Simple and Delicious Jambalaya Recipe

I don’t know about you guys but winter makes me want to make big pots of warm food.  I love making soup.  Last Sunday I had a rare full day off and didn’t have anything to do except hang out with the family all day.  I wanted to make a nice winter soup but I also wanted to do something fun and “football-esque.”  While I know that jambalaya isn’t necessarily a typical football food, I thought it would be a nice change up from the traditional chili tailgate recipe.

I searched online and found several recipes.  Each had it’s own unique twist and in the end, I decided to wing it and do my own version.  This recipe is relatively light and could feed a crowd, or these Dudek’s for several dinners.  Give it a whirl and then let me know what spin you would give this.

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Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts (cubed)

1 package of Andouille sausage (sliced)

1 lb. cleaned and cooked shrimp

2 cups cooked rice

4 cups chicken stock

2-24 ounce cans tomato sauce

1 bell pepper diced

1 large onion diced

4 stalks of celery sliced thinly

1 clove of garlic minced

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon basil

1-2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

2 bayleaves

Directions:

In a large pot with a touch of olive oil, cook the pepper, onion, celery and garlic for a few minutes until tender.  Add in the sausage and allow to cook for about 8 minutes.  At the same time, add the chicken to a skillet with a touch of olive oil and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until mostly done.  Put the chicken in the pot along with parsley, basil, bayleaf and Old Bay seasoning.  Add in the chicken stock and tomato sauce.  Add in hot sauce to taste.

Bring everything to a boil.  Then simmer for 25-40 minutes uncovered.  Throw in the rice and shrimp during the last 5-10 minutes.  You can also then set it on low for up to an hour.

We made cornbread with cheddar to go with this.  It also pairs well with a beer!

Recipe: Super Fast Beef and Veggie Bowl

I have been planning on doing this recipe for weeks, maybe even months.  Finally I took the time to whip this delicious meal up and then sit down to share it with you.

A few months ago Rock and I had an event to go to and being the pregnant lady that I was, I wanted dinner ASAP.  We happened to be right next to a Noodles and Co. and decided to find something fast and healthy there.  I was thrilled when I saw that they had new “Power Bowls” that did not include any noodles and rang in at around 350 calories for an entire meal.  I ordered one of these bowls and was a bit apprehensive.  I assumed that there would be very little food for that calorie count and likely very little taste.

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Was I ever surprised!  It was such a simple concept and also incredibly delicious. Rock and I both agreed that we needed to try and recreate the recipe.  And then I stopped cooking all summer!

I whipped this up the other night in just about 10-15 minutes, which is perfect because I had a howling dog and a crying baby on my hands.  We both loved the results and agreed that this would be an excellent option as a winter salad because many of the ingredients are warm but it still has that salad feel.

Give this a try and then add in your own personal favorites.  This is one of those great meals that you can change every time you make it.  Keep in mind that the “sauce” I made was based solely on what I had on hand.  I wanted it to have a nice Asian flavor to it, so I used whatever ingredients I found in my cabinet.  You can easily switch this around to your preferences.  A little spicy kick of red chili flakes would be delicious with this too.  Rock thinks some crushed peanuts would also be a great topper.

Ingredients:

Baby spinach

Broccoli

Portabella mushrooms (I bought the presliced caps)

Steaks (I used beef tenderloin)

Minced Garlic

1 cup lower sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Optional: dash of sesame oil and oyster or fish sauce

Directions:

If time permits rinse your mushrooms and place in a bowl with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and oyster sauce.  Place in the fridge for an hour to marinate.  Then place in a covered pot on medium high heat on the stove for 10 minutes and allow to lightly simmer.

While the mushrooms are simmering steam your broccoli in the microwave.  I purchased a steam in the bag pack from the produce section.  You could steam your own or you could also get the steam bags in the freezer section too.

Put a grill pan on medium-high heat for your steaks.  I like to lightly season mine. I highly recommend the Miracle Blend from the Alden Mill House.  This is my preferred steak seasoning when I grill them over the stove.  I also add just a touch of butter under the steak because…..well, butter is delicious!  Grill to your preference.  We like a nice pink center here.

Once everything is finished start by laying a nice bed of spinach on the bottom of a big deep bowl.  Top with a generous serving of steamed broccoli.  Spoon some mushrooms and sauce on top and then add your sliced steak to finish.

It really doesn’t get easier than this and in the end you have a pretty delicious and healthy dinner.

What would you add to your bowl?  Any other sauce ideas to switch this up?

Fiesta Salad- Remake Your Tacos

I love Mexican food.  The main problem is that when we go out for Mexican I blow my calorie intake on the chips alone.  It is so dangerous.  But when I have a hankering for tacos or burritos I have a great go to taco salad recipe that does the trick.  Top that off with a delicious and slow cooked chicken and you have the perfect fiesta salad.  The best part is, I added the “unhealthy” part of the taco salad back into this meal in a much healthier way.

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You can still have the shell of your taco salad but the key is to find medium sized tortillas and to read the ingredients.  I found some great tortillas that came in at only 100 calories each.  Use the cans from this recipe to bake your shells for 10 minutes at 350° and you have a version that tastes just as good if not better than the fried shell you find at restaurants.  All you have to do is spray the shells with a little cooking spray (I love coconut oil spray) and then drape each shell on top of an empty, cleaned out can and then bake.  Once they are hard to the touch and golden brown you have the base for your dinner.

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Ahh! There’s ghosts in my oven!

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Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cans of diced tomatoes with chilies

3-4 tablespoons of taco seasoning

1-2 tablespoons lime juice  (Whatever your preference is, I add more because I like the zesty flavor of the lime with the tomatoes and seasoning.)

Shredded lettuce

1 can black beans

1 can corn

1-2 chopped red and green peppers

1 chopped onion

Guacamole

1 package of 90 second Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Rice

Salsa

Ranch Dressing

Cheese (optional)

Directions:

In the slow cooker place the chicken breasts, canned tomatoes and taco seasoning.  Stir and then cook for 6-8 hours on low.  Shred, add lime juice, and stir to combine before serving.

Bake the tortilla shells according to the directions above and place on plates.

Combine one part salsa with one part ranch dressing.  This gives your dressing a nice kick and basically cuts your fat and calories in half.

I like to create a buffet style setting with the fixings for the salad.  Go ahead and pile the veggies high in your shell.  Remember that veggies are your friend.  I love salads because I can load up on the healthy stuff and feel full without the guilt.  When you are really hungry go ahead and add some extra base to your salad.  Mixed greens, spinach, and kale are super low in calories but high in nutrients.  Just take it easy with the cheese, chicken and guacamole.  While the dressing is nice and light you will find that you hardly need any with how delicious everything is in this combination.

Happy fiesta!

 

De-Carbed Pesto With Mustard Salmon

It has been almost a year since I used my spiralizer.  Every time I walk through our local grocery store I see so many fresh zucchinis and feel a pang of guilt for not picking some up and using my fun kitchen tool.  So the other night I grabbed a few ingredients and made one of my favorite pastas, spaghetti with pesto sauce.  I love everything about pesto; the basil, the pine nuts, the cheese.  I would put pesto on everything if it wouldn’t make my waist line immediately expand!  I was looking for a very quick and easy dinner so I opted for a jar of premade pesto, but making your own can also be pretty fun (as in I need to break out my mortar and pestle too!).

The idea behind this dinner was to make something filling but actually very light.  Zucchini comes in at only about 19 calories per cup and is packed full of vitamins.  I added in one of my other favorite vegetables, asparagus.  I love this veggie because it is known to have detoxifying elements as well as natural diuretic effects and is packed full of vitamins and other nutrients.  Round this out with the pesto which is full of basil, one of the healthiest herbs around.  It is an anti-inflammatory and full of  disease fighting nutrients.

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I baked a beautiful piece of fresh caught Atlantic salmon to round this dinner out.  Full of protein and super lean, it is great to add in some occasional fresh caught fish to your meals.  While it is a bit more expensive than farm raised, it is much better for you.  Pay the extra few dollars to know that your fish came right out of the ocean.

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Ingredients:

2 zucchinis

1 jar pesto

1 bunch asparagus

1 pound salmon

Dijon mustard

Minced garlic

Minced basil

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line a baking dish with tinfoil.  Place salmon on tinfoil, skin side down.  Brush salmon with olive oil and then a generous layer of mustard.  Sprinkle with minced garlic and basil.  Cover with foil and bake for 40-50 minutes or until fish is nice and flaky.

Wash asparagus and cut into thirds.  Toss in pan with olive oil.  I did splurge and use a touch of butter instead because I was looking for an added salty flavor with the pasta.  Sautee over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.  Add in some minced garlic during the last few minutes for added flavor.

Peel zucchinis.  This isn’t necessary but I find the pasta tastes more like the real thing without the skin.  You can either use a spiralizer to get the strands or use a veggie peeler to make “spaghetti.”  Toss zucchini in another pan with olive oil and cook over medium heat until just warm.  Add in a few teaspoons of pesto to coat the “pasta.”  Toss and allow to continue to heat up and then add in the asparagus.  Keep warm until ready to serve and add a little freshly grated parmesan on top.  Plate with a piece of salmon.  Voila!

Any other ideas for veggies to try spiralizing?  What would you prepared this “pasta” with?

3 Veggies and 6 Cans Healthy Soup

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The other day someone mentioned to me that they love soup but find that most recipes are a bit of a tedious process.  Have you ever looked up a recipe for a soup you are craving only to find that you need to braise the meat, pull out the food processor, etc.?  Yesterday when I was at the grocery store I gave myself a challenge to make up a very simple, healthy, and vegetarian soup.  I am not vegetarian but many of my readers are.  I also am aware that I eat more meat than I need to and have been working on adding more veggies to my diet.

I have mentioned before that I love soup because you can make one giant batch and keep the rest in the freezer and reheat it as you wish.  Double this recipe and you will have enough to feed an army!   It is also easy enough to make after work or prepare it on a Sunday and store in the freezer.  It will be ready for you on those busy nights when you don’t have time to cook and help steer you away from making bad decisions!

I also love soup because you can make it once according to the directions and then each time after you can change it up to suit your tastes or particular mood.  In fact, as I made this recipe I decided that I wanted to make some changes.  The last few weeks I have been averaging between 60 and 75 miles and I wanted to add some extra protein but keep it meat free.  So I cooked up some quinoa and then added it to the soup as it simmered.  If you have some quinoa around I recommend making a cup of dry quinoa with 2 cups water and when prepared add to the soup as it simmers.

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Ingredients:

1 onion (chopped)

1 green pepper (chopped)

1 red pepper (chopped)

2 cans black beans drained

2 cans kidney beans drained

2 cans diced tomatoes with green chiles

Seasonings: chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, oregano…any others that suit your taste

Optional quinoa

Directions:

Add diced vegetables to a large pot over medium high heat and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).  Note that I chose not to add any oil to this.  You certainly could but it wasn’t necessary so I just opted to omit it.  As the vegetables cook add some seasoning to the pot. I added chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic salt.  The garlic salt was the only salt I chose to add as canned beans are pretty heavy on the sodium.

Once vegetables are tender pour all of the cans into the pot and allow the soup to simmer.  Give it a good stir and a little taste.  Add more chili powder or other seasonings if needed.  If you like your soup to have a bit more “soup” consistency to it you can add some vegetable broth.  If you are adding quinoa to the recipe now is the time to add it to the soup and give it a good stir.  Cover it up for about an hour.  If you are pressed for time you can serve after 20 minutes of simmering.

This recipe is about as simple and fast as you can get.  It is a great meat free option.  This is also very low in fat, super high in fiber, and packed full of vitamins.  You can eat this without any guilt!  I would add a dollop of fat free plain Greek yogurt and some shredded cheese, but it really isn’t necessary.

I am looking forward to having this for lunch today as I watch the rain come pouring down and hopefully melt away the piles of snow.  Happy running!

The end product with quinoa.  Doesn't look much different than the other picture!

The end product with quinoa. Doesn’t look much different than the other picture!

Super Easy and Healthy Hawaiian Chicken

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Last night was our first evening back home and we were surprisingly exhausted.  Not only did I not want to make a big extravagant dinner but I also wanted to start getting back into our healthy eating.  I hadn’t made this recipe in years and it was the first time my husband had it.  After one bite he exclaimed, “This is delish.”  So we have another winner on the recipe list.

The pineapple and honey give this dish a nice sweet flavor while the mustard balances it out with a slight tang.  Try it with thin slices of chicken and make them into “chicken fingers” for the kids.  They would taste delicious with a light honey mustard sauce.

This is a very light and easy recipe and requires very few ingredients or time, perfect for a weeknight dinner with the family.  The pineapple is a great metabolic booster and honey will aid in inflammation, making this a great addition to a healthy diet.

Ingredients:

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4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 small can of pineapple juice

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl or ziplock and stir to coat the chicken.  Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or a few hours to marinate.  When ready turn a grill pan or skillet on to medium-high heat.  Place chicken breasts on pan and cook approximately 5 minutes on both sides until done and the marinade caramelizes a bit.

I made quinoa and added small bits of fresh pineapple to it when it was done.  I also sautéed bell peppers and asparagus in coconut oil and finished with a touch of teriyaki sauce.  You can try any combination of vegetables and grains with this recipe.

A special and huge shout out goes out today to Michelle and Beccah for not only running their first half marathons this past weekend but also killing it!  Great job girls and keep up the awesome work!!

Let’s Get Cooking- Pretzel and Mustard Chicken

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Yesterday was cold.  And by cold I mean frigid.  The past 10 years I was living out on the East Coast but I grew up in the Midwest and I certainly don’t remember days where the wind chill read -38.  I stayed in most of the day and did some work, did a few workouts, and ate some delicious food.  I was missing my daily run, but when I decided to take a walk to the mail box and to grab a few things at a nearby store, I realized running would have been a bad idea!

All of this to drop off some mail.  Remind you of someone?

All of this to drop off some mail. Remind you of someone?

I can't move my arms down!

I can’t move my arms down!

After doing a nice yoga workout, I decided to prepare a meal that my husband has been asking me to make.  Last winter I would often get home from work before him and loved preparing a nice dinner for us to share.  One evening I was tired of making the same old baked chicken night after night and decided to make something new with whatever we had in the kitchen (we watch a lot of Chopped here).  I made something I called pretzel chicken with a mustard blue cheese sauce.  The dinner was a hit, mostly because the mustard sauce was delicious.  This meal is super easy and requires very few ingredients.

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Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts

Pretzels

Any and all varieties of mustard you have around (just don’t use the yellow stuff!)

Blue cheese (goat or feta would work well too)

Eggs (I used Egg Beaters because they are just easy)

Vinegar (I use either apple cider or balsamic)

1 minced garlic clove

Directions:

Preheat oven on to 350°.

Mash up the pretzels. I finally have a mortar and pestle thanks to my friend Anna and her husband (sweet wedding present) and this made the job so much easier.

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Thanks Anna!

Dredge the chicken in the eggs and then in the mashed pretzels.  If you have a mortar you can leave the pretzels in there and dredge the chicken right in it.  You can add anything to the pretzels.  Next time I might add some rosemary and garlic salt.

Place chicken in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 30-50 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts.

While this is baking, put a small pot on the stove over low heat.  Inside the pot add 1/2 cup total of your favorite mustards.  I used some horseradish, spicy brown mustard and Dijon.  Add about 1/8 cup of cheese, minced garlic, and 2 tsps. of vinegar.  Stir until the cheese melts into the sauce.

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Once the chicken is done drizzle the mustard sauce on top.

Since we were inside all day, I ended up doing planks while I watched Bethenny Frankel.  She made her How Is This So Moist Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Drizzle.  So I ended up making that for dessert.  I’m dangerous when I have too much free time!

I would say this was a hit considering there are only 2 of us in this house.  Good thing a slice only has 125 calories!

I would say this was a hit considering there are only 2 of us in this house. Good thing a slice only has 125 calories!

Stay warm and safe.  A shout out and good luck to all the runners heading to Orlando in the next few days to run Disney.  So jealous and looking forward to hearing your accounts!

I would run a marathon right now just to be out of this weather!

I would run a marathon right now just to be out of this weather!