Archive for March, 2012

Healthy Fish & Chips

This week’s menu plan included meals inspired by Irish dishes, in honor of St. Patrick. While all things deep-fried sound tempting and tasty, avoidance is a better idea. Of course, if you have your heart (and your taste buds) set on true Fish & Chips, the following recipe will disappoint. But if you’re up for a healthy version that’s inspired by the real thing, this might be right up your alley.

Chips — start with some Yukon gold potatoes and cut them thinly. Place in a large and spray liberally with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Add seasoning salt and toss. Spray a cookie sheet and lay out the potatoes. Bake at a pre-heated 350 for about 12 minutes. Remove the pan, flip the fries, and put back in the oven for another 12 minutes or so.

Fish — I picked up a large package of tilapia fillets at Costco several weeks ago and individually froze them until needed. For this recipe, I took 4 fillets out and thawed them. A light spray of olive oil spray on each one gives some non-stick functionality and a hint of flavor. After spraying, lightly season with salt & pepper or another of your favorite seasonings. Place on a baking sheet (also lightly sprayed) in a pre-heated low broiler for a 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan, flip the fillets, then put back under the broiler for another 3-4 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your fillets, they may need a couple more minutes. You can tell they are done when the fish starts to flake, especially when lightly touched with a fork.

Our oven’s broiler is inside the top of the oven, so it worked out well to put the potatoes on a middle rack; then after the 25 minutes or so the potatoes were in, I kicked on the broiler to preheat for the fish. The broiler gave the potatoes a nice crisp to them and when I put the sheet of fish in, it blocked the flames from the potatoes.

Meal Plan for March 12-18

This week’s dinners are all inspired by St. Patrick’s Day. We’re taking traditional Irish-type meals and making modifications to them for the sake of flavor and/or healthiness.  A couple other homemade treats this week include some homemade granola bars (complete summary of that here) and incredible spinach cake muffins.

Monday
B – Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
L – Four Bean Chili (leftover from last week) on Pasta
D – “Fish & Chips” : Broiled tilapia, oven baked fries

Tuesday
B – Bagel Sandwich w/ peanut butter & raisins
L – PB&J on Pita, sweet potato straws, applesauce/pineapple
D – “Bangers and Mash” : Turkey sausage, peas & carrots, mashed potatoes

Make Spinach Cake Muffins

Wednesday
B – Spinach Cake Muffins
L – Egg, turkey, cheese on bagel
D – “Corned Beef & Cabbage : Corned beef, roasted red potatoes

Thursday
B – Banana Bread
L – Leftover turkey sausage & potatoes
D – [Dinner out for school fundraiser]

Friday
B – Granola Bar
L – Grilled cheese, goldfish, fruit
D – Shepherd’s Pie

The Search for a Healthy Granola Bar

A couple months ago I posted on Facebook that I was searching for a healthy, homemade granola bar. The quick-and-easy convenience of grabbing a granola bar on a busy morning is very necessary everyone once in awhile. Historically, our go-to bars have been Quaker Chewy. That is, until we started caring about ingredients and seeing all the stuff that’s jammed in those. You might as well call it a candy bar.

We’ve gotten some great recommendations as far as healthy ingredients, but unfortunately many of them have high carb or protein counts which, while not necessarily bad for you, drive up the Weight Watchers Point value which is another thing we are trying to balance.

All that to say, I’ve found a tremendous bar that is incredibly easy to make (I started these at 9:00 on a Sunday night, on a whim), include many staples already in the house, make a ton, are healthy, and dollar-for-dollar are super cheap. Weelicious is becoming a go-to Web site for food and treat planning and Catherine there has saved the day again in the granola bar department.

Grab the full details and recipe here : http://weelicious.com/2011/09/06/chocolate-chip-granola-bars/

One note: be sure to follow the instructions as far as when to cut the bars. They’re seemingly pretty soft out of the oven, but do firm up quite a bit and cutting would be awfully difficult if you waited too long.

You won’t be disappointed in these bars. And I doubt your kids will be either (Rayna – just under 4 years old) loves them!

Meal Plan for March 5-11

The last couple weeks have been crazy around here and I’ve been negligent in posting our menu plans. We have had them, however, and I’m posting them anyway (albeit late) in the hopes that the prove helpful to some readers.

Here is the plan for March 5-11:

Monday
B- Banana Nut Muffins
L- Tuna Salad sandwich; bean salad; fresh fruit
D- Chuck Wagon Pot-roast rip off (slightly modified; Yukon gold potato fan

Tuesday
B- Greek Yogurt w/ granola
L- Lentil stew (from the freezer); bread; grapes
D- Slow-Cooker 4 Bean Chili on spaghetti; roasted garlic on bread

Wednesday
B- Toast w/ apple butter and craisins
L- Homemade Whole wheat bagel pizzas; applesauce
D- Tex-Mex Chicken with Zucchini

Thursday
B- Mixed fresh fruit
L- Turkey & Cheese Pita Sandwich (w/ laughing cow spread); veggie straws
D- Crock Pot Chicken Chili Verde

Friday
B- Bagel w/ peanut butter
L- 4 Bean Chili on baked potatoes (same chili from Tuesday night)
D- Sloppy Joes; sweet potato fries, corn