Corn and Black Bean Chicken Meatloaf

img_20160928_143655When I got this recipe where I wanted it, it quickly became one of my favorites. Having to follow a cardiac and diabetic plan in this house Mexican style food, especially in restaurants had to go. So, I have been determined to create healthy recipes of this style of food that we can eat and enjoy without the guilt and the massive amounts of sodium and fat. What’s great about this recipe is that it makes a lot and I will have an added recipe for the leftovers. So it’s delicious AND time saving! It has a bit of a kick so if you like it more mild I will tell you what to omit. ENJOY! 🙂

You will need:

  • 2 lbs. Perdue ground chicken
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 7 saltine crackers crumbled
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 15 oz can organic black beans rinsed well (you can also use reduced sodium black beans but I haven’t found organic ones that are)
  • 14.5 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes drained (Hunts or Del Monte)
  • 1- 1/2 cups crumbled tortilla chips (usually plenty at the bottom of the bag)
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn
  • (I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in all my recipes)
  • 1 TBS Dried Cilantro
  • 1-1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp Curry
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes (2 tsp for more heat)
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne powder (1/4 tsp for more heat)
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 4 tsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (low fat or low sodium cheese will make it even healthier)
  • Jalapenos, salsa, green onions, etc. for garnish
  • (This dish is medium heat if you like it more mild omit the Cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp of the red pepper flakes and don’t garnish with jalapenos and use mild salsa)img_20160913_173721420_hdr

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except for cheese and garnishes. Mix well until blended. I like to use my hands (clean hands) but a wooden spoon will work too. Wash hands thoroughly after mixing.

Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Put chicken mixture in baking dish and form into the shape of the dish leaving approx. an inch open all the way around the edges. img_20160913_180033604_hdrSprinkle a bit of fresh or dried Cilantro and ground pepper evenly over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 50-60 min (ovens vary)

Remove foil and bake an additional 15 min to an internal temp of at least 170 degrees. img_20160913_185425102_hdrEvenly sprinkle your desired amount of cheese over the top and bake uncovered an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted. If you really want to reduce the sodium and fat even more just omit the cheese topping. It’s still really good without it. But ya gotta look out for those cheese lovers! 🙂img_20160913_190547333_hdrLet the meatloaf sit loosely covered with foil on the stove top for 5-10 min while you prepare your sides.

Slice and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite embellishments and sides. img_20160913_192409649_hdr

**Look for my Corn & Black Bean Chicken Meatloaf Avocado Burgers for your leftover meal 🙂

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Fresh and Easy Lunch

img_20151202_145229-1Always the dilemma.. in this crazy day to day life if we can even find the time.. what to eat for lunch?? You want it to be healthy AND quick… which nowadays seems to be the challenge. I have found this recipe to be a go-to favorite for me and it can be easily made the night before and conveniently packed for work or school. And btw no one ever thinks to pair bananas with cottage cheese… but it is sooo GOOD! 🙂

You will need:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup of Breakstones low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 small banana (slice right before eating)
  • 3-4 fresh strawberries washed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Pecans whole or chopped (unsalted)
  • Dried cranberries

Start with cottage cheese on your plate. Add bananas and strawberries. Sprinkle pecans and amount of cranberries you prefer over the plate…and that’s it!!! If you like more crunch, organic granola is a good choice as well.

You can take everything in separate containers to work or school and combine before eating. It is very filling and if I must say.. just so pretty!!

Enjoy!!

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

 

 

 

Roasted Ginger Curry Autumn Medley

img_20160926_103940I can’t get enough of roasted vegetables!! Especially root vegetables and especially this time of year. They are so rustic and hearty and look beautiful on your table. The fun thing about them is that you can make them in any combination and it is ALWAYS good. So for the amateur cook it’s a no fail dish. Pick from your favorites or from what’s on hand, throw them together, roast ’em and like magic you have a dish to serve that makes you look like a pro! I have many of my own favorite combinations and I will be posting them but this one is my absolute favorites. It is perfect for the Fall and winter and holiday season and can be paired with just about anything. You can prep it ahead and roast it before serving and this is also one of my Healthy Selections recipes so it’s good for ya too! Enjoy! 🙂

You will need:

  • 6 lg organic carrots, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces (I don’t peel them)
  • 1 med butternut squash, peeled, cleaned, and cut into large chunks
  • 15-20 peeled whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • EV Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Spray a metal cookie sheet with cooking spray

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl

Spread out vegetables in a single layer on cookie sheet then drizzle a good amount of olive img_20160925_174310393oil over them (approx 2 TBS)

Sprinkle dry mix evenly over veggies

With clean hands toss and mix the vegetables until they are blended with the oil and spices and return to a single layer

Lay a piece of foil over the vegetables loosely (do not seal)img_20160925_174344612_hdr

Bake for 30 minutes

Remove foil and roast another 15 minutes

Vegetables should be soft but slightly firm when done

Take out of oven and lay foil loosely again over the veggies to keep warm

Transfer to your favorite serving dish and give them a little drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of pepper before serving

They are GREAT leftover!

Enjoy! 🙂

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂img_20160926_103940

My Favorite Sunday Roast-Rustic Style

img_20160916_185745I have always had an obsession with a good roast and Sundays. They just seem to be the perfect fit! Smelling that roast sloooooow cooking when you come in the house after church just melts my heart. Then eating it brings me much comfort! 🙂  I have created and tried many roast recipes over the years and have just loved most of them. I can’t live without a good roast in my life and now that we have to follow a strict diet in our house I just had to come up with a healthy recipe for one. This was as healthy as I could get it using a round roast and I am actually pretty proud of myself! And it’s very rustic! Enjoy! 🙂

You will need:

  • 2 lb. Round roast (lean as you can find it)
  • 2 lb. bag organic large carrots washed and cut into large pieces (I don’t peel them, I like them rustic 🙂
  • 4-6 parsnips washed and cut into large pieces (I love them so I used 6)
  • 1 doz small red potatoes washed and halved and skin on
  • 1/2 c fresh chopped basil (chop a little extra for garnish)
  • 2 TBS EV Olive oil
  • 7 whole cloves of garlic peeled
  • 1/4 c of your favorite red wine
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (I prefer Olde Thompson Pepper Supreme peppercorns, they are the BEST)
  • 1-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in my recipes)
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 c water
  • 2 TBS real butter
  • 1- 1/2 TBS prepared Horseradish
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 TBS Tastefully Simple Roasted Garlic Infused Oil (Or brand of your choice)img_20160828_141351376

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

In a 7-8 quart Dutch oven sear roast 2-3 minutes on each side.

Combine all dry spices in a bowl and stir until mixed. Set aside.

Turn off heat and add carrots, parsnips, basil, olive oil, garlic, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic oil. Make sure roast is in the middle and the veggies are surrounding it.

Add water then evenly sprinkle dry spices over roast and veggies.

Carefully spread horseradish and butter over roast only. It will slowly bake the flavor into the meat.

Then drizzle a little more Olive oil over the whole thing. This is in addition to the 2 TBS you already used.

Bake with lid on for 2 hours and 20 min. DO NOT check on or remove lid. Just let it cook nice and slow! 🙂

Remove from oven and add potatoes

You will also need:

  • 2 TBS Parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • Drizzle of Olive oil

Evenly spread and drizzle parsley, pepper, water, Worcestershire sauce, and olive oil over roast and vegetables. With a turkey baster baste vegetables with juices. Put on lid and return to oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and check to see if potatoes are softening. Baste everything this time and return to oven with lid on for 30 more minutes if potatoes were soft if not for 45 min.

Check roast for an internal temp of  at least 170 degrees and make sure potatoes are soft.

When done, let roast sit on stove top with lid on for 20 min to rest. while you prepare your sides.

img_20160828_180600335Slice (well it will probably fall apart) and serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh basil.. and your favorite sides or just the way it is with a good crusty bread!!!!

Great leftover!!

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

Chicken Tomato Pasta Bake

img_20160914_114754This is one of those recipes that is easy but doesn’t taste like it. Very much a comfort food but a very healthy version so there’s no guilt afterwards! This can be made ahead and baked before serving and is perfect for a weekday or great for a Sunday dinner…just a good go-to recipe! As we continue to follow a diabetic and cardiac diet plan in our house I will keep working on and sharing with you our health conscious low sodium recipes. There is not a lot out there for this strict of a lifestyle and I am trying to change that  🙂 Enjoy!

First you will need:

  • 3 TBS EV Olive oil
  • 2 lbs Perdue ground chicken
  • 1 med yellow onion chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on your taste)
  • (I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in my recipes)
  • Favorite red wine
  • 17.6 oz pkg. Great Value Organic penne pasta (or brand of your choice, veggie or wheat pasta would be great too!)

In a medium dutch oven or pot on medium heat add oil. When slightly heated add onion, pepper, and pepper flakes. Saute with wooden spoon until onions are softened. Add garlic and stir occasionally until onions and garlic are cooked and some brown appears on bottom of pot. Add approx 1-2 TBS of the red wine and deglaze the pot with your wooden spoon. When you have loosened all the brown bits from the bottom keep on med heat and add chicken and stir. Wash hands thoroughly. img_20160831_153837438_hdr

At this point prepare pasta (and keep stirring chicken) but cook only half the time of the pkg directions (it needs to be VERY al dente) Rinse and toss with pasta water or olive oil and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray

Then you will need:

  • EV Olive oil
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp Coriander
  • 2 tsp Onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 14.5 oz can Hunts no salt added basil, garlic, & oregano diced tomatoes
  • 28 oz can Furmanos Italian style basil, garlic, oregano diced tomatoes
  • (these are brands I have found to have good nutritional numbers, feel free to use a brand of your choice)
  • 3/4 c Parmesan Romano grated cheese (make sure its a good brand with no fillers like Kraft or better yet grate it yourself 🙂img_20160904_173428855_hdr

Continue to cook and stir ground chicken and add 1/4 c of the basil, coriander, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder, parsley flakes, & Italian seasoning. Stir well. Add 1/4 c of the cheese. Stir. Add both cans of tomatoes continue to stir. Lower heat for 5 min and stir occasionally. Remove from heat. (mixture will be a little soupy)

Spoon a small amount of the meat mixture into the pasta and stir until coated.img_20160904_174237026_hdr

Start in your baking dish with a layer of meat mixture, then top with a layer of pasta, a sprinkle of fresh basil (you have a 1/4 c left) and a sprinkle of the remaining grated cheese. You can add more cheese if you prefer. Continue with the layers and end with meat mixture and cheese on top. Add more basil and a drizzle of olive oil to the top.

Make sure there are no dry noodles on the sides…if so just give a gentle stir to coat. img_20160904_174931756_hdr

Cover with foil and bake 20-25 min (ovens will vary)

Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 min

Take out of oven and let sit for 5 min. and drizzle with olive oil (and more cheese if you prefer)img_20160904_184304439_hdr

Serve with more fresh basil, olive oil, cheese and fresh ground pepper.

6-8 servings depending on serving size

SO GOOD!!!

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Enjoy!!

 

Pumpkin Spice Mallow Cheerio Treats

img_20160912_133102Wow were these ever a hit!!! I always take pride in making my desserts easy and as gooey as possible and these perfectly carried on my tradition! Be ready to wash the stickies off after you eat these… they are messy and delicious and just perfect for the Fall season 🙂

You will need:

  • 8 cups Pumpkin Spice Cheerios
  • 10 oz. bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 stick unsalted real butter
  • 1/2 tsp Pampered Chef Cinnamon plus spice blend (or brand you prefer) if you don’t have this blend you can use just cinnamon or whatever fall spice blend you have 🙂
  • 7 oz container Kraft Jet Puffed marshmallow creme
  • Cinnamon (I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in my recipes)img_20160908_105259364_hdr

Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray

In a large non-stick pot melt stick of butter on low heat. After the butter is melted add the entire bag of marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are completely melted and blended with butter.

Turn off heat and add Cinnamon spice blend and stir. Add Cheerios and fold and stir until cereal is thoroughly coated with marshmallow mixture.

Transfer Cheerio mixture to baking dish. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray and firmly and evenly spread.

Let cool for at least 20 minutes

When cool spread marshmallow creme evenly over treats like you would frosting.

Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the creme. img_20160908_113115792

Let sit at least 20 min before cutting into squares. Can be refrigerated to take some of the gooiness out of them.

Store with wax paper to prevent stickingimg_20160912_133102

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Enjoy!!!

 

Ginger Lemon Pepper Tilapia

img_20160908_132408Nothing better than light and flaky fish with good flavor and texture. As you can tell from my recipes I like EASY, FRESH, and DELICIOUS. So if I can make a recipe with a few shortcuts that still keep it healthy and fresh tasting, I’m all for it! I discovered Schwan’s LiveSmart line of products and LOVE them! Most of them have pretty good nutritional numbers and with our very necessary cardiac and diabetic new diet we are religiously following, these products most certainly make my life in the kitchen a lot easier. This is my favorite way to make their Tilapia. Hope you enjoy the flavor AND the convenience!

You will need:

  • 1- 17.6 oz. pkg of Schwan’s frozen tilapia loins (Or your brand of choice)
  • 1-TBS Lemon Zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon (save 1/2 for serving)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (or 1/2 tsp if you like a little spice)
  • 1 tsp Olde Thompson orange lemon pepper grinder seasoning (or brand of your choice)
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in my recipes)
  • 1 tsp ground Ginger
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray (preferably olive oil spray)

Remove Tilapia from plastic wrappers and arrange in baking dish in a single layer

Drizzle fish with a generous amount of olive oil

Evenly sprinkle remaining ingredients over fish and keep one half of lemon juice to the side for servingimg_20160817_153542257

Bake covered tightly with foil for approx. 45 min (ovens will vary)

Uncover and check doneness (fish should be flaky and white, bake an additional 10-15 min if needed)

Drizzle with more olive oil and lemon juice to serve.. Easy right??? 🙂

 

Serve with my Tomato & Pepper Cashew Brown Rice or any sides of your choice

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Enjoy!!

 

Tomato & Pepper Cashew Brown Rice

img_20160907_184651Super easy side dish.. but it won’t taste like it. A healthy one too! I like to pair it with anything but it’s really good with fish. This can also be made ahead and warmed in the microwave for a timesaver. Enjoy! 🙂

You will need:

  • 1- cup Orange or Yellow grape tomatoes halved (you can use any color tomatoes you would like or any combination of)
  • 1/4 c EV Olive oil (or a little more if you like a wetter rice)
  • 2- bags boil in bag brown rice prepared by pkg directions and warm
  • 1-tsp Ginger (I prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in my recipes)
  • 1-1/2-tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2-tsp Coriander
  • 2-TBS Parsley (Fresh parsley is even better)
  • 1-1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1-tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped salt & pepper cashews (depending on how much crunch you like)
  • 2-tsp Lemon zest  (if you like more lemon flavor add a little lemon juice as well)

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe dish except cashews until well blended

Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds (Microwaves vary check after 1 minute)

Add cashews and gently stir. If needed sprinkle a little more olive oil and fresh parsley

Serve and Enjoy!!!

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Pepper Medley Chicken Thighs

IMG_20160902_135513If you are like most people you go straight for the boneless chicken breasts every time you buy and use chicken. Well, I highly suggest if you haven’t already to consider boneless,  skinless chicken thighs. Yes, they are a little higher in fat but if you compare it to red meat you are still doing well in that dept. And the cost savings is amazing! The flavor is better than the white breast meat and so tender. You will be pleasantly surprised and I promise you will want to add them to your shopping list regularly 🙂 Enjoy!:)

Mix thoroughly and marinate covered in refrigerator at least 20 min. and up to 12 hours before:

IMG_20160811_154915320

**I use and prefer Simply Organic herbs and spices in all my recipes

  • 2-1/2 -3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 5 TBS EV Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 3/4 tsp dried Rosemary
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried Parsley
  • 3/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp All Purpose Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Have prepped on the side (and these can be done ahead of time for a time saver)

  • 1 lg. yellow onion sliced
  • 3 (any color) Bell Peppers sliced

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

Spray a non stick pan or iron skillet on medium heat with olive oil cooking spray

Brown/sear chicken thighs approx 2 minutes on each side

Spray a 13×9 baking dish liberally with olive oil cooking spray

Move chicken thighs from pan to baking dish (wash hands thoroughly)

IMG_20160811_170326670_HDR

Top with peppers and onions and also with:

  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Parsley (fresh or dried is fine)

Cover with foil and bake approx 45 min (Ovens vary)

Remove foil and gently stir and bake uncovered an additional 10 min or until thighs reach an internal temp of at least 170 degrees

Cover again with foil and let rest out of oven for 5 min.

I like to drizzle them with a little more Olive Oil before serving.

Serve with your favorite sides 🙂

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂

Enjoy!!!

 

S’mores Cheerio Treats

IMG_20160830_155410This recipe is sooooo easy and so good! Perfect for the kids to join in and help… and they are so gooey and yummy and taste just like S’mores! Enjoy!

You will need:

  • 7 cups General Mills Chocolate Cheerios
  • 1 stick unsalted real butter
  • 10.5 oz.bag mini marshmallows
  • 4-6 whole Honey Maid graham crackers crumbled (or more if you prefer)
  • 13×9 pan sprayed generously with cooking spray

*Follow the same old cereal treat recipe but with my embellishments 🙂

In a non stick pot melt on low heat the whole stick of butter. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Turn off heat and add cereal. Gently fold cereal in with marshmallow mixture until all the cereal is coated. Takes some muscle!

Spoon into 13×9 pan with a cooking spray coated utensil..makes it easier.. and spread and press until even in the pan.

Immediately sprinkle graham cracker crumbles on treats evenly and give crumbles a slight press with the utensil so you know they have stuck to the treats.

Let cool completely and then cut and serve.

Hint: serve or store with wax paper..they are gooey and sticky!

**If you are a chocolate nut add some chocolate shavings on top of the treats with the graham crackers.

**If you are a marshmallow nut add a layer of marshmallow cream to the treats BEFORE the graham cracker crumbs.

Enjoy!!!

Created with love by:

Creations_by_Char

Char Head 🙂IMG_20160830_155410