Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans tuna, preferably Albacore
  • 1 small onion , diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tea thyme
  • 1 can or package of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 16 ounce package of frozen petite mixed vegetables
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, or volby jack work well)
  • Approx. 6 oz noodle of your choice (egg noodles, penne, macaroni)
  • 1/4 cup toasted Panko
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, ans mushrooms and saute 10 minuets or until soft. Add thyme and stir.
  2. In the meantime, bring pot of water to boil.  Add noodles and cook until tender, but firm.
  3. Add mixed veggies, soup, cream cheese, yogurt and shredded cheddar.  Stir until well incorporated.  Add tuna and stir well.
  4. Add cooked noodles to pan and stir well to coat the noodles.  Cover and allow flavors to meld and noodles to finish cooking, approx 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted panko and Parmesan cheese.

 

Ranch Chicken Quinoa Bake

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • ranch dip mix (clean premixed packet or see recipe below)
  • 1 can or package cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups broccoli cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup toasted panko or breadcrumbs
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa, stock, cream of chicken soup and ranch mix in in slow cooker and stir to mix well.
  2. Place chicken breast in and submerge.
  3. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  4. During last half hour, add broccoli.   Cover and continue to cook until broccoli is tender.
  5. To serve, chicken can be removed, shredded and stirred throughout or breast can be served whole on top of quinoa mixture.
  6. Place in 4 bowls and top each with shredded cheddar and toasted panko.

Ranch Dip Mix:

  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt

Stir all ingredients together.

The Risks of Being Overweight

_67017217_obese147220211

The risks of being overweight……..you know these right?  Unless you truly have been living under a rock, you have been inundated with information about the health implications of being overweight or obese.  But there really is a overabundance of information and at times it can be overload.  It is easy to just tune it out and move along with life and cake.  Who doesn’t want cake?

However, there really are some important facts that everyone should know. Shedding excess weight has profound, immediate positive effects on your health. So, why shed the pounds?  Here are the top risks associated with being overweight:

  1. Heart Disease & Stroke – Hypertension and very high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) can lead to heart disease and often are linked to being overweight. Being overweight also contributes to angina (chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart) and sudden death from heart disease or stroke without any signs or symptoms.
  2. Diabetes – 
    Overweight people are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as people who are not overweight. Type 2 diabetes is a major cause of early death, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness.
  3. Cancer – 
    Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight. In women, these include cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast, and colon. Overweight men are at greater risk for developing cancer of the colon, rectum, and prostate. For some types of cancer, such as colon or breast, it is not clear whether the increased risk is due to the extra weight or consumption of a high-fat and high-calorie diet.
  4. Sleep Apnea – 
    Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is closely associated with being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep and to snore heavily. Sleep apnea may cause daytime sleepiness and even heart failure. The risk for sleep apnea increases with higher body weights. Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.
  5. Osteoarthritis – 
    Extra weight appears to increase the risk of osteoarthritis by placing extra pressure on weight-bearing joints and wearing away the cartilage (tissue that cushions the joints) that normally protects them. Weight loss can decrease stress on the knees, hips, and lower back and may improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  6. Gallbladder Disease – 
    Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight. Your risk of disease increases as your weight increases. It is not clear how being overweight may cause gallbladder disease.  Weight loss itself, particularly rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of weight, can actually increase your chances of developing gallstones. Modest, slow weight loss of about one pound a week is less likely to cause gallstones.
  7. Fatty Liver Disease – 
    Fatty liver disease occurs when fat builds up in the liver cells and damages the liver. It can lead to liver failure. Fatty liver disease is linked to higher than normal blood glucose levels, which are more common in people who are overweight. Weight loss can help with blood glucose control and reduce the build-up of fat in the liver.  Also, people who have fatty liver disease should avoid alcohol.  **Insel, Paul, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, Melissa Bernstein. Nutrition: Custom Edition, 4th Edition. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 04/2010. VitalBook file.

    This list should convince you to that weight loss and weight management are important.  That said, beginning to make changes is the tough part.  If you aren’t sure where or how to begin, seeing a Weight Management Specialist, a Nutritionist/Dietitian, or Behavior Change Coach may help.

The most important factor though, is to find your”Why”.  Why do you want to be healthier?

To live a longer life?

To play with your kids?

To see your kids grow and have families of their own?

To walk up the steps without getting winded?

To feel great in your clothes?

To wear a swim suit with confidence on your dream vacation?

your why

Whatever your “why”………embrace it, put it on Post-Its, write it on your vision board, put it in your journal…….make it part of who you are.  If you embrace your why and keep it in your focus, it makes the beginning and staying on the journey so much easier.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients:

10-12 Cups chicken stock

½ pound shredded cooked chicken

½ pound ground beef (can substitute ground chicken, turkey, lamb or pork)

½ Cup whole wheat bread crumbs or Panko

3 eggs

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tbs Italian Seasoning (or onion powder, garlic, powder, dried oregano, salt & pepper)

16 oz spinach; fresh chopped or frozen, thawed and drained

1 Cup acini di pepe pasta (can use orzo or other small pasta if needed)

Directions:

  1. First prepare mini meatballs: In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, 1 egg, Panko or crumbs and Italian seasoning. Once well combined, form into very small (bite sized) meatballs.
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add meatballs. Brown over med heat turning frequently until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, heat stock to a low boil and add pasta. Continue to cook pasta until tender, 8-10 minutes and then reduce heat just a simmer. (I also save my hard ends of parmesan cheese and simmer with my stock.  Discard before serving.)
  4. Once meatballs are done, add meatballs and shredded chicken to stock and pasta.
  5. Lightly beat two eggs in a small bowl.
  6. Begin to stir stock in one direction and continue until soup is flowing in a circular motion. As soup is swirling, gradually drizzle the egg into it so that the egg cooks thin strands.
  7. Add spinach and heat until wilted.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

*I season my stock while it is cooking with the carcass; rosemary, dill, thyme, salt and pepper.  If you uses packaged stock, with the exception of salt, you may want add seasonings to taste in step 3.

 

Turkey White Bean Soup

 

Turkey White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

10 Cups Turkey stock (*see note)

I lb. shredded cooked turkey, dark and white meat

1 Cup cooked Barley

1 Cup Navy Beans, soaked and cooked or 1 can, rinsed

1 28oz Can Diced tomatoes with juice

I bunch Kale, chopped, large veins removed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 stalks Celery, diced

1 large Carrot, diced

½ White Onion, diced

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, dill, oregano

 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and sauté until tender.  Add seasonings to desired taste. (*see note).
  2. Meanwhile  in a large stock pot, heat stock.
  3. Add tomatoes with juice to the carrots and celery in pan. Simmer until half of the juice reduces.
  4. Add turkey, beans, and carrots mixture to the stock and allow to lightly simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Add cooked barley.  Add chopped kale and heat until softened and withered.
  6. Serve with chopped fresh parsley finely shredded cheddar if desired.

*Chicken stock can be substituted for turkey stock as can the shredded turkey.  I made the stock myself and did most of the seasoning during cooking of the stock in the crock pot.  So, I added very little additional seasoning during preparation of the soup.  If you use pre-prepared stock, you will need to use more seasoning during cooking for flavor.  (approx. ½ tea salt, pepper, and dill; 1 tea rosemary, thyme, and oregano)