Sunday, January 31, 2016

Turkey Taco Salad

I love taco salads! They're flavorful, filling, and they can be very healthy. The key is including lots of vegetables and using the salsa as a salad dressing. Satisfy your taco craving with this zesty salad!

A word about peppers: Poblano and pasilla peppers are often confused for one another. They vary in heat from mild to hot. The jalapeño pepper is hot! (In my opinion) It's the SEEDS contain most of the heat, so be carefully when cutting all of the peppers, especially the jalapeño. If you're sensitive to spicy foods, try to avoid touching the seeds, and be sure to wash your hands after handling the peppers. You can control the amount of heat you want in your taco salad by the amount of seeds you choose to include: 

- Include all of the seeds for a lot of spice
- Include some seeds for a little spice
- Don't include any seeds if you don't want your salad to be spicy at all.  

Turkey Taco Salad

Yield: 4 servings

1 lb ground turkey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Poblano or Pasilla pepper, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 can black beans (15oz), drained
4 cups lettuce, chopped

1 cup shredded cheese
2 tomatoes, chopped 
2 green onions, diced 
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup salsa

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add pasilla peppers, onion, and jalapeño. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes. Add ground turkey and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is fully cooked. Add beans, taco seasoning packet and 1/2 cup of water. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Make each salad by spreading a cup of lettuce on a plate, some of the turkey-bean mixture, tomatoes, cheese, green onions, avocado, and salsa. Serve with a few chips...but don't get crazy...it's not nachos, it's a salad ;)

Take it to the next level by topping your salad with a few sliced olives, some freshly chopped cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream!

Please share your Comments about this recipe in the section below!

Chicken Pesto Lunch Wrap

This is a flavorful, filling, and healthful lunch! We got some good fats (olive oil) in the pesto. Some lean protein in the chicken. Some nutrient-packed spinach. Some whole grains in the tortilla. The sun-dried tomatoes kick up the flavor. The creamy provolone makes us happy. This wrap is fancy yet simple. We like.

P.s. Kick it up a notch by using leftover rotisserie chicken (pictured above) instead of deli slices (pictured below).

Chicken Pesto Lunch Wrap

Yield: 1 wrap

1 large whole wheat tortilla
4 thin slices of deli chicken
1 Tablespoon of Pesto sauce 
1 slice of provolone cheese
1 handful of spinach
1 Tablespoon sun dried tomatoes

Layer the cheese, chicken, spinach, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes on the tortilla. Roll it up. Enjoy.

Tell me how much you love this wrap in the Comments section below. 

Blueberry-Pear-Apple Puree for Baby (6+ months)

I absolutely love making food for my Baby Girl. It's fun for me, healthful for her, and she definitely likes my homemade creations better than the store-bought stuff.

Don't worry about having the exact measurements of ingredients. You might find that your baby prefers to have more or less of each fruit. For example, too many pears tend to give my baby the runs, too many apples stop her up, and blueberries...well let's just say they don't lose any of their color as they travel through her little body. TMI? Sorry. My point is that you should feel free to modify the amounts of the ingredients to suit your baby's needs and preferences. This particular ratio is a winner for my baby.

Also, if you want the puree to be thicker, use less water or just skip the water altogether. Keep in mind that adding water will make the puree more mild in taste (good for those tiny taste buds that don't prefer strong flavors).

Okay, I'm done rambling and over-complicating baby food! ;)

Here's how to do it:

Blueberry-Pear-Apple Puree for Baby (6+ months)

Yield: about 20 ounces 

12oz fresh blueberries 
3 pears 
2 apples
3/4 cup purified drinking water  

(The equipment I used: colander, metal steamer basket, sauce pan, Vitamix food processor, silicone ice trays, silicone spatula, ziplock freezer bags)

1. WASH/RINSE all fruit. 
2. STEAM the blueberries until soft (about 6 minutes). Meanwhile, peel, core and chop apples and pears into chunks.
3. DRAIN the blueberries in colander and place them in a bowl to cool. 
4. STEAM the apples and pears until soft (about 6 minutes). 
5. DRAIN apples and pears in colander and place in a bowl to cool. 
6. PROCESS all fruits together in a food processor, adding the water little by little until the puree reaches desired consistency (or just pour all the water in at once if you prefer).
7. POUR the puree into ice trays, using a spatula or spoon to scrape the puree into the trays (I like to get every little bit that I can!) and freeze (I let them freeze overnight).
8. POP the puree cubes out of ice trays and store in freezer bag for up to 3 months.

What food combos does your little one love? Please share your experiences with making baby food in the Comments section below!

Strawberry Granola Breakfast Parfait

When it comes to yogurt, fat is my friend. I love me some rich, thick, creamy, tart full fat Greek yogurt. Yum. This simple, healthful, and beautiful recipe is a great way to "break the fast" and start your day. 

I prefer just a 1/2 Cup serving of yogurt because I eat a snack about 2 hours after breakfast. However, if you find that a 1/2 Cup doesn't keep you satisfied until your next meal/snack, try making this with a whole cup of Greek yogurt (and add more sweetener if you like). 

Speaking of sweetener, I use Splenda granules to cut some of the yogurt's tartness and to just add to the overall sweetness of the recipe. In this picture I used frozen strawberries. I made this breakfast last night (minus the granola) and placed it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. So this morning the strawberries were unthawed and my yogurt was ready to eat. I sprinkled the granola on right before eating it.

This is a great breakfast to make at night and take to work with you the next morning.

Strawberry Granola Breakfast Parfait

1/2 Cup Greek yogurt (full fat)
5 Strawberries, chopped
1 Teaspoon Sweetener (I use Splenda granules)
1/4 Cup Granola 

Place strawberries and yogurt in a bowl. Add sweetener (and a swirl of honey just for fun). Top with granola. Savor each creamy bite.

Not sure if your Greek yogurt is full fat? Check the nutrition info on the back of the container. Full fat yogurt will have about 200 calories per 1 cup serving.

What are your favorite fruit & yogurt combinations? What toppings do you like? Please share them in the Comments section below!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Quinoa Vegetable Wraps

Is that queena?

...said the husband when I showed him what I had packed him for lunch. Yup, we're turning over a new leaf up in here.

This was my first time making quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wa'), and boy did I outdo myself! It's actually very simple to make. The key is adding flavor to it so it will actually taste like something.

These wraps are delicious! But don't take my word for it, try them yourself:

So you're going to need to do some chopping and what not. Mince your red onion as small as you can get it, especially if you don't like biting into big pieces of raw onion. Dice up your bell pepper (by the way, red bell pepper would look and taste great in these wraps. I used green because that's what I had in the refrigerator). Chop your parsley. Dried parsley can be substituted for the fresh. Juice your lemon (or be like me and just use the bottled stuff).

Okay now, I got a little fancy with my carrots. You like? I used a vegetable peeler to peel them into these gorgeous little strings. But you can just grate them or even buy the grated kind. A carrot is a carrot.

Now rinse your quinoa and add it to 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes. Taste it. If it's tender and there's no water in the pot, you did it. You cooked queena.

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. Then add the olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, bell pepper and parsley and give it a good mixing. Now taste it and add salt and pepper to your liking. Try to not start devouring it by the spoonful at this step. Because it's that good.

Now it's time to build the wraps. Spread the hummus on the tortilla, then the quinoa, then the spinach, carrots and sun-dried tomatoes. Be careful not to over-stuff it because you still have to fold it into a burrito. I used soft taco-sized tortillas, but you can use the bigger burrito-sized tortillas for a bigger wrap.

And you're finished! Enjoy!

Quinoa Vegetable Wraps

Yield: 8 small wraps (soft taco-sized), or 4 big wraps

For the Quinoa:
1 Cup quinoa, uncooked, rinsed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon red onion, minced
3 Tablespoons bell pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Wraps:
8 whole wheat tortillas (soft taco-sized), or 4 burrito-sized tortillas
1 Cup hummus (I use roasted garlic flavored)
2 Cups fresh spinach leaves
2 Cups carrots, shredded
1/2 Cup sun-dried tomatoes

Prepare the Quinoa:
Bring the quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Fluff it and set it aside to cool. Once cooled, transfer to a bowl and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, bell pepper, fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the Wraps:
Spread each tortilla with hummus. Spread the prepared quinoa over the hummus. Add the spinach, carrots and sun-dried tomatoes. Fold the two ends in and tightly roll the wrap. Boom.

So, how did you like your Quinoa Vegetable Wraps? Are you a vegetarian? Are you trying to eat more vegetarian meals? Please let me know in the Comments Section!