Sweet-Spicy Harissa Roasted Almonds

Aida Mollenkamp Healthy Easy Snack Recipe Roasted Harissa Almonds

I need a “pause” button for life. Last week, in 48 hours time, I flew from Los Angeles to New York to Los Angeles and finally to Hawaii, where I arrived beyond jet lagged. You’re probably thinking, “Hawaii, huh? Quit your complaining!” But, the reality is that I have a few more weeks of work ahead of me before I can really take a break. In the five days since I arrived on island, I’ve spent every waking moment indoors going line-by-line through the galley version of my cookbook. It’s an exhausting but necessary process that will bring the book one step closer to completion.

Needless to say, I’ve been in need of brain-food to keep me uber-focused and that where this recipe fits in. I wanted a roasted almond snack that’s a bit more exciting than almonds straight from the bag but quick enough to fit in my schedule. The result are these super low-fuss, but flavor-packed roasted nuts. They’d probably work fabulously as part of cocktail party or as a holiday gift, but, I won’t be thinking about those things for at least another 5 days. And, at the pace I’m going, that might as well be light-years away.

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Pretty. Easy. Bresaola Hand Rolls

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Snack Recipe Bresaola Hand Roll

If you’re like me, you’ll take all the help you can get during the holidays. In the spirit of entertaining, here’s an hors d’oeuvres that’s so simple to put together, it doesn’t really need a recipe. It’s a Mediterranean take on a sushi hand roll where the seaweed is replaced by Bresaola (an air-dried beef) that’s filled with an assortment of flavors. These are gorgeous little bundles that are a sure thing at a cocktail party though I’ve been making them as a little snack break between all the party prep that I’ve been up to.
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The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving Menu

The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving Recipes

This year, I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to cook Thanksgiving for everyone at The Biggest Loser. The contestants are an exceptional bunch and they are the inspiration for this meal as I decided to makeover classic holiday dishes in the same way the show’s contestants have made over their lives. The menu below has various iconic Thanksgiving dishes, made over, and they’re also the dishes I’m cooking on tonight’s show.
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Spinach Salad With Pears and Pomegranate

Raw Spinach Salad with Pears and Pomegranates Recipe

Some scoff at the idea of adding a salad to the Thanksgiving spread, but it’s an elegant way to start things off, and, if you’re watching your waistline, it’s an easy way to fill up on healthy calories before you dig into the rest of the meal. This seasonal salad works during the fall or winter, and brings a lot of festive color to the holiday spread with sliced pears, red onion, and tart pomegranate.
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Roasted Sweet Potato and Toasted Sage Dip

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Snack Recipe Sweet Potato and Toasted Sage Dip

My healthy-eating mantra is if you begin your meal off with a fiber-rich appetizer, you’ll fill up on healthy calories and eat better over the course of the night. So, I put that rule into effect when developing The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving menu and started things off with this Roasted Sweet Potato Dip and Toasted Sage Dip. It’s just a few ingredients yet packs tons of flavor and can accommodate almost any diet as it’s vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, lowfat, and low calorie.

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Roasted Vegetable Chips

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Snack Recipe Roasted Vegetable Chip

While there are plenty of healthy store bought snacking options out there, making your own vegetable chips allows you to control how much fat and salt you’re putting in your food. For The Biggest Loser Thanksgiving menu, the meal starts off with a Roasted Sweet Potato and Toasted Sage Dip and these roasted vegetable chips are a perfect pairing. If you don’t have time to make your own, you can serve the dip with crisp raw vegetable, quick blanched vegetables or whole grain crackers instead.
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Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Dinner Recipe Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without the token Green Bean, Mushroom, and Crispy Onion casserole, but one look and you can tell it isn’t good for you. This recipe is a makeover of that Thanksgiving classic made with sauteed fresh mushrooms, Greek yogurt, and roasted onions instead of condensed soup and canned fried onions. The result is a dish that’s way better for you yet is such a dead-ringer for the real deal, guests won’t know what they’re missing. 
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“Candied” Sweet Potatoes

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Dinner Recipe "Candied" Sweet Potato Casserole

Candied yams are a staple at Thanksgiving but they’re traditionally made with loads of sugar, butter, and marshmallows. To make this recipe worthy of The Biggest Loser, a fair amount of reworking was in order. In this renovated version, the yams get simmered instead of mashed with butter then topped with a yogurt and goat cheese combination instead of marshmallows. It may sound strange on paper, but it makes for a seriously satisfying substitute for the traditional dish.
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Whole Grain Stuffing with Apples and Toasted Walnuts

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Dinner Recipe Whole Grain Stuffing

More often than not, the alternative eaters get left out of Thanksgiving and are given a paltry plate of sides instead of a real meal. While working with The Biggest Loser, I learned that trainer Bob Harper is vegan, so I focused on making the menu accessible for him as well. The result is this whole grain stuffing that, when served in a roasted squashed half, doubles as a main so the non-meat eaters still feel the holiday love. As is, this recipe is very low in fat and calories, but feel free to add more to it like, some roasted chestnuts, crumbled chorizo, or some crisp bacon if you’re feeling indulgent.
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