Cheesy Broccoli & Chicken Penne

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So simple and MUCH healthier than the Kraft Dinner my husband suggested. Use any kind of pasta you like and feel free to add more veggies. I think squash, spinach, sweet peppers, chopped brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or even green beans would be excellent in this dish. I mean, how can you go wrong when it’s covered in creamy cheesy goodness? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Note: If you want to kick things up a notch, a tsp of cayenne pepper!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package/box of your favorite pasta (300g ish)
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 large chicken breast chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • 2-3 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or marble cheese
  • fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large frying pan on medium/low heat, sautee chicken breast in olive oil.
  2. While chicken in cooking and using a large pot, prepare pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain water and rinse pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process. Return to pot and stir in butter or margarine. Cover.
  3. When chicken has cooked through, stir in garlic, onion, paprika, broccoli, until combined. Add water and cover. Allow broccoli to steam until desired tenderness.
  4. Add chicken and broccoli mixture to the large pot of pasta. Stir to combine Greek yogurt, cheeses, seas salt and fresh ground pepper. Once pasta is fully coated and cheese has begun to melt, serve and enjoy!

 

Parmesan Pesto Chicken Breast

stuffedchicken.jpgThis chicken was excellent! If you’re a Mediterranean-style food lover, this is for you. Recipe makes enough for two people and takes about 35 minutes from start to finish (including cooking time).

Ingredients:

  • two large chicken breasts
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 1/2 chopped avocado *optional
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 tbsp basil oregano pesto
  • 1-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a sheet pan or cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. With a sharp knife, carefully cut into the top of each chicken breast, making a vertical cut from top to tip. Do not cut all of the way through the breast, slice half way down/through only. Inside this cut, carefully slice horizontally on each side to make a pocket. Be sure not to slice through the walls of the chicken breast. This pocket is where you will place your filling.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto. Add half the filling into each chicken breast. Sprinkle the stuffed chicken breasts with Parmesan cheese, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You may want to use your hands the press the seasoning onto the breast.
  4. Bake in the over for 25 minutes at 400F, or until chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy!!

 

Healthy Apple Crisp

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YUM!! This is an awesome low calories dessert option. The crisp doesn’t come out quite as crumbly as a traditional apple crisp, but it still delicious and there were no complaints from my family. PLUS it’s under 150 calories per serving and have very little added sugar (compared to the traditional recipe). What’s not to love? This recipe makes 6 servings.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3 large gala (or your favorite sweet) apples
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (use light syrup or Walden Farms for even fewer calories)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Crumble Ingredients:ย 

  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 6×8 (or similar) baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Core and chop apples into small cubes of equal size. The smaller your cubes the faster this will cook. In a medium sized bowl, combine your apples with the maple syrup and cinnamon. Add to baking dish.
  3. With a fork, mash the 1/2 banana in the now empty bowl. Once banana is fully mashed (has an apple sauce like texture), use the forkย  to combine with oats, flour, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar. Texture should be crumbly but moist. Add more banana (if too dry) or oats (if too wet) if needed.
  4. Evenly layer the crumble mixture over top of the apples in the baking dish. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until apples are soft. Top with ice cream (if you choose) and enjoy!

Italian Chicken Pasta

ItalianPasta

I’ve gotten so many requests for this SIMPLE recipe, it almost feels like a crime to call it a recipe. It’s more like throwing things in a pot and mixing them together. It’s now low calorie but it IS delicious (or so says my husband, I don’t get to eat this on prep).

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups cooked pasta (any kind will do)
  • 2-3 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion *optional
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic *optional
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup basil oregano pesto
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. If your pasta is not already cooked, best to cover it with water in an extra large pot and start the process. Drain and rinse once it is cooked, return to the extra large pot (and stir in a little butter/margarine if you like).

2. In a large skillet on medium low heat, saute’ your chicken breast in the olive oil. When the chicken is almost cooked through, stir in the onions and garlic. Cook together only long enough that the onion softens, then turn up the heat to high add the broccoli and water. Stir to combine and cover with a lid. Allow the broccoli to steam for 3-4 minutes (until it turns a vibrant green) before removing the lid and turning off the heat.

3. Pour the contents of the skillet into the extra large pasta pot. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, stir to combine (until the spinach has wilted). Pack up for lunches or serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

Broccoli Taco Shells (soft)

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The inspiration for this comes from broccoli crust pizza! The recipe ingredients are identical. I’ve been craving tacos lately and unfortunately contest prep does not allow for the extra calories, so it has encouraged me to get creative!! ๐Ÿ™‚

The cheese in this recipe is totally optional. Although it increases the calories and fat in this recipe, it will make your shells taste even better (who doesn’t like cheese!?) and the shell will hold together better as well. So if you’re not trying to restrict calories as much as I am, enjoy the cheese for me!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole eggs or 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 2-3 cups of fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram)
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella or marble cheese *optional

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine eggs and broccoli in a blender until you have a thick batter-like mixture. Stir in the garlic, herbs, and cheese.

3. Spoon mixture onto parchment paper into pancake-looking circles (approx. 1/4 inch in thickness).ย  Bake in the oven for 14-18 minutes or until edges are golden brown and shells are cooked through. Keep in mind that thinner shells will cook more quickly and thicker shells will take longer, so keep a close eye on them after the 12 minute mark.

4. Once cooked, allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing from the parchment paper. To easily remove, flip the sheet upside down and carefully peel the sheet of parchment paper off of the shells. Load with your favorite toppings and enjoy!!

 

Low Calorie Chicken Pad Thai

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This recipe was inspired by a more traditional Pad Thai, but is a lower calorie alternative. I served it on butternut squash noodles, but think it would be perfect on cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles (or even traditional rice noodles, which are fairly low calorie as well). It would be great with the addition of shrimp as well. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow onion
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 4 cups butternut squash noodles
  • 1 cup sliced sweet pepper
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 tsp sriracha *optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice *optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts *optional

Instructions:

1) Heat a large wok or frying pan to medium/low heat. Add the olive oil and chicken, saute until chicken is cooked through.

2) Add onion and sugar snap peas. Stir until onion begins to soften, then add the remaining vegetables. Push to one side of the pan and scramble the egg on the other side. Once egg is cooked through, stir to combine.

3) In a small bowl, mix fish sauce, white vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sriracha, and lime juice. Pour over veggies and turn heat down to low. Cover and allow to steam for 2-4 minute or until veggies are tender.

4) Top with green fresh herbs and peanuts, enjoy!!

Mini Gluten-Free Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait

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YUMMM. These are so good and low calorie (for a dessert). If you don’t have “skinny syrup” of some kind, feel free to use any sweetener (or 3tsp of white sugar) instead! You can also use flavored/sweetened Greek Yogurt and omit the extra sweetener altogether. I serve these in mini mason jars (SO CUTE) but you can use whatever you have on hand.

Details per serving: 157 calories, 15g Carbohydrates, 10g Protein, 8g Fat

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (half block) light cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tsp vanilla Skinny Syrup (or similar)
  • 4 large strawberries (or any fruit) cut into small chunks
  • 4 gluten free cookies of your choice (I used vanilla oreo-style ones)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, yogurt, and syrup with a hand mixer until smooth. Taste and adjust if you’d like it sweeter.
  2. Place cookies in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to create crumbs.
  3. Add 1/4 of the cookie crumbs in the bottom of each mason jar. Top with the cream cheese mixture. Top with strawberries and enjoy!

Note: You can make this up to 12ย  hours in advance and keep in the fridge.

Roasted Taco Broccoli

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Think of this as a Mexican style broccoli that you can make in the oven or on the bbq. It’s a little bit tangy, a little bit spicy, and a great change to your typical steamed broccoli. It’s also low calorie and quick to whip up!

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each onion powder, paprika, fresh cracked pepper, sea salt
  • 1 tsp each chili powder, dried oregano, garlic powder
  • small pinch of cayenne pepper *optional
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice *optional

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven or BBQ to 400F.
  2. ย In a medium bowl, stir together the broccoli, olive oil, and spices until each floret is coated.
  3. Spread broccoli evenly on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until broccoli is soft. Alternatively, cook broccoli in a foil packet on the bbq for a similar amount of time.
  4. Once cooked, squeeze fresh lime juice over top of the broccoli. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Roast Cauliflower

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Easy and yummy! Of course, you can steam your cauliflower as well (my other favorite way to cook a whole head of cauliflower at once) but if you’ve already got the oven on… might as well get that yummy roasted flavor! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve listed the basic ingredients below but feel free to experiment by adding fun spices. Perhaps lemon pepper, Cajun, or even a little chili powder would be nice? Cauliflower has a pretty mild flavor so feel free to get creative!!

Ingredients:

  • One large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Trim off the stem and leaves from cauliflower stock.
  2. Lightly coat the in olive oil ( I use my hands to make sure it’s evenly covered) and sprinkle the top with the seasonings.
  3. Set the cauliflower in a dish or on a sheet pan, cover with tinfoil. Place in the center of the oven and roast for 45 – 55 minutes (depending on your the size of your cauliflower or until a fork slides in easily).

Enjoy!!

Healthy Whole Wheat Waffles

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I am a huge fan of soft waffles. Every once in a while. I will order waffles in a restaurant and am repeatedly disappointed by crunchy waffles with very little flavor. Sure, the maple syrup makes them yummy – but let’s not let the syrup do all the heavy lifting. These are soft, a little bit sweet, and half the calories of a regular waffle. What’s not to love!? Also, I prefer to make them in the blender. SO FAST!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large apple chopped
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon *optional

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, add the wet ingredients and apple. Blend. Add the banana. Blend. Add the flour one cup at a time. Blend.
  2. Pour mixture into a hot waffle iron, 3/4 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cook 3-4 minutes or until golden. Recipe makes 4 large Belgian style waffles.

Enjoy!