Recently I stumbled on this blog. Britt is a stay at home mom who loves to cook and for health reasons can only eat healthy things, and like so many of us is trying to do it on a budget. Healthy cooking on a budget, now that’s something of great interest to me. In addition to recipes, she has tips on healthy eating throughout her blog. Last week I tried a few of her recipes and here are the results. (Just look at her pics because they turned out so much better than mine.) To see more of her awesome recipes check out skinnybovineskitchen.blogspot.com
Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers
1 dash olive oil, plus additional for brushing
1 cup finely chopped onion
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular)
4 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, lightly toasted
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) crumbled goat cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 ciabatta buns, split and toasted
your choice of toppings
Preheat grill. In a large skillet, heat a dash of oil over medium-high. Add onion – cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, cumin and paprika – cook until the mushrooms have released their juices, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Tear toasted bread into pieces and place into a food processor (or blender) – process until broken down into crumbs (I used 6 slices of bread because the pieces were small and when it came time to make the patties the consistency didn’t seem stiff enough). Pour into a medium bowl. Add mushroom mixture, beans and cilantro into the food processor bowl – pulse until combined, but not smooth – leave some chunky bits. (At this point I couldn’t help but sing “Mix it in a mincer and pretend it’s beef ” from Les Mis.) Scoop mixture into the bowl with the bread crumbs – add goat cheese and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Mix ingredients together, then divide into four equal portions. with dampened hands, shape each portion into 4 thick patties. Lightly brush each side of all patties with oil. (I still couldn’t get them to form patties very well. I just plopped a giant scoop of the mixture on my Foreman grill and it worked, although my patties seemed to be much flatter and wider than hers.)
Place patties onto the grill and cook until thoroughly heated through and the outside has crisped, about 8 minutes per side. Serve burgers on toasted buns and with desired toppings.
The Verdict: These were really, really good. Even meat loving man liked them, although he was kind of sceptical when he walked in the kitchen and I was in the mixing phase. I didn’t even try to get the kids to eat them, they don’t even like real meat. I will definitely make these again.
2 medium lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
sea salt (to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)
optional: I also added 6 cloves of garlic to the inside of the chicken
- Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
- Wash chicken inside and out with cold water, remove the giblets, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander until it reaches room temperature (about 15 min). Pat dry with paper towels.
- Pour lemon juice all over the chicken (inside and outside), season with salt and pepper.
- Prick the whole lemons three times with a fork and place deep inside the cavity (I cut them 1/2 way through). (Tip: if lemons are hard, roll on the countertop with your palm to get juices flowing.)
- Place the chicken breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan, lower heat to 350 and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and turn it breast-side up; Return it to oven for 35 minutes more.
- Test for doneness – a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh should read 180, or juices should run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork.
- Continue baking if necessary.
- Let chicken cool for a few minutes before carving.
- Serve with juices.
The Verdict: This didn’t turn out as well as I had imagined, but I claim all the blame. I pulled the chicken out of the freezer Monday morning and put it in the fridge. Tuesday evening when I started it was still frozen. So I defrosted it in the microwave for 30 minutes. I baked it for 10 minutes longer than recommended and the juices where I stabbed ran clear, so I thought it was done. When meat loving man started carving it became apparent that it wasn’t. So I cooked it some more, and some more. I ended up cooking it for 2 hours total before I felt it was done enough.
Rewind to when I thought dinner was supposed to be ready. I had put out a clean table cloth, used my best plates, opened a bottle of sparkling French lemonade and made delicious potatoes with garlic and fresh rosemary. And that’s what we had for dinner: potatoes and lemonade. The kids had chicken nuggets with their potatoes and we had engagement chicken more than an hour later. The chicken was good, but it was quite the hassle. I was also reminded of why I only buy my chicken in skinless boneless form. I really don’t like having to touch raw meat. (The next day I used the carcass to make some great chicken stock. It made my whole house smell wonderful.) So I may possibly make this again, but not often and I won’t freeze and defrost the chicken.
4. Roll out dough. Top with desired toppings. Cook in oven at 400 for 10-15 minutes.
After rolling out pizza crust on a large cookie sheet, spread all of prepared sauce onto the crust. Spread cooked chicken and 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained) onto the crust. Top with cheese and salsa fresca.
The Verdict: I’ve never been to CPK, but I do like different kinds of pizza and was really excited to try this. It didn’t turn out as well as I was hoping. My kids wouldn’t try it. (Surprise, surprise.) My husband said it tasted like an enchilada sandwich. I liked it, but I think it would be better with some sauteed onions and chopped fresh mango. Or possibly fore-go the salsa fresca and just use some of the mango salsa from Costco. I will however, definitely be using her pizza crust recipe again. It turned out much better than my usual.
Spicy Pasta with Broccoli
12-15 ounces dry short pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 head broccoli (roughly 1.5 pounds), florets sliced into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup water + a little more
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) fresh grated Parmesan, divided (optional)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned and cooked according to your liking
In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain and place back into the pot off heat.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium. stir in garlic and crushed red pepper – cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broccoli and 1/3+ cup water – season with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook until broccoli just begins to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the excess water has evaporated and the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 additional minutes.
Scoop broccoli mixture into the pot with the pasta and add 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) parmesan and enough of the reserved pasta water to create a thin sauce. Serve with the remaining parmesan scattered on top. Serve with chicken on top.
The Verdict: This was very good and very easy. My daughter happily ate an entire plate. I will definitely do this again. It was super quick and used stuff I already had. (I used the leftover engagement chicken in it.) I only used 1/4 tsp of red pepper because I was afraid my kids wouldn’t eat otherwise. Next time I think I will use a whole teaspoon of red pepper.