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Panera Soup-14


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Meatless Monday: Black Beans and veggies soup

As soon as the weather changes and fall is here, it’s like the gears inside us also switch. It starts getting dark sooner, there is a distinct chill in the air, and most important of all……Halloween costumes start appearing in the stores:) Personally, around this time I really start to crave a warm bowl of soup! One of my favorites is a veggie soup that I used to have at Panera. But of course, having it there a few times made me want to try to replicate it at home! So here is my version of the Panera veggie soup with black beans and fire roasted tomatoes. My version I feel has a lot more vegetables and of course lots of beans which increases the protein and fiber! Also my soup I feel is lot more flavorful due to the buffalo sauce, cilantro and ground cumin that I add :) Usually I like to make a meal out of it by adding some Crispy Baked Cajun Potato Fries and some grilled veggies, along with some nice warm rolls or a crusty bread slice.

Ingredients:

Carrots – 1 large, diced

Celery – 4 stalks, diced

Onion – 1 medium, diced

Green Bell Pepper – ¼ diced

Potato – 1 small, diced

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Garlic – 3 cloves, minced

Organic Vegetable Broth – 1 box 32 fl. Oz.

Organic Fire roasted tomatoes – 1 can 14.5 oz. (even regular chopped up tomatoes will work in a pinch)

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Acini di pepe pasta – 2 oz. or any other small sized pasta that you have at home (quick tip: even breaking spaghetti into small pieces will work!)

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Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce – 1½ t (optional) or any other hot sauce like Tabasco

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Black beans – 1 cup (cooked)

Cilantro – handful finely chopped

Salt – 1 ½ t

Black Pepper – ¼ t

Roasted ground cumin powder – ¼ t (add ½ t if you like smoky flavor to be strong)

Oregano – ¼ t

Extra virgin olive oil – 1T

 

Directions:

·         Warm a large pot. Add 1T extra virgin olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.

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·         Add the rest of the diced vegetables except potato.

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·         Sauté them for 2-3 minutes till they soften a bit. Then add the potatoes.

·         Stir all the veggies for a bit then add the vegetable broth.

·         Then add the can of fire roasted tomatoes and 2 cans of water.

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·         Stir well and add the dry seasonings.

·         Cover and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

·         Then add the black beans and pasta. Stir really well.

·         Cover and let it simmer for about 40-45 minutes, making sure to stir every 10 minutes so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom.

·         Add the buffalo sauce, chopped cilantro and stir well. Taste test now for any additional salt etc.

·         Its ready to be enjoyed with a nice toasted roll or a slice of crusty bread!!

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Nutritional Content:

Total Servings: 10

Per Serving: Calories 105 cal, Carbs 18.9 g, Fiber 3.3 g, Protein 3.6 g, Vit A 18.2%, Vit C 9%

Cauliflower burger-26


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Cauliflower Broccoli Quinoa Burgers/Tikkis

I’m always looking for ways to sneak vegetables into meals, and making this Cauliflower Broccoli Quinoa burger is a fantastic way to accomplish that. It totally transforms these veggies into these wonderful, flavorful, juicy burgers – or Tikkis (Indian street food) – that one can have as a snack with ketchup or chutney. It’s a great combination of taste and nutrition, and is a good source of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamin C.

They can also be made into Kebabs (for the same quantity of ingredients you can make either 10 burgers/tikkis or 30 kebabs), so you just need to shape them accordingly. And if you are generally pressed for time, they freeze really well so you can make them in bulk! Not only are these burgers great for lunch/dinner, they work out really well as party appetizers. You can’t go wrong either way :)

 

Ingredients:

Broccoli florets– ½ lb.

Cauliflower  florets – ¾ lb.

Boiled Potatoes – 2 small/medium or 1 large

Onion – ½ medium finely diced

Garlic – 3 or 4 finely minced

Cilantro – handful finely chopped

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Cooked organic Quinoa – 1 cup

Organic Rolled Oats – 1 cup

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Organic Oat flour – ¼ cup

Salt – 2 t

Black pepper – 1 t

Red chili powder – 1 t

Coriander powder – 1 ½ t

 

Directions:

·         Pre heat the oven to 450 F.

·         Take the broccoli florets in a bowl, add a tablespoon of water and microwave for 3 minutes.

·         Then drain them and pat dry with paper towels.

·         After that put them in the food processor and pulse till they become granular but not mushy.

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·         Do the same with cauliflower florets.

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·         In a big bowl put all the above ingredients. Mix well with hands till mixture retains shape and stays together when pressed in hand and does not crumble. Make patties of the mixture.

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·         Well oil a pan. Put the patties in it and lightly brush them with oil on top.

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·         Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then take them out and flip them. They should be slightly brown on bottom.

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·         Then put them back in the oven for 15 min. In case after 15 minutes you would like them to be extra crisper then leave them in oven for an extra 5 minutes.

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·         They are ready to be eaten! Have them as a Veggie Protein Burger or as a snack (tikki/kebabs) with some ketchup/chutney :)

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Nutritional Content:

 Total Servings: 10

Per Serving: Calories 100 cal, Fat 1.1g, Potassium 330 mg, Carbs 19.6g, Fiber 3.2g, Protein 4.1g, Vit C 60%, Iron 10%,

Veggie Frittata cups-10


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Veggie Frittata Cups

Eggs are a very versatile breakfast option. They can be eaten after simply being boiled, made into delicious omelets, scrambled, or even fried.  Frittatas are another interesting way to have eggs. It is one of the best ways to incorporate vegetables into breakfast! It’s also perfect for if you are looking for something high in protein but low-carb. For this recipe I have used 6 egg whites and 1/2 egg yolk as yolks have a lot of cholesterol. You can use all egg whites or all whole eggs or even egg beaters – it’s entirely up to you.
The vegetables can totally depend on whatever you like or what leftovers you might have in the fridge that day. I have put anything from leftover chopped up pasta, meatballs, peppers, or even sausage in my frittatas. Sometimes if I have less time I just make a large frittata pie in the pan and then divide it into wedges. If I have a bit more time I make the individual frittata cups described below. That way everybody gets their portion all crispy and neat :)
These frittatas taste great warm or at room temperature. They can even be made earlier and refrigerated, which makes them great for packed lunches, or for a very quick breakfast that you just have to pop in the toaster oven for a few minutes! It can be made to be very gourmet with chopped up asparagus and feta cheese, used as hors d’oeuvres for a party, or even great to take for picnics. So open your fridge and see what kind of frittata mood you are in today :) 

 

Ingredients:

Organic Egg whites – 6

Organic egg yolk — 1/2

Organic 1% Milk – ¼ cup

Onion – ¼ of a medium onion

Green bell pepper – ¼ of a bell pepper

Red Bell Pepper – ¼ of a bell pepper

Mushrooms – 1

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Cilantro – 4 or 5 stems

Grated cheddar cheese – 2T

Salt – 3/4 t

Pepper – ¼ t

Grape seed oil/Extra virgin olive oil – 3t

 

Directions:

·         Pre heat the oven to 350 F.

·         Finely dice the onion, bell peppers and mushrooms.

·         Warm the cast iron skillet. Add 2t grape seed oil/olive oil.

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·         Then add the diced vegetables and sauté for 3-4 minutes till the onions are translucent and the veggies are soft but not brown.

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·         Whisk the egg whites with the milk. Add salt and pepper. Whisk again.

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·         Take a muffin pan and grease it with the ½ t oil.

·         Add 1-1 ½ T of sautéed veggies to each muffin pan.

·         Then add 1 ladle full of egg mixture to each muffin cup.

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·         Sprinkle a little bit of cheddar cheese and finely chopped cilantro if you want on top.

·         Put the tray in the oven for 35 minutes till fully cooked. The top should look dry and you should also check by inserting a toothpick in center and if it comes out dry then its set.

·         Just run a knife around and take them out. If you want the frittata crispy from all sides, take them out from the muffin pans, turn them upside down and put them back in oven for 5 minutes on a tray.

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·         Enjoy it warm or at room temperature with or without bread.

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Nutritional Content:

Total Servings: 6

Per Serving: Calories 52 cal, Fat 2.9 g, Cholesterol 15.2 mg, Carbs 1.8 g, Protein 4.3 g, Vit C 9.4%

Banana Bread-11


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Oat Flour Eggless Banana Bread

Early mornings are usually rushed and it’s easy to skip breakfast or to grab something quick (which typically doesn’t have great nutritional value). Sometimes my kids have just enough time to gulp some milk and grab something convenient like a bagel. For those days it helps if you have something like this Oat Flour Banana Bread at home so you can just grab a slice and be good to go. These are so much better than the store bought muffins, which are filled with sugar, trans fat, and chemicals.

Just by substituting oat flour for regular flour and canola oil for butter, I’ve lowered the fat content and increased the fiber and protein content for the basic banana bread. And adding walnuts increases the percentage healthy fats which are good for us.

Sometimes I make this bread with 2 egg whites and skip the milk, but if I’m out of eggs I just add ½ cup milk instead. The only difference is that the protein content slightly increases when you add eggs. You can make this as bread or bake it in muffin pans for convenience. If you add mini chocolate chips, this recipe doubles as a great dessert option (especially when warmed up)! As you can tell, it’s fairly versatile and great for packed lunches and picnics.

Ingredients:

Mashed bananas – 1 ½ cups (3 large)

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Oat flour – 2 cups

Canola oil – ¾ cup

Sugar – ¾ cup

Organic milk – ½ cup

Vanilla extract – 1 t

Baking soda – 1t

Baking powder – ½ t

Salt – ½ t

Walnuts – ½ cup (optional)

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Mini chocolate chips – 2 T (optional)

 

Directions:

·         Heat the oven to 3250F.

·         Add the sugar and oil and vanilla to food mixer and blend well.

·         Then add the mashed bananas and milk.

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·         Then add the dry ingredients. Add walnuts and chocolate chips at end.

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·         Bake in the oven for 60-70 min depending upon your oven.  Toothpick inserted in center should come out as dry.

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·         Enjoy as a snack or a quick breakfast or as a dessert!

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Nutritional Content:

Total Servings: 12-14

Per Serving: Calories: 251 cal, Fat 19.1 g, Sugar 12 g, Carbs 20.1 g, Fiber 1.4 g, Protein 2.5 g

Without chocolate chips: Calories 241 cal, Fat 18.5 g, Sugar 10.8 g, Carbs 18.8 g, Fiber 1.4 g, Protein 2.4 g

Tabbouleh Salad-15


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Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh salad is one of those versatile salads that can be used as a condiment, a side dish with grilled meats or veggies, an addition to wraps or Falafel, or even as a salad*! So it can adapt to whatever you have planned for the menu :)

This version has been made with cracked wheat but I have also substituted cooked quinoa for the wheat whenever I have any left over from a previous dish. Using quinoa will also make this dish gluten-free! You can increase or decrease the quantities of any of the ingredients depending upon your taste. Like I said, it’s very versatile. You can’t go wrong with it :)

*If you want to eat this salad as a complete meal, you can add canned or boiled chickpeas (however much you want) to make it more filling and to give it a new twist.

Ingredients:

Bulgur/Cracked wheat – 2 T uncooked or 7T of pre-cooked cracked/bulgur wheat or quinoa

Onion – ¼ of a medium onion or 2 green onions finely diced

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Cilantro – 1 bunch finely chopped or 2 cups

Parsley – ¼ of a bunch finely chopped or ½ cup

Tomatoes – 1 medium sized tomato de-seeded and chopped

English Cucumber – 1/3 finely diced

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Mint – handful finely chopped

Lemon – 1 large lemon or 3T juice

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Salt – ¾ t

Pepper – ½ t

Extra Virgin olive oil – 3T

Directions:

·         Put the cracked wheat in a pan with twice the amount of water and let it come to boil. Then shut off gas. Cover it and let it sit for 15 minutes till all water has been absorbed and the grains are plump and cooked. Drain if any water is still left and fluff with a fork. If taking pre-cooked left over cracked/Bulgur wheat or pre-cooked quinoa for a gluten free alternate, take 7T of that for the salad.

·         I have de-seeded the tomato so that it does not leave the juice and make the Tabbouleh salad watery.

·         Take a large bowl and add all the above ingredients.

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·         Mix well and refrigerate for half hour if possible for all flavors to settle in. But otherwise it’s ready to eat right away!

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·         Enjoy with a pita or as a side dish with grilled chicken or vegetables or Falafel!

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Nutritional Content:

Total Servings: 6

Per Serving: Calories 88 cal, Fat 7.1 g, Potassium 49.3g, Carbs 6.1g, Vit A 19.2%, Vit C 24.3%

Not so greasy Falafel's-15


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Baked Falafels

One of the first Middle Eastern foods that I ever tried was a Falafel wrap (along with Tabbouleh and Hummus)! I was instantly hooked; I just couldn’t get enough of them. But when we moved from Ohio to Massachusetts, we moved into the suburbs where there weren’t many good Middle Eastern restaurants, so I would indulge whenever I went into the city.

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Later, when I was struggling to find portable vegetarian lunch options for my kids and husband, the Falafel wrap was one of the first things that came to mind. Not only are falafels good sources of vegetarian protein, but they have plenty of fiber too! But the fact that falafel balls are usually deep-fried was a deterrent for me. If you are going to eat fried things once in a while, then it’s okay. But if you want to have these on a regular basis, then the calories and fat will catch up real fast!

I wanted to try a healthier alternative. I tried pan frying them which uses less oil, but still too much in my opinion. So I tried baking them. I am not going to lie and say there is absolutely no difference between the deep-fried and baked ones; the deep-fried ones are fluffier from inside and the baked ones will be slightly dense. That is to be expected. But there is no difference in flavor! Once you have the hummus, Tabbouleh, and hot sauce going on top of the falafel patties, you can’t even tell the difference. So do go ahead and at least give these a try…you will not miss the fat :)

Ingredients:

Chick peas – 2 cups dried

Cilantro – ½ bunch

Parsley – 1/2 bunch

Onion – 1 small

Garlic – 4 or 5 cloves

Salt – 2 ½ t

Red chilies – 1 t

Roasted ground cumin – 1 t

Coriander powder (optional) — 1 t

Baking soda — 1/2 t

Oat flour/Regular flour — 1/3 cup

Lemon juice — 1 t

Extra virgin olive oil – 1 1/2  T (for greasing tray and lightly applying on falafels before baking)

Directions:

·         Soak the dried chickpeas overnight. Next morning drain them really well. If in a hurry, then you can use the canned chickpeas (about 2 – 15.5 oz. cans which have been rinsed and drained very well).

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·         Rough chop the onion, garlic cloves, cilantro and parsley.

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·         Add all the above ingredients in a food processor including the spices and pulse really well till a coarse grind.


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·         Preheat the oven to 400  F.

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·         Grease a baking tray. Make approximately 2” balls with the mixture (it will be slightly moist) and slightly flatten into a patty and put on the greased tray. I make them into patties rather than the traditional balls because it takes less time to cook them from the inside when they are flat. If you bake them as round balls, they tend to become a bit dry. I figured they have to be smooshed once in the pita, might as well flatten them while baking :)

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·         Put the tray into the oven for 10 min. Then take out the tray, using a spatula flip the falafels.

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·         Put the tray back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes till other side is golden brown.

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·         To serve them, cut the pita bread into half and slightly warm it. Open the pockets, put a layer of Hummus(check out my recipe) in it. Add about 1-1 ½ falafel, puts lots of Tabbouleh Salad in there or if you don’t have that plenty of chopped lettuce and tomatoes and some hot sauce at the end. Some people prefer adding tahini sauce or Tzatziki sauce. It’s totally up to you.

 

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Enjoy !

 

Nutritional Content:

 Total Servings: 21

Per Serving:  Calories 80 cal, Fat 1.8 g, Carbs 12.7 g, fiber 3.4 g, Protein 3.8 g


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Dates and Nuts Energy Bites

Sometimes during the day, you  just need a small quick pick-me-up. These 5-ingredient, no-bake, tiny energy bites fill that spot perfectly. They can be eaten pre or post workout, work really well on hikes or picnics as energy bites, or as even as a dessert. There is no added sugar, no added fat or anything artificial! My kids and husband love to take them to school/the office as often as they can, and I love that there aren’t any preservatives. The bottom line is that they are easy to make, healthy, delicious and perfect for almost any occasion :)

 

Ingredients:

Pitted Dates – 1 cup tightly packed

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Desiccated/Powdered unsweetened coconut – 1/8 cup

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Ground Flax – 2 T

Chia seeds – 1/8 cup

Unsalted Pistachios – ¼ cup (shelled)

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Desiccated/Powdered unsweetened coconut – 2 T for coating

 

Directions:

  • Make sure you choose some nice plump, soft pitted dates.
  • Add the pistachios; coconut and flax to the food processor first, give a few pulses.
  • Add the dates then. Pulse till it becomes a fine crumbly mixture.
  • Add chia seeds at end and pulse for once or twice to incorporate it well into the mixture.

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  • Scrape out the mixture into a bowl.
  • Wet your hands with water and knead it with your hands till sticky. To the point that if you make a clump of it with your fist it won’t crumble.

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  • Make small approx. 1” balls and keep on a tray/plate. OR you can make 2 logs of the entire mixture.
  • Put the 2 T powdered coconut that is left in a shallow bowl. Roll these balls/logs in that powdered coconut.

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  • Keep them in fridge for ½ hour to set. If you made logs, then after they have chilled in the fridge, you can cut slices.

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  •  The 5 ingredient, no bake energy bites are ready to eat! Enjoy!

 

Nutritional Content:

Total Servings: 12

Per Serving: Calories 79 cal, Fat 3.1 g, Carbs 13.4 g, Fiber 2.6 g, Sugar 7.2 g, Protein 1.8 g

 

This recipe has been submitted in the Treat Petite challenge.

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