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My husband and I usually have at least one nice dinner together at home on the weekends.  Going out to eat regularly can be pocket draining on a small budget, so try improvising that restaurant meal in your own kitchen. 

Here was our Saturday night menu, but this one would be a great Sunday family dinner as well!  The meal follows my theory that colorful food is good (sorry, I’m not talking about M&M candies here) and good for you.

Italian Meatloaf, Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips, & Steamed Green Beans

ITALIAN MEATLOAF

Not your typical, momma’s ketchup topped meatloaf.  Even if you’re not a meatloaf fan you may want to try this easy recipe remix.  Made with lean ground turkey or chicken, lots of flavorful herbs and fresh cheeses, finished with a roasted basil tomato topping.  A large piece comes in at only 260 calories!  How’s that for a slice of healthy comfort food?

Don’t have much time?  Make this ahead or the night before and bake, or bake earlier and reheat.  It almost takes better the next day as leftovers.

ITALIAN MEATLOAF –  serves 6

    • 1 lb LEAN GROUND TURKEY OR CHICKEN, 93/7
    • 1 EGG, large
    • 2 clove GARLIC, minced, (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
    • 1/4 cup MILK, NONFAT
    • 1/2 medium ONION, finely chopped
    • 1/3 cup SUN DRIED TOMATOES, chopped (not packed in oil)
    • 1/2 cup CRUMBLED FETA CHEESE, REDUCED FAT
    • 1/4 cup PARMESAN CHEESE, FRESH, shredded
    • 3/4 cup WHEAT BREAD CRUMBS, (divided)
    • 1/2 tsp SALT, SEA
    • 1 tbsp PESTO WITH BASIL
    • 1/2 tsp ROSEMARY, CRUSHED, DRIED
    • 1/2 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
    • 2 tsp ITALIAN SEASONING
    • 2 tsp PARSLEY, DRIED
ROASTED BASIL TOMATOES
  • 16 oz CHERRY TOMATOES, halved or whole
  • 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN, 100% first cold pressed unrefined
  • 1 tsp BASIL, DRIED, (or 2 t. fresh chopped – add after baking)
  • 1 item SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour milk over 1/2 cup of the bread, let set about 4-5 minutes. Mix all ingredients (except roasted basil tomato ingredients) together with the soaked bread crumbs (be careful not to overwork the meat when combining). Place meatloaf mixture into a sprayed 9×5″ loaf pan or 3-mini loaf pans, top with remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs. Spray tops with cooking spray or olive oil and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through.

2. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and top with roasted basil tomatoes (recipe below). Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and fresh grated parmesan cheese if desired.  Serving size: 1 slice meatloaf with 1/6 of tomato topping.

3. To prepare Roasted Basil Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss tomatoes with olive oil and seasonings, place on baking sheet. Roast in the oven 15-20 minutes or until start to carmelize and brown. Serve over meatloaf or grilled chicken.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 260 calories, 11g fat, 770mg sodium, 17g carb, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 23g protein

ROSEMARY SWEET POTATO CHIPS

serves 2

  • 1 large SWEET POTATO OR REGULAR WHITE POTATO
  • 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN, 100% first cold pressed unrefined
  • 1 item SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 1 tsp ROSEMARY, FRESH, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)*

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the ends off washed potato. Using a mandolin or food processor fitted with slicing attachment, thinly slice potato. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray then place potato slices in a single layer on it.

2. Brush or spray tops of potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes at 450, flip potatoes and rotate pan if needed; return to oven and reduce temp to 375 degrees. Bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy (may need to remove some chips earlier if browning quicker than others).

3. Place baked chips on a paper towel and sprinkle with rosemary while hot and more sea salt if needed. Serving size: 1/2 the potato or batch. Easy to double or triple the recipe, bake multiple pans or in batches.  Great without the rosemary too! Good appetizer or snack.

*Tip: when using dried herbs rub them between the palms of your hands before adding to recipes.  This “wakes up” the herbs and releases more of their wonderful flavors.

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 140 calories, 7g fat, 19g carb, 3g fiber, 8g sugar, 2g protein

The green beans are fresh-cut (or frozen) and steamed with chopped onion.  I just add sea salt, pepper and red pepper flake for a little kick.

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