Healthy Summer Cookouts

Summer Cookouts are happening left and right which can usually mean a lot of tempting appetizers and snack foods at your fingertips. Here are two great dips to make for your cookout or bring to one you are attending. Pair them with some homemade pita or tortilla chips or fresh cut vegetables for a healthy and delicious appetizer.

Classic Guacamole

avocado

Ingredients:

2-3 medium avocados
¼ cup of cilantro
¼ cup of white or red onion
salt, pepper & garlic powder
fresh lime juice

Directions:
Cut each avocado in half and remove the core and outer skin
Mash avocado into bigger chunks using a fork
Add in the chopped cilantro and onion and continue to mash to the consistency of choice
Drizzle lime juice into mixture to prevent from browning
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste and mix well

Optional: chop cherry tomatoes or red peppers into small pieces and mix into guacamole for an added flavor and crunch

White Bean Dip
(adapted by Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe)

whitebeandip

Ingredients:
1 can of organic white beans and/or cannellini beans
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A small bunch of basil (about 6-8 medium basil leaves)
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
In a food processor combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper.
Pulse a few times until the mixture looks somewhat chopped.
Add in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil while the machine is still running.
Let process until the mixture is creamy.

Homemade Pita or Tortilla Chips

tortillas


Ingredients
:
Food for Life Tortilla Wraps or Pita Pockets
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the tortilla wraps and/or pita pockets into small pieces
Place tinfoil on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil and/or coconut oil
Spread the pieces evenly all over the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly – you can also add other spices to flavor how you like them
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes; flipping the chips about half way through.

Cauliflower Craze

cauli

I am excited to share a new favorite and EASY recipe I have been making ever since Trader Joe’s released their new frozen cauliflower rice. Cauliflower rice is simply cauliflower food processed into smaller chunks to look and give you the feel and texture of a rice dish. This recipe is so simple and can be used as a side dish, salad topper, taco or burrito filler, and even as a base for a stir fry. This is also a great recipe to make in bulk and use throughout the week; simply double or triple the recipe for easy meal planning!

cauli2

Recipe: Garlic & Herb Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

One bag of Frozen Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Rice
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of herbs of your choice: basil, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano or cilantro
2 garlic cloves minced or about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic

Directions:

Add the olive oil to a skillet and turn heat on medium
Add in the minced garlic and let simmer for two to three minutes
Pour the frozen cauliflower into the skillet and heat on medium to high for about 4 or 5 minutes
Mix in the herbs and any additional seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder) to taste

Enjoy 🙂

Pasta Cravings? Here is a Healthy New Solution…

I am so excited to tell you all about the newest product I found (yes, at Whole Foods Market). Every time I go into that place I end up going up and down each aisle to see if there is anything new and intriguing on sale. This past weekend I stumbled upon “bean pasta”. This company, Explore Asian, has come out with “pasta,” but it is only made up of two ingredients: different types of beans and filtered water. I immediately got excited to try it and grabbed two different flavors; edamame fettuccini and adzuki bean spaghetti. These pastas are loaded with protein and fiber, low in carbs, high in iron content, and sodium free. You cook them as you would normal pasta, except, it only needs about 4-8 minutes depending on the type; just follow the packages instructions. Then, it is up to your imagination to dress them up how you would like!

beanpasta2

I created a fall vegetable pasta dish by adding roasted butternut squash, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and garlic then topped it with parmesan cheese and olive oil. The “pastas” themselves have a great deal of flavor so depending on the bean type you can pair vegetables and meats accordingly. These are an awesome way to reduce your carb intake and still get the feeling you are indulging in a great pasta dish!

Recipe:

Ingredients:
1/2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 medium onion cut into wedges
1/2 package of sliced mushrooms
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
Garlic powder, Salt & Pepper to taste
1 packages Explore Asian Organic Adzuki Bean Spaghetti
1/4 cup rosemary
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese plus more for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Divide the squash, mushrooms, onions, and garlic onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic powder, salt and black pepper, toss to coat. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown, flipping the vegetables once with a spatula. I like to broil for the last 5 minutes or so to get the squash crispy.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve a half a cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and rinse with cold or hot water (depends on the bean type). Return the pasta to the hot pot. Add the roasted vegetables to the pot along with the reserved pasta water, and lastly sprinkle in the rosemary and Parmesan cheese. Toss well to coat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if desired.

Serve the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil and more Parmesan cheese if desired.

beanpasta1

Check out their website http://www.explore-asian.com/bean-pasta/ and head over to your closest Whole Foods Market and pick some up to try!