Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ground Turkey Chili

So there is a recipe for chili already here, made with ground beef.  It's very simple and quick, and tastes great.  But now that I am trying to choose low cholesterol options for me and my family, I decided to change that recipe just a tiny bit to make it with ground turkey instead.  There's not a ton of changes made, but enough to bump up the flavor just enough so my husband doesn't miss the beef too much. It's lower in fat, and because it is poultry it's lower in cholesterol, and overall it's a pretty healthy option. It's also mild and pleases everyone, so it's kid friendly and great for the whole family.

You can serve it with cornbread if you like, but tonight I decided to just make it by itself.  I thought about it and realized that the chili really has plenty of carbohydrates in it already without the cornbread, and although I LOVE my cornbread recipe, and chili night doesn't seem to be the same without it, I decided to go without tonight and just eat a normal portion of chili. Maybe some other time I will make cornbread too!

Ground Turkey Chili

1.25 lbs ground turkey (this just seems to be the default size of ground turkey pkgs) you can use ground breast or regular ground turkey, doesn't matter. Turkey breast has less fat, but I used regular tonight.
2 cans rinsed and drained black beans
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans or 4 cups (frozen) corn (frozen is lower in salt) (if canned, undrained, if frozen, add 1 c water)
2 4-oz cans diced green chiles
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tbsp taco seasoning

Brown turkey in a large pot. Add onion powder, garlic powder and about half the chili powder.  Once meat is browned, add in your rinsed beans, tomatoes, corn, and chiles.  Stir everything to combine, and let simmer. Add coriander and taco seasoning and the rest of the chili powder (this part is sort of to taste).

Simmer about 15-20 minutes until everything is combined well and the flavors come together.  You can usually tell it is done by the smell of your kitchen.  Serve hot with your favorite toppings.  You can do grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, or nothing at all.



You can make your own black beans and use frozen corn and fresh tomatoes or low sodium tomatoes to reduce the salt in this recipe.  Canned veggies are convenient but they do add salt that we are often unaware of. The beans have usually less salt after rinsing them, but doing them yourself would still make a difference. Make sure though if you are using frozen corn that you add the extra water I was talking about, to make sure you have enough liquid in the pot to create the desired consistency. By adding spices and onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder, you get flavor without adding a lot of salt. You do need a little salt, but not nearly as much as you'd think.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Foil Packet {Oven Steamed} Fish

Hey friends! I'm realizing this is the second fish recipe I am posting within a week, but we are trying to incorporate healthy, low fat, low cholesterol protein into our diet and fish is a great way to do it. This one is so easy and so versatile you will laugh.  It takes maybe 20 minutes til it's done, and you can make some rice, potatoes, or quinoa in the meantime....which means less than 30 minutes til dinner! Great, right? I think so!

Rather than giving you a recipe for family style like normal, this is more of an individual serving type thing.  So the recipe is for each individual packet.  Easily converted from a single serving to 6 servings or more, and it takes just about the same amount of time for 1 or 6 people. You can also put it on the grill and let it steam on there. Just make sure the bbq gets hot enough to get the contents of each packet steaming for long enough. This is also great because it makes it easy for portion control. Everyone gets their own packet and there's no excess to over eat.

Foil Packet Fish

1 filet/steak of fish for each person in your family (I used tilapia again because it's what we have, but salmon is great this way, as would halibut or cod or lots of other kinds. Just use what you like. However, do NOT use tuna steaks. Tuna is best seared.)
3 slices of lemon per person
fresh or frozen vegetable of your choice, about 1/2 c to 1 cup per person (we used green beans, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower...you name it, it would work well for this.)
1/8 c water for each packet
1 tsp olive oil for each packet
salt and pepper
garlic powder
1 sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil for each packet

I recommend using frozen fish all of the time unless you live in a coastal state and you know the fish you got fresh at the store is really fresh.  This is because frozen fish is always frozen where it is caught, and always within a few hours of being caught. So it is usually the freshest option out there.  Living in Utah, it is always the best choice for my husband and I. I was raised in California, and usually had decent fish available fresh there, but since moving to Utah, I have had to change the way I think about fish.

Okay, now that's out of the way and we can move onto the recipe.  Set your oven to 400 degrees. Place your foil on the counter, and place the fish (skin side down if there is skin) on top of the foil.  Top with salt and pepper and garlic powder, and then lemon slices.  Lastly add your veggies, olive oil, and water. Fold the sides of the foil in first, then pull the top and bottom up and fold it over to make a tight seal, but leaving room for the steam to cook every thing.

Put your packets on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Fish should be tender and flake apart, and veggies should be tender but not mushy.  Serve hot with your favorite starch.  We had it with quinoa that I dressed with lemon juice, salt and pepper, olive oil and a dash of dill.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Pan Sauteed/Fried Tilapia

You can cook tilapia in so many ways, and this is just one I do often because it doesn't involve a grill and it uses very little oil and it takes about 5 minutes or less, depending on the thickness of the filet. Sorry I didn't get a picture, we gobbled it up before I even thought about the camera. I need to be better about the photo taking.

I use the word fried loosely here because technically since it's in a pan and I am using oil, that is the technique....but it's about 1 tbsp of olive oil that I used, so it's not like it is deep fried or greasy in any way...that's just how you keep it from sticking to the pan.

So simple, I am not really sure why I am posting a recipe for it because it's not really a recipe, just seasoning haha. But, in my mind I am thinking that some of you readers out there are afraid to try fish because you simply don't know how to cook it. Or every time you have tried to cook it, it turned out terrible.  Or you know how to cook one kind of fish but not another kind.  So here we go, I'm trying to help someone who might be in that boat.

Don't be afraid of fish.  It's delicious, and good for you, and if you know how to buy it and how to cook it the right way it can be a fantastic meal for very little work. Tilapia is a great fish to try if you are nervous because it is very mild tasting and doesn't have that "fishy" smell or flavor, and it has a nice light texture.

Pan Sauteed or Fried Tilapia

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tilapia filets
1/2 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Place fish in hot oil.  On exposed top side, sprinkle the garlic powder and salt and pepper. After a minute or two (depending on thickness, longer if it's a thicker filet), flip it over.  Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite veggies and grain. Yum!

Vegetable Cous Cous

I've done something similar to this in the past for stuffed bell peppers, but this time I just made the cous cous and we had it with some tilapia.  I also left out the sausage that is in the other recipe(s). Continuing with my healthy eating quest and cutting out fat and excess carbs, and adding more veggies, fruits and whole grains, I decided to have tilapia (a kind of white fish that is not too expensive and has those good omega 3s in it) then was looking for a way to add a healthy carb and some vegetables to the meal. I've been making quinoa fairly often lately so I decided to give my husband a break from it and make cous cous. It's more like pasta and not really a whole grain, but I actually seem to get more full from eating less cous cous than I do eating regular pasta (even if it is whole wheat pasta).

I had a leek, some heirloom carrots, and some celery in my fridge, most of which came from my Bountiful Basket a couple weeks ago that I needed to use and would be good to help flavor my cous cous. Rather than purchasing a boxed cous cous with seasoning packets and ingredients I couldn't control, I decided at the store it was a better idea to buy the plain kind and then use spices and veggies to flavor it.  This way I know how much salt, fat, and calories I was dealing with, and I could control it a lot more.  The nice thing about cous cous is that it takes about 5 minutes to cook it. And with the plain kind, I just cook it on its own, with either water or chicken broth, and then fluff it with a fork, and then I add it to my sauteed veggies. I was able to make this whole dish with only 2 tbsp of oil, and it only took me one more to cook the tilapia in my non-stick skillet. Use olive oil and it's really not terrible for you, because olive oil is a heart healthy fat.

Also, I should say here, you can really use whatever veggies you have on hand. This is just what I had in the fridge, and what worked for me tonight. You do need to make sure though that one of those vegetables is an onion, just to get the flavor from it.  Cous Cous is like a sponge and just sucks up whatever you cook it with, so choose wisely.

Anyway, onto the recipe..... I hope you all like it as much as the husband and I did.

Vegetable Cous Cous

3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, sliced and cleaned
1 regular sweet red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, or about 5 of the sweet baby bells, seeded and sliced.
1 c cous cous
1 c water
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp sea salt

Cook your cous cous by boiling the water with 1 tbsp olive oil, and the salt.  When it comes to a boil, add your cous cous, stirring it in as you pour it.  Turn off the heat and let stand 5 minutes. When it's done, fluff it with a fork and set aside.

In a medium skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil, and then the leeks when the pan is hot. Let those reduce and become tender and then add carrots and celery. Cook those until they are tender and the carrots still have texture but do not have their full "raw" crunch.  Add cous cous and peppers last, and stir every thing together and continue to cook for 1-3 minutes. You can season with salt and pepper if you like, or add some garlic powder.   Then you're done! Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with your favorite protein.  You could serve it with chicken or whatever you like. You can also cook the cous cous in chicken broth for a bit more flavor. (if you do this, I recommend low sodium chicken broth so you can control the salt a bit better, and then omit the added salt in the recipe)

Serving size is about 1 cup, and it's roughly 45 carbs per cup, and about 100 calories.