Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Yummy, easy egg muffins April 14, 2017

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 9:00 am
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eggmufinsWhile I know that breakfast is an important meal, I admit that I often have a difficult time eating a good breakfast. I’m usually hustling out the door to work or an exercise activity without a lot of time to make something healthy. My typical meal is grabbing a granola bar and coffee that I can eat at my desk or in the car.

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But I’m trying to get better about what I eat. So I was happy to discover a new dish for easy to make egg muffins. The eggs provide good protein and the extra ingredients help fill me up. The size makes them easy to pop in the microwave to heat.

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I’ll provide the basic recipe below but you can use any ingredients that you want! Make all vegetable, add some meat or bake with just eggs. Here’s the recipe:

 

 

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Ingredients:

12 large eggs

1/2 cup red peppers, chopped

1/2 cup green peppers, chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup turkey pepperoni, finely sliced (optional)

1/2 cup bacon bits (optional)

Salt, pepper (or other seasonings) to taste

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Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

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Break eggs into mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Add ingredients to eggs and mix well. Season to taste.

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Coat muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Pour egg mixture evenly into 12 muffin cups (I use a 1/3 measuring cup for easy filling). Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

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Place remaining egg muffins in sealed container and refrigerate. Enjoy!

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Warm up with delicious chili and soups January 15, 2017

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 7:54 pm
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Winter weather is still finding its way to Michigan. When the temps are low and cold, I enjoy a warm meal at the end of the day. I try to eat fairly healthy, which means trying to cook more at home.

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I love using my slow cooker. It’s so easy to drop ingredients in it, go to work and come home to a great smelling home and food ready to eat. Something about cold winter weather makes soups and chili sound pretty appealing so those type of slow cooker recipes keep making their way out of my cookbook. These are a few of my favorites that I’ve made several times, with variations of my own.

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Chicken taco chili

I love tacos and chili so a combination of the two is a win for me. And this slow cooker chictacochilirecipe is a definite win in the taste and easy to make categories.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) diced petite tomatoes
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I use low sodium)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder

Place all ingredients, except chicken, in slow cooker and mix well. Place chicken breasts on top and gently press down so chicken is covered by liquid mixture. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. About 30 minutes before cook time ends, remove chicken breasts. Shred chicken and return to slow cooker and stir, then let sit for remaining time. Serve with whatever toppings you prefer (sour cream, tortilla strips, shredded cheese, cilantro, etc.).

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*Adapted originally from skinnytaste.com

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Chuck Wagon-Style Turkey Chili

I’ve made this Weight Watchers recipe many times and slowly have added my own adaptation of it to fit my tastes. It is delicious and filling. The only downside is that the original recipe makes only enough for one bowl for maybe four adults (and not really hungry men) so if I’m having company, I make a double recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound uncooked lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 15 1/2 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 oz bag of frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (I’ve used hickory, honey or Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  • 1/3 cup canned tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium high heat. Add the turkey, break it up, and cook thoroughly. Transfer the turkey and any juices to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover and cook until vegetables are softened – usually 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Stir in additional water if chili appears dry.

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Vegetable soup

This soup is healthy and delicious (yes they can be both!). It’s easy to make and full of vegsoupgood things! You can increase or decrease the vegetables listed below, based on your preference. For instance, I like the shredded cabbage in this soup so sometimes add more.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1-2  celery stalk(s), diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 2-3 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp table salt or to taste (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)

Add vegetables, broth and oregano into large pot. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to low heat, partly covered, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to your taste.

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You can also use a blend of frozen vegetables for the soup. If you want to add a meat, I sometimes add cooked, diced chicken or sliced chicken sausage.

 

Summer pasta, bacon and vegetable salad September 7, 2016

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 4:00 pm
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pastasaladThe humidity finally slid out of Michigan, leaving wonderfully warm, yet relaxing weather. Despite the pumpkin seasoning and haunted houses appearing in retailers, it’s still the summer season so I’m still enjoying all things summertime! This means that I am not ready to turn the hot oven on to cook. I shared in a recent blog that I’m trying to make myself prep meals more often so I dug through some favorite recipes again.

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This easy summer pasta salad came from a Kroger mailer! I’ve tweaked it a bit to add some variety for my taste. It’s such a simple, yet tasty salad that you can really make it any way that suits you.

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Here are the ingredients for this yummy salad:

  • Cooked pasta (I use approximately 6-8 oz uncooked)
  • 1-2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (you can also use spinach)
  • 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
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Dressing:

  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (sometimes I use flavored olive oil, like basil)
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Once the pasta is cooked, run under cold water to cool. Mix all ingredients together. Add the dressing – I add a little at a time, then toss the ingredients to determine if I need more dressing. You can also optionally add salt, pepper and seasonings to taste.

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To make this a heartier meal, I’ve added diced cooked chicken, fresh cut broccoli and cucumbers. I also switch up my pasta, at times using wheat, veggie or gluten-free pasta. It’s really an open recipe based on your palate!

 

A slow interest in cooking (A few favorite slow cooker recipes) January 16, 2013

Filed under: do it yourself — Heather @ 1:19 pm
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I never thought I’d write a blog about cooking. I never liked cooking. Truly, did not like cooking. I eat because my body requires it. I’m not sure I really like cooking now. But I must have been bitten by the domestic bug during our wedding because I find myself in the kitchen more, thumbing through cookbooks, searching online for healthy recipes and wandering the grocery store aisles for ingredients. Or maybe it’s just more fun to cook for two.

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Most of the recipes I’ve been trying lately are those made in the slow cooker. When my husband moved in, he brought this handy kitchen gadget. So easy to use! Just drop your ingredients into the cooker, set the time and go about your day. You return to a great smelling house and dinner is ready. We even purchased liners to make cleaning easier.

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Although I have a small, newfound interest in cooking, I still have a firm resolve to eat healthy. I’m not a fan of butter and salt (yes, both grandmothers cringed at this). But I’ve discovered some delicious, healthy slow cooker recipes that are low on fat but high on awesome flavor. Full disclosure that none of these recipes were created by me. They’re too good not to share. However, I usually tweak to suit our tastes so I listed the true recipe rather than  my tweaked versions. Another disclosure is that I don’t eat pork or beef so my favorite recipes involve chicken, turkey or seafood (or I’ll swap ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken).

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Chuck Wagon-Style Turkey Chili

chili

This chili is hearty!

We love this Weight Watchers recipe! It is delicious and filling. The only downside is that the original recipe makes only enough for one bowl for maybe four adults (and not really hungry men) so if we’re having company or want leftovers, I make a double recipe.

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Ingredients:
1 pound uncooked lean ground turkey breast
1 large onion, chopped
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
3 medium garlic cloves
15 1/2 oz canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup barbecue sauce, hickory flavored (I’ve used honey or Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/3 cup canned tomato paste
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp chili powder *
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp table salt

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Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium high heat. Add the turkey, break it up, and cook thoroughly. Transfer the turkey and any juices to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover and cook until vegetables are softened – usually 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Stir in additional water if chili appears dry.

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*Justin is not a fan of spicy so I test the chili powder amount – sometimes I’ll add only 2.5 tablespoons or even skip the chili powder and use a low sodium mild chili seasoning packet.

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Chicken and stuffing

I have seen, and tried, several variations of this recipe, using the slow cooker or not. My sister made this recipe long ago for us and Justin really liked it. This is the version that Justin tweaked to fit our tastes (he told me that he ‘wings’ it when he makes this so I confirmed a few items with my sister!).

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Ingredients:
4-5 chicken breasts
1 can low-fat cream of mushroom soup
3/4 of can (from soup) 1/2% milk
4-5 low-fat Swiss cheese slices
Stove Top stuffing, uncooked
1/2 cup low-fat unsalted butter, melted

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Mix soup and milk together in small bowl. Place chicken in slow cooker. Place a slice of Swiss cheese over each chicken breast. Pour soup mix over chicken and cheese. Pour in Stove Top stuffing. Pour melted butter over top. Cook on high for four hours.

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Easy Crock Pot Chicken Stew

Chickenstew

Add biscuits or cornbread with this stew!

We invited my mom over for dinner when we made this easy recipe (found on allrecipes.com) and she really enjoyed it. There are a lot of variations possible for this!

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Ingredients:
1 large can diced tomatoes (drain half of liquid)
1 can low-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 can low-fat cream of celery soup
1 bag frozen mixed veggies (you choose what veggies)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup low-fat milk
Salt and pepper to taste

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Mix the cans of soup and milk in slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, spices and chicken. Stir. Add vegetables and stir. Cook on low heat for five hours until the chicken is cooked.

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(Sort Of) Mexican Chicken

Another recipe that has many variations. I really tweaked this from the original Weight Watchers version. For instance, it calls for 12 corn tortillas to be cut into strips. We found that many didn’t allow the juices to soak through so the tortillas sort of ‘sit there.’ Use half. I also pour a bit of the liquids over the chicken, then layer the tortillas, then pour the remaining liquid. This prevents the chicken from drying. You can also add black olives or frozen corn.

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Ingredients:
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and diced
6 corn tortillas (original recipe calls for 12)
1 can low-fat condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can low-fat condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 small can chili with beans
4 oz green chilies, chopped
1/2 lb (8 oz) low-fat grated cheddar cheese

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Place chicken in slow cooker. Cut tortillas into small strips and lay over the chicken. Mix soups, broth, onion, chilies and chili in medium bowl. Pour over tortillas. Top with cheese. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

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I hope you get a chance to try to these recipes, and enjoy them like we do. And yes, I’m sure this particular blog brings a very big smile to my mom’s face. She loves to cook. And she makes fantastic tasting food (LOVE her spaghetti sauce). For years, she’d shake her head, wondering why the cooking bug never bit me. But no worries, Mom, I’m taking two aspirin and will call you tomorrow.

 

 
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