I am not a fitness instructor or a dietician. I'm an ER nurse. BUT, I do know what's healthy and how to stay healthy. And I continue to learn new ways to keep healthy. I feel the need to share what I have learned along the way so that you can feel as passionate about eating and cooking healthy, as I do. I love to experiment and modify traditional recipes to make them more healthy. For example, did you know that you can swap out regular flour for almond flour in a recipe that calls for breading chicken or meat? And it doesn't taste any different but has a lot less calories and carbs? This is the type of information I want to share.
Now, I want to clear something up. The word 'Diet' does not necessarily mean that you have to be starving yourself. It seems like when people hear the word 'Diet' or that someone is 'Dieting' they respond,"Oh, so you're starving yourself and depriving yourself of anything good..." NOT! The definition of Diet is as follows: the foods eaten, as by a particular person or group; food or feed habitually eaten or provided; anything that is habitually provided or partaken of. Well, I like to partake in some good tasting HEALTHY food!
I will try to suggest food and recipes that are as affordable as possible, but eating healthy, for the most part, ain't cheap! And I think that deters a lot of people that think they can't afford it. But fear not! I will help you. I want to, not only include healthy meals, but snacks as well. So, without further ado, let's get this party started and begin with my most favoritest and loved recipe by all who have consumed it: BBQ CHICKEN BURGERS!! Now the original recipe I got from foodnetwork.com and it is Rachel Ray's recipe, but I tweaked it a little. These taste good whether they are grilled, broiled or cooked on the stove top. Here we go:
BBQ Chicken Burgers:
1 lb ground chicken (I use Perdue, but obviously free range chicken is better)
1/2 can of tomato paste (I use Muir Glen organic tomato paste)
2 tbsp minced garlic (fresh or bottled)
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
1 tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of dried cranberries (I use Craisins)
Coleslaw (optional to place on top of burgers):
1/2 a package of coleslaw mix (found in the produce section)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
Sautee the minced garlic and onions, on medium heat, until the onions begin to turn clear. Add the tomato paste to the onion and garlic mixture, to soften the tomato paste, appr. 2-3 minutes. Place the tomato paste mixture in a large bowl where you'll add the remaining ingredients for the burgers and mix well. Place the ground chicken in the bowl with the tomato paste mixture and, now this is where it gets messy, use your hands to incorporate all of the ingredients until the chicken appears to be blended well with the other ingredients.
Form patties and choose your form of cooking them. Cooking times are different for each form.
- Broil: approximately 10 minutes per side.
- Stove top: same time as broiling, but you may have to flip them more frequently as not to burn them.
- Grill: 8-11 minutes per side (Per Patrick because I don't touch the grill).
Mix the lemon juice and honey together in a bowl and place the coleslaw in the bowl once it's mixed. Toss the coleslaw with the honey lemon juice concoction and place on top of the burgers.
Now, I don't eat buns, or even purchase them, but if you do, a whole wheat one would be my bun of choice. These burgers go great with any side. Spaghetti squash is what's pictured with the burgers above. Cooking spaghetti squash is easy and is accomplished as follows:
1 spaghetti squash
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of pepper and/or salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, which is hard so be careful. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil on the inside of each half of the squash. Place each half, flat side down, on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes. To check for doneness, poke the outer portion with a fork, if it's still hard, put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes until it's soft. When it's not longer hard when poked, remove it from the oven.
Let the sqaush COOL down before you attempt to do anything, approximately 20-30 minutes. After it's cool enough to touch, remove the seeds first. After the seeds have been removed, using a fork, start scraping the inside of the squash until you have scooped it all out into a bowl, and just the skin remains. Do the same on the other half. When I made this the other day, Patrick suggested I strain the scooped out squash prior to serving next time as it was a little watery. Will do next time! Season as desired with pepper and/or salt (I say and/or because I don't own or cook with salt) or whatever you desire.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and can maybe even suggest little tweaks of your own (healthy ones, of course)! If you end up trying it, I'd love to hear how it came out and if you liked it or not! Thanks for eating healthy!