Are you ready for the hands-on portion of the class? I write about a lot of theory, and I decided it was time to get back to my roots (and I don’t mean my hair) – if you didn’t know, this blog actually started mainly with recipes for meals and snacks! Since I am committed to helping busy professional working mothers to lose fat (and all other comers are welcome, too!), I thought it would be practical to share some of my latest and greatest delicious and nutritious recipes. These are all kid- and husband-tested and approved.
I’ve taken some of the Golden Graham family favourites – a lot of these are updated, more healthful versions of perennial favourite foods like pizza or burgers. They are delicious AND nutritious, and I especially love them because they can be on the table in 20-30 minutes (or faster, if you do some make-ahead prep – my top prep tips are here). You’ll definitely want to pin or bookmark this page for easy reference for these recipes to keep you winning the weeknight dinner wars!
Fast Chicken Fajitas
Since I’m sure you had a chance to read my post on ingredient prep, you’ve already cooked up a big pan of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (and if not, don’t despair -they are quick to cook from raw, too). Slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips and toss into a large fry pan with bell pepper strips, sliced onion, fajita spices (see my recommended blend, below)* and a little olive oil or nonstick cooking spray and sauté until the veggies are lightly cooked and the chicken is warmed (or cooked, if using raw meat) through.
Roll up the chicken and veggies in store-bought corn tortillas (gluten-free, if required) and serve with a side salad. You also have the option to add some low-fat shredded cheese and/or guacamole (best guacamole recipe HERE) if you want some healthful fats. I like to amp up the protein using plain non-fat Greek yogurt in the place of sour cream, and sugar-free salsa for added kick (check your labels; Pace is a good brand for avoiding sneaky added sugars).
*Fajita spice mix: 1 tbsp each chili powder and cumin, 1/4 tsp each garlic powder & paprika, sprinkle of cayenne for kick and sea salt to taste.
Boom! Fast, family-friendly fajitas!
If orange is the new black, then turkey is the new beef. Extra lean ground turkey is generally lower in fat than extra lean ground beef, and is a good choice if you prefer to avoid red meat for dietary or other reasons. The zucchini adds moisture and fibre, but I promise you can’t taste it – perfect if YOU or your kids are picky!
Combine 1 lb raw extra lean ground turkey meat with 1/2 shredded zucchini, salt and pepper and spices (optional: I like rosemary and sage). Shape into eight small patties with your hands (small patties cook faster and you get to eat two instead of one, which is mentally rewarding) and cook in a fry pan in a little oil or nonstick cooking spray. Flip after 6-7 minutes and continue cooking until they are cooked through (juices run clear and no pink).
Serve on lettuce leaves for a low-carb option or a multigrain thin bun. Mini “slider” buns also work well with these small patties. Have a green salad or fresh veggie sticks on the side. You can make a high protein ranch dip using plain Greek yogurt with ranch spice mix stirred in (I buy the Clubhouse brand ranch spice packet).
Sweet potato fries are a great complex carb source – cut potatoes into shoe string shape, spritz with oil or cooking spray and bake at 400 F for 12-15 minutes until softened.
Ooh la la! Healthful AND fancy! Buy flank steak or another lean cut of steak and cut into thin strips. Cook in a frying pan and then toss on mixed salad greens (I just buy a box of pre-washed mixed salad greens each week). Option to add some dried berries, fresh veggies or nuts (depending on your likes and needs, as these will add carbohydrates or healthful fats). Drizzle with balsamic dressing (you can make your own by shaking together 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar).
If you need to add carbs to the meal, consider adding more veggies or a baked potato. If your kids aren’t big into salads, you can serve the steak strips alongside veggies and dip and baked potatoes OR the sweet potato “fries” from the burger recipe, above.
Spaghetti & Meatballs
How’s that for a classic meal? Who doesn’t love spaghetti & meatballs? This old standard gets a remix as a high-protein, lower-carb version:
For the spaghetti, I use high-protein pasta from the Explore Cuisine line. All of their pastas are super fast to cook (faster than regular pasta) and gluten-free too! You can actually wait until the meatballs are almost done to cook this (or make a huge batch of meatballs in advance – they freeze well, too – and just reheat to serve with the pasta).
For the meatballs: 1 lb extra lean ground meat of choice (chicken, turkey, pork or beef). Mix with shredded veggies (I like minced carrot and onion – half a carrot and half an onion) and spices (I use an Italian spice blend) and shape into little balls with your hands. The smaller they are, the faster they cook! I go for slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. Bake at 375 F for ~20 mins until the juices run clear and the middle is no longer pink when you cut into them.
Serve over the pasta with some jarred marinara sauce. I like the Simply brand of pasta sauces (available at Superstore and Costco). Option to sprinkle with low-fat shredded cheese or dairy free cheese alternative if needed!
Specifically, pita pizzas. Buy a package of whole-wheat pita bread. Spread with plain tomato paste (not sauce, trust me!) and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Then go crazy with your favourite pizza toppings!
My favourite toppings include Hawaiian (chopped ham and pineapple tidbits), Spinach Chicken (cooked chicken breast pieces with spinach and fresh basil, with feta), etc. Top with low fat shredded cheese or Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 F on a nonstick baking sheet for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed these recipes, you might also like:
- Simple Southwestern Chicken Skillet
- Easy Meatless “Cheater” Chili
- Honey-Lime Spicy Shrimp Stirfry
- Chicken Curry with Brown Rice
- Good For You Chicken Fried Rice
Want a healthful dessert recipe to pair with your meal? Check out:
- High Protein Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (#1 dessert recipe on the blog!)
- Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Protein Muffins
- Mint Chocolate Avocado Protein Pudding
- Coconut-Oatmeal Banana Bread
- Oatmeal Chocolate Cake
Have a fit day!