June 2, 2017

Power Up with Protein!

We’re pumped up about delicious, protein-packed foods that help build muscle, strengthen the immune system and boost energy – and today we’re sharing some of our favorite recipes with you so you can power up with protein too!

Plant Based Proteins

Crispy Quinoa Baked Tofu

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Makes 4 servings | 20 minutes stand time extra


  • 1 (14-oz.) pkg. extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 egg whites
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Place tofu on a plate lined with paper towels. Cover with additional paper towels and another plate. Place an unopened 14-ounce can on top of plate. Let stand 20 minutes to drain. Remove tofu; cut crosswise into 1⁄4-inch slices. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat parchment with nonstick cooking spray. In a shallow bowl combine almond flour, quinoa, garlic powder, basil, parsley and lemon zest. Place egg whites in another shallow bowl.
  3. Dip tofu slices in egg whites, then roll in quinoa mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place slices in a single layer on baking dish. Coat evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes or until tofu is crisp and browned, gently turning once halfway through baking. Transfer to a platter, and serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 180 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 14g protein

Cook’s note: This recipe can also be prepared in a large nonstick skillet. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add half the tofu slices; cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with 1 additional tablespoon oil and remaining tofu slices.

Cook’s note: The quinoa mixture can also be used to coat other proteins, such as chicken.

Lemon Tofu Cheesecake Shooters

Prep time: 20 minutes | Makes 8 shooters


Graham cracker crumbs:

  • 6 honey graham crackers sheets (24 crackers)
  • 1 tbsp. trans-fat-free light butter spread, melted

Cheesecake filling:

  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar*
  • ½ cup silken tofu
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. For the crust: Coarsely break graham crackers, and place in a food processor. Process until fine crumbs form. Add butter; process just until combined. Transfer crumbs to a bowl; set aside.
  2. For the cheesecake: Rinse and dry food processor. Add cream cheese, sugar and tofu; process until smooth. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla; process until well combined.
  3. Distribute graham crackers crumbs evenly into each of 8 small jars. Spoon approximately 3 tablespoons cheesecake filling into each jar. Cover and refrigerate cheesecake shooters until ready to serve.

Per serving: 120 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 5g protein

*To reduce the total sugar, swap stevia baking blend for granulated sugar.

Protein Snacking

Homemade Protein Bars

Prep time: 15 minutes | Makes 10 bars | 30 minutes chill time extra


  • 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 1/2 cup vanilla-flavored whey protein powder
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, sunflower seed butter or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a blender add rice cereal, oat flour and protein powder; blend until cereal is finely ground. Transfer oat mixture to a large bowl; add peanut butter and honey. Mix well to combine. Spoon mixture evenly into prepared pan. Refrigerate bars 30 minutes or until set.
  3. Add chocolate chips to a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH in 30-second intervals until chocolate is smooth when stirred. Remove bars from refrigerator, and cut into 10 bars. Drizzle chocolate over top of each bar. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Per serving: 230 calories, 9g fat, 2g saturated fat, 15mg cholesterol, 105mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 10g protein

Cook’s note: If the mixture is too dry, add 1 more tablespoon of peanut butter.

Power Up with ProteinRainy Day Cereal Bars

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 1 minute | Makes 18 bars


  • 6 cups whole-grain plain and/or chocolate-flavored Cheerios® cereal
  • 6 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp. trans-fat-free butter spread (1⁄2 stick), cut into pieces
  • 3 tbsp. creamy almond or soy nut butter


  1. Place cereal in an extra-large mixing bowl; set aside. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Place marshmallows, butter spread and soy nut butter in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or just until marshmallows melt and mixture is smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
  3. Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal; toss until all cereal pieces are well-coated. Spoon cereal mixture into baking dish. Using a large sheet of parchment paper, cover cereal mixture and gently press down; spreading mixture evenly into pan. Let stand 10 minutes or until set. Cut into bars,* and serve.

Per serving: 120 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 105mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein

*As an alternative, these cereal bars can be shaped into balls, or cut into flowers with cookie cutters, then rolled in or decorated with toasted coconut and/or chocolate sprinkles.

Protein at Breakfast

Power Up with Protein

Breakfast Quesadillas

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Makes 8 servings


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup canned no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • Salt-free garlic and herb seasoning
  • 8 (6-inch) whole-wheat or spelt tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Colby–Jack
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup pico de gallo or other chunky-style salsa
  • Additional salsa, sliced avocado, lime wedges (optional)


  1. In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add black beans; stir gently to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
  1. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels; return to medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, plus egg substitute. Cook 3 minutes or just until scrambled, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Gently stir in vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with seasoning to taste.
  1. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels; coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place over low heat. Spoon 1⁄3 cup of the egg mixture on 1 side of each tortilla. Top evenly with cheese, cilantro and salsa. Fold each tortilla in half to enclose filling, pressing down gently. Working in batches, cook quesadillas 3 minutes per side or until cheese is melted. Transfer to individual plates; cut into wedges. If desired, serve with additional salsa, avocado and lime wedges.

Per serving: 210 calories, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 515mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, 12g protein

Black Bean Breakfast Tacos

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Makes 8 tacos


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium poblano pepper*, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (15.5-oz.) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar
  • 1 cup milk salsa
  • ¼ cup sliced jalapeños* (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add scallions and poblano pepper; sauté until soft. Add beans, butter and eggs. Using a heatproof spatula, slowly stir until eggs are soft and fluffy. Remove from heat.
  1. Place one tortilla on each of 8 plates. Add egg mixture to each tortilla. Top with cheese, salsa and (if desired) jalapeños. Serve hot.

Per serving: 200 calories, 9g fat, 4g saturated fat, 15mg cholesterol, 420mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 9g protein

Cook’s note: For a vegan option, swap crumbled extra-firm tofu for eggs, and shredded nut or soy cheese for shredded Cheddar.

Mushroom, Millet and Goat Cheese Frittata

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes | Makes 12 servings


  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 1⁄2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 (4-oz.) pkgs. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded, mushroom caps sliced
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups cooked millet, cooled*
  • 2 tbsp. finely shredded Asiago
  • 2 1/4 cups egg substitute**
  • 1/2 (4-oz.) pkg. garlic and herb goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 tbsp. finely chopped chives (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 12 to 14 minutes or until caramelized. Transfer onion to a large bowl; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add broth; sauté 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Transfer mushrooms to bowl with onion.
  2. Add millet and Asiago to onions and mushrooms in bowl; stir until well combined. Coat 12 standard muffin cups with remaining 1 1⁄2 teaspoons olive oil. Spoon mushroom mixture evenly into muffin cups. In a 1-quart measuring cup with a pouring spout combine egg substitute, and salt and pepper to taste; whisk to combine. Pour over mushroom mixture in muffin cups until cups are three-fourths full. Sprinkle goat cheese and (if desired) chives evenly over each cup.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and eggs are set. Serve warm.

Per serving: 110 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 7g protein

*To cook millet: combine 1 cup millet and 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff millet with a fork and spread over a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. Yields 3 cups of millet.

**If desired, substitute 9 large eggs for 2 1⁄4 cups egg substitute.


Skinny Cheese Omelet with Spinach


1 scallion, sliced
1 cup baby spinach
1 egg plus 3 egg whites, beaten
1 ounce Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar, shredded (about ¼ cup)
Pinch salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons water


  1. COAT a small non-stick skillet with cooking spray [or brush lightly with ¼ teaspoon canola oil and place over medium-high heat. Add scallion and spinach, cover and cook until the spinach is wilted and the scallion is softened, 1 to 3 minutes.
  2. POUR egg into the skillet, and cook, lifting the edges of the cooked egg up and tilting the pan to allow uncooked egg to flow onto the surface of the pan. Sprinkle with cheddar, salt and pepper once the egg is set up into one solid mass, about 1 minute. Lift up one edge of egg and drizzle water between the egg and the pan. Immediately cover the pan and cook until the cheese is melted and all of the egg is cooked by the steam, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. FOLD omelet in half and tilt out of skillet onto plate to serve.


Nutrition Facts: Calories (Serves 1): 211

% Daily Value: Total Fat: 9.5g (15%), Saturated Fat: 4.5g (23%), Cholesterol: 201mg (67%), Sodium: 593mg (25%), Carbohydrates: 7g (2%), Dietary Fiber: 2g (8%), Protein: 26g, Calcium: 271mg (27%)

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Crunch Protein Bowl


  • Yoplait Greek 100 Protein Black Cherry yogurt
  • a few tbsp Nature Valley Protein granola
  • 2 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp toasted coconut flakes


  1. Top yogurt with granola, strawberries, almond butter and coconut flakes. Enjoy!

Tropical Crunch Protein Bowl


  • Yoplait Greek 100 Protein Strawberry Banana yogurt
  • a few tbsp Nature Valley Protein granola
  • 1/2 sliced mango
  • 1/2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp toasted coconut flakes


  1. Top yogurt with granola, mango, almond butter and coconut flakes. Enjoy!

Lean Mean Protein Machines

Chipotle–Orange Pork Tacos

Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 12 min | 30 min marinate time & 10 min stand time extra | Serves 6; makes 12 tacos


  • 1 (1-lb.) Smithfield® Prime Pork Tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 tsp. zest and 1/4 cup juice from 1 large orange
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Toppings (optional): Shredded lettuce, shredded cheese


  1. Place tenderloin in a large shallow dish. In a small bowl combine orange zest, orange juice, garlic and chili powder. Pour over tenderloin; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high (350°F to 400°F). Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Grill pork, covered, 12 to 14 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F (medium-rare), turning occasionally. Remove pork from grill; let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
  3. Meanwhile, for the salsa, place avocados in a medium bowl; drizzle with vinegar. Add tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and salt and pepper to taste; mix well.
  4. Evenly place pork into tortillas. Garnish with salsa and desired toppings, and serve.

Per serving: 320 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 19g protein

Cook’s tip: If using an oven, preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade, and pat pork dry. Roast pork 20 to 25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F.

Korean Chicken Burgers

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Makes 4 servings | 1 hour chill time extra


  • 3 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 4 green onions, chopped and divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted


  1. For the kimchi: In a large bowl combine cabbage and half of the green onions. Add garlic, rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the chili sauce, plus sesame oil and 1⁄8 teaspoon of the pepper; mix gently. Set aside.
  2. Line a plate with wax paper. In a separate large bowl combine chicken, soy sauce, and remaining green onions, chili sauce and pepper. Shape into 4 patties, each about 1⁄2-inch thick. Place patties on plate, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  3. Coat grill with nonstick cooking spray. Grill patties over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes per side or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165°F. Place burgers on toasted whole-wheat buns, and serve with kimchi.

Per serving: 335 calories, 13g fat, 3g saturated fat, 90mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 25g protein

Bruschetta Chicken over Pesto Cauliflower

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Serving size: 4


  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (20-ounce) package Green Giant Original with Olive Oil & Sea Salt Mashed Cauliflower
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons refrigerated prepared basil pesto


  1. Combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Combine remaining vinegar, honey and garlic. Pour over chicken and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes to 3 hours.
  3. Cook Green Giant Mashed Cauliflower according to package directions. Stir in pesto.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Grill or broil chicken until done. Serve chicken over pesto cauliflower and top with tomato mixture.

Per serving: 347 calories, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat, 89mg cholesterol, 578mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 38g protein

Warm Tuna Brochettes with Kale Caesar

Prep:  30 min. | Makes:  4 servings


  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh tuna steak, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pkg. DOLE® Kale Caesar Kit
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pitted black olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat grill to medium high. Stir together fennel, cumin and lemon peel. Press spices into all sides of tuna. Season with salt and pepper. Thread the tuna onto skewers; set aside.
  2. Combine salad kit ingredients together. Arrange salad on a platter.
  3. Stir together tomatoes, onion, olives, cilantro, olive oil and lemon juice. Arrange over Caesar salad; set aside.
  4. Grill tuna 3 to 4 minutes or until all sides are browned but tuna remains pink in the center. Place the skewers right on top of the salad and serve.

Tip: You can grill tuna two ways. The first way is to cook the tuna over high heat for 4-5 minutes per side for a medium-rare result. Or cook the tuna over very high heat for 1-2 minutes per side, scarring the outside of the fish while leaving it rare on the inside. Just don’t overcook the tuna; it is at its best rare or pink!

Per serving: 380 calories, 12g fat, 3g saturated fat, 70mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 41g protein

Creamy Green Bean Salad

Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 3 min | Total Time: 13 min | Serves: 4


  • 1 lb. Fresh green beans
  • 5 cups Lowfat Plain 2% Muuna cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tsp. Apple cider vinegar
  • ½ Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Blanch green beans by placing them in boiling water for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain the green beans and add them into a bowl of ice water to set color and cool.
  3. While the green beans cool in the ice bath, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Drain the green beans, add them into the cottage cheese mixture, and stir until combined.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories: 138 Protein: 13 g Carbohydrates: 11 g Fat: 5 g Fiber: 5 g

Buttery Summer Corn & Bean Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 7 minutes | Serves 8


  • 2 Tbsp. Country Crock® Spread
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels or drained canned or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups low sodium black beans or regular black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 avocado*, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Melt Country Crock® Spread in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion and peppers, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Add corn and beans and cook another minute or two. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and gently stir in avocado, almonds and cilantro. If desired, season with salt and pepper.

* Instead of avocado, you can substitute 1 cup cooked (yield from 1/2 cup uncooked) small shell pasta.

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories 160, Calories from Fat 60, Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 105mg, Total Carbs 22g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 2g, Protein 6g, Vitamin A 10%, Vitamin C 40%, Calcium 2%, Iron 8%

Garlic & Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin with Rainbow Salsa


  • 1 Smithfield® Garlic and Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 1 orange bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 5 radishes, finely diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook pork tenderloin for 20-25 minutes or until meat thermometerreaches 145°F. to 160°F. Remove from oven and cover with tin foil; allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk together canola oil, lemon juice, honey, and pepper in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add corn, radishes, orange bell pepper, red onion, and basil to the bowl; toss to combine. To serve, slice pork tenderloin and top with salsa.

Nutritional Information per serving (serves 4): Calories 300 Total Fat 13 g Saturated Fat 2.5 g Trans Fat 0 g Sodium 430 mg Carbohydrate 23 g Sugars 7 g Protein 24 g