Mexican Lettuce Wraps

Mimi's Fit Foods

Do you ever have days when you just don’t feel like eating anything in particular for dinner?  Well, this was one of those days and so I asked my husband what he wanted because I REALLY was at a loss and figured if he had a dinner option on his wish list, I would make it for him.  Well, he was no help and was in my same boat.  Thus, we were SOOOO close to just having eggs/omelets.  But, then I made one last effort to peruse the refrigerator to see if anything would jump out at me.  That’s when I came up with these babies.

I was too lazy to follow a recipe, so I just made up my own.  I threw in some ground turkey with onions and peppers and a few Mexican spices, added some fire-roasted tomatoes for additional flavor, some kidney beans for fiber/antioxidants/vitamins (and gobs of other good purposes), and some green chilies for a little heat.  With a little tomato paste added to the skillet, the mixture thickened right up and it fit beautifully in my little lettuce shells.

Lettuce is also a smart way to “wrap” up your food.  It has very, very little calories (like 7-10 for 1 cup).  I loved adding the carbohydrates to the mixture (rather than eating my carbs in a wrap) and, since the lettuce is so low in calories, I could eat as many “wraps” as my serving of mixture would allow.  You can do the same by adding as much mixture from your serving to each individual lettuce wrap.  You could walk away eating as low as 2 wraps, or as many as 6.  Of course, the amount of mixture you eat is the same but sometimes it does my mind good to think I was able to eat 6 lettuce wraps from dinner.  Ha, ha!

I included a list of optional toppings below.  Depending on your end goal, you’ll want to be careful with the toppings as they do add a smidge of extra calories.  I decided to top mine with a light sprinkling of reduced fat cheese, salsa and  Fit Ranch Dip (which I made using Hidden Valley’s Spicy Ranch flavor).

Not only did this come together fast, looks pretty and fun, but they tastes yum, yum, yummy!  I was so pleased with the outcome that I’m adding these to my quick, weeknight dinner meals rotation.  Heaven knows we all need more of these meals in our collection!

Mexican Lettuce Wraps
Mimi’s Original

1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used a red and yellow combination.)
1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or powder)
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
Lettuce for serving (I used baby Romaine.  Butter lettuce or iceberg would work well too.)

Optional Toppings:
reduced fat cheese
salsa
light sour cream
diced avocado (or guacamole)
Fit Ranch Dip

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, peppers, ground turkey, taco seasoning, cumin, and garlic salt.  Cook until onions and peppers break down and ground turkey is no longer pink, stirring often to break up ground turkey.  Add tomatoes, green chilies, and tomato paste.  Stir to combine.  Simmer until mixture thickens and a lot of the juice from the tomatoes evaporates, about 10 minutes.  Stir kidney beans into mixture and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile prepare lettuce leaves by washing, separating leaves, and patting them dry.  Fill leaves with turkey mixture and, if desired (and you can spare a few extra calories), top with optional toppings.

Serves 5.

Nutritional Information
(Per Serving = 1/5 of the Recipe, about 1 C. of Mixture, W/O Toppings)
Calories:  213
Protein:  23.2g
Carbs:  17.6g
Fat:  6.9g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  6.4g
Sugars:  5.4g

Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats with Marinara & Ground Turkey

Mimi's Fit Foods

Being the first of January and all, there are a lot of healthy recipes circulating the web.  This seems to be one that I’ve been seeing lately.  With good reason, folks!  It’s good!  I’m a pasta lover and guess what!?  I didn’t even miss the pasta in this dish.  I thought the spaghetti squash was so flavorful and the flavor of it married fantastically with the marinara, Italian spices, and cheese!  No wonder they call it “spaghetti” squash!

The textures in this dish are fabulous, the gooey cheese is beyond fabulous, and the Italian spices offer a huge punch of flavor.  My husband who doesn’t really care for spaghetti squash gobbled this up AND asked to take the leftovers to work the next day.  Yep, that’s right.  It’s good.  Oh, and it’s a cinch to throw together!  I’m not even tricking you!

Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats with Marinara & Ground Turkey

2 small/medium rip spaghetti squash
12 ounces ground turkey (93% lean)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded

First, roast your spaghetti squash.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  Place on a baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until the skin gives easily under pressure and the inside is tender, about one hour.

Towards the end of the roasting time, prepare marinara and ground turkey (if making your own marinara, then you’ll want to start this process about 30 minutes before squash is done) .  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Place ground turkey in skillet and season with Italian seasoning, garlic salt, salt, and pepper.  Stir turkey while cooking to break into small, crumbly pieces and cook until no longer pink.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  Prepare and warm marinara. (I like to use my own because it tastes fresher and is healthier, but for ease, you can also use prepared stuff too such as Prego Heart Smart.  You’ll just find that the calories are more when buying the store bought stuff.)

Remove spaghetti squash from the oven and carefully scrape squash with a fork to loosen the flesh into long strands.  Top each boat with 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 3 ounces of ground turkey, and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.  Place back into the hot oven to cook until the cheese melts.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Boat)
Calories:  282
Protein:  25.5g
Carbs:  16g
Fat:  13.4g (5.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.2g

Sweet Potato & Turkey Breakfast Hash

Here’s another use for those turkey leftovers!  It may seem kind of weird at first, but you gotta trust me that it’s SO good!  It makes more of a savory breakfast, and I loved it.  The onions get caramelized, the addition of thyme makes it so fresh and savory, and the turkey and sweet potatoes are a major hit.  Of course, it’s that runny egg that REALLY tops the dish off!  And, while we enjoyed it for breakfast . . . I can honestly say that we would enjoy it for lunch or dinner too.

I used cooked sweet potatoes, but if you don’t have sweet potatoes that are already cooked/baked, you can use raw ones.  If you do use raw ones, add them to the pan first to allow them to soften (this may take about 6-8 minutes, stirring them often).  Afterwards you’ll want to add the onions and follow the recipe as written.

As usual, it doubles and triples like a charm!  Enjoy!!

Sweet Potato & Turkey Breakfast Hash
Adapted from The Chew 

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium cooked sweet potato, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
4 oz. leftover turkey, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add onion and thyme, season with salt as desired, and sauté until onions are soft and translucent.  About 6-8 minutes.  Add sweet potato and turkey to pan.  Cook just until sweet potato and turkey is warmed through.  Remove from heat and divide between two plates.

Heat a separate non-stick pan over medium heat.  If desired , spray with cooking spray.  Fry eggs until the whites are cooked and yolks are soft and slightly warm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes.  Flip once, continue to cook for 30 seconds, and then remove from heat.

Immediately top each portion of breakfast hash with an egg.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/2 the Recipe)

Calories:  270.6
Protein:  17.8g
Carbs:  20.5g
Fat:  13.2g (3.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g
Sugars:  2.8g

Turkey-Cranberry Quesadilla

I’ve got a couple of ideas for all of your turkey leftovers.  I use my turkey leftovers in very common ways (like turkey-cranberry sandwiches – YUM!), but I also like trying some non-traditional leftover recipes too.

This is one of those non-traditional uses of leftovers, but it’s SUPER easy and tasty too.  First off – who doesn’t love a quesadilla!?  I mean what’s not to love about a filling with delicious melted cheese?  When I saw the idea for this, I knew I had to try it and I was glad I did.  It took all of 2 minutes to assemble (and that’s only because I had to dice my green onion) and it was ready in less than 8 minutes.  I loved how the sweetness from the cranberry sauce blended with the taste of the Swiss cheese.  The green onions offer a nice hint of freshness.  We liked this use of leftover turkey and maybe, just maybe you will too!

Turkey Cranberry Quesadillas
Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

fat free cooking spray
2 whole wheat tortillas (100 calories each)
2 slices light Swiss cheese (like Jarlsberg Lite), chopped
diced green onion, to taste
6 oz. leftover turkey breast (I shredded mine)
2 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce

Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  (See tip below for optional cooking directions which I actually prefer.) Place a tortilla in the skillet and over half of the tortilla sprinkle 1 slice of the chopped light Swiss cheese, half the leftover turkey, and green onions.  Spread 1 tablespoons cranberry sauce on the other half of the tortilla.  Fold tortilla over the filling and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Turn and brown the other side.  Remove from skillet and set aside for about 1 minute.  Cut quesadilla into wedges and serve.  Repeat with the second tortilla and remaining ingredients.

Optional Cooking Tip:  I often cook these on my indoor grill (aka George Foreman).  It makes it SUPER handy so that I don’t have to actually flip the tortilla over in a skillet (which sometimes can be disastrous with the filling falling out all over the place….not that I would know!).  I can also cook at least two at a time (one for me and one for the hubby) in record time.

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Quesadilla)
Calories:  265.5
Protein:  24.9g
Carbs:  23.5g
Fat:  7.9g (2.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.9g
Sugars:  5.5g

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Cinnamon - The Best

Please!  I beg of you!  If you don’t already make your own cranberry sauce, start NOW.  It’s the easiest to make in the whole wide world and it tastes so fresh and flavorful that you will kick yourself for not making it sooner.  Besides, then you know EXACTLY what’s in it, there’s no preservatives from the canned stuff, and well, it’s simply delicious!

It’s so easy to make because all you do it throw fresh cranberries in a saucepan, add water or juice, a little bit of sugar, and then you just simmer it until it thickens.  Easy peasy!

This is my most favorite version of cranberry sauce.  I LOVE the addition of orange and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t (however, if you are totally against the idea of adding orange . . . just substitute water in place of the juice).  The orange juice and zest allow us to use less sugar, but then it also elevates the flavor.  Win-Win!  I love to throw a cinnamon stick in the pan while it simmers.  You can’t REALLY taste much cinnamon flavor, but there is a slight hint.  Maybe I mostly just like the fact that it makes me feel super festive.  I admit it; I love the holidays and the smells of the holidays are DEFINITELY part of the love!  And, so is this delicious cranberry sauce.  I don’t let the holidays ever go by without it.  I seriously don’t think you should either!

In fact, may you should pair it with this super delicious turkey!  That’s what I did.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Adapted from Tyler Florence/Food Network

12 ounces cranberries, fresh
1 orange, zest, juiced and just into strips
1/3 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve at room temperature or cool and refrigerate.  Remove the cinnamon stick & orange slices before serving.

Makes just over 1 cup of sauce.
Serves 10.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 2 Tablespoons)
Calories:  46.5
Protein:  0.2g
Carbs:  11.9g
Fat:  0g
Fiber:  1.8g
Sugars:  8g

Perfect Roast Turkey

Thanksgiving and Holiday Turkey

The holidays are coming.  Can you even believe it?  In just over two weeks we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday and then Christmas.  Is it just me, or do the holidays come fast for you too?  I’m pretty excited for them.  I get excited every year, but I’m super excited to share my baby girl’s first holiday season with her this year.  We’re going to have fun!

We’re also going to eat well.  Turkey seems to be the main protein choice at most holiday events.  Considering that turkey is an excellent lean protein, I am happy that this is the case.  Now, we just need a good recipe and cooking method to ensure we get the perfect meat.

Look no further folks because I found it for you!  I seriously have not had better turkey meat in all of my life . . . well, at least that I can remember!  This recipe and cooking method turns out the most flavorful and moist meat you’ll ever have.  (Is there nothing worse than dry and bland turkey meat!?)

It all starts with the brining.  I know it requires a tad bit more effort (and really, it’s just a tad), but it is SOOOOOO worth it!  The brine not only allows for a VERY moist turkey, but it also helps to infuse flavor into the meat.  This replaces any need to baste your turkey (which really doesn’t add flavor to the meat . . . only to the skin AND by opening your oven several times during roasting to baste just dries out your meat). If you’re interested in the science of how/why this is so, you can watch a little video here.  It explains the science of brining and Alton then shows how he prepares his brine.

Once the turkey has set in the brine overnight, then all you do is rinse the turkey, pat it dry, rub it with some canola oil, add some simple aromatics to the cavity of the bird and roast it!  As crazy as it sounds, you actually don’t roast it in a roasting pan (or in a turkey bag).  You’ll put it on a roasting rack placed in/on a half sheet (jelly roll) pan.  This allows for an evenly roasted turkey.  You’ll start with a high temperature (to brown and crisp the skin) and then you’ll reduce the temperature for the remaining roasting time.

For those of you who are visual, you can watch Alton Brown prepare and roast his turkey here.
For the short and quick version, click here.

I know the videos can be helpful, especially if you’re attempting a roasted turkey for the first time in your life.  Warning:  The videos are a little old, but the science and method are still VERY current.

Now, start planning your holiday dinners and be SURE to include this roasted turkey.  You will NOT be sorry!  And, can I ask a small favor?  Do you mind bringing me your leftovers?

Alton Brown, Good Eats Roast Turkey

The Perfect Roast Turkey
Adapted from Alton Brown/Food Network Magazine

Ingredients
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.  (I usually put my frozen turkey in a sink full of cold water, keeping the turkey submerged, for several hours to start the thawing.  I then transfer it to the refrigerator to allow it to thaw completely.)

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, and peppercorns in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.  (I just put a lid on my bucket and placed it on my back porch over night.  The ice water kept it cold enough and the following day there was still a lot of ice indicating that the turkey was still nice and cold.)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.  (I used an oven/heat-safe cooling rack inside a jelly roll pan and it worked like a charm!)

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes (there may be some smoke created towards the end of this 30 minutes, but do not fear). Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  If needed/desired, cover the breast section with foil to ensure that it doesn’t brown too much and so you get perfect roasting between dark meat and breast meat (I followed Alton Brown’s suggestion in the video to fit a piece of foil to the bird before I put it in the oven so that all I had to do was set the foil on the bird at this point.)  Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Serves a lot!

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 3 ounces Breast Meat)
Calories:  90
Protein:  15g
Carbs:  1.5g
Fat:  2.3g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0g
Sugars:  1.5g

Fit & Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie with a Crumble Biscuit Topping

I kind of can’t believe that I haven’t shared this recipe yet.  It’s one of our family favorites.  I love making this for company too because everyone seems to love it, it goes a long way, and it’s healthy (without being completely obvious to guests).  I mean, who doesn’t love a classic chicken pot pie?!

This healthier chicken pot pie is so fantastic because we are able to cut calories by cutting out the traditional crust.  And, to be completely honest, I totally prefer this crumble biscuit topping anyway!  I had you at “crumble,” didn’t I?  It is everything that a crumble topping should be.  It requires one extra step, but it’s WAY worth it (and you can skip it if you really don’t care).  You partially bake the crumble separately from the filling, then scatter it over the top and slide it back in the oven to finish baking.  This increases the crunch factor (no soggy topping).

Now, this is an easy version of pot pie.  It goes in the slow cooker for starters.  I used frozen veggies (instead of freshly chopped), condensed soup (instead of making my own roux. . . which for the record, it’s always healthier to make your own roux), and there are no fresh herbs.  That being said, it’s still a winner in my book because the flavor is superb . . . especially when you consider the ease it takes to throw together.  It tastes very traditional and classic.  And, since I have a baby on my hip these days, my time doesn’t always allow for gourmet.  (I’ll share my gourmet version one of these days . . . which isn’t much different other than the fact that I use fresh veggies, make my own roux, and add fresh herbs.  So, you can pretty much do that on your own if you’re handy and have the time.)

This can be stretched to 6 servings if desired (making each serving 264 calories).  It can easily be doubled to go in a 9×13 pan as well.  I do this quite often when I have people over or when I am taking a meal into somebody.

It’s pretty awesome, tasty, and comforting.  Enjoy!

P.S.  This is a great use for leftover turkey.  Since the holidays are coming and you just might be left with some leftover turkey meat, you may want to consider using it in this recipe.


Fit & Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Mimi’s Original

Filling:
2 small red potatoes, cubed
2 cups frozen mixed veggies (my favorite mix is peas & carrots)
1 cup chopped onions (1 medium onion)
1/2 teaspoon chicken seasoning
(such as McCormick’s Grill Mates, Johnny’s Garlic, or Santa Maria)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
12 ounces cooked, cubed chicken breast (about 2 large breasts)
1 (10-oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup (98% fat free)

Crumble Biscuit Topping:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup milk (I use 1%)
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients for filling.  Transfer filling mixture to slow cooker (before filling slow cooker, I usually spray it with cooking spray to make cleanup a little easier).  Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Towards the end of cooking time, preheat oven to 450 degrees and make biscuit topping.   Combine sugar, salt, baking powder, and wheat flour in a small mixing bowl.  Stir with a fork to combine.  Add milk and oil and gently stir with a fork until combined.  Drop pieces of dough (crumble the dough into irregularly shaped pieces that are roughly the same size) on a greased or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (I line a jelly roll pan with a silicone baking mat).  Bake for 6 minutes (crumbles will barely be getting brown).  Remove from oven.

While crumble topping starts baking, gently stir filling mixture to evenly distribute heat.  Transfer mixture to an 8×8 baking dish (this can easily be doubled to fit a 9×13 baking dish).  Once crumble topping is removed from oven scatter it evenly over top of filling.  Place in a 450-degree oven and bake an additional 6 minutes or until crumble topping is golden brown.

Serves 5.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/5 the Recipe)
Calories:  316.8
Protein:  21.2g
Carbs:  38.9g
Fat:  10.2g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.8g
Sugars:  5.6g

Fit Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers with Beef, Rice, & Tomato

I’m back, folks!  Sorry I went missing for a couple of weeks.  My sweet grandma passed away and I wanted to spend as much time with her before she left and then I spent a lot of time with my family as they all came into town for the funeral.  Thus, that left little time for creating new recipes and blogging.  That being said, it’s been an emotional and cherished past couple of week.  I love my grandma and I will miss her, but I know I’ll get to see her again some day.  I also love my family and enjoyed spending extra time with them.  It felt like a huge unplanned family reunion.

Now I’m back to cooking and such and this is a fabulous dinner option!  We grow bell peppers in our garden every year, but I think this year we turned out the best harvest yet!  The peppers grew fast, got big, and the flavor has been super intense.  They are delicious!  We finally got our first overnight freeze/frost of the year so Beau went and picked all the peppers before bed.  I figured that making stuffed peppers would be an awesome way to use some of them up.

Awesome, indeed!  These are super simple.  The only thing you have to remember is that the recipe calls for cooked brown rice.  So, if you haven’t made that in advance then your prep time will increase by 45-60 minutes.  I baked my rice earlier in the day (since baking it only requires about 1 minute worth of effort, but the rice turns out fluffy and fabulous).  Then you just simply cook your ground beef, mixed with onion and garlic, in a skillet until browned.  Mix in the cooked rice, tomato sauce and Worcestershire (this stuff somehow elevates the flavor of ground beef like crazy), and stuff your peppers, bake the peppers, and then eat them!  Easy peasy!

The flavors of bell pepper, ground beef, and tomato just marry so well together.  We found these to be very filling.  I made a green salad to go with them because I was leery of how filling these would be.  The green salad was tasty, but it wasn’t necessary to “fill us up” like I thought it would be.

Give these a try.  Bell peppers are easy to find year-round and I found the dish to be fresh, but also comforting.  Who doesn’t want a comforting dish around this time of year??

Fit Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from allrecipes.com

1 ½ cups brown rice, cooked
12 ounces lean (93%) ground beef (lean ground turkey is also good)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 bell peppers (any color – I used green from my garden)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons part skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add beef, onion, and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir beef mixture until meat is evenly browned and onion is softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers.  Arrange peppers in a baking dish (I used a round Corningware dish with tall sides and it worked perfectly) with the hollowed sides facing upward.  (You may have to slice a little off the bottoms of the peppers to help them stand upright.  Just don’t cut too far up the pepper that you end up with a hole in the bottom.)

Mix the browned beef, cooked rice, Worcertershire sauce, and 1 can tomato sauce (I did this right in the skillet).  Add salt and pepper if needed.  Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper.  Mix the remaining can of tomato sauce with the Italian seasoning in a small bowl (or right in the can if you’re careful not to spill everywhere) and pour over the stuffed peppers.

Bake in the preheated oven, basting with the sauce every 15-20 minutes, until the peppers are tender, about 1 hour.  Sprinkle the peppers with grated mozzarella cheese after baking.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Stuffed Pepper)
Calories:  298
Protein:  23.2g
Carbs:  33.3g
Fat:  7g
Fiber:  4.4g
Sugars:  7.4g

Slow Cooker Chile Verde

Tomatillo Chile Verde

I’ve already confessed my love for tomatillos.  We grow them in our garden because we love them so!  Here’s another FABULOUS use for them.  Of course, if you don’t grow your own, you can easily find them in your grocery store (which is what I do during the winter months).

I love chile verde!  I always want to order it when I eat out at Mexican restaurants, but I hesitate to do so because I’m always worried about how they actually prepare it.  Here is a great way to enjoy it at home without any of the worry.  This is SUPER tasty and I’m so glad that my sister Becca shared the recipe with me.  Becca is a wonderful cook and when she gave me this recipe I had no doubt the I would love it.  It’s just what chile verde should taste like.  The tomatillos combined with onion, garlic, green chiles, and cumin is unbeatable.  The white beans add a nice dimension of flavor and texture as well.  (You’ll just want to note that the beans count toward your carb count so don’t overdo it on your rice/tortilla portion.)  Oh!  It’ll make your house smell sooooo good too!

Here’s to a home-cooked chile verde that is as good (or better, I dare say) than what you would find at a restaurant!

Slow Cooker Chile Verde
Recipe Source:  My Sister, Becca

1 lb. chicken (or turkey or pork)
4-6 cloves garlic
1 lb. tomatilloes, peeled and diced
14 oz. chicken broth, low sodium & 99% fat free (Swanson’s)
4 oz. green chiles
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large onion, diced
1 can great northern beans, drained & rinsed
cilantro, chopped (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and cook in slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.  15-20 minutes before serving, shred meat and add ½ cup fresh cilantro, if desired.  Serve in tortillas or over rice.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  149.7
Protein:  20.2
Carbs:  14.9
Fat:  1.6g (0.2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4.6g
Sugars:  3.1g

Turkey Cheeseburger Quesadilla

Applebee's Make-Over of the Quesadilla Burger

Have any of you eaten or ordered the Quesadilla Burger at Applebee’s?  Well, there are SO many people that love it so I thought I would attempt a little makeover on that entree.  Here’s what I came up with and I have to say, I am pretty darn pleased with the results!  Man, this thing is packed with Southwestern flavors that make it far from boring. You add chunky pico de gallo and cheddar cheese to it, along with the fact that the tortilla is nice and crispy, and it makes you wonder if this is really a legal and healthy thing to be eating because it is SOOOOO yummy!

I actually used Beach Salsa on my quesadilla because I had that on hand (the Beach Salsa adds a few extra calories than regular pico because of the corns/beans), but it was so deeeeeelish!  However, regular ol’ pico will work super well and that’s what I actually used to count the nutritional information for the recipe.

So, now you have an excuse to have a restaurant-worthy meal right at home.  This was sooooo easy and good that it will probably make my weekly dinner menu.  That’s right, weekly!  It’s one of my new go-to meals.

Turkey Cheeseburger Quesadilla
Mimi Original (Inspired by Applebee’s)

1 lb. ground turkey burger
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup pico de gallo
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
8 small whole wheat flour tortillas (Mission Life)
spray oil

Mix taco seasoning, salt, and pepper into ground turkey.  Form 4 flat patties (I make them more oval/flat to fit close to the size of half a tortilla).  Heat a skillet pan or indoor grill to medium-high heat; when hot, lightly spray the pan with oil and add the burgers. Cook burgers about 2 minutes on each side or to your liking (I cooked mine for 4 minutes on my Goerge Foreman Grill). Set aside.

Clean the pan and return to medium heat.  Lightly coat your large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  (See tip below for optional cooking directions.) Place a tortilla in the skillet (if your skillet is big enough you can do more than one at the same time) and place 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese on each tortilla, then 2 tablespoons pico de gallo, top with turkey burger, then an additional 2 tablespoons of pico and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese.  Fold tortilla over the filling and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Turn and brown the other side and cook until the cheese melts.  Removed from skillet and set aside.

Repeat with remaining tortillas, turkey burgers, cheese, and pico.

Serves 4.

Optional Cooking Tip:  I often cook these on my indoor grill (aka George Foreman).  It makes it SUPER handy so that I don’t have to actually flip the tortilla over in a skillet (which sometimes can be disastrous with the filling falling out all over the place. . . not that I would know!).  I can also cook at least two at a time (one for me and one for the hubby) in record time.

Nutritional Information (Per Quesadilla – with a 4-oz. Burger)
Calories:  331.4
Protein:  31.2g
Carbs:  22.4g
Fat:  14g (4.9g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3g
Sugars:  1g