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Menu Plan Monday
Ok . .. so last week I did OK .. not great but I want to share a couple of recipes with you that turned out fantastic!

The Crockpot Philly Cheesesteaks were super good, of course I didn’t follow the original recipe . .. but I never seem to be able to follow a recipe!
Here is what I did:
3lb London Broil cut into large chunks
1 large sliced onion
2 bell peppers sliced
3 tbl Worcestershire
3 tbl Steak Sauce
1/3 cup red wine
Grill Seasoning
6 Whole Grain Sub Sandwich Rolls
Lowfat Shredded Italian Cheese

Put meat in slow cooker, toss with grill seasoning, Worcestershire, steak sauce, and wine. Top with onions and peppers and cook on low 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Remove meat from cooker and chop or shred, and put back in cooker and toss with cooking liquid. Cook on low for 30 minutes. While meat is rewarming and getting all juicy, open your whole wheat rolls, remove extra bread. Spray with butter spray (I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter) and smear with either minced jarred or frozen garlic (garlic powder would work too!). Toast in oven under broiler. Top with meat, peppers and cheese, broil until all melty. Top with marinated peppers or condiments of your choice. Yummy!

Citrus Jalapeno Marinade
I used this marinade for chicken breasts for soft tacos which I didn’t actually cook until tonight! But they were spectacular! While the chicken rested I grilled some corn tortillas (La Tortilla Factory Chipotle flavored) and we topped with veggies, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo from the San Ramon Farmer’s Market. You could definitely freeze your chicken in this marinade, I did the inverse. I had frozen chicken breast and put them in the marinade to thaw in my fridge overnight . . . either way this is the best trick I know!

Juice and zest of 2 large oranges
2 jalapenos seeds and membranes removed
7 cloves of garlic (don’t be afraid!!)
1 tbl peppercorns
1tbl salt
1 tbl honey
1 tbl cumin
large handful of cilantro

Add all of it to your food processor or blender and blend until everything is pureed together. Marinade overnight! I had fears this would be too spicy, but it was perfect!

Dessert for this week
Anyone who knows me, knows I love to bake and have dessert! This recipe comes out of the latest Weight Watchers grocery store cookbook (5 Ingredients in 15 Minutes) and is great on a summer evening (especially after you have eaten lots of hot salsa!)

Lemon Berry Tarts
2 cups Cool Whip lite or free
1/4 cup Lemon Curd
Mini store bought graham cracker crusts
Berries of your choice

Melt the curd in the microwave for 15 seconds. Lighten with 1/2 cup of cool whip. Then fold in remaining cool whip and fill each of the 6 mini crusts. Chill for 30 – 60 minutes and top with berries.
4 WW points

Here is my modified menu for this week:

Week 2 – July 6 – July 12

Monday – Chicken Tacos
Tuesday – Pizza Lasagna Rolls, Salad
Wednesday – Chicken Fried Rice (double for freezer meal), Szchewan Green Beans
Thursday – Sloppy Joes (double for freezer meal), Chipotle Baked Beans and Corn
Friday – Leftovers
Saturday – Chicken Ravioli (got these fresh ravioli at Nob Hill last week after coupons $.69 per package!), Salad
Sunday – Meatloaf Muffins, Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Broccoli (double muffins for freezer)

Look for more recipes next week, including and experiment with biscuit breakfast pizzas!

For more menu ideas visit: orgjunkie.com

mexicantortizza

This is adapted from Hungry Girls new cookbook 200 under 200. Her recipe calls for soy crumbles and less stuff in general to get it to 200 calories. But I adapted it to fit our tastes and to make it a heartier dinner. I plan on using the same concept to make other “tortizzas” in the near future. This is extremely good!!! And my teenager ate 2 of them! I served it with a very simple Jicama Slaw, which is just jicama julienned, shredded carrots, green onion, lime juice, salt and freshly ground pepper . . a nice crunchy side!

8 oz Lean Ground Turkey
8 oz can El Pato (to make less spicy us plain tomato sauce)
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
1 small can diced mild green chilies
4 1-point Burrito Size Tortillas (I love La Tortilla Factory High Fiber Olive Oil)
1 Cup Low-Fat Shredded Cheese
4 tbsp Taco Sauce
1 cup red onion chopped
1 cup tomatoes chopped
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream

Brown taco meat in non-stick skillet. Add in dice green chilies, taco seasoning and El Pato, simmer on medium until the liquid is absorbed.

Brown both sides of the tortilla in a non-stick skillet. Place tortilla on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Smear 1 tbsp taco sauce on tortilla, top with 2 oz taco meat, sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with 1/4 of each tomatoes and onions. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.

4 Servings 7 WW Pts per serving (for 1 whole pizza . . this makes me so happy!)

I have been gone a long time! This time of year is insane at work and it was everything I could do to keep my head above water. As you can see I am still going on my weight loss, but with travel and craziness I have been hanging around the same weight (up then down, rinse, repeat) for about a month. I think a lot of it has to do with not tracking as diligently as I was and a big part of my tracking success is menu planning. And posting your menu online is one sure way to make sure you create and follow one.

Also, I have developed a new hobby which is helping towards some long term financial goals, couponing! I am becoming a deal queen and learning from some great women bloggers! I haven’t found a lot of fellow SF Bay Area frugal bloggers, so I thought I would share my deals when I find them!

To quick off my return to blogging I thought I would share what I made for Mother’s Day. My mom is out of town (touring Greece!), and I spent a much needed day off on Friday with my sister and nieces, so it is just me and my guy today! You can tell what life stage he is at by my requests for Mother’s Day this year. All I wanted was some help around the house, to make or order whatever food I wanted and no complaining about anything . . . he gave me a look out of the corner of his eye and said “Ok mom!” . .. sigh . . . teenagers!

But so far my day has been great. Did the majority of my errands yesterday, so I took myself out for coffee (and coupon scavenge) while he slept in and then I picked up a few things at Safeway. Which by the way I got 2lbs of strawberries today for FREE!

Strawberries
How?

I downloaded and printed the 1lb free coupon from the Safeway website, then they were on sale for Buy One Get One Free! Do free strawberries taste sweeter, yes . . . yes they do!

Now for my healthy, easy carnitas!

Carnitas

This was inspired by a sample at Trader Joes! They mixed their ready made carnitas with green salsa and it was so tasty. But they use pork shoulder which is too fatty for WW. So I made my own version in the Crock Pot with pork tenderloin . .. oh . . . my … goodness! This the real deal!

2 lbs of Pork Tenderloin (2 tenderloins approximately)
1 large onion sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp worcestershire
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Cumin (I am such a cumin freak!)
salt and pepper (I used 1 tsp of each)
slice fresh jalapeno (remove seeds and membrane if you like things mild)
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 jar Green Salsa

Layer onions in the bottom of slow cooker. Top with tenderloins and sprinkle on remaining ingredients (except salsa). Cook on low for 4 hours. Shred and toss with salsa. If you like them crispy, spray your non-stick skillet with olive oil spray and crisp them up. Then remove from heat and toss with salsa after they cool for a minute (this is to preserve the texture you worked so hard for!)

6 servings at 4 WW PTS per serving

The great thing about this is I took about half of the recipe and threw it in my freezer for another day . . . it will be great someday in the very near future for quesadillas or burritos! I can’t wait!

For other great recipes: http://www.lifeasmom.com/

I will be posting my menu tomorrow and will include some suggestions for small families who buy the family packs of meat to save lots of money!

Happy Mom’s Day to everyone!

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My dinner tonight was very yummy and was major comfort food! The original recipe for the meatloaf muffins came from one of my favorite cooking magazines Cuisine at Home. However the original recipe called for ground chuck, whole milk and whole eggs. Overall not the most diet friendly. I have always made them with ground turkey, but this time I took what I learned from Roni’s Southwestern Turkey Burgers and included more veggies and used oatmeal and a little parmesan for flavor. The turkey was also extra lean/99% fat free! They were delicious, flavorful and plenty moist.

I also lightened up a twice baked potato. I love this style of spud, but because of the butter and cheese had relished them to Christmas only. But with low fat cheese and greek yogurt you get a really delicious version!

Are you a big meatloaf fan? If so, share your tasty secrets!!

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
20 oz extra lean ground turkey
4 button mushrooms finely diced
1 cup finely diced onion
1/2 finely diced bell pepper
1 small finely diced zucchini
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup egg beaters
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper

Topping
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup dijon
1/3 cup brown sugar

Combine meatloaf ingredients, don’t overmix. Scoop into 12 sprayed muffin tin cups (one heaping ice cream scoop works for me). Top with sauce (don’t skip it is so good!). Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serving Size: 2 muffins for 5 WW points.

Twice Baked Potatoes
This recipe will vary based on the size of your potatoes, I purposely chose small potatoes to keep the points low. But a full potato (two halves) was more than I could finish!
4 small baking potatoes
4 oz non fat greek yogurt (ff sour cream would work)
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/3 cup chopped green onion
2/3 cup low fat shredded cheese (I used WW brand)
Salt and Pepper

Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for 40 minutes wrapped in foil (you want the insides silky soft). Let cool so you can handle without burning off your skin! Split in half and scoop out insides, leaving enough to keep the skin as a sturdy vessel. Add yogurt and begin to mash with potato masher, add milk until creamy. Mix in green onions, and 1/3 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Place potato shells in baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Fill each evenly. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted, bubbly and the outside a slightly golden and crispy.

Serving size: 2 potato halves for 3 points (again this is for a small potato, the size of the potato really matters!!)


Did I mention I am a cookbook and cooking magazine addict? My addiction is rather expensive, so I now have a lovely weeknight routine. One night a week I stroll (well drive after all I live in the burbs!) to my local Borders for a caffeinated treat and peruse the new cooking magazines and cookbooks (I also look at the art and design magazines which legitimizes this obsessive behavior as also beneficial for work!). This cuts down on paper and my expenses because I only buy the magazines where “I know” I am going to make at least 1 – 2 of the recipes.

Well on one such mission I discovered a series called Cuisine At Home. Have you seen this one? It is a totally fabulous recipe magazine and a series of mini-cookbooks. I find myself cooking out of them at least 2 times per week now. They are tasty and never take more than an hour to make.

They also include suggested side dishes and how to time everything so the meal comes together. I confess, this is a great lesson for me. I can’t tell you the number of nights I cooked dinner only to realize right before it is all ready that I didn’t really make a rounded meal. Inevitably I have forgotten a vegetable or starch. So the suggestions in the right column have been really helpful and have some really creative side dish ideas.

Everytime I make one of these recipes I think to myself, I totally should have thought of this! This recipe is no different, it is a great twist on the classic (but not a personal fave) beef stroganoff. I have never been a fan of the classic. I think it is a little too rich, heavy and maybe a bit boring. This version was everything the original isn’t. Spicy, creamy and a perfect mid-week meal. Go make this for your family tonight . . . I bet you have everything you need!

Cajun Chicken Stroganoff
courtesy of Cuisine at Home Weeknight Menus

1/2 lb dry wide egg noodles (I used linguine, wider noodles would have been better)
1/2 lb kielbasa, sliced (I used chicken kielbasa)
1/2 lb button mushrooms, quartered
1 1/2 lb chicken tenders (I cut these in half so they would be bite size)
1/2 tsp each cayenne, paprika, black pepper, salt, dried basil, dried thyme and dried oregano (I eyeballed it)
2 tbs AP Flour (I used wondra)
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp garlic minced (I used 2 cloves chopped)
1/2 cup dry sherry
3/4 cup chicken broth
1tbs Worcestershire
1/2 cup sour cream

Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside. Saute kielbasa and mushrooms in 2 tbs oil over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Combine chicken with seasonings, then dust with flour. (I did this in a bowl realizing later I should have done the ziploc bag method tossing in the mixed seasonings, shaking. Then adding the flour and shaking, which would have been a lot less mess!). Saute chicken in same pan with another 2 tbs of oil over medium-high heat until nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Push chicken to one side of pan. Add tomato paste and garlic; saute for 1 minute.

Deglaze with sherry, simmer until nearly evaporated, then add broth, Worcestershire and sausage/mushroom mixture. Bring to a simmer and reduce sauce by half (5 minutes). Off heat stir in sour cream and serve over pasta.

The recommended side dish was a tomato salad with a not too acidic vinaigrette. I did my version of this with balsamic vinegar, red onions and cucumbers . . . it was a nice side to the spicy entree. A creamy cucumber salad type dish would be lovely with this as well.

My boy loved this and after licking the plate from the first serving returned for seconds and a refill on his beverage. Remember he is a spicy food freak and this was nice and spicy. If you like mild food, I would back off the cayenne or serve with additional sour cream, but for our tastes this was really perfect. I was looking forward to leftovers for lunch the next day, but unfortunately their was very little left . . .