Sunday, September 8, 2013

A "Whole" Bunch o' Recipes

I am that girl who posts pics of her meals on Instagram and Facebook.  Yep, totally guilty.  I am not an aspiring chef, nor do I think everyone wants to see my pictures (so I apologize if they annoy you).  It's mostly a personal diary of sorts for myself.  I like to look back on healthy meals I have made and that were successful.  Successful = yummy and healthy, and I don't want to forget them!  I do however think a good recipe can inspire others to eat healthy, so if I can achieve that as well, then I am a happy girl.

Recently, some friends have asked for the recipes to some of the meals I have prepared, so I dedicate this post to sharing some of them.  I try to prepare healthy and whole food whenever possible.  Whole meaning REAL.  No additives, chemicals, junk or anything processed. Basically, the good things that God put on the earth for us to ingest.  Sometimes this is impossible to fully achieve, because I do buy some pre-packaged food here and there (bread, salsa, salad dressings, etc) but I try to make sure the ingredients are few and are as natural as possible.  Also, I try to make meals that are well balanced and full of vitamins and nutrients.

Below are some of my most recent creations along with the recipe. Warning:  I am not a "measure" girl, I kind of make up my recipes as I go along, so the amount of some ingredients is approximate. Use your own judgement! I have also included the fast track version if applicable.  Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 cup olive oil
crushed garlic (I use the pre-chopped fresh garlic in a jar)
favorite tomato sauce
parmesan cheese

Wash the spaghetti squash, and place WHOLE squash in a pan and bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.  They are HARD as heck when they are raw, and I promise you, almost impossible to cut open!!  After baking for 15 minutes, it will become more soft.  Cut it in half, length wise.  Take the seeds out, and rub olive oil, salt and pepper on the flesh.  Place halves down (with rinds facing up) on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour at 375 degrees (it might not take as long if you are a lower elevation).  Squash should be very tender and soft.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Scrape squash out with a fork in to a bowl.  Toss it with garlic, salt, pepper to taste, and olive oil.  Add your favorite tomato sauce on top (I am partial to Traditional Prego) and garnish with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Portabello mushroom(s)
plum tomato
feta cheese
olive oil
italian seasoning

Clean out the mushrooms so they look like shells.  Chop up fresh spinach and tomato and toss it with some feta cheese, herbs, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  (Lay off the salt because feta is usually salty on its own).  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until sizzling.

Alternative: Stuff the mushrooms with whatever sounds good to you, mix it up with different cheeses, sausage, bacon, crab or shrimp.....

Fast track version:  Many supermarket delis (Whole Foods, etc) sell these pre-made in the produce section.

Do you want the recipe for the yummy looking sweet potatoes from my image above?  Get it HERE.

Veggie Burgers

1 can of black beans (rinsed and dried)
half of red pepper, diced
half an onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/4 cup of corn (optional)
1 egg
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. hot sauce
salt to taste

mash black beans until pasty (make sure excess water is gone before mashing).  Blend garlic, red pepper and onion in food processor and add to bean mixture.  Mix up egg with chili, cumin and hot sauce and add to bean mixture. Add corn (optional) Add bread crumbs and mix thoroughly.  Pat in to 4 patties, and bake on an olive oil greased pan at 375 for about 10 minutes on each side.  You can also grill them.

Serve by themselves or with a whole wheat bun.  Great garnishes are avocado, tomato, red onion, salsa and cheese.  Enjoy!

Fast track version: MorningStar brand sells veggie burgers at the grocery store.

Pesto Chicken with whole wheat pasta

4 chicken breasts
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (or spinach, or combine the two)
2 cloves garlic (more if you are a garlic fan like myself)
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Grill or sautee cut up chicken breast in olive and garlic until cooked.  Pour pesto on top and heat thoroughly.  Pour over cooked whole wheat pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Fast track version:  Buy pre-made pesto sauce, "Classico" brand in the glass jar is very good.  Buy a pre-roasted deli chicken to save yourself prep time.

Fiesta Chicken Bowl

precooked chicken breast
brown rice
taco seasoning (find your own all natural recipe, or use Mrs. Dash taco seasoning)
diced tomatoes
black beans
fresh cilantro
one lime
red onion or green onion, diced

Cook chicken in taco seasoning (Mrs. Dash now has an all natural taco seasoning).  Serve it over cooked brown rice, and garnish with all the fixin's from above, your fave salsa and squeeze fresh lime juice over it all.  Enjoy! :)

Fast track version: Use chicken breast from a pre-roasted deli chicken.  I do this a lot!!  It saves me tons of time.

Rise and Shine Smoothie

This is my favorite smoothie recipe!

equal parts of (maybe like half a cup):

fresh pineapple (frozen)
fresh blueberry (frozen)
fresh spinach leaves

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1.2 cup coconut milk

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Open Faced Bruschetta Omelette Sandwich

1 egg
half cup of fresh spinach
8 diced cherry tomatoes
half tsp. of crushed garlic
whole wheat bread

Sautee tomatoes, spinach and garlic in olive oil.  Beat one egg and add it to the pan.  Stir up all ingredients.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve over toasted whole wheat toast.

Quick tips:

  • Buy a jar of fresh minced garlic.  This saves time (no pressing) and it tastes amazing.  I add it to *almost everything!
  • Buy fresh fruit on sale, chop it up and freeze it for your smoothies.  This saves time and mula.
  • I buy 2 roasted deli chickens and cut them up, and put them in baggies for the week.  I use the chicken for meals and salads.  They are delicious.  My dogs love the scraps :) (don't feed them the bones though!!)
  • Always keep fresh spinach on hand.  I buy a big container of Organic spinach and use it for my salads, my smoothies and for "lettuce" in my wraps and sandwiches.  Spinach contains SO many vitamins and nutrients.  Iceberg and RomaineLettuce contains hardly any, so I say don't bother for the most part unless you mix them up with greens.
  • Always keep lemons and limes on hand.  They are great in your water, but I use lemon over all of my avocado to keep them from going brown, and lime over almost every "mexican" inspired dish.  It adds such a yummy fresh flavor!
  • keep chia seeds on hand.  They are supa healthy, and great in your yogurt, smoothies and even mixed with peanut butter as a healthy dip for apples.

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