Roasted Asparagus and Chicken Pasta with Balsamic Butter

Roasted Asparagus and Chicken Pasta with Balsamic Butter|Mimi's Fit Foods

How about a pasta dish that is under 300 calories per serving?  Yes, please!

We love, love, LOVE this pasta dish!  When fresh asparagus hits the stores, this recipe immediately goes in our line-up!  The asparagus adds that great freshness to the overall taste, while the balsamic butter coats everything with a sweet tanginess.  And, fresh Parmesan?  The perfect way to top it all off!

The funny thing about this recipe is that it screams spring-time . . . thanks to that asparagus.  But, the balsamic butter also gives the recipe a bit of comfort.  In the fall/winter months when asparagus isn’t at it’s best, just sub in some steamed broccoli and you’ve got a dish that you can add to your favorites year-round!

Roasted Asparagus and Chicken Pasta with Balsamic Butter
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 pound fresh asparagus spears
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
8 ounces whole wheat/grain penne pasta, dry
2 tablespoons light butter, cut into pieces (I used Smart Balance)
1 pound chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 of the pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the asparagus roasts, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the vinegar is reduced to about 5 tablespoons, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until melted.

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until just done, 11-13 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the balsamic butter mixture. Toss to combine well. Add in the asparagus, chicken, Parmesan, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese for serving.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  298.5
Protein:  25.1g
Carbs:  36.3g
Fat:  7.3g (2.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.6g
Sugars:  1.3g

Chicken Salad Sandwiches With Avocado (Mayo-Less)

Chicken Salad With Avocado | Mimi's Fit Foods

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I just had to post another something green.  While this is great for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s really great for any day so you need to add it to your lists right now.  🙂

This is great because it is a chicken salad sandwich, but it’s using avocado instead of mayo.  Brilliant!  We get all the healthy benefits from using an avocado and we’re getting those good fats instead of the bad ones.  The avocado also offers a nice creamy texture and loads on the flavor (thanks to those good, healthy fats).  The egg also helps to boast the flavor while the dried cranberries balance things out with a hint of sweetness.  If desired, you can totally add chopped cashews to your sandwich to catch that traditional crunch you get from chicken salad.  I decided to omit them to save calories, but I’m sure they would be super delicious!

For someone who loves chicken salad sandwiches, I’m pretty darn happy with this version!

Chicken Salad Sandwiches With Avocado (Mayo-Less)
Adapted from The Skinny Fork

5 ounces chicken breast, cooked & shredded
1 medium hass avocado, mashed
1 large egg, hardboiled and diced
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
salt & pepper to taste
whole wheat bread (100 calories, per slice)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and fold gently to combine.  Divide in half and make two sandwiches.  (I make half sandwiches, using only one slice of bread.  And, in my case, I actually make three sandwiches out of this recipe.  Two bigger ones for me and the hubby, and a small one for the babe.)

Serves 2 (Generously).

Nutritional Information (Per Sandwich using 100 calories for bread)
Calories:  383
Protein:  24.9g
Carbs:  26.1g
Fat:  19.2g (1.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.6g
Sugars:  8g

Fit Fajita Bowls

Fit Fajita Bowls | Mimi's Fit Foods

This is such a yummy clean, healthy, and gluten-free meal!  It’s loaded with protein, fiber, and traditional Mexican flavors.

These bowls are super easy to assemble.  All you do is throw in some rice, top it with black beans, smokey-cumin veggies, Mexican Chicken, Guacamole, and freshly cut green onions and cilantro.

When we ate these my hubby said they tasted like they came right out of a restaurant.  The great news is, that they tasted like Tex-Mex take-out, but I made them right at home with A LOT less calories and a higher nutritional content.  Woot!

Now, you can easily cut 100 calories off of these babies if you need/want.  All you do is omit the black beans and the Guac.  Admittedly, I think the bowls taste better with these ingredients in (which is why I have them in the official recipe) and they also add extra nutritional value.  But, if you’re really watching those calories and need a place to cut . . . these are the two ingredients I would chop.

I made my Easy Guacamole for these.  Why?  Because it’s super easy and delicious.  I also baked my brown rice so that I had one less thing to worry about while I was putting dinner together.  I love putting my rice in the oven and walking away without the worry of it boiling over, over cooking, or under cooking.

I hope you love these as much as we do!

Fit Fajita Bowl | Mimi's Fit Foods

Fit Fajita Bowl

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 bell peppers, sliced thin (any color)
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lime, divided
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup black beans (warmed, if desired)
1/4 cup Easy Guacamole
optional toppings:  chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, reduced fat cheese, salsa

Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add peppers, onions, and cumin.  Sauté until the veggies soften, about 7-10 minutes.  Add half of the lime juice.  Set veggies aside.

Return skillet to heated stovetop and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  While olive oil is heating up (which won’t take long), coat chicken strips with taco seasoning and remaining lime juice.  Add chicken to the skillet and sauté until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink (timing of this will depend on how thick you cut your strips).  Remove from heat.

Now it’s time to assemble your bowls.  Place 1/2 cup cooked brown rice in each bowl, followed by 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 of the veggies, 1/4 of the chicken, 1 tablespoon Easy Guacamole, and desired toppings (I just did green onions and cilantro).  Repeat with remaining bowls.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Bowl)
Calories:  348.8
Protein:  24.4g
Carbs:  46.2g
Fat:  9.4g (0.8g = Sat.)
Fiber:  8g
Sugars:  2.9g

Fit Chicken, Broccoli and Noodle Casserole

Fit Chicken, Broccoli and Noodle Casserole | Mimi's Fit Foods

Here’s another casserole idea for you!  This is more of a “classic” casserole.  More like the kind that I grew up on.  It’s got shredded chicken, broccoli, and noodles that are all covered in a slightly cheesy sauce.  It’s topped with bread crumbs for a little crunch and texture of which I think that crispy top layer is most definitely my favorite part.

Can I just say that I love the fact that this casserole isn’t made with canned soup?  The sauce somewhat resembles it, but the homemade version of the sauce is much tastier and it also yields better nutritional value.  Yay!  Plus it’s really not that hard to make.

I will say that this casserole isn’t going to “blow your socks off” with crazy flavor.  It’s more mild in flavor, but is still super delicious.  It’s great because it will please just about anyone since there isn’t anything weird or extreme in it.  It’s just a fabulous comfort casserole without all the extra calories.

Also, this came together SUPER fast because I had already slow-cooked and shredded a big batch of chicken the day before I made this.  I like to do this every-so-often so that I have shredded chicken on hand for fast dinners.  The shredded chicken freezes well too, so this is a HUGE time saver for me.

I also saved the chicken broth from the slow cooker when I made that big batch of chicken and then I used it in this recipe.  You totally do not have to do this, but I thought I would share this little tip because it’s obviously “free” broth and I think it tastes a little better than canned broth.

Here’s to making dinner easy, simple, healthy and fast . . . for all of those crazy days!

Fit Chicken, Broccoli & Noodle Casserole | Mimi's Fit Foods

Fit Chicken, Broccoli and Noodle Casserole
Adapted from Skinny Taste

6 oz no-yolk noodles
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1 tablespoons light butter (I used Smart Balance)
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1-3/4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup 1% milk
12 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
4 oz shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar
cooking spray
3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)

Cook noodles in salted water until al dente, or slightly undercooked by 2 minutes. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook on medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and a little salt, sauté and cover the broccoli for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium-low heat, when melted add the shallot andcook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat.

Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until well combined over medium heat; whisk well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium heat, mixing occasionally until it thickens (about 7-10 minutes). Remove from heat and add reduced fat sharp cheddar and 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese; mix well until the cheese melts.

Add the shredded chicken, noodles and broccoli to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated.

Pour into a casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. Place the casserole under the broiler a few minutes to get the crumbs crisp and golden (careful not to burn).

Serves 6 (Easily)

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  257.3
Protein:  13.5g
Carbs:  30.9g
Fat:  8g (3.9g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.2g
Sugars: 4g

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Casserole | Mimi's Fit Foods

Every-so-often I am looking for a good and healthy casserole to make.  This gets tricky for a couple of reasons.  1 – Casseroles are usually not healthy.  2 – Casseroles usually use canned soup of which I am not the biggest fan.  So, I get kind of picky when it comes to making casseroles.  BUT, casseroles are so wonderful because they are great one-pan dishes that feed a crowd.  So, I never stop searching for tasty and healthy casserole dishes.

This is my current favorite casserole dish!  It’s loaded with traditional Mexican flavors and the texture is phenomenal thanks to the black beans and quinoa.  It is really easy to make and takes little effort.  The prep time takes about 20 minutes (that’s to chop up and sauté the veggies and cook the quinoa) and the bake time is 30 minutes.  So, I essentially had dinner ready in 20 minutes, and used the 30 minute bake time to make a green salad AND wash the dishes so I wouldn’t have to do much after dinner.  Pretty awesome!

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole (Whole) - Mimi's Fit Foods

I loved adding the fresh toppings to the cooked casserole.  The green onions, fresh cilantro, and avocado were oh-so-perfect.  It hyped up the freshness and intensified the Mexican flare.

This is also a meatless casserole.  That being said, the addition of shredded, cooked chicken would work SO well here (and stretch the servings).  I have NO doubt that I’ll be incorporating that on occasion to increase the protein content.

This is going to become a regular around our house!  Please make it at yours . . . and then bring me a plate.

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole | Mimi's Fit Foods

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole
Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups 99% fat free chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour – optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Add quinoa and broth to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Add cheese and pour in the enchilada sauce and stir to combine.

Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

Note-this recipe freezes well!

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  289.7
Protein:  15.9g
Carbs:  38.6g
Fat:  9g (2.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  9g
Sugars:  3.3g

Slow Cooker Thai Soup

Slow Cooker Thai Soup | Mimi's Fit Foods

I think I’ve professed both my love of Thai flavors and my love of the slow cooker.  So, I guess it’s no wonder that I love this recipe!  I mean, we’re talking very little work for a meal full of Thai-infused deliciousness?  Yes, please!

Have you ever had Tom Kha Gai soup?  This soup is kind of like that.  It’s not exactly, but it resembles several of the same flavor notes that you’ll find in Tom Kha Gai.  The good news about this recipe is that I’ve cleaned it up so that it’s not over 400 calories a serving, yet it still contains all those delicious Tahi flavors.  Yay!

I served this with a scoop of Soft & Fluffy Baked Brown Rice.  Again, not a lot of work to get the rice ready for dinner.  I think this meal is going to make the “regular” list around my house!

Recipe Note:  You’ll see that I used PB2 in the recipe.  It’s a powdered peanut butter that has a lot less calories than regular peanut butter.  If you don’t have PB2, you can easily just substitute regular peanut butter (but your calories per serving will increase a little bit).

Slow Cooker Thai Soup
Adapted from Foodie Crush

2 tablespoons red curry paste
3 cups light coconut milk (2 cans)
2 cups 99% fat free chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons PB2
2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch slices (I used orange)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon lime juice
cilantro for garnish
cooked brown rice

Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar and peanut butter in a 4-1/2 to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl. Place the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion and ginger in the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Add in the peas and cook for 1/2 hour longer. Stir in lime juice and serve with cilantro and brown rice.

Serves 12.

Nutritional Information Without Rice (Per Serving = Approx. 1 Cup)
Calories:  147
Protein:  17.2
Carbs:  7.7g
Fat:  5.1g (3.8g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.1g
Sugars:  4.8g

Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash - Mimi's Fit Foods

I LOVED the freshness and comfort of this meal!  I love roasted squash and filling it with a delicious quinoa salad is just plain fabulous!  The roasted squash offered the “comfort” and the quinoa salad offered the “freshness.”  And, even better . . . they go SO WELL together!  The textures are amazing with the softness of the squash and quinoa being combined with the crunch of the almonds and spinach and then topped off with the chewiness of the dried cranberries.  And, probably without even having to say it, the flavors all meld well together.

This is a beautiful meatless meal.  I had a couple of acorn squash that were begging to get used so this is what came of them.  We had it for lunch and loved it.

Quinoa-Cranberry-Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash - Mimi's Fit Foods

Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted by The Spicy RD Blog

2 acorn squash
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on squash
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2-3 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, cut acorn squash in half, vertically, and remove the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the flesh of both pieces of squash, then sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place squash, flesh side down on a foil lined sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.

While squash is baking, combine quinoa and water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and cook until water is absorbed, and quinoa is nice and fluffy.

While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in pan, then add onions and cook until translucent. Push onions to the side of the pan, and add almonds, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes to toast. Remove pan from heat, and set aside.

When quinoa is done cooking, pour it in to a medium bowl, then stir in onion/almond mixture, cranberries, spinach, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When squash is cooked, remove from oven and place each piece on a plate. Scoop 1 cup of quinoa pilaf mixture in to each squash half and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 half squash filled)
Calories:  327
Protein:  8.8g
Carbs:  51.1g
Fat:  12.6g (0.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  .6g
Sugars:  7.3g