Sunday, July 15, 2012

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes...

I have no idea what the "crash" part of this recipe is supposed to imply.  It was on the original recipe at dlyn, so I'm sticking with it.  I wound up adjusting the spices a little bit, based on what I had.  I'm not sure I'd make these again...they were kind of a pain in my butt.  I tried one, and they tasted good, but they didn't crisp up like they were supposed to either, which was sort of irritating.  They were also next to impossible to smash as bowl just kept sliding around everywhere and not getting enough traction to smash.  It's not imperative that they BE smashed or anything, but it was still annoying.  I don't know.  We'll see how I like them over the course of the month to see if they have staying power or not.  Either way, here's the recipe:

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes
8 servings - 75 calories each

(Yes, I forgot to put the potatoes in the ingredient picture...whoops!)

2-3 sweet potatoes
1 1/2 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Olive oil

Blend together spice mix first and set aside.  Peel potatoes and cut into rounds about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  Place on baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast at 375 degrees until just tender enough to smash (you'll have to depends on how thick you cut them).  Smash potatoes (if desired and possible).  Brush potatoes with a small amount of olive oil and top with half of seasoning mixture.  Flip and repeat process with other half of spice mixture.  Return to oven for 15 minutes.  Flip and return for an additional 10-15 minutes until caramelizing and starting to crisp (theoretically). 

I'm serving mine with my Tuna Bouchons for a total of 359 calories for each serving.  Is it weird that I'm totally annoyed that visually, there's way too much round food in each little serving container?  Yeah, probably.  Oh well :)

Crockpot Cube Steak & Gravy...

I haven't used my crockpot in a few months, and I figured it was about time again.  The whole fix it and forget it thing isn't all too conducive to my impatient nature, but alas...I keep hearing patience is a virtue, so I'm working on crockpot recipe at a time.  :)  I'll warn you in advance that this totally doesn't look pretty in the pictures (and even worse in the last couple pics because I took them on my phone instead of my camera...sorry!), but it smells delicious, and based on the ingredients and Pinterest reviews should taste delicious.  I'll let you know for sure when I do updates later in the month though.  It's hard to find ways to prepare meat in something that ISN'T a casserole where it still reheats without getting dry, so I thought this would be a good option.  The original recipe is found at  One thing to note:  I sort of combined it with another recipe I found that called for onion soup mix instead of onion gravy mix, because I didn't have any onion gravy mix on hand...the gravy turned out pretty thin though, obviously.  Next time I'll either track down the gravy mix or add a little flour.  Either way, I think it's going to taste just fine.  Here's the recipe:

Crockpot Cube Steak & Gravy
6 servings - 263 calories each

(Forgot to put flour in the ingredient picture...sorry!)

2 to 2 1/2 lb. cube steak
1 pkg. onion soup/dip mix  (next time, will use onion gravy mix or add a little flour to thicken)
2 c. water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut steaks into portions, if necessary.  Salt and pepper steaks, and then dredge in flour.  Cook in a skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray just until browned.  Place in crockpot.  Cover with water, flour, and onion soup mix.  Stir gently to mix everything together.  Cover and set crockpot to low for 6-8 hours.

I'm serving mine with Cream Cheese Corn for a total of 383 calories per serving. 

Lazy Sunday Casserole...

So this one wasn't quite as lazy as I was hoping, based on the title.  It wasn't particularly labor-intensive or anything, but having an important step in the middle of baking instead of throwing it in and forgetting about it till it's done sort of de-lazy's it for me.  lol :)  I'm crazy, I know.  Anyway, the original for this one is found on Kayotic Kitchen.  I know, I'm racking up the recipes from that site, it seems, but I can't help it...they're all over Pinterest, and they all look delicious!  My only real concern about this is that reheating it might end up with way too much liquid from all the veggies.  I'm sure it'll taste fine either way, but I'm not a fan of it getting all soup-y on me.  We'll see...and I'll let ya know when I do the update later this month.  P.S.  I know I've heard before that fennel smells like licorice when you cut into it, but holy cow...the smell just smacks you in the face!  Don't worry doesn't smells nearly so licorice-like once it starts cooking.  That said, let's get going:

Lazy Sunday Casserole
6 servings - 195 calories

4 sausages (I used Hot Italian Sausages)
1 lb. small red potatoes (quartered)
1/2 lb. carrots (I cheated and used the baby carrots so I didn't have to chop them)
1 bell pepper, chopped (the original called for 1/2, but hey...I didn't have anything to use the rest for)
1 lg. onion, cut into wedges
1 lg. fennel bulb, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. oil
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. chicken broth
Pepper, to taste
4 T. balsamic vinegar

Put potatoes, carrots, pepper, onion, and fennel bulb into large casserole dish.  In a separate dish, mix together garlic, oil, Italian seasoning, and chicken broth.  Pour mixture over vegetables.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.  In the meantime, brown the sausages (no need to cook completely...we're just trying to get a nice color on them).  Cut browned sausages into thirds.  After the first 45 minutes in the oven, add sausages and pour balsamic over top of everything.  Put back into the oven for 15 minutes, uncovered.  Remove and toss everything to coat with the liquid at the bottom of the dish, and return to oven for another 15 minutes. 

I'm serving mine with a biscuit (although given the final portion size, you probably wouldn't have to) for a total of 365 calories per serving. 

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese...

Mmmm...pasta.  If I could only pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Italian, for the sheer quantity of pasta possibilities.  And it doesn't get much more comfort food than Mac & Cheese...especially if you throw bacon in!  If you also throw in the fact that this particular recipe was found at EatBetterAmerica and therefore isn't horrendously bad for you, AND the calories are already calculated, it's pretty much perfect.  This turned out looking really delicious.  I didn't sample ANY of my recipes while I was cooking this time, so I'll have to let you know how it tastes when I do my update later in the month.  I wound up getting 10 servings out of this instead of the 12 listed on the original, which I reflected in the calories I have listed here.  I also discovered I apparently don't have the patience and/or attention span to caramelize onions.  I burned the crap out of part of them, and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to salvage what was left.  I'll put the instructions as they were listed on the original website, but just know that part is untested by me, because I ran out to walk the dogs and then got distracted and it all went downhill from there.  Here goes:

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese
10 servings - 324 calories each

(You'll notice the would be "caramelized" onions in the pic..forgot to take one till after)

2 large onions, chopped
1 lb. uncooked penne rigate pasta
1 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 c. skim milk (I may have cheated and used 2%...I don't like cooking with skim)
1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
1/2 c. Gruyere (I used a Sargento artisan blend of Swiss and Gruyere, cuz I didn't feel like grating)
2-3 T. bacon bits
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
2-3 T. fresh basil, minced

**Put onions in a hot skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium low, and cook for an additional 35-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until deep golden brown.**  Set onions aside.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add flour, salt, pepper, and dijon mustard.  Stir until incorporated and smooth.  Add milk slowly, ensuring flour mixture is incoporated and not clumping.  Heat until boiling, stirring constantly, and leave at a boil for 1 minutes.  Add sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits.  Mix into drained pasta, and put entire mixture into a casserole dish coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Top with panko and basil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, just until all heated through.  Note: this does NOT brown the breadcrums, nor is it supposed to (I'm really glad they put that in the original recipe, or I would've been really confused).

I'm serving mine with a crescent roll for a total of 424 calories per serving.

Beef Enchilada Pie...

This is really more of a casserole than a pie...I challenge you to fit it in a pie plate, because there's no possible way it would fit.  I used my round casserole dish instead and it worked great.  I love a good casserole.  Typically they're super easy to make.  They almost always reheat great.  They're hearty and tend to encompass the bulk of the food groups.  What's not to like?  Well, there is one thing...they get a bad rap for being bland...that's certainly not always the case, but with the prevalence of the "cream of" base with a combination of whatever else is in the freezer, they can all taste kind of the same if you're not careful.  So when I can find one that DOESN'T have a "cream of" base and includes some Mexican flavors, I'm in.  And that's exactly what I found in this recipe.  The original can be found at EatBetterAmerica, and conveniently came with a breakdown of calories (hooray, time saver!).  So, without further ado, here we go:

Beef Enchilada Pie
6 servings - 290 calories each

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1- 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce
1/2 c. frozen corn
1 - 4.5 oz. can chopped green chiles, drained
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
5 flour tortillas
1 c. shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese

Cook beef and onion in large skillet until beef is brown and onions are tender.  Add enchilada sauce (reserving 1/4 c. for later), green chiles, corn, cumin, and chili powder.  Reduce heat and simmer another 5-7 minutes.  Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Place one tortilla in bottom of baking dish, spoon over about 3/4 c. of meat mixture, top with about 3 tablespoons of cheese.  Repeat layers with 3 more tortillas.  Top with remaining tortilla, reserved 1/4. c. of enchilada sauce, and the last of the cheese.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until hot and cheese is melted. 

I'm serving mine with a crescent roll for a total of 390 calories per serving :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

August Menu Plan...

I'm running so behind this month!  I figured out my recipe plan a couple weeks ago, but I haven't had a chance to get it typed up on here till today...the day on which I will ALSO be cooking.  I feel like I've been living in my car all month, for starters, running around like a chicken with my head cut's a good thing my dogs like car trips, because's been ridiculous.  Work has been insane, Millie's been sick, I've been feeling run down all month, and I feel like I haven't given my apartment a good clean-freak-level cleaning in MUCH too long (it's actually making me a little crazy...I'm probably doing that today too).  Anyway, with all that going on, I was half-tempted to have another remix month, but I decided after much deliberation (ummm...maybe like 10 whole minutes worth...that's a lot of time on a month like this!) that I'd rather try some new stuff again.  I hit up Pinterest and found some good-looking recipes, and off we go!  New items are marked with an asterisk, repeat items are linked to the original, and calories are calculated at  Soooo, here's the plan:

Tuna Bouchons (284 calories) with Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes* (75 calories) for 8 servings at a total of 359 calories each.

Beef Enchilada Pie* (290 calories) with a Crescent Roll (100 calories) for 6 servings at a total of 390 calories each.

Bacon Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese* (324 calories) with a Crescent Roll (100 calories) for 10 servings at a total of 424 calories each.

Crockpot Cube Steak* (263 calories) with Cream Cheese Corn (120 calories) for 6 servings at a total of 383 calories each.

Lazy Sunday Casserole* (195 calories) with a Biscuit (170 calories) for 6 servings at a total of 365 calories each.

All that said, I better get to work if I'm gonna cook all of that today too!  Recipe posts later :)