Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Healthy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Written By: Chris - Apr• 19•16

So I’ve got other red pepper sauces on this blog, but this is my “healthier” one…  When I’m counting points or trying to keep the calories down, this is my go to.  In addition to their bright color, sweet taste, and really nice texture, roasted red peppers are a low-calorie and are a fantastic way of adding to a dish while roasting them amplifies their sweetness.  They can be easily added to any number of dishes when made into a sauce for topping fish, added to pasta, soups or salads.  I do like to make them at home, but they are sometimes time-consuming and it’s really easy to just grab the jarred ones!

If you want to make your own healthy roasted red peppers, you can either blacken them directly on the gas burner or place them under a broiler and remove the skins once they have blackened.  Just place the blackened peppers in a bowl while they are hot under plastic, allowing them to steam and cool enough to handle.  Then the skins will slip right off with a paring knife your a paper towel.  These roasted red peppers can be consumed immediately, or kept in the fridge or freezer for future use.

If you are purchasing pre-made roasted red peppers, look for a variety that has minimal additives. In some cases, sodium is added to preserve color and taste in canned foods and you don’t want them packed in oil if you’re watching your weight.  Either way,  they pack a huge flavor and are a must-have on hand addition to my fridge.

There are not really any Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™ other than the oil!

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Ingredients:

1 Cup jarred Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
1 Onion, medium chopped
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil (reduce for fewer calories or points)
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock (I like homemade
3 Tablespoons Almond Milk, unsweetened
1 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 Tablespoon Basil leaves, fresh chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste

These are very simple instructions to prepare the roasted red pepper sauce:  Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and cook for five to six minutes or until translucent.  (I will add small bits of water if necessary to keep the onions moist, rather than more oil)  Add the roasted red pepper, chicken stock and almond milk. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the fresh basil. Cook for a couple of minutes and then transfer everything to a food processor.  Pulse and blend for a couple of minutes until smooth.

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This is the brand of peppers that I prefer if purchasing jarred ones and I find them at Costco!

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

Bison and Beef Meatballs

Written By: Chris - Apr• 19•16

I had friends coming for dinner recently and decided to prepare meatballs.  I should have done some more homework prior to preparation because I’ve since read that Bison is simply healthier than regular cow beef as it is lower in saturated fat.   I hadn’t had a lot of experience with it, so I mixed the two types of meat.  The next time I’m looking for a low-fat meat to have for dinner, It will likely be the bison because it is one of the leanest meats that still has a lot of protein.  It is the amount of protein you get in bison meat, without the saturated fat that makes this a great alternative to regular beef. I found the ground Bison at Costco and created this dish using some additional healthy ingredients that I had on hand. 

I’m including Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™

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Ingredients: 

20.07 oz. Bison, ground *28
21.44 oz. Lean Beef, ground *40
6 slices Bacon, unsmoked, cooked and sliced *12
4 oz. Lean Boneless Pork, cooked (leftover and optional) *4 
1 Large Onion, chopped 
1/3 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs *3
2/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs *4
1/2 Cup Egg Beaters
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper, to taste

25 meatballs, 7 Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™ each.

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This nutritious meat is a healthy alternative to these more commonly consumed meats because it is a great source of nutrients including zinc, which helps the immune system, hair and skin health and overall cell function; Niacin, which helps convert food into energy for the body; Iron, carrying oxygen through the body; Vitamin B6, with oodles of value of for physical and even mental health; and Selenium, which helps prevent cellular damage from free radical.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Gently combine all of the ingredients, without over mixing by hand.  Scoop using an ice cream scoop for even amounts and roll into balls before placing them onto cookie sheets that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

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I seasoned the meatballs on the outside too and par-cooked them the night before for roughly 10 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking process and allowed them to cool before refrigerating.

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About an hour and a half prior to the dinner the next day, I placed the meatballs into my homemade red sauce  and simmered over low heat until I was ready to serve.

Organic Edamame Spaghetti

Serve with your favorite pasta!  I tried a new Organic Edamame Spaghetti that I also found at Costco.  It was good, but I found that it was better when mixed with regular pasta.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms, with Parmesan and Mozzarella

Written By: Chris - Apr• 18•16

So not too many years ago, I discovered artichoke bottoms.  Yes, I love fresh artichokes but they can be expensive to buy and laborious to trim and cook.  Many brands also sell artichoke bottoms but keep in mind that they’re harder to find than the hearts in most stores.  Be sure to look for the type that are not marinated in oil.  The bottoms are meatier and I think can be a better choice if you’re going to stuff them like you would a large mushroom cap.

I’ve often thought whomever was the first person to eat a fresh artichoke had to be very hungry. That’s because an artichoke, which is the bud of a thistle plant, is like a food wearing a coat of armor.  According to legend, the artichoke was created when the smitten Greek god Zeus turned his object of affection into a thistle after being rejected. Despite this prickly beginning, the ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, using it as an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant.

The artichokes we eat are actually the buds of a purple flower that can grow more than 3 feet tall.  They are actually quite beautiful!  Because of their tough exterior, artichokes take some careful preparation. But your efforts will reap nutritional rewards as the veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K.  Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

I think canned artichokes are usually a better value than the frozen and are packed in water, salt, and citric acid to keep them from discoloring.

This is a recipe I came up using ingredients that I had on hand when I was looking for something that could quench my “artichoke dip” craving.  A friend of mine had recently brought over some delicious stuffed mushrooms, which were also very low in weight watchers points; and although these stuffed artichokes were not as rich as her shrooms, they were sure delicious!

I suspect that I’ll be creating more versions soon as you could easily change thing up.  Try using jarred roasted red peppers; or sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese;  How about green peppers, and onions with swiss cheese; or just about any other combination you might come up with!  I can easily see them stuffed with a protein as well for a nice low carb option.  I’m including Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™

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Ingredients: 

1 7.4 oz. can Artichoke Bottoms (scan, some brands have points) 
2 Tablespoons Onions, caramelized
1/3 Cup Red/Yellow Bell Peppers, caramelized 
1 teaspoon Olive Oil (if used to cook onions and peppers) *1
1 Cup Arugula, chopped 
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, grated *2
1/4 Cup Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, grated *2

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All canned artichokes should be gently rinsed with cool water to remove excess salt, and then left to drain completely, squeezing out any excess liquid with a paper towel.  The can I used had five bottoms in it.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  (I chose to use the grill as an oven, placing the baking dish on the top rack because it was already on!)

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Simply chop the cooked vegetables and combine them with the seasoning salt, chopped arugula and parmesan cheese.  Mix in half of the mozzarella and reserve the other half for topping the stuffed artichoke bottoms.

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Stuff the bottoms with the filling and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Place on a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake for about 20 minutes or so – until the filling is heated all the way through and the cheese is melted and browning on top.

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We enjoyed these as a side dish to some grilled salmon and asparagus.  They would make a perfect appetizer as well!

Two stuffed bottoms equals two Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penne Arrabbiata with Pancetta, Chili, and Parmesan by Hello Fresh

Written By: Chris - Apr• 18•16

This is another Hello Fresh dish that I’m sharing.  Arrabbiata, translating to “angry” in Italian, is known for its kick.  They’ve reinvented this Italian classic by adding salty pancetta to the mix.  Wilting arugula into the sauce is a great way to sneak in extra greens.  If you’re not a fan of heat, simply leave out the chili pepper!

“HelloFresh” is an international food company, with local branches in Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Belgium, and Austria. The company was founded in 2011 in Berlin by Dominik Richter, Thomas Griesel, and Jessica Nilsson.  I was turned onto it by a friend who had referred me when I received a free box!  (Yes, I’ll take $69 worth of free food anytime!) I was really excited when I heard that Jamie Oliver had partnered with HelloFresh and together are combining forces to get people cooking nutritious, tasty food from scratch!

Their common goal is to provide people with top-quality produce and quick & easy recipes.  They want to give people the guidance needed to create flavorsome, exciting home-cooked meals.   At the bottom of this post, I’ll include some pictures of the delivery of the box!  Everything I’ve prepared so far has been very delicious and flavorful and I’m sure I will remake some of these dishes in the future!

This particular dish was a very large portion and this recipe serves two!  I modified it slightly by adding additional onion and the red pepper.  Bill loved this dish!!  I’m including Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™

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Ingredients: 

6 oz. Penne Pasta *7
1 Red Onion, medium
1/2 Sweet Onion, medium
1/2 Teaspoon of Sugar (or substitute)
2 oz. Pancetta, *9
1 Tablespoon Green Hot Chili Peppers
1 Garlic clove, pressed
3⁄4 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, fresh
1 Roma Tomato, medium
2 oz. Arugula
1⁄4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated *4
1⁄2 Tablespoon Olive Oil, *2
14 oz. Tomatoes, Italian Style, crushed 
1⁄2 Sweet Red Pepper

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Prep: Wash and dry all produce. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Halve, peel and dice the red pepper and onion.  Press the garlic.  Core, seed, and dice the Roma tomato.  Mince the chili pepper.  Tip: Be sure to wash your hands, cutting board, and knife after handling the chili pepper.

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Start the sauce: Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and cook for two to three minutes, until slightly crispy.  Add the onion and as much chili pepper as you like (start with less and you can always add more!) to the pan.  Cook, tossing for three to four minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.  Season with salt and pepper.

Boil the penne: add the penne to the boiling salted water and cook for nine to eleven minutes, until al dente.  Drain.

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Add the red peppers and cook for another two to three minutes.

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Simmer the sauce: Add the Roma tomato, the box of diced tomatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the pan. (I used substitute) Bring to a simmer, cooking for at least 10 minutes, until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Finish the penne: I chose not to add the drained penne, rather pour the sauce over the pasta so that I could measure my portion, but this is when you would do that.  Then also the arugula to the sauce and toss for about a minute, until the arugula is wilted.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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Each dish comes with its own instruction card that includes a description, the ingredients, step by step instructions, portions, etc.

This recipe served two people: Calories: 577, Fat: 16 g, Sat. Fat: 6 g, Protein: 25 g, Carbs: 91 g, Sugar: 18 g, Sodium: 802 mg, Fiber: 6 g 13 Weight Watchers SmartPoints™ per serving. (mine was slightly less without the sugar) 

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

 

 

 

Citrus Skillet Shrimp, by Hello Fresh

Written By: Chris - Apr• 14•16

So I usually make up my own recipes, but I thought I would give this a try.  I’ve been receiving Hello Fresh meals for a while and thought I would share some of the healthy recipes that they have been delivering.  The boxes come packed with fresh ingredients straight to my doorstep each week chilled and intact.  The service has a flexible subscription including the ability to pause weeks with no repercussions and although I’m sure I could purchase all of the ingredients for less money, it has been providing me with some new ideas.  If you compare it to dining out, it’s really pretty reasonably priced per person and I still get to cook.  So far, the recipes have been very easy and I’ve also had the benefit to adding them into my Weight Watchers program that we’ve been following.

“HelloFresh” is an international food company, with local branches in Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Belgium and Austria. The company was founded in 2011 in Berlin by Dominik Richter, Thomas Griesel and Jessica Nilsson.  I was turned onto it by a friend who had referred me when I received a free box!  (Yes, I’ll take $69 worth of free food anytime!) I was really excited when I heard that Jamie Oliver had partnered with HelloFresh and together are combining forces to get people cooking nutritious, tasty food from scratch!

Their common goal is to provide people with top-quality produce and quick & easy recipes.  They want to give people the guidance needed to create flavorsome, exciting home-cooked meals.   At the bottom of this post, I’ll include some pictures of the delivery of the box!  Everything I’ve prepared so far has been very delicious and flavorful and I’m sure I will remake some of these dishes in the future!

*I’m including Weight Watchers *SmartPoints™

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Ingredients: 

10 oz  shrimp, cooked *4
1 Red Onion, medium uncooked
1 Poblano Chile, small
1 Orange, medium
1 oz Green Olives, whole
1 Lemon
1⁄4 oz Oregano, fresh 
12 oz Yukon Gold Potatoes, uncooked *7 (I actually used less potatoes)
2 Garlic Clove
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, *4

Crisp the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400. Thinly slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. Toss the potatoes on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking until golden brown and crispy

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Prep the remaining ingredients: Thinly slice the garlic and green olives. Core, seed and remove the white ribs from t he poblano, then thinly slice. Halve, peel, and thinly slice the red onion. Finely chop the oregano leaves. Zest and halve the orange. Halve the lemon.

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Cook the poblano and onion: Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the poblano to the pan and cook, tossing for five minutes, until softened and lightly charred. Add the sliced onions to the pan and cook, tossing for another five minutes, until softened.  (I like my onions cooked more than the peppers, so I reversed the order) Add the garlic, oregano, olives, and the juice of one orange half to the pan. season with salt and pepper. Cook for two to three minutes, tossing occasionally, until the liquid has reduced. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

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Cook the shrimp: Heat another drizzle of oil int he same pan over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook, tossing for two to three minutes, just until opaque .

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Return the onion mixture to the pan along with 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest (or more) and the juice of the remaining orange half. Cook, tossing for one minute until the sauce thickens slightly. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste.

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Finish and plate: Serve the citrus skillet shrimp with the crispy potatoes to the side.

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We paired this delicious meal with a great bottle of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon by Pine Ridge.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

Notes: Nutrition per person: 2 Servings.  Calories:456, Fat:12g, Sat. Fat:1g, Protein:37g, Carbs:56g, Sugar:11g, Sodium:521mg, Fiber:12g *9 Smart Points per serving

Packaging info:

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I’m impressed that they include the Nutritional facts on the outside of the packing box.

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Each case includes the number of meals that you’ve pre-ordered (if you want, you can choose from a number of dishes in advance) individually packed within a disposable box.

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The case is lined with an insulated bag and includes three large re-usable ice packs.  The protein is stored under the ice packs and there is a layer of cardboard which the individual boxes of food sit on.

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Each box is shipped at no charge and includes boxes for each dish that includes helpful instructions with images and nutritional information.  These are printed on thick, glossy paper that could be kept and reused.  I believe that the quality is very good, but the packaging is likely what drives the price up.

If you are interested in trying Hello Fresh delivery for yourself, please contact me and I’ll give you a referral code, which will entitle you to a pretty nice discount!  A couple of my friends have already taken advantage of it!

Chris@BillsWineWandering.com