Ms. Namita Nayyar:
Do you take some special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit? Also, tell us about your Top 5 Favorite Recipes.
Ms. Maria Menounos:
My diet always changes. Currently, I’m leaning toward a paleo diet of mostly greens, fish and red meat but I still splurge. As I said in The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness and The EveryGirl’s Guide to Cooking, I hold to an 80-20 plan. 80% of all the foods I intake are healthy with 20% less so. And I try eating things pulled from the ground. I am by no means strict with my diet. I love nachos and potato skins and the rest. I just try to limit portions and to move as much as possible in my day. Whenever I can opt for stairs instead of elevators I do. And when I walk around the office I do it at a brisk pace. It all helps.
Here are some of my favorite recipes are from my cookbook – they’re simple and super yummy (and I even include some food options for dogs)!
Breakfast: Cinnamon Swirl Oatmeal:
*for this recipe, you can use either old-fashioned or quick oats; there is no nutritional difference. However, because quick oats have been pressed to make them thinner (and thus more quickly cooked), they usually cook up into a mushier texture. As for the cream cheese “frosting”? That’s just for fun! This breakfast is delicious with or without it!
½ cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
¼ cup raisins
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped almonds or walnuts
1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons milk (any kind)
- Cook the oats according to the package directions. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the raisins. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and the almonds.
- In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and the milk to reach a glaze consistency. Spoon over the hot oatmeal.
Lunch: Three-Bean Power Salad:
*Bring this colorful salad to your next picnic or potluck – it’s the perfect make-ahead dish and it tastes even better the next day. For heartier appetites, fold in a cup or two of cooked shredded chicken.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup white wine or apple-cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Italian spice mixture or chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper
1 can (10 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (10 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (8 ounces) low-sodium green beans, drained and rinsed
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
½ red pepper, cut into small dice
½ cup chopped fresh parsley or dill
- In a large serving bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, spice mixture, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste until blended.
- Fold in the chickpeas, kidney beans, green beans, scallions, celery, red peppers, and parsley.
- Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
Dinner: Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup frozen peas
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup nonfat milk
Salt and black pepper
1/3 cup bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lay the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan; cover with water by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. (Reserve 1 ½ cups of the poaching liquid; discard the rest.)
- Dice the chicken. In a 2-quart casserole, combine the diced chicken and peas.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook the onion and carrots for 10 minutes, stirring. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until a paste is formed.
- Very slowly pour in the milk and the warm poaching liquid, stirring the whole time, until a thick sauce forms. (This can take as long as 10 minutes)
- Fold the sauce into the chicken mixture in the casserole. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan with foil; bake for 15 minutes.
- Uncover, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and bake for 15 minutes, or until hot.
Dessert: Best Banana Bread:
*You might think of banana bread as a breakfast treat, but it also hits the spot at the end of the evening meal, so don’t toss those black-peel bananas! Turn them into the moistest banana bread you will ever meet. The riper the bananas, the better the flavor.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the pan
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch loaf pan.
- In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt until combined.
- In a large bowl (using an electric mixer, if desired), beat the butter and sugar until combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then the mashed bananas, leaving some chunky banana pieces.
- Fold in the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the walnuts.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the bread in the pan; carefully remove from the pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Doggy treat: Canine Mini Patties:
1 pound salmon
2 large organic sweet potatoes
1 large egg
½ cup rolled oats
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Boil the salmon in 2 cups water. When the fillets are cooked through, drain and let them cool. Once they’re cool enough to touch, shred each one with a fork.
- Bake the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Mash the sweet potatoes together with the shredded salmon.
- Beat the egg and add to the sweet potato and salmon mixture. Add the rolled oats to the mixture, and stir well.
- Finally, make 1-inch patties (they can be a little larger, depending on you pup’s size and appetite!) with the salmon mixture and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven (you can break one patty open to make sure it’s cooked all the way through) and let cool before serving to your pup.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.