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Mexican inspired healthy grilled chicken salad

Mexican chicken salad

Looking for something to do with your leftover grilled chicken?

I am always looking for ways to use chicken as I eat a lot of it. I came up with this chicken salad recipe after having grilled a few too many chicken breasts during a get together. Using grilled chicken gives this recipe an extra depth of flavor and that familiar summertime fun grilled charred taste.

Chicken salad is usually loaded with mayonnaise but this version has none. I substitute yogurt and avocado for the mayo. Combined, these give you the creaminess you crave in a chicken salad but using only healthy fats. This salad also includes lots of protein, fiber and vitamins.

This salad can be served on whole wheat toast or on a bed of lettuce. I also like to top it with pickled jalapeño

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad

  • 1-1/2 Lbs Chicken breast
  • 1 Can Black beans (low sodium)
  • 1 Cup Frozen or fresh corn
  • 1/2 Medium Red onion
  • 1 Red bell pepper (roasted)
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Ripe avocado
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Tbsp Hot sauce
  1. Grill chicken and let cool. Chop chicken into cubes and set aside. 

  2. Cut avocado in half, remove seed and peel. Add to bowl and mash with fork

  3. Juice lime and add to mashed avocado.

  4. Chop onion, roasted pepper, and cilantro

  5. Combine all ingredients in bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill

  6. Serve over a bed of arugula or this makes a great sandwich. Some suggested garnishes are chopped green onion, pickled jalapeños or hot sauce! Enjoy! 

 

Recipes

Turkey meatloaf topped with radish, apple salad

Turkey meatloaf with radish and apple salad

I love meatloaf!

That’s probably because it was a childhood comfort food. There is something very satisfying about having a great meatloaf with a side of creamy mashed potatoes. This is my healthy version, turkey meatloaf.

Now that I am older and living a healthier life

I have tinkered around to come up with this healthier version. Replacing the beef with lean turkey will help reduce the saturated fat. Be careful when choosing your turkey as white turkey meat has less saturated fat than sirloin but not less than dark turkey meat. Read the label and make sure it contains only lean white meat. Don't be fooled though, because this isn't your typical dry turkey meatloaf. My secret ingredient of mushrooms gives this meatloaf a great Unami flavor and keeps the turkey moist and juicy. I also like to limit my sugar intake, especially my processed sugars, so I replaced the typical ketchup topping with a fresh salad of radishes, apples and arugula.

I usually serve this with quinoa or my favorite mashed potato substitute - mashed cauliflower (see my pastel to papa recipe for my mashed cauliflower recipe). Meat and potatoes are a classic combo but can be very heavy on your stomach. The turkey and cauliflower are much lighter but still satisfy that meat and potato craving.

Turkey Meatloaf topped with radish, apple salad

A healthier version of my childhood comfort food. Don't be fooled though because this isn't your typical dry turkey meatloaf. My secret ingredient of mushroom gives this meatloaf a great Unami flavor and keeps the turkey moist and juicy. 

Meatloaf

  • 2 Lbs Lean white meat ground turkey
  • 8 Oz Mushrooms (I like to use baby portobello )
  • 1 Large Bell pepper
  • 1 Small Red onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Tamari or liquid aminos
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Hot sauce
  • 2 Eggs

Radish and Apple salad

  • 4 French radishes
  • 1 Honey crisp apple
  • 1/2 Cup Micro greens or arugula

Salad vinaigrette

  • 1 Cup Olive oil
  • 1 Cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Honey

Meatloaf

  1. Preheat oven to 375

  2. Dice mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, and garlic

  3. Add small amount of oil (I use avocado oil) to sauté pan. Sauté mushrooms, onions and bell pepper for around 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and Tamari or liquid aminos and sauté for additional minute. Turn off heat and let cool.

  4. For bread crumbs, you can use store bought, but I like to take a few fresh slices of wheat bread and pulse in food processor

  5. In large bowl combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, hot sauce, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Also add sautéed mushroom, onion, garlic and pepper once cooled.

  6. Combine all ingredients and form into a loaf on an oven safe pan. Season again with a salt and pepper

  7. Bake at 375 for 60-75 mins. I like to broil for addition 5-10 mins to give outside a nice crust. 

Radish and apple salad

  1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients and shake well 

  2. Chop radishes and apples into 1/2" cubes. 

  3. Combine radishes, apples and arugula/micro-greens and top with a few tbsp of vinaigrette 

  4. Once meatloaf if cooked, remove and slice. Top with salad and serve with your favorite side. I recommend mashed cauliflower or quinoa. 

 

Recipes

Avocado egg boats

Avocado Egg Boats

Are you looking for a great breakfast, lunch or dinner? Avocado eggs are so easy to make and only takes about 25 mins total. There are only a few ingredients and endless options for toppings.

Avocado eggs are loaded with protein and all types of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Avocados are a nutrient dense fruit that have tons of benefits.

I can't take credit for this recipe idea as I saw this on the internet a while back . I wish I could remember where so I could give them credit. Since I can't leave anything alone, I decided to add the chives and hot sauce on top.

Avocado egg boats

An easy nutrient dense meal that is great for anytime. 

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp Hot sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 400

  2. Splits avocado in half and remove the pit and place in sheet pan or oven safe pan

  3. Scoop out a little more avocado to make room for eggs

  4. Crack egg into each half of the avocado 

  5. Top with salt and pepper

  6. Cook for 15-20 mins depending on how you like your eggs. (Cook for 15 mins if you like your yolk runny)

  7. Remove eggs and top with whatever you like. I love hot sauce, and chives. Some other good options are salsa, sour cream. 

 

Recipes

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn't love tacos.

There are many versions of tacos - from beef, pork, bean, etc., but lots of people have never heard of shrimp tacos.  My introduction to shrimp tacos came while living in Arizona and I instantly regretted not having tried them sooner. Some seafood tacos use fried fish or shrimp, shredded cabbage and some sort of salsa or pico de gallo. While this is delicious I found a way to still enjoy my shrimp tacos but in a healthier way. In an attempt to make this dish a little healthier, I have switched from fried shrimp to grilled shrimp. I also love to serve them with a pineapple guacamole, and topped with chipotle yogurt sauce.

The mix of the savory seafood, sweet and spicy guacamole, crunchy cabbage and spicy chipolte sauce is like a flavor bomb exploding in your mouth. I personally like soft corn tortillas but you can substitute hard shells if you prefer. There are many ways to modify this recipe as the options are almost endless.

Many people ask me what type of seafood I use. My answer is usually that shrimp or any white fish will do. I have used halibut, flounder, walleye, and perch to name a few.  I like to marinate the shrimp or fish a little in a mixture of paprika, garlic, onions, chili powder, cumin and lime juice to add even more flavor before grilling.

Enjoy this recipe, and again - please share your version or opinions.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

  • 1 pack of soft corn tortillas

Shrimp and Marinade

  • 1 lbs shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin

Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 cup pineapple (diced)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin

Chipolte Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (about one lime)

Slaw

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  1. I like to marinate, and make slaw, guacamole, and chipolte sauce ahead of time

  2. Combine shrimp marinade plus salt and pepper with shrimp and place in refrigerator for at least 30 mins up to overnight

Guacamole

  1. Chop Onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, pineapple and cilantro 

  2. Cut and remove flesh and seed from avocados 

  3. Place avocados in bowl and mash with fork

  4. Add onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, pineapple, cilantro and lime juice. Combine well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or refrigerate

Chipolte Sauce

  1. Combine, yogurt, hot sauce and lime juice and mix well

Slaw

  1. Slice cabbage very thin 

  2. Chop cilantro 

  3. Mix Cabbage, cilantro and lime in bowl and refrigerate 

Making the tacos now that everything is made and ready

  1. 1. Grill the shrimp. A good tip is to use wet skewers so it’s easy to flip on grill

  2. I like to warm up the tortillas on grill to give them a little char

  3. Construct tacos and garnish with a little cilantro... enjoy! 

 

Recipes

Chimichurri – My go to sauce

Chimichurri

Everytime I offer chimichurri to my guest they look at me and ask...what is it? Then after trying it they usually ask me for the recipe or tell me I should bottle it. You can find many recipes on the internet but I want to share the way my mom made it.

Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce or condiment that is very popular in Argentina and all over South America. It is healthy, packed with flavor and so versatile. Chimichurri can be used as a marinade, a sauce or a condiment. It goes great with so many thing, including, red meat, chicken, fish and potatoes to name a few. Don't be afraid to even serve it alone with a nice artisan bread to dip.

There are many ways to make it. This is a version as I remember my mom making it. Feel free to add or change some of these ingredients to suit your taste and server it at your next dinner party but be prepared to answer the question, what is chimichurri?

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce or condiment that is healthy, flavorful and easy to make. 

  • 1 Cup Cold press Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 Head of garlic
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 bunch parsley or cilantro (or a mix of both)
  • 1 tbsp red pepper
  1. Chop garlic, parsley and scallions

  2. Add all ingredients to bowl and mix 

  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.. I usually store in mason jar outside of fridge for up to 1-2 weeks, but it usually won't make it that long.

Recipes

Spaghetti squash boats – a healthier Italian

HEALTHY RECIPE

Growing up in an Argentinian/Italian household in New Jersey I ate my share of pasta. My mom was known for cooking and her marinara sauce was her number one recipe. Her marinara sauce was well known throughout my circle of friends and even their friends. In fact, she had helped during a cooking class to teach my friend’s mom how to make it. I still crave pasta pretty often, so I have figured out a way to eat my "spaghetti" with this healthy Italian recipe.

If you’ve never had spaghetti squash you will wonder why it took you so long to try it. Roasting the squash gives it a great savory yet sweet flavor with an awesome texture that will help "squash" your pasta craving. I use my mom’s tomato sauce recipe (which I will post soon) but any marinara sauce will work. When topped with some melted mozzarella and Parmesan it hits all the flavors of Italian cooking. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

You can modify this recipe in lots of way by adding some turkey meatballs, chicken sausage, or even sound ground turkey. Feel free to add protein as you see fit. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and tweak this and any recipe to your taste . We love to hear from you so please share your ideas, healthy Italian recipe and tips with us.

Italian spaghetti squash boats

Here is my way to satisfy my pasta cravings with a healthier version using spaghetti squash

  • 1 Spaghetti squash
  • 3-4 Cups Marianara sauce
  • 4-6 Oz's Fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesen cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and rub inside with olive oil and salt and pepper liberally. Place on sheet pan cut side down

  3. Roast in oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 mins. You will know it's ready when you can poke a fork through skin easily.

  4. Remove from oven and let cool. 

  5. Using a fork, pull flesh from shell. It should look like spaghetti. Place is bowl and drain excess liquid. Place the "spaghetti" back in shells

  6. Top with marianara sauce (optional - turkey meatballs, chicken sausage, ground turkey) 

  7. Slice and top with fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

  8. Place back in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.

  9. Remove from oven and top with fresh oregano or/and basil garnish. Serve and enjoy.

 

Recipes

Broquinoa – Quinoa Broccoli salad

Broquinoa - Quinoa and Broccoli salad

Here is a great healthy recipe for a side dish that goes with so many things and also can be eaten by itself.

I can't take credit for this healthy recipe as I have seen different versions of this but most are loaded with mayo and sugar. My version is much healthier and I also added the quinoa which has protein and lots of amino acids. Quinoa is on of the few grains that has all nine of the essential amino acids. So if you looking for a healthy side this summer, look no further. Please feel free to comment or share your version of the healthy recipe or any on my blog.

Broccoli quinoa salad - Broquinoa

Here is a healthy recipe for a broccoli and quinoa salad.   

Salad

  • 1 Cup Cooked quinoa
  • 1 Head Of broccoli (Raw)
  • 1 Cup Of raisin or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 Medium Red onion
  • 1 Cup Of your favorite nut, I use walnuts but almonds, sunflowers seeds or pistachios will work

Salad dressing

  • 1/2 Cup Greek yogurt (Unsweetended)
  • 1/4 Cup Canola or olive oil mayo
  • 1/4 Cup Mustard (Dijon)
  • 1/2 Cup Red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped scallions
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  1. Cut broccoli into small florets

  2. Dice red onion and walnuts

  3. Combine quinoa, onion, broccoli, raisins and nuts in large bowl. Set aside.

  4. Combine ingredients for dressing in bowl and whisk to combine. 

  5. Add dressing to salad and salt and pepper to taste. Refigerate for 30 mins... the longer it sits the better it gets.. Enjoy! I like to serve this as a side to grilled chicken but it can be eaten by itself as it has lots of protein and vitamins. 

Recipes

Grilled Salmon with seasonal salad and grilled beets

Grilled Salmon recipe

So if you have read my other blogs you would know I belong to a local farm CSA. Well this week share had some great organic in season vegetables. I incorporated some of them into my meal tonight.. and made a delicious season salad to top my grilled salmon. This meal has lots of different flavor and textures.

I love to grill all year round. My neighbors know this as they see me out there usually four to five times a week even in rain or snow. I have grilled lots of different vegetables but never tried grilling beets until tonight.  Grilling beets adds a great, smoky flavor.  After tonight I know I will be doing it more often!  I love to include some type of salad in my dishes.  This time I topped my salmon with the peppery goodness of radishes paired with a sweet apple and pea shoots.  I made this dish for the first time and it ended up working out great. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did.

Grilled Salmon with seasonal salad and grilled beets

  • 2 Salmon Filets
  • 1 Bunch Of golden beets (4-6 beets)

Salmon marinade

  • 1/4 Cup Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil
  • 1 Lemon juice

Beet marinade and salad dressing

  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Mustard (Of your juice)
  • 2 Tbsp Honey

Seasonal salad

  • 1 Medium Honey Crisp Apple
  • 1 Cup Pea shoots or micro greens
  • 2 Radishes
  1. Combine salmon marinade and salmon and refrigerate at least and hour or overnight

  2. Combine and whisk beet marinade and salad dressing. Set aside

  3. Peel and slice beets into 1/2" thick medallions. Marinade with 3/4 of the beet marinade for at least and hour or overnight. Reserve the rest of the marinade to use for salad dressing

  4. Make the seasonal salad. Dice the radishes, apples and combine with pea shoots or micro greens. Dress and toss salsa with the reserved beet marinade/dressing. Set aside

  5. Heat grill to medium high heat. Grill beets for around 7 minutes on each side. Depending on the thickness of your salmon grill 4-6 minutes on each side till cooked medium or medium well. 

  6. Serve salmon with seasonal salad on top or side. Serve with beets and a lemon wedge.. enjoy! 

Recipes

Why I love my CSA

CSA, a cooks best friend

If you don't know what a CSA is, don't worry I didn't either until about a year ago. CSA Stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs allow consumers to have direct access to high quality, sometimes organic fresh produce or meat grown locally by regional farmers. When you become a member of a CSA, you're purchasing a “share” of vegetables/meat from a regional farmer. Some CSAs have a "season" cost or like the one I belong to - will have a weekly cost. I belong to Jack's Farm CSA in Pottstown and absolutely love it. Being a week to week CSA it allows you to choose each week if you want a share. This is great as you can skip a week and not pay if you will be out-of-town or if something comes up. Other CSAs have a one - time up front cost and if you are away you will lose that share for that week. Jack’s CSA is only for fresh organic produce, but others out there also offer options for meat, eggs and cheese. A good website to find a local CSA is here.

There are several reasons why I enjoy belonging to a CSA. One, it gives me access to fresh organic produce that is grown locally. It also allows me to support a local farm which means a lot to me. Also, if you are like me, you are a big fan of food networks, especially the show "Chopped". When you belong to one you will receive a lot of ingredients that you wouldn't normally buy or even see in your local supermarket. This gives me the chance to pretend I am a contestant on "Chopped" and create healthy unusual recipes. I always love being challenged and cooking is no different.

I highly recommend you finding a local Community supported agriculture program and supporting a local farm. It might not be the cheapest method for produce, but you will get the freshest and usually best tasting produce you can find. All great recipes and food have the best ingredients!

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Recipes
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