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Category: healthy eats

  1. Tuesday, October 7, 2014

    Cozy Chicken Mole Rojo

    The first time Nate and I tasted mole sauce was at a Mexican restaurant in Arlington, MA when we were in college. My roommate and best college friend Estela was from Juárez and was always educating me on what good Mexican food was. One such dish was mole, which she described as a savory “chocolate” sauce served over chicken. When Nate and I spotted it on the menu that night so long ago we knew we had to try it, and we loved it. Sadly, we’ve hardly eaten mole since then. It’s not a dish you generally find served in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and we had no idea how to make it…until now! (If you live in the Bay Area, Lulu’s serves both green and red mole and they are both divine.)

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    I finally sat down to figure out how to make a red mole sauce on my own and it turned out so so so good. This recipe is great for about a million reasons, but I’ll just share a few. It’s a crockpot recipe, making it very hands off. You just blend most of the ingredients together, dump it over chicken in the crockpot and let it cook. Easy peasy! Traditional mole sauces can take days to prepare, but the crockpot actually helps speed up the process. (That’s probably the first time a crockpot meal has been described as speedy!) This red mole sauce is quite rich and full of flavor, but not too spicy, so kids can enjoy it, too. However, you can definitely add cayenne pepper for more heat. Heat is good. And the richness from the unsweetened chocolate counterbalances the heat of the peppers beautifully. Lastly, this recipe for chicken mole rojo is healthy! I originally developed it for Disney and had to follow strict dietary guidelines, all of which I met in this recipe.

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    And, if you have kids, just tell them they are eating mud and they will eat every bite of their dinner. It’s like magic.

    (>> Find out more…)


  2. Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw

    I was recently hired by The Salmon Council to develop a salmon recipe. I was trying to decide between salmon tacos or salmon with a balsamic glaze and just couldn’t settle on which recipe to pursue. I took the dilemma to Facebook (as one does) and the votes overwhelmingly came in for salmon tacos, so I decided to give them a whirl!

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynard

    The Salmon Council did not hire me to do a blog post, but this recipe turned out so yummy I had to share it with you! Holy smokes, folks. Deeeeeeeeeeelicious. Seriously, this salmon was flavored beautifully, with a nice balance of salty, spicy and sweet. The texture of the fish was perfect and it paired wonderfully with the slaw on the tacos. Basically just super duper yummy food going on here.

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynardGrilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynard

    Without further ado, the recipe!

    (>> Find out more…)


  3. Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    The Only Lentil Soup Recipe You’ll Ever Need {Plus More Pretty Dishes}

    One of the very first recipes I ever made was lentil soup. And it was terrible. It was just not a good recipe and, as an inexperienced young cook, I had no idea how to make it better. Sadly it convinced me that lentils were a bad thing. Then, about a year later, my friend Amy made lentil soup and insisted that I try it. She swore it was the best ever. I was skeptical but gave it a go and, much to my utter amazement, I discovered that lentil soup can be wonderful. I owe it all to Amy. If I ever win a lentil academy award, she’ll be the first person I thank. After the Weinstein brothers, of course, because that seems to be an academy award thank you speech requirement, especially when lentils are involved. (Sorry, I think that was a case of stream of consciousness gone wrong.)

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    The moral of the story is that I have had this lentil soup recipe hidden away on my blog since Day 1, when I added a bunch of random recipes to the site from my recipe box (you know, the real live recipe box with notecards inside). But I’ve never actually written about this recipe because, well, I have no idea why! It’s about time because it really is a gem of a recipe. Plus, the soup looked gorgeous served in my new Q Squared dishes, which I was planning to write about anyway, so it was kismet!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    As you know, I’ve started working with a great company called Q Squared NYC. When I first received my Montecito dishes, I didn’t think I could love any of their other dishes more. But for Easter I decided to use the Heritage line for all of our serving dishes and decorated the table with a blue and white theme to match, including the flowers. The table was simple and so pretty, if I do say so myself. And I really fell in love with the Heritage dishes. I don’t know, I might even love them more than Montecito. It’s just so hard to decide!

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    Last night when I was photographing the orange-hued soup that complemented the blue in the dishes so beautifully, the girls started fighting over who would get to use the fancy bowl. I think I’m going to have to buy more of these dishes because I don’t think I’m the only one who loves them. Even Nate commented on how pretty they were after dinner on Easter and he’s a guy.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    In addition to the color and pattern, the Heritage dishes have a really great texture, with sort of a hammered look to them. I tried to capture this in the photography so hopefully you can see it. The dishes really are stunning and, like the Montecito line, you can tell they are really high quality. I could go on and on and ON about these dishes.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    One last note on the recipe: you probably won’t like other lentil soups after trying this one. At least not as much! Honestly, whenever I have lentil soup at a restaurant I just end up disappointed. I now save all my lentil soup-ing for home, it’s just better that way. Oh, and one more last note: this soup is easy to throw together and is done in 30 minutes!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    Without further ado, I give you the soup! Everyone say thanks to Amy!

    (>> Find out more…)


  4. Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Call for Recipes: Kale!

    One of my most favorite things is when I get an email from someone requesting a Call for Recipes. I love the Call for Recipes posts myself, so it makes me happy that you guys like them, too!

    call for recipes: kale recipe roundup from @janemaynard

    I received an email from reader Lisa two weeks ago asking if I could ask you all for some kale recipes. She said she’s gotten so many great recipes from other commenters on the blog before. She’s in a kale rut and is hoping you all can help, which I’m certain you can!

    So, that’s the theme for today’s Call for Recipes: KALE! Share your favorite kale recipes, tips for cooking and working with kale, whatever! Feel free to type out recipes or just link to recipes, it’s all fair game.

    call for recipes: kale recipe roundup from @janemaynard | kale salad from costco

    Here is what I have to add to the conversation:

    • To kick us off I’ll share the best kale recipe I’ve ever made. It’s really simple. You go to Costco and buy their kale salad mix. It’s delicious and foolproof. 😉 Seriously, though, we had it for Easter and loved it!
    • I recently wrote an article on Cosmopolitan.com about kale, with tips for how to cook it and a roundup of kale recipes from a bunch of great food bloggers. Click here for the kale Cosmo fun!
    • I’ve decided the world is full of LIARS because I recently had kale chips for the first time and they are absolutely not as good as potato chips. In fact, they’re disgusting. Nate agrees with me, by the way. And, before you ask, we had beautifully-cooked kale chips at a fabulous restaurant, so if we were going to like kale chips, those would have been the ones. So, the next time someones says, “No, really, kale chips are awesome!” I’m going to throw a pie in their face. Kale pie. Also, please don’t let my obviously-strong opinion keep you from sharing your kale chip recipes because, apparently, some people actually do like this healthy snack!
    • Hansen’s makes kale soda now. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure it’s delicious. Just like kale chips.

    call for recipes: kale recipe roundup from @janemaynard | hansen's kale soda

    Your turn! Share all your kale magic!


  5. Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Maple Soy Glazed Salmon

    Confession: Our family hardly ever eats fish. I cook it once every few years or so and that’s about it. There are a few reasons for this. First, Nate does not like fish, which is shocking since he comes from a long line of seafood-loving New Englanders. The second reason is I just don’t know the best ways to prepare seafood since I never do it. Practice makes perfect and there just isn’t any practice going on in my kitchen!

    maple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynardmaple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynard

    The Salmon Council reached out to me recently about doing a salmon recipe in support of American Heart Month (which is right now!) and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some fish going on in our house. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish because it’s a good source of protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is at the top of their fish list and the AHA recommends eating two servings of heart-healthy fish TWICE A WEEK, which can reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by up to one-third. I guess my twice a decade isn’t quite up to snuff!

    maple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynardmaple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynard

    I decided it would be fun to throw together a simple and delicious salmon recipe, in the hopes that my kids would go for it. As I was making dinner last night, Cate walked in and asked what we were having. I told her salmon, to which she replied, “I don’t like fish.” I asked her, “Well, what fish have you had?” She didn’t have an answer, so she said she would give it a try and as soon as the salmon came out of the oven, she asked for a bite. She was immediately converted. In fact she had three servings for dinner and exclaimed that it was “AWESOME.” She also said that the “salmon people” would be happy with my blog post because I could tell everyone kids love it. It was super, duper, crazy cute. She also asked if we can have salmon more often. Success! Anna wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, but she did like dinner and cleared her plate no problem! Nate is still on the fence – he said the recipe is good, but…you know, fish. But he promised he would never voice those opinions out loud in front of the kids since they like are really liking fish and it’s so healthy!

    maple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynardmaple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynard

    This recipe is so incredibly simple it’s surprising. Even if you’ve never cooked fish before you’ll have success! The leftovers were pretty good, but honestly, when the salmon is fresh out of the oven it is IRRESISTIBLE. So flavorful and moist with great texture, Cate and I were swooning!

    Also, Cate told me I should take a picture of she and Anna enjoying their salmon. I obliged. How could I not?

    my kids enjoying heart-healthy maple soy glazed salmon for dinner (from @janemaynardIn celebration of American Heart Month, the Salmon Council is giving away a fun salmon starter package! One randomly-selected winner will receive a $30 Visa gift card (to get your salmon!), a Hooked on Salmon Thermo-tote, and  1 pack of Weber Firespice cedar planks (visit Weber.com for recipes and tips including this step-by-step guide for perfect salmon planking). Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday 2/25. Winner must have a U.S. address.)

    • Leave a comment on this post – any comment! Easy peasy!
    • Bonus entry: Leave an additional comment with your favorite salmon recipe (either share the recipe or a link!)
    • Bonus entry: Follow The Salmon Council on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so)
    • Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so)

    The giveaway winner was comment #77, Natahsa P. Congratulations, Natasha!

    Without further ado, the super easy, even more scrumptious recipe for Maple Soy Glazed Salmon!

    (>> Find out more…)


  6. Thursday, January 23, 2014

    A Pot of Beans {How to Cook Dried Beans}

    Over the years I have been lucky enough to have several close friends who are Mexican and they have all introduced me to various wonderful foods. Those friends are all also really good at cooking beans. And, for whatever reason, no matter how many times they have told me how to cook beans and assured me that it’s easy, I had a mental block. Every time I would go to cook a bag of dried beans, I would freeze. Seriously, total mental block. I just could never remember exactly how to do it and felt dumb always asking “one more time” how to cook beans!

    how to cook dried beans from @janemaynard (it's easy peasy!)

    Well, I have finally broken down my bean barriers. One of my neighbors is Mexican and I finally just sucked up my pride and asked her (multiple times) how to cook dried beans. And then I actually did it. I cooked beans! And, surprise surprise, they were easy to make and mighty delicious!

    how to cook dried beans from @janemaynard (it's easy peasy!)

    For real, it’s easy. You’ll need to be home for a few hours to check on them occasionally while they cook, but that is seriously the hardest part of the recipe. I like to cook a big pot of beans at one time and then freeze the leftovers into 2-cup containers. The beans are easy to defrost and I love having them on hand. And they really do taste better than canned beans.

    How to Cook Dried Beans
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Bag of dried beans (Black, pinto, peruan, whatever variety you like! Peruan is the variety you see in these photos.)
    • Water
    • Big pot
    • ¼ of an onion
    • Salt
    Instructions
    1. Ari (my neighbor) will sometimes soak the beans overnight, but it's not necessary. If you forget, no worries!
    2. Place the beans in a big pot (I use my french oven). Add water to cover the beans (if you soaked the beans prior, drain that water and add new water to the pot). Place ¼ of an onion (large pieces is fine) in the pot along with some salt (maybe about a teaspoon or so). Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat, then cook over medium-low to medium heat for 2-3 hours (longer if you didn't soak the beans before hand). Stir the beans occasionally throughout the entire cooking process. You may need to add more water at some point if the water is running low but the beans are still not cooked through. The beans are done when they are soft and yummy!
    3. Remove the onion and add more salt if needed. If you want them to be more like refried beans, just mash them up a bit!


  7. Thursday, January 16, 2014

    My Iceberg Lettuce Substitute

    This is one of those posts where half of you will say, “Uh, duh, Jane!” and the other half of you will say, “Duh! Why haven’t I thought of this before?” For those of you in category 1, just move on and have a lovely, iceberg lettuce-free day. For those of you in category 2, I’m glad I’m not alone. Okay, so, let’s move on with the issue at hand, shall we?

    simple iceberg lettuce substitute from @janemaynard

    Iceberg lettuce. I pretty much hate it. I loved it as a kid and, with every year I walk on this earth, I like the stuff less and less. I think it tastes like water and it isn’t as nutrient rich as other lettuces and greens, so what’s the point? It’s only positive attribute is the texture. Sometimes you just need the extra crunch that iceberg lettuce can provide.

    Well, yesterday, I was making myself a turkey sandwich on a roll leftover from our dinner of sausage subs. The roll reminded me of this place (Nielsen’s Frozen Custard in Utah) that makes a simple turkey sandwich that sometimes just hits the spot. I wanted to replicate the sandwich but needed iceberg lettuce, which I did not have because, well, I never buy it unless I have to. I did, however, have a head of romaine lettuce.

    simple iceberg lettuce substitute from @janemaynard

    So, I grabbed my knife and sliced the romaine nice and skinny, just like I would have with iceberg. Sure, it’s not quite as crunchy as iceberg, but it has a good balance of leafy and crunchy to fit the bill. It worked like a charm on my sandwich. It would also be perfect on tacos and other foods where you often find iceberg lettuce lurking.

    There you have it. Romaine is now my iceberg lettuce substitute. It’s healthier and tastes better. And it’s got a good bite. Life is good. Adios, iceberg. It’s been nice known’ ya.


  8. Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Park and Main, Homemade Yogurt and a Giveaway!

    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading to learn about a cool website, my new yogurt maker, and the winner of the giveaway!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Gifts & Giveaways marches on! Today I’m sharing a whole website with you with all kinds of wonderful gift possibilities.

    homemade greek yogurt from @janemaynard

    In all honesty I had never heard of Park and Main until about a month or so ago, but I am happy to have been introduced! Park and Main carries all kinds of wonderful products for the home and, I must admit, I’ve spent quite a bit of time (too much time?) window shopping on their site! Everything just looks so pretty and inviting!

    homemade greek yogurt from @janemaynard

    Park and Main sent me a really fun product that they carry, the Dash Greek Yogurt Maker. (Ours is pink because, well, my little sous chef Anna wouldn’t have it any other way. They do carry a blue version as well.) We go through a lot of yogurt in our house. A LOT. I was really excited to try making my own yogurt and, surprisingly, my girls were just as excited! I know you can make yogurt without a specific machine, but without the machine, I never actually gave it a try. Plus I trust this process, there’s a built-in timer and straining basket, and they have a chart with the cooking times for all the different types of yogurts you can make. I also love that you can completely control the type of yogurt you make (low-fat, no-fat, soy-based, coconut milk-based, etc), you can make the yogurt more tart by cooking it longer, you know exactly what ingredients are going into your yogurt (so you control the sugar, can omit allergy ingredients, etc.), and you can control how thick you want your yogurt to be (you can make straight-up yogurt that is thinner or you can strain it to make Greek yogurt and, depending on how long you strain, you control the thickness). Basically you have SO MUCH CONTROL over your yogurt. It’s awesome!

    homemade greek yogurt from @janemaynard

    The best part? The yogurt tastes wonderful! We ate our first batch this week and it is seriously soooo good. We just mix in a little jam and the yogurt is divine!

    UPDATE 3/16/16: I love this little appliance and it works great, and I even made our own yogurt for quite a while. But I recently learned that a lot of pressure cookers/Instant Pots out there have a yogurt setting. If I were to do it over again, I would get the Instant Pot. Multitaskers are always a good idea.

    dash greek yogurt maker review and giveaway from @janemaynard

    Park and Main is giving away a Dash yogurt maker to one of you lucky people!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Monday, 12/16/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    Be sure to check out the Park and Main website, especially as you are shopping for the holidays. They have pages for gifts under $25gifts under $50gifts under $100, and gifts over $100. They also sell the Breville Smart Oven, which is hands down my favorite kitchen appliance.

    Good luck and happy shopping!

    The randomly-selected winner was comment #218 Becca, who said, “I’ve made homemade yogurt before, but honestly, it’s quite a bit of work. I’d love a handy little machine like this one!” You’ll love the simplicity of this machine, Becca! Congrats!

    Park and Main provided me with a yogurt maker for this post. All opinions are 100% my own, of course!


  9. Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Pumpkin Chili Recipe from Snack Girl

    A few weeks ago I went to a 1-day conference put on by Ladies Home Journal in New York. I learned some great stuff but, more importantly, I connected with people in person. That’s always the best part of an event! One of those people was Lisa Cain from Snack Girl. Lisa is great – I could talk to her for hours! Her blog is all about eating healthy food and she breaks down the nutritional content of all the recipes on her blog. Since you totally don’t get that from me, I thought it would be fun to share a bit of Lisa with you today with a guest post! Enjoy and be sure to check out her blog!

    ***

    snack girl's pumpkin chili recipe | thisweekfordinner.com

    Snack Girl posted this chili recipe with pumpkin last year and people are still talking about it. Yes, it was a hit.

    Why add pumpkin to your chili?

    It’s cheap, easy, and has 763% of your daily value of vitamin A in one cup (and only 83 calories). You can sneak a bunch of nutrition into food by adding pumpkin.

    After creating a no-bake pumpkin cookie and a pumpkin smoothie, I decided to try a savory dish. This chili recipe below is the healthiest chili (with meat) that I have ever made. It boasts 28% of your daily value of iron, 45% of your daily value of vitamin C, and 293% of your daily value of vitamin A per serving.

    This is like a nutritional “rock star” chili. I used ground turkey breast because it is low in saturated fat, and beans, corn, and tomatoes to up the vegetable content.

    I did think the flavor was nice, but missing the depth of a beef chili. I might sneak a wee bit of cheese on top of mine to make it taste a bit more luxurious. The pumpkin made it a great color and added a creaminess to the chili.

    As we greet fall, it is time to stock up on cans of nutritious pumpkin.

    Pumpkin Chili Recipe from Snack Girl
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup
    Serves: 6
    Ingredients
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (such as canola, sunflower, etc.)
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 pound ground turkey breast meat
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 small can diced green chili peppers
    • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen or fresh
    • 1 28 ounce can tomatoes
    • 1 can cooked pumpkin
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. In a large saucepan, heat oil and add onion. When onion has softened add turkey and cook until cooked through (should look white). Add the rest of the ingredients and taste to adjust seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes and seve.
    2. For one serving = 268 calories, 4.7 g fat, 32 g carbohydrates, 8.7 g sugar, 26.3 g protein, 10.2 g fiber, 399 mg sodium, 6 Points+
    3. Points+ values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only.

     


  10. Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)

    Today I have a super fast and easy dinner recipe for you that is also delicious and healthy. That’s the best kind of recipe, right?

    easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    But first, a confession. I love ramen noodle packs. You know, the 89-cent packages of ramen noodles paired with the sodium-rich broth that is oh-so-good. But…but. The sodium. Ah, the sodium. I haven’t bought ramen in years and years because of that darn sodium. Happily, today’s recipe will let us have our ramen and eat it, too!

    easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    You will need to buy one of those cheap-o packages of ramen for this recipe, but you’re going to throw the flavor packet in the trash where it belongs. Instead, we’ll use healthy, natural ingredients and just a bit of salt to create a yummy meal that’s perfect for kids, adults and college-kids alike!

    This recipe is fast to prepare and should be eaten immediately, so plan accordingly!

    easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)
     
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup, Poultry
    Cuisine: Asian
    Serves: 4
    Ingredients
    • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
    • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
    • 2 green onions, sliced thin with greens separated from whites
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 garlic clove, minced (I use my garlic press)
    • 3½ cups low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus extra as needed (a commenter mentioned that soy sauce can be high in sodium, so if you really want to cut back, try using low-sodium soy sauce or reducing the amount used)
    • 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
    • 1½ cups shredded coleslaw mix (I used a coleslaw mix made only with green cabbage)
    • 1½ cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
    • ½ tablespoon sesame oil, plus extra as needed
    • salt and pepper
    Instructions
    1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped white green onions (reserving the greens for later), ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
    2. Stir in chicken broth and soy sauce and bring to a simmer (you’ll want to turn the heat up to get it boiling gently, then reduce the heat to medium or so to maintain the simmer).
    3. Stir in ramen noodles and coleslaw and cook for 4 minutes.
    4. Add chicken and spinach and cook for 1 minute.
    5. Stir in the rest of the green onions and sesame oil. Mix together, taste, then add salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Serve immediately.
    Notes
    *Cook the chicken however is easiest for you – grill, sauté, boil, whatever!