One Pot Mac & Cheese with Low-Fat Maia Yogurt

This weather! NYC may have seen more snow this winter than in the past four put together, and the forecast is not necessarily showing us any signs of  long-term relief.

With a busy schedule, and maybe a slight case of the winter blues, I’ve been turning to my favorite comfort foods more often than I’d like to admit. Slice of pizza? Sure. Mac-n-cheese? Bring it on. Like, once a week. Okay, maybe twice.

I’m a huge comfort food junkie, but I’m also big on ingredient substitutes to try to make things just a little healthier. So, when Maia Yogurt, shared an alternative recipe to my standard, boxed mac-n-cheese, I was all in. I’ve been wanting to try homemade mac for a long time, but it always seemed like a daunting task, and I worried that the effort would not yield the same results as the easy, creamy, delicious box version. This one-pot-wonder was ready to eat in three easy steps! It was quick, simple, and satisfied my craving perfectly.

One Pot Mac & Cheese

Maia one pot mac n cheese

One pot mac-n-cheese

  1. Cook 2 cups elbow pasta in a large pot.
  2. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot along with 2 cups shredded cheese, 1/2 cup plain Maia Yogurt, salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder.
  3. Stir all the ingredients together on low heat until the cheese is completely melted.

Let’s zoom in on that ooey gooey yumminess.

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I’m officially done with boxed mac.

Do you have any favorite recipe substitutes? Would you try subbing in Greek yogurt in your creamy recipes? 

*Special thanks to Maia Yogurt for yogurt samples and recipe suggestion 🙂 

Crock Pot Chronicles: Turkey Three-Bean Chili

It pains me to write about chili on day three of a juice cleanse, but baby, it’s cold outside, and if I weren’t cleansing I would be whipping up another batch to warm up this dreary day.

Last week I made the most phenomenal chili to ever pass my lips. It was hearty and thick, and so perfectly spicy.  And I know I’m not just tooting my own horn, because Jamie couldn’t get enough of it either! The best part? It was SO easy.

turkey three bean chili recipe

Turkey Three-Bean Chili

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb fat free ground turkey breast
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 (10 oz) cans hot or mild Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies (if you can find a 28 oz can, more power to ya!)
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, undrained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, undrained
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (flour can be used as an alternative)

Seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Brown the turkey with red onion in a medium skillet over medium high heat until cooked, and drain any fat remaining.To make life easier, I did step one the night before, and kept the cooked meat in the refrigerator overnight, so all I had to do in the morning was put everything in the crock pot. So easy!
  2. Add the meat, tomatoes con chilies, tomato sauce, green pepper and seasoning mix to the crock combining well.
  3. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. If you’re like me, and a work day could potentially last 10-12 hours, leave the pot on the low setting.
  4. In the last hour or two of cooking, add the beans, and turn the crock pot up to high, if it isn’t already. The world won’t end if you have he beans in the whole time, but they might come out a bit mushy, so I choose to add them later.When you’re almost ready to serve, incorporate the nutritional yeast or flour, little by little, until your chili is at desired consistency.

Top with cheddar, cilantro, sour cream, lime, etc. Whatever your little heart desires, and enjoy!

Foodie Friday: Blueberry Lemon Smoothie for Weight Loss

In her return to the blogging world yesterday, Amie (The Healthy Step-Mom) posted about willpower against cravings, and how difficult it can be. It was encouraging to read that even someone as fit as Amie battles with willpower every now and again.

When I’m feeling particularly tempted, I like to trick my body into thinking that I’m fulfilling its unhealthy cravings. Evil, I know – but it works! Wednesday, I felt like I was having dessert for breakfast when I replicated a blueberry lemon smoothie that my girl Deborah over at Delightfully Fit so generously instagrammed (yes, instagram is a verb now).

blueberry lemon weightloss smoothie

My version of the Blueberry Lemon Smoothie

Here is her recipe, with my variations in parentheses:

  • 1 banana
  • Greek yogurt (plain) (I used approximately half a cup)
  • Flaxseed (I replaced with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds)
  • Blueberries (I used one cup, frozen)
  • 1 lemon-ring slice sized rind (I put a whole, circular slice in – I wanted it to be very lemony)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (I skipped this because my almond milk was vanilla)
  • A splash of unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla almond milk, and put just enough to blend the mixture to my desired texture)
  • Stevia (I used half a packet of Truvia)

The result was a tangy and delicious breakfast that reminded me of a trip to Pinkberry – my sweet tooth was satisfied for the day!

What are your healthy craving alternatives? 

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I was a lazy foodie and ordered a Rueben sandwich from the local diner instead of enjoying actual Irish fare. I’m not actually Irish, so I’m giving myself a pass this year. That’s not to say that I didn’t miss the annual feast of corned beef and cabbage with the family.

So, in honor of the holiday, I’m reposting my mom’s recipe for corned beef and cabbageShe’s not Irish either (obviously), but she makes a darn good corned beef. If you’re not married to a recipe of your own, I highly recommend you give this one a whirl.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

(Makes 6 servings)

Corned_Beef_and _Cabbage

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3-4 Lb. corned beef brisket
  • ½ cut shopped onion
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • A dash of ground cloves
  • 6 medium potatoes peeled
  • 6 carrots
  • 6 cabbage wedges
  • Prepared powdered mustard (Coleman’s)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced

Place corned beef in a Dutch oven and barely cover with hot water. Add onions, garlic and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, or until tender (3 hours is probably enough). Remove meat from liquid; cover with foil and keep warm. Add whole potatoes and carrots cut in 2” or 3” pieces to liquid in Dutch oven. Coer and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or so and add cabbage; then cook 20 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, glaze meat and spread fat side of meat lightly with mustard powder. Combine brown sugar and cloves and sprinkle over mustard. Bake in shallow pan at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. Arrange corned beef and vegetables on a warm platter for serving.

So so good!  Last year we went home with leftovers and I made a great breakfast of it too. Love me some corned beef! What do you eat to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? 

Foodie Friday: Tandoori Lamb Balls Recipe from The Meatball Shop

I’ve been experimenting with The Meatball Shop Cookbook ever since I bought it for my boyfriend for Christmas last year. I guess it’s still a gift for him if he gets to eat what I cook, right?

So a few weeks ago I tried my hand at Tandoori Lamb Balls. In a word? Brilliant. I’ve been participating in a Skillshare class called Show Us Your Balls: Meatball Making with The Meatball Shop, and was able to reflect on having cooked these before watching some of the training videos. There were definitely some pointers that I will use in future meatball recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (stems included)
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup tandoori spice mix
  • 2 teaspoons salt

First thing’s first: The tandoori spice:969bfaeb

2 teaspoons ground ginger; 2 teaspoons ground cumin; 2 teaspoons ground coriander; 2 teaspoons sweet paprika; 2 teaspoons tumeric (not pictured); 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper. I know I tweaked this a bit, but it was a while ago and I can’t remember what I did.

Question: What is sweet paprika? How is it different from regular paprika? I assume it’s sweeter (duh), but figured I’d ask. I decided that as long as I had most of the basic elements, I’d have something close to the intended flavor, so I didn’t sweat it too much.

I combined all of my ingredients and made a test meatball on the stove, which I’m proud of since I decided to do this on my own before watching  Meatball Shop co-founder and executive chef Daniel Holzman’s training video. He made a good point to flatten the meatball before frying it to test – would have been much faster.

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Once I had my flavor down, it was time to roll the balls. Holzman recommends using an ice cream scoop, this way the meatballs are evenly sized, so they will cook evenly. Roast at 450° for 20 minutes.

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I combined the balls with The Meatball Shop’s Cilantro Yogurt Sauce and a side of roasted Brussels sprouts with apples and honey roasted pecans.

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Next up: I’ve practiced the basics of making meatballs a few times, so I’d like to try to think up an original recipe next.

Question: What are your favorite kind of meatballs? Do you prefer traditional, or do you have a special unique flavor combination? Please share!