Monday, April 27, 2009

Meatless Night! Spaghetti Squash, Grilled Portobellos , and Zucchini Bake

This became an acquired taste for me, but D loves it. I'd never heard of spaghetti squash before until I started hunting down more healthy recipes that had variety.

And it is so simple to cook!

To prepare the squash for baking, you need to cut it in half. Once cut in half, you'll need to clean out the seeds like you would a pumpkin. You want to leave the pulp, as this is what will become "spaghetti-like" after it's cooked.

Once you do this, you're ready.

Nutritional Information is as follows:
For 1 cup of spaghetti squash there is 42 calories 28 mg of sodium (wow!! virtually nothing!) 10 grams of carbs, of which 2 grams are dietary fiber & only 4 grams sugar 1 gram of protein
(when/if you add something else, butter for instance, read the nutritional and serving size information on the packaging to add to this if you keep a food journal)

For 1 cup of portobello mushrooms alone there is: 42 calories 12 mg sodium (wow again - very low) 6 grams of carbs, 3 grams of which are dietary fiber 5 grams of protein

This is also a good source of iron. The actual recipe I will give below for the portobellos mixed with ingredients has a total of 76 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving, but I do not have the other information for the recipe as is. The recipe will be for 4 servings. Not sure of the serving size amount, but once you cook it, divide it equally into 4 parts and you'll have your serving size.

The Zuccini Bake Recipe Nutritional Information is as follows per serving. Again, the recipe will make 4 servings, so divide it equally when cooked into 4 parts and you will have your serving size.

114 calories 7.4 grams of fat 8 grams of carbs 2.2 of which are dietary fiber 6.2 grams of protein

Dinner Tonight is: Spaghetti Squash Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Zucchini Bake Fresh Strawberries and blueberries with fat free/sugar free vanilla yogurt

Spaghetti Squash
Pre-heat Oven to 400 degrees.

After cutting and cleaning the seeds out of the spaghetti squash, place 1/2 cup of water in a casserole dish. Place the squash open side down in the water. Bake for an hour.

When you take it out, the outside of the squash will be very very soft, as well as hot. I use an oven mitt to pick up one half of the squash, and take a fork and clean out the inside into a large bowl. It will come out in strands, like spaghetti. Do this with both halves.

Use about 1/2 stick of Smart Balance butter (a 50/50 butter blend with omega fats) and toss with the squash.

Serve, adding pepper if desired.

Grilled Portobellos

  • 2 tablespoons low or no sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 large potobello mushrooms, stems removed

  1. In large shallow dish, mix broth, oil, vinegar, and thyme. Arrange mushroom caps in single layer in the dish, turning once to coat. Let stand at room temperature, turning occasionally, for one hour.
  2. Cover broiler pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray. Bake mushrooms at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. (Can also grill them directly on the grill for 10 minutes on medium-high heat)

Zucchini Bake

4 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese, low fat
1 tablespoon butter (smart balance)
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
ground black pepper to taste

1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise and score diagonally across the top of zucchinis.
2. Place in a baking dish.
3. Baste with melted butter and garlic, sprinkle with cheese and season with pepper to taste.
4. Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 15-20 minutes (or until tender and crisp).

For dessert, mix 1/2 cup of strawberries and 1/2 cup of blueberries with 3/4 cup of fat free/sugar free vanilla yougurt (sweeten with sweet and low if desired) and enjoy! Strawberries and blueberries are chock full of fiber and antioxidants

Chicken and Dumplins' in Crock Pot

This has quickly become a favorite staple in our house, especially for the kiddos. My daughter, who is 6, has taken a liking to helping prepare food for meals and this dish allows her to help in a big way when using refrigerated biscuits for the dumplins'.

The refrigerated biscuits make for more fat in the recipe than I would like, so I use them when in a hurry. This recipe will incorporate making your own dumplins' to make for a more healthy meal overall, but know that even doing it the easy way with biscuit dough is still much more healthy than going out to eat, which is the overall goal for us at least. To be and eat more healthy at home.

You can cook a variety of side items with this. Honey Glazed Pea pods and carrots are good, as well as a side of steamed broccoli sprinkled with a bit of Parmesan. While honey is technically "sugar", it has a lot of healthful properties that gives it a healthful place in moderation while adding tremendously to taste. I mean, after all, who wants to eat "healthy" food that's bland?

First here is the recipe to make your own dumplings. If you do not desire to do this, skip right down to the full recipe that includes the biscuit dough!

Dinner Tonight is:
Chicken and Dumplings in a Crock Pot
Honey Glazed carrots and pea pods
steamed broccoli

Ingredients for Homemade Dumplings:
(makes 8 servings)

1 1/2
cups all-purpose flour

1tablespoon parsley flakes, if desired

2teaspoons baking powder

1/2teaspoon salt (optional for those on low sodium diets, or use less)

3tablespoons shortening

3/4cup 2% milk

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Mix flour, parsley, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk.

Drop dough by 10 spoonfuls onto hot meat or vegetables in boiling stew (do not drop directly into liquid). Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer.

Ingredients and directions for slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I use Smart Balance, a 50/50 butter blend with Omega-3 fats)
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup (low sodium)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces (if not making your own dumplings)

Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
  1. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit (or homemade) dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.
Honey Glazed Pea Pods and Carrots Ingredients and Directions:
(makes 6 servings)

  • 2 cups sliced fresh carrots
  • 1/2 lbs of snow peas (or sugar snap, which I prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (I use smart balance, a 50/50 butter blend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Add pea pods and cook until tender crisp; drain and set aside.

2. Melt butter in the same pan and stir in cornstarch. Return carrots and peas to pan and stir in honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Steamed Broccoli:

1 lbs of fresh broccoli
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Place broccoli in a colander and bring water to boil in a large pan. Place colander on top of pan and cover with a large lid. Allow steam from boiling water to steam the broccoli until tender. Serve with Parmesan.