Tag Archives: #protein

Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies

Broccoli cheese calzone is a regular on the dinner menu in my house because it’s easy to make, takes just three ingredients, and everyone likes it. Check, check and check! In fact, I make the large calzone so often that I thought it was high time to shake it up. The result: Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies. More fun, and even better for you. And perfect for a Meatless Monday meal!

Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies are fun to eat, and good for you, too!

The recipe is really not a recipe at all.

All you need is 10 cups chopped, cooked 1-inch broccoli florets, 1 pound of whole wheat pizza dough, 16 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (you can use pre-shredded cheese, block cheese cut into thin slices, or a mixture), and 3 teaspoons olive oil, which is optional.

That’s it!

Heat the oven to 400˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 8, 7-inch circles.  I use an inverted bowl to do this. You may need to gather up the dough and roll it out again to make eight circles.

Place half the cheese on the rounds to within a half inch of the edge of the dough. The cheese forms a barrier between the dough and the broccoli to keep the hand pie from getting soggy.

Don’t worry about the cheese. Use whatever type you have on hand.

Top with the remaining cheese.

Fold the dough in half over the broccoli and cheese filling, and seal the edges with the tines of a fork. They’re messy, so no need to be super neat about the filling!

Gently place the hand pies on to the baking sheet. Brush with olive oil for a more golden glow, if desired.

Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies are cute, a bit messy, and delicious!

Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Whole Wheat Broccoli Cheese Hand Pies are a portable feast. Pair leftovers with fruit for lunch.

Raspberry Fudge Cake

Warning: Rave ahead. As in I can’t stop raving about this rich, flourless chocolate and black bean cake topped with fresh raspberries.  Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors!  Although it contains added sugar, Raspberry Fudge Cake is better for you than typical desserts.  This recipe is a riff on the Black Bean Brownie Bites in my latest book Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy.

Produce Power 

Fruits and vegetables help to make indulgences healthier. In this case, the raspberries and black beans work together to bump the fiber content to 8 grams (about 25% of the Daily Value) and the protein to 7 grams per serving.

Here’s why I use fruit, and vegetables, including beans, in baked goods and snacks.

Beans are brimming with nutrients including protein, fiber, potassium, and phytonutrients, compounds that protect your body. When pureed and used in baked goods, beans are useful as fat replacers, and they enhance the fudge-like texture. Check out the many amazing ways food blogger Catherine Katz at Cuisinicity works magic with lentils in sweet, and savory, dishes.

I cannot get enough raspberries! They’re delicious, beautiful, and powerful little orbs that supply vitamin C, fiber, phytonutrients, and so much more. And raspberries provide natural sweetness so you can use less added sugar when cooking.

An All-Around Great Cake

I told you I was going to brag.

Raspberry Fudge Cake takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. While it looks special enough for a celebration, it’s so easy to make that you can have it any time.

We are mad for this cake in our house. I hope you like it as much as we do!

Raspberry Fudge Cake

Makes 8 servings.

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the beans and 3 tablespoons of oil in a food processor. Process on high until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and blend well.  Add the baking powder and salt and blend for 10 seconds more. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes.

Top the cake with the raspberries.  Combine the remaining teaspoon of canola oil and the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until chips are melted, about 20 to 30 seconds, stopping to stir once.  Immediately drizzle the chocolate mixture on top of the raspberries. Allow the chocolate to harden for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 
316 calories; 14 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat); 54 milligrams cholesterol; 271 milligrams sodium; 45 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 7 grams protein

 

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato

I make these tuna burgers a lot. I love them so much that I included them in my latest book, Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive to enjoy the benefits of these burgers! Experts suggest that adults eat at least two fish meals weekly, and that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume two to three meals a week. My burgers are made with canned tuna, an inexpensive, convenient source of several nutrients, including protein, iodine, and omega-3 fats necessary for heart health, and for a baby’s brain development and vision.

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato are ready in less than 30 minutes!

 

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato

Makes 4 servings.

4  5-1/2 ounce cans or pouches of tuna, drained

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion

2 teaspoons dried dill

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pitted avocado, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

2 small tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

4 2-ounce whole-grain sandwich buns or whole-wheat English muffins

Place the tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break it up into small pieces with a fork.  Add the bread crumbs, eggs, shallots, and dill, and combine well.  Form the mixture into four burgers.

 

Use an empty tuna can to form the burgers so that they are uniform in size and fit on the buns or English muffins.

 

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook burgers for about four minutes on each side.

The tuna burgers should be cooked until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.  

 

I usually make a double batch of this recipe because they are easy to freeze and reheat for a quick lunch or dinner.

Wrap cooked tuna burgers well and date the package. They will last for several months in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave and make the avocado/tomato topping just before serving.

 

In a small bowl, combine the avocado and tomato until just mixed, mashing lightly while stirring.  To serve, place burgers on sandwich buns and top with the avocado mixture. Enjoy with baby carrots for extra crunch and more vegetables.

Delicious and nutritious Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato pack omega-3 fats, fiber, protein, and much more!

 

Per serving:
430 calories; 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 139 milligrams cholesterol; 810 milligrams sodium; 40 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 39 grams protein

Better for You Chili

Chili is the perfect meal on a cold winter’s day. My version is better for you because it’s light on the beef, packed with vegetables, and features a secret ingredient that boosts flavor and nutrition without overpowering the dish. Better make a double batch of this easy, nutritious dish. It tastes great the next day, too!

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More Beans, Please

I like more beans (technically, legumes) and less meat in my chili to improve nutrition and cut food cost.  Beans supply protein, fiber, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals, and, as part of a balanced diet, they can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood that lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. Beans are rich in prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut, which benefits your health in several ways.

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I choose canned, drained beans for the sake of convenience and because I lack the forethought to buy dried beans and soak them! Rinse canned beans to reduce their sodium content by as much as 40%.

Have it Your Way

This recipe is flexible.  You can use turkey instead of beef, eliminate the meat and add even more beans to make a vegetarian chili, or use different types of beans, such as white kidney beans and garbanzo beans. Also, I’m a wimp, so I keep the heat to a minimum. Add chili powder, jalapeño peppers, more cumin, or any other spice you like. It’s your choice!

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The Secret Ingredient, Revealed

So, what’s the big secret? A little bit of cocoa powder.  Unsweetened cocoa powder upgrades chili by intensifying the flavor of the meat, and you won’t even know it’s there. Cocoa powder is also good for you.

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Cocoa contains antioxidants called flavonoids. While it’s still unclear exactly how flavonoids benefit health, they may help to lower blood pressure, which protects the heart and the brain.

Buy unsweetened cocoa powder that hasn’t been treated with alkaline, which reduces flavonoid content. Avoid Dutch-process cocoa.

Better for You Chili

Makes 6 servings.

8 ounces 95% lean ground beef or 100% ground skinless turkey breast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, not drained

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the meat, breaking it up into very small pieces as it cooks.  Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove the meat from the pan. Set the meat aside.

Return the pan to the burner. Add the oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for two minutes or until clear. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.  Add peppers, and continue to cook until peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, cocoa powder, and meat to the pan. Combine thoroughly. Cover, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Per serving:

Calories: 291
Total fat: 9 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 33 milligrams
Sodium: 586 milligrams
Carbohydrate: 35 grams
Dietary fiber: 10 grams
Protein: 21 grams

 

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No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Quick Bread

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Kick off 2017 with this no-added sugar quick bread that’s perfect for a New Year’s day brunch, snack, or everyday breakfast. Dried fruit and bananas provide natural sweetness so there’s no need for sugar or other sweeteners.  Almonds and walnuts supply heart-healthy fat, and the recipe calls for oat flour instead of wheat flour to keep this dense, satisfying bread gluten-free and packed with whole grain goodness.

You can mix and match the types of nuts and dried fruits you use, and make 12 muffins out of the batter instead of a single loaf. Enjoy this better-for-you bread with peanut butter or cottage cheese, or pair with eggs or Greek yogurt. Happy New Year!

Fruit & Nut Bread
Makes 12 servings.

2 medium ripe bananas, broken into large chunks
2 large eggs
1⁄4 cup canola oil
2 cups oat flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup chopped almonds
3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts
3⁄4 cup dried unsweetened apricots, chopped into small pieces
3⁄4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat a 1 1/2 quart loaf pan with cooking spray, and line with a sheet of parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until no longer chunky. Using a whisk, add the eggs and canola oil and combine well. Add the oat flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

Add the almonds, walnuts, apricots, and raisins, and blend well.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Cool for 15-20 minutes out of the pan before cutting.

* To make oat flour, place 2 cups of gluten-free one-minute or old fashioned oats in a food processor and process on high speed until oats achieve a powder-like consistency, about 1 minute.

Per serving (1 slice or 1/12 of the loaf):

Calories: 253
Total fat: 14 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Cholesterol: 35 milligrams
Sodium: 135 milligrams
Carbohydrate: 29 grams
Dietary fiber: 4 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Calcium: 64 milligrams
Iron: 2 milligrams

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

Recipes for energy bars with costly ingredients are a pet peeve of mine, and I thought I could do better making my own. These delicious 5-ingredient bars are a less-expensive alternative, and they are higher in protein than many bars made with whole foods only. Each portion provides 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and a serving of whole grains. Have a peanut butter cereal bar for a snack or as part of a balanced meal. See the serving suggestion at the end of this post. Enjoy!

dsc_0393A Word About the Ingredients

To keep this recipe cost-effective, I use store-brands, with the exception of the maple syrup, whenever possible. Use whatever maple syrup you have on hand. Honey is a suitable substitution.

Any nut butter will do, but store-brand peanut butter is probably the least expensive by far.  The chunky kind provides extra crunch.  Add 1/3 cup chopped peanuts if you only have smooth peanut butter in the house and you want a crunchier bar.

You can use sweetened cranberries or raisins or a combination of the two, or any other dried fruit. However, store-brand raisins are likely to be cheaper, and they don’t contain added sugar.

If you substitute a higher-fiber whole grain ready-to-eat cereal for what I use, the cost may go up, and it could increase the calorie count.

Need a chocolate fix? Toss 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips into the bar mixture. Using mini chips better distributes the chocolate flavor, so you use less and it costs less!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

Makes 12 servings.

1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter (use natural to reduce added sugar)

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 cups quick oats, uncooked

2 cups plain Cheerios or store-brand equivalent

Coat a 8″ x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.

Press the bar mixture evenly into the pan.

Refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut into 12 squares. Keep refrigerated.

Per serving:
302 calories; 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 191 milligrams sodium; 31 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 10 grams protein.

Serving suggestion: Pair with eight ounces of milk and a banana to include a serving of fruit, dairy, and whole grains, as well as 20 grams of protein, the minimum amount of protein you should have at every meal.

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