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challenge week six

Best Stir Fry Ever!

Thanks to challenger KarinElizabethMeares for another example where leftovers make meal prep and planning simple throughout the week.

Best Stir Fry Ever!

I had some leftover marinade from some Asian Sticky Wings that I used as my base for a stir fry. Red and green bell peppers and yellow onion sauteed with my chicken formed the base. I roasted some asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash that I tossed in right before serving. Some whole grain rice lightly fried with egg made for a healthful, satisfying and very filling dinner!

I am especially glad that I could repurpose my marinade. I’m making it again this week, it was that good!


Souper Idea

A good reminder from challenger DietDiva that preparing a large amount of food, like soup, at the beginning of the week makes for a quick and simple grab for lunch or busy nights for dinner.

"Souper" Idea

When dieting I do my very best to stay away from processed foods! The challenge in that is I find myself cooking almost every meal and realistically there are times it’s just not feasible. So on Monday each week I prepare a large pot of soup or stew that I keep in the fridge and pull out to reheat when we need a quick lunch or dinner on the fly. I also love to make a large salad with tons of fresh veggies so all I have to do is scoop some into a bowl to go along with a meal or as the base of a meal itself!

This soup recipe was shared by a challenger a few weeks ago and I was excited to try it out! Delicious! Can’t wait to get my pasta pot out this week!

Healthy Pasta….hum!

Thanks to challenger Cece9599 for sharing her take on this week’s mini challenge to find a new pasta.

Hi, DIR Family…. Sorry haven’t been up here been sick and now I am back. My family went crazy over the pasta dish I made, Doesn’t gave a name but here it is. Whole Wheat Penne Pasta , We grilled some chicken breast on the grill, chopped that up into cubes, add some steamed broccoli and then add some paul newmans marinara sauce tossed, add a salad [of course] and there you go it was great! And the kids loved it too. See you all tomorrow. Cece


You should be proud of yourself challenger Kalisah! This is an incredible testament to the benefits of cooking at home. Congratulations to you for bearing the burden of introducing this new habit to your family and congratulations to your husband for making such vast changes to his lifestyle.

I am so excited to report that after two months of cooking at home, my husband has lost more than 20 pounds!

Chip has never had very good eating habits. He is a rather…focused worker, and he will work all day long without ever taking a break to eat, sustaining himself with coffee and diet sodas. By the time I arrived home from work, he was hungry and grouchy, his blood sugar levels completely wacky. Too hungry to wait for dinner to cook, we would rush out to some mid-range family restaurant for dinner.

Extreme hunger forced us to order appetizers, and you know they were never healthy. Fried cheese, nachos, chips and salsa, cheese dip. Chip would practically inhale it. Then he would eat his entree and whatever I didn’t finish of mine, washing it all down with several diet sodas, of course. We’d often order a dessert for the family to split. It’s hard to resist a chocolate brownie sundae with the photo of it right there on the tabletent.

This has been Chip’s eating pattern for all of his working adult life.

When I lost my job, cooking at home was to be one way that we would cut household expenses. I’ve never been much of a cook so I was dubious at first. But I found some recipes online and I set at it. It went well, actually. Both Chip and our 16-year-old son Elijah approved of my efforts and it boosted my confidence. I spread my wings. I ventured out. I bought lunch food.

I began making turkey wraps, caesar salads, soup, or just heating up leftovers for Chip’s lunch. He’d be toiling away with his head down, often never even looking up or acknowledging the plate of food I put beside him. But he ate it. I brought him snacks of apple slices, cubed cheese, grapes, whole grain crackers, Crystal Lite tea, and he ate it.

And come dinner time, he wasn’t starving and cracked out on caffeine with loopy blood sugar levels. And his portions changed substantially. He ate one chicken breast instead of two and a half. He never went back for seconds. At first I was offended — I thought he didn’t like what I’d cooked. But then I could see he was completely satisfied by one serving.

Then one day, Chip — ever the obsessive weigher — told me that he’d lost more than 20 pounds. He wanted to go buy a new bathroom scale; he thought something was wrong with ours. But I can see it in his face, which is a completely different shape than it’s been for the past 15 years. His metabolism is no longer all out of whack from the starvation he had forced upon it. And he did it without removing any particular food groups from his diet. No wacky fad diets. Just cooking at home. I’m so proud of him.

I’m proud of me.

Chef Devin’s Week Six Mini Challenge: Find a New Pasta

Pasta isn’t a diet don’t, especially if you stay away from the white pastas and enjoy a whole grain pasta or one of the many other varieties that are becoming increasingly more available.

This week, Chef Devin is encouraging each of us to try a pasta we’ve never had before. Like quinoa pasta, brown rice pasta or even a whole grain pasta if that’s new to you.

Watch now as Devin explains the challenge and gives some examples for incorporating these new pastas.

Use these new pastas in a favorite recipe and then share with us what you thought, and what your family thought (or did they even notice?). Give it a try, then submit your entry for the Cook at Home Challenge.

See the prize for week 6 – a Circulon Infinite Cookware Package.

Enchizza Recipe from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening

This dish is a simple marriage of an enchilada and pizza that has become a favorite of mine. If you’re craving enchiladas, this is a great shortcut, because it doesn’t involve laboring over a big pot of sauce or the time-consuming process of rolling enchiladas. Canned enchilada sauce is a great ingredient to have on hand because it’s generally low-fat and has great flavor, and it can be used for more recipes than just enchiladas.

Yield: Serves 1


  • 1 (about 6-inch-diameter) yellow or white corn tortilla
  • 4 ounces lean, store-bought grilled chicken, sliced into bite-sized strips or pieces
  • 3 tablespoons medium red chili enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) finely shredded 75% light Cheddar cheese (I used Cabot’s
  • 1 tablespoon canned sliced black olives


1.    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2.    Bake the tortilla on a small nonstick baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until it is completely crisp. If air bubbles form while cooking, poke them with a fork, and then use a spatula or oven mitt to carefully press the air out. Remove the sheet from the oven.

3.    Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, gently toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce until it’s well coated. Place the chicken mixture on the tortilla, leaving 1/2 inch all around the edge bare. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of the chicken, followed by the olives.

4.    Transfer the sheet to the oven and bake the pizza for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the pizza. Let it stand for 3 minutes, then slice into 4 equal wedges. Serve immediately.

Enchizza is a recipe from Chef Devin Alexander’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening.

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