Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIAW: Cheesy Cajun Quinoa Bake

Hello!  Happy Wednesday to you all :)
Why has nobody told me how difficult it is to get a good, clear picture of a lit Christmas tree?  Hmm, well above is as good as it's gonna get, I suppose.
We are all decorated for to get started on gifts-lol.  Yep, only 13 more shopping/crafting days left!  Eek!!!

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: Omelet & Toast

This morning I put together an omelet that consisted of one whole egg, thinned out with 1 tbsp of almond milk.  Once that cooked a bit, I added a sprinkle of mozzarella, 1/4 of an avocado and 2 slices of deli turkey; then I folded the egg over the filling.  On the side I had a piece of wheat toast with strawberry jam...and coffee, of course.

 A.M. Snack: Yogurt

Discount yogurt!!  There was a bunch of mark downs on yogurt this week, so I stocked up.  This was not my favorite.  It was too tangy and not enough strawberry flavor.
But you can't beat yogurt at that price!

Lunch: Frozen Meal...Jazzed Up

For lunch, I grabbed some frozen meals by Kashi.  They were pretty good.  I added 1 cup of cooked, frozen spinach, fresh avocado and cilantro and that really jazzed it up.

 P.M. Snack: Pear

I've had a couple of really good pears lately!  I am very much looking forward to our annual office Christmas gift of Harry & David pears...they are the best!!  Hopefully those happen again this year.  But, for now, just grocery store Bartlett pears will be consumed.

P.M. Snack #2: Chips

After work, I popped into Aldi to get paper towels and grabbed an impulse buy of veggie chips.  I snacked on a handful before heading out to a boot camp workout.

Dinner: Cheesy Cajun Quinoa Bake

For dinner, I made a quick and comforting casserole thingy.  It was pretty healthy too!

I saw these bags of 90 second quinoa at Target and I was sold!

For this casserole I took the idea of my skinny alfredo and the delicious heartiness of quinoa and mashed them together for a meal I will definitely make over and over again.

Cheesy Cajun Quinoa Bake
serves 4

olive oil
Cajun seasoning, salt & pepper
1 1/2 cup shrimp, shelled & deveined (and chopped in bite sized pieces)
1 cup chopped smoked turkey sausage
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
splash of white wine or chicken broth for de-glazing of the pan
1-2 cups chopped fresh Brussels sprouts
2 bags of microwavable quinoa (or 2 cups cooked quinoa)
"faux-fredo" sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Season shrimp with cajun seasoning, salt & pepper.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil, saute shrimp on medium heat until pink.  Remove from pan and add the garlic, onion, green pepper and sausage.  Cook until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).  Pour in a splash of white wine or broth to deglaze the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove everything from the pan, add a little more olive oil and the brussels sprouts.  Saute for about 3 minutes, then cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.
Microwave quinoa & prepare sauce.

"Faux-fredo" Sauce
makes 1 1/2 cups of sauce

1 1/2 tbsp light butter spread
1/4 cup flour
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 wedges Laughing Cow Swiss Lite cheese
2 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
cajun seasoning, salt & pepper

Heat a small skillet to low-medium and add butter and garlic.  Once the butter has melted, add in flour and whisk.  Pour the chicken broth in and whisk some more.  Let this cook for 2 minutes or so and then add the cheeses and seasonings and cook for another 2 minutes.  The sauce should thicken upon standing.  I didn't let it sit for too long, though, before I used it for this recipe.

Mix everything together in a bowl (except shredded cheese), spray a small dish (I used 8x8) with non-stick spray and spread the mixture into the pan.  Top with cheese & bake for 25 minutes at 400F degrees.

This is also very good without baking it, but firms up a bit when baking, making it more like a casserole.

I hope you try it!!!

 After dinner, I had a serving of mint chocolate chip-yum!!!

I hope everyone has a fantastic rest of the week!  See ya on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WIAW: In a Bowl is How I Roll {Roasted Red Pepper Chili}

Well, hey there, strangers!
I am back after a long holiday week.  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.  Mine was fantastic.
So, yeah, getting back on track after holiday eating and lazing around is always a challenge.
My biggest challenge is getting back to those fruits and veggies and making myself exercise.
I'm just one of those people who has to force themselves to work out...I feel better after, but the "doing it" is the hardest part.
You feel what I'm laying down?

Ok, on to the food things!
Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: FMW

Breakfast was a quick and easy bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats with half a banana on top (and almond milk).  Coffee on the side.
Fruit & Veg count thus far=1

A.M. Snack: Cheese & Crackers

I smeared a few crackers (leftover from a holiday cheese tray) with a 35 calorie cheese wedge.

Lunch: Turkey, Veggie & White Bean Soup

Before eating this yummy food, we took a 15 minute walk with the dogs (pic at the top of the post).

For lunch, we enjoyed some leftover soup that I made over the weekend.  I also had half a light English muffin with cheese, on the side.
I roughly followed THIS recipe, but used turkey and made my own turkey stock.
 Well, I'll just tell you how I made it.

Turkey, Veggie & White Bean Soup
serves 8

olive oil
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
turkey carcass with a bunch of meat still on the bone (you could also use chicken)
water (about 4-5 cups)
1 cup frozen spinach
2 cans of white beans
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup lite sour cream

Cook the carrots, onions and celery in the olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium heat,  add the garlic and cook for an additional few minutes.
Throw the turkey in, add water and bring to a boil.
Boil until the water looks more like a broth (maybe 15 min?).  Then remove the turkey, cut the meat off the bone and add back into the pan. (discard the bones)
Add the spinach, beans and seasoning and simmer until everything is done. Stir in the sour cream.


Fruit & Veggie Count Thus Far=3 (I'm counting the soup as 2)

After lunch, I split this magnificent looking cupcake with my boyfriend (it was his dad's birthday & we brought him some cupcakes).

It's half the calories if you split it!  That's my motto in life!

besides, I totally got the small half

P.M. Snack: Applesauce

Fruit & Veggie Count Thus Far=4

At this point in my day, it was time for fitness!
That exclamation point was false enthusiasm.
I went to my evening bootcamp session after missing a week and it whooped my butt.

Dinner: Roasted Red Pepper Chili with Zucchini

I tried this recipe a week or two ago, and it was so good I had to repeat it.  The red peppers give the chili a lovely flavor.  I also added zucchini for an extra veggie!

Fruit & Veggie Count Total=5 (not too shabby)

Roasted Red Pepper Chili
Serves 8

1 (24-ounce) jar of roasted red peppers, diced
1 frozen bag of diced onions and green peppers
1 frozen bag of diced zucchini
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound lean ground beef
2 can reduced-sodium black beans, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (undrained)
2 (8-ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray (or drizzle with olive oil) and place red peppers through garlic power in the pot. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, until the onions are tender.
Add lean ground beef, cooking for an additional 6 minutes, allowing the meat to crumble and turn brown.
Stir in remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Spoon into bowls, top with desired toppings and enjoy.

recipe adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers

I promise, this is a perfect chili.  You will get rave reviews.

After dinner, I had some cookies & cream frozen yogurt in a cone.  I love cookies and cream flavor; can you tell?

And that about does it for me!  Have a lovely week!

In case you missed it...

3 Ingredient Potato Broccoli Soup (You'll be surprised at how awesome 3 ingredients can be)

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread (would be perfect with chili...just sayin')