Easy Recipes

Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies

 

Gluten-free chickpea blondie with chocolate chips and walnuts

Flourless, gluten-free chickpea blondies are chewy and delicious.

I love to bake, and I love chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), so coming up with a chickpea blondie recipe was a no-brainer for me. After a few tries on my part, my family gave this version of Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies the thumbs up. My taste-testers and I think the blondies are delicious, and I’m happy that a chickpea blondie is a relatively healthy dessert!

In my opinion, blondies should be chewy, slightly gooey, and they should smack of brown sugar without being overly sweet.  We like our gluten-free blondies with chocolate (we prefer just about everything with chocolate!) and some crunch, so I added chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

brown sugar, walnuts, eggs, chickpeas, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, oil, oatmeal

Gluten-Free Chickpea Brownies use just nine everyday pantry ingredients.

Better-for-You Blondies with Benefits

I didn’t set out to make these chickpeas gluten-free, it just happened that way. I have nothing against any kind of flour, but I know that some people must avoid flour and other foods with gluten.

Chickpeas take the place of most of the flour in Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies, but you can’t use them whole! You must blend them first so that they are smooth and creamy enough to enhance the chewiness of baked goods and spread their goodness throughout the batter.

 

blended chickpeas in a food processor

Blended chickpeas contribute to the chewiness of baked goods.


Read: 26 Easy Recipes to Make with a Can of Chickpeas 


 

I prefer foods with lots of benefits, even desserts.  Why not get the biggest bang for your caloric buck from what you eat, even if it is a treat? One of these gluten-free chickpea blondies supplies many different nutrients, but these are stand-outs:


• 13% of your daily fiber for digestive health, and overall wellbeing


• 10% of your daily choline, necessary for every cell in your body and brain health


• 10% of daily vitamin E, which a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage


Chickpeas also provide phytonutrients, which are protective plant compounds. Eating plans that are rich in phytonutrients are associated with a lower risk for certain health conditions, including heart disease.

batter for gluten-free chickpea blondies with chocolate chips and walnuts

Stir the walnuts and chocolate chips in at the end.

Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies

Chickpeas make these flourless blondies moist and chewy!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chickpeadessert, flourless, glutenfree, glutenfreeblondie, walnuts
Servings: 8
Calories: 280kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain gluten-free oats, uncooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Place drained chickpeas and oil in large food processor. Process until smooth, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla and process for another 45 seconds.
  • Add the oats, baking powder, and salt and blend for another minute or so. (The oatmeal won't completely break down, and that's OK.)
  • Stir the walnuts and chocolate chips into the batter and pour into the pan.
  • Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting.

Notes

Per serving: 280 calories, 15 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 47 milligrams cholesterol, 206 milligrams sodium, 34 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 6 grams protein

Recipe Variations for Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies

I love it when readers swap ingredients to make a recipe their own.  Here are some possible ingredient substitutions, and I’m sure you can come up with your own, too!

  • Use white chocolate chips instead of dark or semisweet chocolate chips.
  • Pump up the flavor with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • Swap walnuts for chopped hazelnuts or pecans.

Leave a note in the comments if you changed the recipe around to your liking!


Read: How to Make Ingredient Substitutions 


pin for chickpea blondies

29 Ways to Use Up Holiday Leftovers

When you host holiday dinners, you have more than leftover turkey to deal with, and if you’re like me, you hate to waste cranberry sauce, vegetables, pie, and other festive food. Here are 29 ways to use up holiday leftovers and prevent food waste.

How to Use Up Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce in white bowl

Use cranberry sauce in place of jelly in a peanut butter sandwich, and add to turkey sandwiches as a spread.

• Stir cranberry sauce into warm oatmeal that’s been microwaved with milk (milk for extra protein, calcium, and other minerals, and vitamins). Top with chopped walnuts or pecans.

• Add a tablespoon or two of cranberry sauce to fruit smoothies and eliminate sugar or other sweeteners.

• Combine cranberry sauce with plain Greek yogurt and make a parfait with whole grain ready-to-eat cereal.

• Warm 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce in the microwave for 10 seconds and put it on top of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

• Top French toast, waffles, and pancakes with warm cranberry sauce instead of maple syrup.


Reduce food waste, save money, and help the environment! 


How to Use Leftover Stuffing and Dressing

• Prepare stuffing “pancakes” and top with a fried egg.

• Stir stuffing or dressing into turkey soup.

• Use as a topping on turkey pot pie.

What to Make with Leftover Holiday Vegetables

quiche-2067686_1920

Prepare a vegetable strata from leftover bread, chopped vegetables, eggs, and cheese, or make a quiche.

• Puree cooked broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots and add milk or cream to make soup.

pumpkin-soup-2886322_1920

Mix butternut squash and sweet potato together for soup, and add coconut milk.

• Add cooked sweet potato or beets to smoothies.

• Stir plain pumpkin or mashed or sweet potatoes into turkey soup for a thicker, more flavorful soup.

• Stuff a cooked baked sweet or white potato with 1/4 cup cooked diced turkey or 1/4 cup black beans, and top with cranberry sauce or salsa.

• Top turkey pot pie with mashed sweet or white potatoes instead of pastry crust.

• Smash (gently!) whole cooked small potatoes, roast in 400˚F oven for 10 minutes, and top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and fresh chives.

• Chop cooked veggies and add to omelettes along with leftover cheese or use on top of pizza.

• Puree cooked cauliflower and mix with milk or cream and grated Parmesan cheese to the desired consistency for a side dish.

• Whip up potato pancakes with white or sweet potatoes.

What to Make with Leftover Bread and Rolls

• Prepare French toast or pancakes with leftover cream or eggnog.

• Make croutons from cornbread, rolls, or other leftover bread. Cut into large pieces and roast in oven at 300˚F until dry, about 20 minutes.

Pancakes with powdered sugar, and fresh raspberries

Use leftover eggnog to whip up a quick batch of pancakes.

Simple Ways to Use Up Leftover Turkey

• Prepare turkey pot pie with leftover sweet potato, white potato, or stuffing for the topping.

• Make a white bean and turkey chili and include leftover vegetables.

• Prepare quick quesadillas using whole wheat tortillas, leftover cheese, and sliced turkey. Serve with cranberry sauce for dipping.

• Add chopped turkey to your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe.

Simple Recipes for Leftover Eggnog

• Use eggnog in place of milk when you prepare French toast, vanilla cake from a mix pancakes, waffles, and bread pudding.

• Combine eggnog and fruit for a delicious smoothie.

Pumpkin smoothie with whipped cream.

Scoop pumpkin pie out of the crust and combine with plain Greek yogurt for a creamy pudding, or add some milk and make a smoothie.

What to Do with Leftover Wine

• Freeze red wine in ice cube trays to use later in stews.


What are your favorite ways to use up holiday leftovers?


 

29 ways to use up holiday leftovers

How to Make Meat Go Further (Easy, Delicious Tips and Recipes)

If you have a family to feed every day, and you’re on a tight budget, you’re probably wondering how to stretch the meat you have on hand to make satisfying meals. Though you may not be able to purchase all the meat you’d like, or readily find your favorite cuts, it’s possible to extend meat with these easy, delicious recipes from my foodie friends, and simple tips for how to make meat go further.

Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup from The Nutrition Adventure

 Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup from The Nutrition Adventure

 

How to Make Meat go Further with Beans

Beans (legumes) bulk up meat dishes. They are a relatively low-cost alternative to some of the meat in your favorite recipes and a welcome, healthy addition even when meat is readily available.

You probably won’t even notice you’re eating less meat with beans in the mix. Legumes, such as black beans, garbanzos, and lentils, add interest and texture to meat-based dishes, and they provide eating satisfaction, too. Beans are rich in a variety of nutrients, and their protein and fiber help you feel fuller for longer. As plants, they contain phytonutrients, which help protect cells from damage.


Easy Beef and Bean Chili uses just 8 ounces of ground beef to make 6 servings!


You don’t have to prepare beans from dried. It’s perfectly fine to use canned beans and lentils for the sake of convenience, but it’s less expensive to cook the dried versions.  Here are some delicious recipes that pair beans with meat or poultry:

Spanish Brown Rice and Beans from Juggling with Julia

One Pot Taco Soup from The Cheesy RD

Chicken Dhansak

Chicken Dhansak from Desilicious RD

 

Spiced Chicken Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice and Lentils from Tasty Balance Nutrition

How to Make Meat Go Further with Mushrooms

Though mushrooms don’t supply as much protein and fiber as beans, they can be an excellent or good source of certain minerals, such selenium and copper, and vitamins, including B vitamins and vitamin D, a nutrient that is often in short supply in our diets and may play a role in supporting the immune system. Like beans, mushrooms supply phytonutrients, and are a lower-cost filler that adds interest to meat dishes while contributing zero cholesterol or saturated fat.

whole mushrooms

Some brands of mushrooms are excellent sources of vitamin D, which helps support the immune system.

 

Mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light are richest in vitamin D. It’s the same for humans: strong summer sunlight, in the form of ultraviolet rays, prompts vitamin D production in the body.  However, not all mushrooms are high in vitamin D, so check package labels to make sure.

Mushrooms have a firm, meat-like texture that pairs particularly well with ground meat. A beef and mushroom blend lends itself to burger, taco, meatloaf, lasagna, pasta sauce, and meatball recipes.

I typically use 1 cup cooked, diced mushrooms per pound of ground meat (although sometimes I add even more mushrooms!)  So, if you’re working with 8 ounces of lean ground beef, add 1/2 cup of cooked mushrooms. For 1/2 cup cooked mushrooms, start with 4 ounces raw.


Try these delicious, juicy Beef and Mushroom Burgers!


It’s easy enough to buy fresh mushrooms, but you are probably limiting trips to the store right now. In that case, considered dried mushrooms, which can be reconstituted and used like fresh on a moment’s notice.

In addition to ground beef, mushrooms go well with chicken, pork, and shrimp, too! Here are some easy, delicious recipes that pair mushrooms with high-protein foods:

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Snacking in Sneakers

 

creamy mushroom and shrimp pasta

Creamy Mushroom and Shrimp Pasta from Fad Free Nutrition 

 

Ground Beef and Mushroom Lettuce-Wrap Tacos from Craving Something Healthy

Blended Al Pastor Tacos with Pineapple Jalapeño Slaw from the Mushroom Council

Other vegetables help you go further with meat, too. Here’s an example of how to “beef up” pasta sauce:

 

bowl of pasta sauce with carrots and tomatoes

Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce from It’s a Veg World After All

How to Make Meat Go Further with Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese may not come to mind as a meat extender, but it’s rich in protein and offers calcium, too. In fact, one cup of low-fat cottage cheese has more protein than the same amount of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt. (However, the cottage cheese has about 25% less calcium.)

You may be put off by the curds in cottage cheese. I have a solution for that!

Place as much cottage cheese as you need at the time in a small food processor or blender and blend for about 45 seconds to 1 minute to produce creamy cottage cheese.

cottage cheese in a bowl

Don’t like the curds? Blend cottage cheese for a creamy consistency.

 

I use creamy cottage cheese in meatballs or burgers made with lean ground beef or 100% ground turkey breast. Cottage cheese extends the ground meat, and it also produces lighter and juicier meatballs and burgers.

How to Make Meals With Less Meat

Almost Lasagna is one of my favorite recipes that pairs meat with cottage cheese. If you don’t want to bother with a recipe, simply stir creamy cottage cheese into warm marinara sauce or mix cottage cheese with warm pesto sauce and serve over cooked pasta.  If you have some cooked chicken, beef, or other meat, add that, too.

spaghetti topped with meat sauce and shredded cheese

Almost Lasagna

This deconstructed lasagna uses cottage cheese for some of the meat in traditional recipes.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cottagecheese
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces long fusilli pasta, linguine or other pasta  Or any type of pasta you have, including whole wheat.
  • 8 ounces 95% lean ground beef or 100% ground turkey breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth or stock
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed no salt-added tomatoes, not drained Diced tomatoes work well, too.
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup plain lowfat cottage cheese

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef, breaking it into large pieces and continuing to break into small bits. Cook until lightly browned, about 4 to 5  minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer meat to a medium bowl, and set aside.
  • Return the skillet to the burner, add the olive oil, and heat over medium heat.  Add the carrot, onion, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Season with fresh ground black pepper.
  • Add the meat back to the pan.  Stir in the beef broth, tomatoes and their juices, and basil, and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.  
  • In a small bowl, mix the cottage cheese and parsley.  
  • Toss the pasta with the butter, transfer to the skillet and combine with the meat sauce. To serve, place equal amounts of the cottage cheese/parsley mixture in shallow soup bowls, and top with the pasta mixture. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.    

Notes

Per serving (with ground beef): 504 calories; 67 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 27 grams protein; 239 milligrams sodium; 41 milligrams cholesterol; 97 milligrams calcium.

simple tips to make meat go further when preparing meals

 

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

Beef and mushroom burger topped with tomato on plate with salad.

Use mushrooms to go further with meat.

You’ve probably seen the news about a possible shortage of meat, and higher meat prices, but even if you can’t buy all the beef you’d like, you can still enjoy juicy, delicious meat burgers.  Beef and mushroom burgers are better for you and are a great way to stretch the meat you have on hand.

Why mushrooms are good for you, your food budget, and the planet 

Mushrooms are tan or white, and are often disregarded for their lack of deep color, which is taken to mean that they’re not worth much nutritionally. Wrong!

Mushrooms supply B vitamins, selenium and other protective compounds, and when producers expose them to ultraviolet rays, mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D. In fact, mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D found in the produce aisle.

Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about mushrooms’ sustainability: it’s possible to grow up to one million pounds of mushrooms on a single acre of land, and producing a pound of mushrooms requires less than two gallons of water. That’s good news for the environment.

How to use less meat and not miss it 

Mushrooms have a meaty texture and a savory taste called umami which pairs well with meat.  I also use mushrooms to replace meat in marinara sauce and pizza, too.


Beef and Mushroom Stew forgoes some meat for mushrooms.


Substituting mushrooms for some meat, no matter what type, increases vegetable intake, which is always a good idea. It addition, combining mushrooms and meat naturally decreases the calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in a typical beef burger.

 

mushrooms on a cutting board

Mushrooms provide a savory taste and meaty texture.

How to make beef and mushroom burgers

In my beef and mushroom burger recipe, each burger uses just two ounces of lean beef.  I serve the burgers on whole wheat hamburger buns, along with a large green salad topped with olive oil and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for extra crunch and nutrition.  I like to garnish my burger with a horseradish/mayonnaise mixture, sliced tomato, and lettuce.

finely chopped mushrooms

Processing cooked mushrooms makes for a consistency that’s closer to ground beef. 

 

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

Delicious, juicy beef burgers that use less meat and more vegetables.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beefburgers, healthierburgers, mushrooms, umami
Servings: 4
Author: ewardrd

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces baby bella mushrooms or white button mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup seaonsed breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 2-ounce whole wheat buns, toasted or grilled, if desired

Instructions

  • Chop mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces.
  • Add oil to medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, place in medium mixing bowl, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Place mushrooms in a food processor or blender and pulse until they take on a paste-like consistency, about 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the mushrooms back to the mixing bowl and add beef, black pepper, eggs, breadcrumbs, basil, and Worcestershire sauce. Combine thoroughly.  Form mixture into 4 patties of equal size.
  • Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  • Cook burgers for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until they reach an internal temperature of 160˚F.
  • To serve, place patties on buns with desired toppings

Notes

Per serving (burger and bun): 
360 calories; 11 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 141 milligrams cholesterol; 771 milligrams sodium; 40 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 27 grams protein

beef and mushroom burger on a plate with salad pinterest

Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a new family dinner recipe, and by that I mean an easy and delicious dish that everyone likes and is quick enough to make for a weeknight meal. This Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken recipe fits the bill, and there’s a bonus: You only have to clean one pan!

Thai peanut chicken breast on a bed of white rice served with cooked broccoli.

How to Cook Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

This recipe originally appeared in my book, Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy, and it was called Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken. I made it a slow cooker recipe so that it could be ready at the end of a busy day. When I was pregnant and the mother of young children, knowing that dinner was already in the works was such a relief!

I thought it might be helpful to also include directions for stovetop cooking for when you want to make a quick meal with very little clean up, so I’ve included both cooking methods for the recipe in this post.

Also, feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast meat. Thighs are less expensive than chicken breast, and some people prefer their flavor.

I think peanuts make everything taste better, but If someone in your family has a peanut allergy, it’s good to know that the recipe also works with sunflower seed butter.

The level of spiciness is up to you.  The sauce gets its warmth from the ginger and the salsa, but you can also add cayenne pepper to take it up a notch.  The original recipe doesn’t call for cayenne, as it can aggravate the heartburn that pregnant women often experience.

Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

This easy recipe can be ready in less than 30 minutes or cooked in a slow cooker.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, easydinnerrecipe, peanutbutter
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup tomato salsa
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons peeled, grated fresh ginger, and more if desired
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 4 lime wedges (optional)

Instructions

  • Slice chicken breasts into ½-inch thick pieces and season with the black pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  
  • Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned, turning each piece once.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper, if using, with a whisk. Add the salsa mixture to the skillet. 
  • Cover, and cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat or until chicken is fully cooked. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the skillet, and place on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce from pan over the chicken. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving (without optional ingredients):

  • Calories: 274, Total fat: 15 grams, Saturated fat: 3 grams, Cholesterol: 93 milligrams, Sodium: 619 milligrams, Carbohydrate: 8 grams, Dietary fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 28 grams, Calcium: 34 milligrams, Iron: 2 milligrams

Notes

Slow cooker instructions: 
Season both sides of chicken with black pepper. Place the chicken in the slow cooker.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper, if using, with a whisk. Add the salsa mixture to the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce from the slow cooker over the chicken. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired.

What to Serve with Simple, Healthy Thai Peanut Chicken

I serve this meal with a variety of side dishes.  Any type of rice, or rice or soba noodles, pairs well with the chicken.  Green beans, broccoli, and asparagus are also good choices to complement the flavors in the recipe, but use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

You can swap cooked, riced cauliflower for the rice or noodles for a lower carbohydrate meal.

If you choose to make this chicken dish spicier, fruit, such as honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon will help balance the heat, and they are also a good source of fluid.

 

Thai peanut chicken, white rice, and broccoli on plate.

Easy No-Yeast Pizza Dough Recipe (white and whole wheat)

Pizza is one of my family’s favorite foods. Americans purchase 350 slices every second, so it’s safe to assume that you love pizza, too!  These days, you’re probably preparing more pizza at home than you’re buying, and you may be having trouble finding yeast to make the crust. No problem. This easy no-yeast pizza dough recipe (which can be made with white or whole wheat flour) is ready in less than 10 minutes.

Pizza made with no-yeast dough recipe.

Have a warm pizza on the table in well under a half hour with this easy, no-rise crust!

 

How To Make Easy No-Yeast Pizza Dough

In traditional pizza dough recipes, yeast plays a big role in helping the dough to rise. In this recipe, baking powder and Greek yogurt stand in for yeast.

Baking powder helps the dough to rise but it needs the acid from the Greek yogurt to do its job. Greek yogurt also helps to tenderize the pizza dough.

You must use Greek yogurt in this recipe because regular yogurt is too thin to form the dough. Use any type of plain Greek yogurt you like, such as fat-free or whole milk.

How to Make Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with No Yeast

You can make this pizza dough recipe with 100% whole wheat flour instead of white flour, or a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat. I prefer whole wheat flour to all-purpose for a few reasons, although I just use what I have on hand.

Because the dough has Greek yogurt in it, it’s got more moisture than traditional pizza dough.  When I use an whole wheat flour, I find the dough is not as sticky and easier to work with.

I also prefer whole wheat flour for the nutrition it offers. Whole wheat flour has more fiber than all-purpose, and it contains higher levels of certain nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E. If you struggle to eat at least three servings of whole grains every day, whole wheat pizza dough is an easy, delicious way to include more.

However, it’s perfectly healthy to prepare this recipe with all-purpose flour, which is enriched with B vitamins and iron.  Refined grains, such as all-purpose flour, are part of a balanced, healthy diet.

Tips for Making Pizza Dough Without Yeast

Clear mixing bowl with flour, salt, and baking powder on a white surface and a cup measure full of yogurt.

This four-ingredient pizza dough without yeast is simple, fast, and foolproof.

 


If you have kids, this is a perfect time to get them into the kitchen to help, and to learn basic cooking skills, too.

 

yeast-free pizza dough on floured surface

 

The dough is wetter than traditional pizza dough, so be sure to generously flour your work surface and rolling pin.

 

yeast-free pizza dough on floured surface with person holding a rolling pin

Preparation tips:

• The crust will be thin, so be careful when you transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. It if rips, just pinch it to fix the tear. You can divide up the dough and make personal pizzas, which is fun for kids to do.

• Crimp the edges of the dough because it may spread a bit in the oven and you don’t want to lose any of your toppings.

• Top the dough with pizza or marinara sauce (or not!) and whatever cheese and other toppings that  you have on hand. Low-moisture cheese works best with this dough, as it already has a fair amount of moisture in it.

 

uncooked no-yeast pizza dough topped with tomato sauce and cheese

 

Your pizza can be ready in minutes using this easy no yeast pizza dough recipe, prepared sauce, and grated cheese!

 

Cooked sliced pizza made with no-yeast crust

Easy No-Yeast Pizza Dough

This no-yeast pizza dough uses 4 ingredients and is ready in less than 10 minutes.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Greekyogurt, norisedough, noyeastpizzadough, pizza, pizzadough
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or 100% whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425˚F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the Greek yogurt and stir combined.
  • Turn out the dough onto a clean, well-floured surface. Using a rolling pin that's been coated in flour, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
  • Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and add toppings.
  • Cook on the bottom rack for 12-15 minutes.

Notes

• Don't overdo it on the toppings because the dough can get soggy. 
• The dough tends to be sticky, so be sure to generously flour the work surface and the rolling pin.
• Don't worry if the dough breaks when you're handling it. Just put it back together! 
• Double the recipe for a larger - or hungrier - group and make two pizzas, or divide up the dough for personal pizzas.

 

easy no-yeast pizza dough made with all-purpose or whole wheat flour

 

 

 

What to Make with Cereal

Photo by Peter Lewicki on Unsplash cereal strawberries milk
Photo by Peter Lewicki on Unsplash

Cereal is a delicious, nutritious food that offers a big bang for the buck. Ready-to-eat cereal with dairy milk provides a bowl of nutrients for an average of 50 cents a serving on average! Cereal is for more than pouring into a bowl and dousing with milk, however. You can eat it any time of day and in many ways. Check out what to make with cereal – you’ll be surprised at how creative my dietitian friends are!

Why cereal is a healthy choice for family meals 

Whether it’s whole grain, or refined, cereal supplies energy-producing carbohydrate. In addition, it can be a source of other nutrients that often go missing in the diet.

Whole grain choices offer the most fiber, vitamin E, and selenium, but they are not usually enriched.

Refined grains are missing one or more of their three key parts – the bran, the germ, or the endosperm. Refining a grain results in some nutrient loss. However, most refined grains are enriched.

Enriched grains contain additional B vitamins, including folic acid, and the mineral iron. Iron and folic acid don’t occur naturally in significant amounts in whole grains, but they are welcome additions to refined grains, especially cereal.

Health experts recommend that women in their childbearing years get adequate folic acid every day. Adequate folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects during the first month of pregnancy. A serving of enriched cereal can provide as much as 100% of the Daily Value for folic acid.

The added iron in enriched cereal is a good source of this nutrient. Iron is needed to prevent iron deficiency anemia, which can result in long lasting fatigue, and other health problems.

Why it’s OK to eat refined grains

Does eating cereal cause weight gain?

You may be surprised to hear that grains of all kinds, including cereal, can be good for your waistline. An eating pattern that includes higher amounts of a variety of grains is associated with a healthier body weight.

Choose cereals with the least added sugar, which contributes additional calories. Save sugar-laden cereals for a treat, not an everyday food.

How to eat less added sugar

What to make with cereal for family meals 

Since I think cereal is good any time of day, I’ve divided up the delicious healthy recipes with cereal into two groups: sweet and savory. Enjoy them at any meal, or for a snack!

Sweet healthy recipes to make with cereal

Coconut Fruit Tart by Live Best

Coconut Fruit Tart by Live Best

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cereal Nachos by Jill Weisenberger

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cereal Nachos by Jill Weisenberger

Strawberry Banana Breakfast Popsicles by The Nutritionist Reviews

Strawberry Banana Breakfast Popsicles by The Nutritionist Reviews

Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola by Foods with Judes

Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola by Foods with Judes

No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread by Better Is the New Perfect

No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread by Better Is the New Perfect

Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites by Amy Gorin

Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites by Amy Gorin

Flourless Milk & Cereal Pancakes by Sinful Nutrition

Flourless Milk & Cereal Pancakes by Sinful Nutrition

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Trail Mix by National Peanut Board

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Trail Mix by National Peanut Board

Grab-and-Go Granola Bars by Liz’s Healthy Table

Grab-and-Go Granola Bars by Liz's Healthy Table

Protein Packed Chocolate Cereal Bowl by Nutrition Starring You

Protein Packed Chocolate Cereal Bowl by Nutrition Starring You

Kid Friendly Smoothie Bowl by The Crowded Table

Kid Friendly Smoothie Bowl by The Crowded Table

Vanilla Maple Chia Yogurt Parfait by Julie Harrington

Vanilla Maple Chia Yogurt Parfait by Julie Harrington

Peanut Butter Cereal Bars by Better Is the New Perfect

Peanut Butter Cereal Bars by Better Is the New Perfect

Savory healthy recipes to make with cereal

Black Bean Breakfast Burrito Bowl by The Grateful Grazer

Black Bean Breakfast Burrito Bowl by The Grateful Grazer

Crispy Hummus Mashed Potato Balls by Tasty Balance Nutrition

Crispy Hummus Mashed Potato Balls by Tasty Balance Nutrition

Sweet and Spicy Popcorn Snack Mix from The Lean Green Bean

Sweet and Spicy Popcorn Snack Mix from The Lean Green Bean

Savory Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Fried Egg by Jessica Levinson

Savory Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Fried Egg by Jessica Levinson

Wheaties Oven Baked Ravioli by My Menu Pal

Wheaties Oven Baked Ravioli by My Menu Pal

Fonio Recipe by Laurel Ann Nutrition

Crunchy Cereal-Filled Waffles by Bonnie Taub-Dix:

easy family meals to make with cereal photo credit: Bonnie Taub-Dix

19 Healthy Simple Meals to Make When You Don’t Want to Cook

Just because you’re stuck at home right now doesn’t mean you want to cook, or even know how! Or, maybe you prefer to prepare simple meals on most days, even though you like to spend time in the kitchen.  No worries. Here are 19 healthy, simple meals to make when you don’t want to cook, and most use pantry staples. Double, or quadruple the “recipes” as needed!

Bowl of soup with herb toast

Meals don’t need to be fancy to be delicious and good for you, too!

 

Easy No-Recipe Breakfasts When You Don’t Want to Cook

In addition to being delicious breakfast choices, these meals make good snacks. However, you can eat them for a lunch and dinner, too!

• Top a 2-ounce whole-wheat bagel with 2 tablespoons peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter. Serve with 8 ounces 1% low-fat milk or unsweetened fortified soy milk, and fruit.

Make these No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies when you don't want to cook.

Five minutes is all it takes to make a batch of No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that pair perfectly with a carton of Greek yogurt and fruit.

 

• Spread 2 slices whole grain bread with 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, and top with 1 small banana, sliced, or another fruit. For instance, 2 tablespoons raisins, which contain no added sugar.

• Scramble 2 eggs and divide equally between a small whole-wheat pita pocket that’s been cut in half. Add salsa, a handful of spinach, and 1⁄4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese, if desired. Pair with 8 ounces milk or fortified soy milk.

• Scramble 2 eggs with 1⁄4 cup diced mushrooms or other vegetables, and 1⁄4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Serve with 2 slices whole-wheat toast, and fruit.

• Pair a hard-cooked egg with 8 ounces low-fat yogurt in addition to 1 slice whole-grain toast, and fruit.

• Halve a cantaloupe or honeydew melon, remove the seeds, and fill with 1 cup cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt. Serve with a whole wheat roll.

Easy baked fish with canned tomatoes is perfect when you don't want to cook.

My go-to fish meal: breaded haddock topped with a can of undrained chopped canned tomatoes and dried parsley with vegetables and whole grain bread. Cook at 400˚F for 15 minutes or until done.

Lunch and Dinner Meals to Make When You Don’t Want to Cook

These meals require a minimum of cooking, and very little clean up!

• Microwave a medium potato. Scoop out the insides and mix with 1 cup cottage cheese. Return the filling to the potato skins and warm in the microwave. Add a green salad.

• Top 1 whole-wheat pita round or small whole wheat Naan bread with tomato sauce and sliced part-skim mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Broil until cheese melts. Serve with 8 ounces 100% orange juice or enjoy with an orange or 2 clementines.

• Make a quick quesadilla using two whole-wheat 7-inch sandwich wraps, 2 ounces chopped leftover chicken, and 1 ounce Monterey Jack cheese. Grill in a skillet. Enjoy with fruit.

• In a bowl, layer 1 cup cooked whole-grains, for instance, whole-wheat  couscous, 1 cup cooked vegetables, and 4 ounces cooked leftover salmon, or canned or pouched salmon.

• Mix 4 ounces canned or pouched, drained tuna with mayonnaise and pair with 10 whole-grain crackers, and sliced red bell pepper.

Lentil and vegetable soup in a large white soup bowl.

Canned lentil soup is a great start to a simple, balanced meal.

 

• Mix 1 cup canned reduced-sodium lentil soup and 1 cup cooked pasta or other leftover cooked grain such as farro, brown rice, freekeh, or quinoa, and chicken or beef, if desired. Serve with 8 ounces milk or fortified soy beverage in addition to fruit.

• Combine 1 cup canned white beans, drained, with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 4 ounces peeled and raw shrimp in a skillet. Cook until shrimp are pink. Serve with fruit or vegetables.

• Saute 8 ounces 100% ground skinless turkey breast meat or 95% lean ground beef with chopped onions and 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin. Spoon cooked meat equally onto 2 whole-wheat tortillas in addition to chopped tomato, lettuce, and plain yogurt. (This dish serves two.) Serve with Greek yogurt and salsa and fruit or vegetables.

Quesadillas with sour cream and salsa

Use whatever meat, beans, or vegetables you have on hand to make quick quesadillas.

 

• Coat 4 ounces thinly sliced chicken breasts or tenders with flour. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken for about two minutes on each side. Place chicken on a whole-wheat sandwich bun and garnish with tomato and lettuce, and avocado, if desired. Serve with 8 ounces milk and a piece of fruit or baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.

• Fast fried rice: Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a medium skillet. Add 1 cup cold cooked white or brown rice, 1⁄4 cup chopped onion, 1⁄4 cup cooked peas or diced carrots or both, and 2 beaten eggs. Toss the entire mixture until the egg is cooked. Season with a dash of low-sodium soy sauce. Serve with fresh fruit.

 

salad with dressing, cooked chicken and pine nuts

For a simple, balanced meat, add protein-rich foods, such as cooked chicken, canned tuna or salmon, or beans.

 

• Place 4 ounces cooked shrimp, canned or pouch tuna, cooked or pouch salmon, cottage cheese, or tofu, on top of 2 cups chopped leafy greens and 1⁄2 cup grape tomatoes. Top with a mixture of 2 teaspoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve with  whole-grain bread or roll.

What are your go-to simple healthy meals these days?

19 Healthy Simple Meals to Make When You Don't Want to Cook

 

Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes

Every year, I host two Thanksgiving dinners, one on the actual day and the other on the Sunday before. I’ve been doing this for a while, but this year, I finally got smart and made nearly all of the sides in advance. I was so inspired by the idea of make-ahead holiday side dishes that I asked my dietitian friends for their favorite recipes.  Enjoy! 

The Best Thanksgiving Mushroom Sausage Stuffing

The Best Thanksgiving Mushroom Sausage Stuffing from Tawnie Kroll. I love using mushrooms in stuffing for their meaty, umami flavor.

Easy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Genius Butternut Squash Soup from Katie at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook is brilliant, and a real show stopper.


Make Pumpkin Apple Almond Muffins for breakfast or as a side dish for dinner. 


 

Cauliflower Cranberry Superfood Salad | The Nutrition Adventure

Cauliflower Cranberry Superfood Salad from Karman Meyer can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

Easy Pumpkin Soup

Easy Pumpkin Soup from Jessica Ivey, MS, RD can be frozen and reheated. It uses canned pumpkin, one of my favorite kitchen staples.

Walnut Stuffed Mushrooms with Walnut, Apple & Sage 

 

Walnut Stuffed Mushrooms with Walnut, Apple & Sage from Mandy Enright uses walnuts in place of meat for a vegetarian appetizer that’s anything but basic.


Make a double batch of gluten-free No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Quick Bread and freeze a loaf for later. You’ll be happy you did! 


Sweet Potato Casserole with pecans

Liz Weiss’ Pecan Topped Slightly-Sweet Potato Casserole can be frozen and reheated before serving. That’s music to my ears!

Make ahead kale salad.

Make-Ahead Kale Salad from Stephanie McKercher. The name says it all! Super convenient and colorful to boot.

roasted butternut squash salad

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Dates & Feta from Edwina Clark. I love the spinach-date-and-feta combo!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Dates, Figs and Pistachios (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Roasted Butternut Squash with Dates, Figs, and Pistachios from Sharon Palmer is vegan and gluten-free. And gorgeous!

cranberry relish

Healthy-ish Maple Cranberry Sauce from Sarah Gold. Maple is one of my favorite fall flavors to combine with cranberries!

Cranberry Relish via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_kitchen

This fresh Cranberry Relish from Julie Harrington is a refreshing departure from store-bought canned and it can easily be made ahead of time.

homemade turkey stock

I stink at gravy, so I’m grateful for Michelle Dudash’s Best Turkey Gravy, which you make in two steps, one of them a few days ahead of time.

Roasted onions and carrots on baking sheet.

Roasted Vegetable Stock from Chef Catherine Brown can be made up to five days in advance and refrigerated or frozen for up to six months. Homemade stock is about 1,000 times more flavorful than store-bought, so if you get a chance, make this.

A white platter filled with turkey breast that is topped with crispy skin and gravy with a dish of gravy on the side.

The Best Slow Cooker Turkey Breast + Easy Cider Gravy from Whitney Reist. Yes, this post is about side dishes, but I couldn’t resist including this amazing recipe!

Happy holidays!

easy and delicious make-ahead holiday side dishes

Tips for Better Snacks

Chocolate bar, computer

Snacking can be good for you if you make the right choices.

 

Adults consume 400 to 900 daily calories as snacks daily, and half of all children take in about 600 calories between meals, which is enough to qualify as a meal! Use these tips for better snacks and upgrade mini meals for more energy, better focus, and good nutrition.


It’s OK to snack. The problem is that snacks are often rich in calories, fat, and sodium, and low in nutrients.


What is a healthy snack?

It’s natural to get hungry between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, especially for young children and teens. Kids need to energy grow, and adults who skimp on meals, or skip them, need snacks, too.

Think of snacks as balanced mini-meals, not meal-wreckers. For example, when you combine cheese, whole grain crackers, and fruit, it’s OK to eat lightly at your next meal.

There’s no limit on snacks, but they should be balanced. And, you should account for snack calories as part of daily calorie needs so that you don’t eat too much. It’s easy to confuse snacks and treats.

Bowl of popcorn.

Popcorn is a whole grain and makes a healthy snack.


When kids snack at home, have them eat at the table.  Eating at a table encourages mindfulness about food.


Make protein a part of better snacks for kids and adults 

Cookies, chips, and candy temporarily curb hunger, but they aren’t particularly filling in the long run, in part because they lack protein.

Protein promotes eating satisfaction, and may contribute to easier weight control.

Protein-rich foods, such as low-fat dairy, lean meat, poultry, and seafood, also provide vitamins and minerals, including choline, iodine, and vitamin B12 for brain health. And, soy, beans, nuts, and seeds supply fiber, which we need every day.

Piece of whole grain bread spread with peanut butter.

Peanut butter and whole wheat bread is a nutrient-rich, filling snack idea.

Carbohydrates are part of healthy snacks for kids and adults

Carbohydrates are found in foods such as milk, fruit, vegetables, beans, bread, cereals, pasta, rice, and other grains, and in cookies, cakes, and other sweet foods and beverages.  

Nutritious, satisfying snacks combine protein and carbohydrates, preferably the complex kind. 

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include whole grains, beans, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Popcorn is a whole grain. 

Raw red and yellow peppers, carrots, large leek, onion, and garlic

Fresh raw vegetables are full of fluid and help you feel fuller for longer.

 

Complex carbohydrates, including starch and fiber, take longer to digest. In addition, complex carbohydrates are generally found in foods with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant compounds that support health.  

Tips for better snacks to make at home

  • Double Berry Smoothie: 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or strawberries, 2 tablespoons milk, sweetener of your choice. Combine in food processor or blender and drink immediately.

Double Berry Smoothie is made with wild blueberries and dairy milk and yogurt.

Double Berry Smoothie

 

  • Small bowl of whole grain cereal and milk or fortified soy beverage. (Most plant milks don’t supply as much protein as dairy or soy.)

 

  • 1 serving plain one-minute oats prepared in the microwave with 8 ounces milk and topped with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

 

  • 4 cups low-fat microwave popcorn tossed with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese; 8 ounces milk

 

  • 1 cup canned lentil soup topped with ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

  • ½ cup cottage cheese and 6 whole grain crackers

 

No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies make a delicious vegan, gluten-free and no-added sugar snack.

No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are ready in 5 minutes, are vegan, gluten-free, and contain no added sugar!

 


Try these delicious smoothie recipes


 

Tips for better snacks to take on the road for hiking and walking

  • Trail mix: whole grain cereal, raisins, peanuts

 

  • ½ tuna fish or turkey sandwich on whole grain bread and a handful of cherry tomatoes

 

  • 1-2 reduced-fat mozzarella cheese sticks and 6 woven wheat whole grain crackers

 

  • 1-2 hard-cooked eggs and a 1-ounce whole grain roll

 

  • Carton of Greek yogurt and fruit

 

  • ¾ cup dry roasted edamame

    Whole almonds are a delicious, satisfying snack.

    Almonds, and other nuts, pair well with cereal and fruit for a quick snack at home or on the run.

  • 10 small whole grain pretzels and hummus

 

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 10 baby carrots

Tips for better snacks for kids and adults

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