Monday, January 30, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf & Garlic Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

I have never really been a fan of ground turkey, probably because like most of us, I could never really make anything with it that was very tasty. Well…until now. By all means, this isn’t one of those “Bucket List” items, but it sure feels good to have finally conquered this mostly tasteless meat!

Contrary to some thoughts, ground turkey is not always better for you than ground beef. Often, lean ground beef has just as few calories as ground turkey; just be sure that whichever one you are using is lean. The added benefit of using ground turkey is that it has lower fat and cholesterol content and using it in recipes where you can add a lot of flavor is very helpful.

½ small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/3 lb ground turkey (my grocery store only had 85% when I bought it; you may be able to find it leaner)
½ cup quick oats, oatmeal
4 T BBQ sauce, divided
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
2 T flax seed meal
1 tsp marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium skillet over low/medium heat, sauté onions in the olive oil, stirring often, until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper, sauté and stir for about 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire and 2 T BBQ sauce, stir. Remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix turkey, onion mixture, oatmeal, remainder of BBQ sauce, egg, flaxseed meal and marjoram. Don’t over mix; just be sure all of the ingredients are incorporated. Place mixture in a loaf pan or divide among mini loaf pans for individual servings. Brush remainder of BBQ sauce on top. I like to add ketchup, too.
Bake in the oven for about 1 hour for a single loaf and 45 minutes for minis. Be sure to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should be at least 165 degrees.

Serve with Garlic Rosemary Smashed Potatoes! See recipe below.

While the meatloaf is cooking, prepare the potatoes.

Garlic Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

10-15 small red creamer potatoes
3 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 T parmesan cheese, grated

In a medium to large pot, place cleaned potatoes, skins intact, and cover with enough water to submerge the potatoes. Boil on med/high heat for about 20 minutes. A fork should glide easily when tested. Drain the potatoes and set aside for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, using your hand or a spatula, smoosh (yes, very technical) them a bit.

In a skillet, heat the oil and then add the potatoes, garlic and rosemary. Without messing with it too much, let the mixture cook for about 7 minutes. Then, turn the potatoes over to cook the other side for another 7 minutes. You can choose to smoosh them some more or leave them as is. Before removing from the heat, sprinkle the cheese on top allowing it to melt a little bit before serving.

Serves 4 – Meatloaf: 315 calories/serving (you can reduce this by approximately 40 calories if using leaner meat); Potatoes: 171 calories/serving

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken and Veggie Potstickers

This is one of those recipes where I found myself thinking, “There is no way this is low calorie!?” I almost felt guilty eating it, it was that yummy. Recently I read in an article that when you are at a restaurant and hungry for an appetizer, if you see Potstickers on the menu, order them. More often than not, they’ll be the healthiest app option on there; even the fried version is better for you than some of the other standard fare.

The salty, vinegar-y, spicy mix of these ingredients had me headed back to my Asian roots. If you’re like me, I love to have fun with food so I grabbed my chopsticks and dug in! Of course, you can use your chopsticks for any type of cuisine. They help you to slow down and enjoy your meal...and when you slow down, you have less of a chance of missing that “I’m-getting-full” signal your tummy is sending to your brain.

This is also a great weeknight recipe; it's ready in about 30 minutes.

1 bag (Qty 20) Frozen Potstickers (you can use any flavor)
2 cups sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil or sesame oil, divided
3 T low sodium soy sauce
3 T rice wine vinegar
2 tsp Asian hot sauce like Siracha
Sesame seeds for garnish

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and drop the potstickers in. Bring back to a boil, cook for about 5 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté 1 tsp oil, garlic and mushrooms over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to med/high and add the rest of the oil. Place the potstickers into the pan and fry, untouched for about 4 minutes then flip them over to brown the other side. Once flipped, add the sugar snap peas, and cover while it cooks for 4 more minutes.

While the second side is browning, mix the soy sauce, vinegar and hot sauce together and set aside.

When the potstickers are done, remove from heat and stir in the sauce. Divide among bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds and dig in! Sooo Good!!

• add onions and cook at the same time as mushrooms (or omit ‘shrooms altogether, if you are not a fan like my good buddy, Kelly Frady)
• use snow peas instead of snap peas
• add edamame
• add sliced carrots

This recipe is a little bit higher in sodium so be sure to use low-sodium soy sauce. You can also lower the amount of soy sauce and the flavor is still really great. Or throw caution to the wind and just be sure to drink lots of water!

Serves 4; 1 serving = 5 potstickers/330 calories

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bolognese Sauce

Tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants and nutrient-rich when it comes to lycopene, an important necessity for bone health. As we age, this becomes an important factor to reduce our risks of osteoporosis. There are so many ways to enjoy tomatoes and the great news is that any source is a good source!

One of my favorite Italian dishes is spaghetti with meat sauce and I especially love the complex flavors of Bolognese sauce, which incorporates wine (um, yum?) and a light creamy finish using either heavy cream or half & half. Bolognese is simply an Italian meat sauce that originated in the Bologna region of Italy.

The typical Bolognese can sometimes have a large amount of calories especially when incorporating heavy cream. I remade this recipe using lean ground beef and fat free half & half – SO delicious, just a hint of creaminess, and now definitely my go-to sauce!

3 oz pancetta, chopped (or use bacon)
½ T butter
½ small onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb 95% lean ground beef
½ cup white wine (you can also use red which deepens the flavor even more)
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
½ bay leaf
salt and fresh pepper
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fat free half & half
(This is another great way to incorporate flax seed meal; throw a few tablespoons into your sauce!)

I used my crock pot but you can cook it on your stove top. If using your stove top, you really want the flavors to incorporate so it needs at least a few hours to simmer.

In a nonstick cooking pan, sauté the pancetta over med/high heat, just until the fat starts to melt…about 2 minutes tops, you don’t want it to get crispy. Add the butter, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until the veggies are tender. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and then to the same pan, add the ground beef breaking it up and cooking until no longer pink. Remove from stove top and add to crock pot.

To the mixture, add the tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, oregano and parsley (do not add the half & half yet). Cook on low heat 4 hours or longer if you have the time.

With 20 minutes left, add the half and half and stir.

Serve it over your favorite pasta. Enjoy!

Serves 8; ½ cup servings: 177 calories

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick “Calzone”

Mmmm… cheese, sauce, meat…more cheese…all wrapped in a warm crusty dough…oh, and did I mention ooey gooey? Okay, yah, mouth is definitely watering now! Italian food is absolutely one of my favorite cuisines and it would certainly be Top 3 if I was ever in a “last meal” type of situation…

Anywhooo…I was in the mood for all of these flavors but obviously I’m trying to find healthier ways to enjoy “ooey gooey” items so I came up with this super quick substitution. It definitely satisfied my cravings and I literally sort of giggled to myself when I took the first bite because I was actually surprised at how good it really was. Confession: sometimes I have no idea how things are going to taste so when they turn out pretty good, I’m pleasantly surprised!

Feel free to use your favorite toppings, the ones I used were just the ones I had on hand. The calorie amount for this is based on the ingredients I used; adjust for your ingredients. This “calzone” is so low in calories, you could eat two!

Ingredients (for one “calzone”, increase amounts for more):
Whole wheat or low carb tortilla (the one I used had only 60 calories)
Pizza sauce (I used the squeezy bottle, I think it’s Contadina)
1/3 cup low fat shredded cheese
Turkey pepperoni (I love this stuff; to me it tastes even better than regular!)
Cherry Tomatoes, diced
Frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed of liquid
Dried oregano to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Olive Oil or Pam Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or brush with a little bit of olive oil (not too much, just to keep things crisp and from sticking) using the tortilla as your “dough”, spread the pizza sauce all over and then sprinkle it with cheese and oregano if you’d like.

On one half of the tortilla, layer your toppings. When you are done, fold the tortilla over onto the filled half. Don’t worry about it being open, you don’t have to cook it very long so your toppings pretty much stay in place. Spray the top with cooking spray, or brush lightly with olive oil and then sprinkle the top with garlic powder.

Bake in the oven about 12-15 minutes – or until the tortilla becomes crispy.

One serving 200 calories / 16.7g carbs

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Smoked Pork (Kalua Pig)

One of my favorite things about living in San Diego was the variety of food available and especially the ones that brought back memories of my childhood. I’m an Air Force brat and when I was younger, we moved around a lot. One of my dad’s stations was on Guam and there I was introduced to Hawaiian and Chamorro cuisines. San Diego is one of those great places (for a million different reasons) where you can find just about anything you’re hungry for. When I came across a Hawaiian/Chamorro restaurant, just walking in and smelling the aroma, I was flooded with memories of being a little kid and the many roadside fiestas we went to.

Kalua (not to be mistaken with the drink Kahlua) is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method in which an underground oven is used along with wood and smoking techniques. Obviously, many of us do not have an underground pit at-the-ready, but you can get the same great taste by using liquid smoke and your crock pot – how much easier is that?

This recipe calls for THREE items and all you need is your trusty crockpot and about 12 hours of cooking time. It seems like a long time but it’s the long cooking time that helps to create the flavor: smoky and delicious. AND, I couldn’t believe how few calories there are in this recipe so you can enjoy it without the guilt…and don’t guilt-free meals just taste even better??

3 lb pork shoulder picnic roast, trimmed of all fat
1 T coarse sea salt
1 T liquid mesquite smoke (see below)

Place the trimmed pork into the crockpot and poke holes all over the roast with a knife. Pour the liquid smoke all over being sure that it gets into the holes. Sprinkle the sea salt all over the pork, set the crockpot setting to low and cover. Cook for 10-12 hours.

When it is done, shred the pork in the crockpot with two forks; be sure to incorporate the juices.

Serve with brown rice or on rolls with BBQ sauce; enjoy!

Serves 8; 142 calories/serving.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken, Kale & Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce

If you’re looking for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner, this is it!

My weeknight routine is simple: get home from work, change, work out, then make dinner. Since Hubby works late most nights, I am not rushed to get home and cook a meal, but because I like to get my work out in after work, by the time I’m actually ready to make dinner, it’s almost 6:30…by then, I’m pretty hungry and it’s tempting to just grab cereal. Don’t get me wrong; I love me a bowl of Special K Red Berries but all cereal and no protein makes Jenn a dull girl! It definitely takes a lot of on-going planning to be sure that we are eating healthy dinners so that’s why I loved this recipe; it’s not only healthy, but super quick!

Kale is one of the veggies that has grown in popularity lately and for good reason; it is SO very good for us. It is full of antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids which protect our cells from free radicals. One cup of Kale has only 36 calories and provides 10% of the omega-3 fatty acids that help to regulate our body’s inflammatory process. Scientists believe that these antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities can prevent cancer, support a good cardiovascular system and is a great detox. Kale’s greatest quality is its huge dose of Vitamin K (one cup supplies you with over 1,200% of your recommended daily allowance!) which prevents calcium build-up in our tissues. Kale is also full of Vitamins A & C…and it’s delicious! It is very similar to spinach in its consistency and when it’s cooked, just a little more firm and with a good bite. Throw it in soups, stews, sauces, and stir fry. You can find it in the veggie section of your grocery store in either large leaf or in a bag already pre-chopped like this:

16 oz chicken tenders
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
¼ cup flour (for dredging)
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz sliced mushrooms (I used baby Bellas, but feel free to use your fave!)
4 cups kale, chopped (mostly leaves, if you are using full leaves, remove most of the stem)
¼ cup white wine
1/3 cup fat free chicken broth
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 4

If you don’t have tenders on hand, feel free to use chicken breasts and just cut them into strips.

First, preheat your oven to 200 degrees (just to keep your chicken warmed while veggies are sautéing).

Season your strips with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like then lightly dredge in flour. In a med/large sauté pan, melt 1tsp butter and 1tsp olive oil and cook the chicken on medium heat until chicken is no longer pink then place on a baking sheet and warm in the oven.

Add the rest of the butter and olive oil to the skillet and cook the garlic for just a few seconds. Then add mushrooms and kale (like spinach, the kale will shrink down quickly so don’t worry about overflow), sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and cook down for about 5 minutes.

Add the wine, broth and parsley and stir. Cook until the liquid reduces to about half. Add the chicken back in and stir.

Serve with brown rice or just eat on its own, it’s SOOOO good!

Per serving: 222 Calories/5.6g Fat/13.5g Carbs

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

It’s winter (in most of the country…zip it, San Diego!) and I don’t know about you, but there is just something comforting about a hot meal simmering in your kitchen all day. It smells amazing and is certainly a promise for a great ending to a cold day.

Of course with the word “dumplings” comes the threat of “dimpling”…as in thighs…but I was able to come up with a delicious LIGHT chicken and dumplings recipe; perfect for those of us watching those calories AND for any leftover chicken or turkey!

Many of the ingredients are ones you probably already have on hand so just throw it in the crock pot or Dutch oven, sit back, relax...and get ready to have your olfactory senses assaulted.

For the broth:
2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 can fat free cream of celery soup(feel free to use any kind of “cream of”…)
1 can FF evaporated milk or skim milk (evap milk has more calories, but I think it adds a great flavor)
8 oz white wine (I used Chardonnay, but any dry white wine will work)
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
(you can add any other chopped veggies you like! I added 1 cup fresh green beans)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
Fresh ground pepper to taste

If you use a Dutch oven, simmer your veggies in a little bit (1 T) of olive oil to soften them up, but if you’re using your crock pot, just throw everything for the broth in at one time. Your Dutch oven is going to be quicker (approx. 1-2 hours on med - low simmer); crock pot, I’d plan for 6-8 hours on low. You want to give both options the opportunity for all of the flavors to come together.

When your broth is ready (Dutch oven 20 minutes left; crock pot 30 mins left), it’s time to mix up and drop the dumplings in! Bring the heat up on the Dutch oven to a simmer.

For the dumplings:
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp sea salt
1 T melted butter
½ cup buttermilk (I used full fat...I know, I know, but it's okay!)
2 tsp dried parsley

Melt the butter and mix the rest of the ingredients in. You’ll want it to look like a sticky paste (they need to be moist). If it's too dry, just add a little bit of milk at a time until it's the right consistency.

Then drop by spoonful’s into the pot. Sometimes I have more dough than space on top of the broth, if it's the same for you, just push some of them down into the broth - yum!

NEXT: Put the lid on it and WALK AWAY! Resist the urge to peek :)

When they're done (below), dig in and ENJOY!

Serves 6; One serving: 1 ½ cups
Calories 265 / Carbs 37g / Fat 5g / Protein 13g / Fiber 6g / Sodium 1489mg

Monday, January 9, 2012

My New Logo!

I am dedicating this post to a VERY talented artist, photographer, personal chef & fellow foodie, Ty Crawford, who created the new logo for A Healthy Makeover! Ty was one of my inspirations for creating my blog; he has his own food blog in which he creates these oh-so-amazing dishes. I’m not sure I can even place myself in the same “Foodie” category as Ty; I seriously just hope to be like him someday. Please check out his website and follow him!

Ty, I cannot thank you enough for helping to make A Healthy Makeover sooo pretty and so indicatively me…mwah!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Burgundy Mushrooms

Happy New Year!! How are your resolutions going?

I hope you all had a great holiday season. I absolutely love the holidays but one of the things I struggle with is the temptation of all the wonderful goodies that accompany it! This year, I vowed to look at the special occasions as just that: individual days/meals vs. an entire season of eating badly. With careful planning, I was still able to enjoy treats and great meals, but without the guilt and worry of starting the New Year off feeling badly.

And boy did I enjoy some great meals for the holiday! Have you seen this show, The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network? I’m a teensy bit obsessed…okay, a lot obsessed. Here’s this seemingly fit, beautiful, Boho woman who lives on a working ranch in Oklahoma with a real-life cowboy, kids, and animals to take care of. I’ve watched a few episodes so far and all she seems to cook is beef…with butter. I swear in one episode her cowboy hubby made two huge beef tenderloins smothered and boiled in butter…honestly, they looked amazing…it got me wondering if maybe TPW is churning her own butter on her ranch and perhaps supplying the butter Queen herself, Paula Deen??!.... I digress.

But, ohhhh, the recipes she creates! Obviously, I’m trying to stay away from such self-indulgence but as I said, during the holidays, I decided that it would be okay. So I looked up TPW’s recipe for burgundy mushrooms and just out of curiosity wanted to know how many calories were in a serving…I mean, they’re mushrooms, a vegetable, how many calories could they really be?? Ummm, well…a lot. In one serving, which is about 1/3 cup there are 369 calories! I almost threw the idea out the window when I started thinking about how I could minimize some of the ingredients to get the recipe to a more reasonable number.

I was able to cut out about 150 calories/serving by cutting the butter into thirds and reducing the amount of wine to 1 cup vs. 1 litre. Even with this change, they were AMAZING! I honestly don’t know how much better the “bad” version could be. Now be warned, you’re going to have to plan some time to make these or, like me, throw them in the crockpot because they take nine…yes, NINE…hours to cook. But they are SO worth it, I promise you!

I cut the recipe in half (below), but the original version serves 8.

2 pounds White Button Mushrooms
½ stick of butter
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup Burgundy Wine (I used Cab Sauv)
½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Boiling Water
2 whole Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 whole Beef Bouillon Cubes
½ tsp Dill Seed
3 cloves Garlic, Peeled
1 tsp Salt

Serves 4; 215 calories/serving

Aren’t they so pretty?? And they smell so good when they are simmering! If you are anything like me, you won’t be able to resist the urge to try a sample at about hour 4; go ahead, do it!

Annnddd, you’re probably wondering what I served them with, right? Well…I served them alongside Stracato…a pot roast and porcini mushroom pile of deliciousness. I didn’t even bother trying to reduce that one…I told you that I allowed myself a few treats for the holiday!!

Back to the resolution question: I didn’t actually declare my resolution, but my plan is to continue on the same path I’m on right now. They say most people gain weight during the holidays but I am proud to say that I’m starting off 2012 14.5lbs lighter! I wish you all a happy and healthy 2012!!