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Gourmet Made Simple by Gena Knox


These recipes are courtesy of Gourmet Made Simple by Gena Knox.

Smoked Strawberry Mozzarella Crostini

Don’t be daunted by the fact that this appetizer is planked; it’s well worth the extra 10 minutes, but you can easily prepare this dish in your oven without a plank. The combination of strawberries, balsamic, and smoky cheese is amazing.

PLACE indoor/outdoor

PREP TIME soak + 10 minutes

COOK TIME 10 minutes

YIELD 4 servings

  • 1½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, packed in water, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 8 baguette slices, sliced ½-inch thick, toasted in oven or on grill
  • 1 15-inch cedar or alder grilling plank, soaked
  • 8 large basil leaves

FIRST Preheat grill to medium-low heat. In a small bowl, combine strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and sugar; set aside to marinate. Place soaked plank on grill, close lid, and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn plank over and place baguette slices on the heated side.

NEXT Top each baguette slice with mozzarella; close the lid and grill for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese melts and edges begin to brown.

LAST Remove plank and baguette slices from grill. Add one basil leaf and marinated strawberries to each slice.  Serve immediately.

NOTE For indoor preparation, place cheese-topped crostini in 400° oven 7 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Shrimp and Mango Summer Rolls

Even if you’ve never made summer rolls before, this recipe is a snap; once you assemble the ingredients, the rest is easy. Serve them as appetizers with sparkling wine, or with Peanut Soba Noodles for a light dinner.

PLACE indoor

PREP TIME 25 minutes

YIELD 4 servings

SUMMER ROLLS

  • 8 large shrimp, cooked and peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 8 round rice paper rolls (8-inch diameter)
  • 4 butter lettuce leaves, halved with ribs removed
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • ½ mango, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • ½ avocado, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup loosely-packed cilantro leaves

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 2½ tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ Serrano chile, thinly sliced

FIRST Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Fill a pie plate with 1 inch of water; set next to your work surface. One at a time, submerge each wrapper in water for 30 seconds, or until it becomes pliable. Transfer the rice paper to your work surface. Place a lettuce leaf over the bottom third of the rice paper; top the lettuce with 3 strips each of cucumber, mango, and avocado. Finish with ½ tablespoon carrots.

LAST Starting from the bottom, roll up the paper halfway, then fold both sides of the paper over the filling. Place 2 shrimp halves, cut sides down and end-to-end, along the crease. Add 1 teaspoon each chopped cilantro and mint leaves next to the shrimp.  Continue to roll the rice paper into a cylinder, pressing the edges to seal. Place roll, seam side down, on a plate and cover with a damp towel. Repeat with remaining rolls and serve with dipping sauce.

NOTE This appetizer can be prepared up to 3 hours ahead of time. Wrap each roll with a damp paper towel, put on a plate, and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.

Asian Chicken Burgers with Cucumber Slaw

These burgers are great if you prefer something a little lighter than beef, and ground turkey can be used, too.  The marinated cucumber salad is especially refreshing on a hot summer day.

PLACE indoor/outdoor

PREP TIME soak + 20 minutes

COOK TIME 20 minutes

YIELD 4 servings

BURGERS

  • 1½ pounds ground chicken
  • ½ cup purchased teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 large scallions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 15-inch maple or alder grilling plank, soaked (optional)
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted

CUCUMBER SLAW

  • ¾ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ½ small white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ small Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1½ tablespoons sesame seeds

FIRST In a small saucepan, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt; cook over medium heat until dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, toss cucumbers, onion, pepper, mint, and sesame seeds; add vinegar mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

NEXT Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Combine ground chicken, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, scallions, basil, cilantro, and mint in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 4 equal-size patties, about 1 inch thick.

LAST Oil grill grates and sear burgers 2 minutes per side; remove burgers from grill and lightly cover with aluminum foil. Lower the grill temperature to medium-low; place plank on grill and heat 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn plank over and place burgers directly on the heated side. Close lid and grill 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reaches 165°.  Remove plank and burgers from grill. Top burgers with marinated salad and serve on toasted buns.

NOTE To cook the burgers without a plank, preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat; cook for 6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Breakfasts

Oatmeal Pancakes

They are very good and good for you. The measurements are not exact because a lot of this recipe is to taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c Oatmeal
  • 1-2 scoops pure vanilla whey protein
  • 1.5c Water, skim or milk alternative
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2T whole wheat flower (sticks everything together)
  • 1T +- Cinnamon
  • .5 t baking powder
  • 1-2 T Flax seed (optional)

Blend in food processor or blender until creamy.

Makes about 12 4″ pancakes, about 50 calories each.

Top with:

  • your favorite fruit
  • sugar free applesauce and bluberries(my favorite)
  • low sugar yogurt
  • peanut butter
  • whatever else you like (that is healthy!)

Snacks

Fruit Smoothie

This makes a great before or after workout snack.

Ingredients (no real measuring needed here, just add as much as you like of each ingredient, for thicker smoothie use more fruit and whey protein powder)

  • non-fat, plain yogurt (preferably organic)
  • vanilla whey protein powder
  • fresh or frozen fruits, 2 or more fruits at a time are a tasty blend (blueberries are a good choice b/c of it being a great source of anti-oxidants to ease the soreness of boot camp workouts)
  • flaxseed oil (usually found in organic section of grocery store) or meal flaxseed (however that can give smoothie a gritty texture) *** should only add 1 tblspn or 2 of flaxseed oil****

THEN blend evenly, you can drink it or if you prefer a thicker smoothie, then eat it like yogurt, or if you are feelin frisky, you can freeze if for popsicle snacks!

Breakfasts

Yummy B'fast Casserole

  • 1 16 oz carton Egg beaters (or any brand egg sub)
  • 1 1 lb 4 oz pkg Simply Potatoes diced potatoes w/ onions (or plain)
  • 4 slices  (torn or cubed) Kraft Fat Free Sharp Cheddar Cheese or ½ cup 2% shredded cheddar
  • 1 5 oz pkg Canadian Bacon (I used Kroger brand) or use soysauge
  • 1/2 c skim milk
  • Optional:  red, orange or green peppers, more onions, mushrooms, zuccini, broccoli or other 0 pt veggies you want to throw into the casserole.

Directions:

  1. Spray 9 X 13 baking dish with Pam Olive Oil Spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour egg beaters, milk & potatoes into large mixing bowl.  Cut up bacon & cheese into bite size pieces.  Add to egg mixture.  Stir and pour into 9 X 13 baking dish.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 min (give or take depending on your oven.  Just watch it closely around 30 min.)  Let cool.
  4. Cut into 6 serving sizes.  Yes – they’re huge.  3 Points!!  Great protein, carb mixture.

Breakfasts

Yummy B’fast Casserole

  • 1 16 oz carton Egg beaters (or any brand egg sub)
  • 1 1 lb 4 oz pkg Simply Potatoes diced potatoes w/ onions (or plain)
  • 4 slices  (torn or cubed) Kraft Fat Free Sharp Cheddar Cheese or ½ cup 2% shredded cheddar
  • 1 5 oz pkg Canadian Bacon (I used Kroger brand) or use soysauge
  • 1/2 c skim milk
  • Optional:  red, orange or green peppers, more onions, mushrooms, zuccini, broccoli or other 0 pt veggies you want to throw into the casserole.

Directions:

  1. Spray 9 X 13 baking dish with Pam Olive Oil Spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour egg beaters, milk & potatoes into large mixing bowl.  Cut up bacon & cheese into bite size pieces.  Add to egg mixture.  Stir and pour into 9 X 13 baking dish.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 min (give or take depending on your oven.  Just watch it closely around 30 min.)  Let cool.
  4. Cut into 6 serving sizes.  Yes – they’re huge.  3 Points!!  Great protein, carb mixture.

Entreés

Lasagna

This is an assembled “lasagna,” with all the lasagna flavors, but created individually in each person’s dish, in a fraction of the time. It can also easily be made into spinach lasagna (I use frozen), eggplant lasagna, zucchini lasagna, etc, by putting a vegetable layer in over the meat. If your diet allows, use any kind of whole-grain pasta. This recipe is easily adaptable to family members with different tastes and nutritional needs.

Ingredients:

  • 99% ground turkey meat, cooked and drained (1 lb makes about 6 servings)

Per Serving:

  • 1/3 C ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C sugar-free spaghetti sauce (or chose a low sugar one)
  • 1/4 C low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T Parmesan cheese
  • 1 C cooked spaghetti squash

Preparation:

  • Cook the spaghetti squash.
  • Cook the meat with salt and pepper to taste. Drain off the fat if there is any.
  • Heat the ricotta (microwave works best)
  • Layer in bowl: spaghetti squash, ricotta cheese, ground turkey, mozzarella, sauce, Parmesan.

Entreés

Naked Burrito

Here’s an idea for a quick & healthy lunch or dinner.  You can order this at Barberitos, La Parrilla, Qdoba, Moe’s or Willy’s.

You can order either a steak or chicken naked burrito at Qdoba and get it made your way. This means either grilled steak or chicken on a bed of rice and black beans with tomatoes, salsa, lettuce and your favorite hot sauce. To keep this meal truly healthy, you have to walk away from the cheese, sour cream and tortilla.

I’m not a big fan of any sodas, so I tend to stick to water with a fresh wedge of lemon. The upside is no high fructose corn syrup or funky sugar-like chemicals.

Please keep in mind that I really only have four simple rules when it comes to happy, healthy fast food meals:

  1. It must be healthy. By healthy I mean a common sense “healthy,” which in my book means that the meal uses mostly fresh ingredients, it is not fried or nuked, or in any way cooked in grease or saturated fats.
  2. It must be truly fast food in so much that I can order it, get it, and eat it after a four-mile run over my lunch break.
  3. It must be cheap. This means that I can purchase it with a drink and still receive change from a 10-dollar bill.
  4. It must taste good. What’s the use of a tofu spinach salad that is perfectly balanced with all essential nutrients and vitamins if it tastes like paper and glue?

Entreés

Chicken a’la EASY!

1 serving = 6 WW points or 260 calories

  • 1 4.8oz chicken filet (Perdue Perfect Portions 99% fat free boneless breasts)
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano
  • 1 slice provolone cheese

Spray baking dish with olive oil Pam.  Place chicken breasts in pan (4-6).  Cover with 1 can of DelMonte diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano.  Lay 1 slice of provolone cheese over each piece of chicken.  Bake 350 degrees for about 20 min.

Snacks

Easiest and Most Delicious Salsa Recipe – ever!

Shared by our instructor Erin Repac:

Below is a recipe for salsa that my family makes all the time; I got it from my mom who does Weight Watchers. You can eat it with chips in moderation, of course, but it also goes great with eggs, sandwiches, salads, meat, chicken, etc…

  • 2 cans Del Monte Dices Jalepeno Tomatoes (or you can use Zesty Mild flavor)
  • 2 garlic cloves (or more, if you love garlic like I do!)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop the onion in quarters and then add the ingredients in order listed above into a blender or food processor.

This makes enough to store for about a week or two in a sealed container; it tastes THE BEST 2-3 days after you make it (this gives time for the flavors to blend).

Enjoy!

Entreés

Spaghetti & Meatballs

  • 1 1.25lb Jennie-O 99% ground turkey breast
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ c dry bread crumbs
  • ¼ c water
  • ½ c onion, finely chopped (I bought the pre-chopped, but I’ve used the frozen before)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ c fresh parsley, minced (I didn’t have any today so I left it out and it still tasted good!)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 jar Classico Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1 box Thin Whole Wheat Ronzoni Spaghetti

Mix all meatball ingredients in a bowl and make 24 med size meat balls.  Place on a baking pan lined with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray.  Broil for 10 min.  Turn over and broil for another 8-10 min.

Add ½ cup Ronzoni whole wheat spaghetti to container.  (Yes, ½ cup & try not to pack it!!).  Top with 3 meat balls and ½ c spaghetti sauce.  (I like Classico Basil & Tomato)

That’s 1 serving!!  Enjoy.

 
 
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