Christy aims to inspire people of all ages to gain/regain health by choosing nourishing foods, by cooking more and by living an active lifestyle. Cut the complexity and come into the kitchen! You'll never regret eating well.
*Full disclosure: I am a proud partner of Unilever's Agents of Change program. Unilever® provided me with sample packets of Knorr® One Skillet Meals Southwestern Chicken with Brown Rice and Quinoa Meal starter packets, but the views and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.
Recently, I was talking with my cousin about my job as a nutrition counselor. I mentioned the challenges my clients face when it comes to changing their eating habits to improve their health. Despite my medical nutrition knowledge and good intentions, I know that my diet recommendations will simply serve as “good advice” if I don’t take into consideration their life stressors, budget constraints, food preferences and motivation to make changes. “You have such a difficult job,” she said, which made me pause for moment. I thought, yes I do, but…I love it!
Preparing nutritious meals is as important for my clients as it is for me and my own family. Like them, I find it difficult to make it to the grocery store, find time to cook and feel inspired in the kitchen. This is why I’m so impressed with the latest line of Knorr® One Skillet Meals. Their variety of one skillet meal starters feature organic grains and tasty blends of dried herbs and seasonings that combine perfectly with lean protein and vegetables. They only take about 30 minutes to prepare, make a balanced meal so easy to put together and they are true to their name – everything is combined in a single pan! Knorr® One Skillet Meals are simple, budget friendly, and can help you prepare a nutrient-rich, high-fiber meal that can be customized by adding any plant or animal-based protein and vegetables.
I prepared Knorr® One Skillet Meals Southwestern Chicken with Brown Rice and Quinoa and it was a hit at home! The recipe on the packet suggested chicken breast, which was on sale at my local grocery store (yes!). Pan cooking the vegetables was suggested, but I roasted a combo of corn, peppers, onions and delicious tomatillos. I love how roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the vegetables! So, the chicken and grains were all cooked in one pot, then I tossed everything together and dinner was ready and on the table in approximately 30 minutes.
With so much going on in our lives, slowing down to eat a home-cooked meal is one way to help us feel good and improve our health. Though cooking may sometimes seem daunting, products like Knorr® One Skillet Meals can help get a nutritious and budget-friendly meal on the table quickly!
Try out this recipe and let me know what you think! Feel free to switch out the vegetables and protein choice to your liking! You can find a variety of Knorr® One Skillet Meals at all major grocery stores.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1 inch strips
2 cups water
1 Knorr® One Skillet Meals Southwestern Chicken with Brown Rice and Quinoa meal starter packet
Juice from 1 or 2 key limes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all vegetables to a parchment (or foil) lined sheet pan. Quickly spray vegetables with oil and roast for 25 minutes.
While vegetables are roasting, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large skillet. Toss chicken with flour and cook for about two minutes on each side, until browned. Add water and contents of Knorr® One Skillet Meals to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover pan then lower heat to medium low and simmer for about 22 minutes.
Once roasted vegetables are done roasting, fold them into the chicken and quinoa combo. Remove skillet from heat and let stand covered for about 5 minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice over entire dish and serve immediately.
*Full disclosure: I am a proud partner with Unilever's Agents of Change Master Class program. Unilever provided me with coupons to purchase Best Foods®/Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise, but the views and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.
If you want to add flavor and flair to meals, there are shelves full of products to choose from at our local grocery stores. For years, we’ve been dipping, dressing and spreading our vegetables, meats, breads and crackers with all sorts of stuff. Personally, I’ve always loved the creamy, rich texture and flavor that Best Foods®/Hellmann’s® Mayonnaiseadds to my sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. I recently experimented with this old favorite and added a little tang and spice to it! With just a few added ingredients, I made a tasty sauce that adds a spicy kick to anything I’d typically add plain mayo to--and more! My Chipotle Chili Mayo Sauce is perfect to spread on sandwiches, burgers, drizzled over hot dogs and tacos, as well as rice and grilled vegetables like corn, peppers and zucchini.
Why do I choose Best Foods®/Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise? It’s made with real, simple ingredients that are sourced from trusted American Farms including cage-free eggs and responsibly sourced oils. The plant-based oils in Best Foods®/Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that can part of an overall heart-healthy diet. As a culinary-focused dietitian, I love the versatility of this product! By adding a few ingredients to the mayo, I can change the flavor of my foods to be sweet, savory or spicy, and I know that simple flavor-enhancers like my chipotle chili mayo encourages my kids to eat an even wider variety of vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
In honor or National Family Meals Month, get creative in your kitchen and try out this quick and simple recipe to kick up the flavor of your favorite foods!
You’re 5 ingredients away from you’re new favorite condiment!
Best Foods®/Hellmann’s® Chipotle Chili Mayo Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: Less than 10 minutes
¼ cup Best Foods®/Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon canned chipotle peppers in adobo, diced
1 tablespoon adobo
1 teaspoon chili powder
Add all ingredients to a small blender and mix until combined.
*Note: if you don’t have a blender, finely dice chipotle peppers and whisk all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
Drizzle this chipotle chili mayo on rice, vegetables or any grilled meats or fish.
Over the past few years I’ve become a big fan of the chicken curry dish at one of our local Indian restaurants. I’ve also found a small restaurant by work that makes a delicious chicken curry kabob for lunch that I treat myself to every once in a while. In effort to replicate something like it at home for my kids, I did a little research and figured out how to make this amazing dish, with a little twist!
Earlier this year, I took a tour of the Blue Diamond factory in Sacramento and I was able to sample a variety of Almond Breeze® products. From Original Unsweetened Almond Breeze® Almondmilk, to its chocolate varieties, to its Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend and even its creamy Chashewmilk Blend varieties, it made me start thinking and experimenting with all the ways to use these varieties in cooked dishes--outside of the typical smoothie and cereal recipes. In my mission to nail-down this curry recipe, I discovered that almondmilk was the perfect ingredient for my base sauce!
Using Original Unsweetened Almond Breeze® Almondmilk, this chicken curry recipe was a dinnertime hit! With minimal added fat and salt, this dish delivered so much flavor. The curry paste is made with aromatic vegetables like onion and garlic, fresh ginger, and earthy seasonings like cumin, garam masala, cardamom, and a little spice from chili powder and a pinch of cayenne. The almondmilk brings these flavors together with added texture and extra nutrition without taking away the color or intense flavors from the paste. Unsweetened Original Almond Breeze® delivers almost half of our daily value of bone-building calcium, a quarter of our vitamin D needs, no added sugar and only 2 ½ grams of total fat (none of which are saturated).
For parents looking for an easy one-pot recipe that’s simple to make during busy weekday nights – look no further! Although I made this recipe using unsweetened almondmilk, I’m totally trying this out with Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend and Chashewmilk Blend varieties! Try it out, too, and let me know what you think!
1 pound chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ cups Almond Breeze® Original Unsweetened Almondmilk
2 tablespoons cilantro, plus more for serving, chopped
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For curry paste:
½ medium sweet onion (about 1 cup), chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 inch piece ginger root, sliced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons Almond Breeze® Original Unsweetened Almondmilk
To make the curry paste, place the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, garam masala, and salt with two tablespoons of almond milk in a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until lightly golden. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Heat the second teaspoon of olive oil in the pan the chicken was cooked in, add curry paste. Cook until aromatic, about 2 minutes, then add in tomato paste, Unsweetened Almond Breeze® Almondmilk, cinnamon and chili powders. Stir until tomato paste melts.
Return chicken to the skillet and add in sliced red pepper and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Stir all ingredients to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 25 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened.
Top the curry with remaining cilantro. Eat immediately or allow to cool, then store in airtight container up to 3 days.
*Suggested to serve with steamed basmati rice.
Blue Diamond Almonds
Ever wonder where the almonds that make Blue Diamond Almond Breeze® almondmilk come from? In groves like this in California. February 2018.
*Full disclosure: I am a proud partner with Unilever's Agents of Change Master Class program. Unilever provided me with coupons to purchase Hellmann’s® Avocado Oil Mayonnaise Dressing, but the views and opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.
Anyone who knows me knows that one of my all-time favorite foods is street tacos. A dear friend of mine in New York laughed at me when I visited him and said, “You come all the way out here and you eat tacos?” Yes. Yes, I do.
Where I grew up, tacos are a delicious meal as much as they are a late-night, crave-worthy, street food snack, and each ingredient enveloped inside the tortilla adds flavor and texture to every single bite. From the flavor of the tortilla, to the seasoned meat or fish, and toppings you add to that small, hand-held meal, it all matters! In my hometown of Nogales, Arizona and its sister city, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, restaurants, small stands and food trucks alike all have a buffet of toppings to choose from including a variety of salsas, cheeses, fresh and pickled vegetables and hot sauces. I always loved adding a creamy, tangy avocado puree that I couldn’t find anywhere else except for my local taco establishments.
I’ve partnered with Unilever as part of their Agents of Change Master class and I recently visited their headquarters for an immersion experience where I got to taste and experiment with several of their products, including Hellman’s® Avocado Oil Mayonnaise Dressing. Right away, I knew this was the perfect ingredient to use in my Avocado Mayo Sauce! I topped my chicken tacos with this stuff and it tasted just as good as any taco stand version. It added flavor, texture and extra nutrition to my meal. This mayo is made with high-quality and responsibly sourced ingredients like 100% cage free eggs and oils that are sourced from trusted American farms. This product contains good fats such as Omega-3 Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA)*, vitamin E and has 30% less fat and calories than Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise.
Made with only six ingredients, my Avocado Mayo Sauce is quick to whip-up in a blender and isn’t just for tacos! Add it to grilled fish, lean meats, roasted corn or as a dip for fresh vegetables. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
*Contains 320 milligrams of ALA per serving, which is 20% of the 1.6 grams recommended daily value.
Avocado Mayo Sauce is the perfect topping for tacos!
Avocado Mayo Sauce with Hellmann’s®Avocado Oil Mayonnaise Dressing
*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Saborea Uno Hoy, however all opinions, experiences and enjoyment of avocados are completely my own!
When it comes to adding flavor to foods, there is no doubt that salt, sugar and fat will do the job. Think about your favorite food and I guarantee you that it’s one, or a combo of at least two of these three flavor sources that has you hooked! French fries? Salt and fat. Ice cream? Fat and sugar. Bacon? Fat and salt, and if you like some maple tossed in there, it’s all three flavor sources that are hitting your palate’s bliss point.
It’s true that too much of any one of these flavor sources won’t make for a healthy meal/snack or a healthy heart, but one fat source I enjoy with my meals and one I highly recommend to my clients is avocado. Though outdated diet dogma tells us that that all fats are unhealthy, current research indicates that unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados (and most other plant-based fat sources like nuts, seeds and olives) can help keep our hearts healthy. This is especially important to note since heart disease is the #1 killer in America, and according to the National Institutes of Health, Hispanics are typically at higher risk because they are more likely to have risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity, among others.
Check out these four simple ways you can boost the flavor and heart health benefits of your meals by adding delicious, nutrient-rich avocados! (For the recipes, click on the recipe titles below.)
1. There's no better way to get your day started on the right foot than to eat a quick, delicious, and satisfying breakfast! A nourishing breakfast with a combination of heart healthy fat, protein, and fiber will keep you energized throughout the morning. Start your day off right with My Barrio Breakfast Toast made with smashed avocado on a slice of whole grain bread (locally baked here in Tucson at Barrio Bread Bakery), topped with an over easy egg and your favorite salsa. Perfecto!
2. Avocados not only add a creamy texture to my Pistachio-Avo Soup, they also adds good fats to this soup that helps keep you satisfied and nourished. Monounsaturated fat in avocados will not cause levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) or triglyceride to rise. So, instead of adding a highly saturated fat like butter or cream to your soup, whip in some avocado and taste the difference!
Pistachio Avo-Tomato Soup
Servings: 6, 1 cup servings Total time: 25 minutes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomato
1 can stewed tomato
4 ounces vegetable juice
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1, 4 ounce can diced green chili
¾ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1 ½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/8 teaspoon season salt
1 ripe avocado, halved and sliced, plus ½ avocado for garnish
½ cup cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, stirring frequently until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
Stir in diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, vegetable juice, broth, green chili, pistachios, paprika, pepper, chipotle and season salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil. Allow soup to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add avocado, cilantro and lime juice to soup and stir all ingredients to combine.
Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
With a hand held immersion blender*, carefully puree soup to desired consistency. Serve and garnish with additional cilantro and sliced avocado.
*If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer soup to a blender or food processor to puree ingredients. Add pureed soup back into the pot and serve as directed.
3. According to the Center for Disease Control, compared with non-Hispanic males, Hispanic men are at a higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, which puts them at a greater risk for heart disease. Did you know that 1 in 4 Hispanic males die of stroke or heart disease? June is Men’s Health Month, and including foods with healthy fats like avocados and foods with lots of fiber and plant-based protein, like beans and farro are excellent ways to keep our guys healthy and satisfied! My Mexican Bean Salad and my Mango Farro Salad are perfect examples of hearty and healthy meals.
4. Some things just go together. Cake and ice cream. A movie and popcorn. One of my favorite combos? Tacos and avocado. My Soy Cilantro Shrimp Tacos are definitely upgraded on the flavor scale once diced avocado is added to the mix! The heart healthy unsaturated fat (6 grams per 1/3 serving) and fiber (3 grams) from avocado make this a nutrient rich and satisfying meal. (Source: Saborea Uno Hoy)
Enjoy this collection of recipes and for even more recipes featuring Hass Avocados and nutrition info, check out Saborea Uno Hoy.