Green Chile Egg Muffins + Green Chile Garbanzo Flour Muffin Version (egg, soy, dairy, corn, gluten free)

An easy savory breakfast to prep is always something I love! And green chilies. Eggs have had some hype over the last few years and there is debate over whether they are something healthy to eat or not. Let me take a minute to talk about them and why you might not need to be so afraid to have them.

Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

Eggs have gotten a long and bad reputation for being bad for your cholesterol levels. True, eggs are high in cholesterol and there is no nutritional need to ingest cholesterol since our body, mainly the liver, makes it for us. However, eggs or other foods high in cholesterol are not necessarily the culprit when it comes to high cholesterol. Here is a peer reviewed study of egg consumption and the risk of increasing high cholesterol and stroke risk. They found there was no real evidence that eating high cholesterol foods, like eggs, resulted in high blood cholesterol or a greater stroke risk.

That being said, here are some tips on how to lower cholesterol which includes decreasing weight (even 5 lbs.), eating high fiber foods, and eating less saturated fats.

So now that we know eggs aren’t as bad as they might have seemed before, let’s look at the Green Chile Muffin recipe and nutrition!

Green Chile Egg Muffins

  • Servings: 6 Servings/Muffins
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Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 4oz can of chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 cup minced green onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Take a medium muffin tin and if not using liners or it’s not a non-stick tin, coat the insides with oil. I used a small amount of coconut oil.
  3. Put about 1 teaspoon of green chilies in the bottom of each of the 6 muffin molds, and about 1 tablespoon of the green chilies.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper until mixed together. Pour into the muffin molds until almost fill. Start with 3/4 of the way full and fill with what may be left.
  5. Cook for about 15 minutes. Top with cheese and cook for another 3-5 minutes
  6. Let rest for a few minutes before trying to move the egg muffins out of the tin.

To store, place in the fridge for about 3-4 days. For a more balanced breakfast, have 1-2 egg muffins with 1/2 cup of fruit.

Nutritional Information

1 Egg Muffin = 192 calories | 12.7 g total fat | 1.72 polyunsaturated fat | 5.37 monounsaturated fat | 3.89 saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 626 mg cholesterol | 8.27 g carbohydrates | 3.5 g fiber | 2.92 g sugar | 12.89 g protein

Now that we have the egg version, and after all this is Food Allergy Awareness Month/Week, here is an egg/soy/gluten/corn/dairy free version for a savory Green Chile Breakfast Muffin.

Tip: You might want to eat this with some green salsa since the garbanzo flour can make it dry.

Green Chile Garbanzo Flour Breakfast Muffins


Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened, plain plant based milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 4oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 c minced green onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 cup plant based cheddar shreds

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Take a medium muffin tin and if not using liners or it’s not a non-stick tin, coat the insides with oil. I used a small amount of coconut oil.
  3. In a medium-large bowl whisk together all ingredients, except for the plant based cheddar shreds if you are using, until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into the muffin tin. It will not rise very much so fill them to the top.
  5. Cook for 18 minutes. Top with the plant based cheddar shreds if using, and cook for 5 more minutes. 23 minutes total.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before moving them from the muffin tin.


For a more balanced meal, have with a 1/2 cup of fresh fruit.
If the muffins seem a little too dry, have a small amount of salsa to eat with it.

Nutritional Information

1 Garbanzo Flour Muffin = 170 calories | 6.46 g total fat | 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.3 g monounsaturated fat | 0.9 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 21.5 g carbohydrates | 6.1 g fiber | 3 g sugar | 8.72 g protein

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Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

This is one of my favorite lunch recipes! It’s simple and easy to prep.  It’s packed with flavor and easily digestible energy sources to keep you going without the slump of the mid-afternoon. Plus every bite is a mouthful of nutrient dense, high fiber foods. Let’s look at a few nutritious components of this salad.

Quinoa

Per 1 Cup

  • 8 grams of Protein
  • 5 grams Fiber
  • 15% RDA of Iron
  • 13% RDA of Zinc
  • Contains a small amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Baby Kale

I enjoy baby kale since it’s easier to chew and can have a sweeter, milder taste than regular curly kale, but pretty much has the same nutritious benefits. So if you want raw kale in your salad, use baby kale next time to see how you like it.

Per 1 Cup

  • 3 grams of Protein
  • 2 grams of Fiber
  • 134% DV of Vitamin C
  • 206% DV of Vitamin K
  • Loaded with powerful Antioxidants

So dig in and enjoy!

Baby Kale & Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey or agave
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 15oz can (1 1/2 c) garbanzo beans
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 5 oz pkg of baby kale

Directions

  1. In a small pot, add quinoa and broth and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard. Pour into medium size mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cranberries, shallot, parsley, and garbanzo beans to the medium bowl and mix with the dressing.
  4. Once quinoa is cooled, add to the dressing mixture and combine together.
  5. To serve, take a handful of baby kale and top it with about 1 cup of the quinoa mixture and eat immediately!
  6. To store, keep the quinoa mixture separate from the baby kale until ready to eat.

Nutritional Information

449 Calories | 9.6 g Fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0 g Trans Fats | 0 mg Cholesterol | 315 mg Sodium | 72 g Carbohydrates | 13.6 g Fiber | 9.6 g Total Sugar | 18.2 g Protein

Macro Sources

65% Carbohydrates | 19% Fat | 16% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.4 Fruit
  • 2.1 Grain
  • 0.6 Meat Alternative
  • 2.5 Vegetables
Meal Prep

If you are wanting to have this salad for lunches throughout the week, here is how I pack mine. Keep the baby kale separate from the quinoa mixture since it will wilt the leaves, and store in the fridge! As you can see, I have sophisticated meal prep skills. : )

 

Why Easy Breakfasts Are Important + 4 Simple Breakfast Ideas

My mornings usually go as follows…

  • Wake up and do stretches
    • Depending on morning, exercise
  • Shower/Get Ready
  • Drink my 16 oz of water or more
  • Make my lunch
  • Make my coffee
  • Make/Grab breakfast
  • Run out the door!
Actual Instagram post from a few months back.

Are your mornings about the same? Easy breakfasts or simple breakfasts you can easily prepare for the week are essential. If I don’t prepare my breakfast I’ll usually grab something that is not nutritious and will not help my goals OR it will be a small piece of fruit and I’ll be hungry by 10:00 am.

Why Breakfast Is Important

There are a lot of people who will talk about when to eat breakfast, but I know many people are not hungry right when they wake up. Sometimes I’m hungry and will eat at 7:00 am, sometimes I won’t eat breakfast until 10:00 am. Other times it’s closer to lunch time depending on the day. The important thing is what is going to be the first thing you give your digestive system after it hasn’t had anything for 8+ hours.

During the night your digestive system rests and because of this your blood sugar falls. When you wake up, everything else is waking up as well. Drinking water as the first thing on your stomach is so important! Check out my post about it here. After that I usually suggest things that are easily digestible and will not be a huge hit to your blood sugar levels. Things with some sugar/carbohydrates and fiber are a good choice to have with breakfast like fruit and/or yogurt. Sugar/carbohydrates without fiber or protein like juice or pastries can make you crash mid-morning. Make sure what you have is easy for your system to digest, good for the digestive system, and will help get your blood sugar back to normal levels.

This is the start of the rest of your day. It can determine how the rest of your day will go. Will you crash later? Will you be tired? Will you feel sick to your stomach? Will you be able to go to the bathroom later in the day? All of that can depend on what you have for your first meal.

Photo by Keegan Evans on Pexels

Why Should Breakfast Be Easy?

Simple will mean we will most likely do it. If it’s not convenient, there is less of a chance we’ll keep with it. Since breakfast is important to the rest of your day you want to make sure it’s:

  • Easy to prepare
  • Easy to grab and go
  • Be balanced and easy to digest

Simple Breakfast Ideas

Actual recipes for some of these will be coming! But here are some basic ideas and some to mix up your breakfast if you are looking for something fresh.

  • Yogurt Parfait:
    • 1 cup yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts, granola, etc.
  • Protein Shake/Smoothie:
    • If you are having a protein shake in the morning, I’d suggest making sure you blend it with a serving of fruit or spinach for fiber and simple easily digestible carbs for your blood sugar.
  • Mason Jar Oatmeal:
    • I’m not a huge fan of overnight oats personally, but what I do is prepare my own dry oatmeal pack in a mason jar. Make it for the week and you’ll have grab and go oatmeal!
    • 1/2 cup oats, dried fruit, nuts, sweetener if needed, spices like cinnamon
    • You can also add 1/2 cup protein powder
    • When you are ready add hot water to the jar, seal/cover it for 5 minutes and eat!
  • Muffin Quiches
    • Easy way to eat eggs on the go! (Plant-based version coming!)
    • 4-6 servings: Preheat over to 350 degrees F. 6 eggs, small amount of onion diced, 1/2 tomatoes diced, 1/2 cup spinach chopped, small amount of cheese if desired, salt & pepper if desired, 2 tbsp milk or milk alternative to make them fluffier. Whisk together. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on size of muffin tin. Store in fridge until ready to grab and go!

Like I said, more information and recipes will be coming, but this can give you some ideas for some easy, simple things to prep and grab and go for breakfasts that are healthy, balanced, and easy to digest.

 

Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

One of my favorite spring/summer desserts to make! It’s easy just requires chopping and patiently waiting for the chips to bake if you choose to make them. Now the chips are not necessarily nutritious but the salsa part can be used in different ways. Top your favorite pancakes instead of syrup, eat it by itself, healthy topping for ice cream or “nice” cream, or use with your yogurt or chia pudding in the morning. However you want to eat this, go for it! It does make a lot, so make sure you have other options on how to eat it or make it for a group of people.

Let me first share with you the cinnamon chips. Feel free to only use cinnamon instead of cinnamon sugar, and if you have a better way to making chips like in an air fryer, by all means do it! But this is how I made mine. It is dessert after all.

Cinnamon Chips

  • Servings: 10 servings, 4 chips each
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Ingredients


– 10 flour tortillas
– 3 tbsp cinnamon
– 6 tbsp granulated sugar
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions


1. Preheat the oven to bake at 350 degrees F.
2. Take the tortillas and cut them into quarters so that there are four pieces per tortilla. Add them to a gallon size ziplock bag and add the oil. You may need 1 more tbsp of oil. Toss the bag to coat all the tortillas. This may take a few minutes.
3. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar.
3. Lay the chips out evenly on a baking sheet or two. You may have to do more than one batch to bake all of them.
4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or to desired crispiness.
6. Continue with the other tortillas until all are cooked.

Nutrition Information

Per Serving (about 4 chips)… unfortunately

192 calories | 5 g total fat | 1.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.0 monounsaturated fat | 1.7 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 364 mg sodium | 33.5 g carbohydrates | 2.4 g fiber | 8.8 g sugar | 4 g protein

 

And now for the Strawberry Salsa! This is an antioxidant and vitamin C rich dessert so don’t feel guilty digging in!

Strawberry Salsa

  • Servings: 6-8 servings, about 1 cup each
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Ingredients

  • 16 oz strawberries, diced
  • 6 oz blueberries, cut in half
  • 2 kiwis, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 3/4 orange juice
  • 1 tbsp strawberry jam

Directions

  1. Combine all the fruit together, add lime and orange juice and mix. Add in jam and combine until dissolved.
  2. Cover and place in fridge until ready to eat. It’s good to let it sit for about 10-20 minutes.

Nutritional Information

1 cup serving

93 calories | 0.6 g total fat | 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.1 g monounsaturated fat | 0.04 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 g cholesterol | 2 mg sodium | 22.6 g carbohydrates | 4 g fiber | 16 g sugar | 1.6 g protein

Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Homemade Croutons

I don’t know of too many people who don’t like Caesar Salad. It’s lettuce, a creamy dressing, and then the crunch of flavorful croutons. I originally had a recipe for a cashew dressing to make it dairy free, but since have made a yogurt version (using plant-based yogurt or dairy-based) so that it is low fat but still creamy, delicious, and not so heavy. But first, I want to share how I make my own croutons.

Home-Made Croutons

Croutons can be expensive for how much you get, and almost always have dairy in the ingredients. Here is how I get around that. This recipe will fill about a 1/2 gallon bag when you’re done. Half the recipe if you need to.


Homemade Croutons

  • Servings: 1/2 gallon size bag, enough for 12 salads, 6 croutons each
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Ingredients

  • 6 slices of bread of your choice
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper (if desired)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Take 6 slices of bread and cube them. About 9-12 cubes each. Slice twice one way to make ribbons, and 2-3 times the opposite way.
  3. Spread on a cookie sheet (prepared with aluminum foil or parchment paper).
  4. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and salt and pepper.
  5. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the bread starts to brown. You might want to shake the pan around or flip them about half way through to make sure they get dry. Let cool. Add to salad or store in ziplock bag for about a week.

Nutrition Information (Whole Wheat Croutons Only)

1/2 slice worth of croutons per serving

84 calories | 5 g fat | 0.7 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 323 mg sodium | 7.9 g carbohydrate | 1 g fiber | 0.8 g sugars | 1.8 g protein

Energy Sources

38 g carbohydrates | 54% fat | 9% protein

Dietary Servings per Portion

0.4 Grain

 

So simple and easy that I always make my own croutons now. No added flavors or seasonings I don’t want. No hidden allergens. And it can be a healthy whole grain bread that I like.

Onto the salad!

Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Homemade Croutons

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, optional
  • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt, I used Kite Hill’s Plain Almond Milk Yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • 1 tbsp miso paste, for soy free I use chickpea miso
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup Homemade Croutons
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or my Nut Parmesan

Directions

  1. Add washed and chopped romaine hearts to a large bowl.
  2. In a blender add yogurt, garlic, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, miso, capers, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
  3. Add red onion if using, croutons, and parmesan to the romaine and toss. Right before serving, add in the dressing a small amount at a time and mix together until lightly covered.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

124 calories | 3.3 g total fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0.8 polyunsaturated fat | 1.0 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 4.5 mg cholesterol | 379 mg sodium | 16.5 g carbohydrates | 7.3 g fiber | 4.7 g sugar | 7 g protein

Macro Sources

53% Carbohydrates | 24% Fat | 23% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.2 Grain
  • 0.1 Milk Alternative
  • 5.3 Vegetables

Okra with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Nothing says spring vegetables better than asparagus and okra to me. Although both are used in the fall too! Okra is one of those things that people either love or hate. If you are a texture person, more than likely you don’t like okra. At restaurants you’ll usually see fried okra, not fresh. I wanted to give you a fresh okra recipe to switch up your sides this spring. Since I was limited when I was younger to what I could have, I’m all about variety now!

Let’s take a minute and talk about okra.

Okra

1 Cup of Okra

  • 33 Calories
  • 0.2 g Total Fat
  • 7 mg Sodium
  • 299 mg Potassium
  • 7 g Carbohydrates
  • 3.3 g Fiber
  • 1.5 g Sugar
  • 1.9 g Protein
  • 38% DV Vitamin C
  • 14% DV Vitamin A
  • 14% DV Magnesium
  • 8% DV Calcium

This vegetable is good for lowering cholesterol, maintaining a good blood glucose level, supports your immune system, and helps to promote a healthy pregnancy due to the vitamins and minerals including folic acid, that it provides. Okra has also been shown in a study to help prevent kidney disease, which is good news for those with diabetes.

On To The Recipe

Okra has been paired with tomatoes since forever, but I like using fire roasted tomatoes for the flavor. Season however you’d like but I like adding a Cajun seasoning mix to mine and fresh garlic. You can have this as a side or make it into a main dish by adding chicken breast and brown rice. If you are vegan or vegetarian, add black eyed peas or butter beans instead of the chicken. Either way, it’s a great dish!

Okra with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

  • Servings: 6 side servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1.5-2 lbs. raw okra, sliced
  • 2 15 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp Cajun seasoning

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large skillet. Add in the yellow onion and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add in your okra, canned tomatoes, and creole seasoning. Let simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes.
  3. Serve as a side alone, or over rice.

Nutrition Information

Per Side Serving

114 Calories | 4.43 g total fat | 2.0 g monounsaturated fat | 1.2 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.6 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 328 mg sodium | 14.7 g carbohydrates | 7.5 g fiber | 6.5 g sugar | 4 g protein | 65% Vitamin C | 23% Folate | 16% Calcium | 29% Magnesium

Okra with Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Butter Beans

Yum! I just added a can of small butter beans to the mixture and heated it through and ta da! I had my dinner.

 

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash

The original “zoodle”, spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash is something easy to make, you just need to know how and to have the time to prep it before. Depending on the size of the squash, it can make a lot, so my suggestion would be to make sure you have people to share it with or have a few different sauces to eat with it throughout the week for meal prep. It doesn’t have much of a taste so any sauce will be the taste. Marinara, pesto, lemon garlic, creamy mushroom, red wine sauce, etc. The dishes are endless. Soon I’ll be sharing some of my sauces to have with spaghetti squash for a lighter and more nutrient dense pasta alternative that’s gluten free.

When I think of spaghetti squash I think of the first time I had it. When my mother was going through chemo treatments, she was trying to eat more organic foods and to stay away from starchy processed white foods. Since spaghetti was a weekly meal for us then, and now, she decided to try it out. It was delicious! The texture is different than pasta, but it is still soft and you can still twirl your fork around and enjoy slurping your favorite sauce!

So let’s get started and I’ll share the nutritional facts after.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Scoop out the center with the seeds.

  • Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half.
  • Scoop out the center and any seeds.
  • Rub with a small amount of olive oil and salt and pepper if desired.
  • Lay face down and stab with a knife 5-6 times on each side.
  • Once oven is preheated, put in the oven for at least 40 minutes. Depending on the size it might take up to 1 hour.

Bake for 40-60 minutes depending on size.

  • When the skin of the squash looks a little wrinkled and the bottom is started to brown, your squash is ready!
  • Cool for a few minutes and then flip them upside down. With a fork from the longer side toward the center start pulling away the strings.
  • Add with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

Spaghetti squash ready to use and eat!

Nutritional Information

There are nutritional benefits to both, especially if the grain version is a whole grain pasta whether gluten free or whole wheat. But this is a simple and easy way to lighten your pasta bowl and not feel stuffed and bloated after eating a full bowl, or two, of spaghetti. Check out the differences.

1 Cup Spaghetti Squash

  • 31 Calories
  • 0.6 g total fat
  • 7 g carbohydrates
  • 1.5 g fiber
  • 2.8 g sugar
  • 0.6 g protein
  • 2% Vitamin A
  • 3% Vitamin C
  • 2% Calcium
  • 3% Magnsium

1 cup Regular Spaghetti Pasta

  • 221 Calories
  • 1.3 g total fat
  • 43 g carbohydrates
  • 2.5 g fiber
  • 0.8 g sugar
  • 8 g protein
  • 0% Vitamin A
  • 0% Vitamin C
  • 1% Calcium
  • 6% Magnesium

White Bean, Garlic & Sage Dip

This is more of an Italian take on a bean dip, like hummus. It is great as a snack, or as a healthy spread to wraps or sandwiches. It’s also something healthy to take to your next party. Here are some nutrition facts of cannellini beans, or white kidney beans.

Cannellini Beans or White Kidney Beans

1 Cup Cooked Cannellini Beans

  • 255 Calories
  • 1.1 g Total Fat | Mainly Unsaturated Omega Fats
  • 47 g Carbohydrates
  • 19 g Fiber | Weight Managements
  • 0.7 g Sugar
  • 15 g Protein
  • 12% RDA for Calcium | For Healthy Bones
  • 23% RDA for Iron | For Healthy Blood
  • 24% RDA for Magnesium | For Healthy Nervous System & Bones

The Dip

White Bean, Garlic & Sage Dip

  • Servings: 2-3 servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can white cannellini beans or white kidney beans OR 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1/4 cup low fat unsweetened yogurt, I use Kite Hill’s Plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp ground sage
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and Pepper, if desired

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Eat cold or warmed with pretzels, vegetables, multi-grain crackers, pita bread, etc. Or save as a spread for wraps and sandwiches.

Nutrition Information

216 calories | 1.1 g total fat | 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.2 g monounsaturated fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 0-2 mg cholesterol | 30 mg sodium (unsalted) | 38 g carbohydrates | 8.8 g fiber | 3.4 g sugar | 14.9 g protein | 13% Vitamin C | 19% Vitamin K | 20% Calcium | 30% Magnesium | 29% Iron | 28% Zinc

Fire Roasted Tomato & Feta Brown Rice

We have brown rice a lot of times with our meals as a healthy whole food carb that’s loaded with fiber. But let’s be honest, brown rice can get boring. This is one of the ways to mix it up and add some flavor that can still go with a basic veggie and protein. I use canned tomatoes a lot so before going into the recipe, let’s talk about them for a minute.

 

Canned Tomatoes: What to Know When Buying & Using

There is only a few things I will buy in canned form and that usually consists of beans and tomatoes. With that being said, there are some “dos and don’ts” to canned food. Consider some of these the next time you are at the store.

  1. No Salt Added: You can always add salt later if needed, but you control how much and the type of salt that it is. Buying tomato products on the regular that are the “no-salt added” variety if available is a better way to go.
  2. BPA Free Liners: BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical used to coat the lining of cans or plastic products. Children are the most susceptible to the effects. Some of them include malformation of organs in children, increased risk of mental disabilities in babies, and different forms of reproductive harm. More and more products are becoming BPA-free, but to make sure they will have it on the label somewhere claiming they are “BPA-Free”. Since tomatoes are especially acidic, the BPA in the liner (if present) can leech even more so in tomatoes and other acidic canned foods.
  3. Botulism: This is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria love low-acidic foods (tomatoes being less likely because of this, but it has happened) and can survive in preserved foods with no oxygen and can thrive in 40 degrees – 120 degrees F. The toxin produced by this bacteria is deadly. How to know what’s safe to buy or consume?
    • Avoid Cans that are dented, leaky, rusty, or swollen.
    • Discard any contents if they are foamy, cloudy, or foul-smelling upon opening.
    • Store in pantry and always use the “use by” date.
    • Once opened, never store in the can. They were not designed for refrigeration. Transfer to a refrigerator-safe container and store up to 4 days.

With that being said, canned tomatoes are an excellent resource and something I always keep on hand, especially with how much I use them. If you are new to cooking and buying groceries, the canned tomato section might be overwhelming. There are whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, fire-roasted tomatoes, and then the flavored tomatoes. Tomatoes with green chilies, tomatoes with Italian spices, and the list keeps going. For this recipe, I use fire-roasted tomatoes. Diced tomatoes can work if you can’t find fire-roasted, but it won’t have the same flavor. So be careful when picking out what type of canned tomato product you are choosing. Too many times I’ve come home with slightly the wrong product.

If you are looking to change up your rice side dish with a different flavor, then try this recipe!

 

Fire Roasted Tomato & Feta Brown Rice

  • Servings: 6-8 1/2 cup servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 14oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 1 cup low fat feta crumbles
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and Pepper if desired

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, add the vegetable broth and canned tomatoes. Once the broth starts boiling, add in the rice. Cover and turn the heat down to a low simmer.
  2. In about 40 minutes most of the moisture should be absorbed. It might take a few extra minutes. Stir and turn off heat. Add in the feta crumbles and the lemon juice. Mix together and taste before adding the salt.
  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!

VEGAN: To make it vegan, the recipe tastes great without the feta. It just adds an extra tang to the dish.

NO SALT: Usually I don’t add extra salt to this at the end. With the acidity in the tomatoes and then the fresh lemon juice at the end, you usually don’t need to add any salt to it, which makes this a great flavorful side dish that is heart healthy. Good balance of sodium and potassium.


Nutrition Information

227 calories | 3.8 g total fat | 3.1 g saturated fat | 2.9 g polyunsaturated fat | 6.6 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 16.6 mg cholesterol | 400 mg sodium | 42 g carbohydrates | 3.5 g fiber | 3.3 g sugars | 6.8 g protein

Macro Sources

73% Carbohydrates | 15% Fat | 12% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.1 Fruit
  • 1.5 Grain
  • 0.4 Milk Alternatives

Green Beans & Tomatoes with Fresh Oregano

Stewed tomatoes and green beans just go together. This is one of the side dishes I keep in mind any time of year and can go with just about anything. Simple ingredients, simple instructions, and so good! Nutritionally let’s look at the benefits of using fresh oregano. Sometimes we forget how powerful our fresh herbs are and what they bring to the table other than flavor. Fresh herbs are powerhouses of nutrients and antioxidants which is nice since we usually use a small amount of them when we cook. Here are some interesting facts about oregano, as well as many other herbs in general.

Fresh Oregano
  • Powerhouse of Antioxidants – 42 times the antioxidants found in apples
  • Improves Immune System
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Significant of Crucial Minerals for Bone Health

Dried herbs have their purpose in cooking, but to get the full benefit it’s always good to use fresh herbs when you can.

Green Beans & Tomatoes with Fresh Oregano

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, ends snapped
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium pan on medium-high heat. If you are using a non-stick pot, you can put the heat on medium and cook the onions without oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Toss in the green beans, tomatoes, broth, oregano, and parsley. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the green beans are at the desired tenderness. I usually wait until the green beans are a dark rich green color, like the picture, and turn off the heat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add lemon juice and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

158 calories | 7.4 g total fat | 1.4 g saturated fat | 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat | 6.4 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 192 mg sodium | 18.5 g carbohydrates | 5.6 g fiber | 4.6 g sugar | 4.2 g protein

Macros

47% Carbohydrates | 42% Fat | 11% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion

3.0 Vegetables