Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stuffed Green Bell Peppers

Hey guys, today I wanted to share with you all something a little different. If you have never had stuffed bell peppers you all need to try them! They are very good. This recipe does take a little longer, about an hour and a half, but there are ways you can make it much easier and cut down the time to only 45 minutes in an oven. Here is the recipe. Hope ya'll enjoy it.

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked rice
3 large green bell peppers, tops cut off and seeded.
1.5 lbs lean ground beef or turkey
1 onion, diced
garlic, salt and pepper to taste
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1) In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Add the rice, stir and reduce heat to low. Cook covered for about 20-30  minutes.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3) Place green bell peppers in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Remove bell peppers and set aside in a baking dish.
4) In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown the meat. After draining the meat, mix in onion, cooked rice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Poor in the tomato sauce and mix thoroughly. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes.
5) Spoon the meat mixture into each of the bell peppers. Bake in over for 45 minutes or until mixture begins to brown.
6) sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

*You can make this a lot more simple by making the meat mixture the day before and then just heating it up and adding it into the bell peppers to bake.

Adapted from

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grilled Tilapia/Chicken With a Mint Tea Glaze

I made this recipe using tilapia for the meat. It was a very sweet glaze, which took me off guard, but the meal was delicious. Next time I am going to try it on chicken breast instead because I think it would taste really good on chicken. Next time your up for cooking chicken or fish a different way, try this out.
Ingredients For the Glaze:
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
4 bags black tea
juice of one lime
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Directions for the glaze:
Boil water and sugar over high heat. Add the tea bags, remove from heat and steep tea bags for 10 minutes.
Remove tea bags, add lime juice and reduce tea over high heat until it coats the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes).
Off heat, add in the mint leaves and pepper flakes.
Steep mint leaves for 2 minutes and then remove them.
Directions for chicken or tilapia:
Take thawed chicken or tilapia and brush the glaze over both sides of the meat.
Place meat on a girll and cook until meat is done, adding more glaze periodically.
*I paired this with some black eyed peas and a tossed salad with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and a light champagne dressing made by Girards. It was delicious!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Skinny on McD's

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Intern, Lauren Versweyveld.

With a McDonald’s right across the street it is safe to say that no matter how hard you try to stick to your healthy eating plan you will find yourself at this fast food giant from time to time.  

  But with meal options like a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese paired with an order of large fries (resulting in 1,240 Calories and 67 grams of fat) – you can easily ruin your next workout or daily nutrition plan.  So, how do you navigate the menu so that your trip to McDonald’s doesn’t completely ruin your attempts at eating healthy?  Try one of these “healthier” McDonald menu options:

Smarter Breakfast Choices:
             English muffin:
a.       160 Calories; 3 grams of fat
2)      Egg McMuffin:
a.       300 Calories; 12 grams of fat
3)      Fruit and Yogurt Parfait:
a.       160 Calories: 2 grams of fat
-          Add 1% Lowfat milk to your meal for some protein and calcium: 100 Calories and 2.5 grams of fat

Smarter Lunch and Dinner Choices:
      Grilled classic chicken sandwich:
a.       420 Calories; 10 grams of fat
2)      Grilled honey mustard or grilled chipotle BBQ snack wraps:
a.       260 Calories; 9 grams of fat
3)      Hamburger Happy Meal (doesn’t have to be just for kids) with Apple Dippers and 1% Milk:
a.       460 Calories; 12 grams of fat
4)      Premium Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad: (without dressing)
a.       320 Calories; 9 grams of fat
5)      Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with grilled chicken (without dressing)
a.       260 Calories: 9 grams of fat
6)      Premium Caesar Salad with grilled chicken (without dressing)
a.       220 Calories; 6 grams of fat
-          Better for you dressings for your salads include:
o   Newman’s Own Southwest dressing: 100 Calories; 6 grams of fat
o   Newman’s Own Lowfat Balsamic dressing: 40 Calories; 3 grams of fat
o   Newman’s Own Lowfat Italian: 60 Calories; 0.5 grams of fat

Next time you find yourself at the McDonald’s across the street, try to choose one of these better-for-you choices!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Simple Taco Salad

Hey guys, I found this recipe online and tried it out last week. It was a very quick and easy dinner to throw together and it was very tasty.

1 lb ground turkey with taco seasoning
1 cup black beans
6 T salsa
6 cups spinach
1 cup chopped yellow bell peppers
1 cup chopped tomatoes
6 T guacamole

Cook the turkey meat until it is well grounded up and cooked through.
Add the yellow bell peppers and cook until they are crisp tender.
Rinse the black beans, then add them to the meat and peppers along with the tomatoes.
Cook for about 4 minutes until all the contents in the pan are hot.
Remove from pan and add the spinach.
Split the contents between four plates and add 2 T salsa and 2 T guacamole to each plate.

And Enjoy!! =)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cooking Demo: High Protein Breakfast

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Intern, Lauren Versweyveld.

Today we held a cooking demonstration for the women’s tennis team.  The theme of the day was starting your day with a protein filled breakfast!  

Breakfast is such an important way to start the day because it helps to jump start your metabolism, gives you fuel for the day, and helps to stabilize blood sugars so that you are less likely to crave unhealthy choices later in the day.

For today’s breakfast menu, we included: microwave spinach scrambled eggs, high protein blueberry pancakes, and Greek yogurt parfaits made with homemade microwave granola.  All the recipes were high in protein and rich in nutrients – perfect for starting the day out right.  The recipes were also easy to make with little dorm room cooking equipment required and were quick fixes for even busy mornings.

Following are two of the recipes that we included in our demonstration:

Microwave Granola:

2-1/4 Cups Oats                                                ¼ Cup butter (cut into pieces)
1 Cup mixed fruit and nuts                                  1-1/4 tsp. cinnamon
½ Cup Honey                                                     ¼ Cup wheat germ (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook on high for 2 minutes.  Stir. Then cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from microwave and mix well.  Spread onto a large cooking sheet to cool.  Store in an air tight container.
      You can modify this recipe to meet your taste preferences by substituting different types of dried fruit and nuts.
-          Layer granola with Greek Yogurt and Fruit to make a yummy breakfast parfait!

Nutritional Facts:
Serving Size: 1   Servings per recipe: 8
Calories: 383
Fat: 13.6 grams
Carbohydrates: 59 grams
Protein: 10 gram
Cost per serving: $2.23

High Protein Blueberry Pancakes:

1 Cup Blueberries                            3 eggs
1 Cup plain Greek Yogurt                1 Cup whole-wheat flour
1 Cup low-fat cottage cheese           ½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt

Whisk together the yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggs in a bowl.  Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.  Add the flour to the yogurt mixture and stir until blended.  Stir in blueberries. Heat a large skillet and coat with nonstick cooking spray.  Add batter in large spoonfuls (about ¼ Cup).  Flip the pancakes when the tops begin to bubble (3-5 minutes) and cook second side until brown. 
           You can modify this recipe to meet your taste preferences by adding different fruits or nuts to the batter.
Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Serving size: 2 pancakes  Servings per recipe: 4
Calories: 275
Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 33 grams
Protein: 16 gram
Cost per serving: $1.02

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beat the Heat with this Sweet Treat!

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Intern, Lauren Versweyveld.

When the weather begins to heat up, I’m always looking for ways to cool down after a good run or a hard workout.  And who doesn’t love a good Popsicle on a hot day?  Unfortunately, many store-bought popsicles can be high in sugar and low in nutrients.  A solution:  Make your own healthy popsicles with some protein from yogurt and some added nutrition from fruit!

Give one of these frozen treats a try!  Fire up the blender for these perfect treats to beat the heat. 

Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles

1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries or pitted cherries
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
4 (5-ounce) paper cups
Aluminum foil
4 popsicle sticks

Put yogurt, fruit (slightly thawed if using frozen) and honey into a blender and blend to desired consistency. Pour fruit mixture into paper cups, filling each about three-quarters full.

Cover each cup with foil.  Then make a small slit in the middle of each foil cover. Insert Popsicle sticks into foil, then freeze cups until solid, about 5 hours. When ready to eat, peel off paper cups and eat.

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Popsicles

1 Container (17.6 oz) 0% Greek Yogurt ( I use 0% to cut fat)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup honey (more or less to taste)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Poor into paper cups, cover with foil, and insert a popsicle stick.  Freeze until solid (usually around 5 hours). Peel off paper cup and enjoy!!

Be creative and mix up these recipes with some of your favorite fruits!
Adapted from: and

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

3 Healthy Vegetable Sides

So it seems we always focus on the main dish of a meal and then throw together the rest whether its vegetables from a can or another quick and easy side. I decided to give ya'll a few great vegetable side recipes that my mom used to make all the time to add to our dinners. They are pretty simple, but with these seasonings you are sure to have a delicious side to your deliscious main dish.

1) Sauteed Zucchini
1 T olive oil
2 large zucchini cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add zucchini and sautee for 4 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove from pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Voila!

2) Roasted Curried Cauliflower
6 cups cauliflower florets
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 475
Combine all ingredients on a pan and toss well to coat.
bake for 18 minutes until browned or crisp tender stirring occasionally

3) Sauteed Carrot Coins
1/4 cup water
1 pound peeled carrots, cut diagonally into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 T butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 T fresh parsley

Place water and carrots in a large skillet, cover and cook over medium heat for 6 minutes or until carrots are crisp tender.
Drain carrots and then melt butter in the pan over medium-high heat.
Add carrots back to pan along with salt and pepper. Sautee 3 minutes or until completely tender and lightly browned.
Top carrots with parsley and serve.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spaghetti Squash 101

Never tried spaghetti squash??  Well now is the time!  Its a mix between spaghetti & a vegetable...what could be better?!?!  Well its not really a mix, but it is a vegetable that closely resembles spaghetti noodles in appearance.  The nutrition is not quite the same though - 1 cup of spaghetti squash has about 40 calories and 9 grams of carbs.  1 cup of spaghetti noodles (whole wheat of course!) will cost you about 175 calories and about 40 grams of carbs.

I like to serve this as a side dish - pair it with some grilled chicken and a salad for a complete meal.  My favorite way to fix it is to toss it with a little bit of butter and Parmesan cheese on top, but you can definitely top it with marinara, alfredo sauce, pretty much whatever you like!  It doesn't have too much flavor so you can top it with anything.

Here is how it works...

First, cut it in half long ways, make sure to rinse it off really well first.  If you put it in the microwave for about 3-5 minutes it will be easier to cut.

It kinda looks like a pumpkin inside, so you will want to pull out all the seeds and stringy stuff (maybe it's called pulp?)...

Next, place it face down in a baking dish with about 1/4 c water - enough to cover the bottom of the dish. 

I cook it in the microwave (lazy) for about 10-12 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.  It can also be baked in the oven (uncovered) at 350 for about 45 minutes.  It will be pretty hot so be careful, but it should be soft and flexible when it's done.  Using a fork, pull it away from the skin, it will come off in strings that look like spaghetti...its very strange, but so good!

Next, toss it with whatever topping you like and serve!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Egg Nutrition

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Intern, Lauren Versweyveld.

With Easter right around the corner, why not consider the nutrition of protein-packed eggs?  Eggs are an excellent source of protein which can help athletes recover after a hard workout and help to provide sustaining energy for performance.  Eggs are a great natural source of many vitamins, including vitamin D and vitamin K.  Both these vitamins are important in bone health.  Why not try a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs or an egg salad sandwich for lunch? 

Here are a few great nutritious egg recipes to try:

Veggie & Egg Scramble:

½ Small Onion
5 Large Mushrooms
½ Red Pepper
2 Asparagus Stalks
2-3 Eggs
½ Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Cumin and a ½ tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper or Italian Seasoning
Pepper, to taste

Dice all of the vegetables and toss them in with the oil at medium heat in a small sauce pan. Add your spices here; you can either do a spicy version with cumin and cayenne pepper, or Italian seasoning. Cook the vegetables until they reach a consistency that you like (add any additional vegetable you like).

Scramble the eggs in a separate bowl. Lowering the temperature just a bit, add the eggs to the fry pan with the cooked vegetables and stir until they are cooked thoroughly. Enjoy!

Garden Vegetable and Egg Salad Sandwiches

2 slices whole wheat bread slices
1 hard-boiled eggs
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1/8 cup carrot (grated)
1/8 cup celery (diced)
¼ cup spinach (fresh)

Mix hard-boiled eggs, light mayonnaise, carrots, celery and spinach together in a medium-sized bowl.  Spoon onto bread slices. 

Recipes from and