Meal Maker Challenge Week 1: Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad

Today’s recipe serves many a purpose aside from being my first H-E-B ConAgra Meal Maker Challenge recipe. It’s summery. It’s light. It’s healthy. It’s vegetarian. It’s vegan. It’s gluten free (oOoh, aAaAh). It’s a side dish. It’s a main course. It’s lunch. It’s dinner. It’s everything.

But fa’ real, this is some good stuff.  If you’re a member of the It’s Not A Meal Without Meat Club (have no shame, I used to be president), might I suggest that you grill up some chicken or salmon, pop it on top of this salad, and color yourself happy.

Oh! Before I forget, if you like this meal/blog/me in general, take a second and VOTE FOR IT. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t want $1,000 to spend at H-E-B.

Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad
Servings: 6 | Calories per serving: 339
Fat: 4.7 g (Sat Fat: 0.1 g) | Carbohydrate: 66.9 g | Fiber: 21.7 g| Protein: 12.4 g

1/3 C dry quinoa
2 small grapefruit
1 large jicama
1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can of corn, rinsed and drained
3/4 C H-E-B Smoky Citrus Salsa
1/2 avocado, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Begin by cooking your quinoa according to the on the package or these handy directions
2. While your quinoa is cooking, peel and segment your grapefruit
Meal Maker Challenge Week 1: Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad | The Slender Student 3. Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, peel your jicama and chop into 1/2″ cubes
Meal Maker Challenge Week 1: Summer Citrus Bean & Quinoa Salad | The Slender Student 4. Once your quinoa has finished cooking and cooled, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving


Note: I have received compensation, H-E-B promotional items and ConAgra products from H-E-B and ConAgra Foods for participating in this contest.

Slender Baked Falafel

Slender Baked Falafel | The Slender Student

A couple summers ago, I went to Israel with my longest childhood friend, Lauren (and about 25 other 18-22 year olds… Birthright, holla). It was a whirlwind, 10 day tour through the entire country. It was one of the most important and exhausting trips of my life, and though my persistent sleep deprivation may have not allowed me to remember the history of every site or monument we saw, I do remember one thing very clearly.

The food. OMG. Pita and hummus and falafel for days. The street food dreams are made of.

So, last week when Lauren came to visit me for a couple days in Austin, I was feeling particularly nostalgic and decided to whip up a slenderized version of this Middle Eastern staple. If you’ve never had falafel before, they’re basically a blend of mashed chickpeas, herbs, spices, and a couple of other ingredients that’s then rolled up and deep fried. After just a few edits, we now have slender baked falafel.

Slender Baked Falafel | The Slender Student

Slender Baked Falafel
Servings: 6 (2 per serving) | Calories per serving: 131
Fat: 3.6 g (Sat Fat: 0.4 g) | Carbohydrate: 20.7 g | Fiber: 4.1 g| Protein: 5.4 g

2 C kale, stem removed
1-15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cloves of garlic
2 T PB2
1 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t chili powder
2 T dry oats
salt and pepper, to taste
PAM Original nonstick spray

1. Preheat your oven to 375° and coat a baking sheet with PAM.
2. In a blender or food processor, blend all of the ingredients, except for the kale, until smooth.
3. Begin adding the kale in a handful at a time and pulsing until it’s well combined.
4. Scoop your falafel balls on to a baking sheet and flatten using a fork or spoon lightly sprayed with PAM to help with sticking. Slender Baked Falafel | The Slender Student
5. Bake for 20 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

recipe adapted from Nutritionist in the Kitch

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Portobello Turkey Burger

I’m all about good hamburgers. I’d eat every meal at Hopdoddy if I could. Slapping a fried egg on a hamburger definitely qualifies as breakfast in my book. Adding cheese is a great source of calcium, and you don’t need to be a nutrition major to know that caramelized onions are a vegetable. Duh.

When it comes to making burgers at home, though, I’m a little (ok, a lot) more conservative. I opt for lean ground turkey instead of ground beef to cut saturated fat and calories. And when you consider that your average store bought hamburger bun has about 120 (empty) calories, it’s time to start thinking about other options. Popping your patty between two portobello mushrooms is a great way to slender your burger down without sacrificing any heartiness.

Portobello Turkey Burger | The Slender Student

Portobello Turkey Burger
Servings: 1 | Calories per serving: 267
Fat: 8.0 g (Sat Fat: 2.5 g) | Carbohydrate: 19.5 g | Fiber: 4.0 g| Protein: 31.7 g

4 oz lean ground turkey
1 T liquid egg whites
1 T barbecue sauce (Stubb’s is my sauce of choice)
1 T minced garlic
2 portobello mushrooms
salt & pepper, to taste
PAM Original nonstick spray
optional: balsamic glaze, avocado, other toppings (I added avocado and a slice of roasted eggplant to mine)

1. In a small bowl, mix together your ground turkey, egg whites, barbecue sauce, minced garlic, and some salt and pepper. Form into a patty shape and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat your oven to 400°. If desired, drizzle a little balsamic glaze over your mushroom caps and then bake them in the oven for 10 minutes.
3. In a small skillet coated with PAM, cook your burger on either side over medium heat until the juices run clear and the inside is no longer pink.
4. Slide your turkey burger between your mushroom caps, top as you wish, and chow!

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Fourth of July Layered Berry Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits

I’ll admit it. When you think of Fourth of July, your mind probably goes to hot dogs and hamburgers, not chia seeds. Fair enough. But how damn cute are these layered pudding parfaits? Add to that the healthy fat and fiber content of chia seeds and I think you might start thinking about the holiday a little differently.

Fourth of July Layered Berry Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits | The Slender Student Layered Berry Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits
Servings: 2 | Calories per serving: 125
Fat: 7.4 g (Sat Fat: 0.0 g) | Carbohydrate: 11.4 g | Fiber: 7.6 g| Protein: 3.7 g

3 T chia seeds (I used the white chia seeds from Health Warrior)
1/4 C blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1/4 C strawberries (frozen of fresh)
1 C unsweetened almond milk
3 t vanilla extract

1. Gather three small bowls. To each bowl, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.

Fourth of July Layered Berry Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits | The Slender Student 2. In one bowl, add your blueberries. To a second bowl, add your strawberries. The third bowl should still only have chia seeds.

Fourth of July Layered Berry Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits | The Slender Student 3. Add 1/3 cup almond milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to each bowl. Stir until combined.
4. Refrigerate for at least a few hours until the chia seeds have soaked up the almond milk and expanded, creating a pudding texture.
5. In a small clear glass, layer the puddings and feel American.

Fourth of July Layered Berry Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits | The Slender Student

Fourth of July Layered Berry Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits | The Slender Student

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Summer Stuffed Eggplant

Summer Stuffed Eggplant | The Slender Student If you follow me on Instagram, then you might already know that last week, I bit the bullet and purchased the Tone It Up plan. Last semester, I kept it slender Monday through Thursday… And then I’d spend the weekend being a second semester college senior. Interpret as you will. The end result? A Slender Student plus three to five pounds of extra fluff. Now, I know the world isn’t going to end over this little weight gain, but I do think that it’s worth it to put in a little extra work if it’ll make me feel more comfortable in my skin, which is one of my top priorities in this whole health thing.

Anyway, I began the summer by buckling down on the diet and exercise front. I was eating clean, recording calories, and hitting the gym 5-6 times a week with a new focus on strength training. Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed when the scale didn’t budge. Yes, some of that might have been due to an increase in muscle, but I wasn’t quite ready to call it. They say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results, so I decided to change it up and check out TIU.

I plan on writing an all-encompassing review of the plan after I’ve following it for awhile longer, but today I just wanted to share a recipe that is in line with their M5 suggestions. Basically, M5 should be comprised of protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. For me, this meant switching from bulking up my dinner with whole grains to adding variety and flavor with different vegetables. Enter the Summer Stuffed Eggplant, perfect for TIU or any Slender Student trying to find new ways to veg out.

Summer Stuffed Eggplant | The Slender Student Summer Stuffed Eggplant
Servings: 1 | Calories per serving: 350
Fat: 4.7 g (Sat Fat: 1.6 g) | Carbohydrate: 20.0 g | Fiber: 6.5 g| Protein: 29.4 g

1/2 small eggplant (you can slice up the other half and roast to have with dinner another night)
1 t minced garlic
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C chopped kale
1/4 C sliced mushrooms
1/4 C sliced onions
1/4 C cherry tomatoes
1 t dried Italian herbs
salt & pepper, to taste
4 oz chicken breast, baked and shredded
PAM Original nonstick spray

1. Scoop out the inside of your eggplant with a knife and spoon. Set aside the middle chunks for later.
2. In a large pan coated with PAM over medium heat, place your eggplant cut side down and let cook until the inside is slightly softened.
3. Sautée the garlic, eggplant, kale mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until all of the veggies are slightly softened. Season with the Italian herbs, salt, and pepper.
4. Add the shredded chicken and stir until the mixture is evenly heated.
5. Scoop the vegetable mixture into the eggplant half and, if necessary, reheat in the oven by broiling it for a few minutes.

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