Bonus Post: Daily Bites and Sunday Cooking

Here’s what I ate today:


Today’s food choices, from upper right: jambalaya bowl leftovers from Genghis Grill; cheesy barbecue turkey meatloaf minis; roast beef slices with a cheese stick; trenta sized unsweetened passion tea with Splenda from Starbucks; multivitamin x2.

I cooked up a storm today, as I’ve done every Sunday for the last month or so.  It’s become my new habit, and I enjoy spending time in the kitchen because for me, cooking is relaxing.  It is also one of the few creative outlets I have.  Not gonna lie, lesson planning is the other.  Sad, isn’t it?

Anyway…I decided a long time ago that if I was going to be successful at this weight loss process that I needed to have meals ready to eat every day so that I did not fall into my old habit of “I’m tired, let’s go out to eat” or driving through somewhere to pick something up to eat for dinner.  Those are two behaviors that I knew would lead me down a path of self-destruction (because let’s face it, I was doing a pretty good job of that to start with!) and I knew they needed to stop because they were incongruous with what I was trying to accomplish post-op.  So I began planning my meals and then investing the time each Sunday to put them together.

Today I had planned to make a modified version of a meatloaf recipe I’d created a while back that was wildly successful here at home and with others.  Long before I had surgery, I wrote a recipe blog called Mexcellent Eats where I posted recipes for things that my husband and I would eat when I embarked on my last serious effort to lose weight.  I was doing Weight Watchers at the time, and was learning to modify recipes to fit the lifestyle I was leading at that time.  The meatloaf recipe I developed was a really good one, subbing in ground sirloin for regular ground beef, oatmeal for bread crumbs, and egg whites for whole eggs.  I knew though that post-op, this wasn’t going to work, necessarily.  I also knew that portion control would be critical.

So here’s what I made, and how I made it:

Cheesy barbecue meatloaf minis made with 99% lean ground turkey bump the protein content but still have plenty of flavor.

Cheesy barbecue meatloaf minis made with 99% lean ground turkey bump the protein content but still have plenty of flavor.

Cheesy Barbecue Meatloaf Minis (modified from my own recipe here)

  • 1 package Jennie-O 99% lean ground turkey (20 ounces)
  • 1 12 ounce package light pork breakfast sausage (I used HEB Brand)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup dry oatmeal (quick oats are fine)
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite barbecue rub (I used Spice House’s Brisket of Love)
  • 1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce, divided (I used Central Market’s Smokin’ Hot Mama flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used Grafton Village 4- year aged cheddar)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  In a skillet, saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.  Place the two meats, the egg whites, the barbecue rub, the oatmeal, 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce, the cheese and the cooked onions in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  In lieu of a mixer, you can do this with your hands in a large bowl.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Trust me…parchment makes cleanup a snap, and releases the mini loaves easily!  To create 3.5 ounce portions, I used this tool to ensure that all the loaves were the same size.  I was able to get 16 portions from the mixture.  If you do not have a disher like that, you can use a measuring cup to measure out 1/2 cup of the meatloaf mixture onto the cookie sheet for each portion.

When you have portioned out all the meatloaf mixture, use a basting brush to brush the remaining barbecue sauce over top of each mini-loaf.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of one reads 180 degrees.  Makes 16 mini loaves with the following nutritional information per MyFitnessPal:

157 calories, 16 g protein, 10 g carbs, 6 g fat

I also made mini lasagnas, which I modified from a recipe I found long ago at Can You Stay For Dinner?  I dislike ricotta cheese intensely–it’s a texture thing for me.   So I decided to fill the wonton wrappers with a meaty sauce topped with mozzarella cheese instead.  I also made my own homemade Italian sausage instead of buying it from the store, and it turned out awesome!  These are a little more carb-heavy than I like my meals to be, but I still get the taste of eating pasta without the pasta, and all the carbs that come with it.

Mini lasagnas made with wonton wrappers make it easy to control portions while giving you a taste of some yummy comfort food.

Mini lasagnas made with wonton wrappers make it easy to control portions while giving you a taste of some yummy comfort food.

Mini Lasagnas (modified from a recipe at Can You Stay For Dinner?)

  • 14 ounces cooked Italian sausage (pork or turkey; I used pork)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (I used Cucina Antica brand)
  • 1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 3 tsp minced basil (I buy Dorot brand from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 24 medium wonton wrappers
  • canola oil spray

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In a skillet, cook the sausage at medium-high heat, then drain it of the fat.  Add the meat back to the pan with the marinara and reduce the heat to low and add the garlic and basil.  Stir frequently to distribute them throughout the meat sauce mixture.

While the meat is cooking, spray the cups of a muffin tin with the canola oil spray.  You will need two wonton wrappers for each cup.  Lay them at 90 degree angles to one another and gently press them into each cup.

When you have finished laying the wonton wrappers into each cup, stir the Romano cheese into the meat sauce mixture.  Using a tablespoon, spoon two tablespoons of the meat mixture into each cup.  Top each cup with a tablespoon of mozzarella cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees.  I took them out of the tins to cool off on a cooling rack so that the bottoms did not get soggy in the pan.  I plan to set them in cupcake liners for storage in the freezer so that I can enjoy some later!

Nutrition information from MyFitnessPal for each mini lasagna:

186 calories, 12 g protein, 15 g carbs, 8 g fat.

2 responses to “Bonus Post: Daily Bites and Sunday Cooking

  1. Those mini-meatballs look great! I’m going to try adding gelatin next time I make meatloaf. Cook’s Illustrated swears by it! I think it will make it more luscious without adding any calories, really.

    • They are really good! I had one today for lunch with a little broccoli and cheese and it was awesome! I am going to have another one tomorrow for lunch, and dinner too. I have to eat dinner at school since it is Open House tomorrow night so I’ll be packing pretty much all my food for tomorrow with me.

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