Mar 272012
 

Enjoying an amazing week in Cabo with my family.  Happy to say I won’t be getting off my tush at all.  See you next week!

Mar 232012
 

With easter right around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to try a new egg recipe.  But eggs really shouldn’t be just for easter–since they’re truly the perfect protein source (a direct quote from one of my nutrition professors).  I’ve never been much of an egg salad fan, but when I came across this healthified version in this month’s edition of Self, I thought I’d give it a shot.  Well, I discovered that I still don’t really like egg salad (it’s a texture issue), but this version was by far the tastiest and healthiest I’ve tried.





Nutritional Highlights: Egg salad can be one of the most unhealthy sandwich fillers out there. But in this version, there is absolutely no mayo and most of the egg yolks are left out.  Mashed avocado and dijon mustard keeps it creamy and scallions and fresh herbs give it freshness and texture.  This egg salad is filled with protein and healthy fat.  I put it in a cute eggshell-esque tomato, but it would be great on toasted whole wheat bread or even as a snack on some high fiber crackers.


Avocado Egg Salad
adapted from Self Magazine
(for one serving)


In a bowl, lightly mash 1 whole hard boiled egg, 2 hard boiled egg whites and 1/4 avocado.  Stir in 2 tbsp chopped scallions, 1 tspn chopped fresh cilantro (sub basil or another fresh herb if you don’t like cilantro), 1/2 tspn dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and season with salt and black pepper.  Serve as a sandwich on whole wheat toast with lettuce and tomato, or any other way you like it.

Mar 142012
 

I try to keep my recipes interesting.  Thing like sweet potato falafel and mango shrimp summer rolls to name a few.  And as much as I like to try new, unique recipes, sometimes I just want a good old chicken dinner.  This one was recommended to me by a friend who has essentially identical food preferences as me–so I’m not surprised that I loved it.  It’s about as close to “fried” chicken as you’ll get here on tush cook, and to me this one is even more flavorful with a satisfying crunch from the pretzel crust.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  To get to the street vendor on the other side to buy a pretzel with mustard.  





The other thing I loved about this dish was how simple it was.  You literally mix the mustard sauce (half of which serves as the marinade/pretzel glue and half as the sauce), then dip the chicken in it, dip in crushed pretzels, and throw it in the oven to bake.  Serve with the extra mustard sauce and that’s all.  


Nutritional Highlights: We all know that chicken is a great lean protein source, but when we eat it with the crispy skin still on it, it’s not so lean anymore.  This recipe has a crust to give us the crunch we crave without the fat from the chicken skin.  Although pretzels are still probably in the “junk food” category , I’d say the less junky than most because they’re baked.  Plus, you’re really only eating a few pretzels total.  If you serve this chicken with healthy veggies (I did roasted brussel sprouts and spicy sweet potato wedges), it’s a great meal for any night of the week or even a cool enough twist for company.




Mustard baked chicken with a pretzel crust

INGREDIENTS

  1.      1/2 pound hard pretzels, coarsely crushed (4 cups)
  2.      1/2 cup canola oil
  3.      1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
  4.      2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  5.      1/4 cup water
  6.      3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  7.      Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8.      6 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  9.      optional: 1 teaspoon honey to add to the mustard dressing if you like it a little sweet like I do!
  10.      DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground; you should have coarse chunks and fine crumbs. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl or plate.
  2. Wipe out the food processor. Add the oil, whole-grain and Dijon mustards, water and vinegar and process until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl, add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Dredge the chicken in the pretzel crumbs and transfer to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining mustard dressing.
MAKE AHEAD The baked chicken and dressing can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours.NOTES For a crisp topping, it’s essential to use thick, hard pretzels, such as the sourdough or handmade versions.
Mar 082012
 

Growing up, meatloaf was a dinner staple for my family(not to mention my dad’s all time favorite food). As we became more health conscious through the years we switched from ground beef, to lean ground sirloin, to ground turkey, to lean ground turkey. This version takes meatloaf to a whole new level, taking the meat out all together. And while some of you are trying to come up with meatless meals during Lent (or just in life), this is a perfect choice. I was excited that this super healthy protein-filled loaf was still packed with flavor, and dare I say even a little “meaty”. I think even dad would give it his seal of approval.


The beauty of meat (or meatless) loafs or balls or burgers is that you can pack so much flavor in and they’re so easy to make. This one has a few extra steps than an average meatloaf because you saute the veggies first, but it was still easy to throw together. Even though it’s missing the meat, it was still really filling, hearty, and satisfying.





Nutritional Highlights: This loaf has tons of protein and fiber from the lentils and oats, and tons of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. While your typical meatloaf has saturated animal fats that threaten to clog up your arteries, this one is very low in fat. Plus, it’s both gluten free and vegan…double win! I know I say it like a broken record, but I think we could all benefit from cutting back on our animal protein intake, and by finding tasty, healthy vegetarian recipes like this one, it’s pretty easy to do. This




Lentil Veggie Loaf
adapted from Healthful Pursuit


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 6 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup spicy BBQ sauce (make sure to choose a gluten-free or vegan variety if you follow one of those diets)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked green lentils, split into 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cup (I use pre steamed lentils from Trade Joes–A big time saver!!)
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, split in half
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (Confession: I used regular whole wheat flour because I didn’t have almond flour so my version wasn’t quite gluten free)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Add the ground flax seeds to a small bowl, pour the boiling hot water over and stir to combine well. Set aside and allow it to thicken and cool.  (If you aren’t vegan, you could substitute this step with one whole egg).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5-8 minutes until the onions are tender. Add in the mushrooms and cook another 3 to 5 minutes until the mushrooms are tender, add in the thyme and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Add in 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce, stir to combine and turn off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, if it needs it.
  3. Process 1 1/2 cups of the cooked lentils and 1/2 cup of the oats in the food processor until smooth (some whole bits may remain, that’s ok). Spoon the mixture into a large bowl, add in the remaining lentils and oats, plus the flax “egg”, almond flour and vegetable mixture. Stir really well to combine. Then get your hands in there, just like you would with a regular meat loaf or meatballs, and make sure it is mixed and mashed together really well.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a parchment paper lined 9″ x 5″ loaf pan, (leave a bit of the parchment paper hanging over so you can easily lift the loaf out when it is cooked). Using your hands, you really want to press it in good. Brush on the remaining 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce over the top.
  5. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes at 375F. Cool in the pan for about 5, pull the loaf out by grabbing the sides of the parchment paper and lifting up and allow it to cool for another 5 to 10 minutes on a cooking rack. Slice and serve.