healthy

Summer Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

 Strawberry Salsa Recipe

 

Another bright, summer celebrating, share with friends recipe comin’ atcha! We’ve got a new sweet & healthy remix to a summer party staple – move over chips & queso!!!

This is not my original idea – one of my best friends (and sorority little) used to bring this to movie nights and other social gatherings, and it was the perfect treat – Thanks LAURA :)  Sweet and light,  this fruit salsa hits all the major bases of versitale entertaining.  Its customizeable, and great for individuals with food allergies – plus, it’s a guilt-free-eat-all-day treat that is so satisfying, and so unpresent at most get togethers…you won’t ever have to worry about someone else bringing this recipe to the party…and you can make it in advance!  Left overs make great cereal, yogurt, and ice cream toppings, if you’re lucky enough to have any.

 Healthy Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:
-Your favorite seasonal fresh fruit!
-Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips OR a DIY sweet pita chip – see recipe ideas under the instructions below!
-Citrus juice, Mint leaves – optional

Healthy Summer Dessert Recipe

Instructions:
Buy, wash, and dry your fruit. I used one pint – minus a few, for quality assurance/side snack purposes – of strawberries, one white nectarine, one yellow nectarine, and some blackberries to top it off.  When picking your fruit, always go for seasonal bunches and when you can, local and organic! (ugh, she said organic – re: be kind to the bees! and yourself).   Also try and choose fruit that’s either just ripened or still slightly firm, that way you can dice it up and mix it around without it turning to mush.

Fruit Salsa Healthy Summer Recipe

Next, dice up your fruit into little cubes – layer in a bowl, gently toss (here is where you would add lime/orange juice if you want an extra POP of flavor, and a mint garnish), and serve!

 Summer BBQ dessert recipe

 

I used store bought pita chips, mostly for convenience purposes, but also because they’re just really good…

 Healthy Fruit Dessert Recipe

But, if you want to make your own, it’s simple! Take your favorite tortilla – this is a great idea if you have food alergies, or too many tortillas lying around – brush with coconut oil, sprinkle with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to cinnamon, and place on a foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until crispy.  Then break them up and serve!  You can always get creative with the flavors too, of course…try adding some more cinnamon sugar while they are still warm but after they’ve baked, or substitute some white sugar for brown sugar, add some nutmeg, mabye even some citrus juice! 

 Summer Fruit Salad Recipe
Guess I’m making more, because I definitely want to try that last brown sugar orange cinnamon combo. Remember our brownie batter hummus recipe? Let us know if you’d like more sweet & healthy summer recipes on instagram @Whattodowithlemons, and don’t forget to try and tag your creations using the hashtag,  #WTDWLemons!

Brownie Batter Hummus

Dessert Hummus

 

May, what a whirlwind.  I traveled out of the country, I traveled accross the country, and I was sick – more than sick…ill – for about three weeks.  And considering my diet consisted mostly of saltines and white toast and my energy level was 0, I didn’t have many interesting things to share with you all! Consider this bowl of chocolatey goodness our little celebration – I’m back!

Healthy Chocolate Dessert Fruit Dip

 

There are a ton of recipes out there for cookie dough hummus, and let me tell you, they don’t disappoint.  And as much as I love that raw-dough taste, I’m a sucker for brownie batter.  I’ve definitely made brownies just so that I could lick the spoon, and I know I’m not alone in that indulgence.  This brownie batter hummus is the least time consuming recipe that I’ve ever made, and is so ridiculously delectably delicious (and nutritious!) that I think it’s going to be a part of my weekly grocery haul.

Chickpea Dip for Dessert

Ingredients:

-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-½ cup water

-2T sugar, or more to taste  (I used 1T sugar and 1T coconut nectar, but agave would work too!)

-5T unsweetened cocoa powder

-2t vanilla extract

-chocolate chips, nuts, or any other mix-ins

 

Instructions:

Put all of the ingredients – except the mix-ins – in a food processor, or high powered blender, and blend until smooth – about 2 minutes.  Fold in the mix-ins, and eat!

Healthy Chocolate Chickpea Dessert

“S” for sharable superfood snack…but I’m probably not sharing…

 

Chickpea Brownie Dip

I let mine chill for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors come together – it took every bone in my body – but you don’t have to!  This dip is good on fruit, bagels, toast, yogurt, ice cream…you name it.  I’d love to pair it with some cinnamon sugar crispy pita chips for that mexican-spiced hot chocolate flavor, or even add some marshmallows and dip in good ol’ grahams!

 

 

Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

Scallops with Soy and Cilantro

It’s been so long since my last seafood post!  That’s largely because I don’t crave seafood in the winter, but also because I don’t like cooking seafood in larger quantities.  Reheating fish (in my opinion) never tastes as good unless repurposed into some other dish, and as you can tell from my previous posts I’m not into high-maintenance cooking.  So while this recipe might deviate from my typical “bulk/freeze mentality” entries, I promise it is just as simple to make.  This dish is the perfect easy-entertaing yet elegant meal that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Sea scallops are typically larger than bay scallops, so you will only need 4-6 per person.  I remember that little fact because you’d think sea scallops would be smaller (and bay would be bigger), but they aren’t…good one, right?  However you choose to remember the difference, your local fish monger – or good frozen seafood section – will be able to help you figure out how many you will need per guest.  Scallops are definitely a treat due to convenience, expense, and delicate silky wonderful taste, so let’s cook them right, shall we?

Ingredients:

-1 lb Sea Scallops, fresh or thawed

-olive oil

-citrus seasoning blend

-1 lime

-1 cup mango, fresh or frozen

-1 cup quinoa, uncooked

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1T garlic, minced

-reduced sodum soy sauce

-Worcestershire sauce

-fresh clinatro, for garnish

 Easy Pan Seared Scallops

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  While the quinoa is cooling, pour 1-2T olive oil to a small bowl, and sprinkle over 1T citrus seasoning blend.  I like this McCormick fiesta blend – it has a great bold flavor, and I can use a ton of it without having too much sodium (I do add my own salt).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, dip each side of the scallop in the oil/seasoning blend, and cook in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  They cook pretty quickly, but I’ve found that medium heat gives you enough time to get that good crisp sear on the outside without overcooking them.  I like to plate the scallops over a mix of soy and worcestershire sauce, some freshly squeezed lime juice, and a cilantro garnish.

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, add the mango, chopped zucchini, garlic, and a little soy/worcestershire sauce, and stir.  I also added some chopped (turkey) bacon to mine… because scallops and bacon…and also some more lime.

Spicy Scallops and Mango Quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook, 20 minutes?  So all in I’d guess this recipe took about 25 minutes to make. Rachel Ray would be so, so, proud.  If, for some reason, you’re not sure that you’ll have 25 minutes to prepare a meal for your guests, you can absolutely make the quinoa the day before!  This cuts the cooking time down to about 6 minutes, plus a quick prep.  So in that case, 10 minutes stand between you and a brag-worthy meal.  Trust me, you can do it!

 

BBQ Pulled Crock Pot Turkey with Apricot Glaze

Crockpot Low Fat pulled BBQ

It’s BBQ season!  And if you’re a 20-something living in an apartment, not having a grill can be really upsetting.  Sunshine and smoke-charred foods are such a natural pairing, and without access to a barbecue it can be tough to recreate that match.  Enter, crockpot..and a little help BBQ sauce, of course.

This recipe requires three ingredients.  Three.  All of which are commonly found at your local grocery store, and very inexpensive. The sweetness from the apricot preserves allows the tang from the BBQ sauce to shine through, and even makes the sauce thicker than your typical pulled-pork recipe.  Plus, it’s a whole new spin on how to eat turkey (and keep it juicy), and will definitely be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event.  Did I mention there’s almost zero fat in this recipe, and you get up to double the serving size and protein power for the same caloric value as a standard pulled pork recipe?  Or that it can be made ahead of time, frozen individually or in bulk, and requires 15 minutes?  Wins, all around.

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. turkey tenderloin (or turkey/boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

-2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (I love Stubbs!)

-1 cup apricot preserves

(That’s it)

Easy BBQ Pulled Crock Pot

Instructions:

Put turkey (or chicken) in crockpot, pour over BBQ sauce and apricot preserves.  Turn crockpot on high for 10 hours.  When the time is up, shred the turkey in the crockpot so that the meat can absorb all of the sauce. (That’s it…I know, right?)  I let mine cool overnight, then portioned it out to freeze.  I’ve since had enjoyed this pulled turkey on many occasions, and so far my favorite has been over juicy veggies and greens, with a little corn and cheese, of course.

Healthy Summer BBQ Salad

I will say, this freezes/reheats perfectly, and is a great alternative to the grill.  If you choose to freeze this recipe in bulk, I’d recommend using an oven-safe dish, and allow the pulled turkey to heat back up in a 350 degree oven until warm.  For individual portions, I use small freezer bags, then put the frozen turkey on a dish in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost (no bags in the microwave, please).

High Protein BBQ Recipes Freezer

What recipes help you get your grill-time fix?  Let us know, and find us on Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

 

 

 

 

Lighter Brunch Quiche

Vegetable Pie Recipe

Breakfast post alert!!! (Surprised?)

The weather is warming up, and restaurant patios are opening.  We all know what that means…brunch season is here!  I love a good breakfast/brunch outing, but I also love eating healthier and that can be tough when you’re out with friends.  Thankfully, cooking healthy is easy, affordable, and contrary to popular belief, FLAVORFUL.  Bring the BYOB to your place for a change, and serve up this lighter spin on a brunch staple.  Throw whatever vegetables you have on hand into this lower-fat version of a classic quiche, and enjoy an extra mimosa (or two three) instead!

Egg White Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

– 1 Wholly Wholesome Organic Whole Wheat Pie Shell

– 1 16 oz. carton of egg whites

-10 oz package of mushrooms

-4 cups raw spinach

-1 bell pepper

-1T minced garlic

-½ T olive oil

-reduced fat feta, asiago, or other cheese to top

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your pie shell out of the freezer, and let thaw.  I placed mine on my preheating oven, to help speed up the process.  Next, chop up your vegetables – including the spinach – and heat a large skillet on the stove over medium heat.  Add olive oil, minced garlic, and vegetables – sautee until the peppers are soft and the spinach has wilted.  Remove the sautéed veggies from the heat, and let cool until at room temperature – be sure not to mix anything that is too hot with raw eggs, or else you might start cooking them!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Quiche

When cooled, add the veggies to the thawed pie shell and place on a baking tray. Carefully pour the egg whites over the veggie mix – it will look like you won’t be able to fit all of the egg whites, but you will!  Cook for 30 minutes, then shut the oven off and keep the quiche in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes.

Low Calorie Brunch Recipe

You can enjoy this quiche warm, room temperature, or my favorite, cold!  It’s a great make-ahead dish, and can even be frozen after it’s cooked! I know that you can freeze casseroles and other dishes with cream and cheese, but I prefer not to when it comes to egg based recipes.  I did, however add some crumbled feta to my serving…because you just can’t have a quiche without cheese.  I picture this quiche on a brunch table with fruit, some grilled/roasted asparagus, and a strong cocktail.

Low Calorie Vegetable Quiche

Now, if you’re NOT looking for a lighter recipe, substitute the egg whites for 4 eggs and about half a cup of cream or a cup of crumbled/shredded cheese.

What To Do With: Juice Pulp

 
Juice Pulp Recipes

Did I mention I got a juicer for my birthday? 2014 was the year of kitchen gadgets, and I’m NOT upset about it.  It saves a ton of money for someone who enjoys a good juice – NYC juices are $$$.  One thing about my juicer – and there’s only one thing – that I don’t love, is that there is just so much pulp left over after I’ve juiced all my vegetables, and I don’t always know what to do with it.  Composting would be great, but I don’t have that resource where I live.  And there are only so many times you can add the pulp to eggs…why not stretch the buck – and the nutrition – of these veggies into some other, more fun, recipes???

Juice pulp from Juicer Recipes

I juiced 3 cucumbers, one package of celery, one package of carrots, one large bag   of spinach, and one large head of romaine.  I also juiced half a pineapple – sometimes I like a little sweetness to my green juice.  Keeping my carrot juice separate, I mixed all of the green juices together, added the pineapple juice and one container of unsweetened coconut water, and ended up with a TON of delicious juices for the week, and with these recipes, I really stretched out the value of these veggies – aside from the peels from the carrots, I didn’t throw out anything.

Fresh Cucumber Relish

1) The Easiest Relish…Ever!

This is the only “recipe” that I know that takes less than 30 seconds, and is perfect every time.  Mix the cucumber pulp with some pickle juice from your favorie pickle.  Refridgerate overnight. That’s it.  It’s like pickle up-cycling!

Green Vegetable Spread

2) Roasted Vegetable Tapenade

Take one cup of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp mix, and all of the romaine.  Add some fresh minced garlic and 1T olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree oven on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. When the vegetables have cooled, add them to a blender or food processor with salt, pepper, any other seasonings you like – I added some onion powder – and another 1T of olive oil. You’ll end up with a flavorful and nutritious spread for crackers, paninis, or even other veggies to dip in!

DIY Veggie Burger Recipe

3) Quinoa Edemame Veggie Burgers

I impressed myself with this one.  Take the rest of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp, and warmed it in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, just until the flavors came together – about 5 minutes.  Once the mix is cool, add a cup of cooked and cooled quinoa, just shy of a cup of shelled edemame, and one whisked egg.  Stir all of these together – I used my hands – and refridgerate a few hours.  Form the veggie mix into burger shapes, and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan.  When the burgers are frozen solid, move them into a freezer safe container or bag for long term storage.  I’d recommend reheating these burgers in a sautee pan.  I served my burger on a toasted Ezekiel sprouted english muffin with a smear of Trader Joe’s tzaziki and a simple watercress side salad.

 Quinoa Veggie Burger Edemame Juice Pulp

Do you have any favorite recipes, or recipes you want us to experiement with? Let us know in the comments!  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and now announcing, TWITTER!

Dirty Rice with Roasted Chicken and Turkey Sausage

Turkey Sausage Creole Rice

“Dirty Rice” is a creole spiced dish that has earned it’s name from the brown-ish color the rice turns when you cook it down with seasoned poultry innards.  Now, as much of a eat-with-your-eyes kind of person that I am, I’m starting to discover that I’m also sensitive to how things are cooked, and what they are cooked with.  Something about changing the color of rice because it becomes “dirty” from livers and such just didn’t seem appealing to me, especially because I love the creole spices. 

Choosing black rice gives this recipe rich color, and replacing the protein with roasted chicken and sausuage adds to the smokey flavor of the dish – nothing dirty about it!

Black Rice Trader Joe's Recipe

Ingredients:

-chicken, cooked – I prepared boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the oven

-smokey sausage – I used turkey

-1 cup black rice

-1 zucchini

-1 red pepper

-half of one onion

-1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

-1T minced garlic

-2T olive oil

-2t creole seasoning

-¼ – ½ cup white cooking wine

-½ t cayanne pepper

-salt and black pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

Start by cooking your chicken –  I cooked my chicken in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, brushed with some olive oil, salt and pepper – and cooking your rice according to package directions.  One that’s all cooking, chop up your vegetables.  I like a good half moon for the zucchini, a bite-sized dice for the peppers, and a finer dice for the onions.  I also ran my knife through the thawed, chopped spinach just to break it up.  In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil, onions, and garlic over medium heat,  Once the onions become translucent, add the rest of the vegetables.  Remember to stir so that all vegetables are coated and get equal time to brown on the hot surface.

Clean Eating Dirty Rice

 After about 8-10 minutes, add in the seasoning, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Cube the chicken and the sausage, and add the sausage to the dish – cook another 5 minutes.  By now, your rice should be done. 

Zucchini Dirty Rice with Chicken Sausage

Add the rice, chicken, and wine to the pan, turn the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes so that the flavors combine.

Dirty Creole Rice Low Fat

I’m so happy with how this recipe turned out – like most of my savory dishes, it’s simple and healthy, and packed with flavor.  And, it’s pretty flexible!  Use whatever leftover starch you have lying around – quinoa, orzo, riced cauliflower – or add to the flavor pallet with some rotisserie chicknen.  So long as you keep the seasoining the same and be sure to add a protein with some smokiness, you won’t be dissapointed!

Black Creole Rice

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

Budget Friendly Instant Oatmeal Packets DIY 

Can you tell I love breakfast now? Well I do, and I will warn you, breakfast posts will not stop, especially now that warm breakfasts are a necessity.  It’s December, and with the wind chill off the water I’m lucky if I’m not an icicle by the time I walk to work.  Knowing that I’ve got a warm breakfast (and my handy french press) to look forward to makes a cold morning much easier.  Oatmeal is a great option for breakfast, and a great bargain at that!  You can always pick up plain oats at a great sale price at the market, which is good for my budget but not so much for my palate – plain oatmeal... not exciting.  But, with a few extra ingredients and hardly any time, you can turn those plain packs into delicious ways to start your day!

Ingredients:

-Instant Oatmeal (I used gluten free)

-Dried Fruit (I like to use the dehydrated kind)

-Spices

-Sugar (optional)

-Ziplock bags

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

Instructions:

Figure out what sort of flavors you’d like, and set spices/fruit aside.  I found a great deal on dehydrated apple/blueberry and strawberry/mango mixes…two large bags for $2!  The catch? They are marketed as “toddler food.”  Don’t knock it until you try it – you’re more likely to find a sale on kids food as opposed to the other brands, and it’s really the same thing.  My flavor combinations were blueberry lemon peel, apple cinnamon, and strawberry mango.  Once decided, label your bags and put just shy of half a cup of instant oats in each one. Next, add in about ¼ cup dried fruit, and 1t of spices.  Here’s the breakdown for my flavors:

Blueberry Lemon Peel: Blueberries, 1t dried lemon peel (can be found in the spice aisle)

Apple Cinnamon: Apples, 1t cinnamon with a few shakes of ginger, clove, and nutmeg

Strawberry Mango: Just the fruit!

I wouldn’t reccomend pre-sweetening your oatmeal packs – they won’t be professionally sealed like the traditional packs, and I think adding the sugar will reduce the shelf life of your oatmeal.

DIY Gluten Free Instant Oatmeal Packets

When you’re ready to eat, just prepare as if it were plain oatmeal!

Holiday Cranberry Sauce – Fruit Juice Sweetened

Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange no Sugar

Every year at my family’s Thanksgiving table, we have two cranberry sauces.  A homemade version from my grandma, and the sliced canned stuff for my sister – she just loved it.  Tart cranberries are a great addition to a holiday table, and are a perfect compliment to all of the savory side dishes, but the traditional jelly-types can tend to be on the sweeter side.  Instead of sugar, this recipe uses (unsweetened, but very naturally sweet) orange juice and zest, brightening the flavor of the berries while keeping their tartness.  Three ingredients (plus some spices) and 15 minutes…that’s all you need to pull this recipe together!

Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice no Sugar

Ingredients:

-2 cups raw, washed cranberries

-½ cup fruit juice – I used blood orange, but anything sweet (orange, pineapple, even apple) will work

-zest of 1 orange

-½ t ground cinnamon

-¼ t ground nutmeg

-¼ t ground cloves

Instructions:

Heat the berries and juice in a sauce pan over medium heat, and stir often.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer.  After 10 minutes, add the zest and spices, and cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Cranberry Sauce No Sugar

Serve like a traditional cranberry sauce, as a yogurt or ice cream topper, on cornbread, or pancakes!  I mixed some in cream cheese, refrigerated overnight, and added to my morning oatmeal.  It was tart and delicious, and just a little bit really boosted the flavor of the oats. I think I’ll be experimenting with fruit sweetened recipes in the future.  Next time, try adding the cranberries in a batter instead of a topping!

Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese

 

Cauliflower Quinoa Garlic Parmesan “Mac” & Cheese

Cualiflower Quinoa Garlic Mac and Cheese Bars

Cauliflower quinoa “mac” & cheese is a great alternative to a traditional au gratin holiday dish, or even a lighter side dish to be served with the leftover turkey the next day.  I used a larger baking dish, and spread the mixture out about ¾ inch thick, and cut it into bars. So far, I’ve eaten this dish with chicken, eggs, turkey, and roasted asparagus – it pairs well with everything.  Cheese and sneaky vegetables – who knew!!!

Cauliflower Quinoa Mac and Cheese Bake

Ingredients:

-1 head cauliflower

-¾ cup quinoa, dry

-8 oz. cheese (I used 50% reduced fat cheddar)

-1 cup milk (I used fat free)

-½ cup plain greek yogurt (I used 0%)

-shy of ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

-shy of ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, plain

-1t italian seasoning

-2T garlic onion puree

-cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375.  Start by cooking your quinoa in water (or broth) per the instructions on the package.  While that is cooking up, wash, chop, and “rice” your cauliflower.  To rice the cauliflower, place florets in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like, well, rice – it should be grainy and not too fine, so that it will be able to hold the cheese later on.  At this poiint, you can either quickly blanch the cauliflower to take away some of the crunch and flavor, or keep it raw.  I kept it raw because I like the flavor of cauliflower, and I thought it would be a great texture pair with the quinoa (I was right…but feel free to blanch if you don’t love the taste).  Grate your cheddar cheese, and season your breadcrumbs – set aside.  Next, add the garlic onion puree to the bottom of a pot, and heat over medium.  When the puree looks translucent and you can smell the garlic, add the milk and cheddar. 

Cauliflower Rice Mac And Cheese Healthy

As the cheddar begins to melt. add in the yogurt – stir, and heat until combined.  At this point, your quinoa should be done – remove from heat, and add to large mixing bowl.  When the cheese mixture is done, you’re ready to assemble.  Combine the quinoa and cauliflower, then fold in the hot cheese sauce.  Spray a glass baking dish (9×13) with cooking spray, spread the mixture evenly throughout, and press to remove any air pockets. 

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Quinoa Healthy Mac and Cheese

Sprinkle the top with the parmesan and seasoned breadcrumbs, and bake for 20 minutes or until the top starts to brown.  When its ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing into bars.

 Cualiflower Quinoa Garlic Parmesan Mac and Cheese

I made a lot of this dish my first go-around, and I was not dissapointed.  I ate some all week, and froze the rest – it reheats perfectly!

Arrabbiata Chicken Chili

Homemade Arrabbiata Chili

Growing up, my family would get together every sunday for dinner with my Grandparents.  As traditional Italians, the meal consisted of macaroni and gravy, with a simple side salad and some butter cookies for dessert.  Though the menu was the same each week, I had dozens of times to practice my macaroni:sauce:cheese ratio.  I quickly found out that I had an extraordinarily disproportioned plate, heavily emphasizing the sauce and cheese, and eventually exchanged my plate for a bowl.  Now, let the records show that I have nothing against pasta.  I eat it, covered in creamy bechamel, garlic wine, and rich vodka sauces.  But for some reason, I’d much rather ditch the pasta and just take a spoon to a full bowl of any/all red sauces.  That’s what inspired this dish – I needed to put together a recipe for a red sauce that was supposed to be eaten on it’s own, sans pasta.

Zucchini Mushroom Arrabbiata Recipe

Ingredients:

-1 lb ground chicken (or beef)

-2 cans san marzano peeled tomatoes

-half a small can of tomato paste

-2 large zucchini

-10oz mushrooms

-half a large onion

-2t minced garlic

-2t red pepper flakes

-2t dried italian spices

-fresh basil, 6-10 leaves

-salt & pepper

-olive oil

-cheese, to top

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  While you’re waiting for the oven to heat, cut your basil, onion, zucchini and mushrooms, but keep the onions separate from the mix – place the basil aside for later.  Drizzle each vegetable with olive oil, and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the crunch you’d like to keep in your chili.  I baked the zucchini/mushroom combo for 10 minutes, and the onions for 30.  While the vegetables are cooking, fully cook the ground chicken in a large skillet, and set aside when done.  Once the onions are done, add them to a food processer with some minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and puree.  This, is an amazing secret.  This onion/garlic puree packs so much flavor into your recipe, and by roasting the onions before hand, you take away that onion bite that you don’t want in a sauce, and diffuses the garlic through the dish without using any powdered spices.  Try it.

Roasted Mushrooms and Zucchini Arrabbiata

Next, sautee the garlic/onion mixture with the tomato paste and the herbs in a large pot, for about 3-5 minutes, just until it’s all combined and the spices become fragrant.  Next, add the 2 cans of tomatoes, and break up the whole pieces with a wooden spoon.  Add in the chicken, vegetables, basil, and red pepper flakes, and stir.  Allow this to come together in a low simmer for about an hour – until fully heated through.  I don’t have a big enough pot to handle this amount of sauce, so I put all of the ingredients together in a crock pot and let the flavors meld on low for 3 hours.

Spicy Arrabbiata Chicken Chili

The result is amazing.  Chunky, hearty, spicy, and light chili-sauce that is good enough to stand on it’s own.  I topped each serving with some fresh basil and a combination of shredded parmesan and asiago cheese.  This recipe is easily adjustable to your preferences – add more spice or add eggplant as a meat replacement.  I can’t wait to share this one with my family!

Healthy Arrabbiata Recipe

Starbucks Spinach Feta Wrap Copycat

Frozen Spinach Feta Starbucks Recipe

I love Starbucks, and with the re-opening of a location right next to my office, I’ve incorporated a grande coffee and spinach feta wrap into my weekday routine.  I initially tried the wrap because it was the healthier option available…now I just eat it because I love it!  Now, I’m not here to put a product down, or suggest that you shouldn’t eat Starbucks food or frequent the cafe – I still do!  I just needed to not be spending $8+ on breakfast every morning, when I knew I could prepare an equally tasty, but cheaper/healthier option.  Set out to make this happen, I took to the grocery store and kept things simple.  Spinach, feta, egg whites, and sun dries tomatoes are what the wrap is known for – I added some spices and artichokes for an extra tang and bold flavor.  Start to finish, this recipe takes less than 20 minutes, and makes 6 servings.  All for the price of one breakfast, this “wrap” can (almost) be prepared in the wait time it would take during coffee rush-hour.

Spinach Feta Sun dried tomato breakfast

Ingredients:

-6 whole wheat pita pockets (or wraps, of your choice)

-egg whites – about 2.5 cups

-sun dried tomatoes (not stored in olive oil) – I used 3 per wrap

-canned artichoke hearts, about 6

-10oz bag of baby spinach

-6oz fat free crumbled feta cheese

-up to 1T olive oil

-dried italian herbs

-salt & pepper

Sun dried tomato herbed feta artichoke spinach

Instructions:

Start by wilting your spinach in a hot pan, with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  In a separate pan, scramble your egg whites.  While your spinach and eggs are cooking, chop the sun dried tomatoes and artichokes, and mix about 2t of dried italian spices (parsley, basil, oregano) with the feta.

sauteed spinach feta sun dried tomato artichokes

If it’s not already crumbled, break it apart into smaller pieces.  Let the spinach and egg mixture cool, and portion out all ingredients into 6 servings.  When cooled, stuff the pita pockets with the ingredients, and enjoy!  I decided to freeze all 6 of my wraps as a to-go healthy breakfast option.  To freeze, prepare each pita, wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.  Store in large freezer bags and when you’re ready to eat them – remove the foil and microwave!

spinach feta wrap starbucks recipe

According to my calculations, each pita is 250 calories, with 3g fat, 28g carbohydrates (and 9g of fiber), and 26g of protein.  Compare it to the 290 calories, 10g fat, 33g carbohydrates (6g of fiber) and 19g of protein, and this is an amazingly healthy (and delicious) option…not to mention cheaper!

DIY Starbucks Spinach Feta Wrap

Cracked Pepper Crock Pot Turkey

crock pot sliced turkey

 

Cooking protein in the crockpot is probably the easiest part of my cooking routine.  I buy chicken, turkey, and even red meats in bulk, put them in the crockpot right before bed with some seasonings, and wake up to a finished product!  Typically, plain old chicken breast is my go-to – just set the crockpot on low for about 8 hours, shred, cool, and store.  This time around, I wanted to see if I could make an un-shredded protein, to use in a sandwich instead of traditional deli meat.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sub from the local shop, but I don’t want to even think about what “nitrates, nitrites, added water…” are, so why not try and make my own?  I used a turkey tenderloin instead of a cutlet, and coated it in tons of cracked pepper and a sprinkling of salt, and ended up with thick, juicy slices of meat perfect for lunch time.  And because it’s so simply seasoned and cooked all on it’s own, it’s perfect for the freezer!

crock pot turkey tenderloin

Ingredients:

-1.5 – 3 lbs turkey tenderloin, or turkey breast (if using a bone-in turkey breast, this might be up to 5 lbs)

-salt

-freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

Liberally coat the turkey with the salt & pepper mixture, and place in the crock pot.  Set the crockpot to cook on low for 6 hours.  When the time is up, remove the turkey from the crockpot and place on a plate to cool – I use tongs, the turkey will be hot!  After cooling for 5-10 minutes, slice the turkey using a sharp knife to the desired thickness.  Don’t be alarmed if the turkey pulls apart a little – it just means the turkey is tender!

cracked pepper crock pot turkey

That’s it.  There’s maybe about 5 minutes of preparation, and while the turkey is cooking away you can do anything else you’d like!  I caught up on some TV and worked on some new non-cooking kitchen projects to share!  Stay tuned…until then, sandwich?

crock pot turkey sandwich

Chicken en Papillote


This is by far one of the easiest ways to make a delicious and healthy meal, fast.  It’s also a great option if you’re cooking for more than one, or with kids – you can customize each parchment paper package with whatever protein, vegetables, and spices that you’d like, and because each option is individually sealed,  you won’t have any cross-contamination of tastes or scents.  I personally love cooking en papillote because it looks super fancy, and you can cook fish without having the entire house smell like a boat dock.  Plus, it all cooks up in 15-20 minutes, depending on what type of protein you use.  How amazing is that?

Ingredients:

– 4 oz. chicken or fish

– raw, mixed vegetables

– 1 t olive oil

– cooking spray (optional)

– salt and pepper, and any other seasonings desired

– parchment paper

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350° for chicken, or  375° for fish.  Gather, wash, and cut your vegetables into bite sized chunks, or long strips (julienned, if you will) for presentation purposes.  Having some longer or leafier vegetables helps to create a bed for your protein to bake on – keep in mind, your vegetables won’t cook down much, so the size you cut will be the size you eat.  Tear off a piece of parchment paper that is about 1½ times as big as the meal you want to eat.  When in doubt, remember it’s always better to have a larger piece.  Spray the sheet with cooking spray, or drizzle with 1t of olive oil.  Put your vegetables on top of the spray/oil in the center of the parchment, and place your protein on top.  Add another teaspoon or so of oil, and all of your spices.  The more fat and spice you add, the more flavor – I’ve found 1t of fat to be the minimum amount to use.  Once all of your ingredients are prepped, it’s time to seal the package.  Take two opposite corners of the parchment, and fold them together.  Continue folding and rolling the edges together until you’ve completely sealed the package – it will look sort of like a giant empanada (or calzone) on its side.  Place your finished packages on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 15-18 minutes for fish, or 18-20 minutes for chicken.  The vegetables and protein will steam, and the flavors will circulate in the parchment as it cooks – hungry yet? When the timer goes off, let the packages sit on the stove to rest for 3-5 minutes.  Place the sealed packages on dinner plates, and open them up – the aroma that floods out of that package is going to make you so happy – I’m salivating just thinking about it.

This time around, I used chicken, asparagus, zucchini, grape tomatoes, spinach, and red bell peppers, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried oregano and basil, and finished the cooked chicken off with some balsamic vinegar.  I’ve also used the same vegetables, 4 oz. of swordfish, a few lemon slices, garlic, and red pepper flakes – it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

I’d recommend eating this meal right after it’s cooked – you can’t replicate that experience!

Weekend Frittata and Bruschetta

I love breakfast. Breakfast makes it OK that your first waking thought is food and makes eating mandatory.  It’s the most important meal of the day, and it’s my favorite meal of the day.  I also love to eat fresh foods, but cooking every morning is hard!  Frittatas and egg bakes are great options for single-chefs, because you can cook them in bulk and eat them all week.

This recipe is easy, affordable, and versatile – substitute any vegetables you want, or swap the basil, red onion, olive oil and parmesan for cilantro, white onion, lime juice and manchego and you’ve got a completely different dish.  It can also be eaten at any temperature!

Ingredients:

Frittata

  • 2 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t garlic, minced
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 10 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 1 pack of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large carton of egg whites, or about a dozen eggs

unnamed-12

Bruschetta

  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 medium kumato tomatoes (taste the same, but adds awesome color)
  • ¼ red onion
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • really good parmesan

unnamed-7

Instructions:

Start by preheating your oven to 350°.  In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Dice your onion, and chop up the mushrooms and spinach.  When the oil looks like it’s starting to spread around the pan by itself, you’re ready to start cooking.  Add in the minced garlic and onion, and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.  Add in all of the mushrooms and about ⅔ of the chopped spinach, and continue to cook and stir for 5 more minutes or until the mushrooms soften and the spinach wilts.  While you’re sauteeing, spray your baking dish with non-stick spray, and add in the uncooked spinach – this will add bright color and texture to your frittata, and it will also help to cool down the cooked veggie mixture so you won’t cook your eggs before they go into the oven.  Once the veggies are done, toss them in with the raw spinach, pour the egg whites over the mix, and set the pan to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture doesnt wiggle when you shake it.

While that’s baking away, get started on your bruchetta by chopping up the tomatoes and onions.  I like to finely dice half of the tomatoes, and keep the other half bite-sized – bruschetta always looks better when it’s rustic.  Mix the olive oil and garlic in a bowl, and add the tomatoes and onion.  The red onion adds some spice that, along with the basil, turns these tomatoes into bruschetta and not salsa.  Don’t worry if there is a lot of tomato juice in your bowl.  It will help to spread the spices around and act like a dressing.  To cut your basil, layer the leaves on top of one another, and roll the stack along the longer edge.  Then chop the leaves into thin ribbons, and sprinkle them over the tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir.

At this point, your eggs will be (almost) done – let them cool, cut, and serve!  Top your eggs with the bruschetta, and a few parmigiano shavings, or chunks. I never need an excuse to add more cheese.  And this is bruschetta, so don’t forget about the toast.

That’s it! From start to finish, the entire meal takes less than an hour and looks pretty impressive.  If you don’t want to eat the eggs right away, stick them in the fridge. You can even make the bruschetta ahead of time and keep it in the refridgerator to let the flavors marinate.