Pakistani Kima

Full disclosure:  I have no idea if this recipe is truly Pakistani, nor do I know what “kima” is.

But I *do* know that it’s delicious, filling, healthy, and easy.  That’s a dinner grand slam in my books.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

My sister has been making this for her family for quite a while, and she made it for us while I was visiting my parents a couple years ago.  I fell in love with the incredible aroma and flavors of the spice combination.  It’s truly what makes this dish special.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

But it has a lot more going for it.  It’s chock-full of veggies, across the color spectrum (something that I’m usually desperately needing).  It’s also super satiating, with a one-two-three punch of the fat in the butter (don’t skimp on this), the lean ground beef, and the fiber-full vegetables.

It clocks in at around 320 calories per serving (if you make 6 servings out of the batch), which is great if you’re trying to keep your calories down but not feel hungry all the time.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

And best of all, this recipe is super easy to make, a one-pot standby.  It only takes about a half-hour total, and only requires you to do some vegetable chopping and throw everything into a pot.  I made two desserts while putting this together a couple weeks ago, because I didn’t have to spare any brainpower for it.  So I’m kind of in love. [Read more…]

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Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Corba)

I’m on the record as stating that soup is not a meal, in and of itself, with very few exceptions.

This is one of them. (My mom’s baked potato soup is basically the only other)

Delicious & easy Turkish red lentil soup, ready in half an hour

I also don’t like lentils usually.  That is, until I went to Istanbul last year and we ate in a Kurdish family’s house and were served corba as an appetizer.  Corba is a hearty red lentil soup, super flavorful and comforting.  When I returned to the States, I started pinning recipes right away so I could try it myself.  I learned that red lentils are very different than the dark ones I’d had before, and didn’t have as many texture issues for me.

I’ve made this recipe a few times, trying to get the texture and flavors just right.  For some weird reason I have issues with it separating a bit (so becoming a little watery), but since I like it better with crushed up crackers in it anyway, I decided to just let that go.  One time I even tore up half a bagel into the soup, and the texture was awesome!

Healthy & easy red lentil soup

One of the great things about this soup is that it comes together really quickly—like half an hour from start to finish.  So you can get home from work, get it simmering, and go about your business until it’s time to blend everything up and serve.  Efficiency FTW!
[Read more…]

Best Healthy Recipes of 2016

I guess it’s that time again.  After all the holiday gluttony (and general comfort food craving this time of year), everyone is making resolutions and getting back to the gym and meal planning.

Honestly, I’m not.  I know myself well, and I have to have small, sustainable life choices vs. a diet or life change.  I try to eat healthy (except when I’m traveling) and work out every day (even when I’m traveling), and overall that works for me.  I let 15-20 pounds sneak up on me in late 2014, so I started tracking everything I eat and do in MyFitnessPal and finding healthy recipes I actually *liked*.  And by spring of 2015 I was back to normal and have been able to maintain.

So the good news is that I have a bunch of healthy recipes to re-visit from the last couple years, all now listed in one place for 2017 healthy living ease!

Don’t forget to look at all these great healthy recipes I posted at the beginning of 2015.  There are a ton of yummy make-ahead breakfast options, easy healthy dinners that also make satisfying lunches to pack for work, and (duh) healthy desserts.  Because I don’t believe eating healthy should be sad or boring or a chore.

Main Dishes:

beef-cabbage-stir-fry-pinterest

“Crack” Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry

Sweet and savory and crunchy and super satisfying.  But mostly cabbage, which is both cheap and super healthy (yay colon health!).  This is crazy fast and makes good lunch leftovers as well. [Read more…]

Lemon Shallot Chicken

I literally don’t know what to call this chicken.

lemon-shallot-chicken

Sure, it has lemon juice.  And chopped shallots.  And garlic.  And paprika.  And brown sugar.  And chopped rosemary.

lemon-shallot-chicken-rosemary

It’s…complex.

lemon-shallot-chicken-shallots-chopped

And ugly.  Sorry, this dish won’t photograph well no matter how hard I try.  But it is really easy, unique, flavorful, and makes great leftovers.  So despite its ugly appearance, that’s a win in my book. [Read more…]

“Crack” Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry

This was my first “back on the healthy train” recipe since coming back from quite a bit of travel over the past few months—including a week and a half inhaling pastries on the French Riviera.  So I didn’t need normal healthy, I needed SUPER healthy.  A sort of food detox, if you will.

Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry...healthy, easy, yummy

What I didn’t expect was for this to be SUPER yummy as well.

beef-cabbage-stir-fry-green-onions

And cheap and easy.  Fast, cheap, healthy, easy, and yummy is like a unicorn of a recipe.  I mean, it’s no mac and cheese, but it’ll do.

beef-cabbage-stir-fry

This is going into my regular rotation of uber healthy meals.  It’s got a ton of fiber from all the veggies, is surprisingly satiating, and still has just enough protein from the beef.  You could definitely use a whole pound of beef instead of a half-pound (or substitute turkey, chicken, pork, whatever), but I didn’t feel cheated by the amount of meat, and it lets you stretch your meat further.  This was lunch leftovers all week for me, and I didn’t get sick of it, which is a miracle in and of itself. [Read more…]

Tex Mex Breakfast Casserole

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am a super lazy breakfast casserole maker.  Which is why I basically refuse to try new recipes, because they all have, like, a billion ingredients (which makes them expensive) and require way too much prep work.  So it’s pretty unusual for me to take on this recipe on a Thursday night for Friday morning department breakfast.

But boy, am I glad I did.

Easy Tex Mex Breakfast Bake

While this requires a tad more prep than my usual recipe (mostly cooking up the potatoes), it was super yummy and totally worth it.  The prep probably only took 30 minutes total, and I was also getting a coffee cake in the oven as well so I could have cut that down a bit with some focus.  The spice mix is awesome, and the tortillas add a great texture along with the black beans.  This is definitely going into my regular breakfast rotation.

tex-mex-breakfast-casserole-potatoes-onions-peppers-cooking-closeup

It’s also worth nothing that this is really doggone healthy as well.  Full of protein and fiber, and weighing in at around 100 calories per serving (assuming a 15-serving pan…probably more like 130 calories per serving if you have hungry people).  It was super filling and stuck with me all morning.  I had a second helping for a late lunch, in fact.

Tex Mex Egg Casserole

I made a few changes to the original recipe, including omitting the bacon out of laziness—also, turkey bacon doesn’t quite have the same effect.  I considered adding ground beef instead, but I was both lazy and cheap.  And honestly it doesn’t need it.  I also left out the cilantro (meh) and added cheese because…duh.  There’s a lot of flexibility in this recipe, so if there’s something you’re dying to add or substitute, go for it.  I’m not the boss of you. [Read more…]

Clean Eating Banana Muffins (gluten-free)

*womp womp*  After the last couple months of travel gluttony, it’s time to get back on track, and these muffins at least have the consolation of being delicious as well as super healthy.

Clean Eating Banana Oat Muffins

In the interest of full transparency, to be truly clean eating you’ll need to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe and use one of the other mix-ins instead (nuts, dried fruit, etc.).  But unless you’re completely following a clean eating diet, the mini chocolate chips do really add something to the muffins so I’d recommend leaving them in.  Because, duh.

clean-eating-banana-oatmeal-muffins-chocolate-chips

I made these on a Sunday night on a whim, and brought them to work the next day.  They were scarfed by my co-workers within a few hours, and got rave reviews.  They’re moist, flavorful, and—best part—insanely fast and easy to make.

clean-eating-banana-oatmeal-muffins

They’re the kind of healthy breakfast that gives you the fiber and protein you need, but still makes you feel like you’re getting a bit of a treat to start the day.  That’s a win in my book.  Add a couple strong espressos and you’re all set.  Bring it on, Monday. [Read more…]

Chicken with Creamy Feta Sauce

I just realized that it’s been MONTHS since I brought you a main dish recipe, which is crazy!  So making up for that now with an insanely easy and super delish entree that is great for dinner as well as to pack in your lunch for work all week.

Chicken with Creamy Feta Sauce

(Confession: I made this recipe Sunday evening so I could have awesome, healthy lunches all week long.  And then I ordered Chinese takeout for dinner that night, because I was going to be healthy all week.  Does anyone else do that?)

chicken with creamy feta sauce chives chopped

Don’t be scared by the idea of a feta cheese sauce—it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of feta specifically, but rather contributes a super creamy, slightly salty, weirdly comforting flavor without owning it.  I’m not the biggest fan of feta, but I am a BIG fan of this sauce. [Read more…]

Peach Rhubarb Pie

Some people go crazy trying to manufacture unleavened desserts during the Days of Unleavened Bread, but generally I gravitate (must like for gluten-free things) towards naturally unleavened recipes.  Pie is one of those glorious things.

Peach Rhubarb Pie

I went home for Passover, the Night to Be Much Observed, and the first Day of Unleavened Bread this year, as has become my custom.  It was…kind of crazy, with lots of people in and out of the house, four kids four and under to keep track of a lot of the time (one of them teething mightily), and hordes of people to be fed seemingly every night.

wheat sunset

Kansas this time of year is really a crapshoot weather-wise, and for the most part I really lucked out.  We had two beautiful days, then one insanely windy day (which isn’t unusual).

sunset

Three gorgeous sunsets.

pasture creek full

Actual water in the creek (it’s been bone-dry the past few years).  Overall, the weather was very kind to me.

peach rhubarb pie rhubarb raw

For the Night to Be Much Observed (or Remembered, which is the same night as the Jewish Seder), we needed to come up with a recipe to feed a lot of people and complement the chocolate toffee matzo that someone else was bringing.  Extra points if the babies could all eat it (which meant everything had to be organic, non-GMO, and with very little sugar.  After some discussion, I settled on peach rhubarb pie.  My mom had strawberries and that was an option, but I felt like the combo of peaches and rhubarbs was a little unique, so couldn’t resist.

A few notes on this recipe—this is a VERY forgiving recipe, in terms of quantities, length of time, etc.  That makes it a little challenging to give exact amounts or baking time (which will also very much depend on the crust you use).  Plus, you’ll want to adjust some of the ingredients to your own personal taste (specifically the sugar; this was a bit tart for my personal taste, but was kept that way for the babies). [Read more…]

Roasted Carrots & Fingerling Potatoes with Turmeric

Guys, I have been in a side dish rut.  That’s a real thing.

Roasted Carrots & Potatoes with Turmeric

Side dishes seem like So. Much. Work.  I mean, I’ve already made a main dish and maybe a bread, and maybe a dessert.  And now you want me to make something else entirely to go beside it??  Basically I always get overwhelmed and then make basic roasted veggies or shredded brussels sprouts and call it a day.

Roasted Carrots & Potatoes with Turmeric closeup

It has—rather embarrassingly—been over two years since I posted a true side dish on the site, excepting the kale and quinoa pilaf from a couple months ago.  So I’m excited to bring this somewhat odd but delightful and super healthy side to you.  I’d wanted to try it for a while but…well, I really haven’t been cooking much besides nachos.  This was also my first time using turmeric, a spice used for millennia to combat inflammation and a variety of issues.  And these veggies are crazy fast and easy, so as long as your oven is free it doesn’t add any stress or logistics to dinner at all. [Read more…]

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