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Apple & Cranberry Oatmeal Recipe

14 Nov

In the Fall and Winter months, it gets SOOOO cold up here. I really like making a hot and hearty breakfast on those mornings to warm me up. Every once in a while I make my oatmeal with apples and cranberries and not only does it taste good, it also reminds me of the holidays. Here’s how I make mine:

Ingredients

  • Oatmeal (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 apple (peeled and chopped) – this is for 2 people so adjust accordingly
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pecans – I like to chop these up
  • Maple syrup – about 1 tbsp
  • Almond milk – probably about 1/4 cup (obviously, you could use regular milk, soy, etc., I just prefer the almond as it has a little bit of a sweetness to it)
  • Cinnamon

Instructions

  • Cook your oatmeal according to the instructions on the package (typically 2 cups water to 1 cup of oatmeal for 2 servings) – I like to use a little less water than what it calls for so that when I add the milk, it’s not too liquidy
  • When you have about a minute left on your oatmeal, stir in the apple, cranberries and almond milk
  • When the oatmeal is done cooking, stir in the pecans, cinnamon (a healthy pinch should do), and maple syrup

Done and done!

Roasted Shrimp Recipe…Great for Salads or Appies

4 Nov

Tonight, I’m making a shrimp Caesar salad for dinner so to get a head start, I decided to make the shrimp this morning. I first got the idea of roasting shrimp while watching a Barefoot Contessa episode. My recipe below is for 2 so adjust as necessary. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

  • 10 large shrimp (peeled & deveined) – I get mine from the local butcher and they are from the US
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced (bigger chunks) – this is a LOT of garlic for such a small number of shrimp; however, since I’m making Caesar salad, I wanted to be heavy on the garlic…adjust the amount according to your taste buds
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Toss the shrimp with a nice big dose of EVOO, healthy pinch of salt and pepper and the garlic
  • Dump the shrimp on a cookie sheet that is lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray – I only use the foil for easy clean up so that part is optional
  • Bake for about 8 minutes and then flip the shrimp and bake for another 3 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked
  • For salads, I like to cut these up into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to eat and the shrimp to bite ratio is higher

NOTE – baking times may vary depending on the size of your shrimp so keep an eye on them the first time you do this and use your best judgement.

Like I said, I’m using these shrimp for a Caesar salad; however, I have also used this recipe and added parsley for a nice shrimp appetizer and I’ve also used it to put in pasta dishes so be creative with it.

Enjoy and, as always, leave your comments and suggestions!

Mango Protein Shake Recipe

3 Nov

Good Morning, All! This morning, I decided to make an egg sammy and a protein shake for breakfast. Yesterday, I wrote about how much I love protein shakes and that I have them almost daily. On mornings that I make egg sandwiches for my husband and I, I typically accompany those with a shake – I make one and we split it.

This morning, I remembered that I had frozen chunks of mango a few weeks ago and so my shake recipe was as follows:

  • About 12 oz of almond milk – I buy the unsweetened 40 cal/serving from Almond Breeze
  • 2 heaping tablespoons (I use a regular spoon) of Oikos organic Greek-style yogurt (I like vanilla)
  • About 2 handfuls of the frozen mango chunks (this will serve as ice cubes)
  • 1 heaping scoop of Tera’s Whey Dark Chocolate Protein (1 serving of protein is 2 scoops, but I tpically just use 1 scoop because I’m getting enough protein in my diet and to cut down on costs)
  • Blend it up and voila! You have a delicious protein shake!

For my egg sammies, I use 1 full egg and 1 egg white that I cook in the frying pan with cooking spray. I like to add a few splashes of hot sauce as well and a slice of tomato. Sometimes, I’ll saute a little spinach in EVOO first, then add the egg on top and serve that in the sandwich with a slice of tomato – I didn’t have spinach this morning though.

Also, DON’T WASTE YOUR YOLKS…do you have a pet? I have a dog and she gets scrambled egg yolks every morning. It’s a nice treat for the pup and I don’t waste any of the egg, as I toss the shells in our compost pile.

Please leave comments to let me know your favorite protein shake recipes.

Roasted Potatoes

29 Oct

I make roasted potatoes frequently as a starch/carb side dish. Depending on what I’m cooking, I use a variety of spices. Last night, my potatoes accompanied a grilled salmon, marinated in EVOO, crushed garlic cloves, liquid aminos (soy sauce alternative) and ground pepper. My other side for dinner was roasted brussels (those are just tossed in EVOO, salt and pepper). Here is how I prepared my taters last night.

Ingredients

  • Yukon gold potatoes (cut into 2 inch cubes – usually, I can just cut the potato into 4’s, but if they’re larger, you will have to make adjustments)
  • EVOO – probably close to 1/4 of a cup? Just drizzle to make sure the potatoes are covered, but don’t overdo it.
  • healthy does of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch onion powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch of paprika
  • about 1.5 tablespoons or so of parsley (when it’s garden season or if I have it on hand, I like to use fresh, but I had to use dried last night, which is still just as good)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Combine all of the ingredients and make sure the potatoes are evenly coated – I like to combine in a tupperware so that I can cover/seal the container, shake it around to combine evenly and then dump onto the cookie sheet
  • Transfer the combined product onto a cookie sheet – I like to line mine with foil and spray it with cooking spray so that when I’m done, I can simply throw away the foil instead of having to wash another dish
  • Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and fork tender. You may want to pull them out about half way through to toss them around again and make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the cookie sheet.
  • NOTE – I like to start cooking them with the flesh down…I may be weird, but it seems to brown the flesh better when I cook them that side down…once the flesh starts to brown a bit, I toss them around/flip them over

Enjoy! Please leave a comment to let me know your suggested variations.

Quick & Easy Salmon Marinade

29 Oct

Last night I grilled salmon and I used this quick and easy marinade…try it out

Ingredients

  • Liquid Aminos* (this is a healthy alternative to Soy Sauce – all natural and no preservatives)
  • 4 large garlic cloves – peeled and smushed
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  • Combine the salmon, liquid aminos, garlic, EVOO, and pepper in a ziplock bag or tupperware if you want to be eco-friendly and let the salmon marinate for at least 15 minutes before grilling – I typically use about a 2 to 1 ratio between the aminos and EVOO and the amount of pepper is up to you – I only like a little
  • Make sure to leave the salmon out while its marinating to bring the fish to room temperature before grilling – this will help the fish to cook more evenly

I grilled my salmon over medium heat – skin side down for the first 7 minutes or so and then on the other side for another 2-3 minutes

I served mine with roasted potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts

*I have included an image of the Liquid Aminos below in case you’re interested. Of course you can always use soy sauce in the marinade if you prefer – either way is delish…

Mushroom & Artichoke Pasta Recipe

28 Oct

Last night I made a really good pasta dish on a whim that I wanted to share with you. It didn’t take much time (probably about 30 minutes from start to finish) and it was a perfect accompaniment to the cold weather outside (SNOW up here) and the burning wood stove inside.

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 onion
  • 6 large cloves of garlic (or more depending on your taste buds)
  • 1 package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cans of quartered artichokes (make sure they are in water, not oil) – drain these
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Fresh spinach – about 8 oz
  • [OPTIONAL, but highly recommended] About 1/4 cup of good red wine (I used a delicious Valpolicella) – I would recommend something robust and hearty
  • About 1.5 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 package of spaghetti
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • [OPTIONAL] Mozzarella cheese and/or Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Pour yourself a glass of the wine (I can’t cook a pasta dish without this very important first step)
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place the rack at the very top
  3. At this point I typically start to bring my big pot of water (with a lot of salt – think sea water here) to a boil – once it reaches a boil, if you are not ready to add your pasta, just lower the heat until you’re ready to bring it back up to a boil and add the pasta. I do this so that when I’m about 10 minutes from being done with my sauce, I can quickly turn the heat to high to get my water boiling again and add the pasta so that it’s done cooking by the time I’m ready to serve – a little trick my Mom always uses. I know this isn’t great for energy-saving, but I’m usually really conscious so every once in a while isn’t so bad 🙂
  4. Strain the tomatoes, but make sure to keep the juice and set aside
  5. Spread the tomatoes out on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray and then drizzle a healthy dose of EVOO over top and then sprinkle with salt and pepper – make sure you have enough EVOO to completely cover the tomatoes
  6. Place the tomatoes in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes or until the top has charred a little
  7. In the meantime, heat the EVOO over medium heat and once it is heated, add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and saute until the onions start to sweat – probably about 5 minutes
  8. Add the garlic and saute for one more minute
  9. Add the mushrooms and one more pinch of salt and saute until the mushrooms start to release their juices (this should only take a few minutes)
  10. Add the artichokes and toss around for a minute or two – by this time the tomatoes should be ready…
  11. Add the tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, wine, pinch of sugar and tomato paste
  12. Bring this to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer so that the juices may reduce
  13. At this point, your water should be boiling for the pasta and you should add your spaghetti to the water, as well as a little EVOO – while the spaghetti cooks, your sauce should be thickening up nicely and you may add the spinach and mix around until the spinach is wilted (I would wait until your pasta has about 5 minutes left)
  14. Once your pasta is ready, strain and then put it back into the pot and back on the burner. Add the butter and mix around so that the pasta is coated – this will allow the sauce to stick to your pasta

To Serve

  • So, a lot of times, I’ll add the pasta to the sauce, but since I cooked the entire package of pasta last night, I decided not to because I didn’t think there would be enough sauce. Therefore, I put the pasta in the bottom of the bowl, I then sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese, then topped that with a couple of ladles of sauce and then topped that with a few little chunks of mozzarella cheese (I just rip it right off the hunk of mozz)
  • Pour yourself another glass of wine – you should need a refill by now – and ENJOY your meal because life is good!

Lentil Soup Recipe

27 Oct

Last night, I made lentil soup for dinner. It was fast, easy, delicious and filling. Of course, it was also healthy and provided a great source of both protein and fiber. Here’s what I did – no exact ingredients…just play around with it and taste as you go…

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb of lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes – I bet roasting these ahead of time would be good too
  • 8 cups of reduced sodium vegetable or chicken stock (I used chicken last night) – you may also substitute 1/2 with water if you prefer
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Cumin (I probably used about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • About 5 splashes of hot sauce
Directions
  • Heat a healthy dose of EVOO over medium heat in a large dutch oven or pot – I typically use enough to cover the bottom of the pot
  • As that’s heating up, rinse/drain the lentils and pick out the bad ones
  • Once EVOO is heated, add the onion, celery and carrots and sprinkle with a healthy pinch of salt – saute until they start to sweat and the onions become translucent (probably between 7-10 minutes)
  • Add the garlic and continue to saute for about 1 minute
  • Add the lentils and mix it around with the veggies
  • Add the can of tomatoes and mix it around
  • Add the stock, pepper (probably around 1/2 tsp), cumin and hot sauce and give a stir
  • Bring soup to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low
  • Simmer for about 40 minutes or until lentils are tender
  • [OPTIONAL] Take about 6 ladles full and blend in a blender (or use a stick blender) and then stir it back into the soup
To Serve
  • Last night, instead of bread, I used my last pita and made pita chips. I also served the soup over a little bit of rice and really enjoyed that
  • To make the pita chips, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pita into 8 pieces. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and arrange the pieces of pita on the cookie sheet. Drizzle the pita with olive oil and then sprinkle with a little garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and a teeny tiny bit of kosher salt. Rub that mixture into the pieces of pita so that they’re evenly coated. Place the cookie sheet in the oven in the top rack and bake for about 5 minutes or so (keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn). They are ready when they are browned and crispy.
  • Place a little rice on the bottom of your bowl [OPTIONAL], ladle the soup over the rice, sprinkle with a little parsley to garnish and add a few pita chips to the side of the bowl
Enjoy! Please leave your comments if you have recommended modifications!