Stress-Free, Healthy Recipes From the SparkPeople Cookbook
A cookbook for a healthier you
Provided by SparkPeople
Award-winning chef Meg Galvin and
SparkRecipes editor Stepfanie Romine have paired up to create a collection of more than 160 satisfying and stress-free recipes that streamline your healthy-eating efforts in The SparkPeople Cookbook. Based on the same easy, real-world principles as the SparkPeople program, the cookbook takes the guesswork out of making delicious, healthy meals and losing weight.
So whether you’re a novice taking the first steps to improve your health or a seasoned cook just looking for new, healthy recipes to add to your repertoire, this cookbook is for you.
You’ve probably heard of pizza Margherita, the traditional Italian pizza with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. The story goes that it was created to honor the queen and includes all three colors of the Italian flag.
This pizza is those same colors but bumps up the nutrition a bit. The recipe includes quinoa and flax seed instead of white-flour dough; tangy, creamy goat cheese instead of mozzarella; grape tomatoes; and a puree of basil and spinach instead of plain basil. The result is a pizza that's light enough to fit into a well-balanced meal and tasty enough to fulfill the craving for a really great pie.
Meg-Herita Pizza: Ingredients
Makes 8 servings (1 slice per serving). Pizza pans vary in size. We base our recipes on a 16-inch pan with 8 slices per pie.
For the dough: 20 minutes to prepare, 1 hour to rise
For the pizza: 25 minutes to prepare and cook
Ingredients: 1 batch Quinoa-Flax Seed Pizza Dough; 1 batch Better-Than-Pesto Puree; 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise; 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
Per Serving: 219.9 calories, 9.7 g total fat, 3.3 mg cholesterol, 181.6 mg sodium, 28 g total carbs, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 5.7 g protein
Meg-Herita Pizza: Directions
1. Raise oven rack to the highest level, then preheat oven to 400° F. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat.
2. Place dough on a pizza screen or preheated stone, spread with pesto, then scatter tomatoes and cheese across the top.
3. Bake until dough is nicely browned and crispy, 18 to 20 minutes.
Quinoa-Flax Seed Pizza Dough
When choosing a pizza dough, it’s often a battle of nutrition versus taste. White-flour varieties lack fiber, but whole-wheat versions lack texture. The solution is a hybrid dough.
Quinoa, a seed that's eaten like a grain, is high in fiber and full of protein. Combined with some ground flax seed, this dough is tasty and more nutritious than a standard pizza dough. Use all quinoa flour and you'll have a gluten-free dough too!
Chef Meg’s Tip: If you don't have a food processor, place the flours, flax seed, salt, and yeast in a bowl, and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Combine the honey and water, and then pour them into the well. Using a fork, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly mixed. Then proceed with the recipe starting with step 3.
Quinoa-Flax Seed Pizza Dough: Ingredients
1 hour 20 minutes to prepare and rise
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup quinoa flour, 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 package instant dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.), 1 tsp. honey, 2/3 cup water (heated to 100° to 110° F), 1 to 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, for dusting
Per Serving: 130.8 calories, 1.3 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 147.9 mg sodium, 25.8 g total carbs, 2.1 g dietary fiber, 3.8 g protein
Quinoa-Flax Seed Pizza Dough: Directions
1. Place flours, flax seeds, salt, and yeast in a food processor and pulse to combine.
2. Combine honey and water, then pour into the feed tube of the food processor. Process until the dough forms a ball.
3. Turn out dough onto a counter and use the heel of your hands to knead until it is smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a little more flour.
4. Prepare a bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Add the dough and turn it to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
5. Remove dough to a floured surface, then roll into a 16-inch circle with a rolling pin and top as desired.
This is a great way to work more vegetables into your meals. This puree of basil, spinach, and parsley is reminiscent of pesto, with much less oil and no cheese. The fresh flavor of the herbs and spinach really shine through.
By blanching and shocking the leaves, they will keep their bright green color after being pureed. Skip this step and you’ll end up with a black puree. Likewise, removing the stems from spinach and parsley is a chore, but you end up with a smoother, tastier product in the end.
Use it instead of tomato sauce on pizza or to add color, flavor, and almost a full serving of vegetables to any pasta or seafood dish. For a variation, add a 1/4 cup of toasted, cooled, and chopped walnuts.
Better-Than-Pest Puree: Ingredients
6 minutes to prepare and cook
Ingredients: 1 cup fresh basil leaves; 1 cup spinach, washed and stems removed; 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, washed and stems removed; 2 tbsp. minced shallots; 1/4 cup olive oil; 1/2 tsp. black pepper
Per 1 tbsp. serving: 65.4 calories, 6.8 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5.6 mg sodium, 1.1 g total carbs, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g protein
1. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set aside.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the basil, spinach, and parsley, and cook for no more than 60 seconds. Drain and immediately transfer the leaves in the ice water to shock them; let them sit in the water for 1 minute, then drain. Wring in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.
3. Place the cooked leaves and shallots in a food processor or blender. Puree, adding the oil in a steady stream while the blender is running. Season with pepper. This will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 6 months.
Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
In Chef Meg's house, macaroni and cheese never comes from a box or the freezer—it’s always homemade. But a typical homemade recipe—made with cream, butter, and full-fat cheese—has about 400 calories and 25 grams of fat per serving. Our version has a third of the fat and about 250 calories per cup.
We slightly reduced the amount of cheese, used whole-wheat pasta, and chose flavorful ingredients to create a version that tastes good while cutting extra calories.
You can swap half the pasta for 3 cups of cooked broccoli or cauliflower to add fiber and make this dish even healthier.
Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: Ingredients
Makes 6 servings (2/3 cup pasta per serving)
45 minutes to prepare and cook
Ingredients: 2 tbsp. light butter; 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour; 1 1/2 cups skim milk; 1 bay leaf; 1/8 onion, cut in a wedge; 2 cloves; 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese; 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese; 1/4 tsp. salt; 1 pinch cayenne; 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow pasta; 6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped; 1 slice whole-wheat bread, processed into crumbs; 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Per serving: 259.6 calories, 7.9 g total fat, 12.9 g total fat, 12.9 mg cholesterol, 425.3 mg sodium, 39.5 g total carbs, 4.1 g dietary fiber, 12.6 g protein
Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: Directions part one
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the butter in a medium saucepan, melt over medium-low heat, and cook until foaming. Add flour and stir well with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking to incorporate.
3. Attach bay leaf to onion wedge using cloves. Drop the studded onion into the milk mixture with the clove/bay leaf side down. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, but don’t salt the cooking water.
Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: Directions part two
5. Remove studded onion from the sauce and discard. Add Swiss and cheddar cheeses. Stir to combine and heat sauce until the cheese is just melted. Season with salt and cayenne.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauce, bacon, and cooked macaroni; toss to coat. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl.
7. Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden, about 15 minutes.
Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken
We've added more vegetables and reduced the sodium drastically to make this popular recipe even better. Salsa chicken is easy to make; just put all the ingredients in a slow-cooker and let the machine do the work.
To save even more time, chop your vegetables the night before, or use a 16-ounce bag of mirepoix (celery, carrot, and onion mix), found in your grocer's freezer.
There are infinite variations, and your family will like each one. Start dinner in the morning, and it will be ready when you get home!
Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken: Ingredients
Makes 8 servings (1 serving is 1 cup of chicken)
15 minutes to prepare; 6 to 8 hours to cook
Ingredients: 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts; 2 tbsp. Taco Seasoning, 1 cup low-sodium petite diced canned tomatoes, with juice; 1 medium onion, finely diced (1 cup); 1/2 cup finely diced celery; 1/2 cup shredded carrots; 1 cup salsa, homemade or purchased; 3 tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream
Per serving: 164.9 calories, 2.5 g total fat, 67.9 mg cholesterol, 253.3 mg sodium, 7.3 g total carbs, 2.1 g dietary fiber, 27.6 g protein
Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken: Directions
1. Place chicken in a slow-cooker. Sprinkle Taco Seasoning over the meat, then layer the vegetables and salsa on top. Pour 1/2 cup water over the mixture, set on low, and cook for 6 to 8 hours. The meat is cooked when it shreds or reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
2. When ready to serve, shred chicken with two forks, then stir in sour cream.
Makes 3 servings (1 2/3 tbsp. per serving)
2 minutes to prepare
Ingredients: 3 tbsp. ground cumin, 1 tbsp. chili powder, 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
In small bowl, mix together cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Store in a closed container, away from light and heat for up to 6 months.
Recipes reprinted from The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose The Weight (c) 2011 by SparkPeople, Inc.
Permission granted by Hay House, Inc., New York, NY 10033. Available wherever books are sold.