Monday, May 31, 2010

Turkey Burgers

Summer means it's time for grilling, lounging by the pool, picnics, county fairs, fireworks, camping, fresh fruit, slushy drinks, and sunglasses.  :)  Turkey burgers are a great recipe, a healthy version of an American summer classic--The Burger.  This recipe uses turkey, low/no fat cheese, a whole-wheat bun, and has a unique blend of seasonings.  You won't miss the fat or calories and your body will thank you.  This recipe uses a stove-top, yet the same directions can be used on the grill.


  • 1 lb. frozen turkey meat (extra lean)
  • BBQ seasoning (I use Gates BBQ seasoning from Kansas City, home of amazing BBQ)
  • Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning (or alternatively, use garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and dry mustard)
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese (fat-free)
  • 1 Tomato, cut into slices
  • Leaf Lettuce, 4 Burger-size pieces
  • 4 Whole-Wheat Hamburger Buns

1. Form 4 Burger Patties.  Sprinkle both sides of burgers with BBQ seasoning and Mrs. Dash.
2. Heat large skillet to medium-high heat.  Lightly spray with non-stick butter cooking spray.
3. Place burgers in skillet.  Cook for 5 minutes, then flip burger.
4. Add cheese to the top of each burger.  Cook for 5 more minutes.
5. Place burger on bun and top with tomato and lettuce.

Pair with baked fries (see BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries Recipe) or just some fresh veggies or fruit.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Healthy Veggie Pizza

Who doesn't love Pizza?  This heart-healthy pizza recipe allows us to indulge in pizza without the artery-clogging saturated fats in regular pizza.  And it's also loaded with a ton of veggies for a great way to pack vitamins and nutrients in a tasty way.

Ingredients (5 servings):
1 Refrigerated Pizza crust (whole-wheat preferred)
1 8 oz. can Tomato sauce (no sodium)
1 Tomato, diced
2 tsp. Basil
2 tsp. Oregano
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms (2 small cans or fresh)
1 Green bell pepper, diced
1 can Artichoke hearts, drained (could use fresh/frozen)
8 oz. sliced Black mushrooms (2 small cans)
1 3/4 cups Mozzarella cheese (I use fat-free-2% also ok for better melting and flavor, but I would use less to limit calories and saturated fat)
1 3/4 cups Cheddar cheese (same comment as Mozzarella)
3/4 cup Feta Cheese (I use reduced fat)
Parmesan Cheese, optional (sprinkle on top)

1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place/unroll pizza crust onto greased baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes.
3. Spread tomato sauce on warmed, slightly-cooked pizza crust.
4. Combine diced tomato, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and olive oil in a small bowl.  Spread this mixture on top of pizza.
4. Evenly spread the veggies--artichoke, mushrooms, olives, and green pepper--on top of pizza.
5. Sprinkle Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Feta cheese on top of the pizza.  Optional: sprinkle Parmesan on top.
6. Place pizza in oven and bake for additional 6-9 minutes, or until edge of pizza are slightly browned.

Serve Immediately and Enjoy!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Garlic Sirloin Steak with Corn on the Cob

Corn!  I have a personal love of corn, having grown up in a state where seeing people wear giant foam corn on the cob hats is normal (i.e. Nebraska--Go Cornhuskers, aka 'Skers).  It's the time of year where you can find local sweet corn in your grocery stores. Corn provides you with fiber, folate (heart and reproductive health), Vitamin C, and Vitamin B1 (brain function and memory).

You might be surprised, but you can eat beef healthily.  Yes, it's true.  Just be sure to choose lean cuts, trim extra fat, watch your portions, and eat sparingly (and when buying, choose little marbling and try to buy grass-fed beef).  In fact, some studies show that lean red-meat eaters lose weight more rapidly than non-red-meat eaters and do not increase cholesterol levels and could actually decrease cholesterol.  Additionally, lean red meat offers Zinc, Iron, and Vitamin B12.  This recipe won't utilize the grill (although this recipe would be equally awesome on the grill), but rather the stovetop.  Five simple ingredients, one great meal.

4 Servings

  • 16 oz Sirloin Steak
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter (Smart Balance Light, Omega-3 infused)
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 4 Ears of Sweet Corn, Shucked/Silk removed (basically corn only, no husk/hairs)

1.  Bring large saucepan filled with water to a gentle boil.
2.  Sprinkle pepper and minced garlic on both side of steaks.
3. In separate skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat.
4. Add ears of corn to water.  Boil 5-10 minutes--the longer, the softer (I do 10 min).
5. Place steaks in heated butter for 4-5 minutes.  Turn once, cooking for 4-5 more minutes.
6. Melt remaining butter in small bowl (microwave for 12 seconds).  Stir in garlic powder.

Serve immediately.  Use a brush (spoon also ok) to put garlic butter on both corn and steak.  I am also choosing to serve a simple green salad tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for another side.  Yuuum.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

BBQ Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

This recipe makes a regular appearance in our household.  Baked chicken and sweet potato fries are really healthy, but let us feel like we're splurging (I mean, we're eating fries!).  You can also use regular potatoes for this recipe, but sweet potatoes are healthier (loaded with Vitamin A--roughly 250% of your daily value, Vitamin C, fiber--more than in oatmeal, complex carbohydrates, and beta-carotene).

1/2 lb. Chicken Breasts
BBQ Sauce
2 Medium Sweet Potatoes
3 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Garlic
1 tsp. Parsley
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Cumin

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Coat Chicken Breasts in BBQ sauce and let sit for a few minutes.
3. Cut rinsed Sweet Potatoes (skin on) in half length-wise and then into slices about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.  Cut those slices in half again.
4.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place the cut potato strips on the baking sheet.
5. Combine Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, and cumin in a small bowl.
6. Lightly spray the potato fries with cooking spray (or alternatively, drizzle with olive oil).  Sprinkle Parmesan mix across the fries.
7.  Lightly spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Place BBQ-covered chicken in dish.  Place on top rack in Oven for 25-28 minutes.
8.  After the Chicken has cooked for 5 minutes, place the fries in the oven (bottom rack).   Turn fries once, around 10-12 minutes into baking.  Then bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until somewhat crispy.
9.  Meanwhile, prepare some steamed broccoli.  I am a fan of using the steam-in-the-bag frozen broccoli and have found some great organic ones at Whole Foods (Columbia Rivers brand).
10.  Remove chicken and fries from oven and serve immediately!

Mango Mahi-Mahi

Ok, the weather is getting warmer and I have the perfect "summer" meal.  It involves Mahi Mahi, a fast-growing (see my Parmesan Tilapia recipe for fish info) white fish with excellent nutritional value (low in calories, high in protein, and has the antioxidant selenium, niacin, B6, and potassium), and little-to-no "fishiness" taste.  And let's face it, it's just fun to say--try it--"Mahi Mahi".  However, be aware of mercury levels in all fish (a growing concern every year).  Mahi Mahi is a "moderate" level fish (2nd level from bottom of risk ladder), so eat less than 6 servings per month.   The fish is complemented with vitamin-ladden tropical fruits, such as Mangoes and Pineapple.  So, enough babbling, here's how to make summery Mango Mahi Mahi:

Ingredients (4 Servings):
1 lb. Mahi Mahi fillets
Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Mangoes--1 diced/cubed, 1 sliced
1 Cup Pineapple, Diced
1 Lime (or 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Cilantro (or 2 Tsp. Dried Cilantro)
1/2  tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1/2  tsp. Black Pepper

4 Servings Brown Rice (would also be good with long-grain rice or risotto--see my Parmesan Tilapia Risotto recipe).
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Or better yet, turn your grill on.
2.  Dice/Cube 1 Mango and the Pineapple. Combine in bowl with Lime Juice, Cilantro, Red Pepper Flakes, and Pepper.  Sit to let the mixture marinate.
3. Spread Olive Oil on Mahi Mahi fillets (with silicone basting brush) and sprinkle lightly with black pepper.
4. Boil water and start making brown rice (I'll admit it; I used instant brown rice).
5. Place fish in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.  Alternatively (if you have a grill--which I currently do not), grill for 7 minutes on one side and flip fish for another 5 minutes.
6.  Stir 1/3 of the mango salsa in with the rice.  
7.  Spoon 1/4 of the rice mixture onto a plate.  Set Mahi Mahi on the bed of rice.  Spoon some of the Mango salsa on top of the fish.  Place a few slices of mango on the plate.  Wa-La!  Start with a simple green salad to add in some veggies.

To drink, a white wine is great, but a Mango-Pineapple Daiquiri is also a nice complement!  Recipe to come on that one.  Ahh.  

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sun-dried Tomato & Avocado Pasta

I love to make a batch of the Sun-dried Tomato & Avocado Pasta on Sunday, store it in the refrigerator, and then eat it for lunch or dinner throughout the week.  It has a lot of healthy fats, fiber, and lean protein, making it an amazingly healthy meal that keeps you full for hours (but not weight-gaining-full--in fact, I usually lose weight eating this meal).  Because there are a lot of healthy fats in this meal, it is somewhat calorically-dense, so be sure to watch your portion sizes.  Some of the key healthy ingredients in this recipe are: the avocado, lean bacon, whole wheat/grain pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, and olive oil.  
The avocado has: heart-healthy fats (the kind that reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol), lots of folate (great for reproductive, eye, and heart health), beta-sitosterol (reduces blood cholesterol), and potassium (reduce blood pressure).  
Turkey or veggie bacon provide healthy lean protein; just be sure to look at the sodium content as well as chemicals and preservatives in these to avoid health-damaging effects.   
Whole wheat/whole grain pasta provides tremendous health benefits over refined white pasta.  It is more filling (more fiber) and better for you, reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome and insulin-resistance over eating refined carbs (e.g. white pasta).  Sun-dried tomatoes provide  lycopene and other antioxidants (like Vitamin C) to fight free radicals, prevent cancer, and promote heart health.
Olive oil, although calorically-dense, is amazing for heart health (increases HDL "good" cholesterol, while lowering LDL "bad" cholesterol and reduces blood pressure) and weight maintenance/loss.  As a staple of the "life-lengthening" Mediterranean diet, olive oil contributes to overall improved health. 

Ingredients (~= 6 servings):
1 Box (13.5 oz) Whole Grain/Wheat Pasta (I used Ronzoni Health Harvest Fusilli, but Penne, Bow Tie, Fettuccine, or any other pasta is also fine)
1 Avocado, diced
1/2 cup Julienne-cut Sun-dried tomatoes (I cut them up even smaller)
6-8 oz Turkey or Veggie bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used Morningstar Farms Bacon Strips)
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil, extra-virgin
1 Tbsp. Sherry Cooking Wine
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Lime (Juice of 1/2 a Lime)
1 tsp. Basil

1. Dice the Avocado.  Cut the sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces. Cook and crumble the bacon.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. While the pasta cooks, combine the diced avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked/crumbled bacon, olive oil, sherry cooking wine, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, and basil (i.e. all the other ingredients) in a mixing bowl.
4. Drain the pasta.
5.  Add pasta to the avocado/bacon mixture.  Toss and stir well to coat.  
6.  Serve at any temperature--immediately as hot or refrigerated.  It tastes great either way!