Category Archives: QuickDinners

Signature Meals Part II


Signature Meals Part II-Take out

After work as you’re driving home, you realize you’re  starving…  What should you eat for dinner, pizza, a burrito, Chinese food?   I’m guessing a freshly prepared salad with homemade dressing and crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes and thinly sliced carrots is not at the top of that list.  That is why it is so important to create your own signature meals that are easy to make and delicious for you and your family.

You don’t have to be a professional chef to have great signature meals in fact signature meals don’t even have to be prepared by you!  The idea is to have some ideas for healthy meals that you know you love and make you feel good because they are packed with nutrient rich ingredients.

Signature take out meals are tasty, nutritious, and satisfying.  These meals should be on your drive home so you can make a quick pick up on the way home if you just don’t want to cook or didn’t prep food earlier in the week.

I’ll share with you my top 5 signature take out meals:

  1. Grocery store
    1. rotisserie chicken, corn tortillas, salsa, shredded cheese and lettuce
    2. sushi rolls from the deli and edamame
  2. Favorite Pizza Restaurant
    1. Thin crust pizza topped with veggies, lean meats like chicken or shrimp.   Make sure you pick up a large salad.
  3. Chinese Food
    1. Steamed brown rice (if available)
    2. Water chestnuts and snow peas
    3. Kung pao chicken
  4. Mexican
    1. Grilled fish, shrimp or chicken tacos (hold the sour cream) add guac, lettuce and lots of salsa
  5. Cheesecake Factory (or any of your favorite restaurants that has nutrition information online!)
    1. Weight management pear and endive salad, simply delicious
    2. side of steamed broccoli and green beans
    3. Grilled fish of the day

What are your top signature meals from take out?  I’d love to hear from you.


Sweet Corn Taco Bake

taco bake

If your family is like mine taco night is a BIG hit.  Everyone seems to like Mexican food in my house.  The kids love it because it tastes good and I love it because you can be so creative.  Whether you like sweet, spicy, cheesy, creamy, crunchy or all of the above you can make it happen with Mexican food.

Now one of the problems I’ve found with making taco night is that well..  there are just so many sides to put out and it creates a lot of dishes.  I created this easy to bake recipe to streamline the whole taco making process.  An added plus is that this is great recipe to make on the weekend and have ready to heat up for later in the week.  Now before I go into the recipe, let me tell you why this dish has it all.  Black beans add protein and fiber, cheese provides calcium, corn boosts both iron and antioxidants in your diet , beef is a good source of both iron and protein, and finally tomatoes are rich with vitamin C .

Sweet Corn Taco Bake
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: one cup
  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 9.5
  • Saturated fat: 4.3
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 26
  • Sugar: 4
  • Sodium: 241
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 32
  • Cholesterol: 78

This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and heat up later in the week for a quick, healthy, tasty dinner the whole family will LOVE
  • one pound ground beef or turkey
  • one sweet onion, chopped
  • one yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • one 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • one package taco seasoning
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • one cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • optional toppings include salsa, light sour cream and avocado

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. chop one large onion and one yellow pepper and add to skillet
  3. cook on medium high for a few minutes while adding the ground beef, cook until meat is browned
  4. using a colander drain excess fat, add beef back to skillet along with taco seasoning, ¾ cup water, and crushed tomatoes
  5. simmer 10-15 minutes
  6. add in ½ can black beans and corn and gently stir turning heat off
  7. cut 6 corn tortillas in half
  8. use casserole dish and layer meat, ½ tortillas and ½ the cheese, repeat
  9. top with green onions and bake in the oven for 25 minutes

Shrimp Pad Thai with Creamy Peanut Sauce

thai food

I discovered this recipe by accident.  It was one of those Saturday afternoons when our family had spend the whole day busily exploring and a relaxing evening was in order.  Since it was the end of the week as I looked in the fridge to see what we had, I discovered it was very sparse with only a few fresh ingredients to choose from.  What I did find were some shredded  carrots, onions, scallions and shredded cabbage.  I checked out our pantry next, and to my discovery I saw a box of brown rice noodles.


One of those purchases I buy to try out if I ever get around to finding a great recipe to use it with.  I was pleased to know that the box had a recipe right on the back!


Lets see oil, garlic, eggs and lemon juice check, fish sauce actually check! scallions check, frozen shrimp check… lets see no peanuts or bean sprouts.  That’s when I had an idea…. see the variations I made to make this recipe awesome.  After the rest of the family woke up from their long afternoon nap… I was happy to realize I had discovered a new comfort food for the family!  Again I’ve made some adjustments to this recipe so you can assure that the ingredients make this a healthful alternative to most restaurant pad thai dishes.

Shrimp Pad Thai with Creamy Peanut Sauce
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 371
  • Fat: 16
  • Saturated fat: 2.8
  • Carbohydrates: 28.4
  • Sugar: 12
  • Sodium: 1370
  • Fiber: 4
  • Protein: 21
  • Cholesterol: 193

Cuisine: Thai

If you love restaurant pad thai you can be rest assured that this version is packed full of healthy oils, vegetables, flavorful protein and fiber!
  • one box brown rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 shallots finely chopped or alternatively, ½ onion, finely chopped
  • lots of shrimp 1-2 cups bay shrimp
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups cabbage (sliced thin to angel hair style)
  • one cups shredded carrots (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • Sauce

  • 4 tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1-2 pinches or crushed chilies or pepper flakes
  • Garnish

  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions
  2. top with peanut butter to prevent sticking and to warm the peanut butter mix gently and set aside
  3. Mix ingredients for sauce: lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar and chilies and set aside
  4. Heat pan over high heat and add 1 tbsp. oil garlic, shallot or onions and shrimp. Cook 2-3 minutes until shrimp are opaque, add in cabbage and cook 3 minutes longer and set aside.
  5. Add remaining 1 tbsp. of oil and 2 eggs and scramble.
  6. Reduce heat to low, add sauce and noodles.
  7. Toss until well mixed
  8. Add shrimp mixture
  9. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.
  10. Thai comfort food the whole family will LOVE.


Red Apple and Cranberry Frisee Salad with Maple Vinaigrette



This is a wonderful salad for a fancy dinner party or when you are making dinner for your loved one.

Red Apple and Cranberry Frisee Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
This simple yet delicately flavored salad is the perfect starter to any dinner fancy or not.
  • one package 4 cups mixed green salad
  • one sweet red apple very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cups walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ shallot finely chopped

  1. Finely chop the shallots and set aside
  2. mix rice wine vinegar, salt,and maple syrup together
  3. add in shallots
  4. slowly pour in canola oil mixing vigorously
  5. Prepare mixed greens in large bowl
  6. toss in dressing
  7. top with cranberries, walnuts and sliced apples