Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crustless 3 Cheese Quiche

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I've been on a breakfast kick lately!  I'm completely obsessed with quick-and-easy/grab-and-go type breakfasts during the week.  But I've got to have something that will fill me up.  As I've mentioned before, I'm more of a savory breakfast eater than sweets.  My absolute favorite is eggs for breakfast and this recipe was a quick one I threw together to make those busy work mornings easier!

It's crustless, so I'm definitely saving on calories there, and it's filled with great veggies and yummy cheese.  Not to mention, lots of protein to keep you filled up until lunch!  Use your favorite veggies to make it your own; the skies the limit!

5 large eggs
2 T fat free half & half
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat cheese (cheddar, colby jack, pepper jack, Swiss - whatever you like!)
1 package fresh baby spinach
1 small vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper (red, yellow, green...or all!)
1tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
dried red pepper flakes if you like a little heat

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saute pan sprayed with nonstick spray, caramelize your onions.  This will take about 10-12 minutes; you don't want them to burn, just slowly brown them over med/low heat.

When they are about done, add the entire bag of spinach and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Let wilt down and mix with the onions.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the eggs and half & half together.  Add the cottage cheese, feta and shredded cheese and stir.

In a pie pan sprayed with non-stick spray, lay the spinach and onion mix covering the bottom of the pan.  Add the bell pepper next (seriously, look at my bell pepper rainbow - pretty right???!)

Now pour the egg/cheese mixture over the veggies and finally, sprinkle with salt & peppers if you adding.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the center is set.

Cool for approximately 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

If you are freezing them or throwing them in the fridge, let cool completely then wrap individually in plastic wrap and then put them in a zipper bag.  Remove one when you are ready to eat, warm it up and enjoy!

Shhhhh...don't tell but I add a 4th kind of cheese when I eat this:  spread a Laughing Cow cheese wedge on top and it'll send it over the edge!

Makes 4 single servings - yup, 1/4 of the pie is 1 serving!
Calories 229 / Carbs 12g / Fat 11g / Protein 18g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 442mg

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cranberry Pecan Breakfast Cookies

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You may remember the Breakfast Cookies I made a bit back with currants – they were so super good, and very versatile! - so this weekend, I made them again but changed things up a bit by adding cranberries, pecans and some protein powder to give them even more staying power.

They are so easy to make!  I like to bake them up and throw them in a baggie to grab quickly during the week.  Two of these are hearty and will definitely give you the energy you need in the morning along with a bit of staying power with the added protein.

2 ripe bananas
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
¼ cup chopped pecans (or your favorite – be creative!)
¼ cup chopped dried cranberries (again, any dried fruit would be great!)
1 ½ cups quick oats

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mash bananas until they are creamy like so:

  • Add the applesauce, extract, cinnamon and protein powder and mix.

  • Mix in the pecans, cranberries, and oats.

  • Set aside for about 10 minutes until the ingredients get all happy.
  • Scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined or non-stick baking sheet…these babies will stick so don’t forget this part.

  • Bake for about 20-30 minutes.  I like mine to be a bit softer so I took them out at 20 minutes.

  • Cool and enjoy!
Makes about 6-7 servings depending on how big you make the cookies – I made 14.

2 cookies/serving

Calories 174 / Carbs 29g / Fat 5g / Protein 5g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 10mg

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Maple Mustard Grilled Chicken with Asian Slaw

It’s finally, officially, really and truly grilling season!!  I couldn’t be happier because there’s just nothing like grilling up some dinner, sitting on the deck, eating and enjoying a great evening.

Here’s an easy and delicious recipe for you to add to your grilling repertoire and one I’ll definitely be making again and again.  I love the sweet and spicy flavors of maple and mustard and incorporating spicy brown mustard just sends this one over the top. I served it alongside an Asian slaw for a light and healthy grilled dinner!

1/3 cup spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons yellow mustard  
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 package boneless skinless chicken – I used thighs because I had them on hand, but breasts would work great, too!

2 T honey
2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
1 ½ tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 ½ tsp sesame oil
1 ½ tsp creamy peanut butter
½ tsp chili garlic sauce or hot sauce like Siracha
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 bag coleslaw mix
½ cup thawed edamame, shelled
½ cup bell pepper (any color is fine)

  • Combine first 9 ingredients for chicken into a bowl or jar.  Place the chicken in a zipper bag and then pour half of the mixture on top of the chicken and mix to make sure that the chicken is all nice and cozy in the marinade; marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Reserve the remaining mixture to serve with chicken. 
  • In the meantime, make your slaw by combining the first 8 slaw ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour the mix over the vegetables, cover and refrigerate.  Toss before serving. 

  • When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the bagged marinade. Spray the grill with nonstick spray and grill approximately 7 - 8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
  • Serve with reserved mustard mixture and slaw.
  • The sauce is AH-MAZING!

Serves 4
Chicken (This calculation might be slightly off because 1/2 of the marinade is poured other words, the numbers below for the chicken are probably less!  Good news!!)
Calories 311 / Carbs 13g / Fat 15g / Protein 28g / Fiber 0g / Sodium 361mg

Calories 116 / Carbs 18g / Fat 4g / Protein 5g / Fiber 3g / Sodium 221mg

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Grilled Caprese Chicken

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I’m always looking for different ways to make chicken and I have no idea why this one took  me so long?  I mean, I heart caprese and I heart chicken so how come I couldn’t put these two things together before now??
My only answer is that because if I had, I might have to make it every week.  And then all of the other chicken recipes would get neglected…and I just couldn’t do that…but I’m tempted.  It’s. That. Good.

And, I am so super excited about my garden this year where I always have fresh basil, so this will definitely at least be in the monthly rotation.  PLUS, it’s SO dang easy!!
So, go on, get to it!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
8 slices tomato
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
Marinade:  I used this version from Eating Well (I do not include the nutrition information in the marinade as it is almost all poured off).
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 T Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
1)      Place the chicken into a gallon-size plastic sealable bag.  Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over the chicken.  Seal the bag and marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours.
2)      Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
3)      When ready, remove the chicken from the marinade and the bag and place on a separate plate.  TOSS the marinade – do not use it!
4)      It’s sometimes easiest to oil the grill grates beforehand to keep the chicken from sticking.  Grill the chicken for about 8-9 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees and chicken is no longer pink.
5)      At the last 2 minutes or so, place 2 slices of cheese, 2 slices of tomato, and sprinkle ½ tsp of basil onto each breast, in that order.
6)      Let cook down until the cheese is melty….mmm, melty cheese.

7)      Remove the chicken from the grill and top each with 1 tsp balsamic vinegar.

This chicken is amazing!  I hope you get to try it!
Serves 4
Calories 330 / Carbs 3g / Fat 13g / Protein 56g / Fiber 1g / Sodium 222mg

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Homemade Almond Butter

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Today's post is all about easy, homemade, healthy fun!
I have been wanting to make my own almond butter for the longest time and I finally did it last week.  Well, let me rephrase that and incorporate some more truth into that statement...I have actually TRIED to make my own nut butter a few times, but I thought I was being smart by using a small food processor on one occasion and a blender on the other occasion.  Let me help you here by saying that if you want to be successful at making your own nut butter, pull out your regular old food processor and save yourself some time.  You need the room within the larger food processor for the crunched up nuts to move around.  All I ended up with when I used the smaller tools was crushed the kind you could sprinkle on some ice cream...there was no butteryness to it.
Now, I have to say, when I finally made it using the right tool, it was as easy as pie.  The money I will be saving from this point forward makes me so happy.  I mean, come on, a jar of GOOD almond butter runs upwards of $6-$10 and some of those jars are super tiny.  AND many of them have extra ingredients in them that are not even necessary.  Why do we need evaporated cane juice or other added oils in there??  There should only be ONE ingredient in any kind of nut butter...the nut itself...and maybe a little salt.  As in, peanuts in peanut butter, almonds in almond get me?
So, I grabbed a bag of roasted unsalted almonds and I got to work.


Um...almonds...about 4 cups to make roughly one cup of almond butter.  Be sure NOT to buy salted almonds or peanuts, they are WAY too salty for the end product.  You can sprinkle a little in during the buttermaking process; I'd say about 1tsp.

If you can't have almonds for some reason, you can make any type of nut butter that you like:  peanut, cashew, walnut, pecan, etc.

Place the almonds in your food processor.

Turn your processor on using either the first level or second level.  No need for pulsing.

Now, just let the food processor do it's thang.  Be patient, it doesn't happen right away, but it does happen.

This is what it looks like when you first start it...kind of like nut powder.  Each time you check on it, give the sides a little scrape and stir a little bit:

Then, the change starts to starts to break down as the oils in the nuts start to  come out and that's what starts to help with the mixing:

And here you see it's really coming together and almost done.  I'd say it takes about 6-7 minutes to get to this point:

There you have it!  Your own homemade almond butter!

Store it in an airtight container in your fridge.  I don't know the shelf life, but I did a quick Google search and it looks like up to 3 months...that's if it lasts that long!

Some additional things you could mix in with the butter to make it even more fun:  honey, cinnamon, vanilla, or anything you'd like!

Serving size = 2T
Calories 180 / Carbs 4g / Fat 16g / Protein 6g / Fiber 3g / Sodium 60mg