I’ve got you beat, Olive Garden.

I was craving Panda on Sunday … not just “Oh I could go for some Panda right now” … but “I really REALLY want stir fry and egg rolls, there’s a Panda 5 minutes away”. I think I was craving it because there’s one next to the UPS store I’ve been frequenting.  You pass something enough and your brain starts wanting it. I had a moment to myself and gave a kind reminder that any trip to Panda has left us not feeling well. Take matter into your own hands and make a home made stir fry! Which is exactly what I did 🙂

Seriously it couldn’t be easier. Chop up your favorite veggies; I used:
– yellow squash
– green bell pepper
– yellow bell pepper
– orange bell pepper
– onion
– broccoli
– water chestnuts
– baby corn
– bok choy
– garlic

Here’s what took some time – I had to find the best choice of stir fry sauce, originally I wanted teriyaki but the sugar content was really high so I went for stir fry sauce instead. The goal is 2g of sugar per serving, I used the entire bottle though because I wanted leftovers and MADE a ton of it! I read about 6 bottles/labels and picked the best, so do your reading!

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How could anyone NOT want to eat that beautiful rainbow of veggies?

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Yes I cheated and bough yummy, crunchy egg rolls.  They actually weren’t greasy like most of these prepared items are.  20 minutes in the oven and a delish side dish.  Regular white rice was the base; with the amount of veggies it was ok to eat 1 1/2 servings of rice (measured out, seriously do it – you’d be surprised what 1 serving actually is). Such a filling dinner and it didn’t require extra insulin for my husband, he did his normal 3 units. When we’d go to Panda, he’d take 5 units… what a difference!

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My sous chefs staring at me because I NEVER cook on Sunday’s. They were really confused.

Monday: venison sausages and polenta bake.
The sausages were from our friends in Austin. These were packaged after a hunting trip, so we’re talking FRESH and absolutely not processed in some big ol’ factory. There was pork added (fat is necessary with such a lean/gamey animal), jalapeno, and cheddar cheese chunks. WHOOOO WEE these were good and super spicy! I could only eat one saving the other two for my husband. Now onto the polenta bake; I never get these kind of casseroles to turn out properly! It’s like, there’s always too much liquid. I drain and strain but crap keeps coming out soggy! I’m getting so tired of this. The flavors were good and boy did it look pretty but I’m going to leave out the spinach and tomatoes next time.
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Tuesday: chicken alfredo.
Yes, this was a diabetic friendly dish … I KNOW, RIGHT?! Quick, to the kitchen you must go!
White sauce is typically a ‘no no’ item but again, read your labels and find the right brand for you, I picked Bertolli Light. Really flavorful, lots of garlic – YUM!

I used Dream Fields spaghetti *GASP* I didn’t use ‘alfredo noodles’ … oh please. But, but, but … you’ll have a bigger butt if you opt for the regular, carb filled noddle. Ha!

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Steam fresh broccoli (it takes 20 minutes … don’t be lazy); I baked 3 chicken breasts (evoo, s/p); stir in enough sauce (lightly coat) once the noddles are done, add in broccoli, slice the chicken and serve it on the side. I put a bit of the sauce on the chicken so it wouldn’t be dry. You don’t need a ton of sauce! It’ll weigh the noddles and broccoli down, becoming slimy and gross. You want to keep the integrity of your dish! I mean, you bought fresh broccoli so why not showcase it. Again, husband only needed 3 units of insulin, his norm/doctor recommended.   You know Olive Garden probably charges $12.99 for chicken alfredo … mine was $4.30 per serving.

Voila. 3 easy dishes that were nice to my wallet and really friendly to our health. My menu board quote for this week: “good food doesn’t have to be fancy”.  I hope I keep proving that to you with my weekly blog posts!

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watch your wallet & waistline

Another day of rain … figures, it’s my day off for errands and it’s completely gross outside.  I can handle hurrying into stores and dashing back to my car but it’s the drivers that make me nuts! A little rain and BOOM, people forget how to drive.

This of course adds to those who insist on going 15 below on a highway, chatting away on their phones or texting. Every person that I’m stuck behind and end up passing, ON THEIR PHONE. The people driving between 2 lanes, ON THEIR PHONE.  If I can’t see your eyeballs in the side view mirror, I’m going out on a limb here by guessing that you’re TEXTING IN YOUR LAP. Yesterday’s “cell phone driver” happened to be an older woman, handicap plates … she was going maybe 50 in a 65 on a 4 lane highway, hitting her breaks every few seconds … she was using her forearms to drive while texting with TWO hands. Seriously? Are your plates “handicap” because you’re stupid?!  It’s bad out here in San Antonio; I’m scared to go grocery shopping … praying no one side swipes me because the car in front of me is going too slow to get on a highway ramp … or praying that no one slams on their breaks when they see a yield sign (with no other cars in sight!).

Oh why should I think my life is more valuable than that phone call, which I’m sure just can’t wait. Or that text message, it just needs a reply RIGHT NOW.

At least when I’m home I can feel safe, I try to forget all of that craziness with cooking … I get in the zone and I don’t think about anything but the food in front of me. The last 2 nights were no exception with two new recipes. They checked off a nice list too: budget friendly, healthy, flavorful, and easy to make.

Monday: vegetarian quesadillas
The goal to use a nice variety of peppers and multiple cheeses.
Here’s my breakdown:
2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 poblano pepper – adds a nice kick (control spice level with ribs and seeds)
1 sweet tomato
Diced green onions
“Fiesta” blend shredded cheese (colby, monteray, pepper jack)

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Yes, I have a GF grill that came with quesadilla plates but you can makes these on the stove in a large pan (make sure you flip them!). Use a pizza slicer and there ya go, easy dinner!  Pull out whatever toppings float your boat, we had sour cream and “guac” (I didn’t have time to make a true guac so I bought the imitation dip, which is actually really tasty) … and refried beans as a side. Everyone can create their own quesadilla, get the family involved in the kitchen.  This is a great ‘football Sunday’ or party dish, a perfect finger food that isn’t messy.

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Tuesday: Chinese Five Spice beef kabobs (with dipping sauce) + orzo with broccoli
It was a little time consuming only because I hadn’t made it before, but now that I’ve done it … it should only take 20 minutes as the recipe says. The steaks were perfect bite size pieces and the marinade was incredibly delish.  You could make the marinade as strong or weak as you’d like (increase/decrease the five spice, keep the amount of soy sauce so the meat doesn’t dry out). I did my own take on the dipping sauce, cut the mint and added it directly to the Greek yogurt, squirted in lime juice … done.
Orzo with broccoli was just a random thought I had on Sunday while doing my weekly planning … you can buy a bag of frozen broccoli florets (no stem pieces added), let it thaw and cut the stems off with kitchen scissors. Add that to the already al dente orzo (don’t drain yet!), let the broccoli cook through at a medium boil.  Make sure you HEAVILY salt the orzo water and once I drained the pasta/broccoli, I added more salt & pepper plus a big dose of grated parm cheese.

IMG_3878 … I accidentally deleted the finished product. WHOOPSIES!
It was just the meat and orzo on the same plate. No biggie, close your eyes and imagine it 🙂

 

There you go, 2 easy meals – cook and enjoy!