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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ah mac and cheese…the ultimate comfort food. Why is it that so many of the foods we love and crave are not the foods that are healthy for us. My goal was and has always been to create recipes that are healthy, delicious and leave you feeling satisfied. Last week I purchased a butternut squash and was determined to use it in two completely different ways. I ended up creating a yummy squash-ginger soup (coming soon) and this broccoli cheddar macaroni and cheese.

Healthy Broccoli and Cheddar Butternut Squash Pasta

I loaded this dish with tons of veggies, lean protein, whole grain pasta and of course a bit of full-fat delicious cheese. The squash helped create the beautiful golden color that mimics cheese sauce,  but with only a cup of added real cheese this dish is perfect for everyone in the family! You can indulge without any of the guilt. Serve alone or with a side salad for an added punch of nutrients. I used whole wheat penne in this dish, but would have rather used elbow macaroni; however, I had to make do with what the store had in stock. THANKS IRMA.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I would suggest roasting off a couple of squash on a random afternoon just to make cook time with this dish shorter. You can cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, coat in olive oil and drizzle with nutmeg, dried ginger, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until fork tender. Scoop out flesh and set aside for smoothies, pancakes, this macaroni and cheese or the butternut squash soup!

Ingredients:

Sauce:

1.5 Cups roasted butternut squash

¾ C Shredded Cheddar Cheese + and Extra Tbsp. for Drizzle

¼ C Goat Cheese + and Extra Tbsp. for drizzle

2-3 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock

1 Cup Cashew Milk

½ C reserved Pasta Water

Optional: ¼ C Vital Proteins Bone Broth

Vegetables:

Feel free to use all fresh frozen veggies for convenience!

1 Tbsp. Ghee or Grass Fed Butter

1 tsp. Olive Oil

2 Shallots

2 Garlic Cloves

3 Carrots Sliced

1 1/2 Chopped Broccoli Florets

½ C Sliced Mushrooms

1 tsp. Nutmeg

½ tsp. Dried Thyme

¾-1 Lb of pasta

2 Thin Sliced Chopped Chicken Breasts

Salt and Pepper to Taste

2 Chopped Green Onions

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use pre-made chicken like the one used in my flexible meal-planning guide or cook two thin chicken breasts in a little olive oil before adding butter to the same pan and cooking the vegetables below.

Healthy Mac and Cheese

In a pan heat butter and oil. Add carrots and begin to cook down about 3-5 minutes. Add shallot and cook down an additional 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and mushrooms and cook until fork tender yet still firm. Add garlic, a dash of salt and pepper and set aside in a small bowl.

Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Add butternut squash to the same pan and cook over medium heat until the squash starts to get warm and thin out. Add in 1 cup of chicken stock and cashew milk and whisk continually until smooth. Add nutmeg, thyme, black pepper and a dash of salt. Whisk in cheese and the additional cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer about 5 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package and reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Add the reserve pasta liquid to the squash cheese sauce and mix in optional Vital Proteins Bone Broth. Once smooth, add in chicken, vegetables and add pasta gradually ensuring that you have enough sauce for your pasta. You can always add a little extra cashew milk as needed.

Add pasta mixture to a greased dish and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp cheddar cheese, 1 Tbsp goat cheese and black pepper and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Once cooked top with fresh green onion and serve immediately.

Make this recipe vegan by using vegan cream cheese, shredded cheddar and vegetable broth!

 

 

Grilled Buffalo Chicken

Can you believe it is the weekend again?! Wahoo! I am so excited. If you are anything like me then you are still trying to detox from the long holiday, but are looking forward to another couple of days off. Lately, I have been trying to find ways to re-create some of Cory’s favorites, but still keep them light enough for me. On the 4th of July we skipped the burgers and dogs and went for grilled buffalo chicken with hummus and a vegetable tray. We were full and satisfied and did not get the dreaded food hangover! Give it a try this weekend and have a fantastic couple of days off.

Ingredients:

4-5 Thin sliced chicken breasts

1/2 Cup of your favorite buffalo wing sauce

4 Celery stalkings chopped or sliced thin

1/4 Chopped red onion

1 Tbsp. blue cheese crumbles for each breast

Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill about 3 minutes on each side a few inches away from direct flame. Warm up buffalo sauce. When chicken is done, coat in buffalo sauce and top with celery, onion and blue cheese crumbles. Serve immediately!

 

One Bag of Lentils: Three Recipes

Lentils have been a pantry staple in the TWF kitchen for a while now. Not only are they super low in cost ($1.99-$2.79), but the tiny bean is totally versatile and packed with tons of health benefits!  Today, it is my hope to encourage you to begin to add them to your diet one soup, wrap or snack at a time! You can make them in a crockpot or on the stove for an easy weeknight or weekend meal that is not only comforting, but also awesome in that no-muss/no-fuss kind of way!

Health Benefits of Lentils Include:

High in Fiber: The insoluble fiber acts as a sweeper in your digestive tract and helps to eliminate waste. So although you may feel gas and bloating when you begin to add these little gems to your diet, adding water can speed up the elimination process and leave your tummy feeling flat and happy.

Lower Cholesterol: Lentils have high levels of soluble fiber which in turn help to keep cholesterol levels low and decreases your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke by keeping your arteries free and clear.

Weight Loss: Lentils are great for waistline management! They contain important nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins  and minerals with very little fat! A whole cup runs you about 230 calories and will keep you full and energized for extended periods of time.

Helps Manage Body pH Levels: Lentils are one of the most alkaline inducing foods you can consume. Processed foods turn the gut into an acidic place which can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria. A healthy pH level leads to healthier more balance digestive system and healthy  levels of good bacteria.

Here are a few ways to use a whole pot of lentils throughout the week!

Soup: Start the week by making my recipe for lentil soup . Add a handful of greens to your hot bowl and a sprinkle of parmesan and red pepper on top.

Wrap: Use a whole wheat or gluten free wrap and strain and warm 3/4 C of lentils. Add lentils to wrap and top with greens, red onion, 1/3 avocado or 1 oz. feta cheese and tomato. Serve with a small side salad or cucumber chips.

Spread: Add 2 Cups of lentil soup  to a blender with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar or more to taste. (I have also used sherry vinegar and YUM! Blend and spread on toast with whole grain mustard or serve as a dip with crackers, carrots and radish chips.

I really love easy meals that have staying power! You can find lentils in the same aisle as the rice and grains! If you have a lentil recipe you love. Make sure to let me know below.

Chicken Soup Soba Noodle Pie

Soba Noodles

Guys! This recipe was a total happy accident. I really did not feel like going to the grocery story so I decided to play ‘Chopped’, Taylor Walker Fit style. Cory and I have been traveling a ton so I have not had much time to cook. I know the blog has been a bit light on the recipe side, but hopefully this one will make up for it!

Soba Noodles

I have used buckwheat soba noodles in this Veggie Stir Fry recipe. As I have stated before, buckwheat or soba noodles are fat, cholesterol and gluten-free. They are a great source of manganese, lean protein, thiamine and carbohydrates. Studies have also shown that soba noodles are a better source of carb for diabetics because it has been concluded that glucose is released into the blood stream at a slower pace after consumption than its wheat counterparts. You will find soba or buckwheat noodles in the international food aisle. They come in pre-portioned bundles and cook in under three minutes!

Soba Noodles

So Let’s Eat Shall We?

Make Homemade Chicken Soup! Here is my favorite recipe.

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Super Bowl Shrimp and Hash From Baptist Health South Florida

Super Bowl

Potato Skins, Wings and Beer! Are those top on your list for Super Bowl weekend? Honestly, in our household, buffalo chicken dip reigns supreme on game day. It is not something I make often because Cory and I can  literally consume the whole bowl in one sitting. Add in an extra long toasted french baguette, and we are ready to hit a calorie fueled, indulgent coma, and usually pass out before the game ends. I always say everything in moderation is OK, but for something like Buffalo Dip….I just can’t control myself.

This year, I want to try a couple of dishes like cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ and maybe this award-winning shrimp recipe from Executive Chef Edgardo Llopiz Rivera. It has such flavor and flair that it won the coveted Grand Slam honor at the Taste of Miami 2016 competition. “Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. It’s a matter of being creative and putting passion into the dish,” said Chef Llopiz, who worked with a culinary team from West Kendall Baptist Hospital to compete against chefs from some of South Florida’s top restaurants.

Chef also says: “Exploring ways to improve your health can be exciting,” said Chef Llopiz, now executive chef for Miami Cancer Institute. “Especially when it comes to food.”…Now that is a philosophy I can stand behind!

If you would like to lighten up your game-day menu…then head on over to Baptist Health South Florida for the full recipe and make sure to follow along on my healthy options Pinterest Board for inspiration. All you need are the ingredients listed here (many of which you probably already have in your pantry):

BUTTERNUT SQUASH HASH

32 ounces fresh diced butternut squash (approx. 3 cups)

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced carrot

6-8 medium fresh shallots, peeled and diced

1 Fuji apple, peeled and diced

2 cloves white garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons wine rice vinegar

2 tablespoons amber light honey

½ tablespoon chili paste

2 ounces nitrite-free applewood bacon

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Grow2Heal Community Garden at Homestead Hospital-Baptist Health South Florida

Grow2Heal Community Garden

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. No truer words have ever been spoken by Hyppocrates. When I started my blog, I was just beginning to learn the effects of food on the body. As stated above, food can be medicine, food can be memories, and unfortunately food can also be detrimental to your health. If I tell you that every morsel I put into my body was organic, whole and nutrient rich, that would be a lie. The chicken pot pie in my belly right now would tell you otherwise; however, what I have created in my household is strong sense of responsibility for what we consume, where we shop and how we prepare it. It takes effort and energy, but knowledge is power, and learning how to create dishes with seasonal ingredients and getting your children in the kitchen will spark an important dialogue missing from most American households.

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Crispy Baby Artichokes

Baby Roasted Artichokes

Hi Lovelies! I am in Vegas on my last day with Zappos for the week, and guess what?! It is my three year anniversary! Cory surprised me, and showed up at my hotel door on Monday night, and to say I was shocked would be the understatement of the year! Cory and I have been together for almost eight years, and he always finds a way to make me feel special. Some days I just want to shout it from the rooftops; however, not every day was a pleasure cruise…..I did mention we have been together almost eight years right?! Anyway, we both love artichokes, but I have never cooked them before, and I decided to make them before I left last week for New York. They were a lot easier than I thought, and these would be a great addition to any dinner party or add them to your weekend snacketizer menu!

Baby Roasted Artichokes

INGREDIENTS:

1 Package Baby Artichokes

Olive Oil

2 Lemons

4 Tbs  Mayonaise

2 Tbs Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peal artichokes of the hard outer layers. Cut off tops and bottoms. half and place in an ice water bath with the juice of a lemon. A little oxidation is ugly, but normal. Dry artichokes with paper towels, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay face down on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce: Combine mayonaise, dijon mustard, juice and zest of one lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

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Meatless Monday Ideas

 Meatless Monday Recipe Ideas-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Meatless Monday isn’t really something we practice in our household, but sometimes MM is a happy accident. When we are busy there is a tendency to hit the drive through or pop in a pre-made meal, but I wanted to write a quick post today on what a Meatless Monday or Tuesday, Wednesday even Thursday looks like in the Sinning household. Friday is steak night people! Our life is all about balance. I said today’s post was going to be short and sweet. Without further ado….my ideas for a meatless Monday.

 Meatless Monday Recipe Ideas-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Breakfast Oatmeal:

1 Cup Quick Oats

Almond Milk

Chopped Peaches

Flax Seed

Drizzle of Honey

Directions: Make Oats according to package using almond milk instead of water. If dry, top with more milk and add toppings of your choice. Banana, peanut butter with almonds and honey would be a great pre-workout breakfast. Try overnight oats by soaking oats in almond milk, chia seeds and fruit. Wake up with an on-the-go breakfast that is irresistible and satisfying.

Snack Green Juice:

I try to stick to juice that is predominantly green. Think kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, ginger, lemon and apple! A great combo that is sweet and refreshing. Make yours at home with a nutribullet or find a juice/smoothie bar near you. A smoothie will give you some great fiber that juice is missing!

 Meatless Monday Recipe Ideas-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Lunch Homemade Hummus: 

I never realized how easy homemade hummus is. If you have seen this commercial in your area then you can see I like low sodium chickpeas! lol I really do…

Ingredients:

1 Can Chickpeas

2 Cloves Garlic

Juice of 1 Lemon

3+ Tbs Olive Oil-Flavored or Unflavored

Black Pepper

Red Pepper (Optional)

Wash peas and drain. Add to NutriBullet, food processor or you can mash my hand. I use my NutriBullet for everything. Crush garlic, add juice of lemon, pepper and 2 Tbs olive oil. Mash or pulse until you reach desired consistent. Remove from NutriBullet and place in a bowl. If you want your hummus a little smoother mix in more olive oil by hand.

Meatless Monday Recipe Ideas-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Dinner Roasted Veggies With Goats Cheese: This recipe was a happy accident. I had just made a run to the farmers market and told myself I was going to use all the produce that week. Cory was at a work dinner and roasted veggies sounded delicious! The goat cheese and fresh basil satisfied every taste bud on my  tongue.

Ingredients:

Small Pearl Onions

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

1 Sliced Eggplant 1/2 inch

1 Sliced Zucchini 1/2 inch

1 Pint Cherry Tomatos

Dressing:

1/8 C Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Red Pepper

1 tsp Italian Herb Seasoning (Oregeno, basil etc)

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Goats Cheese

Basil

Salt and Pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place onions in a small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they caramelize and soften. Combine dressing ingredients. Place eggplant and zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush veggies with dressing and bake five minutes on each side.  Wash and dry tomatoes. On the last five minutes dress the tomatoes in oil and bake. Remove zucchini and eggplant and broil tomatoes until they start to burst.Remove from oven and layer eggplant and zucchini. Top with tomato, onions, goat cheese and chopped fresh basil.

These are three very easy meatless recipes, but there are also my black bean burgers , lentils,  and zucchini pasta today! Happy Meatless Monday everyone!

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Soba Noodle Stir-Fry

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry-TaylorWalkerFit.com

I have had a package of buckwheat, otherwise known a Soba Noodles, in my pantry for a while now, and simply needed the time and energy to create a new dish. When Cory is out of town, I usually have a simple dinner, like a salad or call in my favorite red curry; however, I decided to put my chef hat on last night because I wanted something both satisfying and filled with the veggies I just picked up from the farmers market. I usually do my grocery shopping on Monday’s where I stop at Publix for meat, cheese and eggs before heading to the farmers market for my produce. I am in love perusing the market, and buying local. So for the week, I will be making soba stir-fry, salmon and a light eggplant parmesan with all of the ingredients I picked up yesterday.

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry-TaylorWalkerFit.com

I have never tried soba noodles, but after learning more about their nutritional value, I definitely plan on keeping them on rotation. Buckwheat or soba noodles are fat, cholesterol and gluten-free. They are a great source of manganese, lean protein, thiamine and carbohydrates. Studies have also shown that soba noodles are a better source of carb for diabetics because it has been concluded that glucose is released into the blood stream at a slower pace after consumption than its wheat counterparts. You will find soba or buckwheat noodles in the international food aisle. They come in pre-portioned bundles and cook in under three minutes!

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Feel free to play around with veggies your family loves! I think water chestnuts and baby corn would be great in here. Also cashews and basil may bring this dish to a whole new level. Oh and forget the takeout, you can make this stir-fry for your family for less than $12.00. This dish is definitely a fifteen minute meal your family will keep on rotation.

Ingredients:

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Stir Fry Sauce:

1/2 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1 Tbs Honey

2 Tbs Low Sodium Soy Sauce

1 tsp Red Chili Oil (Optional)

1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar

Sesame Seeds

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Chicken:

Roasted Sesame Oil

3 thin cut chicken breasts

2 tsp Chinese 5-Spice

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Veggies:

1 Small Head of Broccoli

1 Small Sliced Onion

1/2 C Julianne Carrots

1/2 Inch Chopped Ginger

2 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1 Sliced Red Pepper

2 Chopped Green Onions

1/2 C Snow Peas

1 C Shitake Mushrooms

3 Chopped Pinnaple Rings

1 Lime Cut in Wedges

Noodles:

1 Bunch Buckwheat Noodles

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry-TaylorWalkerFit.com

Directions:

Whisk stir fry sauce ingredients and set aside.

Put water on the stove to boil for the noodles. Add sesame oil to a pan and heat over medium high. Cover chicken in 5-spice, slice, and add to warm oil cooking. 2 minutes on each side for thin chicken breasts. When browned on each side, set aside. When the water is boiling, add noodles and cook for two minutes and drain.

After you remove chicken add a little more sesame oil to pan. Add aromatics: ginger, garlic and onion. Stir and turn the heat down if necessary so they do not burn. After aromatics begin to brown, add carrots, broccoli and peppers and snow peas until they begin to soften.  While veggies are softening place sesame seeds in a pan and roast over medium heat, shaking every few minutes to make sure they do not burn.

After veggies are soft and noodles are cooked, add noodles to the pan and turn up the heat. After heat is high, add stir fry sauce to deglaze the pan and coat veggies and noodles. After about a minute turn the heat down and stir in  pineapple and chicken until warm. Add stir-fry to a bowl, top with sesame seeds, green onion and a squeeze of lime!

I hope that you enjoy this dish! I should be bringing you more recipes very soon!

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Sweet, Salty, Crunchy Summer Shrimp Salad


Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 8.47.35 AM

Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Spicy, this summer-salad has it all. If you follow me on snapchat [@Taylorwalkerfit] then you may have seen the picnic Cory and I had last week. I made a small side-salad to go with our salmon, and to our surprise,  it was my favorite part of the entire dish. The salad was definitely a happy accident, because  it was basically made of all the leftovers I had in the fridge, and it has bacon, and how could anything with bacon be bad?

I decided to turn this into a dinner-salad and kept it light by using shrimp. It would pair well with grilled salmon, chicken or even lamb for that matter! Cory and I are heading out to Napa soon, and I cannot wait for the wine and all the farm-table-cuisine we are about to have. Sometimes I really try to pretend I am a chef when I create. I think the balance of this dish would wow event he pickiest of eaters. As for your boyfriends and hubbies, I could barely snap my pics before Cory’s was basically gone. Enjoy the salad al fresco, with a crisp cold beer or dry white wine. Don’t devaour it, but savor every bite, and enjoy the difference in flavor and texture.

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