Category Archives: Holiday Eating

Fish Tacos

A couple of weeks ago was Cinco de Mayo, a day when people were out having tequila shots, chips and salsa, and all sorts of Mexican food. Unfortuantely I didn’t get to celebrate that day, but reading blog posts about the day definitely put me in the mood for some Mexican food of my own. So the next night I whipped up some fish tacos for a fun, interactive dinner. The next time you’re in the mood for Mexican, make some at home and try this recipe!

Fish Tacos
Serves 4

Ingredients: 

fish taco recipe

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, sliced in half moons
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (keep some seeds depending on preferred level of spiciness)
  • fish taco recipe1 pound tilapia filets
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes (1 additional lime for serving)
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 12-oz can no-salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped
  • Watermelon Salsa (optional)
  • Nonfat Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add one tablespoon of canola oil to a medium sauté pan and heat over medium. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté
    2-3 minutes, until softened. Add bell peppers and sauté for another 5-7 minutes until the onions and peppers are fully cooked. Add jalapeno pepper and cook for another 30-60 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside in a bowl covered with aluminum foil.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl combine remaining tablespoon of oil, and chili powder and cumin to taste. Place fish filets in a baking dish and brush both sides with marinade. Drizzle fish with half of the lime juice. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the fish is fully cooked.
  3. While the fish is cooking, cut avocados in half, remove pits, and scoop avocado from the peel and put in a mixing bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado until it is mostly smooth. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Set aside.
  4. Put drained black beans in a blender and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat corn tortillas according to package directions.
  6. Remove fish from oven and let sit for 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
  7. Serve with sautéed vegetables, mashed avocado, black bean spread, corn totrillas, cilantro, and  watermelon salsa and Greek yogurt (if using).
  8. Assemble tortillas as desired and enjoy!

avocado recipes     healthy fish recipes

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

mexican food healthy choicesToday people are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride and a commemoration of the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War (according to Wikipedia). As part of the celebration, you may be going out for Mexican food and having a margarita (or two). But before you do, you may want to know just what’s in some of those Mexican specialties before you indulge too much!

Here’s some nutrition info about Mexican favorites:

Instead of: Choose:
Frozen margarita: range from 250-300 calories Margarita on the rocks: 170 calories
Corona beer: 150 calories Corona light beer: 99 calories
Lemonade (8 oz): 165 calories Sparkling lemonade (1/2 lemonade, 1/2 seltzer): 83 calories
Crispy shell tacos  Soft shell tacos
Flour tortillas Corn tortillas
Taco bowl salads Salads sans taco bowl
Refried beans Black beans
Sour cream Salsa and/or Guacamole

The best piece of advice I can give you is to share! Portions at Mexican restaurants tend to be very big, so to keep your portions in check share with a friend.

Take a look at some of the previous Nutritioulicious posts about Mexican food:
Real Mexican Dining
Mexican Cooking at Home
Homemade Quesadillas
Wonderful Ways to Use Watermelon

What are you doing to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Matzo Pizza

One of my favorite meals to make on Passover is matzo pizza. I’ve always been a fan of thin crust pizza, so I don’t find matzo pizza to be that different. I’ve also been told I make a mean matzo pizza — in fact, at my bridal shower when my husband was asked which recipe of mine is his favorite he said matzo pizza. (At the time he clearly hadn’t tasted most of my dishes!)

For many years I made matzo pizza on regular square matzo; however, a few years ago it occurred to me that if I use round shmura matzo it will be more like a regular pizza. (Shmura is hebrew for “guarded” and the matzo is hand-made and tends to be crispier than the machine-made square matzos.) The end result was fabulous and ever since that’s the way I’ve made it!

matzo pizza recipe

Matzo Pizza
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 pieces of shmura matzo (use whole wheat or regular matzo if you don’t have shmura)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onions)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella and/or cheddar cheese
  • Dried basil & oregano
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375oF.
  2. Spread tomato sauce on each of the pieces of matzo. Top with chopped vegetables and cheese. Sprinkle with herbs.
  3. Bake pizza for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to bubble.

matzo pizza recipe passover     passover pizza recipe

Nutrition Note: To make the meal complete, serve with a large mixed salad.

Have you ever tried matzo pizza? What toppings do you like on your pizza?

Quinoa on Passover

Tonight starts the eight-day long Jewish holiday of Passover, during which one may not eat chametz — the collective name for leavened products containing wheat, barley, oats, rye, or spelt.

passover holiday

Last Passover I told you about matzo – the unleavened bread that Jews eat over the course of the holiday. Over the years, supermarket shelves have become stocked with more and more foods that are Kosher for Passover, including noodles and rolls (generally made out of potato flour). One item that was approved for Passover and has become popular over the past few years is quinoa.

As quinoa has risen in popularity, rabbinical authorities realized that it is a Kosher for Passover grain — very exciting news for Jews who knew about quinoa and all it’s virtues. I for one was thrilled with this news — one more food that we can eat on Passover to avoid the monotony of matzo and potatoes.quinoa passover

I’ve mentioned quinoa before, but never really shared all of its benefits. Here are some facts about quinoa:

  • It’s an ancient grain (like einkorn), although it is actually a seed related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard.
  • It’s the only grain that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids you need.
  • It’s high in fiber and a very good source of the minerals manganese, magnesium, and iron.
  • It’s gluten-free.

Interestingly, there was an article in today’s NY Times questioning whether quinoa is in fact Kosher for Passover. The reason for the debate? Some Rabbis say that some quinoa grown in Bolivia (where it originates) is harvested with wheat and corn (two forbidden foods on Passover) so there may be some particles mixed into the packaged quinoa. To me, this debate calls to mind a bigger issue: whether the quinoa is in fact gluten-free —
an important, potentially life-threatening concern for people with celiac disease or wheat and gluten allergies.

To be 100% certain that you are getting gluten-free and Kosher for Passover quinoa you must read the labels. According to Rabbis who approve quinoa for Passover, the two brands that are given thumbs up are Ancient Harvest Quinoa and Trader Joe’s brand. So stick with these if you’re observing the holiday and/or following a gluten-free diet.

What do you think about quinoa? Do you like it?

Make Your Heart Your Valentine

heart health valentine's dayUntil last week, I never really thought about the fact that Valentine’s Day — a day symbolized by the color red, hearts, and chocolate — falls in the middle of American Heart Month — a time also recognized by red and hearts (and you can throw some chocolate in there too, as long as you keep it to dark chocolate!). It could just be a coincidence, but I actually think there’s something interesting about these two events falling out at the same time of year.

Everyone thinks of Valentine’s Day as a day to express love for others, but how about showing some love for yourself by making your heart your valentine?! Treat your heart right this Valentine’s Day by doing any one of the following (or all of them!):

  • Take yourself out to a heart-healthy meal filled with vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein
  • Make a date with the treadmill, a walk in the park, or a spin class to get your heart rate up
  • Have a glass (if you’re a woman) or two (if you’re a man) of red wine
  • Treat yourself to a massage to de-stress
  • Indulge in an ounce of dark chocolate with 60-70% cacoa

Your heart deserves to be treated well, so give it some love this Valentine’s Day!

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Cheesy Bean, Zucchini, & Red Pepper Dip

Between football games and holiday parties there sure are a lot of celebrations this time of year, all of which tend to involve food.  Last week I shared one of my favorite hors d’oeurves, Salmon Ceviche in Cucumber Cups, on fellow dietitian Robyn Webb’s Fabulous Food Finds blog. Today I have another recipe to share, but this time it’s a classic cold weather favorite that is made a bit more nutritiously, while maintaining the delicious flavor.

Cheesy Bean, Zucchini, & Red Pepper Dip
Serves: 8; Serving Size: ½ cuphealthier bean dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1  small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 small red pepper, cubed
  • 1  small red onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2  jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 can (15-ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  teaspoon  chili powder
  • 1 cup grated reduced-fat Monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Repeat step 2 with the red pepper, and then repeat again with the onions.
  4. Once the vegetables are all cooked, add them all back into the pan over low heat for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer vegetables from pan to a small to medium-sized ovenproof bowl. Add the drained beans, salt, pepper, and chili powder and toss to combine.
  6. Top bean and vegetable mixture with cheese and bake for about 10 minutes. Once the cheese is mostly melted, broil the dip for about 2 to 3 more minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve with healthier chips.

Nutrition Information (per ½ cup serving): 106 calories, 7 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g fat, 2g sat fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 247 mg sodium

Cinnamon-Chili and Maple-Glazed Walnuts

As you know, lately I’ve been on a walnut kick ever since my visit to the walnut harvest. Well, a couple of weeks ago the nice people at the California Walnut Commission sent me a 5-pound bag of walnut halves from this year’s harvest! So I knew I needed to get cooking in the kitchen with these nutrition-filled babies!

california walnuts

5-pound bag of California walnuts

First thing I thought to make was spiced walnuts. I wanted to combine some of the sweetness of caramelized walnuts without all the stickiness, so I decided to do a combo of salty and sweet, and what I ended up with was a batch of Cinnamon-Chili and Maple-Glazed Walnuts, perfect to snack on and to serve at a holiday cocktail party!

Cinnamon-Chili and Maple-Glazed Walnuts
10 servingsmaple glazed walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 11/2 cups walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the walnuts, maple syrup, and all the seasonings to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the nuts are coated and caramelized, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the pan and let cool. Once the walnuts have settled, use a fork to break apart pieces that have stuck together.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 122 calories, 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, 10 g total fat (1 g saturated fat, 7 g polyunsaturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat), 0 g cholesterol, 30 mg sodium

What’s your favorite way to cook with walnuts?