Thursday, February 28, 2013

Salmon with a Creamy Dill Sauce


Salmon is one of the healthiest foods in existence. It is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy heart and brain. However, many people find salmon to be a difficult meat to add to their diet. It can taste a little too fishy for those with sensitive palates, and if ill-prepared, it is taste dry and unflavorful.  This recipe combats both of these issues. The Creamy Dill Sauce overcomes any fishy taste that might be associated with the salmon, and the pan-seared cooking method is from America's Test Kitchen, the scientists of the cooking world.  In other words, it is a tried and true cooking method that has proven to be the best way to cook salmon.  Other benefits of this dish?  Well, for starters, it's delicious. It is also easy and quick to make (under 15 minutes), and the nutritional profile is a dieter's dream. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two Ingredient Cookies


I have been seeing recipes for Two Ingredient Cookies all over the blogosphere lately.  Due to their inclusion of bananas (my most despised food), I have tried my best to ignore them, but eventually my curiosity got the better of me.  Well, my curiosity and my desire to find recipes that are healthy and tasty snacks for my husband and toddler.  It took barely any time to whip these cookies up, something as a time-pressed mom, I'm always grateful for.  

Although the cookies only call for two ingredients, there is room for add-ins, especially if you want a more flavorful cookie.  I decided to throw in a handful of mini chocolate chips and raisins, and tossed in a 1/4 cup of flaxseed to make it even healthier.  While I obviously didn't care for them (bananas, blech!), my husband thought they were pretty great for a healthy, quick cookie recipe.  My picky toddler apparently isn't ready for these cookies yet (she's very funny about textures), but I imagine she'll enjoy these a lot when she's a bit older. It was soft enough, though, for my toddler with only 8 teeth to chew and swallow without concern.  So my verdict? It's a great snack for both toddlers and health-conscious adults.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mexican Tofu Wrap with Black Beans & Spinach


This year I have striven to eat at least fifty percent vegetarian.  Breakfast and dinner have been a breeze, but lunch has proven more difficult.  I have a feisty toddler for a boss who only allows very short lunch breaks. I had been eating Applegate Farm's hot dogs for lunch, because they only take a few minutes to cook and eat, working with my tight schedule. I had a lot of trouble finding a comparable vegetarian substitute; either it was low in calories but took too long to prepare (i.e. decent salads), or it was quick to make but high in calories. Or it was too expensive, or plain and tasteless. So many issues! So I decided to create my own vegetarian lunch: Mexican Tofu Wraps! I sauteed up some tofu and black beans, spiced it up with some seasonings, and put it in a low carb wrap with cream cheese, salsa, and spinach leaves.  It took less than ten minutes to make the bean-tofu mixture, and it made enough for the whole week.  So that means I only have to spend ten minutes (tops!) cooking the tofu-bean mixture on Sunday, and then I only need 2 minutes to prepare a Mexican Tofu Wraps on subsequent days of the week.  So now when her Royal Toddlerness allows me my short lunch break, I can get my lunch prepared swiftly.  But more importantly?  It's delicious!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Em's Kitchen

Driving down Hawthorne Avenue, you'll see a small blue  sign for Em's Kitchen on the side of road. Sharing a building with Hawthorne Drugs, you may have written it off as one of those frozen burger type of soda fountains that pharmacies often have on their premises for their hungry customers.  Yet you won't find a counter of greasy burgers at Em's Kitchen.  Instead you'll find made-from-scratch pimento cheese sandwiches, pound cake like your grandma used to make, and, starting a few weeks ago, one of the most best brunches in Athens.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Slow Cooker Garam Masala Chicken


Most slow cooker recipes are basically the same old boring chicken or beef recipe, so I'm always on the lookout for more original and creative slow cooker recipes.  I recently found a recipe for Crock Pot Garam Masala on a blog called Peanut Butter Fingers, and I was intrigued by the seasoning it utilized. I had never cooked with Garam Masala before, so I didn't know quite what to expect. Turns out that Garam Masala is an intense mixture of Indian spices; an aromatic blend that really jazzed up the normally bland ingredients of chicken and cauliflower. The dish was easy to make, delicious, and healthy. I felt like it needed a little heat, so I stirred in a generous amount of Sriracha Sauce, and it was just perfect.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Healthy Tuna Casserole


When I was growing up, one of my favorite dinners was tuna casserole.  It's odd that most kids adore this dish, considering canned tuna can be a tricky meat to love at any age.  Yet somehow tuna casserole is a common comfort dish for many families.  I hadn't made a tuna casserole since I was in college, when I made it from a Tuna Helper box.  When I saw Skinnytaste's recipe for Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole, I decided to give it a whirl, in hopes that I would find another fish recipe to add to our meal rotation.  I changed the cooking method and ingredients around just a little, but followed the recipe pretty faithfully (for me). It turned out pretty darn great; so great that I ate way more than one serving size.  You may want to pair this with a side salad to prevent yourself from doing the same!  


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Skinny Green Monster


I've been wanting to try the ubiquitous Green Monster smoothie for some time now.  Not only are they suppose to be delicious, they are packed with vitamins and minerals, and reportedly give you a great boost of energy.  However, two hurdles had prevented me from trying the Green Monster: one, they are always made with bananas (which I despise), and two, they are usually a little high in calories for just a snack.  I was once again motivated by  my non-vegetable eating toddler to try my hand at a hidden vegetable recipe.  I threw together some fruit and spinach I had sitting around, blended it up, and was shocked at how good it was. The best part? Me, my husband, and my toddler were all fighting over who got to drink it all.  I never thought I'd see the day where my 16 month old would snatch a drink made with spinach out of my hand.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Asian Lettuce Wraps


I stumbled upon a recipe for Asian Lettuce Wraps last week and realized that I have never tried lettuce wraps before! This particular recipe, from Iowa Girl Eats, is meant to be a lighter version of P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps.  Since I have never eaten them, I can't say whether they were similar to them or not. I can, however, say that they were absolutely delicious.  I changed the original recipe around a bit, and I used PB2 instead of regular peanut butter to save on calories.  I served the Asian Lettuce Wraps with a side of Spicy Sweet Potato Fries, and it ended up being one of the best meals I've had in a while. Bonus? It took under 30 minutes to make.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chocolate Avocado Pudding


I've seen a ton of recipes recently where an avocado is used to make a dessert item, especially pudding. What ended up motivating me to give it a try was my picky toddler. I have the hardest time getting her to eat any sort of vegetable and fruit at all.  It's gotten to a point where she'll only eat healthy food if I can disguise it as an unhealthy food (not unlike many adults).  A chocolate avocado pudding seemed like a perfect way to sneak in some good nutrition into her diet.  It worked like a charm: my toddler thought she was getting a special dessert, and I found a healthy recipe that takes five minutes to make.  You might be wondering how an adult might like Chocolate Avocado Pudding?  Honestly, I can faintly taste the avocado in this dish, which some might find off-putting.  However, I love avocados, so it didn't bother me at all.  My husband really enjoyed the pudding too. I think it would make a fantastic breakfast, snack, and/or dessert.  If you want to mask the avocado taste more, check out the notes at the bottom of the page for some tips on how to do that.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo


When I was in college, my favorite "fancy" meal was Alfredo Pasta. It was my ultimate splurge, both in price and calories.  As I've grown older and wiser, I've learned to appreciate healthier pasta toppings, but every now and then I get a hankering for my old love.  When I saw Food Doodle's Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo, I was stoked to try it out.  It was easy to make, and was very tasty. The hardest part of the recipe is preparing the spaghetti squash. I baked mine this time, but next time I'm going to try the microwave method. I think it might be a less scary option.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pasta with Creamy Butternut Sauce


Ever since I discovered the deliciousness of  Gnocchi with Swiss Chard & White Beans, I have been looking for other healthy pasta dishes I can serve my family.  When I saw a picture of Skinnytaste's Pasta with Butternut Sauce, I knew I had to give it a try. I altered a few ingredients to fit my own tastes (as usual), and it turned out superb! The sauce tastes rich and decadent, but it is oh-so-healthy. It's also a really easy dish to make vegetarian, which has become important to me. I find myself craving more and more vegetarian dishes lately, but my husband...not so much.  This dish is great because it can be made both vegetarian and meat-filled.  I simply cook the sausage separately and add it to just my husband's plate, and I get to enjoy my pasta meat-free. Win-Win!