Lemony Asparagus and Peas + A Dinner Hack for Surviving Spring Sports

Balance your favorite frozen entrée with this side dish of Lemony Asparagus and Peas for a simple spring meal you can serve on the busiest nights of the week!

Lemony Asparagus with Peas via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetables #BalanceYourPlate

I created this recipe and post in partnership with Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate. I was compensated for my work, and all opinions are solely my own. 


America’s favorite pastime is in full swing, which means your kids are probably playing Little League games under the lights and rushing to team practices that last well past dusk. It’s a magical time for kids, but all that running around and coming home late can interfere in a big way with America’s other favorite pastime: DINNER.

Family Dinner via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetables #BalanceYourPlate

What’s a frazzled parent to do? Well, having ‘been there, done that’ with Josh and Simon for more spring times than I can remember, I’ve cooked up a winning strategy for getting fast, convenient, and nutritious meals on your family’s dinner table, even when you walk in the door well past the dinner hour. The secret to fueling your family, especially your pint-size athletes, is to ‘balance your plate.’

Balance Your Plate via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #BYP

 Balance Your Plate is an educational program that helps consumers with simple meal planning by pairing frozen meals and pizzas with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. The recipes and tips on their site (like my Lemony Asparagus and Peas!) are designed to help everyone meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
{For more information and resources from Balance Your Plate, visit nestleusa.com/balance.}

 Lemony Asparagus with Peas via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetables #BalanceYourPlate

For my spring-time sports dinner hack, I cooked up a Balanced Plate using Grandma’s Chicken & Vegetable Rice Bake (Stouffer’s Family-Size meal), my Lemony Asparagus and Peas, fresh berries, and low-fat milk. 

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Arugula, Farro and Pistachio Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Add a healthy, flavorful spin to homemade vinaigrette with convenient frozen raspberries, and then toss the dressing into this nutrient-packed salad made with arugula, pistachios, farro, goat cheese, chickpeas, avocado, carrots… and raspberries! 

Arugula, Farro and Pistachio Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #salad #RedRazz

In case you don’t have a ‘favorite’ go-to salad, we’re here to fill your salad void with a new recipe made with greens, grains, and a dressing featuring frozen red raspberries. It’s as flavorful as it is gorgeous! {We created this recipe in partnership with the National Processed Raspberry Council. We were compensated for our work, and all ideas are our own.}

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Gluten-Free Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar {Podcast #284}

This gluten-free, salad-to-go is filled with fiber, flavor, and heart-healthy omega-3 fat, and whether you’re a busy mom or a school-age kid, we’re pretty sure you’ll look forward to eating it for lunch! 

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

Our new recipe and this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast is sponsored by the California Walnut Commission.

Did you know that walnuts are the only nut—and one of the few foods—significantly high in omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid? One ounce (about a handful) has 2.5 grams of ALA, which is more than the recommended daily amount of 1.6 grams for men and 1.1 grams for women.

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

A few months ago, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released. The new recommendations from the USDA encourage all of us to reduce saturated fat intake and shift to foods high in the healthy polyunsaturated fats. Choosing plant-based foods like walnuts is a great way to help you meet that goal.

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

Walnuts are versatile. We love to grab a handful for a snack, add them to breakfast favorites like fruit & yogurt parfaits and overnight oats, and incorporate them into pancakes, cookies and quick breads. They also provide an easy way to add more plant-based protein to things like salads and pasta dinners.

Tune in to this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast by clicking on the PLAY button above for our easy Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar as well as two other recipes your family will love: Grab-and-Go Granola Bars and Rosemary and Sea Salt Walnuts.

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

This recipe is super easy. Start with two wide mouth, pint-size Mason jars, and fill each with light Italian salad dressing, quinoa, and white beans (AKA cannellini beans). Mix together and then keep building …

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

… with diced red bell peppers, feta cheese (that’s optional), and quartered kalamata olives …

Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #walnuts #omega3 #glutenfree

… and then add the final touches with fresh basil and toasted, chopped walnuts. Yes please!

Each serving has over a day’s worth of good-for-you ALA omega-3 fat, 11 grams of filling fiber, and 14 grams of protein.

4.5 from 8 reviews
Walnut, White Bean and Quinoa Salad in a Jar
This gluten-free salad is seriously yummy, and it's super flexible. You can use any bean of your liking or add any veggie you love. Hmmm: Roasted beets sound good right now! And for even more flavor, go ahead and add some lemon zest to the quinoa/bean mixture or just before serving.
Recipe type: Lunch or Dinner
Serves: 2
  • 2 tablespoons light Italian salad dressing
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • ½ cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper (cut into ½-inch dice)
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives, quartered (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ to ½ cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 ounces lightly toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  1. Divide the salad dressing evenly between two wide mouth, pint-size Mason jars and top each evenly with the quinoa and white beans. Use a fork to stir the ingredients together until the quinoa and beans are well coated with the dressing.
  2. Continue layering each with the bell peppers, feta cheese as desired, olives, basil leaves, and the walnuts.
  3. Secure the lid and refrigerate. To serve, shake until the ingredients are combined, and then pour into individual bowls, or eat directly from the jar with a spoon or fork.
One salad has 25% vitamin A, 80% vitamin C, 20% iron, 10% calcium, and 2.7 grams ALA.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 jar) Calories: 460, Fat: 29g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbohydrates: 40g, Sodium: 590mg, Fiber: 11g, Protein: 14g


Walnut Giveaway

Thanks to our friends with California Walnuts, look what we’re Giving Away:

– Walnut tote bag, which folds into a walnut shell
– Walnut spatula
– Walnut apron
– Walnut Pear Chardonnay Handmade Soap made with walnut shells
– 1 Mason jar filled with walnuts
– One-ounce walnut sample packs
– Recipe cards

TO ENTER add a comment right here on this blog post and tell us about your favorite way to incorporate walnuts into your family’s diet. Or simply tell us why you’d like to win the giveaway! (U.S. and Canada only please)

We will enter you into the giveaway additional times if you …

> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.

> Share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

> Follow us on Pinterest.

> Follow The Meal Makeover Moms on Facebook and Twitter (@MealMakeovrMoms).

Giveaway ends at noon on April 7th, so hurry up and enter! – Giveaway is CLOSED.

Ever wonder how walnuts are harvested? Check out this fun video!

Chilaquiles with Leftover Nachos for Breakfast {The Recipe Redux}

Saving leftover nachos to make chilaquiles (a traditional Mexican egg and tortilla chip breakfast) the next morning is a great way to decrease food waste and shake things up at breakfast.

Chilaquiles via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

This month, our Recipe Redux healthy blogger recipe challenge was to serve up a seven-ingredient-or-less recipe. We were asked to share a healthy, no-brainer dish that we fix for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Since Liz and I had just recorded a podcast on decreasing food waste I was inspired to repurpose some black bean and Cheddar cheese nachos that were left over from the night before.

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Healthy Zucchini Quiche + Finding Common Ground on Diet Advice {Podcast #282}

Eating more plant-based foods and the green light that it’s AOK to include eggs in a healthy, well-balanced diet are two tenants of the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and this healthy Zucchini Quiche fits right in with those diet “dos.”

Quick Zucchini Quiche via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetarian

Here at Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen we embrace eating a variety of foods with an emphasis on consuming plenty of plants and good-for-you fats, keeping saturated fats and nutrient-devoid, heavily processed foods in check, and choosing foods with a healthy and sustainable environment in mind. Easy, right?

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we welcome Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways, to the show to dish about finding common ground among the dueling diets and scientific advice that consumers see every day in the media.

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20 Healthy Lentil Recipes + The International Year of Pulses {Podcast #281}

We love lentils—green, brown, red, Beluga, French green—in soups, stews, and salads, but these little legumes can also star in protein and fiber-filled tacos, “burgers,” and even desserts. These 20 healthy lentil recipes should get you well on your way to loving this petite pulse. 

20 Healthy Lentil Recipes / Year of Pulses via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #LovePulses #IYP2016

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we celebrate the International Year of Pulses with healthy lentil recipes like our Lentil Alphabet Soup and a roundup of lentil dishes that everyone at your table will love. We chose lentils as our featured pulse because, well, we had to start somewhere!

Click the play button above to tune into this week’s Podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes!

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Lentil Alphabet Soup — A Classic Makeover of a Kid Favorite

Vegetarian, vegan, and kid friendly, this Lentil Alphabet Soup is irresistible thanks to the playful pasta, and it’s filled with fiber and protein thanks to the lentils and vegetables. We have no doubt your kids will happily slurp up every last spoonful. 

Lentil Alphabet Soup via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #PulseFeast #LovePulses #IYP2016

This one pot, savory soup is made with carrots, celery, lentils, and adorable alphabet pasta, and the veggies and lentils are so tiny, even the pickiest eaters at your table will love it.

Lentil Alphabet Soup via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #PulseFeast #LovePulses #IYP2016

The UN General Assembly has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Why? Because lentils, dry beans and peas, and chickpeas are a nutritious superfood, and they’re sustainable — they have a low carbon footprint and enrich the soil. Pulses are regarded as a food of the future, poised as a powerful solution for feeding the world’s growing population.

Click the play button above to tune into this week’s Podcast, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes!

Lentil Alphabet Soup via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #PulseFeast #LovePulses #IYP2016

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Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl + The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook

This luscious pumpkin smoothie bowl is made with pureed pumpkin and Greek-style yogurt, so it packs a one-two nutrition punch with immune-boosting vitamin A and bone-building calcium and vitamin D.

Pretty Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #smoothiebowl #pumpkin #adultcoloring

We partnered with Cabot Creamery and used their 2% Greek-style yogurt to create this recipe, and we included it in our new book: The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Playful Mandala Food Designs for Kids & Adults! We were compensated for the recipe, which helped to bring the book to all of you for free 🙂

Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #adultcoloring

Visit The Cabot Blog for the complete Pretty Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl recipe.

And to hear all about the cookbook and the recipes, tune in to Cooking with the Moms, our podcast on iTunes.

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40 Healthy Winter Squash Recipes Your Family Will Love {Podcast Episode #279}

Winter squash is a nutrient-rich fruit (that’s right, a fruit!) that’s harvested in the fall and consumed all winter long. Our favorite varieties are pumpkin, spaghetti squash, acorn, butternut squash, and delicata, and they’re perfect for hearty side dishes, meatless main meals, stews, chili, muffins, and even desserts.

40 Healthy Winter Squash Recipes via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we feature family-pleasing winter squash recipes from nutrition bloggers across the web. And we also share some helpful winter squash cooking tips and nutrition news. Be sure to read on and tune in!

Winter Squash recipes - Cooking w/ the Moms podcast via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Click the play button above to listen to the show, and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE on iTunes

Healthy Winter Squash Recipes:
A Delicous Roundup

Eggplant Parmesan Spaghetti Squash Boats


Eggplant Parmesan Spaghetti Squash Boats from The Foodie Dietitian (photo above)

Taco-Topped Spaghetti Squash Bowls from The Meal Makeover Moms

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto, Peas and Shrimp from Family Food on the Table

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Roasted Garlic from The Nutty Nutritionist

Three Cheese Spaghetti Squash “Lasagna” from Smart Nutrition

Thai Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash from Russell Nutrition

A Southern Take on Spaghetti Squash from Emma Fogt

Pumpkin Turkey Chili via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen


Pumpkin Turkey Chili from The Meal Makeover Moms (photo above)

Cranberry Pumpkin Butter from My Cape Cod Kitchen

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins from Carrots and Cake

Spiced Pumpkin Bread from Healthy Aperture

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies from Simple Swaps

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Stew from Your Choice Nutrition

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie from Better is the New Perfect

Pumpkin Yogurt with Cinnamon Overnight Oats from RDelish

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie from UNL Food

Roasted Edamame Squash and Brussels Sprouts


Roasted Edamame, Squash and Brussels Salad from Nutritious Eats (photo above)

Butternut Squash Lasagna Soup from Healthy Aperture

Butternut and Arugula Salad from The Lean Green Bean

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Butternut Sage Sauce from Delish Knowledge

Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas from Dietitian Debbie Dishes

Butternut Sage Risotto Balls with Lemon Honey Drizzle from Nutritioulicious

Butternut Squash Gnocchi from Teaspoon of Spice

Roasted Butternut Squash with Broccoleaf Greens from Food Confidence

Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Roasted Pecans from The Cookin’ RD

Three Cheese Butternut Squash Lasagna from Nourished Simply

Butternut Squash Flatbread with Caramelized Leeks from Eat Chic Chicago

Quinoa Gratin with Butternut Squash from Eating with a Purpose

Butternut Squash Muffins from Prep Dish



Roasted Winter Squash Tacos with Quick Pickled Onions from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook (photo above)

Stuffed Delicata Squash Boats from Hungry Hobby

How to Roast Delicata Squash + a Recipe for Cinnamon Roasted Delicata Squash from The Meal Makeover Moms

Maple Roasted Delicata Squash from {Nourish} Healthy Bites

Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Wild Blueberries from The Nutrition Twins

Rosemary Roasted Delicata Squash from Marisa Moore Nutrition

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Pumpkin Seed and Cherry Quinoa Pilaf from EA Stewart Spicy RD #WinterSquash


Acorn Squash Stuffed with Pumpkin Seed & Cherry Quinoa Pilaf from Spicy RD Nutrition (photo above)

Curry Roasted Acorn Squash from The Lean Green Bean

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Roasted Cherries from Happy Healthy RD

Chard Stuffed Acorn Squash with Za’atar and Tahini from Avocado a Day Nutrition

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Squash from Plant Eaters’ Manifesto

Slow Cooker Rosemary Acorn Squash from Make Healthy Easy

Baked Acorn Squash with Ground Beef Stuffing from Mom to Mom Nutrition

Taco-Topped Spaghetti Squash Bowls via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

How does winter squash differ from summer squash?

Both types of squash are grown in the summer. Summer squash is harvested in the summer (hence the name) and winter squash is harvested in the fall. Winter squash has a longer growing season, and as a result it develops a tough rind, which extends its shelf-life through the winter.

What’s the best way to slice open a winter squash?

Slicing a dense acorn or spaghetti squash in half can be very difficult. To ease your task, we recommend using the microwave to first soften the “fruit.” Our friends over at Teaspoon of Spice have a helpful step-by-step guide that you may want to check out.

What are the star nutrients in winter squash?

Winter squash is low in calories and high in fiber. The inside flesh of squash is packed with vitamins A and C. For example, one cup of butternut squash provides over 400% of your daily vitamin A requirement and 50% of your vitamin C.

Other fun facts: For the most part, the entire winter squash is edible, including the seeds. {Delicata squash skin is edible, but other squash skins are too tough to consume.) Squash seeds are filled with heart-healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, magnesium for sturdy bones, and zinc for a strong immune system.

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