Keeping it healthy, while eating out

If you are like me, you become a little hesitant when going out to eat.  I am always worried that I will break my diet or that I will over indulge.   I have found that there are many ways to make sure this does not happen.

That first thing that I do when eating out is see what kinds of salads they have.  If I do not like their choices or that is not what I am craving, then I see if they have a “healthy section.”  This type of section is becoming more popular in restaurants today.  If all else fails, I go with what I want to have (even if it is not on the healthier side), but I will substitute a side salad for french fries.  The one thing that you need to watch when doing a side salad is that you are going with a healthier dressing.  If you get ranch, that kills the idea of having a healthy salad.

hirobaLast night I went to Hiroba Sushi Bar.  Sushi is one of the healthier items that you can choose when eating out, you will just need to pace yourself and make sure you do not over indulge.  To help with this, eat slower and take your time.  This will allow for you body to recognize that you are full before you over eat.

For me, I am not a big raw fish eater.  I like the rolls that have a crunch to them as well.  Since I do like the ones with a crunch (normally with crystal shrimp), I try to limit myself even more.

rollWhen I went to the sushi bar last night, I got three rolls.  A Hiroba roll (their signature roll), a Paradise roll, and a Kwon roll.  These are my personal favorites at Hiroba.  Two of my three rolls had the crystal shrimp and one does not.  I took my time eating and made sure I did not over indulge on sushi.

Then came the guilty part.  The dessert.  I typically do not eat dessert when I go out to eat, but it does come with all you can eat sushi at Hiroba.  I went with chocolate mochi.

Another way, that you can make sure you are eating a healthier meal when you are out, is to avoid soda with your dinner.  Have a glass of water or an iced tea.

Do not let eating out stump you on your diet.  There is always a way to get what you want and not have that guilty feeling.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you eat healthy when you are out to dinner.

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Chicken Chow Mein

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When I think of Chinese food, I think of the summers when I worked with the Nevada National Guard.  My dad would always take me and some of his soldiers out to different Chinese food places.  Our favorite Chinese food place to go for lunches was Beijing Palace.  They would accommodate a large group and were so grateful for all of the soldiers.  It was a good time for everyone and was always funny watching people try new things.  At Beijing Palace, they have a lunch deal where you would get one entree, fried or steamed rice, chow mein and soup.  For me, I love chow mein, but it is normally greasy.  This is where my recipe comes into play.

The recipe that I have put together, is a combination of many recipes that I found.  I wanted to avoid the ones that add a lot of oil, since that is the part that I do not like about getting chow mein out at a restaurant.  So, with taking ideas from other things people have posted, I came up with a non-greasy and light chicken chow mein that many people will like.  With this, you can take out the things that you do not like and you can add in the things that you do enjoy.  The one thing that I suggest you not taking out is the onion. I hate onions, but it adds a flavor that you cannot get from anything else.  So I leave it in for cooking and just pick them out while eating.

Serving size: 4-6 people

Ingredients:

2-3 chicken breast, diced

2 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce (use gluten free soy if needed)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

black pepper to taste

3 packages Yaki Soba noodles

3-4 sticks of celery, thinly sliced

1/2 medium onion

2 cups chopped cabbage

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper.  Set aside.

2. Remove the Yaki Soba noodle, give them a rinse and set aside.  Discard the flavoring packets.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until there is not pink left.  Once cooked, remove from skillet and set aside.

4. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet.  Add the celery and onion.  Saute fro about 1-2 minuet or until the onions start to become soft.  Add the cabbage and saute for an additional minuet.

5. Toss the noodles, soy sauce mixture and chicken with the vegetables.  Heat for 2-3 minuets or until everything is heated all the way through.

6. Serve and enjoy!

Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite kind of Chinese food is.

Asparagus Wraps

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Wraps are a very healthy way to get ride of your sandwich cravings.  You can take everything that you would normally put on a sandwich and place it into a tortilla, and you get a meal that you can have on a diet.  They have also come a long way since you can now get wheat, flour, tomato  spinach and many other flavors to to your tortillas.  One way to make make a wrap easier, is to have your vegetables prepared for every day use.  This will save you time.

I always have issues finding healthy meals that I like.  Many of them are too bland or just do not appeal to me.  This recipe was given to me by a friend.  They told me that they tried it and it was very flavorful.  So, I thought that I would give it a try.  It really does have a great taste and is filling.   I served this meal with fresh fruit to balance it out.  You could also try a rice dish or a salad.  Having the freshness helps bring out all of the other flavors.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Italian salad dressing

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced (a minimum of 8 slices)

1 pound fresh asparagus

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

4 flour tortillas

12 thin slices prosciutto

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Whisk the Italian dressing and mustard together.  Place the mozzarella in a shallow dish.  Pour the mixture over the cheese.  Make sure to coat both sides. Set aside.

3. Place the asparagus onto a baking sheet.  Add the oil, salt and pepper and toss.  Cook in the oven for about 8 minuets or until they are crisp tender.

4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.

5. Brush the inside of the tortilla with marinade.  Then top with 2-3 slices mozzarella, 3 slices prosciutto, and a quarter of the asparagus.  Tightly roll up.  Brush the outside with the marinade.

6. Brown the marinade until golden brown and the mozzarella is melted.

7. Slice and serve.

Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite type of wrap is.

Low-fat Fettuccine Alfrado

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I am a pasta lover, but it is not always the healthiest meal out there.  I have found a few ways to include pasta in my diet, without it having to many calories.  I have also made this dish as a gluten free pasta for my family members.  Only a few simple changes are made to make it gluten free.  First you will use corn starch instead of flour and second you will use gluten free pasta.  When you cook the pasta, make sure it is not over cooked as it will fall apart on you.  Give this cheesy, tasty alfrado sauce a try without breaking your diet.  And if you are feeling a little naughty, then you can do what i did and add a piece of garlic bread.

Serving Size: 4 people

Ingredients:

1 to 2 chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound whole wheat fettuccine pasta

1 crown broccoli

1 1/4 cup low-fat milk

4 garlic cloves (you can do more or less depending on your preference; one will be for the garlic bread)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tablespoon butter (1/2 teaspoon for bread)

salt and pepper to taste

4 slices of bread (optional; any kind you want)

Instructions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the chicken and cook until there is not pink in the center, about 10 minuets.

2. Boil a large pot of water.  Add the fettuccine and cook for about 10-11 minuets (just until al dente). Drain and add back into pot.

3. While the pasta is boiling, steam the broccoli.  Add the chicken and broccoli to the cooked noodles.

4. Place the rest of the ingredients into a mixer (in the order listed).  I use a vita-mix.

5. Slowly turn it to high and let it go for about 4-5 minuets.

6. Turn the oven onto broil.  Mix one of the garlic’s with the extra butter.  Spread on the bread and place in the oven. (times will vary, so keep and eye on the bread)

6. Pour over the fettuccine noodles and toss together.

7. Serve and Enjoy!

Please comment below and let me know what your favorite pasta dish is!

 

Low-Fat Cheesy Potatoes

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I love potatoes au gratin, but they are not the best side dish for you.  This dish is typically filled with heavy cream, butter, and a ton of cheese.  I have found a way to help get that craving out of the way, but not cause you to break a diet or feel guilty.  And please do not let the low-fat discourage you from trying this great dish, because it still has a great cheesy taste that can satisfy you.   And on top of everything, it is simple to make and it is quick.  Perfect for dinner after a long day at work.

If you would like to make it gluten free, use cornstarch instead of flour.

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients:

Kosher salt

1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes.

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup gruyere cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray or butter the pan.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
20130311_2026263. Wash and thinly slice the potatoes.  Add to the boiling water and cook until just tender (about 8 minuets). Drain the potatoes and return to pot.

4. While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan.  Stir in the flour with a whisk to make a paste.  Cook for 1 minuet.

5. Gradually whisk in both milks and simmer.  Make sure to whisk constantly until thickened.

6. Remove from heat and whisk in the pepper, salt (to taste), and half the cheese.

7. Pour the sauce over the potatoes.  Toss to coat all the potatoes.

8. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.  Top with the remaining cheese.

9. Bake for 10 minuets.  Then switch the oven to broil and allow the cheese to brown.

10. Let rest for 10 minuets and serve.

Give this a try and leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

Crisp Phyllo Petals with Berries

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Here is another light and refreshing dessert.  I used this in a scholarship contest and won.  This dish was then put on the menu for Adele’s Restaurant in Carson City, NV.

Serving Size: 4 people

Ingredients

Crust:

6 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 ½ tablespoon confectioner sugar

Filling:

1 cup whipping cream

¼ cup powder sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cups fresh strawberries

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries

Method of Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly butter ramekins.
  3. Lay one sheet of phyllo dough in the ramekins.
  4. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a small amount of confectioner sugar over the dough.
  5. Repeat with the next two layers.
  6. Bake for 7 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Let stand for 5 minutes; remove from ramekins.  Place on serving plates and sprinkle with powder sugar.
  8.  Place 4 strawberries, 2 raspberries, and 1 blackberry to the side.
  9. Cut strawberries into bite size pieces.
  10. Just before serving, in chilled smaller mixer bowl beat chilled whipping cream at high speed, scraping bowl, until soft peaks form.
  11. Continue beating, gradually adding ¼ cup powder sugar, until stiff peaks form.
  12. Fold in orange juice and vanilla.
  13. Fold in remaining strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
  14. Spoon whipped cream mixture into center of crust.
  15. Arrange remaining berries on top of whipped cream.

Suggestion: if you do not have any ramekins, you can make smaller ones and use a muffin tin.  If you do this, make sure that you use every other spot so the phyllo dough does not stick together.

Leave a comment and please let me know what you think of this dessert.

Orange Almond Cake

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Although, we are looking at a cake, it is healthier than most.  It does not have the typical frosting that most cakes have.  This is a fresh and tasty cake that is great to have in the summer time.  I first made this with the chicken teriyake and orzo.

Serves: 10-12 people

Ingredients:

Cake Batter

½ cup vegetable shortening

1 cup honey

1 tablespoon orange zest

3 eggs

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

¼ cup ground blanched almonds

¼ cup toasted almond slices

Directions:

1. Cream shortening in large bowl with electric mixer.

2. Gradually add honey, beating until light and fluffy.

3. Add orange zest.

4. Add one egg at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

5. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.  Fold in to creamed mixture.  Mix until blended.

6. Add ground almonds: mix well.

7. Grease two 8 inch cake pans; pour in cake batter.  Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minuets.

8. Cool for 10 minuets in fridge.

9. Frost with honey whipped cream; garnish with toasted almonds and serve.

Honey Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

3 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1.  Beat heavy whipped cream until soft peaks form.

2. Gradually add honey

3.  Fold in vanilla

4. Frost the cake with the honey whipped cream.

Make sure to keep this cake cold and in the fridge when you are not eating it.  This will make it so that the whipped cream frosting will stay firm and on the cake.

This dessert is a nice way to start the summer off.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the cake.

Romaine Salad with Orange Vinaigrette and Homemade Crackers

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This is a great side salad for any dish.  I serve this with my chicken teriyaki and orzo.  You can also grill some chicken and make it an entree.

Serving Size: 6 people

Ingredients:

Salad

6 C. romaine salad

¼ C. bacon, sliced and cooked

1/2 cucumber sliced

2 carrots shredded

Orange vinaigrette

½ C. orange juice

¼ C. canola oil

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

1. Prepare romaine in a bowl.

2.Add bacon, cucumber, and carrots.

3.To prepare vinaigrette, mix orange juice, oil, garlic, sugar, and vinegar.

4.Pour vinegar on salad and lightly toss.

5. Add pepper and serve.

Ingredients for Crackers:

8 Tbsp. butter softened

2 C. all-purpose flour

1 egg yolk

½ C. water

 Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a large bowl cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and mix well.

3. Add enough of the water to form dough that will hold together in a cohesive ball. (The texture will be somewhat crumbly, but the dough will hold together when pressed).

4. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions for rolling. On a floured surface, roll each into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out individual crackers about 2 inches across.  Arrange them on an ungreased baking sheet.

5. Prick each cracker 2 or 3 times with the tines of a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the crackers over and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, or until medium brown.

6. Cool and serve 2 per person.

If you are not a fan of romaine lettuce give this a try with any other one you prefer.

Leave a comment and let me know how it turns out for you!

Honey Glazed Teriyaki Chicken with Orzo

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I came up with this recipe when I had to do a project for my high school culinary class.  This is still one of my favorite meals to make.  I have made this meal for many people and they all seem to like it.  I have tried it on all ages.  It is fun and different than what most Teriyaki chicken recipes taste like.

Directions for the Chicken

Ingredients:

½ C. pineapple juice

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

¾ C. light soy sauce

½ Tsp. garlic powder

Pinch black pepper

½ Tsp. orange zest

4 chicken breast

2 cloves garlic minced

1 Tbsp. onion salt

1 8 Oz. can pineapple chunks

1 Tsp. corn starch

1/2 orange, cut in quarters

Instructions:

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.    Whisk together pineapple juice, honey, brown sugar, light soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper and orange zest.  Set aside.

3.    Season chicken breast with minced garlic and onion salt.

4.    Place chicken in a 13×9-inch pan.  Pour half of teriyaki sauce over chicken and place pineapple in pan.

5.    Bake for 35 min.

6.    Add corn starch into other half of teriyaki sauce and heat on low heat.

7.    Pour sauce over chicken before serving.  Put 1 orange quarter on top.

8.    Serve.

Instructions for the orzo

Ingredients:

1½ C. chicken broth

1 C. orzo

1/3 Tsp. fresh basil chopped

1/2 Tsp. fresh oregano chopped

1 Tsp. fresh parsley chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Instructions:

1.    Bring chicken broth to a boil.

2.    Add orzo.  Cook for 15min on med-low heat.

3.    Add in chopped basil, oregano, and parsley.

4.    Plate and garnish with parsley.  Serve.

I serve this meal with green beans and almonds.  Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite vegetable is.

Steak Shish Kabob’s

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These shish kabob’s are loaded with flavor and are super healthy for you.  You can give them a try with a marinade, but this simple rub is also delicious.

Ingredients:

1 pound top sirloin steak

1 bell pepper (any color of your choice)

1 medium yellow onion

about 16 small button mushrooms

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon seasonal

Instructions:

1. Soak 4-6 wood skewers in warm water for at least an hour  (this helps so they do not burn when cooking).

2. Turn the grill onto high.

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3. Cut the steak in to bite size chunks.

4. Cut the bell pepper to bit size pieces (make sure to remove the seeds before cutting).  Also, cut the onion in to the same size pieces.

*you want to make sure every thing is around the same size for even cooking.

5. Use a damp paper towel to clean the mushrooms off.  (Do not rinse them directly under water as they will get very tough).

6. Add the steak, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, oil, pepper, garlic salt, onion salt and seasonal in a bowl.  Mix to coat everything.

7.  Remove the skewers from the water and start to assemble the items.  I normally do an alternation of ingredients.

8.  Place them on the grill for about five minuets or until the steak is done to your liking.  Make sure you rotate them at least once to get everything evenly cooked.

9. Serve them with your favorite side and enjoy.

You can do this with chicken as well, you will just need to adjust the grilling time to make sure the chicken is fully cooked.  Or give it a try with some shrimp.

I have added other ingredients before and so can you.

Leave a comment and let me know what other vegetable you would add to these.