Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama - Swiss Chard Pockets with sausage and turkey

My camera is out of commission, so this is not my photo, but our stuffed swiss chard pockets looked eerily similar. Just picture the toddler helped me pour the spaghetti sauce over the top in our 13 x9 casserole pan. Thank you.

Swiss chard cooks tender rather quickly, so it doesn't require the long cooking that cabbage rolls would. My family likes sausage so that's a natural marriage in our household, to include sausage and ground turkey as a filling for swiss chard pockets.

16 swiss chard leaves (large)
1 large sweet onion, chopped small
1 pound turkey or venison sausage (breakfast or Italian style)
1 pound ground turkey, plain
1 quart of marinara or spaghetti sauce, no sugar added please
1 8 oz. can Hunt's tomato sauce (this is natural, no sugar added)
2 tsp. oregano leaf, dried or few tablespoons chopped fresh leaves

Preheat oven to 375* F, or Gas mark 5 for my European friends.

Wash and dry the swiss chard leaves, and cut the large celery like stems off, and mince the stems and set them aside.

Saute' in a non-stick pan your sausage and ground turkey meat, the onion, the chopped chard stems, then season it all with garlic salt or minced garlic and celtic salt. When meat is cooked through, add canned tomato sauce and oregano, and stir to combine. Taste to be sure it's well-seasoned.  Cook a little longer to dry the mixture up a bit, so it's not too loose. Divide the meat mixture into 16 servings, roughly, so that you can fill each leaf.

Use cooking spray to coat 13x9 or similar baking pan. On a large cutting board or dinner plate lay out the raw swiss chard leaf, and spoon a narrow allotment of sausage mix into the leaf, fold or roll, seam side down and lay it into your pan. The food police do not live at your house, so just get them stuffed and folded and filled. Repeat 15 times, then sprinkle the rolls with a little salt and pepper, cover the pan of rolls with the quart of spaghetti sauce, wrap tightly with aluminum foil or other lid, and bake in oven for 1 hour until rolls are fall apart tender.

This dish has enough sauce that you'll be pondering serving it over mashed potatoes for those with high metabolisms, or faux-tatoes (creamed mashed cauliflower) for the rest of us, or even 3/4 cup of steamed quinoa. It's very good any of those ways. You can have this delicious dinner guilt free, and even top it with parmesan cheese if you like.

This is low fat, and has a reasonably small amount of carbohydrates, which would be an E food for the THM plan.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Buffalo Chicken and Veggie Bake (Trim Healthy Mama)

My friend Dianna, mother of one of the cutest redhaired child I know besides my own, was preparing the dish that inspired this "Trim, Healthy, Mama" re-make of The Loaded Potato  and Chicken bake. When I entered her home I said what smells so good? I looked at the recipe and said Seriously -- that sounds delish.

I'm trying to keep normal blood sugars and lose a few pounds so I made some carbohydrate reducing choices, and I think you'll find them delicious!

Living not far from Buffalo, NY at times, I insist that authenticity requires diced celery to mimic the traditional accompaniment to wings served in that fair city. It's baked with the chicken to give an interesting but not overwhelming note to the dish. In further interest of authenticity, you might want a  little blue cheese crumbled over the dish, on your plate.

Buffalo Inspired Chicken and Veggie Bake
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless thigh meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 (16 oz pkgs) frozen cauliflower,thawed or 4 cups of chopped cauliflower florets, diced 1/2-inch.
  • 1 large zucchini or other summer squash, diced into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 cups total)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil  
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 TBS. paprika 
  • 2 TBS. garlic powder 
  • 6 TBS. Franks Red hot sauce, or other tangy Louisiana style sauce or substitute milder pepper sauces 
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded. (I cut this down from 2 cups)
  • 1 c. turkey bacon, diced and fried crispy
  • 1 c diced green onion

Preheat oven to 500F for high heat roasting. In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika,garlic powder & hot sauce.  Add the cubed vegetables and stir to coat. Strain the  veggies with your slotted spoon into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish, leaving behind the marinade for the chicken you're going to add in a minute.

Put the chicken into the leftover marinade, and set aside for the next few minutes while you fry the turkey bacon.  Stirring every 10 minutes, bake the veggies until they're crispy & browned on the outside. It may only take 20 minutes.  While the veggies are cooking, heat a medium skillet and dice one pound of turkey bacon into small cubes. Stir regularly until crispy.

Check the oven. When veggies are brown around the edges and crispy looking, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400F.  Top the cooked cauliflower and squash with the raw marinated chicken leaving behind any un-absorbed marinade.  Add the diced celery at this point to the chicken and give a quick stir. Discard the marinade.

Bake at 400*F for 10 minutes until chicken is nearly done, and then sprinkle the casserole with the shredded cheese, the diced turkey bacon, and the diced green onions. Return to oven for the final five minutes, which will melt the cheese and heat the toppings through. 

This is delicious served with a big green salad for the whole family, with a side of mashed or potatoes for those who need to have extra carbohydrates, and perhaps a small slice of .Trim, Healthy, Mama approved sourdough bread to sop up some of those juices. Some ranch dressing or extra hot sauce might be wanted at the table, or as the locals do, add Blue Cheese Dressing!

If you're interested in keeping your hunger at bay, feeding your whole family more healthy, and losing a few inches around your middle, this might interest you ---

Learn more about making gradual, reasonable changes in the way you eat and feel, here.

Here's the original recipe: