Creamy Baked Scallops

When was the last time you had scallops? For those who don’t love fish, scallops are a nice option because they are so delightfully sweet!

Besides tasting good, scallops are good for us — an excellent source of a very important nutrient for cardiovascular health, vitamin B12. B12 is needed by the body to help maintain low levels of homocysteine, a chemical that can directly damage blood vessel walls.  High levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk for atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, heart attack and stroke. It’s also interesting to note that a recent study found that osteoporosis occurred more frequently among women whose vitamin B12 levels were low compared with those who had normal B12 status.

Scallops are also a good source of magnesium and potassium, two other nutrients that provide significant benefits for the cardiovascular system.*

scallops

Creamy Baked Scallops

Ingredients

About 40 small scallops or half the number of medium to large ones, enough to fill the bottom of a pie plate, in a single layer
1 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used cherry tomatoes because they’re sweeter!)
4 large basil leaves or dried basil to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
In a glass pie plate, arrange the scallops evenly spaced along the bottom and set aside.
Saute the onions over medium-high heat in the olive oil until the onions start to turn opaque. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring.
Now add the tomato sauce and coconut milk and mix well. Also add the basil and salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture over the scallops in the baking dish.
Cover with the chopped tomatoes.
Place in oven and cook until the tomatoes start to brown and the sauce is bubbling – about 10 minutes for scallops to cook through.
Remove from the oven and serve over cauliflower rice. Cut a head of cauliflower into medium florets and pulse in the food processor until you have “rice.” Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the “rice” and saute adding salt and pepper to taste. You can even add a small amount of butter. Cook on medium heat until it softens a bit, about 2-3 minutes.

scallopscauliflowerrice

*Nutrition information courtesy of whfoods.com
Recipe adapted from civilizedcavemancooking.com

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Caribbean Bean Salad

carribeanbeansalad

Caribbean Bean Salad is one of our family’s all-time favorites. It’s perfect for a hot summer night when no one feels like cooking! Easy to prepare and no pots or pans to clean up will make it one of your go-to recipes this summer!

Caribbean Bean Salad

1 cup fresh corn kernels
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium avocado, cut into 1/4″ squares

Instructions

Mix together the corn, beans, red pepper, red onion, tomatoes and cilantro in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt and cumin. Add a few twist of the pepper mill to the bowl then pour the dressing over the bean mixture and stir to combine. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to develop the flavors. Garnish with avocado and serve with a big green salad. Relax and enjoy your cooling summer meal!

Anytime Eggs

Eggs are a brilliant food! They are cheap, go with almost anything and taste delicious. I am very glad someone decided they are not detrimental to our health!

Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids, are highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals (iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 eggcasserolesquareand B5) and are among the best sources of choline, a very important nutrient for the brain. Additionally eggs contain large amounts of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine, which dramatically lower your risk of age-related eye disorders.

Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.

One great way to prepare eggs is to make a big casserole with lots of vegetables. Eat part of it for breakfast then save the leftovers for a quick, satisfying lunch along with a salad. It’s tasty hot or cold!

Easy Egg Casserole

Ingredients:

10 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped

2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 cup of yellow squash or asparagus, cut into 1/4″ pieces

1/2 avocado, cut into 1/4″ cubes

3 strips nitrate free turkey bacon, cut into 1/4″ squares (optional)

Optional: 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an 8 x 11 glass casserole dish.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Pour egg mixture into glass dish and cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Test for doneness. If center is still watery continue cooking for another 5 minutes. When the center is firm, remove casserole from the oven to cool and set, about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit.

Eat leftovers cut into cubes with greens for lunch!

eggsonthesalad

Avocado Turkey Burgers

It’s difficult to capture the deliciousness of this burger — my photos just don’t do it justice. So you’ll have to trust me when I tell you these burgers are good! Even the male judge who generally turns his nose up when I announce we’re having turkey burgers, not hamburgers, gave it high marks!

turkeyburger

Turkey Burgers

Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey*
1/2 avocado, cut into 1/4″ chunks
1/3 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Few twists of the pepper mill
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon golden flax meal
3 tablespoons water
1/4 avocado, mashed

Directions

In a small bowl combine the ground flax and 3 tablespoons water. Set aside for at least 5 minutes to thicken.

Place the ground turkey in a large bowl and break it up with your hands. Add the minced onion, thyme, salt and peppers and mix well. Pour in the prepared flax meal and thoroughly combine. Finally add the avocado chunks and carefully fold into the turkey mixture so you don’t smash the avocado.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Shape the turkey mixture into 4 burgers and add to the hot pan. Watch carefully to insure the burgers don’t stick to the pan. Flip after 4-5  minutes and continue cooking until burgers are cooked all the way through, about 6-7 more minutes depending on thickness.

Top with mashed avocado and minced onion. We served this with a nice piece of freshly baked almond bread. Don’t forget your large salad!

*I found some good quality ground turkey at Harris Teeter on Harrison Street.

Grain Free Almond Bread

Let’s face it: everyone has a hankering for a nice warm piece of bread once in while! During our TWC we earn a point when we avoid grains or eat just one serving daily. It’s good to take a break from wheat once in a while and note how you feel. Many joint pains and digestive issues are due to gluten intolerance even at low levels.

If you’re ok with wheat it’s still better to fill up on produce rather than grains. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to whole grain rice or pasta and quinoa once in while…as long as they don’t take the place of super nutritionally charged vegetables!

Here’s the best grain-free bread I’ve found. It’s from elenaspantry. I’ve made this simple recipe several times and it’s always good. Be mindful not to eat the entire loaf all at once!

almondbreadAlmond Bread

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup golden flaxmeal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, arrowroot, flax meal, salt, and baking soda.
In a larger bowl, blend eggs 3-5 minutes until frothy
Stir honey and vinegar into eggs
Mix dry ingredients into wet
Scoop batter into a well-greased glass loaf pan.
Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean

Cool and serve. Be sure to store in the fridge!

Red Snapper With Mango Salsa

Red Snapper is not only delicious but also high in vitamin D, which helps keep our bones strong. and vitamin E which supports healthy red blood cell growth and also offers antioxidant protection for our tissues.

I love red snapper simply pan seared, served with homemade mango salsa on the side. Even if you don’t love fish, you’re sure to enjoy this simple summer dish.

Ingredients for the Fish

1 pound wild caught red snapper*

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Few grinds black pepper

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

Leaves from 4 stems flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1 tablespoon salted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Season the fish on bothredsnapper sides with the salt and the black and cayenne peppers. Let it sit while you make the salsa.

Set stove heat to medium-high. Add the butter and oil to a large skillet; once the butter is foamy, lay in the fillets, skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes, until crisped on the bottom, then use two thin spatulas to carefully flip them over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the second side, so the flesh is opaque and just flaky at the center.

Transfer to a platter. Serve with this delicious salsa on the side.

Mango Salsa

1 mango, chopped into 1/4″ pieces

1/3 cup red onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine the mango, red onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro leaves and olive oil and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature with the red snapper. Enjoy!

*The Giant in McLean always has super fresh red snapper!

Chewy Cashew-Date Cookies

chewycookies

When your craving for something sweet gets the best of you try making these easy, TWC approved cookies.

Instead of flour this recipe and many flour-less desserts use dates to hold the mixture together. You can feel good about eating these cookies because dates provide us with dietary fiber, iron and potassium too.

The difference between these cookies and most of the bars I make is the ten-minute baking time. The result is chewier and more like a traditional cookie. This treat should satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth!

Take your time and savor your sweet…. Actually you don’t have a choice because they’re so chewy you can’t eat them fast!

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup soft dates

1 cup raw cashews (can substitute the last 1/4 cup with pecans for a sweeter cookie)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Pinch sea salt

Optional: 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients in the food processor.

Shape “dough” into small round balls, about 1″ and place on paper-lined cookie tray

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.

Let cool completely before eating

Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken With Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt

chickenandpotatoes

This chicken dish is one of the best I’ve had in a long while! If you’re getting bored with eating chicken I encourage you to try it. Note that the seasoned chicken and potatoes need to stand for at least 30 minutes before they enter the oven. Thank you to my good friend Jan from Canada for taking the time to send me the NY Times Recipe link!

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs

5-6 small yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices

2 teaspoons kosher salt or more as needed

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 Tablespoons harissa or other hot sauce (I only used 1 tablespoon the first time because I don’t like super hot food, but next time I might use a bit more)

4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half rounds

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest from 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)

1 small clove garlic

2-3 ounces baby arugula, about 1/2 of a small bin

Lemon juice as needed

Directions

Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot sauce, cumin and 3 tablespoons of oil. Pour over the chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the fridge.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil.

Heat the oven to 425°. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide chicken and potato mixture between plates. Top with yogurt and arugula. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve.