Kale and Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

This elegant dish is surprisingly simple to make.

Kale and Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken
Serves 2

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Ingredients:

1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme or seasoning of your choice
1 oz light cream cheese
2, 6-oz chicken breasts
2 cups kale cut into strips
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook garlic and onion over medium-high heat until the onions look glassy. Add the thyme, kale, salt and pepper.

While that is cooking, butterfly the chicken breast and set aside*. Once the kale is tender and dark green, transfer the ingredients to a bowl and mix in the cream cheese.

Place half of the mixture in each breast and roll it up like a burrito. Place the chicken on an oiled baking sheet with the seam side down to prevent it from unrolling while its baking. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes.

*Butterflying meat is a technique used to thin out and enlarge the surface area of meat. Simply lay the chicken breast on the cutting board and with the knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the chicken in half horizontally.IMG_0084

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Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 320 | Total Fat: 9g | Carbohydrate: 15g | Fiber: 2g | Protein: 41g

With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Beef and Tofu Pad Thai

This lighter version of the classic Thai favorite was inspired by the recipe in Cooking Light: The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook by Janet Helm, RD.  I love the beef/tofu combo in this recipe, but you can substitute chicken, shrimp or any other protein you prefer.  Fish sauce can be found in the ethnic isle of your local grocery store.

Beef and Tofu Pad Thai
Serves 5

Ingredients:
12 oz uncooked flat rice noodles
1 lb extra firm tofu
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion
1 lb lean beef strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
Juice from 2 limes
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
  2.  Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes. Squeeze with a paper towel to remove excess water.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, beef strips, tofu and garlic until beef is cooked through.
  4. Mix sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, fish sauce and Sriracha in a bowl.
  5. Add sauce mixture, rice noodles and basil to the sauté pan. Stir to combine.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 710 | Total Fat: 27g | Carbohydrate: 79g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 42g

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With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Vegetable Stir Fry

These vegetables have an Asian flair and pair nicely with Honey-Soy Glazed Salmon and brown rice.

Vegetable Stir Fry
Serves 2

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Ingredients:
1 large onion sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 cups zuchinni, chopped
Handful of green beans, ends chopped
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Directions:

Sauté the garlic and onion in a bit of oil over medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add the bell pepper, zuchinni, and green beans, and soy sauce. Cook until the green beans are tender.

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Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 100 | Total Fat: 1g | Carbohydrate: 20g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 5g

With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Honey-Soy Glazed Salmon

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice per week.  Salmon is an especially good source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and promote heart health.  Try this delicious Asian-inspired recipe.  Your heart will thank you!

Honey-Soy Glazed Salmon
Serves 1

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Ingredients:

5 oz. salmon
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

Directions:



Place all ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake to combine. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Heat an oiled pan on the stove over medium-high. Cook fish for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.  IMG_0074

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 290 | Total Fat: 8g | Carbohydrate: 21g | Fiber: 0g | Protein: 33g

With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Intuitive Eating

Do you spend a lot of time and effort counting calories? Do you label food as being “good” or “bad?”  Is concern about your diet causing you more harm than good?  Consider ‘intuitive eating’ to develop a more peaceful relationship with food.

What is intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that relies on inner wisdom to guide food choices, rather than external cues (1).  The approach was developed by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in the 1990s.  Those who follow a practice of intuitive eating:

  • Eat when they feel hunger and stop eating when they feel full.
  • Make food choices based on both health and enjoyment.
  • Trust, respect and nourish their bodies.
  • Reject the “diet” mentality.

What are the advantages of eating intuitively?

Research indicates that intuitive eaters:

  • Are less likely to be overweight or underweight.
  • Are less likely to suffer from eating disorders.
  • Have better self-esteem.
  • Are happier overall.

One recent study compared a traditional weight loss program to an intuitive eating program (2).  People in the intuitive eating program improved their cholesterol levels, boosted their self-esteem and increased their body satisfaction.  Participants in the traditional weight loss program experienced no such benefits.

How do I start?

Try these tips to start eating intuitively.

  1. Stop the “diet” mentality.  Recognize that quick-fix diets usually fail. Resolve to making a lasting lifestyle change instead.
  2. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness signals.  Make a plan to eat when you are hungry, and stop when you feel comfortably full.  Jotting your feelings down in a journal or notebook might be helpful to you to understand what “hungry” and “full” feel like for you. Keep your energy levels up with regular healthy meals and small snacks.
  3. Stop labeling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’  Labeling foods can make you feel guilty, and “restricted” foods often feel very tempting.   The truth is, any food in moderation can be part of a healthy eating plan.  Choose foods that honor both your health and taste preferences.  Take a sensible approach and choose a diet that contains a variety of different foods from all of the food groups.
  4. Enjoy eating.  It’s okay to relax and enjoy the experience of eating.  When you eat mindfully and savor every bite, you may find that you are satisfied with less.
  5. Learn to soothe yourself without food.  Anxiety, loneliness, boredom and anger are emotions we all experience.  For some, food may provide comfort in the short-term, but eating will never solve an underlying problem or worry.  Find ways to comfort, nurture, distract and resolve your issues without using food.
  6. Respect your body.  When you stop to think about it, you will see that the human body is amazing, and it’s the only one you will have for the rest of your life.   It’s important to understand that bodies naturally come in all shapes and sizes.  Instead of judging and criticizing, try truly caring for your body with respect. The results may surprise you.

Resources:

Book: Intuitive Eating, 3rd edition by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Website: IntuitiveEating.com

References:

  1. Schaefer JT, Magnuson AB. A review of interventions that promote eating by internal cues. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 May;114(5):734-60.
  2. Bacon L, Stern JS, Van Loan MD, Keim NL. Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jun;105(6):929-36.

One-Pot Vegetable Quinoa

Quinoa is a whole grain that is also a complete protein– it contains all the amino acids necessary for our body. It has a fluffy texture and a nutty taste.  To this dish I’ve added a variety of vegetables to introduce more flavors and nutrients.  It all cooks in one pot for minimal clean up.

One-Pot Vegetable Quinoa
Serves 2

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 8 oz. low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot and add oil, garlic, and onions. Cook until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add mushrooms and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once in a while to prevent burning.
  3. Add quinoa, tomato sauce, and chicken stock, then stir to mix everything together and let simmer for 7-10 minutes. You know it’s done when the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid and the grain looks fluffy.
  4. Finally add the tomato, corn, peas, and soy sauce.

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Nutritional Facts (per serving):

Calories: 525 | Total Fat: 10g | Carbohydrate: 90g | Fiber: 12g | Protein: 23g

With assistance from nutrition intern Stephanie Leung.

Chili Mac

This warm and comforting meal is easy to make and tastes great all week.  The ‘Mac’ stands for the elbow-shaped macaroni noodles I typically use, but any shape of pasta will do. You can also freeze the chili (without the pasta) for up to 3 months.

Chili Mac
Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 lbs lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 large onion, diced
2 large (28 oz cans) crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can beans (black, kidney or pinto)
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box whole wheat elbow pasta, cooked according to package directions

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Directions:

  1. Sauté onion and ground beef in a large pan with a little olive oil until meat is browned.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and spices. Stir to combine. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes. Mix in cooked pasta.

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Yields 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 500 | Total Fat: 14g | Carbohydrate: 58g | Fiber: 12g | Protein: 36g