Healthy breakfast banana bread pudding

Bread pudding is no longer just for dessert. This lightened up version uses non-fat milk, only two eggs, and mashed bananas to make it a perfect way to start your day!

If you aren’t into the bananas in this recipe, you could definitely substitute another fruit or just leave out the fruit all together and have a cinnamon spiced bread pudding that would be just as good!

Ingredients

8 sliced of bread (I used a mixture of whole grain and sourdough)
1 cup non-fat milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 banana mashed
walnuts, optional

Cut or tear bread into 1-2 inch pieces. Butter a baking dish and place bread inside.

In a bowl, combine milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, walnuts and mashed banana. Pour over bread. Press down on the bread so that it is submerged in the milk mixture. Allow to sit for an hour. I let mine sit overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Enjoy straight out of the oven, at room temperature, or cold!

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Skinny Mac and cheese & the love of my life

Most of you who follow this blog have met or at least have heard of Bruin. He is undoubtably the most amazing, sweet, adorable and loving boy in my life. And…he is my one year old Boston Terrier. I don’t talk about him too often on here, but – like food, he is a huge part of my life.

We recently moved from Charlotte (where I adopted him) to Naples once I graduated from college. And no surprise to me, he LOVES it here. He gets to spend so much time with his friends Rocco and Sydney (my parents’ Australian shepherds), and gets so much love from his Gigi (my mom) and his grandpa. I thought it would be nice to share this picture I recently took of him so you all can see what an adorable little guy he is.

Like I said above, Bruin is my main man. BUUUUUT, this mac and cheese is pretty dang special too. I keep this one close to my heart and love it almost as much as Bruin.

Ingredients

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
3/4 lb whole wheat penne
4 cups fresh spinach
2 cups fat free milk
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup low fat cheddar cheese
1 Tbl whole wheat flour
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Boil water and cook pasta according to directions on the box. I tend to undercook it just slightly since it will cook for a little while longer in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a sauce pan, heat butter and oil together and add onion. Cook until onion begins to soften. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring the entire time, for about a minute. Slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil. At this point in should begin to thicken. Whisk in ricotta cheese, parmesam, and cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, spinach, and hot cheese sauce. Stir until combine and spinach has wilted.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and pour in pasta. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is brown and cheese is bubbling.

Enjoy!!!

15 days of sandwiches: Day 8 – Broccoli and white cheddar quesadilla (vegetarian)

Broccoli cheddar soup is so good. It’s creamy. It’s cheesy. It’s comforting. But, it is one of the most unhealthy soups out there. I never order it out at restaurants because I know it is packed with butter, cream, and full fat cheese. For me, there are just too many unhealthy calories to make it worth indulging.

But, that doesn’t mean I will never indulge in that awesome combination! This “sandwich” is really easy and quick to prepare and tastes so good! It has all the great flavors of broccoli cheese soup without all the fat and calories! And the best part of all of this? It’s only THREE ingredients!!! YAY!

Ingredients

1 whole wheat tortilla
1/2 cup steamed broccoli
1/3 cup shredded light white cheddar cheese

Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Place tortilla in pan and spread cheese over the entire tortilla. Place steamed broccoli on 1/2 of the tortilla. Once cheese has melted slightly, fold non-broccoli side of the tortilla over the side that has the broccoli on it. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bottom of the quesadilla is crispy.

Enjoy!

15 days of sandwiches: Day 7 – 253 calorie peanut butter banana and jelly sandwich

Peanut butter and jelly is the quintessential lunch time sandwich. I can remember eating this from when I was in elementary school, and I still eat it for lunch today. It’s so easy to prepare and because of the protein in the peanut butter, it keeps me full for hours!

Only problem is, peanut butter is super high in fat and calories. One regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich is about 500 calories! Personally, I feel like that is way too many calories to eat for such a small amount of food.

I have tallied up all the calories for this version and it is almost HALF of what a regular PB&J is! Plus, you get to add banana to this one which makes it so much better!! At only 253 calories, this is a super easy and really healthy lunchtime sandwich that I know you all will love.

Ingredients

1 Tbls prepared PB2 (you can find this in some Whole Foods grocery stores or some specialty health food storess)
2 tsp. raspberry preserves (you can use reduced sugar jam and it would be even less cals!)
1/2 banana, sliced
1 slice of 10 grain bread
1 1/2 tsp flax meal

Spread PB2 and preserves down on bread. Top with banana slices and flax meal.

Healthy chicken salad

I love chicken salad. It is probably the one unhealthy food that I still order out at restaurants even though I know it’s a bad choice. I can’t help it. Recently I looked into the calorie count for my favorite restaurant’s chicken salad and it came out to a whopping 1140 calories and 72 grams of fat. I was astounded. Shocked. Depressed. Shocked. I am still in shock over this if you can’t tell.

I needed to find a way to make this healthy – and I did! My recipe is 104 calories per serving and only 2.8 grams of fat. Crazy right? This is so delicious and is wayyyy better than my favorite restaurant version. It is also really filling! One serving of this over some spinach or on a slice of bread is the perfect lunch. The addition of mango and sliced almonds adds really great flavor and the celery adds the perfect amount of texture.

This is also something that you can make early in the week and keep in the fridge for easy lunches for work or quick weeknight dinners.

Ingredients
Serves 5-6

1 double chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbl brown sugar
1/2 cup grapes, halved
3 Tbl sliced almonds
1/2 mango, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
salt/pepper

Combine yogurt, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and garlic powder in a bowl. Add in all other ingredients and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

I served mine over some spinach with avocado but this would be great in a sandwich or just on it’s own!

Enjoy!