French Lentil Salad with Spinach and Feta Cheese

Easy.

That’s what everyone wants right, for everything in life to be a little easier? No lines at the post office, no red lights on the way to work or perhaps someone around who can clean your house and do your laundry? Well, sure that would be fine and wonderful, but it’s just not possible. The good news though? There is one area of your life that I can assure you can be easier, and that’s meal preparation.

“How?” you ask.

Just ask my friends at the Recipe Redux. The theme this month is simplicity and simplicity to them means recipes that contain less than 7 ingredients. Brilliant! My recipe for this month is super easy. I start with French green lentils, which are earthy and delicious and hold their shape and texture well. Then, I add fresh veggies in the way of bell peppers, cucumber and spinach. I jazz it up with a little fresh parsley and feta cheese and then use simple vinaigrette-based salad dressing to put that exclamation point on EASY! And there you go, in just about 30 minutes, you’ve made an amazing lentil salad that is not only delicious, but nutritious. Bravo!

And when you’re done making this recipe, check out the recipes below for more inspiration. They’re all super delicious and nutritious, less than 7 ingredients and EASY!

And Here are the Pretty Pictures of my French Lentil Salad:

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French Lentil Salad with Spinach and Feta Cheese

A simple, yet elegant salad made with green French lentils, fresh spinach, cucumbers, parsley and feta cheese.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup green or French lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups spinach, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup seeded, diced cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, cleaned, dried and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinaigrette or Italian salad dressing

Instructions

  1. Place lentils in a medium-size pot and add water to cover by about 2 inches. Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in salt and continue to simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Spread on a sheet pan to cool or, rinse in cool water.
  2. To a large salad bowl, add the cooled lentils, spinach, bell pepper, cucumber, parsley, feta cheese and cooled lentils. Drizzle dressing over the vegetables and lentils, then toss to combine. Add salt and black pepper, if desired.

Notes

  • Makes 4 1/2 cups

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 175
  • Sugar: 3
  • Sodium: 307
  • Fat: 5
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 23
  • Protein: 10
  • Cholesterol: 7

Eating Well Meal Plan Series: “Just Tell Me What to Eat.”

It would be nice if someone just told you what to eat sometimes, right? I get plenty of clients telling me they would love a dietitian to follow them around and make their meal choices for them. If only we had the time! The good news is, I worked with Eating Well Magazine for their March/April issue to set up a 1500 calorie meal plan to help. This month’s meal plan is unique because it contains no added sugar. This is a challenge because many of the foods we eat (including bread!) contain sugar. Just to clarify, the sugar we want you to enjoy in moderation is the kind that gets added to foods. Things that are sweetened that aren’t naturally sweet. So fruit is not in this category.

This meal plan will set you up for success. You’ll get those 1500 calories all from whole foods and the day even ends with a delicious dessert! So while I can’t follow you around and tell you what to eat, you can use this meal plan as a guide. You’ll hopefully learn a few things from the plan and be more confident in your future food choices.

Stay tuned for more meal plans!

NOSH_JustTell ma16

Arugula Salad with Apricots and Champagne Vinaigrette


It’s time to break out the salad bowl!

And it’s time to switch things up a bit. Yes, romaine is good and so are tomatoes and all of the other “usual” salad suspects, but why not try something new? What would you say to Arugula Salad with Apricots and Champagne Vinaigrette?

“That’s too fancy!” Is that perhaps your answer? I sure hope not because that’s just not true. Yes, it may sound fancy, but the ingredients are simple and the recipe is easy. See, not fancy at all!

My new salad obsession just happens to begin with my favorite green, baby arugula. There’s just something special about that little green leaf. It’s just so….spicy and interesting. And I like my food spicy and interesting! When you pair arugula with dried chopped apricots (for a little sweetness), sliced apples, pistachios, feta cheese and champagne vinaigrette, you’ve got a unique salad that is incredibly interesting (and nutritious).

So bust out that bowl and salad tongs and get mixing!

The Pretty Pictures of My Arugula Salad with Apricots and Champagne Vinaigrette:

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Arugula Salad with Apricots and Champagne Vinaigrette

Arugula tastes divine tossed with dried apricots, pistachios, fresh apple and a crisp champagne vinaigrette!

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Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 4 cups baby arugula, washed (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 medium apple, cored and sliced into thin strips or julienned (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, diced (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped (1 ounce)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey and vinegar. Pour in the olive oil and whisk until combined. Stir in the dried thyme.
  2. To a large salad or mixing bowl, add the baby arugula along with the apple, apricots, feta cheese and pistachios. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  3. Portion onto plates and enjoy!

Notes

  • Make it meal! Just add sliced chicken or garbanzo beans.
  • Recipe makes about 3 tablespoons dressing.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 175
  • Sugar: 5
  • Sodium: 171
  • Fat: 12
  • Saturated Fat: 3
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 14
  • Protein: 4
  • Cholesterol: 8

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Besides waffles, I love cookies.

I always have, and I likely always will. In fact, I’m convinced I’ll be the old lady at the nursing home hoarding cookies and scarfing them down in my rocking chair, collecting a pile of crumbs on my nylon pants. Hopefully it’ll be a nursing home with a good housekeeper. 😉
But, I digress. My point is, besides tasting awesome, there’s just something special about a good cookie. It evokes happy childhood memories and can make a day that wasn’t so great, pretty awesome. While my heart belongs to the chocolate chip cookie, I also have a big place in my heart for the oatmeal cookie. Oatmeal and chocolate is actually a favorite of mine too, go figure. But, because a certain someone in New York said she needed an oatmeal cookie recipe, I wanted to be creative and “think outside the box” with this recipe. It didn’t take long for me to come up with Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies. No chocolate, but still so delicious.

Are cookies a health food?

Oh no, no they’re not. But here’s the deal. Cookies exist because of that special-ness I mentioned above. So, you must enjoy them on occasion. How can I say this as a dietitian? Well, because I am a real person. I know that we all need to treat ourselves and I know that we can do it in a way that won’t destroy all of the other good things we’ve done to nourish our bodies. So, here’s the deal. Use some whole wheat flour, get rid of some of the sugar and keep the portion small.
Now treat yourself by making and enjoying these Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies!

And here, the beauty shots of my Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies:

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Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies

A classic oatmeal cookie made with dried apples and plenty of cinnamon.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (75g)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (77g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (I used salted butter)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apple (about 1 ounce)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (183 grams)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350’F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Blend about 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then add the flour mixture. Blend on low speed until just combined. Add the apple, oats and pecans and mix until just combined.
  4. Drop dough by the rounded spoonful (about 20 grams per cookie) on the prepared cookie sheets, a couple of inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool slightly on the pan before moving to a rack to cool.

Notes

  • Makes about 30 cookies.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 2401
  • Sugar: 165
  • Sodium: 1369
  • Fat: 120
  • Saturated Fat: 62
  • Unsaturated Fat: 49
  • Trans Fat: 4
  • Carbohydrates: 310
  • Protein: 31
  • Cholesterol: 430

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

What? Another quick bread recipe? Oh yes, yes it is.

You know why? It’s because my family loves a good snack, so I’m always looking for new ways to nourish them. Since pumpkin season is officially over, I’ve moved on to bananas.
Like pumpkin, bananas are incredibly versatile and add great moisture, interest and natural sweetness to baked goods. I love them for that and for the nutritional goodies they supply.

Read More

WGN Lunch Break Segment: The Recipes

Stock your freezer with some delicious foods you made yourself.

These recipes aren’t just simple, they’re tasty and nutritious! 

When life gets busy or hectic, you’ll feel good about reaching for these awesome freezer foods!

 
Freezer Waffle Beauty

Click here for the Basic Whole Wheat Freezer Waffles recipe

 

Easy Freezer Burrito Beauty

Click here for the Easy Freezer Burritos recipe

 

Click here for the Freezer Quinoa recipe

Basic Whole Wheat Freezer Waffles

I simply love waffles.

Yes, they are my favorite breakfast food. I grew up eating a certain brand of frozen waffles and always felt like they were such a treat whenever they showed up on my plate in the morning.

Now that I’m older, I’m a little wary of some of those freezer waffles. So many ingredients! And what exactly am I paying for? So, because of my desire for a more nutritious waffle, I created this simple whole wheat freezer waffle recipe.

These little delights are simple to make and freeze. You can even double the batch or triple the batch if you want to stock your freezer. Stir in your favorite fruits, spices, or other nutritious additions!

Enjoy!

And here are the pretty pictures of my Basic Whole Wheat Freezer Waffles:

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Basic Whole Wheat Freezer Waffles

An easy whole grain waffle recipe that makes a big batch of waffles perfect for now…or later!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat or other whole grain flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled (or 2 tablespoons canola oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Optional Mix-Ins

  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 cup blueberries or chopped strawberries
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milks, butter, vanilla and brown sugar.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Note that the batter will be slightly lumpy. Gently stir in chosen “mix-ins.”
  5. Cook waffles following waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. To freeze: Allow waffles to cool to room temperature then place in a freezer bag. Separate the layers of waffles with parchment paper or foil. Label the bag and freeze.
  7. To reheat: Remove waffles from the freezer and place directly in the toaster or toaster oven. Toast and enjoy.

Notes

  • Makes 12 Belgian-style waffles

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 354
  • Sugar: 14
  • Sodium: 365
  • Fat: 13
  • Saturated Fat: 4
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 51
  • Protein: 11
  • Cholesterol: 76

Easy Freezer Burritos

Do you have 15 cents?

Of course you do!

Here’s the deal, you could spend 50 cents on a lackluster burrito, or you could spend half that and have a tasty burrito loaded with nutritious ingredients. If you’re like me, you’ll choose the 15 cent burrito. Not sure how to make this amazingly inexpensive, delicious burrito? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. My Easy Freezer Burritos recipe is below and some pictures in case you need inspiration or instruction.

The Pretty Pictures of Easy Freezer Burritos:

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Easy Freezer Burritos

Don’t buy burritos anymore! Make them yourself with delicious, nutritious ingredients to fill you and nourish you.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup prepared quinoa*
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa
  • 12 whole wheat or sprouted whole grain 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, black beans, corn, salsa and cheddar cheese.
  2. Lay tortillas out onto a clean work surface then spread 1/4 cup bean mixture down the middle of each tortilla.
  3. To roll: Fold one end of the tortilla to meet the other. Gently push back the tortilla and ingredients so they are tight. Fold outside edges inward, then roll until burrito is closed. Repeat the process with the remaining burritos.

To freeze

  1. Tear 12 sheets of foil. Place a burrito in the center of each piece of foil and tightly roll up. Place foil-wrapped burritos in a freezer bag. Label and date them before storing them in the freezer.

To enjoy

  1. Remove burritos from foil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Cover and cook on high heat for about 1 minute. Check and add more time if necessary. If you’re unsure, use a food thermometer and cook until internal temperature reaches 165’F.

Notes

  • Makes 12 burritos
  • *Of course I wouldn’t leave you hanging! Here’s how you prepare the quinoa: http://www.sarahaasrdn.com/freezer-quinoa/

Nutrition

  • Calories: 2886
  • Sugar: 10
  • Sodium: 1271
  • Fat: 46
  • Saturated Fat: 20
  • Unsaturated Fat: 21
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 503
  • Protein: 115
  • Cholesterol: 89

Freezer Quinoa

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:

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Freezer Quinoa

Make it once, enjoy it many times! This recipe makes a big batch of quinoa perfect for freezing!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. For faster cooling, spread cooked quinoa out onto a sheet pan.
  3. Once cooled, place quinoa in a re-sealable freezer bag. Label and store in the freezer.

Notes

  • Makes 3 cups of quinoa.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 626
  • Sugar: 0
  • Sodium: 617
  • Fat: 10
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 109
  • Protein: 24
  • Cholesterol: 0
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