Category Archives: Appetizers and Sides

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


mediteranean quinoa salad






With Summer right around the corner and Spring FINALLY arriving, I’ve been craving this particular dish quite a bit lately and finally decided to get into the kitchen and make it. Good thing I did, too, because I made enough to share with friends and got some of them hooked on it too (and quinoa in general)! This is great served as a side dish with any meal or as a light lunch or dinner.



2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
⅓ cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
¼ cup olive oil (or grape seed oil)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ cup chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
Juice of one fresh lemon



  1. In a medium sized saucepan bring water and quinoa to a boil over medium heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until water is fully absorbed and the quinoa becomes fluffy. Lightly stir the quinoa and cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the oil (I used a basil pesto flavored grape seed oil that I had, feel free to get a little creative and/or change things up a little) and vinegar and let the quinoa come to room temperature.
  3. Add the onion, tomatoes, pepper, olives, cilantro (I didn’t have any fresh cilantro on hand but I did have dried cilantro so I used about 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. of that), and salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly. Add feta cheese and combine. Chill for 2 hours to let flavors combine. Squeeze lemon juice over salad right before serving to enhance the flavors.

Nutritional Information

(per serving, serves 8)

Calories 235.0
  Total Fat 13.9 g
  Saturated Fat 1.9 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
  Cholesterol 5.0 mg
  Sodium 435.4 mg
  Potassium 157.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 22.7 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
  Sugars 2.1 g
  Protein 6.2 g


Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers and Sides

Cottage Cheese Sundae



This is one of my new favorite go-to snacks. I cut up a bunch of veggies at once and keep them in the fridge for when I need them later, so it makes for a quick afternoon snack. Today I used carrots, broccoli and cauliflower but you can feel free to use any of your favorite veggies or whatever you have on hand (such as peas, green beans, celery, bell peppers, green onion, regular onion, baby corn, spinach, kale, etc.). I also sprinkled a tiny bit of cashew pieces on top (maybe 1 1/2 tsp. worth).

So, there’s really no need for instructions here, just take your favorite cottage cheese (I use Dean’s probiotic) and some of your favorite assorted veggies and layer them in any available, snack-size dish, top with whatever seasonings you see fit (salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, etc.) and enjoy!



Looks good, right?! Now…

go cut up a bunch of veggies so you can quickly assemble this healthy snack during the week!


Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes

Mushroom and Cheddar Stuffed Onions


1 large sweet onion (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, very finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, divided
3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar
3/4 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Trim the ends off the onion and cut in half lengthwise; peel. Cook the onion halves in the boiling water for 2 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the 4 largest outer layers from each half. Return the remaining pieces to the pot and boil for 5 minutes more to cook through. Set aside. Using tongs, return the 8 onion layers to the boiling water and cook until soft and pliable, 1 to 4 minutes, pulling each layer out as it’s done. Set aside on a plate.
  3. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add sherry (or wine); cook, stirring, until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms form a soft mass, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons sage; cook 30 seconds more. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl; stir in cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Finely chop the reserved onion core; add to the bowl.
  4. To stuff an onion layer, hold it with the curved side cupped in your hand. Spoon 4 to 5 tablespoons of stuffing into the center and gently form it into a football-shaped packet. Lay the packet seam-side down in the baking dish and repeat with the remaining layers. Brush the packets with oil and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons sage and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover the dish with foil.
  5. Bake until the onions are bubbling, 15 to 25 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Nutritional Information

per serving (makes 4 servings, 2 onions each):

Per serving: 265 calories; 13 g fat ( 7 g sat , 5 g mono ); 30 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 3 g fiber; 393 mg sodium; 489 mg potassium.

from Eating Well

Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes

Super Snacks for Super Bowl Sunday

from Oxygen magazine


Super bowl Sunday. It’s coming up. Are you prepared?

And by prepared I mean – are you prepared to offer some healthier snack alternatives so you don’t over-indulge in all the other snacks that will be there? You know the snacks that I’m talking about…grease-laden, empty calorie snacks that you’ll regret having eaten when your stomach is turning and your body is bloated and swollen from all the sodium in them.

…yeah, THOSE snacks

let’s try to avoid (or at least limit) THOSE snacks this Super Bowl Sunday by offering some healthier options. Fruit, Veggies and dip (make sure it’s a healthier dip i.e. lower fat, lower calories, etc.) and assorted nuts (peanuts, walnuts, soy nuts and almonds are all good choices) are some healthier snacks to have on hand, as well as these pigs in a blanket that have been given a more nutritional makeover.



2 sheets Phyllo dough

Olive or canola oil cooking spray

4 turkey hot dogs

3 Tbsp. grainy mustard

1 tsp. horseradish

1 Tbsp. honey



Preheat oven to 350. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface and cover the remaining dough with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Spray the dough with cooking spray and fold it into quarters to make 4 layers (strip should measure 4″ x 13″).

Cut in half, leaving 2 strips (that measure 4″ x 6″). Place 1 hot dog lengthwise at the end of the strip and roll it up tightly 3 times.

Cut into thirds and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining hot dogs and dough. Spray the wrapped dogs lightly with cooking spray and bake til golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Combine the grainy mustard and horseradish in a small serving bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard with honey, serve both dips with the pigs in a blanket.

makes 4 servings ( 3 pieces per serving)


Nutritional Information (per serving)

calories: 119

total fat: 3 grams

sat. fat: 1 gram

trans fat: 0 grams

cholesterol: 25 mg

sodium: 847 mg

total carbs: 12 grams

fiber: .5 gram

sugars: 5 grams

protein: 8 grams

iron: 1.5 mg

Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers and Sides

Cranberry Quinoa Salad


1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

4 TBSP honey

1 TBSP lemongrass

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp. Serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup dried cranberries

4 TBSP fresh lime juice

1 TBSP fresh mint, finely chopped

1 TBSP fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

Pecans to garnish (optional)

Salt to taste


Bring water and quinoa to a boil and simmer 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. When quinoa is cooked, stir in honey mixture. Chill until ready to serve.


Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes