Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Breakfast Pizza

My husband has been a good sport with all the crazy breakfast foods I've fed him lately. Spaghetti squash for breakfast? No complaints from him. But he did suggest that we try something else for the next week. He wanted eggs, sausage and bacon, which is normal breakfast fare, so we had that for a few days. But we both (very quickly) realized that a breakfast consisting of just protein didn't keep us full for very long. We were back to the dilemma of keeping veggies in breakfast (for the fiber), yet keep the meaty breakfast that he likes.
Enter breakfast pizza

If you haven't tried cauliflower crust pizza yet, you're really missing out. I use the recipe here, and make adjustments as needed.

For the breakfast pizza, I used that recipe, but left out the garlic and used all mozzarella cheese and baked the crust for 8 minutes at 425.

I skipped the sauce and just used cheese and toppings so it would stand up to reheating throughout the week. For toppings, I used 2 cups of spinach and a few diced jalapenos, then crumbled bacon and sausage, along with a little ham, and a final bit of shredded cheese on top. Then back into the oven for 8 minutes.

If you really wring out the water from the cauliflower after it's cooked, the crust of the pizza holds up great to being reheated. Adding a layer of cheese on the crust before adding the toppings creates a moisture barrier, which also helps the pizza keep its structure. And to make it even better, I even got a text this morning letting me know how much he liked breakfast!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Coconut Banana Chia Pudding

So when I first started seeing all the chia seed recipes all over the place (and by that I mean Pinterest), I actually laughed. People eat chia seeds? Really? And make "pudding" out of them? No way. All I could picture was a chia pet style bowl with green stuff growing out of it. Ummm, no. But I eventually caved. The first recipe I tried was chia seeds, milk, cocoa, and maple syrup. Even after blending it, it was still weird. The taste wasn't bad, but I couldn't get over the texture. The only reason I even tried again was because I had bought a bag of chia seeds, and I was going to use them one way or another!

The first recipe I used called for almond milk. I don't keep almond milk around the house. We are big fans of dairy, real dairy. Preferably full fat dairy. So I used whole milk instead. For round two, I decided to use coconut milk; I always have that in the pantry. And I had a couple of bananas that were about to disintegrate on the counter, so I figured they would be perfect. 

One can coconut milk (unsweetened)
1/3 c chia seeds
2 bananas (the riper the better) 

The recipe couldn't be much easier-mash bananas and mix the rest of it together, then wait for the chia seeds to expand and make the "pudding". 

It had to be the coconut milk that made the difference, because the texture of this was perfect-not weird. It was different for sure, but in a good way this time! And because the bananas were so ripe, no sweeteners are needed! 

Chia seeds are a bit heavy on the carbs, but over 80% of the carbs come from the fiber so in the world of carbs, that's not bad at all. And I can totally admit that it looks weird. It doesn't look like food, or appetizing food anyway. But I promise, it tastes great! 

Mashed Rutabaga

Root vegetables are a winter staple around my house. Well, more like a year round staple, but especially in the winter. Fresh produce in the winter can kind of be tricky, and when we have crazy weather around the country, it's even trickier. But root vegetables are usually fairly reliable. And comforting. I don't know what happens when you mash a root vegetable, but it's almost magical. Well, maybe not magical, but it's warm, and creamy, and buttery, and delicious. So basically the same thing as magical.

If you don't cook with rutabaga, you should try it out. And this is one of the easiest recipes to start with. If you can make mashed potatoes, you can make mashed rutabaga. It's pretty much the same; peel, chop, boil, mash, season, serve.

What you'll need:

Rutabaga (I used 2, but I was counting on enough for dinner and lunch for us)
Seasonings of choice
Optional: Crumbled bacon and shredded cheese

Just like potatoes, start out by peeling and chopping the rutabaga and then boiling under tender

Then mash

I like to put in the butter and seasonings during the mashing part just to really work them in. I used some dried onion flakes, 3 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper and some poultry seasoning. Once it's mashed down with a few chunks remaining, whip in milk until it's thick and creamy, just like mashed potatoes.

I like to top it off with a few pieces of crumbled bacon and some sharp cheddar cheese.

Rutabagas have about half the calories and carbs of potatoes, which makes a nice swap if you're counting those kinds of things.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Roasted Turnip Homefries

Comfort foods are awesome. I know, that's why they're called comfort foods, right? But seriously, sometimes some deep fried potatoes with seasoned salt is all you can think about. And that's rough when you're trying to watch what you eat. So we have to get creative. And sometimes lie to the ones we feed so they aren't aware that they're raving about how much they love the homefries and keep asking what I did differently. But then we eventually tell them that it's actually turnips, not potatoes, that they love so much and we watch their very, very confused faces.

And in all fairness to the spud, potatoes are not the worst choice we can make in the kitchen. But if you're counting carbs, turnips fair a bit better, with nearly a 1/3 of the carbs of white potatoes. 

Making turnip homefries is fairly simple. Peel and cut the turnips just like you would potatoes, then sautee (in butter of course) with seasonings such as seasoned salt and garlic, tossing in some diced green onions at the end. To get them extra crispy, spread the cooked homefries on a baking sheet and roast for another 10-15 minutes in a 375-400 degree oven, stirring about half way through. You won't regret it, and if you don't tell them, no one will know!! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Root Vegetable Noodles with Oven Roasted Chicken

Unless you are still one of the carb loving, noddle eating, gluten devouring folks out there (that I secretly despise and am constantly envious of), then you may have run across or even tried one of the gadgets that makes "noodles" out of vegetables. The "Veggetti" is one of my favorites. It's easy to grab it and turn zucchini into noodles in a matter of seconds. But in my experience, it is kind of limited to zucchini and yellow squash. And even those need to be fairly small or you end up pulverizing the vegetables (and your hands). Even Alton Brown has something to say about it.

So I've been on the search for something a little more versatile. Especially since we officially gave up pasta this month. (Although we haven't eaten any in almost a year) I finally found one and ordered it.

It was a bit tricky to figure out at first. I'm not going to lie....the Veggetti was fairly self explanatory, but this required some actual thought. But once we figured it out, we had noodles made out of turnips, carrots and parsnips in a matter of just a couple of minutes.

Don't mind my messy counters. I wasn't exactly planning on sharing the video with everyone-just wanted to send it to a couple of people to let them know that this one actually works!

While my husband was creating the noodles, I had put the chicken in the oven and started sauteing some onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of butter on the stove. The noodles were added to the onions and garlic and cooked until tender, but not mushy.

A little bit of sliced chicken breast, Parmesan cheese, some salt and pepper and dinner was ready! Leave the cheese off to make it Paleo friendly, or keep it there and it's Primal friendly. Either way, it was very tasty and filling! 

1 Medium turnip
1 Medium parsnip
2 Medium Carrots
1 onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Roasted chicken (or rotisserie chicken if you're in a hurry)
(Optional) Parmesan cheese

Saute onion and garlic on low heat until fragrant. Toss in spiralized vegetables and cook on low until desired tenderness. Top with chicken and sprinkle cheese on top.

Note: The above links will take you to the products advertised. If you buy it, I may receive monetary compensation for the referral, however I did not receive any compensation (monetary or otherwise) for this post. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Bake

So a few weeks ago while I was at the doctor's office, it was suggested to me that my normal breakfast (banana, 1 Tbsp nut butter, and a whole wheat wrap) was too carb heavy and I should switch to 2 eggs and citrus fruit instead. *note: the nutrition facts below were created at I am making the assumption they are correct and haven't bothered to double check their numbers. 

Current breakfast

Proposed breakfast

While I didn't necessarily agree with their proposed breakfast, I tried. I really did. But it turns out eating citrus every day seemed to aggravate my stomach. A lot.

So I set out to find a different breakfast that was lower in carbs, but didn't bother my stomach. And if I could add in some nutrients, that'd be cool too. So for the first try, I wanted to keep the eggs as they suggested, but add in some veggies, and I didn't want to have to make it every day. So I came up with a breakfast bake I could make over the weekend, portion out, then freeze for a grab and go breakfast.

New breakfast

It was pretty easy to make over the weekend. I roasted a medium spaghetti squash in the oven (400 degrees for about 45 minutes), sauteed the tomatoes and peppers, chopped the kale and green onions, cooked the bacon (then chopped it), and then grabbed a big bowl to mix it all together, along with the shredded cheese and some salt and pepper. Why only 3 pieces of bacon? Well, it's all I had. And to be honest, I don't think I would have noticed if it wasn't there. But I did sautee the peppers and tomatoes in the bacon grease so.....

Then spread that out into an 8x8 pan and pour over 7 beaten eggs. 

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then drop the heat down to 350 and continue baking until eggs are set, which was about another 10 minutes for me. That gets cut into 9 pieces and frozen. To reheat, cover and microwave on about 50% power for a minute or two.

If I kept it at 2 eggs per day, that would be 18 eggs and I'd probably need a bigger pan to bake it in, but here's what the nutrition would look like:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cheesy Chicken and Kale

Sometimes Pinterest is my Google. Seriously, I often feel like my phone should come with an option to say "OK, me recipes using chicken, kale, garlic and cheese." And yesterday was one of those times. I was trying to decide what to fix for dinner, so I just typed in the ingredients I wanted to use and behold...all of these great recipes came up!

One immediately caught my eye. It's probably because I could see all the cheesy goodness. I used her recipe as a starting point for dinner. It sounded so good and I figured I could make some changes to suit our tastes, and switch out the pasta for spaghetti squash, Ugh, giving up pasta is hard.

What you'll need:

2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 large spaghetti squash
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 c chicken stock
1-2 Tablespoons butter
1-2 Tablespoons flour (equal amounts of butter and flour)
5 ounces baby kale, cut into manageable pieces
2 c Italian blend shredded cheese
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

So I started by getting the spaghetti squash in the oven. I used a rather large one knowing I was feeding 2 teenage boys and my husband as well. I generally cook for 8 so we have plenty for dinner and for lunch the next day. After the spaghetti squash had been in the oven for about 30 minutes, I started in on the rest of the ingredients. First-saute onions in some olive oil.

After about 5 minutes, I added in some garlic and let that simmer for another few minutes. Then the chicken and herbs.

I let that go until the chicken was no longer pink on the outside. By this time, the spaghetti squash was done, so I pulled it out of the oven so it could cool enough for me to touch it.

Back to the chicken....
Push all the meat to one side of the pan and drop in a tablespoon or two of butter and let it melt, then whisk in an equal amount of flour and let that cook until it stiffens up. Add in about a cup of chicken stock and mix everything together in the pan. Keeping a simmer going, add in the kale and the cheese. After a couple of minutes, the sauce will start to thicken. Add milk until it's nice and creamy. Then add in the spaghetti squash and make a mess all over the stove top as you stir it all together. A final seasoning with salt, pepper and some red pepper flakes and it's ready to go.

I was going to add in some spinach too at this point, but I decided since we were having a salad with it and there was spinach in the salad, that was probably enough. Next time I make this, I'm going to toss in some capers though. The brininess would be perfect in here! But even without the capers, dinner was a hit with everyone. There was just enough left for the husband and I to have lunch today.