Here at Fredonia, it’s finals week. And what better way to fail your exams than procrastination? A lot of times when I get stressed, I need to stop the studying for a little and take a break. I’ve found a great activity that keeps my mind off work is cooking! I will prepare a few meals at a time, time an hour or two to think about something else. Here are some healthy, awesome things you can cook while relaxing for a while!
- 4 bell peppers (any color)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 8 ounces 90-percent lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
- 1/3 cup brown lentils
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, parsley or 1/4 teaspoon dried mint
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the tops off each pepper, reserve them and hollow out the insides of the peppers of any seeds and seed walls. Sprinkle the insides with a pinch salt and a pinch pepper and set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the garlic and onions. Cook until softened, 3 minutes, and then add the beef, oregano, cinnamon and cumin. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the tomato paste until it coats the meat and is slightly darkened. Stir in the broth, rice and lentils. Remove from the heat and set aside until the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is cooled slightly. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Divide the filling among the peppers and place the tops back on. Set the peppers upright in a small baking dish, such as an 8-inch square baking dish. Whisk 1 1/2 cups water with the remaining tablespoon of tomato paste and olive oil. Pour into the dish around the peppers. Cover tightly with foil and bake until the peppers are tender and the rice and lentils are cooked through, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Carefully transfer the peppers to a serving dish and pour the cooking liquid into a medium nonstick skillet. Boil over high heat until the sauce is thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and add the dill. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce with the stuffed peppers.
Per Serving: Calories: 320; Total Fat; 11 grams; Saturated Fat: 3 grams; Protein: 20 grams; Total carbohydrates: 37 grams; Sugar: 5 grams Fiber: 8 grams; Cholesterol: 37 milligrams; Sodium: 426 milligrams
Low-Cal Fettuccine Alfredo:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-fat (2%) milk
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Neufchtel or low-fat cream cheese
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 12 ounces fresh fettuccine
- Freshly ground pepper
Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon,1 minute. Whisk in the milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the Neufchatel and parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped parsley.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and return to the pot.
Add the sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and gently toss to combine, adding more cooking water as needed to loosen. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and top with parmesan and pepper.
Per serving: Calories 490; Fat 15 g (Saturated 8 g); Cholesterol 48 mg; Sodium 734 mg; Carbohydrate 66 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 20 g
Crispy Baked “Fried” Chicken:
- 8 chicken pieces (preferably 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups cornflakes
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon ground sage
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a rack in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet.
Rinse the chicken in cold water; pat dry. In a wide bowl or on a plate, season the flour with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge each chicken piece through the flour so it’s fully coated, tap against the bowl to shake off excess flour and set aside. Discard the flour.
Here comes the part kids like best: Crush the cornflakes by placing them in a big resealable plastic bag, carefully pressing the bag to push out the air. Seal up the bag (with as little air inside as possible) and run over the flakes with a rolling pin. Open the bag and pour the crushed flakes into a wide bowl or onto a plate.
In a large bowl (big enough to dredge the chicken pieces), mix the buttermilk, mustard, cayenne pepper, paprika and sage. Give each floured chicken piece a good buttermilk bath and then roll in the cornflake crumbs.
Arrange the chicken pieces on the rack and place in the hot oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. Serve with Easy Greens.
Per serving: Calories 520; Fat 22 g (Sat. 6 g; Mono. 9 g; Poly. 5 g); Cholesterol 136 mg; Sodium 1,040 mg; Carbohydrate 41 g; Fiber 1.5 g; Protein 40 g
Enjoy, and happy finals everyone!