Category Archives: Lunch

Thai Red Coconut Curry – Tofu & Asparagus

tofu-asparagus-thai-red-coconut-curry

tofu-asparagus-thai-red-curry

I’ve always been such a huge fan of Thai curry, but I’m always seeking new ways to cook my own healthier version. Restaurant curry always tastes so good, but it’s also often packed with a ridiculous amount of oil and fat. So, here ya have it: my spin on a super light, low-fat healthy thai red coconut curry. Best part: SO GOOD!

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 3):

  • Light, Extra Firm Tofu: 12 oz, chopped
  • Asparagus: 1 bunch, chopped
  • Cilantro: 1/4 cup, chopped finely
  • Light Coconut Milk: 8 oz (half can)
  • Thai Red Curry Paste: 1.5 tbsp
  • Cooking Spray: 1 spray
  • Optional: Red Chili Pepper Flakes: 1/2 tsp
  • Optional: Red Cayenne Powder: 1 tsp

Chop up the tofu and asparagus into bite-size pieces.  *Don’t forget to chop off the ends of the asparagus! Next, spray a skillet or wok with cooking spray and heat up the pan on medium/high heat. Begin cooking the tofu first for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges are seared. Add in the asparagus and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. In a separate cup, mix and stir together the light coconut milk, red curry paste and cilantro – add that in next. If you’re looking for something a bit more spicy, add in the pepper flakes and cayenne powder as well. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Serve immediately with a side of brown rice, quinoa or shredded lettuce. And let’s not forget our favorite last minute friend: Sriracha sauce is always a great addition to the mix as well.

Stir-fry! Broccoli, Brussels & Shitake Chicken

broccoli-shitake-mushroom-chicken-stir-fry

Here’s an easy Asian stir-fry recipe that you can whip up in less than 30 minutes. Great for lunch or dinner, this tasty dish combines broccoli, brussels sprouts, shitake mushrooms and chicken. Easy peasy!

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 3):

  • Chicken: 1 breast, chopped
  • Brussels Sprouts: 12 brussels sprouts, halved
  • Broccoli: 1/2 head, chopped
  • Shitake Mushrooms: 1 cup
  • Open Nature Sesame Ginger Dressing (or any conventional teriyaki marinade): 4 tbsp
  • Sesame Seeds: 1 tbsp
  • Oil Spray: 2 sprays
  • Water: 1/8 cup
  • Salt: 1 dash
  • Pepper: 1 dash

Start by slicing the raw chicken breast into small pieces. Spray a large wok or skillet with the oil spray and heat up the pan on medium/high heat. Toss the chicken pieces into the pan, sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper, and cook the chicken until it’s seared and sealed.  Add in 1/8 cup of water with the brussels sprouts and reduce heat to medium. Cover for about 5 minutes. Add in the remaining broccoli and and shitake mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Once the broccoli is half way cooked, add in the the sesame nature ginger dressing. If you don’t have that dressing on hand, feel free to use any standard teriyaki marinade. When all the veggies seemed cooked, sprinkle the dish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Chicken & Broccoli Feta Pasta

Chicken & Broccoli Feta Pasta

I’m super into this dish because it’s filling, hearty, cheesy and nutritious. “Nuff said, get at this.

Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • Whole Wheat Pasta: 8 oz, dry
  • Chicken Breast: 4.5 oz
  • Broccoli: 1/2 head, chopped
  • Cherry Tomatoes: 2 handfuls
  • Fat Free Feta Cheese: 1/2 cup
  • Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Salt (for boiling water): 1 tbsp
  • Salt (garnish): 1 tsp

Butterfly the chicken breast, lightly season each side and bake in a small conventional oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add in the tablespoon of salt and cook the dry pasta as directed. While you wait, cut up the broccoli and cherry tomatoes. When the pasta becomes al dente, add and mix in the chopped broccoli to the boiling pasta and continue to cook for about 3 more minutes. Strain the pasta and broccoli, pour the remains in a large bowl and mix in the olive oil, salt and feta cheese.  The chicken should be done by now, so take it out of the oven and cut it up into small bite-sized pieces. Last but not least, add in the chicken and sliced tomatoes to the pasta mixture. I intentionally kept this low in oil, but if you’re not concerned with a little extra oil love, feel free to add in more oil or cheese.

Shrimp & Mango Salsa Salad

Bay Shrimp & Mango Salsa Salad

It’s another lunch-at-the-desk day!  One of my biggest tips for eating healthy is bringing your own lunch into work. I know it’s hard sometimes, but it really makes a difference on the waistline because this way, you have 100% complete control over what foods go into your body. And you don’t necessarily have to eat alone: invite coworkers to pack lunches every Monday and the group can go for a walk, eat outside and get some fresh air during a lunch break. Or, eat your lunch 30 minutes early and stick to coffee or tea when meeting friends at their favorite lunch spot.

For me, salads are just so quick and easy when you’ve got to make a lunch on-the-go. Mixing fresh, sliced mango with hot spicy salsa delivers a nice, sweet and salty element that I think works really well. If you haven’t already noticed, I love using shrimp because it doesn’t require any extra cooking time and it’s so low in calories, yet full of protein. We have to be careful not to over-do the shrimp tooooo often because it is high in cholesterol, but bay shrimp every once in a while is good to go (to pun intended).

Estimated Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Any leafy green of your choice:  2-3 large handfuls
  • Bay Shrimp: 1/2 cup
  • Mango: 1/2 small
  • Cucumber: 1/2 cup
  • Tomato Salsa: 2 tbsp
  • Lemon: 1 wedge

Chop the lettuce, mango and cucumbers. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and use the salsa and lemon juice as your dressing. Easy! Done! Now get back to that Outlook email…

 

 

Cauliflower Cashew Curry

Cauliflower Cashew Curry

Want an super nomz curry dish recipe? The title and pic speaks for itself. Cauliflower florets and crunchy cashew bits cooked in a creamy curry coconut sauce. The perfect blend of tangy lime, spicy sriracha and crunchy, roasted cashews are simply delectable. Not spicy at all, totally approachable for those seeking a mild curry dish.  Though, feel free to add more kick! And for all you vegan peeps out there – get at this!

Estimated Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • Cauliflower: 1 head, chopped
  • Cashew Halves: 1/2 cup
  • Light Coconut Milk: 1 can (14.5 oz)
  • Reduced Fat Peanut Butter: 2 tbsp
  • Curry Powder: 1 tbsp
  • Sriracha Sauce: 1 tbsp
  • Red Pepper Flakes: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Pepper: 1/2 tsp
  • Lime Juice: 1 medium lime, freshly squeezed

On medium/high heat, roast the cashews in large pot until they’re golden brown (about 2-4 minutes). Add in the coconut milk, chopped cauliflower florets, curry powder, sriracha sauce, salt and pepper and cook on high until the sauce simmers. Reduce heat to medium/low and continue to cook until the cauliflower is tender. Meanwhile, mix the peanut butter, lime juice and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. After about 10 minutes of cooking the cauliflower, add in the peanut butter lime sauce. Cook for another 10-15 or until cauliflower has reached desired consistency. And your’e done! Serve with basmati rice, quinoa, pita bread or salad.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 7 points per serving

3 Bean Turkey Chili

3 Bean Turkey Chili RecipeChili is one my favorite dishes and I’ve prepared a super healthy version that won’t leave you feeling guilty. Lean ground turkey, garbanzo beans, cumin, oregano and chili powder are some of the key ingredients. It’s one of my fav go-to dishes because it also freezes well. I like to make a huge batch so that I have 10 meals ready to go when I need ’em.

Estimated Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 10):

  • 99% Lean Ground Turkey: 20 oz
  • Chopped Onion: 1 medium
  • Chopped Carrots: 4 medium
  • Chopped Garlic Cloves: 5 regular
  • Chopped Fresh Tomatoes: 2 medium
  • Canned Stewed Tomatoes: 2 cans (30 oz)
  • Canned Black Beans: 1 can (14.5 oz)
  • Canned Kidney Beans: 1 can (14.5 oz)
  • Canned Garbanzo Beans: 1 can (14.5 0z)
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Cumin: 2 tbsp
  • Chili Powder: 1 tbsp
  • Dried Oregano: 1 tbsp
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Cooking Spray: 1 cup

Start the recipe by chopping and prepping all ingredients: carrots, onions, garlic and tomatoes. Spray a large pot with cooking spray and begin cooking all the carrots, garlic and onions on medium/high heat. After about a minute, add a cup of water to the veggies so that they can sort of boil with the water. Once the veggies become tender (about 5 minutes), add in all of the spices as well as the ground turkey. Continue cooking the ground turkey until it is completely cooked. From there, add in the fresh tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, beans and remaining cup of water. Keep the heat on high until the chili stew begins to boil. Once it starts boiling, cover the pot, reduce to low heat, and let simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Serving size is approximately 1.25 cups.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6 points per serving

3 Bean Turkey Chili Freezer Packs

If you’re an 0n-the-go-type person like me, then you should portion out the correct serving size into individual zip-lock bags and freeze the individual meals. Sometimes in the morning before running out the door, I make a sprint past the freezer, grab a zip-lock meal and then microwave it for lunch. It works out perfectly because I feel like I’m always on the run.

 

Lunch At The Desk! Bay Shrimp Salad

Bay Shrimp & Avocado Salad

Not only is food in the Financial District expensive, but the lines are usually ridiculously long. To avoid the downtown chaos, I like to pack my own lunches and bring them into work. This salad literally took me less than 10 minutes to prep and it was delicious at the desk. I found this super light Raspberry dressing at Safeway that is naturally low in fat, calories and carbs (yesss!). As an added bonus, its gluten-free!

Estimated Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

This can be made the night before or morning of work. Place all ingredients in a to-go container and keep stored in a fridge until lunch time. Once you’re ready to eat, pour the dressing and shake the container until the salad is tossed well.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 5 points

 

Asian Shrimp & Avocado Salad

Asian Shrimp Avocado Salad

Here’s another super easy, quick lunch or dinner idea. Mmm avocado, shrimp, bell peppers, crunchy cabbage, green onions, sesame dressing…This Asian shrimp salad is great at home or packed in a to-go container for lunch the next day. I found this delicious Asian Sesame Dressing at Safeway that’s so tasty (boyfriend approved) and naturally low in fat and calories. I’d highly recommend it! Shrimp is such a steal in terms of high protein and low fat content, and avocado is a wonderful compliment.

Estimated time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Raw coleslaw mix: 1.5 cups
  • Chopped Romaine Lettuce: 1.5 cups
  • Chopped Red Bell Peppers: 1/2 cup
  • Raw Shrimp: 10 medium pieces
  • Sliced Avocado: 1/4 medium
  • Chopped Green Onion: 2 tbsp
  • Open Nature Dressing- Asian Sesame Ginger: 2 tbsp

If using fresh shrimp, boil about 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add raw shrimp to the boiling water and cook until the shrimp is pink (about 5 minutes).  Drain and set aside. Of course, you can always use ready-cooked shrimp instead. Mix romaine lettuce with raw coleslaw mix and place into bowl or to-go container. Top the bed of greens with the chopped bell peppers, cooked shrimp and sliced avocado. Toss with the dressing and enjoy.

Tofu Skin & Vegetable Stir Fry

Tofu Skin Stir Fry

In case you were wondering where it was, here’s my Asian authenticity comin’ right at ya: bean curd. Bean curd, also known as tofu skin, tofu curd or yerba has an almost egg-y flavor and comes from the same soy bean family as tofu. Like tofu, it’s high in protein and low in fat. Bean curd is often sold in Asian grocery stores (or Chinatown) and the dried stalks come in a package that you can keep in the cupboard. To use, just soak in water. It will take about an hour (some say a whole day but wait ’til you see my trix) for the tofu skin to soften, after which it cooks up in no time.

If you’re still skeptical of the curd, you can substitute it with regular tofu. Or, substitute with chicken, beef, pork or seafood. Either way, still super nomz.

Estimated Time: 45 minutes to rehydrate; 15 minutes to actually cook

Ingredients (serves 4):

About an hour before you want to start cooking you’ll want to rehydrate the tofu skin: fill a large, microwavable mixing bowl with water and place dried tofu skin in water. Cover with a large plate or plastic wrap and microwave for about 5 minutes. You want the water to get real hot. Let this sit (with the cover on top) for about 30-45 minutes. The steam from the bowl will slowly rehydrate the skins into tender, softened pieces. They say you need to do this at least 8 hours in advance, but I’ve found this method to work pretty well. If you plan to use dried shitake mushrooms, just let those sit in a cup of water for about 10 minutes; that’s all it takes to rehydrate those.  Otherwise, canned shitake mushrooms work too.

Once the tofu skin is soft and spongy, you can begin cooking. First, chop the garlic and trim the green bean ends. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and water together to create a marinade. Spray a large cooking pan or wok with cooking spray and begin cooking the garlic and green beans on medium/high heat. After about 1 minute, add in half of the marinade mixture to the pan. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes and then add in the broccoli and hydrated shitake mushrooms. If you haven’t already done so, drain the tofu skin and chop into small bite-size pieces. Finally, add the tofu skin pieces and second half of the marinade into the stirfry. Continue to cook on low for about 5 more minutes or until the broccoli is cooked and the marinade has made its way across the entire stir fry. This recipe may sound tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy; feel free to comment and ask any questions.

Serve alone or with a side or white rice, brown rice or quinoa.

Weight Watcher Points Plus: 3 points per serving

 

 

5 Easy Salmon Recipes

5 Easy Salmon Recipes

While visiting my family in Monterey for Father’s Day this weekend, my dad had the chance to go fishing. It’s one of his favorite hobbies, and so on Father’s Day morning, he took his boat out into the Monterey Bay and crossed his fingers for some good bites. Salmon season in Monterey has been pretty (and by pretty I mean very) weak this year, so he was thrilled to come home with two HUGE fish to share amongst the family. Lucky us! We had originally planned to eat lunch out, but nothing – I mean NOTHING – beats eating salmon the same day it was caught. It is almost sinfully delicious and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted in a restaurant.

There are several ways to cook salmon, but my family likes to bake it in the oven. It arrives so tender, flakey and moist. It’s important to keep a close eye on the oven because you want to take it out right as the color becomes uniform (about 6-10 minutes depending on thickness). Not a second longer! Oven should be around 375 degrees.

Below are 5 easy marinades you can use to prepare your salmon before baking on a greased cookie sheet. Throw fillets in a large ziplock bag with one of the marinates and let sit for about 10-20 minutes before baking. Or for a less intense flavor, simply brush the marinade on the fillet before popping it into the oven.

  1. Teriyaki Sauce: Simply marinate the fillets with pre-made teriyaki sauce in a Ziplock bag for 15 minutes before baking.
  2. Tangy Mustard: Mix three tablespoons of dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Marinate in a Ziplock bag for 15 minutes before baking.
  3. Citrus & Thyme: On a baking sheet, drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice and scatter lemon slices, orange slices and fresh thyme on top of the fillets before baking.
  4. Maple Glaze: Whisk together 1/2 cup maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. On a baking sheet, season the fillets with a pinch of salt and pepper, then brush and pour the maple mixture over the fillets before baking.
  5. Salt, Pepper & Dill: The easiest of them all, yet still incredibly delicious. On a baking sheet, brush the fillets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 tablespoon of pepper. Once cooked, sprinkle fresh or dried dill on top.

Try having these fillets over a bed of lettuce, kale, spinach or arugula for a delicious salad or with a side of brown rice, roasted potatoes or quinoa. Grilled zucchini, summer squash, asparagus, broccoli or brussel sprouts would compliment the dish as well. Enjoy!