Tuna and white bean salad

For a quick, healthy, and budget-friendly meal, you really can’t go wrong with the use of canned tuna and beans. Any variety, they are always good for you and tasty and generally quite inexpensive! I had the ingredients in the pantry and fridge, so i threw together this quick meal. The tuna and white bean salad is excellent atop a leafy green salad, tortilla or wrap, or crackers. It has ingredients you may not think to put together and offers a much healthier alternative to tuna salad that’s covered in mayo.

I got the idea from Budget Bytes, though I added greek yogurt as a binding agent. This holds everything together much like a regular tuna salad, adds protein and flavor, but does not add lots of extra fat. (I have found in many recipes that Greek yogurt is an excellent replacement for mayo or sour cream.)

ImageIngredients

  • 1 packet or can chunk light tuna in water, drained if necessary
  • 1 can white (canellini/ great northern) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 single serving cup of nonfat plain greek yogurt [use amount desired until your favored consistency is reached]
  • Juice of 1/4 fresh lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a bowl, combine tuna, onions, celery, and lemon juice. Add yogurt to taste- remember you can always add more later! I would start with about 1/2 of the small cup, which should be about 3 oz. Break up tuna chunks and fully mix.
  2. Mix in beans. [Adding them later ensures that they will not get too mashed up.]
  3. Add additional yogurt, salt, and pepper as desired.

ImageThis salad is also great served on a lettuce wrap with your other favorite veggies.

Baked zucchini fries

I am always trying to find healthy recipes that include vegetables yet are still appetizing enough to lure in my carnivorous boyfriend. Enter the zucchini fries! He loves fries, but I certainly would not be frying anything- these are lightly breaded and baked. They are pretty quick and easy as well and are not too heavy. Perfect appetizer for a night in!

Image(Super awful picture quality, sorry! Got too excited to eat!)

My recipe was adapted from the amazing blog Skinnytaste

This recipe is for 2, but basically you just increase the number of zucchini per person and then eyeball the rest. Very easy! I would plan on at least 1/2 to 3/4 of a small zucchini per person.

  • 1.5-2 small zucchini
  • egg white of 1/2 of an egg (or just use the whole thing if you don’t want to save the rest, not really a big deal)
  • appx. 1/2c italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Spray cooking spray onto a baking sheet.
  2. Cut off the ends of the zucchini. Slice the zucchini into strips so they are “fry sized”.
  3. Prepare two bowls: One with the egg white that is beaten, and one with the breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic salt, and pepper.
  4. Working in batches, submerge the zucchini sticks into the egg whites, then fully coat with bread crumbs. Once coated, place sticks onto your pan. (This process can be helpful with either a helper, or using one hand for “wet”/eggs and one for “dry”/bread crumbs.)
  5. If desired, lightly spray tops of coated zucchini sticks with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve with dipping sauce such as creamy italian dressing or warm marinara sauce.

Hail the green smoothie!

Haven’t tried one yet? Well unless you are allergic to spinach or something, give it a shot! The cool thing is that you can customize it to whatever you like and really just eyeball it.

Not to plug products, but I use the Ninja blender! It’s awesome and works as a food processor and a blender combined, has two different size bowls to use, and is just really versatile.

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Anyway. Green smoothies are healthy, easy to make, and fun to experiment with. All you do is add your favorite ingredients and add a handful or so of fresh spinach. It turns it a fun green but doesn’t add a vegetable taste! How cool. I’m not a huge fan of eating in the morning but I know it’s important to eat something before working out. So I would like to make a nice healthy smoothie before going to the gym.

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The main ingredients I always had on hand to make smoothies are:

  • Fresh spinach
  • Skim milk
  • Chia seeds (ever tried them? They are great for you and are full of fiber, give you lots of energy. They instantly boost the health factor and you don’t even notice they are there! Add a half a spoonful per serving and that will do. I use “Bob’s Red Mill” chia seeds that were purchased at Whole Foods.)
  • Fresh or frozen fruit: especially frozen bananas! Buy them fresh, slice, and freeze. they are a good way to add density and nutrients. Plus they are cheap!
  • Splenda or your favorite sweetener
  • Optional: fat free Greek or regular yogurt- if you like your smoothies really creamy. Good way to add protein and flavor.

Here are a couple different ideas for you to try. Go crazy, let me know what works or what bombed for you!

Green berry smoothie

  • 1 handful each of frozen raspberries and strawberries
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 handful frozen bananas
  • 1/2 spoonful chia seeds
  • 1-2 packets Splenda

Peanut butter banana green smoothie

  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1-2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup vanilla almond or soy milk
  • 1-2 handfuls frozen bananas
  • 1/2 spoonful chia seeds
  • 1 dash cocoa powder
  • 1-2 packets Splenda

 

Welcome + Sausage, mushroom, and vegetable soup

After months of telling myself I wouldn’t get a food blog to display my embarrassing recipes, I went ahead and did it. Sigh.

However you managed to find me, thank you. Here is where I, a humble grad student and Coheed fan, will post my pedestrian attempts at making food. I hope I can inspire someone out there to make something delicious. I tend to not stick hard and fast to a recipe. I use them more as inspiration, then go my own way and learn as I’m trying. I do enjoy Pinterest for method of finding recipes (and I like to post my success/ failure onto a “pinned there” board when I try something out).

So anyway! Away we go. It is any of my successful creations that inspire this blog. Any relative success is worth sharing, I think. My most recent and admittedly humble food success was an easy soup. Yes, it’s that time of year in Michigan. First day of fall, time to break out the slow cooker and rest it on the counter until April!

I made a great slow cooker sausage, mushroom, and vegetable soup. It’s easy, low-maintenance, and customizable to whatever you like. (Again here I must mention that I don’t do exact measurements. I encourage you to do the same when cooking- not baking- and just do what you think works.) I love soup and as I was using random things from the pantry, I was worried it would not turn out… these are the best kind of recipes! The ones that surprise you!

I apologize for my awful picture. Had I not wanted to devour this immediately (and had I planned to blog it!) I would have taken a better shot!

This is a great soup that is reminiscent of Italian wedding soup. It’s a good way to use up veggies and isn’t bad for you.

Recipe: (I used a small ~3? quart slow cooker. Modify up or down for your slow cooker or family size.)

  • 1/2-3/4 package smoked sausage link (your favorite variety- I used chicken), halved and sliced [note: you do not have to cook these before putting them in the slow cooker, but quickly pan-frying them might add a nice crispy element)
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 bunch of leeks, cleaned and sliced [note: I cleaned mine by slicing them and putting them in a water bath while doing the rest of my prep work. The dirt went right to the bottom. Drain/ dry well.]
  • 7-8 oz fresh (portobella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh spinach, ends trimmed and chopped
  • 1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 1/2-1 can water: adjust based on your preferred consistency
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Seasoned salt and pepper to taste
  • Your choice: whole grain pasta, rice, or lentils

Place liquids in the slow cooker. Mix well. Add in sausage, celery, leeks, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic. Mix. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 4 hours. Turn up to high and cook 1 hour. (Now is a good time to taste if it needs salt/ pepper.) Do note that cooking times for slow cookers vary! The initial 4 hour cook time can be longer if you like, or speed it up and do it all on high.

Prepare your pasta, rice, or lentils per package directions if you would like to add these for extra fiber and heartiness. Add to the crock or to each bowl as serving- I chose the latter option because I was not sure what I wanted! This way I can decide each time I eat leftovers and see which is best.

Add spinach- don’t worry, it will cook down- stir, and replace lid for about 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

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