Who doesn’t love the combination of pasta and cheese? Think of this recipe like a grown up, healthier version of macaroni and cheese for adults. Our recipe for Cheesy Pasta with Spinach and Chicken loads up on vegetables. This means it provides healthy vitamins and minerals too especially from the spinach (a May Foods of the Month).
In this recipe, we use ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and a little bit of parmesan. Be sure to use reduced-fat ricotta and mozzarella. To balance out the cheesiness, we add a whole onion, as well as a whole package of spinach, plus three chicken breasts. This means that a serving of this Cheesy Pasta with Spinach and Chicken is a complete meal. We know that the reduced-fat cheeses provide important calcium to keep bones healthy. The chicken is full of protein. The onion and spinach are important vegetables that provide lots of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Spinach is also responsible for a healthy serving of iron and fiber. And, let’s not forget that the whole grain pasta is full of fiber too!
If you love the flavor combination of spinach and ricotta, this recipe is right up your alley. The caramelized onion gives it a smoky flavor as well. We think it’s the perfect blending of flavors that everyone will enjoy!
1 5 oz. package fresh spinach (organic if possible)
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
1 15 oz. package part-skim ricotta cheese
1 8 oz. package part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to directions.
Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain. Add the fresh spinach leaves to the bottom of the pasta pot, then add the hot pasta over the spinach and cover. The heat from the pasta will allow the spinach to wilt while you cook the rest of the ingredients.
Use a nonstick skillet on medium heat to cook the onion in the olive oil for about 10 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove onion from skillet and place in a large mixing bowl.
Cook the chicken in the same skillet that you used for the onion for about 10 minutes, until no pink remains. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the bowl with the caramelized onions. Mix together until all ingredients are combined.
Add the cheese and onion mixture to the pasta and spinach. Mix well to combine. Add the chicken and mix again.
We love the versatility of nuts! There are so many different ways to cook with nuts, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan, nuts are an excellent way to get protein into your diet. Nuts can be added to salads instead of croutons, used as a breading for chicken instead of breadcrumbs… the possibilities are endless. We love this recipe for Energy Nut Balls because they are a fun way to snack with nuts.
Nuts are an April Foods of the Month. Nuts include things like peanuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and pistachios. This Energy Nut Balls recipe uses peanuts, but you can get creative and add others if you wish. However, remember that when cooking with or eating nuts, moderation is key. Because they are high in fat, enjoy nuts as a treat vs. a regular snack. One serving size of nuts its usually about 1/4 of a cup. Expect to find about 180 calories and 15 grams of (good!) fat in this same serving. The great news is that the fat in nuts is the healthy, heart friendly kind (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat).
For this Energy Nut Balls recipe, keep this serving size suggestion in mind. Limit yourself to one of these energy balls per day to keep you feeling full while also providing your body with good nutrition.
Fava beans are a type of fresh bean, which is an April Foods of the Month. Fava beans are also one incredibly healthy food! Most times, people bypass them at the grocery store because they don’t know how to use them. In Italy, this Fava Bean Pasta recipe is a popular lunch option since it is simple and easy to make. And, anytime you mix vegetables with noodles and cheese, you get a kid-friendly dish!
Fava beans are close relatives of legumes like black beans and split peas. Unlike other dried beans and peas, you will most likely find fava beans in the frozen vegetable section of the grocery store, along with green beans, lima beans and edamame. To prepare them, simply boil on the stovetop, like you would with green beans (another type of fresh bean).
This Fava Bean Pasta dish is a nutritious lunch or light dinner option. Fava beans are full of folate, which is an important nutrient to keep the cells in our body working. Fava beans are also a good source of fiber, iron and manganese. We recommend serving this Fava Bean Pasta dish with a nice serving of freshly grated cheese for some added calcium. Enjoy!
Not all nachos are cheesy, greasy, and full of junk. Try making nachos with apple slices instead to get a serving of fruit, fiber and natural sugar. The result are these Nutty Apple Nachos. They are a perfect party dessert that is healthy too!
These Nutty Apple Nachos are the perfect combination of nutritious and indulgent. We chose walnuts to crumble on top of our nachos base because they are high in magnesium, protein and good fats. Walnuts also help to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Next, we add all natural peanut butter for more protein, and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate so the nachos feel a little more like dessert. Look for dark chocolate that is 70% or more cacao. A higher cacao concentration means more fiber, iron, potassium and zinc. Who knew that a little bit of chocolate could be good for the body?
Try these Nutty Apple Nachos and you will not be disappointed. They are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. They are also full of nutrition!
Have you ever eaten hummus? Hummus is a traditional dish from the Middle East/North Africa that is made with chickpeas. It’s the perfect creamy dip for crackers and vegetables. In fact, over 15 million Americans say that they eat hummus, so you are in good company if you have tried hummus before. If not, you can definitely find this tasty snack in your local grocery store and in restaurants. Hummus can be purchased in those places, but it can also be made at home. We love this recipe for Homemade Edamame Hummus.
If you’ve had hummus on your radar for quite some time, you’ve probably begun to see all the different variations at your grocery store. There’s hummus made with black beans, white beans, and… edamame! Edamame is a type of fresh bean that is also an April Foods of the Month. It’s also a perfect base for this Homemade Edamame Hummus recipe.
Boil the edamame in water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave in a microwave safe dish for 2 to 3 minutes.
In a food processor, blend together the edamame, tahini/peanut butter, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, and cumin until smooth. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until combined.
Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil and garnish with extra parsley and full edamame beans.
Serve with carrots, celery, cucumbers, olive and crackers.
This quick and easy Chickpea Celery Dip recipe is a delicious plant-based snack. Enjoy this dip, which only takes a few minutes to eat, after school or after lunch. Usually, we think of celery as something that you use for dipping, but in this recipe, the celery is in the dip! Celery is also a stem vegetable, which is a March Foods of the Month.
We love that this Chickpea Celery Dip recipe is full of nutritious ingredients like chickpeas, celery, herbs and Greek yogurt. Chickpeas are packed with fiber, protein, and other important nutrients like magnesium, and iron. Celery is naturally very low in calories and provides some fiber too. Impress your friends with this dip recipes. It’s a fun way to put a stem vegetable in a dip. Serve with whole grain crackers, pretzels or pita chips.