Balsamic Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

 

I call them Chickpeas because I think it sounds cuter… but whether you know them as Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans they are nutrient rich & have a wide range of healthy benefits. In addition to being high in Fiber & a great source of vegetarian protein they are also a low glycemic food which helps promote weight loss by controlling your appetite.

This week I made Oven Roasted Chickpeas as part of my afternoon snacks & I wanted to share with you how easy they are to make. What I love about chickpeas is that they have a relatively neutral, almost nutty, flavor that goes well with all kinds of ingredients. It is super rare that I use the same seasonings twice in a row so this recipe is the base to most of my creations & can easily be tweak it to fit your taste.

[Attn: You will have to let the Chickpeas marinade for at least 2 hours so either plan to start these early or, like me, you can mix them up & let them sit in the fridge overnight.]

 

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 Cans of Chickpeas (I used low-sodium)
  • ¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

You can also add ½ tsp of one or more of the following: Garlic Powder, Italian Seasoning, Dill Weed, Rosemary, or just about anything else.

Other things that will be helpful:

Instructions:

  1. Drain & rinse canned Chickpeas
  2. In a Medium bowl, mix rinsed Chickpeas with Balsamic Vinegar
  3. Cover & refrigerate for 2-8 hours
  4. Pre-heat Oven to 375 degrees F
  5. (also make sure your rack is placed in the middle of your oven)
  6. Cover a sheet pan with Aluminum Foil & spritz with Cooking Spray
  7. Drain the excess Balsamic Vinegar from the Chickpeas, then mix in olive oil & any seasonings you choose to add.
  8. Spread the Chickpeas in a single layer on your sheet pan, then sprinkle with salt & pepper. (I use fresh ground sea salt & pepper)
  9. Bake the Chickpeas for 25-30 minutes, making sure you “stir” them every 10-15 minutes so they brown evenly.
  10. Once they are cooked to your liking, remove them from the oven & allow them to cool slightly before serving.

This recipe makes 5-6, 2 oz. servings which is how I packaged them for my snacks. You can also make these using dried chickpeas prepared according to the package… about 3 Cups prepared should be a similar substitute for the canned beans.

There are so many different ways to make Baked Chickpeas so if you have tried a different recipe that you absolutely love, please share it with us in the comments below!

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Bananas On A Budget

Healthy food can be expensive, but there are clever ways to stretch your dollars. One of my favorite strategies is to buy food that is on sale & freeze it for later! Some of my favorites are Chicken, Ground Turkey, Avocado, Eggs, & Bananas.

Today I am going to show you how to freeze cheap, perfectly ripe bananas. 

First, find a grocery store in your area that reduces the price of their bananas when they get really ripe. In my area, Ingles or Food City are two stores I can usually count on.
This trip I even managed to find some organic bananas that had had been put on sale!

Once you get them home, peel the bananas and break them into pieces. I usually break them in half because that’s how I use them in my smoothie recipes. Trust me, it is easier to break them up now than when they are frozen.

Then, place the banana pieces into a quart size freezer bag. I usually only fill the bags about half way up because I don’t use them all at once. This limits freezer burn from opening & closing the bag repeatedly over time.

Last, I would advise putting the date you stored your bananas on the bags so you can keep track of how long they have been in the freezer. If untouched, I’m sure the bananas would stay good for 6 months or more, but they honestly never last that long in my house.  Just remember, If you aren’t using the whole bag at once, try to get as much air as possible out and reseal it well after each use.

Not sure how to use your newly frozen bananas? Check out my Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Recipe for some inspiration!

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie

Today’s post is less a recipe and more a snapshot of my meal plan. It is a quick smoothie I have been using for my first and second meals this week. If you need an easy way to get your morning protein, smoothies are a great option!

Ingredients:
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
½ Frozen Banana
2 Scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Directions:
>> Place all ingredients (except chia seeds) in the blender.
>> Blend until desired consistency.
>> Mix in Chia Seeds.
>> Drink & Enjoy!

Tip1: To save time in the mornings, I went ahead and measured out my fruit for the week.

Tip2: I split my smoothie into 2 blender bottles, that way I can mix them up again later.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds, Cellucor Whipped Vanilla Protein Powder, and Season’s Choice Sliced Frozen Strawberries. I split the smoothie in to two servings to cover my first and second meals for the day. Each serving is (403)Calories, (8g)Fat, (39g)Carbs, & (55g)Protein. 

If you like smoothies, what are some of your favorite ingredients?

Oven Roasted Lemon Broccoli

Fresh from the Oven


Broccoli is one of my favorite Super Foods. Most people don’t normally think of veggies as a source of Protein, but just one cup of chopped broccoli contains 3 grams of muscle building goodness! In addition to protein, Broccoli has high levels of all kinds of great nutrients. My husband and I usually incorporate Broccoli into our weekly meal plans so I am always looking for new ways to prepare it.

This is definitely one of my top 10 ways to cook Broccoli!

It’s Quick, Easy, and Super Yummy!

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • Fresh Broccoli (2lb bag of florets/2-3heads)
  • A Lemon (for Zest & Juice)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese (I use Fat Free)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Other things that will be helpful:

Instructions:

  1. Pre-Heat your Oven to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit
    (also make sure your rack is placed in the middle)
  2. Cover a sheet pan with Aluminum Foil & spritz with Cooking Spray
  3. While the oven is warming up, Wash your Broccoli and separate it in to florets if needed
  4. Zest the whole lemon, then juice one half. You will need about 1Tbsp of zest and 1.5-2Tbsp of juice.
  5. Then mince your Garlic Cloves
  6. In a large bowl, combine the Broccoli, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, & Garlic
  7. Mix until the broccoli is evenly Coated
  8. Spread the Broccoli evenly on your pan then sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt & Pepper
  9. Bake for 20 minutes
  10. After you have taken the Broccoli out of the oven, garnish with the lemon zest.

                       

 I would say this recipe makes about 5-6 servings. We were able to eat it with dinner and I still had plenty to pack up for my husband’s lunches. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried this recipe or if you have another Broccoli recipe you would like to share!