As the most indulgent food time of the year is drawing to a close, it’s just the beginning of a sudden surge of wanting to be and eat healthier. Isn't it funny how our brains go on a roller coaster ride where cookies, pies, and cakes sound amazing when November hits, then come January, we’re in full mode craving for true nourishment?! At the same time, all of us cooks and bakers are exhausted from standing in the kitchen for hours on end so what can we do to combine healthy eating with simpler recipes? For the best of both worlds, read on…
Homemade Tomato Soup
We've had chili in the fall and turkey everything since Thanksgiving. While the weather is still cold and crisp, this better-than-childhood version of a steamy bowl of tomato soup will soothe your body and soul from your nipped at nose to your frosty toes! Add a grilled cheese sandwich on the side for a true comfort food kind of meal! This can be made in a slow cooker as well.
-In a very large pot, heat oil, butter, and pepper flakes over medium heat until butter is melted.
-Add carrots and onion.
-Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about ten minutes.
-Add garlic, cook, and stir for one more minute.
-Stir in tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and pepper mixing well.
-Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered to blend flavors.
-Remove from heat.
-Using a blender, puree soup in batches until smooth.
-Slowly stir in heavy cream, stirring continuously to mix thoroughly.
-Return to the stove to thoroughly heat.
-Top each serving with Parmesan cheese if desired.
California Roll Wraps
After the rich, indulgent taste of the holidays, something crisp, clean, and different becomes a deep-down craving! This super simple recipe will give you the taste of sushi's main ingredients, while also making a safe and healthy lunchbox option for work or school.
1/2 cup wasabi mayonnaise
6 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches)
2 packages (8 ounces each) imitation crab meat
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1 small cucumber, seeded and julienned
3/4 cup bean sprouts
Soy sauce or sweet chili sauce, optional
-Divide the wasabi mayonnaise evenly among the 6 tortillas and spread to within 1/2 inch of
-Layer with crab meat, avocado, red pepper, cucumber, and bean sprouts.
-Roll tightly and secure each with cut, wooden skewers.
-Serve with soy sauce or sweet chili sauce if desired
Just because the holidays are over and we want healthier dinner options, we still get hungry! All that exercise works up an appetite! So fuel up with the heartiness of lasagne and the wholesome goodness of spinach!
1 Tbsp salted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces of fresh baby spinach, more if desired
2 lbs ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
12 (or more) cooked lasagna noodles
1 jar of healthy spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
-In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
-Saute the garlic for 2-3 minutes in butter.
-Add in the spinach and saute until wilted.
-Remove from heat.
-In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, salt, and nutmeg.
-Add the spinach, and mix until fully incorporated.
-Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
-Spread 1/4 of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9 x13 inch pan.
-Top with 3 (or more) noodles.
-Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/4 of the spaghetti sauce and 1/3 of the cheese.
-Repeat the layers once more.
-Pour 1/2 cup of water on top, then layer 3 lasagna noodles and the remaining ricotta mixture, spaghetti sauce, and cheese.
-Top with another 1/2 cup of water.
-Cover the pan with foil.
-Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbly.
-Remove the foil, and cook another 10 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes to allow the liquid to absorb. If it is still too watery, put it in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.