Shari Duncan

Tag: Healthy Eating

EASY Basil Pesto Chicken
Admin

by on Feb.23, 2014, under Chicken and Poultry, Recipes

1 2 3  PESTO!

It doesn’t get much easier than this!  Spinach and tomato give this baked dish a fresh taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 6 oz bag baby spinach

    FRESH and EASY!

  • 3-4 tblsp Basil Pesto
  • 2 Large skinless, boneless chicken breasts / halved
  • Fresh tomato slices
  • 2-3 green onions – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan-Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss 1/2 the pesto with spinach abd 1/2 of the green onions.  Spread into bottom of glass baking dish.  Place halved chicken breasts over Spinach and brush with remaining pesto.  top each breast with sliced tomato and remaining green onions. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cover and bake approx 30 minutes or until chicken in cooked through.  Uncover, turn oven temp to broil.  Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired and continue to cook for a few more minutes until cheese and tomato slightly brown.

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BEST EVER Curry Chicken Salad
Shari

by on Jul.20, 2013, under Chicken and Poultry, Recipes

Please, Don’t pass on this one…

At first glance you may want to skip over this one…,because you are not a fan of curry, or of fruit or nuts in chicken salad… or Greek yogurt.. .   but once you try it, you will be hooked. You will make it over again; and your friends and family will beg you for this recipe!!

Did I mention, this is possibly the BEST ever chicken salad you will ever eat!

Play around with the quantities of fruit, nuts and veggies.  You really cant go wrong.

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 boneless,skinless chicken breasts- split.  Boil chicken breasts in water seasoned with chicken broth or bouillon and 1/4 tsp yellow curry powder. When cooked through, remove chicken from water to cool while you prepare the salad ingredients.  Once cooled, chop into bite-size chunks.

  • 1 stalk celery – chopped

    Chopped fruit, veggies and nuts.. and don't forget the Yogurt!

  • 1-2 green onions
  • 1/2 red apple chopped
  • handful of red grapes, sliced OR 1/4 c golden raisins
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chopped pecans, walnuts (or both!)
  • 1/4 c plain greek yogurt and “Dollop” of Light Mayo (to start)
  • 1/4 tsp (or more to taste) curry powder
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Add additional yogurt/mayonaise and spices to taste.  Cover and refrigerate.  Serve over crisp romaine lettuce.

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How to Have a Healthy Fry
Shari

by on Jun.08, 2013, under Fruits and Veggies, General Nutrition, Recipes

Who doesn’t love to indulge in a big plate of hot, salty French fries?

French fries are among the most popular menu items eaten by millions of people in fast food chains, cafes and bistros. We cant say no to the french fry though we know they are also among the most unhealthiest foods we consume.
These days many people are trying to be more health conscious when it comes to their food choices. The good news is it easy to make a satisfying and healthier fry without sacrificing taste.

There are healthier ways to satisfy your craving like baking instead of deep frying and swapping zucchini, sweet potato, eggplant or green beans for white potatoes.

Start by slicing your veggies. Use a ziplock bag and drizzle olive oil inside . Toss in your favorite seasonings – dont be afraid to experiment with spices and herbs for a variety of favors.

Roast the seasoned veggies at a high heat 425-450 degrees for 15-25 minutes   (depending on thickness of cut) Your “fries” will come out crispy and delicious!

Here is one of my favorites:

Parmesan Zucchini Fries

Ingredients

  • 3 medium zucchini-  Cut into thick matchstick slices

    Matchstick zucchini slices for oven fries

  • 1/2 cup wheat  flour
  • Seasoned salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder to taste
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups panko or seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend
  • Olive Oil
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with olive oil or butter flavored cooking spray.

    Coat gallon ziplock with olive oil.

    Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl, blend together flour, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese blend and seasonings.

    Working in batches, dip sliced vegetables first in eggs, then in breading to coat and place on baking sheet in single layer, without touching.

    Sprinkle with additional seasonings if desired.  Bake 15-20 minutes  or until breadcrumb coating is golden and crisp.

    Now… go ahead and indulge !  Guilt Free.

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    Chicken Pesto Pizza with Feta
    Shari

    by on Jan.12, 2013, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, Recipes

    Make Friday Night (or any night)  Pizza Night!

    Yes, even pizza can be healthy, Without sacrificing taste.  Fresh and flavorful homemade pizza in 30 minutes .  Faster than delivery AND no tip required!

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • One whole wheat pizza crust (Boboli)
    • 1 large chicken breast (~8 oz) diced

      Fresh Veggies, Chicken and Pesto....PIZZA NIGHT!!

    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 3-4 Tbsp basil pesto sauce
    • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
    • Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
    • Feta cheese – grated
    • Shredded parmesan/ Romano cheese
    • Minced garlic
    • Italian spice blend (oregano, basil,garlic)

    Optional :  mushrooms, red peppers, spinach, artichokes, etc.

    Get as creative as you wish.

    Preheat oven to 450°.

    Heat olive oil and minced garlic in over med high heat.  Add diced chicken breast,season generously with italian spices.  Sauté over medium high heat stirring once or twice for 5 to 8 minutes until  brown and cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.

    Spread thin layer of prepared pesto sauce on base of pizza crust.  Layer sliced tomatoes followed by chicken, olives, and other fresh vegetables as desired.  ( I added mushrooms and sliced red bell peppers).  Top with grated feta, to taste and additional herbs.

    Bake on middle rack for 10 minutes. Then tue. Broiler to hi heat and cook an additional 2 minutes .  Remove from oven sprinkle with shredded Parmesan/Romano cheese blend

    Allow pie to set and cool on rack 2-5 minutes.

    Slice and enjoy!

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    Sweet and Spicy Chicken Thighs
    Shari

    by on Jul.29, 2012, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, General Nutrition, High Protein dishes, Recipes

    Don’t  be afraid to go to the dark side every now and then.

    Spicy, honey brushed chicken thighs are are seasoned with chili powder, cumin, garlic and cider vinegar.  Moist and full of flavor, this main course dish is easy to prepare either under the broiler or on the grill.

    Dinner is served:  in under 30 minutes.

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

      Skinless thighs: ... can be a healthy alternative to chicken breasts.

    • 8 skinless, boneless (skinless) chicken thighs
    • Cooking spray
    • 6 tablespoons honey ( I used less)
    • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar  (I used less)

    PREPARATION:

    1. Preheat broiler.
    2. Combine first 6 spice  ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
    3. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

    There has been longstanding debates over breast versus thigh; light versus dark meat. Skinless chicken breasts are often recommended for dieters because of their high protein and low fat content.  But chicken thighs can play a role in a healthy diet with portion control and the right cooking techniques. Skinless chicken thighs are also  high in protein, are higher in zinc and iron, and tend to be moister and more flavorful than breasts. They are also less expensive.

    Chicken thighs are higher in fat and calories than chicken breasts. Overall, they contain about 40 calories more per serving than the same size serving of chicken breast.     A 3.5-ounce serving of boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat contains almost 26 grams of protein compared to about 31 grams of protein for the same size serving of boneless, skinless breast.

    Whether you choose light or dark; breast or thigh, skinless is ALWAYS  best because it helps control calories and fat. The skin includes another 38 calories and almost 5g of additional fat, most of which is saturated.

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    Chicken Margherita with Zucchini
    Shari

    by on Mar.17, 2012, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, High Protein dishes, Recipes

    Yes! You can eat Pasta.

    Fresh tomatoes, zucchini… garlic and herbs tossed with whole grain pasta and chicken make for a healthy, high protein meal.  Fast, Fresh and Easy…

    For the pasta:

    • 8-10 oz. dry whole wheat angel hair pasta
    • 1 pint ~(2-3 cups)  cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
    • ½ cup shredded fresh mozzarella
    • 1 medium zucchini

      A HEALTHY way to do Pasta. Lean chicken, whole grain pasta and fresh veggies.

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 T minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil ( If you don’t have fresh, dried basil works fine)
    • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
    • Extra Parmesan to sprinkle on top

    For the chicken:

    • 1 to 1.25 lbs chicken breast
    • Olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano (Italian Seasonings), red pepper flakes to taste

    Bring large pot of water to boil.

    1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Set aside.
    2. Wash one zucchini and slice lengthwise into 4, and dice cut into ½ inch pieces.  Set aside.
    3. Combine tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl. Add additional herbs, if desired.  Set aside.
    4. Cut chicken into strips. Coat chicken with oil and spices.  Preheat large sauté or fry pan on medium high heat, adding a little more olive oil to coat bottom of pan.  Saute chicken, turning once and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let rest.
    5. In same pan, add a bit more olive oil, garlic and zucchini and stir fry, about 1-2 minutes, until vegetable browned but still crisp.
    6. Reduce heat. Return cooked pasta to sauté pan along with tomato and cheese mixture.  Stir in basil. Season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.  Finally return chicken strips to pan.

    Top with extra Parmesan as desired.

    Makes 4-6 servings.

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    Get to Know the Foods you Eat.
    Shari

    by on Feb.26, 2012, under General Nutrition

    The ingredient list is a quick way of judging a food product and is fairly straight forward, or is it?

    If we are what we eat, then the ingredient list on the foods we consume may just give us pause.  It would be ideal  if we could all eat fresh, farm raised local foods and produce all the time, but the reality is that most of our pantries and refrigerators are stocked with cans, jars, bottles and boxes.

    Therefore it is important to carefully read the ingredient list on any foods that are not wrapped in natures packaging.  Ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance so therefore, the first 2-3 ingredients are the ones that matter most.. so the top 3 ingredients are what you are primarily eating. Ingredients at the bottom of the list may appear in only very tiny amounts.

    BUT: Be cautious because often packaging can be misleading.

    A product claiming to contain whole grains may in fact contain more sugar than whole grains. (Consider breakfast cereals). One of the most common tricks food manufacturers use is to distribute sugars among many ingredients so that sugars don’t appear in the top three. For example, a manufacturer may use a combination of sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, brown sugar, dextrose and other sugar ingredients to make sure none of them are present in large enough quantities to attain a top position on the ingredient list.

    Some foods are laced with dozens of ingredients with complicated names that sound like they belong in a chemistry lab, not on your plate.   If the ingredients list

    How well do you know the foods in your Pantry?

    contains long, chemical-sounding words that you can’t pronounce, avoid that item. Why would you want to eat them? Stick with ingredients you recognize.  Look for words like “sprouted” or “raw” to indicate higher-quality natural foods. Sprouted grains and seeds are far healthier than non-sprouted. Raw ingredients are generally healthier than processed or cooked. Whole grains are healthier than “enriched” grains.

    Don’t be fooled by the word “wheat” when it comes to flour. All flour derived from wheat can be called “wheat flour,” even if it is processed, bleached and stripped of its nutrition. Only “whole grain wheat flour” is a healthful form of wheat flour. Especially for breakfast cereals, crackers, pasta, and breads, the word “whole” should appear as the first or second ingredient, whether whole wheat, oats, rye, or another grain. One way to double-check is to look at the fiber content on the nutrition facts panel. Whole-grain foods should deliver at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and ideally even more.

    Partially hydrogenated oils are the primary source of trans fats, which have been shown to be potentially more harmful to arteries than saturated fat. Foods can call themselves “trans-fat free” even if they contain up to half a gram of trans fats per serving. Look on the ingredients list. If a food contains partially hydrogenated oils, it contains trans fats.  The American Heart Association recommends choosing vegetable oils and margarines with liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient and no more than 2 grams of  saturated fat per tablespoon, such as tub margarines, canola, corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and olive oils.

    ………….

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    Turkey Mushroom Meatloaf
    Shari

    by on Feb.12, 2012, under Egg and Main Course Ideas, High Protein dishes, Recipes

    You won’t miss the beef.

    This is another very EASY meal.  Just MIX and BAKE.   And it makes plenty so you can pack a meatloaf sandwich for lunch tomorrow.
    • 1 1/2 lb ground turkey (or equal parts turkey and lean ground beef)
    • 1 extra large egg, beaten

      With carrots, mushrooms & savory herbs. You'll never miss the beef.

    • 3/4-1 cup barley
    • 1 med carrot julienne (very thinly sliced)
    • 1 small onion diced
    • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
    • 2 tbsp Dijon or spicy mustard
    • 2 tbsp ketchup
    • 2 tbsp low sodium Dales seasoning  (or Worcestershire)
    • 1/3 + 1/4 cup grated parmesan/romano cheese blend . (Reserve some cheese for later)

    *Seasoned Salt, Pepper, Parsley, Sage and Thyme – The key is in the herbs, be sure not to skimp here.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat 9×5  loaf pan with olive oil spray.

    In large bowl mix together all loaf ingredients, adding mushrooms last.  Season with spices to your taste. Mix with clean hands to combine well. Mixture should be moist.  shape and place in loaf pan and bake approximatel 50-60 minutes.

    During the last 10 minutes,  baste with more ketchup and top with additional shredded cheese.

    Let meatloaf rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

    For variation,  shape into meatloaf  “patties” and cook in a skillet sprayed with olive oil.

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    Is it Stew?, Chowder?, Bisque?… SHARI’s CRAB SOUP.
    Shari

    by on Jan.08, 2012, under Fish and Seafood, High Protein dishes, Recipes

    Call it what you please…  A true treat your body (and taste buds) will love.

    I just call it delicious.

    I was in the mood for some crab bisque but traditional crab chowders and soups are loaded with saturated fats and calories from a combination of whole milk, canned creamed soups, butter and then more heavy cream.  With some very easy substitutions, I was able to prepare and enjoy a hearty, satisfying soup, without the excess calories.

    The secret:  thicken the soup with a little corn and whole wheat flour!  And the best part: IT’S EASY TO DO and ready to eat in about 20 minutes.

    I promise you will not miss all those calories and fat.

    SHARI’S Tasty Crab Soup

    • 1 cup diced red potatoes (cooked), skin on.  (Use up leftovers or to save time, try Simply Potatoes)
    • 2 green onions, diced

      What?... a healthy "cream" based soup . You won't miss the calories and fat.

    • ½-3/4  cup creamed corn
    • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1-2 tbsp butter
    • 2-2 ½ cups reduced fat milk
    • 1 cup chicken  broth
    • 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
    • Salt,  generous pepper (white and black), thyme
    • 16 oz lump crab meat
    • Hot Sauce (Optional)

    Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan.  Sauté diced potatoes and green onions until slightly browned over a med heat.  Add the flour, creamed corn and 1 tbsp of butter stirring constantly.  This will thicken and make a nice roux.  Reduce heat and gradually stir in the milk (1/2 cup at a time), the chicken broth, and spices.   Heat and stir,  to just before the point of boiling. Use a whisk if you prefer to prevent clumping and better blend the sauce.

    Once all liquids have been added, stir in the crab meat and continue to stir.   Heat all the way through until hot, but not bubbly, stirring frequently.  Add sherry and hot sauce (if desired) just before serving.

    I prefer my soup on the peppery side but adjust seasonings to your personal taste.

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    Feed your Metabolism with Food.
    Shari

    by on Jan.01, 2012, under General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

    All Calories are not created equal.

    Contrary to what you may have been told, the body does not burn and store 500 calories of fruit and veggies the way it does 500 calories of refined, processed or fatty foods. Some foods take more work to eat–and therefore burn more calories while you’re digesting them.  Just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30%! On the contrary, many other foods lack certain nutrients and minerals that have been proven to stimulate the metabolism.  The higher your metabolism level, the faster you will lose weight, provided you eat healthy food and pursue an active lifestyle.

    Depriving your body of fuel is a surefire way to slow it down.

    When you slash calories, the calories burned by eating are greatly diminished and so is your metabolic rate. Restricting calories also signals the body that there is no food available, so it tries to conserve stores of carbohydrate and fat by slowing down its metabolism. The best way to keep your metabolism revved is to eat regular meals with snacks when necessary to give your body a constant supply of healthy fuel.

    Nutritional Superstars that Burn Calories

    There are proven nutritional superstars that can fuel your metabolic fire and help you to burn more calories as you kick your diet into high gear. These foods/beverages act similar to the way a thermogenic or a cardio session in how they affect the body. They can ramp up your metabolism, and in essence, assist you in burning fat.   When you wake up in the morning it is especially important to “break the fast” (and a sleepy metabolism) by eating breakfast. When you eat breakfast you start burning calories earlier, thereby burning more total calories through the day. And keep your metabolism pumping all day long, by eating several small meals through the day.  You will tend to eat less at one sitting, which puts less burden on your digestive system and lets it work more efficiently.

    So what are you waiting for?   Let’s get your metabolism moving!

    Food does some amazing things for our bodies, including fight disease.  Try adding some of these metabolism friendly foods to your diet each day:

    1. Oatmeal If you’re looking to jumpstart your metabolism, start your morning off with a bowl of oatmeal. This super food is rich in fat soluble fiber, which requires a lot of calories to break down. Eating oatmeal can also help decrease your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

    2. Grapefruit Studies indicate that eating grapefruit can reduce insulin levels. Lower insulin levels after meals can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. This means that you burn more calories and store less fat.

    3. Hot Peppers Adding some spice to your food can speed up your weight loss. Hot peppers, like jalapenos, contain a chemical called capsaicin, which gives these veggies their heat and causes a spike in your metabolism. This chemical also keeps the calorie burn going hours after you’ve finished your meal.

    4. Lean Proteins The protein found in chicken, turkey and other lean meats takes a great deal of energy to break down. Therefore, your body burns a lot of calories during the digestive process. Protein is also an essential ingredient in building lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.

    5. Salmon and Tuna High levels of the hormone leptin have been linked to slower metabolisms and weight gain. A good way to lower leptin levels is to increase your intake of fish. The oil found in fish like salmon and tuna has been shown to cut leptin levels and help your body process foods more effectively.

    Burn more calories with Green Tea

    6. Low-fat Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is one of the best foods to eat if you’re trying to lose weight and boost your metabolism. Yogurt is full of calcium and protein. It gives you the energy your body needs to keep going all day and helps you build lean muscle mass. Yogurt can also help regulate your digestive tract.

    7. Green Tea The caffeine found in green tea accelerates your heart rate and speeds up your metabolism. The tea also contains a chemical, known as EGCG, that stimulates the nervous system and helps you to burn calories at a faster rate.

    8. Broccoli Broccoli is rich in both calcium and vitamin C. These two vitamins work together to help you burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium activates your metabolism, while vitamin C helps you absorb more calcium.

    9. Almonds Almonds may be high in calories, but they are also jam packed with essential fatty acids which are great metabolism boosters. And the healthy fat in almonds has been proven to help in lowering cholesterol.

    10.  Apples,Pears, Berries:  These fruits are low calorie, high fiber, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Your body must burn calories to break down. Since they help you stay full for longer, you‘ll eat less.  And they are naturally sweet!

    Spices can fire up your metabolism too!

    In addition to some of the suggestions listed, certain spices such as chiles, cinnamon, curry and ginger fire up your central nervous system and can boost your metabolism by as much as 12%.

    Metabolism-Slowing Pitfalls

    Just as there are natural ways to boost your metabolism, there are also natural ways you slow  your metabolism — Here are a few:

    • Skipping meals–always eat breakfast!
    • Sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
    • Eating empty calorie foods–exchange them for low carb, low-fat, high nutrition foods.
    • Choosing processed foods–exchange them for whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

    And don’t overlook the power of water!

    Researchers in Germany found that subjects increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by up to 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. It is necessary to drink water at frequent intervals, because it is water that helps in digestion of food. So drink up! Make sure that you are starting your day with a big big glass of water and drink all day long.  It’s hard to get too much water.

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