Category: Dinner

Thai chicken and green bean stir fry

thai chicken and green bean

As part of my effort to stick to my New Year’s resolution to lose weight, eat more veggies, etc., I was browsing through the Weight Watcher’s website the other day looking through some recipes. I didn’t have any good ideas for dinner that night so I was looking for anything healthy that would spark my interest. I came across a chicken and green bean stir fry. The recipe sounded really good but I decided to change quite a few things. I made it spicier and I also put some crunchy peanuts on the top at the end. This makes it slightly higher calorie but it’s still very healthy. Plus, like most things, peanuts are good for you in moderation. (more…)

Fish tacos with chipotle broccoli slaw

fish tacos

Like thousands of other people in the world, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and eat healthier. These fish tacos are part of that effort. Many studies suggest everyone should try and eat fish twice a week. It’s low in saturated fat and high in protein and eating it regularly offers many health benefits. Fish is also fairly simple to cook. Some of my go to fish purchases include cod, tilapia, and halibut depending on what is on sale and what is fresh that day. I also buy salmon regularly but salmon has a really strong flavor and isn’t as versatile as the other white fish I just named. Cod, tilapia and halibut are blank canvases because they are so mild in flavor. In this recipe I happened to use cod. It’s fairly inexpensive and holds up really well in these tacos. (more…)

Eating light before turkey day with Asian flavored cod

cod 1

I started following weight watchers again about 2 weeks ago. I did it once before and lost about 20 pounds. Unfortunately, I’ve put all that weight back on in the last few years. I probably couldn’t have picked a worse time to start trying to lose weight. I mean Thanksgiving is two days away and there are often pre Thanksgiving events, like Friendsgiving, that are just as calorie heavy as turkey day itself. But there is always an excuse to NOT lose weight. In the summer there are barbecues and cookouts. In the winter, when it’s cold, it’s easy to load up on carbs and comfort foods like mac and cheese. Each season brings with it a number of holidays where food is involved. You have to learn how to navigate those holidays with moderation, balance, and eating well beforehand. This is one of the reasons why I love the Weight Watcher’s program so much. It’s not a “diet” in the traditional sense. It’s more of a lifestyle change. (more…)

Butternut Squash mac and cheese

butternut squash

This year I’ve really been enjoying the flavors of fall. Typically I find fall a little depressing probably because I love summer so much but this year I’ve actually enjoyed it. Not the cold weather, but definitely the food. Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream may have something to do with that. Seriously though I’ve recently realized just how delicious all the seasonal fall flavors can be, like the different kinds of squash that emerge, including my new favorite, delicata squash.

This dish is hearty, comforting and is definitely perfect for fall because of the butternut squash. The squash becomes the sauce in this recipe and is tossed with pasta shells and lots of sharp cheddar cheese. Then it’s topped with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and baked off in the oven. Quintessential comfort food. There are lots of variations on butternut squash mac and cheese but this is the way I make it. (more…)

Pasta with asparagus & peas

spring pasta 1

I know I’ve been posting a lot of pasta recipes lately but here comes another one and this one doesn’t have anything to do with fall. In fact most of the flavors incorporate traditional springtime ingredients. But, I make no apologies! It’s delicious and quick and wonderful. It’s also a Matt approved meat-free meal.

Between the asparagus, peas and lemon this pasta is full of freshness and bright flavors. The weather has been a bit dreary here in New Jersey and this pasta was the perfect pick-me-up I needed. I happened to have 1/2 lb of penne to use up so this recipe makes a bit less than my usual pasta recipes do. I’m also trying to work on portion control especially when it comes to carbs. I’m always tempted to pile on the pasta and help myself to seconds (and thirds). Cooking less ensures that I will eat less. If you want to use a full pound of pasta, just double the recipe. (more…)

The perfect fall pasta with butternut squash and kale

pasta 8

Last night was the first night that really felt like winter to me. I was craving something comforting for dinner and pasta is the quintessential comfort food for me. This recipe combines many comforting flavors, especially for the fall and winter seasons. Butternut squash, Tuscan kale, and spicy sausage make up the backbone of this dish and the flavors go perfectly together.

What I love most about this dish is that the butternut squash actually becomes the sauce for the pasta. It’s pureed with chicken stock, mixed with some half and half and parmesan cheese and simmered until it becomes thick and creamy. I saw this idea on one of Rachael Ray’s shows and thought it was genious. I love butternut squash but I’ve never thought to turn it into a sauce for pasta. I bet you could also use canned pumpkin puree as a substitute if you didn’t have butternut squash on hand. This recipe has many different components and does require a number of steps and ingredients but it is really quite simple to follow and it’s so worth it! I’ve broken down the ingredients and recipe into two parts – making the squash sauce, and assembling the rest of the dish (the pasta, kale & sausage). (more…)

Dinner last night

dinner

I really enjoyed my dinner last night. It was the first time I actually looked through my blog to see what I would make for dinner instead of going through a cook book or pinterest. Over the years I’ve started posting more and more original recipes and it was sort of exciting for me to look through and see all the posts I’ve written.

I usually decide what I’m going to make for dinner based on what I have available in my fridge and pantry. I happened to have some beef stew meat in the freezer and decided to make spicy chipotle beef. I didn’t have fresh cilantro so I had to omit that but other than that I followed my recipe. It was just as good as I remember it being except in the original version I used 2 whole cans of chipotle peppers which turned out to be too spicy, even for me. Always learning in the kitchen! (more…)

Spicy lemon chicken pasta

pasta 1

Let’s talk about rotisserie chicken. It is delicious. It is a time saver. It is perfect for lazy cooks like me. One night last week I went to the store and picked up a rotisserie chicken. I got two meals out of it and I probably would have been able to even stretch that to three had I not given my dog a couple generous portions throughout the next few days. For the first meal we simply ate the chicken plain and I served a side salad along with it. Rotisserie chickens give you A LOT of meat so I had to come up with a way to use up the leftover chicken meat. I came up with this dish, spicy lemon chicken pasta. It’s so simple and really quite yummy. (more…)

Crock pot BBQ chicken sandwiches

chicken 7

On busy days the slow cooker, aka crock pot, is my life saver. Yesterday was one of those busy days for me and I knew I would not feel like cooking dinner from scratch when I got home. Thankfully, I have a slow cooker. Here are just a few of the things I LOVE about the slow cooker:

1. Easy clean up. One pot.
2. Cooking food slowly (especially meat) makes it incredibly tender.
3. It makes your house smell amazing.
4. It does all the work for you. There is very little cooking involved.
5. It’s pretty much fool proof. (more…)

Creamy white beans with crumbled bacon and parmesan

beans 1

I was a little nervous to make this dish. Cooking with dried beans is kind of intimidating for me. I’m not sure why except that I guess it’s because I don’t do it all that often so I’m not sure how long to let them soak or how much liquid to cook them in. But that’s what google is for right? Turns out, it’s really not that difficult to cook with dried beans! There are also a variety of ways to cook them and although the process does take some time, this recipe is simple and the results are delicious. One of the most important steps in cooking with dried beans is to soak them overnight. It cuts down on the cooking time and helps to soften the beans.

This dish combines dried white cannellini beans, veggies like onions, carrots, and celery, chicken broth, fresh thyme and grated parmesan cheese. It’s topped with crumbled bacon and fresh parsley. It’s warm, creamy and comforting and a perfect dinner for a cold, rainy day. I actually make a similar recipe that I found in a cooking light magazine years ago with brown lentils but I think I like this version even better. Serve it with a piece of warm, crusty bread and it’s the perfect comforting meal for any night of the week. (more…)

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