The holidays are here and that means we get to feast! Whether you do so mindfully or mindlessly, the point is to enjoy the time, the family, and definitely the food.
I LOVE sweets, however I don’t love how I feel afterwards. This means that some of my greatest ingenuity in the kitchen happens while trying to create desserts that still taste sinful without punishing my tummy later on. And this becomes especially necessary during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.
Enter: the Crustless Pumpkin Pie Mini Muffins. This quintessential holiday dessert does not need to be on your “No-no” list this year. I have adapted this recipe from 58 Day Dreams into a cleaner more health-friendly version. Why wait until New Year’s to start eating right again?
My favorite way to watch portions with most delectable treats is to make mini versions, and in this case that’s mini muffin pies. I often find that those few bites are enough to satisfy me for the rest of the night. (more…)
Some (huge) part of me loves hunkering down for the cooler months. This season mean more time by the fire, with a book, wearing cozy sweaters, and playing board games. Maybe this means I’m secretly an 85-year-old woman living in a millennial’s body, but maybe I’m OK with that.
One of my favorite parts of fall and winter is spending time in the kitchen creating wholesome, seasonal recipes. I love all of the winter vegetables and making “comfort food” that won’t ruin my wellness goals — like these fall comfort foods for vegetarians. My household tries to avoid excessive grain consumption, and increased veggies, the result being my favorite format of dinners: stuffed anything. Stuffed zucchini, butternut squash, these stuffed kale and bean sweet potatoes — name the veggie and I’ve packed it with goodies and served it as a meal.
So then I tried to include the much less popular cousin of the beloved butternut or spaghetti squash, and experimented with acorn squash. It is perfect for a foggy fall night and lasts forever to make GREAT leftovers — even served cold! Plus, acorn squash is more nutrient-dense than any of its other summer squash relatives. Score!
Acorn squash is loaded with vitamin C to boost the immune system, vitamin A for healthy vision and skin, and has more than 9 grams of dietary fiber! This is more than one-third of the daily requirement and helps to regulate blood sugar, diabetes, and digestion. Plus, hello, isn’t she so pretty?
To choose a ripe acorn squash, look for one with a dark green color, with a small patch of yellow or orange. The skin should be hard and the stem slightly withered.
For this recipe, slice the squash lengthwise, brush with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Remember a little bit of this powerful autumnal spice goes a long way!
I chose to stuff the squash with ground turkey, as it is leaner than red meat and the subtler flavor lets the squash taste take center stage! Like all of my recipes, this is extremely forgiving in what you choose to throw in to the stuffing mixture. Consider adding red and green bell peppers, chopped onions, or sun-dried tomatoes. Those are some of my favorite bonus additions when I have them lying around the house.
But for the purposes of guiding you on a ready-to-follow recipes with little improvisation needed, I’ve literally stuffed this recipe with some of the best natural flavor agents around. Minced garlic and onion, sweet raisins, and a trio of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme. The aroma before you even start roasting will fill your senses and boost your anticipation of this meal.
As always, I’d suggest tossing any almost-moldy greens into the mixture right at the very end so they wilt slightly and blend in with the other flavors. I’m always looking for ways to hide any extra veggies!
If your tummy and nutritional choices allow, you may even want to top with crumbled feta cheese before drizzling with balsamic vinegar and serving for an extra flavor boost!
And one more favorite preparation tip? I’ve made this with sweet potato flesh combined with the turkey mixture. Having both acorn and sweet potato together makes it extra yummy!
Turkey and Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 lb. ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
16 oz. baby spinach
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp. basil, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2+ tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and adjust rack to middle position. While it warms, brush the squash lightly with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Place squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Brown the ground turkey. Add the diced onion, garlic, and celery, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes until soft.
3. Stir in herbs, spices, and raisins. Add spinach and wilt 2-3 minutes. Add in butter or coconut oil and combine over medium heat.
4. Spoon filling into acorn squash and roast for 20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.
ALSO TRY THESE PERFECT FALL MEALS
Recipe by Katie McGrath; Photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com
There’s a new D-word, and all of us cringe at its mention. But inevitably, once a day, that question sounds: what’s for dinner? There’s too much pressure on this one single meal that doesn’t even carry the responsibility of being the most important meal of the day. And yet, it’s the one that we focus on the most.
We need it easy, fast, delicious, healthy, and we need all of it for an affordable price. Something has to give, right? Not with these BBQ Pork Sliders! You get the whole package for a fair price in less than 45 minutes. You can’t beat that with a sack of burgers!
This recipe uses lean pork tenderloin, and the name says it all. This cut of meat is very tender (it’s honestly hard to mess it up) and it’s very lean. Four ounces of pork tenderloin weighs in nutritionally almost identical to the same amount of chicken breast, with 185 calories and 5 grams of fat. For the serving size and the amount of satisfying flavor pork tenderloin offers, you seriously cannot beat this cut of meat. It’s one of our favorite go-tos.
The pork roasts for about half an hour in the oven, staying moist and building flavor with your favorite barbecue sauce. Sodium and sugar are two things to watch out for when buying bottled sauce, but tasty options abound if you’re willing to read a label.
While the pork is cooking, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare the homemade slaw to top the sandwiches. This is way too easy, and if you’ve got eager hands who love to help out in the kitchen, this is the perfect task to pass on to the kids. Simply mix reduced-fat mayo and milk with white vinegar and scallions (green onions) and toss that with a bagged cole slaw mix from the store.
Then prep the dinner rolls or slider buns with a scoop of the slaw, finishing with the pork. When this comes out of the oven, you can use a fork to shred or pull the pork. Top with any remaining scallions and barbecue sauce and dinner is served!
BBQ Pork Sliders
One pork tenderloin (about 1 ¼ lbs.)
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
3 cups bagged Classic Cole Slaw (shredded cabbage and carrots)
3 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fat-free milk
1 ½ tsp. cider or white vinegar
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sliced scallions
12 dinner rolls or slider buns, split and warmed or toasted if desired
TRY THESE HOMEMADE SIDES
Sriracha Oven Fries (pictured)
recipe by Terry Grieco Kenny; photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com
This time of year I find any excuse I can to invite people over. Saturday afternoon football games, Friday night TGIF-ing, or just because, Autumn feels like the most inviting season of all. Halloween night, especially. Our patio always turns in to the must-be spot for family and friends. Everyone pitches in goodies for the trick-or-treaters, and we provide the turkey & black bean chili.
While a healthy dinner that fuels our party and little costume wearers, I’m always trying to find some new and exciting to serve for dessert. This year, we’re going with a crazy-kind-of-simple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip. Part appetizer, part dessert, wholly scrumptious, there’s nothing not to love about these seasonal creation. (more…)