Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grilled Cheese +

We are on a snow day... again :) This is FINE for me because the college class I teach was cancelled and I work from home the rest of the time so I don't have to get out. Plus my crazy family is here with me so it is like a weekend. But weekends mean more meals. I tried a cottage cheese pancake for breakfast (try being the operative word here- it can be perfected I am sure, but this recipe was not quite perfect... I will share when I feel it is ready- all in all, I will make them again but with a few changes). Lunch called for warm and cozy so we had tomato soup and grilled cheese. The tomato soup was a leftover makeover to be posted next week but the grilled cheese is an old stand-by. I wanted a step up from the old american cheese on sliced bread model, not that there is anything wrong with that version. We didn't have any american cheese, or cheddar even, but I had provolone (and whole wheat bread). That makes for a pretty bland combo so to jazz it up a bit, I dipped the sandwiches in egg and then parmesan and grilled. The sandwiches look and taste a bit more special when prepared this way. I have done it before and the "best" grilled cheese is a combo of a few cheeses (cheddar, american, swiss, etc) stuffed into a hunk of french bread that has a deep slit cut into it, rolled in the egg and parm mixture and grilled under a heavy pan to smash it down a bit. How can you go wrong  with cheese? Or bread for that matter??

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today I put leftovers to use for breakfast- and it's good for you too :)
Over the course of the week, I typically have at least a decent scoop of leftover veggies- this last week, they were perfectly suited for eggs.
One night, as a side dish I had mixed roasted veggies (red pepper, asparagus, onion, yellow squash and green beans). In addition, I had half a can of water chestnuts left from the asian lettuce wraps that I had made. I picked the green beans out of the mixture and added the chestnuts. Many other veggie combos would work with this base, plus I often add meat and/or potatoes.
Chop the mixture uniformly- about 1 cup total after the chopping.
Add the mix to a small greased casserole dish along with 5 whole eggs, half cup cottage cheese, salt and pepper, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Mix thoroughly and sprinkle with parmesan.
Bake at 325 degrees until the mixture is cooked through- 30-45 minutes (will feel firm but springy and be a nice golden brown).
Delicious served with sour cream or plain yogurt.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back to the healthy me!

Over the holidays I ate way too much.... WAAAAAYYYYYY too much. I was pregnant the Christmas before so it "didn't matter" and I guess since I am nursing, I felt a little too much the same about it. However the 500 extra calories a nursing mom requires was covered in probably 2 cookies a day so....
Anyway, in an effort to climb back on the healthy bandwagon, I am trying to cut out some sugar and to do that I need to cut out my cravings for said sugar :( In an effort to do that, I am NOT eating any carbs this week except for those in vegetables. Next week I will add in fruits and then the week after I can eat complex carbs again. You have to be careful if you are pregnant or nursing but in general, most people can knock out grains for "just a little while" without issue. I would never suggest this is a permanent thing- whole unrefined grains are very very good for you. With that said, unrefined simple carbohydrates are absolutely not (good for you). They cause blood sugar spikes with too much insulin release and when they wear off, which does not take long, they cause blood sugar crashes. Abuse of the system sets you up for diabetes and will probably make you fat, which sets you up for other health issues.
However, right now there is nothing I want more than a huge fountain coke and some nachos. Or a brownie with ice cream.......
Okay okay back to the subject. I find that meals are very easy to come up with but snacks are the hardest- I tire of almonds or veggie sticks even dipped in hummus or yogurt dip after awhile. Again since this is temporary I will muddle through till next weeks fruits or the following weeks granola. It really does work, I have done it before with great success as long as you stick to whole foods/grains as a lifestyle choice (of course a few slices of regular pizza on regular dough will not hurt you once in awhile). If anyone is interested, here are a few meals from this week.
*Cajun baked chicken- just use msg free "cajun seasoning" and some olive oil poured over your chicken and bake at 325 degrees until chicken is done (time will depend on cut); served with a spinach salad with goat cheese, mushrooms and green onion in vinaigrette as well as oven roasted squash with rosemary and olive oil
*Sirloin with red wine and mushroom sauce- cook your steak however you want; sautee mushrooms in olive oil with some mashed garlic, then pour a half cup good red wine over them and cook the alcohol out/reduce (salt/pepper it off the heat or it may get too salty); served with green beans cooked with a slice of chopped peppered turkey bacon and onion and butter
*Steakhouse salad- pretty self-explanatory (used leftover steak!)
*Chicken lettuce wraps- recipe posted earlier this week
*Meatloaf (use parmesan instead of oats for the binding) with mashed cauliflower (will go half-half with potatoes for the boys) and peas.... this is tonight's meal and i have never done meatloaf this way. If it works out I will post
Also will be making some turkey chili this weekend and probably some baked hot "wing" chicken strips with a blue cheese chopped salad. Keep your fingers crossed for the cravings to stop super soon :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Leftover Makeover

This week's "Wednesday" post is coming a bit early because I just made this dish and actually have measurements to share before I forget them :) Plus I skipped last week. In a post-holiday pout about the poundage that crept in with all the cookies and party food, I decided to cut carbs out this week to get over some of the cravings. In general, I am a firm believer in eating nothing "white" ie refined but over the last few months my diet has not reflected that belief :(
BUT more on that later- for now, I share my way to use up some of the leftovers from the previous two night's worth of meals. I had some cajun seared boneless skinless chicken thighs and some baby bella mushrooms (I rinsed off the red wine reduction that they were cooked in before popping them in the fridge with the leftover chicken- i had served them over sirloin steak last night) that were calling me to use them in a pf chang style lettuce wrap. It ended up great with some glazed carrots. Though it fed two adults and my son, I honestly could have eaten the entire serving so you might want to add some brown rice to stretch it. The mixture would also be good over shredded bok choy and daikon as well if you make it a little saucier!
4 Chicken thighs (boneless skinless &cooked)- 2 breasts could be substituted
4-6 Mushrooms
1/2 small can of water chestnuts
3 small green onions
Chop uniformly and add to skillet coated w/ olive oil (sesame oil would be good too) and cook for a few minutes. Add 1 clove minced garlic and cook one more minute. To the mixture add:
2 TB soy sauce
Splash vinegar (any type- I used white but rice wine would probably be the best)
Coarse ground black pepper to taste
Simmer until liquid is well absorbed.
Serve in cups of iceberg lettuce
Crispy and delicious and CHEAP- all I bought specifically for this meal was the 98 cent can of water chestnuts and I will use the other half in a spinach dip to keep in the fridge for the rest of the week!