Super Simple Protein Oats!

OK, I know it’s not exactly Paleo (who am I kidding? It’s totally not Paleo), but I’ve been obsessed with oatmeal lately. I was just buying the single-serve packets to quench my cravings, but I looked over the ingredients and was shocked to find how much JUNK was in them. Even the organic brands had a lot of sugar added, and it seemed the only way to avoid the unnecessary simple carbs and “natural flavorings” (seriously, what is that crap??) was to make it on my own.

On Monday, I decided to prep my breakfasts for the week, and I wanted to make it as simple as possible. I took four mason jars and filled them with oatmeal, vanilla protein powder, stevia, cinnamon, and cashew milk. I had no idea how it would taste, but decided to make five of them and hope for the best.

HOLY DELICIOUSNESS, BATMAN!!!

These things are amazing. Instead of eating them cold (as overnight oats), I’ve nuked them for about three minutes and they turn into this warm, almost oatmeal-cookie esque bread pudding that’s to die for.

For roughly 320 calories, I’m getting a solid 35g of protein and 5g of pure fiber goodness. And, most importantly, only 1g of sugar (33g total carbs, but I’m not doing a restrictive diet here)!

In case you want to recreate this vanilla cinnamon orgastic breakfast, here’s what I’m using:

  • 1/2 cup organic, steel-cut oats
  • 1 scoop of Isopure Vanilla 0g carb protein powder (pricey, but worth it)
  • 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 cup Stevia powder (more or less to taste)
  • Between 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup water, added a few drops at a time while microwaving

Mix-in Ideas:

  • 1/4 cup organic raisins (roughly 100 calories)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (roughly 200 calories)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (roughly 40 calories)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (roughly 80 calories)

You can realistically get away with microwaving this about 90 seconds if you just want it to be warm and thick, but I discovered that cooking it longer makes it puff up noticeably (imagine a cake rising) and give the illusion of substantially more food. If you do microwave past 90 seconds, consider adding a few tbsp of water every 30 seconds or so and stirring. I cook mine roughly three minutes and it turns into a MASSIVE bowl of doughy/cakey oats, which is my FAVORITE. If you prefer porridge-style oats, definitely cut the time to less than two minutes.

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FYI: I know this is a terrible picture, but it smelled so good and I was so raring to eat it, I honestly didn’t care about getting a good picture. It smelled like the oatmeal cookies your grandmother used to make.

And the added plus? This keeps me full for HOURS! I ate this around 10am yesterday in the office and didn’t touch my lunch until after 3pm. As someone who normally grazes all day (and eats religiously every 2 hours, hungry or not), that’s saying something about the staying power of this simple dish.

So, these oats prove it: there really is no excuse for not eating a healthy breakfast every day. I literally prepped five of these in under five minutes Monday morning, and they take less than four minutes to heat/cook. It would’ve taken me 2-3x the amount of time to stop somewhere and grab a breakfast sandwich, and they’re substantially more filling than my usual protein-bar-out-the-door routine.

What’s your excuse?

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

 

Paleo Stuffed Peppers!

OK… everyone has been raging about stuffed peppers in my office this week. For three days in a row, it’s all anyone can talk about.

“Ohhhh, my wife made these ground andouille sausage and quinoa stuffed peppers last night and they were amazing!”

“I saw a recipe on Pinterest for these brown rice and ground pork cheesy stuffed peppers I can’t wait to try!”

“Have I said stuffed peppers yet today? Stuffed peppers! Stuffed peppers! STUFFFFFFED PEPPPPPERS!!”

OK. I get it, Paleo gods, I get it. I need to make some Paleo-friendly stuffed peppers.

However, I work full-time and hate the thought of coming home at 6pm to clean, prep, and bake stuffed peppers for an hour …because, damn it, I’m starving when I get home from work. I want to CHOW DOWN!

So… it’s crockpot time. Time for the magic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 bunches of pearl onions
  • 8 large bell peppers
  • 1 cup raw button mushrooms
  • 2 cups of Trader Joe’s organic marinara
  • 1 cup red wine (of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp ground garlic
  • 6 tbsp ground chili powder
  • 4 tbsp dried onion flakes (if you haven’t noticed, I add these to everything I cook)
  • Non-stick Coconut Oil spray (I prefer Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

In your crockpot, spray a thin layer of coconut oil to prevent searing/sticking. Clean your bell peppers, chopping the tops off and removing the seeds/insides. Place the bell peppers into the crockpot.

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Now, in a large pan (I used a wok), spray your coconut spray (to prevent sticking) and put it on medium-high heat. Gentle saute your mushrooms (I chopped mine small), pearl onions, pepper caps (why waste them? dice ’em and add it in!) until they were nice and soft. Once tender, I added the raw ground turkey and seasoning.

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After the turkey was cooked through, I added 1 cup of the marinara, mixing well.

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While that cooked down, I mixed the remaining cup of marinara and the wine and poured it IN BETWEEN the peppers in the crockpot. The hope is that the fluid would help to poach the bell peppers, making them soft and sweet.

Once the meat mixture cooked down, I used a big spoon and (quite clumsily) stuffed the peppers in the crockpot.

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Don’t those look AMAZING? Who needs grains? Not this girl!

Since the meat is cooked and I won’t be home until after 8pm tonight, I set the crockpot to LOW and to cook for three hours, then reset to “warm” so it would still be steamy warm when I get home.

Now, since my husband isn’t devout Paleo, I sprinkled a little low fat mozzarella and Parmesan on four of these to make them extra tasty for him, and I plan to enjoy mine with some freshly mashed avocado.

Needless to say, I can’t wait for my work day to end so I can go inhale these!

Bon appetit, my friends, and I’ll let you know how they turned out tomorrow!

~ Tori

Insanely Delicious, Low Fat (and high protein!) Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ever since the Superbowl, I’ve been craving tailgate food with a passion. I’m not a football fan, but I’m a huge fan of the snacks that correlate with America’s favorite past time. Burgers, wings, dips – oh my!

A major favorite has always been the infamous Buffalo Chicken Dip. You know, that crockpot dish with a thick layer of oil and fatty goodness just waiting for you to dunk one (or hundreds) of tortilla chips in it?

Yeahhhh. I’m salivating at the thought.

Desperate to recreate the rich flavor and not consume 2,500 calories on a snack-size portion, I decided to concoct an experiment in the kitchen. Let’s just say it was a BIG success.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Approximately 1 lb of chicken breasts. (I used about 1.25 pounds in my batch.)
  • 2 containers of fat free plain Greek yogurt. (I used Chobani, but any brand works.)
  • 2 cups of Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce, Buffalo Flavor. (They make a regular, a mild, and an extra spicy. I opted for the regular in mine and then added more heat post-cooking!)
  • 1 packet of Kraft Ranch seasoning (A huge calorie saver compared to using the dressing!)
  • 1 tub (8 oz) of fat free cream cheese.
  • 1 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • 1 cup of 2% reduced fat Sharp Cheddar (or fat free cheddar, if you REALLY want to cut the fat content down to nothing).

Super Simple Directions:

In your crockpot, add the chicken breasts and 1.5 cups of the hot sauce. It should be just enough to cover the surface of the meat but not drown it. If it’s a little short, add the full 2 cups.

Cook on HIGH for 2 hours. At this point, the chicken should be fork tender and should easily shred with a little stirring. If not, allow to cook another 1/2 hour or so.

Once you’ve shredded the chicken, stir in the remaining ingredients: cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Ranch packet, and cheese. Reduce heat to low and allow to cook another 15-30 minutes, or until all cheese has melted.

Stir well and serve with sliced veggies, baked tortilla chips, or just spoon it right out of the pot!

Based on MY recipe (I used 2% fat cheddar and 1.25 lbs chicken), the entire crockpot was about 1,600 calories and nearly 300 grams of protein. I divided the pot into 8 GENEROUS servings and froze four of them (in gladware) to enjoy the next time the craving strikes. I swear, you CANNOT taste the difference between this version and the full-fat version. If you’re a blue cheese fan, you can sprinkle in a 1/4 cup of blue cheese in lieu of 1/2 cup of the above-mentioned shredded cheese. I’m personally not a huge blue cheese fan (it’s an overpowering flavor), so I opted for sharp cheddar as the base to my flavor.

Test out the recipe and let me know what you think! If you make any cool substitutions (I debated adding sliced jalapenos), tell us about them.

As always – bon appetit, my friends!

Easiest Eggplant Recipe EVER!

One of my favorite dishes in the WORLD is Eggplant Parmesan. Of course, that’s basically one of the least healthy preparation methods for vegetables you can think of.

My alternative to that is the following recipe, which tastes DELICIOUS, is super cheap (under $5), and super quick.

Ingredients:

  • Giant, fresh eggplant, sliced about 1 inch thick.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Kraft Romano Parmesan Shaker
  • Sliced cherry, Roma, or beefsteak tomatoes (your preference.)
  • Breadcrumbs (optional)

As a VEGAN option, replace regular Parmesan with a soy or almond-milk alternative. There are several to choose from!

The night before, slice your eggplant and throw it into one of those giant (gallon) plastic bags. Add the olive oil (I use roughly 2 tbsp) and the balsamic vinegar (roughly 1 tbsp) to the bag. Target also makes an awesome mixture of the two which is only 90 calories per serving, great for those of us who find using two bottles of sauce too complicated.

Shake well to evenly coat the sliced eggplant, then add the garlic powder, basil, and oregano. Allow to marinate overnight.

Ignore the broccoli. I was prepping another meal simultaneously. I'm nothing if not a multi-tasker!

Ignore the broccoli. I was prepping another meal simultaneously. I’m nothing if not a multi-tasker!

The next day, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

While it’s preheating, lay out the marinated eggplant on an un-greased cookie sheet. Cover each slice of eggplant with tomato (I prefer beefsteak, as they create a nice silhouette on the eggplant) and then shake some Parmesan over the top. If you like breadcrumbs, now is the time to add them, as well. In addition to this, I normally sprinkle on a little extra basil, salt, and pepper – totally optional.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until desired softness. If you’re feeling crazy, feel free to add some 2% mozzarella cheese (or Daiya, if you’re Paleo like me!) and broil at 500 degrees for an additional 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese.

I eat these as is but I serve them alongside marina sauce for my husband, who likes to dunk everything (including babies, I’m sure) into some sort of sauce.

Each slice of eggplant is roughly 65-75 calories if you DON’T add the extra cheese and breadcrumbs. With the additional items, each is probably increased to 90-100 calories. Which is totally worth it, considering two big slices fills me up and a third slice makes me STUFFED.

A great dinner or side dish and perfect for those on Paleo, vegetarian, or calorie-cutting diets! 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

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