Too Busy for Healthy Meals? We Called in the Pros

Being a mom is hard work. Being a mom and a cook is even harder work. Being a mom and a cook and a dietitian is really hard work. Being a mom and a cook and a dietitian and taking care of all the things on your to-do list is probably the hardest thing you're going to do!

And guess what.

Every woman on earth who has a child does her absolute best to make healthy meals for her children while juggling the full-time responsibilities of working outside the home or driving this kid here and that kid there. Moms are some of the busiest and most stressed and hardest-working people on the planet. So just for you ladies, our own Shiloh Johnson had a chat with Alyssa Milano and Chef Diane Henderiks and learned about some recipes that are not only healthy, but are Charmed-approved and easy to make.

Here's a little taste of the busyness of Alyssa's life and how she's able to prepare healthy meals.

alyssa milano
Image via Getty Images

Alyssa Milano is a busy woman

Alyssa is probably best known for her roles in the TV shows Who's the Boss? and Charmed, but she's been making some noise lately with her newly found role of breastfeeding activist and celebrity mom. Not only does she post some pretty awesome breastfeeding photos to raise awareness that breastfeeding is actually beautiful, natural, and so rewarding, but she's taking a firm stance against the breastfeeding haters.

Alyssa isn't new to the mom game — she has two kids — but her most recent interview with Wendy Williams has helped her make her way into the Motherhood Walk of Fame (not really).

On top of that, Alyssa has been outspoken about healthy eating and has been an advocate for clean and low-carb diets, specifically the Atkins Diet.

Diane Hendricks
Chef Diane Henderiks

Queen of the Cuisine

Speaking of motherhood and diets, Chef Diane Henderiks is a master of both. Chef Diane is an advisory board member for the American Vegetarian Association, an active member of the American Dietetic Association, International Association of Culinary Professionals and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, and, most importantly, mother of two boys.

No one has enough fingers and toes to count all of the shows and festivals that Chef Diane has been featured at — well, unless you have at least 13 fingers and 13 toes (but keep that to yourself).

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Chef Diane and Alyssa both share something in common.

Well, yes, they both are mothers, but they are also both huge advocates for healthy eating. On the next few slides, we've got a full day's worth of healthy recipes straight from the recipe book of Chef Diane and Atkins.

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Image via Atkins

Diane's Mexican Stuffed Breakfast Portobello Mushroom

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 10 ounces (about 3 links) sweet Italian turkey sausage; sausage removed from casing
  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup salsa – jarred or my quick tomato salsa – recipe below
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 avocado; peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

How to make

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place mushrooms smooth side up on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place mushroom caps smooth side up on a platter lined with paper towels to drain some of the water.
  4. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Brown sausage and break into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon while cooking.
  5. Stir in spinach and salsa. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl to cool slightly.
  6. Carefully separate egg yolks and place whites in one bowl and yolks in 2 separate small bowls. Beat egg whites with a fork.
  7. Place mushrooms smooth side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place half of the avocado slices on the bottom of mushroom.
  8. Add egg whites and cheddar cheese to sausage mixture and combine well.
  9. Divide mixture in half and stuff into Portobello caps on top of the avocado.
  10. For each mushroom make a well in the center of the sausage mixture that is large enough for the egg yolk.
  11. Bake 10 minutes then and carefully pour yolk in each well.
  12. Bake until the yolks are set, about 5 more minutes.
  13. Sprinkle with cilantro.
  14. Enjoy!

Quick Tomato Salsa

  • 1 tomato; cored and diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • Sprinkle of ground cumin
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder
  • Juice from 1 lime wedge
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Image via Atkins

Diane's Waldorf Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

Ingredients

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  • 1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, skinless chicken breast coarsely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery; diced
  • 1/4 English cucumber; diced
  • 1/4 apple; washed, unpeeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
  • 4 large Boston lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

How to make

  1. Whisk the first 7 ingredients (yogurt through pepper) together in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Fold in the next 5 ingredients (chicken through walnuts).
  3. Place 2 lettuce leaves on each plate and spoon 1/4 of chicken salad into each cup.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
  5. Enjoy!
Image via Atkins

Diane's Veggie Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients for the spaghetti

  • 1 zucchini squash; ends trimmed
  • 1 yellow squash; ends trimmed

Ingredients for the meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

How to make

  1. Prepare the veggie spaghetti: Slice zucchini and yellow squash with a mandoline, veggie spiralizer, hand held julienne peeler or simple vegetable peeler Set aside.
  2. Make the meatballs: Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl, mix well and form into 20 – 2 inch meatballs. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and brown meatballs. Do this in batches placing browned meatballs on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper as you go. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, turn them over and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in large skillet. Add squash and saute for about 5 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved. Al dente is best so taste a couple of times while cooking so as not to overcook.
  4. Divide spaghetti over 2 plates and top each with 1/2 cup of warm sauce and 2 meatballs.
  5. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley.
  6. Enjoy!

Note: When you make meatballs make extra because they freeze so well! You should have 16 meatballs left for future meals.

Image via Atkins

Diane's Luscious Lemon Squares

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For the crust

  • 1/2 cup almond or hazelnut meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon Stevia, Truvia or Nectresse
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons Stevia, Truvia or Nectresse
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Make the crust: In a large bowl combine almond meal, coconut flour, cinnamon, salt and sweetener. Add melted butter and vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients together and press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Make the filling: Stir flour and sweetener together. Whisk in eggs, and lemon juice.
  4. Pour filling into crust and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden around the edges.
  5. Let cool at room temperature then refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours then cut into squares.
  6. Enjoy!

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Too Busy for Healthy Meals? We Called in the Pros

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

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