Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

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Cauliflower Rice

Try cauliflower rice instead of actual rice! Perfect low carb or low calorie option!

 

Since we’ve been doing the Paleo/Primal inspired eating, we’ve looked for ways to still enjoy some of our favorite meals like stir fry with rice, shrimp-n-grits – you know – the good stuff! So we aren’t eating any grains, so rice is out of the question. Corn in moderation so grits aren’t all that great of a replacement either.

I stumbled across something called Cauliflower Rice and despite the fact I am not a huge cauliflower fan, I figured why not give it a try? I used it in one of my primal quiche recipes and the flavor wasn’t overwhelming at all, so we decided to go for it as the accompaniment to our shrimp stir fry meal this week.

It is SUPER easy to do, and even if you aren’t avoiding wheat and grains – it’s a great way to knock out a TON of extra calories and that crazy full feeling you get when you eat all that rice. This also works for vegetarians and vegans! So anytime you see a recipe that calls for serving your food on a bed of rice, couscous, grits, etc – just sub this instead! You can easily bring it to work and heat it up again – still tasty!

 

Put small roughly chopped pieces of cauliflower into your food processor. I did mine is several smaller batches to make sure I didn’t miss any big pieces!

 

The cauliflower should be like a grits/couscous sort of texture.

Once you have processed the cauliflower, put in microwavable bowl with lid and heat for 5-6 minutes. DO NOT ADD WATER! Once it’s done – season like you would regular rice and serve!

Enjoy!

Primal Meatloaf (with Brie & Mushrooms!)

I mentioned I was going to try out this recipe a few days ago and had several people ask for the recipe or to share how it went. We made it over the weekend and I ate it yesterday for lunch, so I feel more confident in sharing the recipe and results now!

Right out of the crockpot!

 

I can’t take credit for the idea – I found the recipe at PaleoPot and you can see the original post here. As usual, we made a few changes so I’ll include the original recipe and our changes in Green so you can take it or leave it, or invent your own variation!

What you need:

  • 1.5 pounds of 90/10 grass fed ground beef. Leaner cuts work better as the extra fat simply runs off in cooking anyways. (We used a mixture of beef and pork for ours)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 cups of button mushrooms. Any fungi of your choice will work fine. Buy less mushrooms if you are afraid of having extras! (I bought pre sliced mushrooms and used about 8-10 oz)
  • 1 small log of brie or goat cheese. Usually 2 to 4 ounces. Trader Joe’s sourced my small log of brie this time. (I used 40z of brie, found it at Harris Teeter!)
  • 1/8 cup granulated garlic (We used minced garlic from a jar – and we used probably 1-2 TBSP because we heart garlic)
  • 1/8 cup dried parsley (We didn’t have any of this in our spice cabinet, so we left it out)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano (We grow  this, so we used fresh!)
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary (again, spice fail! Didn’t have this one, and our rosemary isn’t growing very well…so we left it out)
  • pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Make this quick:

  1. By hand, mix together your beef with your egg and spices. Everything but the mushrooms and the cheese.
  2. Once mixed, press the meat mixture down into the bowl to flatten it out as evenly as possible. This also works on a countertop, yet I prefer to just get it done in the bowl for easy cleanup.
  3. Cut your mushrooms lengthwise into slices. Think pizza topping slices.
  4. Place your log of brie in the center of your flattened meat mixture, and fold the meat around it, fully encasing the cheese.
  5. Make sure your cheese is fully covered by meat, and if there is a “seam” or place where the cheese is closest to the surface, this place will be facing up in your slow cooker.
  6. Press your mushroom slices into the exterior of your meatloaf. The goal is to have the entire outside encased in mushroom slices, held only by the meat mixture.
  7. Cook on low for 6 hours. (We cooked ours for longer since we wanted to make sure the pork was completely cooked!)

As it’s cooking, some fat will run off and some cheese may ozz out. Just put it on top because Brie is amazing!

 

This was quite tasty – and easy to put in a to-go container for a work lunch or quick dinner. I would definitely use the herbs/spices recommended, or jazz it up with whatever you have on hand so you are still getting some yummy flavors. The first bit of the meatloaf, I was thinking – this is okay. Then the next bite, I got some brie and then I was thinking: YUM! So You may be want to put more cheese in it, or make sure it’s spread all the way through when you are prepping so that every bite is delicious! You could certainly experiment with different cheeses as well. I know my hubby was worried that it would crumble since we weren’t using breadcrumbs or anything, but it really wasn’t a problem! The mushrooms stick to the outside and it really did pop out of the slow cooker all in one piece!

Hope everyone enjoys this recipe and that you’ll pop over to Paleo Pot as well for more slow cooker ideas that fit in with a wheat free, primal/paleo diet! Isn’t it fun when your chosen eating style is also exceptionally delicious!?

 

 

Summer Squash and Broccoli Casserole

We’ve been getting a lot of squash and zucchini in our Spring CSA box the last few weeks. So we decided to put it to good use as a side this week for our meals. We found a makeover recipe that sounded tasty and gave it a whirl. Obviously we are sharing it with you because it was super simple and delicious….and of course – healthy!

The recipe comes from Taste of Home and you can view the original recipe here.

We made a few changes so I’m listing the ingredients and showing you our changes:

This recipe makes 15 servings – we cut this in half, so please make sure you take that into account if you want to make this!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 medium onions, sliced (we used both red and yellow onion)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided (we used less better than this)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 reduced-fat butter-flavored crackers, crushed (we didn’t crush ours – see picture!)
  • We added about 1.5 cups (uncooked) broccoli (sans stems) to the very top of this mixture (well, right under the cracker “crust

Up close so you can see the yummy layers

We followed the directions provided on the website pretty faithfully other than reducing the amount of butter (since we didn’t make the crust “crushed” there was no reason to add the extra butter to the crackers) and adding broccoli. We actually added broccoli after we poured the egg/flour mixture on top of the squash/onions, but you could certainly add the broccoli before pouring the mixture over everything. I think it would taste good either way.

We had it on the side of our grilled hamburgers last night and it was super yum. We give this 2 dReJ thumbs up. At about 200 calories per serving this is a great side dish for a meal or a fun potluck dish to bring to share at a party.

Shrimp-n-Grits…and Chorizo!

In the south, it’s no big  thing to have Shrimp and Grits – it seems a common option when going out to eat. But it’s one I tend to avoid because I know it’s full of calories and fat I don’t really need. We are all about trimming down the calories and fat on some classics so you can enjoy them without the guilt!

So today – here’s our take on Shrimp n Grits. I’m actually eating it for lunch RIGHT now and it’s so delicious, I have to share.

Delicious!

What you need:

2-3 oz Chorizo (our grocery store had this near the hotdog/specialty gourmet chicken sausages)
1 onion (yellow) – chopped
1 lb shrimp
1 green pepper – chopped
1 hot pepper such as jalapeno (optional)
1 tbsp minced Garlic (or to taste, we are garlic lovers)
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
Instant Grits (4 servings)
Salt & Pepper (pinch)
1 cup (4 servings) of 2% or nonfat shredded cheese (Cheddar or your fav)
1/2 cup chicken broth (we use the cubes of broth that you just add water to, reduced sodium!)

Putting it together:

Slice the casing on the chorizo (if any) and remove it before cooking the chorizo in a pan with no oil for about 5 minutes, it should start to crumble, if it doesn’t use your spatula to break it up.
Add in chopped onion, peppers and seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder, old bay) and cook until veggies are soft

Meanwhile, prepare the instant grits to specs on box MINUS the butter and finish with a serving of 2% or nonfat shredded cheese for each serving of grits. Mix the cheese in so it blends with your prepared grits.

Add your shrimp into the pan with chorizo and veggies along with 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Cook until the shrimp are done.

Pour shrimp, chorizo and veggie mixture over the grits and you are ready to enjoy!

 

Why it’s better:

So this meal is a little bit better than your restaurant version because we are not adding loads of butter and oil to the cooking process. We are also using a small amount of chorizo and reduced sodium broth and low calories/low fat cheese. If you wanted to make this even better for you, you could leave out the chorizo or the cheese in the grits. But the addition of the chorizo is a really interesting and different approach (most recipes I’ve seen do a little bit of bacon), so it’s a fun twist on a classic recipe.

Plus, you can make this meal ahead and microwave easily during the week for a delicious lunch at work! I promise it will make your co-workers jealous.

Enjoy!

Love,
-dRej

 

Lunch @Work: Chicken & Broccoli Rice Bowl

We’re baaaaccckk! Today’s recipe is super simple. Not only is it easy to make, you can quickly change any of the ingredients to something you’d prefer.

Quick and easy for a work day lunch!

This is the recipe that inspired us from Cooking Light: Check it out!

So we didn’t really follow the recipe completely so here’s what we did:

What you’ll need to make 4 servings:

8oz. Chicken (you can buy it fresh and cook it up – we grilled ours) or you can make this SUPA easy and get a “ready to eat” grilled chicken from Tyson or something similar. If you aren’t sure what I mean – check this out. I used to buy these pre-made grilled chicken packages all the time to cut down on time and prep.

1 package of Broccoli – we just bought the bagged broccoli in the veggie section of the store. Ready to go!

1 onion – we went with a yellow onion

4 servings of instant brown rice (Like Uncle Ben’s)

2% shredded cheddar cheese

Then:
Cook up your chicken with your favorite seasonings – stay away from fatty sauces, try some cracked red pepper to spice it up!
Steam the broccoli (fill a deeper pan with some water and put the broccoli in it and turn on the heat to let it steam/cook) – chop it up into smaller bite size pieces
Saute your onions with just LITTLE bit of EVOO – MEASURE, you only need a teaspoon or two!
Cook your rice (instant rice takes about 8 minutes)

Mix everything together, add salt & pepper to taste and any other seasonings you may fancy.

Don’t like chicken? Try this with pork or beef. Don’t like broccoli? Swap out for a veggie you do enjoy.

I love these easy recipes because you can really do anything with them once you get the concept down! Plus, this is super simple to bring to work for a healthy lunch. Just microwave for 1-2 minutes, stir and enjoy.

 

 

RJ’s Soon to be Famous Blue Potato Salad

Colorful, interesting, and delicious!

So you’ve had a million potato salads over the course of your festival attending, church reception eating and picnic going lives. But I have to tell you RJ’s recipe is among my favorites. It’s simple to make, and always a crowd pleaser. And if you can’t find Blue Peruvian Potatoes – you can certainly sub red potatoes.

Here’s the recipe (again, nothing fancy, just deliciousness)

Blue Potato salad (Serves 10 – and people will want more!)
2 lbs purple potatoes (Peruvian Blue) diced and boiled until tender (you can use what ever potatoes you want, but blue ones are so much more fun)
1 diced red onion
1 diced green pepper
1 diced jalapeno (add more to spice it up or omit if you can’t take the heat)
4 strips of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1.5 C cheddar cheese (2% skim or part skim, or to save more calories, use fat free)
3/4c Light mayo
3/4c fat free sour cream
2 T dijon mustard
1 T oregano
salt and pepper to taste

After you cook the potatoes and the Bacon, let them cool, then mix in a large bowl, and get let sit for 1hr for the flavors to meld.

Then – enjoy and let your friends think you came up with this delicious idea 🙂

Classic Revisited: Gourmet Hot Dogs

Remember when you were little and hot dogs were so delicious? If you are like me, that was the result of ignorant taste buds! Now I have a hard time eating a generic hot dog because I think of all the terrible things (read: ingredients) in them. Somehow, that childhood magic got lost.

But a few years ago, I started rethinking the hot dog situation (I don’t know why, too much free time I guess). Why couldn’t I just forget all those terrible things and enjoy one again? I ran across organic chicken hot dogs and after some research I decided to give hot dogs another chance.

The result has been a few years of childhood relived via my dinner plate – except now I’m grown up enough to want grilled or sauteed green peppers, mushrooms, and onions on top of it. Oh, and sauerkraut. Bring on the veggies.  And of course now, I’m a complete potato bun freak – anytime you put me in charge of bringing buns – just expect potato buns. Potato hot dog buns. Potato rolls. They are awesome, and for once in my life – they are actually pretty darn healthy for you compared to other options! How about that. This hot dog journey has been a total revelation for me.  You can take something you loved when you were little – and make it healthier and maybe even a little gourmet. (more…)

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