Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Easy Peasy Caprese Salad

Here’s a fancy salad that’s super easy in a pinch and traditional Italian. Pairs well will any pasta, or have it by itself for a satisfying snack.

First, the ingredients:

Mozzarella Cheese medallions


Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar


Salt and Pepper

Optional- Spinach and Chicken

If using spinach, or some other type of lettuce, make a bed for your caprese.

Layer sliced tomatoes and mozzarella medallions on bed, alternating. Then, tuck in 1-2 basil leaves, or to taste, around the tomatoes. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and vinegar, and top with salt and pepper.

If desired, serve with bread for a filling lunch, or top with chicken for a protein kick.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stuffed Peppers, an easy meal

2-3 Peppers (one pepper can feed 1-2 people depending on appetite)
1/4 lb ground lean turkey breast
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic
8 oz tomato sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
dash red pepper
1/3 c uncooked couscous (look for it in the rice aisle at the supermarket)
1/2 c water
crock pot/slow cooker

I make this the night before and in the morning start up the crock pot so that it's ready when we get home.
A tip about ground turkey- since it's usually sold in about 1 pound packages and we don't eat much meat, as soon as I get home from the grocery store I divide the packages up into 1/2 pounds and put into freezer ziplock baggies and freeze that way so we don't have much waste. Since this recipe calls for about 1/4 pound, or less if I'm only cooking for 2 people, I still brown the rest of the turkey and use it the following night for hamburger helper. Also, since there is so little fat in extra-lean turkey breast, spray the pan with some spray oil before browning of turkey will stick.

Core peppers. Brown turkey, onion, and garlic (if using fresh garlic; if using jarred already prepared garlic, wait to add until you add the rest of the spices). Stir in tomato sauce, couscous, and all spices. Fill peppers with mix. Pour the water into the slow cooker then place peppers in. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until you return home. The longer you cook, the softer the peppers will be so you may need to be careful when getting them out of the slow cooker that they don't break open and drop all the yumminess. Be careful: the insides will be really hot!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Miracle Food!

If you're not using it already, get acquainted with Greek Yogurt. It is such a versatile food, and has many uses from breakfast to desserts. If you buy a family size, you can go through it quickly if you look to use it. And, there are numerous articles online tooting the nutritional benefits. To simplify them, Greek yogurt is healthy and fulfilling. The texture is much like sour cream, so try replacing sour cream in your recipes with Greek yogurt. We put it on everything from breakfast skillets to baked potatoes. You can also shred some veggies (try onions, cucumbers, dill, etc) into it or use it plain as a veggie dip. Put a tablespoon of honey in it to sweeten it up or try it with some fresh fruit. Enjoy!

Some quick nutritional facts:
Sour cream (serving size 30 grams or 2 tbsp) has 5 g fat 20 mg cholesterol and 1 g protein
Greek yogurt (serving size 8 oz or 227 grams) has 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, and 23 grams of protein

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lunch time!

I naturally love having lunch on the weekends, because it's when I can really make some delicious, but easy, food. Today's version of yumminess puts a spin on things you are probably already familiar with- grilled cheese with apples, and Greek yogurt with honey. My 4 year old did most of the preparing for this dish, so don't be afraid to have the kids pitch in and learn how to cook!

For the grilled cheese, we took a loaf of day-old bread that was on clearance from the grocery store and very lightly buttered the outside of each piece. We had cheddar cheese laying around today, but you could use any cheese you have in your 'fridge depending on your tastes. Slice up some apples (we used Gala, as they are more kid friendly than a tart version, which would have gone great for adults), put them and the cheese between the bread and put into a preheated panini maker (or on a preheated skillet). While those are getting nice and toasty, mix 1 TBSP honey into 3/4 cup on Greek yogurt for a side dish. We also served cucumbers on the side for a veggie. Delicious!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yummmm....Mac and Cheese

Nothing says "comfort" like a bowl of mac and cheese. Unfortunately, for many people that comfort comes with a price of a long night cooking in the kitchen! Like most of the meals around here, this one is quick & easy. It's often the dinner I call on when I don't feel like cooking. So, feel free to have an easy night with mac and cheese!
When you get comfortable making this, stop measuring everything. That will make your night even easier because there will be less dishes! :) After all, if you're anything like me you despise dishes. In fact, I don't even have a recipe for this- I always make it how I feel. I'm going to do my best to guess.

1/2 box of Barilla Plus elbow noodles (yes, they cost a little more but they pack a healthy punch, and the high protein content means you'll fill up and therefore eat less)
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese (the normal size- not the family size)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cut minced onion
1 clove minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP butter
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley

Boil pasta according to box (for Barilla Plus, 7 minutes). While pasta is boiling, make topping by melting the butter in a small bowl and mixing in breadcrumbs and herbs. Then add 1/3 cup cheddar cheese into the topping. Save for later. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees when you're done making topping. Drain pasta in a colander, and let it sit there while you use the same pot to make the cheese mix. Over medium low, mix milk and flour together in the pot well (I use a bodum milk frother) and then add in salt and pepper to taste, onion, and garlic. Add cheese and stir until melted. Pour noodles into the cheese mix in the pot and coat well. If the mix it too watery, stir some more flour into the mix. Dump this all into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the topping on, and bake for 20 minutes.

Some notes on this dish: Use what you have, don't worry if you're trying new things! If you don't have bread crumbs, just top with some cheese. You can also top with a different kind of cheese, like the sprinkle Parmesan used on pizzas. If you don't have onion or garlic, that's ok too. Some people mix in squash, which sweetens it, but if you have a picky eater you sneek in the veggies for a hearty meal. My family gladly gobbles down a can of green beans or some other simple veggie with this for dinner.

This recipe will feed about 6 people.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Plantains for dessert!

I've made sweet plantains with some sort of lime juice topping for dessert once from a recipe I found on FoodNetwork. I wanted to give it a try again, but it turned out I didn't write down the recipe. (Note: ALWAYS write down recipes you're going to try- if you like them, then add it to your recipe book; if you don't, then throw away.) So, I came up with my own recipe.

First, let me explain a little about plantains in case you've never cooked with them. At my local grocery store, they are sold right next to the bananas and are usually green and larger than the bananas. You can not eat them raw like a banana- they have to be cooked. A plantain progresses through ripeness colors just like a banana- green then yellow then black. However, a plantain that is yellow is not sweet! You must wait for it to turn all the way black (brown) before using it in a sweet stage. When you're ready to open this sucker up, it will not peel like a banana. Just chop off the ends and make a few slits down the sides and peel it that way. Lastly, you should know that plantains have a high sugar content- which means if you try and cook it with the heat too high it will burn very quickly.

2 TBSP butter
1-2 Plantains, sliced in half both ways (one slice down the middle length-wise, and one width-wise)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP lime juice

On stove, melt butter on medium-low heat. Once melted, lay the sections of plantain in the skillet so they are not overlapping. Let cook about 10 minutes (until crisp and brown) and then flip to repeat on the other side.

Meanwhile, combine whipping cream with brown sugar and lime juice. Use a blender or immersion blender (I actually used a BODUM Schiuma milk frother- one of my favorite kitchen appliances- and it runs on batteries!) to whip whipping cream until it forms soft peaks.

When plantains are finished, pour cream mix over top (or the kiddos might like dipping them) and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow


9 Cups Chex Mix, any variety (or multiple varieties)
2 Cups Nestle Dark Chocolate and Mint Chips, (these are only sold seasonally...otherwise use semi-sweet chips)
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
1 Stick Butter
2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Prepare cereal by putting it in a large mixing bowl. Prepare Powdered Sugar by putting it in a separate large mixing bowl. This way your chocolate mix won't cool too quickly while you're trying to prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Melt Chocolate Chips, Butter, and Peanut Butter in a saucepan on medium low until thoroughly melted.
Pour chocolate over cereal and mix gently, trying not to break the cereal.
Pour cereal mix into Powdered Sugar bowl, cover and shake gently to coat all the cereal.
Let cool and enjoy!