Be Brave…Eat Something “Out There”

SNACKS

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

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

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

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

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

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Blender Banana Muffins

Adapted from Well Plated 

 

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

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


Pear Apple Oven Pancakes

Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food  

  

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

Directions: Preheat the oven 375 degrees.

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

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

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


Easy Caprese Salad

Adapted from Savory Sweet Life 

 

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

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

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

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


Zoodles Puttanesca

Adapted from The Londoner 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Broccoli and Cheese Baked Spaghetti Squash

Adapted from Eating Well 

 

Ingredients
1 2 1/2- to 3-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch organic broccoli, chopped to retain the florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 to 1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T. water
1 c. shredded organic mozzarella cheese, divided (alternative Gouda)
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 t. Italian seasoning (alternative: Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper

Directions: Microwave the whole spaghetti squash for 2 minutes. Slice lengthwise to create to long boats.  Place face down on a microwave safe container with a small lip.  Add 1 tablespoon of water to the plate and cover with plastic wrap.  Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the flesh is very soft when pushed.

In the meantime, add olive oil to a skillet warmed to nearly medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and broccoli florets.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Increase the temperature to medium add 2 tablespoons of water.  Put a lid (or inverted plate) on the skillet to allow the broccoli to steam until soften slightly (3 to 5 minutes).

Remove the broccoli from the heat and place in a mixing bowl.  Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash in the bowl with the broccoli.  Stir in the cheeses, Italian seasoning, and sea salt/pepper.  Evenly divide the mixture among the spaghetti squash ‘boats.’  Broil on the lowest oven rack until the cheese is bubbly and browning ever so slightly.

 

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Say No To The Same Old Boring Salads #peachbarleysalad

SNACKS

Blueberry Cinnamon Banana Muffins No time to make & bake muffins? Not any more.  This is quite possibly the easiest recipe…ever! Throw ingredients in the blender, stir in the blueberries, bake.

Strawberry Vanilla Oatmeal Cookies To be honest, my batch flopped from a visual standpoint.  They were flat as pancakes and ran together into one blob on the baking sheet. I’m really not sure why. Did I throw in the towel? Never. Using a spatula, I reshaped the blob into shapes that resembled cookies and let ugly cookies finish baking.  The result…ugly, yet yummy cookies! In our house, we don’t judge food we try based on looks. After the “two bite rule,” we decide.  One bite, and these cookies ruled!

Beet Chips My CSA delivered yet another bunch of beets. This time, I made crunchy, salty beet chips. I appreciate this recipe more than other beet recipes because I didn’t have to do anything other than wash them before slicing – no peeling necessary. Toss them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and they’re ready to bake until crispy.

DINNERS

Peach Barley Salad With Pan Seared Chicken Sausage This new recipe hit the spot. It packs a punch with layers of flavors, crunch, and subtle sweetness from the peaches and orange juice vinaigrette. I never would’ve imagined that peaches, red bell pepper, feta, and parsley could be so harmonious!

Zoodles Puttanesca  If you want to impress, learn this dish! It’s powerfully flavorful.  No one would suspect how easy it is to prepare. The key ingredient to this recipe … anchovies! Yes, you must use anchovies to achieve the rich, deep flavor that is Puttanesca. Don’t be scared, you can’t taste them. They, along with the capers, olives, and garlic, bring such flavor intensity that cannot be achieved without them. When making this, I learned something about my child. She is adventurous!! She took it upon herself to eat an anchovy bite right out of the tin! I’m not sure I would attempt this without a bit of bribery. If we teach kids very early on that food is not something to turn our nose at simply because it looks different, odd, etc., their world will be filled with exciting culinary adventures!

Greek Spaghetti Squash with Our Take on Smashing Tomato’s House Salad For a long time, I thought spaghetti squash recipes were limited to sea salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. False. This recipe is a great example of this vegetable’s versatility. Olives, fire roasted tomatoes, and feta pair beautifully with spaghetti squash.

Roasted Green Beans and New Potatoes with Pan Seared Chicken Comfort food at its best. One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is roasting.  Roasted veggies have slightly crunchy edges, and their natural sweetness is revealed.  Roasting really brings out the best in vegetables.  Further enhance the magic of roasting with a tad of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese.

Kale Chopped Salad Another new recipe for me this week. I’m reminded again that avocados really improve the quality of salads, particularly those with kale. Avocado softens the bitterness that is sometimes kale. This salad is hearty – a meal in itself. Think, creamy, sweet, salty, crunchy, and chewy. If there are any leftovers, this salad holds up well the next day because the kale does not wilt.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

Smartphone users, scroll to the bottom of the screen to sign up for weekly We Eat For Real meal plan emails.


Strawberry Vanilla Oatmeal Cookies

 

Adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking
1 c. organic old fashioned oats
¾ c. whole white wheat flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
⅛ t. sea salt
2 T. coconut oil, softened
1 organic egg, room temperature
1 t. organic vanilla extract
½ c. honey, preferably local (alternative: maple syrup)
¾ c. organic strawberries, diced
Directions: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (except the strawberries). Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir just until combined (stir about 10 times). Add the strawberries, and stir just a few more times. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (do NOT skip this step). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a scooper to create cookie dough mounds. Place on a silicone lined cookie sheet or a baking stone. Bake 14-15 minutes. Do NOT over bake. Cookies will be somewhat softer than usual. That’s okay. As they cool, they will stiffen up just a bit resulting in every so soft and chewy cookies.

Notes: As I mentioned above, my recipe totally flopped.  I’m really not sure why.  I’ve made these before and they were perfect.  I’m thinking that maybe my strawberries were juicier than normal resulting in an overly wet batter???  Who knows.  It mattered not in the end because I recovered this flop by reshaping the cookies midway through baking using a spatula.  They were pretty, but they were yummy.


Blueberry Cinnamon Banana Muffins

Adapted from GDS
1 medium very ripe banana (if a banana is not ripe, 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 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.

Notes:  As you can see from my picture, my muffins did not rise.  I’m thinking that the impromptu kitchen dance party resulted in sunken muffins.  Should this happen to you too, “fix” this problem by adding almond butter to the sunken section prior to eating.  #problemsolved


Roasted Beet Chips

 

Organic beets, sliced paper thin
1-2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. sea salt

Tips: You may want to use gloves and a cutting board and/or work surface that you don’t’ mind having a semi-permanent pinkish color. Bottom line: working with beets is a wee bit messy.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Cut the beets near the stems, leaving .5” remaining (so you have something to hold on to). Wash the beets in warm water and pat dry. Slice the beets using a mandolin (or by hand). Toss them with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and lightly sprinkle them with sea salt. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip and bake another 20 minutes until they are crisp. Enjoy warm or when cooled.


Peach Barley Salad with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage

  

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
1 c. quick-cooking barley (alternative: farro, Israeli cous cous)
1/4 c. roasted sunflower seeds, (alternatives: walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, etc.)
1-2 organic peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 c. parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 c. organic red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. feta cheese

OJ Vinaigrette
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh lime juice (alternative: lemon)
1/4 c. 100% orange juice
1/2 t. chili powder, optional
1/4 t. sea salt
Directions: Cook barley according to package directions. While the barley cooks, prepare the dressing in a glass jar with a lid. Add all ingredients and shake vigorously. Set aside. In a large serving bowl, add the sunflower seeds, peaches, parsley, and bell peppers. Drain the cooked barley. Add it to the serving bowl along with the vinaigrette and stir. Top with the feta cheese. Add sea salt, to taste. Enjoy!

Serve with pan seared chicken.


Zoodles Puttanesca

 

Adapted from The Londoner
6 organic yellow squash (alternative: organic zucchini)
3-4 T. olive oil, depending on your skillet size
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 anchovies (alternative: anchovy paste)
1/8 to ¼ t. chili flakes, depending on your heat preference
2 T. capers, do NOT rinse
1/3 c. black olives
2 cans, diced organic tomatoes
Parmesan, to sprinkle on
Directions: Use a spiralizer tool to create zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles). Set them aside.

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

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

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

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


Greek Spaghetti Squash with Our Take on Smashing Tomato’s House Salad

 

Adapted from Yummy Healthy Easy
1 large spaghetti Squash
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced small
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 (14oz.) can organic, diced fire roasted tomatoes (could substitute fresh tomatoes, but the flavor isn’t the same)
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled (reserving 1-2 T.)
½ c. chopped black olives, sliced
Fresh parsley, chopped for serving (optional)
Sea salt/pepper, to taste

Tip: Store bought “crumbled” feta has nasty anti-caking ingredients. Easily avoid these by buying a block of feta and use a kitchen grater to achieve “crumbles.”

Directions: Instead of roasting the spaghetti squash in the oven, cook it in the microwave.

Tip: Cook the whole squash in the microwave for 2 minutes.  This makes cutting it in half much easier.

Cut the squash lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and darker orange, stringy flesh around the seeds. Place each half of the squash face down on a plate with a slight lip. Add one tablespoon of water to the plate and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a small hole in the plastic wrap to allow steam to escape. Cook in the microwave 12 to 15 minutes, or until the skin of the squash is very soft to touch. While the squash cooks, warm a skillet to medium. Add the olive oil, onions, and a pinch of salt/pepper. Cook until onions until soft/translucent. Add the garlic and cook about a minute or until fragrant (about a minute), stirring regularly. Immediately add the tomatoes, feta cheese (remembering to reserve 1-2 T.), and olives. Allow to simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Once the squash has finished cooking, scrape the flesh with a fork to make “spaghetti” strings. Stir the squash into the sauce. Plate and top with a sprinkling of feta cheese and parsley. Enjoy!

Our Take on Smashing Tomato’s House Salad
Organic greens
¼ c. chopped walnuts
1/2 red onion, sliced
¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Salad Dressing
3 T. white wine vinegar
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. Dijon mustard
1t. honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Add all dressing ingredients to a glass jar with a lid and shake vigorously.  Assemble salad ingredients and drizzle with the dressing.


Roasted Green Beans and New Potatoes with Pan Seared Chicken

8 – 10 oz. organic green beans, washed and strings removed
6-8 organic baby new potatoes, washed and roughly cut into bite sized pieces (skins on)
2 T. olive oil
1 t. sea salt
½ lemon, for juicing
¼ c. Parmesan cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees (NOT convection). In a bowl, toss the green beans and potatoes with olive oil and sea salt. Arrange on parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping veggies with a spatula at the half-way point. [Pan sear the chicken while the veggies are roasting]. Remove the veggies from the oven. Squeeze the lemon juice on the veggies and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Season with sea salt/pepper to taste. Enjoy!


Kale & Avocado Chopped Salad

 

Adapted from Valeries Kitchen

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. honey
1 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. minced garlic
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
Directions: To a glass jar with a lid, add all ingredients and shake vigorously.

Salad
1 bunch organic kale, de-stemmed and chopped (approximately 6 cups)
½ lemon, for juicing
1/8 t. sea salt.
1/3 c. salted roasted pistachios (alternatives: walnuts, pine nuts, almonds)
1 organic apple, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
Handful of figs, chopped (alternatives: organic raisins)
1/4 dried, unsweetened cranberries, optional
1/4 c. blue cheese crumbles
Directions: To a large serving bowl, add the kale, sea salt, and a few squeezes of lemon juice. Use your hands to massage and squeeze the kale until it softens a bit (about two minutes). Next, toss the kale with the 3/4 of the dressing. Add the remaining salad ingredients in layers. Add remaining salad dressing, if desired.