Presto Pesto!

Homemade Pesto With Basil, Spinach and Walnuts

This homemade pesto incorporates the goodness of spinach (which offers folate, vitamin K and vitamin C) along with omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, which may help to reduce inflammation. While pesto is naturally caloric and a good source of fat, this version is lightened up by using minimal amounts of olive oil and cheese and is lower in sodium than many store-bought brands. I like to make it on a quiet Sunday so that I can have an easy grab-and-go topping for zucchini noodles, pasta or fish after a hectic Monday – it can stay in the fridge for a few days to save some time on days when you are busy.

IMG_4230

Ingredients (yields approximately 1 cup or about 8 two-tablespoon servings):

2 C basil leaves, loosely packed

1 C spinach, tightly packed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 oz shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/4 C)

1/4 C walnuts, chopped (use unsalted or reduced sodium to lower salt content of dish)

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

All set to blend together!

All set to blend together!

Directions:

  1. Wash spinach and basil and pat dry with paper towel, making sure to remove all excess water. Place in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (you may need to sweep the sides with a spoon a few times to get all spinach and basil leaves incorporated).
  2. Add minced garlic, cheese, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and about half of the oil to basil spinach mixture in food processor. Secure the lid and turn the food processor to high for about 1 minute.
  3. Add remaining oil, give the mixture a stir, replace the lid of the food processor and continue on high until pesto is smooth. Use as a sauce to accompany your meal or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 102 calories, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 4 mg, Carbohydrates 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 267 mg, Calcium 46 mg

I served my pesto with zucchini noodles and baked salmon

I served my pesto with zucchini noodles and baked salmon

Advertisements

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice!

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Oatmeal with Walnuts

This autumn-y oatmeal has been my go-to this month for a quick breakfast before running out the door. I use instant oatmeal (although I am sure it would be tasty using overnight oats, as well) and pumpkin butter for this quick morning meal. Also, just a fun fact: pumpkin butter is not actually butter at all – it is pureed pumpkin, oftentimes mixed with honey and some lemon juice and typically has less than 35 calories per 1 Tbsp serving. That is a lot of flavor for minimal calories! Plus, pumpkin supplies beta carotene, which your body can convert to vitamin A.  This pumpkin-y bowl full of cinnamon spice and heart-healthy walnuts is a seasonal way to start your day off right with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and a tasty spoonful of beta carotene-rich pumpkin!

IMG_2104

Ingredients (serves 1):

1 packet instant oatmeal (*I like Trader Joe’s Oats and Flax or Bob’s Red Mill brand)

*Note: If you are interested in a heartier breakfast and looking for a way to increase calcium intake, you can prepare the oatmeal with milk in place of water! 

1/2 oz unsalted walnut halves (about 7 walnut halves)

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin butter (*Try to look for a brand that isn’t loaded with sugar – I like Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter)

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Cook oatmeal according to directions on package.

2. Add pumpkin butter and cinnamon and stir into oatmeal. Top with walnuts and enjoy!

(This may be the easiest recipe I have ever posted!)

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 231 calories, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol o mg, Carbohydrates 27 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 100 mg, Calcium 159 mg

Rice-Free Salmon Teriyaki

Salmon Teriyaki

Craving take-out? I promise, this is better! This simple dish is a great way to fuel up with protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals without overdoing the carbs and calories. Load up on vitamins A, C, K and folate with this dish, as well as potassium and zinc. Also, salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least two (3.5 oz) servings of omega-3 fatty acids per week, since omega-3 fatty acids may decrease inflammation within the body, which could lower your risk for developing heart disease. This dish supplies almost an entire week’s worth of these anti-inflammatory fatty acids. And the best part is it only takes about a half hour to prepare!

IMG_1920

Ingredients (serves 1):

5 oz wild salmon, raw

1 C broccoli florets, chopped

1/2 medium zucchini, sliced and sliced again into quarters

1/4 C carrots, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 C white button mushrooms, chopped

1/4 C onion, chopped

3 Tbsp Teriyaki marinade (I like Whole Foods’ “Very Teriyaki Marinade” sold by the fresh fish or Newman’s Own Teriyaki Marinade)

1 tsp olive oil

Dash ground black pepper

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

Ready to bake in the oven!

Ready to bake in the oven!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray casserole dish (or cookie sheet, or whichever you prefer to use for the salmon) with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Place salmon in dish and spread 1.5 Tbsp Teriyaki marinade over fish. Place in oven and bake until cooked through (approximately 25 minutes).

3. Heat olive oil in medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes. Add bell pepper, mushrooms and zucchini and cook another 10 minutes.

4. Place chopped broccoli and sliced carrots in microwave-safe bowl and cover with wax paper. Place in microwave (on high) for 1-2 minutes, until vegetables are bright in color and softened (but not soft).

5. Add broccoli and carrots to skillet. Add remaining 1.5 Tbsp Teriyaki marinade and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

6. Transfer vegetables from skillet on to a plate. Top with baked salmon and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside? 

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 469 calories, Total Fat 21 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 84 mg, Carbohydrates 39 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 34 g, Sodium 1136 mg, Calcium 158 mg

Now just combine with salmon and serve!

Now just combine with salmon and serve!

Simply Baked Salmon

Simply Baked Salmon

As the weather gets warmer, I love buying fresh fish and making it myself. Fish is a light alternative to other animal proteins and offers a ton of nutrients for relatively few calories. Specifically, salmon offers up a hearty serving of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. This simple salmon dish is easy to make and great for beginners. Also, it’s super healthy and serves up a delicious plate of nutrients that you can feel good about eating!

IMG_0941

Ingredients (serves 1):

6 oz salmon fillet (*Note: Try to find wild salmon if you can!)

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp garlic powder

dash salt

dash cayenne pepper

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray casserole dish with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray and place salmon fillet in dish.

2. Drizzle olive oil over salmon. Add lemon juice and spices. If needed, take a knife to gently rub spices and marinade over salmon evenly.

3. Bake salmon in oven for 20-25 minutes, until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The fish should flake easily with a fork. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 398 calories, Total Fat 26 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 107 mg, Carbohydrates 3 g, Fiber 0 g, Protein 38 g, Sodium 259 mg, Calcium 28 mg

I ate my baked salmon with quinoa and mixed veggies!

I ate my baked salmon with quinoa and mixed veggies!

 

Some Sweet Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pomegranate Arils

IMG_0728

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m on a cruciferous veggie kick. I try to eat seasonally when possible and cruciferous vegetables can grow throughout the cool, winter months. Also, cruciferous veggies offer a ton of health benefits and some studies suggest that increased intake of these veggies may be associated with a reduced risk of developing certain cancers.This sweet side dish is like wellness in a bowl –  walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation, and pomegranate arils are rich in antioxidants. Make sure you make extra – you’ll want the leftovers the next day!

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 C raw Brussels sprouts (I like to use Brussels sprouts that are on the smaller side)

1/4 C chopped walnuts, unsalted

1/2 C pomegranate arils

1 Tbsp olive oil

Dash salt

Dash ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

ready to go in the oven!

ready to go in the oven!

2. Wash Brussels sprouts and dry thoroughly with paper towel. Cut the Brussels sprouts in halves or quarters, depending on the size of the Brussels sprouts.

3. Place Brussels sprouts on baking pan or in casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil over Brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake Brussels sprouts in oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, remove Brussels sprouts from oven and add walnuts. Stir Brussels sprouts and walnuts together and place back in oven. Bake another 10 minutes-15 minutes, until Brussels sprouts are slightly crispy on the outside. Stir occasionally.

5. Remove Brussels sprouts from oven and add pomegranate arils. Mix all ingredients together and place back in oven. Bake another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 239 calories, Total Fat 18 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 101 mg, Calcium 52 mg

yum!

yum!

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!

IMG_0257

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!

A Muffin You’ll Be Nuts About: Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins

This chillier weather makes me want to bake and enjoy the scent of warm, freshly baked muffins filling my apartment with some hot tea. I slimmed down banana walnut muffins by swapping out some all purpose flour for whole wheat flour, replacing oil with fat free Greek yogurt and increasing the amount of bananas, so the muffins stay moist and sweet – naturally! These muffins are great as a snack to pack for work or school, or amazing with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. A great bonus? walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to decrease inflammation. Who says you can’t have your muffin and eat it, too?

IMG_0268

Ingredients (yields 18 muffins):

1 C whole wheat flour

1 C all purpose flour

1.25 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4  medium, overripe bananas (*note: it is important that the bananas are almost entirely brown on the outside, or else your muffins will not be sweet)

2/3 C honey

still chunky mashed bananas

still chunky mashed bananas

1/3 C light brown sugar

3/4 C 0% fat, plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage)

1 large egg

2 large egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 C walnuts, crushed or chopped

almost ready!

almost ready!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium sized bowl. Set aside.

3. Mash 2 bananas with a fork until just mashed (bananas should remain slightly chunky)

4. Beat remaining 2 bananas with honey and brown sugar (about 2 minutes). Add yogurt, eggs, vanilla and beat well for another 30-45 seconds.

5. Mix in about half of the dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula. Add remaining half of dry ingredients. Fold in nuts and mashed bananas to batter.

6. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into muffin tins so that each cup is about 3/4 full.

7. Bake for approximately 25 minutes (until the muffins pass the “toothpick test” – a toothpick should come out of each muffin mostly clean). Serve warm or at room temperature.

oven-ready!

oven-ready!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving is 1 muffin from a batter that makes 18 muffins):

Calories 159, Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Carbohydrates 31 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 4 g, Sodium 168 mg, Calcium 20 mg

warm, fresh baked banana walnut muffins!

warm, fresh baked banana walnut muffins!