Healthy Lunch Idea #10: Basil Spaghetti

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IMG_2528Planting your own herbs is extremely worth it because the most work you do is plant them, then let nature do the rest of the work. Because I live in the South, the weather is optimal as it rains often and there is plenty of sun. As basil is my favorite herb, I scattered plenty of seeds in my backyard and within a week or two, I was harvesting basil leaves and utilizing them in anyway possible. Today’s recipe is a simple spaghetti recipe with basil and parmesan cheese. Few ingredients, but plenty of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/3 c. tomato sauce
  • plenty of chopped basil, about 3 tbsp.
  • shaved pieces of parmesan cheese
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. garnish the top with parmesan shaves, using a fruit peeler to shave thick strips of parmesan cheese.

Healthy Lunch Idea #9: Bomb Bagel Sandwich

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IMG_2780This ultimate bagel sandwich is bursting with flavor and color as an array of vegetables are piled on top of each other. I added a few Zapp’s Voodoo chips (which are my favorite chips) for added flavor, but of course take away the chips and the sandwich itself is just as satisfying.

Ingredients:

  • any bagel, I used everything bagel, full of nutritious poppy, sesame, fennel seeds, and much more
  • 5 slices of lean turkey deli meat
  • 1/2 medium avocado, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 small tomato, sliced
  • 8 thin slices of cucumber
  • 3 lettuce leaves, I used iceberg
  • shmear of mayonnaise
  1. Essentially layer all ingredients on top, but I start with mayonnaise on both sides of the bagel so it can hold on to the ingredients better.
  2. lay the cucumbers around the rim of the bagel
  3. then layer other ingredients in any order.
  4. Enjoy with a fruit smoothie on the side!!

 

Healthy Salmon Spring Roll

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img_2343.jpgI recently tried a fusion spring roll called Chicken Mango roll at a Vietnamese restaurant which had rice vermicelli, panko-crusted chicken, carrots, and lettuce served with a creamy mango sauce. The dish was $10, which is a bit pricey for a spring roll, but it was absolutely delicious and the sauce just really made the entire dish! I believe that the sauce is a combination of mango, mayonnaise, butter and mustard.. something like that, but I searched online for “Spring roll mango dipping sauce” and nothing alike the restaurant’s comes up. Personally, I think that a spring roll isn’t a spring roll without the sauce, so I decided to make my own spring roll at home… and disclaimer: Not Authentic at all, but 100% DELICIOUS. I began to make the spring roll, realizing that I lacked so many of the ingredients that I needed, but I made use of what I had and the outcome is absolutely the bomb!!!

Ingredients:

  • 4 rice papers
  • 1/3 c. roughly chopped salmon (I used store bought brown sugar salmon from Costco)
  • 1/2 sprig spring onion
  • 1 c. roughly chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 c. mayo
  • 1 tbsp. barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp. asian hot mustard sauce
  1. soak the rice papers in water for about 4 seconds
  2. place some lettuce on the bottom, then add spring onion, avocado, and salmon
  3. Roll the paper by folding the right and left in, and roll it up like a burrito.
  4. Combine mayo, barbecue sauce, and mustard sauce

I came up with this sauce which pairs so well with the spring roll because the smokiness of the barbecue sauce and salmon pairs really well together. Ingredients that I wished i had were rice vermicelli noodles and carrots, but skipping out on the rice vermicelli makes the dish a lighter fare.

Healthy Lunch Idea #7: Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

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img_2045.jpgNutritional experts say to avoid the word “creamy” because of the high fat content that most creamy foods contain. However, today’s Creamy Mashed Potato is an all natural creamy consistency from cauliflower itself, and this mashed potato substitution is the greatest food swap ever!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tsp salt (add more if necessary)
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic (if you would like the garlic flavor)
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • splash of vegetable or beef broth
  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets and boil in hot water for about 7 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the remaining heat steam the cauliflower,
  2. Drain cauliflower and let it set for 5 minutes before putting it in the food processor.
  3. Process all ingredients until a mashed potato consistency.

Do you ever want to eat mashed potatoes again?

Basic Donut Holes Recipe

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IMG_1925This is a basic drop donut recipe that turns out to taste exactly like donut holes. I coated mine with cinnamon sugar but powdered sugar or some type of glaze certainly works as well! The recipe is from food.com and i just want to spread it around because it is absolutely, 100% delicious!

  • 2 c. sifted flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 3 tbs oil
  • oil for frying
  1. Combine all wet ingredients.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Mix together with a spatula and using two spoons, make a small ball, about a teaspoon (once in the fryer it will puff up) and drop into the fryer.
  4. Place on paper towel or brown paper bag to drain and roll in desired coating.

This recipe is so simple and quick to make! Go put down whatever you are doing and make these donut holes!

Skinnier Blueberry Yogurt Cake

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img_1376.jpgI have made this decadent blueberry cake twice, and every time the entire cake disappears within 2 days. I eat a couple of slices and then friends and family members devour it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Cutting the fat content as compared to a regular cake by 1/2 makes this cake more guilt-free, and also it has blueberries in it… so that makes it more healthy? mmm yeah, that’s my mentality.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick margarine (softened)
  • 1/2 c. vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. blueberries
  1. sift the flour and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg.
  2. In another bowl, combine all dry ingredients and pour into the butter sugar mixture.
  3. Place the mixture into a round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place blueberries on the top, pushing them halfway down so the top of the blueberries are visible.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes (more or less depending on the oven).
  5. I then finished off the cake with sifted powder sugar.

So, this cake can be quite pricey at grocery stores, but you can make it at home with that secret greek yogurt ingredient! Make this cake and wow your guests and family members!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

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photo 2 (1)YESSSS Anything lemon related just makes my mouth water and my tummy rumble. I’ve made lemon bars, lemon curd, lemon cake which all made me super happy. But today’s recipe is Lemon Crinkle Cookies! They’re certainly a good Christmas time cookie, but I experimented with them and could not wait to share this recipe! The unique aspect of a crinkle cookie is the cracked texture of the shell. The powdered sugar on top cracks open, revealing the true color of the cookie. I have to say, a lemon crinkle cookies does not look as good as a chocolate crinkle cookies because the light beige/yellow color of the cookie is too similar to the white powdered sugar as compared to a dark chocolate crinkle cookies where the black and white contrasts obviously. Nonetheless, the crinkle effect on the lemon cookie is still visible and absolutely delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 c all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
Place cookies onto baking sheet

Place cookies onto baking sheet

  1. In a bowl, whisk granulated sugar and butter until creamy. Add egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice and whisk.
  2. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients and then pour into wet mixture in 3 batches, slowly using a spatula to combine the mixture.
  3. Once all combined, place powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Using a spoon or mini ice cream scoop, scoop up balls and place into the powdered sugar coating every side. Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven a 350 degrees for 9 minutes.
  4. Remove cookies with spatula and cool.

Enjoy!!

Deliciously Delicious: Moussaka (Greek Casserole)

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photo 1photo 2

I first found out about Moussaka when I went to Yia Yia Mary’s. As disappointed as I was because they served me an average sized serving of the moussaka and I really should’ve ordered two because it was so scrumptious, I was so glad I was introduced to the dish and now am able to recreate it at home! The filling for moussaka is very simple to make, but what makes moussaka a moussaka dish is the creamy cheese filling on top. The first time I made the moussaka, my filling was a bit hard and flour-y tasting so I tweaked the recipe a bit to result in a delectable smooth, creamy filing. The cream is so good and obviously not very healthy which is why I have only made Moussaka twice within a span of ten months.

Ingredient:

  • 1 large American eggplant
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground meat (I used 93% lean turkey)
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 12 oz. tomato pasta sauce
  •  2 yellow onions (diced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. dried herbs- I used a mixture of parsley,, sage, and oregan

For the CHEESE SAUCE:

  • 1 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. of white cheese: mozzarella, parmesan (I used swiss cheese)
  • 3 tbsp. margarine
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  1. in a bowl toss olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper, and sliced eggplant all together
  2. line eggplant on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, flipping them halfway through. do not stack them. You may have to do this step twice or three times if your baking sheet is not very big
  3. Heat a little oil in a skillet and add ground turkey until completely cooked. Pour into a bowl and using the drippings from the turkey, cook the onions until brown and add the turkey back in. Add the tomato sauce, garlic, and herbs and cook until all well combined.
  4. In a casserole dish, layer the bottom with eggplant slices, add the meat mixture on top, and repeat the layering process two more times until there are 3 layers of eggplant and sauce.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat the margarine until melted and add flour, constantly whisking so the mixture doesn’t burn. Add the cup of milk and stir for two minutes. Slowly pour in the egg mixture so the eggs don’t scramble. Whisk for another minute and then add the cheese. Whisk the mixture until it becomes completely smooth.
  6. Pour the cheese mixture onto the entire casserole mixture and bake in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Whew! That’s is pretty tedious but the result is amazing and it is a great fall dish to  serve to guests. Enjoy!

Healthy Lunch Idea #6: Chickpea Cakes

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photo (5)Similar to a crab cake but made with chickpeas, this savory treat will excite your taste buds! The base of this recipe was a no tahini hummus recipe, but as I was making the hummus, I changed my mind and decided to transform the pulsed chickpeas into a cake and it is absolutely divine!

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to flavor
  • 1-2 thick slices of deli ham (diced)
  • 2 slices of cheese or 1/2 c. shredded cheese (i used swiss)
  • 1/2 panko breadcrumbs
  1. add chickpeas, olive oil, cumin, garlic, water into the food processor and pulse until somewhat creamy but with slight coarse pieces
  2. combine mixture with panko, ham, and cheese
  3. form into 8 cakes and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees
  4. serve with any dipping sauce; I used an avocado greek yogurt dip: 1 tbsp greek yogurt + 3tbsp avocado

Enjoy this scrumptious recipe! Of course if you would like it to be vegetarian, you can absolutely take out the ham.

Easy Cornbread Recipe

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I used to think cornbread was dry and tasteless, and I often wondered why people even enjoyed it, But as I grew older, I gradually began to like cornbread and yesterday I was actually craving it. And so I wet to the grocery store and bought a 2-lb bag of cornmeal for $1.04; everything else I has at home because cornbread truly is a quick and cheap staple to make..

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. yellow corn meal
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 3/4 c. frozen corn kernels
  1. combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl
  2. in a large bowl, beat egg and add olive oil
  3. pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula. Do not overmix. Overmixing will yield a tough cornbread
  4. stir in the corn kernels
  5. In a square pan, or whatever sized pan, spray with nonstick spray and heat in oven at 450 degrees F  for 2 minutes. Take the pan out and pour batter in. Let the cornbread bake for 20 minutes, or more if necessary.

The one thing I love about this recipe is that it has actual corn kernels in it. Many times I eat cornbread without the kernels and although it is absolutely delicious as well, I love getting the munch from the kernels, and in fact, it is cornmeal we are dealing with so I feel the addition of corn kernels takes it up a notch.  When the cornbread comes fresh out of the oven, I like to smear a little butter or drizzle with honey. Fresh out of the oven is the best time to eat it!