Sloppy Joes

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Sloppy Joes are the quintessential kid comfort food. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, the community was invited to a sloppy joe supper. I remember it was a chilly spring evening, and I was hungry! As I buried my face into that soft bun, the warm, sweet meat filling oozed into my mouth. It was pure bliss. By chance, a newspaper reporter caught that first bite on film, and I made the front page!

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I still love a good sloppy joe, but I am not a fan of the canned sloppy joe sauce. Sure, it is easy, but it has high fructose corn syrup and lots of thickeners like guar gum, xantham gum, and carob bean gum (not necessarily bad, but it makes you feel like you are getting more than you really are). And then there is the hamburger bun. Don’t get me started on those chemical-laden things. Here is a sloppy joe recipe that you can feel good about serving your family. Don’t forget to use my recipe for homemade buns!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup green pepper, finely diced
1 carrot peeled and shredded
1 pound ground turkey, 93% lean or 1 pound ground beef, 93% lean
1 8oz. can tomato sauce, plain
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

In a skillet, over medium-high heat, saute the onions and peppers in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the shredded carrot and ground turkey or ground beef and cook until the meat is browned.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Remove from heat and serve on hamburger buns.

Makes 8-12 sloppy joes (depending on how full you fill them).

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Coconut Mango Custard

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I love mangos! I love coconut, and who doesn’t love a creamy custard? I’ve combined 3 of my favorite things into a creamy dessert that won’t leave you feeling guilty. If I have leftovers, I refrigerate them and eat one for a snack, or even with breakfast for a little added protein. These custards are dairy, gluten, and refined sugar free. At around 150 calories (even with extra mango and shredded coconut topping them), you can enjoy a little cup of paradise!

Ingredients:

1 ripe honey mango, cut into chunks (I prefer these yellow mangos to the tropical mangos, but if you can’t find a honey mango, feel free to substitute a red tropical mango)

1 cup reduced fat coconut milk (from a can)

3 TBSP honey

4 large eggs

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Divide among six ramekins or small oven proof glass bowls. Place ramekins into a 9×13″ pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins (this is called a water bath). Be careful that you don’t splash water into the custard. I like to fill my ramekins with the custard first. Pour water into the pan, and then place the ramekins in the pan. Just be careful that you don’t have so much water in the pan that it spills over when you put the filled ramekin cups in.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. You don’t want to see the custard jiggle.

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and place on wire racks to cool. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with extra mango slices and unsweetened shredded coconut, if desired.

Whole Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins

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Last week Sprouts had their organic strawberries on sale for $1.98 a pound! They were sweet and juicy too. I bought 3 containers of them! I’ve been wanting to make fresh strawberry muffins for some time now, and this was the perfect opportunity. These muffins are perfect for a spring brunch or an afternoon snack with a little almond butter or a smear of whipped cream cheese. The banana adds moisture and sweetness without overpowering the delicate flavor of strawberries. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins (1)

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk of choice
1 egg
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
Directions:
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a smaller bowl or a blender combine milk, egg, banana, and vanilla until well mixed and there are no large chunks of banana. I like to use my immersion blender for this.
Combine the milk mixture with the dry ingredients, just until the ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the fresh strawberries.
Pour batter into a prepared muffin tin. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Yields 1 dozen delicious muffins.

Chocolate Protein Donuts

Chocolate Protein Donuts

Who doesn’t love a donut for breakfast? These chocolaty delicacies won’t leave you with a sugar hangover mid-morning and are full of protein to keep you satisfied until lunch. This recipe uses chocolate protein powder. I like the Orgain brand of protein powder (found at Costco) as it is organic and plant based, but feel free to use whatever brand you like best. This recipe makes 6 donuts, but if I were you, I would double the recipe and freeze the leftovers (if there are any). My kids love these, and you will too. If you must put a glaze on them, try this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie for a banana-coconut oil glaze.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 204 calories, 8 g protein
2 scoops chocolate flavored protein powder 150 calories, 21 g protein
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TB cocoa powder 10 cal
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP milk of choice (I used cow milk for extra protein) 15 calories, .5 g protein, 1.5 g sugar
4 oz. applesauce (1 individual snack cup) 50 calories, 12 g sugar
1 egg, 70 calories, 7 g protein
1 TBSP honey 60 cal, 0 g protein, 16 g sugar

 Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl whisk flour, protein powder, cocoa powder and baking powder together. In a smaller bowl mix vanilla, milk, applesauce, egg and honey. Add to flour mixture and stir until combined.
Grease a 6 count donut pan. Spoon batter into a zip top bag. Snip one corner of the bag off, and squeeze the batter into the pan in a circular motion.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Nutrition per donut: 93 calories, 6 g protein, 5 g sugar

Savory French Toast

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Boy do I love breakfast! My husband often teases me, saying, “Your eyes open in the morning, and you ask, ‘What’s for breakfast?” On our honeymoon I woke him up at 6:30 in the morning asking him to call room service and order our breakfast.

French toast is one of my favorite breakfast foods. I would ask my mom to make it for me all the time as a little girl. I love that rich, eggy, buttery taste. As much as I love french toast with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, sometimes I don’t want anything sweet at breakfast, and I am trying to incorporate more veggies into every meal. I found this amazing rustic whole wheat bread in the markdown section at King Soopers last week. The crusty bread was screaming to be made into french toast. The wheels started turning in my head, and I wondered if I could make a savory version. After a quick Google search I realized that I was not the first person to think of turning this normally sweet breakfast dish into a savory one. Here is the version I came up with. The balsamic glaze really makes the dish. You can find it in most grocery stores (even Walmart carries it). If you can’t find it or don’t want to buy a whole bottle of it, it is really easy to make your own. See the recipe for it below. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

6 slices of crusty day old bread
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup feta cheese (or Parmesan cheese)
1/2 tsp. of your favorite dried herb (I used thyme, but basil would be yummy too!)
1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 ripe Roma Tomatoes, chopped
Balsamic vinegar glaze

In a shallow, flat bottomed bowl or pan (a pie plate works well), beat eggs, milk, cheese, dried herbs, salt and pepper.

Warm 1 tsp. of olive oil in a frying pan. Dip 3 slices of bread into the egg mixture and coat on both sides. Place in pan and cook over low/medium heat until the bread is crisp and brown on both sides and egg is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and pieces of bread. You may have to occasionally stir the egg mixture to reincorporate the cheese so that each piece of bread will have cheese on it.

In a medium-sized saute pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil. Heat over medium heat and add zucchini and red onion. Saute until the onions are translucent and zucchini is tender. Add tomatoes and cook until warmed through.

To assemble, place one piece of french toast on each plate. Top with 1/6 of the zucchini/tomato mixture and drizzle balsamic glaze over the top. Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.

Balsamic Glaze (adapted from Allrecipes)

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon. Let cool and pour into a jar with a lid; store in refrigerator.

Grocery Sales, March 15-21

There are some great sales this week on cabbage. If you aren’t a huge fan of cabbage, check out my post on Meal Ideas for this week. I promise. There are some really tasty ways to eat this low calorie, nutritious veggie.

Albertsons

Jumbo Cantaloupe $1.88/each
Dole Bananas $0.49/lb
Green Cabbage 4lbs/$1 (you don’t have to buy 4 pounds worth!)
Signature Farms Mini Carrots $0.89/1 lb. bag
Organic Kale $0.99/bunch

Lucerne Shredded, Sliced or Chunk Cheese, 6-8oz. 2/$3 (limit 4)
Lurcerne Sour Cream or Cottage Cheese, 16oz. $0.88 (limit 4)
Open Nature Greek Yogurt $0.69/5.3 oz. cup Continue reading

Meal Ideas, March 15-21

On St. Patrick’s Day, I love to either make a green meal or a traditional Irish feast. Either way, food is a major part of our celebration. Check out some fun ideas below for your holiday meal that are as healthy as they are fun, and they do not contain artificial coloring!

Breakfast

st-patricks-day-leprechaun-pancakes-for-breakfast   Leprechaun Pancakes with green grapes and mandarin oranges

5527540525_9e778ed066_oLucky Spinach Quiche 

6d9fa439-c8a1-47f2-bdd2-d760fd8084bdRainbow Fruit Wraps

Lunch or Dinner

trader-joes-shamrock-pesto-pizza-recipe-768x576Shamrock Pesto Pizza

rainbow-saladRainbow Salad

fast-and-healthy-turkey-shepherds-pieSkinny Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Snacks

1c66a355-c21f-4899-8394-21fb8eea4171Avocado Shamrocks (I would skip the corned beef and put the avocado slices on whole wheat crackers)

99f63c80-c14d-460d-bdea-d0f6517d9f90Irish Guacamole

simple-spinach-muffin-recipeGreen Muffins