Start your week off rich in Omega-3s with this recipe for Halibut with Zucchini, Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

 

Get your week off to a good start with a lovely serving of Omega-3s! The FDA recommends consuming two servings of seafood per week to boost heart and brain health, which means that it’s not a bad idea to start eating fish earlier in the week so that you can plan your next fish dish before the week is over. And if you’re like me, you can always double up your recipe so that you can dive into more omega-3s for lunch the next day. How is that for fantastic?

Because I’ve been eating a lot of salmon, tuna, and black cod recently, I decided this time to opt for halibut. While halibut is admittedly less rich in omega-3s than the latter, one 6-oz portion is still going to net about 900mg of omega-3s, which is still considerable. So if you find yourself growing tired of seafood highest in omega-3s, don’t hesitate to choose an option in the middle range, like halibut. I think that adding diverse foods to your diet is best, especially because it will lessen your chance for boredom!

Before you dive into meal planning for the delicious recipe below, check out the list made by Seafood Health Facts that details the omega-3 content of various types of fish.

 

Halibut with Zucchini, Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped (reserving 2 tsbp oil)
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pits removed, and coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Four (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Add zucchini and salt to a medium boil and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain, and pat zucchini dry.

Arrange 4 long pieces of foil on a work surface and brush each piece of foil lightly with a little of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil.

Add sun-dried tomatoes and remaining oil to a small bowl with cilantro and olives, and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange your zucchini over each piece of foil by overlapping slices about the same size and shape of each fish fillet. Top zucchini with half of the sun-dried tomato mixture. Arrange fish over vegetables and top with remaining sun-dried tomato mixture. Seal each fillet with foil by folding into packets. Set on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the fish has cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 145F.

Carefully open each packet and transfer to serving plates. Enjoy!

Health(ier) Chicken Enchiladas

 

Enchiladas aren’t necessarily the healthiest Mexican entrée you can make. They’re typically loaded with cheese, tons of sour cream, and sometimes fatty cuts of meat. These ones are of the lighter fare, but do not lack in flavor, as the tomatillo sauce delivers a delicious umami punch, and there’s just enough low-fat cheese and cream to satiate your appetite. Plus, you don’t have to bake them – which means each person served can control their own toppings. Another thing that makes this recipe great is that each step is really simple and there’s time between steps to clean up the kitchen, listen to music, or even time to check in with your family and/or watch a little TV.

 

Health(ier) Chicken Enchiladas!

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

Ingredients
2.5 pounds skinless chicken legs, thighs, and breasts
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
5 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1.5 lbs tomatillos, husks removed
1 medium onion, halved
1-2 medium serrano or jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsbp olive oil plus additional for frying
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack or Colby cheese, shredded
1/3 cup light sour cream or Mexican crema
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed, chopped
4 birdseye chilies, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Directions
In a large stockpot, add chicken, bay leaf, peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, and ½ onion. Add cold water several inches above chicken level and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 150F (the temperature will rise when the chicken rests). Reserve ½ cup chicken broth and transfer chicken to a platter, breaking up the chicken a little with two forks to speed cooling.

Meanwhile, add tomatillos to a large saucepan with 3 cloves garlic and ½ onion. Add cold water slightly above tomatillo level. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until tomatillos are soft. Strain tomatillos and garlic and set aside to cool.

Once tomatillos and garlic have cooled a little, add to a blender with reserved chicken broth and peppers. Blend on high until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and blend again for 10 seconds to combine.

In a shallow skillet over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Lightly fry tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side and transfer to a paper towel lined plate, adding new paper towels between each tortilla.

To plate, fold tortillas in half and slightly overlap them in an even layer (3 tortillas per person). Spoon over a layer of tomatillo sauce followed by a layer of shredded cheese, chicken, Mexican crema, diced onion, and cilantro. Top with additional tomatillo sauce, and garnish with birdseye chilies if desired.

Mushroom Tacos with Roasted Chilies and Corn

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the healthiest tacos you have ever seen! These vegetarian tacos with mushrooms, corn, and chili peppers are tasty and full of textures that will please even the most stubborn meat eater. You can probably taste the flavor from here, but if you’re not sure, these tacos have all that roasted yumminess you’d expect with an additional scrumptious bite from the corn and mushrooms.

Adrian and I left a note on our recipe a while back that these tacos are also the most gourmet tacos that we make, and we still agree. So now it’s your turn to tell me, are these on your list for Taco Tuesday yet? It’s only Friday now, so you have plenty of time to prepare!

 

Mushroom Tacos with Roasted Chilies and Fresh Corn

Serves 4
Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients
3 Anaheim and/or poblano chili peppers
1 poblano chili, charred over gas flame, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 ear corn, kernels removed from cob (about 1 cup)
Olive oil, about 2 tbsp, divided
Sea salt
1/2 white onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 corn tortillas
6 oz baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh epazote leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup feta, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup Roasted tomato salsa, divided
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions
Char chilies over gas burner on all sides. Place in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool. Peel (do not wash) and cut into 1/2 inch dice.

In a small bowl, add corn, 1 tsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt.

Heat a large dutch oven or heavy skillet over high heat. Spread out corn in pan and roast for about 30 seconds until slightly blackened. Set corn kernels aside.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the same pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and reserved chilies and saute, until onions are soft and begin to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly fry corn tortillas and blot on paper towels.

Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil to the same pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the reserved chilies, corn, and feta, and stir in epazote. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon about 1/4 cup vegetables onto each tortilla. Dollop with salsa, cilantro, and garnish with parmesan. Serve immediately.

Mahi Mahi With Avocado-Chile Salsa & Tropical Rice

 

Healthy Mahi Mahi with Tropical Rice is surely a taste of paradise  Like my rhyme? Lol, regardless, here is a really, really good recipe that might take your taste buds on a trip to your favorite vacation spot for a little while.

Time: 45-60 Minutes
Serves 4

Mahi Mahi
4 Mahi Mahi fillets (about 1.5 pounds)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salsa
1 ripe avocado, diced into ¼-inch chunks
2 plum tomatoes, diced into ¼-inch chunks
3/4 cup red onion, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Tropical Rice
1.5 cups Whole Grain Brown Rice
1 cup Light Coconut Milk
2 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
8 ounces, Canned Pineapple
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
Toasted Coconut, for Garnish
Green Onions, chopped, for Garnish

Directions
Line an oven safe dish with foil. Add fish and marinade ingredients and let sit for 20-30 minutes before broiling. Preheat broiler.

While fish marinates, prepare salsa ingredients and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix and set aside.

Prepare tropical rice. You have two options here: First option: combine the first three ingredients in a rice cooker and cook until rice is tender. Second option: Combine rice, coconut milk, and broth in a medium pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes. Test the rice for doneness and add more liquid if not soft (note that brown rice tends to be a little al dente). Fluff rice with fork and add remaining ingredient, topping with toasted coconut and green onions.

While rice cooks, broil mahi mahi for 6-8 minutes per side.

Serve the fish with the salsa on top and tropical rice on the side.

Tacos Los Tres Amigos

 

I’m calling this recipe Tacos Los Tres Amigos because I like consuming tacos in threes. Sometimes I go over my calorie allotment and just eat a little less for my next meal. And that’s totally okay! It’s adapted from a delicious recipe by Rick Bayless. I’m not quite sure anymore, but I’m pretty sure he’s the one that introduced me to the really interesting and yummy herb epazote. Using epazote is optional here and you can use more cheese to make up for the omission. It is available at many Mexican grocery stores, so if you have those in your area, definitely check them out! It’s funny because before I was growing it in my garden, I had to trek a few miles to the store to buy it. But last year when I stayed in Baja California, it was growing wild everywhere. In any case, I’m always curious about new things and if you are too, don’t miss out on this one!

 

Tacos Los Tres Amigos

Servings: 8-12 Tacos
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
1.5 lbs small boiling potatoes, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil + additional to fry tortillas
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
6 medium fresh poblano chiles, roasted and peeled
Salt
8 oz crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese
16 leaves epazote, chopped (optional)
8-12 corn tortillas, lightly fried in olive oil

Directions
Simmer the potatoes in salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool under running water, peel and cut into 1/4-inch dice.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium-size skillet over medium. Add the onion and potato, and fry, stirring regularly to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan, until the mixture is richly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are browning, seed the chiles and roughly chop. Stir them into the potato mixture and season with salt to taste. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the cheese.

Fry corn tortillas in olive oil over medium heat. Fill with potato filling, fold in half, and serve with your favorite hot sauce.

What I love Most About Summer + Recipe for Steak & Arugula Salad

 

My calendar may say that it’s summer, but I’ve been so busy lately, I barely notice the change in season anymore. It’s a stark contrast to how I would literally count down the days to summer when I was a child, rejoicing when the final bell rang. Those long warm days in the California sun just couldn’t come soon enough!

The fact that summer is in full swing finally just dawned on me when foraging for these arugula greens. It’s a little sad that it took me three weeks to fully recognize the change in season, but mid-July is when my garden really starts to shine. I realize now that while I no longer count down to the lazy summer days of my past playing with friends, visiting the beach, or going to theme parks, I don’t think it’s a bad compromise that in adulthood, I have an incredible garden where I enjoy nothing more than counting down the days until my fruits and vegetables are ready to be harvested.

I suppose I truly have the better deal now because I really didn’t know how to cook much of anything when I was a kid. Now at least half of the food I cook up in summer is from my garden and that makes me a very, very happy dietitian. While this dish utilized the last of our arugula crop, my favorite salad greens will be back shortly with corn and pumpkins to follow. Until then, we will surely be eating our weight in tomatoes and kale!

Below is a recipe the salad, which I’ve adapted from an Epicurious recipe.

 

Steak & Arugula Salad

Serves 4
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
5 oz arugula
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 large sprig fresh rosemary needles
1 lb boneless top loin steak or sirloin (1 inch thick)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large shallot, thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Directions
Mound arugula on a large platter.

Heat oil with garlic and rosemary in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat, turning garlic once or twice, until garlic is soft, about 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, cut steak crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and toss with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add steak to skillet all at once and sauté over high heat, tossing with tongs to color evenly, about 1 minute for medium-rare.

Arrange steak over arugula using tongs, then add shallot to oil in skillet along with vinegars and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and boil 2 minutes. Garnish to taste with ground black pepper. Pour dressing over steak and serve immediately.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

 

In California, tacos are fundamental to our cuisine. That’s why I’m constantly in search of amazing taco recipes to make at home for friends and family. Let me tell you, these chipotle chicken tacos are the best I’ve ever made. Not only is this recipe from the New York Times delicious, it’s pretty darn healthy too. Just look at the nutrition analysis for two tacos below. Not bad, right?

I know several people who think that tacos are a guilty pleasure and that they’re inherently unhealthy. But in reality, they can be quite the opposite. Here you can see that my suggested serving size of two tacos has enough fat to keep you satiated while the saturated fat is kept in check, and the sodium is acceptable unless you’re on a low-salt diet. I even included 1/4 tsp of added salt in my analysis.

What is really great about these tacos, though, is that while they have a good amount of vitamin C and calcium, the fiber is outstanding. Hint: in addition to the vegetables, each tortilla has 2g of fiber. If you double up on your tortillas like I did, you’re well on your way to meeting your fiber needs for the day. Are you convinced that tacos can be a part of a healthy diet yet?

Some tips for tacos in general:

1). Keep your portion size in check. If you’re consuming 6-inch tortillas, I recommend about two tacos. If you’re a tall athlete, sure, you can have more. But if you’re shorter and trying to lose weight, you may want to fill the tacos with more vegetables than meat. For 3-inch tortillas (street taco style), you’re likely safe with three.

2). Vegetarian, seafood, and chicken tacos are all great choices unless any components are fried. Pork and beef can be acceptable, but keep in mind that the less red meat you eat throughout the week, the lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

3). Load up on vegetables for fiber because they are low in calories and contribute to fullness. Salsa can be a low-calorie addition, but it can also be salty, so if you have hypertension, you may want to avoid it altogether.

4). If adding beans: choose pinto or black beans instead of refried as refried beans at restaurants can pack in a lot of calories. If you’re cooking at home, there are several varieties of canned refried beans that are low in fat and also a good choice. However, keep in mind that if you’re salt sensitive, many canned beans contain a fair amount of sodium, so look at your labels!

5). Enjoy! Eating tacos is what’s best about tacos, right?

 

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Click HERE for original NYT Recipe
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 large bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds
3 scallions, left whole
1 bay leaf
1 thyme branch
3 black peppercorns
1 allspice berry (or a pinch of ground allspice)
2 cloves
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
½ cup broth (use broth from simmered chicken)
16 fresh corn tortillas

To Garnish
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 thinly sliced serrano chiles
4 thinly sliced radishes
1/2 sliced avocado
Crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese
Crème fraîche or Mexican crema
Cilantro sprigs
Dried oregano
Lime wedges

Directions
Put chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water. Add scallions, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove chicken and cool. Shred chicken with your fingers, discarding chicken skin and bone. Strain broth and reserve. You should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.

Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, season with salt and cook until softened and a bit browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more. Add chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Add shredded chicken, salt lightly and stir to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened somewhat. Keep warm.

Heat the tortillas over steam or by your favorite method, keeping them soft and pliable.

Build the tacos quickly: Put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with a teaspoon of chopped white onion, a few slivers of serrano chile, some radish and avocado slices, a teaspoon of queso fresco and a teaspoon of crème fraîche. Add a few cilantro springs and a small pinch of oregano. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.

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