Why pizza when I can eat this!?!

SNACKS

Salted Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Chewy, sweet, and a hint of salt. These are my all-time favorite cookies (that I make).

Blueberry Muffins – Throw it all in the blender and bake. It’s quite possibly the easiest, non-traditional blueberry muffin/brownie recipe ever.

DINNERS

Indian Summer Chili – I will not apologize for this recipe’s appearance here, yet again.  It’s just that great.  My hubs would eat it every week, if I would agree to make it that often.  You’d never guess it’s a turkey chili.

Cheesy Polenta with Bell Peppers & Chicken SausageImpress yourself and others with this incredibly easy and delicious dinner option.  It looks and tastes like a high-end restaurant meal every. single. time.

One Pot Pasta – Talk about easy. A stock pot is all you need to create this pasta. Start to finish…25 minutes. Yes, please.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Salad – I don’t know why I haven’t introduced you to this recipe sooner.  When my little one took a bite, she said, “Why would I even think about pizza when I could eat this!” Note: I usually make this on weekends.  It’s not hard, but there are a few more steps than some weeknights allow. It’s sooo worth it!

Pan Seared Chicken Sausage with Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower – Sometimes, two ingredients is all you have left in your refrigerator.  There’s something to say about a stupidly simplistic meal that is incredibly flavorful.  Roasting veggies is key to creating powerful flavors and textures that can really “make your tongue slap your brain” (as my father in law would say about fantastic food).

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Salted Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine 

Dry Ingredients
1 ¼ c old-fashioned oats
½ c whole white wheat flour
1 T. ground flax seed
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. coarse sea salt (preferably Himalayan pink salt)

Wet Ingredients
¼ c.+1/8 c. honey
1 organic cage free egg white
2 T. creamy, salted almond butter (or your preferred nut butter)
2 t. organic vanilla extract

Stir in Ingredients
¼ c. clean dark chocolate, roughly chopped (my favorite is liberty chocolates)
¼ c. organic raisins

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix. Gently stir in chocolate & raisins. Scoop rounded tablespoon size servings onto a baking stone or lined cookie sheet. Cook 9 to 10 min. (Do not over cook. They will be soft and gooey, until they have cooled a bit). Allow to cool on the baking sheet/cooling stone. Makes approximately 16 cookies.


Blueberry Cinnamon Banana Muffins

Adapted from Unnamed Website

(I tried to take a picture, but it was terrible. I refuse to put it here because it made them look inedible. [Pictures do lie, sometimes])

Ingredients
1 very ripe banana (if banana is not ripe, increase maple syrup to 1/3 c.)
1 organic egg
1/2 c. creamy, salted almond butter (or other nut butter)
½ t. cinnamon
1/4 c. rolled organic oats (not steel cut)
1/8 c. whole white wheat flour
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
2 t. organic vanilla extract
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. organic blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a heavy duty blender or food processor, add all ingredients except the blueberries.  Blend until smooth and creamy.   Stir in the blueberries by hand. Fill silicone muffin cups (or greased muffin pan) ¾ full and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from muffin cups/pan.


Indian Summer Chili 

Adapted from Rachel Ray 

Ingredients
2-4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 lbs. organic ground turkey (not 99% fat free)
1-2 T. chili powder (check ingredients to avoid preservatives)
2 T. grill seasoning blend (check ingredients to avoid preservatives–Kroger’s Grill Time Chicken is a good option)
2 T. ground cumin
2 T. Worcestershire sauce, optional (alternative: balsamic vinegar)
1-3 T. hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy (several ingredients add heat – start slow and add more when tasting at the end)
1 large organic onion, chopped
2 large organic green or other color peppers, chopped
1 bottle of stout beer
1 (14 or 16-ounce) can organic tomato sauce
1 can organic diced tomatoes (Carly: organic fire roasted tomatoes)
1 c. organic smoky barbecue sauce (or make your own – recipe below)
1-2 c. organic, frozen corn, optional
plain Greek yogurt (optional topping)
crumbled organic tortilla chips (optional topping)
organic cheddar, shredded (optional topping)

Directions: Heat a large stock pot to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the turkey, chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.  Stir the ingredients and break up the turkey into tiny bits.  Continue cooking until the turkey is no longer pink (approx. 5-7 min.). Add the onions and green peppers, and cook until softened (about 5 min.). Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce heat to barely simmering.  Cover and allow to simmer for at least 20 min.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Adapted from The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients
1 (15 ounce) can organic tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can organic tomato paste
1 t. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. garlic powder (alternative: 3-4 garlic cloves, minced)
1 T. onion powder
4 T. unsulfured molasses
3 T. raw honey
5 T.  balsamic vinegar

Directions: In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Store unused BBQ sauce in the refrigerator, or freeze.


Cheesy Polenta with Bell Peppers & Chicken Sausage

Adapted from BevCooks 

Ingredients
½ c. organic milk
1 log organic polenta, cut into cubes (precision cutting unnecessary – it will be mashed)
1T. organic butter
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan (divided), plus more for garnish
1 pinch sea salt/ freshly ground pepper
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pkg. preservative free chicken sausages, sliced on the bias (I like Trader Joe’s spicy Italian or Andouille style)
2 organic red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, sliced in strips
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (divided)
Hot sauce, optional

Directions: Warm a small sauce pan to low/medium heat. Add the milk and polenta. Mash the polenta with a firm whisk or fork and then stir until creamy.  Add milk by the tablespoon if it’s too thick. If it’s too watery, don’t worry. As it continues to cook, it will thicken. Reduce heat to low and stir in one-half of the cheese and one-half of the cilantro. Allow to rest on low. If your stove top burner is too hot on low and the bottom is sticking, remove it from the heat. (It can be warmed easily on low just before serving).

While the polenta is resting, heat a large skillet to nearing medium heat. Add the olive oil and then sausage. Cook 5-6 minutes or until hot and slightly browned on all sides. (If using precooked sausage, you just need to get it hot).

Remove the sausage from the pan (retaining the olive oil and juices) and cover it with foil to keep warm. Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and then the peppers. Add freshly cracked pepper and sea salt. Sear peppers in the skillet until softened and slightly blackened (about 5 minutes). Return the sausage to the skillet.

To the polenta, stir in the remaining cheese and cilantro. Season polenta with salt/pepper to taste. To plate, add a generous helping of polenta. Top with the sausage and peppers.

Finish with a sprinkling of cilantro. If you want to spice it up, add a few dashes of hot sauce!


One Pot Pasta

Adapted from Budget Bytes 

Ingredients
2 T. olive oil
1/4 t. sea salt
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ T. dried basil
½ T. dried oregano
¼ t. red pepper flakes
¼ t. freshly cracked black pepper
4 c. organic vegetable broth (alternative: 4 c. organic chicken broth)
2 (14 oz.) cans organic diced tomatoes (alternative: 1 can organic diced tomatoes + 1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes)
12 oz. whole wheat fettuccine
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional topping)
Olive oil, optional topping

Directions: Heat a large stock pot to near medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and sea salt. Saute until translucent (3-4 minutes). Add the garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Saute until the garlic is fragrant (about a minute).  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover with a lid.  Simmer until the pasta is cooked (about 10 minutes).  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Salad

Adapted from Table For Two 

Shrimp Marinade
Juice from ½ of a lime
1 T. olive oil
1 t. chili powder
½ t. ground cumin
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
¼ t. hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
1/8 t. smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, minced
12 large wild shrimp with tails, peeled/deveined, uncooked

Step 1: In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade (lime juice, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, hot pepper sauce, smoked paprika, garlic). Very gently toss the shrimp in the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate.

Quinoa Preparation
1 t. olive oil
¼ c. chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
½ c. uncooked white quinoa, rinsed
¾ c. water

Step 2: Heat a sauce pan to near medium heat.  Add the olive oil and onion.  Saute until the onion is translucent (3-4 minutes).  Stir in the garlic and quinoa. Toast the quinoa by stirring constantly for 2 minutes (it will begin to turn a slightly golden color).  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.  Simmer for about 10 minutes (or until the liquid is gone).  While it simmers, proceed to step 3.

Sauce Ingredients
Juice from ½ of a lime
2 T. olive oil
½ t. cumin
1 t. sea salt
½ t. black pepper, freshly ground
1 t. honey
1 avocado, sliced
1 c. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
½ c. organic canned chickpeas, rinsed/drained
½ c. feta cheese, crumbled

Step 3: Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, pepper and honey. Gently stir in the remaining ingredients.  Add the cooked quinoa and stir.

Shrimp Sauté
1 T. olive oil (alternative: organic butter)
1 t. sea salt

Step 4: Heat a large skillet to medium heat.  Drain, (do not rinse) the shrimp. Sprinkle shrimp with sea salt.  Add olive oil or butter to the pan.  Arrange shrimp in a single layer in the skillet.  Sauté (2 minutes), quickly flip with tongs, and allow to saute another 2 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Remove from the heat.  Serve shrimp atop the quinoa mixture.    


 

Pan Seared Chicken Sausage with Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients
2 heads of cauliflower and/or broccoli, separated into florets
2-3 T. olive oil
Sea salt/pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Parmesan cheese, grated (topping)
Fresh lemon juice (topping)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 (bake, NOT convection setting).  In a large bowl, toss the florets, olive oil, salt/pepper, & garlic. Spread onto parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower for 20-30 minutes (flipping with a spatula half-way through roasting). It will be slightly browned and crispy on the edges. Remove from oven and top with Parmesan cheese and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

While the cauliflower roasts, pan sear the chicken sausage on all sides until thoroughly cooked.

 

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