Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pecans and Blue Cheese

If I could face plant into a pile of all things Fall, I would. I know, I know – just living up to all of the internet memes out there. But I have my reasons…

Overhead_SproutsSalad

It’s not because of Starbucks…although their Salted Caramel Mocha does make a good case for itself.

It’s not because of scarves. Because no matter how many times I pin it, I still don’t actually believe there are 12 ways to tie a scarf cause they all turn out the same when I do it. I just get frustrated and give up.

It’s not because of the boots. Okay, I love boots – but I love looking at them in stores more than I actually love buying and wearing them. I’d rather a fancy pair of heels any day…I know, totally going against the grain here.

What I CAN (and do) get behind in the Fall are the colors (reds, yellows, jewel tones!), the smells (cinnamon, fires, pumpkin!) and the flavors (all of them!)…and yes, smells and flavors are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!

Well here, we’re all about the flavors. Enter a delicious side salad that screams Fall. Roasted brussels sprouts? Toasted pecans? Bring it on!

Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pecans and Blue Cheese (2 servings/4 WW points per serving)

Ingredients_SproutsSalad

½ pound uncooked Brussels sprouts
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. minced garlic
Dash cracked black pepper & kosher salt
2 Tbsp. chopped/halved pecans
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

Whisk together shallot, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oven to 350. Thinly slice sprouts and arrange on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange pecans on baking sheet. Bake (both) for 5 minutes to soften sprouts and toast pecans.

SlicedandDressedSprouts

Add sprouts to a small bowl and drizzle with dressing, stir to coat. Divide and top with 1 Tbsp. each pecans and blue cheese.

BrusselsSproutSalad_cookingonthebrightside

Note that this is a small portion to be enjoyed as a side. We enjoyed it with some Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops and green beans for a delicious meal. I’m pretty sure red wine was involved as well, so there’s that.

On that note, hope y’all have a great weekend!

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Eating Light – Mexican Quinoa Casserole

Today, I invite all of you to head on over to my sister’s (aka my Biffer) blog to check out my guest post. I was able to contribute to Day 10 of her 31 day challenge on blogging about LIGHT – so I provided a recipe for eating lightBaked Mexican Quinoa Casserole

My sister has been on a major quinoa kick – so I figured I’d follow along. Check out my recipe for Mexican Quinoa Casserole on her site: Our Morning Glories.

It’s an awesome recipe for Meatless Monday – but honestly, I ate it for two meals after that! It’s packed with protein so it fills you up without filling you out (see what I did there?). So stop by her blog, stay a while and read about my stinking adorable nephews, and make sure to give this recipe a try!

Mexican Quinoa Casserole_cookingonthebrightside

Also, if you love you some quinoa like we do, check out some of these other recipes she has posted:

Cashew Quinoa

Quinoa Apple Salad

Thai Veggie Quinoa (where the broccoli is raw, right Biffer?)

Lemon-Cilantro Quinoa

And of course, you can find Buffalo Quinoa Cakes on my blog. Because here, we do all the buffalo-flavored things!

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Grilled Caesar(ish) Salad

Friends, we are closing in quickly on my favorite time of year. I live in Memphis, TN, so sometimes it takes Fall a while to really settle in. I say that on an overcast, cloudy, chilly day – but yesterday, it was like 90 degrees.

I am one of the many who love me some Fall. And I’m not even a huge fan of the pumpkin spice craze. I say bring on the football, the foliage and the fire pits. I love the colors. I love the smells. And of course…the clothes.

However, before we get deep into sweater weather – there’s a glorious few weeks that I can squeeze in some good quality grilling time without feeling like I’m about to pass out from the heat. So before you consume too many Pumpkin Spice Lattes and bundle up in your scarves and furry boots, let’s enjoy this mild-tempered Mother Nature before she buries us in my least favorite task of raking leaves…

A few years ago, at a local establishment here in Memphis, the husband and I ordered a salad to start off our meal. It was not just a salad. It was a life-changing salad. Why? It kind of tasted like a cheeseburger…bizarre, right? No – it was just grilled! So obviously, I had to try this on my own. I’m not one to turn on a grill for 5 minutes of work, but I’d probably do it just for this salad. I made a simple Caesar-like dressing (embrace the Worcestershire sauce, it has anchovies in it so it gives that salty flavor – but you can always add the real deal!) and sprinkled shredded Parmesan on top. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Triggerfish with Toasted Pecan Butter

Wow friends, I knew I had been a bad blogger lately but I didn’t realize how bad! I’m sorry.

Perhaps in order to make it up to the masses, I’ll share a creation I’ve been holding for a little while.

CloseUp-Triggerfish

You see, a while back (about 2 year ago) my parents stopped at a nearby mobile seafood market and picked up a variety of things, including Triggerfish, which ended up in my kitchen. Having never done anything with this fish before, I just did what I knew best – sauteed it and covered it with a delicious sauce of butter, wine, lemon and capers. It was delicious – so I shared it with all of you wonderful people.

Then something crazy happened. I realized that I was not the only one who was at a loss for how to prepare Triggerfish. Because people were Googling their hearts out for recipes. And coming to my little blog here.

Now, this blog is a hobby for me right now – my work has been crazy lately and that’s fine. But I get really excited when I get 30+ visits in a day. Well, my Triggerfish recipe started picking up steam a while back – 20-30 hits a day. Then the husband (who also geeks out a little over stats) wanted to see how many I had overall.

As of today, that little recipe I whipped up has over 10,000 views. Which is crazy to me – but obviously, y’all want some Triggerfish!

Well, it’s your lucky day because I aim to please. Hopefully you like this one as much as the last…let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see – I love hearing from my readers!

Triggerfish with Toasted Pecan Butter (Serves 2 / 9 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

8 oz. Triggerfish, cut into 2 portions

2 Tbsp. fat-free milk

1 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. peanut oil

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. reduced calorie margarine

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cayenne pepper, salt, pepper

Lemon

Just a reminder that the skin on Triggerfish can be pretty tough – so I score it before cooking with it to keep the fish from curling too much.

Heat your oven to 350. Layer your chopped pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In a shallow dish, mix together flour, a dash of cayenne, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper.

In another shallow dish, add milk. Dip fish fillet in the milk and then dredge in flour mixture.

Dredge and Saute_Triggerfish with Pecan Butter

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add fish and saute 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through.

While fish is cooking, melt butter in a small skillet. Add pecans and a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne. Stir and pour over fillets. Voila – super easy and delicious meal in under 30 minutes!

Triggerfish with Toasted Pecan Butter

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

So the husband and I recently cut the cord.

We are a cable-less household. Honestly…it’s a lot better than I thought it would be. The true test will be during football season – I might will not be such a good sport if I don’t get to wake up to College Game Day every Saturday.

Anyways, the first real challenge came a few weeks ago. When the hubby and I first started dating – as in the second time we ever laid eyes on each other – we discovered we both loved the same TV show. 24. So, we rotated “hosting” 24 night by cooking for each other – obviously that’s how I hooked him!

Well for those of you who are fans, you know that 24 has just started back after several years! It was very exciting news. So, on a Monday night (which was also Cinco de Mayo) – knowing that we no longer have a DVR to record such exciting television events, I found myself in a throw back state of mind. I got home late from work, was all ready to throw together our “Meatless Monday” and “Cinco de Mayo” meal while enjoying the return of Jack Bauer. Woops – forgot it started an hour early. Oh how long it had been since I had to cook during commercials – running back and forth when I’d hear “it’s back on!”. Clearly I had gotten spoiled!

Luckily, the meal I planned was super simple. The longest thing is roasting the vegetables, which doesn’t take much time at all – but man it is so delicious. And it’s really filling, which is awesome. Give this a try on your next “Meatless Monday” or any other day of the week!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (Serves 4 / 7 WW points per serving)

Ingredients

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained

1/2 small red onion, chopped

2 small jalapeno peppers, diced

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

8 tortillas (I use Ole Extreme Wellness, High-Fiber Low-Carb)

Heat oven to 400.

In a lightly greased roasting pan, add potatoes, black beans, onion, jalapeno, seasonings and cilantro. Toss to mix and roast for 20-25 minutes.

Black Bean and Sweet potato - for roasting

Divide cheese evenly in the center of the tortillas. Spoon veggie filling on top, fold tortillas into the center, then tuck in the ends. Add to a baking dish and bake 10-12 minutes.

Burritos-StepbyStep

Serve with salsa for dipping and enjoy!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend y’all!

 

 

Barbecue Chicken Enchiladas

Y’all – I am trying my very hardest not to be an incredibly jealous person right now.

And quite honestly, I think I’m a jealous person by nature. Obviously, we all are – it’s just a human trait. But I live in Memphis. I work downtown. It’s beautiful outside. And it’s the third weekend in May.

What does that mean? Well, for those of you not from these parts – Memphis has a month long celebration every May (dubbed “Memphis in May”) and the third weekend, this weekend, is the World Championship Barbecue Festival – aka “Barbecue Fest”.

It’s an awesome weekend if you’re on a team. Or know someone on a team. Or, you know, are married to somebody on a team. However, the past few years, the husband has been in lock-down study mode so we haven’t been able to attend. So we were of course pumped to be able to go this year – until he found out he had to go out of town for work.

So yeah, I’ve tried not to be jealous. Of the smell of barbecue wafting through downtown as I walked to grab a turkey sandwich and head back to work. Of the pictures of people enjoying the beautiful, cool, sunny day down on the river just steps away from my office. And the thought of those same individuals, parking a chair in the grass, holding a cold beer, doing some high-quality people watching and shoveling down all of the delicious, smoky, sticky barbecue they want this weekend.

I might not get to celebrate with them – but I do have my ways of celebrating in spirit. Enter barbecue chicken enchiladas. Perfect to enjoy on your patio with a cold beer or two! Happy BBQ Fest weekend everybody!

Barbecue Chicken Enchiladas (Makes 5 enchiladas / 5 WW pts. per enchilada)

Ingredients

6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded

5 tortillas (I use Ole Extreme Wellness, High Fiber Low Carb)

3/4 c. shredded fat-free cheddar (divided)

1/4 c. shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

3 Tbsp. chopped green onion

3/4 c. barbecue sauce (divided)

10 oz. red enchilada sauce

1 Tbsp. barbecue seasoning

3 Tbsp. chopped red onion

Heat oven to 350.

Begin by mixing 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cheddar together in a small bowl. Toss shredded chicken with mixed cheese, red onion, barbecue seasoning and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.

In another medium bowl, mix together enchilada sauce and remaining 1/2 cup barbecue sauce.

BBQChickenEnchiladas-Assembly

Lay out your tortillas and start with 1/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each one. Fold lengthwise, and then tuck the ends under. Repeat until chicken mixture is gone.

Spread a very thin layer of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add your enchiladas and pour remaining sauce on top. Bake 20 minutes and remove. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and return to oven, baking another 5-7 minute until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling.

PlatedBBQEnchilada

Sprinkle with green onion and serve.

BBQChickenEnchiladas-CookingontheBrightSide

Okay, I’m a little more in the spirit now!

 

 

Homemade Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce

The day finally arrived friends.

My hubby hit the big 3-0 this month. I was pumped. Partly because I love birthdays in general. But mainly because, well, he can’t make fun of me from his 20’s anymore. The playing field has been leveled.

Woo hoo!

Anyways, apologizes for the lack of posting. For birthday celebration, we rented some cabins at a nearby state park and headed there with some friends for the weekend – so I was busy planning, cooking and packing to gear up for our big adventure in the woods! It was awesome. The kitchen was certainly a challenge. No dishwasher. I made it – but I can’t say the same for my manicure.

Then last weekend was spent playing catch up on another bathroom renovation plus Easter festivities!

So, now I’m back…with a delicious recipe.

I had been craving some blue cheese chips. Not like, out of a bag flavored stuff – I mean the appetizer you go out and buy for like, $8 a plate – fresh chips, warm blue cheese fondue. *Drool*

Well, I figured I’d attempt them myself and y’all – these are seriously yummy and easy! They went great with my buffa-faux chicken tenders too. Duh.

BCChips_FauxTenders

With some very thrilling NBA playoff games going on, this could be the perfect addition to your dinner table! GO GRIZZLIES!

Homemade Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce (Serves 2 / 4 WW pts. each)

Ingred

1 medium russet potato

1 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/4 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

Salt and pepper to taste

2 green onions, chopped

Heat oven to 375.

Slice potato into very thin slices, not quite transparent – you can always use a mandolin, but I just rocked it by hand. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, add slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-12 minutes on a low rack, then move to upper rack and bake another 10 minutes.

While potatoes are baking, pour milk in a small saucepan. Bring heat to medium-low and whisk in flour. Then whisk in blue cheese crumbles until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Chips and Blue Cheese steps

Once your potatoes are crisp, remove from oven and add to plate. Pour blue cheese sauce over top and sprinkle with sliced green onions.

Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce

And of course, devour.

Have a great weekend y’all!