I made these as a last minute snack last week, and loved them SO much that I just have to share them with you! Crispy flatbreads, loaded with home made spinach pesto sauce and veggies are the perfect meal to fill you up, yet leave you feeling light on your feet. Plus, they totally satisfy that pizza craving…anybody with me?!
I hope you will try these with your favorite veggies and let me know what you thought.
You will need to first whip up a batch of my delicious, creamy home made Spinach Pesto sauce.
crushed red pepper and spinach & parmesan seasoning from Johnny’s
Flat Out Pizza bread, rosemary and olive oil
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. While the oven heats up, slice your veggies and make the pesto. I like to use this as an opportunity to cut extra veggies, so I can make more flatbreads later, or throw the veggies in with a quesadilla or scramble.
Lay 2 flatbreads out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven to pre-cook for 5 minutes. Remove the flatbreads from the oven, and top with pesto, cheese and veggies evenly. Sprinkle with your seasonings, and place into the oven for 15-20 more minutes. I like mine a little on the crispy side, so I usually do the full 20 minutes.
Once the pizzas are done, pull them out and serve while they are still warm. Enjoy!
I’m always experimenting in the kitchen. The end result isn’t always the best, but occasionally I really impress myself with delectable, healthy, sweet treats that are absolutely to die for! These plantain muffins are moist, slightly sweet, and fit into my meal plan every day of the week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did…and still am!
Blueberry Lemon Plantain Muffins
2 raw green plantains, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup goji berries
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the blueberries, and combine until you have a nice smooth batter. Add the blueberries and stir with a spoon. Pour batter into a nonstick muffin pan, or use muffin liners. (My muffin pan makes 12.) Fill the muffin cups until they are almost overflowing. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until batter is no longer runny in the center. YUM!!!
Even though summer is still lingering around these parts, the nights are becoming cooler, and I’ve definitely been feeling a bit of fall in the air! I decided to give in to the impending cool weather, and break out my crock pot for some good old fashioned, hearty, healthy chili. This stuff is packed with protein, healthy carbs, and tons of flavor. Enjoy with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, your favorite cheese, or sliced avocado.
CHICKEN, TURKEY, & BLACK BEAN CHILI
1 20 oz package lean ground chicken
1 20 oz package extra lean ground turkey
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
1 large sweet red onion, chopped
4 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed
1 can low sodium kidney beans, rinsed
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons tobasco sauce (or favorite hot sauce)
cumin, cayenne, onion powder, cinnamon, italian seasoning & sea salt/pepper to taste
Fresh herbs of your choice (I used oregano, cilantro, and sage)
Plug in your crockpot and set to low. Using a large non stick skillet, sautee mushrooms, onions and bell peppers over medium heat until soft and fragrant. You won’t need to add oil, since the mushrooms are high in water content. Remove mixture from heat, and add to your crockpot. Using the same skillet, add ground turkey, chicken and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is lightly browned. Add mixture to crock pot. Add rinsed beans, chopped herbs, tomatoes with the liquid from the can, and all seasoning to crockpot and mix well. Close the lid to the crockpot and leave cooking on low for 4 hours. Add more seasoning if desired and serve warm with your favorite healthy garnish! I like to add avocado and nonfat greek yogurt to mine.
Food prep has become an integral part of my routing at home. I rely on having healthy snacks to take to work or prepary on the fly for myself and my husband. Taking the guess work out of cooking for a few days sets me up for success, and a happy tummy!
These bell peppers are one of my husband’s favorites. I have prepared them several different ways, but want to share this week’s creation with you. The combination of grass fed beef, tomato sauce, garlic and herbs is so comforting, and reminds me of something mom used to make. I hope you enjoy!
BEEF & CAULIFLOWER STUFFED BELL PEPPERS
6 bell peppers
1 lb lean grass fed ground beef
1 small head cauliflower
6 cloves garlic, or 1 clove elephant garlic
1 tbsp Italian herb paste
1 cup brown rice (dry measured)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
1/2 jar low sugar marinara sauce
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Add 1 cup brown rice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer approx. 30 mins, or until all moisture has been absorbed. I am a big fan of this brand, “Better Than Bouillon.” It comes in many flavors, and is great for adding flavor to soups, rice, veggies and more.
Clean bell peppers, cut the tops off, and remove all seeds.
Next, brown ground beef in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and set aside.
Now clean cauliflower well, and cut florets into 2 inch pieces. Add to your food processor and pulse until it becomes similar to rice in size.
Add cauliflower “rice” to non stick skillet with chopped garlic. Saute’ for approx 4 minutes on medium/high heat, or until edged begin to brown.
Add browned beef, herb paste or fresh chopped herbs, cooked rice, and 1/2 jar low sugar tomato sauce to skillet and combine well.
Look for a sauce that is low in fat and sugar, like this one:
Combine mozzarella cheese, and mix well. (Cheese is optional, but adds calcium and a nice melty goodness!)
Spoon mixture evenly into prepared bell peppers.
Bake peppers in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy! These are great re-heated in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Enjoy all week for a well rounded, delicious, home cooked meal!
Today, we will be preparing everything we need for the next 5 days. Prep time approximately 1.5 hours.
On the menu for the next 5 days: Broccoli soup, Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps, Pesto Quinoa, Fruit Salad, Oats & Berries, Green Salad w/Black Beans & Chicken, Cilantro Avocado Dressing, Sweet Potato, Grilled Artichokes, Pesto Turkey w/Kale, Chocolate Bananas & Scrambled Egg Wraps.
You will need:
Chicken breasts (3)
1 Cup Quinoa (rinsed)
Broccoli (3 lg. bunches)
Celery (3 cups, chopped)
Onion & Bell Pepper Mixture (2 cups, chopped)
5 Cloves Garlic
Basil & Cilantro (1 bunch ea.)
Berries & Other Fruits
Grapes or Apples (1 cup sliced or chopped)
Butter Lettuce (1 head)
Spring Mix (half container)
1 Can Low Sodium Black Beans (rinsed)
Pine Nuts (sm. bag)
Sweet Potato (1)
Extra Lean Ground Turkey (1 lb)
Kale (1 lg. bunch)
Dark Chocolate Bar
Almond or Peanut Butter
Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Raw Almonds (1/2 cup, chopped)
***Store turkey meat in refrigerator to thaw out, and place kale in fridge until later this week.
To begin, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts in a pyrex dish with 1/2 inch water, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place dish in oven along with your sweet potato, and set the timer for 35 minutes.
Next, fill a large pot with both artichokes, and fill 3/4 with water. Cover and let boil until artichokes become soft at the base – appx. 45 minutes depending on the size.
Next, get another large pot to make broccoli soup in. Add 2 cups chopped celery, 1 cup chopped carrots, and 1 cup chopped onion, along with 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, & 5 cloves garlic (peeled.) I used the leftover mixture of bell peppers and onions from earlier in the week when we made fajitas!
Sautee all ingredients until they become soft and fragrant. Next add chopped florets of broccoli, 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro, and 1/4 bunch fresh basil (stems and all.) Add about 10 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until broccoli becomes fragrant and slightly soft. Set aside.
I like to use this bullion as seasoning, but you may use whatever spices you like, or whatever you have in your cabinet! I used 3 tablespoons “Better than Bullion,” and salt and pepper to season my soup.
While your soup simmers, and while the chicken, potato and artichokes cook, it’s time to prepare the pesto sauce, fruit salad, chicken salad fixins, and snacks.
Slice all of your fruit and mix together until you have approximately 4 cups of fruit salad. I used blueberries and strawberries. 🙂
Next up, grab a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup sliced red grapes or apples, 1 cup chopped celery, and 1/2 cup chopped or sliced raw almonds.
Set mixture aside for later. Next up, gather 3 medium sized containers to pre-make salads in. Add spring mix, carrots, cabbage and cucumber. While you have the carrots handy, portion out 3 small bags for snacks.
Add leaves from 1/2 bunch of remaining cilantro, and rinsed black beans. I chose to leave a small amount of beans off my salad to enjoy with my eggs later on in the week!
Next up, you will need a food processor or blender. We are going to whip up that pesto before the chicken is done!
In the food processor, add remaining fresh basil, including the stems. Add small bag of pine nuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil, juice from 2 lemons, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a smooth paste, approx 3 mins. Transfer mixture into a new bowl, and rinse food processor.
Now it’s time to pull the chicken out of the oven. Leave the potato in there, and turn the heat up to 400 degrees. Set your timer for 35 more minutes.
While the potato and artichokes continue cooking, let’s move on. In a medium sauce pot, add 1 cup rinsed quinoa and 1 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to a simmer and let sit for 25-30 minutes, or until all the moisture is evaporated. This should time well with the remaining cooking time of your potato.
Now it’s time to whip up our soup. Using a blender and a large bowl to store, add soup mixture in batches until it is pureed nicely. I like to add a little nutritional yeast, and any last minute seasonings during this part. We will be eating this yummy soup for the next few days!
We are almost done! It’s time to whip up some dressing for our yummy salads.
Using your food processor, add 1/2 avocado, 1 tablespoon Ms. Dash fiesta lime, 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or olive oil,) all remaining cilantro – leaves and stems, and blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to an airtight container. This stuff makes a great dipping sauce for those carrots, a tasty dressing for salads, or a spread for eggs!
It should be time to take your potato out of the oven. Turn the oven onto broil HI. Take your artichokes off heat, and drain all the water. Pour cooked quinoa into a large mixing bowl.
Add 3/4 of the pesto to your quinoa, and store the remaining pesto in a small container.
Stir quinoa thoroughly and portion into 3 containers.
Now slice your sweet potato into rounds, sprinkle with cinnamon (optional) and store in 2 baggies or tupperwares.
Now slice each artichoke into halves, and using a spoon, remove the inner prickly leaves. Lay halves onto a cookie sheet, and spread a thin layer of your extra pesto sauce onto each one. Store the remaining pesto for dinner later this week. Place artichokes under the broiler for 10 minutes, or until top sides begin to brown. Remove, turn off oven, and store artichokes in a tupperware. I used little tiny baby artichokes, hence the full cookie sheet. You should be left with 4 halves of regular size chokes.
We have 2 more tasks! Great job keeping up. 🙂 Next up, let’s deal with that cooked chicken. Take 1 breast and store in a plastic bag for dinner in a few days. Use your remaining 2 breasts to finish the chicken salad.
Chop chicken into small shred like pieces and add to bowl of grapes, celery and almonds. Add appx. 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. (If you have it.)
Combine all ingredients with a spoon or fork. Transfer to an airtight container to store.
Clean all butter lettuce leaves, dry on a paper towel, and store in a baggie for quick access.
Our last task for today is dessert! Well done! You will need to cover a cookie sheet with foil or wax paper, and lightly spray or coat with coconut or avocado oil.
Slice bananas and lay out on the cookie sheet. Coat each banana with a small amount of almond butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you so desire. I did. 🙂 Top each banana with a small piece of your dark chocolate bar. Place tray into freezer for 30 minutes, remove, and transfer bananas to a ziplock back. Store in the freezer until you are ready to eat! YUM.
Alright, guys. I know that was a lot of work, but you have just prepared EVERYTHING you need to eat for the next 5 days straight. Think about how much more productive you can be, and more focused on your workouts too! Now everything is laid out for you, and ready to go at the exact moment you are. 🙂
Don’t forget to refer to Part 1 of the food prep to see a daily meal schedule for all this delicious food you’ve prepared.
I decided to share my menu for each week to inspire some of you who are looking to try some new meals, and also to help those less-kitchen-savy folks to learn how to prepare simple, healthy meals for you and your family at home. Feel free to substitute any ingredients you want if you don’t like something, or are a vegetarian, gluten or dairy free etc.. I know everybody is different and will like different things, so have fun and get creative!
This weeks food prep will happen in 2 stages:
FOOD PREP PART 1:
Today, we will be preparing everything we need for the next 2-3 days in less than one hour! Yes, it can be done.
On the menu for the next 2 days: Fajitas, egg and mushroom scramble with avocado, chicken salad lettuce wraps, cottage cheese and fruit, kind bars (or raw nuts) salad with chicken breasts, Fish & sweet potatoes.
You will need:
Chicken breasts (3) – Place the others in the freezer, we will get them out in a couple days.
Cabbage (If you bought any)
Berries and fruit
Sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds
Kind bars or almonds
Sweet potato (1)
Cottage cheese, yogurt, or other protein source of your choice
To begin, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and place chicken breasts in a pyrex dish along with 1/2 inch of water, and 1 tablespoon coconut, olive or avocado oil. Once oven is pre-heated, place chicken on top rack, along with your sweet potato. Make sure to place foil or a cookie sheet underneath the potato to stop the syrups from seeping onto the bottom of your oven. Bake both for 30-35 minutes, depending on size of chicken breasts.
While the chicken is cooking, cut your lemons into large wedges, so you can have fresh and easy lemon water in the morning for the next few days. Store in small container.
Now grab your onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Slice mushrooms and store in a small container (or you can buy the pre-sliced ones!) You’ll be using these to add to your egg scramble in the morning. Slice bell peppers and onion, and store together in a large container to use for fajitas later on.
Next up, we have salads to prepare. Grab 2 medium tupperwares, and fill each one with a generous helping of spring mix. Grab carrots, cabbage, avocado and cucumber. Slice each topping evenly over both salads, and top with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
While you still have the carrots out, portion out a few small baggies to have for snacks!
By now, it should be getting close to time to pull out your chicken! Pull the chicken out of the oven, and allow to sit in its juices for 15 minutes. Leave the sweet potato in the oven, and turn the heat up to 400 degrees. Close the door and set your timer for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your potato.
While your potato is finishing cooking, it’s time to prepare a couple containers with some cottage cheese and fruit. Portion out 2-3 small containers.
You should have some minutes left on the timer, so this next step is totally optional! I really love the Bolthouse farms yogurt dressing, but it is always nice to make a quick clean and simple dressing for your newly made salads. I made a dijon vinaigrette in just a couple minutes. You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Partition out 2 servings in small containers to accompany your salads.
While you still have a few minutes left for your potatoes, let’s take care of that chicken. Cut one large chicken breast in half, or use 2 small ones for the salad toppings. Chop into small pieces and place into plastic bags. Store the remaining whole chicken breasts in in plastic baggies with a little of the juice from the pyrex. You’ll be using these for fajitas!
Now it’s time to take your potato out of the oven. It should be slightly soft to touch so you know it’s cooked all the way through. Slice potato into approximately 6 pieces, and sprinkle the slices with ground cinnamon. Store in 2 airtight containers.
Congratulations! You have just successfully prepared yourself meals and snacks for the next few days! Feel free to mix and match as needed.