Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crock Pot "Refried" Beans

More Pinterest bounty! These don't replace real refried beans, but they're a pretty good approximation. If you want refried beans without the "refried" effects on your hips, try these. You don't have to soak the beans overnight, either!


Recipe Notes

I found this recipe on Pinterest through Six Sisters' Stuff. There is also a recipe to turn these completed beans into bean dip on their website. See the original recipe (here). These beans definitely need additional seasoning (salt/pepper), hot sauce (such as Cholula), and cheese!


  • 1 onion, peeled and halved

  • 3 c. dry pinto beans (approx. 1 bag), rinsed and drained

  • 1/4-1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced

  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic

  • 3 tsp. salt

  • 1-3/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 1/8 tsp. cumin (optional)

  • 5 c. water

  • 4 c. chicken broth


1. Place onion, beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin in a Crock Pot or other slow cooker.

2. Add water and chicken broth. Stir to combine.

3. Cook on high for 8 hours, adding additional water if needed. Do not allow beans to cook dry.

4. Strain beans and return to a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Mash with a potato masher and add cooking liquid until desired consistency is achieved.

Skinny Chicken Florentine

Found this on Pinterest - pretty easy to put together and healthy! I used leftover grilled chicken that I cubed, and it worked great.


Recipe Notes

I found this on a blog (Skinny Ms.) and she uses whole wheat pasta spirals. I used regular old white pasta spirals - honestly, the nutritional information isn't all that different between the two.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 6)

315 calories - 8.1 g. fat - 33.4 g. carbohydrates - 2.2 g. fiber


  • 12 oz. precooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/2 box frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed of excess moisture)

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. flour

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1-1/2 c. chicken broth (fat free)

  • Pinch nutmeg

  • 1 tsp. oregano

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 c. low-fat cottage cheese (blended in Cuisinart to smooth out consistency)

  • 2/3 c. fresh Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 lb. pasta (regular or whole grain), cooked according to package directions


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray a glass 9x13 baking dish with Pam. Set aside.

3. In a sauce pan, heat olive oil. Add flour and whisk for approximately 30 seconds. I added a bit of the chicken broth here too for consistency purposes.

4. Add chicken broth and stir until thickened with whisk. (Keep whisking until all lumps are gone.)

5. Add lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

6. Add cooked pasta, cottage cheese, spinach, chicken, and Parmesan. Stir to combine.

7. Turn pasta mixture into the greased 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crispy Pork Medallions with Roasted Root Vegetables

Once again, I cannot stress enough what a time-saver it is to buy a pork tenderloin and ask your butcher to trim it and make it into cutlets. A typical small-ish pork tenderloin (about a pound) easily makes eight cutlets.


Recipe Notes

These have a kick from the Dijon mustard. They came out just a tad bit dry and I think that they could use a sauce, but I can't decide what might work well. If you think of something, let me know!

Nutritional Information - Pork (per serving - serves 4)

210 calories - 9.4 g. fat - 24.5 g. protein - 5.1 g. carbohydrates - 0.3 g. fiber

Nutritional Information - Vegetables (per serving - serves 4)

144 calories - 3.7 g. fat


  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1-lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 8 medallions

  • 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (divided)

  • 8 oz. small quartered red potatoes

  • 2 parnsips, peeled and cut into small disks

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small disks

  • 1 minced garlic clove


1. Preheat two ovens (if available) to 450 degrees. Otherwise, you can put both dishes into one.

2. Combine potatoes, parsnips, carrots, minced garlic, salt and pepper, and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a bowl. Toss to coat.

3. Spread vegetable mixture on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Bake for 28 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

4. While vegetables are roasting, rub mustard evenly over pork medallions.

5. Combine panko, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge pork in panko mixture.

6. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tbsp. oil to pan and swirl to coat.

7. Add pork medallions and saute 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

8. Place skillet in the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes or until pork is cooked through. Serve with roasted root vegetables, salad, and bread.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stir-Fried Turkey in Lettuce Wraps

I like to serve these great, healthy lettuce wraps with white rice and Asian cabbage slaw (recipe here). Great use for super-lean ground turkey!


Recipe Notes

The actual recipe calls for using only half of the prepared sauce in the turkey mixture with the other half on the side. I personally like to add all of the sauce to the skillet and then dress my lettuce wraps with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.


- 1/4 c. soy sauce

- 4 tsp. fish sauce

- 4 tsp. sugar

- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

- 1 large shallot, finely chopped

- 2 tbsp. minced peeled ginger

- 2 garlic cloves, minced

- 1 small jalapeno, chopped

- 1 lb. ground turkey (recipe recommends 93% lean, I used 99% lean)

- 2 large heads Bibb lettuce, cleaned and leaves separated


1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir with a whisk until sugar dissolves and set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat.

3. Add minced jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and shallot. Stir until fragrant and slightly softening (approx. 30 seconds to 1 minute).

4. Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or spatula, for approximately 5 minutes or until almost cooked through.

5. Add sauce to skillet and stir until meat is cooked through. (I use all of the sauce at this point.)

6. Serve in lettuce leaves with remaining sauce (if you only used half before) and/or soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sesame Shrimp Salad

This is a recipe that I pulled out of Cooking Light literally almost three and a half years ago...finally got around to trying it and it was good! Nice light meal. We had it for dinner, but it would make a great lunch too. The ingredient list looks long, but if you ever prepare Asian-style food, I guarantee you will have at least 80% of the staples already in your pantry.


Recipe Notes

You will notice in the recipe that the shrimp are supposed to be on skewers. Mine were not, as I was out of bamboo skewers. It tastes the same either way. Make sure that you cook the shrimp long enough in a hot enough skillet to get a good glaze and a bit of char on the shrimp.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)

239 calories - 7.3 g. fat - 26.3 g. protein - 17.9 g. carbohydrates - 3.4 g. fiber


  • 1 tbsp. sugar

  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice, divided

  • 1 tbsp. water

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 2 tsp. chili garlic sauce, divided

  • 1-1/2 tsp. fish sauce

  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

  • 1 tbsp. orange marmalade

  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil, divided

  • 24 large peeled and deveined shrimp

  • 5 c. shredded Napa cabbage

  • 1-1/2 c. trimmed watercress leaves

  • 1-1/2 c. shredded carrots

  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh mint

  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds


1. Mix sugar, water, garlic, and 2 tbsp. lime juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 40 seconds or until sugar has dissolved. Stir in 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside.

2. Combine 1 tbsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce, remaining salt, orange marmalade, and 1 tsp. dark sesame oil in a separate large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

3. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

4. Remove shrimp from bowl, reserving marinade. Thread shrimp onto skewers (3 shrimp per skewer).

5. Heat 1 tsp. dark sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp and reserved marinade to pan. Cook at least 3-4 minutes or until shrimp is done.

6. Combine cabbage, watercress, carrots, cilantro, mint, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Dress with reserved dressing set aside from step 1. Top with 2 shrimp skewers and serve.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oven-Roasting Method for Beef

This recipe was first published in The Star of Texas Cookbook (Junior League of Houston, 1983). It is a simple and delicious way to cook a beef tenderloin that should please everyone, as the meat ends up well done on the short end and medium rare at the thick end. All you need is a trimmed, tied beef tenderloin; salt; pepper; olive oil; and a VERY hot oven.


Recipe Notes
I highly recommend using a trimmed and tied beef tenderloin from Rice Epicurean if you live in Houston. Pick one up at the Saturday meat sale - great pricing!


  • Beef tenderloin roast (trimmed & tied)

  • Good-quality salt and pepper

  • Good-quality olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. (Yes, 500 degrees. It will be very hot!)

2. Set roast out for three hours or more to reach room temperature. Rub roast with salt, pepper, and oil.

3. Place roast on a rack in an open pan or Dutch oven. Place pan in the center of the oven at least 8 inches from the oven's heating element.

4. Cook roast for 3 minutes per pound. Turn the oven off and let stand in the oven for one hour and 45 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DURING THIS TIME.

5. Pull the roast out of the oven, slice, and enjoy! Great by itself or for sandwiches.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

I found this recipe on Pinterest from Pillsbury.com. It is super easy and works for either dessert or breakfast. The original recipe may be found (here).


Recipe Notes

I would shorten the baking time next time by about five minutes. I think that my oven runs really hot.


  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Grands biscuits

  • 1 c. packed brown sugar

  • 3/4 c. (1.5 sticks) butter or margarine


1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Grease a tube cake pan or bundt pan.

3. In a gallon-sized Ziplock bag, mix sugar and cinnamon.

4. Separate dough into individual biscuits. Quarter each biscuit and roll individual pieces into small balls.

5. Working in batches, add biscuit dough balls to Ziplock bag. Shake in sugar and cinnamon until coated. Arrange dough in pan.

6. Mix brown sugar and butter and pour over biscuit pieces.

7. Bake 47-52 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in the center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside-down onto a serving plate and pull apart to serve.