Meatless Monay: General Tso’s Tofu

General Tso's Tofu 1

Last week I had the honor of speaking at the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic Annual Meeting in Bay City (if you were there, make my day and say hi in a comment!). The whole 2 days was amazing — meeting RD’s from around the state, learning (because let’s face it, I’m a total nerd), and truthfully, getting away from the daily grind…if only for a few days. Who knew I could be presentable and on time with a mere 20 minutes in the morning? I factor in at least an hour of “other” time in my mornings and somehow, I don’t see how that could be less with the duties of home life.

I know, I know…that will be 2+ hours of “other” time once baby comes!

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I presented with Colleen of Nutrition Rendition – she’s a Michigan State grad and going on to complete her dietetic internship. Our breakout session was very well-attended and there were people even lining the back wall. We were expecting 80, but it sure seemed like more! I don’t normally get overly nervous with presentations, but I was. Very much so.

But, the presentation went great. Attendees asked great questions. And best of all, I got to share with other nutrition professionals something I’m so passionate about: being a credible online voice for nutrition in the way of blogging and communicating nutrition messages online in general. It’s hard to believe I’ve been contributing to this little blog of mine for nearly FIVE YEARS. Time really does fly.

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As I transition back into the work groove, you know, by the way of returning 241 voicemails and emails today (that was supposed to be an exaggeration, but…it very well may not be), I also transitioned back into this thing called cooking (sadly, the dishes, too). And with that, the endless questions regarding, “What’s for dinner?”

Per the usual, I was able to win over Mr. Prevention with the protein he “hates” most: tofu. With as much flavor (and sadly, sodium) that this dish encompasses, it’s hard to not love this one. Next time, I’m throwing some edamame in with the sauce mixture – I think it’d be the perfect, healthy touch to up the protein, stretch the calories, and add some color, too.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
General Tso's Tofu
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • 1 brick extra firm tofu
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Drain and soak excess moisture from the tofu by placing it between several layers of paper towel and gently applying pressure. Repeat as needed. Once dry, cut tofu into ¾-inch cubes. Mist a baking sheet with olive oil, arrange tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet and mist tofu with remaining olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning tofu once. Tofu should be slightly golden.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients, sugar through ginger in a sauce pan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, whisking regularly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add baked tofu to the sauce pan and carefully stir to coat. Serve over rice and top with green onions, if desired.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Domestic Superhero

The amount of sauce in this recipe is adequate for serving over rice and adding flavor. As stated above, next time I'll add some edamame to up the protein and nutrition.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅓ tofu and sauce Calories: 340 Fat: 12.3 Carbohydrates: 44.0 Sugar: 38.0 Sodium: 943 Fiber: 1.7 Protein: 14.7 Cholesterol: 0

 Tomorrow looks to be much kinder than this Monday shaped up to be.

Be well,

sig4

Italian Salad with Prosciutto, Peperoncini, and Parmesan + Weekly Menu

Italian Salad with Prosciutto, Peperoncini, and Parmesan 1

When you don’t have kids of your own, predicting what’s kid-friendly and what’s not can be quite challenging. I often come to my conclusion based on whether or not Mr. Prevention would eat xyz food and that’s usually a pretty good indication of how kid-friendly it truly is.

That said, some kids are really good about eating vegetables. Some kids LOVE salads. Some kids, like my husband, do not LOVE salads…but we feed it to them once in awhile anyways.

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As you know, I don’t post an abundance of salads on my blog. I kind of think of them as no-brainer throw-together type recipes and the dressing is really what makes them great anyways. I’d say this is true in many instances, but sometimes, there’s salads that have that wow-factor. When you’re going back for seconds and thirds, you know something extraordinary is going on with that heap of raw lettuce (other than abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fiber).

Though I knew this salad would be a hit, Mr. Prevention wasn’t sold. He wanted to add pizza along side. If he was willing to do the leg work and clean-up, I was not going to stand in his way (P.S. I did see to it that he cleaned up the dishes and pizza pan afterwards.)

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Lo and behold, the pizza was a huge hit with Mr. P. I had halved the recipe, it was gone, and I was wishing that even for just the 2 of us, there was more to go around. For once, the pizza was the side and the salad was the main event. Huh. Faaascinating…

I know, pick my battles…

An upcoming dinnertime battle sounds like Buffalo Wild Wings will be involved. One is coming to our town this fall and judging by the stupid grin of over-excitement smeared across his face, nothing I make will compete with Buffalo Wild Wings…or at least until the novelty wears off. Sooner rather than later, let’s hope.

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Italian Salad with Prosciutto, Peperoncini, and Parmesan
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 6 (large side portions)
 
This indulgent salad is salty and full of flavor. A favorite for sure!
Ingredients
Dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salad:
  • 2 romaine hearts, washed and chopped
  • 8 peperocini, stems removed, finely chopped
  • 3 oz prosciutto, torn into small pieces
  • ½ cup (1 oz) shredded Parmesan
Instructions
  1. To prepare the dressing, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves (in their peels) and toast until skins begin to blacken, turning often, about 5 minutes. Peel and mince garlic; transfer to a small bowl. Whisk in remaining dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Mix salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over the top and toss well. Serve within 1 hour.
Notes
Slightly adapted from The Way The Cookie Crumbles, as seen on A Taste of Home Cooking
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙th recipe Calories: 271 Fat: 23.3 Carbohydrates: 10.5 Sugar: 2.7 Sodium: 784 Fiber: 5.7 Protein: 9.8 Cholesterol: 19

 Weekly Menu: March 23th – 27th

I’m hoping to see Divergent today — loved the book!

Be well,

sig4

Cheesy Taco Soup

Cheesy Taco Soup 1

I thoroughly enjoyed the winter Olympics…almost as much as I enjoy the summer Olympics. Or college (Illini) sports. Yes, even when they lose in basketball to Michigan by, like, 30 points. Gaaah. But as a side note on the Olympics, I really do not understand curling. Atallwhatsoever.

By the middle of week 2 of the Olympics, I was missing my favorite TV shows. Big time.

Cheesy Taco Soup 2

Two Broke Girls makes me laugh hysterically. Parenthood makes me cry…and smile. I love drooling over Taylor Kinney in Chicago Fire. Subsequently, I’m also now hooked on Chicago PD. Grey’s Anatomy is like a train wreck you just can’t turn away from. Mike and Molly is cute and Molly’s mom and sister crack me up with their giant wine glasses and constant inappropriateness.

The Bachelorette that continued on through the Olympics was not engaging enough to satisfy my little TV habit (not so shocking, I hope…). Plus, it’s hard for me to hop on the treadmill or elliptical without something good to watch on the DVR. Yes, my exercise habits struggle when my DVR is lacking. Ironic, I know.

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As the never ending winter of 2014 rages on, the comfort food ensues. There continues to be no end in sight for this dreadful Midwest winter.

This soup is not a looker, but the taste was great. Hearty, warm, and it seemed sinfully cheesy and rich. A bowl of hearty, warm soup next to a toasty fireplace is the only thing getting me from one day to the next.

Who has another great soup recipe to share? ….Or 50 degree weather? I’m flexible.

Cheesy Taco Soup 4

Cheesy Taco Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
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Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb 96% lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups skim milk, divided
  • 1 cup (4 oz) 2% cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel, undrained
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef in a large soup pot over medium-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Drain and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then whisk in flour and cook for one minute. Slowly whisk in 1 cup milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat then stir in shredded cheese until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Add taco seasoning, Rotel, black beans, and remaining 1½ cups milk into cooked ground beef then stir well to combine. Bring to a heavy simmer then turn heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.
Notes
Recipe seen on Iowa Girl Eats and The Recipe Critic and originally, Pillsbury
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ~ 1½ cups Calories: 368 Fat: 13.6 Carbohydrates: 25.8 Sugar: 8.4 Sodium: 954 Fiber: 6.4 Protein: 34.2 Cholesterol: 79

 Busy day ahead! Oh, and more snow ahead, too. ::sob::

Be well,

sig4

Recipe Repeat: Buffalo Chicken Tacos

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Working in a department of all women is often times challenging, but mostly a riot. Some of my staff treat me like the daughter they hold with great regard and some treat me like their big sister they’d never cross — there’s that perfect balance of work and play with there always being respect and hard work. Work hard, play hard!

Outside of the normal tiffs within a department, everyone gets along great, people trade favors, and I only hope they enjoy their jobs as much as I. Judging by the amount of laughing going on, I have to assume they enjoy their jobs at least somewhat ;)

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If they’re not busy laughing with one another, the girls are probably laughing at me. I embarrass myself at least once daily. It’s actually rather impressive the consistency with which I manage to get myself into the predicaments and situations that I do. Sometimes I sit in something dirty, dribble something down my chest (this is probably the most common occurrence), say something in a way that it comes out completely and totally wrong, forget something (fairly) important, or any number of other ways.

Yesterday, we had fajitas for lunch. Of course, I added salsa which…ended up dribbled down my light grey shirt about 2 minutes before I needed to be in a meeting…at the opposite end of the hospital. I could either go dirty or go wet from removing the stain. I chose the latter. I’m not sure which was worse because SEVERAL people pointed out my mess despite my best efforts to pull my cardigan over the unsightly accident. Of course, the girls found this terribly funny…mostly because I called myself out on the high probability of my messiness before it even happened.

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But there’s some foods worth the risk of being a slob. Tacos, fajitas, chili dogs….mmm.

I haven’t met a taco I didn’t love. Everything from Lentil Tacos to Kung Pao Tacos to Zucchini and Black Bean Tacos to Crock Pot Chicken Tacos. I love them all. Mr. Prevention? Of course he favors all things “buffalo” and so it should come as no surprise that these are making another appearance.

I must admit, these are epic.

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Recipe Repeat: Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Author: 
Prep time: 
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Serves: 5
 
A fun favorite!
Ingredients
Tacos:
  • 1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Wing) + 4 Tbsp, for drizzling
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Toppings:
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4 oz gorgonzola
  • ½ cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, cayenne, and garlic powder. Season the chicken pieces with pepper, then dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off excess coating.
  3. Add olive oil to the skillet and once it is hot, add chicken and brown on all sides – about 3-4 minutes per side. Once the chicken is done, set it aside in a bowl and toss with ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce.
  4. Assemble 10 tacos, dividing the toppings evenly among each taco.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 474 Fat: 18.0 Carbohydrates: 38.0 Sodium: 1112 Fiber: 6.6 Protein: 41.2 Cholesterol: 86

 Thursday. The weekend is in sight! :-D

Be well,

sig4

 

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla

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I find it particularly interesting to learn about kids’ eating habits. The great lengths some parents go to…just to put a wholesome meal on the table…that their kids will actually eat. There are cookbooks devoted to disguising vegetables in “kid food” (I hate that term). I mean, this is big stuff. Listening to parents’ woes over their fussy children makes me cringe in hopes that *my* future children won’t be that way.

What if my children hate seafood? Or won’t even TOUCH a vegetable? Or they go into anaphylactic shock from ingesting tree nuts? What if they hate everything spicy? So many unknowns with those little boogers, I tell ya. These are the types of unknowns that keep foodie dietitians up at night. For realz.

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We’re at that age (28 and 33) where many (most?) of our friends have families. When we hangout with friends, we hangout with their kids. I love kids. I’m good with kids.

Feeding kids? I’m not practiced at that. Whatsoever.

A common denominator among our friends’ kids seem to be a love for condiments. Ketchup? More! Ranch? On everything. BBQ? Sure! And cheese. Kids always love cheese. This is (for all intents and purposes) a fact.

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When I think of what I know of kids to enjoy it closely mirrors what I know Mr. Prevention likes best. Imagine that…

Sometimes, wives aim to please. Sometimes, we like to calm the waves of “weird” and “über healthy” and go with something a bit more…mainstream? If nothing else, it earns us brownie points, uses way less dishes than anything gourmet-esque, and is sure to be a meal in minutes. In fact, I used the same BBQ chicken from the crock pot as I used in The Best BBQ Chicken Salads.

Two guesses as to who loved both of these meals equally. In other words, this one is a sure bet with your kiddos…among others.

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BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Sweet, tangy, and perfect for kids and meat-lovers alike.
Ingredients
Chicken:
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ⅓ cup BBQ sauce
Quesadilla:
  • 4 burrito-size whole wheat tortillas
  • 1½ cups (6 oz) part-skim shredded Colby
  • 1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits in 100% natural juices
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
Instructions
  1. To prepare the chicken, spread half of the BBQ sauce over the bottom of a small slow cooker, Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the bottom of the crock pot and top with remaining BBQ sauce. Cook on low 4-6 hours or until chicken easily shreds.
  2. On an electric griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat, layer half of one tortilla with ¼ cup cheese, 4 ounces shredded chicken, 2 ounces pineapple, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce. Sprinkle additional 2 tablespoons cheese over the entire surface, fold the tortilla in half and cook 2-3 minutes. Flip quesadilla to the other side and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until warmed through and tortilla is lightly browned.
  3. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 large quesadillas. Allow to cool 3-4 minutes before slicing.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 quesadilla Calories: 420 Fat: 13.5 Carbohydrates: 39.3 Sugar: 18.8 Sodium: 985 Fiber: 12.5 Protein: 45.5 Cholesterol: 85

 The rest of the week looks…NUTS! Weekend..? Weekend…?

Be well,

sig4