Stuffing It… In a Healthy Way!

Today was a dreary, cold, wet and cloudy day… a typical fall night in Chicago. It definitely called for a warm and comforting dinner, but I wanted it to also be healthy. (Often times, warm and comforting means starch heavy and sauce laden meals in our house!)

It’s been a few nights since we had some seafood so I baked some flounder fillets, seasoned with rosemary, garlic and lemon slices. To go along with our flounder, I roasted some asparagus spears and served up these stuffed tomatoes:

Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes
courtesy of Weight Watchers Best Eats Cookbook

1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup whole wheat couscous
6 (7 oz) beefsteak tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced (I omitted)
1 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh)
1 (15.5 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup crumbled fat free feta (I used regular feta)

Bring the water, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, cut a thin slice from the top of each tomato and reserve (I accidentally threw it out when I prepared it!). With a spoon, carefully scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a tomato shell. Reserve the pulp for a soup or sauce.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the succhini, onion, bell pepper, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and tomato sauce; cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous, cheese, and remaining salt & pepper. Spooon about 3/4 cup of the filling into each tomato shell and cover with the reserved tomato tops.

* I baked these stuffed tomatoes in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes to roast them as well. This can be made in advance and frozen too!

Serves 6
Serving size: 1 stuffed tomato
WW Points value: 3 Points

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Project Pastrami…

I love spices… probably too much. I have a whole drawer full of spice jars and another shelf of random spices. I came across this recipe for Pastrami-Style Salmon and thought the spice mix was rather interesting.

Since I didn’t have any salmon on hand, I did have some ground turkey to use for dinner. Combining the pastrami spice mixture and ground turkey was truly an experiment that turned out to be delicious! I decided to use this spiced ground turkey and stuffed some large portabello mushrooms and voila… dinner is served. I accompanied my stuff mushrooms with roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

Here’s my recipe for Spiced Turkey Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms:

2 large portabello mushrooms
8 oz. ground turkey
garlic, minced
onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
cooking spray for browning turkey
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese (I used fat free)

Remove stems from mushrooms and gently brush off any debris.
In a large bowl, combine garlic, onion, sugar, and the spices and mix thoroughly.
In a saute pan, brown seasoned turkey.
Once browned, remove from heat and toss in cheese and green onions.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place mushrooms gill side up and top with the turkey/feta/onion mixture.
Bake stuffed mushrooms in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

*I’m also submitting this to the “Go Ahead, Honey – It’s Gluten-Free” blog event started way back in the wintry depths of February by Naomi of Straight into Bed Cake-Free and Dried. This month, Rachel of The Crispy Cook is hosting and the focus is seasonal veggies. Be sure to check out Rachel’s site in early September for the round up!*

S is for Salad & Salsa.

I came home early today because I’m not feeling too well… and after a 3 hour nap, I decided to get some culinary therapy. There were quite a bit of random fruits, veggies, cheeses and misc foodstuff to be used – all of which were in varying proportions. So I decided to put my Iron Chef thinking cap on to create 2 things – salad and salsa.Here is my recipe for a Mediterranean Inspired Orzo Salad:

1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
water for boiling
1 teapsoon olive oil
1cup baby grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
crumbled feta cheese to your preference
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Boil water in pot and cook orzo.
Drain orzo and place in large boil with 1 teaspoon olive oil; stir.
Add remaining ingredients and fold in.
Here is my recipe for Spicy Mango Peach Salsa, which I will be using later tonight with dinner:

1 ripe mango, diced
2 ripe peaches, diced
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime

Combine the above ingredients; chill.

Feta & Spinach Pasta Salad

Independence Day is normally celebrated with a traditional cookout of burgers, brats and hotdogs… and this year, I made this Mediterranean inspired pasta salad:

Feta & Spinach Pasta Salad
with balsamic vinegrette

Here’s my recipe for the Feta & Spinach Pasta Salad:
1/2 box of bowtie pasta
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup sliced black olives
3-4 baby yellow bell peppers, sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 jar marinated mushrooms
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup balsamic vinegarette dressing

Cook pasta until al dente.
In a large salad bowl, add the cooked hot pasta, spinach, feta, olives, peppers, mushroom, oregano.
Pour dressing over the mixture and toss.
Top with chopped tomatoes and serve.

Mediterranean Meatloaf

Mediterranean Meatloaf

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1 (10oz) pg frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1 cup feta cheese
2 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 1/2 cups panko or breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
3/4 can of evaporated milk

– Heat oven to 400 degrees.
– In large bowl, combine all ingredients and shape into a loaf.
– Bake 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
– Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.