Quinoa Shrimp Scampi

This recipe started out because I looked in my pantry and saw that I have just way too much quinoa in there. I have plain, red, tri-color and then I just bought a couple more packages at Home Goods! So I decided I needed to start using it more. The quinoa I used in this recipe was an Italian flavored one. I bought this container of Pereg quinoa in Home Goods for $3.99 and I used about half of the container in this recipe, about 1 cup. This brand comes in all kinds of flavors which is pretty cool so you can make whatever you’re in the mood for! I also bought a spinach version and a mushroom version. Just follow the directions on the package and you’re good to go! I also substituted the water with chicken broth, which gives it so much more flavor. A vegetable broth would work great too! But if that’s not something you would want to do then just use water. 

This is a quick meal you can throw together in under 30 minutes for sure. Great for after work when you want something nutritious and delicious! This was a nice filling and satisfying meal for two of us but if you want it can serve 4 as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Pereg “All’ Italiana” quinoa (Use 1 cup and cook according to package)
  • 12-16 ounces uncooked extra large-jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (no tails on unless you like that sort of thing- I do not)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 large tomato chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package. When it is done, keep it on low to stay warm.
  2. Add the oil and butter to a medium skillet and saute the garlic till soft, just a few minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook on medium heat. A couple of minutes on each side until shrimp turns pink is good. Do NOT overcook.
  4. Add in the lemon juice and herbs and mix well.
  5. Add the chopped tomato to the quinoa mixture.
  6. Divide up the quinoa into flat bowls and top evenly with the shrimp mixture. Make sure the delicious juices are evenly distributed as well.
  7. Serve with some parmesan cheese on top if you like!

 

 

Italian Spaghetti Squash Quiche

Last night I decided I wanted to make something a little different for dinner. I hadn’t made a Quiche in a while so I thought about doing that. I also had a nice spaghetti squash sitting on my counter and wanted to use it soon. Good thing I decided on the spaghetti squash! When I cut it open a few seeds inside had sprouted! And we’re talking a good 3-4 inches! Crazy! But I also decided to make a Quiche. I combined the two. I just threw stuff together that I had in the refrigerator and voilà! A new delicious taste for dinner! (Or breakfast the next day!)
 I only used half of the squash and it was plenty. And to make it all worth while, ¼ of the Quiche is only 272 calories! Bonus!
 This recipe will make about 8 pieces We usually each have ¼ of the Quiche as a serving though. Oh and did I mention, it’s crustless!

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Ingredients:
½ of a spaghetti squash cooked and scraped out into a bowl. (Cook any way you are used to. I microwave it, cut side down in a shallow casserole with some water for about 10-15 minutes until soft)
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
3 eggs (You can use egg beaters if you want), beaten
1 cup shredded low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 chicken sausage (any kind you like is fine. I used a Casual Gourmet tomato and mozzarella one), cut into small pieces
2-3 fresh basil leaves, minced
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 head roasted garlic, chopped (I had it in the fridge, garlic powder will be good too if you want)
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
 2. Pour ingredients into a casserole dish or any type of baking dish you have. An actual Quiche pan may be too small. Spray the pan with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Let sit about 10 minutes when done. It will rest this way.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

As promised, here is a recipe I made for pizza with a cauliflower crust. I was at a Weight Watchers meeting a couple of weeks ago and I heard someone mention making a pizza crust with cauliflower. I was intrigued! My husband is doing his Atkins thing, again,  so he’s avoiding bread like the plague. I however still want my bread! But to be nice I researched the alternatives using cauliflower. Now I will say, it’s not like normal pizza crust. It’s not bread! But, it is still really good! I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome and my husband loved it. So I guess it was a success. I have made it twice now so it’s a keeper for sure.  And for those of you out there crinkling up your noses, it doesn’t taste like cauliflower! Honest! It is a little soft but hardens a bit when it starts to cool out of the oven. 

Made with crumbled chicken sausage

Made with crumbled chicken sausage & cheddar cheese topping

What I really like about this is you can put anything you want on it to make it a pizza. I used chicken sausage, some tomato sauce and some cheese. Incredibly delicious! So be daring, make some cauliflower crust pizza today! It’s worth it! Honestly the hardest part is shredding/chopping the cauliflower. Don’t be scared. It’s a taste sensation!

Crust before baking

Crust before baking

Ingredients:

2-3 Cups shredded or finely chopped cauliflower (I used my shredder attachment on the food processor)

2-3 large eggs, if they are on the small size of large, use 3, beaten

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1½ teaspoon fennel (this really makes a difference, I didn’t use it the 1st time but did the 2nd time, so invest in a jar)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder (more if you desire!)

Directions:

1: Finely chop, shred or rice cauliflower until you have 2-3 cups of cauliflower. Add the eggs and shredded cheese.

2. Add the spices and mix well.

3. Press the mixture into a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t fill up the entire sheet, mine didn’t the first time I made it) First time I used a cookie sheet. Second time I used a stoneware baking sheet. I think the cookie sheet worked better. It’s up to you though.

(Make sure it’s as flat as you can get it with no holes showing through.)

4. Bake at 450º for about 20 minutes. If it is starting to brown and crisp on the edges it’s good. You can cook a little longer if you want.

5. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Be careful with sauce, don’t over-sauce as it will make the crust too soggy. I used about ½ cup sauce and spread it thin over the crust. I topped it with chopped chicken sausage and part-skim mozzarella. Use whatever you want!!

6. Bake until brown and cheese is bubbly! (about another 5-10 minutes, just keep an eye on it)

Makes about 8 servings

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

Made with sliced chicken sausage & mozzarella cheese

Saucy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

Well it has been much longer than I had anticipated for posting a new recipe. But as we all know, life can get pretty busy sometimes. But it’s no excuse. I have so many recipes I need to post so I’m starting with the one I made just last night. I posted the photo on Facebook and had a few requests for the recipe so here it is.

This recipe started out with me making my Buttery Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings. Then I thought maybe I should try something slightly different. I had a bit of marinara sauce in the fridge, really it was only about 2 ounces, but I figured it would come in handy and it did. I added it to my recipe and tweaked it a bit and came up with a new flavor. They were delicious. No leftovers here!

Quick note about the chicken wings I use. In the past I have bought Tyson uncooked wings or Perdue. But they can be very pricey. Then I switched to Great Value (Walmart). Not bad. But now I am using only the wings I have purchased at a store we just discovered, Save-a-lot. A 4 lb bag costs about $6.00! And the wings are huge! Most of the other brands were have the size for more money! And they are delicious! 

Ingredients

20-24 chicken wings, frozen or thawed (flats/drumsticks)

4 tablespoons butter or butter substitute (I use I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter)

8-10 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 ounces marinara sauce or whatever red sauce you may have around. Plain tomato sauce is good too.

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (we use Locatelli Romano)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF. (I have a convection option on my oven and I use convection roast)
  2. On a large cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan lay out the wings. They can touch and crowd each other because they do shrink a little.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes for frozen. Flip every 10-15 minutes or so. If using thawed, reduce cook time. Bake to desired crispness.
  4. Meanwhile in a food processor place garlic, olive oil, basil and oregano. Pulse until garlic is finely minced.
  5. Add butter to small saucepan and melt on low heat (careful not to burn). When melted add the garlic mixture and red pepper flakes and cook till heated.
  6. When wings are done remove from pan and place in a large mixing bowl. (You can blot up some of the chicken grease with paper towels if you like also)
  7. Add the cheese to the garlic mixture and add to the wings in bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Return wings to pan, sauce and all and bake another 5-10 minutes but keep an eye on it. You don’t want all the sauce to dry up.
  9. Return to bowl you mixed them in and serve. Or if you want a pretty presentation put on a platter.

Serve with bleu cheese and celery/carrot sticks!

Buttery Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

I think just about everyone loves chicken wings. But after a while they can get a little boring. Same thing all the time…We have a favorite wings place here in Florida called Hurricane Wings. (They’re on Long Island in NY now too!) They have lots of different flavors along with the usual hot stuff. So the other night I remembered I had a bag of frozen wings and wanted to make up a batch. Well as most of you know, I love garlic. Can never have too much if you ask me. I also love butter and parmesan cheese. So why not combine them all with the chicken wings! Wonderful idea. What I liked most about this is that I didn’t have to defrost the wings first. I just followed the directions on the bag. Baked them for 45 minutes at 400ºF. My oven also has a convection option so I used the convection roast setting. I also turned them over a couple of times during the cooking. We love crispy wings and if you do them this way you won’t have all the extra fat from deep-frying. I am happy to say they came out awesome! We also served them with the usual blue cheese dressing. I also didn’t have any celery so I cut a cucumber into long slices and that worked just fine.

I’m thinking of making up another batch for tonight! 

INGREDIENTS:

2-4 lbs. uncooked chicken wings (frozen or unfrozen)

6-8 cloves garlic minced (cut back if you don’t like a lot of garlic)

6-8 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup of grated parmesan cheese of choice

½ teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Follow cooking directions on bag of chicken. Different cooking times for frozen or thawed. Place the chicken wings on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and cook as directed. This will take 30-45 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine the melted butter, garlic, basil and oregano. Add ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese. Mix well.

  3. When the wings are done to your liking, we like them crispy, remove from cookie sheet and put them in a large bowl. Add the butter, garlic mixture to the wings and mix well.

  4. Put the wings back onto the cookie sheet, making sure you get all the mixture on them. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.

  5. Broil for about 5 minutes about 3-4 inches from the broiler element. Keep an eye on them so the cheese doesn’t burn.

  6. Remove from oven and transfer to a platter and dig in!

Faux-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

I just found this recipe while going through my emails and thought it was a perfect addition to a holiday weekend.  A quick, easy snack that isn’t loaded with fat and calories. Who doesn’t love mozzarella sticks? I always say you can fry anything and it will taste good. But this recipe bakes the sticks and it still seems like it is fried. I think it’s because the panko bread crumbs make everything much crisper and tastier! Love panko bread crumbs in our house! (Yes, we should marry them!) To go to the original link click on Chef Meg’s “Fried” Cheese Sticks.

I always have the part-skim mozzarella sticks in the house. They are a great quick snack and it won’t kill your appetite or diet. I will make up a batch soon and add my own picture to the page. But for now I thank Chef Meg at SparkPeople for the photo I have added here. Also if you have Italian flavored panko bread crumbs you can use them instead of the plain and herb seasoning. Saves a step.

INGREDIENTS:

4 light string cheese sticks

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup panko bread crumbs(Japanese bread crumbs)

½ cup egg substitute (or 2 egg whites)

1½ tablespoons Chef Meg’s Italian Herb Seasoning Blend

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the flour onto a small plate.

2. Cut the cheese sticks in half. Roll each cheese stick in the flour.

3. Place breadcrumbs and Italian herb blend in a small container with a lid or zipper-top bag; set aside. Pour egg substitute into a shallow dish. Using one hand, roll the floured cheese sticks in the egg mixture. One at a time, using your other (dry) hand, transfer the cheese sticks to the bread crumb mixture and shake to coat. Using the dry hand, remove from the crumb mixture and place on the baking pan. Continue until all cheese sticks are breaded. Spritz each cheese stick with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

If desired, dunk these cheese sticks in low-sodium tomato sauce (calories not included).

Makes 4 two-stick servings.

Pesto Chicken Pizza

I keep finding such yummy recipes on the back of the mozzarella cheese labels these days. Yummy and easy recipes!!  This pizza uses a pre-cooked pizza crust. Just use your favorite crust. I like using the Pillsbury thin pizza crusts. Just roll out and bake! So simple. Love that little doughboy! (giggle)

This recipe also has only 4 ingredients. Simple, fast and delicious. Chicken is a great protein when we want to be eating right. And who says pizza has to be a bad thing! Pizza is our friend! I’ve been making pizzas alot lately and this is my next one! I haven’t made it yet but it just sounds so good. The pesto it calls for is store-bought but if you feel like making it yourself go ahead.

INGREDIENTS:

12 ounces sliced, pre-cooked chicken breast

1- 12″ thin pre-baked pizza crust

¼ cup prepared pesto

4-8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Spread the prepared pizza crust with the pesto. Sprinkle with chicken and top with mozzarella cheese.

2. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Makes 4 servings