Thursday, September 30, 2010

80--- California Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a classic hearty Italian appetizer consisting of grilled bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic and topped with a combination of tomato, garlic, basil, and onion.

MY bruschetta recipe has a little Cali twist to it by adding black olives and avocado and placing it on homemade flatbread chips.

Avocados are another one of the world's magic fruits. They have a lot of healthy monounsaturated fats, and also vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin E, lutein, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. WHOA. However, I often get the question, "So, avocados are good for me, right? So I can eat a lot of them?" My response is "Yes, they are good for you, but even though the fat they contain is healthy fat-- it is still fat which provides your body with extra calories." One 3" avocado contains approximately 300 calories. If you are eating one a day-- those calories can really add up. My suggestion is to eat 1/2 of an avocado a few times a week.

This bruschetta is a lovely light lunch (my hubby just had this and only this for lunch and said "This is one of the best things you have ever made", and he is NO vegetarian!). This is also a great summery appetizer or side dish! I have also used this bruschetta on top of a grilled chicken breast. Just top each breast when the chicken is ALMOST done cooking, and let it heat through.

California Bruschetta with Flatbread Chips

Serves 6 (1/2 cup bruschetta and 4 chips)


3 rounds whole wheat flatbread/ pita bread

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp Johnny Salt (or seasoning salt of your choice)


1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes-- lots of flavor, not a lot of seeds and pulp)

1 avocado, diced (not TOO ripe, you do not want it to end up looking like guacamole)

2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

1 cup sliced black olives

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp salt

For chips: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cut each flatbread round into 8 slices (like a pizza). Place slices onto baking sheet and brush on olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake for ~7 minutes, or until lightly brown and crispy.

For bruschetta: Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and gently fold to mix.

Add 2 Tbsp bruschetta to each chip.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup bruschetta and 4 chips: 217 calories, 11 g fat (HEALTHY fat), 7 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

80--- Mahi Fish Tacos with Latin Slaw

High of 86 today-- perfect for grilling up Mahi Mahi for fish tacos!

Confession: I do not LOVE fish. I LIKE fish. But, I know that fish is good for me, so I try to eat it at least once as week. These fish tacos make it very do-able for me.

As you very well may know, fish is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. Mahi Mahi is not the BEST source, but it does contain around 0.13 g per 3 ounce serving (for comparison: a 3 ounce serving of salmon contains ~1.5 g and canned tuna contains ~ 0.2 g).

Omega-3 fatty acids help to decrease inflammation, improve memory and mental health, improve cardiovascular health, and possibly help to prevent cancers such as prostate, colon, and breast.

The slaw on these tacos is also a lovely side dish for any Latin-flavored meal! I served these with a side of refried black beans (lowfat- from a can) for a nice ~400 calorie dinner.

Mahi Fish Tacos with Latin Slaw

Serves 6 (two tacos each)

24 oz fresh or frozen (thawed) Mahi Mahi filets

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup lime juice

2 Tbsp cumin

12 -8" corn tortillas

Latin Slaw

2 cups shredded red and/or green cabbage

1/2 cup jicama, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup onion, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/4 cup lime juice

1 Tbsp salt


1 cup 2% Greek yogurt

3 Tbsp chipolte seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)

1. Marinate fish filets in white wine, lime juice, and cumin in the refrigerator, at least 3 hours or overnight.

2. For slaw: add cabbage, onion, and jicama in a food processor and chop into flakes. Stir in diced jalapeno and cilantro. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, mayonnaise, and salt. Add to dry ingredients and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

3. For sauce: mix chipolte seasoning into yogurt and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

4. Grill fish filets until done, then cut into 2" thick strips. Microwave corn tortillas covered by a damp paper towel for ~30 seconds, or until soft.

5. Add 2 Tbsp sauce to tortilla, then add fish. On top add 1/4 cup Latin Slaw.

Nutrition Info per 2 tortillas: 258 calories, 4 g fat, 26 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Monday, September 27, 2010

80--- Curry Cantaloupe Chicken Salad

Yay! It's still summer here in Montana, for this week anyhow. There is nothing better than a cool crisp chicken salad in warm temperatures. This is a wonderful chicken salad that is loaded with flavor, and not fat and calories.

My mother-in-law first made this recipe, and I admit that I was quite shocked at the addition of cantaloupe to a chicken salad. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it is!

Cantaloupe is a super melon! It is a concentrated source of beta-carotene (vitamin A). Beta- carotene is great for your eyes, and can even help prevent cataracts. This fruit also contains vitamins C and B6, folate, niacin, and FIBER! The best time to buy cantaloupe is in the summer months when it is at its freshness peak!

Try this dish on it's own, inside a pita, or on top of salad greens!

Curry Cantaloupe Chicken Salad
Serves 4

2 cups cooked chicken breast meat, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 cup cantaloupe, diced
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
Slivered almonds (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped radishes (optional)

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, curry powder, coriander, salt and cilantro until well blended.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, cantaloupe, and green onion. Add dressing to chicken mixture and stir to coat. When serving, sprinkle with almonds and radishes if desired.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup serving: 194 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 27 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates

80--- Best Blueberry Muffins

Muffins are so easy to make! However, they can be very deceptive nutritionally. Even bran muffins can be packed with calories and fat.

These blueberry muffins have whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour has not been as "stripped" of nutrients as white flour, therefore it contains more vitamins and minerals. Wheat flour can be difficult to use because it often makes baked items dense. Therefore, I try to not substitute out ALL of the white flour. I also added in some oats for a little bit of texture (what I really mean is FIBER).

Because this recipe calls for yogurt, not a lot of oil is needed! Hooray for decreasing fat and calories, however this makes them non-vegan and not appropriate for those with severe milk allergies.

Best Blueberry Muffins
Makes 10 medium muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar (I used raw)
1 egg white
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat plain yogurt (I like the flavor of Nancy's Organic)
1 cup fresh blueberries (also use frozen, thawed)

Preheat oven to 385 degees. Mix flours, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, combine sugar, egg white, oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until ingedients are wet (~10 strokes). Fold in blueberries (reserve 1/4 cup). Fill lined muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Place remaining blueberries on top of each muffin. Sprinkle each muffin with sugar (optional). Bake for ~14-17 minutes.

Note: These would be wonderful served with Purple Velvet Blueberry Sauce!

Nutrition Info per muffin: 177 calories, 6.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber

Sunday, September 26, 2010

80--- Autumn Pork Tenderloin

You should make this for dinner TONIGHT! The Harvest Salad complements the flavors in this meat perfectly! This marinade (and optional rub) are so simple, and chances are, you have all of the ingredients in your cupboard already!

Many people avoid pork because they are not sure how to cook it (aside from bacon and ham, of course). But a lean cut of pork (the tenderloin) can be a great meat choice! A 3.5 ounce serving (think palm of your hand size) has the same amount of saturated fat as 95% lean ground beef, only slightly more than a skinless chicken breast.

It also seems that people get panicky when thinking about pork and food borne illness. The same guidelines apply to cooking pork as they do chicken breast! Make sure that the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160 degrees.

Autumn Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4

Lean cut pork tenderloin, ~1lb

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I used an apple balsamic vinegar, so GOOD if you can find it)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp garlic salt

Place tenderloin in marinade and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (aim for a full day if you have time).

20--- The Rub (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp garlic salt
2 Tbsp ground mustard
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat grill. Roll tenderloin in The Rub (optional), and rub in spices. Grill tenderloin until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (~30 minutes on medium heat).

Nutrition Info per 3 oz serving (without rub): 189 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 26 g protein, 80 mg cholesterol

Friday, September 24, 2010

80-- Harvest Salad

This is a great time of year for some wonderful HEALTHY foods! This salad combines all that is well and good in the fall (well, it doesn't have pumpkin pie, but everything else).

This salad is lovely served with the pork tenderloin you will see next in this blog. It is also a wonderful dinner salad by itself or with some chicken added in.

True or False: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Well.....if you eat an apple AND an 80/20 diet, then quite possibly.

Apples contain lots of phytonutrients such as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid that act as antioxidants in our bodies. A medium-sized apple also contains around 4 grams of FIBER (aim for 25-30g per day)! The skin of an apple also contains a large amount of flavonoids. Flavonoids are also antioxidants that help to prevent unwanted inflammation, decrease excessive clotting of blood platelets, help regulate blood pressure, and regulate the overproduction of fat in your liver!

Harvest Salad
Serves 12

6 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed thoroughly
3 medium apples of your choice (I like Fuji or Gala), cored and chopped into 1" pieces
3/4 cup walnut halves
3/4 cup reduced-fat crumbled Feta cheese
Craisins (optional as garnish)

Directions: Mix salad ingredients in a large serving bowl.

Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Whisk ingredients until well blended. Season with salt & pepper (if desired).

Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per 3/4 cup serving: 145 calories, 8 g fat (majority healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats), 3 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber

Thursday, September 23, 2010

80-- Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus

Hummus is such a wonderful, easy food to make. You can add just about any ingredients to ground chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and tahini (sesame seed paste) and it will turn out delicious! It is such a satisfying snack served with pita chips, or a great spread for sandwiches.

Chickpeas have loads of fiber, iron, folate, magnesium and protein. These nutrients can have heart-healthy benefits, as well as increase satiety.

Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus

Serves 8

1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1/3 cup jalapeno (I used a combination of chopped fresh and jarred slices)
1/4 cup jalapeno juice (from jar)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 Tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
3 Tbsp lemon juice

Place all ingredients in food processor. Blend until smooth.

Nutrition info per 1/4 cup serving: 95 calories, 4 g fat, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

80--- Arugula Pear Salad

This salad is a favorite of mine, as well as of my family and friends. My friend, Arin, eats it for breakfast (you go girl)! Just a few simple ingredients, and so much FRESH flavor!

More arugula! It is loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and folate. It has a fresh, peppery flavor. The larger leaves have a bolder taste, whereas the baby leaves have a very mild flavor.

I would serve this with............. just about anything!

Arugula Pear Salad
Serves 6

6 cups arugula, baby or large leaves
2 large or 3 medium Bartlett pears (you can switch it up and use Asian as well), sliced
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts (yes, they are the world's most expensive nut-- but worth it!)
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Combine arugula & pear slices in a large salad bowl. Top with parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Serve with a light drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

See? I told you it was easy!

Nutrition Info per 1 cup serving: 245 calories, 16 g fat (12 g monounsaturated), 7 g protein, 17,g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber

80-- Yam & Black Bean Burritos

Ole! These vegetarian burritos are SO tasty and SO easy!

A yam is a potato's brighter, healthier brother. They are high in vitamin B6 and potassium, which are good protectors against cardiovascular disease. Yams are also high in FIBER, which keeps our GI systems running smoothly. They also have a lot of vitamin C-- bring on the antioxidant benefits!

Yams are often confused with sweet potatoes. They are different, however they can be substituted in most recipes.

These burritos are lovely topped with a little bit of sour cream. Don't be shocked! Sour cream is not quite the devilish food that people make it out to be. Two tablespoons of light sour cream has just 40 calories, 2.5g of fat, and so much satisfying flavor! Use light sour cream for topping Mexican food-- you will not notice the difference! NOTE: 2 tablespoons is quite different from a 1/2 cup.

Yam & Black Bean Burritos
Original recipe: California Dept of Public Health
Serves 6

2 medium yams, peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp cumin
6 tortillas (bonus points if you use whole wheat)
Light sour cream (optional)
Cilantro, chopped or chiffonade (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss yam chunks with 1 Tbsp oil. Spread coated yams on a greased baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until yams are tender.

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and saute until tender. Add beans and cumin. Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in roasted yam chunks.

Spoon ~1/2 cup mixture into the center of each tortilla. Top mixture with sour cream and/or cilantro, if desired.

Nutrition Info per burrito: 220 calories, 6g fat, 8g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 8g fiber

Monday, September 20, 2010

80-- Pollo Verde Sopa

GREEN CHICKEN SOUP! I have decided that I would like to master soups this fall. My first attempt was a success. Good thing I made a TON of it to freeze for future meals!

This soup is LOADED with vegetables, peppers and beans. Modifications can be made depending on your tastes! I do not have a spicy palate, but I thought this soup had the perfect amount of heat.

Pollo Verde Sopa
Yield: ~12 one cup servings

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, boiled and shredded
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 diced fresh anaheim chile
1 finely diced fresh jalapeno
1 large carrot, chopped
12 oz low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tomatillos, chopped (optional)
12 oz green salsa of your choice
14 oz green enchilada sauce of your choice
10 oz canned diced green chiles
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 1/2 cups water
15 oz pinto or navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

Spice Mix
1 Tbsp powdered chicken base (bouillon)
2 tsp celery salt
1 Tbsp flour
2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp ground cumin

In a large stock pot, saute onions, chiles, garlic, and jalapenos in oil over medium high heat until onions become translucent. Add carrots and cook for additional 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium- low and stir in chicken broth and spice mix. Gently fold in spinach (leaves will cook down quickly).

Turn heat to low and add in remaining ingredients, reserving tomato until 30 minutes prior to serving. Simmer on low on stove top 1- 3 hours.

Nutrition info per 1 cup serving: 225 calories, 6g fat, 23g carbohydrate, 15g protein, 8g fiber

Sunday, September 19, 2010

80--- Purple Velvet Blueberry Sauce

Bring on the berries! I love this time of year when the berry selection is fruitful! I always stock up and freeze a bunch for the winter months.

We had this sauce over whole wheat French toast. It was so much tastier and HEALTHIER than a sugary syrup!
My next plan is to put it over some lean cut pork chops with a side of Harvest Spinach Salad (coming up this week). How versatile! You can also make this sauce ahead of time and freeze it in an airtight container.

Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants. Many recent studies have shown that blueberry consumption may slow, or even prevent, prostate cancer. For example: Blueberry flavonoids inhibit matrix metalloproteinase activity in DU145 human prostate cancer cells:

Yippee! What great news! Men, eat up!

Purple Velvet Blueberry Sauce
Serves 6

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)
1 cup 2% Greek yogurt, or lowfat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp lemon zest
In a medium saucepan mix berries, lemon juice, honey, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and maintain simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in yogurt and heat through. Serve warm.

Nutrition Info per 1/4 cup serving: 46 calories, 0.8g fat, 3.2g protein, 7.5g carbohydrates

Saturday, September 18, 2010

20--- Cornbread Cupcakes with Chile Cheese Frosting

If you read up on "Salty Candied Almonds", you would know that today we are going to a friend's annual pig roast. I know that these cupcakes will be a perfect accompaniment to the pork. "CUPCAKES?" you might ask. But these are no ordinary cupcakes. In fact, I only call them cupcakes because they are just too good to be muffins (or should I say BAD)?

I typically make this recipe (minus the frosting) just as a cornbread in a 13x9" pan. But, this is a special occasion! We went camping a few weeks ago with friends and found out that this cornbread is also great for BREAKFAST! Basically, this cornbread would taste good if eaten with a rubber boot, throw pillow, pile of mud, etc.

Cornbread Cupcakes with Chile Cheese Frosting
Serves 12-16 (depends on size of muffin tin)

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 package cornbread mix (I like Krusteaz Honey Cornbread Mix)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup butter
1 can creamed corn
1 can kernel corn, drained


1 package light cream cheese (you can use regular, but with this recipe you will not notice the difference)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 small can diced green chilies, pureed in food processor or blender
Shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all cornbread ingredients together. Fill lined muffin cups to the brim with cornbread mixture. Bake 30 minutes.

For frosting, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, and green chili puree. Refrigerate.

When cupcakes are cool, place a dollop of frosting in the center of each. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.

Friday, September 17, 2010

80/20 Hunger Scale

Seeing as I am a registered dietitian and I DO care about nutrition aspects other than food, I thought that I would introduce you to a little tool that I like to use called the Hunger Scale. Since the theme here is 80/20, I will tie that in.

Basically, a hunger scale is a scale from 0 to 100 (also used is 1 to 10, but stick with me here) that allows you to rate how hungry/ full you are. The scale is as follows:

100: Stuffed. You are so full you feel nauseous.
90: Very uncomfortably full. You need to loosen your clothes.
80: Uncomfortably full. You feel bloated.
70: Full. A little bit uncomfortable.
60: Perfectly comfortable. You feel satisfied.
50: Comfortable. You're more or less satisfied, but could eat a little more.
40: Slightly uncomfortable. You're just beginning to feel signs of hunger.
30: Uncomfortably hungry. Your stomach is rumbling.
20: Very uncomfortable. You feel irritable and unable to concentrate.
10: Weak and light-headed. Your stomach acid is churning.
0: OMG- not gonna make it!

The hunger scale is a tool to prevent you from OVEREATING. Part of this control is not letting yourself become FAMISHED. I think we have all been to that point where we are so hungry we could eat a cat if only we had salt and pepper, right? Then, tyically you eat everything in sight with absolutely no regard as to how full you are.

So, here is the rule: Keep yourself between an 80 and a 20. But, eat only when you are hungry (20, 30, 40).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

80(ish)--- Brown Rice Pudding

Confession: I LOVE rice pudding. Not sure how many people do. No one else in my family likes it.... my friend's six year old likes it (Marshal, this one's for you). I'm not sure how I acquired a taste for it, but I did, and I had to find some way to make it healthier (cause that's what I do).

So...... I traded out the traditional white rice for brown rice. Brown rice is milled to a lesser extent than white rice, and only the outermost hull is removed, thereby retaining more valuable nurition than white rice. Therefore, brown rice contains many valuable nutrients such as vitamins B1, B3, and B6, manganese, iron, FIBER, and essential fatty acids.

Okay, so maybe just adding brown rice and using lowfat milk doesn't make this recipe a complete and total 80. There is sugar AND butter in it. Maybe it's more like a 50. So there you go-- this should only be eaten for 50% of your life. It's good for breakfast, warm or cold, or for dessert. Top if off with a little bit of milk and some fresh cut fruit.

Brown Rice Pudding

Serves 8

2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (I used Minute Brown Rice, not quite the nutrition of traditional)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used raw, just because)
2 Tbsp butter (I used Brummel & Brown)
2 cups 1% lowfat milk
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup raisins (I used a combination of golden and regular)

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine rice, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins. Mix well.

Pour into baking dish. Bake in oven until top is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Serve warm or chill and serve (with milk and fruit if desired).

Nutrition info per 1/2 cup serving: 187 calories, 38g carbohydrates, 4.5g fiber, 4g protein, 3g fat, 2g saturated fat

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

80--- Jimmy Buffett Salad

Hopefully Jimmy Buffett eats breakfast-- he needs the energy for his concerts. We should ALL eat breakfast! If Jimmy does have breakfast, this is what I think he has.

If you like pina coladas & getting caught in the rain-- you will LOVE this recipe! This fruit salad is great for breakfast or a light lunch, but can be served as a side as well. You can use any fruit that you have in your house, so no need to make a special trip to the grocery store.

Fruit is obviously full of vitamins and fiber. If you struggle with getting your kids to eat fruit, this is a great way to temp their taste buds!

Jimmy Buffet Salad

Serves 8

3 cups fruit of your choice, cut into 1" cubes (I used peaches, strawberries, and blueberries)

1 cup bananas, sliced into 1/2" rounds

1/4 cup raisins or craisins (optional)

12 oz pina colada yogurt

1 Tbsp cinnamon (or to taste)

Granola or chopped walnuts (optional)

Place chopped fruit in a medium bowl. Add yogurt and cinnamon, stir gently until mixed. Serve and top with sprinkle of granola or walnuts.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup serving: 135 calories, 2g fat, 4.4g protein, 4g fiber

Also: vitamin C, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, folate

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

80--- Zucchini Parmesan with Polenta

It's zucchini season! Okay, most people really don't celebrate that much, because MOST people do not know what to do with zucchini-- but, now YOU DO!

Eggplant parmesan can be a great vegetarian dish-- and I know many meat-lovers who enjoy it as well! This recipe uses zucchini instead, and has a great italian feel-- with loads of vitamins and nutrients. Zucchini is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, and manganese. It has lots of heart healthy nutrition and cancer-fighting antioxidants!

These lovely rounds can be served with polenta (recipe below). Polenta is simply cornmeal (grits), prepared as you would rice. It really absorbs flavors, and it has a smooth creamy texture. Cornmeal is gluten-free, and has most likely been enriched with iron and B-vitamins. It's nice to branch away from the same old grains!

Zucchini Rounds

Cooking spray
2 medium zucchini (~1 pound)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs (use seasoned if you wish)
Marinara sauce of your choice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Dip each zucchini round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup coarse ground cornmeal
2 Tbsp Parmesan, grated

In a large, oven-safe saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.
Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken broth, bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, reduce heat to low and simmer. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps. Stir in parmesan ~2 minutes prior to serving.

Nutrition Info for 1/2 cup polenta and 3/4 cup zucchini rounds: 305kcal, 11g fat, 2g saturated fat, 9g protein, 39g carbohydrates

Monday, September 13, 2010

80---Chicken Pita Pockets

Hooray! This is one of my ultimate favorites-- and it's an 80% food! This is one of my mother-in-law's specialities. She serves it with my favorite creamy cucumber salad (coming soon to the blog). I always request it for my birthday dinner, and it's so SIMPLE! I have only made one modification by switching out mayonnaise with greek yogurt (less fat, more protein).

I like to use whole wheat pitas- they have a more substantial flavor, and more nutrition. You can stuff these with whichever vegetables you choose- the more the better!

Chicken Pita Pockets

Serves 6

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup lime juice
1 T crushed red pepper
1 Avocado, mashed
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
3/4 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Lettuce (I like to use a dark green leafy variety)- shredded
1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt (or lowfat plain yogurt if you prefer)
2 T McCormick's Vegetable Seasoning

1 package whole wheat pitas (10-12 pita pockets or 5-6 whole pitas, cut in half)

Marinate chicken breasts in lime juice and crushed red pepper for 1-3 hours. Grill chicken until 160 degrees internal temperature. Meanwhile, mix vegetable seasoning into greek yogurt, set aside. Mash avocado and dice tomato and cucumber.

When chicken is finished, slice into 1/4" thick strips. Microwave pitas (whole pitas should be sliced in half) with a damp papertowel on top for 30 seconds to warm. Spread avocado on one side of the inside of pita and yogurt dressing on other side. Layer in chicken and vegetables. Enjoy!

Nutrition info for two filled half pitas: 395 kcal, 13g fat, 1.4g sat fat, 40g protein, 28g carbohydrate, 4g fiber

Sunday, September 12, 2010

80--- Nectarine Blackberry Crumble

For those of us who like dessert more than just 20% of the time! This is a lovely transition from summer into fall.

I used nectarines that I needed to use up and blackberries that I had in the freezer. However, you can use peaches, blueberries, raspberries, etc. Berries are FULL of antioxidants!

Flax meal and crushed walnuts are a great way to add omega-3s to your diet!

Nectarine Blackberry Crumble
Serves 8

4-5 ripe nectarines (or peaches), sliced
1 1/2 cup blackberries (or blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 Tbsp nutmeg, 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp flax meal
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9" greased baking dish, mix nectarines and berries with pumpkin pie spice.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, olive oil and flax meal. Stir in walnuts.

Sprinkle crumble mixture over nectarines and berries. Spray topping lightly with olive oil spray.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until fruit is soft and topping is brown. Serve warm (or the next day for breakfast!).

Nutrition Info per 1 cup serving: 160 calories, 5 g fat, 26 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2.5 g protein

80--- Egg-in-a-Hole

Sunday morning, time to rejoice in have another full day to enjoy with family and friends! One of the easiest breakfasts that I have ever made is Egg-in-a-Hole. And, everyone always loves it. Eggs are a complete protein source-- yes including the yolk. Each lovely egg contains only 70 calories and is a wonderful source of choline-- an essential nutrient for pregnancy (nope, I'm not-- just throwing that out there).

For this dish I used a really beautiful, dense, multigrain bread full of seeds and fiber. Highly recommended: Dakota bread from Great Harvest (if you are a Montana-ian). My eggs are farm-fresh from my friend Heather's chickens. Her chickens get to scratch at the earth all day and run around-- their eggs have beautiful orangey-yellow yolks that are FULL of flavor. So- use whichever bread and eggs you wish, just note that with a recipe as simple as this, the quality of the ingredients really make the dish.


Serves 1

One slice multigrain bread of your choice
2tsp butter spread (I prefer Brummel & Brown- made from yogurt, great flavor)
One large egg
Salt & pepper to taste

Hot sauce (optional- my husband's choice)

With a knife, remove a circle from the center of the slice of bread, approximately the size of a golf ball (or an egg yolk!). Lightly spread each side of bread with butter.

Heat a non-stick pan on stovetop over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, place slice of bread into pan. Break an egg onto the bread, aiming for placing the yolk in the "hole".

Cook for 2-3 minutes, until brown on bottom side. Gently flip over bread, again, aiming to keep the yolk in the hole. If you prefer a runny yolk, be careful not to break it! This is slightly more difficult with farm-fresh eggs due to the fragile yolk. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until egg on underside is cooked to your liking! Season with salt, pepper, or hot sauce to taste.

Serve with a side of fresh fruit. The egg-in-a-hole can be eaten on-the-go, like a piece of toast, or with a fork.
Depending on your energy needs, a 300-500 calorie breakfast with a good balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat (keep you feeling full longer) is a great way to start the day!

Nutrition info: 240kcal, 12g fat, 2g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrates, 12g protein, 4g fiber

Friday, September 10, 2010

80------Pistachio Crusted Mahi Mahi

Another delicious 80% recipe! Mahi mahi is a wonderful fish that can be found year-round, even here in Montana! I purchase filets frozen, however fresh would be even better! This fish is a great source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Pistachios are a very tasty nut filled with phytosterols, mono and polyunsaturated fats, and potassium. They also have the most antioxidant power of any snack-worthy nut with 7983 Trolox Equivalents per 100 grams.

I served this dish with a lovely Arugula and Pear salad (see, there I go with the arugula again) topped with a few pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Ok, enough chatter about WHY it's good. Try it for yourself!

Pistachio-Crusted Mahi Mahi

Serves 4

4 Mahi Mahi filets, frozen (defrosted) or fresh, approximately 3-4oz each
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup bread crumbs, panko crumbs, or crushed cornflakes (seasoned or unseasoned, your choice)
2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Crush pistachios in a coffee grinder or food processor. Mix crushed nuts with bread crumbs and garlic (or season to taste). Rub fish filets with olive oil, then dip into bread crumb mixture. Press bread crumb mixture into each side of the fish (to make it stick). Place fish into a greased baking dish. Add leftover pistachio mixture onto the top of each filet.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until fish is flakey!

Nutrition info per 1 filet serving: 230kcal, 13g fat, 24g protein, 14g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber

Image courtesy of:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

80----Spaghetti Squash with Arugula Pesto

So, I thought that it was only appropriate to start off this blog with an 80% recipe. This recipe is very good and very healthy! I LOVE ARUGULA! It is a lovely green with a very simple, fresh, herby (yes, that's a word) flavor. It is wonderful in salads or frittatas.

However, I had some arugula that was going to go bad-- no longer appropriate for a salad. So, I made Arugula Pesto. Same basic principles as a pesto, but using arugula in place of basil. This method can also be used with spinach, cilantro, etc.

And, who doesn't LOVE spaghetti squash? So simple to make, so flavorful. And HEALTHY! Tons of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamins B6, B3, B5, B9, and OMEGA 3 and OMEGA 6 fatty acids-- not many vegetables have that claim to fame! Best of all: one cup of spaghetti squash contains only 31 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates!

It would also be a lovely vegetarian main dish! It comes out kind of green, so kids may be intrigued to give it a try if they are not the vegetable-loving types!

Spaghetti Squash with Arugula Pesto

Serves 5-6 (3/4 cup servings)

1 medium spaghetti squash (~10-12" long)
2 cups fresh arugula (small leaves have more mild flavor-- large have stronger flavor)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dash of sea salt
Dash of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Lightly season each open half with sea salt and pepper. Place squash face down on baking sheet. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender.

In the meantime, blend arugula, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor until blended, however not entirely smooth. Preparation should have visible specks of arugula, however pine nuts should be fully chopped and blended.

Remove squash from the oven when fully cooked. Using a fork, scrape squash from shell into noodle-like strips and place into a medium-sized bowl. Add pesto (you may not need to add all to coat) and stir. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Nutrition content per 3/4 cup serving: 108kcal, 6g fat, 8g carbohydrates, 3.8g protein, 2g fiber