instructor takeover: jenna’s favorite healthy dessert


I don’t know about you, but I’ve got the biggest sweet tooth!  I’ll take sweet over salty any day.  I strive to eat as healthy and clean as I can to keep myself strong and energized to get through Paula’s killer thigh series, but I also know that I should treat myself in moderation.  I came across a healthy dessert blogger a year or two ago who goes by Chocolate Covered Katie.  I tried out a few of her recipes and I fell in love!  She has so many yummy, modified sweets recipes that won’t cost you a quarter of your daily calories like so many desserts do.

One of my favorites that I find myself making over and over is her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  These cookies don’t have any butter in them, so they will have a consistency more like a soft granola bar.  Bonus: They also have walnuts and coconut in them, adding in omega-3s & potassium!  Healthier dessert with benefits — who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil (coconut oil can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • pinch of stevia, or 1 extra tbsp pure maple syrup
  • if using stevia option, add 1tbsp milk of choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & grease a muffin pan or cookie tray.  I find the muffin pan works best so the cookies don’t roll around.  Since there is no butter in the recipe, they won’t melt like a normal cookie.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.  Combine the two bowls to form a dough.  Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.  After the dough has chilled, roll the dough into cookie-sized balls and place in the muffin pan or on the cookie tray.  Place in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.  Once you remove these yummy bites from the oven, let sit in pan for about ten minutes to cool before moving to the cooling rack or plate.  Dig in!  I know you’ll love them as much as I do!

xoxo,  Jenna C.

Striped Bass w/Spicy Red Pepper Sauce and Quinoa Snap Pea Salad

We love an innovative and easy way to incorporate fish into our summer evening meals – a healthy, lean source of protein that is packed with heart and body-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. This recipe fit the bill perfectly – the sweet and spicy sauce requires no prep (just throw everything into a food processor!) and pairs deliciously over any white fish you may have on hand. While we love the spice from the red pepper flakes (and may even shake a few extra in there), if you or your children do not, simply omit or greatly reduce – the sweetness of the roasted red peppers are flavor enough!

The quinoa salad is surprisingly delicious given the short and light ingredient list. Be sure to make it first to allow the flavors to really blend together deliciously. Bon appetit!

Striped Bass With Spicy Red Pepper Sauce and Quinoa Snap Pea Salad

Serves 4
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3/4 pound sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers (8 ounces), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
  • 4 6-ounce skinless striped bass fillets or another firm white fish (such as halibut or tilapia)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. While hot, toss with the snap peas, scallions, 2 tablespoons of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Let steam in covered pot while cooking the fish, reheat before serving to really blend the flavors.
  2. Heat broiler. Pulse the roasted red peppers, the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, orange zest, vinegar, crushed red pepper, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Place the fish on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread the red pepper mixture, dividing evenly, over the fish. Broil until opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Serve the fish with the quinoa salad. Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Recipe adapted from Real Simple Magazine, August 2013

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 350
Fat: 15.1 g
Cholesterol: 128 g
Sodium: 250 mg
Carbs: 17.2 g
Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 31.5 g

Chunky Summer Gazpacho Soup

Gazpacho is one of our favorites here at the barre…this cold summer classic is so refreshing on these 90 degree days, not to mention fresh with veggies added raw and packed with loads of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. It’s one of those healthy staples that tastes just a little too delicious to be healthy…but luckily for us, it’s not! The other big benefit of this recipe is in the cooking directions…in the middle of summer fun, we do love a recipe whose instructions are to “put in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency”! We just coarsely chopped these veggies and just let the machine do all the work…the result, perfection!

This take on gazpacho crosses the taste divide and will please both the adults and kids in your house. The former will appreciate and enjoy the slight, subtle spiciness from the paprika, while the latter will be drawn to the hint of strawberry sweetness. That’s right, this tomato gazpacho is new age, and boasts strawberries on its ingredient list.  As with all gazpachos, make this ahead of time so the flavors have time to meld.


Chunky Summer Gazpacho Soup

Active cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes (including chilling time)
Serves: 6


  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (~4 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 1/2 english cucumber, peeled & chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Place the water & the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the mixture is slightly chunky
  2. Chill the gazpacho for at least 2 hours. Add up to 1/2 cup water to thin the soup, if you like, before serving.

Nutrition Info
Calories: 120
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 7 g (2 g saturated)
Carbs: 12 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugar: 7 g
Calcium: 81 mg
Sodium: 504 mg

Chili Glazed Salmon With Siracha Cream Sauce

This recipe was sent to us from a client with fabulous taste…and she was spot, SPOT on. Absolutely delicious. The salmon tastes candied sweet yet packed some serious spice, in our mind, the perfect combination…and the siracha sauce? SERIOUS pow. As in, seriously, begin with less siracha than the recipe calls for and add in to taste!

Perfect in the oven or on the grill if you prefer to spend your cooking time outdoors, and the beauty is that the taste will appeal both to salmon loves and haters alike – the time spent marinating + the sauce will overwhelm away any hint of “fish” said haters wouldn’t like. The bonus? Very low in calories, high in healthy fats and if you follow weight watchers, only 4+ points! See bottom for full details & enjoy!

Recipe from LaaLoosh

Chili Glazed Salmon With Siracha Cream Sauce


  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon, cut into 6 fillets
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Siracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise or Vegenaise
  • 1/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup scallions, diced


  1. To make chili glaze for the salmon, combine chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and 3 garlic cloves. Mix well.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spray with an olive oil mister or non-fat cooking spray.
  3. Place salmon on baking sheet, and spoon glaze evenly over each fillet. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. While salmon is marinating, make Siracha cream sauce by combining yogurt, mayo, Siracha, lemon juice, salt and remaining garlic clove. Mix well and set aside.
  5. Preheat broiler, and spoon any marinade remaining on baking sheet over salmon fillets. Broil salmon without turning until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet.
  6. Serve each salmon fillet with a drizzle of the Siracha cream sauce and garnish with green onions.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6

Serving size is 1 salmon fillet with Siracha cream Sauce
Each serving = 4 Points +

PER SERVING: 248 calories; 5.5g fat; 7g carbohydrates; 23g protein; 0g fiber

Chicken Parm Burgers

These burgers have a sneaky ingredient that you’d never taste or suspect (zucchini!) that help literally put your vegetable serving into your meat-fix, while also increasing the size of the burger you put on your plate without adding extra calories. Yum!

Chicken Parm Burgers
Serves: 4


  • burger1 pound  ground chicken
  • 1 cup  shredded zucchini
  • 1/3 cup  panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup  grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon  Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon  black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup  marinara sauce
  • 4 slices reduced-sodium provolone (about 2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup  baby spinach
  • 4 whole-grain hamburger buns, toasted

1. With clean hands, combine chicken, zucchini, bread crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form into 4 patties.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook until browned on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Carefully flip. Pour equal amounts marinara over each patty, then top with 1 slice provolone apiece. Cover and continue cooking until patties are cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more. Top with spinach and serve on buns.

Nutrition Info:

  • Amount Per Serving
  • cal.(kcal)390
  • Fat, total(g)17
  • sat. fat(g)6
  • carb.(g)28
  • fiber(g)3
  • pro.(g)30
  • sodium(mg)692

Spinach-Feta Turkey Burgers

Today is National Burger Day, so in honor we’re offering this delicious lightened-up turkey burger option. These are perfect as you start to get bored with the same-old burgers – serve with a bun, in a pita or bun-less, with traditional burger ketchup or traditional Greek Tzatiki sauce for a more “exotic” twist! Delicious with lettuce, tomato and onion as you’d dress up any old burger, as well.

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1 10 oz box frozen, chopped spinach – thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 2 pounds ground turkey


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
  2. While the grill is preheating, mix together eggs, garlic, feta cheese, spinach, and turkey in a large bowl until well combined; form into 8 patties.
  3. Cook on preheated grill until no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.
Nutrition Info:
Calories: 234
Fat: 13 g
Protein: 27.4 g
Cholesterol: 149 mg
Sodium: 266 mg

Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

I recently found myself with my still-surplus of apples in my refrigerator from our last apple-picking adventure and a desire to do something delicious with them, other than bake. Fall is a fabulous time for apple pie, apple crumbles, apple crisps and the like – but there comes a time when a gal needs to put apples to a healthier use. I hunted for the perfect alternative and came across a recipe that happens to be the perfect combination of spicy and sweet – a spicy lean pork chop toped with a deliciously sweet, spiced apple chutney.

Pork, if chosen correctly, is a fantastically lean source of protein, adding to your typical chicken-and-turkey repertoire – one serving provides 25 grams of protein with only 6 1/2 grams of fat and only 2 1/2 grams of saturated fat. Choose boneless pork loin – it’s lean throughout and easy to trim, and also gives you a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, including potassium and selenium.

Pair this family-friendly entree with a simple vegetable side for a meal that has just the right combination of exotic and comfort.

Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney



  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 cups (1/4-inch) cubed peeled apple (about 3 apples)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


  • 3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed
  • Cooking spray


  1. To prepare chutney, melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cranberries and the next 6 ingredients (through allspice); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until apples are tender; stir occasionally.
  2. To prepare pork, while chutney simmers, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine chipotle and next 4 ingredients (through black pepper); sprinkle over pork. Coat grill pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with chutney.
  3. Slender haricots verts are a pretty and quick-cooking complement to the meal. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 12 ounces haricots verts to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned.

David Bonom, Cooking Light
MARCH 2009

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 321
  • Fat: 9.6g
  • Saturated fat: 4.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.6g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g
  • Protein: 24.4g
  • Carbohydrate: 34.6g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Cholesterol: 72mg
  • Iron: 1.1mg
  • Sodium: 520mg
  • Calcium: 45mg


Harvest Soup: Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

I stumbled across this recipe in a desperate search after opening my fridge and corn on the cob and summer squash from our CSA literally tumbled out onto the floor since we had received so much – I had to do something with it! I honestly expected a mediocre soup, given the ingredients and the fact that the calories come in at under 100 per serving (seriously? I mean come on, that’s almost a joke – but that’s what happens when vegetables are a soup’s base!), but my expectations were literally blown out of the water.

I do believe that the flavor factor of this soup was seriously intensified by the fact that all the vegetables I used were literally farm-fresh – so seek out the freshest vegetables possible; since there are so few ingredients, the point is to let the veggie’s flavor really shine through – and that’s the best part of making a meal like this right now: focusing on the season’s best and freshest ingredients ensures success.

I happened to make this on a night when I was feeling particularly exhausted, and as such must mention the comfort factor here: blending the corn and squash makes the soup so thick and creamy you would swear it was made of just that: cream – resulting in comfort food at its maximum – but you’d be wrong!

The fantastic news is that this soup re-heats fabulously, it was our lunch for the next few days! To make it a little heartier as a lunch main dish, I stirred in raw kale after re-heating, the kale wilts down and the size of soup in your bowl doubles (plus you add some  extra vitamins!).

Summer Squash Chowder


  • 5 1/2 cups diced yellow squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1 (14-ounce) can organic vegetable or chicken broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk (I only had my regular non-fat….and it was still creamily fantastic!)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper


  1. Combine squash, corn kernels, pepper, onion, and broth in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Cool.
  2. Option 1: I just stuck my immersion blender right in the pot and blended until smooth. Option 2: Place half of squash mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed squash mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with the remaining squash mixture. Return mixture to pan. Stir in milk, salt, and white pepper. Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.

Elizabeth Taliaferro, Cooking Light
JULY 2005

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 96
  • Calories from fat: 26%
  • Fat: 2.8g
  • Saturated fat: 1.3g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3g
  • Protein: 4.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 15.1g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Cholesterol: 6.9mg
  • Iron: 0.7mg
  • Sodium: 497mg
  • Calcium: 93mg