Starting with this post, I'll be featuring healthy snack recipes every Wednesday. Renee (Eat.Live.Blog) and I volunteered to help in the healthy recipes department. One of the challenges of sitting at your desk all day is coming up with snacks for the 3:00 p.m. sugar low. We'll both be posting every Wednesday with a new idea.
A challenge for snack time is to have something nutritious, filling, and satisfying. It can't just be a few crackers or a piece of chocolate, you need something that will keep you going. My first recipe is an old standby that is perfect for snack time, cocktail parties, game nights, or really anything. White bean dip lends itself to endless variations. You can change the herbs & spices, add different citrus juice, and make your own creation. And you can dip veggies, crackers, pretzels, baked potato chips or spread it on a piece of toast.
In honor of the first healthy snack Wednesday, I also wanted to give you a quick and easy dinner recipe. My husband loves Annie's shells & white cheddar. By itself, a bowl isn't bad for you but there's not much to it. To add some nutritional kick I mixed in winter squash puree and a handful of chopped spinach. The squash makes turns it the traditional orange mac n' cheese color and the spinach looks like confetti! Now you probably couldn't trick any kids into eating this but it was pretty tasty.
One of my favorite things to do is to cook a few things on Sunday to have on hand for the week. This week I roasted a red kuri squash (winter squash) while we were hanging out and watching football. I pureed the squash and put it into the fridge for the week. By itself it is a perfect side dish, but it can also be mixed into sauce for pasta (like I did tonight) or even pancake batter for breakfast.
What do you bring to work for snack time? Do you have a favorite healthy dinner trick? I'd love to hear them!!
White Bean Dip
Enough for a few days of snacks
Serving size 1/4 cup
2 cans beans (cannellini beans, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, or great northern beans), drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix-ins and options - I usually pick one in each category
Herbs: Fresh parsley, basil, cilantro, chives, dill
Spices: Hot sauce, red pepper flakes, seasoned salt
Flavorings: Roasted garlic, chopped garlic, ginger, flavored mustard (dijon, horseradish, etc.), horseradish, wasabi
Citrus: Lemon juice, lime juice
Some of my favorite combinations:
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil,and lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, a sprinkle each of chili powder and cumin, and lime juice
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon fresh dill, 1-2 cloves of garlic
The easiest way to make this dip is in a food processor.
Add beans and any herbs and spices to the food processor
Pulse a few times to mix together
Add juice from 1/4 of a lemon and olive oil
Pulse until smooth and well-mixed
Taste and add extra citrus or oil if desired
Season with salt and pepper
Serve with crackers, pretzels, or chopped vegetables
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook/Mixing time: 5 minutes
Food processor, measuring cups, bowl, spoon
Not Your Usual Annie's Shells & Cheddar
Box serving size is equal to 2.5 servings. Pair with a salad for three total servings
1 purple box of Annie's Shells and white cheddar macaroni and cheese
1/2 cup squash puree (you could also use canned pumpkin or squash)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
Handful of chopped spinach leaves
Prepare pasta according to the box directions
In a small bowl whisk together the powdered cheese and milk
Add in squash puree and whisk until somewhat smooth
When pasta is done cooking, drain and return to the hot pot
Add spinach and toss
Add cheese sauce and mix well
Prep time: 5 minutes (while pasta cooks)
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Pasta pot, colander, slotted spoon, cutting board & knife, whisk, bowl, serving bowls
As an added bonus to our healthy snack series kickoff, today Renee and I got a visit from Jacqueline and the Pretzel Crisp Car (@pretzelcrisps). She had seen Renee's tweet about healthy snacks and offered to drop by with some crisps for us to sample. Jacqueline even threw in a few tubs of Tribe Origins hummus. Did you know Tribe is a local company? They are just south in Taunton! Pretzel Crisps are low fat and come in a variety of flavors from buffalo to cinnamon toast. The buffalo had a good kick, but wasn't too spicy. I don't love blue cheese, but they did have a fun recipe on the bag for a buffalo crisp topped with crumbled blue cheese and a celery slice. Sounds much healthier than a basket of wings. We haven't tried all of the flavors yet, but are looking forward to sampling them during our 3:00 p.m. snack breaks.
Full disclosure: We were not asked to write about the snacks and we were not compensated in any way other than each receiving a goody bag full of pretzel crisps to share with our coworkers. Any opinions about the crisps belong to me.