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KALIKA13's Photo KALIKA13 Posts: 82
4/9/13 11:34 A

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Tried this one on Saturday for the first time and LOVED it. Thought I'd share.
Notes: I added shredded fresh basil to mine for extra flavour. Also, if you do the squash right (I always turn mine to mush for some reason, but my mom gets it perfect) you can make it look like brains/worms to entice boys to try it.

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes
Stir 1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast into the cooked and shredded squash if desired. Both offer lovely cheesy, nutty flavour.

1 spaghetti squash (2-1/2 lb/1.25 kg)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
4 cups (1 L) grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper flakes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) white kidney beans or navy beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped fresh parsley
Halve and seed squash. Bake, cut side down, on greased baking sheet in 400F (200C) oven until flesh is tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Using fork, scrape strands into bowl; stir in half each of the salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, in 13- x 9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish, toss together tomatoes, garlic, oil, vinegar, hot pepper flakes and remaining salt and pepper. Roast in 400F (200C) oven for 30 minutes.

Stir in beans and parsley; roast until beans are heated through and tomatoes are shrivelled, about 10 minutes. Mound squash on platter; spoon tomato mixture over top.

Makes 6 servings.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 166
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 428 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 26 g
Dietary Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 6 g
Potassium: 588 mg
Calcium: 6%
Iron: 13%
Vitamin A: 11%
Vitamin C: 33%
Folate: 22%

Edited by: KALIKA13 at: 4/9/2013 (11:35)
KALIKA13's Photo KALIKA13 Posts: 82
4/9/13 11:27 A

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HOW did I miss you posting this MaryOH?!? What a great idea! And it could easily be preped on the weekend to be tossed in the slow cooker mid week. I love that!
A huge thank you again!

MARYOH3's Photo MARYOH3 SparkPoints: (8,590)
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3/22/13 10:10 A

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Here's another of my family's favorite slow cooker recipes. I modified this one from the original found on a major brand website to add more veggies and whole grains. I also reduce the sodium by making my own taco seasoning.
Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken (plus!)
1 lb frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts covered with taco seasoning (recipe below for the saltless one my family uses)
approx 1 1/2 C frozen pepper strips (I use red/green/yellow)
one large sliced onion
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 C frozen corn
1 C salsa
Throw all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4
Serve with brown rice.
Optional: can serve with sour cream and shredded mexi cheese.
.IF you have any leftovers (a big IF because this is super yummy!) you can use them as burrito filling for your favorite whole grain tortilla the next day.

Saltless Taco Seasoning
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp flour
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Use in this recipe without added water
If you want to use this seasoning for tacos add 1/2 C water and seasoning to cooked ground beef, beans, tofu crumbles or cooked ground turkey and simmer briefly.

Edited by: MARYOH3 at: 3/22/2013 (10:15)
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KALIKA13's Photo KALIKA13 Posts: 82
3/22/13 9:02 A

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Thank's for the fantastic recipe MaryOh! I love my slow cooker, and have learned that you can make just about anything in it if you're creative enough! Please share more of your slow cooker recipes, I'm sure I'm not the only one who loves trying new dinners!

KALIKA13's Photo KALIKA13 Posts: 82
3/22/13 9:00 A

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Thanks for all the great tips and tricks AllieCat. We do many of these things in our home too. We've also found that if you're careful you'll also save lot of money making these changes (and we all need more money right?) Dressings and sauces I find particularly expensive now that we make our own.

A tip? Save your small bottle when the olive oil runs out, then buy that GIANT can of it at costco, sams club or even the regular store (when it's on sale) then you can just pour it into the tiny bottle and use as normal. $12 for 500ml vs $22 for 3 Liters? That's a savings of $50! The day I saw that in the store and did the math was a huge shock. Not the usual prices I'll admit, but that's what it was and I almost reached for the small bottle.

Last, I loved your final tip. Do what we can with the time we have. I'll see if I can find some of the awesome stuff we've used (cook books, websites and other such things) to increase our time and healthy living while cutting costs. Anything anyone else can think of would be great!

ALLIECAT1881's Photo ALLIECAT1881 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/19/13 10:00 P

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We've been a "box free" family for over 7 years now, staying away from preservatives in most of our food. We do still buy bread from the store, granola bars, bags of chips, but no more packaged dinners. We are happier and healthier. The transition wasn't fast. It takes a long time to get used to cooking with more steps, seasoning your own food without little packets and mixes, making things from scratch. But, we found inspiration in the process. We practiced and got better and we can't go back now... really... it makes us sick when we eat out at chain restaurants :P We also eat less food now that we're getting real nutrition and our bodies aren't screaming for something more. Here's a few tips we follow.

Tip #1: filet chicken breast so that it's nice and thin and you will eat less of it. I've fed a family of 5 with only 2 and had leftovers

Tip #2: put your salad on your plate, not in a bowl on the side... it will take up all that space you were gonna save for mashed potatoes and gravy ;) It should take up half.

Tip #3: wean yourself off of the pre-made dressings and go for olive oil and vinegar, plenty to choose from! I prefer balsamic or white wine. You can also add some herbs, get creative!

Tip #4: make your own sauces!! I swear you can do it!! Pre-made sauces are really high in fats, sodium, preservatives, and sugars. It doesn't take much more time and it's much better for you. Remember it's not healthier just because you put it together at home.

Tip #5: buy bulk, not boxes/jars/cans. Don't get hamburger helper, kraft, pasta-roni, pancake mix... you CAN COOK. Buy a bunch of pasta and figure out some new flavors! Buy a big bag of flour and make cookies like grandma's! Make pancakes without the mix :O make your own biscuits! Buy cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to make your own chili or spaghetti sauce or minestrone or beef and vegetable soup. Learn your herbs and spices, have fun with it! I swear to you it's possible to make tuna casserole without opening a single can of Campbell's.

Tip #6: try new grains. Flaxseed, barley, cous-cous... there are some great blends out there that have more than just white rice! Whole wheat/grain pastas or veggie pastas are delicious also and healthier options. USE BEANS!!! They don't have to be dried, but learn to love them. Beans are especially good for those of us (like me) on a budget.

Tip #7: buy and cook with what is in season. Your food will taste better and have more nutrient content.

Tip #8: shop on the outside perimeter of the store. That's where the produce, raw meats, and dairy are located. Try to stay away from the preservative-packed boxed and canned meals. The frozen food section should only be used for veggies: plain un-seasoned, flash frozen vegetables. OK, an emergency pizza and some waffles too ;)

Tip #9: drink more water. stop drinking soda... don't switch to diet, just don't do it. Wean yourself off if you gotta. The amount of calories and sugars in soda is mind-boggling. Diet soda is not better! Artificial sweetners are chemicals instead of something natural so it's not doing your body any favors.

Tip #10: do what you and your family can handle. Make your changes gradually so they will stick. Diets don't work, lifestyle changes DO! Teach yourself and your family about nutrition and talk about it, get excited about it, and change together.

MARYOH3's Photo MARYOH3 SparkPoints: (8,590)
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3/19/13 12:35 P

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I know that cooking at home helps us stay healthy. We've had a couple of rough budgetary years and so I've been preparing almost all of our meals at home. My husband lost tons of weight without even trying - I cook healthier than he orders on his own. I know he hasn't felt deprived or hungry - there's plenty of food and it tastes good! On the rare occasion when we have gone out I've even heard from my kids that my food tastes better.

Our family is extremely busy with sports and other activities and if you are too I highly recommend investing in a slow cooker. I'm addicted to mine! I have potato soup in there now for dinner tonight. Last night was pulled pork sandwiches (pork loin slow cooked with your choice of barbeque sauce) and I did our corned beef in there on Sunday - which turned out to be the perfect way to cook it (3 hours on high maybe) since I wasn't sure quite when I'd get home to eat it. The easiest dinner in the slow cooker is meatballs (cook with a jar of spaghetti sauce) serve on subrolls with cheese and as a side serve veggies from the crisper (carrots, celery, cauliflower.) I'll include a link to our favorite soup - it does take a little longer to pull together but it saves a trip to Olive Garden! Pasta Fagioli Soup
y-305.html one note I will add is that I cook my whole grain pasta separately and stir it in when its time to serve or it absorbs too much of the liquid.

Edited by: MARYOH3 at: 3/22/2013 (09:51)
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KALIKA13's Photo KALIKA13 Posts: 82
3/19/13 11:06 A

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Mom's Mac and Cheese Sauce!

1/4 cup Butter
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 12 ounce can unsweetened evaporated milk, or increase regular milk by 1 1/2 cups
4 cups reduced fat aged cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
a dash or two of salt

1) in LARGE sauce pan melt butter.
2) add garlic cloves and simmer till you can smell it, remove cloves and reserve
3) slowly add in flour, whisking till smooth thick paste, then crumbly, continue to cook a bit more to get some browning flavour. At this point you can add some white wine if you like for a more adult version, just wisk till thick paste again.
4) add milk 2 cups at a time wisking till thick and mixed.
5) add evaporated milk, or for a lighter version the plain milk (I used 2%) Wisk till thick again.
6) add mustard, paprika, cyenne pepper, salt and pepper (it mixes better this way but if you forget you can add it later to taste)
7) add in cheese (can be subed for any kind but cheddar is a nice SHARP flavour) stir till melted and mixed.
8) taste and season as needed

Note: if you swap the evaporated milk for the reg, you can save about 80 cal which does put in under a cup of KD (1 cup pasta, 1 cup sauce... which is really cheesy...)

KALIKA13's Photo KALIKA13 Posts: 82
3/19/13 11:04 A

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Hello Ladies!

We all know physical activity is the best was to stay fit and healthy, it gives you an adrenaline boost, improves your skin, and keeps your heart healthy. But there's another side to health living, and weight loss... eating right.
This can mean so many things and there are so many groups of what I call "religious eaters" and I don't want to get into a debate with anyone around what and what doesn't constitute healthy food, so I figured we could all agree on healthy food is homemade, or less processed and more like what our grannies and mommies gave us to eat. (Mostly)
So I thought we could use this form to discuss recipes of good nutritious food that make us feel good and love life. Foods the kiddies will eat and love. Things that are fast, or slow, to cook but that might make a small difference.
The idea came to me last night when getting the following dinner request; "Can we have Kraft Dinner for dinner please?!?!?!"
I may have eaten this in the past, and I may still in the future but it reminded me in that quick instant of my mothers attempts at homemade mac and cheese. And when she succeeded how great it was. And so I made it last night and it was so wonderful. Not a plate was left unlicked. And so I thought about it nutrionly and really... it's about the same (1 cup is about 20 calories more then 1 cup of KD) I couldn't tell you about the calcium and other things but if we have a nutritionally clever member maybe they could analyze it? The big one for me? No preservatives, and no artificial colour/flavour! And there was TONS of sauce left for lunches and maybe dinner tonight. So here I am sharing my mom's mac an cheese. Please share your own reciepes too!

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