Hi Everyone!! I’m so happy to back and sharing recipes with you. My bloggy break was a little longer than expected. My mother in-law passed away right after Christmas and I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my husband’s family. As tough of a time it was letting her go, we still managed to have fun as a family. We went to the movies, joined a gym, hosted a New Year’s Eve party and ate a ton of food.
I spent a lot of time with my sister in-law, Janet, during the past few weeks. She truly is one of my favorite people. She’s enthusiastic about everything and has such a great spirit! We probably stimulated the Fort Wayne economy with our daily shopping trips. (We both love shopping malls but rarely get to them since we live in big cities.) On one of our shopping trips, Janet was tempted to buy a Vitamix blender. This is partly my fault; I’m obsessed with mine and always talk about how much I love it. After not being able to find a juice bar in Fort Wayne, Janet was more than ready to buy it but her inner spending demon told her just to wait. Good Girl — because when she returned to Hoboken, Santa had left her a Vitamix underneath the tree.
I got home from Fort Wayne on Saturday and one of the first things I needed to do was make some healthy smoothies for the week. Only eating one food group (casseroles!) for the past 2 weeks, my body needed to get back to healthy eating. And since everyone is still into their New Year’s resolutions, I thought posting a green smoothie recipe would be great!
Did you know you need 9 serving of fruits and vegetables a day?? 9!!! It seems pretty overwhelming. But when you drink your fruits & veggies, it makes it a lot easier. This Green Smoothie is vibrant in color and rich in healthy foods. It tastes great!! I like to make large batches and store individual servings in the fridge so I always have some on hand. This smoothie will keep in the fridge for 3 days in an airtight container.
Head to your produce isle and stock up on your produce. Getting your 9 servings of fruits & veggies just got easier.
Kiwi, Kale & Apple Smoothie
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 pear, cut into chunks
- 1 orange, peeled and halved
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 green apple, seeded
- 2 kiwi, peeled and halved
- 1 cup kale, ribs removed
- 1 cup romaine lettuce
- 1 cup parsley
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 2-3 ice cubes
Put all ingredients into the blender and puree until smooth. If you don’t have a powerful blender, that’s fine, just cut the fruits and veggies into smaller pieces.
Quick post today! First off, I will not be doing my usual #FollowFriday post tomorrow. Instead, I’ll be participating in Cookies & Crafts for Sandy Hook. Crazy for Crust has organized a way for the blogging community to show support and give tribute to those effected by the shootings last week. (I’ve copied and pasted part of her post from her blog below.)
On Friday, December 21, 2012, we are going to honor the victims, families, and community of Newtown by doing a post in their honor. Cookies and Crafts for Sandy Hook will be one way we can show support in the aftermath of this unimaginable event.
On Friday, December 21, write a post sharing a cookie or a craft and a tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School. There is no specific requirement…just do or make something to show your support. Maybe something you would make for, or with, your children.
Please spread the word about this united effort wherever you can. You can use the hashtag #BloggersforSandyHook.
Don’t have a blog? That’s okay. You can still share something for Sandy Hook. Take a picture and post it on your Facebook wall, your Twitter feed. Share on Instagram or your Google+ or wherever you can to unite us in our tribute.
So please come back tomorrow to see what treat I’ve made. I still have no idea what to do. I tried making cookies yesterday and it was a total epic disaster. I used to think it was my oven’s fault, but now that I see a pattern, it’s probably just me.
Do you love turkey? How about turkey sandwiches? I sure do but doing the typical turkey, mustard and cheese thing gets pretty boring for me. I came up with a Mediterranean sandwich spread, almost like a tapenade, to switch up the everyday turkey sandwich. The spread consists of artichokes, roasted red peppers, onions, banana peppers, balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil. Add to a blender or food processor, and then you have a low-calorie and flavorful sandwich spread. You won’t miss the mayo or mustard with this sandwich!
If you’re having guests in town for the holidays, this sandwich is great for everyone and it’s a little different from what you can get anywhere else. Pair it with some sweet potato fries and you’ve got a filling meal.
Mediterranean Turkey Sandwich
- 10 oz can artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
- 1/4 cup onion
- 1/2 banana peppers, mild
- 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Dash of red pepper flakes
- 8 sandwich rolls
- 1 lb deli turkey
- reduced fat feta cheese crumbles
- shredded carrots
- In a blender or food processor, add artichokes and the next 6 items. Blend until is a paste consistency.
- Warm sandwich rolls in the oven. Split and spread both sides of bread with the artichoke mixture.
- Top with turkey, feta cheese crumbles, lettuce and shredded carrots.
I have a secret…About once a month, usually on a Sunday night, I get a craving for Taco Bell. Yes, I know that stuff is just terrible for you but why does terrible taste so darn good?!! And why is terrible so cheap??!
I always order the same items. One of those items being a Meximelt. It has ground beef, pico de gallo and cheese all wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla. The cheese is melted and the pico de gallo has a lot of cilantro. There really isn’t much to it… which got me to thinking, “Why can’t I make meximelts at home?”
You totally can. I made a few changes to make my at home Meximelt a healthy option. It was just as delicious! I’m not going to say I’ll never order a Meximelt again from Taco Bell, but knowing I can get my fix at home is pretty satisfying.
Do you have a favorite copy cat recipe? I’d love to know all about it! Head over to my facebook page and post your copy cat recipes. I’ll highlight the ones I want to try!
Taco Bell Inspired Meximelt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 taco seasoning packet
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced (no seeds)
- 1 jalepeno, diced (remove white ribs and seeds)
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Juice from 1 lime
- Salt & pepper
- 8 flour tortillas, taco size
- Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese Blend, shredded
- Hot sauce, optional
- In a warm skillet, add oil and ground turkey. Cook until browned, 8-10 minutes. Drain excess liquid. Add taco seasoning to the meat mixture. (I followed the directions on the packet by adding 2/3 cup of water along with the taco seasoning.) Cook with meat for 5 minutes.
- Make pico de gallo – combine tomatoes, jalepeno, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper.
- When the taco meat is cooked, take 1/4 cup of meat and add it to the middle of a flour tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cook in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the cheese has melted. Top with pico de gallo. Add hot sauce, if needed.
Chicken Tenders. Chicken Fingers. Whatever you wanna call it, I LOVE them.
I created this recipe to find a healthier option. Most chicken tenders are breaded & fried. I’ve seen recipes which are oven baked, but the crust of the tender is covered in breadcrumbs, eggs and cheese. No thanks.
I’ve been eating a lot of hickory smoked almonds lately. It’s the perfect combo of smokey & salty. Did you know if you’ve got a food processor or a good blender, you can grind nuts so they have a consistency of breadcrumbs? It’s true!
I made these chicken tenders for dinner, but I think they would be a great appetizer for a holiday party! I threw in some fresh rosemary, which is a perfect herb for the holiday season. Have some dipper options, like bbq sauce or honey mustard, and you’ll be all set!
I added about 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs, but if you can’t find panko or wanting a gluten-free recipe, just cut them from the recipe.
Smoked Almond & Rosemary Chicken Tenders
- 1 cup smoked almonds
- 1/4 panko bread crumbs (optional)
- 2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 8 chicken tenders
- Cooking Spray
- In a food processor (or strong blender), put in almonds. Grind until the texture is very fine, like breadcrumbs. Heat skillet to medium heat and toast panko until it’s slighty brown. In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, almonds and rosemary. Mix well.
- In a bowl, stir buttermilk, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper. Dip chicken one by one into the butter milk and then into the almond coating. Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.
Hummus is a product I always have in my fridge. It’s pretty convenient since all stores carry it and they have a variety of flavors. After making my own hummus, I doubt I’ll ever buy it at the store again. This is a cheap & easy recipe — Paying $3-5 for an 8 ounce container of hummus is just silly. If you’re a hummus lover, please stop the insanity with me and just make your own!
I decided to make Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Hummus. I had both of the main ingredients on hand, but really, you can make any kind of hummus you want. The main ingredients you need to make hummus are chickpeas, tahini & olive oil. Tahini is a sesame paste and it can be tricky to find. The only store by me that carried it was Whole Foods. Tahini can be stored in your fridge for 6 months. If you’re like me and forget when you buy things, be sure to write the date on the container so you know how long you can use it. (I also do that with cheese!)
This recipe is so easy to make. Throw all of the ingredients in the blender and blend. That’s it.
Then you have this.
Roasted red pepper & basil go so great together. This hummus so thick & creamy. But the best part about it is how fresh it tastes! That’s the reason why I’ll never buy hummus in the store again. A store bought brand can’t compete!
How do you like to eat hummus? It really is a versatile food but I love it as a healthy dip. Veggies are great with hummus but sometimes I want some carbs. Instead of having calorie loaded chips & crackers, make your own baked tortilla chips. All you need are tortillas cut into triangles, cooking spray and your favorite spices. I really like cumin & a little salt. They bake for 10 minutes and then you have your own baked tortilla chips. The chips are super crispy! This is a great way to use up tortillas before they get too stale.
This recipe makes 3 cups and will last 7-10 days in your fridge. I hope after making your own hummus, you’ll never go back to the store bought stuff!
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
- 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, drained
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Garlic, 2 cloves
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Basil, 8 leaves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
All ingredients go into the blender. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 3 hours before it’s served.
Baked Tortilla Chips
- Cooking spray
- Your favorite spices (I used cumin)
Turn oven onto 350 degrees. Cut tortillas in half, and then each half into thirds. You should have a triangle shaped chip. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place tortillas on the baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Season chips with salt & the spice you selected. Bake for 10 minutes.
I’m sure most of you have heard of quinoa and all of the benefits it has for your diet. It’s considered a superfood because it’s a whole grain that’s high in fiber & protein. It’s also gluten-free. Quinoa is a tiny grain that cooks up like rice and has a mild, nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture similar to couscous. You can find it next to other grains in health-food stores and your supermarket.
I’ll be honest, I don’t eat quinoa enough. I’ve had a box of it sitting in my pantry since this summer. Luckily, it doesn’t go bad.
Since I made Creamy Goat Cheese & Chicken Risotto last night, I wanted an easy meal that doesn’t require me standing over a stove. And some nights, I just want a salad. A fully loaded salad, yet not a calorie bomb.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post I’m going to use the same 4 ingredients in all of my meals this week — Chicken, goat cheese, roasted red peppers and mushrooms. I think these elements will go great in a salad, but I wanted something heartier to go with it besides a bag of mixed salad greens. Then I had a “Ding! Ding! Ding” moment. I should finally use that box of quinoa in my salad.
I’m soooo glad I did! This salad was awesome! The quinoa brings a fun texture to the dish. It’s not as mushy as couscous but not as firm as rice. I added the veggies & cooked chicken towards the end of cooking the quinoa, so they stayed crisp. I ate this salad warm, but it can also be eaten cold. I had the cold version today for lunch. I added some additional lemon, olive oil and S&P. It was really good! Another option for this salad is add it to your favorite tortilla wrap — then you have a sandwich wrap!
Quinoa Salad with Chicken & Veggies (makes 3 cups of quinoa salad)
- 2 cups of chicken broth or water
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1/2 cooked chicken breast, cubed
- 1/2 roasted red pepper, diced
- 4 mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbs goat cheese
- Mixed salad greens
- In a saucepan, combine broth and quinoa. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover the saucepan. Let the quinoa cook for 10-15 minutes.
- When the quinoa is cooked, add in the chicken, red pepper, mushrooms, onion, olive oil & lemon to the saucepan. Mix well and taste. Add salt & pepper if needed.
- Add goat cheese and fold into the salad.
- Place salad greens on your plate and top with quinoa. Add additional goat cheese if you like. (I did!)
Happy Monday! Did you see my post yesterday? I made Spicy Chicken Parm Sliders…. just for myself. The recipe is scaled for 12 sliders. Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could eat 12 sliders.
So this morning I started to think of new things I can do with the main elements from yesterday’s recipe. Wanting something easy and low-key on a Monday night, I still want a meal that’s fun to eat.
Pasta would be an easy answer. I’m not going that route. My mind started to think about pizza… but I don’t have any dough to make the crust. Buuuut I do have some flour tortillas. Ding Ding Ding! I can make a low carb pizza by using the tortilla as the crust.
Tortilla size doesn’t matter. I’m using a smaller tortilla because I’m cooking for myself but you can grab a bigger tortilla if you’re sharing this meal with someone else. Or use the smaller tortillas and people can customize their pizza with their favorite toppings.
These are the ingredients you’ll need, you’ll notice they are the same ones from yesterday’s post:
- Flour tortilla
- Shredded chicken
- Marinara sauce
If you have some additional veggies, those would be good too. The main thing to remember is you don’t want to load down the tortilla with too many toppings. The tortilla needs to get crispy. I added some pepperoncinis to my pizza. I had them on hand from yesterday, plus I love the subtle spice and salty taste they give.
Turn your oven onto 415 degrees. Layer the ingredients onto the tortilla and bake for 12-15 minutes. When the edges of the tortilla are brown & crisp, your pizza is ready! I really like this meal because it gives into that pizza “fix.” Everyone has it, but it’s nice to eat something that’s really good and still healthy… instead of the calorie bomb you can get out at restaurant.
I’m planning on eating my pizza while watching some bad reality TV and sipping on some wine. How do you like to spend your Monday night?