Archive for the ‘Make it Healthier’ Category

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Mango Medley Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

August 29, 2015

When you just eat a mango it’s a get messy, sweet juice dripping down your chin experience that  you might not want to have in front of a crowd, kind of fruit. For that reason it’s best cut up in neat pieces. Mango is a friendly fruit. It plays well with fish, chicken, other fruits and vegetables. I found a perfectly ripe and ready to use one while hurricane supply shopping yesterday. I wasn’t much in the mood for a salsa, so looked for things that  would make it more salad-y. However, if you chop the ingredients finer and squeeze just the lime over it instead of making a dressing, , you would have a salsa that would perch nicely on tortilla chips. Refreshing  and tangy the dressing is rice wine vinegar based. Rice wine is one of my favorites on fruits. Many citrus based dressings have sugar in them, but I omitted it. Between the sweet tone of the rice wine and the fruit itself, there is just no need. This was a side for us for dinner, but as you can see the next day we piled it in a soft tortilla for fish tacos.

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The Dressing

1/4 C. rice vinegar
1/3 C. light oil, not olive- I used grape seed
Juice and Zest from 2 limes
2 garlic cloves, grated
pinch salt

Whisk all your dressing ingredients together. Set aside while you prep your other ingredients. This dressing was so good, even before it sat for a bit. I recommend making extra.

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The Salad

1 large mango , cut in cubes
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved seeded, and sliced in semi circles
1/2 large purple onion, thinly sliced
1 can corn, drained and broiled
4-5 small red and yellow peppers, cut in rings
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced,
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 C. chopped fresh parsley

Drain the corn well and spread it on a baking sheet. Add just a tiny bit of oil and toss to coat. Broil for about ten minutes until it chars just a bit.

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Begin your salad assembly while the corn is broiling. Add your peppers and jalapeno to a large bowl.

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Next, your cucumber semi circles and  thin slices of onion.

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Top off with your mango cubes, the charred corn and the parsley.

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Mix them up. Isn’t this one of the prettiest salads ever?

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Wake up those flavors with  a rainfall of that luscious dressing. Use it all. Let sit for at least two hours,if you can stand to wait. It’s worth it. Twist some black pepper over top, just because.

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Serve it on the side of just about anything, have it all by itself ……………

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or pile it inside a warm spicy fish taco.

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Eggplant Tapenade a la Izzy

November 2, 2014

Hands down this is my favorite way to make eggplant. It came from a very dear friend,that I don’t keep in touch with as often as I should. We  chatted via text last week, and it reminded me that I finally need to share and  blog this recipe. The olives are my addition.. You can eat this on crackers, scoop it up with pita, or serve it under or over a beautifully grilled chicken breast and top it with some fresh feta.. Addicting…simple but  elegant enough to be an appetizer  for your fanciest guests.. or for a lazy  football Sunday with friends… It is highly recommended that you at least double this recipe. I love you Izzy.. I hope you are more honored at my blogging your recipe than you were when I named the bearded dragon after you ❤

1 large eggplant

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. good red tomato sauce, or seasoned diced tomatoes, or one whole tomato diced

10-15 chopped black olives

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 t. black pepper

2t. Kosher salt

1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional)

2 T. good olive oil

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Peel eggplant. Slice in 1/2 inch circles and then cut into cubes. Put about half of the eggplant in a sieve and sprinkle with one teaspoon of Kosher salt.Toss a bit to distribute. Top with remaining eggplant and sprinkle with another teaspoon of salt. Allow to drain for a minimum of one hour and preferably more.

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That is all the bitterness coming out of the eggplant.

I do not rinse the salt off the eggplant, which is why there is not additional salt in the recipe. Heat a large saucepan and add the oil and crushed garlic. Saute the garlic on low heat til fragrant. Do not try to rush this as the garlic will burn. There is no saving oil that garlic has burned in.

Pre heat oven to 350*

Taking handfuls squeeze as much liquid from the eggplant as you can. Add to the flavored oil.  Stir in Italian seasoning and pepper. Saute  the eggplant for about 5 minutes, and then put the pan in a pre heated oven for 20  minutes. Remember the handle is HOT! Use a pot holder to remove it!

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Add the olives and tomatoes or tomato sauce to the roasted eggplant cubes. Stir. Refrigerate.

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     Serve with crackers, as an appetizer, or light lunch on top  of Red leaf or Romaine lettuce.

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 Additionally,   you can reheat and serve on top of a grilled chicken breast. Crumble a bit of feta on top.

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I hope you enjoy this versatile recipe from my long time friend.

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Spaghetti Squash Genovese

October 28, 2014

There is a delightful Italian recipe called Spaghetti Genovese, I never quite understood pasta and potatoes in the same dish, but being the pesto lover that I am, I never questioned it too far. To cut down the carb content it only made sense to use spaghetti squash, and size down the potatoes to those creamy flavorful minis. A must try adaption of an classic Italian favorite.

1 small spaghetti squash, roasted

12-15 small red, yellow and purple potatoes (usually called tri color, in a mesh  bag)

1/3 lb. fresh green beans

1/2 C. pesto ( made with fresh spinach tonight)

3-4 T. freshly grated parmesan

Prepare pesto.(I substituted spinach for kale- no need to salt and macerate spinach)

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Roast the squash. Cut potatoes in half.  Cut off tips of  green beans, and cut them in half  as welI .

I boiled the green beans and potatoes together,in a small amount of water, until fork tender.

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Drain well. Strand the squash and mix with the potatoes and beans.

Toss with pesto. Grate cheese over top and serve immediately.

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Cauliflower Tabouli

October 6, 2014

Tabouli  or Taboulleh is a traditional vegetarian  Middle  Eastern dish, most closely classified as a salad. Usually made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some type of grain like bulghur  is often added to the dish. This is my variation of it. It’s a pretty flexible recipe. I added some jalapeno because…well because I add jalapeno or some kind of heat to most things we eat! Tomatoes, unless straight off the vine or green and fried, also don’t do it for me in most dishes. In this I have substituted red pepper, which also makes it less watery than tomato. I am not much  a bulghur fan (but  then I also haven’t given it much of  a chance) and I wanted to keep this grain  free. Quinoa would make a tasty addition and add  a nice texture contrast and I might try it another time with that. Crumbled feta took the place of salt in my version, but if you are looking to make it dairy free it can be omitted.

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1/2 head cauliflower grated

1/2 red pepper. diced

1 finely minced jalapeno

1 medium cucumber. seeded and diced

3 diced scallions. including green tops

1/3 C. chopped fresh mint

1 C. chopped fresh parsley

1.4 C. olive oil

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice

1/2 C. crumbled feta (optional but will need salt if this is omitted)

1/2 t. pepper

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 Here is a close up of your cauliflower. You want it “grainy” not mush. I grate it rather than process it.

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Combine your lemon juice and oil and whisk a bit.Mix all your veggies together. Pour the olive oil and lemon over all. Stir to coat all of the vegetables. At this point you can add in a 1/2 cup of cooked bulghur, quinoa or couscous. Lastly stir in your feta if you are using it.This is best if left to sit a few hours. but it is  really hard  not to keep  tasting it! This didn’t last very long and I would definitely double it all next time.

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This dish is so colorful, and it tastes as happy as it looks.

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Micaela’s Healthy Hotcakes

July 16, 2014

I am VERY proud  to be  featuring a  special  guest  blogger! This recipe is courtesy of my daughter, with her  pointers to make a filling and healthy version of pancakes. Just a few ingredients and you have a delicious and healthy breakfast,lunch or dinner!

1 medium banana

1 egg

1/3 C. oats, ground in a processor

1/4  t. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon – or to taste- Micaela uses  more

Peel banana,  put in a medium bowl and microwave for 15 seconds on high. Mash the banana very well with a fork or  whisk. making sure there are no lumps. Add one egg and beat well.

Mix the baking powder and ground oats. Combine with  the  wet ingredients and let sit for about 5 minutes.

In a hot pan, melt a scant  teaspoon of coconut oil.

Spoon the batter into  the pan into two equal pancakes. When bubbly on top, gently turn, and cook for a minute or two longer.

Top with a schmear of peanut or almond butter, and  your favorite fruit.

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Tamed Tuna Casserole

March 10, 2014

I  know, I know…you’re turning up your nose. No one “loves” tuna casserole, in addition to the fact that it is loaded with  fat and carbs. I encourage you to try this version.. just once.. I guarantee you will put it into your menu cycle.  With Meatless Mondays, Lent, and the cost of meat soaring, now is the perfect time to try this. Using half spaghetti squash and half pasta you are cutting your carbs significantly. Because the  spaghetti squash brings a creamy texture to the dish, you can also cut down on fat from added  cheeses and milk.. No flour-y roux in this either. And if you “really” can’t stand tuna, cooked chicken is  always a viable alternative. The end result was such a hit I do not  have step by step pics,  but thought it was  worth sharing.

1/2 lb. angel hair or spaghetti, cooked and drained

1/2 roasted spaghetti squash, made into strands (directions here)

1 large can solid white albacore tuna, in water

1 C. Ricotta cheese

1/2 C. Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

1/3 C milk (I used 2%, fat free  would work as would cream)

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (any salty dry cheese will work )

1 t. Old Bay

1 t. dried dill

1 t. pepper

1 T. butter

1/4 C. bread crumbs or panko

A sprinkle  more of  Old Bay, and dill for the top

Combine ricotta, milk , Parmesan and seasonings. Prepare pasta and drain. Mix with strands of spaghetti squash.While pasta and squash  are still hot, mix in ricotta until it is evenly distributed throughout.

Add the tuna, and break the chunks up so it is also evenly distributed  throughout the pasta and squash. Pour into a 9×9 pan.

Optional: Dot with  a little butter and sprinkle bread crumbs or panko on top.

Pre heat  350 degree oven. Bake 40 minutes until brown and bubbly.

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Served with some asparagus on top, this looks like a gourmet dish!

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I made this tonight with a few tweaks.. added some peas and carrots, a little more spaghetti squash and some Whites Only eggs..I didn’t think I could improve on this but it was even better than the other times I made it. Topped tonight with  scallion greens, red pepper flakes and sriracha on the side…

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Slightly Sweet and Spicey Swordfish Stir Fry

March 5, 2014

Every once in a while my local Publix has swordfish “nuggets” These are the pieces that are left once  bigger quantities have been sold. They are perfect for a stir fry, since the nuggets are all different sizes.  Swordfish is such a great fish, light in flavor like many  filets, but meaty in texture. It picks up the flavor of anything you put on it, and is filling so a little goes a long way. It also pairs well with any vegetable, so if you don’t have zucchini on hand you can switch  it up in a variety of ways.

1 lb. swordfish, cut in 1 inch cubes

2 medium zucchini

1 large can pineapple chunks

3 T. soy sauce

1 lemon, juice and zest

2 T. Brown sugar

1 T. Simply Asia ginger garlic seasoning (you can sub 1t. ginger and 1 t. toasted sesame seeds for  this)

2 cloves garlic

1/2 t, red pepper flakes

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In a container or Ziploc bag, combine juice and zest from half  the lemon, one grated garlic clove. 1 T. of soy, and  1T. of pineapple juice. Add in the fish and coat well. Allow to marinade for up to an hour,   but no more than two. Fish will start to “cook” if left in marinade too long. It  only take a little time for it  to absorb flavor.

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In a separate bowl, combine the remaining pineapple juice drained from chunks, 2 T. soy, juice and zest from other half of lemon, 1 clove garlic grated, Asian seasoning, red pepper flakes  and brown sugar. Let sit while you prep your veggies. Cut zucchini however you like- I prefer two cuts length wise, and then in one inch slices.

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Add a scant 1/2 t. of vegetable oil to a hot pan. Toss in  zucchini. I like it to brown a bit to add color and  natural sweetness.

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Pour off any juice from the swordfish. Add the swordfish to the zucchini and toss for about 2 minutes.

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Add in pineapple and pour on the sauce.

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Serve over  rice, (this is a mix of brown and wild) orzo or quinoa!  A light but filling meal.

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Enjoy!