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  1. Low-Calorie Versions of Google's 5 Most Searched Recipes of 2016

    Google 2016 Top 5 Recipe Searches

    With all the tens of thousands of recipes online, there’s enough cooking and baking to keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

    But among the fruit salads, pork chops, chocolate chip cookies and everything else, there were five recipes that people were really clamoring to try out this past year.

    Google’s 2016 most-searched recipes, part of the internet search engine’s annual “Year in Search” report, included a combination of healthy and not-so-healthy, with a good mix of classic and new.

    We compiled a list of the top 5 most popular recipes searched— and provided our favorite and tastiest low-calorie adaptations so you can give them a try for yourself.

    Healthy Green Bean Recipe1) Green Bean Casserole

    Serving size: 1 cup
    Calories: 188

    There’s plenty of people who aren’t too big of fans of green beans (or casserole, for that matter), but that’s probably because they haven’t tried them together. My family started making green bean casserole part of Thanksgiving about a decade ago, and it’s now become a favorite. Apparently, other people have had the same experience, given that green bean casserole was the No. 1 most-searched recipe on Google in 2016.


    2½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
    2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    ¾ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon white or black pepper
    2½ cups low-fat milk
    1½ cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or ½ cup shredded or crumbled cheese


    Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.
    Toss green beans in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips)

    When the green beans are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

    Transfer half the green beans to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce.

    Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

    Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    Make Ahead Tip: Roast green beans (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the green beans.

    Tips: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs.

    To add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in ½ cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.

    Keep food fresh: If you're storing food in your fridge for a few hours or more, it's best to keep it in an airtight container or in a container covered tightly with foil. Foil is best at creating a barrier that doesn't let unwanted flavors in (or out) while you store your food.

    This healthy adaptation courtesy of Eating Well


    Healthy Roasted Brussels Sprouts2) Brussels Sprouts

    Servings: 6
    Calories: 109

    OK, so Brussels sprouts are actually pretty healthy all on their own. But when I was a kid, I hated them, as did my sisters. (Seriously, it wasn’t uncommon for them to end up in the bottom of our milk glass in an attempt to hide them so we could throw them away when mom wasn’t looking). But Brussels sprouts have come a long way, hence their second-place status on Google's most-searched recipes this year — and when you roast them, they’re sure to find their way back to your table (not the bottom of the milk glass) again and again.


    1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
    3 tablespoons good olive oil
    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

    Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.

    Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

    Healthy recipe courtesy of the Food Network

    Google Search 2016 Healthy Hash Brown Recipe3) Hash Brown Casserole

    Servings: 6
    Calories: 180

    Maybe it’s the fact that hash browns have been a staple of American breakfast food since before most of us can remember. Or maybe it’s the fact that it reminds us of grandmother’s cooking and warm childhood memories. Either way, hash brown casserole — Google’s third-most searched recipe in 2016 — is not only scrumptious, it can also be lightened up to fit in with calorie goals and still give us that special nostalgic feeling.


    4 potatoes, peeled and cut in half (1 bag of frozen hash browns may be used instead)
    1 medium-sized white onion, halved
    1 cup Greek yogurt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    Small pinch of salt (no more than 1 teaspoon)
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups low-fat cheddar cheese (or any cheese you love)


    Place the potatoes and one half of the onion in the food processor, using your grater blade.

    Place the potatoes and onion mixture into a large bowl.
    Grate the other half of the onion over the bowl, and run your hand down the inside of the grater to pull all of the onion juice into the bowl.

    Add the black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, Greek yogurt and 1 cup of cheese.

    Stir together to coat the potatoes.

    Spray a 9 x 9-inch casserole dish lightly with cooking spray, then pour the mixture into your dish.

    Sprinkle about 1/4 to 1/2 cup (more if needed) of the cheese on top.

    Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.

    If desired, you can thicken this with a roux. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir until combined, then add 1/2 cup of plain soy milk or low-fat milk. Cook until thickened. Add to the potato mixture.

    Healthy recipe courtesy of SheKnows Chef Mom

    Healthy Versions of Google's Top 5 Recipe Searches of 2016 - Guacamole4) Guacamole

    Servings: 8
    Calories: 155

    Not going to lie, if there was a recipe I searched most, this would be it. I absolutely love guacamole — on my chips, sandwiches, crackers, burritos, burgers, beans, heck even just by the spoonful. And although avocados (the main ingredient) are a superfood, many recipes can get pretty calorie-laden. Luckily, there’s plenty of yummy, healthier versions of Google’s fourth most-searched recipe of 201, too.


    3-4 avocados, ripe
    1 onion, finely diced
    2 roma tomatoes, diced
    2-4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 large bunch cilantro, minced
    1 tbsp lime juice, fresh squeezed is best
    Salt, to taste (roughly ½ tsp)


    Prepare the avocados by halving them, removing the seeds, and peeling them so that only the flesh of the fruit remains.

    Use a fork to lightly mash and mix the avocado in a medium size mixing bowl; don’t worry about getting it completely blended as small pieces of whole fruit within the finished guacamole tastes great.

    Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and salt; mix well.
    Add in the diced tomatoes and gently stir well one last time.

    Healthy recipe courtesy Fitness Blender

    Healthy Versions of Google's Top 5 Recipe Searches of 2016 - Chicken Marsala5) Chicken Marsala

    Servings: 4
    Calories: 241

    Tender. Rich sauce. Herb-added flavor. Marsala wine. What’s not to like? Chicken Marsala is the kind of recipe that adds another layer of warmth and satisfaction to a meal — so it’s not too big of a shock that it was Google’s fifth most-searched recipe of 2016. Unfortunately, most versions of this Italian classic are on the high-calorie end — but not to worry, there ARE healthy versions out there that are lighter on the calories, but not on the flavor.


    2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
    8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
    3 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
    ⅓ cup Marsala wine
    ½ cup Swanson 88% fat-free chicken broth (I used chicken stock since it was all I had on hand)
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


    Preheat the oven to 200°F.

    Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 cutlets. Put each cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap and lightly pound them until they are about ¼ inch thick. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.

    Place an 18-inch-long length of wax paper on the counter. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and lightly dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess. Put the chicken on the wax paper; reserve the 1 teaspoon remaining flour to use later.

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ tablespoon of the butter and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to the pan and swirl the pan until the butter has melted. Add the chicken and cook until slightly golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking dish and place in the oven to keep warm.

    Add the remaining ½ tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until soft and golden, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the reserved 1 teaspoon of flour and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the Marsala wine, chicken broth, and parsley.

    Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
    Return the chicken to the skillet with the mushrooms, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer in the sauce to let the flavors blend, about 4 to 5 minutes.

    To serve, put a piece of chicken on each of 4 serving plates. Spoon the mushrooms and sauce evenly over the top, and serve hot.

    Healthy recipe courtesy Grandbaby Cakes

    What’s your favorite healthy recipe? Share it in the comments below (we’ll be sure to pin it to our boards, too!) 


    Author: Caitlin H
    Diet-to-Go Community Manager

    Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.


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