Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers



Halloween is just around the corner and when I saw this recipe for Jack-O-Lantern stuffed peppers I KNEW I had to give these guys a shot.....and add my own twist of course! I'm also adding throughout the recipe and at the bottom my suggestions for what I'd do differently next time for your reference! But I have to say, these were absolutely fabulous!!!


Ingredients

  • 4 medium orange bell peppers
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. raw 93% lean ground turkey
  • ½ medium onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Ground black pepper to taste; optional
  • 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce, no sugar added
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup black beans drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Slice stem end off peppers. (Reserve for later use.) Remove seeds and veins from peppers. Cut a jack-o-lantern face out of one side of each pepper. Stand peppers upright in baking dish. Set aside. If needed, cut bottom of peppers so they stand upright.
  2. Preheat oven to 400ΒΊ F.
  3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  5. Add turkey; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until almost browned.
  6. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  7. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, worchestershire sauce, tomato sauce, fire roasted tomatoes and black beans; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Add rice; mix well.
  9. Fill peppers with turkey mixture. Top with reserved stem end of peppers Add water to the baking dish. Cover with foil.
  10. Bake peppers for 20 minutes, or until tender-crisp. ***I baked for 20 minutes and peppers were still a little too firm. If you do not blanch or pre-cook your peppers, I recommend cooking for at least 30 minutes, especially if using green peppers.
  11. Remove stem top of peppers, sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil under high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  12. Replace tops and serve.
Portion Control Servings: 2 Green, 1 yellow, 1 red, 1/2 blue, 1/2 tsp

TIPS

I combined a couple of different recipes to come up with this, and threw in a few of my own ingredients. These tasted AMAZING but I do have a few things I'd like to try differently next time! If you like more heat, I would recommend adding red chili flakes and/or extra chili powder. I thought the fire roasted tomatoes would add more heat than they did. I also think italian seasoning would be great to add into this mixed with the other seasonings.  I made this with both orange and green peppers (not pictured). The orange peppers were cooked pretty well at 20-25 minutes but could have used a few minutes longer if you like your peppers a little less firm. The green peppers needed about another 10-15 minutes more.  I like my peppers to have a little crunch so they were fine for me.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

BBQ Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Fall and winter are great times to pull out that slow cooker/crockpot and make meal prep an absolute breeze! So I've been on the hunt for some new recipes and ways to switch things up that won't add inches to my waistline!  For those who follow portion control, I've included the container equivalents below. NOTE this is for 1/2 a sweet potato. This ended up being very filling and absolutely delicious. An out of the box way to do loaded potatoes. It also works well with regular baking potatoes too.

BBQ sauce

  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs molasses
  • 1 Tbs raw sugar
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • a pinch of salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Pork Ingredients

  • 2lb-3lb pork roast
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sliced onion (optional)
  • sea or Himalayan salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie stock

Toppings/Sides

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Non-fat greek yog
  • Shredded cheese
  • Scallions
  • Broccoli (or veggie side of your choice)

Shredded Pork Preparation

  1. Make slits into pork roast and stuff with minced garlic. 
  2. Rub olive oil over meat and season well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. **If you have time, sear each side of the pork in a large pot. If you don't have time, it's totally fine to skip this step. 
  3. Place roast in crock with onions, if using, and stock. Cook for 8 hours on low. During last 30 minutes of cooking, prepare BBQ sauce (see below). Drain and shred pork and mix in BBQ sauce. Adjust seasonings as desired.

To make the barbecue sauce:

  1. Heat all ingredients together in a small pot over medium heat and bring to a bubble. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Let bubble, giving it a stir every minute or two, for about five minutes. That's it!
I buy the microwavable sweet potatoes and prepare that last. Simply top with shredded BBQ pork and your choice of toppings. Serve with a side of steamed broccoli.

This was incredibly filling and I only ended up eating half the sweet potato.

21 Day Fix Portion Equivalents. Use your containers to measure portions: 1/2 sweet baked potato (1 yellow), BBQ Pulled Pork (1 red, 1 orange), Steamed broccoli (1.5 green). Toppings: Greek Yog (1/2 red), cheese (1/2 blue)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Low Carb Slow Cooker Sesame Beef



One of my biggest weaknesses is without a doubt chinese food....but lets be honest, if we indulged those habits from your local chinese take-away we'd never reach our goals!

I came across this recipe through a friend who had tried it, and knew it was RIGHT up my alley.

An EASY, asian inspired crockpot recipe! Does it get much better than that?

I put my own spin on it, and to make it low carb, you can serve with cauliflower rice instead of jasmine rice. Tonight I was low on carbs so I ended up switching cauliflower rice for regular instead.

You an also use this shredded beef in a number of different ways!! Perhaps Asian inspired hoisin beef taco's or on top of a crunchy cabbage salad. Perhaps served with some stir fried rice or garlic noodles!

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 lbs beef roast, trimmed of any fat
6 green onions, divided
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
6 cups cauliflower rice 
2 cups broccoli florets


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a bowl and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil to the soy sauce mixture. Set the cooking liquid aside.
  2. Either slice or cube the beef roast. Slice three of the green onions into 1.5-2 inch sections (save the rest of the green onions for garnish after cooking). Place the beef roast and green onions in the slow cooker. Pour the cooking liquid over top and stir to combine.
  3. Place a lid on the slow cooker, and cook on HIGH for four hours or LOW for eight hours. After four hours on high or eight hours on low the beef should be very tender and should shred easily with a fork. If not, replace the lid and cook for 30-60 minutes more.
  4. Once the beef is tender, it's time to thicken the sauce. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water, then pour it into the pot with the beef and cooking liquid. Stir to combine, then allow it to come back up to a simmer, at which point the sauce will thicken just slightly. Turn the heat off and garnish with the sesame seeds and remaining green onions (sliced). Serve over a bed of rice or as part of your favorite meal.
Portion containers estimate (if served with cauliflower rice): 3 Green, 1 red, 1 orange

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Low Carb Chicken and Veggies in a Creamy Mustard Sauce


Serves 4

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped small
1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
1 very large shallot (or 2 regular), diced
3 cups chicken broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more to garnish
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons dijon mustard (or spicy brown mustard)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. 
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken (or dredge it on a plate) to get them coated in flour.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, but don't crowd the pan; you want it to sear not steam. Do it in batches if your pan isn't big enough.
  5. Sear the chicken for 4 minutes; flip and cook another 2-4 minutes, until cooked through. Add more oil to the pan before flipping if it is dry.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a sheet pan or other oven safe dish and put it in the warm oven until cooked through (approx 10-15 mins depending on thickness of your chicken tenders).
  7. Steam broccoli, carrots and asparagus until cooked but still al dente.
  8. Add the shallots to the hot pan over medium high heat. (add a bit more oil if necessary) Saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  9. Stir in the chicken broth and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and mustard. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened some. Remove from heat and discard the thyme stems.
  10. You can either add the warm chicken and vegetables to the pan or serve on a platter with the sauce over the top.

This would be great served with roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice! For a low carb option (pictured above) serve with cauliflower mash (or cauliflower rice).

Drop a comment below if you try this dish!