Monday, May 29, 2017

Quick Dinner and Meal Prep

We had a kind of low key Memorial Day. We'd had family over for some great smoked meats and delicious sides and desserts.

 John smoked some pork and chicken. He also made collard greens and I made cheesy grits. It was a very southern meal, that reminded us of our road trip last summer. 

I baked a pound cake! It was my first attempt and I have to thank my kitchen hero, Trisha Yearwood for the recipe.

For dessert, I put the pound cake into a strawberry shortcake trifle. I'd seen it on Valerie Bertinelli's cooking show. I may be watching too much Food Network.

It was a delicious day off from the diet. Now it is back to reality. We like to prep for the week. It helps keep me on track throughout the week.

First we pulled pasta out of the cupboard. We use these pastas because I am trying to avoid white flours. The edamame pasta also has 25 grams of protein per serving. The chickpea has 11 grams of protein. All good for my diet.

For my lunches for the week, I like something quick and easy. Since I eat at my desk and then walk on my lunch hour, I prefer something I don't have to heat up. So I shredded a couple of the chicken thighs that John smoked yesterday. These will go into my pasta salad for the week.

John cut up onions, peppers and mushrooms. I will put some of these raw into my lunch.

I started with the fusilli pasta.

Then we piled on the chicken and the veggies. We added a couple of tomatoes. A little light italian dressing and it was ready to go.  

The rest of the onions, mushrooms and peppers got saute'd in a little oil. I add them to my scrambled eggs in the morning to bulk them up and get more vitamins.

For dinner we had shrimp, Have I mentioned that I love shrimp? We have made shrimp scampi before, but we had to adjust it slightly. My food plan doesn't allow for any dairy during the week. So there goes butter and cheese, which are staples. But John is brilliant and he adjusted beautifully and I don't miss the dairy.

He grilled the shrimp in a little olive oil.

He took out the shrimp and added a little water to de-glaze the pan. You can also use chicken broth, but we used all ours in the grits and collard greens we made yesterday. Then he added garlic and red pepper flakes. Finally added the cooked edamame pasta.

The shrimp goes back in and it is all mixed up.

So with about an hour in the kitchen, I got veggies for my breakfast, pasta salad for my lunches and delicious dinner.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

The blog is back! Some how we took a little break that turned into an eight month break. Since then, we've been working harder on the "eating right" part of the blog.

I also started selling Pampered Chef, so when I found this recipe on their website, it fit all my diet needs and let me play with my new Pampered Chef toys.

We did change the turkey to shrimp, since our deep freeze is VERY full again, and we had shrimp near the top. John helped by defrosting the shrimp and peeling the shell off. Of course he saved all the shells for making some seafood stock later.

I got an onion and a green pepper. I only needed half of each.

I used my new Forged 5' Santoku Knife. It is made with forged steel and is our new favorite knife. It is super sharp and just handles really well. 

The food chopper is a tool we've had for a long time. It is great for chopping the pepper and onion very fine.

I used canola oil and added the peppers, onions and garlic.

While they softened I opened my cans. It took a jar of black beans, drained and rinse.

I added a tablespoon of chili powder and a teaspoon of cumin. This along with an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and the black beans get added to the pepper mix.

They look ready to go!

I added the shrimp so they could cook for a couple of minutes.

Then we added the rest of the ingredients.

Everyone in the pool!

Finally a chopped chipotle in adobo sauce. John was teasing me all day because I kept calling it adobe sauce.

All stirred up.

While the shrimp finished cooking, John made a quick little guacamole to go along with the tacos. He learned a trick when we went to Mexico.  You look at the stem button on the avocado.

You flick it off and if you see green, it is perfect. We have never done this at the grocery store. John doesn't want to ruin it for the next person.

A little mash and some lime juice.

Finally a little salt and pepper to taste and it is ready to go.

I warmed the whole wheat tortillas in the microwave and plated it up.  It was great. Delicious smokey flavor and very hearty.

If you'd like to know how to get any of the great Pampered Chef products you see here, visit my website. I can also tell you how to host a Facebook party and earn free and discounted items!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

John's Big Bad Breakfast

One of my favorite meals to make AND eat is a big breakfast on a weekend morning. I got a chance to do that over the weekend as we had house guests. The big breakfast needed to be gluten-free. I wanted to make one of my favorites, the breakfast casserole. It usually uses a layer of bread on the bottom, but omitting the bread still makes a very tasty egg casserole. I started making it without the bread several years ago when we were cutting out the carbs. 

I start by browning a pound of breakfast sausage. 

Whisk up 10 eggs with about a cup of milk. 

Spread the cooked sausage over the bottom of a greased baking dish (I use nonstick spray). 

Cover the sausage with a mix of shredded Swiss & cheddar cheese. 

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the cheese & sausage. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. 

More $1.99 peppered bacon! I'll cook that in the oven since it's already on. 
Cover cookie trays with foil and lay down the bacon. Luckily, there's an equal number of pieces (9) on each sheet!

I diced up a few potatoes to make some home fries cooked in peppered bacon grease. I season them up with a mixture of seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. I cover them to start so they'll cook a little better, then stir them up and get them crispy on the outside. I also like to use leftover baked potatoes for this. It gives them a really deep potato flavor. 

Sometimes I'll add some diced onion and some diced green peppers, but not today. 

Bacon is done! I also uncovered the casserole so it can brown a little. 

The finished breakfast casserole. Everything tasted great. I love big breakfast!

Gluten Free Seafood Chowder

I've seen a lot of seafood chowders on Food Network lately, so I thought I would give it a shot. I've only made clam chowder once, and I make lobster bisque once a year. Had some fish & shrimp in the freezer, along with a can of clams in the pantry. My attempt at serving a gluten-free meal to our houseguest failed yesterday (sorry, Paula...who knew soy sauce wasn't gluten-free? I mean, isn't it soy? Guess they should rename it soy/wheat sauce). 

I wanted to make up for that mistake by making my seafood chowder gluten-free. 
I start by using all those raw shrimp shells & tails I've saved and frozen over the past several months to make a basic shrimp stock. Cover with water and simmer for 45 minutes or so. 

I peeled and diced up 3 potatoes. 

My dad always put bacon in his clam chowder when he made it (and bacon is pretty awesome!), so I'll dice up a package and cook it. I'll also use some for our baked potatoes tomorrow night. Jo got mad because I bought this bacon during an apparent "meat buying ban", but it was peppered bacon for $1.99 a pound. I bought 3 packages!

Diced up and into the pan to brown. 

Had about 1/2 pound of raw shrimp in the freezer, along with a couple Swai fish fillets. We love the taste of Swai and it's very inexpensive at Aldi. 

I strained the shrimp stock and have about 4 cups of stock. 

I did a quick boil on the diced potatoes to soften them up just a bit. 

Bacon is all crispy. 

Now for the roux to thicken the chowder up. I use a little of the peppered bacon grease and about 3 Tablespoons of butter. 

To make it gluten-free, I'm using rice flour to make the roux. 

Looks pretty normal. This might work!

After cooking the roux for a few minutes, I start adding the shrimp stock and whisk. 

Next up is a pint of half & half. 

Then I added some milk. I keep whisking and adding milk until the consistency is very chowder-like!

A can of clams from the pantry. 

Chopped clams & juice into the mix. 

The potatoes...

And the raw shrimp & fish. 

The shrimp were a little big for soup, so I cut them in half. 

Added the cooked bacon, too. It's all in there! Simmer, covered for an hour or so. 
Add a little Old Bay seasoning and some salt & pepper til it tastes awesome. 

Nice chunks of seafood in the chowder. 

Tasted great! Had it for lunch, then had 3 containers for the freezer. Rice flour thickened it up just like regular flour. Gluten-free worked for the seafood chowder. 

One casualty on the favorite all-purpose plastic bowl. I've eaten bushels of popcorn out of this bowl over the years. It has been filled with my Chex mix every winter. I stupidly put it down on the stove on a burner that had just been turned off. Goodbye, old friend.