Thursday, February 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Pasta Bake


I mean...LOOK AT THAT.  While I love trying new foods, some days I just want a classic tomato based pasta dish...with meat of course. The day I made this,  I was planning for the pasta to bake while I put in a few hours at the office. The few hours turned into 7 hours.  I had to count on J to help me out with this meal as well as take pictures...and he did a great job!  

The only semi-frustrating thing about this recipe is the fact that there is a decent amount of preparation needed for a slow-cooker meal. My favorite slow cooker recipes are when I get to just dump everything in and let it cook. This recipe required me to brown the meat ahead of time as well as cook the noodles. I'm sure I could have skipped browning the meat, but it makes me nervous and the last thing I need is for J or myself to get food poisoning from undercooked meat. BUT it was SO worth the work, Learning how to cook has led me to so many new food blogs, and this recipe is not an exception. I got this recipe from Becoming Betty. She referred to this dish as crock pot ravioli...but I don't consider this ravioli at all. However, it was so delicious, she can call it whatever she wants!

Slow Cooker Pasta Bake
Serves: 6
Cook time to Becoming Betty: 6-7 hours
Cook time according to Rachel: 6 hours
How difficult was this for Rachel? Pretty easy!

Ingredients:
1.5 lb lean ground turkey (I used pre-seasoned)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 15oz cans stewed tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning
100z fresh spinach
16oz bowtie pasta (COOKED!)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1.5 cups mozzarella, shredded
salt & pepper

Becoming Betty suggested using frozen spinach. I'm sorry...but look how fresh and awesome this spinach is. I'd much rather put this in a dish than watered down frozen spinach!
 
Directions:

In a large skillet, brown the meat with the onion and garlic


Once completely cooked, put in slow cooker. Add in tomato sauce, tomatoes and seasonings.
Cook for 6 hours while stirring occasionally.


At the 6 hour mark, add in cooked pasta, cheeses and spinach. Mix well.
Cook for additional 30 minutes. 


Serve immediately!

For re-heating purposes, the pasta won't be as sauce-y so add an additional small can of tomato sauce.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joe Sliders


Do I dare say this is the best meal the slow cooker has made?? These were AWESOME!! These were supposed to be just a snack/appetizer, but I ended up eating enough for my entire meal. I've never been a HUGE Sloppy Joe's fan, but after discovering this recipe, those feelings have completely changed!

 We had some people over and thought making sliders would be a fun twist on this classic sandwich.  I got the idea from my boss who is the queen of home cooked meals. When I asked for her recipe...she said she ran out of time and ended up using Manwich! I knew I could do better than that, so I literally googled "Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes" and found the recipe from My Recipes. It got 5 stars so I figured it was a safe bet.  This recipe called for lean ground beef and ground pork sausage. In the spirit of healthier eating, I substituted good 'ol ground turkey for both meats and I don't think we missed out AT ALL.  I will definitely be making these again!

Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joe Sliders
Serves: Aprox 30ish sliders, the recipe says 8 normal sized Sloppy Joes
Cook Time according to My Recipes: 4 hours
Cook Time according to Rachel: 4 hours
How difficult was this for Rachel: Easy!

Ingredients (this is a BIG list) 
2.5 lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium sized green bell pepper, chopped
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
Slider buns

Directions:
In a large skillet, brown turkey with onion & bell pepper until cooked through


Place meat mixture into crock pot. Stir in all the ingredients minus the buns. Mix thoroughly.


Cook on high for 4 hours. Stirring occasionally.

THAT'S IT!




Friday, February 22, 2013

Skinny Mexican Breakfast Burrito


YUM. YUM. YUM. This breakfast treat was delicious! It's no secret that I love Mexican food. Mexican for breakfast? SOLD.   This recipe was beyond tasty and was actually not THAT bad for you...as most breakfast foods that I want to eat tend to be. I got the recipe from Weight Watchers and I was NOT disappointed. This was actually my first time using egg beaters and I want to smack myself that I haven't used them before. They were so easy and just as tasty...but healthier and last way longer than normal eggs. The only problem I had with this meal was how quickly I ate the burrito! It did not last long enough!  

Skinny Mexican Breakfast Burrito
Serves: 2
Cook time according to Rachel: 25 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!

Ingredients: 
2 tbsp light sour cream
2 tbsp fat free salsa
1/2 medium uncooked onion
1 cup egg beaters
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 whole wheat tortillas
cooking spray
1/2 cup reduced fat mexican cheese (I used cheddar jack bc we had it)
Tinfoil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees


In a medium coated skillet, saute onions until soft 5-7 mins


Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, salt, cumin & cayenne. Add to skillet & scramble until eggs are fluffy


While eggs are cooking, mix salsa & sour cream in a bowl and set aside


Lay tortilla onto sheet of tinfoil.  Spread egg mixture down the center of tortilla.
Add cheese & sour cream/salsa mix.


Fold up burrito style. Not sure how to do that? Check out this video tutorial
Don't worry, I didn't know how to either.

Place on baking sheet and bake until heated through, about 10 mins. 

Serve immediately!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Artichoke Crusted Chicken


Just the title alone, how could I say no?!  This chicken was so different from the usual piece of chicken. It was AWESOME and J even said it was his favorite chicken recipe thus far.  I found this recipe on Pinterest and it introduced me to a new food blog, Sugar Laws.  I ended up eating 2 pieces of chicken because the pieces I made were actually really small. I also used only half the amount of mayo that was recommended and thought it still had a bit too much...and this is coming from someone who loves mayo and refuses to sub Greek Yogurt for mayo...but that is another healthy alternative. I just won't do it.   Anyways, this recipe will definitely be a new staple in our rotation!

Artichoke Crusted Chicken
Serves: 4 (though J & I ate this all in one sitting)
Cook time according to Rachel: 20ish mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Decently easy

Ingredients:

4 6 ounce boneless chicken breasts pounded thin
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 cup mayo
1/4 cup artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper to season chicken




Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees


Season your chicken with salt & pepper
Sautee in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium to high heat


While chicken is cooking, combine artichokes, mayo & cheese.



Set pieces in greased baking dish.

Ok, so I made 4 pieces of chicken but they were super thin & shrunk by the time they were done.


Spread the artichoke mixture over top of chicken breasts.


Broil chicken for 3-4 minutes tops. Now, my picture the artichoke mix did not brown like Sugar Laws did. Still tasted great!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Slow Cooker Skinny Italian Beef and Lentil Stew


Seriously, my poor blog has been NEGLECTED.  The past few weeks have been filled with endless hours at work, celebrating my birthday, the Superbowl, and more work. Luckily, the little spare time I have had, I've spent in the kitchen. TONS of new recipes will be coming your way in the upcoming weeks!

This recipe is a Weight Watchers recipe and because someone is going to Hawaii in the spring, she NEEDS to be watching her food intake. However, I refuse to eat like a bird for the next couple of months. Despite being a "healthy" recipe, it was  REALLY good and filling. It is  the perfect meal for a cold day...and YES, it does get cold here. I made this when the temps droped below 50. Don't judge me...I grew up in MI & lived in Chicago totalling 25 years. I KNOW cold. Did I mention it is a slow cooker meal? EVEN BETTER!   The only thing I would do differently is season the meat before dumping it into the crock pot.  I used such lean meat that I thought it was just a tad bland. Otherwise, this meal was perfect!

Slow Cooker Skinny Beef and Lentil Stew
Serves: 6
Cook time according to Rachel: 6 hours 30 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? Easy!

Ingredients:
16 oz lean beef round cut into 1 inch chunks
4 cups canned beef broth
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh green beans, chopped
14.5 oz diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup dry lentils
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
seasoning for meat

Directions:

Dump everything into the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Stir occasionally. 


That's IT!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Corn Bread Bake


So, I was definitely supposed to post this the day after I posted the Skinny Chicken Taco Chili and not a WEEK later, but it's been a hectic week at work.  Anyways,  THIS is how corn bread should always be made. I love corn bread, but I don't like how it is often super dry and crumbly.  This recipe is anything but dry. It also made the perfect side dish to the chili. Was it as healthy? Mmmm not quite. BUT if you can control yourself and eat just ONE piece...it's totally fine.  And did I mention it was EASY to make? Just perfection. Big thanks to Squidoo for the recipe!

Corn Bread Bake
Serves: 8-10 pieces
Cook time according to Squiddo: 40-45 mins
Cook time according to Rachel: 45 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel? EASY!

Ingredients:

1 stick butter              
2 eggs
8 oz light sour cream
1 can cream corn
1 can kernel corn, drained
1 box Jiffy corn bread

(Yes only one egg is pictured)



Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees


Melt butter & then mix with the eggs & sour cream.


Add both cans of corn. Don't forget to drain the corn kernels from the water.


Stir in corn bread mix. Then pour in a greased baking dish.


Bake 40-45 mins. Once removed from the oven, let it cool down for 5-10 mins.