Sunday Dinner

I’m always looking for new things to cook. My husband tells me just to cook the same thing every week but honestly I think then we would eat out a LOT! I get sick of the same stuff over and over so I’m always trying something new. I try to look for healthy recipes and here are some of my criteria:

  1. Protein– I always strive to have a dish with a lean protein. I vary between chicken, turkey, pork and beef and in that order. We eat a LOT of chicken and turkey. Fish is also great! I love salmon but I haven’t made a lot of fish lately.
  2. Vegetable- Each recipe has to include a vegetable preferably green or I make one to accompany it.
  3. Little to no carbs-  Not to say carbs are bad but I get enough carbs throughout the day without trying so we try not to have pasta, bread, potatoes, etc.
  4. No casseroles or heavy creams- I also try to look for things that typically aren’t casseroles. Even though things can be made from scratch that doesn’t mean they are healthy. Cookies, cakes, casseroles, etc I can make at home but they aren’t good for me. Typically casseroles have carbs and lots of processed sauces which are high in sodium

BOTTOM LINE: I try to eat protein and veggies (heavy on the veggies) and very little else especially for dinner.

That being said I have been using the site Skinnytaste to look for new recipes. We tried Zucchini Tots and Naked Greek Feta-Zucchini Burgers. Zucchini is one of those foods that is hard for me. You can find bread and goodies to make out of it but I have tried different ways to prepare it and don’t love it! If you have ideas please send them. My elderly neighbors in Michigan gave me a zucchini boat recipe and I always forget about it.

My pictures aren’t great and for the zucchini tots I didn’t have cheddar cheese so I used Italian blend. Oh I also try to avoid dairy in my food. Not that it’s all bad or anything I just find I feel better when I don’t include it!

So, What are some of your healthy zucchini recipes that you can share? How do you make your choices for what to cook for dinner? I’m excited to hear about you and learn more!

Jessica

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Mediterranean Chicken Bowls

So recently my husband and I had the privilege of going on an all expenses paid trip to the San Francisco Bay area for Shaklee. They served the most WONDERFUL food and we didn’t feel full and yucky because of what we ate! It was all HEALTHY and they served mostly fruit for dessert. Below is a picture of one of our lunches. As we assembled it, I thought, I can make this at home and so I did!

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First off, I have to say that this HUGE bowl is so important. I thought we had big bowls at home but this one is so much larger. I love it for salads and such and wish I could say where you could get one but Shaklee gifted these to us!

We started with the base. There were three options I made. Some of you may be thinking this is so much food and so overwhelming. We had friends coming over and really it was like making all the fixings for tacos. You could just make one of these as a base instead of all three.

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From Left to right: Red Quinoa, Cauliflower Rice, Cilantro Lime Brown Rice.

RED QUINOA- I had eaten quinoa before but never Red Quinoa. I cooked it according to the directions. Usually I soak it in water first and rinse it really well. You could cook it in vegetable broth or chicken broth as well to give it more flavor. Then I added dried cherries that I had chopped to it once it cooled. At the event, they added dried cranberries but I happened to be out so used dried cherries.

CAULIFLOWER RICE- I took a whole head of cauliflower and roughly chopped it and put it in the food processor and pulsed until it resembled rice. I then melted some infused olive oil with a little butter in a pan and sautéed it. I also add some minced garlic. Once it was cool I added chopped parsley.

CILANTRO LIME BROWN RICE- I cooked the brown rice per the directions and then added the juice of a couple small limes and chopped cilantro! This is one of my favorite flavor combinations!

Once you have your grain in the bottom of the bowl I then add some spring mix. I get a HUGE thing of organic spring mix at Aldi for about $3.50. That way if I don’t have time to chop lettuce and such that week I still can grab a healthy meal.

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You could put your protein either on top of the lettuce or at the very end. I chose to put my protein under my toppings. I marinated chicken in some Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette and then grilled it. At the Shaklee event they had Salmon as an option too. I suppose you could do what you would like there. We chopped our chicken into small pieces to make it easier for us and the kids to eat.

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Once we have the chicken in place then we can go nuts with toppings! Be sure to let me know what other toppings you would include. All of these are fairly self explanatory except the red pepper puree. I got that part from another recipe I tried before this bowl. I would also add to the list of toppings avocado, but I was out. Now looking at my first picture they also had hard boiled eggs too!

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Row 1 left to right: Black Beans, grape tomatoes halved, cucumber Row 2 left to right: red onion, chickpeas, feta Row 3 left to right: hummus, roasted red pepper puree, kalamata olives.

We absolutely LOVE infused vinegar and oils. They taste amazing and are so healthy for you. We first learned about them in Traverse City, Michigan at a place called Fustini’s which will ship to you if you don’t have a local place. Here in the Quad Cities we are fortunate that we have a place that sells them. It is the same distributor of these oils just a different label. Green Thumbers which is a local green house carries the oils and vinegar and it looks like you can buy it online as well. What I like about Green Thumbers is you can get a small sample bottle like I did of any flavor. If you go to either of these shops you can also taste them!

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Options include: traditional balsamic, raspberry balsamic, garlic infused olive oil, tuscan herb olive oil, Sicilian lemon white balsamic and fresh lemons and limes.

I did not take a picture of my completed bowl but it was a HUGE hit! We love these and I even thought if I made a huge batch with all the toppings we could then assemble them throughout the week for a healthy lunch each day.

I hope you enjoy them!

Jessica

Grilled Greek Chicken Pitas

I LOVE to cook! BUT I also don’t like to eat the same thing all the time so if I make a recipe more than once I know I really LOVE it. That is the case with Grilled Greek Chicken Pitas.

I love that they are so light and great for either lunch or dinner! I usually cut up some fruit or maybe some salad or many times we just eat these pitas!

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So the chicken I marinade overnight or all day in either a Balsamic Vinaigrette or I had a Garlic Vinaigrette! Adam then grills it for me and we cut it into strips. We do eat them with the chicken hot. You can see I have crumbled feta, red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes halved, pitas and then the sauce. The sauce is plain yogurt with diced red onion, cucumber, lime juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. I personally open the pita and add the sauce first, followed by the chicken and then top with everything else so it looks like below. We use whole wheat pitas but you can also use white if you choose.

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Even my kids love these. Many times Hannah and Maya have seconds and Kayla eats a whole one by herself. I hope you enjoy this wonderful spring/summer meal. If you have some go to meals your family loves let me know about them. I love to try new stuff.

Jessica

Avocado Egg Salad

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So believe it or not I had never in my life had egg salad! It just wasn’t something that sounded good to me, but I’m always up for trying new things! I guess I figured it would be like potato salad and I do like some potato salads but most have so much mayo in them that I find it overwhelming. Anyway, I went to a friends house for lunch and she was serving egg salad. Everyone loved it. I can’t even remember how many sandwiches my kids downed.

So today I decided to make egg salad. I made some of my friend’s recipe but I also wanted to try some avocado egg salad. Some of them are made without mayo but this one had mayo in it and it was great! I decided to try eating it on a tomato and it was perfect. Adam had some for dinner on bread and it was wonderful that way as well.

ENJOY!

Jessica

 

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Kebobs

I have raved about A Farm Girl Dabbles before. I love her recipes and have written about her a few different times with many amazing recipes. Well, she won me over again with Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Kebobs. It’s a combination I have never put together on a kebob before. Usually we do onion, tomatoes, colored peppers, and green pepper. This was unique so I thought I would give it a try. I didn’t explain to Adam all what was on it and he took a big bite of lemon… oops!

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So I skipped a step and I didn’t not blanch my Asparagus in hot water and the plunge it into cold water. I’m too lazy for that and I feel like the asparagus cooked up just fine. I thought the skewers looked so colorful too! I did drizzle Olive Oil from Twisted Trunk (Tuscan Herb is my fav!) on them. We then sprinkled them with salt and pepper!

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So here they are on the grill with my shadow… LOL! I told you that none of my photos would be gorgeous but I do guarantee they are real!

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And here is the finished product! This was all we had for dinner. We tend to stick to protein and veggies. On occasion we will add a carb but this fills us up and helps us feel great.

What is the most unique kebob you have put together?

Jessica

Lemon Cupcakes

I attended a gathering and someone had made these Lemon Cupcakes and they were amazing! They are a little more work than the average recipe but they are so well worth it! I’ve eaten them twice now but only made them once and now I can tell you all the mistakes I made so that you don’t make them!

To start I used paper muffin cups. She suggested foil since you are going to do a simple syrup but I didn’t have any issues with the paper cups. She suggested foil because the paper can become greasy.

So usually I skip the step if it says sift my ingredients but I did follow her directions and sift the flour and such together. I guess the more you sift the ingredients, the fluffier your cupcakes will be! Who knew? I didn’t! So here is what I used for sifting. It wasn’t very big but it got the job done.

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You do add cornstarch to the flour but she explained that is because it makes the flour more like a cake flour without having to buy cake flour. I think it worked great!

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The batter tasted oh so yummy!

I used my Pamper Chef scoop that I talked about back here. They truly are worth the investment. When I made these I over loaded the cups because I didn’t want to make another batch and that was a HUGE mistake. I ended up with flat muffin tops that were falling over. As you see a couple got stuck to the pan and then they detached from the cupcake.

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Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled I used a toothpick to poke holes in the tops of all of them. I then brushed them with the simple syrup I made. The lemons become candied in the process but I have never put them on my cupcakes. As you see I should have taken out the seeds and did not. I need to remake these with my friend Beth and I bet she would help me make them look good! She has way more patience then I when it comes to this stuff.

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Because I didn’t have any disposable piping bags and I didn’t want to clean one of the reusable ones, I used a large ziplock back to fill with frosting and then cut the end off and piped the cupcakes. I should have put the frosting in the fridge a bit to firm up. The frosting kinda of oozed almost.

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They aren’t the prettiest looking things but they taste great! Check out the recipe on the link at the very top and let me know how yours turn out.

Also as many of your know I am pretty health conscious and we do eat healthy 80-90% of the time but I do like to bake and try sweets. Of course I don’t eat all of these cupcakes… I’m not sure if my neighbors love me or hate me!

Jessica

Seriously Amazing Dinner

So I’m not even sure where I found this recipe but I immediately knew that I needed to make it! Just the name called to me “Chicken Pesto Artichoke Naan Pizza”. It was a bit of a labor of love but if you know me that makes it all the more appealing. I love to make as many things from scratch as possible and I LOVE to try new things so this was a perfect fit. I will say I’m glad Adam, Hannah, and Maya were around to help me out because it really was all hands on deck.

I started by making my own Naan Bread. I took a class at Scott County Community College. The classes are very affordable and you watch a cooking demo and then go into the kitchen and get split into groups and make the recipes. It’s seriously so much fun! You even get to eat the food you make or pack some up and take it home. I haven’t done one in a very long time! Anyway this recipe came from the class I took. I put all my recipes in Pepperplate and I wrote about keeping all my recipes organized a while back.

Naan Bread- Makes 10-15 pieces


 INGREDIENTS
3 C flour
1 C yogurt- real plain-
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
2 Tbsp melted butter

 INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add yeast and sugar to 1/2 cup of lukewarm water, mix well and set aside to rise for 10 minutes. Add salt, yeast mixture and the yogurt to the flour and mix well.
  2. Keep aside for 30 minutes to rise.
  3. Make about 10-15 balls out of the flour dough. Flatten them well and fry each side JUST one minute only. With a brush apply a little melted butter on both sides of the Naan while it is still hot.

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This is what my sticky dough looked like. I added flour as I worked with it because I made it a little too sticky. I think I added too much yogurt. It also didn’t rise much but still tasted great.

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You can see how I flattened out the dough. I get the griddle really hot over medium high heat and add the flattened dough and use tongs or whatever to work it as it cooks. I had Hannah make a short video to help show you how. Once it comes off the griddle I brush both sides with melted butter. Maya flattened the dough and I fried it one minute on each side. By the way, no need to use any spray or oil. I just used a non stick pan or he suggested those cast iron flat pans they use in Indian cooking.

So for the timing of this I started the Naan bread and while the yeast was fermenting and the dough rising I went ahead and prepped the rest of the ingredients. I grilled the chicken with homemade Emeril Essence  Seasoning. I make a bunch and keep it on hand.

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SoI chopped the chicken, artichokes, and olives (I use kalamata because I think they taste superior to black olives). I didn’t use fresh spices nor did I make my own pesto. I do have 3 kids so I don’t have time for everything!

Hannah took the Naan Bread and added the layer of pesto, chicken, olives, artichokes and then Italian Blend Cheese on top. We then sprinkled with the spices. This was pre grilling. Then, Adam was the grill master

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They tasted much better hot off the grill than the ones that sat a bit. Seriously this was such an awesome dinner. I would gladly make it again. The site I got the recipe from gives other ideas for making pizza on Naan bread as well. They do sell Naan bread at the store. Here in the Quad Cities I’m told there is an Indian Store in Cumberland Square over by Bettendorf Library and the Family Museum and I bet they might carry it! ENJOY!

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So I made this again and took a picture. This time the kids wanted theirs plain so we made two kinds. At the store I bought a sun-dried tomato pesto and I’m eager to try out some other toppings as well. This is my new Sunday dinner!

What would you top your Naan Bread with?

 

Jessica