Tag Archives: recipes

Super easy crockpot lasagna

OK, it’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe so here is a SUPER INCREDIBLY EASY recipe for crockpot lasagna.

Our oven was on the fritz and we had people to feed! In a pinch, I threw together some ingredients we had on hand for a crockpot lasagna and it came out SUPER AWESOME. It was like magic, and did I mention this is an easy recipe? Perfect for a weeknight, and yummy leftovers to boot. Enjoy!

Super easy, quick, and brainless crockpot lasagna

Super easy, quick, and brainless crockpot lasagna

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 15-oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • basil, mushrooms, whatever misc. veggies you have on hand
  • 1 package of uncooked whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 15-oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • shredded mozzarella (2%)
  • 1 egg
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine tomato sauce, basil, mushrooms and other vegetables – blend with an immersion blender and salt to taste. Set aside.
  2. Brown meat in a large pan. Drain grease and add tomato sauce.
  3. Mix ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, sprinkle of parmesan, and egg.
  4. Layer some tomato sauce, broken (uncooked) lasagna noodles, and cheese mix in crock pot. Repeat – sauce, noodles, cheese – with final layer being sauce.
  5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until noodles are cooked.
  6. Once cooked, turn to warm and top with remaining mozzarella until melted.

Serve with garlic bread and a side salad. BAM. Meal complete!

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The Blendtec!

One of my good friends from college started asking me questions not too long ago like, “Do you make smoothies?” and “Are you going to make your own baby food?” I didn’t think the questions were weird or out of the ordinary – he recently said he started eating a really healthy, clean diet so we chatted about food for a bit and mentioned that we should expect a package in the next few days. He told me to call when I got it so he could explain – how mysterious and exciting! He also said, being well informed about the serious case of baby brain* that I’ve been experiencing, “You’re probably going to get the package and forget that we had this conversation but just call me.”

(*Baby brain is real, people! I forget everything, lose my sunglasses every single day, misplace things that are right in front of my face, and put things away in really weird places. I have found that if I don’t write something down, it’s gone from my brain… maybe forever.)

Anyway, when a box arrived a few days later addressed to “Baby Broadbent Headquarters,” I was like, “OMG! What is this? What could it be?! Who sent it?!” I opened it up and saw that it was a Blendtec Total Blender, and my memory started working again. A-ha – it made sense, the questions about smoothies and baby food! I somehow remembered that I was supposed to call Mike and the first thing he said to me was:

ARE YOU BLENDING ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YET? I bought a pound and a half of spinach the other day and it’s all GONE because I’ve BLENDED IT!

This is maybe one of my favorite things that he has ever said.

Now, if you don’t know anything about the Total Blender let me tell you: this thing is no regular blender; it is a beast. Check out Blendtec’s website called Will it Blend? If you don’t have time to watch any of the silly videos just know that the Blendtec CAN and WILL blend/pulverize/demolish things like an iPhone…. so that smoothie you want to make is total child’s play.

My first Blendtec experiment was hummus. It was also 9:00am on Superbowl Sunday but hey, I wanted to make sure we had some healthy eats for the evening – so I apologize to anyone in the neighborhood I disturbed. After reading through the recipe book, complete with tips on how to load this bad boy, I threw in the ingredients, hoped for the best, and hit the button. It was like magic… magical hummus in seconds!

hummus

Don’t mind the mess in the background. Hummus in the making!

Aside from being slightly afraid of the Blendtec at first, I’ve embraced its loud volume and let it do its thing when I’m using it. It truly makes our old blender look like a toy, and I can’t wait to start using this beast for baby food when the time comes! Until then, it’s healthy, yummy foods for mom and baby – one of my recent favorites (inspired by our hypnobirthing instructor, Muneeza) is a raw chocolate smoothie.

A big thank you to Mike and his fiancee Marissa for exposing us to the Blendtec!

blender-cropped

Raw cacoa, banana, coconut, flax seed smoothie before…

... and after!

… and after!

Coconut, Banana, Flax, and Raw Chocolate Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 banana, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp. coconut manna
  • 1 tbsp. coarsely ground flax seeds (with the Blendtec, I am not even grinding them beforehand – just throwing them in whole!)
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Add ingredients to blender, liquids first. Blend and enjoy! 
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Quinoa Salad

It’s the end of July – when did that happen?! I love summer – aside from the great weather, there is always something going on. Lately it’s been weddings, but when we’re not celebrating nuptials with our friends, there are boat rides, beach trips, and barbeques to keep us occupied. Therein lies the rub: with so many things going on, it can be hard to find time to reset. We pretty much put aside most projects at the house, and I also find that I cook a lot less. It makes me sad that I’m less adventurous in the kitchen during the warmer months, but it also forces me to find easy and light dishes that will keep me going through the summer madness.

After pinning about 3,000,000 recipes for a quinoa salad on Pinterest, I ended up making one up using the fresh vegetables I picked up at the market and what I had in the pantry. You could put most vegetables in here and it would be good, no matter what. I threw together a lime-cumin dressing, similar to the one I made for the corn and black bean salad, and it was all pretty painless.

Quinoa salad with summery vegetables

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. of lime juice
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine chopped vegetables, cilantro, and quinoa in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well, using salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, mix well, and serve.

If serving this as a side, it makes quite a bit – the leftovers stayed really well in the fridge. Happy summer!

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Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad

If you are looking for the perfect summer salad, look no further. This tasty Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad is a gem – it’s crisp and refreshing, great to bring to a BBQ, and won’t leave you with the remorse of having indulged in one too many hot dogs.

Preparing this dish is a lot of fun – the zesty yellow lemons, bright and cheerful peppers, and aromatic cilantro all scream summer. Not to mention, all those fresh ingredients make the kitchen smell great without having to even turn on the stove!

I found the original recipe in a cookbook I picked up called Cooking Light Chicken Tonight! and I didn’t change much except added more cilantro (seriously, I’m obsessed) and included orange peppers to the vegetable mix. Helpful hint: to yield more juice from the lemons, microwave them for 30 seconds before juicing.

Chicken and Lemon Salad

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Cooking spray

Salad:

  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup each: red, yellow, orange bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. To prepare chicken, combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag, and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  4. To prepare salad, cook peas in boiling water 30 seconds. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain. Combine peas and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to combine.
  5. Place 1 3/4 cups chicken salad on each of 4 plates. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
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Cheesy Zucchini Bake

Quick post to share a new go-to recipe! I love zucchini… I love cheese…. so when I saw a pin for an “Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake,” I was immediately sold. I modified the original recipe (which you can find in this post on www.kalynskitchen.com) by adding olive oil and I didn’t use basil. I think it really comes down to a matter of preference, including (or not including) EVOO or basil won’t make or break this dish. It’s a great side – I served it with baked chicken – and it held up alright overnight in the fridge.

Enjoy! And stay tuned for a couple new recipes that I plan on posting in the next couple of weeks that I discovered on a recent trip to Maine including a delicious black bean & corn salad and a scandalously decadent chocolate cake!

Cheesy zucchini bake!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, sliced
  • 2 medium-sized yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 T thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup low-fat Italian cheese mix
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine zucchini and squash in large bowl with olive oil, green onion, thyme, garlic powder, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Mix until well-combined and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until zucchini is almost done.
  4. Remove from oven and add remaining cheese on top; return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and zucchini cooked through.
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Chicken Rolls with Asparagus and Mozzarella

The other day I walked into Fairway and right in front of me were these petite asparagus spears – they looked perfect for the chicken rolls that were dancing around in my head and with that, an impromptu recipe was born.  After picking up some thin chicken cutlets, I was ready to cook – I had everything else at home, making this an easy weeknight recipe that takes little thought, effort, or preparation.

CHICKEN ROLLS WITH ASPARAGUS AND MOZZARELLA

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken cutlets, pounded thin and evenly
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning meat
  • whole wheat bread crumbs

    Chicken rolls w/ asparagus and mozzarella!

Directions

  1. Sautee asparagus in olive oil until bright green. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Pat chicken dry and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  5. Lay out chicken breast, arrange asparagus on top, and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  6. Roll chicken around asparagus and cheese; place seam down in baking dish.
  7. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  8. Sprinkle whole wheat bread crumbs on top of chicken.
  9. Cook for approximately 25-30 mins* or until chicken registers 160/165 degrees with a meat thermometer.

That’s it – veggies plus protein in one fell swoop and a nice way to switch up chicken and vegetables! I suggest serving this with brown rice or cous-cous as a side to round out a nicely balanced meal that makes for a yummy, crowd-pleasing dinner and great leftovers.

This is also a solid base recipe – you could switch out asparagus for mushrooms or another veggie, use a different type of cheese, or even make mini flank steak roll-ups using the same concepts. Happy eating!

*October 31, 2012 update: It might take a little longer than 10 minutes to cook your chicken depending on the strength of your oven, size of cutlets, etc. Never consume raw or undercooked meat – always rely on a good meat thermometer to let you know when food is done!

*November 11, 2013 update: OK, OK, I have heard you all loud and clear – I changed the cooking time from 10 mins – I must have a magical oven or be totally inept at keeping time. Originally, I only cooked these for about 10 mins but the cutlets I used were really, really, really thin. So don’t eat raw meat, cook it long enough, and plan ahead accordingly.

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Spicy Chicken Soup

It’s about time for a new recipe! I envisioned this spicy chicken soup to be a mash-up of two of my favorite recipes: chicken soup and chicken taco stew.  But, I was pressed for time when I made it and decided to totally wing the recipe. Bad idea: the final product didn’t look right – something was missing, but I didn’t have the time or energy to figure out what it was. I declared it a failure, decided on take-out, and put the soup in the fridge – maybe I could salvage it the next day when I had some more energy.

I guess I had to sleep on it, because on my way home from the gym the next morning, I had an epiphany – I FORGOT TO PUT THE REST OF THE VEGETABLES IN THE SOUP! I NEVER USED THE CILANTRO I BOUGHT! No wonder it looked boring and dull – it totally was!  As soon as I got home, I quickly prepped the beans and corn, added the cilantro, and got the soup simmering again while I got ready for work. All’s well that ends well, and I managed to save it for the most part. Without further ado, here is my mish-mash Spicy Chicken Soup!

Spicy chicken soup, after some adjustments

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 4 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water (if needed/desired)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 bell pepper (your choice), seeded and diced
  • 2-3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chili
  • 1 can corn, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 a packet of low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 2% mexican cheese mix
  • optional: chives, greek yogurt/low-fat sour cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, saute onions and garlic in oil until translucent. Add taco seasoning and cilantro; saute for one more minute.
  2. Place chicken breasts on top of onions, pour in broth.
  3. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  4. While that’s simmering, combine the diced tomatoes, pepper, and carrots in a blender until chunky. Set aside.
  5. Remove chicken from broth and shred with two forks; return to pot.
  6. Add diced tomato mixture, corn, and beans.
  7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  8. Let soup simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Brush whole wheat tortillas with olive oil and bake for five minutes; remove and break into pieces.
  10. Top soup with tortilla strips/bits, chives, cheese, and Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream (if desired).

And, try not to forget the essential ingredients!

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s mid-January and it seems like everyone is sick – including myself. I’m usually very attentive to my body when I’m not feeling well, but this time around I was determined to push through – on top of the regularly scheduled craziness, I was headed to Phoenix for a business meeting last week that I didn’t want to miss plus a visit with my best friend who lives in Scottsdale. I could not, and would not, let my progressively worsening cough stop me – westward ho!

Cut to this past Monday when I was walking into the doctor’s office, tail between my legs. The official diagnosis was bronchitis (and at this juncture, I’d like to publicly apologize to my neighbors on the plane ride to and from Phoenix as well as everyone else I met along the way). I dutifully picked up my antibiotics and went home dreading the second half of my prescription: get some rest. Rest? What’s that?

The worst part about having something like bronchitis is that you don’t feel bad enough to wallow in your own sick misery, but you don’t feel good enough to operate at 100 percent. Tuesday morning I called in sick to work and tried to go back to sleep, but with my mind racing, the dog barking, and the sun up… there was no sleep on the horizon. Since I was awake, I figured I’d do what any normal PR professional would on a sick day: I answered some work emails.

A few hours later, I peeled myself away from the computer and finally set about getting some elusive rest. I watched everything on the DVR, played fetch with Cooper for a while, and straightened up the house a bit. OK, now what – watch bad daytime television and reality show reruns? I decided to put my energy to more productive use – since I was sick, I headed into the kitchen to throw together some chicken noodle soup.

Without further ado, here’s my spin on the perennial comfort food – I take a couple of liberties with the more traditional approach by using low-sodium chicken stock, olive oil instead of butter, and swapping out high calorie egg noodles with egg white noodles. This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight and hearty enough to be a stand-alone meal with plenty of leftovers. Stay warm and healthy this winter and try, if you can, to get some rest!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Low-sodium, low-fat chicken noodle soup - delicious!

Ingredients
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 or 3 large carrots, chopped
3 or 4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp. salt
pepper to taste
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (or 2 1/2 cups of low-sodium, 2 cups regular)
1 1/2 cups of water (optional) 
half of a lemon
3/4 of a package of egg white noodles
a handful of fresh parsley
whole wheat crusty bread

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium pan over low heat, then add the olive oil.
  2. Add the celery, carrots, salt, fresh pepper, thyme, and bay leaf to the pan.
  3. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables, then pour in the broth. (At this point, I usually also add about .5 to 1 cup of water to the broth – I prefer my soup to be a little less concentrated.) 
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred into small pieces using two forks; return to pan.
  7. Remove the bay leaf and add the noodles, simmering until noodles are tender. (I love NoYolks – my favorite!)
  8. Roughly chop the parsley and stir it into the soup.
  9. Squeeze in a little lemon juice.
  10. Serve soup alone or with a piece of crusty bread (I highly recommend a piece of the wheat ciabatta bread from New Haven’s Chabaso Bakery – yum!)
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Party Spread Defense

No matter what the occasion, I get a little anxious when I go to a party without knowing what kind of food I’ll find in the party spread. I hate eating for the sake of being polite, especially when it’s something outside of my diet, but also don’t want to offend my family or friends by passing on something that they prepared. With the Superbowl coming up, that means lots of tempting party spreads, so I thought I’d share some defense tips from my own game plan and recipes to help keep your Superbowl experience clean and lean: buffalo chicken chili and Greek yogurt veggie dip!
  1. Contribute a clean, healthy dish. Not only will contributing a dish mean less work for the host, but it also helps assuage some of my anxiety since I know that there will be at least one thing I will eat without guilt. 
  2. Extra Workouts. It’s hard to say no to everything, so throwing an extra workout into the mix helps me offset some of the calories and makes me feel a little better about sneaking a couple extra pigs-in-a-blanket (which can pack a whopping 70 calories and 5g of fat in ONE BITE!).
  3. Sharing My Goals. When I’m vocal about my health and fitness goals and tell family and friends how hard I’ve been working, it helps to keep my health top of mind (and politely lets them know that I won’t be upset if I miss all the cheesy dip).
  4. Pre-Eating. Going to a party on an empty stomach is more dangerous for me than going grocery shopping hungry. I try to fill up on clean standards like veggies and grilled chicken or an egg white omelette  before I leave the house.

Enjoy the recipes below!

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Chicken wings are one of my biggest weaknesses in life. To me, the best ones are the least healthy: fried, covered in blue cheese, and served with a beer. Since beginning my clean eating journey, I’ve been on a mission to find a suitable alternative to the bar menu standard and I think I’ve found it in this buffalo chicken chili – it’s easy, healthy, AND delicious.

Topped with greek yogurt and voila - a lean, healthy, hearty chili!

Ingredients
1 T. olive oil
2 lbs. ground chicken breast
3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup hot sauce
15 oz. tomato sauce (no salt added)
15 oz. diced, fire roasted, crushed or stewed tomatoes (no salt added)
Greek yogurt
 
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink.
  2. Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the chicken stock, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer).
  5. Remove bay leaf and serve.
  6. Top each serving with Greek yogurt to give your dish a protein boost.

Many thanks to The Well-Fed Newlyweds blog, where I originally found the chili recipe via Pintrest.

Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

Ingredients
12 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Low-sodium onion dip mix (I recommend Goodman’s)

Directions

  1. Mix together Greek yogurt and a couple pinches of onion dip mix.

That’s it. No, seriously… you don’t have to do anything else. A little bit of dip mix will go a long way – if you want to ramp up the flavor, add more mix a little at a time so you don’t overdo it.

Happy cooking and… go team!

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