Janet's Notebook
Healthy Recipes for a Healthy New Year

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Pasta

The houseguests have left and I'm in the process of putting all the decorations away - the holiday's are officially over in my house. Like all of you, I'm sure, I was pretty indulgent during the holiday season. Now that it's a new year, I am starting it off on a healthy note.

Cooking healthy doesn't mean you need to loose any flavor, and Araxy Aykanian's (Laguna Hills, CA) Healthy Blueberry Muffins are the perfect example. "A few years ago, my loving husband had three heart stents done on him," explains Araxy. "I started to cook healthy... [and] my friends and family love these."

Light, fresh and super tasty these are great for breakfast or a quick afternoon snack. By using buttermilk in the batter, these muffins stay extremely moist. You get a hint of orange flavor (thanks to orange zest and a bit of orange juice), that complement the flavor from fresh blueberries. These are yummy!

Another great way to start your day is Mary Gonzalez's (Livermore, CA) Healthy Breakfast Casserole. "I created this recipe by considering all the healthy ingredients that could go in it and sounded great," shares Mary. "I made this for my son's birthday brunch as we're both watching our weight and he raved about it."

Canadian bacon is a great swap in breakfast. It has lower calories and fat than regular bacon, but still gives the recipe a nice smokey flavor. It's a favorite of mine and part of the reason I love Mary's recipe. All the veggies packed into this breakfast casserole are great. Best part though... this can be made ahead making it a great recipe for a lazy weekend (or if company happens to be over).

"I love pasta [and] this was my first time using veggie noodles as an alternative and it does not disappoint," Jessica Rehs (Akron, OH) says of her Zucchini and Sweet Potato Pasta recipe. "[My family was] satisfied, full and the craving for spaghetti was met.

This recipe is so colorful and had so many different textures, you just can't wait to take your next bite. Cilantro paste adds so much flavor to the "noodles." This is a great healthy dinner recipe you can add to your menu.

I had never cooked with farro before I tested Tiffany Pennington's (Accord, NY) Farro and Turkey Stuffed Peppers. This recipe made me fall in love with it! Instead of traditional rice, Tiffany stuffs her peppers with the farro, ground turkey, yummy veggies and great seasonings.

"I've been looking to increase my intake of whole grains and lean protein and choosing more organic ingredients," reveals Tiffany. "The farro in this recipe has a nice firm texture like barley, but has a creaminess to it that blends nicely with the grated cheese." These peppers smell good, look great and taste delicious!

Another whole grain to incorporate into your diet is quinoa. Susan LaBerge (British Columbia) uses it in her Quinoa Cheeseburger Pie and boy is it good. "This is a great addition to any meal or on its own as a meal," says Susan. This pie tastes great and is healthy - a great combination. Consider swapping the ground beef for ground turkey to make it even healthier. I added a bit of mustard to mine and loved it.

Patricia Martin's (Navarre, FL) Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins are so good, I'd classify them as a dessert. "You know you have a good recipe when your hubby asks you to make it and share it with others," jokes Patricia. The flavors in these muffins work so well together and they're super moist. The walnuts are a great addition, but leave them out if you're not a fan. We did add a few chocolate chips and they tipped the scales of awesomeness.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, there are ways to incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle. Like everything in life, moderation is key! Do you have any healthy recipes you plan on making for your family? Make sure to share them... we can all use some cooking inspiration.

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