Summer Berry Watermelon Salad

It wouldn’t be summertime without a fruit salad.

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berrysalad3

Summer Berry Watermelon Salad
Serves 4
A delicious fruit salad to enjoy during a hot summer day.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups watermelon, chopped into cube shapes
  2. 1 pint blueberries
  3. 1 pint raspberries
  4. 1 pint strawberries, quartered
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Serve slightly chilled.
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Oven-Cooked Paleo Italian Meatballs with Sauce

We’ve been using ground turkey instead of ground beef for so long that I’ve forgotten what beef actually tastes like. I like ground turkey. The kids have grown to like it too, so I really see no point in switching back. It’s healthier and that makes spending a couple extra bucks worth it to me.

While trying to expand my “bowl recipes,” I stumbled across this particular one for with what seemed like extremely good-for-you meatballs. I liked that they were an oven-bake and the marinara was an easy homemade sauce you could put together in no time and patiently hang out in the kitchen with a cup of tea while it slowly cooked over the stove. 

And so I did just that.

healthymeatball

Not to mention, it tastes great over whole-grain rice. Which obviously makes it a keeper, a blog post and handwritten down on a recipe card to go in my book. But if you don’t like rice, you can eat just the meatballs with the sauce, overtop a plate of linguini noodles or on a sub. 

That makes it pretty hard not to want to give it a try, don’t you think?

paleoturkeymeatballs

Oven-Cooked Paleo Italian Meatballs with Sauce
Serves 4
Healthy ground turkey meatballs baked in the oven and then simmered in a sauce-pan of delicious and hearty homemade marinara sauce. Recipe is both paleo and gluten-free.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Meatballs
  1. 1lb ground turkey beef
  2. 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  3. 1 egg, beaten
  4. ½ tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  7. 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, divided (optional)
  8. whole grain rice, (optional)
Sauce
  1. 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  2. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 bay leaf
  5. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  6. 1 tablespoon parsely, finely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a large baking sheet, cover with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add beaten egg with ground turkey, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, parsley, salt and black pepper. Combine well with clean hands.
  3. Using hands, roll meatballs, about 2 tablespoons of mixture, evenly and spread on baking pan. Space out each meatball at least ½-1 inch apart from each other.
  4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
Marinara Sauce
  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and allow to saute for 5 minutes. Next add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Both onion and garlic should appear transparent. Add canned tomatoes, bay leaf and pepper. Combine well with a wooden spoon and lower heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Serve overtop meatballs and whole-grain rice.
Notes
  1. Recipe has been adjusted from original posted via adapt link.
Adapted from Noshtastic
Adapted from Noshtastic
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Greek Chicken Salad

When I decided on prepping Greek Chicken Salad, I did it knowing that I could enjoy it in a variety of ways. There are times when I become less enthusiastic about a meal that I’ve got repeated throughout the week; especially if it’s one that I don’t look forward to in the first place. That’s also when I decided to make my own meal-plans instead of following others. I love food too much to not look forward to a meal!

greekchickensalad

I remember the first time I had chicken salad. My mom had brought home a container of it from Sam’s Club. I knew that I loved tuna salad, but after tasting that particular chicken salad, I found that I loved chicken salad more. 

Chicken Salad doesn’t have to be a basic recipe with the same ingredients every time. It tastes great on a plate of spinach, overtop a fresh loaf of bread, on-top of a cucumber, with a handful of crackers, or even just by itself. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy or prepare chicken salad.

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Generally each recipe I’ve came across has included grapes as far as fruit goes, but I think my favorite combination has been grapes and apples. Both flavors compliment each other well and you’re adding another texture which is always a good thing. There’s no such thing as too much fruit and that goes for chicken salad as well.

You’re always welcomed to add additional ingredients. This particular recipe calls for greek seasoning, but if you do not have all of the spices needed to prepare that; you can always just use ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. 

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Doesn’t it look fantastic? I have to admit – I purposely prepared this shortly before lunch time so that after I was doing prepping the ingredients and taking photos, I could enjoy that open face chicken salad sandwich pictured above. And it was delicious. Enjoy!

Greek Chicken Salad
Serves 4
Chicken Salad can be a colorful recipe, with added ingredients and dressing adjusted.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rotisserie chicken
  2. 1½ cups red grapes, halved
  3. medium apple, diced
  4. 1½ cups celery, diced
  5. ½ cup slivered almonds
  6. ½ cup mayonnaise
Greek Seasoning
  1. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  2. 2 teaspoons dried basil
  3. 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  4. 1 teaspoons dried thyme
  5. 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  6. 4 teaspoons onion powder
  7. 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  8. 2 teaspoons dried dill
  9. 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  10. 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  11. 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  12. 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  13. 1 teaspoons nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Using a medium size bowl, add mayonnaise and greek seasoning. Mix well.
  2. Combine chicken, grapes, apple, celery and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise sauce and fold, covering all ingredients entirely. Chill for 10 minutes before serving.
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Ranch Chicken Salad

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Mondays are never easy, but rainy Mondays are even less. I had prepared this lunch dish last night in-between waiting for our pork tenderloins and twice baked potatoes to cook and it looked and smelled so delicious that I was looking forward to photographing it in some great natural light. I should have known better. I regularly look at the weather forecast and I knew rain was headed our way all day today. It’s OK. Considering that I am going to be eating this as my lunch for the next several days and we have sunshine the remainder of the week; I will have plenty of opportunity to take a better photograph and edit this post with it. And you after Monday readers will never know! 

I’m trying to ease more dairy free recipes into our menu. This is officially my first, purposely at least, and can also be seen as Whole 30 and Paleo friendly as well. Everyone cheer! 

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I’m not sure if you already know this or not, but the secret to preparing a quick and tasteful chicken salad is rotisserie chicken. It doesn’t make a difference if you buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery or if you slow-cooker some chicken breasts for 4 hours with broth; chicken salads taste best with shredded, juicy chicken. You can also add and mix things as you go, accordingly to what flavors you like. I like my chicken salad quite often, so I am always trying to think of new ways to differ it up. 

So why not add some ranch? There are so many great things you can do with a dry packet of ranch seasoning. I use it for a handful of recipes as it adds a nice little tangy taste that can or cannot be similiar to the ranch you use for salad dressing depending on just how much you use. If you’re leaning more towards creating your own ranch seasoning rather than buying one from the grocery, a great dairy-free recipe can be found here.

Ranch Chicken Salad
A new and tangy twist on your typical chicken salad recipe. Just as easy to make, even more delicious.
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups of rotisserie, or finely shredded chicken breast
  2. ½ cup mayonnaise
  3. 1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning
  4. 1 cup celery, diced
  5. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  6. ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
Instructions
  1. Combine shredded chicken, mayonnaise and ranch seasoning in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add celery, bell pepper and onion to chicken mixture. Combine well.
Notes
  1. Serves best after being chilled for a half hour in refrigerator.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Customize your popcorn!

cinnacorn Move over, plain buttery popcorn!

Popcorn is mostly associated with movies and sporting events, but can be an enjoyable light snack at anytime in the day depending on the kind of popcorn you have and the kind of toppings you add. Next time you’re in the mood for popcorn, try it one of these ways:

Healthier Popcorn Brands:
Smart Balance Light Butter
Newman’s Own Organics Pop’s Corn, Light Butter
Quinn Popcorn Olive Oil & Herbs
Jolly Time Healthy Pop Butter
Black Jewell Kettle

Optional Popcorn Toppings:
Dark 85% Chocolate: Simply place two squares of chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave for under a minute. Use a spoon to break up chocolate and drizzle overtop popcorn. Add nuts as well, if desired. 

Cinnamon: It works on just about everything, including popcorn. Sprinkle a light helping overtop for some cinnamon flavor.

Cool Ranch: Those dry packets of dressing have so much more use to them other than just for salads. Ranch fan? Use half a tablespoon of dry ranch dressing to sprinkle over your popcorn to create a tangy taste.

Buffalo Sauce: Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon buffalo sauce in a microwavable bowl, combining well. Microwave slightly and immediately drizzle overtop popcorn. 

Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil: Adding a slight amount of olive oil and sprinkling paprika adds a little bit of kick to your popcorn.

Green Juice: Benefits + Recipe

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Need to increase your energy? Leafy greens to the rescue! The quickest way to help get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables without eating a salad, or side of grapefruit is by drinking an 8-ounce (at least!) glass of green juice.

By digesting raw vegetables, you’re able to fully absorb all their nutrients verses getting bits and pieces broken down when vegetables are steamed, grilled or broiled. For starters, greens contain loads of calcium, potassium and iron; all important must-haves for a healthy body. But that’s not all – you can also get an abundance amount of vitamin B, C, E and K from them as well.

So what can you expect in a green juice? Most recipes call for a base:  (Spinach. Kale. Chard. Collards) with additional ingredients to help build a flavor: (Banana. Pineapple. Apple. Celery. Carrots. Beets) 

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Green Juice
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium banana
  2. ½ cup pineapple
  3. ½ teaspoon chia seeds
  4. handful of baby spinach
  5. 1 cup coconut water
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a blender. Enjoy chilled.
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Spaghetti Carbonara

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When we think of pasta, we imagine a tomato sauce deliciously overlapping noodles. Spaghetti Carbonara is a little different, but the good kind of different.

The dish that originated out of Rome simply consists of egg, bacon, black pepper and cheese tangled between thin pasta noodles. Add in additional meat, vegetables to even greater the flavor.

Perfect for those with the intention of having a light dinner, or needing a quick meal to put together.

 

Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 4
The healthier version of pasta!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  5. Whole grain spaghetti
  6. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  7. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  8. pinch of red pepper flakes
  9. 4oz deli-fresh ham, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  10. 8 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
Instructions
  1. Fill a large saucepan 2/3 full with water for spaghetti noodles. After water is brought to a boil, cook noodles according to package.
  2. While noodles are cooking, whisk together eggs with 2 tablespoons cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a medium skillet, add oil and cook garlic for 1 minute over medium heat. Next, add red pepper flakes and ham and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. After draining noodles, add to egg mixture, stirring well with a large spoon to combine well. Add garlic and ham mixture and stir again, combining well.
  5. Divide among 4 plates. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese on top, along with another pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
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Baked Denver Omelette Quiche

quiche

Meals should almost always be about variety. We don’t eat the same dinners each night, right? And if we did, I assume we wouldn’t look forward to doing so. However, there can be exceptions! Take a quiche for example. When I make a quiche, it’s usually with the intention of eating it for breakfast every day for the next week because it’s nutritious and so good.

This particular quiche doesn’t ask for much of you, and even with the simple ingredients; it’s still packed with a lot of flavor. Best next thing? It takes a whopping 10 minutes max to put it together and after doing so, you get to sit back, relax and engulf the delicious smell as it bakes. 

Baked Denver Omelette Quiche
Serves 4
A crowd pleasing crustless quiche packed with lots of flavor.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 eggs
  2. ½ cup fat-free milk
  3. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 1 cup chopped fully cooked ham, diced into small cubes
  5. ½ cup onion, chopped
  6. ½ cup green pepper, chopped
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. 2. Grease well a quiche pan, or 9x9 casserole pan. Set aside.
  3. 3. Whisk together ingredients in a large size bowl, adding to a greased pan after combined well.
  4. 4. Bake for 25 minutes.
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Yummy Dinner Alert! Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps:

Break out the blue cheese dressing. Or ranch, if that’s your thing. These buffalo chicken lettuce wraps are so good, you’re going to cross your fingers that there’s leftovers when you’re finished. 

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For every Ohio State football game, we used to make a buffalo chicken dip. You’re probably familiar with it. That’s where the love for buffalo branched off from and inspired more recipes that consisted of it. Buffalo wraps are a common lunch (and dinner) selection, but I wanted something a little more healthy. Less wrap, more vegetable, even more buffalo. 

 
I had done the lunch lettuce wraps with the turkey. Those were pretty good. So why wouldn’t bite size buffalo chicken work just as good, if not better? Pair it with some vegetable toppings; carrots, celery. and suddenly that buffalo chicken is looking more healthy.   

  buffalochicken

 

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4
Perfect for a quick dinner, or appetizing lunch on the go.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch bite-size pieces
  2. ½ cup buffalo sauce for cooking, ½ cup buffalo sauce for drizzling overtop
  3. 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
  4. 4-6 large boston bibb lettuce
  5. ½ cup diced tomatoes
  6. ½ cup shredded carrots
  7. ½ cup celery, diced into small pieces
  8. blue cheese (or ranch) dressing
  9. optional: scallions, blue cheese crumbles for garnish if desired
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Note: I line mine with foil and lightly grease it as if to avoid staining the cookie sheet from potentially burn marks.
  3. 2. Using a large ziplock bag. toss your chicken bites in ½ cup of buffalo sauce. Allow to marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. 3. Prepare breadcrumbs by using a large plate or shallow dish. Roll each bite in bread crumbs so that all sides are covered. Place on cookie sheet.
  5. 4. Bake chicken for 30 minutes. In the meantime, chop your vegetables if you haven't already.
  6. When chicken is ready, allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes to cool off slightly.
  7. 5. Line your lettuce wraps onto a flat surface. Add chicken, tomatoes, carrots and celery. Lightly drizzle sauce of your choice overtop. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and scallions if desired.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

The Importance of Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” I often wonder if the individual who thought it up was trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy is not easy. There’s several components that go into the equation when it comes to trying to reroute your daily diet into something that your body will appreciate more than those greasy drive-through french fries. The most important components? Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep. Lets face it though. Not everyone loves meal-planning and not everyone loves cooking. I think you have to enjoy both in order to have a deep and committed relationship with planning a menu and looking forward to prepping food. And while meal planning can be time-consuming and meal-prep, a process (think 2-4 hours spent in your kitchen on a Sunday morning) they’re also the key to a successful healthy lifestyle.
foodprep

When I started out on my journey towards becoming more fit and healthy one year ago, I actually looked forward to the process of meal-prep. I was following an e-guide program that lasted 28 days and came with an already scheduled meal-plan for the week, grocery list to check off, which foods I was prepping on what day and what my workout was. Everything is easier when simply laid out for you. But doing so, this taught me how to continue making healthy choices when the program was over. I just had to follow two rules

1. Allow yourself 5 meals a day. That’s right. FIVE!:

Now before you get all bug-eyed, hear me out. I understand you’re either looking to lose weight or maintain. Eating 5 meals a day isn’t going to contribute to weight gain if you’re eating correctly and not just anything and everything in the fridge or pantry – in fact, 5 meals allows your body to use energy stores and burn more fat.

The easiest and most foul-proof way to do it is to fit one small snack in after breakfast and another after lunch. This leaves less need to over-indulge at dinner and less chance of finding your hand in the chip bag. That’s right – no more Doritos fingers!

2. Prep twice a week.

Yes, my friends. When I say twice a week, I mean you will be eating left-overs. I’m sure when you were younger the thought of eating last night’s dinner again for dinner tonight gave you the hebeegeebees. Not anymore! Left-overs are now your body’s best friend. Please don’t imagine microwaving frozen pizza. That’s not the kind of left-overs I meant.

It’s a lot more easier for you to schedule repetitive meals for a few days. This calls for less overall prepping and saves you some cash at the grocery store. It also rids you of that “what should I cook for dinner tonight?” headache. I, personally, meal-prep on Sunday and Wednesday. That means Monday-Wednesday I eat the same breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Thursday-Saturday, same thing. Sunday is my exception day. I try to maintain healthy choices, but don’t have a set plan.

Seems easy enough, right? Everything is as enjoyable as you allow it to be. Prep and dice your vegetables while listening to music or use Pinterest to find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. And don’t forget the tupperware! Not only are you going to need plenty of it, but you get to pick some out in all shapes and sizes. The cute little dressing ones are my favorite!

 

(Pictured above is ingredients for Chorizo Breakfast Burrito)