Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

If you like Spinach Artichoke Dip, this Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake is for you. My daughter, Leigh, asked why I had not thought of this sooner. It’s the perfect side dish with chicken or even main dish. Also, putting chopped chicken in this also works too, and adds even more protein. I used whole grain noodles and light cream cheese, part skim cheese and nonfat plain Greek yogurt so you’ll get a nice mix of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and not too high in fat. It is so simple to make–I think the toughest part honestly is thawing the spinach and making sure you get all the water out (I press the spinach with the tines of a fork to speed up the process). Enjoy for a weeknight dinner or side dish. I bet you will love it too!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I truly have and thank my awesome husband for a candlelit dinner at home last night. I just landed in St. Thomas for a magazine story. Photo taken at Mariott Frenchman’s Reef. It’s a little cloudy on this Sunday afternoon, but no complaints from me. Have a great week, Alison

St. Thomas Mariott Frenchman's Reef

Salmon and Kale Pasta

This week I assigned our dinner menu to my my youngest son, Zachary. He came up with a great menu of pizza night, fajitas night, and the amazing idea for a pasta with fresh salmon and kale. I came up with this Salmon and Kale Pasta recipe, and all three of my kids loved it. My oldest son, Alec, talked about healthy it was with the protein, vegetable and carbohydrate all in one. He said it was a great dinner after his playoff basketball game (of course, he won that night). They have already asked me to make it again. 🙂

Breakfast Wraps

I can’t believe that school starts in a week! It’s time to get organized with before school breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Since my daughter dances everyday after school, my oldest son plays golf, and my youngest son plays football, I have to get my kids day started off on the right foot. They need great fuel from their morning breakfast, and this recipe for Breakfast Wraps is wonderful for families on the go during the week or the weekend. These Breakfast Wraps are loaded with protein, vegetables and carbohydrates and incorporate frozen foods which make my life easier. I love using frozen food, even for breakfast, because frozen fruits and vegetables are typically less expensive and more convenient than their fresh counterparts. They can really trim down on the prep time in my cooking. I know most of my friends tend to forget that frozen foods start out the same as their fresh counterparts, coming from the earth and sea. They are picked at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen, sometimes right on the field, to lock in all the beneficial nutrients and keep them in their perfect, just-picked state. Also, frozen foods are real food. The ingredients are picked in the field and prepared by chefs and the recipes are tested in a kitchen. For more breakfast options, check out the freezer aisle range from low-fat and organic to ultra-indulgent and everything in between. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients from this recipe. My 3 kids love avocado, and edamame beans. You can add your children’s favorites, and I’ll bet you’ll having one yourself. You’ll find more great recipes such as this one on Easy Home Meals.

 

Adapted from a recipe in my book 400 Best Sandwich Recipes by Alison Lewis © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

 

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars

Nothing says summer more than fresh blueberries and peaches.Two nights ago, I saw a recipe for blackberry and peach cobbler bars in the latest Southern Living magazine, and I immediately tagged the page. Yesterday, my daughter, Leigh and I made these Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars. We adjusted the recipe a bit by omitting bourbon, adding maple syrup, and reducing a few other ingredients. OMG these were so amazing! We ate these warm with a glass of milk, and honestly, we couldn’t stop eating them! These are the perfect recipe to make with the kids or bring to a summer get-together. They will feed a crowd!

 

Lightened Up Potato Salad: Memorial Day Recipe

My kid’s great grandmother, Dedee, made the best potato salad we have ever had. This recipe for Lightened Up Potato Salad is the closest version to hers which is perfect for summertime, picnics, and Memorial Day weekend. This recipe is slightly lighter than hers, since it uses nonfat greek yogurt, reduced-fat mayonnaise, fresh dill, celery and red onion. I know you will love it as much as we do!

 

Kale Orzo Salad

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that my three kids are big fans of kale. I thought spring was the perfect time to come up with a Kale Orzo Salad recipe since it pairs nicely with grilled chicken or kabobs. This recipe also is perfect for spring or summer picnics or for a sunday side dish. Add grilled shrimp or chicken to make it a one dish meal or serve over arugula for a healthy lunch.

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait: Gluten Free

I get a lot of requests for gluten-free breakfast recipes, so how about this Blueberry Yogurt Parfait? Serve this gluten-free and high protein recipe for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  It also makes a wonderful, light dessert that my three kids like too. With only 3 ingredients, how can you possibly go wrong? Blueberries are so good for you. Here’s just a few of the wonderful health benefits of eating blueberries and adding them to your diet:

1. Blueberries are full of  Vitamin C-In just one serving, you can get 14 mg of Vitamin C which is almost 25 percent of your daily requirement. Vitamin C aids in the formation of collagen, helps maintain healthy gums and capillaries, and promotes a healthy immune system.

2. Blueberries are full of fiber-A handful of blueberries meets your daily fiber instate which is terrific for heart health and lower cholesterol levels.

3. Blueberries are high in antioxidants-Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals linked to the development of cancer and Alzheimer’s. Blueberries contain polyphenols which have high antioxidant properties.

4. Blueberries can help protect against urinary track infections-Blueberries, like cranberries, contain flavonoides. Flavonoids can help protect bacteria that causes urinary tract infections from binding to the lining of the bladder.

Arugula-Tomato Pizza

Instead of going out for pizza, try this Arugula-Tomato Pizza, an easy 30 minute vegetarian option. I love using Mama Mary’s Pizza crusts which you can typically find near the deli section of the grocery store. They are quick and easy and not too high in calories, fat or carbohydrates. Arugula is so healthy for you, full of Vitamins A, C, K, Calcium and Iron. Arugula is said to be great for your eyesight and full of antioxidants which can help prevent cancer. It’s my daughter’s newest favorite salad green, so try to get your kids to taste it too!

Chipotle Vegetarian Chili Recipe

It’s the time of year when I like to make a lot of soups, and chili, of course. This Chipotle Vegetarian Chili recipe is one of my newest favorites filled with black beans, corn, fresh vegetables, and chipotle peppers. I used the canned chipotle peppers, and they are great. Just don’t go overboard and add too many. You can always add more, so start with one or two and a little bit of the sauce. The peppers and a little beer add a wonderful spicy and smokiness to this chili, but this recipe is still very healthy and low in fat. It’s perfect for an easy weeknight dinner or for casual entertaining.

Bistro Pasta Salad

As you know, for the past month I have been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day 2011 campaign. To help encourage families to take their health into their own hands, I developed the “Home is Where the Heart Is” Recipe Collection, which is filled with delicious, healthy and easy-to-prepare recipes that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S for men and women as well as something that has affected my family directly. Unfortunately, childhood obesity has continued to grow at an alarming rate. The reason this is so disturbing is because research has shown that children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Obesity is a huge risk factor for CVD but one that is preventable with diet and exercise. That is why teaching my children healthy eating habits is so important to me – and something that can start right here at home.

As a mother of three, I wholly understand the challenges of being a busy, working mom and getting healthy meals on the table – not to mention making something the kids will eat! When developing this recipe collection, I really tried to consider what would be fast, economical, healthy and delicious for the entire family, and I think I accomplished just that.

As a common ingredient in all these recipes, I chose to use canola oil. It has the least amount of saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all cooking oils. Its versatility in cooking and baking simplify my life even more, and it’s inexpensive! This coming Thursday, Sept. 29, is World Heart Day. To celebrate, I will be hosting a Facebook Party on CanolaInfo’s Facebook page from 7-8 PM CST! I will be discussing ways to be heart-smart at home by getting your whole family involved. I hope you will share your own tips and stories as well. Ten of you will be chosen at random to receive a CanolaInfo Heart Health Toolkit. You can RSVP here.