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Italian Meatballs with Penne Pasta

Italian Meatballs with Penne Pasta

As a kid, anytime my parents would go to an Italian restaurant I would beg them to get me spaghetti and meatballs. It was my absolute favorite! I always picture the scene from the Disney Movie, “Lady and the Tramp” where the two dogs were sitting at a table, music playing in the background, and they both were eating spaghetti and meatballs. To this day, our kiddos love this dish too.

Over little a year ago I had the privilege of co-creating a meal prepping business in my local area that offered healthy meals that were portioned and ready to go. It was a huge success for those busy men and women who didn’t have time to prepare their own meals yet wanted to eat nutritional dishes that would help keep their diet intact. Each meal was weighed and portioned for those who were healthy conscious and even for those that were athletes.

My Italian meatballs served with a low sodium marinara sauce over whole wheat penne pasta with a side order of garlicky sauteed spinach was a customer favorite. These meatballs are hand rolled, made from ground turkey, and are packed full of flavor. Plus meatballs make portion controlling your meals so easy and fun. I use 4 meatballs per serving and if you need more protein just make sure to add 6 meatballs to your plate. I usually make a big batch of meatballs and then freeze the extras so they are ready to go when I bring this meal together.

I love the garlicky spinach that is served on the side. It’s filling because it’s high in fiber and it’s low in calories but high in nutrients. Just like in the cartoon “Popeye the Sailor Man”, spinach helps improve your vision and strengthens your bones. Do you remember that cartoon? Be careful not to overcook the spinach (just wilt it) in order to keep the spinach from becoming slimy. If you’re not a fan of spinach, just replace it with another green vegetable of your choice.

Italian Meatballs with Penne Pasta

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Cook time: 

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Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 3 lbs ground turkey
  • 3-eggs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon ground garlic (divided)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon italian seasoning (divided)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • 1-24 oz jar of Gia Russa Low Sodium Marinara Sauce
  • 1-14 oz no salt added can of diced tomatoes
  • 1-lb box of whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1-bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon minched garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high
  2. In a large bowl add ground turkey, eggs, parmesan cheese, parsley, 1 tablespoon of garlic and italian seasoning, onion, and 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. Mix ingredients together until combined
  4. Spray cookie sheet pan with spray
  5. Roll meatballs into 1-2 inch balls (makes 48 balls)
  6. Place on pan
  7. Broil 10-15 minutes on each side until cooked and temperature reaches 165 (keep an eye on meatballs so they don't burn)
  8. While broiling meatballs, cook pasta according to instructions on box
  9. Place jar of sauce and diced tomatoes in a large saucepan and add ground garlic and italian seasoning
  10. When meatballs are completely baked, pasta is cooked, and sauce is ready then heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan
  11. Add the bag of spinach to the oil (may have to do in batches)
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  13. Wilt lightly (don't over cook or it will be slimy)
  14. Take off heat and mix in minced garlic
  15. Serve dish immediately!

 

 

Coconut Curry Chicken

Coconut Curry Chicken

I’ll never forget the first time I got introduced to Indian food. Being partially Korean, I grew up eating curry and was not really a fan of it. So I was very hesitant when our good friends asked us to try Indian. I kept thinking back to that green curry my mom used to fix us and wasn’t too sure about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, my mom was an excellent cook and I love most of her dishes but not that curry stuff. When I sat down and ordered my Indian curry, I was so pleasantly surprised; more like fell in love with the dish! Couldn’t get enough of all the spices and creamy sauces; just delicious and totally different than what I had thought.

Indian dishes can be on the heavy side and will leave you feeling overstuffed, to say the least. I knew that in order to enjoy these delicious ingredients more often then I would need to “lighten” the dish up a bit by using cleaner ingredients without taking away the flavors that I love so much! May I introduce you to my Coconut Curry Chicken. Oh, my goodness; all that yumminess all in one big bowl.

Now you can either top this curry on steamed brown jasmine rice or I choose to make a cauliflower rice and kale mixture that is so much more flavorful. I discovered a treasure in the frozen food department that will make prep time a breeze. Have you ever tried to make your own cauliflower rice. What a mess (at least for me)! All you have to do is add the bag to a frying pan along with any ingredients and spices you like and voila, you have a low carb option for rice that is so yummy! I’m a rice lover but this stuff is so good that I really don’t miss the rice.

 

 

Double the recipe and you’ll have plenty to either add to your freezer for later or portioned meals for the rest of the week. Makes pulling wholesome food right out of the fridge easy when you need it.

Coconut Curry Chicken

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Serves: 8

Clean version of a yummy Indian dish!
Ingredients
  • 6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Marsala seasoning
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 14 can Coconut milk (full fat)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 package stevia
  • Cilantro
  • 8 ounces chopped kale
  • 2 sweet salad peppers chopped or sliced
  • 1-12 ounce package frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Heat ½ tablespoon oil in large frying pan
  2. Coat and season chicken with ½ of curry powder and salt/pepper
  3. Brown chicken until totally cooked and set aside
  4. Heat ½ tablespoon in pan
  5. Add remaining curry powder and Garam Marsala for 1 minute
  6. Add onion and cook until translucent
  7. Add garlic, coconut milk, tomato paste, salt/pepper, and stevia
  8. Whisk until completely combined
  9. Cook 5-6 minutes until sauce thickens
  10. Add chicken and chopped cilantro
  11. Mix together until combined
  12. Lower heat and cook another 15-20 minutes
  13. While curry is stewing, heat ½ tablespoon oil in another large pan
  14. Add kale and salt/pepper
  15. Cook until lightly wilted and set aside
  16. Heat remaining oil in pan and pan fry peppers and cauliflower rice
  17. Add garlic powder to cauliflower and cook 5-6 minutes until softened
  18. Add kale and mix thoroughly
  19. Top the cauliflower and kale mixture with the chicken curry
  20. Serve immediately
Notes
You can use chicken breast in the place of chicken thighs to cut out excess fat plus you can replace the cauliflower with steamed brown rice.

 

 

 

French Toast with Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread

French Toast with Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread

Breakfast time is really one of my favorite meals to prepare and eat. French toast is on the top of that list however, it’s really not the most nutritional meal to eat so when I discovered the cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread I was hooked. I’m not a fan of raisins but there’s just something about the raisins in this bread that brings it to a whole new level of yumminess and comfort.

How is Ezekiel bread different from the typical loaf a bread? Most bread contains added sugar but Ezekiel bread contains none. It is made from organic, sprouted whole grains which make it more nutritious and it’s also a low glycemic bread. However, it is still made from wheat, barley, and spelt which contain gluten. So Ezekiel bread is not for those people with celiac disease or who are gluten sensitive. You can find this bread in the frozen department of most grocery stores. I usually place it in my refrigerator when I get it home.

So to make this yummy and easy dish, I place egg whites, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, and stevia into a large dish for dipping. Blend this mixture with a whisk until totally combined.  Heat a flat top griddle or pan to medium-high temperature. Spray the griddle or pan with cooking spray. Take 4 pieces of the Ezekiel bread (may need to place in microwave for 15 seconds to take the chill off) and dip each piece on both sides until well coated and place on hot griddle or pan. Cook on both sides for 3-5 minutes. Repeat until all pieces are cooked (if using a griddle you can cook all pieces at the same time). Slice each piece in half (2 whole pieces per person) and serve with maple syrup and sprinkled stevia on top. That’s it and you have a delicious breakfast that’s not only easy but nutritious! Healthy French Toast; Voila!!!

French Toast with Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread

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Serves: 2

Such an easy and delicious breakfast dish!
Ingredients
  • 4 slices of Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread
  • Cooking Spray
  • ½ cup Egg Whites (I use Crystal Farms All Whites Eggwhites)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2- packet of stevia
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Heat griddle or pan on medium high heat
  2. Place egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and one packet of stevia in a large shallow dish
  3. Whisk all ingredients together until well combined
  4. Dip each piece of bread in mixture being sure to coat each side thoroughly
  5. Spray griddle or pan with cooking spray
  6. Cook each side for 3-5 minutes per side
  7. Slice each piece in half and serve on a plate
  8. Drizzle maple syrup and sprinkle with stevia before serving

 

Cauliflower Mash

Cauliflower Mash

I’ve never been a huge fan of cauliflower but recently my hubby has found out that his body just can’t digest and process starches (such as potatoes, pasta, rice) which leaves him very bloated and so uncomfortable. So I’ve been experimenting with different ways to create dishes without using those starches and it all started with cauliflower mash.

Cauliflower is the perfect vegetable to re-create your favorite dishes. First, it really doesn’t have much flavor so you can season it to mimic dishes such as rice and potatoes. The consistency is lighter but the taste is delicious even for this girl who “thought” she didn’t care for it. Even my hubby has grown to really like cauliflower as long as I don’t serve it to him just steamed.

I’ve always heard that a truly healthy meal should be very colorful. Red tomatoes, purple cabbage, orange carrots…a meal that is visually healthy. Which means most of the time this “white vegetable” gets overlooked. But did you know that cauliflower is high in anti-oxidants, high in fiber, increases blood flow, and is full of healthy vitamins? It’s a wonderful vegetable to include in your diet. Here’s an article about the top 8 health benefits of cauliflower that may interest you. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx

Fresh organic cauliflower cut into small pieces in ceramic bowl on wooden background

Fresh organic cauliflower cut into small pieces in ceramic bowl on wooden background

I’m a huge fan of mashed potatoes so when preparing this dish I knew that I would be a big critic. It had to have the right consistency to fool this girl into loving cauliflower mash. I used a product called “nutritional yeast”. You can find it at stores such as Whole Foods. Nutritional yeast looks similar to parmesan cheese and is packed with nutrition. It’s low in fat, gluten-free, and contains no added sugars or preservatives. It’s used to thicken soups and enhance flavors. It made the perfect thickener to my cauliflower mash. Oh, my goodness! I actually love the taste of this version of mash and now I do believe it will become a staple dish in our home. By the way, it’s so easy to make which is a plus in my book.

So here’s what I did:

  • Steamed a head of cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • Drained and dried the cauliflower
  • Placed in a large bowl and mashed with a hand masher
  • Boiled together coconut milk, salt, and pepper, and curry powder (sounds strange but the coconut milk calms the curry powder flavor and the color makes it look like the mash is buttered)
  • Blended cauliflower and milk mixture together 
  • Seasoned with salt and pepper if necessary
  • Added nutritional yeast to bulk up consistency
  • Served immediately

Be sure to give this dish a try. You might be really surprised with the flavor!

Cauliflower Mash

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

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Serves: 4

Great side dish that is a great substitute potatoes
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper for taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Steam cauliflower until tender
  2. Add coconut milk, curry powder, and minced garlic to sauce pan
  3. Heat milk mixture together
  4. Drain and dry cauliflower
  5. Mash the cauliflower with hand masher
  6. Place cauliflower and ¼ cup of milk mixture into blender or food processor
  7. Blend until smooth (you may have to add more milk mixture if necessary)
  8. In a bowl combine blended cauliflower and nutritional yeast until consistency is just right for you
  9. Salt and pepper for taste
  10. Top with parsley

 

 

Honey Dijon Chicken Skillet

Honey Dijon Chicken Skillet

Do you have a “go to” meal that never disappoints? Well, this chicken dish is one of those meals. It’s a dish that’s easy to pull together when you’re short on time and my children love it. This honey dijon chicken can be served with almost any side dish and it’s perfect whether you potatoes, rice, or pasta. It’s so versatile!

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Did I mention the flavors? It’s one thing for adults to like it but for me it brings it to whole new level for my children to say, “yummy” and ask for seconds. I’ve always loved honey mustard but those prepackaged dressings are filled with unwanted sodium and sugar not to mention other processed ingredients. So to elevate the flavor and lighten this dressing up, I combine honey, stone ground dijon mustard, and a little bit of low sodium chicken stock. It’s best to use stock instead of broth because the flavor is richer.

honeydijonchicken-5808honeydijonchicken-5813So to bring this dish together:

  • I like to use chicken thighs (you can opt for chicken breast if you like). Chicken thighs just have more flavor (especially in a skillet) because of the fat content.
  • I season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place on a hot skillet to brown the edges,
  • Mix up the dressing and pour over the chicken,
  • Add chopped, fresh rosemary on top,
  • Cover the dish and cook for 6-7 minutes.
  • Lastly, I place under a hot broiler (uncovered) for 2-3 minutes to caramelize the dish. Don’t miss this step because it intensifies the flavor. That’s it! So easy and delicious!

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I served my chicken dish with steamed broccoli and roasted, yellow yukon potatoes. Give it a try and it may become your favorite “go to” meal too!

Honey Dijon Chicken Skillet

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Serves: 4

My "go to" meal every time!
Ingredients
  • 8 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1-2 tablespoons of grape seed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup stone ground dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cup no salt added chicken stock (just to loosen sauce)
  • 1 stem of fresh rosemary (take off stem)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat
  2. Add washed and seasoned chicken thighs to skillet
  3. Brown meat on both sides 2-3 minutes on each side
  4. While browning meat, grab a small bowl
  5. Add mustard, honey, and stock
  6. Mix dressing until combined
  7. Add dressing to chicken evenly (make sure to coat all chicken)
  8. Sprinkle rosemary on top
  9. Cover and cook 6-7 minutes
  10. While cooking preheat broiler on high
  11. Uncover skillet and add to top rack of oven to broil dish 2-3 minutes (watch carefully not to burn)
  12. Remove chicken and serve

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Crockpot Beef Roast

Crockpot Beef Roast

I am in love with my crockpot! It’s this working mom’s time-saving tool in the kitchen. Whoever invented this kitchen tool rocked it in my eyes! To be able to prepare your food in the morning, set the time, and when you come home in the evening your meal is practically complete and ready to go. Yep, I love it. Can you tell? Here’s a list of 5 other favorite tools of mine in the kitchen…http://www.cleanfoodmom.com/6-favorite-tools-kitchen/

Here’s one of my faves to make in my crockpot: a beef roast. What a wonderful fall dish and so comforting. When slow cooked, the meat literally pulls apart with a fork and is so tender and juicy. Just delicious! My biggest suggestion is to heavily season your dish when preparing it. You want those flavors to combine together for a robust flavor and you want that smell to smack you in the face when you open your door.

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You can definitely prepare a roast many different ways but this time, I thought I would keep it simple.

  • I sliced a couple of onions and placed it on the bottom of the crockpot
  • Cut slits in the pot roast/chuck and inserted whole garlic into the roast (about 5-6 cloves)
  • Topped the onions with the roast
  • Layered stems of fresh rosemary around the roast
  • Poured low salt/no salt added beef stock until it just reached about a 1/2 inch to the top of the roast (don’t cover completely)
  • Salt and peppered roast, veggies, and rosemary heavily
  • Set the time to low and slow cook for about 7-8 hours

Oh, my goodness! It’s a pot full of yumminess! I just serve the roast sliced or pulled with a side of rice and steamed broccoli. Such a simple dish and full of flavor. Hope you enjoy this easy and almost “hands-off” meal thanks to my favorite tool, the crockpot!

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Crockpot Beef Roast

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Serves: 8

The perfect weeknight dish to prepare!
Ingredients
  • 3-4 lbs pot roast or chuck roast
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sweet onions sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup low sodium beef stock
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Place sliced onions on bottom of crockpot
  2. Cut slits in roast and insert garlic cloves into slits
  3. Add bunches of rosemary around roast
  4. Pour beef stock until it reaches ½ inch of roast (do not cover roast with stock)
  5. Heavily salt and pepper entire dish
  6. Cover and slow cook on low for 7-8 hours
Notes
You can serve roast with a side of steamed broccoli and steamed white or brown rice

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