Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats

I got the idea for this recipe from a SkinnyTaste recipe. I just happen to prefer green chile enchilada sauce to the red sauce. So, in that spirt, I adapted my regular enchilada recipe to a lower calorie option where the zucchini takes the place of those carb laden tortillas (don’t get me wrong, I adore tortillas). Enjoy!

Makes four servings (two boats each): 325 calories | 18g carbs | 34g protein | 14g fat

Here’s what you need!

4  whole zucchini

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese

1 can (one of those small ones) diced green chiles

1/4 cup diced onion

1 can of green chile enchilada sauce

1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese- mexican blend

cilantro and green onion for garnish

Here’s what you do!

1. Slice the zucchini in half length wise and scoop out the middle so you have about 1/4 inch left the whole way around. Pop the zucchini into boiling water for about a minute, drain, and set aside.

2. Cut your chicken into itty bitty pieces and cook until almost completely done. Add the onion and green chiles. Then add the cream cheese and cook until nice and creamy (no cream cheese chunks!). At this point if you want to you could add what you scooped out of the zucchini, but I find that this watered down the flavor (even after trying to get as much water out of the zucchini as possible)… you’d be better off saving it for zucchini cupcakes.

3. Fill your zucchini boats equally with the filling. Top with your enchilada sauce and cheese. Add cilantro and scallions as you wish.

4. Bake in a 350˚ oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

Happy noshing!!!

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Spicy Honey Chicken

You’ll begin to notice, as I add more recipes, that I cook a lot of chicken. There are three reasons for this: 1) It’s inexpensive  2) It’s versatile; 3) It tastes damn good. Chances are, many of my recipes would work well with other proteins, but I always have chicken on hand, and I like it, and so the end result is a plethora of things to do with chicken. This is a very simple, yet tasty, recipe that I can’t seem to get enough of. I adore the combination and sweet and spicy. For the chicken haters, this might also be tasty on pork or shrimp, though I can not attest to that certainty.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Makes 4 servings: 168 calories | 15g carbs | 26g protein | 1g fat

Here’s what you need!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (I use tenderloins… just because)

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red pepper, ground (if possible… I use my coffee grinder)

3 tbsp honey

Here’s what you do!

1. Mix your spices. Gently sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of your chicken breasts. Feel free to rub it in.

2. Grill or bake your chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165˚. I usually grill mine, unless I’m being too lazy to go outside and subsequently clean my grill plates (I take my indoor grill outdoors because of overly sensitive smoke alarms).

3. Evenly disperse the honey over the cooked chicken. A pastry or basting brush would work great for this. Allow the chicken to remain on the heat just a little longer to let the honey do its thing.

Happy noshing!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

When I was little my mother use to make zucchini bread all the time and I thought her bat shit crazy for it. Who puts vegetables in bread?! More to the point, who, of sound mind and their own convictions, would put vegetables in dessert?!?!?! BLASPHEMY! (Yes… I used words like blasphemy when I was seven. Well, not really, but let’s pretend I did so my childhood seems more interesting). None the less, this is the reason I have yet to try carrot cake, though I feel that solid streak of nearly 24 years is coming to an end. Other than the fact that I’ve become more adventurous with my food, came a challenge from my sister-in-law in the form a link to a zucchini cake recipe. “Make this please”. I obliged, despite my deep seeded fear of vegetable based confections, but decided to lighten it up a bit. The resulting cupcakes were a success, if I may say so myself. If I had one complaint it would be that the cupcakes came out of the oven a little too moist, an issue that could probably be fixed with some oven manipulation. So it seems I have been converted. When I have my first piece of carrot cake, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, please enjoy these chocolaty delights!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Makes 24 servings: 172 calories | 29g carbs | 2g protein | 6g fat  (with icing)

145 calories | 25g carbs | 2g protein | 5g far (without icing)

Here’s what you need!

For the cupcakes

2 cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate)

4 egg whites

1/2 cup applesauce (I used a no sugar added version)

1/2 cup canola oil

3 cups of grated zucchini

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

For the icing

4 ounces of reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-4 tbsp of water or almond milk

Here’s what you do!

1. Preheat your oven to 350˚. Using a mixer, combine all the ingredients except the zucchini.

2. Fold the zucchini into the batter until completely mixed.

3. Fill your cupcake tins!

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserting in the center comes out clean. I could take a little long… so be patient. Upping the temperature to 375˚ could take care of that… it might also enhance the texture… but I don’t know for sure… I ran out of zucchini. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing.

For the icing

1. Mix everything together!!!! Use water or almond milk a tablespoon at a time to get the desired consistency. It’s so easy, right?! It almost feels too easy.

Happy noshing!!

Drunken Skinny Strawberry Shortcake

Who says you can’t eat healthy and have booze too? Not my mother, that’s for sure. We made this tasty treat while my family was in town last week! The original recipe from a Woman’s World magazine had 432 calories in it, which I’m sure is lower than what you would find in some restaurants, but why not cut out a little extra if it doesn’t sacrifice taste?!

I have to admit, the idea of a soda cake sorta scared me at first, but after this I’m a believer. The basic idea is that when using a boxed cake mix, you use a can of   soda rather than the oil, eggs and butter that the directions call for; using a diet soda helps to cut the calories of the cake without destroying the integrity of the cake. I promise this recipe won’t disappoint. Plus, the strawberries are soaked in alcohol… so really… how could you go wrong?

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Makes 12 servings: 214 calories | 46g carbs | 2g protein | 4g fat

Here’s what you need!

1 box sugar free yellow cake mix

1 120z can of diet lemon-lime soda (I used Sprite Zero)

6 cups (about 2 pounds) strawberries, sliced

3/4 cup Amaretto

1/3 cup Splenda (or other low calorie sweetener)

1 1/2 cup Cool Whip- Fat Free

Here’s what you do!

1. Preheat your oven to 325°. Combine strawberries, Amaretto and splenda in a bowl and allow to hang out in the fridge for as long as you please

2. Combine cake mix and soda with a whisk, spoon, mixer, or even your fingers (though I don’t recommend this method). Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving.

3. Assemble your shortcakes with 1/2 cup of strawberries and 2 tbsp of Cool Whip.

Happy noshing!

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno poppers are one of my most favorite things it the world. They are my go to dive bar food. I get them EVERY time I go to Sonic. I simply can’t get enough. So when I started to watch my diet, I knew right away I wouldn’t last long without these little bites of awesomeness in my mouth. The problem? The traditional jalapeno popper is a calorie laden, deep fried mess. So my mission was to create something as delicious as possible without dunking it oil.

Click here for a printable version!

Makes 8 servings (2 poppers each): 75 calories | 5g carbs | 4g protein | 4g fat

Here’s what you need!

8 jalapeno peppers

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese or mexican blend (I used a 2% milk cheese)

1 scallion, minced

4 egg whites

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (you only use about half, but the extra makes coating easier)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp powdered ranch dressing mix

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, ground to bits

Here’s what you do!

1. While wearing gloves, slice the tops of each jalapeno, then slice down the middle so you have two even pieces. Use your fingers to remove the seeds and other random things from the center of the peppers

2. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, shredded cheese and scallion until well mixed. Fill each pepper with the mixture.

3. Combine panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, ranch mix, paprika, chili powder, and crushed red pepper. Add a little salt and pepper if you feel like it… you can never go wrong with some salt and pepper.

4. Roll each popper in the egg white, then in the panko mixture. Be sure to shake up the panko mixture after each popper to break up any clumps and to make sure the spices don’t sink to the bottom.

 5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bread crumbs are golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly.

Happy noshing!!

Chicken Sausage and Pepper Skewers

Most of the time the world doesn’t allow for elaborate dinner planning and tons of prep work. Some of the time the world barely allows enough time for you to order take out. This is a recipe for those times in between: you might not have a lot of time to cook, but you want to make something that’s a little more special than frozen Marie Callender’s. This is a simple meal, with simple ingredients, that tastes greats. Tossing peppers and onions in olive oil and italian season adds a wonderful depth of flavor whether you do it hours ahead of time or minutes before you plan to eat!

Click here for a printable version!

Makes 4 servings: 176 calories | 7g carbs | 16g protein |10g fat

Here’s what you need!

4 links of your favorite chicken sausage (I used Casual Gourmet’s Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach… the calorie content reflects that)

2 bell peppers (I used green and orange) cut into 16 squares

1/2 of a red onion, cut into 16 squares

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp italian season

4-8 skewers (depending on their size… if you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to cooking)

Here’s what you do!

1. After cutting your peppers and onions into pieces as close to the same size as you care to get them, combine in a bowl with the olive oil and italian seasoning.

2. Slice sausage links into even, bite-sized pieces (I cut mine into eighths)

3. Assemble your skewers by alternating the peppers, onion and sausage. Each serving will consist of 4 slices of each pepper, 4 pieces of onion and one sausage link.

4. Grill or broil your skewers until it looks pretty and peppers and onion start to get tender. Since chicken sausage is usually (maybe always?) pre-cooked, this doesn’t take long, making it a quick meal that still looks and tastes pretty awesome!

Happy noshing!

Cream Cheese Pancake

This recipe came about because I had been eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast for roughly two months. I knew this was tempting fate, but I wanted to keep my breakfast low carb because of my eating habits for the rest of the day. Eventually the inevitable happened… I took a bite of an egg… and it instantly grossed me out. It’s a hard feeling to explain… but it always happens if I have too many eggs. I have the same issue with hotdogs.

Anyway, I was looking up low carb breakfast ideas and I came across this recipe . It sounded delicious enough, but when I tried to make it I found it unfilling and nearly impossible to flip the pancakes.. in fact.. I ended up with some fancy scrambled eggs the first couple tries. So I decided to make this recipe my own! By adding flaxseed meal and a little flour this cream cheese pancake idea becomes a heartier breakfast with some extra protein.. and it tastes pretty good too, if I may say so myself.

 

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Makes 4 servings: 208 calories | 8g carbs | 11g protein | 16g fat

Here’s what you need!

4 oz cream cheese (half a block), softened

4 eggs

4 tsp flour

1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

4 stevia packets (for 4 tsps of your sweetener of choice)

Here’s what you do!

1. In a bowl, whisk everything together feverishly until well combined

2. Heat your griddle, saute pan, or whatever you have to a medium, medium/low heat.

3. Make like a regular pancake!

How easy and awesome was that?!

I top mine with fruit , but I’m thinking about adding some chocolate chips next time!

Happy noshing!

Fish Tacos with cucumber salsa

Tasty fish with homemade salsa wrapped in a tortilla?! Yes please! This recipe came about because one day I popped my head off the couch pillow and said “I’m gonna make fish tacos!” and Husband said “OK”…. this is how most of our culinary decisions happen.

Makes 4 servings: 252 calories | 28g carbs | 24 g protein | 6g fat

Here’s what you need!

1 pound tilapia (or whatever fish your seafood loving head desires)

the juice of 2 limes (or lemons.. I used lemons… because I ran out of limes)

2 tsp taco seasoning

crushed red pepper

1/2 cup cucumber, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

salt and pepper

cilantro (fresh or dried)

shredded lettuce

4 tortillas (I used Mission brand medium soft taco tortillas… the calories for the recipe reflect this)

Here’s what you do!

1. In a bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, jalapeno and the juice of one lime (or lemon). Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Preheat over to 375˚F

3. Place your fish on a baking sheet. Apply salt, pepper, taco seasoning, and crushed red pepper liberally.

4. Bake fish for 20-30 minutes or until opaque and flaky

5. Remove fish from over and use a fork to break into bite size pieces.

6. Assemble your taco!!! Top with my crema for a tangy twist!

Happy noshing!

*If seafood in a taco shell is your thing… check out these Shrimp Wonton Tacos my friend Carrie made!

Cat’s Crema!

There are a lot of ways to go about making crema… well maybe not a lot… but there are at least a few… I know this because I had to Google it. This recipe is the mutant baby of Alton Brown’s recipe and this other one I found because I didn’t actually read Alton’s recipe before hand… which didn’t give me the sufficient 24 hours of sitting time his crema requires. I’m sure there are Mexican food purists that will find this recipe to be very very wrong… but it tastes good so I’m rolling with it.

Makes 16 (1 tbsp) servings: 33 calories| 2g carbs| 1g protein | 3g fat

Here’s what you need!

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 chipotle pepper in adobo

1/4 tsp salt

And here’s what you do!

1. Place your ingredients in a food processor or blender.

2. Blend that shit until the pepper is no more

3. Transfer the contents of your food processor or blender to a container and allow the crema to hang out on the counter for at least 3 hours

Tastes great on these fish tacos!!

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Quesadilla

For the longest time I could not, for the life of me figure out how to make a quesadilla without either burning the tortilla or making a complete mess. I eventually figured out the not burning the tortilla part worked and realized that the mess does not matter! This quesadilla, featuring roasted red pepper, is sure to not disappoint… in both messiness and tastiness!

Nutritional Breakdown

Makes 2 servings: 350 calories | 31g carbs | 37g protein | 9g fat

Here’s what you need:

1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 small red pepper, or 1/2 large red pepper

1/4 c diced red onion

1-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to taste

1/2 c shredded mexican cheese blend (I use a 2% reduced fat blend)

2 medium flour tortillas

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To roast your red pepper:

1. You can do this on an open flame, the grill or in a broiler.. whichever you have. In a nutshell, apply heat to the pepper until the skin is super charred.

2. Place the pepper into an airtight container and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. Generally, I roast my peppers well ahead of time and then forget about them. Eventually I say “oh yea.. I have a pepper in there” and then I take care of it. This is for the best, because otherwise I’d be too excited about the pepper, try to handle it too soon and burn my fingers.

3. Peel the charred skin off of your pepper. This should be pretty east to accomplish. Cut the pepper open and remove all the innards (seeds and whatnot). It will be a juicy mess. Enjoy it.

4. Dice your wonderful tasty red pepper!

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Making your filling:

1. Cut your chicken breast into teeny tiny pieces. Alternatively, you could cook the chicken whole and cut it after, but it cooks faster in tiny bits.

2. Cook chicken in a pan over medium(ish) heat. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

3. Combine chicken, red pepper, red onion and cilantro in bowl

4. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flake to taste (I like things a little spicy)

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1. Heat a pan to medium low heat. The pan should be large enough that the tortilla will lay flat. You could also use a griddle.

2. Spray a little cooking spray on the pan and lay one tortilla down. Spread half of the cheese (1/4 c) over the tortilla.

3. When the cheese begins to melt, place half of the chicken/ red pepper mixture on one half of the tortilla. Carefully fold the empty side of the tortilla over the mixture.

4. Continue to cook the quesadilla until slightly brown. Gently flip it over and allow the other side to brown. It’s totally ok if some of the feeling spills out…just pile it back on the plate to eat on the side! Repeat for second quesadilla

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, your favorite salsa, or whatever your beautiful heart desires!

This filling also tastes great in a taco salad! Simply combine some salad lettuce, the filling, cheese, and maybe some tortilla chips. I use salsa as dressing for the salad. Absolutely amazing!

Happy noshing!!