Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thai Chicken Salad

So chicken pad thai is basically one of my very favorite meals ever. When I first started learning to eat healthy, I remember someone telling me that Thai food was healthy so I didn't think twice about helping myself to plentiful servings of pad thai--but let's be honest here...peanut butter, pasta, oil....when I finally figured out what went into my favorite take out (and me and Mac's go to meal) I was super sad.

A few months ago I made my own chicken pad thai, and just loaded up on veggies so that it needed less pasta, and took some sugar out of the sauce. Today I was inspired by this recipe. I've been following Lindsay's blog for a while now, and I love her lean versions of food network meals. Anyway, I was thinking about the recipe and I got inspired and this is what came of it.

*1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced
*1 yellow onion, sliced
*2 yellow squashes, sliced
*2-3 large cloves garlic, diced
*2 jalapenos, sliced
*3/4 cup peanut butter
*approx 1/4 cup rice vinegar
*approx 2 tbs lite soy sauce
*approx 1 tsp sriracha sauce
*1 tsp olive oil
*1 lime (zest and juice)
*bean sprouts (I used a couple handfuls)
*1 orange bell pepper
*3 ribs celery
*1-2 handfuls grape tomatoes, halved
*1 avacado, cubed
*approx 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
*chopped cilantro to taste
*big handful shredded carrots
*sliced green onions to top

Heat peanut butter in microwave until melty. Add soy, oil, vinegar and sriracha and mix well. Stir in chicken and let sit for approx 10 min. Spray large nonstick skillet and cook chicken, japaleno, onion, garlic, squash, lime (zest and juice) and sauce on medium low heat until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender. Add bean sprouts, remove from heat and let sit. Mix together all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add warm chicken/veggie/sauce mixture and lightly toss throughout.

Oh my gosh I had no idea just how much food it was going to make! That was the most surprising part. The whole meal probably costs about 10 dollars and made I'm guessing at least 6 servings. We have a huge tupperware full of left overs and it was delicious!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Last week's lunch: Black Bean and Corn Salad

Man I will definitely miss the predictability my summer schedule has given me in terms of food and planning. When I have a set schedule and know where I'll be and what times I will be eating makes it so simple and low stress. You'd think I'd get sick of eating the same thing every day for a week, but not when it's delicious! Sooooo here we go:

Kernels from 3 roasted cobs of corn (I didn't buy frozen this time!)
1/2 finely chopped red onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt, pepper and cumin to taste
2 16 oz cans cups no-salt-added cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 orange bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Mix together and Ta DAAAA!!

Lunch this week: Fruity Chicken Salad

I was never the hugest fan of chicken salad. I mean I would eat it, but never really saw the appeal, but recently I saw some recipes that looked that there was the possibility for a change of opinion. For one, *confession* this is the first one I have ever made that didn't come from a can. I know...I never claimed to actually be a chef haha. So thiiiiisss time I used an entire rotisserie chicken and had a lot more fun with the ingredient list--ummm DELICIOUS! Steve called it the best chicken salad he's ever had and he is a big fan. I brought some to work today with a serving of Kashi crackers instead of bread. Yummmm.

*The meat from one whole rotisserie chicken, chopped
*3-4 ribs celery (including leaves), diced
*1/4 red onion, finely diced
*1 granny smith apple, chopped
*2 handfuls dried cranberries
*1/4 cup almonds, chopped
*6 oz non fat plain Greek yogurt
*Salt, pepper and lemon pepper to taste

Directions? Mix everything together and season to taste! Easy, protein packed and delicious!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Date night: Sweet potato mac n cheese & pb banana white chocolate chip blondies!

So last night Steve and I had the first real date night we've had in a while and instead of going out to dinner, I decided we would stay home and cook together--so much more fun! I've been wanting to make this Sweet Potato and Brie Mac N Cheese recipe ever since I found it a few months ago on HealthyFoodForLiving. I love getting recipes off healthy living blogs because I only have to make a few if any changes!

I've also been pretty obsessed with Peanut Butter and Co lately. I discovered their White Chocolate Wonderful a little over a year ago and recently discovered all the other flavors. They are all nutritionally pretty much the same as regular peanut butter and natural and freaking delicious! So I wanted to make a dessert using that. From the same website I found the recipe for these blondies.

Not to toot my own horn, but this was pretty much the most amazing dinner I have made in a while. If I wasn't trying to look cute for date night I probably would have licked the bowl. Go ahead, judge me haha. So heeerrreee we go...

Sweet Potato and Brie Mac N Cheese:

Makes 4 very filling servings!

  • 8 oz uncooked whole wheat macaroni or other pasta
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (roast a few sweet potatoes at 400°F for 1 hour, or until soft; puree flesh until smooth; measure out 1 cup)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 oz (about 4 Tbsp) fat free cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated 50% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (I couldn't find the 50% so I just used reg 2% sharp cheddar)
  • 2 wedges lite swiss laughing cow cheese
  • 1/2 cup good-quality reduced fat brie cheese, rind removed, cut into cubes (I have seen red fat brie before, but I could only find regular yesterday so I just used that)
  • tiny pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (I actually prefer to cook my pasta a minute or two less than the lowest cooking time on the package for al dente pasta); drain.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together and heat sweet potato puree and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just starting to simmer.
  3. Reduce stove heat to low. Whisk in cheeses until fully melted.
  4. Stir in nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir drained pasta into the sweet potato-cheese sauce and mix until thoroughly combined.

Peanut Butter Banana White Chocolate Chip Blondies:

I cut mine into 20 small ones, but lets be honest, that is more like 10 real servings because if you're anything like me you will eat two at a time with a delicious cup of almond milk!

  • 1/4 cup white chocolate peanut butter (I used the Peanut Butter and Co White Chocolate Wonderful)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbs splenda brown sugar blend
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 3 large)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup all-natural white chocolate chips (I got Sunspire ones at Whole Foods and they are amazing!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with sprayed parchment paper so the edges hang over the sides of the pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the peanut butter, applesauce, and splenda brown sugar. Add in the egg whites and beat until combined. Add in the mashed banana and vanilla; beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir white chocolate chips into the dry ingredients (this step prevents the chips from sinking into the batter).
  5. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just moistened.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Remove the blondies by picking up the edges of the parchment paper and let cool completely; cut into squares and serve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oatmeal cherry dark chocolate potato chip cookies!

I know, you probably think I'm nuts. Actually I'm not the brilliant one that came up with the idea of putting potato chips in cookies. I saw it on a few recipes and at first was like "weird..." then thought about the salted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and how delicious they were and how I almost love the combination of sweet and salty, and these were no exception! This time I made the smart choice of taking ALL the cookies I made out of the house, so they are now with my mom, my Starbucks, and most of them went to Mathew and Deann's engagement party.

I have never used dried cherries before and now I'm a little obsessed. Especially combined with dark chocolate--delicious!

  • 1/2 cup light whipped canola oil buttery spread
  • 1/2 cup non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup splenda brown sugar blend, packed
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate chocolate chunks (I used mini dark chocolate chips because that's what I had but chunks of dark chocolate would be better!)
  • 1 cup baked potato chips, crushed

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine buttery spread, yogurt and brown sugar. Add egg whites one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture just until combined. Do not overmix. Stir in oats, cherries, chocolate and chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until bottom edges are lightly browned. Cool on pans for a few minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

I quickly discovered this summer that bringing those tiny, unfulfilling, processed white carb lean cuisines to work for lunch every day while I watched everyone else eat delicious sandwiches from Sacks was not going to make me successful in my goals of saving money and calories by bringing my lunch. After about 4 times in a row of ditching the lunch I brought to go get a sandwich and a cookie, I realized I had to re-evaluate haha.

So I had the brilliant idea to make something on Sunday that I could bring with me for the whole week. This may sound awful and boring to you, but honestly I do best when I have a plan and it takes me about a week to get bored with something, so 4 days of the same thing (Thursdays are hard so we go to lunch that day) is really the perfect amount of time. I found this recipe on one of the many food blogs I follow, and changed it up a little to add more protein and veggies.

  • 1/2 lb whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
  • 12 oz grilled chicken, cubed
  • 2 zucchinis, washed and chopped
  • 2 yellow squashes washed and chopped
  • kernels from 1 ear fresh corn (I used canned because I'm lazy like that)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp light miracle whip
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, preferably al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook squash in a large skillet over medium heat with nonstick spray. Add corn kernels; cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and toss in the halved grape tomatoes. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the veggies and chicken.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, miracle whip, mustard, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the yogurt mixture over the pasta and veggies; toss to coat.
  6. Chill pasta salad in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until the flavors have melded.
  7. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Breakfast in a cup!

I used to be a big fan of smoothies. Every day Kara and I would go to the gym, go back to my apt, make smoothies and watch Wife Swap. Talk about the perfect day! I had a nutritionist tell me that they were a waste of calories (the same dumb nutritionist that told me I should only be eating 5 oz of protein a day and like a million servings of bread) and that they wouldn't fill me up, so I had stopped making them.

Well, on the 4th, my family came over for brunch and I was making pancakes (recipe coming soon) so I asked my mom to bring some sort of protein and she suggested smoothies. She brought over some recipe she had found which I basically threw out right away and created my own :O) I mean, I made her a version with her recipe, then I let people taste mine and everyone traded right away. My mom said it was better than Jamba Juice...and they are so easy!

So this morning I decided to recreate my PB&J smoothie. I don't know how many of you know that a PB&J sandwhich is pretty much my favorite thing to eat on earth. I am borderline obsessed with peanut butter. I could live off bread and pb for pretty much the rest of my life...that and cereal :O)

*6oz non fat yogurt (I suggest either dannon light and fit or vanilla greek)
*1 small banana
*1/2 tbs natural pb (of course any pb will do, but natural is more delicious!)
*handful frozen blueberries
*2 handfuls ice

Put everything in the blender, and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red White and Blue Cookies!

What do I love more than skinnified baking? Ummm skinnifed THEMED baking! Any opportunity to be creative or be inspired to bake something specific makes me so excited, so when I was invited to celebrate Freedom Land over at my friend Molly's house I immediately thought about what I would make to fit the theme. I quickly decided on these cookies and then found this recipe. I have been making some minor changes to my diet lately, and also the way I modify recipes. I've spent a long time being very strictly calorie conscious, but I am working on rather than focusing on calories, just changing the things that aren't "real food" or actually good for me. Of course I still use some fake sugar and stuff to cut down on the calories, but I am working on new ways of modifying recipes so that they not only are lower in calories and bad fats, but also provide some nutritional value!

Steve called these "the absolute best cookie's you've ever made". I wouldn't go that far. I still think my full fat toffee crunch cookies take the cake, but I will say that these were a huge hit and I loved them. I took several of them to Molly's, took a big plate to Bethany's mom's bbq, and took a plate to the lovely baristas at Starbucks. I left like 20 cookies at home since I was having company the next day--well I came home to 4 cookies a few hours later haha.


  • 1 cup brandy (to soak the berries in, then saving 1 1/4 teaspoons of it for later)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup small blueberries
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup splenda
  • 1/4 cup honey (measures just like sugar and all natural! Surprise!)
  • 1/3 cup splenda brown sugar blend
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips

1 Put the berries in a wide and shallow bowl, pour in a bit of brandy. Enough so they're surrounded by it, but not drowning. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour or more. Afterwards, place a colander over a bowl and pour the berries and brandy through, putting the cranberries and the brandy they soaked in aside.

2 Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat the oil and yogurt until combined. Add the sugars and honey and beat again until well incorporated.

3 Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and add 1 1/4 teaspoons of the brandy that the berries soaked in (you can use the rest of the brandy to make a drink--YUM!). Beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through to ensure even mixing.

4 Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the mixture a bit at a time, beating until just mixed. Fold in the brandy soaked berries and white chocolate chips. Let chill for 15 minutes in the fridge.

5 Spray baking sheet with non stick spray and place rounded spoonfuls down on the sheet. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes until just set (we all know I like my cookie doughy in the middle!). Let cool for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

About to go in the oven: