Let’s Do This – Chocolate Chip Cookies

SNACKS

Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies – Finally, a “clean” chocolate chip cookie that truly tastes and looks like a chocolate chip cookie.  I dare you to eat just one.

DINNERS

Indian Summer Chili – I know, here we go again with this recipe.  The hubs requested it one last time before warmer weather hits and chili is “out of season.”  It really is a great take on traditional chili.  BBQ and cumin in chili is a winning combo.

Mint & Chocolate Pancakes with Homemade Chocolate Sauce – Breakfast for dinner? Yes, please!  This was our St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  Perfect, right? Not so much. The homemade chocolate sauce was so rich that it overpowered the pancakes.  Next time, I’ll used mint extract flavored homemade whipped cream and drizzle on a bit of the chocolate sauce.

One Skillet Turkey Bolognese with Zucchini Pasta – Craving pasta for dinner but trying to reduce carbs?  I’ve got the solution to your conundrum so long as you are willing to give zucchini pasta a shot.  I promise you, this is good stuff!!

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Carrots – Consider this any night of the week because it’s fast and easy.  But, don’t overlook it as an entertaining option either.  Creamy and cheesy [stuffing] always compliments chicken and roasted carrots make for a perfect side.

Hope something makes your belly smile.

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Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Adapted from Bless This Mess 

Dry Ingredients
1 c. old fashioned or quick cooking oats
1 c. white whole wheat flour
1.5 t. baking powder
½ t. sea salt
 
Wet Ingredients
½ c. local honey (not raw)
1/4 c. creamy nut butter
1 organic egg
2 T. coconut oil, melted
2 T. organic butter, melted
1t. organic vanilla extract

Stir In Ingredient
½ c. clean eating chocolate chunks

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a slightly larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Gently stir until just under-stirred.  Stir in the chocolate chunks, reserving a few to sprinkle on the tops of the cookie mounds. Create cookie mounds with a scoop or two tablespoons.  Flatten mounds by hand just a bit. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chunks.  Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for approximately 12 minutes.


Indian Summer Chili 

Adapted from Rachel Ray

IMG_7039-0

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.


Mint & Chocolate Pancakes with Homemade Chocolate Sauce

Adapted from My Little Celebration 

Dry Ingredients
1 c. whole white wheat flour
1.5 T. baking powder
pinch sea salt

Wet Ingredients
1 c. organic milk
2 T. organic coconut palm sugar (yes, this is a wet ingredient)
1 T.  olive oil or (alternatives: coconut oil or butter, melted)
1 T. unsweetened organic applesauce
1/2 t. organic vanilla extract

1/2 t. peppermint extract
All natural green food coloring (optional)
3 T. unsweetened cacao (alternative: unsweetened cocoa powder)

Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate, slightly larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Very gently stir the wet and dry ingredients.  Separate the batter into the mixing bowls.  To one batter, stir in the chocolate.  To the other batter, add the peppermint extract and green food coloring.

Homemade Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients
½ c. local honey (not raw)
Heaping ¼ c. cacao (alternative: unsweetened cocoa)
½ t. organic vanilla extract
Up to 1 T. water or milk (to create desired consistency)

Directions:  Whisk together the first three ingredients.  Add water (or milk) to obtain desired consistency.


One Skillet Turkey Bolognese with Zucchini Pasta

Adapted from Rachel Cooks 

Ingredients
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. all ground turkey (not extra lean)
Sea salt/pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 large organic carrot, finely diced
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (or less if spicy is not your thing)
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. can organic crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can organic diced tomatoes
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. coconut palm sugar
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
6 organic zucchini – spiralized or zoodled (If you don’t have a Spiralizer, you should)
Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions: Heat a large skillet to medium heat.  Add olive oil to coat the bottom.  Add turkey and break into tiny pieces.  Season with salt/pepper.  Cook until no longer pink (about 5 minutes).  Add the onion, carrots, and red pepper flakes.  Cook until the vegetables are softened (about 3 minutes).  Add the garlic, allowing it to cook for 1 to 2 minutes (do not overcook). Add the tomatoes, oregano, and coconut palm sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes – uncovered.  (This will allow some of the liquid to cook out).  Add the zucchini.  Use tongs to gently mix the zucchini into the sauce.  Allow zucchini to cook until slightly softened (approximately 5 minutes).  Stir in the fresh basil and cheese.

Plate and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a bit more Parmesan cheese.


Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Carrots

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine 

Timing Tips: First prep. the carrots and the chicken stuffing.  Roast the carrots.  In the meantime, finishing preparing the chicken.  The carrots and chicken will end up in the oven at the same time.

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients
Bag of organic carrots, rinsed and peeled
1-2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. cumin

Directions: Preheat the oven 450 degrees.  Slice the carrots in half lengthwise and then quarter the halves.  In a large bowl, toss the carrots in the olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, and arrange carrots in a single layer.  Bake for 20 minutes (flipping over with a spatula halfway through roasting).

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients
3/4 c. feta, crumbled
(Note: store bought “crumbled” feta has several questionable added ingredients you can avoid by buying a block of feta and using a kitchen grater to achieve “crumbles”)
1/2 c. thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
3 T. organic cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil

4 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a small bowl stir together the stuffing ingredients.  In the thickest part of the chicken breast, slice a pocket (be careful not to slice all the way through).  Stuff ¼ of the mixture into each chicken breast. If needed, secure the stuffing with a toothpick.

Heat an oven-safe skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil to coat the skillet.  Pan sear the chicken (4 minutes on each side).  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 5 additional minutes or until the chicken is done.

Note: Whatever you do, do not cut the chicken for doneness.  You should be able to see the chicken cooking up the sides.  When it is no longer pink on the sides, the center should be done as well.

If you must cut, wait at least 5 minutes after removing from the oven before doing so.  A premature cut will result in bone dry chicken.

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.

 

Enough already with the holiday food!

SNACKS

Peppermint Chocolate Cookies – Talk about easy. Throw everything in a food processor and scoop the dough onto a baking sheet.  Bake. That’s it.  I know you may be thinking that these are a holiday treat, but in my book, chocolate and peppermint are delicious year round.

DINNERS

Indian Summer Chili – I don’t need an Indian summer to eat this chili. It is fantastic year round.  If you don’t like a spicy chili, cut back on the hot sauce – it’s definitely spicy as is!

Avocado & Bacon Grilled Cheese with Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli – Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich? Add some bacon and avocado and you’ve got a slightly different take on a classic.  Don’t forget about the broccoli!! This is, by far, the best way to prepare broccoli.  It’s slightly crunchy at the edge, garlicky, lemony, and cheesy.  What is not to love? This meal is on the table in 30 minutes!

One Skillet Chicken Fajitas – I don’t know about you, but after loads of holiday food, I’m ready for a dinner time staple.  You’ve seen this recipe here before, and it’s back again!

Hope something makes your belly smile!

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Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

(No picture this time – I forgot.  That’s ok, really, because they aren’t necessarily pretty.  They are however yummy.)

Adapted from My Whole Food Life

Ingredients
1 c. nut butter (ideas: peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)
¼ c. cacao powder (alternative: unsweetened cocoa powder)
4 T. pure maple syrup
¾ to 1 t. organic peppermint extract
¼ c. chopped clean chocolate (I like Liberty Chocolate)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add all ingredients to a food processor (omitting the chocolate chunks).  Process until smooth.  Add the chocolate chunks and pulse a few times to incorporate.  Using a tablespoon to scoop the dough onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.  (Alternatively, a baking stone works too.  May require a few more minutes in the oven).  Bake for 7 to 9 minutes.



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.


Avocado & Bacon Grilled Cheese

Adapted from Table for Two

Ingredients
8 slices of 100% whole grain bread, (ideas: Ezekiel, sourdough, etc.)
12 slices of preservative free bacon, cooked to desired doneness
3 avocados, smashed
1 c. good quality  cheese, shredded (ideas: Dubliner, gouda, etc.)

Directions: I’m not sure, but I’m thinking directions might be offensive to most, but just in case… prepare sandwiches layers with bread, cheese, bacon, avocado slices, a final layer of cheese, and bread.  Heat skillet to medium heat and add a tad a butter. Once one side is golden brown, flip.  Once the other side is golden brown and the cheese is melted, it is ready. Don’t skimp on the cheese!!

Both sides of the sandwich deserve a slice or two 🙂

Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients

1 bunch of broccoli, separated into florets
2-3 T. olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Grated Parmesan cheese (topping)
Fresh lemon juice (topping)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees (bake, NOT convection). In large bowl, toss the broccoli, olive oil, salt/pepper, & garlic.  Arrange in a single layer on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes (at 10 minutes, flip the veggies with a spatula).  After removing from the oven, sprinkle with cheese and freshly squeezed lemon. Serve immediately.


One Skillet Chicken Fajitas

 

Fajitas:
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.

Cold Weather Culinary Comforts

SNACKS

Breakfast Cookies – A great grab and go, guilt free breakfast item.  Or, it’s simply a great treat for when a cookie craving hits! (forgot to snap a pic – oops)

DINNERS

Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches  – This is where it’s at when it comes to tomato soup. When you add the Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich, your life will be complete.  I’m not even kidding!

Pan Seared Balsamic Marinated Chicken and Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli  – This dinner option may not seem all that interesting at first read. At first bite, you’ll appreciate its flavor and simplicity.  #30minutedinner

Indian Summer Chili – I don’t know why this is a “summer chili.” It is fantastic year round.  Get used to this recipe…it’s on repeat in my house often.  If you don’t like spicy chili, cut back on the hot sauce – it’s definitely spicy!

Arugula and Feta Farro with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage – This is a repeat recipe too.  It’s also 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.  

Hope something makes your belly smile.

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 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)
1/2 c. shelled pistachios, optional

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).


Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted Food Network  

Ingredients
1 lb. organic vine-ripened tomatoes
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil (1 T. + 2 T.)
1/2 c. finely sliced fresh basil leaves
sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
3 garlic cloves, minced
1(28 oz.) can crushed or whole tomatoes (preferably, San Marzano tomatoes)
28 oz. water (tip: refill the can of tomatoes)
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, fresh basil, minced garlic.  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 freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the bread.  When they are ready, add the roasted tomatoes.  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 olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Tips:

  • Reserve a few roasted tomatoes for the Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (see recipe below)
  • 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

 

Sandwiches Ingredients
100% whole grain sourdough bread
Organic mozzarella cheese, sliced 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 minutes on each side. Check the sandwiches a few minutes early to ensure the bottoms are not getting too dark.


Balsamic Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Marinade
¼ c. balsamic vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
3-4 organic chicken breasts

Directions: Seal chicken breasts in a large Ziploc bag with marinade ingredients.  Marinade for at least 4 hour (preferably overnight).  Pan sear the chicken on both side until thoroughly cooked.

Note: If making to serve with Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli (recipe below), begin pan searing the chicken once the broccoli has begun roasting.

Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients
1 bunch of broccoli, separated into florets
2-3 T. olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Parmesan cheese, grated (topping)
Fresh lemon juice (topping)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 (bake, NOT convection). In large bowl, toss the broccoli, olive oil, salt/pepper, & garlic.  Arrange in a single layer on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes (at 10 minutes, flip the veggies with a spatula).  After removing from the oven, sprinkle with cheese and freshly squeezed lemon. Serve immediately.


Indian Summer Chili 

Adapted from Rachel Ray

IMG_7039-0

Ingredients
3-4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. organic ground turkey breast (not 99% fat free)
4 T. chili powder (check ingredients to avoid preservatives)
4 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)
1-2 large organic onion, chopped
2-4 large organic green or other color peppers, chopped
1 bottle of stout beer
2 (14 or 16-ounce) cans 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)
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.


Arugula and Feta Farro 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)
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 myself. Prepackaged feta crumbles have additives!)

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

(Note: One-half will be used for this recipe.  I reserve the remaining for a fantastic salad dressing.)

In a medium size stock pot, add the farro and broth.  Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook per the package instructions.

Prepare the chicken sausage by pan searing while the farro is simmering.

Drain the farro and return it to the stock pot.  Mix in the greens (arugula or kale) and feta to the warm farro.  Once the greens have wilted, pour ½ of the lemon-garlic olive oil over the top and mix to combine.  Season with sea salt/pepper to taste.

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

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.

Feeling Peachy? Try a Peach Arugula Salad

SNACKS
Fudgy Chocolate Beet Brownies  – You’d never know the beets are in these brownies.  They are chewy and fudgy – simply delicious. (Pictures slipped my mind – oops).

DINNERS
Quinoa Potato Salad with Pan Seared Chicken – A great alternative to a traditional potato salad with mayo that does not stay fresh long or hold up well at a hot picnic.  This one only gets better with time, and it matters not if it’s hot, cold, or somewhere in between.

Grilled Chicken and Peach Arugula Salad – I wish I had doubled this recipe.  It was gone in a flash!  No time to pan sear chicken or the peaches?  No worries.  Omit the chicken and serve the peaches freshly sliced.  It’s still gonna be fab!

Spinach and Rice (or Quinoa) Stuffed Bell Pepper – I realized late in the game that Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard was without rice.  So, I substituted quinoa and it worked like a charm.  I’ve never met a bell pepper that didn’t love Gouda and bacon!

Clean Eating Sloppy Joes with Zoodled Crispy Baked Fries – Recipe repeat alert! A family pleaser every time.  This was my first attempt making curly fries with a Spiralizer.  They weren’t pretty – I used the Spiralizer wrong. But, they were yummy!  Do better and watch this video before making your curly fries.  (Note: This video recipe does not include a cold water soak. If you want your fries crispy, don’t skip this step.)

Indian Summer Chili – It had been a while since this chili graced our presence.  It reminds me of tailgating, cool fall evenings, and all things great about the start of soup/chili season.  A friend shared this recipe with me a few years ago and I’m not sure how we every survived without out! Prepare yourself, this recipe is gonna be on here over and over and over and over and…well, you get the picture 🙂

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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