Thai Tuna Noodles

I’m pretty proud of the photos I took of this dish. So without any further introduction, let’s just dive right in…

Thai Tuna Noodles, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

This recipe is just a fancier version of one of my favorite stand-by recipes, Peanut Butter Noodles.  Yes, that sounds weird, but I promise you, they are delicious.  I don’t actually have that recipe up on the blog – yet.  Give me some time and I’ll get it up here, scouts honor.  If you’re looking for a good appetizer to feature before this main dish, I would recommend Smoky Sesame Crushed Pea Dip or Deviled Eggs with Pickled Onions would also be good.   Anyway, I had these tuna steaks in the freezer that I wanted to use up, so I decided to double the PB sauce and marinate/baste the tuna steaks in it before tossing it on the PB noodles.  Here’s how I did it.

For the marinade/sauce, I made two separate batches.  So you will need double the amount of the ingredients listed (or just go by the amount in the parentheses following each ingredient).  I just found it easier to make two separate batches of the sauce–one to use as a marinade for the tuna and one for the noodles.

Ingredients: 

Marinade/Sauce:
1/2 cup low fat, low sodium chicken broth (1 cup total)
1 tsp ground ginger–I used the “wet” ground ginger not the dried ground ginger, but either should work (2 tsp total)
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce (6 Tbsp total)
3 Tbsp peanut butter–I prefer natural but whatever you have is fine (6 Tbsp total)
1 and 1/2 Tbsp honey (3 Tbsp total)
1 – 2 tsp hot sauce, depending on how spicy you like things (2 – 4 tsp total)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (6 cloves total)
3 (4 oz) tuna steaks (thawed if they were frozen)
8 oz Asian noodles–I usually like to use Udon, but the store was out so I used Somen this time
1 batch of green onions (this is usually like 6 green onions), diced
1/2 cup of peanuts, chopped (I run mine through my mini food processor–works great)

Method: 

1.  In two separate bowls (one of which should be a flat, shallow bowl), mix together your two, separate batches of the marinade/sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients together and whisking until well blended.  In the shallow bowl of marinade, place the tuna steaks and allow them to marinate for about 30 minutes, turning them over once about 15 minutes in to make sure they are evenly coated.

Thai Tuna Noodles, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

Tuna steaks marinating in delicious PB sauce.

2.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions.  Once cooked, drain and set noodles aside.
3.  After the tuna steaks have marinated for about a half an hour, spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and place tuna steaks in it and turn stove on to medium high heat.  Using a basting brush, baste the tuna steaks with the leftover marinade.  Turn tuna steaks over about every minute until cooked evenly through.  I kept basting until I eventually just poured the marinade in there and let the tuna steaks sort of cook in the marinade.  Once tuna steaks are finished cooking, remove from heat, and using a wooden spoon or turner or some other handy kitchen utensil, break up the tuna steaks into bite sized pieces and stir them around in the sauce.  Should look something like this…

Thai Tuna Noodles, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

Tuna all broken into bite sized pieces, just waiting to be sat atop noodles and devoured.

4.  In a large pot (I used the same one that I had boiled the noodles in–now empty), add the second batch of sauce and turn on stove to medium heat.  Use a whisk to stir the sauce until peanut butter is all incorporated.  Then, add the pasta to the pot and stir to coat.
5. To serve, dish out some pasta and spoon some of the marinated tuna on top.  Then, top generously with the diced green onions and chopped peanuts.  Enjoy!

Thai Tuna Noodles, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

It may seem like a lot of work, but honestly it’s pretty easy and fairly quick to come together.  I can tell you that you will not be sorry you tried this dish (unless of course you have a peanut allergy in which case you would be very sorry–please eat responsibly 😉 )

I would love to hear your thoughts on this dish (and on my photography–always looking for tips/tricks to improve), so please leave me comments–nothing makes me happier than comments!  (Unless it’s shares, shares also make me very happy–there are buttons for sharing at the bottom of every post so feel free to share the food love!)

Thanks for reading everyone!  How about one more close up?

Thai Tuna Noodles, (healthy)Vittles&Bits

Have a great rest of the week!!!

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5 Tips for Surviving Get-Togethers Without Blowing Your Diet

First of all, I would just like to say a big “congrats” to all the dietetic interns out there who have recently graduated (including myself as of last Tuesday!!!).   For anyone who isn’t familiar with Dietetic Internships, they are a bit brutal–a year of working your butt off (w/o pay), doing homework and other projects when you get home from work, studying for tests along the way, fitting in volunteer hours, etc.  It’s a tough year.  But for me, that year is finally over, and in a few weeks I will able to take the exam to become an official Registered Dietitian (ie “nutrition expert”), so I can say that it was all worth it.  Check out this awesome shirt my best friends Lindsay and Jenn got me:

Dietetic Internship HealthyVittles&Bits

You can follow Lindsay’s weight loss journey here if you are interested.

Of course, with graduation comes celebration, and with celebration comes food–lots of delicious food.  I am a little strange in that whenever I have a party, I insist on preparing all the food myself.  I guess I’m a control freak, but whatever.  For my graduation celebration, I focused mostly on healthy food, but did include a few unhealthy (yet amazingly delicious) desserts.  For  a look at my party menu and some food pics, scroll down, but first, let’s talk business.  I thought that this would be a good time for this post, as 4th of July is just 2 days away, and we are all bound to be surrounded by tasty (yet probably not healthy) food for the next several days.  Here’s how you survive a party without un-doing all your hard diet and exercise work:

5 Tips for Surviving Get-Togethers Without Blowing Your Diet

1.  Bring a Healthy Dish – Lots of get-togethers give you the opportunity to bring a dish of your own.  This is a perfect opportunity to make something A) that you like to eat, and B) that’s relatively healthy.  That way, even if everyone else brings dishes laden with cheese, cream, and bacon, you’ll at least have something that you know you can eat without ingesting way more calories and fat than you want to.  Here are some great ideas for healthy party dishes: Deviled Eggs with Homemade Pickled Onions, Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips, Pumpkin Hummus, Baked Beans, Black Bean and Cucumber Salad, Greek Garbanzo Bean Salad, and Winter Fruit Salad.

2.  Think Before You Eat – When you get to a party or gathering, your first inclination is to go straight to the food table and dig in, right?  This is usually mindless eating.  When you get there, take a minute and assess how hungry you actually are.  Are you hungry at all?  If not, don’t go eat just because you can.  Tell yourself that the food will still be there in an hour or two when you are actually hungry, and will therefore enjoy it more.

3.  Scope Out the Food First – Although most parties are full of high calorie, high fat food, there are usually a few healthier staples.  It’s a good idea to scope out the food situation and come up with a “plan of attack” before you just start eating whatever suits your fancy.   Look for dishes that are low calorie, high fiber and/or protein, such as fruit salads, veggie trays, bean salads, lean meat such as grilled chicken breast or even a small grilled burger patty.  Make a mental note of these healthier options, and try to eat more of these foods when you’re hungry at the party.  Also, make note of the foods that are likely to tempt you.  If you’re a sweet tooth, then probably cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and the like will be your foods to watch.  If you are more into savory foods, pay attention to foods such as hot dogs, cheesy/creamy dips, cheese and meat platters, etc.  You don’t need to completely deprive yourself of these favorite foods, but do indulge in moderation, and intelligently.  If there are four types of cookies there, you don’t need to try all four.  Try one.  Maybe pick one that you’ve never had before.  If you know you like a certain dessert, skip it, and try something different, or if you prefer to eat what you know you like, then eat the favorite dessert–just don’t eat both.  Another option is to split desserts or indulgent foods so that you can try a bite of many things but not overindulge on any one item.

4.  Walk Away from the Food – People tend to congregate around food during get-togethers.  Every holiday my entire family seems to end up standing around in the kitchen, no matter how much we encourage people to go sit in the family room.  It’s a pretty simple fact, that if you’re around the food, you’re going to eat the food–even if you’re not hungry.  So at your next party, make a conscious effort to stand or sit away from the food table.  Focus on other activities such as catching up with old friends, supervising the kids playing, making sure the dog doesn’t escape the yard, or best of all, if there are games or sports or anything that involves physical activity, join in and burn some extra calories!

5.  If You Bite It, Write It – Parties and other occasions where food is left out and people are grazing tend to result in way more calories in than need be.  Grazing invites mindless eating (eating when you’re not hungry).  One of the best ways to avoid mindless eating is to track what you eat.  I know a lot of people hate tracking, but it is one of the simplest ways to stay on track and be aware of what (and how much) you’re eating.  Even if you don’t track normally, it’s still a good idea to track during a party or get together if you’re worried about over-doing it.  If you’re going to be at the party over a meal time, then you can set a calorie limit for yourself (I would say between 500-750 calories) and make sure you don’t exceed it.  If the party is over a snack time, and you’re still going to eat a meal before and after it, I would say stick closer to 300 calories.  Or, if you really can’t stand calorie counting, then just keep a list on the notepad on your phone (or pad and paper if you’re old-school), and just write down all the different foods you eat.  Chances are, knowing that you will have to write it if you bite it will at least get you to stop and think about whether or not you really want to eat that third cookie.

So, now that that’s out of the way, here’s a look at what I made and ate this past weekend:

Appetizers:

Edamame Hummus (from Oh She Glows blog)
Guac Eggs (my own attempt to include avocado in deviled eggs)
Spinach, Mushroom, and Cheese “Quichelets” ( I made these using the recipe from this post, in mini muffin tins and baked for 20 min at 350 – delish)

HealthyVittles&Bits

My attempt at Guac Eggs – deviled eggs that include avocado.

Main Course:

Lentil Tacos
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
Spinach Salad

Dessert:

Salted Caramel Cupcakes (from Sally’s Baking Addiction blog)
Chocolate Covered Pretzel S’more Sandwiches (blog post coming later on this one…)

HealthyVittles&Bits

Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate sandwiched between 2 Pretzels and then coated in Melted Chocolate. Yum 🙂

So there you have it.  How to survive a party without ruining your diet.  I hope you found this post helpful.  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  Please let me know if you like this sort of post and if you would want to see more like it.  I am always open to suggestions for what you want to read about 🙂

Wishing you all a happy (and healthy) 4th of July!

Avocado Chicken Salad

Yes, it’s another avocado recipe.  I seriously just cannot get enough avocado these days.  (If you’re on that same wavelength with me, be sure to check out my recent posts on Healthy Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies and Quinoa Burgers with Creamy Avocado Sauce.)

I saw a post on pinterest featuring Paula Deen’s avocado chicken salad, but let’s face it–it was not very healthy (surprise, surprise…).  So I decided to try to do something similar yet with real nutritional value.  Here’s what I came up with:

Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad

Delicious, nutritious, fresh.

This was really ridiculously easy to make.  The only slightly time consuming part is boiling and dicing up the chicken.  If you’re not familiar with that, you can read/watch more about it here: How to Boil Chicken Breasts.

Here’s how you make the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 large avocado, diced
1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp of minced, fresh Basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1.   Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2.  Enjoy as a spread on crackers, pita pockets, between two slices of whole grain bread, on top of a bed of lettuce–or heck just eat it plain!

Now, let’s take a minute and breakdown that ingredients list – 

Chicken: great source of lean protein (for the lowest fat option, use white meat such as breast meat)
Avocado: great source of monounsaturated (aka heart healthy) fat.  Avocados are good for your skin, for your eyes, even for your bowels (there’s between 11-17 grams of fiber in just one avocado!)
Plain, Non-Fat Greek Yogurt:  Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, and can even have beneficial bacteria that helps your digestive system (look for the LAC seal on the yogurt container, which stands for live and active cultures.)
Low Fat Cottage Cheese:  Cottage cheese is basically just a protein bomb – especially the low or non fat kind – it’s basically just protein.

So there you have it.  The main players in this recipe are packed with protein, healthy fat, and even some fiber.  That’s why, when combined with a complex carb such as whole wheat bread, this avocado chicken salad makes for a very healthy, complete meal.

Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad

I would love to hear your thoughts about this recipe, so leave me a comment!

Also, tell me the truth– Are you guys sick of avocado yet?  Cause I’m not.  But if you’re tired of avocado recipes I can mix it up.  Just leave me a comment letting me know if you want move avocado or less avocado.

Also, have a fantastic weekend!!!