Shrimp Pot Pie

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Shrimp Pot Pie

Servings: 4 (about 390 calories per serving)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp canola oil

4 carrots, chopped

1 tbsp flour, all-purpose

1 1/3 c low-fat milk, separated

1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste

3/8 tsp white pepper plus more to taste

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp celery seed

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 lb frozen cut green beans, rinsed

1- 8.5 oz box corn muffin mix

1 egg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400* and spray 9X9 glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Heat oil in small saucepan.  Add carrots and sauté until tender about ten minutes.

2. Add 1 tbsp flour to carrots and stir for 1 minute.  Add 1 cup of milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/8 tsp pepper, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, and celery seed.  Cook over low heat until thickened about 5-8 minutes stirring periodically.  Turn off and let cool (put in refrigerator to hasten the cooling).

3. Meanwhile, mix corn muffin mix with egg and 1/3 cup of milk.  Set aside.

4. Season shrimp with salt and white pepper to taste.  Add shrimp and green beans to baking dish.  Pour cooled sauce over shrimp and bean mixture and stir to combine. 

5. Stir corn muffin mix and pour over the top of the shrimp mixture.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until corn bread topping is golden brown.  Enjoy!DSC01253 

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The shrimp pot pie turned out nicely.  As for breakfast, there was the return of the oatmeal bowl.

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Lunch included some of Mom’s black eye peas leftover from last night’s dinner.DSC01237

I enjoyed a cup of the beans with pickled meat and a 1/2 cup of white rice.  I brought a nectarine for a snack, but when I cut it open it looked bad so a coworker gave me her cafeteria vanilla pudding with sprinkles on top because I was still hungry and wanted something sweet.  Ya know, when that special monthly visit is on its way my hunger gets out of control and I satisfy it.

At work, I also had some honey wheat pretzel sticks that Mom had brought me from Chicago in my goody bag a few weeks ago.  This week is standardized testing so I actually brought the pretzels for my 6 students I’m testing.

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Oh, and not to mention the hummus and chips I ate when I got home plus a bite of chipotle cheese which went unpictured.  I told you; I’m ravenous. That about wraps it up.  Now I’m feeling full and content.  For now.

A Spin on Mexican

Today was  a normal October Tuesday.  I began with a cold breakfast of cinnamon raisin granola.

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Plus some chai on the side.

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I had 2/3 cup granola, 6-8 Kashi Island Vanilla Wheat Puffs, a handful of frozen blueberries, 3/4 cup of lowfat milk, and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed.

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As I have been the past two Tuesdays, I attended a workshop away from my school campus.  Again lunch was provided.  I chose the roast beef on wheat.  It came with chips, a cookie, and an apple.

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I also had some milky way bite size chocolates.  The apple was saved for a snack when I got home.

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With some peanut butter in the middle for dipping.  I was having a bit too much fun practicing my photography skills using the corner of one of hub’s garden boxes for scenery.

After unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, and a bit of Oprah I got started on dinner.  At the grocery on Sunday I picked up some chicken breasts since they were buy 1, get 1 free.  I also purchased a jar of Peach Salsa and Gouda cheese.  That is where the Mexican comes in.  I simply baked the chicken at 350* after topping it with salt, pepper, and the salsa.  After 35 minutes I added some thin strips of Gouda (some went in my tummy on spot) and stuck the chicken back in the oven for five more minutes. 

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For a side dish, I roasted some butternut squash by cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds and pulp, and baking at 400* for an hour.  In keeping with Mexican, I used a spice common of the culture for flavoring—cumin.  In addition to cumin, I seasoned the squash with salt, pepper, and cinnamon after basting it in olive oil.

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Dinner was delightfully flavorful although the salsa lacked in the peach department.  I couldn’t hardly taste any peach, just a slightly sweet flavored salsa.  The squash was tender and flavored well.

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The squash tasted much like a sweet potato.

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As for the chicken and being a cheese lover, it was cheesy and tasty, but it was somewhat overcooked.  I always worry about undercooking poultry so often tend to overcook it causing dryness.

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My belly is full after eating the majority of this (and sharing a few bites of chicken with the pups)!  It was simple to put this meal together, but it does take some time to cook so I got other chores done in the meantime. 

Now I’m relaxing watching Biggest Loser and about to get back to washing and folding the massive amounts of laundry I desperately need to catch up on.  I don’t get to watch too much TV lately, but have some shows I like including CSI, 48 Hours, Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance, and Real Housewives, and of course all things Food Network. 🙂

What are your favorite television shows?

For the Love of Fall

Aaahh!  Today brought on the weather I’ve been waiting for!  Cool, dry air.  It won’t last too long in Southern Louisiana, but I’ll take it while it’s here. 🙂

My morning began with a cold mixture of cereal and milk.  I had about 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean, 1/4 apple cinnamon o’s, 1/4 cup of blueberry corn flakes, and a small sprinkle of granola.  I topped it with 1 cup low fat milk.  Refreshing! 

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I had a cup of hot chai tea on the side.

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Mixed Cereal Bowl—Thank you Hungry Girl for letting me know it is okay to mix different cereals. 

For lunch I topped some baby spinach with rest of the chicken salad from Saturday’s lunch.  It was better today because it had time to marinate all the flavors while sitting in the fridge.

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I had a banana for some additional carbs and fiber.  Oh, I also had a brownie made by a colleague of mine.

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I did not make it to the gym today because I stayed a little while after dismissal to finish grading last Friday’s tests.  My inner and outer thighs are a little soar from yesterday’s strength training anyways, so I am totally okay with letting my muscles rest even though I have not exercised consistently for two weeks.  I plan on going to the gym straight from work tomorrow.

When I got home I had a snack.9-21-10 007

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Next up, what’s for dinner?  I knew I wanted to incorporate some Italian chicken sausage into stuffed bell peppers, but wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make it.  I ended up using cous cous as a filler along with Italian seasoned bread crumbs.

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Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Bells

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cous cous, cooked according to package

4 bell peppers

1/2 pound Italian chicken sausage, removed from casings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

Oregano

Garlic Powder

Basil

Salt + Pepper

1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese

1 slice of reduced fat provolone cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*.  Remove stem top and seeds from bell peppers.  Put in pot of water to cover and bring to a boil.  When slightly tender, remove to ice water to stop cooking process.  In saucepan, heat oil.  Add chicken sausage and onion.  Saute until browned.  Add cous cous, seasonings to taste, and gorgonzola cheese and mix.  Add 3/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs and combine.  Stuff peppers with cous cous/ chicken mixture evenly.  Sprinkle each pepper with bread crumbs and top with 1/4 of provolone slice.  Place in glass casserole.  Put small amount of water in casserole dish to prevent burning and sticking.  Cook in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

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My thoughts on the peppers are they were quite tasty and I enjoyed them.  But I do wish I had parmesan instead of gorgonzola.  The gorgonzola cheese has a very pungent flavor similar to that of blue cheese.  So if you are not a fan of blue cheese, you may not be a fan of this.  However, parmesan could definitely be substituted and I would use that myself if making these again.

Served with some cucumber and tomato salad + Light Italian dressing9-21-10 016

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While the peppers were baking I simmered some homemade veggie stock on the stovetop for an hour.  I threw in two carrots, two squash, two onion, garlic, the bell pepper tops from the peppers, bay leaves, fresh basil leaves, and a few whole black peppercorns.  I plan on using the stock in a fall soup recipe tomorrow night if all goes as planned.

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Question of the Night:  What is your favorite fall vegetable to cook with?

Portion Contortions

At times I find myself trying to contort my portions of food so that my brain thinks that I am getting more food than is actually on my plate. To start, let’s take a look at breakfast.

 

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For breakfast I completely enjoyed my toasted sandwich thin topped with sliced banana, cottage cheese, honey drizzles and cinnamon.  This meal was oh so sweet and satisfying.

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Instead of making the sandwich closed, I left it open faced topping each half with a half of the banana.  Then I topped each half with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese rather than having a 1/2 cup serving all in one scoop.  Ultimately, making the sandwich this way takes up more of the plates surface area, which deceptively makes my mind think I have more food to indulge in rather than one small sandwich that barely covers my plate.  Ideally I could have opted for a smaller plate aiding in that perception. 

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For lunch today I had some leftover brown rice that was mixed with veggies from Sunday Night’s Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggies.  On the side I lapped up some Greek honey yogurt.

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Side note—For Sunday’s dinner, to a crock pot I added three chicken breasts atop one chopped potato, a sliced onion, minced garlic, sliced squash, and corn removed from the ear.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper and poured a can of reduced sodium cream of mushroom condensed soup on top.  I set the cooker on high for four hours.  Two hours in, I poured about a cup of water over the top of the mixture.  Once the slow cooker went off, I cooked brown rice and steamed some brussel sprouts  to add to the slow cooker.  I let the rice absorb the liquid mixture by setting the crock pot to warm setting and letting it rest for about 20 minutes longer.   Here is the picture from my Sunday slow cooker meal.

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The appearance is not the most appeasing, but it was much like a rice and chicken casserole.  My hub enjoyed it thoroughly! 

Back to lunch—I chose a small container to fill my fair portion of rice and veggies (one chicken breast was eaten by me, two others were eaten by hubby for two meals so none was left in the rice).  I often see people bring very large containers for their food and it is sometimes more than a serving but other times they have a whole lot of empty space making it appear to be too little food.

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I found these smaller containers of greek yogurt that are only 90 calories per serving as opposed to the normal 150 calories in the larger containers.  All in all, my rice + veggies combined with the side of yogurt kept me full all the way until dinner.

For dinner tonight, I made a variation of Christina’s Orzo and Shrimp Bake which can be viewed at Hungry Meets Healthy.

9-21-10 009  I did not have tomatoes so I used store-bought tomato and basil sauce instead.  I began by cooking the orzo according to the package.

Shrimp and Orzo with Feta

1 lb. orzo, cooked

1tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Salt to taste

2 cups tomato-basil sauce

4 ounces reduced fat feta cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Heat oil in skillet.  Add onion and sauté until softened.  Add shrimp,  garlic, red pepper, and oregano.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Pour shrimp into greased glass casserole dish.  Add orzo, sauce, and salt to shrimp and mix to combine.  Crumble feta over the top of the entire casserole dish.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and shrimp are cooked.

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For dinner, I used a salad plate.  To bulk up my portion I plated a cup? or so of steamed vegetables and added a cup of the orzo shrimp mixture on top.  I first read of this portioning technique on Julie’s blog at PB Fingers.  I like this idea of manipulating your brain to enjoy the full flavor of the pasta dish, but filling the belly with healthy veggies at the same time.

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Shortly after dinner I felt the munchies settling in.  So to satisfy my sweet tooth I ate a bowl of cereal which contained a mixture of shredded wheat puffs, blueberry flakes, and apple cinnamon o’s.  I actually have a bowl from a chip and dip set that I use for small portion eats.

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Often people trying to lose weight will begin making healthy changes to their diet; however, they do not watch portion sizes.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  No matter what foods you eat, you can’t lose weight if you consume the same or more calories than your body burns. 

For example, if you make the switch to brown rice or whole wheat pasta, that in itself will not make you lose weight.  A cup of brown rice has the same number of calories as a cup of white rice.  The point of doing that is more about the nutrients your body gains from brown versus white.  In regards to losing weight, perhaps cut back from your normal 2 cup serving of rice to 1 cup or even less.

The bottom line is that you have to be honest with portion sizes.  Use the tricks listed above including using smaller containers and plates, spreading your food out over the plate, or bulking up portions with healthier options like steamed vegetables.

If you have trouble eyeballing portion sizes, take some time to actually measure out portions.  I go through several measuring cups and measuring spoons a day.  But from doing it so much, I do have a better idea of portion sizes.  The list below is a guide for portion sizes if you prefer to manage your portions without measuring.

Serving Size Compatible Object
1 teaspoon 1 dice
2 tablespoons Golf ball
1 cup Tennis ball
4 ounces (meats) Deck of cards
1 ounce (cheese) 4 dice

Questions of the Night:  Do you watch portion size or just eat what you want?  What tips do you use to manage portion sizes?

Busy Baker & Beurre Noisette

Tomorrow the faculty and staff at my school is hosting a bake sale to raise money for our positive behavior store where our students can earn money and buy gizmos and gadgets of their choice.

I saw this cookie recipe on Julie’s blog at PBFingers; she found it on Jenna’s blog at Eat Live Run.  I am not one to bake, but when I heard that the chocolate chip cookies included browned butter, also known in French as “beurre noisette” (literally translated as butter hazelnut or “hazelnut butter” in English), I knew this was something I must try.  So in preparation for my school’s bake sale fundraiser, I thought I’d give it a go.  I only made one batch, so there aren’t that many to go round.

The first time I had beurre noisette it was in a more savory black drum with sweet potatoes that had been sauteed in beurre noisette at a local New Orleans restaurant called Grand Isle Restaurant.  The butter is heated in a saute pan until the milk solids separate from the fat, then sinking to the bottom and becoming a toasty, brown, hazelnut color.  It gives off the most amazing smell and nutty or caramel-like taste.This was one of the most amazing meals I have ever eaten.  Yet it was quite simple and reasonably priced.  An A+ in my book!  My hub and I have tried to recreate the dish, but we can never get it quite right.

Back to the chocolate chip cookies.  The butter is browned prior to adding sugar and the flour giving the cookies that same amazing flavor I remember.  View Jenna’s blog above for the specific recipe.  In addition to the cookies, I fixed up a batch of rice crispy treats with a sprinkling of chocolate chips.  I figured that would be a hit among the students.

Goodies for Bake Sale Fundraiser

For a recap of my eats today, take a look at the pictures below.  (Lol, that sounds like directions on a test or something.  Sorry, you are not my students!) I also had a banana which went unpictured prior to baking.  And of course I tried one of the cookies plus some chocolate chips!

Tea + Yogurt Bowl

Nectarine, Oats, Dark Chocolate Dream Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, Cottage Cheese, Plain Yogurt

Wrap + Carrots + Honey Greek Yogurt

Deli Chicken, Laughing Cow Light Swiss, Romaine, Tomatoes

Meatless Taco Salad

Black Beans for Protein

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don’t

A couple of meals today were Kath-inspired from Kath Eats.  To start, I have been meaning to try her Overnight Oats recipes.  Unfortuneately, the only kind of oatmeal I ever eat is instant because I just don’t have time to stand over a pot in the morning.  Weekly, I continue to read about bloggers eating these cold, creamy oats so I just had to try it. Alas, I gave in to the temptation and mixed up my instant Kashi cinnamon and honey oatmeal with Chobani 0% Greek Yogurt with Peach and 1/2 cup of milk.  I intended to add almonds and frozen blueberries this morning, but once I tasted the coldness and creaminess of the overnight oats I din’t think it needed a thing more.

Looks liquidy and plain, but really it was creamy and delicious.  I definitely need to get to the store to get some rolled oats to see if it is the same or if I am really missing out on something fantastic.

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Last night as I went to make today’s lunch, I realized I was all out of deli meats.  My initial thought was to make a peanut butter sandwich, then I spotted the bright green of the individually wrapped wholy guacamole packets sitting in my fridge.  That’s what I would have.  An excellent tasting veggie sammie on a sandwich thin filled with chunky avocado guacamole, yellow cherry tomatoes, and string cheese pieces.  Technically more like a fruit sandwich, but you get the picture.  I ate a fuji apple on side.

Once home from work I enjoyed the last of my Larabars–chocolate coconut.  I really enjoy these all natural  five ingredient fixes.

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At times I feel like a nut trying to make sure I get everything done and get to the gym.  And at times my family even tells me how nuts I am for always wanting to work out.  But this week I have not been too enthusiastic or energized.  So I skipped working out the past two days due to birthday celebrations and it being my first week back at work.  This evening I was feeling extremely sluggish and really just wanted to go to sleep, but after about twenty minutes of relaxing with my snuggle buggle (Herbie) on the couch, I forced myself to get up and get to that gym.  Once there I felt much better, as I always do!

Today I did 20 minutes on the precor elliptical, 30 minutes of strength training on the weight machines, and ten minutes on the true slider elliptical.  I try to break the monotony of using one cardio machine so that different muscles are being worked.  Really, working out puts me in a better mood and makes me feel so much more energized.

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Once I got home it was well past my normal dinner time, but I decided to cook anyway.  A second meal inspired by Kath.  Black bean burgers.  Home baked potato chips.  I cooked the seasoned sliced potatoes at 400* for 22 minutes flipping halfway through.  All that went on them was cooking spray, sea salt, and onion powder.  For the black bean burgers I used the following ingredients:

1 can reduced sodium black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 can corn

4 tbsp salsa

couple tablespoons of breadcrumbs

salt and pepper

I used a potato masher to mash and mix all the ingredients; I realized the mixture was not binding together very well to form patties, so I added a few more ingredients.

2 tbsp of all purpose flour + onion powder & chili powder for some extra flavor

I then formed four patties, cooked them on a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium high heat for four minutes on each side, and dinner was done.

My Plate

Black bean burger on a sandwich thin with ketchup, mustard, onion, and dill pickle slices and potato chips on side.

My opinion of the burger is………..I liked it, but I felt like something was missing.  Perhaps I needed more seasonings.  All of the added toppings definitely made me feel like I was getting the satisfaction of eating a hamburger, so I give that aspect a thumbs up.  But next time I may experiment with a little more flavor.

Question of the day: Have you ever made black bean burgers?  Did you enjoy them?  If so, what was your concoction?  I may just have to give it a try.  Thanks in advance for any suggestions. 🙂

Chantilly Lace and a Pretty Face

Yesterday I woke up thinking it would be a pretty simple day.  I had an entire day to set up my classroom and prepare for the kiddos to arrive today.  Well, it turned into a pretty eventful day.

Simply made breakfast consisted of cereal, blueberrries, and 2% milk because my husband picked it up at the gas station on the way home and that’s all they had at the time.



Bad plating, bad photography.  Oh well.   And then I was off to work!

Let the celebrations continue!  It was the last day of opportunity for my coworkers and I to actually have freedom to go out to lunch without having to scarf down our food during a thirty minute lunch break (hence the reason we don’t get out much).  After that was brought to my attention I decided to forego my individual room 😉 (any Bachelor fans) my packed lunch and go out with three other teachers.  CiCi’s Pizza was decided on.  Man, I can’t even remember the last time I had pizza.  It is not a fine dining eatery by any means; just a quick family pizza buffet joint.

My Eats

A quick snap of the camera documented my salad of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot, mushrooms, and lite italian dressing.  And I savored every bite of my 3 veggie, spinach, and pepperoni slices.

I told my coworkers about the blog and as to why I take pictures of my food.  I wonder if they think I’m nuts!?!  Their expressions gave off a sense of that.   I’ve also experienced a bit of mockery from some of my family.  Additionally, when I try to explain the website address and where they can check it out I hear groans of “Ugh, that’s too much to remember!”  Really people, it’s not that difficult.

Back to lunch…I honestly thought I would still be hungry or want to go back for more food being at a buffet, but once I ate the (aforementioned) food I was completely stuffed.  I could not have eaten another bite.

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After work I had plans to meet up with my sister (her son and husband too) and mom for some more celebrating of my birthday.  We went to Casa Garcia, a Mexican restaurant, for dinner.  Always gotta have some of the chips with not only salsa, but also the oh so tasty and warm bean dip.  The bean dip is my favorite thing when I go there.  This time it even had sliced jalapenos in it, which I don’t recall it usually having.

Oh Bean Dip, Where Art Thou?

Then I had some chicken tortilla soup.

I do not recommend the soup.  This was my first time having it and the broth tasted minty, not what I expected for tortilla soup. Though I did enjoy the shredded chicken and big chunk of avocado.  Lastly, for my entree I had an appetizer–chicken lettuce wraps.  The menu did not contain much of a description, but I figured it would be similar to fajitas with lettuce wraps.  It was good, but I felt like I was eating Chinese food rather than Mexican with the seasoned chicken chunks, chopped carrot,  diced zucchini, and shredded cabbage with a light sauce on side, which I did not care for.

Hmmm....Chinese or Mexican

I ate about 1/3 and my stomach was stuffed.

But of course I made room for…..

DESSERT–Whole Foods Chantilly Lace Cake with Fresh Berries purchased by my sister.  Of course it is in fact chantilly icing minus the lace, but that’s what I always call it. 🙂  It feels like such an elegant cake and so moist and so delicious.

Chantilly Lace

My Slice

Chantilly Lace sure put a smile on my face! 😉

Question of the Day: About the whole mocking issue, does that ever happen to any of you?  Does it bother you?  Should I even be bothered by it?  How do you deal with taking pictures in public with people who just don’t get it?