Easy Peasy Paella

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Paella is basically food of the gods…or the beautiful people of Spain, so basically the same thing. Lindsey (one of my best friends) and I are totally obsessed with all things Spanish. She spent about 9 months in the gorgeous city of Granada & since we’re both International Studies majors with focuses in Spanish our ideal Friday night involves us watching La Reina del Sur, drinking Spanish or Argentinean red wine, and cooking paella. Nothing is better.

Now I’m sure true Spaniards would cringe at my recipe. Although authentic is pretty much always the way to go, we have no patience when it comes to paella. When something tastes this good it’s really tough to wait the full 6-7 hours that a traditional paella would take to make. So, our recipe is a much faster, much easier version of this beloved Spanish dish. TexMex paella for the win!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 c brown rice
  • 3/4 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. shrimp
  • 1 tsp EVOO + spray
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • handful of chopped parsley (about 1/3 c.)
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 c. quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 1/2 chicken breasts (12 oz), cut into chunks
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas

MAKES 4 servings

Start by cooking your rice (ideally in a rice cooker so you can ignore the rice while cooking everything else). Season the chicken and shrimp with salt & pepper and sauté the chicken in a large skillet with 1 tsp. olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic. Add in the shrimp after the chicken has turned white. If you need more oil, feel free to add olive oil spray.

Begin chopping up the veggies. Remove the chicken & shrimp from the skillet after fully cooked, and add in the veggies. Spray with olive oil and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is caramelized.

Next add the rice, paprika, saffron, chicken & shrimp to the skillet. The anticipation should be building – it’s practically paella. Let all the flavors sit together (for at least 5 minutes, I know patience is a virtue) and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Stir it up and serve each plate with a lemon wedge and top it off with chopped parsley. QUE RICO.

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Paella is definitely one of my all-time favorite foods. That said, it’s not the most diet-friendly meal, but I’ve made it much healthier than most traditional recipes. This paella ranks in at about 576 calories a serving which may seem like a lot, but the good thing about paella is that not an ingredient in it is bad for you! If you’re hoping for something a little lighter, you could replace the chicken with more veggies (asparagus & bell peppers are great in this) and use only olive oil spray. This just happens to be the way we like to make it and let me tell you, it’s seriously addictive.

Enjoy! Be sure to comment if you have a favorite way to make paella or if you try out the recipe and become an addict like us. Salud!

-SkinnyGirl

Click here for nutrition facts 

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Get Him to the Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs

I just had to slip a pun in the title, I couldn’t resist. But really, everyone should get to enjoy these greek meatballs. This is a recipe I made probably a month ago but am just now getting around to posting – this semester really has been BUSY. Regardless, this is probably my favorite recipe yet! It has everything anyone could ever want: fresh mint, greek yogurt, lemony goodness and feta cheese. Yes, it is essentially like taking a little bite of heaven.

I got inspired after watching a cooking show on PBS about making meatballs. According to the all-knowing woman on television, the secret to a delicious meatball is to have both cheese and breadcrumbs in the recipe and I’m glad I took her advice. Even though this a low-calorie meatball, it doesn’t come out dry at all. Now believe it or not, but one serving of these magical meatballs (3 of them) is only 226 calories which is seriously amazing.

Get your taste buds ready. You’ll need:

  • 1 lb 99% fat free ground turkey breast
  • 3/4 c. fat free crumbled feta
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread, toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt & pepper
  • 1 packet of fresh mint (about a handful), roughly chopped
  • 2 oz. plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

*MAKES about 12 meatballs

I decided to make this meal with a side of the Near East blend of brown rice and bulgur. Just to make it extra tasty, when I popped it into my handy dandy rice cooker I added a slice of red onion and about a cup of mushrooms. Another secret: always cook your rice in chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarians)! The flavor is so much better and it barely adds any calories.

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While the rice cooker works its magic,  start the meatballs by toasting a slice of your favorite whole grain bread. Once it’s toasted, destroy the slice like you’re a kid that just discovered play dough (totally rip it apart). Voilá – homemade breadcrumbs! Set them inside a large bowl and add the spices, ground turkey, HALF of the fresh mint, egg, chopped shallots and feta cheese.

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Again with the playdough references, squish together all the ingredients and begin to shape them into about 1.5 inch meatballs. Spray non-stick spray onto a cookie sheet and pop the meatballs into the oven at 350 degrees.

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After about 10 minutes turn the meatballs over and put them back into the oven so the other side gets to bake for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile mix together the juice of half a lemon and about 2 oz. of plain greek yogurt to make the yogurt sauce. This is what you end up getting:

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Looks pretty darn fancy huh? Just top off the meatballs with a stripe of the yogurt sauce and the remaining fresh mint. Delicious, and perfect for amping up your Instagram game 😛 Enjoy!

Click here for nutrition facts! 3 meatballs = 1 serving