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Tag Archives: dinner

Sweet and Spicy Balsamic Salmon

9 Jul

I love salmon. I go through periods where I’ll eat it 3 times a week! Well, that is when I’m home from college. I use to have it all the time when I lived at home, but up at college, it’s a little more tough to fix delicious, fresh salmon or dinner (busy college girl problems).

I got in a rut of fixing it the same exact way every time, some olive oil, herbs, garlic, and sea salt. Simple yet delicious. But I wanted to spice it up the other night, and try a new flavor on my salmon. See, many times when I’ve made salmon, I have also had a little side salad on my plate with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. Why am I telling you this? Well I usually pour too much balsamic vinegar on my salad, and it spills out on my plate over to the salmon. At first I thought, oh no, now it’s going to have a vinegar taste. But to my delight, it was delicious with the balsamic taste! And that is how this recipe was inspired.

I decided to take this sweet and savory taste of balsamic vinegar, and add a bit of spice with hot sauce and ginger. It was one of my best salmon dinners yet.

Salmon is a great protein to include in your diet, as it is not only high in protein, but also a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. The only warning is that farm raised salmon can contain high levels of mercury, so I always make sure to buy Wild Alaskan salmon.

salmon

Sweet and Spicy Balsamic Marinade:
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1T hot sauce (or sriracha sauce)
-1T olive oil
-1 tsp sea salt, ginger powder, and basil
*Amounts for one big piece of salmon (about 8oz). You can double or triple ingredients as needed.

Directions: Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Mix all marinade ingredients together. Made an aluminum foil “tray” by folding a piece of aluminum foil up on all sides (so no liquid spills out). Place 8oz piece of salmon skin side down on foil, and pour marinade over. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, or you can proceed to cook right away. Place in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until done all the way through. Paired great with a side salad and sweet potato.

Salmon Benefits
1)Omega 3 fatty acids: protects heart health
2)High Quality Protein
3)Essential Amino Acids
4)Vitamin A
5)Vitamin D
6)Vitamin B6
7)Vitamin B
8)Vitamin E: powerful antioxidant that lowers risk of heart disease
9)Appreciable amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus

Source: WildForSalmon.com/health-benefits
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Taco Salad

2 Jul

You know those taco salads you can order out at any Mexican restaurant? Aren’t they just delicious?

But did you know that most of them have more calories and fat that a typical entree?! Yes, a salad, made unhealthy. Welcome to America. It’s horrible how people think they are selecting the healthy option, when in reality, it is just as bad as any other choice on the menu.

The ground beef, shredded cheese, beans, tortilla chips, creamy dressing…Does it taste good? Oh of course. Is it healthy? Ehh, to say the least no it is not. But have no fear, you can now enjoy this lovely taco salad again, but in a healthy new way! I have prepared for you all, a nutritious spin on this heavy laden taco salad. And boy, it is delicious! Made with ground turkey and my homemade chia wraps, toasted as tortilla chips. Oh, and a protein packed delicious creamy dressing instead of that fattening dressing you get served at restaurants. Enjoy!

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Taco Salad
For Salad:
-2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
-1/4 cup each: sliced bell peppers, red onion, raw corn
-2 red cabbage leaves, cut
-1/2 big tomato, diced
-1/4 Cup garbanzo beans,cooked
-1/2 cup ground turkey, cooked

Dressing:
1T dijon mustard
-1T Greek yogurt
-1T milk
salt and pepper to taste

Other:
-My homemade chia wrap, found here
-1T salsa

Directions: Place lettuce on plate and top with al the vegetables, beans, and meat. Mix dressing ingredients together and drizzle over top. Finish with one heaping spoonful of salsa. Toast chia wrap (or other healthy wrap), and serve on side.

Healthy&Fresh Dinner Salad

29 Jun

Sometimes, you just want a big salad for dinner.

The problem: salads don’t fill one up and satisfy as a meal in itself most times

The solution: a huge, fresh salad creation full of fiber filling ingredients, and topped with a protein to keep that stomach satisfied!

I made this salad for my mom the other night, and she loved it! She was completely satisfied the whole night..of course, until I made her my healthy chocolate protein mug cake(recipe on site)!

If you’re wanting a lighter meal, this is a great option. If you’re wanting a more filling, satisfying meal, this is still great, just add a big serving of protein on top! Grilled chicken, salmon, or even steak would be yummy.

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Dinner Salad
-Spring Lettuce Mix
-Arugula
-5 cherry tomatoes, chopped
-1/4 red pepper, diced
-1 mini cucumber (or about 1/4 cup chopped)
-about 10 baby carrots, chopped small
-1/2 avocado, sliced
-2T nutritional yeast
-1T chia seeds
-1T walnuts
-2T dried cherries or raisins
-2T feta cheese
-2T olive oil/coconut oil
-1T balsamic vinegar
-salt and pepper to taste
-optional: grilled chicken, salmon, or steak to top salad
Directions: cut up enough lettuce and arugula to fill plate. Cut up all veggies and place on salad mix. Sprinkle nutritional yeast, seeds, nuts, cheese, and dried fruit on top. Drizzle oil and vinegar over all. Top with protein if desired. Enjoy!

“Creamy” Herb Protein Quinoa

27 Jun

Quinoa. [KEEN-wah]. Yes, I am putting the pronunciation because I was pronouncing it wrong myself for a long time embarassingly :) A grain high in fiber and protein.

But I love adding just a little bit more protein to my grains. It not only has it’s nutritional benefits, but it makes it oh so fluffy. Yes, I used “fluffy” to describe quinoa. But let me tell you, it is the perfect description. How do I add protein you may ask? It’s all in the whites..egg whites that is! If you stir them vigorously into your grain of choice (quinoa, oats, rice), it doesn’t get “eggy”, but only fluffy and delicious!

But there is also 2 other ingredients that lend the creaminess in this recipe. And nope, it is NOT cream or butter. But it does add even more protein and flavor!

I’ll give you a hint. I was very intrigued when I passed samples of carrots and ranch at Costco the other day , that is, when I saw the ranch was made from simple ranch flavored powder :)

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Creamy Herb Quinoa
-1.5 cups quinoa
-3 cups water
-1/2 cup egg whites
-1/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
-1T  powdered ranch dressing packet
-1 tsp crushed garlic
-1 tsp sea salt
Directions: Bring quinoa and water to boil, reduce to medium heat and add in ranch dressing powder, salt, and garlic; cook until most water is gone. When most liquid is gone, add in egg whites and stir constantly for about 3 minutes. Take off heat and add ricotta cheese, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Enjoy!

Quinoa Benefits
1) One of the most protein rich foods we can eat (contains all 9 essential amino acids)
2) Twice the fiber of other grains (aids in regularity, reduces high blood pressure, keeps you feeling full
3) Contains iron (keeps red blood cells healthy, increases brain function, muscle functioning)
4) Contains lysine (essential for tissue growth and repair)
5) Rich in magnesium (helps relax red blood vessels which alleviates migraines; also aids in formation of healthy bones and teeth)
6) High manganese content (an antioxidant, which helps prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production)

Source: MindBodyGreen.com
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Enjoyed my quinoa with chicken off the grill!

Mediterranean Eggplant Crust Pizza

24 Jun

Everyone has been making cauliflower crust..but have you ever tried an EGGPLANT crust?!

I had an eggplant that needed to be eaten soon. And just happened to be in the mood for pizza too. As I thought about taking out some cauliflower to make a crust, I thought, why not try using eggplant?! And guess what? It turned out amazing!!

Not only did it taste great, but the crust actually did not stick to the wax paper for once, it browned perfectly, and I was able to pick up a slice without it falling apart like most cauliflower crusts! The secret? Well I think there are a couple :)

I was so in awe when tasting this, as I didn’t know what to expect. I was keeping my mind open, and was hoping for the best. And thank goodness I gave it a try! I enjoyed it BETTER than a cauliflower crust!

So what’s the recipe?? Here it is! I topped it with easy, quick ingredients as I was hungry, but feel free to top it with whatever you would like!photo 5Mediterranean Eggplant Crust Pizza

For Crust:
-1 big eggplant, shredded (about 2.5 cups packed)
-2T ground flax
-2T coconut flour
-1 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
-1 egg (do not just use egg whites!)
-1T basil
-1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Topping:
-3 tomato basil laughing cow wedges
-1 cup spinach, slightly cooked
-1/2 cup artichokes, canned
-1/4 cup dried tomatoes
-seasoning to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove outside skin of eggplant (can use potato peeler), and shred it. Place it in a towel and squeeze to take as much liquid as you can out of it. Allow it to sit in towel for 10 minutes at least. Then place the shredded eggplant in a bowl and add other crust ingredients. Mix to combine all ingredients. Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet, and spray it lightly with cooking spray. Place “dough” onto wax paper and spread out to thinness you desire in a circular shape. Place sheet in oven for 20 minutes. Remove. Take another piece of wax paper, and flip crust over on to that one. Put back on cookie tray and cook again for another 10 minutes. Check to see if done. If crust is as desired, take out. If desiring a more crunchy crust, cook for 5 minute intervals until done. Take tomato basil cheese out of wrapper, and spread onto crust. Cook spinach for a minute or two, just enough to slightly wilt it. Place artichokes and sundered tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with sea salt or season salt and enjoy!

Eggplant Benefits:
1) High in fiber–aiding our digestive system
2) Rich in Vitamin C and B1
3) High in phytonutrients such as caffein and chlorogenic acid and flavonoids
4) High in potassium–balances salt intake and maintains hydration
5) Contains folate, magnesium, and niacin

Spinach and Mushroom Tenderloin Pinwheels + Garlic and Herb Quinoa

23 Jun

You can never go wrong with a chicken dinner.

Tonight was a very exciting night. My boyfriend is back in town for the week so he and his family came for dinner. As I’ve been home taking classes all summer, he has been up at the university we both attend taking classes, so I haven’t been able to see him since spring semester ended! I wanted to keep the dinner simple, yet delicious.

We had these spinach and mushroom chicken pinwheels, savory garlic and herb quinoa, my freshly baked herb bread, and some delicious tomato salad made with chopped celery, bell pepper, cucumber, and red onion. It was a great night.

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Don’t you love those stuffed chicken breasts you can get out at restaurants? Unfortunately, most of those are filled with high fat cheeses and ingredients, and then cooked in so much more fat! (Don’t even get me started with the unhealthiness of most restaurant meals) I will never understand why chefs must take such delicious ingredients, and lather them in butter. Reason why I love home cooking, still delicious, and healthy.

This recipe will allow you to enjoy that delicious stuffed chicken breast flavor, without guilt!

What is your favorite chicken meal to prepare?

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Spinach and Mushroom Tenderloin Pinwheels
1 lb Kirkland Signature Chicken Tenderloins
1/2 cup Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup pieces Mushrooms
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Frozen Chopped Spinach, drained
1 tbsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Trader Joe’s Crushed Garlic
1T Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Olive Oil
Directions: Place tenderloins in between two pieces of wax paper. Pound down chicken until very thin. Combine rest of ingredients up through sea salt (using only 1 tsp of salt) together in bowl. Place about 1T mixture on the end of one side of each tenderloin, and roll up. Place chicken seam side down on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle rest of sea salt and Italian seasonings. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Simple Garlic and Herb Quinoa
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 tsp Trader Joe’s crushed garlic
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1T dried basil
1T dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
Directions: Add all ingredients to a pot on the stove, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until all water is gone.

Spinach Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Meatballs (using ground turkey!)

19 Jun

I have been hooked on ground turkey lately. It really is just so delicious, and spices things up for the typical chicken I was having for dinner almost every night. Plus, it is so versatile! You can eat it on the side as your protein with any meal, on top of a salad for taco salad (recipe here), or put it in tomato sauce and scoop it onto some noodles or spaghetti squash! The possibilities are endless.

So after eating a whole pound of the stuff just cooked up plain in various ways, I decided to branch out and try making something out of it; something like meatballs. But when I make something, it can never be just an ordinary recipe, there has to be a ton of flavor to it. So, I added some delicious vegetables, herbs, and seasonings, and the result was incredible! I will definitely be making more of these to freeze so that I can have them whenever I want :) Hope you enjoy!

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Spinach Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Meatballs (using turkey)
-1lb ground turkey
-2 handfuls spinach, torn into small pieces
-1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
-1/2 cup canned artichokes, diced
-1T each (dried): basil, oregano, thyme, onion, parsley
-1tsp garlic puree (or finely chopped garlic) and sea salt
*No need for egg with ground turkey, held together perfectly! If using real ground meat, may need to use 1 egg or 2 egg whites or flax egg (1T flax+3T warm water)
Directions: Place ground meat in big bowl. Gather all vegetables and place into the bowl. Combine with big spoon or hands. Place all herbs and seasonings into meat mixture, and combine until thoroughly mixed. Shaped into small balls and place on cookie tray. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Take out and move around to brown the other side. Bake for 5 or 10 minutes more depending on size of meatball. Take out, and enjoy! Great just by itself or on top of squash/noodles!

Turkey Benefits:
1) One 3.5 oz serving is packed with 30 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat
2) Loaded with B vitamins:phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and iron
3)Rich in Selenium–antioxidant necessary for thyroid metabolism
4)Contains tryptophan–amino acid that triggers serotonin production and aids in sleep

Spinach Benefits
1)Loaded with fiber–aids in digestion and curbs overeating
2)Contains flavonoids–phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties
3)Anti-Inflammatory
4)Rich in Anti-oxidants
5)Lowers Blood Pressure
6)Aids in immunity (high in vitamin A)
7)Vitamin A–promotes healthy skin
8)Rich in vitamin K–good for bone density and crucial component for preventing calcium build up

Source: HealthDiaries.com and MensHealthMagazine