It seems like ages ago, but before Christmas, I went to a Holiday Theme Pinterest Party. Being a total pinning addict, this was such a fun party! Everyone made something to share and the recipes had to come from one of your pin boards.
I asked for help from my readers about their favorite party food pins. My friend, Maddie, gave me a great recipe from one of her pin boards. She said it’s always a huge hit anytime she’s made it. It’s super easy, no cooking required and it’s transportable.
I did make a couple changes to the recipe. I used reduced fat feta cheese (you can’t taste the difference!), replaced dried herbs with fresh oregano, parsley & basil and topped the dip with fresh lemon juice.
The dip was a huge hit! It was almost like a Greek style bruschetta since we ate it with bread. It’s definitely something I’ll be making again!!
Feta Dip with Fresh Herbs & Lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1lb Reduced fat feta cheese (buy it in a block, not crumbles)
- 3 -4 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 10 Green onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp Parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp Oregano, chopped
- 1 tbsp Basil, chopped
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 baguette, sliced
- In a large platter, pour olive oil. (it should cover the bottom of the platter.)
- Crumble feta cheese over platter. Add tomatoes, green onions and herbs. Mix everything together.
- Taste. Add red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.
- Top dip with lemon juice.
- Serve with bread. I bought a french bread baguette from the bakery section at my local grocery store and that was perfect with this dip!
Inspired by Clover Lane
Christmas is less than two weeks away and I’m already entering sugar coma status. Holiday lattes start off my morning. Everyday seems like a cookie swap party at work…and it’s rude to turn away treats people have baked, right?? And for the past few nights, I’ve been having these as dessert – they’re sooo addicting. I know I’ll have to make more once they’re gone.
Since I’m eating so much sugar, I’m really trying to balance out my diet with some healthy meals like this soup. It’s filled with vegetables and has a rich tomato base. If you like tomato soup, you’ll want to try this! By blending a can of diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, each bite you take is full of flavor. Not even a pinch of salt went into the soup!
If you’re a sugar addict like me, make this soup so you can enjoy all the holiday treats the season has to offer.
Tomato Based Vegetable Soup
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
- 1 15-oz. can small white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Get the ones that aren’t packed in oil. They come packaged in a resealable bag, can be found in the produce section.
- 8 basil leaves, torn plus more for garnish
- 8 oz bag baby spinach
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and thyme. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft.
- Add broth, 1 can tomatoes, and beans. In a blender, add remaining can of tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, torn basil leaves and 1/2 soup liquid. Purée until smooth. Add more soup liquid to get the consistency you want. Stir mixture into soup, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 10 minutes.
- Add baby spinach and simmer 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat, and stir in basil garnish.
Every morning I ask my husband, “What do you want for dinner?” (Yes, I’m thinking about dinner at 7am. It’s a problem.) His response is always the same, “Something healthy.” I usually give him a face that says, “Gee, thanks for the imput,” as I rack my brain for meal options. Luckily, I have 11 hours to come up with something.
Yesterday’s recipe post was all about time-saving and short cuts. If a product tastes good and can save me sometime (meaning I get to drink wine and watch TV sooner), I’ll buy it. However, there is one item in a grocery I’ll never buy. Store Bought Pasta Sauce. It never tastes good. I’ve tried different brands but there isn’t one that can trick my taste buds. Making my own pasta sauce is the only way to go.
When I get a craving for pasta, I just go with it. I always buy whole wheat pasta but the sauce creations are endless. Taking into consideration my hubby’s healthy request, I thought a marina sauce would be our best bet. But instead of just using some tomatoes, garlic and basil as a sauce — I wanted to kick it up a bit. I knew we had some sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste in our pantry. 3 different tomato flavors in one sauce. This was gonna be good.
Just because I’m making my own pasta sauce doesn’t mean I’m going to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. This meal was ready in 20 minutes. Honestly, the pasta sauce was ready by the time the pot of water for the pasta started to boil.
So if you’re like me and not a fan of store-bought pasta sauce, give this recipe a try. I think you’ll love all of the rich tomato flavor and you’ll be impressed by how easy it comes together!
Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce with Whole Wheat Penne
- 1lb whole wheat penne
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt & Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 6 basil leaves, torn
- Basil for garnish
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne until al dente. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water when draining cooked pasta. You may need it to thin out the sauce.
- In a sauce pan with olive oil, add onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes and tomato paste. Continue stirring to incorporate paste. Add Salt & Pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes.
- In a blender, add canned tomatoes, basil and onion mixture. Blend until smooth. Wipe/wash clean the sauce pan if there is a lot of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. You don’t want a oily sauce. Add sauce back to the pan and keep warm until pasta is cooked. (If you have a Vitamix, just keep the sauce in the blender. The blades will warm it, so you can skip this step.) If the sauce is too thick, add a some of the pasta water to thin it out.
- When the pasta is cooked and drained, add sauce and garnish with basil.
How is everyone’s sugar hangover today? Are you in the need of some healthy food to detox? Well look no further..
As a child, I loved trick or treating and my favorite candy to get was Snickers. I was the type of kid who would save the “good” candy, like only allow myself to eat a few pieces a day. We always had sweets in our house, but there was something about Snickers candy bars. I wanted to keep those treats around for as long as I could.
As an adult, I rarely buy candy bars. “Too much sugar, too many calories” always runs through my mind as I’m gazing at candy in the check out line at the grocery store. But with it being Halloween season, I caved and bought 3 bags of treats — Kit Kats, Milky Ways & Peanut Butter Cups.
And guess what? We had 5 trick or treaters. Guess who lost all will power and ate a TON of candy?? (This is an obvious answer.)
Today I’m feeling the effects of a sugar coma… and the best way to get rid of my sugar guilt is to eat something healthy. Hello Corn, Sweet Potato and Poblano Chowder.
It might be hard to believe, but this is a healthy chowder. No cream or loads of butter. An easy way to give this chowder a thick consistency is to puree a bag of frozen corn with some stock. Not only will give your chowder a creamy consistency, but it gives the soup a sweet taste. I couldn’t believe a bag of frozen corn had so much flavor!
Make this soup when you’re looking to stock up on some veggies into your meals. This recipe makes a lot, but luckily, it gets better the longer it sits. Freeze smaller portions or enjoy it for lunch for a few days.
When it comes to eating healthy, I don’t want to feel like I’m eating rabbit food. This is the type of chowder you can feel good about eating…and maybe have a piece of Halloween candy for dessert.
Corn, Sweet Potato and Poblano Chowder, makes 8 cups
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced
- 2 bags of frozen corn (16 oz), defrosted
- 2 32 oz cartons of stock (veggie if you want to keep this soup vegetarian)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 poblano peppers, seeds removed and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 cup skim milk
- cilantro for garnish
- In a stock pot, add olive oil. When the oil is at a medium heat, add onions, garlic and jalapenos. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
- In a blender, add 1 bag of defrosted corn and 1 cup of stock. Puree until smooth. Add more stock if needed.
- When the onions are soft, add flour and cumin. Stir consistently for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the open container of stock. Stir to make sure there are no clumps (from the flour).
- Add potatoes. Add 1 to 2 cups of stock. Bring to boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- When the potatoes are cooked, add 1 bag of defrosted corn, poblanos and carrots. Stir in the corn puree and 1 cup of milk. Bring back to a simmer. Taste and season with salt, pepper and cumin. Garnish with cilantro.
Well, hello Fall.
I will admit, I’m happy to see you. I’m ready for jeans, cute boots and chunky scarves. If you’re a follower of my Pinterest page, you’ll see I have a one track mind for all things fall.
Has anyone tried Meatless Monday? I’ve got some Veggie Friends out there who told me about this concept. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. All good things in my book.
I made this Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup on Monday and I was sad when the Hubby finished it off on Tuesday. This recipe will definitely be in rotation a lot for me this fall & winter. The smokey-ness from the chipotle peppers and cumin just warmed me up. Pureeing a small portion of the soup allowed thick chunks of peppers and black beans to make it a hearty meal, but not weigh me down. Also, this soup comes together really fast which is great for a weeknight meal.
So when you’re planning your meals for next week, skip the meat on Monday. This soup will make you forget about anything mooing, snorting or clucking any day of the week.
Smokey Chipotle Black Bean Soup, serves 4 -6
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced & with sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons cumin
- 2 (29 ounce) canned black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 lime, juiced
- 4-5 cups of vegetable stock or water
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tomato, diced
- Greek Yogurt
- Warm a soup pot to medium heat. Add olive oil, diced onion & the peppers. Saute until the onions are soft. Add garlic and chipotle pepper, stir for 2 minutes. (You may want to add a few chipotle peppers at a time, depending on your spice level.)
- Add black beans, cumin and lime juice. Stir until the cumin distributes. Taste and add more cumin or chipotle peppers if needed. Pour in stock/water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- If you have an immersion blender, blend about 1/4 of the soup. If you have a blender, puree about 1 cup and add it back to the pot. If you want a smoother soup, feel free to puree more. Simmer for 5 minutes. Give it a taste – add S&P if needed.
- When you’re ready to serve, top soup with cilantro, diced tomatoes and a dollop of greek yogurt.
- Go back for seconds
This recipe is something I’ve been making for a loooong time. It’s probably my favorite vegetarian sandwich. I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but this sandwich is amazing.
I think the marinade makes this sandwich better than any portabella sandwich I’ve had in a restaurant. It’s filled with fresh herbs…. I guess it helps I work for a fresh herb company, but since it’s summer, all of these herbs (rosemary, thyme & parsley) are available at your local grocery store or farmers market.
Have I told you I’m obsessed with goat cheese?? I’m pretty sure I have… I try to sneak it into ANY meal where it makes sense. This sandwich makes sense. Load on the goat cheese. Please don’t be shy….
Not only is this sandwich great for a vegetarian at a BBQ, but meat lovers will enjoy it too! Portabella mushrooms are so thick and juicy. Then combine it with some roasted red peppers, grilled red onions, fresh basil and goat cheese on artisan bread — any carnivore will be lining up for this sandwich.
Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches, serves 4
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Pinch of red chile flakes
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium portobella mushrooms, stems removed
- 1 red onion, sliced in rings
- 1/2 jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
- Loaf of artisan bread. (I used ciabatta)
- 4 oz goat cheese log
- 8-10 basil leaves
- Heat your gill to medium.
- Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, red chile flakes, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. In a zip lock bag, add marinade and mushroom caps. Marinade up to 4 hours.
- Remove mushrooms from marinade, but save the marinade. Place the mushrooms on the grill, cap side down, and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Drizzle olive oil on red onion. Grill 4 minutes per side.
- Remove the mushrooms from the grill and cut into slices. I did about 4 slices per mushroom. Place the mushrooms in a large bowl, add the marinade, and toss to coat. Chop onion and add to marinade. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
- Toast bread on the grill. Let it get slighty charred. Remove from grill and spread goat cheese on both sides of bread. Top with basil leaves on both sides of bread. Add the mushroom onion mixture. If you have a crusty bread, make sure you get some of the marinade on the bread. It will soak right into it. Add roasted red peppers. This sandwich can be served warm or cold.
I’ve taken “Meatless Monday” to “Let’s eat meat free till the weekend.”
It’s summer time. Produce in the mid-west is at it’s very best…. so why not take advantage of it. Instead of making the typical tomato sauce for pasta, I decided to change it up a bit. I made a Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato sauce for my whole wheat spaghetti. SO GOOD!!
If you have a picky eater or kids in your home, an easy way to sneak in veggies is to puree them into a sauce or soup. Besides roasted red peppers & sun-dried tomatoes, I added carrots, onions, basil and garlic to the blender to make a full flavor pasta sauce. Once it’s pureed, it will be a little thick. You can thin it out with stock or some of the water your pasta cooked in.
To add some “meat” to this pasta meal, I sautéed sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Add it to the cooked pasta and throw in some spinach. The heat from the warm pasta and mushroom mixture will slighty wilt the spinach but it will still maintain some crunch.
Another great thing about this recipe, it’s on the table in 30 minutes. Very quick & easy with depths of flavor. It’s a tasty mid-week meal!
Roasted Red Pepper & sun-dried Tomato Sauce with Whole Wheat spaghetti, serves 4 to 6
- 1 lb (uncooked) Whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 medium onion, diced and divided
- 3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 5 -8 basil leaves
- splash of cream
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- basil for garnish
- Cook spaghetti according to directions. Reminder — You might want to save some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if you don’t have stock on hand.
- Saute half of the diced onions & garlic with olive oil. Add carrots and cook until onions are translucent. Add to blender along with roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes & basil. Puree until smooth. Add water or stock until you get the consistency you like. Finish sauce by adding a splash of cream.
- In a saute pan, pour in a splash of olive oil and add the rest of the onions and garlic. Toss in sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes have evaporated. Add this mixture to cooked spaghetti. Fold in spinach — it will wilt but not overly cook it.
- Pour pasta sauce into the noodle mixture. When you’re ready to serve, garnish with torn basil leaves.
Soooo, I know I’ve been neglected my blog duties for the last few months… My excuse – it’s a mixture of being busy & lazy. Does that make sense??
I had intentions of sharing all of the wonderful things I’ve been making. I took the time to take pictures of recipes…but no motivation to hop onto my computer and write everything down.
After being told my recipes were missed on the world wide web, I decided I needed to get back to something I truly love to do!
Are you ready?? Here we go!
I’m happy to report I’m finally cooking for two. Me & the hubby. I’m shocked he’s ok with me making healthy girlie salads. And it’s not like I’m pulling a fast one on him. He’s been going to the grocery store for me and sticking to the list. I think he’s on board with it!
This salad tastes like summer. Sweet grilled corn, juicy cherry tomatoes, spicy jalapeno and fresh basil. So good! Cooking the quinoa and adding it to the veggies & cheese makes the whole salad melt to together. It’s topped off with a zesty lemon & garlic dressing. Perfect to eat warm. It’s even better if you wait a day and eat it cold the next day.
Grilled Corn, Feta Cheese & Quinoa Salad, serves 4
- 2-3 ears fresh corn, husked
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups chicken stock or water
- ¾ cup crumbled feta
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (can be omitted)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 4-5 basil leaves
1. Turn on the grill. Rub olive oil onto corn and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook the on the grill for 8 minutes. Be sure to rotate corn so all sides get evenly cooked. When the corn is done, let it cool. When corn is cool enough to work with, remove kernels with a knife. I’ve found this method is easiest. You won’t be picking corn kernels off the floor.
2. Add quinoa and chicken stock or water to a sauce pan. Bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until all liquid has reduced. Fluff with fork.
3. Cut up all of the veggies and add them to the bowl with corn. Add chick peas. When the quinoa is done cooking, add it to the veggies mixture.
4. To make the salad dressing, add minced garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Pour salad dressing over quinoa & veggies. Top with feta cheese and fold into the salad. Top with basil.
Turn off your oven! Make a pledge not to turn it back on until the fall. Summer is coming and no one likes a hot house.
It was in the 80′s today in Chicago…and for some reason I was craving stuffed mushrooms. Mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese and spinach. Usually I make stuff mushrooms in the oven, but there was no way that was going to happen today! I’ve got a grill — might as well use it.
I had my stuffed portobello mushroom for dinner, but this would be a great appetizer. Or you could slice it up and put in on toasted french bread.
The spinach and cheese provided most of the flavor, with the mushroom providing an earthy undertone and vehicle to get the filling from plate to mouth. I loved it! You will too!
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms on the Grill, serves 8
- 8 small portobello mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 nine-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
- 1 container goat cheese (5.3-ounce) with garlic and herbs, or Boursin cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Clean mushrooms and remove gills using a spoon. Brush all over with olive oil and set aside.
- Fire up your grill. While the grill is getting hot, mix the spinach, cheese, and garlic together in a bowl to make the filling. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff each mushroom with a generous portion of the filling.
- When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. (If you have a gas grill, don’t turn on all of the burners.) Clean and oil the cooking grate. Place the mushrooms on the cool side of the grill, stuffed side up, cover, and cook until filling is bubbling and the mushrooms are well seared, about 20 minutes. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
My days have been crazy. busy. stressful. When I get home, all I want is a quick, no hassle meal. Oh, and I want wine. My brother in-law was nice enough to fuel my wine love by giving me 17 bottles of wine. I know – 17 bottles!!! You’d think I’d have a party but I’ve been having a great time pairing my evening meals with some nice vino.
This breakfast pizza is something you could have in the morning… but I think it’s a perfect breakfast for dinner kind of meal.
First thing you want to do is spray cooking spray on both sides of a whole wheat pita. Then season the pita with garlic salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. One the pita is crispy, remove from the oven. Add sliced tomatoes to the perimeter of the pita. Layer spinach and form a little circle in the middle of the pita. Crack an egg and place it in the center of the pita. It will look like this…
Can you see the egg??
Top with a few reduced fat feta cheese crumbles. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Bake time depends on how you like your egg.
Once the pizza is done, top with sun-dried tomatoes and more feta cheese crumbles.
I paired my breakfast pizza with a light, crisp wine. Yealands Sauvignon Blanc to be exact. It was perfect!
Enjoy this meal for dinner!! Or you could have it for breakfast, just skip the wine.
Veggie Breakfast Pizza, meal serves 1
- 1 whole wheat pita
- 1/2 roma tomato sliced, cut each slice in half
- 1/2 cup spinach, rough chop
- 1 egg
- Reduced fat feta cheese crumbles
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Red pepper flakes
- Set over to 350 degrees. Spray both sides of pita with cooking spray. Season with garlic salt & pepper. Bake for 8 minutes, or until crispy.
- Remove pita from the oven. Top with tomatoes & spinach. Crack egg and place it in the middle of the pita. Top with a few feta cheese crumbles. Bake for 10-15 minutes. May need to bake longer if you like the egg yolk well done.
- Once pizza is done, top with more feta cheese, red pepper flakes and a few sun-dried tomatoes. Eat immediately!