Saturday, March 23, 2013

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Pasta

Oh yeah, another one!  Welcome back if you're keeping up!
So I originally got this recipe from the Delish website but changed it up just a bit, as I usually do!!
First thing's first: I cooked 12 ounces of shell pasta in boiling water for about 10 minutes, until it was done.  While that was cooking, I cut the casings off of 8 ounces of hot Italian turkey sausage links and cooked it in a skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up and cooking it for 5 minutes, until it was cooked through.  Once that was cooked, I stirred in 3 cloves of garlic that I had previously chopped, 8 cups of fresh spinach and 2 cups of cherry tomatoes that I had also previously halved.
I cooked that until the spinach wilted, about 3 minutes.  Once that was done, I removed it from heat and covered it to keep warm.
Once the pasta was done cooking, I measured out 1/2 cup of the liquid before draining it and set it aside.  I put 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese into a bowl with 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and then whisked the water and 1 tablespoon olive oil into the cheese mixture, adding the pasta once it was mixed.
I served the sausage mixture over the pasta and voila!!  Dinner was served!
The hot sausage made the meal a bit spicy but it was really yummy and filling.  The meal had 4 servings with only 352 calories per serving and only $1.75/serving!
Here's the recipe!!

12 ounces whole wheat shell pasta
8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage links, casing removed
3 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups baby spinach
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Happy cooking everyone!!

Chipotle-Glazed Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

See?!?!  I told you I would be doing a bunch today...I have WAY too much to catch up on!  So this meal I made about a week and a half ago and it was DIVINE!  I seriously love anything that has to do with sweet potatoes...:)
So, first thing's first: I preheat my oven to 400 degrees and then started to peel 4 sweet potatoes (the recipe stated they needed to be 10 ounces each) and cut them into 1-inch pieces.  When that was done, I mixed 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil with the potatoes and placed them on the bottom of my roasting pan, letting them cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
While that was cooking, I minced 4 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce and mixed that in a bowl with 2 cloves of garlic that I also minced, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar, 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  It created a paste which I rubbed evenly over 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
When the potatoes were done cooking, I placed the chicken breasts on top of the potatoes and let it cook for another 30 minutes until it was cooked through and VOILA!!!!  Dinner was served!
This meal was so yummy because it was sweet and spicy and I have always been a fan of that combination!  The meal, with the chicken and potatoes, was 497 calories and only $0.91/serving...did I mention it made 6 servings?!?  AMAZING I know.
Here's the recipe!!!

4 sweet potatoes (10 ounces each) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
4 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds total)

Happy cooking everyone!!!!

Snack Edition: Homemade Cheez-its

Happy weekend my fine-feathered cooking friends and welcome to another SNACK edition of Mama Feta's Meals!  I have ENTIRELY too many meals to catch up on!!  This is what happens when there's a birthday.  This time it was our youngest and he just turned eleven!!!  Ack!  As usual with this family, birthdays tend  to turn into week-long events and this birthday was no exception!  However, I'm back and plan to hustle these in to catch up because there are at LEAST 10  that I have to do...possibly 15...yikes.
So this particular snack I've actually made SEVERAL times since I've made them the first time a few weeks's that good.  The best part?  I was able to make these snacks dairy free for our birthday boy too!  So cool!
So first thing's first: I preheat the oven to 375 degrees and then I took 8 ounces of mild cheddar cheese and shredded it in my Salad Shooter and set it aside (for our youngest, I used the Go Veggie! brand and this was already shredded, so I just set it aside!).  Once that was done, I put the shredded cheese into my food processor (keep in mind I did this twice, once for the non-dairy version and then for the regular version)using the chopper attachment and added 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 4 tablespoons room temperature, unsalted butter (I should have mentioned I took this out earlier to warm up to room temperature, make sure that you do as well!), 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard.  Then I pulsed the mixture until it became crumbly.
Once that was done, I put the food processor on low and slowly added 2 tablespoons of cold water until the crumb mixture turned into a dough ball.
The original recipe states that you can put it in the fridge for 20 minutes but they chose not to wait, and neither did I!  I put the dough ball in between two sheets of plastic wrap and used a rolling pin to roll it out.  I tried to roll it out as square as possible, just to make sure when the pieces were cut that they were fairly even, but roll it out as you see fit!  Once it was rolled out, I used a pizza cutter to cut out the squares and then used a toothpick to put the famous hole in the middle of each square!
The recipe states that they used parchment paper to lay onto a cookie sheet, however, I didn't actually have any at the time and just used cooking spray, which seemed to work very well.  I will definitely try the parchment paper when I can remember to get some!  :)  I placed all of the squares on the cookie sheet and cooked it for 11 minutes and voila!  Homemade cheez-its!  I was able to get 103 cheez-its out of that batch and they were only 17 calories/cheez-it!  It was also only $0.03/cheez-it, whoa!
Here's the recipe!

8 ounces mild cheddar cheese (I also used 8 ounces Go Veggie! veggie shreds)
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

Happy snacking everyone!!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Breakfast Edition: Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oatmeal

Hello friends and happy St. Patrick's Day!  I have a bunch of GREEN food that I'll be posting your way soon, but I'm a little behind so I figured I'd help everyone out for tomorrow morning, after a LONG day of drinking green beer!  :)
It has been a minute since my last post and that is because our youngest son just turned 11!!  Seriously.  Plus, with our families, birthdays tend to turn into birthweek(s); it's pure insanity!  However, it has been lots of fun.  :)
AnyWAY, onto this yummy breakfast I made for the kids last weekend.  It was so simple and so yummy!  The best part is exactly what it states in the title: it cooked overnight while we slept!  No kidding!
So first thing's first: I took two apples (these were red delicious, but I imagine it could work with any apples because the recipe wasn't specific) and sliced and cored them.  I did this with my NEW slicer/corer (not exactly sure if that is what this most amazing contraption is called but WOW.  I have no idea why I never got one before.  If you don't have one, GET IT.  I'm still amazed by its awesomeness).  I threw that into my slow cooker with 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, two cups of oatmeal (make sure NOT to use quick oats, the recipe I had didn't state to do this and, while it worked, I can tell that it would've worked better without the quick oats version) and I covered that all with 4 cups of water.
Once it was all in there, I covered it and put it on and guess what?!?  I WENT TO BED.  It was awesome.  It's like a slow cooker dinner but for breakfast.  It states to let it cook for 8-9 hours, so I did make sure to do it around 11:00pm because I knew we'd all be up around 8:00am.  When we woke up, VOILA!  Breakfast was served!  It was super yummy.  The oatmeal had chunks of apple in it that were so soft yet ridiculously delicious.  I highly suggest trying this breakfast!
It was only 181 calories per serving (it perfectly made 4 servings for us!) and, I kid you not, only $0.20/serving.  Yet again, I can only attribute my low costs to shopping at the FAAAAABULOUS Winco!  So you can have a delicious, filling, HEALTHY breakfast for your kids in the morning with minimal cost and work.  WHAT!?!?  I know!
Here's the recipe!

2 apples (any kind) cored and sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups oatmeal
4 cups water
slow cooker

Happy cooking everyone!!!!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Taco Pork Chops

One more, you say?!?  Two in one day AGAIN, you say?!?!  Yes, yes indeed, I say!  :)
This meal I made the other day was really tasty and everyone kept making the 'mmmmm' noises while eating it haha!
This recipe I pulled from Pinterest (of course), which had directed me to Taste of Home (one of my go to sites, anyway!).
So first thing's first: I preheat a large skillet over medium heat and added 1 tablespoon of canola oil.  Then I cooked 4 pork loin chops about 3 minutes per side until they were somewhat lightly browned, and drained the remaining oil.  While those were cooking prior, I combined 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce with 3/4 cup of water, 1 medium onion that I had chopped, and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (I say 2 tablespoons because I actually make my own taco seasoning.  Two tablespoons is the equivalent to one packet.  I will post the taco seasoning recipe below, also, for your reference!).
When the chops were done cooking I poured the premixed sauce over them and brought it to a boil, reducing once it had and allowing it to cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
I removed the pork and kept it warm while I mixed 1/4 cup of water with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour in a small bowl.  Then I added it to the sauce mixture and brought it to a boil, letting it cook while I stirred it constantly for 2 minutes, until it thickened.
Once that was done, I served the chops with the sauce poured over it, along with some homemade chips and a side of black beans and voila!!  Dinner was served!!!
The chops were 281 calories per serving (it made 4 servings) and with the homemade chips and black beans, that added another 206 calories for a total of 487 calories (still under my 500 calorie limit yay!).  With the homemade chips and black beans, it ended up being $2.02/serving!  WOW!
Here's the recipe!

for the pork chops:
4 boneless pork chops (6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup water, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 envelope taco seasoning (or make your own seasoning, recipe below!)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

for the taco seasoning (this has made quite a bit of taco seasoning, I've used it in at least 3 different meals so far and still have some leftovers.  When I make it again, I will double check the actual amount it makes):
4 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
All that needs to be done it to combine everything and seal it in an airtight container and voila!!  You've got taco seasoning!!

for the homemade tortilla chips:
8 corn tortillas (2 tortillas per serving)
cooking spray
Just preheat your oven to 350 degrees, cut the corn tortillas into 8 equal triangles, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.  Then cook them for about 12-15 minutes, depending on how crunchy you'd like them!!

Happy cooking everyone!!!!

Snack Edition: Banana Gummy Squares

Hello again and welcome to yet another snack edition of Mama Feta's Meals!  Woo!  So I got this recipe from Pinterest from the Undressed Skeleton site.  There are actually a few recipes which I'm excited to try, and maybe a few other mixtures, as well!
This was one the easier ones to do (partly why I chose it!) and the first thing I did was add a large banana and 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice to a bowl and mashed the banana.  Once that was done I added it to a pan and let it simmer on medium heat for 3 minutes.  When that was done, I poured the mixture into a blender and let it blend until smooth, cooling it, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
Once it was cooled, I added two packets of gelatin (gelatin you can find in the baking section of any grocery store, but the Jell-O), as well as 1 tablespoon of Stevia and let it blend further until the mixture was smooth.
This recipe was a smaller amount than the others included in the blog, so I was able to pour the mixture into a Tupperware container as opposed to a cookie tray, and I put it in the fridge to to firm for about an hour or so.
Once it was hardened, I used my square cookie cutter (the recipe called for a bear cookie cutter, but I couldn't find one of those!  The squares worked just as well) and cut out the gummy squares.  It stated originally that this particular recipe made 80 bears but, since I used a bit larger cookie cutter, I was only able to get half of that, so it made about 40 gummy squares.
Voila!  Banana gummy squares!!  The recipe stated that they were 21 calories per serving, however, based on getting half I'd say it was 42 calories/serving.  Maybe?  Not sure, haha, give it a try!  It was also only $0.06/serving!  Seriously!  You can feel good about putting these snacks in your child's lunches!  :)
Here's the recipe!!

1 Large Banana
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice )best to use the juice from an actual lemon, not the bottled kind)
2 Packets Gelatin
1 Tablespoon Stevia

Happy snacking everyone!!!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snack Edition: Healthy Cookies

Hello once more on this fine, very cold and rainy evening!  I decided to do one more of my blogs since it had been so long, and this one is an easy snack edition which you will all LOVE!
So this snack only required THREE ingredients and took very minimal time to make.
First thing's first: I preheat my oven to 350 degrees and sprayed a cookie sheet with cooking spray,  While the oven was preheating, I mashed two ripe bananas in a bowl and then added 1 cup of uncooked quick oats, mixing them together.  Finally, I folded in 1/4 cup of crushed walnuts into the mixture (in case you were wondering, all of these ingredients I found at my local Winco, which I'm positive I've already raved about, but I seriously can't say enough good!  The quick oats and crushed walnuts I was able to find in the bulk section of the store, which is my favorite part!).
I used two spoons to help me round 16 cookies onto the cookie sheet and then I Baked them for 15 minutes and VIOLA!!  Healthy cookies!  WHY are they healthy, you ask??  Mainly because for TWO cookies it's only 93 calories!  A nice healthy snack that you can eat, or feel good about giving to your kids because you know what's in it!  I'm not kidding when I tell you this: these snacks were only $0.14/2 cookies!  This is why I LOOOOOOVE Winco, especially that awesomely awesome bulk section!!
Here's the recipe!!

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup uncooked quick oats
1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Happy snacking everyone!!!!!

Grilled Chicken Tenders with Cilantro Pesto

Hello my fine-feathered cooking friends (fiends?  Same thing haha)!!  I know it has been just a little bit  longer than usual but I was working on some secret recipe items...of COURSE I forgot to take photos of these secret recipe items so I will have to make these meals again and I will present them then!  You will LOVE it, I promise!!
This meal, however, I made the other day and originally got it from and it was SOOOOOOO good!!  I love any kind of pesto and was super excited to be making some myself.  Plus, I got to bust out my food processor, which is always tons of fun for me.  :)
So first thing's first: my hubs was off of work this day and actually helped me with this one!!!  I'm so lucky!!  He cut some chicken breasts I had into chicken tenders.  Once he was finished with that, he put 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (my usual Aloha Shoyu brand that I LURRRVE so much), 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 teaspoon chili powder into a bowl (reserving 2 tablespoons of that marinade) and dumped all of that pre-cut chicken tender goodness into it to marinade for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Here's where I came in!  :)
While I put two bunches of cilantro  into the food processor, I also added 2 chopped green onions (the recipe originally called for scallions but I didn't have any, and green onions are very close in a pinch), sesame seeds (the original recipe called for toasted sesame seeds but I got home late and didn't have time to toast them, they worked great plain!) and the reserved marinade and let it all run until it was smooth (YAY PESTO!).
Then my hubs helped me grill the chicken tenders (we used our handy grill rack because it's still a bit too cold to use the outdoor grill just yet!), coating it with cooking spray prior to doing so and cooking it on a medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side, until they were cooked.  Once that was done, I put the pesto on the side and voila!!  Dinner was served!  The flavor of the chicken on this one was so nicely offset by the cool and crispness of the pesto, it was a delicious meal!  The best part?!?  There were four servings in this meal for only 152 calories/serving!  Can you believe it?  It was also only $1.46/serving!  Whaaaaaat!  I know!  The meal was so light and low in calorie I decided to treat everyone and we even had some egg rolls on the side and STILL managed to stay under the 500 calorie limit.  Yay!
Here's the recipe!

1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound chicken tenders
2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (1-2 bunches)
2 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Happy cooking everyone!!