May 30, 2014

Trader Joe's Lentil Bruschetta Dip

Happy Friday!

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Palm Springs for my friend's Bachelorette Party. It was a blast! Some of the girls brought some snacks and that's how I came to try Trader Joe's Lentil Bruschetta Dip. It's great! It's pretty healthy for a dip too, chock full of veggies. It's easy to make a vegan version as well--just leave out the feta cheese.


I made this dip when I hosted my Book Club as well, and it was a hit. So were the brownies I made. :-)



Trader Joe's Lentil Bruschetta Dip

1 pouch steamed lentils (in the salad section)
1 container bruschetta sauce (in the refrigerated section)
1 container of feta cheese (or goat for lactose-intolerance or none for vegan)
1 hand full of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve with pita chips or cucumbers for gluten-free.


Enjoy!

Jessica

May 27, 2014

Skinny Turkey Meatloaf

Good Morning!

Last night I made Turkey Meatloaf with a side of Mashed White Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter.


Turkey meatloaf is a great lean protein for lunch or dinner and warms up nicely. I also threw in chopped onions, garlic, and green bell peppers for some veggie goodness.


If you bake it on a tray like shown in the photo above, the juices from the turkey will run off to the sides and not be soaking your meatloaf the way a loaf pan tends to do. I've learned my lesson with soggy turkey meatloaf.


Fun Fact: The white sweet potatoes I made are actually "yams." The orange or reddish ones you traditionally consider "yams" are actually sweet potatoes. Mind blown?

My local grocery store labels the white sweet potatoes as white sweet potatoes, so that might be the way to look for them. They aren't as sweet or fibrous as the orange variety, and have a more "mashed potato" like consistency. My boyfriend prefers them to the orange type. The orange are a bit healthier, but "yams" or white sweet potatoes still contain plenty of nutrition. See below:

Sweet potato, 1/2 cup (100 grams):
90 calories, 0 grams fat, 20 grams carbohydrate, 3.3 grams fibre, 2 grams protein, 475 milligrams potassium, 20 milligrams vitamin C, 0.28 milligrams vitamin B6, 11.5 milligrams beta-carotene.

Yam, 1/2 cup (100 grams):
116 calories, 0 grams fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fibre, 1.5 grams protein, 670 mg potassium, 12 milligrams vitamin C, 0.23 milligrams vitamin B6, .07 milligrams beta-carotene.

If you want to be super healthy, you can leave out the brown butter. I only used about 2 Tbsps, so not too bad. :-)


Turkey Meatloaf

1 package lean ground turkey (1.25 lbs typically)
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp of organic ketchup to top meatloaf (No HFC in organic)

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a baking dish or pan with tin foil. Saute onions in a small bit of olive oil for a few minutes. Add garlic and bell pepper and sautee until onions become slightly translucent.

Add ground turkey and all ingredients except for ketchup into a large bowl. Add sauteed veggies. Using hands (it's easiest, trust me) work all ingredients until combined. Then, place combined ingredients onto the pan lined with tin foil and form into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove meatloaf and top with ketchup. Place back in oven for 30 more minutes or until turkey is done. Make sure no pink is left in the center or that it reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Slice and serve.


Mashed White Sweet Potatoes or "Yams" with Brown Butter

Place a large pot on stove with enough water to cover sweet potatoes. Skin potatoes and slice into pieces. Add to water and bring to a boil. It will take around 20 minutes for the potatoes to become soft. Don't overcook as you don't want mushy potatoes. When done, remove and drain. Place back in pan.

Add 2 Tbsp of butter to a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk butter as it melts. It will start to bubble. Keep whisking for several minutes just until the butter starts to brown and have a nutty aroma. IMMEDIATELY remove from heat once it begins to turn brown, otherwise it quickly burns and you don't want to eat that. It may take you a couple of tries, but that's okay. I highly suggest learning because brown butter is a magical thing. Add browned butter to the potatoes and mash. Serve with meatloaf.

May 19, 2014

Summer Salad

Hi everyone!

With summer just around the corner, I decided to make a light, crisp, cool salad.


Summer Salad

Baby greens lettuce mix
1 heirloom tomato (I love heirlooms. The beautiful color and taste really highlights the salad)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large or 4 baby carrots, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 chicken breast, sliced

Mix all together and drizzle with a low calorie dressing. Try to avoid creamy based dressings as these are high in fat and calories. I love, love, love this Light Greek Vinaigrette. It's only 50 cals per 2 Tbsp. Be careful when buying salad dressing. You may think you're eating healthy, but you can cancel out your healthy salad with a boatload of unhealthy dressing.


Enjoy!

Jessica

May 15, 2014

Zucchini Crust BBQ Chicken Pizza

Hi!

My most popular recipe is my Cauliflower Crust Pizza.


But I was intrigued by all the zucchini crust pizza pins I'd been seeing lately. I had some extra zucchinis in my fridge and decided to give it a whirl. And you know, I may just like it even more than the cauliflower crust! It's also Gluten Free.


Zucchini Pizza Crust
Makes 1 large or 2 individual pizzas

3-4 cups grated and minced fresh zucchini (I used 2 medium zucchinis)
3/4 cup grated gouda cheese (you can use whatever cheese you prefer: mozzarella and parmesan are great for a traditional pizza, but gouda is great for a BBQ flavor)
5 T almond meal
1 tsp. dried Thyme (may use Italian seasonings for traditional pizza)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the grill or oven to 450F/230C. Put pizza stone in oven to heat up.

Grate zucchini, using a food processor or the large side of a cheese grater, then chop the grated zucchini with the regular chopping blades of the processor. Place the chopped zucchini in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for about 4 minutes. Remove zucchini and dump into a cheese cloth. BE CAREFUL, it's really hot! Let zucchini drain until it's cool enough to handle.

When zucchini is cool, wring out as much water as you can and place the zucchini in a bowl. Add the grated cheese, almond meal, dried thyme, garlic powder, salt, and beaten egg and stir until the ingredients are combined. Hands work well for this!

Spray parchment paper with nonstick spray and divide the crust mixture into two balls or one large ball. Use your fingers to press out the crust mixture into two circles, being careful not to make the edges too thin (or they will burn). Keeping crust on the parchment, carefully place on hot stone in oven. Bake about 12-15 minutes until crust is firm and starting to brown. Remove from oven. Top with sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice... OR read on for my BBQ chicken pizza.

Adapted from here.


BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup corn (I roasted mine in the oven for about 20 mins, but this is optional)
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
Rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
1-2 cups Gouda cheese, or cheese of choice
Fresh cilantro for garnish

To assemble the BBQ pizza, top each crust (or the large crust) with 1/2 cup BBQ sauce. Top with chicken, cheese, bell peppers, corn, and any other toppings you so desire. Garnish with cilantro.


Buon appetito!

Jessica

May 12, 2014

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce and Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Hi everyone!

I just whipped up this bomb blackened chicken with avocado cream sauce and it is deee-lish! Serve it with a side of cilantro lime quinoa and you have a complete meal.


Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Start quinoa first as the chicken doesn't take long to cook.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Fresh cilantro

Add garlic to pot and heat on medium high for a couple of minutes. Add chicken broth and quinoa and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and add the zest and juice of the lime and salt. Let quinoa simmer for 15-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff before serving and stir in cilantro leaves to garnish.

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce

4 chicken breasts
Blackening or Cajun seasoning
2 Tbps vegetable oil

Sauce:
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1-2 tsps milk until desire consistency is reached

Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Season chicken with Cajun or blackening spice and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. Cover to avoid grease splatter.

While chicken is cooking, use a food processor or mash with a fork the avocado, yogurt, and garlic powder. Add milk a tiny bit at a time if you want a drizzle-able consistency. Top chicken with sauce when finished cooking and serve.

Enjoy!

Jessica

May 10, 2014

The Easiest, Tastiest Roasted Carrots and Zucchini

Hi everyone!

Sometimes it can be hard to get all your veggies in your diet because they seem to be a little more difficult to cook. What do you do with a bunch of carrots? Or a bag of zucchinis?

Fret no more...


This is the simplest method ever. Simply slice up your carrots and zucchinis into large "fries." Cut carrot or zucchini in half, then cut the halves length wise until you have even sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Toss veggies in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, a sprinkling of thyme and a pinch of cayenne. (Or use herbs of choice.)

Lay veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet, skin down.

Roast for 10 minutes. Stir veggies around and roast for 10 more minutes.

Remove and let cool. Serve as a healthy, beautiful, delicious side.


Enjoy!

Jessica

May 7, 2014

PB2 - Have your peanut butter and eat it too!

Hi everyone!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE peanut butter. Favorite food of all time. I could literally eat half a jar. But I refrain... most of the time. ;-)


The downside of peanut butter is the high caloric content. It's also very high in fat, but fats from nuts are the healthy fats you need. Eating a diet rich in nuts correlates with less incidence of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. That being said, you just can't go around eating half a jar. :-(

Also, when you're watching your calories, 2 Tbsp pack a whopping 200 calories. Trust me, I know how much those 200 calories count when you're eating restricted calories.

But I have discovered the solution! Eat 2 Tbsp, hell, eat 4! PB2 has revolutionized my ability to consume large quantities of peanut butter without the guilt! And it tastes great. It's perfect for mixing in shakes, oatmeal, or using as a traditional spread. There's no lack of a peanut-y taste. Plus, they have a chocolate flavor. It has 85% less fat calories and about 90% of the great taste.

Check out these nutritional stats:

I eat this stuff constantly. I mix it with a cup of non-fat or 2% Greek yogurt and a mashed up banana mixed in. It's like a PB Banana Breakfast Pudding. I eat it about half the mornings of the week, no joke.



I also mix it up and dip apples and celery in it.



So the next time you go to the store, BUY PB2! Or order it online. You will not regret it.

Jessica

May 5, 2014

Mexican Turkey Burgers & Lightened Up Bean Dip

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

My favorite food of all time is Mexican. Tex-Mex, Cali-Mex... Authentic Mexican food in Cabo... doesn't matter. I love it all.

But we all know that Mexican isn't always the lowest in fat, calories, and carbs. Luckily, it's easy to lighten it up.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, my boyfriend and I made Turkey Soy Chorizo Burgers with avocado pico de gallo and lightened up bean dip. It's simple to make these traditionally "junk" food recipes good for you.



Just a few simple substitutions and you can enjoy festive holidays like Cinco de Mayo without the guilt.


We love Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo. It tastes great, is vegetarian, and gluten free, and much healthier than chorizo (I don't think you want to know what real chorizo is made of). Mix this in with lean ground turkey for a flavorful, Mexican burger. Top with pepper jack cheese and avocado pico de gallo for a tasty meal.

For a quick layered bean dip appetizer, substitute 0% Greek yogurt for sour cream, use fat free refried beans, and the pico used for the burger.


Mexican Turkey Burgers

1 package ground turkey
1/2-3/4 of a soy chorizo package
Pepper jack cheese for topping

Mix turkey and soy chorizo by hand in a large bowl. Form into patties and grill until cooked. Top with cheese just before finished and let melt.

Avocado Pico de Gallo

3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 1/2 avocados, cubed
1-2 Tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Serve with chips, on the burger, with bean dip, etc.

Lightened up Layered Bean Dip

1 can fat free refried beans (I used spicy, but you can use regular if you prefer)
3/4 cup 0% or 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup pico de gallo
3/4 cup pepper jack cheese

Spread the beans on the bottom of an 8 x 8 glass dish. Spread yogurt evenly over the beans. Top yogurt with the pico and use a fork to spread across. Top with shredded cheese. Refrigerate or serve with chips.



Enjoy!

Jessica

May 4, 2014

Vegan Brownies with Raspberries

Hi everyone!

If you like more of a thick, cakey brownie versus the box mix fudgey type, these are for you! And don't worry, they are plenty moist and delish.


They are vegan, made with whole wheat flour, and have no oil. So, for a brownie, it's about as healthy as you can get.

*If you're gluten free, you can always make my Gluten Free Brownies.



Each brownie has less than 200 calories, so feel free to indulge. :-)

Vegan Raspberry Brownies

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup raspberry fruit spread
1/2 cup sugar or other dry sweetener (I can't promise tasty results with Splenda or Stevia)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh raspberries (can use frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8 inch pan with tin foil or parchment paper and lightly mist with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

I think this spatula is my way of communicating to the chocolate. Be Mine. You & Me. Love.

In an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, mix together the jam, sweetener, and apple sauce. Stir in the vanilla and the melted chocolate.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then add to wet ingredients. Mix very well until a stiff dough forms.

It's so thick, the majority is stuck to the paddle. But that's ok!

Fold in the raspberries. I have used only fresh, which I think helps keep these super moist. But you can also try frozen and the berries won't break apart like you see in the photo. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. It will be very thick, you’ll probably need to use your hands to evenly spread the batter.

Oh, those are my feet.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, they should still be soft and gooey. If a tester toothpick comes out clean, they’re overbaked. Remove from oven and let cool completely. These stay moist for several days in an airtight container.

If they make it to several days, that is... :-)

Enjoy!

Jessica



Recipe adapted from PPK.

May 2, 2014

Egg & Avocado Toast

Hi everyone!

As you know, it's important to get a satisfying breakfast. I know I need a high protein content and healthy fats to feel full until lunch. And let me tell you, when I don't eat properly my stomach lets me know and then my mind is on my hunger pains all morning. Not fun, especially when you need to be very focused at work.


One of my favorite breakfasts to blast away my morning hunger and kick start my energy for the day is egg and avocado toast. It's simple, delicious, and filling. You get protein from the eggs and sprouted Ezekiel bread as well as healthy fats from the eggs and avocado.


Slice an avocado in two. Save one half for lunch, dinner, or tomorrow. Scramble 2 eggs or cook them sunny side up (I don't like runny yolks, but many people do, so the choice is yours). Right before the eggs are finished cooking, place your bread in the toaster and push the lever down.

When done, scoop out half the avocado from the half you're using (so 1/4 of the entire avo) and mash with a fork onto one slice of bread. Repeat with the other slice. Top each slice with 1 egg. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and hot sauce or any other spices of your choice.


Enjoy!

Jessica


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