Category Archives: Healthy

Healthy Mini Muffins for Kids (or Anyone!)

Back in the fall when I was looking for more ways to use up the overload of squash from my CSA, I started baking with it. Using an old recipe of my mom’s for Pumpkin Apple Streusel muffins as a base, I thought I would swap the pumpkin for squash. But why stop there? So I started subbing ingredients to see how I could sneak in more veggies and make the muffins healthier. Some carrots here, some flax seeds there, some raisins for even more texture.

mini-muffins2
Every time I made them my 2 1/2 year old, who can be hit-or-miss on squash and carrots, gobbled them up. This weekend, he told me he wanted to make muffins so I took on the final frontier – reducing the amount of refined sugar. In my first attempt at messing with a staple baking ingredient, I cut the original amount of sugar in half and replaced the other cup with unsweetened applesauce and added an extra 1/2 C of flour to balance out the extra moisture.

Results? Success. The texture was exactly the same as the original version and although the muffins themselves are less sweet, I actually prefer it that way. Plus, it still passed the toddler test of requesting seconds.
mini-muffins3

Fruit & Veggie Packed Mini Muffins
makes 4 1/2 dozen mini muffins
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C applesauce (unsweetened/no sugar added kind)
1 C steamed and pureed winter squash (butternut or acorn work well)
3 C flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 C shredded carrots
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded
2/3 C raisins

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat together oil, eggs and pureed squash until combined. Beat in sugar and applesauce. Beat in pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and flax seeds. Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing well for even texture. Fold in carrots, apples and raisins.

Lightly spray mini muffin baking tin with cooking spray. Spoon batter into baking tin so that each cup is 3/4 or slightly more full of batter. Bake for 12 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.

mini-muffins
katie

4 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Healthy, Kid Friendly

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Another St. Patty’s day is almost upon us. This is the time of year I attempt Irish cuisine for a meal or two. Then I remember that I’ve been to Ireland, and while I had a few good meals, I feel like the Irish are better suited to beer and whiskey.  I do, however, love one-dish meals and the idea of shepherd’s pie. I prepared a healthy version of the Irish favorite, using sweet potatoes on top instead of your standard mash.

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 4-6

1 lb lean ground beef (you could also use turkey or lamb)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 C chopped carrots
1/2 C chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/3 C marsala wine
6 oz tomato paste
1/4 C worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In medium saucepan, boil sweet potatoes until soft, approximately 15 minutes. Drain, mash, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In large skillet, brown ground beef. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until vegetables are softened, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add marsala, tomato paste and worchestershire and simmer until sauce thickens. Add pepper and remove from heat.

Place meat mixture in a square or round 8 inch baking dish. Press mashed sweet potatoes over the top of the mixture. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until potato top becomes a bit crusted.

Spoon and serve.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie dish

If you want to Irish it up a bit more, swap the marsala for some Guinness. Or just drink one while you cook.

Check out these other comforting potato dishes from our friends around the web!

The Heritage Cook: Potato, Bacon, Green Chiles and Cheese Casserole 
Feed Me Phoebe: Bangers and Spinach Mash with Cider Onions
Dishin & Dishes: Sweet and Savory Potato Stacks
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Potato-Chickpea Masala with Cilantro Chutney
Weelicious: Potato Fans
Taste With The Eyes: Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus and Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle and Potato Stack
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Warm Pan Fried Potatoes and Greens Salad
Red or Green: Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Crispy Oven Fries
The Sensitive Epicure: Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins
Elephants and the Coconut Tress: Indian Spiced Potatoes
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Healthy Bacon Egg Potato Breakfast Casserole  ‎
Virtually Homemade: 
Bacon Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes
Devour: 
Mashed Potatoes, Reinvented
FN Dish: 
10 Potato Picks (Recipes)

Slainte!

stef

4 Comments

Filed under Cook, Healthy, Main Dish

Superfood Smoothies

Smoothies are nothing new, although green versions are popping up like weeds in cafes and juice bars. If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably pinned a zillion recipes already but this is my go-to version. I started making these regularly for breakfast over the summer, sometimes alternating them with protein shakes. I played with a variety of ingredients and techniques but landed on this combo of fruit, veg and “power” ingredients to maximize benefits without loading on too many cals.

Here are my ingredient Cliff notes:
Beets: I totally dig beets with carrots as an occasional substitute. The key to a great texture with beets is grating them…preferably with a microplane grater to get an ultrafine texture that isn’t overbearing. Red beets will give you a gorgeous magenta smoothie but chioggia or golden beets will get masked by your greens if you’re more of a green smoothie literalist.

Greens: I say ‘greens’ because you can really use whatever you like or have on hand. Spinach, chard and beet greens (double duty ingredient!) will give you a smoother texture than kale, which tends to be a little coarser but still tasty.

Fruit: Use what’s in season or your favorites. I like pineapple as a base because it’s ultra juicy.

Liquids: After trying various combos, I settled on unsweetened almond milk and coconut water as my liquids for the relative nutritional benefits with fewer calories than juice or milk.

Chia Seeds: Relatively flavorless, these antioxidant and omega-3 packed gems also help me to feel more full. I personally like the ground version but you could use whole seeds.

Greek Yogurt: This is an optional thickener and smooth-ier. I like the protein it adds but you could skip it if desired.

green-smoothie
beet-smoothie
Superfood Smoothies
1 C greens (any combo of spinach, beet greens, kale or swiss chard), washed and chopped
1/3 cucumber (about 4-5 thick slices), sliced and quartered
1 small beet, peeled and finely grated (use a microplane!)
3/4 C pineapple, chopped
2 other pieces seasonal fruit in any combo: 1 banana, peach, pear or green apple, 2 large handfuls of berries, or 2 kiwis
6-8 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
splash lime juice
1 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C coconut water
2 Tbsp chia seeds

Add greens, cucumber and grated beet to a blender with almond milk and coconut water. Blend until smooth and all large chunks are gone. Add chia seeds and any fruit that is more fibrous or firm, such as an an apple or pear. Blend again. Add pineapple and any additional fruit. Blend again. Finally add lime juice and yogurt and give a final blend.

Multiple blends will help you get the smoothest texture so if you prefer it smoother than after your final blend, pulse a bit longer to gain desired texture.

green-smoothie4
green-smoothie3
Busy mornings? Make your smoothies ahead of time! Since one batch will make two smoothies, you can make one for yourself and someone else or make two days worth of breakfasts at once. I like these Thermos brand bottles that I found at Target. They hold a perfect amount and have a straw for convenient sipping in the car or at my desk.
green-smoothie2

katie

1 Comment

Filed under Drinks, Healthy

{GIVEAWAY} Dole Chopped Salads & Crispy Tortilla Chicken Chopped Salad

Fall may be in full swing, but that is no reason to ditch your fresh salad recipes. This week, we are giving away the opportunity to try all five of the varieties of Dole’s new chopped salad line, along with a special chopping block.

Dole Chopped Salads

These new mixes are the industry’s first all-natural chopped salad line to include both kits and mixes. And for all of you kale lovers out there…they’ve got that too! Dole offers the five following varieties:

  • Chipotle & Cheddar Chopped Salad Kit
  • Bacon & Bleu Chopped Salad Kit
  • BBQ Ranch Chopped Salad Kit
  • Asian Chopped Salad Blend
  • Summer Garden Chopped Salad Blend

We’ve tried these for ourselves and they are fresh, crispy and a cinch to put together. The kits are great by themselves or with added extras. They keep well in the refrigerator and are great for a quick lunch or weeknight meal.

I used the BBQ Ranch kit to create this Crispy Tortilla Chicken Chopped Salad.

Crispy Tortilla Chicken Chopped Salad

Crispy Tortilla Chicken Chopped Salad
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 eggs
4-5 C tortilla chips, crushed

Preheat oven to 425. Line baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Mix flour, paprika, cumin and chili powder in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl until fully blended. Set aside. Place crushed tortilla chips in a third shallow bowl.

One by one, dip chicken breast tenders into flour, then coat in egg, then cover in tortilla chip crust. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 18 minutes, flipping halfway.

Add chopped red pepper, cooked frozen corn, 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1/2 C black beans to the chopped salad mix. Top with chicken. Drizzle with BBQ ranch dressing.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
To enter our Dole Chopped Salad giveaway, leave us a comment telling us which mix or kit sounds best to you and how you might like to prepare it! Like us on Facebook and leave us a comment letting us know for an extra entry.

Winner will receive five coupons to try all five varieties of the Dole Chopped Salads and a special Dole chopping block.

You must be a resident of the continental United States and 18 years or older to enter. The winner will be picked at random and will be notified via email.

Happy Entering!

theLadies

13 Comments

Filed under Healthy, Product Reviews, Quick & Easy

Avocado BLT Egg Salad

It is tomato season and I am obsessed. I could eat a BLT for almost every meal. My secret to a great BLT is adding avocado (we call it a BALT in our house). With that in mind, I decided to switch it up and turn my favorite flavors into an egg salad.

So egg salad…typically, not my thing. I dislike the mayo-based dressing and the consistency. I tried an avocado-based egg salad back at Easter time with some leftover Easter eggs and it turned my thoughts on the dish. This Avocado BLT Egg Salad has all the components that I love. The salty and savory bacon, the juicy tomatoes (even better from your own garden!) and the creamy avocado come together for one delicious little salad.

Avocado BLT Egg Salad

Avocado BLT Egg Salad
Serves 4-6

6 eggs
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 TBSP chopped green onion
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados
2 TBSP plain non-fat Greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

To hard boil eggs, place eggs in water in a medium saucepan. Bring water to a slow boil at medium-high heat. Once the water has reached a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the eggs and rinse under cool water. Cool a bit, then tap around all edges to crack. Peel and discard shells. Chop and place into mixing bowl.

Add crumbled bacon, celery, and cherry tomatoes to chopped eggs and mix.

In a separate bowl, mash avocados with a fork until smooth. Add Greek yogurt and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.

Add avocado mixture to egg mixture and stir until coated.

Avocado BLT Egg Salad  via Haute Apple Pie

This salad is great served open-faced on toasted bed and a few pieces of Romaine lettuce. It would also work great in a wrap or on an English muffin.

It’s avocado week for SummerFest with our Food Network friends! Check out these other awesome avocado recipes:

Feed Me Phoebe: Kale Salad with Avocado, Cranberries and Peptias
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Smoked Avocado Tomato Salsa Guacamole
Weelicious: Avocado Honey Dip
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Avocado Green Goddess Dressing
Red or Green: Avocado and Cilantro Pesto with Whole Wheat Penne
Blue Apron Blog: Avocado Tartines with Goat Cheese
Domesticate Me: Summer Salad with Avocado, Corn and Grilled Herb Shrimp
Dishin & Dishes: Creamy Avocado Citrus Dressing, No Cream, No Oil
The Heritage Cook: Summertime Vegetable Stuffed Avocados 
And Love It Too: Sugar-Free Avocado Fudgesicles
Daily*Dishin: Colorful Sweet Pepper-Avocado Salsa
Devour: No-Cook Avocado, Shrimp and Mango Salad
Taste With The Eyes: Zucchini “Pappardelle” with Avocado “Cream”
FN Dish: 10 Audacious Guacamole Add-Ins

stef

7 Comments

Filed under Cook, Healthy, sandwich

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Yes, sweet and sour has been a theme lately. Can you blame me? Cucumbers are starting to pop up in gardens and farmer’s markets around town and this twist on my Grandma’s classic is the perfect refreshing side dish to a burger, brat or last week’s Sweet and Sour Pulled Pork.

Cutting the cucumbers as thinly as possible is the trick to making the texture of this salad work. If you’ve got fresh dill from the garden, it will kick these cucumbers up an extra notch.
Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

Sweet and Sour Cucumbers
2 large cucumbers, very thinly sliced
2 tsp salt
1/4 C white vinegar
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp chopped dill
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

After thinly slicing cucumbers, place in bowl and sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. Squeeze and drain excess water from cucumbers. In a separate small bowl, mix vinegar and sugar. Pour over cucumbers. Stir to coat. Add dill and pepper, toss to coat.

Chill or serve immediately. Drain most of the excess liquid before serving.

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Our foodie friends over at the Food Network are also celebrating cucumbers this week! Check out some of these mouth-watering Summer Fest recipes.

Feed Me Phoebe: Fennel Tzatziki with Mint
The Lemon Bowl: Japanese Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Burmese Cucumber Watermelon Composed Salad
Domesticate Me: California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing
Taste With The Eyes: Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi with Shrimp and Minari
Devour: Cucumber and Mint Lemonade 
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Cucumber, Carrot and Onion Refrigerator Pickles
Red or Green: Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
Virtually Homemade: Cucumber Tomato Bruschetta
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Neer Mor — Zested South Indian Buttermilk with Cucumber
Weelicious: Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Blue Apron Blog: Barley Salad with Heirloom Cucumbers & Golden Beets
The Sensitive Epicure: Pimm’s Cups and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
FN Dish: Pickles Past the Jar

Happy Summer Eating!

stef

7 Comments

Filed under Cook, Healthy, Sides

Easy Herbed Green Beans

In my attempts to broaden my gardening horizons I tried my hand at starting pole beans from seed, lured in by the appeal of an Italian heirloom variety called Trionfo Violetto.  Last year my seedlings got hijacked by some greedy rabbit or squirrel but this year, I have four strong plants. The first round of my purple beans was finally ready this week and they are a thing of beauty. Something about eating richly colored purple beans is just that much sexier than everyday green beans, don’t you think?

purple green-beans

Since my first picking had enough for a little over one serving, I happily snatched up some extra green and yellow beans at the weekend farmer’s market, already imagining the gorgeous Mardi Gras-like mix that would appear on our plates.

This recipe is so simple that it feels like a sham to even call it a recipe but may be my favorite way to eat green beans. The combo of freshly picked beans and bright herbs tastes like “garden” in all the best ways and why mess with that?

multicolored green beans

Herbed Green Beans
serves 2-3 but volume is easily increased
1/2 lb green beans
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley & chives), chopped
freshly cracked black pepper
kosher salt

Wash and trim ends from green beans. Add beans to saute pan and drizzle with olive oil. Saute on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until beans are tender and just beginning to blister. While sautéing, season with salt and pepper. When beans have 1-2 minutes left, add chopped herbs. Serve warm.

green beans with herbs

katie

2 Comments

Filed under Garden, Healthy, Quick & Easy, Sides

Grilled Asparagus & Hakurei Turnip Panzanella

As the mercury creeps up, our CSA box and farmer’s market finds are starting to expand beyond greenery into heartier and more adventurous veg. Enter, hakurei turnips. While asparagus and I are well acquainted, these little white turnips were new to my table. Originally I had thought about just shaving them raw but had been craving a hearty panzanella lately so I detoured from my plan.

Panzanella makes for a fun, experimental salad (like most salads) where you can toss in whatever you’ve got handy. For this one, I ended up grilling everything but the spinach. The grilled hakurei turnips add an earthy-sweet element to the flavor mix.

Since this was dinner, I served the panzanella alongside my Bacon and Grilled Scape Risotto, also replete with grilled CSA treasure.

asparagus panzanella salad

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella
Serves 4
1 bunch stalks asparagus
1 bunch hakurei turnips
1/2 C shaved parmesan
2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
2 C fresh spinach
1 medium baguette, sliced in half laterally
olive oil
red wine vinegar (approx 1 Tbsp)
cracked black pepper
kosher salt

Trim asparagus ends and set aside. Trim off turnip greens and ends, then slice turnips into disks. Slice tomatoes and set aside.

I used a grill pan to do my grilling but you could certainly use a real grill. I would, however, recommend a grill basket for the smaller vegetables. Using a grill pan, add about 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pan and shift pan around to coat lightly. Add asparagus and turnips. Grill on medium heat for about 4 minutes or until grill marks begin to appear, then flip vegetables and repeat. Once both sides are nicely marked, remove and set aside on a cutting board.

Transfer baguette halves onto grill pan and grill for about 5 minutes, until bread developed a golden crust or grill marks. Set aside. Transfer tomatoes to grill pan and grill for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Roughly chop asparagus and tomato into large bite sized pieces. Slice baguette into large, crouton-like chunks. Add vegetables and bread to a large bowl. Toss with spinach and shaved parmesan. Drizzle lightly with red wine vinegar, cracked black pepper and salt. Toss to combine. If desired, toss with an additional drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm.

grilled panzanellakatie

1 Comment

Filed under Grill, Healthy, Quick & Easy

Avocado Cashew Chicken Salad

I have an obsession with two ingredients. Greek yogurt and avocado. I use plain greek yogurt in pretty much everything I make (my husband can attest) and have become a fan of pretty much any dish paired with avocado. I love a good chicken salad, especially as the weather begins to warm up (finally!). This chicken salad combines my two favorite add-ins to make a creamy, healthy dressing for the chicken. Eat this chicken salad on a croissant, atop a bed of fresh greens or all by itself! This is a great dish to bring to a picnic, although you cannot make it too far ahead of time or the avocado with turn a brownish hue. So add the dressing right before serving!

Avocado Cashew Chicken Salad

Avocado Cashew Chicken Salad
1 lb. cooked and shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast (or rotisserie chicken), cooled
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 cashews, chopped
1 avocado
1/3 C plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Combine chicken, celery, green pepper, cranberries and cashews in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mash avocado. A fork should suffice for a ripe avocado, but you may want to process it if it is a bit firm. Add yogurt, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add to chicken mixture and fold together until all ingredients are covered. (Make sure to cool the chicken as to not melt the yogurt).

I hope you are all enjoying the entrance of spring and hints of summer as much as we are!

stef

4 Comments

Filed under Cook, Healthy, Main Dish, Sides

Baked Fish Tacos with Creamy Tomatillo Salsa

Yesterday for Cinco de Mayo I was lucky to have some fresh fish to work with for these tasty, tangy baked fish tacos. Fish tacos are a regular in our repertoire but lately we’ve been baking them instead of frying them. With a substantial panko crust, they taste just as good with a bit less guilt. I used fresh pan fish but tilapia or any readily available white fish would be delicious. Shrimp would also be a great choice.

I served the fish tacos with a homemade creamy tomatillo salsa, with the bright flavors lending themselves well to seafood. I like to add avocado to my version since the richness of the avocado helps balance out the tang of the tomatillos.  Add in some sweet carrots, crunchy cabbage and peppery radishes and you have the perfect spring meal.
baked-fish-taco1

Baked Fish Tacos
makes 4 small tacos
12 panfish filets or 1 lb tilapia, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 C panko bread crumbs
1/3 C shredded parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp chipotle or chili powder
cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cooking sheet or glass pan and set aside. In a medium bowl or large Ziploc bag, combine panko, parmesan and spices. Stir or shake to combine. Melt butter in a small bowl. Dip fish filets lightly in butter, then toss in breading mixture to coat. Set on cooking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of filets. Fish should be white and flaky when fully cooked.

2 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 C chopped cabbage
1/2 C matchstick carrots
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp lime juice
pinch of salt
4 small tortillas
chipotle mayo

In a medium bowl, add cabbage, carrots and radishes. Drizzle on olive oil and lime juice, tossing to combine. Season with salt and toss again.

Serve baked fish with warm tortillas, chipotle mayo, tomatillo salsa and hot sauce.

baked-fish-taco

Creamy Tomatillo Salsa
6 medium tomatillos, quartered
1/2 avocado
1/2 small onion
1/2 jalapeno, seeded
2 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced
1 handful cilantro
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne

Add tomatillos, avocado, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and lime juice to a food processor. Process until blended and just barely chunky. Add salt and cayenne and pulse two more times. Add additional salt or cayenne to taste if desired.
tomatillo-salsa
katie

1 Comment

Filed under Healthy, Main Dish, Quick & Easy