Caprese Macaroni and Cheese

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 1

Last week, this was the only meal that was actually prepared from my weekly menu. I was transferring the meat I’d purchased to the freezer for a later date (i.e. this week and hence why I have no weekly menu — it’s the same as last week’s) and trying to appease the irritable and sick Mr. Prevention.

Which, by the way, thank you so much for humoring us both with the tomato soup question on Facebook. Only that man can make a can of sodium-packed soup taste like water. But, a mean grilled cheese rounded it out to be an acceptable meal.

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 2

The next evening, I was all prepared to make tacos…when he informed me that “Chinese take-out sounds good”.

This is not what a pregnant woman who needs soapy water and/or lotion to remove her wedding and engagement rings should be up to. My fingers continue to look like turkey links/bratwursts and my shoes are all getting so tight. I need to be nixing the salt…or at least consuming meals with less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium, at the very least. Not eating salty take-out Chinese food.

But, whiny sick husbands get what they want. Today, he should be back to 100% and we can be back to our regularly scheduled lives. And meals.

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 3

But last Sunday, I made this Caprese Macaroni and Cheese. It looked…fantastic. And simple. I figured it had some serious potential, as well as some serious potential to be a bit lack-luster (don’t you hate when dishes LOOK amazing but fail to ‘wow’?). However, it did not disappoint.

Cheese, cheese, cheese, and caprese…what’s not to love? Especially with the generous portion coming in at 466 calories and a respectable 8.2 grams of fiber!

The original recipe called for pesto, but I lightened things up a bit with using big tomatoes, some additional (whole wheat) pasta, and fresh basil. The result was truly epic. We can’t wait to make this again and for the first time in a LONG time, we were fighting over leftovers.

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese 4

Caprese Macaroni and Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 10 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 20-30 basil leaves, chiffonade and divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta, stir, and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together milk, vegetable broth, flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring sauce to a low boil over medium heat; simmer for 4-5 minutes or until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and pour over hot, drained pasta, along with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella; mix well.
  4. In the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom to coat completely. Add half of the macaroni mixture over the tomato sauce, top with half of the tomato slices, ⅓ of the basil, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with macaroni, ⅓ of the basil, remaining 1 cup of mozzarella, and tomato slices, in that order.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ⅓ basil before serving.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Diethood
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅕ recipe Calories: 466 Fat: 17.2 Carbohydrates: 56.2 Sugar: 8.0 Sodium: 721 Fiber: 8.2 Protein: 30.4 Cholesterol: 40

 Early meeting, busy day :(

Thanks for all the sweet comments on Baby Shea’s nursery!! :-D 52 days!

Be well,

sig4

 

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 1

I’m soon-to-be 32 weeks pregnant and starting to feel every bit of it.

My stomach capacity is lessened due to the size of baby. I’ve been making my dinner plate, only to share half of it with Mr. Prevention. I wish it were more often that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but that certainly seems to be the case as of late.

So it probably goes without saying that I’m out of breath nearly all of the time…or so it seems, and the back pain is still very much so present. I told my trainer today that I was ditching him next Monday in lieu of a massage. He didn’t even give me a hard time about it, either. A mama-to-be has NEEDS.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 2

Speaking of needs, I continue to read about the importance of exercise in pregnancy. Exercise has many benefits, of course, but aiding in a successful delivery tops the list of perks for me…especially after attending our first child-birthing class last week. Tonight, the couples will be split up so the ladies learn all about breastfeeding and the guys are united with new dads to go through a “Daddy Bootcamp”. It should be interesting…

I digress. I’ve been keeping up with workouts quite well. A lot of core and strength workouts with my trainer, along with elliptical and biking for cardio. Walking continues to be the one workout that causes the most strain on my lower back and the less I can walk, the better I feel. Sadly.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 3

Along with walking, we can add standing to the list of activities that wear on my back throughout the day. My job has me up and down all day long, which has been helpful in keeping me moving, but without excess. But by the end of the day, I’m ready to be a couch potato. Literally.

Dinner has to be quick and easy. HAS TO BE. Otherwise, take-out is sounding better and better all the time (and why I continue to crave lunch meat, I’ll never know…all I wanted yesterday was a Beach Club from Jimmy Johns and I probably haven’t had one of those since college).

Quick and easy dinners are something like this Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry — one pot meal that’s ready in 30 minutes or less. Yes…please! Of course the flavor was great, too…and healthy to boot.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 4

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 (not including rice)
 
A new take on classic stir-fry...plus, a meal ready in minutes!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp hot sauce
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and stalks cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash or zucchini, sliced
  • Hot cooked rice, optional
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, whisk to combine the cornstarch, chicken broth, peanut butter, lime juice, dijon mustard, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper.
  2. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; remove chicken and keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, heat remaining teaspoon of oil. Once hot, add the asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and cook 2-3 minutes before adding the squash/zucchini. Cook vegetables until crisp-tender. Return chicken to pan and stir sauce; toss vegetables and chicken with sauce to coat; cook 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice, if desired.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 308 Fat: 11.5 Carbohydrates: 18.0 Sugar: 8.8 Sodium: 351 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 32.8 Cholesterol: 55

 Busy day…busy WEEK. But can’t wait for our baby shower on Saturday! :-D

Be well,

sig4

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes + Weekly Menu

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 1

This weekend is the National Blueberry Festival weekend in our neck of the woods. P.S. I so want this t-shirt. 5K/10K yesterday, blueberry pie eating contest…the list goes on and on. All weekend, all blueberries.

On my way to and from work, I pass all the vacationers (and locals) picking blueberries. Blueberries so big you can see them on the bushes 100 feet away in your car as you pass by at 60 mph. If I weren’t wearing heels, it would be my before and after work routine to stop and pick.

Co-workers have acres and acres of berries and will often invite us over to pick…for free. Deliciousness and antioxidants are abundant in southwest Michigan come August, there’s no doubt about it.

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 2

I haven’t actually picked blueberries yet this season, but I’m hoping to very soon.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a 5 lb box at the farmer’s market in South Haven and those were gone in a week. Then, our friend Kylie visited and brought the BIGGEST (and oh so sweet!) blueberries when she came – another 5 lbs gone…in less than a week. And on my way home from work on Friday, I swung by one of the farms for a 5 lb box, minutes after the field workers had returned for the day with flats full of the delicious berries.

Should I gush a little more by sharing that 5 lbs of blueberries runs anywhere between $10 and $14? Heaven!

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 3

Needless to say, there’s been a lot of berry-eating going on. Raw, baking, freezing, smoothies…you name it.

And nope, I’m not sick of blueberries…at all, whatsoever.

This morning I’m going to make a version of these Giant Whole Wheat Apple-Oat Breakfast Cookies with blueberries and cranberries, but last week was these Lemon Blueberry Pancakes. Not only are lemon and blueberry a flavor pair that tops all flavor pairings, but they’re quick and easy to make, use every day ingredients, and a serving of 3 ‘cakes comes in under 300 calories. Oh yes, please!

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 4

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 (3 pancakes each)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1⅓ cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat an electric griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, milk, and lemon juice.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spatula until nearly combined; fold in blueberries.
  4. Drop batter on hot griddle by the ¼ cup, spreading to create a 4-inch diameter pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes or until bubbles rise to the surface and the pancakes are slightly golden; flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe from P.S. Heart, and originally Pastry Affair
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 panckes Calories: 297 Fat: 9.5 Carbohydrates: 47.3 Sugar: 93. Sodium: 702 Fiber: 6.0 Protein: 6.5 Cholesterol: 46

Weekly Menu: August 10th – August 14th

Someone will be happy to find out it that it’s another beach day today! Thank you, weekend, for being perfect! #worththewait

Be well,

sig4

It’s published! Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour! + Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies {gluten-free}

Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies 1

That’s right, a gluten-free cookbook by yours truly is published and out! I think the actual release date is tomorrow, August 5th, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble have had it in stock for at least a week now, I’ve been gushing over my copies, and I’ve received lots of reader emails saying copies are arriving on doorsteps and have been for several weeks.

How. Freaking. Exciting.

Last August when my first cookbook, Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking, came out it was one of those pinch me moments. Like, “Yeeeaah…it doesn’t feel real.” And I think I’m still there, quite honestly. To see book #2 hit shelves is just, well, surreal.

If you’re curious, “Why gluten-free, Nicole? You’re not gluten-free,” I wondered the same thing for quite some time. But the simple fact is: I’m a dietitian and the issues surrounding gluten are no dying issue. It’s my job to help people and it was time I rolled up my sleeves and learned all that I could about living gluten-free so that I could do just that. That said, I’m not an expert at gluten-free anything, but I can confidently say that 1. I love almond flour 2. its health benefits are abundant, and 3. I can sure whip up some mean dishes (both sweet and savory!) using almond flour.

Mission…accomplished.

Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour 1

In short, I couldn’t be more proud of this cookbook and the impact I can only hope it will have on not only the gluten-free community, but those looking to eat healthful, delicious food. This time last year, I was spending every weekend experimenting with gluten-free flours and recipes and failing at each attempt an embarrassing number of times before creating a winning recipe. And then I would aim to perfect the recipe until it was…perfect, of course. I did that over and over again, through 75 recipes that, in the end, were published in Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour. All new recipes in one precious little cookbook.

If you’re familiar with my first cookbook, you’ll likely appreciate that each recipe offers up the nutrition information, as well as various comments, suggestions, and tips for each and every recipe. There is a color photo to accompany every recipe, as well as an index to help you navigate to recipes that suit you best. There’s even icons to help easily show which recipes are Paleo, vegetarian, dairy-free, vegan, and so on.

You could all pinch me right now, simultaneously, and I promise you this still wouldn’t feel real.

Thank you for your loyal following and support. Thank you for reading, cooking, and for all of your feedback on all things Prevention RD — from blog to book. This would have never, ever in a million years been possible without the best readers in the world. FACT!

On that note, I’m beyoooond excited to share with you one of my most favorite recipes from my new cookbook — Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies. After making this recipe last summer I felt a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I had broken ground with almond flour and we were finally understanding one another – no easy task. I bit into these cookies and sighed with enjoyment as I tried to shove one down Mr. Prevention’s coconut-hating throat to confirm my success. Even with coconut, he praised the recipe and I knew this book would be a success. So, while not only a monumental turning point in my gluten-free “career”, but also a recipe that is through and through Nicole, I just know you’ll enjoy these, too.

Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies 2

Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies {gluten-free}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 22 breakfast cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. To the eggs, whisk in the oil and applesauce.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. The almond flour will slowly absorb the liquid and will become cookie batter-like. Fold in the cranberries and coconut.
  5. Using a ¼-cup portion, scoop batter onto cookie sheets, allowing 2 inches between cookies. Slightly flatten the cookies into a ¾-inch thick, round cookie. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on baking sheet for several moments before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftover cookies can be frozen up to 6 months.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories: 209 Fat: 12.6 Carbohydrates: 21.6 Sugar: 9.4 Sodium: 280 Fiber: 3.6 Protein: 5.2 Cholesterol: 17

 Please share my book release with all of those you know who are gluten-free. I hear there’s a lot of them on Pinterest? ;) If you’d love a copy (which I so hope you do!), they are available in select stores tomorrow (B&N has a great little zip code search option so you can find the nearest store retailing the book!), as well as online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

THANK YOUUUUUUUUUU for…EVERYTHING!

Tons of love,

sig4

 

Pickled “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Sauce + Weekly Menu

Pickled Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Sauce 1

Yesterday was the first day I was able to get in the lake and actually enjoy the water. As in, it was above 64 degrees for the first time this summer, or so it seemed. We’ve had very few 80-something degree days, perhaps none in the 90′s, and have been *lucky* to get weather in the 70′s. With temps dropping below 60 most every night, everything is just…confused.

Except Lily. Fortunately or unfortunately, Lily hasn’t been confused – if it’s a weekend day, she throws a temper tantrum until we head to the beach. The girl just knows that when it’s a summer weekend day and the sun is out…she wants to be bummin’ on the beach. And she makes her wishes very well-known. Brat.

Pickled Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Sauce 2

My hydrangea are MIA this year. Was it the brutal winter or the unusually mild summer? Not sure.

Why is Mr. Prevention STILL talking about getting a jet ski? I’ll never know.

Tomato plants? Totally confused.

Despite not having a backyard, we have two decent-sized side yards, one of which gets some good sun most of the day. While I had proposed a raised bed garden in years past, it wasn’t a good idea until this year when I felt as round as the Goodyear blimp and Mr. Prevention wanted to tackle the project. He has a green thumb, of sorts, but his tomato plants have turned into one giant heap of tomato madness. He didn’t exactly allow space enough for them to actually grow.

Pickled Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Sauce 3

The tomato plants have gotten so far as to produce a MASSIVE amount of green tomatoes, but the temps and sun haven’t warranted them actually turning red yet. And before he reads this (unlikely, but possible) and corrects me, a *few* have turned red. But there’s about 421 green tomatoes in my side yard that are making little to no progress in their ripening. It may be October before we’re getting actual yield from the garden.

But the good news is: green tomatoes are delicious, too. Not as versatile, but certainly delicious.

Fried green tomatoes or “fried” green tomatoes have become somewhat trendy. Not quite bacon status, but lusted after amongst foodies. I mean, what’s not to love about a “Fried” Green Tomato BLT? Or these Pickled “Fried” Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Sauce? Yes, please! I guess it’s alright by me if summer stays confused. Or the tomatoes, anyway.

Pickled Fried Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Sauce 4

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pickled "Fried" Green Tomatoes with Buttermilk-Herb Sauce
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
Pickling:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 16 (1/4-inch-thick) slices green tomato (about 4 tomatoes)
Tomatoes:
  • 7 Tbsp lowfat buttermilk, divided
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil-based mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, minced
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1¼ cup panko
  • ⅓ cup masa harina
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Instructions
  1. Combine pickling ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain tomatoes; pat dry.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 5 tablespoons buttermilk and next 4 ingredients (through garlic), stirring with a whisk. Stir in ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add panko to pan; cook 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in masa harina, ¼ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place panko mixture in a shallow dish. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk, egg, and egg white, stirring with a whisk in a second shallow dish. Place flour in a third shallow dish.
  4. Dredge tomato slices in flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture, turning to coat.
  5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of tomatoes; cook 4 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until browned. Repeat with remaining oil and tomatoes. Serve with sauce.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tomato slices with sauce Calories: 155 Fat: 8.1 Carbohydrates: 17.9 Sugar: 5.0 Sodium: 226 Fiber: 1.4 Protein: 4.4 Cholesterol: 24

Weekly Menu: August 3rd – August 7th

 Only TWO entries are still up for grabs in this year’s chili contest! Be sure to check out the details at the end of this post!

Mi familia is coming up for a beach day and cookout :-D

Be well,

 sig4