quinoa risotto cakes


Ingredients:
1 cup of quinoa  (640)
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth (40)
1 cup of white wine (110)
2 tbsp of olive oil (240)
4 cloves of garlic (20)
A few handfuls of spinach (20)
5 stalks of asparagus (15)
Half of a lemon (5)
One egg (70)
1/2 cup of reduced fat mozzarella cheese (160)
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (110)
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil and paprika to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup of low-fat marinara sauce for serving (35)

  1. Prep the veggies: wilt the spinach, and chop into small pieces.  Dice the asparagus, and quickly sautee with a chopped clove of garlic.  Set aside.
  2. Prep the quinoa: rinse it really well (like how you rinse rice, but 3 times).  Strain with a fine mesh sieve.
  3. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
  4. In a separate pot, sautee the rest of the garlic in olive oil, then add the quinoa.  After a minute, add the white wine and stir until it is absorbed.  Optional, but recommended: pour yourself a glass!  It’ll make the rest of the process pass faster.
  5. Add the chicken broth to the quinoa mixture, 1/2 cup at a time until it absorbs.
  6. Combine the quinoa, spinach, asparagus, and mozzarella cheese.  Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.  Let the mixture cool.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400, and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.
  8. Beat the egg, and mix it into the cooled quinoa risotto.
  9. Distribute the mixture in the muffin pan.  Optional: fill up each portion half way, put a pinch of mozzarella, then fill up the rest.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Right before you take it out, sprinkle some parmesan over the top and let it bake for a few more minutes.
  11. Take out the cakes, and let them rest and set  before serving.  Optional: serve with marinara sauce.

Total: 1430 calories (about 12 cakes, without the sauce)
Per serving: 357.5 calories (about 3 cakes)
To be honest: My goal was to make a risotto cake that held together after baking and stayed gooey in the center — success!  All risotto cakes I’ve had were deep-fried, and I wanted to make it healthy by using quinoa and just an oven.  The only hiccup is that I went overboard with the salt (because one of my last ventures came out really bland).  My seasoning skills are just not up to snuff quite yet.  Anyways, it takes a while to make this (about 2 hours for me), but it’s a really convenient snack for the following days. Tip: Heat one up for breakfast and eat with an egg over easy.


Inspiration(s):
My love for risotto, Gochi’s deep-fried mushroom risotto balls, and Felicia’s adamant endorsement of quinoa.

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lazy sushi


Ingredients:
2 sheets of seaweed
1/2 of an avocado (80)
1/2 of a cucumber (20)
Sprouts (20)
3 tbsp of roe (60)
Low sodium soy sauce (5)
Wasabi (5)
*ingredients measured for 1 person

  1. Cut a few sheets of seaweed into smaller squares with scissors, julienne the cucumber (mandolin works great), and cut up the avocado.
  2. Start with one small square of seaweed, and you can pretty much use any ingredients from there.  I used avocado, cucumber, sprouts, and roe.
  3. Fold the seaweed wrap in half, dip it in soy sauce and wasabi, and eat!  Easy peasy.

Total: 190 calories (about 8 sushi wraps)
Per wrap: 24 calories
To be honest: We cut up a lot of each ingredient, and I just estimated the calories based on how much I think I grabbed in the end.  It’s not exact, but I’m just assuming this one’s pretty healthy.  :)


Inspiration:
My mother.

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mojito brownies

http://www.flickr.com/photos/meesasun/3580008077/

Brownie ingredients:
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (25)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites (64)
1 cup sugar (774)
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (100)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (172)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (70)

Mojito icing ingredients:
3/4 cup powdered sugar (360)
2 tbsp butter (200)
1 tsp of milk (5) – optional, depends on how thick you want your frosting
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mint (5)
1/3 shot of rum (20)
Juice from half of a small lime (10)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the applesauce, vanilla, egg whites, and sugar.
  3. Add flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Pour the batter into a small baking pan lined with cooking spray (I used 11×7).
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the batter evenly.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes.  Do the toothpick test.  Then take them out, and let them cool!
  7. For the icing, beat the butter and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer until they get a good consistency.  Add in the lime, rum, and mint!
  8. The icing gets a better consistency when it’s cold, so stick it in the fridge.

Total: 1205 calories (15 brownies), 1805 calories with frosting
Per serving: 80 calories, 120 with frosting
To be honest: I really love Jenna Fischer’s brownie recipe!  The mojito frosting was just a whim of mine, and I didn’t do it very scientifically.  I just dropped in the mojito ingredients little by little, and added more after tasting it.

Inspiration: Jenna Fischer’s 88 calorie brownies

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red & green “spaghetti”


Ingredients:

Spaghetti squash (180)
Two chicken breasts (260)
1 tbsp EVOO (120)
3 tomatoes (75)
10 spears of asparagus (40)
About 3 cloves of garlic (15)
Basil (3)
Lemon (2)
Salt and pepper

Prep: Cut the chicken breasts into small strips, dice the tomatoes, slice asparagus spears thinly on a diagonal, mince the garlic, and julienne the basil.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise, remove all the seeds, and place it cut-side down in a baking pan lined with foil.
  3. Pour some water into the baking pan, enough to cover the bottom.
  4. Bake the spaghetti squash for about 45 minutes, or until you can stick a fork in it easily.
  5. Cut the chicken breasts into strips, and cook in a pan with some olive oil.  When it’s cooked through, set it aside.
  6. Sautee the garlic, olive oil, diced tomatoes, and slivered asparagus together.  Add the chicken back in.
  7. Add the basil, and season the mixture with lemon, salt, and pepper.
  8. Use a fork to scrape out the cooked spaghetti squash.
  9. Toss it all together!

Total: 695 calories (5 servings)
Per serving:
139 calories
To be honest:
Cutting the spaghetti squash in half is the hardest part of the dish.  To be COMPLETELY honest, I made my mom do it.  Anyways, season the spaghetti “noodles” before adding in the extra stuff or else it won’t hold it’s own.  I really like spaghetti squash now because you can mix whatever you want with it.  Now I can try being more inventive with the leftover squash…


Inspiration:
My co-worker (Kristen) first told me about spaghetti squash.

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apple pizza


Ingredients:
Whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s (120)
1/3 cup of organic tomato sauce from TJ (35)
1/2 of a tub of grated romano (210)
4 slices of reduced fat provolone (200 calories)
Some parsley (3)
Some basil (5)
2 slices of turkey breast (50)
2 tomatoes (50)
3/4 of an apple (75)
1/4 red onion (15)
1 tbsp of EVOO (120)
Salt & pepper
*ingredients in the order that I layered them

  1. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes on a floured surface (whole wheat, for piece of mind).
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  3. After 20 minutes, spread/roll the dough into a blob that is about 12-inches in diameter.
  4. Spread the EVOO on a piece of foil, and somehow get the dough on there too.
  5. Get a-layering!  Don’t forget the salt and pepper.  I saved some of the grated romano for later.
  6. Watch the pizza intently for about 10 minutes.  I got impatient by the end, so I turned on the broiler after sprinkling on the last of the cheese.

Total: 883 calories (6 slices)
Per slice: 147 calories
To be honest: I basically started with the apples, and tried to mix in ingredients that matched. Wish the bottom crust was crispier, needed more salt. But glad I got myself to make my own pizza, so I can avoid stuffing myself with fatty ones from restaurants.


Inspiration:
Savory Apple Pizza Recipe, and my co-worker’s (Chris) apple and gruyere hamburgers

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fruit & oatmeal bars

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (540)
1 tsp baking powder (5)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups oats (450)
1/2 cup packed Splenda blend brown sugar — yes, I stooped that low (420)
1 3/4 sticks lite butter (1400)
1 jar of sugarless fruit preserves (210)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients except preserves.
  3. Spray a small pan (I used 11×7) with cooking spray, and press in half of the mixture.
  4. Spread the jar of preserves.  I used raspberry for one batch (above) and boysenberry for the other (below).
  5. Sprinkle second half of the mixture over the top and pat lightly.
  6. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until light brown.
  7. Let it cool completely (I stuck it in the freezer).

Total: 3025 calories (12 pieces)
Per serving: 250 calories
To be honest: I tried to cut the calories, but the butter did me in. It ended up a lot crumblier than I thought, and 1 out of the 10-ish people who tried it noticed the Splenda substitute. Tastes great if you microwave a piece for about 8 seconds! And raspberry > boysenberry.


Inspiration:
The Pioneer Woman

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no-pasta lasagna

Ingredients:
1 package of ground lean turkey (600)
About three cloves of garlic (15)
1/2 white onion (60)
8 large tomatoes (175)
Basil (3)
Parsley (5)
Three tbsp of EVOO (360)
Brown sugar (15)
Three zucchini (90)
1 cup of spinach (14)
1/2 of a tub of grated romano cheese (210)
1 tub of cottage cheese (320)
1 egg (70)
Salt & pepper

  1. Brown the ground turkey in 1 tbsp of EVOO.
  2. In a separate pan, sautee the onions and garlic with another tbsp of EVOO, then add the diced tomatoes.
  3. Let the tomato mixture simmer for a while, then drain the excess liquid.
  4. Add the chopped parsley, chopped basil, brown sugar, cooked turkey, salt, and pepper to the tomato mixture.  Set this aside — tomato sauce, done!
  5. Beat the egg, and mix it with the cottage cheese and romano.  By the way, don’t tell your friends about the cottage cheese until after they eat the lasagna.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Line a large pan with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
  8. Start layering: thinly sliced zucchini, tomato sauce, cheese.  Again and again.  And salt and pepper that shizz.  End with whatever layer you want, but save some grated romano for later.
  9. Bake it for about 30-40 minutes.  Right before you take it out, sprinkle the last of the cheese.  I like to broil it so the cheese gets toasty.

Total: 1937 calories (8 pieces)
Per serving: 242 calories
To be honest: Reechard said it tastes more like ratatouille, Pei wished the zucchini would cut easily with a fork like pasta, and Deanna wouldn’t touch it because she hates zucchini.

Inspiration: Random Googling

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