How to roast shrimp: 3 ways

cilantro lime shrimp

cilantro lime shrimp

If you ask the hubby what his favorite food is, without hesitation his answer will be “shrimp.” Every shrimp dish I’ve ever made for him has been a winner in his book, because in his mind, there are no “bad” shrimp dishes. I happen to think he’s right! I love to cook shrimp dishes because they’re easily and quickly defrosted from their frozen state, cooked for a few minutes, and they’re ready to eat. They literally go from freezer to plate in 20 minutes, something I can never say about any kind of meat!

I’ve recently found some recipes where the shimp are roasted instead of sautéed, and I LOVE this idea. Throw the defrosted shrimp in a baking dish with some sweet or savory ingredients, pop it in the oven for 15 minutes (max) and dinner is D-O-N-E. No more flipping each individual shrimp or watching them to make sure they’re not overdone. Roasting shrimp in the oven takes all the guesswork out of the process, it’s completely foolproof, and it’s my new favorite way to cook shrimp. Keep reading for a few roasted shrimp recipes from some of my favorite food blogs out there! Continue reading

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Meal Planning 101

meal planning 101 | Lighten UpFriends often ask me how I find the time to cook four nights per week with our busy schedules. My secret? Weekly meal planning! I have a love-hate relationship with meal planning, but trust me, a few minutes of prep time will save you time, money, AND calories in the long run! Every weekend, I curl up with my coffee and iPad and scroll through my recipe boards. I jot down the recipes that I want to make for the week, along with the necessary ingredients, which essentially forms my food shopping list.

My criteria for recipes:
1. Frozen, pre-packaged meals do not equal dinner (…I’ll make an exception if I’m really in a pinch)
2. Cooking time for weeknight recipes should not exceed 25 minutes
3. Meals should be as nutritionally-balanced as possible (although the occasional mac and cheese never killed anyone…)

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How to pack a deliciously healthy, low-calorie lunch (+ snacks)

how to pack a deliciously healthy low-calorie lunch (and snacks)I’ve been packing my lunch since, well, forever…for camp, for school, and for work. Camp lunches usually had a REALLY fun snack like Dunkaroos or rice krispie treats. Oh, the (sugary) good old days! I like to think that my lunches have evolved over the years to include more healthy snacks with the occasional “cheat” snack thrown into the mix.
Disclaimer: I’m not a nutritionist by any means, but I try to maintain a well-balanced diet. Feel free to use my suggestions and add to them based on your own nutritional needs!

My lunch (and snacks) on a typical day usually consists of…

Main course  Salad or starch with protein
I make my lunch every night for the next day and it’s usually salad — easy to throw together + light on calories = win win situation! A sandwich with protein is a great choice as well, just be sure to use low-calorie bread (I like light-style whole wheat or 100-calorie sandwich thins). I usually switch off between romaine, spinach and kale as the base greens for my salad. Protein could include chick peas/beans, turkey or lean deli meat, leftover grilled chicken, or in the case of my lunch this week (photo above), turkey, ham and cheese from a leftover antipasto salad. Much of my salad prep includes throwing leftovers into my salad, including veggies and fruit. I’m a huge fan of berries in my salads! As for dressing, I keep it simple — a squeeze of lemon or a mixture of olive oil and vinegar are delicious, quick options. Just pack the dressing in a snack-sized Ziploc bag to avoid soggy salad.
New lunch idea: Chickpea avocado smash

Beverages — Drink more water! I start my day with two cups of hot green tea, but then it’s water and only water for the rest of the day. Spice up your water by infusing it with lemon, cucumber or berries — it makes water SO much more exciting! Need carbonation? Try flavored seltzer water — tastes like soda but it’s zero calories.

Fruit – 1 to 2 servings
My mid-morning snack is usually a banana since it keeps me full until lunch. I’ll also pack an apple, berries, or grapes for an afternoon snack or “emergency” snack.

Veggie – 1 to 2 servings
I’ll admit, I don’t eat enough veggies during the day. However, snacking on veggies is a great way to introduce more of them into your diet. Baby carrots and celery are my go-to’s because they’re super portable. I love pairing them with Laughing Cow flavored cheeses (they’re low-calorie) or hummus for added protein.

“Fun” snack – 1 serving
This is my wild-card snack…the snack with some level of ‘indulgence’ that keeps me (and my tastebuds) happy! I recently made a trip to Trader Joe’s so I stocked up on whole-grain fruit bars, but I’ll often be in the mood for a piece of chocolate (I think every office has a stash of chocolate SOMEWHERE), baked chips, or Greek yogurt with granola. I need some sort of “fun” snack to get me through the afternoon slump!
how to pack a deliciously healthy low-calorie lunch (and snacks)

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