I hear it all the time, “Sara, I love good food, but I just don’t have the time to pull it all together.” I totally get it. Time is something we would all like more of. But since I can’t add more hours to your day (I really would love to do that for you), I can give you some strategies on how to be efficient in the kitchen. And as a bonus, I’m sharing an awesome naan pizza recipe with you!
Can Nachos be considered dinner? I’m here to tell you that, YES, yes they can! Sound crazy? Have I lost my mind? Well, yes and no! But I’m seriously not crazy when I tell you nachos can indeed make a nourishing meal! To prove it to you, I’m sharing my recipe for these seriously delicious Veggie Loaded Nachos!
Love cheese? Sure you do! How about grilled cheese? Oh yes, of course you do!
Did you know that this delicious comfort food can actually be a nutritious choice, even when it comes to fertility? It’s true!
And here’s some amazing news, not only is it National Grilled Cheese Month, but it’s also Fertility Friday and that means it’s time to get started on this series of posts dedicated to nutrition and fertility. In last week’s post, I introduced you to this series and today, I present you with the goods I promised – delicious, nutritious insight on food and fertility. Once you’re done here, don’t forget to check out Liz’s post over at Shaw Simple Swaps for her amazing post and recipe. You don’t want to miss it!
Ok, back to that grilled cheese. First, let me say that I love that these two days are intertwining, because grilled cheese can be a nutritious, fertility food. Who knew, right? Well, I did, but let me explain. It’s all about variety and moderation and fertility friendly foods.
Let’s take my recipe for Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Broiled Tomatoes as an example:
Whole Grains: This recipe starts with a whole grain baguette base. Why whole grain bread? Well, because it is more nutritious than it’s refined, white bread counterpart. Whole grains have more vitamins and nutrients and even more fiber. See, I told you, more nutrition!
- Fertility Focus – Whole grains help regulate blood sugar. Who cares about blood sugar? You should. You see, refined white breads, sugary cereals and candies can cause your blood sugar to spike quickly. Your pancreas has to work over-time to drive that blood sugar down. To do this, it sends out a handy hormone known as insulin to do to battle all of that sugar. This results in a high level of insulin in your bloodstream which have been indicated by research, to inhibit ovulation. So, no thank you white bread, white rice, chips and the like. I’ll stick with my whole grains!
Tomatoes: Who doesn’t love a sweet, juicy tomato? Ok, well, I didn’t until my early 20’s, but I’ve learned my lesson. These little red dynamos pack a serious nutritional (we’re talking Vitamin C and Vitamin A) punch. So eating them is a real win-win in my book! Tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene, a compound responsible giving tomatoes their vibrant red color. Lycopene just happens to also be a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants keep us healthy by preventing damage from free radicals. This is great health insurance, considering if free radicals are left to their own devices, they can do serious harm to our healthy cells and DNA.
- Fertility Focus – Men, take note. Lycopene may offer some benefits in terms of fertility. More research is needed, but there is evidence that lycopene could help with not only sperm count, but also sperm viability. Seems like a good reason to eat more tomatoes to me.
Whole Milk Cheese: This recipe uses sharp, whole milk cheddar cheese because of it’s great flavor. Sharp cheddar is so brilliantly savory and rich, that you don’t need a lot of it. And here’s the good news, cheese might be a great fertility food (see below) plus it’s also a fabulous source of bone-building calcium.
- Fertility Focus – The Nurses Health study revealed that women who ate ate least one serving of whole milk or dairy foods a day were less likely to experience infertility caused by an inability to ovulate. What does this mean for you? It means you can try swaping one serving of your typical low-fat or fat-free dairy foods with their whole milk counterparts. But tread lightly here, as those foods will still be high in calories. Bottom line, make this temporary adjustment but modify other foods in your diet to allow for the extra calories.
Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Broiled Tomatoes
Amp up the nutritional value of your grilled cheese by adding delightfully delicious broiled tomatoes.
- Yield: 4 servings
- 1/2 (15-ounce) whole-grain baguette, sliced in half horizontally
- 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- dash Italian seasoning
- Preheat the broiler.
- Place the cut baguette on a medium-size sheet pan. Brush the cut sides of the bread with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Slice garlic clove in half and rub over cut sides of the baguette. Place in the oven and toast 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned.
- To a mixing bowl, add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and black pepper. Spread out onto a small sheet pan lined with foil. Broil for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Remove and reserve.
- Sprinkle cheese evenly over bread slices, then dust with Italian seasoning. Place in the oven and broil 3-4 minutes.
- To serve: Distribute the broiled tomatoes on top of toasted bread halves, cut as desired. Serve immediately.
- For more fun and flavor, consider topping with fresh herbs before serving. Fresh, thinly sliced basil or freshly chopped parsley would be a fabulous addition!
I’m trying to convince you that quinoa’s “moment” isn’t over!
In fact, in my opinion, this little powerfully nutritious seed, is still something that should be a staple at your dinner table.
Besides being nutritious, quinoa is super easy to prepare. All you need is some water, salt and a pot and 15 minutes. Yes, that’s it. Simple.
And get this, it freezes beautifully! Yes, it does! Simply let it cool and then place it into a freezer bag. Break off pieces as you need it and enjoy. It’s magical!
And here are the pretty picture of Freezer Quinoa:
Make it once, enjoy it many times! This recipe makes a big batch of quinoa perfect for freezing!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Season with salt and reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for about 15 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.
- For faster cooling, spread cooked quinoa out onto a sheet pan.
- Once cooled, place quinoa in a re-sealable freezer bag. Label and store in the freezer.
- Makes 3 cups of quinoa.
- Calories: 626
- Sugar: 0
- Sodium: 617
- Fat: 10
- Saturated Fat: 1
- Unsaturated Fat: 8
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 109
- Protein: 24
- Cholesterol: 0
I know you and I know you love pizza.
You love it so much that you insist on ordering it at least once a week from your favorite pizza place. While that’s fine and good, it’s um, actually not. Many pizza places load on the heavy toppings and leave you feeling like you just ate a vat of oil topped with a salt lick. Yuck. Ok, well, maybe it tastes good at the time, but it can leave you feeling pretty gross. But don’t worry, I have a solution! My famous (or soon-to-be-famous) Easy Pizza Toasts.
Yes, pizza can be yours and it can taste good and leave you feeling awesome!
What’s the trick? There isn’t one! Yup, it really is easy. Let me explain. Start with some yummy whole wheat bread then slice it thinly. Cook up some yummy veggies (this toast I made with onions and squash) – hint, cut them up small so that they cook fast (this also makes them look super cute on your toasts). Spread a little marinara on top of those bread slices, top with a little cheese (a good, flavorful sharp cheddar is my favorite), then add the veggies. Slide them into the oven for about 10 minutes and you’ve got Easy Pizza Toasts!
So, no more heavy pizza for you (ok, have it every once in awhile), instead enjoy the crispy, crunchy, veggie-goodness of these Pizza Toasts!
Easy Pizza Toasts
Quickly sautéed veggies piled high on whole grain bread topped with cheddar cheese then toasted in the oven.
- 1/2 loaf, 15-ounce whole wheat baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices on the bias
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 small onion (about 2 1/2 ounces), diced small
- 1/2 medium zucchini (about 5 ounces), diced small
- 1/2 medium yellow squash (about 5 ounces), diced small
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup canned or jarred marinara sauce
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400’F. Line a 9×13-inch sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.
- Heat the oil in a large pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. (You may need to adjust the heat to prevent burning.) Stir in the zucchini, squash and salt and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and oregano and cook one more minute. Remove pan from the heat.
- Spread marinara sauce evenly over bread slices, then sprinkle with cheese. Top each slice with some of the squash mixture. Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until bread is toasted and cheese has melted.
- Garnish with fresh basil before serving.
- This recipe makes 20 pizza toasts. A great appetizer or main dish!
- Serving Size: 5
- Calories: 476
- Sugar: 7
- Sodium: 1034
- Fat: 23
- Saturated Fat: 11
- Unsaturated Fat: 11
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 50
- Protein: 20
- Cholesterol: 49