Blog



New Year, New You, No Resolutions

 
Happy 2019

 

Tabula Rasa. What a wonderful phrase. But it doesn't mean "no worries." It does, however, mean just what we often need-- a blank slate, a reset, a doorway we step through into a brighter, unmarred future. But are we really prepared to fill that slate with resolutions that, even as we make them, ring hollow and loom too large an undertaking?

 

Some of us are. Some can set a goal and achieve it easy-peasy. Some of us need help. If you are like me, you fall into the latter majority-- we could use a little nudge, a bit of friendly, positive motivation and realistic, bite-sized pieces of our end goals measured out to us in actionable steps so we don't choke and end up tossing the whole idea until next New Year. That's why we think that the best resolutions are no resolutions at all.

Instead, we think adopting a new lifestyle is key to flipping that change switch in your mind-- keep taking small steps toward a greater goal and keep committing to it no matter what time of year, day one or day one hundred and one.  But we know what is on most folks' minds. A healthier version of self.

So, in the spirit of breaking down the madness of setting resolutions, we bring you everyone's number one resolution broken down into those bite-sized pieces . . .  the food side of that resolution, we mean, lifestyle change, eating healthy. Start with what makes you comfortable, not too arduous or stark in change . . . like making over your favorite foods with substitutes you can live with. And when it comes to that, we got your back.

Below are makeover comfort foods to get you started on your journey to the new you.

 

1. Pizza. 

To adapt pizza, we suggest using the most popular and healthy option, cauliflower. Switching out the crust for this cruciferous veggie will not only cut carbs but will add fiber and nutrition to your meal.

Try this recipe from Food Network:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower, stalk removed
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until fine. Steam in a steamer basket and drain well. (I like to put it on a towel to get all the moisture out.) Let cool.

In a bowl, combine the cauliflower with the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt, garlic powder, and eggs. Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

Add desired toppings and bake an additional 10 minutes.

 

2. Fries

You can healthy-up those fries several ways. The first way, a baby step, is to oven fry your spuds. But if you really want to kick it up a notch, or several, try more adventurous options like sweet potatoes, jicama, and carrot fries! They are sooo good-- and so good for you. 

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fries
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Depending on how many sweet potatoes you've cut, add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a large mixing bowl and add your spices - go light on the salt to keep it even more healthy. Stir together then toss the sweet potatoes in the mix. Spread the fries on a cookie sheet (I spray mine with a little cooking spray). Put in the oven for 20 minutes. Stir the fries and bake until crispy. Enjoy!

 

3. Noodles

These are delish! Zucchini noodles are the perfect substitute for flour-based pastas. Or you can try spaghetti squash.

Zucchini noodles are easy to make with a Spiralizer or julienne peeler. Just steam until al dente and top with your favorite sauce. Other options include roasted vegetable noodles (sweet potatoes, parsnips, and turnips) served in a curry sauce as a side, or even adding vegetable noodles to soups instead of the flour-based ones. 

 

4. Oven-Fried Chicken

To pare down this dish to a healthier version, we recommend the barely-noticeable difference in the oven-fried option.

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
1 quart buttermilk
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
1-2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
Canola oil (when using a cast iron skillet)
Cooking Spray

Directions
Wash the chicken breasts and pat dry. Add garlic and pepper to the buttermilk and mix. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix rosemary, salt, and a dash of garlic and pepper in a small ramekin. Put the flour in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Sprinkle your spices over both sides of the chicken.

Baking on a Cookie Sheet
Coat your cookie sheet with cooking oil and place the chicken on the sheet. Spray the chicken with cooking spray. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Check your chicken and turn. Bake until until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

Baking in a Cast Iron Skillet
Put in just enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Place chicken in the skillet leaving some room around each piece. Spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes, then turn. Bake until golden brown and chicken is no longer pink inside.

5. Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients
½ acorn or butternut squash, cubed (optional)
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes (you may want to include one with green chilies)
1 14.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 8-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained (I used no salt)
¼ - ½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon (or to taste) chili powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions
Cube your squash and steam for 3-4 minutes then set aside. In a large skillet saute the onion and green pepper for about 3 minutes. Mix tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, corn, cranberries, pumpkin puree, red pepper flakes, and chili powder in a large saucepan, then stir in the squash and peppers and onions. Bring to a low boil then simmer for 30 minutes or more. Enjoy topped with cheese and served with crackers.

If I’m going to cook the chili longer, I skip steaming the squash (I cut the cubes a little smaller) and sautéing the peppers and onions. Recipe submitted by Sheri, an employee at the Mast Store Home Office.

One final note . . . or three. There are many vegetables that perform double duty or better when it comes to making lighter fare. The mighty cauliflower springs to mind as the most versatile of vegetables, but there's also spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, black beans, mushrooms, jicamas, and many more. Bonus recipes are listed below to help you use some of those versatile veggies in lighter fare.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, brought to you by Franks Hot Sauce, my favorite!!

Ingredients
1 cup white, whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup FRANK'S RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine flour, water, salt, and garlic powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Add cauliflower and stir gently until florets are evenly coated with batter. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on lightly oiled, large baking sheet (preferably nonstick). Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Combine Cayenne Pepper Sauce and melted butter and pour evenly over cauliflower. Toss gently until cauliflower is evenly coated. Bake for 10 minutes or until cauliflower begins to crisp, rearranging florets occasionally if needed. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.