Taco Poblanos

After a long day with Zoom meetings sprinkled throughout for everybody (which is, I’ll go ahead ahead and tell you as a 100% biased mama, super cute for Kindergarten) the last thing I want to do is cook a complicated meal.  Is “Zoom fatigue” an official thing yet?  Just me?

Anyway, who doesn’t love all forms of tacos?  Whether you’re reducing carbs, going full Keto, or you’re like me and just love peppers, this really easy taco recipe is just what your taco repertoire needs. ~Robin

TacoPoblanoLogo

A poblano is a really large, slightly sweet pepper, especially once it’s roasted so you’re not going to get a ton of heat, but they can still have a little heat once roasted.  It’s a good idea to use gloves when you’re handling them raw.  In this case, since the meat will be cooked and you’ll just be heating everything together, you’re going to roast the peppers first.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (97% fat free)
  • 1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning
  • 1.5 avocados
  • 3 oz. low fat Colby Jack or Mexi-blend cheese (I prefer Colby Jack because its flavor is a little bolder)
  • Pam cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Wash and cut the peppers in half length-wise so you have two pretty equal halves.  Remove the stem from whichever side it ends up on.
  3. Place the halves open side down in an oven-safe skillet, spraying the top of the peppers with cooking spray well.
  4. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the skin of the peppers begins to blister quite a bit.
  5. Remove skillet from the oven carefully and set aside.
  6. On medium heat in a separate skillet, cook your beef, seasoning with taco seasoning using instructions on the seasoning packet.
  7. Flip the peppers over in the oven-safe skillet so they’re open on top.  The spoon in about 1/8 of the beef into each pepper half.  They may flatten a little but they’ll still hold the contents.
  8. Wash, then cut your avocado in half, lengthwise.  Remove the pit.  Then cube in about ½” sized cubes.
  9. Sprinkle the avocado chunks across the tacos fairly evenly.
  10. Finally, sprinkle with your cheese evenly and return to the oven.
  11. You’re just going to roast these again until they’re heated through well and the cheese is nice and melted – around 8-10 minutes but keep an eye on them.
  12. Serve with your favorite salsa.

WW info:  Makes 8 poblano tacos – On Green, Blue, or Purple:  1 taco = 3 points; 2 = 7 points; 3 = 10 points.

 

Breakfast Enchiladas

Confession:  I hardly ever cook breakfast…especially not at breakfast time.  I do, however make breakfast for supper a lot.  Why?  Because I love breakfast food but I do not love mornings.  I am not, nor ever shall I ever be, a morning person.  I’m a night owl by nature…I come by it honestly.  I don’t think my mother has ever been in bed before midnight in her adult life.  She always said when we were kids that it was the only time she could get anything done.  I get that, for sure!  I think all moms do.  Anywho, these are the reasons that, if we have a homemade breakfast-type meal, it’s usually in the P.M. 

If, on the rare occasion, I want to make something special for breakfast, I look for things that can be prepped in advance – like after the kids go to bed the night before.  That led me to these enchiladas.  I loved the idea of Breakfast Enchiladas but I wasn’t crazy about the couple of recipes I tried.  So, I did what I often do, and made up my own version.  It’s superb, if I do say so myself.  Packed with taters, veggies, sausage, and cheese, then covered with a creamy “sauce,” these Breakfast Enchiladas will fill you up, yet leave you wanting more.  Enjoy!  ~Erin

Ingredients

  • 4 c. frozen O’Brien hash browns with onions & peppers (the cubed kind – not shredded)
  • 2 c. cooked turkey sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage Crumbles.)
  • 4 oz. (about 1 ½ c.) reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese (I used Kraft 2%), divided
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 c. fat free half & half
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas (I used La Banderita Carb Counter Whole Wheat Wraps but any 1-point tortilla will do.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray, and spread the hash browns in an even layer. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until they just start to brown.  Set aside to cool.  Turn off the oven.  This step can be done in advance and hash browns refrigerated until ready to use.

Once cool, transfer the hash browns to a medium bowl and combine with the turkey sausage, 1 cup of the shredded cheese and most of the green onions (reserve ½ c. cheese and some green onions for topping).

Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Assemble the enchiladas by filling each tortilla with a heaping half cup of the mixture, until all the filling has been evenly distributed among the 8 tortillas.

In the same, now-empty bowl, beat the eggs with the half & half, salt, and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the tortillas evenly and cover with foil. 

At this point, preheat the oven to 350°F while the enchiladas soak up the egg mixture for at least 15 minutes; OR these can be refrigerated overnight and cooked in the morning.  If refrigerated overnight, set the enchiladas out to come to room temp while the oven preheats.

Bake 30-32 minutes, until egg mixture is set; remove the foil and top with remaining cheese and green onions.  Bake 2-3 more minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes 8 enchiladas.  Each enchilada is 6 SmartPoints.

Black Bean & Beef Green Chile Bake

Black Bean & Beef Green Chile Bake
from Four Sisters Dish

I created this recipe because I wanted something new, but I also wanted something healthy that did not take any time to cook. Before I come across as too lazy, my kids had called me on the sugar cookies I promised before the school break had ended. Operation sugar cookie was already in full swing as dinner approached.

So on my wee end of the counter, I decided I could throw something Mexican together, and I realized I had never tried anything with beef and green chiles together, which I absolutely love. (I’m pretty sure Santa Fe, NM, might be heaven – at least during Hatch chile season…)

What emerged took only few minutes of prep and about 10 minutes of cooking in the oven. And it tasted like it should have been an old family casserole that had taken FAR more time. When it comes to meal prep, I’m always for fabulous foods making it seem like I worked harder than I did! ~Robin

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of 97% lean ground beef
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (I use Taco Bell brand)
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 2 8-inch tortillas (Tumaro’s 8” White Low-in-Carb Wraps)
  • 2 7-oz cans of chopped green chiles (I use Old El Paso brand)
  • 1 4.5-oz. can of chopped green chiles
  • ½ cup shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack (I like Kraft Natural)
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, sliced (if desired for garnish)
  • ½ c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (if desired for garnish)
  • Taco sauce or salsa, if desired, for serving 

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 350° F.  In a 9”x 9” pan, take one 8” tortilla and tear it up into 1.5-2” square-ish chunks and spread across the bottom of the pan; set aside.  In a large skillet, cook lean ground beef until browned. Drain any fat that cooks out.   Add taco seasoning and ¾ c. water according to taco seasoning instructions (except I don’t let it cook down for a full 10 minutes – just until most of the water is cooked out).  Add drained green chiles and drained black beans.  Stir gently until mixed well and heated well throughout.  Then turn off heat.  

Into the 9×9 pan, pour ½ of the beef mixture into the pan over the tortilla chunks, spreading evenly.  Then do another layer of torn up tortilla spread evenly across the beef mixture.  Pour the rest of the beef mixture over this and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the top with your ½ c. of cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes – until bubbly hot and cheese is melted well across the top.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes 6 very filling portions at just 4 points each. 

Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms

I made these for New Year’s Eve a while back, and after setting them on the table, I stepped into the kitchen to get a couple more snack trays to bring over.  I got sidetracked getting one of the kids something for second, and I swear it had been maybe a minute by the time I came back; there was one left.  “Look, we saved you one, honey!” says my husband. 

So…I knew they must have been good!  And I’m glad they enjoyed them.  🙂 

These make an amazing appetizer or side dish.  Don’t skip the balsamic reduction. It really sends them over the top! And don’t turn your back on your friends once you serve them.  😉 ~Erin

4capresecapsFINAL

So easy…just make your Balsamic reduction (I mean, shockingly easy — recipe below).

Clean, stuff, cook, drizzle, and viola!

Ingredients:
  • 8-10 baby portabella mushrooms
  • Babybel mozzarella single serving cheeses (one for each mushroom)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 – 5 grape tomatoes, halved (one half for each mushroom)
  • ½ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • fresh basil, chopped

Instructions: 

  1. In a small sauce pan, stir the brown sugar into the balsamic vinegar; bring to a simmer over low heat and continue to simmer until it has reduced by at least half, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Clean the tops of the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove the stems.
  4. Brush the mushroom tops on all sides with olive oil and place them, top-side down, in a shallow baking dish.
  5. Fill each mushroom top with a little minced garlic.
  6. Place one Babybel mozzarella on top of the garlic; then place one tomato half on top of the cheese.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and drizzle liberally with the balsamic reduction.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
  10. Serve immediately.

WW Freestyle Info.: Each cheesy caprese mushroom is 3 points.

Mexican Chicken Lasagna

Sometimes a change from the classics is a good thing.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  I LOVE a good, classic, tomato-y lasagna!  Well this is an upgraded, creamy, flavorful chicken version of lasagna.  Low-cal it is not, but it is comfort food at its finest.  I used rotisserie chicken, so this goes together in a flash.  Everyone at the table will be asking for seconds of this one!   ~Kathy

MexicanCknLasagna2Logo

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

In a bowl, season shredded chicken with cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper.  Stir in onion, green chilies, salsa verde and ¾ c. pepper jack cheese.  Combine well.

IMG_5199.JPG

In the bottom of a baking dish, spread a small amount of the chicken mixture.

Top with layer of lasagna noodles which have been pre-moistened with water (I just run them under a slightly running faucet).  Spread with another layer of the chicken mixture.  Spoon or pour Crema Mexicana over the entire layer, paying close attention not to skimp around the edges.  Drizzle about 1 ½ T. of chicken broth on each layer.  Top with a layer of shredded Mozzarella and pepper jack.

IMG_5200.JPG

Continue building casserole alternating between layers of dampened noodles, green chili-chicken mixture, Crema Mexicana, chicken broth and shredded cheeses.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking another 5-10 minutes until cheese on top has melted and the entire casserole is bubbling and hot.  Allow the casserole to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf

This recipe came to me in church cookbook from a small town in western Oklahoma. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years but the original is from Rita from Fairview. I don’t know Rita but I am grateful to her for this recipe. Church cookbooks are the best, aren’t they? I’m always looking for new ones to add to my collection. They are always full of tried and true family recipes and time tested pot-luck favorites. I go through them page by page, flagging recipes I want to try with sticky-notes. This is one of those recipes I’ve had flagged for a long time. I keep coming back to it, making notes in the margins when I make it. It’s a good one, this meatloaf. Picture a giant stuffed Italian meatball. I serve it over spaghetti because, of course you have to have spaghetti with a giant cheesy meatball. Italian dinner perfection! ~Erin

stuffedmeatloaf.jpg

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ lb. 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion or ½ a large onion, finely diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ½ T. Italian seasoning, divided
  • 1 T. minced fresh garlic
  • ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 c. garlic & herb seasoned bread crumbs (I use Progresso.)
  • ½ T. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 ½ c. low-moisture part-skim shredded Mozzarella
  • ½ c. shredded (not grated) parmesan cheese
  • Fresh chopped basil, for garnish (optional)
  • Cooked spaghetti noodles, for serving (optional)

Making this Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf is so much faster and easier than making a million little meatballs, but you get similar results (only cheesier). Start by preheating the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl combine ground beef, onion, egg, 1 T. Italian seasoning, garlic, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, and 1/3 cup of tomato sauce (reserve the remainder); mix until well combined.

Mix breadcrumbs into meat mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.

Turn the meat mixture out onto plastic wrap or wax paper. Pat into a large rectangle. (Please excuse the blurry photo… my 11-year-old took it. 🙂 )

20180412_141303.jpg

Sprinkle the meat evenly with both cheeses. (Keeping it real with my cooking mess in the background.)

20180408_175350-2366589575-1525184079529.jpg

Begin to roll the meat by pulling the plastic wrap up and toward you. Continue forming into a roll and tuck the ends under.

20180408_195343.jpg

Transfer the roll to a large baking dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 can plus what’s left of the other can of tomato sauce, ½ T. garlic powder, ½ T. Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. onion powder, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper.

Pour tomato sauce mixture over meatloaf.

20180408_180223.jpg

Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 1 hour.

Serve over spaghetti, if desired.

WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 8 slices at 6 points each. Don’t forget to add extra points if you serve over spaghetti.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Salad

My goodness it’s a busy time of year. All four of us sisters have been lamenting about the vast amounts of things that need checked off our daily to-do lists. Kids’ baseball games and other activities to shuttle them to, meetings & special trainings and deadlines at work, and various other responsibilities have got us run ragged and longing for one of our girls’ weekends.

Busy times like this call for meal prep. If I can find time to prep a few things to keep on-hand, we usually avoid the fast food drive thru. Last weekend I took the time to boil some chicken to use in various dishes this week. Having cooked chicken in the fridge or freezer is a major time saver on busy weeks… same for bacon (and ground beef). I like to cook up several pounds of bacon, freeze it in a single layer on a cookie sheet (so it won’t stick together), then transfer it to a freezer baggie. A few seconds in the microwave thaws it right out. Bonus: pre-cooking your own bacon is much cheaper than buying the pre-cooked kind at the grocery store.

Since I (almost) always have boiled shredded chicken and cooked bacon in the fridge or freezer, it takes no time to throw this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Salad together for lunch or a quick, no-bake dinner. I serve it on a low carb wrap with some fresh baby spinach. Quick, easy, and so much better than a cold cut sandwich! ~Erin

Here’s the Reader’s Digest Version of how to make it:

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 12 ounces cooked & shredded)
  • 2 fresh jalapenos
  • ¼ c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ c. light mayonnaise
  • 6 slices center cut bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 T. brine from a jar of pickled jalapenos, optional
  • ½ cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Chop up 2 jalapenos. This is how I cut them. Cut out the ribs & veins if you don’t like the heat. Leave some of the ribs if you like a little spice!

Salt & pepper the shredded chicken a bit (you can add more later if needed).

20180415_132547.jpg

Throw in some Greek yogurt, mayo, lime juice, and a little jarred jalapeno pickling brine if you’re so inclined. Stir it up! Then stir in the bacon and fresh jalapeno pieces.

Lastly, stir in the cheese. I do this last so I don’t totally obliterate the shreds but I don’t know if it really matters. It just makes me feel better to be gentle with the cheese. Ha!

20180415_133431

Ready to serve! I like mine on a wrap with some baby spinach. It’s good on some toasted bread too or just served on a plate with some Ritz crackers. Enjoy!

20180415_141334

Thai Chicken Pizza

My family loves pizza. What’s not to love?  But I get tired of the same, run-of-the-mill basics.  They are good, but come on.   I’ve got to have some variety, y’all!

When I was going to college, there was a little, local restaurant in Stillwater called the Thai Cafe, which I loved.  I miss it!  Now, I have to travel quite a ways to get Thai food.  So I came up with this jazzed up, easy to make, tasty pizza, combining some of my favorite flavors.

It is our new favorite!   ~Kathy

ThaipizzaLogo

Ingredients:

1 pizza crust (your favorite recipe or refrigerated — I used Pillsbury thin crust refrigerated dough; points figured with this dough selection)

3 to 4 T. Chili Garlic Sauce*

1 heaping c. chicken breast, cooked and sliced thin**

1 medium red bell pepper, sliced thin, seeds removed

1 small zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick

Red onion, sliced thin (about 2 slices)

1 ½ c. shredded low moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese

½ c. shredded mild cheddar cheese (reduced fat, if following WW)

2 T. cilantro (for optional garnish)

Instructions:

On a lightly greased baking sheet, roll pizza crust out into a rectangle, about 10 x 14 inches.

Spread sauce over crust, very thinly.

Spread remaining ingredients over pizza as desired, ending with cheeses.

Bake according to crust directions, until golden brown, cooked through and cheese is melted.

Garnish by sprinkling with cilantro once it’s cooled a little (optional).

Notes:

*Chili garlic sauce is found in the Asian food section (see photo).  It is full of flavor and some heat.  Use 3 Tablespoons if you like it mild/warm.   If you want it warmer, use up to 4 Tablespoons.  It doesn’t look like much on the crust, but it gives plenty of flavor!

**I used chicken breasts boiled with some onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Once drained and cooled, slice thin.   Rotisserie chicken breast would also be a good substitute.

Weight Watchers Info:  This makes 6 servings, 8 Freestyle SmartPoints per serving.

Pizza Pot Pies

I very rarely sit down and watch a TV show.  About the only time I watch a show, in its entirety, is when I’m on the treadmill.  My favorite channel?  Food Network.  I am aware that it’s odd to watch cooking shows while exercising but I love them.  Not long ago, I watching a show where chefs recall their favorite dishes they’ve ever eaten.  This particular episode featured a restaurant that served pizza pot pies.  Ooey, gooey cheese, meat, and veggies, all covered with a warm crust… I knew I had to recreate it for myself.

These pizza pot pies are a fun variation on regular pizza.  There’s just something about getting your own little dish to yourself that you can turn upside down.  Seeing the melty cheese stretch as the filling piles high on top of the soft crust is about as much fun as dinner gets. YUMMY!  ͂ Erin

20180204_190904 (1)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. self-rising flour
  • 1 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ lb. mild turkey breakfast sausage, browned & drained
  • 1 medium bell peppers, diced
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 4 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 2 oz. turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • 2 oz. fully cooked Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1 1/3 c. low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, divided
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Italian seasoning, optional

Instructions:

  1. To make the crust, mix the Greek yogurt and the self-rising flour in the bowl of your stand mixer for a couple minutes on low until well mixed.  I used my paddle attachment.  You can also mix it by hand.  Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface (flour your hands too) and knead it a few times.  Set aside while you prepare the filling.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Spray 4 6-ounce ramekins inside and out and place them on a sheet pan.  (If you don’t have ramekins, see note below.)  Fill each ramekin with 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.  Set aside.
  4. Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; sauté veggies over medium heat until crisp-tender.
  5. Add cooked sausage, chopped pepperoni, chopped Canadian bacon, minced garlic, tomato sauce, garlic salt, basil, onion powder, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and sugar.  Simmer on low about 5 minutes.
  6. Disperse meat filling evenly on top of cheese in the ramekins.
  7. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and pat into discs.
  8. Top each ramekin with a piece of dough, stretching over the sides a bit.
  9. Brush the dough with egg and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, if desired.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. Using an oven mitt, turn out on your plate for serving. Careful, it might be slippery!

*This can easily be made in an 8×8 casserole dish, layered in opposite order:  crust on the bottom, filling, then cheese on top.

WW Freestyle Info.: Each serving (one full ramekin) is 10 points.  Makes 4 servings.  Without the dough, each serving is 7 points.  I wanted you to have this information in case you want to substitute a pre-packaged refrigerated pizza dough.  I understand that sometimes we don’t all have time to mix up our own pizza dough!

 

Pizza Dip

Any time I make this dish, I get numerous requests for the recipe.  It is a true crowd pleaser. What could be better? Pizza, but in a dip! Make this and please the folks at your next get together.  ~Kathy

pizza_dip_panlogo

Ingredients: 

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ tsp. onion powder

12 – 15 pepperonis, chopped

½ c. pizza sauce

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

2 T. sliced black olives

1 green onion, sliced

Instructions:

Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl. Spread into a small baking dish. Top with chopped pepperonis, pizza sauce, cheese and black olives.

Bake at 350˚F for 15-20 minutes, until heated through and bubbly around the edges. Top with green onions.

Serve with garlic bagel crisps or garlic parmesan pretzel crisps.

pizza_dip_plating