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FitMenCook
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My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.
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I’m following up on a FAQ –

“What are some lunch meals you can enjoy that don’t have to be reheated?”

Here are four easy lunch ideas to help inspire your next meal prep! This is a continuation of the 5 cold lunch mash-up that I did last year.

When it comes to eating food cold (or at room temperature), keep it simple! Here are some guidelines I live by:

  •  Protein:
    • poultry (chicken, turkey, boiled eggs)
    • some fish (I like fatty fish such as salmon and swordfish on occasion, fully cooked cod also does well)
    • lean steaks such as flank and London broil
    • grilled, firm tofu (tempeh is good as well – just make sure it’s seasoned and cooked through)
  • Avoid meals with fatty ground meats or fatty melted cheeses – the cold texture of grease isn’t as pleasing or appetizing (of course cold pizza is the exception!)
  • Chopped salads > regular salads – I find they are more enjoyable and when chopped together, so long as you have a good mix of wet/dry and firm/soft ingredients, really don’t require a lot of dressing. Plus, you can easily make sandwiches, pitas, wraps out of it too!

 

Cold Lunch Recipes

 

Sweet Kale, Bean & Quinoa Salad

cold lunch - kale bean quinoa salad

Ingredients for 1 serving of salad:

  • OPTIONAL: your choice of 3oz – 6oz cooked protein (chicken, turkey, tofu, tempeh, etc)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped kale, wilted/steamed
  • 1/3 cup black beans (or Simple Truth Tri-Bean blend)
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • Seasonings:
  • 1 teaspoon Simple Truth maple syrup (or you can use 1/2 packet Stevia in the raw)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • juice from half small orange
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • add-ons:
    • red pepper for spiciness
    • pinch of smoked paprika to compliment cumin
    • substitute orange for lemon
  • spray olive oil

 

Approximate macros for 1 salad (without 6oz chicken):

201 calories, 11g protein, 38g carbohydrates, 1g fat, 7g fiber, 7g sugar

 


Frittata (Sausage) Muffins with Avocado Toast

cold lunch - egg frittata avocado toast
cold lunch - egg frittata avocado toastcold lunch - egg frittata avocado toast

Ingredients for 6 frittata muffins:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 lean chicken sausage (optional; or choice of cooked, lean ground meat)
  • 1 cup broccoli crowns (or choice of fibrous vegetable)
  • 1 colorful bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 6 tablespoons reduced-fat mozzarella
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon thyme
    • pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • 1/2 medium ripe avocado
  • 1 serving of toasted sourdough (or whole grain bread)

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 6 muffins:

106 calories, 11g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 1g fiber, 2g sugar

 

Approximate macros for 1 slice of sourdough + 1/2 medium avocado:

195 calories, 5g protein, 19g carbohydrates, 14g fat, 9g fiber, 2g sugar

 


Sticky Steak Rolls with Cilantro Jasmine Rice

cold lunch - sticky steak rolls
cold lunch - sticky steak rolls

Ingredients for 3 steak rolls:

  • ~6oz lean flank steak or London broil, sliced into thin 2oz pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup onion, cut into strips
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into strips
  • Steak seasonings:
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • pinch pepper
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (or 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon raw honey)
    • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
    • Add an extra teaspoon of honey if you want it extra sticky or sweet (OPTIONAL)
    • Also, consider adding: red pepper for spice or swapping soy sauce with fresh lime juice
  •  Rice:
    • mix cooked jasmine rice with chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 3 steak rolls:

127 calories, 13g protein, 12g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 1g fiber, 7g sugar

 

Approximate macros for 1/2 cup jasmine rice:

103 calories, 23g carbohydrates, 0g fat, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 0g sugar

 


Chopped Salad Jar…with Bacon and Sweet Lemon Vinaigrette

DSC02255-5

Ingredients:

  • 5oz cooked chicken breast (OR your choice and serving size of lean protein)
  • 3 thick butter lettuce leaves
  • 2 leaves Romaine lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro (or to taste)
  • Optional:
    • 1 slice thick cut bacon, crumbled
    • 2 tablespoons feta crumble
  • Vinaigrette
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • juice from 1 lemon
    • 1/2 teaspoon agave or raw honey (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

Approximate macros for 1 jar (with bacon & feta):

368 calories, 14g carbohydrates, 9g fat, 55g protein, 3g fiber, 7g sugar

 

Approximate macros for vinaigrette:

139 calories, 6g carbohydrates, 14g fat, 0g protein, 0g fiber, 4g sugar

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The first time I had butter chicken I was in Washington, DC at my friend’s parents’ house. I was thrown off a bit by the name because I actually imagined chicken covered in butter…which actually doesn’t sound too bad.

But I soon learned that it was better than I could have ever imagined.  And it introduced me to a new ingredient, ghee, which is where the “butter” name comes from I imagine.

The traditional recipe is pretty calorie dense, and while it may be worth every bite, it may not (necessarily) push you closer to your wellness goals. Here’s my calorie-conscious version that takes about 15 minutes.

 

Healthy Butter Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (chunks)
  • spray olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons ghee
    • 1/3 cup red onion, diced or chopped
    • 1 tablespoon ginger (fresh or powder)
    • 1/2 tablespoon garlic (minced or powder)
    • 14 oz crushed tomatoes
    • 2/3 cup coconut cream
    • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • 5 tablespoons coriander
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or garam masala)
  • Garnish:
    • chopped cilantro
    • cinnamon

 

Steps:

  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray with olive oil or coconut oil.
  2. Add the chicken and cook it in the skillet for about 5 minutes, until the outside is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
  3. Using the same skillet, add ghee and let it melt. Then, toss in onion, ginger and garlic.  Let it cook for about 2 minutes and be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  4. Add the seasonings and “bloom” them or gently sauté them in order to boost the flavors.  After about 1 minute (or until the spies are fragrant), add the chicken chunks, coconut cream and freshly squeezed lemon.
  5. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes then add the tomato.  Cover and simmer on low for about 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper and garnish with cilantro.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings:

288 calories, 9g carbs, 16g fat, 29g protein, 2g fiber, <1g sugar

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Ditch the store-bought stuff and make your own delicious salsa that you can easily customize for your tastes and preferences.  I use salsa for nearly EVERYTHING! Salads, eggs, protein, grilled vegetables, etc.  Essentially anything that needs an extra kick, gets a serving of my fresh homemade salsa.

It’s a great lower-calorie alternative to give your food some flavor.

Healthy Roasted Salsa Verde (and Roasted Salsa Roja) Recipe

Ingredients to make about 5 cups:

  • 1lb raw, peeled & whole tomatillo (about 14)
    • (OR use “chocolate” heirloom tomatoes or Roma tomatoes for red salsa)
  •  1 serrano pepper
  • 1/2 medium sized red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves WITH skin
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice from 1 lime (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke (optional)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

Steps:

  1. Set oven to broil.
  2. Place tomatillo, red onion, garlic and serrano on a baking sheet.  Broil for 15 minutes in the oven, flipping over the ingredients half way.  After roasting the tomatillo should be soft.  If the red onion is still a little solid, toss it back in the oven for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, careful not to let it burn.
  3. Peel the garlic.
  4. Set the desired amount of heat by removing some or ALL of the seeds from the serrano pepper (and removing the stem).
  5. Place the roasted ingredients in a food processor, then add cilantro, olive oil, lime, sea salt & pepper and liquid smoke.
  6. Pulse blend but careful not to overdo it. You want it somewhat chunky.

 

Approximate macros for 1/4 cup serving size for salsa verde:

15 calories, 2g carbs, 1g fat, 0g protein, 0g fiber, 1g sugar

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I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when a friend invited me to sample some vegan desserts one muggy night in NYC.  We walked about 15 blocks just to get there since she said it was faster than taking an Uber or the subway.  And the way my metabolism is set up…yeah, I sweat just thinking about walking.  Needless to say, I wasn’t “at my best” when we finally arrived at the vegan cupcake shop and I was not in the mood to try anything new…

But, she assured me they were good so I went along with it.  And I’m glad I did.  I found the desserts not only equally pleasing to my palate, but in some cases, even “creamier” than desserts made with animal products.  This piqued my interest in these plant-based delights and I soon discovered a whole NEW way to keep my diet exciting and calorie-conscious.

Here’s my favorite fail-proof vegan cheesecake recipe.  It’s impossible to dislike (especially when you can customize it)!

Makes about 10 small servings.

CRUST Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 7 medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt

 

FILLING Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soaked, raw cashews
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (or your choice of berry)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup agave or apple bee-free honey (or less if desired)

 

GARNISH:

  • fresh berries

 

Steps:

  1. Add raw cashews to a large bowl of water and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. To a food processor, add all the ingredients for the crust. Blend until it resembles “graham cracker” crust (i.e., coarse crust).  Set aside.
  3. Once the cashews have finished soaking, discard the water then add the cashews to a food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling.  Blend until very smooth, like cream.
  4. Build a large cheesecake, or several mini-cheesecakes by adding the crust, patting it down, then adding the filling.
  5. Freeze for about 1 hour (or longer), then place the cheesecake in the fridge about 30 to 45 minutes you are going to enjoy it.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 10 small servings:

398 calories, 31g carbs, 28g fat, 7g protein, 4g fiber, 21g sugar

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This recipe is tasty.  Nuff said.

Here’s a “meat lovers” spaghetti meatball recipe that is ketogenic friendly with some spice to keep your palette guessing.

Keto Recipe

Ingredients for 8 meatballs:

  • 1 lb 85% ground bison (I used Simple Truth)
  • 8 slices bacon (I used Simple Truth, uncured, nitrate-free bacon)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon thyme
    • pinches of sea salt & pepper

 

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and add olive oil and red onion.  Saute the onions until they are carmelized.
  3. Add the onions to a bowl and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix and mash them up with a fork.
  4. Form small meatballs with your hands, about 8 ping pong ball-sized meatballs.
  5. Wrap each meatball in 1 strip of bacon and place it flap-side down on a baking sheet/rack.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 400F.  For the last 2-3 minutes of baking, set the temperature in the oven to broil so the outside gets a little crispy.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 8 meatballs:

214 calories, 4g carbohydrates, 15g fat, 15g protein, <1g fiber, 2g sugar

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Here is a “cleaned up” and more calorie-conscious version of a big queso dip that people usually eat at Super Bowl parties.  This version uses about 67% less cheese and cream and lean ground beef which nearly 50% reduction in calories.

My fat calorie count per serving is 11g vs the original version of this queso dip which has 32g fat.

 

Super Bowl Queso Dip

Ingredients for the butternut squash puree (makes about 3 cups or nine 1/3 cup servings):

  • 1 lb raw butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

 

Ingredients for Big Bowl Queso about 8 servings:

  • 1 lb choice of lean ground meat (I used 96% beef)
  • 2/3 cup butternut squash puree (from above)
  • 8oz lite coconut milk (I used Simple Truth)
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1 1/3 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced (about 3/4 cup diced)
  • Seasonings:
    • 1/2 tablespoon garlic
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • Garnish:
    • fresh cilantro, chopped
    • fresh lime juice
    • fresh guacamole
    • fresh pico de gallo
  • EXTRAS
    • serrano chiles
    • diced jalapeño
  • spray olive oil

 

Steps:

  1. Add butternut squash to a steamer basket and steam until soft, about 20 minutes.  Add it to a food processor with the chicken broth and blend until smooth.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for future recipes as a thickener.
  2. Spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil and set on medium heat.  Toss in the meat and cook.  While it’s cooking, add in the seasonings.  Chop and cook with a wooden spatula.  Once the meat is cooked, set it in the  bottom of the dip bowl and garnish with cilantro and fresh lime.
  3. Using the same skillet, add olive oil and sauté red onion and bell pepper for 2 to 3 minutes, careful not to let it burn.  Then, add coconut milk and stir.
  4. Keep it to a simmer, then pour in butternut squash puree.  Stir, then add monterey jack cheese.  If the cheese begins to clump together, reduce the heat but continue to stir.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5.   Reduce the heat then mix arrowroot starch with about 3 tablespoons of the milky cheese.  Add it back to the skillet and stir (this should help thicken it a bit, if needed).
  6. Reduce the heat and allow the cheese to thicken, then pour it over the meat.  Serve immediately.  Use butternut squash at your discretion to thicken the dip.
  7. If desired, garnish with guacamole and pico de gallo.  Enjoy with sweet bell pepper scoops or fresh veggies such as celery!

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 8 servings (WITHOUT garnish):

201 calories, 9g carbs, 11g fat, 15g protein, .75g fiber, 2g sugar

 

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One of my favorite soul food dishes is red beans & rice.  I have to say that my aunt makes some of the best I’ve ever had (and I think you would think the same if you tasted her recipe).  Unfortunately, the dish is loaded with a lot of saturated fat and simple carbohydrates so it is not as complimentary of my new calorie-conscious lifestyle.

So, here is a leaner version of this recipe with about 50% less carbohydrates and significantly less fat. We’re swapping rice for tasty cauliflower pearl couscous.


Slow Cooker Recipe

Ingredients for 6 to 8 servings:

  • 1lb smoked turkey sausage, cut into chunks
  • 350g (~2 ½ cups) dried red beans
  • 4 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red onion, chopped/diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • Seasonings:
    • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • pinch coconut sugar
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
    • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Cauliflower Couscous (5 servings)
    • 454g shredded cauliflower “pearls”
    • 3 tablespoon olive oil (or ghee)
    • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

Steps:

  1. Add all ingredients (except the cauliflower) to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on low for 4 to 6 hours. Pro-tips: for a thicker sauce, consider adding a few tablespoons of arrowroot starch mixed with a few tablespoons of water.
  2. To make the cauliflower pearl couscous, add raw cauliflower florets to a food processor or blender, and pulse blend continuously until you have the consistency and structure of pearl couscous.
  3. Set a nonstick skillet on low-medium heat and add olive oil, garlic and red onion. Saute for about 2 minutes until fragrant and be careful not to let it burn.
  4. Add couscous to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the edges are somewhat brown. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper.
  5. Once the red beans have finished the cooking cycle, season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Then enjoy the red beans with cauliflower couscous as an alternative to white rice.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of (8) eight servings for red beans:

255 calories, 31g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 20g protein, 16g fiber, 2g sugar

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 servings:

103 calories, 5g carbs, 8g fat, 2g protein, 2g fiber, 3g sugar

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When you think you may miss eating your daily serving(s) of fresh fruits and vegetables, grab a smoothie to save the day!

Below are 7 that I enjoy… Quick note: when I reference coconut milk and almond milk, I mean the UNSWEETENED, lower calorie non-dairy milk you can purchase in a carton or jug. The calories should be between 30 and 60 calories per cup.  Coconut cream refers to the dense, creamy mixture you can find in a can.

 

COCOA-NUT SMOOTHIE
7 healthy smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cacao

 

 

PINEAPPLE CREAM PIE SMOOTHIE
7 healthy smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (or ~160g fresh) pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • juice from 2 limes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • Cinnamon to taste

 

 

BERRY BREAKFAST PARFAIT SMOOTHIE
7 healthy smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (frozen) blueberries
  • 1/3 cup (frozen) rasperries
  • 7oz Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds (or choice of raw nuts)

 

 

 

GREEN V8 SMOOTHIE WITH TABASCO
DSC01934-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (no salt)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley (use more/less according to your tastes)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 green onion
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Tabasco (or other red hot sauce) to taste

 

 

SWEET GREEN SMOOTHIE WITH HONEY
7 healthy smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or more/less according to tastes)
  •  1/2 medium avocado
  • 1 kiwi (peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder (or more/less according to tastes)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

ORANGE CREAM SMOOTHIE WITH TURMERIC
7 healthy smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 7oz greek yogurt (or 1/3 cup coconut cream)
  • 1 1/2 oranges (peeled)
  • 1/3 cup cantaloupe
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or coconut milk (or more/less according to tastes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (or more/less according to tastes)

 

 

MINT BERRY SMOOTHIE
7 healthy smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (frozen) blueberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • juice from 2 limes (optional but recommended)
  • 2/3 cup ice and water

 

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This is a remixed version of an older Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie recipe.  Following a lower carbohydrate diet doesn’t necessarily mean you hav eto give up the food you enjoy; rather, you just need to be more creative and thoughtful when it comes to preparing them.  Here, I’ve swapped potatoes with cauliflower and removed the black beans without compromising the flavor, or the hearty, warm feeling you get when you eat shepherd’s pie.

Note: I use ground lamb in this recipe since original recipes include lamb, AND so that I can easily tweak this meal for my ketogenic diet; however, lamb is not required.  If you are following a lower fat diet, then feel free to use a leaner ground meat.

I purchased all of the ingredients from my local Kroger grocery store.

 

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • Top:
    • 25oz (708g) raw cauliflower florets
    • 7oz 2% Greek yogurt (swap with coconut cream for non-dairy alternative)
    • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Filling:
    • 1 lb Private Selection ground lamb (or use lean ground turkey or beef for more than 50% reduction in fat calories, or use veggie ground if vegan)
    • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon garlic
    • 1/3 cup diced red onion
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 cup frozen peas, carrots and corn
    • 2 tablespoons Simple Truth BBQ sauce
    • 2 tablespoons Kroger spicy brown mustard
    • 2 tablespoons no salt tomato sauce
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnish
    • spray butter or olive oil to brown the top of the shepherd’s pie

 

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Add water to pot with a steamer basket, then bring it to a simmer. Add raw cauliflower to the steamer basket. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower can be easily pierced with a fork.  Remove the cauliflower from the basket and let it cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the cauliflower using a fork or potato masher, then add Greek yogurt and garlic powder.  Mix it up using a spatula, then season to taste with sea salt & pepper.
  4. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat, then add olive garlic, bell pepper and red onion.  Cook for about 3 minutes until the red onion turns brown and be careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add lamb to the skillet, then chop and mix it up using a wooden spatula. Cook for about a minute, then toss in the seasonings.  Cook for about 2 minutes, continually chopping and stirring the meat.
  6. Then, add BBQ sauce, mustard and no salt tomato sauce.  Mix it up.  Add the frozen vegetables and cook for about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the mixture to mini-baking tins or to medium-size baking dish. Top the mixture with the cauliflower mash, then garnish the top with pepper and/or spray butter or olive oil if desired.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 400F.

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings:

446 calories, 29g protein, 20g carbs, 26g fat, 5g fiber, 10g sugar

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Growing up in the south, and having parents from Louisiana and South Carolina, it’s safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of good comfort food.  I look forward to my mother’s gumbo EVERY Christmas – just the thought of cajun spices, savory broth and seafood with spicy sausage just makes my mouth water.  I was pretty upset when I learned that I’d have to give up so many of the foods that I loved as a kid.  It wasn’t fair!

I always thought that it didn’t make sense that God would bless us with these amazing foods on earth and then say we couldn’t enjoy it.

I was right.  It was all about preparation and portion control.  So with that I set out on transforming some of my favorite foods to be more calorie conscious so that they could better support my wellness goals.

Here’s one of those recipes that I was able to transform and enjoy all year long!  It’s easy to customize for your goals and is actually keto-friendly.

You can easily find all of these ingredients at your local Kroger grocery store (also, check out their affiliate stores including Ralph’s, Fred Meyer and Fry’s).

Ingredients for 5 servings:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1.5 tablespoon minced garlic)
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1lb chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 8oz smoked turkey sausage, cut into chunks
  • 8oz jumbo raw shrimp (peeled, deveined)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in quarters (about 8-10 tomatoes)
  • 8oz tomato sauce (no salt if available)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups raw cauliflower rice (you can purchase this already made or make your own – see my note below)
  • Seasonings
  • Garnish
    • Green onions, thinly sliced

 

Steps:

  1. Prepare the cauliflower rice by placing raw cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender.  Pulse blend until the cauliflower has a rice-like texture. Careful not to over do it so that the cauliflower becomes minced.
    • Pro-tip:  Cauliflower has a LOT of water and often times it can make recipes “soupy.” Empty the cauliflower contents onto a cheesecloth and wrap it up like a ball. Squeeze the ball of cauliflower in order to get out all of the water. Once you squeeze out the most amount of water as possible, empty the contents onto another dry piece of cheesecloth and repeat. After squeezing the second time, I like to spread the cauliflower out on a paper towel and let it air dry for at least 20 minutes so that it can be as dry as possible.
  2. Set a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat and add olive oil, garlic and red onions.  Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the onion to brown.  Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  3. Add the chicken and turkey sausage and cook until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes
  4. Add bell pepper, celery and cherry tomatoes.  Stir.  Then, add tomato sauce and the seasonings.  Stir and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Fold in the cauliflower rice and the raw shrimp.  Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Pour in the chicken broth, tomato paste and the bay leaves. Add a few pinches of sea salt and pepper, then stir it up.  Reduce the heat to medium and cover.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Uncover, then remove the skillet from the heat, stir it up and allow the jambalaya to “breathe” and thicken.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper, then garnish with green onions.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 servings:

323 calories, 17g carbohydrates, 13g fat, 34g protein, 3g fiber, 8g sugar