Monday, February 21, 2011

Healthy Meal Ideas

I am truly blessed with a husband who will eat pretty much anything.  He is not a picky eater.  Same thing with my kids, for the most part they will eat just about anything.  There are a few items that they don't like, but that is to be expected with anyone.

We do however get extremely bored in our family eating the same thing week after week. I realized some time ago that I could easily get in a rut recycling the same meals over and over again. I would sometimes venture out and check out some stuff on Food Network, but some of that stuff can be a little bit more high brow than what I want to make for a weekly meal (with the exception of Rachel Ray...I do a lot of her meals since they are mostly quick and easy and Paula Deen is wonderful but I think every one of her recipes has a ginormous amount of butter in it...SIGH wonderful, wonderful, butter).

Another issue is that we have been trying to eat healthier/low cal/low fat meals.  This threw me for a loop at first because I'd been cooking a certain way for YEARS, and to completely change my eating habits and the way I cooked wasn't going to be easy (insert whining here). After a couple years of TRYING to eat healthy I think I've finally gotten it down, especially over the past year.

So, within the past year SparkRecipies has become my go to place for a good, healthy meal. I've tried out a TON of stuff on there and some has worked, some has not. It's a gamble, but sometimes it turns out to be totally worth it.

I also stumbled across a blog called Our Best Bites.  I have fallen in LOVE with these meals.  Not all of them are low cal/low fat, but some are.  

There are several of my friends out there who are trying to find healthy meals that actually taste good,  or some friends that just need some new ideas, so I decided to share what has worked for me recently over the past several weeks. 

Peanut and Sesame Noodles (SparkRecipies)
This was a HUGE gamble.  It was kinda a wacky out there recipe.   I added some steamed frozen broccoli to the recipe because it just needed something different.  My kids totally loved this.  It is a bit "heavy" tasting, but it's still only a little above 200 calories per serving.  This turned out to be good enough to make again!

New England Clam Chowder (SparkRecipies)I was also concerned about a "low fat" version of clam chowder.  Also when I purchased the clam juice in the store I thought it looked like the grossest thing I'd ever seen. (It was a running joke in our house that if you did something wrong, you'd have to drink the clam juice). I kept pushing this meal off until finally it was one of the last things in the cupboard.  This was YUM.  Only 153 calories per serving!  Even the kids loved it!

Alfredo Pesto Chicken (SparkRecipies)
This was pretty good.  231 calories per serving BEFORE the whole wheat pasta.  Not bad, and it was really easy.  Nothing to write home about, but still not bad.  It was easy and that's what made it so good I think.

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushrooms (Spark Recipies)
This was a HUGE hit at our house.  HUGE.  I added a bit of low fat sour creme at the end and served over whole wheat egg noodles to make it a healthy alternative to stroganoff.  My whole family LOVED it.  I don't care for mushrooms, but the chunks were big enough that I was able to pick them out.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (SparkRecipies)
I'd never made my own pizza dough before and this turned out really good, AND it's healthy to boot!  I topped it with low fat cheese and veggies (zucchini) and grilled chicken.  The kids loved it (even our friends kids who were over for the evening that I was babysitting).  They looked at it and said "we don't like that kind of pizza."  That was about ten minutes before they cleared their plates and kept coming back for more. 

Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas (Food Network)
I stumbled upon this about a year ago and fell in love with it.  I've made it a handful of times since then.  The mushrooms are really hard to pick out, so if you don't like them, omit them.  This is really good with some pico or guac on the side.  Guac is high fat, but it's a good fat.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (Our Best Bites)
I was extremely leery of these.  I had tried them once before (a different recipe) and failed miserably at making them.  My family HATED them the first time.  I kept running into them though on different websites and everyone just raved at how yummy they were.  I thought I'd give it a try one last time.  I came across this recipe and realized that I just didn't cook mine long enough and that made them really soggy the first time.  These turned out perfect.  They were crispy on the outside and yummy on the inside.  I didn't make their dip because I had honey mustard dip in the fridge and that was easier.

Smoky Honey Mustard Pork Chops (Our Best Bites)
My husband made these last night while I made the sweet potato fries.  OMG they were delicious.  I have always had trouble with pork chops.  The ones that I usually liked were the high fat bad for you chops, and the other chops I would get (boneless) were the breakfast chops which had zero flavor.  I can't believe this is the first time I bought sirloin pork chops.  They were low fat, tender and full of flavor after cooking them on the grill.  They were great!

I have a lot of neat meal ideas on the menu for this week (Southwest stuffed bell peppers, Greek style pita sandwiches, zucchini fries with corn flake nuggets, & Manicotti)  Can't wait to try out all these new recipes!

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