Thursday, February 18, 2010

Herbed Tomatoes, Chicken & Rice

This recipe comes from the kraft food website under their budget healthy living recipes... they're cheap & guilt free. This has always been one of my favorite cooking websites (ties with Here is the link:

James and I really enjoyed this recipe, James even more so than I. There was a little crunchiness in the brown rice because I didn't have instant and so I tried to adapt the recipe to regular brown rice and I didn't nail it. One thing to be said about this recipe is that it is pretty tasty, very cheap, and takes under 45 minutes from start to finish.

1/4 cup Italian Dressing

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup water

2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked

1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 fresh tomato, chopped

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 avocado (optional)

Heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and garlic; cover. Cook 5 min. on each side or until chicken is browned on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.

Add canned tomatoes and water to skillet; stir in rice. Bring to boil; simmer, uncovered, on low heat 10 min. Return chicken to skillet. Top with cheese; cover.

Cook 5 min. or until chicken is done; top with remaining ingredients.

Great Easy Chicken Tacos

This recipe is super easy, fast, very low in fat & cost under $5 (depending on how cheap you can find avacado)! Now that's what I call a "cheap, guilt free" recipe!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder (or taco seasoning)
1 small garlic clove
1 large chicken breast(or halibut fillets)
8 small corn tortillas
(toppings: shredded cabbage, onion, tomato, avocado, cilantro, lime)

Combine the olive oil, garlic, and chicken in a large nonstick skillet. Stir in spices and coat chicken well. Cook the chicken over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until there's no pink meat or juices. While chicken is cooking, chop vegetables for toppings and heat the tortillas (either in microwave or on an 8 in skillet for 3 minutes) Fold tortillas and set aside covered to keep warm. Once chicken is done, assemble the tacos and serve with rice and beans.


I served a mission in Italy & ate this nearly everyday. As a Home Ec. teacher, this was usually a favorite recipe among my 8th graders. It is super cheap and super easy and only uses a small amount of olive oil and low fat mozarella. You could even use a whole wheat baguette, if you could find one that is. Enjoy! I love it!

2 large tomato, chopped
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or just basil)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 baguette or loaf french bread, cut into 1 inch slices
1 cup mozzarella cheese, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine tomato, olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, and cheese. Place bread on a baking sheet, and top with tomato mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bottom of bread is browned. You can also broil them for about 3 minutes until golden, but if you broil keep a very close eye because they can burn so fast. Serve.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c. self-rising flour*
2/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 bag miniature chocolate chips

1. Preheat the ocen to 325.
2. Put the flour & sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, and vanilla and almond extract. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms. The mixture will be slightly crumbly and a little oily.
3. Knead several times on the counter. Form into 24 balls. Roll the tops in miniature chocolate chips. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or use a silicon pad. Place the cookies 1 in. apart. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Temove from the oven and let cool on the pan.
Makes 2 dozen. Recipe from: Eat Fresh Food

*2 cup self rising flour= 2 c. all purpose flour + 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 2 pinches of salt... I accidently substituted baking soda instead of powder and they turned out so gross! Baking powder is the key!
** I would only do 18-20 min. cook time and I would put 1 tsp. almond extract.

Why is it so healthy? Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat which will increase your high density lipoprotien (HDL healthy cholestrol) and decrease your low density lipoprotien (LDL unhealthy cholestrol). Butter is a saturated fat and does the exact opposite and margarine or shortening can be made of both polyunsaturated or trans fat, both types are not great. Trans fat is a man made fat that your body cannot digest and directly links to rapid heart attacks. (It is banned & illegal in Sweden) So there you have it. That is why this recipe is better for you and also because it uses darker chocolate and a bit less sugar than my typical cookie recipe.

Mac-and-Cheese with Cauliflower & Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 medium red bell peppers
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. chile powder
8 oz penne pasta
5 c. small cauliflower florets
3 Tbsp. chopped chives

1. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Cut into 1 inch pieces and put in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Cut the garlic in half, lengthwise, and add to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until the peppers are very soft. Transfer the contents of the saucepan, including the water, to a food processor or blender. Add the butter, honey, chile powder, and salt to taste and process until very smooth. Return to saucepan.
2.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cauliflower and cook for 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and shake dry. Transfer to a large bowl. Heat the sauce and pour it over the pasta. Add the cheese and stir well. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle with chives. Serves 6.
Recipe from: Eat Fresh Food

Why so good for you: Because there is only 1 c. cheese & 1 T. butter, but more importantly it is loaded with bell peppers and cauliflower. Here are some facts about them:
Cauliflower: This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese.
Red bell peppers are among the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can buy, with just one medium pepper (148 g) containing only about 30-40 calories and providing an excellentsource of vitamin C (one of the best sources), vitamin A, and vitamin B6. This same serving also provides a good source of fiber and vitamin E (a potent antioxidant). This diet-friendly treat has no fat, cholesterol or sodium and very few carbohydrates.

Appearance: Very pretty for Mac & Cheese... gourmet for sure!
Cost: Our Bell Peppers were on sale for 90 cents, but those can get pricey... so I plan to only make this when they go on sale.
Taste: My confession is that I can hardly tolerate cauliflower. I just have never grown to love it and I keep trying it in hopes that I will someday grow up and love it. But alas, this recipe didn't do it for me. However James really liked it. So if you love cauliflower and bell pepper, you will love it! And if you don't you will enjoy a few bites and then be done with your monthly fill of cauliflower.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Banana Bread Muffins

1 1/4cups sugar
1/2cup butter or margarine, softened*
1 1/2cups mashed ripe bananas (3 medium)
1/2cup milk
1teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2cups all-purpose flour*
1teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon salt
1cup chopped nuts, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes. (I started making these into muffins because I didn’t have the patience for loafs. I also wanted easily edible bite size breakfasts for us on the go… I even make mini muffins too!) If you would like to make loafs, pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Recipe from: Betty Crocker, altered by me!

*To make these even healthier you can do the following:
1. Use 1/4cup unsweetened applesauce & 1/4cup margarine instead of 1/2 c. butter
2. Use 1/2cup fat-free cholesterol-free egg product instead of 2 eggs
3. Use 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour & 1 1/4 c. white flour or all whole wheat… James loves this. It makes the muffin have a hearty almost nutty flavor to it. I highly suggest this! Today I ran out of sugar and so I only put in 3/4 c.and they still were "Pleasantly sweet" like our friend Clinton said I could quote him saying.
**Guilty Confession: They taste even better with soft, melting butter on top, but that is not guilt free and defeats the whole purpose... but it is true.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Grilled Steak & Vegetables

Tonight's dinner was created because I couldn't find my shishkabob skewers and I had steak that I got in the discounted section of Smith's grocery store for only $3.03 total that I needed to use up before it went bad. I was going to fire up the grill, but without skewers it was hopeless, so here is what I did instead:

Chop meat, fruits, vegetables and onions into bite size pieces. Pour on a 1/4 c. olive oil, salt, pepper, and either marinade or BBQ sauce(I used a mixture of bbq and raspberry chipotle). Stir and coat evenly. Spread onto a broiler pan or cookie sheet. Broil on high in oven for 10 minutes, then rotate and broil for another 10 or until golden and edges are brown. While the meat and vegetables were cooking I put brown rice, a minced clove of garlic, and a Tbsp. of olive oil in the rice cooker. When the rice was done I topped it with a little mango salsa and avacado...mmm so good! I'm in a hurry, so I'll leave the ratings to you, we loved it, but the key for price is to find your meat on sale or substitute it with chicken (which is healthier anyway).
P.S. I also was out of pineapple, so I used an apple instead with my bell pepper and onion. It turned out so yummy... so if all you have is an apple, try it. It absorbs alot of flavor and gives a nice little sweetness.