Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

We’re planning a brunch wedding shower for my sister next month, and I needed some good food ideas (not that it’s a difficult task, brunch is my favorite meal!). Sara sent along this delicious recipe from Whole Foods that I knew I’d have to try. I did a test run recently on a rare Sunday when my husband was off work, and we both loved it.

Quinoa egg bake fresh from the oven

The dish was quick, simple, had few ingredients, and reheated well. I actually thought it was better the second day, and it was nice to have a fast and hot breakfast before work. Quinoa is a great plant source of protein, and eggs and garlic are superfoods as well.

...and on my plate!

We rounded out the brunch meal with Al Fresco apple chicken sausage (which I’d never have but highly recommend) and wheat toast with homemade apricot preserves (thanks, Eva!). Yummy way to start a Sunday, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to serving this up at the wedding shower!

– albledsoe

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Earlier this week I was having a serious pasta craving. Not just any pasta would do, I wanted the mother of all pasta dishes. Fettuccine alfredo. But, the problem with fettuccine alfredo, is that it’s like going swimming in a vat of salt, butter and cream. It tops the list as on of the worst foods you can eat and I knew that I don’t want to put all that bad stuff in my body.

Spinach Fettuccini Alfredo

The healthy version of fettuccine alfredo.

Self.com came to the rescue with one of their oh-so-good and healthy dishes. Their Spinach Fettuccine with Yogurt-Cream Sauce was just what I needed. I was able to indulge in a pasta treat with a cream sauce and still feel great about what I ate. I heart healthy versions of unhealthy classics! This dish comes in at 249 calories per serving, 4.9 g fat (1.7 g saturated), 38.9 g carbs, 3.3 g fiber, and 13.3 g protein.

I didn’t have everything I needed to follow the self recipe exactly, so I used asparagus instead of squash and I added a cup of grilled chicken to the recipe. It was delish! Since I was only cooking for two, I had leftovers for lunch the next two days. Consider this healthy alternative the next time a pasta craving hits you!

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Roasted Purple Potatoes

Roasted Purple Potatoes

I stumbled upon these little purple guys at one of my favorite grocery stores, Trader Joe’s. At first I thought they would only have a purple skin, but much to my surprise these purple potatoes were just as purple on the inside as they are on the outside. How fun is that? I think any vegetable that is purple automatically makes it more fun to eat, but it’s even better when said vegetable goes above and beyond in the good for you department.

As it turns out, these little purple guys are more than just pleasing to the eye. The Purple Majesty is a natural breed that is purple from the inside out. This violet veggie that is loaded with antioxidants debuted in 2006. In addition to being rich in Potassium and Vitamin C, the Purple Majesty variety boasts a whopping amount of antioxidants per serving (235 milligrams of anthocyanins). In case you’ve forgotten about the benefits of indulging in free radical fighting antioxidants: they can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and they can also help to boost your immune system and lower cholesterol. It doesn’t get better than that!

Once you get your hands on this purple tuber, what do you do with it? They are about the size of a new potato, and they have a very thin skin so you can use it in a number of ways. This variety is a little sweeter than a regular new potato, and the mellow flavor and thin skin makes the purple potato perfect for roasting. It’s a nice break from the usual Russet or Yukon Gold variety used day in and day out. I have also used them for potato salad; this purple potato definitely stands out among the crowd and will spark some conversation, so be ready to defend your purple potluck contribution.

Have you ever tried purple potatoes? Leave a comment to share your favorite purple potato recipe.


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With the super-sized culture showing up everywhere you look in the food industry, I was delighted when I received a gift that was the exact opposite of the, “bigger is better” philosophy. A dear friend treated me to a set of mini kitchen goodies complete with miniature utensils, baking dishes and preparation bowls.

My Miniature Kitchen Utensils

She knew that I would enjoy anything for the kitchen, but she picked these out so I could sample new recipes without committing to an entire 9×13 pan of it. What a sweetie!

My most recent mini-adventure was during my Mexican food challenge. I made miniature chile rellano casseroles. Cooking with smaller dishes and in smaller portions is great because:

  • You can try out some things that you might have otherwise dismissed; small portions equal a small commitment.
  • Your cooking time gets cut WAY down. A casserole that takes 60 minutes to cook when in regular casserole size may only be a 20 minutes. Who doesn’t love a 30 minute meal?

Sure this was a gift for me, but I’m ready to share the love and try any sort of miniature treat you want to have tested. I’ll give it a go and report back with all the details. (I mean, we’re called Fit To Be Tried for a reason!)

Leave a comment to submit your mini recipe today!


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My Mexican food challenge is complete! I’m happy to report that I have enjoyed 13 healthy Mexican inspired meals and tried out a total of 4 new recipes over the last 7 days. I came up short only one meal which was due to a work trip I took on Thursday. I wanted to pack a lunch in my purse, but my travel arrangements left me without any option to B.Y.O.F (Bring Your Own Fajita). Here’s a very quick recap of my menu from this week.

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Fiesta Chicken Soup

Lunch – Leftover fiesta chicken soup from this weekend. Mmm, mmm good. This was my go-to choice for lunch on more than one occasion.

Dinner – I tried out a new entrée. Since I wound up with so much extra food from making tamale pie on Monday, I adjusted this shrimp enchilada recipe by half. And, I know I said no refried beans, but when I saw this recipe I decided to use vegetarian beans and give it a go. I also cut way back on the cheese that this recipe called for. This turned out to be quite a delightful meal. Even though I cut it in half, this recipe still made a lot of food.

For lunch I finished off my soup and had a salad topped with grilled chicken, black beans, avocados and cilantro. My dinner was made up of leftover tamale pie. I think this meal tasted even better as a leftover!

This lunch was the only meal that I didn’t get to stick to the plan. Boo. I was in TX for work, and our host arranged for a BBQ lunch. At least the meal was a local dish, but I was disappointed to have to have to stray from the challenge so close to the end!

Shrimp Enchilada

Shrimp Enchilada Bake

Dinner – I was exhausted from my trip, so instead of charging forward with a new recipe, I enjoyed one more night of leftovers. I couldn’t let the good stuff go to waste! Shrimp enchiladas – part two!

The beauty of the Mexican food challenge was that I was able to focus on eating lots of fresh goodies – peppers, tomatoes, avocados – which all top my list of favorite things to eat. I had to pass on a lot of the toppings that come along with “traditional” Mexican foods like cheese sauce, sour cream, etc. But as long as you have fresh salsa, guacamole and cilantro on hand, who needs it?

What is your favorite healthy meal you think you could eat everyday?


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The Mexican food challenge is well underway and I’m loving the healthy and delicious meals. I was a little bit concerned that I would have a crazy craving for something other than Mexican food over the weekend, but so far, no problems in that department.

First up, lunch – I had a romaine salad with seasoned chicken (cumin, garlic powder, crushed red peppers) black beans, cherry tomatoes and guacamole. This salad was a good way to finish up some of the leftovers I had in the fridge. The beans and chicken in the salad really filled me up.

Friday night – Dinner out with friends. My friend suggested splitting her favorite item on the menu, and I am sure happy we did. Our dish was the pollo adobo, which was a chicken breast topped with a spinach sauce and served with grilled veggies, tortillas, cilantro rice and beans. As with most restaurant portions, it was huge. I’m so happy we split it. The veggie selection was made of up your usual peppers, onions, mushrooms you would expect, plus they had broccoli, cauliflower, and squash too which was a nice surprise. And, my big splurge for the night, a margarita. It was Friday night and I just couldn’t resist…

Lunch – I worked a half day on Saturday, which put me in a bad spot around lunch time. I had several meals in mind for the weekend and coming week, but I hadn’t yet made it to the grocery store. I was very hungry (and about to get really grouchy), so I grabbed a quick burrito bowl for lunch with black beans, cilantro, rice and steak with the cheese and guacamole on the side.

Dinner – I seasoned some tilapia fillets with cumin, garlic, chili powder, garlic olive oil, lime juice and baked it. We had fish tacos with a salad, black beans and rice. Yum, yum, yum – I’m loving this challenge!

After dinner on Saturday night I loaded up at the grocery store for the rest of the week. (Lots of fresh veggies.) In addition to sticking to the challenge, I’m trying out 5 new recipes this week! I’m hoping it’s not too ambitious! We’ll see.

Miniature Chile Relleno Casserole

Brunch at home. I took advantage of having some free time on Sunday morning and I spent it in the kitchen. I made miniature chile relleno casseroles with tortillas for brunch and I made a white bean fiesta chicken soup in the crockpot for dinner. The leftover soup will be great for lunches this week.

Lunch – I made a meal in a bowl out of the leftover rice, grilled fish Saturday’s tacos and black beans from this weekend. I also added some homemade salsa and avocados and it was a delicious!

Dinner – This was a new recipe for tamale pie, and it was an adventure. This was the first time I’ve ever used cornmeal to top a casserole. That stuff changes from a liquid to a solid FAST! All in all, it tasted pretty good, but I think I would have rather enjoyed real tamales for the time and preparation that went into making this dish.

That brings you up to speed! No major heartburn, I’m not sick of black beans yet and I’m really excited about the recipes for the rest of this week. Up next, two different types of enchiladas (shrimp and chicken) and I’m going to attempt to make a cilantro sauce to go along with one of the chicken recipes I have found.

P.S. – My husband is hanging in there with me on this challenge. So far, no complaints, but I’m anxious to hear his thoughts once we make it through a full seven days! Also, I’ll be traveling this week for work so I may have to make a Mexican inspired breakfast before I fly to TX on Thursday morning. Maybe huevos rancheros?


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I’ve read so many articles over the years about the best time of day to work out, but this one from medicinenet.com sums up all the advice in one article. Mornings are great for routine, you may have greater endurance in the evenings, pollen counts are lower early, but later workouts might interfere with sleep…there are many tidbits of advice, but basically, the best time to exercise is any time you’ll actually do it!

Last year when Daylight Savings Time ended, I knew I would be awake an hour earlier than my alarm went off, so I took advantage of it and started an early morning exercise habit. It was great to have my workout behind me heading into the day, especially when it’s dark at 6 p.m. and cold and I want to snuggle into bed for the night by 8!

Now that shorter days are upon us once again, I’m struggling to make the commitment to morning workouts. I’m one for three this week, but my bed is so nice in the mornings! I know I’m more likely to get the workout in if I do it early, so I need to buckle down and just do it.

P.S. Sara’s spaghetti squash dinner inspired me to try the fall veggie for the first time as well. I used this recipe from DrWeil.com (he posts some great healthy recipes). Instead of baking the squash, I boiled it, which was so simple. Sara’s the cook on this blog, so I was anxious, but it turned out really great. The only problem was that I severely underestimated how long it would take to prepare. It’s more time than I normally have for cooking on a work night, but we have so many leftovers, we won’t have to cook for a few more days! The casserole (almost like a lasagna, really) was all veggies, spices, and a little cheese, so it’s a great dinner that’s not too heavy before bed.

– albledsoe

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Apples In Disguise

Last week my boss gave everyone at work a caramel apple. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gift, but I was shocked when I checked the nutrition facts. For those of you in St. Louis, brace yourselves, I’m probably going to ruin a long time Halloween favorite. It was a Merb’s Bionic Apple. This autumn sweet-tooth staple comes in at a whopping 600 calories. That’s only ONE apple. Yeesh! The apple is actually still sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be divided between 6 other people. That’s the best way I know to magically turn a 600 calorie diet buster into a 100 calorie treat!

Bionic Apple

A Merb's Bionic Apple

It’s easy to give in to sweet treats this time of year. Is it possible to figure out a way to make this treat a little better so you can still enjoy a caramel apple this Halloween? Can the calories be cut down by making this treat at home? Here’s the scoop.

Apples to Apples
Does the type of apple make a difference? Nope. One medium apple is about 80 calories. Be it granny smith, red delicious, golden delicious, gala or fuji, they are all the same.  These are all pretty close in calorie count, so I would just choose the one you prefer.

What kind of Caramel?
The homemade version is usually made of butter, sugar and cream so if you are going to indulge in a treat like this, keep track of how much you have. Two tablespoons will cost about 150 calories.

Store bought brands – T.Marzetti seems to be the most common kind you find on the shelf. Their fat-free version comes in at 140 calories for a 2 tbsp serving size. The ingredient list includes a lot more than just sugar and butter though, so consider yourself warned about the high fructose corn syrup and oils.

Thoughts about the fake, zero calorie stuff – Walden Farms has a caramel dip you may also find at the grocery store. It’s zero calorie, sugar-free, carb-free and fat-free. I’ve actually tried a bite of this stuff and it tastes…terrible. I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist, but I’m pretty sure this stuff is just water that’s been thickened up with gels, gums and chemicals. It’s not natural that’s for sure, so I’m going to continue to avoid it. My personal preference is to go for the real deal and count the treat in your discretionary calories for the day.

Going Nuts
Do the nuts make a difference? A half ounce of almond slivers is 82 calories. A half ounce of peanuts is 83 calories and a half ounce of pecans is 98 calories. If you want the nuts, go for the almonds. If you can live without them, I would skip ’em in favor of the homemade caramel topping. The bionic apple above packs on pecans (of course)!

Now, the math: 80 + 130 + 82 = 292 calories (at least). This homemade version comes in at half of the calories of the Bionic Apple, but it’s still a bit of a splurge. It won’t break your calorie budget, but if you decide to go for it, make sure you lay off of the candy bars, candy corn and other Halloween treats.

Caramel Apple Alternate
Skip the caramel and opt for real peanut butter or vanilla yogurt as a dip. Instead of all of that sugar you get protein, helping you stay you full longer and less likely to give in to the temptation of a caramel covered treat.

What are your favorite healthy Halloween treats?

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Many recipes for spaghetti squash are quick to load up on sugar and fat, negating any goodness you get from the veggie. Surely there are more options for this vegetable than to just top it with butter and brown sugar! So, when a reader suggested that I cook a spaghetti squash, I was determined to find a healthy, hearty recipe to share with you.

My search returned several casseroles and lots of recipes that called for a traditional tomato and beef sauce. I couldn’t find anything that really sounded perfect, so I ended up making my own white wine sauce with chicken, tomatoes and basil to accompany the squash.

One thing you do need to know before committing to making this, is that it takes a while to cook the squash. There are several ways to cook it, but being a spaghetti squash novice, I opted for the traditional oven baked method. Use a fork to pierce the skin then bake it in a shallow casserole dish for about an hour at 350 degrees. Several recipes claim that this can be cooked in the microwave, but I was concerned that it might get a little bit rubbery if I cooked it that way. I guess that will be an adventure for another day!

This squash definitely looks like spaghetti.

This definitely looks like spaghetti noodles.

After a total baking time of about 1 hour and 10 minutes, I pulled the squash out of the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes while I made my sauce. Once the sauce was completed, I tackled the squash. I cut mine in half lengthwise and then used a knife to dislodge the seeds and mushy middle. This makes it MUCH easier when scooping out all of the seeds with a spoon. Once you have removed all of the seeds, use your fork and start scraping the sides down to the skin. You’ll have a large bowl of spaghetti squash in no time!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Spoon the sauce mixture over the spaghetti squash, toss and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. This is a delicious and filling dish that is not too heavy. Spaghetti squash is also a dieter’s dream. A one cup serving of baked squash has no fat and only 41 calories.

This is my quick sauce recipe:

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts chopped into small pieces
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Large Tomato with Seeds removed and chopped into small chunks
1 Small Onion
2 Tbsp of Fresh Basil
½ Cup Dry White Wine
¼ Cup of Water
1 Tsp Corn Starch
1 Tbsp plus 1 Tsp Olive Oil

Season and sauté chicken in 1 tbsp olive oil; remove chicken from pan once it is cooked and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil to pan and sauté 2 tbsp minced garlic and 1 small onion. As the onions become translucent, add the cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup of water and then add the wine. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add chopped tomatoes, chicken and basil. Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.

What is your favorite spaghetti squash recipe?

– Sara

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Do you have leftovers staring at you in the fridge that need to be used up? Me too! This is a quick recipe that turns leftover chicken into a flavorful lunch option.

Chicken Curry in a Hurry
Give this recipe a try the next time you have at least a cup of leftover chicken. This is one of my favorite quick lunches. It’s easy to make and it tastes great. I usually make it with the leftovers from a baked or rotisserie chicken.

•  Remove skin and chop chicken into bite sized pieces
•  Add the following ingredients: 1 ½ Tsp curry powder, 1 Tsp light mayo, 1/3 Cup of dried cranberries or raisins, 1 Tbsp sliced green onions, 2 Tbsp chopped celery
•  Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use
•  Serve over a romaine salad with tomatoes, a dash of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar to taste
•  The grab it and go option: add your chicken and lettuce to a pita pocket

What is your favorite meal to make out of leftovers?

Salmon Patties
Salmon Patties used to be a staple in our house; it was an inexpensive entrée that my Grandma often served. I honestly didn’t realize there was any other way to cook salmon until I was in my late teens. After I had my own kitchen and began grilling, baking and broiling salmon I decided to re-vamp the salmon patty from my childhood. My main goal: cut the fat. The salmon patties I remembered were fried to a crispy golden brown in at least a cup of oil. Yikes!

Here’s how I make mine, minus all of that oil:

•  2, 7 Oz. pouches of salmon
•  1/4 Cup of green onions
•  1/2 Tbsp freshly snipped dill
•  1/4 Cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
•  Mix all ingredients and form into 4 patties
•  Heat 1 Tsp of olive oil over high heat. Cook patties over medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes until brown
•  Serve with brown rice and your favorite steamed veggie

This is a much healthier way to enjoy the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids and protein salmon packs in each serving. This meal takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. It’s perfect for a lunch on the weekend or a dinner entrée when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Do you have any unhealthy recipes that you would like submit for a rewrite? Submit your suggestions and I’ll give it a go!

– Sara

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