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Archive for the ‘Grains’ Category

Lemon Zest and Quinoa

I often don’t spend much time on side dishes when cooking dinner for my family. I usually put most of my attention towards the main dish and stick with steamed or roasted veggies seasoned simply with salt and pepper for the rest of the meal. A few nights ago, however, I decided to use the rest of the red quinoa that was in my refrigerator. In a desire to dress it up a bit, I came up with a lemony quinoa mixed with crumbled feta. It was delicious!

LEMONY QUINOA WITH FETA AND ALMONDS
Downloadable PDF of Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

  • In a medium saucepan, combine:
    • 3/4 cup red quinoa
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and let quinoa sit a few minutes to absorb the rest of the liquid, if any is remaining.
  • Stir in:
    • Zest from one lemon
  • Serve 1/2 cup of the lemony quinoa on a plate or a small bowl.
  • On top of each serving of quinoa, sprinkle up to:
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta (I use reduced fat)
    • 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds

Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

Couldn’t be an easier, tastier side dish to fish or chicken. It would also be wonderful with some fresh chopped parsley, but my parsley is just starting to grow back after it quit growing during the 80-some days of triple digit heat we’ve had so far (I think I read yesterday marked 87 days, or today will?).

The lemon really makes the quinoa pop and the feta adds a nice creamy texture while the almonds add a light crunch. All in all, it tastes very fresh and delicious. This will be on the regular side dish rotation from now on.

Downloadable PDF of Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

In other news, I found that a couple of friends “pinned” a couple of my recipes to Pinterest, as did someone else not too long ago! I was very excited to see my posts pinned on a few boards here and there – thank you for liking them enough to pin them! If you haven’t checked out Pinterest yet, it’s quite addicting!

What are your favorite quick and easy side dishes?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Skewered Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Basmati Rice Tabbouleh

This meal was one of my favorites I’ve made recently. I subscribe to Opera Girl Cooks, a blog that always has delicious, healthy recipes. While I admittedly don’t often make many of the recipes posted, I fell in love with her Basmati Rice Tabbouleh the second I saw it in my email (check out her Mango and Lime Lassi, as well. So good!)

Back to the Tabbouleh: I typed the ingredients into my grocery list (using the NOTES on my iPhone – the standard feature I can’t live without), and brainstormed about what else to serve. It didn’t take long for me to decide on jumbo scallops. I was craving seafood, but couldn’t interest myself in shrimp or salmon. But rich, buttery scallops seemed a perfect complement to the tabbouleh and my craving. This decadent meal was so flavorful, and even with the bacon, within the 500-calories I’m allowing for dinner.

SKEWERED BACON-WRAPPED SCALLOPS
Makes 5 skewers

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil
  • Place a roasting rack on top of the foil to elevate the skewers
  • Rinse desired vegetables. I used:
    • 10 grape tomatoes
    • 4 pearl onions (for two of the skewers)
    • 6 mushrooms (for three of the skewers) – wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel instead of rinsing under running water
  • Place whole vegetables in a bowl
  • Toss with:
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • Pinch of salt
    • Dash of ground pepper
  • Pat dry:
    • 10 jumbo scallops
  • If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them thoroughly before using
  • On a paper towel, spread out:
    • 10 slices of Hormel brand fully cooked bacon
    • I like using fully cooked, because it crisps just enough when baking with seafood with no need to worry about overcooked fish with undercooked bacon. It also has less fat, and I just prefer using it over raw bacon since I only use bacon as an accompaniment and don’t want it’s flavor to overpower the featured dish
  • Wrap a jumbo scallop in one slice of bacon, skewer to hold bacon in place, then skewer two of your chosen vegetables, and repeat with a second bacon-wrapped scallop and two more vegetables
  • Place skewer on baking wrack, and continue until skewers are complete
  • Brush each scallop lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Bake for about 12 minutes
  • Turn skewers, brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Bake another 12-15 minutes or until scallops are just cooked through – do not overcook
    • You can press gently on the scallop to feel how firm the cooked scallop is – this is how I judge when mine are cooked, much like when cooking a steak
  • I baked mine for a total of 25 minutes
  • Serve with the Basmati Rice Tabbouleh for a healthy, flavorful meal

Skewered bacon-wrapped scallops with vegetables

Skewered Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Basmati Rice Tabbouleh

I had a total of two skewers, but that’s a big serving. Jumbo scallops are very filling since they are loaded with protein. Next time I make these, I’ll probably put three scallops per skewer and make that one full serving.

The scallops were so rich and buttery, and the tabbouleh so fresh. It was a very filling and satisfying meal, but not one you’ll feel guilty after eating.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Sweet Corn and Poblano Chilaquiles

I’ve lived in Central Texas the last 14 years and never had chilaquiles. I’ve never noticed them on the menu at any of the restaurants we frequent. That was, until some friends asked us to meet them at a new place in town for dinner. Los Chilaquiles Bar & Mexican Grill has 9 flavors of chilaquiles, my favorite being the ultra rich De Rajas, with poblano pepper and onion.

To satisfy my new obsession with these chilaquiles (and poblano peppers), I make a quick version at home combining sweet corn and roasted pobalno pepper strips.

I sometimes make a batch of the corn and poblano pepper mixture (like I did earlier this week) and keep it in the refrigerator so all I have to do is crisp a couple tortillas and warm the corn and poblano mixture to spoon over (like I did this morning) for a quick breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Because I could eat this any time of day.

CHILAQUILES WITH SWEET CORN AND POBLANO PEPPERS
Downloadable PDF of Chilaquiles with Sweet Corn and Pobalno Peppers

  • In a medium, deep skillet over medium heat combine:
    • 11 ounces sweet corn (drained, if using canned)
    • 7.5 ounces roasted poblano pepper strips (drained, if using canned)
    • I use canned of each since I make this all the time, making it faster to throw together, but you can use fresh corn and roast fresh poblano peppers as well
  • Once heated through, add:
    • 1/4 cup or so of cream
    • I use soy cream, and add just enough to cover the bottom of the pan
  • Once cream is added and heated through, add:
    • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cheese
    • Use any cheese you like: cojita, Monterey Jack; my favorite for this is fresh goat cheese
    • Add 1/4 cup first and stir, melting the cheese into the cream
    • If the dish isn’t creamy enough for your liking yet, melt in more cheese
  • Reduce heat to low and keep warm
  • In another medium deep skillet (I use an iron skillet), warm just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan
  • Once oil is hot, add:
    • Corn tortillas
  • Cook tortillas just a minute or two per side, until lightly crisped
    • For one individual serving, I usually heat 1 – 3 tortillas, depending on how hungry I am
  • Once the tortillas are lightly crisped, cut them into strips, then cut the strips into smaller pieces
  • Spoon corn and poblano mixture on top, sprinkling more cheese on top if desired

Chilaquiles

This was the perfect breakfast to tide me over after my morning workout of sun salutations and a run, before heading out to volunteer a couple of hours at the Cedar Park Farms to Market. I had a lot of fun meeting new people and helping out at the farmers market! It was nice to get out of the house and have a chance to socialize. I miss that part of going to work at the university every day.

Now, it’s time to wash off the sunscreen and bug spray and settle into my kitchen to make peppermint frozen yogurt . . . which I hope turns out because it sounds so refreshing after spending the first half of my day outside. It’s hot out there! Have a great weekend!

Sweet Corn and Poblano Chilaquiles

Downloadable PDF of Chilaquiles with Sweet Corn and Pobalno Peppers

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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BEETS.

Not the favorite veggie of many folk.

Roasted Beets
Roasted Beets

I debated about sharing this dish.

Why?

  • I can count on one hand the number of people I know who like beets (and not use all 5 fingers).
  • I normally share recipes I think a number of folk I personally know would enjoy actually trying (and this ain’t one of them).
  • It will probably turn a few heads, and not in an, “I must try that!” kind of way.

Why, then, am I sharing it?

  • I love beets (when I began researching digestive problems, it seems everywhere I turned I read about the benefits of beets).
  • I love eggs. (That’s right, beets and eggs).
  • This was the best post-run-recovery breakfast I’ve ever eaten.

It also gives me a chance to mention both:

I am a Facebook follower of Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Yesterday, they posted a link to this recipe for Almond & Beet Pancakes by Sprout & Pea. I had just roasted 4 beets purchased from Johnson’s Backyard Garden at Saturday’s farmers market, and hadn’t yet decided what I was going to make with them. They posted a link, my dilemma was solved.

Beet Pancakes

My pancakes turned out thicker than those made by Sprout & Pea. I substituted a few ingredients because I didn’t have almond flour, almond milk, or agave on hand. Instead, I used whole wheat pastry flour, light vanilla soy milk, and brown sugar. Instead of pureeing the beets in a food processor, I pureed them with additional soy milk in a blender until smooth and thick.

I taste-tested two for lunch yesterday, drizzling them with butter pecan syrup.

  • Impression #1:  you can really taste the beets! (That’s a good thing.)
  • Impression #2:  syrupy toppings are too sweet. (That’s a bad thing.)

I tucked the remaining pancakes into a storage dish and stowed in the refrigerator, happy I liked the pancakes but bummed I didn’t like the topping. Another dilemma.

Fast forward to this morning. Just as I was about to come to the finish of my morning jog, I boldly turned around and started jogging it again, reversing my route and therefore, doubling my normal jog. Longest distance I’ve jogged in 5 years! (That’s a good thing.)

Not long after, I was starving! (That’s a bad thing.)

I instinctively reached for my favorite post-run food, dreaming of a golden pool of rich yummy goodness . . .
On top of a beet pancake?
That could work.
And it did!
Sometimes, I think I could eat anything so long as it’s smothered with a river of egg yolk.

Beet Pancake with Egg

Rich and savory, I was in heaven!

Egg over easy over beet pancake

Since I’m not a nutritionist, I won’t begin to tout the health benefits because, well, I’m not really qualified to. But for me, I know when I feel physically weak (like after an intense workout), nothing makes my body feel stronger than an egg. I know it’s easier for my weakened digestive system to process an egg than a host of other protein sources. I know when I eat an egg combined with a source of whole grain, my body feels stable and nourished instead of jarringly shocked like it does if I eat carbs without balancing them with enough protein. I know when I eat beets as well as items with whole wheat flour, I’m happier because my dysfunctional digestive system is suddenly functioning like a normal person’s.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For folks with malfunctioning digestive systems like me, it can be the most debilitating meal of the day. If I eat the wrong thing that upsets the balance of my ultra-sensitive digestive system, it can take the rest of the day to heal from the crazy-painful, debilitating backlash my body reaps.

This meal was the perfect combination of . . . something . . . that made me feel amazingly WELL (and that’s a good thing).

BEET PANCAKES WITH EGG OVER EASY
adapted from this recipe posted by Mardi at Sprout & Pea
Downloadable PDF of Beet Pancakes with Egg Over Easy

  • In a 400 degree oven, roast:
    • 4 small or 3 medium red beets
      • I scrub the beets, place them on a sheet of foil, spritz with a tad of olive oil, and wrap the foil into a packet, enclosing the beets, then place the foil packet in a baking dish
  • Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, or until beets are tender
  • Set aside to let cool
  • Peel beets and roughly chop into large pieces
  • Place chopped beets in a blender and puree, adding soy milk (or milk of choice) as needed, until a smooth, thick puree forms
  • In a large mixing bowl, add:
    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/4 cup soy milk (or milk of choice)
    • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Mix well, then add beet puree
  • If batter is too thick to pour, add additional soy milk to thin
  • Heat a skillet or griddle over medium to medium-low heat
  • Once heated, pour batter by 1/4 to 1/3 – cups-full and cook for just a minute or two
  • Once bubbles begin to form on top, flip pancake and cook for another minute or two, until cooked through
  • Remove and keep warm
  • Repeat with remaining batter
  • Heat another skillet coated lightly with cooking spray over medium-low heat
  • Add one egg to skillet, cover, and let cook until white is cooked through but yolk is still soft
  • Top one beet pancake with egg, season with fresh cracked black pepper, and serve
  • Other topping choices: syrup, honey, fruit, nuts

Roasted Beets

I promise, the next post will involve something normal, like chicken.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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I know today is for the Irish, but please indulge a little tribute to the Greek. I promise I’ll share my tribute to the Irish later today with Shepherd’s Pie, Irish soda bread, and shamrock shortbread cookies. 😉

I have a new love. The protein and zero fat of plain Greek yogurt with live cultures has become my go-to breakfast every morning, topped with crunchy, not-too-sweet granola. I complete 20-30 minutes of high intensity interval training 6 mornings out of the week, and I crave this after these workouts because of the protein. This is the only yogurt I can eat without adverse digestive problems because it has no fat, no loads of sugar like flavored yogurts, and all those beneficial live cultures.

But, the focus of this post is not the yogurt, but the granola that makes it soooo good. I am a sucker for crunchy textures. When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand the idea of custard because it was so slimy instead of crunchy. I have to have a good granola to put on my yogurt. However, after searching my grocer’s bulk section, I couldn’t find one that sounded appealing, none with flax, and none without loads of sugar. So, I make my own.

Granola

GRANOLA:

  • In a 2-quart microwave safe dish (don’t use plastic), mix together 3 cups oats, 1/2 cup flax meal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • In a large measuring cup, whisk together 1/3 cup wildflower honey, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Pour liquid over the oat mixture and mix together.
  • Microwave 4-6 minutes, removing every minute to stir the mixture. Be careful to not overcook – it toasts quickly towards the end!
  • Let cool.
  • Once cool, add your mix-ins. I add 1/2 cup each: pecan pieces, slivered almonds, walnut pieces, and dark chocolate chips.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup servings into snack-size plastic baggies, seal tight, and store in the pantry or the refrigerator.

I love how fast it is to toast this in the microwave instead of the oven. Plus, I’m usually using my oven for something else. You can add different spices from the cinnamon and switch up the honey flavor and the extract flavors, as well as the mix-ins to change the flavor of the granola. The possibilities are endless with this.

The flax in this granola is a plus for the digestive system, combined with the live cultures and zero fat of the yogurt. The walnuts, pecans, and almonds also contribute omega-3 fatty acids and a wealth of other nutrients to keep the body’s cells functioning properly.

To assemble my yogurt, I mix in shades of brown:

Shades of brown

BREAKFAST GREEK YOGURT:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon light brown sugar with 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder.
  • Add 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt and stir, mixing well.
  • Pour 1/2 cup granola over the yogurt and enjoy.

Yum, yum, yum! Complete with a piece of fruit on the side and this is my morning decadence. I love it! I hope you will too.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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The last week and a half has been full of research and new recipes. When I had my gallbladder removed, I followed a careful diet. But as time went by, I began reintroducing foods that prior to surgery would have doubled me over in pain.

cheese

What I learned last Friday through Tuesday was that those foods will still have a dramatically negative impact on my health. After 4 1/2 days of severe nausea, feeling faint nearly constantly, a dull darkening of my complexion over time, including the whites of my eyes which were dry and bloodshot, extra dry skin, severe indigestion, and a lot of pain in the area of my liver where my gallbladder used to be, I realized I was experiencing a recurrence of my pre-surgery symptoms.

When I had surgery, my gallbladder was full of a honeycombed structure that inhibited its contraction, causing me intense pain. Combined with sludgy bile and polyps, the organ had to come out. But the gallbladder is merely the storage sac and regulator of releasing bile. That means the bile was unhealthy further up the system, in the liver. Surgery was not a cure, but a necessary step. Treating the liver and the bile will be something I have to do for the rest of my life through my diet. Last week, I began researching foods to help keep my liver, digestive system, and body healthy.

I am going to share what I’ve learned with you through a new series of posts: LH (Liver Health) posts.

I am merely compiling research I have found and relaying the results of my personal quest to eat healthy for my liver. If you have liver problems or liver disease, don’t try anything without talking with your doctor first.

The below article is one I keep filed on my desktop for reference. It discusses the importance of liver health for menopause. While menopause is not my issue of concern, this article briefly discusses foods, spices, supplements (milk thistle, which I now take 175 mg/day), and other treatments that help keep the liver healthy and the bile thin.

LOVE YOUR LIVER | Toronto Canada alternative health natural medicine green living
(I tried finding the link to the article in Vitality Magazine online again without any luck).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wheat

Whole grain, especially combined with flax, is very helpful in keeping the digestion system functioning. After days of nausea, all I was craving was freshly baked, warm whole wheat bread. I went looking through recipes on my favorite baking blog, Anecdotes and Apple Cores, and was ecstatic to see that Monet had posted a flaxseed breadstick recipe. If you don’t read her blog, I suggest you grab a mug of hot tea, curl up on the couch, and read it daily.

After making these, I ate two breadsticks every afternoon, dipping them in a spinach artichoke dip that was more spinach and artichoke than dip (both of these vegetables are good for maintaining liver health). I will be making both the bread and the dip more often!

SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP

  • Heat and drain 10 ounces finely cut frozen spinach, squeezing excess water from the spinach.
  • Chop 10 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (they chop easily when frozen and don’t have excess oil on them like the jarred ones); heat and drain excess liquid.
  • In a large bowl, mix the spinach, the chopped artichokes, 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 cup of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 cup shredded low moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, and a few dashes of Bragg’s liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce).
  • Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  • Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and pour the mixture into the dish, smoothing the top.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and sprinkle with a light dusting of shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake another 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm.

While this recipe still contains cheese, it’s a small amount compared with the amount of digestion-system wonder veggies of spinach and artichokes. Using nonfat Greek yogurt drastically decreases the fat in this dip, always a plus for those lacking a gallbladder. Served with Monet’s healthy flaxseed breadsticks, you have an appetizer or afternoon snack full of whole grain, flax, and veggies.

Spinach

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Wow – I took a very, very long break from my blog after Thanksgiving through the turn of the New Year. I am, however, ready to blog again. This year I am changing my approach to Gourmet Memoirs.

Due to a severe lack of personal time, I will not try to post daily. I will post once a week: a week’s worth of simple dinner menus and workouts in one post for three reasons:
1.  because of my already declared lack of time,
2.  because I’ve been building menus a week at a time to aid in grocery shopping in order to decrease how often we eat takeout foods, and
3.  because I have stepped up my commitment to more effective exercise and eating even healthier – I’ve already seen great results after just two weeks!

I hope you follow me on my new journey and get inspired to try some of the menus.

Asparagus

Dinner Menus for January 15 – January 21, 2011:

Saturday, Jan 15: Morning Star brand chicken nuggets; steamed broccoli seasoned with Mrs. Dash; Annie’s brand whole wheat shells with white cheese (I add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons finely diced Manchego cheese to thicken the cheese sauce and make it more rich.) This is one of the girls’ favorite dinners! WORKOUT: Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred, level 1, with 5-pound weights.

Sunday, Jan 16: Pan-fried breaded tilapia (Spread a thin layer of plain nonfat Greek yogurt on each side of 2 tilapia fillets and coat with whole wheat bread crumbs seasoned with Garlic and Herb Mrs. Dash. In a large, deep skillet heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add tilapia fillets and cook on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through.); steam a bag of frozen green beans; make brown rice (While rice cooks, toast 1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds. Add almonds to the dinner’s portion of rice and season to taste with Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb.) (HINT: I will make enough plain brown rice for three full meals, then season each meal’s while reheating it later in the week so I don’t have to wait 45 minutes for the rice to cook each meal.) E will be at a sleepover this night, so B and I will split one of the fillets and Hubby will eat the second full fillet (Two fillets are less than $4.00. Served with the mega cost-saver of brown rice and frozen green beans that have been steamed, and it’s one affordable, fancy meal for cheap!)  WORKOUT: Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred, level 1, with 5-pound weights.

Monday, Jan 17: Shrimp Scampi with whole wheat linguine and peas (In a medium, deep skillet heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Saute 1/2 chopped sweet onion and 1 finely diced red bell pepper until tender. Add 2 large cloves minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze with1/4 cup white wine. Add 3 Tablespoons margarine and melt. Add 1 cup frozen petite peas and 1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp – I buy a bag of frozen, prepped shrimp and thaw overnight for affordability and sake of ease – and cook through. Serve over cooked whole wheat linguine or preferred pasta.) WORKOUT: Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred, level 2, with 3-pound weights.

Tuesday, Jan 18: Seared sea scallops – my high-priced meal of the week – (In a medium, deep skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Place 5 extra large sea scallops seasoned with salt and pepper on their ends in skillet and sear. Turn over to sear other ends.); Roasted red pepper sauce (Place 5-7 jarred whole roasted piquillo peppers in blender – I rinse the peppers first. Add 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley, juice from 1/2 lemon and puree until smooth. Pour in saucepan and heat through.); sauteed spinach (Wash and trim one bunch organic spinach. Heat large skillet with1 Tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 large clove minced garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add spinach and saute until just wilted.); brown rice. Serve seared scallops over bed of brown rice, drizzle the sauce over, with sauteed spinach on the side. WORKOUT: Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred, level 2, with 3-pound weights.

Scallops with Roasted Paquillo Pepper Sauce

Wednesday, Jan 19: Teriyaki Salmon (I prep the salmon the day I bring it home from the grocery store, then freeze it. Set in the refrigerator the night before you will cook it and it will marinade while it thaws. Rinse 3/4 – 1 pound fresh salmon and pat dry. Place in plastic freezer bag. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons Oyster or Hoison sauce, 2 Tablespoons honey, and 4 Tablespoons Teriyaki sauce. Pour marinade over salmon, seal bag, and freeze. Bake thawed salmon in foil-lined baking dish coated with cooking spray at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.); asparagus medley (Wash one bunch asparagus. Finely julienne one small sweet onion. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in medium deep skillet. Add onion and saute until just soft. While onion cooks, snap off bottom ends of asparagus and discard. Snap the remaining asparagus into bite-size pieces. Add asparagus pieces to onions, sprinkle with ground ginger to taste, and continue to cook, letting the onions caramelize. Add 1 large clove minced garlic and stir. Add 1/4 cup slivered, blanched almonds. Add a splash of tamari or soy sauce to taste, and cook a couple more minutes.); brown rice. Serve salmon alongside brown rice and asparagus medley. WORKOUT: Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred, level 2, with 3-pound weights.

Thursday, Jan 20: Spinach Pierogi (Thaw one package of frozen, premade spinach pierogi. Heat a medium, deep, nonstick skillet with 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Place the pierogi in the skillet and sear on both sides until heated through. Remove pierogi and keep warm. If no oil remains in skillet, add an additional 1 Tablespoon olive oil and heat. Add 2 medium tomatoes, chopped. Sprinkle with blackening seasoning and saute on high heat a few minutes. Add 1 clove minced garlic, stir 30 seconds, and pour tomatoes and accumulated juices/sauce over warm pierogi. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.)  EDIT: My hubby decided to make this dinner before I got home and he changed it up a bit. Instead of the blackening seasoning, he added a bit of basil and then put the pierogi back in the skillet with the tomatoes.  It was so yummy, and even better to be served dinner instead of make it after a long day at work!   WORKOUT: Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred, level 2, with 3-pound weights.

Spinach stuffed pierogi with warm tomatoes

Friday, Jan 21: Boca brand veggie burger grillers on whole wheat buns with desired toppings (I thaw them slightly in the microwave, sprinkle a bit of liquid smoke on each side – makes them taste more like real grilled burgers, then bake on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray – same one the tots are baking on – until heated through.); Tater tots (I buy the Ore-ida brand extra crispy tots. If the girls want chili cheese tots, I bake a portion according to the package, then pour a small amount of Amy’s brand medium chili over the tots, top with shredded cheddar cheese, and bake an additional five minutes.) Fridays are our “easy meal, family junk food” nights for dinner, and this meal is always a winner.  EDIT: The girls got on the honor roll! To celebrate, we ordered Mama Fu’s delivery instead of making the veggie burgers. I had the tofu Thai Cashew stir fry dish with brown rice, sans mushrooms. Mmmm… WORKOUT: Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred, level 2, with 3-pound weights.

*NOTE: We don’t have my stepdaughters most Mondays through Thursdays, though we will have them for Monday evening this week. My higher-priced meals are on evenings where I’m only feeding Hubby and me, saving a bit by not having to buy portions for the kiddos, though they don’t eat large portions anyway. However, my kids are not picky in any way so they would dive in and happily gobble up any of the meals listed above.

Brown Rice

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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