a lifestyle blog

weekend groceries

[via SF Citizen]
When the work week settles down, and we find ourselves at home rather than running around, it's the best time to cook up some healthy meals. Where do you start? For someone just starting out on a weight loss journey or healthy lifestlye, the grocery store can be intimidating.

I know my way around the grocery store really well. I know my likes, dislikes, and what's clean for my belly. It wasn't always like that, though. It takes getting used to, knowing your labels, and knowing what you can make out of "clean foods." You'll get there! And boy, will you feel goood.

Women's Health provided five great staples to start with, and the recipes you can make with them. Easy enough, and extremely tasty. These are always in my fridge or pantry.
1. Boneless, skinless chicken tenders: Sure, it sounds like a ho-hum ingredient, but it might be the most versatile lean protein around. Here’s why: it pairs well with any spice, dip, sauce, vegetable, or cooking style and it doesn’t take much to get a great flavor out of it. The best part? You can enjoy chicken any time of year and it is always an excellent source of complete protein and B vitamins, which turn dietary protein, fat, and carbohydrates into useable energy. Chicken is a great food to have in your corner for a week full of simple cooking.

2. Kale: Kale is nothing shy of a superfood for its performance in the kitchen and in our bodies. This leafy green is an excellent source of folate, fiber, and carotenoids, which on their own have been shown to protect us from certain types of cancers. From salad greens, to a tasty dip, to a simple side, to a roll-up wrapper, kale can take on many responsibilities in the culinary world, making it the perfect vegetable to keep in your fridge.

3. Nonfat (or lowfat) Plain Greek Yogurt: Think the only way to make a delicious sauce requires butter and cream? Not with Greek Yogurt on hand. You won’t only cut down on cook time and ingredients, but you will also save on calories. Greek Yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein and the protein just may fill you up enough to skip dessert! Don’t forget to read your labels for a potential nutritional bonus – many yogurts contain probiotics, which aid in digestion and boost the immune system by promoting an optimal balance among naturally occurring bacteria in the gut.

4. Quinoa: Unlike other grains, quinoa has all nine essential amino acids–key players in bone and muscle strength. Not only is it a protein powerhouse, but it contains two minerals, copper and manganese, which both act like antioxidants protecting your body from free radicals. Depending on how you cook it, this super grain has the versatility to be an indulgent dessert or savory main course. Choosing this grain is an absolute no-brainer!

5. Canned Garbanzo Beans: Made famous for the Mediterranean dip, these legumes do a lot more than just lay, mashed atop a pita chip (although I did include one hummus recipe–couldn’t resist). Garbanzo beans can hold their own in any dish, with enough fiber to keep your stomach satisfied for hours. Sautéed, mashed, or straight out of the can, these little guys pack in a lot of flavor and are even wallet-wise.

And here are the recipes...
1. Garbanzo Burger with Kale Chips and Yogurt Sauce: 
What You’ll Need:
For the Burgers:
• 1 cup pre-rinsed quinoa
• 1 ½ cups water
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 2-15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 2 eggs
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• olive oil
For the Topping
• ½ cup nonfat plain Greek Yogurt
• 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

How to Make It:
1. Combine the quinoa, water, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
3. Fluff with a fork.
4. Place the garbanzo beans in a blender or food processor and puree with the cumin, eggs, and black pepper, until smooth.
5. Put the bean mixture into a mixing bowl and add the quinoa.
6. Portion into six patties.
7. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a skillet, and heat over medium-high heat. Cook each pattie for 3-4 minutes.
8. Combine the yogurt and mustard in a small bowl; whisk until smooth.
9. Serve each patty on a whole wheat bun or lettuce wrap, with 1 tablespoon of the yogurt topping.

2. Kale and Quinoa Salad 
What You’ll Need:
• 1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
• 4 cups steamed kale, chopped
• 2-15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans
• 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• ¼ cup olive oil
• (1 ½ cups crumbled goat cheese, divided, if you have on hand!)

How to Make It:

1. Place quinoa in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover the quinoa by 1 inch; bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, drain, and cool in the refrigerator.
2. Combine kale, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, (and goat cheese) in a large bowl; toss with chilled quinoa.
3. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and oil; dress salad.

3. Chicken Kebobs with Yogurt-Garlic Sauce and Kale Chips

What You’ll Need:
• ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• ¼ cup dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 2 teaspoons paprika
• 2 cloves garlic, smashed
• 3 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon dill
• 2 small bunches of kale

How to Make It:
1. In a small bowl whisk the ¼ cup of oil, lemon juice, dijon, cumin, coriander, paprika, and garlic; add chicken and toss together and chill in the fridge.
2. In the meantime make the sauce: whisk the yogurt with dill and set in the fridge.
3. Preheat gas grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken on 6 metal skewers; season with salt and pepper to your liking.
4. Lightly oil the rack; grill kebobs, turning until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Set aside.
5. For the Kale Chips: Place two sheets of aluminum foil, about 18” each, perpendicular to each other on your work surface to form a cross.
6. Chop kale into bite size pieces, removing stems, and place the kale in the center of the foil.
7. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lightly toss.
8. Roll the top sheet of foil tightly around the kale. Fold the bottom sheet around the top roll, burrito style to form an airtight pouch.
9. Heat a grill to a medium heat, then place the pouch on the grill for about 12 minutes with the lid closed.
10. Remove from grill, carefully unwrap package and drizzle with lemon juice.
11. Plate and serve.

4. Berry Creamy Quinoa Breakfast Parfait

What You’ll Need:
• 1⁄3 cups cooked quinoa
• 1⁄2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 1⁄2 teaspoon honey (optional)
• 1⁄4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1⁄8 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1⁄3 cups fresh or frozen and thawed blueberries
• ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
• 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

How to Make It:

1. Mix the quinoa, yogurt, honey (if using), vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
2. Fold the blueberries gently into the apple sauce in another small bowl, stirring to coat.
3. Spoon 1⁄3 of the quinoa mixture into a glass, then 1⁄3 of the blueberry mixture and 1⁄3 of the walnuts. Repeat the layers twice, ending with walnuts on top.

5. Kale Hummus
What You’ll Need:

• 1 cup garbanzo beans, drained
• 2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• ½ cup chopped steamed kale, drained.

How to Make It:
1. Put all ingredients except the kale in a food processor and blend until smooth
2. Add the kale into the food processor, pulse until kale is chopped into flecks, while keeping a chunky texture
3. Place into a serving dish and serve on top of grilled chicken or your favorite crudités.

6. Kale, Chickpea, and Quinoa Roll-ups

What You’ll Need:

• 12 large kale leaves
• 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
• 3/4cup cooked quinoa
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
• 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

How to Make It:

1. Boil about 8 cups of water in a large pot; boil or steam kale leaves for 3 minutes
2. In a large bowl, combine the garbanzo beans, quinoa, egg, and pepper. Mix well and divide into 12 equal portions
3. In a separate bowl, combine tomatoes, yogurt, and vinegar to create the sauce
4. Place each portion in one kale leaf; roll up and secure with a tooth pick
5. Place cabbage side by side in dish, pour sauce over top

7. Quinoa and Kale Pilaf

What You’ll Need:

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 1 bunch of kale, finely chopped
• 1 cup quinoa, dry
• 2 ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
• 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
• 1 teaspoon paprika

How to Make It:

1. In a sauce pan sauté onion and oil on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the kale, and cook for 3 minutes. Add dry quinoa, broth, salt, pepper, and paprika.
2. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.
3. Serve alongside grilled chicken.

8. Indian-style Chicken with Yogurt

What You’ll Need:

• 1 lb chicken cutlets, sliced
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 2 medium onions
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 tablespoon coriander
• 2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 cup cooked quinoa

How to Make It:

1. Prepare sauce: slice onions, add them to a frying pan with oil and cook until translucent; add garlic
2. When the moisture evaporates, add coriander, and yogurt, lower heat and let simmer for 7 minutes, covered; remove from heat.
3. Puree the onion mixture in a food processor (keep it chunky)
4. Cook chicken in skillet over medium-high heat, for three minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked.
5. Add onion puree to the chicken, season with salt, and simmer for 30 minutes, covered.
6. Serve over ¼ cup of cooked quinoa.

9. Quinoa Pancakes
What You’ll Need:

• ¼ cup egg whites (approximately 3)
• ¼ cup cooked quinoa
• ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• Pinch of cinnamon

How to Make It:

1. Beat egg whites with a fork
2. Add the oats, yogurt, and cinnamon and blend well. Pour onto a small nonstick pan (spray with Spectrum or Mazola cooking spray) and cook until almost set, approximately 2 ½ minutes, flip and cook for 30 seconds.
3. Top with frozen berries or any fresh fruit on hand.

10. Quinoa Crusted Chicken Fingers with Yogurt Dijon Dip

What You’ll Need:

• 2 pounds chicken tenders, skinless and boneless
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• ¼ teaspoon paprika
• 2 cups quinoa
• 2 egg whites
• 2 tablespoon olive oil

How to Make It:

1. Spread quinoa on a piece of aluminum foil.
2. Place egg whites in a shallow bowl.
3. Sprinkle chicken with spices.
4. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then the quinoa and set aside.
5. Heat a large skillet over high heat with oil. When oil is hot, add chicken and reduce heat to medium.
6. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, turning once. When cooked through, romove from heat.
7. Serve with Kale Chips, or kale sautéed in olive oil.

[via Women's Health]

1 comment

  1. Have you seen this Kale and turkey sausage soup recipe? I'm going to make it tomorrow.



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