Southwestern Salad

Spinach Salad with Black Beans, Grilled Chicken and Avocado

This simple salad is a must-try for summer. I am always trying to make my salads interesting by using different textures and flavors. Black beans and chicken add protein and flavor to this bed of veggies, while avocado adds satisfying texture. Also, this Southwestern-style salad has a kick to it – perfect for the summer heat!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

3 oz grilled chicken breast, grilled with spices (chili powder, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper) *This is a great use of leftovers. No leftovers and don’t feel like cooking a chicken breast for lunch? I like Applegate Farms Fully Cooked Southwestern Style Grilled Chicken Breast  strips

2 Tbsp cooked black beans (*If canned, look for Low-Sodium or No Salt Added varieties and rinse in a colander)

1/4 avocado, chopped

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 C cucumber slices

2 C spinach, raw

2 Tbsp sweet corn kernels (*I like to use frozen sweet corn kernels and simply microwave them or thaw them before use)

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2 Tbsp roasted red pepper dressing (I like Greenway’s Organic Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette)

Directions:

1. Place spinach in medium-sized bowl. Add avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, corn and red bell pepper.

2. Warm black beans in microwave (about 25 seconds). Add to salad.

3. Warm chicken in microwave (about 1 minute) and chop. Add to salad.

4. Drizzle dressing over salad and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 342 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 56 mg, Carbohydrates 30 g, Fiber 11 g, Protein 29 g, Sodium 362 mg, Calcium 114 mg

Farro with Roasted Veggies and Sautéed Shrimp

Farro with Roasted Veggies and Sautéed Shrimp

Farro is a whole grain that tastes like a cross between brown rice and pasta – and is full of hearty fiber, protein and taste! Farro and shrimp make this simple dish a protein powerhouse, while the veggies offer a ton of vitamins and minerals. I like to make this dish at the beginning of the week so that I can enjoy the leftovers (hot or cold) throughout the busy week. Just be sure to store the shrimp separate from the farro so that it lasts longer.

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Ingredients (serves 4):

1 C farro, uncooked

2 C water or low-sodium vegetable broth (whichever you prefer to use to cook the farro)

1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned

Farro - almost done!

Farro – almost done!

1 medium eggplant

1 medium zucchini

3/4 large red onion

1 red bell pepper

2 garlic cloves

3/4 C mushrooms, chopped

1/2 C reduced-fat feta cheese

1/4 C olive oil plus 1 Tbsp

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

Ready to roast!

Ready to roast!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Remove skin from eggplant (optional). Chop eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper (with seeds removed) and onion into pieces of similar size. Dice garlic cloves.

3. Place chopped vegetables and garlic on baking sheet. Add mushrooms, 1/4 C olive oil, and 3/4 tsp each salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder.

4. Roast vegetables in oven until soft and browned (approximately 20 minutes).

5. Place 1 C farro and 2 C either water or low-sodium vegetable broth (whichever you prefer) in small pot. Bring contents to a roaring boil and allow to boil for about 5 minutes. Cover contents with lid and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (approximately 20-30 minutes).

6. Place shrimp in small mixing bowl with remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 each tsp salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp paprika. Mix contents and transfer to small skillet warmed over medium heat. Cook shrimp until they are pink on the outside and no longer translucent (about 3-5 minutes on each side). Remove from heat.

7. Combine farro with roasted veggies in large bowl and add feta cheese. Top with sautéed shrimp and enjoy!

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Shrimp are ready to be cooked!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 431 calories, Total Fat 17 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 115 mg, Carbohydrate 46 g, Fiber 8 g, Protein 24 g, Sodium 652 mg, Calcium 131 mg

*Nutritional analysis uses farro cooked with water (not low-sodium vegetable broth)

Sautéed Scallops with Red Quinoa and Zucchini

Sautéed Scallops with Red Quinoa and Zucchini

This light dish is a perfect summer recipe, offering lots of lean protein and fiber. Additionally, this fresh seafood dish takes less than a half hour to make and is full of flavor, vitamins and minerals. Feeling like having a barbecue? Ditch the skillet and grill the zucchini and scallops outside for an even more summer-y flavor!

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Ingredients (serves 2):

8 large scallops, raw (about 3/4 pound)

1/2 C quinoa, dry

1 C low sodium vegetable broth

1 zucchini, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil

3/4 tsp paprika

dash salt

dash ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1. Prepare quinoa as directed on box, replacing water with low-sodium vegetable broth, except cut the recipe in half (use 1/2 C dry quinoa with 1 C low-sodium vegetable broth).

2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add scallops and top with seasonings (paprika, salt, pepper). Cook approximately 15 minutes, flipping each scallop after about 8 minutes.

3. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and sauté until browned, about 7-10 minutes.

4. Add quinoa to skillet with zucchini. Combine and remove from heat.

5. Divide quinoa and zucchini mixture on two plates and place 4 scallops on top of each plate. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 471 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 90 mg, Carbohydrates 36 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 48 g, Sodium 609 mg, Calcium 248 mg

Unwrapped Shrimp Burrito

Unwrapped Shrimp Burrito

In this hot weather, I like to lighten things up. For this dish, I went tortilla-less and made a mixed plate filled with burrito-y goodness. Spicy shrimp, onions, peppers and black beans offer a ton of flavor for minimal calories. Plus, the only grain on this plate is brown rice – a whole grain. This dish lets you spice things up while staying light and cool in the heat.

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Ingredients (serves 2):

1/2 lb. large, uncooked, shrimp

1 C brown rice (*Note: I like Trader Joe’s frozen, microwaveable brown rice – it’s ready to serve in just 3 minutes.)

1 green bell pepper

3/4 large onion

1/2 C black beans (*Note: If canned, use a “no salt added” version and rinse under water using a colander. If not using canned beans, beans should be ready to use for this recipe.)

1/4 C salsa (I like Whole Foods Medium Salsa – it has all fresh ingredients and skimps on sugar and salt)

1/4 C guacamole (Try making your own using my simple recipe – here!)

1 oz reduced-fat, shredded Mexican Blend cheese

1 Tbsp olive or canola oil plus 1 tsp

dash salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

dash cayenne pepper (optional – depends if you like your food spicy!)

IMG_1287Directions:

1. Warm 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet over medium heat. Warm remaining 1 tsp oil in separate, small skillet over medium heat.

2. Wash bell pepper, remove stem and seeds and pat dry with paper towel. Cut into thin slices. Set aside.

3. Cut onion into thin, lengthwise strips. Add to large skillet. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. On a separate cutting board, cut or pull the tails off of each shrimp. Remove the long vein that runs along the center of each shrimp. Cut each shrimp into thirds.

5. Add peppers and spices to large skillet with onions. Cook another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Add shrimp to small skillet. If desired, add extra spices to shrimp skillet. Cook until shrimp are cooked through and no longer translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally.

7. Cook brown rice as directed (if using Trader Joe’s Frozen Brown Rice, pop in the microwave for 3 minutes and let stand 1 minute.)

8. Add cooked shrimp and black beans to large skillet with vegetables. Combine. Add cheese, stir and remove from heat.

9. Place 1/2 C brown rice on each plate. Cover each plate of rice with half the shrimp and veggie mixture. Top each plate with 2 Tbsp  guacamole and 2 Tbsp salsa. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?IMG_1289

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 495 calories, Total Fat 20 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 180 mg, Carbohydrates 46 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 35 g, Sodium 700 mg, Calcium 316 mg

*Note: Sodium content will vary greatly depending on brands used for guacamole, cheese, salsa and beans. This estimation uses varieties with sodium in order to account for a possible range. 

 

 

Salmon and Cabbage Salad With Grated Ginger

Salmon and Cabbage Salad with Grated Ginger

This salmon salad will shake up your salad routine and get you excited for a plate full of veggies – and hearty salmon! Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and can grow in cool temperatures, so this salad is perfect for the fall and winter months, when vegetables can seem scarce. Plus, consuming at least two 6 oz portions of salmon per week supplies your weekly recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in reducing inflammation. Fresh ginger and a light drizzle of dressing spice up this salad and give it a distinct flavor that is anything but boring!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

6 oz salmon fillet

1/4 small head cabbage (doesn’t matter which color- whichever you prefer!)

1 large carrot

2 Tbsp ginger or miso dressing (I recommend 365 Ginger Soy Vinaigrette)

Non-stick vegetable oil cooking spray

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/8 tsp fresh ginger, grated (I use a cheese grater)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Place salmon fillet in casserole dish.

3. Season salmon with spices (garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper and grated ginger).

4. Place salmon in oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through (reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit).

5. While salmon is in oven, chop cabbage. Place cabbage in strainer and rise. Dry thoroughly. Transfer cabbage to plate.

6. Skin, wash and dry carrot. Shred carrot over cabbage using a cheese grater.

7. Remove salmon from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes.

8. Place salmon on top of salad. Drizzle dressing over salad. Serve.

The Goods: What‘s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 371 calories, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 114 mg, Carbohydrates 21 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 47 g, Calcium 139 mg, Sodium 511 mg

*note: If you are concerned about your sodium intake, try to look for a low-sodium salad dressing. Also, you can make your own dressing using low-sodium soy sauce and mustard!

Cancel Your Take-Out Order!

Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

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Why order in greasy food when you can cook your own stir-fry with only ingredients you know are wholesome? This stir-fry can be made with any lean protein  – I’ve replaced the tofu with shrimp before, as well as chicken, and it’s always been amazing and authentic tasting. Also, depending on which veggies I find at the farmer’s market or grocery stores, I’ve switched up the components of this dish to reflect seasonality and local offerings when possible. This healthy stir-fry will fill you up with fiber and protein and give you a hearty dose of antioxidants. Wok not included!

Ingredients (serves 2):

8 oz extra firm tofu

1/2 C sugar snap peas

1 C broccoli florets

2 baby bok choy

1/2 onion, diced

2 large carrots, sliced

1 C mushrooms, sliced

1 C brown rice

1/4 C corn (off the cob – I like to buy frozen corn!)

1 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil

1/4 C low-sodium soy sauce (or you can try a different stir-fry sauce – just try to avoid products with ingredients such as caramel color and high fructose corn syrup!)

This time I used baby corn!

This time I used baby corn!

Directions:

1. Steam carrots in microwave until soft (approximately 5 minutes).

2. Steam broccoli florets in microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

3. Steam corn in microwave for 45 seconds.

4. Cook brown rice according to directions on package (I find it easiest to buy fully cooked frozen brown rice and steam it in the microwave).

5. Drain excess water from tofu and gently squeeze dry with a paper towel. Cut into small cubes.

6. Pour oil and half the soy sauce (about 2 Tbsp) into skillet and warm over medium heat.

7. Place onion and mushrooms in skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. Slice bok choy into large pieces and add to skillet.

9. Wash sugar snap peas and pat dry. Add steamed carrots, corn and broccoli to skillet. Add tofu and sugar snap peas. Add remaining soy sauce and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

10. Place brown rice on plate and pour mixture over rice. Serve hot and enjoy!

the Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 377 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 46 g, Fiber 9 g, Protein 19 g, Calcium 194 mg, Sodium 739 mg

Warm Kale, Beet and Feta Salad

Warm Kale, Beet and Feta Salad

This seasonal salad is packed with vitamins and minerals and will keep you warm in these chilly temperatures. Beets and kale are both vegetables that can be grown through the winter and bought at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores during this time when vegetables can seem scarce. The hearty, crisp taste of kale is balanced by the sweet taste of beets and creamy feta cheese in this warm salad, which is a cinch to make. As tasty as it is pretty, this winter-y salad will become your new favorite for entertaining – or just eating on your own!

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Ingredients (serves 4):

6 C kale, raw, chopped (wash thoroughly and remove large stems)

8 oz. baby beets (I like Melissa’s Ready-To-Eat Baby Beets, which are steamed, peeled and ready to eat. 1 package is 8 oz, which is about 5 baby beets. You can also roast your own beets! If you roast your own, you should do so before preparing this dish, as they should be ready to eat in this recipe).

1/4 C reduced- fat feta cheese, crumbledIMG_0567

1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, freshly squeezed

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 C water

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat (I recommend using a pan with large sides, or a pot, as the kale starts out piled high in the pan before it cooks down).IMG_0566

2. Add kale to pan. Add water and cover. Allow kale to cook covered for approximately 5 minutes. The kale should be a bright green color and there should be some excess liquid when the cover is removed.

3. Remove cover and stir kale until it begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. The liquid should be mostly evaporated by now. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Cut beets into wedges and add to kale. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer from pan to serving dish. Top with feta cheese and serve warm. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 149 calories, Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 6 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 235 mg, Calcium 176 mg

I served it with butternut squash ravioli!

I served it with butternut squash ravioli!

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan

In these chilly temperatures, I’m craving comfort food. However, I don’t want to eat food that isn’t healthful – I just want to eat a warm, hearty meal. This chicken parmesan is baked, instead of being pan fried, and uses olive oil instead of egg to glue the breadcrumbs to the chicken. And did I mention the breadcrumbs are whole wheat? If you have thirty minutes, you have time to make this amazing twist on a traditional comfort dish.

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Ingredients (serves 2):

2 chicken breasts, approximately 8-10 oz. (I like using thin sliced chicken breasts)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 C marinara sauce (I like Classico Marinara with Plum Tomatoes)

1/3 C whole wheat breadcrumbs, seasoned (or use plain whole wheat breadcrumbs and season them yourself with garlic powder, salt and pepper)

1/3 C shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

IMG_0547Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Warm olive oil and minced garlic in small pan over medium heat (approximately 3-4 minutes).

3. Spray casserole dish with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray (light coating)

4. Place breadcrumbs in bowl. Set aside. Place chicken breast in skillet, one piece at a time, and coat both sides with garlic and olive oil (be careful – the pan is hot!!!). Transfer chicken breast to bowl with breadcrumbs and coat. Place chicken breast in casserole dish.

5. Bake chicken in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (the chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit)

6. Remove chicken from oven. Add sauce and cheese and bake chicken for another 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

ready to be baked in the oven!

ready to be baked in the oven!

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving is one chicken breast with half of the ingredients listed above)

Calories 489, Total Fat 25 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 106 mg, Carbohydrate 22 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 45 g, Sodium 962 mg, Calcium 245 mg

 

 

 

Squeeze Some Flavor On To That Chicken!

Lemon Chicken with Spices

This simple dish is a staple of mine that I rely on when I’m too busy to make an intricate meal. With only a few simple ingredients, this dish manages to have a ton of flavor and skimps on fat. Even though very little oil is used, the chicken stays juicy because of the lemon juice and marinates in flavor while it cooks. Next time you’re in a time crunch, try this simple dish and fuel up with protein! Don’t forget to round out the meal with healthful sides, such as a salad or roasted vegetables, to amp up the fiber, vitamin and mineral content of this dish!

Don't you worry. That's not a pool of oil in the skillet - it's lemon juice!

Don’t you worry. That’s not a pool of oil in the skillet – it’s lemon juice!

Ingredients (serves 2):

8 oz chicken breast

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

dash salt

dash cayenne pepper (to taste)

juice from 1 lemon

IMG_0636Directions:

1. Heat oil in medium sized skillet over medium heat.

2. Place chicken in skillet. Slice lemon in half and squeeze the juice from each half over the chicken. A small pool of lemon juice will pool in the skillet.

3. Add spices to chicken. Place cover over skillet and cook for 10 minutes. Remove cover, flip chicken and replace cover. Cook another 5-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (it should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F). Serve.

*note: this dish can also be made in the oven by placing all ingredients in a casserole dish and baking at 350 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 191 calories, Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 66 mg, Carbohydrates 2 g, Fiber 0 g, Sugar 1 g, Protein 26 g, Sodium 152 mg, Calcium 15 mg

Spice Up Your Dinner – Dig Into These Shrimp Fajitas!

Shrimp and Black Bean Fajitas

Craving Mexican food? Have no fear! These tasty shrimp fajitas are spicy, full of flavor and under 500 calories! Packed with protein and fiber, these fajitas will fill you up with good nutrition to fuel your body right! Serve with homemade guacamole and a skinny margarita for a truly indulgent fiesta!

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Ingredients (serves 2):

2 multigrain tortillas (try to find one that is under 100 calories and has at least 5g of fiber)

1/2 lb. raw shrimp (8 oz) *fresh or frozen (if frozen, thaw and pat dry before use)

1/4 C canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 onionIMG_0589

1 red bell pepper

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp chipotle

1 Tbsp reduced fat shredded cheese

Directions:IMG_0588

1. Combine shrimp and 1.5 Tbsp olive oil in medium sized bowl with 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/8 tsp chipotle. Set aside.

2. Heat one large skillet with remaining olive oil (1.5 Tbsp) over medium heat. Slice onion and add to heated skillet.

3. Wash red bell pepper and remove seeds. Slice lengthwise and add strips to skillet with onion. Add remaining spices (1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder). Cook until onion is translucent and soft and pepper is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Mix occasionally.

4. Heat medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp. Cook approximately 3 minutes on each side, until shrimp is no longer translucent. Once cooked, combine shrimp in large skillet with onion and pepper. Transfer contents of skillet into large serving bowl.

5. Heat tortillas in microwave until warm, approximately 45 seconds.

6. Heat black beans in microwave until warm, approximately 1 minute.

7. Create your fajita! Serve one tortilla with approximately half of the fajita contents. Eat any contents that do not fit in the tortilla with a fork, or make a second tortilla!

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The Goods: What’s Inside?

IMG_0597Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

*one serving is one tortilla and half of the ingredients listed above. 

Calories 453, Fat 27 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 180 mg, Carbohydrates 24 g, Fiber 8 g, Sugar 6 g, Protein 31 g, Sodium 424 mg, Calcium 307 mg

 

 

Add Your Own Guacamole With This Simple Recipe!

Ingredients (serves 6):

2 avocados, soft

1/4 red onion

1/2 medium sized tomato

1/2 lime

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1/2 jalepeno pepper, cut lengthwaise

Directions:

1. Cut each avocado in half, lengthwise. Remove large pit from each avocado. Remove inside of avocado with spoon and place in large bowl. Discard skin of avocado.

2. Mash avocado until soft and slightly chunky  (I like to use a potato masher)

3. Dice red onion. Add to bowl with avocado.

4. Dice tomato. Add to bowl.

5. Remove seeds and wash jalepeno pepper. Mince pepper and add to bowl. Mix all ingredients together.

6. Add salt and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime over guacamole. Mix and chill until cold (approximately 20 minutes or longer). Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?IMG_0605

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 114, Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 7 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugar 1 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 55 mg, Calcium 11 mg