recipes

All About Herbs!

Last week we talked about a lot of unusual produce you might find at the Farmers’ Market or grocery store (read here if you missed it!), but herbs are another great item to source from your local market or store. When it comes time to discuss vitamin and mineral content of foods or antioxidant rich sources herbs are often forgotten, but they can be a great source of all three!

Some herbs are perennial, some biennial or annual, but for the most part they tend to offer their best harvest in the summer and early fall. Even with herbs that will survive a snowy winter, it’s important to harvest before the frosts start to settle in. You can extend the life of your herbs by freezing them on the stem or chopping and placing in a bag – or even freezing in ice cube trays with water! Usually it is suggested to make use of them within 2 months, but to extend their freezer life a little try freezing them in olive oil! This ensures preservation of their flavor up to 3 or 4 months and makes them very convenient to use in soups or while sauteing vegetables.

MINT

Mints are incredibly hardy perennial herbs which make them very easy to grow. They spread so willingly, in fact, that many people choose to plant them in a large pot, and then plant that pot in the ground so they don’t take over an area!

Mints have one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food! Try adding fresh mint to salsas and salads or toss it in your water for a refreshing flavor! You can also steep the leaves for 5 – 6 minutes in hot water for fresh mint tea.

Click here for a fresh Summer Roll recipe containing fresh mint!

OREGANO

Oregano is another perennial that is easy to grow (and split to share with a friend!). It’s known not only for its common use in Italian foods and on pizza, but also for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties! Oil of Oregano is a fantastic natural immune booster when antibiotics are not available or necessary.

Try this different take on classic pesto using oregano and spinach!

BASIL

An annual herb, basil is best harvested by pinching off a few leaves from a few different stems to encourage the plant to fill out vs getting tall and spindly. Traditional basil uses include pesto, marinades, bruschetta, and soups. Basil is another great addition to fresh spring rolls or tossed into a fresh greens salad. Try steeping 3 basil leaves in 1 cup of boiling water to create a tea to relieve an upset stomach or digestion!

Here’s another Summer Roll (*not fried spring roll) recipe to try – so fresh you can even cut out the dipping sauce if you’re concerned about the extra calories!

CILANTRO

This annual herb is often confused as a perennial because it reseeds so easily. Cilantro, in addition to being abundant with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, is also known to combat heavy metal toxicity in the body and aid in digestion. Unfortunately however, about 15% of the population has a gene that causes them to detect aldehyde chemicals which are found in both cilantro and soap. If you find that you fall into this group and you dislike cilantro, swap out parsley in any of your favorite recipes that include cilantro. Those in Wisconsin will even find, with the heavy frosts, cilantro can sprout up on it’s own from the prior season. When growing, the green leaves can be harvested as cilantro. Let it flower and go to seed and you have grown spicy coriander seeds! Cilantro is used in many Mexican or Asian dishes such as guacamole, salsa, and cilantro lime rice.

DILL

Like Cilantro, dill reseeds easily, but is a biennial since a plant will only live two years. Toss seeds just about anywhere, and you’ll have fresh dill available readily for years to come. Dill tastes great in fresh in salads, greens, and as flavoring for roasted or grilled vegetables!

Click here for grilled carrots with lemon and dill!

There are many, many herbs out there worth mentioning, but some easy perennials that have a wide variety of uses are Rosemary, Thyme and Sage! Plant all kinds of herbs and try using something brand new to you – your tastebuds will thank you!

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple for Success!!

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Great advice; hurts my feelings every time.

The more complex your strategy, the harder it is to execute. Especially when we are trying to build NEW habits, it is extremely important that we pace ourselves and keep it SIMPLE! This week we wanted to share some great, high protein, high veggie recipes to help you make good choices throughout the day!

Go shopping! You will only need: cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, tuna, lemons/limes and raw vegetables/avocado.

Classic Cottage Cheese Dip:
Don’t run away yet! Cottage cheese haters must give this dip a try before knocking it! Mix it all together and dip your fresh veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, etc)

  • 1 c Cottage Cheese
  • 1 c Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Dill Weed, Celery Salt, Onion Powder to taste
  • tiny pinch of Sugar

** Take the leftover dip and toss in chopped veggies for a high protein salad on the go!

Classic Protein Pancakes:
Who doesn’t love pancakes?! Get funky with your add-ins – berries, cooked apple, peanut butter, raisins, cinnamon, honey – you name it! Blend these three ingredients below to make your batter and bust out the griddle.

  • 1/2 c Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 c Cottage Cheese
  • 3 Eggs

Simple Chicken Salad
Avocado and Plain Greek Yogurt are an excellent swap for the mayonnaise in traditional chicken salad, and dare we say it may have a better texture and taste. Mix it all up for an easy go-to To-Go recipe! (Quantities will depend on desired consistency and how much veggies you add-in)

  • Avocado
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Chopped Chicken
  • Onion (preferably red)
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste

*Add an assortment of Veggies, Craisins, Chopped Almonds – whatever you like! Or swap the Chicken for Tuna and try a whole different flavor profile!*

See the link for this recipe below:
http://www.organizeyourselfskinny.com/2014/06/18/avocado-and-greek-yogurt-chicken-salad-no-mayonnaise/

 

Quick and Easy Mediterranean Bake Cod

Place 4 oz. cod in a baking dish sprayed with olive oil. Surround with sliced red onions, sliced bell peppers, and broccoli. Drizzle with a mixture of a teaspoon of olive oil and a Tablespoon of lemon juice, fresh garlic and oregano (can use dried, but fresh tastes better!). Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked through!

Ellipse Fitness Holiday Pork Roast

Holiday Cranberry-Apricot Pork Roast with Potatoes
Ingredients
1 boneless whole pork loin roast (3 lbs)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 can (14 oz.) whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 can (15 oz.) apricot halves, drained
1 medium onion, quartered
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. ground mustard
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Directions
1. Cut roast in half. Place potatoes in a slow cooker. Add the pork
2. In a blender, combine the cranberry sauce, apricots, onion, dried apricots, sugar, mustard, and cayenne. Cover and process for 30 seconds or until almost smooth.
3. Pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees and pork is tender
4. Remove pork and potatoes to a serving platter and bowl. Pour cooking juices into a pitcher; serve with meat and potatoes.
Makes 8 servings
Nutrition per serving: 433 calories; 8g fat (3g saturated fat); 85mg cholesterol; 35g protein; 56g carb; 4g fiber; 71mg sodium

Ellipse Fitness Thanksgiving Cranberry-Orange Compote

Cranberry-Orange Compote

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1 Tbsp. grated orange zest

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup water

1/2 cup Truvia

Instructions:

1. Place cranberries, zest, cinnamon and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine

2. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until berries have popped and compote has thickened, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar substitute to taste.

4. Let compote sit—serve at room temperature.

Makes 8 (3 Tbsp) servings

Nutrition

Per serving: 20 calories; 0g fat; 6g protein; 5g carbohydrate; 1g fiber; 0mg sodium

 

Ellipse Fitness Thanksgiving Sassy Stuffing

Ingredients:
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking dish
1 (3/4 lb) loaf whole-grain bread, cut into cubes (4 cups)
1 lb. sweet Italian-style turkey or chicken sausage
1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 Bosc pear, coarsely chopped (Bartlett or Anjou are good subs)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
2. Remove sausage from the casings and break into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with bread cubes.
3. Return the skillet to the heat. Add 2 Tbsp. of broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape any browned bits of sausage from the bottom of the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tsp. oil, celery and on-ion; cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add pear and sage; cook 2 minutes more.
4. Transfer vegetable mixture to the bowl with the bread and sausage. Add egg and stir to combine. Add remaining broth, parsley, salt and pepper; mix well. Spread stuffing evenly in baking dish. Bake until top is crisply and stuffing is heated through—about 30 minutes.
Makes 12 cups
Nutrition
Per 1/2 cup: 80 calories; 2g fat, 0.5g saturated fat; 6g protein; 10g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 127 mg sodium

Spicy Chicken Wrap from Ellipse

Spicy Chicken Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 4 multigrain wraps
  • 2 cups chopped roasted chicken breast
  • 1 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1 cup sliced green onions (about 7)

Preparation:

1. Combine yogurt and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl.

2. Spread mixture evenly over half of each wrap.

3. Top yogurt mixture evenly with chicken and remaining ingredients.

4. Roll up and secure ends with wooden picks, if desired.  Yield 4 servings (1 wrap)

Nutritional  Information:  Each serving: 289 calories, 10.1g. fat (1.5g saturated), 32g protein, 24g carbs, 10g fiber, 887mg sodium, 65mg cholesterol, 3mg Iron, 63mg Calcium

 

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

For the chicken:
24 Oz. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 Celery stalk
1/2 Onion, diced
1 Clove Garlic
16 Oz. Fat-free Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Hot sauce (i.e. Frank’s Hot Sauce)

For the wraps:
6 Large Lettuce Leaves, Bibb or Iceberg
1 1/2 Cups Shredded Carrots
2 Large Celery Stalks, cut into 2 inch matchsticks

Directions:
In a crock pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic and broth (enough to cover your chicken, use water if the can of broth isn’t enough). Cover and cook on high 4 hours.

Remove the chicken from pot, reserve 1/2 cup broth and discard the rest. Shred the chicken with two forks, return to the slow cooker with the 1/2 cup broth and the hot sauce and set to on high for an additional 30 minutes. Makes 3 cups chicken.

To prepare lettuce cups, place 1/2 cup buffalo chicken in each leaf, top with 1/4 cup shredded carrots, celery and dressing of your choice. Wrap up and start eating!

Serves: 6
Exchanges: 4 Extra Lean Protein, 1 Vegetable

Skinny Turkey-Vegetable Soup

Skinny Turkey –Vegetable Soup

2 Medium Onions, chopped
2 Medium Carrots, chopped
2 Celery Ribs, chopped
½ Cup Chopped Sweet Red Pepper
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 Cups Water
1 Can (10 oz) Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, undrained
½ Cup Frozen Peas
1 Bay Leaf
4 Tsp. Sodium-free Chicken Bouillon Granules
½ Tsp. Dried Basil
½ Tsp. Dried Thyme
¼ Tsp. Ground Cumin
¼ Tsp. Pepper
¼ to ½ Tsp. Hot Sauce (optional)
½ Cup Uncooked Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta
2 Cups Cubed Cooked Turkey Meat
1 Tbsp. Minced Fresh Cilantro

Directions: In a large saucepan, sauté onions, carrots, celery, and red pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in water, tomatoes, peas, bay leaf, bouillon, basil, thyme, cumin, pepper, and pepper sauce if desired. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Stir orzo and turkey into soup; heat through. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves: 6
Exchanges: 2 Lean Protein, 1 Carb, 1 Vegetable, 1 Fat

Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip
1 12 oz. Carton of Low-fat Cottage Cheese
1 10 oz. Package of Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed
1 8 oz. Can Water Chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 Cup FF Chobani Greek Yogurt
1 Packet of Dry Vegetable Soup Mix
1/4 Cup of Chopped Onion
1 Tsp. Lemon Juice

Directions: Add cottage cheese to a food Processor and process until smooth. Transfer cottage cheese to a bowl. Meanwhile, drain spinach and press between paper towels until barely moist. Add spinach, water chestnuts, and all remaining ingredients to cottage cheese, stir well. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with Melba rounds or fresh vegetables.

Serves: 6
Exchanges: 1 Carb, 2 Protein, 1 Fat