Category Archives: Cooking

This Mom Tackles Week 3 of Meal Planning

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This Mom Tackles Week 3 of Meal Planning

To continue my series in Healthy January Meal Planning for my lunches for the work week, I had to pick something in my pantry since I wasn’t able to plan much before grocery shopping because of the snow storm that hit in my area. So I went with canned tuna and canned chicken and set to making healthy options for make ahead lunches.

The first set of two lunches is Basil Chicken Salad. I found this recipe through a Pinterest 20160124_183748link from Damn Delicious found here. Canned chicken mixed with equal parts basil pesto and Greek yogurt make for a yummy, healthy alternative to chicken salad. I also added a few capers on top to add a little kick and really give in to the Italian flavor. I am going to pile mine on wheat bread, roma tomato slices, and spinach leaves. Simple yet delicious!

20160124_192552My next set of two meals are with the canned tuna, Skinny Tuna Cakes with a Chipotle May0 from Skinny Mom found here. After mixing tuna, chopped onion, old bay seasoning, panko bread crumbs, and two egg whites refrigerate for one hour. Make four patties and skillet cook with cooking spray til both sides are brown. I put two patties on top of a spinach and carrot salad with a little homemade balsamic vinaigrette. On top of each patty I added a dollop of Chipotle Mayo which is light mayonnaise, chili powder, and lime juice. Might be some of the best canned tuna I will have ever had!

I hope you have the opportunity to try one of these recipes and if you do I would love to know what you think. I would also love to hear if you have any other meal plan suggestions. January is almost done but I am going to keep making make ahead meals. It’s been saving me money and I love the new flavors I have been challenging myself with. I will probably keep posting them here but I am also getting ready to start a new series so stay tuned!

 

This Mom Takes on Meal Planning Week 2

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It’s week 2  of my Healthy January Work Week Lunch Prep and I am super excited! Week 1’s meals were fabulous and I am really looking forward to  what Week 2 has in store!

This week I have been craving Chinese food, it’s one of my favorites but it’s not so healthy. So my goal was to make ahead some Chinese inspired healthiness…thus Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Inside this delectable mix is grilled chicken, carrots, water chesnuts, bean sprouts, and onion with a little low sodium soy and a small dab of oyster sauce because a little goes a long way. Put that along with some lettuce leafs and we have wraps! I know it is not the healthiest but I have learned when you have cravings to give in but in the freshest way possible. Otherwise in my case, I give in, go all out, and regret my choices later.

20160117_200054Next I worked on a Baked Tilapia with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Rainbow Carrots. This is just something I threw together based on what I had in my house and again by listening to my cravings. First in a pan I placed chopped sweet potatoes and rainbow carrots drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I roasted these at 400 degrees for 33 minutes. I left them on the pan but scooted them all to one side. On the other side I placed the tilapia filets down with one tab of low fat butter on each and seasoned with seasoned salt, pepper, fresh basil, paprika, and lemon juice. I put the pan back in the oven for an additional 12-13 minutes, until the fish got flaky. Yum, yum!

20160111_194649I did another week long breakfast as an added bonus…Egg Omlets in a Muffin Pan. Again I used what I had on hand, but I used this recipe from Lauren Conrad as a base for cooking time/temp. For mine I used cooked, crumbled sausage, roma tomatoes, spinach, garlic, onion, sprinkled fresh basil on top, and of course, eggs. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Once cooled, I placed two omelets in baggies and I will reheat for 1-1.5 minutes and then instant, delicious breakfast!

I hope you will try at least one of these make ahead meals and that you enjoy the week ahead! Let me know what you think, if you try them, or if you have any suggestions for next week’s meal prep. Bon appetit!

 

This Mom’s Healthy Meal Prep Week 1

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This Mom’s Healthy Meal Prep Week 1

So earlier this week I mentioned how much I love January for all the healthy talk and topics. So in honor of a healthy January I am going to be doing a healthy lunch prep for the work week segment. Each Sunday I will feature recipes and pictures of the week’s lunches.

For this week I have prepped two recipes for four lunches since I have plans to eat Indian with some coworkers on Friday. I am also featuring a made ahead breakfast that will be enough for every day of the week.

The first made ahead lunch is One Pan Baked Chicken with Carrots 20160110_183931and Broccoli. I found this recipe originally on Facebook and loved the simplicity, put it all in a pan and bake! Since it needed to bake I made it first. Using a foil lined pan, spray with cooking spray, and spread out chopped carrots, chopped broccoli, and chicken breasts. Sprinkle vegetables and chicken with spices, the spices I used were garlic salt, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Then drizzle olive oil over them all. Bake at 400 for 35 to 40 minutes. I haven’t tried the chicken yet but I snagged a couple of the vegs and they are delicious!

The second week day lunch was a Green Power Salad with a Creamy Avocado Dressing. I found it on Pinterest and the recipe is here. A power salad i20160110_191228s just what I need for lunch and this one definitely packs the power greens! Spinach, avocado, cucumber, edamame, and broccoli with cashews and a flavorful, healthy dressing to pull it all together. I didn’t have my little containers because my husband wants to use them this week for his snacks, so I used plastic baggies and I plan on clipping a corner at lunch to use it as a dispenser. I am definitely looking forward to this lunch this week!

For breakfast I have found another Chia recipe, Coconut Lime Raspberry Chia Pudding, since I loved last weeks so much. This recipe,seen here, uses raspberries, lime juice, coconut milk, shaved coconut, almond milk, 20160110_194140and chia seeds. It says you can add a sweetener but I splurged for the sweetened almond milk and that did it for me.Since I had one container left from my husband’s raid I decided to use it for tomorrow’s breakfast, put the rest into a large bowl, and then refill it each night for the following day. However, due to an unfortunate event, as I was putting the larger container in the fridge it popped out of my hand, bounced off the second shelf of my fridge, and landed on the floor in a large pink puddle. Definitely not one of my more graceful moments! I could not salvage it from the sadness, but at least I have the one for tomorrow.

I hope you will try at least one of these yummy make ahead meals for your work week and if you have any suggestions for make ahead meals, let me know. I will be adding a whole new set next Sunday. Enjoy!

This Mom is Checking Out Chia Seeds

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This Mom is Checking Out Chia Seeds

I, regretfully, am not much of a breakfast person. I stayed home by myself quite a bit as a child/young adult and I usually cooked my breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. I didn’t know how to cook much, but I could make a mean egg sandwich. So needless to say, over the years I got tired of eggs. I am constantly in search of something I will like for breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day after all. In one of my Pinterest searches I found this, Mango Chia Breakfast Cereal recipe here from Dietitian Debbie.

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Photo Credits: Dietitian Debbie

I made it with a full can of coconut milk, a whole mango and double the Chia seed and milk so it made 5 small breakfast meals. I have them in cute to go cups so that I can eat them quickly at work. While I was making them, I proudly (and in a somewhat cocky way) told my husband that I was going to be eating healthy breakfasts this week because my meal had chia seeds in it. And of course, because he loves to tease me, he asked why chia seeds were so healthy. I stuttered and stammered, but I did not have an answer. I just knew that they were from hearing various comments and gossip from friends. I didn’t know why! After some mild gloating from my husband I new it was time to do some research!

I have learned several things from my little investigation:

  1. Chia seeds have antioxidents to protect themselves from souring. Some studies say more than blueberries. Which is awesome for us too!
  2. They have a high fiber content. This should increase chances for weight loss and reduce appetite. In fact the carbs in these little jewels are almost all fiber!
  3. Don’t underestimate their size, they hold considerable amounts of nutrients including calcium and magnesium.
  4. Because of all these amazing facts, chia seeds should increase energy levels which is great for working out and staying in shape.

Basically, these little seeds are jam packed with goodness! So without really knowing why, I am having some ‘good for you’ breakfasts this week! I hope this was helpful to you and I would love to know if you are already eating them. What are your favorite ways to use chia seeds?

This Mom Is Trying Spaghetti Squash

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This Mom Is Trying Spaghetti Squash

I heard all the raves about Spaghetti Squash and how good it was but it wasn’t until my husband tried it on one of our rare date nights at a fancy restaurant and said he actually liked it. Who knew! I couldn’t believe he did, it was a ‘dreaded’ vegetable! How could he? It wasn’t until he admitted he liked it that I told him what it was. I decided it was time to try cooking spaghetti squash myself. I found an amazing tip about how to cook it, which you can see here.

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It was super easy to do and it worked out marvelously. Just chop off the ends, slice into rings, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. I placed mine on a foil lined cookie sheet. Roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then just peel off the peel and gently pull apart with two forks, the ‘noodles’ just fell apart wonderfully and nothing was wasted. No scraping or mincing up the strings. The squash made perfect “noodles” and they weren’t squishy like I was afraid they could be. Now, I did burn/blacken the bottoms of the rings a little, but that part came right off and I made those a taste testing set. I really liked it with just the salt and pepper, like I could eat them just like that. Onward to the sauce though. The recipe for a sauce that was featured in her article looked really good too, but I wanted to try to find something I knew my boys would eat too.

So after much Pinterest searching I found a Vegan Tomato Basil Cream Sauce courtesy of Hummusapien . We are not a vegan family, but this recipe really sounded delicious! The idea of a cream sauce with no cream was so healthy and appealing! And it was foolproof, so simple! Fire roasted canned tomatoes, soaked cashews, basil leaves, salt, pepper, and a little bit of water and then voila! A sauce to be proud of! Warm it together with the prepared spaghetti squash noodles and it was an amazing meal. One that has become a favorite of mine, I even had the heated leftovers for lunch the next day. Unfortunately the sauce was not liked by my very picky younger child so the search is on for a sauce he will like. I would love to hear any of your suggestions, maybe something you eat with spaghetti squash. I will try to update on any new tries that I taste test on him!