Quick Healthy Recipes

Quick Healthy Recipes

I’m a horrible housewife. I hate cooking. I’m thankful that I have a boyfriend who enjoys cooking and doesn’t complain about making dinner every night.

There are, however, those rare occasions when I actually have to cook something for my family. I dust off my recipe box and dig through the index cards with handwritten recipes on them. But who am I kidding? I am not making mushroom risotto or chicken marsala.

Nope. I’m making one of the items below from my quick, healthy recipes line up. Most of them came from health food magazines, but my boyfriend worked his cooking magic and jazzed them up a bit with better seasonings. So I know they’re full of vitamins and minerals, but won’t taste like cardboard. Plus, they’re pretty impossible to mess up. This coming from the girl who once messed up frozen pizza and boxed macaroni and cheese.

Quick Healthy Recipe: Jerk Pork with Black Beans and Red PeppersMicrowave Only: Jerk Pork with Pineapple and Black Beans
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 27 minutes | Makes 4 servings

2 lb sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
4 bone-in pork loin chops (about 1” thick), trimmed of fat
2 ½ Tbsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
1 can (8 oz) pineapple bits
½ c red bell pepper, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1. Prick potato skins with a fork and cook on high for 13 to 15 minutes or until soft. Set aside.
2. Season chops with 2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning and arrange in a 9×9 microwavable dish with bones facing outward.
3. In a large bowl, mix pineapple (with half of juice), pepper, scallions, brown sugar, and vinegar. Pour evenly over chops. Cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cook on high for 6 minutes.
4. Rotate chops and scatter black beans in dish. Re-cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 minutes or until chops are barely pink in center (145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer).
5. Cut each potato in half and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and remaining jerk seasoning. Serve alongside pork chop. 

Nutrients per serving:
Calories: 518
Fat: 2g
Saturated fat: 2g
Sodium: 926mg
Carbohydrates: 81g
Fiber: 12g
Protein: 27g

Quick Healthy Recipes: Harvest LasagnaMicrowave Only: Harvest Lasagna
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 24 minutes | Makes 6 servings

9 oz stemmed spinach leaves (about 5 cups)
1 container (15oz) reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
2 Tbsp parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ c onions, chopped
1 c bell pepper, chopped
2 med zucchini, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 jar (26oz) tomato-basil sauce
8 no-boil lasagna noodles

1. Put spinach in an 8×8 square microwaveable dish and cook on high for 4 minutes or until wilted.
2. Drain any liquid. Remove spinach to a bowl and mix with ricotta, half of mozzarella, half of Parmesan, egg white, 4 teaspoons of parsley, salt, and pepper.
3. Wipe out baking dish and generously coat with cooking spray. Mix in onions, pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Mix until coated with spray, then cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap, and cook on high for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft, stirring once.
4. Uncover and scrape vegetables onto a plate.
5. Spread a layer of tomato sauce over bottom of same dish. Add a layer of 2 noodles. Spread a third of cheese mixture over noodles, covering them completely. Spoon a third of vegetable mixture over cheese, then spoon on a quarter of sauce, making sure noodles are covered.
6. Repeat layers of noodles, cheese, vegetables, and sauce to make a total of 4 layers of noodles. Top final layer with remaining sauce.
7. Cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.
8. Scatter remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over top and cook uncovered on high for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons parsley. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.

Nutrients per serving:
Calories: 380
Fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 6g
Sodium: 960mg
Carbohydrates: 47g
Fiber: 3g
Protein: 25g

Quick Healthy Recipes: Bean WrapsBean Salad Wraps
Ready in 15 minutes | Makes 4 servings

4 8-inch tortillas (preferably whole wheat)
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
2 tbsp cilantro
2 tbsp light sour cream
Cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

1. Stack tortillas and wrap tightly in foil. Heat in 350 degree over for 10 minutes to soften.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans slightly. Add pepper, cilantro, seasonings, and sour cream.
3. To serve, spread bean mixture evenly over tortillas, and roll the tortillas up.

Nutrients per serving:
Calories: 230
Fat: 9g
Saturated fat: 2g
Sodium: 504mg
Carbohydrates: 33g
Fiber: 6g
Protein: 9g

Quick Healthy Recipes: No Bake protein BarsNo-Bake Protein Bars
Ready in 40 minutes | Makes 6 servings

2 cups quick-cook oats
½ cup natural peanut butter
4 scoops vanilla protein powder*
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ cup water

* Protein powders add protein to meals. Protein stabilizes blood sugars and helps you feel fuller longer. You can buy protein powder from a specialty store like GNC in the Valley River Center or at Complete Nutrition on Coburg Road. Many department stores like Target and Wal-Mart will often carry protein powder in the pharmacy sections along with diet drinks like Slimfast.

Optional ingredients:
1 tsp cocoa powder
Dried fruit
Raw maple syrup or honey (drizzle on top of pressed dough when putting in the freezer)

1. Line a loaf dish with parchment paper.
2. Using clean hands, kneed all ingredients in a large bowl. It’s helpful if your hands are wet, because the dough will be very sticky.
3. Spread dough into dish, pressing down to flatten. Use a spatula to smooth out the surface. Freeze for 30 minutes. Cut into 6 large bars. Serve and refrigerate the rest.

Nutrients per serving:
Calories: 310
Total fats: 13g
Saturated fat: 2g
Trans fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 25mg
Sodium: 30mg
Total carbohydrates: 28g
Dietary fiber: 5 g
Sugars: 5g
Protein: 22g
Iron: 2mg

Blog Author: Mandy Lindgren. Mandy lives in Springfield, Oregon, with her boyfriend and two-year-old son. A self-proclaimed feminist, she enjoys reading, writing, playing Scrabble, and making steampunk jewelry. She snorts when she laughs and really means it, and she admits to correcting grammar on public signs with a Sharpie. Mandy has volunteered at WellMama since August 2012, and she works as a business manager at the University of Oregon.

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