Healthy

Autumn Harvest Salad with Spiced Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Fall is without a doubt my favorite season. Not only do I love the cooler weather (minus the past couple of hot and humid days), but this season really embodies my favorite flavors. I've touched on some pretty delicious (if I do say so myself) fall-inspired breakfasts, but what about lunch or dinner?

I decided to take that spiced apple, autumn flavor and turn it into a salad that's perfect for lunch, dinner, or as a side or starter to a meal. I made the one pictured with chicken, but you can easily skip it to make it vegetarian (as well as the blue cheese for a vegan option).

Here's What You'll Need:

-2 cups baby spinach
-1/2 granny smith apple, chopped
-1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped or in pieces
-4 tbsp blue cheese
-4 tsp dried cranberries
-2 tsp sunflower seeds
-2 tsp pumpkin seeds
-pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 tsp)
-pinch of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
-1 tsp coconut oil
-5 oz chicken, cooked

For the dressing:

-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-2 tsp water
-1 tsp honey
-1/8 tsp cinnamon
-very small pinch of nutmeg (about 1/16 tsp)

Instructions:

1) In a pan, heat the coconut oil until melted, toss in the walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and heat them for about 3 minutes (tossing regularly). 
2) In two bowls, separate the spinach.
3) Top each bowl of spinach with 1/2 of the chopped apple, blue cheese, dried cranberries, sunflower seed, and pumpkin seeds.
4) Split the spiced walnuts, and top each bowl.
5) Top with chicken if desired.
6) Whisk together the dressing ingredients, and top each bowl with half.
7) Enjoy!

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to subscribe for e-mail updates!

Grilled Chicken Fajita Bowl

Fajitas are probably my favorite Mexican dish. I love the fresh, spicy, sizzling protein and veggies, and I love topping them with my favorite toppings. You can't really complain about meat, veggies, spice, and cheese thrown together. So  I decided to take this classic Mexican dish and put a healthier twist on it.

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Here's what you'll need:

For the marinade:

-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp cilantro
-1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp paprika
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 tsp chili powder
-the juice of two limes
-2 tsp olive oil

For the meal:

-2 chicken breasts (used 5 oz chicken breast for the nutrition info)
-2 cloves garlic
-1 Anaheim pepper, chopped
- 1 portobello mushroom top cut into chunks
-1 zucchini, sliced
-1 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
-3 tbsp Mexican cheese blend
-Salsa and non-fat Greek yogurt to taste (nutrition information accounts for 1 tbsp of each)

Instructions:

1) Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl or bag and marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes.
2) Once the chicken is marinated, cook on the grill (you make also bake or cook as you please) until fully cooked. I cooked mine for about 10 minutes per side, but grills and temperatures may vary.
3) Heat up a large pan and coat with cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray).
4) Add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute alone.
5) Add in the pepper and zucchini and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
6) Add in the mushrooms, oregano, chili powder, and salt and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until all of the vegetables are cooked through.
7) Sprinkle the cheese over the vegetable mixture, remove from heat, and cover. Let sit for about 1-2 minutes until cheese melts.
8) Serve the vegetable and cheese mixture, splitting between two bowls.
9) Top each bowl with salsa and Greek yogurt as desired as well as a piece of the grilled chicken.
10) Enjoy!

I used non-fat Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. Let me know what you think of the dish in the comments below, and feel free to subscribe!
 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Breakfast Smoothie

I've been on a peanut butter kick recently, and by recently I mean the past couple of years. More specifically, I've really been craving PB&J.

I needed to make a quick breakfast before heading out the door this morning, so I decided to try and fill that PB&J void with a breakfast smoothie.

Here's what you'll need:

-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
-3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
-1/2 cup mixed berries (I used blueberries and blackberries)
-1/2 cup ice
-1/2 cup fresh spinach
-1 banana

Instructions:

1) Add all ingredients to a blender and mix thoroughly. I tend to put the ice and almond milk towards the bottom to avoid the blender getting stuck.
2) Pour the smoothie into a glass, and enjoy!

Let me know what you think, and feel free to subscribe to e-mail updates below!

Shrimp Cobb Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Shrimp has been one of my favorite foods since I was a little kid. It has a nice flavor, provides protein, and is still light and low calorie.

I knew that I had shrimp at home and was really feeling a nice salad. I started going over the things I had in my fridge and literally couldn't think of anything. Then I thought about the bacon I randomly had leftover from a couple days ago (random because I never buy bacon). Shrimp wrapped bacon? That sounds delicious but not exactly what I was looking for.

I sifted through the limited other ingredients I had lying around, and each one fit perfectly into a summer-inspired lighter cobb salad. Instead of heavy bleu cheese or ranch, I could make a nice citrus vinaigrette and cut out the cheese.

Here's What You'll Need:

For the Salad:
-4 cups of baby spinach
-10 cherry tomatoes cut into thirds
-1/2 avocado, chopped
-1 ear of corn, kernels removed from cob (or 1 small can of corn, drained)
-2 slices of bacon
-2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
-6 oz shrimp
-1/4 tsp of paprika
-salt and pepper to taste

For the Dressing:
-The juice of one lemon
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp white wine vinegar
-1/2 clove garlic, minced
-1/8 tsp oregano
-salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) If you haven't already, cook your bacon slices in a pan or microwave until they are crispy, and chop them into small pieces.
2) If you haven't already, hard boil your eggs (you may also buy them already cooked). Chopped up the eggs.
3) Add the paprika, salt, and pepper to your shrimp and cook on a grill or in a pan on the stove. If you are using pre-cooked shrimp, I still suggest adding the seasoning and just heating up the shrimp a bit using either method.
4) You can either add all the ingredients into one large bowl or split ingredients in half and serve separately.
5) Mix together the dressing ingredients, add to the salad(s), and enjoy!

If you are hesitant about the dressing, please try it! It is seriously delicious in the salad. It balances so well with the egg, shrimp, and bacon and gives just that extra bit of added flavor to this meal. Let me know what you think, and feel free to subscribe below!


Spiralized Zucchini Summer Salad with Balsamic Chicken

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If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a huge fan of grilling. I'd probably be just fine (if not really happy) grilling most of my meals. It's pretty simple. You can make a delicious marinade and just let your ingredients soak it up the fridge for a bit before throwing it on the grill, or you can just add some seasoning and throw it on.  Then you flip it over a couple of times, and, voila, a delicious, flavorful meal. Plus, in the meantime, you can prepare whatever else you need for your dish.

As August is creeping by (it's somehow almost half way over), I want to utilize that grill as much as possible. I decided to use another of my favorite tools, the spiralizer, to make a fresh, summer-inspired salad.

Here's what you'll need:

-3 chicken breasts (the nutrition info accounts for 5 oz chicken breasts)
-1 1/2 large or 2 medium sized zucchini, spiralized (I used the ribbon blade but any will do)
-1/2 avocado, cubed
-1 ear of corn
-1/2 large tomato, cubed
-1/8 red onion, chopped
-1 granny smith apple, cubed
-6 tbsp feta

For the marinade:
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-A dash of Himalayan sea salt
-A dash of black pepper

For the dressing:
-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1 tbsp olive oil
-3 tsp spicy brown mustard
-1/2 clove of garlic, minced
-Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag, add the chicken, and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour (the longer the better).
2) Heat up the grill.
3) Peel down the husk of the corn (without removing) and discard of the corn silk. Pull the husk back up to cover the corn, and toss it on the grill. The corn will cook for a total of 20-25 minutes (rotating every 5 minutes or so).
3) After about 5 minutes, add the chicken to the grill. The chicken will cook for about 7 minutes on each side.
4) In the meantime, chop up your ingredients if you haven't already done so, and make the dressing.
5) Remove the chicken and corn from the grill when they are done cooking.
6) Let the chicken sit for about 5 minutes, and then cut it into slices.
7) Cut the corn kernels off the cob.
8) You can either mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl or create individual bowls. I tend to do the latter. Add the raw zucchini noodles. Top them with apple, onion, tomato, avocado, corn, feta, and finally the chicken. Add on some dressing, and enjoy!

The mixture of the raw zucchini plus  the fresh tomatoes, apple, and onion mixed with the grilled chicken and corn is the perfect summer meal. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and let me know what you think below! Also feel free to sign up for (free) e-mail updates on new posts.