Staples are Life Savers

SNACKS

Blueberry Coffee Cake – A very pretty and slightly sweet snack with coffee or tea.  If you like your sweets, super sweet, then add a bit more coconut palm sugar.

Chocolate Avocado Oatmeal Cookies – A creamy, eggless cookie option.  Almond flour can be substituted for whole white wheat flour for a flourless option too.

DINNERS

Couscous Lemon Salad with Spinach Feta and Asparagus – Easy, peasy, lemon and feta squeasy.  Consider doubling this recipe – it makes for a great lunch the next day.

Roasted Tomato Caprese Panzanella – Some classics should not be changed.  I felt that way about a caprese salad until I came across this recipe.  Oh.my.goodness! The added crunch of toasted bread croutons with sweet balsamic vinegar takes this classic to a whole new level!

Clean Eating Sloppy Joe’s with Crispy Baked Fries – A crowd pleasing, comfort food staple that will be consumed with smiles.

Broccoli Spinach Quinoa Soup Did you know the entire head of broccoli, including the stem, is edible?  Talk about zero waste cooking!

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…

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Blueberry Coffee Cake

Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie


Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. organic plain Greek yogurt or organic sour cream
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. organic milk
  • 1 1/2 T. white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ c. organic coconut palm sugar
  • 2 t. organic vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 8 drops organic stevia
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut, optional
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil and/or olive oil.  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 ingredients and stir just until combined (do NOT over stir).  Very gently stir in the blueberries or gently press them into the top of the batter, being careful not to crush the blueberries.  Pour the mixture into the baking dish.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean/dry.


Chocolate Avocado Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Queen of Quinoa

[I would’ve inserted a picture here, but life got busy and it didn’t happen.]

Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe banana (if banana is not super ripe, add ¼ c. organic coconut palm sugar)
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 T. creamy almond butter (alternatives: peanut butter or nut butter)
  • 8 drops organic stevia
  • ½ c. rolled oats
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T. white whole wheat flour (alternatives: quinoa flour, oat flour)
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, mash together the banana and avocado.  Stir in the almond butter, stevia, and coconut palm sugar (if using). Stir in the remaining dry ingredients.  Create cookie mounds using a scoop.  Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for 15 to 17 minutes.


Couscous Lemon Salad with Spinach Feta and Asparagus

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod


Ingredients

  • 1 c. Israeli Couscous (alternative: whole wheat orzo pasta)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 8 asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Sea salt/pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 c. fresh organic spinach
  • 1 large lemon, halved
  • 1/3 c. feta cheese

Directions:  Cook couscous according to package directions in salted water.  Drain when done (reserve a cup of the cooking water).  While the couscous cooks, warm a skillet to near medium heat.  Add olive oil and garlic.  Cook until you can smell the garlic.  Add the asparagus and saute for 5 minutes before adding the spinach.  Stir until the spinach begins to wilt.  Squeeze the lemon over the top and toss the asparagus mixture.  To a large serving bowl, combine the cooked couscous, asparagus mixture and feta cheese.  Add 1/2 cup or more of the couscous cooking water and stir to create a bit of a sauce. Season with salt and pepper and give a final squeeze of lemon.  Serve immediately.


Roasted Tomato Caprese Panzanella

Adapted from How Sweet Eats


Ingredients

  • 2 pints organic grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 6 slices of 100% whole grain bread, cut into cubes (I use Ezekiel bread)
  • 4 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 t. sea salt, divided
  • 1 t. pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 1/2 c. fresh baby mozzarella balls/pearls, drained and dried with a kitchen towel
  • 15-20 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • balsamic reduction, see recipe below

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees (bake, not convection). Arrange the tomatoes and bread cubes in a single layer on two separate baking sheets.  Drizzle each with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ t. sea salt.  Bake for ten minutes, use a spatula to flip the bread cubes, and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. In a large serving bowl, toss the bread cubes, mozzarella balls, basil.  Add the tomatoes and gently toss one more time.  Drizzle desired amount of balsamic reduction and a bit more olive oil.

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients

  • 1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 drops organic stevia drops (optional)

Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.  It’s done when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. Note: it will thicken even more as it cools.   Refrigerate any leftovers.


Clean Eating Sloppy Joe’s with Crispy Baked Fries

Adapted from Broke and Bougie and Self Magazine


Ingredients

  • 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
Ingredients

  • 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).


Broccoli Spinach Quinoa Soup

Adapted from Wendy Polisi

[I would’ve inserted a picture here, but life got busy and it didn’t happen.]

Ingredients

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • ½ t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 c. vegetable and/or chicken broth
  • 1 large head of organic broccoli, chopped (including the stem)
  • 1 organic white potato, peeled & chopped
  • 6 oz. organic fresh spinach
  • 2 T. tahini, optional
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ to 1 t. sea salt
  • ½ t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. organic sharp cheddar, shreddedOptional topper
  • Organic Greek Yogurt

Directions: In a large stock pot heated to near medium, add the olive to coat the bottom. Add the onion, sea salt, and black pepper.  Saute until softened (about 8 minutes).  Add the uncooked quinoa and garlic.  Stir constantly to brown the quinoa just a bit and prevent the garlic from sticking.  Add the broth, broccoli, and potato.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes (the potatoes will be soft). Add the spinach and stir until it has wilted. Add the remaining ingredients.  Transfer to a blender container (all or in batches depending on the size of the container).  Blend until smooth and creamy.  If your blender has a soup setting, use it and walk away.  Top individual bowls with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a nice zip!

 

 

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Easy Weeknight Dinners

SNACKS

Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies – These are “kitchen pantry cookies.” With lots of optional add-ins, you can throw in whatever is in the pantry.  Consider chocolate chunks, nuts, raisins, etc.  I added some extra honey because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, reducation the honey.

DINNERS

Kale Pesto and Ricotta Spaghetti This is such a fast, easy and incredibly flavorful dish that I cannot get enough of!

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes – Pan sear some chicken and onions and then throw them, and a few other ingredients, in a baking dish.  A super flavorful dinner is ready in no time.  Minimal preparation makes this an ideal weeknight meal.

Creamy Spinach Lentil Soup – If you like easy, this soup is for you.  Everything happens in a one stock pot.  Talk about a flavorful, creamy soup option with tons of health benefits too.  A perfect option for a cold winter weeknight.

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…

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Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet Eats


Dry Ingredients

  • 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat pastry
  • 1/3 c. organic ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large organic egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. organic coconut palm sugar (yes, this is a wet ingredient)
  • 3 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T. organic butter, melted
  • 3 T. organic milk
  • 2 T. organic vanilla extract
  • 3 T. to ¼ c. local honey (increase honey to ¼ c. if your bananas are not ripe and/or if you like things a little sweeter)

Add-ln Ingredients

  • 1 c. fresh organic blueberries
  • 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds, optional
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (my favorite is liberty chocolates), optional

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient.  Stir gently, just until combined. Stir in any or all of the add-in ingredients.  Use a scoop to create cookie mounds. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for approximately 15 minutes.  (If using a baking stone, a few more minutes may be needed)

Note: I added the full amount honey to this batch because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, omit the honey.


Kale Pesto and Ricotta Spaghetti

Adapted from Heather Christo


Ingredients

  • 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.


Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes

 Adapted from Amazing Pinterest World


 Chicken Preparation

  • 4 organic, boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • Sea salt/pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/3 T. 21 Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salute, optional
  • ½ T. olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced

Basil Sauce

  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • ¼ c. Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ t. each sea salt/pepper, freshly ground

Chicken Toppings

  • 1 c. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 2 large organic tomatoes, chopped, (alternative: 1 pkg. organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved)
  • ¼ c. organic Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Directions: Warm a skillet to medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt/pepper and a few dashes of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute to each side. Add olive oil to the skillet. Sear the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side to lock in the juices.

Note: The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point. It will finish cooking in the oven.

After flipping the chicken, add the red onion to the skillet in the areas the chicken isn’t.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

While the chicken is searing, prepare the basil sauce in a blender or food processor.  Puree the basil sauce ingredients (garlic cloves, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, water, Parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper).

Line a lasagna pan with foil. Add the seared chicken. Pour the basil sauce over the chicken.  Next, add the onions, mushrooms, and finally the tomatoes.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. During the last 5 minutes of baking, top with the mozzarella cheese. Finish each serving with a drizzling of olive oil and freshly chopped basil.


Creamy Spinach Lentils Soup

Adapted from Pinch of Yum


Ingredients

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 organic sticks celery, chopped
  • ¼ t. each sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c. dry white wine (NOT cooking wine)
  • 2 c. organic uncooked lentils, rinsed
  • 2 medium organic Yukon potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces or smaller
  • 4 c. organic chicken broth (plus 2-3 more cups of broth or water during cooking)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs fresh parsley and fresh thyme (alternatively ¼ t. each dried parsley and thyme)
  • ¼ t. dried sage
  • ½ c. organic half and half
  • 4 c. fresh, organic baby spinach
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste (likely ½ t. or more of sea salt is needed)

Toppings

  • olive oil and red wine vinegar

Directions: Heat a large stock pot to near medium heat.  Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and sea salt/pepper.  Stir occasionally.  Sauté until the vegetables have softened (about 8 minutes).  Add the remaining ingredients (with the exception of the spinach).  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.  Check the liquid levels often, adding additional broth to keep the lentils covered by the broth.  Add the spinach and stir until it has wilted.  Season with additional sea salt/pepper to taste.

Prior to serving, add a drizzle of olive oil and a scant teaspoon of red wine vinegar to each bowl of soup.

 

Be Brave…Eat Something “Out There”

SNACKS

Blender Banana Muffins – A fast muffin-like recipe that is a great on-the-go breakfast or after dinner treat.  I say “muffin-like” because they look like muffins, but their texture is not light and crumbly.  Instead, they have a spongy angel-food like texture. Tip: don’t over blend to prevent overly tough and chewy muffins.

DINNERS
Pear Apple Oven Pancakes – Impress your friends with this upside down fruit pancake.  Pears and apples cooked in cinnamon and honey make for a delicious breakfast for dinner meal.

Easy Caprese Salad – Talk about fast, simple, and delicious.  Add some grilled chicken and an impressive dinner is ready in no time.

Zoodles Puttanesca – Don’t like zoodles (a.k.a. zucchini pasta)?  No worries. Use whole wheat pasta instead.  Whatever you do, you won’t be sorry.  This sauce is killer!  Don’t be scared of the anchovies.  They melt into the olive oil, and the recipe just isn’t the same without them!!

Broccoli and Cheese Baked Spaghetti Squash – “Mom, you know I don’t like spaghetti squash!” “Oh wait, maybe I do like it with broccoli and cheese.”  You’ll feel the same way, trust me.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Blender Banana Muffins

Adapted from Well Plated 

 

Ingredients
1 c. organic plain Greek yogurt
¼ -1/2 c. local honey*
2 large organic eggs
1/2 t. organic vanilla extract
2 c. oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
2 large very ripe bananas
1 1/2 t. baking powder (preferably aluminum free)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 c. chocolate chunks (my favorite is liberty chocolates)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To a blender container, add all ingredients in the order listed (except the chocolate).  Blend for about 15-20 seconds.  Do not over blend.  Add the chocolate and give it a quick pulse.  Alternatively, pour the batter into olive oil greased muffin tins; and sprinkle the chocolate chunks atop each muffin cup.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until sightly golden.  Allow to cool completely before removing.


Pear Apple Oven Pancakes

Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food  

  

Ingredients
2 eggs, 4 egg whites (organic)
2 t. organic vanilla extract
¼ c. + 1 t. organic honey, divided
½ c. white whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
1½ T. organic butter
1 organic apple, thinly sliced
1 organic pear, thinly sliced
1 t. ground cinnamon
Pure maple syrup

Directions: Preheat the oven 375 degrees.

To the blender, add the first six ingredients (eggs, vanilla, honey, flour, baking powder, and sea salt). Turn on medium speed for 15 seconds.

Heat a nonstick to near medium heat.  Add the butter to coat the bottom of the pan.  Arrange the pears and apples evenly on the bottom of the skillet.  Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon the on the fruit and drizzle with the honey.  Sauté for approximately 5 minutes or until the fruit begins to soften, stirring gently once or twice.  Pour the pancake batter evenly atop the fruit.  Once the batter begins to set up on the bottom of the skillet (approximately 5 minutes), insert the skillet to the oven. Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the top has set up and is slightly golden.

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven.  Cover the skillet with a plate slightly larger than the skillet.  Invert it to reveal the sliced pears and apples.  Serve with warmed maple syrup.


Easy Caprese Salad

Adapted from Savory Sweet Life 

 

Ingredients
2 pints organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
16 oz. fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls, halved
6-8 T. olive oil
Big bunch basil leaves (18+ leaves), finely chopped or get fancy and chiffonade
½ to 1 t. sea salt
½ to 1 t. freshly ground pepper
Balsamic reduction, optional (recipe below)

Directions: In a medium bowl, gently toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a drizzling of balsamic glaze (optional). Serve immediately.

Balsamic Reduction
1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
4-5 drops organic stevia drops (optional)

Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. It’s done when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.


Zoodles Puttanesca

Adapted from The Londoner 

  
Ingredients
6 organic yellow squash (alternative: organic zucchini)
3-4 T. olive oil, depending on your skillet size
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 anchovies (alternative: anchovy paste)
1/8 to ¼ t. chili flakes, depending on your heat preference
2 T. capers, do NOT rinse
1/3 c. black olives
2 cans, diced organic tomatoes
Parmesan, to sprinkle on

Directions: Use a spiralizer tool to create zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles). Set them aside.

Warm a skillet to medium heat. Add the chicken sausage, turning every 3-4 minutes. While this continues to heat, begin preparing the Puttanesca…

Warm a large skillet to just below medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the minced garlic, and allow it to sizzle for 30 seconds. Next, add the anchovies to the oil. Don’t worry; you won’t have to look at these guys for very long.  They will dissolve and serve as flavor only for this amazing sauce. Finally, add the chili flakes that add both flavor and heat to the oil. Give everything a stir.

While the sauce bubbles at the edges and smells up the kitchen something fiercely delicious, give the olives and capers a rough chop before adding them to the skillet. Finally, stir in the final ingredient – canned tomatoes. Adjust your skillet heat so that a little bit of simmering is happening to marry all the flavors.

Using tongs, add the zoodles to the sauce.  Toss them to evenly heat and coat them with the sauce. Once plated, drizzle with olive oil and Parmesan cheese!


Broccoli and Cheese Baked Spaghetti Squash

Adapted from Eating Well 

 

Ingredients
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.

 

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.

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.

 

Stuff It To Impress…Peppers and Acorn Squash That Is.

SNACKS

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Cookies
– Despite the flat and unappealing appearance of this batch, they were yummy.  “Why are they flat?” You may be wondering.  Or, maybe you are like me and could care less as long as they are good. For those who do care, there are lots of reasons cookies end up flat.  In my case, a warm baking stone was the culprit. I set the baking stone on the oven while preheating … oops.

Chocolate Orange Avocado Pudding – What feels good on a strep ridden sore throat? Pudding!  No, not store bought pudding laden with sugar, chemicals, and who knows what else??? A creamy homemade chocolate pudding with an orange juice kick.  The avocado is undetectable from a taste standpoint; however, the creaminess is heavenly.

DINNERS

Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers with Chipotle Roasted Carrots – This is such a cook and crowd pleaser meal.  It’s easy to make, beautifully colorful, and delicious.  The carrots accompany this meal perfectly too.  Gotta give credit to my little one for the carrot seasonings.  Her inspiration source: many o’ episodes of America’s Worst Cook during a recent snowpocalypse in our area 🙂

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Organic Greens – Here’s another impressive option for entertaining – guests eat from individual squash bowls.  The organic greens make a perfect side. The original recipe calls for ground turkey. This time, I made it with bacon. Outcome: great success!

Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – Yep, you’ve seen these recipes here before.  This is an easy go to meal that tastes like someone slaved in the kitchen when it’s quite the opposite.  And the sandwiches…oh my! The roasted tomatoes, stolen from the soup recipe, take these to a whole new level.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Reinvented Recipes (Notorious Ingredients)

Turkey burgers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and zucchini noodles have bad reputations because they’ve tasted horrible or they have a notorious history.  Either way, many refuse to give these ingredients a shot.  Here are some new ways to prepare these  ingredients that will result in happy taste buds.

SNACKS

Banana Cake Cookies – We couldn’t wait on these to cool before tasting because they smelled so good!  Slather with a bit of almond butter for another layer of deliciousness!!

DINNERS

Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce & Creamy Coleslaw – A staple meal in our house.  In my experience, traditional grocery stores tend to carry ground turkey that is gamey and less than  appetizing.  Opt for a higher quality ground turkey, ideally organic, to allow the feta and olive to take center stage.   If you are in a rush, skip the tzatziki sauce and top your burgers with coleslaw.  While a different flavor altogether, it gives it a delicious creamy crunch that hits the spot too!

Brussels Sprouts Cranberry Quinoa Salad & Chicken Sausage – I know, I know, you “hate” Brussels Sprouts. This time, they  are shredded and served as salad greens.  That traditional overcooked, stinky, and mushy thing is nonexistent.  My original intent was to serve the chicken sausage on the side.  However, at the last minute, I decided to slice it and throw it in the salad.  Outcome: Great success.

Pan Seared Chicken with Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli –  Start with a good quality organic chicken breast, pound it out so it’s even, season it well, and presto!  Served with roasted broccoli that is slightly crunchy and garlicky with a hint of lemon and cheese and dinner is ready in a flash.

Lemon Zoodles with Artichokes & Chicken Sausage ­– Zucchini should be organic if it’s to be eaten.  That didn’t happen this week b/c the grocery store didn’t have any.  So, I used non-organic zucchini [the horror, I know!!] I don’t make a habit of it, but on occasion, it happens.  As for the recipe itself, within two bites, the hubs requested that it “be on the rotation.” My little, one who typically despises zoodles, agreed.  That is sayin’ something.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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