Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Cooking Marathon

When I decided to eat better, I started pouring through lots of old clippings I had of recipes that I would try if I ever decided to eat healthy. Next, I started looking through some of my favorite web sites.  Within an hour or so, I had a pile of maybe 15 dishes that looked good to me. But I am sure you Wives and Mommies out there know there is a huge difference between what looks good to us and what our husbands and kids will eat.

Friday night I sat down with The Husband and had him look through my suggestions. I have to tell you all, for the first time ever, he is actually invested in this process, so he actually read through them and selected seven of them. We then created a shopping list and a menu for the upcoming week based on those seven recipes.

What's for dinner? Well, at my house this week, here is what's up!

Skinny Barbecue Sloppy Joe's {recipe from}
Mediterranean Fish Fillet Packets {Weight Watchers recipe}
Pasta Fagioli Soup {}
Roasted Turkey Breast {}
Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Melt {}
Low-fat Chocolate Chip Muffins {Weight Watchers recipe}
Taco Salad {Get Fit On Route 66 recipe}
Lasagne 'Ole! {}
Coq au Vin {}

(can you tell how much I love

While I was out grocery shopping, I picked myself up a few extra large sized plastic containers for storing the cooked food in.

I got home from the store and started cooking.

I cooked one thing at a time (The wonderful Husband did the dishes in-between each dish!).

The Roasted Turkey Breast was prepared in the crock pot so it went on quickly and easily. It was the first thing on and the last thing off. For the first time in my life, I removed the skin off of poultry before I cooked it. {I am a country girl and I love the skin!} One serving of the turkey has 221 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 44 grams of protein. This week, I just need to add a side dish and dinner is served.

 Next, I made up the Coq au Vin. I have never attempted any type of French cooking in my life and I have to say, this recipe was very easy!

This is a lighten version, per serving it  has 234 calories and only 3 games of fat. After I cooked it, I let it cool slightly and then put it in the freezer. I know I am going to make some lightened mash potatoes and have a comfort food dish this week!

The Pasta Fagioli

I love going to Olive Garden and getting their Soup and Salad. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to have it for dinner. The Husband was my stumbling block as he hates soup. But, he actually approved this one!  This soup took a lot of prep work; cutting, cutting, cutting. The rest was super easy. Just add it to the pot and let it simmer. And should I tell you how much soup it made? A lot! How good for you is it? It is made with ground turkey, beans and veggies. 156 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 6 grams of fiber per serving. We will be having it for dinner and lunch as I froze up some individual serving sizes as well as a family size.

The next dish was the Lasagna 'Ole! My family loves Mexican food. We can eat it every day of the week. So, I am hoping this dish delivers us happiness. I did not take any photos of it, I will when we eat it but it is a layer of corn tortilla, refried beans, corn tortilla, a mixture cottage cheese/green chilies/chicken, a layer of corn tortilla, then salsa and cheese. This dish has the most calories per serving but we are gonna splurge.  Per serving the breakdown 359 calories, 5 grams of fat, 47 carbs, and 7 grams of fiber.

While I was finishing up all of that, The Husband made dinner for us last night. We had the Skinny Barbecue Sloppy Joes. I am not sure if this recipe cured any hankering one will have for sloppy joes but it definitely addressed any craving I had for barbecue. If you make this, please know prior to simmering it, it is really  runny. However, as it simmers, that cooks down and it is perfect.

There were three meals I did not prep in advanced. The one we had tonight: Mediterranean Fish Packets, The Taco Salad, and the Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza Melt. The last two of those three are easy quick fixes. Perfect for a busy night after work.

As I just said, we had the fish packets tonight. Fish is a funny thing in our house. Sometimes my husband likes it and other times he does not. Maybe it was because he was starving after spending an entire hour on the treadmill or he really liked it because he devoured them! This is an old Weight Watchers Recipe, so I am going to post the recipe here for you to try.

This recipe serves 2 people:

8 ounces fish fillet (the recipe called for Snapper, I used Swai)
6 medium cherry tomatoe(es), quartered
4 large black olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained, and quartered
1 medium garlic clove, slivered
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Tear off a 12-inch long piece of aluminum foil and place it on your work surface; lay a 12-inch piece of parchment paper on top. Place one fish fillet in the center of the paper; top with half the cherry tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and garlic. Add half the lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.

Bring the two long sides of the paper and foil together over the fillet; fold and crimp closed, using the foil to crinkle the parchment paper closed. Crinkle the ends closed and fold underneath. Make sure the packet is completely sealed with no leaks or holes.

Repeat the steps with the other fillet.

Transfer both packets to a large baking sheet. Bake until hot and steaming, about 15 minutes (this took a little longer in my oven). Cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes before using a large spatula to transfer each packet to an individual serving plate. When serving, open carefully to avoid a burn from the steam inside; you can eat the fish and veggies right out of the paper packets.

I started cooking around 3 p.m. yesterday. It took me about 5 hours to make the five dishes and get them safely in the freezer. I had a few leftover ingredients (leftover chicken) that will make good lunches this week. I am so far pleased with this process and look forward to my cooking day next week.

The key {at least for me} to healthy cooking/eating is preparation!


  1. Way to go, Pamela!! Cathy Roberts

  2. amazing work!!! I need to get on the ball. If only I was there to do your cutting :) Jackie G