Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning and Sloppy Joes

A double post tonight! Both things are so quick and easy, I decided to put them both in this post. Unfortunately, I did not take any pics. I didn't think they were really needed.
First, I wanted to share my recipe for homemade taco seasoning. If you've ever looked at the sodium content of the store bought seasoning, it has a ridiculous amount! Even the so called "lower sodium" ones. This homemade mix is so easy, and you can even make up a large batch and store it for next time.
You can use this on ground turkey, or even on chicken.
Just simply mix equal parts of the following spices:
chili powder
garlic powder
onion powder
If I'm only making enough for one batch, I use about a tablespoon of each. I brown my meat first, then add the seasoning and a bit of water.
Now, for the sloppy joes. I use ground turkey, and as soon as I put it in the pan I use the Kroger brand Onion and Herb Seasoning (it's salt free!), almost a tablespoon, on top. I then brown my meat.
Once the meat is browned, you will add ketchup and mustard. (We use Heinz No Salt Added Ketchup). I use about 2 parts ketchup to 1 part mustard. The amount really depends on how sloppy you like your sloppy joes!
Since it was such a simple post tonight, keep an eye out for this week's new (for me too!) recipe, Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo! (Other highlights this week: The hubby's homemade chili, chicken stirfry, and homemade applesauce!)
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Have a great night!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Pasta

The great thing about pasta is that you can make so many different kinds. Tonight I'm going to show you how to make chicken pasta, but you could also use ground turkey or veggies. (I like to saute zucchini, squash, and onion- but I prefer to do this in the summer time when I can get the squash and zucchini fresh from our garden.)
This is another quick and easy recipe (a recurring theme here at Heart Healthy Mama!).
1 lb chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 jar low sodium pasta sauce (we use Trader Joe's No Salt Added)
2 cloves garlic
multi grain pasta noodles

Start by gathering your ingredients.

Heat a little bit of canola oil in a non stick pan, and add chicken.

Meanwhile, get a pot of water on the stove, and turn the heat on under it.
While your meat is cooking, mince your garlic. My favorite little trick is this awesome gadget pictured below- you just peel your garlic cloves, stick them in the top, and roll it across the counter. It minces them up perfectly for you! The gadget is made by a company called Chef'n.

See how nicely it minces?

When your chicken is cooked through, reduce heat to low, add your sauce and minced garlic, and cover. Let it simmer while your noodles are cooking. (Water should be boiling by now. We also like to add a bit of minced garlic to the pasta water too. We LOVE garlic in this house, and it's great for your heart!)

When noodles are done, drain them, return them to the pan and mix in your chicken and sauce mixture.

I found a great low fat, low sodium loaf of bread at Trader Joe's. (Trust me, not easy to find a fresh baked loaf with those requirements!! Especially the sodium!)

If you're feeling extra fancy, slice up the bread and serve with a dish of olive oil to dip into.

Serve with a yummy fresh salad, and you're good to go!
Give it a try, and please be sure to leave comments- they make my day!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicken Joes!

Here it is, the first recipe, Chicken Joes. Now, I have to start by apologizing that there is no picture of the final product sitting on a bun- as I was cooking this and taking pics, I was also trying to sign my daughter's Girl Scout troop up for Cookie Booths, so it was a bit hectic!
I am a fan of quick dinners, and that's what you will find here on Heart Healthy Mama! This is so quick and easy, and even my picky 5 year old will eat these!

In this recipe, I will also share some of my favorite brands for items that I used.
Here is the ingredient list:
1lb diced chicken breast pieces *(see note below regarding chicken)
3/4 cup onion;chopped
1/2 cup green pepper;chopped
2 cups no salt-added tomato sauce (the only brand I could find was Trader Joe's -see the pic below)
2 tbsp tomato paste (Hunt's is extremely low in sodium)
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
whole wheat hamburger buns

**Note on chicken: If you are serving more than 4 people (1 sandwich each), I would add more chicken. You can use frozen pre-cooked chicken if you like, but that generally has more sodium. So I just chop up fresh chicken breasts into small pieces.

Start by chopping up your onion and green pepper. I like to finely dice mine, because I don't like big chunks of veggies!

Gather all your ingredients together! That's my method, cause I like to make sure I have everything I need, and I like to have it nearby and ready to grab!

Start by browning your chicken in a nonstick pan. When it's just about cooked through, add your green peppers and onions and cook until onions are translucent.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve on whole wheat buns.

It's so simple! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Happy cooking!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to Heart Healthy Mama!

It's the official launch of my new blog, Heart Healthy Mama! (Formerly "The True Adventures of Cakegirl"). Last August my husband was diagnosed with Heart Disease, and underwent emergency surgery to put a stent in his heart. Needless to say, this was a life changing event for our family! It made us take a long, hard look at a lot of things, and one of the biggest was looking at the way we ate.
We really didn't think we were doing too bad in that department until we met with my husband's dietician and she started pointing out the little things that we took for granted- that were actually BIG things. We never looked at the sodium content in anything. And let me tell you, once you do start looking, it can blow your mind.
The recommended daily allowance of sodium for adults is around 2400 milligrams, 1500 for a heart patient (though they are now trying to lower it to 1500 for everyone.) It may seem like a lot, but next time you're rooting around in your pantry, take a peek at the food packages.
There's the usual suspects- pretzels, potato chips, etc. But then there are ones you don't really think about. Anything prepared from a box (flavored rice or noodles, meal kits, etc)- loaded with sodium! Most pre-packaged snacks are filled with sodium and saturated fat.
Our pantry has changed a lot in the past few months, and by doing some research (and reading a LOT of packages) we have found a lot of great products, which I will be sure to share with you here. We also eat a lot more fresh fruits and veggies.
So, in this blog it's my goal to share with you some of the new recipes I've discovered and old recipes that I've modified to fit our new guidelines. I also welcome you to share ideas and recipes of your own, and favorite products and things that you enjoy.
Now, don't get me wrong - I still occasionally indulge in a fast food meal, or a rich dessert. I'm a firm believer of trying to do things in moderation-I don't think you should completely deprive yourself of treats
But I can tell you that by eating healthier, I feel better, I've lost weight (even without working out, like I should be doing, and I really will one of these days!), and I'm hopefully passing on good habits to our daughter.
Keep an eye out- this week I will be sharing my first recipe, Chicken Joes!
And here is my first product recommendation: for a super yummy, easy, fat free dessert try Trader's Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix. Surprisingly yummy and fudgy (my favorite type of brownie), they are great plain, and I bet they would make an awesome brownie sundae with Edy's Fat Free Ice Cream!
Have a wonderful week!