Cleaned Up Monte Cristo & Butternut Squash Soup

SNACKS

Apple Applesauce Muffins – This is quite possibly one of the best apple muffin recipes.  Applesauce and diced apples make for a super moist and sweet muffin.  The subtle cinnamon and vanilla are delicious extras that can be included, or not.

DINNERS

One Skillet Chicken Fajitas – If this is not a staple recipe in your kitchen, it should be. Enough said 🙂

Butternut Squash Soup & Cleaned Up Monte Cristos – I used an alternative to a whole butternut squash – bagged, pre-cubed butternut squash.  This smooth and creamy soup, with hints of wintery seasonings, pairs beautifully with a fun spin on a Monte Cristo. Instead of deep frying, this cleaned up Cristo is prepared like a pan “grilled” cheese sandwich.

Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese This a family requested favorite. It’s likely my daughter’s favorite pizza of all time!

White Bean Soup with Spinach and Leeks – One soup, two ways.  Day 1: prepare the soup per the recipe.  Day 2: throw the leftovers in a blender and puree.  It is equally delicious either way but presents like two completing different meals!  #doubledutysoup

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Easy Apple Applesauce Muffins

Adapted from Weelicious 

Dry Ingredients
1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. homemade buttermilk (see recipe below) or (alternative organic milk)
1/2 c. honey
1 large organic egg
1 t. organic vanilla extract
Stir In Ingredients
1 c. peeled and chopped organic apples (about 2 medium apples)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I use silicone muffin cups. If using a metal muffin pan, lightly grease with a clean oil (ideas: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil).

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  Very gently, stir in the apples.  Fill muffin containers ¾ full and bake approximately 15 minutes.

Tips:

  • Mix/stir as little as possible to create fluffy, moist muffins.
  • I don’t like the toothpick test for muffins as I find they are often overdone. Remember, they continue to cook a bit even when removed from the oven.  Instead, watch for them to begin to release from the edge of the baking cup/tin and for a slightly golden color.  Once you’ve baked a few batches, you’ll begin to learn your oven’s ideal baking time.

Homemade Buttermilk
2 T. of white vinegar or lemon juice
1 c. organic milk

Directions: Stir together both ingredients in a small bowl and allow rest for 5 minutes.


One Skillet Chicken Fajitas

 

Fajita Ingredients:
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 large organic bell pepper, seeded/sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes OR (3-4 chopped medium, fresh tomatoes)
Note: if using fresh tomatoes, add ¼ c. of salsa
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
sea salt/pepper
whole wheat tortillas (idea: Ezekiel brand tortillas)

Optional Fajita Fillers:
canned organic black beans, drained & rinsed
organic shredded cheese
organic Greek yogurt or sour cream
salsa
avocado, sliced

Directions: Warm a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Season all sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. To the skillet, add the olive oil and chicken. Cook until the chicken is browned on all slides (about 5-6 minutes). Add onions and green peers, cooking until the peppers are softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Immediately add all remaining ingredients. The tomatoes will sizzle in the skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer. Allow some liquid to cook out (about 10 minutes). Season with salt/pepper to taste. Serve fajita mixture with whole wheat tortillas and your favorite fajita fillers.


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Monte Cristos

Adapted from Alton Brown and Clean Eating Magazine

img_8047

Note: I HATE this picture.  I could not make this meal look appetizing with my camera.  This makes me sooooo sad because it really is a delicious meal.  #badlighting #poorcameraskills

Directions: In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, sea salt/pepper, milk and cayenne.

Separate the turkey slices and sprinkle with oregano. Assemble the sandwiches: thin layer of Dijon mustard on each slice of bread, cheese slice, turkey, a layer spinach leaves, another slice of cheese, and bread.

Heat a large skillet to near medium heat.

Place sandwich on a slotted spatula.  Lower the sandwich into the egg mixture – deep enough that the egg mixture reaches one-half of the way up the slice of bread.  (Be careful that the egg mixture does NOT “enter” the interior of the sandwich).  Raise the sandwich from the egg mixture.

Place your hand on top of the sandwich.  Press down to compact the sandwich just a bit. Carefully and quickly invert the sandwich from the spatula to your hand.  Transfer the inverted sandwich from your hand to the spatula. Again, lower the sandwich into the egg mixture on the dry side to finish coating the sandwich.

Add olive oil or butter to the skillet     Prepare sandwich as you would any other pan “grilled” sandwich.


Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese

Adapted from Bev Cooks

Dough
Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked and kernels removed (alternative: 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)

Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature.

In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allowing it to cook for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet.  Stir in the cilantro and the cherry tomatoes.  The heat will help the tomatoes to release their juices (about 5 minutes).

Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake according to your pizza crust directions. This is amazing – especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!


White Bean Soup with Spinach and Leeks

Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life


Ingredients
2 cans organic white beans, rinsed and drained
2 T. of olive oil
½ t. sea salt
½ t. freshly cracked pepper
1 bag frozen leeks, (alternative: 4 leeks, chopped into thinly sliced rings)
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. paprika
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 c. whole wheat couscous
4 c. fresh organic spinach leaves
Sea salt and pepper to taste
4-6 c. organic broth or stock (alternative: water)
Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional topping)

Directions: To a heated stock pot, add the olive oil.  Stir in the leeks, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.  Saute leeks until softened (about 8 to 10 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 – 2 minutes).  Add the beans, broth and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the couscous and cook another 5 minutes.  Stir in the spinach leaves.  Season to taste (another ½ t. sea salt or more is likely needed). Enjoy topped with grated Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate leftovers.

Day 2:  Puree soup leftovers in a blender.  If using a Vitamix, you can blend on high until steaming at the lid (or use the soup setting).  Otherwise, warm the soup on the stove top or microwave.

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