Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fish Piccata

I've been on a seafood kick this week! First it was the crab/avocado pasta, then yesterday E and I (well, E actually!) cooked tuna fillets with mango salsa and piccata! I know...usually you hear about chicken piccata, but I thought hmmm...maybe that would be good with fish! I bought some mahi mahi at Wegman's last weekend and really wanted a great way to use it. Since I was cooking for just me, I made a single serving...but feel free to increase the recipe as needed!


  • 6oz Mahi Mahi filet (or any similar fish)
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1t tub margarine
  • White wine, q.b. (quanto basta...or however much it takes!)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Whole wheat flour, q.b.
  • 1T capers
Heat olive oil and margarine in a small skillet over medium high heat. Meanwhile, lightly coat fish filet in whole wheat flour and shake off excess. Once oil is hot, add fish (it should sizzle!) and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip filet to other side and cook another 2-3 minutes (it should be golden brown). Turn heat down to medium-low and remove filet to plate and set aside. 

Deglaze pan with splash of white wine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add lemon juice and capers and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add fish back to the pan and baste with juice/wine/caper mix. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, then flip fish and re-cover cooking for another 2 minutes until cooked through. 

Remove from heat and let rest for 2-3 minutes. 

I served this with spinach-lemon couscous (I used a box mix that I had on hand!) and crispy brussels sprouts (yes, I like them a bit dark...nearly burnt! This pic would be prettier if I hadn't let them get too crisp. But I just think they taste yummy when the leaves get crunchy!). 

This meal is a great source of those good fats we talked about with the olive oil and omega-3's from the fish! Serving it up with a nice vegetable and healthy starch rounds out the meal nicely! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whole Wheat Pasta with Avocado and Crab!

This dinner was, in a word...YUM!! I love living in Maryland and having such fantastic access to crab meat...combined with the fresh vinaigrette and creamy avocado this was just too much :)

After E (the roomie) and I got done with our fun afternoon of shopping (we bought some super cute new decor for our living room and to be posted soon once we're through with it all!) we stopped at grocery store heaven, a.k.a. Wegmans to stock up on the weekly groceries. Seeing as I'll be working 3 nights this week I wanted to make something that could last and that would be tasty left-over for a few meals. Now, I really am not always a huge fan of left-overs but I'm trying to love them more. There are certain things, like pasta, that are just SO great the next day...or 2...or 3 ;)

This dish was originally made for me by one of my friends last winter and I've been wanting to make it ever since but never really got around to it. The recipe is from Food&Wine so I really can't take the credit :) But really...if you like crab and HAVE to check it out!
(Copyright Melanie Acevedo)
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice (I used approximately half a lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red or white vinegar
  • 2 scallions chopped, dark green parts saved for garnish
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil (I used good olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • Lemon zest from 1/2 lemon or about 1/2 tsp

  • 1 Avocado, ripened and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks 
  • 1/2 pound lump crab meat (make sure to pick out the shells!)
  • 3/4 pound linguini (I used WHOLE WHEAT angel hair...fettucini would work too. Come on...try it with the whole grain pasta, it's fantastic!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
Combine the first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree together. Once the vinaigrette is well blended, pour into a small bowl and fold in avocado and lemon zest to keep avocado from browning. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions (approximately 8-12 minutes depending on type and brand).

I wanted to eat this cold since the Baltimore summer has just been way too hot for me, so I cooled the pasta down by rinsing in cold water. Drain well.

Fold together cooled pasta (or keep it hot if you'd like!), vinaigrette/avocado, 1/2 tsp salt, and crab meat. Sprinkle with reserved scallions. Serve immediately or let chill for 30 minutes-1hr if you'd like it cold. 

*I loved the whole wheat pasta with this! It really made it more filling and adding a bit more flavor/texture. There was surprisingly no garlic in this and being the Italian that I am I might be tempted to add a few cloves to the dressing next time I do this along with some cracked black pepper. Using good quality olive oil really complimented the flavor of the rich avocado and crab. Now, if you have people that don't do seafood...I think this pasta would be excellent with grilled chicken! I might have to make that variation for MB next time ;) We served this chilled with a side of melon fruit salad for a healthy, quick and easy summer meal. Enjoy! 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Vegetarian Week Wrap-Up

Well my vegetarian week is coming to an end...I started last Sunday so today is my last day. Ya know what though? I really didn't miss meat at all! I loved the dishes I created (especially my feta egg scramble, veggie burgers, and veggie quesadillas!) and I really had no desire to eat chicken, pork or beef at all.

I did let myself slip slightly on Thursday and shared some mussels with friends in Little Italy but really I don't consider that meat :) Along with the mussels we shared some caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil) and caesar salad so overall a good night of veggies, healthy protein and of course a nice glass of white wine!

One thing I did want to expand on is healthy fats. I know I've mentioned this in past posts but sometimes when people decide to go vegetarian they think they can eat all other foods that aren't meat and be "healthy". I personally don't consider deep fried foods (like chips, french fries, doughnuts, etc.), tons of high fat cheese, pasta loaded with high fat sauces, processed foods, etc. to be a part of a healthy vegetarian diet. If you are going to do this you need to do it right and include the most important part...fruits and VEGGIES! Make sure to get your healthy proteins (LOW fat cheeses, skim milk, fat free yogurt, peanut butter, tofu/soy beans, light soy milk, beans, etc.) and whole grains. And don't forget about healthy fat (yes, there is such a thing).

Healthy fats include olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocado...these all contain high amounts of mono or polyunsaturated fats, are low in saturated fat, contain no cholesterol and can actually help to LOWER your bad cholesterol and help raise your GOOD cholesterol. Animal fat, butter, trans fats, etc are all examples of fat that is going to clog the arteries, raise your cholesterol and contribute to any future cardiac issues we all want to avoid. You don't want to go overboard on fats but you definitely don't want to skip out on the good ones!

Bottom line, going vegetarian is possible...even if you just want to try out a few vegetarian meals! I really do feel's made me re-think my entire diet and really caused my entire lifestyle to become a bit...healthier this week! I went to the gym 3 times (taking 2 new classes!), drank a ton of water and really watched my sweet intake. But I still was able to eat great tasting healthy meals!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feta Egg Scramble!

Today I was fortunate to have the day off (even though that means I have to work over the weekend!) and got to make myself a nice, healthy breakfast. I'm a little tired of the same old cereal and fruit that I've been doing and wanted something a little I also wanted something to give me protein (and carbs!) to help fuel me up for my trip to the gym this afternoon.

Looking in the fridge for things to make an omelet with, I forgot that I bought the feta! And having tomatoes and avocado left from my quesadilla night I got to work on a quick healthy meal!


  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 very thin slice of feta cheese (maybe 1/2oz)
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1tsp lime juice
  • Cilantro, salt and pepper, to taste
Chop tomatoes and avocado into small chunks. Mix with lemon or lime juice and season with salt and pepper as desired. Set aside. 

Beat the egg and egg white well together until a bit frothy. Heat a small pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray. Add eggs to pan, stirring frequently. Once eggs are about halfway done, crumble in the feta. The great thing about feta is that it is naturally lower in fat and it has such a strong, wonderful flavor that you really don't need much of it to flavor your food! Continue to stir eggs and cheese over medium heat until cooked through and cheese is melted.

Top scramble with tomatoes and avocado and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with some multigrain toast and/or a piece of fruit to round out your meal!

*This would also be great with some red onion and a little spice (think cayenne pepper, hot sauce and/or jalepeno). 

Estimated Nutrition Info: 280 calories, 21gm fat, 17gm protein

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegetarian Day 2 Successful!

Today was so easy! I had such yummy, healthy meals...what a good day :)

Breakfast was packed up and taken to work - fat free plain Greek yogurt (about 3/4 cup) with about 1/2-3/4 cup Special K Granola cereal, along with that I had a banana and a large cup of cucumber white tea.

Lunch was peanut butter and honey on a high fiber English muffin, tomato/mozzarella salad and a few sunchips. My afternoon snack was a cup of deep red cherries (my fav!).

Dinner was so so so good! I'll be uploading a pic soon but I had to post it first!

Mexican food seems like one of the easiest ethnicities to turn vegetarian...tonight was quesadilla night. Using a ton of fresh veggies, whole wheat tortillas and low fat cheese I think I hit a home run! It was so simple and quick!


  • Small whole wheat tortillas (6"), about 4
  • Fresh veggies of choice (I used red pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, yellow onion), about 2 cups
  • Cherry tomatoes, about 1/2 cup chopped
  • Avocado, about 1/2 cup chopped
  • 1T chopped cilantro
  • 1T lime juice
  • 1/2 jalepeno, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Low fat mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup divided
Saute veggies in 1T olive oil or cooking spray over medium heat until slightly tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add in hot sauce if you'd like to add a little zip (I used about 1t sriracha) and toss. Set aside. Spray saute pan with cooking spray, heat over medium heat. Toast tortillas in pan about 1 minute each side or until golden brown. Once toasted, place 1 tortilla in pan on low heat, top with half veggie mixture, sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and another tortilla. Toast until cheese is melted. 

In a bowl combined chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, jalepenos, and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over top of quesadilla (I used about 1/2 mixture with my quesadilla). 

Serve with another veggie on the side if desired, low fat sour cream (or fat free Greek yogurt!), beans, etc. Enjoy! 

*Vegetarian tip- even though dairy is going to give you good protein and calcium you need to watch out for the fat content. Use low fat or fat free milk, yogurt and frozen yogurt. Try light sour cream and low fat cheese (white cheeses such as mozzarella are naturally lower in fat than yellow, such as cheddar).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vegetable Black Bean Burgers

This week I've decided to go vegetarian. Ok ok...first of all, anyone who knows me decently well should know that I am a meat eater! My last meal on this earth will definitely be a nice big filet mignon :) But being a dietitian and dealing with so many questions regarding vegetarian diets I decided- why not give it a try? I love vegetables and a lot of the time I end up eating meatless meals anyway, but I really want to experiment with some true vegetarian entrees. And I have never given up meat completely for a week. Let's see how it goes :)

Tonight I created my own veggie black bean burgers that I think turned out pretty well for my first time! There are so many options that you can do with these and I'm excited to try them out with different vegetables (think sundried tomato, roasted peppers, zucchini/squash, pumpkin, spinach, etc.) and seasonings. Yes, you can buy these in the store frozen but making them was so easy and really they tasted great! They are a perfect alternate to regular burgers on the grill, are low in fat, provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, and still give you the protein your body needs.


  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  •  1/2 medium red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 2 artichoke hearts (I used canned), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (or about 1tsp pre-chopped)
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup quick oats, processed in food processor 
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (whole wheat preferred) 
  • 1tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2tsp seasoning salt 
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Thomas Better Start, High Fiber English muffins
Heat 1T olive oil in sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, add peppers, onion, artichokes and cook until onion is slightly translucent and peppers are slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes. While veggies are cooking, mash black beans well with a fork or veggie masher and set aside. Turn off heat and set aside to cool a bit. 

Once cooled enough to handle, add vegetable mixture to food processor or blender and process until veggies are thoroughly minced. Add vegetables, mashed black beans, bread crumbs, oats, egg and seasonings to a medium-large mixing bowl and mix until well combined (I found that my hands worked best to mix). Refrigerate about 15 minutes or so to set ingredients. Once set, form into 4 equal sized patties.

Preheat grill pan or saute pan over medium high heat, spray with cooking spray. Cook patties about 4-6 minutes/side or until done. Serve on a toasted English muffin with veggies of your choice, cheese if you desire and some whole grain mustard or hot sauce! 

Estimated nutritional information (without cheese): 300 calories/burger; 3 grams of fat; 13 grams protein

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lazy Saturday

This morning I woke in a bit of a funk...or maybe I'm just tired. This week has sure been a busy one! Last weekend I was fortunate to spend a fantastic long weekend in beautiful Michigan with my wonderful boyfriend (MB) and his family :)
After coming home on Tuesday evening, I have spend the rest of my week working @ the hospital and going to work in the evenings at a local Italian restaurant to make a little extra cash and keep myself busy of course! I really do enjoy both my jobs but once the week is over I'm really tuckered out!

Vacation was great, as I said, but full of vacation food! I tried eating lots of fish when we went out to dinner (Lake MI white fish!! yummm) and getting all the fruit and veggies I could when we ate at home but I also indulged in the delightful cookies made by MB's mom, white bread (gasp!!), bacon, ice cream, s'mores (come CAN'T have a bonfire without roasting some 'mallows!), brats, coffee cake, muffins and candy. Of course, when you get back from a vaca there usually aren't too many groceries in the house. I like to use up whatever I have before I leave and don't usually buy anything leading up to getting home I'm left with nothing but a few frozen meals, dry goods and spoiled milk! Needless to say, I've been eating take-out much more than I should and have given myself a free pass on the healthy eating. So I'm feeling a few pounds heavier and ready to get back on track!

*Quick Tip to help with this "no-grocery" rut...have a few healthy meals stocked in the freezer! When you have left-overs (such as lasagna or a veggie casserole) that are easy to freeze portion them out into plastic containers for those times when you just can't or don't want to get to the store! I also stock up on Kashi and Lean Cuisine meals when they are on sale for fast dinners and lunches! Frozen fruit and vegetables are also time-savers and are easy on the budget. I keep a few bags on hand at all times for quick, healthy meals! Plus they don't spoil very quickly and are the same nutritional value as fresh produce!

So breakfast today was quick and easy...Multi-Grain Cheerios with skim milk, coffee and a cup of canned fruit packed in 100% juice (really...I'm going to grocery store tomorrow!).

Hello World!

Hey Everyone,
So I had began my blogging last summer/fall and kind of fell off the bandwagon with all that I had going on (moving to a new city, starting a new job, starting a new relationship, meeting new friends, etc, etc)! Also, when I started the initial blog I realized that most of my posts were criticizing myself and attacking my body image and really that is not what I like to promote as a dietitian. So I am starting over with a clean slate! I have so many blog ideas including sections on general healthy eating, the importance of different meal components (fats, carbs, proteins, vitamins/minerals, water, etc), why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, tips for picky eaters, time-saving meal ideas that are healthy and delicious, ways to stay motivated with healthy eating and exercise, as well as the importance of having your splurges/indulgences! I hope that you will all follow me on my journey through the world of GOOD nutrition (and when I say GOOD, I not only mean GOOD for you...but GOOD in terms of delicious, fun food ideas that make you feel GOOD and that you enjoy!).