Easy Beef and Broccoli Recipe {How To}

When the "takeout craving" for beef and broccoli hits, what to do, healthy eaters?

In my house? We make this easy, 15 minute one-pot dinner recipe - Easy Beef and Broccoli. It has quickly become a fast family favorite! Since it's made of ready-to-grab pantry ingredients, it's enjoyed often around here.

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Today I'm sharing the version I have adapted for my family's tastes from one of my fave food bloggers, Chungah of damndelicious.net. (Check out her blog for more FRESH recipes using whole ingredients!)

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional - depends on how thick you want your sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound lean steak, thinly sliced 
  • 2 head broccoli, cut into florets

Instructions

Stir together soy sauce, chicken broth, honey, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, hot sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup water and place to the side.

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Start a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the steak slices and cook, flipping once, until browned, about one minute on each side. It's ok if meat is still pink, it will be tender and cook to perfection later on.

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Stir in broccoli florets and sauce mixture and cook until tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 3-4 more minutes. Serve immediately over brown rice or rice noodles.

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Note: You can easily turn this recipe vegetarian by using tofu or nuts in place of the beef. I make it with "toasted tofu" for my hubby and he loves it!

How do you make YOUR Beef and Broccoli? Have you ever tried cooking it at home? Tell us your fave way to enjoy this popular dish in the comments below!

How to Make Homemade Hummus {That everyone LOVES!}

Ahhhh hummus.

Most people either love it or do NOT (it's a strong taste and not for everyone, for sure!) 

But for those of us who DO, I'm sharing my awesome (and EASY!) recipe with you right here. If you want to save money and taste a better batch of hummus (homemade really is the BEST!) then read - or watch - on as I share with you

How to Make Homemade Hummus {that everybody loves!}

Hummus can get expensive when you're buying it in a convenient ready-to-go container at the store, but can be a great backup option. No judgy-judgy for store bought hummus here! You'll even occasionally find some in my fridge! If you're ready to taste a fresh hummus that is far and above the store bought version, here you go...

How to Make It

Pretty easy, right? Tahini is the "hummusy" ingredient that turns a grainy ground chickpea mix into a silky smooth hummus dip. It's quite expensive (around $8 a jar) but that one jar will last you through DOZENS of batches of hummus, so in the long run, it's much cheaper still to make this homemade than to pay $3-$5 per batch at the store.

and here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) rinsed and thoroughly scrubbed with hands to remove the loose hulls
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic (less or more to taste)
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) tahini paste
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt

Instructions:

Put all of this PLUS a tiny amount of water (start with 1/4 cup and then slowly add more until you get desired consistency) into your blender or food processor (I use my Nutribullet!) and blend, then scrape, then blend, then scrape until you get the desired "feel" of your hummus!

You can serve immediately, or store the hummus in the fridge for up to a week!

We enjoy our hummus with toasted Naan bread, or raw cucumber and bell pepper slices, or our Gluten-free seed crackers. It also makes a GREAT "spread" for wraps and sandwiches!

How to Make Cha Cha Cha Chiata! {Or Chia Pudding, FRESH Start style!}

So I have to confess...

I really thought all the hoopla about Chia Seeds was maybe just another "health food fad" ... but then I kept reading about the energy that people were getting from this miracle seed! And since that was something I so desperately needed to increase in my life, I decided to give this tiny little seed a chance in my diet! Oh boy, am I glad I did!

Energy increase, anyone?

Yes, Chia Seeds increase your energy, and I'm living proof!

But don't ask me, let's look at the long-time use of this miracle seed in other cultures to see how it works!

  • Chia seeds grow natively in South America, since as early as 3500 B.C.
  • They were eaten by the Aztecs and Mayans and used as energy-sources for them, as well as a property of some medicines!
  • Modern day chia seeds are now grown in other parts of the world, including US and Australia!
  • Only 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds produces 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 9 grams of healthy fat! 
  • This same amount also gives your body 30% of it's necessary magnesium and manganese (2 minerals we're often deficient in!)
  • 2 Tbsp of these seeds also delivers 18% of your body's daily need for calcium!

Have I convinced you of the powerhouse these little seeds are?

I was convinced! Now to try them for myself...

I wanted to use chia seeds simply - but found that putting them in my smoothie BEFORE blending just created a texture to the whole smoothie that I was not loving! (I'm texture sensitive, so that's a big deal to me! Anyone know what I mean?) So now, sometimes I add into the smoothie AFTER I've blended it up!

My favorite way to get my daily Chia Seeds though, is by making Chia pudding (or in our case, Cha Cha Cha Chiata!)

I've seen plenty of recipes for Chia Pudding, but again, because of my "texture sensitivities" I found that I didn't really enjoy it made  that thick. So I've created one I absolutely love and look forward to "drinking" as a powerful addition to my energy-meals daily!

{We call it "Chiata" because my Latino hubby says this drink reminds him of his "horchata," a popular drink in his culture! Only this "chata" has chia - hence the new name CHIATA!}

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Here's how to make it FRESH Start style!

Cha Cha Cha Chiata

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chilled almond or coconut milk (or any other unsweetened plant-based milk)
  • 1.5 to 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds (if you want thicker consistency, add a little more)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (or just eye it and drizzle)
  • 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup (try it first without and only add if you need extra sweetness)
  • quick shake of ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Using a small mason jar, shake all ingredients together for a minute or two. Then place in fridge and enjoy within a few minutes or hours later. 
  2. The chia seeds will swell up, absorbing the liquid and become easily ingested either by using a spoon or drinking straight from the jar.

I dare you to replace one of your current choices for energy drink in the morning or afternoon with this delicious chiata from ingredients you can find anywhere! You'll never miss the ups and downs of the other drink, but will truly enjoy the steady, ongoing energy you get from this drink!

Did you like this recipe? Get plenty more right here!

Then let us know how YOU make YOUR Chiata in the comments below!

Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Thighs and Rice

In our seemingly-endless search for gluten-free options for one very picky eater in my home, I have resorted to super basic dinners these days. 

So I was excited to create this easy recipe to add into the family recipe round-up:

easy oven-baked chicken thighs with my homemade rub, and served beside brown rice steamed up in low-sodium chicken broth...

quick, affordable and the whole family enjoyed them!

Several of us also had a luscious green salad taking up the other half of the plate (not pictured) ... but I can only get my super picky eater to eat a salad about once or twice a week. (True confessions of a health coach!) This is why we add smoothies into her breakfast routine as often as possible - to get those fresh fruits and veggies into her body that way.

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Back to dinner - so here's how to make this simple fare...

Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on (you can pull it off after cooking and the meat will still have the flavor from the rub and juices)
  • TO MAKE THE RUB - stir together 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp onion powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 1 tsp chili powder, sprinkle of cumin, sprinkle of crushed red pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, fresh grated black pepper
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

MEANWHILE FOR RICE: Place rice and broth in a rice cooker and cook until fluffy and done. OR if you don't have a rice-cooker - place broth in a medium saucepan over medium to high heat, and allow to begin boiling. Add rice, then turn the heat to low-medium, simmering the rice, covered, for about 30-40 minutes. Fluff with a fork, remove from heat, and keep covered.

MEANWHILE FOR THE CHICKEN: Place aluminum foil over a cookie pan, and pat the chicken thighs dry, then place on pan. 

Sprinkle the dry rub generously on the thighs.

Place in oven, uncovered, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken is 180 degrees with a meat thermometer.

Remove the chicken from the pan with tongs and place on a paper towel to drain. Serve with the rice and a vegetable or green salad on the side.

Did you like this easy dinner recipe? We are sharing 7 more + an entire week's worth of family-friendly meals in our FREE 7-Day Get-Started Guide!

Sweet Green Smoothie Recipe

This smoothie recipe is close to my heart as a crunchy mama, because it's the first smoothie recipe I could get my uber-picky 9-year-old daughter (now 13!) to eat and actually enjoy.  She swears by it to all her friends now, and loves the fact that she is getting a serving of veggie in every glass (but can’t taste it!)

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 3 ounces low-sugar Vanilla Greek yogurt (1/2 small container)
  • 1/2 green apple, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup water (or to taste)
  • Drizzle of honey (if needed for sweetness)

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend them on high until smooth (usually about 1-2 full minutes in a regular blender). Serve with a dallop of canned whipped cream on top for a fun extra to this healthy and nutritious smoothie!

Easy to make, no added sugar, and protein-rich for a quick, healthy breakfast option.  You just can’t go wrong with this family-friendly smoothie recipe!  

Weight loss tip: Drink down 8-12 ounces of this smoothie at mealtime for a fabulous weight loss meal replacement that keeps you feeling satisfied.

Got picky eaters in your house like me? Try this healthy green smoothie with them, then let us know...did they like it? You can post here in the comments or over in our free FRESH Start Online Community on Facebook.

If you liked this recipe, we think you'll enjoy these as well:

Berry Nutty Smoothie (Our signature smoothie)

Healthy Homemade Pizza

How to Cook Quinoa + Recipes

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS NEWEST POWER-GRAIN ON THE MARKET YET?

I had heard of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAA) in all the "health food" circles, but had never tried it for myself.  Now, though, I've tried it several different ways, and I LOVE the simplicity of this grain, the numerous and incredible benefits all packed into one tiny seed, and the variety I can use in preparing it! 

Turns out, this tasty super food isn't new at all, as it was enjoyed by the Incas in ancient times, and other native South Americans, where they dubbed it the "mother of all grains!"

One of the reasons I held off in trying quinoa was because of all the fuss in the foodie circles about the "high cost" of it compared to rice and other more common household grains.  I've got a solution for that, too!  With some careful planning and watching, I get quinoa at the neighborhood health food markets for as little as $3 a pound.  You just have to watch for it to go on sale and buy more of it then.  It is usually cheaper sold in bulk, instead of prepackaged.

(Update: Costco is a great place to get it at a lower price in bulk as well!)

HERE'S HOW TO MAKE IT:

Prepare quinoa by boiling 1/2 cup of the grains with 3/4 to 1 cup of water or broth (for extra flavor!)  It only takes about 12 minutes, with the pot covered, and at a soft boil, for the grain to be completely cooked. 

It stays a wonderful slightly crunchy-chewy consistency for even up to a few days after cooking!  I try to cook enough for another meal or two after the first one where I serve it fresh.  It is so tasty leftover, added to a fresh salad as a protein-rich topper.  (One of the top benefits of this grain is the high amount of lean protein found in it - 8 grams in a cup of it!)

Here are two ideas for quinoa recipes you can try for your own family:

ORANGE & ALMOND QUINOA RECIPE

orange & almond quinoa edited.jpg

Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 fresh orange (peeled, separated into bite size sections)
handful toasted, sliced almonds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
garnish - sliced green onions

Instructions

Cook quinoa and fluff. Add almonds, orange sections, salt & pepper. Toss together. Squeeze 1/4 cup fresh orange juice over and toss again to coat.

CILANTRO LEMON QUINOA RECIPE

Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 fresh lemon
handful toasted pine nuts
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

Cook quinoa and fluff. Squeeze lemon juice over grain, and stir in pine nuts and cilantro. Toss together with sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste.

These dishes make a wonderful side to fish, chicken or as a vegetarian main dish with steamed or sauteed vegetables on the side.

HERE ARE A FEW MORE RECIPES WE THINK YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

One-Pot Summer Salmon Dinner

Asian-Inspired Grilled Chicken Thighs

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

”CitrusandCilantroQuinoa”

Honey Garlic Chicken & Veggies in a Crock Pot

There's definitely a trend happening around my kitchen these days - I am looking for easy, delicious, FRESH meals that can be made in ONE POT or all together in the Crock Pot! This way, it's less mess and fills up the hungry tummies around here AND does it with plenty of nutritious foods!

Here is another one-dish dinner to make eating FRESH easier!

Seriously you guys, when you know you're feeding your family "right" and yet you do it in ONE POT, with only a few minutes of prep and a few dollars of ingredients - it's a busy-mom win! Who's with me? 

Here's how to make this simple dish the whole family will love.

Ingredients:

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs (can remove skin or cook with it on for flavor and then remove before eating)
  • 1 lb baby red potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 lb organic carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 lb organic green beans, trimmed

    For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos 
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (I buy the low-sugar variety)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • sprinkle crushed red pepper (if you like a little heat)
  • fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Whip together all the sauce ingredients, and set aside.
  2. Place the chicken thighs into the crock pot, set it to high heat (to be done in 3-4 hours) or low heat (to be done 7-8 hours)
  3. Lay the potatoes and carrots on top and around the chicken. Drizzle the sauce over all of it.
  4. Cover and leave it be for desired time. Remove lid and spoon the juice inside the crock pot over the top of chicken and veggies a couple of times during cooking.
  5. In last 30 minutes of cooking, add the green beans in. Baste the whole dish.
  6. Serve immediately with chopped fresh parsley over the top, if you like.
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If you prefer the chicken skin on, try this delicious trick - put the oven on broil, place the thighs and some of the veggies on a cookie tray, and broil for about 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp and the sauce is caramelized!

Tell us what you think in the comments below - is this a good recipe to try to round out your easy FRESH meal plan at home?

This recipe was originally found on one of our FAVE blogs for FRESH eating - http://damndelicious.net/. It has been "remodeled" a bit, as we like to cut down on sugar and sodium as much as possible in cooking for our family and testing recipes out for YOU! 

Healthy One Pot Stroganoff

Growing up in sweet corn farm country in the Midwest, you know comfort food dinners were a regular event in my childhood farmhouse kitchen. These days, even though my family and I live in the desert southwest, they are still a favorite way to show my love through my cooking to my family. And...

...One pot dinners made healthy? Even better!

When I found this could-be Healthy One Pot Stroganoff recipe, I just knew I had to re-make it, FRESH Start-style! (Whole foods, lean meat, healthier "sauce") It is getting easier to do that these days - after a few years of "cleaning up" favorite recipes to be healthier you just get quicker at making ingredient switches and change-ups.

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So here is my Healthy One Pot Stroganoff recipe - betcha won't even miss the other stuff once you've tried it! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced (we use Baby Bella)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 lb thin sliced steak (we use sirloin or another lean choice)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 cups beef broth (low-sodium)
  • 8 oz whole wheat or gluten-free egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain (or sour cream)
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or deep pan, heat stove to medium-high and drizzle olive oil in bottom of pan. 
  2. Once oil is heated, add steak slices to pan for about 2 minutes. 
  3. After the steak has browned on one side, turn them over. (Should only be about 2 minutes tops!) Add mushrooms and onions into pan with the steak slices, and cook until mushrooms brown and onions are translucent. 
  4. Stir in paprika, beef stock and noodles and bring pan to boil. Then cover pan, bring heat down to medium and simmer for 12-15 minutes (for al dente noodles, may be less time.)
  5. Lower the heat to warm and stir in greek yogurt or sour cream, then turn off heat and let pan sit for a few minutes, covered.
  6. Sprinkle parsley over dish and serve.

Too easy, right? Comfort food for dinner in under 30 minutes, prepared in only One Pot, and with so much nutrition in it, too! What is your favorite one-pot comfort food dinner? We'd love to hear your FRESH idea in the comments below!

Oh So Healthy Egg Roll in a Bowl

I stumbled on this beautifully easy recipe a few weeks ago, and now I make it entirely too often around here! It is ridiculously easy, and is another healthy one-pot dinner I can rotate through the meal plan fairly regularly without complaint from my "needier" eaters! 

What busy mom doesn't need more of this kind of recipe in her life?

The original recipe I tried called for pork sausage, but since we're trying to move away from pork in our diet, we found that lean ground beef or turkey works just fine as well. I'm also going to try it soon with shrimp as the protein center. I'll let you know in our free support community on facebook how that goes!

Here's how you make this entirely-too-easy family meal...

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of shredded slaw or veggies (I use the super food shredded mixes)
  • 1/2 to 1 lb lean ground meat (your choice, amount to taste)
  • 1 thumbnail-size fresh ginger root, minced or grated
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • drizzle sesame oil
  • drizzle low-sodium sauce or liquid aminos
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper (only if you like a little heat)
  • sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)
egg roll in a bowl prep.jpg

Instructions:

  1. Place a large, deep pan over medium to high heat. Add ground meat and chop it up while it browns. Once browned and almost done (about 4-5 minutes) add in the fresh garlic and ginger.
  2. Add in slaw or shredded veggies, stir occasionally for about 3 minutes or so.
  3. Drizzle both the sesame oil and soy sauce, and add crushed red pepper.
  4. It's DONE! Place in a bowl and top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds if desired.

Here's what I love most as a health coach about this recipe - there's NO need for a fried shell like a traditional egg roll. What I love most about this recipe as a mom? Way less mess, since there's no frying and it only uses one pan!

The super food slaw I use? I found it at my local Walmart and it cost less than $2. My family and I are getting a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber from this dinner and we're staying on budget! Win-win. 

Tell us what you think of this recipe in the comments below after you try it with your own hungry loves. For more FRESH recipe makeovers to add into your healthy meal plan, have a look-see in the recipe box here on the site

 

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

There are many health benefits in this Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie, and it is easy to make!

This little smoothie is jam-packed with antioxidants and vitamins because it's made with sweet potatoes. Yes, you heard it here first- baked and mashed sweet potatoes make a terrific smoothie! In addition to the yummy flavor of a sweet dessert, sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamins C, D, and B6, along with providing good amounts of iron and magnesium.

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

The nutritional benefits found in this great-tasting healthy snack will improve your skin health, immune system, and your heart muscle! As if that's not enough reason to dig into this smoothie, the kids will love this creamy treat, too!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large sweet potato, baked until soft
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Topping: Whipped cream, sprinkle of cinnamon

Instructions

Blend all ingredients together in blender for about 2 minutes, or until smooth.

The Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie will make a great addition to your breakfast (or snack!) rotation - it's superfood on the go! 

You can try any one of our other delicious smoothie recipes in our FRESH Start recipe box! Smoothies are an easy & fun way to make healthy food for your family, so we love to help you find FRESH new ways to do that! 

Tell us what you think of this recipe in the comments below or in our LIVE Facebook Online Community here.

”Sweet

How to Cook Fish

We've all heard it - eating more fish is healthy for your body! 

As a health coach who teaches easy, healthy cooking for families, I find that many people are intimidated to cook fish. "How do I make it so it doesn't taste as fishy?" they often ask! I'll answer that a little later in this post!

WHY fish is so good for us:

Valuable minerals, oils, and other nutrition our bodies need come from many seafood sources, such as wild salmon, black cod, trout, shrimp, and scallops.  Yet, even with this information in hand, so many families are still not eating enough fish. 

Two of the main reasons are: the "fishy" taste or smell, or the intimidation of cooking fish correctly. I have a solution for you, no matter which category you may fall into!  Here is a step-by-step demonstration on how to easily, healthily prepare simple fish fillets for you and your family.  Time to get more omega-3's into your diet! {And enjoy the taste while you do!}

how to cook fish

Step 1 - Buy prepped, individually wrapped, frozen fish fillets or cleaned fresh fillets.  You are not an Iron Chef, and your family doesn't expect you to be - so no head-on fish necessary for this healthy dinner! 

Try these easy complementary ingredients: several cloves of garlic, slightly smashed; whole lemon, halved; cilantro, chopped; onion (doesn't matter what kind), sliced or diced; sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper (you can buy filled pepper grinders ready to grind at grocery) and if wanted, can of stewed or crushed low-sodium tomatoes, (or fresh tomatoes, diced) and finally, a couple handfuls of spinach, kale or arugula leaves.

how to cook fish

Step 2 - Heat a medium-large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Toss in garlic and onion, sear for couple of minutes in oil, then add fish fillets.  Squeeze lemon over the fillets, place lid on skillet, and let fillets steam-cook for about five minutes. {Yes, five minutes is all it should take! Fish cooks quickly, so try not to overcook it out of fear it won't be done!}

how to cook fish

Step 3 - Remove lid, add cilantro and spinach, and spoon some of the tomato sauce (if using) over the fillets.  Sprinkle sea salt and fresh pepper to taste.  Replace lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes, then remove skillet from heat.  Leave lid on until serving.  The garlic, lemon, and herbs will give the fish a fresh flavor, and if you use tomato sauce, each portion is 1-2 servings protein, and 2 servings veggies!  Healthy, easy fish in 1-2-3 steps!

how to cook fish

After you've tried cooking fish this way, be sure and tell us in the comments here what your family thought of it! Sometimes it takes a few different ways of making fish to find a family-friendly method! Try one of our other Delish Fish recipes here at FRESH Start for ideas!

”How

One-Pot Summer Salmon DinneR

Here is a simple one-pot summer salmon dinner, and it takes no time to prepare - 20 minutes start to finish! 

It is a well-rounded dish, with whole-grain pasta, gently sauteed summer veggies, and steamed (you could also grill it) salmon - all in one pot!  It is a beautiful and tasty dish, filling for every member of the family.  Even the busiest mom has time to make this one! 

Here's how to make the One-pot summer salmon dinner:

Step #1 - Put a medium pot with 3 quarts water on to boil for the pasta.  When the water is boiling, add pasta, cook it for 7-8 minutes (for al dente pasta).  Meanwhile, chop and saute fresh summer veggies like broccoli, yellow squash, red onion, and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil.  (I like to use my wok!)

Step #2 - Cook the salmon, either in a pan (with a lid) or on the grill.  (Either way, it only takes about 7-10 minutes.)  I flavor the salmon with garlic, olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, and sea salt.  Once it is fully cooked (It will flake easily with a fork), then cut into pieces.


Step #3 - Drain the al dente pasta, and add it to the gently sauteed veggies in the wok.  Toss in the salmon pieces, add a tablespoon olive oil, some cracked pepper, sea salt, and stir together.  Dress the dish with a small amount of grated Parmesan, and serve!  That was easy as 1-2-3!

Fresh N' Easy Mediterranean Tilapia

This fish dinner is fresh, light, and so comforting.  The warm blend of olive oil, and kalamata olives mingled with carmelized onion and garlic will fill your kitchen with the scents and sensations of the Mediterranean! 

Created from all healthy ingredients, this Easy mediterranean tilapia dinner satisfies in one serving!

It’s easy to make, too! 

The white wine simmering in the dish will tantalize even the pickiest taste buds in the house! The tilapia could be substituted for another fish if preferred, just adjust cooking time for thicker fillets.  This recipe is a great “first try” for a family cook wanting to expand their repertoire of quick and healthy family dinners (especially using fish!) - as it is relatively simple, takes only a few minutes to make, and is guaranteed to be a hit!

Fresh N’ Easy Mediterranean Tilapia

Ingredients

•    1 tablespoon olive oil
•    1 onion, thinly sliced
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    1/2 cup dry white wine
•    1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
•    1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
•    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
•    1 lb tilapia fillets (4-6 fillets)
•    Sea salt, freshly cracked pepper

Instructions

1.    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  
2.    Add onion and garlic, sauté until softened.  
3.    Add wine, tomatoes, olives, and parsley.
4.    Simmer 5 minutes or until fish turns white and flakes easily with a fork.  
5.    Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Serve with rice or whole wheat pasta mixed with fresh spring veggies to complete this simple family dinner.

Fresh Bean Relish

This FRESH Bean Relish is easy, Delish, and full of natural fiber! 

Our family enjoys this quick dish often with grilled chicken or as a side to fish. 

Hint: It turns out best with all the ingredients rinsed and completely drained, and then refrigerated overnight.  It’s one of those dishes that just gets better with time!

This recipe has helped our family eat more beans, which are rich in fiber and other nutrients for the body.  I personally have never enjoyed beans, but this dish has a way of hiding the “bean taste” in the goodness of the overall dish, and I have enjoyed it often now.

Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Bean Relish

Ingredients

•    1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas
•    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
•    1½ cups frozen sweet corn, thawed & drained
•    1/2 cup chopped onion
•    1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
•    1 (4 ounce) can mild green chiles
•    1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
•    1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
•    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

1.    In a medium bowl, combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes.

2.    Season with Italian-style salad dressing and garlic powder - mix well.

3.    Cover and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.

If you prefer fresh tomatoes, substitute 1 3/4 cup for the canned diced tomatoes.  For a spicier relish, switch out the mild green chiles for jalapeno peppers, either fresh diced or canned!

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad

We just made this salad at the Healthy Changes Cooking Class we held Monday evening - mmm mm good!  I thought it would be great to share this delicious recipe with you!

Salads are still healthy – very healthy – IF they are loaded with rich greens, raw veggies, and lean proteinThis salad is exactly that, full of all the right ingredients, and super tasty.  Just squeeze a little lime over the top, and if using dressing, you only need a tablespoon drizzle.  The salad itself is so tasty, you don’t need much dressing for taste!

mexican grilled chicken salad.jpg

Mexican Grilled Chicken Salad Recipe

Ingredients

•    Bed of greens – spinach, romaine, or other greens
•    15 oz. can black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
•    Medium avocado, sliced lengthwise
•    1 cup frozen or fresh corn, slightly toasted over medium heat until blackened
•    1 mango, sliced lengthwise
•    2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced in long strips
•    Red onion, sliced thin and long
•    Queso fresco, crumbled as topping
•    If desired, zesty tortilla strips as topping
•    Chopped cilantro, lime for dressing

Instructions

Toss all ingredients together for a flavorful, healthy treat! You can chill ahead of time or serve immediately. Enjoy!

”Mexican

Sweet Corn Salsa

This summery salsa is delicious, combining both the sweet bite of the corn and the tangy goodness of the red onion.  It is a simple salsa to serve over fish or alongside a grilled dinner entree.  

Sweet Corn Salsa 

Ingredients

•    1 cup sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
•    1/4 medium red onion
•    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
•    1/2 pint yellow cherry tomatoes (about 3/4 cup)
•    1/2 small jalapeno, finely diced - (Add only if you like heat in your salsa!)
•    1-2 key limes (to taste)

Instructions

1.    Roast sweet corn over medium-high heat in a small fry pan for about 2 minutes, turning often to prevent burning.  (Use teaspoon butter or olive oil to keep from burning.)  Pull corn off the heat and let cool.  
2.    Chop red onion into thin, short slices, adding it to the corn.  Stir in the cilantro, and halve the cherry tomatoes, adding them in to the mix.  Squeeze the lime onto the salsa, then sprinkle sea salt, cracked ground pepper, and a tablespoon olive oil into mix, stir together.  
3.    The natural crunchy sweetness of the corn and tangy addition of the tomatoes and red onion mix beautifully to make a great summer salsa!

Warning:  May be slightly addictive to your family, and you’ll have to make another batch!

Easy, Healthy, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

After finding that most pre-made spaghetti sauces are loaded with sugar and other additives, I have begun making a great-tasting homemade sauce instead!  Don’t worry, it is still time-friendly, using canned tomatoes and quick and easy fresh flavors like garlic and herbs.

Easy, Healthy, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

•    1-large can of crushed tomatoes (low-sodium, if you can find them)
•    1-small can of either tomato paste or sauce (depending on how thick you prefer your sauce – paste thickens more than sauce)
•    1-small can of chopped mushrooms or fresh mushrooms, sliced small
•    3-4 smashed cloves of garlic
•    1 tsp thyme
•    1 tsp oregano
•    1 tsp sea salt
•    1/2 medium onion, diced fine (optional)

Instructions

Place the crushed tomatoes in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce or paste and the mushrooms. Stir in the garlic, thyme, oregano and sea salt and onions. Cook until onions are transparent, or simmer sauce on lowest heat for at least 30 minutes.

If I’m making it a meat sauce with it, I like to add the sauce into the sausage/ground meat as I sear it - it brings out the delicious scent and flavor stronger! 

Fresh flavors, easy fixing – this sauce is a winner every time. 

So flexible for any way of eating - it can be meatless if you are vegetarian, or just add in lean ground meat for a more filling and protein-packed dish!

Serve over whole grain pasta, or a cooked spaghetti squash – garnish with fresh parmesan cheese, and you have an easy, healthy sauce without the sugar and calories!

”Easy

Mini Peanut-Chip Cookies

Everyone loves the classic chocolate chip cookie, so we've been on a search for a low-sugar variety that still tastes good.  On our quest for sugar-less desserts that are still yummy and satisfying, we found this little gem. 

Little is the correct descriptive, but these pint-sized cookies still pack a sweet tooth fixin’ crunch!

Mini Peanut-Chip Cookie Recipe

mini peanut chip cookies

Ingredients

•    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
•    1 tsp baking soda
•    1/4 tsp salt
•    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
•    1/2 cup peanut butter
•    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
•    1/4 cup sugar
•    1/4 cup milk (Soy)
•    1 egg
•    1 tsp vanilla extract
•    1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

1.    Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In medium bowl, whisk together first three dry ingredients, set aside.  In large bowl, beat peanut butter and butter on medium speed 2 minutes, or until creamy.  (I hand beat it – and it turns out creamy enough.)  Add brown sugar and sugar, beat 2 minutes.  Beat in milk, egg and vanilla.  Fold in dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in chips – chill dough for 15 minutes.

2.    For each cookie, roll 2 tsp dough into a ball and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart.  With floured fork, flatten each ball into a round, making a crosshatch pattern.

3.    Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned around edges.  Let cool on sheets 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to a rack to finish cooling.

*Original recipe found in Family Circle – "Coach Bess" altered for sugar content.

”Mini

Asian-Inspired Grilled Chicken Thighs

Ready for a new and easy way to cook up a batch of chicken thighs for your loves? These Asian-Inspired Grilled Chicken Thighs will wow your family, yet keep you OUT of your kitchen!

I was ready for a dinner idea like that, too! Even with all the experimenting I do in creating foods that my picky eaters will actually enjoy (but don't take all day in the kitchen to prepare!) I get a little bored in our same old-same old choices! This easy recipe was just the fix.

We all know that boneless, skinless chicken is a better bet for our healthy eating plans than skin-on. NOT eating the skin can save you too much fat, empty calories and cholesterol-raising trouble! Yet, finding FRESH ideas that don't break the bank or the taste buds, that's where the challenge happens...

Once you try this delicious recipe, let us know if you'll be adding it to your family favorites from now on! I'm sure you're going to love it.

Here's how to make it:

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
  • 3 minced garlic cloves

    Chicken:
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Garnish:
  • 3-5 diced Green Onions
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sweetener and garlic in a bowl until blended. Pour half the marinade into a large zipper bag; keep the other half of the sauce set aside in the bowl.
  2. Place the chicken thighs into the bag containing marinade, squeeze all the air out of the bag, and seal. Shake a few times to coat chicken with marinade.
  3. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
  4. Grill the coated chicken over medium heat until done.
  5. While the chicken is grilling, pour the other half of the marinade into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Bring marinade to a soft boil, cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, to thicken sauce.
  7. After the chicken is finished grilling, baste with the additional, thickened marinade and sprinkle diced green onions and sesame seeds over the thighs before serving.

Easy enough, right? I especially love how FEW INGREDIENTS are needed for this recipe. You can serve it over a FRESH salad, with grilled veggies like zucchini or eggplant or mushrooms, OR with a delicious fried rice!

For more delicious (and EASY!) recipes like this one, visit our Recipe Box here!

”Asian-Inspired

Homemade Healthy Pizza Recipe {FRESH Start style!}

Homemade Healthy Pizza Recipe

For many of us, weeknights are full of activities that keep us running and out of our kitchens...so quick and easy dinners are a MUST for the modern FRESH family to stay on track with our healthy lifestyle and feed our families real food!

This homemade healthy pizza recipe is a SUPER easy, shortcut version to store-bought pizza and uses ingredients found in most grocery stores (including Walmart!) Try this recipe on your family this week and share with us in our free community what you thought of it!

Here's JUST HOW EASY this recipe is:

Ingredients:

Package of Naan Bread Small Jar of Pizza Sauce (OR homemade sauce recipe below) 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese OR half roll of FRESH, Soft Mozzerella Toppings of your choice

AND if you're really wanting to go "homemade," you can try my homemade pizza sauce:

Homemade Pizza Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • minced fresh garlic (optional)
  • garlic, onion powder & oregano (sprinkle of each to taste)

    Stir all ingredients together and spread over the flatbread before topping.

We make this a family experience, everyone adding their own choice of toppings to their half of their pizza...some of us love the sauteed veggies ....

and the Margherita version (shown below) using fresh, sliced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, sauteed minced garlic and fresh mozzerella.

We bake them in a 400 degree oven for only about 10 minutes. Then I put them under a high broil for only about 2-3 more - WATCH them! We've burned pizzas on accident before because the broiler will burn it in a matter of seconds.

Get creative and make it YOUR way! This is a great family dinner when you have many different tastes and preferences under the same roof because everyone can make theirs the way they prefer it.

Ingredients

Pizza Ingredients:

  • Package of Naan Bread (about 1 package per 2-3 people)
  • Small Jar of Pizza Sauce (OR homemade sauce recipe below)
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese OR half roll of FRESH, Soft Mozzerella
  • Toppings of your choice

    Homemade Pizza Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • minced fresh garlic (optional)
  • garlic, onion powder & oregano (sprinkle of each to taste.

    Stir all ingredients together and spread over the flatbread before topping.

Instructions

  1. Place preferred toppings on Naan bread, then put pizza in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until done.
  2. Place under high broil for about 2-3 more minutes to crisp and brown the cheese on top, but be SURE to time it, as the pizza could quickly burn!
  3. Slice, serve and enjoy!
”Homemade