Nova Lox Eggs Benedict

If you’ve got an insatiable hunger to impress your friends with killer #brunchvibes, I got your back. A fancy twist on a traditional eggs benedict, this alternative is different, fun and simply delectable. My dad is an avid Monterey Bay fisherman, so I grew up around all types of fish. Nova lox is one of my favorites, which is basically cold smoked salmon, cured in salt and thinly sliced (different than traditional smoked salmon, which is often hot smoked). Despite the fact that hollandaise sauce is not the healthiest delicacy on the planet, I still kept it in my recipe. I’d recommend just a small drizzle, but this is where it’s up to you decide how healthy you want to be. Just remember, everything is okay in moderation.  This tasty dish pairs well with a side of fresh, fragrant berries. And a mimosa. Or glass of rose. Or both. No judgements. You do you b00, it’s the weekend.

Estimated Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • Nova Lox Salmon: 8 oz packet
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins: 2
  • Farm Fresh Eggs: 4
  • Asparagus: 4 spears, cut in half
  • Salt: a few dashes
  • Cooking Spray: a few sprays
  • Paprika: 1 tablespoon

Hollandaise Sauce (serves 8, so you’ll have extra):

Turn on the oven onto broil. On a baking sheet, line with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the asparagus on the sheet, spray the greens with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for about 2 minutes, flip over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until it turns bright green. Concurrently, toast your english muffins in the oven as well, by placing them directly onto another rack (no butter) for about 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on both while they cook. Set the english muffins and asparagus aside.

Next, start working on the hollandaise sauce. Melt the butter in small saucepan on medium-low heat, then add in the cold water and hollandaise sauce packet with a whisk. Stir frequently, and continue to cook on medium heat until it starts to boil. Reduce the heat to low and then begin arranging the dish.

Each plate gets two toasted english muffin halves. Stack about 1-2 slices of nova lox and 2 halves of asparagus on each english muffin slice. Finally, it’s egg time.

For the eggs, you will need a medium skillet and an empty wine glass. Fill the skillet with about 2 inches of water, turn to high heat and when the entire bottom of the saucepan is covered in bubbles and starting to boil, sprinkle just a few dashes of salt into the pan. Crack one egg, place it into the wine glass, and then slowly and gently pour the single egg directly into the skillet. Continue, one at time, cracking each egg into the wine glass, and gently pouring each egg in a clockwise arrangement. Each egg needs about 3 minutes to cook, so the first egg should be close to done by the time you’re finished cracking all 4. You’ll know it’s done when it turns white and the yoke begins to float. With a slotted spoon, carefully lift each egg, drain completely, and place on the english muffins. Drizzle with a small bit of hollandaise sauce, and then sprinkle just a small dash of paprika to finish it off. Congrats! You did it!

Best Ever Turkey Zucchini Burgers with Avocado

Looking for a super moist turkey burger that’s full of flavor? These burgers are fiance-approved, and refreshingly light on the tummy. By substituting cheese with fresh avocado and vine-ripe tomatoes, we’re adding tasty colors to this best-ever turkey patty. Ah yes, that turkey patty, the star of the show. No ketchup, mustard or mayo needed on this number: I’m giving away three secret ingredients that make this turkey patty stand proud on it’s own: fresh basil (for impeccable flavor), Worcestershire sauce (you’ll taste why) and zucchini (for moisture and nutritional content – double bonus!). Get excited.

Estimated Time: (1 hour 20 minutes, which includes 1 hour of marinating time)

Turkey Patty Ingredients (serves 5):

  • Lean Ground Turkey: 16oz
  • Raw Zucchini: 1 medium, shredded
  • Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs: 1/4 cup
  • Yellow Onion: 2 tbsp, minced
  • Garlic: 1 clove, minced
  • Fresh Basil: 2 tbsp, minced
  • Worcestershire Sauce: 1.5 tsp
  • Salt: 2-3 dashes
  • Pepper: 2-3 dashes

Burger Ingredients:

  • Hamburger Buns (wheat or white): 5 buns
  • Hass Avocado: 1 large, sliced
  • Vine-Ripe Tomato: 1 large, sliced thick
  • Yellow Onion: 1/2 large, sliced
  • Iceburg Lettuce: 5-6 large leaves

Start by preparing the turkey meat. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with clean hands. Note to engaged women: unless you want raw meat in it, take off your engagement ring. On a large plate or baking dish, split and create 5 patties, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Once you’re ready to grill, start up the barbecue and clean off any old residue. Grill the turkey patties for approximately 8 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked all the way through. Meanwhile, using cooking spray, sauté your onions in a small skillet via kitchen stovepot on low heat while the burgers cook. Onions will take about 10 minutes. Once the burgers are close to being done, toast the hamburger buns on the grill for light crunch.

Stack all the ingredients onto the bun and you’re done! Also optional to eat your burger “naked” by substituting the hamburger bread with fresh crisp iceburg lettuce. Hope you enjoy it!

Spicy Sausage Zucchini Pasta

Crumbly, hearty sausage bits simmered with grape tomatoes spilling over a bed of light, fresh zucchini noodles…you gotta try this. If you’ve never tried zucchini noodles, I urge you to give it a go. And while yes, it is not real “pasta,” it still gratifies the mind with every twirling bite. I use my spiralizer at least once a week with no regrets because it’s so easy to use and it whips out noodles of all sorts in a matter of 2-3 minutes.  By using spicy sausage, this dish delivers a spicy punch which actually pairs nicely with the subtle, accommodating features of the zucchini.  Not to mention, this tasty meal is super friendly on the calorie budget.

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • Hot Italian Sausages: 3 links (I recommend New York Style Sausage Company)
  • Raw Zucchinis: 4 medium
  • Grape Tomatoes: 3 big handfuls, cut in halves
  • Low Sodium Chicken Broth: 1/2 cup
  • Cooking Spray: 2 pumps
  • Fresh Oregano: leaves from 2 sprigs
  • Parmesan Cheese: 2 tbsp

Using your spiralizer, spiralize your zucchinis first. Spread the noodles out on a cutting board, and cut the noodles in 5-6 inch increments (the noodles can get very very long if you don’t cut them up a little bit). Next, spray a large non-stick skillet or wok with cooking spray and warm to medium/high heat. Cut the casing off the sausage and throw all the meat in the pan. Dispose the casing. With a wooden spatula, break apart the sausage into smaller crumbles as it cooks. Once the sausage begins to brown, add the grape tomatoes halves, chicken broth and oregano leaves. Reduce heat to super low and simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed into the meat. Add in the zucchini noodles and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. The zucchini will release more water into the mixture, giving you back some sauce. Be careful not to overcook the noodles (the noodles will keep cooking even after you turn the stove off) – you’ll want to keep a bit of crunch upon serving. Turn the stove off, plate the dish, and top with a tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Tasty!

BBQ Pork Pizzas

This pizza is totally guilt-free. And while cauliflower crust is sort of cool, this barbecue pizza is waaaaay cooler in my opinion, and much faster to make. We had some left-over ribs in the fridge that I didn’t want to go to waste, but you can totally substitute with any other type of meat. Imagine this in your mouth right this second: light tender pork, tangy barbecue sauce, crisp red onions, fragrant herbs cut fresh from the garden, and delicious mozzarella cheese. So much yes.

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • Grilled Pork Ribs: 4 pork ribs, deboned and shredded with fork
  • *Substitute Grilled or Baked Chicken: 6 oz, shredded with fork
  • La Tortilla Factory Low Carb, High Fiber Tortilla – 2 large tortillas
  • Cooking Spray – 2 pumps
  • Barbecue Sauce: 1/4 cup
  • Red Onion: 1/3 cup, chopped
  • Cilantro: 1/3 cup, chopped
  • Green Onions: 2 large stocks, chopped
  • Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese: 2/3 cup, shredded
  • Red Pepper Flakes: 2 dashes, optional

 

Using a small convection oven or large regular sized oven, preheat to 350. If using a small convection oven, you might have to do one pizza at a time (which is no biggie because these bake fast). Spray the topside of each tortilla with cooking spray and toast the tortillas for approximately 2-3 minutes depending on your oven. You want the tortillas to be just a bit more firm than when they started.  Now, spread the barbecue sauce evenly across the two tortillas; the trick is spreading all the way to the edge of the tortilla so that you get enough sauce in every bite. Distribute and layer all of the remaining ingredients onto the pizzas and bake for about 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with red pepper flakes if you’re feeling spicy. Pair with a spinach salad and call it a night!

Steel-Cut Oats w/ Mixed Berries

Steel cut oats with mixed berries

I posted a recipe a few weeks ago with cottage cheese and mixed berries, and I received some requests for a non-cottage cheese version. Turns out not everyone loves CC as much as I do 🙂 That’s okay! Here is another berry compote option that is equally delicious: steel-cut oats! Nomz.

Estimated Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Dry Steel-Cut Oats: 1/4 cup
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Frozen/Fresh Mixed Berries: 1/2 cup
  • Splenda: 1 tsp

Boil the water in a pot and add in the oats. Cook on high for about 3 minutes and then reduce to low heat, continually stir, and cook the oats until desired consistency (about 15-20 minutes). Meanwhile, microwave the berries for about 45 seconds or until the juices begin to run. Add the Splenda and mix together. Once the oats are done, top ’em with the berry compote. Delish!

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4 points

Cilantro-Lime Halibut Tacos & Fresh Guacamole

halibut-cilantro-fajitas-tacos-guacamole

halibut-cilantro-fajitas-tacos

Fresh, bright green cilantro cooked with flaky halibut and tangy lime = heaven in my mouth. Add in a huge dollop of creamy guacamole and I’d say you’ve reached border line foodporn. This spread is particularly great for group gatherings, since everyone can sort of pick and choose which ingredients they want to throw into a tortilla. Plus, halibut is a totally lean protein machine and people usually don’t even realize they’re “eating healthy.” Lastly, I’m not the best at sharing food, so I totally get it if you end up not sharing at all and saving the whole thing for yourself. #nojudgements

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours; includes 1 hour to marinate the halibut

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

Cilantro-Lime Halibut

  • Fresh Halibut: 12-15oz
  • Cilantro: 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Garlic Cloves: 2 cloves, minced
  • Lime Juice: 2 fresh limes, squeezed
  • Olive Oil: 1 tsp
  • Taco Seasoning: 2 tbsp
  • Cayenne Powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Cumin: 1 tbsp

Fresh Guacamole

  • Avocado: 2 fresh
  • Red Onion: 1/8 cup, chopped finely
  • Cilantro: 1/8 cup, chopped finely
  • Lime Juice: 1/2 lime, squeezed
  • Garlic Powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1 tsp

Additional Buffet Items:

  • Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Fresh Pico De Gallo
  • Chopped Lettuce
  • Fat Free Cheddar Cheese
  • Fat Free Sour Cream
  • Low Fat Tortilla Chips

First, you’re going to want to marinate the halibut for about an hour. Cut the halibut up into small bite-size pieces and mix all the ingredients together in a large ziplock bag. Place the halibut in the fridge and let marinate for about an hour. While those flavors are blending, work on the guacamole. Simply combine all the ingredients together and mix well. Add/subtract salt and garlic powder according to taste. Don’t forget to leave the avocado bulb in the bowl with the guacamole: it keeps the guac from turning brown!

Once the fish has marinated for about an hour, spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat it up on medium heat. Add in the fish and cook for no more than 5 minutes, stirring often. The halibut should cook quite quickly, and you don’t want to overcook. You’ll know it’s done when the pieces turn white and easily flake apart. Serve immediately amongst all the other ingredients.

B-fast On The Go: Cottage Cheese & Tomato Toast

Cottage Cheese and Tomato Toast

Need to grab a quick bite to eat before running out the door this morning? This quick and delicious breakfast will only take a couple of minutes to whip up, and its packed with lean protein and fiber.

Estimated Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Whole Wheat Toast: 1 slice
  • Fat Free Cottage Cheese: 1/2 cup
  • Tomato (any type): 1/4 cup in slices
  • Sea Salt: 1 pinch
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper: 2 cranks

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re really in a rush – here’s how I maximize my every second. First, pop the bread in the toaster. Meanwhile, start slicing the tomatoes, set aside. Take out the cottage cheese, measure out half a cup and the toast should be ready right about now. Spread the cheese, top with tomatoes and finish it all off with salt and pepper. Done in 2 minutes. 5-6-7-8 Go.

 

Weekend Bike Ride: SF-Tiburon Route

biking-tiburon-san-francisco

biking-tiburon

Nothing screams awesome workout like a 40 mile bike ride on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Yep, that’s what I did last weekend, and it was so nice. The above map shows the route that we took, and it really isn’t too bad. We biked pretty much all day, stopping in Tiburon for a hard-earned lunch as well. Easy, right?

Okay, so here’s the REAL story of how things ended up that day. First off, I was hungover Saturday morning…like, real hung over.  Like, definitely in no shape for a 40 mile bike ride hang over. I know, that’s so #unhealthybex of me, but all I can say is that I am human and those cocktails were a TGIF necessity. Nonetheless, I gathered myself and got myself on my bike anyway. Originally, I planned this ride with my friend, Tim. It was supposed to be a casual, relaxed opportunity for us to do something fun together. We were supposed to meet at 10am at the Golden Gate Bridge (and naturally, I was late because well, remember I was hung over). I show up to find that Tim is with what he calls a “casual group of riders.” What Tim really meant to tell me (and forgot to mention) is that this is actually a quite serious group of riders…I’m talking everyone in padded bike shorts, sponsored shirts, fancy expensive bikes, you get the picture. Here I am, showing up in my T-shirt, Northface jacket, cute capri leggings and makeup from the night before. All I could think of was: THANK GOD I BOUGHT THOSE CLIP-IN SHOES. Ha, so let’s take a moment to talk about those clip-in shoes. Those things have been the biggest blessing and curse. I love love love wearing them as I climb hills; the truth is that despite the TGIF drinking, I was feeling really good climbing up the hills thanks to my new shoesies. Like, the endorphins suddenly kicked in and I felt 100% again, which is pretty freaking awesome. See ya, hangover. Okay, the curse part. Basically, your feet are glued to the bike, and you have to consciously know ahead of time when you’re going to need to put a foot down. You must unclip in advance. I will honestly admit that I fell not one but two times on this bike ride because of those stinkin’ shoes. I can’t describe it, but there’s a huge learning curve for me. Clipping out has to become second nature when you need to stop, and I’m just not there yet. The first time I fell was because Tim suddenly stopped and I wasn’t expecting it, so then I suddenly stopped and I didn’t have enough time to consciously unclip before trying to put my feet down. Thar she tips over. FML. Second time was probably my mistake (“probably” ha, who am I kidding….) I was trying to manuver through this tiny island and suddenly lost my balance on the foot that was still clipped in. Epic fail in front of a group of people. FML. Makes for a good laugh though. “Hey, did you see that girl just fall over on her bike? Bummer.”

So that’s been my experience with the clip-ins so far. When I’m moving, I’m perfectly fine…it’s just the stopping and being stationary part that is tricky. I estimate perhaps 5 more solid falls before I finally get the hang of ’em. They’re totally worth the embarrassment though, and the falls never really hurt. Still going to keep riding and trying. Thinking about joining some local bike groups – ride on, baby!

Paleo Sliders with Mango Salsa, Pineapple and Avocado

Paleo Sliders with Mango Salsa, Pineapple and Avocado
Paleo Sliders with Mango Salsa, Pineapple and Avocado
First off, don’t let the word Paleo scare you away! You see, two of my closest friends, Stephen and Alisa, just moved into their new home and invited me over for lunch this weekend. They recently started the “Paleo lifestyle” and instead of searching for a healthy restaurant, we decided to cook our own fancy lunch instead!

No, I’m not going Paleo. But, I love learning new things, and I love experimenting with food. This was the perfect opportunity for me to learn what all this Paleo jibber jabber is all about, and between the three of us, we managed to find a recipe that was healthy, nutritious and delicious. As for the diet in general – I’m not sure that Paleo is for me, as I love my rice, quinoa, beans and cottage cheese way too much. Plus, not sure I could hang with all the oil and bacon.

Okay, back to the slider recipe – all I can say is that this lunch was bomb.

Estimated  Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  • Lean Ground Beef – 1.25 lb
  • Yellow Onion, chopped – 1 medium
  • Fresh Pineapple – 1/2 medium
  • Avocado – 1 large
  • Iceburg Lettuce – 4 large leaves
  • Mango – 1 large
  • Vine Tomatoes, de-seeded – 4 small
  • Red Onion, chopped – 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Cilantro – small handful
  • Garlic Powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Cooking Spray – 2 sprays

Start with beef sliders first. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix yellow onions, ground beef and garlic powder together. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and make small 2-3 oz slider patties; place the sliders on the sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until desired center is achieved.

Next, cut the fresh pineapple into halves. To learn how to cut up a fresh pineapple, click here (we didn’t know how either). Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and begin to grill the pineapple. Cook on medium/high for about 10 minutes.

Next, work on the mango salsa. De-seed and chop the tomatoes, and then combine the fresh mango, red onion, cilantro and salt in a blender. Lay a bed of iceburg lettuce down on each plate, and then layer the pineapples, sliders and mango salsa on top of one another. Add avocado as desired. Done! Either wrap the sliders with the lettuce or try it with a knife and fork. Both are delish!

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 8 points per serving (yields about 2 sliders per serving with 1/4 avocado)

Hearty Cauliflower & Lentil Curry

cauliflower-lentil-curry

Looking for a hearty lunch or dinner with some ethnic flare? Packed with protein and fiber, this light non-spicy lentil curry will keep you feeling fuller, longer. Try this blend of tomato, cauliflower and lentils over a bed of lettuce or brown rice. Or, pair with with warm whole wheat pita bread. The recipe serves 8, so I’d recommend portioning out the dish into individual zip-lock bags and freezing them for when you need a quick bite to eat.

Estimated Cooking Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • Cauliflower: 1 large head, chopped into small pieces
  • Dry Lentils: 1 cup
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Onion: 1 large, chopped
  • Canned Stewed Tomatoes: 2 cans
  • Canned Green Chiles: 4 tbsp
  • Garlic Cloves: 6 cloves, minced
  • Fresh Ginger Root: 3 tbsp
  • Curry Powder: 4 tsp
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Tumeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Powder: 3 tbsp
  • Cayenne Pepper: 1 tsp
  • Lemon Juice: 4 tbsp
  • Olive Oil: 2 tbsp

Combine lentils, water, onion, curry powder, salt and tumeric in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 45 or until lentils soften up. Once the mixture has thickened, add in the cauliflower, tomatoes and green chiles to the pot and cook for about 10 more minutes.

When the cauliflower is about 90% soft, start working on the oil mixture in a separate pan: combine the olive oil,  cumin, garlic and ginger over medium heat and cook for about 1 minute. Once the garlic is browned, add in the cayenne pepper. The lentil cauliflower pot should be done by now, so immediately add the oil mixture to the lentil/cauliflower mixture. Lastly, add in the lemon juice and stir everything together.

Serve immediately over a bed of lettuce, brown rice or pita bread.

Weight Watchers Point Plus: 4 points plus per serving