Search This Blog

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"Spasta Peas and Bacon"


One of my childhood favorites was "Pasta Peas and Bacon" night.  I'd come home starving from a softball game and my mom would have this delicious comfort food ready for me to devour.  Lately I've also been thinking of what I can make that the whole family would like.  I'm sure my kids would love Pasta Peas and Bacon, but my husband and I don't really want to eat all the empty carbs at night. Soooooo, I decided I'd try it with spaghetti squash!  This was SERIOUSLY good, comforting, easy, and made plenty for the whole family as well as leftovers.  It'll be added to the regular routine for sure. 

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 small bag frozen sweet peas
6-8 slices bacon
1 packet Knorr brand primavera or creamy pesto sauce mix
1 cup unsweetened original almond milk (or any milk - I use almond milk to cut down on sugar)
1 Tbsp butter, margarine or olive oil
1/2 Cup shredded parmesan cheese
S&P

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F.  Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds and drizzle olive oil over the flesh.  Place on a baking dish flesh side down and bake for 45-60 minutes until tender.  Shred with a fork and pour into a towel.  Squeeze to remove excess water and set aside.  

Cook bacon however preferred, cool and crumble.

Cut up chicken into bite size pieces and saute in a pan with some olive oil or coconut oil and season with salt and pepper.  Once cooked, add the peas to warm.  Turn off stove and set aside.  

Make the creamy pesto sauce according to the package instructions.  

In a large bowl, combine squash, chicken, peas, crumbled bacon, parmesan and sauce.  Pour into a casserole dish and before serving, bake at 400 for 30 minutes to heat.

Enjoy!  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sweet Potato, Apple and Raisin Muffins


These were adapted from The Kitchn (original recipe here):

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-morning-glory-sweet-potato-muffins-234097

But I made quite a few changes.

The kids helped me make them, and they LOVED them!  I doubled the recipe to keep in a ziploc in a freezer for a quick breakfast or snack on the go!

Makes 36 muffins

Ingredients:

1 Cup raisins
2/3 Cup apple cider
1 Large sweet potato
2 Granny smith or other tart apples
3/4 cup grated shredded carrots
4 Cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Cups packed brown sugar
4 Tsp baking soda
4 Tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tsp ground ginger
1/2 Tsp salt
6 eggs, beaten ** I subbed two eggs for chia substitute ** (1 Tbsp chia, 3 Tbsp water, mix and set aside for 4 minutes = 1 egg replacement)
1 1/2 Cups coconut oil
2 Tsp vanilla extract
3/4 Cup chopped walnuts
3/4 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375.  Line muffin tin with liners.

Place raisins and cider in microwaveable bowl and microwave for 45 seconds.  Set aside.

Peel the apples and sweet potato and grate using the large holes on a grater.  Add in the shredded carrots and set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients.  Add the eggs, oil, vanilla, raisins and cider.  Fold in the carrots, sweet potato, apples, walnuts and coconut.

Bake until lightly browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and place on a cool surface.  Store in an airtight container and freeze.  Just thaw and warm from there!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Black Bean and Loaded Veggie 7 Layer Dip

I totally stole this idea from somewhere on Pinterest, but I own this recipe.  I added and adapted and altered so I'm claiming this one.  It was a hit.  A HEALTHY hit!  Enjoy and you're welcome.  Happy almost football season.

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup low fat sour cream
3/4 cup shredded lowfat mexican blend cheese
1 lime
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 avocados
1 Tbsp chipotle flavored sea salt seasoning
1 Tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup yellow corn
1 seeded and diced jalepeno
Blue corn tortilla chips, for dipping!

Instructions:

Make the DAY OF.  The juices from the vegetables tend to get a bit watery, but it is so fresh and fantastic no one will care.  Use a spoon to serve onto chips.

Black bean layer first:

Using a handheld mixer, blend black beans with half lime juice, chipotle pepper seasoning, cumin and 1/4 cup of the chopped fresh cilantro.  Spread into a pan (smaller than a 9x13 preferably)

Avocado layer:

Using same handheld mixer, blend three avocados with remaining lime juice and a dash of salt and pepper.  Spread over black bean layer.

Spread sour cream over avocados, then sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Finally, mix together all chopped vegetables along with the remaining 1/4 chopped fresh cilantro and sprinkle with more salt and pepper (and another quick squeeze of a lime if available).  Spread evenly on top of all the previous layers.

Keep chilled and serve with chips.  Ta da!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pan Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas and Tomatoes



This is so easy to prepare ahead of time, and let me tell you - I have now made this three times and it cooks PERFECTLY each time.  Juicy, tender, and extremely flavorful!  And a beautiful dish.  This is the perfect dish to prep in the morning and pop in the oven an hour before eating.  A crowd pleaser for SURE!

Thanks to my friend Victoria for giving me my first taste of this deliciousness.  The recipe is not mine, and unfortunately I don't have the info of the originator.  However, know that I have seriously approved this recipe.

Serves 2 - 4 (My husband and I can easily devour the entire chicken ourselves.)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper1/2 cup or 1 cup Greek yogurt (depending on your sauce preference)
1 whole chicken (~4 lbs) **ask your local market to remove the backbone***
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes, halved1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, dividedsalt and pepper to taste

1.  Remove the backbone of the chicken, or have your local butcher do it for you (Whole Foods does it!).  Place the chicken skin side up in a roasting pan.  Generously salt and pepper the chicken.
2.  Preheat oven to 425.
3.  Mix together oil, garlic, paprika, cumin and red pepper.  Use half of this mixture to baste the chicken with.  Pour the remaining half over the greek yogurt and set aside as a dipping sauce.
4.  Cover the chicken and pan with tomatoes, cilantro and chickpeas.  

Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.  Serve with yogurt sauce.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Spinach Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pistachios and Feta


This was a really light, refreshing and tasty salad.  I made a huge bowl of it and will be eating it for lunch for the next couple of days.  Don't worry about it getting too soggy, because the quinoa does a nice job of absorbing the dressing, making it great as leftovers!

Serves 4-6 (or use as leftovers!)

1 Bag baby spinach
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped granny smith apples
1 shallot, minced
6-8 large basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Instructions:

Cook quinoa according to package (hint - I always cook in broth versus water for more flavor).  Set aside.

Toss quinoa with spinach, cheese and all other remaining ingredients.  Mix together dressing and toss with salad.  Let chill and marinate in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

White Bean Sausage and Vegetable Soup


This was so delicious, so easy, and SO healthy!

Ingredients:

1 lb sausage links (kielbasa, chicken sausage, whichever you prefer)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed and sorted
1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 can great northern white beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 Tbsp truffle salt (optional -- can use regular salt)
1 Tbsp pepper
Fresh shaved parmesan cheese to top it off

Method:

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage links, turning once to brown the sides.  Set aside.

Place all vegetables, lentils and beans in a crockpot.  Add sausage, add broth, add salt and pepper.  Cook on low or high, depending on your timeframe (4 hours on high, 7 hours low).

Before serving, slice up sausage into small pieces, and top with fresh grated parmesan.

***Use whatever vegetables you have!  A fantastic sausage I use is a smoke gouda sausage from Whole Foods.  You can make it even healthier by substituting for a chicken sausage.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Sausage Casserole


Ok so I am NOT a casserole person.  I mean, I like them, but I don't make them.  My mom always laughed that it was such an Ohio thing.  With three siblings growing up in the bitter cold, they relied on casseroles.  Pretty sure she's casseroled-out.  But I tried this.  And I loved it.  And something tells me that my Dade City family is a fan of casseroles.  My mother-in-"love" is the queen of finding food items and tossing them in to make a good, well-rounded meal.  Well, I gotta say, that is SMART.  And easy.  And eco-friendly.  And hallelujah, every single person in our family ate it.  And loved it.  And that never happens.  Enjoy.

Also - this can all be prepped ahead of time, then placed in the oven 45 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Cup quinoa (uncooked - then cook according to package)
3/4 Cup low fat cream cheese
1 Cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1 14.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 Cup broccoli florets, chopped and stems removed
1 Cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 Lb mild italian chicken sausage (I purchased from deli, in their casings, then removed casings)
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Method:

1.  Cook quinoa according to package and set aside.
2.  In a pan, saute chopped onions until almost tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove casings from sausage and add sausage to the pan over medium heat, chopping until sausage has a ground texture.  Turn the stove off, and add in the chopped spinach and place a lid on the pan to wilt the spinach.
3.  Steam or boil broccoli until tender crisp - DO NOT OVERCOOK.  (like 2 minutes) Drain and set aside.
4.  In a large bowl, stir chicken soup, cheddar cheese and cream cheese.  Add sausage mixture, broccoli, and quinoa and stir completely.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.
5.  Pour into a casserole dish.  When ready, bake covered at 350 for 40 minutes.  Then broil uncovered for 5 to get brown and bubbly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Broccoli Salad with Greek Yogurt and Honey


A healthy version of the good 'ole classic from Sweet Tomatoes.  Gave me a stomach ache every time I went there, but I sure did love this stuff! 

Ingredients:

(Measurements are not 100% accurate.  Add/subtract ingredients as desired)

1 head of broccoli, soaked, rinsed and cut into small florets
1 head of cauliflower, soaked, rinsed and cut into small florets
3/4 Cup raisins (or craisins)
1/4 Cup diced red onion
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 Cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/4 Cup raw honey (or agave nectar)
2 Tbsp white vinegar

Toss all ingredients through bacon together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt, honey and vinegar.  Taste and add more honey, yogurt, or vinegar as needed.  Should be sweet.

Toss broccoli salad together with dressing and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs


Hi friends!  This was a super easy, fast, healthy and delicious dinner.  I made extra and placed in a Ziploc bag to freeze for another night.  My son loved it too! 

Makes 20 Meatballs

Ingredients:

2 Lbs ground chicken
3/4 Cup breadcrumbs (I toast whole wheat Ezekiel bread and process into crumbs for lower carbs)
4 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 handful fresh raw kale, finely chopped (I added this strictly to sneak veggies in for my son)
3/4 Cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
pinch of crushed red pepper
2 eggs, whisked
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Jar marinara
10oz fresh milk mozzarella (the big ball), cut into 20 slices (one for each meatball)

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients from chicken through eggs.  On two baking sheets, line with foil and roll mixture into about 2" thick meatballs (slightly bigger than a golf ball). 

Preheat oven to 400F.  Brush each meatball with olive oil and a Tbsp of marinara, and cook for 17-20 minutes*.  Remove from oven.  Set oven to BROIL.  Top each meatball with a slice of mozzarella and place under broiler for about 4-5 minutes, just until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

Serve with extra marinara and a nice little Caesar salad for a delicious healthy dinner!

*Note - if you are freezing a portion of these, set aside after they've cooked and skip the broiling part with the melted mozzarella.  When you thaw the meatballs, warm them on the stove in marinara sauce, then broil with cheese after heated through.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Avocado Egg Salad


This was my first time making and eating this and I must say, I am a huge fan.  This was SO easy to make (especially when you hard boil and peel the eggs a day in advance), SO healthy, and SO tasty!  My husband is a huge fan.  This will be a new regular on the household menu.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 hard boiled eggs
3 medium Hass avocados
1 Tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
2 Tbsp finely chopped celery
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
2 slices whole wheat toast (optional, for serving)

Instructions:

Peel hard boiled eggs.  Discard 4 of the 8 yolks.  Chop eggs and put in a mixing bowl.  Add avocados, removing the skin and pits.  Add mustard, onion, celery, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix together until blended and slightly chunky.  Serve on top of a piece of toast!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Roasted Balsamic Veggies and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

These were so incredibly tasty, so easy and so healthy!  I will be making these regularly!


Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 small zucchini, halved then sliced
1 yellow squash, halved then sliced
1/4 large red onion, sliced
1 jalepeno, seeded and sliced
3 small bell peppers (from the variety bag I grabbed a yellow, orange and red), seeded and sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch salt & pepper
2 corn tortillas (I prefer Tofouyan brand low-carb, whole wheat)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup crumbled goat cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Optional* balsamic glaze

Instructions:

Place all veggies in a large bag and marinate with vinegar, oil, garlic, thyme, S&P at least an hour. 

Place veggies in a roasting pan and broil in oven for about 15 minutes or until browned and tender, tossing occasionally.  Set aside. 

Brush both sides of tortillas with olive oil.  Spray a grill pan or cast iron pan with cooking spray and heat pan over medium heat until hot.  Spread veggies, chopped basil and goat cheese on one half of each of the tortillas, then fold to close.

Place both tortillas on grill pan.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat, and drizzle with balsamic glaze, if desired.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kids Carrot Macaroni


My wonderful friend Sarah and fellow mommy gave me this idea to try.  Our toddlers are getting older and beginning to know when we get "sneaky" with their vegetables.  She decided that since carrots were orange, the sauce would look just like cheese sauce.  Well, she was right.  It looked and TASTED just like standard macaroni and cheese.  Awesome.

Serves 6 (I made a big portion for leftovers to freeze)

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup cooked baby carrots
1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Method:

Cook pasta and set aside to cool.  Boil baby carrots until tender.  Using a blender or food processor, puree the carrots with the cream cheese and chicken broth until creamy.  Stir in salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. 

Once all ingredients are cool, mix together with the cheddar cheese.  Pour into a baking dish and bake, covered, for 15 minutes.  Turn oven to broil, remove the lid of the dish, and broil about 4 minutes or until browned and bubbly on top.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa Bake


This is a great "hearty" side dish.  I love to pair this with steak or pork.  It is a comfort food without all the carbs and fat. 

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
1 cup quinoa (cooked according to package)
1 cup chicken broth (there will be a little extra in the can, save incase you need to add more liquid)
1 cup cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Pepper

1.  Clean and trim cauliflower into florets.  Using a food processor or blender, pulse small amounts of cauliflower at a time, finely chopping it.

2.  Combine quinoa, cauliflower, broth, cream of chicken, cheese and salt and pepper.  In a casserole dish, bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly on top. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pesto Shrimp and Zucchini "Pasta"

Again, a terrible picture, but a delicious healthy and easy meal!  You will need a Spiraler, if you don't have one. 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 zucchinis, spiraled
10 previously frozen cooked jumbo shrimp, thawed and tails removed
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil, separated
1/2 Cup lowfat cream cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
6-7 Large fresh basil leaves
2 Garlic cloves
Salt
Pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts


1.  Spiral the zucchini and place in a sautee pan on the stove.  Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and heat on low to soften zucchini "noodles".

2.  Using a food processor or a handheld immersion blender, blend the remaining olive oil, cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, basil, garlic and salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. 

3.  Add shrimp to zucchini and toss.

4.  Add sauce to zucchini and shrimp. 

5.  When tossed and hot, serve and top with feta and pine nuts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

BBQ Chicken "Skinny" Pizza


Ok so I'm not the world's best photographer.  But, the title should say it all.  This is SO easy, SO delicious, SO healthy and a weeknight staple here in the Stephens household.  Feel free to get creative with the ingredients!

Serves 1 (individual pizza pies)

Ingredients:

1 Tofouyan brand whole wheat low carb wrap (found in the deli)
1/2 cup barbeque sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 cup cooked chicken (rotisserie or Perdue pre-cooked frozen, thawed chick breast) shredded
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp chopped red or white onion
1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 handful fresh spinach, chopped (or you can use broccoli florets)
1/4 Cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pinch crushed red pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375.  Throw the wrap (pizza crust) in the oven alone for a few minutes.  It will bubble up, and then take it out.  This gets it a little toasted so it doesn't get too soggy with all the toppings.

Let cool for a couple minutes. 

Spread BBQ sauce evenly on crust.  Add peppers, onions, chicken, spinach and basil.  Then top with shredded mozzarella, goat cheese, and sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

Put in oven an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. 

YUM.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Skillet Salmon and Cucumber Dill Sauce


While the TV was on in the background, my ears perked up between yelling at the dog and chasing my toddler.  I glanced up and saw something about salmon, cucumbers, red onions and dill.  Immediately I thought how delicious it sounded.  Sort of like a homemade tzaziki sauce (which is delicious with salmon).  So I whipped this up and it was so super easy and SO delicious!  I will be making my salmon this way all the time from now on!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 pieces salmon, skin removed
1 cucumber, sliced very thin
1/4 of a red onion, sliced in half then sliced very thin
About 3 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
1/4 Cup sour cream
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic powder

Method:

1.  Slice cucumber and red onion.  Chop dill.  In a bowl, whisk together sour cream, vinegar and lemon juice.  Add in dill, cucumbers and red onion and toss.

2.  Coat salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

3.  Heat skillet over medium heat.  Add salmon and cook about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two.

4.  Place a heavy spoonful of cucumber dip on plate and place salmon on top.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Arugula, Corn and Avocado Salad



Such an easy, fresh and tasty summer salad!  Serves well as a side salad, or add some blackened shrimp for a complete entrée!

Serves 2 - 4

Ingredients:

2 large handfuls washed arugula
1 avocado, pitted and sliced into 1/2" chunks
1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small ears of corn, cooked and removed from core
1/4 Cup crumbled feta

For the dressing:

Juice of 2 limes
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tsp lime zest
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder

Whisk together dressing and toss with all ingredients.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Greek Yogurt and Spinach Mac & Cheese



I found a recipe on Pinterest that sounded good, and I tried it out - changing a few things.  This was delicious!  I used veggie pasta to increase my son's vegetable intake and he absolutely loved it!  He scarfed it down!  Great adult AND kid recipe!

Serves 4 - 6 (I individually froze separate portions for easy reheat dinners for Cash)

Ingredients:

2 Cups elbo pasta (I used carrot and butternut squash pasta)
2 Cups shredded cheese blend (I used part-skim mozzarella and reduced fat cheddar)
3/4 Cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
2 Cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp onion powder
1/2 Cup saved pasta water

Method:

Cook pasta according to package.  Place an empty pot in the sink and put a strainer on top of it.  Put the spinach in the strainer.  Pour the pasta in the strainer on top of the spinach, wilting it, and saving the pasta water in the pot below (genius! never thought of that!) 

Return the wilted spinach and pasta to the pot, and add in cheese, yogurt and seasonings.  Add small amounts of pasta water until desired consistency is reached.

Feel free to get creative next time with additional veggies.  Would be delicious with broccoli rabe, asparagus, or zucchini. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BLTC Stuffed Tomatoes



Wow, were these puppies delish.  A bit of labor prep-wise, but you can make them ahead of time and then just pop them in the oven 20 minutes before you're ready to eat.  These should be in a restaurant.  Mouth watering.

Bacon Lettuce Tomato Cheese Ingredients:

Serves 2

2 Large vine ripened tomatoes
1 Tsp sugar
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp panko
1/2 Cup shredded smoked Gouda/cheddar, shredded (in the deli section at Publix, round cut of cheese)
1 Small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tsp lemon pepper seasoning
3 Slices turkey bacon, cooked crispy
3 Handfuls fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa

Method:

1.  Cut top off tomatoes and scoop out pulp from inside tomato.  Strain the pulp to save the juice from the tomato.  (Place pulp in a strainer and press with a wooden spoon into a bowl).  Discard pulp.

2.  Wipe inside of tomatoes dry, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.  Turn upside down on plate for 30 minutes to dry.

3.  Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet and add panko, tossing frequently to toast, do not let the panko burn!  Transfer panko to a bowl and let cool.  Stir in 1 Tbsp of the shredded smoked gouda.

4.  Cook turkey bacon (I microwave mine for about 4 minutes, then let cool, then crumble).

5.  In the empty skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil and onions over medium heat.  Cook until translucent, then add in garlic, salt, pepper, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and cook an additional minute.  Then add spinach, small handfuls at a time until it wilts.  Add quinoa and reserved tomato juice and stir until all liquid is absorbed.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in all remaining shredded smoked Gouda and all crumbled bacon.

6.  Preheat oven to 375.  Blot tomato cavities dry with a paper towel.  Sprinkle again with salt and pepper.  Stuff tomatoes equally with mixture.  Prepare a 9x13" dish by coating the bottom with olive oil.  Place the tomatoes in the pan.  Season with more salt and pepper.  Bake uncovered 20 minutes.  Remove carefully with a slotted spoon.







Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BBQ Chicken Mexi Chopped Salad

Ok so I'm not the best photographer, but this salad really was delicious!  Adam and I absolutely LOVED it and it's so nice knowing the ingredients of the dressing since it's homemade. 

We grilled BBQ chicken the night before and saved a huge extra breast, so I used that in the salad.  You could also toss some rotisserie in some BBQ sauce to throw in the salad too.

This is a salad, so use the ingredients however you'd like.  I'm just going to tell you what I put in it.

Mini heirloom tomatoes
Corn
Black Beans
Shallots
1 1/2 Breasts BBQ grilled chicken
Mixed greens
Shredded lowfat cheddar cheese
1 Chopped and seeded jalepeno
Handful of crushed lime tortilla chips

Dressing:

Puree 1/2 Avocado, 1/2 Cup Plain Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lime, 1 Tbsp cilantro.

YUM!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Roasted Herbed Butternut Squash, Carrots and Broccoli


I received some fresh seasonal squash and broccoli in my organic buying club this week, so I decided to toss in some olive oil with fresh herbs and enjoy the fresh favors. This is simple, elegant and flavorful. My 21 month old son even ate this and he never eats veggies! Win win!

1/2 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 small head broccoli, cleaned, stems removed and cut into florets**
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced**
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese (to top)

Preheat oven to 375. Toss all ingredients **EXCLUDING BROCCOLI AND GARLIC** together and roast, tossing every so often, for about 30 mins. Add in broccoli and garlic and stir. Roast an additional 10 mins.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup


Hi friends!  I'm all about soups and salads lately, but soups can be disguised as healthy when in fact often times they are not.  Now, don't get me wrong, if I'm in the mood for Broccoli Cheddar or Split Pea and Ham, I'm not gonna worry about the fat, calories and sodium!  But, last night was Monday, and as usual, we like to eat healthy during the week.  So, here is a tasty, light and HEALTHY soup recipe for ya!  No cream, butter or fat!  Woohoo! 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and halved
1 Head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tsp lemon zest
1 Tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 Pinch red pepper flakes
4 Cups low-sodium chicken broth (or veg broth to keep vegetarian)
1 Tsp paprika
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
Salt & Pepper

1.  Place the peppers skin side up on a baking sheet and broil for about 10-15 minutes until the skin turns black. Immediately place peppers in a gallon size Ziploc bag and let steam for 20 minutes.

2.  Reduce oven to 400.  Toss cauliflower in 1 Tbsp olive oil and place on baking sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes until tender and caramelized, tossing every so often. 

3.  Over low-med heat, sauté the onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender.  Add the garlic, basil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and thyme.  Cook for 2 minutes then remove from heat.

4.  Remove red peppers from bag and pinch skin to remove all skin.  Dice the red peppers.

5.  In a large pot, simmer all ingredients and add salt and pepper.  Remove small amounts at a time and puree in blender, until desired consistency is reached. 










Thursday, March 20, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Casserole

Delicious and not terrible for you! Win!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, cook according to package (I boil with chicken broth for added flavor)
1/3 cup low fat cream cheese
1 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1 cup broccoli florets
1 Can low sodium creamy chicken soup
2 Tbsp fresh curly parsley
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

1. Cook quinoa
2. Cook broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, cheddar, parsley, quinoa and broccoli.
4. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray and pour in mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake, uncovered about 10 minutes until hot all the way through.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chicken Kebabs with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber & Noodles


This was fantastic!  I saw the recipe in Cooking Light magazine, but I changed a few things.  This was so flavorful!

Kebabs:

Serves 2

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp fresh peeled and minced ginger
1 Large garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp roasted peanut oil

Mix all ingredients and marinate chicken in a bag at least 1 hour.  Grill kebabs until done.

Peanut Sauce:

1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tsp chile paste

Whisk together and drizzle over kebabs.

Cucumber & Soba Noodle Salad:

7 oz uncooked buckwheat soba noodles
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tsp sugar
1/2 English cucumber, sliced thin
2 Tbsp sliced green onions

Cook noodles according to package and rinse with cold water and drain.   Whisk together vinegar, sesame oil, agave nectar and sugar.  Toss with noodles, cucumbers and onions.  Chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Crockpot Thai Chicken Soup with Quinoa



I subbed quinoa for white rice.....duh, it's probably better with the starchy-non-health-beneficial white rice.  BUT, I can attest, it is STILL delicious with the healthier option of quinoa.  My husband LOVED it!  Go with whatever you're in the mood for.  ;)  Oh, and this is a really easy recipe.

Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp red curry paste
2 Cans coconut milk (appx 12oz each can)
2 Cups no salt added chicken stock
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt
Pepper
1.5 Lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 Red bell pepper, chopped
1 Medium yellow onion, sliced thin
2 Green onions, chopped
1/2 Cup shredded carrots
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Small can water chestnuts, chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 Cup quinoa (cooked according to package)

Method:

Mix the ingredients curry paste through salt and pepper in the crockpot over low heat.  Once blended, add all remaining ingredients up to the fresh grated ginger.  Let simmer on low for 7 hours, or on high for 4 hours.  When ready to serve, stir in cilantro, lime juice and water chestnuts and pour over desired amount of quinoa.

This is a recipe that can be played with.  You could add sprouts, sliced zucchini, shrimp, or make vegetarian using vegetable broth and tofu.  Enjoy!

Rainbow Carrot, Apple and Ginger Slaw



I recently joined an organic buying club, and just picked up my box of fresh organic produce yesterday.  What a beautiful variety of fruits and vegetables!  I decided to do a mini "Chopped" episode here in my kitchen with the items I received.  What a flavorful, colorful combination.  A healthy, fresh, crunchy and delightful snack or side dish. 

Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients:

4 whole rainbow carrots (can use regular carrots), peeled and vigorously chopped
4 celery stalks, peeled and vigorously chopped
2 apples of your choice (I used pink lady), chopped
1/4 cup raisins
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup lowfat mayo
1 Tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tsp fresh minced ginger

Toss together all fruits and vegetables in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the mayo, vinegar, nectar and ginger.  Add to the slaw and toss thoroughly.  Chill at least an hour before serving.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pasta with Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes



My mom created this dish when I was in college and it's been a family favorite since! It is so simple and so flavorful. Pair with a delicious bottle of red wine and you've got a beautiful dinner!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 box bucatini pasta (can use angel hair but bucatini is my fav for this dish)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, rinsed and cut into 1/2" thick squares
1/2 yellow bell pepper, " " "
1/2 orange bell pepper, " " "
1/2 cup Sundried tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt & pepper
Fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, to serve on top

Method:

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  In a large pan, simmer peppers, sundried tomatoes, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper in olive oil over low heat. When  peppers are tender, add garlic and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Toss pasta in oil and peppers and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Muffins



I like to consider myself a healthy cook, but this was a bit out of my reach.  Some of the ingredients listed I've never heard of.  Well, I completely trust my friend Lisa and her knowledge on health and taste, so I ventured out into a different world and purchased Peanut Butter Powder (???) and Coconut Flour from Whole Foods.  I do, however, have chocolate whey protein on hand since my hubs always makes protein shakes. 

What caught my eye for this recipe are both the convenience of grabbing a muffin to-go, and the idea of the perfect pre-workout staple.  I have to eat before I workout in the morning, but carbs won't hold me over, and making a whole egg and toast breakfast just isn't going to happen.  (Plus that just wouldn't sit right during a heavy cardio session). These are fantastic, totally healthy, and very useful! 

Note* I couldn't get my muffins to rise too well (I'm a horrible baker) and the recipe doesn't seem to make too many, so I doubled it and got 18 scrumptious snacks.

Here is the link to the recipe from my dear friend Lisa's blog, MaverickMom.com.

http://maverickmom.com/2014/01/chocolate-peanut-butter-protein-muffins-gluten-free-high-protein-treats/#more-1922

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin & Coconut Curry Cauliflower



This was simple, quick and delish!  I say the side dish serves 2-4, but if you like it as much as I do, you'll eat half.  Oh, and, please excuse my lack of photography skills.  I was in a hurry to EAT IT UP!

Serves 2

Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, sliced into two tenderloins
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Method:

Preheat oven to 450.  Set out pork to reach room temperature.  Mix all dry ingredients and rub all sides of pork with rub.  In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Sauté for 1 min stirring constantly to avoid burning of garlic. Place tenderloin in pan and brown on each side, about 2-3 mins each side, turning once. Transfer to roasting pan and roast on center rack about 15 mins or until done to likeness.  Serve sliced.

Coconut Curry Cauliflower Recipe

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, rinsed, trimmed and cut into florets
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup coconut milk
2 Tsp curry powder
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp kosher salt
1 Tsp black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium sized pan, heat olive oil over med heat.  Add garlic and stir constantly to avoid burning the garlic.  Add cauliflower and toss for 1 min.  Remove from heat.  Add all remaining ingredients and coat cauliflower thoroughly.  Transfer to a medium baking dish. 

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, tossing every so often.  Remove foil and broil under high heat for 5 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Veggie Lasagna with Spaghetti Squash



I came across this idea online but couldn't remember where, so I put it all together as best I could and it turned out delicious!  Adam was hesitant because it has no meat and no pasta, (you know men) but it is light, flavorful, healthy and hearty!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 Medium carrot, chopped
1 Medium zucchini, halved lengthwise then sliced
1 Medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise then sliced
1 Tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 Tsp dried oregano
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 28oz Can crushed tomatoes
1/4 Cup dry red wine
1/4 Cup marsala cooking wine
2 Tsp sugar
Salt
Pepper
1 8oz block Mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Slice spaghetti squash lengthwise in half.  Scoop out seeds and place on a baking sheet flesh part down.  Bake for 1 hour or until shell is soft. 

2.  While squash is baking, add oil and butter to a large pan and add onions and carrots.  Cook over medium heat until tender and translucent.  Set aside.  Add zucchini and yellow squash to pan and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 2 mins.  Reduce heat to simmer and add rosemary, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, sugar, wine, and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

3.  In a baking dish, pour a little sauce on the bottom.  Then using a fork, shred the spaghetti squash and spread half of the squash over the sauce.  Add more sauce, then mozzarella, then parmesan.  Add another layer of sauce, spaghetti squash, mozzarella, parmesan, more sauce, then top with mozzarella and parmesan. 

4.  Bake at 375 for 35 minutes and let cool while some of the liquid evaporates before serving.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kids' Whole Wheat Pasta with Pureed Broccoli Sauce



A friend of mine told me about the idea of pureeing broccoli to put in kids' pasta to get their veggies.  So I tried it, and doctored it up a bit.  Well, Cash absolutely loved it!  So I froze a bunch to use for later dinners and am very satisfied.

Note - these measurements are approximate.  Feel free to add more of less of certain ingredients to meet your liking.

Ingredients:

2 Cups uncooked whole wheat rotini (or other pasta)
2 Cups packed raw broccoli, tough stems trimmed
1/2 Cup low fat cream cheese
1/4 Cup low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 Cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt
Pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp onion powder

Method:

Boil broccoli in a pot under very tender, about 15 minutes.  At the same time, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain both separately.

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except the pasta.  Once smooth, pour over pasta in a pot and mix over warm heat. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crunchy Pea Salad


Many of you have probably seen this recipe from Pinterest.  I pinned it too, and decided to make it.  It was FANTASTIC!  The only problem was that the recipe was a tad confusing and left out a few things.  I changed it around a bit and this version is all you need!  Enjoy.

Serves 4-6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:

1 12oz bag frozen peas, rinsed thawed and drained
1 Cup lightly salted peanuts
1/2 Cup craisins
1/4 Cup chopped green onions
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
1/2 Cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1/8 Tsp worcestershire
1/8 Tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Cup cauliflower, raw, chopped, stems removed
1/2 Cup celery, chopped
Dash of salt and pepper

Whisk together mayo, red pepper, worcestershire, soy sauce, and sugar.  Toss all ingredients in dressing and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve chilled.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quick and Easy Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries



Simple, delicious and easy!

Ingredients:

2 Large sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450.  Place a large non-stick pan or cookie sheet in the oven to get hot.

Peel the potatoes and slice into large "fries" or, wedges.  Try to keep all slices about the same length/width so they cook the same.

Toss with coconut oil, cheese and seasonings, and spread out on the hot pan.  Cook for 15 minutes, then turn all fries over and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Serve alone or with ketchup, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kids "Macaroni & Cheese" with White Beans and Parmesan


Hey friends!  Well, this was a HUGE hit.  This could be made for toddlers, kids AND adults!  My biggest difficulty is getting proteins and veggies into my little one's diet, so I have to get creative.  The Great Northern beans are packed with protein, making this "mac n' cheese" far better than any processed kind.  So easy too - make a ton and freeze for later!

Serves 8-10 4oz portions

Ingredients:

1/2 Box of Elbow macaroni noodles
1 10.5 oz can low sodium chicken broth
1 15 oz can Great Northern white beans
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 Cup heavy cream
1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tsp onion powder
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper

1.  Cook pasta according to package.  Rinse, drain, and set aside.
2.  Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add beans, broth, and cream.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
3.  Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until creamy.
4.  Return to pan and add parmesan and seasonings.
5.  Add pasta to saucepan and toss.  Add more parmesan if needed.  Will thicken upon standing.

Serve and freeze in individual serving containers for future use!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Grilled Hot Sausage and Veggies



This was so easy and tasty.  You can make it with fully cooked frozen sausage and any vegetables you have in your kitchen!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

13oz package fully cooked smoked hot sausage
1 Large vidalia onion, cut into 1" thick slices
A handful of asparagus, cleaned and cut into thirds
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1" thick slices
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp dried parsley
Salt
Pepper

Toss all ingredients together and marinate at least an hour.  Set out to get to room temperature before cooking.  Place on a grill pan in foil, uncovered, and grill on med-high heat for about 15 minutes or until just browned.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kale Parmesan Quinoa Burgers


A big thanks to my friend Imee of LittleLicious Kids (www.littleliciouskids.blogspot.com) for collaborating with me on healthy recipes for both kids and adults.  These were absolutely delicious, and packed with veggies and protein!  My son loved them.

(I added a few seasonings to this recipe)

Serves:  About 12 patties

Ingredients:

2 Cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Cup quinoa
2 Large handfuls of kale
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Small onion, diced
4 Eggs
1 Cup panko or breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper

Method:

Cook quinoa according to package.  Set aside to cool.

In a separate pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add kale and onions. Toss until tender.  Set aside and cool.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, adding in the quinoa and kale mixture once cooled.  Form into palm sized patties.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and cook 4-5 patties at a time for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned on both sides.

Cook the remaining patties, or freeze for later use.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fruit and Veggie Smoothies


I'm sure everyone has their own version for this.  I've been having difficulty getting my 1 year old to eat his veggies, so my dear friend Jess told me to make him a smoothie.  It worked!  I added ice so it was like a frozen treat.  I even tried it and enjoyed it.  The color looks dark because of the frozen blueberries.

Note - measurements are approximate.  Use whatever fruits and veggies you have!

1 6oz container of YoBaby drinkable yogurt
1 Banana
2 Cups packed baby spinach
1/2 Cup shredded carrots
1/4 Cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/4 Cup frozen or fresh strawberries
Handful of ice

Puree in a blender and serve in a sippy cup, or if too thick, spoon feed or add more ice.  Freeze the leftovers for future use.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Jane Coxwell's Summer Salad


What a perfect summer lunch dish!  Or entree side dish.  Light and refreshing, packed with veggies, and beneficial protein from quinoa.  I'll certainly make this again!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 Cup macadamia nuts
1 Small garlic clove, minced
1 Small green onion, chopped
3/4 Cup seeded diced cucumber
1 Cup diced green apple
1/2 Cup diced green pepper
1/4 Cup diced celery
1/2 Red serrano chili, seeded and diced (I couldn't find so I used Jalepeno.  I also used 2 because I like the extra kick)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp agave nectar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1.  Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  In a small, dry skillet, toast the macadamia nuts until evenly browned, 3-4 minutes stirring often to prevent burning.  Crush the nuts lightly with a knife.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, nuts, and remaining ingredients.  Toss and check for seasoning; add more lemon, salt, or agave nectar if necessary.

Serve room temp or chilled.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pasta Shells, Peas, Ham and Homemade Cheese Sauce


I know kids like the boxed macaroni and "cheese," but I can't help but be concerned of the ingredients and chemicals that are in those foods.  I figured I could make something better and hopefully they'll still like it!  My 11 month old does, hopefully all of your kids will!

Serves 6-8 meals (for kids) plus leftovers to freeze, or 4-6 adults.

Ingredients:

1 Box Medium Pasta Shells
1/2 Stick butter
4-5 Tbsp flour
3 Cups skim milk
1 1/2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 Cup frozen thawed peas
1 Slice thick-cut sweet ham (from Deli)

Method:

In a large pot, boil water and cook pasta shells.  Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter on low heat.  Stir 4 Tbsp flour, stirring constantly until it forms a paste.  Add milk all at once, and stir constantly getting the lumps out.  If you feel you need more flour to thicken, add more.  If you think you need more milk, add more.  It should be a creamy texture.  Add cheese a little at a time and stir to blend.

Stir in peas and ham.  Add a dash of salt and pepper.

In the large pot used to boil the noodles, return the drained noodles and pour cheese sauce over, stirring to mix.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Arugula, Pear and Pancetta Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Sorry, no picture.  This was light and tasty and the crispy pancetta was delicious!  Peppery arugula, salty crispy pancetta, and sweet pears.  Yum!

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:

4 Cups arugula
1 Medium pear, sliced into 1" pieces
4 Slices pancetta (get from the deli at grocery store)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt Pepper
Pecorino Romano cheese

For vinaigrette:

Mix honey, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

For salad:

Brown pancetta in medium skillet over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes, turning once.  Turn off heat, let cool.

Toss arugula, pear, crumbled pancetta with vinaigrette and top with fresh shaved pecorino romano cheese.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good Ole' Fashioned Meatloaf


Well, I have never made meatloaf before, nor have I ever eaten it.  My dad always wanted it but my mom wouldn't make it.  So, Adam requested this for Father's Day, and I made it.  Let me tell you that he enjoyed it for 3 nights straight, the baby liked it, and I actually liked it, too!  The flavor of bacon really makes it delicious!

This is something I'd make on a cold rainy winter night (few and far between here in sunny South Florida).

Serves 6 - 8

Ingredients:

1 Cup dry breadcrumbs
1/3 Cup whole milk
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Celery rib, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp worcestershire
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 Tsp allspice
2 Slices raw bacon, chopped
1.5 Lbs ground beef chuck
1/2 Lb ground pork
2 Large eggs
1/3 Cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 350.

Soak breadcrumbs in milk.

Cook onions, garlic, celery, carrot and butter over medium heat until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in worcestershire, vinegar, allspice, salt and pepper.  Add to breadcrumb mixture.

Add the onion mixture to bacon, beef, pork, parsley and eggs in a large bowl and mix with your hands.

Pack mixture into a 9x5" oval loaf in a 9x13" shallow baking dish.  Bake about 1 1/4 Hours, or until meat thermometer reads 155F.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Suggest serving with ketchup.  And mashed potatoes.  Or cheesy potatoes.  ;)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Carrot and Zucchini Muffins



We're at that stage where my child has decided he doesn't like vegetables.  So now I'm having to get sneaky with adding them to recipes.  I made these muffins with carrots and zucchini. They are delicious!  More quick snacks/meals to add to the freezer!

Makes about 16 muffins

Ingredients:

1 Cup flour
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1 Cup sugar
2 Tsp baking soda
2 Tsp baking powder
2 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp nutmeg
1/2 Cup coconut oil
1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce
4 eggs
2 Cups grated carrots
2 Cups grated zucchini
1/2 Cup raisins

Method:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking pan with muffin cups.

Mix all dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and oil.  Combine dry ingredients with egg mixture and fold in zucchini, carrots and raisins.

Bake 22 minutes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kid's Cheese Ravioli with Coconut Oil and Veggies




Easy to make, tasty, and gets in proteins and veggies!  This makes a lot, so you can freeze it for later use.  I purchased individual 4oz tupperware containers to freeze perfectly portioned meals for my son!  You can use whatever type of vegetables you have around the house.

Ingredients:

1 package Buitoni Four Cheese Ravioli (in the refrigerated aisle of Publix, near dairy and lunch meat)
2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 Cup chopped frozen spinach
1/2 Cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 Cup chopped zucchini
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Boil 4 cups of water.  Add 1 Tbsp olive oil (to prevent sticking).  Add ravioli.  Boil until soft, about 6 minutes.  Drain.

In a small sauce pan, melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil over medium heat.  Add chopped spinach and zucchini.  Cook until zucchini is tender.  Add tomatoes.

Toss all ingredients in the pot you used to cook the ravioli.  Turn heat on low, add remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Veggie and Cheese Egg Muffins



I'm sure you've seen this idea around before.  This is a great thing to make and freeze for your kiddo.  It's got protein and lots of veggies.  Take one out of the freezer, microwave, and serve to your little one with fruit and, voila!  Breakfast is served!

Makes 8 muffins

Ingredients:

6 large eggs
1 slice cheese (I used baby swiss, but any will do)
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, drained
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
salt
pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350.  Place 8 baking cups in a muffin pan and spray with Pam.

Microwave frozen chopped spinach in a bowl for 4 minutes.  Drain.  Mix 1/2 cup spinach (save the remaining spinach for future egg muffins, or toss with noodles, etc) with all other ingredients.  Mix well.

Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Let cool and freeze individual muffins for later use.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chopped Chicken Taco Salad with Homemade Dressing


Very fresh and light tasting.  Healthy and loaded with veggies!

Serves 2 (as a main dish)

Ingredients:

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 Rotisserie chicken, white meat, shredded
1/4 Cup corn, rinsed and drained
1/4 Cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 Cup chopped cherry tomatoes
2 scallions, rinsed and chopped (ends removed)
1/4 Cup shredded lowfat cheddar
1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped and seeds removed
1 Jalapeno, chopped and seeds removed
1 small, ripe avocado, chopped
Tortilla chips
*For the dressing:
1 Small container plain greek yogurt (5.3oz, about 3/4 of a cup)
Juice of 1 large lime
2 Tbsp tequila
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
**If dressing is too thick, add equal parts of lime and tequila**

Toss all ingredients together, add dressing and crumbled tortilla chips when ready to serve.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chopped Salad with Gorgonzola, Bacon and Pears

I'm not big on measurements, and since this is a salad, I'll just provide you with the ingredients and you can use however much of each you'd like.  Deal?  Deal.  :)

Ingredients:

Romaine
Spinach
Crumbled gorgonzola
Crumbled bacon
Sweet onion
Cucumber
Craisins
Fresh pear
Pecans, toasted and chopped

Finely chop all ingredients and toss with dressing of choice - I prefer Ken's Honey Balsamic.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Crescent Rolls with Pear, Brie and Honey

I saw a recipe like this on Pinterest and thought it sounded wonderful, but I thought I could make it a little bit better, haha.  And so I did.

Serves 4-6 (as an appetizer)

Ingredients:

1 container of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 ripe pears, cut into 1" squares (bite sizes)
16 pecans
8 pieces of brie cheese (get a wedge and slice into 8 bite size pieces)
Honey

Method:

Unroll crescents onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Preheat oven to 425.  In the center of each crescent roll, place a slice of brie, then a pear slice, then a drop of honey, then two pecans.  Wrap up each crescent roll and bake until golden brown, or time according to package.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Balsamic Marinated Steak and Kale Salad



I've been on a bit of a kale kick lately, but as you may or may not know, it is quite bitter and not too tasty.  Therefore, you have to add lots of flavor with it!  My husband loved the steak, but wasn't a huge fan of the salad.  This is a HEALTHY alternative to salad (as if salads aren't already healthy)!  The kale is so much better for you than your typical romaine, iceberg, or even mixed greens salad.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 Lb top sirloin filets, or flank steak
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 Cup olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
2 Garlic cloves
1/2 Tsp thyme
Salt
Pepper
4 Cups packed kale (or about half of a large bag)
1 Tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 Tbsp crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Creamy blue cheese salad dressing

Method:

Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme in a bowl.  Place steaks in a freezer bag and pour in marinade.  Let marinate for as long as possible (preferably overnight).

Cook steak on grill over high heat, or on stove.  Sear at high heat and then set aside.  Slice steak into strips.

Toss together kale, tomatoes, onions, bleu cheese and dressing and top with steak.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Simple Switch:

Try sauteing green beans or haricots verts in coconut oil and slivered almonds.  Coconut oil has great health benefits, and gives the beans a sweet, nutty taste.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Yum!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sausage and Peppers


Or as I like to say, "Sorsage" in a New York accent.  Cracks me up every time.  These were delicious and easy!  I of course at them on their own, Adam ate his over some rigatoni pasta.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 large hot (spicy) pork sausages
2 large green bell peppers, sliced thin
2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 28oz can tomato sauce
1 8oz can tomato paste
1/4 Cup marsala cooking wine
1/4 Cup mascarpone cheese
1 Tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 Cup shaved parmesan cheese
1 Tsp oregano
salt
pepper

Method:

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium-high heat.  Add sausages and cook, turning every so often.  Cook about 15 minutes, until browned on all sides.  Set aside.

In pan, add peppers and onions.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, stirring and scraping up bottom of pan.  (About 10 minutes)

Add garlic, stir and reduce heat to low.  Add sauce, paste, wine, cheese and seasonings.  Place sausages back in pan and simmer on low for 1 hour.

Serve on its own, or over pasta.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy.