This week, we’ve been discussing how important it is to think for yourself. And in that same spirit of independence, we embody the idea with the fun, creative and healthy recipes outlined below. Each unique meal puts an unusual twist on your standard fare, whether it’s by combining surprising ingredients or introducing tantalizing new flavors. And each meal boosts your immune system and overall health, while injecting more fun and vibrancy into your kitchen life. Express your independence in the kitchen and let’s dig in!

1. BREAKFAST: Banana Bread Cookies

Yes, you can have cookies for breakfast thanks to this delightfully soft, crumbly cookie recipe! It reinvents your classic banana bread into cookie form, is a crowdpleaser for both adults and picky children, and yes — it’ll make your entire kitchen smell heavenly. And while it might taste sinfully delicious and completely inappropriate for breakfast, it’s actually rich in immune-boosting antioxidants (including high amounts of B vitamins and potassium), contains lots of fiber, and has a hefty dose of protein to keep you happy and full all morning long.

½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup butter
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 egg
2 ripe bananas
2 ½ cups whole grain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt
3 tsp cinnamon
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While your oven is heating up, combine the sugar, vanilla, butter, yogurt, egg and bananas. Mash and mix well, then fold in the dry ingredients.

Scoop out a spoonful and roll it in a ball, then drop the ball onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the cookies (this recipe will make approximately two dozen cookies).

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are done (use a toothpick to check), then cool and enjoy!


2. LUNCH: Pizza-Topped Potatoes

Did you know that a single potato has nearly a third of a day’s worth of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium? This makes the humble potato a powerhouse of immunity-enhancing nutrients, but that’s not all. Potatoes have also been found to be rich in specific antioxidants associated with reduced cancer risks.

But you won’t be thinking about any of those surprising health benefits when you’re in the kitchen whipping together these pizza potatoes. It takes just minutes to make, and transforms a basic and boring potato into a scrumptious pizza-flavored treat sizzling with cheese and the fresh flavors of oregano and basil.

4 medium potatoes, ideally colored potatoes which are higher in antioxidants
1/2 pound ground beef or a plant-based beef substitute
1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
1 yellow onion, minced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup each of fresh Italian herbs, such as basil and oregano, finely chopped

Poke a few holes in each potato with a fork, then microwave for 5-10 minutes or until tender.

While the potatoes steam, stir-fry the meat, bell pepper and onion in a frying pan until the meat is cooked. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, other than the herbs.

Once the potatoes are done, cut them in half and drizzle the meat-and-cheese mix into the potato. Garnish with herbs and enjoy!


3. DINNER: Pineapple Chicken Casserole

You’ve heard of Hawaiian pizza. But have you heard of Hawaiian casserole? Pineapple supports your immune system with numerous phytonutrients and exceptional levels of vitamin C, and the fruit’s enzymes also enhance your digestion. Here, juicy pineapple infuses this quick and easy casserole to create a sweet-and-savory mixture that is simply irresistible and will transport you out of your kitchen to a distant tropical world.

2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 can of low-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup pineapple, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp chopped green onion
2 cups of cooked quinoa

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While your oven is heating up, layer the quinoa in the bottom of a baking dish. Whisk together the chicken, cream of mushroom soup, celery and pineapple and pour on top of the quinoa. Garnish with the green onion and bake for 20 minutes or until golden-brown on top. Enjoy!


Hungry for More Kitchen Creativity? Keep Reading More:

High Protein Energy Bursts

Hearty Raw Salad Recipe