Comfort foods–healthified

I haven’t cooked at all last week since I was traveling during the first part of the week and then came home to a fridge bare of fresh produce. We finally made it to the grocery store on Saturday but looking through these pictures of what I made over the weekend, it seems like I could have waited a few more days!

These recipes were all made from pantry items and meat/bread from the freezer and they all tasted like cheat meals. My taste buds had no idea this was diet friendly food. Just the way I like it! : )

Chicken parm meatball “subs”

Almost every single savory recipe on Healthy Food for Living looks like something that Adam (and I) would love. They’re comforting; they’re “man meals” which makes for one happy husband (and hey, I like me some man-food too. What’s not to love?). These chicken meatballs were full of Italian herbs and parmesan cheese – a little sauce and cheese put them over the top.

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[1 Point Plus per meatball. This dinner was 10 points. The bun is a large hot dog bun.]

Jumbo bran muffins

On Saturday morning I woke up craving a big healthy muffin. When Adam asked where I wanted it to be from, I said “from my kitchen.” Winking smile So I got to work…

While making coffee, the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook jumped out at me. I love that the Points Plus values are right there and I don’t have to take that extra step of calculating nutritional info (btw, I linked to the book through Amazon… if you buy it or anything else on Amazon, I’d really appreciate if you would start your shopping from Healthy and Sane (link on the right column)… I get a few percent commission from your purchase but it doesn’t cost you any extra. This money would be reinvested back into the blog. Thanks in advance!!). Anyways, sorry for the detour… back to the muffins

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The word “jumbo” was the draw here… who doesn’t want a JUMBO muffin for just 5 Points Plus. Sign me up! Smile

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The perfect way to start a morning. The strudel topping was unbelievable and I loved the sweetness of the raisins. Yum!

Chocolate gooey butter cookies

Paula Deen is who you think of when you think of healthy food, right? :lol: A few years back I had the Food Network on and she was making these cookies. They looked so incredible that even though I normally can’t stand Paula, I went straight online and printed out the recipe.

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Finally this weekend I decided to make them. I stumbled upon the old recipe printout and figured it was now or never (I plan on cleaning out my recipe binder in a few weeks and plan on only keeping things I’ve made and loved. Everything else will go. It’s time for a clean beginning!)

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These were incredibly easy to make and came out pretty well. The recipe made 36 cookies, only 3 Points Plus each! [I used reduced fat cream cheese… couldn’t help myself.]

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I brought them to the Superbowl party and people seemed to enjoy them. I thought they weren’t chocolaty enough but maybe it was just the cake mix I used.

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The slightly cakey texture (not muffin-like!) was pretty awesome.

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Yes, I ate as many cookies as the amount of pictures I took. That’s what happens when you park yourself right next to the party food table. Oh well. The rest of my week has been going really well (diet wise). More on that in the next post! Open-mouthed smile

What have you been cooking lately? I’ve definitely been a bit of a slacker lately so I was really happy to finally spend some quality time in the kitchen this weekend! Smile

New year, new beginnings

Well, well, well – we are well into 2011 already, aren’t we? There is something so exciting about starting a new year with a clean slate. I’m committed to my New Year’s resolutions and in fact, keep thinking of other things I should add on to the list. It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it!!

Something I’m focusing on this year streamlining my life a bit so I have more time for things that make me truly happy. Today, Adam and I made a decision to cancel our cable (well, bring it all the way down to basic) and I hope that for me, this removes the temptation of trashy brainless television and leaves more room for cooking, reading, friends and blog related activities (it will also save us nearly $90/month!). Yeah, Millionaire Matchmaker was the last straw before that decision was made (yup, I’ve hit the bottom, lol) ;) [We will be buying Apple TV so that we can still enjoy our favorite shows on occasion!]

Today, Adam and I also came up with an awesome new feature that will be added to Healthy and Sane. I am SUPER excited about it but you’ll have to wait for details (we literally just thought of it today so there is a lot of stuff to figure out!). I hope it will make this blog a more interactive and helpful experience for all of you. Stay tuned! :mrgreen:

Lastly, I’m proud to say I’m back in full force on the exercise bandwagon. 2 workouts in 2 days in 2011 (actually 5 since this post) and I’m feeling all new and shiny. ;) I love how exercise makes me feel. Don’t let me skip too many days in a row, ok? Ask me about it!!

The food part has been interesting. I’ve been semi-healthy the past few days (well there were cookies and wine on NYE but that’s to be expected) but either the meals I try have been bland or my taste buds are being extra picky.

Case and point…

North African chickpea and vegetable tagine from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

9 PointsPlus and bland. Extra salt and hot sauce made it edible but despite all the spices, I still found this boring.

This recipe for mushroom cakes with guacamole and red pepper couli was on Lizzy’s list of best dishes of 2010 (btw, did you catch my list?).

I love mushrooms but found this to be too mushroomy. What’s up with me?! :???:

Are you ever bored of just about anything you cook/eat? Any new changes for you in this new year?

I hope I get out of this weird food funk. I want to be excited about everything this new year has to offer (and you know food is up there)!!

Oops, almost forgot – the winner of the RainCoast Trading giveaway is #32. Kerstin, congrats, please email me your address! :D

See you soon! For more meals from me, check out a new post on Russian Bites (it’s on my dad’s specialty!).

Belated Hanukkah dinner

After a weekend spent celebrating Christmas, last night I had my parents over for a belated Hanukkah dinner (yup, we celebrate both!). My dad is trying to lose some weight so he didn’t have a proper dinner on the actual holiday, so I figured I’d make a healthy-ish dinner with similar flavors.

The idea actually came to me after seeing Cara’s posts on fun latkes variations. She assured us all that it was ok to eat them even after the holiday, so I took her word for it and planned a whole meal around latkes.

On the menu:

I started with making dessert first… of course! I can’t find the recipe online so here are just some pictures of the process that will hopefully inspire you to get in the kitchen. The rugelach were really fun (and easy!) to make and while I didn’t love the outcome (we all unanimously rated these 3.5/5 – they needed more butter!) given my love for the full-fat version, I know I’ll be trying again. Next year, if not sooner! :)


Easy, right?

Now fast-forward to dinner. I originally wanted to make brisket (the most traditional protein served for Hanukkah) but Whole Foods didn’t have any (maybe they only have this cut during the holidays? not sure…) so chicken it was. I LOVED the sweet dried fruit in combination with the chicken. I used 2 lbs of chicken drumsticks (skinned) + 1.5 lbs of skinless chicken breasts and only 1/2 of the spices, oil/water, prunes and apricots called for in the recipe. I also omitted the onions and any additional sugar the recipe called for. This was super sweet as is. Consider yourself warned. Oh and it only took 40 minutes in total (15 minutes covered, 25 uncovered). I was pretty proud of myself at the end! :D

[My dad and Adam thought it was too sweet. Don't listen to them... they're just silly. My mom and I were all about this dish. :lol: ]

The two-potato latkes gave me some trouble. The first batch stuck to the foil with no way to salvage the cakes without breaking them apart (still yummy though, you know I ate them! ;) ). The next 2 batches went on silpats which worked beautifully. I loved the sweet addition of the sweet potatoes and I didn’t miss the extra grease from the traditionally fried version.

Sweet chicken + sweet latkes needed some salty roasted green beans. Salt, pepper, EVOO at 400* for about 20 minutes. Finished with a bit of soy sauce. Yum!

I was kind of nervous before dinner because I was serving recipes I’ve never tried before (and made modifications, like chicken pieces vs. whole) but it all came together wonderfully. We finished the meal with some rugelach, plus some dessert my mom brought over.

Sour cherry tea cake

… and rabbit shaped coookie sandwiches. Because 2011 is the year of the rabbit. Yes, my family is cheesy like that. :grin:

Do you ever try to healthify traditional holiday meals or indulge in the “real thing?”

PS – If you haven’t already, check out my post on sustainable seafood and enter the RainCoast Trading giveaway. Also I forgot to mention that RainCost Trading is also hosting a giveaway on their site. Enter here for a chance to win a year’s worth of canned seafood for 2.

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