For Thanksgiving this year I was in charge of bringing the apps….so in addition to the regular fruit, veggie, and cheese trays I also decided to kick mom’s famous deviled eggs up a notch! Don’t bacon and jalapenos just make everything better? These were a hit, and should be considered a quick and easy addition to your holiday parties this month!
Bacon & Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
Author: Hesitantly Healthy
- 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- 1 cup mayonnaise (see Notes below)
- ½ cup yellow mustard (adjust to taste preference)
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
- 6 pieces bacon, cooked until crispy, and crumbled
- All-purpose seasoning of your choice (to taste)
- Optional Paprika as topping
- Hard boil your eggs with plenty of time to allow them to cool (I do mine the night before I plan to make deviled eggs)
- Peel eggs, slice in half, and empty all yolks into a mixing bowl
- Add mayo, mustard, and all-purpose seasoning to the yolks and mix until creamy
- Mix in ¾ of the jalapenos and ¾ of the bacon (reserving the rest as topping)
- Put the yolk mixture into either a frosting bag or a Ziplock bag with a corner cut out
- Pipe the yolk mixture into each egg half, making sure to give each egg a heaping serving
- Top with remaining jalapenos and bacon crumbles
- Sprinkle with paprika if desired
It can be difficult to find completely “clean” mayonnaise – I used Spectrum Naturals Organic Mayonnaise with Olive Oil, but there were other organic brands available in my supermarket (Vons), and even more options are available online.
Now that I’m done eggsplaining this egg-cellent recipe, does anyone have a yolk or two?
My absolute favorite snack in the entire world is almost any form of chips. I love the crunchy, salty, deliciousness that they bring to my life, and perhaps more than anything I love that they act as a vehicle for getting tasty dips into my pie hole. When I first started eating clean I traded chips for dried fruit, which is a tasty and healthy snack in its own right, but let’s be honest….it’s not chips, and it ain’t gonna cut It.
While exploring “clean” chip options with which to pair my beloved guac and salsa, I stumbled across Beanitos. Beanitos don’t look like traditional chips and they aren’t made with the same ingredients that traditional corn, wheat, or potato chips are made of….logically, in my mind at least, if some company decided it would be worth it to completely re-write the script on chips it must be for a good reason.
And a good reason it is. Check out the goodness that resides in a bag of Beanitos:
- 20% of your daily dietary fiber (5g) and 4g of protein in just 12 chips
- Non-GMO Project Verified
- Corn Free, Gluten Free, Cholesterol Free
- No Trans Fat, No Preservatives, No MSG
A healthy alternative that packs a nutritional punch and won’t break the bank (Graphic from Beanitos.com)
So what makes a bean chip a bean chip? Well, Beanitos are made with whole beans (black, white, or pinto), which are washed, cooked, and mixed with whole grain rice to form a dough. After being shaped and cut, they are baked and then flash fried in Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil (source: Beanitos website). Sprinkle a little sea salt on these bad boys and they’re ready to be bagged. Alternately, flavored Beanito options tout several additional seasoning ingredients, but you can rest easy knowing that all flavor varieties are made with all clean ingredients and no GMOs.
Beanitos do taste different than traditional chips because you’ve probably never tasted a chip made from beans, but they are light and crispy and made from excellent ingredients that you don’t feel an ounce of shame for eating. With six flavor varieties currently on the market, my favorite is Original Black Bean with sea salt (it’s the best for dipping, behind the brand new white bean “restaurant style” variety), followed closely by Nacho Cheese (a lighter, crispier Doritos) and Chipotle BBQ (deep BBQ hickory flavors).
In tortilla chips these days, the top ingredient is corn followed by whatever refined or hydrogenated oil they cook the chips in. Add artificial flavors and processing and you welcome a science project in your mouth. While writing this, I decided to take a look at a leading Multigrain Chip brand just for kicks since my assumption was that this would be one of the healthier traditional tortilla chip options on the market (they are multigrain, afterall). I was wrong, take a look:
Sorry to pick on you traditional Multigrain chips, but come on? These corn chips are packed with processed oils and grains, and GMOs abound.
And don’t assume that potato chips are any better. I recently read an article (yes, I know not everything on the internet is gospel, but this is interesting nonetheless), regarding the production of cancer-causing acrylamide when potatoes and other carb-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures. Levels of acrylamide (used industrially to treat sewage) were so high that the State of California sued chip makers and various restaurants for not properly warning consumers of the health risks.
With all of this said, how excited are you to try heart-healthy, protein rich, fiber filled, non-GMO Beanitos?? I’ve made Beanito converts out of several people already, especially those concerned with cutting corn out of their diet. Beanitos are a prime example of the wonderful, healthy food options you can find at the store when you start looking a little deeper.
Invite Beanitos to your next event!
If you haven’t heard of Beanitos yet, I have no doubt that you’ll be hearing more about them in the near future. Having tasted and loved every Beanitos flavor, you can’t go wrong if you grab the first bag you see. I buy my Beanitos at Mother’s Market, but judging by how much I’ve been seeing them lately it looks like they’re making a big push to get their products onto the shelves of traditional grocery retailers too. You can also use Beanitos handy locator to source these chips in your area.
Have you tried Beanitos yet? What are some other healthy chip options you love?
True story….I eagerly helped my mom make dinner if I knew she was making Shake N’ Bake chicken simply so I could use the phrase “It’s Shake ’n Bake and I helped.” It’s the little things in life, people.
Fast forward a few years and have you seen what they put in that stuff (Parmesan Crusted flavor linked)?! Ew. Luckily, I was able to reduce the number of ingredients from a whopping 28 to 6 clean ingredients just by using stuff I already had in my kitchen. Among the 28 offensive ingredients in “Parmesan Crusted” Shake ‘n Bake: enriched wheat, partially hydrogenated GMO oils, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors…to name a few. And might I ask – when was the last time you cooked with silicon dioxide, sodium phosphate, or modified food starch? Well, if it’s been a while you can certainly find them in a box of Parmesan Crusted Shake ‘n Bake.
I can’t say there’s any flavor lost by whipping this up without the help of a boxed coating. The panko adds a great crunch, the garlic gives a great burst of flavor, and the parmesan adds a salty cheesy dimension. And you can feel all warm and fuzzy since you did it on your own. Hot dang, that feels good!
Crunchy Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Author: Hesitantly Healthy
Recipe type: Dinner
- 2 large defrosted chicken breasts
- 2 tsp chopped garlic (fresh or jarred)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup whole wheat panko crumbs
- ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Dredge each chicken breast in extra virgin olive oil.
- Make thin slices into the top of each chicken breast and stuff with garlic.
- Mix panko and parmesan together in a shallow dish.
- Dip each chicken breast into the panko/parmesan mixture then place them into a baking dish (be sure to grease it if it’s not nonstick).
- Top with a sprinkle of black pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes then check for doneness, cook in additional 5 minute increments until there is no pink.
Serve with a side of steamed veggies for a quick and easy meal!
If you are new to cooking or just want to explore some time-saving kitchen tricks, Yahoo has a great new feature called Cooking 1:01. It’s a collection of videos that are each 1 minute and 1 second long, which is SUPER convenient for A.D.D. internet surfers like myself. Can you relate?
The best part about these videos is that they don’t waste your time with talking, in fact, there is no talking at all! Just some cheerful music and a quick montage of the steps required to achieve your goal. With the holidays coming up, I can imagine Cooking 1:01 will have plenty of festive dish prep videos posted before long. In the meantime, here are some of my favorites so far:
And there’s plenty more where this came from! Check out the full lineup at the Yahoo Cooking 1:01 webpage:
Did you learn anything new?
It’s pretty much fall-ter right now – the colder portion of fall, but not quite winter. While many of you can figure this out by observing the inclement weather in your part of the country, us southern California folks have to rely on other key indicators – namely, the availability of pumpkin spice latte’s at Starbucks and the prevalence of scarves used as accessories (no need for warmth yet, it’s still 75+ outside).
If you follow food blogs you might also know it’s “fall-ter” based on the extreme influx of pumpkin recipes you start reading this time of year, my own included. But before I ventured into the world of pumpkin cooking, I had to figure out how this:
Turns into this:
So take a little journey with me…
First and foremost, you want to make sure you get the right kind of pumpkin. I found the perfect little sugar pumpkin (also called a pie pumpkin) shown above at Trader Joe’s. You don’t typically want to cook with jack-o-lantern type pumpkins (truly, I didn’t know that before this fall).
You’ll want to start by cutting the pumpkin in half and scraping out the seeds and stringy stuff (I don’t save the seeds, but feel free).
From this point you can either microwave or oven roast your pumpkin – think of it as a culinary “choose your own adventure.” I decided to use the oven, but I’ve included microwave instructions at the bottom for your reference.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil (or any clean non-stick oil), and put your pumpkin halves face down. Wrap in foil, as shown, and cook for about 35 – 45 minutes. To check doneness you can stick the pumpkin with a fork, it will be soft when it is done.
(I know what you’re thinking, this is probably the best photo you’ve ever seen on a food blog)
Let the pumpkin cool after you take it out of the oven, and once you can handle touching it, the skin peels right off! Who knew?
From here, you can use the pumpkin in chunks, as I did in my Ground Chicken and Pumpkin Burrito, or you can puree it to use as a substitute for canned pumpkin in your favorite recipe, like my Savory Pumpkin Soup shown above, or a homemade pumpkin pie, yum!
Now for the microwave instructions, which are oh so easy: Cut off the stem and place the pumpkin in a glass, microwave safe bowl with a lid – you may need to cut down the pumpkin to fit, but try to keep the pieces as big as possible for easy scooping later. Depending on the size of your dish, put 1-2″ of water in with the pumpkin and lid it. Microwave for 15 minutes, then check for doneness. Cook an additional 5-15 minutes, or until the innards are soft enough to scoop out.
Easy, right? Another lesson in not being intimidated by food you’ve never cooked on your own!
Did you know that November is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ month? This is not to be confused with National Peanut Butter month, which is in March. No, peanut butter lovers, this month is for YOU! Truth is, peanut butter doesn’t just taste like heaven, it also packs a punch in the health department.
A two tablespoon serving has 7 grams of protein and 2 g of dietary fiber to keep you feeling full longer. One serving has 3 mg of the antioxidant vitamin E, 49 mg of bone-building magnesium, 208 mg of muscle-friendly potassium, and 0.17 mg of immunity-boosting vitamin B6 (Prevention Magazine). Eating peanut butter can also decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes, while also being full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
So what’s the best peanut butter? Simple, buy the peanut butter with one ingredient: peanuts – and choose organic if you can (it reduces your exposure to chemicals used on the crops). One ingredient peanut butter will make you wonder why you ever wasted your money on anything else, it’s delicious and nutritous! So now, how should you use said peanut butter….I have some sweet and savory ideas for meals throughout the day:
Note: These are not all my recipes, please click each link or picture to visit the source and give these innovative food bloggers some love
How good does all of this look? So what’s your favorite peanut butter recipe??
Hi there, Happy Halloween!
Halloween is a much different holiday when you hit your 30′s, wouldn’t ya say? I remember the joy in finding the perfect costume, spending weeks coming up with a plan for the night, and waking up the next morning with either a big bag of candy (as an adolescent) or a hangover (in my 20′s). Save for the glass of wine I will probably have tonight, I don’t plan on starting tomorrow with either of those.
Truth be told, I actually forgot today was Halloween until I got into my car, and now my biggest concern has become “how can I avoid trick-or-treaters?” and “what’s for dinner?” Kids in costume are adorable, but let’s get serious here, dinner is a priority.
In the spirit of the holiday, dinner tonight will be one of my favorite savory pumpkin recipes stuffed into a whole wheat tortilla, making this dish a festive Halloween boo-rito! Don’t be scared, it’s delicious.
Ground Chicken & Pumpkin Boo-rito
Author: Hesitantly Healthy
Recipe type: Dinner
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1-2 cups roasted pumpkin, cubed into bite size pieces
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ cup salsa verde of your choice (I like Trader Joe’s brand) + more for when you prep boo-rito
- Squirt of lime juice
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- Cooked black beans
- Heat 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium-high.
- Add the onions and garlic and sauté about 1 minute.
- Add the pumpkin and sauté an additional 1 minute.
- Transfer to a heat safe bowl and set aside.
- Heat remaining 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, then add the ground chicken, breaking it up to ensure even cooking. When nearly fully cooked, add the paprika, chili powder and cumin.
- When fully cooked, add the pumpkin/onion/garlic back into the pan, stir in the salsa verde and lime juice, and sauté about one minute to allow all of the flavors to blend.
- To make Boo-rito: Fill each tortilla with about 1 cup of ground chicken/pumpkin mixture and garnish with black beans and salsa verde. Feel free to get creative and add any other toppings you would like!
Prep time will be longer if you have to roast your pumpkin first.
Leftovers are great over lettuce!
Legend has it that our taste buds change every seven years, which seems to be a seven year itch of sorts. I mean, I get it. Seven years goes by and you get bored by your regular repertoire of food choices. Maybe you put coconut flakes on your Pinkberry thinking it was white chocolate and you discovered you actually liked them. Or you’ve discovered you can’t eat your pizza anymore without a dash of red pepper. These things happen, people, and we must embrace the change.
One of my most recent taste bud transitions resulted in a love for bell peppers, which is weird to me given that as a child I was once sent to bed for the night after flatly refusing to finish my dinner of stuffed bell peppers. Even as I think about them I am reminded of their crunchy, bitter, sometimes sweet, seedy bodies and I don’t get the same warm and fuzzy feelings that I get when I think of, say, carrots. Who doesn’t like carrots, after all?
So with this newfound love of bell peppers, which I realize I am probably not selling you on very well yet, I’ve been getting a little creative in the kitchen. For instance, this Super Food Citrus Salad, Chicken Spaghetti with Bell Peppers, and Wild Alaskan Halibut. Aside from being delicious, peep these nutritional benefits:
If you love bell peppers, this is a super easy recipe that you’ll enjoy….if you don’t love bell peppers, well, just eat around them. And try your luck again in seven years.
Easy Bell Pepper and Potato Skillet Meal
Author: Hesitantly Healthy
Recipe type: Dinner, Side dish
- 8-10 red potatoes
- 1 tbsp. chopped garlic (jarred is fine)
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- Fork potatoes and microwave for about 7 minutes or until they begin to soften.
- Remove potatoes from the microwave and carefully dice them into big chunks (they will be hot and steamy, use caution)
- Heat oil in a skillet and add garlic, cook for 40 seconds
- Add red bell pepper and potatoes to the skillet and cook about 7 minutes, adding additional drizzles of extra virgin olive oil as the skillet begins to dry up (this helps the whole thing not to burn and stick to the skillet)
Sweet pepper “poopers?” Yep, that’s what these ol’ fingers decided to type just moments ago. Good catch, Jess, good catch.
Doing some entertaining this weekend? Need a quick recipe to please the masses, satiate your hungry football fans, impress the in-laws? At the risk of sounding like the used car salesman of recipe hawking, have I got a recipe for you!
Don’t be surprised if you want to make these little nuggets your main course. I did. Twice.
Not only are these poppers vibrant and beautiful, the cream cheese/shredded chicken/sharp cheddar/shallot stuffing combo is other wordly. The creamy inside meets the unique sweet pepper flavor (much like a bell pepper, but milder), and finishes with the satisfying crunch of panko on top. Love these!
Stuffed Sweet Pepper Poppers
Author: Hesitantly Healthy
Recipe type: Appetizer
- 1.5 – 2 lbs. sweet mini peppers (how many you use will depend on how much you stuff them)
- 2 packages of organic cream cheese
- 4 oz. organic sharp cheddar block, shredded
- 1 shallot clove, chopped (not the whole bulb)
- 3 cans of chicken breast in water (you want 15-20oz. total so your number of cans will depend on size)
- 2 tbsp. clean taco seasoning
- 2 cups whole wheat panko
- 2 tbsp. organic unsalted butter, melted
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a wire rack inside a baking sheet.
- Wash, cut in half, and de-seed the peppers (I’ve tried using a spoon for this, but I found using my hands is more efficient because of the small size of the peppers) – you can leave the stems on.
- Place cream cheese, shredder cheddar, chopped shallot clove, chicken, and 1.5 tbsp. taco seasoning in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is blended, but not so much that it becomes too creamy, some chunks are ok. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also just mix this by hand.
- Mix panko with melted butter in a shallow bowl.
- Use a spoon to scoop the filling into each pepper half, then press the pepper into the panko mixture so that the filling gets a nice crunchy layer on top. Continue for as many peppers as you can fit on your wire rack (I fit about 36-40 pepper halves each time). Sprinkle the remaining ½ tablespoon of taco seasoning over the poppers.
- Bake poppers for about 15 minutes, checking for signs of completion after 10 minutes (panko will begin to brown). If you desire a crunchier topping, you can pop these poppers into the broiler for an additional 1-2 minutes.
It can be difficult to find antibiotic free/hormone free canned chicken, I like Shelton’s brand from my local Mother’s, obviously cheaper and more readily available options are available based on your quality preference.
You’ll want a wire rack to put these on inside your baking sheet.
Ground chicken might be my new favorite weeknight meal protein. It defrosts easily, cooks quick, and can take on whatever flavors you decide to impart upon it with seasonings. Garrett loves taco meat, so I’ve created a clean taco seasoning that does the trick (and doesn’t have all the unnecessary fillers that supermarket taco seasoning packets have)…..and I absolutely lurve anything with soy sauce, so the below recipe became a quick go-to for weeknight meals all summer long!
The best part of this recipe creation was the addition of yellow squash. Our friend Frank is growing some of his own produce and he brought me these gigantic yellow squashies about mid-summer. I had debated for a few days how to use these beauties and they worked great in this recipe! I love the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you toss additional fruits and veggies into any recipe (which my body deserves after abusing it all summer long).
Asian Flair Ground Chicken with Squash
1 lb Ground chicken
1/2 tbsp minced garlic (jarred is fine)
Half a large summer squash, diced
2 tbsp sesame oil
For the Sauce:
6 tbsp sesame oil (do not substitute “toasted” sesame oil)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
1.5 tsp honey
2 heaping tbsp paleo ketchup (or store-bought organic Ketchup)
Cayenne, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
In a large skillet heat 2 tbsp sesame oil on medium heat, add garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then toss in diced squash.
Cook for 1 min or so, then add defrosted ground chicken.
Cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through then add the sauce.
Stir while cooking until chicken is cooked completely.
Sprinkle in cayenne and black pepper to taste.
Meat will have excess juice which makes it great as a salad or quinoa topper!
Yummy! What is your favorite quick weeknight meal?