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…

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


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.

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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…

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


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.

 

Soup’s On, Baby!

SNACKS

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

DINNERS

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

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

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

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

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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


Salted Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

IMG_5926

Dry Ingredients:
1 ¼ c old-fashioned oats
½ c whole white wheat flour
1 T. ground flax seed
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. coarse sea salt (preferably Himalayan pink salt)

Wet Ingredients:
¼ c.+1/8 c. honey
1 organic cage free egg white
2 T. creamy, salted almond butter (or your preferred nut butter)
2 t. organic vanilla extract

Stir in Ingredients:
¼ c. clean dark chocolate, roughly chopped (my favorite is liberty chocolates)
¼ c. organic raisins

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix. Gently stir in chocolate & raisins. Scoop rounded tablespoon size servings onto a baking stone or lined cookie sheet. Cook 9 to 10 min. (Do not over cook. They will be soft and gooey, until they have cooled a bit). Allow to cool on the baking sheet/cooling stone. Makes approximately 16 cookies.

Try to eat just one – dare ya!


White Bean and Kale Soup

Adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

 

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

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


Cheesy Polenta with Bell Peppers & Chicken Sausage

Adapted from BevCooks

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

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

While the polenta is resting, heat a large skillet to low/medium heat. Add the olive oil and then sausage. Cook 5-6 minutes or until hot and slightly browned on both sides. (If using precooked sausage, you just need to get it hot).

Remove the sausage from the pan (retaining the olive oil and juices) and cover the sausage with foil to keep warm. Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and then the peppers. Add some freshly cracked salt/pepper. Cook peppers until softened and slightly blackened. Return the sausage to the skillet.

To the polenta, stir in the remaining cheese and cilantro. Season polenta with salt/pepper to taste. To plate, add a generous helping of polenta. Top with the sausage and peppers.

Finish with a sprinkling of cilantro. If you want to spice it up, add a few dashes of hot sauce!


Cheesy Eggplant Casserole

Adapted from Healthy Recipes Blogs

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

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


Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted Food Network

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

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

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

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

Tips:

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

Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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

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

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