Cat is out of the box


Last night was rough. I couldn’t fall asleep and when I did I tossed and turned all night. I also had my first wedding nightmare- glad that’s over with. So today got going a little later than I had intended, what with my mandatory catch-up nap and all.
I realized last night amid the tossing and turning that I promised some earth shattering news yesterday and never delivered – will you ever forgive me? Hopefully yes. So anyways this news that has me all riled up is about lunches. Mainly Carver’s lunches this week- no sandwiches, all salads! Amazing!! And what’s even better is he enjoyed them! Basically I made homemade chipotle ingredients and the couscous salad along with some sautéed and broiled protein and just assembled each morning. It was great, because he really enjoyed it, it kept him full, and it is really good for him.
The couscous salad recipe can be found on the recipes page. The chipotle recipes I got from http://www.chipotlefan.com and honestly I wasn’t thrilled with the amount of effort they required given the end product. So check it out if you would like, I plan on doing more research to find a better, easier option- which I will share once I find it.
Today I was planning on studying for my boards, cleaning and doing more work on this website, but those plans have changed. Instead I will be working on par sheets and trying to set up a meal plan for 2.5 people on a budget. The other challenge is that next week I start my (awesome, amazing, exciting) new job and thus will not be home all day to slave over the stove. Ahhh challenges.
I think I need a cup of coffee before I take this one head-on.

Happy Friday all!!


Must-Haves for a Blissful Kitchen: Lunch Edition


Next up, all your helpful ingredients for delicious lunches every time. Whether you eat it at home or brown-bag it these items will hold up and keep your lunches healthy and will provide lots of variety.

 

Artichoke Hearts Dijon Mustard Vegetables: baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks Microwave Popcorn
Broccoli Florets FF/LF Cheese Canned Tomatoes Mixed Nuts
Chopped Onion FF/LF Yogurt Couscous Low fat & low calorie treats
Grilled chicken or steak Lettuce, variety Dried Fruit – variety Rice
Lean Cuisine or Smart One Meals LF Mayonnaise Dry Whole Wheat Pasta Roasted Red Peppers
Veggie Burgers Low-fat deli meats Garlic Salsa
Pickles Olives Vinegar – variety Spaghetti Sauce
Seltzer Pesto Canned Beans Stock/Broth

 


2 dinners, 2 desserts


Four good recipes in two days: Mexican Couscous Salad, Bistro Turkey Burgers, Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies, Angel Food Cake with Strawberries.

It has been a hot week so far and promises to continue. Not much else to report around here. Had to visit the hospital yesterday for some pre-employment stuff and did a bunch of projects around the house today but that is the extent of our excitement… That was until we went to the grocery store and stumbled upon some angel food cake.

Angel Food Cake with Strawberries, serves 2

      

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 slices angel food cake (about 2 oz)
  • 1 – 3 tablespoons sugar (will depend on sweetness of strawberries)
  • 2 tablespoons light whipped cream

Slice strawberries and place in medium bowl with sugar. Add sugar gradually based on sweetness of berries, mix well. Refrigerate berries for at least 30 minutes. Assemble each plate: 1 slice of cake with 1/2 the berries and 1 tablespoon of whipped cream. 3 Points Plus per serving * Carver warmed the cake in the toaster oven until the edges were crispy which was a delicious variation!

Mexican Couscous Salad, serves 4

  • 2/3 cup dried couscous
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil – 1 teaspoon for cooking couscous, remainder for vinaigrette
  • 3 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • zest and juice of one orange (could use two limes here if you would prefer)
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and then diced

Over medium high heat, toast couscous in 1 teaspoon olive oil for 4-5 minutes until golden. Gradually add in water or stock, 1/3 cup at a time until couscous is barely covered in liquid. Cover pan and simmer for 8 minutes until all liquid is nearly absorbed. Stir in red onion, recover and remove from heat. In a large bowl make the vinaigrette: whisk together the mint, orange zest, orange juice, remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add in remaining ingredients and stir well to coat all ingredients in vinaigrette. Serve over mixed greens. Serving size is 1 1/2 cups. 13 Points Plus per serving.

Bistro Turkey Burgers, serves 3

   

  • 1 pound ground turkey, lean
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 6 slices ciabatta
  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and drained
  • 3 slices low fat provolone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons low fat ranch dressing

In a large bowl combine turkey, scallions, parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of Frank’s red hot. Score meat to form three equal portions and form patties which match the size and shape of the ciabatta slices. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile toast ciabatta slices and combine dressing and remaining 2 tablespoons of hot sauce in a small bowl to make sandwich topping.  10 Points Plus per serving

To assemble each sandwich:

  1. coat one side of each slice of ciabatta with 1 teaspoon of dressing-hot sauce
  2. then 1/2 slice cheese,
  3. then tomatoes and arugula on one side
  4. next top patties on top of arugula
  5. cover patties with second slice of bread (with sauce and 1/2 slice cheese)
  6. slice sandwiches, 2 halves per serving

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies, makes 3 dozen cookies

     

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick light butter, room temperature
  • 4oz unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt; mix well. Meanwhile in a large bowl beat applesauce and butter until completely incorporated. Add in two sugars to butter and beat until light and creamy. Next, add in eggs, one at a time – mixing well after each addition. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, 1/3 at a time – mixing well between additions. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans until well dispersed. Spoon batter onto baking sheets using a rounded tablespoon. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. 3 Points Plus per cookie.