Posts Tagged With: Easy One-Dish Meals

Week’s Eats

In a rut and looking for some dinner ideas? Here is what I’ve been making this past week.

Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus

Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus from Eating Bird Food

My Notes: Flavorful and quick! We only used 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper and that was plenty. I’d think that the 1-2 teaspoons the recipe calls for might be too much for most people. You can always start out with less and add more! I added some red and green bell pepper, plus baby spinach, to increase the veggie-ness.

Elana's Pantry Chocolate Chip Scones

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones from The Almond Flour Cookbook

My Notes: Makes 12 (not 16). I wouldn’t call these scones as they lack the classic scone texture, but they taste like excellent pillowy cake-like chocolate chip cookies. Try them! I’ve made these twice in one week – once with dark chocolate chips and once with Enjoy Life! chocolate chips.

Clean Eating Apple Grilled Cheese

Apple Grilled Cheese with Grainy Mustard from Clean Eating

My Notes: Added smoked turkey for more protein, and ate with sliced honeycrisp apple and salt & pepper pop chips! Simple, super fast lunch!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Closeup

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Veggies

Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Janetha at Meals & Moves

My Notes: Made a much smaller pizza than expected. Used up some veggies on hand (bell peppers and mushrooms). Baked on parchment-lined baking sheet, flipping before adding toppings. Not as crispy as I like my crusts, but nice and “bread-like”. Interesting concept, would try again with some changes, but good base recipe if you want to try working with cauliflower dough.

Tandoor Chef Pizza

Tandoor Chef Roasted Eggplant Naan Pizza

Okay, this isn’t homemade, but it’s out of this world! My local co-op had this on sale for $2.24 and it is worth every penny. The eggplant gets crispy, has a slight spice to it, and the naan crust is fantastic. The only downside is that these pizzas are small and soooo good that I can easily eat a whole one myself, and I do.

Clean Eating Shepherds Pie

Shepherd’s Pie with Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potato Crust from Clean Eating

My Notes: Liked this more than I thought I would! Good for a cold autumn night. Leftovers were equally as tasty.

All of the above are easy to make and QUICK. I work full-time and don’t have a lot of time and energy to spend hours in the kitchen every night. Most of the recipes I make are quick and require few ingredients.

What are you cooking up this week?

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Sunday in the Kitchen

Today was our town’s big 10k. I’ve run this race every year since I’ve been a runner (3 years) and this was the first year that I had to gracefully bow out. I’m still struggling with running injury-free, and while things are definitely a lot better than they were a year ago, I have to practice patience and learn not to push myself. I could have run, but I didn’t want to end up not being able to run the rest of fall, and then I’d miss out on all these windy, chilly, fabulous fall days.

Instead, today I stayed in and spent most of the day in the kitchen.

Mr. Nine took care of breakfast, delivering a warm heaping plate of scrambled eggs, toasted Ezekiel bread, bacon (!), apple-maple chicken sausage, and coffee to my warm place on the couch. I love having breakfast underneath a big blanket sitting in our living room. It is the only meal I’ll eat away from the table. For some reason eating lunch and dinner on the couch is a big no-no to me, but breakfast is okay. Probably because I am too lazy to move to the dining room that early in the morning.

After breakfast we walked down to the 10k race with cow bell in hand to cheer on some of our friends. Seeing those lead runners trailing the pace car was amazing!

Seeing the race actually made me relieved that I wasn’t running. I could just walk back home, not worry about splits, and instead spend the day at home being domestic. Hey, I did run a 5k yesterday so I’m not being totally lazy. :-)

I started off by baking up a batch of Gluten-Free Banana Blueberry Muffins.

Gluten-Free Banana Blueberry Muffins in Pan

Gluten-Free Banana Blueberry Muffins Close-Up

These were good, although a little eggy, but since they lacked sweetener they were very mild. I secretly wanted to sprinkle on a bit of Truvia to make it a little sweet. :-)

Next up was a throw-it-together pasta.

Gluten-Free Pasta Toss

I didn’t follow a recipe, but here is what I did:

  • Cooked a box of Ancient Grains Quinoa Pasta (Rotelle).
  • Removed the casings from a package of  Smart Chicken Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled and browned.
  • Removed the cooked chicken and set aside, and in the same pan, cooked up a container of mushrooms.
  • Stirred in a few handfuls of fresh spinach until wilted.
  • Added a handful of multi-colored cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.
  • Seasoned with some spices (crushed red pepper, oregano, salt)
  • Added the chicken back to the pan.
  • Added the cooked, drained pasta to pan.
  • Poured in 1/4 jar of Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce.

That’s it! Super easy, yet healthy and tasty. This batch will last us for a few work lunches this week.

Next up were the Paleo Pumpkin Bars.

Paleo Pumpkin Bars

Paleo Pumpkin Bars Detail View

This is the second time I’ve made these in a week, they are so good! A note on these: I found that these need to be cooked approximately twice as long as the recipe states. I bake mine for 45 minutes, which could be that I use canned pumpkin. These definitely have a coconut flavor from both the coconut flour and oil, but I really like that.

I also experimented with dinner and made stuffed bell peppers with cauliflower “rice”. We really liked them, and I wrote down the recipe because I am planning on keeping this one around. I’ll post the recipe for that tomorrow.

No workouts today, but a lot of running… the dishwasher. ;-) We did have a last-minute trip to visit family due to an unexpected circumstance, so our day was full as it was. Dinner for tomorrow is already planned out, so I should have time to get a workout in after work.

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What I Missed About Running

One foot in front of the other.

Merrell Pace Gloves

Yesterday I headed out for a late evening run. While moving along inhaling the heady fragrance of lilacs, I realized what I missed most about not being able to run the past few months. It wasn’t so much the physical activity. There are other forms of exercise that you can do to keep your heart and body healthy. It wasn’t the thrill of racing, or the camaraderie of group runs (although that is indeed missed). What I missed most was delighting in the simple details that you experience during a run.

Lilac Bush

The smell of lilac.

Gravel Pitted Road

The uneven, pitted streets that collect tiny pools of rain water.

Brick Wall

The texture on the facades of buildings that have been around longer than me.

Lily Of The Valley

Sidewalks lined with lily of the valley.

These are just a few of the things I missed. Don’t even get me started on trail running.

This experience cannot be replicated indoors on a treadmill or elliptical. Sure I could take a walk outdoors and enjoy the sounds, sights and smells but it is different when you are running. Your senses are heightened. Your breathing is deeper and you inhale the smells around you more intensely. You are covering more ground in the same amount of time than you would if you were walking thus experiencing more. And since you are moving at a faster rate, each experience with a sound, smell, sight or feeling is so fleeting. You take it in and hold onto it as long as you can, before exhaling and releasing. Anticipating the next sensory delight which awaits around the corner. You could replicate this to a degree with bicycling, although I feel that some of the sensory elements are removed since you are moving faster. (Although I adore cycling for other reasons which I’ll share someday.) For whatever reason, maybe it is the rhythm that it creates, running is the right speed and method for me to pull enjoyment and inspiration from my surroundings. It is a way to get to know a neighborhood in a more intimate way, or a therapeutic dose of nature. Either way, it is so much more than running.

Inhale. Exhale.

And because no post is complete without a little talk about food, I bring to you “Two Nights of Elana’s Pantry“. Carrot Muffins, Apricot Power Bars… I find myself going back to Elana’s Pantry for more. As good as the muffins and bars are, I needed some savory ideas for dinner and Elana delivers in that department, too. Last night I made her Green Chili Turkey Burgers.

Elana's Pantry Turkey Burger

It’s a simple combination of ground turkey, green chiles, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. While Mr. Nine was grilling these, I went out to the garden and picked some asparagus and prepared it with wilted asparagus drizzled with oil and vinegar. Nothing like super fresh veggies and a good protein! The burgers were moist and full of flavor. We enjoyed these sans-bun to make it gluten-free and didn’t need any toppings! That says a lot for a humble turkey burger. Leftovers were enjoyed for lunch today and reheated fabulously. My only tip would be to layer the formed patties between small sheets of parchment paper on a plate and freeze for about a half hour or until slightly firm. I would have done this if I had the time. The patties were super soft with a high moisture content, and Mr. Nine executed his superb grilling skills to ensure that they stayed in one piece. While he was out there grilling, I had him throw on a few chicken breasts for tonight’s dinner – Mexican Chicken and Rice.

Elana's Pantry Chicken and Rice

Doesn’t that look yum? What is fantastic about this recipe is that the “rice” is really cauliflower! Mr. Nine took a whole head of cauliflower and fed it through the food processor fitted with a grating disc. He only did this because I had a minor kitchen accident with the blade that required bandaging my thumb. :-) Elana says to use the “S” blade, but I thought the grating disc did an excellent job and kept all the pieces uniform. The whole dish contains grilled chicken, onion, cauliflower, green chilies, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cilantro and salsa. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly, but you could take some of her other suggestions and add cheese, or even black beans. This recipe is really versatile. Personally, I left out the celery and cut the oil and salt in half (the original amounts seemed unneccessary). I could envision other veggies like red or orange bell peppers – use your imagination!

Now the question is, did the cauliflower taste like rice? I am not sure you could fool anybody into thinking it was rice, but it wasn’t bad at all. It essentially had the same texture, color and shape of cauliflower and the flavor was somewhat neutral and absorbed the spices and other flavors. I think this could definitely grow on me. I like the idea of having a cruciferous vegetable instead of rice because it is way lower in calories and higher in nutrients. I made a little comparison chart to illustrate this.

Cauliflower Vs Rice Comparison Chart

With the cauliflower, you are getting way more potassium, fiber and vitamin c, and lower carbs and calories. The rice has the advantage on the minerals, but all in all I think the cauliflower is the better option. What do you think?

Tonight’s questions: What would you miss about running if you had to stop? Have you ever made cauli-rice?

Categories: Food, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

ATK Easy Skillet Pasta Supper

It’s been a busy Saturday. The morning started with an awesome Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta Sandwich from Panera. I think this is the best breakfast sandwich I’ve had from a fast-food chain restaurant. It has fresh spinach & flavorful roasted tomatoes.  This sandwich has decent nutrition stats, too – 410 calories, 15 g fat, 25mg cholesterol (entirely from the slice of cheese), 3 g fiber & 21 g protein. If you ask to leave the cheese off, you could save all of the cholesterol and a hunk of the calories and fat. This sure is a lot healthier than the greasy bacon, egg & hashbrown skillets they serve at the breakfast house next door! Mr. Nine & I both agreed the only fault we found was that we wished there were just a few more pieces of the tomatoes. My sandwich only had 2 small tomato pieces and that is where all the flavor is! I would rather that they chop the tomatoes smaller so that there is more in each bite, or increase the quantity on that ingredient. Otherwise it is definitely 5 stars! I was so excited to dive in and eat that I forgot to take a picture. :-)

Yesterday I saw that my tire was extremely low, the sidewall was touching the pavement so I filled it with air. I have an older car so it doesn’t have a fancy on-board tire sensor, it relies on old fashioned visual inspection or the use of an air gauge. Today on the way back from the market, I noticed a huge bulge on my tire! I have no idea how long my tire was low for (maybe a few days?) but driving on it that way caused severe damage so I had to go and get a new one today. $135 and a few hours later I have a brand new front tire. Just a reminder to check your tires often!

Since today was busy, I wanted an easy & quick dinner to throw together. I had a lot of baby spinach and decided to try this America’s Test Kitchen / Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Skillet Penne and Sausage Supper.

Skillet Pasta

In the skillet!

Skillet Pasta 2

Wow, this was really good! I appreciate that it is a one pot skillet meal as that means less dishes to clean! The idea is simple: Brown sausage & onion in a little olive oil. Stir in garlic & diced sun-dried tomatoes. Add uncooked penne pasta. Pour chicken broth & milk over, place a lid on the skillet and cook until the pasta is al dente. Stir in spinach until wilted, and add in some grated parm. Dinner was done in a half hour.

This was flavorful and creamy, yet did not require heavy whipping cream or too much cheese. The whole dish (which makes 4 large servings) has only 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Overall it did have too much meat for my taste, but I don’t care for a lot of meat in general.

I have to admit that I was skeptical because of the sun-dried tomatoes. I don’t generally like them, and feel that they are a food fad that burnt out in the 1990’s. Sometimes they still show up on pizzas or in sandwiches and I always feel they are chewy and pointless. That being said, I thought the sun-dried tomatoes were right at home in this dish, not chewy and the flavor was fine.

We used Dreamfields Penne which boasts a lower glycemic index than regular pasta. Mr. Nine’s Mom bought us this pasta, and it was my first time trying it and I have to say that I did not notice a difference in taste compared to regular pasta.

I’d recommend going with the spicy version of sausage because that added a lot of great flavor – we didn’t have to season with any additional spices (not even s&p!). I did buy the spicy italian pork sausage (instead of the turkey) and just drained the fat off before adding the sauce ingredients.

I like the concept of cooking the pasta right in the sauce instead of wasting water to boil it in a separate pot. I am inspired by this recipe and would like to create some variations on it.

What is your favorite one-dish meal? Have you ever tried the low-carb pasta options, or do you stick with whole wheat? What do you think about sun-dried tomatoes? And finally, what is your favorite quick breakfast (sandwich or otherwise) from a restaurant?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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