Roasted Butternut Carrot Basil Soup

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Fall is here so bring on the comfort soups! Squashes just scream fall to me. One of my favorite squash is BUTTERNUT SQUASH. If you haven’t had one you are sadly deprived. It has this rich, buttery and creamy flavor, It kinda reminds me of pumpking but way way way better because it’s so full of rich flavors. It’s like the sophisticated, better looking, more popular cousin to a pumpkin. They sell them by the lb and one usually weights 1-2 lbs. I eat for one so I always try to find a small one but the other day at Sprouts they were .77 a lb!! I couldn’t pass that up and bought 2. They keep fairly well for a while. Usually they are 1.30-2 a lb. I am in butternut squash heaven.

I usually like to roast them and then the sky’s the limit on their use. You can eat it just plain, use for ravioli stuffing, in soups or to make healthy dishes because they serve as a cream substitute. I made a pasta sauce which I will have to post later and will make mac n cheese with the other squash and post recipe once that is done. I can’t wait, my mouth is already watering. What I decided to do was a soup because it is fall and I just can’t resist. I added a cup of cooked quinoa for protein and added bulk and it became a very hearty meal. It was so good, I immediately wanted to repeat the meal. Hope you try it out.

Ingredients: Serves 2 large bowls or 4 side soups

half a butternut squash

2  carrots

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 onion

2-4 cups of any broth

handful of fresh basil

2 cups cooked quinoa

2-4 tbls of nonfat greek yogurt (optional for garnish and tangy taste)

Directions:

Brush EVOO to squash, carrots, onions and garlic in 400 degree oven. The onions and garlic will roast in about 25-35 mins so take those out first. The carrots take about 15 mins longer and the squash is about 45-60 mins. Everything is roasted when you can put a fork easily through it. It is very tempting to eat them at this point put resist.

In a sauce pan heat up about 2 cups of the broth. Add your roasted ingredients and handful of fresh basil. Let it come to a boil. Turn off heat and let cool just slightly. With an immersion blender or regular blender, just puree until smooth. You can add black pepper and salt ( I didn’t think I needed it and didn’t use) to taste.

Ladle to a bowl, add a cup of quinoa cooked, a dollop of yogurt and garnish with some basil. This was oh so yummy. I had mine with a side of open face kale turkey sandwich. I took two large kale leaves, spread lightly with Veganise Mayo, added sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese and turkey. Very carb friendly and protein packed.

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Turkey Lentil Meat Loaf

Being Asian, I don’t make a lot of traditional American foods, but one thing I do really love is meat loaf. It’s a gross concept of a lump of loose meat mix with veggies and baked in its own juices. The big clincher is that it’s topped off with ketchup? That just sounds a little gross yet it somehow tastes so yummy in my tummy.

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I don’t really ever make it and a lot of meat loaf isn’t the most healthy for you, but at last, I’ve tried to make a healthy version of this American classic. I used lean turkey ground meat, no eggs for binder and lentils to boost fiber and add bulk, so this is also a very cheap meal that stretches. I also don’t like lentils but know how good they are for me so this is a good way to sneak them in because I barely notice them.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground lean turkey

1 cup cooked lentils

2 large carrot diced really small

1 yellow bell pepper diced really small

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup plain bread crumb (next time I will use oatmeal)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/4 onion diced small

dash of black pepper

some ketchup

Directions:

mix all ingredients in bowl except the ketchup. Don’t over mix. Place a scoop into muffin tin all the way to the top. Or in a regular baking dish. Squirt some ketchup on top. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 25-20 mins for the muffins and 45-50 mins for the baking dish. Make sure thermometer reaches 165 degrees. You can broil for 3-5 mins to really caramelize the ketchup. Serve with sweet potato mashed potatoes using veggie broth instead of milk and olive oil instead of butter. Simple yet delicious.photo 2

Lean Turkey Pot Stickers

If you have won ton wrappers, you have a fun meal in the works. Yall can check out my previous post on super healthy home made won ton wrappers and use them but I didn’t have time so I used store bought ones, which work just fine, especially if you don’t mind a little processed ingredients.

Pot stickers are an Asian delight but they are usually made with port, which I don’t really enjoy the flavor. I use poultry in most of my cooking and it’s better for you. This was super quick and you can eat it plain or with a dipping sauce. I don’t particularly like to make these a day ahead of time because the meat mixture is liquidy and soaks through the won ton wrappers. I haven’t tried freezing them yet to see if that would help. I’ve done it for egg rolls and as it defrost, some liquid does soak through. It’s not bad and will still taste great, it just won’t look as pretty. If you do have to do them a day in advance, keep them dry by dusting each pot sticker with corn starch so they don’t stick and wrapping a paper towel over them. You don’t want to dry them out so keep in airtight container.

ingredients that yields about 25 give or take:

1/2 pound of lean ground turkey (chicken and pork will work too)

1 carrot shredded

2 slices of onions diced

1 tbs cilantro diced

1 green onion thinly sliced

1 garlic clove minced

1 egg

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp sesame seed oil

1 chile pepper diced optional if you want it spicy

20-30 wonton wrappers. These dry out kinda fast so keep them under a moist towel covered.

small bowl of water to seal the wrappers together

1-2 cups of chicken broth

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mash to incorporate. Don’t over mix. Should only take a few turns of the spoon or 5-8 mashes with hand. Take one wrapper at an angle with one corner pointing towards you and the opposite corner away from you. Spoon about 1 tbs of mixture to center. Take finger to water and run along all 4 sides of wrapper. Folder over and use index fingers to seal together. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or towel so they don’t dry out. Dust with some cornstarch if you are going to stack them on top of each other so they won’t stick together.

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Cooking:

In wok/flat pan on med heat, thinly coat bottom with vegetable oil. Once hot, lay down pot stickers so that they don’t over lap. I was able to do 4 at a time in my wok. Let them brown for 2 mins without touching but not longer than that because they will burn. You’ll see that I did that for my first batch. Add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth to pan or just enough to cover the bottom of pan. Each pan will vary and it depends on how many pot stickers you can fit in your pan. Just make sure it’s enough liquid to cover the bottom. Turn heat to low can cover with lid to steam for 2 mins. Remove from pan and continue til all done. You can keep them in a 200 degree oven to keep warm. IMG_0990 IMG_0991

Serve with dipping sauce:

Ingredients:

1 small clove garlic minced

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 tbls rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp green onion sliced thinly for garnish

Directions:

Mix all ingredients except for onions together. The longer it sits, the more the flavors melt together. Add onions when serving for garnish.

 

 

Carrot, Squash and Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Garlic Aioli Sauce

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Too many words to describe this delicious meal I just made so I’m just gonna get to the nitty gritty.

Fries:

4-5 carrots cut to resemble fries about 3/4 inch thick

2 large sweet potatoes cut to resemble fries about 3/4 inch thick. The trick is to make them about the same size so they cook evenly.

1 squash cut to resemble fries about 3/4 inch thick. This will cook a little faster than the carrots and potatoes.

3-4 tbs olive oil

Salt, black pepper or fries seasoning to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On 2 cookie sheets, spread carrots and potato fries separately so they are evenly distributed. Drizzle olive oil over them, mix to coat and add seasoning and mix again. Bake for about 10-15 mins. Flip and cook another 5-10 mins until tender and a little crispy. Remove and cool.

While fries are cooking, make the garlic aioli sauce (almost like mayo but healthier).

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

2 cloves of garlic

juice of half a lime or lemon

salt to taste

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of olive oil

3 tbls coconut oil or just use olive oil if you don’t have coconut oil

Some Siracha sauce if you want it spicy

Directions:

Place yolks, garlic and lemon juice in food processor and pulse for about 3 mins or until most of garlic is chopped. Very slowly drizzle in the olive oil a few tablespoons at a time. Scrape the sides occasionally. Then drizzle in the coconut oil. This should cause the emulsification and thicken the sauce. Taste to see if you need more salt, lime/lemon or garlic.

I like to have a sandwich with my fries so this is my easy chicken sandwich.

Ingredients:

2 slices of whole grain bread. I used one with sunflower seed crust so it would be very hearty. You can lightly toast it if you want. I like toasted sandwiches.

Half a baked chicken breast seasoned any way thinly sliced.

4 cucumber slices

4 roma tomato slices or one salad tomato slice

1 slice of onion raw or grilled til soft

slice of any cheese but it’s amazing with a slice of good blue cheese

1/4 avocado mashed

Directions:

On one side of bread, lightly spread the aioli sauce on. Layer cucumber slices next, then tomatoes, onion, and chicken meat. On other side of sandwich, spread the avocado and you can season with some salt and black pepper if you want. Stack it all together.

To make spicy aioli sauce, just add some siracha sauce about 1 tsp at a time until the desired spice level. Serve alongside the fries. So so so yummy and fast.

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Healthy Egg McMuffin

IMG_0606[1]Move over Mc Donalds because this healthy egg mc muffin is full of nutrients, good fats and healthy proteins that will fill the body, fuel energy and still fast and cheap. I stress healthy eating because it really is easy, fun and becomes addicting, in the good way unlike addiction to sugar and processed foods ;). I have to admit that I really love Mc Donald’s breakfast. mc griddles are super sweet, they have the sweetest pancakes without being too flat or fluffy, hash browns with syrup and ketchup? My mouth is watering already. When all else fails, you can’t beat the good old egg mc muffin. I like to dip mine in a little ketchup and I’m good to go.

But those are days of old. Days before we realized that chemically enhanced, sodium saturated, fat depositing foods only make us fatter, unhealthy, addicted to bad behaviors and develop life threatening epidemics. Good news is we can learn to undo these bad habits and create new and better ones that will give us the body we fantasize of, the energy we naturally have and the knowledge that this is better than anything mass produced. I promise you that you will get the hang of it and actually start to create your own flavors and favorite recipes.

I created this egg mc muffin after working out after 8PM and still needed dinner/post workout meal. When it’s that late, I need something light but that will still rebuild my body but not make me bloated before bed. Normally I’ll do my overnight oat parfait but I already did that earlier after my weight lifting workout. So looking at my fridge, I came up with this much wanted repeat meal using only things I need to eat up.

Ingredients:

one fiber rich whole grain english muffin

1 egg

a few leaves of any greens ( I used some steamed cabbage and it was a very nice new flavor, but I also love steamed cabbage. It’s all about experimenting)

1/2 tsp of Grapeseed Oil Veganeise Mayo (it’s egg and gluten-free and healthier than mayo. I usually never use any form of “mayo” but I found this in the fridge and wanted to try it. You can omit this)

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1/4 mashed avocado

1 slice of any cheese

3 slices of lean turkey deli meat

Some ketchup or mustard if you want

Directions:

Toast english muffin if you like it crunchy. I do. While that’s toasting, fry up an egg sunny side up. I like to cook it on one side for about 2 mins then carefully flip and cook that side for 1 min on med heat. Remove from heat. Take one slice of toast and spread with thin layer of vegan mayo and avocado. Layer on your greens, deli meat, cheese and egg. Put mustard/ketchup on other side of toast if you want. Right before eating, poke the yolk so it oozes out. It was sooooo good and perfect for breakfast or a late dinner that will fill you up without weighing you down and making your tummy look pregnant in the morning.

No Bake Healthy Granola Bars

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Peanut butter, honey, oats, cranberries, and chocolate? This can only be amazing!!! And trust me, it is. And yes it’s super easy to make without messing up.

Since this is no bake and it has low temperature melting ingredients like honey and peanut butter, you will have to keep refrigerated until ready to eat. You don’t want all the preservatives that comes with prepacked bars. I think the sesame seeds really add the secret crunch that seals the deal. It’s sweet, peanut buttery, crunchy and chocolaty all at once. You won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:

2 tbs of coconut oil

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/3 cup natural honey. Local is possible.

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup dried canberries

1/4 cup crushed peanuts unsalted

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:Melt over medium heat the coconut oil, peanut butter and honey just til it’s warmed through.

 

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Stir in oats.

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Let cool for about 5 mins and combine the rest of ingredients. We just don’t want the chocolate to melt too much because the batter is a little warm.

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Press to a 8×8 square inch pan and let cool for at least 2 hours. Cut into 8 bars. Keep in fridge until ready to eat. Soooooo good and a very satisfying snack or post workout snack.

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Acorn Squash Ravioli

I’ve seen people make homemade ravioli but I’ve never been very good at making dough. I’ve seen recipes that call for won ton wrappers instead of traditional noodles so that it’s simpler and quicker. You can use store bought or the healthy wheat won ton recipe in my previous blog post. I like them better than store bought wrappers for two reasons. 1) it’s healthier because there are basically only 4 ingredients used, no added fat and no preservatives. 2) they are thinner than won ton wrappers and don’t have that distinctive won ton taste that is very good but I don’t want it in my ravioli.

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I like acorn squash because you can find them smaller in size than some other squashes. Since squashes are priced per pound, it can get kinda pricy. I also just used ingredients that I already had at home. It was super quick, easy, cost effective and oh so yummy.

Ingredients:

Acorn squash

1/4 onions diced very small

1 small garlic

t tbs cottage or ricotta cheese

dash of salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tbs thinly sliced fresh basil depending on taste. I like basil so I used about 2 tbl

some parmesan and extra basil for garnish

Directions:

Cut acorn squash in half. You only need half but you can roast both halves and use the second half for another dish. Brush with a little EVOO and bake about 40 mins in 400 degree oven. Once you can stick a fork easily through then it is finished cooking. Let cool.

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While squash is cooking, saute garlic and onions in med heat pan with a little EVOO. cook about 5 mins or until translucent. Let cool.

Once everything is cooled, scrape out squash into a bowl. Add in onion/garlic mix. Add the cottage or ricotta cheese, basil, salt and pepper. mix very well until it’s all blended into a mushy paste. IMG_0225

Line up the wrappers. Place a spoon full of filling on middle of wrappers. Take some water and brush the won ton edges. Take second wrapper, brush the edges with water and place over the filling. Press edges close. Take fork and crimp the edges for extra security and it makes it look pretty. Based on my won ton sizes I made about 15.

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I fried the ravioli in a pan sprayed with pam oil. Brown and flip. Takes about 5-8 mins total.

IMG_0226I heated some marina sauce, poured it over the ravioli and garnished with parmesan and basil. I added a side of chicken and garden salad. So so good and healthy.

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