Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Archive for the ‘Cooking in College’ Category

Easy Fish Dinner

Where have I been this week?!

I’ll tell ya. In hell.

I had two HUGE tests back to back in my Anatomy and Physiology 2 class that I’m taking this summer.  Being a 6-week course, I am there Monday-Thursday from 1:30-4:45.  Three weeks left and I cannot WAIT to be done!

On top of that, I’ve added a giant task to my never-ending “To Do” list…are you ready?


🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Due to my recent change of plans for school, Corey and I, along with our families, decided that it would be smarter to have our wedding a little sooner than our original plans of November 2012.  OK, a lot sooner.  Like, a whole year sooner!

That’s right! We are getting married on November 26, 2011- 6 months from now.  Ahhhhh!

I have been a busy little wedding bee running around trying to pick out churches and venues and guest lists…it’s crazy, but a lot of fun!  Kind of.

My busy schedule has lead to some very monotonous meals lately.


I’ve literally eaten a bowl of oats with peanut butter mixed in for almost two-weeks straight.  I think I hate oats.


To round out my boring breakfasts, I’ve gotten into a lunch routine this week, as well, consisting of Subway veggie subs!

6-inches of spinach, tomatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, pickles, provolone and honey mustard. Yum!


One meal this week that stuck out as a keeper was as simple as it gets.  I am a big fan of seafood, and if it wasn’t so expensive, I would eat it every day!  Corey picked up a huge piece of grouper at our local fish market.  We marinated it for 30 minutes with lemon juice, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, cilantro and red pepper flakes.

We heated up the grill, placed the fish on some tinfoil and cooked it until it flaked with a fork.

While it cooked, I came inside and fried some already-prepared shrimp. We bought them thinking they were coconut shrimp, so I was pretty disappointed to discover that they were just plain ol’ breaded shrimp.

I used canola oil to fry them, because, for some reason, that makes me feel slightly less guilty than frying in regular oil.

We served our seafood feast with steamed broccoli and brussel sprouts, and a little Dijon mustard for dipping!

There really is no better meal for your body than fish and vegetables.  I think many people are afraid of cooking fish, but it really is as simple as making chicken!

If you don’t have a grill, you could easily make this same meal by placing the fish in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees, and cooking for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness.  The good thing about fish is that most types flake with a fork when they are fully cooked, so it eliminates the guessing game.  Give it a try!

Backyard Turkey Burgers


I woke up early Thursday morning in the mood for a spin class!  OK, that’s a complete lie.  I woke up in the mood to sleep until 12 and do nothing all day, but I forced my butt out of bed at 7:30, and headed to the gym for an 8:45 spin class.


I toasted a whole wheat sandwich thin and topped it with a childhood classic- peanut butter, bananas and honey!


I’m still trying to figure out the best way to eat throughout the day, due to my new class schedule.  I have to leave my house at 12:40 in order to be in my seat a little before 1:30.  Class runs until 4:45…so when the heck do I eat lunch?!  I’m usually not hungry around noon, so I decided to try packing my lunch and eating in the car.  Part 1 of my meal was a Lemon Chobani Greek Yogurt:

At around 3:00, our professor gives us a 20-minute break.  I took that opportunity to run out to my car and eat a salad that I packed.  It included butter lettuce, red and yellow bell pepper strips, and Naturally Fresh Ginger Dressing <—– amazing.

I forgot that ginger dressings tend to fall under the “less is more” approach, so this was a little too dressing-heavy for my taste.  I’ll be more careful next time!

After I finished eating, I went back to class to spend another 2 hours pretending I know what all of these numbers represent:


My family visits North Carolina every year, and one of our food traditions is to go to Backyard Burgers.  I always thought this fast-food restaurant was indigenous to NC, but I came to find that we have one here in Orlando.  Fortunately, I have managed to steer clear of the burger joint, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recreate my favorite BBQ Bacon Burger at home!

I loosely followed my own recipe for BBQ Turkey Burgers, and Corey put them on the grill.  I decided that one little slice of regular bacon won’t kill me, so I topped my little burger-of-love with a crispy slice.

We served our burgers on whole wheat sandwich thins.  On the side, we enjoyed plenty of sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.  Delish!

Hope you’re weekend is off to a great start- I’m heading to Ft. Lauderdale today!  

2 Great Salad Recipes: Greek and Taco


I can so easily get out of the routine of working out, and it sucks!  I took Sunday off, as I normally do, but then, Monday and Tuesday came and went, and I hadn’t done a darn thing.  I was determined to make it to the gym on Wednesday, and I did.  I completed 20 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 25 minutes of running intervals on the treadmill.


Tuesday was a big day for my brain- I had to take a 3-hour nursing school entrance test, and then go straight to a 4-hour class!  I knew I needed a filling breakfast, so I turned to trusty oatmeal to do the trick.

I microwaved the oats with a 1/3 cup almond milk, and then stirred in a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Yesterday, I pretty much repeated the same meal, except that I used a packet of Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal in Maple Brown Sugar.


After finishing my entrance test, I had a short break before my class started, so I headed over to Publix to grab a sandwich.  I ordered Boar’s Head Turkey on whole wheat, with honey mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles and banana peppers.


Tuesday’s dinner was simple.  I quickly cooked a package of whole wheat gnocchi in boiling water, and then tossed it with 1/2 cup marinara sauce.

On the side, we had a Greek Chopped Salad.  This is one of my favorites.

Greek Chopped Salad

Servings: 4-6


3 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped

3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup feta cheese

10 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (optional ingredient)

1 cucumber, finely chopped (optional ingredient)

For the dressing:

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Whisk together in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper.


After all ingredients are chopped, throw in a large bowl, top with dressing and feta cheese, and mix together.


Last night, we had another great salad- Taco Salad!

This is a great solution for dinner when you want to feed a lot of people for cheap.  Plus, if you do it build-your-own style, it’s a huge time-saver.  There are tons of variations for this meal- just pick your favorites!

Taco Salad

Select Base: chopped Romaine, shredded iceburg, brown rice

Select Protein: ground turkey, lean ground beef, shredded rotisserie chicken, CrockPot pulled pork.  Cook meat with 1/2 packet of taco seasoning.

Select Beans: black, pinto, garbanzo

Select Veggies: diced tomatoes, chopped onion, cilantro, corn (use all of them!)

Select Fats: (use only one, or a combination, but do so sparingly) reduced-fat sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices

Select Dressing: I like to use salsa from a jar, but you could use any regular salad dressing you like!


Place each ingredient in it’s own bowl, and set up a build-your-own-salad bar!

Healthy Chicken Fingers + Fries

I ❤ Saturday.


Saturday morning seems to always call for pancakes!  I made a cinnamon oatmeal version.

I combined 1 cup of Fiber One Pancake Mix with 1/2 cup uncooked oats, two teaspoons cinnamon, and water.  I served my pancakes with sliced strawberries, and a drizzle of sugar-free syrup.


After digesting for a little while, we got into our workout clothes and headed to BodyPump.  May I just say…this class killed us.  The instructor was amazing, but she had pretty much everyone in the class begging for mercy by the end.  I’m feelin’ it today!

After class, Corey convinced me to go “shoot hoops” with him.  I obviously did more observing than shooting, unless shooting pictures counts.

I did give a few shots my best effort.

Corey often loses sleep worrying about the athleticism of our future children.  They’re pretty much doomed, thanks to me.


We came home and I made a plate of leftover tofu and stir fry veggies from yesterday.  Corey gave the tofu a try and he also really liked it!

We quickly finished lunch and headed down to the pool for an hour or two.  It was a gorgeous day!

We changed and went our separate ways to run errands.  Corey got a haircut, and I picked up a few groceries I needed for a little get-together later on.

We invited Austin and Laura to come over and watch the Magic game with us before going downtown for a party.  I always tease them because Corey and I have more…let’s call it “advanced”…palates, while Austin and Laura tend to enjoy simpler foods.  Think cheeseburgers, chicken fingers and french fries.  I always worry that they won’t like the food I make, so I decided to base the menu around what I knew they liked.  I didn’t give in completely, though- I healthified their favorite meal; chicken fingers and french fries!

I bought two packages of chicken tenders, and marinated them.  Some went into a container with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce, and the rest were marinated in Kraft Vidalia Onion Dressing.  I hired my professional tender-breader to help with the rest:

Corey rolled the tenders in Panko breadcrumbs, layed them on a cookie sheet, sprayed them each with non-stick spray, and then placed them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

I served sweet potato fries alongside the chicken fingers.  They were a hit!

Almost forgot to snap a pic!

To make the chicken fingers you need:

1-2 packages boneless, skinless chicken tenders (2 packages made 12)

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

1 cup Kraft Vidalia Onion Marinade OR

1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

non-stick spray

For appetizers, I layed out some blue (for the Magic!) corn chips and salsa, and I also whipped up this highly complex recipe:

It’s not a party until somebody breaks out the Rotel dip!  I served that with Tostitos Multi Grain Scoops, to even it out 😉 .

The Spread

Note to Self: Register for party serving sets.  Embarrassing.

To drink, I enjoyed Corey’s favorite beer, Magic Hat #9, also in honor of the Magic:

I also had a glass of wine with Laura:

Corey and I:

When the game was over, we headed downtown.  Originally, we had planned to go to a place that was throwing a party for several of Corey’s former football teammates who are now in the NFL (and may or may not have won this year’s Superbowl 🙂 ), but we ended up meeting a bunch of our friends at The Attic, which was slightly less crowded. It was still sufficiently sweaty inside, as evidenced by my shiny face.


I spent most of the night laughing my face off at Austin, who spent most of his night sitting next to the DJ on stage for no reason.


According to Austin, the DJ swore that he would play at our wedding for free if Austin could successfully “hype up the crowd” during Lil Wayne’s “A Millie”. I have a feeling that was  a lie.

On our walk back to the car, they stopped for pizza, which I somehow wasn’t invited to partake in.  Rude! Laura took a nap with her slice:

Shleepy Laura

She’s gonna punch me for that 🙂 .

All in all, it was a fun night with friends.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Greek Orzo Salad

Does anyone else out there have a countdown going to the end of this semester?

I’m DYING, people!


Yesterday morning started in the middle of the night.  5:10 AM wake-up calls ova here! Corey and I headed to BodyPump, and it was a great class, as usual.  I had said to Corey that I was happy that we had avoided being called out as the “new people” in the class, but I clearly spoke too soon, because the instructor walked right over to us (even though we’ve been to her class before), and talked to us with her microphone on, of course, explaining that we set something up wrong.  Naturally, it was me who convinced Corey to set up our steps that way, too.  Oh, well. It wouldn’t be my life if it wasn’t embarrassing on a daily basis!  🙂


Get ready for a day full of smoothies!  I made an exact replica of Tuesday morning’s smoothie, and it was just as fabulous the second time around.


Yesterday’s lunch turned out to be another repeat. This time, it was a repeat of Monday’s salad.

  • Romaine
  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Roasted brussel sprouts
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Reduced-fat feta cheese
  • Mustard-Yogurt Dressing


Before I left for class, I decided to make part of our dinner ahead of time.  This is a recipe I’ve made a lot in the past, and it’s always gone by the next day!

Greek Orzo Salad

Servings: 4-6


1 cup (uncooked) orzo

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

10 kalamata olives, pits removed and chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon EVOO

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese


Cook the orzo in salted boiling water for 9 minutes.  Drain, and then run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Pick out the container you plan to store the pasta salad in.  In the bottom of it, add the mustard, oil, vinegar, garlic powder and oregano and whisk until well combined.  *Note*: I used yellow mustard this time, but I highly recommend Dijon.

Add the pasta to the dressing.

Mix to coat.

Add the chopped veggies and cheese, and mix until everything is combined.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


Well, I wish I could say I came home and whipped up a fabulous dinner featuring my Greek Orzo Salad, but…that didn’t actually happen.  In fact, something that never happens, happened. I came home and was too tired to even think about eating real food.  Corey had grabbed something to eat after playing in an intramural basketball game, and was practically asleep when I got home.  Only one thing came to mind…


I threw this morning’s same ingredients into the blender, and drank my dinner.

I also grabbed a fork and parked my butt in front of the counter where I ate at least one serving of the Greek Orzo Salad.  We went straight to bed at 9:30!

I guess we’re officially old.

Creamy Bow Tie Pasta with Mushrooms and Soybeans

I took a necessary bloggy break yesterday due to a HUGE test in Microbiology last night.  Glad that’s over with!

Let’s talk TUESDAY:


I woke up and went to a 45-minute spin class.  I’m happy to report that the Charlie Brown instructor was nowhere to be found.  However, I am very unhappy to report that my favorite instructor announced that she’s moving next week to CALIFORNIA!  Just my luck.  She said her replacement will be a guy named Michael.  Hmm…guess I’ll find out how I feel about that soon enough!

Spinning is all about putting your mind over matter, and really focusing in on getting the work done.  For some people, that’s all it takes for them to make it through the class without quitting.  Not this girl.  I have to have a goal.  I have to have something in my head that I picture the entire time to help motivate me to finish the class strong.  Yesterday, it was all about these three things:





Bikini Bod

I guess two out of three isn’t bad.  I can have a smoothie any day.






I pretty much had the blender going as soon as I walked in the door, and today’s smoothie was on point.

Into the blender went:

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Muscle Milk Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 7 frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Splenda

Cold and refreshing!

After breakfast, I showered and did some homework before heading to class.  My Tuesday afternoon class is really long, and my stomach keeps growling embarrassingly loud halfway through the class each week.  I think my lab partner is onto the fact that it’s me, so I decided to grab a snack to-go.

I had just enough yogurt left in my big tub of Chobani for another serving, so I topped it with sliced strawberries and chopped almonds and ate it in the car.


When I got home, I didn’t have much time before my next class, so I made a quick cheese quesadilla in the microwave!

I placed a slice of meunster cheese and 2 tablespoons of Fat Free shredded cheddar down the middle of a whole wheat tortilla, folded, and microwaved for 15 seconds.  I topped it off with some Roasted Garlic Salsa from the store.

On the side, I had an orange:

On my way there, I spotted a rainbow!

I didn’t get quite as excited as this guy, though.


When Corey and I were at Barnes and Noble over the weekend, I came across this recipe in Cooking Light magazine that sparked my interest.  I wrote down a few of the ingredients, and made an adaption of their recipe for dinner.

I bought this at store, which I substituted for the mascarpone cheese called for in the recipe, because it was less expensive:

I made sure to only use the serving size, so that I wouldn’t add a lot of extra fat to the dish.

I also picked up a can of these, which I substituted for farva beans:

Creamy Bow Tie Pasta with Mushrooms and Soybeans

Servings: 3-4


2 1/2 cups whole wheat farfalle (bow tie pasta)

8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cups organic soybeans, rinsed

1/4 cup Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Creme (you could substitute Mascarpone cheese or possibly Greek yogurt)

1/2 onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped


Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray and add the onion.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until everything is browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the soybeans and mix together, cook for an additional minute.

Add the pasta and the Cooking Creme, and mix until everything is well combined.  Cook for an additional minute.


This is a great vegetarian dish, especially since the soybeans add the necessary protein component.


Easy Veggie Pizza

I turned into an accidental vegetarian yesterday 🙂 !


We woke up bright and early, surprisingly enthusiastic about our morning workout.  I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical before hopping on the good ol’ Stair Master for another 10 minutes.  I planned to spend longer on the SM, but I’m pretty sure it was slowly but surely breaking while I was on it.  Whoopsies! After my cardio, I did an arm workout, consisting of bicep curls, tricep extensions, front and lateral raises, and lat rows.  Details here.


As most readers have probably gathered by now, I have fruit issues.  I hate different types of fruit “touching”, I hate certain textures, etc.  Well, today I was a big girl and decided to try a BLUEBERRY smoothie!  My mom probably just fainted reading this.  

I basically used my usual smoothie ingredients, but switched out strawberries for bluebs!

Into the blender went:

  • 1/2 cup almond milk <—- Corey’s mad that I got “unsweetened”. Oops!
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Muscle Milk Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Splenda
  • Handful of ice

It was surprisingly delish.  I think it helped that the banana and chocolate flavors kind of covered up the blueberry taste.  And I blended it up extra long, so none of the blueberry “pieces” were too big.  I might as well be in a highchair demanding ‘sghettis for dinner.


I ended up spending most of my day in the kitchen.  I went to the produce market to stock up on veggies, and by “stock up” I mean I went a little overboard.  I decided to roast a bunch of my veggie impulse buys to use in different meals this week.  I got to chopping, and then spread out a mixture of asparagus, cauliflower and brussel sprouts on a cookie sheet, sprayed with nonstick spray, sprinkled on some garlic powder and roasted for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  I scooped up about 1 cup of the veggies and topped a plate of romaine lettuce with them to make a lovely Spring salad.

I topped my salad with 1 tablespoon reduced-fat feta cheese, and a homemade mustard yogurt dressing.

To make the dressing, combine in a bowl:

  • 1 tablespoon nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons light mayo
  • 1 tablespoon water

Mix until everything is completely combined, and it has a dressing consistency.  Add more water, if necessary.



I got home super late from class, much later than usual.  I hate eating dinner close to 10 o’clock, but…sometimes, it happens!  What I love is having a quick and easy dinner idea that I don’t have to think about when I walk in the door.

I bought a tube of refrigerated Pillsbury Pizza Crust that I layed out on a cookie sheet and prebaked for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.  While it baked, I chopped up the following veggies, each into very thin slices:

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 9 white mushroom caps

I took the prebaked dough out of the oven and spread 1/2 cup of a simple marinara sauce that I had in the refrigerator (you could use pizza sauce, or plain tomato sauce- whatever you have on hand).  I spread the sliced veggies out over the sauce, and then sprinkled on 1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella and 2 tablespoons reduced-fat feta cheese.

I popped it back in the oven for 10 minutes, and dinner was ready!


What are your favorite veggies to add to a pizza?

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