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Strawberry Balsamic Salad

The weather here has been a little crazy, one day it’s in the 80’s and another it’s down to the 40’s. I’m glad that spring is moving into Texas, I just wish it would be more consistently springy. That’s a big part of the inspiration behind this salad. I’m sure that plain balsamic vinegar would be just as tasty as the vanilla bean one I found at Con Olio.

Ingredients
3 cups fresh spinach
6 strawberries, sliced
1 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons vanilla bean balsamic vinegar

Directions
Toss all the ingredients together and enjoy.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 255.9
Total Fat: 17.5 g
Cholesterol: 15.0 mg
Sodium: 192.2 mg
Total Carbs: 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.9 g
Protein: 10.6 g

Strawberry Balsamic Salad-001

Quick Chicken Soup

The Man wasn’t feeling so well the other day, so my first instinct was to make him chicken soup. My version takes an extra pan because I was trying to make it quickly. Cooking the chicken, onions and celery are quicker in a pan than boiling them, but I can never seem to get carrots cooked in a pan quite the way I’d like them. That’s why I get a jump start on softening them up by boiling them while I’m cooking the chicken. Otherwise you could just toss everything in a big pot and let it boil until the chicken is cooked and the veggies were tender.

Ingredients
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup carrot strips or grated
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon thyme

Directions
Put the chicken broth, water and carrots in a large pot, let it start boiling.
At the same, in a large pan add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the chicken isn’t pink and the veggies are tender.
Add the chicken mixture to the chicken broth. Let it simmer for at least ten minutes, longer if possible.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 70.3
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 13.7 mg
Sodium: 520.3 mg
Total Carbs: 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 9.0 g

Quick Chicken Soup-001

Veggie Ranch Cups

Sometimes it can get a little old putting out the same veggie tray at every party. But at the same time, you want to have some sort of healthy option for your guests (and sometimes yourself). Well, fillo cups to the rescue again. Although these have most of the same ingredients you would find in a regular veggie tray, these are a little easier to handle in a party setting. Instead of using bottled ranch dip, the seasonings in the ingredient list makes a ranch dressing without the extra sodium or fat.

Ingredients
15 mini fillo shells
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 diced tomatoes
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions
Arrange the fillo shells on a plate or cookie sheet.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and spoon into the fillo shells.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 15
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 30.4
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 19.8 mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.6 g

Veggie Ranch Cups-001

Mediterranean Pizza

Most of the time, what ingredients you chose to use in your recipes really makes a difference when it comes to the nutritional values. When you buy canned foods try to makes sure that it’s packed in water or juice, not oil or syrup. It can really rack up the calories and fat. It might take a little extra time when you’re out shopping, but compare the labels and make sure that you are getting the most nutritional ingredients you can.

This is a simple little recipe, it doesn’t really require much prep work. It’s a delicious twist on a regular pizza. The trick to keeping it lower in calories and fat is to really pay attention to what you are using to make it. I made notes in the ingredients so you know what I used, but of course you’re welcomed to make it your own!

Ingredients
1 mini flat bread (I used Flat Out Mini with Whole Grains)
2 tablespoons hummus (I used my homemade hummus)
1/4 cup chopped red peppers
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
4 pieces of canned artichoke hearts packed in water
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spread the hummus over the flat bread, then top with the peppers, olives, artichoke hearts and cheese. Bake for about ten minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Nutritional Info
•Servings Per Recipe: 1
•Amount Per Serving
•Calories: 241.6
•Total Fat: 6.5 g
•Cholesterol: 5.0 mg
•Sodium: 889.1 mg
•Total Carbs: 19.2 g
•Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
•Protein: 11.8 g

Med Pizza

Stuffed Pepper Bowl

The husband and I both like stuffed peppers, I just don’t like the fuss that comes with making them. So I thought I’d try to find an easier way to have the flavors from a stuffed pepper in a easier to make form. This is what I came up with. I could see this being great when you have left over rice or you could make twice the amount of rice called for and use the leftovers the next day to make fried rice. I like to add some garlic powder and onion powder to the rice while it’s cooking. It gives it just a little more flavor without extra calories or sodium.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice
1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup chopped onions
2 red peppers, diced
1 can no sodium diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon basil

Directions

In a large pan, cook the ground beef, onions and garlic. Add the red peppers and cook for three minutes or until slightly softened. Add the can of tomatoes, rice and basil. Cook for a few more minutes, until most of the liquid has been cooked off.

Nutritional Info
•Servings Per Recipe: 4
•Amount Per Serving
•Calories: 316.4
•Total Fat: 12.7 g
•Cholesterol: 40.1 mg
•Sodium: 657.9 mg
•Total Carbs: 35.9 g
•Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g
•Protein: 15.3 g

Stuffed Pepper Bowl

Eggplant “Bruschetta”

Sometimes when I try to create something new it doesn’t quite work out. Sometimes it does but it doesn’t quite make it to “Man-Approved” status. Unfortunately, this was one of those creations. I thought it was pretty tasty, but the husband wasn’t as big of a fan. He had never had eggplant before and didn’t really like the texture of it. But he thought the breading/toppings would be good on chicken. I thought I’d put this up for you guys, in case your husbands do like eggplant. Let me know if you try it and it meets approval from your guys (or roommates, friends, whatever).

Ingredients

For Eggplant:
2 Medium Eggplant, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon oregano For Topping:
2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and onion powders, basil, rosemary and oregano. Place some of the breadcrumb mixture on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Press the eggplant slices into the breadcrumbs, covering both sides. Gently brush off the excess (you want just a thin coat). Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, flip, then cook for another ten minutes.

While that is in the oven, combine the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, onion and basil in a bowl. After the eggplant is done baking, spoon the tomato mixture on each slice. Top evenly with the mozzarella and bake for another five minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.

Nutritional Info
◦Servings Per Recipe: 4
◦Amount Per Serving
◦Calories: 240.5
◦Total Fat: 2.6 g
◦Cholesterol: 7.4 mg
◦Sodium: 363.0 mg
◦Total Carbs: 43.9 g
◦Dietary Fiber: 11.1 g
◦Protein: 10.4 g

eggplant bruschette

Green Smoothies

Sometimes the hardest meal to get my husband to eat is breakfast. Part of it is that he doesn’t have much time in the morning, so whatever he eats needs to be either quick or portable. I started making smoothies for myself awhile ago and then I heard about green smoothies. It was all over from there, not only are they packed with good for you stuff like calcium, iron and vitamin c. Plus you can alter them to your own taste, changing the fruits to suit your tastes (or whatever is in your fridge). If you like them thicker you can use frozen fruit. For us, I use fresh so it’s easier to drink them from the to go cup the hubby has. I suggest putting either the liquid or the fruit pierces closest to the blender blades and the spinach the furthest away, it blends a lot easier that way.

Tropical Yogurt Smoothie

Ingredients

1 container greek yogurt with honey
1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup mango chunks
2 clementines, peeled and seeds removed
1 cup fresh spinach

Directions

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutritional Info
•Servings Per Recipe: 1
•Amount Per Serving
•Calories: 313.9
•Total Fat: 0.6 g
•Cholesterol: 25.0 mg
•Sodium: 145.7 mg
•Total Carbs: 59.1 g
•Dietary Fiber: 5.2 g
•Protein: 21.9 g

Peach Berry Smoothie

Peach Berry Smoothie (No Yogurt)

Ingredients

2 peaches, chopped into small pieces
6 oz fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh spinach
1 scoop vanillla protein powder
1/2 cup water

Directions

Layer the ingredients in a blender, raspberries closest to the blender blade, peaches next, then spinach. Mix the protein powder and water together and pour over everything. Blend until smooth.

Nutritional Info

◦Servings Per Recipe: 2
◦Amount Per Serving
◦Calories: 140.7
◦Total Fat: 1.2 g
◦Cholesterol: 20.0 mg
◦Sodium: 123.7 mg
◦Total Carbs: 25.8 g
◦Dietary Fiber: 9.9 g
◦Protein: 9.8 g

Tropical Smoothie (No Yogurt)

Ingredients

1 mango, peeled and diced
1 orange, peeled with seeds removed
3 kiwi, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup diced pineapple
2 cups fresh spinach
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup water

Directions

Mix the protein powder into the water. Layer the rest of the ingredients in a blender, starting with the pineapple and mango, then the orange and kiwi, with the spinach the furtherest from the blade. Pour the protein powder and water over everything. Blend until smooth.

Nutritional Info
◦Servings Per Recipe: 2
◦Amount Per Serving
◦Calories: 265.5
◦Total Fat: 1.8 g
◦Cholesterol: 20.0 mg
◦Sodium: 132.1 mg
◦Total Carbs: 57.7 g
◦Dietary Fiber: 10.8 g
◦Protein: 11.1 g

Bacon “Spaghetti” Pie

I saw a recipe for spaghetti pie and thought it looked delicious, but it was over 550 calories per serving and didn’t have any veggies. I thought I could change it up and make it healthier. I replaced the pasta with spaghetti squash, which does give it a little sweeter taste, but it works well with the bacon. A lot of recipes call for half and half or cream, which I switched out fat free evaporated milk. It still has a creaminess, but without the extra fat and calories. You could use mozzarella cheese instead of parmesan if you wanted to.

Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 6 cups cooked squash)
8 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 eggs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 basil leaves, chopped
1 – 12 oz can fat free evaporated milk
1 onion, chopped
Directions

Cook the spaghetti squash by cutting it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place both halves in a baking pan with about an inch of water in the bottom. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. When it is done, scrape the squash out of the shell with a fork, separating the strands as you do.

In a bowl combine the eggs, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, the milk, garlic and basil. Add the beans, squash and onions. Transfer everything to a 2 quart round baking pan or a 9 inch square pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees. Let it cool for at least ten minutes before cutting.

Nutritional Info
◦Servings Per Recipe: 6
◦Amount Per Serving
◦Calories: 239.3
◦Total Fat: 9.9 g
◦Cholesterol: 143.2 mg
◦Sodium: 528.2 mg
◦Total Carbs: 20.8 g
◦Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g
◦Protein: 18.0 g

Bacon Spaghetti Pie

Red and Yellow Italian Pizza

During my first trip to Italy I discovered Margerita Pizza, a simple pizza with just a little sauce, fresh basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella.  The freshness of the ingredients really stands out.  This is a little twist on that pizza.  Pizza is one of those things that just about everyone loves, and with all the variations on it, you could have it a couple times a week without anyone getting tired of it.

Although I normally just buy pizza crust because it’s convient, this crust is tastier than most you could buy because of the herbs in it.  Plus, it’s really not the difficult.  If you don’t want to waste the other half packet of yeast, double the recipe and bake two crusts.  Let one cool competely, then freeze it in a air tight bag.

Ingredients

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 package dry yeast (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dry basil

For the toppings:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes (red and yellow)
3 cloves minced garlic
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
10-15 large leaves of fresh basil

Directions

For the pizza crust:

If you have a stand mixer (like a KitchenAid), use the dough hook.  Place the water in the bottom of the bowl.  Layer the flour on top, letting it mound up in the middle.  Using the back of a spoon, create a small indentation in the flour and pour the yeast in the dent.  Add in the basil, garlic and onion powders.  For the first few seconds, run the mixer on lower then increase the speed.  Mix it until the dough forms a ball and all of the flour has been mixed in.

If you don’t have a mixer, mix the herbs, yeast and half the flour.  Add the flour mixture to the water with a spoon.  Continue adding the flour and mixing with a spoon until no more will mix in.  Place the dough on a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour a little at a time.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the dough on a plate and loosely cover with a cloth towel.  Place it on the stove for about ten minutes (the heat from the preheating oven will help the dough rise).  After the dough has rest, flatten the dough into a 1/4-1/2 inch thick circle.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it starts to brown.

 

While the crust is rising, cut the tomatoes in half.  Pat the mozzarella with paper towel to remove the extra moisture and cut into 1/4 inch slices.  Snip the basil leaves in small pieces (I use herb scissors, they cut the herbs into 1/8-1/4 inch pieces).

After the crust is done baking, lightly brush the pizza crust with the olive oil.  Layer the mozzarella slices over the crust and evenly top with tomato halves and garlic.  Bake at 400 degrees for another 5-7 minutes, until the cheese has melted.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil.

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 385.5
  • Total Fat: 13.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 32.9 mg
  • Sodium: 267.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 45.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
  • Protein: 20.7 g