Lettuce Wrapped Burrito

Happy #tacotuesday! Tacos are not the most unhealthy indulgence, but it’s the shell and certain fatty add ins like sour cream that break the meal and your diet. The good news is the dish is welcoming towards different veggies, so load ’em up!

ground beef
Ingredients: 16 oz lean ground beef (makes about 5 burritos), 1-2 bell peppers (any color), 1 white onion, 2 avocados, ), 1/2 of tomato, cheddar cheese (if desired), 2-3 stalks of romaine lettuce

Directions: Slice peppers and about a 1/4 of the onion. Place meat in a large bowl and season with cumin, garlic powder, various peppers (chipotle, cayenne and black were used here), cilantro, lime juice and salt. A dash of balsamic vinegar was also thrown in. In a greased pan, sautée peppers and onions until browned. Add meat and dice with spatula. Cook for about 15 mins. 

pico de gallo
Pick de gallo: Dice about half of the tomato and half of the onion like shown above. Season with cilantro, chipotle and salt. Mix thoroughly. 

romaine leaves
For lettuce wraps, we have found that it’s best to double up the romaine leaves for support. Plus, it adds to your veggie intake. We have layered the wet ingredients first, followed by the meat and some leftover quinoa, a bit of shredded cheese and finally the diced avocado. 

Lettuce Burrito
Try to secure an additional romaine leaf on top of the wrap to give it a burrito feel. The final product is hearty and requires two hands. It will make you forget all about Chipotle or Moe’s!

#Leftoverremix Quinoa Meatless Balls

There’s nothing more satisfying than using every last bit of produce in your refrigerator. Interestingly, the mini sweet peppers were originally purchased for the portobello pizzas, which lead to the stuffed mini peppers, and left the refrigerator with excess bean mixture and quinoa. The circle of meals. While the bean mixture isn’t bad over quinoa, but we have something more creative in mind. 

Beans and Quinoa
Ingredients: Leftover bean mixture (Lima beans, kidney beans, red onion, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar), quinoa (about 1/2 of a cup was leftover), flax seed

Directions: Soak 1 tablespoon of flax seed in about 2 tablespoons of water and let sit for 10 mins. Combine quinoa, bean mixture and flax once soaked. A little bit of whole wheat flour was thrown in to absorb some moisture. 

Quinoa Balls Preoven
Make into small balls on cooking sheet. Cheese was added to these, but it’s not required for structure. The flax seed acts well as a binding agent. Bake for only about 10 mins or so. Afterall, there’s no meat that you need to worry about cooking thoroughly.

Cooked Quinoa Balls
These came out great and required very little time to prepare. And their taste will convince even the heartiest of meat eaters. 

Glowing Green Ice Pops

Glowing Green Ice Pops
It’s getting hotter and hotter out there. It’s important to stay hydrated and refreshed…two things these ice pops satisfy.

Additionally, it’s always good to have solutions to excess fruits and veggies that are on the brink of spoiling. It feels like an accomplishment when you finish off ALL the spinach in that bag or blow throw ALL the apples in that sack. Coming up with the right combination for a delicious ice pop will certainly help to fulfill your produce’s destiny!

Ice Pops in Food Processor

The recipe requires an ice pop mold and food processor. If there is one kitchen gadget to invest in, it’s a good food processor. There are countless healthy things one can produce with it so it’s best not to settle for a cheap, small one. 

Ingredients: 2 Granny Smith apples, 2 small Haas avocados, half of a honeydew melon, half the juice of a lime, bunch of spinach and kale, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 cup of coconut water. 

Directions: place all fruits and veggies in food processor. Add coconut water and chia seeds. Blend until the desired consistency. Some prefer a bit of texture but these are pretty smooth. Pour into mold. Freeze for about 5 hours (overnight is ideal). 

frozen ice pops
The two key ingredients are the avocado and coconut water. Avocado gives the pops a creamy consistency which a banana will also do. The coconut water provides a sugary component as opposed to a bland, watery taste (it will give the same effect for a protein shake). 

frozen ice pops
These will make the perfect treat for a pool day or as a dessert without any guilt attached. Happy summer!

Blazin’ Burgers over Coolin’ Quinoa

Coolin' Quinoa and Blazin' Burgers
Happy Memorial Day! MDW officially kicks off summer, so that summer body better be ready! It’s kind of ironic: we kill ourselves in the gym and with keeping a healthy eating plan, only to spend the summer eating fatty cuts of processed meats, nutrition-less fried startches, and washing it down with adult beverages. Then, it’s a sleigh ride into the holidays and their indulgences so we can start over again next January. Vicious cycle. 

But there are ways to stay on track even when attending fun events like BBQs and beach parties: BYOS (Bring your own sides). While hotdogs and hamburgers aren’t exactly tofu, the proteins aren’t the biggest culprits. Mayonnaise based sides like potato salad and cole slaw and heavily processed potato products like chips and French fries are the real culprits for the extra belly fat. Well, that and the beer (we’ll let you know when we find a comparable substitute for that one ;).

Cilantro Lime Quinoa Salad
Quinoa: 1 cup of quinoa, 1 cucumber, half of a large tomato, quarter of a red onion, bunch of cilantro, 1 lime

Quinoa is usually described as a good fill-in for rice, but it’s actually more flexible in that you can serve it either warm or cold. In this case, we are using it as a nice, cooling base for our sizzlin’ hot burgers.

To cook, 1 cup of the quinoa was combined with 1 1/2 cup of water in a pot and boiled until all the water was absorbed. Quinoa does not have much of a taste on its own, so normally we heavily season it to give it a flare. In this case, we added a quarter of the lime and cilantro into the boiling water to add some zest to it. Once cooled, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, cilantro, and the juice of the remaining lime were added. Put in refrigerator to chill. 

Cilantro, Lime, Tomato, Red Onion, Cucumber
burgers on grill
Burgers: For our meat, we choose 1 lb organic, grass fed beef (makes about 5 burgers). It will give you all the flavor of a regular hamburger without the nasty, processed extras. 

To compliment the chilled quinoa, we went extra spicy with our seasonings. Cayenne, chipotle, cumin, black pepper, salt, a pinch of raw sugar, and a dizzle of balsamic vinegar for moisture were added, so these bad boys are anything but flavorless. They were cooked on a stove top grill for about 10-15 mins each side. 

Blazin' Burgers over Coolin' Quinoa
Garnished with avocado and green peppers, the meal has a southwest yet All- American feel. This goes to show you that BBQ food doesn’t have to be fatty and repetitive. Happy summer! 

Cucumber Wrapped Salmon Sushi Rolls

Cucumber Wrapped Sushi with Caulirice
You either love sushi or you hate it. Some people can’t handle raw fish. Some can’t take the helping of rice, veggies, and fish all at one. Well, these are cooked, light and palatable so that even the pickiest of eaters will be lunging for the chop sticks. 

peeled cucumber
Ingredients: .67 ounces of salmon (makes about 10 rolls), 1 cucumber, quarter chopped onion, bunch of grated carrots, whole avocado, grated ginger, soy sauce 

Rolls: Cut edges off cucumber. Peel layers of cucumber. Each roll should be about 2-3 “sheets”. For a thicker product, make sure to apply pressure on peeler. 

Baked Salmon
Salmon: Season with garlic powder, onion powder, sesame oil, pepper, and salt. Bake at 350 for 30 mins. 

Sushi roll
To form rolls, layer veggies and salmon. Roll forward. If cucumbers unravel, use avocado as adhesive.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls
We have paired it with leftover caulirice, but it will also go well over greens. For moisture, add a dash of soy sauce. The rolls are refreshing and filling. And they will keep you from throwing a dish at the wall out of frustration from keeping a stagnant diet. And who wouldn’t want to prevent that? 😛

#Leftoverremix: Chicken Cobb Spaghetti Squash Salad

Chicken Cobb Spaghetti Squash Salad
We have already covered how spaghetti squash makes for a great low carb alternative to pasta. But, that can’t possibly be its only reason for being. What’s great about spaghetti squash is that it’s texture and thickness are applicable to both a hot or cold dish, so adding a bit to a salad gives you a fun new throw-in to keep your salads vibrant and unboring.

We have taken a leftover half of squash from the previous entry using pesto and steak (which also includes instructions on cooking the squash). After forking out the goods and placing it on top of spinach, we added chicken, bacon, blue cheese crumbles, hard boiled egg, avocado, tomatoes and onions. Now, you may say that a cobb salad is not exactly the most healthiest of options, but the fattiest ingredients have been added in moderation (you got to live a little, even with a healthy lifestyle :).

Chicken Cobb Spaghetti Squash Salad 2
You’ll find that the squash is a good absorber of dressings or just the cheese and bacon. So the next time you’re whipping up a Greek, Caesar, or Chef for guests, give them a little yellow shock by throwing in a bit of spaghetti squash. 

Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocado Chicken Salad As I’ve said before, even the most delicious of meals can get boring day in, day out. But, any protein can be spun a different way (#leftoverremix). And given the good feedback that was received for the Avocado Egg Salad, as well as the leftover roasted chicken, Avocado Chicken Salad just seemed like the perfect thing to share.   Shredded Chicken First, every last morsole of chicken has been picked from the bones. I have spared the photo of the chicken carcass (very visceral and Game of Thronesy). Next, the shredded chicken has been seasoned with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Smashed avocado  chicken For the cream factor, about 3/4 of a very large haas avocado was used. Also, to give it a little bit of a twist, yellow mustard and a pinch of hot sauce has been added, as well as onion and about 2 teaspoons of chia seeds. While chia seeds don’t exactly add any flavor, they do give a bit of extra moisture. When diluted in liquid, the seeds omit a gel (don’t freak out, you won’t even notice it) that is beneficial for your digestive tract. Why not include that in your meal?Avocado  chicken salad

Also, if you’re looking to avoid carbs, the chicken salad can work well as a dip with carrots or zucchini.  chicken salad with carrots