Thursday, January 29, 2015

80(ish)--- Baklava Oatmeal

Have you ever had baklava? If you have you know what I'm talking about.   It's a Greek or Turkish pastry dessert that is layers of phyllo dough filled with a sweet nut mixture.  The real deal takes quite a bit of time and patience to conquer.

But this version of baklava? It's quick and easy and can be enjoyed anytime of day!  I prefer to use quick-cooking steel cut oats (more fiber) but you may use any form of oats that you desire!
(Nutrition note: leaving your oats slightly undercooked with decrease the glycemic index- if that's important to you!).

Baklava Oatmeal
Serves 1

1/2 cup dry oats
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp shelled pistachios
1/2 Tbsp crushed walnuts
1 Tbsp slivered almonds
1/2 tsp butter
1 dash of ground cinnamon, if desired

Place oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave for ~ 2 - 2 1/2 minutes, or until soft.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the nuts and stir until coated.  Add honey and cook until heated (do not boil).  Pour mixture over your cooked oats, sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy!

Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 380 calories, 14 g fat, 12 g protein, 56 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Football Health Food

And just in case you don't want to blow the big game..... here's some healthier choices for your Super Bowl Sunday!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

80(ish)--- Brown Rice Butternut Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Crispy Kale, and Bacon

I know what you're thinking..... Risotto is amazing but it takes FOREVER to cook.  And brown rice? Yep. You'll be in the kitchen forever.

And the first time I made this I was.

But then I got smart.

And I soaked my brown rice prior to cooking it.

And then I wasn't in the kitchen FOREVER.

And I had a tasty meal to boot.

And there are additional health benefits to soaking your grains prior to cooking them! Take a look here for more info.

Brown Rice Butternut Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Crispy Kale, and Bacon 
Serves 5

1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice, soaked * see note
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups low sodium chicken broth 
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup shredded asiago or romano cheese
1 small butternut squash, cooked in microwave and pureed ** see note
12 oz lean bacon, cooked and crumbled

6 cups baby kale
Olive oil spray
Dashes salt and pepper

 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp white sugar

*To soak brown rice, add rice to a bowl, cover with luke warm water, add 1 tsp white wine vinegar.  Cover bowl and allow to sit for 7 hours.  When ready to cook, drain and rinse rice.

** Poke a whole in the butternut with a sharp knife. Microwave for 5 minutes, then flip over and microwave for additional 5 minutes.  Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and skin (if not soft enough to remove the skin microwave with a small amount of water for additional 3-4 minutes).  Place flesh (cubed) into a food processor to puree until smooth.  Set aside.

For risotto: Heat broth in a saucepan to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add rice and stir to coat with oil, then add white wine and cook until wine has been absorbed by rice.  Add broth, one ladle at a time, to the rice.  Cook with each addition until all of the broth has been absorbed.  Continue until all of the broth has been used and rice is softened (keep in mind brown rice will remain slightly chewy).

Add squash and cook until heated through.  Stir in cheese and heat until melted.  Serve with toppings.

For crispy kale:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place kale leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet and spray lightly with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Check for doneness, moving some of the outer leaves in (and vice versa).  Cook for additional 3-4 minutes, checking frequently, until crispy (but not brown).  Remove from oven and set aside

For caramelized onions:  Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and stir to coat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Sprinkle onions with sugar and continue to cook for ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally (something to keep you busy while your risotto is cooking).  When onions are lightly golden brown they are done!

 Nutrition Info per ~1 cup serving + toppings: 424 calories, 10 g fat, 12 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

80--- Green Bean Fries with Chipotle Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip

For those times when you just want a French fry.....

Maybe you're just looking for something easy to eat, and a bit salty?

Why not make it a bit healthier (and tastier in my opinion)?

Green beans are a great, easy to digest vegetable. Fresh are a MUCH better choice than canned (no sodium used in packaging fresh beans!).

Green Bean Fries
Serves 6

2 lb fresh French-cut green beans
Olive oil spray
Dashes of sea salt

Chipotle Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip
Makes ~ 1 1/4 cup

1 cup nonfat or 2% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1-2 Tbsp buttermilk to thin to desired consistency

For fries: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place parchment paper onto a large baking sheet.  Lay green beans flat on the sheet and spray lightly with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle with sea salt, then bake for 15-20 minutes, or until beans are lightly browned and cooked through.

For dip: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to mix well.  Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour prior to serving for best results.

Nutrition info per ~ 1 1/2 cups green beans and 3 Tbsp dip: 86 calories, 2 g fat, 7 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Thursday, January 15, 2015

80--- Easy Chicken Chili

One final recipe to use up that homemade chicken soup concentrate!  This chili is quick and easy -and thanks to that prepared-ahead concentrate, no chopping required!  Feel free to load up the veggies in this one!

Easy Chicken Chili
Serves 5

1/3 homemade chicken soup concentrate recipe
4 cans beans of your choice, no sodium added, drained and rinsed
1 can low sodium diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Nutrition per 1 serving: 382 calories, 5 g fat, 35 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 14 g fiber

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

80--- Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

As promised, here is a quick and easy recipe to use that Homemade Chicken Soup Concentrate from the previous post!

Chicken Coconut Curry Soup
Serves 6-7

1/3 of chicken soup concentrate recipe
2 cans lite coconut milk
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry jasmine rice
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1  1/2 lb frozen stir fry vegetables

Bring coconut milk and broth to a boil, add rice, return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15-20 minutes (or per package instructions).  Add remaining ingredients and cook until vegetables are heated through.

Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info per ~1 1/4 cups: 305 calories, 5.3 g fat, 34 g carbohydrates, 29 g protein, 5 g fiber

Thursday, January 8, 2015

80--- Homemade Chicken Soup Concentrate

It's no secret that I make a lot of soup.

It's dinner in my house 3 nights a week in the winter.  At least.

So on New Year's Day I formulated a plan to make all of that prep easier.

I took the common ingredients in a lot of my soups; chicken, broth, veggies, and made a concentrate that can be easily turned into any number of soups.

You can freeze portions of the concentrate, then simply defrost and add a few ingredients (relatively NO chopping involved) and BOOYAH, you have dinner.

Here are the concentrate and basic chicken noodle soup recipes.  Over the next couple of posts I will share some recipes for soups where you can use your concentrate.

You're welcome.

Homemade Chicken Soup Concentrate
Makes ~ 3 batches of 6 servings of soup each

8 cups chicken broth
3 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, trimmed
6 carrots, c0arsely chopped
1 1/2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients into a large stockpot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a medium-low simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours, or until chicken is tender and shreddable.

Remove chicken from the pot and shred into bite sized pieces with a fork.  Return chicken to the pot.

Divide soup into three even portions (I used mixing bowls to ensure my portions were even and equally filled with all ingredients).  You may freeze all portions, if desired, in Ziploc gallon bags.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 6

1 bag (1/3 recipe) chicken soup concentrate
8 cups chicken broth
12 oz frozen egg noodles

Bring broth to a boil, then add noodles.  Cook per package instructions, then add soup concentrate and heat until warm.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

80---Warm BLT Salad with Quinoa

I think the craving for a BLT hits everyone from time to time, doesn't it?

This is a healthful solution.

Warm BLT Salad with Quinoa
Serves 6

1 lb lean bacon, chopped
10 cups fresh spring greens
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp dried dill

Bring broth to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan.  Add quinoa and return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium high and cook quinoa for ~20 minutes, or until all broth has been absorbed.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium -high heat, cook chopped bacon until crisp, stirring frequently.  Remove cooked bacon from the pan and set aside, leaving the drippings in the skillet.

With the skillet over medium-high heat, add the vinegar, garlic, salt, thyme, pepper, and dill.  Stirring consistently, heat until mixture is thickened to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat.

Toss together quinoa, greens, tomatoes, bacon, and dressing and serve immediately.

Nutrition per 1 1/2 cups: 143 calories, 6 g fat, 7 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber