Friday, December 23, 2011

Fishy Christmas Pasta

Ready for a 20 minute meal that is red and green for the holidays?

1. Spread a pint or two of grape tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add one bag of frozen peas; bring back to a boil and drop in a pound of whole wheat thin spaghetti. Cook according to package directions and drain, reserving about 1/2 a cup of pasta water.
3. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet. Place thawed pollack fillets, seasoned with salt and pepper, into the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Flake and set aside.
4. Roughly chop a handful of fresh basil leaves and set aside.
5. When the tomatoes are looking a little shriveled on top, take them out and transfer them to a large bowl or pot. Add the pasta water and mash with a potato masher. Stir in the basil; then add the pasta and peas, as well as the fish pieces, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and though we went cheeseless this time, I'm sure some parmesan cheese would be lovely at this point as well :)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rotini with Meatballs

Rotini is not only fun to say, it is fun to eat. Twirly pasta. What more could you ask for? Oh, I know. How about a tasty meal that you can get on your table in less than 30 minutes?

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 pound ground turkey or chicken, 1 palmful of fennel seeds, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, and basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Roll them up into little balls and place on a baking sheet (I think I actually used 1.25 pounds meat, and I got 41 mini meatballs out of it.) Bake for 8-10 minutes.

2. While the meatballs are in the oven, heat a splash of olive oil in a pot. Add 4 cloves minced garlic; saute just for a minute, stirring constantly, and then add 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and 1 regular can tomato sauce. Season with basil, oregano, and a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes.

3. Heat a pot of water to boiling. Salt the water; add whole wheat rotini and cook according to package directions.

4. When meatballs have been in the oven for 8 or so minutes, take them out and transfer them into the simmering tomato sauce for 5 to 10 minutes to make sure they are cooked all the way through. When the pasta is done, drain and add it to the pot as well. Serve alongside steamed broccoli, and you've got yourself a quick, easy, and delicious meal!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pumpkin Sausage Macaroni

Don't judge. This is sooo good. And easy! Here are the simple steps.

1. Brown a pound of Italian sausage (I used turkey sausage, but have it your way) until it is crumbly and gooooood.
2. Slice 1/2 pound of mushrooms and add to the sausage. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
3. Pour in 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir up all the bits of sausage from the bottom of the pan. Stir in 1 can pumpkin puree, then 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk).
4. Cook one box of whole wheat elbows until al dente. Mix the pasta and the pumpkin sausage sauce all together. I think you could probably go ahead and eat it like that, making it a super quick meal, or you could pour into a casserole like I did, cover it and bake it at 350 for 20 minutes or so, just to let it set. Either way, you should serve it with fresh hot yeast rolls and die happy.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup

Don't faint, but I did take a picture of this one. I made myself wait to consume it until I had a picture, just for you. This soup is creamy and hearty delicious and full of immune-boosting garlic - perfect for the "cold" season!

Take 3 whole heads of garlic and chop the top third off of each one. Wrap each head of garlic in aluminum foil and put in a 350 oven for 50-60 minutes. Remove and let cool, then squeeze all the pulp out of each garlic into a bowl. Mash with a fork and set aside.

As for the soup itself, start with cooking some bacon in the bottom of a large pot. I used 4 slices of center-cut bacon, which is comparatively lean. Once the bacon is cooked, remove and add to the hot bacon grease 4 carrots and 2 ribs of celery, finely diced. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and oh, probably about 3 pounds of red potatoes, diced into small pieces. Cover with chicken broth and water, until the potatoes are barely covered with liquid. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Once the veggies are tender, take about 2 cups of the mixture and add to the roasted garlic; mash with potato masher and return to pot. Stir it all together, and crumble the reserved bacon into the soup. Serve right away or let it sit on low, stirring occasionally, until ready to serve.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Meatball Subs

Here's another one that I don't have a picture of. Wow, I don't know what is wrong with me. Maybe it's the pregnancy...I get so hungry that my first thought when supper is ready is not, "Okay, where is my camera?" But I need to go ahead and post this one so I don't forget it, because we all loved it! Maybe next time I make it I can add a picture!

First, the bread. You could certainly buy any hoagie style buns that you like, but lately I have been on a kick of making ALL of the bread that we eat from scratch. Maybe it's like nesting, or maybe it's because I know this will probably be impossible once new baby makes her appearance! But here is the recipe I used (adapted from Taste of Home):

  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) quick rising dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for kneading

  • Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Add the water and oil, and mix until combined. Use hands to knead, adding more flour as needed (I could make a joke here but I'll refrain), for about 5 to 10 minutes. Place ball of dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour. Divide into 6 portions, shape into loaves, and then cover and let rise again. I let them rise the second time for another hour, but you don't have to wait that long. Bake at 400 for about 12-15 minutes.

    Now for the meatballs - super simple. Mix one pound lean ground beef, 3/4 cup bread crumbs, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, and a splash or two of soy sauce in a bowl. Form into balls and brown in an oven-safe skillet, olive oil, for about 2-3 minutes per side. Add some minced garlic, and then one large can of crushed tomatoes, as well as Italian herbs to season. Bring to a boil and then transfer to a 400 oven for 15-20 minutes.

    Split your homemade hoagie rolls, and place meatballs inside, topped with mozzarella cheese. Serve with baked sweet potatoes or the veggie of your choice.

    So wish I had a picture to share.

    But at least my tummy is happy.


    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Chicken Butternut Stew

    I don't have a picture of this one, sorry. I guess we gobbled it up too fast! But it's super easy and very tasty, and I really think you should try it!

    I started with some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, covered them in water, and poached them for about 30 minutes on each side, shredding the meat after they were cooked and cooled, and reserving the broth for the stew. Of course, you could use any cooked, shredded chicken that is easiest for you, and store-bought chicken broth if that floats your boat! This way is simply more economical for our family (and a bit tastier, too!)

    Chop an onion and saute in olive oil. Add 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add some minced garlic to cook for about a minute, then cover with chicken broth and one can of diced tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and any Italian herbs you have on hand, and let it cook until the squash is tender (at least 20 minutes - but with the freedom to leave it on the stove much longer if that fits your schedule better.) Stir in one cup of quinoa and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the stew thickens and the quinoa is tender.

    Oh how I wish i could show you a picture! But I hope you enjoy anyway!

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Why is this soup so stinking good? I have no idea. But it is. It earned a "10" from everyone in my house, both for supper and for lunch the next day.

    I started with a package of bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts that I got on sale for $0.99/lb. It had 2 large split chicken breasts in it, which I put in a pot, just barely covered with salted water, and simmered on the stove for about 45 minutes on each side. BOOM - homemade chicken broth.

    In a large pot, saute one large sweet onion (none other than Vidalia, of course), and one red bell pepper, both chopped into small pieces. When they are tender, add 1 bag of frozen corn kernels, 1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed), one small can of green chiles, one large can of crushed tomatoes, and the liquid that the cooked chicken is sitting in. Put the chicken itself aside until it's cool enough to handle, then pull the skin off and shred the meat. Add the meat, along with some chili powder and cumin, back to the soup, and let simmer until ready to eat. This was more of a stew texture, which we really like, but you could add more water or broth to thin it out if you prefer a more soupy soup.

    As for the tortilla part of the chicken tortilla soup, we didn't actually get that far. The original idea was to serve with crushed tortillas on the top, but the chips didn't make our grocery budget this week, so we ate it with saltines that we already had.

    We didn't really miss the tortillas.


    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Vegetable Baked Ziti

    This was a huge hit at our house last night, and super easy to make. In keeping with our weekly grocery budget, we try to have at least 2 or 3 meatless meals each week. This is one that turned out great...

    In a large pot, saute 4-5 carrots, peeled and diced, in olive oil. 5 minutes later, add one bag of frozen broccoli florets and cover. 5 minutes later, uncover and add 1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced. 5 minutes later, add a couple of cloves of minced garlic, one large (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, and oregano, basil, and pepper to taste.

    Meanwhile, cook up a box of whole wheat penne according to package directions. Drain the pasta a minute or so shy of being done, as it will continue to cook in the sauce. Add the drained pasta to the tomato and vegetable sauce, mix together, and transfer to a large baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. As always, if you are prepping this meal during naptime, you can just cut the oven off at 25 or 30 minutes and leave the casserole in there until you are ready to eat!


    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Apple Cider Chicken

    OH my word.

    I dare you to try this and see if it is not wonderful. Then make it for all of your friends.

    I got the recipe from Rachael Ray and made just a couple of adjustments.

    It tastes like autumn. In the best way possible.

    Start with some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (which you can probably get for less than a dollar a pound at least once every 4-6 weeks.) In a large pot, heat a Tablespoon or two of olive oil and then brown the chicken, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and add to the pot 2-3 thinly sliced sweet onions, 3 Tablespoons of honey, 4 cloves minced garlic, and salt and pepper, adding a touch more of oil if needed. Cook the onions over medium heat for about 30 minutes. When the onions are brown and soft, stir in 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 cups chicken stock. Add 3 or 4 red potatoes, chopped, and put your chicken back in to finish cooking. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes, until the chicken is done. Remove chicken one more time, discard the skin, and pull the chicken off the bone with 2 forks, or with your fingers if cool enough. Put all the meat back in the pot, stir, cover, and turn off the heat. Let it sit until you are ready to eat, heating it back up just before serving.

    Oh, and if you have a breadmaker or if you enjoy kneading, please make a loaf of honey wheat bread to go along with it. Or just serve it up with any thick bread of your choice, to sop up the goodness left on your plate after the chicken is gone.

    I apologize for the picture; I had already eaten half my chicken before I remembered to take a picture.

    It's that good.


    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Portugese Style Stew

    With the onset of fall, stews and soups, filled with rich, deep colors and flavors, are calling my name. Here is something that my mother in law originally introduced me to, though she makes hers with collards rather than kale, and this version has a few additions.

    In a skillet, brown one chopped onion and one pound of sliced sausage. I used smoked turkey sausage because that's what was on sale, but a spicier sausage would be even better. Add the browned sausage and onions to a crock pot, along with one can diced tomatoes, one can drained chickpeas, lots of chopped red-skinned potatoes, and a whole bunch of kale, stemmed and torn. Yes, it will look like the crock pot is going to leak kale, but trust me, it will wilt down considerably. Bring it all together with four cups of homemade or store-bought chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and set on low for 8 hours.

    Later that day...

    Mmmm. Enjoy!

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Shepherd's Pie...with Biscuits!

    Shepherd's pie is wonderful. It's a clean-out your fridge and feel really good about yourself kind of dish. And from the traditional mashed potatoes to random drop biscuits, the toppings are endless!

    Dice and saute the following veggies:
    1 Onion
    4 Carrots
    2 Celery Ribs
    1 Sweet Potato

    Add 1 pound ground meat (I guessed it...ground venison). Once the meat is browned, add 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms.

    Cook for about 5 more minutes, and then stir in about 1/4 cup flour. Slowly add about 2 cups beef broth, and a couple dashes each of Worcestershire and hot sauce. Add 1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas, and then season with salt and pepper. Simmer to thicken the mixture while you mix up your favorite biscuit mix. It could be a boxed mix, or just a simple recipe, like...

    2 cups whole wheat flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and then cut in 4 Tablespoons butter. Stir in 3/4 cups milk just until everything is moistened.

    Whatever biscuit recipe you use, once it is mixed up, here are your next steps: Pour the meat and veggie mixture into a large casserole, and then drop spoonfuls or pieces of biscuit dough. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, watching the biscuits to make sure they don't get too brown. I like to cook mine on the longer side because I like my veggies pretty tender.


    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Quinoa with Sausage and Beans

    Here's another quinoa recipe! If you haven't tried this delightful grain-like complete protein yet, please do so!

    Slice sausage of your choice and cook in olive oil in a large pot. Once cooked, add 2 cups quinoa, 1 can light kidney beans (drained and rinsed), 1 can great northern beans (drained and rinsed), 2 cups chicken broth, 1/4 cup bbq sauce, and a dash of hot sauce. Bring to a boil and then transfer to a baking dish. Put in 400 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.


    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Vegetable Soup Remix

    Let me set the scene for you.

    We have a garden. It is...small. But it is ours, and we love it. We get tons of tomatoes from our garden. But our squash plants are not very productive (yet...I'm an eternal optimist). So sitting on my kitchen counter I had 1 little butternut squash and 1 lonely yellow squash.

    Yesterday I went to church with the normal suspects in my purse, and thanks to my sweet friend Lauren, I came home with a purse full of okra and these cute little orange peppers.

    Okra? I've never cooked okra in my life. And now my purse was full of it.

    Add all that to the half-bag of baby carrots that really needed to be eaten, sitting in my fridge, and the bundle of kale that I got on sale at the market, and what do you get?

    Vegetable Soup Remix.

    And I'll be honest, it was awesome. And just what this little baby inside of me was craving.

    I heated some olive oil in a pot and added the veggies as I chopped. Sliced carrots, then chopped butternut and yellow squash, sliced okra, chopped peppers, minced garlic. Then I double-checked in my freezer and lo and behold, there was a bag of frozen green beans only about a third of the way full. Let's throw those in too. Top that with some course ground salt and pepper, chili powder, can of diced tomatoes, and frozen homemade chicken stock; chop or tear kale into pieces and add to the pot; throw in a can of drained chickpeas; bring to a boil, and simmer while you go running with the Coach and the Little...and you come home to a glorious feast of randomness that makes you want seconds.

    And thirds.


    Walnut Granola

    This is super good. I made enough for us to eat for breakfast all week, but not enough to snack on in between. So when the Coach is home I have to stand in the kitchen guarding the bowl with a wooden spoon. Try telling him that cereal is only for breakfast.

    Heat oven to 275. In a large bowl, mix 4 1/2 cups rolled oats, 1 cup untoasted wheat germ, and 1 cup oat bran. Set aside.

    On the stovetop, heat 1 cup real maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 Tablespoons canola oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (depending on taste). When the mixture just starts to bubble, remove from heat and mix together with dry ingredients. Place in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put in 275 oven for 20 minutes; stir and put back in oven for 10 more minutes. Then add 1 cup finely chopped walnuts and return to oven for 10 minutes. Take out of oven, turn up heat to 350, and then finish by baking until browned to your liking (it takes about 10 more minutes for me.) Allow to cook completely and then store in an airtight container.


    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Brushetta Chicken Casserole

    This is a dish that takes about 7 minutes of prep time and tastes amazing. It's a great one for a busy weeknight, yet it tastes so good that I'm pretty sure the next time I take a meal to someone, this will be it.

    This recipe comes straight from a Kraft "Food and Family" magazine.

    Preheat oven to 400. In a medium bowl, mix 1 can diced tomatoes (undrained), 1 6oz package of chicken stuffing mix, 1/2 cup water, and 2 cloves garlic, minced. In a baking dish, place a pound or more of boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces. Top with mozzarella cheese and basil (the recipe calls for 1 tsp dried basil but I used fresh basil out of my garden), then top with the stuffing/tomato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is done. I served it with a simple mushroom rice pilaf (saute mushrooms in butter, add rice and stir for a few minutes, add water and chicken bullion, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until done) and steamed broccoli.

    Oh, it's so good. Please make it. And enjoy!

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Chicken Brunswick Stew

    I'm BACK!!!!

    It has been entirely too long since I have put recipes up consistently...but there is a reason...a very good one...a very tiny one who is growing inside of me as we speak! Yes, we are having another Little in about 6 months! And the first trimester has not been my friend! But thankfully I am coming out of tastes good again...and that means I'm back in the kitchen!!!

    Needless to say, I have no idea where this blog is going in the next few months. Wherever the cravings take me, I suppose. And tonight it is...Brunswick stew!

    Start with a lot of cooked, shredded chicken. You could boil a whole chicken, or as I did, several split chicken breasts (which go on sale every few weeks down to 98 cents per pound...maybe even lower in other places!) However you go about it, cook and finely shred your chicken, and in a large pot add to the chicken...

    1 can crushed tomatoes
    1 can creamed corn
    1 cup frozen baby lima beans
    1 cup frozen green peas
    1 cup bbq sauce
    1 Tablespoon vinegar
    1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 Tablespoon hot sauce
    Salt, pepper, and celery salt to taste

    Add enough chicken broth (you can use the water that the chicken cooked in as well) to make the stew as thick or thin as you want it. I probably added a little less than 2 cups. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, or as long as you want (Just don't forget to stir every once in a while!)

    So good. It was Little's first Brunswick stew experience, and she ate two bowls.


    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Ridiculous Chicken Pie

    Mmmmm. Oh my. This is good. Really good.

    Please do me a favor and go into your kitchen right now. Melt a Tablespoon or 2 of butter over medium heat and add a couple of handfuls of sliced baby bella mushrooms and a few carrots, peeled and diced. After about five minutes, add 3 or 4 Tablespoons of flour. Stir it around and then slowly stir in 2 cups of chicken broth. Add some frozen peas and frozen corn, and some cooked chicken, either shredded or chopped. Add salt and pepper to taste (but remember to taste it first before adding salt; the broth may give it enough flavor on its own). You know what I think would also be really good in this? A couple of eggs, hard-boiled and then peeled and chopped. Trust me. I would have added them myself but Little is allergic to eggs.

    As the mixture thickens over a medium heat, walk on over to the cabinet and pull out a mixing bowl. Mix 2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then, using either your hands or two knives or a pastry cutter like the one my lovely mother-in-law got me for Christmas last year, cut in 2 Tablespoons softened butter and 3 Tablespoons honey. Bring it all together by stirring in 3/4 cup milk until everything is moistened.

    Pour the chicken and vegetable mixture into a large casserole. Pull apart pieces of the biscuit dough and place all over the top. Bake in a 400 oven for 25-30 minutes, until the biscuits are nice and golden brown.

    Here is the casserole before it went into the oven...

    Here it is after the oven...

    And here it is just before it went into my mouth...

    Mmmm. Please enjoy!

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Chicken Asparagus Bake

    As I cooked this dish, I started to sing, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." The red bell peppers and green asparagus made me think of the holidays, and I might just revisit this meal in December for that very reason. But, I'll admit, I'll probably revisit before then as well.

    Start by melting 2 Tablespoons butter in a pot. Add one finely chopped red bell pepper and about four cups of sliced mushrooms. Cook in butter for about five minutes; then stir in 3 Tablespoons flour, a little bit of nutmeg, and a little bit of salt or chicken boullion. After a minute, stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken, and 1/2 pound fresh or frozen asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. Pour mixture into casserole and top with breadcrumbs. Soft breadcrumbs work well in this dish, so I just threw the end pieces of a loaf into the food processor for a quick homemade version. Bake at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes.


    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Lentil-Syle Taco Salad

    I didn't even know what to call this one. But it's good. You should try it.

    Start by peeling and cubing a butternut squash. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a 400 oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the squash cooks, finely chop an onion and saute in a little olive oil. As the onion becomes tender, add 2 cloves minced garlic, one cup dry lentils, one Tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Stir around a minute and then add 2 and a half cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

    After about half an hour, uncover the lentil mixture and add one can of diced tomatoes (lightly drained) as well as the butternut squash. Stir it all together and let it sit over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Serve over tortilla chips and topped with cheese. It would probably also make a good taco filling!


    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Chicken Casserole: Mushrooms and Carrots

    Wow, how many variations on chicken casserole could there be? As many as the hair on our heads? As many as the sand on the seashore? Only the Lord knows. But here's one of 'em.

    Start by sauteing some sliced mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and return the pan back to the heat. To the pan add 1 Tablespoon butter. Once it melts, sprinkle in a couple of Tablespoons of flour, and allow it to cook out for a minute, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn't burn. Whisk in about 1 cup of chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Dice up a few carrots into very small pieces and add to the thickening broth. After about 7-8 minutes, throw the mushrooms back in, along with 1 cup of cooked, shredded chicken. Stir it all together and pour into a casserole dish; top with crushed whole wheat Ritz crackers. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.


    Black Bean and Mushroom Quesadillas

    Here's a quick, meatless, throw-together meal for a busy weeknight...

    Slice up a bunch of mushrooms and throw them in a hot oiled skillet. While they saute, drain a can of black beans and dump into the food processor along with a few shakes of chili powder and cumin, and a clove or two of minced garlic. Puree until smooth.

    Assemble your quesadillas by spreading the bean mixture over a whole wheat tortilla; then sprinkle some cheese over the beans, and finally add a spoonful of mushrooms to 1/2 of the tortilla.

    Fold over and heat in skillet, turning once, until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is a little brown on each side.

    Quick, easy, delicious! Enjoy!

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs

    Confession: I did not measure anything in this meal. It was literally a run-around-the-kitchen-and-throw-a-bunch-of-stuff-in-bowls-and-pots-and-pans meal. So, I'll just give you the ingredients and let you play around with the amount.

    1. The meatballs

    Start with a pound of lean ground chicken. Put the meat in a bowl and add a generous amount of soy sauce (maybe 1/2 cup???) and a dash or 2 of Worcestershire sauce. Then add some ground ginger (1/2 Tablespoon?) and a little bit of red pepper flakes. Pour in some breadcrumbs until the mixture is nice and not so sticky that it sticks to your fingers. Make16 meatballs, put on a baking sheet, and put in a 400 degree oven for oh, 15 minutes or so.

    2. The veggies

    Thinly slice 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow squash, and 2 zucchini. Saute in olive oil until tender. DONE.

    3. The noodles

    Cook in boiling, salted water until tender. DONE.

    4. The sauce

    In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/8 cup sugar, and some ground ginger. Whisk 1/2 Tablespoon of corn starch into 2 Tablespoons of water, and add to the sauce. Heat until thickened (about 3 minutes). DONE.

    To serve: noodles on the bottom, veggies next, drizzle of the sauce, and meatballs on top.



    Pineapple Chicken

    *Inspired by a recipe found in Everyday with Rachael Ray

    Looking for a way to add another serving of fruit to your day? Just throw some pineapple in with your chicken! It's the obvious solution!

    In a skillet, brown 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks and seasoned with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken and then saute one red bell pepper, thinly sliced, in the same pan. 5 minutes later, add a package of mushrooms, sliced, and saute for 5 more minutes. Then add a 20 oz can of pineapple chunks, drained (but reserve the juice!)

    In a small bowl, whisk together 4 Tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 cup pineapple juice (reserved from the can), and 1 Tablespoon of corn starch.

    Return the chicken to the pan, and then stir in the liquid mixture. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice and with steamed broccoli.


    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Beef and Portabella Tacos

    Oh how I love tacos.

    Tacos, tacos, I love you for being so yummy
    I fill you up with all kinds of goodness and welcome you into my tummy

    These are great. 3 main ingredients: ground beef, portabella mushrooms, and red bell pepper.

    Brown the lean ground beef. Once it is cooked, add one minced clove of garlic, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, a tablespoon or 2 of flour, and 2/3 cup water. Simmer until thickened.

    Cut one red bell pepper in half lengthwise and take out the core and seeds. Slice thinly. Saute in olive oil. While the pepper starts to cook, clean 3 large portabello mushroom caps by scraping out the gills with a spoon and then wiping with a paper towel. Slice lengthwise and add to the saute pan.

    Once the veggies are tender, add them to the beef and stir. Fill whole wheat flour tortillas with the mixture and top with cheese if desired.

    Mmmm. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Green Quinoa

    Please trust me on this one. It is a-mazing. But it does look a little weird.

    Start by peeling and cubing a butternut squash. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring at least once.

    Now cook your quinoa. To cook 2 cups of quinoa, start with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring the water to a boil and drop the quinoa in. Stir, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, dust off the food processor.

    Throw in lots of fresh spinach, as much as you can cram in there, or at least as much as you have on hand. If you need to go ahead and whirl the blades for a second to make room for more ingredients, do it. Then add a handful of fresh basil, the juice and zest of one lemon, 4-5 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper, and up to 1/4 cup olive oil (to achieve desired consistency). Optional ingredient: 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, or in our allergenic case, goat cheese. Puree until smooth.

    The quinoa and squash should be finishing up at about the same time. Uncover the quinoa and fluff with a fork; then add your homemade pesto and stir. Add the roasted butternut squash to the mix. Optional: You may top this with toasted almonds or walnuts.

    Nonoptional: You must go back for seconds.


    Mexican Lasagna

    Yet another way to serve up your favorite taco ingredients!!!

    For the base sauce of the lasagna...
    Brown one pound of your choice of lean ground meat. I used ground chicken breast.
    Puree 2 cans drained, rinsed pinto beans in the food processor. Add spices to your liking...chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, etc.
    Mix the beans into the meat. Add one can of rotel tomatoes, 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, and 1/2 can tomato sauce.
    Once it is all warmed up, taste to see if you need to add any spices.

    Boil one package of whole wheat lasagna and drain them when they are still a little firm. Layer the lasagna: A little sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, then noodles, meat sauce, and shredded cheese. Continue until the ingredients are all used up!

    Bake in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.


    Friday, May 6, 2011

    BeST Chicken Pasta

    I had a hard time naming this dish. "Basil-Spinach-Tomato Puree and Chicken with Pasta" sounded too long. But that's what it is. And it is oh-so-good. Plus, you can have it completely done in less than 30 minutes! Here's how...

    1. Spread a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes on a baking sheet. Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.
    2. Cut 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite size chunks. Season with salt and pepper, and brown in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet.
    3. Drop a pound of whole wheat penne into a pot of salted boiling water.
    4. Combine 3-4 cups fresh spinach, a handful of fresh basil, salt, pepper, and 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil in a food processor. As soon as the tomatoes are done, add them as well. Process until well-blended. I know it looks gross. Try to ignore it.
    5. Toast a handful of walnuts in a small skillet until you can smell them (about 5 minutes). Break the pieces up by hand or put in a ziplock bag and take a couple of whacks with a mallet or cast-iron skillet.
    6. Drain the pasta after it's been cooking for 10 minutes, and return to the pot. Add the chicken and walnuts; pour basil-spinach-tomato (aka BeST) mixture over everything and stir to combine. Top with Parmesan cheese...


    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

    Recipe from, with 2 small adjustments...

    Easiest. Meal. Ever.


    Morning: Place chicken in crock pot. (I used a whole pack of split chicken breasts, after removing the skin). Pour one bottle of good-quality bbq sauce over chicken. Dump one can of pineapple chunks with juice over everything. Add some diced rutabegas on top. Pour 1/4 cup soy sauce over the rutabegas. Cover. Forget about it.

    Afternoon (7-8 hours later): Remove chicken. Using 2 forks, pull chicken off the bone and shred. Return to juices.

    Supper: Eat.

    This chicken makes the best sandwiches. I was going to take a picture of my sandwich but I ate it before I could get my camera back out. Oops.


    2 for 1: Taco Salad and Calzones

    The Coach's birthday was last weekend and we had one of his favorites: taco salad. I know, this hardly calls for a recipe; you just throw all your favorite taco fillings on top of tortilla chips. But here is our house's version:

    For starters, we skip the taco seasoning packet and make our own. I really don't measure the spices too carefully, but our mix goes a little something like...2 Tablespoons flour, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of both black and white pepper. You can go heavier or lighter on the cayenne to adjust heat levels. Anyway, mix all those together in a bowl. Brown one pound lean ground venison/beef/turkey/what-have-you in a skillet; then add the seasoning mix and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

    Our assembly goes...
    1. Tortilla Chips
    2. Hot Brown Rice
    3. Taco Meat
    4. Shredded Cheese
    5. Pinto/Black Beans
    6. Corn
    7. Avocado

    You can have this meal from stove to table in less than 20 minutes, if you're intense in the kitchen.

    So then the question became, what do we do with the leftovers? I'm always a fan of leftovers for lunch the next day, but we still had tons of taco stuff left after one round of leftovers. So the next night I tried something a little crazy.

    Taco calzones.

    I started by dumping all the leftovers (taco meat, black/pinto beans, corn, and rice) in a skillet and pouring one can of tomato sauce over everything. I also added probably 1 Tablespoon of chili powder and 2 teaspoons cumin to flavor the sauce.

    While that heated up, I made a pizza crust, just like the one I made in this post. I rolled it out flat on a baking sheet and ladled my filling over one side of it. And of course topped everything with cheese.

    Then I folded the top down, pressed down the edges, and baked at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes.

    It was good.

    Enjoy! Twice!


    Start by browning some diced chicken and sliced sausage in a pot. I used 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 1/2 turkey kielbasa. Before cooking the meat, season with your favorite cajun or creole seasonings. I used Tony Chachere's seasoning (in the green shaker).

    Once the meat is cooked through, remove and set aside. In the same pot, cook 1/2 onion, 2 ribs celery, and 1 red bell pepper, all finely diced.

    After about 7-9 minutes, add 1 can diced tomatoes, 2 cups chicken broth, a Tablespoon each of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, a teaspoon of dried bay leaf, and 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking brown rice. I probably also added a little of my Tony Chachere's seasoning here as well. I don't really remember. I knew I should have done this post the night I cooked it.

    Bring to a boil and then put a lid on and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add meat back in and simmer for 10 more minutes.


    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Ultimate Spaghetti

    Here's an easy way to get more veggies into your diet using a family favorite meal. It is sweet and spicy. It is nutritious and delicious. It is...ultimate spaghetti.

    Start with 1 to 2 pieces of bacon. Cook in the bottom of a large pot and then remove. Brown one pound of lean ground beef or venison in the same pot. While the meat browns, shred 2 medium zucchini, thinly slice 2 medium carrots, and mince 4 cloves of garlic. Add to the pot and cook for about 7 minutes.

    Add 2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms and cook 5 more minutes.

    Stir in 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, then 1 large (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes and 1 regular can of diced tomatoes. Spice it up with red pepper flakes, 1 Tablespoon fennel seed, lots of oregano and basil, and oh, about 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar. Crumble your cooked bacon back into the sauce if you'd like. (I would like very much, thank you.) Put a lid on it and simmer for 20 minutes to 1 hour, however long you have. Serve on top of thin whole wheat spaghetti.


    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Spicy Chicken Pasta

    *Adapted from

    Who doesn't love pasta?

    If you just answered that question in the affirmative, I don't believe you. So just go ahead and cook this. You know you'll love it.

    Start with 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts. Cut into bite-size pieces and season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and lots of pepper (black, white, and cayenne). Drop into a hot, oiled skillet and cook until meat is done.

    Remove chicken from skillet and into the same pan drop 2 thinly sliced red bell peppers and a cup or two of sliced mushrooms. Cook for about 5-7 minutes; then add 3 cloves of minced garlic. Stir and then put in either fresh or canned diced tomatoes. I diced up about 5 Roma tomatoes and it turned out quite nicely. Add the same spices to the vegetables; cook for 5-10 minutes. Then slide the chicken back in the pan and let it all simmer together while you cook a pound of whole wheat linguine or angel hair spaghetti in boiling water, according to package directions. Mix everything together....

    And enjoy!

    Roast Beef Subs


    Tender, juicy, dripping beef.

    With cheese.

    Hot, melty cheese.

    On a bun.

    A thick, hearty, whole wheat sub-style bun.

    Are you in???

    Start with a beef roast, like eye of round or chuck roast. *If using chuck roast, trim off any excess fat first* Place the whole roast in a baking dish. Cover with 1 can beef consomme or broth, 1/2 cup soy sauce, and a few dashes each of Worcestershire and hot sauce. Throw in four or five peeled whole cloves of garlic.

    Put in a 250 degree oven for 5 hours.

    Use 2 forks to tear meat apart. Then put back in the oven to keep warm and soak in the juices until time to serve.

    Melt provolone cheese on a whole wheat roll. Add lots of juicy, dripping beef. Use any extra juice for dipping.

    Enjoy. Thoroughly.