Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chicken Zucchini Fritters

I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything and I really need to get back into the routine of updating my food blog.  Life's been pretty hectic though and I miss cooking nice meals and being able to share them with people.  I also need to figure out a way to combine my two blogs, or at least share a link.  I've been better about posting to my fitness blog lately, which is

Now that I'm an ACSM certified personal trainer, and I'm almost through with my pregnancy, I really want to start focusing on the two things I love: how to eat healthy and workout.  I can't wait until my son Griffin is born, mostly because I really want to meet him, but also because I'm excited to challenge myself and see how long it takes to get back into the shape I was in Pre-pregnancy.  It's good to set goals for yourself!

One of those goals, is trying to stick to healthier decisions when it comes to food.  I won't say that I've been really bad lately, but I've definitely given into my sweet tooth a little more then I wanted to this pregnancy.  I'm trying to get back on track though, and the dinner I made last night was not only healthy, but absolutely delicious!  It didn't take too long to make either, so if you're short on time, this is a good recipe to keep on hand.  You can even prep it ahead of time, cover the meat mixture, and place it in the fridge until you're ready to cook it.

Chicken Zucchini Fritters

2 medium zucchini's,  grated
1 lb. lean ground chicken or lean ground turkey
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 cup green onions, finely sliced
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. ricotta cheese (I use fat free)
Olive oil to sauté

Place the grated zucchini into a colander and sprinkle with some salt.
Let sit for 10 minutes.

Once the 10 minutes is up, squeeze out the zucchini's.  (I find that it's helpful to use paper towel for this step.  You'll be amazed at just how much juice comes out of them.)
Now, place the drained zucchini into a large bowl

Next, add in the ground chicken or turkey, salt, pepper, green onions, egg, garlic, and the ricotta cheese.

Mix the ingredients together until well combined.  (You can do this with a spoon, but I find it easiest to use my clean hands)

After that, heat a large skillet over a medium heat and add in about 3-4 TBSP. of olive oil.
Take about a tablespoon of your mixture, or a little more, and place it into the palm of your hand until you form a little round patty about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
Place the patty into the prepared skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until it looks done.

Add more oil as needed.

This recipe will make about 15-20 fritters.  They're absolutely delicious served with a little cheese and some plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  Enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Natashas Kitchen

Friday, January 23, 2015

Garlic Chicken and Spinach Parmesean

Last night I was trying to come up with a quick, healthy, and easy dinner to make and just so happened to stumble across this particular recipe.  At the time, I didn't really think that my husband Jeff really for spinach, but I figured he could just pick around it.  Turns out he ended up eating it.  He then informed me that he likes spinach as long as its cooked, otherwise its too leafy, like lettuce, which he doesn't like.  I know, strange, right?

Anyway......a great thing about this recipe is that I already had the ingredients that it required, therefore I didn't have to go out and spend any money.  I even have enough ingredients left over that I could make it again this weekend, which I think I will.  Mostly because it was absolutely delicious!

Garlic Chicken and Spinach Parmesan

1-2 TBSP. butter
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
¼ - ½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups baby spinach

In a large skillet, over a medium heat, saute the garlic for about a minute.  After that, add in the chicken pieces, salt, and a little pepper and cook until the chicken is done and no longer pink.  Once ready, sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese, and stir around until all the chicken pieces are coated.  Lastly add it the spinach.  It may look like a lot, but once you stir it around and the leaves have wilted, you will have just the right amount.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and dish onto a plate.  You may serve as is, or over noodles or rice.  Whatever way you choose to enjoy it, I recommend sprinkling on a little more black pepper and cheese!

Slightly adapted from Simply Healthy Home

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Zero Carb-Chocolate Protein Packed Waffle Sticks

Let me see.......I'm not even sure where to really begin this post.  I can't act like nothing happened, because I know that I disappeared for quite some time, and for that I'm very sorry.  Apparently I had a lot going on in my life in 2014; all of which seemed to take me away from posting my recipes. 

Sadly, I originally disappeared because my loving grandfather passed away.  At the time there was a lot of driving back and fourth between Michigan and North Carolina, and I didn't have my computer with me.  After things began to settle back down, I became extremely busy studying for my new career as a personal trainer.  Then of course there were vacations, family gatherings, weddings, and the holidays. 

Hopefully I'm back now and I'm thrilled to say that there hasn't been a better time for me to be sharing healthy recipes!  As most of you already know, I've always pretty much been a healthy eater, (or at least within the past 6 or 7 years) but right now it's extra important to eat healthy due to the fact that Jeff and I are expecting our first child this July!

Today actually marks the start of week 14 for me, which means I've officially made it into my second trimester!  All without being sick; and for that I owe someone a "thank you"!  Surprisingly, at least based on the looks I get from my doctors and nurses, I've actually felt like myself throughout this pregnancy. I've been a little tired at times, but have still been able to workout almost everyday and I've also been able to continue to run.  In fact I actually ran 4 miles yesterday and did 1.5 miles this afternoon.  A lot of how I have been feeling has to do with what I eat.  If I make some poor decisions, because let's face it, I'm human, and pregnant, I feel like crap and drag a little bit more than usual.  If I eat light and healthy though, I feel great!

With that being said, I'm excited to share today's recipe with you!  Not only is this recipe a healthy and delicious one, but it's also a breakfast food, and I absolutely love breakfast!  These waffles are incredibly quick and easy to make, and they're also high in protein and have zero carbs (except for whatever you put on top).

Zero Carb-Chocolate Protein Packed Waffle Sticks

1 Scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Whey Gold – Chocolate Malt)
1 Large Egg
1 Large Egg White
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 TBSP. Water
¼ tsp. Vanilla
Dash of Cinnamon (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together using a hand held mixer; or I always use my Nutribullet. 

After you heat up your waffle stick maker or a waffle iron spray it lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.  Next, pour in some of the batter and allow to cook until the waffle maker beeps at you or for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the prepared waffles and garnish with toppings or your choosing.  I always like to put a little sugar free maple syrup and fresh fruit on top of mine.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coconut-Vanilla Granola

It's officially looking and feeling like springtime outside and I absolutely love it!  What a gorgeous day!  The sun's coming up, the sky's a wonderful shade of blue, leaves are beginning to appear on the trees, and my kitchen smells like the tropical aroma of coconuts.

Side note: I pretty much love the smell of anything relating to coconut.  (Coconut candles, coconut body wash, coconut lotion, etc.) 

However, my love for all things coconut is not why my kitchen smells of coconut today.  The reason it smells so wonderfully delicious, is because I'm currently baking a batch of coconut-vanilla granola.  I absolutely love making granola because it makes such a great topping to pretty much anything you can think of.  I personally put it on top of my Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, but it's also good as is, with just a little almond milk.  Yummy!

Coconut-Vanilla Granola

3 ½ cups old fashioned oats
¾ cup almonds
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut (optional)
2 TBSP. light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
4 TBSP. coconut oil, melted
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped out

Optional: 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground flaxseed.

In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and coconut extract, and the vanilla bean scrapping.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir around with a wooden spoon until everything is well coated.  Empty the contents of the bowl onto the prepared baking sheet and spread around to form an even layer.  Place the pan into the oven and let bake for 25-30 minutes.  Make sure to stir it around every 10 minutes or so, to allow even baking and to keep the granola from burning.

Once done, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool.  The granola may be stored in an airtight container for about a week.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Low-Carb Egg White Muffin

I know I mentioned yesterday that I don't typically eat a large breakfast, but rather enjoy having a little something small, just to get my day started.  With that being said, these little egg white muffins worked out perfectly!

This is definitely a recipe that I've been wanting to try for awhile now, mostly because they seemed like they'd be a great, make ahead, grab and go dish.  So, what finally inspired me to break down and give them a try?  That's easy.  My best friend for the past 29 years, Christina, is visiting us this weekend and I really wanted to make something that was not only healthy, but would also be a breakfast that we could enjoy whenever.

Overall, I'd have to say that it was a success!  These mini muffins are quick, easy, and reheat incredibly well.  I also love the fact that they're only around 60 calories a piece!

Low-Carb Egg White Muffins
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(Makes 12)
8 whites
1 egg
¼ cup fat-free cottage cheese (or less)
¼ cup chopped baby spinach
4 TBSP. chopped onion
¼ cup (or less) chopped green pepper
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 TBSP. Feta cheese
3-5 TBSP. mini ham cubes
2 turkey sausage patties, chopped into pieces
2-4 TBSP. bacon bits
Dash of: chili powder, black pepper, and garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and generously spray a muffin/cupcake pan with a nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, combine the egg, and the egg whites and then whisk together until well combined.  Set aside.

Heat a skillet, with about 2-3 tsp. of olive oil, over a medium to high heat.  Next, add in the green peppers and let sauté until they begin to look a little tender.  This should take about 3-5 minutes.  You don’t want to let them cook fully, because you still have other ingredients to add.  After the peppers have cooked some, add in the chopped up onion.  Once the onion appears soft and translucent, add in the spinach leaves and continue to cook until the leaves begin to wilt.

In the bowl with the egg mixture, add in all the remaining ingredients, including the warm veggies.  Whisk, or stir together, until everything is well blended.  Pour the mixture into the muffin tin, filling each well about 1/2 full.  Once ready, I sprinkled on a little extra mozzarella cheese (that’s optional, but delicious)

Next, place the pan into the oven and let bake for 25-30 minutes.  Once complete, remove the pan from the oven and let cool for around 5 minutes.  After that, pop the muffins out of the pan and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Eat. Drink. Love.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rise and Shine Protein Smoothie

Unless I'm on vacation, or it's a special occasion, I've never been much of a breakfast person; which seems weird, at least to me, because I'm one who absolutely LOVES breakfast foods!  I'd have to say that it's definitely my all-time favorite category of food, which I know I've mentioned before!  So why don't I usually eat it then?  I'm just never really that hungry so early in the morning (I get up at 4:20).  

I don't skip that meal entirely, I do eat, it's just typically something small like a few hard boiled eggs, or lately, when I get home from the gym, it's been something like this delicious protein shake!  Not only does this shake contain a great amount of protein, which I like to have a lot of first thing in the morning, but it also contains lots of good vitamins and minerals to help get me started for the day.

Tip *Please feel free to substitute Orange Juice in place of water, I just like to cut down calories wherever possible.* 

Rise and Shine Protein Smoothie

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup water (or orange juice)
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use Almond Breeze)
½ - ¾ banana
½ grapefruit (I ended up just squeezing the juice from the half of the grapefruit, instead of tossing it all in the blender; which ended up giving me more liquid, and no pulp!  It’s up to you.)

(If you want your smoothie a little bit thicker, you could always add in ¼ cup Greek yogurt)

Toss all your ingredients into a blender, or in my case, a Nutribullet, and blend until everything is well combined.

Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Protein Packed Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes (Low Carb)

Can you say YUMMY!!!!

So far, living my healthier lifestyle is going well.  It's been just over a week since I gave up sweets and other unhealthy foods, and I'm feeling great!  Just because I took this step though, doesn't necessarily mean I have to sacrifice the flavors I enjoy, and I definitely proved that while I was experimenting with my basic protein packed pancake recipe.

I just so happened to be purging my pantry this weekend, of some food that I no longer wanted in the house, when I stumbled across a few unopened packages of Sugar Free Jello Cheesecake Pudding.  That's when the idea struck me!  Strawberry cheesecake pancakes!  I just so happened to have some fresh strawberries, which I love, in the refrigerator, and was planning to make protein pancakes for lunch anyway, so why not give it a try?

I'm so glad I did too.  These pancakes turned out absolutely delicious!  Not only that, but they are incredibly healthy and filled with protein, which I love!

Protein Packed Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes

3 egg whites
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Whey Gold French Vanilla Crème)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ - 2 TBSP water
1 tsp. sugar free Jello cheesecake pudding mix
1 tsp. old fashion or instant oats
Fresh strawberries

In a Nutribullet, magic bullet, or something similar; combine all the ingredients until well blended.

Next, heat a skillet, on the stove, over a medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  (I always use Organic Olive Oil Pam)  Pour in some of the batter and let cook.  You will know it’s time to flip the pancakes over once they start to puff up and bubble a little.  Repeat this process until all the batter has been used.

Top with some fresh strawberries and some sugar free maple syrup!  Delicious.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (recipe makes 1 serving):
Calories: 195
Carbs: 8 grams
Protein: 35 grams