Grilled Cheese Panzanella Salad

Gooey, warm and delicious—What’s not to love about grilled cheese?!

This recipe is a perfect summer take on the old time favorite: Grilled cheese meets salad..All in one! With whole wheat bread and reduced fat cheese, this deliciously adapted recipe received this mom’s mini-makeover. Served with a homemade dressing and tossed with fresh veggies, this mom’s dish makes for a perfect side, or even main course!

adapted from Panini Happy

 

INGREDIENTS:

Grilled Cheese Croutons:

  • 4 slices day-old rustic, whole-wheat bread
  • 2 ounces reduced fat mozzarella cheese, sliced

Salad:

  • 1 pound medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. If you don’t have a panini grill, in a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Heat 2 slices of bread on the pan and layer slices of cheese on top. After 2 minutes, close each sandwich with remaining bread slices and flip. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes, or until cheese has melted. Transfer to cooling rack or plate; cool completely. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar,  mustard, salt and pepper until the salt is dissolved. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes,onions, cucumbers, and basil with dressing. Just before serving, add grilled cheese croutons to salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Baked Chicken with Sweet and Tangy Salsa

Recipe adapted from HungryHannahs

Marinating your chicken will help infuse the meat with all of the wonderful flavors of this sweet and tangy honey-citrus sauce. Accompanied with a pineapple, avocado and cilantro salsa, this dish is refreshing for any hot summer night. For cookouts and parties, this incredibly tender and juicy dish would be just as great, if not better when thrown on the grill!

Ingredients: (Makes 4 Servings)

  • 2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breasts,  sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp grated lime zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Salsa
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced avocado (or about half an avocado)
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine oil, soy sauce, honey, lime zest, garlic, cumin and paprika in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place into a lightly greased 8×8 baking dish.
  4. Pour liquid mixture over chicken, making sure each piece is as well-coated with marinade as possible. (If desired, let chicken marinate in fridge for 1-2 hours.)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping chicken once midway.
  6. Meanwhile, create your salsa. In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, avocado, pepper, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Remove from oven and allow chicken to rest. Top with sweet and tangy salsa.

 

Roasted Green Beans & Mushroom Farro Salad

Adapted from ClosetCooking
With a relatively short cooking time, roasting veggies is not only incredibly easy to do, but a healthy and delicious way to cook for you and your family! All it takes for a perfect roast are a few of your favorite vegetables, some olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper and some of your favorite fresh garden herbs!

To prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan, you’ll need to coat them with some olive oil. For more coverage with less oil, try using an oil mister. This week, we are giving away a FREE Orka Oil Mister by Mastrad to our followers —To enter to win, click here!

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings) 

  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • olive oil cooking spray or mister
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring the water and farro to a boil, reduce the heat. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until al dente.
  3. Toss green beans, mushrooms, and walnuts and place on a baking sheet. Using a cooking spray or mister , spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Remove from oven.
  4. Once farro is cooked, drain any remaining liquid.  Top with parsley, green beans, mushroom and walnut medley. Mix and serve warm.

Better-than-Takeout: Easy Beef & Broccoli Stir-fry

Beef and broccoli stir-fry gets a family-approved makeover! In about as much time as it takes for you to order takeout, you can make this much healthier and not to mention, tastier stir-fry with this easy-to-follow recipe. Without the added saturated fats and high sodium that you’re bound to find in most takeout, check out this Mom’s healthier dish.

Ingredients (4 servings)

1/2 cup reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lb sliced, boneless beef sirloin
3 cups broccoli florets
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 shallot, chopped

Brown Rice, cooked

 

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix teriyaki sauce and flour in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and shallots, sauté until golden. Add beef strips and stir-fry, tossing until brown for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. To skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium heat.  Add broccoli florets and peppers, cover and cook, tossing occasionally until crisp tender for about 5 minutes. Add teriyaki mixture and return beef to skillet. Cook until sauce thickens, about 2 more minutes. Serve warm over brown rice.

Baked, Not Fried Fish Tacos

Building tacos are a fun way to get the whole family involved

If you are introducing your kids to fish for the first time or haven’t managed to get them to eat it, start with fish tacos! Sometimes the best meals are the ones where you can get the whole family involved. With this simple recipe, get your kids involved by having them help you measure the ingredients. Afterwards, continue to make meal time fun by allowing everyone to build their own tacos. If your kids enjoy this meal as much as they enjoy helping you prepare it, they may be more likely to try other new foods too! You can always adjust the recipe according to you and your families’ favorite toppings; like lettuce, corn, onion or even add a fresh hint of cilantro.

Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings)

Cooking spray
1 lb skinless cod fillets
4 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 tbs reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp low-fat plain yogurt
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup coleslaw mix
8 six-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas
1 large tomato
1/2 cup fresh mango

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Cut fish into 2 inch chunks and place in pan. In a bowl, mix olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; pour over fish.
3. Put pan in oven and bake 7 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, and lemon juice. Add coleslaw mix and toss.
5. Dice tomato and mango, toss gently
6. Remove fish from oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons coleslaw mixture and 1/4 cup fish onto half of each tortilla.  Sprinkle top with tomatoes and mango mixture. Fold tortilla over filling and serve warm.

Bite-Sized Turkey Burgers

Lean Turkey Burgers: A Healthier Twist to an American classic

Be it a summer celebration or family outing, burgers are a traditional American fare. But what’s a healthier take on this American classic? Moms, kick off your July 4th celebration with this lean, yet flavorful turkey burger recipe. While lean, these turkey burgers are full of flavor and will surely satisfy your family and friends.  If you plan to serve other protein dishes, sides or desserts, these miniature turkey burgers can help keep portions and/or serving sizes under control. The bonus? These bite-sized burgers will be fun for adults and little ones to eat!

Ingredients: (Makes 12 servings)

1 1/4 pounds (93% lean) ground turkey
1 tbsp plain dried, whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of your favorite low-fat cheese, shredded (we like mozzarella or swiss!)
1/2 small yellow onion, diced small
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
12 mini size whole-wheat rolls
Lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, (for optional toppings optional)

 

Directions:

1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions until translucent, for 4 to 5 minutes then add garlic. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. Combine onions, garlic, turkey, breadcrumbs, cheese, onion, mustard and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, mix gently until combined. Do not overmix.

3. Form twelve 2-inch patties (about 3 tablespoons each).

4. Place burger patties on hot grill rack over medium heat; cook for 5 to 6 minutes. However, for food safety, ground meats should stay on the grill until they are cooked through.

5. If you like, toast rolls on grill for 1 minute. Otherwise, serve on rolls with your toppings like lettuce, tomatoes or onions. Here you can get the younger ones involved by letting them pick which of their favorite vegetables they want to enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Basil

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If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash, then you are in for a fun surprise! While spaghetti squash may look like a typical gourd at the market, once cooked, the interior forms pasta-like strands. The pasta-like strands make it fun for kids and adults to eat, and provides a great way to introduce your family to a new vegetable. You can even top with tomato sauce and eat as is, or add to soups and salads!

 

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
few basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

 

Directions: (Makes 2 servings)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

2. Using a sharp knife, cut the squah in half, lengthwise. Place each onto a baking pan, cut side down. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven and set it aside to cool before handling.

3. Use a large spoon to scoop out the stringy pulp from the squash. Then, using a fork, carefully scrape apart the strands of the squash. Discard the skin.

4. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes and basil and cook for 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and add in the spaghetti squash and toss. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle in the balsamic vinegar.

Taste the squash – and season with salt and pepper according to taste. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. If the squash texture is perfect, toss in the grated cheese and serve immediately.

Simple Summer Lasagna

This light and easy to follow recipe is tasty and convincing way to get you and your family on the right track towards incorporating more healthy vegetables into your day. To take advantage of the summer season, substitute any vegetables with your family and friends’ seasonal favorites! For busy moms and dads who want to prepare lasagna ahead of time, simply cover and refrigerate after layering the noodles with veggies, ricotta and sauce. 
Ingredients (Makes 6 servings)
8 ripe plum tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic
10 leaves of basil + 1/4 cup chopped
2 cups skim milk ricotta
2 tbsp tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup chopped red onions
2 large zucchini, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup frozen spinach
4.5 oz (half a package) no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 tsp salt and pepper

 

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a rectangular baking dish with 1/2 tsp olive oil.
  2. In a food processor, combine tomatoes, garlic, 10 leaves of basil and  salt & pepper. Process until pureed, taste for seasoning and set aside.
  3. In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté onions and mushrooms with 1 tbsp olive oil for ~5 minutes
  4. In a small bowl, combine ricotta,remaining olive oil and salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Arrange layers of lasagna by first coating bottom of the baking dish with a layer of the tomato sauce. Then continue to layer noodles. Top noodles with more tomato sauce, ricotta mixture and 1/2 the zucchini, kale and basil.
  6. Repeat layer once again and then spread remaining tomato mixture over noodles; finish the top with any remaining sauce and ricotta.
  7. Cover and bake with foil for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  8. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  10. Garnish with additional basil or other herbs you like.

Super Food and Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Choosing healthy ingredients is the first step to turning grilled cheese into a sandwich that’s good for you

 

 

Healthy grilled cheese, say what!? Recipe adjustments like using olive oil rather than butter can help turn the classic grilled cheese into a healthier meal.   You can add in tomatoes or any other seasonal vegetables, or protein and herbs you like.

Ingredients (Makes 1 sandwich)

2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
2 slices high-fiber, whole-wheat bread
1-2 slices of your favorite skim or fat-free cheese, here we’re using fresh buffalo mozzarella
1/4 red cabbage, sliced
1/2 cup fresh spinach (or 1/4 cup of frozen spinach)
1/2 roasted sweet potato
1 quarter of an avocado, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp of salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice sweet potato length-wise and roast for 40 minutes. Once cool, scoop out sweet potato and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tsp olive oil and add garlic. Lightly sauté spinach and red cabbage until it it slightly wilted. Add 1/4 tsp salt.
4. After transferring the vegetables onto a plate, you can use the same pan to heat 1 tsp olive oil over low heat.
5.  Next, arrange the mozzarella* slices on one slice of bread. Place both slices of bread in the pan, facing up . Season the cheese with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Cover and cook until bread is toasted brown and cheese has started to melt.
6. Remove the grilled bread from the pan. On the slice of bread with cheese, add cabbage, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado and basil. Close the sandwich with the other slice of grilled bread. Serve immediately.

Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad

For busy families, salads can also be prepared in advance

 

With these versatile ingredients, you can even serve it with your favorite piece of protein, like grilled fish or chicken.

Ingredients

3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

Dressing

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoon minced fresh mint, (or 1 tsp dried)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle hot pepper sauce *optional

Instructions

1. Roast corn kernels in a single layer on an baking sheet for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow it to cool.
2. Next, in a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, mint, oil, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce*. Add celery, red pepper and onion; toss to combine. You can be prepare this step ahead of time, by up to 24 hours under refrigeration.)
3). Add corn and avocado; toss gently to combine.