Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Garbanzo Bean Dip

I've been wanting to make homemade hummus for a REALLY long time. For some reason I don't like buying it premade but will eat it like it's someone's going to take it away from my when I'm at my parents house. So I had resolved to make it last week and decided to buy the necessary ingredients when I went to the store. Well, one of the key ingredients in hummus is tahini (sesame paste). I went down the ethnic aisle of my grocery store to find a giant 12 oz bottle of tahini.... for $8.99. Well I am a crazy couponer and there is no way I am paying $8.99 for something I need about 2 Tbsp of. So I gave up on hummus for a while.

Then, we were at our local microbrewery with friends and I saw a stack of this local magazine. Inside was a recipe for white bean dip. The original recipe called for Great Northern beans but I thought maybe I could substitute garbanzo beans and make almost a hummus (minus the expensive tahini).

I made this on Father's day and paired it with slice cucumbers, baby carrots and wheat crackers. It was awesome! I had it again today for lunch. Super easy and very full of flavor.

Garbanzo Bean Dip

1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1/2 tsp cumin
sprinkle of paprika

Combine beans, garlic, oil, lemon and cumin in a blender. Blend until smooth. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving:
140 calories
4.4 g fat

21.3 g carbohydrate

4.0 g fiber
4.5 g protein

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hawaiian Baked Chicken

A few nights ago I planned on just having a grab-whatever-you-can-find type of dinner because I had a softball game at 6:15 pm and I wasn't sure if we'd want to eat before or after the game. Basically it was a "good luck" kind of night.

Well when my softball game was canceled because of bad weather, that left us home all evening with no dinner planned. I decided to make chicken but our grill was out of propane so we couldn't grill it. I wanted to bake it but didn't feel like having boring old chicken. I looked in my stock pile to find a few cans of pineapple and some low sodium soy sauce. There must be some kind of "Hawaiian" chicken type recipe out there?!?!

So I found this recipe on allrecipes.com which I LOOSELY based my concoction off of. It turned out really good! The chicken was super tender from the marinade and full of flavor. The husband isn't a big fan of cooked pineapple and is kind of a pineapple snob after eating fresh pineapple on the Road to Hana in Hawaii - but I liked it!

Hawaiian Baked Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup pineapple chunks, reserve juice
1/2 cup juice from pineapple
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place chicken breasts in a shallow pan or 9x13 pan. In a seperate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken breasts and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put dish with chicken in marinade in oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve chicken with pieces of cooked chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicken Taco Bowls

Honestly, I'm not sure I realized we ate Mexican food this much until I started this blog. I think its a mixture of the facts that both my husband and I like spicy food, Mexican can be thrown together pretty quickly and I usually have all the necessary ingredients on hand.

On this day, I was driving home, planning to make chicken tacos for dinner. I was thinking about everything I had already eaten in the day and realized I needed to go easy on the carbs a bit. I didn't have any La Tortilla Factory tortillas on hand so I would need to limit my traditional tortilla intake. I decided to try to make a taco bowl so I could load up on the protein rich filling, but have less tortillas. It turned out great! And I think you'll like it too :)

Chicken Taco Bowls

6 small flour tortillas
nonstick cooking spray
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced into small pieces
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
3 oz. Pepper jack cheese, shredded
Romaine lettuce, shredded
Reduced fat sour cream to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray the inside of 6 souffle ramikens with nonstick spray. Press one tortilla in each ramican. Spray tortilla with nonstick spray. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat olive oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook on all sides until opaque. Add can of diced tomatoes with chilies and taco seasoning. Stir to thoroughly combine and allow to simmer lightly while tortilla bowls cook.

When bowls are finished, they should be lightly browned along the edges. Remove from oven and spoon chicken mixture evenly among taco bowls. Sprinkle chicken with pepper jack cheese. Return to oven for 1 minute to melt cheese.

Remove from oven and top with shredded lettuce and reduced fat sour cream.


Per bowl:
229 calories
8.5 g fat
20.4 g carbohydrate
1.9 g fiber
16.4 g protein

Monday, June 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

Husband: "Those are definitely not making the blog."

Me: "Ehhh, I'll probably still put them in because they are darn tasty, even if they aren't healthy!"

So as I state in the description, not everything on this blog is a healthy option. I made these brownies to take to a friend's house for a cook out and HAD to take the leftovers to work otherwise I would have eaten the entire pan in two days. They were awesome.

I have seen the recipe on two different sites, both The Girl Who Ate Everything and Real Mom Kitchen. In the peanut butter filling, I used 3/4 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter instead of 1/2 cup of each. I figured this decreased the saturated fat a little and increased the heart healthy fat a little (although likely had about the same amount of calories and total fat).

Although I didn't make any of these changes, here are some other ways you could health-up this recipe a bit:
  • Use natural peanut butter instead of the high fat, high sugar, high salt kind.
  • Use the low fat variation on your brownie recipe box
  • Substitute applesauce for oil in the brownie recipe
  • Use a healthier brownie recipe like this black bean brownie recipe instead of boxed brownie mix.
  • Cut your brownies insanely small and share with 60 of your friends so you aren't temped to eat ENTIRE ROWS of the pan!
Good luck!!!

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

Brownie Base
1 box (1 lb 6.5 oz) Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix
water, oil and eggs called for on brownie box

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.

Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Spread in the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 28 to 30 minutes. Cool completely, at least 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread filling evenly over brownie base.

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave topping ingredients uncovered on high 30 to 60 seconds; stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes; spread over filling. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set. Cut into small brownies and store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Pasta Salad

Living in Michigan, I get my fair share of nights to enjoy warm winter casseroles and hearty dishes. We do, however, get to enjoy a few short months of beautiful sunny summer. During those months I try to make our meals as light and fresh. We frequently eat something we like to refer to as "Summer meal" which I will post about in the future. The other go-to meal for us is homemade pasta salad .

Pasta can get a bad rap. Yes it is full of carbohydrates, which in excess can lead to weight gain. BUT there are healthier versions of pasta which can be a great source of whole grains, even omega 3s! I like to use Barilla Plus which is not only whole wheat pasta, but also has added flax for omega 3s. Usually I choose rotini but occasionally get crazy and choose a different shape.

The next part of a healthier pasta salad is to load it up with veggies. BIG chunks of them. I usually put a variety of colors of peppers in plus cucumbers. You can add any vegetable you like - carrots, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, scallions, etc. The more the better! I try to make my salad have a 1 to 1 pasta to veggie ratio.

Lastly, I try to add a protein source to my pasta salad. I prefer to have chunk cheese, cut into cubes but will occasionally add shredded cheese instead if I don't have chunk cheese. We like to grill chicken and add it cubed to the pasta salad as a complete meal. I have also had cubed salami (an unhealtheir option) in the pasta salad.

Lastly, the important part of pasta salad is a good dressing. I have tried a ton of different varieties. My favorite dressing for pasta salad is Kraft's Greek Vinaigrette. Although dressing can add a lot off added fat, it adds a lot of flavor - so a little bit goes a long way. I usually add just enough to coat and serve extra dressing on the side in case anyone (i.e. the husband) wants to dump more dressing on there.

What are your favorite pasta salad ingredients?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Turkey Tacos

Sometimes I don't feel like finding new recipes for meals, instead I just want the old stand-by's. But when trying to eat healthfully, sometimes the old stand-by's don't fit into a healthy eating regimen. That's where substitutions come in to play.

Substituting healthier options for not as healthy originals is a great way to eat healthfully without uprooting your whole family.

Take tacos for example.

Many people would make up a batch of tacos without even thinking about it. But an average ground beef taco with 2 oz of meat, 8" flour tortilla, lettuce, onion, sour cream, salsa and 1/2 oz. cheddar has the following nutrition facts:

439 calories
25.9 g fat
32.7 g carbohydrate
2.7 g fiber
18.4 g protein

But with a few simple changes, you can make this single taco a whole lot healthier. For this taco I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, a 50 calorie La Tortilla Factory tortilla, spinach instead of lettuce, reduced fat sour cream and 2% cheddar. This taco has the following nutrition facts:

212.5 calories
10.3 g fat
15.6 g carbohydrate
8.1 g fiber
21 g protein

That's a difference of 227 calories, 14.6 g fat, 17.1 g carbohydrate, 2.6 g protein and 5.4 g MORE fiber per taco! I'd say that's worth the effort!!

What are some of your quick and easy substitutions that pack a mighty punch???