Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

To celebrate The Recipe ReDux‘s 5th birthday, this month’s theme is to highlight another ReDuxer’s recipe. This was a great opportunity for me to check out the Recipe ReDux blogroll. Through it, I discovered The Foodie Physician, a board certified Emergency Medicine physician, mom, culinary school graduate, recipe developer and cookbook author. I’m so glad I came across her blog. I’m so inspired by Sonali because she’s living many of the aspirations I’ve had for a long time! I’m truly impressed that as a mother and physician, she still finds the time to share creative and family-friendly healthy recipes on her lovely blog. You should definitely check her out!

Somali’s recipe for strawberry stuffed french toast caught my eye because breakfast is my favorite meal. In fact, Colby and I enjoyed this seemingly decadent strawberry french toast for dinner tonight! It tasted like we were eating dessert for dinner, and I’m not mad about it. Added bonus? It took only about 20 minutes to make from start to finish!

Check out my version of Sonali’s delicious strawberry stuffed french toast below.

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Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A decadent tasting yet lower calorie french toast stuffed with a sweet ricotta and fresh strawberry filling.


Adapted from: thefoodiephysician.com

Ingredients

  • ½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, at room temperature (1/3 less fat than cream cheese)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons honey, divided
  • 8 slices of whole grain white bread, or traditional whole grain bread
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup milk, any type
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Nonstick cooking spray or butter, for the griddle
  • Optional: maple syrup or whipped cream for serving

Directions

    1. Mix the ricotta cheese, Neufchâtel cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons honey together in a bowl.  Spread equal amounts of the filling on each slice of bread.  Arrange strawberry slices on the surface of 4 slices of bread and top them with the other 4 slices of bread, forming 4 sandwiches.
  1. Whisk the egg and egg whites, milk, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon honey together in a bowl or shallow dish.
  2. Heat a griddle or large skillet over
 medium heat and spray with a bit of cooking spray or brush with a small amount
 of butter. Dip each sandwich into the
 egg mixture for a few seconds on each side
 and place them on the griddle. Cook
 3–4 minutes until golden brown, then flip and cook another 3–4 minutes on the second side.
  3. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and let them cool slightly. Cut into triangles. Serve with fresh strawberries, a little maple syrup, and/or whipped cream.

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This dish is seriously delicious! Make it a point to try it out and visit Sonali’s website for more great recipes. Scroll down to check out this month’s Recipe ReDux posts in the linkup!

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

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Ukrainian Beet Soup (Borscht)

My grandmother is an excellent cook. She lives in Poland, but whenever I talk to her on the phone or Skype, she tells me about her latest recipe creations. She would be an excellent healthy food blogger because she has a knack for transforming typically high calorie dishes into light yet flavorful meals. I only lived in Poland for about 7 years of my life, but my sister and I traveled back to visit almost every summer through middle school and high school. She made us countless delicious meals, including Polish classics like pierogi, hunter’s stew, leniwe kopytka (potato and cheese dumplings), surowki (vinaigrette dressed coleslaws), kotlety schabowe (thinly pounded and breaded pork tenderloin), and kotlety mielone (a cross between hamburger and meatloaf), tomato soup, and Ukranian borscht. One summer, when I was 12, I decided to write down her recipes for my favorite classics. It was very challenging since she never measures anything! I’d ask how much flour she was using, for example, and she would say “a glassful.” Whenever she seasoned something it was with “a good amount” or a “heaping spoonful.” Back then I was all about precision, so it was frustrating to guesstimate how much of everything she was using. Now that I’m older and cook more often, I can relate to her way of doing things. It’s actually pretty tricky to blog recipes for me because my inclination is to eyeball measurements rather than busting out the measuring cups and spoons.

In spite of this tendency, here is a precisely measured recipe for one of my childhood favorites, Ukrainian Beet Soup! It’s packed full of veggies and so incredibly flavorful. The rye-bread taste of caraway seeds really stands out in this soup.

Ukranian Borsht

Ukrainian Beet Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

A hearty vegetarian soup bursting with delicious caraway seed flavor

Adapted from my grandmother’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 large beet, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (can sub beef or chicken stock)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill weed, chopped
  • black pepper, to taste
  • sour cream and fresh dill for topping

Directions

    1. Cook sliced potatoes and beets in stock in a 2 gallon stockpot until vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the stock into a large bowl by pouring everything through a strainer. Set the potatoes and beets aside and keep the stock.
  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in the stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots, caraway seeds, and salt. Cook down for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the cabbage and pour in the reserved stock. Covered, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the potatoes and beets back into the stockpot. Stir in vinegar, tomato sauce, and dill. Season with black pepper to adjust the taste to your liking. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream and fresh dill.

This is seriously one of my favorite soups of all time! Even if you don’t love beets, give it a try. It’s a wonderful way to use the sweet root vegetable in a seriously savory dish.

Beet Soup

Brown Butter Baklava Spread

I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

This is easy and delicious recipe is inspired by the flavors in baklava, a traditional rich dessert made of filo layered with chopped nuts and syrup. The original dessert originates from the Ottoman Empire; you can typically find it served at Greek restaurants. As a spread, baklava can be stirred into oatmeal or layered onto fruits and vegetables. If this recipe gets you to eat more fruits, veggies, or whole grains, I call that a win! As indulgent as it tastes, the walnuts in this recipe make it a nutritious snack choice. Walnuts provide important components of a healthy diet – an ounce of walnuts has 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber to keep you feeling full. Read more about walnut nutrition here.

If you have any qualms about enjoying this delicious brown butter baklava spread, think back to this chart and indulge happily:

California Walnuts ALA Chart

Yum!

Baklava Butter

Baklava Spread

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An indulgent and flavorful dessert spread to enjoy with fresh fruit, toast, or even celery sticks!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant but not dark. Allow to cool completely.
  2. While the walnuts cool, heat the butter in a small saucepan until bubbling and beginning to turn golden brown. Do not burn; remove from heat once the butter is fragrant.
  3. Place the walnuts, browned butter, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes a thick, chunky nut butter. Serve with toasted bread, apple slices, or celery. Alternatively, stir it into oatmeal or leftover quinoa heated with milk.

Here it is on toast:

Baklava Sread on Toast

And here it is stirred into quinoa porridge! It’s easier to make than you think- just heat 1 cup of leftover cooked quinoa with 1/2 cup milk of choice and stir in a heaping spoonful of baklava butter.

Quinoa Walnut Porridge

Are you loving these walnut recipes? Check out more ideas below!

Blueberry Walnut Coffee Cake

I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

One of my favorite cakes is clafoutis because it’s simple to make and healthy enough to eat for breakfast if you use nutritious ingredients! Clafoutis is a cake made with fruit and pancake-like batter dusted with powdered sugar. Traditional French clafoutis features black cherries lined in a buttered dish topped with batter. Similar cakes that use different types pf fruit are technically called flaugnarde. In this blueberry walnut flaugnarde cake recipe, walnut meal elevates the flavor and nutrition profile of the recipe. Did you know that just an ounce of walnuts provides 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber to keep you feeling full? I was surprised, too! I was even more surprised to discover that walnuts are the ONLY nut that’s a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Each serving of this cake packs antioxidants from the blueberries and a full serving of walnuts. Enjoy!

Blueberry Walnut Cake

Blueberry Walnut Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 6
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A hearty, nutty variation of the traditional French clafoutis cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, set aside 1 tablespoon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, set aside 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces fresh blueberries
  • Cooking spray
  • Powdered sugar, whipped cream, additional blueberries, and/or chopped walnuts for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant but not dark. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
  2. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of flour and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
  3. Pulse the cooled walnuts in a food processor to make walnut meal. It should resemble sand. Whisk together the walnut meal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly blend in the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold all but 1/2 cup of the blueberries into the batter.  Transfer the batter to the pie plate. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before topping with powdered sugar, etc. before serving.

Blueberry Walnut Cake Slice

I like this cake served lukewarm with a bit of powdered sugar and whipped cream on top! To store it, allow to cool completely at room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap. It will keep in the fridge for a few days. If you wrap each individual piece in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, it will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.

Blueberry Walnut Coffee Cake

If you like this recipe, you’ll love the other walnut recipes in the linkup at the bottom of this page!

Carrot Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts

I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. 

Are you ready for a week of delicious walnut recipes?

Walnuts are a delicious and versatile ingredient that is the perfect complement to other whole foods for nutritious, tasty meals and snacks. I hadn’t cooked much with nuts in the past, so I used my sister’s book, called The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, to get inspired. This book suggests pairings and ideas for creative cooking. I was impressed by the wide range of foods that walnuts pair with, including cauliflower, grapes, chicken, pear, and many others including the main ingredients in this simple salad recipe: apples, carrots, honey, cinnamon, and ginger!

Walnuts taste bittersweet, but the tannic flavor is minimized when you roast them. This also brings out the roasted nuttiness of the walnuts and enhances their crunchy texture, both of which work wonderfully in this light salad.


Carrot Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh, sweet, and crunchy summer salad.


Ingredients

1/2 cup walnut halves

1 large green apple

3 medium carrots

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon honey (optional)

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant but not dark. Set aside to cool.
  2. Grate the apple and carrots into a large bowl using a box grater or food processor with grater blade.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, cinnamon, and ginger. Pour over the carrots and apples.
  4.  Chop the walnuts roughly, add to the bowl, and stir everything together. Serve immediately or chill for an hour or two.

I’m not a huge fan of dried fruit, but it would be a fabulous way to add some extra sweetness to this salad. The next time I make it, I may toss in a handful of dried cranberries or raisins. If you try that, let me know if you like it!

 

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Salad

This spicy pork tenderloin salad is served with seared tomatoes and a creamy harissa yogurt dressing. Enjoy it with a glass of riesling!

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Salad with Harissa Yogurt Dressing

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Salad with Harissa Yogurt Dressing

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

A flavorful entree salad that won't weigh you down on hot summer days! Delicious with a glass of chilled riesling.

Adapted from: cookinglight.com

Ingredients

  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, jarred
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2  garlic cloves
  • 1 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1  (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4″ thick disks
  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Place bell pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons juice, sambal oelek, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, coriander, and garlic in a food processor; process until smooth. Place half the harissa in a large bowl and set aside. Place the remaining harissa in a microwave safe dish and cook, covered, in the microwave for 60 seconds. Stir and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°.
  3. Combine yogurt, mint, 1 tablespoon juice, and 1 teaspoon cumin in a bowl.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pork to pan; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add pork to harissa in the large bowl, turning to coat. Sear tomato slices in the hot pan for 60 seconds each side. Remove from heat.
  5. Place pork on a rack in a pan; brush with remaining harissa from the large bowl. Bake at 425° for 11 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145°. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes; cut crosswise into 12 slices. Serve 3 slices over 2 cups of mixed greens with tomato slices, a drizzle of microwaved harissa, and a dollop of yogurt sauce.

This recipe is an adaptation of one of Colby’s favorite meals of all time, North African Pork Tenderloin. He has enjoyed other variations of pork tenderloin that I’ve made, but this remains his top pick.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Salad

If you like riesling wine, you’ve gotta try this one! One of my sister’s favorites, Kingfu Girl, is sweet, crisp, and reasonably priced at Trader Joes! It pairs perfectly with the spiciness of the pork tenderloin in this salad.

Kung Fu Girl Riesling

Low Calorie Cucumber & Elderflower Mojito

I really love summer cocktails, but traditional margaritas, daiquiris, mudslides, and mojitos easily pack over 500 calories, largely from sugar! Make the most of your summer drinking with a refreshing low-calorie concoction like this one. The St. Germain liqueur adds just enough sweetness and floral flavor that you don’t have to rely on any added sugars. Mojitos have always been my favorite cocktail because the mint and lime are such a light and refreshing flavor combo. The addition of cucumber seltzer and elderflower liqueur add another layer of complexity!

mojito horizontal

Low Calorie Cucumber & Elderflower Mojito

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A refreshing, light cocktail for summer boozing.

Ingredients

5 fresh mint leaves

1/2 lime, quartered

1.5 oz white rum

0.5 oz elderflower liqueur, such as St. Germain

1/2 cup ice

6 oz cucumber Spendrift seltzer

Optional: Sweetener of choice (Stevia, Splenda, raw sugar, etc.)

Directions

Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and the elderflower liqueur, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with cucumber seltzer water. Stir, taste, and add a bit of sweetener if desired. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.


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PSA: Seltzer water is a low calorie mixer, therefore the alcohol in this cocktail will hit you faster than when you use a sugary mixer! Keep this in mind and be cautious. A small (16 participant) study in 2013 suggested that blood alcohol concentration is raised more from sugar-free cocktails, but drinkers do not notice this effect.

I personally appreciate the fast, happy buzz that comes from a low-cal mojito! You can, too, but be sure not to drink and drive. Have an awesome Memorial Day Weekend!!

Oh yeah! Also be sure to check out the VIDEO version of this recipe. Whaaaaat??!

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Skinny Mini Calzones

This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is “Small Bites” and I’ve been craving pizza, so here’s a fun twist for you to try! My sister and I used to love snacking on Pizza Rolls and 3D Doritos (remember those??) when we were kids. These  mini calzones are like the adult version of Pizza Rolls. Kids would probably love them too, of course!

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Skinny Mini Calzones

  • Servings: 8 palm-sized calzones
  • Print

Ingredients

1 lb pizza dough (homemade or store bought. I’m partial to the Trader Joe’s Herb dough!)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1/3 cup diced mushrooms

1/3 cup chopped spinach, frozen

6 ounces light mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 ounces salami, diced

1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

Flour, for rolling the dough

1 egg white, in a small bowl

1 cup marinara sauce


Directions

  • Set the pizza dough out on the counter to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over high heat. Sauté the onion for about 1 minute, until beginning to caramelize. Add the mushrooms and chopped spinach. Sauté for 1 minute more. Set aside.
  • Make the filling by stirring together the cheese, sautéed veggies, salami, and fresh basil in a bowl.
  • Cut the dough into eight 2-oz pieces. Work with one piece at a time: Make a ball our of the dough piece and set on a lightly floured surface. Press the ball into a disk and roll out into a 6-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Scoop a large spoonful (about 1/4 cup) of filling onto one half of the circle. Fold it over to form a half-moon shape and press the edges to seal it. Place the calzone on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Crimp the edges with a fork and brush with egg white. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.


Each dough ball should look like this:

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And then you fill it like this:

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This is how they should look before they’re baked:

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Once they’re fresh out of the oven,  you can enjoy these cute little calzones with marinara sauce!

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As always, check out other Recipe ReDux posts below!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Do you pack a lunch to work or school? It saves me a lot of money to pack food for myself and Colby each morning. My typical go-to packed snacks are:

-Asian salad: shredded cabbage, spinach, grated carrots, wonton crisps, rotisserie chicken, and sesame soy ginger dressing

-Greek yogurt parfait: plain nonfat Greek yogurt, stevia, frozen mixed berries, and granola cereal

(Actually, that’s been about it lately!)

I love this month’s Recipe ReDux theme because it got me thinking of ways I can branch out and try some new packed lunch ideas. I’m lucky to have a fridge and microwave at work, so almost any meal works for me. If you don’t have that luxury, this meal tastes great chilled! You can pack the seasoned turkey filling in a plastic container, lettuce in a zip top bag, and pack it all in a lunchbox with an ice pack!

I tried making a shortcut tuna fish version of this. Let’s just say that recipe is still a work in progress ;) This version is good to go! I’m happy with the addition of chopped spinach and grated carrots. You get some extra veggies and flavor that way!

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Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)

1 cup frozen chopped spinach, broken up a bit

1/2 cup grated carrots

1 can water chestnuts, drained and diced

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (if you choose one with more than 300 mg sodium per serving, skip the garlic salt)

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoons powdered peanut butter

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

Sriracha sauce (optional)

head of butter lettuce

Preparation: 

  1. Cook the ground chicken (or turkey) in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up the chunks with a spatula and stirring frequently until no longer pink. This should take about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped spinach, grated carrots, and diced water chestnuts. Continue to stir and heat until everything is hot and bubbling, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining seasonings (hoisin sauce through green onion), and continue to stir to combine the flavors for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Scoop into leaves of butter lettuce and drizzle with sriracha sauce if you like it spicier!


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I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen to develop more recipes. Colby has pointed out that the dinners I’ve been making have been “weak” lately. It’s true! We’ve been dining on easy meals, like quesadillas, quick pastas, smoothies, and protein shakes. Challenge accepted- I will make more fast and easy recipes that are a little more imaginative. Can’t wait to share them with you all too :)

Check out more lunch ideas in this month’s Recipe ReDux linkup below!