Bethany

No Time = Crock Pot Time

I was stressing about how I would manage to cook something healthy with no time to spare, so I decided it was time to break out my crock pot!  And what better to make in a crock pot than chili?  Unfortunately I completely underestimated the size of my crock pot and made way too much, which means I get to make another batch later on with no extra work!  It came really good, so I’m not complaining!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken (turkey probably would have been better but I had chicken)
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes undrained (I used one can fire roasted and one can no salt added)
  • 1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request Tomato soup
  • 1 bottle dark beer (I used Guinness)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large bag of frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a skillet, brown the ground chicken and chopped onions.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Add chicken and onions, and put mixture in crock pot
  3. Cook for 9 hours on low heat
  4. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy!

I served this with baked potatoes but it was so good and filling that we didn’t even want the potatoes.  This isn’t hot (it’s actually a little sweet) so if you like hot chili you’re on your own!

 

Bethany

True Life: I Love Hamburger Helper

Really. There are a ton of flavors that I would never be able to create in a “limited” kitchen- I have very few spices. Because I’ve had nothing but overwhelming success with regular Hamburger Helper, I decided to try Mexican Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chicken Helper this week.

A major issue with Hamburger Helper and all of its spinoffs is that it’s not very healthy.  Luckily, I healthify everything so I was up for the challenge. It came pretty good but was a little bland, so next time I’ll add more salt, fresh cilantro, and, if I can muster up the courage, a little bit of hot sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Chicken Helper: Mexican Cheesy Chicken Enchilada (contains rice and seasoning packet)
  • 1.5 pounds uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ chunks  (listed on box)
  • 1 cup skim milk (listed on box)
  • 2 cups hot water (listed on box)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, chopped (they were out of green so I doubled up on red)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (needs more salt than I would have thought)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Saute onion and peppers in oil until soft
  2. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes.  It should not be cooked through yet.
  3. Stir in hot water, milk, seasoning packet, rice, and tomatoes.  Heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally or rice will stick.
  4. Add black beans and cook 5 more minutes
  5. Remove from heat and uncover so the sauce can thicken
  6. Make sure you salt it or its boring!

I would have switched the box rice for my brown rice but I was out of brown rice… oh well! I served this with a large helping of vegetables and it made about 8 servings.  I also swished the hot water in the tomato can before I put it in the mix to pick up any of the flavor and pieces that might have been left behind. Enjoy, and go forward knowing that you too can enjoy Hamburger Helper.

Bethany

Balsamic Pasta Salad

For some reason, there were beef hotdogs with cheese in the middle in my freezer.  I decided I could only make them if I could come up with something healthy to eat on the side.  I was VERY motivated because I love hot dogs- maybe that’s how they got in my freezer…  This pasta salad was really fast to make (about 30 minutes- I chopped all of the vegetables while the water was heating and the pasta was cooking) and is delicious.  And it is healthy enough to eat with beef hotdogs with cheese!

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 box pasta (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne)
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 box grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 bag spinach (I would have used the whole bag but I ran out of room in my pot!)

Dressing:

  • 1 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • freshly grated parmigiano reggiano  cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to directions on the box.  Two minutes before the pasta is done, add broccoli to the boiling water (This may or may not be called blanching).  Drain when pasta is done cooking
  2. Cool pasta/broccoli by running it under cold water
  3. Mix in all of the remaining salad ingredients
  4. Whisk together all of dressing ingredients, pour dressing over salad
  5. Salt to taste, and grate more cheese on top
  6. Done!  Now you can go back to your life and I can go back to studying

Bethany

Bow Ties with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream…but not really

I found a great recipe on my favorite recipe website, AllRecipes.com, and decided to make it.  Actually, I decided to make something kind of like it that was much more healthy.  It was delicious and not too much work!  I made it with Ronzoni Healthy Harvest pasta, which has a serving of vegetables in every 4 oz portion.

Side note about AllRecipes.com- I love this website for two reasons: First, you can search by ingredient so it will give you recipes that combine what you already have, and second, there are SO MANY reviews that if there’s a better way to make something, someone has usually found it already.  I also signed up to receive healthy recipe emails once per week.

Original Recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bow-ties-with-sausage-tomatoes-and-cream/detail.aspx

My recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound turkey sausage (I used sweet), casings removed and crumbled
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I used 1 can diced and 1 can no salt added diced)
  • 1 box mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 can small white beans
  • 1 box frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups fat free half and half
  • 1 box pasta (whatever shape fits your mood), prepared according to box instructions
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)

Directions

  1. Brown turkey sausage in olive oil.  After it is browned, add in garlic and onion.  Wait 5 minutes and add in mushrooms, red pepper, and celery.  Saute until vegetables are soft.
  2. Mix in tomatoes and fat free half and half.  Simmer until mixture thickens (it took me a little over 15 minutes).
  3. Mix in white beans and peas.  Simmer 5 more minutes.
  4. Serve over pasts and top with fresh parsley.
  5. Enjoy/bask in the glory of eating a healthy, delicious meal.

Bethany

Jambalaya (three weeks too late for Mardi Gras, but still good!)

I made this for dinner yesterday and it was a major success!  As is, this recipe makes a ridiculous amount of food (another way to balance everything- when I cook I make a ton so I don’t have to cook everyday) so consider cutting it in half if you want to make less.  This made AT LEAST six servings so we’re going to be eating it for awhile.  Luckily it’s delicious so we don’t mind!

Ingredients

  • Garlic (I used four cloves), minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 box of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 can Hunts fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pink beans
  • 8 sausages (I used and definitely recommend Al Fresco’s Chipotle Chorizo Chicken Sausages), browned separately
  • 2 bag Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (I used brown rice)
  • Salsa to taste- I used about 3 tablespoons, but it could probably have used a little more
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese (optional- cheese isn’t healthy but it’s so good that it’s worth it, right?)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Saute garlic, onion, peppers, mushrooms, and celery.  Add tomatoes and let cook for 5-7 minutes.  In the mean time, brown the sausages so they’re ready to go in as soon as the tomatoes are done
  2. Stir in browned sausages.  Microwave the rice while everything cooks together, and stir in the rice when it’s done.
  3. Stir in salsa and brown and black beans.  Let cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir and top with shredded cheese
  5. Enjoy

I think this is a good recipe because you can tweak it based on your tastes/what’s in your refrigerator at the moment!  My boyfriend added some hot sauce but the chipotle sausage was all the spice my delicate taste buds could handle!

Bethany

Healthy Banana “Milkshake”

I’m a dessert fiend so I’m always looking for a way to get my next sweet fix.  This is actually a really quick dessert (or snack) we used to make with my mom when we were kids and I still love it!  It’s filling and satisfying!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cap of vanilla extract (I don’t know if “cap” is a real unit of measurement but it’s always worked for me!)
  • 1 packet splenda/sweet n low/equal/ sweetener of your choice
  • 6-8 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Add banana, milk, vanilla, and sweetener to blender
  2. Blend on medium until mixture is smooth
  3. Add 1-2 ice cubes at a time, mix, then add more until mixture reaches desired consistency
  4. Enjoy immediately!

I’ve made a few variations of this recipe- chocolate, chocolate banana, strawberry banana- the possibilities are endless!

Bethany

Marinated Tomato Salad

This is one of my favorite easy/fast/go to recipes.  I eat it by itself but I also use it as a topping for other dishes (it’s AWESOME on a steak salad).  The best part is all you have to do is chop everything up and let it marinate for a few hours or overnight- no real cooking!  My boyfriend asks for this for his birthday and all other special occasion meals (and non-special occasion meals…)- give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp white sugar (I use sugar splenda mix instead)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 box cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 box mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cub fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat.
  3. Store in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  4. Eat it and be delighted.

Bethany

Snack Attack!

For me, one of the hardest parts of staying healthy with such a busy schedule is snacking.  I’m constantly hungry, and sometimes it’s a little too easy to justify $1 pizza!  I’ve started carrying snacks around with me, and I’ve found a few that I actually eat instead of “forgetting” that I’ve been carrying them around.

  • Nuts are pretty healthy and just a few handfuls are pretty filling.  Peanuts are only good if they’re honey roasted, so carrying those around defeats the purpose.  I like almonds and cashews, and I especially like Planters’ Nutrition mixes- a lot of them have dried fruit mixed in!
  • Welch’s fruit snacks- seriously.  80 calories per pouch and they satisfy a sweet tooth just as well now as they did when I was five.  Added bonus- reminiscing about kindergarten and momentarily forgetting grown up responsibilities!
  • Carrots- they don’t taste bad lukewarm if you don’t have a way to keep them cold (unlike grapes- DISGUSTING hot)
  • Whole grain goldfish- they taste the same, I promise. They only have a few fewer calories than regular goldfish but whole grain is better for you anyway.  And a serving size is 55 fish.  55 FISH!  Also, they smile at you to let you know you’re doing the right thing.  They’re very supportive snacks to have during an exam.
  • Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop- Single servings of popcorn, only 110 calories per bag.  It doesn’t taste like movie theater popcorn, but it doesn’t add to your waistline like move theater popcorn either.  Compromise.
  • Fresh/canned/cup fruits, but only if you have a refrigerator.  Otherwise, see the grapes comment above.
  • Most importantly, sometimes you just need a donut.  Eat it and enjoy it- if you never “cheat” on your diet it will last about six days and they will be miserable, miserable days

Bethany

Delicious Turkey Meatball Soup

Most of my health efforts come from my cooking.  I try to eat as healthily as possible at home so I can enjoy myself when I go out to eat!  This tasted great and was perfect for the winter!

This is a recipe I tried this week that turned out both healthy and delicious!  I chopped the vegetables earlier when I had a few spare minutes so I could make the soup quickly.  This recipe made approximately 8 bowls of soup- cooking in bulk also saves me a lot of time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup garlic, minced
  • ½ bag Cooked Perfect Turkey Meatballs, quartered
  • 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 6 cans College Inn Light & Fat Free Chicken Broth
  • 1 can Goya Cannellini beans
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1/8 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 1 box  pasta, cooked and set aside (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1.     Sautee garlic, onion, mushrooms, celery, and carrots

2.     Mix in meatballs, tomatoes, and broth respectively, five minutes in between each ingredient

3.     Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add potatoes, return to boil, and simmer again for 5 more minutes

4.     Add spinach and Cannellini beans and cook for 5-10 more minutes

5.     Pour over hot, cooked pasta.  Top with fresh basil just before serving

Enjoy!

Bethany

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