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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Italian Vegetable Salad

Once again I have been MIA, after I got home from my trip I got sucked into the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy of books and have pretty much been neglecting all my wifely, motherly and household duties for the past week. But I am finally done with the books and life is getting back to normal. Except for the fact that we rescued a dog this weekend from Labrador Friends of the South he is a precious 2 year old sweetheart and we are totally in love with our new family member!

Barley and Grant!

Now let me get back on track...I have no idea what to call this one other than good! Nothing crazy just fresh, good Super, super simple! Tonight was spirit night at my son's school which means a local restaurant gives families at the school a discount and a portion of the money goes back to the school. I had plans to make Shepherd's Pie for my hubby at his request, the recipe is here. However I kept getting reminders, emails, Facebook updates and a note home in the backpack that tonight was Spirit night at Papa John's (not my favorite) but it just sounded too easy and it was a beautiful day. I wanted to let the kids play outside longer so I decided around lunchtime that a change of plans was in order... I would make Shepherd's Pie tomorrow night and tonight we would have pizza and a healthy salad. I ran into the grocery store to grab some lettuce but when I got home half of it was bad and it just grossed me out so I tossed it and made this salad, without lettuce. It was good stuff, we ate the whole bowl!!

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, quartered
1 bell pepper, diced large
12 olives
1/2 cup artichokes hearts, quartered
4 T Italian Dressing (I use Good Seasons)
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, olives and artichoke hearts, toss with dressing, season with salt and pepper then top with feta. Serve right away.

Other ideas: you could make this into a yummy main dish by adding some cubed pepperoni, salami or other Italian meat along with cubed provolone. I have done this before for parties, it's a crowd pleaser!

Weight Watcher Friends: As is, this recipe (using full fat cheese and dressing) makes five, 1 cup servings and each has 3 points.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lily's Chicken (my way)

Have you ever had Lily's Chicken at Bonefish Grill? There are so many good things to eat at Bonefish but I do love Lily's Chicken. I was craving it the other day and but had just been to the grocery store so I figured I better make something at home. I decided to just try to re-create Lily's Chicken at home.  I haven't had it in a long time but it was something like this...

12 oz chicken breast, sliced thin
2 t olive oil
1 T butter (real butter)
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup artichoke hearts quartered, drained
4 oz goat cheese, sliced
2 t diced parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat 2 t olive oil in a skillet. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Saute chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes per side, move to a plate and cover with foil. Using the same pan, turn up the heat and add 1/2 of the stock, simmering and stirring to remove the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and reduce the heat to med-low, stirring to combine. Next add the artichoke hearts and cook for 3-4 minutes. At this point if you feel you need more liquid (for the sauce) add more chicken stock, you may not need the whole 1/2 cup, the less you use the thicker your sauce will be. I don't mind it thin so I used it all. Squeeze the fresh lemon into the sauce, then add a little zest. Finally add the chicken breast back into the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally plate the chicken by placing a chicken breast on a plate, next top each breast with 1 oz of goat cheese then 3-4 artichoke hearts and drizzle the sauce evenly on top. * Lily's chicken at Bonefish, has sauteed spinach on top but I didn't have any on hand so I just omitted it. But if you have some fresh spinach it would make it extra good!

Weight Watcher Friends: This serves 4 people and has 6 points per serving! YUMMY!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Vegetable and Egg White Omlet

Good morning! Sorry I have been MIA for the past two weeks, I have been in Puerto Rico soaking up the sun and relaxing, a few details from our trip are here.

Here is a breakfast recipe that I make often, nothing crazy spectacular or unheard of however, it is always good and good for you!

2 T tomatoes,chopped
3 T fresh spinach, chopped
2-3T fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 T fresh onion, diced
1 egg
3 T egg whites
2 T shredded cheese (I like cheddar)
Salt and Pepper to taste

You can use whatever veggies you have on hand, but I usually have these in my fridge
I always have these egg whites

Spray a non-stick frying pan with non-stick spray, I use a Misto with olive oil in it. Heat the pan and the onions and mushrooms, saute for about 2 minutes until they just begin to soften then add the egg and the whites. Stir to combine cooking the egg. After the egg begins to cook add the spinach, just before it's finished add the cheese, combine and finally add the tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute. Serve with fresh fruit.

Weight Watcher Friends: This recipe serves 1 person and only has 5 points. To make it a 4 point Breakfast, omit the whole egg and just use 1/2 cup of egg whites.

Puerto Rico

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted but I've been laying on this beach in Puerto Rico! (right between those two trees to be exact) That picture above is the view from our condo at the resort, Palmas Del Mar, in Humacao.  I am so blessed to have an amazing mom and aunt who find it so important to have a "girl trips"! Last week they took, me, my sister-in-law and my cousin to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, we had a blast, we laughed, ate, drank, sailed, hiked, laughed, laid on the beach, drove on some crazy streets, gawked at some beautiful Puerto Rican men, shopped and oh did I mention that we laughed? We made some amazing memories that I will never forget! Here are just a few pictures from our trip, now that I am looking back at them I am sad I didn't bring my good camera, just had my little pocket camera and my cell phone to capture the moments.

Our Jeep we risked our lives in everyday! (Puerto Rico's roads are terrible and the drivers are crazy!)
View of the island we sailed to and snorkeled around right off the coast near Fajardo
Meg and I jumping off the boat into the water, so fun!

This was Brain, the "deckhand" on our boat, not sure if we looked more at the beautiful scenery or him!

Me, Meg and Alli on our way back from our most fun day on the catamaran
View from our hotel in San Juan
After our hike in the El Yunque Rain Forest

The streets of Old San Juan, beautiful and mysterious
Thanks Mom and Ellen, for a wonderful time!! I am so blessed!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheeseburger Slider Salad

All things cheeseburger on a salad??? I'm all in!! Since I try to steer clear of gluten products, I am always trying make dinners gluten free! I have eaten many burgers wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. My kids love little sliders, they think a 'mini hamburger' is so cool. So I have been making them for dinner lately with sweet potato fries, my new obsession! And this recipe is definitely my favorite way to eat a burger these days! You take all the goodies a cheeseburger has to offer and put it on a bed of lettuce! Here goes:

Ingredients for the salad:
1 lb lean ground beef
3 hearts romaine, chopped
4 deli style pickles, sliced then quartered
1/2 cucumber, sliced then quartered
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2-3 slices of cheese

Ingredients for the dressing:
2 T mayo
2 T ketchup
1 T mustard
1 T sweet pickle relish
2 T white vinegar

First, make the dressing, whisk together all five ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
I use all 'real' ingredients, no low fat stuff for us, I'd rather enjoy the real thing and have a little less then eat added ingredients used as fillers to replace fat. (just a personal preference)
At only 2 points per 2 T serving I think it's well worth it on this yummy dressing!
Similar to thousand island just a little more tangy, very tasty!
Salad and Burgers:
Next make the salad, in a large bowl layer the chopped lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and top with the pickles.  Form your ground beef into small patties season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook about 2-3 minutes per side. Once they are cooked, top with a 1/4 of a cheese slice.
Assemble salad in bowl, top with 2 sliders and use 2 T of dressing per salad, enjoy!

I love these pickles!
Isn't it so pretty!
This is my hubby's trick, cover a plate with a piece of plastic wrap then when you take them to the grill just remove the plastic and you can use the same plate when the burgers are done.
Grilled to perfection, then quick top with cheese, so it gets gooey!
Crumble on the salad and drizzle with the dressing!
A cheese burger in a bowl!
My daughter's plate, that girl loves her bread!! See those sweet potato fries, baked in the oven of course!

Weight Watcher Friends: Each salad has 6 points (with 2 sliders and 2 T of dressing).