To squash or not to squash?

Once the summer months are over and the fruits and vegetables that were in season start to become expensive, I try to figure out how to cook healthy food that is going to be less expensive for the winter season. I have such a hard time with this!! I love summer foods so much more. To be honest, I don’t even know what is somewhat locally in season in the winter. Are you with me?

Just a few days ago my sister sent me this acorn squash recipe that I just have to try. I usually just stick to spaghetti squash used instead of pasta when squash is an option and am not a fan of squash that just looks like it came out of a baby food jar. See the recipe below, what do you think? Would you try this? Any other suggestions on winter vegetable recipes are greatly appreciated!!

Acorn squash.png

You will need:

1 acorn squash

1/2 large sweet onion

1 can black beans

1 can rotel

garlic powder

chili powder

parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – cut acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

While squash is baking, chop up 1/2 sweet onion and one bell pepper

Sautee onion and pepper in a drizzle of olive oil until onion is translucent, add one can of black beans (rinsed and drained), one can of rotel, garlic powder and chili powder to taste until all is cooked through.

Once squash is cooked, place mixture inside of the squash halves and top with cheese. bake for another 15 minutes – let cool and enjoy!

makes 2-4 servings

I am going to try this recipe this weekend now that the weather is colder. If you try it, comment below and let me know what you think!

Stay warm fit friends πŸ™‚

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Chicken spinach and mushroom pasta

Now that it is starting to get cooler out I have been wanting to cook things a little more dense than the recent food on the grill, salads, summer veggies etc and creating a pasta came to mind! Although I do not eat pasta often, it turned out delicious and each serving only contains about 1/2 serving of pasta. As I was grocery shopping, I gathered a few things I thought may go well together including red onion, spinach, mushrooms, chicken and angel hair pasta. I may or may not have added too much red pepper flake but other than that it turned out delicious!image1

Cook 2-3 chicken breasts seasoned with garlic peppercorn seasoning. I used my george foreman, you can cook any way you like. Cut up into bite size chunks and set aside

In a large pan heat olive oil and saute 1/2 diced red onion until beginning to be transparent. Add 4-5 cloves roughly chopped garlic and red pepper flakes to your taste (a little goes a long way :)). While that is cooking, in separate pan boil water and cook 2 servings pasta following directions on the box.

Once garlic, olive oil, onion and pepper flakes have cooked a few minutes add one cup chopped mushrooms and approx 1 bag (5oz) chopped spinach and the juice of one lemon cook on low heat until spinach is wilted.

Drain pasta saving a little water to add to saute pan, add pasta water, pasta and chicken to saute pan with all other ingredients. Stir and cook on low a few minutes. Dish into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and salt/pepper to taste!

If you aren’t looking for pasta you can always substitute spaghetti squash, zuchinni noodles or cook dish without noodles and serve over quinoa or rice.

I hope you enjoy!

Not All Salads are Created Equal

Salad

When it comes to salad, it has become one of my favorite lunches of all time. Sounds kind of weird, but there are endless opportunities of things to put in them that one could have a different salad every day and not one would taste the same.

In the past, I used to think that going to a salad bar was healthy in and of itself as opposed to ordering a burger or other entree. Β In reality my choice was iceberg lettuce, a large scoop of bacon bits, croutons and cheese and doused in ranch dressing. There is little nutritional value in that, I was better off ordering a burger I think!!!

It has taken a while but I have learned to choose greens that have antioxidants and vitamins such as: Spinach, arugula or kale. Choose a variety of colors of fruits or vegetables. Get creative! add different nuts, seeds or healthy fats, avocado, a hard-boiled egg etc. So we have chosen ingredients to our salad and now what? Time to choose the dressing. I have started to really enjoy making my own! I can pronounce each and every ingredient, I can choose things that are not full of fake ingredients and my salad remains truly “healthy” and it does not take long at all. Here are a few of my most recent favorite dressing recipes. Try some out and let me know what you think! (I apologize in advance that I do not do well with measurements, it takes some trial and error and you should modify to your taste)


Cilantro Lime:

  • 1c cilantro – chopped
  • 1/2c plain greek yogurt
  • 2T lime juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
  • 3T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 t white wine vinegar
  • 1/8t salt
  • 1/2t cumin (if you like a little kick)

Stir together, lasts in the refrigerator about 4-5 days

I love this dressing with chopped romaine lettuce, corn, cherry tomatoes, black beans, green onion and bell peppers


Raspberry Vinaigrette:

  • In my magic bullet I added –
  • 1/2 handfull of raspberries
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 2T EVOO
  • small drizzle of honey

blend and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week

(I love this with a strawberry, walnut, feta cheese, red onion and spinach salad)


Basil Avocado:

  • 1/2c fresh basil leaves
  • 1 avocado
  • 2T EVOO
  • 1/2t Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/8t ground black pepper
  • 1/2t fresh minced garlic
  • 1T lemon juice
  • add milk to desired consistency (I use plain unsweetened almond milk)

This one is good with any kind of greens and chicken

Mix together and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days


Balsamic Vinaigrette:

This dressing can be tailored in any way to your preference!

It can be as easy as drizzling Balsamic Vinegar and EVOO over your salad with a shake of pepper or you could mix the ingredients together along with some

  • dijon mustard
  • garlic
  • a pinch of salt

This dressing is good on any salad. For a lighter version, use 1/2 water, 1/2 EVOO. I also enjoy using it as a marinade for chicken and veggies that I will cook on the grill or roast in the oven!

Do you have any favorite recipes to add? I would love to hear your suggestions and am always looking to try something new! Happy cooking friends πŸ™‚

-Myrtyce

How cute are these?! (Not to mention simple, healthy & tasty too)

My freezer is full of ripe bananas so naturally I turned to Pinterest to try to find a healthy recipe to use them with! I have the biggest sweet tooth so if I can find some little snack that is good for me while satisfying my sugar craving I’ll take it. And this is the one I found – 5 ingredient mini banana muffins. They turned out delicious on the first try πŸ™‚ It took about 15 minutes from start to finish. My husband even said they were delicious and he is a tough critic!

image

In a blender add:

2 over ripe bananas

2 eggs

1 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

optional: drizzle of honey, toppings like nuts, coconuts (I used 2 dark chocolate chips)

-blend until smooth and pour into greased mini muffin pan

-add toppings as desired

– bake at 400 degrees for 8-9 minutes

enjoy! If you’re like me, enjoy 3 or 4 πŸ‘πŸ»

Greek Salad – 21DFX approved

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So my coworkers ordered gyros last week for lunch and we got on the subject of how much we love Greek food. So I thought, why not create a Greek inspired salad that coincides with the 21 Day Fix Extreme nutrition guide? I made a good sized bowl to have for lunch all week.

For a large batch (6-8 servings)

combine:

1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)

1 chopped bell pepper

1 can artichokes roughly chopped

a handful of quartered cherry tomatoes

2 cucumbers peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 finely chopped red onion

a handful of sliced kalamata olives (not sure if this is allowed on the 21dfx but I couldn’t make leave them out)

after I have dished up an individual serving I add a sprinkle of feta cheese, a drizzle of EVOO, some lemon juice and pepper to taste. I like it served with a grilled chicken breast on a bed of spinach!

Salad: 1&1/2 green, Β 1 orange, 1/2 blue

chicken: 1 red

spinach: 1/2 green

Wrap Season

All of this warm weather is inspiring me to get back in the kitchen and to get creative. I love all of the fresh fruits, veggies and herbs that are in season! Today’s meal inspiration comes from the 21 day fix extreme. I am starting the 21DFX today, meal plan and all and am nervous and excited at the same time. I like wraps because I can get a variety of food groups in one hearty wrap!

My wrap is:

1 whole wheat tortilla (1 yellow)

Grilled chicken (1 red)

spinach, yellow bell pepper, green onion (1.5 green)

super spicy hummus (1/2-1 blue)

(strawberries are one purple)

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You can make a wrap very different with similar ingredients as well! Other ingredients I love are:

quiona, avocado, steak, fish, cucumber, celery, salsa, kale, buffalo sauce, Greek yogurt, fresh herbs. The sky is the limit πŸ™‚ if you have a favorite wrap I would love for you to share your recipe with me!

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard

When I first started paying more attention to what I was eating and trying to eat healthier, I was quickly overwhelmed. I had these preconceived notions that I HAD to shop at whole foods and buy everything organic and overhaul every single thing I ate and on and on. Not only did I get frustrated trying to do something I knew nothing about, I was quickly spending much more money than I ever wanted to and making things way too difficult. Now a year and a half later, I have found my groove and realized that things don’t need to be so complicated! I shop mostly at Aldi and Target, I plan ahead for the week so I only buy things I need without wasting produce that can spoil quickly and I can still make my budget πŸ™‚ One of the best things I started doing was spending an hour or two on Sunday and planning at the very least my breakfasts and lunches for the week and if my husband is home we will plan suppers (the one meal we have a chance to eat together). I don’t mind repetition and when I make a big batch of something I know I will be eating it for 3-5 days for lunch and I am ok with that. As long as I make something different each week, monotony at lunch for a few days is ok. Here is what was on the menu for lunch this week!

spicy honey glazed chicken and brussel sprouts

The back plate is Honey Glazed Spicy chicken (a recipe I found here from Pinterest) which I have made before and really like. To accompany I made a big batch of brown rice and some brussel sprouts. I like to steam them and then cut up toss in a little bit of EVOO, pinch of Himalayan sea salt and some black pepper. I make a layer on a pan and add a little turkey bacon and broil until the edges are crispy. I divvy up into serving size tupperware and I am ready to go for the week! Let me know if you give it a try πŸ™‚

Mexican Quinoa

My sister had sent me this recipe a while ago and I finally got around to trying it (I believe she found at mywifemakes.com) with a few modifications of my own. It is perfect to make a batch and use for weekly meal prep to take as lunch for the week. Tastes just as good reheated!

mexican quinoa

Mexican Quinoa:
1 tsp Olive oil or coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery diced
1/2 chopped small onion
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 1/4c uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/4c vegetable or chicken broth
1 can rinsed and drained black beans
2 diced Roma tomatoes
1c frozen or 1 can drained corn
1T cumin
1T cayenne pepper
cilantro
avocado
greek yogurt
lime juice

Heat oil in large saucepan, saute garlic, celery, onion and jalapenos about 1 minute.
Stir in broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, quinoa, cumin, and cayenne. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Top with cilantro, lime juice, avocado and greek yogurt. Season to taste and enjoy!