Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Posts tagged ‘healthy recipe’

Primal Breakfast Ideas

For those who may be avoiding wheat or just are tired of cereal for breakfast – I wanted to share a recipe for a crustless quiche or casserole (whatever you want to call it!)

I stumbled across 2 different recipes and have made them both (with a few modifications). I find that the one thing people always say when they hear we are eating wheat free/primal style now is that they just can’t get past the convenience factor of cereal and other typical breakfast items. Making an easy casserole or quiche on the weekend gives you breakfast the whole week and it’s a great way to slip in some extra vegetables! It’s perfect to bring to a party as well!

I can’t take credit for either recipe, the first is from Grain Free Foodies and the other recipe is from The Prime Pursuit.

Both are pretty similar in ingredients and cooking method and I’ll say that I made a second quiche this week for breakfast after trying out the Grain Free Foodie recipe last week and I got lots of compliments on the Prime Pursuit recipe at a work event this week, too!

Soooo good!

 Crustless Quiche (from Grain Free Foodies with my comments in green!)


4 eggs
1 can (14-16 oz) of coconut milk without additives (I get the Taste of Thai can from the international aisle)
1-2 T butter or fat for cooking
1/2 onion
1 cup diced meat (I prefer ham)   (I used andoille sausage last week and regular pork sausage this week – both are good!)
OR diced vegetables (bell pepper, asparagus, greens, or zucchini work especially well) (I put veggies and meat in mine – so go nuts as it’s never a bad thing to get more veggies in your belly for breakfast! I usually do peppers, spinach, onion, sundried tomatoes…)
1 cup of cubed cheese (I used cheddar cheese – leave the cheese out if you are doing true Paleo or dairy free)
1/2 tsp salt
other herbs and spices, optional  (I used fresh basil and oregano from our garden, red pepper flakes, some paprika, cumin)


1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat in the coconut milk.  Mix in the cubed cheese, salt, and any other herbs or spices that you are using.

3.  In a 10 inch skillet (ideally cast iron), melt the fat and saute the onions for several minutes. (I didn’t use cast iron and it still worked out just fine.)

4.  If you are using vegetables, add them now and saute several more minutes, allowing any moisture to come out (such as with mushrooms).

5.  Turn off the heat, add your meat and stir, and then pour the egg mixture over the top.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

It’s really that simple. What I love most about this recipe is that it’s super easy to switch out ingredients to make it taste different or to please picky eaters. I was also impressed that it only used 4 eggs! I put mine in a square baking dish and we got about 8 servings out of it. I’m sure you could do more/less depending on how big of a breakfast you like!

The other recipe has a few more steps but I was really pleased with how it turned out.

Sausage & Spinach Breakfast Casserole (from The Prime Pursuit with my comments in green!)

1 head of cauliflower
3/4 c chicken stock or water (I didn’t use this because I followed the saute instructions below in her update)

1 lb sausage (I picked hot chicken sausage!)
5 cups raw spinach
6 ounces full-fat coconut milk (I prefer Taste of Thai brand)
4 eggs lightly beaten
juice of 1-2 lemons (i used one lemon)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder (I used minced garlic and way more than 2tsp, but I heart garlic!)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I added this in – leave the cheese out if you are doing true Paleo or are dairy free)

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9X13 baking dish by greasing it with coconut oil. (I just used pam spray and I actually made it in a circle/deep dish baking thingy because I wanted it to be more like a “pie” serving for my work event)

Wash, remove leaves, quarter, and core the head of cauliflower.  Pulse it in a food processor until it looks like grits.  Put all the cauliflower-grits in a pot, add 3/4 c chicken stock or water.  Simmer on low until tender, about 10-15 min.  Drain off excess liquid, set aside.  The grits can also be fried (see below).** (So you don’t need to put the grits in a pot and use the water or stock if you are going to fry them up!)

Brown and crumble the sausage.  Leave the sausage oil in the pan and add in the fresh spinach.  Stir until it wilts.

In a large mixing bowl,  add the coconut milk, eggs, and spinach mixture & cheese, stir well.  Add in the salt, garlic powder, pepper, and lemon juice and stir.  Add the cooled cauliflower-grits and stir well. (I didn’t cool my “grits” very much and it worked out okay)

Pour into the prepared baking dish, and bake for 45 minutes or until center is set.

**UPDATE:  I have recently been sauteéing the cauliflower “grits” in a frying pan instead of boiling them.  They retain the same texture, but have a toasted taste and appearance.  I like it much better.  Heat 2-3 tbsp of the oil of your choice (reserved bacon is best!!), and sauté the “grits” until they are done.  Let them sit, then toss/flip them every few minutes.

So I didn’t take a picture of this one before I took it into work, but I had multiple people ask me about the recipe. People said they loved the texture and it was a little spicy, too, which I think worked well. I would have never thought to use cauliflower to add texture AND a few extra servings of vegetable, but it worked GREAT! Awesome recipe.

Hope these recipes inspire you to cook a little in advance on the weekend so you can easily enjoy a healthy breakfast all week long! I know I definitely was happy to find some yummy and easy to follow recipes on Prime Pursuit and Grain-Free Foodies blog!

Easy Curry (Paleo & Wheat-Free Friendly)

Quick Curry with Carrots


This weekend I selected a Quick Curry meal to be one of our lunch dishes for the week. It was really simple to make and didn’t take a long time or weird ingredients either. I found this recipe in the book: The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf that I just finished reading.

Here’s what you need (and then below I’ll tell you what I added):

1 lb ground pork (you could use lamb, chicken, turkey, stew beef)
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1 bag baby spinach (14 oz)
1/2 can coconut milk (7 oz)
2-3 cloves garlic


I felt like that wasn’t going to be filling enough for lunch – so I sauteed some carrots (bought fresh from the farmer’s market) with a little garlic, cumin & paprika seasoning and added those to the top of the dish. I also added some yellow onion to ours.

How to make it:

Easy peasy in the skillet


Cook up the meat in a pan with olive oil. Add the curry powder as the meat browns – mixing well. Be sure to break up any large pieces of meat – it needs to  be pretty crumbled up. If you are going to add onions – now is the time! Once the meat is browned, add all the spinach and coconut milk and heat until the spinach has wilted. Add garlic at the end (if you use fresh garlic – mince it or use a garlic press to crush it). Mix well, remove from heat and serve.

We ate this yesterday for lunch (just zapped it in the microwave at work!) and it was pretty good to not have any starches in it. When I think of curry dishes, I expect there to be rice – so this was definitely a change, but it was still a yummy meal. I sort of wanted MORE of it, but I’m guessing that my body will adjust after a week or so without the carbs from starches. Of course, if you aren’t avoiding grains – you could add some rice to this easily and make it work for your eating style.


We used ground turkey because the store didn’t have ground pork or chicken & we were lazy and didn’t feel like grinding it ourselves. I think pork/chicken might have a better flavor – but the turkey worked well if that’s what you have on hand!

There you go – super simple! The only thing you might have to go looking for is some coconut milk (hint: look in the international aisle with the Asian stuff).




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!


  • 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.


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.




Pork & Plaintain Enchiladas

Ours actually looked pretty similar to this even though it's not our photo!

Alright – so despite the lack of posts, we have still been cooking up a storm. I just haven’t had much time to share the recipes. We’ll get caught up soon. One that we tried this week is from one of our favorite mags, Cooking Light.

They did a whole series of healthier Mexican food this month – so you know we were excited as that is one of our fav foods! We picked an enchilada recipe this week. You can find the ingredients and instructions here:

They were seriously delicious. There is something about pork tenderloin that I love so much! I never even used pork tenderloin in my meals before I started cooking with my husband – but you can buy them pre-seasoned or plain and add your own. So easy! And it’s a pretty lean cut of meat, so you don’t add all the excess fat/calories.

Would definitely recommend this recipe if you want to try a new healthier version of enchiladas! It also heats up well so you can bring it to work for lunch.

I will try to take some more pics of our meals this week and get you some more healthy recipe ideas! Happy cooking!


Turkey Sausage Pasta Bake (easy, peesy!)


Quick & Easy Pasta Bake

You are right, this does look delicious.

Lucky for you, it’s easy to make and we’re going to tell you how. We didn’t follow a recipe on this one, it’s straight out of the dReJ Original Recipe book. But it’s really just a healthy version of your standard pasta bake – so feel free to change up the ingredients to reflect your preferences.

What you’ll need:

Turkey or Chicken Sausage (we used hot Italian turkey sausages that they stock fresh in our grocery meat department). They usually come with about 5 links in a package.

1 package spinach (we thawed out a package of frozen spinach because it’s cheaper than fresh!)
1 small container (15 oz) of Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
4 servings of a whole wheat pasta noodle (we went with rotini)
1.5 cups (you can do more or less depending on your preferences ) 2% skim shredded Mozzarella cheese
Seasonings (we went with Salt & Pepper + some Italian ones like oregano, parsley, etc.

3/4 – 1 cup Low Sodium or Low Calorie Marinara Sauce – pick one that is not loaded with sodium, fat and sugar! Check your label!

What to do with all that stuff:

Cook up your sausages – you can do this on the stove or grill them, use your George Foreman, etc. Once they are cooked, slice them into thin bite size pieces.
Cook your pasta and drain, add the marina sauce and stir until coated.

Meanwhile, put the spinach (make sure you’ve drained it so it’s not wet if thawing), ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the shredded cheese and seasonings into a large bowl and mix it up. It will be a little hard to stir, but you want it to be pretty mixed up. Once you have accomplished that, add the sausage (a little at a time) until everything is mixed together.

Pull out a casserole dish (something that is 9×13 will work – but you can work with whatever you have) and spread the pasta/marinara into the casserole dish evenly. Spoon the spinach mixture on top. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 or until it’s nice a bubbly.

We used a pretty big casserole dish, so when we cut it up, we actually had 2 thin layers. So when I put in our to-go containers for lunch, it sort of felt like lasagna because I stacked it. If you have a smaller casserole dish – you may end up with just one thick serving and that’s okay, too.

It all goes down the same way, anyway – right?

If you plan to bring this to work and heat up later, I recommend adding a tiny bit of water to the dish prior to microwaving it. It just helps everything stay good texture wise.

This meal was super easy to make, and took maybe a half hour total. You can make this dish healthier by using less cheese and leaner cuts of meat – or you can add on the  calories by doing the opposite. But since this is a healthy, cheap & delicious website, I won’t be encouraging that!


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

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.



Whole Wheat Hawaiian Pizza

Pizza is one of those meals that I grew up eating every week. My brother’s two favorite food groups are Pizza and Hamburgers. So growing up – our choices were pretty limited one what we ate for family dinners or going out to eat. And it seemed like ordering pizza to be delivered continued to be a constant thing among friends in college or even at events we’d go to – there was always delivery pizza. RJ and I were on the same page about delivery pizza from the beginning…it’s just something that is never an option. We were both “pizza’d out.” Since 2008, we have ordered delivery pizza ONE time, and that was because friends were over who wanted it.

SO – some of the reasons we don’t enjoy delivery pizza is due to the greasiness of the pizza and all the calories you consume with just one little slice in most cases. But we do enjoy the occasional meal out to a place that does what we like to call “gourmet pizza.” They are usually really thin crust, fresh ingredients, and healthy toppings. But it’s even more likely for us that we’ll make our own at home, and today I’ll share one of our  recipes in case you’d like to borrow some of our ingredients for a good base level pizza at home.

The first thing is to find a good base. We’ve tried a lot of different approaches to this, and a lot of recipes will tell you to make your own crust. But we like to keep this meal simple and quick, so we use a pre-made whole wheat crust by Mama Mary’s. It’s easy, delicious and still really thin crust so you don’t get a bunch of additional calories from the base layer. Our pizza crust options in the grocery store are usually over in the refrigerated section…in like a “end of the aisle” area. Be sure to check out the calories for whatever crust you choose, because they add up quickly if you are planning on eating half the pizza! It’s a 12″ pizza, so you are looking at 6 slices per pizza. We make ONE 12″ pizza to share for dinner, and that is 100 calories/slice JUST for the crust. So make sure you keep this in mind as you are picking your toppings to still keep this light!

1 12″ Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (like Mama Mary’s)
3/4 cup shredded mozarella cheese (choose a Part Skim or 2% option here)
2/3 cup marinara sauce (we used Classico brand Fire Roasted Tomato & Garlic)
1/2 Fresh Pineapple, cut into small pieces
1 lean ham steak, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1/2 Diced & seeded jalepeno (use as much as you can handle spice wise, if you like it spicy use more and don’t seed it!)
4 oz mushrooms chopped (pick your favorite kind)

What to do:
Dice the onion first so you can saute the onions & jalapeno with a LITTLE bit of olive oil and minced garlic (if you are a garlic lover)
Spread the marinara sauce onto the pizza crust evenly
Sprinkle half of your shredded cheese onto the marinara
Add your pineapple, ham, mushrooms and cooked onions/jalapeno (it will be piled high with pineapple!)
Put the rest of your shredded cheese over the toppings
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until crispy!

Cut into 6 slices and share with a friend, or eat the leftovers the next day!

This meal works out to be about 600 calories for the whole thing, which isn’t too bad considering it’s pizza, the slices are pretty big and the toppings are GOOD FOR YOU! Feel free to change up the recipe to make it match your favorites!


You can see our emphasis is on fresh toppings!

Artichoke & Ripe Olive Tuna Salad – Easy & Delicious!

As the weather warms up, it’s hard to pass up such an easy lunch idea like tuna salad. You can do a million different things with tuna salad, even switching it up and making it a chicken salad works, too. So many options!

This week we went with a unique route with our tuna salad by incorporating two of my favorite ingredients: artichokes and olives! Honestly, this recipe could NOT be easier, and it’s perfect for a warm sunny day!

We call this a pile up sandwich!

Here’s the link from one of our favorite recipe sites: –>

Coming in at 210 calories, you can splurge on some yummy bread. We picked out a honey wheat loaf from our grocery’s deli. Even with the bread, we’re still under 400 calories. Just enough calories left to have an extra snack as this is a light lunch, although super delicious.

One tip if you aren’t going to eat it right away – we like to mix everything up EXCEPT the mayo. We add the mayo the morning we bring it with us to work to eat. This keeps it from getting runny if you are making it in advance!


Shrimp Fra Diavolo: Italian Recipe Makeover


Spicy and filling without the guilt!

So I turned once again to the Cook This Not That cookbook for inspiration for this weeks meals. We still have a ton of shrimp from the last special our grocery store had – so I’m looking for something that is cheap, delicious, healthy and includes shrimp. I stumbled upon the Shrimp Fra Diavolo which is Cook This Not That’s answer to Olive Gardens’ Grilled Shrimp Caprese.

It’s a pretty big calories and wallet saver. The Shrimp Fra Diavolo packs a lot of flavor and weighs in at 430 calories compared to Olive Gardens 900 calories shrimp pasta! The Shrimp Fra Diavolo also rounds out to about $3.16 per serving – which is a heck of a lot cheaper than most meals “out.” (more…)

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