November 5, 2011

Curry Chicken Stir Fry

I love accidental recipes that turn out to be super yummy! Some of my favorite meals have been "mistakes". This latest one is all because I cut my chicken up into 1 inch cubes before reviewing the recipe I planned to make and realizing that it was not supposed to be cut until after baking it. Not to mention my usual "I'm missing one ingredient I need" moment. If anyone is interested in the original recipe I planned to make (which is every bit as yummy and well worth trying!), you can find it on Cody Jo's blog New Beautiful Me

1.5 lbs chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric (this was my substitution ingredient, because I was missing onion powder, of all things)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder

Put all ingredients in a zip-loc bag, make sure chicken is evenly coated with marinade, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can marinate it for longer, but it's not really necessary.

You will also need approximately 6 cups of chopped vegetables. I used 2 cups of red and green bell pepper, 1 cup celery, 2 cups mini portabella mushrooms, and 1 cup tomatoes (last batch from my garden). These will cook down to about 3-4 cups worth of veggies.

Add 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil to a wok (or large pan), allow to heat and coat entire pan. Add chicken and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until chicken is mostly cooked through. Remove chicken from pan. Add bell peppers and celery (or whatever veggies you're using that require the most cooking time). Stir fry until starting to soften, then add mushrooms. Cook for another couple minutes, or until mushrooms have "shrunk". Add tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add chicken back into pan and cook until heated through.

We ate this just as shown, but it would be great with whole grain brown rice or some shirataki noodles. Makes about 2.5 servings, which is perfect for us and the munchkin. And total cost was about $3.50, or a little over $1 a serving. My whole family gobbled it up - super yummy! Sorry there are no pictures, but we were a little hungry, and it disappeared before I could take any. But I promise it looked pretty too! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you come up with any other great veggies to use with it, I'd love to hear what they were so we can try it next time!

October 12, 2011

Beef & Veggie Soup

I'm making a brand new, from scratch recipe tonight. In previous posts, I would have referred to this as "Refrigerator Goulash". But, in the past, I also would have added a whole slew of unhealthy ingredients to make it extra tasty. This is definitely one of the simplest ones I've thrown together in a while, and it's every bit as tasty! Nice way to use up the last of the veggies in the fridge, along with whatever meat/protein you have on hand to toss in. Another nice addition would be some whole grain pasta, but as I haven't added grains back into my personal menu yet, I left them out this time.
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 12 oz can red beans or kidney beans
2  14.5 oz cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
4 cups diced summer squash
2 cups diced mushrooms
1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt substitute
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp various Mrs Dash seasonings (I used a little Southwest Chipotle & Tomato Basil)

Cook up the ground beef (or whatever meat you use). Drain excess fat, if any, and return to pot. Add beans and tomatoes and let simmer for a few minutes. Add remaining veggies, stock (add as much or as little as needed for your desired thickness) and seasonings and allow to simmer until all ingredients are fully cooked. Serve and enjoy!

If you're on the 5 and 1, general breakdown of this makes about 2.5 meals. Which works out perfectly for us and our little person. And, for me, the total cost was about $6, since the squash was the last from this year's garden ... which breaks down to about $2.50 a serving. Depending on what protein and/or veggies you use, could probably even be made for less!

September 19, 2011

Scrubbing Bubbles

One of the ways I've found to save a few extra cents in recent years is by becoming a Bzz Agent. If you've never heard of this, check out Bzz Agent. As you fill out surveys and update your profile, they link you up with campaigns to try new products and help spread the word. So, the latest one I am trying out is the new Scrubbing Bubbles One Step Toilet Bowl cleaner.

I am currently waiting for my kit to arrive & looking forward to trying my free sample! I'll keep you posted on my results. And, if you're interested, I will have coupons available for $xx/off the product for the first few people that comment or email & let me know they're interested!

September 4, 2011

Guilt-free BBQ Chicken

If you haven't been introduced to Walden Farms products yet, you need to check them out! I won't pretend to understand how they do it, but all their products are 0 calorie, 0 sugar, 0 carbs, 0 fat. Miracle food! I have been incorporating them into a lot of meals lately, as we are striving to keep our carb intake (and calorie intake) at the proper level. A few local stores carry them, otherwise you can find them online. The best deal I've found so far is a site called Netrition. They seem to have the lowest prices, plus they offer flat-rate shipping, no matter how much you order! If you find a better deal somewhere, though, I'd love to hear about it!

So, last night's dinner was supposed to go on the grill. But the crazy wind we had caused hubby to decide to scratch his grilling plan. And I actually liked the result better than if we'd barbecued!!

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cooks down to about 1 lb) ($3)
4 Tbsp Walden Farms Thick & Spicy BBQ Sauce ($0.50)
1 tsp Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning ($0.05)

Combine above ingredients in a zip-log bag and mix well. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours (I marinated for about 2 hours). Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Pat chicken mostly dry with a paper towel. Turn oven to Broil and place chicken on broiler rack. Broil for 5-6 minutes, flip, broil for another 5-6 minutes (depending on thickness of the chicken, you may want to adjust your times).

I combined this with some marinated zucchini from our garden (Marinated Veggies). The chicken was so tender and moist, and it was honestly some of the tastiest meat I've had in a long time. Definitely repeating this one! Whole meal cost less than $4 for 3 people, which makes me even happier! 

July 27, 2011

I'm sorry

I owe all of you, my readers, an apology. It has recently occurred to me that I never truly "came out" (that's for you, Doug, if you're really reading!) and shared with you about the current journey I'm on and why the focus of this blog changed course last summer. So here goes ...

A little over a year ago, at the ripe old age of 37 and only 5'3" tall, I weighed in at a whopping 269 lbs. And I was miserable. But even I didn't realize how miserable I was. Thank heavens for my husband, who decided it was time for us to take control of our health. And thank heavens for amazing friends who showed us it was possible and helped us start the journey to find the health we so desperately needed. I started this journey quite unwillingly. As a morbidly obese woman, I had tried everything, and nothing had worked. I'd lose 20 lbs, then gain it all back even faster than I lost it. And, as a result, I'd given up hope of ever being a healthy weight again.

Until we discovered Take Shape For Life. We started this amazing program July 11, 2010. We spent a week, cleaning out our pantry and preparing our home so that we could be successful. And we jumped right in. We started eating 6 small meals a day and drinking lots of water. We had the free support of amazing health coaches, which I know made all the difference in our success. After 1 month, we were both down over 25 lbs. I decided I could stick it out a while longer and see what might happen. 

A year later, my hubby is down 60 lbs and has maintained that loss for 9 months. I am down over 100 lbs, and I am now within about 35 lbs of my final goal weight. And I have hope again. I never realized how many areas of my life were unhealthy ... and how many of those areas were directly tied to my unhealthy weight. As the weight came off, I found myself suddenly more interested in things I had hid from for years. I hated the way I looked, so I gradually hid myself away at home more and more. But as the lbs started melting off, and I started liking the way I looked, I started getting involved in activities at church, with other moms, inviting people over to my house again. And, as I started getting more involved, I started moving more and being more active in general ... which made me feel better too. I started getting out and walking, playing with my daughter, even broke out my Wii Fit a few times. And as I got more physically active, I started feeling even better about myself. Instead of the old vicious, unhealthy cycle I'd been living in, I was now working toward a balanced, healthy lifestyle. And it felt amazing.

It still does. Which is why my hubby and I are now "paying it forward" and sharing the same hope with others. How can I not share something that could save someone's life? Because I know it saved mine. And if I can help even one other person find the hope that I did, then I consider my life a success. If you'd like more information about the amazing program that has turned our lives around, please feel free to ask me! Call me, e-mail me, FB me, text me. Whatever it takes to get ahold of me. Don't wait as long as I did. Don't let your mind come up with every excuse in the book why you "can't" do this thing. I sincerely hope and pray that you will take this chance to grab control of your future and start your own journey to a healthier you. And if I can be even a small part of that journey, I'd consider it an honor. 

For more information, check out my website ... and then call me! Take Shape For Life

July 2, 2011

Easy Kid's Pizza

Every mom out there has probably made some variation of this type of "pizza" for their kid. But I figured I'd post my little healthy recipe, which my kiddo loves. She kind of cracks me up when I feed her pizza, because if I put anything but veggies on top, she'll pick everything else off and only eat the veggies. She's weird, but I'm sure glad she loves to eat healthy - will serve her well later in life to already have good habits!

1 whole wheat sandwich thin (I found a package on clearance today for 99 cents, so this "crust" cost me about 16 cents)
2 tsp no-sugar-added spaghetti (or pizza) sauce
Up to 1/4 cup chopped veggies (my daughter favors mushrooms & tomatoes)
1/4 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella

I pop the sandwich thin in the toaster on a low setting so that it gets a little crunchy. After it comes out, spread a tsp of sauce on each half, distribute the veggies evenly between the two halves, then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Microwave for about 30-40 seconds, just long enough to melt the cheese. And, you're done!

This entire meal takes me all of about 3 minutes to prepare and get on the table. And it costs about 50 cents (or less) for a full serving. I added a side of strawberries and blueberries for my kiddo today. All yummy, totally healthy, and easy on the checkbook. Best kind of meal there is!

April 27, 2011

Who knew??

Who knew that cauliflower could be used in so many yummy ways? I certainly didn't. Before changing the way we were eating and eliminating most of the processed food from our daily diet, there were so many foods that I thought I didn't like. But now that I've re-trained my tastebuds, it's amazing how many yummy foods have opened up to me! And cauliflower is at the top of that list!

This recipe came to me via Sarah Corbin. I'm not sure where she first tracked it down, but I will be forever grateful she shared once she found it! And now I will pass it along to you!

Cauliflower Lasagna
4 cups cooked cauliflower, grated or shredded in the food processor
3-4 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella, divided
1 cup eggbeaters
1 - 1 1/2 cups non-fat (or low-fat) cottage cheese
6 Tbsp parmesan cheese (optional)
16 oz 99% lean ground turkey, cooked with Italian seasonings
2-3 cups no sugar added, low-carb spaghetti sauce (or no sugar, no salt tomato sauce)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, mix cauliflower, eggbeaters and half the mozzarella. In another small bowl, mix the cottage cheese and parmesan cheese (if using). 
Spread half the spaghetti/tomato sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread half of the cauliflower mixture over the sauce. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture over the cauliflower mixture. Spread half the ground turkey over the cottage cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Spread remaining mozzarella over top of lasagna. 
Bake for 45-55 minutes, then allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

This makes 4 "lean and green" portions and is a perfect dish for leftovers! It is extremely filling and super tasty. I made it last night and could hardly finish a full portion. My hubby and I will be having the leftovers tonight, and I'm already looking forward to it!

The cost breakdown makes it pretty economical too. About $2-3 worth of cauliflower (I used frozen & 2 bags was perfect), $2 for spaghetti sauce, $2 for the ground turkey (we got it out of the discount bin - I know it's not usually that low!), $1 for cottage cheese, a few cents worth of Parmesan, $4 worth of mozzarella, and about $1 worth of eggbeaters. Total cost for 4 servings was $12-13, which comes out to about $3 and maybe a few cents per serving. Sure not going to find any form of lasagna for that price at a restaurant! And it's about $2 a serving cheaper than my famous lasagna recipe!