Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Posts tagged ‘lunches at work’

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.

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!


Skinny Gumbo means you don’t have to be so Fat on Tuesday!



With Fat Tuesday just a day away – RJ & I were contemplating delicious things to eat this week. Inspired by the legal holiday of Mardi Gras in New Orleans – we started thinking about Gumbo. And while gumbo is super delicious – it’s not very good for you. Despite it being Fat Tuesday tomorrow – we wanted to give you an option for SKINNY gumbo that you can still enjoy on Fat Tuesday in order to not feel like crap on Wednesday!

We pulled this recipe from

I just had it for lunch – and i have to say – it was quite tasty! At 318 calories per serving, you don’t have to feel guilty. Especially if you have plans for eating a slice of King Cake. Just remember – if you get the “baby” in your slice of cake – that means you have to make it next year! ūüôā




Week in Review: Oct. 11 ‚Äď Oct 16

Greetings foodies! We’re anxious to get rolling with our first dReJGourmet food review! Below we’ll post the 4 recipes we picked, some pictures of the products and cooking process, calories and anything we changed or left out from the recipe. And most of all – we’ll tell you what we thought about the recipe!

Four Recipes:
Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad from
Southwest Turkey Burgers from with Southwest Corn (dReJ special concotion: see below for the idea behind this)
Creamy Fettuccine with Shrimp & Bacon from
Chicken Tetrazzzine from

The Ingredients (note – anything with a strikethru font means we made a change!)

Recipe #1: Tuna Salad

Tuna: 4 servings, 1 cup each
Active Time: 10 minutes/ Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can small white beans, such as cannellini or great northern, rinsed
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and sliced 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/4-1/2 cup fat free Kraft Mayo (to taste!)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Served with: Martin’s Potato Sandwich¬†Rolls Potato Rolls & Cooked Carrots as a side

What we Changed:
As you see – this recipe served as an inspiration because we remembered as we started to make it that we had made this recipe before and it was too dry. So we decided to keep the mayonaisse base and leave out the olive oil. We switched out the scallions for white onion since we were using the white onion for other recipes this week.

Here’s what it looked like before we mixed everything together – YUM!

dReJ Concotion: Easy Carrots
Slice up carrots, put in pan with enough water to cover carrots and bring to boil. Once carrots are to your desired tenderness, drain water and put carrots back in pan with 1/2 teaspoon of butter per serving & quarter clove of garlic + salt and pepper to taste – mix this all together and let the butter melt, sprinkle with parsley (dried parsley works!) and enjoy! Serving: about 3/4 cup chopped

Estimated Calories: The calories will obviously depend on how creamy you like your tuna – the original recipe was 253 calories, so when you take out the olive oil and replace fat free Kraft Mayo¬†– it’s a pretty good trade, saving some fat grams and calories. We served this on a Martin’s Potato Sandwich¬†Roll that is 130 calories and served with cooked about 3/4 cup chopped carrots (see recipe below for EASY cooking).¬†Just FYI – a cup of carrots chopped is about 53 calories. You’ve got some extra things in their like a 1/2 teaspoon of butter to help season them, so even if we overestimate at 60 calories for the 3/4cup serving – we’re looking at about 450 calories for this meal.

dReJ Says: This is a super simple, FAST meal to prepare. In weeks when we are lacking in time – a tuna salad is both easy and cheap.

Recipe #2 РSouthwest Turkey Burgers from with Southwest Corn (dReJ special concotion: see below for the idea behind this)
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 burger)

  • 2¬† poblano chiles (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1¬† ounce¬† French bread baguette 1 ounce breadcrumbs
  • 1/4¬† cup¬† 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† chili powder, divided
  • 1¬† teaspoon¬† ground cumin
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† black pepper
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† ground red pepper
  • 1¬† pound¬† ground turkey breast
  • Cooking spray
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† canola mayonnaise (we used Kraft Fat Free Mayo)
  • 4¬† (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted (we used Martin’s Potato Sandwich¬†Rolls)
  • 4¬† (1/2-inch-thick) slices tomato 1 Avocado (sliced)
  • 4¬† green leaf lettuce leaves

dReJ Says: Don’t let the “grill the poblanos” part scare you away from this recipe. If you don’t have a grill or you are just lazy (like us) you can do this inside on your stove top. See the picture? You can do this, too. Just keep a careful eye on them – letting them get blackened on each side. It will smell like it’s burning. Just a warning! Once you “roast them” – put them in a plastic bag for about 5 minutes and then you should be able to pull the skin off easily with your fingers.

Dice them up and put them with the turkey mixture as the recipe indicates.¬† And pretty soon – you’ll have 4 little turkey burger patties ready to be cooked up. Again – you don’t have to use the grill. Pop them in the pan on the stove top with a little cooking spray and cook them up.

We served this with the mayonaisse as indicated and on a Martin’s Potato Sandwich Roll.

dReJ Concoction: Southwestern Corn (Easy cooking!)
1 can Corn + Original Rotelli (you can pick how spicy you want it to be)
Dump into saute pan and heat it up!

Estimated Calories for this meal: 321 for burger w/bun + ~100 for corn/rotel recipe = 421 calories

dReJ Says: This recipe is the bomb. So good! And it’s easy to heat up in a toaster oven or microwave. Very filling!

Recipe #3: Chicken Tetrazzini


Yield: 2 casseroles, 6 servings each (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)
dReJ note: We made half the amount of this recipe (so¬†6 servings of this). We had 1.5 servings a piece for our dinner¬†since it was around¬†500 calories. The ingredients below reflect “half” the original amount.


  • 1¬† tablespoon 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • Cooking spray
  • 1¬† cup 1/2 cup¬†finely chopped onion
  • 2/3¬† cup¬† finely chopped celery
  • 1¬† teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 3/8 teaspoon¬† salt
  • 3¬† (8-ounce) 1.5 (4 ounces) package presliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 1/4 ¬†cup¬† dry sherry
  • 2/3 1/3 cup¬† all-purpose flour
  • 3¬† (14.5-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth ~22 ounces of fat free, less sodium chicken broth (we use the cubes that you just throw in a cup of water and boil it up)
  • 2 1/4¬† cups 1 1/8 cups or 4.5 ounces¬†(9 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2¬† cup 1/4 cup or 2 ounces (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 7¬† cups 3.5 cups¬†hot cooked vermicelli (about 1 pound uncooked pasta)
  • 4¬† cups 2 cups¬† chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1¬† (1-ounce) slice white bread .5 ounce bread crumbs

This recipe is pretty straight forward – so even for a kitchen novice (me), it wasn’t hard. Remember since you are using breadcrumbs you don’t have to worry about the food processor! Also – you have to cook the chicken and the pasta before, so make sure that you don’t look over that part!

dRej Says: This is a delicious casserole. It would also be easy to substitute whatever veggies you have or like for the ones it calls for. Same thing with the pasta – you could use another type of noodle to avoid buying more. It was also easy to make in advance and stick in the fridge until we were ready to bake it. Reheats nicely!

Calories: For 1.5 servings of the casserole = 570 calories

Recipe #4: Creamy Fettuccine Penne or vermicelli with Shrimp & Bacon

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups pasta and 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley)
dReJ note: We only made 4 servings – so make sure to reduce everything by half so you’ll be able to have it for 2 meals a piece!


  • 1¬† pound¬† uncooked fettuccine penne or whatever other pasta you have!
  • 2¬† bacon slices (uncooked)
  • 1¬† pound¬† large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1¬† garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2¬† cups¬† frozen canned green peas, thawed
  • 1¬† cup¬† shredded carrot
  • 2¬† cups¬† 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2¬† tablespoons¬† all-purpose flour
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† salt
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† freshly ground black pepper
  • 1¬† cup¬† (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2¬† cup¬† chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided

So I must admit – I’m not typically the one who cooks, but I did cook this meal! So for anyone freaked out by cooking, this is an easy recipe – even the sauce is simple to make. If you can chop up veggies, cook pasta, and stir some ingredients together while they are boiling – you’ve got this!

The only thing I messed up on was not putting enough milk in the sauce, and honestly, is still turned out good Рjust a bit more thick. When we made it the next time Рwe used the rest of our  vermicelli pasta and the sauce turned out much better!

dReJ says: This was also tasty & quick to make. As long as your shrimp are thawed prior to cooking, you don’t really have anything that takes long about this recipe. In the time it takes to cook the pasta, you can make all the other stuff and you are good to go.¬† Also an easy recipe to throw in other veggies you might have on hand from other meal leftovers. Could be an easy switch out for another meat as well!

Calories in this meal: About 382 (obviously if you change the meat you might change the calories on this one!

What’s it going to cost me?
That’s it, folks. Our 4 recipes we picked this week with ingredients, our changes and our thoughts on the recipes. Last week we spent about $45 a piece and we got food for these meals, personal item, breakfast and a meal for the weekend.

It’s hard to believe – but true – you can eat healthy, cheap, & delicious, too!

-Dre & RJ

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