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!

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 cup of grits, 10 shrimp

  • 2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth (I like Pacific Organic)
  • 1½ cups fat-free milk
  • 1¼ cups Quaker Quick 5-Minute Grits
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded Wisconsin sharp white cheddar cheese(I like Sargento Artisan Blends)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound medium shrimp (about 40), peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and milk to a boil. Gradually whisk in the grits and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook the grits, stirring occasionally, until they start to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar and pepper.
  2. Put the shrimp and Old Bay in a large resealable bag. Seal the bag and give it a few shakes to evenly coat the shrimp with the seasoning.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and green onions and cook until the green onions begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook on both sides until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. To serve, spoon 1 cup grits into a bowl and top with about 10 shrimp.

Skinny sense: Do you know how shrimp get their pink color? A crazy little thing called astaxanthin! It’s a carotenoid that can also act as a potent antioxidant, which protects the skin from premature aging. Do you need another reason to prepare this dish?

Calories 425 • Fat 14g • Carbohydrate 46g • Fiber 3g • Sugar 5g • Protein 31g

Chicken Sausage Linguine Skillet

Nothing is better than cooking with as few dishes as possible, right? It simplifies the cooking, makes cleanup easier, and is just all-around easy as pie. This chicken sausage linguine is no exception! Your kids will love the pasta, while you love the nutritious veggies mixed in!

Plus, one serving is packed with 21 grams of protein and just 263 calories. We call that a win-win!).

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 18-20 minutes

Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 1 heaping cup

  • 6 ounces whole wheat linguine, dry
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 links sweet Italian chicken sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the linguine according to package directions for al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the linguine.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, sausage, red pepper and onion to the skillet and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the beans, chicken broth, spinach, and pasta to the skillet, and toss gently with tongs. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. If the pasta is too dry, add the reserved pasta cooking water ¼ cup at a time.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top for each serving.

Calories 263 • Fat 8g • Carbohydrate 31g • Fiber 8g • Sugar 2g • Protein 21g

Cheesy Twice-Baked Potato & Broccoli Casserole

Everyone surely loves twice-baked potatoes, but there is just something about a casserole that rings of coziness and comfort. This recipe, with only 312 calories per serving, is a simple way to satisfy your twice-baked lovers with an easy dish for everyone to share! Plus, broccoli and cheddar? Was there ever a more savory combination?

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 1½ hours

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: 1 cup

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 (10.8-ounce) bags frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Wash the potatoes and dry them on a paper towel, then poke several holes in them with a fork.
  2. Wrap each potato in foil, and place them on a baking sheet in the oven for 40-60 minutes, or until fork-tender.
  3. Lower the oven to 350° F and spray a 13x9-inch casserole with nonstick cooking spray, then set aside.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel the skins off and discard the skins.
  5. Add the potato flesh to a large mixing bowl with the sour cream, milk, black pepper, salt, garlic powder and onion powder.
  6. Mash with a potato masher to a smooth consistency, or beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  7. Cook the frozen broccoli according to package directions.
  8. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly in the prepared casserole dish. Top the mashed potatoes with ½ cup of both cheeses, and half of the green onions.
  9. Place the frozen broccoli on top of the cheese and green onion layer, then top the broccoli with the remaining ½ cup of both cheeses and the remaining green onions.
  10. Bake until heated through and the cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes

Calories 312 • Fat 11g • Carbohydrate 37g • Fiber 11g • Sugar 5g • Protein 14g

Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip

A favorite appetizer of many, treat yourself with this creamy dish and feel no guilt at all with only 78 calories per serving. Scoop it up with some whole-wheat pita bread or fresh veggies. This gooey recipe is guaranteed to satisfy every cheese lover out there — it’s an office favorite at Skinny Mom HQ!

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 16 | Serving Size: ¼ cup

  • 1 (8-ounce) package ⅓ less fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, using a spatula, stir together the softened cream cheese, yogurt, garlic, salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
  3. Add in the artichoke hearts, spinach and mozzarella cheese, and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer to 1½-2 quart baking dish and top with the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake until the cheese is browned and the sides are bubbly, 15-20 minutes.

Calories 78 • Fat 4g • Carbohydrate 4g • Fiber 1g • Sugar 1g • Protein 6g

Banana Pudding Cookies

Ever had banana pudding in cookie form? If not, you MUST make this recipe! You get the best of both worlds: a soft, chewy cookie that tastes just like banana pudding minus the spoon! They’re easy to whip together, and at only 104 calories for two cookies, you don’t have to feel guilty about tonight’s dessert.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

Serves: 12 | Serving Size: 2 cookies

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅔ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 (1-ounce) package sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding mix
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. In a small bowl, mash the bananas together with the baking soda, and set aside until ready to use.
  3. In a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, yogurt, and sugar.
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, dry pudding mix, and salt. Add half of the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, mix to combine, then add the remaining dry mix.
  6. With the mixer on the lowest setting, fold in the previously set-aside mashed bananas.
  7. Scoop 24 heaping tablespoons (about 1½ tablespoon measure) on the prepared baking sheets and bake until slightly golden, 8-10 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before eating.

Calories 104 • Fat 4g • Carbohydrate 16g • Fiber 2g • Sugar 8g • Protein 2g

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