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12 Healthy Dishes Served on a Stick

The kids might be back in school and store shelves are filling with fall merchandise, but we’re not ready to let go of summer just yet. With the weather still warm and Labor Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take advantage of one of summer’s favorite foods: the kabob! Popping meats, veggies, fruits and even whole sandwiches on a stick is a great way to add fun and variety to your meals and parties, no matter the time of year. Plus, presenting a meal on a stick will certainly grab the attention of little picky eaters.
Reflect on a summer of sun and fun by assembling and cooking up a few of these crowd-pleasing healthy kabobs. 
Posted 9/4/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 2 comments   6,227 views
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Beat the Heat with 12 Summer Salads

Back to school and pumpkin beers at the grocery say summer is coming to a close, yet no one seems to have told the sun as temperatures remain hot in most of the country. Salads are a cool and refreshing way to beat the heat and change things up at the dinner table after a summer filled with grilled meats. Plus, with minimal prep time and simple ingredients, you'll spend less time with a hot stove and more time enjoying the sunshine. The many fresh fruits and other foods available during the summer months (farmers market, anyone?) allow you to add flavor and variety to your salads--no boring meals here! Hold on tight to the last bit of summer by enjoying a few of these summer-friendly salads in the coming weeks.

Summer Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese
 Sweet summer peaches and tangy goat cheese top the season’s freshest vegetables in this crowd-pleasing salad.

Summer Salad with Chicken and Berries With berries reaching their peak sweetness levels, now is the perfect time to incorporate them into a salad. Let a range of fresh berries shine in this filling lunch dish.
Coach Nicole's Favorite Summer Salad Add your favorite dressing—balsamic vinaigrette works great—to this filling and effortlessly delicious salad.

Spinach-Berry Salad Fresh and juicy strawberries mingle with tender spinach, goat cheese and crunchy almonds in this salad that even kids will devour.

Cool Cucumber Salad Cucumber, red onion and a simple dressing are all you need to create this fantastic dish, which happens to pair well with grilled meats.

Caprese Salad Simple flavors combine in this timeless salad that is sure to win fans at your next backyard BBQ.

Easy Watermelon and Feta Salad Watermelon is a favorite summer dessert, but it makes a lovely addition to a dinner salad, too. Here, creamy citrus dressing and crunchy celery pairs with the sweet melon.

Peach-Tomato Salad with Basil and Feta Sweet, juicy peaches, tangy tomatoes, fresh basil and feta come together in a salad that is sure to make your taste buds do the happy dance.

Israeli Salad When the ingredients are fresh, salads can be simple, yet impressive. This traditional Israeli salad is perfect as a side, lunch salad or as a filling for your pita.

Spinach and Pear Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette Up your salad game with this spinach and pear salad topped with a homemade Dijon vinaigrette.

Waldorf Salad The classic Waldorf salad gets a healthy makeover thanks to the addition of low-fat yogurt.

End of Summer Salad A hot summer afternoon is the perfect time to enjoy this sweet and savory watermelon salad.

Do you eat more salads during the summer months? Which of these recipes will you try first?

Click here for even more summer salad recipes.

Posted 8/21/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 2 comments   11,166 views
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7 Better Turkey Burger Recipes

Ground turkey is a staple in my kitchen. I buy in bulk and keep it in my freezer. My favorite use for this versatile item is turkey burgers. It’s fun to experiment with items in my fridge, cupboard, or farm box, aiming for half of the ingredients to be vegetables and whole grains. This creates a complete nutritional meal for my kids that also affords them choice of toppings and condiments. My personal favorite is to enjoy the patty on top of leafy greens with honey mustard dressing. Instead of consuming that full-fat 500 calorie beef burger, opt for one of these juicy turkey burger recipes. Here are a few of the best turkey burger recipes from SparkRecipes members.
Posted 6/11/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 47 comments   312,657 views
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Fajitas The Healthy Way!

Fajitas are one of those foods that you hear and smell before you see, especially when you order them at a restaurant. The onions and peppers sizzle amongst strips of meat, their intoxicating smells travel through the restaurant, and finally a skillet overflowing with food is presented to you, along with a platter of beans, rice, a stack of flour tortillas and all the trimmings.
Fajitas come from the Spanish word "faja," which means sash, skirt--or girdle. It referred to the type of meat originally used in the dish, skirt steak. When most of us eat fajitas as served, we'll likely need a girdle to get into our pants!
The fajita platter at a popular fast-casual chain has 850 calories, 36 grams of fat, and 2,440 milligrams of sodium (more than a day's worth!). Wow.
At its most basic, a fajita is grilled meat wrapped in a tortilla. The vegetables are a welcome addition, but most restaurants douse them in oil and salt. 
Posted 5/21/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 32 comments   222,563 views
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14 Healthy and Delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

Using a slow cooker is like magic: pour in the ingredients, set the heat level, and then shift focus to your to do list, all the while your slow cooker does the heavy lifting. Chicken is one of my favorite ingredients to use in a slow cooker, since it’s a flavorful source of lean protein and it requires little effort to cook. These are some of SparkPeople’s favorite slow cooker chicken recipes.


Slow Cooker Marinara Chicken and Vegetables (Chef Meg's Makeover)

Posted 5/16/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 29 comments   1,270,137 views
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20-Minute Weeknight Dinners

Sometimes we don't have time to spend hours on a fancy dinner. That said, between driving kids to and from school and sports, fitting in a workout and running errands, everyone should still be able to enjoy a delicious, healthy meal come dinnertime. Here are some of our favorite simple, great-tasting meals ready in a flash. Just what you need when there's a lot on your plate.

Chicken and Asparagus Pasta
This simple and delicious pasta dish is sure to become a family favorite.

calories: 207.6     fat: 7 g     protein: 14.3 g     carbs: 25.4 g

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
Forget chicken parmesan—this broiled white fish version is just the thing to take your dinner to the next level. Serve with a side of steamed veggies for a balanced meal.

calories: 275.2     fat: 8.5 g     protein: 48.5 g     carbs: 1.4 g

Chicken-Veggie Stir Fry
This is a great meal for a busy night! Change up the veggies, and you'll have a new meal each time you make this dish.

calories: 156.8     fat: 3.3 g     protein: 18.6 g     carbs: 12.7 g
Posted 3/26/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 21 comments   593,666 views
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10 Super Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipes

Are you looking for new ways to eliminate unhealthy ingredients and add more healthy ingredients to your recipes? Stuffed Bell Peppers are a fun way just to do that. A large size bell pepper has about 50 calories and is loaded with folate, magnesium, copper, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and potassium. Use peppers in place of high calorie wraps that have very little nutritional value. For an added bonus, stuff your peppers nutritional storehouses like beans, lentils, whole grains, finely chopped veggies and lean meats. Top it off with a puréed vegetable sauce for added flavor. Keep yourself healthy with these 10 super stuffed pepper recipes. 
Posted 3/7/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 18 comments   373,639 views
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7 Slow Cooker Pork Recipes

Due to the popularity of Slow Cooker Chicken, I'd like to follow up now with pork, which is another slow cooker favorite. Pork is a staple in our house, especially when we're having a large group of dinner guests. It's a budget-friendly choice that becomes tender and juicy when cooked slowly. Whether you're tired of everything tasting like chicken, or you just need a change of pace, add these slow cooker pork recipes to your meal plan today. 
Posted 2/15/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 10 comments   41,096 views
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Better-For-You Southern Comfort Recipes

Down home Southern cooking has produced some of our finest classic American dishes. At the same time, many of these original recipes include unwanted fats, calories and sodium. With some simple changes, we can enjoy this quintessential comfort cuisine and still stay on-track with our health goals. 
Posted 2/1/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 14 comments   108,076 views
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7 Easy Baked Pasta Dishes

Pasta is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t have to be hard to cook or unhealthy. Baked pasta is my go to meal when I need to prepare something ahead of time for dinner. With these simple modifications I've been able to take high-fat, high-calorie dishes and replaced them with highly nutritious ingredients. 
  • Use only half the amount of cheese.
  • Replace high-fat protein with lean protein.
  • Replace half the pasta with vegetables.
  • Try pasta made with rice, corn or quinoa flour for a gluten-free option. 
  • Use non-fat milk and Greek yogurt for a cream based sauce. 
These recipes are simple to prepare and taste great. Steam some broccoli or prepare a green salad and you have a well balanced meal that your family will love. 
Posted 12/18/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 2 comments   91,808 views
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7 Quick and Easy Salmon Recipes

When I was in high school, my parents made a big lifestyle change that included improved diet and exercise. One of our staples when eating out became salmon. Many years later, it's still my favorite fish, but now I enjoy it at home around our family dinner table too. The best thing about salmon is that you don't have to be a professional chef or require expensive ingredients. This fish is simple to prepare, cooks fast, and has high levels of omega-3 fats and protein, but is relatively low in calories. I prefer fresh wild salmon, but you can opt for farmed or canned salmon also. Whether you already love salmon, or if you're ready to try something new, try these simple and healthy recipes to acquaint yourself with this amazing fish. 
Posted 11/27/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 17 comments   105,826 views
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7 Super Soups

As the weather turns cold, heat up your meal planning with cozy soup recipes.  Soup doesn't need to be boring, plain or unsubstantial. Add ingredients like beans, lean proteins and whole grains to turn it into a complete nutritious meal. Avoid high sodium broths. Instead use spices and seasonings to add flavor. Double the recipe and use the left over's for tomorrow's lunch or freeze it to enjoy another night. Curl up with a cup of soup this week by using these recipes and resources. 
Posted 11/16/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 15 comments   21,380 views
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The Secret to Perfect (Faux) Frying

You might not find discussions of pan frying or deep fat frying in most cookbooks geared to healthy cooking for obvious reasons. I guess that means that if we want to live a healthy lifestyle we will no  longer enjoy the golden breading color on pieces of cooked Dover sole or the crunch we hear when we bite into a chicken leg coated in a crispy breading. Guess again! If you've said goodbye to those crispy cooked foods--say hello again!  Faux frying creates a lighter version of the pan- or deep-fried foods that we all crave.  It's simple, quick, and easy.  Best of all, your home (and your hair) won't smell of a deep fat fryer for days after the meal. 
Posted 10/15/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 24 comments   46,075 views
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6 New Uses for Roasted Peppers

Roasted peppers are perfect for rounding out a dish, enjoying as a snack, or even using as a food wrapper!
Whom should we thank for such a versatile vegetable that adds so much smoky sweet flavor to an endless amount of dishes?  Some would say Mother Nature and others a cook... I'm going with both.  The earth provides us with the vegetable, but it's the roasting technique that gives it that subtle smoky flavor.
First, let's learn how to make them, and then we can talk about the many ways to use them.
While red peppers are the most common, you can roast orange or yellow ones, too. The roasting mellows their flavor and adds a smoky sweetness.
Posted 8/13/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 13 comments   17,820 views
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Lighten Up Pasta with Garden-Fresh Zucchini

Pasta may be too heavy for a hot summer night, but you can lighten it up by substituting or swapping it out with vegetables.
Zucchini pasta is super easy to prepare and perfect for anyone who is gluten-intolerant, diabetic, low carbing it, a raw food lover, or those like me that are up to their ears in zucchini from the garden.  Zucchini pasta is nothing more than raw zucchini that has been cut to mimic traditional pasta: fettuccine, linguine, and yes even lasagna. 
Posted 8/6/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 31 comments   71,454 views
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