Friday, August 30, 2013

Chile Colorado Burritos

WOW.  WOW, WOW, WOW!  So hubs said this was the best burrito ever made' and I'm pleased and have to agree!
This was a simple slow cooker meal and was YUM-MY!  So, first thing's first: I put some chicken breasts (you can also use beef if you'd like, or heck, even pork!) into my slow cooker, along with some chicken bouillon granules and mild enchilada sauce (I used the red sauce but I'm wondering how delicious this would taste with green too?).
Once that was in there, I covered it, set it to low and allowed it to cook while I was at work, about 8 hours.
When I got home, I shredded the chicken, set the slow cooker to warm so it wouldn't cook, and started to warm some refried beans in a small pot.  I got some burrito flours, put some of the shredded chicken onto the burrito flours, topped that with two spoonfuls of refried beans and then folded the burritos up.  I put the folded burritos onto a cookie sheet, topped it with some of the leftover enchilada sauce and then topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese.  Then I allowed those burritos to broil for two minutes to melt the cheese and voila!!  Dinner was served!
The flavors were ridiculous in these burritos and were only 371 calories per burrito (the recipe made 7 servings)!  I was able to make some homemade chips and serve that on the side!  Yums!  This was also only $3.01/serving!  Whoop whoop!
Here's the recipe!

2 pounds chicken breasts
1 (19 ounce) can mild enchilada sauce
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules (or 2 chicken bouillon cubes, use beef granules/cubes if you're using beef instead of chicken)
1/2 can refried beans
7 burrito size tortillas
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Happy cooking everyone!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Skinny Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken

Um, yum!!!  This meal was a pretty easy slow cooker meal and it was delicious!
So first thing's first: I took some chicken breasts out and put them into a slow cooker, then I took a packet of dry Italian dressing mix, mixed it with water and poured it over the chicken,  setting my slow cooker to low and going to work!!!!
When I got home, I took the chicken out onto my cutting board (leaving the liquid in it the slow cooker) and shredded it, putting it aside for the moment until I prepped the rest.  Then I took out some cream cheese (which I softened in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds) and mixed it with a can of cream of chicken soup.  Once that was mixed, I added a package of frozen broccoli (my suggestion is to actually allow the broccoli to thaw because it took quite a while to heat back up once I threw the broccoli in there) and then put the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and mixed well!  Then I switched the slow cooker to high and allowed it to cook until it was heated through.  As I said earlier, it took quite a while to actually heat back up with the frozen broccoli, so, to make it easier and less time consuming on yourself, go ahead and thaw that bag!
Then voila!!  Dinner was served!  This meal made six servings at only 259 calories per serving!!  I was even able to add some rice beneath the chicken which was SOOOO good!  It was also only $3.41/serving!  Whoop whoop!
Here's the recipe!

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli (thawed)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) fat free cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
1 package dry Italian dressing mix

Happy cooking everyone!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grilled Turkey Mexiburgers

Well hello my fine-feathered blogging friends!  I apologize for the delay in posting another blog.  I've gotten an amazing new job and with that, and the start of the school year, I've been pre-tay busy!  Not to worry, I think with three days under my belt at the new job and the kids onto their third day of school tomorrow, things should be smoothing out and going back to normal!
So this meal was SUPER DUPER easy, just like the last one I made!  Oh, and of course yummy!  So first thing's first: I got some ground turkey and put it into a bowl, which I added some chopped fresh parsley to, as well as some pepper and onion powder.  I mixed that together and made four patties and then heat up my grill pan over medium heat.
Once that pre-heated properly, I put the burgers onto my grill pan and allowed them to cook for about 12 minutes, flipping once or twice until I got those awesome grill marks on the burgers.
When they were nearly cooked, I added some Monterey Jack cheese to the tops of the burgers and allowed them to finish cooking in order to help melt the cheese.
Once those were done, I put them onto the hamburger buns I had, topped them with some salsa and voila!!  Dinner was served!
So this meal made 4 burgers at only 330 calories per burger!  Yeah!  It was also only $2.13/serving!  Whoopie!  Here's the recipe:

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 hamburger buns
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup salsa

Happy cooking everyone!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

3 Envelope Roast

Don't have a lot of time for dinner??  This meal is PERFECT!  I believe it took me no more than two minutes to get this meal set and cooking.  Don't believe me?  Watch this!
So, first thing's first: I got a top round roast and put it into my slow cooker.  Then I took on packet (each) of Italian salad dressing, brown gravy and ranch salad dressing mix, mixed it with two cups of water and poured it over the roast.  Then I set the slow cooker to low, covered it and LEFT FOR WORK!  Seriously, that was it.  The rice and corn you see in the picture took more prep and cooking then the roast did!
When I got home, I quickly shredded the roast with two forks, served it with some rice and corn and voila!!!  Dinner was served!
This meal was tender, delicious and full of flavors for having such a small ingredient list.  It really is a time saver, so I suggest doing this any day you know you're going to be busy!  I just started an amazing new job and needed the time saver and boy did this do it!
The roast made 8 servings at only 291 calories/serving!  With the rice and corn it added up to only 474 calories and it was only $1.89/serving!  Seriously!!
Here's the recipe!

2.5 pound beef roast (I used top round)
1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 envelope dry ranch salad dressing mix
1 envelope dry brown gravy mix
2 cups water

Happy cooking everyone!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chicken Shawarma with Hummus and Pitas

My goodness, was this meal ever delicious!  I feel like crying.  I think hubs even cried.  I know my boys were stoked on it.  The flavors in this were unreal.  Anyway, enough ranting on the flavors and onto how to make this!
So first thing's first: if you'd like to do this the actual way the recipe states, make sure you start at least two hours prior to cooking to prep!  It's mainly to allow the marinade to sit, however, as I'm notorious for, I didn't read ahead prior to starting this meal and the marinade really only sat for about 20 minutes or so but WOW.  Still delicious!  I seriously can't get over it.
Anyway, get some chicken breasts and cut them into pieces and put them into a separate bowl.  Then, in a smaller bowl, I mixed some extra virgin olive oil with fresh lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, dried thyme, paprika, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  Now I know right about now you're like "CINNAMON AND NUTMEG??"  I know, right?  I thought the same thing, but hey, it worked!
Once that was mixed, I poured that on top of my chicken and put it in the fridge while I started the hummus.
FIRST, however, I soaked some wooden skewers in water to make sure they wouldn't splinter.  Once that was sitting, I took some white beans, minced garlic cloves, low-fat plain yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, paprika, pepper and fresh chopped parsley.  I put all of that into a blender and let 'er rip until it was smooth (PS make sure to drain and rinse the beans before putting them into the blender!!).  Once THAT was done, I put that into another bowl, covered it, and let it chill while I started to cook the chicken.
I took it out of the fridge and put the chicken onto the skewers while I was heating my grill pan over medium heat (feel free to use an actual grill if you like, I just love my grill pan) and then I cooked the chicken, turning once or twice, for about 15 minutes or so.  Just make sure the chicken is cooked through!
Then I cut up some whole wheat pita bread and served it with the shawarma and hummus and voila!!!  Dinner was served!!!
My family has been obsessed with hummus now for quite some time, and I've made several different types of homemade hummus, I'm just glad I finally remembered to take a photo of one so I could blog about it!
So, now don't get angry, but this meal went over my usual 500 calorie goal.  I KNOW!!!!!!  But listen, you're allowed to cheat a little, right?  It wasn't too much over, and it was really filling and delicious, so please, try it!  The shawarma was 361 calories per serving, the hummus was about 62 calories per serving.  The pita bread I used was 170 calories per pita (this is what did us in but WHATEVER, it was delicious!), for a total of 593 calories.  Gasp!  I know!  It's okay, calm down.  The flavors are worth that extra 93 calories, I promise!  It was also about $2.57/serving (there were four servings from the shawarma but I believe I've gotten about 12 servings from the hummus, there's still leftovers!).
Here's the recipe!!

Chicken Shawarma:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 wooden skewers (I was able to put 5 pieces onto each skewer)

Hummus (I made more, but this is for the servings on the recipe, which states 6):
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
19 ounces chickpeas (or white beans), drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Happy cooking everyone!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Grilled Asian Ginger Pork Chops with Asian Coleslaw

So the past few days have been a bit nuts since it was my brother's 28th birthday!!  As I'm sure I've mentioned to you all before, birthdays with my family tend to last for several days, and this birthday was no different!
Anyway, I've finally been able to get back into the swing of things and let me tell you, this meal was delicious and REALLY filling (surprisingly for everyone haha).  It also took quite a bit of prep work, so be prepared!  Probably not as much prep work as I put myself through if you'd like to go the easier route, but I'm apparently a glutton for prep punishment.  ;)  This recipe also made me giggle a bit because, technically, I'M an Asian Ginger.  I'm a fake Ginger, but it still made me giggle!
So first thing's first: I actually started the pork chops the night before as it can marinate for a few hours or overnight and I'm always partial to overnight marinating.  It just makes the flavors that much more delicious!  So I brought out one of my larger Tupperware and mixed together some orange juice (I actually fresh-squeezed this, hence why my prep took a bit longer, but ready-made orange juice works just as well), soy sauce, minced ginger, grated orange zest, minced garlic, Sriracha and some salt.  Once that was mixed, I added the pork chops, making sure to coat them evenly, covered the Tupperware and put it into the fridge overnight.
Now this afternoon I started the prep on the coleslaw because, again, I made the prep more difficult than it needed to be.  This coleslaw was intended to be a really easy meal with bagged coleslaw mix, however, I didn't want to just grab a bag and dump it.  So I grated some cabbage and carrots and set that aside while I made the coleslaw dressing.  I mixed some orange marmalade, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, grated ginger and salt.  Then I poured the dressing over the grated coleslaw, added some green onion and mixed it, covering it with foil and putting it into the fridge to allow the flavors to blend.
Then I brought out my grill pan (feel free to use an actual grill if you'd like, I just can't handle waiting for the 'real' grill to heat up, I get antsy!), sprayed some cooking spray on it and turned the heat onto high.  Once that was nice and preheated, I put my chops on and let them cook 5 minutes per side, throwing a little extra marinade on top each time just to help keep it moist.
Once that was done, I plated it with a side of the coleslaw and voila!!!  Dinner was served.
We are still VERY full from this meal, however, it was ridiculously low in calories.  Only 136 calories/pork chop and only 70 calories per serving of the coleslaw!!  There were a total of 6 pork chop servings and 8 coleslaw servings.  Had we wanted, we could easily gone back for seconds but we were all stuffed!!  It was also only $1.79/serving!  Right?!?!
Here's the recipe:

Grilled Asian Ginger Pork Chops:
1/2 cup orange juice (fresh-squeezed or already squeezed, whichever you prefer!)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated fresh gingerroot
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick

Asian Coleslaw:
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag (16 ounces) coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots.  If you're feeling gluttonous like me, I used 1/2 head of cabbage and about 10-12 small carrots and grated those)
4 medium green onions, chopped (1/4 cup)

Happy cooking everyone!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mini Greek Burger Pies

Okay, so first, I'd like to apologize for the shaky and horrible nature of the above photo.  While prepping this meal I took a sizeable chunk out of my finger.  For a moment it felt like I was in the show "Chopped" because my hubs ran to assist bandaging it and I had to put a glove over it and everything!  Then the excitement left my body and I was all shaky (this would be when the photo was taken)!  Not to worry, though, as no DNA were cooked in the making of this meal!  :)
So, first thing's first: I preheat my oven to 375 degrees.  Then I chopped an onion and started to cook it with my extra lean ground beef over medium-high heat.  While that was cooking, I diced some roasted red bell peppers and, once the meat/onion mixture had cooked for about 7 minutes, I removed it from the heat and added that, some red pepper flakes and feta cheese.
In a medium bowl, I added some Bisquick, milk and eggs and mixed it with a fork until it was blended.  I added a tablespoon of the mixture to my muffin pans (which had already been sprayed with cooking spray) and then added 1/4 cup of the beef mixture on top, and THEN topped it with the remaining Bisquick mixture.
I threw that (well not LITERALLY threw, but you get my point) into the preheated oven and allowed it to cook for 25 minutes.  Once it was cooked, I let it sit for 5 minutes.  Make sure to let it sit for at least that amount of time, as that's what ensures that these mini pies come out in one piece!  Use a knife to slice around the mini pies to loosen and voila!!!  Dinner is served!!  As you can see by the photo, I also served it with the Asian-Style Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes that I had served on another meal earlier, the link to that recipe is here.
The mini pies were only 270 calories per 2 mini pies and only $1.47/serving!  Really!!!
Here's the recipe!!

Burger Mixture
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup diced roasted red bell peppers (from 16 ounce jar)
1/2 feta cheese, crumbled

Baking Mixture
1/2 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Happy cooking everyone!!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Roast Beef Sandwich with Melted Cheese and Caramelized Onions & Quinoa with Black Beans

OH...MY...QUINOA!!!!  Okay, seriously, this meal was amazing and I INSIST you make this meal as soon as possible!!  It did end up taking me an additional day of prep for the roast beef, but not to worry!  It really isn't as bad as it sounds!
So first thing's first: make the roast beef!!!!  :)  I took an eye round roast out of the fridge one hour before I prepped and cooked it!  I heat the oven to 350 degrees and then I trimmed the fat, making 1/2 inch slices all over the roast and putting sliced garlic into the slices.  Then I lightly sprayed the roast with olive oil cooking spray and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper, as well as dried rosemary.  Once that was done, I put a meat thermometer into it and allowed it to cooked until it was medium rare (when the thermometer reads 140 degrees).  Make sure to take the roast out at 135 degrees as the roast will cook further as it sits.  If you want your meat cooked at a different level, keep the roast in there until 145 degrees for medium (take out at 140 degrees) or 160 degrees for well done (take out at 155 degrees).
When that was cooked, I sliced it thin, put it into some Tupperware and put it in the fridge until today!  If you have a bit more time in your day, I'm sure this could all be done within the same day no problem.
So today, I prepped the veggies for the sandwiches and quinoa, slicing an onion into rings, as well as chopping a tomato, fresh cilantro and green onions.  I also freshly squeezed some lime juice, finely chopped a garlic clove, took out some frozen corn to thaw as well as drained and rinsed some black beans.
When THAT was done, I put some vegetable broth into a saucepan and heat it to boiling.  Once it was boiling, I reduced the heat to low and added the quinoa, covering and allowing it to cook for 20 minutes.
While that was cooking, I started the caramelization of the onions!  I put some olive oil into a skillet on medium-low heat and added the onion rings, seasoning with salt and pepper.  I let that cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally while it browned slightly.
When the quinoa was done cooking, I fluffed it with a fork and added the veggies to it, along with the drained black beans, thawed corn and some salt.  I let that cook through while I finished the sandwiches.
I took a whole wheat French bread loaf and cut it into four pieces, and then cut those four pieces open, putting them on a cookie sheet while I started the broiler.  After I briefly reheated the meat in the microwave for just a minute, I put the roast beef onto bread pieces, followed by the caramelized onions and then topped with a piece of provolone cheese on each sandwich.  I let that broil in the oven for two minutes, served it with a side of the quinoa and voila!!  Dinner was served!!!
There were lots of 'mmmm' noises because the beef was so flavorful and, added with the onions and cheese, created such a delicious sandwich!  The sandwiches made four servings and the quinoa made eight!  It was only 365 calories/serving for the sandwiches, along with 130 calories/serving for the quinoa, totalling 495 calories for the whole meal!  The best part?  It was only $3.41/serving!!!!!
Here's the recipe!

Garlic Roast Beef:
3 pound eye round roast, fat trimmed
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
olive oil spray
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Roast Beef Sandwich with Melted Cheese and Caramelized Onions:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large white onion, sliced into rings
salt and black pepper, to taste
12 ounces Garlic Roast Beef, sliced thin
8 ounces whole wheat French bread, cut into four pieces
4 ounces provolone cheese

Quinoa with Black Beans:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup black beans (from 15 ounce can), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 medium green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Happy cooking everyone!!!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

One Pot Spaghetti

Oh hi fellow cooking friends (fiends?)!!  I'm back at it again with another tasty, low calorie and low cost meal made just for you!!  Okay, maybe made just for family, but I'm sharing it with you!  Yay!
So I've seen this trend popping up on Pinterest where it's a one pot pasta-type meal and I just had to try one myself.  Let me tell you, this was almost as easy and exciting as using the slow cooker (oh how little it takes to keep me occupied!).
So, since this was a 'one pot' meal, I made sure to take photos during the process, too!  They aren't the best, so please bare with me!
First thing's first: I browned 1 pound of extra lean ground beef in a large pot of medium heat while my hubs assisted with chopping the onions and mincing the garlic.  Once I had cooked the meat for about 7 minutes or so, I added the chopped onions and minced garlic and cooked that until there was no longer any pink in the meat.
Once the meat was browned, I added some oregano, salt and pepper and mixed well.
Then I poured some vegetable broth and tomato sauce in the meat mixture and brought it to a boil.
Once it boiled, I added the pasta (this time I used elbow macaroni, but really, you can use any kind), reduced the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 17 minutes.

Once that was done I topped each serving with Parmesan cheese and voila!!  Dinner was served!!!
This was such an easy prep and easy to cook meal and would work great if you don't have a ton of time after your day.  As you can see in my final images, I also put my 'Garlic Tortoastas' on the side, which were delicious!  The pasta, by itself, was 404 calories/serving (it made 4 servings), and with the Tortoastas only went up to 450 calories/serving!  Woo!  It was also only $2.13/serving!!  Yay!!
Here's the recipe:

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
2 cups vegetable broth
24 ounces tomato sauce
12 ounces spaghetti (any kind you want!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (I used 1/3 cup split between the four of us)

Happy cooking everyone!!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

South of the Border Meatloaf with Homemade Refried Beans

So, wow...this meal was delicious.  Seriously.  Oh my goodness, please make this, the entire family loved it!
I prepped a bit of the recipe again last night because I knew I'd have to start part of it in the slow cooker today and I wanted to be prepared!  So I pre-chopped the veggies for both the meatloaf and the beans last night and when I woke up this morning I got the beans going.  So the original recipe stated to let the beans cook in the slow cooker on high for eight hours but this immediately worried me because I knew I'd be at work all day and unable to check the water levels.  If you've ever made homemade beans, it's stressful!  The water always went down way too fast on me!
So I dumped the pre-chopped onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic into the slow cooker, along with my dry pinto beans and some salt, black pepper and cumin.  Then I topped it all with 9 cups of water and set it to low and went to work!
When I came home, I actually decided to throw the slow cooker on high (because the beans felt a little hard still) and went about getting the meatloaf in the oven!
I preheat my oven to 350 degrees and, in a medium bowl, mixed part ground beef and ground turkey with salsa, bread crumbs, the pre-chopped onions and garlic, as well as some corn, chili powder, cumin, pepper and salt.  When that was mixed, I put it into my loaf pan and made the ketchup topping.  This consisted of tomato sauce, ketchup and some sugar.  I put that on top of the meatloaf, covered it with foil and threw it into the oven for about 1 hour.
When my meatloaf had about 15 minutes left, I took the beans out of the slow cooker (with a strainer, but I saved the liquid) and dumped it into a blender with some of the liquid.  UNFORTUNATELY, I'm not exactly sure how much liquid I put in there.  Just eyeball it and, depending on how well the beans blend, you can always add more.  Also, depending on the consistency you want your beans to turn out like.  I made them extra smooth and HOLY BEANS, it was delicious!
When that was done, I set it aside and, with five minutes left on the timer, I took the foil off of the meatloaf and let it cook uncovered.  Then I let the meatloaf sit for an additional 10 minutes and voila!!  Dinner was served!  So, I'm saddened to say the loaf 'pieces' didn't work out so well and turned into more of what looked like a chili, so I'm using the 'before serving' photos.  I hope that works!!  The meatloaf had 8 servings at only 149.7 calories/serving (so you KNOW my boys all went back for more) and the beans made 15 servings with only 139 calories/serving!!  The best part???  All of this was only $2.74/serving...seriously!
Here's the recipes!

South of the Border Meatloaf
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
8 ounces ground turkey
3/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon sugar

Homemade Refried Beans
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cup dry pinto beans
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
9 cups water

Happy cooking everyone!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cuban Picadillo

Oh yes, two in one day!!  What exactly are you going to do with yourself and so many food options?  :)
Okay, so this meal was DEEEEEEElicious!  I also knew we'd be home a bit later when I made this tonight, so I chopped the veggies last night and put everything else out in order to assist me!
So first thing's first: I chopped 1/2 of a large onion, minced 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 tomato, finely chopped 1/2 of a green bell pepper, and took 2 tablespoons of cilantro and washed it.  I put all of that in a tupperware for the next day but if you have time, just do it right then!
Then I took 1 1/2 pounds of extra lean ground beef and cooked it over medium heat, seasoning it with kosher salt and pepper.  Once the meat was done cooking, I drained it and added the veggie mix, which is called 'sofrito'.  I cooked it on low heat and added 2 tablespoons capers and 2 tablespoons of the brine from the capers.  I also added 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 bay leaves and a bit more salt for flavor.  Once that was all mixed, I added 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, along with 1/4 cup water and mixed well.  Then I covered it and allowed it to simmer for 15-20 minutes (again, I took it out right at the 17 1/2 minute mark).
While it was cooking, I also started to cook some white rice to serve with it.  Guess what?  Once it had simmered, voila!!!  Dinner was served!!  The meal made 6 servings at only $1.48/serving and was also only 170 calories/serving!!!  With the rice (each of us had about 1/4 cup of rice) it was only another 55 calories more.  I know, right?!?
All of my guys kept making the 'mmmm' noises during this meal, it was silly!  :)
Here's the recipe:

1/2 large chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup tomato sauce
kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons capers (along with 2 tablespoons of the brine from the capers)

Happy cooking everyone!!

BLT with Avocado and Asian-Style Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes

Hello fellow chef-fery friends!!  It has been some time (what else is new!) but I have a delicious meal that you'll want to try, you just wait and see!!
This is actually two different recipes because I needed a side.  Plus it's sweet potatoes.  I mean...come on.  I think it HAS to be made if it's a sweet potato, at least in this house!
So, the first thing I did was start to prep the potatoes, as the chopping took the longest (of course!).  I first preheated my oven to 400 degrees and then  I took one large sweet potato and peeled it, and then cut it in half and then into 3x3/4-inch wedges.  Okay, let's be honest, I didn't MEASURE the dang potatoes to make sure they matched what this recipe stated, but I'm positive I eyed it efficiently!  :)  Once that was done, I mixed 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs with 1/4 teaspoon (each) of kosher salt, garlic powder and ground ginger in a small bowl.  In another bowl I placed my pre-cut potatoes and coated it with 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.  Once the potatoes were sufficiently coated, I poured the bread crumb mixture over the potatoes and tossed it to coat.
I then took a cookie sheet, covered it with some foil and sprayed it, lightly, with cooking spray.  The potatoes went on this prepped sheet in a single layer and any additional crumb mixture I had I sprinkled over the top of the potatoes.  Then I let that cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes (I think it was just right at the 27 1/2 mark).
While that was cooking, I started to fry the center cut bacon strips for the BLT.  I also sliced some tomatoes, ripped off some lettuce and sliced 1 avocado.
Once the potatoes were done cooking, I put them on the side and toasted some 8-grain whole wheat bread and put the BLT's together.  I put a side of the potatoes with each sandwich and voila!!  Dinner was served!!  This meal, minus the slicing, was obviously easy yet surprisingly filling (must be the bread and potatoes!).  Each recipe made four servings total and was a total of only 422 calories!  The BLT sandwich by itself was 292 calories and one serving of the potatoes was only 130 calories!  Yowza!!  The best part?  It was only $2.16/serving!  Whoop whoop!
Here are the recipes:

BLT with Avocado

12 sliced center cut bacon
8 slices 8-grain whole wheat bread, toasted
1 cup lettuce of your choice (I used Romaine)
8 thin slices tomato
1 haas avocado, sliced

Asian-Style Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut in half and cut into 3x3/4-inch wedges
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Happy cooking everyone!!