Between travel and work, the past couple weeks have been busy and action-packed. It’s a huge cliche, but there are not enough hours in the day. Since I’ve been strapped for time, I’ve also been eating out more and subsequently spending more money on food than necessary. To get back on track, I decided to make something super easy for lunches this week. I baked some chicken and veggies, and whipped up this Quick and Easy Quinoa with Avocado Dressing. It took less than 30 minutes to make and only had 5 ingredients, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the weekend.
Simple Garlic Green Beans are one of my go-to sides. I typically try to prepare some meals in bulk so I don’t always have to worry about cooking during the week, but this is one recipe I have no problem whipping up mid-week. It hits all the criteria for being healthy, simple and economical:
- Healthy: green beans are packed with antioxidants and vitamins
- Simple: this recipe only has 3 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes to make
- Economical: a serving cost less than $1
The best part about this simple recipe is that it does not taste simple. In my opinion, garlic is the best way to add flavor to any dish, and it does not dissapoint with these green beans. It’s a major step up from just popping a bag of frozen green beans into the microwave, and much healthier than the famous Thanksgiving side – green bean casserole.
Blanched Swiss Chard in Light Garlic Butter is the perfect side dish for lunch, dinner or even breakfast. The natural bitterness of Swiss chard is minimized by the blanching process, and the garlic butter adds a light, savory flavor to this leafy side dish (while still keeping it healthy). This recipe scores a 10 and I look forward to making it again.
I actually just got home from a week-long trip across the Southwestern United States – visiting Nevada, Arizona and Utah. National Parks were the focus of the trip and I saw Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. The sites and hiking were incredible.
With travel also came a lot of eating out and spending. It was minimized by following these tips, but eating out and spending more than normal is unavoidable when traveling. So, now that I am back home and back in my routine I am trying to cook and eat as healthy and economically as possible to make up for a week of traveling, eating out and spending.
For a while I’ve been wanting to make homemade tater tots – they’re trendy and everyone loves a good tot. I wanted to make my own recipe, something a little healthier, like a broccoli version similar to this one. Last weekend I decided to give it a shot, but I was fresh out of broc and had a zucchini staring me down in the fridge. Zucchini tots it was. Only, I was feeling especially lazy and didn’t break out the food processor. Instead, I went the “rustic” approach and roughly chopped up a zucchini and shallot for this recipe. I quickly realized these were not going to hold up in tot form, but like any great “chef” I pivoted quickly and opted to make these Rustic Oven-Baked Zucchini Cakes instead! They turned out perfect, honestly. I was surprised, but they tasted like a savory potato pancake, except slightly better for you.
I added quinoa to the recipe last minute too. It was not cooked quinoa. I think it worked out well though, despite the fact that most baked goods with quinoa call for the quinoa to be pre-cooked. I thought it did a nice job of absorbing some liquid out of the Zucchini Cake and also providing a soft crunch in the finished product.
As of April, I have been prepping lunch on Sunday’s for the week. The first recipe I made was this Slow Cooker Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe, and since then I have been making a wide variety of slow cooker chicken dishes to eat with rice and vegetables all week. It’s pretty healthy, very simple, and extremely affordable to do. It can get a little bland though when repeated over and over again. For the first time this past Sunday, I decided to take the rice to the next level and make this Easy Cilantro Lime Rice to enjoy with some chicken and vegetables.
It was good, put bluntly, and reminded me of Chipotle’s popular rice offerings. Was it better than Chipotle? I don’t want to call out one my favorite restaurant chains, but I think it gave it a run for its money. And speaking of money, this option is definitely more economical, costing only $0.80 per serving.
I have been on a burger kick lately. They have always been one of my favorite foods, specifically bison burgers, but bison burgers can be expensive when ground bison is not on sale. To further fuel my burger kick, I bought a pound of ground beef at the grocery store last weekend and planned on making burgers all week. Typically, I’ll settle for ketchup and mustard on top of my burgers – just plain ketchup and yellow mustard. Sounds basic, but its a classic combination that just works. However, feeling inspired by a recent sauce I made – Easy Arugula Walnut Pesto, I decided to up my sauce game once again for these burgers and learn How to Make Aioli at Home.
Only one week is left until the Super Bowl, and for those of you who will be watching, you will also probably be eating. This coming Sunday usually consists of pizza, wings and beer, but below are some healthier recipes that give the classic game day grub a run for it’s money.
With that, here are the seven best healthy recipes for the Super Bowl.
I recently made Basil Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing and have had nearly a full jar of tahini sitting in my kitchen ever since. One of my pet peeves is buying a unique ingredient (like tahini) and only using it for one recipe. Then is sits in my pantry or fridge until the expiration date rolls around and I end up tossing it in the trash. Talk about wasteful. So in a defiant moment I decided I would not fall victim to wasted tahini and came up with a couple recipes to ensure I use it all. First on the docket are these nutty and delicious Roasted Tahini Ginger Carrots.
These carrots are really easy to make too. It took me about 40 minutes one Sunday night, and more than half of that time was spent sitting and watching the new Silicon Valley, a show I really think anyone would enjoy and is quickly climbing the top TV comedies of all time list for me.
If you have some tahini sitting around like me, or just can’t get enough of the sesame paste, here are some other recipes that can help you put it to get good use:
I once had someone tell me cauliflower was their favorite vegetable and I really didn’t understand why. I’m a pretty big vegetable guy and could think of countless options that would be better than bland, flavorless cauliflower. Anyway, it wasn’t until recently I realized just how versatile cauliflower can be – it can make pizza crusts, tater tots, and even rice. If you are looking for the latter, you came to the right place, this article is all about learning how to make cauliflower rice.
I was on the fence about cauliflower rice for awhile, but there are a couple clear benefits:
- You get the vitamins and nutrition from a vegetable (more nutrition info below)
- It makes for a lighter dish (good for summer time, I suppose)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not avoiding brown rice or other grains, just trying something new. I have heard a lot about cauliflower rice the past couple years, and it was surprisingly good when I made it myself.
Last weekend I made Arugula Walnut Pesto and I’ve been reaping the benefits of this unique recipe all week. Typically, a pesto recipe contains basil and pine nuts, but basil is pretty expensive in large quantities and I’m a huge arugula fan, so I decided to make the swap. I knew walnuts could be a sub for pine nuts too, so I gave it a shot.
I originally made this Arugula Walnut Pesto for some pasta we were having the same night. It worked as expected – adding a fresh, garlicky flavor to the pasta. The recipe made 20 servings though, so I had a lot of pesto left to use. Slightly sick of pasta, I experimented with this flavorful pesto all week on pizza, garlic bread, breakfast sandwiches and turkey melts. It was delicious. Every. Single. Time.
The arugula and walnut worked just how I expected them to in the recipe, but the toasted garlic and salty parmesan really shined through and elevated whatever it was used on. Here are my 5 favorites uses for this pesto (besides pasta):
6 Ingredient Easy Chunky Guacamole is everything it’s chalked up to be. It has 6 ingredients, is easy to make, is chunky and delicious, and is also guacamole. I’ve been making variations of this recipe for awhile but I haven’t put down on paper until now. To be honest, avocados are great on there own, but this recipe takes them to the next level. Each of the 6 ingredients brings something unique to the table (or bowl):
Obviously, avocado is the star of the show. The avocado is what Kobe was to the Lakers, what Justin Timberlake was to N’Snyc, what Nick Sparks is to romance novels. I think there was a reference there for everyone, you get the picture.
Getting to the punchline, the avocado brings the creamy flavor and consistency to the guacamole.
It’s time to make some Baked Hasselback Zucchini.
No, this recipe, nor the classic hasselback potato recipe have any relation to the great Matt Hasselbeck. I know you most likely weren’t thinking that at all, but just wanted to clear the air.
The hasselback potato recipe is actually rumored to have originated at the restaurant in the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. Essentially, it’s another take on a baked potato recipe, but this one involves cutting into the potato – allowing you access to more of the surface area of the potato. This allows you to get the potato more crispy in more places, and of course, loaded with good flavor from butter and seasoning.
Since this Hasselback Zucchini recipe is inspired from hasselback potato recipes, then I guess it originated from Sweden as well.
Anyway, back to the recipe at hand…