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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.

We’ve teamed up with Chef’d, the awesome home meal delivery service known for delivering fresh, pre-portioned ingredients to make amazing recipes right to your door (you never even need to sign up for a subscription!) and with California Prunes, the sweet, antioxidant-packed fruit we grew up loving, to create these scrumptious meals that will make your taste buds sing and your waistline look like you’ve danced the night away.

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.

Without further ado, here’s one of our three recipes…you could make it at home from scratch, but better yet, you can have all these ingredients, prepped and pre-portioned and delivered from Chef’d straight to your door!  Order yours here!

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!

7 Hacks to Make Healthy Eating a Cinch

We’re suckers for a quick-fix.  Not the kind you may be thinking (no fad diets here!), rather if something saves us time, we can’t wait to give it a whirl.  And if it’s healthy and makes us more efficient, we’re all over it! J   As registered dietitians and girls who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, we’ve done our share of experimenting so you don’t have to—and today we’re sharing our 7 healthy eating hacks –a.k.a., tricks to make healthy eating easier & faster!

1. Frozen Vegetables: Yup! You knew as authors of The Veggie Cure, a veggie hack had to take the #1 spot for us! 🙂

 

Frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh ones. In fact, in some instances, frozen are even healthier. Frozen vegetables are picked and frozen immediately, nutrients intact. Fresh vegetables may lose nutrients during shipping and storage or when on store shelves as nutrients are lost when vegetables are exposed to light, heat and air. You’ll notice that several of our recipes call for frozen vegetables. This not only ensures nutrient retention, but it also helps to make meals quick and easy to prepare. You can keep frozen vegetables in your freezer for months (nearly up to a year!) so you never have to worry about not having vegetables if your fresh ones go bad. They’re already cleaned and cut, so you can even defrost them in the fridge during the day before using them at night, toss them in a tomato sauce, soup, casserole or whatever you’re cooking and it’s ready to go in minutes!

This hack is for you if you:
• Often find veggies spoiled in your fridge
• Don’t find the time to wash, chop or prepare veggies
• Find a lot of excuses for not eating veggies 😉
Spicy Fried Broccoli
Orange Banan-apple Smoothie

INSIDER SCOOP: If you’ve tried a frozen veggie in the past and didn’t like it, try a different brand. We’ve noticed a huge difference between brands when it comes to flavor and quality!

 

2. Spray bottle: We use these for everything!

 

 

As registered dietitians we’ve witnessed that one of the healthiest foods has also resulted in the accumulation of unwanted pounds. Olive oil. Just a tablespoon (of any oil) has 120 calories. That’s a little less than 1/10 of the total calories many women should get in an entire day if they’d like to drop a few pounds—and that’s before even eating! It’s easy to pour several tablespoons of oil onto your salad. That’s why we suggest putting your oil in a spray bottle. This will disperse the oil, so you can use a lot less. You still get the flavor and texture while sparing your waist, hips and thighs. Also use a spray bottle for any of your favorite dressings—save time by spritzing oils and dressings rather than trying to mix to disperse the flavor.

This hack is especially for you if you’d like to lose some body fat and:
• Enjoy dressings and condiments
• Cook with oil or butter
Try it with this recipe: Parmesan Eggs in a Bell Pepper Ring
And these Hummus Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers 

 

3. Lemons: Make your kitchen a lemon-palooza!  

A squirt of lemon replaces bloat-causing salt in recipes (we learned this from some well-known chefs), adds immune boosting vitamin C and helps cut down on clean-up. Spritz lemon over a meal rather than using salt for seasoning and place lemon slices under fish for cooking—it prevents fish from sticking to the pan (i.e. bye-bye long clean up time!) and it adds delicious flavor without calories- so you don’t need calorie loaded-sauces or salad dressings. Place wedges in water and you’ll drink more and stay hydrated—and eat less. Many people think they’re hungry and they’re actually thirsty!

This hack is your jam if:
• You add salt, dressings and sauces to your food and want to be less puffy or want to lower your blood pressure.
• Need a little encouragement to drink more water.
• Don’t cook fish enough because of the clean-up.
• Lemon-ginger detox drink
Colorful Detox Salad

 

4. Frozen fruit: As girls with a mega-sweet tooth and who are also no stranger to moldy berries in the fridge the same day we’ve brought them home, these have saved us from falling under sugar’s spoon (sword! ;)). Similarly to frozen veggies, frozen fruits are a delicious, easy way to get antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals without worrying about produce spoiling—plus, they’re an amazing alternative to added sugar.
Simply blend in smoothies, toss on yogurt, oatmeal, cereal or hot chocolate—and allow frozen sweet to add natural sweetness to foods rather than buying sweetened items.

This hack is for you if:
• You like fruit but tend not to eat it.
• Add sugar to (or buy pre-sweetened) cereal, yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies.
• Make smoothies (frozen fruit makes them like a milkshake and no washing or chopping is required).
Skinny DIY Strawberry Mint Ice Cream
Blueberry Banana Smoothie

 

5. Sheet pans: These rimmed baking sheets make healthy ‘meals in a jiffy’ a reality. A sheet pan is so simple, yet brilliant since it allows you the convenience having a meal in 30 minutes by just tossing healthy items on it and popping it in the oven. Clean-up? Just one sheet– that you can always line with foil or parchment paper—that makes cleaning the pan nearly non-existent. Try this on your sheet pan: Toss vVeggies or a veggie blend, fish and a spritz of olive oil, garlic and lemon. Keep your “meal-in-minutes” creative by simply mixing and matching different veggies, spices and proteins to keep your taste buds tantalized. You don’t need rich sauces or loads of oil and the short cooking time minimizes nutrient losses.

This hack is your hot pan if you:
• Want to make healthy meals but don’t want to slave over the stove
• Prefer meals with simple preparation
• Would eat more veggies if they were roasted
• Want a hands-off dinner (and fast!) and to create a meal all on one pan!
• Try this recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Salmon with Kale & Golden Beets

 

6. Lyssie’s pick: A swivel grater. Lyssie: In under a minute, I can completely boost the flavor and health of what I’m eating. I grate a bit of ginger or turmeric over the top of a meal for awesome flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits without fat, salt or calories. And I’ll also grate beets, turnips or carrots over a salad for extra crunch and flavor. This takes moments with a good quality grater. I love the OXO one—and you can get it for under $10!

Try this: Ginger Mint Turmeric Green Tea Flat-Belly “Detox”

 

7. Tammy’s pick Tammy: An orange peeler. Tammy: This is my new fave find! One of my daughter’s, Summer, requests an orange in her lunch every day. I was peeling it by making incisions with a knife, until I found this inexpensive little life-changing number on amazon—the orange peeler! I can literally peel an orange in 15 seconds and there’s NO mess. And for just over $4 for 6 of them, you really can’t go wrong!