Saturday, February 26, 2011

Turkey Sausage Cassoulet

I'll admit I have never heard of a cassoulet before coming across this recipe, but maybe that is because I never really ate beans until recently! This recipe comes from the most recent edition of Fitness magazine. It was tasty and we enjoyed it, but it was missing something. Zach suggested adding a can of diced tomatoes next time, and I think he is right. It could use the extra liquid (some of the squash wasn't as tender as the rest) and tomato flavor would be a good compliment to this dish. I hope to revisit it soon.

Turkey Sausage Cassoulet
Slightly adapted from Fitness Magazine
Serves 4, 11 WW points plus per serving


2 1/2 tbs olive oil, divided
2 shallots, minced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
pinch salt plus more to taste
4 uncooked turkey sausage links
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs fresh sage, chopped
1 16oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbs grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 2 tbs of olive oil and the shallots, onion and pinch of salt to the pot. Saute 5 to 10 minutes and then turn off heat.

2. Remove casings from sausage and brown in a separate pan. Remove from pan and add to onion mixture.

3. Add the squash, broth, thyme, sage and beans to dutch oven; stir.

4. In a medium bowl, mix the panko with parmesan and remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle over the sausage mixture. Cover and back from 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2

Killer Meatloaf

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love meatloaf! I am slowly but surely turning Zach into a fan too because its one of my favorite comfort foods. I usually try to cook with ground turkey whenever possible, but meatloaf is the exception. To me, it has to be beef. And when you use 95% lean beef, its really not that much more fattening.

I have always been intrigued by bacon wrapped meatloaf so I decided to give it a try. I used turkey bacon because the real deal would have been way too indulgent. The result? Meatloaf heaven!!

Killer Meatloaf
A Running Mama Cooks Original


1 lb lean ground beef
1 tbs olive oil
1 egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup ketchup, plus more
2 tbs dijon mustard
1/2 cup provolone cheese, cubed
3 slices turkey bacon


Preheat oven to 400

Heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft and slightly caramelized. Remove from heat. Mix all ingredients together except the bacon and form into a loaf. Arranged bacon on top and brush loaf with ketchup. Bake for 45 minutes.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Maple Turkey Burgers

Week 2 of the recipe swap! The theme this week was lunch, but we ended up having these for dinner. I shared the recipe for tortellini spinach salad. I wish I had a better picture of these turkey burgers because they were delicious! I made some small changes to the original recipe (added panko bread crumbs, cooked them in the oven instead of the grill, and skipped the maple dijon sauce) to accommodate our tastes. Oh, and cheese! I have to have cheese on my burgers so I included some reduced fat cheddar. Super juicy and tasty burgers. They will definitely be going into our rotation.

Maple Turkey Burgers
Adapted from Sandra Lee


For Maple-Dijon Sauce: (I skipped this, but wanted to include it for those interested)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

For Burgers:

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast
1/4 cup real bacon bits
1/2 cup chunky applesauce
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
4 slices reduced fat cheddar cheese
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Hamburger condiments


Preheat oven to 375

For Maple-Dijon Sauce: In a small bowl, stir to combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup; set aside.

For Turkey Burgers: In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients for burgers. Wet hands to prevent sticking and shape into 4 patties. Cook on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. Add a slice of cheese to each burger and cook until melted. Serve on toasted bun with traditional burger condiments and a dollop of maple-Dijon sauce, if desired.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2

**UPDATE - Since then, I have made these several times. I like that they are easy to make whenever it is convenient for me during the afternoon and I can just put the uncooked burgers in the fridge until I am ready to cook them. Works out well when Zach and I are going to eat later than the kids! This is a healthy, easy go-to weeknight dinner.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baked Spaghetti Squash

I love spaghetti squash, but have to admit that I never knew what to do with it besides bake it, scrape out the "spaghetti" and top it with sauce. Good, yes, but a bit boring. The other night I was watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Network andthey were making this dish. It looked SO good, and different, that I jotted down some notes and put it on my to do list for this week.

This is my version. It was delicious, healthy and very filling. A five star meal!

Baked Spaghetti Squash
Serves 2, 9 WW points plus per serving


1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
1 tbs Olive Oil
2 shallots
1 tsp minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 large carrots, cut into small chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into small chunks
2 large zucchini, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided
1/2 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tbs fresh chopped tarragon


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and boil for 15 minutes. Remove seeds and scrap out "spaghetti."

Heat olive oil on medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onion, carrots, celery, pepper, and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to get tender, about 5 minutes.

Still in one cup of marinara sauce, parmesan, spaghetti squash and tarragon. Stuff veggie mixture into squash shells, top remaining sauce and mozzarella. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pork Chops with Onions in Creamy Mustard Sauce

Christina from Tales from the Mad Men Kitchen recently organized a recipe swap on a message board that I frequent. I was very excited to be a part of it and hope that this becomes a regular thing for us! This week, we were asked to submit a weeknight meal that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, or in a crockpot. I submitted my crockpot chicken taco soup and was given this recipe in return.

I was really looking forward to trying it. This recipe makes me step out of my comfort zone a bit using mustard, which is a flavor I am just recently warming up to. The sauce was definitely my favorite part. I cooked it on high and admit it was closer to 3 hours, so my chops were a little dry. Next time I will definitely cook them on low. I also skipped the whipping cream in favor of fat free half and half to make it a bit more weight watchers friendly.

Pork Chops with Onions in Creamy Mustard Sauce
4-6 servings, 6 WW points plus per serving


1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 to 6 Pork Chops, 1 inch thick
2 Onions, thinly sliced
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1Tsp Dry Mustard
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cracked Black Peppercorns
Pinch Cayenne Pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup White Wine or condensed chicken stock (undiluted)
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Whipping Cream (I used fat free half and half)


1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork chops on both sides and transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic, dry mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne, if using, and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add vinegar and wine or stock and cook until thickened.

3. Pour mixture over meat and cook on Low for 4-5 hours or on High for 2-2.5 hours, until pork is tender and just a hint of pink remains. Remove pork chops from slow cooker and place on a deep platter. Stir Dijon mustard and whipping cream into juices in slow cooker. Pour over pork and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

Serve with mashed potatoes or broad egg noodles

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Some of my friends and family know that there was an incident when I was around 10 years old involving pureed black beans and a certain cousin of mine tricking me into thinking it was chocolate pudding. Needless to say that was a major shock and pretty much ruined beans for me. I literally haven't touched black beans since that day, until tonight!

I wasn't sure if I was going to care for this, but just like every meal I've made with beans in the past few weeks, I loved it!!! Tons of flavor and again, I really liked the beans! Another great vegetarian meal to add to my repertoire.

Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers
Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites
5 WW points plus per pepper

6 medium sweet bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
1 Tbs salt
1/2 C cooked quinoa or rice (I used quinoa)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 - 1 jalapeno, minced (or you could sub a small 3oz can of mild green chilies)
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 green onions, sliced
1/2-1 tsp chili powder (you can start with 1/2 and add more to taste)
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 black pepper, plus more to taste
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
3/4 C jack or pepperjack cheese, divided
3-4 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
tortilla chips, just a handful and more for serving if desired.

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare peppers by washing, slicing tops off, and removing insides. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Boil whole peppers for about 3-4 minutes, until they begin to soften. Remove from water with tongs and place on paper towels to drain.

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno (or chilies) and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add corn, beans, green onions, chili powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Stir until corn and beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Place peppers in a baking dish. Remove skillet from heat and add quinoa, tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese, and cilantro. Stir to combine well and give it a taste. Add additional salt, pepper, and chili powder to your liking. Then evenly divide mixture between peppers. Top peppers with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.


Crockpot Chicken Ropa Vieja

We really enjoyed ropa vieja when I made it with beef, so I tweaked the recipe a bit and used chicken to lighten it up. Delish!

Chicken Ropa Vieja
Serves 4, 5 WW points plus per serving


Cooking spray
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon white vinegar


Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Add chicken breasts and pour broth and tomato sauce on top. Add rest of the ingredients and stir until well blended. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred chicken and serve over rice (additional points).

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
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