Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice

Did you know that eating acorn squash helps to boost your immune system?  It also regulates your blood sugar levels, lowers blood pressure, and helps to prevent cancer.  Plus, it's delicious!  This is a simple yet elegant recipe perfect for the fall and I love that you can pretty much add any of your favorite veggies to the rice stuffing mixture.

Ingredients:

2 whole acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 cup wild rice

1 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken stock

1/2 cups reduced sugar dried cranberries

1/2 cup mushrooms, cut into quarters

1 cup baby spinach

1/4 cup Walden Farms sugar free syrup

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 shallots, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

dried thyme, salt, and pepper

Here's how to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Brush the cut squash with 1 tbsp. olive oil then place the squash facing down on sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. While squash is roasting, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots, garlic, and dried thyme and cook about 1 minute..  Add the uncooked rice and coat with oil, then add vegetable or chicken stock.  
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer rice for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is cooked and there is no more liquid in saucepan.
  4. Sautee mushrooms along with any other veggies you wish to add to the rice with 1 tbsp. olive oil. until softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Leave the baby spinach uncooked though, it will cook when you combine it later.
  5. Combine rice, veggies, baby spinach, Walden Farms syrup, and dried cranberries together in a bowl.  
  6. Spoon mixture into acorn squash halves after they are roasted.
  7. Garnish with pecans, grated parmesan cheese, or goat cheese if desired.  Enjoy!
Stuffed-Acorn-Squash.jpg

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

 Healthy and hearty version of stuffed peppers made with ground turkey, black beans, and brown rice

Healthy and hearty version of stuffed peppers made with ground turkey, black beans, and brown rice

This is one of my favorite meals – who doesn’t love a stuffed pepper?  Hearty and healthy, these have got everything – lean protein, brown rice, beans, salsa and cheese.  Rich in flavor – a taste of Mexican food without all the fat and calories. 

Serves 8

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 bell peppers
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 2 oz. cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz. Colby jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • For the taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cook rice then remove from heat and let sit covered for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Chop onion and add to oil, cooking until softened.
  4. Add ground turkey and seasoning, cook until browned.
  5. Rinse beans and stir in. Remove from heat.
  6. In a large bowl, mix turkey mixture, rice, salsa verde, and grated cheeses together.
  7. Cut tops off of peppers and scoop out seeds and discard.
  8. Spoon in turkey and rice mixture and place in a deep baking pan.
  9. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Summer Roll with Shrimp

 A healthy and delicious summer roll packed with fresh crunchy veggies, shrimp, and buckwheat noodles

A healthy and delicious summer roll packed with fresh crunchy veggies, shrimp, and buckwheat noodles

I absolutely love Vietnamese food, and my favorite dishes are Pho and summer rolls.  I seriously could eat them every single day I love them so much.  Since it’s summertime, these summer rolls are perfectly refreshing to eat even on the hottest of days.  They are crunchy, tangy, and delicious plus they are healthy!  I have been using buckwheat soba noodles a lot lately because they taste so good and they help to stabilize my blood sugar levels.  They can be used in so many ways and offer tons of health benefits.  Here are a few:

  • complete source of protein
  • high in fiber
  • regulates blood pressure and cholesterol
  • low glycemic index and help to prevent blood sugar spikes
  • most are gluten free

Serves 8

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Ingredients

  • 1 bundle or 3 oz. buckwheat soba noodles (no salt added)
  • 1/2 lb. cooked shrimp
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 8 rice paper wrappers

For the dipping sauce

  • 2 tbsp. coconut amino acids
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Cook soba noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove and rinse under cold water. Set aside. Shred carrots and red cabbage, then cut cucumber and bell pepper into thin strips.
  2. Dip a rice paper wrapper into a bowl of warm water for a few seconds until softened then place on a flat surface.
  3. Place the veggies, soba noodles, cilantro, then shrimp onto the middle of the rice paper and roll up by folding in each edge. The paper will stretch slightly and stick together to form a roll. The tighter you wrap it, the easier it will be to eat without the ingredients falling out.
  4. Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and serve with summer rolls.
  5. Enjoy!

Nutrition Education Resources

I also work at The Great Courses and we have some of the best resources around for education in the field of nutrition, health, fitness, and cooking.  I’ve watched numerous videos and learned tons about how to eat healthy, how to form good habits that last, how to stay fit, and what myths about nutrition and fitness are out there.  The cooking courses are also fantastic and have taught me so much about cooking healthy and how to create delicious meals.  If you haven’t taken a course from The Great Courses, I highly recommend you try one.  The professors that teach these courses are knowledgeable and engaging.  And they are great to work with.  I appeared in two of our courses, The Art of Travel Photography, taught by Joel Sartore and The Essentials of Tai Chi, taught by David-Dorian Ross.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed learning from these videos and how much they inspire me every day.  Check out the links to some of my favorite courses from The Great Courses.  Enjoy!

-Claire

Kung Pao Turkey Meatballs

 Full of flavor and packed with protein!

Full of flavor and packed with protein!

These meatballs are big in taste but low in fat.  Very easy to make and you can pair with just about any veggie and brown rice for a healthy meal.

Serves 6

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Prep Time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp. sriracha
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. coconut aminos

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini sized cupcake tin with cooking spray.
  2. Mix ground turkey with onions, cilantro, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper. Form into 1 inch balls.
  3. Place balls into cupcake tin and bake for 25-30 min or until thoroughly cooked.

To make the sauce

  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat until just boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 min to thicken.
  2. Pour sauce over meatballs or use it for dipping. Enjoy!

Crockpot Strawberry Jam

 Delicious jam, unprocessed and naturally sweet.

Delicious jam, unprocessed and naturally sweet.

If you have a crockpot, this is the perfect recipe!  It’s unbelievably easy to make and after you put the ingredients in and turn it on, you just walk away and let it cook.  You’ve got to try this!

Serves 20

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Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Put strawberries, honey, and lemon juice in crockpot and cook for 3 hours on high.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Jam will thicken from chia seeds. Remove from crockpot and let cool then transfer to mason jar and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Chili, Lime & Garlic Chicken Kabobs

 Spicy and full of flavor, these kabobs grill up nice and juicy!

Spicy and full of flavor, these kabobs grill up nice and juicy!

This recipe will make you fall in love with grilled chicken!  These kabobs have a smoky, spicy flavor and they grill up nice and juicy, not dried out.  Throw some pineapple and sweet peppers on the grill and serve with these kabobs for an amazing dinner.  Enjoy!

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Serves 6

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Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts (16 oz)

Ingredients for the marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut amino acids*
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, finely chopped (adjust amount to make it more or less spicy)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine marinade ingredients and set aside
  2. Cut up chicken into 1 inch pieces and place into zip lock bag
  3. Add the marinade and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  4. Place chicken pieces onto metal skewers and grill until thoroughly cooked through
  5. Enjoy!

Notes

Coconut amino acids can be substituted with low sodium soy sauce but I prefer to use coconut amino acids because it's lower in sodium, gluten free, and it contributes to heart and digestive health.

Coconut Crusted Mahi Mahi Nuggets

 Picky eaters at home? These healthy mahi mahi nuggets will be your new favorite go to meal!

Picky eaters at home? These healthy mahi mahi nuggets will be your new favorite go to meal!

Kids and picky eaters will love these! These are a great healthy alternative to chicken nuggets and you can freeze them and re-heat for a quick dinner whenever you want.

Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Serves 6

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Ingredients

  • Mahi Mahi filets (16 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Cut mahi mahi into 2 inch pieces then pat dry
  2. Whisk egg in a small bowl
  3. Combine shredded coconut, coconut flour, and salt and pepper in a large plastic container with a lid
  4. Dip mahi mahi pieces in egg then place in coconut mixture
  5. Cover with lid and gently shake until all pieces are coated
  6. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  7. Add mahi mahi pieces to the skillet and cook 2-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown
  8. Remove fish pieces from skillet and let cool on a wire rack
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Tangy Shrimp and Jicama Salad

 Juicy and succulent grilled shrimp on a bed of tangy jicama, cool cucumber, and bell peppers

Juicy and succulent grilled shrimp on a bed of tangy jicama, cool cucumber, and bell peppers

Fresh and tangy grilled shrimp salad is perfect for summer or anytime! Jicama is root vegetable which is low in calories and high in fiber & vitamin C. It's refreshing, crisp, and can be eaten raw, like in this salad!

Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Serves 6

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Ingredients

  • Jumbo shrimp (12 oz)
  • 1 jicama
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • Few pinches red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

Instructions

  1. Toss raw shrimp with 1 tbsp. olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper then grill until cooked.
  2. Cut jicama, cucumber and bell pepper into thin matchstick like pieces.
  3. Chop onion and cilantro and put everything in a bowl.
  4. Add dressing and gently toss all ingredients together.
  5. Serve grilled shrimp over salad either room temperature or chilled.

Fish Tacos with Asian Slaw and Avocado Dressing

 A fresh take on fish tacos. These are tangy, spicy, crunchy, creamy, and so delicious!

A fresh take on fish tacos. These are tangy, spicy, crunchy, creamy, and so delicious!

Who doesn’t like tacos?  My fish tacos are made from fresh mahi mahi, crunchy cabbage slaw with a tangy avocado dressing.  Love these!

Prep Time:
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 8

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Ingredients

  • 16 oz. mahi mahi
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 8 small flour tortillas

Ingredients for the slaw

  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

Slaw dressing

  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp coconut amino acids
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Avocado lime dressing

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tbs. plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Shred the cabbage and chop green onion and cilantro.
  2. Combine all slaw dressing ingredients and blend until emulsified.
  3. Combine with slaw ingredients and let sit for 1 to 2 hours or more.
  4. Coat the mahi mahi with Cajun seasoning.
  5. Heat 1 tbs olive oil in pan then sear fish on both sides
  6. Transfer fish to baking pan and bake in oven at 400 degrees until cooked through (about 10 minutes)
  7. Serve with flour tortillas, slaw, and avocado dressing.
  8. Enjoy!
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