Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Butternut Squash and Smoked Gouda Mac 'n Cheese

Who doesn't love Mac 'n cheese? It's one of those warm comfort foods that hits the spot every time. Here's my spin on an old classic. By using butternut squash in the sauce, this recipe gives you all the ooey gooey cheesy flavor without all the fattening calories! 

Make it a meal with my Turkey Meatloaf Muffins and some roasted asparagus!

Butternut Squash and Smoked Gouda Mac 'n Cheese

4 cups butternut squash, cubed
3 cups whole wheat macaroni noodles, dry
1 tbsp Tuscan herb flavored olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups skim milk
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
4 green onions
3/4 lb cubed + 1/4 lb shredded smoked Gouda cheese, divided
2/3 cup Panko crumbs
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 400. 
2. Coat casserole dish with nonstick spray.
3. Bring two pots of water to a boil. In first pan, boil squash for 5-10 minutes or until softened. In second pan, boil pasta for 5-10 minutes or until tender. 
4. Drain pasta and return to pan, set aside. Drain squash and return to pan. Mash squash with potato masher until smooth, set aside. 
5. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add yellow onion and sautée until browned, stirring frequently. 
6. Add half the milk and bring to simmer. Whisk in pepper, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, and green onions. 
7. Gradually add cubed Gouda and remaining cup of milk, melting cheese each time. Continue to cook until mixture thickens, whisking continuously. Add mashed squash and mix until combined. Pour over cooked pasta and stir until evenly coated. Transfer pasta to casserole dish. 
8. Combine Panko crumbs, Italian seasoning, and shredded cheese. Sprinkle Panko mixture evenly over pasta.  
9. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until bubbling and slightly browned on top. 
10. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Helpful Tip: when cooking for one or two, bake half and freeze the rest for next week!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cranberry-Almond Banana Bread Breakfast Muffins

Have some brown bananas in the house going bad? Banana bread is always an awesome way to use them up! These muffins are super quick, easy, and healthy at 120 calories each! Make them for a week's work of low-cal breakfast or snacks!

Cranberry-Almond Banana Bread Breakfast Muffins

3 ripe medium bananas 
3/4 cup old fashioned oats 
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large egg whites
1 tsp almond extract 
1/3 cup dried cranberries

1. Mash bananas with potato masher until smooth. 
2. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. 
3. Let stand at least 20 min to allow oats to soften. 
4. Spoon mixture evenly in to greased muffin pan. (Recipe makes 12 muffins.)
5. Bake at 325 for 25-35 min or until brown. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Low-Calorie Avocado Chicken Salad

I am absolutely obsessed with Avocados. Seriously. Ask anyone. I will eat a whole avocado with some salt and pepper as a snack. So of course, I try to find any way to incorporate more avocado in to my diet. This recipe is super quick and easy, not to mention healthy. I like to make it in the morning and then bring it with me to eat at work. 
My favorite way to enjoy this chicken salad is in a sandwich between two pieces of Sara Lee 45 Calorie bread with Sea Salt & Pepper Rice Thins (pictured above). BONUS: That whole meal is only 280 calories!

Low-Calorie Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe

1 chicken breast, cooked and cooled
1 medium avocado
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread, pita, crackers, etc. (optional)

1. Cut chicken breast in to small cubes. 
2. Slice avocado in half. Scoop out one half and mash until smooth. Slice second half of avocado in to small cubes. 
3. Combine chicken, avocado, yogurt, cilantro, and lime juice in bowl and mix until even. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. 
4. Cover and chill at least 30 min before consuming. Enjoy!

(Makes two servings, so save some for dinner or a snack!)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Corn Soup with Cilantro and Goat Cheese

About a year ago I discovered my love of butternut squash. And now I can't get enough of it! I can usually find it pre-cut and packaged at Trader Joe's year-round. But when I saw the fall display at the grocery store I knew I had to buy a whole squash and make soup!
Here's my healthy recipe for two that is great on a chilly fall evening...

Roasted Butternut Squash and Corn Soup with Cilantro and Goat Cheese Recipe

1 medium butternut squash (or 1 package pre-cut butternut squash, sold at Trader Joe's)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, diced (leave some seeds if more heat desired)
1 cup corn off the cob, fresh, frozen or canned (I like Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn)
1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro 
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. goat cheese or 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional)

For garnish:
Crumbled goat cheese 
Fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and place in pan, drizzle with olive oil and place in hot oven. Roast for 1 hour or until tender. (For faster cooking: cut up squash, removing skin or use pre-cut package and boil in water on stovetop for about 10 minutes or until tender.)
3. While squash is cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until browned. 
4. Add peppers and corn to pan and cook until tender. 
5. Add sautéed vegetables and chopped cilantro to food processor or blender. Scoop insides of squash in to food processor or blender, discarding skin and seeds. Blend until smooth. 
6. Return mixture to pan and add broth. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until thickened. Optional: for creamy consistency, add goat cheese or Greek yogurt. Add salt and pepper. 
7. Divide in to two bowls and garnish with goat cheese crumbles and cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

150 Calorie, 3 Ingredient Strawberry-banana smoothie

I am a big fan of smoothies, especially for breakfast. Usually I am making mine in a rush while getting ready. I came up with this super easy recipe for a quick, healthy breakfast or snack! Enjoy!

100 Calorie, 3 Ingredient Strawberry-Banana Smoothie Recipe:

1/2 frozen banana
1 container (6 oz.) strawberry light and fit yogurt  
3 oz. Trop 50 orange juice

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If a thicker consistency is desired, add ice. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


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