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3 Healthy Recipes for the New Year

Author: Cara Walsh

January 26, 2015

3 Healthy Recipes for the New Year

Author: Cara Walsh

January 26, 2015

It is 2015 and a new year is upon us. Resolutions have been set, commitments made, and goals established – all focused on weight loss, diet, and exercise. If you are looking to improve the quality of the meals you put on the dinner table each night, take a look at the recipes below. We’ve included three nutritious main dishes that are creatively healthy and quite delicious variations on traditionally unhealthy dishes – all designed to help support your weight loss and fitness goals.


Soy Marinated Flank Steak


  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound flank steak, fat removed, and cut cross-grain into ½” strips
  • 8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles or spaghetti noodles
  • 1 – 12-ounce package broccoli slaw
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil, divided


Flank steak is naturally low in fat, high in protein, and cooks up tender and flavorful when allowed to soak in a marinade for several hours. To construct your marinade, simply combine the first five ingredients in a gallon size plastic bag and let the steak absorb the wonderful flavors for anywhere from 30 minutes to eight hours. You’ll want to slice the steak before it goes into the marinade to maximize flavor.

Next, simply bring a pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook according to the package directions, then add the broccoli slaw when there is one minute remaining on the noodles. Drain and set aside.

Last, heat 1 ½ tsp of peanut oil in a heavy skillet or wok and bring the heat to high. Reduce the heat to medium-high, then add the steak and cook until desired doneness – usually just 2 to 4 minutes. Once done cooking simply serve the steak with the noodles.

Mac and Cheese with Healthy Greens

It is common knowledge that mac & cheese isn’t necessarily a diet friendly entrée, but by modifying the recipe a bit you can enjoy this tasty dish without derailing your diet or fitness plans. By substituting low-fat milk for cream, extra-virgin olive oil for butter, and reduced fat cream cheese to add creamy goodness, you’ll find any reason to create this amazing meal. Add in your choice of chopped greens and you’ll add tons of calcium, vitamins, and minerals that can help support any diet.


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles
  • 4 cups chopped greens – collard, spinach, kale, etc.
  • 1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup extra-sharp Cheddar cheese – shredded
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (whole wheat, if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


Start by boiling a large pot of water – add the pasta and the green vegetables and cook as long as indicated on the pasta package. Drain and set aside.

Next heat up one and a half cups of milk over medium-high heat until just at a simmer. Then whisk together the remaining ¼ cup of milk, the salt and pepper, and the flour into a small bowl. Add this mixture to the heated milk, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until thickened – no more than two minutes.

Lastly, whisk in the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and vinegar and stir the pasta and greens into the sauce. Place the entire mixture into a broiler safe pan, and set the broiler too high. Combine the quarter cup of breadcrumbs, the olive oil, and paprika in a small bowl. Create a top layer with this breadcrumb mixture and broil until golden brown – no more than a few minutes.

Slow Cooker Spanish Chickpea Soup

A slow cooker soup often contains enough meat to satisfy the meat and potato types in your family, while still offering plenty of vegetables to create a healthy and nutritious dish. This recipe for Spanish chickpea soup is ideally suited for the slow cooker, meaning it’s also quite convenient and makes a terrific dish to welcome you home after a day at work.


  • 1 pound dried chickpeas
  • 6 chicken drumsticks – skin removed, about two pounds
  • 1 4-ounce piece Serrano ham or prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces Spanish-style chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 8 baby red potatoes – cleaned and halved
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 stalks celery – chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron or 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 medium cabbage, cored and cut into eight wedges
  • Ground pepper per taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley – chopped


First, so soak the chickpeas in cold water for at least twelve hours – or up to one day.

Next, put the chicken in a slow cooker (at least 6-qt capacity). In a separate pan, add the drained chickpeas, the meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, leaks, garlic, oregano, bay leaves, paprika, and saffron, and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Once boiling, pour it carefully into the slow cooker and on top of the chicken. Set the timer to high and cook for four hours.

After four hours, remove the chicken from the bones and stir it back into the mixture. Add cabbage, cover, and cook until soft – about thirty minutes. Garnish with parsley and add pepper to taste.

These dishes are quite simple to prepare, incredibly delicious, and will help you maintain your diet and exercise goals throughout the year.

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center
Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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