If you ask me, pork chops are tricky. They’re light in color so you don’t particularly know if the inside is truly cooked unless you use a knife to check. My trick is to always buy the pack of meat with more than you really need. That way you can use one of the less-appealing looking pieces (and there ALWAYS is one!) to cut and dice up to make sure that everything is cooked thoroughly. It’s also a good excuse for taste testing.
I also prefer to bake meat versus frying or grilling. I know that when I place something in the oven, not only will it cook, but the juices are also most likely reserved. When you cook over the stovetop, there’s a good chance you’ll overturn the meat and it won’t taste as juicy. You can always find a medium though; begin your meat over the stovetop briefly to lightly brown and then transfer to your oven to finish cooking. This recipe is like that giving you the best of both cooking methods!
Baked Honey Garlic Pork Chops
A delicious recipe for center-loined pork chops that have a sweet honey taste with just the right amount of garlic.
- 4 center-loined pork chops, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Well grease a large cooking pan. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, combine olive oil, honey, lemon juice, garlic and soy sauce. Whisk well. Set aside.
- Heat a large well-greased skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and allow to cook 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. When done, using a pair of tongs dip each pork chop individual into honey mixture, coating each side. Add pork chops to cooking pan and brush remaining sauce ontop. Sprinkle brown sugar over each.
- Cook for 1 hour and serve immediately.
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So I meal-plan our weeks worth of food on Saturday so that I am able to make a grocery store run on the same day and meal-prep for a good part of Sunday. That being said, I intentionally scheduled to make these ham and swiss cheese strombolis so that I (or anyone else who would like to as well) could enjoy one or two while watching the NBA Playoffs.
This is my first time making a stromboli. I rarely work with dough because I base most of my pizzas on flatbreads or pita bread. I was surprised at how easy it really was and how well it turned out. If making dough intimidates you too, you can use the Pillsbury refrigerated dough. Next time, I’ll be more brave and make my OWN pizza dough!
After you’ve flattened and stretched your dough well, lay your ham and cheese. I used sliced swiss cheese but you can use shredded cheese if you have it on-hand. We do ham and swiss cheese sandwiches here and there so I already had the swiss cheese slices.
If you’re serving these as a appetizer, they go great with a dipping sauce. Both honey mustard or a pizza sauce would give it an even more additional taste. But if not, they taste great just as is! That’s how I just enjoyed mine. Can’t wait to bake these, and more similar kinds as well again soon.
Ham and Swiss Cheese Stromboli
Warm delicious homemade stromboli stuffed with deli ham and swiss cheese. Great to serve during game day, or for an easy-to-make appetizer.
- homemade pizza dough, or one 11-ounce tube of refrigerated Pillsbury french loaf
- 8-ounces deli ham, thin sliced
- 6 slices of swiss cheese, cut into halves
- green onions, sliced and diced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cooking pan.
- Prepare your homemade dough, or using a sheet of wax paper with flour sprinkled overtop; flatten the french loaf dough using your hands and a roller.
- When dough is completely flat, add your slices of ham first. You want to leave about a little over ½ inch between the end of the dough and your ham. This allows you to pinch the corners up after you roll up dough. Next add cheese slices and then sprinkle green onions throughout.
- Roll doll up tightly. When done, make sure to pinch so that dough seals. Place side with end of dough seam down on cooking pan. Using a knife, add slits at top.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on when stromboli appears golden. Allow to cool momentarily before dividing to serve.
- Tastes great with a side of pizza sauce or honey mustard.
The thing I love about pesto is the variety of ways you can use it. It’s common for us to use it during the summer for a healthier version of grilled cheese for adults. I say adults because I cannot imagine either kid liking pesto and so I am saving myself the trouble of even wasting such a delicate and tasty sauce.
This Pesto Pasta Salad is a branch off of a Balsamic Mozzarella Tomato, or bruschetta salad. You’re welcome to use any sort of pesto sauce that you like, but I recommend making your own.
Pesto is pretty easy sauce to make. I prefer to make my pesto over purchasing it because I like to know everything that goes into it. A classic pesto recipe only requires a few things and just takes you a few minutes to make. Add each of the following ingredients (except cheese) into a blender until everything combined resembles a paste. Remove from blender and add cheese.
4 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried off with a papertowel
½ cup olive oil
¼ pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Note: If you’re making 1 day ahead, transfer sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Penne noodles with a homemade pesto sauce, diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.
- 8-ounces whole wheat penne pasta
- fresh mozzarella cheese
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup pesto sauce, homemade recipe above
- In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook according to package. Drain and let cool water run over pasta until chill.
- In a large bowl, add pasta, mozzarella and tomatoes. Add pesto sauce and stir well. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a well-concealed container to chill.
How delicious does a breakfast casserole sound? Not to mention the convenience of it already been prepared. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and enjoy for the remainder of the week. Perfect if you’re like me and prefer to prep your breakfast and lunches for the week on Sunday. Afterall, if you “fail to plan, plan to fail” and I refuse to fail with just a little over fifty days left until summer!
So of course, a casserole is the way to go if you want a little bit of everythin’, There really is no wrong ingredient. I used turkey sausage for mine to keep the healthy factor still there. I basically use turkey for everything though..
Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes Breakfast Casserole
A delicious breakfast casserole that can be prepped and enjoyed for an entire week, or served at brunch.
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ cubes
- 1lb turkey or italian sausage, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Well-grease a 9x13 baking pan.
- Over medium-heat, boil a medium sized saucepan until water is boiling. Add diced potatoe cubes and cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until lightly browned. When sausage appears done, add onion, red pepper and garlic to skillet. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add to greased baking pan and set aside.
- Using a large bowl, add eggs, milk, 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, and black pepper. Whisk well. Next add your egg mixture to the potato and sausage mixture in baking pan. Make sure to stir so that all ingredients are combined well. Sprinkle additional ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese ontop and cover with foil.
- Add baking pan to oven and cook for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes are up, remove foil and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cook off momentarily before serving.
I enjoy fried chicken just as much as the next person. Problem is, I’ve always had a problem with not burning the chicken when attempting to fry using my stovetop and a skillet pan. For some time, I used the avoidance route and would “fry” my chicken tenders in the oven by slicing them thin and preparing them with bread crumbs, butter and egg. It worked just fine, but I knew at some point I would have to correctly teach myself how to fry something without taking the easy way out and counting on the oven to help me get it done. Besides, I’d appreciate a good piece of breaded chicken more knowing I hadn’t cheated to get it that way.
So when you hear the phrase “practice makes perfect,” know that it also applies to cooking. And so after a few different tries and figuring out what amount of oil works best, I figured out how to not burn fried chicken. And let me tell you, it tastes so much better than oven-fried and I’m no longer hesitating to try out new recipes that require frying chicken; such as this fantastic Lemon Romano Chicken recipe I found via Cooking Classy. No one should miss out on cooking something so delicious!
Lemon Romano Chicken
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
- 2½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup Romano cheese
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon fresh coarse black pepper
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare chicken breasts by cutting each into two horizontal halves. Set aside on a plate.
- In a medium size shallow dish, combine all-purpose flour and 1 egg. Whisk well so that the mixture is thick and smooth. Set aside.
- In a second medium size shallow dish, combine Romano cheese, panko breadcrumbs, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, lemon zest. Whisk well so that all ingredients are combined. Set aside.
- Place each chicken breast, individually, in egg-flour mixture; turning onto each side so that it is well coated. Next, place chicken breast in romano cheese mixture; again turning onto each side so that it is well coated and fully breaded. Repeat with each chicken breast. Return chicken breasts to plate.
- Add vegetable oil and olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Allow oil to heat, using a pair of tongs to place each chicken breast in skillet. Cook 2-5 minutes, checking to make sure it's browned before turning to cook other side. Return each chicken breast to plate when fully cooked through.
- Line a cookie-sheet with foil, lightly coating with cooking spray. Add each chicken breast, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place in oven for 14 minutes or until cheese appears well melted.
- Squeeze a lemon wedge onto each chicken breast and serve with lemon slices.
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Two weeks ago I bought a donut pan anticipating the thought of baking a patch of protein donuts. I’ve seen friends post pictures of them and I’ve browsed past them while looking on Pinterest. They seem like a fantastic breakfast or even post-workout snack.
I’m not a real big fan of protein powder for the most part, so I wanted to try something a little less tasting like a recipe made with it. Because a lot of my past breakfast recipes have consisted of oatmeal, I thought why not incorporate it into a donut? It works with muffins!
Now oatmeal baked alone doesn’t necessarily have that great of a taste. You need to add something else to adjust the flavor and usually fruit is your best bet on doing so. I love blueberries, so of course, those are my first fruit pick 🙂 They are always bursting with flavor and also give the donut a more ‘pretty’ look. You can also eat it with or without a glaze. The glaze just happens to give it a little more of a sweet taste so that your tastebuds aren’t confusing it with a round muffin.
Frosted Oatmeal Blueberry Donuts
A healthier take on donuts with fruit.
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1½ cup skim milk
- ¼ cup natural applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ skim milk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Well grease a donut pan. Set aside.
- Using a medium size bowl, add old-fashioned oats, milk, applesauce vanilla and butter. Whisk until combined.
- In a large size bowl, add all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until combined.
- Add blueberries to old-fashioned oats mixture. Gently fold.
- Pour old-fashioned oats mix into large bowl, combining liquid ingredients with dry ingredients. Combine well, but try not to over mix. That takes away from the donuts taking on a more "fluffier" look.
- Add mixture to donut pan, filling each to the top. Bake in oven for 17 minutes, or until they appear a light golden color.
- While donuts are baking, start glaze frosting by adding confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until well combined. Remove from heat and place over a medium-size bowl of water to keep glaze from thickening.
- Remove donuts from oven, gently adding each donut to a cooling rack momentarily. When cooled off enough, dip donuts into glaze and return to cooling rack.
A lot of households, including my own, participate weekly in “Taco Tuesday” or “Taco Thursday” if you’re running behind on schedule and refuse to miss out. I don’t want to say that eating tacos grows old, because quite frankly I don’t see any truth in that. It is nice however to mix it up a little here and there. You can still use your taco shells and taco seasoning. Just think of it as “dressing your taco up differently.” Change is OK. It’s not permanent unless you like it.
Beef Tostadas are basically just an open taco.
Quick Beef Tostadas
An open-faced taco on baked tortilla.
- 1lb ground turkey
- one taco seasoning packet
- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- shredded colby jack cheese
- romaine lettuce, shredded.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Heat a well greased large skillet over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until brown. Drain excess grease in a strainer. Return ground turkey to skillet and add taco seasoning with 1/3 cup of warm water. Mix well.
- When meat and taco seasoning have been well combined, add black beans. Reduce heat to simmer.
- Using a cup, trace the cup's edges on top of a tortilla, carefully cutting around with a knife. Add each tortilla cut-out to a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove tortillas, add ground turkey mix to each. Top with a fair sprinkle of colby jack cheddar cheese and return to oven to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or when cheese appears melted.
- Top each tortilla with diced tomatoes, romaine lettuce. Add salsa or sour cream as well if desired.
Crockpot Meal Alert! Who else loves the meals you get to throw into a big ol’ pot and leave to simmer until it’s dinner time? The easier the assembly on a busy week day, the better.
Burrito Bowls are pretty come and serve as you please. You can use other meats aside from chicken, add as many vegetables as you like and top with whatever else fits your pleasure. Because I’m watching what I eat more closely, I prepared this burrito bowl using ingredients that were healthy and that I could stand to eat consecutively for a few days.
Chicken Burrito Bowl in a Crockpot
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 14 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 3/4 cups of instant whole grain brown rice
- ½ cup shredded colby jack cheese
- 1 tablespoon lite sour cream
- 1 tomato, diced
- Prep a large crockpot and set on low heat. Add chicken breasts.
- Pour low-sodium chicken broth overtop chicken breasts, followed by taco seasoning. Mix well.
- Cook on low for about 4 hours.
- Remove the chicken breasts from crockpot with a pair of tongs and place in a covered container to preserve heat.
- Add instant rice and black beans to crockpot and turn heat to high. Cook for 30 minutes, or until rice appears cooked thoroughly.
- Add chicken breasts to crockpot again, cook for an additional 20 minutes on high.
- Serve with additional healthy toppings.
Chicken Caesar Salad, or just a side caesar salad, has always been one of my go-to choices when I’m eating out or needing a quick throw together lunch for the week. But salads get tiring after so many and sandwiches are nice but let’s be honest; half of the time they’re not the healthiest choice you can make. Ugh, carbs.
So while trying to fix the solution, I scanned through the bread section at our local Market District and found this fantastic loaf of bread; Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain. I’m still trying to limit my bread intake, but if I’m craving a sandwich now I know I can enjoy one that’s not to the roof in calories.
OK. So since salad is getting a break, now it’s time to give chicken a break. I’m sure it’s probably the one source of protein/meat that you eat most per week. Luckily, turkey is just as good (especially for a sandwich) simply because of the similarity and it can be bought with low sodium. You can keep the caesar dressing though. It’s extremely easy to make, uses a few ingredients you may already have on hand and tastes GREAT with turkey.
Now you have a sandwich that’s as close to a caesar salad as you’re gonna get. And it may infact be healthier. Cheers to that!
Turkey Caesar Sandwich
Give Chicken Caesar Salad a break. At least for one meal.
- 2 slices whole grain low-calorie bread
- 2 leaves of romaine lettuce
- 3 ounces low-sodium turkey, thinly sliced
- 1 slice of tomato
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- dash of Worcestershire sauce
- black pepper
- Combine Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, mixing well. Lightly sprinkle black pepper. Spread onto slices of bread.
- Add romaine lettuce leaves, turkey and tomato.
You’ve heard of a burrito bowl, chicken bowl, bowl of spaghetti. But who gets credit for thinking up a fantastic idea like a “teriyaki meatball bowl?” Maybe it’s more common than I think but this was my first time cooking one for dinner and boy, am I happy that I did. I love homemade meatballs! I’ve made them so many times that I could do it blindfolded. OK that’s a slight exaggeration, just know I know my way around the basic meatball mixture.
Teriyaki meatballs are mildly different from the meatballs you may make for your spaghetti dinner though. I found that the soy sauce added to the meatball mixture helped to create a more juicy flavor as opposed to an italian meatball. I imagine these meatballs would taste just as good over a plate of linguini noodles but we’re going to use whole grain rice to create a more “light” meal.
Teriyaki Meatball Bowl
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup planko breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- black pepper
- 2 packages of white, or whole grain rice
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, lightly greasing with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, green onions and black pepper into a large mixing bowl, using clean hands to fold and mix over until well combined.
- Roll meatball mixture into small balls, placing each on foil-covered cookie sheet. When you've finished rolling all meatballs, bake them for 35 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Boil and cook rice according to package directions over medium-high heat. When finished, drain water and fluff rice with a fork. Set aside.
- While meatballs and rice are cooking, combine all teriyaki glaze ingredients (EXCEPT for cornstarch) together in a small-medium size bowl. Whisk together well. Transfer to a medium size pot over med-high heat for a few minutes. Add cornstarch, mixing well constantly to help thicken glaze. Once it appears thickened, add sesame seeds.
- If/When meatballs are done, add to teriyaki glaze. Stir so that each meatball is well covered with glaze.
- In individual bowls, divide rice. Add 5 meatballs and drizzle extra teriyaki glaze overtop.