Tag Archives: healthy alternatives

Strawberry Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

This is a great spring inspired salad that has delicious sweet and savory flavor profile from the fruit and chicken. This recipe is a knockoff of the popular Panera Salad, for that “I want to go out to Panera” taste, without the “I just spent 14 bucks for a salad and a drink at Panera” feel…

You can adjust your protein/veg/fruit levels to your liking.

Ingredients:(for one salad)

  • 1 chicken breast per salad (or half a chicken breast depending on hunger levels)
  • sweet onion chopped finely
  • fresh strawberries
  • fresh blueberries
  • almond slices
  • Panera Poppyseed Salad Dressing (use sparingly, as the cals from this can add up)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 mixed salad bag or salad green of your choice (I prefer fresh spinach)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Season chicken breast(s) with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sear in a skillet over medium high heat for 3 minutes per side and then turn heat to medium low, cover the skillet with a lid or foil, and cook for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, and then chop into bite sized pieces.

Chop cucumbers. Chop strawberries. Chop onion. Add all of your greens to a plate, top with your chicken and fruit. Remember, a little fruit and dressing go a long way, so use it sparingly!

Eat salad.

Selfishly count all the money you saved from eating at home instead of going out!

Chicken Nugget w/ Spicy Dipping Sauce

Chicken and veggies. The bastion of everyone when they start eating healthy, and for many of us, a regular menu item as our healthy eating journey continues.

Variety is the spice of life, and this chicken nugget recipe is a great compromise between healthy and naughty food and one that your entire family will love.

If you are counting calories, keep an eye on how much sauce you are using as it can get you into trouble!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pounds of chicken
  • whole wheat italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Cut up chicken into bite sized pieces, and season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken with olive oil and dredge in the bread crumbs to thinly coat. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put some foil down on your cookie sheets (you’ll need 2) and spray them with cooking spray to save you some clean up time.

Bake nuggets for 10 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Spicy dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp scallions, chopped fine plus more for topping
  • 3 tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and use for dipping your nugge…ys.

Top salad greens with your chicken nuggets and a little bit of the sauce. Serve with cut up veggies for your kiddos!

sloppy joes with carrot noodles

I loooove sloppy joes. Definitely one of my big comfort foods and something I’ve loved ever since I was a shorty.

These days I eat very little grain, so no buns (but you could definitely toss this on a bun for disagreeable spouses or children), but with all the added veggies this really makes a great meal.

Plus a ton less sodium, sugar, and preservatives compared to the canned stuff!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pepper (red/green/yellow)
  • 2 large onion
  • 2 pound ground turkey
  • 1.5 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bag carrot noodles (you can also use zucchini noodles)

Directions:

Bring a large skillet up to medium heat. Add in your coconut/olive oil along with diced pepper and onions. You’ll want to saute them for about five minutes or until they become translucent.

Add in your ground turkey and break up with spatula. Cook until brown. Add coconut aminos/soy sauce, ketchup, and tomato paste. Add in your salt and garlic powder. Stir to mix it all up.

Let cook on low heat for 20 minutes. This is one of those recipes where you can let it simmer for an hour and it will really help to bring the flavors out!

For the carrot noodles, follow the directions on the box (basically just saute them with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder).

Serve your sloppy joes over your bed of carrot noodles and enjoy!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

David’s note – don’t let the length of this recipe intimidate you! It is AMAZING and easy for ANYONE to prepare.

This recipe is essentially a healthier version of a Chipotle burrito bowl that uses cauliflower rice instead of rice or a wrapper.

Nearly everyone who has tried this recipe loves it and rotates it into their normal eating schedule, so put on your adult pants and give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 16 oz of salsa, plus extra for topping
  • Cauliflower rice (available at Trader Joe’s-either fresh or frozen, but we prefer fresh)
  • 3 Bell Peppers, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Optional Guacamole:
  • Avocados
  • Garlic Salt
  • Salsa

Mash avocado and add garlic salt/salsa to taste! Mash less if you like chunky guac or just cut into chunks and mix. Add lime juice or fruit fresh to keep from browning if you want to make a big batch. We make this fresh each time we eat but you can definitely do it ahead of time!

  • Optional Corn Salsa
  • 1 small can of corn
  • 1 jalepeno, chopped finely (leave this out if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 1 small can green chilies
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
  • Cilantro if desired.

Drain corn, and mix other ingredients in a small bowl. For spicier salsa, leave the seeds in your jalepeno!

Directions:

Put chicken and salsa in the crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours OR low for 7-8 hours. Shred chicken and drain liquid.

In a skillet over medium high heat, sauté your peppers and onions in a tiny bit of olive oil – let them sit for 3/5 minutes at a time without stirring to caramelize.

Sautee Cauliflower rice in a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir for 3/4 minutes or until softened-I like mine to have a tiny bit of crunch still for texture.

Layer cauliflower rice, peppers and onions, chicken (and corn salsa/guac if desired) in a bowl and top with salsa!

NOTES: If you want this to last longer or have a big family, make 5 pounds of chicken and use 24 oz of salsa (1.5 jars).

TIPS FOR KIDS/FAMILIES: This recipe is REALLY kid friendly, but if your kids/spouses balk at cauliflower rice, make them a batch of brown rice OR buy a bag of whole wheat tortillas – they can put the filling in there and have fajita “tacos.”

Buy an extra can of corn (or set some aside) for kids or spouses that don’t like spicy food.

Thanks to Melissa Keith for the recipe testing and assistance!

Frozen Banana Dark Chocolate Drizzle

If you’re like me, sometimes you really, REALLY,  miss having ice cream every night as a snack. I mean, ice cream in all it’s forms is amazing.

But you’re eating healthy now, so that stuff is a no go!

These dark chocolate banana slices will go a long way to satisfy your sweet tooth, are super easy, AND are lower calorie than the store bought ones (because you are drizzling, and not dipping).

Ingredients:

  • fresh bananas
  • bakers heat and dip dipping chocolate

Directions:

Peel banana. Slice banana into roughly 8-10 round slices.

Place slice bananas on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.

Dip a spoon into your dark chocolate tub and swiftly move back and forth to cover bananas.

Put your bananas into the freezer and wait approximately and hour. If you like them a bit softer you can eat them after they’ve been in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Try to stick to 4 slices per serving as a guideline – if not it’s WAY too easy to eat a whole bunch of these at one time!

 

Turkey Meatloaf Cups

These are a staple in my diet. They are super easy. Freeze amazingly. Reheat more amazingly. And are tasty enough that even your kids or spouse… who may not be on the same healthy eating train as you are will still enjoy em!

Ingredients: (makes 24 meatloaf muffins)

  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small chunks
  • 3 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg plus a splash of low fat milk (or plain almond milk), beaten
  • 1.5 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick
  • 1 cup smoky barbecue sauce (the lower the sugar on your bbq, the healthier it will be!)
  • 1/2 cup tomato salsa
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Put ground turkey into a big bowl. Chop onion, celery and green pepper and add to the bowl. Add egg, beaten with milk, bread crumbs and grill seasoning to the bowl.

Next, mix together the smoky barbecue sauce, the salsa and the Worcestershire sauce. Pour half the sauce mixture into the bowl with the meatloaf mix. Mix the meatloaf together with your hands. Wash up.

Spray your muffin pans with cooking spray. Use an ice cream scoop to help you fill meat into a each tin. Top each meat loaf with a spoonful of extra sauce. Bake about 20 minutes. Cut open 1 muffin to test that the middle is cooked through.

Banana Oatmeal Protein Muffins

Want a delicious snack that even your kids and spouse will eat?
These amazing, protein packed, MOIST muffins are a sweet alternative to store bought and preservative filled snack bars.
protein-muffins
Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • OPTIONAL – 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • OPTIONAL – 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a muffin tin lightly with cooking spray, fill with cup cake liners, and then hit the liners with a little more cooking spray.
Place the all ingredients but the chocolate chips and pecans in a blender.  Blend  on high, stopping to scrape down and stir the ingredients once or twice as needed, until the batter is smooth and the oats have broken down almost completely, about 3 minutes.
By hand, stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each no more than three-quarters of the way to the top. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips or nuts.
Bake for 15 minutes (10 for mini muffins), until the tops of the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes. They will deflate but still taste amazing!
Remove from the pan and enjoy!

Mini Burrito Cups

These mini burrito cups are another staple in my monthly eating regimen. They hit on all the main points that I need in food for it to become a “regular” menu option (can be eaten cold, is quick to make, is packed with protein, easily consumed with hands only…) AND they are super delicious. I’m confident you are gonna love this recipe, so lets get it cracken!

mini-burrito-cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 15 oz black beans, drained
  • 2 cans 14.5 oz fire-roasted tomatoes (drain liquid from one can)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 24 3-inch wonton skin
  • package of ultra thin colby jack cheese (OPTIONAL)

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 350. When the oven is preheating, brown your turkey in a skillet on medium heat, making sure to either cook off all your fat or drain it.
After turkey has been cooked sufficiently, add in corn, beans, roasted tomatoes, spices, vinegar, and the agave nectar. Cook for 15 minutes.
Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or wipe down with non-stick oil. Lay 2 wonton skins in each cup. If you are trying to keep it even more low cal, only use one skin, but keep in mind cups swill be a lot more fragile… still delicious though!
Spoon turkey filling into cups and top with cheese (optional). Bake for 12 minutes.
Remove cups from oven and garnish with your favorite burrito toppings. We love lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado and salsa.

Mini Cauli Sheperd’s Pie Cups

One of the biggest keys to your success when it comes to healthy eating is always, ALWAYS having food prepared and available. Having food “already ready” in their own individual “cups” is an awesome way to stay ahead of the game. Check out these Mini Cauliflower Sheperd’s Pie Cups and let me know what you think!

sheperds-pie-cauli-cup

Ingredients:

  • wonton wrappers
  • 1 2.5 – 3 lbs (medium) cauliflower head
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp butter (unsalted) or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
For the filling:
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoons rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup each frozen corn and frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Prepare your cauliflower mash:

Chop cauliflower into small florets/pieces.  Press or chop garlic finely and add to a large pot.  Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 12 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain, and let cauliflower and garlic sit in the colander while you prepare the filling to make sure all the water is drained. Add butter, salt and pepper and blend with an immersion blender or with a potato masher (this will just mean there is some texture to your mash and more detectable as real veggies to kiddos).

Prepare your filling:

Place the olive oil into a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots and garlic and sauté about 3 to 4 minutes. Add ground turkey and salt and pepper to taste, and cook until turkey is done.  Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly. Add the corn and peas and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Add one wonton wrapper into your muffin tin as your “liners” (note – you can add two wonton wrappers for additional rigidity, but keep in mind it will double your calories).  Fill with filling and scoop a tablespoon of cauliflower mash onto the top of the mini shepherds pies.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until heated through and edges of wontons are browned.

Filling modified from Alton Brown’s recipe. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.html?soc=socialsharingpinterest&oc=linkback

*recipe credit to Melissa Keith

Turkey Burgers

In a perfect world you’d have all of your meals prepared for you and you only. You wouldn’t need to worry about what your kids or spouse was eating because everything would fit perfect with your dietary needs and tastes.

I’m not able to set you up with beach front property in the afore mentioned perfect world, but I AM able to give you an amazingly easy and delicious turkey burger recipe that scales easily to your own healthy diet and will be something your kids will enjoy too.

turkey-lettuce-wrap

Note – the recipe below is ONLY for the turkey patties, find some starting ideas on how to prepare your turkey burgers below in the TIPS section

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (unseasoned)
  • 1/4 cup onion (diced, the smaller the dice the better)
  • 2 eggs (you can do only whites if you want to lean the recipe out even more)
  • 1 glove garlic (minced or finely diced – stick with actual garlic, no powder)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste (I normally do about 30ish cracks from the pepper mill)
  • ***optional (lettuce for wraps/low calorie buns, see TIPS below)

Directions:

Grab a large bowl and toss in your ground turkey, eggs, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. On the subject of mixing, get in there and use your hands, that’s what they are made for! They’ll mix WAY better than a spoon or spatula.

Form your turkey mix into patties. I normally do 15 or 16 patties, but you can make your burgers as big or small as you like.

In a medium or large sized skillet over medium heat, arrange your patties. You’ll want to flip them half way through cooking. If you are using a meat thermometer, you’re shooting for an internal temperature of 180F or hotter.

Tips:

I normally eat my turkey burgers on a lettuce wrap. You’ll want to get a large head of lettuce, tear a leaf off and then wrap your turkey patty inside with whatever toppings you like. It’s delicious, low in calories and carbs, and will make eating your turkey burger about a million times easier.

For your spouses or kids who may not be eating QUITE as healthy as you, toss them onto a bun and put their favorite condiments on and I bet they’ll love em.

Give it a try and enjoy!