Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This cold couscous salad is a great make-ahead side for a cook out or week night dinner because it keeps well for up to a week in the fridge.  The textures of the chewy couscous and crunchy carrot mixed with the creamy chickpeas and sweet raisins are a beautifully tasty combination.  I add the salty feta cheese because it is a sheep’s milk cheese and much easier to digest but you can certainly omit it.  This side dish is also packed with healthy ingredients from the raw carrots to the protein packed chick peas and verdant parsley.  Parsley is a high source of flavonoid antioxidants and is also a diuretic, which relieves bloating.  The Mediterranean Couscous Salad comes together in a snap and is dressed to impress.

Prep Time:  20 minutes      Cook Time:  10-15 minutes to cook the couscous       Serves: 6-8

1 cup of dry Israeli or Pearl Couscous cooked according to package instructions

1/3 cup white raisins

1 carrot finely chopped

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1 16 oz can of canned chickpeas drained

1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled (optional)

1/3 cup chopped red roasted peppers

1/4 -to 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinaigrette  (click on this link for the dressing recipe)

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and stir.  Add in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the dressing depending on taste.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Granola Bar

These bars are so yummy and very versatile.  They are easy to whip up and great for a dessert or snack and a healthy way to get in your cholesterol lowering rolled oats.  The nut butter , egg whites and coconut oil adds protein and healthy fats and the chocolate chunks are just plain delicious.  Feel free to use any nut butter you enjoy and if your children need a nut-free treat for school simply use sunflower seed butter instead.  These store well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Prep Time:  10 minutes                   Cook Time:  20 minutes                 Makes 12 bars

Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond butter / cashew butter / peanut butter / sunflower seed butter

1/3 cup honey

4 tbsp liquid egg whites

2 tbsp of melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl beat together the peanut butter, honey, egg, oil, brown sugar , extract and salt until creamy.  Stir in the oats and chocolate chunks until the oats are completely covered in the peanut butter mixture.  Coat a 13X9 baking dish with cooking spray.  Press the oat mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.  Place in oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes then transfer to the fridge for 20 minutes.  Loosen the edges with a spatula or knife and slice into bars.

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Salmon Rainbow Salad

This salad is one of my all-time favorites.  It’s a rendition of a salad I had at a local Mexican restaurant and this recipe is pretty darn close to perfection.  The mangos and avocado go so well with the seafood and the crunchy purple cabbage provides a great contrast to the delicate Boston Lettuce.  The colors are stunning and everything in this meal is so very good for you.  The raw purple cabbage has cancer fighting properties and the avocado is a wonderful healthy fat while the mangos are great for your skin and aid in digestion.  If you don’t like salmon you can substitute it with 2 lbs of shrimp.  Serve with my Honey Lime Dressing and dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Prep Time:  15 minutes                       Cook Time:  10-15 minutes                    Serves:  4

2 large heads or 3 small heads of Boston or Butter lettuce cleaned and chopped or 2 bags of prepared lettuce

1/4 head of raw purple cabbage sliced thin into strips

2 ripe mangoes chopped into chunks

2 ripe avocados chopped into chunks

1 large cucumber seeded and chopped

1.5 lbs – 2 lbs of boneless salmon filet or peeled and deveined Jumbo/Large shrimp

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp ponzu sauce (citrus soy sauce found in the asian aisle at the super market)

Place the salmon or shrimp on a parchment lined baking sheet for easy cleanup.  Sir the ponzu sauce and the honey together until completely blended and brush onto the fish.  Place in a 400 degree oven on broil for 10 – 15 minutes or until the fish is opaque and cooked through.  While the fish is cooking place the lettuce, cabbage, mangoes, cucumber and avocados into the bowl.  Toss with the Honey Lime Dressing and set aside.  Place the cooked fish on a pile of salad and serve.

 

 

 

 

Honey Lime Dressing

This dressing is delicious on a salad or used as a marinade for seafood.  Just remember that the acidity of the lime will cook the seafood, so marinate the fish for no longer than 15 minutes in the fridge.  You won’t find a bottled dressing that tastes quite as good as this vinaigrette and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can whip it up.  On top of that, limes have important vitamins and antioxidants, which among other things, can maintain heart health and improve the condition of your skin.  This dressing will keep well in the fridge for a up to 4 days.

Prep Time:  10 minutes                          Serves: 4

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tsp grated lime peel

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp honey

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a small food processor.  As the food processor is blending, gradually add in the olive oil until combined.  The dressing will be white in color and the oil will be incorporated into the other ingredients.

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Dairy-Free Mango Oatmeal

This oatmeal is a great way to start your day on a healthy note.  If you don’t have time to make it in the morning simply cook and assemble bowls in advance and place the dishes in your fridge so that you can warm them up before you head out the door.

Mangos have so many health benefits.  There are antioxidants in this fruit that have cancer preventing properties and it helps lower cholesterol and unclog pores for clearer skin.  The vitamin A improves eye health and mangos help to alkalize the body as well.  Using almond milk increases the protein and amount of healthy fats.  The maple syrup is a natural sweetener packed with minerals and vitamins and the cinnamon adds depth of flavor.  Every component of this oatmeal is good for your body in a different way so try it – even if it’s for dinner!

Prep Time:  5 minutes                  Cook Time:  5-10 minutes                   Serves:  2-4

Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 cup whole grain stove top cooking oats

1/8 cup pure maple syrup

1 tsp ground cinnamon

16 raw almonds chopped

1 fresh mango chopped into cubes

Pinch of salt

Add the oats, almond milk, salt, cinnamon and maple syrup to a small pan.  Bring to a slow boil and stir intermittently to prevent sticking.  Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the oats (5 – 8 minutes) and the oatmeal is thick.  Stir in the chopped mango and top with the almonds.  Serve warm.  Oatmeal will keep in the fridge for up to a week.  When you are reheating this dish you can add a splash of almond milk if you prefer a creamier consistency.

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Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chicken lettuce wraps are low calorie, low carb, low fat and low cholesterol but I promise you won’t mind that it’s missing all that bad stuff.  The bean sprouts and water chestnuts add a great crunch to the meat mixture and the sauce gives it a great Asian flavor.  (I bet it will be dripping down your arm by the end of the meal.)  These lettuce wraps make for a quick dinner or a healthy appetizer.  It’s one of my husband’s favorite meals and I am sure it will become a repeat on your dinner menu as well!

Prep Time:  15 Minutes                     Cook Time:  15 minutes                     Serves 4

Ingredients

2 lbs ground chicken

1 red bell pepper diced

5 oz can of peeled and sliced water chestnuts (chopped)

2 heads of Boston Lettuce

12 ounces of fresh bean sprouts

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

2 tbsp corn starch

2 tbsp soy sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet and add the chopped bell peppers.  Cook for 3 minutes until softened.  Add the ground chicken and stir for 5-8 minutes or until cooked through.  While the chicken is cooking cut the stems off of the heads of lettuce and peel away each whole leaf and pile onto a plate.  Mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce and corn starch and add to the chicken along with the bean sprouts and water chestnuts.  Stir to combine.  Add the hoisin sauce and bring to a boil while stirring.  Serve in a bowl so that each person can make their own wraps with hot sauce, siracha or chili sauce if desired.

 

 

Sweet and Sour Chicken

You can make this meal using condiments that you have in your pantry and it’s a delicious and healthy dinner that you can feel good about serving to your family. The basmati rice has a lower glycemic index than your basic white rice and the chicken is a great lean protein.  Coconut oil is a healthy fat that has been shown to reduce inflammation and it also imparts a great flavor to the dish.  Once you become more familiar with the recipe you can add any vegetables that you’d like – mushrooms, bok choy, carrots, zucchini, etc.

Prep Time:  30 minutes                       Cook time:  15 minutes                Serves 4

1.5 – 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp coconut oil

3 – 4 bell peppers in assorted colors cut into 1-inch pieces

6 scallions cut on the bias (white and green parts separated)

1 20 oz can cubed pineapple with 1/2 cup of the pineapple juice reserved

2 cups of dry basmati rice cooked to package instructions (optional)

  1.  Cook the rice according to package instructions.
  2. In a large bowl toss the chicken with 1 tbsp each of soy sauce and cornstarch.  Add 1 tsp ground black pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. In a small bowl combine remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp cornstarch, vinegar, ketchup honey and 1/2 cup pineapple juice. (If you forget to reserve the juice or wish to use fresh pineapple simply use 1/2 cup of water in place of the pineapple juice.)  Whisk to combine and set aside.
  4. Heat one tablespoon of coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet and cook the chicken until browned – 5 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  5. Add the peppers and white parts of the scallion to the pan and cook until softened – 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan along with the chicken and green parts of the scallions.  Bring the mixture to a boil to thicken the sauce – 3 minutes.  Serve immediately over rice.

 

Tropical Fish Tacos

This is a very versatile dish that makes for an easy dinner, but can also be changed up pretty easily depending on what you have on hand or what your family likes.  You can use any fresh white fish you enjoy and since it’s baked it’s much healthier than the fried fish tacos you get at restaurants.  The raw cabbage adds great crunch but is also a great way to sneak some in your diet.  Raw cabbage has been found to have cancer fighting and cholesterol lowering benefits as well as vitamins C, K and B6.  These tacos are so healthy you won’t mind eating in on a weekend.

Prep Time:  10 minutes                     Cook Time:  15 Minutes                         Serves 4

Ingredients

8 small or large flour tortillas

2 cups of shredded green cabbage

1 lb of schrod, cod, haddock or tilapia

2 ripe avocado peeled and sliced

1 recipe of Easy Pineapple Salsa

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tbsp avocado oil

Hot sauce (optional)

Place the fish in a medium casserole dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oil.  Place into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until fish is opaque in the center.  Serve all of the items in bowls so that each person can assemble their own tacos.

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Easy Pineapple Salsa

This salsa is so easy to make and serves as a great condiment to tacos or as a simple and healthy appetizer when served alongside tortilla chips.  If you like it on the spicy side add a chopped fresh jalapeño pepper.  It will keep well in the fridge for a few days.  *TIP:  Most people don’t realize that pineapples contain a lot of vitamin C, which boosts immunity.  They also contain anti-inflammatory properties which reduces inflammation in the body.  Pineapples are also a great source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion as well as Manganese, which strengthens bones.  Pile this yummy salsa on anything and you can ditch the guilt too!

Prep Time:  10 minutes                                              Serves: 6

Ingredients

1/2 fresh pineapple small diced

1/2 red pepper small diced

juice of half a lime

1 fresh jalapeño seeded and chopped (optional)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground pepper

1/2 shallot

Toss together the diced pineapple, peppers, salt, ground pepper and lime juice.  Grate half of a peeled shallot directly to the bowl.  Toss to combine all of the ingredients and allow to rest in the fridge for a few hours before serving so that the flavors can marry.

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Dairy-Free Cranberry Margarita Bread

Studded with cranberries this sweet and tangy bread is perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  Egg whites, coconut oil and almond milk increase the protein and decrease the cholesterol while the use of almond flour reduces the amount of white flour in this recipe.  The lime and orange zest add a hint of refreshing citrus.  It’s perfect for those times when you could use a margarita,  but must settle for something a bit more sensible.

Prep Time:  10 minutes                         Cooking Time:  1 hour                     Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

4 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 cup of almond flour or almond meal

1 1/4 cup white flour

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp liquid egg white

3/4 cup almond milk

1 bag of fresh cranberries (8-12 oz)

1 tsp lime zest

1 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, almond flour, baking powder and salt.  In a medium bowl combine the coconut oil, zest, egg whites and almond milk.  Whisk to combine.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and fold in the cranberries.  Stir until combined.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the bread to cool for 30 minutes then run a knife along the perimeter and remove from the pan.