Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Crockpot Pizza Quinoa ****

You guys.  Seriously.  I am just speechless.  This was that good.  And I did it all by myself!  As I've mentioned, we're trying to eat healthier.  Mainly, just trying to squeeze in more veggies and less pasta.  That's the biggest part of it.  So I've been trying out stuff with quinoa.  Well, this week I've been really craving Crockpot Pizza.  I love that stuff.  Since pasta is a no-no more than a couple times a week, I just knew that quinoa would be the perfect sub.  I searched high and low on the internet, but I couldn't find a single recipe that combined pizza with quinoa.  So I winged it.  And it.was.fabulous.  It got 2 thumbs up from every single person.  That's huge.  My 10-year-old just came in here and said, "That might be one of the best things I ever ate!"  I sprinkled a little cheese on top of each serving, just to make it prettier, but it's really not necessary.  The cheese inside is plenty.  I am actually sitting here fighting myself to keep from going back for seconds!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1-1/2 lbs ground turkey, browned
5 oz baby spinach
16 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
8 oz frozen chopped green peppers and onions (fajita blend will also work)
3 (14 oz) jars pizza sauce
4 oz sliced black olives
1-3/4 cups water (I put mine in the pizza sauce jars and slosh them around to get the extra sauce out)
1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 package mini pepperoni

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and stir well to combine.  I like to save a little cheese and pepperoni to put on top, but it's not necessary.
Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low 6-7 hours.
That's it!  It's that simple!
Serves 6-8

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Caramelized Brown Sugar Cinnamon Grilled Pineapple ***

As long as we were using the grill for hamburgers and Grilled Brussels Sprouts, I figured we might as well put some dessert on there too. :-)  This is nothing fancy, but the sauce is to-die-for.  I seriously could have just eaten that with a spoon.  A small piece of pineapple fell off into the sauce as I was dipping them, and I popped it in my life.  I actually think I liked it even better than the end result, lol.  But it's sugar, butter, and cinnamon.  Like there was ever any doubt that it would be delicious!  I didn't bother with what she said about using the pan.  I just mixed it up in a bowl and then dipped the pineapple slices into it.  As sticky as it is, I think the pan idea would be way too messy for me.  But however you do it, this is definitely a winner in our book!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheRecipeCritic)

One pineapple cut into spears
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, melted
1 tsp Cinnamon

Lay the pineapple spears on a pan. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Whisk together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. (If it seems thick, I always put it in the microwave for a few seconds so that it can easily pour on top of the pineapple.) Spread on top of the pineapple.
Grill for about 7-10 minutes or until it is starting to turn golden brown. I always like to brush the excess sauce from the pan back on top of the pineapple before serving.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts ***

I've mentioned it before, but we love Brussels sprouts around our house.  Even the boys have loved them since they were little.  We hit the lottery with two kids who love so many veggies that are often despised by little ones.  Hubby texted me during the day today and said that he was in the mood for burgers on the grill.  He's still trying to eat semi-healthy, so I figured I'd try to find a veggie to grill at the same time.  I already had this one saved in my Pinterest files, so it was a pretty easy decision for me.

Long story short, we loved it.  It's nothing that will sweep you off your feet by any means, and I wouldn't suggest it for anyone who doesn't already enjoy sprouts.  That said, though, we'll definitely be making them like this more often.  It's so simple to throw this together and pop it on the grill alongside the burgers!  Ideally, I would have liked to have sprinkled a tad bit of Parmesan on each serving, but I was out.  I'll definitely do it next time, though.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SugarDishMe)

4-6 cups fresh Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Aluminum foil

Toss the Brussels Sprouts with the olive oil. Set aside.
Heat the grill to medium to medium high (between 350 and 425).
Make a foil pouch. Place the Brussels sprouts in the center of the pouch and roll up the sides leaving the top open.
Sprinkle the Brussels sprouts with the kosher salt.
Toss the pouch on the grill. Close the lid. Stir after about 5 minutes.
They will be done in 15-20 minutes. Some pieces will be crisp and charred, others will be golden, and others will be green and look steamed.
Remove the Brussels sprouts from the pouch to a plate and serve.

Monday, September 21, 2015

One Pan Philly Cheesesteak Pasta **

I was really excited to make this, but it just really seemed like something was missing in it.  Once the peppers cook in the liquid with the noodles, they lose their bite completely.  The roast beef's flavor is sucked out by the liquid too.  It just didn't have enough flavor, in my opinion.  Even a little bit of salt would have helped out some.  I don't know.  Maybe I shouldn't have used such lean meat.  I love the idea of it, so I definitely want to give it another shot.  I just need to figure out how to improve on it without changing the "cheesesteak" theme.  I need to look for some other similar meals and get some ideas, I guess.  Anyway, it was decent, but it wasn't what I had hoped it would be.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ YellowBlissRoad)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1 small onion
2 cups thinly sliced bell peppers (about 3 - red, and/or green)
1 pound thinly sliced, rare deli roast beef
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1/2 pound of small dry pasta, like Rotini (about 2 1/2 cups)
6-10 thin slices of deli Provolone Cheese

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a 12" skillet.
Add onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and onions are clear.
Cut roast beef into one inch thick slices. Add to the veggies in the pan.
Add pasta, broth and water, stir, and bring mixture to a boil.
Cover pan and reduce heat to low.
Cook for 18-20 minutes. Uncover and if there is still a lot of liquid in the pan, turn heat back up to medium-high and cook, stirring often for a few minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed.
Turn off heat and top pasta with cheese slices. Replace cover for about five minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Divide into bowls and serve.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Slow Cooker German Lentils with Sausage *

This one just did not work for us.  It smelled amazing, but even after 10 hours, the lentils still hadn't softened up enough.  The nutmeg kind of threw off the flavor combo too.  It just didn't go well, in my opinion.  I doubt we'll be trying this one again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FiveHeartHome)

1 pound dried brown lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
10 cups chicken stock or broth
1 pound grated carrots (or less, depending on your preference)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 to 2 cups of cubed kielbasa sausage (or ham)
Apple cider vinegar for serving, optional

Place lentils in slow cooker. Add chicken stock, carrots, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, parsley, garlic powder, celery salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in sausage.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until lentils are tender.
Before serving, remove bay leaf and stir in 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, if desired.
Tips, Tricks, & Variations:
You may use green lentils if your grocery store doesn't carry brown, but I find that they take longer to cook before becoming tender.
Since the type of chicken broth that you use can dictate the saltiness of the dish, taste at the end of the cooking time and add more salt, if necessary.
I usually buy a 1 pound link of sausage, use half of it in this soup, and then freeze the other half to use the next time I make the recipe.
You may brown the sausage by sautéing it in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker, if desired.
The first time you make this recipe, watch the liquid level carefully and add more broth if necessary. If you're at home, give it a quick stir halfway through. About an hour before you're ready to eat, stir and check the doneness of the lentils and turn the crock pot up to high for the last hour of cooking time if they're still too firm.
It's normal for the top and sides of this soup to become darker in color. The flavor is not affected, so just stir and everything will blend together.
If you're not sure about using the apple cider vinegar, start with a few drops and taste before adding more. But I really do think it makes a difference (for the better)!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crockpot Banana Bread Quinoa *

This was another one that just didn't quite do it for us.  It was good, in an odd way, but it was just way too sweet for my tastes.  It wasn't that it was quinoa, because I do love quinoa.  I even love it in the crockpot.  It's just not quite right in this one.  For one thing, the bananas just don't blend into it very well.  They taste almost like they're going bad (and mine were just ripe, not over-ripened, as the recipe suggests).  It just didn't work for me.  I'm definitely going to keep trying to find a similar recipe that we can enjoy, though.  I just love how versatile quinoa can be!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheRealisticNutritionist)

1 cup of quinoa (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup of Seasonal Coffee-mate Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie *
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 cup water
1 1/2 banana (past ripe)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*NOTE! If you can’t find that kind of creamer or you’d prefer to use something else, substitute light cream and add about 1 – 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon.

Mash the banana in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the brown sugar and walnuts together.
Pour quinoa, creamer (or light cream), milk, water, butter and vanilla into the crock pot. Add the mashed banana and stir to evenly distribute. Sprinkle the sugar and walnut mixture into the quinoa and stir to mix.
Cook on low for 4 – 6 hours, or until the quinoa is fully cooked. If you need to, add additional liquid or sugar to the mixture for taste.
Serve warm and garish with slices of banana!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Salmon-Lentil Patties ***

This was much better than I anticipated it would be.  The entire family loved it.  The only thing keeping me from making it a 4-star meal is the lengthy process involved.  I was afraid this one would be a little too "out there" for my meat-and-potatoes hubby, but he was just as in love with this thing as I was.  Even the kids went on and on about how amazing it was.  The only change I made was that I used chili powder in place of the cayenne, just because I couldn't seem to locate my cayenne in the spice cabinet.  I'd definitely go that route again, though, because the chili powder really added to the flavor, in my opinion.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ SkinnyMS)

1 (8 ounce) Wild Alaskan Salmon fillet, or 1 (14 ounce) can salmon, well drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cooked lentils, drained well
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 finely diced onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup whole wheat Panko, or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher or sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to broil.
If using salmon fillet, line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil, place salmon on cookie sheet, spread olive oil on both sides. Broil on both sides 5-6 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees. Allow to cool then remove skin.
Place salmon in a medium mixing bowl and flake using a fork. Add egg, lentils, onion, bell pepper, Panko and spices to salmon, mash either by hand or use a potato masher. Shape salmon into 4 patties. Or, use a large circular cookie cutter, pack and press salmon mixture to form patties.
Add canola oil to a large skillet, turn to medium heat and cook patties on each side for about 5 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned.
Serve salmon patties as a main dish or as a burger style sandwich with your favorite condiments.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used chili powder in place of the cayenne pepper. Yum!