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Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Skewers with Toasted Chickpeas, and California Prunes & Quinoa Salad

You’ve probably figured out by reading our blog that we love our home cooked meals. After all, our website wouldn’t be packed with thousands of recipes if we didn’t!  As registered dietitian nutritionists and personal trainers, we love the flavor we create and how good we feel while we eat them—and how great we feel after—completely satisfied, yet light and energized.  And there’s an added sense of happiness and satisfaction knowing that our recipes meet our nutritious, waistline friendly standards and we know exactly what is going in them. What’s probably not so obvious is that as much as we love cooking, there are many times when we’d rather not bother with the meal prep that is required.  Yup, sometimes, we’d like our yummy, wholesome meals without having to do a thing except assemble the ingredients.  In fact, many of our clients have asked for just that, our meals in delivery kits dropped off right at their doorstep. And that’s why we’re so excited to share with you the launch of 3 of our meals that you can fully enjoy in the comfort of your own home, knowing that they meet all of our nutrition criteria to keep you fueled, beach-ready and completely satisfied.

 

An added bonus-

Prunes (We used California prunes because we find them to be the sweetest and juiciest):

Our mom always kept a jar of stewed prunes in the fridge when we we’re growing up and anytime we were craving something sweet, we’d reach for them.  They’re the best way to bust a sugar craving!  Who knew we were also getting these benefits:

  • Research shows that eating 5-6 prunes a day may help support healthy bones and help maintain good digestive health.
  • Prunes are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which help keep many parts of your body healthy– ranging from your heart to your eyes to your memory and your immune system.
  •  California Prune growers provide the highest quality prunes in the world.
  • A serving has 3 grams of fiber and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol at just 100 calories.



Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Skewers with Toasted Chickpeas, and California Prunes & Quinoa Salad
 
This simple dish is packed with flavor thanks to all the Moroccan-inspired spices! Smoked paprika, cumin, and a hint of cinnamon spice up the shrimp skewers, which are so quick to cook. The quinoa salad still takes on traditional flavors thanks to the combination of spices, dried fruit, parsley, and lemon, but we added a few fun twists! Traditional Moroccan cuisine uses a lot of couscous and dates, but we swapped those ingredients out for gluten-free, high-protein quinoa and fiber rich California prunes. This dish is filling, flavorful, and unbelievably easy - perfect for any weeknight! EQUIPMENT: -- Rimmed sheet pan -- Small sauce pot with lid -- Medium bowl -- Strainer -- 2 Small bowls -- aluminum foil --4 bamboo skewers
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • Olive oil (in a spray container)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 shallot
  • 1½ oz Matchstick carrots
  • 1 oz Red quinoa
  • 2 oz White quinoa
  • 2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp Ground cumin
  • ½t sp Ground cinnamon
  • 12 Jumbo shrimp
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 oz California prunes
  • ¼ can Chickpeas
  • ½ oz Fresh parsley
  • ¼ oz Fresh basil
  • ¼ oz Fresh cilantro
  • 1 Garlic clove
Instructions
  1. STEP ONE
  2. Preheat the broiler to high.
  3. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.
  4. Finely chop the shallot and chop the carrots into ⅛-inch pieces.
  5. In a small sauce pot with lid, heat 1 teaspoons of olive oil for 1 minute. Add the shallot and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of water and ONLY 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Pat dry shrimp with paper towels.
  7. Cut the lemon in half. Add the juice of HALF a lemon to a medium bowl, discarding any seeds.
  8. Rinse and pat dry produce prior to use.
  9. STEP TWO
  10. Recommendations for salt and pepper are optional. Please season to taste.
  11. Add remaining paprika, cumin, and cinnamon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the medium bowl. Stir to make a loose paste. Add the shrimp; toss well.
  12. Cut the prunes into¼-inch pieces; set aside.
  13. Drain ONLY half the can of chickpeas and pat dry with paper towels. Store remaining chickpeas in a separate container for personal use.
  14. Remove and discard stems from parsley. Finely chop the leaves and place HALF of the leaves in a small bowl. Set aside remaining leaves for step 3.
  15. Remove and discard the stems from the basil and cilantro. Finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl. Add garlic, juice of remaining lemon, discarding any seeds, and 1 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  16. STEP THREE
  17. In a small bowl, combine the drained chickpeas, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Place chickpeas onto the prepared baking sheet and broil for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside for plating.
  18. Thread 3 shrimp each per skewer and wrap the ends of each skewer with a small piece of foil. Place on the same sheet pan and broil for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir prunes and remaining parsley into the quinoa.
  19. (FDA recommends cooking shrimp to a minimum 145°F)
  20. STEP FOUR
  21. Divide the quinoa between two plates.
  22. Top with the toasted chickpeas and lay the shrimp skewers on top.
  23. Serve with the herb sauce on the side.
  24. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 servings Calories: 460 Fat: 9 g Sodium: 290 mg Protein: 32 g

We are honored to have partnered with Chef’d and California prunes to create these meals!

Hummus Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

We’re always up for a challenge—and especially when it comes to anything physical—or anything in the kitchen.  (If you saw us on the Food Network’s show Chopped, you know we mean business! 😉 ) Thankfully, in our family, we’re not short on either kind of challenge.  This time, Tammy’s husband requested healthy jalapeno poppers for the upcoming big Super Bowl game–but realizing that wasn’t so much of a challenge– he knew that these twin sister registered dietitians wouldn’t serve anything less than healthy 😉 , so he upped the ante.  He also requested them to be sweet, crunchy, creamy and spicy (he LOVES spicy!) — so we put our chef hats on.  Game on!  We created these Hummus Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers– and they take it two steps further– not only are they waistline friendly, they’re little healthy powerhouses– packed with nutrients, antioxidants and health benefits galore. 🙂

 

Psst… want more jalapeno poppers?  Try our Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers.

If you think that just because we’re registered dietitians we don’t love creamy, crunchy, sweet & spicy comfort food, you’ve got the wrong girls!  😉 In fact, many of you probably know from reading our blog that we love sweets!  And, let’s face it,  of course who doesn’t love creamy and crunchy food–so the request for these poppers is so up our alley! And we love spicy food too.  Ever since we were little girls and our dad lovingly teased us and said that eating spicy food made you stronger and more “manly” (yep, we were tomboys and daddy’s little girls –and being like him–and more “manly” was strangely quite attractive to us in those days!), we were sold! We’d load our food with hot red pepper flakes, and enjoy every bite of it!

 

 

These poppers are perfect for enjoying while tailgating or serving as a healthy appetizer before a party, they’re the ideal healthy comfort food! Filled with hummus, tomatoes, California prunes, and feta cheese and walnuts, you can get your appetizer fix without getting all that extra fat and calories—and at 50 calories a serving, you really can’t go wrong.

(Psst… looking for more lightened up recipes? Please feel free to search this site! And here are a few to try…
Skinny Potato Skins
Skinny Mash
Comfort Food Reinvented Apple Pie
Microwave Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies )

Aside from tantalizing your taste buds, here are a few other reasons you can feel good about eating these lil’ bursts of yum!   They’re truly nutrient powerhouses!

 

 

They’re meat-free and packed with flavor, so they’re perfect if you’re serving vegetarian guests or trying to cut back on meat and fearful that you have to cut out all the flavorful stuff!

 

Chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans)/ all pulses: these reside in our apartments year-round and are a great source of protein and fiber and can help lower your cholesterol.

• All pulses (the delicious, protein-packed, sustainable foods you know as dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas), contain both fiber & protein: If you’ve spent any time on our blog, you know that this magical combination helps to keep you satisfied, keep your energy on an even keel and keep your blood sugar level stable.

  • If you’ve ever tried black bean humus, that works great in these poppers too!

• Pssst….fun fact: 2016 was declared International Year of Pulses (IYP) by the United Nations.

• Research show that pulses (like chickpeas), aid in weight loss even when calories aren’t restricted. Check out this 2016 study, that found that it was just 3/4 cup of pulses per day that worked!

 

Prunes (We used California prunes because we find them to be the sweetest and juiciest):

Our mom kept always kept a jar of stewed prunes in the fridge when we we’re growing up and anytime we were craving something sweet, we’d reach for them.  They were the best way to bust a sugar craving!  Who knew we were also getting these benefits:

  • Research shows that eating 5-6 prunes a day may help support healthy bones and help maintain good digestive health
  • Prunes are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which help keep many parts of your body healthy– ranging from your heart to your eyes to your memory and your immune system.

 

Tomatoes: 

  • Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which not only helps to fight cancer, but also keeps your skin youthful by acting as a natural sunblock.

 

Walnuts:

  • Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids: most of us don’t get enough omega- 3’s in our life and need more because they help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis and they help contribute to, gorgeous, moisturized skin!

 

Hummus Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

Makes 8 Servings (16 poppers)

Ingredients: 

For Hummus (Note: If you don’t have time to make hummus from scratch, choose your favorite store bought variety):

1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (19 0z)

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper

1/4 cup water

1 lemon

(Use about half of the hummus for the stuffed jalapenos and save the rest!)

Jalapeno:

8 Jalapenos, sliced in half, seeds removed (we suggest using gloves if jalapenos typically burn your skin)

Oil in a spray container (we used avocado oil)

5-6 grape tomatoes, finely chopped

1/8 cup feta cheese

5-6 California prunes, finely chopped (we munched on the extras)

2 tsp. chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper* (using tin foil will give you a crunchier jalapeno, but after cooking with it for years, we’ve been avoiding doing so to lower our exposure to aluminum). Spray lightly with oil in spray jar.
  3. Place jalapenos sliced side down on parchment paper (or tin foil) and very lightly spray/ mist with oil.  Bake 10 minutes. Then remove and put on parchment paper.
  4. Meanwhile, while the jalapenos are cooking, add the beans, garlic, cayenne pepper, red pepper, and water to a food processor and blend. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice of each half into the food processor.
  5. Mix the ingredients together until smooth.
  6. Place the hummus in a Ziploc baggie, clip a corner and use that to pipe the hummus into the cooled jalapeños.. (Alternatively, use a small spoon to stuff the hummus in the peppers.)
  7. Fill each jalapeno shell completely with hummus and top with prunes, tomatoes, walnuts and feta! Enjoy!

 

*We prefer using unbleached parchment paper over aluminum foil due to possible health concern that foil use might contribute to the buildup of aluminum found in the brains of some Alzheimer’s patient as well as contribute to osteoporosis—and our family is no stranger to either of these diseases, so we prefer not to take chances!

Nutrition Information per serving (2 poppers):

50 Calories; 8 g carbohydrate; 1.5 g fat; 3 g protein; 115 mg sodium: 3 g sugar; 2 .5 g fiber

Hummus Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • Makes 8 Servings (16 poppers)
  • Ingredients:
  • For Hummus (Note: If you don't have time to make hummus from scratch, choose your favorite store bought variety):
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (19 0z)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 lemon
  • (Use about half of the hummus for the stuffed jalapenos and save the rest!)
  • Jalapeno:
  • 8 Jalapenos, sliced in half, seeds removed (we suggest using gloves if jalapenos typically burn your skin)
  • Oil in a spray container (we used avocado oil)
  • 5-6 grape tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ⅛ cup feta cheese
  • 5-6 California prunes, finely chopped (we munched on the extras)
  • 2 tsp. chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Directions:
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Line baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper* (using tin foil will give you a crunchier jalapeno, but after cooking with it for years, we’ve been avoiding doing so to lower our exposure to aluminum). Spray lightly with oil in spray jar.
  4. Place jalapenos sliced side down on parchment paper (or tin foil) and very lightly spray/ mist with oil. Bake 10 minutes. Then remove and put on parchment paper.
  5. Meanwhile, while the jalapenos are cooking, add the beans, garlic, cayenne pepper, red pepper, and water to a food processor and blend. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice of each half into the food processor.
  6. Mix the ingredients together until smooth.
  7. Place the hummus in a Ziploc baggie, clip a corner and use that to pipe the hummus into the cooled jalapeños.. (Alternatively, use a small spoon to stuff the hummus in the peppers.)
  8. Fill each jalapeno shell completely with hummus and top with prunes, tomatoes, walnuts and feta! Enjoy!
  9. *We prefer using unbleached parchment paper over aluminum foil due to possible health concern that foil use might contribute to the buildup of aluminum found in the brains of some Alzheimer's patient as well as contribute to osteoporosis—and our family is no stranger to either of these diseases, so we prefer not to take chances!
  10. Nutrition Information per serving (2 poppers):
  11. Calories; 8 g carbohydrate; 1.5 g fat; 3 g protein; 115 mg sodium: 3 g sugar; 2 .5 g fiber
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Poppers Calories: 50 calories Fat: 1.5 g Carbohydrates: 8 g Sodium: 115 mg Fiber: 2.5 g Protein: 3 g

 

 

 

Moroccan Grilled Shrimp Skewers with California Prune Quinoa Salad

If you’ve read our other blog posts, by now you know that we’re wild about the summer time and warm weather (in fact, Tammy named one of her daughter’s Summer, after our love of summer!). Aside from the warm weather, the thought of summer vacations, and the freedom that comes with running outside without a winter coat, one of our favorite things about the season is cooking up some of our favorite recipes on the grill! And as registered dietitian nutritionists who know that one of the best ways to keep food waistline-friendly is by grilling it, we’re forever creating nutritious, healthy, satisfying recipes that we can toss on the grill.

Here is our latest creation that we can’t wait to share with you—Moroccan Grilled Shrimp Skewers with California Prune Quinoa Salad. At just 385 calories, this meal is just light enough to keep you feeling svelte in your skirts and tanks and satisfying enough to keep you feeling satiated for hours (thanks to the 28 grams of protein!).

It’s not just lean, protein-packed shrimp that make this meal nutrient-packed and beach-body friendly– there are other superstar nutrition heroes in this dish:

Prunes (We used California prunes because we find them to be the sweetest and juiciest):
Our mom always kept a jar of stewed prunes in the fridge when we we’re growing up and anytime we were craving something sweet, we’d reach for them. They’re the best way to bust a sugar craving! Who knew we were also getting these benefits:

• Research shows that eating 5-6 prunes a day may help support healthy bones and help maintain good digestive health.

• Prunes are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which help keep many parts of your body healthy– ranging from your heart to your eyes to your memory and your immune system.

• California Prune growers provide the highest quality prunes in the world.

• A serving has 3 grams of fiber and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol at just 100 calories.

Spices & herbs: Cinnamon, paprika, cumin, parsley, cilantro, basil and garlic not only add mega flavor to this dish without calories, but they contain potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and each has their own benefits ranging from fighting cancer to diabetes and heart disease to other chronic diseases.

Quinoa: This nutritious, phytonutrient-rich whole grain has the rare combination of being a good source of both satisfying protein and fiber.

Moroccan Grilled Shrimp Skewers with California Prune Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS:
• Olive oil (in a spray container)
• Salt
• Black pepper
• 1 shallot
• 1½ oz Matchstick carrots
• 1 oz Red quinoa
• 2 oz White quinoa
• 2 tsp Smoked paprika
• 2 tsp Ground cumin
• ½t sp Ground cinnamon
• 12 Jumbo shrimp
• 1 Lemon
• 2 oz California prunes
• ½ oz Fresh parsley
• ¼ oz Fresh basil
• ¼ oz Fresh cilantro
• 1 Garlic clove

Directions:

STEP ONE
Finely chop the shallot and chop the carrots into ⅛-inch pieces.
In a small sauce pot with lid, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil for 1 minute. Add the shallot and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of water and ONLY 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Pat dry shrimp with paper towels.
Cut the lemon in half. Add the juice of HALF a lemon to a medium bowl, discarding any seeds.
Rinse and pat dry produce prior to use.

STEP TWO
Recommendations for salt and pepper are optional. Please season to taste.
Add remaining paprika, cumin, and cinnamon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the medium bowl. Stir to make a loose paste. Add the shrimp; toss well.
Cut the prunes into¼-inch pieces; set aside.
Remove and discard stems from parsley. Finely chop the leaves and place HALF of the leaves in a small bowl. Set aside remaining leaves for step 3.
Remove and discard the stems from the basil and cilantro. Finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl. Add garlic, juice of remaining lemon, discarding any seeds, and 1 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

STEP THREE
Preheat the grill to high.
Line the grill with foil.
Thread 3 shrimp each per skewer and wrap the ends of each skewer with a small piece of foil. Place on the grill until cooked through and no longer pink (about 4-5 minutes).

(FDA recommends cooking shrimp to a minimum 145°F)

STEP FOUR

Stir prunes and remaining parsley into the quinoa.
Divide the quinoa between two plates.
Lay the shrimp skewers on top.
Serve with the herb sauce on the side.
Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:
Makes 2 servings:
385 calories, 28 grams of protein, 7 grams fat, 250mg sodium

The Nutrition Twins were sponsored through California prunes to make this meal available through Chef’d.

 

Moroccan Grilled Shrimp Skewers with California Prune Quinoa Salad
 
Nutrition Facts: Makes 2 servings: 385 calories, 28 grams of protein, 7 grams fat, 250mg sodium
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • • Olive oil (in a spray container)
  • • Salt
  • • Black pepper
  • • 1 shallot
  • • 1½ oz Matchstick carrots
  • • 1 oz Red quinoa
  • • 2 oz White quinoa
  • • 2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • • 2 tsp Ground cumin
  • • ½t sp Ground cinnamon
  • • 12 Jumbo shrimp
  • • 1 Lemon
  • • 2 oz California prunes
  • • ½ oz Fresh parsley
  • • ¼ oz Fresh basil
  • • ¼ oz Fresh cilantro
  • • 1 Garlic clove
Instructions
  1. STEP ONE
  2. Finely chop the shallot and chop the carrots into ⅛-inch pieces.
  3. In a small sauce pot with lid, heat 1 teaspoons of olive oil for 1 minute. Add the shallot and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of water and ONLY 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Pat dry shrimp with paper towels.
  5. Cut the lemon in half. Add the juice of HALF a lemon to a medium bowl, discarding any seeds.
  6. Rinse and pat dry produce prior to use.
  7. STEP TWO
  8. Recommendations for salt and pepper are optional. Please season to taste.
  9. Add remaining paprika, cumin, and cinnamon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the medium bowl. Stir to make a loose paste. Add the shrimp; toss well.
  10. Cut the prunes into¼-inch pieces; set aside.
  11. Remove and discard stems from parsley. Finely chop the leaves and place HALF of the leaves in a small bowl. Set aside remaining leaves for step 3.
  12. Remove and discard the stems from the basil and cilantro. Finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl. Add garlic, juice of remaining lemon, discarding any seeds, and 1 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  13. Stir prunes and remaining parsley into the quinoa and cover to keep warm for next 5 minutes or so.
  14. STEP THREE
  15. Preheat the grill to high.
  16. Line the grill with foil.
  17. Thread 3 shrimp each per skewer and wrap the ends of each skewer with a small piece of foil. Place on the grill until cooked through and no longer pink. Stir prunes and remaining parsley into the quinoa.
  18. STEP FOUR
  19. Divide the quinoa between two plates.
  20. Lay the shrimp skewers on top.
  21. Serve with the herb sauce on the side.
  22. Enjoy!