Friday, January 20, 2012

Meatless Enchilada Pie

Tonight's dinner came on a whim.  My bride and I were going to go out to dinner and then our local Little Theater production this evening, (yes a date night) but things just didn't work out.  Well they didn't work out for one of us anyway.  SHE managed to find a sitter - ME, and she went with her good friend Susan.  I did manage to put together a healthy dinner that fell within my calorie limit.

Since we were planning on others feeding us, I didn't lay anything out to thaw, therefore, we ended up going meatless.  I used what was on hand.


1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes ( I used the mild for my bride)
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 tsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup of chicken broth ( water, beer, or wine will work too)
1- 10oz can of enchilada sauce
8- 6" corn tortillas (Misson brand) * You should always have these on hand!
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Kraft Reduced Fat cheddar cheese (shredded)
Salt and pepper taste

How I did it:

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, mushrooms and spices.
Cook to soften adding chicken broth as needed to keep moist.

Add beans and tomatoes and remaining broth.

Spray a baking dish (7x11 2qt) with cooking spray and add just a
little enchilada sauce to the bottom.
Warm remaining enchilada sauce in a small frying pan.
Dip each tortilla in the sauce flipping to coat both sides.
place in baking dish side by side. (you will be making two stacks of four)
Add mushroom/bean mixture to top.

Repeat until you have two stacks of four tortillas and top with remaining
enchilada sauce.  Top with cheese.

Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Makes four servings.  Top with fresh diced tomatoes,
sour cream, green onions and avocado.

Serve with a side salad for a great meal. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Pot Sausage-n-Cabbage Stew


A great tasting, low-calorie stew all in one pot? Your Genie has provided -- <poof>! This stew is simple tasty and filling. It is under 400 calories (365 for this batch) and yields 4 large servings (Sometimes I can get it to yield 5, but the calories are set for a yield of 4 - that's a plus for calorie counters like me).

What's in the pot?

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
1 15oz can chicken broth
1 head of cabbage
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
4 Johnsonville chicken sausages -Chipotle flavored (they're fully cooked which speeds things up!)
1 15oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes

Open the beans rinse and drain them. All that bubbly foamy stuff you see - get it cleared out. This will help reduce the sodium content. All we want is the beans.

Peel the onion, cut in half, then slice. In a heavy pot or Dutch oven heat the oil over medium high heat. Add onions and stir often,

Core and chop the cabbage.

The onions should be screaming about now. Add the can of chicken broth,
cabbage and can of diced tomatoes. (for a little more heat use Rotel tomatoes)
Add the spices too.

Slice the sausages

Stir every so often keeping covered. It will cook down.

After about 20 minutes the cabbage should be softening.
Add the sausage and beans.

Stir to blend.
Reduce heat to simmer for about thirty minutes

Serve in bowls with corn muffins,
or in my case toasted Arnold Mini-Rounds
(They're only 50 calories)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Migas - Mexican Breakfast - for Supper

I finally got back to the gym today after missing fourteen straight days! Two weeks from the gym makes this ol' boy very cranky.  Having been sick and then pulling a muscle in my back has kept me from my routine work outs and I was seriously getting ill-tempered.  Don't believe me?  Ask the bride!

 So after completing five miles on the elliptical machine and burning about 600 calories I was... well... I was feeling GREAT!  Yes, my legs felt wobbly like they had no bones in them, but it was a wonderful feeling. 

Now what's for supper?  We had planned omelette's for dinner, but I wanted to try something new.  Knowing how my bride is not a big fan of spicy food, I decided to try it anyway - MIGAS.  It's a mexican breakfast using corn tortillas, salsa, eggs, veggies and all scrambled up together!  What's not to like?

Ingredients -

3 Corn tortillas, cut into strips
2 slices of Spanish onion (red)
1/4 cup of diced bell pepper
2 slices of turkey bacon, chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup egg whites
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup salsa (your choice heat - I use medium)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
(Shredded cheese and sliced grape tomatoes for topping)

Heat the skillet over medium high heat adding the oil.  Once hot add the strips of tortilla stirring occassionally.  Cook for a couple minutes then add the onions, bacon, bell pepper, cumin and red pepper flakes.

Cook this until onions begin to brown slightly and peppers are soft. Add egg mixture and continue to stir until eggs are almost set, then add salsa and finish cooking until eggs are set.

Plate and top with tomatoes and cheese.

You can substitute sausage for the bacon and add anything you want.  There are many variations to this breakfast. 

I use the egg whites and turkey bacon to cut down on calories, cholesterol and fat.  This meal (including the half of a bagle thin) fell in under 400 calories.

That will leave enough for a snack later!!

Oh yea! The bride was very impressed and to my bittersweet enjoyment she cleaned her plate.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

What is it about chicken soup that just warms you straight to your soul?  Here in the great state of South Carolina we occasionally get some cold weather - well at least for us.  This weekend was a normal winter weekend normal cold by our standards - highs in the upper 40's and lows just below freezing to upper 20's.  Brrrrr...    I like it.  I like soup weather and this weekend was it.

I started by boiling my whole chicken with some onions, celery and carrots.  No need to peel or chop fine.  Just quarter the onions, and break the celery and carrots.  I added some bay leaf and thyme too, as well as salt and pepper.  No measurements - just season to your tastes.  Then bring it all to a boil and reduce to a simmer for an hour or so. 

Remove the chicken to be deboned and then strain the broth into another pot to reserve this wonderful broth.  I usually to sit for a bit and let the fat settle to the top then skim it, and it's even better if you can refrigerate it over night to do so.

So now were ready to make soup.

Add to the wonderfully golden broth -

All the deboned pulled/shredded chicken
1 pound bag of carrots, peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
1 large onion chopped
5 stalks of celery, washed and sliced to your liking
    (I like the celery in this soup to be about a half inch)
Thyme, basil, and garlic powder to taste.

Bring these ingredients to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook for an hour or longer.
 ( you want the carrots to be softened but not mushy)

Once the carrots have softened add a one pound bag of egg noodles and a 1/2 bag of frozen peas.
Cook these for another 10 minutes or so stirring often.

Serve with a crusty bread like a loaf of French bread.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ahh!  Asparagus - the stinky pee veggie.  Growing up my dad loved asparagus, but my mom was the main cook and she didn't like it.  He would every now and then get a can of it and cook it.  I remember trying it.  I remember thinking, "I will never ever in any lifetime put that mushy stuff in my mouth again!"   To this day I have lived up to part of that statement - I have never put canned asparagus in my mouth again! 

Fresh asparagus is a different story! I first braved asparagus during a business luncheon with Shell Oil Company a few years back.  I didn't get much of a chance as it was the only side served with the beef medalion.  With about as much anticipation of eating a slimy slug I tried a stalk.  After cleaning my plate, I slipped off to the kitchen during a break. ( I have never been afraid to slip off to the kitchen for some reason)  I spoke to one of the 'chefs' about the tasty green.  He said, "salt, pepper, oil, and heat".  I love it, and the family loves it.  Except the aromatics of the bathroom that is!

I also learned that you can stuff asparagus into some meats- steak, fish and of course, chicken.


Stress relieving tools needed..

Place the breast between two sheets of wax paper on a solid surface and bang away.  I use the iron skillet for most of the banging and the hammer for sections that won't quite cooperate.

Smash that sucker flat!

Add some salt pepper and garlic powder, then the stalks of trimmed asparagus.  Drizzle with some olive oil.

Wrap them up and put them in a baking dish. Sprinkle the tops with a little more of the seasonings and olive oil

Bake in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for about 25 minutes.
*always use a meat thermometer to test the doneness.

Serve with Magic Green beans and rice!

It's so good!

I topped this with a little of my left over Squash Sauce.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Magic Green Beans

Natalie, my seven year old daughter, would never eat green beans.  As a matter of fact she used to be a very picky eater up until the age of four, but that has changed.  Aannyway... I used to tell her that my green beans were "Magic".  A five year old that loves Disney Princesses understands that "Magic" food has life altering abilities so she tried them.  They really must be magic as she to this day continues to devour her fair share.  Here's the "magic"....

Two cans of cut green beans

Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pot.

Add tap water to cover the beans.

Add one cube of bouillon per two cans of beans.

Crush the cube and spread over the top of the pot.

Add a 1/4 cup of sliced or diced onion.

A shot of Worcestershire sauce.

Salt and Pepper to taste (a lot of pepper)

One Bay leaf per two cans of beans.

Give it all a stir and bring to a boil.

Once boiling reduce to simmer and cover.

Allow to cook as long as you want - at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

It's MAGICAL how they disappear!