Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day #58 - Citrus Garlic Shrimp

This is a new recipe we came across in one of my cookbooks, and I have to say, it is probably one of my most favorite shrimp recipes! It calls for the use of linguine pasta - so I was originally thinking the shrimp was going to be mixed with a heavy cream sauce or something. But the sauce for this recipe is totally light and citrusy and delicious! This recipe will be added to my favorites!

I modified the recipe to reduce the serving sizes to two servings since it was Jim and myself for dinner tonight. You can adjust the recipe as necessary for your family.


2 oz Dry Linguine (I used the whole wheat pasta - which I think is amazing)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Orange Juice (I used the Tropicana 50 which has reduced sugar)
5 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Crushed
2 tsp Grated Lemon Peel
2 tsp Grated Orange Peel
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
12 Jumbo Shrimp (Pealed, Deveined and tails Removed)
2 Tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese


Cook linguine according to package instructions.

In a blender or food processor, combine the next eight ingredients; cover and process until blended.

Pour sauce into a large skillet and heat through. Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp turn bright pink. Drain linguine and toss with the shrimp mixture.

Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 1 oz pasta, 6 shrimp,2 Tbsp sauce):

Total Calories: 278 cal

Total Fat: 15.5 g (mostly from EVOO)

Total Carbs: 24 g

Total Protein: 18 g

Sunday Treat - Overnight Carmel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

I posted a picture of these FABULOUS caramel pecan cinnamon rolls on Facebook and had a request for the recipe - so here it is! I found a recipe online for "Overnight Cinnamon Rolls", so I took that recipe and tweaked it a little to make it my own and this is the end product. This recipe is great because you can prepare the rolls the night before, stick them in the fridge and then pop them in the oven in the morning and you have fresh, warm, gooey sweet rolls first thing in the morning.

My hubby thinks the best part of a good cinnamon roll is the frosting on the top. In my opinion, these would have been better without the frosting. The caramel that oozes out of them is sweet enough, the frosting is a little bit overkill. But still - I enjoyed them very much!


Cinnamon Rolls -

2 Cups Milk
2 Packages Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/3 Cup White Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Salt (optional)
1 Egg
7 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Glazed Pecan Halves

Filling -

1/4 Cup Butter, Melted
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon

Icing -

1-1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
4 Oz Cream Cheese, Softened
1 tsp Vanilla
1-1/2 tsp Milk


Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm in a small bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. let stand until creamy.

In a large bowl, combine yeast mixture, milk, sugar, oil, baking powder, salt, egg and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes).

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (about one hour).

Heat brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter until melted. Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup. Divide mixture between two 9 x 13 baking pans. Spring 1/2 cup pecans in each pan.

When dough has doubled in size, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a large rectangle and spread with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough into a long log and slice into 1 inch wide rolls (the easiest way to make perfect rolls without crushing your dough is to use unwaxed dental floss, slide it under the roll, and bring the ends together until it slices through the dough).

Placed rolls slightly apart in pans. Wrap pans with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 12 hours but no longer than 48 hours. In the morning, remove rolls from the refrigerator and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size (about 30 min). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake uncovered in a preheated oven until golden, about 30 minutes. Immediately invert the pan on a heatproof serving plate (I used a cookie sheet). Wait for 1 to 2 minutes before removing the pan so that the caramel has time to drizzle over the rolls.

If you decide to use the icing, drizzle over cinnamon rolls one tablespoon at a time! Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day #57 - Navy Bean Soup (Low Fat)

Remember the other day when I posted about our ham dinner that I didn't care for because I really don't enjoy ham as a main course? Or even on sandwiches or really at all? Well - tonight's dinner is what the ham was originally for.

Jim and I spent this morning menu planning for the next two weeks - the goal being to try and make dinner with ingredients we already have in the freezers and/or the pantry. Jim felt inspired to use the leftover ham from the other night, so I let him decide on dinner for tonight and Navy Bean Soup is what he chose. He started the soup around 12:30 this afternoon and by 5:30, we had a fabulous dinner! It was REALLY good - we paired it with the leftover cornbread from last night's dinner.

Here Is My Awesome Hubby - Slaving Away!

The Final Product!


1 Cup Dry Navy Beans
2 Pounds Smoked Ham Hocks
1-1/2 Cups Sliced Celery (3 Stalks)
1 Cup Large Onion, Chopped
3/4 tsp Dried Thyme, Crushed
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 Bay Leaf


Rinse beans. In a large saucepan, combine beans and 4 cups of water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for one hour. Drain and rinse beans.

In the same pan, combine beans, ham hocks, celery, onion, thyme, pepper, bay leaf and four cups of fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about one hour or until beans are tender. Remove meat. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off the bone; coarsely chop the meat. Remove bay leaf and discard. Slightly mash beans in saucepan. Return meat to pan and heat through.

Nutritional Information (Approximately for 1.5 cups of soup):

Total Calories: 177 cal

Total Fat: 2 g

Total Carbs: 26 g

Total Protein: 14 g

In exchanges for him making dinner tonight, I promised Jim these for breakfast tomorrow morning:

Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls:

Gadgets Galore....

I know it's been a while since I've posted my favorite gadget. I'm just proud of myself for continuously blogging about the meals we eaten, so I haven't felt too much pressure to keep up with posting about my awesome kitchen tools. However, it's Saturday morning, I have no kids to entertain and my hubby is downstairs watching the news. SO - it's time for another Gadgets Galore session.

When I first started this journey, it was about eating healthier meals and spending quality time with my family at the dinner table. It was about teaching Kayla good eating habits so she can grow up and be able to cook healthy meals for her roommates in college and eventually for her family. It was about a lot of things - but not necessarily about losing weight.

About three weeks into my journey, I noticed my clothes were starting to fit a little better. My mood was generally happier. And my headaches were almost non-existent. So out of curiosity, I weighed myself - and without much effort (aside from the effort of cooking dinner at home), I had lost 8 pounds. Since then, I have taken this goal to another level in an effort to make not only my family healthier, but also to make myself healthier. For the last few weeks, I have been walking three miles every day (with a few exceptions) during my lunch hour and after dinner, I either do the elliptical for 45 minutes or go for a run outside (although lately, I have been doing the elliptical - I'm not about to run in 25 degree weather!). I try to do strength training three days a week and when I'm stressed, I resort to my punching bag for a little kick boxing. It's been a great change in my life. I weighed myself yesterday morning and am now down 27 pounds (in just under two months)!

Anyway - back to my gadget! I have really been making a conscious effort to stick to proper portion sizes and this little bad boy has helped a ton! I even caught Kayla using it the other day, measuring out goldfish crackers for her snack! She knew to look on the package to see how much a serving was (30g) and she put enough goldfish in her baggy until the scale said 30g! It was kind of cool to see how my habits are rubbing off on her. She's pretty amazing!

Anyway - this little scale is great for measuring just about anything. You can "zero" the scale with a dish on top if you want to weigh liquids and the scale can measure in gm, oz, fl oz, or ml. It's pretty cool and is one of the few gadgets I allow to be left out on the counter top (I hate clutter - all my tools have to be kept in a drawer or cupboard).

Day #56 - Chili & Cornbread

After working for 11 hours today, I wasn't in the mood to come home and cook an elaborate meal. Fridays are usually spent in the car after work for hours on end. Today, however, we didn't have to pick up Jim's girls and Kayla is spending the weekend with my parents. So - it was just the two of us. I opened the pantry and decided to cook the first thing I saw: Canned chili and cornbread. The cornbread was SO good - topped with some honey butter - it just melted in your mouth. The chili was okay (considering it came from a can). I think it's time to make a batch of chili for the freezer to keep on hand.

Day #55 - Tacos

Jim was about to make chili dogs (not my favorite by any means) when I convinced him to do tacos instead. After all, we have a huge bag of lettuce shreds that needed to be used. Nobody complained - so Tacos it was!

Day #54 - Chicken Spaghetti

I occasionally go through these phases, where I try to cook 10+ "freezer friendly" meals to have on hand as we go throughout our busy workweek. It's awesome when all you have to do is take dinner out of the freezer the night before and then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes when you get home and VOILA! Dinner is served!

This chicken spaghetti recipes was one of those "freezer friendly" meals I found online. I made it about three months ago, stuck it in the freezer wrapped in foil, then plastic wrap and then sealed fairly air-tight in a Ziplock freezer bag where it sat for three months. I think I was kind of afraid to actually USE my creation for fear of being disappointed.

Anyway - after taking it out of the freezer and cooking it, I'm pretty sure this is one of those meals that would taste much better if made and eaten the same day. Don't get me wrong - it wasn't bad. It was definitely edible and Kayla (who is my biggest critic) didn't complain. But it just didn't have that "fresh" taste to it. I was a little disappointed, but I will definitely try making it again to be used the same day.


2 Cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken
1/2 Package Whole Wheat Spaghetti
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, Finely Diced
1/2 Cup Onion, Finely Diced
1/3 Cup Flour
1-1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
1-1/2 Cups Milk
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Seasoning Salt
Dash of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
8 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
3 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Grated


Place spaghetti noodles in a pot of boiling water and cook to al dente (follow instructions on the package - cooking times are different for most pastas).

In a large skillet, heat EVOO and saute onion and bell pepper until soft. Add the flour and cook for about two minutes. Add the chili powder, seasoning salt and cayenne pepper (if using) and mix. Slowly add milk and chicken stock, whisking to make a smooth sauce. Stir over medium heat until thick. When sauce is thick, remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of cheese. Add shredded chicken to sauce and stir to mix.

When noodles are done, drain and toss with tomatoes. Add sauce to noodles and gently mix. Dump everything into a large casserole dish and top with remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly. Serve with homemade breadsticks!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day #53 - Parmesan Chicken w/ Peppers & Almonds

I've mentioned before that I work for a doctor who also happens to be a pretty darn good cook. Well today, the good old Dr. N came through for me with tonight's dinner idea. Just when I was wondering what I was going to make tonight, he came out of his office with a recipe he had made the previous night. This recipe is extremely easy and tastes AMAZING! Jim agreed - it's one we will definitely make again!


Two Chicken Breasts (Cut or Pounded to 1/4" Thickness)
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Sweet Peppers (Red, Orange or Yellow - or a Combination of the three)
1/4Toasted Slivered Almonds
1/4 Balsamic Vinegar
3 Egg Whites
1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese mixed with 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs


Cut and Core Peppers, slice into 1/4" Strips. Saute peppers with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium/high heat until the peppers become tender. Add balsamic vinegar and allow to simmer / boil down slightly. Add almonds and set aside (keep warm).

Take Chicken breast (cut or pounded 1/4" thickness). Pat dry and lightly coat with flour. Send chicken breasts through egg white wash and then coat with Bread crumb / Parmesan mixture.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts in skillet for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes on each side. If chicken is 1/4" in thickness, 2.5 minutes on each side should be perfect for cooking through.

Remove chicken from skillet and top with pepper / almond mixture.


Day #52 - Hamburgers With Sauteed Onion

Without going into too much detail just yet, today brought about some changes in our house that has given me more motivation to rekindle the fire that is keeping this project going. Now it's about HAVING to be resourceful and not just WANTING to be more resourceful. I may go into more detail later - but for now, just take it for what is it and go with it.

Tonight's dinner is pretty self explanatory. We had some frozen hamburgers in the freezer - I took 'em out, grilled 'em and topped 'em with some sauteed onions. They were really yummy and completely simple!

Day #51 - Weekend of Food Continues...

Breakfast: Homemade Biscuits with Homemade Rhubarb Jam

Lunch: Homemade Cherry Pie & Ice Cream
(We had to get one more piece in before we left!)

Day #50 - A Weekend of Fabulous Food!

We made it to Sequim! I would like to share with you the amazing food we enjoyed during our stay with Jim's Aunt and Uncle:

Breakfast: Eggs Benedict

Dinner: Chicken Picatta

Dessert: Homemade Cherry Pie & Vanilla Ice Cream!

Day #49 - On The Road Again....

Jim and I packed up our bags and headed to Sequim for the weekend to visit his aunt and uncle. They are amazing people - and fed us some amazing food. Our journey to Sequim started with catching dinner on the road in an attempt to catch the earliest ferry possible. The only place along the way: McDonald's. Not my favorite - actually I really do NOT like McDonald's. But Jim likes it and looks for any opportunity to eat there since I never willingly go there.

This is what I ordered: The Grills Chicken Club w/o Mayo or Cheese (I splurged and kept the bacon on). It was okay.

Day #48 - Red Robin & Surviver Premiere!!!

It has kind of become a tradition for Jim and I to get together with some of our best friends for the Survivor Premiere! This year - we all met at Red Robin (can you tell we really like that place) and then went back to someone else's house for the premiere! Since we are all so stinkin' busy sometimes, it's an awesome way for us to get together and catch up. We also try and get together a couple of other times during the Survivor season, especially on the finale!

I knew we were going to Red Robin ahead of time, so while I was at work, I went to the Red Robin website to see if there were some healthier options for that evening. During my search, I came across this:

The Chicken Ensanada Platter

If you subtract the cheese, tortilla strips and substitute the ranch dressing for their fat free ranch, the nutritional information is as follows:

Total Calories: 390 cal

Total Fat: 8 g

Total Carbs: 14 g

Total Protein: 61 g

You can't beat that - and it tasted absolutely delicious!

Day #47 - Ham & Scalloped Potatoes

We bought a ham a long time ago and put it in the freezer with every intention of making Navy Bean Soup one day. On Sunday, we took the ham out of the freezer, but never got around to making the soup, so tonight, Jim threw the ham in the oven and we had ham and scalloped potatoes (from a box - I know - I'm ashamed). I'm not a big fan of ham - so I didn't particularly enjoy dinner - but it was food and nourished my body. That's all I can ask for sometimes.

I totally stole this picture off of a cooking website:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day #46 - Turkey Kielbasa

Sometimes, you just have to keep things simple. My dad will be happy to know that Jim has introduced me to the world of Sauerkraut and I actually really enjoy it (but only with Kielbasa). I found a fabulous Turkey Kielbasa that was on sale a while back, so I bought it and stuck it in the freezer for a rainy day. Or a day when things just needed to be simple - like today. There's nothing fabulous about this meal - but it sure did taste good!

Day #45 - Valentine's Day Dinner!

It's What We Do As A Familiy Every Year On This Holiday - We Can't Break Tradition!

Day #44 - Burnt Pizza

When I was a kid, I remember celebrating EVERY single holiday at school. Regardless how big or small the holiday really was, we had a party every chance we got! Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Earth Day, Mother's Day, Ground Hog's Day, etc. You name it, we celebrated it. Kayla has been in school for four years and in those four years, I have attended only TWO "holiday concerts" where the kids all get up and sing for their parents....and not one of those two had to do with an American Holiday. There are no Christmas parties, Thanksgiving parties, Halloween parties, etc. It's sad.

It seems these days, those tiny celebrations I always looked forward too, have gone by the way side. In addition to Holidays having no priority in our school system, we have also lost weekly music class, PE class, and computer lab. Now, the kids will have PE for two weeks, then have music for two weeks, and then "technology" for two weeks. The rotation then starts over and continues for the remainder of the school year. What benefits are these kids getting by having PE for two weeks, then taking four weeks off before they get to enjoy physical activity again? As a parent, it's frustrating!!!

Anyway - enough with my rant. I will get to my point: Sunday night we had to get Kayla's "Valentine's" ready for school. Although the schools are not technically supposed to have holiday parties, Kayla's teacher has found a pretty creative way for getting around the "holiday celebration" thing at school.

The kids have a glass jar in their classroom, and as they go throughout their day, if someone observes the class as a whole exhibiting good behavior and reports it to their teacher, she takes a handful of marbles and puts them in the jar. When the jar becomes full, they get to have a "Wonderful Day of Learning". The clever part of this, is that the jar becomes full just in time for all these little holidays, so these holidays are incorporated into their "Wonderful Day of Learning" (which is still educational for the kids, but also tons of fun)!

For Example:

October's "Wonderful Day of Fun": The kids got to pick out pumpkins that the teacher brought in that morning. They weighed themselves while holding the pumpkin, then weighed themselves without the pumpkin and they had to write a story problem using the numbers they got to figure out how much the pumpkin weighed. Then, they got to hollow out the pumpkins and weighed them again (minus the guts) and did the math to figure out how much the guts weighed. They also got to make pumpkin pies as a class and learned about measurements, weights, different ingredients, etc. (of course they got to enjoy pumpkin pie after lunch)!!! They also did "scary" word searches, and word grouping with "scary" words, etc.

These are the things Kayla's teacher does to still incorporate American's holidays into a day of teaching and fun for the kids. It's a great reward for them and they learn a thing or two and don't even know it. She has a great teacher this year - I love what she does for these kids!

Back to my "food" blog. We were so wrapped up into making these "valentines" for her classmates, we threw a homemade pizza into the oven, forgot about it, and ended up eating completely overcooked pizza for dinner. It was FABULOUS.....NOT!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day #43 - Chicken & Dumplings

I've been wanting to make Chicken & Dumplings for the last 12 months, but have never gotten the courage to do so. I have printed out multiple recipes for such a meal, but have never followed through with actually making it. I read review after review after review for the best dumpling recipe. I finally settled on this one and Jim and I were really disappointed with the dumplings. The "chicken" part, however, was REALLY good and we ended up having a chicken stew type dinner.

I do have to say though, that Miley really enjoyed the dumplings. She got all of our - at least they didn't go to waste.


Stew -

2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
3 Cups Water
1 Cup Celery, Chopped
2 Onions, Chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast Halves
5 Carrots, Sliced
1 Package Frozen Corn (10 oz)
4 Potatoes, Quartered

Dumplings -

1 Egg
1/4 Cup Milk
1-1/2 Cups Flour
1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder


In a large pot, combine soup, water, chicken, celery, onion, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for about 1-1/2 hours.

Add potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook another 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pot, shred or cube it, and return it to the pot. Add corn and cook for five additional minutes.

To make dumplings: Mix egg, milk, four and baking powder until a soft dough forms.

After making dumpling mix, bring stew to a boil. Drop by tablespoonfuls of dumpling mix onto BOILING stew. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, then uncover and simmer and additional 10 minutes.


A friend from work told me I should stick to using Bisquik for my dumplings. I insisted on trying the "old fashioned" way - but was really disappointed. Next time I make this (if there is ever such a thing), I will try it the Bisquik way as was recommended. Next time I will listen to her the first time!

Day #42 - Kayla's Night Out

On Friday evenings, we are either picking up two kids so we have all three girls, or we are dropping off one kid so we are childless for the weekend. This weekend, we were supposed to have all the girls, but Kelsey had something going on that she needed to attend so we decided to have a "Kayla Weekend" since it was just going to be her for three whole days.

On Friday, she got to pick what we had for dinner. She wanted Olive Garden "so, so so, bad". So we caved and went to Olive Garden. It was fabulous! Then we took her shopping for some new clothes because she's just getting too tall!!! She really needs to stop growing!

Anyway - that was our Friday night! Olive Garden and Shopping - can't go wrong there!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day #41 - Stuffed Chicken

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE sun-dried tomatoes? I'm always looking for awesome recipes with these little bad boys in it. Safeway used to have these amazing sun-dried tomato bagels that I would buy ALL the time - especially when they were on sale. And then one day, I went to buy some because I was completely out - and they were nowhere to be found!!! They just all of a sudden stopped selling them!!! Looking back, it may have been a good thing that they did away with them - but at the time, I was kind of upset! Anyway....

Jim was helping me plan the menu for the next couple of weeks when we came across this yummy recipe for stuffed chicken breasts. The original recipe alone looked SO good - and then I noticed it mentioned other "mix-in" options - one of them being SUN-DRIED TOMATOES!!! I thought I had died and gone to was the best day ever to make this discovery.

My only critique: The recipe calls for 2 tsp of Thyme. I almost didn't put it in - but decided I might as well since part of this adventure is all about trying new things. Next time - I will add basil instead - the Thyme didn't go very well with the sun-dried tomatoes. But even so - this was actually still a REALLY good meal!


8 oz Light Cream Cheese
4 oz Goat Cheese, Softened
2 tsp Minced Thyme (or basil)
1 Cup Oil-Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes (drained, patted dry and minced)
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
Salt & Pepper
6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
3/4 Cup Fat Free Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Cups Bread Crumbs


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Beat the cream cheese, goat cheese, thyme (or basil), garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together until smooth.

Pound the chicken to an even 1/4 inch thickness. Pat dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Mound 1/4 cup of the cream cheese filling at the wider end of the chicken. Form the cheese into a log and then roll the chicken up.

Arrange the chicken rolls, seam-side down, about 1/2 inch apart in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, coated lightly with vegetable spray.

Mix any remaining cream cheese filling with the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice, then brush the mixture over the tops and sides of the chicken. Press the breadcrumbs onto the tops and sides of the chicken rolls.

Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the very center of the chicken rolls registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information (Not Available For This Recipe - Sorry).

Day #40 - Chicken Fajitas

I've been giving Kayla piano lessons for the last couple of weeks. We finally got through the first half of the beginners book so we had my parents over for dinner and a short recital afterwards. We made chicken fajitas for dinner and they were absolutely amazing!!! Whenever I have made fajitas in the past, I have used one of those seasoning packets you buy at the store and I have ALWAYS been disappointed. I was a little hesitant to try making them using my own spices, but it turned out so good! I will never buy a seasoning packet from the store again!

Today I brought some leftover sauteed veggies and chicken to make a fajita salad for lunch! The calorie content for dinner was a little high because of the tortillas - cutting out the tortillas and putting the sauteed goodness on a bed of shredded lettuce cuts the calorie count by 240 calories!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I added this picture just because I thought the colors were AWESOME!


1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt & Pepper
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
2 Red or Green Peppers, Sliced Thin
1 Onion, Sliced Thin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
2 to 4 Tbsp Water
1 tsp Tobasco Sauce
10 Flour Tortillas (Fajita Size)


Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and slice it into 1/2 inch wide strips.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken adn cook through, about 4 minutes. Toss with fresh lime juice.

In a separate pan, add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pepeprs, onion, chili powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp salk and 2 Tbsp of water. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the oinion is softened (about 5 minutes). Add remaining water as needed to prevent the pan from scorching.

Return chicken to heat on the stove. Stir in the Tobasco and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high about 40 to 60 seconds.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, guacamole and whatever other toppings your little heart desires.

Nutritional Information (Approximately For 2 Fajitas):

Total Calories: 538 cal

Total Fat: 12 g

Total Carbs: 24 g

Total Protein: 32 g

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day #39 - Taco Salad

I originally had tacos on the menu - but decided to switch it up a little at the last minute. That and one serving of tortilla chips is less calories than two soft taco sized flour tortillas.

After tonight, Jim and I both decided we didn't like using ground turkey on our taco salads. There are just some foods where there is no proper substitution for ground beef. I also realized that we were out of refried beans which my family LOVES on tacos. But I found about 10 cans of low-sodium black beans in the pantry and decided to give those a try. I cooked one can of black beans with about 3/4 cup salsa and let me tell you - I will NEVER use refried beans again! The black beans were fabulous!


Blue Corn Spicy Tortilla Chips (30 g per serving)
1 Recipe Black Bean Mix (See Mixture Instructions Above)
Taco Meat (2 oz per serving)
Taco Seasoning
Lettuce Shreds (2 cups per serving)
Fat Free Shredded Cheese (1/4 cup per serving)
2 Tbsp Light Sour Cream (1 Tbsp per serving)
1 Cup Salsa (1/8 cup per serving)
Tomatoes, Diced
Green Onion, Chopped


Taco making is pretty self explanatory. Like I mentioned above, I mixed 1 can of black beans with 3/4 cup salsa for the bean mixture. I also made my own salad dressing with 2 Tbsp of light sour cream and 1/4 cup of salsa (this mixture makes two servings of dressing).

Nutritional Information (Approximately For 1 Salad With Serving Sizes Above):

Total Calories: 398 cal

Total Fat: 13.5 g

Total Carbs: 33 g

Total Protein: 31 g

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day #38 - Turkey Panini

When Jim and I got married, we received a TON of gift cards. One of my favorites was a gift card to Crate & Barrel. There is so much that I could buy at this store - and for the first time, I actually had an excuse to purchase something for this store. I was so excited!!! We spent HOURS going from one side of the store to the other, upstairs to back downstairs, then across the store again. Our problem is that there was so much we wanted to buy - we couldn't decide!!!

We finally decided on this:
This was such a great purchase! We spent the next 3 or 4 days experimenting with different variations of the Panini. And the we discovered that we can also use it to do simple grilling like chicken and steak and it even makes those cool grill marks on your food. It is seriously an awesome machine!!!

Which leads me to what we had for dinner tonight:

Roasted Turkey & Tomato Panini

Day #37 - Super Bowl Sunday!!!

What A Game!

Just kidding - I didn't even watch it. I looked up at the TV to see some of the commercials and to watch the half-time show, but I don't recall a single play from the game. After suffering through the singing of the National Anthem, I figured the game would probably bore me just as much. I was right.

So today I cleaned - and cleaned some more. It was a cleaning day. In fact, I cleaned so much, we ended up having a late lunch, so dinner wasn't really necessary. Sundays are kind of weird for us like that. Sometimes we eat dinner, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we do laundry, sometimes we don't. It's hard to predict what's going to happen on Sundays.

Day #36 - Date Night

Once a month, Jim and I try to get out to spend some quality time together. On Saturday, we decided to go see an early movie and do dinner and some shopping afterward.

We ended up eating dinner at Applebee's - it was pretty good. I got the Turkey Club (bacon removed) without the mayo. This sandwich was so big, I ate half for dinner and the dog and I shared the other half for lunch the next day. It was pretty good!

Time To Recalculate

So - I'm discovering that my initial goal of 350 days of home cooked meals was me being a little overly ambitious. I have realized that there are just some days where I have to choose between A) Making a REALLY unhealthy meal because I need to make something quick, B) Feeding my family a semi healthy dinner at 8:00 at night, or C) Finding a fast food place I know has healthy dinner options and making life a little easier for everyone.

My goal is to continue making healthy meals for my family as often as I can while realizing that I'm not Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray. And although I do have a full time job, my homemade meals aren't making me money. Don't get me wrong - I am not giving myself permission to go back to eating out three or four times a week. I am simply giving myself permission to use healthy eating out options as a last resort without feeling completely guilty. I have learned that eating out doesn't have to be completely bad for you.

Some of the healthier options we have discovered:

JITB - Grilled Chicken Strips (4 strips - w/o sauce = 180 calories, 2 g fat, 37 g protein)
Wendy's - Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich (w/o Mayo = 290 calories, 5 g fat, 25 g protein)
Arby's - Junior Roast Beef Sandwich (273 calories, 10 g fat, 15 g protein)

The Key To Eating Out: No FRIED Anything - Including FRIES!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day #35 - Homemade Pizza

It was Friday again and we had to make dinner in a hurry. We had a pizza crust left over in the fridge and all the ingredients for a healthy homemade pizza. It was fabulous - but we had to eat and run - so no picture tonight. Sorry!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day #34 - Power Enchiladas

I finally managed to prepare a meal worth REALLY blogging about. This is what was SUPPOSED to be on the menu yesterday - but we all know what happened there.

Anyway - I LOVE Mexican food. It's extremely bad for you - but it's one of my favorites. Chips and Salsa - I could eat every day. Thankfully, we don't always have tortilla chips in the house.....usually on purpose. So I found this awesome recipe for "power enchiladas" that incorporates low-carb, high fiber ingredients to make the meal somewhat healthier.

The best part is that it tasted great!


4 oz Fat Free, MSG Free Chicken Broth
1 Cup Chopped Onion
1/2 Cup Chopped Green Bell Pepper
1 Cup Grated Zucchini
2 Cups Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Cooked & Shredded
2 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
1-1/2 Cups Grated Low-Fat Cheese
1 Can (4 oz) Diced Green Chilies
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Can Green / Red Enchilada Sauce
6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
Sliced Black Olives
Fat Free Sour Cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large frying pan, bring chicken broth to just boiling. Add onion and green pepper to the broth and "saute" until onions are tender. Add grated zucchini and saute until just cooked.

Drain off liquid and remove pan from the heat. Add cooked chicken to vegetable mixture and stir. Add cilantro, 1-1/4 cups of the grated cheese, green chilies, and garlic. Stir to combine.

Layer 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Fill tortillas with mixture. Spoon about 1 Tbsp of enchilada sauce over meat mixture. Roll tortillas and turn enchilada seam side down. Ladle remaining sauce over enchiladas making sure tortillas are completely covered in sauce.

Cover with tin foil and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese. Bake 1 minutes more until cheese is melted. Garnish with olives and sour cream.

Nutritional Information (Approximately For 1 Enchilada):

Total Calories: 185 cal

Total Fat: 14.5 g

Total Carbs: 16.3 g

Total Protein: 24.3 g

Day #33 - Steamed Salmon

This isn't what my salmon looked like. It's probably not what my salmon tasted like either. The salmon you see in the picture, probably tasted awesome! I forgot to take a picture of my salmon - but trust me, you aren't missing much.

I have learned that if I don't leave a recipe for my husband to follow - dinner doesn't always turn out so well. Needless to say - OUR salmon was raw in the middle and the green beans he steamed on top of the salmon, tasted like salmon. Even he admits that the dinner was probably a C+ at best.

Oh well - after a minute or two in the microwave and we had a nutritious low-carb meal.

Day #32 - Chicken Salad

Jim and Kayla were having Chicken Nuggets for dinner tonight. I opted for a healthier option - chicken salad. The salad dressing ruined it (Newman's Own Light Caesar). I wouldn't recommend that dressing. It's almost like a Caesar Vinaigrette - if you can imagine what that would taste like. I managed choke most of the salad down so it wouldn't go to waste. I guess that's what I get for trying to be healthy......maybe next time.

Day #31 - Day of Fast

Monday was hectic - enough said.

My parents picked Kayla up after work and fed her.

Jim and I had a mini fast cause it was too late to eat by the time we had time to make dinner.

It's all good.