Posts Tagged With: CE Magazine

Clean Eating Sirloin Steak Recipes

An alternate title for this blog post could be “A Tale of Two Sirloins”. I’ve been trying to eat more meat and bought a huge package of beef top sirloin at Costco. I decided to use this beef in a few Clean Eating recipes, one which was okay, the other was great.

Let’s start with the great…

Sirloin Beef Wraps

Clean Eating Sirloin Beef Wraps

Yum, yum!

I didn’t have any romaine (or any lettuce for that matter) and my cucumbers were not looking very good, so I stuck with just carrots, red onion and cilantro for the topping and it was plenty flavorful, crunchy, colorful and interesting.

The sauce for the wraps is made from whisking together Dijon mustard, raw honey, stevia, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. The result is a sweet and tangy sauce that worked well on top of the beef.

Although the recipe does not mention this, it is always important to slice steak against the grain. With sirloin this is not as important as say a flank steak, I still find it makes a big difference. The meat is much easier to eat because it is not as tough to bite. Why? Because when you slice against the grain it shortens the muscle fibers. This website article, The Food Lab: Slicing Meat Against the Grain, does a great job of explaining the meat math behind it!

I would definitely make these wraps again. :-)

Get the recipe for Sirloin Beef Wraps from the Clean Eating website.

The heap of carrots in the background? That is my Avocado & Carrot Salad. I’ll post the recipe for that later on so stay tuned.

Next up on the sirloin cooking spree…

Sirloin & Peppery Tomato Reduction

Clean Eating Sirloin and Peppery Tomato Reduction

The sauce made from reducing down diced tomatoes, water, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes, tastes a lot like A-1 Sauce. The recipe also calls for olive oil which I omitted, and I subbed tomato juice from the can (I used petite cut diced tomatoes) for the water.

Instead of slicing the meat for plating purposes, I decided to leave them as whole steaks. While this was okay, it didn’t wow me enough to want to make it again. It was quick, involved minimal dishes, and was acceptable for a simple weeknight dinner.

Get the recipe for Sirloin & Peppery Tomato Reduction from the Clean Eating website.

In conclusion, out of the two sirloin recipes, the steak wraps were hands down better.

In other news, I tried TRX Suspension Training for the first time!

From the TRX website:

“Born in the Navy SEALs, Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRX® Suspension Trainer, a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to enable hundreds of exercises for every fitness goal.”

It was an introductory class so we didn’t get too sweaty, but was a nice way to try it out with a certified instructor. It was a lot easier than I anticipated, but some of the moves were definitely hard.

The great thing about TRX is that you can alter your foot position or angle of body to make it harder or easier. Squats, push-ups and pull-ups were pretty simple, one-foot lunges and planks were a little harder.

Imagine yourself in plank pose, but your feet are suspended in straps that can sway and move side to side. This means that you have to engage more muscles and requires balance and stability.

TRX Plank

(That is not me in the picture, photo credit goes to Couch2Camino.)

One-foot suspended lunges were definitely hard because of the balance factor. Check this out:

TRX Suspended Lunge

(Unsure who to credit for this photo, but I found it on Man Bicep.)

I can do one-foot lunges with my foot on a bench, but in a moving strap is much harder. I had to have someone stand in front of me so that I could lightly hold their hand so I wouldn’t topple over. With practice, one could master this, but it was definitely harder than the other moves.

There are no TRX facilities near our home so we had to drive and hour to try it, however you can buy the straps for home use. The only downside is that they are $200!

I prefer regular weight training and cardio, but this would be a great idea for someone who is bored with their regular workout routine, or for someone who wants a “portable gym”. If I ever got this, I’d prefer to do it outdoors in a park by attaching it to a sturdy tree branch.

If your gym offers this, definitely check it out! It is always nice to find new ways to push your body. If this was offered at a facility closer to our house, I’d probably go once in awhile for workout variation.

Have you ever tried TRX? Do you own a system? If so, do you use it often?

Categories: Fitness, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clean Eating Spaghetti Carbonara and Slow-Cooker Brisket Tacos

I’ve been on a clean eating recipe kick lately, and so far it has been yum-tastic. When I first discovered Clean Eating Magazine a few years ago, I loved making the recipes. Then I hit a series of bad recipes that took away my confidence in them and I shelved all my issues for a long while.

Now I’ve rediscovered my love for them and I’ve been having fun making new dishes every week.

Spaghetti Carbonara – November/December 2010

This is not to be confused with their Quick & Healthy Pasta Carbonara, which is a different recipe entirely.

Clean Eating Spaghetti Carbonara

I chose this dish because we have fresh asparagus in the garden right now just begging to be eaten! It is a little early for asparagus, but our winter has been unseasonably warm and the first spears were ready for harvest mid-March.

This Spaghetti Carbonara was a cinch to pull together, and tasted indulgent! I haven’t made spaghetti carbonara in nearly a decade. I use to make it the traditional way with lots of bacon, after all it is traditionally an egg and bacon spaghetti. Although it has been awhile since I’ve had the “real thing”, I was very satisfied with this and did not miss the bacon at all (well maybe a little). The ham gives a nice saltiness, and the asparagus gave it a nice bit of crisp veggie goodness. Instead of using oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, I used the bagged sun-dried tomatoes that are found in the produce section. I think that these taste fresher and I like that they come in a resealable bag that I can keep in the fridge.

This is a very simple dish, full of flavor, minimal cooking time and minimal kitchen clean-up. For extra protein, we enjoyed southwestern grilled chicken breasts alongside smaller portions of the pasta. There were leftovers for 2-3 more meals. I wondered how the leftovers would hold up (with the egg/parm sauce), and it did pretty well. It was slightly gummy in texture from sitting overnight and then being microwaved , but it was to be expected. It didn’t stop us from eating every last bite!

Clean Eating does not have this recipe on their website (boo!), but someone posted it here on TasteBook.

Next up is a fun taco recipe!

Slow-Cooker Brisket Tacos with Tangy Chimichurri Zucchini – April/May 2012

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Tacos

This is from the latest issue of CE, where they did a whole feature on tacos called Five Nights of Tacos. I could not find ancho or guajillo peppers at the two grocery stores I went to, so instead went with my backup plan and used the Rick Bayless Red Chile Barbacoa Sauce packet.

This has the same flavor profile as the CE recipe (roasted tomatoes, ancho and guajillo chiles are the main ingredients) but in a simple open and dump packet. It was also on sale, and ended up being cheaper than getting the ingredients and making it myself.

I browned the flat cut beef brisket and added it to the slow-cooker (or as some people like to call it, a crock pot) and cooked it for 8 hours on low. The CE recipe says 6 hours, but that seems short to me, and Mr. Bayless says to do 8 and I trust his advice. ;-)

While I can’t give an accurate review for the meat since I didn’t follow the recipe, the meat made with Rick’s seasoning pouch was great! I’d suggest taking a cue from him and adding a little onion powder, paprika, chipotle, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar to up the flavor profile a bit.

I DID make the Tangy Chimichurri Zucchini part of the recipe and it is FANTASTIC! I love chimichurri, but never thought to add it to raw zucchini and use it as a taco topping. It is zingy and tangy and all around lip-smacking good. The raw zucchini adds a bit of crunch to the soft shredded beef and is a gorgeous bright green color.

It was so easy to whip up in my Vitamix, just puree 2 cups fresh cilantro, 1 cup fresh parsley, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 garlic clove and 1 jalapeno (seeded). Pour this green goodness over thinly sliced zucchini and you have a delicious taco topping. CE states that this can be made up to 2 days in advance, which combined with the slow-cooked meat, you can have a dinner that comes together the instant you get home.

The only thing I didn’t care for was the Ezekiel corn tortillas that I bought because they were hard and chewy. I normally purchase El Milagro, but the store was out of them. Ezekiel, I love your bread and your english muffins, but your corn tortillas are not very good.

Clean Eating does not have this recipe on their website, but is in the current issue (April/May 2012).

From the same issue, I decided to make a sweet treat…

Meyer Lemon Bars – April/May 2012

And here is a bonus recipe, that was a fail for me.

Clean Eating Meyer Lemon Bars

In all fairness, I used regular lemons (no meyers to be found) and substituted Stevia in the Raw for the evaporated cane juice. The result was bitter and not palatable.

Sadly, it all went into the garbage.

Has anyone else tried this recipe? It was easy to make, and I’m wondering if I should try it again using regular sugar and real meyer lemons, but not sure if it would be worth it.

Have you made any of the other recipes in the April/May 2012 issue of Clean Eating Magazine? If so, what are your favorites so far?

Happy Cooking!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Clean Eating Bison Stroganoff and Fish Fritters

Clean Eating Magazine is a great source of inspiration for healthy versions of recipes, however I wish they had more of their recipes and reviews online.

Cooking Light, another food magazine, has all of their recipes listed on their website in an easy to use recipe finder. Their readers are very active in reviewing those recipes, making it a great source for finding opinions and suggestions.

If you visit the Clean Eating recipe finder, you’ll notice that they only have select recipes available, and their readers are not as active in reviewing. I’m not sure if CE worries that if they post all their recipes people won’t buy their magazine? I do not find that to be true! I read the magazines, but also like to be able to look up recipes online. For example, if I am leaving work I might want to do a quick search for a recipe for dinner so that I can stop at the market on the way home. More often than not, I cannot find the recipes I am looking for and end up frustrated.

I think that CE can learn a lot from CL in the way they share their entire database of recipes, and the way they display the reviews right on the page (not behind a tab). I also dislike how CE lets you rate a recipe but not review it. I firmly believe in constructive criticism, and when I just see a rating of 1 star (or 4 stars), I want to know WHY someone rated it as such. With no written reviews, it is hard to know what went wrong, or what was great about it.

I hope that CE focuses more on enhancing their online recipe database and presentation. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to review any Clean Eating recipes that I make, right here on my blog. Hopefully this will help a few people out there who are curious about a recipe and like do read reviews as much as I do.

Let’s get started with a few recent meals.

Bison (Beef) Stroganoff  – Clean Eating October 2011

Clean Eating Bison Stroganoff

I made the bison stroganoff recipe using beef tenderloin instead. This was delicious! With beef, baby portobello mushrooms, red onion, garlic and fresh baby spinach – this was a nutritious spin on a classic comfort food. The cream sauce was made from 3 simple ingredients: nonfat plain Greek yogurt, evaporated milk and dijon mustard. Mr. Nine made a side of cottage cheese protein mashed potatoes to go along with it and to soak up any extra sauce.

One thing that surprised me, and I should have known since this was a “stroganoff” dish, was that the picture in the magazine does not look like the real thing!

CE Bison Stroganoff Magazine Photo

In the photo you can see all the pretty colors of the ingredients, and the food stylist “hid” the cream sauce in little dollops along the edge of the plate. In the recipe instructions you add the cream sauce to the entire skillet of ingredients, mix it all together and heat 2 minutes so it is all incorporated like a traditional stroganoff.

They did this so that the recipe photo would look more colorful, and look healthier (covering something in cream, even if it IS greek yogurt) tends to scare most healthy eaters away. Regardless, I wish that their photography was more honest.

While this recipe was delicious, despite the photograph issue, I am not sure if this would reheat well for leftovers. It has greek yogurt in it, and the recipe warns not to overheat or it will curdle. I heated the sauce very gently and had no problems with curdling, but I am imaging that if you reheated it in the microwave the next day, it may cause some sauce separation issues. Has anyone made this? Did you try heating it up the next day? How was it?

Unfortunately this recipe is not published online in their recipe finder. Bison Stroganoff can be found in the October 2011 issue. This is not to be confused with the Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff, which is an entirely different recipe.

Onto the next recipe…

Fish Fritters with Red Pepper & Malt Vinegar Dipping Sauce – November/December 2010

CE Fish Fritters

Next up was the Fish Fritters which are basically tilapia and broccoli fish cakes. Unlike the stroganoff, I thought that the real fish fritters looked better than the magazine photo! Look at all that green!

While not difficult to make, I found that this recipe created a lot of dirty dishes and a mess of the kitchen. My food processor is small, so I had to chop the broccoli, jalapeno and fish in 3 batches. I ended up with little bits of broccoli everywhere. I also used my Kitchen-Aid standmixer to beat the egg whites (they need to triple in volume). And then I used my Vitamix for the sauce, so I ended up with lots of dishes to wash. I was surprised at what a HUGE batch this made! In fact, after making a dozen fritters (the recipe says it yields 12, 4 to a serving) I still had a lot of mixture leftover and I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to make perfectly portioned fritters.

I thought that these were good, but not great. I liked them enough to eat them, but not enough to make them again. Don’t leave off the sauce, it MAKES this dish. Without the sauce I am not sure I would have enjoyed them at all. The sauce is pretty neat, just throw roasted red peppers from a jar, malt vinegar and greek yogurt into a blender for a few seconds. The flavor tasted very much like buffalo sauce! I would definitely make the sauce again, just to use on a topping for something else.

Here are the fish cakes with the sauce.

CE Fish Fritters with Sauce

Since my kitchen was a mess, and it took awhile to fry these fritters up in multiple batches, I kept the side dish easy and just heated up some frozen whole wheat pierogis. Not the side I wanted to pair with this dish, but it did the job.

Now check out CE’s official photo for this recipe.

CE Red Pepper and Malt Vinegar Dipping Sauce

Mine were so much more green! These look a little blah, not as vivid as real life. However, the magazine photo shows the sauce as being MUCH lighter in color and much creamier looking which does not seem achievable with the recipe measurements. The recipe for the sauce is as follows:

  • 1/2 cup jarred sliced roasted red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon nonfat Greek-style yogurt

You do the math, 1 measly tablespoon of yogurt is not enough in proportion to make the sauce look creamy or to lighten it to the degree that their photo shows. I wonder if this is a recipe error? I thought the sauce tasted good as written, but it was definitely on the watery side and had a STRONG tang like buffalo sauce. I almost wonder if they flip-flopped the measurements on the vinegar and yogurt…

Unfortunately this recipe is not published online in their recipe finder. Fish Fritters can be found in the November/December 2010 issue.

And while not a CE recipe (although it does follow that criteria!), I wanted to share this one by new fitness guru Natalie Hodson. :-)

Blueberry Protein Pancakes – Natalie Hodson December 2011

Natalie Hodson Blueberry Protein Pancakes

If you are not familiar with protein pancakes, they are simply a way to prepare egg whites in a way that is sweet not savory. There are lots of recipes for these floating around out there, but most include egg whites, oats, cinnamon, almond milk and fruit.

Natalie is a girl who did the Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer and saw AWESOME results and was featured on the bodybuilding.com website. She has started a Facebook page where she shares recipes and tips on food and lifting.

Here is the recipe for her Blueberry Protein Pancakes that are shown in the photo above.

Natalie says she uses a blender to mix these, but that you can also use a bowl. My Vitamix was dirty so I just used a bowl and the mixture was VERY watery (and I only used 1/4 of the milk). I knew that the batter wouldn’t stay together in the pan so I just used a large skillet and dumped the whole mixture right in. The egg white & oat mixture filled the bottom of the pan and I let it set up 75% before I used the spatula to cut this into 4 easy-to-flip segments. So while my pancakes were not round and pretty, they ended up just fine. They are topped with unsweetened natural applesauce, cinnamon and more fresh blueberries.

Now the word “pancake” can be misleading to someone who has never made this sort of thing. These do not taste like traditional pancakes, they are very eggy and healthy tasting. I personally like that, but Mr. Nine is not a fan and would prefer regular pancakes so I only make these pancakes for myself. This particular recipe is also not very sweet. If you like sweet things, you may want to add another packet of Truvia. Also very important, DO NOT LEAVE THE BLUEBERRIES OUT! They make this particular recipe. The few bites I had without any berry were downright blah. The berries add sweetness and flavor and are necessary in my opinion.

Next time I think I’ll use the Vitamix to break down the oats to thicken the batter, and I’d also add some banana.

Have you ever made protein pancakes? What are your thoughts on them? If a cooking magazine published all of their recipes online, would you still subscribe to it (paper or digital)?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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