Bowls: A fun way to keep meal options healthy

Schedules are staring to gain momentum again, so that means we’re often looking for meals that are fairly quick and easy to prepare. Bowls have been the rage for several years and continue to be one way the entire family is able to enjoy veggies and proteins in a fresh way. Remember, anything goes when it comes to bowls — just gather your favorites, add seasonings and you’re all set.

Family-Style Shrimp Grain Bowl

2 cups quinoa or brown rice, prepared
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for cooking
10-ounce can corn, drained
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

2 avocados
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon lime juice
15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 to 2 green onions, chopped

Prepare quinoa or brown rice as directed on package. Remove from heat and let stand until all water is absorbed; set aside.
Combine shrimp, chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Heat additional oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until no longer pink, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side; do not overcook.
Mix corn, red bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil together to make corn salad.
For dressing, combine avocados, cilantro, yogurt, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and pulse until mixture is smooth. If dressing is too thick for your preference, thin with water by adding 1/2 teaspoon at a time, then blending again to combine.
Assemble large bowl by dividing cooked quinoa or rice, shrimp, corn salad, black beans and sliced avocado in sections across bowl. Drizzle with dressing and garnish with avocado slices and green onions.

Korean Beef Bowl

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
6 green onions, chopped and divided
2 tablespoons ginger paste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 cups cauliflower rice
6 cups chopped romaine,
arugula or spinach
6 avocado, peeled and sliced for garnish

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons hot sauce or to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add sesame oil. Once hot, add ground beef. As beef cooks, break into small pieces.
Add five of the chopped green onions, ginger, red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and mix with the beef. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well browned, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add fish sauce and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
For dressing, combine mayonnaise and hot sauce in small bowl; keep chilled until ready to use. Prepare cauliflower rice as directed on package.
Serve beef in a bowl over a bed of greens with rice or cauliflower rice. Sprinkle with remaining green onion, place avocado slices on top and drizzle with dressing; serve hot.

Sweet Potato Salmon Bowl

3 pieces bacon, chopped
2 large boneless salmon fillets
Olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large sweet potato, cut into
spiral noodles*
1 1/2 cups spinach, fresh

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, then drain well on a paper towel; set aside.
While bacon is cooking, place salmon fillets on baking sheet and rub with olive oil, then season with smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven to bake for 15 to 20 minutes until fish begins to flake when checked with fork.
For dressing, place onion and garlic in the same skillet used to prepare the bacon. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, salt and pepper. Stir to combine everything. Turn heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
Turn heat back to medium and add sweet potato noodles to the creamy sauce, cover and cook until they soften. Add spinach and bacon and stir to combine.
Once salmon is baked, remove from oven and serve over the sweet potato mixture and spoon extra dressing over everything. Serve hot.
*Sweet potato, zucchini and squash can be found spiraled in the frozen section at most larger grocery chains. There also are utensils for purchase so you can make your own vegetable noodles.

Chicken Protein Bowl

1 pound boneless chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
2 lemons, zested and juiced
4 garlic cloves peeled and minced, divided
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Fresh spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
2 flatbreads toasted or grilled, then sliced into quarters
4 heaped tablespoons hummus
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
12 cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Place the prepared chicken in a resealable bag with the black pepper, salt, cinnamon, coriander, paprika, lemon juice, 3 crushed garlic cloves and all but 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Mix, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours (or overnight if possible).
When ready to cook, heat a large griddle or frying pan on high heat and add in the chicken pieces to the dry pan. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.
While the chicken is cooking, make the couscous. Add the couscous to a large pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt and pepper, the lemon zest, the remaining crushed clove of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir, cover, remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Next add the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a small frying pan. Add the chickpeas, the remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin, the smoked paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook mixture over high heat, stirring regularly for 5 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through and slightly golden. Turn off the heat.
Divide the couscous between four bowls. Add the spinach leaves, chickpeas and flatbread slices. Place the cooked chicken on top, then spoon on the hummus.
Sprinkle on the sliced green onions and arrange the radish slices and tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with a good pinch of red pepper flakes and the chopped parsley and serve.

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