Archive | Quick and Easy RSS feed for this section

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

 

Advertisements

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

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)


 

 

 

 

 

Penne and Italian Turkey Sausage

8 Feb

This was a quick, easy fix in my Instantpot tonight, but it would be super easy on the stovetop as well.  I’ll leave you directions for both.  This is a great quick and easy meal for a busy  night when you need something low in calories.  The trick is the penne.  I’ve found a low calorie penne (150 cal per 2 oz) at my local grocery store and it comes out tender and delicious just like the regular kind.  Keep in mind that my penne comes in a 12 oz box, and many of the regular types come in a 16 oz box, so you’ll have to adjust the water (if you use instant pot) and calories accordingly if you use the larger box.

Ingredients

  • 3 butterball sweet Italian turkey sausage links, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 12 oz of reduced calorie penne
  • 1 container of pre sliced mushrooms
  • 1 jar of prego light smart pasta sauce (32 oz) or mommy’s on a diet homemade marinara
  • 32 oz of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup white wine* (opt) or water
  • shredded parm and crushed red peppers for garnish (opt)

*white wine not included in calorie count

Directions:

Stovetop:

  1. Fill a large pot with about 4 cups of water, and bring to a boil.  Add penne and cook according to package directions.
  2. While water is boiling, warm 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet.  Cook turkey sausage slices in the skillet until they are browned on the outside and cooked through.
  3. Use about 1/2 cup of water or white wine (opt) to deglaze the pan, meaning, pour the liquid in and use a spoon to scrape all the bits off the bottom so nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add pasta sauce, mushrooms, salt, garlic, and oregano to pan.  cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally while you continue working on pasta.
  5. Once pasta has finished cooking, drain it well.  Once mushrooms have cooked down, add your pasta to the large skillet and toss sauce and pasta together.

Instantpot: 

  1. heat instant pot on sautee function.  Add oil, and then sausages to cook.
  2. Cook sausages in oil just until they are browned on outside.
  3. Literally add all other ingredients in, starting with sauce, then mushrooms, then seasonings, then water.  Don’t stir it up.
  4. Once everything else is in the pot, add pasta.  Poke all pasta down inside the water and make sure no pasta is exposed (it won’t cook if it’s exposed).
  5. Set your Instantpot to manual for 6 minutes.  Quick release as soon as timer goes off.
  6. If there is too much liquid when it’s done, either stir it and then replace cover and leave it sitting covered in the pot for about 5 minutes: or you can stir it up and heat on sautee, adjusting the heat to “less” and stir continuously until sauce thickens.

Makes 5 servings= 378 calories per serving

Roasted Carrots with Thyme

2 Feb

This is a simple side dish, but it’s low calorie and it turned out delicious when I made it last night, so I decided to share.  My one regret is that I don’t have a better picture.  By the way, this recipe was inspired by one I made using the home chef delivery service.

Ingredients:

  • 8 carrots, cleaned and peeled
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Cut carrots on the bias (diagonally) into slices 1/2 inch thick.
  3. In an oven safe skillet, warm your olive oil over medium high heat.
  4. Once oil is hot, add carrots.  Allow carrots to cook, turning them periodically for about 4-5 minutes, until the bottoms begin to char just a bit, or turn golden brown.
  5. Once carrots have a little char on them, add salt and pepper, and thyme.  Mix in seasonings.
  6. Transfer oven safe skillet to a hot oven, and bake 17 minutes at 450 degrees.
  7. When removing the hot skillet from the oven, be very careful.  Handle will be very, very hot.

5 servings= 65 calories per serving

carrots

Homemade Applesauce

17 Jan

I never have really been an applesauce girl so to speak.  However, I’m definitely a “warm apple pie filling poured over a 100 calorie cup of vanilla ice cream” kind of girl.  And I decided to make homemade apple sauce tonight, which turned out really delicious.  But before I put it in the fridge to cool for tomorrow night’s dinner, i snuck a half cup while it was still warm and it was glorious!

Again, I’ll give you both the crock pot and the instant pot versions below.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (if you’re using the crock pot. Not needed for instant pot)

Directions: 

For Crock Pot

  1. Mix all ingredients together in crock pot, and heat on high 3 hrs, or low 6 hrs.
  2. Once time is up, open lid and stir apples until they have broken up and sort of melded together.  Sauce will be chunky.
  3. Use an immersion blender to break up chunks until sauce reaches desired consistency.  You can dump the sauce into a food processor or blender as well, but listen. LISTEN to me.  Do not fill more than 1/2 way at a time with hot apples, or it will blow boiling hot apples all over you when you push the button.  Trust me.  This is why i use the immersion blender.
  4. You can cook the apples down a little longer if you find there’s more juice than you want.

Serve hot or cold in 1/2 cup serving sizes.

For Instant Pot:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except lemon juice) together in instant pot.
  2. Use the manual setting to cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  3. Once cooking is complete, use the pressure dial to release the steam (QR).
  4. Once steam is released, open lid and stir apples until they have broken up and sort of melded together.  Sauce will be chunky.
  5. Use an immersion blender to break up chunks until sauce reaches desired consistency.  You can dump the sauce into a food processor or blender as well, but listen. LISTEN to me.  Do not fill more than 1/2 way at a time with hot apples, or it will blow boiling hot apples all over you when you push the button.  Trust me.  This is why i use the immersion blender.
  6. You can cook the apples down a little longer on the saute or keep warm setting if you find there’s more juice than you want.  If you plan to serve cold, sauce will thicken in some in the fridge.

Serve hot or cold in 1/2 cup serving sizes.

Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings= 150 Calories per serving


Editors Note: This sauce is sweet, and I love it that way. If you wanted to make this unsweetened by omitting the brown sugar, your 8 servings would come out to 124 calories each.

Editors Note: I actually left the peels on half of my apples, but the peels stayed in tact when i blended them all together, which i don’t mind at all… but you know… kids.  So  next time I’ll probably peel them all.  If you’re using the blender or food processor, i wouldn’t even bother peeling them.