Tag Archives: healthy

Thai Basil Beef Salad

Branching out our taste-bud’s this week with a meal that actually just took under 20 minutes to prepare and left my family full AND healthy!  All sorts of “wins” there!

This meal really is low in calories (less than 300) and high in protein!  Plus, more importantly to me, is it is soooo full of flavor that I didn’t mind giving up my normal TexMex comfort food!  You can mix and match a few ingredients to meet your family’s palates as well.  This is definitely worth a try my friends….

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb flat iron steak (can also use sirloin, hanger or even ground beef!)
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • Hefty pinch of black pepper

*Serve with cooked, long-grain jasmine rice and lime wedges!  I actually like to add fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro to my fluffed rice as well.

**Optional ingredients to add to dish are julienned carrots, Thai hot chili’s, cilantro, red bell pepper slices.

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Dressing: whisk together the rice wine vinegar, oil, Sriracha, soy sauce, and garlic and in a bowl.  Toss the basil, cucumbers and tomato with dressing. Cover and set aside.

Season beef with a hefty amount of pepper and a bit of the canola oil, then sear in a large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes per side; add green onions, cook briefly then remove from heat to rest for 5 minutes. *yields medium-rare.

Spoon rice into bowls and top with the dressed vegetables.  Slice beef against the grain, and place overtop.  Serve with extra soy sauce, Sriracha, hot chili’s and cilantro if desired.

ThaiBasilBeefSalad

 

Toasted Coconut Huckleberry Oat Muffins

Living in a home with little kids means lots of snacks… snacks between meals, snacks after school, snacks before bed, you get the picture.  Now, while trying to cut down on their sugar consumption, yet keep the sweetness in the treats, I found a fabulous product that does exactly that!

It is Steviva’s Nectevia Blue Agave Nectar!  This fabulous all-natural sweetener contains just 1/4 of the calories, carbs and sugars of regular agave or table sugar, yet the Steviva plant is 250 to 300 times sweeter and is safe for those with diabetes or hypoglycemia!  Plus I quite enjoy that I can use this in everything from baked goods, teas and smoothies to pan sauces and marinades for dinner, so versatile!

Now back to the muffins at hand, these are a tasty, healthy alternative to sneak some yummy goodness in your children’s tummies!  They will taste a sweet natural sugar from the blue agave, fresh berries and coconut (tropical much?) and will also keep their body’s full with the benefits of the old-fashioned oats and the “snuck in” chia seeds!  You can feel good about serving these anytime Snack Time hits!

*If huckleberries are hard to come by, feel free to use blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc of your choosing.

**You may absoutely substitute the flour for a gluten free based flour, and the vegetable oil to a heart-healthy coconut oil, etc.  Just make sure to do the proper conversions.

To find and purchase one of the many fabulous Steviva products, please visit:

 

The Starting Lineup (Makes about 15 muffins)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Steviva Nectevia Blue Agave Nectar
  • 2 cups oats, old fashioned
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coconut, unsweetened (plus more for top garnish) + milk to cover
  • 3/4 cup huckleberries
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

muffin.jpeg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin pans.

In a small bowl, add in the 1 cup of coconut and fill with a bit of milk to cover/soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix the above wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.

Next, squeeze the milk soaked coconut and add to the muffin mixture (this coconut flavored milk can be saved for another use…great in baking, smoothies or for cereal!).  Fold in the 2 cups oats and berries.

Fill the muffin tins about 3/4th of the way and top with a bit of shredded coconut on top.

Bake your muffins for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm.

muffin4

 

 

Mexican White Bean Tuna Salad

Those who know me well, know that I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise.  Like, at all.  I’m not going to be annoying and not eat a sandwich when a friend makes one for me (who am I kidding…that never happens), but mayo is a huge reason I never opt for the tuna salad at most places.  *and yes, I cook with it when necessary, just not in abundance. 

Now THIS!!! THIS I can do!!  It has a bit of tang, a bit of heat, a real freshness and zero of that creamy mayo!  Sold!!!  It’s a much lighter take on the traditional version that you can still eat between sliced bread, a pita or a tortilla..or simply eat it on its own as the ‘salad’ that it is!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 packets/cans tuna, drained
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained AND rinsed
  • 1/2-1 calabacita (Mexican squash), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds & pith removed, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, rough chop 
  • 1/8 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, drizzle (1 Tbsp/ optional)
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper, to taste 

This really can’t be any easier…per usual, prep all of the veggies and protein. 

Next, in a large bowl, combine ALL of the above ingredients and toss together.  Yeah…super easy, right??  *you can cover and refridgerate or eat right away!  

I like to serve ours with sliced and seasoned tomatoes, lemon and lime wedges, pita bread or tortillas….and maybe a margarita or two.  Enjoy!!!

Bbq Chicken Cobb Salad

A Cobb Salad is one of the most ordered salads in our great country…I LOVE them!  However, in true Carly fashion, I wanted to give it a Texas twist with an extra punch of flavor! 

This is a great summertime dinner dish that doesn’t heat the home up and can be made in under 30 minutes!  The BBQ sauce doesn’t overwhelm when mixed with the ranch dressing, only compliments, and you get a extra great crunch from the tortilla chip topping!

*You can shred a rotisserie chicken in a pinch!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4-6 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 green onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeńo, thin sliced
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 cup ranch dressing 
  • 1 cup bbq sauce, divided 
  • 1 cup tortilla chips/or strips 
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
     

Here we go!  First, in a bowl or mason jar combine the 1 cup of ranch dressing with 1/2 cup of bbq sauce.  Add in a pinch of salt & pepper and give a good whisk/shake and then refridgerate until the salad is complete. 

 

Next, simply rinse the produce and start the chopping and dicing of the vegetables and chicken! 

In a large bowl, add the cooked, chopped chicken along with the remaining 1/2 cup bbq sauce and toss together. 

  Finally, combine all of the ingredients into the bowl, drizzle with the Bbq Ranch dressing your made earlier and top with the crunchy tortilla strips/chips! 

  

Grilled Lemon-Dill Chicken w/ Greek Chopped Salad

I’ve loved the bright fresh flavors of Greek food far before the recipes infiltrated Pinterest or The Pita Jungle restaurant took off.  Crunchy vegetables, saltiness from the kalamata olives and feta and the brightness of lemon juice are my guilty pleasure.  Well wait, maybe guilty isn’t the correct word, because you never feel too heavy after eating this cool and fresh meal!  Besides the health benefits  of this recipe, I love how fast it all comes together! So it’s great for a weekday dinner or a quick meal to enjoy grilling and eating by the pool on a hot day…

The Starting Lineup

Chicken

  • 4-6 thin cut chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dill, fresh (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons, plus zest
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste  *I used lemon-pepper, because I had it on hand

Salad

  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 2 cucumbers, seeds removed and sliced
  • 4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or cherry tomatoes halved)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste   

Beginning with the chicken, we’ll get the marinade ready.  In a small bowl simply combine the garlic/garlic powder, dill, lemon juice and zest, evoo and salt & pepper, whisk together.  In a large ziplock bag add in the chicken breasts and pour in the marinade.  Seal, place on a dish (to avoid spillage) and let marinate in the refridgerator for 1 hour.  *Do not let marinate too long, as the acid from the lemon juice can change the texture of the chicken. 

   On to the salad!  Prep your veggies by rinsing, chopping and dicing *For the cucumber, slice in half length-wise and take a spoon to gently scoop out the seeds/center.  This will also help to eliminate the salad from getting too soggy.  Also, drain the can of garbanzo beans and rinse/pat dry. 

   In a large bowl, combine the garbanzo beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and kalamata olives.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, evoo, oregano, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and sprinkle on the feta cheese.  Give a gentle toss, cover and refridgerate while you cook the chicken. 

 Now here you can either start up your outdoor grill or use a grill pan indoors.  *Heck, I dont care if you decide to bake the chicken.  Do what makes you happy.  Remove the chicken from the refridgerator and place on your heated grill/medium-high heat grill pan.  Grill the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side and let rest for 5 minutes. 

   On a large family-style serving dish, pour on your Greek salad and layer the grilled, sliced chicken over top.  Enjoy!! 

 

Spinach, Goat Cheese & Chicken Stuffed Roasted Peppers 

The warmer months are upon us where no one wants a heavy meal and eating a reoccurring plate of grilled chicken over salad can get old.  Now this dish isn’t much different, it still has grilled chicken and vegetables, but it’s put together in a beautiful way with extra flavor from a basil pesto and goat cheese crumbles.  Still light and pretty darn healthy!

Another fun thing about this recipe is it can be done in your kitchen OR take it al fresco and do this ALL on your backyard grill for a fun, light dinner!

*I like to serve this either with: pasta tossed in the remaining pesto, with a pich of kosher salt & fresh ground pepper OR if I’m on the grill…I just grill up some more veggies!  Especially fresh asparagus, mushrooms, etc.

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1lb chicken
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed 
  • 1 4oz container crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 jar basil pesto
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper

Garnish/Side

  • Italian flat leaf parsley, rough chop
  • 1 pckg pasta noodles of choice or grilled vegetables  

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and rinsing, cutting in half and removing the seeds of the bell peppers.  In a large bowl combine about 1 Tbsp of EVOO along with 2 Tbsp’s of the basil pesto.  Toss the cut bell peppers in the mix. 

      

Lay the coated peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet and sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper over the tops.  Roast in the oven until just slightly soft (the skins start to bubble), about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.  *Keep the oven on, but you can drop the temperature to 400 degrees. 

 While the peppers are roasting you can prepare the chicken and spinach.  Heat a pan with a bit of oil to medium-high heat while coating the chicken also with a tbsp of pesto and salt & pepper.  Cook/grill the chicken for about 4-5 minutes per side, till just cooked through (I had thin strips, so please cook accordingly), and has a nice golden-brown crust. 

 Also, rinse the spinach and chop off the hard stems (don’t worry if you miss a couple) and place the cut spinach into the same pesto bowl that the bell peppers where in. 

As soon as the chicken is done cooking, remove to a cutting board and chop up.  Immediately tossing the hot, chopped chicken into the fresh spinach.  *The hot chicken will help to wilt the fresh spinach.  Again, add a pinch of salt & pepper and another Tbsp of pesto. …I promise you, this will not be too much of a basil flavor.

   Assembly time!!  Bring over the baking sheet of roasted red peppers and fill with the pesto-chicken-spinach mixture.  Next, take a good amount of the crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle over top.  *I like a lot, so I press that goat cheese in there! 

 

Finally, pop these stuffed peppers into your preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove and serve with a side of pasta or fresh, grilled vegetables.  Enjoy! 

 
*This time I served ours with a side of pasta.  After the noodles boiled, I tossed directly into yes, that same bowl with a bit of pesto in it!  I added more pesto, salt & pepper.  One bowl, three times..LESS cleanup!! 👍 

 


Chili Blanco

I’ve never met a chili I didn’t like, seriously.  With beans, without beans (‘Bowl of Red’), smoked chipotle, turkey, molé style…I could go on and on and on..and I will.

Contrary to its pale appearance, the recipe below for Chili Blanco (blanco means white 😉) is hardly pale in flavor.  The roasted peppers add depth with a touch of heat, the Monterey Jack cheese and white beans add creaminess and the cumin, oregano, cayenne and garlic round out that south-of-the-border flavor.  This one here is a winner when you’re looking to branch out on your chili culinary adventure!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb white beans (Great White Northern), soaked overnight & rinsed OR 3 cans, drained & rinsed
  • 3 cups cooked shredded & chopped chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken if needed)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (4oz) cans of chopped green chilis
  • 1 roasted poblano, skinned, seeded & chopped
  • 1 roasted jalapeño, skinned, seeded & chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 48oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup Jack cheese, shredded
  • EVOO 

Garnish Ideas

  • Avocado slices
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges
  • Jack cheese, shredded  

Assuming your chicken is cooked, beans are soaked and rinsed (if using dried) and your poblano & Jalapeno have been roasted, etc…let’s begin!! Whew!… 

 In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add in about 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Once heated, toss in the onions and cook till translucent (about 10 minutes). 

 To the sweated down onions, add in the green chilis, poblano, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, mexican oregano & cayenne. Stir together for 1 minute. 
   Next add in the beans, chicken broth and the shredded & chopped chicken and bring to a low boil. 
 Once the bubbles start rolling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Stir about every hour or so for 2-3 hours (1 hour if using canned beans…but the longer the better either way really).
Finally, about 30 minutes before you plan to eat, mix in that cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Re-cover and allow to melt in! 
 Serve this complex flavored chili with a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado slices and a lime wedge…oh and don’t forget more cheese and a fresh tortilla for dunking!! Enjoy! xo 
 

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