“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” ~ Voltaire

I love Mexican food! Who doesn’t like Mexican food?

If you don’t, seriously, I don’t trust you.

It’s un-American to not like Mexican food. Isn’t it like, right behind hamburgers and hotdogs??

(no offense to my non-mexican food loving friends)

The thing about Mexican food though – is it can kill a diet. All those never ending baskets of chips and salsa. Not to mention if you order cheese dip…….

Because of this, if I’m watching what I eat (aka on a diet), it’s best for me to avoid Mexican restaurants.

I have no will power.

And I know it.

So, the following recipe helps me indulge my cravings without totally blowing my calorie count.

Shrimp Tostadas with Black Bean Salsa

For the shrimp:

  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the black bean salsa:

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon prepared chunky salsa (choose your heat level)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained

For the avocado topping:

  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado
  • 1 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Other:

  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 8 corn tostadas
  • 4 lime wedges

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Arrange tostados on baking sheet.

Combine all shrimp ingredients in a bowl, let sit for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the salsa, cover and refriderate. (this can be done ahead of time)

To prepare avocado topping, combine yogurt, juice, and avocado in a small bowl, mashing with a fork until smooth. Stir in tomato.

Put Tostados on baking dish and place in oven to warm

Heat oil in large pan to medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook for around 6-7 minutes or until opaque/done.

Divide each topping (beans, shrimp, avocado) evenly over the 8 warmed tostadas. Serve with cracked pepper and a squeeze of lime.

The length of the ingredient list might throw you for a minute but this is actually a very simple recipe. Extremely tasty too!

Here are a couple things for you to take note:
1. The Black Bean Salsa makes this dish!
2. I prefer regular guacamole as opposed to this avocado spread – so you can make your own favorite guacamole or buy ready made.
3. These shrimp can be grilled on skewers for a little more flavor/color but I did not have any skewers when I made this.

-abp

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“My husband calls me ‘catfish.’ He says I’m all mouth and no brains.” ~ Dolly Parton

My crazy, here, there, everywhere, never home for more than 3 days at a time first part of summer has come to an end!

Whew!

It’s been a wild couple of months and my house and waistline can definitely tell.

My goals for this week are to cook 3 healthy meals, catch up on laundry and clean out the pantry and the refrigerator.

I can not guarantee that the pantry/fridge will get done but the washing machine is running and the groceries have been bought.

Tonight I used those groceries to make this light dinner that will hopefully help with the waistline.

It was fabulous!

Catfish with Corn Hash

  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 catfish filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook bacon over medium high heat until crisp, remove from pan.

Add onion, bell pepper and thyme and cook to the bacon drippings and cook for 8 minutes, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constanlty. Stir in corn, red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes then stir in bacon.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, paprika and black pepper. Rub mixture evenly over fish. Heat olive oil to medium-high heat in fresh skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until done.

Serve with corn mixture.

This is a recipe serves 2 but could easily be doubled or tripled.

 

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I love how simple this was, perfect for a busy weekday!

-abp

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” ~ Mario Andretti

You know what my favorite thing is about shrimp dishes?

How fast they cook!

Granted, for it to be quick, you need to buy peeled and de-veined shrimp. (worth every penny IMO!)

Although I’m at home most of the time now – my time is not my own, so quick and tasty meals are perfect for a week night meal.

This is a perfect example.

 Baked Greek Shrimp

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Greek Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons bottled clam juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese$
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine lemon juice, greek seasoning and shrimp in a large bowl; toss well.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; sauté 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add clam juice, wine, oregano, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp mixture. Place mixture in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle cheese evenly over mixture.

Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until shrimp are done and cheese melts. Sprinkle with parsley; serve over cooked orzo.

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“Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You’ll realize this as soon as they are born and they start using sleep deprivation to break you.” ~ Ray Romano

I have found that when I’m eating healthier, I have more energy and I’m not as sluggish.

I know, I know – everybody has always told me I would feel better the better I ate (my husband included) but now I can actually say I believe them…………as much as it pains me to say he was right.

Anyway – it’s good timing because we are living with a teething baby and sleep has been very limited. I’m a walking zombie and need all the help I can get!

Moroccan Chicken Salad Wraps

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of cooked boneless, skinless chicken (chopped)
  • 4 whole wheat wraps
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted

Place first 4 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and process until coarsely chopped. Place spinach mixture in a bowl; stir in yogurt, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, juice, and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a medium bowl. Add chicken and nuts; toss.

Divide spinach mixture and chicken mixture evenly (or to your liking) among the wraps.

Roll up and eat. 🙂

*this recipe is for 2 servings – it can be easily doubled*

 

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Very different and very refreshing!

-abp

“I think children are like pancakes. You sort of ruin the first one, and you get better at it the second time around.” ~ Kelly Ripa

Hello friends!

I’m sorry it’s been a little while but it has been a busy spring – if you want to call it spring. brrrrrr.

I’m ready for it to get warm and stay warm. Mid-April and still worrying about your plants freezing. Not cool.

On another note – I’m still on my quest to find GOOD food that is GOOD for you. I have had a few misses but I’ve also found some keepers and last night we had one of those!

It still surprises me to find something that has all the flavor without all the calories.

Lemon Poppy seed Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon rind, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6.6 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Combine blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon rind, 1 tablespoon juice, and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 10 minutes or until blueberries break down, stirring frequently.

While compote cooks, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons rind in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub rind mixture together for 15 seconds. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to rind mixture, stirring with a whisk. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through eggs) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; add remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Preheat nonstick pan to medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto pan. Cook 3 minutes or until edges begin to bubble and bottom is browned. Turn pancakes over; cook 3 minutes or until done. Serve with blueberry compote.

 

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If you are short on time or ingredients or just prefer plain – this is a great healthy pancake recipe without the lemon or poppy seeds. I plan on it being the pancakes my little Elizabeth grows up with.

-abp

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving (serving = 2 pancakes and ¼ cup compote)

  • Calories: 286
  • Fat: 6.4g
  • Saturated fat: 1.1g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.9g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbohydrate: 46g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 64mg
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Sodium: 279mg
  • Calcium: 219mg

 

“In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.” ~ Winston Churchill

I guess I’m going to have to eat a little crow.

I was for sure there was no way that I could find (or if I did, enjoy) any lighter (i.e. diet) meals to cook at home.

I’m a southern cook – I like butter and lots of bread. Both preferably fried.

But no need to fret because this leopard has not changed its spots. I have just expanded my horizons a bit and I’m so glad I did because I really needed to start working on this baby weight but cooking is my joy and I was afraid I would be bound to lettuce and grilled chicken forever.

Here is one of my new finds.

Greek Stuffed Chicken with Mango Sauce

(adapted from The Chew)

Chicken

  • 10 oz feta cheese
  • 1 cup packed spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (the kind in the jar)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Greek seasoning
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

Mango Sauce

  • 1 large or 2 small mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 1/2 Jalapeno pepper with ribs and seeds removed, minced

Preheat oven to 375º.

In a medium bowl, mix feta, spinach, parsley, garlic, olive oil and pepper.

Divide mixture between the 4 chicken breasts. Fold over, season with greek seasoning.

Place in greased pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, bring all sauce ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Serve over chicken.

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-abp