Tuesday, April 23, 2013

*Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing*

One of my new fav things to prepare ahead for the work week is quinoa salad.  Trying to prepare the quinoa just right, on the other hand, is not my fav thing to do ... if you don't have a "fine" strainer try rinsing the tiny little balls in a bowl and then draining it with your hand over the bowl and attempting not to lose any of the grains ... it isn't an easy task!

There are so many variations of quinoa salad it can make it kind of fun.  I made this on Monday night to take to work for a few days this week & it has lasted just fine.  I recommend you try it out!  To read 7 benefit of quinoa, click here.


1 cup uncooked quinoa
15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained                                 
3 roma tomatoes
1 orange bell pepper
1 1/2 cups corn (I used frozen, thawed)
4 green onions
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)

{For the dressing}
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. basil (or fresh if you have it)

Rinse quinoa, and cook according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and basil. Set aside.
Slice green onions, dice roma tomatoes and bell pepper.
When quinoa is done cooking, let cool. Then place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour dressing over top and mix well to combine.  Season to taste w/salt & pepper.
Can eat immediately or chill before serving.I got this recipe from The Garden Grazer. I just added a lil' salt n' peppa ;) 

*Chopped Salad w/Garlic Vinaigrette*

This salad was oh so yum.  It was very simple & very FRESH!  You can really prepare the chicken any way you like.  I baked chicken the night before and just cubed the chicken & heated in the microwave before serving.  You can always mix & match different ingredients if you like.  For instance, if you don’t like blue cheese you could use feta.  But … who doesn’t LOVE blue cheese?!?  And, I just split 1 chicken breast between 2 salads since you also have the egg & splash o’ bacon (extra yum).  So, this would make 4 servings.  ENJOY!

Salad Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts                                                  
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
8 slices bacon, cooked and diced
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 avocados, pitted and diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 boiled eggs, diced
1/4 cup garlic vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Garlic Herb Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (optional) 
pinch of salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasonings
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.   Cut chicken into cubes and heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until chicken is cooked through.  OR, bake your chicken in oven at ~375 for 35-45 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.  
Add the diced chicken, lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, avocados, boiled egg and tomatoes to a large bowl, and toss until combined.  OR, make each salad separately aligning the ingredients across the top of the salad and each person can toss themselves (this does make for a prettier presentation).  Personally, I have to do this because Jay O. is the pickiest of eaters & I have to leave certain ingredients off of his :-/  Drizzle or toss with garlic vinaigrette and serve.

To Make The Vinaigrette:
Blend all ingredients in a blender until combined (or whisk).  I prefer blending so the garlic is mixed thoroughly into the dressing

Thursday, April 18, 2013

*Baked Chicken Chimichanga's*

When I was young I LOVED chimichanga's.  But, pretty sure I haven't eaten one in like 10 years!  The idea of a fried burrito just sounds too sinful.  I came across baked chimichanga recipes on pinterest, reviewed a few of the recipes, then came up with my own version of what I thought would all fit together bestOf course Jay O. said I should call them baked burrito's b/c chimichanga's have to be fried ... but, whatever!  I can call them what I want :-)

I am a big fan of the La Tortilla Factory tortilla's.  I get the small one's all the time for turkey wraps at home (only 50 cal's), but for this recipe I got the burrito sized tortilla's they have (only 100 cal's).  This recipe tasted like it wasn't low cal but each Chimichanga is only ~275 cals!  Not bad at all!  Enjoy!

~1 pound chicken breast (diced) my pkg of chicken was 1.2 lbs.     
1 package low sodium taco seasoning
1-¼ cup Water
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Oregano (dried or fresh)
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 Tablespoons diced fresh Serrano peppers
½ cups Diced Fresh Tomatoes
1 small can diced green chiles
½ cups Sour Cream
1 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 Tablespoons Melted Butter or no-calorie spray butter (that's what I used)
4 - 5 Burrito Sized Tortillas (I used La Tortilla Factory 100 calorie tortillas) 
GARNISH (optional): Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cheese, Guacamole, Salsa, Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Saute chicken until cooked through and starting to brown. Add taco seasoning and stir. Add water and stir. Over med – low heat cook until liquid has reduced 2/3.

Add cumin, oregano, cilantro, serrano, tomatoes, green chiles. Simmer until the rest of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes. Stir in sour cream and Cheddar cheese.

Lay tortillas on wax paper and brush both sides with the melted butter. Spoon filling into center of tortilla and fold like and envelope. (I filled the guys servings w/more filling - just do however much you would like)

Put tortillas, seam-side down on a non-stick sheet pan. Spaced so they don't touch. Bake 20 -25 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Top w/garnishes of your choice & serve!

I served mine with salad & a new creamy avocado dressing I tried out which I will make sure to post!  We were avocadoed out last night!

*Lowfat Creamy Guac*

Last night Jay O. & I had Chris & Rebekah over for dinner & Aunt Abigail graced us with her presence at the beginning of the night (and brought me beautiful yellow flowers!:)).  We thoroughly enjoyed catching up, telling funny stories from college, and yes I am pretty sure Chris threw out the word "fratter."  WOW.  ha.  We had some good laughs!  And, sorry Chris, had to call you out on that one! ;) 

This is the dip I made for an appetizer.  I feel like I am kind of on a yogurt kick lately - a very healthy alternative to mayo!  We all really enjoyed it & I will definitely be making it again over the summer months. 

1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt (or Greek if you prefer)                              
2-3 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded serrano pepper
juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Cavendar's Seasoning to taste
Lightly Season w/Salt and ground black pepper
Pita chips, tortilla chips, cut up veggies-for serving

Put all ingredients in a food processor & blend until smooth! 

 I served mine w/blue corn chips :-)

P.S. I need to get a new runner!  I am sick of looking at my pics w/that in the background!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

*Pizza Stuffed Peppers*

I don't know about you ... but, I LOVE pizza.  Last weekend at the lake I was playing loaded questions with my besties & the question came up “If you could eat any 2 foods anytime you wanted, what would they be?” and mine was pizza & ranch dressing.  No, I don’t crave pizza hut or some fast food joint but when it comes to the Chloroplast Blast or Dave’s Favorite at US Pizza … give me more please.  LOVE.  Too bad I can’t have it every other day of the week.  I guess I could, if I wanted to be a total fatty.  But, instead of feeling like an oompa loompa walking around by eating pizza & ranch every day I try to come up with new ideas like this recipe to satisfy my cravings!  Pizza flavor sans the carbs.  We loved it & it was a sinch! 


4 Large Bell Peppers (color of your choice – I did 2 green & 2 orange)

8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese – Shredded

~ 1 Cup Pizza Sauce

1 bag turkey pepperoni, sliced into thirds

½ Cup Parmesan Cheese

Italian Seasoning or Italian Dressing Seasoning


Preheat oven to 400° & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut the bell peppers in half and remove the ribs and seeds.  Place pepper halves on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Layer the inside of each pepper with mozzarella cheese, sauce, & pepperoni.  Then top each pepper cup with any remaining mozzarella, and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and Italian Seasoning.

Bake 20 additional minutes or until Parmesan cheese on top is golden brown.

This was simple & delish!  I served mine with a side of the bag o’ “lite Caesar Salad” you can purchase in the produce section at your local market.