Skeleton Veggie Tray

Skeleton Veggie Tray - Mimi's Fit Foods

Ok, folks!  The Halloween parties are in full swing for us, so I’m guessing they are for you too!  One of the tips I suggest to my clients when going to parties is to offer to take something healthy that you know you can/should eat.  I mean, let’s be honest.  When we show up to parties there is always a lot of fun food that is loaded with fats and or sugars (admittedly they are usually way yummy, but not good for the belly/hips/thighs . . . ya know!?).  So, I always like to play it safe by taking something healthy that I know I can eat.

A veggie tray is alway a good solution.  However, it can be BORING.  Well, it doesn’t have to be boring for Halloween!  I found this fun way to amp up the fun with a typical veggie tray.  I took this to a family Halloween pot-luck party last weekend and it was eaten up in minutes.  There was another large veggie tray there too, but it had hardly been touched.  I’m still kind of sitting here amazed that the skeleton trick won over the kiddos and got them to eat their veggies.  They seriously ate it up (literally and figuratively).

I made the protein-packed dip from cottage cheese.  If you haven’t made the Fit Ranch Dip/Dressing  yet, you must!  (You will also deceive your little and big people with this dip.)

Hopefully this gives you a fun idea on how to fill up your belly with veggies instead of Halloween candy.  Have fun at all your parties and be safe!

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa - Mimi's Fit Foods

You guys!  This is such a yummy side dish.  We all loved it at first bite!  If you love quinoa, it’s a no-brainer.  If you don’t love quinoa, well this might just be the recipe to change your mind.  You’re probably thinking, “Come on.  How awesome can quinoa get with the addition of cauliflower and cheese?”  Well, let me tell you!  It gets pretty darn awesome!  Think cheesy cauliflower with the creamy texture of quinoa thrown in.  I guess I just needed a good excuse to find cheesy cauliflower legit in a healthy way.  I totally feel 100% okay with getting my cheesy cauliflower fix with this yummy dish.  We’re totally addicted and we might end up having this more than once or twice a week now.

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa
Adapted from Mom, What’s For Dinner?

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
1 cup reduced fat cheese (I used a Mexican 4-cheese blend)
salt and pepper to taste

Add quinoa and broth to a medium pot.

Cover and bring the quinoa and broth to a boil over medium heat. Add Cauliflower and reduce the heat and simmer covered until the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender,about 15-20 minutes.

Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot! This easily reheats. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/6 of the Recipe)
Calories:  180.7
Protein:  10.6g
Carbs:  22.7g
Fat:  5.9g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.8g
Sugars:  2g

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta - Mimi's Fit Foods

I found these cute, little baby squash at Costco and I couldn’t resist buying them.  Because of our move, we didn’t get our garden in this year so we haven’t been feeling that overdose of zucchini yet.  Thus, I plunged and made the purchase knowing we would love eating these cute squashes for dinner.  That being said, you can make this dish with your home-grown summer squash just as easily.  I thought this was a nice way to change up the flavors with the squash.  It comes together super fast (like under 10 minutes) and tastes great.  I think next time I’ll even add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Yum!  This recipe offers another variation of how to use up that summer squash that seems to reproduce like crazy!

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cups summer squash
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to the pan and heat for about 20 seconds.  Add squash and onions to pan; saute 5-8 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Transfer squash mixture to a serving platter.  Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 of the Squash)
Calories:  86
Protein:  4.2g
Carbs:  10.9g
Fat:  2.8g (1.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.3g
Sugars:  4.8g

Healthy & Low Calorie (Jicama) Fries

Jicama Fries - Mimi's Fit Foods

I have a slight love for Jicama.  However, it seems as if the Jicama Root is not very well known.  But, it should be because it’s ultra healthy and very good for you.  It’s a vegetable in the bean family and has a crisp and crunchy texture.  It has a mild taste, but tastes slightly sweet.  The beauty of this awesome vegetable is that it tastes great, but is also very high in dietary fiber.  That’s where most of the carbohydrate calories come from.  Not bad, eh?  I actually really love Jicama in my salads and get a little excited when I see it on salad bars.  (If you want to know more about Jicama, you can go here.  There is also a picture of Jicama, just in case you’re not sure what it looks like.)

So, I saw this idea to make fries out of Jicama and I thought it was genius.  Knowing Jicama , I was quite confident that the fries would turn out fabulous.  And, indeed I was right.  We all loved these things and I am so excited to have a fry recipe I can rely on for times when we’re having burgers or kabobs or I just have a crazy craving for fries.  I wouldn’t feel all that guilty about snacking on these!!

You can totally season these with whatever suits your fancy.  This particular time I used a blend of garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.  I think they would also be great with chili powder and smoked paprika.  Yum, yum!

Jicama Fries2 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Healthy & Low Calorie Jicama Fries
Slightly Adapted from BuiltLean

1 Jicama root
1 tablespoon of seasonings of choice (garlic, chili powder, paprika, etc.)
sprinkle of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove the papery-thin peel of the jicama root.

When you have cleanly removed all of the peel, slice the jicama into flat rounds about 1/2 inch thick, and then cut them up into strips resembling steak fries.

Lay your jicama strips out in one layer on a non-stick baking sheet, and prepare your seasonings.

Mix the seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the jicama strips as evenly as possible. Using an oil mister, apply a thin coat of olive oil. If you don’t have a mister, just drizzle the olive oil over the jicama. If need be, toss the fries around on the baking sheet to even out the seasonings and oil.

Bake the seasoned jicama fries in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, toss fries (or take the time to flip them all over) and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until they are golden-brown and crisp. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  77.6
Protein:  1.2g
Carbs:  14.5g
Fat:  1.9g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  8.1g
Sugars:  3g

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus - Mimi's Fit Foods

Oh, how I love beautiful side dishes to go with my main meal.  I also love it when the vegetable is one of the best parts of the meal!  Our little family LOVES grilled asparagus.  The grill really helps to bring out the beautiful, unique flavor of the asparagus making it taste so incredibly fresh with LOADS of flavor.  We’ve been having this quite regularly around my house.  It’s tasty, but also SUPER easy and SUPER fast!  We’re talking a total of 6-8 minutes from start to finish.  Usually I just toss it on the grill while our meat is cooking and it’s all ready at the same time.  It’s FABULOUS!

Grilled Asparagus
Slightly Adapted from allrecipes.com

1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lemon wedges

Preheat grill for high heat.

Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste (I usually do this on a plate or in a shallow pan and I toss the spears all around to ensure they get evenly coated).

Place spears on hot grill and grill over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, rotate, and then grill for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or to your desired tenderness.  Just before serving, squeeze fresh lemon wedges over asparagus.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 of the Spears)
Calories:  41
Protein:  2.6g
Carbs:  5.1g
Fat:  2g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.4g
Sugars:  0g

Roasted Pizza Broccoli

Roasted Pizza Broccoli - Mimi's Fit Foods

This is such a great way to cook broccoli.  I love the addition of the spices and the Parmesan cheese.  I love broccoli anyways, but this was fabulous.  It totally resembled a pizza flavor.  I imagine kids would love it too (but you may want to add less of the chile flakes).  And, just so you know, the chile flakes weren’t super spicy/hot, but they added lots of flavor!

Here’s to another twist on your regular vegetable side dishes.  Enjoy!

Roasted “Pizza” Broccoli
Adapted from Relish by Daphne Oz

1 large head of broccoli
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 – 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Break or cut broccoli into bite-sized florets. Steam the broccoli until you can easily insert a knife into the center of the broccoli (about 5 to 6 minutes).

Preheat the broiler. Drain the broccoli (and lightly pat dry with a paper towel) and place it on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with the oil, and sprinkle it with chile flakes and oregano. Toss to coat.  Sprinkle with cheese and broil the broccoli until the cheese is golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice onto the broccoli, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories:  89
Protein:  5.8g
Carbs:  6.3g
Fat:  5.7g (1.7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.2g
Sugars:  0.1g

Roasted Carrots

Roasted Carrots - Mimi's Fit Foods

Easy peasy, folks!  You need another vegetable side dish that is tasty?  Well, these fit the bill.  Roasting the carrots bring out such a delicious sweetness!  The hardest part about these is not eating too many!

Roasted Carrots

2 cups baby carrots, halved
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss baby carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 1/2 Cup)
Calories:  45
Protein:  1g
Carbs:  9g
Fat:  1.2g (0.2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2g
Sugars:  6g

Creamy Tomato Soup Without the Cream

Mimi's Fit Foods

Burrrrrr!  It’s been cold outside so I’ve TOTALLY been in the mood for soup!  I kind of want it every day.  I love tomato soup and I’ve been dying to try American’s Test Kitchen’s (ATK’s) method of making it creamy.  It didn’t disappoint and I loved that it made a nice big pot so I could enjoy it as my carbohydrate side dish for a few days.

So, this recipe rocks and I must tell you why.  It has FABULOUS tomato flavor and is creamy without adding cream (most creamy tomato soups will come in around 300-450 calories per cup, but not this one!).  Quite honestly, the cream generally dulls the tomato flavor.  ATK figured out that if you add bread to the soup, it achieves a creamy texture.  Interesting, eh?  I thought so.  Thus, I just HAD to try it.  When the bread breaks down and is blended into the soup, it adds creaminess and helps to temper the acidity of the tomatoes.  It also helps thicken the soup to just the right consistency.

You might also find it odd that we use canned tomatoes in this recipe.  ATK has tested using fresh tomatoes versus canned tomatoes, and no kidding, the canned tomatoes give the best flavor result.

Also, one other little trick to the soup is to puree the tomato soup with a little extra-virgin olive oil  Adding it to the soup during this stage helps to ramp up the flavor and the flavor remains clean and fresh.  Plus, while blending, the oil is fully incorporated into the soup.

I’m telling you, ATK is all business and I’m pretty darn impressed with this soup thanks to the easy methods applied.  (It was even a little easier for me since I have a stick immersion blender and could blend it right in my soup pot.)  If you love tomato soup, you gotta try this!!

Creamy Tomato Soup Without the Cream
Adapted from “The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook”

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 sliced high-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons red cooking wine (I used Sherry)
salt and pepper
Multi-Grain Saltines, for serving (optional)

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or heavy duty stock pot) over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes with their juice.  Stir in the sugar and bread, bring to a simmer, and cook until the bread begins to dissolve, about 5 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf.  Puree the soup with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a blender, in batches, until smooth.  Return the soup to a clean pot, stir in the broth and red cooking wine, and cook gently over medium0low heat until the soup is hot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If desired, serve with multi-grain Saltine crackers.

Serves 9.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 1 Cup Soup)
Calories:  120
Protein:  2g
Carbs:  12.6g
Fat:  6.6g (1g = Sat)
Fiber:  2g

Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats with Marinara & Ground Turkey

Mimi's Fit Foods

Being the first of January and all, there are a lot of healthy recipes circulating the web.  This seems to be one that I’ve been seeing lately.  With good reason, folks!  It’s good!  I’m a pasta lover and guess what!?  I didn’t even miss the pasta in this dish.  I thought the spaghetti squash was so flavorful and the flavor of it married fantastically with the marinara, Italian spices, and cheese!  No wonder they call it “spaghetti” squash!

The textures in this dish are fabulous, the gooey cheese is beyond fabulous, and the Italian spices offer a huge punch of flavor.  My husband who doesn’t really care for spaghetti squash gobbled this up AND asked to take the leftovers to work the next day.  Yep, that’s right.  It’s good.  Oh, and it’s a cinch to throw together!  I’m not even tricking you!

Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats with Marinara & Ground Turkey

2 small/medium rip spaghetti squash
12 ounces ground turkey (93% lean)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded

First, roast your spaghetti squash.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  Place on a baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until the skin gives easily under pressure and the inside is tender, about one hour.

Towards the end of the roasting time, prepare marinara and ground turkey (if making your own marinara, then you’ll want to start this process about 30 minutes before squash is done) .  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Place ground turkey in skillet and season with Italian seasoning, garlic salt, salt, and pepper.  Stir turkey while cooking to break into small, crumbly pieces and cook until no longer pink.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  Prepare and warm marinara. (I like to use my own because it tastes fresher and is healthier, but for ease, you can also use prepared stuff too such as Prego Heart Smart.  You’ll just find that the calories are more when buying the store bought stuff.)

Remove spaghetti squash from the oven and carefully scrape squash with a fork to loosen the flesh into long strands.  Top each boat with 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 3 ounces of ground turkey, and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.  Place back into the hot oven to cook until the cheese melts.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Boat)
Calories:  282
Protein:  25.5g
Carbs:  16g
Fat:  13.4g (5.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.2g

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Man!  Sorry for the lack of posts.  Our life has been good-crazy busy the last couple of weeks.  Lots of happy events, Thanksgiving Holiday fun, and precious family time!  I imagine the next couple of weeks may run in sync with such fun, so if things seem a little sketchy here on the blog . . . well, don’t worry!  We’re alive; just enjoying life.  That being said, I’m still cooking and trying new recipes so I have some good ones to share with you as my time allows.  So, keep coming back and bear with me for the next few weeks.

This is a pretty tasty soup if you’re looking for a nice change for your carbohydrate side dish.  The calories are pretty darn perfect for such a thing and we enjoyed the change of flavors (versus eating our usual brown rice or potato side dish).

Carrot soup can often lack in the flavor department.  Not this one, folks!  The fresh grated ginger adds a little spicy heat and provides a nice balance to the sweetness of the carrots.  The orange juice adds brightness and acidity, while the milk gives the soup a little creaminess.  All the flavors meld fantastically and the soup tastes PERFECT for fall/winter.

Give it a whirl.  I think you’ll like it!

Carrot-Ginger Soup
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 ½ pounds carrots (about 9), peeled and chopped medium
1 onion, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (do not substitute ground ginger)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup 1 percent lowfat milk
1/4 cup orange juice (I used freshly squeezed)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (or stock pot) over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the carrots and onion and cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 16 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender, in batches, until smooth.  Return the soup to the pot, stir in the milk and orange juice, and cook gently over medium-low heat until the soup is hot (this doesn’t take long at all).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle individual bowls with the chives before serving.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 1 Cup)
Calories:  102.6
Protein:  3.8g
Carbs:  16.1g
Fat:  2.9g
Fiber:  3.7g
Sugars:  8.9g