Grapefruit, avocado salad with chicken

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Just as cold months have us clambering for thick, rich foods, warmer months are all about salads and grilling. Our bodies instinctually know we don’t need as much fat when it’s warm, but we do need more hydration, and the season is ripe for beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Below is an easy salad packed with flavor and health benefits.

Grapefruit is loaded with water, fiber, vitamin C and lycopene. It helps you feel full, slim down, fight aging cells and build immunity.

Avocados are great for eyes, skin, hair, heart, good cholesterol, fighting cravings for bad fats, absorbing other nutrients…they’re even good for unborn babies.

Walnuts help with weight management, sleep, hair, heart disease, skin, preventing cancer, diabetes and dementia, and fighting off stress.

Basil has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Put them all together, and you get a glow-inducing meal that tastes as amazing as it is healthy.

Grapefruit, avocado salad with chicken

  • 1 package of mixed greens
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 Grapefruit
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 handful of walnuts
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon
  • 1 tsp jelly (I used peach, but the fruit won’t be strong enough to alter the flavor, so use what you have)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Torn/cut grilled or rotisserie chicken

Wash all greens (if needed) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop up grapefruit and avocado into chunks. Mix oil, vinegar, dijon and jelly. Toast walnuts in skillet or oven. Put all ingredients, including chicken, in a large bowl, toss with dressing and serve.

 

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Slow-cooker turkey breast over kale

As a spin-off to my slow-cooker turkey breast soup blog, I want to share a recent recipe I’ve been having fun with.

Like the soup recipe, I still coat the defrosted turkey breast in pesto and cook it in the slow-cooker. What’s different on this one is that I throw in whatever vegetables I have on hand (I’ve done onion and different squash varietals, red peppers, carrots, etc.), add in just enough broth to help their flavors mingle and keep them from sticking, then, I serve them on top of fresh kale. The heat from the meat and veggies wilts the kale just enough.

I add a little Israeli couscous for my son since he needs the additional carbs, but we don’t.

Using spinach or kale as a rice or pasta substitute is a great, easy way to completely revamp the nutritional profile of your meal. Between the fiber and the overall nutritional makeup of dark, leafy greens, you’ll stay full longer, and avoid unnecessary starches. You don’t have to completely change your diet to eat more cleanly; just make easy swaps like this one.

This meal is great all-around because it’s ready whenever we finish our whirlwind day and are ready to eat, and it’s family friendly. Eating well as a rule is easier than trying out a fad-diet. It’s just too hard to make a special, healthy meal for one person. You need options, like this one, that everyone can enjoy. Eating well should taste really good.


Recipe: (Vegetarian) Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with cheese toast

Tomato soup with grilled cheese has always been one of my favorite comfort foods; so, when my house had a crazy day recently, I knew that adding a little extra TLC to an old favorite would set us right up.

Some days are harder than others, and there’s a reason why they named a book series “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Warming up your insides with soothing soup, accepting the things you can’t control, deciding to be better tomorrow, and going to bed a little earlier than normal, can make all the difference.

A glass of milk replaced our usual glass of wine with this dinner, and we felt transported back to a time when decisions were simpler, and life was less hectic.

I hope this recipe soothes your soul and eases your mind as it did ours.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Parmesan-Cheddar Cheese Toast

  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 28oz. can of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can white beans (drained) – delicious addition that adds protein and fiber
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 small container of plain greek yogurt
  • s&p to taste
  • sliced whole grain bread
  • parmesan
  • cheddar
  • butter
Heat your oven to 325 F (165 C) and roast your red pepper and garlic clove for about 25 minutes.
Remove and discard stem, seeds of red pepper, and peel and dice your garlic.
Heat oil in skillet/pot and add onion. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then add the roasted pepper (chopped), garlic, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil and cinnamon.
Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, then pour into blender/processor and grate until semi-smooth.
Return contents to pot/skillet, add beans (drained) and chicken broth, stir, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Reduce heat and add yogurt, salt and pepper.
While keeping the soup warm, butter some sliced bread and top with cheddar and parmesan. Use your low broil setting to toast it until the cheese melts. Serve cheese toast with your soup for dipping.
If you want to add to the presentation of the dish, add a little dollop of yogurt and a basil leaf to the middle of each bowl of soup.

Recipe: Slow cooker turkey breast soup

Mother Nature is trying to push Spring our way, but so far the weather seems pretty indecisive. Between the pollen and the random chilly days it’s tough to stay healthy.

At the first sniffle of a stuffy nose, my soup craving begins. The trouble is I know now how much sodium is in the old chicken noodle soup I used to eat. I don’t really want to be stuffy AND swollen, so I have to be choosy with anything canned. Soup is a great option for a healthy diet, as long as it isn’t brimming with preservatives, cream, etc.

Organizing the refrigerator (yes, I do that, and I enjoy it) this past weekend I found a frozen turkey breast and had a Clueless moment as I said, “Project!” They sell frozen turkey breasts year-round, we just don’t think to make turkey except for on Thanksgiving – when it’s a major task.

The recipe below turned out to be one of the best, easiest soups I’ve ever made. Whether you’re in perfect health or not, it will make you feel good. Because it’s cooked in a slow cooker, it’s also an easy meal that requires minimal hands-on time.

Slow cookers, crockpots, whatever you prefer to call them, are wonderful because they do the work for you. You get to come home to a house that smells like someone’s been cooking for you all day. I should add that my husband thinks this must be torture for our dog.

In conclusion, this is, indeed, turkey soup for the soul – just not the dog’s soul.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Soup…for the soul

Serves 4

  • Defrosted turkey breast
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared pesto
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 14oz cans of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup frozen diced onion
  • 1 cup frozen sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen edamame
  • Optional: any frozen veggies of your choice, low sodium crackers for topping

Remove excess fat/skin from the turkey breast, but leave the main piece of skin over the top. Combine pesto, olive oil and pepper and rub all over turkey and under skin. Put turkey breast in slow cooker and pour half a can of broth around it (around, not over, as you don’t want to rinse off the seasoning). If you’re in a hurry, cook on med-high for 4 hours. If you’ll be gone all day, leave it on med-low for 7 hours. After the initial cooking time, you should be able to pull the turkey breast apart with a large fork easily without removing it from the cooker. Once it’s well separated, add frozen vegetables and remaining chicken broth. Turn up to high and cook for another 30-45 mins, or until it has reached and held a simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Serve hot with crumbled crackers on top. Whoever is served the piece of turkey skin can just discard it.

Turn your cooker back down to med-low to keep it warm for seconds. Save leftovers in fridge or freezer.