March is National Nutrition Month and this year's theme is Personalize Your PlateAccording to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “This year's theme promotes creating nutritious meals to meet individuals' cultural and personal food preferences.” Healthy eating is definitely not a one-size-fits all effort.  The focus should be on tailoring your favorite foods to meet your individual nutrient needs.

I add variety to my meals by choosing nutrient-rich foods from all food groups to ensure that I get the nutrients my body needs.  This month, I am showcasing some of my favorite recipes:

Brussels Sprouts with Lemony Yogurt

Chicken and Sweet Potato Skillet

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Chickpea Pasta Salad in a Jar

Slow Cooker Chicken and White Bean Stew

Slow Cooker Fresh Veggie Lasagna

Pomegranate Balsamic Chicken

Fish Tacos with Sweet Pickle Sauce

Sausage, Spinach and Apple Breakfast Sandwich

Red Beans and Rice

Brussels Sprouts with Lemony Yogurt (From

Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields 4 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved (If using large ones, quartered)
4 tsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp finely chopped mint
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425℉.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sprouts and oil; season with salt and pepper.  Roast until browned and crisp-tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mint, and lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper.  Spread the yogurt mixture onto a platter and top with the sprouts.  Garnish with almonds and red pepper flakes, if using.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 136, Protein  9 g, Sodium  516 mg, Cholesterol  8.5 mg, Total Carbohydrate  12 g (Dietary fiber  4 g, Sugars  2.9 g), Total fat  7 g (Saturated fat  1 g)

Chicken and Sweet Potato Skillet (From Kroger

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields 4 servings

½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
12 oz. chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups chopped, fresh kale

1. Stir almonds in skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted.  Remove and set aside.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat one tablespoon oil in skillet.  Sauté chicken 8-10 minutes (safe internal temperature 165℉).  Remove and set aside.

3. In same skillet, heat one tablespoon oil.  Sauté garlic, 1 minute; add sweet potatoes and kale.  Cook 5-7 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.  Return chicken to skillet; heat until warmed through.  Top with almonds.  Serve, refrigerating any leftovers.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 390, Protein  24 g, Sodium  490 mg, Cholesterol  55 mg, Total Carbohydrate  21 g (Dietary fiber  6 g, Sugars  4 g), Total fat  24 g (Saturated fat  4 g)

Turkey Stuffed Peppers (From

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields 6 servings

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ onion, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 large bell peppers, washed
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
¼ cup tomato sauce
1½ cups cooked brown rice
Olive oil spray
6 Tbsp part-skim shredded cheddar cheese 

1. Heat oven to 400℉.

2. Lightly spray olive oil spray in a medium nonstick skillet and heat on medium heat. 

3. Add onion, garlic and cilantro and sauté about 2 minutes, add ground turkey, salt, garlic powder, cumin and cook meat for 4-5 minutes until meat is completely cooked through.

4. Add ¼ cup of tomato sauce and ½ cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.

5. Combine cooked rice and meat together.

6. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds.  Spoon ⅔ cup meat mixture into each pepper half and place in a baking dish.  Top each with 1 Tbsp cheese.

7. Pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes.

8. Carefully remove the foil and serve right away.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 221, Protein 18 g, Sodium 248 mg, Cholesterol 61 mg, Total Carbohydrate 19 g (Dietary fiber 3 g, Sugars 1 g), Total fat 3 g

Chickpea Pasta Salad in a Jar (From

Total Time: 10 minutes
Yields 2 servings

¼ of a large red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
½ cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp Kalamata olives, halved
1 cup cooked whole grain rotini pasta
1½ cups baby arugula (or other salad greens of choice)
2 Tbsp crumbled feta or goat cheese 

1. In a 1-quart jar, shake onion, vinegar, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Add chickpeas and gently shake to coat.

2. Top with tomatoes, olives, pasta, salad greens and cheese.

3. When ready to serve, turn upside down and let sit 2 minutes, so dressing can run over rest of ingredients.

4. This can be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days.  Let stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes before turning over to spread dressing.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 448, Protein 13 g, Sodium 1466 mg, Cholesterol 25 mg, Total Carbohydrate 45 g (Dietary fiber 8 g, Sugars 7 g), Total fat 26 g (Saturated fat 6g)

Slow Cooker Chicken and White Bean Stew (From Eating Well magazine)

Total Time: ~8 hours
Yields 6 servings

1 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked and drained
6 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 (4-oz) parmesan cheese rind plus ⅔ cup grated parmesan, divided
2 bone-in chicken breasts (1 pound each)
4 cups chopped kale
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves 

1. Combine beans, broth, onion, carrots, rosemary and parmesan rind in a 6-quart slow cooker.  Top with chicken.  Cover and cook on low until the beans and vegetables are tender (7-8 hours).

2. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board; let stand until cool enough to handle.  Shred chicken, discarding the bones.

3. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and stir in kale.  Cover and cook on high until the kale is tender (~20-30 minutes).

4. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Discard the parmesan rind.  Serve the stew drizzled with oil.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 667, Protein 55 g, Sodium 677 mg, Cholesterol 49 mg, Total Carbohydrate 82 g (Dietary fiber 32 g, Sugars 2 g), Total fat 15 g (Saturated fat 5g)

Slow Cooker Fresh Veggie Lasagna (From Dairy Good)

Total Time: ~5.5 hours
Yields 6 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 cup low-sodium marinara sauce
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 bag baby spinach
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
Fresh basil leaves (optional)

1. Spray crockery pot of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix together mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, egg, oregano and garlic powder.

3. Spread 2 Tbsp of marinara sauce in bottom of pot.  Sprinkle ½ zucchini over sauce and top with ⅓ of cheese mixture.  Break 2 noodles into pieces to cover cheese.  Spread 2 Tbsp of marinara sauce and then layer ½ spinach and ½ mushrooms.  Repeat layering, ending with cheese and the remaining sauce.  Firmly press ingredients into pot. 

4. Cover and cook over low heat for 4-5 hours.  Allow lasagna to rest 20 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 216, Protein 16 g, Sodium 401 mg, Cholesterol 57 mg, Total Carbohydrate 16 g (Dietary fiber 2 g, Sugars 2 g), Total fat 10 g (Saturated fat 6g)

Pomegranate Balsamic Chicken (From

Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Coarse sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
½ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Pomegranate arils, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350℉.  Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then liberally season with salt and pepper. 

2. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet or other large oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stove.  Sear chicken thighs for 2-3 minutes per side, then remove to a clean plate.  Cover and set aside.

3. Pour pomegranate juice and balsamic into the skillet and bring to a boil for 1 minute, then turn heat down to medium low.  Whisk to deglaze the skillet and let cook until mixture has reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes.

4. Return chicken thighs to the pan with the sauce and turn to coat.  Place skillet in the oven to finish cooking chicken, about 15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165℉.

5. Serve chicken with a drizzle of sauce from the pan and a sprinkle or pomegranate arils (optional).

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 221, Protein 29 g, Sodium 148 mg, Total Carbohydrate 7 g (Sugars 6 g), Total fat 7 g (Saturated fat 2g)

Fish Tacos with Sweet Pickle Sauce (From Cooking Light magazine)

Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields 4 servings

4 (5-oz.) tilapia fillets
1 tsp chili powder
⅝ tsp kosher salt, divided
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
½ tsp ground red pepper
½ tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp canola mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
8 (6-in.) corn tortillas
1 ripe avocado, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium tomato, cut into 16 wedges
½ cup cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high.  Coat pan with cooking spray.

2. Sprinkle fish evenly with chili powder, ⅜ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, red pepper, and cumin.  Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Cut each fillet into slices.

3. Combine mayonnaise, pickle relish, remaining ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper in a small bowl.  Heat tortillas according to package directions.

4. Divide fish, avocado, and tomato evenly among tortillas.   Drizzle tacos evenly with mayonnaise mixture; sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges.

Nutrition (per serving: 2 tacos)Calories 377, Protein 33 g, Sodium 556 mg, Cholesterol 71 mg, Total Carbohydrate 39 g (Dietary fiber 7 g, Sugars 5 g), Total fat 12 g (Saturated fat 2g)

Sausage, Spinach and Apple Breakfast Sandwich (From Cooking Light Magazine)

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields 4 servings

3½ Tbsp canola mayonnaise
 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp honey
½ tsp white vinegar
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. turkey breakfast sausage
4 cups baby spinach
4 whole grain English muffins, split and toasted
½ Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

2. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high.  Divide and shape sausage into 4 (3-inch) patties.  Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned and done.  Remove patties from pan; keep warm.  Add spinach to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring until wilted.

3. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over cut sides of English muffins.  Top bottom halves of muffins evenly with patties, spinach, apple slices, and top halves of muffins.

Nutrition (per sandwich)Calories 330, Protein 15 g, Sodium 800 mg, Cholesterol 22 mg, Total Carbohydrate 36 g (Dietary fiber 5 g, Sugars 6 g), Total fat 14 g (Saturated fat 2g)

Red Beans and Rice (From Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine)

Total Time: ~ 1 hour
Yields 6 servings

1 cup dry red beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2½ cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ to 1 tsp salt
½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
6 cups cooked brown rice for serving

1. Rinse beans and soak overnight in 5 to 6 cups of water.  Drain and rinse.

2. Heat oil in a large pot then add onion and garlic.  Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in bell pepper, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, sage, thyme, and red pepper flakes.  Add soaked, drained beans.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 hour.  Remove bay leaves.  Stir in vinegar, salt, and liquid smoke, if using.  Serve over steamed brown rice.

Nutrition (per serving)Calories 305, Protein 8 g, Sodium 265 mg, Cholesterol 0 mg, Total Carbohydrate 59 g (Dietary fiber 8 g, Sugars 4 g), Total fat 3.5 g (Saturated fat 0.5g)


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