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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kids Carrot Macaroni

My wonderful friend Sarah and fellow mommy gave me this idea to try.  Our toddlers are getting older and beginning to know when we get "sneaky" with their vegetables.  She decided that since carrots were orange, the sauce would look just like cheese sauce.  Well, she was right.  It looked and TASTED just like standard macaroni and cheese.  Awesome.

Serves 6 (I made a big portion for leftovers to freeze)


2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup cooked baby carrots
1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Cook pasta and set aside to cool.  Boil baby carrots until tender.  Using a blender or food processor, puree the carrots with the cream cheese and chicken broth until creamy.  Stir in salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. 

Once all ingredients are cool, mix together with the cheddar cheese.  Pour into a baking dish and bake, covered, for 15 minutes.  Turn oven to broil, remove the lid of the dish, and broil about 4 minutes or until browned and bubbly on top.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa Bake

This is a great "hearty" side dish.  I love to pair this with steak or pork.  It is a comfort food without all the carbs and fat. 

Serves 6


1 head cauliflower
1 cup quinoa (cooked according to package)
1 cup chicken broth (there will be a little extra in the can, save incase you need to add more liquid)
1 cup cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Pepper

1.  Clean and trim cauliflower into florets.  Using a food processor or blender, pulse small amounts of cauliflower at a time, finely chopping it.

2.  Combine quinoa, cauliflower, broth, cream of chicken, cheese and salt and pepper.  In a casserole dish, bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly on top. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pesto Shrimp and Zucchini "Pasta"

Again, a terrible picture, but a delicious healthy and easy meal!  You will need a Spiraler, if you don't have one. 

Serves 2


3 zucchinis, spiraled
10 previously frozen cooked jumbo shrimp, thawed and tails removed
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil, separated
1/2 Cup lowfat cream cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
6-7 Large fresh basil leaves
2 Garlic cloves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts

1.  Spiral the zucchini and place in a sautee pan on the stove.  Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and heat on low to soften zucchini "noodles".

2.  Using a food processor or a handheld immersion blender, blend the remaining olive oil, cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, basil, garlic and salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. 

3.  Add shrimp to zucchini and toss.

4.  Add sauce to zucchini and shrimp. 

5.  When tossed and hot, serve and top with feta and pine nuts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

BBQ Chicken "Skinny" Pizza

Ok so I'm not the world's best photographer.  But, the title should say it all.  This is SO easy, SO delicious, SO healthy and a weeknight staple here in the Stephens household.  Feel free to get creative with the ingredients!

Serves 1 (individual pizza pies)


1 Tofouyan brand whole wheat low carb wrap (found in the deli)
1/2 cup barbeque sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 cup cooked chicken (rotisserie or Perdue pre-cooked frozen, thawed chick breast) shredded
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp chopped red or white onion
1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 handful fresh spinach, chopped (or you can use broccoli florets)
1/4 Cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pinch crushed red pepper


Preheat the oven to 375.  Throw the wrap (pizza crust) in the oven alone for a few minutes.  It will bubble up, and then take it out.  This gets it a little toasted so it doesn't get too soggy with all the toppings.

Let cool for a couple minutes. 

Spread BBQ sauce evenly on crust.  Add peppers, onions, chicken, spinach and basil.  Then top with shredded mozzarella, goat cheese, and sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

Put in oven an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Skillet Salmon and Cucumber Dill Sauce

While the TV was on in the background, my ears perked up between yelling at the dog and chasing my toddler.  I glanced up and saw something about salmon, cucumbers, red onions and dill.  Immediately I thought how delicious it sounded.  Sort of like a homemade tzaziki sauce (which is delicious with salmon).  So I whipped this up and it was so super easy and SO delicious!  I will be making my salmon this way all the time from now on!

Serves 2


2 pieces salmon, skin removed
1 cucumber, sliced very thin
1/4 of a red onion, sliced in half then sliced very thin
About 3 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
1/4 Cup sour cream
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic powder


1.  Slice cucumber and red onion.  Chop dill.  In a bowl, whisk together sour cream, vinegar and lemon juice.  Add in dill, cucumbers and red onion and toss.

2.  Coat salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

3.  Heat skillet over medium heat.  Add salmon and cook about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two.

4.  Place a heavy spoonful of cucumber dip on plate and place salmon on top.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Arugula, Corn and Avocado Salad

Such an easy, fresh and tasty summer salad!  Serves well as a side salad, or add some blackened shrimp for a complete entrée!

Serves 2 - 4


2 large handfuls washed arugula
1 avocado, pitted and sliced into 1/2" chunks
1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small ears of corn, cooked and removed from core
1/4 Cup crumbled feta

For the dressing:

Juice of 2 limes
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tsp lime zest
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder

Whisk together dressing and toss with all ingredients.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Greek Yogurt and Spinach Mac & Cheese

I found a recipe on Pinterest that sounded good, and I tried it out - changing a few things.  This was delicious!  I used veggie pasta to increase my son's vegetable intake and he absolutely loved it!  He scarfed it down!  Great adult AND kid recipe!

Serves 4 - 6 (I individually froze separate portions for easy reheat dinners for Cash)


2 Cups elbo pasta (I used carrot and butternut squash pasta)
2 Cups shredded cheese blend (I used part-skim mozzarella and reduced fat cheddar)
3/4 Cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
2 Cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp onion powder
1/2 Cup saved pasta water


Cook pasta according to package.  Place an empty pot in the sink and put a strainer on top of it.  Put the spinach in the strainer.  Pour the pasta in the strainer on top of the spinach, wilting it, and saving the pasta water in the pot below (genius! never thought of that!) 

Return the wilted spinach and pasta to the pot, and add in cheese, yogurt and seasonings.  Add small amounts of pasta water until desired consistency is reached.

Feel free to get creative next time with additional veggies.  Would be delicious with broccoli rabe, asparagus, or zucchini. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BLTC Stuffed Tomatoes

Wow, were these puppies delish.  A bit of labor prep-wise, but you can make them ahead of time and then just pop them in the oven 20 minutes before you're ready to eat.  These should be in a restaurant.  Mouth watering.

Bacon Lettuce Tomato Cheese Ingredients:

Serves 2

2 Large vine ripened tomatoes
1 Tsp sugar
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp panko
1/2 Cup shredded smoked Gouda/cheddar, shredded (in the deli section at Publix, round cut of cheese)
1 Small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tsp lemon pepper seasoning
3 Slices turkey bacon, cooked crispy
3 Handfuls fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa


1.  Cut top off tomatoes and scoop out pulp from inside tomato.  Strain the pulp to save the juice from the tomato.  (Place pulp in a strainer and press with a wooden spoon into a bowl).  Discard pulp.

2.  Wipe inside of tomatoes dry, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.  Turn upside down on plate for 30 minutes to dry.

3.  Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet and add panko, tossing frequently to toast, do not let the panko burn!  Transfer panko to a bowl and let cool.  Stir in 1 Tbsp of the shredded smoked gouda.

4.  Cook turkey bacon (I microwave mine for about 4 minutes, then let cool, then crumble).

5.  In the empty skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil and onions over medium heat.  Cook until translucent, then add in garlic, salt, pepper, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and cook an additional minute.  Then add spinach, small handfuls at a time until it wilts.  Add quinoa and reserved tomato juice and stir until all liquid is absorbed.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in all remaining shredded smoked Gouda and all crumbled bacon.

6.  Preheat oven to 375.  Blot tomato cavities dry with a paper towel.  Sprinkle again with salt and pepper.  Stuff tomatoes equally with mixture.  Prepare a 9x13" dish by coating the bottom with olive oil.  Place the tomatoes in the pan.  Season with more salt and pepper.  Bake uncovered 20 minutes.  Remove carefully with a slotted spoon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BBQ Chicken Mexi Chopped Salad

Ok so I'm not the best photographer, but this salad really was delicious!  Adam and I absolutely LOVED it and it's so nice knowing the ingredients of the dressing since it's homemade. 

We grilled BBQ chicken the night before and saved a huge extra breast, so I used that in the salad.  You could also toss some rotisserie in some BBQ sauce to throw in the salad too.

This is a salad, so use the ingredients however you'd like.  I'm just going to tell you what I put in it.

Mini heirloom tomatoes
Black Beans
1 1/2 Breasts BBQ grilled chicken
Mixed greens
Shredded lowfat cheddar cheese
1 Chopped and seeded jalepeno
Handful of crushed lime tortilla chips


Puree 1/2 Avocado, 1/2 Cup Plain Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lime, 1 Tbsp cilantro.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Roasted Herbed Butternut Squash, Carrots and Broccoli

I received some fresh seasonal squash and broccoli in my organic buying club this week, so I decided to toss in some olive oil with fresh herbs and enjoy the fresh favors. This is simple, elegant and flavorful. My 21 month old son even ate this and he never eats veggies! Win win!

1/2 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 small head broccoli, cleaned, stems removed and cut into florets**
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced**
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese (to top)

Preheat oven to 375. Toss all ingredients **EXCLUDING BROCCOLI AND GARLIC** together and roast, tossing every so often, for about 30 mins. Add in broccoli and garlic and stir. Roast an additional 10 mins.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup

Hi friends!  I'm all about soups and salads lately, but soups can be disguised as healthy when in fact often times they are not.  Now, don't get me wrong, if I'm in the mood for Broccoli Cheddar or Split Pea and Ham, I'm not gonna worry about the fat, calories and sodium!  But, last night was Monday, and as usual, we like to eat healthy during the week.  So, here is a tasty, light and HEALTHY soup recipe for ya!  No cream, butter or fat!  Woohoo! 

Serves 4-6


4 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and halved
1 Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tsp lemon zest
1 Tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 Pinch red pepper flakes
4 Cups low-sodium chicken broth (or veg broth to keep vegetarian)
1 Tsp paprika
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
Salt & Pepper

1.  Place the peppers skin side up on a baking sheet and broil for about 10-15 minutes until the skin turns black. Immediately place peppers in a gallon size Ziploc bag and let steam for 20 minutes.

2.  Reduce oven to 400.  Toss cauliflower in 1 Tbsp olive oil and place on baking sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes until tender and caramelized, tossing every so often. 

3.  Over low-med heat, sauté the onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender.  Add the garlic, basil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and thyme.  Cook for 2 minutes then remove from heat.

4.  Remove red peppers from bag and pinch skin to remove all skin.  Dice the red peppers.

5.  In a large pot, simmer all ingredients and add salt and pepper.  Remove small amounts at a time and puree in blender, until desired consistency is reached. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Casserole

Delicious and not terrible for you! Win!

Serves 4-6


1 cup uncooked quinoa, cook according to package (I boil with chicken broth for added flavor)
1/3 cup low fat cream cheese
1 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1 cup broccoli florets
1 Can low sodium creamy chicken soup
2 Tbsp fresh curly parsley

Preheat oven to 375.

1. Cook quinoa
2. Cook broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, cheddar, parsley, quinoa and broccoli.
4. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray and pour in mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake, uncovered about 10 minutes until hot all the way through.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chicken Kebabs with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber & Noodles

This was fantastic!  I saw the recipe in Cooking Light magazine, but I changed a few things.  This was so flavorful!


Serves 2

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp fresh peeled and minced ginger
1 Large garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp roasted peanut oil

Mix all ingredients and marinate chicken in a bag at least 1 hour.  Grill kebabs until done.

Peanut Sauce:

1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tsp chile paste

Whisk together and drizzle over kebabs.

Cucumber & Soba Noodle Salad:

7 oz uncooked buckwheat soba noodles
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tsp sugar
1/2 English cucumber, sliced thin
2 Tbsp sliced green onions

Cook noodles according to package and rinse with cold water and drain.   Whisk together vinegar, sesame oil, agave nectar and sugar.  Toss with noodles, cucumbers and onions.  Chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Crockpot Thai Chicken Soup with Quinoa

I subbed quinoa for white rice.....duh, it's probably better with the starchy-non-health-beneficial white rice.  BUT, I can attest, it is STILL delicious with the healthier option of quinoa.  My husband LOVED it!  Go with whatever you're in the mood for.  ;)  Oh, and this is a really easy recipe.

Serves 4 - 6


2 Tbsp red curry paste
2 Cans coconut milk (appx 12oz each can)
2 Cups no salt added chicken stock
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1.5 Lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 Red bell pepper, chopped
1 Medium yellow onion, sliced thin
2 Green onions, chopped
1/2 Cup shredded carrots
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Small can water chestnuts, chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 Cup quinoa (cooked according to package)


Mix the ingredients curry paste through salt and pepper in the crockpot over low heat.  Once blended, add all remaining ingredients up to the fresh grated ginger.  Let simmer on low for 7 hours, or on high for 4 hours.  When ready to serve, stir in cilantro, lime juice and water chestnuts and pour over desired amount of quinoa.

This is a recipe that can be played with.  You could add sprouts, sliced zucchini, shrimp, or make vegetarian using vegetable broth and tofu.  Enjoy!

Rainbow Carrot, Apple and Ginger Slaw

I recently joined an organic buying club, and just picked up my box of fresh organic produce yesterday.  What a beautiful variety of fruits and vegetables!  I decided to do a mini "Chopped" episode here in my kitchen with the items I received.  What a flavorful, colorful combination.  A healthy, fresh, crunchy and delightful snack or side dish. 

Serves 4 - 6


4 whole rainbow carrots (can use regular carrots), peeled and vigorously chopped
4 celery stalks, peeled and vigorously chopped
2 apples of your choice (I used pink lady), chopped
1/4 cup raisins
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup lowfat mayo
1 Tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tsp fresh minced ginger

Toss together all fruits and vegetables in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the mayo, vinegar, nectar and ginger.  Add to the slaw and toss thoroughly.  Chill at least an hour before serving.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pasta with Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes

My mom created this dish when I was in college and it's been a family favorite since! It is so simple and so flavorful. Pair with a delicious bottle of red wine and you've got a beautiful dinner!

Serves 2


1/2 box bucatini pasta (can use angel hair but bucatini is my fav for this dish)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, rinsed and cut into 1/2" thick squares
1/2 yellow bell pepper, " " "
1/2 orange bell pepper, " " "
1/2 cup Sundried tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper
Fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, to serve on top


Cook pasta according to package instructions.  In a large pan, simmer peppers, sundried tomatoes, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper in olive oil over low heat. When  peppers are tender, add garlic and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Toss pasta in oil and peppers and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Muffins

I like to consider myself a healthy cook, but this was a bit out of my reach.  Some of the ingredients listed I've never heard of.  Well, I completely trust my friend Lisa and her knowledge on health and taste, so I ventured out into a different world and purchased Peanut Butter Powder (???) and Coconut Flour from Whole Foods.  I do, however, have chocolate whey protein on hand since my hubs always makes protein shakes. 

What caught my eye for this recipe are both the convenience of grabbing a muffin to-go, and the idea of the perfect pre-workout staple.  I have to eat before I workout in the morning, but carbs won't hold me over, and making a whole egg and toast breakfast just isn't going to happen.  (Plus that just wouldn't sit right during a heavy cardio session). These are fantastic, totally healthy, and very useful! 

Note* I couldn't get my muffins to rise too well (I'm a horrible baker) and the recipe doesn't seem to make too many, so I doubled it and got 18 scrumptious snacks.

Here is the link to the recipe from my dear friend Lisa's blog,

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin & Coconut Curry Cauliflower

This was simple, quick and delish!  I say the side dish serves 2-4, but if you like it as much as I do, you'll eat half.  Oh, and, please excuse my lack of photography skills.  I was in a hurry to EAT IT UP!

Serves 2

Pork Tenderloin Recipe


1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, sliced into two tenderloins
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced


Preheat oven to 450.  Set out pork to reach room temperature.  Mix all dry ingredients and rub all sides of pork with rub.  In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Sauté for 1 min stirring constantly to avoid burning of garlic. Place tenderloin in pan and brown on each side, about 2-3 mins each side, turning once. Transfer to roasting pan and roast on center rack about 15 mins or until done to likeness.  Serve sliced.

Coconut Curry Cauliflower Recipe

Serves 2-4


1 head of cauliflower, rinsed, trimmed and cut into florets
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup coconut milk
2 Tsp curry powder
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp kosher salt
1 Tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium sized pan, heat olive oil over med heat.  Add garlic and stir constantly to avoid burning the garlic.  Add cauliflower and toss for 1 min.  Remove from heat.  Add all remaining ingredients and coat cauliflower thoroughly.  Transfer to a medium baking dish. 

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, tossing every so often.  Remove foil and broil under high heat for 5 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.  Serve immediately.