Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Archive for November, 2010

dReJ’s Thanksgiving Special

Are you panicking to find a great recipe for your family feast tomorrow? Or perhaps you’ve been tapped to bring a side but aren’t feeling very crafty.

RJ and I are smoking some turkey, making stuffing, baking a ham and bringing a delicious (and i mean OUT OF THIS WORLD) sweet potato casserole and a green bean casserole to my sister’s house tomorrow since we love to cook so much. Oh and we are making some delicious chili roasted carrots, too!

So if any of that sounds interesting, see below for details and links as we of course grabbed some healthier versions of SOME of these items so you can splurge on others that aren’t so healthy!

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing  (242 calories)


Green Bean Casserole (212 calories)

Sweet Potato Casserole (you don’t want to know how many calories!)

This is one that my sister in law’s step-dad makes….so I have no clue where the recipe is originally from, I just know that this is SUPER delicious and really easy to make. Promise it will be a crowd pleaser! Check out the post for it below to get the ingredients!

Chili Roasted Carrots (161 Calories)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Chili Roasted Carrots (healthy but oh so delicious)

Okay my friends – I think i fell in love with carrots all over again when I made this recipe a few years ago. It’s been pretty much a staple in our lives every since. I’ve brought this dish for holiday parties, and we made it last year for Thanksgiving and I will make them again this year!

This is one of those SUPER cheap, SUPER quick, and ridiculously easy recipes to make that will taste like you really put a lot of effort into them. Be sure to make enough for everyone – this recipe makes enough for 4 servings. We are doubling the recipe.

Chili Roasted Carrots


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds carrots (10-12 medium), cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice



Sweet Potato Casserole (SPLURGE!)

Sweet Potato Casserole (you don’t want to know how many calories!)

Delicious holiday treat!

This is one that my sister in law’s step-dad makes….so I have no clue where the recipe is originally from, I just know that this is SUPER delicious and really easy to make. Promise it will be a crowd pleaser! I make it every year and people always ask me for the recipe. It is SUPER easy to make. I even made this one before I met RJ ūüôā

9 x9 dish, 350 degrees x 40 minutes

———Mix the following together and spread into greased dish:

3 c mashed sweet potatoes( fresh or canned yams)
1 c sugar
2 eggs- beaten
¬Ĺ c sweetened condensed milk( can use fat free)
¬Ĺ c butter softened
1 tsp. vanilla

1 c brown sugar
1/3 c flour
1/3 c melted butter
1 c chopped pecans

Mix these together and spread evenly over filling.

Green Bean Casserole (healthier version)

We made this one last year and it was a hit. Here’s the ingredients and of course link to recipe is below. Since so many parts of the turkey day meal are packed full of calories – this is one that is easy to do a more belly friendly version, and everyone will still be happy!

Green Bean Casserole (212 calories)

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium sweet¬†onion, (half diced, half thinly sliced), divided
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 1 pound frozen French-cut¬†green beans, (about 4 cups)¬†(we just bought canned green beans)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder, (see Ingredient Note)¬†(we bought actual buttermilk because the powder is hard to find)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing

For those of you who might be in charge of the bird this year – here is the recipe we’re using for the stuffing. We are smoking our turkey – and if you haven’t ever done that before, we highly recommend it.

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing  (242 calories)


  • 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, (about 4 links), casings removed
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • We are cheating and just bought premade cornbread made for stuffing!
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2-3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth


Weekly Recipes – Nov. 15-19

Here you go – quick links and ratings for the 4 recipes we made this week. Have to say, it was hard to pick a favorite from these 4. Every time we tried the meal for the first time, RJ & I both gave resounding thumbs up. So enjoy a big A+ for all of these meals. See posts below for additional info about things we changed or where to find products. Also – if you try one of the recipes, be sure to “like” it on our blog!

Fresh Tomato, Sausage and Pecorino Pasta:


Pinto Bean Chili with Corn and Winter Squash:

Shrimp Pad Thai:

Caribbean Pork and Plantain Hash:


Fresh Tomato, Sausage and Pecorino Pasta

Quick Link:

Bring on the delicious pasta!

dReJ Say: Again – we are losers and didn’t take pics of this meal, but it really did look like the pic above as featured in Cooking Light. Honestly, it was hard to stop eating this meal long enough to take a picture – that’s how delicious it was.

Perfect meal to make ahead and reheat at work or later for dinner. Just be sure to add a few drops of water before you reheat in the microwave to keep it tasting good and not overcooked.


Pinto Bean Chili with Corn and Winter Squash

Quick Link:

Okay – we are dweebs and didn’t take a picture of this meal. But we both have to give another hearty thumbs up to this meal. You may be not so excited about a vegetarian chili – but we are here to tell you – GET EXCITED! And if you really are still not excited about veggie chili – you could easily add in some meat to this one!

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups chili, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 lime wedge)


  • 1¬† tablespoon¬† olive oil
  • 1 1/2¬† cups¬† chopped onion
  • 1 1/2¬† cups¬† chopped red bell pepper
  • 1¬† garlic clove, minced
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† chili powder
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† ground cumin
  • 4¬† cups¬† (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • 3¬† cups¬† cooked pinto beans
  • 1 1/2¬† cups¬† water
  • 1¬† cup¬† frozen whole-kernel corn (we just used canned corn)
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1¬† (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1¬† (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 3/4¬† cup¬† (3 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
  • 6¬† lime wedges

We have been on a roll with the butternut squash this month. If you have been frightened – fear not! We found a handy dandy pre-cubed butternut squash package available in the produce section of our grocery store last week. So for those not wanting to deal with the “real thing” – look for this:

Time saver alert! Pre-cubed squash!


Shrimp Pad Thai

Pad Thai with Miso Soup

Quick Link:

Ingredients (& What we Changed)

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

dReJ Tip: We ended up only making this meal once this week a result of some unplanned family meet ups for dinner – so when we made this the first time, we split it in half, so¬†technically¬†we both had 1.5 servings. I would say that it felt like too many noodles and since we served it with Miso soup – i didn’t even up finishing my soup either.


  • 8¬† ounces¬† wide rice stick noodles (Banh Pho) (we used Rice Stick Noodles – not wide)
  • 1/4¬† cup¬† ketchup
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† sugar
  • 3¬† tablespoons¬† fish sauce
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† crushed red pepper
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† vegetable oil, divided
  • 1¬† pound¬† medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2¬† large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1¬† cup¬† fresh bean sprouts
  • 3/4¬† cup¬† (1-inch) sliced green onions
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† bottled minced garlic
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

dReJ Say: This was another delicious Cooking Light recipe this week. Upon first bite RJ and I both nodded our heads in agreement: This is good!! I¬†typically don’t like peanuts and usually avoid Pad Thai for that reason – but I just sprinkled a few on my meal and it was perfect.¬†Another A+ meal.

Miso Soup: Look in your international aisle at the grocery store for a Miso soup packet, or you can go with a hot and sour, egg drop, etc – whatever your favorite is! Follow directions on packet!

Calories: Since we did 1.5 servings for our dinner portion – it rings up to about 514. Obviously if you put less peanuts, or cut back on the noodles that would even things out a bit!

Caribean Pork and Plantain Hash

Pork and Plantain Hash

Quick Link:

dReJ Say: In a word: YUM! This was over the top delicious. As you may know by now, I’m a pretty picky eater, but this combo of the pork tenderloin, plantains and seasonings was amazing. 2 thumbs up and a big A+


  • 1¬† tablespoon¬† low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4¬† teaspoon¬† salt, divided
  • 3/4¬† teaspoon¬† dried thyme
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† ground ginger
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† ground red pepper
  • 1/8¬† teaspoon¬† ground allspice
  • 1¬† pound¬† pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2¬† tablespoons¬† vegetable oil, divided
  • 1¬† tablespoon¬† butter
  • 1 1/2¬† cups¬† coarsely chopped onion
  • 1¬† cup¬† chopped green bell pepper
  • 2¬† large yellow plantains, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† black pepper
  • 4¬† garlic cloves, minced
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† habanero hot pepper sauce (use whatever hot sauce you like best!)
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† chopped fresh cilantro (don’t skip on the cilantro at the end – it really does finish the meal nicely)

We didn’t change anything about this meal. If you click to the Cooking Light/All Recipes link above, you’ll see it says to use black plantains instead of green/yellow – but our grocery store didn’t have any of those….so we just used what they had.

If you are not sure where to find the ¬†plantains in your store – a good place to look is where the bananas are! Our store has a bunch of “banana family” fruits in the same section. ¬†See below and if you are really awesome, you’ll see a red circle around the plantains in the pic. ¬†:

Plantains look pretty much like bananas. Just bigger.

Calories: This meals comes in at 384 calories. Well spent calories in our opinion. Very filling meal and we will cook this again!

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