healthy

Recipe! Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

As you are getting ready for the holiday season, while it’s fun to go to the tried and true traditional recipes, here is a recipe that would go great with a holiday meal! Or this garlic Parmesan spaghetti squash recipe would make a delicious side dish with dinner too!

Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash - Image Source: iStock

Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash - Image Source: iStock

Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
Serves 6 - 8

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
2. With a knife, carefully score squash and poke holes lengthwise where you’re going to cut it in half. Microwave the squash for 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Carefully cut the squash in a half. Scoop out the seeds.
3. Brush the inside of both halves of the squash with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Place the two halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast the squash until tender, about 30 minutes. Allow several minutes to cool. Using a fork, scrape the insides to create spaghetti like texture. Set aside.
5. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots. Cook until soft and slightly browned, about 2 - 3 minutes.
6. Add the spaghetti squash and sauté for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and then stir in the Parmesan cheese. To finish, season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Snack Picks for Busy Days

Snacks can help to fuel the body on even the busiest of days! What you eat and do not eat, will make a difference in helping you power through the day. Here are some practical snack ideas to keep on hand.

Trail mix - a quick handful of trail mix can deliver a mix of healthy fats, some protein, and quality carbs. Opt for those that have mostly dried fruit and nuts.

Apple and Peanut Butter

Pair up apple slices with peanut butter or your favorite nut butter like almond butter for a perfect mix of energy.

On the go tip: Bring along single serve peanut butter cups (e.g. JIF Natural) or nut butter packs (e.g. RX Nut Butter or Justin’s Nut Butter) to go with apple slices.

Carrots and Hummus

Crunchy baby carrots and your favorite hummus is a delicious savory snack! There are so many great types of hummus now, mix up which one you choose to keep your taste buds interested.

On the go tip: Opt for single serving cups (e.g. Sabra) of hummus to go with the carrots!

Pistachios

Perhaps the best thing about pistachios is that 49 pistachios is a serving, which is more than compared to other nuts. Plus cracking pistachios takes a bit of time, which helps to make a serving of this snack last a little longer.

On the go tip: Buy single serving packs of pistachios (e.g. Wonderful Pistachios) that are already portioned out for you! Even switch it up with flavored pistachios like salt and pepper or sweet chili.

Popcorn

This whole grain snack is so tasty! Plus a serving of popcorn is adding in whole grains and fiber to your day. And for an added bonus, 3 cups of popcorn is a serving, which is much larger than a portion size of other crunchy snack foods (a serving of chips is only one handful). Opt for air popped popcorn at home or choose light versions of microwave popcorn or bags of popcorn.

On the go tip: Opt for individual serving bags of popcorn (e.g. Angie’s Boom ChickaPop or similar)!

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Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Busy days call for simple - yet delicious - dinners! This Peach Burrata Caprese Salad is a perfect side dish for dinner. Plus you don’t even have to turn on the oven.

If you haven’t had burrata before, it’s definitely worth a try! Burrata is cheese that has an outer layer of solid mozzarella and the inside the inside is filled with cream. It has a rich creamy flavor and is perfect with a fresh flavors like peach and tomato - or even a traditional caprese salad. Typically burrata is about 2 - 4 oz in size and will serve 2 - 4 people because it is so rich, a little goes a long way. Look for burrata in the cheese section of your grocery store.

This salad is simple to make, you need: fresh peaches, cherry tomatoes or your other favorite type of tomatoes to slice, burrata, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze. Slice the peaches and tomatoes. On a serving plate arrange the peaches and tomatoes around the plate. Top with torn basil leaves and place the burrata in the center. Then before serving, finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad

Peach Burrata Caprese Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 fresh peaches
1 cup cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
1 piece of burrata cheese
balsamic glaze

Directions:

1. Slice peaches and tomatoes. Arrange on serving platter.

2. Top with torn basil leaves. Place burrata in center of serving plate. If you are going to wait to serve this, cover and refrigerate until serving.

3. Immediately before serving, finish with drizzle of balsamic glaze.

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Recipe: Chia Cherry Lentil Muffins

These delicious muffins deliver 5 grams of protein each - plus 2 grams of fiber! The fiber and protein boost comes from the lentils incorporated in the muffins. Check out this recipe and to learn more on how lentils can benefit your health - listen to a recent radio interview registered dietitian, Molly Morgan, click here.

Photo Credit: Novel Studios

Photo Credit: Novel Studios

Chia Cherry Lentil Muffins

Yield 16 Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (370 mL) lentils, cooked
1/2 cup (120 mL) 100% orange juice
2 cups (475 mL) white wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
2 tablespoons (30 mL) chia seeds
1/2 cup (120 mL) sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup (120 mL) vanilla yogurt
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) dried tart cherries

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Prepare 16 muffin tins with paper liners or non-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine the cooked lentils and orange juice in a food processor until the lentils are pureed.

3. In a large mixing bowl combine the pureed lentils, white wheat pastry flour and salt. Stir to combine.

4. Then add chia seeds, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla yogurt, and eggs. Stir to combine. Then add-in the dried cherries and stir to combine.

6. Pour 1/3 of the muffin mixture in each of the muffin tins. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Cool the muffins on a cooling rack.

Nutrition Facts (per muffin): 210 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 160 milligrams sodium, 32 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 15 grams sugar, 5 grams protein

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Lunch Ideas to Switch it Up!

Tired of the same old lunches? Here are some nutrient-rich ideas and product tips to switch up lunches either for yourself or the little ones in your life! Happy lunch packing!

Crunch + Protein

When you are looking to add something crunchy to a lunch, rethink-it and add-in roasted chickpeas. They come in a wide variety of flavors and some treat-like flavors too (e.g. milk chocolate!). What I love about these - each serving is about 130 calories plus it delivers 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. The fiber is important because it will help to slow down blood sugar level increases, in turn providing better long lasting energy.

Click here to buy some today or check your local stores like Target or Wegmans for them as well!

Click here  to buy roasted chickpeas!

Click here to buy roasted chickpeas!

Add a Protein Boost

Pack along a milk box to add a boost of 8 grams of protein to lunch! I love these Horizon Organic milk boxes, they are also available in flavored options like chocolate and strawberry, which are perfect for refueling after practices, workouts and games. Plus for an added bonus these milk boxes are shelf-stable and they don’t have to be refrigerated, which makes them really portable and easy to bring along.

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Salads for Lunch

If your little ones are tired of sandwiches, switch it up with a salad! They can be really quick and easy to make. Start with a base of leafy greens, then top it with sliced veggies or fruit, sunflower seeds for crunch, and some sliced cheese. Or even add some baked chicken or tofu for a protein boost. Drizzle it with your favorite salad dressing.

Note - also pictured here is a mini yogurt parfait, which are great to pack along with a salad or even with a sandwich. Check out the Back to School Lunch Favorites for more on parfaits - click here.

Warm Up with Soup

pacific food soup.jpg

Soup can make a great addition to lunches. Plus choosing a vegetable-based soup like Tomato Soup, is a great way to squeeze in extra vegetables. Remember to send the soup warm in a thermos style container so it will still be warm to enjoy at lunch time. Send along the soup with a half of sandwich, salad, or a parfait to complete the meal.

Pictured here is Pacific Foods roasted red pepper & tomato soup, a favorite at our house! Also check out the Pacific Foods new line of bone broth soups.

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Roasted Beet + Cauliflower Fall Salad

Fall Salads are the best!

Fall Salads are the best!

Roasted Beet + Cauliflower Fall Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

2 medium beets beets, peeled and chopped (1/2-inch pieces)*

2 cups cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1/4 cup Biena Snacks Sea Salt Chickpeas

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (shells removed)

Salad dressing of choice

*Short on time? Try Love Beets - all you will have to do is cube them up! They will be ready to go. Look for them in the produce section of the grocery store.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Place the cubed beets on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap up the beets into a packet and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, until the beets are tender.

  3. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned.

  4. To assemble the salads - divide the lettuce among two serving bowls. Divide the toppings evenly among the salad: roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, roasted chickpeas, and sunflower seeds. Finish with your salad dressing of choice (my go to is balsamic vinaigrette!)!

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Product Picks

I'm on a constant quest to try new foods, and products! Here are a couple of recent options that were a hit. 

Cotton Candy Grapes from the Grapery

Cotton Candy Grapes from the Grapery

UNIQUE + DELICIOUS CANDY GRAPES

These Cotton Candy grapes from the Grapery are full of flavor and delicious. They are super sweet and definitely have a cotton candy-like taste. 

In my opinion they are worth putting on your shopping list and can even double as a dessert. 

The Grapery website explains more about the way that these grapes get their unique flavor, its really interesting and worth a read, click here! And don't wait, they are only available for a short period of time, according to their website now through September 20. 

Pressed By KIND Bars

Pressed By KIND Bars

ON-THE-GO FRUIT

Sometimes schedules call for on-the-go options and Pressed by KIND bars are a perfect way to add in fruit on busy days or in lunch boxes! Plus the bars have a simple ingredient list and each has 2 servings of fruit per bar.

For example, the Cherry, Apple, Chia bar ingredient list is literally - cherry, apple, and chia. There is not any added sugar or sweeteners, which is great! Each bar has 130 calories and delivers 3 grams of fiber. 

They are also available in additional flavors including: Mango Apple Chia, Dark Chocolate Strawberry, Dark Chocolate Banana, Strawberry Apple Cherry Chia, and Pineapple Banana Kale Spinach. You can order Pressed by KIND bars direct from KIND Snacks website or look for them in grocery stores, Target, and more.  

Green Giant Riced Veggies 

Green Giant Riced Veggies 

INNOVATIVE VEGGIES

One of the newest ways to enjoy veggies is 'riced' veggies. The texture of veggies when they are chopped fine is so interesting and especially cauliflower, takes on the texture of almost being rice-like. 

You can make your own riced veggies but these frozen bags are super convenient! Plus they come in great flavor combinations like pictured here, Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic. 

Once cup of riced veggies has only 30 calories and is a perfect side dish! Or try plain riced cauliflower as a stand-in for rice with stir-fry or even made into a fried 'rice' dish. Look for riced veggies in the freezer section of the grocery store. Click here for more information on Riced Veggies from Green Giant. 

Note: These product picks are not an advertisement, just products that Creative Nutrition Solutions owner and registered dietitian, Molly Morgan loves! 

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Dinner Idea: Mango Ginger Chicken

Are you in need of quick dinner ideas? Grab this delicious Mango Ginger Chicken recipe from my Olum's Cooking project. Click here for the recipe video and recipe. 

Mango Ginger Chicken - Quick and Easy! 

Mango Ginger Chicken - Quick and Easy! 

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Quick Salad: Mexican Quinoa Salad

This salad recipe has a homemade jalapeno vinaigrette dressing that is absolutely delicious and not too spicy! Plus it is really beautiful and colorful. 

Grab this recipe and watch the recipe video from Molly's cooking project with Olums: https://youtu.be/oJPCQnuarBQ

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

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Game Day Snack: Red Hot Chicken Fingers

Looking for an appetizer that is perfect for game day snacking? Try this Red Hot Chicken Finger Recipe with Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dip from Molly's cooking project with Olum's. 

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