Cajun Shrimp Boil

30 Mar

This is a slight adaptation of a recipe I was introduced to after attending a party at a friends house, where they made this to serve.  It was so delicious, and my family loved it.  You may have seen this making it’s rounds on social media, and you can easily find the original recipe by googling “facebook shrimp boil.”  While I can’t take credit for the original version, I thought my slightly modified, lower calorie version really would be well received for our calorie counting friends here at the blog.  You can find the original recipe at Crème de la crumb.  For now, enjoy this version, which is currently my 14 yr old daughters favorite meal!

Editors Note: If using frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw them entirely and dry them off before mixing them in with the butter and seasoning.  Otherwise, liquid from the shrimp will water down your butter and the final product won’t be as delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ears of corn on the cob
  • 1 pound of red potatoes
  • 13 oz of turkey kielbasa
  • 1 lb of shrimp, deveined with tails removed
  • 3 tablespoons of salted butter +
  • 1/3 cup of salted butter (used separately in 2 different parts of recipe)
  • 3 TBSP of creole seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep your ingredients:  cut your potatoes into 2 inch pieces.  Cut your kielbasa into 1 inch slices.  Make sure your shrimp is completely dry (and not frozen). Cut your lemon in half long-ways. (one side will be used for juice, the other for garnish)
  3. Prepare your aluminum foil by tearing out (2) 12×12 sheets for each serving.
  4. In a large pot, boil your corn on the cob and your potatoes together for 10 minutes.
  5. Once potatoes and corn are cooked, remove ears of corn, and cut each one into 4 pieces.
  6. Melt the 3 TBSP of butter in the microwave in a small bowl.  After butter is melted, add in garlic, salt and pepper, Creole Seasoning, and the juice from 1 half of the lemon.
  7. In a large bowl, mix together your shrimp, sausage, potatoes, corn, and melted butter mixture.  Mix well so all ingredients are well coated.
  8. Lay out 4-5 pieces of foil (depending on how many servings you’re making) along the counter, and spray each with nonstick spray.
  9. Distribute the sausage/shrimp/veggie mixture evenly into the center of each piece of foil.
  10. Once all the food is distributed, use the remaining 4-5 pieces of foil to create the top of each packet, by placing it on top of your existing foil/food and rolling both pieces of foil tightly together around the edges, until you reach the food in the center.   Make sure your packets are tightly rolled so the juice doesn’t escape during cooking.
  11. Place each foil packet on a metal baking sheet. I can usually get all 5 packets on 2 cookie sheets.
  12. Place the baking sheets and packets into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  13. While your packets are cooking, put the remaining 1/3 of a cup butter into a small saucepan, and place the saucepan on medium heat.  You’re going to be making brown butter to top off this delicious dish.  Allow the butter to melt, stirring it regularly with a whisk.  After the butter is melted, continue cooking it, and stirring it regularly until little brown flecks start to appear in the bottom of the pan.  This is important, because you want your butter to achieve a nice nutty flavor by browning that you wouldn’t get by simply using melted butter.   Once the butter looks sort of like the bottom of the pan is covered in flecks of rust, remove it from the heat and set aside. (see pictures of brown butter process below)
  14. When the packets are done, and the brown butter is ready, carefully open each packet, and distribute the brown butter evenly between servings, just scooping it over the top of your food.
  15. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges, and serve on the side, so people can squeeze as much or as little as they want over their shrimp boil.

Enjoy!

4 serving= 608 Calories per serving

5 servings= 486 calories per serving

Packet Assembly under way!

Fold your corners tightly.

Brown Butter is ready once you have this froth on top and brown specks on bottom.

Final Product, ready to serve!

Final product being served inside it’s foil packet.

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Chicken Fajitas

8 Mar

This is a base recipe, for the meat and veggies used in Chicken Fajitas.  I’m going to give you the calorie counts for just this chicken and veggies, and you can decide how you’d like to serve/eat it.  It’s great in a variety of options including making fajitas with low carb tortillas, eating it over rice as a fajita bowl, or just adding lettuce, salsa, and a little sour cream to eat it “naked”.   Get creative, and you can turn this into several different meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 yellow, red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400
  2. Slice your chicken breasts into uniform slices, about 2 inches long  x half an inch wide.
  3. Wash and slice your onion and pepper into thin slices.
  4. Mix the chicken strips, onions, peppers, oil, and all spices together in a medium sized bowl.
  5. Cover a pan sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick spray.
  6. Pour the contents of your fajitas onto the tray, and spread it out into a single layer.
  7. Bake on 400 for about 25 minutes, or until chicken reaches a safe internal temp.

Makes 4 servings= 265 calories per serving

Editors note:  serve with lettuce, tomato, salsa and 1 tbsp. low fat sour cream for about 300 calories!

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Mozzarella Chicken

8 Mar

This was a simple and easy dish, that I served with rice, because I really like rice with tomato based sauces.  It turned out simple, pretty quick, and yummy.  The best thing about this one is that I have all the ingredients I need on hand at just about any time, so it doesn’t take much planning.

If you like the idea of this Mozzarella Chicken, check out my other Italian Recipes here.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breast filets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic, or 2 fresh cloves minced
  • 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional- to taste)
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (part skim)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat your oil in a large oven safe skillet, on medium heat.  Add chicken and sear until chicken is golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes per side.
  3. Remove chicken and set it aside on a plate.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic to skillet. Cook about 1 minute before adding all of the following ingredients: crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper.
  4. Stir everything together well in the skillet, and cook on low about 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Return chicken to skillet nestling them into the sauce.
  6. Cover each chicken breast in 1/4 cup of cheese, and carefully place your skillet into a preheated oven.
  7. Bake until chicken is cooked through.  My breasts were on the thick side, so it took a little longer.  I recommend starting at 15 minutes and then checking regularly until internal temp reaches 165. Serve with chicken and 1/4 of the sauce per person.

4 servings= 315 calories each

 

Loaded Cauliflower

1 Mar

I thought this was a pretty yummy dish, but it was met with mixed reviews at my dinner table.  My husband loved it. One of my children (the adventurous one) hated it.  I thought it tasted good, as long as you were honest about the fact that it was cauliflower, and not potatoes.  See, a lot of folks are currently wrapped up in this idea that you can make cauliflower look and taste just like other foods (like potatoes, or rice, or pizza crust).  I’ve never been successfully fooled.  As long as you expect and accept that this is going to taste like a delicious variation of your standard cauliflower, I think you will be pleased with the results.  I am not at all a cauliflower fan, but i did enjoy this, and it definitely tasted richer than I would expect from 168 calories!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bag of cauliflower “pearls” (*see note below)
  • 1 container (5.3 oz) of plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 6 TBSP Neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices of center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tbsp dried chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*Cauliflower “pearls” are basically just pre-cut pieces of cauliflower that are sold in a bag in the produce section. If your store doesn’t sell prepared cauliflower pearls, just cut up a head of cauliflower, and pulse it in the food processor until the pieces are about the size of bb’s.

Directions:

  1. Cook Cauliflower pearls in the microwave according to package directions (or if you’re making your own cauliflower pearls- microwave on high about 9 minutes)
  2. Carefully remove the cauliflower from the microwave and pour into a medium size bowl.
  3. I like to mash the cauliflower up slightly with a potato masher, but this is totally optional. It’s not going to become “mashed potato” texture as a result, but just a little smoother than not mashing. The texture will still be lumpy unless you take a mixer to it, but I don’t like the way that turns out…so here we are, just slightly smooshing….
  4. Stir in the cream cheese (Neufchatel), the yogurt, the bacon, and ½ a cup of the shredded cheese. Mix well along with the salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour the whole thing into a small baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. I use something smaller than your standard 9×9, like a medium casserole dish.
  6. Spread the cauliflower mixture evenly in the dish, and sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of chees on the top.
  7. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. If cheese starts to get too brown on top, just cover with foil for remaining time.

Makes 5 servings= 168 calories per serving 



 Turkey mozzarella puffed pockets

19 Feb

These were so yummy. Something I just threw together for lunch today because nothing in the pantry sounded good, and they turned out awesome.  This recipe is for 1 single pocket but you can make as many as you like of course. 1 standard box of puff pastry would make 12 pockets.

Ingredients

  • Puff pastry (1/6th of a sheet)
  • 1.5 oz of deli turkey
  • 2 tbsp shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tsp of honey mustard
  • Italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Use kitchen scissors to cut 1/6th of a sheet of frozen puff pastry and set it aside to thaw for about 10 min.
  2. The piece you cut will be rectangular.  Place it on a cutting board and roll it out into a square about 6×6 inches.
  3. Spread honey mustard evenly across pastry, then layer turkey and cheese on top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  4. Fold pastry and filling over so the turkey is eveloped inside the pastry.
  5. Pinch the edges of the pastry together sealing the turkey inside.

Bake at 400 for 15-17 minutes.

248 calories per serving

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

14 Feb

My husband doesn’t get excited much about food.  But, there are 2 things he loves:  Peanut Butter, and Cheesecake, and it’s Valentines Day–so there I found myself last night, making peanut butter cheesecake, which he ate for breakfast this morning.  I used PB2 in this recipe, which is a great way to get peanut butter flavor without all the added calories of peanut butter.  If you’re not familiar with PB2, it’s a peanut product that is pressed and the oils are removed to decrease the caloric value.  It’s great for baking, and in fact I have used it before in this yummy peanut butter pie.  If you prefer a more traditional cheescake, check out this recipe for my skinny NY style cheesecake!

Again, the recipe itself is mostly mine, but the cooking technique is based on tips from This Old Gal when using the Instant Pot.  I hope you enjoy it.

Editors Note: This recipe was made in a 7 inch spring form cheesecake pan.  Your slices are a little smaller than you’d get from a traditional 10 inch pan.  However, this recipe is meant for the smaller pan and you won’t get the same results if you try to stretch this to a 10 inch.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 7 whole graham crackers (that’s 7 of the sheets of 4 rectangles).
  • 2  TBSP light butter or margarine (i used 50 cal per TBSP)

Filling:

  • 16 oz Neufchatel Cheese (sometimes marketed as 1/3 fat cream cheese) Room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup splenda
  • just a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 TBSP PB2  +1 TBSP for topping later
  • 2 room temperature eggs
  • 1 room temperature egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1 TBSP strawberry preserves for topping

Instructions: 

  1. put all the graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave for about 25 seconds.
  3. Pour melted butter into cracker crumbs and stir until they are all well combined.
  4. Spray your spring form pan generously with cooking spray.
  5. Pour the crust mixture into the pan and use your fingers to press it evenly across the bottom, and up the sides just about an inch or so.  You can use the bottom of a glass to get a more consistent thickness and texture.
  6. Place the pan with the crust inside, into the freezer for 20 minutes to set while you work on making the filling.
  7. Once you’ve got your crust in place, it’s time to start making your filling.  It’s important to make sure your cheese is softened pretty well.  It should be very soft and pliable inside the package.
  8. Place your cream cheese, sugar, splenda, salt, flour, vanilla extract, PB2, and milk into a mixing bowl.  Use stand mixer or electric beaters to cream these ingredients together until they are smooth.
  9. Add eggs, one at a time, and then yolk.  Mix until just incorporated after each one.
  10. Once filling is mixed together, pour it out on top of the crust, and spread it evenly across the pan.

Cook it! 

For the oven:

  1. Place your spring form pan on large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold the sides of the foil around the sides of the pan.
  2. Set pan inside a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  3. Very carefully place the whole contraption into the oven and bake at 325 for 55 minutes.  When the cake is ready, the edges will look done, but about 1 inch in the middle of the cake will still be jiggly.  This is perfect. It’s going to continue cooking in the next step.
  4. Turn off oven and prop door open.  Allow the cake to sit in the oven, turned off, door slightly open for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove to a cooling rack and let it cool completely before moving to the refrigerator.  Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight before serving. Complete this step before adding topping.

For the Instant Pot:

  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, and then add the trivet.
  2. Place a paper towel over the top of the pan, and then loosely attach a piece of foil over the top to hold the paper towel in place.  Fold the edges of the foil loosely over the sides of the pan. The foil should not be tightly sealing up the pan, just loosely attached so the paper towel stays stretched across the top.  This paper towel will catch any condensation so it doesn’t settle on the top of your cake and ruin the texture.
  3. Create a foil sling by placing a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (about 2 ft long) on your counter, and folding it longways about 4 times.  So at the end, the foil strip should be about 4 inches wide, and 2 ft long.  Place your spring form pan directly in the center of this aluminum strip and pull the sides of the foil up to the top of the pan.  You’re going to use these pieces of foil as a handle to lift the hot pan out of the pot once cooking is done.
  4. Use the “handles” on the foil sling to lower your cake onto the trivet inside the Instant pot.
  5. Set the IP to high pressure, manual setting for 32 minutes.
  6. Once time is up, allow the Instant pot to sit for 18 minutes (NPR). Do not release any pressure until this 18 minute time frame has passed.  Once your 18 minutes has passed, release any remaining pressure manually.
  7. Use handles from the foil sling to remove the pan carefully and place the pan on a cooling rack.
  8. Unwrap the top of the cake and discard foil and paper towel.  Allow cake to cool on the cooling rack 1 hour before placing into the refrigerator.
  9. Refrigerate 6 hours to overnight before serving.  Complete this step before adding topping.

For Topping:

  1. Use 2 small contaners, and place 1 TBSP of PB2 in one, and 1 TBSP of strawberry preserves or jam in the other.
  2. Add about 3/4 TBSP of water to each, and stir until well mixed.
  3. Pour strawberry mixture into a small ziplock bag, and pour PB2 mixture into another small ziplock bag.
  4. Cut a very tiny tip off of one corner of each ziplock bag, and drizzle the PB2 and Strawberry preserves over the top of the cake.

Makes 8 servings= 271 calories per serving (with topping)

 

 

 

 

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

13 Feb

This is another one of those recipe mash ups, where I started to crave something that I thought was probably high calorie (rice, heavy cream, butter, etc) so I did some research, compared some recipes, and came up with my own take, making substitutions and additions to get a tasty result at a lower calorie count, and I’m pretty happy with the results.  Even my “soup isn’t real food” husband ate it… which says a lot.  Because, I probably make 20 different soups, and he only eats 2 prior to this one.   I hope you enjoy it too.  Directions for stove top and instant pot are listed below.

Editors note:  Want a non-creamy, super low cal version?  I made this as a regular chicken and wild rice soup first, and then I added all the “creamy” ingredients at the end, so what I have here is really 2 recipes for 2 delicious, but different soups.  If you want to make it a regular Chicken and rice soup, leave out the 3 ingredients indented at the bottom.  It will make 9 (1 cup) servings at 120 calories each.  Next time I make this soup, i’ll take photos of the non-creamy variety and post that recipe separately, but for now… this will do 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 whole carrots or a cup of baby carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped into appx 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 lb of chicken breast, boneless skinless
  • 1 box of rice a roni (or uncle bens, or any other brand) long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
  • 32 ounces of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons of better than boullion, or 2 chicken boullion cubes
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cups of 1% milk
    • 3 tablespoons of corn starch
    • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Directions:

Stovetop:

1. Warm a large soup pot on medium heat, and add about 1/2 cup of the stock, along with your onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook in the broth (adding more as you go if necessary) until the veggies start to get tender.

2. Once vegetables are tender, Cube your raw chicken, and add it to the mix with another cup or so of the stock.  Cook about 5 minutes before adding additonal ingredients.

3. Once chicken and veggies are cooked, add remaining broth, water, bullion, rice (and included seasoning packet) salt and pepper, and parsley, stirring all ingredients together.

4. Cook on low, stirring periodically, for 30 minutes.

If you want the creamy version, then continue on.  If not, stop here and eat your delicious soup.

5. Once everything has cooked together and you’re ready to get your creamy soup on, go ahead and pour the milk directly into the pot.

6. Place corn starch in a small bowl or cup, along with 1/4 cup of hot soup broth, and stir until mixture is smooth.

7. Add corn starch slurry back into the soup pot, scraping the sides of the container to make sure you get all the cornstarch into the pan.  Stir constantly for about 5 minutes until soup begins to thicken.

Once your soup has started to thicken some, go ahead and stir in the whole can of cream of mushroom soup.  Heat long enough to get everything hot, and serve.  You can let it continue cooking on simmer a while if you need to.  Just make sure to stir it periodically so it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan and scorch.

Instant Pot:

1.Turn your pot on sautee, low, and add about 1/4 cup broth and your veggies.  Cook on sautee, stirring regularly, until veggies begin to get a little soft.

2. Add remaining broth, whole chicken breasts, water, rice with seasoning, salt, pepper, bullion and parsley into the pot.

3. Seal up your pot, close the steam valve and set on Manual, high for 10 minutes.

4. At the end of 12 minutes, quick release (QR) the pot and stir the contents inside.  Check to see if the rice is done, and if not, put back under Manual high for 3 more minutes, with QR.

5. Remove the chicken from the pot, and shred it with a fork, returning it back into the pot.

If you don’t want it creamy, here’s your chance.. you’re all done.  But if you do want it creamy, keep going!

6. Once everything has cooked together and you’re ready to get your creamy soup on, go ahead and pour the milk directly into the pot and turn the pot on sautee, low.

7. Place corn starch in a small bowl or cup, along with 1/4 cup of hot soup broth, and stir until mixture is smooth.

8. Add corn starch slurry back into the pot, scraping the sides of the container to make sure you get all the cornstarch into the pan.  Stir constantly for about 5 minutes until soup begins to thicken.

Once your soup has started to thicken some, go ahead and stir in the whole can of cream of mushroom soup.  Heat long enough to get everything hot, but remember to keep stirring or it will stick to the bottom of your instant pot and burn.  Enjoy 🙂

 

Makes 12 (1 cup) servings= 151 calories per serving

See below:  (photo 1:  Non creamy version, photo 2: Creamy version)