Category Archives: Recipes

Southwestern zucchini crepe to breakfast or brinner.

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I had a zucchini sitting around, wanting to become something. The only thing I actually long to eat, most of the time, is breakfast. So the answer was clear: a zucchini tortilla. 

However, as often happens when I start making stuff up as I go along in the kitchen, my tortilla became more of a crepe. But that’s fine, because it ended up just as delicious. 

Use the basic template I have and then riff from it with whatever you have on hand. I had diced onion and a bit of jalapeno pepper that needed to get eaten so I threw those in. 

Top it with whatever you like: an egg is a must if you’re a fan of them. I wanted sliced avocados but I only had guac. That was just as tasty. Shredded cheese and salsa also made it to the final plate. Cilantro would make a perfect garnish, but I was fresh out. I guess it’s time for a grocery run. 

Whatever you choose, the recipe is simple. I’ve included the ingredients for 1 crepe, because it’s all about me. But you could easily multiply them. Enjoy!

Southwestern Zucchini Crepe
Serves 1
It's a flat thing; not quite a pancake, but softer than a tortilla. Who cares though - it's yummy!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 zucchini, finely shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  2. 2 Tbsp diced onion
  3. 1 Tbsp diced hot pepper, such as jalapeno
  4. 1 egg white
  5. 1/2 Tbsp oat flour
  6. 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder or other seasoning
  7. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  8. Dash of salt
Toppings
  1. 1 egg
  2. Avocado or guacamole
  3. Salsa
  4. Chopped cilantro
For the Crepe
  1. Shred the zucchini and squeeze it in a paper towel to remove the excess water.
  2. Place into a bowl and add the onion, pepper, egg white, flour, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat in a skillet or griddle sprayed with nonstick spray for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until lightly brown on each side.
  3. Remove from heat and top with fixings.
Notes
  1. Chopped bacon would be outstanding. I'm always pro bacon. Always.
Nutrition for 1 crepe (without toppings)
  1. Calories: 80
  2. Carbs: 7g
  3. Protein: 6g
  4. Fats: 2g
  5. Fiber: 2g
  6. Sugar: 1g
Amy Dix http://amydix.com/

You need poblano pepper egg boats in your life.

eggs-in-pepper-boats

I eat eggs for breakfast almost every morning. You’d think that would get boring, but I haven’t hit my breaking point yet. My 9 year old is on Team Runny Eggs with me, and is game to try just about any way of eating the mighty egg: poached, scrambled, fried, soft boiled, hard boiled, whipped into oats… you name it. 

Eggs are a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plus they taste mighty fine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I stumbled upon a recipe for poblano pepper egg boats from Jacques Pepin, one of the OGs of fine cooking.

Sup, Jacques? Photo Credit Tim Hopkins

Sup, Jacques? Photo Credit Tim Hopkins

Jacques knows what’s up. His recipes calls for some cooking oil in the water that you use to steam your peppers before you fill them with eggy goodness. This seemed unnecessary to me, especially if I used a nonstick pan. Not that I’m dissing Jacques. But Jacques probably doesn’t give a flying French fry about calories. So I was off to modify this. 

By the way, you can use any large-ish pepper for this. Some people have used big banana peppers, but the ones I always see are so narrow that I figured they’d become a huge mess. Pick the pepper that pleases you.

Scroll down for a printable recipe, or get some how-to help here.

Begin by carefully cutting your peppers horizontally and scrape out the seeds and extra bits.

Begin by carefully cutting your peppers horizontally and scrape out the seeds and extra bits.

Fill a nonstick pan with some water - around 1/3 to 1/2 cup should be enough. Sprinkle in around 1/4 tsp of salt and let your peppers rest in there, cut side up. Heat your pan on medium heat and when it begins to warm up, cover the pan and set a timer for around 4 minutes.

Fill a nonstick pan with some water – around 1/3 to 1/2 cup should be enough. Sprinkle in around 1/4 tsp of salt and let your peppers rest in there, cut side down. Heat your pan on medium heat and when it begins to warm up, cover the pan and set a timer for around 4 minutes.

Jacques said to turn them while cooking, but I pretty much forgot. Oops. I was checking Facebook. They were fine. Whateva. Take the lid off, and you’ll notice that the water evaporated and it looks a little sketchy. Move onward. Your pan will be dirty but your peppers won’t stick.

Fill each pepper half with a tablespoon of cheese. I used 2% colby jack, but I can think of way more luxurious ideas. It's just what was laying around in the fridge. Then carefully crack an egg into each pepper half. If it oozes out a little, it's no biggie. It'll all be wonderful, I promise.

Fill each pepper half with a tablespoon of cheese. I used 2% colby jack, but I can think of way more luxurious ideas. It’s just what was laying around in the fridge.

Then carefully crack an egg into each pepper half. If it oozes out a little, it's no biggie. It'll all be wonderful, I promise.

Then carefully crack an egg into each pepper half. If it oozes out a little, it’s no biggie. It’ll all be wonderful, I promise.

You'll sprinkle a bit more salt on your eggs, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat another 3-5 minutes. 5 was just about right for the acceptable amount of runniness in my eggs. You want the yolks to still be runny but the whites to be white. Otherwise, you'll get "snotty eggs", as my kid calls them. He's so gross.

You’ll sprinkle a bit more salt on your eggs, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat another 3-5 minutes. 5 was just about right for the acceptable amount of runniness in my eggs. You want the yolks to still be runny but the whites to be white. Otherwise, you’ll get “snotty eggs”, as my kid calls them. He’s so gross.

Anyway, when they’re done, all you do is plate them, sprinkle on a little cilantro to be fancy, and eat them up. Enjoy! Serve this with some roasted tomatoes and a little whole grain toast and you’ll be breakfasting like a boss. 

Recipe below! What’s your favorite way to eat eggs? Leave a comment and share. 

 

Poblano Peppers in Egg Boats
Serves 2
A pepper stuffed with cheese and an egg is a healthy way to breakfast.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 poblano pepper
  2. 1/3 to 1/2 cup water
  3. 2 Tbsp 2% colby jack cheese
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1/4 tsp salt plus a bit more for sprinkling
  6. 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. Cut pepper in half horizontally, removing seeds.
  2. Add peppers, cut side down, to a nonstick pan. Add water and salt, then heat over medium heat.
  3. When water begins to heat up, cover the pan for approximately 4 minutes, or until pepper is a bit tender.
  4. Uncover pan. Make sure the cut sides are up. Sprinkle cheese into peppers.
  5. Carefully crack eggs into each pepper boat, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and cover pan again.
  6. Cook covered over medium heat for another 3-5 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. Egg yolks should be a little runny but the whites should be set.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. This recipe serves 2, but I'm not saying you should stop at one half. Eat all the peppers. A pan will accomodate around 4 halves at a time.
Adapted from Jacques Pepin
Adapted from Jacques Pepin
Amy Dix http://amydix.com/

Make Now, Eat Later: Turkey Sausages with Zucchini and Apple Will Rock Your Breakfast

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Let’s see- a quick and easy breakfast option that we can make on the weekend for brunch but also eat all week long? Sound good? It does to me too. Read on if you’re nodding your head a lot at that. I gotchu, babe. 

My breakfasts have been larger lately – I want to munch on some veggies and a big punch of protein to hold me over until lunch. So I was looking for some ideas to beef up my usual breakfasts of eggs: eggs on greens, eggs in breakfast bowls, eggs on tostadas. Yeah, egg obsessed. Why not add a little turkey to the party? 

Ground turkey breast – whether it’s 93% or 99% lean, is a super resource for getting the job done. In four ounces of turkey you’ll get between 30-35 grams of protein, depending on the fat content of the turkey you choose. It’s low in saturated fat, but it’s also rich in other nutrients, especially B vitamins and several minerals like selenium, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium… and others but you’re probably less interested in THAT and more interested in how to make a tasty, healthy breakfast. 

Yes, turkey meat is valuable in a healthy diet. But it can cook up dry: that’s why adding veggies like zucchini can solve the problem. And add some green stuff to your day to boot. I also added a little apple for extra sweetness, and because apple pairs so naturally with sausage. 

Wondering why the hell anyone would make their own turkey breakfast sausage? After all, there are plenty at the grocery store – and if you dig those, that’s just fine. But I think they taste underwhelming. OK, I really think they just taste like sadness. So I made my own. Here’s the kicker though: they take a bit of time to prepare, so save them for a weekend. Cook up a giant batch, freeze them, and then pop them into the microwave to reheat them when you need them. 

You can just eat them on their own, chop them up into an egg scramble, throw on an egg sandwich, or onto a breakfast salad. Or in a taco, because everything is better in a taco. 

Here’s how it’ll work.

Here are the players for today.

Here are the players for today. Yassss. 

You'll chop up and lightly saute some apples.

You’ll chop up and lightly saute some apples.

You'll mix up all of that meat. It'll look gross.

You’ll mix up all of that meat. It’ll look gross.

You'll use a scoop to make uniform patties. I can't say turkey balls. Well, because.

You’ll use a scoop to make uniform patties. I can’t say turkey balls. Well, because.

pattiesuncooked

Get all the patties ready for action before beginning to cook them.

You’ll saute them in a nonstick skillet or griddle for 3-4 minutes per side.

You'll make them a bit bigger than I did if you want them to look less silly on your breakfast sandwich. Ooops.

You’ll make them a bit bigger than I did if you want them to look less silly on your breakfast sandwich. Ooops. 

I wanted a LOT of patties because then I could use them more easily at will in recipes. Mine made 34 little guys. But you could easily just make them a bit bigger – it won’t really change the cooking time. Let me know how you like these!

 

Apple Zucchini Turkey Breakfast Sausages
Yields 34
A healthy breakfast staple made more flavorful with zucchini, apple, garlic, and spices.
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Ingredients
  1. 1.5 tsp fennel seeds
  2. A few pinches of allspice
  3. 2 tsp rubbed/ground dried sage or 2 TBSP freshly chopped
  4. 2 tsp dried thyme
  5. 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  6. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  7. 4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  8. 4 cloves of garlic
  9. 3 Tbsp real maple syrup
  10. 2 pounds 93% lean ground turkey breast
  11. 1/2 cup zucchini, grated
  12. 1 cup peeled and diced apple
  13. Nonstick spray (I like olive oil)
Instructions
  1. 1. In a pan over medium heat, spray nonstick spray in pan and lightly saute the diced apples to soften them a bit. This should take 3-4 minutes tops.
  2. 2. In a big bowl, combine the apple with the remaining ingredients. Just dump it all in and mix it together with your hands.
  3. 3. Make your patties. I used a 1.5 inch scoop to make patties that ended up being quite small.
  4. 4. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray your pan with nonstick spray and add the patties, leaving plenty of space between them. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate. Continue with the remaining batches of turkey patties.
  5. 5. Eat!
Notes
  1. When the turkey patties are cool, you can put them between wax paper layers in a container and pop that into the freezer. Boom. Turkey sausages all week long.
Adapted from Eating in the Middle
Adapted from Eating in the Middle
Amy Dix http://amydix.com/
 Nutrition Info Per Patty
Calories: 45|Protein: 5g|Fat: 2g|Carbs 2g

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High Protein Spiced Banana Baked Oatmeal

baked oatmealI woke up needing banana bread. So much needing. But banana bread is one of those treats that calls to me all day long and  I know before long I’d eat the whole thing. Then my kids would look at me bitterly. And also, I needed some filling oats and protein to keep me going until lunchtime.

As it turns out, baked oatmeal does a pretty bang-up job of both filling my belly and tasting like a breakfast treat. I took a risk with vanilla protein powder. Sometimes it ruins recipes with the funky taste. But not here.

It’s also remarkably low in calories per generous serving: mine came in at 241 kcal and 19.6 grams of protein for 1/4 of the pie. It boosts potassium from the banana and filling fiber too. I sprinkled on a few walnuts that my kids painstakingly picked off. If you don’t have to endure this, toss some inside the mix. Or add peanut butter. Or pb2.

Fancy bananas on the top are just for pretty but they do give you an extra hit of banana flavor. I caramelized mine in a nonstick skillet for just a few minutes while the oatmeal finished baking. Yum yum.

High Protein Spiced Banana Baked Oatmeal
Print Recipe
A higher protein, fiber filled baked oatmeal masquerading as banana bread. Adapted from Southern in Law blog.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Passive Time
22 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Passive Time
22 minutes
High Protein Spiced Banana Baked Oatmeal
Print Recipe
A higher protein, fiber filled baked oatmeal masquerading as banana bread. Adapted from Southern in Law blog.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Passive Time
22 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Passive Time
22 minutes
Ingredients
Optional Toppings
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Coat a pie plate or 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Or lightly coat with oil or butter. Set aside.
  3. Mash banana in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the egg whites and mix well.
  4. Whisk the egg whites lightly in a small bowl until frothy. Then fold into the oatmeal batter. I use this technique with pancakes and even if they're not whipped fully, I think this makes the oatmeal a bit fluffier.
  5. Pour into your pan and bake for 22-27 minutes, until fairly firm and lightly brown around the edges. I took mine out at 22 and the oats were still soft. Just the way i like 'em. If you want yours firmer and more cake like, add a few more minutes.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition info:
(before toppings)

241kcal|19.6g protein|2g fat|33g carbs|4g fiber|11g sugar

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Ranch Chicken Burrito Bowls with Chipotle Avocado Crema

burrito bowlBring all the bros to your yard with a burrito bowl that puts Chipotle to shame – though I actually like Chipotle for a quick, relatively inexpensive and healthy meal option on the go.

Chipotle style burrito bowls are popular among the macro counting ‘IIFYM, bro’ crowd because it’s so easy to customize your plate to exactly what you want on it: more protein and fewer carbs for your day? Just pile on more chicken and go easy on the rice and beans. I used a recipe for cilantro rice and beans here.

This recipe is also easily doubled or tripled if you want lots of leftovers to make it through the week. My 3 boys have begun eating mountains of food, and I was sadly left with no extra chicken. I’m so screwed once they grow into teenagers, right?

I dig this meal for my family too, since everyone can just make their own bowl as they like them. My favorite upgrade to this recipe is the avocado crema, which I found inspiration for via the blog Carlsbad Cravings. I’ve tweaked her Fiesta Ranch Chicken Bowl recipe a bit. I’ve included no nutrient info because it really depends on how you make each component and throw it together. It should be easy enough to guesstimate if you’re a calorie tracker. Enjoy!

 

Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls with Avocado Crema
Print Recipe
Dope burrito bowls put the fast food varieties to shame. Customize your bowl for a healthy, filling meal full of flavah.
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
25 minutes 2 hour
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
25 minutes 2 hour
Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls with Avocado Crema
Print Recipe
Dope burrito bowls put the fast food varieties to shame. Customize your bowl for a healthy, filling meal full of flavah.
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
25 minutes 2 hour
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
25 minutes 2 hour
Ingredients
Chicken marinade
Avocado Crema
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Chicken: Pound your breasts to an even thickness with a mallet or rolling pin. I do this with the breasts between sheets of wax paper or just out on a cutting board when I'm lazy. Make the marinade: In a small bowl, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together for the chicken. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat. The chicken can sit out for 20 minutes or you can marinade it in the fridge for a few hours. Crema: Throw everything into the blender. It's just that simple. Salt and pepper afterwards to taste, and thin with a little milk if it's thicker than you'd like. Cooking the chicken: Either on the grill or on the stovetop in a saute pan or grill pan, saute your chicken for around 5-6 minutes per side, depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. Let the chicken rest 5 minutes. Cut on the diagonal into strips or smaller bites to serve. Set out all your ingredients, and eat it all up.
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How to Make Oatmeal like a Boss

photo credit: Daniella Segura

photo credit: Daniella Segura

Oatmeal is life.

I am partial to grandiose statements like these, particularly when it comes to food. Damn, I love oatmeal. I love it even more now that I’m coming off a long-lived fat loss cycle and now have more carbs to play with… but even when I was carb poor, I made room for at least small portions of oatmeal. It makes for a great pre-workout boost as well. 

We’re coming to the end of winter so perhaps the feeling will pass, but lately all I want to eat is jacked up, fancifed bowls of oats. I’ll get to a few recipes soon, so hang tight. Let’s take just another moment to reflect on how badass oatmeal really is. First let’s talk nutrition.

Oats are whole grains.  I can tell you that oatmeal fills you up, helps you poop better (yay!) and is filled with soluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. One serving of just oats is around 117 kcal with very low fat, a healthy source of carbs, and contains protein too. It also can decrease your cholesterol and colorectal cancer risk. Good stuff all around, yes?

But let’s be honest, that’s not why I’m craving oatmeal. I’m not eating it plain. Oh ho ho, that would be silly and sad. Oatmeal is the most perfect canvas for whatever your heart desires. It works with both sweet and savory flavors, so get creative and punch up your oats with some fun ingredients.

Get Started By Using the Best Base
First of all, you need to make some oatmeal, right? There are all sorts of varieties available to you, from quick oats that cook fast to old-fashioned rolled oats, and steel cut. Let’s toss out the obvious tiny little packages of flavored oatmeal, because while those are okay in a pinch, they’re not that tasty. If I want a bunch of added sugar, it’s going to be luxurious maple syrup tapped from the trees of Vermont by a rustic syrup farmer or some shit, not a craptastic fake peach flavor.

The biggest difference among oat varieties is simply how much the oat groat has been processed. They’re all pretty similar with nutrient profile. But the processing nuances give them all their own special texture. My go-to lately has been steel cut oats. They don’t even look much like oats. They more resemble short grain rice or even quinoa. Except they taste great, unlike quinoa, which can go to hell for being overplayed and underwhelming in flavor. Quinoa is merely the current it girl. Oatmeal is O.G.

My favorite is steel cut. You might say it’s the manly man of oatmeal, with a firm body but warm and… well, that got weird. Ok, moving on.

Steel cut oats have more chew than the oatmeal most of us grew up eating. When you cook it, it becomes creamy yet has a fantastic, chewy texture that will make you a convert if you’re not already.

The only downside is the cooking time – it’ll take you around 25 to 30 minutes to prep a batch. On the upside, you can prepare a big batch and reheat it all week. It’ll still taste wonderful. And c’mon, we all have time. How many minutes do we dump every morning checking social media? Scroll through your Instagram while you give your oats a loving stir here and there. You’ll #multitask and have #instafood in no time.

How To Make (Better) Steel Cut Oats
First of all, forget all those overnight slow cooker steel cut oat recipes. They mostly blow. Usually, the outside edges burn and the middle gets mushy and strange. Gross. It’s not that hard to prep these the morning before using, or like I said, if you’re all about #mealprepmonday, make a big batch and reheat.

I should have included pictures of the step by step instructions, but I’m one of those people who scrolls directly to recipe details, so I’ll spare you that. Plus it’s so easy. Also I forgot to take pictures while I boiled oats. Please forgive me, as I have three kids who distract me with last minute math homework, can’t find socks, and fight over the Xbox. That’s life.

The Big Secret for Awesome Oats
First of all, you can chill out about the basics – the directions are on the bag. Seriously, that part is easy, and depending on different recipes, you may have slightly varying instructions. But usually directions have you boil about 3 parts of water to 1 part oats. You boil up your water and then add your oats.  You can use milk for part or all of your liquid too, though as you’ll see, I sometimes just add more milk at the end of cooking.

But back it up a bit. Here’s how you can make your oats even better – just toast them first. You can use a nonstick skillet with a spritz of oil spray or be a bon vivant and use a few teaspoons of butter. But toast them, with or without spices, and THEN add them to your boiling water. Turn down your water to moderate heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until they absorb most of the the liquid. Watch them closely as most of it evaporates and turn the heat down even lower to finish them off.

At this point, add your fixings- whatever your little heart desires. Worried about calories? Try cooking some diced apples separately with a bit of cinnamon to intensify their sweetness, then add them in at the end of cooking. Small amounts of banana pack quite a bit of a sweet hit. Go easy on the added nuts – they add calories rapidly, yet very small amounts still add crunch and can be a healthy, delicious addition to your bowl. 

If you want to beef up your oatmeal with more protein, whisk in some egg whites to improve the protein profile. You won’t taste them, and in fact the addition will make them creamier. I’ll share a few variations that rocked my socks. You ready for the fun part? Here are my favorite recipes. Let’s do dis.

Sweet and Spicy Buttermilk Oatmeal with Peaches and Blueberries

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I adapted this recipe from Saveur Magazine, decreasing the fat and sugar a bit by going easy on the butter and choosing a mix of unsweetened dried fruit and fresh berries. Instead of adding nuts to the mix, I choose to sprinkle them on as I eat a bowl so they remain toasty and crunchy. I never know what to do with leftover buttermilk from recipes – here’s a delicious solution. 

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup steel-cut oats
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
12 tsp. ground green cardamom
14 tsp. ground star anise
1 (1”) piece ginger, peeled and mashed into a paste (I used 2 tsp of refrigerated ginger paste, which I found next to the fresh herbs in the grocery store). 
12 tsp. kosher salt
34 cup buttermilk
14 cup whole milk
1 tbsp. honey
12 cup unsweetened dried peaches, chopped (I had some of these on hand as a treat. Sweetened dried fruit is basically candy in terms of sugar content. This is a bit better. Better still would be fresh peaches, but I was fresh out. Boooo.) 
12 cup fresh blueberries
Orange marmalade or raspberry jam, for serving (optional – if I do this, I use low sugar jam. The oatmeal is already fairly sweet.)
1 tsp of chopped toasted pecans per bowl, for serving.

Instructions:
Melt your butter in a 4 to 6 quart saucepan. Pour in your spices, oats, and ginger.  Toast for a few minutes until everything smells fantastic and the oats are a bit toasted. This will seriously only take a wee bit of time, so don’t wander away.

I know I said to add your oats to boiling water, but in this recipe, just stir your salt and water right into the pot you are using for the oats. Bring it all to a boil and stir until the oatmeal is thick and tender. 

Next, add your milks and simmer another 5-10 minutes until the oatmeal is thick again. Toss in your fruit, give it some stirs for another minute or two, and serve with optional toppings. 

Serves: 4-6 depending on how big you like your bowls.

Lemon Ricotta Oatmeal
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I wasn’t sure if I’d like this. I adapted this recipe from an idea I found in Cooking Light magazine awhile ago.  Mint in oatmeal seems weird – yet it’s in dessert all the time. It meshes beautifully with the lemon. I prepare the ricotta mixture separately and then just dollop a few tablespoons into my oats each time I eat them. 

Ingredients 
1 bowl Prepared, plain steel-cut oatmeal
2 Tbsp Ricotta blend:for the blend, mix 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, the zest and juice of a lemon, plus a tablespoon or two of honey, depending on how sweet you like it. Taste it and adjust. Store extra mix in the fridge for another day’s bowl. Or later that day – I’d never judge you for that.

Instructions:
Scoop 2 tablespoons of your ricotta mix on top of your oats, and garnish with mint, you fancy pants. I think this would be lovely with fresh berries added too. Go crazy. 

Shakshuka on Oats
shakshuka

I’m enamored with shakshuka lately, the North African dish that is super popular all over the middle east, and more recently in the states too. It’s a spicy, tomatoey egg dish that will blow your socks off. My favorite recipe for shakshuka is from David Lebovitz, so check that out here to get the recipe for the sauce and his instructions. I prepare batches of the sauce ahead of time and make single serving portions. Traditionally, the runny eggs and sauce should be mopped up with wonderful bread. But if you have plain oatmeal to use, why not spice it up with a serving of shakshuka? Just slide a prepared serving right onto your bowl of oats. 

Other savory options include topping with a poached egg and sliced green onions, a fried egg and sriracha or really whatever leftovers you feel like reheating. If you think of plain oats like rice you’ll get more ideas. It sounds a little odd but it makes for a tasty and healthy breakfast. 

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Banana Berry Baked Oatmeal

platedbananaoat

I’m often deeply suspicious of recipes that come from figure competitors and bodybuilders: I assume that they’ve been deprived of rich, decadent food for long enough that they’ll think damn near anything with a little sweetness tastes good.

Fake ice cream like Arctic Zero holds no appeal to me. I’d rather have really glorious dessert once in awhile than a steady stream of protein-enriched Frankendesserts that I blew up in my microwave. Mug cakes are almost always mind-blowingly terrible.

But when I stumbled upon this breakfast idea from Blogilates, my curiosity was piqued. Those of us who are trying to maximize protein intake on relatively few calories have learned to embrace egg whites and protein powder. There are only so many things you can do with them before you get bored.

However, I hadn’t tried baked oats (“proats”?) As it turns out, this recipe is really delicious. Plus for relatively few calories, you get a LOT of food! Along with a few other minor tweaks, I added bananas to my version – just a half banana adds sweetness and moisture. Give this one a go and let me know what you think.

bakedbananaoatmealpanRecipe – Banana Berry Baked Oats
Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry old-fashioned oats
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 packet Truvia (optional)
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder
splash of vanilla
3 egg whites
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (I used the mix from Costco)
1/2 small banana, thinly sliced
sprinkle of cinnamon

Instructions: 
Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk your egg whites in a medium bowl first so they don’t get clumpy and weird in your oats. Add in everything else  and pour into a small baking dish. I used an 8×8 pan. Bake 30 minutes and then devour before you can complete taking Instagram pictures. Nom nom nom.

bananaberrywheynew

Lightened Up Cincinnati Chili

photo credit: Wally Gobetz

photo credit: Wally Gobetz

I went to grad school in Cincinnati, and Cincinnati chili is a huge thing there. It sounds weird – the city’s version includes chocolate and cinnamon and is even served on top of spaghetti. What?! But it’s delicious so I just go with it. I adapted a healthy version from Cooking Light to fit my budget and my nutrition goals this week. This version has more chili and less cheese and spaghetti than the original version I remember back in Cincy. But it’s still  a yummy treat. I hope you enjoy it too!

Lightened Up Cincinnati Chili
Print Recipe
The original Cincinnati Chili is super yummy but also a calorie bomb. Here's a lightened up version that will taste great too. Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2015. This recipe is for one batch. I often double or triple chili batches for extra freezer meals.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
2.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
2.5 hours
Lightened Up Cincinnati Chili
Print Recipe
The original Cincinnati Chili is super yummy but also a calorie bomb. Here's a lightened up version that will taste great too. Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2015. This recipe is for one batch. I often double or triple chili batches for extra freezer meals.
Servings Prep Time
6 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
2.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
2.5 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. 1. Brown your beef and onion together. Stir in stock, 1 tsp of vinegar, the Worchestershire sauce, and then next 9 ingredients (through tomato sauce). 2. Return to a simmer. Partially cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. 3. Stir in beans; cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp vinegar. At this point if you want to freeze your chili, cool off and then prepare to freeze. Combine cooked pasta, 1/4 cup water, and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cook until water evaporates and the pasta is a little brown. Stir it occasionally for about 12 minutes total time. Coarsely chop noodles. Serve chili with pasta, cheese, and white onion.
Recipe Notes

Cooking Light's version has a serving size of about 1 and 1/4 cups chili, 2 Tbsp. noodles, 2 Tbsp. cheese, and 2 Tbsp. onions. Make adjustments for what you like for yours.

Instead of using a mix of more expensive 14 ounces of 90% lean ground sirloin and 6 oz. 80% lean ground chuck, I kept it simple with just a pound of 85% lean ground beef.

Calories are around 350 per serving with 27g protein, 15 grams of fat, and 27 grams of carbs in the original recipe. This should be very close.

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Banana Blueberry Protein Pancakes with a Super Secret Ingredient

protein pancakes

How mysterious do these sound? Ok, there’s really  very little mystery, but I’ve been tinkering around with protein pancakes for awhile now.

My first few experiments resulted in ugly faces and bites spit into the trash. Seriously, they were that disgusting. I’m also highly suspicious of recipes that come from fitspo sites. Some of these people have been deprived of delicious, gluteny, rich treats for so long that they actually believe that their concoctions taste good. That’s sad. I cry tears for these sad substitutions.

Still, I’m reining in my calories lately and don’t have a lot of wiggle room for eating pancakes on the regular unless I make them a bit less calorie laden. These help me meet my protein target AND they taste delicious. Boomshakalaka!

Here are truths that I’ve found about making protein pancakes. Man, that sounds serious for a post about breakfast food.

  • Greek yogurt is the secret ingredient. It makes them have a little something something: a tang, if you will. It also seems to help the texture be  thicker.
  • A vehicle for protein powder that is not a smoothie was my initial purpose for making protein pancakes. However, protein powder can make your cakes really dry. Using a little extra liquid in the form of yogurt, milk, or egg helps.
  • You’ll need some kind of pancake mix or flour + 1/2 tsp of baking powder. Kodiak Power Cakes have a higher protein content than most mixes. I find it at Target.
  • Certain brands of protein powder give pancakes a really funky, awful taste. I haven’t yet found a whey protein powder that meshes well in pancakes from a flavor perspective. Egg white protein, at least the Jay Robb brand, blends in perfectly. (Note: I’m not affiliated in any way with Jay Robb Protein. However, I’m a big fan. Sup, Jay Robb?)
  • A little bit of fruit really helps with taste and texture. Bananas in particular helped combat dryness while adding a hit of sweet.

 

Blueberry Banana Protein Pancakes
Print Recipe
Protein-filled fruity pancakes that don't taste like bro tears.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 0 minutes
Blueberry Banana Protein Pancakes
Print Recipe
Protein-filled fruity pancakes that don't taste like bro tears.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 minutes 0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except the blueberries and the bananas. Fold in the bananas, Preheat nonstick pan over medium heat. Spray nonstick spray into pan. Pour in batter, and sprinkle blueberries over the top. When the sides begin to look set and there are bubbles on top, flip your pancake. Cook another minute or so and serve.
Notes
  1. To top these pancakes, depending on how extravagant you want to get, you can top these with syrup, a bit of low-sugar jam, peanut butter, or a squeeze of lemon juice and powdered sugar. 
Recipe Notes

proteinpancakenutrition

Eat em up and enjoy!

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overnight oats with summer fruit

Nectarine-Blueberry Overnight Oats with a Special Addition

I love to eat all the things. ALL THE THINGS! This summer I have had little motivation to cook but I still need to fuel up, especially with protein and carbs for breakfast. I know I may be late to the party, but overnight oats are my new favorite thing. They don’t always look that appealing, but the allure of waking up to breakfast Salready being made was enough to make me give them a whirl.

The base recipe is stupid simple. The magic comes from the things you can add, and the possibilities are endless. With summer fruit so inexpensive and delicious right now, I’m grabbing a lot to throw into my mix.

The Basics

.

My  basic recipe for overnight oats is usually a ratio of 1/3 old-fashioned oats, 1/3 Greek yogurt, and 1/3 milk or dairy substitute. Too much milk makes my stomach hurt, so I use coconut “milk”.  I usually add half a scoop of some kind of protein powder too, for gainzzzzz.  Sometimes I add chia seeds, and today I also added a dash of cinnamon and this secret ingredient:

almond extract

Almond extract is my amazing, secret ingredient that makes oats with peaches, cherries, and other summer fruit taste so good. Nom nom nom.

base

When only the basic ingredients are in the bowl, it looks and tastes like sadness. So add some stuff and make it happy.

Add Ins
nectarinesToday I chopped up a white nectarine. I have to nab fruit fast in this house, before my kids gobble it up. I might force them to work at a grocery store soon for the discount. They eat all my stuff, dammit. Add whatever fruit you have sitting around. Along with my typical chia and protein powder, I might add a little low-sugar jam or PB2 too, depending on what else I have going on in there. It’s a party.

Mix Mix Mix
overnight oats with summer fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix it all up, cover, and throw it in the refrigerator. You can let it sit overnight or just a few hours. It’ll thicken up and the flavors will meld and make breakfast magic. I decided to add some blueberries to my bowl at the last minute. Most people put these in a mason jar, because Pinterest loves that shit, but I just throw mine in a plain jane bowlor whatever leftover plastic container actually still has a matching lid. Sorry, hipsters.

Read on below for the recipe and nutrition info. Have your own favorite overnights oats recipe? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment or chat with us about it on our Facebook page! 

Nectarine-Blueberry Overnight Oats with a Secret Ingredient
Print Recipe
A quick, nutrient-rich breakfast filled with healthy carbs and protein and spiked with yummy summer fruit.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Nectarine-Blueberry Overnight Oats with a Secret Ingredient
Print Recipe
A quick, nutrient-rich breakfast filled with healthy carbs and protein and spiked with yummy summer fruit.
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 hours 2-12 hours
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a single bowl. If desired, transfer to another container with a lid. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours. Additional ingredients like nuts or cereal can be sprinkled on before serving.
Recipe Notes

nutrition facts for overnight oats

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