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Party Plan: Healthy New Year

The new year is here, and it’s time to mix in some lighter options for a new you.

Resolve to Make Better Choices for the New Year!

It’s never too early in the year to start mixing in lighter food options, and we’ve got some fantastic ideas to help you out. You can start by switching out that heavy morning meal for some Light Breakfast Hash, full of sweet potatoes and nutrient-filled greens. Another great way to start the day (and save time in the morning!) is to try our Overnight Oats recipe, full of your favorite fruit and protein.

Customize your midday meal options with our Easy Lunch Bowl Combinations guide, or just enjoy some hearty Creamy Chicken Soup, loaded with fresh veggies. Step up your afternoon snack game with energy-boosting Peanut Butter Banana Bites and the spicy, light flavor of Crispy Tandoori-Spiced Chickpeas.

Dinnertime means mixing in delicious options like Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole and Italian Chicken Bake, both easy to make and great for the whole family. You can prep easy dinners like Southwest Chicken and Rice Bowls ahead of time, for a quick and healthy evening meal. Finish off the night with a light, wintery nightcap…a Winter Pimm’s Cup is just the thing!

5-Ingredient Chicken Enchiladas

5-Ingredient Chicken Enchiladas

Created by: Laura Franklin, Food Fun Family

Making a home-cooked meal from scratch doesn’t have to mean being in the kitchen for hours. In fact, there are so many delicious meals you can make with just a handful of basic ingredients, like these 5-ingredient chicken enchiladas.

Not only are these family-friendly, but they are time and budget-friendly, too. They’re made even easier by utilizing a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. We love whipping up a batch of chicken enchiladas for those nights when we don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen but still want to prepare something homemade.

Ingredients:
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
  • 2-2½ cups shredded cheese (I like using a Mexican blend of cheeses)
  • 1 can (4 oz.) green chiles
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro, salsa and sour cream, if desired
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Remove meat from the bones of the whole rotisserie chicken and dice. Discard bones and skin.
  3. In a large bowl, mix diced chicken, 1½ cups shredded cheese, green chiles and ½ cup enchilada sauce.
  4. Divide chicken-cheese filling evenly between 8 tortillas (about ½ cup in each tortilla). Roll each tortilla tightly and place seam-side down in a 9”x12” baking dish.
  5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas and top with cheese (add ½ cup or more, according to taste).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly and internal temperature has reached 165°F. Top with fresh cilantro, salsa, or sour cream, if desired. Refrigerate covered and eat any leftovers within 2-3 days.

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Baked Oatmeal Cups

Baked Oatmeal Cups

Created by: Nellie Tracy, Butter With a Side of Bread

With four kids, my mornings are very hectic and I don’t have much time to prepare a healthy breakfast for my family. I love this recipe because you can make it ahead of time, and reheat each oatmeal cup within seconds. I think they taste wonderful plain, but you can also top them with some Greek yogurt and/or fruit!

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
Directions:
  1. Combine eggs, vanilla, applesauce, almond milk and honey in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Combine oats, cinnamon and baking powder in a different bowl. Mix well and then add to the applesauce mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. Scoop mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 350°F for 26-30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Basil and Strawberry Infused Chia Seed Water

Basil and Strawberry Infused Chia Seed Water

Created by: Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete

The new year is here and it’s time to make those resolutions! One of mine is always to give my body food and drinks that make me feel good, and water is always at the top of that list. Here is one of my favorite recipes to spice up plain water and get in the habit of drinking it a little bit more.

Ingredients:
  • 5 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 30 fresh basil leaves, trimmed
  • 5 fresh strawberries
  • Water
Directions:
  1. Rinse basil and slice strawberries, then add to an airtight container.
  2. Add chia seeds to the container with about 24 ounces of filtered water and cover with the lid.
  3. Let sit overnight or until the chia seeds have expanded.
  4. Pour and enjoy!

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Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Created by: Krissy Allori, Self Proclaimed Foodie

This snack is a lighter swap for any game day celebration that offers those familiar buffalo flavors with a fraction of the calories. I paired my spicy and flavorful buffalo cauliflower bites with a rich and creamy blue cheese dressing as well as some cool, crisp celery sticks that helped mellow the heat from the hot sauce.

Ingredients:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅔ cup (5 ml. jar) hot sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Heavily grease a baking sheet with butter. Divide cauliflower into bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, water, olive oil, garlic powder and salt until well combined. Add cauliflower and gently toss to coat each piece evenly. Transfer coated cauliflower to prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven.
  3. In large bowl, combine hot sauce and melted butter. Add partially cooked cauliflower and gently toss to evenly coat. Return cauliflower to baking sheet and continue cooking for an additional 20-25 minutes, turning once, until pieces start to turn golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and serve warm with blue cheese dressing and fresh celery sticks.

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Braised Winter Vegetables

Braised Winter Vegetables

Roast a big batch of winter’s best veggies and enjoy serving them in a variety of ways. Best yet, skip most of the peeling and chopping by purchasing ready-to-cook squash, carrots and Brussels sprouts in the produce section.

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (1 lb.) baby carrots
  • 1 container (1 lb.), peeled and cut-up squash or sweet potatoes
  • 1 package (12 oz.) Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 4 medium parsnips (1 lb.), peeled and cut in ¾” pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut in wedges
  • ¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut in small pieces>
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Place vegetables, broth and butter in large covered roasting pan. Cover and bake 50 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting, just until tender. Remove from oven. Drain any juices from roaster. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 400F. Roast vegetables uncovered 10 to 15 minutes longer or until beginning to brown, stirring once. Serve immediately as directed below, or refrigerate in airtight container up to 3 days or in freezer up to 1 month.
  4. Reheat vegetables (thawed) in single layer on baking sheet at 350F 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once, until heated through.
Tips:

Serve as a Side Dish: Toss vegetables with juice from half a lemon and sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs, such as dill, thyme or oregano.

Serve as a Salad: Toss hot vegetables with a splash of balsamic dressing; cool at least 20 minutes. Toss with cooked quinoa, baby spinach or arugula, dried cranberries or currants, and additional balsamic dressing.

Serve as a Pasta Dish: Combine hot, cooked tubular pasta, such as rotini, ziti or penne, with roasted vegetables, a drizzle of olive oil, finely shredded Parmesan cheese, sliced black or Kalamata olives, and chopped fresh basil.

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Southwest Chicken and Rice Bowls

Southwest Chicken and Rice Bowls

Created by: Nellie Tracy, Butter With a Side of Bread

I have found that the best way to eat lighter throughout the week is to prep some of my meals ahead of time so that they are ready to go in the fridge. When something is ready to eat, you’re more likely to grab it, rather than other less healthy options. This recipe is very simple and versatile so you can add additional veggies if you like.

I use salsa as a dressing, but you could also add your favorite salad dressing if desired. This recipe can be divided up into five individual containers to be eaten throughout the week.

Ingredients:
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
  • 1⅔ cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 7½ cups lettuce, chopped or torn into bite sized pieces
  • Salsa for dressing
Directions:
  1. Divide the chicken into five plastic containers. Place ⅓ cup rice into each container and then divide the corn and beans evenly into each container.
  2. Place 1½ cups of lettuce into five plastic sandwich bags.
  3. When ready to eat, microwave the ingredients in the container for 1-2 minutes and then add one prepared bag of lettuce and salsa as dressing.

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Creamy Chicken Soup

Creamy Chicken Soup

Created by: Krissy Allori, Self Proclaimed Foodie

This is the time of year I love to cook big meals. That’s why I’m especially fond of hearty soups. Not only do they incorporate lots of fresh veggies, but they are so comforting and satisfying. This soup is also a perfect freezer meal because you can double or triple the batch and then just freeze what you don’t plan on eating that night for another day.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt, to taste
Directions:
  1. In a heavy bottom Dutch oven, cook chicken thighs in olive oil over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, flipping once. Make sure internal chicken temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly on a plate. The chicken will likely stick to the pan. Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine over low heat and scraping the bottom until all of the cooked bits have been loosened. Transfer the cooked chicken bits in white wine to a separate cup.
  2. Add one tablespoon of butter to the Dutch oven and turn heat to high. Add onions, celery and carrot and allow to cook until slightly golden brown (stirring occasionally) for a total of about 10 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, shred chicken meat. When vegetables have finished cooking, remove them from the Dutch oven and set them on the same plate as the chicken.
  4. Return the pan to the stove and melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the garlic and allow to cook for about a minute, then add the flour and combine to make a roux. Allow to cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the milk and heavy cream to the roux and whisk constantly until thoroughly mixed. Continue whisking as the roux cooks until it has thickened, then whisk in the chicken broth and white wine mixture.
  6. Add shredded chicken and cooked vegetables to the broth and stir. Add salt to taste, and pepper as desired.
  7. If making a large batch for the freezer, allow soup to cool in refrigerator, then store in air tight containers or plastic storage bags to freeze. Allow to thaw in refrigerator before reheating in a pot on the stove.
  8. Serve with warm crusty bread or some rosemary crackers.
Tip:

I prefer to chop all of my veggies by pulsing them in the food processor. Not only does that save me time, but lends a wide variety of sizes and textures, from minced to chopped.

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Easy Lunch Bowl Combinations

Easy Lunch Bowl Combinations

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

Lunch bowls are a great go-to for lighter eating, and you can prep them at the beginning of the week for so many different combinations. Use this variety of grains, proteins, vegetables and toppings to mix and match for lunch throughout the week to come. Your veggies can be cooked or raw – it’s up to you!

Grains

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa

Proteins

  • Chicken
  • Deli meat
  • Eggs
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Tofu

Vegetables

  • Zucchini
  • Sweet potato
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Sprouts
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Bell pepper
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Corn

Toppings

  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Hummus
  • Salad dressing
  • Vinaigrette
  • Greek yogurt
  • Soy sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Spices and herbs
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar

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Egg White Omelet with Caramelized Onions, Spinach, and Feta

Egg White Omelet with Caramelized Onions, Spinach, and Feta

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

The beginning of a New Year means the chance to start new positive habits, and eating a well-rounded breakfast is a perfect example. Breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and provides the much-needed fuel to keep your mind and body motivated and active throughout the workday.

For those who are looking for clean, nutrient-dense breakfast ideas that are also mouth-watering, this egg white omelet with caramelized onions, spinach, and feta covers all the major bases. The caramelized onions and feta yield a great deal of flavor, while the egg whites provide low-fat protein and the spinach gifts vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You can also add sautéed sweet potatoes alongside your omelet breakfast if you’re in the need of healthy carbohydrates.

Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
  • Sea salt to taste
Directions:
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion, sprinkle with sea salt and sauté (stirring occasionally) until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking (stirring occasionally) until the onions begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat again to medium-low and continue cooking until the onions begin sticking to the pan and have turned fully golden-brown, about 10 minutes. (Note: If the onions begin looking dry at any point, add a small amount of oil and some water to deglaze the pan.)
  2. Add the baby spinach to the onions and cover. Cook until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in a small skillet over medium heat and whisk together the egg whites with some sea salt, reserving the yolks for future use. Once the skillet is hot, swirl around the oil so that it’s covering the full surface of the pan, and pour half of the egg whites onto the skillet. Cook until the egg whites have set up and only a small layer of the top is still translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip and cook another 30 seconds, or until the egg whites have cooked through. Transfer omelet to a plate and repeat for a second omelet.
  4. Stuff the egg white omelets with the caramelized onions and spinach mixture, along with a couple tablespoons of feta cheese. Serve and enjoy.
Tip:

This omelet is simple to prepare, but does require some preparation time, as it can take about 30-45 minutes to fully caramelize the onions. If you’re making omelets during your busy workweek, you can caramelize a couple of onions ahead of time and have them in the refrigerator ready to go when you wake up in the morning.

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Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole

Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole

Created by: Carrie Robinson, Frugal Foodie Mama

Most of this flavorful and filling Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole can be prepared a day or two beforehand, making it the perfect light and quick dinner idea for a busy weeknight. Just give the eggplant a quick sauté, layer the casserole with the already prepared quinoa and cheese filling and simply pop in the oven!

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1½ cups Simple Truth™ Organic Quinoa
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 cup part skim milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup Private Selection™ Shaved Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Simple Truth™ Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 cup Simple Truth™ Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
Directions:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan or skillet. Once heated, add in the quinoa and toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add in the water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the seeds are translucent and have started to spiral, about 15 minutes. The quinoa can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and salt & pepper. Mix well. The cheese filling can be made the day before and stored tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.
  3. When ready to make the casserole, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Once heated, add in the eggplant chunks. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
  4. To prepare the casserole: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Mix the quinoa and ricotta cheese mixture together. Spray a 13”x9” baking pan with cooking spray. Spread half of the quinoa/cheese mixture into the prepared pan. Then top it with half of the sautéed eggplant and ⅓ cup of Parmesan cheese. Now add in the remaining quinoa/cheese mixture and spread evenly over top of the eggplant and cheese. Top with the remaining eggplant, 1 cup of pasta sauce, and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking time.
  5. Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Light Breakfast Hash

Light Breakfast Hash

Created by: Britni Vigil, Play. Party. Plan.

Swap out the traditional bacon and egg breakfast for this light breakfast hash that’s full of sweet potatoes and nutrient-filled greens. It only takes a few minutes to make and is a great way to start your day off with a boost. Best of all, you can make enough for your entire family in the same amount of time it takes to make one serving.

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs, scrambled
  • 2 large handfuls of your favorite type of Simple Truth™ greens (spinach, kale, arugula, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp. Kroger 4 Cheese Mexican Fancy Blend
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes until browned, flipping once.
  3. Add greens to the hot pan and stir to combine.
  4. Push greens and sweet potatoes to the outside of the pan and add the eggs in the center. Salt and pepper the eggs to taste. Allow eggs to cook for 2-3 minutes, then use a spoon to scramble them in the center of the pan.
  5. Mix eggs into greens and sweet potatoes, then salt and pepper the hash to taste.
  6. Top with cheese and stir until melted.
  7. Serve immediately while warm. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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Italian Chicken Bake

Italian Chicken Bake

Created by: Erin Sellin, Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

This Italian chicken bake has just five simple ingredients, but tons of flavor! I use canned diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning to give the chicken lots of great flavor and moisture. The chicken cooks in the tomatoes, so it stays super moist and creates its own sauce. You can serve it over pasta or with bread so you have something to scoop up all that goodness.

Ingredients:
  • 1-1½ pounds chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9” square baking dish (or casserole dish) with non-stick spray.
  2. Pour can of tomatoes into pan and spread evenly over the bottom. Nestle chicken breasts into the tomatoes. Spread about 1 tablespoon pesto over each piece of chicken.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through (the internal temperature should be 165°F).
  4. Top with shredded cheese, and return to the oven for 5 minutes until melted. Use broiler if you want the cheese browned.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil. Serve immediately and store any leftovers in the fridge.
Tip:

I use chicken breasts when I make this recipe, but you can use any cut of chicken you like. Chicken thighs or even tenders work equally well. How quickly the chicken cooks depends on how thick your cuts are.

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Make-Ahead Tex-Mex Beef Stew

Make-Ahead Tex-Mex Beef Stew

Created by: Laura Franklin, Food Fun Family

I’ve fallen in love with batch cooking – preparing meals ahead of time so that dinner is smooth and easy and I’m still serving my family home cooked meals. Fast doesn’t have to mean fast food!

This make-ahead Tex-Mex beef stew can be prepped ahead of time and then frozen until it’s ready to be cooked, or it can be fully cooked before hand and simply heated up when you’re ready to serve. This flavorful stew couldn’t be easier or more delicious!

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) sweet corn, drained
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Fresh cilantro and tortilla chips, if desired
Directions:

Method one: freeze ingredients to cook later

  1. Add flour and stew meat to a gallon-sized freezer bag; toss to coat beef with the flour.
  2. Add all additional ingredients to bag except 2 cups of beef broth. Seal bag and add label with recipe title and cooking time. Freeze immediately.
  3. To cook stew, remove bag from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. In the morning, transfer the contents of the bag plus 2 cups of beef broth to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until vegetables are soft and beef has reached an internal temperature of at least 160°F. Serve with fresh cilantro and tortilla chips, if desired.

Method two: cook first and freeze, then heat later

  1. In a medium bowl or gallon-sized plastic bag, toss stew meat and flour, then place in slow cooker. Add all other ingredients to the slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until vegetables are soft and beef has reached an internal temperature of at least 160°F.
  2. Allow stew to cool slightly, then remove from slow cooker and continue to cool in the refrigerator until the stew has reached room temperature or cooler. Add stew to a gallon-sized freezer bag and place in the freezer until ready to eat.
  3. To serve, thaw stew in the refrigerator overnight. Add stew to a large stock pot and heat over medium heat until temperature has reached 160°F. Serve with fresh cilantro and tortilla chips, if desired.

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Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

Created by: Crystal Owens, A Pumpkin & A Princess

For me, a new year means new goals and lifestyle adjustments to get back on track after the holidays. Meal planning has always been a great way to stick to my diet and make the best possible food choices available. One of my favorite breakfasts is overnight oats.

This easy breakfast can be adjusted with fruit and protein of your preference. Simply combine old fashioned oats, Greek yogurt and milk in an airtight jar overnight. By morning, the oats will have absorbed the liquid and you can top them with fruit, chia seeds, nuts, granola, peanut butter – or whatever you like. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients:
  • ⅓ cup old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt (vanilla or plain)
  • ⅓-½ cup milk
  • Toppings: banana slices, granola, and honey
Directions:
  1. Combine oats, yogurt and milk in a small mason jar or sealed container. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Top with banana slices, granola and a drizzle of honey for sweetness. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Created by: Erin Sellin, Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

A new year means it’s time for resolutions, and I think the most common one is to eat better and lose weight. If you make your own snacks, you know exactly what you are eating, plus you can cater them to what you like!

These peanut butter banana bites are easy energy boosters that don’t require an oven or any heat. Plus, they are a great use of bananas at the end of their life. Just mash them up, add a few other pantry staple ingredients, and roll into bites. I use protein powder to help bind them together, but you could use flax meal too. Both will add lots of nutrition and help absorb the moisture, so they stick together. These homemade snacks are packed with healthy ingredients, so you will feel good about eating them!

Ingredients:
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2½ cups quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup flax meal (or vanilla protein powder)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until well blended.
  2. Roll into approximately 30 1” balls.
  3. Store in the fridge in an air tight container.

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Simple Spaghetti Carbonara

Simple Spaghetti Carbonara

Created by: Amy Christie, this heart of mine

Savory and comforting, Spaghetti Carbonara is a tasty choice for a weeknight (or weekend) meal. It comes together very easily and it’s ready in almost no time. The egg sticks to the noodles, making them extra filling while the bacon, garlic and parsley add the flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly-grated (plus more for topping)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, freshly chopped
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. After it’s cooked, reserve ½ cup of pot water before draining the pasta.
  2. As the pasta cooks, whisk together eggs and cheese in a separate small bowl.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and chop. Reserve the excess fat.
  4. Add the garlic to the same skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add in the cooked pasta. Add in the egg mixture, stirring to combine and cook. Use the reserved pasta water to reach desired consistency.
  6. Season the mix with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with fresh parsley.
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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Crispy Tandoori-Spiced Chickpeas

Crispy Tandoori-Spiced Chickpeas

Created by: Nicole Leggio, Cooking for Keeps

Crispy chickpeas are my new favorite snack. Not only are they ridiculously easy to throw together, but they’re a lighter alternative too, which means I don’t have to limit myself to just a handful.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together paprika, turmeric, brown sugar, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and salt.
  3. Toss chickpeas with olive oil in a medium bowl. Pour on to a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes and toss with a spoon half way through to prevent burning. After 25 minutes, remove from oven, pour chickpeas back in bowl and toss with spices.
  5. Place back in the oven and roast until crispy, another 5 minutes or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve right away.
Tips:
  1. You can adjust the seasonings as you see fit. So if you like things on the sweeter side, add a little bit of brown sugar, a little on the spicier side, add a little bit more cayenne.
  2. Crispy chickpeas will last 12 hours uncovered if you want to make them ahead of time. If you want to make them and then store, they won’t retain that super crisp crunch, but they’ll still be just as tasty, chewy, and addictive as they were straight from the oven.

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Thai Chicken Burrito Bowls

Thai Chicken Burrito Bowls

Created by: Nicole Leggio, Cooking for Keeps

The great thing about these Thai Chicken Burrito Bowls is that you can swap in whatever suits your own taste buds. I happened to use broccoli and red peppers, but you could also use snap peas, baby carrots, or green peppers, etc. Also, you can change out the chicken for pork, beef or even shrimp.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. soy sauce, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 3 tsp. sweet chili sauce, divided
  • 2½ tsp. brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 3 tsp. rice vinegar, divided
  • 3½ tsp. sesame oil, divided
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 head (about 4 cups) broccoli, chopped
  • 1½ cups red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup peanuts, chopped
Directions:
  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions, and add ½ teaspoon salt.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, lime juice, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk together remaining soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil and peanut butter.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add chicken to pan. Cook until brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add garlic, broccoli, red pepper and carrot. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken back to the pan and pour in sauce. Cook until broccoli is tender but still crisp, another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Divide rice between six bowls. Divide chicken and veggies between each bowl. Drizzle with peanut sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts.
Tip:

If you’re not serving them right away, cool everything completely and divide the rice, chicken and veggies evenly between six different airtight containers. Store the peanut sauce in a different airtight container (I like to use a mason jar), and pop everything in to the fridge or freezer until you need. Once you’re ready to serve, thaw frozen ingredients, pour the containers into bowls, pop in the microwave and then drizzle with peanut sauce.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

Winter Pimm’s Cup

Winter Pimm’s Cup

Created by: Sharon Garofalow, Cupcakes and Cutlery

By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, we’ve all had our proper fill of holiday sweets and party drinks. This year I wanted to create something a little on the lighter side, but still incorporate those wintery flavors. This Winter Pimm’s Cup is a twist on a summer time favorite and is perfect for sipping.

The lightly-spiced flavor of the Pimm’s pairs really well with the Honeycrisp apple, orange and sage. By muddling the fresh fruit, you can save calories that usually come with fruit juice or mixers. This cocktail comes together quickly and is easy to make one at a time or for a crowd!

Ingredients:
  • 1½ oz. Pimm’s Liqueur
  • 3 oz. sparkling wine
  • 2 slices Honeycrisp apple, each cut in half
  • 1 slice orange, quartered
  • 3 blackberries
  • A few leaves of fresh sage
Directions:
  1. In a glass, add Pimm’s, fruit and sage. Muddle gently.
  2. Top with champagne.
  3. Garnish with more fruit and sage, if desired.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

Pork Roast with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate

Pork Roast with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate

Make this roast for the whole family and enjoy with a side of flavorful Brussels sprouts.

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 pound New York (top loin) Pork Roast
  • 5 Tsp. lemon-black pepper blend seasoning
  • 3 containers (10 oz.) Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels, drain and cool. Reserve bacon fat. Coarsely crumb bacon.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until they turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Pat Brussels sprouts dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons bacon fat.
  3. Brush 1 tablespoon bacon fat all over pork and season with 4 tablespoons lemon-pepper seasoning mix. Place pork on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 50 minutes.
  4. Spread Brussels sprouts around pork. Continue roasting until the internal temperature of the pork on a thermometer reads 145°F to 160°F, about 30 minutes more (allow 20 minutes per pound roasting time). Transfer roast to serving platter and tent with aluminum foil.
  5. Increase temperature to 425°F. Continue roasting Brussels sprouts until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and stir Brussels sprouts with bacon and pomegranate seeds. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning mix and add to platter.
  6. Heat roasting pan over high heat until juices sizzle. Add ½ cup water and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Carve pork roast and drizzle with pan juices. Serve.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Take only 10 minutes to prep this flavorful slow cooker pork and let it cook all day for an easy meal.

Ingredients:
  • 3 pound boneless blade pork roast, or sirloin roast
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil, or other neutral-flavored oil
  • ½ cup chicken broth
Directions:
  1. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil and place the pork in the pan. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, salt and cayenne. Rub the mixture over all sides of the meat, pressing it to adhere (if the meat is tied together with twine or netting, just rub the seasoning right over it). Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker.
  3. Add the broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Add the broth to the slow cooker, cover and cook until the pork is very tender, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  4. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Use two forks to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Moisten/season with cooking juices to taste.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

Roasted Cauliflower with Jalapeño Caper Vinaigrette

Roasted Cauliflower with Jalapeño Caper Vinaigrette

Created by: Liz DellaCroce, The Lemon Bowl

Cauliflower is roasted until sweet and caramelized then drizzled with a briny, tangy and slightly spicy lemon caper jalapeño vinaigrette.

Ingredients:
  • 8 cups cauliflower, chopped roughly 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. pepper, divided

Jalapeño Caper Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp. capers, minced
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F and line two baking sheets with foil.
  2. Divide the cauliflower between both baking sheets (you want it in a single layer) and drizzle each sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Mix well with your hands to coat and bake in oven until caramelized and golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the jalapeño caper vinaigrette by combining the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper with the parsley, garlic, jalapeño, lemon juice and capers.
  4. Remove cauliflower from the oven and pour into a large serving platter. Drizzle with the jalapeño caper vinaigrette to serve.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash

Created by: Margaret Chapman, The Plant Philosophy

A seasonal feast that’s pure comfort all in one bowl.

Ingredients:
  • 2 acorn squash, halved & seeded
  • Vegetable stock*, as needed (in place of oil)
  • Simple Truth poultry herb blend, to garnish
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Filling:

  • 1½ cups Simple Truth meatless crumble
  • 2 cups Kroger mixed vegetables
  • ¾ cups yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. shallot, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh thyme

Mashed Potatoes:

  • 4 Russet potatoes, peeled (about 4 cups diced)
  • ⅓-½ cup non-dairy milk, as desired
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Wash and pat dry squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Roast cut side down squash for 40-55 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, add diced potatoes and fill with water to top. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Drain and mash with non-dairy milk, garlic, rosemary and salt & pepper to taste.
  6. While the squash is roasting and potatoes are boiling - add diced onion and shallot to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 4-6 minutes, or until translucent. Adding vegetable stock as needed to avoid sticking (in place of oil, optional).
  7. Add in meatless crumble and veggies. Mixing evenly and stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Cook for 10-12 minutes over medium heat.
  8. Stuff with about ½ cup of meatless ground and veggie mixture. Top with a large scoop of mashed potatoes.
  9. Repeat for each squash and transfer back to a baking sheet.
  10. Bring oven to a broil and bake until mashed potatoes are golden brown on top.
  11. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and fresh rosemary.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

10 Swaps to Lighten Up Recipes

10 Swaps to Lighten Up Recipes

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

If you’re looking to lighten up your diet in the New Year, or to incorporate more nutrient-dense foods on your daily menu, there are plenty of opportunities to swap out less-healthy ingredients for more nutritious options.

A simple change like replacing heavy cream with coconut milk can make a world of difference for your nutrient profile as well as digestive health. Here are 10 healthy replacements to clean up your menu while keeping you satiated.

Non-Dairy Milk

For those who are sensitive or allergic to dairy, or are sensitive to food products that contain animal hormones, unsweetened non-dairy milks are a great alternative. Coconut, cashew, almond, and hybrid milks are great options to eliminate dairy from your recipes. You can use non-dairy milks as a 1-to-1 replacement for regular milk in most recipes, though be cognizant of the fact that non-dairy milk is very low in fat. For recipes that call for cream or a higher fat dairy, use canned full-fat coconut milk. Use almond milk in your morning oatmeal, smoothies or even hot chocolate.

Red Palm Oil – Superfood

Cooking oils that contain healthy fats, such as red palm oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and almond oil are great for replacing vegetable oils or butter, which contain no health benefits and are difficult to digest. Red palm oil, on the other hand, is considered a superfood. It contains a high amount of nutrients, including carotenoids, sterols, Vitamin E and antioxidants. Use red palm oil (or coconut oil) in place of butter in your baked goods for a delicious treat boosted with health benefits.

Coconut Sugar

Lower on the glycemic index, coconut sugar is an excellent substitute in any recipe that calls for cane sugar or brown sugar. With a slightly caramel flavor, coconut sugar is both delicious and a better option for those who are cognizant of their blood sugar levels, or are looking to lower their sugar intake. Coconut sugar contains inulin, which slows glucose absorption, resulting in a much smaller sugar spike than other refined sugars. Use coconut sugar as a replacement for cane sugar, or if preparing a recipe that calls for a liquid sweetener, you can use honey, pure maple syrup, agave nectar or coconut nectar instead. Just note that if a recipe calls for a granulated sugar, you won’t get the same texture (and you may need to add more flour) when using coconut sugar.

Bananas

Fruits that are high in fructose, such as bananas, are marvelous in a variety of recipes, for breads, muffins, cookies, pancakes and more. Bananas or applesauce can also be used as a replacement in recipes that require eggs or oil. Make a recipe vegan by replacing each egg with ¼ cup mashed banana or applesauce, or reduce the amount of oil used in a recipe by substituting part of it for banana.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to russet, Yukon gold or red potatoes, as they contain less starch, making them lower on the glycemic index. They also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and fiber, making them much more nutrient-dense than your typical potato. Similar to bananas, sweet potatoes are very useful in baking, adding sweetness and moisture without the use of oil. Simply roast or steam a sweet potato and mash it before adding it to your recipe.

Cider Vinegar

Proven to be useful in lowering your blood sugar, cider vinegar is a smart choice for your daily diet. It helps lower your cholesterol, aids in digestion (since it helps kill harmful bacteria while promoting healthy bacteria) and even helps detox your system. Use cider vinegar in place of balsamic or white vinegar in your marinades, dressings, etc. You can also use a small amount of cider vinegar in vegan treat recipes in place of eggs.

Rice

Rather than sourcing your carbohydrates from bread, which is often made from bleached wheat flour and contains gluten, serve your meals with a side of rice, which is easier for your body to process. Easiest to digest is white rice or sprouted brown rice, as regular brown rice limits your ability to absorb minerals when it’s not sprouted. You can also use rice in place of oats for breakfast, with a splash of milk or honey.

Tahini

When it comes to making homemade sauces or dressings, tahini is a marvelous addition and can be used in place of heavy cream. Tahini makes thick, creamy sauces, and you only need a small amount to achieve a smooth texture. Tahini can also replace peanut butter or oil in many ethnic recipes, or even baked goods. High in phosphorous, lecithin, magnesium and Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15, tahini is rich in nutrients.

Canned Coconut Milk

Rather than using oil or butter in baked goods, or heavy cream for sauces, you can use canned coconut milk as a non-dairy alternative. Full-fat coconut milk contains healthy fats which help hold breads, cookies, and cakes together, while providing the added benefit of Vitamins C, E, B1, B3 and B6.

Gluten-Free Pasta or Flour

For those who have an intolerance or allergy to gluten, there are multiple options for gluten-free pasta. Be sure to read the ingredients list to be sure you’re not intolerant to ingredients used in the gluten-free versions, as most gluten-free pastas contain corn and/or quinoa and rice. You can easily eliminate all-purpose flour from your diet altogether by replacing it with a good gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. If you want to take it one step further, you can go entirely grain-free, using almond, cashew, tiger nut or coconut flour rather than a flour blend with grains.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

Homemade Fridge Deodorizer

Homemade Fridge Deodorizer

Created by: Amy Christie, this heart of mine

The refrigerator is the hub of the kitchen, the spot to store good eats. Unfortunately, it’s also an area that can get dirty, messy and stinky. The dirt and mess can be cleaned, but odors are more of a challenge. With this two-ingredient deodorizer, you can neutralize odors in the refrigerator. Quick and easy, and it works!

Things You'll Need:
  • Pint-sized glass jar or other plastic container, large enough to hold 2 cups
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 20-30 drops essential oil, plus more as needed (fresh scents like citrus or vanilla)
Directions:
  1. Put the baking soda in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the essential oil and stir into the baking soda with a spoon.
  2. Pour the baking soda mixture into the container.
  3. Place the open container in the fridge to absorb odors.
  4. Stir the baking soda mix occasionally to refresh the scent of the essential oils. Replace the mix every 3-4 months.

View Party Plan: Healthy New Year

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