Figure Friendly Caprese Veggie Stack

I’ve been so busy lately I can’t even begin to explain. I’m so sorry that it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post; but if I’m being totally honest I haven’t had the time to blog or maybe I have just chosen to have a glass of wine after work vs. getting on the computer (shame on me, I know)!

With all that being said it’s also officially summer and man is it hot. So much so that I haven’t really felt like turning on the burners in the kitchen. So, it’s been raw foods or grill. Let me explain why….we do not have AC in the house. Here in Italy it’s not all that common and generally if you want it you get it installed yourself but the house we got doesn’t have one; which of course is something my husband will bring up every summer. I just think that fans are working pretty nicely and seriously AC monthly expenses are just a tad too expensive here in Italy and I much rather spend that money on vacations around Europe, fashion or the amazing food and wine. Seriously it’s a no brainer, I grew up here and I am used to it. When I moved to the States that was one of the things I hated most about it, I had to walk around during the summer season with a light jacket on tow for every time I stepped foot inside any store, restaurant, mall, shop, office or anything that wasn’t outside. I was cold all the time.

Besides being too hot to cook with the stove top, I also have been busy like I previously mentioned getting home at about 8:30 – 9:00 every night so it’s been eat healthy but fast; trying to still be creative. So, this is how this dish came about. It’s really simple, healthy and yes, you can put any veggies or cheese that you prefer. It’s all delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Big Tomatoes

1 Med-Small Eggplant

1/2 lb. Asparagus

1/4 lb. Feta Cheese

Few Basil Leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put your asparagus in foil wrap and put on the grill allowing to steam for about 15 minutes.
Cut your eggplant into 1 inch slices and grill until light grill marks on both sides about 5 minutes each side.

In the meantime slice you tomato a little thicker than an inch. Now slice your feta into thin slices. By now all your ingredients should be ready, so grab your plates and start the stack. Lay the tomato first, sprinkle some salt with a light drizzle of E.V.O.O. and a leaf of basil, place a slice of eggplant sprinkle a bit of salt and E.V.O.O. get a slice of feta and tomato, sprinkle salt and E.V.O.O. place some asparagus on top and continue this process until the final piece is the top of tomato. Now do the other one. Eat and Enjoy!

* I made my husbands with prosciutto crudo so if you like that add that on it was pretty delicious.

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Light, Healthy, Skinny Recipes to help you get that Summer Body

Summer is right around the corner and if you are scrambling to get that latest diet or what have you to help you get in shape I suggest you to just start eating healthy.
This means more seasonal fresh foods, like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts. I live and eat these food groups; and I seem to be doing just fine. The thing about this lifestyle is that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about what you can eat  and what you can’t, how you are going to feel the next day, if your shorts are a bit too tight (or if you’re bulging out of your bikini).
The summer is tough enough already trying to keep yourself hydrated, cool, comfortable, tanning, hair, skin, etc… the last thing you need is to be stressed out about some sort of diet! How many calories, carbs, fat, non-fat, this n’ that. Just eat healthy fresh foods. They provide you with the energy, hydration and beautiful radiant skin to show off; not to mention a smaller waist.

I have a lot of different salads and ways I like to eat my vegetables and of course it’s not hot yet so a salad might not be something that you want to eat. If you start eating healthy now and leave out as much junk food as possible (i.e. artificial sweeteners, sodas, chips, fried foods, prepackaged foods & sweets, along with anything you can’t pronounce) you are going to be in fantastic shape by the summer. It’s really simple you just need to train your body to eat healthy. It’s a chain reaction; once you cut out the bad stuff your body will not crave it anymore. Trust me!

There are billions of ways you can make salads or healthy foods. They aren’t complicated and they don’t have to be boring. I know that the winter isn’t quite over yet and I know a salad might not always give you that warmth of comfort food that you are craving so I have a nice warm healthy recipes here that are simple and delicious.

Warm Bibb Salad w/ Roasted Asparagus and Feta

  • 1 medium head of Bibb salad, washed and pulled apart
  • 10 Asparagus
  • 1/2 lb Feta
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • E.V. Olive oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven at 400°F (200°C). Get a baking dish lay out your Asparagus, drizzle with a little e.v.o. and sprinkle salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Place baking tray in oven and bake for 15 min.
In a medium pan, drizzle some olive oil, allow to heat over medium heat and then add your garlic; once golden add your bibb lettuce season with salt and pepper and carefully mix. You don’t want it to burn or break, just allow it to wilt and then turn off.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your asparagus, top with some wilted lettuce and then sprinkle feta evenly on top and enjoy!

Warm bibb salad with roasted asaragus and feta

Pulled Chicken Breast with Pinto Beans and Avocado
Serves 2

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 cups Pinto Beans, boiled *
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, steamed & shredded**
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Chilli, fresh & diced (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Handful Parsley and Cilantro, washed
  • 2 tbsp. E.V.O oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan add the e.v.o. heat over medium flame and then add the garlic; cook to golden add your tomatoes, chili and beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes then add about 1/2 of your parsley and cilantro then salt, pepper and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your chicken and add the beans on the side. Cut your avocado in half and slice lay on top of food and serve with remaining parsley and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt over avocado. Enjoy!

*You can use a canned beans, just make sure to drain and rinse well. ** For the Chicken, Place in steamer and cook until fork inserted and liquid runs clear. Cool and pull apart. You can boil it too. Season with some salt and pepper.

Pulled Chicken w/ Pinto beans and avocado

Sesame Crusted Tuna on a bed of Cucumber & Arugula topped w/ Avocado
Serves 2

  • 2 6-8 oz Tuna Steaks
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • Sesame seeds, (enough to coat tuna)
  • E.V.O. oil
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • Drizzle of Light Soy sauce (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and Pepper your Tuna steaks, now coat in sesame seeds and set aside.
Grab a mandolin and slice you cucumber, peel and all. (You can peel if you want I liked the texture of it on). Place on the plate one by one creating a nice flat base pattern.

Place a medium pan over medium flame, drizzle some e.v.o and when hot add the tuna steaks, cook for about 2 minutes on each side and quickly on the corners as well. Remove allow to sit for 2 min and then slice or leave whole.

Get you Arugula and toss in some e.v.o, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place a bit at the center of each dish. Place the Tuna steak on the bed of arugula.
Slice Avocado in half, slice again into thin pieces and place on top of tuna topping with a drizzle of soy and remaining lemon. Enjoy!

Sesame crusted Tuna over cucmber and arugula topped with avocado

Shaved Asparagus & Radish w/ Shrimp in a Multi-Lettuce Salad
Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, cooked and deveined
  • 8 Asparagus, washed
  • Handful Radishes, washed
  • 4 Mushrooms, cleaned
  • 5 cups Italian lettuce, (radicchio, romaine, arugula, etc…)
  • 4 tbsp. E.V.O. oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place your salad in a large bowl. Grab a mandolin start slicing your asparagus long-wise, now start slicing your radishes and mushrooms, add all these ingredients to salad bowl as well as shrimp.

Whisk together last 4 ingredients, drizzle over salad and toss until completely combined and serve. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Shrimp salad

And there you have it. Options for your healthy eating. It seems so hard to eat healthy, but in all reality it’s easy and a pleasure. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and feel free to substitute with other vegetables or protein. They are simple, fun, delicious but most of all light and nutritious. They will give you energy and help you feel great and ready for the summer. Happy cooking. Let me know what you think and also try to incorporate a little physical activity to give you that extra boost you need to get you feeling sexy. Ciao

P.s. remember I am not a nutritionist, dietician so please consult your doctor before you go on any diet or change any lifestyle.

Homemade Cesar Salad with Polenta Croutons and grilled Chicken

It was something that we were both craving: a nice cesar salad with a twist, I wanted to make it a little healthier with still the delicious flavor. It’s such a heavy salad and with all the heavy ingredients I feel like you could just eat a plate of pasta instead. So, yes I tweaked it and it was delicious. I decided that polenta was going to replace the white flour bread croutons that famously go with this salad, and the dressing was going to be lighter and healthier. Yum!

Here in Italy we obviously don’t have Cesar salad contrary to the popular opinion of people thinking that this salad is Italian. It’s actually originally from Mexico, Tijuana named after the Chef Cesar Cardini an Italian immigrant who invented it in 1924. The original recipe doesn’t contain anchovies. However there are many variations of this salad with some recipes including different ingredients such as mustard, egg, avocado, tomato, bacon bits, garlic cloves or anchovies. I do like this salad and so I added an ingredient of my own. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of Polenta Croutons (recipe below)

2 Chicken breasts, grilled and chopped

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped*

1/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 clove Garlic, minced

Juice form 1/2 a lemon

2 Anchovies, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Place your chicken breasts on the grill, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes turning once, or until the juice from inside the chicken is clear.

Meanwhile place your chopped romaine in the bowl. Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, parmigiano, garlic, lemon, anchovies and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Add salt at the end and be the judge of how much you need.

Get your chicken slice it into strips. Toss the lettuce with the dressing and start plating.
Place the salad down first, then the chicken strips followed by the polenta croutons. If you choose, shave some parmigiano on at the end.

For the polenta croutons:
Follow the recipe on the box for one serving. Once ready pour onto something flat and lay out evenly about and inch thick. Allow to cool. Slice into cubes. Place a nonstick pan over medium flame and drizzle some olive oil place the cubed polenta and allow to get golden, flip and allow the other side to get golden continue with all sides. Set aside and then serve. Simple as that.

* Instead of Romaine you can use whatever you like. I used 3 different versions of radicchio

 

 

Healthy Chicken My-Way with Sundried Tomatoes and Mushrooms

I know I have mentioned before how much my Husband and I love chicken. It’s the perfect ingredient for anything healthy….it can be difficult at times to have ideas for skinless chicken breasts especially when you want to keep it healthy, but still tasty.

I love to grill it and then accompany it with any vegetable I have in the house i.e. zucchini, eggplant, green beans, spinach, broccoli or of course fresh vegetables salad.
But then the fall comes along and you start feeling like you want to eat something warm and a little more; how can I put it heartfilling. So anyways, most fall/winter recipes include heavier ingredients and aren’t as healthy as one would like. I find it though easy because I just like to throw whatever vegetable I find in my fridge that I could also use in a salad raw, and cook it. In this case I had sliced mushrooms (I love to add those raw to a green vegetable salad), and some sundried tomatoes in olive oil. Perfect I knew exactly what I could do so here the recipe follows.
Enjoy this heart-warming meal you can accompany it with other vegetables, roasted potatoes, or with brown rice, quinoa, cous-cous, and whole grain pasta. You pick that.

Ingredients:

2 medium sliced skinless Chicken Breasts

1 handful Mushrooms, Sliced

10 Sundried Tomatoes, drained

1 clove, Garlic minced

Handful Parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

1/5 cup Water

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil, and add your garlic, add your mushrooms and allow to cook for about 4 minutes, in the meantime chop your sundried tomatoes and then add to your mushrooms, add the water and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.

Add chicken breasts to the pan with the ingredients, cover and allow to 10 minutes, turning the chicken over once. Add parsley, salt and pepper cook for about another 3 minutes and then serve.