Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ground Turkey Lucky Lettuce Wraps

These are the salad days. The wrap days. The low-carb dog days of summer where suddenly May's pants don't fit and I am afloat with so much bloat I can be my own life preserver. These times call for a bit of leaning out, post birthday gluttony.

I knew I was doing it: happy hours, pizza, french fries, wine tasting, birthday brunches and day drinking. Who did I think I was? I'm a nimble minx in the gym but a gluttonous ogre in the kitchen.

I started my meal prep this week with an easy favorite - ground turkey wrap. I use these as base for a taco salad, or wrap them up in lettuce leaves topped with avocado and salsa for a Mexican flair. I totally cheated and used Trader Joe's taco seasoning packet this time around. You can totally change the flavor profile though -- go for ginger and teriyaki for a more Asian style wrap, topped with crunch won tons or water chestnuts.

 I had some extra kidney beans lying around, (hey, they are a good carb!) so I threw them in.

Ground Turkey Lucky Lettuce Wraps



1 lb lean ground turkey
1 green bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1 small red onion, diced
Finely chopped garlic (as much as you like, I usually do 2-3 cloves)
1/2 packet of Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning (or any seasoning brand of your choice)
1/2 cup of kidney beans (optional - or other beans if you choose)
Cilantro to garnish (optional) 
1 tbs olive oil

The How-To

  1. In a medium skillet, brown the ground turkey. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the pan with olive oil and add the bell pepper, red onions. Saute until onions are soft. 
  3. Add the garlic, ground turkey and seasoning according to directions - some call for a few tablespoons of water. 
  4. Throw in the kidney beans. Stir together until mixed and garlic has become fragrant. 
  5. Transfer to a bowl and serve over a bed of salad or wrapped in lettuce with salsa and avocado etc.

Roasted Red Pepper, Red Onion and Olive Chicken Thighs

I had my eyes on the thighs the other day. And by that, I mean my own at the gym. Due to a foot injury this month I haven't been able to do as much cardio so I've been hitting the weights a lot lately. Leg day has been in circulation within my program a bit and I'm noticing some nice strength gains. That being said, I need to incorporate some more protein in my day and definitely had to  meal prep this week.

There's only so many baked chicken breasts a girl can handle, so I tried something new. I'm not a huge olive fan, but as an accent in a meal, I can take it. The sweetness of the red onion and roasted red peppers make up for their invasion. I whipped this up to make for my lunches, along with some salad for about 4 days this week. 

You can always omit the flour/eggs coating and substitute vegan butter/cheese if you wanted to go gluten and dairy free.


4 organic skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 large egg
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs olive 
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
1 small can of sliced olives 
4-5 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tbs of grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


The How-To

  1. In a skillet, heat the butter.  Add the onions and sauté until translucent.  Add the roasted red peppers and olives, and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Add the chopped garlic, right before you're done so as to not to overcook it. Transfer the veggies to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix flour and salt.  In another bowl, prepare the egg wash. Coat chicken with flour mixture, then dip in the egg wash.
  3. In a nonstick skillet, heat the other 2 tbs of butter over medium-high heat.  Add chicken, and cook until golden brown.  Reduce heat to medium, turn chicken, top with Parmesan cheese and cook about 10 minutes longer. 
  4. Top with roasted red pepper, onion, garlic and olive mixture.
  5. Serve with rice or quinoa or another side of your choosing

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beer Battered Tofu Tacos

Taco Tuesdays took on a whole new look in this house. How have I never beer battered tofu before!? It's so delicious. I was hankering for something new with a kick, and these tacos hit the spot. High in protein, really fresh and crisp (not soggy at all), garnished with avocado and hatch chili salsa. 

Tofu Taco Tuesday!


1 block of firm tofu drained and pressed, cut into strips
1 cup of flour
1 cup of beer (a good IPA will do)
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp salt
Taco shells of your choice
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup of shredded lettuce or cabbage
1/4 cup of coconut (or vegetable) oil or enough to fill a medium sauce pan about 1/4 inch
Hatch green chili salsa to top (or salsa of your choice)
Cilantro to garnish

Beer Battered Tofu Tacos The How-To

  1. Slice the tofu block into strips. 
  2. Whisk the flour, beer, garlic powder and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Coat a large pan with the oil. It should be about a  1/4-inch deep. Keep the pan on medium to high heat.
  4. Dip the tofu strips into the batter to coat, then place the tofu in the pan, leaving room between strips. Cook until the tofu is slightly browned and crispy on each side. I use tongs to flip the pieces over after about 3 minutes on each side. When done, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to blot and catch any extra oil.
  5. Place the tofu strips in your taco shells and garnish to taste with lettuce, salsa and avocado!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Broccoli for breakfast? Why not. I'm more of a savory gal, so in the mornings I would be the type to opt for the bacon instead of the blueberries, the bagel over the bear get the picture.

I love quiche. It's a remnant of the 80s that is delicious as ever. It's still a prominent menu item in most cafes and a prominent potluck player that never gets old. Have you ever turned down a homemade piece? I didn't think so.

Sometimes I whip one up to so I can get a slice to bring with me for breakfast during the week. A slice a day keeps the growls away. It's full of protein, can be eaten room temp or warmed up and can be made crust-less to cut the carbs.

This one in particular is vegetarian, but oh so yummy with basil and feta cheese. A little goes a long way for flavor.  


Broccoli and Vegetable Crust-less Quiche


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sized onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup frozen spinach or fresh chopped
3-4 asparagus spears, chopped
1 small zucchini, cut into small pieces
2 roma tomatoes, cut into thin slices
2 cups of liquid egg whites (or 4 eggs)
1 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup shredded low fat cheese (I use Trader Joes brand)
1 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or a cube of frozen basil
1/4 cup flour
Dash of paprika

The How-To:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until softened. Add broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, basil and garlic and cook about five minutes or until just tender. Transfer vegetables to prepared pan. You can season the veggies with a little salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cheeses and spices. Whisk in flour. Toss in the spinach. Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetables. Layer the top with the sliced tomatoes. I added a bit of salt, pepper and a drop of basil olive oil to each slice. Sprinkle with paprika and bake until set, about 35 minutes. Cool quiche 10 minutes before serving.

Seriously, one of my favorite quotes from When Harry Met Sally

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Easy Vegetable Curry

Thank you, Trader Joe's, for making it so easy to pull together a tasty vegetable curry dinner. I used their simple Thai Yellow Curry Sauce and some fresh vegetables I had lying around. It's not the most complicated recipe, but it sure is pretty.  

Vegetable CurryNow, you can just use the curry alone, but I like some added volume and a more mild flavor every now and then. The addition of coconut milk gives it a more creamy texture and lighter color. Using coconut oil to saute the veggies in won't make it taste like coconut -- trust me.

It smells amazing while it cooks and has a higher smoking point than other oils. Remember though, as with any oil it is high in calories, so just keep an eye on the measurement.

Easy Thai Vegetable Curry


2 tbs of coconut oil
1 (11 oz) bottle Thai Yellow Curry from Trader Joe's
3/4 cup Coconut Milk (about half a can - I like the Light version from TJs)
1 green bell pepper, cut into pieces
1 small red onion, cut into pieces
2 carrots, sliced into pieces
1/2 cup small mushrooms, or 1 small can of mushrooms
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped (or as much as you'd like!)
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)

The How-To

Place 2tbs of coconut oil into a heated, medium-sized saucepan. Add vegetables. Stir to combine and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the chopped garlic right before the curry - as to to not overcook it. 

Add the curry and coconut milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat. Serve over rice, potatoes or with a piece of naan. Garnish with cilantro. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bean Free Turkey Chili

Sometimes I grow weary of the magical fruit when eating vegetarian a lot. When I make my turkey chili, there's a chance I'll go bean-free. This method is also good if you're trying to limit your carb intake -- although beans are good carbs! Don't forget them forever, they are high in protein, full of fiber and a complex carb that takes longer to digest, so it keeps you fuller for longer.  Here it is, my turkey chili, or chili con cranky depending on the day:

Bean Free Turkey Chili


1 lb ground turkey (or beef, but turkey is leaner)
1 small onion chopped
1 can of mushrooms chopped or a cup of fresh chopped
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with peppers (or just tomatoes)
1 can of diced jalapenos
2-3 small peppers of your choosing. I opted for the combo of green bell and mild chilis
1 can of tomato paste (6oz)
1 clove of garlic
1 tbs of olive oil
Hot sauce to your taste
Red chili flakes to taste
1 tbs of chili pepper
1 tbs of paprika
1 tsp of oregano
1 tbs of garlic powder
salt, pepper to taste

The How-To

1. Saute the ground turkey in olive oil and red pepper flakes for a bit. Add a bit of salt and pepper.
2. I like to saute the onions, peppers, and mushrooms together until the onions are translucent. Toss them in with the turkey when done.
3. Add the garlic, saute for about 2-3 minutes.
4. Empty the tomatoes, peppers, and paste into the mix. Stir well.
5. Add your spices, and let simmer for about half on hour on low to medium heat. I usually play with the spice levels, add more hot sauce etc... You can also add the tomato paste one tbs at a time, if you think it may be too sweet to your preference. Find the right balance of salty, sweet and spicy and voila! Comfort in a bowl.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vegan Kale and Chickpea Salad

I'm  neither vegetarian nor vegan, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying my veggies. When I feel like I've gone a bit overboard on the wine drinking or diet, I like to clean things up with this salad. It's made from fresh, cleansing ingredients, has tons of vitamins and tastes amazing too. This is great for a packed lunch, keeps well in the fridge for a day or so and well, folks seem to have a love affair with kale these days, don't they?

Kale and Chickpea Salad


1 large bunch of kale, stems and ribs removed, cut into tiny strips or chiffonade
1/2 cup of canned chickpeas, rinsed
1 roasted red pepper, diced
5 cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/4 cup of diced red onion
a handful of shredded carrots (I like to keep a bag of pre-shredded carrots around to throw in random meals)
1-2 tbs of sunflower seeds or pine nuts

For the dressing:

1 tbs of good olive oil
1 tbs of apple cider vinegar
1 tbs of a good mustard (i used a spicy garlic but you can just use dijon)
1 tbs of honey or agave nectar
1 clove of garlic crushed
dash of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
chopped green onion (optional)

The How-To:

Rinse and spin dry the kale. Massage the kale with your hands for 1-2 minutes. Don't look at me like I'm crazy. This is key! Instead of cooking my kale or having raw, uber hard strips to chomp on, I massage it. It reduces the volume a bit and makes the leaves much easier to chew and digest because it's softer. Throw it in a bowl along with other veggies.

In a small bowl, whisk together (or shake up in a small jar) the dressing ingredients. Throw in with the veggies and kale, toss to combine and serve. It was even good the next day -- I go fairly light on the dressing.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Asparagus and Mushroom Soup

Sometimes, I'm just in a soup mood. I think a savory, creamy soup is a great, filling way to stay within a healthy diet--if made properly. The addition of mushrooms to this soup adds B vitamins and a few grams of protein. Did you know mushrooms are also the only non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D? Sneaky taters also thicken the pot without adding a ton of carbs!

Asparagus and Mushroom Soup


2 pounds of asparagus (chopped, use the tips and half the stalks)
1 large yellow onion sliced
1 container of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 large russet potato chopped
2 garlic gloves chopped
2 tbs of Earth Balance butter
2-3 cups of vegetarian stock (depending on how thick you like it)
salt/pepper to taste
splash of sherry

The How To:

In a large pan, saute the mushrooms with a tablespoon of butter, some salt & pepper. When they are browned, splash a bit of sherry in the pan, stir until it evaporates. Let the mushrooms cool, set aside until you're ready to incorporate them into the soup.

In a large pot, saute the onions in butter til translucent. Add the chopped asparagus, potato and garlic. Stir until everything mingles nicely. Add a bit of salt and pepper but not too much if your stock is salted.

Add the stock, bring to boil, then lower heat to a simmer with the lid on. It should take about 20-30 minutes for everything to soften and cook through. Add in half the mushrooms and their liquid and use a hand blender to blend the soup smooth. You can add the remaining mushrooms for texture, or just dump them all in before you blend. (You can also leave them out altogether if the fungus scares you.)

Pour into a bowl (serves about 4) and garnish however you please. Super easy and dairy free since the potato acts a nice thickener and the Earth Balance is vegan.
Asparagus and Mushroom Soup

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lucky Lentil Salad

A while back in Hayes Valley, I had a really good chilled lentil salad. I wanted to recreate it since it's something chock full of protein and nutrients and quite filling after a work out. I've been known to just shove spoonfuls of peanut butter into my mouth after a run I'm so ladylike. I figured this would be  step up.

This one I made was cold and keeps in the fridge for a few days - which was great to snack on.  I made a big batch and cooked the quinoa and lentils together in a rice cooker, but you can cook each separately in a pot if you wish. It's real easy to put together, good for any veggie lover (or even vegan) and something I usually snack on periodically or throw over a bed of greens or brown rice.

Chilled Lentil Salad


1/2 cup of quinoa cooked in broth
1/2 cup of green lentils cooked in broth
1/2 cup of canned chickpeas rinsed
12 cup of shredded carrots (our you can use zucchini)
1 cup of kale, chopped (I like baby kale, it's softer and less bitter)
1/ 4 cup of raisins (I liked the sweetness they add)
1-2 tbs of fresh parsley chopped


1/4 cup of vinegar of your choice (I used apple cider)
1/4 cup of olive oil (I used garlic flavored)
1 garlic clove minced or 2 shallots finely chopped
1 tbs of Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

How To:

Cook the quinoa and green lentils in broth. This adds flavor and I usually use 1 1/4 cup of broth to the 1/2 cup of grain/lentil. If I have any frozen herbs lying around, I'll add those to the water too. Usually it's frozen garlic and/or basil or cilantro. If I have any mixed seasonings or dried onions, I'll add that to the cooking water as well. It really gives the quinoa more depth and less "dirt" flavor some folks complain about.
Chilled Lentil Salad recipe
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl, set aside to let the flavors mingle.

Cool the quinoa and lentils to room temp. Throw them in a big bowl or container with the rest of the ingredients, toss with dressing and eat. Super simple!