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Monday, August 27, 2012

Ranch Cheddar Burgers

Normally I don't like whole wheat bread stuff.  I've tried because I know how good they are supposed to be better for me, I just can't get used to the taste.  Luckily these burgers are so flavorful that you can't taste the wheat.  I like them with just a little ketchup, don't need mayo or anything else like that.  The hubby doesn't even care that they are turkey burgers!  Since we normally cook these on the grill, it's easy to just throw some asparagus on there too.


    1 lb lean ground turkey
    1 (1 ounce) envelope dry ranch dressing mix
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


    Mix all three ingredients together in a bowl and form into four patties. Cook on a grill or in a frying pan on top of the stove. Cook for five minutes on each side or until no longer pink inside.
    Nutritional Info
    • Servings Per Recipe: 4
    • Amount Per Serving
    • Calories: 228.9
    • Total Fat: 10.0 g
    • Cholesterol: 85.9 mg
    • Sodium: 797.9 mg
    • Total Carbs: 4.5 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
    • Protein: 28.9 g


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Red and Yellow Italian Pizza

During my first trip to Italy I discovered Margerita Pizza, a simple pizza with just a little sauce, fresh basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella.  The freshness of the ingredients really stands out.  This is a little twist on that pizza.  Pizza is one of those things that just about everyone loves, and with all the variations on it, you could have it a couple times a week without anyone getting tired of it.

Although I normally just buy pizza crust because it's convient, this crust is tastier than most you could buy because of the herbs in it.  Plus, it's really not the difficult.  If you don't want to waste the other half packet of yeast, double the recipe and bake two crusts.  Let one cool competely, then freeze it in a air tight bag. 


    For the crust:
    1 1/2 cups white flour
    1/2 package dry yeast (about 1/2 teaspoon)
    1/2 cup warm water
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1 1/2 teaspoon dry basil

    For the toppings:
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 cups cherry tomatoes (red and yellow)
    3 cloves minced garlic
    8 ounces fresh mozzarella
    10-15 large leaves of fresh basil


    For the pizza crust:
    If you have a stand mixer (like a KitchenAid), use the dough hook. Place the water in the bottom of the bowl. Layer the flour on top, letting it mound up in the middle. Using the back of a spoon, create a small indentation in the flour and pour the yeast in the dent. Add in the basil, garlic and onion powders. For the first few seconds, run the mixer on lower then increase the speed. Mix it until the dough forms a ball and all of the flour has been mixed in.
    If you don't have a mixer, mix the herbs, yeast and half the flour. Add the flour mixture to the water with a spoon. Continue adding the flour and mixing with a spoon until no more will mix in. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour a little at a time.
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the dough on a plate and loosely cover with a cloth towel. Place it on the stove for about ten minutes (the heat from the preheating oven will help the dough rise). After the dough has rest, flatten the dough into a 1/4-1/2 inch thick circle. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it starts to brown.

    While the crust is rising, cut the tomatoes in half. Pat the mozzarella with paper towel to remove the extra moisture and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Snip the basil leaves in small pieces (I use herb scissors, they cut the herbs into 1/8-1/4 inch pieces).
    After the crust is done baking, lightly brush the pizza crust with the olive oil. Layer the mozzarella slices over the crust and evenly top with tomato halves and garlic. Bake at 400 degrees for another 5-7 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 385.5
  • Total Fat: 13.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 32.9 mg
  • Sodium: 267.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 45.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
  • Protein: 20.7 g

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Making Two Meals out of One

    In most households you have one person trying to lose weight, or at least trying to eat healthier, and one person who can eat whatever they want and they want to exercise that ability.  The probably is that most of us don't have time or the ambition to make two different meals every night.  I may have the time for it, but I really don't want to do it.  So how do you balance between the two?  There's a couple of little tweaks you can do to make everyone happy.

    The first one is the easiest.  When you cook up vegetables don't put butter or sauce on them.  You can have it on the table for whoever would like some, but that doesn't mean you have to put it on your plate.  Like I said, it's an easy one. 

    Next one is similar to the first one.  When you bake casseroles or similar dishes that call for cheese and sauces on top, don't put the toppings on a smallish section.  That way you have some with out the calories heavy toppings and can top it with your own lower calorie toppings.  Another twist would be to leave the toppings off completely and just have them on the table for everyone to add to their plate. 

    There's a few substitutions you could make in the recipe that would help bring down the calorie and sodium content without anyone realizing it.  A quick google search would probably give you way more options that I could ever think of, but a couple t get you started would be switching out ground turkey for ground beef or pork.  Or cutting down on the meat in the recipe and adding in extra beans or vegetables.  Or simply switching to the lower calorie/sodium version of ingredients in the recipe.  A lot of the seasoning mixes, like taco, chili and fajita seasonings, come in a lower sodium version.  If they are open to it, you can try to get your family (or friends) to try out the light versions of things like mayo, salad dressings or cheese.  My husband actually seems to prefer Diet Dr. Pepper and the light Hidden Valley Ranch.  It might not be quite as good as the original, but I'm sure that after a while their taste buds will adjust to the new flavor.

    Now, I wouldn't suggest trying to change everything on them all at once.  Maybe make one change a week to ease them into the healther way of eating.  It's possible that they may eventually prefer the healthier way of eating, they might just need to be introduced to it.

    Had to include a nummy food picture, it is a food blog afterall :-)

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Bacon and Cheese Meatloaf

    My husband doesn't normally like meatloaf, but add bacon and cheese and he actually starts requesting it. You could use turkey bacon if you wanted, just make sure you check the labels. Depending on your dietary requirements, regular bacon might be more what you are looking for. the brands I compared had higher sodium contents than regular bacon. I prefer to get the center cut because it seems to have less fat on it, but the beauty of cooking yourself is you can use whatever you want.  A lot of times I'll cook up something and do have of it with extra cheese or bacon for him (like the slice below) and less for me.  Simple little things like that really help when trying to accommodate two different diets.  I usually serve this with some steamed broccoli (buttered for him and plain for me) and maybe dinner rolls.


      3 minced cloves garlic
      3 diced plum tomatoes
      1 diced jalapeno pepper (leave in seeds for a hotter taste)
      1 cup breadcrumbs
      1 pound ground turkey
      1/4 cup barbecue sauce plus two tablespoons
      1/2 cup chopped onions
      6 slices centercut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
      1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the diced tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, breadcrumbs, ground turkey and 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce in a large bowl.
      In a saute pan, cook the bacon and onions until the bacon is crispy. Drain well on paper towels.
      Line a bread pan with foil. Put half of the meat mixture in the bottom of the pan, creating a depression running down the center of the loaf. Fill the depression with the bacon mixture and half of the cheese. Cover with the remaining meat mixture, ensuring that the bacon and cheese are sealed in.
      Bake covered for 30 minutes. Top with the remaining barbecue sauce and cheese, bake for another five minutes or until the cheese is melted.
      Nutritional Info
      • Servings Per Recipe: 4
      • Amount Per Serving
      • Calories: 393.0
      • Total Fat: 15.0 g
      • Cholesterol: 97.5 mg
      • Sodium: 851.0 mg
      • Total Carbs: 31.0 g
      • Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
      • Protein: 33.5 g


    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Steak, Potato and Asparagus Pizza

    Well here it is, the steak, potato and asparagus pizza.  The picture doesn't really do it justice, but I had a hungry husband to feed and only got a quick shot of it.  I really like to cook it on the grill because it gives a nice smoky flavor to it.  Unfortunately we don't have a grill yet, so this one was done in the oven.  The main thing to watch for when you make this is to check that the potatoes are pretty tender, about the consistancy of a baked potato.  Otherwise it can be a little difficult to take a bite.


      12" premade pizza crust
      1/2 pound chopped steak, fat trimmed off
      1 medium onion, thinly sliced
      1 medium potato thinly sliced
      2 cups steamed/chopped asparagus
      1/2 cup A1 sauce
      1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


      Saute the steak and onion together in a pan. Add potatoes and cook until they are tender (time will depend on how thick they are).
      Meanwhile, steam the asparagus until tender then chop into bite sized pieces.
      Spread the A1 sauce evenly over the crust, cover with the asparagus, onions, potatoes and steak and top with the cheese.
      Etiher cook in a 425 oven for about 15 minutes or cook on the grill until cheese is golden.
      Nutritional Info
      • Servings Per Recipe: 4
      • Amount Per Serving
      • Calories: 337.1
      • Total Fat: 10.0 g
      • Cholesterol: 65.0 mg
      • Sodium: 877.6 mg
      • Total Carbs: 28.8 g
      • Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g
      • Protein: 31.1 g

      Tuesday, August 14, 2012

      Man-Approved Diet?

      So there I was one day, talking with my girlfriends about how we all wanted to lose weight.  We knew the basics of what to do: workout/move around more, eat less junk.  Well, the move around more part was easy enough for us to plan for.  The hard part is that we're all married to husbands that don't think eating salads everyday is all that great.  Unfortunately a lot of recipes out there fall into one of two catagories: healthy or tasty.  My own husband was no exception, he likes things with bacon, ranch dressing or cheese and if it had all three it was even better.  Generally those three things don't work so well with healthy recipes, but I figured I was up for the challenge.  Afterall, this is the same man who hated almost any veggie before I came along and now actually requests things like asparagus!  So here it is, my experiments in the kitchen trying to come up with recipes that are healthy enough to meet my requirements but still taste good enough that he'll eat them. 

      After knee problems and horrible side effects from medications I was on and a move halfway around the world (Germany to Texas), I've gained weight.  A lot of weight.  So I get to be my own test dummy for whether or not this diet plan works.  I know that the weight didn't come on overnight and it's not going to leave that way either, but if I can find something that works for me, I know I can lose the weight I want to. 

      Like I said earlier, I know that in addition to eating better I need to make sure that I'm moving more.  I'd love to get to the point where I could run a half marathon, but with my knee problems it might take me quite a while to get there.  In the mean time I'm getting on the elliptical machine four or five times a week for thirty minutes at a time and taking my puppy out for a one mile walk afterwards.  In a week or two I plan on doing an additional workout video, but I want to get used to the cardio again first.  Luckily I've built up a decent collection of videos over the past few years, so I should be able to mix it up enough to keep me from getting bored. 

      Well, I guess that's enough of an introduction for now.  Tonight I'll share my first creation for the Man Approved Diet, Steak and Potato Pizza with Asparagus!