.  This might become an every night snack.

 

Calories- each serving

1/2 apple= about 45

Jif peanut butter, about 1/2 tbl=45

Chocolate chips (I used 10!) =about 30

This is approx. 120 calories, plus fiber and vitamin C from the apple.  Yummy and filling!

 

 

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This Chicken Burger Gets a WOW+

I bought a big package of ground chicken and drew a blank on what to make with it. Randy is not a huge fan of ground chicken or turkey, he doesn’t complain, he just doesn’t get very excited about it.  I knew I had to make something that would have the WOW factor and I found it on Pinterest.  How much do I love Pinterest?  It is my new favorite source of information and a really awesome way to waste time.  I found this one by searching ground chicken which directed me to The Cookbook Junkie.  She borrowed this recipe from Rachael Ray.  See http://cookbookjunkie.blogspot.com/2009/08/does-she-have-fan-club.html for the original post and a printable version.

I had most of the ingredients on hand and Randy likes burgers so I decided to give it a shot.  I did make some changes to the original and there are a few notes below.

Cacciatore Burgers Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats Copyright 2005


Extra-virgin olive oil

1- 1/3 lbs ground chicken or ground turkey breast (I used 1 pound of ground chicken breast)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced. (I used roughly a tablespoon of the pre-cut kind)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 medium yellow onion (1/4 finely chopped, 3/4 thinly sliced) I used red onion as that’s what I had

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

10 fresh basil leaves, shredded (don’t skip this)

Parmigiano-reggiano cheese (I used a shredded 6 cheese Italian blend)

2  sliced Portobello mushroom caps, I used 6 sliced baby bellas

2 cubanelle peppers, seeded and sliced. I bought Anaheim peppers.  MUCH hotter than I expected, I only used a small bit

2 hot cherry peppers, chopped (I omitted this)

4 slices provolone cheese, deli sliced

4 crusty rolls

Optional: Dickinson’s Sweet and Hot Pepper and Onion Relish

To Make:

Drizzle some olive oil in a bowl; add to it the chicken, Worcestershire sauce, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped onions, parsley, basil, Parmigiano (a generous palmful), salt, and pepper to taste. Combine mixture.

Preheat skillet, add drizzle of olive oil
Form  into 4 large patties; place patties on hot skillet; cook 6 minutes, then flip burgers and cook 5 minutes on the other side. (they were perfectly done following this exactly wth a nice brown sear on the outside)
Heat a second skillet over med-high heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil; add in the mushroom caps, sliced onions and cubanelle peppers (if  used)
Season with salt and pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
Turn the heat off; add in the hot cherry peppers and a splash of their juice.( I omitted)  Place the provolone over the burgers and turn off the heat in the pan; tent the pan with foil to melt the cheese and carry-over heat. (or just use the lid!)
The original recipe called for toasting the rolls with garlic butter, I brushed them with the Hot and Sweet Relish and put them under the broiler.
Toast the crusty rolls until golden. Watch it, they will burn quickly! The relish added a slightly sweet element that was really good.
Place the cheese-covered patties on the bottoms of the buns; top with the peppers and onions; replace the top halves of the buns.

The presentation on this burger was amazing, it looks like a lot of work but by prepping everything ahead of time I was able to throw it together pretty quickly.

A few thoughts:

We like spicy food and peppers, usually the hotter the better for Randy.  However, he took a big bite of the Anaheim pepper as I was slicing it and his mouth was on fire.  I decided to add just a tiny bit of finely chopped pepper.  Combined with the red pepper flakes and the relish on the bun made this hot but not too hot.  I’m glad I eliminated the hot cherry peppers, use your discretion for your taste.

Ground chicken breast is a great low-fat lean protein, typically better than ground turkey (unless you buy turkey breast).  It is always on sale, I was excited to see that the Cookbook Junkie has loads of recipes for it.  The rest of the ingredients are all low-calorie and full of nutrients with the exception of the bun and the relish.  These burgers just scream out for a big ol’bun, I did use whole grain but it was still a big bun.

I made a lettuce salad as a side dish but the burger alone would have been plenty.  I ate one and was full. Randy loved it so much he had to eat a second one right away.  We will fight over the last one for lunch tomorrow!

This is not my picture but mine was very similar without the peppers.

You won’t need the fries, this is a filling burger!

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Quick Sunday Lunch

This is a great way to use leftover chicken without having to cook.  I didn’t use a recipe and didn’t measure anything so the quantity of each item is “some” or “to taste”

Chicken Salad

Leftover boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks

Grapes, red or green,  cut in half

Celery, chopped

Onion, chopped or minced

Walnut halves or pieces

Miracle Whip Light

Curry powder

Black pepper

Garlic powder

Mix it all up and you’re done!   It can be eaten right away but refrigerating for an hour or so will blend the flavors.  I think it will be even better tomorrow.

I thought about adding pineapple but glad I kept that on the side.  Chopped water chestnuts or apples might get tossed in next time.

This could be served on lettuce as a salad, I put it in whole wheat pitas.   There was no lettuce in the frig (very unusual) or that would have been stuffed that in the pita as well.

I don’t have nutritional info on this but everything is healthy.  Yes, even Miracle Whip in moderation is not horrible! Miracle Whip Light gets a Nu Val score of 11, regular is a 4. There is only 37 calories in a tablespoon, I probably used 1/4 cup for the entire recipe.  This made 4 stuffed pita halves with at least that much more leftover.

Served with a side of pineapple, watermelon, and grapes.

 

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Chilaquiles Casserole

I have written about Chilaquiles (chee-la-KEE-lays) before as it is one of my favorite Mexican foods so I was excited to see this recipe on WebMD and made it last night.  Couple things- it is really tasty and you will never miss the meat.  But- it is not really Chilaquiles, I would say it is more like a Mexican lasagna.  No matter what you call it, call it both delicious and healthy!  I changed the recipe somewhat and used Nu Val scores to make this even more nutritious.  For those who don’t know- Nu Val is a scoring system in which products are labeled from 1 (least nutritious) to 100 (most nutritious).  There are a couple of items in this recipe that could either be really bad or really good and you wouldn’t know unless you studied the labels – or- just use Nu Val and take out the guesswork! The Nu Val scores are in parentheses behind the item, see below for more in-depth info.

Chilaquiles Casserole

Servings: 10

Total Time: 45

Prep Time: 20

Recipe Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil (24)

1 medium onion, diced (93)

1 medium zucchini, grated (99)

1 19-ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed (91)

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (42)

1 1/2 cups corn, frozen or fresh (91)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

12 corn tortillas, quartered (91)

1 19-ounce can mild red or green enchilada sauce (25)

1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese ( I used a Mexican blend,  same Nu Val score and cheaper!) (24)

I also added chopped garlic and chopped cilantro with the vegetables and hit it with some chili powder as well.

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more

This is a quick and easy recipe and it makes a lot so the two of us will be eating this for a few days.  It actually tastes better as leftovers!

The only part of the nutritional info I feel comfortable about using is calories, which are approx. 240 in a serving.  I made some changes to to the original recipe that would change the info given on WebMD, my version will have less sodium, fat, and more fiber.  Overall, this is a darn healthy meal.

Let’s look at some choices you can make to eat healthier.

Black Beans are always a good choice.  High in fiber, low in calories.  But, once they are canned they can be quite high in sodium.  Let’s compare:

Regular canned black beans have a decent score of 55 but contain 400 mg of sodium.  Switching to no salt added raises the score to an awesome 91 and only 10 mg of sodium.  Look for reduced or no salt in everything you buy.  Your heart will thank you.

Tortillas were a real eye opener.  I prefer flour tortillas but corn tortillas score consistently higher.  I was so excited to find white corn tortillas with a score of 91!!!  The flour tortillas next to them on the shelf score a 2, which means a Snickers bar has more nutrition! This category has some extreme highs and extreme lows so shop smart. Also, the white corn tortillas are very similar to flour.  You really won’t notice a difference.

Wow- that is a HUGE difference in nutritional value!!

I had a big dilemma with the enchilada sauce because I prefer red and it seemed like it would work better with this recipe.  Nu Val was telling me that green was the wise choice but I went against it and bought red anyway.  The biggest difference I could see was that red has 1 g of saturated fat which would drive the score down.  It also has about 40 more calories per serving.

The scores are on the shelf tag. 50 for green, 25 for red. This is the only area that I did not go up in score.

This recipe called for diced tomatoes.  Do you know how many varieties of diced tomatoes are available?  A LOT!  I chose the kind with green chiles just to give a little more heat but you can use whatever you like.  Scores are pretty much the same except for low sodium which scores an 81.  You could also use plain tomato sauce (go for the low-sodium).

One of many varieties of canned tomatoes, choose what you like but low-sodium is best.

I also had some non-fat Greek yogurt on hand so I dolloped a bit on top.  I don’t like Greek yogurt by itself, but I like it as sour cream.  And, with a Nu Val core of 93, it is much healthier than sour cream (23).

If you don’t have Nu Val available where you shop and want to make better choices, compare the labels.  I compare saturated/trans fat, sodium and sugar and choose the lowest.  Look at fiber and choose the highest.  That’s really simplified but it will get you on the right track.

Enjoy the Chilaquiles!

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Hard Body- Soft Skin

We’re all working out to get toned, strong, hard bodies but no one wants their skin described as hard.  Or rough.  Or compared to a crocodile.  Sometimes a good ol’ exfoliation is what we need get rid of the dead skin and feel smooth as a baby’s butt.  Need more reasons?

90% of the dust in your home is dead skin cells.  And no, I didn’t make a typo.  So, now that you’re a tad bit unsettled, let’s talk about why it’s good for your skin.

We all want smooth soft skin, especially in the summer when we reveal more skin. Your body is covered in a layer of dead skin cells.  The lotion that you put on your skin has to work its way through layers of dead skin cells just to reach the top layer.  No matter how much body lotion you put on the dead skin cells, they still remain dead skin cells.  If you want healthy smooth skin, you must slough them off.  No better way that in the shower or bath with a body exfoliator. Yes- men have plenty of dead skin and contribute to the dust in the house so they need to scrub, too!

Exfoliants range in price but it seems like the good ones start at $15 and go up from there.  Really?  Sometimes I am just cheap and this is one of those times, there has to be a less expensive way to scrub dead skin off your body.

I love Google…a couple of clicks and I found LOADS of recipes for homemade exfoliants.  Some contained ingredients that would take some effort to find.  I chose one that had just 3 ingredients and I happened to have all three in the kitchen.

Easy Scrub

1/2 cup white sugar

3 tbl. olive oil

lemon juice

Mix the sugar and olive oil until mostly moistened, then add lemon juice until you get the desired consistency.  You don’t want it runny so be careful.   That’s all you do- your homemade exfoliator is done!

Shower with soap (or whatever you use), then exfoliate.  I like to turn off the shower so the exfoliant doesn’t wash off right away.  Use your fingers to rub it all over your body, being gentle on your face, neck and chest but really hitting those elbows, toes, and knees.  Turn on the shower and wash it all away!  Shave your legs (or whatever you shave) after doing this for the closest shave ever. My skin is not really rough, but it felt like silk after doing this!  Towel off and moisturize and you are good to go!  Experts recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week, less often if you have sensitive skin.

What’s the cost?  Sugar approx. 23 cents, oil approx. 64 cents, lemon juice about 5 cents giving it a grand total of 92 cents.  Let’s call it a dollar if you use name brand products.  I used the whole container just because I was enjoying it, but you really could get 2 applications from this recipe.  Cheap and easy- it doesn’t get any better than that.  Like I said, there are loads of recipes that incorporate different oils and fragrances that you can try, but sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice did the trick for me!  Let me know if you come up with something that you like.

 

I support the store brand! This is all you need to get baby soft skin.

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Another Winning Recipe!

I have been testing new recipes all week and am quite surprised at how well they turned out.  I’m mostly surprised because almost all have been meatless, low calorie, high fiber, low sodium, and very few processed ingredients. AND–they taste awesome!  I have been a lifelong vegetable avoider and have finally decided to embrace the produce department.

I found the basic recipe on allrecipes.com and added my own twist.  Yes, I am taking recipes, adding a twist- and it works!

Stuffed Green Peppers- Greek Style

  •                     1/2 cup uncooked brown rice*
  •                      1 cup vegetable broth
  •                     2 green (or whatever color you want) bell peppers, halved and seeded (cut vertically, not just taking the top off)
  •                     1 tablespoon olive oil
  •                     1 small onion, minced
  •                      1 tbl. minced garlic
  •                     1 teaspoon dried basil
  •                     1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  •                     1 teaspoon salt
  •                     1 pinch ground black pepper
  •                     1 tomato, diced
  •                      1/2 cup sliced black olives
  •                     1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
 Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400.  Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray or wipe with a bit of olive oil
-Prepare brown rice per recipe below.  Brown Rice can be difficult but it is worth it.  If you don’t have time, white rice will work, prepare according to directions on the box.
1.    Place the peppers cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender and skin starts to brown.
2.    While the peppers are roasting, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onions, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper in oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato and black olives,  cook for 5 minutes. Spoon in the cooked rice, and stir until heated through. Remove from heat, mix in the feta cheese, and spoon the mixture into the pepper halves.
 3. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Top with a bit more of the feta cheese and serve immediately.

*How to make Brown Rice

  • Put brown rice and vegetable broth (or water) together in a pot with a lid.
  • Set the heat to maximum, and bring the rice/water to a boil uncovered.  Then put the lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to low/simmer.  If your lid has a steam valve, keep it closed.  Let the rice simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, and let the rice sit in the covered pot for another 10 minutes.  It’s OK if you let the rice sit longer than 10 minutes (20 or 30 minutes is fine too), but don’t let it go any less.  I prefer my rice to be slightly chewy, not mushy, so I usually remove the lid after 10 minutes

Calories if you eat a whole pepper approximately 385.  I only ate one half and saved the other for lunch the next day.  I served it with a crusty parmesan tomato bread from the bakery topped with a bit of olive oil.  This added about 160 calories.  Total- 352!  Woo-hoo, that means I can have small cup of ice cream before bed!

Not mine, but similar

 

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Awesome recipe for Meatless Monday

I was asked to share Meatless Monday recipes before Monday so you would have time to shop and prepare so we had Meatless Sunday at our house.   I also wanted to eat something lower calorie and healthy to make up for the Culver’s Sundae I was craving and knew I would have later in the day!

I have been getting recipes from a couple different sources e-mailed to me each day which has led to quite a bit of experimenting and new stuff.  Again, I am fortunate that my husband is not at all fussy and will eat anything that is served.  I am the fussier eater as I’m not much into seafood or vegetables but I have been eating lots of both lately and discovering that I might actually like more things that I previously thought! Whew- that was a long run-on sentence, I hope it makes sense.  Anyway, here is the recipe from EatingWell.com via WebMD. I added my own comments in italics. Also- this recipe is not as complicated as it seems and didn’t take an hour, closer to 30 minutes.  Start the onions, get the mushrooms going, then do the spinach/beans when the mushrooms are almost done instead of doing everything separately.

Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach, White Beans & Caramelized Onions

WebMD Recipe from EatingWell.com

Picture of Portobello Paillards with Spinach
 This is their version with the correct beans.  Mine was similar.

Portobello mushrooms are so meaty that even carnivores will be satisfied with this lusty vegetarian dish. Instead of pounding the caps, we weigh them down in the skillet to flatten them while they cook.

Servings: 4

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 1 hour (It did not take and hour.  Probably 30 mins.)

Prep Time: 1 hour (again- 30 mins total, not sure why it would take an hour)

Recipe Ingredients:

  1. 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  2. 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  3. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  5. 1/3 cup 1% milk (I used almond milk, I’m sure water would work, too)
  6. 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  7. 4 Portobello mushroom caps, 3-4 inches in diameter ( I only had 3 and it was plenty for 2 people)
  8. 3 cloves garlic, minced ( I used the already cut stuff in a jar to save time)
  9. 1 pound spinach, tough stems removed
  10. 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed (uh-oh, no canellini so I used garbanzos- good substitute but will try canellini next time)
  11. 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  12. 1/2 cup grated Manchego, Gruyere or Parmesan cheese ( I used shredded parm)

 

Recipe Steps:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to very low, season with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 15 minutes Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. (I just left them in the pan, this recipe dirties enough dishes as it is!)
  2. Meanwhile, place milk in a small bowl and place breadcrumbs on a large plate. Dip each mushroom cap in milk, then dredge in the breadcrumbs.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, gill-side down. Place a heavy, heatproof plate or pie pan on top of the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, pressing down on the plate periodically to flatten them, about 6 minutes. (I used a smaller frying pan to press down). Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and turn the mushrooms over. Replace the plate and cook, pressing the plate once or twice, until the mushrooms are golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes more. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
  4.  (Do this while the mushrooms are cooking!) Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans, broth and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Cut each mushroom into thin slices and serve over the spinach. Top with the reserved onions and cheese.

I used a slotted spoon to dish up the beans/spinach mixture, then added sliced mushrooms topped with onions then cheese.  This looked very impressive and tasted fantastic!  We both had a hearty serving and there was enough left for my husband to have seconds. I was going to serve some crusty bread but the beans are quite filling so you really don’t need anything else with this dish.

 

Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 358 calories; 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 11 g mono unsaturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 11 g fiber; 755 mg sodium; 1382 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (220% daily value), Vitamin C (70% dv), Folate (66% dv), Potassium (39% dv), Iron (30% dv), Calcium (25% dv).

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The Best Chili Ever?

My husband is a fan of all sorts of chili so I was surprised when he said this one was the Best Chili EVER.  I didn’t even take a picture of it as it seemed pretty basic and I wasn’t thinking about using it as a blog post.  However, after further review- this WAS really good and very healthy so I really must share it.  I made this on Meatless Monday and it is going to be in regular rotation on meatless days.

I usually mess with recipes but I followed this one exactly.  We both agreed that the corn really added something.  I know that sounds weird but try it for yourself.  I also like the idea of sauteeing in broth rather than oil and will do this more often.

Credit for this recipe goes to The World’s Healthiest Foods at whfoods.org.

Picture from WH foods but mine looked very similar

Black Bean Chili

Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, dicedinto 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 TBS + 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups or 2 15 oz cans black beans, drained
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 2 TBS ground cumin
  • 2 TBS red chili powder
  • 2 TBS dried oregano
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium size soup pot. Healthy Sautéonion and bell pepper in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic, cumin, and red chili powder and continue to sauté for another minute.
  2. Add 1-1/2 cups broth and the rest of ingredients, except for the cilantro and corn. Simmer for another 20 minutes uncovered. Add corn and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.Serves 4
Black Bean Chili 1.00 serving 497.09 grams 417.39 calories
Nutrient Amount DV (%) Nutrient Density World’s Healthiest Foods Rating
molybdenum 162.33 mcg 216.4 9.3 excellent
fiber 25.91 g 103.6 4.5 excellent
vitamin C 54.06 mg 90.1 3.9 excellent
folate 349.50 mcg 87.4 3.8 excellent
tryptophan 0.24 g 75.0 3.2 excellent
manganese 1.29 mg 64.5 2.8 very good
vitamin A 3113.01 IU 62.3 2.7 very good
iron 8.96 mg 49.8 2.1 good
protein 24.35 g 48.7 2.1 good
magnesium 174.51 mg 43.6 1.9 good
vitamin B1 0.62 mg 41.3 1.8 good
phosphorus 367.08 mg 36.7 1.6 good
potassium 1130.53 mg 32.3 1.4 good
vitamin B6 0.60 mg 30.0 1.3 good
copper 0.54 mg 27.0 1.2 good
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