Homemade Ramen… kinda

Get a rotisserie chicken each week – so versatile & quick!

I adapted this recipe from one called “Chicken Ramen with Ginger and Egg” in the “weightwatchers five-ingredient 15-minute recipes” magazine, dated 3/24/17.

It’s delicious, fairly low sodium, and overall darn healthy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (3 oz.) package Ramen noodles – the one-serving pack style, like you at in college
  • About 1/2 a rotisserie chicken, chopped (I used a leg, thigh, wing, and part of a breast because that’s what I had left)
  • 1 (32 oz.) carton chicken stock (low sodium would be an even healthier option)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, about 3 inches long (I buy a big chunk, break it up, and store it in the freezer for easy use when I need it)
  • 2 eggs (You may want to cook 3, because you know one always breaks!)
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sriracha (optional)

Here’s how you do it:

Broth:

  • Pour the carton of chicken stock into a large saucepan and turn on medium high (about a 7 out of 10) to heat it up
  • Grate the ginger into the stock, skin and all (I like to use my lemon zester for this, and it can be frozen!)
  • Grind a very healthy dose of fresh black pepper into the stock
  • Pull about half the meat from the rotisserie chicken, chop it up, then put it in the stock
  • Add the peas and corn
  • When the mixture starts to boil, reduce to the heat to simmer
  • When just ready to serve, stir in 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Noodles:

  • While the stock is heating, fill a medium saucepan about half way with water and bring to a boil
  • Once boiling, put in one package (3 oz.) of Ramen noodles (THROW AWAY the spice pack – we won’t be using that!) and boil them for 3 minutes
  • When done, scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and set them aside

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Egg:

  • When your noodles come out of the water, add the eggs to the used noodle water, keeping the heat high so they boil
  • Boil the eggs from about 7 minutes (I did 5 minutes this time around, but would have liked them a little firmer. Turn the heat down a bit if the boil gets really rapid.)
  • Take the eggs out of the water and put them in a bowl with VERY cold water and a few ice cubes to stop the cooking

Putting it all together:

  • Get 2 deep bowls
  • Put about 1/2 the noodles in each bowl
  • Peel two eggs, cut them in half
  • Add two halves to each bowl
  • Put a large ladle of chicken and broth in each bowl, adding more broth if you like
  • Add a sprinkle of dried parsley (…or fresh parsley… cilantro would also be amazing!)
  • Top with a generous squeeze of Sriracha if you like spice

Enjoy!

Interesting note: I did a little math… one cup of this stock has about half the sodium of 1/2 of a tiny Ramen spice pack, and my stock wasn’t even low sodium! This is truly food you can feel good about!

Healthy meal prepping – Tilapia style!

Meal prepping is all the talk now because it helps you succeed in making healthy choices. So, get yourself a large pack of Tilapia and a bunch of veggies, and you’ll be set for the week. Here’s how I did it:

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 pieces of Tilapia – a large package sold at the large discount stores works well
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, cut in half
  • 12 -15 or so spears of asparagus, trimmed to remove the thick bottom half
  • 10 – 15 Brussels sprouts, halved and with outer layer peeled off
  • 1 small onion, cut into 6-8 wedges
  • 20 – 25 baby carrots
  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed into florets
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkling of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to your liking

To make the fish:

  • Lay out the fish on two large dinner plates, so they don’t overlap
  • Sprinkle the top lightly with cayenne pepper and black pepper
  • Add a little salt if you like, but I leave it out

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  • Preheat 2 large skillets at medium-high (7 out of 10) for about a minute
  • Split 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, putting about 1/2 Tbsp in each hot skillet
  • Let warm for another minute

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  • Tilt the pan around a bit to get the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan as completely as possible
  • Place the Tilapia, seasoned side down, filling each pan
    • Note – Don’t crowd the fish in the pan. I put 3 – 4 pieces in each pan, depending on size. I saved some fish for a second round of cooking. Don’t worry, it cooks fast!
  • Let cook for 3 minutes on the first side
    • Note, if you have a very small, thin piece, use your good judgement. It may need to cook less than the thicker pieces.

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  • Flip each piece of fish. Be careful to get the full piece of fish under your spatula. Tilapia is very flaky and will break apart when turning if you’re not careful. Don’t worry if it breaks though, it’s still delicious!

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  • Turn down the stove to about a 6 out of 10.
  • Cook on the second side for two minutes.
  • Remove from pan.
    • Note: If you need to cook an extra round of fish, add some more olive oil to one pan and repeat the process above, only cooking for two minutes on the first side this time around – your pan is REALLY hot at this point, and your fish will cook quicker!
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For the veggies:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Place all veggies on a large cookie sheet
  • Pour 1 – 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil over the top of the veggies
  • Sprinkle with a very healthy dose of fresh-ground black pepper
  • Sprinkle with salt if you’d like, but I leave it out

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  • Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven

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Store leftovers in the fridge and serve for dinner a couple of nights, or split into several containers for lunches throughout the week. Pair with healthy side choices, such as rice (I like the 90-second microwavable kind), fruits and veggies for a healthy-choice lunch!

Chicken enchiladas

Healthy-style with non-fat plain Greek yogurt, whole-wheat tortillas, and salsa verde!

Ok, I’ll admit that I’m skeptical of any “low-fat” or “low-calorie” recipe, but this one sounded especially good, so I gave it a shot. It delivers on taste and health, no doubt!

I modified this recipe slightly from the Weight Watchers Chicken Enchiladas recipe in the “Five-ingredient, 15-minute recipes” edition, dated 3/24/17.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 (6-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I used both breasts and one leg)
  • 1 single-serving container non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 oz. (about 1 cup or half an 8 oz. brick) shredded Colby-Jack cheese (or Monterrey Jack)
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar tomatillo salsa (the original recipe calls for salsa verde, but I couldn’t find anything by that exact name). I used this one that I found at the grocery store:

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  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Vegetable cooking spray

Here’s how to do it:

  • Preheat your broiler
  • Pull both breasts and a leg off of a rotisserie chicken, removing the skin
  • Shred the chicken with two forks, using the forks to pull the chicken in opposite directions
  • Cut an 8 oz. brick of Colby-Jack cheese in half and grate one half

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  • In a large bowl, mix the shredded chicken, the yogurt, 1/2 of the grated cheese, 1/4 of the jar of salsa, and 1/2 of the cilantro
  • Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, then stir
  • Heat tortillas by stacking them, placing a damp paper towel between the tortillas as you go, then microwaving the stack for 45 seconds
  • Spray a 9X13 pan will cooking spray, then pour 2/3 of the remaining salsa in the bottom of the pan
  • One by one, fill each tortilla with a heaping spoonful of chicken mix (I used a large metal serving spoon), roll the tortilla around the mix and place the roll, seam-side down, in the pan
  • Top rolls with remaining salsa and cheese
  • Broil on high until the cheese melts and has a little crust on it. I broiled for about 4 minutes.
  • Top with remaining cilantro and enjoy!

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Melissa’s magnificent mac & cheese

My gal pal Melissa made this mac and cheese for her annual New Year’s Eve party this year, and it is truly magical. Like all good recipes, this one has been passed on – I got it from Melissa, who got it from her sister Teresa, who got it from a friend – and, now, it’s time you all give it a go!

It’s quick and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups elbow or corkscrew macaroni (I measured 2 cups dry, then boiled it for 6 minutes, until al dente – remember, it will cook a little more in the oven!)
  • 1/2 of a small onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • sprinkle of pepper
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 pound (an 8 oz. brick) of sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 slices white bread, cubed

Here are the steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  • Cook your pasta til al dente (about 6 minutes), drain, then put in a large mixing bowl
  • Dice the onion very fine to avoid biting into big chunks, then add it to the bowl
  • Cut up the butter into smaller pieces, then add it to the bowl, spreading it around
  • Grate the cheese – I grate it on a piece of wax paper to lessen the mess and for easy transport to the bowl!

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  • Cube up your bread – I stacked the 3 slices on top of each other, then made several vertical cuts. I then took the long pieces, and cut those to make cubes
  • Add the grated cheese, flour, dry mustard, salt, pepper, milk, and cubed bread
  • Stir all ingredients, then pour into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish
  • Bake for 10 minutes, stir, then bake another 10 minutes
    (Note: If the dish still looks too wet, bake for 5 minutes more then check again)
  • After 20 minutes, turn your broiler to high and broil for 3 – 4 minutes, watching so it doesn’t burn. This will give your mac and cheese a nice, crusty top. (If you don’t like a crusty top, no sweat, skip this step!)

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Any time open-faced egg sammie

I LOVE egg sandwiches. I’ll eat them any time, anywhere. Tonight, I had one for dinner and added avocado for creaminess. With the healthy fat of the avocado, I didn’t miss butter or mayo at all. But, if you want to make it a bit more decadent, spread some butter on the muffin. To spice it up, a drizzle of Sriracha or red pepper garlic sauce, or a smattering of sliced jalapeno will do the trick.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Toast half of a whole wheat English muffin
  • Slice 1/4 of an avocado and put it on top of the muffin
  • Add an over-medium egg with cheese melted on top (cook the egg a little more than over easy so not as runny)
  • Top with diced tomato
  • Enjoy any time, anywhere!

 

Tilapia with corn salsa and mushrooms

Looking for those light recipes to kick off your healthy promises for 2017? Look no further than Tilapia – one of the white fish that’s always light and delicious!

You can beef up this dish a bit by adding potatoes or rice, but I had enough with the fish and veggies.

For the fish:

  • Lay your fish on a plate and sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper and black pepper on top

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  • Put about 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a skillet and heat it on medium-high for about 30 seconds

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  • Add Tilapia – seasoned side down – to the skillet and cook on medium to medium high (6-7 out of 10) for 3 minutes. You’ll see the pinky color of the fish start to turn white.

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  • Turn the fish with a spatula – be careful, this is a delicate fish, so really get that spatula under the piece of fish to support it. But, the worst thing that will happen is you’ll have more, smaller pieces of fish, LOL.
  • Cook for 2 – 3 minutes more on the second side – if you smell burning or see too much char around the edges, turn the heat off and move the skillet off the heat. Your finished product should look like this.

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For the mushrooms:

  • Put 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil in a skillet and warm it on medium high for about 30 seconds
  • Slice about 10 mushrooms, or whatever amount you’d like to about 1/8″ thick
  • Add the mushroom slices to the skillet and cook for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times
  • You should see the color and size change, and then you’re done:

For the relish:

  • Anything fresh works well, but I used a small amount each:
    • Jalapeno – maybe 1/4 of a jalapeno
    • Sweet onion – about 1/8 of a medium-sized onion
    • Sweet corn – about 1/8 cup
    • Grape tomatoes – about 5, diced
    • Clementine – 1/2 – 1 diced
    • Lemon juice – about 2 tsp, add more or less to taste
    • Dried dill weed – a very light sprinkle

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Enjoy, and may all of your resolutions come true!

Lettuce-wrapped leftovers

A healthy way to serve leftovers – yes please! These lettuce wraps are the perfect solution to getting rid of those leftovers that you don’t want to throw away, but aren’t enough to make a meal of… And, I bought the perfectly-trimmed and washed lettuce right from the grocery store. You can’t miss ’em – they call them “Lettuce Wraps.” You’ll want a leafier, less-rigid lettuce – romaine isn’t ideal for wrapping.

I used some leftover Tilapia and some leftover chicken thighs for these. I just cut both up into bite-size pieces and heated them up a little. I also cut carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, and onions into matchstick-size pieces. That’s what I used, because that’s what I had on hand, but you can build your wraps with whatever you have in the fridge. Leftover steak, tuna fish, or rotisserie chicken would also be really good!

To add tons of flavor, I also created a salsa with some leftover corn, about half a jalapeno, a handful of grape tomatoes, finely diced dill pickle, and a little fresh parsley – yep, all leftovers! A spicy sauce to top it off was yummy – mix these together:

  • 2 Tbsp of store-bought sesame-garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

I put all of the components on a pretty platter and sat at the kitchen island with my hubby while we ate with our hands – perfection!