Dinner

Healthy Recipe Ideas

If you’ve spent any time at all on this blog, you may have noticed that most of the recipes I post are of the…unhealthy variety ;) I love baking somewhat crazy and delicious desserts. But I have seen a HUGE spike of people searching the blog for my healthier recipes (I’m assuming with the new year’s resolutions coming in) so I thought I would list some of my healthier recipes in one post so it would be more convenient for you guys!

Disclaimer: I’m a fan of eating healthy, but I also believe that fad diets and restrictive diets are pointless. Eating healthy is a day-to-day challenge and some days I do well and some days I don’t. But if you try telling yourself that you’re never going to eat a dessert again, it generally won’t work out well. I hope we can all do better at striving for balance, which means checking out these healthier recipes but also indulging a few times a week :)

*Anything labeled “Daniel Fast” is Vegetarian, Vegan, and Daniel-Fast approved* 

Also, for those of you interested in the Daniel Fast, I answered a lot of questions about it in THIS post :)

Healthy Breakfast and Snacks:

DF smoothie web

I love smoothies! They are so easy to make and very customizable. Depending on what you put in them, they can provide you with fruit, dairy, and protein to kick-start your day! I usually try to add some sort of fruit, yogurt or milk, and peanut butter :)

Daniel Fast Smoothies

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Smoothie

healthier bb web1

I also love breads and muffins! Here are two recipes that I have adjusted to make them much lighter than the usual muffin/quick-bread, but you really cannot tell the difference between these and their less-healthy counterparts.

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Healthier Banana Bread

Zucchini Bread

Healthy Lunch and Dinner:

tenders salad web2

These recipes are all ones that I love and think taste really good. I recently made Hot Spinach Dip again and was reminded of how good it is! And the Daniel-Fast approved Potato Wedges and Veggies is one of my all-time favorite meals!

How to Make White Rice

Salad with Maple Mustard Chicken Tenders

Hot Spinach Dip

Daniel Fast Chile

potato wedges web4

Potato Wedges and Veggies

Daniel Fast Lettuce Wraps

Daniel Fast Taco Salad <- another really great one!

Daniel Fast Vegetable Soup

Desserts:

Cookie Dough Balls

Gigantic Peanut Butter Candy Cookie <- I included this one because it makes one cookie which lets you have dessert without too many leftovers!

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Salad with Maple Mustard Chicken Tenders

Can I let you in on a little secret?

Ok…it’s a really big secret. Here it is:

I am a future Wallyball Olympic athlete. That’s right, and you heard it first!

Ha. Just kidding. There are several things that make that ^ statement ridiculous. First of all, there is not an Olympic Wallyball team. And second, I tend to throw my arms over my head whenever there are object flying around. They don’t even have to be flying at me…I have been known to flinch and protect myself from balls that were a good 20 feet away.

So what is Wallyball? It’s Vollyball with walls! You play in a raquetball room with a Wallyball (very similar to a volleyball) and hit off walls. I played quite a bit of Wallyball this past weekend at a church retreat with my youth group and had much more fun than I thought I would! I did have my moments where I threw my arms over my head to protect myself, but managed to hit the ball a lot (sometimes over the net ;) .

So anyway, before I left for the retreat I made this maple mustard chicken and served it in a salad along with some rolls. Everyone in my family (well besides the 5 year old but she doesn’t like real food ;) really enjoyed it! The chicken is very easy to make, it just takes a little planning because it has to soak in a buttermilk mixture for several hours. It paired very well with the salad and made for a great, easy, light dinner. Well, light if you don’t count the 4 rolls I ate ;)

This chicken has a pretty strong dijon mustard flavor and is made slightly sweet by the maple syrup. I loved the crunchy coating :)

Maple Mustard Buttermilk Crusted Chicken Tenders

Makes about 10 tenders.

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup dijon mustard

2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I couldn’t find them so I used plain breadcrumbs)

1/2 cup regular seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (I omitted this because my mom is allergic)

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together buttermilk, maple syrup, mustard and garlic (if using). Add chicken to a baking dish and pour buttermilk mixture over top to coat. Let soak for 4-6 hours, or overnight. I didn’t have time to do this and they only soaked for about 2 hours. It turned out fine.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine panko, seasoned bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper and ground mustard.
  3. When tenders have finished soaking, take them out of the mixture and dip them in the breadcrumb mixture, coating the tenders with the breadcrumbs. Put the chicken on the wire rack and spray them with some olive oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, gently flip and mist with spray, then bake for 10-12 minutes more.
  4. Chop them up and serve them in a salad, or eat them as tenders! Enjoy!

Source: How Sweet Eats

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How to Make White Rice

Apparently today is the first day of Spring! I totally thought the 21st of March was the first day of Spring, but Google says it’s today and Google usually knows what he’s talking about, so happy first day of Spring! We are celebrating with 86 degree weather…I think the world is a tad confused and thinks today is actually the first day of Summer.

I had a lot of fun answering the alphabet survey in my last post, so I thought I would answer some more questions. If you don’t feel like getting to know me more, feel free to skip to the bottom of the post to find out how to make great white rice. I’ll cry, but that’s ok ;)

What was one of the best parties you’ve ever been to? My friends Jessica and Jessica throw the best birthday parties! Last year they had a Harry Potter themed party and this year they had a murder mystery. Their parties are always really fun and entertaining :)

What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up? Oh goodness. I cry at everything. I cried at this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy (I always cry at Grey’s Anatomy). Oh and I cried a ton after I read Portia de Rossi’s book Unbearable Lightness. I would absolutely recommend this book. It’s a really honest and brave memoir about her struggle with eating disorders.

When was the last time you had an amazing meal? Today I went to Maniac’s. I had never been there before but they had amazing hand-battered chicken tenders. Mmm!

What is something you learned in the last week? Today I learned that March 20th is the first day of Spring!

I’d love to hear some of your responses to these questions :)

This is a basic recipe for how to prepare white rice. I love rice! It’s great with some salt, butter, and peas, as a side dish with some chicken, and I also love it with my mom’s beef stew. Rice is really versatile and there’s a seemingly endless way to prepare it, but you need to know how to make basic rice before you tackle anything crazy ;) I didn’t know how to make rice until recently (yeah…I’m a little behind) but it was super easy to learn.

How to Cook White Rice:

  1. Measure your rice and water. I use a 1:2 ratio, meaning 1 cup of rice for every 2 cups of water (or chicken/vegetable broth). I’ve also seen people use 1 cup of water to 1.5 cups liquid, but the 1:2 ratio worked great for me.
  2. Should I rinse my rice? I don’t and I haven’t had any issues with my rice being too starchy and sticky. Rinsing your rice can get rid of some of the nutrients as well, so I wouldn’t unless you’ve had issues with the texture of your rice in the past.
  3. Combine your rice and water in a pot, cover it, and bring it to a boil. Once it is at a good, rolling boil, reduce the heat so it’s just a slow simmer and set the timer for 20 minutes. Don’t open the lid during that time because it will let the steam out.
  4. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 minutes (still don’t touch the cover).
  5. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

Note: Rice will double as it cooks.

I got these tips from Our Best Bites. I’ve made rice several times recently and it’s always turned out perfect!

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Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata

I went to Boston with my grandparents this summer and we ate at this wonderful neighborhood restaurant called 75 Chestnut. My grandpa used to be a bartender with the manager of the restaurant when they worked at the Hampshire House. If any of you are in the Boston area, definitely check out 75 Chestnut- it has great atmosphere, people, and food. I got the Meyer Lemon Chicken with some little potatoes. It was a very simple meal but incredibly tasty. I had never had Meyer Lemons before and I was amazed at the flavor it gave the chicken. I always thought Meyer Lemons were the same as regular lemons but they’re not- they’re a cross between a lemon and a mandarin which results in a slightly sweeter and stronger lemon.

I have been looking for Meyer Lemons at our grocery store ever since this summer but have never found them, so when I won Meyer Lemons through The Little Kitchen’s Duda Farm’s giveaway, I knew I had to make this chicken! I searched all over for a recipe and found one for Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata. It was not the same as the meal I had in Boston, but the chicken was very simple and flavorful and the lemony sauce was very light (quite a contrast to Pioneer Woman’s Lemon Basil Pasta I made a while back). I served the chicken and sauce with slices of Meyer Lemons and Penne. My family really liked it and I would absolutely make this again in the future :)

On another note, I also won a $25 Williams-Sonoma giftcard! What do you think I should get? I’m thinking about buying one of those new-fangled Silpats I see all the fancy bloggers using ;)

I hope you have a fantabulous week!

Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata

Ingredients:

6 (more/less depending on how much your family eats) pieces of skinless, boneless chicken tenders
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup sauvignon blanc or other crisp, tart white wine
1 to 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 pound of Penne (or whatever kind of pasta you desire)
Directions:
  1. Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Cut the fat and veins out of the chicken tenders. Sprinkle tenders evenly with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken tenders in the flour.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3-4 tenders to pan and cook until golden brown. Turn them over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the chicken is not pink on the inside. Repeat the procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and chicken tenders.
  4. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook the broth mixture until it reduces down quite a bit, several minutes. Stir in the lemon juice; bring to a boil. Taste the sauce and add more chicken broth if the lemon flavor is a bit too strong.
  5. Serve the Penne and chicken with the sauce over it.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Myrecipes.com :)

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Cheeseburger Pockets

Yesterday morning I got up at 6am. I am not a morning person, but I got up so I could take pictures of the sunrise over this beautiful field. I drove to the field and ended up having to walk for like a quarter mile in the 18 degree weather. Then a cop stopped to see if I was running away from home which was interesting. And then I ended up not getting the picture I wanted. Sometimes I don’t like being a photographer one bit. But most of the time I love it.

I made these Cheeseburger Pockets for New Year’s Eve. They were super duper delicious! The filling was so good that my sister and I used the leftover filling as a dip. They’d be great for any get together or the Super Bowl. My family is not into football, but we watched the Patriots vs. Bronco game. I just felt bad for the Broncos!

How do you celebrate the Super Bowl? Who are you rooting for?

We’re from Boston so I’m rooting for the Patriots. Our church has a chili cook-off and dessert competition on Superbowl Sunday which I love. I’m trying to figure out what to make for the dessert competition. Suggestions?

Have a great week!

Cheeseburger Pockets

Ingredients:

  • Enough dough for 12 crescent rolls (or another kind of pre-made dough)
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 poundground beef
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoonpepper
  • 1/2 pound process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoonsbutter, melted
  • Ketchup or barbecue sauce, optional (for dipping)

Directions:

  • In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels.
  • In another skillet, cook the beef and onion until meat is no longer pink. Add the salt and pepper. Drain the excess fat.
  • Add in bacon and cheese. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
  • Unwrap the crescent rolls and lay out the sheet of dough. Push together the seems so it’s one rectangular sheet of dough.
  • Cut the crescent roll sheets into squares (two triangles to a square). Add a couple spoon-fulls of the meat mixture to the dough. Fold the corners up and press it together to form a little pocket.
  • Bake according to the crescent roll package instructions (usually for about 10 minutes).

Enjoy!

Makes 12 pockets.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

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