Cook’s Choice – Baked Egg Avocados

Snacks

Salted Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Sweet, chewy, and salty.  This batch was supposed to make it to the end of the week.  They barely made it to Wednesday!  This is one of the first clean eating cookie recipes I discovered several years ago.  These cookies never get old.

Dinners

Baked Egg Avocados – You know when you prepare a meal and the family (hubby in particular) takes one look and says absolutely nothing – dead silence.  Yep, that’s how this one was received.  Truth is, the hubby doesn’t like eggs unless the yolks are cooked solid. Sometimes, it’s cook’s choice and this gal gets her way 😉   I love eggs prepared nearly any way I can get them.  That goes for avocados too.  Put these two favorites together…well now, that’s just plain fabulous in my book. Tip: Don’t be shy with seasoning.  Eggs and avocados require a bit of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to showcase themselves!

Easy Caprese Salad – Who doesn’t love a caprese salad? This is a light meal ready in 15 minutes or less.  It’s a 25 minute meal if served with pan seared chicken.  It’s an easy crowd pleaser every time.

Clean Eating Sloppy Joe’s and Baked Sweet Potato Fries – An all time family favorite.  Sometimes, when we get all food crazy, we forgo the bun and serve it with organic tortilla chips.  Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and it’s a whole new twist on Sloppy Joe’s.

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/stone. Makes approximately 16 cookies.


Baked Egg Avocados

Adapted from White On Rice Couple


Ingredients
1 large avocado (per person)
2 eggs (per avocado)
Several slices of super crispy bacon
Toast, optional but recommended
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Hot sauce, optional

Directions:  Preheat oven to 425.  Halve the avocado’s and remove the seeds.  Carefully hollow out each side a bit bigger to create room for the egg.  Place avocado halves in a baking dish in such a way that they support each other and won’t fall over.  Season with a bit of sea salt and black pepper.

Fancy preparation method: carefully separate the yolks and whites.  Fill each avocado with one yolk and then spoon in just enough egg white to fill the remaining available space.

Quick preparation method: carefully crack each egg and pour it into the hollowed portion of the avocado.  Know that some of the egg white will overfill into the baking dish.  It’s a bit less beautiful, but still delicious nonetheless.

Season the egg with sea salt and black pepper.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, depending on your preferred egg doneness. While the avocados are baking, roughly chop the bacon and toast the bread.  When the eggs are cooked to your liking, top each avocado with the crumbled bacon.  Serve alongside the toast.

Scoop out some of the egg avocado goodness and slather it on the toast.  If you’re feeling edgy, add a couple of dashes of hot sauce!


Easy Caprese Salad

Adapted from Savory Sweet Life

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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.


Clean Eating Sloppy Joe’s & Baked Sweet Potato Fries

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries (1 sweet potato per person)

Adapted From Broke and Bougie 

Ingredients
3 sweet potatoes, skins removed
2 T. coconut oil (melted) or olive oil
1/8 to ¼ t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. sea salt

Directions:  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees (bake not convection).  Slice the potatoes (skins removed) into French fries.  In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and dry seasonings.  Line a baking dish with parchment paper or foil.  Arrange the fries on the pan (do not allow them to touch one another or they won’t get crispy).  Cook for 10 minutes, flip, and cook 8 to 10 additional minutes or until done to your preferred crispness.

Clean Eating Sloppy Joe’s

Adapted From Broke and Bougie

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 3 ingredients can be replaced with 2 T. 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.

SNACKS

Breakfast Cookies – A great grab and go, guilt free breakfast item.  Or, it’s a great treat for when a cookie craving hits!

DINNERS

Arugula and Feta Farro (or Orzo) with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage –This is a quick, impressive dinner option -great for entertaining.  It’s crazy easy, yet it tastes like hours of kitchen time was spent creating it. I usually double this recipe to ensure we can enjoy it all over again at lunch.

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.  The traditional overcooked, stinky, and mushy Brussels sprouts are nonexistent here.  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.

Feta Arugula Chicken Sausage Frittata – A quick and easy dinner option with endless ingredient options.  No feta?  Substitute another cheese.  No arugula? No problem-another organic green like spinach, kale, or swiss chard will work.  No meat in the fridge? Go without.  Regardless of your chosen combination, this will turn out great every time.

Pan Seared Chicken with Baked Sweet Potato Fries – Sweet potato fries are a great substitute for traditional fries.  They’re especially yummy with smokey paprika seasoning.  Consider using the same seasoning for your chicken too.

Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti Squash  – A friend recently shared this recipe with me – Thanks Shannah! I chose to microwave the spaghetti squash instead of roasting for the sake of time.  It made an otherwise time consuming recipe ready in no time. 

Hope something makes your belly smile…

(Smartphone users: scroll to the bottom of the screen to sign up for weekly recipe emails from We Eat For Real.)


Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from Weelicious  

Dry Ingredients
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. flax seeds

Wet Ingredients
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (alternative: soften coconut oil)
1/2 c. organic, unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. pure maple syrup (alternative: honey)
1 large organic egg
2 t. organic vanilla extract

Stir In Ingredients
1/2 c. organic raisins (alternative: dried, unsweetened cranberries or cherries)

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. You can do this by hand or alternatively in a mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir a few times by hand. Finally, fold in the stir in ingredients by hand. Use a large scoop to create individual cookie dough mounds. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for 12-15 minutes (slight browning at the edges = done).


Arugula and Feta Farro (or Orzo) with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage

Adapted from Organize Yourself Skinny 

Lemon Garlic Dressing Ingredients
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
2 lemons, juiced
¼ t. sea salt and pepper

Farro Ingredients
2 c. farro (whole grain) (alternative: 2 c. whole wheat orzo)
4 c. organic chicken broth (alternatives: vegetable broth or water)
2 c. organic arugula (OR organic kale), reserve the remaining greens for the salad
1c. + ½ c. feta cheese, grated

(Tip: Buy a block of feta and grate it yourself. Prepackaged feta crumbles have additives!)

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt/pepper and set aside.

If using farro: To a medium size stock pot, add the broth or water.  Bring bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook per package instructions. When done, drain the farro and return it to the stock pot.

If using orzo: To a medium size stock pot, add the broth or salted water and bring to a boil.  Add the orzo.  Refer to package directions to achieve al dente pasta. When done, drain the orzo and return it to the stock pot. (Note: reserve about 1 c. of the cooking liquid).

Prepare the chicken sausage by pan searing while the farro (or orzo) is simmering.

Mix in the greens (arugula or kale) and feta to the warm farro (or orzo).  Once the greens have wilted, pour in the lemon-garlic olive oil and mix to combine.  Season with sea salt/pepper to taste. If using orzo, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.  (You’ll find that whole wheat pasta tends to soak up any available liquid and so the additional liquid is needed.)

Serve the chicken sausage alongside the farro (or orzo).  Alternatively, slice the cooked chicken sausage and stir it into the prepared farro (or orzo).


Brussels Sprouts Cranberry Quinoa Salad & Chicken Sausage

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven  

Salad Ingredients
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, rinsed and ends trimmed, sliced with a food processor (or by hand)
1 c. dry quinoa
1 c. dried organic cranberries (check ingredients for added preservatives and sugar – sometimes organic sugar cannot be avoided)
2/3 c. slivered almonds, (toasting optional)
1/3 c. feta, roughly shredded
Orange vinaigrette (see below)

1 pkg. preservative free chicken sausage

Directions: Cook the quinoa according to package directions. When finished transfer to the refrigerator to quickly cool it.

While the quinoa cooks, heat a large skillet to medium heat, and cook the chicken sausage. Rotate while cooking to ensure evenin heating. 

Prepare the vinaigrette and set aside.

Once the quinoa and chicken sausage are underway, slice the Brussels sprouts in the food processor (or by hand).  To a large serving bowl, add the Brussels sprouts along with the cranberries, almonds, and cheese.

Once the chicken sausage is fully cooked, allow to cool slightly before slicing.  Add the chicken sausage along with the quinoa.  

Top the salad with the orange vinaigrette, and gentle stir.  Season with salt/pepper to taste.

Orange Vinaigrette
1/4 c. freshly-squeezed orange juice (alternative 1 large orange, juiced)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Directions: Whisk together all ingredients.


Feta Arugula Chicken Sausage Frittata  

Ingredients
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 links, preservative free chicken sausage, chopped
Large handful of organic arugula, roughly chopped
¾ c. organic feta, crumbled
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, heated to medium, add the olive oil.  Brown the chicken sausage for about 5- 7 minutes.  

In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk the eggs.  Add the cheese, stir, and set aside.  

To the skillet, add the  onions and sea salt/pepper (to taste).  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Add the arugula 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 to cook until the edges begin to firm up.  Place the skillet in the oven for 10-15 minutes to finish cooking the eggs.  The frittata is done when the eggs in the middle of the skillet have firmed up.   

Carefully remove from the oven and allow to rest for 3-4 minutes.  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.


Pan Seared Chicken with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Adapted from Broke and Bougie 

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (1 sweet potato per person)

Ingredients
3 sweet potatoes, skins removed
2 T. coconut oil (melted) or olive oil
1/8 to ¼ t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. sea salt

Directions:  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees (bake not convection).  Slice the potatoes (skins removed) into French fries.  In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and dry seasonings.  Line a baking dish with parchment paper or foil.  Arrange the fries on the pan (do not allow them to touch one another or they won’t get crispy).  Cook for 10 minutes, flip, and cook 8 to 10 additional minutes or until done to your preferred crispness.

Pan Seared Chicken
Ingredients
2-3 organic chicken breasts
Sea salt, freshly ground
Black pepper, freshly ground
½ T. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (alternative: another dry, preservative free poultry seasoning)
½ t. or less olive oil

Directions: Heat a skillet to near medium heat.  Pound out the chicken so its thickness is even to ensure even cooking. Sprinkle both sides with salt/pepper and the dry seasoning.  Coat the bottom of the skillet with olive oil, giving the pan a swirl or two around.  Place the chicken breasts on the pan (do not move around once placed other than to flip on the other side). Approximately 7 minutes later, flip the chicken.  Notice how far up the side of the breast it is cooked.  If the color change is about ½ of the way, you can estimate it will likely take the same amount of time on the flipped side.  

Ideally, the chicken is flipped only one time in the skillet.  Never ever cut into the chicken while cooking to see if it’s done.  All of the juices run out and the result is dry chicken.  Once the chicken has cooked on both sides, remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for several minutes before cutting.


Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti Squash

Adapted from Lighten Up 

Ingredients
1 lb. wild caught shrimp
2 spaghetti squash,
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small red onion,  thinly sliced
1 lb. organic asparagus, woody stems removed and sliced into 1” sections
1.5 lemons, zested and juiced
2 T. olive oil
1.5 T. organic butter
Sea salt
Red pepper flakes

Directions: Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Place upside down in a microwavable dish with a lip.  Add 1 tablespoon of water and cover with plastic wrap.  Pierce the plastic wrap with a tiny hole to allow steam to escape.  Cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes or until the skin is super soft to the touch.  Repeat this process with the other spaghetti squash.

While the squash cooks, heat a large skillet to near medium, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add the garlic, onion, and asparagus and season with a pinch of sea salt and red pepper flakes. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the shrimp, lemon zest and a pinch of sea salt  and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 more minutes. (NOTE: shrimp cooks fast! You want it to begin to tighten into a curl and turn from translucent to opaque.) Then, quickly add the lemon juice and a 1.5 tablespoon of butter. Give it a quick stir and remove from the heat. 

With a fork, scrape the spaghetti squash to remove the spaghetti-like strands and add it to the skillet. With tongs, toss it with the shrimp mixture. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. 

Plate and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and some Parmesan cheese.