Jicama Fries

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Boy, do I have a yummy and healthy side dish for you!


Jicama fries! They are a great alternative to traditional french fries made from potatoes. The texture is different from regular french fries because of their crunchy, crisp texture, but the flavor is all there! 


What is jicama? I know I absolutely had no clue until I recently began exploring some veggies I never dreamed I would eat, nonetheless love! Jicama is a root vegetable that is from Mexico, but it can be found in almost any grocery store here in the USA. I know it doesn't look very appealing, but don't knock it until you try it! You may just find another veggie to add to your list of favorite veggies :) It is slightly sweet like an apple or pear, but it also reminds me of water chestnuts. Smaller jicama are younger and sweeter, while the larger ones have a more starchier taste. It is very low calorie, has lots of vitamin C, and it is one of the finest sources of dietary fiber with an excellent source of oligofructose inulin, a non-digestible carbohydrate. This allows it to be an ideal sweet snack for diabetics and those trying to lose weight. What is not to love? 

There are a variety of ways to enjoy this vegetable, but roasted in the oven as fries is my favorite. Mainly because roasting helps bring out the sweetness in veggies. You can also eat these raw in a salad or by themselves as a snack!


First thing you need to do when making fries is slice off the top. Then peel the skin with a knife. I have seen some peel with their fingers or a vegetable peeler. Do whatever you prefer, as long you get that skin off!


Slice the jicama into thin strips so that they resemble fries. I started off by cutting the jicama into 4 sections. Then slicing them into 1/4 inch strips.


Add a teaspoon of olive oil. This will help the spices adhere to the jicama. Feel free to use an extra teaspoon if you desire, but a teaspoon worked great for me.


Add those spices! I used paprika and onion powder, but there really is no limit on what spices to use. Chili powder, garlic powder or other seasoning blends such as Mrs. Dash work well too! Experiment until you find what you like. Next time I may try smoked paprika in place of the regular paprika.


Toss it around and make sure all the fries are evenly coated. We wouldn't want the other fries to get jealous! Personally, I used my hands to mix it around, rubbing the spice mixture into the jicama. Don't worry! My hands were clean :)


I put a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet although I don't think it is necessary. I did it for easy clean up. Plus, I always have it around for those cauliflower pizza crusts!

Place the fries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, flipping once.


Voila! Delicious healthy fries!

They will be crunchy and will never reach the texture of regular fries no matter how long you bake them because I know... I tried! It still tastes very yummy! Serve them with some ranch dressing for an extra treat!


Jicama Fries


Ingredients:
1 medium sized jicama
1 tsp olive oil (1 Healthy Fat)
1 tsp paprika (2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp onion powder (1 Condiment)
salt and pepper, if desired

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the skin from the jicama by cutting the top off the jicama and then peeling it with a knife. It is very similar to how you would peel an apple. You could also peel it with your fingers if you desire. It is kind of like peeling bark from a tree.

Then cut the jicama into thin sections, like fries.

Toss the fries in a bowl and add olive oil, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Coat the fries evenly with the spices.

Bake fries for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

Enjoy!

I got about 3 cups of fries but it will vary based on the size of your jicama. With 3 cups of fries you get:


2 Servings with 3 Greens, 1 1/2 Condiments, and 1/2 Healthy Fat per serving


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Skinny Broccoli Salad

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I have made the original version of this salad so many times because it is such a great dish to bring to a potluck and it is a wonderful dish to serve at a BBQ! I mean what is there not to like? You have your sweet, savory and tangy flavors going on. I do miss the little extras I used to add to the dish such as the grapes, craisins, and apples that gave it an added sweetness, but oh don't you worry! I will be adding those ingredients during maintenance.

I substituted plain Greek yogurt for most of the mayo to lighten it up. As a taste test, I tried using only Greek yogurt, but the extra 2 tablespoons of light mayo made the dish more memorable. Sliced almonds were substituted for sunflower seeds and pecans since they are an allowable snack on Medifast. Only 2 tbsp of low sodium real bacon bits were used instead of lots and lots of bacon. It was just enough to give the salad a taste of bacon.


Definitely not as good as my original version (although still pretty tasty), but this version is so much healthier and that makes my thighs happy :) Maintenance just can't come soon enough so I can re-introduce some of the other ingredients into my diet.


So let's get to the recipe which is so easy because it doesn't involve cooking! No need to get your kitchen hot when summer comes around the corner. Just take 3 cups of broccoli florets in place them in a bowl. Make sure the broccoli has been washed. If you want to save time, you can purchase the broccoli florets already cut up.


Next, you will need to make the yogurt sauce which consists of yogurt, mayo, sweetener, apple cider vinegar and salt. I like to use NuNaturals NuStevia white stevia powder packets. I find they do not leave a bitter after taste, but you can use your choice of sweetener. If you are interested, I get my stevia packets on Amazon.


Get that broccoli coated!


Add the sliced almonds for added crunch!


Add  some yummy savory bacon bits that go well with the sweetened yogurt sauce.


And of course we can't forget the cheese! Stir it all up and you have a delicious quick and easy side dish!

 Skinny Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:
3 cups broccoli florets (6 Greens)
1/4 cup 2% Fage plain Greek yogurt (1/6 Lean)
2 tbsp light mayo (2 Healthy Fats)
2 packets Nu Naturals Stevia or sweetener of choice (2 Condiments)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (1/2 Condiment)
1/4 tsp salt, optional (1 Condiment)
2 tbsp low sodium real bacon bits (2 Condiments)
1 oz sliced almonds (2 Snacks)
1/3 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (1/3 Lean)

Directions:

Place washed broccoli florets in a medium sized bowl, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayo, sweetener, vinegar and salt. Stir until smooth.

Pour yogurt mixture over broccoli and stir until all combined. Add sliced almonds, bacon and cheese. Toss gently until all pieces are evenly coated. 

2 Servings with 1/4 Lean, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments, 1 Healthy Fat and 1 Snack per serving

You still need to add 3/4 Lean to complete your Lean for the day.

Some examples are:

4.5 oz chicken breasts from the Leaner category
5.2 oz of shrimp or tilapia from the Leanest category
1 1/2 cup egg beaters




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Mexican Mac and Cheese (Cauliflower)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Nothing beats comfort food like mac and cheese! I absolutely love mac and cheese, but I don't love all the carbs and calories that come with it! Those I could definitely live without :) 

I have to admit... this recipe doesn't taste exactly like mac and cheese because it uses cauliflower instead of pasta, but it is a a great alternative and it still tastes pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Oh... and the hubs asked when I was making it again so I think that counts as two thumbs up! 

You still get the same great taste from the gooey cheese sauce, but without the high starch from the pasta. Not to mention, I wanted to give this mac and cheese a little kick so I added some green chilies, green peppers and ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning. Don't get me wrong. I love plain old mac and cheese, but sometimes you need to add some variety to your life. 


And why did I need this comfort food on this very day? Not that I needed a reason to make comfort food, but if I had a reason, it just might make me feel better. Okay... probably not, since this dish is totally on the Medifast plan and I have no guilt whatsoever in devouring it because yes... that is what I did. Not a morsel left on my plate. It just felt like I was cheating, even though I wasn't. Gosh darn those guilty feelings that seem to pop up when they aren't suppose to.


Now this is what I saw outside in my backyard! A cloudy rainy day in Vegas screams comfort food!


Not only was it raining, but there was hail! In the month of May! Now if that doesn't scream comfort food, then I don't know what does.


I cut up my cauliflower in small bite size pieces and cook them until tender. I really like to cut them into very small pieces so I don't get a big chunk of cauliflower in your mac and cheese. You don't want the cauliflower to overpower the dish. You could use frozen or fresh cauliflower for this recipe but I used fresh.


I added canned green chilies, green peppers and jalapenos to the cauliflower, but feel free to use red peppers instead of the green for extra color.


Then I added ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning. You could use plain ground beef, but the taco seasoning helps to add more flavor.


Stir it up and set aside because it is time to make the best part! The cheese sauce!


Add all the ingredients for the sauce and stir until smooth.


Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and ground beef mixture.


Give it a good stir and make sure all the bits and pieces are coated with the cheese sauce. You wouldn't want any piece to feel left out!


Pour it into a casserole dish.


Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!


Mexican Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:
7.5 oz cooked 93% lean ground beef, fat drained (1 1/2 Leans)
1 1/2 tsp low sodium taco seasoning mix (3 Condiments)

5 cups cooked cauliflower, cut into small florets (10 Greens)
1/2 cup chopped green chilies (1 Green)
1/2 cup green or red peppers, diced (1 Green)
2 tbsp jalapenos, chopped (2 Condiments)

For the sauce:
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (1 Condiment)
3 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese (3 Condiments)
1 tsp dijon mustard (1 Condiment)
1 1/2 tbsp Kraft parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 Condiments)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (1/2 Condiment)
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican or sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 Leans)

Topping:
1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican or sharp cheddar cheese (1 Lean)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square casserole dish lightly with cooking spray.

Combine cooked ground beef with taco seasoning mix and 1/4 cup water in a small skillet. Heat over medium high heat. Cook until sauce thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine seasoned ground beef, cauliflower pieces, green chilies, green or red peppers and jalapenos. Set aside.

Pour cashew milk into a medium sized sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the cream cheese, dijon mustard, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. Stir until combined and cream cheese is melted. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and sauce is nice and smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower beef mixture and stir until everything is coated with the cheese sauce. Pour mixture into a prepared dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the top. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Divide into 4 even portions.


4 Servings with 1 Lean, 3 Greens and 3 Condiments per serving


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Baked Cinnamon Jicama (Apples)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Just in time for Fall! 

Something about the smell of cinnamon and baked apples cooking in the oven during the Fall season brings back such wonderful memories from my favorite season! 


Have you ever tried jicama? They are a white fibrous root vegetable native to Mexico, but you can find them in all of the grocery stores here. In my opinion, it is a cross between both a potato and an apple. Delicious eaten raw or cooked! Especially thrown into salads! They are wonderful substitutes for apples because they are subtly sweet, crisp and crunchy. The only difference you may notice is that they don't get really soft like apples when baking, but  they still taste pretty darn good.


I peeled and cubed the jicama in very small pieces (like how you would cube potatoes for hash browns) ,but you can also slice them really thin like apple slices. You want to make the pieces small or thin so they cook easier and faster. 


Add some cinnamon, apple pie spice and stevia along with the melted butter. If you do not have apple pie spice, it is okay. You can always double up on the cinnamon or add more cinnamon with a touch of nutmeg and allspice.


Get it all the pieces of jicama evenly coated with the spices and butter.


Spread the pieces over a foil lined baking pan.


Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 15 more minutes.


Delicious!


I made three 1 cup servings, but you could always have only 1/2 a cup as 1 Green and have other veggies as your other Green so that this could be your little dessert with dinner. Or you could have 1 1/2 cups of this treat but watch your condiments when using the toppings. I hope you enjoy it as much as me!


Baked Cinnamon Jicama (Apples)

Ingredients:

3 cups jicama peeled and cubed or you could slice them thin (6 Greens)
3 tbsp light Land O' Lakes Butter with Canola Oil, melted (3 Healthy Fats)
1/4 tsp apple pie spice (1/2 Condiment)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (1/2 Condiment)
3 packets stevia in the raw (3 Condiments)

Toppings:
1 tbsp Walden Farms caramel syrup (1/2 Condiment)
2 tbsp Fat Free Reddi Whip (1 Condiment)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with non-stick foil.

Mix jicama with melted butter in a medium sized bowl. Add cinnamon, apple pie spice, and stevia stirring until combined. Pour on to foil lined pan. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

The jicama will not get completely soft when baking. Expect to have a slight crisp center when eating and a slightly sweetened taste. Enjoy!


3 (1 cup) servings with 2 Greens (still need 1 more Green such as 1/2 cup broccoli or 1 cup lettuce), 1.8 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat per serving



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Mexican Ground Beef Casserole

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys! Both the hubs and I approve and that says a lot considering hubby loves his whole wheat pasta! In the past, I would have normally made this dish with pasta, but spaghetti squash works really well for this dish. If you haven't tried spaghetti squash yet, then you don't know what you are missing! It has a nice slight crunch and packed with nutrients, but it does resemble spaghetti noodles, hence the name, "spaghetti" squash. I don't think you will miss pasta, once you try this dish. If you need a tutorial on how to prepare spaghetti squash using a microwave, you can go HERE.

I also substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream which is often found with Mexican dishes. Greek yogurt is so versatile because it can be a healthier substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise and even butter! It helps make dishes thick and creamy without adding all the calories. You gotta love that!

This casserole does freeze well so that is a plus in my book. You got to love those make ahead freezer meals, especially for those busy week nights! It will definitely be a meal found in my freezer.


Yummy comfort food and the perfect dish if you are craving Mexican!


Substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream helps lighten this dish without skimping on flavor! The sauce is a blend of Greek yogurt, enchilada sauce, with a little bit of chili powder to give it extra kick.


Adding the chopped green pepper while the ground beef is cooking softens them up some and gives the beef more flavor.


Rotel tomatoes also help add more zest to the meat with it's perfect blend of tomatoes, green chili peppers and spices. Love this stuff in my Mexican dishes.


Look at that color! Christmas anyone? :)


Drain all the fat and liquids from the eat using a strainer. Return the meat back to the skillet and add the yummy sauce you prepared earlier.


All the lumps from the cream cheese that were in the sauce previously, disappear and gives the sauce becomes smooth.


Next add the spaghetti squash and give it a good stir.


Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.


Top with cheese and bake until the cheese is melted. Delicious!


Mexican Ground Beef Casserole

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups spaghetti squash, cooked (9 Greens)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (2 1/2 Greens)
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped (1/2 Green)
1.25 pounds 93% lean ground beef (3 Leans)
2/3 cup shredded 2% reduced fat Mexican style cheese (2/3 Lean)
1/2 cup 2% plain Fage Greek yogurt (1/3 Lean)
1/2 cup red enchilada sauce (8 Condiments)
3 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese (3 Condiments)
1/2 tsp chili powder (1 Condiment)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine enchilada sauce, Greek yogurt, cream cheese, and chili powder. Stir until combined. It is okay if the mixture is a little lumpy from the cream cheese. The cream cheese will eventually melt when combined with the warm ground beef and spaghetti squash. Set aside.

Over medium high heat, add ground beef, chopped green peppers, and can of Rotel tomatoes to a large skillet. Cook until ground beef is no longer pink and green pepper is tender. Drain meat of all fat and liquid.

Add spaghetti squash and enchilada sauce to the ground beef mixture. Stir until everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish. I used a deep 9 inch square casserole dish. Top with Mexican style cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.


4 Servings with 1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 3 Condiments per Serving (No Healthy Fats required)



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