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Fresh herbs can turn a so-so dish into a wow dish!
Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Fresh Herb Polenta with Mushrooms

Dear Diary,

Today I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I am writing to you from my new favorite spot in our little atrium herb and vegetable garden. When we moved in, the atrium was a dry dirt plot filled with overgrown plants. It was not an inviting place and had not been given any love for a long time. I knew it had so much potential and pictured fresh herbs, tomato and bell pepper plants, and beautiful flowers thriving. Now, with some sweat equity, help from my super handy Dad, and Pinterest, I am enjoying watching it grow.

One of my boys has been keeping a very close eye on the daily changes with our heirloom and yellow pear tomatoes as well as our orange and red bell peppers. We have picked leaves off of every fresh herb to smell them and he can now identify basil, mint, oregano, lemon thyme, and cilantro. I think it’s so important for children to learn about how food grows and to be able to prepare their own meals.

Herbs don’t just look and smell good. They also have a wealth of health benefits including protective polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. With all these wonderful fresh herbs available, I decided to make a fresh herb polenta dish using other vegetables I had in the fridge. The herbs paired perfectly with polenta (also known as corn grits), goat cheese, zucchini and mushrooms. This recipe is versatile and a combination of fresh and dried herbs could easily be used depending on what is available. Bon Appetit!

Fresh Herb Polenta with Mushrooms

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces Goat Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme, garlic chives, and basil
  • 2-3 cups Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 small zucchini, cut slightly larger than mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet marsala wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions: Cook polenta according the package directions for making “cereal.” Bring water to a boil, add polenta and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove polenta from heat, cover, and let stand for a couple of minutes. Stir in butter, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh herbs. Cover polenta to keep warm while prepping the vegetables. In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and zucchini. Saute for 5-6 minutes and add wine and black pepper. Continue to saute until vegetables are tender. Serve vegetable mixture over the polenta and top with more fresh herbs, goat cheese salt and pepper if desired.

www.diaryofadietitian.net
Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Black Bean Spaghetti Squash Bowls

Dear Diary,

What could be better than a healthy meal served in it’s own straight-from-the-earth bowl? Um, nothing that’s what! This dish is an easy, vegetarian, low carb go-to meal that packs lots of fiber and flavor to keep me satisfied. It’s also one of those meals that tastes even better the next day for lunch after all of the ingredients have had a chance to sit around in the fridge and get to know one another.

Spaghetti Squash is my favorite when it comes to the squash family. It’s low in calories, versatile, delicious, and easy to make. Whether I use it as a pasta replacement, a side dish or a main dish, this squash never disappoints. There are several ways to cook it but I prefer to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, rub it with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake it. This method gives the squash a little bit of that roasted, slightly charred flavor that I love.

Squash can be a bit intimidating with all the varieties, shapes, colors, and an outer shell that hides it’s goodies inside. It all seems too mysterious to take a chance. Spaghetti squash is a good “beginner” squash that has a mild enough flavor to take on whatever spice or sauce it’s cooked with. Never fear, a great spaghetti squash recipe is here!

Black Bean Spaghetti Squash Bowls

YIELD: 4 large servings (each served in half of a spaghetti squash shell)

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium spaghetti squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, minced (leave seeds in for added heat)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

1 medium avocado

2-3 green onions, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice each squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds with a large spoon, and place cut side down on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Scrape out the spaghetti squash from the shell with a fork, creating the “spaghetti.” Set aside the squash in it’s shell for later use.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add red onion, garlic, jalapeno and red bell pepper. Sauté 2-3 minutes. Stir in cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sauté 1 more minute. Stir in beans, corn, lime juice and half the cilantro until well combined. Add the “spaghetti” from each squash to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Taste and season as desired.

Set oven to broil. Stuff each squash half shell with the squash/vegetable mixture from the skillet and top with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil until cheese melts and gets brown and bubbly, 1-2 minutes.

Top with remaining cilantro, slices of avocado and green onion. Serve warm and with wedges of fresh limes or salsa if desired.

Kung Poa Chicken Zoodles from Diary of a Dietitian inspired by Skinnytaste
Motivation & Inspiration, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

Just Do It Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles

Dear Diary,

After our one year anniversary, I did a fabulous disappearing act. POOF! What happened and where did I disappear to? Well, long story made short, I temporarily misplaced my motivation AND my inspiration. Yikes! I moved in for an extended stay at the Desperationville hotel. Maybe it was Exasperationville, located right next door. Whichever “ville” I was in, I spent my time there prioritizing anything and everything above my health and wellness. I forgot to lean into the things that improve my well being and help carry me through tough times.

Trips to the gym were sporadic at best, meals became less planned and more on the fly, eating became less intentional, and I stopped holding myself accountable by faithfully writing blog entries. I closed my eyes to all the inspiring people and gifts of motivation around me. Here I am, half way through April, needing to rip off the proverbial band-aid. JUST DO IT! No more excuses, no more telling myself lies about exercise, no more eating my feelings, and no more allowing myself to be sucked down into a chasm of negativity.

Life is full of peaks and valleys. March, along with a good chunk of April, was a giant valley for me. I have decided to join Nike (and all those gorgeous, fit looking people in their advertisements) and move back to Justdoit Town. By the way, people from Desperationville despise people from Justdoit Town. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Motivation and inspiration are something I’m rediscovering. It’s quite a treasure hunt but I can assure you that neither one is found at the bottom of a bag of chips or a glass of wine while plopped on the couch. Believe me, I checked…several times. If only binge watching The Mindy Project and House of Cards while eating chips burned calories!

A few key people and events have helped me to locate my mojo again. I started this blog so people could have a bird’s eye view into a Dietitians life so here is what helped me.  Step 1: I reread some of my past blog entries to hear my own voice telling me how to find my way back. My blog has truly become my diary, in which I can flip back through and use tools that have already helped me. Step 2: Get a little help from my friends. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be your best you. I am lucky enough to have several key people that help lift me up. Step 3: Give motivation to receive motivation. I have restarted counseling a friend on nutrition and I am in the planning steps of creating an exercise group in my neighborhood (motivated by my friend Jennifer O). Step 4: Read a life changing book written by an author that somehow has put many of my own thoughts into words. My friend Whitney sent me “Carry on, Warrior – The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life” by Glenndon Doyle Melton. I love her style of writing almost as much as what she has to say about navigating life. Step 5: Tell the people who inspire me how much they inspire and motivate me. I’m sticking with the “get and give” and “send and receive” policy. Step 6: Be kind to myself as I keep taking baby steps towards a happier and healthier me. In the wise words of a former client, “This shit ain’t easy.” Nope, nothin’ easy about it.

Today I successfully completed my first yoga class in a very long time. I finally started using My Fitness Pal app to log and track my food intake. I am about to complete my first blog post after an almost two month hiatus. My herb and vegetable garden sanctuary is well under way with actual herbs growing. Many thanks to my Dad who worked tirelessly on it while he was supposed to be on vacation. The sight of plants growing and thriving is such a positive thing for my soul. Finally, I bring you another delicious recipe called Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two by Skinnytaste.

My friend Jennifer O was the driving force in making this recipe as we love to cook together and “talk the journey.” She needed to have a go-to zoodle (zucchini noodle) recipe and her comfort level was low before yesterday. She brought the zucchini, red bell peppers and her positive energy, while I supplied the rest. It turned out fantastic with a few minor tweaks. We used fresh grated ginger instead of the dried ginger, Siracha instead of chili paste, doubled the recipe so we would have plenty of leftovers for lunch, and squeezed fresh lime juice over the finished product. With only 277 calories for 2 cups, this will definitely be a future meal in both of our homes.

To make the recipe from skinnytaste.com click below

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two from skinnytaste

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two from skinnytaste

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles fresh from the kitchen of Diary of a Dietitian

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles fresh from the kitchen of Diary of a Dietitian

 

Avocado Caprese Baked Chicken www.diaryofadietitian.net
Recipes, Uncategorized

Pinterest Dinner Party

Dear Diary,

I pin a lot of recipes from Pinterest. Actually making the recipes is a whole other story. This past Sunday a few of my friends and I were planning one of our usual gatherings that includes good food, good conservation, good cocktails, and our children entertaining each other. I have longed to have a “Pinterest Party” which entails preparing several favorite “pinned” recipes. Once I threw the idea out there, my friends were totally game and allowed me to pick an appetizer, main dish, side dish, and dessert.

First up was the appetizers. I am slightly obsessed with goat cheese, especially when it’s in the form of an appetizer or on a salad. I have eyed the Sundried Tomato Polenta Bites from Recipe Girl for quite some time. My friend Melissa stuck to the recipe except she used prepared polenta (comes in a tube) from Trader Joe’s. These cute little bites are the a perfect marriage of savory flavors and were an instant hit with all of us.

The main dish was Avocado Caprese BAKED Chicken which I prepared. To cook the chicken I used Gimme Some Oven’s Perfect Baked Chicken recipe. This recipe kept the chicken breasts moist and tender without having to watch it too closely. After the chicken was ready, I followed the Avocado Caprese Skillet Chicken recipe from Cooking Classy. The result was gorgeous layers of avocado, fresh mozzarella slices, and tomato sprinkled with fresh chopped basil and Balsamic Glaze from Trader Joe’s. Magnifigue!

Andrea took on the Summer Vegetable Tian despite the somewhat labor intensive slicing of vegetables. The store was out of yellow summer squash, so she replaced them with sliced carrots. Having never tried it with the yellow squash, I can easily say I would stick with the carrots. The slightly caramelized onions on the bottom and cheese on top of beautifully layered veggies made this recipe a keeper. When I make it in the future, I will definitely use my mandolin to slice all those veggies!

Most recipes I have tried from Skinnytaste are fantastic and are crafted very similar to my own kitchen creations. The Amazing Flour-less Brownies, made with sneaky healthy ingredients like black beans, are something I had to try. Our friend Yi confirmed that this recipe was simple to make but she was more than a little skeptical about how they would taste. The adults gave them the thumbs up and the kids gave a double thumbs up. My little chocolate loving children could not wait to find out if there would be any left for second servings.

All of these delicious dishes were washed down by our resident bartenders Moscow Mules…thanks Laurie! Hoping I can talk all of them into another Pinterest Dinner Party but I have a feeling that won’t take too much effort!

 

The Menu

Sundried Tomato Polenta Bites

Avocado Caprese Skillet Chicken

Baked Chicken Breast

Summer Vegetable Tian

Amazing Flour-less Brownies

Chicken Egg Noodle Soup www.diaryofadietitian.net
Recipes, Soup Recipes, Uncategorized

Chicken Soup for My Soul

Dear Diary,

Do you remember the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? The original one was published in 1993 so that people could help each other by sharing stories about their lives. This idea is not far off from what motivated me to start sharing nutrition information via my blog. I want to help people by sharing my knowledge, thoughts, struggles, and insights about food and nutrition. The benefits of a healthy diet are not always measured in pounds and inches, sometimes they are measured in how we fill up our soul, not our stomach.

There are now 250 different versions of Chicken Soup for the Soul books and it connects people in a way the authors never dreamed that it would. For me, food is like that. Food connects me to people in a way nothing else can. I am fascinated by people’s food stories and how it affects so many different aspects of their lives. Is there a Chicken Soup for the Dietitian’s Soul available?

From Diary of a Dietitian

I live to hear the words, “Mmm…this tastes so good” regarding one of my dishes. I like these words because that’s what warm, toasty food memories are all about. You can imagine my joy when one night I made my Chicken Egg Noodle Soup and my son said, “Mom, this soup is so good. It’s even better than Panera!” Be still my heart. I make it again a few weeks later and hear him telling a friend, “You have to stay for dinner. My mom makes the best Chicken Noodle Soup!” I’m in heaven and can almost see the warm, toasty food memories forming in the recesses of his little brain.

That’s the chicken soup my soul needs. Is my recipe for Chicken Egg Noodle Soup low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, low-anything? Nope. It’s just good old fashioned soup with big, fat egg noodles and big chunks of chicken. It’s made with love, for the people I love. Sometimes I cook with words like “healthy” and “good for our body” swimming in my head. When I make this soup, all I can think about is how good it is for my soul.

Chicken Egg Noodle Soup

  • 1 Whole 4-5lb Chicken Slow Cooker Chicken Instructions
  • Reames (or similar) 12 oz Homestyle Egg Noodles (frozen section)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4-5 large carrots, unpeeled and slicedChixEggNoodleSoup
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil Olive
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 6 – 8 cups of water

Directions: Follow the slow cooker chicken instructions. In the last 1/2 hour of cooking the chicken, remove the noodles from the freezer (follow the package directions for thawing) and start prepping the vegetables. In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil for 10 minutes. Add thyme, black pepper, and salt. Remove chicken from slow cooker and set aside. Discard foil balls and strain drippings from the chicken into the pot with the vegetables and spices. Add bouillon and 6 cups of water. Lightly boil for 20 minutes. In the meantime, discard skin from the chicken, remove chicken from the bone and chop into bite sized pieces. For a hearty soup, use all of the chicken or refrigerate 1-2 cups for another recipe. Bring soup to a boil, add egg noodles, and cook for 15-20 minutes. As the noodles cook you may need to add more water depending on how thick the soup becomes. Add the chopped chicken and taste. Add more seasonings, bouillon, or water as needed.

Organic Better than Bouillon

Organic Better than Bouillon

 

Note: Not all bouillon is the same! Some bouillon brands contain MSG, corn syrup, and other additives/preservatives that you don’t need. The non-organic Better than Bouillon contains some questionable ingredients and it’s easy to grab the wrong one since the label is very similar. Be sure to check the label and buy ORGANIC BETTER THAN BOUILLON.

No-Mayo-Chicken-Salad
Recipes, Salad Recipes, Uncategorized

Mayo Free Chicken Salad

Dear Diary,

I have always been intrigued by chicken salad. You can make up a big batch and eat it for days on crackers, bread, or lettuce. There’s just one problem with traditional chicken salad. MAYO. I grew up in a household that had both Hellman’s Mayo and Kraft Miracle Whip in the

No-Mayo-Chicken-Salad

Ingredients for No Mayo Chicken Salad from Diary of a Dietitian

refrigerator at all times. The smell and taste of both made me cringe and my family would often tease me by offering up a large spoonful of it. I, of course, obliged them with all the drama a young girl can muster when she does not like something. Cue the screaming and flailing of hands.

Going into my freshman year of college, I had not tasted anything that even looked like mayo. I came to like sour cream, cream cheese, and ranch dressing that year which aided me in gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15.” Mayo, however, has stayed on my hate list.

After roasting a chicken for my sons favorite chicken noodle soup, I decided to keep some chicken aside to experiment with a chicken salad recipe I could love. Most of the ingredients I used are staples in my house here in Southern California. We eat avocados almost daily and a variety of Greek yogurt can be found on any given day. I chose mango flavored yogurt but any fruit flavor would make this salad sing.

Mayo Free Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1 medium apple, chopped

    No-Mayo-Chicken-Salad

    Ingredients for No Mayo Chicken Salad from Diary of a Dietitian

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup red grapes, halved
  • 3 green onions, thin sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thin sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, fine chopped
  • 1 5.3 oz container of Greek yogurt, any fruit flavor
  • 1 small avocado, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Romaine lettuce leafs

Directions: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except romaine lettuce. Serve approximately 1/2 cup chicken salad in each romaine lettuce leaf and top with additional cilantro, green onion, or walnuts if desired.

broccoli-cheese-soup
Recipes, Soup Recipes, Uncategorized

Love at First Bite

Dear Diary,

It’s getting chilly in Southern California…the upper 30’s at night are upon us. After 12 years of living in SoCal, I am allowed to call that COLD! I know my Michigan peeps are laughing out loud about that statement. It’s all good. No matter where I call home, this time of year makes me crave soup. Besides, I did my time during the first two-thirds of my life enduring 10 degree mornings. No thanks!

Many soup recipes are loaded with sodium, fat, and processed ingredients like Velveeta or canned cream of something. A lot of my ingredient “swaps” add more veggies, ditch the cream or half n half for milk, reduce the butter/oil, and increase the spices while decreasing the salt. Some changes are minor and the result does not alter the recipe to leave it falling flat on flavor and texture. Major changes occasionally morph a recipe into a whole new food category…which can also be interesting. My family has started calling my chicken noodle soup, chicken noodle stew.

A common food myth is that you have to give up your comfort foods to be healthy or lose weight. A good recipe makeover can take a heavy dish and turn it into a lighter, possibly more flavorful version that gives your soul a smile along with your belly. I love the challenge of making healthy food that begs comments like, “This must not be something you’re adding to your blog!”

My favorite soups are french onion, minestrone, chicken noodle, and broccoli cheese…in no particular order. Every one of these soups have good memories attached to them. French onion is deeply attached to my grandmother, whom I once took to a restaurant and discussed the virtues of a good bowl of soup. Minestrone brings me back to one of my many jobs waiting tables where I ate a bowl of it for lunch every day. I learned to make chicken noodle soup in a sub shop I worked at while I attended college. My first broccoli cheese soup was served in a bread bowl and it was love at first bite.

Food is a HUGE part of our lives. My advice, as your friendly neighborhood Dietitian, is to embrace the foods that provide these wonderful memories. Most people are in a constant war with food. Food does not have to be the enemy. Find a way to balance it out and you will find the path that leads you to the person, body and mind, you want to be.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 medium heads of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth/stock
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded 3 cheese blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, celery and carrots for 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  2.  Whisk in flour and slowly add warmed vegetable or chicken broth while continuing to whisk.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil and add broccoli. Cook for 8-10 minutes and add milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Turn down to low heat and DO NOT BOIL after adding the milk as it scorches easily.
  4. Allow the soup to heat through, approximately 8-10 minutes and whisk in shredded cheese.
  5. ENJOY without guilt!

 

 

Deviled Eggs
One hard boiled egg...remove yolk and mix with 1 Tablespoon plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard, a pinch of dried or fresh dill, salt and pepper to taste, and topped with chopped green onions.
Intermittent Day Eating, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Recipes

10 Unique 100 Calorie Snacks that Satisfy

Dear Diary,

It’s 3:00 pm and I feel that familiar rumble in my belly telling me it’s snack time. I open the fridge, I open the freezer, I look in the pantry…then I head back to the fridge. Hmmm…I see cheese. I love cheese. I can eat a lot of cheese. I saw some crackers in the pantry. I can eat a lot of cheese and crackers. Yikes, better not get that started. What else, what else? Apples, melon, sliced red bell peppers, carrots, greek yogurt? Argh! None of these snacks are appealing all on their own. I need something more satisfying, pronto!

If I could reverse time, a good plan would have been…to have a plan. A little planning ahead, before cravings and hunger strike, helps to not eat a snack that is as calorie dense as a meal. Snacks can mean trouble. A lot of planning goes into meals, but little planning or thought goes into snacks. I must avoid panic snacking or risk taking a full cracker box to an empty cracker box!

If I restart an Intermittent Day Fasting Plan such as 5:2 or 4:3, these snack ideas could also help me get through those rough days. The recommendation is 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men on low calorie days. If I put five of these snacks together, a 500 calorie day is looking a lot less intimidating. This is a huge revelation, Diary, HUGE!

Pickled Veggie Spring Rolls  Simply thin slice carrots, bell peppers, and cucumber and soak in the juice of a jar of pickles, jalapenos, or yellow banana peppers overnight to "pickle" them. Take a spring roll wrapper and run it under water. Fill the middle of the wrapper with a romaine lettuce leaf and the pickled veggies. Tightly fold over one side of the wrapper, fold in both edges, and roll up the rest. Cut in half and make a second one the same way. For extra kick, tuck in a few jalapenos!

Pickled Veggie Spring Rolls
Simply thin slice carrots, bell peppers, and cucumber and soak in the juice of a jar of pickles, jalapenos, or yellow banana peppers overnight to “pickle” them. Take a spring roll wrapper and run it under water. Fill the middle of the wrapper with a romaine lettuce leaf and the pickled veggies. Tightly fold over one side of the wrapper, fold in both edges, and roll up the rest. Cut in half and make a second one the same way. For extra kick, tuck in a few jalapenos!

Apple Slices with Pumpkin Pie Dip Slice half of a medium sized apple. To make the dip mix 1/2 tablespoon light cream cheese, 1/8 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon honey, and sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.

Apple Slices with Pumpkin Pie Dip
Slice half of a medium sized apple. To make the dip mix 1/2 tablespoon light cream cheese, 1/8 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon honey, and sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.

Mini Pepperoni Pizza Half an Oroweat Sandwich Thin, 1 tablespoon pizza sauce, 1 laughing cow cheese wedge, 3 Hormel Turkey Pepperoni slices, mild banana pepper rings, and sprinkled with dried oregano. Pop it in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes and voila...you just got your pizza fix!

Mini Pepperoni Pizza
Half an Oroweat Sandwich Thin, 1 tablespoon pizza sauce, 1 laughing cow cheese wedge, 3 Hormel Turkey Pepperoni slices, mild banana pepper rings, and sprinkled with dried oregano. Pop it in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes and voila…you just got your pizza fix!

Deviled Eggs One hard boiled egg...remove yolk and mix with 1 Tablespoon plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard, a pinch of dried or fresh dill, salt and pepper to taste, and topped with chopped green onions.

Deviled Eggs
One hard boiled egg – remove yolk and mix with 1 Tablespoon plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard, a pinch of dried or fresh dill, salt and pepper to taste. Add yolk mixture back inside the white and top with chopped green onions and a little dill.

Turkey Roll-ups Two slices of turkey wrapped around a laughing cow cheese wedge, a sliced Persian cucumber, and sliced bell peppers. A very satisfying 100 calories!

Turkey Roll-ups
Two slices of turkey wrapped around a laughing cow cheese wedge, a sliced Persian cucumber, and sliced bell peppers. A very satisfying 100 calories!

Light Babybel Cheese & Rice Crackers One mini light Babybel with 7 Simply Balanced brown rice crackers. A quick fix for crunchy, salty goodness!

Light Babybel Cheese & Rice Crackers
One mini light Babybel with 7 Simply Balanced brown rice crackers. A quick fix for crunchy, salty goodness!

Cottage Cheese with Chopped Veggies 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped veggies (carrots, celery, bell peppers) and a little black pepper.

Cottage Cheese with Chopped Veggies
1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped veggies (carrots, celery, bell peppers) and a little black pepper.

Organic Rustic Bean & Vegetable Soup One piping hot cup topped with freshly sliced green onions will warm you up and fill you up.

Organic Rustic Bean & Vegetable Soup
One piping hot cup topped with freshly sliced green onions will warm you up and fill you up.

Chocolate PB2 on Ezekiel Bread Toasted Ezekiel bread topped with 1 Tablespoon PB2 Premium Chocolate mixed with 1/2 Tablespoon water.

Chocolate PB2 on Ezekiel Bread
Toasted Ezekiel bread topped with 1 Tablespoon PB2 Premium Chocolate mixed with 1/2 Tablespoon water.

Spicy Hummus with Celery & Bell Peppers 4 tablespoons of HOPE Organic Spicy Avocado Hummus (Costco) with celery and bell peppers.

Spicy Hummus with Celery & Bell Peppers
4 tablespoons of HOPE Organic Spicy Avocado Hummus (Costco) with celery and bell peppers.

Thanksgiving Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole
Holiday Recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving & Sweet Potato Casserole

Dear Diary,

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and it’s only four days away! This holiday is a perfect combination of comfort food, good friends, and family with freedom from the gift giving frenzy. The main attraction of this glorious holiday is usually the turkey. This year could be different with Cooking Light’s Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole. Could sweet potatoes really steal the limelight? You bet they could! Especially when you combine them with yummy ingredients like real maple syrup, vanilla, and pecans.

My childhood Thanksgiving feast did not have sweet potatoes present. I do have very fond memories of making dressing over the years with my Dad. One year we completely ruined the dressing by adding too much dried sage. We both thought the other had not added it and we both thought it needed a little more than the “recipe” (a loose word for our creations) called for. We laugh about that today and have not repeated that particular error since. That is the joy of cooking and creating wonderful memories around food and holidays.

I am so thankful for so many things during this holiday season. One of the things I am thankful for is knowing I will create wonderful memories for my own children around food and the holidays. I wish for all children to have the benefit of having people in their lives that show them how much they love them by providing healthy food. It not only nourishes the body, it also feeds the soul.

recipe

Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

Sprinkle a buttery, brown sugar and pecan mixture over the top of the creamy potatoes in this sweet potato casserole that’s sweet enough to be dessert.
  • Yield: 18 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

Ingredients

  • 14 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 5 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place potato in a Dutch oven, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Combine the half-and-half and next 4 ingredients (half-and-half through egg) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add potato to egg mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine flour and sugar in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans; sprinkle over potato mixture.

Cover and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories 250
  • Caloriesfromfat 23 %
  • Fat 6.3 g
  • Satfat 2.4 g
  • Monofat 2.5 g
  • Polyfat 1 g
  • Protein 3.3 g
  • Carbohydrate 46.1 g
  • Fiber 2.7 g
  • Cholesterol 22 mg
  • Iron 1.2 mg
  • Sodium 149 mg
  • Calcium 49 mg
Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Mushrooms from Diary of a Dietitian
Recipes, Uncategorized

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Chicken Sausage

Dear Diary,

Fall is my favorite food season! The markets right now are full of the years best offerings of winter squash, apples, pears, potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Spaghetti squash is one of the most versatile of the winter squash options to cook with. Spaghetti squash can be used to replace pasta or rice and easily takes on the flavor of the herbs and spices it’s cooked with.

Cooking with winter squash can be intimidating if you have never done it before. The outer shell is difficult to cut through in it’s raw state. Having a good sharp knife is essential to any kitchen, but when cutting winter squash it’s an absolute must. If you still fear cutting off an appendage while trying to get to the good stuff inside, never fear, there are ways to cook squash whole.

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Chicken Sausage   

  • 1 medium spaghetti squashSpaghetti Squash
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms
  • 5 links chicken sausage (I used Aidells Chicken & Apple)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise, spray the inside with olive oil in anIMAG4700_1 oil mister (Misto makes a good one). Turn the squash cut side down on a baking sheet with edges or a 9×13 glass baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Spaghetti squash can also be cooked whole by piercing the squash several times with a skewer and baking at 375 degrees for 1 hour. By baking it whole, it will not have a roasted flavor like when it’s cut in half.

2. While the squash is baking, chop onion, slice mushrooms and thin slice sausage. In a 12 inch skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onions and mushrooms for 5-6 minutes. Add sausage and dried thyme (use fresh thyme if you have it) and continue sauteing for another 8-10 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and turn heat down to low until squash is ready to be added.

3. After the squash is removed from the oven, flip it over to cool just enough so you can remove it from the shell. Use a fork to shred the inside so that it looks like spaghetti. Add squash to the mushroom and sausage mixture and turn heat up to medium. Fold in squash and heat 4-5 minutes or until heated through.

4. Recipe makes 5 servings. Top each portion with 1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese. Use any left over portions for lunch the next day!

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