Lunch

Savory Balsamic Fig & Heirloom Tomato Tart with Prosciutto

tart-4.jpg

Having company over and need a crowd pleasing recipe?

Want a creative recipe that showcases the beautiful heirloom tomatoes you found at the farmer's market?

Looking for a quick weeknight dinner option that provides flavor and nutrition for your family?

This recipe will be your new best friend!! This recipe is full of flavor, loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, and is ready with minimal effort in the kitchen!!!

tart 3
tart 3

Savory Balsamic Fig & Heirloom Tomato Tart with Prosciutto

Ingredients

  • Prepared Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed (I recommend Dufour’s Puff Pastry)
  • 1/3 cup Fig Preserves
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Salt + Pepper
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese or Burrata Cheese
  • 8 slices Thinly Sliced Prosciutto
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stack two pieces of puff pastry one on top of the other and press gently to adhere. Repeat with the other two sheets. Cut each pastry into a large circle or leave as a square. You may also make mini tarts by cutting the pastry into smaller circles or squares. Whatever shape you prefer works fine.

Place the puffed pastry sheet on the prepared baking sheet and spread about 1/3 cup of fig preserves over the puff pastry.

In a bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and oregano. Add the cherry tomatoes to the balsamic mix and toss well. Arrange the sliced heirloom tomatoes over the puff pastry sheet evenly. Add the cherry tomatoes along with any remaining balsamic mixture left in the bowl. Sprinkle the tart with crumbled blue cheese.

tart 1
tart 1

Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes or until the crust if puffed and golden and the cherry tomatoes lightly burst. Remove from oven and top with torn mozzarella or burrata cheese and prosciutto. Let tart stand for 5-6 minutes to set. Garnish with basil. This tart makes 6 servings.

This tart is great to serve alongside a simple arugula salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette for lunch and/or dinner. This tart reheats very well! If you have leftovers, consider topping with a fried egg and serving for breakfast!

tart 2
tart 2

Recipe Inspired by Half Baked Harvest

Moroccan Chickpea, Carrot, and Spiced Quinoa Salad

Tired of packing a boring sandwich for lunch?

Want to boost your antioxidant level by increasing your vegetable intake?

Want to wake up your taste buds with fresh, exotic flavors?

This quick and easy salad is perfect for you!

Don’t settle for a sandwich, when you can re-energize your body mid-day with this nutrient dense, flavorful dish!

You are worth it!

Moroccan Chickpea, Carrot, and Spiced Quinoa Salad

Yields: 4-5 Servings

Recipe Inspired ByHappy Hearted Kitchen

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Spiced Quinoa

  • 1 cup Tri-Colored Quinoa
  • 1 ½ cup Salted water
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  •  1 ½ teaspoon Ground Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Roasted Chickpeas:

  • 2 cans Organic Chickpeas, drained and rinsed; Pat dry
  • 1/2 Tbsp Coriander
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Salad

  • 8 Medium Carrots
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Local Honey
  • ¼ cup Raisins or Currants
  • 1/2 cup Raw Almonds, Sliced or Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss chickpeas with spices. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until chickpeas are slightly brown and crunchy. Toss the chickpeas halfway through cooking time to evenly cook.
  2. Rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add rinsed quinoa and water to a pot and season with salt. Add in spices. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, slice carrots into ribbons.  Drizzle with olive oil, honey and lemon juice and set aside.
  4. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add to the carrots. Mix well.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.

If you are taking this salad for lunch, go ahead and portion into individual servings so the dish is ready to go when you are!

5 Ways to Re-Invent a Homemade Waffle

For Christmas my husband received a waffle maker from my parents. He LOVES waffles and has been eating frozen waffles for the past several months. I'm okay with frozen waffles, but as a dietitian, my hope is that my husband, as well as our family, can enjoy quality "whole foods" with minimal preservatives and without unnecessary additives.  When my husband received a waffle maker for Christmas, so began my search for a waffle batter recipe that would be a perfect for us!

Ree Drummond (better known as The Pioneer Woman) provided a recipe that inspired me to warm up our waffle iron!

Need ideas to warm up your waffle iron?

Below are 5 foodie fun reasons to begin incorporating waffles back into your diet:

  1. Chicken and Smoked Cheddar Waffles (Recipe: MyRecipes)
  2. BLT on Cheddar Rosemary Waffle Bread (Recipe: Baker Bettie)
  3. Strawberry Shortcake Napoleons (Recipe: Feels Like Home)
  4. Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches (Recipe: Martha Stewart)
  5. Breakfast Quesadilla with Waffle Tortilla (Recipe: Waffle Batter Below - Fill with Favorite Breakfast Ingredients and Cook Like Quesadilla on Stovetop! Garnish with Sliced Avocado, Sour Cream, and/or Sriracha!)

Waffle Batter Recipe (Recipe Inspired by Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients: 347

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Organic Fat-Free Milk
  • 2 Organic Whole Egg Yolks
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 4 Whole Organic Egg Whites

Directions:

  • Pre-heat your waffle iron.
  • Mix together all-purpose flour, baking powder, sea salt, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, blend milk, 2 egg yolks, and vanilla together. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and gently mix until halfway combined. Pour in melted butter and gently continue mixing ingredients until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, use a mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly fold them into the batter until slightly combined.
  • Scoop the waffle batter into the waffle iron in batches and cook according to its directions. Serve immediately with butter, warm maple syrup, and mixed berries.

8 Nutrients to Boost Your Spirits - Nutrient #8

Vitamin B6

 • Helps in the production of neurotransmitters which send messages from the brain to the rest of the body • B6 Deficiency can case anemia, confusion, depression, and weakened immune system • Vitamin B6 is effective for treatment premenstrual depression • RDA: 1.3mg per day for adults

cereal ACTIONS TO TAKE:

 • Start Your Morning with Fortified Whole Grain Cereal! ¾ cup Provides About 1mg • Snack on Hummus or Top Your Salad at Lunch with Chickpeas! 1 cup Provides 1.1mg • Stock up on Seafood! 3oz of Salmon and Tuna Provides 1mg. • Poultry Packs Vit. B6 Too! 1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast has 0.5mg of B6

 

8 Nutrients to Lift Your Spirits

Are you battling with the winter blues?! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 9% of adult Americans have feelings of depression or hopelessness. In fact, major depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans between the ages of 15-44 years old.

What if I told you that you could help fight feelings of depression at your dinner table?!

What if your mood could be lifted simply by what you choose to pack for lunch?!

A healthy cognitive system is essential in regulating mood and maintaining normal brain function and this starts with NUTRITION!

Over the next several days, I'm going to share with you 8 Nutrients that can help Lift Your Spirits!!!

TODAY'S SPIRIT BOOSTING NUTRIENT

CALCIUM

j0223776

  • The most abundant mineral in the body and helps maintain strong bones
  • Calcium is a critical chemical involved in the release of neurotransmitters, which acts as messengers between cells.  Deficient amounts of calcium can be linked to various problems, including depression
  • Calcium deficiency affect women more than men
  • Since estrogen plays a large role in calcium production, calcium consumption may improve PMS related depression
  • The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 1,000mg per day for adults

Shopper

ACTIONS TO TAKE

  • Don't Skip Breakfast!  Enjoy low-fat milk or yogurt as part of a morning meal.  1 cup of milk has 305mg of calcium and 6oz low-fat yogurt has 310mg per serving
  • Pack Greens for Lunch!  Kale has 179mg per 1 cup serving or serve a warm brussels sprouts salad for dinner! 
  • Add beans to soups, chili, and pasta dishes. 1/2 cup beans has up to 30mg of calcium per serving
  • Snack on Hummus with baby carrots, raw broccoli florets, or whole wheat pita crackers.  Add hummus to sandwiches for a healthy fat source!  Hummus has approximately 60mg of calcium per serving.
  • Drink fortified Orange juice or Soymilk which can provide about 300mg of calcium per 1 cup serving. 
  • Don't Skip on Sardines!  4 sardines can provide almost 250mg of calcium!! 
  • Get familiar with Ricotta!!! Ricotta cheese provides almost 350mg per 1/2 cup serving!!! Ricotta is great in lasagna, a perfect addition to an omelet, or use as a healthy spread to replace cream cheese. 

REMEMBER FOOD IS PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE!  WHAT YOU EAT TODAY IMPACTS HOW YOU FEEL! TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY WITH EACH MEAL YOU EAT! 

salat herz

 

FOOD IS TO BE CELEBRATED!

Happy National Blueberry Month!!! Ways To Celebrate:

1. Add Fresh Blueberries to Your Morning Yogurt and Granola Parfait or Top Your Morning Waffle with Blueberry Compote

2. Freeze Blueberries and Add To Your Water for Fresh Fruit Flavor

3. Add Blueberries to Your Lunch By Tossing in Your Salad

4. Snack on Blueberries by Adding to Fresh Yogurt or Cottage Cheese

5. Don't forget Dessert!!! Make a Fresh Blueberry Cobbler and Don't Forget the Ice Cream!

How will you celebrate?

Blueberry Compote 2006, Ellie Krieger, All Rights Reserved Prep Time: 5 min Serves: 1/2 cup, 8 servings Ingredients •    2 cups frozen blueberries •    3 tablespoons water •    1/4 cup sugar •    2 teaspoons lemon juice Directions Combine 1 cup of the blueberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the blueberries and cook for 8 minutes more, stirring frequently. Serve warm.

RECIPE REVIEW: Edamame-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I try to keep lunches new and fresh as a way to avoid lunchbox boredom! Taking your lunch to work/school is a great way to keep your intake healthy and nutritious because it gives you more control over what is available to you during your busy day!  By bringing your lunch, you have the ability to save money, meet your daily needs for fruit and vegetables, increase your fiber intake, decrease your saturated fat intake, and practice portion control!  Although peanut butter & jelly sandwiches are easy, they can get old day in and day out, so I tried a new recipe to see if I could add some excitement back to my lunchbox.

I made Edamame-Orzo Salad with Feta Cheese which is altered version of a recipe by Cooking Light called Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese. I made revisions simply because of the ingredients I already had in my kitchen!!  This salad made my lunchbox have some flavor and kept me fueled with fiber, protein, and whole grains!  And the best part… it was SO EASY & FAST to whip up!!

I started by cooking my orzo pasta according to the package directions, but without the salt and fat.  I was able to save a few pennies because I was fortunate to have a coupon from Whole Foods for $1.00 off pasta and the weekly special was BOGO for pasta! Always check Whole Foods website along with Southern Savers to learn the weekly specials at local stores to help cut the grocery budget!

Blog Pictures 036
Blog Pictures 036

While the pasta was cooking, I chopped the tomatoes, boiled the edamame, chopped the red bell pepper, and red onion. I purchased all my produce from Whole Foods since the produce involved fall on the “dirty dozen” list of recommend produce to purchase organic!

Blog Pictures 037
Blog Pictures 037
Blog Pictures 035
Blog Pictures 035

I purchased my edamame from Whole Foods as well because they have my favorite frozen, shelled edamame beans at a reasonable price!!

Blog Pictures 034
Blog Pictures 034

Since I already had dried basil and oregano on hand, I used dried herbs instead of fresh, but I would recommend using fresh if available!  Before combining the ingredients, I roughly chopped the arugula into bite sizes.

Blog Pictures 038
Blog Pictures 038

Next, I combined the pasta, edamame, and the next 6 ingredients through oregano in a large bowl and tossed well.

Blog Pictures 040
Blog Pictures 040

And finally, I combined the red wine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper with a whisk  before I drizzled vinegar mixture over pasta mixture. The final step was sprinkling the pasta salad with cheese!

Blog Pictures 041
Blog Pictures 041

Edamame-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Recipe By: Cooking Light

Leftover salad is also good the next day for lunch; stir in a handful of arugula to add a fresh touch, if you have extra on hand. Serve with pita wedges. Yield:  6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups salad and 1 tablespoon cheese)

1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta) 3 cups Edamame Beans 1 1/2 cups trimmed arugula 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper 1/4 cup chopped red onion 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

Combine pasta, edamame, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

It's Greek To Me!

I’m excited to share this super simple, but very tasty recipe with the NutriFocus family call Greek Salad Pita Pockets!  If you are busy like me, taking time to make lunches every night can be a little annoying.  After a long day of working and cleaning up dishes from dinner, the last thing I feel like doing to prepping another meal for the next day.  However, I know the importance of a healthy, balanced lunch to supply me with the energy to meet the demands of my day.  So I always pull through and make our lunches. I found this recipe to be a fantastic fit for an easy, fast lunch!  All the fresh ingredients give this recipe a refreshing, clean taste which is a perfect “pick me up” for the afternoon energy slumps!  Although I used the same ingredients, I did not stick the the exact measurements that the recipe called for because I wanted it to be able to supply enough “salad” for 2-3 days.  So I just eyeballed and used as much of each ingredient as I wanted.  I ended up using ½ small bag of shredded lettuce, 2 whole tomatoes, ¾ English cucumber, ½ red onion, ½ green bell pepper, 1 container of feta cheese, ½ cup black olives 3-4 Tbsp olive oil, and 3-4 Tbsp of lemon juice.

Since I made more salad than the recipe called for, this allowed Mike and I to have Greek Salad Pitas for 2 lunches, 1 dinner, and I had it an extra lunch (so a total of 5 lunches).  Pita bread is a versatile alternative to standard sliced bread, and can be cut in half then opened up to form neat pockets, ready to be stuffed with the filling of your choice.  Since pita pockets can be hard to fill without tearing, avoid frustration by using the “tostada” effect.  I kept the pita in its original round shape without cutting in two and cover with Publix brand Greek Kalamata Hummus and then topped the pita & hummus with ¾ cup (give or take) of the Greek salad mix!  The combination was PERFECT!!

This recipe leaves room for your creativity to make it all your own!  Let me know if you try this recipe and add any touches to make it uniquely yours!

Blog Pictures 032
Blog Pictures 032

GREEK SALAD PITA POCKETS

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1 tomato—finely chopped

½ cup finely diced cucumber

8 thin slices red onion

¼ green pepper

1 oz crumbled feta cheese

4 pitted black olives—sliced

½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

½ tablespoon lemon juice

A pinch each of sea salt and black pepper

4 tablespoons store-bought hummus

2 whole grain pita breads—halved, opened into pockets

MIX together all the ingredients, except the hummus and bread, in a bowl until well combined. SPREAD 2 tablespoons of hummus inside each pita and fill with equal amounts of the filling to serve.

Snowy Day Lunch

Since we live in Alabama, even 2 inches of snow will shut down an entire city!  As I sit inside my house, I’m with my husband and best friend (April) enjoying the beautiful view outside of the snow covered ground.  But as lunch time draws closer, it is up to me to be creative in what I can make us with staple ingredients in our kitchen! Upon looking inside my fridge, I noticed I had just the basics since the grocery trip was on my list of “things to do” today.  Luckily, I had bought a dozen eggs for the previous weekend that never got used!  The first idea that popped into my head is a childhood favorite, EGG SALAD!

Blog Pictures 024
Blog Pictures 024

Although I love egg salad, it can be a little bland and I wanted to “warm” the meal up by adding flavorful ingredients, toasting the bread, and serving the sandwich with a warm side item.  I searched Cooking Light’s website and came across this wonderful recipe that I put to the test on a snowy day!

Mike’s grandmother was kind enough to give Mike and I a large amount of REAL bacon. I use the term REAL because it is unlike any bacon you can purchase at the grocery store. This bacon is freshly cut off the back of the pig, in a small grocery/clothing store/general store called Williams’ Brothers located in a small town called Philadelphia, Mississippi.  The Manning family opened this store in 1907.  This store always brings a smile to my face because it takes you back to the early 1900’s.  One side of the store is a grocery while the other side of the store has the latest styles in clothing, shoes, and boots.

So Mikie cook up the bacon,

Blog Pictures 002
Blog Pictures 002

April sliced the tomatoes and chopped up the lettuce, while I prepare the egg salad and toasted the bread.

Blog Pictures 022
Blog Pictures 022
Blog Pictures 023
Blog Pictures 023

After toasting the bread and layering the sandwiches, we add sweet potato fries to add a warm touch to the meal.  This meal may be easy to put together, but do not underestimate the powerful nutrition content of this sandwich.

Blog Pictures 025
Blog Pictures 025

You may be asking yourself, “what is so nutritious about an egg?”  Well let me share just a few of the nutrition benefits of consuming eggs in your diet:

  • Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthis which are carotenoids that may prevent macular degeneration in your eyes and reduce the risk of developing cataracts!
  • One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.
  • According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.
  • Eggs are a fabulous source of choline which is an important nutrients that helps regulate your brain function, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.  One egg yolk has about 300mg of choline.
  • The modern belief is that the consumption of eggs can negatively impact your cholesterol level.  Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person's lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol. An egg contains only 1.5g saturated fat.
  • Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.
  • Due to the sulphur content in eggs, eggs can promote healthy hair and nails.

All three of us are in agreement that the meal hit the spot and was super easy to put together. I am marking this recipe so I will be able to add this to our lunchtime line-up the next time I’m looking to add a little flavor to our lunchboxes!!

Egg Salad BLT Sandwich

Cooking Light

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

  • 1/4  cup  fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3  tablespoons  thinly sliced green onions
  • 3  tablespoons  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2  teaspoons  whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  grated lemon rind
  • 8  hard-cooked large eggs
  • 8  (1 1/2-ounce) slices peasant bread or firm sandwich bread, toasted
  • 4  center-cut bacon slices, cooked and cut in half crosswise
  • 8  (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
  • 4  large Boston lettuce leaves

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.

Cut 2 eggs in half lengthwise; reserve 2 yolks for another use. Coarsely chop remaining egg whites and whole eggs. Add eggs to mayonnaise mixture; stir gently to combine.

Arrange 4 bread slices on a cutting board or work surface. Top each bread slice with 1/2 cup egg mixture, 2 bacon pieces, 2 tomato slices, 1 lettuce leaf, and 1 bread slice. Serve sandwich immediately.