A Healthier Holiday Table with Spinach Chicken Sausage Egg Cups

ACS-BadgeWhen the American Cancer Society asked me to contribute a recipe for A Healthier Holiday Table, I was honored.  After watching my aunt lose her life to cancer, it became my goal to educate myself and others about ways to live in a word without cancer and ultimately celebrate more birthdays.

Here are a few easy steps to reduce your risk so that you and your loved can celebrate more birthdays together:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of many types of cancer. Here are ideas on how to eat healthy and get active.
  • Did you know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk? The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day. Here are two resources filled with ideas for upping your fruit and vegetable consumption through the day.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products. Here are some innovative ways to add more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to your day while watching your refined carbohydrates, sugar, and fat intake.
  • Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat. Some studies have linked eating large amounts of processed meat to increased risk of colorectal and stomach cancers.
  • Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men. Alcohol raises the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), esophagus, liver, breast, and the colon and rectum.
  • Stock your kitchen with a variety of foods that you can throw together for healthy meals in a hurry. Keep these foods on hand for fast meals on busy nights.
  • Did you know that being physically active can reduce your risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon, endometrial, and prostate?  The Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. Here are some tips to help you fit exercise into your busy schedule.

However, holiday office parties and last minute marathon shopping can often make it difficult to adhere to the previous checklist.  By preparing quick and easy healthy meals, you can maintain a healthier table during the holidays.

My Spinach Chicken Sausage Egg Cup recipe is perfect for potlucks and since these egg cups freeze nicely, they’re great for quick breakfasts on the go.  Simply store them in freezer-safe food storage bags and heat them up when you want a healthy breakfast bite in a pinch.

Spinach Chicken Sausage Egg Cups
Ingredients
2 slices whole grain bread
½ cup baby spinach
2 Tbsp reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 link al fresco Country Style Breakfast Chicken Sausage, quartered
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1 Tbsp non-fat milk
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut two circles in each slice of bread.  Lay one circle in each prepared muffin cup.

Lay one to two leaves of baby spinach on top on each bread circle.  Add a few pieces of sausage and a few sprinkles of cheddar cheese.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites and skim milk.  Add cayenne, salt and pepper.  Pour a quarter of mixture into each muffin cup.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm.  Serve with avocado slices and tomato like from Pearland TX.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – November 11

I had two kids sick this past week.  Little Lion Man had a stomach bug.  Then, my oldest daughter had a sore throat which I think may have been a side effect to her flu shot.  Last week was a relatively quiet week until that point.

Then the weekend came.  I had a Pretty Muddy pre-race course preview meetup, followed by the Pretty Muddy race on Saturday, 12 miles to run on Sunday and a rooftop fitness party sponsored by my peerFit friends later that day.  I am truly amazed that I can still walk after all of that.  Although I have to admit, I’m shattered. Therefore, I’m off to bed in a little bit which is probably a good thing as I need to be up by 3:30 to be all dolled up for a Mom Squad taping at 5:15 at Channel 10.  I’m a little nervous about it.  Hopefully, I won’t sound like a complete fool.

As for this week’s menu, there’s no fooling that we will be eating well this week, thanks to all the delicious deals at Publix.  With tilapia on special as well as lots of vegetables perfect for roasting, we’ll be eating well and a bit more pescatarian this week.

M – Roasted Veggies with Goat Cheese on Pressed Cuban Bread

T – Sautéed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce with Couscous

W – Dinner out with friends

Th – Linguini with Roasted Campari Tomatoes and Arugula

F – Pizza

What things are you cooking up this week?  Are any of your meals related to supermarket deals?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.



Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Ground Turkey Tacos

PhotobucketI’ve included Ground Turkey Tacos a few times in my weekly Sunday menu planning feature, Pinning and Planning , but after making my tacos this week, it dawned on me that I should share my taco recipe.  See, I don’t make your typical taco kit tacos.

For most families, tacos are a quick family favorite, kid-approved dinner, but most people use taco seasoning packets located in the ethnic aisle of a supermarket.  Just to be clear, you’re not saving any time or your health using packaged seasonings.  If you’re using a package to make your tacos, you need to stop that immediately and here’s why.  Below are the ingredients for the top two taco seasonings.

El Paso  – “Maltodextrin, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, spice, monosodium glutamate, corn starch, yellow corn flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide (anticaking agent), natural flavor, ethoxyquin (preservative)”

OretegaYellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color (sulfites).

In case you weren’t aware, Autolyzed Yeast Extract is code for MSG.

As for taco shells, my favorite are the Garden of Eatin’ Yellow Corn Taco Shells.  They typically cost about a dollar more than the popular taco shell brands, however, they do not contain any hydrogenated oil.  Plus, they have a deliciously strong, real, rich corn taste, which should come as no surprise when you read the ingredients.

“Organic stoneground yellow corn masa flour, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil.”

Now, promise me that you will start making healthier tacos by following my recipe.  If you can’t find healthy taco shells, that’s all right.  At least with these MSG-free turkey tacos, you’re moving in the right direction.

Ground Turkey Tacos

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion (Spanish, red or white), chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup Pomi chopped tomatoes
Garden of Eatin’ Yellow Corn Taco Shells

For toppings
Romaine lettuce, shredded
Vine ripe tomatoes, diced
Reduced fat cheddar cheese
Reduced fat sour cream
Lindsay’s Natural Sliced Ripe Black Olives

Directions
On a low to medium setting, heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for about a minute.

Add ground turkey and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking it up until white.  Add spices, salt and pepper and stir for about a minute.  Add tomatoes.

Prepare tacos are directed on box.

Serve the meat and  all the toppings family-style in bowls for everyone to make their own tacos.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!



*Also submitted at*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Sweat Pink Blog Swap: How to Be a Mom on the Run

My Sweat Pink Sister, Jill of Fitness, Health and Happiness, arranged a Sweat Pink Blog Swap where a handful of Sweat Pink Ambassadors would write guest posts for each other.  Jessica of Keeping Mommy Sane and I were paired up the Sweat Pink Blog Swap.

Much like me, Jessica is a mom on the run trying to raise a family between training for races.  In this great big blogosphere, it’s comforting to know another mother runner is going through many of the same experiences as me. However, I’ll let Jessica explain how she fits running into her very busy working mom world.  Thank you, Jessica!

Hello! My name is Jessica and I blog over at Keeping Mommy Sane. I am so excited to be paired with Denise for our Sweat Pink Ambassador blog swap because it turns out we have a lot in common: we’re both busy moms who try to carve out time for exercise each day. Yet Denise still manages to find time to train for, and complete, several marathons. She is a rock star! I honestly don’t know how she does it.

So here’s my a little about me: I work full-time, I have a 6-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter, a husband who travels frequently for work, and a 30 minute work commute here in the Boston area. Needless to say, my days are carefully choreographed from sunrise to sundown, with daycare drop-offs and work meetings and karate lessons and picking up from after-school programs. So if I want to exercise, I have to be strategic.

For me, this means getting up at 4:45am (when it’s usually still pitch dark outside) and heading to the gym, which – thankfully – is literally a 3 minute drive from my house. I’m not going to lie: it is extremely hard some mornings to drag myself out of my warm and cozy bed (especially in the dead of winter), pull on my gym clothes and head out the door. I’d say about 95% of the time I have to convince myself why I need go and why I can’t crawl back into bed. After 3 years of this schedule, that part hasn’t gotten any easier.

But I do it, because here’s the reality: after work, all I want to do is spend time with my kids. I only get a few precious hours with them at night and I want to enjoy each and every minute. If I head to the gym, that basically means I won’t really see much of them that day. And that’s not even getting into all the prep work that has to be done at night: making lunches, checking backpacks, packing snacks, signing permission slips. Plus, it is a really nice feeling knowing you got your workout out of the way before your day has even begun.

So that’s why I force myself to join my fellow “5am-ers,” as we call ourselves, for spin class and Body Pump and bootcamp. There definitely is camaraderie there; maybe it’s because we know we’re all in the same boat. We’re all busy women trying to take care of ourselves and our loved ones as best we can.

Of course, there are some downsides to working out so early. I often require a cup of coffee around 2pm to get through the rest of the day, I’m dead tired by 8:30pm and I still haven’t quite figured out to have a good run so early in the morning, especially since I find it hard to stomach any food at 4:45am. But the trade-offs are definitely worth it.

Thankfully, the weekends usually afford a little more flexibility, and that’s when I try to work in my long runs and races. After having my daughter last June, I’ve really begun to focus on running – mostly 5Ks and 10Ks. However, I’m getting ready to sign up for my first half marathon in March (an item on my “before I turn 40” bucket list). When I was first mulling this over, I kept asking myself the same question:  How the heck am I going to fit half marathon training into my crazy schedule?

But then I realized it’s really no different than getting up every morning at 4:45am. I do that because staying fit and healthy is important to me. So if running the half means a lot to me (and it does), then I will just have to find a way to do it, whether than means running on my lunch break or finally figuring out how to have a good early morning run. It’s not going to be easy, and I know I’ll probably hit some of life’s obstacles and roadblocks along the way, and that’s okay. But the idea of showing my kids – and myself — what commitment and hard work can do is a powerful motivator.  I don’t want them to see me quit or give up just because “it’s hard” or “I don’t have the time.” And I hope that will be the push I need to get over the finish line and finally call myself a “half marathoner.”

Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

PhotobucketThis week I was a sneaky chef.  When I made Skinnytaste’s Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili, I didn’t tell my kids there was pumpkin in the chili.  I added sour cream to hide the evidence and watched my kids stir the condiment into their bowls happily without a clue.  After all, we always add sour cream to the kids’ chili to mask the heat.

“This is really good, but it tastes different,” my oldest observed when she tasted it.

“You like it?”

She nodded.

Good.  And then like clockwork, my youngest daughter bolted off to the restroom, because she always needs to pee right in the middle of dinner.

Once she left the table, I asked my oldest again, “Do you really like it?”

“Yes, why?”

“I just want to make sure you really like it.”

“I do, but why?”

“Because there’s pumpkin in the chili.  Not like pumpkin pie pumpkin, but a pumpkin puree like a mashed up pumpkin.”

“Really?  Because this is good!”

“It is, isn’t it?  But don’t tell Emmalynn!”

Allana relished in our little secret.  Once Emmalynn returned to the table, Allana questioned her about the chili.  “This chili is really good, isn’t it Emma?”  She asked with devilish grin.

“Yes, it is really good!  We need to eat this every week!”

Sounds like a plan to me.

Actually, I was pretty surprised as to how good this chili turned out to be.  I had my doubts, but deep down inside, I knew my Gina (a.k.a. Skinnytaste) wouldn’t let me down.

Besides being chock full of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, E, and K, magnesium and potassium), it’s the perfect fall comfort food that’s so simple from start to finish.  And because it’s a crock pot meal, it’s the perfect quick healthy dinner to have prepared and ready to serve before a long night of trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili
(Adapted from Skinnytaste.com)

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder, to taste
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 (15 oz cans) of white beans (northern, navy beans or cannellini), rinsed and drained
15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
4.5 oz canned chopped green chile
2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
Sour cream for topping (optional)
Chopped cilantro (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Heat a large heavy sauté pan and 2 Tbsp olive oil over high heat. Add meat and cook, breaking it up until white, about 5 minutes.  Add to crock pot.

If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the sauté pan. Then add onions and garlic and sauté about 3 – 4 minutes. Add cumin and sauté another minute.

Add onion mixture to crock pot along with beans, pumpkin puree, green chilis, broth, chili powder, oregano and bay leaf. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Adjust seasoning to taste before serving. Top with a dollup of sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!



*Also submitted at*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Creamy Avocado and Roasted Tomato Fettuccine

Photobucket“This is needs to be in the regular menu rotation.”If you’re a regular Run DMT reader, then you may have noticed this Creamy Avocado and Roasted Tomato Fettuccine pasta dish included in my Pinning and Planning menu a few times.  It took a few trial and errors and a little tweaking here and there until it came out a way that pleased me

This dish may not look like much but the creamy tomato texture packs a lot of punch.  Plus, the combination of garlic, tomatoes and avocadoes offer a dish that is high in lycopene and good fats for an ultimate heart-healthy dish.

Even with all my trial and errors, it managed to pass the Iron Chef Allan taste test every time, however, he would prefer it served with some grilled chicken, shrimp or some other kind of protein.  Of course, the pine nuts in the original recipe would add the extra protein Allan craves, but unfortunately I’ve recently added pine nuts to my ever growing list of nut allergies, so I omitted that ingredient and the protein.

As for my kids, I still haven’t convinced them to try it. Oh well.  This dish only confirms what Kermit has been saying for years.  “It’s not easy being green.”  But this kind of green sure is tasty.

Creamy Avocado and Roasted Tomato Fettuccine 
(Recipe adapted from Flourishing Foodie)

Ingredients
10 – 12 Campari tomatoes, cut into halves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 packages of Buitoni Fettuccine
2 ripe avocados, skin removed and seeded
2 garlic cloves
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (for topping)
¼ cup pine nuts (for topping – optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 ºF.

Toss the tomatoes in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper until well coated.  Place on a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper or cooking spray.  Roast tomatoes in oven for about 20 minutes.

Ten minutes before tomatoes are finished, boil pasta as directed on package for al dente.

While the pasta is boiling, add olive oil, avocado, garlic, salt and lemon juice to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are smooth and creamy.

Strain the pasta and combine with the sauce in a large bowl, until all the pasta has been covered.

Gently fold in the roasted tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese (and pine nuts).

For additional serving suggestions, add an olive tapenade before adding the Parmesan cheese.  This dish also compliments grilled shrimp and chicken.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!



*Also submitted at*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Saag Aloo and Kachumber Salad

PhotobucketIt’s no secret that Allan and I love Indian cuisine, but for whatever reason, it’s so hard for us to replicate in our home.  That was true until we discovered some of our favorite dishes on Pinterest and then we realized they weren’t really that difficult to do.

One of our favorite vegetarian dishes, Saag Aloo (Potato and Spinach), packs all the wonderful aromatic flavors and heat of Indian cuisine without all the clarified butter and fat. The potatoes add heartiness to the dish which also makes it rich and filling.

I submitted the recipe and all its secret ingredients to Iron Chef Allan for approval.  Then, while he prepared the Saag Aloo, I worked diligently as his sous chef by preparing the Kachumber Salad to accompany the main entrée.

The meal was like eating Indian take-away without having to leave our home.  Of course, our kids wouldn’t eat it, but at least we didn’t have to pick up fast food on the way to the Indian restaurant, like we normally do.  The kids ate loaded baked potatoes as Iron Chef Allan and I dined on our own five star Indian cuisine in the comfort of our kitchen.

Saag Aloo
(Adapted from Quick Indian Cooking)
Ingredients
4 medium waxy potatoes (Yukon Gold or red)
1 – 10 oz package of frozen leafy spinach, defrosted and completely drained
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 green or red chili pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

Directions
Par boil the potatoes until still firm, about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool.  Once cooled, slice the potatoes into small one square inch cubes.

Mix the chili pepper, spinach lemon juice and leave to sit in a bowl.

Heat oil in a medium-sized pan.   Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until onions are soft. Then add the potatoes, cumin and coriander and stir for five minutes.  If the spices stick to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon of hot water.

Add hot (not boiling) water to the pan until it covers the potatoes halfway. Lower the heat and cook the potatoes until soft are done, about ten minutes.  Stir often.

When you can easily insert a fork through the potatoes without breaking them, add the spinach mixture. Add salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Finally stir in the garam masala.

Kachumber Salad
(Adapted from Chef in You)
Ingredients
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 green or red chili
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
Juice of 1 lemon and 1/2 tsp zest
Dash of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Few sprigs of cilantro for garnish

Directions
Mix lemon juice, spices and sugar in one bowl.  Toss in all the vegetables and combine until well coated.  Cover and chill for about 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!



*Also submitted at*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+;

Linguini with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula

PhotobucketDo you ever find yourself enjoying a meal so much that you have to take a picture of it immediately to brag share how delicious the dish is?

*Raises hand.*

That’s me.  I love food and creating food porn.  I love snapping a photo and then sending it into cyberspace forcing my followers and friends’ tummies to grumble.

I’ll text it.

I’ll tweet it.

I’ll Facebook it.

But I’m not really sure if anyone else shares my food fondness.  Such was the case with my Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula Linguini dish.

I snapped a photo of the tomatoes as they glistened on the baking sheet in the oven.  They just looked so beautiful.  (Please ignore my filthy oven.)

I snapped a photo of the arugula in all its green glory.

But combining the two in the linguini really made my eyes and stomach smile.  Just look at how gorgeous this dish is!

Appreciating beauty in food, that is the true measure of a foodie.

I should mention that all these photos were taking with my new HTC Incredible phone.  The picture quality is stunning.  My little Incredible phone has an 8MP camera, which is the same as my little Cannon Elph.  Just to compare the picture quality, this photo was taken with my Cannon.

See, it’s all fabulously perfect food porn.

Linguini with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula

Ingredients

2 pints grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved

¼ cup olive oil

8 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt

Pepper

2 cups arugula, rinsed thoroughly

1 lb linguini

1 cup pasta water, reserved

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare a baking sheet with olive oil.  Spread garlic and grape tomatoes halves onto baking sheet, making sure that the tomatoes are well coated with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast garlic and tomatoes in oven for about 20 minutes.

While tomatoes are roasting in oven, boil linguini until al denti, as directed on box.  (For al denti, I usually cook a minute less than recommended on package.)  Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.  Once drained, add a touch of olive oil to linguini to prevent sticking.

Remove tomatoes from oven and add to a sauté pan.  Add pasta water and arugula and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add a tsp of salt and ½ tsp of black pepper.  Toss through linguini.

Serve with fresh grated parmesan.


Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!



*Also submitted at*

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Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Guacamole & Spicy Pico Salsa Turkey Burgers {and Giveaway}

I could make a meal out of chips and salsa.  If I was stranded on a desert island, all I would need to survive would be chips and salsa.  So, you could imagine my delight when Wholly Guacamole sent me a cooler full of their new salsa to try.

But, I have to admit. I’m a bit of a salsa snob. It has to be fresh tasting and made with real ingredients, like you picked the tomatoes from your garden and made it in your kitchen that morning.  It can’t have fake veggies or a nasty preservative aftertaste.  If you are buying salsa from a jar stored on a shelf in an aisle instead of the produce or deli section of your supermarket, you are missing out on real deal.

Now that you know to where to find real salsa, you need to try Wholly Guacamole’s new line of salsa products, Wholly Salsa.  Each of their new salsa products met my criteria: tastes fresh and made with real, wholesome ingredients.   And since it’s made with real wholesome ingredients, you will want to add it to your ingredients, like this turkey burger recipe I created just for Wholly Guacamole.

Guacamole & Spicy Pico Salsa Turkey Burgers

Ingredients

1 lb lean ground turkey

10 oz Wholly Salsa Classic Mild, strained

½ tsp thyme

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

¼ tsp turmeric

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Wholly Salsa Guacamole & Spicy Pico for topping

Directions

Add ground turkey, strained salsa and spices all into one large bowl and mix thoroughly.  Divide the meat mixture into four equal patties to make quarter pound burgers.  Brush each patty lightly with a thin coat of canola oil to prevent patties sticking to grill.  Grill burgers about 4 minutes each side or an internal temperature of 165°.

Serve burgers on fresh baked rolls and top each with Wholly Salsa Guacamole & Spicy Pico.

This recipe was created for the FOOD.FUN.HOP giveaway event hosted by Shy Babies & Little Inspiration.  As part of this Wholly Salsa campaign, Wholly Guacamole wants to offer one of  Run DMT’s readers a cooler full salsa, just like the one I received.

To enter for your chance to win, simply leave a comment telling how you plan to serve Wholly Salsa this summer.  Contest ends 7/14.  Winner will be selected by random.org.

Better you chances of winning by visiting the other blogs participating in the Wholly Guacamole FOOD.FUN.HOP.



For additional entries:

*Wholly Salsa Products were received in order to facilitate this review and giveaway, but all opinions are 100% my own.*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Cherry Tomato and Italian Chicken Sausage Bake with Low Fat Garlic Mashed Potatoes

PhotobucketA few weeks ago, one of my regular Friday Food Flight participants, Ms. enPlace, shared a delicious Jamie Oliver inspired sausage bake.  I immediately pinned it.

I knew the dish would go over well with my family, because…

1)      It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe.  (Iron Chef Allan loves all his recipes.)

2)      There’s tons of rosemary (one of Iron Chef Allan’s favorite spices) in the recipe.

3)      We love sausages, especially Italian sausage.

4)      We love Italian food.

But what I loved most about this dish was the simplicity of it.  Throw all the stuff in a roasting pan and toss it on the oven.

Actually, it involved a few more steps than that.  I tossed all the spices, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and 4 pints of cherry tomatoes in a large bowl and then tossed it all into a roasting pan with the Italian chicken sausage on top. Baked it in the oven for a hour, flipping the sausages after 30 minutes.

It was seriously that simple.

However, after an hour in the oven, the tomato sauce looked a little thin to me.  So per Jamie Oliver’s suggestion, I removed the sausages and poured the tomatoes into a saucepan on the stove on a medium-high heat to reduce it to a thicker sauce.

It came out perfect and I loved the bright, fresh tomato taste of the sauce.

When I recreated this dish, I substituted the Italian pork sausage for Publix Greenwise Italian chicken sausage to make my sausage bake is a tad bit healthier.

For the full recipe, visit Ms. Enplace for Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Cherry Tomato & Italian Sausage Bake.

Jamie Oliver suggests serving the sausage bake with mashed potatoes or polenta.  I chose mashed potatoes as our side dish and in the process created what I believe to the best low fat mashed potatoes ever.  My mashed potatoes even passed the Iron Chef Allan taste test and that’s no easy feat.  Mind you, I wouldn’t tell him what was in it until he tasted it and even when he heard the ingredients, he still liked it.

Allan prefers mashed potatoes loaded with butter and sour cream, but that is just way too fattening.  My low fat garlic mashed potatoes are a much healthier, tastier alternative that offers an equally buttery, creamy full flavor as its unhealthy counterpart.

 

Run DMT’s Low Fat Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

2 lbs (about 6-7) Russett potatoes, peeled

1 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup Greek-style plain non-fat yogurt

½ cup skim milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes until very tender and soft. (I added a tsp salt to my water.)

While potatoes are boiling, heat olive oil in a small non-stick skillet.  Once oil is warm, add garlic and sauté on a low heat until golden brown.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Add potatoes to a large bowl and mash them with a wired potato masher.  Once potatoes are broken down, add sautéed garlic and olive oil from the cooled skillet and mix through the potatoes.  Stir in yogurt.  Slowly add milk a ¼ cup at a time and mix until well incorporated.  Salt and pepper according to taste.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!



*Also submitted at*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+