Sunday, September 18, 2011

Creamy, Greek Inspired Tomato Sauce


Camera phone again.... sorry. Maybe I will not get so lazy in the future. :)

Greek Inspired Pasta? Yes, please! 
I realized once I started cooking that I did not have enough feta cheese. Recipe calls for 12 oz and I only had 6. Boo! I did have some mascarpone cheese in the fridge and decided to use that. It worked out great and actually helped to make the sauce creamier. I was going to add chopped spinach at the end, but I forgot. Maybe next time because there will be a next time!

Salt
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves; finely chopped
4 cloves garlic; chopped
1 large red onion; chopped (I used a white onion)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chicken stock)
2 pints cherry tomatoes;  halved if large
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound penne pasta (I used whole grain)
12 ounces Greek feta, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves; chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley; chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium to medium-high heat. Melt the butter into the oil. When the butter begins to foam, add the oregano, garlic and onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine or stock and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the tomatoes have burst and the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta.

Stir the sauce, then add the feta and cook until melted, about 1 minute. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking liquid and toss to combine, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the mint and parsley, and serve.

Source: Food Network

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Basil Oil

Quick and easy summer pasta. Also a great way to use up fresh basil!

12 ounces pasta
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 can Cannellini Beans; rinsed and drained
10 oz fresh spinach; rinsed and chopped

Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a blender, puree 2 cups of the basil leaves with the oil until smooth; pour through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids.
Toss the pasta with the basil oil, goat cheese, spinach, beans, the remaining 1 cup basil leaves, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Source: Real Simple

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chicago Steakhouse Sandwich


Please excuse my pictures lately. The camera on my phone seems to be easier at transferring to blogger than taking the time to download pictures. Sorry!


Back to business. This Chicago Steakhouse Sandwich recipe comes from the Newest Food Network Star, Jeff Mauro. I followed the Food Network Challenge and was rooting for Jeff the whole time. I love his new show and have saved almost all his recipes to try in the near future. This one was a crowd pleaser. I highly recommend this sandwich. Make it tonight! Below is the recipe from the food network - I cut the recipe in half and it was perfect for 2.

Steak:
20-ounce boneless rib eye steak
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sauteed Garlicky Spinach:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Three 10-ounce bags fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing:
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sandwich Build:
1 fresh loaf crispy French bread, cut into 8-inch segments, buttered and grilled

For the steak: Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Place the steak in the hot skillet, reduce the heat to medium and sear until well browned, about 4 minutes. Flip the steak and cook until medium/medium-rare, about 6 more minutes. Set aside, loosely covered with foil, and let rest before slicing.

For the sauteed garlicky spinach: Heat the oil and sliced garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is golden brown and crispy. Remove the garlic and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Add the crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir to combine with the oil. Cover and let cook over medium-high heat until the spinach is wilted but still bright in color, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the garlic chips.

For the buttermilk blue cheese dressing: Mix the mayonnaise, buttermilk, blue cheese, dill, mustard and pepper together in a bowl and set aside. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

For the sandwich build: Slice the rested steak against the grain into 1/4-inch slices, removing any non-rendered fat. Place the steak slices on the bottom bun, top with the spinach and schmear the top bun with buttermilk blue cheese dressing.
I added Avocado slices for another layer of flavor. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

ABs World Famous Burger


A healthy take on the good ol' burger. I love spinach and any recipe that calls for it, I usually have to try it. Loved it!

1 egg
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup diced onion
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded Mexican-blend cheese
Salt and pepper
Tomato, Avocado and extra spinach leaves to serve
Whole Wheat buns; toasted

In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add everything else, mixing it--your hands are the best tool--until well blended. Form into four patties. Place burgers in a grill pan or nonstick skillet that's heated over medium-high. Cook 6 minutes per side or to desired level of doneness.
Serve with tomatoes and avocados on a whole wheat bun.

Source: The Abs Diet Cookbook

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Peas


As fall approaches, I like to make "soul" warming dinners. This one is easy and full of flavor!

1 medium tomato
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
20 oz 93% lean ground turkey
4 medium scallions, chopped
1 cup fresh peas
1 carrot; peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
8 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cumin, or to taste
salt, to taste
1 bay leaf
Brown Rice (to serve over)

In a mini food processor or you can chop by hand finely chop tomato, garlic and cilantro.

In a large skillet, brown turkey and season with salt and cumin to taste.
When meat is browned and cooked through add scallions, chopped tomato mixture, peas, carrots, potato, tomato sauce, water, cumin, salt and bay leaf.
Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until potatoes are cooked through, about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed. Remove bay leaf and serve over rice.

Source: Skinny Taste

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies



Brownies made with Black Beans? That are actually good? Hmmm.... I just had to try these out of curiosity and boy was I amazed. Everyone loved them and they didn't even know there were black beans in there till after they went for seconds. I would make this again for sure!



1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed very well
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 8-x 8-inch baking pan; set aside.

Process the black beans in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the chocolate chips and process again until smooth. Mix in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and pulse a few times just until the chips are incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides and it passes the toothpick test. Cool completely in the pan, then slice into squares.

Source: Made in Melissa's Kitchen

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

A great summer side dish!

1 cup walnuts
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears), raw or cooked
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)

Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeƱos, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Feta before serving.
Source: Real Simple

Monday, September 5, 2011

Amazing Banana Bread



We always seem to end up with 1 or 2 bananas that take a turn for the worst. I was looking for a new banana bread recipe when I came across this one. The crumble topping is what makes this bread "Amazing!" 


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch metal baking pan (or use nonstick spray).

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk next 5 ingredients in large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients; stir to blend. Transfer batter to pan. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and brown sugar; sprinkle over batter.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool bread in pan 30 minutes. Turn pan on its side; slide out bread, being careful not to dislodge topping. Turn bread right side up and cool completely.

Sources: Stephanie Cooks & Bon Appetit

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes for Two




I had a cupcake craving last night. Not sure why, but maybe (just maybe) it was because I just got done watching Cupcake Wars on my DVR.  
I came across this recipe to make just two cupcakes and saved it. Knowing that 2 cupcakes would come in hand one day. These two, sweet, little treats were so incredibly easy and fast to make. I think it may become a problem! 

1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/4 cup flour
1/4 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 2 liners. (I was out of liners, but determined to make these - so I just sprayed cooking spray in a muffin tin. Worked like a charm!)


In a bowl, add egg white and sugar and whisk until combined. Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in milk. Divide batter equally.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until cake is set. Let cool completely, then frost as desired. 
I did not have the ingredients needed to make frosting, so I melted a few leftover white chocolate chips and spread on top of the cupcakes. Then I topped with Redi Wip, chocolate chips and blueberries. 


Husband was very excited!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stuffed Sausage Cups

Picture from Made in Melissa's Kitchen

I failed to snap a picture before these beauties were gobbled up, so I am borrowing from the blog where I found them. If you are looking for a new appetizer, try these!

1 pound ground bulk sausage
1/4 cup onion; diced
4 ounces cream cheese; softened (regular or 1/3 less fat)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese; shredded
2 packages frozen phyllo cups

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Add cream cheese, stirring constantly until cheese has melted. Add cheddar cheese and continue to heat through until the cheddar has just melted. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the sausage mixture into each mini phyllo cup. Arrange filled cups on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Farmer's Market Pasta


Our local Farmer's Market recently opened and I am beyond excited that I can walk from my house! One vendor was selling Black Tie Gourmet Mushrooms. These are mushrooms that are slow cooked with herbs, oils and butter. I could eat the whole container myself in one sitting, these are that good. But I decided to save for a pasta dish and I am so glad I did. YUM!

3/4 lb pasta; cooked to al dente (reserve 1 cup pasta water)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves; crushed
1 onion; diced
2 zucchini; diced
1 red pepper; diced
3-4 red skinned potatoes; diced (farmers market find - different for pasta, but so good!)
10-12 ounces fresh spinach
1 container black tie gourmet mushrooms
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese

Saute garlic and onion in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, then add zucchini and red pepper. Add crushed red pepper flakes and adjust seasoning. Then add black tie gourmet mushrooms and fresh spinach. Cook till spinach is wilted.
Toss with cooked pasta, add reserved pasta water if too dry. Top with Parmesan cheese!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes


This recipe is from Rachael Ray - so that gives me the right to say "YUM-O".

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 lb ground sirloin
1 white onion; diced
1/4 cup steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
Salt and Pepper
Dinner Rolls
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup provolone; shredded

In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add oil and brown the sirloin for about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and cook another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Split open your rolls and toast under a broiler.

Melt the butter in a medium size skillet over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in the milk, bring to a bubble and let thicken about 2 minutes. Turn off the cheese and stir in the cheese till melted.

To serve, scoop the meat onto the rolls and top with cheese sauce.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Rice Bake


Mexican night is always a winner in my book - I love all things Mexican! This recipe is a keeper!

2 cups white long grain rice
2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken 
One 15-ounce can enchilada sauce
One 4-ounce can sliced black olives
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes or Ro*tel
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Cook rice according to package directions.
Place chicken, enchilada sauce, olives, tomatoes, sour cream, salt, pepper and cumin into a large bowl, mixing to combine. Pour cooked rice into prepared baking dish and layer beans on top of rice. Pour chicken mixture over rice and top evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cheese is melted and rice is hot.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stuffed Artichokes


You can't go wrong with stuffed artichokes! Cooking these brought me back to my Grandma's kitchen in the 80s. I love how smells can do that to you. 




Artichokes
1 - 2 cups bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic; chopped


Take the artichokes and cut off the stems and top of the leaves.  Then spread the leaves and run water in them and place upside down on a plate to drain.  Then mix bread crumbs, olive oil and chopped garlic together. Spread the leaves and fill with bread crumbs. Put in a pan with water to about half way up the artichoke and simmer with a lid on for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You will know they are done with the leaves come off easily. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Turkey Noodle Casserole

Who doesn't love a good noodle casserole? This was a perfect dish for a cold, rainy day.




1 lb Ground Turkey (or ground beef)
1 can 15-ounces Tomato Sauce
8 ounces Egg Noodles
½ teaspoon Salt
Sprinkle Black Pepper
1/2 cup Light Sour Cream (I used Greek Yogurt)
1 1/4 cup Non Fat Small Curd Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup Green onions; chopped
1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown meat in a large skillet; drain then return to the pan. Add tomato sauce and salt and pepper to season. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Season with black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

Spray a 8 X 11 baking dish with cooking spray. To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

Recipe adapted from
The Pioneer Woman.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Turkey and Black Bean Nachos


After a weekend of company, I found myself with a few bags of leftover tortilla chips. What to do? Make nachos! I threw this dinner together in no time. Perfect with"Thirsty Thursday"Margartia!



Tortilla chips (I had Multi-grain and lime flavored Tostitos leftover)
1 can reduced sodium black beans; drained and rinsed
1 can Ro*tel tomatoes with chilis
1 cup shredded cheddar/Monterrey Jack cheese blend
A few spoonfuls of queso dip (leftover from company and a bit of a splurge.)
1 lb. ground turkey
1 small onion; chopped
1 lime
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Salsa and Greek Yogurt (my sour cream) to top

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large pan, saute onion till translucent. Add turkey and cook till browned. Drain; return to pan and add black beans and Ro*tel. Season with chili powder and cumin; stir until warmed through. Remove from heat and squeeze juice of 1 lime over mixture.

Arrange tortilla chips on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil. Top with turkey mixture. Spoon queso over turkey mixture and top with shredded cheese.
Bake until cheese is melted.
Top with your favorite ingredients!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Breakfast Sausage Pizza

The revival of a classic... 
Perfect for company - holidays - or any breakfast meal. 



1 lb sausage (Bob Evan's Hot Sausage works great!)
2 cans crescent rolls (Pillsbury Recipe Creations work best because there are no seams)
2 cups frozen hash browns; thawed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

A cookie sheet with edges that are larger than 9 x 13 works best. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Roll crescent rolls onto cookie sheet to cover bottom; leaving small edges on top and closing all seams. Cook and drain sausage. Mix with hash browns and cheddar cheese. Spread over crescent rolls.
Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour evenly over sausage mixture. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chicken Marsala

My sweet husband bought me a new Italian Cookbook (I think it was a hint that I need to cook more Italian!) It is a great book filled with beautiful pictures - which happens to be the only way I like to read cookbooks - by the pictures. This Chicken Marsala recipe was calling out to both Chad and I. I could have eaten a lot more than I did - it was amazingly awesome! :)


1 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (14 oz)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallot or onion
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter; divided
10 oz mushrooms; trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 Tablespoons olive oil; divided
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dry Marsala wine
2/3 cup organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Cracked pepper and salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan; over high heat. Boil uncovered until reduced to about 3/4 cup; about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook shallot/onion in 3 Tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until golden. Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown; about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Put flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Gently pound chicken to 1/4 inch thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap using the flat side of a meat pounder.
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.
Heat 1 Tablespoon each of oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Then saute half of the chicken, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through; about 4-6 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to a baking sheet and put in the preheated oven to keep warm.
Wipe out the skillet and repeat with remaining chicken.
Once all the chicken is in the oven, add 1/2 cup Marsala wine to the skillet and boil over high heat, stirring up all the brown bits, about 30 seconds. Add the reduced broth, cream and mushroom mixture, then simmer until the sauce is thickened about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining 2 Tablespoons of wine.
Serve chicken with sauce.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beef and Mushroom Tacos with Avocado Salad

This recipe had me at 'Avocado Salad'. I love all things avocado and Mexican! It was so good. Chad said it tasted like a taco crossed with a Philly cheese steak. What a great way to describe it. YUM! 
I found this recipe in Everyday with Rachael Ray. 

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion; chopped
2 jalapeno chiles; stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 avocados; cubed
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (1 1/2 limes)
8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
3 cloves garlic' thinly sliced
Flour tortillas

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef, half the onion and jalapenos; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is browned and onions are softened. Transfer to a bowl; reserve the skillet.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining onion, avocados and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

In the reserved skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook until golden. Stir in the beef mixture and warm through.
Prepare the tortillas to your liking and stuff with beef mixture topped with avocado salad.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Arroz Congri (Cuban Rice and Black Beans)


Last weekend my family and I went to one of our new favorite restaurants, Reds on the River. I ordered their special Ropa Vieja (which is essentially braised beef over rice with black beans.) Their version of the dish was topped with a poached egg. YUM! It was soooo good! Maybe I will attempt to recreate it one day. Anyways, I saw this recipe for Cuban rice and beans and it sounded good and easy enough for me to try. I am glad I did! It was healthy and flavorful. LOVED IT! 



2 teaspoons olive oil
1 green pepper; chopped
1 red pepper; chopped
1 small onion; chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 - 15 ounce can black beans - don't drain
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Rotisserie Chicken; shredded
Avocado; chopped

In a medium sized pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Saute until soft; about 5 minutes. 
Add rice, beans, water, cumin, bay leaf and salt and pepper.
Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice absorbs most of the liquid and just barely skims the top of the rice.
Cover reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes (don't peak- the steam is what cooks the rice.) After 20 minutes, shut off the flame and let sit covered for another 5 minutes. 
Top with chicken and avocado. 

Recipe adapted from here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Three Bean Chili


Another Abs cookbook recipe - "Three Amigos Chili". Quick, flavorful and healthy! We topped the chili with crushed, baked tortilla chips, reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend and a spoonful of Greek yogurt (sour cream substitute). 


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion; diced
1 lb ground turkey
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1 can (10.5 oz) chickpeas; rinsed and drained
1 can (10.5 oz) black beans; rinsed and drained
1 can (10.5 oz) kidney beans; rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (I used about 1/16 teaspoon)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned; drain (if desired).
Add the tomatoes with juice, beans, broth and spices. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicken Parm Meatball Subs

I have never used (or ate) ground chicken - till I met this recipe. Wow - I was surprised at how good these turned out. Take the beef out of the meatballs and these chicken meatballs are a lot healthier. Probably could have tossed the sub roll for an even healthier option - but where is the fun in that? 


1 1/2 lbs ground chicken (ground turkey for those scared of the ground chicken)
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 large egg
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Handful of chopped parsley leaves
Extra virgin Olive Oil (3 Tablespoons for the sauce and extra for the meatballs)
2 cloves garlic; cracked from skin and split
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and Pepper
8-10 fresh basil leaves; torn or shredded
4 crusty sub rolls (or whole wheat)
1 1/2 cups reduced fat, shredded provolone

Preheat oven to 425.

Place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Add egg, half of the grated Parm, bread crumbs, parsley and a good drizzle of the olive oil. Mix the meat and form 12 large meatballs.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place meatballs on sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and firm. Switch the broiler on after the meatballs have come out.

While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove the cloves. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and the tomatoes. Slowly stir in the chicken stock. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the basil at the very end. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and turn heat to low.

Cut the sub rolls and hollow out a little bread from each half to make room for the meatballs. Toast the rolls quickly under the broiler just for a light toast. Fill the rolls with meatballs, sauce and top with shredded provolone and remaining Parmesan. Put under the broiler just until the cheese melts. Make sure you don't burn your rolls!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unstuffed Peppers


I found a version of this recipe in the Everyday Magazine. It was listed as a 5 ingredient recipe with wild- long grain rice, sausage, red onion, green peppers and mushrooms. While it sounded good, I changed mine up and think mine is better. :) Feel free to change this one up yourself - I have already been thinking of new ideas (ground turkey, ground beef, Ro*tel, etc.) This was a quick and satisfying dinner. Loved it!


1 lb Italian sausage links (casings removed)
2 green peppers; chopped
1 white onion; chopped
1 garlic clove; minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups brown rice (with 1 3/4 cup water) - Make according to package directions
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

In a large skillet, add a dash of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add ground sausage and break up with a wooden spoon until broke up and cooked through.
Drain the sausage and set aside.
In the same pan, add another turn of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add peppers, onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add tomatoes and return sausage to the pan. Lower heat to medium stir for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice.
Transfer the cooked rice to the skillet and mix through.

We topped ours off with a little Parmesan cheese.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Thinner Mexican Dinner

My sweet husband lost a bet we made during the Superbowl. As my reward, he cooked me anything I wanted. My choice, The Abs Diet Book's take on Taco Salad. I love anything Mexican and have been wanting to try this one for awhile. We loved this recipe! So good and very easy (maybe I should have made him work harder?) I think he needs to be in the kitchen more often!


For the meat: 
1 lb lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans; drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup water

For the dressing: 
4 medium tomatoes; diced
2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the salad: 
2 romaine lettuce hearts; chopped
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
2 ounces baked corn tortilla chips; crushed

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat until no longer pink. Add the garlic and beans, cook for 2 minutes more. Add the chili powder, cayenne and water and stir until well combined and some of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl.

Divide the lettuce among bowls, top with beef mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Spoon the dressing over the salad and top with crushed chips.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crock Pot Minestrone

Soup and sandwich night is always better with homemade soup. The crock pot makes this recipe easy. 
Another recipe from the ABS book. Love that book!



2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 - 32 ounce container of low sodium chicken broth
1 can cannellini beans; rinsed and drained
1 can red kidney bean; rinsed and drained
2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
5 large carrots; thinly sliced
1 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic; chopped
1 large onion; diced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 package whole wheat pasta
1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach; thawed and squeezed dry

Dump all ingredients, except the pasta and spinach, into a large slow cooker. Stir to mix. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add the pasta and the spinach to the cooker and stir. Turn up to high and cook for 10 minutes.

I topped with some Romano-Parmesan cheese.

For our sandwiches, I made "grown up" grilled cheese.


Fresh Mozzarella; sliced 
Vine ripe tomatoes; sliced
Sprinkle of oregano
Bread of your choice - would have used wheat, but wanted to use up some of our bakery bread
Olive oil

Warm pan over medium high heat. Lightly drizzle olive oil in the pan. Once warmed, add sandwiches. Top bread with another light drizzle of olive oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side; or until grilled to your liking.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Vegetable Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze


To quote Will Ferrell from The Wedding Crashers "Hey MA, the meatloaf! We want it now!"
My awesome Brother, Steven, gave me this recipe from Bobby Flay. This was awesome! It came out so tender and the balsamic glaze is amazing. LOVED it! 

Picture from Food Network

My picture


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini; diced
1 red bell pepper; diced
1 yellow bell pepper; diced
1 white onion; diced
5 cloves garlic; smashed to a paste with coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg; lightly beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (90 percent lean)
1 cup panko (coarse Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the zucchini, bell peppers, onions, garlic paste and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are almost soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the egg and fresh herbs in a large bowl. Add the turkey, panko, grated cheese, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and the cooled vegetables; mix until just combined.

Gently press the mixture into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl; brush the mixture over the entire loaf. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

You can't go wrong with pasta or this recipe. I found this one in my new cookbook - The New Abs Diet. We have been cooking a lot from this book lately and everything has been awesome! 

1 bunch broccoli rabe; tough ends trimmed (or regular broccoli would work)
12 ounces orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion; chopped
3 cloves garlic; minced
1/2 lb hot Italian turkey sausage links
2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the broccoli rabe into 2 inch pieces. Cook the pasta according to package directions; add the broccoli rabe during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until translucent.
Remove the casing from the sausage. Add the meat to the skillet and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook for 3 minutes until nicely browned.

Add the pasta and the broccoli rabe to the skillet and toss to combine. Stir in the marinara sauce and pepper flakes and cook until heated through.
Top with cheeses.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Holy Cow Cake

So, I don't have a picture of just the cake. I forgot. But I do have this picture with the cutest niece in the world and the cake. :) I found this recipe online awhile ago and decided this would be a good, easy birthday cake for my favorite 13 year old. 


1 box cake mix - I used double chocolate
1 1/3 cups water
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
8 ounces caramel topping
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 cup crushed candy (I used Health bar topping)
1 tub whipped frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.
Mix cake mix, water, oil and eggs with a mixer or a wooden spoon until well blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35-38 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
While the cake is baking, prepare the topping. Place the caramel topping and the condensed milk in a bowl and stir till combined.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Immediately poke holes in the cake with a straw.
Pour the topping mixture over the warm cake so it can seep in the holes. Measure out half the crushed candy and sprinkle over cake.
Allow cake to cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Then frost and top with more candy.
Store this cake covered with wax paper in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, you saw that right. These are awesome and huge. More like a fork and knife cookie. TRY them now.


2 sticks softened butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag chocolate chips
1 bag Oreo Cookies



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined.  Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.  Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie.  Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie.  Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo Cookie is enclosed with dough.  Place onto a greased baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking.  Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.


Recipe adapted from: Picky Palate

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Parmesan and Garlic Pita Chip Chicken

Again, I have been absent from the blog. Sorry (if anyone is still out there)! Busy, busy... but I have a ton of recipes to upload. Like this one that I pulled together last week. When I did my shopping for the week, I was intending to make a breaded chicken recipe that I found. Once I started cooking, I realized that I was out of breadcrumbs. Trying to be creative, I found Stacy's Baked Parmesan and Garlic Pita Chips in my pantry. I wish I would have thought of this one sooner... yum!

1 lb organic chicken breasts; pounded till even
1 egg; beaten 
A couple of handfuls of Baked Parmesan and Garlic pita chips (I used Stacy's brand)
A handful of Parmesan cheese
1 Lemon
Salt and pepper
Greek yogurt (amazing used as a dip for the chicken!)

In a ziplock bag, add pita chips. Seal and use a rolling pin to make into fine crumbs.  Pour in a bowl and mix with parmesan cheese. Zest the lemon and add to breadcrumbs.
In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil or cooking spray. 
Season chicken with salt and pepper then dip into egg and coat with breadcrumbs. Add to pan and cook 7-9 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Squeeze lemon over chicken before serving. 
Serve with Greek yogurt or even hummus.
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