Posts Tagged 'Healthy Recipes'

Simple Strawberry Smoothie

Dr. O and I have been in an undeniable breakfast rut.  I love egg sandwiches, but we’ve been eating them for breakfast almost every morning (weekends included) for months and months and months now.  I broke the monotony a bit last week because I needed to use strawberries left over from my party, but my go-to strawberry recipe (oatmeal with macerated strawberries) takes almost 15 minutes. In my quest to find a quick breakfast that would make use of the leftover fruit, I came up with a simple smoothie recipe.  Now that the party berries are gone, I’ve bought more so I can keep making this healthy, filling breakfast.

Simple Strawberry Smoothie
Makes about 20 ounces

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulls removed
1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar  (or more to taste)
6 ice cubes (exclude if using frozen fruit)

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Process on the highest setting until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Simple Strawberry Smoothie

I love this smoothie!  The consistency is just right: thin enough to be drinkable, but thick enough to feel like a satisfying meal.  With just a hint of added sweetener, the flavor of the berries really shines through.  Plus, it’s infinitely adaptable since you can substitute any type of fruit for the strawberries.  I made one yesterday using a banana and some frozen mixed berries I had in the freezer.

The recipe does make enough for two people to share, but I’ll admit that I can put down a whole recipe by myself.  With only 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points for the whole smoothie, I figure it’s a great source protein, calcium, and vitamin C and a healthy way to start the day.

TIPS:  If you’re really in a hurry in the mornings, put all of the ingredients (except the ice cubes) in the blender jar the night before, put the lid on, and stash it in the refrigerator.  All you’ll have to do the next morning is blend for two minutes and go.

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Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad

I have two dilemmas on the grocery front this week.  One, I have so many beers in my refrigerator right now (party leftovers!) that I barely have room for anything else. Two, I have significant quantities of strawberries and grapes that I need to use.  I was able to respect the space issue and make use of some of the grapes with today’s recipe: Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad from the June 2002 issue of Cooking Light.  Luckily, I had both green and red grapes left over from the party, and I had all of the other ingredients on hand except for the chicken breast (minimal fridge space needed) and the red onion (pantry storage).

Here’s the recipe:

Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad
Serves 4 (approximately 1 1/4 cups per serving)

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup seedless green grapes, halved
3/4 cup seedless red grapes, halved
2/3 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Method:
Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sprinkle over chicken.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and sauté 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Wrap handle of skillet in foil; bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; refrigerate until chilled. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, green grapes, and next 6 ingredients (green grapes through orange juice) in a large bowl. Add chopped chicken, and toss to coat. Sprinkle salad with walnuts.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2002

Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad

This salad is soooooo good.  So good!  It’s super fresh tasting (the grapes), kicky (the red onion, paprika, and chili powder), and bright (the orange juice and vinegar).  The crunch of the toasted walnuts and the celery is fantastic as well.  I was initially a bit nervous about my chicken because my spices ended up blackening on the stove instead of browning, but the end result was flavorful, juicy meat.

Not that I advocate trickery, but I think this is one of those salads you could get away with serving to people who claim to hate mayonnaise.  There’s such a small quantity of it and it’s so diluted by the orange juice and the vinegar that you can’t even tell it’s in there.  Evil, I know.  What isn’t so evil is the nutritional value of the salad: only 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points per serving!

Anyway, I acknowledge that I made this today because I already had most of the ingredients, but I would absolutely go out of my way to get the ingredients in order to make this again.  It’s definitely going into the book club/casual lunch/barbecue buffet recipe cache.

Recipe link: Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad

North Woods Bean Soup

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been cooking much.  I felt like I had to break the takeout cycle for at least the beginning of this week, though, since we’re about to have an indulgent weekend in honor of Dr. O’s birthday.  When I went back into the kitchen on Monday night, I had several recipe requirements: easy, tasty, fast, preferably healthy.  It certainly hasn’t been soup weather in Denver lately (it was 74° on Monday!), but I had a soup recipe that fit the bill perfectly: North Woods Bean Soup from the January 2002 issue of Cooking Light.  I first made it last winter, and the fact that I could easily recall how delicious it was made it worthy of a repeat.  Here’s the recipe:

North Woods Bean Soup
Makes five 1 1/2-cup servings

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1 cup baby carrots, halved
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 ounces turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves

Method:
Heat a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and kielbasa; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, pepper, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Place 2 cups of the soup in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Return the puréed mixture to pan. Simmer an additional 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.

North Woods Bean Soup

This soup is so good.  It has so many of my favorite ingredients – turkey kielbasa, carrots, fresh spinach – and puréeing part of the soup makes it seem rich and hearty (instead of super healthy).  This is another recipe where I need to go several rounds with the salt and pepper to get the taste I want (Cooking Light recipes are never salty enough for me!), but the extra effort is worth it.  I’m not asking for cooler weather, but if it comes, I’ll just use it as an excuse to make another batch of this soup.

TIPS: This probably has more to do with the size of my carrot pieces than it has to do with the lower boiling temperature of water at high altitude, but I had to extend my initial simmering time (immediately after the broth was added) to 8 minutes instead of 5 minutes to adequately cook the carrots.  I figured they wouldn’t purée very well if they were too firm.

Recipe link: North Woods Bean Soup

Mexican Potato Omelet

January was a month of dates with friends and lots of naughty, naughty food. Croque Madame with loaded potato soup (heavy cream!) at The Squeaky Bean? Yes, please!  Massive plate of fries (half bacon mac and cheese, half buffalo) at Jonesy’s Eat Bar?  Mmmm.  Catered dinner from Le Central at the sorority reunion?  You bet. (And that’s really only half the damage!)

We had lots of fun, but I’m going to focus on healthy cooking for the next couple of weeks to balance things out a bit.  I made something wonderful last night – Mexican Potato Omelet from the April/May 2006 issue of Body + Soul – that was fresh, well-balanced, and delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

Mexican Potato Omelet
Serves 4
Prep time: 20 min. | Total time: 50 min.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red-skinned potato (6 ounces), well scrubbed, halved, and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
1 1/4 cups plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 tomatoes)
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Method:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch broiler-proof skillet over medium-low heat. Add potato, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and all but 1 tablespoon of the scallions; season with salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until well combined. Add 1/4 cup each tomato and cheese; stir to combine. Add remaining oil to pan, and pour egg mixture over the potatoes.

Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from the heat. Meanwhile, cook eggs on the stove top, lifting the edges to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath, until the center is almost set, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the top, then broil in the oven until set, about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, make a salsa by combining the remaining tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and lime juice. Run a metal spatula around the edges of the pan and slide the omelette onto a platter. Serve cut into wedges with salsa.

Source: Body + Soul, April/May 2006

Mexican Potato Omelet

This wasn’t knock-your-socks-off amazing, but it was a solid, tasty weeknight meal.  I especially loved the way the lime in the salsa brought out the flavors in the omelet.  I didn’t modify anything exactly, but I did need an extra 2 minutes to cook the potatoes and I went the full 10 minutes to cook the eggs on the stove top.  I also seasoned the eggs and the salsa separately (in addition to the potatoes when the garlic and scallions were added).  I served the omelet with seasoned black beans.  Yummy!

Recipe link: Mexican Potato Omelet

Greek-Style Pork Chops

Let the grilling begin!  Labor Day weekend is upon us, and cooking up some delicious grilled food and enjoying it outdoors is practically mandatory.  Today’s recipe – Greek-Style Pork Chops from the July 2010 issue of Cooking Light – caters both to those who have outdoor grills and those who don’t; the recipe is actually written for a grill pan but can be prepared either way.  Plus, it’s a super healthy option to work into what is typically (for us, anyway!) a pretty indulgent weekend. More room for cupcakes, right?

To make the dish, I started by marinating the pork chops.  In a large zip-top bag, I combined 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and 2 minced garlic cloves.  I added 4 boneless center-cut pork loin chops (mine were about 5 ounces each) and sealed the bag.  I marinated the pork at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning them after 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I whisked together 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 3/4 cup of plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt (I used Fage 0%), 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill, and 1/8 teaspoon of coarse salt to make a sauce for the pork.  I covered the sauce and stashed it in the refrigerator.  I also diced plum tomatoes (1 1/2 cups), cucumber (1 cup), and red onion (1/2 cup) and combined the ingredients to make a salad.  The recipe said to season the salad with 1/8 teaspoon of coarse salt, but I definitely thought it needed more.  I’d recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon and seasoning to taste from there.

Once I had the sauce and the salad prepared, the chops were ready for the grill.  I heated my grill pan over medium-high heat and sprayed it with my olive oil mister. (The recipe suggests cooking spray.)  I removed the pork from the bag, set the chops on my designated meat cutting board, and discarded the marinade.  I sprinkled both sides of the pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt and added the pork to the preheated pan.  I cooked the chops for 4 minutes on each side, removed them from the pan, and then let them rest for 2 minutes before serving.  I served the pork chops on top of the tomato mixture, topped with the yogurt mixture.

Greek-Style Pork Chops

This dish has so many fantastic qualities.  It was fast, easy, inexpensive, and (most of all) delicious.  The juicy pork chops and super fresh salad just taste like summer. The creamy yogurt sauce is such a treat, too; it really takes the dish to the next level.  I look forward to making this one again and again.

Whether you’re grilling, traveling, or just doing some much-deserved relaxing at home, have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!

TIPS:  To prepare pork chops on the grill, I would recommend grilling them for 3 – 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat.  Don’t forget to oil the grill grates before throwing the chops on!  (I forget at least one out of every four times, guaranteed.)

Recipe link: Greek-Style Pork Chops

My Favorite Healthy Recipes

I try to eat relatively healthy meals most of the time, so this post really isn’t about New Year’s resolutions or anything.  Still, after a month or two of holiday foods – many of which are delightfully rich, delightfully sweet, or both – it can sure feel good to get back to fresh, healthful cooking.  I compiled a list of my very favorite healthy recipes…  By “healthy,” I mean lower in calories, lower in fat, but still bursting with flavor.  Give them a try!

Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry (Gluten free, dairy free)
Serves 4
Per serving: 319 cal; 15.3 g fat; 32.1 g protein; 14.3 g carb; 3.5 g fiber (calculated without rice)

Chicken with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Gluten free, dairy free)
Serves 4
Per serving: 328 cal; 12.7 g fat; 46.7 g protein; 4.4 g carb; 0.9 g fiber

Cream Cheese Frittata
Serves 4
Per serving: 271 cal; 19.6 g fat; 13.1 g protein; 10.5 g carb; 0.8 g fiber

Eggplant Rollatini
Serves 4
Per serving: 267 cal; 12.8 g fat (6.8 g sat fat); 19 g protein; 21.2 g carb; 8.7 g fiber

Egg-White Omelet with Spinach and Cottage Cheese
Serves 1
Per serving: 199 cal; 8.1 g fat (2.7 g sat fat); 23.1 g protein; 8.7 g carb; 2.7 g fiber

Healthier Meat Lasagna
Original recipe serves 4 (huge serving); nutrition calculated for 6
Per serving: 313 cal; 10.3 g fat (4 g sat fat); 26.9 g protein; 28.3 g carb; 6.3 g fiber

Salmon Burgers with Yogurt-Dill Sauce
Serves 4
Per serving: 332 cal; 11.2 g fat (2.2 g sat fat); 30.1 g protein; 28.3 g carb; 3.8 g fiber

Shrimp Stir-Fry (Gluten free, dairy free)
Serves 4
Per serving (calculated with tofu, but numbers will be close with shrimp):
286 cal; 15.1 g fat; 23.2 g protein; 21 g carb; 4.2 g fiber

Smothered Chicken
Serves 4
Per serving: 326 cal; 12.9 g fat; 40.8 g protein; 10.2 g carb; 1.9 g fiber

Spaghetti Puttanesca
Serves 6
Per serving: 365 cal; 6.8 g fat; 11 g protein; 64.6 g carb; 3.2 g fiber

Two-Cheese Tortilla Pizza with Arugula Salad
Serves 4
Per serving: 310 cal; 13.9 g fat (4.2 g sat fat); 14 g protein; 33 g carb; 4.9 g fiber




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