Lean ground beef is an excellent source of meal-prep protein, packed with ZIP (zinc, iron and protein) and only about 150-ish calories for a cooked 3 ounces serving (4 ounce uncooked). My master recipe for Make Ahead Italian Ground Beef is easy to make, economical, ultra-versatile and freezes/defrosts beautifully rendering it ideal for freezer meals, meal prepping and make-ahead solutions.
Time and time again, I’ve used these deliciously seasoned beef crumbles in wholesome, hearty recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The recipe is basic, but the way it can be used in dishes is limited only to your imagination. Read on to get all the details and get a juicy, meaty jump start on your daily protein needs. Continue reading →
When it comes to appetizers, are you looking for a starting player for your football parties and other fall-season entertaining? It’s the winning call to move my Light Truffle Mushroom Burger Queso to the top of any line up. This creative hamburger-inspired dip is insanely flavorful, fun to serve, and quite likely to cause a celebration dance in the chip-and-dip zone.
Oh, and did I mention that in the scheme of indulgent, creamy, cheesy dips, this queso is not the diet disaster that you might assume it to be? I’ve lightened it by using lower-fat milk and cheeses along with lean ground beef! Read on to get all the deets and this winning recipe. Continue reading →
Sigh, sometimes you feel like zoodles, other times you feel like traditional noodles. What’s a hungry gal or guy to do? The solution, a plate full of 12 Minute Zoodle & Noodle Toss that boasts both!
True, using spiralized veggies cuts out grains and, subsequently, a lot of the carbs. But, sometimes a hard-working athlete needs a little traditional pasta to help fuel the proverbial engine. Get your mouth and motor running with this easy-peasy recipe, read on for the deets! Continue reading →
Pack some pasta salad, it’s the perfect picnic food! Whether you are hanging lakeside with the kids all day or heading to a summer concert in the park with your sweetie, prepping a pasta salad for the cooler makes for a fresh, flavorful and fit meal later.
Plus, picnic recipes like my popular Niçoise Tortellini Salad are super simple and speedy to assemble – you know I’m spending the time savings outdoors and out of the kitchen! Continue reading →
Today, I’ve got a Ranch Spaghetti & Meatballs Frittata to share – you heard me right! Simple, speedy and able to cure dinner distress in about 30 minutes. It gives leftover plain pasta new life! Now, don’t make the mistake of calling this egg recipe a “quiche” and scare your hungry men off – it doesn’t have a crust.
Who needs a crust anyway, it’s just a bunch of fattening pie dough! Instead pasta (and please feel free to use gluten-free) holds this skillet of goodness together well enough that it’s easily sliced into wedges that keep their shape.
Today, I am bringing you tidings of comfort (food) and joy in honor of National Comfort Food Day (December 5th). I believe it’s no coincidence that this feel-good food holiday is falling on a Monday. And, not just any Monday, but the day after I struggled through a cold, windy and rainy marathon.
Honestly, I’m still feeling a little chilled to the bone, depleted, and licking battle wounds, and embracing the opportunity to take a MAJOR rest day, hang out in my PJs and fuzzy slippers, and make comfort food my new best friend.
Y’all know I typically eat reasonably, mostly clean . . . but I’m never going to deny myself food I’m craving for comfort every now and then. Sometimes your body is telling you to eat these things for a reason, other times it’s strictly soul satisfying. Regardless, when you let go of the guilt and give your food worries a rest day, it tastes even better!
Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac – Ahh, most any pasta dish is comforting, but mac and cheese is a like coming home after being away from loved ones for too long. The addition of blue cheese and bacon makes the reunion even better!
Comforting Chicken & Rice Soup – When it’s drafty and cold, and your feeling run down and even under-the-weather, this easy chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue in a snap. And, while slurping up a big bowl is comforting to the core, it’s also a healthy choice!
Root Beer Float Fudge – Imagine if you could have the yummy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream in fudge format? Well, you can thanks to this recipe I develop a few years back for the magazine Simple & Delicious. While, I wouldn’t eat the whole pan at once, I certainly say CHEERS to a piece for a sweet treat.
Pre-make chimichurri by adding all ingredients to small blender or food processor. Pulse on and off in 10 second increments to break up ingredients into coarse sauce. Set aside.
Heat large skilled to medium-high. Add sliced sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Beef will be ready to remove from pan once lightly browned on edges and pink has been just taken off center. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
n same skillet (reserved with a tiny bit of beef fat and bits) add onion slices and cook over medium high, stirring as need, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add beef back into skillet with onions along with tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.
Meanwhile, heat Panini press or clean skillet to medium-high heat.
Butter outer sides of two slices of bread and layer each side with mozzarella. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on pan and top with ¼ of beef mixture. Add top piece of cheese and bread.
Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until bread turning golden brown and cheese melting. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
To serve, lift up tops of sandwiches and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve hot.
Make dinner “Pretty in Pink” with this lovely and light recipe for Dragon Fruit Coulis Atlantic Cod with Pink Rice Vermicelli. Dragon Fruit is just so fabulous and exotic, I get woozy with excitement when I find some beautiful ones at the market just waiting for loving attention. This easy-to-make fish dinner is as delicious and nutritious as it is lovely to look at — how fun would it be for a spa party, girl’s night in, special celebration or even just an impressive (and simple) weeknight dinner. I don’t like my food to look or taste boring, do you?!
I get my Atlantic Cod and other fish and seafood from SizzleFish.com. Their flaky, white cod is caught on Georges Bank off New England and Nova Scotia – they chose only premium fish for customers and they never try to pass of Pacific Cod (a completely different, cheaper variety of fish) as some other vendors do. I love this company that makes it quick and easy to make a healthy meal with their flash-frozen seafood collections. These assortments of high-quality fish, shrimp and other seafood are mindfully sourced from the best the world has to offer and shipped straight to my front door in perfectly –portioned, individually vacuum-sealed pouches. SizzleFish.com is the perfect way to make sure there is always quality protein around for muscle-making.
****Note: While I used Cod, you can use any type of firm, white-fleshed fish for this recipe. Also, mung cellophane noodles can be swapped for the rice vermicelli
Do you know much about the Dragon Fruit? It’s also referred to as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower and is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it! There are different types of Drago Fruit – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi –the purple-pink fleshed ones will actually stain your hands — and I took advantage of that dye-like property for the creation of my Pink Dragon Fruit Rice Noodles.
Football parties, tailgating and fall season gathers require dip to draw people together. Just think of all the great gossip, high-fiving and friendly smack talk that has gone down in, what I like to call, the “Chip and Dip Zone.”
But, maybe you hesitate to enter the ZONE for fear of the cheesy dip – is it made of mystery processed “cheese,” loaded with fat upon fat, or just boringly bland? I’ll admit, these thoughts cross my mind, especially flashbacks of tepid fake orange stadium cheese on stale round tortilla chips. That’s why I came up with my Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso – it’s bold and it’s better for you made with REAL ingredients.
I think you’ll definitely widen your mind (and mouth) in appreciation for my Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso. This unique cheese dip marrieds the audacious attitude blue-cheese with the smoky laid-back goodness of tomatoes roasted over flames. I’ve used my fav brand of blue cheese (Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles) and canned fire-roasted tomatoes which. Of course, canned tomatoes are convenient and taste great in recipes, but did you know that they contain more lycopene (a free-radical destroying antioxidant) than those fresh off the vine? It’s true!
While this cheese dip recipe requires a whisk, it’s quite easy prepare, coming together in just 15 minutes or less– and you can keep it warmed for a party but pouring into a small slow cooker. It was first whipped up to celebrated International Beer Day with Litehouse Foods. Using low-fat dairy products help keep this snack sensible in moderation and, if you are on a gluten-free diet, it is easy to swap out flour used in the roux with a gluten-free flour blend (I use Living Now Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, it’s inexpensive and provides the right texture for my recipe)
Serve Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso with veggie sticks, artisan chips, or chunks of crusty bread. I’ve even reheated the leftovers and poured over cooked zoodles and topped with shrimp for an impromptu “pasta” dinner.
If you are hosting a huge football party, you might want to consider adding my Healthy Snack Stadium to your spread of snacks, appetizers and game-day grub.
[Tweet Not yer stadium cheese dip! Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso #fitfluential #livinglitehouse”]
What football team(s) are you rooting for this season? Are you typically an at-home or stadium spectator? Please share in comments, xoxo Jennifer
Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso
Up your game day grub with this lightened up queso featuring the bold flavors of blue cheese and flame-kissed tomatoes. It's even a winner at dinner served over zoodles or pasta!
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm milk (without boiling), stirring occasionally.
At the same time, heat butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add flour to melted butter and whisk continuously, cooking until it is bubbling and has turned lightly golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stream in heated milk, whisking continuously, and continue to cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens slightly. Add cheeses and whisk well until melted smooth and incorporated. Add Italian Herb Blend, dried red pepper flakes, green onions and drained tomatoes, stirring until combined.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into serving bowl and garnish as desired.