Happiness

Day 14, Tuesday: Ten things that make you really happy
blog everyday in may

  • Vacations
  • Being active
  • Food.  This was the mother’s day grub.  Roast turkey, spicy bbq beans,  grilled brats, roasted chicken, grilled corn, cabbage, onions.  Oh and salad.  If you’ve never had grilled cabbage, try it!  It’s seriously underrated!

mothers day grub

  • Love
  • Friends
  • Family

winners

  • Music
  • Me time
  • Reading
  • Kitties.  Chanel is obsessed with the yoga mat if I am no where near it.

chanel yoga mat

Recipe review: Whino Chicken

Ok, here’s where you look at me and say, “she’s off her rocker”.

I may not read alot of books, but I read a ton of medical and health blogs, journals, etc.  Recently I’ve been looking at the health benefits of organ meats, yes, you read that correctly.  They are a muscle and very nutritionally dense.

So I bought some chicken hearts at the store.  Yes, they looked gross and it freaked me the hell out.

Went home and scoured the internet for ideas.  Most people apparently fry or sautee.  I opted for sautee, with a hybrid of several recipes.

Whino chicken hearts

  • 1 pound chicken hearts, split, rinsed, and cleaned 
  • 2 T fresh chopped garlic
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • sliced mushrooms

I combined everything but mushrooms in a container and marinated for 3 hours.  Then sauteed until done with mushrooms in EVOO.

Image

It tastes like chicken, but has the texture of a mushroom.  Because I knew Dan hates the texture of mushrooms, I opted not to even try to get him to eat them.    I actually couldn’t tell mushrooms and heart apart very well looking at the dish.

I served over spinach and broccoli Normandy.Image

They were good, I am not sure it’s something I would crave, but I would eat it again.  I am interested to see what else is good, I hear beef heart is really good and versatile.

Things I like Thursday: Simple Eats

Life has been really busy lately.  Thank goodness for simple eats!

Here are some i’ve been enjoying lately in my hectic schedule:

Steak salad.  Spinach, veggie mix, homemade pickled okra, grilled mini peppers, and thin grilled sirloin beef (with Penzey’s Mural of flavor spice rubbed on meat).  Gluten Free Ranch Dressing (I rarely eat dressing, nice change)

Turkey salad.  Spinach, strawberries, roasted sweet potatoes, EVOO to dress.

Egg stacks.  Brown rice cakes, guacamole, egg white souffles.  Penzey’s chili powder to top.  GREAT breakfast!

BBQ chicken pizza.  Glutino’s GF English muffins (pan fried/browned in EVOO first), Stubb’s BBQ sauce, leftover BBQ chicken thighs, pinch of cheese, jalapenos.  Side of broccoli (and another BBQ’d chicken thigh)

Quinoa Italiano.  Quinoa, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, chicken sausage, all sauteed in EVOO and tossed with pasta sauce.  

Quinoa toss.  Normandy veggies, zucchini, quinoa and chicken sausage all sauteed in EVOO.

Can’t beat the easy and fast!  I had cooked quinoa frozen in serving size containers at the time, so it was really fast and easy to throw together.

Verdict is still out on the Glutino English Muffins, they aren’t really anything like one, but rather cornbreadish instead.  Not bad and not something i’d buy or eat regularly, but good enough to make into part of a meal like a pizza, garlic bread, etc.

Things I like Thursday: Shady Grove

How can you beat KGSR’s free live music every Thursday in the summer at Shady Grove? (what’s up with Dan’s blurry photo?)

It seriously can’t be beat (well maybe if it wasn’t 30 miles from our house).  I find it hard to believe we’ve only been once this year!

Dinner was great with 7 buddies before the show.  Although, I have suspected in the past Chuy’s/Shady Grove’s Hatch Green Chile sauce is not gluten free.  Last night pretty much confirmed that.  I am still blown up like an over-inflated balloon and I was itching uncontrollably about an hour after we ate 😦

My chicken cobb salad was divine, although it was not the first meal of the deal i’d had with HB eggs and avocado.  Whatever, it’s good, even better with spice and bacon.  I should have stuck to salsa instead of the green chile sauce, which is ever so heavenly and I always special order.  They brought me about a cup of it and I ate it all.

The show was good, but between the itching and the fact I was cold and it was 90 degrees outside, I was going nuts (stupid thyroid).  It was nice to sit and listen though, I am glad we got there early and got seats, I was too tired to stand.

Got home later than I expected, so I got to bed super late.  4:15 am came way too early.  I hit snooze for an hour and then got dressed and off to work. Needless to say, a long run didn’t happen.  Between not getting enough sleep and still feeling poorly from dinner, I nixed the idea.

I am going to miss the green chile sauce, but man, I won’t miss how it made me feel!

Recipes: more from dad’s garden

Breakfast quinoa bake.  Easy.  Quinoa cooked in broth, tomatoes (from the garden), herbs, spinach, egg.  If you do dairy, cheese would be great. Next time i’ll add different types of veggies.  I tried it with broccoli too.  I eat broccoli a lot with breakfast, apparently that’s weird.

Fish with Jalapeno-peach pico (red onions, peaches, and jalapeno from dad’s garden), warm spinach and tomato salad (also from the garden), and green beans.  Made the pico a day ahead of time to let the flavors blend.

I don’t usually do fish leftovers, but I made extra to have for lunch today.  Cold.  I am not a cooked fish or shrimp at work person.  I don’t like when people make gross food smells in the breakroom!

Roasted baby acorn squash with saigon cinnamon and almond butter.  Great dessert!

Our intern brought me some yellow squash today. Not sure if i’ll cook that up or opt for one of the other squash types I have all over my kitchen!  I am thinking squash pizza.  We’ll see 😉

I am LOVING all of this homegrown fresh summer produce.  But it’s a good thing Dan has been traveling.  He doesn’t do quinoa, squashes, or pretty much anything but the jalapeno and tomato dad sent.

Another reason my dad rocks

After Father’s Day dinner, my dad gave me all of this from his garden…..

Peaches.  I cut and froze 4 quarts, left the rest for snacks and desserts.  Ate 2 of them yesterday for breakfast in a dessert omelet.

Spaghetti and butternut squashes, with a few acorn.

Tons of different types of tomatoes

A huge bag of jalapenos and some onions aren’t pictured, but will be enjoyed.

I am certainly going to miss this free summer produce if they sell their house 😦

I cooked 2 spaghetti squashes on Sunday and froze them.  Cooked another for for Sunday dinner and Monday lunch for me.  Regular pasta for Dan, because he won’t eat spaghetti squash.  It turned out great!  Chicken breast, artichokes, sundried tomato seasoning kit mixed with EVOO, (the tomatoes, onions and squash) are from his garden.  It was delish!  Not the prettiest dish, but very tasty with so much flavor!

Mediterranean salmon warm salad.  Salmon, spinach, EVOO, (tomatoes and onions from the garden), feta crumbles, and quinoa (cooked in chicken broth).  

I haven’t cooked any of the butternut squash yet, I may put that on the agenda for Wednesday.  There is too much to eat, so i’ll  have to cook and freeze some of that too.

Looks like some kitchen adventures are in store for me on Wednesday evening!

Comfort Food at it’s finest


King Ranch chicken is one of the greatest things on earth. If you don’t like it, I am pretty sure you should be kicked out of Texas. I cannot believe my sister has always hated it.  One of the favorite things my mom always made when I was a kid.

Recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives when Matthew McCoughney and Guy Fieri went to Monument Cafe in Georgetown (down the street from Dan’s office) and learned how to make King Ranch Chicken.  Their recipe and method was very different!  Sounded good, but not gluten free or waistline friendly.

King Ranch Chicken is legendary in Texas.  I’ve blogged it before Here.

I’d been craving it for over a week (since I saw it on DDD on Food Network), but my schedule and other plans didn’t allow me to make it.  I put it together on Sunday, to toss in the oven on Monday evening.  Leftovers planned for Tuesday night, since I don’t have time to cook after LUNA.

KING RANCH CHICKEN

Serves – 6

10 oz. cooked, cubed chicken breast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes (I use extra spicy)
8 corn tortillas, cut into fourths
1 cup shredded cheddar (regular, sharp, or jack)
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Methods/steps

Saute onion, garlic and celery in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray until tender. Add soups, Rotel tomatoes and chicken; heat and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spray 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 of tortillas in bottom of dish. Pour 1/2 of soup mixture over tortillas. Sprinkle 1/2 of shredded cheese over soup mixture. Repeat layers ending with cheese. Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and cook additional 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tips, notes, suggestions

  • I use Pacific Naturals soups, because they are GF. Campbells, store brand, or others work fine if you don’t have food intolerance.
  • You can certainly reduce the amount of cheese or use reduced fat.  Or mix the cheese types.  I used sharp cheddar and Monterrey jack this go-round.
  • Dan’s mom likes to use flour tortillas.  I’m not a fan of that method, the traditional way is with corn.  Some people even use tortilla chips.  I like the oven to make the edges and tortillas sticking out crispy, so I don’t do the chips thing either.
  • I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot on Sunday and used most of it for this.
  • You can put it together the day/night before and just cover with foil and bake when you want to eat it.  I’d recommend baking a little longer if you do that, because the sauce will be cold before you bake it and it may need a little extra time to heat throughout.  It you make it and bake it all at the same time, the sauce will be hot before you put it in the oven.
  • Good with mexican rice, salad, beans, or just about anything!
  • Weight Watchers Points will vary on the type/brand tortillas, soup, and cheese you use.  As I made it, for 6 servings, it was 6 P+ each.

Recipe Review: Italian Zucchini Boats

Super easy use for the zucchini out of my dad’s garden.  Thanks dad!

Talk about a random throw together that worked out great.  I’ve made Mexican calabacitas on the grill before, but this was all indoors, took 10 minutes and tasted wonderful.

  • zucchini, sliced length wise, seeds scooped out.  Make the “boat”
  • Protein source plus veggies.  Could use meat, beans, or tofu.  I added onions and sausage (chicken and fontina sausage, it’s what I had)
  • cheese
  • pasta sauce
  • spinach

I cooked the sausage and veggies, shoved them into the boat,  spooned on some pasta sauce, then sprinkled with cheese.  I’d originally planned to roast the boats first, but I was hungry and didn’t want to wait that long.  Broiled in the oven until the cheese melted and then served over spinach.  Next time i’ll brown the cheese more.

Super easy and healthy.  That’s RF mozzarella, we don’t do fat free cheese in this house.  It’s always RF or the regular stuff.  Dan loves his cheese and I wouldn’t force the fat free stuff on him.  He doesn’t usually eat zucchini, but when there’s meat and cheese, with an Italian spin, he’s happy.

Versatile recipe, could be made to be Mexican (use salsa and different cheese), Greek (use different spices, meat, and some feta), etc.

The way I made these, they were 6 Weight Watchers Points Plus, your ingredients and modifications may vary the recipe.  I usually try to eat about 10 P+ for dinner, if not more, so there was some EVOO added to mine after they were plated.  Great source of many Good Health Guidelines!

Recipe Review: Honey Garlic Chicken

This was so easy!  I actually combined everything and froze it, wrote the directions on the freezer bag.  Pulled it out and thawed when I was ready to make.  Turned out GREAT!  Loved it. 

1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 or one thigh per family member)
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup soy sauce (La Choy or Tamari wheat-free are gluten free)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup honey
Use a 4-quart slow cooker (if using a 6-quart, this will cook faster. Check after 3 hours on high, 5 hours on low).

Put the chicken into your cooker. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, then pour evenly over the top.
Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 (I’d go with low—).
Serve with  rice and steamed or roasted vegetables.

Original source:  Crockpot 365

WW:  5 P+ per serving (chicken only)

I actually used breasts instead of thighs.  Not that I wouldn’t use them, but chicken breasts were on hand.  In fact, that’s what I loved, when I put this together, I had everything on hand (and usually do).  Served over rice, topped with green onions.  Mine also had veggies in the bowl, I knew Dan would eat around them, so I didn’t bother adding them to his.

Recipe Review: Meat Muffins

On Sunday I made these for breakfasts for a few days this week.  They could be a snack, breakfast, or part of a meal.   I put 4 in each container to last me 3 breakfasts.

I did ground chicken because that’s what I had on hand (I only used 1 lb).  I think next time I will try another meat like beef or turkey.  Chicken was really good, but I am interested to try new combos.  I see this recipe being very versatile!  I topped them with Schlotzsky’s hot sauce (I have the little packets in my desk at work).

The squeezing of the spinach was a huge pain in the butt to me.  If it weren’t for that, I would have made a double batch.  May put this on a dinner menu in the coming weeks.  I hear they freeze well too, which is excellent for when we are too busy!

The WW points plus will vary based on the type of meat you use.  With using chicken breast, they are 1 P+ value each.