Friday, September 26

Asiago Artichoke Dip

Wow - what a long week! After my first 40 hour week ever, I needed to make some yummy food to relax. So for dinner, we had tasty burgers topped with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, with some coleslaw made with nonfat yogurt and low fat sour cream (instead of mayo). I just want to say - it was absolutely delicious with a little salt and pepper, and normally I'm not one to enjoy coleslaw. So I highly recommend using the yogurt and sour cream - it's lighter, healthier, and much more summery than mayo!

Then on to the really yummy stuff. I have a pot-luck brunch to go to tomorrow morning, and I was asked to bring some sort of appetizer. I plan to bring some homemade salsa, along with a creamier dip. Having had a delicious asiago artichoke dip back in Ithaca, I was determined to make my own. I did (adapted from epicurious) - and it turned out great (of course we had to have a little taste test!). I'll post a picture tomorrow. Here's how:

Asiago Artichoke Dip:
16 oz low fat cream cheese, soft (room temp) ($3.75)
1/3 cup low fat sour cream ($0.30)
1/4 cup low fat mayo ($0.25)
1 tbsp lemon juice ($0.25)
1 tbsp dijon mustard ($0.10)
1 garlic clove, minced ($0.25)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.05)
1/2 tsp ht pepper sauce ($0.05)
24 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced ($7.00)
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella ($0.75)
1 cup shredded asiago cheese ($3.75)
1/2 cup grated parmesan ($0.25)
1/4 cup leek, finely diced ($0.25)

Mix first 8 ingredients with blender or electric mixer. Then, mix everything else in (I found a spatula works wonders). Bake at 400 degrees about 15-20 minutes, until the top is bubbling and golden brown (not burnt!). Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips!

About $15-17 dollars for a huge bowl of dip that will serve probably 20 or so people.

Nutrition Facts:
Asiago Artichoke Dip

So in short, maybe a little high in fat content, but with all the delicious flavors, it's ok to use the low fat cream cheese, sour cream, and cheeses - you won't be able to tell the difference. Try it - it's delicious!

Wednesday, September 24

Fruity Margarita

Today was day three of my new jobs. After a full day of work, some errands, and a meeting for school, this nice fruity margarita recipe (along with some raspberry sorbet and frozen fruit) went a long way toward helping me relax. Here it is - short, simple, but not too sweet:

Fruity Margarita:
1 shot tequila
1 shot Triple Sec
1 shot lime juice (sweetened or fresh based on your preference)
Dole orange peach mango juice

If you like margaritas with salt, make sure you salt the rim first (I always seem to forget, but not this time!). Then add a couple ice cubes, the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. Fill the rest of the glass with the Dole juice. The fruit juice adds a little bit of sweetness.

So this post wasn't very long, but there was no time to make anything other than breakfast today! Tomorrow I should have more time, so check back then!

Tuesday, September 23

Black Bean Tomato Quinoa - woah

Wow.. So this new schedule is wreaking havoc on my ability to work, study, cook, eat, blog, and sleep. Hence the lack of a post yesterday. But I did make a delicious summer salad on Sunday that I'm eating for lunch this week - it's incredibly healthy and very very tasty. I got the recipe from epicurious, and have added my own tweaks to make it more simple and savory. Here's how:

Black Bean Tomato Quinoa Salad:
2 teaspoons grated lime zest ($.10)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice ($.60)
1 tablespoon olive oil ($.10)
1 teaspoon honey ($.10)
1 cup quinoa ($.50)
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained ($.50)
4 medium roma tomatoes, diced ($1.00)
1/4 cup leeks, chopped ($.75)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro ($1.00)
1 medium avocado ($.55)
1 tsp cayenne pepper sauce ($.05)
salt and pepper to taste (negl)

Wash quinoa in three changes of cold water. Mix first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cook quinoa as you would rice, for about 15 minutes. Drain well. Mix quinoa in with liquid mixture. Stir in tomatoes, leeks, cilantro, avocado, cayenne pepper sauce, and salt/pepper. Serve hot, or let cool for a tasty summer treat!

around $5.25 for 4 servings - one serving in a wrap works perfectly for lunch for me!

Nutrition Info:
Black Bean Tomato Quinoa Salad

*Sigh* I will try and post as frequently as I have been, but I had forgotten how much work work actually is. Additionally, I'm riding my bike the 2 miles to work and back, so I'm physically tired more than anything else. Keep checking and commenting and I'll keep updating!

Sunday, September 21

A Break and a Rant

So I'm not actually going to post a recipe (today was leftover day), but I do have something to say. I'm very frustrated right now at the disposable habits of this country. To start off, my camera is broken. It still takes pictures (as that's what I've been using to post pics of my food), but the flash no longer works. I took it in to the camera shop that is conveniently located next to our apartment, to see how much it would cost to get a new flash bulb. That's when they came back and told me it wasn't a bulb problem, but a circuit problem. When I asked how much it would cost to get it fixed, they told me I'd be better off just getting a new camera!

The only thing broken on this camera is one little circuit that makes the flash go off. Yet for some reason I need to buy a brand new camera - even though everything else on my camera works great! No glitches, no scratches on the lense, nothing - and the camera is probably about 3 or 4 years old by now. But of course I can't just get it fixed, I need to buy a whole new one!

I think this is outrageous. I suppose I could just suck it up, pay an arm and a leg to fix it, and leave it at that. But for it to be cheaper to replace the whole entire camera, rather than fixing one tiny aspect of it? Insane! I'm very frustrated by this. But for now, I'm just going to keep taking pictures without the flash. I'm not really a denizen of dark places anymore anyway, so I can always just shine another floor lamp at the food. I still think it's unfair. *Sigh*

Saturday, September 20

Banana Raisin Oatmeal Pancakes

So today was very hot, and kind of a lazy Saturday. I've got two papers due early next week, and I spent a lot of time working on them. Today's only interesting meal ended up being breakfast - and it was super tasty! The bananas get ripe very quickly in this heat, so I wanted to use them up before they got all brown and mushy. Here's what I did:

Banana Raisin Oatmeal Pancakes:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats ($0.25)
1/2 cup flour ($0.25)
3/4 tsp baking powder ($0.05)
1/4 tsp baking soda ($0.05)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon ($0.05)
3/4 cup milk ($0.25)
1 large egg ($0.25)
1/4 tsp vanilla ($0.05)
3 tbsp honey ($0.10)
3 tbsp applesauce ($0.10)
1 mashed banana ($0.25)
1/2 cup raisins ($0.25)

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine all wet ingredients (excluding fruit) in another. Mix dry mixture into wet mixture just until blended (if you over mix, the pancakes get less fluffy because you're breaking the bonds in the flour). Fold in mashed banana and raisins. Spray griddle with non-stick spray, and cook pancakes (approximately 1/3 cup each) until golden brown.

Just under $2.00 total, or about $1.00 per serving - not bad for the most important meal of the day!

Nutrition Info:

Notes - If you are silly, like me, and don't own a black nonstick griddle, and have to use a stainless steel skillet on an electric stove, make sure not to let them burn. You may have to flip them before you really think they're done, but it'll turn out fine - I promise.

Also, these pancakes go great with a little bit of honey instead of syrup.

Friday, September 19

Honey Dijon Salmon and Garlic Sage Mashed Potatoes

HOORAY! My interviews went so well this morning, that I'm starting both jobs part-time on Monday! I am thoroughly excited, happy, and relieved. So to celebrate, I broke out the salmon from the freezer, and made one of my favorite side-dishes, mashed potatoes. It was simple and easy, and the thing that took the longest was boiling the water for the mashed potatoes! Here's how:

Honey Dijon Salmon:
1lb salmon steak, skin on ($5.50)
2 tbsp honey ($0.10)
1 tbsp dijon mustard ($0.10)
1 tbsp lemon juice ($0.25)
1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)

Garlic Sage Mashed Potatoes:
3 medium golden potatoes ($0.75)
1 tsp ground sage ($0.05)
1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)
1/2 tsp pepper ($0.05)
1/2 cup 2% milk ($0.10)

Put water on to boil for potatoes (this takes the longest!). Wash and cut potatoes into small pieces, no larger than around 1" x 1/2" x 1/2". Once water is boiling, add potatoes to water.

Combine honey, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spray nonstick spray in hot skillet, lay salmon in skillet skin side down. Using basting brush, spread mixture over salmon, reserving about half. Flip salmon after a few minutes on each side, halfway through cooking spread remainder of mixture on salmon that should be a nice golden brown by now.

When potatoes are soft (about 10 minutes of boiling), drain, mash with fork, and return to pot. Add spices and half of milk, mix well, mashing with spoon. Add remainder of milk as needed for moisture. If you like your potatoes really creamy (I like some texture), peel before cooking, and using electric mixer after mashing.

Salmon: about $6.00
Potatoes:about $1.00
Salad (not pictured, so make your own): about $2.00
Total for meal: about $9.00, or $3-4 per serving (my serving cost about $3.00, but my boyfriend eats about twice as much as I do, so his cost closer to $6.00, hence the average)

Nutrition Facts:
Salmon here
Mashed Potatoes here

So this was very simple, and ended up being incredibly delicious. The honey-dijon sauce seemed a bit too tart and spicy before cooking, but trust me - it works out great in the end. The honey really comes forward and blends the lemon and mustard flavors quite well. On a scale of 1-10, my boyfriend gave the salmon an 8.8, which is pretty good for a first trial on the sauce. The mashed potatoes were also quite delicious as well - soft, creamy, without the need for any butter even. It's definitely worth it to make your own potatoes - it comes complete with 3 grams of fiber per serving without too much fat or sodium (if you wanted to reduce the fat even more, try skim milk instead of 2%). Overall, I highly recommend trying these recipes!

Thursday, September 18

Eggplant Parmigiana

Ok. I admit it. Fried eggplant smothered in cheese may not be the healthiest dinner in the world. But it is one of the tastiest! As long as you have the skills needed not to completely splatter yourself with sizzling hot oil, you can make this dish. I'll post the recipe tonight, but I'll have to add the nutrition facts tomorrow, as it's late and I have two(!) interviews tomorrow morning. Here's hoping! Anyway..

Eggplant Parmigiana:
1 cup olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 jar tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 lb of spaghetti

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook 1lb of pasta (we used spaghetti).
Combine milk and egg in one bowl, breadcrumbs in another bowl.
Heat the oil in a skillet, coat the eggplant slices in the egg and milk mixture, then in the breadcrumbs. Cook the eggplant until golden brown on one side, then flip them. Drain them on a paper towel. Once they're all cooked, lay them layer by layer in a glass baking dish. Cover with tomato sauce, sprinkle cheeses over top, and bake about 10 minutes. Serve on top of pasta!

Cost and Nutrition Facts:
check back tomorrow!

So this was delicious, but a little on the fatty side. Still, you do need some fats in your diet, so they might as well be the good kind - olive oil, cheeses, tasty things like that!

All we really have left in the fridge at this point is another pizza crust and some salad greens, so luckily tomorrow's meals will be a lot healthier!

Wednesday, September 17

Sweet Potato Chips, Swordfish, and Asparagus

Tonight we had one of my favorite foods - asparagus! I have no idea why I enjoy it so much, other than its tender, juicy texture with its healthy, green flavor, with a hint of lemon and butter. Also, we had sweet potato chips (an experiment that turned out quite well) and a delicious bit of swordfish. Paired with a refreshing chardonnay, it was a great meal. Here's how we did it:

Sweet Potato Chips:
1 sweet potato
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt

1 lb asparagus
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter

2 swordfish fillets
1 tsp lemon juice
non-stick spray
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Wash and peel sweet potato, cut in half lengthwise, use vegetable peeler to slice thin semicircular chips from the ends. Using a basting brush, spread 1 tbsp olive oil on baking sheet. Place thin pieces of sweet potato on sheet, avoiding as much overlap as possible. Brush remaining 1 tbsp olive oil on top of chips. Sprinkle sea salt over chips. Bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven), rotating and flipping halfway through.

After washing asparagus, cut off tough ends, and cut remaining stalks in half. Place in skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, add butter and lemon juice, mix well.

Brush swordfish with lemon juice, adding salt and pepper. Spray skillet with nonstick spray, and cook swordfish approximately 5 minutes over medium heat, until thoroughly cooked. Serve with lemon.

Sweet Potato Chips: about $1.25
Asparagus: about $2.75
Swordfish: about $7.00 for two steaks
TOTAL: $11.00 for the meal, about $5.50 per person

Nutrition Facts:
Sweet Potato Chips
- note sodium content depends on how much you add, if you like salty chips it'll be a lot higher

So overall, this was a pretty healthy meal. Full of fiber and Vitamin A, and the fat content could be reduced by leaving out the butter if you needed to. But still - delicious, healthy, and affordable (once in a while, at least). It's still way cheaper than if you had the same at a restaurant!

Since my boyfriend loves salty fried foods, I made the chips for him especially (with significantly less oil - since it was baked, and less salt) but decided I love them too! I highly recommend them.

Monday, September 15

Veggie Whole Wheat Pizza

I love veggie pizza! After spending 2 hours cooking yesterday, I wanted something quick, easy, and delicious. So I grabbed out some leftover veggies, a Boboli Whole Wheat pizza crust, and it took about 15 minutes start to finish for this tasty meal. Here's how:

1 premade pizza crust ($2.00)
1/4 cup mushrooms ($0.25)
1/4 cup spinach ($0.25)
1/4 cup colored peppers ($0.25)
1/2 cup pizza sauce ($0.25)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella ($0.50)

Preheat oven based on pizza crust directions. Put everything on the pizza, then bake it for around 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

click here

Total cost: $3.50 for a pizza, not bad considering ordering one would be less healthy, and about twice as much.

So I still recommend Boboli pizza crusts. They're much better and healthier than delivery pizza, and you can customize them anyway you want. Not to mention they're cheap, tasty, and can be frozen for when you need it!

Come back soon for a fish dish!

Sunday, September 14

Guacamole, Salsa, and the BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tonight for dinner we had a Chicken Tortilla Soup, recipe complements of the Skinny Gourmet. I highly recommend you check it out - it was fantastic even with the substitutions I made, like adding a little less chicken broth, and using diced tomatoes with jalapeno instead of the two different cans she recommends. Of course, I couldn't follow the recipe exactly because I didn't have all the ingredients, but if you want to wow your guests or simply have the best version possible, make sure to follow her recipe! It took me about an hour and a half start to finish to make it the first time, but I'm sure now that I've made it once it will take me much less time in the future. Once again - it was absolutely delicious, and makes enough to freeze. Try it - I promise it will be worth your time.

Also, I've decided I'm never buying store made salsa or guacamole again. It's overpriced, and the fresh stuff tastes 100x better. I made some salsa and guacamole to complement the nachos that I bought (didn't feel like making the tortilla strips, so we bought triangle chips instead). So here are the recipes:

3 medium vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup of onion, diced
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, diced
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/3 red pepper, diced
1/3 orange pepper, diced
1/3 green pepper, diced
1 tsp jalapenos, finely diced
(hot sauce may be substituted depending on desired level of heat)

Mix ingredients together in large bowl. I recommend using a knife to mix (carefully of course!) so that you break up the tomato a little bit, release the juices, and create that liquid that is in most salsas.

2 very ripe avocados
1 vine ripened tomato, seeded, diced
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 cup leeks (or onions), diced
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredients together in a bowl, mashing avocados to desired thickness.

So total cost for tonight:
Soup: $11.50 total, about $0.75 per serving
Salsa: $2.85 total, about $0.35 per serving
Guacamole: $3.25 total, about $0.40 per serving
Bag of Tortilla chips: $2.99/bag, about $1.75 for tonight

Grand total for two people eating all of that?
A mere $6.25, or about $3.15 per person.

Plus, we get to eat this delicious soup at our leisure for the next week or so, since it freezes nicely.

Delicious Chai Tea (for icing)

I love having a big pot of tea in the fridge for when I need a refreshing iced pick-me-up (here in Arizona, I need that pretty frequently, and water gets boring). So I made regular green tea the other day, but today I was craving some Chai tea. Here's how I did it (beware, this made almost a gallon!):

Boil a large pot of water on the stove, like you were going to make a couple pounds of pasta, but without the salt/oil.

When it's boiling, add 6 black tea bags and steep for maybe 5 minutes. Also add the following:

2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp fennel
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp crushed cloves
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup honey

After steeping the black tea bags sufficiently (the water will turn a dark brownish/black), remove the tea bags, but let the other spices steep for another 15 minutes or so.

If you want to enjoy it hot, ladle out a mug or two while the spices are steeping. Heat some milk in the microwave (or the stove if you're careful not to burn it) and mix with about 1 part of each.

However I wanted something iced - so I've been letting it steep for maybe half an hour now, after removing the tea bags, and once it is much cooler, I'll pour it into the pitcher, straining out the spices with a paper towel spread over a metal colander. Then, add cold milk for a refreshing, slightly caffeinated, spicy treat.

Come back later today for dinner - Chicken Tortilla Soup! Also, I can't stop thinking about that delicious mac and cheese! I'll probably end up making it again relatively soon, even though I'm trying to vary what I make. I definitely highly recommend it!

Saturday, September 13

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

So today was a lazy Saturday. We had plenty of leftovers (and might I add again just how delicious that mac and cheese was!!), so there was really no need cook. Plus, I had a get-together with some members of my local alumnae chapter, so I really had no reason to make anything (hors d'oeuvres were provided, as was tasty wine). But, I did make breakfast this morning (lemon poppy seed muffins with a delicious cinnamon flavored coffee). Here's the recipe for the coffee:
Thanks to my good friend girlyjock for introducing me to this idea
Prepare your coffee like you normally would, but then add about a tsp of cinnamon to the grounds before starting the brewing - it adds a nice warm touch!

And then for the muffins:

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour ($0.50)
1 cup honey ($0.50)
3 tbsp poppy seeds ($0.25)
1 tbsp grated lemon peel ($0.75)
1 tsp baking soda ($0.05
2 tsp baking powder ($0.05)
1/2 tsp salt (negl. $)
16 oz plain low-fat yogurt ($1.00)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice ($0.75)
1/4 cup applesauce ($0.10)
2 eggs ($0.25)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla ($0.10)

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 12 large muffin cups (or smaller muffin cups and a bread pan, which is what is pictured above).
Combine flour, poppy seeds, lemon peel, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Combine all other ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon into muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.
Bake 25-30 minutes (about 15 minutes if you are making small ones - don't make the same mistake I did and burn the edges by cooking them too long!) (25-30 is also good if you make it in two small bread pans). Cool until ready to serve.

Total cost - about $5.20
Cost per serving - about $0.65

Nutrition Facts:
click here

I've been wanting to make these for almost a week now, and short of the slight burning of a couple muffins, the recipe did not disappoint! I highly recommend it, but keep an eye on them so they don't burn!

Friday, September 12

Mac and Cheese for Grownups

So I mentioned mac and cheese a few days ago, and my boyfriend has been wanting it ever since. I finally gave in, so we're having a tasty mac and cheese for grownups (ie. not from a blue box, with a bit of a kick). It tasted delicious as I was making it, and it's even better when its done!

Bread crumbs, dry, grated, seasoned
0.3 x 1 cup (120g) ($0.25)
Butter, salted
4.0 x 1 tbsp (14g) ($0.10)
Cheese, low fat, cheddar or colby
1.5 x 1 cup, shredded (113g) ($0.50)
Cheese, mozzarella, part skim milk, low moisture
1.0 x 1 cup, shredded (132g) ($0.75)
Cheese, parmesan, dry grated, reduced fat
0.5 x 1 cup (100g) ($0.50)
Macaroni, vegetable, dry, enriched
2.0 x 1 cup spiral shaped (84g) ($0.50)
Salt, table
0.75 x 1 tsp (6g) (negl. $)
Sauce, ready-to-serve, pepper or hot
3.0 x 1 tsp (4g) ($0.05)
Sour cream, fat free
2.5 x 1 ounce (28g) ($0.75)
Spices, chili powder
2.0 x 1 tsp (2g) (negl. $)
Spices, pepper, black
0.5 x 1 tsp (2g) (negl. $)

Preheat oven to 375. Cook pasta in pot, then drain. Melt 2 tbsp butter in sauce pan, add flour. Mix in flour, milk, mustard, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add cheeses. Mix well, until all cheese is melted. Add drained pasta to mix, coat well. In separate bowl, combine 2 tbsp melted butter, bread crumbs, and chili powder. Dice tomatoes. Pour cheese/pasta mixture into shallow baking dish. Spread diced tomatoes on top, and sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top. Bake for 25 minutes, let stand for 10 before serving.

Total cost: $3.95
Cost per serving: $0.50
Note: this is very filling, so if had with a salad, you really only need one serving. We ate about 3 servings between the two of us.

Nutrition Facts:
click here

So in short, maybe not so good for your heart if you eat it every day, but still pretty delicious for a treat once in a while. The hot sauce adds an excellent zing. I highly recommend this dish for anyone who likes macaroni and cheese (or even just cheese...)

On a side note, I got an interview today! It went really well, and I hope to hear in the next couple weeks. I'm looking forward to it!

A Day Off and a Comeback

So today wasn't so successful in terms of my wannabe gourmet lifestyle. We had chocolate mug cake for breakfast (my boyfriend had an interview so I made him whatever he wanted) which I'll post the recipe for once I make it a little tastier. Then for lunch we turned more of the leftover veggie mix into another warm veggie wrap (for me) and a quesadilla for him - on a side note it was fantastic with a little cayenne pepper hot sauce. For dinner - boring old pasta and sauce, because I was at my class until around 9pm and just didn't feel like making anything labor intensive.

So to make up for it, I'll be making several very tasty items tomorrow! First on the menu: whole wheat waffles with honey-blackberry syrup. Hopefully the simple recipe I've found works well! I'll post it tonight, and update it tomorrow if I make any changes. So here's the deal:

2 eggs ($0.50)
2 cups milk ($0.50)
1/4 cup applesauce ($0.15)
2 cups whole wheat flour ($0.15)
1/2 tsp salt (negl. $)
1 tbsp baking powder ($0.05)
chocolate shavings/chips (optional, not in nutrition facts)
non-stick spray (negl.$)

1/4 cup honey ($0.25)
1 cup frozen blackberries ($0.75)

total cost = $2.35, not counting the coffee and juice we had (which might add another $1.00 for a total of $3.35)

Mix all the waffle ingredients together, don't forget to spray the waffle iron! Pour into waffle iron until golden brown but not burnt. Spray the iron again before making next waffle! Mix all the syrup ingredients in a pot on the stove, cook on low heat while making the waffles. Serve!

So I'm posting the nutrition facts as well. They may seem a little high in some areas, but keep in mind it includes the syrup - so if you don't want that much sugar, eat it plain (boooring!). Also, I've set the serving size a little on the small side because I won't eat a ton - my boyfriend on the other hand will have probably 3 or 4 "servings". So just take this as guidance, not absolute. Also to make it even better, you can use skim milk (I'm using 2%) or cholesterol free egg substitute.

Wednesday, September 10

Veggie Mix and My New Best Friend

Ok so I've officially found my new best friend. Well, sort of - if you can be best friends with a website. My point is - NutritionData is a wonderful idea that makes healthy cooking even easier. You can enter your own recipes using pre-listed, detailed ingredients - or you can enter your own nutritional information for ingredients you bought at the store. It's a great way to make sure you're getting the right amount of nutrients in your day-to-day life!

So today was leftover veggie day. The peppers were starting to get moldy, the eggplant was turning brown, so that meant salvaging the rest and making warm veggie wraps! Not only were they delicious - but I almost fell over (in a good way) when I saw the results of the nutritional information. Sure, the sodium content may be a little on the high side - but since my boyfriend doesn't believe on wasting electricity on A/C, we've been sweating up a storm and need to replace some salt.

Here's the recipe, nutritional info, and cost:
(note this is for the full 8 servings - we only made two wraps, and save the veggie mix for later tonight)

Black Beans, canned, with salt ($0.58)
3.5 x Custom Food (129g)
Celery, raw ($0.30)
1.0 x 1 cup chopped (101g)
Cheese, mozzarella, part skim milk, low moisture ($1.00)
0.5 x 1 cup, shredded (113g)
Corn, sweet, yellow, canned, no salt added ($0.50)
1.0 x 1 can (303 x 406) (482g)
Eggplant, raw ($1.25)
.5 x 1 cup, cubes (82g)
Leeks, (bulb and lower leaf-portion), raw ($0.25)
0.5 x 1 cup (89g)
Oil, olive, salad or cooking (negl.$)
2.0 x 1 tsp (4g)
Peppers, sweet, green, raw ($0.50)
0.5 x 1 cup, chopped (149g)
Peppers, sweet, red, raw ($1.00)
1.0 x 1 cup, chopped (149g)
Salt, table (negl$)
0.5 x 1 tsp (6g)
Soft Wrap ($3.99/6)
8.0 x whole grain tortilla (62g)
Spices, garlic powder (negl.$)
1.0 x 1 tsp (3g)

Heat olive oil in skillet. Drain beans and corn, wash and dice all other ingredients. Put vegetables in skillet with spices. Mix well, cook for around 5-10 minutes on low-medium heat. Place shredded cheese on wrap, spread veggies on top. Roll wrap and enjoy!

Nutritional Information
click here to see nutrition facts in the conventional format

Cost per serving
About $2.50/serving
To explain, the costs above are for the total preparation. We still had about 2/3 of the veggie mixture left, and only used 2 wraps. I factored out the amount that will go towards dinner tonight (I'll include it later).

So that's that - delicious use for leftover veggies, for only $2.50/person! The best part is that it is incredibly healthy for you - take a look at the nutrition info posted above. You get a whopping 17g of fiber and 16g of protein! All in less than 250 calories!!

That is why these wraps are my new favorite food. For a mere $0.65 per wrap, you get fantastic nutritional value. I highly recommend them to anyone who can find them in the grocery store. Also, they're incredibly easy to make wraps with - no ripping, tearing, breaking of the wrap. Now go forth and make tasty wraps!

Tuesday, September 9

Citrus Chicken and a Revelation

Today was great - our dishes finally came, so we can eat off of these awesome polka dotted plates instead of out of stainless steel pans and mixing bowls! We celebrate by going out to the grocery store and getting some rice (and other things). So in addition to tonight's recipe, I've decided to start incorporating as much information about costs as possible. In response to girlyjock's post about childhood obesity, I want to show that eating healthy, delicious food, is truly affordable and not very time intensive.

So today's recipe is: Citrus Chicken and Rice with Mixed Green Salad
  • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts
    ($3.00 - we got it on a buy one get one sale, so we got 3 lbs for $7.50, and only used about half of 1.5 lbs for this meal)
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
    ($0.50 - we got a large bag for $2.69 and this is the cost for tonight's meal)
  • water, salt, pepper
    (negligible cost)
  • 3/4 cup Dole Pineapple Orange Banana juice
    ($0.50 - we used a small part of a $2.17 carton of 100% juice)
  • 1/2 bag premixed Dole Italian Salad blend
    ($1.25 - we used half of a bag that was on sale for 2 bags for $5.00)
  • 1 tomato, italian croutons, miscellaneous trail mix
    ($1.50 - probably overestimated)

  • Total Cost = $6.50 give or take, for two people, or $3.25 per serving

    To make, simply mix all salad ingredients together. For the rice, cook as recommended, adding 1/4 cup of juice near the very end. For the chicken, begin cooking in skillet with spices, adding 1/2 cup of juice once the chicken has been flipped once. The juice will help keep the chicken moist and tender, and add a little flavor to the plain brown rice.
So it's really not very expensive to eat delicious, healthy food. My boyfriend agreed that it was delicious, after telling me I needed to make dinner because I was the "expert" since I had a blog. I guess I didn't let him down!

On a side note, we also shared a bottle of California Riesling with dinner, to complement the citrus notes in the chicken and rice. This white wine probably cost us all of $5.00, because we stocked up on cheap but tasty wines when the supermarket was having a sale - buy 6 bottles and save 25%.

I guess my biggest advice today would be to buy nonperishables while they're on sale. Or even if it is perishable and can be frozen, like meats, fishes, shredded cheese, bread, frozen fruits and veggies, take advantage of the sale! Keep the freezer filled with healthy items and leftovers, and you won't have to reach for the ready-made high sodium, high calorie, high fat foods.

Monday, September 8

Chocolate Raspberry Whole Wheat Pancakes

Picture from Martha Stewart's pancakes

So for breakfast this morning, I decided to make some pancakes, since we bought a ton of whole wheat flour and frozen veggies. I found a recipe on Epicurious that I used as a basis, but I made some changes to ingredients. Here's the way I made it:

For pancakes
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup applesauce
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

For syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup water

Then I combined all the ingredients as per the Epicurious recipe. So all of you don't make the same mistake I did, I would have waited to add the water to the syrup, since it started out kind of watery (I think I forgot to account for the frozen water in the berries), but I solved it simply by boiling it a little longer.

The pancakes came out quite nicely, and probably would have been even more decadent if I included some chocolate chips. Unfortunately, we just moved to Arizona, and over the course of a day, our chocolate chips melted into a giant hunk of semisweet chocolate. I'm just waiting to make some brownies or chocolate chunk cookies or something.

Anyway, the pancakes came out great. I highly recommend making them - it took all of maybe 30 minutes. If the pancake batter looks a little thin, make a test pancake first - mine fluffed up quite nicely once I poured it in the pan. But please make sure to use nonstick - and plenty of nonstick spray!

On a more hilarious note, we ate this entire meal (and the past few days worth of meals) without any plates or bowls. Unfortunately we didn't bring plates with us, and the ones I ordered don't come until tomorrow. So instead of buying paper plates, we've been eating off of pizza pans and stainless steel pots/skillets. It's actually be interesting realizing what we usually take for granted (like plates). But we've still been eating well.

We made portabello mushroom chili with cornbread the other day. Boy was that tasty! The recipe was based off of this one from All Recipes, with once again a few minor modifications:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (19 ounce) can red kidney beans
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

This lasted us two meals - a dinner and a lunch, and there was still left over cornbread. The recipe for the cornbread comes from Epicurious as well, but we left out the jalapenos, used honey instead of sugar, and applesauce instead of butter. You'll come to find that we make those two substitutions quite frequently when we're not baking cookies, pies or cakes. Using the applesauce made such a big difference - the cornbread was still moist the next day! Well, that's all for now!

Sunday, September 7

Numero Uno

So I have another blog, but I realized that people who want to read about yoga and renewable energy might not want to read about gourmet cooking, or vice versa. So I decided to separate them. I want to create this to document my journey of exploration... if you want to put it that way. Now that my boyfriend and I have an apartment of our own, we're trying out all these fantastic new recipes. I want to make the good ones again, and keep myself from making the same mistakes twice - so here is where I will keep notes.

So tonight we had a delicious pizza with a mixed green salad and some tasty lime-oriented beer. The approximate recipe:

1 whole wheat pizza crust (we used Boboli, which was delicious and easy)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 small eggplant, sliced, lightly fried in olive oil
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded medium cheddar, for some variety

Spray the pizza pan (crucial! we forgot to do this once and had very crispy pizza), put down the sauce, spinach, and eggplant, sprinkle cheese evenly on top, and follow baking instructions on crust package.

It was delicious! To go along with it we had a salad with:

mixed baby field greens
handful of cherry tomatoes
handful of chopped sweet red and green bell peppers
some baby carrots
some raisins
delicious Raspberry Hazelnut Vinaigrette dressing

So that was tonight. Last night was even better. We had a baked penne casserole:

1 1/3 cup (uncooked volume) penne
14 oz organic diced canned tomatoes
1/2 cup baby spinach (we should have used more)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
some garlic powder, fresh ground pepper and sea salt, oregano to taste

Cooked the pasta, put everything in the casserole dish with most of the Parmesan on top, baked it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Definitely should have taken it out a little sooner, as the pasta sticking out of the tomato juice had gotten pretty hard.

To go with that, we had a Caesar Salad (from a bag.. for shame!) and a delicious Louis Jadot Beaujolais. Now that was tasty.

I hope to make whole wheat blueberry pancakes tomorrow morning with a honey-fruit syrup. We'll see if I have the motivation!