NormOwn

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip – 139

I was talking to a good friend of mine recently and telling her about my Spinach & Zucchini Pie that I made (she was one of those friends that used to indulge with me at the Salisbury Beach pizza place that served the decadent spinach pie back in the 90’s). She told me that her favorite way to eat spinach was in Spinach & Artichoke Dip. I realized that I’d never made one – so of course I had to get to work! I think it’s the best one I’ve ever tasted. Of course, I could be a bit biased. I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think 🙂

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 – lb baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1 – 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
3 Tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt

Place spinach, garlic, and shallots into food processor. Blend until the spinach is chopped into tiny pieces. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers – 140

Last night was one of those  “I can’t decide what I want for dinner” nights. My son, Josh, was visiting so I asked him to decide (this way I don’t have to 😉 ). He said “How about burgers, maybe stuffed with some kind of cheese”? Well…that sounded pretty good.

Of course, if you read my blogs very often, you’ll know that I don’t eat red meat so these burgers would be turkey burgers. I always use 99% fat free ground turkey which can be dry when fully cooked (who wants a rare turkey burger 🙁 ), so I’m always trying out ideas to “kick them up a notch”. I looked in the fridge and found that I had fat-free feta, mozzarella, and cream cheese – a good start; then I noticed that I also had some roasted red peppers from our most recent trip to Whole Foods – that will do it! When the burgers were almost done, I realized that I was out of my favorite sandwich rounds that I usually use in place of buns; but I did have some Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Thin Sliced Bagels – that works!

My son loved them and my husband says they are the best turkey burgers he’s ever tasted….let me know what you all think!

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Roasted Pepper Feta Stuffed Burgers

4 -100% whole wheat thin sliced bagels
1/2 cup fat-free feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup low-fat mozzarella, shredded
2 Tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
1 medium roasted red pepper, cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon plain fat-free yogurt
1 – 1/4 lbs. 99% fat-free ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Place the feta, mozzarella, cream cheese, red pepper pieces and the yogurt into a food processor and process until well blended (you might need to add a little more yogurt to get it to all process smoothly). You want to end up with a thick mixture that holds together. Set aside in a small bowl. (This amount made more than I needed for the four burgers, so I set aside the rest of it and spread it on top of the cooked burgers.)

Place the ground turkey in a large bowl, add the garlic powder, onion flakes, basil and vinegar; blend well. Press the mixture into an even ball in the bottom of the bowl; score into four even sections. Take one section at a time and break that into two even pieces, form each piece into a flat patty and place onto a plate. Take a couple of spoons of the cheese filling and spread onto one patty; top with another patty and press the edges together well.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the stuffed burgers and cook 4 – 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Top with some of the extra cheese mixture and serve on toasted bagel thins.

 

Spinach & Zucchini Pie – 141

If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know that I LOVE to shop at Whole Foods. The last time Eric and I went there, I may have gone a little overboard with the produce – but everything looked so good! I bought a giant container of fresh, organic baby spinach. My plan was to make a Spinach Lasagna (which I did – it was awesome 😉 ); but Eric had warned me that there was still going to be a LOT left over – I disagreed….OK, he was right. So I had to come up with something delicious that would use up the rest of the spinach…that way I’m still technically right and I didn’t waste any food 🙂

Back in the mid 90’s I spent a bunch of time going to clubs in Salisbury and Hampton Beach (Massachusetts and New Hampshire). My friends and I would go and see either Shockwave or Jet City (our two favorite bands)  at Bevie B’s or the Kon Tiki or Tequila Jacks (oh..the memories 😈 ) and at the end of the night, once the bars closed down, we would very often visit this little pizza place that was on the strip in Salisbury and order a piece of “Spinach Pie”. Those of you from New England know what I’m talking about. I don’t know if it was the time of night or “other circumstances” that made that pie so delicious, but it sure was tasty! I don’t even want to think about how much fat, salt and calories it contained, I was young, having fun, and I didn’t think about such things.

Now that I’m older (and wiser…no wisecracks…) I want that same delicious spinach pie, without the excessive junk. I think this recipe accomplishes that pretty well. I used a whole wheat pie crust, a mixture of fat-free and low fat cheeses, and added in some zucchini for fun. I made it for dinner last night for me, Eric and Josh and we all had it for lunch today – it’s all gone now…I think that says it all 🙂

Spinach & Zucchini Pie

Spinach and Zucchini Pie

1 9″ whole wheat pie crust (I use Wholly Wholesome from Whole Foods)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
1 – lb. baby spinach
1 large zucchini, chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 cup fat-free feta cheese
1/2 cup fat-free mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup egg substitute (or 4 eggs)

Preheat oven to 350°

Heat olive oil in a  skillet over medium heat; add garlic, onion, and zucchini. Saute until the onion is starting to soften. Add the baby spinach in small batches (it will look like way too much, but the spinach wilts down pretty quickly), continue sauteing until all the spinach has been added and is wilted down. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Combine feta, mozzarella cheeses and egg in a large bowl. Add in the cooled spinach mixture and mix well. Pour into the whole wheat pie crust. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.


Chicken Curry Soup – 142

Last weekend Eric and I went to our favorite book store in Nashville, McKay’s Used Books. It is the best place to spend a few hours, spend very little money and come home with a ton of fun. They have used DVDs, books, audio books, video games, and (Eric’s favorite) vinyl albums. He usually spends the entire time browsing through the albums and I divide my time between DVDs and books.

This particular outing we totally scored. Eric got the Beatles 1962-1966 double album for $9.95 (the most he’s ever spent for an album there), a Bad Company for .50¢, Queen for .68¢, Simon & Garfunkel live in Central Park for $4.95 and several others, . I got a 5 DVD set of a World War II documentary and a 4 DVD set of Elvis movies for less than $10. My best value was two giant, full-color cookbooks from the early 90’s for .25¢ each.

When we got home I immediately started looking for some new recipe ideas (with the Beatles playing in the background, of course). I found so many! I kept turning the pages and finding really interesting ideas. I marked all the pages where I found things I wanted to try and then I went back and looked for something I could make for dinner based on the ingredients I had on hand. I settled on a Curried Soup. As usual, I liked elements of the recipe, but I wanted to “make it my own”. I already had some chicken breast in the fridge and some great fresh organic broccoli from our last trip to Whole Foods. I ended up with a delicious Chicken Curry Soup. I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!

Chicken Curry Soup

Chicken Curry Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 – lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium head broccoli florets
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
5 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 cups cooked brown rice (I use Success brown rice, in a bag – 1 bag = 2 cups)

In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat; add the diced chicken and season with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder. Saute until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add carrots, garlic, onion, red pepper, and broccoli to skillet; season with 2 teaspoons curry powder, the coriander and cumin. Saute for  5 – 6 minutes until onion is soft. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes (until veggies are done to your liking – you don’t want them mushy). Stir in the cooked chicken and rice; simmer for an additional few minutes to mingle the flavors. YUM 🙂

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna – 143

Yesterday Eric and I took a trip to the new Whole Foods that just opened in our area. It’s actually a new location for the Whole Foods that we’ve been visiting for years. Yesterday was the Grand Opening – how could we resist? We made a big list, loaded up the car with our canvas grocery bags and we were on our way!

There was one small crimp in our plan…I had forgotten to write down directions to the new location…ooops 😳 We were almost at the old location when I realized my mistake. Not to worry – I have a GPS and Google Maps on my phone, a couple of wrong turns later and we arrived at our destination. Wow, this place is huge and the parking lot was packed (at 2:00 pm on a Wednesday afternoon – doesn’t anyone work any more?).

The first thing we realized when we walked in was that we had no idea where anything was located. Oh well, they had plenty of samples – fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, cheeses….mmmm. As we made our way around this giant food heaven, I started realizing that our cart had a lot more in it than we had on the list – but how can you resist? The produce is spectacular. I found a huge container of fresh baby spinach and I decided that we were going to cook a vegetarian lasagna for dinner! A few minutes later we arrived at the “Olive Bar” and I saw some beautiful roasted red peppers; another great addition to my lasagna.

Once we arrived at home we had the monumental task of putting away all of this good food and then getting in a P90X workout! We did it, a kick-ass P90X+ Intervals workout, followed by creating a huge pan lasagna, followed by a great bath, followed by eating this amazing creation with a glass of red wine – what a perfect ending to the day 🙂

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna

Lasagna

1 – 8 oz. box whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions, no salt
1 – 28 oz. can tomato puree (I finally found a large can with no salt – Dei Fratelli brand)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
6 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups fat free cottage (or ricotta) cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fat free feta cheese
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups Mozzarella cheese ( I use 1 cup fat free and 1 cup of regular)
1 large roasted red pepper, sliced into julienne strips

Preheat oven to 375°, spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the tomato puree, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano; set aside. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add onion, garlic, and mushrooms; saute until onion is soft and mushrooms begin to lightly brown, season with basil and oregano. Add in the baby spinach – you’ll need to do this a little at a time. It seems like a ton of spinach, but once it cooks down it’s just right. Once all the spinach has been added and is cooked down; take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool slightly. In another large bowl mix the cottage cheese, Parmesan, egg, and black pepper; then add in the cooled spinach mixture and blend well.

Now you’re ready to assemble it – put a very thin layer of the puree mixture on the bottom of your prepared 9″ x 13″ pan, followed by a layer of lasagne noodles, spread the noodles with 1/3 of the cheese/spinach mixture, add several strips of roasted red pepper, a layer of Mozzarella – continue until all of the noodles are used up; ending with a last layer of sauce followed by Mozzarella on top. I also added a few last strips of the roasted red pepper on the very top.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour. Take the foil off and place under the broiler for about 1 minute to lightly brown the top. Now the hardest part – let it sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it. 😆


Quick ‘n Easy Chicken Parm – 144

My son came over the other night to watch the Celtics play off game against the Nicks. Just like during football season, we like to DVR the game and watch it without commercials (who wants to watch commercials?). While we were waiting for the recording to get to a point where we wouldn’t “catch up” to it by fast forwarding; we had time to listen to some albums (yes, actual vinyl) and cook a great dinner. I was still recovering from my cold and I was going to just make a quick Chinese stir-fry, but my son suggested “how about chicken parm?”. What a great idea! I hadn’t made it in a long time and my blog is in dire need of some new recipes- perfect! It came together super fast and before you know it we were enjoying an awesome meal and a great Celtics play off win 🙂

 

Quick ‘n Easy Chicken Parm

Quick and Easy Chicken Parm

1 – lb. 99% fat-free chicken breast, cut into “finger” like strips
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoon grated, low-fat Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
1 – 12 oz. package sliced Portobello mushrooms
2 – 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
3 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce, no salt added
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons grated, low-fat Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup fat-free Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 – 16 oz. package of any 100% whole wheat pasta (I used Rotini), cooked according to package directions – no salt)

 Preheat oven to 425°. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic, onion and mushrooms until soft and lightly browned. (**note** my awesome sous chef is very particular about prepping our chicken, he makes sure that only the best pieces are cut for the recipes and any yucky fat or unpleasant looking veins and tendons are cut out. Sometimes this means that along with these perfect “finger” size strips, I also get some small pieces that don’t really work for breading and baking. This happened with this meal, so I jut took all of the small pieces and sauteed them with the veggies – problem solved!) Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil and oregano. Cook for several more minutes, until hot and bubbly. Add 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese and stir until well combined.

While the sauce is simmering, place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Combine break crumbs and 2 Tablespoons Parmesan on a plate. Dip chicken pieces in egg and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Place chicken on the rack. Bake in oven for approximately 10 – 14 minutes. When done; top with shredded Mozzarella and cook for a couple of more minutes, just until the cheese melts.

Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta (reserving some sauce for the chicken) and mix well. Serve with chicken strips on the side top each piece with some reserved tomato sauce.

 

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers – 145

First I have to apologize for being so behind in my postings! The Tuesday after the Rhett show in Darien, GA I woke up with a terrible cold. This was the first cold I’ve had in almost 3 years and it really kicked my butt. That, coupled with helping Eric launch his new book AND keeping up with website work – I haven’t been cooking many new meals 🙁 On a happy note – Eric’s book was officially published last week – click here to read all about it and get your own copy 🙂

Enough with the excuses – let’s get to the food! I love buffalo anything (think buffalo hot wings, not the big hairy animal that roams 😉 ) – so I came up with this variation of a ground chicken (or turkey) burger, hot buffalo sauce on the outside, stuffed with a creamy blue cheese filling….Amazing!!

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers

1 lb. 99% fat-free ground chicken (or turkey)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup fat-free bleu cheese
4 Tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup hot buffalo sauce (I use Frank’s)

Combine the ground chicken, cayenne, chili powder, and garlic powder in a bowl; mix well. Form into 8 very thin burgers; place onto a plate. Combine the bleu cheese, cream cheese, and onion powder in a food processor and blend well. Divide the bleu cheese mixture into 4 equal portions and place onto each of the 4 chicken burgers, place an additional burger on top and squish together well. Heat a skillet to medium-high and spray with butter flavor cooking spray. Place your stuffed burgers into the hot pan and brown well on each side, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until cooked through (nobody wants a rare chicken burger!). When the burgers are done, pour the hot sauce over the burgers and flip them a couple of times, really coating them well with the sauce. Place onto 100% whole wheat buns (I really like Arnold’s Sandwich Thins). Serve them with some delicious oven roasted “fries” and you’ll be thanking me later!!

Roasted Veggie & Baby Greens Salad – 146

Last weekend I was in Darien, GA with the Rhett Akins band for a concert at the Blessing Of The Fleet. Darien is a beautiful place, I highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area. The people were super nice and took great care of us. Our dinner was provided at a local restaurant “Skippers Fish Camp”.

If you read my blog very often, you’ll know that I never eat at restaurants. This was different…it was seafood. Growing up in Kennebunkport, Maine; I took local, fresh seafood for granted. Living in Nashville, I really miss it! The chance to eat some fresh-off-the-boat shrimp was too much too pass up. Still; I had to be careful, I’m just not used to eating “restaurant food”.

I chose the “Sunset Salad” and Eric chose the Sweet Georgia Shrimp Platter – Broiled – Large and a one McIntosh Crab Cake. Since restaurant portions are always too big, we decided we would share. We each had a half  crab cake, a half of the salad, and I got about 1/3 of the shrimp ( 🙂 ). It did taste delicious and the salad was a  combination of warm roasted veggies and baby greens. The only problem was that it was still restaurant food and about an hour later I had a major belly ache and was regretting not just bringing my own food and buying some fresh shrimp to take home 🙁

The bright spot (aside from the concert – which was awesome – check out Eric’s blog about it) was that I got a great idea for a new recipe – I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

Roasted Veggie & Baby Greens Salad

Baby Green Salad

1 large red pepper, julienne sliced
3/4 cup sweet onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cups mixed baby greens
1/4 cup low-fat feta cheese
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place peppers, onion, and garlic into a bowl, add the olive oil and mix well. Place pepper mixture onto baking pan and roast for 20 minutes, turn heat up to 425° and roast for an additional 8 – 10 minutes (watch it so the garlic doesn’t burn).

Meanwhile, place the baby greens and feta cheese into your salad or mixing bowl. In a small container blend the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil oregano, garlic powder and black pepper. Mix the dressing into the greens. Divide into two plates or bowls. When the peppers are finished roasting, place them on top of the salad. You’re done!! Yum, yum 😉

Pasta Sauce – 147

Last week a friend of mine posted a comment on Facebook that she was cooking a big “gravy” (apparently that is Italian for “sauce”) complete with meatballs and sausage. This sounded pretty good to me, not too healthy ( 🙄 ), but good. Also, since I don’t eat beef or pork I would be leaving that out. I love all types of pasta (again as my friend pointed out – all pasta is actually “macaroni”) and a fresh homemade sauce sounded like dinner! Since I’m Irish/French and Eric is Italian/French and we’re both into eating healthy; this sauce was going to be a combo of Italian/French/Mediterranean/P90X. I prefer my sauce to be more “chunky-saucy” and less “gravy” so my first step was to enlist my favorite prep cook to chop up some veggies. I also don’t add salt or products containing salt (whenever I can avoid it) to anything, so I am forced to use small cans of tomato sauce. It’s a pain and very wasteful. If anyone knows where I can get no-salt added tomato sauce in cans larger than 8 oz. I will give you a free copy of this cookbook when it’s finished!

Pasta Sauce

Pasta Sauce

1 – 1/4 lbs. 99% fat-free ground turkey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground savory
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
4 – 8 oz. cans no-salt added tomato sauce
5 cans no-salt added diced tomatoes

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, season with next 9 ingredients and saute until cooked through and nicely browned. In the meantime, in a very large skillet or dutch oven; heat the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and add the garlic, onion, mushrooms, and peppers; season with the next 4 ingredients. Saute until the peppers are tender crisp. Add the 4 cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans of the diced tomatoes. Place the remaining 3 cans of tomatoes into a blender or food processor and puree them (if I could buy tomato puree with no salt I could eliminate this step). Add the tomato puree to the veggie mixture and blend. Once the turkey is done, add that to the tomato/veggie mixture and mix well. Turn heat to very low and simmer for as long as you can stand it (the smell will be making you crazy 🙂 ). Cook up some whole wheat “macaroni” (pasta) of your choice and enjoy! This makes a TON of sauce, so for the next week or so I’m making Pizza’s, Lasagna, more pasta….yummy!

Mini Pizza – 148

I have to give credit to Eric here, he is my pizza king. These pizzas make a great quick lunch, or (if you can afford the calories) an awesome snack 🙂 We use whole wheat pita bread for the crust, it’s the perfect size, all whole wheat, no fat and it cooks up nice and crisp. If you’d read many of my other recipe blogs, you’ll know that we don’t eat beef or pork…but I’ll bet you’ve noticed there are pepperoni’s in the photo…fooled you…they’re vegan “pepperoni”. I promise you, with all of the other flavors and cooked up with yummy melted cheese on the top, you’ll never miss those greasy, salty, nitrite slices.

 

Mini Pizza

Mini Pizza

2 whole wheat pita breads
olive oil (in a spray bottle, if possible – here is a link to one on Amazon for about $10)
1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup onion, sliced (sweet yellow is really good, red is awesome)
12 slices of vegan pepperoni (Smart Deli is my favorite)
2 cloves garlic, sliced razor thin (watch “Goodfellas” to observe correct technique)
1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced

Sauce:

1 eight ounce can no salt tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon each: garlic powder,  onion powder, basil, oregano, onion flakes
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

 

Place pizza stone in oven and preheat oven to 500°,  when it is preheated, turn it down to 450°.

Spray a light mist of olive oil onto each pita bread. Spread a thin layer (or more if you like it “saucy-ier”), sprinkle each with about 1/4 of the mozzarella. Add the mushrooms, onion, and pepperoni. Top with garlic, remaining cheese, basil, and oregano. Spray with a light mist of olive oil. Place onto pizza stone and cook for approximately 7 – 9 minutes or until nicely browned.

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