If you’re here for the first time…welcome! If you’re returning…let’s get to the kitchen.

This week has, quite possibly, the easiest muffin to make – ever.  Throw it all in the blender, stir in some blueberries, and bake.  Super easy!

If you’re looking for super fast meals, go for the Easy Caprese Salad or One Skillet Fajitas. Fast, easy, delicious!! These are staples in our house.  They will make weekly appearances here often.

The Pesto Quiche is a versatile dish.  Options are nearly endless with this one.  You can switch out any of the veggies or add a few of your favorites, and you can even get crazy and make your own crust. A fast recipe is here for that too.  If you go with a store bought crust, it’s just a matter of mixing a few ingredients and pouring them into the pre-made crust to bake.

Another favorite is the Cheesy Polenta With Peppers & Chicken Sausage. It’s sooo good and easy.  It’s great for entertaining too!

Snacks

Blueberry Almond Butter Banana Muffins
adapted from Buns in My Oven

1 medium very ripe banana (if a ripe is not available, increase the 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. 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. Carefully stir in the blueberries. 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.


Dinners

Spinach Eggplant & Feta Quinoa
adapted from Julia’s Album

1 large eggplant, remove skins and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 T. olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag, organic fresh spinach
1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled

Directions: Preheat the oven to 420 degrees (bake, not convection). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with the olive oil and salt/pepper. Transfer eggplant to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and softened (flip them over at the the halfway mark with a spatula). While the eggplant roasts, warm a skillet to low-medium heat. Add the olive oil and stir in the garlic. Allow to cook for about a minute (it will be very fragrant). Immediately add the spinach and continuously toss the spinach and garlic mixture with tongs until the spinach has wilted and is bright green. Remove from the heat (do not just turn off the burner or you will over cook the garlic). Once the eggplant has finished roasting, add it, the cooked quinoa, and feta to the cooling skillet. Stir mixture and taste. Feta is salty, and so it may be seasoned to your preference as is. Otherwise, add salt/pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Time saving tip: If you don’t have some leftover quinoa waiting to be eaten, don’t worry.  Prepare some according to package directions after you put the eggplant in the oven.


Easy Caprese Salad with Grilled Chicken
adapted from Savory Sweet Life

2 pints organic cheery 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 (easy 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.

Serve with pan seared organic chicken breasts

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.


One Skillet Chicken Fajitas

For the 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, thinly sliced
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 skillet to medium heat. Season all sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. 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, but not much more) before adding all remaining ingredients. 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. Enjoy!


Pesto Quiche with Sun Dried Tomatoes
adapted from Gracious Pantry

1 pre-made whole wheat pie crust (no added sugar) or make your own…

Olive Oil Pasty Dough (adapted from Spicie Foodie):
2 c. whole white wheat flour
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. cold water (may need 1-2 more T. of water to get the right consistency to form a ball)
1/4 t. sea salt

Directions: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt.  Add the water and oil.  Mix with a fork until it begins to come together. (You may need to add water by the tablespoon to get the right consistency) Finish by forming the dough into a ball with your hands.  Rest the dough in the refrigerator while prepping the quiche filling.

Quiche Filling:
1 c. frozen organic spinach
1 c. frozen broccoli, roughly chopped
16 oz. carton of organic egg whites
1 c. shredded organic cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 T. Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute spice
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. (generous) sun dried tomatoes (not “packed in oil”)
1 T. pesto (I like Trader Joe’s jarred pesto)
1/2 c. diced mushrooms (optional)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Press the dough into a pie pan with your fingers. In a large bowl, mix together all quiche ingredients.  Pour the filling into the pie pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the egg mixture is solid – even when cut with a knife.  Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing.  Consider finishing with a dollop of organic Greek yogurt and a dash or two of hot sauce.  Salsa also makes a great topping.

Serve with organic bagged salad


Cheesy Polenta with Bell Peppers & Chicken Sausage
adapted from BevCooks

½ c. organic milk
1 log organic polenta, cut into cubes (precision cutting unnecessary – it will be mashed)
1T. organic butter, optional
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan (divided), plus more for garnish
1 pinch coarse salt/ freshly ground pepper
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pkg. preservative free chicken sausages, sliced on the bias (I like Trader Joe’s spicy Italian or Andouille style)
2 organic red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, sliced in strips
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (divided)
Hot sauce, optional

Directions: Warm a small sauce pan to low/medium heat. Add the milk and polenta. Mash the polenta with a firm whisk or fork and then stir until creamy.  Add milk by the tablespoon if it’s too thick. If it’s too watery, don’t worry. As it continues to cook, it will thicken. Reduce heat to low and stir in one-half of the cheese and one-half of the cilantro. Allow to rest on low. If your stove top burner is too hot on low and the bottom is sticking, remove it from the heat source. It can warmed easily on low before serving.

While the polenta is resting, heat a large skillet to low/medium heat. Add the olive oil and then sausage. Cook 5-6 minutes or until hot and slightly browned on both sides. (If using precooked sausage, you just need to get it hot). Remove the sausage from the pan (retaining the olive oil and juices) and cover the sausage with foil to keep warm. Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and then the peppers. Add some freshly cracked salt/pepper. Cook peppers until softened and slightly blackened. Return the sausage to the skillet. To the polenta, stir in the remaining cheese and cilantro. Season polenta with salt/pepper to taste. To plate, add a generous helping of polenta. Top with the sausage and peppers. Finish with a sprinkling of cilantro. If you want to spice it up, add a few dashes of hot sauce!

Hope something makes your belly smile!