Every year, people use the month of January to reset their eating habits. I love doing that, too. It’s a great way to implement new eating habits into your rotation while you still enjoy and indulge in your favorites.
If you’ve read enough of these articles, you already know my favorite “diet” is a balanced one. I love having burgers and pizza, but equally love quinoa, salmon and salads. Once you know you can have everything you want and still have good-for-you meals that actually taste good, the stress of dieting slowly disappears, because you know you have the ability to have great-tasting meals without the unnecessary guilt associated with foods ever being an issue.
Here are three easy meals you can incorporate into your meal rotation that not only taste incredible, but will leave you full and proud of yourself.
Chickpea & Pepper Roasted Chicken
- 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 bag of mini sweet peppers or 3 cups sliced peppers (any combination of colors works: green, orange, yellow and/or red)
- 2 tbsp. garlic paste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
- juice of half of a lemon
- 2 lbs. chicken pieces (you can use a combination of dark and white meat)
- chopped parsley and cilantro for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and paprika to a small glass or bowl and mix together.
Add peppers and chicken to a sheet pan and top with the olive oil mix. Rub in to make sure everything is coated.
Salt and pepper the entire sheet pan of ingredients, then bake for 20-25 minutes
Top with parsley and cilantro before serving.
Chef tip: I like serving this with some mashed sweet potatoes, a light salad or rice pilaf.
Turkey Caprese Burgers
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp. garlic paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- grilled or toasted burger buns
- 1/4 cup mayo
Mix together ground turkey, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper and half of the chopped basil and form into four patties.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook patties until cooked through.
Meanwhile, mix together the mayo and remaining basil together in a bowl.
In another bowl, toss the chopped tomatoes together with the balsamic vinegar.
Assemble the burgers. Spread basil mayo on the buns, add the turkey patties, top with the sliced mozzarella and a spoonful of the balsamic tomatoes. Top with bun and serve with grilled veggies or fries. (These are great as is, but feel free to add some lettuce for an extra layer.)
Thai Shrimp Bowl
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 tbsp. sriracha ( optional, or replace with fish sauce)
- 1 cup frozen edamame, shelled and thawed
- 1 cup snow peas, blanched and drained, or frozen and thawed
- chopped cilantro and basil as garnish
- 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
Chef tip: To cut down on all the chopping, you can substitute the cabbage and carrots with a pre-shredded slaw mix.
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
Make the quinoa, rinse and then add to a saucepan along with the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 10 months. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan, add in the shrimp and season with salt, pepper and sriracha if using. Cook until the shrimp is pink and just cooked, then set aside.
Make the dressing by combining ingredients and set aside.
Assemble the bowl. Add in the quinoa, cabbage, snow peas, red onion, carrots, top with shrimp, drizzle with the dressing and garnish with basil and cilantro. Check for seasonings and enjoy!
From Z to A with Zara Abbasi
Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.