Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Archive for February, 2011

Blue Shepherd’s Pie…Fun With Colors

Ok.  Let me start by saying that this is RJ writing this, so the writing style will not be the same, and all in all not as good.

The link for you scanners out there (like me) that just care about the recipe.

Shepherd's Pie with peruvian blue potatoes

Now that we have that out of the way, lets get into the meat and potatoes of this post.  I have been fighting for a Shepherd’s Pie in the lunch line up for a while now.  The problem being, we do not much care for red meat especially ground beef.  Well while perusing the interwebs and in particular, I happened upon this gem.

We took the recipe as is and then I changed it up (as I do with most recipes).  First off we took out the ground beef, and used ground lean turkey (saves some calories, as well as the fat problem from red meat).  Second, we decided not to go with the winter squash topping (even though that sounds excellent, and you should try it!).  We had some left over Peruvian blue potatoes that were already mashed from a meal that i made over the weekend, so that became the topping.  More on the Peruvian blue potatoes in a bit.  this meal takes about 25 minutes to make, and is well suited for putting in a to go container and reheating.   The recipe says that the calorie count comes in around 336, and the way we made it is probably close, as we did not use beef, but did use potatoes.


Time to rethink Barley?

Alright – I’m eating this meal currently for lunch, so I had to share since it is SUPER delicious!

Here’s the quick link for all those who just CANNOT wait:

Healthy and SUPER yummy continues to be a favorite place for us to find healthy recipes. I have to admit that if i were to look at the ingredient list for this Barley Hoppin’ John recipe I might not be hoppin’ for joy. I mean – barley, black eyed peas? But i will be the first to admit that this is WAY tastier than I thought it would be. It comes in at 320 calories and we added some lean smoked sausage to ours so we’ll have to tack on a few more calories, but it’s definitely worth it.  We left out the celery because we didn’t want to buy a bunch of celery and only use one stalk of it, and honestly I’m not a huge celery fan, anyway – so it worked out.

This meal can be ready in about 30 minutes, and has a great flavor. I added some Texas Pete Hot Sauce for some extra kick. A huge thumbs up for this SUPER healthy meal. And this was a great re-heat at work meal, I popped it in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirred and it was ready to be enjoyed!

I’m definitely putting Barley back on my “like” list. You should, too!!



Kickstand – Restaurant Review

A friend of ours wanted to try a new place off Central Ave in Charlotte, NC called Kickstand, so we decided to tag along. Afterall, RJ being the cycling enthusiast and me being a lover of eating at restaurants – it was a no brainer. In preparation, we checked out the menu online. You can see it here:

They are self labeled Burgers-n-Beer, and you’ll agree that their menu has a heavy focus on burgers. It’s in a good location – right next to Loco Lime, they share the same building actually. It’s a sporty place with TVs and some games, a decent bar area and plenty of seating for those focused on lunch instead of brews. Rj complained that there wasn’t ENOUGH bikes in the place to warrant the name Kickstand, but I thought it was fine. Why over do it?

Most of their meals have a cycling theme and they offer some unique burger experiences including the THE BURGER POCKET PRESS (seriously, Google it) and something called the Hungover Cyclist which RJ ordered because it sounded pretty funny: it’s described as a burger and tomato sandwiched between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches. I mean really, who can resist? RJ said that the meal was pretty simple, but tasty considering he was eating 4 pieces of bread and only 1 vegetable.

Now, I am not really a red meat eater, so I was scouring the menu for something fun and not beefy. They have some vegetarian options including a veggie burger and one turkey burger option on the menu. They also had some chicken sandwiches to choose from, but none of them sounded “fun” like the burger options. I ended up choosing the MAMA & PAPA GUERCIOTTI, which i couldn’t pronounce but the waitress didn’t hold it against me. Guerciotti is a cyclo-cross race held in Milan, Italy. The burger has Fresh mozzarella, pesto spread, and marinara sauce served on a Ciabatta roll and you could switch it out for chicken if you wanted. It was very much like chicken Parmesan on a Ciabatta. I found it to be messy but delicious!

I want to spend a little time reflecting on the side options because I think they were the best part of the meal. They have sweet potato fries as well as sweet potato TOTS. Yes, you read that correctly. And they were delicious. They serve them with this brown sugar syrupy goodness. I think the sweet potato fries/tots were my fav. And if you aren’t sure – you can get combo tots so you can both the regular tots and sweet potato ones. Great idea!

We also had the Onion Tanglers as an appetizer, which was a smallish size portion but tasty. Nothing super extraordinarily, just what you would expect:  fried onions with a spicy chipotle dipping sauce. The sauce was surprisingly spicy!

As for the beer selection – they have a few craft beers that you wouldn’t find at any ole bar, but they also have your basics. The special when we went was Fat Tire Drafts and buckets of beer which seemed pretty typical for a bar. Here’s the beer menu in case you find something you fancy:

I’m not sure I’d go to this place just to have a few drinks with friends at the bar. Maybe the atmosphere is different at night time, but it seemed more like a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon place to grab a burger and fries in your non fancy clothes. RJ and I both had a beer and got out of there for under $30 bucks. Semi pricey for burgers and fries, but it was was a decent atmosphere and they had some fun options if you enjoy red meat.

I’d say give it a try. And if you don’t dig it – walk on over to Loco Lime, it’s literally 5 feet from Kickstand!



We’re Baaaccckkkk!

Sorry for the long pause between posts. Our life has looked a little bit like this:

Wedding —> Honeymoon —> Catch up on all projects that we put off while planning for previously mentioned wedding/honeymoon —-> Start house renovations —> Thanksgiving —-> Dre’s family birthdays (seriously, everyone except me has birthdays in Nov/Dec/Jan) —-> CHRISTMAS?! —-> New Years —-> More House Projects —–> Back to Work & Teaching 3 classes for Dre ——> RJ’s Birthday —-> ARGH!

Okay so you get it. We’ve been busy. But never fear, we have NOT stopped picking and preparing our meals in advance, we just haven’t had time to write about them. But we’re back in the game now, and we’ll be posting about our recipes as we eat them instead of one big post at the end to help us save on time – and give you live info on what’s going down (into our bellies!). Check out our first recipe of the week – Seafood Chowder Casserole.

We’ve also decided to stop being so boring and try new restaurants more often. Keep an eye out for a new restaurant review this week of Kickstand (burgers & beer in Charlotte, NC).

Until then – Happy cooking!

Dre & RJ




Seafood Chowder Casserole

Shrimp & Crab Yumminess!

Quick Link:

So for any of you Harris Teeter shoppers – we live by “what’s on sale” via their weekly VIC email promotion. This week, I noticed their crab meat was on sale – 16 oz for $11.99 so i figured we should do something with it. But, I have to admit, I’m very picky when it comes to seafood. Usually when I say I like Crab – what i really mean is: I like crabcakes.

With some left over frozen shrimp from last weeks VIC special (buy 1 get 2 free!) – we looked for a recipe that involved crab meat and shrimp. A fav recipe site of our is (sign up for an account for free to save your recipes!) – and we found this Seafood Chowder Casserole.

If you click on the link – you’ll find the recipe calls for white fish, shrimp and crab meat – but again, I’m picky and we left out the white fish and added extra crab meat.

I’m eating it for lunch at this very moment – so it heats up surprisingly well for seafood.  The cheese and breadcrumbs really bring it together for the casserole feel, and the portion is pretty decent since it includes 2 types of fish and a potato.  If you aren’t familiar with clam juice – look for it where you’d find the canned meat (like tunafish) at your grocery store. We got ours for under $3. To save more – we just used dried dill instead of fresh. Also – we cut this recipe in half since it serves 8! So that helps, too.

It comes in a 377 calories if you make it the way the recipe goes, so be sure to account for the  changes you make!

All in all, pretty decent meal. Whether it goes or not, I added a little hot sauce to spice it up. The only thing that semi-stinks is literally, it smells fishy! Hard to avoid. So watch out if you are bringing this to work with you…although, its pretty yummy so who cares what the co-workers think! 🙂



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