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Maple Dijon Sprouts Skillet

This is a recipe adapted from Taste of Home with healthy modifications.

First of all, if you are avoiding brussel sprouts because of their less-than-stellar reputation, you are missing out! They look just like mini cabbages and taste like broccoli stalk, if you ask me. (I just tried them for the first time over the summer.) Brussel sprouts are extremely healthy; half a cup contains almost a day’s worth of Vitamin C and a significant amount of Vitamin K. Like any green vegetable, they are low-calorie and full of fiber and nutrients. Regardless of what Franklin the Turtle says, they taste delicious :)


On to the recipe. (You might want to consider this for a Thanksgiving side dish, an alternative to green bean casserole!)

4 low-fat turkey kielbasa links
1 Pkg (16oz) frozen brussel sprouts (microwave for 4 minutes first)
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup fresh baby carrots, quartered
1 medium onion, chopped
3 heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp dried sage leaves
1 tsp ground pepper
*Optional: Whole grain rice, wild rice, Cous cous, or quinoa

In large skillet, cooks sausage, carrots, onion, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts until vegetables are crisp.  Add in the syrup, mustard, sage and pepper; cover and cook 4-6 minutes longer or until sprouts are tender.  Meanwhile, prepare rice/couscous according to package directions.  Serve with sausage mixture.

I really want to try some sort of brussel sprout dish for this Thanksgiving dinner. Which, by the way, is only 8 days away!! It would be a healthy addition to the big meal. Some “healthified” green bean casserole would be good too. Honestly I don’t know if I’ve had a green bean casserole at a Thanksgiving dinner. This traditional dish is not so traditional in our house. I do think it’s good to incorporate some sort of vegetable dish in with the meat and rolls (carbs), mashed potatoes (carbs), sweet potato casserole (carbs), and stuffing (more carbs).

What veggies make an appearance at your Thanksgiving table?

Healthy Harvest Soup

When it turns to Fall and the sun starts to set a little earlier, I’m always excited to break out the blankets and warm pajamas again. There’s the return of all our favorite shows, and premiers of new ones (who else is excited for Nashville??). I immediately think of the warm crock-pot dinners we used to have at home. Soup, salad and cornbread is my favorite :)

Over the weekend, we made just that. But we cheated a little… I don’t own a crockpot and I’m not going to babysit my soup all day in the common kitchen of the residence hall. So we started with a soup mix, Bear Creek’s Santa Fe Chipotle to be exact. It had a chicken broth with some small veggies, orzo, and noodles. Good, but WE CAN DO BETTER. So into the soup mix went the following:

  • Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • Carrot Slices
  • Celery Slices
  • Diced Tomato
  • Corn
  • Chopped Grilled Chicken

Much better :) Now there’s some color, added vegetables and some lean white meat to add protein.

Starting with a Light Soup and including additional vegetables is a great way to make your hearty fall dinner a little healthier. Because I love cornbread, we made a batch of Marie Callendar’s Low-Fat Honey Cornbread mix, and honestly? I prefer the $0.50 Jiffy boxes from the grocery store ;) Cheap, yes. Delicious, Mmhmmm.

The unpictured side salad included spinach, avocado, apple slices, flaxseeds and raspberry vinagrette. This girl does not do Top Ramen ;)

Always looking for ways to amp up recipes with some healthy additions! If you have any pre-made meals you like enhance, share them below.

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Last Minute Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Saturday night we had company, a last minute dinner we threw together with our two neighbors (and their dog!). We decided to cook up a tried-and-true recipe that was healthy, colorful and easy – Zucchini Boats! My mom first saw these on Pinterest from Recipe Girl, and since then we’ve been creating a variety of our own fillings.

Honestly, once you’ve got your hollowed zucchini “shells” the filling can be anything you want it to be (like my empanadas).  In the past we’ve created a Southwestern Zucchini boat with ground beef, beans, rice and cheese. A Vegetarian Boat with lentils, onions, bell pepper and celery. The “Original” with marinara sauce, onions, garlic, turkey sausage, mozzarella cheese and basil.

Last night we made a Couscous Veggie Medley boat to go along with some BBQ’d pork chops and green bean salad (to be featured later). They were bright and light and colorful!

To start: Cut your zucchini squashes in half lengthwise and chop off the ends. Use a spoon to scoop out the “meat” of the zucchini – put this in a separate bowl to be used later!

Prepare your filling: Diced bell peppers, onion, carrot, and celery.

Make couscous over stove-top. We used the tri-color to add to the brightness of the boats. Couscous is one of the healthier grain-based products with only .25 grams of fat and 175 calories per 1 cup. Plus it is so fluffy and has the perfect texture for this veggie mixture. Add in some chicken broth to the water when making the couscous for some extra flavor.

Mix all of the diced vegetables into the couscous once it is cooked; also add the zucchini that has been removed from the “shells” and combine. Then stuff the mixture in the zucchini boats and bake!

Even Missy and her friend Lucky were jealous of our summer dinner…

Fresh out of the oven!

This is a great vegetarian/vegan recipe, but if you are a carnivore like me and my family, I suggest adding some ground turkey and parmesan cheese. Mmm!

The night ended in a competitive and silly game of Apples to Apples…obviously I won ;)

It’s Sunday night meaning Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition is on! Who else is watching?

Couscous Veggie Medley Zucchini Boats:

makes 10 boats

5 zucchinis

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 cup uncooked couscous (to make 3 cups cooked)

1 chicken flavored bullion cube

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; chop ends off of zucchinis and cut in half length-wise.

2. Using a spoon, remove the “meat” of the zucchini from the inside and set aside in a bowl.

3. Cook couscous over stove top by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil, adding the bullion cube and couscous. Remove from heat, cover for 5 minutes, then fluff.

4. Combine the vegetables, zucchini middles and couscous. Evenly divide the mixture into the zucchini boats.

5. Bake for 30 minutes.

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