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Cheddar and Spinach stuffed Chicken Breast

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I love coming up with different ways to cook chicken. It’s cheap and it’s low in calories. I have all kinds of different cuts of chicken in the fridge right now because Justin bought a whole chicken and cut it into pieces. (I will blog about how to do that later. It is a definite money saver, as long as you can get past the whole dealing with raw chicken thing). 

Anyway, I’ve seen a couple recipes for stuffed chicken breast floating around lately and was inspired. I stuffed these with low fat cheddar cheese, spinach, and some spices and coated it with some panko seasoned bread crumbs. It turned out super juicy, full of flavor, and fairly low on the calorie end (383 calories for a large chicken breast). 

This was easy and quick to prepare too. Pound the chicken, stuff the chicken, roll the chicken, bake the chicken, and eat the chicken! Easy as that. 

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It was so easy that I even had time to snap a few pictures of my adorable two year old while preparing it. 

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No, he didn’t eat this with us. That’s his dinner, a pop tart, on his face. Great parenting. I know!

That’s besides the point, Back to the chicken…

What you need:

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 1/2 – 1 cup spinach (I used frozen, thawed)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • Season salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  • 1/3 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
Lay the chicken flat between a folded piece of saran wrap. Pound it with a meat mallet (a cup works fine if you don’t have one). Pound it until your meat is about 1/4 inch thick. 
 
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Combine the spinach, cheese, and seasonings together. 
 
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, and place your chicken in it. Spread half the spinach/cheese mixture about 3/4 way across your chicken. Do the same on the other chicken breast.
 
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Start at the covered end of the chicken, and roll it up. I read in a few recipes that people use tooth picks to hold their’s together, but I didn’t do it, and mine held together fine. 
 
Coat the chicken with the bread crumbs. Even though the bread crumbs were seasoned, it still tastes a little bland to me, so I added a little bit of the same spices I put in the cheese mixture. 
 
Bake the chicken at 350 for 45 minutes. 
 
This chicken must have tasted good to Justin, because he ALMOST always puts hot sauce on any chicken I cook, and he didn’t today. I would call that a success! 
 
 
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Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Chicken

 

Baked Zucchini Parmesan Strips

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I am starting to think that Justin and I might have a slight obsession with zucchini. It is making a weekly appearance at our dinner table lately. Sometimes more than once a week. This recipe was adapted from several different recipes I have seen all over pinterest lately.

What you need

  • 2-3 Zucchini
  • 4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Onion powder to taste
  • Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the zucchini into strips.
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I used three, and the two of us had no problems at all downing it.
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, and line with your chopped zucchini. Spray the top of the zucchini and coat with your seasonings and cheese. When I ate this I was really wishing I had used more cheese so feel free to be generous with it.  Flip the zucchini over and do the same thing on the other side.
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Bake them for 15=20 minutes.
Last, turn the broiler on for another 5 minutes or so. Just long enough to get the cheese nice and browned on top.
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It will look like that after you pull it out of the oven. Like I said, this really would have been better with more cheese, and maybe some oregano or italian seasoning. It was still tasty, and a fairly low calorie side to dinner. We will most likely have the same thing with tomorrows dinner.
 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Side Dishes

 

Portabella Burgers

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Justin loves mushrooms, and we’ve had some burgers in the freezer leftover from Wylin’s birthday party. The burgers were really tasty, made from meat ground with our kitchenaid meat grinder. I have been dying to eat them again, so I thought it would be a good time to try this.

It doesn’t really get more simple than this. Make your burgers. Replace the bun with a baked portabella mushroom cap. Then you have a nice low carb burger. Perfect!

For the “portabella bun”

What you need

  • Portabella mushroom caps
  • Olive oil
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • McCormick’s Montreal steak seasoning
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Scrape the gills and stem from the bottom of the mushroom cap with a spoon. Justin did a MUCH better job of this than me. Mine did not look pretty at all. Just make sure you are very gentle with the mushroom, or it will all fall apart like mine did. Lesson learned.
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Drizzle some olive oil on both sides of the mushroom and rub some of the seasoning on it.
Bake for about 15 minutes. I sprinkled some cheese on top of mine for the last 2-3 minutes.
For the burgers
  • 1 lb of ground beef (I combined chuck and sirloin)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • A few drops of soy sauce
  • A squeeze of barbecue sauce 
  • McCormicks Montreal steak season

Combine all the ingredients together, mix thoroughly, form your burgers, and cook to your desired temperature.
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Beef

 

Veggie Meaty Marinara

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Being on this whole low carbs “diet” is great for a lot of reasons. Justin has lost more than 10 pounds and I’ve lost 4. You have to get creative with meals though. There is a lot of meat and vegetables over and over again. It can get a little bit repetitive, so we have been racking our brains trying to come up with new meal ideas. This one was a variation of zucchini noodles. The biggest reason I tried this instead of zucchini noodles was that I hate shredding the zucchini. I am always afraid of cutting my finger with the mandolin. I end up with a lot of wasted zucchini because I refuse to get my hands too close to the blade. And I have to say, this turned out delicious. Justin didn’t say a word while eating it, so I knew that meant it HAD to be pretty tasty. 

The only vegetables I used today were squash and zucchini, but next time I think I will throw in some carrots, onions, or mushrooms along with it. 

What you need

  • 1-2 Summer squash, sliced and quartered
  • 1-2 Zucchini, sliced and quarted
  • Jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 lb of ground beef (or turkey or italian sausage)
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Italian seasoning to taste

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
 
Slice the vegetables, place them in a casserole dish, and toss them with some parmesan cheese and italian seasoning. Cover and bake for 10-15 minutes. I baked mine for about as long as it takes to brown beef. I wanted the vegetables to be extra soft, so I thought some extra time in the oven might help. 
 
Meanwhile brown the beef and heat the sauce. Pull the vegetables out of the oven and combine the sauce, ground beef, and vegetables together. Recover it and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until your vegetables are nice and tender. 
 
If you want some extra cheese, sprinkle some on top for the last 5 minutes. 
 
And enjoy. Spaghetti is most definitely in my top ten of favorite foods and this was a fun and unique replacement. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as we did! Next time I might try italian sausage, and probably some extra veggies like I mentioned above. 
 
I also might try to cook it in the crockpot. I hate how much the oven heats up the kitchen in the summertime. Plus I think cooking it all day with some homemade tomato sauce would really give those vegetables a good chance to soak up some good flavor. 
 
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Beef, Casseroles

 

Egg “Muffins”

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I love these. They are so much fun and perfect for a family of eaters with different tastes. Justin will pretty much eat anything. I am a little less adventurous. These are so great because they can be individualized for different people or your mood that day.

What you need

4 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
Cooking spray/baking cups
Salt and pepper to taste
Various omelet toppings ( I used ham and cheese this time, but the possibilities are endless!)

Preheat your oven to 350

These are so easy. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Add salt and pepper, if you so desire. I’ve read several recipes that use half and half or heavy cream, and it does taste better, but not necessary by any means. Next pour the eggs into your muffin pan.

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Now, I have made these several times and my biggest and ONLY complaint is, I can’t seem to figure out a method to keep the eggs from sticking. I have tried cooking spray and LOTS of it. I have tried coating the pan in crisco and butter. They still stuck after all those attempts, leaving me scrubbing the pan after breakfast. So, this time I thought I would line it with baking cups. The eggs still stuck to them a little bit, but it at least made for easier cleaning.

Anyways, fill your muffin pan. Make sure you don’t fill it up too much, because they will overflow once you add your toppings. Fill them about 2/3 full depending on how much you want to add. Then add away, whatever you want. Get creative. These are fun because everyone in the family can make their own!  I made these all the same on this occasion. We had leftover ham from dinner the previous night, so I threw that in there with some cheese. The ham was a hit. Justin downed his share.

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Bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 and enjoy! 🙂

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Justin and I both ate three, so if you’re making for a lot of people you might want to make a bunch!!

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Breakfasts

 

Crockpot Whole Chicken

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We love to buy and cook whole chickens. It’s cheap, easy, and it feeds us for a couple days. However, since it’s summer and twenty millions degrees outside, I don’t really like to leave the oven on for long periods of time. I like to do in in the crock pot because you throw the chicken in there with some vegetables and don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. The downside is you are tortured with the smell all day long.

What you need

  • Whole chicken
  • Handful of carrots
  • Medium sized onion
  • Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder)
  • 1/2 chicken broth

This meal is so simple! Literally anyone could do it.
Chop the onion in quarters and place in the bottom of the crockpot along with a handful of carrots.
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I would have added some more carrots here, but I was just using what we had in the fridge, and that’s all we had. You could probably also add some celery and other veggies here, but again, I was working with what we had.
Pour about 1/2 cup of chicken broth in the bottom of the pot, just enough to coat the veggies.
Next pull out your chicken and season it liberally however you please.
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I personally think you can’t go wrong with your seasoning choice. Everyone’s tastes are different, so use whatever you like best. I’ve learned through making chicken several times that there’s no such thing as too much. The more you add, the better it tastes.
Put the chicken in the crockpot right on top of those veggies and on cook on high for about 30 minutes, then on low for 6-7 hours. My crockpot usually cooks things faster than most recipes call for, so don’t be surprised if your’s takes longer than that.
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By the time the chicken is cooked it will be super juicy and will literally fall right off the bone. It’s a pain to serve and clean up, but totally worth it.
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Chicken

 

Cauliflower “Macaroni” and Cheese

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So Justin and I are still sticking to the low carbs thing, and I am seriously missing some pasta and potatoes. (Truth be told, I snuck to spaghetti while Justin was out of town earlier this week, but that’s another story). Anyways,we have been reading all about cauliflower and it’s versatility. We’ve read about cauliflower pizza crust, lasagna, and of course macaroni and cheese. 

This was so good and SO easy to do. It was still a little bit higher in calories than I would like, but definitely lower than your typical mac n cheese. We did not come up with this recipe on our own, this was a Dr. Oz recipe. You can go to the original link here. 

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/original-cauliflower-mac-and-cheese-casserole

We didn’t change much, just used low fat cheese and cream cheese. I am not one for low fat items so I was a little bit hesitant about going this route, but it tasted delicious. 

What You need

  • Large cauliflower head
  • 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
  • 2 oz of low fat cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of low fat cheddar cheese (plus extra to top)
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Break the cauliflower into florets and boil for 5-10 minutes, just long enough for it to be slightly tender

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Once it’s tender, drain the cauliflower thoroughly and pat dry. We learned the hard way that this step is really important. My cheese sauce ended up slightly runny, so really make sure you get all the extra liquid out. After that, put the cauliflower aside in a baking dish. 


Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Once it’s simmering add the cream cheese, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Once that is melted, add the cheese and stir until creamy. 

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Add the cheese mixture to the cauliflower. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. The cheese should be slightly browned and bubbly. 

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Once it comes out of the oven, it should look a little bit like this…

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See all the bubbly cheesy goodness? All that with low fat cheese and cauliflower. Who knew?

After eating this, Justin and I decided that next time we are going to try it with milk or half and half to cut back on some of those calories. Hopefully it will turn out just as good. 

We served this along side of ham and okra. The cheese sauce the oozed all over the plate tasted pretty good on top of both. Just in case you were wondering! 

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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Side Dishes