Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spicy Shrimp Tropical Salad

Spicy Shrimp Tropical Salad

This salad was really good! It reminds me of shrimp tacos, sans the tortilla.  Try it out!

Mangoes: lowers cholesterol, improves digestion, improves concentration and memory power, fights diabetes, and prevents cancers and heart disease.

Pineapple: acts an anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits, antioxidant protection & immune system support, provides protection against macular degeneration.

Shrimp: provides protection against heart arrhythmia, prevents/controls high blood pressure, contains cancer fighting selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, provides protection against alzheimers's and age related cognitive decline.

Cilantro: controls blood sugar, high content of flavonoids.

spice rub: 1 tsp of each garlic powder and chili powder; 1/2 tsp each cumin and cayenne pepper.

12 large shrimp, thawed and pealed.
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced.
1/8 cup jarred jalapenos, chopped
1 tsp honey
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/3 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/3 cup fresh mango, peeled, cored & chopped
handful of cilantro leaves, washed & chopped
2 generous handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped.

1. Mix ingredients for rub together. Set aside.

2. Heat up oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until almost pink.  Pour desired amount of seasoning over shrimp. Stir, and lower heat.

3. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Toss with lime juice and honey. 

4. Arrange shrimp on top and serve.

Serves 1.

Other Information:
WW: 5pt+

Pineapple Health Benefits
Shrimp Health Benefits
Cilantro Health Benefits
Inspired/based on Health-Bent Fish "Taco-Less" Salad

Monday, March 26, 2012

Warm BLT Salad w/ Chicken

Warm BLT Salad w. Chicken

Did you know that March 26th is National Spinach Day??? I was pretty excited to find this out, as I consider myself quite the "spinachaholic."  I eat it every single day!

Fun fact: spinach originated in ancient Persia, but by 827, made its way to Italy. Europeans didn't eat it until the 1300s. They sure took long enough to come to the party!!!

Eat some today. Make Popeye proud.

2 slices turkey bacon
1 1/2 T vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but you could use red/white wine vinegar)
1 1/2 T mustard (I mixed sweet/hot mustard & spicy brown)
2 tsp honey
10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 generous handfuls of baby spinach
1 1/2 T walnuts
2 tsp gorgonzola (or other cheese you prefer)
3 oz grilled chicken ( I used Tyson Grilled & Ready grilled chicken)
2 T dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Lay bacon on sheet and cook until desired crispness (6-10 minutes). Set aside and break into pieces.

2. Add vinegar and mustard to a medium skillet. Whisk to combine. Add honey and tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes, until slightly thickened and tomatoes are soft.

3. Place spinach in a bowl. Pour hot dressing and tomatoes over baby spinach, tossing quickly to coat and slightly wilt.

4. Top with chicken, walnuts, gorgonzola, dried cranberries, and reserved bacon.  Serve immediately.

Serves 1. Enjoy!

Other Information
WW 9pt+

Pop Eye image
National Spinach Day
Recipe based on BLT Spinach Salad (March 2012 issue of Redbook, Vol. 218, No. 3; p. 146.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quinoa Veggie Bean Burgers w. Goat Cheese

Quinoa Veggie Bean Burgers w. Goat Cheese

These were delicious! I must admit, I was a little nervous to try my hand at veggie burgers.  However, I knew the frozen ones couldn't be all that good for me. These are simple, easy, and full of nutritious & delicious veggies. Try em' out! You'll kick that frozen burger to the curb in no time.

My recipe uses pinto beans--mainly because that's what I had in my kitchen! Feel free to sub in black beans, if that's what you like! However, pinto beans are a micronutrient powerhouse. Beans are rich in folate (helps to form red blood cells), iron, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese & selenium. These nutrients are important, as they help maintain proper function of the immunue, cardiovascular, skeletal & nervous systems; regulating blood pressure; aiding in energy metabolism; and activating enzymes throughout the body.  Pinto beans (like most beans) are also a good source of protein and fiber.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and reduces risk of stroke. One serving of mushrooms also provides a substantial amount of copper, a mineral that has cardiovascular protective qualities.  Additionally, mushrooms are a good source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium.

Alright, let's start cookin', and more importantly, eating!

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tsp sesame oil
1 T of white truffle oil (or olive oil)
1/2 cup of corn
15 oz pinto beans (dried & cooked OR if using canned, be sure to drain and rinse them!)
1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs (and more as needed)
6 baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
1 onion
generous handful of baby spinach, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne (omit or add more according to your tastes)
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
6 oz goat cheese (I used Silver Goat )
Light wheat hamburger buns or sandwich thins (used Kroger brand)
additional burger fixins

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil & lightly grease with cooking spray.

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Pour beans into a large bowl (and yes, I do own other bowls. I just like pink!). Take a fork and smash the beans to break them down as much as possible. If you want to dirty up another dish, you can use a food processor!

Chop up all veggies (or use a food processor). Add while truffle oil and soy sauce into a skillet. Saute veggies until cooked, but not mushy.  Add to bowl with beans and mix.

Add garlic and all spices. Fold in quinoa and the panko. Drizzle in the sesame oil.  Mix. If mixture is a little too wet, add in a little more panko.

Form into 6 patties.  Bake for 20 minutes. Give additional time if needed. 

Place on buns/sandwich thins. Top with goat cheese and you favorite toppings. This is really good w/ spicy brown mustard :)


Serves 6.  If you aren't feeding 6 people, just stick em' in the freezer!

Other information
WW 10pt+ (includes cheese & bun)
without bun WW 8pt+
without cheese, with bun WW 8 pt+
with cheese, without bun WW 8 pt+
without bun or cheese, WW 6 pt+

All photos are mine, so don't be a thief.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Crunch Stuffed French Toast

PB Crunch Stuffed French Toast

This is my love letter to Elvis.  Yes, I talk a big game about my love for The Boss (Bruce Springsteen), but I will forever be devoted to Elvis.  I have so many things with this dude's face on size cut-outs, posters, beach towels, watches, clocks...and of course, the music! I'm pretty sure it was my love for Elvis that made me want a guitar.

Anyway, this is my healthier take on the King's favorite sandwich--peanut butter, banana, and bacon.  I've left out the bacon, but you can certaintly have it on the side :)

Peanut butter...people eat it up! According to, Americans consume enough PB each year to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon! Peanut butter is a good source of protein (7 grams per 2 tablespoons), healthy fats, potassium, and fiber.

Now, a little less conversation--a little more cookin'!

1 tablespoon reduced-fat peanut butter (I used Peter Pan whipped creamy)
1 sandwich thin, or 2 slices light bread ( I used KROGER whole wheat sandwich slims)
1/4 cup corn flakes, crushed
2 tsp honey
1 egg white
1 tablespoon milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with canola cooking spray (i.e., PAM)

Spread sandwich thin/bread with peanut butter.  Slice 1/2 of the banana and layer on top.  Place other side of bread/sandwich thin on top.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg, milk, and vanila together. Soak each side in egg mixture for a few minutes.

In another bowl, crush the corn flakes.  Dredge each side of the "stuffed french toaste" in corn flakes, making sure each side is equally covered.

Place on baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and warm.

Slice remaining 1/2 banana. Arrange over french toast.  Drizzle honey over the top. Serve immediately.


Other Information
WW 6pt+

note: if you use Arnold's or another brand of sandwich thin, you will have to add 1 pt+! Kroger is lower in points compared to the main name brands.

Peanut Butter Facts
Recipe adapted from Delish Peanut Butter Crunch French Toast

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

This recipe is delicious! It is based off of Skinny Taste's Butternut Squash Risotto.  I made some changes based on my personal tastes. I used this as a side dish, but you can easily have it as a main course!

Butternut squash is a nutritional powerhouse! Did you know that just 1 cup of butternut squash provides 457% of the recommended dietary alloance for vitamin A? Vitamin A is important for vision health, cell function, bone growth, and healthy cell reproduction/function. Butternut squash is also super low in calories. Here's a breakdown: 82 calories per 1 cup, and NO FAT.

Enjoy this healthy alternative! Happy eating, friends!

1 cup arborio rice
1 butternut squash, baked & pureed
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped fine
7 sage leaves, torn/sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 T light butter
3 cups sodium free chicken broth (made mine with water + powdered sf chix broth)
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
freshly ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 425. Wash and slice butternut squash in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 50 minutes, or until tender.  Scrap flesh out and puree. I have found the squash blends easier with a little of the chicken broth added.

2. In a medium sauce pan, warm chicken broth and squash puree.  Set aside.

3. In a skillet, melt butter. Add onion and saute.  Pour in risotto and cook until golden and coated with butter.

4. Add in a ladle of the squash stock to the risotto, and stir until it is absorbed. Add salt & pepper to taste.  Continue to add squash stock one ladleful at a time. You will need to stir consistently. Stirring will make the risotto creamy and scrumptious!

5. Continue this process until all of the stock has been used. This will take about 30 minutes total.  Add in sage.

6. Once all liquid is absorbed, and the risotto is creamy, add in the parmesan cheese.

7. Remove from heat. Serve & eat!

Serves 6 (as a side dish)

Other information
WW 5pt+

Base recipe Skinny Taste's Butternut Squash Risotto
butternut squash health benefits

Monday, March 19, 2012

Medeterranean Veggie Penne w/ Herbed Goat Cheese

Medeterranean Veggie Penne with Herbed Goat Cheese

Recently I received a request to do something with goat cheese. Thus, I decided to try my hand at something that was not only ridiculously tasty (and healthy), but also FAST.  This meal can be made in under 30 minutes!

Lately I've veered away from my nutritional talks. Not today, because you're about to get one! School is in session. Don't worry, there's not a quiz at the end! Let's talk about the health benefits of goat cheese.

Goat cheese is:
1) low in calories
2) low in sodium
3) good for those who are lactose intolerant
4) low in fat and cholesterol
5) full of vitamins D, K, B riboflavin, phosphorous, thiamine, and niacin
6) contains protein.

Alright, that's enough tomfoolery for one post. Let's get cookin'!
1/2 cup whole wheat penne pasta
1 small red bell pepper (or a bunch of small sweet peppers), seeded & cut into bite-size chunks
1 small zucchini, cut into bit size slices
1/4 cup of canned artichoke hearts, chopped
12 cherry/grape tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
1 oz herbed goat cheese (I used Silver Goat brand)
2 tsp italian seasoning

for the dressing:
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic
1 tsp torn fresh basil

1. Put a pot of water on to boil and preheat the broiler to high. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

2.  Cut up all veggies. Arrange the bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Drizzle with olive oil and italian seasoning. Toss with hands. You can use a spoon, but it's not as fun.  Season with salt & pepper, to taste.

3.  Broil for 5-10 minutes, stir/turn pieces over, and continue to broil for another 5-10 minutes* (time will depend on how tender and much color you like on your veggies)

4. When penne is cooked, drain well.  In a mixing bowl beat together the dressing ingredients.  Stir in pasta.

5. Add veggies to mixing bowl with pasta and dressing.

6. Crumble in goat cheese, and gently mix.

7. Garnish with basil and serve.

Need meat?? This dish is fantastic with a sliced grilled chicken breast, or some variety of sausage!
Other tasty veggies to try: olives, asparagus, squash, mushrooms

Makes 1 large serving! Feeding a crowd? Just double, triple, etc the portion :)

Other Information
WW 7pt+

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Goat Cheese?
Recipe inspired from Eat Smart, Lose Weight (Parragon Publishing Book, 2005), pg. 74.
Photos are mine, so don't be a thief.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

BLT Breakfast Bowl

BLT Breakfast Bowl 
This isn't your average BLT, folks. B for the bacon, L for LAUGHING COW CHEESE, and T for tomato! Lettuce wasn't invited to this party. So sad....not.  Lately I've been on a grits kick. So naturally, I've been scheming of delicious ways to have this southern delight for breakfast. Here's what I came up with:

1 packet instant grits (I used Quaker butter flavor)
water (according to instructions on grits)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
2 slices turkey bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese (I used french onion)
1 1/2 T low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
black pepper

1. Prepare bacon (via pan, microwave, oven, etc). Cool, crumble, set aside.

2. Prepare grits according to packet instructions.  Pour into serving bowl.

3. Slice laughing cow wedge and stir into grits. Top with cheddar cheese.  Zap in microwave for 10-20 seconds.

4. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes.  Retrieve grits from microwave and top with bacon, tomatoes, and pepper.

Serves 1

Other Info
WW 5 pt+

Inspired by Savoring the Thyme's BLT Polenta Bowl

Friday, March 16, 2012

Laura's "Knock Your Socks Off" Veggie Pizza

Laura's Veggie Pizza
Everyone likes pizza! The great thing about this pizza is that you can use just about any combination of veggies that you like, or have on hand. Some other really tasty additions include mushrooms and artichokes! You could even add some turkey pepperoni or chicken sausage. Whatever you do, this base recipe will get you rave reviews, and your family/friends will call you a kitchen rockstar!

Pillsbury thin crust (the kind in the tube)
3/4 cup pasta sauce (I used Prego Veggie Smart)
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
1 red onion, sliced thin
2 cups baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small eggplant, peeled & cubed.
2 T olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 glove garlic
2 tsp italian seasoning
3 oz reduced fat feta cheese
salt + pepper, as desired.

1. Preheat oven according to pizza crust package instructions.

2. Spray a baking sheet with canola cooking spray, and spread dough over baking sheet.  Spread pasta sauce over dough. Cover with mozzarella cheese.

3. Meanwhile, over medium heat, add oil into a large skillet.  Once skillet is warm, add onion and bell pepper. Cook for a few minutes (3-4). Add in eggplant. Continue to cook until veggies get soft (about 5-6 more minutes).  Add in italian seasoning, 1/2 of the rosemary, garlic, salt & pepper. 

4. Add baby spinach into the skillet and wilt slightly.

5. Spread veggies over pizza crust evenly.

6. Top with feta cheese, and sprinkle with remaining rosemary.

7.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges of crust are golden brown.  Remove from oven and cut into 6 squares.

Serves 6.

Other information
8pt+ per square