Archive for May, 2011

Garlic Mashed No-Tatoes

I have been looking for a good Cauliflower Puree recipe, but everyone seems to like to take something that should be healthy and add things like butter and cream cheese. Why ruin a healthy dish?!  So I decided to keep it simple, and turn to one of my favorite cooking methods for maximum flavor…

Roasting!

Who doesn’t like roasted garlic? Crazy people, that’s who! So garlic lovers: this one’s for you. And remember, if you are not part of the garlic lover’s club, just adjust the amount of garlic used to suit your taste! Not only is this a great tasting recipe, but it is also a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, and is  LOADED with vitamin C! Oh, and if you have high cholesterol: you’re welcome! This one is great for you!

Garlic Mashed No-Tatoes

Ingredients:

1 large head of Cauliflower

1-3 cloves Garlic (I use 3!)

3-4 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tbsp Fage Greek Yogurt 0% Fat

2 tbsp Reduced Fat Milk (optional)

Salt & Pepper*

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375

Place 3 garlic cloves into a glass of water for 5 min (you’ll thank me later).

Remove base and leaves from cauliflower. Chop or break cauliflower head apart into several pieces (smaller pieces cook faster).

Now that it is SUPER easy to remove the husks from the garlic, go ahead and take care of that!

Place cauliflower and garlic into a mixing bowl, toss in 2-3 tbsp olive oil (until coated). Place on foiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (go light this time; you can always add more, but can never take it back out!)

Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes, or until browned and fork tender. (I recommend flipping once during last 15-20 minutes)

Place in food processor and let her rip! Once minced, add yogurt, milk (optional, but recommended), and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pulse until mixed thoroughly and desired consistency is met. Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with green onions/chives and enjoy!

Makes (4) 135-160 calorie servings.

 

 

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I’m a Breast Man… Only Because They’re so Easy to Grill!

Chicken breasts are a common food among us gym-goers because they are a great source of (lean) protein, they are cheap, and they are easy to cook. Today I am going to give you a quick how-to when it comes to grilled chicken breasts. Grilled chicken breasts can be hit and miss depending on who is cooking them and how the stars are aligned that particular day…

It doesn’t need to be complicated, but there are a couple of steps that will guarantee perfectly grilled chicken breasts every time!

We are gonna start  with 1 or 2 packages of thawed, boneless, skinless chicken breast. This stuff goes on sale for $1.97/lb, and if you don’t mind pulling the skin off and de-boning it yourself, you can find it for less than  $1/lb! Make sure to get chicken that is as natural as possible and doesn’t contain a lot of “solution”, because it will be harder for you to add your own flavor.

Here is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT STEPS when it comes to guaranteeing that your chicken doesn’t come out dry.

Filet it! One reason that a lot of people have problems getting their chicken breasts to turn out is because of the shape of the chicken breasts themselves. They are very thick on one end and thin on the other. By the time the thicker part is cooked through, most of the chicken is over-cooked and dry… Just keep your palm flat against the chicken and use a SHARP knife to gently “saw” the chicken into two (almost even) pieces.

Now for the marinade… I used this one because not only did it sound good, but there were no “weird” ingredients, the sodium levels were pretty low, and there was no sugar. Your marinade must contain some salt, however, or the chicken will not absorb much of the flavors. I also recommend getting something with a vinegar base or adding a vinegar to it (like white or red wine vinegar) for a little tang. Place chicken in a large mixing bowl, add enough marinade to coat the chicken, then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge until you are getting ready to grill.

Take the chicken out of the fridge before you start to light the charcoal, or at least 30 minutes prior to grilling if you are using a gas grill. If the chicken is too cold when it goes on the grill the muscle fibers will tighten up and the chicken will get tough. I use 100% natural hard wood charcoal because it doesn’t have all the added chemicals that some charcoal does (especially match light) and it has a better flavor to it. Imagine that- better flavor AND better for you!

Once your charcoals are ready and you have spread them out, make sure to do this one thing before you add your chicken…

WAIT!

Let the charcoal cool down for 5 minutes so that you don’t scorch the chicken. Now because there is oil in the marinade, I am not going to oil the grate on the grill, but you can if it makes you happy 🙂 Just place the chicken directly on the grill and try to spread them out evenly without having them touch. Mmm, now doesn’t that look good?

Pay attention to where the hot spots are on your grill. As you start to flip the breasts over (about 5 min), you will notice that some of them are cooking faster than others (example: the 2nd one from the left). Move them around to share the hotter and cooler spots so that they finish cooking at the same time. You can use a meat thermometer to see if they have reached 160 degrees, or hey, just slice one open and check! When they are about ready to be taken off they will become slightly stiffer and not as “squishy” to the touch and, when cut, the juices will run clear.

So they are now ready to come off the grill. Are you ready to eat? HOLD YOUR HORSES! There is still one more step to make sure that these things turned out perfect.

Tent it!

Place the chicken in a glass dish and cover with foil for about 10-15 min. This is a perfect time to set the table, prepare your salad, and grab a healthy (ish) drink like a Vodka/Soda to enjoy with your meal. It will go perfect with your lemon-herb chicken!

So remember:

  • Start with natural, 1% solution chicken
  • Filet the breasts for quicker, more even cooking times
  • Marinade
  • Let them come to room temperature
  • Let the charcoals “calm down”
  • Tent it!

 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 🙂

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Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

I made this today for the first time and liked it so much I had to share it with you. Remember, this is based on MY body and goals… You can make alternations as necessary or even cut my portions in half to get a lower calorie version (250 cals).

1 cup water

7 oz Yam (Orange/Red)

1 cup Fage Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (whey)

A light sprinkle of Nutmeg and Cinnamon

Blend. Add additional water until you have the consistency that you want, or to increase volume.

Total calories- 505

Total carbs- 65g

Total protein- 58g

Total Fat- 1g

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Staying Fit on Vacation

Last week I took a short vacation to Washington DC, and once again while on vacation, I didn’t gain 1 pound. I have also done the same in China and Italy. Why is it that some people always seem to gain weight while on vacation? Is it because they have a slower metabolism? Is it because the plane ride caused them to swell with water?

No.

The reason that people gain weight on vacation is because… They are on vacation! People do things that they wouldn’t normally do, like drink a margarita or two on a Wednesday. When you are on vacation you tend to eat out every day and we all know what happens after that… Well, guess what? I too eat out every day on vacation and enjoy a a cocktail or two or three more often than I normally would. So what is the difference?

I plan.

Here are my tips for staying fit while away from home:

Where have all the workouts gone? I was lucky enough to be staying at a hotel with a gym inside, so I woke up at 6am every day and did a quick workout (about 1/2 of what I normally do). Hey, it is vacation, right? If you have access to a gym, it is a great way to wake up and get your body and mind ready for a busy day. You will also be able to do more throughout the day because you avoided sleeping in too late and wasting part of your vacation. No gym in your hotel? Try to do some simple body-weight exercises in your room in the morning (dedicate 20 min). Warning: vigorous leg exercises are not a good idea while on vacation. You are going to need your legs! (see next tip)

Taxi? Metro? How about Reebok! Map out where you want to go and check to see how much distance is from place to place. You can walk about a mile in 20 minutes and you will see so much more of the city that you are visiting. Some of my favorite little shops that I saw while in Italy I stumbled upon while walking to my next destination. So pack a pair of comfortable shoes and walk wherever you can. Wait until you are tired before you start to take public transportation. You can always shower before dinner 🙂

Food “on the go:” This one can be tough. Last week one of the hardest meals for me to find was breakfast. After my morning workout I needed something to eat. The only thing around me was a Mc Donald’s. Not cool. All I could do is find something that looked like real food (minimally processed). So for 300 calories, I grabbed an Egg Mc Muffin. English muffin, egg, cheese, and ham (probably the worst thing on it). Those are foods I at least recognize! This is also a satisfying food with plenty of protein (18g).

Lunch and Dinner start way before you sit down to eat. Remember how you normally eat 5-6 meals per day? Why is it that on vacation most of us only eat 3? Nobody wants to spend their whole day looking for food, but what if it were already with you? Try packing single serving bags of trail mix of beef jerky with you for your trip. Costco can be a life saver! One of the biggest reasons for weight gain (vacation or no vacation) is waiting too long between meals. This causes you to be so hungry that you overeat the next time food is in front of you. This tip will not only save you from overeating, it will also save you some money. Money that you could be spending on something else!


Remember: a muffin top is a horrible souvenir! Luckily, it is also very easy to avoid. So on your vacation this summer, follow these tips to keep you looking good in all those pictures that you’ll be taking! Safe travels!

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