Appetizers, Easy & Quick, Healthy, Party Foods, Salad, Starters

Easy Tomato & Mozzarella “Flowers”

Caprese salad is probably one of the only salads I could eat every single day. Wait, I could eat the fresh mozzarella every single day. That’s what I meant!! Ha ha! Nonetheless, I still really enjoy a nice caprese salad with fresh juicy tomatoes and yummy mozzarella. I try and make it different ways. This was my take on making it pretty and playful. It’s definitely a simple salad that packs a big impact!

This salad definitely reminds me of summer, and living in Chicago I could really use that after the massive amount of snow last week. Luckily spring and summer are right around the corner. Here’s my Caprese “Flowers.”

Easy Tomato and Mozzarella Flowers

Ingredients:
4-6 camparai tomatoes (or any smaller round tomatoes)
2-4 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1 inch thin squares
1 T olive oil
½ T balsamic vinegar (optional)
2-3 t dried basil (or 1 oz chopped fresh)
Sprinkle Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Directions: Cut tomatoes with and X not going completely through to the bottom. Gently pull the pieces slightly apart to open them up a little. Next place 1 square piece of fresh mozzarella in the center of the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar if using. Sprinkle the basil over the top and season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Notes: Definitely feel free to use fresh basil. I decided to make this because I had all the ingredients minus the fresh basil. Still comes out delicious with the dried. You can omit balsamic f you choose. I don’t always use it, I just like the depth of flavor it adds.

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Chicken, Healthy, Quick Meals

Cheesy Garlic Crispy Chicken

I have really been eating healthier for the last few weeks. I’m trying to not go too much off course and trying to eat less throughout the day when I know I have an event or a time that I may not be eating the best. During the week I’m always looking for something new to try. That’s where this dish came in.

I usually make chicken often and like I’ve said before I’m always trying to come up with new chicken recipes. I just made this dish last night and I had to share. The chicken came out so tender with a crispy top and a nice pop of garlic. It was delicious. I needed something different for chicken and I wanted it to be healthier therefore I used light and low fat items. Feel free to use full fat ingredients in this dish too. I’m sure it will come out even better.

Cheesy Garlic Crispy Chicken

Ingredients:
8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
3 oz (1/4 cup+ 2 T) light ranch salad dressing
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
3 garlic cloves, grated (more or less to taste)
2 t olive oil
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t + more for sprinkling, garlic powder
1 t + more for sprinkling, onion powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°. Add chicken to an oven safe dish and season chicken with sprinkle of garlic and onion powder and salt and pepper. In a medium bowl mix together light ranch dressing, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, grated garlic, panko breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon each of spices and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once completely mixed add a spoonful of the breadcrumb mixture to top of all chicken pieces and flatten. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes until chicken in completely cooked to 165°. Let rest a few minutes and serve with your favorite sides.

Notes: You can do this with chicken breasts and depending on size you may have to just increase the cooking time. Feel free to double the topping to make extra as it’s super delicious. I only did this amount as I was trying to keep it healthier. Try to switch it up with different kinds of cheese or even different spices. You can make this earlier in the day and cook when ready.

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Before going in the oven!
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Cooked!
Bacon, Easy & Quick, Healthy, Salad, Seafood

Shrimp & Bacon BBQ Ranch Salad

I’m about 2 weeks into doing Weight Watchers and I’m finally realizing that dinner doesn’t have to be a production every single night. I have a habit of over thinking a meal and then getting frustrated or discouraged. I always feel like every meal should have a a protein, a vegetable and a starch. That must be my culinary professors in my head telling me that.

So, I’m learning it’s ok to have eggs for dinner or a quick thrown together salad or something simple. With doing Weight Watchers I feel it’s easier as I can really eat anything I want.

I put this salad together this for dinner that was full of protein and very delicious. It really was super simple.

Shrimp & Bacon BBQ Ranch Salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients:
20 medium shrimp, cleaned and cooked and slightly warm
1 small avocado
½ cup no salt black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 small red onion, diced
¼ cup shredded cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and rough chopped
6- 8 cups romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
2 oz bbq sauce
2 oz ranch dressing

Directions: In a small bowl mix together bbq sauce and ranch dressing. Add lettuce to a large bowl. Add in corn, black beans, onions, cheese and dressing and mix well. Separate into individual bowls and top with even amount of shrimp, bacon and avocado. Enjoy!

Notes: Feel free to mix all these ingredients together and serve it up. I always like to make sure the main proteins or higher fat/calories items are equally distributed to both bowls especially when county calories or points. In this case, that would be the shrimp, bacon and avocado. Use any bbq sauce you’d like, mine had a slight kick and it gave a nice flavor profile. If you don’t have cooked shrimp, feel free to use raw and just cook them up. That’s exactly what I did.

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Breakfast, Easy & Quick, Healthy

5 Ingredient Healthy Bagels

You may be hearing about these easy healthy bagels.  They are made with very few ingredients and low in calories, fat and smart points.  I decided to make them last week and made again yesterday.  I’ve done it 2 different ways and I wanted to share with you what I did.  You will see so many variations out there of this recipe. This is just what I did.

I loved them so much I could probably eat them every single day.  So delicious and makes me feel guilt free as they are healthier and only 3 smart points per bagel.

5 Ingredient Healthy Bagels

Ingredient:
1 cup Greek yogurt, nonfat and unsweetened
1 cup flour (if self-rising flour, omit the salt and baking powder)
¾ t of salt
1 ½ t of baking powder
1 egg, beaten

Toppings, optional:
Everything bagel seasoning
Sesame or poppy seeds
Cinnamon & sugar (Will add more points/calories)
Cheese (Will add more points/calories)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°.  In a bowl mix together the Greek yogurt and the flour.  Mix well until if forms a dough.  Knead the dough a few minutes.  Add flour to a flat surface and roll dough into a ball and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope and pinch both ends together to create a bagel shape.   Place on parchment paper and brush with beaten egg then top with desired toppings.  Bake in oven 20-23 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool prior to eating. Then Enjoy!

Note: I have done the method where you boiled the bagels first then baked them. Honestly, it didn’t taste or come out any different to me.  The 2nd time I made them I baked for about 22 minutes.  Each oven is different so the time and temp may vary.  Some people cook at a lower temp for longer or a high temp for shorter.  You can also add the broiler to help crisp up the bagels.  I haven’t done this as mine have come out fine.  If you can wait to eat them, wait till they are cooled.  I’ve eaten right away both times and the insides felt slightly gummy, however they didn’t taste gummy at all.

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