What’s on my Plate | #04

Hey-hey! It’s weight loss day! Hope you’re finding these meal hacks helpful in your own journey to better eating. For more meal ideas click What’s on My Plate or the series graphic at the end of this post.

#04

Tacos are a meal everyone can agree on in this house, but the chips and hard shells and flour burritos are not something I’m willing to add to my daily points. Swapping out spinach and making a salad is an easy hack that helps me stick to my weight loss goals and keep everyone else happy in the process.

Easy Taco Salad

8 points per serving

What I’ll include is a basic recipe, but add as many taco-friendly veggies as you’d like to help bulk up the meal. You could also add beans (which we have before) but remember it will add points to your total meal.

What you need (for one serving):

  • Spinach – 0 points
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice – 3 points
  • 3 ounces taco seasoned ground turkey breast – 4 points
    I make mine Jessica Seinfeld style with added vegetable purees and McCormick Taco Seasoning.
  • 1/4 cup fat free salsa – 0 points
  • 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole – 1 point

How to make it:

Layer ingredients on your plate in the order above. Eat and enjoy!

WhatsOnMyPlate

Sweet & Sour Mukimame Chicken

I got a little creative the other night for dinner and threw together the following recipe.  It is crazy easy to prepare – especially since I used left-over rice from a previous meal and followed the microwave instructions for the Mukimame (which by the way is just the fancy name for shelled edamame easily purchased at Target under the Archer Farms brand).  It made me feel exceptionally healthy too – vegetables with interesting names will do that to you I suppose. :)

Ingredients
2 large chicken breast
1-16 oz package frozen Mukimame
1 large can Pineapple Tidbits (undrained)
4 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1-12 oz jar of your favorite sweet and sour sauce

Directions
1.  Cook chicken and cut into cubes.
2.  Prepare Mukimame according to package instructions.
3.  Combine all ingredients in a pot over low heat until warmed through.
4.  Plate and enjoy.  Serves 6

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Hidden Veggie & Green Pepper Casserole

My Mom shared some of her leftover Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole with us from Kraft Foods and it was fantastic.  My picky eater even loved it.  Because I’ve got to run with what works for Mr. Picky-Pants, I did a little doctoring to add some more veggies and make it a sure win for future meals.  What follows is my doctored version of Kraft’s original.  It has continued to be a win for us at home. :)

Hidden Veggie & Green Pepper Casserole

Ingredients
1 lb. ground turkey
2 green peppers chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup red pepper puree
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1/2 cup carrot puree
4 cups cooked brown rice
28 oz. spaghetti sauce
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Shredded cheese to top

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Spray a large pot & casserole dish with cooking spray
  3. Brown turkey with onion, peppers & garlic
  4. Stir in rice, spaghetti sauce, sweet potato puree, carrot puree, red pepper puree, paprika, chili powder, Italian seasoning, and 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared casserole dish and top with shredded cheese
  6. Bake 25 minutes or until heated through

Christine’s Easy Mexican Rice

I’m doing something out of the ordinary today by including a recipe in today’s blog.  It’s the only one I’ve ever created all by myself, and since it’s gotten decent reviews (from both picky eaters and momma’s who feed them) I thought it might be valuable for someone to share.  This is an easy recipe to put together and packs well if you need to share a meal with a new mommy or other friend in need of something yummy to eat.

Ever the adventurous cook, things don’t often turn out exactly the same after numerous tastings in my kitchen, so I will include the original recipe and then the alterations I’ve experimented with.  Happy cooking!  Enjoy!

Christine’s Original Easy Mexican Rice

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 – 14-15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I like the garlic basil variation)
1 – 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
1 can Green Giant’s Mexicorn
1 packet of taco seasoning

Directions:
1.  Cook brown rice according to package instructions on stovetop.  (Roughly 1 & 1/3 cups of raw brown rice will equal 4 cups cooked brown rice.)
2.  Drain and rinse garbanzo beans and Mexicorn.  Add to cooked brown rice.
3.  Add two cans of diced tomatoes and taco seasoning.
4.  Mix ingredients well and heat until warm.

Serving Suggestion:
We always eat our Mexican Rice with grated cheese sprinkled on top of each plate and with a side of tortilla chips.

Recipe Variations and Tips

1.  For additional protein add leftover chicken pieces to the rice recipe or cook chicken fresh to be served along with a side of the Mexican Rice.

2.  To add a little more “hidden” vegetables Jessica Seinfeld (Deceptively Delicious and Double Delicious) style add a 1/2 cup of pureed carrot or red pepper.

3.  For more varied flavor, experiment with chopped onion, olives, avocado or green pepper.

4.  Rice meal can also be served in a burrito or taco shell.

5.  Since we eat this meal a lot, I have purchased a jumbo bottle of taco seasoning from Costco and therefore never put the same amount into the recipe.  Less taco seasoning equals a more milder dish, and more obviously adds an extra kick of spice.  If you happen to over-spice the dish, add milk to the dish until your tastebuds are comfortable.