Eat The Rainbow

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A well balanced diet and exercise are the keys to being healthy and physically fit.  I always try to include a lean protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and lots of fruits and veggies in each of my meals if possible.  If I eat to many carbs. in one meal such as a big pasta dinner I eliminate the carbs in the next.

It’s easy to fit in some extra protein and nutrients to a basic meal. Toss your tomatoes with hemp seeds or sprinkle some on avocado toast, add chia seeds to your yogurt to give it a little crunch or throw some pumpkin seeds in your salad.

Healthy fats are important in giving your cells structure, are a major fuel source for your body and help provide the main way you store energy.  You need fat to help you absorb certain nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) and antioxidants.  Omega-3 fats, a type of unsaturated fat, are important for optimum nerve, brain and heart function.  Some examples of healthy fats are nuts, avocados, olives, olive oil, coconut.

Some lean proteins include eggs, beans, lean meats like chicken breast, top round beef and turkey, fish such salmon which contain Omega-3 and cod.

Fruits and veggies have endless benefits. I always include a variety of different colorful veggies in my meals.  The different colors of the rainbow contain different nutrients and health benefits.

Red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and beets contain a natural plant pigment called lycopene.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.

Purple / Blue fruits and veggies contain the plant pigment anthocyanin which has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Orange / Yellow fruits and veggies contain carotenoids. One type of carotenoid is Betacarotene which is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Another carotenoid called lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

Green vegetables like brussels sprouts contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.

White fruits and vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, garlic and bananas contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals. Allicin found in garlic is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Bananas and potatoes are a good source of potassium.

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The Dr. Praeger’s Southwestern Hash Browns on my plate are a great source of this and they taste super yummy.  Dr. Praeger’s also have a variety of other delicious products that are veggie loaded and made with all good ingredients.  My kids love them as much as I do so it makes it easy to include veggies and essential nutrients in their diets.  You can find Dr. Praeger’s  products here:  https://drpraegers.com/where-to-buy/
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Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash Sauce & Soft Boiled Egg.

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Why does everything taste better with an egg on top?  Especially when it’s a runny soft boiled egg.  This pasta with roasted butternut squash sauce is made with a few simple ingredients garlic and caramelized onions to give it a sweet and smokey flavor and the richness of the egg adds that extra saucy and nourishing goodness.  Handsome Brook Farm Organic Pasture Raised Eggs were perfect for this meal because I know they are American Humane Certified and USDA Certified Organic.  They always taste the best.

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Ingredients

2 cups uncooked penne pasta (sub gluten free if preferred)

4 cups butternut squash cubed

1 Tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth

1 1/2 cups kale finely chopped

2 Handsome Brook Farm Soft Boiled Eggs

http://www.handsomebrookfarm.com/find-us/

(bring water to a boil, add the eggs, boil for 6 minutes, immediately remove to ice cold water)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Garnish

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Pumpkin Seeds shelled and salted

Preheat oven to 425 F.  On the stove top bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until desired texture, drain and set aside.  While the pasta cooks spread the butternut squash onto a baking sheet.  Toss with extra virgin olive oil and bake for 30 minutes until squash is tender.  In the meantime heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium pan until hot.  Add the onion and saute for several minutes until it starts to caramelize.  Add the garlic and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes until garlic is tender.  Transfer onions and garlic into the same pot used to cook the pasta but do not wipe out the pan.  Add the vegetable broth and heat to a simmer. Add the roasted squash and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cooled use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender to puree.  I find that an immersion blender works better so it doesn’t over blend.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set sauce aside.  In the same pan used for the onions and garlic heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the kale.  Saute until the kale is wilted. Add the pasta back into the pot, stir in the sauce and the kale.  Serve in bowls and top with Parmesan cheese, pumpkin seeds and the soft boiled egg. Slice the egg so the yolk runs into the pasta. Serves 2.

Poached Salmon with Lemongrass Coconut Curry

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The addition of herbs and spices to a simple dish makes a huge difference in flavor.  I tend to buy too many fresh herbs at one time and they end up going bad.  Chopping and mincing can be tedious when you are in a hurry and dried spices and herbs don’t always give the full fresh flavor that you are looking for.  I am a huge fan of Gourmet Garden organic pastes and lightly dried spices because they are always fresh and add all those delicious flavors I love to my meals.

This quick and easy Poached Salmon with Lemongrass Coconut Curry is the most comforting meal filled with fresh delicious Thai inspired flavors and only takes about 20 minutes to make.

Salmon Curry

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh Atlantic Salmon with bones and skin removed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¼ cup yellow onion chopped

1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste

1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Lemongrass Paste

½ small red bell pepper sliced thin

1 15 oz. can full fat coconut milk

1 tsp. chili flakes

2 cups fresh baby spinach unpacked

Fresh lime wedges

Handful fresh cilantro roughly chopped

1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Chives

2 cups cooked white rice

Salt and pepper to taste

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On the stove top in a large pan heat olive oil on medium high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add onion, garlic, bell pepper and Gourmet Garden ginger paste and cook for about 1 ½ minutes until fragrant and veggies start to soften.

Stir in the Gourmet Garden lemongrass paste then add the coconut milk.  Heat until simmering stirring occasionally then add the salmon and chili flakes.

Gently stir until the salmon is fully cooked throughout about 3-4 minutes then mix in the spinach. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes until the spinach is wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and set aside.  Fill bowls or plates with cooked white rice.  Top with salmon mixture and garnish with fresh cilantro, lime wedges and Gourmet Garden chives.  Serves 3-4.


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Lemon Chicken & Potatoes – One Pan Meal

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Ingredients

6 chicken thighs

3 large russet potatoes cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

Extra virgin olive oil

4-5 large cloves of garlic peeled and sliced lengthwise in half

3 lemons

4- tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Season both side of the chicken with salt and pepper.  On the stove top in a large pan on medium high heat, heat 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil until hot but not smoking.  Once the oil is hot place the chicken skin side down into the pan.  Brown the chicken 4-5 minutes on each side and transfer to a plate leaving the excess juices in the pan.  Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and add the potatoes, garlic, ¼ cup of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the potatoes tossing often until they start to tender (about 5 minutes).  Transfer the chicken and potato mixture with all the juices onto a baking pan and spread out evenly.  Squeeze on the juice of another lemon and season with more salt and pepper.  Thinly slice a lemon and tuck the pieces into the mixture throughout.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the skin of the chicken is crispy and the potatoes are fully cooked and golden. Remove from oven and top with fresh cilantro.

Easy alternate method:

This method also works well however the chicken may not come out as crispy on the outsides and the potatoes are more tender inside and out.

In a large dish add ¼ cup olive oil, juice of 2 lemons, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 ½ tsps. salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Place the chicken into the marinade and toss to evenly coat.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Once marinated transfer chicken and marinade to a baking pan along with potatoes.  Toss the potatoes with the marinade to coat.  Add additional lemon juice and garlic if desired and season with salt and pepper.  Bake on 425 F. for 35-40 minutes until the chicken and the potatoes are fully cooked.

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Avocado Tartar Sauce

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I have three picky children ages 3, 7 and 13 so on those busy weeknights with the homework and after school activities I don’t always have time to make elaborate gourmet dinners.  Sometimes simple is the way to go.  Dr. Praeger’s  Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks and Potato Puffs make it easy.  They are veggie packed made with real wholesome ingredients and the kids love them.  But for myself I always want to kick it up a few notches so this Avocado Tartar sauce is the perfect compliment.

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Avocado Tartar Sauce

Ingredients

½ ripe avocado peeled and pitted

1 tablespoon avocado oil mayonnaise (or mayo of choice)

1 tablespoon chopped sweet pickle

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Scoop the avocado into a small bowl and roughly mash with a fork leaving some chunks.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.  Serve with Dr. Praeger’s  Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks and Potato Puffs.

Spaghetti Squash Egg Bake

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I love autumn and all the delicious types of squash available.  I also like eggs so why not put the two together?  These Spaghetti Squash Egg Bakes are a meal in one and filled with all my favorite things.  I always try and use the freshest organic ingredients because not only are they non-gmo and free of pesticides but they taste much better.  Especially organic pasture raised eggs.  Read my post from September 14th of why organic pasture raised eggs are the best and why Handsome Brook Farm   Organic Pasture raised eggs are my preferred choice.

https://zestmylemon.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/potato-peppers-scrambled-egg-bowls/

Ingredients

1 Spaghetti Squash

Extra Virgin olive oil

2 Handsome Brook Farm  Organic Pasture raised eggs

1 ripe avocado

10 cherry tomatoes

¼ cup feta cheese crumbles

Kalamata olives pitted and sliced in half lengthwise (5-10)

Small handful cilantro roughly chopped

Sriracha sauce

Preheat oven to 425 F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.  Place spaghetti squash on a clean dish towel on top of a hard surface.  With a sharp pointy knife carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise by piercing through the center with the tip of the knife and cut down evenly toward the end of each side. This takes some elbow grease so be VERY CAREFUL that you always cut away from your body.  Once there is an even cut down the center and through each end you can easily break the squash in half on the other side.

Take a metal spoon and scrape the seeds and stringy pieces out of the center of each side of the squash and discard.  Brush the inside of the squash with olive oil and season with salt.  Place each half center side down onto the parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.

When the squash is almost done cooking, slice the avocado in half, remove the pit and peel.  Dice into ½ inch pieces.  Slice the tomatoes in half.

Once the spaghetti squash is cooked remove from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes.  As soon as they are cool take a metal fork and gently pull apart the spaghetti squash noodles inside each half keeping the noodles inside using the squash as its own bowl.

Make a small 2 inch round cavity no bigger than 1 inch deep in each half and crack an egg in the middle.

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Place back into the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the egg whites are set and the yolk is slightly runny.  Remove from oven and top with avocado, tomato, olives, feta and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle on some Sriracha.  Serves 2.

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Shakshuka With Feta & Olives

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One of my favorite egg dishes is Shakshuka.  It’s warm and comforting and filled with flavor.  I love to add feta cheese, kalamata olives and lots of fresh cilantro to mine to give it a Mediterranean twist and scoop up with a good crusty bread or sourdough.  Mina Shakshuka https://www.casablancafoods.com/collections/shakshuka  makes it easy to prepare and than I can customize it to my liking.

Ingredients:

(1) 26 oz. jar of Mina Shakshuka

http://bit.ly/2hUOMzx

6 organic pasture raised eggs

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

10-15 pitted kalamata olives sliced in half

Handful of fresh cilantro chopped

Pour Mina Shakshuka sauce into a large pan on stove top. Bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.  Once simmering crack eggs over the top so the yolks are at least 1 to 2 inches apart, cover and and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are partially runny.  Remove from heat and sprinkle crumbled feta and cilantro over the top.  Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.  Serves 3-4

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