Healthy Recipe, Spanakopita Dip
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  1. Healthy Recipe, Spanakopita Dip

    Triangles of the traditional savory Greek pie known as spanakopita are familiar at fancy cocktail parties. Skip the buttery phyllo pastry, and you’ve got the basis for an easy, crowd-pleasing dip that’s actually good for you. This recipe, adapted from one in “Big Dip Energy,” blends the spinach and feta filling with Greek yogurt and herbs and serves it hot or cold with baked pita or bagel chips, raw veggies, or both. Leftovers could be smeared on a bagel, tucked in a pita with sliced tomatoes for a sandwich, or stirred into pasta for a fast, protein-rich meal. Serves 8-10. – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons olive oil (plus more, to taste)
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 package (10 ounces) of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung out in a tea towel
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 6 ounces feta in brine, crumbled, plus 2 tablespoons of the reserved brine
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper
    • 1 small bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and green parts)
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • Pita chips, bagel chips, and/or raw vegetables for dipping 

    Instructions

    1. In a large saucepan or high-sided skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just starting to turn brown, 5 to 7 minutes. 
    2. Add the garlic and cook a minute or so longer until fragrant. Add 1 more tablespoon of the oil and the spinach and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until warmed. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt.
    3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, feta, crushed red pepper, most of the scallions and herbs (reserve some for garnish), feta brine, and 1 to 2 tablespoons more of the oil, depending on how rich you want it. Stir well.
    4. To serve hot, add the creamy mixture to the spinach mixture in the pan and heat on medium-low until warmed, about 5 minutes. To serve cold, add the spinach mixture to the creamy mixture in the bowl, mix well, and refrigerate until ready to serve. (It’s also good at room temperature!)
    5. Garnish with reserved scallions and herbs, and serve with dippers of your choice.

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  2. Healthy Recipe, Charred Zucchini and Scallion Pasta 

    It’s amazing how much depth of flavor can be achieved from basic ingredients with a few tweaks in the cooking, as Yasmin Fahr demonstrates in this recipe from “Cook Simply, Live Fully.” Here, summer squash, which tends to be bland, is charred first in a dry skillet with thin slivers of lemon and scallions. Olive oil, grated Parmesan, and the starchy water from the cooked pasta transform into a creamy sauce rich with umami rather than fat. Not only is it healthy, delicious, and filling, but it’s also easy on the wallet and a snap to make. Serves 4. – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients

    • Salt
    • 2 large or 3 medium zucchini or other summer squash
    • 1 lemon
    • 2 scallions
    • ¾ pound rigatoni, fusilli, ziti, or other short tubular dried pasta
    • 1 cup reserved pasta water
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more, as needed
    • Red pepper flakes (optional) 

    Instructions

    1. Bring a large pot of water seasoned with about a tablespoon of salt to a boil. Meanwhile, halve the zucchini or squash lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and cut into ½-inch-thick half-moons, setting aside. 
    2. Cut the lemon in half. Leave one half whole for squeezing. Slice the other half into thin rounds, poke the seeds out, and cut the slices into ¼-inch-thick matchsticks. Set aside. Then trim the roots and thinly slice the scallions. 
    3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until slightly underdone by a minute or two. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
    4. While the pasta is cooking, heat a dry 12-inch cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. 
    5. Add the zucchini to the dry pan, season lightly with salt, spread out in an even layer, and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Then, flip with a spatula, scooting some of the slices up to rest on the sides of the pan if it looks crowded. Allow the slices to cook again, undisturbed, for 2 more minutes. Repeat this flipping process in 2-minute increments until the zucchini is browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes total.
    6. Add the sliced lemon and scallions to the zucchini and cook until softened, about 3 minutes longer. Stir in the olive oil and season lightly with salt.
    7. Lower the heat to medium. Add the cooked pasta, ½ cup of the pasta water, and ¾ cup of the Parmesan, stirring well to form a creamy sauce. Add more water if the sauce looks too dry or more cheese if the sauce looks too watery.
    8. Remove from the heat, squeeze in the reserved lemon half, and stir. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes, if desired.

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  3. Healthy Recipe, Spiced Meatballs

    Here’s a fun idea for your next outdoor get-together that’s more exciting than burgers and hot dogs and has more nutritional value. It’s adapted from a recipe inspired by a Moroccan chef on the French Riviera in Rosa Jackson’s “Nicoise: Market-Inspired Cooking from France’s Sunniest City.”

    Made with ground lamb or beef, the cumin-spiced meatballs are loaded with vitamin-rich herbs and can be cooked on the grill or stovetop. A drizzle of paprika-spiked yogurt and a lemony chickpea salad eliminates the need for mayo or a bun. A simple lettuce and tomato salad tossed in a light vinaigrette adds the right touch of color and crunch to round out the meal while controlling the fat and carbs. Serves 4-6. RECIPE HERE – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients
    Chickpea Salad:

    • 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • ½ cup thinly sliced cilantro leaves
    • ¼ cup thinly sliced flat-leaf parsley leaves
    • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and pale green parts only
    • ¼ to 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Meatballs

    • 2 ounces day-old sourdough bread or baguette
    • ½ cup milk
    • 16 to 18 ounces ground lamb (or beef)
    • ½ cup finely minced red onion
    • 2 finely minced garlic cloves
    • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
    • ¼ cup finely chopped mint leaves
    • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
    • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • ¼ cup neutral oil (if pan-frying) 

    Sauce

    • ½ cup plain yogurt
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or chili powder

    Instructions

    1. Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, scallions, ¼ cup of the lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add more lemon juice if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 hours. 
    2. Make the meatballs: Break the bread into chunks, place in a small bowl and cover with milk. Set aside for at least 15 minutes or until milk is well absorbed.
    3. Place the meat in a large bowl, Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, mint, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, ginger, and egg. Squeeze the milk out of the bread and add the bread to the mixture, discarding any pieces of crust that haven’t softened. Knead the mixture with your hands for up to a minute, until all the ingredients are well mixed.

    If pan-frying, shape the meat into 1-inch balls. Heat the oil over medium-low heat and add enough meatballs to fill the pan without crowding. Flatten slightly with a spatula and cook, turning once, for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through. (Take care not to use higher heat so the onion will have a chance to soften.)

    1. Make the sauce: Mix the yogurt, paprika, or chili powder in a small bowl.
    2. To serve: Arrange the meatballs on a platter alongside the chickpeas and sauce bowls. Drizzle the meatballs with the sauce or dip them into the sauce bowl. 

    If you’re ready to create a personalized plan that’s meaningful enough to stick to… especially when the going gets tough, we’re here to help.

    In our 21-Day Longevity and Strength Program, we’ll work together to ensure you’re not just “going through the motions” to hit your goals but living a life that aligns with your values.

  4. Healthy Recipe, Indian Okra

    Okra is a staple of the American South: fried, pickled, and stirred into gumbos. It’s also the primary component of a popular North Indian dish called bhindi (okra) masala, the inspiration behind this recipe lightly adapted from William Stark Dissen’s “Thoughtful Cooking: Recipes in the New South.” Bursting with bright curry spices and fresh herbs, it also contains nutrients and fiber. Pair it with rice and a yogurt-based sauce to make a quick vegetarian meal in a bowl. Serves 4. RECIPE HERE — Susan Puckett

    Cucumber Raita: 

    • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
    • ½ medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced small (about 1 cup)
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
    • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
    • 2 teaspoons chopped mint leaves
    • 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
    • ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
    • Pinch of cayenne pepper
    • Kosher salt to taste

    Okra and Tomato Stew:

    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
    • 2 medium plum tomatoes, diced
    • 1 pound okra, stems trimmed and sliced crosswise ½ inch thick
    • ½ cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • Jasmine or other white rice and lime wedges for serving  

    Instructions

    1. Make the raita: In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, cilantro, mint, lime juice, cumin, garam masala, cayenne, and salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
    2. Make the stew: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 7 minutes.
    3. Add the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Cook and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes; cook and stir for a minute more. Add the okra; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
    4. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the okra is tender but not mushy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in half the cilantro, lime juice, and garam masala.
    5. Divide the okra among serving bowls and garnish each with a dollop of raita and the remaining cilantro. Serve with rice and lime wedges.

    Contact us TODAY to discover more tasty, healthy recipes and learn about our Precision Nutrition counseling!

    Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

  5. Healthy Recipe: Corn Salad with Cherry Tomatoes  

    At its height of freshness, local sweet corn is delicious straight off the cob. Here, those kernels are tossed together with other summery ingredients and a simple dressing of olive oil and lime juice for a colorful, refreshing salad that’s portable for picnics and potlucks and infinitely adaptable. This recipe is lightly adapted from one in “Pizza Night,” while it would indeed go well with your favorite slice, it also makes a nutrition-packed meal on its own when embellished with protein-rich edamame and feta cheese. It’s also good with chips. Serves 4. – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients

    1. 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame 
    2. Kernels from 4 ears of corn
    3. 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    4. ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt, plus more, to taste
    5. Freshly ground black pepper
    6. ¼ cup extra virgin-olive oil, plus more, to taste
    7. 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more, to taste
    8. 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves 
    9. ¼ cup torn fresh mint leaves, finely chopped chives, or finely chopped green onions
    10. 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced
    11. 4 ounces feta cheese, preferably in brine, cut in 1/8-inch-thick slabs

    Instructions

    1. Blanch the edamame for 15 seconds in a small pot of boiling water. Drain and rinse under cold water; pat dry. 
    2. In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, edamame, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add the olive oil and lime juice and toss. 
    3. Taste and adjust seasonings, lime juice, and olive oil as desired.
    4. Add the basil, mint, avocado, and feta. Toss gently and serve immediately.

    Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

  6. Healthy Recipe, Chicken Thighs with Limes 

    Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a low-fat, low-cost protein source that’s convenient to have on hand. But without the skin and bones to keep them moist and hold them together, they can use some extra TLC in the prep. Here’s one fast and easy idea worth keeping in your back pocket, adapted from a recipe in Yasmin Fahr’s “Cook Simply, Live Fully. Serves 4. – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons full-fat Greek yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
    • 1 teaspoon ground sumac (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more, as needed
    • 2 limes, zested and thinly sliced into rounds
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint
    • Rice and green salad for serving (optional)

    Instructions

    1.  Heat a broiler with a rack 6 inches from the heat source to high.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, Parmesan, sumac (if using), cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt, lime zest, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken to the bowl and stir to coat.
    3. Arrange the lime rounds on a sheet pan (lined with parchment for easy clean-up if desired). Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and spread them out. Arrange the chicken pieces on the pan.
    4. Set the pan under the broiler and broil until the tops of the chicken pieces are lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and broil for 4 or 5 minutes or until the chicken darkens. (To test for doneness, cut through a thick piece with a knife to see if the juices run clear.) If the chicken is charring too quickly, move the pan down a rack to finish cooking.
    5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chicken and limes (which you can eat) with the herbs.  Serve with rice and salad, if desired.

    Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

  7. Healthy Recipe, Vegan Four-Bean Chili

    It’s hard to believe a pot of chili could be filling and flavorful without a speck of meat or added fat. But this recipe, lightly adapted from one in Toriano Gordon’s “Vegan Mob,” proves it can be done! Just toss everything in the pot and crank up the burner while you assemble some bowls of your favorite toppings — vegan or non-vegan. Crack open a bag of chips, invite some friends over, and you’ve got a party! Serves 8-10. – Susan Puckett 

    Ingredients

    • 1 (15-ounce) can each of pinto, kidney, black, and cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 medium zucchini, diced
    • 1 medium summer squash, diced
    • 1 medium red onion, diced
    • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
    • 2 or 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 2 (15-ounce) cans of tomato sauce
    • 1 cup vegetable broth (plus more, if needed)
    • ¼ cup chili powder (plus more, to taste)
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (plus more, to taste)
    • 1 dried chipotle pepper (or 1 teaspoon powdered or diced chile in adobe sauce)

    Optional: Cooked rice, diced tomato, diced green onions, shredded vegan cheese

    Instructions

    1. Combine beans, vegetables, garlic, tomato sauce, broth, chili powder, 1 tbsp salt, and chipotle in a heavy stockpot. Stir to blend well. 
    2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steam rises from the pot and the ingredients are heated through, about 10 minutes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. 
    3. Remove the lid and taste for seasonings, adding more salt and chili powder if desired.
    4. Ladle in bowls. Add rice if desired and serve with tortilla chips and accompaniments of choice on the side. 
  8. Healthy Recipe: Coconut Cream Oats

    If you’re a fan of coconut cream pie, you’ll love this genius make-ahead breakfast idea lightly adapted from a recipe in Kat Ashmore’s “Big Bites.” Thickened with tiny, antioxidant-rich chia seeds, these grab-and-go treats are creamy, filling, refreshing, and packed with nutrients and fiber. A sprinkling of toasted coconut adds crunch. Serves 4. – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
    • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
    • ¼ cup maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
    • 1/3 cup chia seeds
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • Optional toppings: toasted shredded unsweetened coconut, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, mango, banana, toasted sliced almonds 

    Instructions

    1. Have four 12- to 16-ounce lidded wide-mouthed glass jars or other containers ready.
    2.  Shake or stir the coconut milk to blend if the cream and water have separated, then pour 1 cup of the blended coconut milk into a large bowl. 
    3. Add the almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, oats, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk until thoroughly combined. 
    4. Divide among the jars, cover with lids, and refrigerate overnight. (The oats will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
    5. Serve with coconut or fruit of choice.

    —  Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

  9. Healthy Recipe: Branzino with Asparagus and Scallions

    Branzino is a mild, flaky white fish from the Mediterranean Sea traditionally served whole, roasted, or grilled, with little more than a squeeze of lemon to accentuate its naturally sweet, delicate flesh. Due to overfishing, much of it nowadays is farm-raised, making it widely available throughout US markets. This recipe, adapted from one in Olga Massov and Sanae Lemoine’s “Hot Sheet,” branzino is the centerpiece of a fast, low-carb, one-pan meal. Rainbow trout or snapper will work just as well. Serves 2-4. – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients

    1. 12 ounces asparagus, woody ends trimmed
    2. 2 bunches of scallions, trimmed of dark green parts with roots intact
    3. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    4. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    5. 2 head-on whole branzino, gutted and scaled (1 to 1 1/2 pounds each); or 4 skin-on fillets of approximately the same size and shape (about 4 to 6 ounces each)
    6. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    7. 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus lemon wedges for serving
    8. 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley (plus extra for garnish)
    9. 4 sprigs thyme, rosemary, or oregano (plus extra for garnish)
    10. Flaky sea salt 

    Instructions

    1. Position the rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 450. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 
    2. Place asparagus and scallions on a parchment-lined pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil, season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few black pepper grindings, and shake the pan lightly to coat.
    3. Pat the fish dry and drizzle both sides with a little olive oil. If using whole fish, season with salt and pepper inside and out and stuff the fish cavities with garlic, lemon slices, and herb sprigs. If using fillets, sprinkle the flesh with salt and pepper and cover two fillets evenly with the minced garlic, lemon slices, and herb sprigs. Lay the remaining fillets on top of each, flesh side down. 
    4. Set reassembled fish on top of vegetables. Transfer pan to oven and roast 12 to 15 minutes or until the fish skin starts to blister, flesh turns opaque, flakes with fork. 
    5. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. (Fish will rise in temperature a few degrees out of oven, so don’t overcook.)
    6. Garnish fish and vegetables with extra herbs and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing, olive oil for drizzling, and flaky sea salt for sprinkling. 

    —  Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

  10. Healthy Recipe: Chicken Peperonata

    Peperonata is a rustic southern Italian dish of stewed sweet peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and other savory ingredients. In this recipe, adapted from Ashley Rodriguez’s “Rooted Kitchen,” the mixture is a simmering sauce for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. But it would be just as delicious paired with shrimp, fish, white beans, or tofu for a low-carb, gluten-free meal. Serves 4-6. RECIPE HERE – Susan Puckett

    Ingredients

    1. 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    2. Kosher salt
    3. 1 recipe Peperonata (recipe follows)
    4. 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley, basil, or mint 
    5. Polenta, pasta, rice, or crusty bread for serving (optional) 

    Instructions

    1. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with about 1 teaspoon of salt.
    2. Scrape the Peperonata into a large skillet and submerge the chicken in the mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. 
    3. With tongs, remove the chicken to a cutting board, let it cool slightly, and then slice it into ½-inch-thick strips. Return the strips to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes to fully heat through.
    4. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve warm over pasta or a grain of choice, garnished with chopped herbs. 

    Charred Peperonata

    1. 2 pounds sweet peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced lengthwise into ½-inch-wide strips (use multi-colored peppers or all red — all green can be too bitter)
    2. 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
    3. 1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
    4. 10 garlic cloves, sliced
    5. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    6. ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    7. 2 teaspoons honey
    8. 2 teaspoons kosher salt (plus more, to taste)
    9. ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    10. ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    11. ½ cup fresh basil leaves 

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic, chile flakes, oil, vinegar, honey, 2 teaspoons salt, paprika, and red pepper. Stir well to combine. Spread in a 9-by-13-inch pan. 
    2. Roast for 30 minutes; stir and roast for 30 minutes longer. Stir in the basil and continue to roast another 30 minutes or longer, until the peppers are meltingly tender, charred in some places, and almost saucy — about 1 ½ hours total. 
    3. Allow the mixture to cool, then pack it in a jar or other airtight container with a lid. The Peperonata will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.

    —  Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.


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