Tag Archive | "Hot & Healthy"

Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

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Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

It’s been proven that there is no better way to start your day than with a solid breakfast. It will help you pay attention better, give you more energy and help you kick the rest of your day in the butt. But there are so many breakfast options—the fried egg, the burrito, the omelet…what do you choose?

Chop your potatoes into even cubes

Most likely if you’ve made a scramble, you tried to make an omelet and you screwed up. At this point, I’ve screwed up enough times to know that I should just go straight for the scramble. It makes an extremely filling breakfast that will make you start your day feeling like you can do anything (except for maybe flipping an omelet).

Ingredients in a scramble are up to you (or up to what you have in your fridge). I usually just stick with the basics:

1 potato (leave the skin on)
2 Oz Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
2 eggs
Shredded cheese
Frank’s Red Hot Original (optional)

Begin by cutting the potato into cubes. Then put the cubes in a frying pan with some olive oil. Add a little bit more than a quarter-sized drop of oil so that the potatoes will get nice and crispy. Stir those around, put them on a medium heat and cover with a lid.

Potatoes before they’re cooked and after. Add salt and pepper to season as well.

The lid will help heat the potatoes up faster. You will want to stir them every once in a while so that they don’t burn, but leave the lid on as much as possible. Once they turn from a clear color to a more opaque white, they are done and you can move on. But don’t be stingy with this—good potatoes can take about 10 minutes to cook. And there is nothing worse than crunchy potatoes in a scramble.

Next, add your sausage to the pan and cook it until it’s brown. Try to break it up into pieces that are similar to the sizes of your potatoes.

After that, add in the eggs and stir until they’re cooked. Turn off the heat and mix in some shredded cheese, and your scramble is complete.

This scramble is best served with Frank’s Red Hot on top and accompanied by a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. You can also add any sort of vegetable or meat to spice it up.

But no matter what, this breakfast will leave you ready to tackle whatever the day has in store and maybe even train you so some day, you can flip that omelet.

Bon appétit!

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Hot and Healthy December: Tortilla Soup

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Hot and Healthy December: Tortilla Soup

My biggest problems cooking for myself are as follows:

  1. I’m busy and don’t have time to cook.
  2. When I’m not busy, I’m lazy. Pizza rolls, egg sandwiches, and bagels are not an uncommon dinner.

However, turns out that when I actually have time to cook, I can successfully make foods such as this soup.  Mom’s tortilla soup was a favorite meal of mine growing up and while I didn’t make it just like hers, I think I came pretty darn close.


Heart healthy tortilla soup. Photo: Alex Tekip

Heart Healthy Tortilla Soup


  • 1 can (16 oz.) fat-free refried beans
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) low-fat or fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 can (5 oz.) 94 percent fat-free chunk chicken, drained or broiled chicken breast (or  do what I did just rip apart a store-bought rotisserie chicken, it’s a little nasty but it’s easy…plus it leaves you with leftovers)
  • 1 can (11oz.) whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) black or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup chunky salsa OR 1 can of diced tomatoes (or even a combination of both)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups (1 bag) light shredded cheese
  • Tortilla chips 

Although I was initially scared by the list of ingredients, it proved to be highly unintimidating. Plus the preparation that followed was super quick and much easier than I thought.

  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in an appropriately sized pot.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil over medium height stirring until the refried beans have completely melted and mixed with all of the other ingredients.
  3. Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Be sure to check on the soup and stir it occasionally during this time.
  4. Add 1 cup (1/2 the bag) of shredded cheese into the soup and stir until melted.
  5. To serve, crush a handful or tortilla chips and places them at the bottom of the bowl. Pour soup into bowl and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top if desired.

I had only intended on making this dinner to share with one of my friends, but a bunch unexpectedly showed up and to my surprise, everyone ended up loving the soup! One friend told me he was bummed I didn’t leave any extra for him and the other two told me they couldn’t stop talking about how good it was…three days after I had made it. I felt like a real chef, if only for a day. Heart healthy tortilla soup is not only a quick and easy dinner, but also a great way to impress friends. Heat, re-heat, and enjoy!

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Hot and Healthy October: Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie

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Hot and Healthy October: Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie

Moving out of the dorms often results in being asked a multitude of questions: How much is the rent? Do you like your roommates? How close is the apartment to campus? There’s one inquiry, though, that always seems to pop up more than others: Is the apartment nicer than the dorms? And, just throwing a reasonable guess out here, nine times out of ten, the answer is along the lines of: I like my apartment, but I miss the convenience of the cafeterias.

Not being able to have food readily prepared for me was one of the biggest adjustments I had to make after moving a few blocks down the road from my former home of Brody Neighborhood. I will admit that I am not the best cook out there, and often times my good friends will ask how I am doing cooking for myself. Occasionally, I will prepare “fancy meals”, however, easy-to-cook boxed and frozen foods make up about 95 percent of my diet.

But this recipe is neither boxed nor frozen and is great for those who need a boost of energy or something easy and simple that will hold off hunger for a few hours. I usually have one of these guys right after a morning workout on the elliptical, but they are great for anytime of day, as a small meal or with a light snack.



1 handful frozen strawberries
1 handful frozen banana slices
(Note: This can be replaced five fresh strawberries and one fresh banana. I like to use frozen fruit because it lasts longer and saves money.)
1 serving vanilla Greek yogurt
¾ scoop chocolate protein powder
1 handful of baby spinach leaves (about five or six, don’t worry-you won’t taste them!)
1 handful of chocolate chips
Splash of fruit juice (I typically use apple cranberry or cranberry raspberry, but orange is also an option as well)
Splash of water/milk
4-5 ice cubes
Optional: spoonful of peanut butter

What you’ll need:

Spoon (for scooping out the yogurt and miscellaneous mixing needs if the fruit and ice get stuck together)
Large cup or glass



1. Gather ingredients. It’s best to have them all in one spot so that the frozen/cold items don’t get too warm when you realize you have gotten everything out but the yogurt, which happens to be in the back of the fridge (no, I haven’t done that…)

2. Begin putting the fruit (fresh and or frozen) and ice cubes into the blender. I suggest these items go first because they’re the most difficult items for the blender to mix.

3. Place all other ingredients in the blender. It doesn’t matter what order they go in, but I usually find it best to put the juice and water/milk in last, so liquid isn’t splashing around everywhere when other ingredients are being mixed.

4. Blend smoothie. If your blender has settings like mine, I’d start with the ice crush setting and then move to liquefy once all the frozen items have been mixed in. If the blender just has one setting, go with that.

5. Pour out the smoothie into a tall glass and enjoy.


This smoothie has become a quick favorite of mine in less than a month of living off campus and gives Tropical Smoothie a run for its money (which is no easy task in my book.) It’s easy, simple, and cheap, and not to mention healthy–everything college students are looking for. Grab a blender, grab the ingredients, mix up, drink up, and prepare to get energized with a great recipe that even the worst of cooks can make.

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Hot & Healthy January: Pork Chop Milanese with Arugula Salad

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Hot & Healthy January: Pork Chop Milanese with Arugula Salad

All right boys, this one is for you.

While I was making the recipe for this month, I was thinking, “Some guy could totally make this for his girlfriend and earn unlimited back rubs or something.”

Guys, do you want unlimited back rubs!? I would suggest making your girl some fine food.

But okay, before I even start, I know. This dish sounds too fancy to be true. It sounds like something that a woman with a 10k rock on her finger would order at a restaurant in New York while sipping Pellegrino water. But it’s actually really simple, and tastes amazing. Granted, I was really hungry when I first ate it, but even three hours later out of a Tupperware container it was great.

Can you use a hammer? Can you dip chips into dipping sauce? Can you flip pancakes? Can you count? If yes, then you are capable of making this meal my friend. I believe in you.

The ingredients to this elegant dish are:

  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 12 fresh basil leaves

That seems like a lot, but remember your skills. You can do this.

First comes the hammer expertise. Place your pork chops on a cutting board and cover them with a piece of plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, a meat mallet, or if all else fails, a hammer, pound the meat until it is ¼ inch thick. Then season the meat with salt and pepper.

Then you are going to set up a breading station. If you’ve never done this before, you have three bowls, one with flour, one with egg, and the third with breadcrumbs. Make sure you whisk the eggs together. Next, stir in the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs.

This is where you need to know how to dip. One chop at a time, plop it into the flour and coat both sides. Take it out of the flour, and plop it in the egg. Take it out of the egg, and coat it in the breadcrumbs. It’s that simple.

Breading Station. Photo credit: Andrea Raby

When those are all coated, heat up a large sauté pan (a pan you would make pancakes in) and add the olive oil and butter. Let that heat up for a bit and then add the pork chops. Cook those babies until they’re golden brown, usually about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

Now it’s time to make that fancy arugula salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic (remember, mincing means really tiny pieces), lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Then add the onion, toss it around in the liquid, and let it marinate for ten minutes while you go feed your cat.

Photo credit: Andrea Raby

Oh did Mr. Whiskers scratch you while you were feeding him? I don’t care, your ten minutes are up and you have a dinner to finish.

Add the arugula, tomatoes and basil to the dressing and mix it all together. To serve it, put the pork chop on a plate and the salad on top. It looks sophisticated but all you did was drop it on a plate.

Men, your ladies are ready to be wooed through the sweet taste of pork chops. Go get yourself some unlimited back rubs.

Photo credit: Andrea Raby

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Hot & Health December: Oreo Truffles

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Hot & Health December: Oreo Truffles

So all of our parents think we live on our own and eat nothing but Ramen Noodles and frozen pizza. Okay, most of us do, but what if when you go home you could make your parents something easy and delicious? Who knows, maybe you’ll get a little extra food cash because you have to “go by the recipe.”

I know I’m supposed to write about healthy things, but it’s the holidays. We all just finished a tough semester and it’s time to treat ourselves. And believe me, these truffles are a treat. Every single one of my friends, and my parents, were raving about these puppies.

But first, here’s what you need:

1 package of Oreos

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

1 package (1 2/3 cups) of dark chocolate chips

2 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup of white chocolate chips

Okay, the original recipe I found for these said to put the Oreos in a food processor to crush them up. But where’s the fun in that? My friend and I split the Oreos up in two gallon sized bags. Then, hit them with a hammer. Really, I’m not joking. Or a rolling pin works just as well too. Hit them until they have been crushed into very tiny pieces. After finals, it’s really satisfying.

Then empty that into a bowl and combine it with the cream cheese. I used a mixer, but you can probably mix it by hand too. That’s the inside of the truffle, so try not to eat all of it. It’s really good. Roll that mixture into little balls. You should end up with somewhere around 40 of these suckers, so make sure they’re not too big.

Then, heat up the dark chocolate chips in a large saucepan. Add in the butter and stir until it’s smooth. Then dip the balls into this chocolate until they’re fully covered. Place these on some wax paper or tin foil and stick them in the freezer until they’re hard.

While those are freezing, heat up the white chocolate in a saucepan until it’s smooth. Then put this into a quart-sized baggie. Time to make them pretty!

Once the balls are hard (I know, this sounds like a bad SNL joke), then you can put some pretty little white design on top just like mine. Note: my friend actually made these designs. She is much better with food than I am and my design looked like poop. Literally.

Put them in the freezer again so that the white chocolate hardens and they’re done! But a word of warning: these truffles are rich. As soon as I bit into one I was already yearning for a glass of any liquid imaginable. I got a glass of water, chugged it, and had another.

So if you want to impress any relatives or friends this holiday season, give these truffles a try. They’re easy, don’t take too long, and are great with a glass of milk.

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Hot & Healthy November: Thai Herbal Noodles

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Hot & Healthy November: Thai Herbal Noodles

Hello Big Green readers! This month I decided to try out some Asian-fusion and make Thai Herbal Noodles. I figured everyone would be heading home to your momma’s cooking pretty soon, so there was no point in competing with that.

So before Turkey Day, let’s head out east! And if you’re Asian, well, sorry. There has to be some good recipes for turkey and stuffing out there somewhere.

As you read, you will realize that not only am I a fairly inexperienced cook, but I don’t know anything about food. I have my main food groups down and that’s about it. So I would like to save all you other cooking virgins from the same trials I experienced.

In case anyone didn’t know, spring onions have about 50 different aliases. The most common names are scallions, or green onions. This is helpful to know when you’re wandering around the produce section feverishly looking for an onion that looks spring-like.

Also, green chili peppers are not just labeled “GREEN CHILIS.” There are a ton of different kinds of peppers, and when you’re staring at an array of them, it can get confusing. I went with a poblano pepper because that’s what Google on my phone told me to do.

Finally, do not just go into any supermarket and expect to find fish sauce.  Even though Meijer has an array of Asian sauces, fish sauce is not one of them. So, I improvised. Google came through again with a suggestion: mix soy sauce and anchovies and get a fish sauce equivalent.

So I wandered Meijer a little more to find anchovies and found a magical little substance called anchovy paste. It’s a brownish-tannish goo that comes in what looks like a toothpaste container, but you have to trust me on this one. Mixed with soy sauce, it makes the dish.

So after that mini-rant, here are the ingredients:

  • 7-8 ounces wheat or egg noodles (serves two)
  • 3-4 tbsp. oil for stir frying
  • ¼ cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts. You need to grind these or chop them to bits.
  • Shrimp, chicken, tofu, or none of the above. For my test run, I choose chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tbsp. chicken or vegetable broth or white wine
  • 3 spring onions (ahem, green onions/scallions), chopped
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  • 1 lime (optional)

For the paste:

  • 1 green or red chili (I use a poblano. Deseed it if you want less spice)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (or one thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated, if you want to get fancy)
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce (2 tbsp. soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp. anchovy paste)

To all the cooking virgins out there like me, I want to tell you that this dish is not going to be a walk in the park. It takes a little time, but it’s worth it.

So to start out, boil the noodles until they’re cooked or nearly cooked, and set them aside.

Then start on the paste. If you have a food processor, throw those puppies in there. I didn’t so I just chopped everything into extremely tiny pieces, or as they call it in the cooking world, “mincing.” Technique for mincing is key—mostly I wouldn’t recommend chopping it tomahawk-style. Food flies everywhere.

Once that’s done, heat up your frying pan for 1 minute. Then add the oil and swirl it around a bit.

If you’re not adding meat, don’t pay attention to this part. If you are, listen up. Add your meat to the frying pan, along with roughly half of the paste and 2 tbsp. of the wine or broth. Stir-fry that bad boy until the meat is done.

Once that’s cooked, push everything to the side of the pan. You’re clearing the stage for the eggs. Break the eggs into the pan and stir it with the spatula until it’s cooked, like scrambled eggs.

Then you’re going to add one more tablespoon of oil to the pan, and then add the pasta. Also, you might want to make sure you have a big enough frying pan before this part, because there can be major pasta overflow. I had some men go overboard, but our loss just turned into a taste test.

Speaking of taste tests… do a taste test now! If it’s not salty or flavorful enough, just add more fish sauce. I ended up adding 4 more tablespoons because I really, really liked the fish sauce.

It’s almost done! Put everything into a bowl and toss it with the green onions, peanuts, and basil. Add a wedge of lime on the side and you’re good to go.

For a cooking virgin, this took a while, but it tastes amazing. Add a lot of fish sauce if you want it to be really flavorful. Don’t expect it to taste authentic, but it’s a healthy dish that makes for a great Asian-inspired meal.

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Hot & Healthy April: Chia Seed Pudding

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Hot & Healthy April: Chia Seed Pudding

This month’s recipe is Chia Seed Pudding, a delicious and quick dessert that only needs a few ingredients and can be made in 5 minutes.

Have you heard of chia seeds? They are an amazing superfood that is gaining popularity at an alarming rate. They are loaded with fiber and expand in your stomach to keep you full because they absorb water, which you will see in this recipe as they expand in the fridge to make your pudding nice and thick. They also contain protein, antioxidants, and omega, which is a brain food so is perfect to load up on at this time of year by finals.

Also, studies have shown that eating chia seed slows down our bodies’ conversion of carbohydrate calories into simple sugars which can help regulate blog sugar levels which can help with sugar cravings.

If you like tapioca pudding, you will love this!

All you do is mix all the the ingredients in the bowl still really well, then pour over the chia seeds in the other bowl then mix well again and toss in the fridge and wait as long as you can (anticipation & hunger usually gets the best of me)!  The longer you leave the chia seeds stay sitting still in the bowl in the fridge the more they will grow, expand, and thicken.  Leave it in the bowl sitting still in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes, but you can leave it in there for hours and even overnight would be best to really thicken it up.

It’s a super healthy, super filling, superfood dessert!


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Hot & Healthy: December — Tomato and Eggs Brunch Bake

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Hot & Healthy: December — Tomato and Eggs Brunch Bake

Cookies, candy, cakes, and pies seem to be everywhere during the busy holiday season, so I decided to bring you a recipe that you don’t have to count as a holiday food splurge. The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends and relax before the start of a new year, but for some Americans it can be the season of gaining rather than giving. In fact, most Americans gain one to 10 pounds during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years – while this might not seem significant, it can add up.

This may seem scary, but you can still enjoy your favorite holiday treats without gaining a pound.  Here’s my holiday survival guide ultimate tip: selectively splurge.  When sweet and savory unhealthy foods are thrown at you from every direction, taking second and third helpings of them all will obviously lead to weight gain overtime; however, trying just one of everything and saving seconds and thirds for those few really tasty treats you dream about all year will leave you in the same shape you started the holidays with.


My recipe this month, tomato and egg brunch bake, won’t break your holiday calorie bank.  And more importantly, it is actually healthy and starting your day with a brunch like this will fill you up, give you the nutrients you need to get through the stress of the holiday season.  And even more importantly it tastes great.

This brunch dish is simple and would be a great dish to pass for family gatherings.  For me, Christmas morning breakfast is my favorite meal of the holidays.  My family gathers at my grandparents house for homemade quiche, coffee cake, and sweet rolls on Christmas morning and it has always been my favorite part of the day.  This baked egg and tomato dish would be the perfect healthy addition, and it’s even red and green.

What are you favorite holiday meals? Comment and share with TBG! Happy Holidays and good luck with finals!



4 ripe vine tomatoes

Olive Oil

4 organic eggs

parsley/basil/chives/ oregano

optional: veggies of your choice. (I added bell pepper and mushrooms)

parmesan cheese 


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Chop tomatoes into wedges. Chop additional vegetable add ons and herbs.

3) Spread out vegetables in a fairly shallow oven-safe casserole dish.

4) Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5) Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.

6) Remove from oven, sprinkle herbs and once cool enough create four spaces in the vegetables to crack eggs into.

7)  Cover with tin foil and place back into oven for about 6 to 9 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

8) Remove from oven and serve on warm toast, bagels, or ciabatta bread with a green side salad.

recipe adapted from BBC Good Food


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Hot & Healthy

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Hot & Healthy

Hey TBG readers,

Admittedly, this month’s recipe didn’t go as planned. Instead of eating delicious fudge brownies, I ended up scraping baked-on brownie out of the pan.

The main reason that the recipe didn’t work is probably because I didn’t have the right pan; a round casserole dish was recommended. So, that’s a good guess as to why the brownies/pudding ended up looking like a swamp instead of dessert.

And to top it all off, it didn’t even taste right. Sure, the initial taste test wasn’t that bad, but eating an actual serving size after filming the video wasn’t much fun.

I also totally admit that this isn’t the healthiest recipe; however I wanted to try out a dessert and this one is a bit healthier than most. According to the recipe, one serving is 330 calories. Eh, not bad.

This recipe may have ruined my dessert optimism temporarily, but there may be a way to fix it. Here is my challenge: try out this recipe and send us the video. It won’t be too hard to do better than I did!

Thanks and see you next month!

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Hot & Healthy

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Hot & Healthy

Hey TBG readers!

Welcome back to another edition of Hot & Healthy! This month’s recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup (much like the kind you would find at McAlister’s Deli) is from Food.com. It’s one of those recipes that calls for a lot of ingredients, but once you throw them all together, just heat and serve.

Again, there are a lot of ingredients and I even had trouble remembering all of them (as you will see in the video), but the effort is well worth it. My batch of soup ended up tasting a lot like McAlister’s!

So, hopefully this soup can spice up a dinner with your friends or your significant other sometime during the month of February. And for a fun song about soup, check out this clip from one of my favorite TV shows, BBC’s The Mighty Boosh.

Thanks and see you next month!

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