Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clean Eating Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

Makes 8 servings, 1 quesadilla each
When I lived in Jacksonville, my great friend, Ariana, and I used to take the kids on lunch dates to Native Sun Natural Foods Market. They had an awesome selection of the more unusual things I use in my cooking, like bulk quinoa. They also made delicious food so we could do a bit of shopping and then sit and have a light meal that the kids could eat too. You know there aren’t a lot of places where I actually let me kids eat the food, LOL. One of our favorites was their sweet potato quesadillas. This is Ariana’s version which I have to say I actually like better than the original :)

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups peeled sweet potatoes, grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne (I leave this out because I’m wimpy)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
ONE: In large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil.
Sauté onions and garlic until the onions are transparent.

TWO: Add the sweet potatoes, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the black beans, recover, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

THREE: When the sweet potatoes are tender, remove the filling from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.

FOUR: Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly onto the tortillas; sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese onto each tortilla.
Fold tortilla in half over filling.

FIVE: Either clean out the skillet you just used or get another large non-stick skillet and add a little oil; heat on medium high heat. Place the quesadillas in the heated nonstick skillet and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted and the filling is hot.
Add more oil to skillet as needed and cook in batches. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Freeze leftovers using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash.


Per serving - 355 Calories (97 Calories from Fat), 11g Fat, 4g Saturated Fat, 8mg Cholesterol, 468mg Sodium, 50g Total Carbohydrates, 10g Dietary Fiber, 9g Sugars, 13g Protein, 285% DV Vitamin A, 8% DV Vitamin C, 17% DV Calcium, 8% DV Iron


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TLC's Extreme Couponing

If you have ever evenly remotely thought about couponing it's likely you may have heard about the new show on TLC called Extreme Couponing. There's been a lot of discussion about the show in the couponing blogosphere but I personally haven't seen it yet so I can't really have an opinion either way. One thing I do know, though, is that it's a reality TV show so it's designed to be entertaining and sensational. My guess is that it would be interesting and entertaining to watch but it won't necessarily teach you the ins and outs of couponing.

HERE is a great article that brings a bit of reality back to Extreme Couponing. It was written by Rasha from A Full Cup which is an awesome resource for all things coupon related.

For some info about how to get started with some good old everyday couponing that the average family can use to save themselves on their weekly groceries, go HERE.


Last Night's Veggies Cookies

Makes 20-24 cookies
Weird name for a cookie right? But that’s literally what these were. The first time I made Pineapple Pork Tenderloin I didn’t have peppers. Actually to be honest, I seriously needed to go grocery shopping and the only thing I did have was a big buttercup squash. So I made roasted squash with pineapple instead. We all ate it happily enough that night but none of us really felt like eating the leftovers. The frugal side of me couldn’t bear to throw them away so I made them into cookies. Normal people use their leftover dinner veggies to make cookies too, right? Regardless, we all loved them and these have since become a favorite cookie in our household. They are sort of like a pumpkin gingersnap but they're more cakey than crispy.

NOTE: If you are making something in your crockpot, you can chop up about a cup of winter squash/sweet potato and put it on a piece of tinfoil with about a cup of pineapple. Fold the foil into a pouch and stick it on top of whatever you're cooking. Obviously this wouldn't work if you were cooking a soup since the packet would sink. It only takes about 3 hours on low for the veggies to soften but you can leave it in there as long as your dish is cooking and just take it out at the end.

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I use King Arthur's White Whole Wheat flour)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup Earth Balance buttery spread or coconut oil
  • ¾ cup canned pineapple, drained
  • ¾ cup cooked winter squash/sweet potato
  • 1 cup sucanat, divided
  • ¼ cup molasses
ONE: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.

TWO: Puree the pineapple and winter squash/sweet potato together adding a small amount of pineapple juice if needed to create a puree the same consistency as canned pumpkin.

THREE: In a large bowl, cream together the buttery spread/coconut oil, pineapple-veggie puree, ½ cup of sucanat, and molasses using an electric or stand mixer. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until dough comes together. Chill dough for at least an hour.

FOUR: Preheat oven to 350 and pour remaining ½ cup of sucanat into a shallow bowl. Scoop out a generous tablespoonful of dough and roll it between your palms into a small ball, slightly smaller than a golf ball. Roll the ball in the sucanat until completely covered and then place on a cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a glass, lightly press the doughball to flatten. Repeat until all the dough is gone. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set. Cool about 2 minutes on the cookie tray before transferring them to a cooling rack. Don’t leave them on the tray for too long if you want them crispy.

Freeze leftovers using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash.


Per serving (1 cookie) - 89 Calories (16 Calories from Fat), 2g Fat, 0g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 130mg Sodium, 17g Total Carbohydrates, 1g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 1g Protein, 17% DV Vitamin A, 3% DV Vitamin C, 3% DV Calcium, 5% DV Iron


Clean Eating Pina Colada Dutch Baby Pancakes

Makes 6 servings
This recipe is modified from the Peach Dutch Babies that I recipe tested for the April/May 2011 issue of Clean Eating Magazine. The original recipe was so good I wanted to make it again the next day but was out of peaches. We love pineapple and coconut in our house and that was how this version was born.

A Dutch Baby is an oven baked pancake which is kind of a blend between a popover and a crepe. They are traditionally made with white flour and a TON of butter but Clean Eating Magazine of course found a way to make it JUST as delectable while still being good for you :) My very good friend, Martha, was the one who first introduced me to Dutch Babies (made the ton of butter way!) and she’s a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to this dish. As soon as I tried the Clean Eating version, I immediately sent it to her and she was blown away as well. She gives them her seal of approval :)

  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp Agave nectar or honey
  • ½ tsp coconut extract
  • ¼ tsp plus a pinch sea salt
  • Large pinch nutmeg
  • ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I just use King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple packed in juice, drained and 2 Tbsp juice reserved
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
ONE: Place a heavy, 12-inch oven-proof or cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 425°F. (If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you can use a baking dish. You'll need something a bit bigger than an 8x8 square pan but a 9x13 is about as big as you could go.)

TWO: In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add milk, Agave, coconut extract, salt and nutmeg; whisk to combine. Add flour and whisk just until blended (a few lumps are fine).

THREE: Carefully add coconut oil to the skillet in the oven. Close the door, and allow it to melt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Wearing a heat-proof glove or oven mitt (I wear my Ove Glove), remove the skillet from the oven and pour the melted oil into the batter; whisk just until blended (do not over mix).

FOUR: Pour the batter back into the hot skillet and sprinkle evenly with the crushed pineapple. Carefully return skillet to oven and bake until edges are puffed and golden brown, 17 to 19 minutes.

FIVE: Meanwhile, toast the shredded coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat (the first time I made these I tried toasting the coconut in my toaster oven, forgot about it, and it caught fire… like billowing smoke fire. Oops.)

SIX: When the pancake is done, sprinkle it with the toasted coconut and drizzle with the reserved 2 Tbsp pineapple juice. It’s pretty impressive when it’s all puffed up fresh out of the oven. Call everyone to the table right away because it deflates pretty quickly. My boys like to peak through the window on the oven door to watch it puff up. They call this Magic Eggy Pancakes. I call it scrumptious :)

You won’t have leftovers but, if you did, you could freeze individual servings using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash.

Per serving - 179 Calories (72 Calories from Fat), 8g Fat, 5g Saturated Fat, 107mg Cholesterol, 130mg Sodium, 22g Total Carbohydrates, 1g Dietary Fiber, 13g Sugars, 5g Protein, 4% DV Vitamin A, 8% DV Vitamin C, 5% DV Calcium, 6% DV Iron


Clean Eating Healthy Sneaky Lasagna (with Spinach!) OAMC

Makes 10 servings
This is hands down one of our family favorites and we ALWAYS have some in the freezer. This recipe makes one pan but I always double it and make 2 at once because I figure I’m already making the pans dirty and heating up the oven, I might as well make it worthwhile :) I assemble the first one and pop it into the oven and I can usually have the second one assembled (and sometimes even get the dishes done!) so that when the first one is ready I can put the second one in and sit down to have the first for dinner.

You will see that this recipe has you making homemade spaghetti sauce which I really like to do when I have the time because then I know exactly what we are eating and can be sure that there are no random added ingredients. However, if I am crunched for time, I have used jars of premade sauce and then just browned the ground turkey and added it in. You will need about 4 1/2 cups of sauce to equal 6 cups total after adding in the meat. Just make sure you read the ingredients list really well when you pick a sauce. You would be amazed at the things that get added in to some.

Sauce -
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, diced (2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 cup pureed cooked sweet potato (optional, but I always add it in because it gives the sauce a slight sweetness, which most commercial sauces achieve by adding sugar. When I first started adding it Matt said, “Wow. This is awesome! It tastes just like Chef Boyardee!” Thanks hunny, that’s totally what I’m aiming for. Homemade sauce that tastes like processed crap in a can, LOL. What he meant in his own goofy way was that the sauce was so good it tasted like it was professionally made… which he apparently thinks Chef Boyardee is…)
Filling and Pasta Layers -
  • 1 lb fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (This is bolded because I ALWAYS forget to divide it!)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp dried basil (or ½ cup minced fresh basil)
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten or equivalent of egg substitute
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 12oz bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped or torn
  • 12 whole grain lasagna noodles uncooked (not no boil noodles, just regular whole wheat noodles. The whole no boil thing is a scam, you don’t need to boil any noodles. My friend, Ariana, taught me that :) Before that I was preboiling all my lasagna, grrrr)
ONE: Combine the onion, oil, and ½ tsp salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground turkey and cook until it’s JUST starting to brown, about 4 minutes.

TWO: Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and measures about 6 cups, about an hour (the sauce might spit while it’s cooking so I always cover the pot with one of those mesh screen things that prevent splattering). Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

THREE: Dump the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, egg, salt, and pepper into a large bowl and stir well.

FOUR: Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1 ½ cups of the sauce evenly over the bottom.

FIVE: Rinse 3 uncooked lasagna noodles under cold running water and lay them on top of the sauce spaced evenly apart. Place 1/3 cup of filling on each one and spread it out evenly over the entire noodle. Lay 1/3 of the bag of spinach over the top of the filling (this will seem like a big pile of spinach and will make the layers really tall but it will wilt during cooking and you won’t even notice it’s there).Spread 1 cup of sauce evenly over the spinach. Repeat this layering two more times, rinsing each lasagna noodle before placing it in the pan.

SIX: Lay the remaining 3 noodles over the top and cover with the remaining 1 ½ cups of sauce, making sure to cover the edges. Spray a large piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the lasagna tightly. Place the lasagna pan on a cookie tray (to catch any bubbling over sauce) and bake for 45 minutes.

SEVEN: Remove the foil and sprinkle the lasagna evenly with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella. Continue to bake, uncovered, until the cheese is bubbling and slightly brown, 10-15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Let the leftovers cool completely in the fridge overnight. Slice into individual servings (one pan should yield 10 servings) and freeze using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash. Reheat in the microwave or thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the oven @ 350 for about 30 minutes.


Per serving - 424 Calories (136 Calories from Fat), 15g Fat, 7g Saturated Fat, 90mg Cholesterol, 590mg Sodium, 38g Total Carbohydrates, 7g Dietary Fiber, 7g Sugars, 35g Protein, 181% DV Vitamin A, 60% DV Vitamin C, 50% DV Calcium, 21% DV Iron


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clean Eating Crockpot Salmon with Pineapple-Mango-Strawberry Salsa and Orange Lentils

Makes 6 servings
This recipe was modified from a recipe that I tested for Clean Eating Magazine. I’m not a huge fan of fish that tastes like fish but I really love salmon. Go figure! And I love it even more when my crockpot cooks it for me :) This method yields delicious, moist salmon every time. The slightly sweet, citrus flavor of the lentils goes particularly well with the fruit salsa and gives the whole dish an island vacation feel. Plus any time dinner involves fruit my boys are very happy. I recommend using a larger crockpot (like 5 to 7 quarts) for this meal and purchasing salmon fillets that are about the same thickness to ensure even cooking. If you only have a smaller crockpot, you can either do fewer salmon fillets or layer them on top of each other using additional pieces of parchment. If you layer, you will need to extend the cooking time of the fish a bit.

  • 1¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup lentils (I use green)
  • ½ cup carrot, finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 6 4- to 5-oz salmon fillets, scaled and pin bones removed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup finely diced pineapple
  • 3/4 cup finely diced mango
  • 1/2 cup finely diced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (2 tsp dried)
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
ONE: Combine everything except the salmon and lemon juice together in the crockpot and stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 to 5½ hours or until lentils are tender.

TWO: Place 1 sheet of parchment paper over the lentils in the crockpot. Season salmon lightly with salt and pepper and place it on the parchment (skin-side down if you have not removed the skin). Replace the lid and continue to cook on low for 25 minutes or until salmon is opaque in centre.

THREE: While the salmon is cooking, combine all of the salsa ingredients and set aside to give the flavors a chance to combine.

FOUR: Once the salmon is done, remove it by lifting out parchment. Stir the lemon juice into the lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, place about ½ a cup of lentils on a plate and top with a salmon fillet and 1/3 cup of salsa.

Freeze leftover lentils and salsa using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.


Per serving (1/2 cup lentils, 1/3 cup salsa, 1 salmon fillet) - 419 Calories (146 Calories from Fat),16g Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 80mg Cholesterol, 203mg Sodium, 32g Total Carbohydrates, 9g Dietary Fiber, 14g Sugars, 36g Protein, 39% DV Vitamin A, 90% DV Vitamin C, 6% DV Calcium, 16% DV Iron


Clean Eating Low Cost Weekly Meal Plan 4/11

I am SERIOUSLY psyched for this week's meal plan!! My kids LOVE mangoes and sweet potatoes and they are both on sale this week. Plus there's a sale on honey which always makes me do the happy dance. My great friend, Barb, and I are working on a very detailed report on natural sweeteners and honey is one of the best. Stay tuned for that article.

This week I'm particularly excited about the Salmon with Pineapple-Mango-Strawberry Salsa over Orange Lentils. I'll serve this with Kale Chips which are just too cool for words. The fact that you can make chips out of kale is up there with cauliflower becoming bread sticks. As far as the salmon goes, if you're not regularly cooking your fish in the crockpot, you are seriously missing out. You know I love my crockpot because it saves me hands-on time during the pre-dinner hour and doesn't heat up my kitchen. But in this recipe I love it even more because it makes perfectly cooked fish with lentils that my kids will happily eat. What could be better?! Plus, you can make the key ingredient for Last Night's Veggies Cookies while you're cooking the lentils. I know that sounds crazy but, once you see the recipe, you'll understand :)

Next up is seriously the most delicious Dutch Baby Pancake you've ever had in your life. My boys literally dance with joy when I make these. Then we're trying something new with the Moroccan Lamb Stir-Fry. As you may have noticed, I'm not all that creative when it comes to my protein sources. I rely pretty heavily on ground turkey and chicken breasts. This is something I've been working on and this week lamb is on sale so I thought I'd be a little adventurous and move out of my comfort zone. I think you'll like it. Finally, two of our family's tried and true (and willingly eaten by the toddlers) recipes: Lasagna and Sweet Potato Quesadillas.

As I mentioned last week, during the Summer I teach Survival Swim Lessons so I spend a lot of my day in the pool. I have an absolutely WONDERFUL helper, Danielle, who mommies my boys and helps me with the million and one other things that us moms do all day. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever met and I am eternally grateful for her help. Danielle is the ONLY reason I'll still be able to continue this blog during the summer so I would like to publicly shout, "Thank you, Danielle!!!! You are the BEST!!!"

Step 1: Find out what meat and produce is on sale for the week
This week at Publix Lamb and Salmon are on sale. In the produce section kale, sweet potatoes, celery, orange juice, strawberries, and mangoes are also on sale.

Step 2: Take an inventory of your pantry and freezer, check out what other items are on sale, and pick several recipes that use those ingredients.
There are good prices for canned tomatoes, ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, honey, raisins, canned pineapple, and chicken broth.

Step 3: Take a look at your calendar for the week and see which nights you’ll have more time to cook and which nights you won't and plan your menu accordingly.
This will be different for every family but, in general, I cook 3 or 4 nights a week and we eat something from our freezer stash the other nights. To learn how to build your own freezer stash go HERE.

Step 4: Get all of the recipes together and make a shopping list of what you’ll need.
Sneaky Lasagna (with Spinach!)
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
Salmon with Pineapple-Mango-Strawberry Salsa over Orange Lentils and Kale Chips - Coming Soon
Moroccan Lamb Stir-Fry - Coming Soon

Healthy Breakfasts/Snacks/Desserts-
Pina Colada Dutch Baby Pancakes
Last Night's Veggies Cookies

Here is a shopping list for the complete list of meals (not including snacks and desserts) based on you having nothing in your pantry or freezer. You will obviously omit the items that you already have. Go HERE for an explanation of the couponing abbreviations. The top list has all of the coupon matchups. There is a second list at the bottom that just lists the items with no match-ups and is a little easier to read.

Coupon Matchup List - Coming Soon
Non-Coupon Matchup List - Coming Soon