Turkey Burgers for Spring

Something about warm weather, sunshine and weekend afternoons make me want a juicy hamburger.  I like beef burgers–a lot, so  I wasn’t sure I’d find these burgers satisfactory, but my friend Jen came through again.  This is a great burger.  I’ve made it with ground turkey, ground chicken and fresh chicken sausage.  All good.


Ingredients for 4 burgers:
1# ground Turkey
1 cup bread stuffing mix, dry
1/2 cup chicken broth, fat free
5oz Spinach, raw

1.  Shred spinach in small pieces and combine with other ingredients.  Mix well.  Make into 4 pattys.
2.  Grill until cooked thoroughly.

Nutrition Info:  Calories: 196 , Carbohydrate: 7gm, Protein: 28gm, Fat: 6gm , Sodium: 376mg, Fiber 1.5gm.

All you need to do is add the bun of your choice.  You can go with a very thin, whole grain one and add tomatoes, avocado, onion for a healthy meal or go all out with a thick slice of cheese and a bun.  I ate my burger on a spinach salad with a side of garlic parmesan dressing.  I highly recommend that choice!  Enjoy



Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Energy Balls


Okay, so let’s be clear.  These are not low calorie.  The whole purpose of energy balls is to provide some carbs, protein, fat and calories to ensure you have adequate energy to mentally and physically perform the tasks ahead of you.  We like them before “active” adventures.  They are small, do not require refrigeration, easy to make and don’t fill you up so you feel yukky.   There are lots of energy ball with oatmeal and peanut butter on the web and pinterest.  Find one or two you like and think about them when you need have this type of snack on hand.

Ingredients:  Makes 12 Balls

1 c Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 c ground Flaxseeds
1T Chia Seeds
1/2 c Natural Peanut Butter (or any nut butter)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3T Honey

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or food processor and mix thoroughly.  Roll dough into  balls and refrigerate until firm and maintain their shape.

Nutritional Info (1 ball): Calories:  185, Carbohydrate: 16gm, Protein: 6gm, Fat:12 gm , Sodium: 35mg, Fiber: 6gm.

A majority of the calories  are in the flax seeds and peanutbutter.  There are benefits to flax seeds but if you want to reduce the calories in these balls, the easiest way to do so is to decrease the flax seeds by 1/4c and increase the oatmeal by the same amount.  My girls prefer fewer flax seeds and like a few dark chocolate chips thrown in (of course).

These are a great option for between soccer games at a tournament or swim events at a long meet.  The kids are always hungry and asking for candy.  This may fill their sweet tooth, provide some healthy energy without the sugar drop that follows they empty sugar high.

Let me know what you think!



Bannana Muffins to Love

My friend Jen makes eating healthy look easy!  She finds and experiments with recipes to find healthy ones that she and her family like and eat on a regular basis.  She is one of those people who really plans ahead so she isn’t stuck just grabbing something with more fat, calories and “junk” when she is busy.  She gave me the recipe for these bannana muffins and they are moist and yummy.

Ingredients (8 Muffins):
1C Wondra Flour (you can use any all-purpose flour, just keep in mind calories might change)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash of Salt
1/4C Unsweetened, Natural Applesauce
Honey, to taste
1 Egg
1 Overripe Bannana

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray.
2.  Stir together in a large bowl: Flour, Baking Soda & Salt.  Mix together in a small bowl: Applesauce and honey and then add egg & bannana.
3.  Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and pour into muffin pan.
4.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Nutrient Info:  Calories: 98, Carbohydrate: 22gm, Protein: 3gm, Fat: 1gm, Fiber 1gm

I was tempted to use muffin liners, but Jen told me the muffin stuck to the paper.  I made them with non-stick spray and they slipped right out of the pan.   Add greek yogurt, skim milk or a cheese stick to add protein for a breakfast on the go!  Enjoy.

PS.  Don’t be suprised if you see one or two more recipes from Jen!

Hummus: Any Way You Want It!


Who doesn’t love hummus?  There are a lot of recipes with garbonzo beans and Tahini Paste.  I think these are okay, but I really like the fresh taste of using different kinds of beans with a variety of herbs and spices for flavor.   Avocado might be my new favorite addition to hummus.  It adds a delicious flavor and creamy smoothness.  Yummy.

If you like store bought, you will LOVE the versatility and fresh flavor of home made hummus.  It has good protein, healthy fat and fiber.  I make it about once a week and take it for lunch on a whole grain tortilla or with crudites.  I change it up constantly using different beans, herbs and spices so I don’t get bored!  This week I included fresh basil and parsley with the Northern Beans and cilantro, lime juice and chili poweder with Black Beans.  They tasted like Spring!

Great Northern Beans Reduced Sodium                                   Goya Black Beans in Can

Great Northern Bean OR Black Bean Hummus (6 servings)

1 Can Great Northern Beans OR 1 Can Black Beans
2T Garlic, chopped
2-3 T Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, Paprika

1.  RInse beans well in a colander.  (This prevents much of the GI distress some people believe are a result of eating beans.)
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  It takes longer than you think to get it really smooth.


Nutritional Info (Great Northern Beans):  Calories: 96, Protein: 4gm, Fat: 5gm, Carbs: 10, Sodium: 390, Fiber: 3gm

Nutritional Info (Black Beans):  Calories: 122, Protein: 4gm, Fat: 5gm, Carbs: 12, Sodium: 375, Fiber: 4gm

Please give them a try and let me know what you think!



Red Pepper, Tomato and Chicken Rice Pilaf

This is one of those recipes that you look at and think it might be okay, but give it a try because it will take you by surprise.  It is even better the second day!  To be honest, I only put chicken in it on the nights we are not eating any other protein.  I like it without the meat.  I’ve also made it with firm tofu and have been happy with the result.  Check it out!

1 1/2 Cup, Minute – Brown Rice
3/4# Chicken, boneless, cooked, cut into bite-size pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) Stewed Tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) Fat-Free Chicken Broth
1 large Red Pepper, roasted and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 Cup Peas, frozen
1T Olive Oil
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Oregano, ground
1/4 tsp Pepper, black
Salt, as needed

Nutritonal info (Serves 6):
Calories: 183, Protein: 16, Carbohydrate: 20gm, Fat: 4gm, Fiber: 3gm, Sodium: 508mg

The original recipe called for a jar of roasted red peppers.  I like the fresh taste of red peppers roasted over a flame, so I changed to recipe.  It would be simpler to add a jar (7 oz) of peppers, but keep in mind it adds fat, calories and sodium.   This recipe is so healthy, it might be worth the trade to you.






Sausage, Pasta and Tomatoes in a Skillet

You might have noticed, many of the recipes on this site are made in a skillet.  I’m all about easy to make and easy to clean.  I add some cut-up veggies or fruit to round out the meal.

1.  1# Italian Turkey Sausage
2.  1C Tomato Sauce (it may be pasta or pizza sauce or can of straight tomato sauce)
3.  1 can tomatoes, diced or chopped
4.  8oz pasta, small is easiest to manage in skillet
5.  Small bag (6-8oz) of Baby Spinach leaves
5.  1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, part-skim
6.  1 1/2 cup nearly boiling water

1. Cook sausage thoroughly & drain.
2.  Add tomatoes, sauce, pasta and water.  Boil.
3.  Cover pan and decrease temperature to a simmer until pasta is al dente (~12 minutes).
4. Add spinach. Stir in mixture.  Turn off heat and add cheese.

Nutrition Info (serves 8):  Calories: 259, Carbohydrate: 27gm, Protein: 20gm, Fat: 8gm, Fiber: 2gm, Sodium: 695

I’d love to hear if you make and like this recipe!

Not Your Usual Black Beans & Rice

Black Beans and Rice is not a new dish for anyone.  There are many different ways to make this food.  The tastiest version I’ve ever had was in Puerto Rico.  It had many complex flavors and textures.  It was very tasty but I am sure it was not heatlhy.

So, for this recipeI’ve mixed it up a little to make it fresher & healthier than many of the versions I’ve reviewed.  As a bonus, it’s simple.

1.  1 can Black Beans, rinsed.
2.  2 cups Brown Rice, cooked
3.  2 T Olive Oil
4.  1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
5.  1/2 cup Sweet Peppers, red, green, yellow3.
6. 8 oz Turkey Keilbasa

1.  Slice Keilbasa into 1/2″ pieces and cook on medium heat in large skillet.   Stir to brown all sides and move to edge of skillet.
2.  Add Olive Oil and cooked Rice to center of skillet and warm.  When the mixture is warm and rice appears lightly toasted add rinsed black beans to mixture.  Season with salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, as desired.
3.  Serve on plate and top with cilantro, fresh peppers and a squeeze of lime juice.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 425, Protein: 18gm, Carbohydrate: 57gm, Fat: 14gm, Sodium: 871mg, Fiber 8gm.

Please note, most of the sodium is in the beans (~480mg Na/serving)and Keilbasa (~510mg Na/serving).  Rinsing the beans will decrease the amount of sodium significantly.  There are also low sodium canned beans, but your best best is to cook dry beans.  This requires a little planning, but is a great option.  I  use a crock pot and cook overnight.   Keep in mind, the black beans are a great source of fiber which can make you feel full longer and is good for your digestive tract.  Adults need 21-30 gm fiber/day.

If you’ve used Keilbasa before, you may have noticed that one link usually seven servings, so if you use the entire Keilbasa (which I often do), the nutrition info for the recipe will not be accurate.

My girls really like to have a couple of eggs added to the skillet.  I add them just as the rice is becoming fried.  I move the rice mixture to the edge of pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil and break the two eggs in the center of the pan and stir to scramble.  Once cooked, I stir into rice mixture and then add the beans.   You may add any topping you desire to make it your own. Other options include: avocado, green onions, jalapenos, sour cream or greek yogurt, etc.

This is an easy recipe!  Let me know what you think.

PS.  If you’ve never cooked dry beans and want to know the best way to do so, I recommend this link:  http://beaninstitute.com/recipes/cooking-with-dry-beans/