Monday, January 28, 2013

.don't let the weekend distract you!.

yummy! in my tummy... at least
Hope everyone did well the past few days, filling their pantries and bellies with healthier choices and making it a point to hit the weights. Today I'm going to post a few quick and easy recipes you will be able to make as meals or sides over the weekend. If you've been reading my blog and are following along with my sister and my weight loss journey, you will probably have a good bit of these ingredients on hand already. Let's hold strong, girls! 

As a stay at home Mom, I get to catch a lot of cooking shows. One of my favorite hosts is Giada De Laurentiis. (How can that little woman eat all that good food and still look so hot? Ugh!)
I specifically make her 'warm vegetable salad' pretty often, normally alongside a red meat. I even served this at our family Easter dinner, because it was a healthier alternative for me to fill up on rather than my mom's to die for mashed potatoes.
I alter her's a little, making it more convenient with a 'Steamables' bag of red potatoes and frozen green beans:


  • 2 whole red peppers
  • 1 1/2 pound red potatoes (I normally buy a 'Steamables' bag and go that easier route)
  • 3/4 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved (or a bag of frozen)
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano leaves (or 1tblspoon dried)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the broiler. Place the red peppers on a foil lined baking sheet.
Place the red peppers under the boiler. Turning every 2 to 3 minutes cook the peppers until the skin is blistered, about 8 to 9 minutes total. Place the blistered peppers in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and allow the peppers to sit for 10 minutes to allow the skin to separate and let cool
Steam up your potatoes and let sit for a minute. Remove the potatoes to a cutting board. Put green beans in a pan and steam until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the green beans to a large bowl. Slice the potatoes in half while still warm and combine them with the green 
beans in the large bowl. Remove the peppers from the plastic bag. Peel off the skin from the peppers. Slice the pepper flesh into wide strips and remove the seeds and veins. Place them in the bowl with
the potatoes. Add the scallions, parsley, and garlic and toss to combine.
In a small bowl combine the oregano, lemon juice and zest, and white wine vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the salt and pepper. Toss the warm vegetables with the herb vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Another one of Giada's recipes I frequent often, which Eddie loves as well, is her 'artichoke and tomato panzanella.' It's a salad with grilled, warm whole wheat bread, which makes it filling enough to be a lunch, snack or a side to a meat:


  • 3 cups 1 1/2-inch-cubed whole-wheat bread (I use hamburger rolls since they're thicker)
  • One 10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (about 2 cups) 
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar


Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread and artichoke hearts with olive oil and 
season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread and artichokes until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bread and artichokes from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the tomatoes, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

This one was given to me from a friend of mine. She used to whip it up to fuel herself after a workout, being it has a good bit of protein from the tuna and eggs. I make this, keep it in a big Tupperware in the fridge, and we munch on it over the course of a couple days, moistening with extra mayo as needed, or we top our salads with it. Everyone who tries it gets addicted. This is 'Meg's Yummo Pasta Salad:'


  • 1 box Barilla Plus elbows
  • 2-3 hardboiled eggs- chopped up
  • 1 large can Tuna (in water) OR 2 small cans
  • 1 small can chopped black olives-drained
  • Block of reduced fat cheese- diced small (your choice, I normally use Colby)
  • 1 cup Olive Oil Mayo  (+ extra to moisten if needed next day)
  • Salt +Pepper to taste


Boil entire box of elbow noodles. Add next 6 ingredients into a large bowl and stir together. When noodles are done, strain and rinse with cool water (make sure they're cooled so you don't melt all the cheese to the noodles) Add to bowl of ingredients and stir all together. Best if you let it sit in fridge for a couple hours until cooled through

Plain steamed veggies everyday will get really boring after a {short} while. To avoid that from  happening and finding yourself reaching for something not so healthy, you have to mix it up. I have my favorite vegetables that I like to enjoy often (for me it's broccoli, green beans, and asparagus) but I like to play with the seasonings on them. This is my favorite way to season my green beans (and sometimes my asparagus), which I got from Undressed Skeleton and just changed slightly, again for convenience, using 'Steamables' green beans. My
'Sweet and Softy Green Beans:'
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 bag frozen 'Steamables' Green Beans 
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Packets/ 1tblspoon Splenda (or Truvia)
Put the green beans in a microwave to steam them up. After you remove them from the microwave, add them to a skillet with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 packet/some Splenda. Cook on high continuing to stir and flip them until they are lightly brown. When they are lightly brown add the remaining Splenda and sesame seeds and reduce heat to medium. The sweetness of the sweetener will cook down, and the sesame seeds will start to brown. That’s when you know they're ready. 

**one last tip**
I'm a Jersey Girl. That being said, we love our boardwalk food, and a yummy cheesesteak happens to be one of my vices. After I started counting calories, I realized my favorite brand, Steak Eze (sold at Costco and Sam's Club) weren't really that bad for you. They're 180 calories, but hold 18 grams of, our good friend, protein. They're not something I would eat everyday, but they help the 'i need a good fat meal' craving. I make mine in a pan with extra peppers and onions, with reduced fat provolone melted on top, and serve on a wheat roll. Sometimes, we'll even have 'cheesesteak salads' for dinner, and eat them over romaine with veggies and fat free ranch. May sound weird, but try it!

Hope my tips help you get through your weekends. I'll be checking in Monday with some updates!

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