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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognized the importance of mealtime in forming memories and connections with our family. What used to be something we looked forward to has, unfortunately for many of us, turned into something we dread. Our hectic schedules make it difficult to put healthy and tasty home-cooked meals on the table. That’s why I’m on a mission to bring the joy back to dinnertime. Through my website SkinnyMom.com and my cookbook Skinny Suppers, I provide delicious, lightened-up meals that any home cook can make!

Asparagus Fries with Garlic Lemon Aioli

I have found asparagus to be the ideal canvas if you’re looking for a new and interesting flavor for french fries. There is very little prep, and the crunchy coating includes flaxseed meal, which adds incredible nutritional value (it’s been linked to aiding in weight management, has cancer-fighting properties, and boosts immunity).

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 7 asparagus spears, 1 tablespoon aioli

  • 28 asparagus spears
  • ¼ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I like Sargento)

Lemon Aioli Dipping Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

Skinny sense: Aioli is a garlicky mayonnaise, superb for dipping foods like fries; but it can also be used as a condiment and is an ideal topping for sandwiches and burgers alike.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Wash the asparagus and trim off the bottoms.
  3. In a shallow baking dish, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. In a separate shallow baking dish, whisk the egg whites. In a third shallow baking dish, or on a plate, mix the panko, flaxseed meal, and Parmesan.
  4. To bread the asparagus, roll the spears through the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Next, roll the asparagus through the egg whites and allow the excess to drip off. Third, roll through the panko mixture, and press gently to adhere to the spears.
  5. Lay out the asparagus on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the lemon aioli dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  7. Serve the asparagus fries with the dipping sauce.

Calories 161 • Fat 6g • Carbohydrate 20g • Fiber 4g • Sugar 3g • Protein 9g

Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

The mango salsa in this dish really adds a Caribbean flair. I love to serve this meal when having guests over for an outdoor party. It presents like it would take hours to prepare, but really takes around 30 minutes!

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: One 4-ounce chicken breast, ¼ cup mango salsa

Mango Salsa:

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced (see Quick and Easy)
  • 1 Roma (plum) tomato, diced
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Jerk Chicken:

  • 4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons Caribbean jerk seasoning or Make It Homemade
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. To make the salsa: In a medium bowl, stir together the mango, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and salt to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. To make the jerk chicken: Place the chicken breasts and jerk seasoning in a large resealable bag. Seal and shake a few times to evenly coat the chicken.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until done, 4 to 6 minutes per side.
  4. Serve the chicken warm topped with the mango salsa.

Suggested Side Dish: Cilantro-Lime Rice

Quick and Easy: Feel free to purchase frozen mango for this recipe. To thaw the mango, place 1 cup frozen mango in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 5 hours before ready to use. Try to stir or turn the fruit a few times while in the refrigerator for an even thaw and drain any juice or water from the mango before using.

Calories 210 • Fat 5g • Carbohydrate 21g • Fiber 2g • Sugar 13g • Protein 24g

Southern Shrimp and Grits

In the South, grits are more of a dinner staple than a breakfast side dish. It wasn’t until I moved up North that I noticed how often they’re served for breakfast. These grits are so creamy and cheesy, you’ll want to serve them up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

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