Healthy Dinner Recipes, Easy Healthy Recipes, Simple Healthy Recipes Mike Ockrim

Chicago Health Coach Mike Ockrim is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialst (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a Certified Personal Trainer with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that will engage you in functional movement training programs, nutrition and cooking education, and sleep improvement plans to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Easy Healthy Recipes - Whole Wheat Bread

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Most of us eat significantly too many grains. We consume it in the form of bread, tortillas, pasta, rice, and cereals. These foods are generally made from cornmeal, rice, wheat, or barley. While whole grains (bran, germ, and endosperm intact) are higher in fiber and slower to effect blood sugar and insulin levels, Americans still consume in excess of 130 pounds of grains a year. Sadly, the majority of the grains consumed are refined (bran and germ removed). Refined grains cause a significant spike in blood sugar and insulin. Over consumption of refined grains can lead to an increased risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, digestive problems,  and obesity. 

 

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So how can grains be part of a balanced diet? First, always opt for whole grains. This maximizes the nutritional benefits. Second, make the bread, pasta, cookies, and grains from scratch as often as possible. Below is a basic recipe for whole wheat bread. It is a perfect starter recipe to which you can add all sorts of flavor and nutrition. Think cinnamon walnut raisin bread; cranberry pecan bread; pesto bread; cheddar bread...get creative. The bread can be prepared and cooked in ONE HOUR!

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES

INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 Cups Warm Water

1 Tbs. Organic Honey

1-1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tbs. Active Dry Yeast

4 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine salt, yeast, honey, and water in a large bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

2. Add flour one cup at a time and begin mixing by hand. Keep adding flour until the dough sticks to itself and not your hands or the bowl.

3. Form dough into the desired loaf shape and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cover with a towel and allow to sit for 15 minutes. 

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Easy Healthy Recipes - White Chili

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Chili warms the body and the soul. Use this clean recipe as an alternative to the standard "brick in the belly" chili options that are loaded with red meats, mounds of beans, excessive sodium, chunks of fat, and a lack of healthy vegetables. 

 INGREDIENTS 

2-chicken breasts cubed

1-scoop coconut oil

1-glug EVOO

1-leek sliced on bias

1-head bok choi sliced on bias

1-shallot diced

1-handful diced bell pepper

1-can white beans drained and rinsed

1-small container chicken bone broth

1-lime

1-lemon

Hearty pinch of salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and a dash of cayenne

 DIRECTIONS

Heat pot over medium heat. Add coconut oil. Sauté leek, bok choi, shallot, pepper, and spices until shallot is translucent (5 minutes).

Turn heat to high, add EVOO and chicken. Sauté until chicken is white on outside (5 minutes).

Add juice from lemon and lime to pot. Stir to deglaze the pot. Add bone broth and beans. Bring to a boil. Drop heat to low and simmer (5 minutes). Enjoy!

Easy Healthy Recipes - Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Pancakes

The Classic Short Stack! 

The Classic Short Stack! 

My family loves pancakes. It is one of the few foods that all of my children can agree on eating. Pancakes can be served at breakfast, as an after school snack, or at dinner. The batter comes together in minutes, and the pancakes cook up quickly. Drizzle with a little maple syrup, or tweak the recipe below to add a savory twist. Serve pancakes with a protein, veggies, and a glass of water - voila - time to eat!

This recipe is a variation on our classic pancake recipe - also found on the blog. Here we swap out whole wheat pastry flour for Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, and the cow's milk for Pacific Foods Hemp Milk Vanilla. The modifications make the recipe gluten-free and dairy-free. Most importantly, the changes passed the test with my children at breakfast - no one noticed a difference!

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour

1 Tablespoon organic sugar

1 Teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder 

1/4 Teaspoon sea salt

1/4 Teaspoon organic vanilla

1/4 Teaspoon organic cinnamon

1 Cup Pacific Foods Hemp Milk Vanilla

1 Organic free-range egg

1 Tablespoons organic, unrefined olive oil

3 Tablespoons coconut oil for pan

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder

2. Place cinnamon and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk. Add milk to measuring cup and whisk until just combined. Pour into bowl

3. Crack egg into measuring cup and whisk until fluffy, add to bowl

4. Pout olive oil into bowl

5. Whisk ingredients until smooth. Wait 2 minutes for batter to rise, then whisk again until smooth

6. Melt 1 teaspoon coconut oil in pan. Ladle in batter making palm-size pancakes. Cook 1-2 minutes, flip, and cook another 1-2 minutes

Enjoy! 

Easy Healthy Recipes - BBQ Ribs

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Can homemade comfort foods like barbecue ribs be healthy? Maybe not as healthy as steamed broccoli, but certainly healthier than the high fructose corn syrup drenched options at most chain restaurants. The recipe below is a cleaned up version of an American Classic - Barbecue Baby Back Ribs. Serve with beans and a huge salad - enjoy!

 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 300 DEGREES

 

INGREDIENTS

4 LBS. (two full slabs) of pasture-raised or acorn-fed baby back ribs

 

1/4 Cup organic sugar

 

1 Tbs. organic smoked paprika

 

1 Tsp. organic garlic salt

 

1/2 Tsp. ground black pepper

 

2 Cups organic barbecue sauce

 

DIRECTIONS

 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 300 DEGREES

 

1. Mix together sugar, salt, paprika, and pepper

 

2. Rub sugar and spice mixture generously onto both sides of ribs

 

3. Place ribs meaty side down onto heavy duty foil with the shiny side facing out

 

4. Put another sheet of foil onto ribs and seal by crimping edges

 

5. Place onto a baking sheet and bake 2-1/2 hours

 

6. Take ribs out of oven and turn on the broiler

 

7. Slice ribs into 4-rib servings and brush boney side liberally with barbecue sauce and broil 2 minutes; flip and repeat on meaty side

 

8. Let ribs rest 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy

Easy Healthy Recipes - Patriotic Popovers

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PREHEAT OVEN TO 475 DEGREES

The Brits call them Yorkshire Puddings. In the U.S. we call them Patriotic Popovers. Whatever you call these doughy treats, they partner well with roasted meats and holiday meals. There are dozens of ways to dress up a popover or add ingredients to make them a stand alone meal. I prefer them as a simple doughy treat served as a compliment to a balanced meal. The cooking tips to remember are HOT OVEN and DOOR SHUT. Other than that, popovers are a breeze to make. Open a bottle of red wine and enjoy!

 

INGERDIENTS

3 Free range eggs

1 Cup organic whole wheat pastry flour

1 Teaspoon sea salt

1-1/4 Cup organic grass fed milk

12 Tablespoons organic unfiltered extra virgin olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees

2. Put muffin pan on top of a cookie sheet and place in oven

3. Make batter by beating eggs, flour, salt, and milk together in a large bowl

4. Remove hot pan from oven and carefully pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each muffin hole

5. Place muffin pan back into oven for a few minutes to get oil smoking hot

6. Open oven and slide rack with pan out about 1/3 of the way. Gently ladle batter into muffin holes until each one is full. Carefully slide the rack and pan back into the oven

7. Cook with oven door closed for 15 minutes

8. Remove from oven and serve right away

Easy Healthy Recipes - Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES

One of the maxims we share with our clients is to avoid trying to find a fake option to replace a delicious food. Baked chips are not particularly healthy, and they will not satisfy a craving like a deep-fried, crunchy, salty, fatty potato chip (have you tried Billy Goat Chips from the St. Louis-based company? Amazing!). The real challenge is enjoying treats in moderation and within the scope of a balanced diet. The recipe below is for a cookie that is less toxic than most, but also maintains the characteristics we love in a cookie - sweet and slightly salty, crunchy with gooey goodness buried inside, chocolate and umami flavors melding together in a subtle symphony of decadent dessert. The challenge will be to eat just one!

 

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup organic unsalted almond butter

3/4 Cup organic cane sugar

1 Pasture-raised egg

1/2 Teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda

1/4 Teaspoon sea salt

4 Ounces organic dark chocolate (70% or darker) chopped into small pieces

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Set aside dark chocolate and stir together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl

3. Stir in chocolate

4. Spoon dough into golf ball size chunks onto a parchment-lined baking sheet

5. Bake 10 minutes until gently browned; place on a cooling rack for a few minutes

Easy Healthy Recipes - Shredded BBQ Pork

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Honestly, I feel guilty posting this recipe. I feel guilty calling it a recipe! It is, however, a quick and healthy meal option for your family. Everytime I make it, the family devours all of the goodness in one sitting. Friends and family ask how to prepare such tender sandwiches. Clients have continually asked for the "recipe." Well...here you go. Serve the pork on whole wheat buns and pair with a salad made of dark leafy greens, pine nuts, dried cranberries, shredded carrots, and thinly sliced bell pepper. Pour a pint of Pilsner and enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS

3LB. Organic pasture-raised pork shoulder

1 Organic white or yellow onion

2 Cups organic BBQ sauce

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Peel and slice onion into half-moon pieces; Layer bottom of a large crock pot with the onion

2. Rub entire pork shoulder with salt and pepper; place pork in crock pot on top of onion slices

3. Cook pork in the crock pot for desired time - the longer the better - usually 8 hours

4. Remove the pork from the crock pot, cover lightly with foil, and allow to rest 10-15 minutes on a cutting board

5. Remove onions from cooking liquid that has magically appeared in the crock pot and sauté over high heat for a few minutes to crisp them up

6. When pork cools enough to handle, shred the meat with a fork; the bone will come out easily and can be discarded. Remove the chunks of fat and discard. Place shredded pork into a bowl

7. Toss pork with 1-2 cups of BBQ sauce

Easy Healthy Recipes - Bone Broth

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Homemade bone broth (a.k.a. stock) is a rich and flavorful nutrient-dense liquid that has a hearty meat flavor. Avoid the watery store-bought varieties and opt for this easy healthy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

3LB. Bones - any kind will do - pictured are beef femur bones. Try chicken backs, pork necks, or anything else your butcher recommends. Most of these cuts are inexpensive. 

1 Organic onion peeled and sliced in half

1 Organic carrot or celery stalk or any root vegetable

1 Organic clove garlic peeled

DIRECTIONS

Place items into a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 8 hours. Cool and strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Stock will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. Freeze the leftovers. Enjoy!

 

Easy Healty Recipes - Backyard Chicken Eggs

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If you think that all eggs are created equal, then you have not indulged in a fresh egg laid by a backyard chicken. Homegrown foods often provide the greatest nutrition and best taste. Eggs from a small backyard flock are laid by chickens that eat grass, hunt for worms, dig up insects, and munch on foliage. These are happy chickens. Happy chickens lay healthy eggs. 

How much healthier are these backyard eggs? A lot! When compared with industrial eggs, we are talking loads more of vitamins B2, B5, and B12; four times the vitamin D; ten times the vitamin E; double the omega-3; and 25% less saturated fat!

There are also numerous health benefits outside of the egg shell. Tending to a backyard flock of chickens requires regular upkeep. That involves raking the run, changing the coop ground cover, laying fresh straw in nesting boxes, changing out 5 gallon pails of water, and hoisting bags of feed. All of these activities require a healthy dose of bending, squating, lifting, carrying, and pushing that will keep the body farmer fit.

There is also the social and emotional boost from tending to the flock. You have not lived until you and your child have sat in anxious awe, tuned into Chicken TV, waiting for one of the hens to lay an egg. Seeing the egg-laying process live is amazing...to put it mildly. Kids can spend hours with the chickens observing, playing, and tending to the chicken's living space. My own children have spent numerous summer days in the coop! And the sheer joy they experience each day when they return home from school and discover freshly laid eggs has not dwindled; even after hundreds of eggs!

Starting your own flock is not easy. It is not challenging, either. With some research, planning, and a minimal investment, you can get your own fresh eggs everyday. Interested in learning more? Contact us and schedule a consultation.  

Easy Healthy Recipes - The Cuban Twist

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Here is a healthy twist on a Cuban sandwich. It is salty, sour, sweet, savory. Awesome.

Cold red bell peppers

Cold kosher dill

Hot sliced kielbasa pork sausage

Sauté in EVOO and butter - half mooned shallot, diced garlic, rough cut broccoli and cauliflower

Serve with warm naan, in a pita, or eat straight up - enjoy!


Easy Healthy Recipes - Beef and Red Kale Chili

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Chili is a simple way to serve a nutrient-dense meal that is hearty and satisfying. This recipe delivers a load of vegetables, healthy fat, fiber, and protein. Serve with homemade cornbread and an interesting amber ale. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 Pounds organic grass fed ground beef

1 Organic red onion diced

2 Organic large carrots chopped

3 Organic stalks celery chopped

4 Organic scallions sliced  

5 Leaves organic red leaf kale

2 Cloves organic garlic passed through press

1 Tablespoon organic whole kernel unrefined coconut oil

1 Tablespoon organic dried oregano

1 Tablespoon organic dried basil

1 Tablespoon organic paprika

1 Tablespoon organic chili powder

2 Tablespoons organic sea salt

2 Tablespoons organic cumin

2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons organic catsup

2 BPA-free 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes

1 BPA-free can organic red kidney beans

8 Ounces organic vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, and carrot until onion is translucent.  

2. Add oregano, basil, paprika, chili powder, salt, cumin, garlic, and catsup. Mix thoroughly.  

3. Turn heat to high and add ground beef. Cook until meat is browned. 

4. Add kale, scallion, and beans and mix thoroughly. Pour in canned tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Drop heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Easy Healthy Recipes - Spanish Eggs

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People eating a Mediterranean diet consume lots of produce, healthy fats, and fresh ingredients. This recipe for Spanish eggs embraces that approach to eating by including fresh herbs, tomatoes, and olive oil. Serve with a great cup of coffee and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

2 Tablespoons organic unfiltered olive oil

4 Organic tomatoes diced

2 Organic orange or green bell peppers diced

3 Organic shallots diced

1 Organic clove garlic passed through press

1 Tablespoon organic dried oregano

1 Tablespoon organic flat leaf parsley finely chopped

8 Organic cage-free eggs beaten

1 Teaspoon organic sea salt

1 Teaspoon organic freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Pour olive oil into a large cast iron or heavy pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes and simmer on low until tomatoes get mushy. 

2.  Add bell pepper and garlic and cook for 15 minutes. Add oregano and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. Pour eggs over vegetables and cook until eggs are set. Serve right out of the pan. Enjoy! 

Easy Healthy Recipes - Morning Berry Egg Strata

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Similar to the Egg Strata Recipe on the blog, this version is sweet and savory. Try it on a cold weekend for Sunday brunch. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

12 Organic cage-free eggs

2 Cups organic grass-fed whole milk

2 Tablespoons organic Grade B maple syrup

1 Pinch organic ground white pepper

1 Cup organic plain Greek yogurt

2 Tablespoons organic jam

1 Loaf organic sourdough bread

1/2 Teaspoon organic cinnamon

2 Cups fresh berries of your choice

1 Teaspoon organic lemon juice

4 Tablespoons organic almonds slivered

DIRECTIONS

1. Spray sides of a large rectangle baking dish with Misto olive oil spray, or coat lightly with oil

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, pepper, and cinnamon. Set aside

3. In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt and jam together. Set aside

4. In a large bowl, combine berries with lemon juice an maple syrup. Set aside

5. Place slices of bread on bottom of pan. Cover all open spaces with a piece of bread

6. Dollop the yogurt on the bread. Do NOT spread

7. Spoon half of the berry mixture over bread

8. Sprinkle half of the almonds over the berries  

9. Repeat the layering process. There will be two layers that end with almonds

10. Gently pour the egg mixture over the contents of the pan. Allow time for the mixture to absorb into the bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight

IN THE AM... 

11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

12. Remove foil and bake 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes, cut and serve. Enjoy!

Easy Healthy Recipes - Egg Strata

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Need a breakfast prepared, cleaned up, and ready to go first thing in the morning? This meal is a great option to get a break from cooking in the morning. The recipe below is a cleaner version of the heavy cheese and fat options out there. Add a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables to keep it fresh. Enjoy. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound organic cage-free ground turkey

1 Organic clove garlic passed through press

1 Teaspoon organic dried sage

1 Teaspoon organic sea salt divided

12 organic cage-free eggs

2 Cups organic grass-fed whole milk

1 Teaspoon organic Worcestershire sauce

1 Teaspoon organic mustard

1 Teaspoon organic freshly ground black pepper

1 Loaf organic sourdough bread

1 Cup organic Monterey Jack cheese grated

1 Organic shallot diced

DIRECTIONS

1.  Spray large rectangle baking dish with olive oil from Misto, or brush lightly with oil or butter

2. In large pan, brown ground turkey and garlic over medium heat. Season with sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drain fag and liquid from pan. Set aside. 

3. In large bowl, beat eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, milk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, milk, and pepper until well mixed. Set aside. 

4. Time to assemble the strata - or egg lasagna! Begin by placing slices of bread along the bottom of the pan; cover all open spaces with pieces of bread. Next, place half of the cooked meat, cheese, and shallot on top of the bread. Repeat layer, again starting with the bread. There will be only two complete layers and you should end with grated cheese and onion. 

5. When the two layers are completed, slowly pour the egg mixture over the contents of the pan. Give the bread some time to absorb the egg mixture as you go. Cover loosely with tin foil and refrigerate over night.  

IN THE AM... 

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the tin foil from the strata. Bake for 60 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes. Cut and serve. Enjoy! 

Easy Healthy Recipes - Whole Wheat Baking Powder Biscuits

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Biscuits are delicious. They are great eaten plain or with a dollop of butter, served smothered with most anything, and a great alternative to bread or bagels for a breakfast sandwich. The recipe below is a clean and healthy option. Enjoy!

PREHEAT OVEN TO 450 DEGREES

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups organic whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tablespoon organic sugar

3 Teaspoons organic aluminum-free baking powder

1 Teaspoon organic sea salt

1/2 Cup organic grass fed butter cut into small cubes and kept cold

3/4 Cup organic grass-fed whole milk

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter chunks to bowl. Use a potato masher or fork to cut in the butter until mixture forms into small crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves the sides of the bowl. The dough will be sticky and soft. 

2. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead gently 10 times. Roll until 1/2" thick. Cut with a 2" biscuit cutter or with the open side of a small cup. Place onto an ungreased baking sheet approximately 1/2" apart.  

3. Bake biscuits 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet onto a cooling rack. Serve warm. Enjoy! 

Easy Healthy Recipes - Polenta

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Polenta is cornmeal boiled into porridge, and eaten directly or baked, fried, or grilled. It is a great base served under juicy meats or as a side dish served under vegetables. See the Chicken Cacciatore recipe on the blog. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

6 Cups tap water

2 Teaspoons organic sea salt

1-3/4 Cup organic cornmeal (polenta) 

3 Tablespoons organic grass-fed butter

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add salt. Gently whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, add butter. Enjoy! 

Sitting is a Death Trap # 5

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Sitting for extended periods raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease an premature death, even for people who meet the daily physical activity levels recommended by health professionals.