Tag Archives: greek yogurt

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls

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Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

If you haven’t been living in a cave these past few months, then you know the new rage of the food world is cauliflower rice. It’s not really rice, it’s just cauliflower minced up finely and sauteed to the texture of rice. It packs a nice nutritious punch without all the carbs of rice, which makes for a very smart substitution.

I love the idea of cauliflower rice, but the reality is that I have a very small kitchen and my appliances are put away in cupboards to make the most of the limited counter-space that I have. Call me lazy, but I don’t want to get all the pieces of my food processor out to chop the cauliflower down into rice-sized pieces and then have to clean said pieces.

But I do love the idea of cauliflower rice.

So I decided to use my favorite chef’s knife and chop up the cauliflower head into small pieces. I don’t have the patience to get it to rice-sized pieces, but it does chop quickly and easily into pieces almost that size.

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

 

A quick saute with some carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger then creates the base of the dish. Adding in curry powder and bit of turmeric turns the cauliflower from a dull white to a golden, glowing yellow. Then to add some protein and heft to the meal, I mix in some organic tri-color quinoa. Easy peasy, right?

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

Oh but I’m not quite done. The absolute essential finish to the dish adds the final flavor punch: a handful of chopped fresh cilantro, a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Oh my deliciousness!

Does Meatless Monday get any better?

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 364.0
  • Fat: 12.8
  • Saturated fat: 1.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3.3
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.9
  • Carbohydrates: 55.5
  • Sugar: 4.8
  • Sodium: 724.4
  • Fiber: 12.9
  • Protein: 13.0
  • Cholesterol: 0.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Meatless Monday isn't complete without these easy, golden Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls finished with cilantro, Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lime.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger root
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 medium (5-6" in diameter) head of cauliflower, diced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • ½ cup dry tri-color quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are slightly transparent, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the salt and cauliflower pieces, stirring to combine. Cook for 5 minutes more or until the cauliflower is slightly soft, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  4. Mix in the curry powder, turmeric and curry paste. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the quinoa and cilantro.
  6. Serve topped with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice (optional).

 

Grilled Red Potato Salad

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Grilled Red Potato Salad - Colleen's Kitchen

Well, it’s finally here. The end of summer.

The heat is hanging on here in the Pacific Northwest, it was in the high 90’s yesterday. But the nights are crisper, it dropped into the high 50’s last night, and the leaves are beginning to fall from the fruit trees in my yard. Yes, the end of summer has arrived.

I’m always a little sad to say goodbye to my favorite season. It means the end of scenic hikes, outdoor concerts, fresh garden vegetables, road trips to the beach, and backyard barbecues. So before I say goodbye, I wanted to host one last barbecue. And isn’t potato salad essential to any barbecue?

 

Grilled Red Potato Salad - Colleen's Kitchen

For easier grilling, place the red potato slices in a burger grill basket.

I decided to put a twist on my potato salad by grilling the potatoes with a red onion and then using a dressing base of lean, protein rich Greek yogurt to cut down on the fat.  It took me a while to perfect this recipe, though, I couldn’t seem to get the flavor of the dressing right. And then I did.

Can you guess the ingredients that made the potato salad?

Grilled Red Potato Salad - Colleen's Kitchen

My Grilled Red Potato Salad makes a perfect barbecue side!

Worcestershire sauce and Rogue Creamery’s Blue Heaven blue cheese powder.

That’s it. The worcestershire added a nice salty, smoky flavor while the blue cheese added a sharpness, both of which play well against the grilled potatoes and red onion. They are absolutely essential to the dish.

For my last barbecue, I served my Grilled Red Potato Salad with some sausage dogs, local corn on the cob, and a homemade spicy-sweet ketchup. That’s right, I said homemade ketchup. I had a great tomato year so I turned some of my tomatoes into ketchup using the recipe here for Sweet and Spicy Ketchup. It’s absolutely delicious, so much better than store-bought ketchup. The only tweak I made to the recipe? I added 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce. 🙂

How do you like your potato salad?

Grilled Red Potato Salad
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Calories: 175.8
  • Fat: 6.5
  • Saturated fat: 2.5
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 23.0
  • Sugar: 3.1
  • Sodium: 277.7
  • Fiber: 2.5
  • Protein: 8.7
  • Cholesterol: 54.3
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
An essential barbecue side, the classic potato salad is grilled and leaned down in my smoky,sharp, and delicious Grilled Red Potato Salad.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. baby red potatoes, sliced into ½" thick slices
  • ½ red onion, sliced into ½" thick slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp Rogue Creamery Blue Heaven blue cheese powder
  • ½ tsp ground dry mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, tarragon, and society garlic)
  • 1 hardboiled egg, chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh arugula leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat your propane grill then reduce the flame to low.
  2. Brush both sides of the slices of potatoes and onion with the olive oil.
  3. Grill the potatoes for 4-5 minutes per side or until the potatoes are cooked through. Grill the onions for 3-4 minutes per side or until they are charred and cooked through. Remove from the grill and let cool.
  4. Whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, worcestershire, blue cheese powder, mustard, salt, and herbs.
  5. Chop the cooled potatoes and onions and place in a medium salad bowl. Toss with the dressing.
  6. Mix in the egg and arugula.
  7. Chill until ready to serve, up to overnight.

 

Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw

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Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw

You would think that in this heat wave we’re having in Portland that I would be seeking out cold chilled foods. Instead, I’ve found myself drawn to spicy foods that are easily prepared on the grill in the backyard, out of the heat of my little kitchen.

Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw

Jumbo scallops are marinated in lime juice, olive oil and garlic then threaded on skewers with slices of lime and grilled to tender perfection.

Last week I brought you my delicious Chargrilled Chipotle Salmon and  Corn Salad, this week it’s a super easy and spicy Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw. I start by marinating the scallops in a simple mixture of olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. I want to infuse the scallops with a bit of flavor but not overwhelm the tender meat.

Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw

A convenient store-bought slaw mix is sweetened with dried cherries and pineapple then livened up with a spicy sriracha dressing.

I like to use jumbo scallops for this recipe because they are perfectly sized for threading on skewers. Alternate them with thin slices of lime for an extra hint of flavor, and make sure to use 2 skewers to keep the scallops stable for even grilling.

Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw

When you can beat the heat with a dish this yummy and easy, why wouldn’t you?

The heat of the dish then comes from the slaw. To keep the recipe easy, I simply use a packaged mix of shredded cabbage and carrots from the produce section of the store. I always like to balance spicy with either sweet or sour, so I add sweet dried cherries and canned pineapple tidbits to the mix before tossing it with a simple dressing of sriracha, Greek yogurt, and salt. Add in some freshly chopped cilantro and black sesame seeds (aka nigella) for an additional pop of flavor, texture and color.

And the bonus? This entire recipe is under 300 calories leaving plenty of room for a side of warm, crusty bread or a scrumptious summer dessert afterwards.

What are you cooking in this summer heat?

 

Grilled Scallops with Sriracha Slaw
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 282.2
  • Fat: 5.7
  • Saturated fat: 0.7
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9
  • Carbohydrates: 33.8
  • Sugar: 19.1
  • Sodium: 321.7
  • Fiber: 3.9
  • Protein: 22.8
  • Cholesterol: 0.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Jumbo scallops are grilled and served over an easy spicy-sweet slaw with dried cherries and pineapple in a spicy sriracha dressing recipe.
Ingredients
  • 1 14 oz. bag of classic coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
  • 1 cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained of juice
  • ½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt (divided)
  • 1 lb. jumbo sea scallops
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the coleslaw mix with the cherries and pineapple.
  2. Whisk together the yogurt, sriracha, and ¼ tsp of the salt in a small bowl. Pour it over the coleslaw mix and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ¼ tsp of the salt, and pepper.
  4. Place the scallops in a resealable bag and pour the mixture over them. Seal and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the scallops and thread onto skewers, alternating with thin slices of lime.
  6. Preheat your grill then reduce the flames to low and lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewers with the hood closed for about 1½ minutes on each side or until the scallops are cooked through. Remove from the grill and set aside.
  7. Give the coleslaw a good toss then stir in the cilantro and black sesame seeds.
  8. Serve a helping of the slaw topped with skewers of the grilled scallops.
Notes
1. If using bamboo skewers, always soak them in cold water for at least 20 minutes before threading the scallops on them and placing them on the grill.
2. The scallops can also easily be grilled on an indoor, cast-iron grill pan. Simply heat the grill pan on medium-high and lightly spray with olive oil. Cook the scallops for about 1½-2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

 

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli

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Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

I’ve been on a spicy kick lately. Roasted jalapenos, smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, spicy sriracha sauce — it seems these hotties are literally peppering my recipe development lately. Is it the sunshine that’s been playing peek-a-boo with the rain in my neck of the woods lately? I’m not sure why. But really who needs an excuse to spice up a meal?

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

Extra lean ground turkey is infused with sweet roasted red pepper and tart lime then formed into patties and grilled on an open flame.

I’ve cleaned off the grill for the summer grilling season, and one of my favorite things to make is a good burger. I rarely use ground beef in my burgers, opting instead for a leaner ground turkey that won’t leave me feeling weighed down. And I especially love to craft burgers into sliders. The nutritional content of 2 sliders is approximately equivalent to that of 1 burger, but somehow I always feel like I’m eating more. I think it’s the visual trick of having 2 sliders on my plate instead of just 1 burger.

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

Make the aioli in a mason jar for easy prep, serving, and storage!

I elected to use an extra lean (99% fat free) for this recipe. One of the challenges of cooking with extra lean ground turkey is that the lack of fat means the meat can get too dry in the cooking process and also that the burger won’t hold together well on the grill. The trick is to bulk up the meat with additional ingredients that will both keep the meat from drying out on the grill and help to hold it together. In this case I added roasted red pepper, lime zest, and lime juice for moisture and additional flavor. I then added in an egg and a bit of bulgar to help bind the mixture together. It worked like a charm!

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

These may be the perfect sliders for summer grilling season!

To then offset the sweet red pepper and tart lime in the burger, I created a spicy, low-fat yet creamy aioli using roasted garlic, Greek yogurt, and sriracha. The roasted garlic adds a bit of caramelized sweetness to the aioli while the sriracha brings the heat. Drizzled over the slider patty, it’s a bite of heaven.

Not to be outdone, though, I then love to top each slider with a couple slices of creamy, cool avocado and a sprig of cilantro. Wow! This may be the perfect summer burger!

Check out the instructional video with some super tips on how to make the aioli prep even easier!

 

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 5
  • Serving size: 2 sliders per person
  • Calories: 201.5
  • Fat: 6.0
  • Saturated fat: 1.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 11.9
  • Sugar: 2.8
  • Sodium: 207.1
  • Fiber: 1.8
  • Protein: 25.1
  • Cholesterol: 73.2
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
Lean ground turkey is infused with sweet roasted red peppers and tart lime, grilled up and served on a scrumptious slider with a spicy sriracha yogurt aioli. Dee-lish!
Ingredients
  • Sliders:
  • 1 lb. raw, extra lean (99% fat free) ground turkey
  • ½ cup diced roasted red pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup bulgar
  • Aioli:
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • ⅓ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Sliders:
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Form the meat mixture into 10 equal-sized balls then press flat into a patty. Use your thumb to press a dimple in the middle of each patty to keep it from over-shrinking on the grill.
  4. Preheat your grill and lightly spray with oil. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  5. Aioli:
  6. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  7. Slice the top off of the garlic bulb, exposing the cloves of garlic.
  8. Place the garlic bulb in a small baking dish and drizzle 1 tsp of the olive oil over the exposed cloves. Replace the top of the garlic bulb, cover the dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the bulbs are roasted and gooey. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  9. In a mason jar, combine the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, Greek yogurt, sriracha, and lime juice. Use a fork to pop the roasted cloves of garlic from their papery skin and into the yogurt mixture.
  10. Place a blender blade and cap on top of the mason jar and screw it on firmly. Mount the jar on your blender and puree until smooth.
  11. To serve:
  12. Place a slider patty on the bottom of a slider bun.
  13. Drizzle the patty with a generous tablespoon of the aioli.
  14. Optional: top with 2 slices of avocado and a few leaves of fresh cilantro.
  15. Place the top of the slider bun in place and bite!
Notes
Please note that I did not include the nutritional value of the slider buns in this recipe because the availability and type of slider buns varies from store to store. Please make sure to factor those in to your finished product, the nutritional value shown here only includes the patty and aioli.

 

Mango Black Bean Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps

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Mango Black Bean Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps

I love Mexican food. Chips and salsa, guacamole, fat burritos, cheesy chile rellenos — I love it all. But why is it that the foods I love are always so bad for me?

So I try to come up with dishes that feature the flavors that I love without all of the fat and calories. Not an easy task, but it is doable. And that is how this recipe came into being.

 Mango Black Bean Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps

I decided to do away with the taco shell first, and instead use a lettuce wrap like some Asian themed recipes (see my Cherry Chicken Lettuce Wraps in Peanut Cherry Sauce). This cut out a ton of fat and cholesterol that you get with fried taco shells.

I then elected to use quinoa to keep the dish vegetarian while still loading it with protein. Add in some tropical mango, hearty black beans, spicy roasted jalapeno, creamy avocado and tart plain Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream) and it’s an amazingly satisfying substitute.

What healthy swaps do you use to satisfy your cravings?

Mango Black Bean Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: 3 lettuce wraps/person
  • Calories: 257.4
  • Fat: 11.6
  • Saturated fat: 1.5
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4
  • Carbohydrates: 24.7
  • Sugar: 1.6
  • Sodium: 241.5
  • Fiber: 9.1
  • Protein: 10.7
  • Cholesterol: 0.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Tacos get a healthy makeover with juicy mango, black beans, and quinoa all wrapped in lettuce leaves and topped with creamy avocado and tart Greek yogurt.
Ingredients
  • ½ dry white quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
  • ½ cup cooked black beans
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, roasted whole, destemmed and minced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 6 leaves butter or bibb lettuce, rinsed and dried
  • 1 small Haas avocado, pitted and diced
  • 6 tbsp nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. Mix together the quinoa, black beans, mango, jalapeno, cilantro and salt.
  2. Place ⅙ of the quinoa mixture down the rib of each lettuce leaf, making 6 taco lettuce wraps in total.
  3. Top each with a little avocado and 1 tbsp of the Greek yogurt.
  4. Wrap the leaf around the filling and eat!
Notes
Roasting jalapeno peppers is easy! Preheat your oven to 400F. Place a number of jalapenos on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes. Turn half way through, baking until the skin of the peppers is lightly charred on all sides. Remove the stem and freeze the peppers in a resealable plastic bag until you're ready to use them!

 

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

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Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

This is the time of spring that I enjoy the most. The time when fresh produce like asparagus and leeks begin to pop up at my farmer’s market, and when I start crafting my summer garden. This year I decided to relocate two of my beds to capture a little more sunshine so I hired a guy to come out and till up the new area. Once I dug the bed frames in, I covered them with some organic compost and sat back to plan the layout.

This year I found all of my plants at a local Master Gardener’s organic plant sale. I highly recommend checking for these sorts of sales in your area, it’s a great way to support a great group, the plants are always top quality, and they have an excellent selection of both common and unusual varieties. I find, though, that when I actually go plant shopping my well laid plans always go awry.

That’s right, I am an impulse plant shopper. My eyes are bigger than my garden beds, unfortunately, and once I get my bounty home I’m always searching for pots or space to dig my treasures into.

My plan this year:

  • 8 tomatoes (2 cherry tomato varieties, 2 romas, 2 red brandwine, 1 purple cherokee, and 1 early girl)
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 crookneck squash
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 cucumbers (pickling and lemon)
  • 6 lettuce
  • green beans
  • 2 basil

 

What I ended up with:

  • 8 tomatoes (3 cherry tomato varieties, 1 roma, 2 red brandywine, 1 purple cherokee, and 1 early girl)
  • 1 spineless beauty zucchini
  • 1 romesco zucchini
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 1 crookneck squash
  • 1 patty pan squash
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 mini “Little Finger” eggplant
  • 2 cucumbers (pickling and lemon)
  • 12 lettuce (because they came in 6 packs and I wanted both a red and green)
  • green beans
  • 9 basil (purple basil, lemon basil, thai basil, 6 genovese basil)

 

Yes, I got a little carried away. You can expect to see lots of recipes featuring tomatoes, summer squash and basil this summer, and lots of fall squash recipes later in the year too. And let’s not even talk about all the salad I’m going to be eating.

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

What you won’t see in my garden are leeks, and that’s mostly because these harbingers of spring are in season right now so it’s a bit late to plant them. Much milder than their cousin, the onion, leeks are a great add to recipes this time of year. They are superb with creamy, baby potatoes. I mean, is there anything better than a really good leek and potato soup?

I set out to create a gratin type dish incorporating leeks and, not to toot my own horn, but I think I created a real winner with this Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet. I start by crisping up the bacon, just 2 slices to keep the fat content down, and then I brown the leeks in the bacon grease. That’s really key to the flavor of this dish because the leeks just soak up the bacon flavor.

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

Instead of the cream and butter traditionally used in a gratin, I use Greek yogurt thinned with an off-dry Riesling wine for additional flavor. I chose an off-dry Riesling because it pairs really well with sharp blue cheese, which is the cheese I chose for this dish. The result is a one-dish wonder that is creamy, deceptively cheesy, tender and absolutely delicious.

What is your favorite vegetable to cook with this time of year?

 

 

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 1 wedge
  • Calories: 259.2
  • Fat: 8.3
  • Saturated fat: 5.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1
  • Carbohydrates: 33.6
  • Sugar: 5.6
  • Sodium: 536.3
  • Fiber: 3.3
  • Protein: 16.1
  • Cholesterol: 20.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Salty bacon flavors a one-pan dish of sweet spring leeks and tender gold potatoes that is cheesy and creamy yet still low in fat and calories.
Ingredients
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 fresh leeks, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced into the light green part
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 oz. crumbled blue cheese (divided)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup off dry Riesling wine
  • 1 lb. fresh gold potatoes, sliced paper thin on a mandolin slicer
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Instructions
  1. Heat 10" oven-safe skillet on medium heat. Add the bacon (cut in half if necessary to fit in the pan). Cook until the bacon is crispy. Remove and set on paper towels to let the grease dry. Once dry, chop into crumbles and set aside.
  2. Keep skillet on medium heat and leave about 2 tbsp bacon grease in the pan (drain the remainder). Add the leeks and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, 2 oz. of the blue cheese crumbles, wine, thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix and set aside.
  4. Remove pan from heat and remove the browned leeks from the pan and set aside. Arrange about ¼ of the potato slices along the bottom of the pan. Top with ⅓ of the browned leeks,1/3 of the yogurt mixture, and ⅓ of the bacon crumbles.
  5. Repeat 2 more times, layering another ¼ of the sliced potatoes, ⅓ of the leeks, ⅓ of the yogurt mixture, and ⅓ of the crumbled bacon with each layer.
  6. End with the last layer of potatoes, so you should have a total of 4 layers of potatoes and 3 layers of the leeks, yogurt mixture and bacon.
  7. Combine the bread crumbs, parsley and remaining 1 oz. of crumbled blue cheese then sprinkle this mixture over the top of the potatoes.
  8. Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 1 hour covered at 375F then remove foil and bake 15 minutes more.
  9. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 wedges and serving.

 

Spicy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

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Spicy Baked Mac & Cheese

I have studiously avoided making dishes like this. I mean, a classic macaroni and cheese is supposed to be decadent and creamy. It is difficult to lower the fat and calorie content while still maintaining that moist, creamy, cheesy flavor.

But I have changed that.

Spicy Baked Mac and Cheese

It took me several attempts to get this recipe just right. My first idea was to use nonfat, plain Greek yogurt instead of the cream that is found in traditional macaroni and cheese. This was perfect, except that when I tried to omit the butter of traditional macaroni and cheese, the result was a dish that was too dry.

In my early iterations I substituted pureed, roasted butternut squash for the butter to add some creaminess to the dish without the fat. This just didn’t do the trick, though, the macaroni still came out too dry. Then inspiration hit.

Spicy Baked Mac and Cheese

Avocado.

Avocados are creamy and higher in fat, albeit healthy fats, and it was the perfect substitute for butter. Plus it added an unexpected twist of flavor, perfect with the roasted poblano and jalapeno peppers. The result is an oven baked macaroni and cheese that feels decadent yet isn’t. Winner!

What’s your favorite trick to “healthify” a recipe?

 

 

Spicy Baked Mac and Cheese
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 229.1
  • Fat: 11.6
  • Saturated fat: 4.9
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7
  • Carbohydrates: 16.6
  • Sugar: 1.9
  • Sodium: 346.4
  • Fiber: 3.2
  • Protein: 14.5
  • Cholesterol: 20.1
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Classic macaroni and cheese is lightened up while still retaining all of its moist, cheesy flavor by injecting flavors from spicy roasted peppers and creamy, cool avocado.
Ingredients
  • 2 whole poblano peppers, roasted, stem removed and diced
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, roasted, stem removed and diced
  • 1 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup mashed avocado
  • 2 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 6 oz. dry whole wheat macaroni, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed
  • 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the peppers, yogurt, avocado, cheddar cheese, cumin, black pepper, and salt.
  3. Add the cooked macaroni noodles and stir to combine.
  4. Place the macaroni and cheese mixture in a baking dish, sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes until the parmesan cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.
  6. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
To roast the poblano and jalapeno peppers, place the peppers on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 375F for 1 hour, turning halfway through. Let cool and remove the stem before dicing.

 

Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce

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Black Bean Rice Cakes

And we have reached the last dish resulting from that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew and about $35 worth of groceries that I bought.

For this last dish, I combined some leftover stew with cooked brown rice, frozen roasted corn, cheese and an egg to bind the mixture. I then formed the mixture into a 4 patties and baked them at a high heat for about 10 minutes on each side until they were crispy. For a final touch, I topped the cakes with thick sauce of avocado, yogurt and cilantro.

Black Bean Rice Cakes

How easy was that? And the meal is calorie and budget friendly. Yes, it is that easy to eat healthy on a budget.

What topic would you like me to see tackle next on this healthy eating on a budget theme?

 

Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: 2 cakes + ½ cup sauce
  • Calories: 418.6
  • Fat: 17.0
  • Saturated fat: 4.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8
  • Carbohydrates: 55.0
  • Sugar: 3.5
  • Sodium: 287.4
  • Fiber: 15.4
  • Protein: 22.0
  • Cholesterol: 150.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Left over black bean stew is transformed into crispy, oven-baked rice cakes with a creamy avocado yogurt sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup frozen roasted corn
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup shredded, light Mexican cheese blend
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 small haas avocado, pitted and peeled
  • ¼ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Combine the stew, rice, corn, egg, cheese and salt.
  3. Form into 4 equal size patties and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.
  5. Puree the avocado, yogurt, cilantro and lime juice.
  6. Serve each rice cake topped with a dollop of the avocado yogurt sauce.
Notes
The bulk of the fat in this dish comes from the avocado which is a healthy fat but still should be consumed in moderation.

 

Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing

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Black Bean Burrito Bowl

First order of business, have you entered my giveaway for a 3 day juice cleanse from Suja Juice? Click here to enter today!

And now back to your regular programming…

In my continuing experiments with that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew I made and the rest of my groceries I bought for about $35, I bring you the easiest weeknight meal I think I’ve ever made: a Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl

I love eating burritos in a bowl instead of a flour tortilla because it saves so many carbs and calories. One large tortilla can have as many as 300 calories! Sometimes more!

Here, I simply layered everything you might put inside a traditional burrito: leaf lettuce, some of that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew, corn, tomato, a little bit of shredded light cheese, and avocado. I then whipped up a simple dressing out of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, lime juice and cilantro. The result? A quick, easy, no cook meal that is also satisfyingly delicious.

To recap, here’s what I’ve made so far from those groceries I bought for about $35:

  1. Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  2. Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash
  3. Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos
  4. Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing
  5. Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce

What tips do you have for eating healthy on a budget?

Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Calories: 336.9
  • Fat: 11.9
  • Saturated fat: 3.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2
  • Carbohydrates: 51.5
  • Sugar: 4.7
  • Sodium: 204.7
  • Fiber: 22.1
  • Protein: 24.3
  • Cholesterol: 107.5
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Leftovers from my Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew top a deliciously easy burrito bowl with a tangy yogurt-cilantro dressing.
Ingredients
  • 3 leaves red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • ¼ cup roasted frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded light Mexican cheese blend
  • ¼ of a Haas avocado, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place the lettuce in a bowl.
  2. Top with the stew, corn, tomato and cheese.
  3. Arrange the avocado slices over the salad.
  4. Puree the yogurt, lime juice and cilantro until well blended. (I recommend an immersion blender!)
  5. Drizzle the yogurt cilantro dressing over the salad and eat!

 

Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos

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Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed working on this recipe. It is simply delicious!

I was in a small bake shop/bistro that I adore and happened to see the cook patiently brushed a tray of delicata squash slices with oil and sliding them into the oven. I imagined the roasted, crunchy texture these sweet slices would have after roasting. And suddenly, the idea of using delicata squash as the base of a nacho-like dish popped into my head.

I mean, why not? You can coat the squash with something to give it a nice heat. I used a mixture of olive oil to crisp up the texture, chipotle to bring the heat, and lime juice to throw a very subtle citrus flavor in. Make sure to leave the skin or rind on the squash when you slice it. First of all, it makes for a pretty presentation, but also the skin of the delicata is very edible. It’s papery thin and very tasty.

Brushed with a glaze of olive oil, chipotle and lime juice, slices of delicata squash crisp up beautifully in the oven.

Brushed with a glaze of olive oil, chipotle and lime juice, slices of delicata squash crisp up beautifully in the oven.

 

The squash crisps up beautifully on a baking sheet. I baked it on parchment paper as you see in the photos purely for presentation purposes. The parchment paper doesn’t allow for the same level of crispness so I don’t recommend it. Just use a baking sheet very lightly greased with olive oil, and make sure the squash is arranged in a single layer.

Once the squash cooks up, I gather the pieces into a loose pile in the center of the baking sheet, just as I would a pile of tortilla chips. I then top it with some of that yummy, easy Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew and a bit of shredded cheese and bake it for a wee bit longer. The combination of the roasted chipotle on the delicata and the spiciness of the stew create a delicious new depth of spicy flavor.

Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos

Once crisped up, I like to top my delicata with typical nacho toppings.

Once the stew heats through and the cheese melts, I then top my creation with typical nacho toppings: lettuce, avocado, and tomato. I also like to add some nonfat, plain Greek yogurt instead of the traditional sour cream, and a sprinkling of cilantro. The result is a dish that is smoky, sweet, and spicy all at the same time. It’s truly a must try!

And don’t forget this is one of my budget dishes. That’s right, all the ingredients for this dish were purchased in that week’s worth of groceries for about $35. When it’s this cheap and delicious to eat healthy, why wouldn’t you?

Where do you get your kitchen inspiration?

Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 317.7
  • Fat: 17.3
  • Saturated fat: 3.8
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.7
  • Carbohydrates: 33.7
  • Sugar: 6.7
  • Sodium: 148.8
  • Fiber: 16.5
  • Protein: 16.7
  • Cholesterol: 57.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Smoky, sweet and spicy all at once, this dish is a deliciously healthy spin on traditional nachos.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely minced
  • 1 Delicata Squash, seeds removed and cut into ½" slices
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • ¼ cup shredded light Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ Haas avocado, diced
  • 2 leaves of red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • ¼ cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and chipotle pepper.
  3. Lay the squash pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer and brush one side of each piece with half of the oil-lime-chipotle mixture. Turn the pieces over and brush the other side with the remaining mixture.
  4. Bake the squash for 7-10 minutes on each side for a total of 15-20 minutes, until the pieces are slightly crispy.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and push all the squash pieces into a pile in the center, just like you would if you were making tortilla chips into nachos.
  6. Scatter the black bean stew across the squash pieces then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake for 5-10 minutes more or until the beans are warmed through and the cheese is melted.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top with pieces of tomato, avocado and lettuce.
  8. Serve topped with Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of cilantro.