Slim Sloppy Joes

Slim Sloppy Joes

It is still March, National Nutrition Month.  (Even though here in NYC and the rest of the East Coast, it looks like the dead of winter under the spell of Storm Stella!)  I am continuing to focus on healthy, guilt-free substitutes to feed cravings for traditional favorite dishes.  That way we can at least begin dreaming about nice weather and start to work on our summer bodies!

Do you ever crave a warm, hearty, savory sandwich for lunch?  Perhaps you fear the calories OR that heavy, sleepy feeling you experience after eating a giant meatball sub, or a greasy burger on a white bun.  ENTER my new recipe for…….Sloppy Joes! 

I started with Barely Bread’s 100% Grain-Free Savory Roll (flavored with hints of garlic and onion).  I simply sliced and toasted the bread, added about 6 ounces of my Slim Sloppy Joe mix and added a couple slices of bell peppers for crunch.  And, voila:  A filling, hearty, savory, HOT lunch full of protein and vegetables that is good for your mind, body, and digestion!

Here are some the bonus benefits of this recipe’s ingredients versus traditional ones:

Barely Bread: Not only is it gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and have an amazing flavor, the higher protein and good fat content help you feel fuller longer than regular white rolls or sandwich bread.

Ground Chicken:  Lean ground chicken meat has lower calories, fat, and cholesterol than regular red meat.  With all the flavor packed it this recipe, I promise, you will not miss the traditional ingredient. 

Vegetables:  Whenever and wherever you can add veggies (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies), just do it.  Not only do they help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs, they are packed with fiber which is great for digestion and helping keep you fuller longer.  (FYI:  Peppers are great sources of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin B6.  Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamins A, E, K, B2, B6, iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, and calcium.  It has anti-inflammatory properties, and its chlorophyll content may help increase satiety.  Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A and have cardiovascular health, vision health, and antioxidant benefits.)  In this recipe, the vegetables also take up volume, which means instead of eating straight protein, part of your meat serving is made up of low-calorie, high-fiber vegetables, which decreases overall calories and increases feelings of fullness. 

Cayenne Pepper: This packs a punch of flavor without added salt or calories.  PLUS spicy foods may help increase metabolism.

Apple Cider Vinegar:  Acids in ACV can improve digestion and deter growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract.  

Maple Syrup:  I use this (and organic mustard) instead of using refined white sugar and/or ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. (Condiments such as these often have added sugar, corn syrup, salt, additives, and preservatives.)  Yes, it is sweet, but it is unrefined and all natural.  It contains more beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals than refined white sugar or corn syrup.  Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  It is also easier on digestion than refined sugars. 

Slim Sloppy Joes
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic lean ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots chopped
  • 2 cups spinach leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp mustard (I used yellow, but feel free to try others!)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste, as desired

 

Directions:

  1. Place olive oil in a pot, and add chopped onions. Cook on the stovetop over medium heat with constant stirring until onions are clear and begin to brown.
  2. Add carrots, followed by bell peppers, and stir up so each is cooked a bit (about 5 minutes total).
  3. Add chicken meat to pot, stirring consistently until it becomes opaque and begins to brown (about 6-8 minutes).
  4. Stir in spinach.
  5. Add tomato paste, mustard, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Continue to stir until mixture thickens a bit (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  7. Place on toasted Barely Bread rolls with a few slices of bell pepper. ENJOY!

****  This mixture would also taste great over any noodle of your choice (rice, zucchini, sweet potato, whole wheat), stuffed into a bell pepper or zucchini boat, or in a lettuce, whole grain, or grain-free wrap or tortilla, or on top of a sweet or baked potato. 

French Bread Pizza

French Bread Pizza

It’s March: National Nutrition Month! For 2017, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics slogan is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” I have decided to focus on healthy substitutes to find the best FOODS that are not only healthy, but also similar to our traditional favorite dishes. This way we all can enjoy them guilt free!

Remember French Bread Pizza? That crunchy outside with all the melty cheese and toppings? It was sooo good that we even used to look forward to the school cafeteria version. Today I created a much healthier option, and OMG it was so good that I ate it all up for lunch!

I started with Barely Bread’s garlic and onion baguette. I sliced and toasted the bread, added a few tablespoons of Rao’s marinara sauce, chopped broccoli and orange bell pepper, shredded Organic Valley parmesan cheese, Applegate Farms turkey pepperoni and red chili flakes.  

Then I placed the baguette in the oven on broil until the cheese melted and began to bubble. You could also use a toaster oven for this step. Now eat up and read on!

Here are all the bonus benefits of these ingredients versus the traditional ones:

Barely Bread:
Not only is it gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and have an amazing flavor, the higher protein and good fat content help you feel fuller longer than regular white bread pizza crust.

Rao’s: 
I love this sauce because of its great flavor and no added sugar, which (surprise!?) is often added to sauces sold in the supermarket. (That’s why I say: ALWAYS read ingredient labels!)

Vegetables
Whenever and wherever you can add veggies (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies), just do it.  Not only do they help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs, they are full of fiber which is great for digestion and helping keep you fuller longer.  (FYI:  Orange peppers are great sources of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin B6.  Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and a good source of Vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium.)

Parmesan Cheese: 
Because this is a stronger tasting cheese than the mozzarella traditionally used on pizza, you can use much less of it.  The great news is that it is much easier to digest. Due to its long aging process, much of the protein and the fat has already been broken down, or “pre-digested”. Parmesan also does NOT contain lactose. This means those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy without discomfort as well!  Also, the fat and cholesterol content are much lower in Parmesan than some other cheeses.

Turkey Pepperoni: 
This Applegate Farms product has NO nitrites or nitrates added, no preservatives, and is gluten and casein free. Their meat has no antibiotics and no added hormones. Adding extra protein, especially one with a string flavor, helps with satiety too.

Red Chili Flakes:
These pack a punch of flavor without added salt or calories.  PLUS spicy foods may help increase metabolism.

Enjoy your new French Bread Pizza! I know I will be making this one again soon!

 

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Superfoods for Heart Health

Superfoods for Heart Health

Since February is American Heart Month, I wanted to share with you some amazing heart-healthy foods. Each of these ingredients is great on its own, BUT they are all found together in one of my favorite new products: Supernola, which is a new superfood granola. Check out these ingredients and some Supernola recipes below!

Chia Seeds
Full of antioxidants, these small seeds provide more omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant, packing more protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese than all other foods. They also help to regulate insulin levels, and provide a feeling fullness. 

 

Flax Seeds
These brown seeds contain a significant amount of fiber, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.  Due to their lignan content, they are a great anti-inflammatory food, and may help lower cholesterol levels. Be sure to grind flax seeds so your body can easily digest and absorb their nutrients!

 

Natural Almonds
These delicious and nutritious nuts are higher in vitamin E, manganese and protein than other nuts.  Adding almonds to your diet has been proven to lower your LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, which is involved in creating plaques in your coronary arteries that can cause heart attacks.

 

Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
This superfood oil is not only known to promote healthy cholesterol levels, help boost the immune system through anti-microbial lauric acid, and boost energy, but it is easily digestible and may help your body burn fat. Be sure to get unrefined, cold-pressed organic coconut oil, and not the refined or ‘high heat’ versions.

 

Walnuts
Alpha-linoleic acid in walnuts acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has actually been shown to help reduce plaque buildup in coronary arteries, so these nuts help to keep your arteries clear. They are also known to improve brain function.

 

Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon is amazingly healthy, as it has been found to have anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.  It may also improve digestion, lower blood sugar levels, improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin, lower cholesterol and boost memory.

Easy Chia Pudding: Serves 1

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup almond or coconut milk (or other milk of choice)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract for flavor

Top with Supernola (flavor of choice)
Optional: Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

In a jar, mix chia seeds, milk, and vanilla well. Let sit overnight, shaking at least twice. Layer with Supernola, spices, and top with antioxidant-rich berries!

Energizing Breakfast Parfait: Serves 1

  • ½ cup yogurt – Greek or coconut yogurt (or yogurt of choice)
  • ¼ cup Supernola (flavor of choice)
  • Top with seasonal fruits or berries and shredded coconut

Layer ingredients and enjoy!

Grain and Dairy Free ‘Cereal’ Bowl: Serves 1

  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • ½ cup Supernola (flavor of choice)
  • Optional: Seasonal fruits or berries

Don’t worry, it won’t get soggy! Get creative and use exotic fruits in season at your local food store or farm!

Trouble with portion control? Supernola comes in pre-measured single serving bags to make your life easier, and your eating balanced!

Click on the link below to order your Supernola now! Use the discount code: ROBINBARRIE to get 20% off!!!!

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Chicken Zucchini Boats

Chicken Zucchini Boats

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to pick up lunch at a market we like in Westchester. I was getting my usual salad, and he decided on a zucchini boat, which happened to look delicious. As we sat down to eat, I of course had to taste his dish. Yes, it was pretty tasty, but with its red meat, extra cheese and breadcrumbs, it was not something I would select to eat on a regular basis.  BUT I had a feeling I could make my own healthier version.  So I got to work this past week and came up with this simple recipe which was a hit in my house. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 
Ingredients:
-3 zucchini, ends removed, sliced lengthwise, and inside seeds scooped out
-1 pound ground chicken meat (you can use lean ground beef or lean turkey, but I prefer chicken)
-1 medium onion, diced
-2 tbsp olive oil or cooking spray (to coat pan and baking tray)
-3/4 cup Rao’s marinara sauce (or other red sauce you like)
-1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
-1/4 cup grated/shredded Parmesan cheese
-red chili flakes, salt, and pepper to taste (as desired)
 
Directions: 
1.  Sauté chopped onion over medium heat in coated pan (olive oil or cooking spray) until onions appear clear and start to brown. 
2.  Add ground chicken to pan. Continue to stir until meat is mostly cooked.  (It’s preferred that it is more under versus overcooked at this point as it will have time to cook more in the oven.)
3.  Add marinara sauce to chicken and onions. 
4.  Place zucchini boats on an oiled baking tray (olive oil or cooking spray and begging to fill with chicken mixture. 
5.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cook boats for 40 minutes.
6.  At 35 minutes remove from oven and add sprinkled cheeses as desired.  Place oven on brooks for the last 2 minutes to melt cheese and brown as desired. 
7.  Remove from oven.  Add spices if desired and enjoy!  Don’t forget to make extra because they may even be better as leftovers the next day!  

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Green Egg Salad

Green Egg Salad

I have always been a fan of “salads”: tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad. And I will admit that I do enjoy the taste of mayonnaise. Since it is high in cholesterol and saturated fat, I love finding alternative recipes to make healthy, but tasty dishes. With tuna I often use olive oil, lemon juice, and vegetables. This morning I tried something different with eggs: I used avocado. Since avocado is a fat like mayonnaise, it has a similar “mouth feel”, so I found it to be very satisfying! Give this a try and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:
-3 boiled egg whites
-1/2 small avocado
-salt and pepper to taste
-squeeze of lemon juice
-red chili flakes
-4 sliced cherry tomatoes

Directions:
Chop up three egg whites in a bowl. Mash in avocado with a fork. Squeeze in the juice of a sliced lemon wedge. Add salt and pepper to taste, and red chili flakes if desired. Spread on a rice cake, all grain bread, or place on top of a salad. Top with cherry tomatoes. Feel free to add other chopped vegetables too, such as onion, pepper, celery, or even kale. Enjoy!!!

Chocolate Overnight Oats

Chocolate Overnight Oats

Yes, that’s right: I said CHOCOLATE! This is a great, healthy way to give into one of our most popular cravings. Instead of sitting and eating an entire chocolate bar or indulging in a decadent dessert, I’ve created a recipe so you can healthfully enjoy chocolate for breakfast or a snack. I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with overnight oats. They are so easy to make and transport; they are a filling and balanced meal/snack, and the flavor combinations are endless.

Here are the benefits of this combination:
Oats: high in fiber-a good carb that gives energy and helps you feel full
Vanilla Almond Milk: low in calories and nice flavor-I like the Califia Unsweetened Vanilla (I find at Fairway and Whole Foods) since it has NO carrageenan
Chia Seeds: High in protein, Omega-3s and filling since they expand in liquids and the belly
Almonds: high in fiber, protein and good fat, they help decrease cravings and lead to a flatter stomach
Blueberries: high in antioxidants and fiber, low-calorie and super sweet this time of year
Chocolate: high in antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory to protect heart and brain, and improves skin

Try this below, and feel free to switch out milk, nuts, and/or fruits to make new creations. You will definitely be seeing more overnight oat recipes from me here!

IMG_3589Chocolate Almond Blueberry Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

1/4 cup organic old fashioned dry oats
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1/4 cup blueberries
2 squares dark chocolate (or equivalent dark chocolate chips, or 1/8 of a 2 oz bar), preferably 70-80% cacao-my favorite is Hu Kitchen Chocolate


Directions:
Add almond milk to the oats in a bowl, jar or cup. Use a cheese grater to shave the chocolate into the mixture-or crush it up, or just use dark chocolate chips. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix all together and place in the fridge overnight or at least for three hours. Feel free to save some of the blueberries, almond slices, and chocolate for the top to add fresh flavor and crunch-I did! Enjoy!

This dish has 350 calories, 11 g protein, and 9 grams of fiber.

 

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