Sometimes the day passes me by and I realized I forgot to make dinner, or even think about what I want to make for dinner. On days like these, it’s easy to pick up the phone and call out for something. But when I do that, the meal usually isn’t as healthy as the meals I make at home. Even if I order the best choice, it’s still going to be higher in sodium, probably a huge portion, and most definitely cost a lot more than if I just cooked it myself.
So what’s the solution? Quick and healthy meals you can make in minutes with very little prep work. One of my favorites is Smothered Chicken with Onions (or you could make this with turkey too). All you need is:
1 pound thin sliced chicken breasts
2 cups fat free or low fat gravy (I use a store bought fat free gravy when I am in a hurry, but you could always make a lower sodium homemade one and freeze it for when you need it)
2 medium sweet onions, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bag frozen broccoli florets
In a large pan, bring oil over a medium heat. Place in onions and sauté for a few minutes until tender.
Add in the chicken breasts and brown on both sides. Pour gravy on top and bring the mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover pan, and allow to continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F.
While chicken is simmering, steam or microwave frozen broccoli. Serve together with the chicken dish and enjoy!
If you don’t know what falafel is, you are missing out! One struggle many of us have as parents is trying to get enough good sources of protein into our children’s diets. If you are always thinking along the lines of animal proteins (chicken, beef, pork, etc), you may find yourself getting bored with the lack of variety. Or you may be worried about your children eating too much animal protein and not enough plant based protein.
Even in our adult diets, we know that protein is essential. If you are aiming to lose weight, protein helps to keep you full for a longer period of time, therefore helping to cut back on cravings. But too much animal protein, especially the higher fat variety, can have a negative impact on your waistline and overall health.
I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with various plant-based protein sources my whole family will enjoy. Joey especially is a challenge. Although he enjoys the taste of foods like beans and lentils, he is currently not a big fan of their texture. When I was shopping the other day, I ran across Nature’s Early Choice Falafel with Quinoa. After analyzing its nutrition label, I decided to pick it up and give it a try.
Falafel is a ball or patty typically made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Usually this is deep fried in oil and served. However, falafel can be baked as well, making it a lower calorie option. This particular product also included quinoa in it’s blend, boosting both the protein and fiber content. And honestly, it was so simple to make. You just add water, mix, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then form into balls or patties.
Once you have made your patties or balls, you can choose to fry them or bake them. I used a lightly greased try to bake my patties. About 5 minutes per side in the over and they were crispy and ready to eat. They make a great snack option if you are looking for a crunch and they make the perfect bite-sized meal addition for my little one.
Do you think your family would enjoy a falafel?
My little guy loves food he can pick up and feed to himself. He also loves the texture of bread-based foods like pancakes. I love that he is independent and wants to feed himself, but I also want to make sure he’s taking in as much nutrition in each bite as he can. One food he loves is pancakes, however, these aren’t always packed full of nutrients that I know he needs like protein, calcium, and healthy fats. So I decided to experiment with the typical pancake recipe a bit and see if I could come up with a version he loves, but that is also a nutrition powerhouse!
This recipe is easy to make, looks and tastes just like a regular pancake, but provides you with so much more nutrition!
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
½ cup Daisy Cottage Cheese
¼ tsp vanilla
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp cinnamon
In a small bowl, whisk the egg. In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, vanilla, and agave and blend until smooth. Add in the egg, flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and blend until evenly dispersed.
Heat a small, lightly greased pan (you can use cooking spray/coconut oil/butter, etc) to medium-low. Pour in ¼ cup batter into pan (or use the amount desired for the size pancake you would like). Heat until the edges of the batter become light to medium brown in color and the surface bubbles. Flip and continue to cook on the other side. Serve warm.
Optional: if you would like to add even more nutrients into this recipe, try mixing in your favorite mashed fruit, such as ½ cup mashed banana or berries into the batter. If you add in the fruit, you can remove the agave to prevent your pancake from tasting too sweet.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Daisy Health Network.
February is American Heart Month, so it’s the perfect time to get your whole family on board with eating their way to a healthier heart. One of my favorite ways to do this is by taking “less healthy” foods that we all love and tweaking the recipe to make them meals that not only taste great, but are great for us as well.
Pizza is a huge family favorite in my house. However, traditional pizzeria pizza can be high in saturated fat from large amounts of cheese, loaded with sodium, and packed full of refined carbohydrates thanks to the white flour crust. This easy recipe for bruschetta pizza instead tastes just as good (I actually think it tastes better than take-out varieties), provides you with much less sodium, a good source of whole grains, and practically a full serving of vegetables in each slice. Here’s how to make it:
½ cup tomato sauce (homemade or your favorite store variety)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
16 ounces 100% whole-wheat pizza dough
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 cups fresh bruschetta
1 small red onion, sliced
2 Tbs parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Using a rolling pin, create a 16-inch diameter pizza from the whole-wheat dough (or you can make the dough into fun shapes like this heart pizza I made for my family).
3. Spread the tomato sauce and garlic evenly over the dough, and then place the fresh mozzarella slices evenly over the sauce. Top the mozzarella with the bruschetta and onion. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
4. Place the pizza on a pizza stone or round pan. Place in the oven, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the edges brown slightly. Slice with a pizza cutter even slices and serve warm.
Thanks to @Welchs for sending me the the great heart shaped plates! These are perfect for serving up my favorite heart healthy foods!