Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Archive for the ‘Side Dish’ Category

Summer Corn Salad

Yesterday was a day full of fun, food, and friends!

Breakfast

Laura made breakfast for all of us, consisting of classic bacon and eggs.

After we ate, Laura and I headed to Publix to pick up food for the weekend, while the boys went to stock up on beer.  Laura’s older brother and his girlfriend, as well as a few of their friends, were planning to join us yesterday to cook out and hang by the pool.  He told us he was bringing filet mignon and shrimp, so we volunteered to make the rest of the food for dinner.

After a quick Google search, I was able to find the recipe for a delicious-looking corn salad that I saw Sunny Anderson make on her Food Network show last week.

I grilled 9 ears of corn and 2 endive, chopped it up and threw it in a bowl with feta, parsley, red onion and lime juice.

It was quite a hit! Sunny’s recipe can be found here.

We also blended up some skinny pina coladas, thanks to a bottle of Skinny Mixes that Corey picked up for us.  He knows me well.

The boys lounged in the pool while Laura and I slaved away in the kitchen.  So typical 🙂 .

Kitchen Slave

Laura made some fabulous bruschetta for everyone to enjoy as an appetizer.

Laura’s brother grilled bacon-wrapped filets and shrimp, and once they were ready, we had a feast!  Laura and I also made some smashed potatoes to go along with it.

Once we were finished eating, some of us stayed out by the pool, others came inside to take a nap.

Later on, a string of strange activities ensued, including, but not limited to…

iPad dance party…

Espresso making…

And measuring ourselves with a tape measure…

And the party continues today!

Backyard Turkey Burgers

Workout

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.

Breakfast

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

Lunch

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:

Dinner

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!  

Spinach Mushroom Risotto

Corey and I skipped our Wednesday morning BodyPump, with plans to try out the class at the gym closer to our new home on Thursday.  That’s exactly what we did!

Workout

We invited Corey’s younger brother, Drew, to come along with us for his first BodyPump experience.  I have to say, I was highly disappointed.  The class sucked.  The instructor was not in shape at all (which always bothers me for some reason), she made the strangest faces, and barely gave any instructions, which made it hard for us, as regulars, to follow along, so I can only imagine how Drew felt.

To make matters worse, the gym closest to our house is geared more towards an older crowd, so the instructor did not teach release 77- she pretty much made up her own, easier routine, which was utterly terrible.  What a fail!

After class, I really wanted to get in some cardio, since I felt that I barely got a respectable workout in.  The boys weren’t feelin’ it, but I was able to get in 10 minutes of running on the treadmill before they forced me out the door.

Breakfast

It was only 6:45AM when we left the gym, so Corey offered to treat Drew and I to breakfast at Einstein’s.  I ordered the same thing I had on Tuesday– the Mushroom, Asparagus and Swiss Thin- but without the tomato spread.

I also had an iced coffee with skim milk and Splenda.

Lunch

My sweet tooth was in overdrive yesterday.  By the time lunch rolled around, I was in no mood for veggies or a sandwich- I wanted something sweet!  I got creative, and decided to attempt making one of me and Corey’s favorite breakfasts at Powerhouse Cafe.  They have a phenomenal breakfast pita, with peanut butter, banana, strawberries, granola and honey, all instead a homemade whole wheat pita.

My finished pita included: one half spread with Lemon Chobani Greek Yogurt, the other half spread with peanut butter, topped with banana slices, a sprinkle of granola, and a drizzle of honey.

It was almost as delicious as the pita from Powerhouse Cafe, but I definitely missed the tanginess of that the strawberries give to it.  Next time!

Dinner

When Corey got home from work, I sent him out to the grill with some chicken breasts that had been marinating in Kraft Vidalia Onion Dressing overnight, along with some fresh asparagus.  While those were cooking, I got started on a veggie-ful risotto!

Risotto is one of my favorite side dishes, or meals, period.  A lot of people have the misconception that it is a really heavy, fattening dish, and that is understandable- its creamy texture would lead you to believe that it has tons of calories!  However, the creaminess actually comes from continuous stirring, and the slow addition of chicken broth or stock- the stirring helps release the starch in the rice, resulting in a creamy, rich dish, without all the fat.

Spinach Mushroom Risotto

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 cup Arborio rice

3 cloves garlic, chopped

4 1/2 cups no salt chicken stock (or broth)

8 oz. sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Smart Balance spread

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Heat a skillet over medium heat, sprayed with non-stick spray or EVOO.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.

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

Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the chicken stock or broth to a pot, place over medium heat, and keep warm (not boiling) while following the next steps.

Spray the skillet with nonstick spray, place over medium heat and add the rice to the skillet.  Move the rice around with your spatula and toast for one minute, being careful not to burn.

Add the white wine, stirring the rice until the wine is completely absorbed.

Add a ladle or measuring cup of warm chicken stock or broth (I did a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup at a time) to the rice, stirring continuously until it is absorbed.

Repeat this step until you have added 4 1/2 cups to the rice.  This process should take approximately 20 minutes.  Remember to stir continuously.  You will know you are finished when the rice plumps, and when you taste it, it is not mushy, yet not crunchy.

At this point, lower the heat, add the fresh spinach and stir until wilted.

Add the cooked onion and mushrooms that were set aside.

Add the salt, Smart Balance and parmesan cheese, and stir.

Serve immediately!

This dinner was just fabulous.  We both agreed that grilled chicken is far superior to baked chicken.  We’re so happy to have a grill back in our lives!

Artichoke Dip for One

I decided to skip a Tuesday blog post, because Monday’s meals didn’t deserve their own post.  In fact, I feel the need to apologize in advance if my posts for this week and next week are scattered and the meals aren’t up to par- this may happen due to several factors.

  • This week and next week are my final exams.
  • We’re moving this weekend and next weekend.
  • I’m too stressed to grocery shop!
Not kidding about the stress thing.  I’ve been very good about keeping myself organized and pretty stress-free throughout this semester, which has been the hardest of my life to date, but now that it’s down to the wire, I’m feeling the heat!  It is imperative that I do very well on all exams during these final two weeks, because the nursing program I am applying to is super competitive.  Wish me luck!
Workout 

On Monday, we woke up early and went to the gym for a semi-easy workout.  I ran next to Corey on the treadmill for 20 minutes, completing an interval workout that he came up with.  We walked for 1 minute, ran for 2 minutes at 6.0, ran for 1 minute at 7.0, then walked for a minute at 4.0.  We repeated it up to 20 minutes.  I hopped on the elliptical for 15 minutes while waiting for Corey to complete his weights workout.
I planned to go to a spin class yesterday morning, but I went to bed not feeling like myself, and woke up feeling the same way.  I felt tired and lazy, and decided to take the day off from working out.
Breakfast

Monday’s breakfast was my out-of-groceries go-to meal, peanut butter on a whole wheat bagel thin:
Yesterday, I had the rest of a big tub of 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt, sweetened with Splenda and topped with a 1/4 cup of Kashi 7 Grain Puff Cereal.  I also had a big orange on the side.
Lunch

Monday’s lunch came in the form of leftover Pei Wei from Sunday night.  Vegetable and tofu fried rice:
Yesterday’s lunch was in three parts.  I came home from my afternoon class starving, as usual, but, like I said, we’re low on groceries!  I grabbed the first thing I saw, which happened to be broccoli, heated it up and drizzled Kraft Toasted Sesame Dressing on top.
A little later, I started getting snacky, and went in the kitchen on a mission to find something else to eat.  I settled with some chips and salsa:
I liked the whole chips-n-dip idea, and ended up creating something fabulous! I spotted a lonely can of artichoke hearts in my pantry, and decided to try making my own artichoke dip, which happens to be one of my favorite appetizers at restaurants.  I gathered up some other ingredients:
Chopped garlic, reduced-fat feta cheese, and Philadelphia Cooking Creme in Savory Garlic.
I threw the ingredients into the blender, gave it a whirl for a minute, and poured the dip into a dish.
I sprinkled a little fat-free shredded cheddar over top and microwaved it for 45 seconds.  Voila!  My own personal artichoke dip.
I served my dip with one serving (6 chips!) of blue corn chips.
*Tip*: To avoid accidentally eating multiple servings of chips, which easily adds a ton of calories, measure out the serving size, and then break them up so it feels as though you’re eating more chips than you actually are.  Besides, the dip is the good part, anyways!
Artichoke Dip


                                              Servings: 1-2 (could easily be doubled
or tripled and baked in the oven for a party appetizer)
Ingredients:
1 can artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon reduced-fat feta cheese
1 tablespoon Philadelphia Cooking Creme in Savory Garlic (could substitute plain Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon fat free shredded cheddar
Directions:
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend for 1 minute.  Pour into a dish and sprinkle the cheddar on top, microwave for 45 seconds, serve!
After lunch, I headed to my night class.  I wish I had stayed home, because I spent 3 hours dissecting this little guy:
Sorry, Wilbur 😦 . I’m about 97% sure I no longer eat pork.
Dinner

On Monday, I wasn’t in the mood to cook and decided to pick up Chipotle for Corey and I.  I had a chicken salad with black beans, fajita veggies, corn salsa, mild salsa and a little cheese.
When I got home last night, I really wasn’t in the mood to eat meat, for obvious reasons.  Corey made dinner- he picked up some almond-crusted chicken tenders from the Publix Ready-to-Cook section, and baked them.  I had one piece, and filled up on Steamfresh Broccoli and Rotini, instead.

For dessert, I had two chocolate chip cookies that we made over the weekend, and a glass of almond milk.
Time to hit the books!
Are you a vegetarian?  
Why or why not? 

Greek Orzo Salad

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

I’m DYING, people!

Workout

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!  🙂

Breakfast

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.

Lunch

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

Yum!

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Dinner

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…

Smoothie!

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.

Green Sauce

Come baaaaack, weekend!

Doesn’t it always go by too fast?

I’ll tell you about my lovely Sunday so I can relive it.

Breakfast

Before heading to church yesterday, I toasted a whole wheat bagel thin, spread with a little Smart Balance spread, and served with a sliced pear on the side.

After the service, we ran some errands before debating where to have lunch.  We have both been talking about how we wanted to go to a Sunday brunch somewhere, but the only place we knew of in the area that had one didn’t sound that great to either of us.  We opted to stop by one of our favorite little sandwich shops, called 903 Mills Market.

903 Mills Market is a cute little place, located basically in the middle of a neighborhood.  Although parking is hard to find, it’s well worth searching for a spot.  They offer a variety of unique sandwiches and salads, as well as a big selection of craft beers.  On Sundays, most people can be found sitting outside on the “porch” sharing pitchers of Mimosas.

For my meal, I decided to have half of a tuna sandwich on their homemade wheat bread, and the Lake Davis salad, consisting of spring mix, cherry tomatoes, bleu cheese and pecans, with balsamic vinaigrette.

Corey had half of the California Club with the Thai Peanut salad.

Both of our meals were delicious, as always.

We spent the rest of the day running some more errands before coming home and taking Bella on a 2.5 mile walk around the lake by our house.

At the grocery store, I was really thirsty, and picked up this noteworthy bottle of Vidration Vitamin-Enhanced Water in Dragon Fruit flavor while I was in the checkout line:

I have never heard of the brand before, but I really liked it!  It was very flavorful, and definitely quenched my thirst.  It’s sweetened with Splenda, so it has zero calories, which happens to be my favorite number.

Dinner

One of our favorite meals in college was from a place called El Corral.  You could get 1/4 of a chicken, yellow rice, black beans and a drink for 3.99.  We were sad to leave El Corral behind when we moved, but we discovered that one of the chains near our apartment, La Granja, offers almost the same thing.  However, we’ve always said that it would be nice to be able to make the meal at home sometimes.  I mean, it’s just chicken, rice and beans- how hard could it be?  Well, both El Corral and La Granja have one special item that makes it hard to recreate their simple meal- SAUCES!  Both places have a variety of sauces and salsas that bring tons of flavor to the table, literally.  My favorite is “the green one” (they don’t really have names).  I decided to try to make my own version of their green sauce, and I think I came pretty close!

Green Sauce

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh cilantro

1/4 cup Light Mayo

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1/4 onion, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon lime zest

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 cup water

Directions:

Add all of the above ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until well combined.

Drizzle over tacos, rice, steak- you name it!

We picked up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, and I also microwaved some Steamfresh Brown Rice:

And a can of Bush’s Reduced Sodium Black Beans:

I topped our rice and beans with store-bought Roasted Garlic Salsa, and voila! At-home La Granja, in no time at all.

 

A Sister’s Request- Healthy Burgers

Let me start out by saying that I am very happy that the stormy weather is gone, and Orlando is now looking just the way I like it:

Breezy, sunny and beautiful.

Breakfast

I woke up yesterday not feeling good at all.  Something warm and sweet sounded perfect for breakfast, so I made myself a peanut butter and banana bagel thin sandwich:

As soon as I ate it, I crawled right back into bed!  I spent most of the day in my pajamas doing absolutely nothing.  I forgot to mention, I’ve been on sort of a “forced” vacation this week- the public schools are on Spring Break, so I haven’t had to work this week.  I’ve enjoyed sleeping in and only having to worry about my classes for the week.

Lunch

I made the same sandwich I had yesterday, consisting of a whole wheat sandwich thin, deli turkey, mustard and reduced-fat provolone cheese:

A little while later, I was still hungry, so I decided to make a smoothie.  I added a new addition to my smoothie, which I am really loving! Cooked oats.  Yep, that’s right!  If you’re an avid health blog reader, you probably consider this to be normal, but if you’re not…I’m sure you think it’s gross.  Don’t knock it ’til ya try it!

Into the blender went:

  • 7 frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Muscle Milk Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup cooked oats
  • Splenda
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • Handful of ice cubes

The oats made it thicker and gave it more of a milkshake consistency, and it definitely kept me feeling full for much longer than my usual smoothies.

Before I left for class, I decided to prep dinner so that Corey could make it while I was on my way home.

My sister has been bugging me for weeks to come up with a healthy version of a cheeseburger.

Pwetty Pweeeease?!

I told her I already did make a healthy burger when I made Asian Turkey Burgers, but I think she wanted something a little more traditional.  Therefore, BBQ Turkey Burgers were born last night!

BBQ Turkey Burgers

with Sweet Potato Fries


Servings: 5

Ingredients:

1.4 lbs ground turkey meat

1/2 onion, chopped

1 egg

2 tablespoons BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons steak seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

Whole Wheat buns or sandwich thins

For the fries:

At least 1 sweet potato per person

salt + garlic powder

Cooking spray

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, add all of the above ingredients, and use your hands to mix it together until well combined.

Use your hand to lightly “score” the meat into 4 sections.  Use the scoring marks as a guide to scoop out the appropriate portions of meat for each burger (I chose to make 5 burgers, meaning I split the last 4th of the meat into 2).  Use your hands to form patties out of the meat:

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill or indoor grill pan, spray with nonstick spray, and cook the burgers over medium heat, until cooked all the way through (no pink).

During the last few minutes of cooking, add a slice of reduced-fat provolone cheese (or any cheese of your choice) on top of each burger.

For the fries:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes (it’s OK to leave some skin on):

Cut into “fry” shapes, and spread out on a baking sheet. Spray with nonstick spray, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, and toss them around to coat evenly.  Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

(I left a Post-It note of instructions, to make it man-friendly for Corey)

I used a whole wheat sandwich thin as the bun, and served our burgers and fries with a side of Steamfresh Lightly Sauced Carrots, Broccoli and Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce.

The burgers were moist and flavorful, but the fries were definitely my favorite part! WHY have I not made these before?!

 

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