I know, I know, it’s only November, and you’re not supposed to post top 10 lists until like the last week of December.
I’m a rebel like that.
Full disclosure. My brain is swirling with so much not fun stuff, that I needed to just post a fun, easy blog post. And this is the one that came to mind first.
Also, as we enter into the holiday season, I thought some healthy recipes would help us all balance the moments of hovering over a crock-pot filled with sausage and cheese dip, using Frito scoops to shovel as much as that salty goodness in your mouth as possible. Not that I’ve EVER done that. In public.
So anyway, here they are. My favorite healthy recipes that I’ve made this year.
10. Butternut Squash Lasagna — Is it tacky to link to my own blog for this one? (Oh well, if it is you should skip #5 too). This isn’t a new recipe, but it remains one of my favorites. I would recommend using a mandolin to cut the squash if you have one. Oh, and I HATE ricotta, so you won’t see that in my lasagna recipe. Ever. But if you dig it, really you can just take your favorite recipe and replace the noodles with squash. I would just recommend that your sauce be pretty robust and not sweet and thick enough that the moisture from the squash won’t make it watery.
9. Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables — I’ve made this SO. MANY. TIMES. It’s super easy, and the veggies and chicken taste AMAZING! I think the “trick” is the chicken thighs. They just have so much more flavor than chicken breasts. Honestly, the only thing I’d warn you of is to maybe do thicker asparagus? When I’ve used the really thin asparagus, it gets really tough. (I also recommend SkinnyTaste in general…she has some amazing recipes!)
8. Whole Wheat Honey Jalapeno Cornbread Chicken Tamale Pie — Whew, that title is a mouthful! But man, this is true comfort food! And I get to use my cast iron skillet when I make it, which makes for really great Instagram fodder! For those of you who avoid gluten, I believe this is also gluten free.
7. Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Pasta Bake — Guys. This is so freaking good. I love putting pumpkin in savory dishes, because it just bulks it up and makes it more filling. And trust me, pumpkin is not a dessert! When you don’t add in all of the pumpkin spices, it just adds a slightly sweet flavor. Plus this has caramelized onions. And bacon. And cheese! Delicious!
6. No-Bake Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Fudge Bars — Of course I have to have a few desserts in here! I love how simple this is, and it’s super satisfying when I’m craving something sweet. The only things I change in here are to increase the chocolate chips to 6 ounces, the banana to 1 cup, and I use powdered peanut butter (4 tablespoons of PB2). (Honestly, the PB2 is because I can’t trust myself to have regular peanut butter in my house).
5. Chipotle Chicken Chili — This one I just kind of made up based on stuff I had in my pantry and freezer. The link is to a recipe on my blog where I used every shortcut imaginable. But you can modify it to make it your own. I would say the combination of ground chicken and chipotle is delicious, so maybe don’t change that part 🙂
4. Turkey Pumpkin Chili — Okay, so maybe I like the whole pumpkin in savory dishes a little too much. But this is so good! Again, the pumpkin bulks it up a little, and it’s warm and satisfying and delicious! My only change to the original recipe linked above was adding one canned of drained and rinsed white beans, ’cause I like beans in my chili.
3. Pepper Jack Stuffed Turkey Zucchini Meatloaf — This has all the healthy things! Turkey! Zucchini! And a few of the unhealthy things! A molten cheese core! I don’t make meatloaf very often, but this is my new go-to recipe! And the sauce really is “awesome sauce!” I usually serve this with a veggie (or mashed potatoes if I can be bothered making them). It’s also good on a cold meatloaf sandwich, if you’re into that kinda thing (and why wouldn’t you be?!)
2. Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins — These are so good that I will use my least favorite word to describe them. Moist. *shudder* But in all seriousness, so many “healthy” muffins are dry, and these are definitely not! I use maple syrup as my sweetener, and I use the applesauce instead of banana. I also use coconut milk, but you use whatever kind of milk your heart desires. Also, I store these in the fridge, and just put them in the microwave for like 5 seconds to have with my morning coffee. They also freeze well. I just let them thaw on the counter overnight.
1. Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa Recipe — I love salmon. But I can never get that crispy skin. So, here’s what I now do. Make the spice blend in the linked recipe. Put some olive oil on your salmon, and then rub it with the spice blend. Then heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a cast-iron skillet, melt some butter. Add your salmon fillet, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes on high heat, spooning some of the melted butter over it as it cooks. Warning. Your house will FILL WITH SMOKE. It’s worth it. Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan and top salmon with the avocado salsa in the above linked recipe. It’s so good. So. Good. Make it right now. And then invite me over for dinner place.