Crockpot Mexicana Chicken Soup

I know, I know…this doesn’t fall under the Mediterranean umbrella, but who doesn’t crave Mexican food? If you’re experiencing an abundance of snow like me, this recipe is good to heat you up and keep you satisfied!

~*Mexicana Chicken Soup*~

You will need: 

~One can of red or black beans (I used red kidney beans)

~1/2 bag of frozen corn

~Two chicken breasts- thawed

~One can of red Enchilada sauce

~One can of diced tomatoes

~One 32 oz carton of low sodium chicken stock

~One medium yellow onion

~One cup of jalapeños and chopped chiles (I used canned)

~Two fresh green hot peppers

~2 Bay leaves

~Paprika

~Chili Powder

~Garlic Salt

~Cumin

~Sea Salt

~Black Pepper

~two cloves of garlic

~one tbsp olive oil

~Chopped fresh cilantro

~Shredded Mexican blend cheese

`1. Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of the crock pot. Season with a pinch of garlic salt, a pinch of sea salt and a sprinkling of cracked black pepper and cumin. Add paprika and chili powder to taste (I like it spicy, so I probably added around a tbsp of each. Add bay leaves.

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2. On top of the chicken, add the beans, enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, corn, onion, peppers, and jalapeños.

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3. Add the olive oil to a heated skillet. Chop up the garlic and sauté until golden brown.

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4. Add the chicken stock and cooked garlic with the olive oil into the crock pot.

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5. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. In the final hour of cooking, shred the chicken with two forks.

6. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro, Mexican blended cheese, and if desired baked tortilla strips (cut a tortilla into strips, season, and bake on 350 until crispy).

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♥ Buon appetito! ♥

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Light ‘Bang Bang’ Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash

If you’ve never eaten the Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill, well, you might want to consider adding that to the top of your to do list. In the meanwhile, check out this light version. I’ve seen a few versions floating around on Pinterest, so I combined a few and made a few healthier swaps. Enjoy a healthy and hearty dinner!

~*Light ‘Bang Bang’ Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash*~

You will need:

~One small spaghetti squash

~1 1/2 tbsp of organic virgin coconut oil

~1/4 of shrimp

~3 tsp cornstarch

~1 1/2 tbsp paprika

~1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

~3 tbsp lime juice

~1/2 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

~ 2 tsp Sriracha (you can use less if you want it less spicy)

~1/2 cup chopped scallions

~salt and pepper

~Red pepper and extra Sriracha to season at the end (if you love spicy food!)

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. On a cutting board cut the spaghetti squash in half. I Once it is halved, scoop out all the seeds in the middle and discard.

3. Next, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place the spaghetti squashes face up. Drizzle with olive oil and dust with salt and pepper.
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4. Turn the squash face down on the pan and put it into the oven. The squash needs at least an hour to cook to get nice and soft.

5. In a bowl, mix the cornstarch, paprika, salt and pepper.
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6. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over med-low heat

7. Dredge the shrimp (mine were already wet from defrosting) through the mixture and let cook in the pan until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through.

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8. In a separate bowl mix together the yogurt, lime juice, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (I used IronMan brand because it had the least amount of sugar), Sriracha, 3/4 of the scallions, and salt and pepper.

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9. Once cooked, remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and scrape into a large bowl. Mix the squash together with the sauce and add in the shrimp.
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10. Serve and top with scallions and make as spicy as you want with extra red pepper and Sriracha.

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♥ Buon appetito! ♥

Mediterranean Fettucine

Sometimes you want a meal that feels luxurious and tastes heavenly, but don’t feel like doing a lot of prep work…or a lot of work period.  This is a meal that doesn’t take too long to prepare, isn’t expensive, but is still worthy of a nice rich Montepulciano (or whatever your wine of choice is).  You can make this with any kind of pasta (it doesn’t need to be fettucine), but make sure it’s whole wheat! There are imposter pasta boxes that claim “whole grain” in that healthy lovely brown font, but really it’s only a certain percentage whole wheat. Shop carefully and look for 100% whole wheat. 

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*~Mediterranean Fettucine*~ 

You will need:

~5 cloves of garlic

~1 can of artichoke hearts

~1/2 of a large white onion

~1/2 a package of sliced baby bella mushrooms

~1 lb whole wheat fettucine (or whatever pasta of your choice) 

~l lb boneless chicken breasts

~fistful of sundried tomatoes

~ 3 heaping handfuls of spinach

~4 cups Organic Vegetable stock

~1 1/2 cups Organic and low sodium chicken stock

~crumbled goat cheese

~sea salt and black pepper 

~olive oil

 

*Serves 2 really hungry people with leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch….or, if you’re more sensible about portions, probably serves 4

1. Rinse and drain the artichoke hearts. Slice into halves or quarters (depending on your preference). Rinse the mushrooms and cut into halves. Chop up half the white onion and slice 3 cloves of garlic.

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2. In a pot, add the four cups of vegetable stock and one cup of chicken stock (save 1/2 cup)

3. Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion, and artichoke hearts into the broth. Sprinkle with black pepper and a little bit of sea salt. Add the fettucine (I normally loathe snapping pasta in half …I love me a nice long strand of pasta, but for this recipe I snapped the fettucine in half to help them fit in the pot), while pushing all the ingredients as best under the broth as you can. 

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4. Add the 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the top of the fettucine, turn the heat on high and place a cover on the pot. Turn periodically so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom. 

5. Cut the chicken into small chunks. Sprinkle with black pepper and sea salt.

6. Chop up the other 2 cloves of garlic. Coat a pan with olive oil and add garlic. Simmer until garlic starts turning brown and add the chicken

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7. Once the pasta reaches a rolling boil, lower the heat to a low boil. Stir frequently. Once the pasta is getting tender it is time to add the spinach.

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8. Add three heaping handfuls of spinach (don’t worry- this will cook down!). Stir

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9. Once the chicken begins browning, add the sundried tomatoes. Cook until chicken is golden brown. 

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10. Once the spinach is cooked and the chicken is golden brown, add the chicken and sundried tomatoes to the pasta. Stir thoroughly and let simmer for two minutes.

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11. Turn off the heat, give one more turn, serve and top with crumbled goat cheese. Mix the goat cheese into the pasta while it is still piping hot and it will give the pasta a delicious creamy texture. 

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♥ Buon appetito! ♥

 

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf

When I say “hot”, you say “sauce”… Hot sauce is scrumptious on eggs, vegetables, on top of anything with cheese, sandwiches…etc. I mean, seriously, despite your favored heat index, I think we can all safely agree that hot sauce is delicious. There are many sauces to choose from, but for this recipe I chose to use Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce. Image

When I hear the word “meatloaf” images of giant hunks of overly cooked meat come to mind…but let’s not let this be the case! This recipe is simple, savory, and with Super Bowl coming up, could be a crowd pleaser (you can make it in a muffin tin for pre-portioned apps).

*~Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf~*

You will need:

~One large white onion, chopped

~4 stalks of celery, chopped

~1 lb lean ground chicken

~One cup of breadcrumbs

~2 egg whites

~1 4 oz. container bleu cheese (I used Alouette)

~3/4 cup hot sauce

~ 1/2 cup chopped fresh Dill and Parsley

~1 tbsp garlic powder

~1 tsp onion powder

~black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, onion, celery, bleu cheese crumbles and ground chicken.

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(Please excuse the computer in the background, as I cook I like to listen to sweet jams…)

2. In a separate small bowl whisk together the hot sauce, egg whites, Dill, Parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper

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3. Pour the liquid mixture into the chicken mixture and throughly combine. Warning: if your hands aren’t dirty, you aren’t mixing it right!

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4. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking oil (I like Pam) and transfer mixture to the pan. Bake on the top shelf at 375 for about  45 minutes.

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5. Remove from heat, let cool off and enjoy! I paired with asparagus and pesto quinoa pasta.

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♥ Buon appetito! ♥

Quinoa Pasta with Flounder and Capers

We’re all pretty aware of how much better whole wheat pasta is better for you than white flour pasta, but a new discovery I’ve made is quinoa pasta. It’s delicious (no really- it does not taste like cardboard) and nutritious. I had a lot of flounder in the house and thus this recipe came to be.

 

*~Quinoa Pasta with Flounder and Capers~*

You will need:

~4 cloves of garlic

~1/2 white onion 

~a handful of fresh basil leaves

~2 1/2 tablespoons of capers

~3 lemons (I used 3, but if you like a more powerful lemon flavor use 4-5)

~one can diced tomatoes (no salt added)

~salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder to taste

~olive oil

~4 flounder filets (I used this many because I had a lot, but it ended up being a good amount) *note: if you use frozen filets, make sure you defrost ahead of time

~a handful of shrimp (optional. I love shrimp and find it necessary to eat it at all times) 

 

1. Heat a skillet, on a medium-low heat, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Chop up the four cloves of garlic and half of an onion and sautee until golden brown. Cut up and toss in several fresh basil leaves.  

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2. Slice the lemons and squeeze into the pan. Be careful of pits!
 
 
3. Boil a large pot of water. Include a drop of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. When it reaches a rolling boil, add the quinoa pasta. Let cook for 9 minutes (don’t overcook). When done drain in a colander and put it back in the pot.
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4. Cut up the flounder and sprinkle with crushed black pepper, sea salt, and msg-free onion and garlic powder (I use Mrs. Dash)
 
5. Add the flounder (and shrimp ) to the pan. Drizzle with olive oil. 
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6. After a few minutes, top the fish with capers, a little more olive oil, and some more basil leaves Cook until shrimp are pink and flounder takes on a nice opaque white color. Image
7.  Once the fish has a good color and are cooked through, add a can of diced tomatoes. 
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8. Let cook until the tomatoes heat up. Stir. Carefully pour the contents of the pan into the pot with the cooked and drained quinoa pasta. Add a touch more olive oil and dust with cracked black pepper and sea salt.
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9. Serve and enjoy (I like to top with some crushed red pepper for a little spice.
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♥ Buon appetito! ♥
 

Light Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

If given the choice between salty or sweet, I’d personally prefer a hunk of mozzarella smothered in pesto over a cupcake, but with that said, sometimes you just need something nice and sweet. Fall is here, which tends to mean all things pumpkin flavored and this bread does not stray from that stereotype. This is easy to bake, light, and fulfills that sweet tooth craving.

*~Light Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread*~

You will need: 

~ 8 oz of fat-free cream cheese (I used Weight Watchers)

~1 package Angel Food cake

~3/4 c confectioner’s sugar

~1 can pumpkin

~cinnamon and nutmeg

~water

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

2. In a bowl combine confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, and 1 tbsp water. Stir until nice and creamy

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3. In a separate bowl mix the cake mix, can of pumpkin, and 3/4 cup of water. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. 

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I found a can of organic pumpkin and was excited to see that the can was BPA free 

 

 

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4. Spray a pan with Pam. Pour the batter into the pan. Gently mix half of the cream cheese icing into the batter with a knife.

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5. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. It’s okay if it’s still a little mushy (it’s even better- nice and moist!)

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6. After it cools for a few minutes, gently ice it with the other half of the cream cheese icing.

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♥ Buon appetito! ♥

Chicken Topped With Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Who doesn’t love a good spinach and artichoke dip? It’s especially appealing when it’s practically oozing cheesy deliciousness straight from the oven or begging you to dunk a chip in with its hearty texture. It’s delicious all right, but mostly because it is veryveryvery bad for you…. But who wants a world without this dip? Certainly not I! Here is a recipe for a lighter version:

 

*~Chicken Topped with Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip*~

You will need: 

~ 2lbs of boneless chicken breast

~1 package frozen spinach, thawed

~2 cans of artichoke hearts

~1 shallot 

~2 cloves of garlic

~1/4 cup fat free Greek plain yogurt

~1/4 cup parmesan cheese

~1/4 cup fat free cream cheese

~1/4 cup Alouette light garlic and herb cheese spread

~2 large portobello mushroom caps

~salt and pepper to taste

~ olive oil

 

1. Chop your garlic and shallot. Coat a pan with olive oil. Sautee the garlic and onion until golden brown. 

Also, I didn’t know what a shallot was and when shopping for one had to google image it. Fact. I felt like My Cousin Vinny  (sure I’ve heard of a shallot, I just ain’t ever seen one before). So if you’re like me (and Vinny) here is a picture of a shallot for you:

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2. Once the shallot and garlic are golden brown, add the thawed spinach. Mix together until blended. Image

3.  Remove the spinach mixture and set aside in a bowl. Place the portobello mushrooms in the already heated pan and cook for several minutes until they start to become tender. 

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4. Remove the mushrooms and set on a baking tray that has been covered in aluminum foil and sprayed with oil. Clean and cut the chicken. Dust with pepper and a touch of salt. Add to the already heated pan and cook until golden brown.  Preheat the oven to 350. 

 

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5. Chop up the canned artichokes. I used Cento. Place in a bowl separate from the spinach mixture 

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6. Add the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, Alouette herb cheese, and Greek yogurt to the artichokes. Mix and top with salt and pepper. 

I used Weight Watchers cream cheese and bought Alouette over Boursin because it was a buck cheaper… 

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7. Add the spinach mixture to the artichoke mixture and stir well. 

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8. Remove the chicken on the pan and place on the mushrooms. Top each mushroom with the spinach and artichoke dip. I had extra chicken that I placed on the side of the pan and topped with the remainder of the dip. Bake at 350 for ten minutes.

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9. Remove from the oven.

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10. Serve and enjoy! (I paired with buffalo cauliflower)

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♥ Buon appetito! ♥