Tag Archives: recipe

My day of maximizing points

I’ve been battling a cold for a few days so I decided to work from home today for quick access to a bed if I needed a nap to get through the day.  This meant I got to enjoy my breakfast and coffee while cruising through my work emails in the morning!  This is a relaxing part of my day that I’ve missed since I stopped eating breakfast at work last year.

BREAKFAST = 4 POINTS

I started my day with my former staple before I discovered protein shakes last year – Oatmeal.  It was three points for 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal, zero(!!!) points for the banana, and one point for 1-1/2 teaspoons of peanut butter.  This is a good example of where I eat healthy but have a problem with portion control.  Before Weight Watchers, I would have two tablespoons of peanut butter in my oatmeal.  Then, I discovered that was a bajillion points so I stopped adding peanut butter.  This morning, I had the bright idea that I could still have peanut butter if I just have LESS of it!  Genious!  (and, wouldn’t you know, it was still a good amount)

I switched to black coffee about six weeks ago so my coffee is now zero(!!!) points too.  It was only one point when I added skim milk, but somedays that one point can make all the difference in the world (or my day – I guess there is no need to get dramatic here).

LUNCH = 6 POINTS

I missed my morning protein shake so I had one of those for lunch 🙂  I can’t miss out on my 18g of fiber + 20g of protein in one delicious meal.  You can check out my love for my shake in a prior posting of mine.  My morning shake is six points – four for the protein powder, zero(!!!) for the berries, one point for 1/2 cup milk, and one point for the fiber powder. 

SNACK = 2 POINTS

Throughout the afternoon, I just munched on carrots.  A lot of carrots.  I love carrots AND I bought a gigantic bag at Sam’s Club on Friday.   Oh yeah, then I ate two thin mints for two points.  Yummm…. 

DINNER = 6 POINTS

By the time 5:15 rolled around, I had to kick it into high gear to get out of the house for my Blogging for Beginner’s class (being taught by Jen of Prior Fat Girl).  Luckily, we put our new rice cooker to use over the weekend so we had some leftover cooked brown rice.  I threw 1/2 cup of brown rice (2 points) into a bowl with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese (1 point), 1/4 cup raisins (3 points) and some cinnamon.

I mixed the ingredients together, microwaved it for 60 seconds (stirring halfway through) and quickly enjoyed my warm delicious dinner.  The cottage cheese melts a little so it ends up tasting like rice pudding.  YUM.

But, now I have 8 points left for the day!  That is a lot.  Most days are not like this because I tend to use 6 points at breakfast, 8 points for lunch and 12 points for dinner.

It looks like I can enjoy a few more thin mints and maybe some hot chocolate before I head to bed 🙂   

Did you have a healthy start to the work week?  What is a meal you can quickly throw together in 15 minutes? 

Salmon Patties with Sauteed Squash & Zucchini

This is what tonight’s dinner looked like in the cookbook:

This was my outcome:

Sooooo….. not my most successful culinary attempt.  It still tasted pretty good but I included a few suggestions in the recipe below that I think will ensure a more successful attempt for anyone else.  🙂

(The musical pairing with tonight’s cooking routine was Brandi Carlile.  A nice dose of Mumford & Sons or Fine Frenzy might also go well with this dish.)

Salmon Patties with Sauteed Squash & Zucchini.  Serves 4.  Hands-on time: 30 min.  Total time: 30 min.

Nutrients per serving (1 patty and 3/4 cup vegetables): Calories 210. Total Fat 4.5g. Sat Fat 0.5g, Carbs 30g, Fiber 6g. Sugars 6g. Protein 16g. Sodium 340mg. Cholesterol 25mg.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, half diced and half thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 (6-oz) can salmon packed in water, without bones or skin, drained.  I used tuna instead of salmon since neither of us are big fans of salmon.
  • 2 egg whites, whisked.  I used Egg Beaters egg whites for convenience.
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated.  I used baby carrots since I got them on sale and also bring them as a snack to work.
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro, divided.  1 tbsp will go into the patties and 1 tbsp will go with the sauteed vegetables.  
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced, or 12 baby patty pan squash, cut in half
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Additional fresh herbs or green onion curls for garnish (optional).  I was too lazy to do this and didn’t miss the garnishes.  

STEP ONE:  In a large bowl, mix together diced onions, salmon, egg whites, mustard, bread crumbs, carrot and one tablespoon cilantro.  Using your hands, form mixture into four large patties, each about four to five inches in diameter.  I made four patties and think they would have cooked better if I had made them smaller and made five patties.

STEP TWO:  Heat a large nonstock or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for one minute.  Mist with cooking spray.  Place all four patties in pan and cook for two to three minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Remove patties from pan and set aside.  We set ours on the table while we cooked the vegetables and they were cold by the time we ate them.  I would recommend putting them in the oven on a low heat to keep them warm while the vegetables are cooking, or cook the vegetables in a separate pan at the same time.  The second suggestion would also be a time saver 🙂

STEP THREE:  Wipe out same large nonstick or cast-iron pan with paper towels, then heat over medium-high heat for one minute.  Mist with cooking spray again.  Add squash, zucchini, and thinly sliced onions.  Saute for about two minutes, then add one tablespoon water.  (The water will help steam the vegetables and cook them more thoroughly.)  Cook for another five minutes or until squash and zucchini are tender and onion is translucent.  When vegetables are just finished cooking, add remaining tablespoon cilantro and mix.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper.

STEP FOUR:  Serve one patty with three-quarters of a cup vegetables.

The Clean Eating cookbook has additional suggestions that go with each recipe.  I skipped over it when I put my grocery list together and wish I would have paid closer attention because it sounds so good:

Cookbook suggestion: Eat these delicious patties unadorned, or dress them up with a simple fruit sauce.  Combine one-quarter cup no-sugar added fruit preserves (strawberry or raspberry works best) with one-quarter cup water.  Cook preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until thickened and warm.  Remove from heat and drizzle over patties.  Yum, why didn’t I see that earlier?  

Roasted Eggplant & Kale Penne

Today was one of those days where the last thing I wanted to do after work was cook.  Luckily, Matt took control of dinner prep tonight because this dish was worth it!  Ok, I haven’t had a dish from Clean Eating that hasn’t been delicious so I feel like that is just stating the obvious.

(yes, we went overboard on the kale but I don’t regret it)

The dish itself was really good, but I wasn’t a fan of the prep.  The cooking times listed in the recipe were true (about 30 minutes), but it is the type of dish where parts are prepared separately and mixed together at the end.  We have a small kitchen and our counter space is limited so this can test our patience with each other (especially toward the end of the work week!).  Overall, the meal was still worth the dirty dishes.

I was, however, a big fan of the leftovers!  Hooray for lunch tomorrow and Saturday!  By the way, in case you’re wondering (and even if you aren’t), Snapware is great.

Roasted Eggplant & Kale Penne (with toasted pine nuts & feta).  Serves 6.  Hands-on time: 30 min.  Total time: 30 min.

Nutrients per serving: Calories 215, Total Fat 8g, Sat. Fat 1g, Carb 34g, Fiber 7g, Sugars 2g, Protein 8g, Sodium 216mg, Cholesterol 1.7mg

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8oz whole wheat penned (we used a low carb white pasta because it is what we had in our cupboard)
  • 1 bunch kale, stalks removed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (time saver: use a garlic press)
  • 2 oz reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp torn fresh oregano leaves (we didn’t use fresh and it still tasted good)

STEP ZERO: I am adding this in because we always end up spending more time on pasta dishes than expected because we forget this step.  Start boiling your water now!

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 400F.  Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, careful not to burn (we slightly burned ours and they still tasted great!), three minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and set aside.

STEP TWO: Drizzle eggplant with one tbsp oil and season with salt and black pepper.  Toss to combine.  Spread eggplant out in a single layer.  Roast in oven at 400F, stirring once, until soft and starting to brown, about 15 minutes.

STEP THREE: Meanwhile, cook penne according to package directions, until tender but firm.  Reserve half-cup cooking water and drain pasta.

STEP FOUR: Chop kale roughly.  Heat remaining tsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add crushed red pepper and garlic and cook for one minute.  Using tongs, fold in kale and season with salt and black pepper.  Add one tbsp water and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale wilts and becomes soft, about three minutes.

STEP FIVE:  In a large serving bowl, combine penne, eggplant, kale, pine nuts and quarter-cup reserved cooking water, adding more if necessary.  Top with feta and oregano and serve.

Let me know what you think if you cook this meal!

My Morning Protein Shake = L-O-V-E

Before I discovered protein shakes a year ago, I thought they were mostly for this type of person (which, as you see in ‘about me’, is not me!):

 

I was wrong.  Not only are they absolutely delicious, it’s a really easy way to get in extra fiber, fruit, calcium and protein for the day.  Besides, my morning shake makes me feel like this:

  

There are a lot of protein powders in the world so picking one really depends on your budget, taste buds and nutritional focus.  I use a gluten-free, vegan protein powder made by Arbonne.  However, I know a lot of people like the whey powder from Isagenix (share your favorite protein powder in the comments section!).  The basic types of protein powder are: milk, egg, whey, casein and soy.  I chose my protein powder out of convenience.  I was on a gluten-free kick at the time and have gluten-free friends who use the powder.  I also find whey to be very heavy so whey powders don’t work well for me. 

Will I look like Arnold does in his picture if I use a protein powder?  No.  The only way to build muscle is anaerobic exercise (i.e., lifting weights).  Protein powders act as a supplement to build muscle faster, but they alone will not help you build muscle.  WebMD has a lot of good information on the benefits of protein shakes and the different kinds of protein here

This is my shake before the Magic Bullet does its magic:

Vanilla protein powder shake

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • Water (I usually make my liquid, including milk, equal to 1/2 of the shake so it is easily drinkable)
  • Frozen berries (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup.. or whatever your belly desires)

 What I include for added nutrients (optional)

  • 1/2 cup Almond or regular milk (for additional calcium and to make it a little creamier)
  • Spinach (you can’t taste it, but it adds calcium and antioxidants to the shake)
  • Fiber powder (Most people get half of their daily required fiber grams so I HIGHLY recommend this.  Between the powder and the fruit, this morning shake is 18g of fiber!  I’ve only used the Arbonne powder but I’m sure any tasteless fiber powder would do the trick)

 Blend & enjoy!

 For convenience, I take it in a to-go cup so I can drink it on my way to work:

Deliciousness on the run!

Quesadilla with homemade green salsa (30 min total time)

I have been in love with the Clean Eating cookbooks since I received the first edition from my best friend, Colleen, as a Christmas gift.  I bought the second edition two weeks later AND subscribed to the magazine.  “In love”, “obsessed”… same thing.

Matt and I made the Quesadillas with Green Salsa from Clean Eating 2 in January.  The picture on my facebook page received so many comments I thought it would be an appropriate first recipe to share on Fitscally Responsible.  I add in commentary where I think the recipe could be improved for taste or for speed.  Enjoy!

Deliciousness topped with greek yogurt & homemade salsa

Turkey Quesadillas with Green Salsa (we used Chicken instead).  Serves 2. Hands-on time: 25 min. Total Time: 30 min.

Nutrients per serving (1 quesadilla and 1/3 cup salsa, without greek yogurt):  Calories 314, Total Fat 6g, Sat Fat 1.5g, Carbs 40g, Fiber 4g, Sugars 8g, Protein 21g, Sodium 469mg, Cholesterol 20mg

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz tomatillos (4 to 6), husked and rinsed.  If you’re like me and have no idea where to locate these in the grocery store, they are green and can be found in the fresh veggies section. 
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, halved lengthwise and seeded.  My suggestion would be to leave the seeds in to add more taste to the salsa but take them out if you’re going to add jalapenos to the quesadilla.  Seeds = more kick!
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 15 small tender sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • 2 whole-wheat tortillas (9 or 10 inches each)
  • 2 oz shredded low-fat Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend or Mexican cheese blend (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz cooked skinless turkey breast, shredded (about 1/2 cup).  We used chicken.  Tip to make adding meat quick: add canned Chicken in water; Costco’s Kirkland brand is pretty good.
  • Additional ingredients we added: sliced red & yellow bell peppers, greek yogurt and jalapenos inside the quesadilla.

STEP ONE: In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add tomatillos and cook for 5 minutes.  Add jalapeno and cook until tomatillos and jalapeno are tender, about 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to a blender.  Add 1/4 cup cooking liquid (the water used to cook the tomatillo & jalapeno), onion, cilantro and garlic and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and set mixture aside to cool.

STEP TWO:  Arrange tortillas on a work surface.  Sprinkle cheese on half of each tortilla, leaving a 1-inch border at the edges.  Arrange turkey over top, dividing evenly, then fold tortilla half over filling.  This is what my quesadillas looked like before I folded them (yes, it was a little fat after I folded it!):

STEP THREE:  In a large nonstick skillet, cook quesadillas over medium heat, covered, until golden brown on the bottoms, 3 to 4 minutes.  Carefully turn over and cook, uncovered, until golden brown and cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

STEP FOUR: Serve with salsa.  I added plain nonfat greek yogurt on top as a sour cream substitute, which I HIGHLY recommend.  I highly recommend greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute in most cases 🙂

Please let me know what you think and leave any suggestions in the comments!