Grits. Stuffed. Tomatoes. {Recipe Redux}

Grits tomatoes

Grits + cheese + juicy summer tomatoes. Y’all.

I’m all about adding a vegetable when I can. In my opinion, this recipe for grits-stuffed tomatoes is a somewhat healthier version of one of our favorite Southern staples. 1) Use low-fat cheese (look for part-skim on the label), 2) skip the salt (you don’t need it with the cheese), and you’ve got a grits dish to make mama proud.

When tomatoes are cooked, their lycopene is more greatly absorbed, a nutrient that gives the tomato it’s red pigment and is linked to the prevention of some cancers.

A friend and I were brainstorming recipe variations to include high-protein quinoa instead of grits, feta cheese instead of parmesan, and some chopped artichokes and olives to give this dish a yummy Greek twist. Maybe I’ll get to that soon, with the U-pick farm full of ripe tomatoes in my near future.

Serve it as a side with your leftovers (cause if you’re like me – you love ’em for an easy lunch), a snack, or as the main course to a breakfast.

leftovers

Leftover lovin’. I even practice what I preach, making half my “plate” vegetables! RD high-five

How will you make them? Be sure to share your ideas with me!

Fruitfully,
Alyssa

 

Our Meal Plan: Week of July 6th

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Week of July 6 (Click here for link to recipes)

Week 2: Let’s do this.

I truly enjoyed our first week of meal planning. It provided the comfort of knowing what we would be eating for the week; a streamlined, easy, and cost-saving grocery bill; and leftovers!!!! (Yay!)

When I’m taking lunch everyday, squeezing in workouts before or after work, training a puppy, and trying to manage the house and my DIY hobby, scooping food into my lunch bowl is just so easy. Not to mention healthier (and cheaper!) than going out to eat every day. However, with my current abundance of tomatoes a friend is sharing with me, I figured I would enhance my lunch menu with a favorite Grits-Stuffed Tomatoes recipe that hit my table for the second time on July 4th.

Last week’s Greek Chicken & Lemon Rice recipe was my most popular post for the week, and for good reason. Nagi from RecipeTin Eats sure knows what she’s doing in the kitchen. That dish was chock-full of flavor, so I must try another one of her creations, especially since me and risotto are such good friends.

Monday’s meals will consist of leftovers since I won’t get a chance to shop until Monday evening. The great thing about planning for the week is that it’s just a plan. Last week, we ended up making the Greek chicken a day later than planned and postponed Friday Night Pizza Night one week due to time and holiday plans. And that’s ok. Make it work for your schedule, and remember to schedule your healthy meals.

Fruitfully,

Alyssa

 

Greek Chicken & Lemon Rice {Recipe Review}

I really don’t even know how to start out writing about this recipe. First, I’m in a drunk-on-yummy-food coma and a drunk-in-love haze from the fact that my husband made the. entire. thing.

Oh, and took the showcasing pic.

I can only claim raving about it. And shoveling it in my mouth.

Greek chicken

 

 

 

 

Sorry, still at a loss for words. Just look at that picture!

Oh yes, the recipe. One Pot Greek Chicken & Lemon Rice is more aptly called “THIS IS AMAZING”!!!! Every bite was perfectly seasoned, velvety goodness. The chicken: so tender. The rice: SO flavorful. The husband: Dreamy. I really don’t have a recipe redux for this one. All I can suggest is using a whole grain or brown rice and not eating the chicken skin. Other than that, just enjoy the flavor fireworks and marvel at the cook for somehow becoming a world-class chef in about an hour.

For a guy who doesn’t consider himself a cook, I think we’ve unleashed a hidden talent. And I’m totally OK with that.

Happy 4th of July friends.

Fruitfully,

Alyssa

Creamy Chicken, Mushroom, and Bean Enchiladas = Chickroombean Enchies {Recipe Redux}

chickroombean enchies

Chickroombean. That’s the new name. Creamy Chickroombean Enchiladas. However, once it’s topped with avocado, all I can call it is Yuummmm.

This enchilada recipe was a nice weeknight dinner. Easy, simple, and would be great for Meatless Monday.

We added beans because we had a large baking dish and needed to make the recipe s t r e t c h a bit. Plus, the healthy legumes and extra protein punch doesn’t hurt. Oh, and I love cannellini beans.

A few things I would change next time around:

1) Using fresh spinach instead of frozen. I don’t really like the taste of frozen spinach much at all. Fresh would be just as easy (if not easier) and a little more tasty (IMO).

2) Use more spice. We didn’t think it had much flavor, but we also didn’t have the cumin (and cumin is everything, amiright). A low-sodium taco seasoning in the mix would add nice flavor!

3) Sub plain, nonfat Greek yogurt for the sour cream. I hope you’re noticing a theme here. Do this swap every time! They’ll never know! *shhh

4) Add more avocado. Did you hear the news about fat? Healthy fat is IN! Not only are avocados wonderfully delicious, but they provide 20 essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, important folic acid, potassium, fiber, and Vitamin E.

You know me and my leftovers. 😉 This one provided plenty, and actually tastes better as leftovers. Love when foods do that! It makes lunch twice as nice.

One more recipe coming up this week: Greek chicken! I’m pretty stoked about this one…

Fruitfully,

Alyssa

 

Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake {Recipe Redux}

Cheesy Chicken Pasta_edited-1

You had me at…pasta and cheese. Hello! Doesn’t take much for me to select a recipe when these are the ingredients.

When browsing for recipes for our first week of meal planning, I wanted variety, ease of planning and cooking, leftovers ;), of course flavor, and to use some food I already had in the pantry. This recipe satisfied those requirements and our palate.

Pasta you say? But doesn’t pasta make you fat? Aren’t carbs bad?

No. They’re delicious. Oh, and versatile, can provide important nutrients like fiber and B vitamins, and great fuel for mental and physical energy. Just don’t over-do it, and take some healthier modifications from your favorite RD (wink), and you’re set!

Need to follow a gluten-free diet? Sub gluten-free noodles! But try to find them enriched if you can.

Ok, I’ll eat the pasta. But cheese? Isn’t dairy bad for you? I’ve heard these foods called “toxic”…

Au contraire. Research does not support claims of dairy being “bad” for you. In fact, it’s a great way to get important calcium in your diet. Toxic? What does that even mean? The definition of toxic means poisonous, harmful. As long as it’s pasteurized, it should be safe. PS- The science is out on these so-called “toxic” foods.

Back to the cheesy carb goodness. This Three-Cheese Pasta Bake is easy to give a healthy makeover to.

1) Use whole-wheat pasta. I like the shells – yum!

2) Use plain, nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Almost always works! Same texture and flavor, no fat, less calories, and more protein.

3) Alter the cheese, and use less of it. Buy part-skim or low-fat cheeses. I had a 15-oz container of ricotta cheese and 1/8 cup of Parmesan, which is less than the recipe calls for but was very adequate. Also, you don’t need the 1.5 cups of mozzarella to top it off, which tasted excessive. Try 1 cup and cut the calories even more.

4) Use a light alfredo sauce, or even try this homemade alfredo sauce from cauliflower! I made it for Father’s Day, and it was fantastic.

4) Add a lean protein source. Chicken thighs for Thursday night’s Greek chicken was on sale, so I bought a little extra, baked and shredded a few thighs, and ate added it between sips of wine the layers. Shrimp would also be great.

5) Serve it with a healthy green veggie. Add some nutrients and color. We enjoyed it with asparagus.

6) Remember the recipe is a template. Feel free to make it your own! You don’t have to follow a recipe to a T to make it come out delicious! You don’t miss a thing with these lightened-up modifications.

Fruitfully,

Alyssa

Our Meal Plan: Week of June 29th

Many people have asked me for meal plans, which I have been reluctant to provide for 2 reasons:

1) Meal plans aren’t all-encompassing. They don’t teach you how to modify lifelong behaviors, and if I never see a patient or client again, I don’t want one week’s worth of food to be the last thing I give them.

2) I don’t follow one. I believe in knowing how to make choices, because options are always changing. OK, OK, OK – and I’m not the best dietitian out there. Sorry to break it to ‘ya.

That being said, I have been desperately needing to cook more to provide for me and the boy. I would appreciate it, and I know he really – really – would, too. Now that I’m bringing lunch to work daily, I need to know my options and to be able to plan.

I’m on day one and already realizing the benefits firsthand! We saved money at the grocery store, bought groceries for the whole week in one swoop, and already have a dish for tomorrow’s lunch. Score! Plus, we’re trying tasty new recipes. Wins all around.

Now, this is not so much a “meal plan” as in, “follow this one week sample for the rest of your life.” Rather, this is a “plan of our meals for the week, so that I know I’m not making the boy (or myself) starve.”

In my quickest post ever, I’m fighting a dying computer battery and racing the clock to bedtime, so more on these recipes and some healthier modifications later.

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Recipes:

Three Cheese Pasta Bake

Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas

One Pot Greek Chicken & Lemon Rice

To note, we made the pasta bake tonight so we have leftovers for tomorrow, and I’m finishing off his dee-licious spaghetti from the weekend. Also, it’s just the 2 of us eating (much to the dogs’ displeasure), so we can get by on 3 or so meals for the week.

Like I said, more on the recipes later. Off to bed!

Fruitfully,

Alyssa

The Brew: Wisconsin, The Mid-Best

The Midwest: I didn’t know what I would think of you. I had visions of snow, cornfields, and fun accents. You brought the fun accents for sure, but you also exposed me to wild chipmunks and badgers, showed me miles of beautiful greenery and inquisitive trees, provided me with some super tasty meals, and introduced me to some very kind and friendly locals. 

 Right off the plane, you provided me with my dream-wanna-be-mom car. Now, I’m convinced. I really hated handing over the keys at the end of the week. 
  

Hey Brewers, we’ll be back for you.

 Milwaukee, you’re a beautiful city.

  

Dietitian nerd-out! <3 

   H&M, thanks for fulfilling my polka-dot and skinny belt dreams. For $20. 

My new adventure has begun, and I’m. stoked. 

I’ve started a fun new job and feel so lucky (hashtag blessed). 

Sometimes, you catch glimpses of your life and have to pinch youself to bring you back to reality. I feel like things are coming full circle, and that all my experiences are catapulting me into a future I couldn’t have even asked for. And I’m soaking it in for all its worth. 

Fruitfully,

Alyssa

They Checked My Baggage

  
I’m on a new adventure that I am excited about. I’m starting a new job and I get to go to a new place for training. 

Every time I’ve flown for the last 7 or so years I have packed carry-on only bags. Not only does this save me the money from a baggage fee, but it also gives me the peace of knowing where my bag is at all times. I considered checking a bag this trip but decided I would trade the challenge of small liquid bottles for the knowledge that by bag wouldn’t be lost at my destination (which has happened before.)

They checked my bag anyway.

In my newfound ease of living free, I wasn’t worried about being at the front of the line to get on the plane. With about 7 people ahead of me, however, they made the announcement that all remaining bags would be checked due to limited space. 

No biggie. I’m sure it will be fine. I’ll get my bag when I get there and trust it will all be intact and accounted for. Let it go.

Let it go I did. Until about 15 minutes and a few pages of Scary Close later did I realize I was already going through the motions of living the next few days – in a new area and with new people to impress – without my bag. I did a mental checklist and realized all of my “performance” items were checked: clothes, makeup, and hair tools. 

Scary Close is Donald Miller’s latest book about an identity crisis and a journey to true intimacy, and it’s awesome. I had been trying to identify my own hindrances to emotional intimacy throughout when the anxiety about my missing luggage began to fester. While I don’t consider myself to be too attached to my “things,” I generally like to be able to choose to not be attached to them. I don’t like the decision to be made for me.

So, this is not a post about over-analyzing my potentially missing baggage (is it?), but rather the realization that sometimes I need someone to check my bags for me.

I need someone to rob me of my security blanket and force me to live outside my comfort zone.

I need to remember they did not check my confidence, my brain, or my oh-so-charming personality (*wink wink*).

I need to enjoy the feeling of freedom from baggage (pun intended), and embrace it as another step of my journey to letting go.

I need my prayer to change from, “Lord, please let me bag be there” to “Lord, if someone takes my bag, please let them be transformed by the Bible inside, and let not my husband be mad at me for a spontaneous shopping spree.”

😉

Fruitfully- and freely,

Alyssa

The Brew: California Lovin’

 

{Fresh off Calinspiration, I’m starting a hub called The Brew: a collection of things that warm my heart and celebrate life – like a hot frothy latte.}
California stole my heart this week. It’s been a long time since my last visit, and I can appreciate it now as an adult. The crisp air kept us outdoors and the cutest California cousins were the brightest rays of sunshine. 

  My first paddle board experience! And I didn’t fall in 😉 

  This girl. So sure of herself, such a happy mama, and such an inspiration. Check her out at www.riverandgray.com

  These little guys knew nothing but love, joy, and hapiness.

  CA: We-ee are never, ever, ever getting back together… without running gear. Kicking myself for traveling without it.

  Since I couldn’t run, I ate In-n-Out instead. Duh.

  Caught out of the corner of my eye, a beautiful reminder to fly, and live free.

  Salt in the air, toes in the sand. 

    Girls night hosted by Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone, a fresh sangria, and a leather recliner.

  “Protein-style” everything! Not pictured: Eating my first whole artichoke. Yum!

  Sweet Lisa made the perfect addition to my arm party. Love the pineapple and what it stands for!

Thank you California for your beauty and beautiful people, and for teaching me invaluable lessons about happiness. 

Fruitfully,

Alyssa

Braver and Bigger

Your life is Jesus’ reward for his suffering…
Let’s All Be Brave

Annie Downs just stirred my soul with this sentence as I finish Let’s All Be Brave at thousands of feet in the air. In floods the wave from The Circle Maker, which states “big prayers honor God.” 

Is my life honoring the high price that Jesus paid for it? Am I doing enough to repay him? Am I living and praying big enough? 

I know when I am afraid of failing, letting others down, and drawing outside the lines, I am not. 

When I create an excuse of why not to follow that nudge, I am limiting a limitless God.

I am not honoring Him when my prayers fall within my control. 

  
I’m a dreamer with an adventurous heart. I want to skydive over New Zealand, hug a koala in Australia, have brave and joyful children, change others’ lives and health through nutrition, surf even though I’m dreadfully afraid of sharks (thanks big bro), run Disney’s Dopey challenge, and learn to fly a plane. I think my dreams are pretty choice (translated “cool” – I’m learning Kiwi speak in dreams of going to NZ), and I think God thinks “nice try sweetie, but we can go bigger.” 

I think He’s glad I want things out of life, but I also know we create something much larger together.

I didn’t start dreaming some of this risky dreams until I started to know Him more. Our faith is in proportion to our dreams. 

I can’t even think of a dream big enough to honor Him. To really honor Him, I would let go so He can just show me.

Fruitfully, 

Alyssa

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