Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Philly Cheese Steak

I have had a thing for sandwiches lately and since you aren't supposed to eat a lot of lunch meat, if any, while you are pregnant I was searching for an alternative.  Normally I am not much of a cheese person, but for some reason this sounded good and easy...the two most important things!  But first, look at this picture my friend/birthday twin Callie sent me yesterday...I couldn't quite figure out what it was when I first got her message...until I opened it up bigger...

Turnips!! No wonder my belly is getting bigger so quickly!
Now onto the recipe...we ate these as open-faced sandwiches because I didn't leave the buns attached, like a hot dog bun, but cut them totally apart.  I actually liked it better this way becuase we could pile more meat and veggies on top and not get a mouth full of bread!  I used 2 white hogie rolls (they were out of whole wheat - Sunday night at HEB=bare shelves!) but hot dog buns or hamburger buns or wraps or, or, or whatever would work!  I realize that traditionally cheese steak has provolone cheese...but I went with swiss...it's my recipe after all! =)

You will need:
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, cut into strips
1 medium sized green bell pepper, cut into strips
garlic powder
~1 pound thinly sliced lean steak (I used .84 pounds - because that's how it came - of top round)
pepper
2 hogie rolls
Butter
4 slices part skim swiss cheese, cut in half

Start by preheating your oven to the Broil setting.  Once veggies are cleaned and cut, place in a large skillet with the olive oil and a few dashes of garlic powder.



Saute until tender, about 8 minutes or so.  Then add steak and pepper to taste.


Continue stirring frequently until meat is cooked through - only about 2-3 minutes.


Meanwhile, butter your hogie rolls and place under the broiler to get your buns nice and toasty!  I left Barry's in for about 8 minutes and mine in for about 10-12...hes not a fan of crunchy bread like I am!

Once your bread is toasted how you like it, remove from oven and spoon some of the meat/veggie mix on top of each roll.

Top each half sandwich with a slice of swiss cheese (which you previously cut/folded in half).


Place back under the broiler for 2-3 minutes - until the cheesy is gooey and melted!

And you are done: veggies, protein and carbs all in one at a much lower cost (cholesterol, sodium, & fat) than a restaurant style version...looking at these pictures makes me want to make this again already!

As much as I would like to think I will post again this week, it probably won't happen...we have much to do to get ready for our beach trip this weekend!  Have a wonderful weekend and Happy 4th of July!

One more week till we go back to the doctor and hear Baby B's heartbeat AND leave for a trip to my favorite place in the world!  Three more weeks till we find out if Baby B is a boy or a girl and leave for a trip to Florida!  Lots to look forward to in the next few weeks =)

Off to finish watching SYTYCD - it's so good this season!

ENJOY!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

16 Weeks...and a shower!

This weekend was another eventful one for us...on the road again.  Yes, that's like 7 weeks in a row if you have been paying attention...I have lost count!  But, it has all been fun stuff and we are blessed to have so many friends and family so close...so we can't complain!

This weekend started off Friday evening at my parents house.  Since we weren't able to see my Dad last weekend for Father's Day, we had a family dinner at their house.  It was really nice just to be able to hang out at the house with no where to be but there the whole night!  I took my 16 week pictures when we got there...4 months already, I can't believe it!  I think it would be an understatement to say that my belly popped out a little bit this week!  I am for sure starting to show, although I still don't feel like it is as much as it looks like in the pictures...but they don't lie!  Maybe it was how I was standing?!?

Speaking of growing a lot...how huge is Cora getting?!?
there it is!
The baby is growing to the size of a turnip this week, which apparently is about 5 inches!  I am feeling great, and even had the energy to run a couple times last week.  Nothing crazy, just some intervals...but running nonetheless!  I have starting to have some "growing pains" in my stomach the last few days, but nothing a little relaxing on the couch won't cure =)

Saturday morning we woke up and headed down to San Antonio to Adam and Melissa's house to get ready for the picnic themed wedding shower we were hosting for Eric and Brittney that evening.  Somehow it was the easiest shower ever!  After a little preparation in the kitchen, we spent a few hours in Abigail's playroom hanging out with the babies...great afternoon!  And, a wonderful shower...we had tons of food and great company!

Melissa & Abigail...how cute is her picnic outfit??
The cooks...this might have been why the shower prep was so easy!  They did a great job!  And, of course Lori in everyone's business!!
The future Mr & Mrs Udell
Time to eat!  Thanks for hosting at your house!

We didn't mean to match...or maybe we did?!?

The dessert spread...DELISH!
We spent this morning at my Wita's (my grandma) house for a brunch.  She just got back from 6 weeks in England so it was great to spend some time with her...and eat her cooking!  Cora and Barry got to spend some quality time together as well...
I think he looks good with a baby girl! Just saying... =)
Yes, she was chewing on his finger.  He must have had some leftover breakfast on there!  We got back to Houston around 5 this evening and spent some time running errands to pick up a few things for our 4th of July beach trip next weekend!  We have beach trips planned the next two weekend...then finally a weekend at home...but we get to spend 3 weekends in a row with my 2 favorite little girls which we are both looking forward to.

Off to spend some more time on the couch before the busy week ahead!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chicken Stir Fry

Here is the latest of the cute kids in my life eating spaghetti for the first time...this is Abigail, my Goddaughter/niece.  Well, she isn't really my niece, but close enough...her dad (my cousin) is practically my brother!!


I laugh out loud every time I see it!  Can't wait to see her this weekend!!!

So, a couple weeks ago my Mom sent out the menu for our annual coast trip and Sunday night is stir fry/Chinese food night...which we won't be there for.  She put in on Sunday because she knows Barry doesn't like Chinese food and she was looking out for him...what about her pregnant daughter who loves Chinese food?!?!  Ever since then I have had stir fry on the brain...my mom's is fantastic!  So I called her to get the recipe and planned to make it this week, hoping Barry wouldn't notice I was making Chinese food for dinner...and guess what???  He liked it!  At least he said he did...

My mom doesn't really have a recipe, she just knows how to make it, so I did my best to keep track of what I was doing so I could write it down.  This is a great "clean out your fridge" recipe because you can add whatever veggies you like/have around...even left overs.  Here is what I used this time:

1 pound chicken tenders or breasts
Low sodium soy sauce for marinade (about 1/2 cup - 1 cup probably)
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 cup baby carrots, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
3/4 cup zucchini (I had them already cooked leftover in the fridge)
1.5-2 cups low sodium/low fat chicken broth
1/2 cup cold water
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch

Start by marinating chicken in soy sauce.  I did it for about 30 minutes or so.


Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and place into large skillet.  I just dumped the soy sauce that I was using as marinade (because I didn't have any more) but you could probably should put fresh soy sauce into the pan with the chicken and olive oil.  


Saute until chicken is cooked through, no longer pink.


Remove chicken from skillet, add carrots (and other slow cooking veggies - i.e. broccoli, cauliflower - if you have any) to skillet.


Saute until they begin to soften then add the rest of the veggies, except already cooked leftovers.


Once veggies are cooked to desired tenderness, add chicken back to skillet.


Add chicken broth to mixture.  I used about 1.5 - 2 cups.  You don't want to fully cover the chicken and veggies, but about half way up is good.  Add leftover/already cooked veggies at this point if you have any.


Mix water and cornstarch together in separate bowl. 


Once broth is boiling, add cornstarch mixture to pan, stirring into broth as you pour.  The chicken broth will thicken pretty quickly.


And that's it!  Serve over whole wheat rice, or not if you are going low carb!  


My mom always adds some of those crunchy Chinese noodles, which makes it better, but I didn't have any.

This is a much better alternative to Chinese take out that is loaded with sodium and often times fat!

ENJOY!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stuffed Shells

Last week we had some guests over for dinner on Wednesday...BJ & Kasey!!  They were in town for the two weeks leading up to the wedding last weekend.  We got to go out for dinner with them the week before but opted for something at the house this past week...plus I knew it would force me to get my butt back in the kitchen!  We had such a great time visiting with them and can't wait for them to move HOME!  They are currently living in Wyoming for another year or so...then hopefully they will return to Texas if all works out as planned!


A quick Baby B update before I start...I scheduled our full anatomy ultrasound this morning for July 21st so we will find out the sex that day right before we fly out to Key West for a vacation...I can't wait for that day for so many reasons!!!

I found this recipe in one of my magazines and decided to lighten it up a bit by choosing low fat cheese, and less of it, lower sugar marinara, and of course lean beef.  Just a warning...this one is much more complicated than my usual, but since I haven't been cooking much I was feeling up for the challenge.  It wasn't hard, just more steps than usual.  Barry wasn't sure about me "experimenting" when we were having company over, but I think it turned out pretty good.  It tasted pretty similar to lasagna, next time I will probably add more pesto to change the flavor a little bit.

Here is what you will need:

20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 pound lean ground beef (turkey would work too)
1 large onion, chopped
15 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1.5 cups part skim shredded Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup prepared Pesto sauce
1 egg
1-2 jars of your favorite (low in sugar) spaghetti sauce

Start by browning meat and onions together in a skillet until meat is no longer pink, drain the excess fat off.  It seems like a lot of onion, but its not!


If you are good at multitasking you can boil the pasta at the same time.  I actually used the whole box of shells because I wasn't sure if 20 would be enough...I had leftovers, but no big deal! Drain and rinse with cold water.


In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup Italian cheese blend, Parmesan cheese, pesto sauce, egg and half of the meat mixture.


Pour about 1/2 a jar of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.  The original recipe called for just 1 jar...I had an extra jar on had in case that wasn't enough.  It wasn't!


Spoon cheese mixture into shells and place into casserole dish.  Don't be afraid to fill them...I had a little bit of the filling left over and mine were pretty stuffed!



Combine remaining spaghetti sauce and beef mixture (I used a whole jar of sauce) and pour over top of shells.


Top with remaining shredded cheese.  I threw some extra Parmesan on just because.


Now, the original recipe said to cover and refrigerate over night.  I did that because I had time to make this the night before, but I am not sure its necessary.  Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes, uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

I'm off to the treadmill...feeling a little jog today!  Happy Monday!
 
ENJOY!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

15 Weeks

Happy Father's Day!  This is the first year that we have celebrated Father's Day in our little family...obviously...and its been a great weekend!  I didn't get to see my Dad this year, but we have a belated Father's Day celebration planned for next weekend! 

This weekend we went to Yoakum for Riley (Barry's cousin) & Kayla's wedding.  When I turned my camera on at the church the little red battery light came on so I only got a few pictures...maybe that was a sign I shouldn't have been taking pictures in the church??  But, the wedding and reception were beautiful.  We had a great time visiting with people that we hadn't seen in a really long time!  We took my 15 week pictures Friday night on our way to rehearsal dinner...

Excuse the "lazy eye" look on my face...is was super windy!

I am definitely starting to show, although you can't really tell in these pictures.  The baby has moved up in the fruit world from a navel orange to an avocado, which I feel like its backwards again...but what do I know?!?  I finally feel like I have a normal appetite and can eat most foods.  And, the constant tired feeling has worn off some too...which is great!

I spent the day Saturday hanging around the house and being lazy at the pool...I was having a nice relaxing afternoon until these two decided they needed to join me!


I want to enter Lori into one of those dog jumping contests.  Every time Barry would put her out of the pool she would run around and practically jump on his head to get back in...she couldn't get enough.  Eventhough they splashed me like crazy and made waves in the pool, it was worth the laughs and entertainment!

Then it was off to the wedding...

Riley and Kayla Boening...isn't her dress beautiful?!?!
Be prepared to see many more of these wedding shots throughout the summer...we are just beginning!
Kasey, Kayla & Me...3 Mrs. Boenings!
And then my camera died...

My favorite, well maybe not favorite, but major highlight of the reception was the wedding favor.  They put together a cookbook full of recipes from family and friends...so cool!  I am a huge cookbook lover and I can't wait to try some of these recipes =)

Off to enjoy the rest of our Sunday with some friends, take out and Aggie Baseball!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chocolate Almond Cherry Crisps

For the past couple of weeks I have had an intern here at work.  In order to be a dietitian you have to do 1000 hours of supervised practice under a dietitian.  Since there is an internship program here at U of H, which is the one I did, I met with the director as soon as I started here to recruit some help!  She sends over interns from time to time to spend 2 weeks with me doing a sports nutrition rotation.  The intern that I currently have previously graduated from culinary school, so I thought a cooking demo would be a perfect project for her!  

 
She looked at my crazy when I told her all we had to work with was a microwave, but we made it work.  We invited all of our female student athletes that are here for the summer to come watch and eat.  We made a fruit smoothie...


a Chicken Waldorf salad wrap...


and chocolate almond cherry crisps for dessert.


I didn't take pics of the process because I didn't want to get in the way, but I thought I would share the dessert recipe because it was soooooo easy and really good.  If you are attending a shower or party with me in the next couple of months, I am for sure bringing these...so don't make them! =)

I received this recipe in an email last week, and it was perfect for the cooking demo since it's no bake.  The only thing we changed was the type of chocolate.  It originally called for milk chocolate and white chocolate but we switched to dark chocolate chips for some added antioxidants!

I didn't take a picture of the end product because they were gone so quickly, but here is the pic I got in the email.


1 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (we used a whole small bag)
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
3/4 cup dried cherries (also high in antioxidants and great for inflammation)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (healthy fat)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Pour chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 45 seconds.  Stir and microwave for an additional 45 seconds or until almost melted.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Place in fridge for about 30 minutes, until firm.

ENJOY!