Thursday, August 28, 2014

80(ish)--- Crock Pot Creamy Bean and Wild Rice Soup {Vegetarian}

We've had some chilly days and nights lately.  That, combined with kids going back to school, has made me think of fall.  Not entirely embrace it.  But think of it.  

And fall makes me want to store some meals in the freezer.  Kind of like a squirrel storing nuts I guess.

This creamy soup is a great vehicle for getting in lots of vegetables and fiber.  And did I mention that it's a crock pot soup? Bonus.   

Crock Pot Creamy Bean and Wild Rice Soup
Serves 10-12

10 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups wild and brown rice mix
1 can kidney beans, no sodium added, drained and rinsed
1 can navy beans, no sodium added, drained and rinsed
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh carrots
1 cup green peas
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk 

Add all ingredients except for the butter, flour, and milk to a large slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

Prior to serving, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until well-combined. Continue to whisk, adding milk a little at a time until all is incorporated and mixture is smooth.  Continue to whisk until mixture is thickened.  Stir milk mixture into the rest of the soup and heat through prior to serving.

Nutrition Information per 1 1/2 cups: 408 calories, 11 g fat, 21 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

20--- Mini Chocolate Pistachio Ritz Ice Cream Sandwiches

Are you a salty-sweet person?

Yeah me neither.

Just kidding.

I live for it.

These cute little ice cream sandwiches are just big enough to calm one of those cravings.

Mini Chocolate Pistachio Ritz Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 12 sandwiches

24 Ritz crackers
1 cup chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup crushed pistachios

Lay out a flat plate covered with wax paper.  Place crushed pistachios in a shallow bowl. 

Onto one cracker, scoop 1 1/2 Tbsp chocolate ice cream.  Sandwich with another cracker, then roll the ice cream edges in crushed pistachios (don't worry- they don't have to be pretty to be delicious).

Repeat to make remaining ice cream sandwiches, placing finished sandwiches on the wax paper in the freezer to chill completely.  Once chilled, you may place the sandwiches into freezer bags to store.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

80--- Thai Chicken and Spinach Chopped Salad with Peanut Viniagrette

I'm not sure why chopped salads are more tasty than regular tossed salads.  But they are.  

This one has a Thai thing going on.  And the peanut dressing is lighter than average.  With just as much flavor.

Be sure to make extras! You will want leftovers the next day for lunch!

Thai Chicken and Spinach Chopped Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette
Serves 4

6 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
Dashes of salt and ground black pepper
1 dash crushed red pepper flakes
4 green onions, sliced
2/3 cup shredded carrots
2 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed
1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts

Peanut Viniagrette
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Dash ground black pepper

To marinate chicken, combine lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a large ziploc bag.  Add chicken breast(s), seal and refrigerate for two hours.

After chicken has marinated, preheat the grill over medium heat.  Place chicken breasts on the grill and cook for ~8-10 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Remove from heat, chop and place in the freezer to chill until you prepare the remaining ingredients (basically you don't want to put warm chicken into your salad- you can also prep this earlier in the day and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it).

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk briskly to mix.

For the salad, combine remaining ingredients with chicken and toss to mix.  Pour on dressing and toss gently to coat.  Serve immediately!

Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cups salad with dressing: 331 calories, 18 g fat (6.5 g monounsaturated, 6.5 g polyunsaturated), 21 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Monday, August 18, 2014

80--- Spicy Tuna Sushi Bowls

Sushi can be a light and healthy meal.  

However, it also takes time to make.  And a bit of skill.

With these deconstructed sushi bowls, you get all of the health and flavor, with less time and effort!

Spicy Tuna Sushi Bowls
Serves 3

2 cups cooked sushi rice (short grain rice- brown is best!) 
8 oz ahi steak, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp sriracha hot sauce
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 avocado, seeded and chopped or sliced
6 wasabi nori chips, crumbled (I used Annie Chun's Seaweed Snacks)
Soy sauce to taste

Combine sriracha, mayonnaise, and ground ginger in a bowl. Add chopped ahi and mix to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

In an individual serving bowl, layer 1/3 of the rice, 1/3 of the chopped cucumber and avocado, and 2 1/2 oz ahi mixture.  Top with crumbled nori chips.  Sprinkle with soy sauce if desired.  If meal-prepping ahead of time, add avocado just prior to eating.

Nutrition Info per 1 bowl: 394 calories, 13 g fat, 22 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

80--- Bean and Cheese-Stuffed Grilled Zucchini Boats

Just one more zucchini recipe for the summer.

Unless I "inherit" some more, which is always welcomed.

This one is sure to please kids and adults alike.  Think bean and cheese burrito, with a slightly different, higher fiber shell.

Bean and Cheese-Stuffed Grilled Zucchini Boats
Serves 4

2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can refried black beans
4 oz can diced green chiles
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder

Preheat grill to medium heat.

For beans, in a saucepan combine all ingredients and heat over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, or until just warm.  Stir in 2 oz of shredded cheese.

Spoon bean mixture into each zucchini "boat", then sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Place boats on the grill, propping them up with aluminum foil "rolls" if needed.

Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until zucchini is softened and bean and cheese mixture is bubbly.

Gently remove boats from the grill and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes prior to serving.  Top with salsa (try my zucchini salsa) and enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 1 boat: 270 calories, 9.5 g fat, 16 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber

Monday, August 11, 2014

80(ish)--- Greek Yogurt, Blueberry, and Chia Seed Protein Pancakes

You roll out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning and envision pancakes on your breakfast table.  But you know that if you follow your heart, you will just be hungry two hours after breakfast.  What to do, what to do?

How about adding some protein to your pancakes? Not with processed protein powders, but with Greek yogurt and chia seeds!

These pancakes turn out ultra fluffy and so delicious! And each one has 5 grams of protein! You know you're not going to stop at one.........

Greek Yogurt, Blueberry, and Chia Seed Protein Pancakes
Makes 10-12 4-5" pancakes

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (nonfat is fine, 2% is better)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a larger bowl, whisk egg until fluffy, then add in yogurt, vanilla, milk, chia seeds, and oil.  Whisk in dry ingredients, a little at a time and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Pour ~1/3 cup batter onto the skillet.  When uncooked side is bubbly, flip pancake and cook until golden brown on both sides.  Transfer to a plate and cook remaining pancakes.

Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Nutrition Info per 1 pancake: 105 calories, 5 g protein, 3 g fat, 14 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber