4 Summer Salads for the 4th of July Celebrations

If you’re health conscious, trying to make healthy decisions, and surround yourself with healthy foods, you need to have some delicious and nutritious go-to recipes that you can make and take to holiday gatherings. That way you can indulge in your favorite items that are only available certain times of the year, but still fill up on nutrient dense, more health conscious items at the same time.

I’ve put together four of my more recent and favorite salads that are perfect for the upcoming 4th of July festivities!

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Spiralized Grilled Vegetable Salad: skip the pasta, but don’t skimp on flavor my take on a healthier summer pasta-less salad.

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Broccoli Ranch Salad: Another pasta-less salad that’s like a classic Italian pasta salad, but with more veggies and no refined white carbohydrates. That’s not to say you can’t throw in a little whole wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta, etc for whole grains and fiber!

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Marinated Vegetable Medley Salad: It’s like a coleslaw without the mayo-based dressing. This mix of veggies {throw in whatever you have, seriously!} is marinated in a simple vinaigrette that will only taste better as it sits. Perfect for making ahead of time and not scrambling before everyone arrives!

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Watermelon & Arugula Petite Salads: Mini salads where you don’t need to eat just one. Stack ’em, eat ’em with a fork, or getting a little messy with these hand-held babies. Drizzle or dip into the homemade honey dijon dressing for perfect little bites of summer.

 

xo,

Becca

 

Peach and Cherry Tart Cups

It’s the 6th birthday of The Recipe Redux and we’re celebrating by sharing healthier small bite desserts!

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I made these delectable, perfectly-summery, and festive peach and cherry tart cups that are great for any celebration that were inspired by Cooking Light’s Peach – Thyme Galette.

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The recipe looks pretty daunting but it’s pretty simple for being a homemade baked dessert.

Start by preparing the dough, no fancy or high tech kitchen gadgets needed here.  It just needs to sit in the freezer for 10 minutes compared to an hour for most dough recipes.

Then roll out the dough, portion it into a muffin pan, add the fruit, and bake.

See?! Couldn’t be more simpler.  Or guilt free. It’s made with plant-based fats, whole grains with very little added sugar {and if you’re fruit is super ripe and in season, you could probably omit it altogether}.

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Peach and Cherry Tart Cups

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons ice cold, divided

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, divided

1/4 cup oat flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

6 ounces frozen dark cherries*

8 ounces frozen peach slices*

2 tablespoons apricot preserves*

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, add 4-5 tablespoons of water, vinegar, vanilla and 1/3 cup flour and combine with a fork to make a slurry.

Place the coconut oil in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes so it becomes cold.

In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, salt, remaining 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour, and 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar and whisk together. with a pastry blender, or two knives, cut in the cold coconut oil until it resembles course crumbs with the flour mixture.

Add the slurry, being careful not to over mix.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, kneading about 5 times. Roll it into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze it for about 10 minutes.

Remove the dough, let stand for about 1 minute at room temp. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with a large biscuit cutter and place each round into the prepared muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the peaches and cherries. Toss to combine. Evenly distribute the peaches and cherries mixture into each cup.

In a ramekin heat the apricot preserves with the remaining tablespoons of water for about 10-15 seconds. Stir to combine and brush over each cup.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown.

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I made a few notes in the recipe for some of the ingredients* that I want to explain a bit:

I used frozen fruit because the fresh was just perfectly eaten on their own, and I had some frozen on hand. But definitely substitute with fresh if you have it.

For the apricot preserves, you could really use any flavor but I really prefer brands that don’t have any added sugars, sweetened with only fruit or even a bit of fruit juice.

I hope you get to make this at your next gathering or even for yourself when you need that much deserved healthy treat at the end of the day!

xo,

Becca


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No Pasta Lasagna

This recipe is one of my all-time favorite comfort food recipes twisted into a more nutritious and lighter recipe with all the flavor and love of the original version! It’s also one of my blog’s most popular recipes! 

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No pasta lasagna, is a delicious pasta-less version of your favorite comfort classic without any of the guilt but with all the feelings of satisfaction and indulgence.

It’s full of fiber from the veggies {lightly grilled zucchini or eggplant}, less sodium by controlling the ingredients and removing any added salt, and heart-healthy protein by selecting reduced fat cheeses and extra lean ground meat.

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No need to worry about what vegetable to this dish when it’s full of veggies already. It truly is a one-stop meal.

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The catch?

While it’s easy to prepare, it does take a few steps in order to assemble the entire dish. So this is definitely a meal prep dish for the week or a weekend dinner to use throughout the week for leftovers.  It only gets better as the week goes on though, so no worries about boring, tasteless leftovers!

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Serve this up at your next family dinner! It’s a great gluten free option for anyone that needs it. It’s also friendly to anyone watching their weight, blood sugar, heart health, etc. It’s even kid friendly! You can even make it vegetarian by replacing the ground meat with cooked lentils or black beans and mushrooms.

It’d be fabulous to share to new moms who are too tired and busy to prepare food for themselves and their families as well as wanting to start shedding those pregnancy pounds.

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No Pasta Lasagna
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients:
1 lb 93% extra lean ground beef
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
28 oz can tomato sauce or puree
6 oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 medium zucchini
1 large egg
2 cups part-skim ricotta (or reduced fat cottage cheese)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated (divided)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne
freshly ground black pepper
16 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, brown the meat. Remove any excess fat, by straining in a colander. In the same pan, saute the garlic and onions for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn. Return the meat to the pan, add the tomato sauce, basil, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for about minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan. Slice the zucchini into thin slices to resemble lasagna noodles. Grill the zucchini on both sides until there are some nice grill marks on each side (about a minute or so). {This helps to remove any moisture in the zucchini so the lasagna isn’t too watery}.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add the egg, ricotta or cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, dried herbs, cayenne, and pepper. Mix well to combine.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. In the bottom of the pan, spread around a little bit of the meat sauce. Then place a layer of the zucchini on top. Spread some of the cheese mixture onto the zucchini layer. Repeat with meat sauce, zucchini, and cheese mixture two more times or until your ingredients run out. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30-45 minutes and let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

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I’ll admit when I make this recipe, I often divide the recipe in half and make a his and hers version. That way I can use the same meat sauce and cheese sauce for each, but I use the grilled veggies in place of pasta for mine and then do a traditional version with pasta for the hubster. While I don’t recommend doing this for children, because you do not want to set yourself up to be a full service chef as they get older, it is a nice way to customize food preferences relatively easily for couples that are pretty set in their ways on some things.

He’s coming around though.

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Enjoy!

xo,

Becca

Lemon Chicken

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Lemon chicken is one of those favorite family dinners in my house. When I’m not sure what to make for dinner, when I need to fill in a night on our meal plan, when I need something to make with chicken or when I need something comforting-  this is my absolute go-to.

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It was a childhood favorite, and now I’m just glad my hubby has adopted it and allowed it to be such a favorite in our home. I’m still working on the 2 year old though, she just eats the pasta. For now. #priorities #mommygoals

This dish has really morphed over the years.

It started out a chicken tenders dusted in flour and pan “fried.” I don’t even remember what we served with it- just goes to show I didn’t eat many veggies back then either (so I’ll cut the daughter some slack).

Then I remember my mom taking some extra steps by adding an egg wash and a bread crumb station to the chicken prep, but that was only if there was enough time and energy that even for this. Perhaps this happened on the rare occasion I actually helped her cook?

And then when I was in college, I came home to this being served over spaghetti and topped with diced red onion, avocado, and parsley.

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And now it’s served with roasted brussels sprouts (favorite) or broccoli with some fun-shaped pasta. And I’ll be honest, this is the one example where I don’t always eat whole grains. #truth #dietitianconfession

 

I chose not to make this dish more elaborate and rename it. It’s beautiful, simple, and delicious just the way it is.

Lemon Chicken

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1/4 cup flour

1 egg, beaten + 1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

4 thin slices chicken breasts

2 lemons, separated

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Create a dredging station with 3 shallow containers. In one put the flour, another the egg wash, and the third the bread crumbs. Lightly coat each chicken breast in each station starting with the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs.

In a large non-stick skillet, warm the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Cook the chicken until lightly browned and cooked through (about 2-3 minutes on the first side and another minute or two on the second side- depending on the thickness of the chicken). As it’s cooking, squeeze on about 1/4 of the lemon juice onto each chicken breast. Repeat on the second side for a more desired lemony flavor (omit if someone doesn’t want an overpowering lemon flavor).

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Serve with roasted brussels sprouts and cooked pasta.

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Recently, I made the recipe with the sides ahead of time, and then layered everything in a casserole dish for covering with aluminum foil and reheating before dinner. It turned out great and was a wonderful way to not rush and scramble to make dinner, no matter how easy it is!

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Hope you love and go to this dish as often as we do!

xo,

Becca

 

 

 

Summer & Citrus Fruit Sangria Mocktail

May is a popular time of year for graduation parties and pre-summer gatherings! To celebrate and provide something refreshing and deliciously nutritious beverages, our Recipe Redux group is sharing some pretty and fun cocktails and mocktails!

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One of my all time favorite cocktail is a sangria.

And I realized when making this recipe that one of my favorite foods – or beverages- to twist is cocktails!

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I’m not actually big into making homemade cocktails. Partially because I’m not much of an alcohol drinker to begin with and also because I’d rather just pour myself a glass of wine to keep things simple, easy and fast!

With that being said, I really love making mocktails! It’s a fun challenge to see if I can recreate flavors in a way that’s pretty, refreshing, and yet more nutritious, less (if any) sugar, and minimal calories!

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My mocktails don’t involve lots of sugary sweeteners. They are wholesome, fresh and delicious! This is a new favorite you’ve gotta try!

Summer & Citrus Fruit Sangria Mocktail

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 orange, halved

1 lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup frozen peach slices

1/2 cup frozen mango

12 ounces sparkling apple, peach juice

1 liter club soda

Directions: 

Juice half the orange and add it to a pitcher. Slice the remaining half and add to the pitcher as well. Toss in the remaining fruit. Pour in the sparkling juice and let sit in the fridge for a few hours. Before serving, pour in the club soda.

Serve over ice and in garnish with extra fruit.

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That’s it! It’s a chop and dump kind of recipe. It can be made at the last minute, but truly the longer it sits together, the better it will taste- just like sangria- gets better with time and a delicious combination of fresh flavors!

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Happy partying!

xo,

Becca


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Hummus Roasted Shrimp Veggie Bowl with a Hummus Citrus Vinaigrette

“I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

You might be surprised, but sometimes adding just one simple ingredient to a recipe can spark your creativity side and result in a new delicious addition to spice up your lunch or dinner routine.

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For my hummus roasted shrimp veggie bowl I spread some hummus on each little shrimp, roasted them in the oven until golden pink and served over a bed of shredded romaine, sliced mini peppers, quartered tomatoes, and halved cucumber slices.

I also made a hummus citrus vinaigrette by mixing Sabra {www.sabra.com} hummus with lemon juice and a sprinkling of black pepper of the most easy semi-homemade dressing you need that pairs perfectly with the shrimp and veggie bowl.

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This recipe takes about 20 minutes today and is a great Mediterranean meal to make you feel good about what you are eating.

It’s rich in protein from the shrimp {& plant-based protein from the Sabra hummus!} along with fiber and heart healthy fats!

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Since we are just a couple days away from National Hummus Day {May 13th} why not pay homage to a delicious dip and use it as a staple ingredient in a recipe. Its smooth, rich, and creamy texture and bold flavor makes it a tasty and easy addition to healthy ingredients that you can often get bored of making the same way.

And who’s to say this has to be a meal, it would make a perfect afternoon snack! The full balance of nutrients from fiber to protein to fat helps keep you fuller, satisfied, and energized longer- helping not only to tide you over ’til dinner time but also making you more likely to make better food choices and control portions more appropriately.

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This recipe is so fast, easy, and nutritious; you won’t regret making it asap!

Hummus Roasted Shrimp Veggie Bowl with Hummus Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb deveined shrimp

1/2 cup Sabra Hummus {I used the Roasted Red Pepper flavor}

1 whole wheat pita, quartered

1 head of romaine, shredded

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1 cucumber, halved and sliced

2 cups mini sweet peppers, sliced

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup Sabra Hummus

1 lemon, juiced

freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet, spread out the shrimp and dollop each with a teaspoon of the Sabra hummus. Place the pita on one end of the baking sheet as well.

Roast in the oven about 5 minutes, removing the pita once the edges become slightly crisp.  Continue to cook the shrimp until they have turned golden pink {roughly another 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them occasionally. Note: you can always turn on the broiler to enhance their color}.

Prepare the veggie bowl by tossing all the lettuce and veggies together.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the hummus and lemon juice together- stirring with a fork or shaking in a mason jar.

Layer the cooked shrimp onto the veggies and drizzle with the vinaigrette!

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That’s it! 4 basic steps that doesn’t require any significant amount of time or real brain power! Who couldn’t use that in their lives?

Enjoy!

xo

Becca


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Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza

“I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Sometimes we just need a little fresh flavor change to spice up your snack routine.  Am I right?!

Enter some flavorful options from Sabra {www.sabra.com}. Since National Hummus Day is just around the corner- this Saturday, May 13th! – and I can always use a good snack mix-up, I made this delicious and easy Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza that is oh-so-good and satisfying! Not to mention, as always, it’s nutritious!

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You may be surprised to hear that there are still people out there that do not know what hummus is!

Don’t be ashamed, if that’s you!  It’s simply ground up chickpeas {also known as garbanzo beans} that are blended with Tahini {aka ground sesame seeds}. That’s basically it- of course, you can always add more flavor with garlic, lemon, and peppers!

It’s a simple Mediterranean-style dip that provides heart-healthy fats, a bit of fiber, and plant based-protein! It goes great with just about anything- from chicken to veggies to, of course, whole grain pita!

It can even be transformed into a key ingredient in a mouth-watering snack or appetizer!

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My Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza is a heart healthy option that’s satisfying and energizing by containing a balance of fiber, protein, and plant-based fats. It’s also versatile, simply make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken!

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Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 whole grain pita bread

1/2 cup Sabra Hummus {I used the Supremely Spicy variety for added heat and flavor}

4 ounces roasted chicken breast

1/4 cup spinach

1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cucumber, sliced

freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 

Grill or bake (at 350) the pita for a few minutes until slightly toasted and warmed through to soften (about 5 minutes total).

Spread on the hummus. Top with diced or shredded roasted chicken {I used up leftovers here}, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Finish by sprinkling on some freshly ground black pepper.

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Happy {healthy} snacking!

xo,

Becca


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