One Soup, Two Ways #doubledutysoup

SNACKS

Bear Paw Cookies – Who doesn’t love chocolate oatmeal cookies shaped like bear paws?  For me, these cookies were a perfect companion to coffee (or hot tea).  My daughter, on the other hand, wasn’t a huge fan because they weren’t exceptionally sweet.  This was easily fixed with a drizzle of honey.  Alternatively, you could increase the coconut palm sugar by 1/3 cup.

DINNERS

White Bean Soup with Spinach and Leeks – One soup, two ways.  Genius. Day 1: prepare the soup per as indicated below.  Day 2: throw the leftovers in a blender and puree.  It is equally delicious both ways, but it feels like two completing different meals!  #doubledutysoup

Spinach Pie with Easy Olive Oil Pastry Dough – The hubs was traveling this week so this recipe lasted several days for me and my sweet girl. Spinach Pie is reminiscent of a quiche because of its egg, cheese, and crust.  Texturally (Is that a word? Let’s go with yes), it’s a bit different. The cottage cheese and frozen spinach make it more dense and hearty.  Instead of buying a frozen whole wheat crust, make your own with a super fast and easy dough that is pressed into the pie pan with your fingers (no rolling pin needed).

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Bear Paw Cookies

Adapted from The Fit Housewife

   

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. coconut oil, softened
2/3 c. coconut palm sugar (option: add 1/3 c. more to sweeten)
1/2 c. unsweetened, organic applesauce
1 organic egg
1 t. organic vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients
1 c. whole white wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
3 c. organic rolled oats (NOT steel cut)
1 T. chia seeds
¼ t. sea salt

Stir In Ingredient
1/2 c. chocolate chunks, roughly chopped (try my favorite clean chocolate: liberty chocolate)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir a few times by hand.  Fold in the chocolate chunks by hand.  Use a large scoop to create individual mounds. Place On a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone. Create bear paws by flattening the mounds slightly. Slice partially through the top half of the dough in two sections with a knife.

Bake for 10-12 minutes

Note: These aren’t exceptionally sweet.  This is can be easily fixed with a drizzle of honey.  Alternatively, you could increase the coconut palm sugar by 1/3 cup.


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, sea salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.  Saute the leeks until softened (about 8 to 10 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  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 leftover soup 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.

    


Spinach Pie with Easy Olive Oil Pastry Dough

Adapted from Trader Joes and Spicie Foodie

   

 Crust Ingredients
2 c. whole white wheat flour
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil (or other oil of your choice)
1/3 c. cold water (plus 1-2 more T. of water)
Pinch of sea salt
4 drops organic stevia, optional

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the well.  Stir together with a fork until a dough texture begins to form.  Press the dough into a pie pan with fingers to create a crust on the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Pie Ingredients
16 oz. organic cottage cheese
4 oz. organic shredded cheese, halved
1 16 oz. pkg. organic frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and squeezed
3 organic eggs
3 T. whole white wheat flour
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. organic butter, cut into chunks
¼ t. sea salt
¼ t. ground pepper, freshly ground
½ t. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (alternative: dried Italian seasoning)

Directions: Preheat oven 375º F. Combine pie ingredients in a bowl, reserving one half of the shredded cheese.  Pour into pie crust. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.  Bake approximately 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy as is or top with salsa, a few glugs of hot sauce, and/or a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Clean Eating Thanksgiving

Clean Eating Thanksgiving

This week’s blog is a bit early and different.  My family is moving the day before Thanksgiving and so a meal prepared by moi is out of the question.  So instead of blogging about what we ate, I offer several tried and true Thanksgiving staples from my kitchen.  Plus, there are also several new recipes I had planned to try out this year (had moving date not fallen so close to Turkey Day).

Since I won’t be doing the cooking, my crew will be getting all gussied up and heading out to an upscale establishment who fancies themselves as having one of the Thanksgiving spreads around.  Best of all, I will pretend that our new place is not in total disarray 🙂

Brined & Roasted Turkey – This is not your typical oven roasted turkey.  There is no basting and basting of this bird.  Basting is …well, not for this bird!  Instead, it is first brined.  Then, it is roasted at a very high temperature for just a bit to crisp up and seal in the juices before finishing roasting at a traditionally lower temperature. If you’ve never brined and roasted a bird, it is truly magnificent.  It has a crispy skin with interior meat that is ever so flavorful and succulent.  This is the only way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey in my book.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe.html

Stuffing– This looks like a winner, winner Turkey dinner side dish to me.  Ezekiel bread should make for a flavorful addition to a traditional stuffing because of its subtle, nutty flavor.
http://healthycrush.com/sprouted-grain-stuffing/

Cavolfiore Palma – This is a savory and slightly sweet cauliflower dish that will not disappoint. On a food walking tour in NYC several years ago, I was introduced to Palma Restaurant where they served us a sample of Cavolfiore Palma.  I returned that evening for dinner and ordered a double order as my meal!  For years, I had been trying to duplicate this recipe.  When I found the actual recipe a year ago I nearly flipped! You are definitely going want to double this recipe.
http://scrumpdillyicious.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-food-tour-of-greenwich-village-off.html

Pumpkin Pie – I see no reason why this recipe would be anything but delicious.  I will likely make this the week after Thanksgiving when my kitchen is back to business.
http://foodbabe.com/2014/11/25/easy-healthy-pumpkin-pie/

Butternut Pudding – For those of you who don’t do pumpkin, here’s what looks to be a festive alternative.  Rachael Ray recipes are typically no fails and simplistic.  This will definitely be one I will try out soon too…
http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/butternut-pudding/

Winter Faves and a Newbie Pasta

SNACKS

Chocolate Vanilla (Pumpkin) Chia Seed  Pudding  – This is crazy easy and delicious.  This week, I decided stir in some extra pumpkin I had in the refrigerator.  If pumpkin is not your thing, leave it out.  No worries, it’ll still be fab!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites – Yep, you’ve seen these babies here before.  They are easy, quick, and just what my little one ordered.

DINNERS

Chicken Avocado Lime Soup  – Shame on me for not having posted this super easy soup recipe sooner.  It’s a winner, winner chicken soup dinner.

Oat Soaked Pumpkin Pancakes – Belly, meet pumpkin pancakes covered with pure maple syrup.  #youarewelcome

Quick Broccoli Lemon Pasta  – When I read this recipe from the original creator, I had a feeling it was gonna be a hit. It packed a flavorful punch, and it was on the table in less than 30 minutes!

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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 Chocolate Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding


Ingredients
1 c. organic milk (alternatives: almond milk, cashew milk, goat milk)
1/2 c. chia seeds
¼ c. pure maple syrup (alternative: honey)
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/8 c.  to ¼ c. cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch sea salt
1/4 c. organic canned pumpkin, optional

Directions: In a glass bowl (preferably one with a lid) add all ingredients, shake vigorously and refrigerate overnight.  When serving, add more milk by the tablespoon if it’s too thick for your liking.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites

Adapted from Super Glue Mom

IMG_7242

Wet ingredients
½ c. creamy almond butter (alternative: nut butter of your choosing)
¼ c. raw honey or maple syrup (or 1/8 c. of each)
1 t. organic vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
¼ c. coconut flour
5 T. oats (I’ve used old fashioned or quick cooking oats)
2 T. ground flax seed
¼ t. cinnamon
¼ t. sea salt
Stir In
¼ c. organic raisins
Directions: In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix together with a rubber spatula or your hands. Add in the raisins. If the mixture seems to wet, add a bit more coconut flour. If too dry, add a bit of water. Using a tablespoon to measure, roll the dough into bit sized balls with your hands. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Sometimes, I freeze these for about 10 minutes to speed things up a bit. Store in refrigerator (or freezer). 


 

Chicken Avocado Lime Soup

Adapted from Cooking Classy


Ingredients
1.5 lbs. organic boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T. olive oil
1 c. chopped green onions (greens and white bulb)
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. organic chicken broth
2 organic tomatoes, diced (alternative: 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
1 t. ground cumin
¼ t. each, sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
3 T. fresh lime juice
3 medium avocados, peeled, cored and diced
Organic corn tortilla chips, (optional garnish)
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional garnish)
Organic Greek yogurt, (optional garnish)

Directions: Heat a large stock pot to medium heat.  Add the olive oil, green onions, and jalapenos.  Allow to cook until softened slightly (about 2 minutes).  Add the garlic and allow to cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, cumin, sea salt/pepper, and chicken breasts.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a low boil/large simmer and cover.  Allow chicken to cook until done (about 15 minutes).  Reduce heat to low.  Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes.  Use two forks to shred the chicken before returning it to the stock pot. To the soup, add the cilantro and lime juice.  Just prior to serving, gently stir in the diced avocados.  Serve individual bowls with a dollop of Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, and/or a few chips.


Oat Soaked Pumpkin Pancakes

Adapted from Better Bodies


Wet Ingredients
3 T. coconut palm sugar
1.5 c. organic milk of your choosing  (alternative: 1 c. organic milk + ½ c. organic applesauce)
1 c. organic canned pumpkin
1 organic, free range egg
1 t. organic vanilla extract
.5 c. old fashioned oats (NOT steel cut)

Dry Ingredients
1 ½ c. whole wheat white flour (alternative: 1 c. whole wheat white flour + ½ c. almond meal or flour)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 T. pumpkin spice
½ t. sea salt

Directions: Whisk the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the oats to the wet ingredients. Allow to soak at least 5 minutes. While the oats soak, prepare the dry ingredients in another bowl. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and sea salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined (do NOT over mix). It will be a thick mousse-like consistency. Prepare the batter as you would any other pancake, adding a small amount of your preferred oil to the pan (i.e., coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc.). Get adventurous and top with applesauce instead of syrup.

Tip: This recipe doubles beautifully.  I often make a double batch and freeze one-half (after cooled) for school lunches.


Quick Broccoli Lemon Pasta

Adapted from Pinch of Yum

 

Ingredients
8 oz. 100% whole wheat penne
2 c. baby broccoli
1 T. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can organic diced tomatoes, drained
¼ c. your favorite pesto
¼ c. feta cheese, halved
juice of ½ lemon
fresh basil, cut into ribbons

Directions: Cook pasta to al dente.  During the last two minutes of boiling, add the broccoli to the pasta water.  Drain the water and set aside.  While the pasta is cooking, warm a large skillet to medium heat. Add the olive oil followed by garlic.  Once the garlic is fragrant (about a minute), immediately add the tomatoes and stir.  Stir in the pasta and baby broccoli along with the pesto, ½ of the feta, and lemon juice.  Top with the remaining feta and sprinkle the basil atop.  Season with sea salt/pepper to taste.  Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil.

Easy Crowd Pleasers, Please…

SNACKS

Banana Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins – Make a double batch – you’ll be glad you did. Don’t opt out on the organic coconut palm sugar topping. It just makes that outside bite a tad sweeter, and who doesn’t like that???

DINNERS

One Skillet Chicken Fajitas – If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you’ve seen this recipe before. It’s fast, easy, and delicious. The filling options are limitless – allow your stomach be your guide.

No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili – What makes this different from everyday chili is cumin. Cumin gives it an earthy, slightly spicy flavor that is distinctly yummy. The sweet potatoes are an added bonus that blend in with the southwestern feel. Finish it with a few organic chips and a dollop of organic Greek yogurt.

Creamy Squash Soup – This is my second go round with this recipe. I changed absolutely nothing from the last time. It’s a great creamy, fall soup. The buttermilk is an interesting twist. No worries, you don’t need to buy buttermilk. Make your own with regular milk and lemon or vinegar. Buttermilk recipe included!

Eggs, Avocados, & Olive Oil Drop Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon – Another solid recipe on repeat. This “breakfast for dinner” is a frequent request at my house.

Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta – Bottom line…super duper easy crowd pleaser. Do things right and use a good quality cheese and olive oil to finish each plate.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Banana Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins

Adapted from Bowl of Delicious

Wet Ingredients
½ c. coconut oil, softened
¼ c. local honey
2 organic eggs
2 very ripe bananas
½ c. organic Greek yogurt
1 t. organic vanilla extract

Wet Ingredients
¼ t. cinnamon
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. sea salt
1.5 c. whole white wheat flour
1 c. organic rolled oats

1-2 c. frozen organic blueberries (or other berry)
organic coconut palm sugar, optional muffin topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with olive oil (alternative: silicon muffin cups that require no greasing).  In a large bowl, mash the bananas.  Add the wet ingredients to the bananas and whisk to combine. Stir the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined (ideally under stir it just a bit).  Stir in the frozen blueberries – maximum of three turns of the spatula.  The less you mix, the better when it comes to muffins. 

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle each muffin with some palm sugar. Bake for 20/25 minutes.


One Skillet Chicken Fajitas

 

Fajitas 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 with whole wheat tortillas and your favorite fajita fillers.


No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

Adapted from Skinny Taste

Ingredients
3-4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. organic ground turkey
1 t. cumin
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. paprika
sea salt, to taste
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz.) cans of organic fire roasted tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can of tomato sauce
14.5 oz. water (refill from empty can of tomatoes)
2-3 medium organic sweet potato, peeled and diced into bite size cubes
1 bay leaf
fresh cilantro, chopped optional garnish
Greek yogurt, optional garnish
Organic sweet potato chips, optional garnish

Directions: In stock pot, on medium-high heat, coat the bottom of pan with olive oil. Add the turkey, cumin, chili powder, paprika, & sea salt. While stirring, break apart the turkey into small bits. Cook about 4-5 min. or until the turkey is no longer pink. Stir in the onion and cook until softened (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until the it’s fragrant (about a minute). Add remaining ingredients (tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, sweet potatoes, and bay leaf). Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. If it too thick, add some water. Remove bay leaf.

Eat as is, or serve topped with chopped cilantro, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a few crunched up sweet potato chips.


Creamy Squash Soup

Adapted from Super Healthy Kids

Ingredients
1 T. organic butter
3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 organic yellow summer squash, cut into rounds (no need to peel or remove seeds)
1 small winter squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
¼ t. each sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
1 large organic potato, cut into cubes (alternative, several small potatoes)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 c. organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk (homemade buttermilk: 1/2 c. milk + good squeeze from a lemon)
Fresh herbs, finely chopped, for garnish (chives, rosemary, basil, etc.)
Organic Greek yogurt (alternative, organic sour cream), optional

Directions: Heat a large stock pot to medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil followed by the onions, squash, and salt/pepper. Give it a good stir and allow the veggies to cook until softened (about five minutes). In the meantime, microwave the cut potatoes for 3-4 minutes to soften them just a bit. Stir in the garlic to the stock pot and cook until the garlic is fragrant (about a minute). Add the potatoes to the stock pot, followed by the broth/stock. Bring it to a boil and then remove from the heat. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender to liquefy. If you have a superb quality blender, this will be your final step (other than to stir in the buttermilk right before serving). If your blender is so-so, you may need to pour the soup over a strainer to create a smooth, creamy texture. If the latter is your method, stir in the buttermilk, after straining. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Drop in a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Tip: Microwave hearty winter squash for 1-2 minutes prior to peeling. Use a shark knife to easily remove the outer skin.


Eggs, Avocados, & Olive Oil Drop Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon

Adapted from A La Graham
IMG_7094
This meal requires a bit of commentary to help ensure the steps are timed right.  The bacon is prepared for baking (line baking sheet with foil & lay out the individual bacon slices).  Similarly, the biscuits are prepared and ready to pop in the oven, when it’s time.  Once these both are in the oven (which does not happen simultaneously – keep reading below), the avocados and eggs are prepared.

This meal starts with a cold oven.  The bacon goes in the cold oven, and then it’s turned on and begins to heat.  When the oven reaches full temperature, the biscuits go in the oven.  When the biscuits are done, your bacon will most likely be done too. (An exception would be for those who desire exceptionally crispy bacon. In that case, the bacon may need to remain in the oven a few minutes longer than the biscuits).

Easy Oven Bacon            
6 slices, preservative free bacon

Directions: Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place the bacon in a cold oven (note: the oven is NOT preheated). Heat the 450 degrees. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your preferred doneness. It’s soooo easy this way, and there is no mess!

Biscuits (this recipe can be doubled)
1 c. whole white wheat flour
1.5 t. baking powder
.5 t. sea salt
1 T. local honey (alternative: 6 drops of organic stevia), optional
¼ c. olive oil
½ c. milk

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and olive oil (add the sweetener now, if using it). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Use large serving spoons or a large scooper to “drop” the biscuits on a baking sheet. Once the oven reaches 450 degrees, bake for  for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden.

While the biscuits are baking, prepare the avocados and eggs.

Avocado Mixture
2 avocados, mashed
Lemon juice
Sea salt/pepper, not optional
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Organic tomato, sliced (optional)

Eggs – prepped to your preference (I whisk eggs with a splash of milk and sea salt/pepper)

Directions: Half the avocados, remove the seeds, and scoop the goodness into a small bowl. With a fork, mash the avocado. Season with salt/pepper and add a squeeze of lemon (note: lemon keeps the avocado from browning). Stir once more.

Cook the eggs as desired.  I typically scramble the eggs for a week night meal.  However, sunny side up (AKA “dippy eggs” in my house) is also popular.  The warm, but still liquid yolk, adds richness to each bite!

Assembly

Start with an upside down biscuit (the flat surface is key). Next, is a healthy slathering of the avocado mixture. Finally, top with eggs, pressing the eggs into the avocado to help them “stick” to the biscuit. Finish with a dash or two of Tobasco style hot sauce, if you’re feeling daring.  It really adds a great layer of flavor.



Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta

Adapted from Menu Musings

 

Ingredients
4 organic, free range chicken breasts, pounded to ensure even cooking
Sea salt and black pepper
Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. 100% whole wheat pasta
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. chopped fresh tomatoes (alternative: 2 cans organic diced tomatoes, drained)
1 c. fresh organic basil, chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
1-2 T. cold organic butter
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, garnish
Good quality olive oil, garnish

Directions: Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with sea salt/pepper and 21 Seasoning Salute. Warm a large skillet and the olive oil to near medium heat. (Yes, you need all 4 tablespoons of olive oil). This is an olive oil and fresh tomato sauce.

While the skillet heats, bring a stock pot filled with water to boiling. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, but do not rinse once cooked.

Add the chicken to the hot skillet. Flip the chicken once it has cooked halfway up the sides (approximately 4 minutes). After cooking an additional 4 minutes on the other side, add the tomatoes and garlic to the skillet. Give it a stir. Add the basil and the butter. (The butter is critical). It adds a certain silkiness that makes it oh so yummy. Stir everything one more time. Season with salt/pepper to taste.

Serve each plate with some fresh basil, cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tip: Pasta is always best enjoyed with a glass of wine 😉

Soup’s On, Baby!

SNACKS

Salted Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Hands down, my favorite homemade cookies.  The are sweet, salty, chocolatey, and chewy.  What else could you ask for?

DINNERS

White Bean and Kale Soup  – This is a slow cooker recipe turned cook top recipe. I was hungry for soup but didn’t want to wait hours for the slow cooker.  With a few adjustments, this soup was ready in 30 minutes! Truth moment: I ate three bowls in one setting! This thick and hearty soup will definitely be on repeat.

Cheesy Polenta with Bell Peppers & Chicken Sausage – A favorite entertaining recipe because it’s incredibly easy and flavorful, not to mention is visually impressive.  Don’t plan on leftovers – it’s all gone every. single. time.

Cheesy Eggplant Casserole  – This just became a new side dish I added to my repertoire. I mistakingly served it as a main course and quickly discovered that it was not enough to make a meal.  Next time (in the very near future), I’ll serve this along side some pan seared chicken and a salad.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – Prepare, eat, repeat.  Prepare, eat, repeat… You’ll keep seeing this soup/sandwich combo here.  If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the time.  This meal screams cool weather comfort food. To make this meal even better, I plan to buy this from Uncommon Goods. Collectively, the meal and accompanying dishes will make my heart & belly smile  🙂

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Salted Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

IMG_5926

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.

Try to eat just one – dare ya!


White Bean and Kale Soup

Adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
32 oz. (4 cups) organic vegetable stock (alternative: organic chicken broth)
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) organic cannellini beans, undrained
1 can (14.5 ounces) organic petite diced tomatoes, undrained
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 t. Trader Joes’s 21 Seasoning Salute (alternative: Italian seasoning)
3 c. organic kale, roughly chopped
½ t. Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: To a large stock pot, add 2 cups of stock and quinoa.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  In the meantime, add 1 can of cannellini beans and the remaining vegetable stock to a blender.  Process until a creamy texture is achieved.  Once the quinoa is fully cooked, add the remaining can of cannellini beans, pureed beans/broth mixture, can of diced tomatoes, minced garlic, onion, dried herbs and pepper to the stock pot. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the kale and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Top individual servings with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


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, optional
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan (divided), plus more for garnish
1 pinch coarse 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 source. It can warmed easily on low before serving.

While the polenta is resting, heat a large skillet to low/medium heat. Add the olive oil and then sausage. Cook 5-6 minutes or until hot and slightly browned on both 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 the sausage with foil to keep warm. Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and then the peppers. Add some freshly cracked salt/pepper. Cook peppers until softened and slightly blackened. 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!


Cheesy Eggplant Casserole

Adapted from Healthy Recipes Blogs

Ingredients:
Olive oil spray
1 large eggplant (about 1 lb.), unpeeled, sliced into ½” cubes
1 T. olive oil
¼ t. black pepper
2-3 garlic cloves,
½ c. organic Marinara (Try Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara)
⅛ t. cayenne pepper
¼ c. chopped fresh basil
½ c. shredded Mozzarella, divided
1/8 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with olive oil.  Toss cubed eggplant with 1 T. olive oil and ½ t. sea salt.  Spread evenly on the baking dish along with the whole garlic cloves.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Halfway through roasting, flip the eggplant with a spatula half-way and remove the garlic cloves.  In the meantime, lightly spray a baking dish with olive oil.  Roughly chop the garlic and add it to a medium sized bowl along with the marinara, cayenne pepper, basil, and mozzarella.  Once the eggplant has finished roasted roasting, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Add the eggplant to the marinara mixture and gently stir.  Pour the mixture into the baking dish.  Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.   Allow to cool slightly before serving.


Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted Food Network

Ingredients:
1 lb. vine-ripened tomatoes
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil – you can get this at Kroger
sea salt and ground black pepper
1/2 c. finely sliced fresh basil leaves
1(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (preferably, San Marzano)
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 loaf 100% whole grain sourdough bread, broken into bite sized pieces
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional topping)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Quarter the tomatoes and place on a baking sheet.  Drizzle the tomatoes with 1 T. of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Toss the tomatoes with your hands to evenly cover with oil and salt.  Roast in the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes until the edges are browning slightly.

In the meantime, heat a stock pot to medium heat.  Add the remaining 2 T. of olive oil and fresh basil.  Sauté the basil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Add the canned tomatoes and water (refill the tomato can with water to get all of the tomato and their juices).  With a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes (if using canned whole tomatoes).  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the bread.  Add the roasted tomatoes when done roasting.  Scrape the baking sheet to get all of the roasted bits and remaining oil.  Allow the soup to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (I like to use a hand held immersion blender to puree the soup just a bit).

Serve with a drizzle of the olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Tips:

  • Reserve a few roasted tomatoes for the Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • The original recipe calls for “day old” bread. This is not essential.  You can use bread straight from the bread bag.  It won’t impact the recipe in the least.

Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients:
100% whole grain sourdough bread
Organic mozzarella cheese slices or shredded
organic tomatoes, very thinly sliced (alternative: several roasted tomatoes from the soup recipe)
fresh basil leaves

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Assemble the sandwiches as if you were making them for the traditional skillet version.

Sandwich order: bread, cheese, basil leaves, tomato slices, a bit more cheese, bread).  Place buttered side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes on each side. Check on the sandwiches a few minutes early to ensure the bottoms are not getting too dark.

It’s Getting Chilly. Let’s eat Chili.

SNACKS

Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge Cookies – Intense, deep, dark chocolate is what you get with these fudgey cookies.  If you are not into dark chocolate, you can reduce the chocolate a bit.  The darker the better, in my book.  However, my little one thought they were a bit too powerful.  Adjust to your taste accordingly.

Pumpkin Fudge – I made these twice.  The first go round I followed the original recipe.  I had my doubts about it, and I was right.  It needed something… With the addition of some additional pumpkin seasonings and a pinch of sea salt, things got brighter.  I’m not sure why it is called “fudge,” because it doesn’t have a fudge texture.  I think it has a souffle-like quality.  Regardless, it’s a treat!  Have some heavy cream on hand? Whip it up with a bit of maple syrup.  Then, add a dollop to each serving for a really impressive dinner party dessert.

DINNERS

Squash and Ricotta Bake – Wow! This was a great Sunday dinner recipe.  It took a little more time because it required roasting and then a quick return to the oven to melt a cheesy topping.  The little bit of extra time was totally worth it.  I would’ve never imagined that roasted squash paired so well with basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.  This was truly fantastic!

Indian Summer Chili –This recipe was so popular that I made it twice this week.  Once for a school chili cook-off and another time for tailgating.  A word to the wise…don’t use 99% fat free turkey.  In error, we got 99% fat free and quickly discovered it is NOT the right texture – it’s kinda chewy.  From a flavor standpoint, there’s really no difference.  So if full fat turkey is not your thing, no worries.  (I don’t know how I managed to forget to snap a picture, especially since I made it twice this week. Nevertheless, it didn’t happen.)

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge Cookies

Adapted from My Whole Food Life

 

Ingredients:
1 c. canned organic pumpkin
1 c. creamy nut butter of your choosing (I like almond butter)
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
½ t. organic vanilla extract
½ to ¾ c. cacao powder (alternative: unsweetened cocoa powder)
2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. chocolate chunks, roughly chopped (try my favorite chocolate: liberty chocolate bars)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chunks.  Once combined, stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.  Use a scooper to drop the cookies on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool before removing from the baking surface.


Pumpkin Fudge

Adapted from The Big Man’s World

 Ingredients:
1 15 oz. can organic pumpkin puree
1 c. coconut flour, sifted
½ T. pumpkin spice
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 c. coconut palm sugar
Cinnamon, topping
Maple syrup, topping
Directions: Mix together pumpkin, coconut flour, pumpkin spice, sea salt, and coconut palm sugar.  Line a pie pan with plastic wrap.  Press the pumpkin mixture into the pie pan.  Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Refrigerate about 20-30 minutes to firm up.  Slice as you go.  Keep refrigerated.


Squash and Ricotta Bake

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into bite size cubes
(tip: microwave the squash whole for 1 minute to make for easier peeling)
3 T. olive oil (divided into 1 T, 2 T)
1 bunch of fresh organic basil, (stem finely slices, leaves roughly chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 can organic diced tomatoes
Pinch sea salt
1 lb. 100% whole wheat penne pasta
freshly ground black pepper
3 T. organic, whole milk ricotta cheese
3 c. organic vegetable stock
4 oz. mini mozzarella balls (ciliegine)
1 handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (ideally)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees (bake, not convection).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Toss butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a several pinches of sea salt.  Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil and basil stems and garlic.  Once the garlic becomes fragrant (about a minute), add the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the squash after roasting and some freshly ground black pepper.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a pot a salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta.  Under cook the pasta by several minutes before draining (do NOT rinse).  Add the pasta to a slightly oiled baking dish.

To the sauce, stir in the chopped basil leaves and vegetable broth.  Again, bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the ricotta cheese.  Pour the sauce atop the pasta in the baking dish and gently stir.  Place the mini mozzarella balls in and around the pasta – using your fingers to push it into nooks and crannies.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted.  Plate and serve with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and a final drizzle of olive oil.


Indian Summer Chili 

Adapted from Rachel Ray
Ingredients:
3-4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 lbs. ground turkey breast (not 99% fat free)
4 T. chili powder (check ingredients to avoid preservatives/fillers)
4 T. grill seasoning blend (check ingredients to avoid preservatives/fillers –Kroger’s Grill Time Chicken is filler free)
2 T. ground cumin
2 T. Worcestershire sauce, optional
1 – 3 T. hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy (several ingredients add heat – start slow and add more when tasting at the end)
1-2 large organic onion, chopped
2-4 large organic green or other color peppers, chopped
1 bottle of stout beer (alcohol cooks out)
2 (14 or 16-ounce) cans organic tomato sauce
1 can organic diced tomatoes (Carly: organic fire roasted tomatoes)
1 c. smokey barbecue sauce (choose one w/ the least amount of sugar and ingredients – or make your own w/ recipe below)
2-3 c. organic, frozen corn, optional
plain Greek yogurt (optional topping)
crumbled organic tortilla chips (optional topping)
organic cheddar, shredded (optional topping)
Directions: Heat large, stock pot (or large Dutch oven) to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Add turkey, chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.  Mix ingredients and break up the turkey into tiny bits.  Continue cooking until turkey is no longer pink (approx. 5-7 min.). Add 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.

Two Out Of Three Kale Meals Were a Hit…I’ll Take It!

SNACKS

Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

Simply a solid recipe that gets the job done time and time again.  For a special treat, top one of these off with a thin layer of almond butter!

DINNERS

Roasted Beet, Kale & Goat Cheese “Grilled Cheese” Sandwiches and Organic Greens Salad

So while these are beautiful, my family was not a huge fan.  The kale was a bit too harsh and overpowering.  I failed to toss the kale in some balsamic vinegar, and this would’ve likely made all the difference.

Kale Pesto and Ricotta Spaghetti

Oh.my.goodness!  This an impressive recipe…like, dinner party impressive! I could eat my weight in this stuff people!! What makes this recipe even more appealing is that it’s ready in less than 20 minutes.

Kale, Sausage & Ricotta Pasta

This is a great fall pasta, especially when kale is plentiful.  Large quantities of kale wilt into tiny bits in this dish.  The kale is not harsh or overpowering, I promise.  I like using a slightly spicy sausage that is mellowed just a bit by the ricotta.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

Adapted from Southern In Law

1 ½ c. white whole wheat flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice or Allspice
Pinch of sea salt
2 organic eggs (alternatives: 1/2 c. organic egg whites or 2 flax eggs)
1 c. canned organic pumpkin
1 c. organic unsweetened applesauce
1/4-1/2 c. organic honey (alternative: maple syrup)
2 t. organic vanilla extract
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredient.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined.  Fill slightly muffin tins sprayed with olive oil 3/4 full and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


Roasted Beet, Kale & Goat Cheese “Grilled Cheese” Sandwiches with Organic Bagged Salad

Adapted from BS’ in the Kitchen

1-2 organic beets, washed and sliced for sandwiches
1 T. olive oil
Kale leaves (alternative: Swiss Chard), destemmed
2-3 T. balsamic vinegar
4 oz. log goat cheese
organic butter (for making grilled goat cheese sandwiches)
100% whole grain bread
Sea Salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees (bake not convection).  Double up foil to make a wrap for the beets.  Before sealing them up in the foil, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.  Loosely wrap the beets and roast for 15 minutes.

While the beets roast, toss the kale in balsamic vinegar. Begin to prep the sandwiches by buttering the bread exteriors.  Spread goat cheese on the interior of both slices.  Add some kale and sliced beets to one of the slices of bread.  Before closing the sandwiches, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.  Proceed as you would any other grilled cheese sandwich … pan sear in a skillet or prepare in a panini press.

Organic Greens Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Organic greens
Vinaigrette (can double and reserve for later use)
1 lemon or lime, (zest and juice)
1/8 c. vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider – you choose)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 T. organic honey
sea salt/pepper, freshly ground to taste
Directions: To a glass jar with a lid, add all ingredients and shake vigorously.  Pour desired amount over greens.  Refrigerate any leftovers.


Kale Pesto and Ricotta Spaghetti

Adapted from Heather Christo

Kale Pesto
4 c. organic kale, stems removed
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juiced
1/8 to 1/4 t. red pepper flakes, depending on your preferred level of spiciness
¼ cup of olive oil
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt to taste

1 lb. 100% whole wheat spaghetti
4 oz. whole milk ricotta
olive oil
red pepper flakes
Directions: Prepare the pesto in a food processor.  Add all ingredients, pulsing until combined (but not pureed).  Season with sea salt to taste.  Cook pasta in salted water.  Drain the pasta and return it to the pot in which it was cooked (off heat).  Stir the pesto into the hot pasta.  Plate and top with a generous dollop of ricotta.  Sprinkle with sea salt, a few red pepper flakes, and drizzle with olive oil.  If you like things spicy, add a bit more red pepper flakes.


Kale, Sausage, & Ricotta Pasta

Adapted from Baked Bree

1 lb. 100% whole wheat pasta
3 c. organic kale
1 T. olive oil
1 pkg. preservative free chicken sausage, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt /pepper
1 c. whole milk ricotta cheese (whole milk ricotta is important)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
Juice and zest from one lemon
3 T.  pistachios, roughly chopped (a must!!)
Directions: Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.  Add the pasta.  Note: during the last three minutes of cooking, add the kale to the pasta water.  When al dente, drain the pasta (reserve about 2 cups of pasta water.)

While the pasta cooks, heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil and chicken sausage.  Cook until beginning to brown (about 4-5 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Reduce the heat just slightly.  Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and both cheeses.  Stir in the pasta and kale as well.  Give everything a good stir.

If the sauce is really thick (which is likely), add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and stir.  Continue adding ½ cups of the water until your desired thickness is achieved.  Don’t be surprised if you add nearly all of the reserved pasta water.  Season with salt/pepper to taste.  Plate and finish with a sprinkling of pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

I ate a cupcake that wasn’t clean…is the world gonna end?!?

You know when you have a lot of things on your agenda and then almost none of them get done?  Well, that happened in my kitchen this week.  I cooked two meals at home.  Meal #1, grilled cheese sandwiches.  I’m talking old school, none-to-exciting, plain ol’ grilled cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a grilled cheese, but it wasn’t blog worthy. Next week’s grilled goat cheese, on the other hand, is… Meal #2, I managed to bust out a super fast dinner – a squash pesto.  This one was blog worthy.

Instead of offering a weekly meal plan with multiple prepared items, I have only one dinner option this week.  Since meal plans are what We Eat For Real is all about, I’ve highlighted what is on my week’s meal horizon next week. 

Remember when I said my food philosophy is 90/10 (90% clean/10% not so clean). I lied…well, sort of… This week was probably more like 90% processed and 10% clean.  As I’ve said before, we do the best we can when eating out and doing life.  We had several weeknight events that prohibited me from cooking. However, we got to enjoy the company of great friends, take care of errands, etc.   I also said that we do life and don’t look back. So maybe I didn’t lie. Instead, it’s the ins and outs of trying to eat clean in a processed food world. 

Oh, and on a side note, the “unclean” cupcake I ate from a local bakery this week was “To the d, to the e, to the l-i-c-i-o-u-s!

SNACKS

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites – Oh my goodness! These babies are heavenly, especially with a glass of milk or a latte (ideally a homemade pumpkin or chai tea latte).  Warm, mix, roll, and refrigerate!

DINNERS

Quick Squash Pesto Pasta – So you only have 20 minutes to get a meal on the table?  I’ve got the perfect meal!!  Who needs pasta when you can create “squash pasta” that is this yummy?  Just a few simple ingredients come together quickly for an incredibly tasty meal.

ON THE HORIZON

Squash and Ricotta Bake
(Adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Kale, Sausage, & Ricotta Pasta with Organic Bagged Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
(Adapted from Baked Bree)

Kale Pesto with Zoodles and Ricotta
(Adapted from Heather Christo)

Roasted Beet, Kale & Goat Cheese “Grilled Cheese” Sandwiches Organic Bagged Salad
(Adapted from BS’ in the Kitchen)

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites

Adapted from The Big Man’s World  

1 3/4 c. oat flour (grind old fashioned oats in blender or food processor until flour consistency)
1/4 c. coconut flour (alternatives: almond or extra oat flour)
2 T. organic coconut palm sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. canned organic pumpkin
1 t. organic vanilla extract
1/4 c. creamy nut butter (I like creamy salted almond butter)
1/4 c. honey
1 T. + organic milk (alternative: almond milk, coconut milk)
Coating: cinnamon and organic coconut palm sugar
Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the oat flour, coconut flour, and pumpkin pie spice. In a heat safe container, warm the honey and nutter butter for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Immediately stir to combine the honey and nut butter.  Stir in the remaining wet ingredients: pumpkin, vanilla, and milk.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined to create a dough-like consistency.  Adjust with extra coconut flour and/or or milk as needed. In the previously used dry ingredients bowl, add several dashes of cinnamon and some coconut palm sugar (coating for the balls).  Use a tablespoon to scoop out mounds of dough and roll in the palm of your hands to form balls.  Roll several balls at a time around in the cinnamon/palm sugar bowl to create a coating.  Refrigerate and/or freeze the balls until ready to eat.  I prefer them refrigerated, but some like them frozen.

Regardless of your preferred temperature, the whole experience is amplified with a glass of cold milk or a latte.


Quick Squash Pesto Pasta

Adapted from Cook Eat Paleo

 Several organic yellow squash (alternative: organic zucchini)
1-2 T. olive oil
1 c. organic cherry tomatoes
3 T. your favorite pesto
sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil for garnish
Parmesan cheese, good quality (topping)
Directions: Use a spiralizer to make the squash noodles (aka: zoodles).  Warm a large skillet to medium heat.  Add olive oil to coat the pan and then add the zoodles.  Toss the zoodles with tongs to evenly heat.  When warm, remove from the heat and immediately add the pesto.  Toss the zoodles to evenly coat with the pesto.  Add the cherry tomatoes and toss a bit more.  Season with salt/pepper to taste.  Plate with some freshly chopped basil, parmesan cheese, and a final drizzle of olive oil.

Tips: Pesto should not be cooked by a direct heat source.  Instead, warm the pasta, coaxes the pesto to slowly “melt” and evenly coat each strand.

Ssssss – Soups, Squash, Swiss Chard, Sloppy Joe’s and Some Pumpkin Muffins

SNACKS

Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins – This is an old faithful recipe for sweet and super moist pumpkin muffins. This recipe is so easy that my lil munchkin and her buddy made them with me.  We got so caught up in the fun of making these that I forgot to snap a pic…oh snap!

DINNERS

Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Beets and Winter Squash – I took a few liberties with this recipe and threw in some roasted turnips (because I had them) and omitted the cardamom (because I didn’t have any).  The result – layers of delicious flavors. We happily ate on these leftovers for several days. 

Swiss Chard Frittata and Our Take on Smashing Tomato’s House Salad – Swiss chard is overflowing in my refrigerator this time of year. Since eggs and chard are such good friends, I often unite them in a skillet with some onions, garlic, and cheese. It’s always a happen gathering in the skillet and my stomach 😉

Broccoli and Cheese Baked Spaghetti Squash – I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new ways to use spaghetti squash. This recipe is pleasantly easy and pleasing. I’ll likely up the garlic ante next go round and substitute Gouda for mozzarella.  You can never go wrong with garlic or Gouda in my book.

Clean Eating Sloppy Joe’s with Crispy Baked Fries – You’ve seen this recipe here before because it’s crowd pleasing staple. Enough said.

Slow Cooker Quinoa White Bean& Kale Soup – I had intended to prepare this recipe, but I just didn’t get around to it.  I feel certain you’ll a version of it here soon.

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…

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Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins

(Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food )

1½ c. whole white wheat flour
1 T. pumpkin spice
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. baking powder
½ t. sea salt
2 organic eggs
½ c. honey
1 t. organic vanilla extract
2 T. melted organic butter
1 c. organic pumpkin puree
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, honey, vanilla, butter, and pumpkin). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined (do NOT over stir). Spray muffin tins with a nonstick oil (I like to use a mister filled with olive oil). Fill 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 min.


Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Beets and Winter Squash

(Adapted from Produce on Parade)


2-3 whole beets, scrubbed and ends trimmed
2-3 turnips, scrubbed and ends trimmed
1 large winter squash variety, skin removed and diced into cubes (see skin removal tip below)
1/2 t. olive oil
1 c. dry, organic red lentils, rinsed
5 c. organic vegetable broth
1 T. coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 t. ground turmeric
1 t. curry powder
1/2 t. ground ginger, (alternative 1 t. fresh ginger, minced)
1/2 t. ground cardamom, optional
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch or ground nutmeg
1 15 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. sea salt
2 T. lime juice
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees (bake, NOT convection). Loosely wrap the beets and turnips in foil. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the squash with ½ t. olive oil. Arrange the squash on the baking sheet in a single layer. The beets/turnips and squash all go in the oven.  After 15 minutes, flip the squash with a spatula and flip the foil wrapping containing the beets/turnips. Return to the oven to continue roasting. After 15 minutes, remove the squash and set aside. After an additional 15 minutes, check the beets/turnips for doneness. They are done when easily pierced with a fork. Note: They may require up to another 15 minutes. Carefully unwrap  and allow to cool before dicing into cubes.

While the beets/turnips roast, heat a large stock pot to medium heat. Add the coconut oil and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and the following spices: turmeric, curry powder, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper. Cook until the onions begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Add the broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the beets, turnips, coconut milk, thyme, salt and lime juice. Serve immediately.

Tip: To easily remove tough winter squash skin, microwave the whole squash for one minute. Then, use a sharp knife to slice off the skin.


Swiss Chard Frittata and Our Take on Smashing Tomato’s House Salad 

frittata pic

1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 link, preservative free chicken sausage, sliced into rounds
Bunch of organic Swiss chard, chopped (stems removed)
¾ c. organic shredded cheese
5 organic eggs (alternative: 3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites)
Sea salt/freshly cracked pepper
Salsa, optional topping
Hot sauce, optional topping
Directions: Preheat oven to 375. In an oven safe, nonstick skillet, warm the olive oil on medium heat. Brown the chicken sausage for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk the eggs. Add cheese to the eggs, stir, and set aside. Add onions and salt/pepper (to taste) to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the Swiss chard to the skillet, stirring often. Continue cooking until the greens are softened. Add the garlic, cooking until fragrant (about a minute). Pour the cheese/egg mixture evenly atop the skillet. Allow the eggs cook until the edges begin to firm up.

Place the skillet in the oven for about 10-15 minutes to finish cooking. The frittata is done when then eggs in the middle of the skillet have become firm and the cheese is beginning to brown. Carefully remove from the oven. Allow to sit for a 3-4 minutes to further firm up.

Serve in “pizza style” slices from the skillet OR ensure the frittata is loose by running a nonstick spatula around the edges of the frittata and invert the skillet on a plate. Enjoy as is or with top with salsa and/or hot sauce.

Our Take on Smashing Tomato’s House Salad 
Organic greens of your choice
¼ c. chopped walnuts
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Balsamic reduction

Balsamic Reduction
1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
4-5 drops organic stevia drops (optional) (alternative 1 t. honey)
Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. It’s ready when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.


Broccoli and Cheese Baked Spaghetti Squash
(Adapted from Eating Well )


1 2 1/2- to 3-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch organic broccoli, chopped to retain the florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 to 1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T. water
1 c. shredded organic mozzarella cheese, divided (alternative Gouda)
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 t. Italian seasoning (alternative: Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
Directions: Microwave the whole spaghetti squash for 2 minutes.  Slice lengthwise to create to long boats.  Place face down on a microwave safe container with a small lip.  Add 1 tablespoon of water to the plate and cover with plastic wrap.  Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the flesh is very soft when pushed.

In the meantime, add olive oil to a skillet warmed to nearly medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and broccoli florets.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Increase the temperature to medium add 2 tablespoons of water.  Put a lid (or inverted plate) on the skillet to allow the broccoli to steam until soften slightly (3 to 5 minutes).

Remove the broccoli from the heat and place in a mixing bowl.  Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash in the bowl with the broccoli.  Stir in the cheeses, Italian seasoning, and sea salt/pepper.  Evenly divide the mixture among the spaghetti squash ‘boats.’  Broil on the lowest oven rack until the cheese is bubbly and browning ever so slightly.


Clean Eating Sloppy Joe’s with Crispy Baked Fries
(Adapted from Broke and Bougie and Self Magazine )

sloppy joes pic
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 organic bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
3 T. honey
1 T. Italian seasoning (alternative: Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
1 t. sea salt
1 t. pepper
1 can organic tomato sauce
2 T. organic tomato paste
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. hot sauce*
1 t. soy sauce*
1 t. apple cider vinegar*
*These three ingredients can be replaced with Worcestershire sauce.
Directions: In a large, deep skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, and bell pepper. Cook until the veggies are softened (about 3-4 minutes). Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the turkey and break it up into tiny pieces. Cook until no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes). Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer to allow the liquid to reduce and thicken a bit (about 5 more minutes). Serve immediately.

Crispy Baked Fries
4-5 medium organic potatoes, thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil
3/4 t. coarse sea salt
Directions: Soak the fries in a large bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes. While they soak, preheat the oven to 450 degrees (bake, not convection). Drain the fries and gently pat dry. In a bowl, gently toss the fries in olive oil. Arrange the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 25 minutes or until brown (flip at the halfway point).

Squash, squash, and more squash (and pumpkin too)

SNACKS

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies  – Wow, these were a big hit this week. A slightly chewy, slightly dense, and super moist cookie makes for a great breakfast. I wish I had doubled this recipe. I’m also thinking about adding  ¼ c. pumpkin to these babies – well, because I can. 

DINNERS

Oat Soaked Pumpkin Pancakes – It begins…pumpkin madness. We love pumpkin recipes. Maybe I should more accurately say my daughter and I love pumpkin recipes. The hubby tolerates them.  He was traveling this week, so we took full advantage of the opportunity to start “pumpkin season” in his absence. We eat these pancakes almost once a week from now until our skin begins to turn orange (approximately midway through February). I kid you not!! These.are.awesome!!

Creamy Squash Soup – Truth: I’m working on overcoming soup intimidation. Not sure where or why this “issue” originated, but I find soup recipes overwhelming. What I’m learning is that the work is in the preparation. Instead of chopping each item before adding them to the pot, one should chop everything ahead of time.  Then, everything is ready when it’s time. I know, I know…one should always do the prep. work ahead of time. Truth is, I don’t always prep. properly. This is what ultimately makes soup stressful for me.  When things start cooking too fast or get too hot, I’m busy chopping the next item.  As a result, I inevitably “overcook” (a.k.a. burn) something. Admitting my faults is step one, right?  Anyhoo, this squash soup is pretty simple and straight forward. It’s a great place to start if you share my fear of soup making. Essentially, cook the veggies in a stockpot, add some stock, and then throw it all in a blender.

Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Marinara – Avoiding carbs, here’s your answer. Trying to find ways to use multiple CSA ingredients in one recipe, here’s your answer. Looking for another way to prepare spaghetti squash that isn’t the old faithful butter, salt/pepper, and Parmesan cheese routine, here’s your answer. If spaghetti squash isn’t your thing, this veggie marinara could easily top any traditional pasta.

I had full intentions of making this Spiced Lentil Soup, but it just didn’t happen this week. Consider it a preview of what is to come.  I plan to throw in some turnips in addition to the beets and squash. If anyone feels inspired and gets to this recipe before me, let me know how it goes.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from Weelicious  

1T. organic butter, room temperature
1/2 c. organic, unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 large organic, free range egg
2 t. organic vanilla extract
1 c. whole white wheat flour
2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. organic raisins (alternative: dried, unsweetened cranberries or cherries)
1/2 c. flax seeds, optional
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, apple sauce, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, stir the oats, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir until almost combined. Add the raisins and flax seeds and give it one last stir. Use a scooper to make cookie mounds. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack, especially if you want to retain a chewy texture.


Oat Soaked Pumpkin Pancakes

Adapted from Better Bodies  

Wet Ingredients
3 T. coconut palm sugar
1.5 c. organic milk of your choosing  (alternative: 1 c. organic milk + ½ c. organic applesauce)
1 c. organic canned pumpkin
1 organic, free range egg
1 t. organic vanilla extract
.5 c. old fashioned oats (NOT steel cut)
Dry Ingredients
1 ½ c. whole wheat white flour (alternative: 1 c. whole wheat white flour + ½ c. almond meal or flour)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 T. pumpkin spice
½ t. sea salt
Directions: Whisk the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the oats to the wet ingredients. Allow to soak at least 5 minutes. While the oats soak, prepare the dry ingredients in another bowl. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and sea salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined (do NOT over mix). It will be a thick mousse-like consistency. Prepare the batter as you would any other pancake, adding a small amount of your preferred oil to the pan (i.e., coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc.). Get adventurous and top with applesauce instead of syrup.

Tip: This recipe doubles beautifully.  I often make a double batch and freeze one-half (after cooled) for school lunches.


Creamy Squash Soup

Adapted from Super Healthy Kids  

1 T. organic butter
3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 organic yellow summer squash, cut into rounds (no need to peel or remove seeds)
1 small winter squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
¼ t. each sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
1 large organic potato, cut into cubes (alternative, several small potatoes)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 c. organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk (homemade buttermilk: 1/2 c. milk + good squeeze from a lemon)
Fresh herbs, finely chopped, for garnish (chives, rosemary, basil, etc.)
Organic Greek yogurt (alternative, organic sour cream), optional
Directions: Heat a large stock pot to medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil followed by the onions, squash, and salt/pepper. Give it a good stir and allow the veggies to cook until softened (about five minutes). In the meantime, microwave the cut potatoes for 3-4 minutes to soften them just a bit. Stir in the garlic to the stock pot and cook until the garlic is fragrant (about a minute). Add the potatoes to the stock pot, followed by the broth/stock. Bring it to a boil and then remove from the heat. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender to liquefy. If you have a superb quality blender, this will be your final step (other than to stir in the buttermilk right before serving). If your blender is so-so, you may need to pour the soup over a strainer to create a smooth, creamy texture. If the latter is your method, stir in the buttermilk, after straining. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Drop in a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Tip: Microwave hearty winter squash for 1-2 minutes prior to peeling. Use a shark knife to easily remove the outer skin.


Spaghetti Squash and Vegetable Marinara  

1 spaghetti squash
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 organic bell pepper, chopped
¼ t. each, sea/salt pepper
1 small eggplant, skinned and chopped into cubes
2 organic yellow summer squash, cut into ¼ inch rounds
2-3 organic tomatoes, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Handful of organic swiss chard and kale, destemmed and roughly chopped.
1 jar, organic marinara (check ingredients for processed ingredients like soybean oil, sugar, etc.)
Handful of fresh basil, chopped, optional
Directions: Microwave the spaghetti squash (whole) for two minutes. Cut in half length wise and scrape out the seeds and stringy “guts.” Place each side of the spaghetti squash face down on a plate with a small lip. Add roughly 1 tablespoon of water to the plate and cover with plastic wrap (poke two holes in the plastic wrap to allow steam to escape). Microwave for 10-12 minutes or until super soft when the skin is pressed. In the meantime, heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions, bell peppers, and salt/pepper. Stir and then allow the to cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Next, stir in the yellow summer squash and eggplant. Again, allow to cook until softened (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Stir in the tomatoes, swiss chard, and kale. Continue to stir until the greens have wilted. Pour in the marinara and reduce heat to simmer. Before serving, stir in the fresh basil. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Scrape the interior of the spaghetti squash with a fork to achieve “spaghetti” strands. Plate the squash, top with  marina, and finish with Parmesan cheese.