Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sante Fe chicken (but without the Chicken!)

So we're on a little bit of a restricted diet right now at the Brown's. I've struggled to find good recipes to eat without meat or dairy. I did find this Santa Fe Chicken recipe for the crockpot though, and I adapted this from that :-) Very, very simple.
1 can pinto bean
1 can black beans
1 can rotel
~ handful of fresh cilantro chopped
some frozen corn (I just poured until it looked like a good mixture)
~ a quarter red onion, chopped
Season to your liking; I used garlic powder, cumin and adobo

Dump it in the slow cooker, mix it up, put it on low. Mine was in there a good 10 hours. We ate ours over some brown rice. We also put some cut up whole wheat tortillas in the oven with some cooking spray and had homemade tortilla chips. This was quite tasty as a dip, too!

Salad in a Jar

I found this wonderful website with this amazing idea that I posted to my facebook page early this week. She made t salads in a jar on Sunday and took them to work for the week. I tried it out and success! There's no picture of the jar because we ate them all! I must share this dressing recipe though.

Lemon Olive Oil Dressing
1/3 c lemon juice
3/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt/pepper to taster
Put them together and mix them up! I added 2 tbsp to each jar of salad.
Every time I open a jar at work, my neighbors comment on how good it smells!! Isn't that crazy? A salad with no meat that smells good! Try it, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Easy Crockpot Vegetable Soup

One of my favorite things about winter is how much use my slow cooker gets. I'm always nervous when I don't have a recipe to follow but this time there was no need :-) This was very easy to put together and it was very good.

I used three boneless chicken thighs that I trimmed the fat from. Those went into the crockpot first. I didn't have any diced tomatoes or tomato sauce so for my base I used a 16oz jar of homemade spaghetti sauce. I canned it over the summer and it contained tomatoes, onion, garlic, and some basic seasoning. I poured that over the chicken and added 32oz of low sodium chicken stock. I mixed that up pretty good and added 3 potatoes cut into chunks and a 24oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, and green beans). I put the crockpot on low and let it cook about 8 hours. Once the 8 hours passed I pulled the chicken into pieces (you just need a fork for that, it will be very tender.) I did not add any seasoning until after my first taste. I didn't want it to be too salty and since I didn't have anything to base it on I figured it was better to be safe. I ended up using 2 tsp seasoned salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, and I didn't measure the oregano and thyme. I did goof up here though. I thought I grabbed the thyme and I really grabbed some Montreal steak seasoning. I am pretty sure there was less than a 1/2 tsp added but it might have made a difference. Regardless, the end result was quite good. I recommend tasting after each tsp of salt, so you don't go overboard. We ate it with some corn bread :-) Enjoy!

3 boneless chicken thighs w/fat trimmed
16 oz diced tomatoes (you can use plain or spice it up with diced chili's or basil & garlic)
32 oz low sodium chicken stock (you can sub Vegetable broth too, easy to make yourself!)
3 potatoes, chopped into cubes
24 oz frozen mixed vegetables (can sub fresh chopped carrots, green beans, and corn as well)
2 t seasoned salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 t oregano
1 t thyme

For a more tomato based soup, add tomato paste! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chili Mac

Chili mac may be the best thing ever on cold, winter evenings. I had to post about this because it's super delicious and super easy.

I made mac and cheese from the Blue box. I love the blue box. Call me crazy but it's what I grew up eating and I love it. My mom and I have shared a box for dinner on an occasion or two (or three or four). It's easy and quick.

My chili is almost never the same. I never buy packets of seasoning any more so I often experiment on what I'm putting together. Usually, I end up with chili that's really good but also really hot. Today, however, I just got really good :-) My spices consisted of:
chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
ground cumin
seasoned salt
dried parsley
dried basil
ground red pepper
The flour is just a thickening agent. I cheat and buy already seasoned chili beans. Sometimes I use a jar of salsa for the tomato base but today it was just a 28oz can of diced tomatoes. Mixed it all up and let it simmer about an hour. I scooped some mac and cheese in a bowl and chili on top. Yum. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quick healthy smoothie

I like these for breakfast, before a work out, after a work out or all of the above! (this is not a picture of what I made this morning but it sure looks pretty doesn't it? It does have the similar coloring though and I drank mine before I thought to take a picture of it!)
Get yourself some protein powder. The only thing I recommend is making sure it's not a protein powder meant to help you bulk up. Anything that says body building is a no go for me. I look for straight whey protein. I like the chocolate kind. A lot of people prefer vanilla because of the mixing options. Personally, I don't think it matters. This morning I mixed my chocolate powder with frozen fruit (pineapple and strawberry), some chocolate yoplait yogurt I had thrown in the freezer, a little orange juice and a little coffee. Sounds really disgusting doesn't it? It wasn't. I know. Even I'm surprised.  Here's my favorite recipe though:
1 scoop of protein powder
1 banana
8 oz fat free or light vanilla yogurt
about a 1/2 cup of frozen fruit
1/2 c of orange juice
Some times I add more juice if the mix is too thick. The chocolate powder doesn't really add that much chocolate to the smoothie so it doesn't bother me. I do also enjoy mixing it with coffee and vanilla yogurt. That's the close second for breakfast smoothies.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

S'more Cookie Bars

Please note the super cute baking dish I received from my Mother-in-law this Christmas!

This was so easy and so delicious. Here's what you need:
1/2 c butter
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 c flour
3/4 c graham cracker crumbs (I put 9 crackers in my food processor)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 king size Hersey bars (I suggest getting 3 so you have enough)
1 1/2 c marshmallow fluff (you can't use marshmallows, they harden when they cool, think rice crispy treat)

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or grease it. Mix the sugars and butter until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture until dough forms. Separate dough in half and press into the pan. Add the chocolate in a single layer across the dough. Spread the marshmallow fluff on top of the chocolate. Use your hands to flatten the rest of the dough and spread it on top of the marshmallow. It's ok if it doesn't cover the top, the dough will spread and the marshmallow puffs up through it. Cook for 30-35 minutes (cover with foil if it starts to burn the top). Let it cool completely prior to cutting. We had ours a day after cooking and it was great. I imagine if you had it after it cooled and the chocolate was still gooey it would be incredible. Enjoy!