10 Healthy make-ahead Thanksgiving side dishes

The air is getting crisp and cold and we are getting out our sweaters and boots. You know what that means, it’s almost Thanksgiving! Living in Arizona during this time of year is so beautiful, you have the red mountains in the background, the cacti is perky and the air is cool. It really doesn’t get cool here until after Halloween. In fact, I still have yet to actually put a sweater on. But am I getting out my Thanksgiving platters and trying out different table placements and recipes, you betcha!

I try not to spoil all the hard work I put in throughout the year of eating right and not over indulging. Thanksgiving is all about over indulging so I figured I better find some recipes I wont feel so guilty getting a second serving of. These are a compilation of what I have found, pick out a few and try them this year!

1. Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic & Parsley

ma1From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2009

Winter squash becomes tender and sweeter when roasted—a delicious side for a holiday dinner. Look for interesting squash like kabocha or hubbard at your farmers’ market and try them in this recipe. Recipe adapted from Alice Waters.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds winter squash (such as butternut, buttercup, kabocha or hubbard), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 °F.

Toss squash with 4 teaspoons oil, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender throughout and lightly browned, 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the variety of squash).

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Toss the roasted squash with the garlic and parsley. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Make Ahead Tip: Cut squash up to 1 day ahead; store airtight in the refrigerator.

Kitchen Tip: Make it easier to cut a pumpkin, acorn squash or other winter squash: pierce in several places with a fork; microwave on High for 45 to 60 seconds. Use a large sharp knife to cut in half. Remove the seeds and stringy fibers with a spoon.

Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

2. Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Fontina Tart

ma2 From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2009

Try this roasted-vegetable free-form tart as an appetizer or side dish for a special dinner or as a vegetarian main dish. The pastry dough is very forgiving and quite easy to roll out on parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. The walnut-studded crust is crisper served warm, but you can enjoy the tart at room temperature or cold too.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 tablespoons ice-cold water

Filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded fontina or Cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

To prepare crust: Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Combine in a large bowl with whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons thyme and/or rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Make a well in the center and add 1/2 cup oil and water. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough (it will seem wetter than other types of pastry dough). Knead in the bowl just until the dough comes together. Pat it into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 days.

To prepare filling: Combine sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Spread on three-fourths of a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss onion in the bowl with 1 teaspoon oil. Spread evenly on the remaining one-fourth of the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce temperature to 375 °.

Line a work surface with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, lightly dust with flour and dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough into a rustic 15-inch circle, adding more flour, if necessary, to prevent sticking. Transfer the crust to a baking sheet with the parchment or baking mat in place.

Leaving a 2-inch border, sprinkle cheese evenly over the crust. Make an overlapping ring of the larger sweet potato slices over the cheese, leaving the 2-inch border. Spread the onion slices in another ring closer to the center. Using the rest of the sweet potato slices, make an overlapping circle in the center of the crust (the pattern will look like a bull’s-eye). Pick up the edges of the crust using a spatula and fold over the filling, making pleats in the dough as necessary (it’s okay if the dough cracks a little as you fold it); the filling will not be completely covered. Brush the crust with the egg-white wash. Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme and/or rosemary.

Bake the tart until lightly browned on the edges, about 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the crust (Step 2), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Cool, cover and refrigerate the baked tart for up to 1 day. Reheat at 350°F for about 20 minutes.

Ingredient Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure tender baked goods. Find it in the baking section of the supermarket.

3. Creamed Spinach Casserole

am3From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2012

This creamy spinach casserole recipe is a more sophisticated cousin to creamed spinach. It’s perfect for weekend entertaining or as a holiday side dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Press spinach in a mesh strainer to get out as much moisture as possible. Pulse in a food processor until very finely chopped.

Combine milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup Cheddar, cottage cheese and the spinach.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer, slowly increasing the speed, until they begin to foam. Continue to beat until the whites hold their shape; do not over beat. (You’ll know they are ready when you lift the beaters out and the peak doesn’t flop over.)

Gently fold the whites into the spinach mixture with a rubber spatula until uniform. (It’s OK if a few white streaks remain.) Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 35 minutes. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar; continue baking until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare Steps 2 & 3, refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before folding in egg whites.

4. Fennel, Citrus & Roasted Beet Salad

am4.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine January/February 2014

The sweetness of the roasted beets works well with tart grapefruit in this healthy beet salad recipe. Turn this beet salad into an entree by adding seared scallops or white fish, such as halibut or cod.

Ingredients

  • 2 small-to-medium golden beets
  • 2 small-to-medium red beets
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves and flowers or fennel fronds for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium pink or red grapefruit
  • 1 medium navel orange
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 °F.

Wrap beets in foil and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, 40 minutes to 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel, trim and cut into wedges.

Whisk oil, mustard, vinegar, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Slice both ends off grapefruit. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith; discard. Working over the bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. (Discard membranes). Repeat with orange. Add fennel and the beets. Toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve topped with pistachios and cilantro leaves and flowers or fennel fronds, if desired.

Make Ahead Tip: To make ahead: Roast beets (Steps 1-2), peel and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before adding to salad.

5. Cornbread Stuffing with Brussels Sprouts & Squash

am5From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2011

Brussels sprouts and winter squash make this cornbread stuffing look and taste great. You may need to bake two batches of cornbread to have 2 pounds for this recipe—you can even make it the day before.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds winter squash, such as buttercup or butternut
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds prepared cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup currants, raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, rubbed and sliced
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

Preparation

Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 375 °F.

Halve squash, remove seeds and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges (leave the skin on). Spread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, rubbing to coat the squash evenly. Roast on the lower rack until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Peel, cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, spread cornbread cubes on a large baking sheet. Toast on the upper rack until crisp around the edges, about 20 minutes. Add to the bowl with the squash.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and add to the bowl. Add currants (or raisins or cranberries), pecans, chives, parsley and sage. Add broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Spoon into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Bake the stuffing until heated through, 45 to 55 minutes.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate the roasted squash for up to 2 days. Store the toasted cornbread uncovered at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.

6. Potato & Sweet Potato Torte

ma6.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine Fall 2003

Layers of potatoes and sweet potatoes meld into an impressive vegetable “cake” that forms a golden crust during baking. Serve as a vegetarian centerpiece or with roast poultry or pork.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, washed (see Tip) and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, (about 2 small), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound all-purpose potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold (2-4 medium), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices

Preparation

Position oven rack at the lowest level; preheat to 450 °F. Coat a 9 1/2-inch, deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper or foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and thyme; cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. (If necessary, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to prevent scorching.) Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Arrange half the sweet potato slices, slightly overlapping, in the prepared pie pan and season with a little of the remaining salt and pepper. Spread one-third of the leeks over the top. Arrange half the potato slices over the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Top with another third of the leeks. Layer the remaining sweet potatoes, leeks and potatoes in the same manner. Cover the pan tightly with foil.

Bake the torte until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the torte to loosen it. Invert onto a serving plate. Remove paper or foil and serve.

Make Ahead Tip: The torte will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat, covered, in a 350°f oven.

Tip: To clean leeks: Trim and discard coarse green tops. Split leeks lengthwise with a sharp knife, beginning about 1 inch from the root end and cutting toward the green end. Leave root end attached. Swish leeks repeatedly in a basin of cold water to remove grit. Alternatively, trim roots and ragged tops. Slice leeks and place in plenty of water, then drain. Repeat a few times. The slices do not absorb water or lose flavor and the process is faster.

7. Butternut Squash Gratin

ma7From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2011

Roasted butternut squash slices layered with a creamy sauce and topped with golden breadcrumbs makes a hassle-free side dish that just about everyone loves. Our healthier version skips the heavy cream and butter found in most recipes—saving about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a traditional version.

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 8 cups)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese

Preparation

Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425 °F.

Toss squash in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips)

When the squash is done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer half the squash to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the squash. Add the remaining squash and top with the remaining sauce.

Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Roast squash (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the squash.

Tips: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs.

To add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.

Keep food fresh: If you’re storing food in your fridge for a few hours or more, it’s best to keep it in an airtight container or in a container covered tightly with foil. Foil is best at creating a barrier that doesn’t let unwanted flavors in (or out) while you store your food.

8. Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise

ma8From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2012

This cranberry sauce recipe is scented with star anise, which has a dynamic flavor—earthy, spicy and sweet at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 10 whole star anise (see Tip)
  • 2 12-ounce bags cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2/3 cup orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

Preparation

Place star anise in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with a piece of kitchen string. Combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest and juice in a medium saucepan. Add the star anise bundle and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove star anise before serving. Serve warm or chilled.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

Equipment: Cheesecloth, kitchen string

Tip: Look for the star-shaped anise pods in the bulk-spice sections of natural-foods stores, in Asian markets or online.

9. Cauliflower with New Mornay Sauce

ma9.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine Holiday Issue 1996

A topping of Mornay sauce is a delicious treatment for numerous vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, fennel, Belgian endive, to name a few. In our revised version, we have replaced some of the high-fat cheeses and cream with low-fat cottage cheese, which contributes a rich dairy flavor without the fat. Even children will eat cauliflower prepared this way.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut into large florets
  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned fine dry breadcrumbs

Preparation

Set rack in upper portion of oven; preheat to 375 °F. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking or gratin dish with cooking spray.

Place cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until tender but not soft, 5 to 7 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 1 to 3 minutes.)

Refresh under cool water and set aside.

Scald 1 cup milk in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir together flour and the remaining 1/4 cup cold milk in a small bowl to make a smooth paste. Stir into the hot milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, salt and pepper. Transfer sauce to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Spread one-third of the sauce in prepared baking dish. Arrange the steamed cauliflower over it and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3; cover and refrigerate the sauce and steamed cauliflower separately for up to 1 day.

10. Crunchy-Munchy Corn & Millet Bread

ma10.jpgFrom: EatingWell Magazine January/February 2009

The outside of this rustic-looking bread is crunchy and the inside is soft, with a smattering of small bits of corn grits and millet or sesame seeds. The loaf’s mild corn flavor goes well with chowders, stews and Tex-Mex dishes. The bread calls for millet, but sesame seeds can be substituted with good results. A pot with a 9- to 10-inch diameter, such as a Dutch oven, will produce a nicely domed loaf, while a wider-bottomed pot will allow the dough to spread out and form a relatively flat loaf.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-grain or stone-ground yellow cornmeal, divided
  • 1/3 cup yellow corn grits, or very coarse-grained uncooked polenta
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
  • 1/3 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil, canola oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons millet, or sesame seeds, divided
  • 2 cups unbleached bread flour, (see Note), plus more as needed
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour, preferably white whole-wheat (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup ice water, (see Tip), plus more as needed

Preparation

Mix dough: Place 2/3 cup cornmeal and corn grits (or polenta) in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in boiling water until well blended and lump-free. Let stand until barely warm. Thoroughly stir 2 cups bread flour, whole-wheat flour, 3 tablespoons millet (or sesame seeds), sugar, salt and yeast in a 4-quart (or larger) bowl. Thoroughly stir yogurt and oil into the cornmeal mixture. Stir 3/4 cup ice water into the cornmeal mixture until smoothly incorporated. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the flour mixture, scraping down the sides and mixing just until the ingredients are thoroughly blended; it may seem too dry initially, but it usually comes together with sufficient stirring. The dough should be moist and somewhat sticky, but fairly stiff. If the mixture is still too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t over moisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough flour to stiffen slightly. Lightly coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature (about 70 °F) for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise. For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise.

Second rise: Generously coat a 3 1/2- to 5-quart Dutch oven (or similar ovenproof pot) with oil. Coat the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and millet (or sesame seeds). Vigorously stir the dough to deflate it. If it’s soft and very sticky, stir in just enough bread flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it should be fairly hard to stir). Transfer the dough to the pot. Lightly coat the dough with oil, then smooth the top using a well-oiled rubber spatula or your fingertips. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and millet (or sesame seeds) and pat down. Put the lid on the pot or tightly cover with foil.

Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is double the deflated size, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. (For an accelerated rise, see Tip.)

15 minutes before baking: Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 °F. Generously sprinkle or spritz the loaf with water.

Bake, cool, slice: Bake the loaf on the lower rack, covered, until lightly browned and crusty, 60 to 70 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204-206 °), 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool in the pot on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the loaf out on the rack and let cool to at least warm before serving. The loaf is good warm but slices best when cool.

Make Ahead Tip: Wrap airtight and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Notes: Milled from high-protein wheat, bread flour develops strong gluten, resulting in well-risen loaves. It helps give breads with a high percentage of whole grains better structure and a lighter texture. Find it near other flours in most supermarkets.

White whole-wheat, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. Available in large supermarkets and in natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Tips: To prepare “ice water” for this recipe, add a heaping cup of ice cubes to cold water and stir for about 30 seconds before measuring out the water.

You can turn your microwave into a warm, moist environment to help accelerate the second rise of the bread dough. Begin by microwaving 1/2 cup water in a 1-cup glass measure just to boiling. Set the water in one corner of the microwave, place the pan of dough on the other side of the turned-off microwave and close the door. The dough will double in size in 45 minutes to 11/2 hours.

 

As always I love hearing from you, if you have any questions, comments or if you have a tip please share below!

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Fried BBQ Chicken

Yes, you are reading this correctly. This is a recipe for FRIED BBQ CHICKEN!

I had thawed out a package of chicken breasts the night before to make something with it for dinner the next day. It was creepin up on 5 o’clock, din din time was fast approaching and I just couldn’t decide whether to make fried chicken or BBQ chicken. Kids weren’t very helpful because of course one said fried and the other said barbecue (typical, lol).

That is when my light-bulb went off and I thought why can’t I make fried barbecue chicken.. SO I DID! And it was delicious!

Here is how I did it…

fbc

First, let’s get to frying (& my secret ingredient to make it extra moist)

You will need:

  • Flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Milk
  • Mayo (yes, mayo!)

Mix about 3 cups of flour (depending on how much chicken you plan on making) add salt and pepper to taste. In another bowl, your going to add about 2 cups milk and about a half cup of Mayo, mix and set aside.

Tip: Keep one hand for the wet part and one hand for the dry part. This will help you from getting those monster hands when dipping!

Evenly coat each piece into the flour mixture, then into the wet mixture and set on a piece of parchment or foil and let sit for about 5 minutes. Then repeat in both dry and wet batters.

Heat vegetable or canola oil, which ever you prefer in a skillet. I like to use my cast iron for this but you can use whatever you want. Fry until golden brown, about 7 minutes on each side depending on how thick your chicken is.

Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees.

Then, get your favorite BBQ sauce and warm it up in the microwave for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir to prevent hot spots. Then dip your fried chicken into the sauce, and set on a rack over a baking sheet lined with foil.

img_20160918_171349img_20160918_171813img_20160918_172003

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the outside gets crispy.

Let cool, & ENJOY!

 

I always love to hear from you guys so if you have any questions comments please post them below!

Quick & Easy Low Cal Dinner Recipes for Summer

Get inspired to make a lighter, healthier meal with my quick, low-calorie summer dinner recipes. Enjoy satisfying recipes for fresh salads, juicy grilled chicken, easy family dishes and more. Try my Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Basil & Cashews for a flavor-packed weeknight dinner or Apricot Chile Glazed Salmon for a simple yet elegant dinner on the grill.

1.Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Basil & Cashews

lcdinners1

This quick chicken stir-fry recipe is flavored with classic Thai ingredients: savory fish sauce balanced with tangy lime juice and plenty of fresh basil. Have all the ingredients prepared and ready to add to the wok before you turn on the heat. Serve with brown rice.

Makes: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, divided
• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 small fresh red chiles, thinly sliced (optional)
• 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• 2 teaspoons lime juice
• 2 teaspoons molasses
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1/2 cup toasted cashews
• 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil, preferably Thai

Preparation

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, flat-bottom, carbon-steel wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, scallions and chiles (if using); cook, stirring, until the scallions start to soften, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and zucchini and cook, stirring, until the zucchini is just tender, about 3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk fish sauce, lime juice, molasses and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir the sauce and the chicken (along with any accumulated juice) into the pan; cook, gently stirring, until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in cashews and basil.

Nutrition

Per serving: 329 calories; 18 g fat (4 g sat, 9 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 2 g added sugars; 6 g total sugars; 28 g protein; 2 g fiber; 664 mg sodium; 649 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (37% daily value), Magnesium (24% dv), Potassium (19% dv), Iron (15% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1

2.Seared Chicken with Lemon-Herb Cream Sauce

lcdinners2
In this healthy chicken recipe, chicken breasts are quickly pan-seared and then topped with a lemon-herb cream sauce. The healthy cream sauce recipe uses yogurt and actually contains no cream at all. The cream sauce also pairs well with seasoned pan-seared cod or salmon. Serve the chicken and sauce with steamed broccoli or green beans for a healthy dinner.
Makes: 4 servings
Serving Size: 3 oz. chicken & 2 Tbsp. sauce
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon, divided
• 2 8-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
• 2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon (see Tip) or 2 teaspoons lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
2. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, yogurt, lemon (or zest), oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Serve the chicken with the sauce.
Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Nutrition

Per serving: 202 calories; 9 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 64 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g total sugars; 26 g protein; 0 g fiber; 236 mg sodium; 320 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 0

3.Korean Turkey Burgers with Kimchi

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Korean chile paste (also known as gochujang) blended into the ground turkey makes this turkey burger recipe incredibly moist and flavorful. Top these healthy turkey burgers with kimchi—a fermented mixture of cabbage and other vegetables—which can be found near other refrigerated Asian ingredients or near sauerkraut or pickles in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.
Makes: 4 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

• 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
• 3 scallions, sliced
• 8 teaspoons Korean chile paste (see Tips), divided
• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
• 4 small whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
• 12 slices English cucumber
• 1 cup kimchi

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Combine turkey, scallions, 5 teaspoons chile paste and sesame oil in a medium bowl; gently knead together. Do not overmix. Form into 4 burgers, about 4 inches wide.
3. Oil the grill rack (see Tips). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise and the remaining 3 teaspoons chile paste in a small bowl. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with 2 teaspoons of the mayonnaise mixture, 3 slices cucumber and 1/4 cup kimchi each.

Tips & Notes
• Tips: Knead Gently: Use your hands to mix ground turkey until just combined (wear gloves if you prefer). Overmixing makes the meat tough.
• Korean chile paste (also called hot pepper paste, gochujang or kochujang) is a fermented spicy condiment made from red chiles, soybeans and salt. Find it in Korean or Asian markets. Annie Chun’s, a widely distributed national brand of Asian foods, recently launched its own bottled gochujang sauce that is becoming increasingly available in large supermarkets. It keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. To make a substitute, combine 2 tablespoons each white miso and Asian-style chile sauce, such as sriracha, and 2 teaspoons molasses.
• Oiling a grill rack before you grill foods helps ensure that the food won’t stick. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to coat the food with cooking spray.

Nutrition

Per serving: 341 calories; 12 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 67 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 7 g added sugars; 28 g protein; 5 g fiber; 731 mg sodium; 441 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Iron (17% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 2

4.Apricot-Chile Glazed Salmon

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This healthy apricot-chile glazed salmon recipe marries fruit and chiles to make this easy grilled salmon mouthwateringly special. Use jam rather than preserves for a smoother, prettier glaze. Look for New Mexico chili powder in well-stocked supermarkets, or substitute your favorite red chili powder.
Makes: 4 servings
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons New Mexico red chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds center-cut wild salmon (see Tip), skinned
• 3 tablespoons apricot jam

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium-high. (No grill? See Oven Variation, below.)
2. Combine chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Rub onto both sides of salmon.
3. Place jam in a small saucepan; heat over medium heat, stirring, until melted.
4. Oil the grill rack. Grill the salmon 4 minutes, and then turn it over. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the salmon with the jam. Close the grill; cook until the salmon easily flakes with a fork, 3 to 5 minutes more. To serve, cut into 4 portions.
Tips & Notes
• 1. Wild-caught salmon from the Pacific (Alaska and Washington) is considered the best choice for the environment because it is more sustainably fished and has a more stable population. Farmed salmon, including Atlantic, should be avoided, as it endangers the wild salmon population.
• 2. Oven Variation: Prepare through Step 3. Bake in a shallow baking pan at 350°F, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Per serving: 215 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 66 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrates; 6 g added sugars; 29 g protein; 1 g fiber; 433 mg sodium; 613 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (29% daily value), Potassium (18% dv), omega-3s
Carbohydrate Servings: 1

5.Tuna & Bok Choy Packets

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Steaming fish and vegetables together in a tin-foil packet is a great way to keep the tuna moist and have little to clean up. If baby bok choy is not available, use 8 cups chopped mature bok choy for this quick fish recipe.
Makes: 4 servings, 3-4 oz. fish & 2 pieces of bok choy each
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

• 1/4 cup horseradish mustard
• 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, divided
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 2 baby bok choy, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1-1 1/4 pounds tuna, wild salmon, mahi-mahi or cod, skinned if desired, cut into 4 portions

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
2. Combine mustard, 3 tablespoons parsley, water and pepper in a small bowl. Toss bok choy, oil and 2 tablespoons of the mustard sauce in a large bowl.
3. Cut four 20-inch sheets of foil. Arrange 2 bok choy quarters in the center of each piece, top with a portion of fish and 1 tablespoon of the remaining sauce. Bring the short ends of foil together, fold over and pinch to seal. Pinch the side seams together to seal the packets and place on a large baking sheet.
4. Bake the packets until the fish is opaque in the center, about 15 minutes (depending on thickness). When opening a packet to check for doneness, be careful of the steam. Serve, sprinkled with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Nutrition

Per serving: 201 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 46 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 30 g protein; 2 g fiber; 258 mg sodium; 1008 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (114% daily value), Vitamin C (63% dv), Potassium (29% dv), Iron (18% dv), Folate (15% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 0

6.Zesty Shrimp & Black Bean Salad

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Loaded with fresh tomatoes, peppers and cilantro and seasoned with cumin and chile, this shrimp and black bean salad recipe has all the flavors of a great fresh salsa and is a quick and easy no-cook recipe. Serve with tortilla chips or fresh corn tortillas.

Makes: 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

• 1/4 cup cider vinegar
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile in adobo (see Tips), or more to taste
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 pound peeled and deveined cooked shrimp (see Tips), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
• 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
• 1 large poblano pepper or bell pepper, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped scallions
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

1. Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle, cumin and salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp, beans, tomatoes, poblano (or bell pepper), scallions and cilantro; toss to coat. Serve room temperature or cold.
Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
• Tips: Peppers, chipotle, in adobo sauce: Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with Mexican foods at large supermarkets. Once opened, they’ll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
• For shrimp that have been raised or caught with sound environmental practices, look for fresh or frozen shrimp certified by an independent agency, such as the Marine Stewardship Council. If you can’t find certified shrimp, choose wild-caught shrimp from North America—it’s more likely to be sustainably caught. To peel, grasp the legs and hold onto the tail while you twist off the shell. To devein, use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp. Remove the dark digestive tract (or “vein”) with the knife tip.

Nutrition

Per serving: 273 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 143 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 21 g protein; 6 g fiber; 410 mg sodium; 533 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (55% daily value), Folate (20% dv), Potassium & Vitamin A (16% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1

7.Paprika-Herb Rubbed Chicken

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A simple combination of herbes de Provence, paprika, salt and pepper makes a flavorful rub for chicken, or try it with steak or tofu.
Makes: 4 servings
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

• 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (see Notes)
• 2 teaspoons paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1-1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (see Notes)

Preparation

1. Combine herbes de Provence, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
2. Coat both sides of chicken with the rub up to 30 minutes before grilling or broiling.
3. Preheat grill to medium-high or position a rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.
4. To grill: Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the chicken, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 4 to 8 minutes per side.
5. To broil: Line a broiler pan (or baking sheet) with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the foil. Broil, watching carefully and turning at least once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes total.
Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Store the rub in an airtight container for up to 3 months; coat the chicken with the rub up to 30 minutes before grilling or broiling.
Notes: Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs commonly used in the south of France. You can find commercial mixtures in well-stocked supermarkets, in the bulk spice section at some natural foods stores and/or gourmet markets. It’s also easy to make your own. Mix 1 tablespoon each (or equal proportions) dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram and savory in a small jar. If desired, add a pinch of dried lavender and crushed aniseed.
• It’s difficult to find an individual chicken breast small enough for one portion. Removing the thin strip of meat from the underside of a 5-ounce breast—the chicken tender—removes about 1 ounce of meat and yields a perfect 4-ounce portion. Wrap and freeze the tenders and when you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry or for oven-baked chicken fingers. If you can only find chicken breasts closer to 8- to 9-ounce each, you’ll only need 2 breasts for 4 servings—cut each one in half before cooking.
Tip: Oiling a grill rack before you grill foods helps ensure that the food won’t stick. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to coat the food with cooking spray.

Nutrition

Per serving: 127 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 1 g fiber; 196 mg sodium; 223 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 0

8.Smoky Corn & Black Bean Pizza

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The secret to a grilled pizza is having all your ingredients ready to go before you head out to the grill. Make it a meal: Toss the extra black beans, diced tomato and some avocado with prewashed salad greens and tangy vinaigrette and dinner is on the table in no time.
Makes: 6 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

• 1 plum tomato, diced
• 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
• 1 cup fresh corn kernels, (about 2 ears)
• 2 tablespoons cornmeal
• 1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough
• 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella, preferably smoked mozzarella

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium.
2. Combine tomato, beans and corn in a medium bowl. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a large baking sheet. Stretch the dough into about a 12-inch circle and lay it on top of the cornmeal, coating the entire underside of the dough.
3. Transfer the crust from the baking sheet to the grill. Close the lid and cook until the crust is puffed and lightly browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread barbecue sauce on it and quickly sprinkle with the tomato mixture and cheese. Close the lid; grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Per serving: 316 calories; 6 g fat (3 g sat, 0 g mono); 13 mg cholesterol; 48 g carbohydrates; 3 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 4 g fiber; 530 mg sodium; 94 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (15% daily value).
Carbohydrate Servings: 3

9.Thyme, Pork Chop & Pineapple Skillet Supper

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Thyme adds bright, woodsy flavor to pork and pineapple in this simple one-skillet supper. Serve with whole-grain rice pilaf and a baby spinach salad.
Makes: 4 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

• 3 tablespoons pineapple or apricot preserves or jam or orange marmalade
• 3 tablespoons orange juice, plus more if needed
• 2 teaspoons stone-ground or Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
• 4 fresh or canned pineapple rings (1/2 inch thick), cut in half, any juice reserved
• 2 teaspoons butter
• 4 4- to 5-ounce boneless pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick), trimmed
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (see Tip), divided
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

Preparation

1. If the preserves are chunky, chop any large pieces. Combine preserves (or jam or marmalade), 3 tablespoons orange juice, mustard, ginger and curry powder in a small bowl; set aside. Pour pineapple juice into a measuring cup; if necessary, add enough orange juice to equal 1/3 cup total. Set aside.
2. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops, sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Immediately turn them over and sprinkle with another 1/2 tablespoon thyme and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook the chops, turning occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the reserved juice to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the chops are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
4. Add pineapple, the reserved sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon thyme to the pan. Cook, stirring, until hot and bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. To serve, spoon the sauce onto the chops and pineapple.
Tips & Notes
Tip: To remove thyme leaves from the sprig, hold each sprig at the top with one hand, then run the thumb and finger of the other hand down the stem to strip off the leaves.

Nutrition

Per serving: 257 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 72 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 8 g added sugars; 22 g protein; 2 g fiber; 388 mg sodium; 434 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (78% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

10. Turkey, Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato Wraps

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Fresh corn kernels, tomatoes and lettuce fill these hearty turkey wraps. This wrap is great for picnics or when you need to have dinner on the run. Add some crumbled feta or shredded Cheddar for another layer of flavor. Serve with carrot sticks, sliced bell pepper or other crunchy vegetables plus your favorite creamy dressing.
Makes: 4 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

• 1 cup corn kernels, fresh (see Tip) or frozen (thawed)
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
• 1/4 cup chopped soft sun-dried tomatoes (see Shopping Tip)
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar or cider vinegar
• 8 thin slices low-sodium deli turkey (about 8 ounces)
• 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
• 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Preparation

1. Combine corn, tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, oil and vinegar in a medium bowl.
2. Divide turkey among tortillas. Top with equal portions of the corn salad and lettuce. Roll up. Serve the wraps cut in half, if desired.
Tips & Notes
Tip: To remove corn kernels from the cob, stand an ear of corn on one end and slice the kernels off with a sharp knife. One ear will yield about 1/2 cup kernels.
Shopping Tip: Look for soft sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) in the produce section of most supermarkets. If you can only find dry (and hard) sun-dried tomatoes, soak them in boiling water for about 20 minutes before using.
Eat neat: Keeping the filling inside a wrap or burrito can be a challenge, especially if you’re on the go that’s why I recommend wrapping your burrito in foil so you can pick it up and eat it without losing the filling, peeling back the foil as you go.

Nutrition

Per serving: 321 calories; 12 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 35 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 19 g protein; 4 g fiber; 682 mg sodium; 325 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (47% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 2

I hope these recipes got you inspired!

And as always, I love hearing from you guys so if you have a comment or idea, please post it below!

Recipes from EatingWell.com

One Skillet Chicken

One pot meals are a life saver in my house. Especially when you’ve just got home from a long day of work, took the kids to soccer practice, ran your errands and you still have laundry and homework with the kids. You can easily swap out any items your family doesn’t use or like. The only important cookware you need is a Cast Iron Skillet. Now if you are a newbie in the kitchen or just never used a cast iron skillet before, its a must get! It leave a nice flavor crust on your food and the longer you use it the better your food tastes!

You do have to season your cast iron skillet which took me 2 days. First, you will want to heat your oven to 250 to 350 degrees. Rub oil (canola or vegetable works best) all over the skillet getting all the nooks, crannies and edges. Place the skillet upside down over a large cookie sheet, to catch all the drippings. Heat the skillet for at least an hour. Let cool completely and repeat the process at least one more time, two for good measure. This will be the same process to re-season your skillet when that time comes.

There are also special ways to clean your skillet. I know, I know, its soo much work. But it’s also SOOO worth it! Wash the skillet by hand using hot water and a sponge or stiff brush. Avoid using the dishwasher, soap or steel wool as these may strip the pan’s seasoning. To remove stuck on food, scrub the pain with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water.

Now that we got all that out of the way, it’s time for what you came for. The one skillet chicken recipe! Here is what you need:

-3 lbs of chicken, any cut you prefer (skin on is best)
-Small potatoes like fingerling or small red, or teeny tiny potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
-Fresh Basil, at least a good handful, torn into smaller pieces
-Olive oil
-1 lemon
-1 chopped shallot, or onion
-Adobo seasoning
-Baby heirloom tomatoes, leave whole
-Crusty bread- to serve on the side

To get started:

Heat skillet (the one we talked about) with about a half cup of olive oil over medium heat. When its good and hot place the sliced shallot or onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Coat the chicken in adobo seasoning place the chicken in skin side down and press it firmly into the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, then add the potatoes into the skillet. After about 5 minutes turn over chicken, flip the potatoes and add about 3 leaves of fresh basil, torn into pieces and the baby heirloom tomatoes which we left whole. Squeeze half a lemon over the chicken (hold upside down so the seeds don’s go in your dish). Cook until chicken is brown and cooked thoroughly and potatoes are fork tender.

Let cool, serve with crusty bread if desired and enjoy!!

One Skillet Collage.jpg

One Skillet Chicken Cover

As always I love to hear from you, if you have any ideas or comments to share please write them below!

8 Antioxidant drinks you can make at home

With Cold & Flu season upon us I am always looking for drinks I can make at home that taste good and good for my Immune System. These are my 8 favorite so far. If you don’t have a juicer, no problem! You can use a blender.

#1 Carrot-Orange Juice

From EatingWell:

In this vibrant, healthy carrot-orange juice recipe, we jazz up plain orange juice by adding a yellow tomato, apple and carrots to pack in immune-boosting vitamins A and C. No juicer? No problem. See the juicing variation below to make this carrot-orange juice recipe in a blender.

Carrot-Orange Juice

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 8 ounces each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium orange, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium apple, cut into eighths
  • 4 large carrots, peeled
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Preparation

  1. Working in this order, process tomato, orange, apple and carrots through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Nutrition

111 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 38 mg sodium; 434 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (339% daily value), Vitamin C (66% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

 

#2 Jason Mraz’s Avocado Green Smoothie

From EatingWell:
To make this green smoothie recipe a meal-in-a-glass, musician Mraz adds a tablespoon of coconut oil and some sprouted flax or chia seeds.

Jason Mraz’s Avocado Green Smoothie

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: 2 cups

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cold unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk beverage
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 sweet apple, such as Honeycrisp, sliced
  • 1/2 large or 1 small stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cups lightly packed kale leaves or spinach
  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 ice cubes

Preparation

  1. Blend milk beverage, avocado, banana, apple, celery, kale (or spinach), ginger and ice in a blender until very smooth.

Nutrition

Per serving: 332 calories; 18 g fat (2 g sat, 10 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrates; 18 g total sugars; 7 g protein; 13 g fiber; 164 mg sodium; 1345 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (168% daily value), Vitamin A (146% dv), Potassium (38% dv), Folate (31% dv), Calcium (26% dv), Magnesium (25% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 3 1/2 fat

 

#3 Blueberry-Cabbage Power Juice

From EatingWell:

This healthy blueberry-cabbage power juice recipe is loaded with anthocyanins, which give the juice its pretty purple color and pack it with powerful antioxidants to keep your memory sharp. No juicer? No problem. See the juicing variation below to make this power juice recipe in a blender.

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 8 ounces each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 medium red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 large apple, cut into eighths
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Preparation

  1. Working in this order, process cabbage, cucumber, blueberries and apple through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Nutrition

77 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 27 mg sodium; 280 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (37% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

#4 Spinach-Apple Juice

From EatingWell:

This healthy spinach-apple juice is a green nutrient powerhouse loaded with calcium for bone health, and vitamins A and C for antioxidants. No juicer? No problem. See the juicing variation below to make this spinach-apple juice recipe in a blender.


Spinach-Apple Juice

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 10 ounces each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 grapefruit, peeled, white pith removed
  • 2 green apples, cut into eighths
  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 large stalks celery
  • Ice (optional)

Preparation

  1. Working in this order process spinach, grapefruit, apples, ginger and celery through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Nutrition

Per serving: 55 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 60 mg sodium; 150 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

#5 Ginger-Beet Juice

From EatingWell:

In this healthy ginger-beet juice recipe, we pack in vegetables by adding kale and a carrot, and sweeten with an orange and apple. No juicer? No problem. See the juicing variation below to make this beet juice recipe in the blender.

Ginger-Beet Juice

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 8 ounces each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium orange, peeled and quartered
  • 3 kale leaves
  • 1 medium apple, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 1 large beet, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Preparation

  1. Working in this order, process orange, kale, apple, carrot, beet and ginger through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Nutrition

100 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 94 mg sodium; 511 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (80% daily value), Vitamin C (38% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

#6 Tomato-Vegetable Juice

From EatingWell:

This healthy tomato-vegetable juice recipe contains all the components of a healthy salad, such as lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, celery and carrot, but with less salt than bottled vegetable-blend juices. No juicer? No problem. See the juicing variation below to make this tomato-vegetable juice recipe in a blender.

Tomato-Vegetable Juice

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 8 ounces each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped hearts of romaine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 fresh jalapeño , stemmed and seeded
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into eighths
  • 2 large stalks celery, trimmed
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Preparation

  1. Working in this order, process lettuce, chives, tomatoes, jalapeño, bell pepper, celery and carrot through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Nutrition

46 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 82 mg sodium; 466 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (71% daily value), Vitamin A (65% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

#7 Strawberry-Cucumber Juice

From EatingWell:

This refreshing, healthy strawberry-cucumber juice is also made with an apple and carrots, making it taste like the farmers’ market in a glass. No juicer? No problem. See the juicing variation below to make this strawberry-cucumber juice recipe in a blender.

Strawberry-Cucumber Juice

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 10 ounces each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large red apple, cut into eighths
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • Ice (optional)

Preparation

  1. Working in this order process strawberries, cucumber, apple and carrots through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Nutrition

Per serving: 69 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 30 mg sodium; 249 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

#8 Green Juice

From EatingWell:

This healthy green juice recipe combines parsley, spinach, pears and celery to make a juice packed with bone-supporting vitamin K. No juicer? No problem. See the juicing variation below to make this green juice recipe in a blender.

Makes: 2 servings

Serving Size: about 8 ounces each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 2 medium pears, cut into eighths
  • 6 large stalks celery, trimmed
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Preparation

  1. Working in this order, process parsley, spinach, lemon, pears and celery through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Nutrition

91 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 192 mg sodium; 409 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (32% daily value), Vitamin C (23% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

BBQ Chicken Pizza Rolls

When its pizza night at my house, there’s three different people wanting three different things. My son just wants cheese, my daughter wants bbq chicken and I want something spicy. Normally we have to order two different pizza’s and a side of hot wings. I came home from work, wanted pizza and didn’t feel like spending forty bucks and wanted something homemade.

I grabbed some pizza dough, cheese, bbq sauce, chicken and buffalo wing sauce. Here’s what I did:

  • Unroll the pizza dough and flatten out with a rolling pin
  • Spread bbq sauce and hot wing sauce
  • Cover with diced, cooked chicken
  • Sprinkle with cheddar cheese
  • Top with diced green onions
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown

Feel free to change around the ingredients around to your family’s favorite toppings.

bbqchickencollage.jpg

bbqpizzacover

 

 

 

5 layer Magic Bars

These are my go to dessert bars for any occasion! They are super simple, quick easy and only have a handful of ingredients. You can customize the few ingredients there are for people who can’t have nuts or don’t like butterscotch. I can’t wait for you to try them!

Ingredients:
✓1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
✓1 stick salted butter, melted
✓1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
✓1 cup butterscotch chips
✓1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
✓1 cup shredded coconut
✓1 14 -ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle macadamia nuts, chips and coconut on top. Pour the sweetened condensed mil over the mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into bars.

5 layer magic bars

 

Boyfriend Beer Cake

This is what I call the “Boyfriend Beer Cake”, a perfect combination of chocolate and beer. I started making this a few years ago, as a Valentines gift for my boyfriend. I never knew what to get him and he was a foodie like myself so I decided to make something for him instead of buying something. I combined his two favorite things, a good dark stout and chocolate. It was a smash and I now make it every year. Needless to say the recipe stayed, the boyfriend didn’t.. lol!  Hope you enjoy it.

Also, feel free to add coconut, walnuts or almonds into the icing for a little crunch.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 7 fluid ounces dark beer
  • 2/3 cup very soft butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 14 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • For the icing

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon very soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark beer
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (50-55% cocoa solids)

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven 350°F.
  2. You will need two 8 inch (20 cm) cake tins, 1½ inches (4 cm) deep, lightly greased, and the bases lined with baking parchment, also lightly greased.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together, beating thoroughly for 3 or 4 minutes until pale and fluffy. Now gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.
  4. Next, sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda on to a sheet of baking parchment.
  5. Measure the cocoa and put it in a separate bowl, gradually stirring the beer into it. Carefully and lightly fold into the egg mixture small quantities of the sifted flour alternately with the cocoa-beer liquid. Then, when both have been added, divide the cake mixture equally between the 2 tins and level it out.
  6. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes. The cakes should be flat on top and feel springy and will have shrunk slightly from the side of the tin. Leave them to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool further, carefully stripping off the base papers.
  7. To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and butter together until blended, then gradually add the beer, making sure it is thoroughly mixed in after each addition.
  8. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over hot water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Then, when it’s melted, remove the bowl from the water, and carefully fold the chocolate into the icing mixture.
  9. After all the icing has cooled to a spreadable consistency, spread the icing on top of the cake, using a palette knife.
  10. Now try to be patient and allow the icing to become firm before eating!

beercake1

Fast Food Hacks

Did you know that those little paper cups that hold your condiments were actually made to be pulled apart? Well, they are! If you pull the little folds all around the cup apart it actually holds more and is easier to scoop that last bit of your sauce! Continue reading

Baked Buffalo Mac & Cheese

buffalo edited

This is simple, creamy and tasty!

I found that Shells & White Cheddar of any brand work best, verse the traditional cheddar macaroni and cheese (the orange kind).

Just cook to the specifications on the box, add your favorite buffalo sauce and stir. Top with your favorite cheese, I used mozzarella. And bake uncovered at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

And enjoy!

I think next time I will try buffalo chicken mixed in!