Fitness Crazed Foodie
Lover of all things food and fitness related
Before this summer, grilling out was intimidating to me because I simply had never been the one in charge of the grill. I'm much more comfortable in the kitchen making the salads and sides, but I wanted to change that. I looked up a few tips on how to not make grilled chicken dry and burnt, and just went for it! I kept it simple and always had a glass of wine in hand to help make it more enjoyable.
I wanted to write a lay out of how to make an easy dinner on the grill for you and friends to enjoy this summer:
First, start with the protein you want to grill. I chose chicken because it's what I had in the freezer and I knew I wanted something lean and barbecued. I thawed the chicken breasts and marinated them in a low sugar barbecue sauce (linked here) overnight. Fire up the grill to 450 degrees and close the lid to let it heat up. Once the thermometer reaches that temp, use tongs to place the marinated chicken on the grill and close the lid again. After 4-5 minutes, flip each breast and close the lid again, letting the chicken cook for another 4-5 minutes. Take them off the heat and let the chicken sit for a couple minutes. Top with a little more bbq sauce and you're good to go!
Second, choose one grill-able veggie for your first side. I chose asparagus because they do not take long on the grill and I love a good crispy and salty asparagus with my chicken. With the oven at the same temperature for the chicken, place the asparagus on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and S&P. They took about the same time as the chicken to crisp up!
Other easy veggies to grill include corn on the cob, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, onions and zucchini.
Third, choose a fresh, cold summer salad to make ahead of time. I chopped up some cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and tossed them with corn, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. This is a great salad base to build off of, and you can add avocado, red onion, arugula or any other seasonal mix ins of choice.
And don't forget, a good chilled white wine or rosé always pairs well with a meal made on the grill! Enjoy the nice weather while it lasts and get outside with friends for dinner.
Elotes are my second favorite Mexican dish (behind guacamole OF COURSE) and I finally perfected this simple recipe you can make at home. Elotes are an authentic term for Mexican street corn. Traditionally, it is grilled corn on the cob, slathered with mayo, Mexican crema, cotija cheese, chili powder, cilantro and lime juice. My recipe is a slightly healthier version of this delicious combination of flavors, as it includes everything, but the crema and mayo. The creaminess is not missed because of the salt from the cotija cheese, tang from the limes, and spice from the chili powder. It is a great dish to serve family style when having people over, especially in the summer when grilling season is in full swing!
1 bag of Trader Joes frozen roasted corn (or about 4 ears of corn, grilled at 450° to 550 until lightly charred)
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
Handful of chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp chili powder or cayenne
Dash of cumin
Dash of cracked black pepper
Heat frozen roasted corn in saute pan until warm. Let it cool for 5 minutes in a bowl before mixing in the cheese and the rest of the ingredients.
I love to serve this alongside a big taco salad or on top of fajita seasoned-chicken with roasted veggies. This will be a party pleaser and I'm sharing it just in time for Cinco De Mayo!
It's 40 degrees and spring is in the air!
I'm only saying this so that I can convince myself that winter and sub-zero temps are officially over... Who knows if this is true, but what I do know is that you will love this lunch wrap combination. This wrap is a build-your-own colorful combination of protein, vegetables and healthy fats (with a side of pickle, of course) to satisfy you throughout the afternoon. To spruce mine up, I layered Trader Joe's horseradish hummus, spicy brown mustard, sliced avocado, sautéed chicken breast with sea salt and Everything But Bagel seasoning, and sliced multi-color cherry tomatoes over a big foldable leaf of romaine lettuce.
There are so many ways you could build your own lettuce sandwich wrap, so keep this in mind: build your meal around a protein source (i.e. chicken, turkey, tuna, tofu...), layer it with a healthy fat (i.e. avocado, olives, homemade mayo...) and sprinkle some fresh veggies on top! It might get messy, but it'll be worth the clean up!
Base: Romaine lettuce
Protein: Boneless chicken breast
Fat: Sliced avocado
Veggie: Cherry tomatoes
Additions: Your favorite hummus, Everything but Bagel seasoning, a pickle (because why not)
These peanut butter chocolate cookies are quick and easy to make and great for people who need to make a last-minute dessert. They have some healthier modifications, but this doesn't mean they lack in the flavor department. And who doesn't love the OG dessert combination of peanut butter and chocolate? Always a crowd favorite.
1 cup creamy raw peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
(2 more tbsp of dark chocolate chips, if you want a melted drizzle on top)
From start to finish, I spent 15 minutes making these! Just combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix until incorporated. Scoop out 1 inch round balls onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. I added a little fancy drizzle of melted dark chocolate on top, just to make it extra chocolatey for this Valentine's Day treat. It's best served either right out of the oven or after it's been in the fridge for a couple hours to harden the chocolate drizzle.
The month-long holiday hangover and indulgence has come to an end, and healthy eating is in the air. The gym I work at is buzzing with new faces ready to set their health as a priority and familiar faces that are continuing to chase their goals. I love the outward energy, but I know that the motivation doesn't come easy.
Conversations with my clients have been revolving around shifting and re-setting their schedules (work, personal, fitness) and eating habits to get back on track. With an abundance of articles, blogs, and conversations about how to get back on track, its easy to feel overwhelmed. One piece of advice is to start small!!! You can't change everything at once because your will-power will just give out. Instead, start with one healthy habit to add back into your routine. For example, mine is to reduce added sugars in my diet and say no to desserts (I had my fair share of holiday cookies and desserts to last me for a while). Therefore, I made these no-guilt protein bars that will satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way and help normalize my eating routine.
These bars are filled with healthy fats and protein, along with a touch of no-sugar-added dark chocolate chips. This recipe makes 8 squares to last you all week long. Just store in the freezer and cut into squares when you're ready to eat them.
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsp melted almond butter
4 scoops unflavored Vital Protein collagen peptides
3 tbsp ground golden flax seeds
A couple dashes of cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I use lilyssweets.com chips)
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl except chocolate chips and mix until well incorporated. Then, stir in chocolate chips. In a glass tupperware container or small baking sheet, spread the batter evenly to create 1/2''-3/4'' thick bars. Freeze for 2 hours before cutting into squares or eating. Store in the freezer for up to 10 days!
If you're in the process of creating your Thanksgiving menu, or thinking about what dish you can bring to someone else's home, add this recipe to your list asap! I brought it to an early Thanksgiving with family yesterday and I'll just say that there were no leftovers to bring home...
This isn't your average green bean casserole with french fried onions and cream of mushroom soup (I'm sorry, but why is this 1950's dish still a thing?!). BUT it can still win the hearts of green bean casserole lovers or health-nuts at the Thanksgiving dinner table. It is filled with sautéed onions and mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh, crispy green beans.
1 big bag of green beans (about 3 heaping cups)
1 small white onion
1 large container of cremini mushrooms (about 2 heaping cups)
Mini jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Salt and pepper
Fill a large pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Chop the ends of the green beans off and add them to the water once rapidly boiling. Cook for 5-8 minutes. You still want them to be crispy and not soggy, so test the consistency at 5 minutes.
In a separate large sauté pan, heat up 2 tbsp of the sun-dried tomatoes oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add roughly chopped white onion and mushrooms and cook until translucent (about 7-10 minutes), stirring frequently. Add 2 tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes to the pan.
Once green beans are done, drain the water and add beans to the large sauté pan with other ingredients. Stir around for a minute or two, add seasonings, and turn off the heat. Transport to a casserole dish and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes before serving, covering or putting in the fridge. Enjoy!!
*This dish is vegan, gluten-free, whole30 compliant, etc. It's perfect for all those health-conscious family members :)
Holiday season is right around the corner and so the 6 weeks of indulgences begin... This week I'm planning menus for Friendsgiving's and two different Thanksgiving's, and seeing if I can create some healthy, crowd-pleasing options for everyone. In the meantime, I want simple and nutritious dinners that can keep me on track before the indulgences.
These lettuce wraps are half-filled with mushrooms and onions to add volume and flavor to the turkey with less overall calories. I kept my toppings simple with some green onions and cucumbers for crunch, but there are so many options to spruce up the wrap! You'll find additional topping ideas at the end of the ingredient list.
The whole recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make and makes about 8-10 lettuce wraps. Make this recipe one night and eat them throughout the week!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 container (2 cups) of cremini mushrooms
4 green onion stalks
1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1 tbsp sriracha
3 tbsp liquid aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
Garlic salt, pepper, chili powder
1 iceberg lettuce wedge
Additional toppings: water chesnuts, chopped cashews, chickpeas, shredded carrots, jalapeños, cilantro
1) Add olive oil to a large skillet pan on medium heat. Roughly chop mushrooms and add to pan. Chop green onions (after peeling off outside skin layer) and add to pan. Cook these down for about 5 minutes. You might have to drain some water out of the pan, as the mushrooms lose moisture when cooked down. I just spooned out a couple tablespoons of liquid.
2) Add ground turkey to pan and break into pieces with a spatula. Cook for 5-7 minutes until mostly browned and add sriracha, soy sauce, garlic salt, kosher salt and chili powder to taste. Stir around and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
3) Wash the iceberg lettuce and peel off the first layer. Use one layer as the shell of your wrap and scoop 2 hefty spoonfuls inside. Add toppings of your choice!
The massive bowl of Halloween candy in my apartment sparked some cravings for a healthy dessert recipe incorporating these childhood (or adulthood...) favorite treats. I've made chickpea cookie dough before, but this recipe gets festive with the addition of Halloween candies. It isn't overindulgent or too sweet, and should be enjoyed by the spoonful!
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup raw almond butter
2 tbsp ground golden flax seed
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp water
1 crushed Reese's
1 packed mini M&Ms (or chocolate chips if you don't care about being festive)
Drain and rinse chickpeas. Combine all ingredients except candy into a high-powered blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, then mix batter and add more water if necessary. Blend 1 more minute until everything is incorporated. Add to a bowl and stir in candy. Refrigerate for up to a week.
Breakfast for dinner is a weekly occurrence for me, and I'm not mad about it. Throwing a crispy over-medium egg on basically anything adds another flavor dimension, and this skillet is a perfect example of that.
This recipe sneaks in about three serving of veggies (remember: you need 5 servings of fruits and veggies A DAY!), and is bursting in flavors from the crispy potatoes, runny yolk, caramelized onions and seasoned greens. Enjoy it for a healthier weekend brunch option, or live a little and join the Breakfast For Dinner club!
1 regular large potato
2 tbsps olive oil
1/2 chopped white onion
1 cup shredded brussel sprouts
2 cups raw spinach
2 chicken sausage links
Salt and pepper
Optional (but really not optional): 2 eggs
Dice up the potato into 1/2 inch cubes. Heat up 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet pan and add the potato to the pan. Cover the pan to steam the potatoes for 10-12 minutes, and stir every couple minutes.
While they are steaming, in a separate pan, heat up 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat and add in chopped white onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes and then add in shredded brussel sprouts, raw spinach, and chopped chicken sausage. Cook all ingredients for another 5 minutes.
Uncover the potatoes, add some salt and pepper, and combine the onion and veggie mixture to the potatoes. Stir around to incorporate everything. Dish out the servings and fry up an egg however you like it! Add that delicious yolky goodness to the top of the hash and heavily sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
Added weekend brunch bonus: serve with a homemade mimosa and soak in all that Fall has to offer.
Tomorrow is the last day of summer, so it's time to roll out some fall favorites in the kitchen! You will be seeing some soup, chili, cobbler, and more brisk-weather meals. But first, here is a recipe for homemade low-sugar cinnamon almond granola! It's a great fall kick off, since it pairs perfectly with the apples you're about to get at the apple-picking orchard. It also pairs great with greek yogurt or almond milk, or better yet- eat it by the handful! Careful... it's dangerously good.
This recipe was inspired by and tweaked from a recipe in the Healthyish Cook Book.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
3 cups uncooked oats
1/4 cup chopped lightly salted almonds
1/2 cup light maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup raw creamy almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and stir until well incorporated. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and pour over the wet mixture. Combine with a big spoon until all oats are covered.
On a aluminum foil lined baking sheet, spread the oat mixture evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the oats turn a light brown color. The photo at the bottom shows what color the oats should look like!
Let them cool for 20-30 minutes before putting in a zip lock bag. The granola will be good for up to a week if left out, or a couple weeks if kept in the fridge.
About this Section
This section is here to share my experiences in the kitchen and to give you inspiration to try out healthy and fun recipes!