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Thursday, June 25, 2009

recipe of the week: not-so-fried rice

i know.... more asian food. i think it's a pregnancy thing. my dad makes the most amazing bacon fried rice. the only problem is i don't feel amazing after i eat it because it is definitely super greasy. this fried rice is super yummy like my dad's but without the grease (and it has veggies)!! enjoy!

not-so-fried rice
makes a huge wok full (about 6 servings)

2 1/2 cups uncooked white rice, cooked according to directions (i want to try it with brown rice, but i was afraid of husband mutiny against the brown. hehe.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 of a medium onion, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups (or more if you aren't using meat) veggies of choice (i used carrots and broccoli)
1 1/2 cups cooked cubed turkey or chicken - optional (i used some leftover from a huge turkey breast i roasted a while ago and froze)
5 eggs, scrambled
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
green onion tops, chopped

1. heat oil in wok on high. add onions and sautee 2 minutes or until soft. add veggies and sautee until whole mixture is damp from oil. cover and let steam until veggies are crisp-tender (open wok and stir once in a while). about half way through steaming, add meat (optional) and let sautee with the rest of the mixture.
2. add cooked rice to wok and pour soy sauce over the top. mix well. scramble eggs and add to wok. add green onions. mix well again. cover wok and let heat for a few minutes until hot throughout.
3. top with extra soy sauce if desired and very optional... tabasco - i love tabasco on my fried rice. strange i know! hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

splurge night: part 2

on to the 2nd type of splurging - budgeted splurging (click here if you missed the first type). eating wouldn't be fun if you couldn't use some pricier, more fun ingredients once in a while. here are my guidelines for making your splurge night still budget-friendly:
  • plan ahead - if you're going to have a budget splurging meal, plan ahead for it and each extra cheaply the rest of the week to compensate. also, if you plan ahead you can get things for your splurge while they are on sale. (ex. we love the french dips recipe below, but i don't buy the roast unless i can get it for $1.79/lb or less and i try and find the pepper jack on sale as well)
  • stay in your budget - splurging shouldn't have to mean buying the most expensive ingredients out there, just something you don't normally buy. and put it in the budget. if your food budget is a little tight that month, find another category to squeeze it into. i'm infamous for filing yummy, splurge ingredients into my date budget or my miscellaneous category.
  • have a date/fun budget - sometimes the splurge we want is a saturday night with no cooking - we'd rather someone else cook and clean up. so we have a date budget and that way we can have eating out be a budget-friendly splurge.
this is probably our favorite budgetary splurge. we love, love, love these sandwiches. i never liked traditional french dips, but these are fabulous.

french dips
ala my bff maggi

my french dip decided to fall apart for the picture... but man, was it good!!!!!!

1 package onion soup mix
1 package zesty italian dressing mix (or homemade mix here)
a roast

put roast in crock pot. fill with water. pour in mixes. heat on high. it is done when it falls apart. (depends on your crock pot and the size of your roast.)

serve on yummy french rolls (don't go stingey here - get good ones!), broiled in the oven to toast with pepper jack cheese on them (broil with the cheese on them). carmelized onions are also delicious on them. dip in the juice from the crock pot.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

recipe of the week: bruschetta chicken bake

here's a delicious, easy and beautiful meal by kraft (introduced to me by my friend jenny who also introduced this deliciousness to me). your family is bound to love this one and not even know how healthy they are eating! we like ours with a side of some yummy potatoes, but serve any way you'd like!

bruschetta chicken bake
6 servings

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (6 oz.) stuffing mix for chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.
2. layer chicken, basil and cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish.
3. top with stuffing mixture. bake 30 minutes at 400 or until chicken is done.

***option: sometimes i put a tiny bit of fat free italian dressing over the top of the chicken before i complete the dish. it's great with or without this, though!

Monday, June 1, 2009

splurge night: part 1

"to splurge or not to splurge? - that is the question."

answer: "splurge, definitely splurge."

having posted my things never to cook with, i figured i should follow up with a little bit of rationality. a fairly darned disciplined healthy eater, even the skinny bovine splurges pretty regularly. but i think that is the fun of eating healthy (besides feeling way better), you have lots of room to splurge! the key is having guidelines.

since i'm a healthy and budgeted cooker, there are 2 types of splurges at my house. here are my healthy splurge guidelines (stay tuned for my budget splurge guidelines soon!):
  • set boundaries - this means sticking to my list of things to never use for the most part. there are plenty of other things i love to use in cooking that aren't particularly good for you though. ex: coconut milk (curry. mmm.), creamy soups (made with milk of course, and maybe a tablespoon or two of butter). see one of my favs below. we love, love, love this soup at our house.
  • know yourself, know your goals - if you're trying to be disciplined and maintain your weight, go ahead - splurge once a week! if you're trying to loose a little, make it once every other week. if you want to loose a lot, make it once a month. we all deserve a reward for our discipline.
  • only make enough for that meal - it's splurge night. not splurge night + leftovers for the next 2 days. have your splurge and then get back to your best habits in a hurry. :)
here is one of my favorite (fairly un-) healthy splurges. like i said, we just can't get enough of this soup. definitely not one of my worst splurges, but i definitely don't make it once a week! :)

parmesan corn chowder
adapted from (here)
pic from
4 servings

2 cups water
2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots (i use 1 cup carrots and no celery - just a preference)
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour (i use whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
1 (14.75 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

  1. in a large saucepan, combine the first five ingredients; bring to a boil. reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender (do not drain).
  2. meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually stir in milk. bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. stir into the vegetable mixture. add corn and parmesan cheese. cook 10 minutes longer or until heated through.

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!