Homemade Energy Bars – Easiest Recipe Ever!!

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These are absolutely delicious!!!  I am going to have to quadruple the recipe next time because these will not last in our house!!!  Check out the recipe here!  Next I’m going to try dried cranberries, apricots and walnuts!  

 

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Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Farro Risotto

A few weeks ago, I asked friends through Facebook what ingredient(s) they would like to see incorporated into a recipe.  I got a bunch of great responses, but one suggestion I found interesting since I had never cooked with it before was Farro.  I did a little research for recipes using farro and I came up a little short.  A lot of the recipes I found were for salads or soup and I wanted to make something a little more interesting.  After a little bit of brainstorming, I came up with the idea to make a basic risotto using the farro.  I paired that with a pan seared Chilean sea bass drizzled with a little fresh basil sauce, and the nice glass of white wine we enjoyed with it really completed the meal!  Here’s the recipe…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pieces Chilean see bass
  • 1 cup farro
  • 6 cups fat free, low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) broth, warmed
  • olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ¼ cup pecorino romano
  • 1 cup fresh basil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine basil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a blender and puree until smooth.  Set basil sauce aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat.   
  3. Add the shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add farro, stirring constantly until toasted, about 3 minutes.  
  5. Add the wine and stir until evaporated, about 2 minutes.  
  6. Add approx. 1 cup of hot broth and stir constantly until completely absorbed. Continue adding the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, until the farro is creamy and tender, about 30 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and pecorino romano.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed. 
  8. While you are adding broth to the farro, heat a separate pan with olive oil and 2 Tbsp unsalted butter.  Season sea bass with salt and pepper and saute until both sides are golden brown and the fish is cooked through.
  9. Serve the fish over risotto and drizzle with basil sauce.  Enjoy!

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Fish Tacos

Simple, fresh flavors.  Light and satisfying.  These fish tacos take no time to throw together for a really quick weeknight meal!  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb haddock or cod
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 4-6 flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • salt & pepper
  • shredded cabbage
  • pineapple salsa (recipe to follow)
  • cilantro sour cream (recipe to follow)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Season fish with cajun seasoning, cumin, kosher salt and pepper.  
  2. Saute in canola oil until golden brown.
  3. Heat tortillas in oven or microwave until warm.
  4. Assemble tacos with fish, shredded cabbage, pineapple salsa and cilantro sour cream.

PINEAPPLE SALSA:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all ingredients. Season to taste with salt.

CILANTRO SOUR CREAM:

  • 3/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a blender or in a bowl and use immersion blender to puree until all ingredients are well blended.

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Lentil Soup with Parsnip & Apple

I had planned on making this soup last weekend during the blizzard but after all the shoveling I found myself way too exhausted!  However, today, was the perfect wintery day to stay in our PJ’s all day and try it out.  I found this recipe on another blog, www.buenovida.com, and I made a couple of additions of my own.  I stuck to the recipe until there was about 10 minutes left to simmer the soup.  I had some leftover tomato sauce in the fridge so I added about a 1/4 cup.  It definitely gave it just another little burst of flavor that I think it needed.  My favorite part by far though was my addition of the goat cheese stirred in at the end.  Anything with goat cheese has my vote!  It’s a really simple soup, but filling and delicious!!!!

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Lentil Soup with Parsnip & Apple

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 and 1/4 cup parsnips, chooped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 and 1/4 cup lentils (I could not find French green lentils)
  • 1 cup apple, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 oz. goat cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in parsnips, salt, black pepper and nutmeg, and sauté for about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Add broth, 2 cups of water, tomato sauce, lentils and apples.  Bring to a simmer a simmer, then partially cover the pot.  Allow soup to simmer 30-35 minutes.  Taste, and add salt if necessary.
  4. Using a blender, puree half of the soup, then add back to the pot (soup should be somewhat chunky).  Add fresh thyme leaves and goat cheese and gently reheat until goat cheese blends into the soup.

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Pizza and French Fries!!!!!

Whenever I am dieting, I literally day dream about pizza.  I actually google pizza.  I just down right crave pizza.  I really, really love pizza.  One day amidst an intense pizza craving, I googled “healthy pizza alternatives” and made an amazing discovery!

Ask yourself, do you like pizza?  Do you like mushrooms?  Do you like mushrooms on your pizza? How about a mushroom AS your pizza?  Well then…you must try Portabello Mini Pizzas!  Check out the recipe at www.slenderkitchen.com.  I followed the recipe with only a couple minor tweaks.  I added a little parmesan cheese under the shredded cheese before baking and I sautéed the red onions and green peppers just a little bit to soften them up before putting them on the pizza and baking.  The sauce, the cheese, the toppings all really satisfied my pizza craving without the guilt of all the carbs.  Mission accomplished!!!

Wait….

What goes really well with pizza?

FRENCH FRIES!!!

Since I didn’t want to ruin my healthy dinner with actual french fries, I decided to use up a summer squash I had in the fridge and make baked summer squash fries!  They were the perfect pairing with my Portabello Mini Pizza.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1 small/medium sized summer squash (or zucchini)
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 tsp parmesan cheese
  4. 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  5. Salt & Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl whisk the egg with just a dash of water.  Add the parmesan cheese.  Cut the summer squash into small matchsticks and add them to the egg mixture.  Place the breadcrumbs in a large ziplock bag and add the summer squash in 3 or 4 batches so they are lightly covered with breadcrumbs.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the breaded summer squash in a single layer.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until summer squash is tender, but crispy on the outside.

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Mommy, I don’t feel good.

Whenever my boys don’t feel well, they always want soup.  I mean, who doesn’t want soup when they are feeling under the weather?  Soup really does just make you feel better!

One night, they asked for “noodle soup” so I threw together a tasty soup from whatever I could find in the fridge.  This soup couldn’t be more simple – absolutely nothing fancy, but the boys loved it.   I make this for them all the time now, even when they aren’t feeling sick.

“NOODLE” SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup diced onion or shallots
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced small
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 cup fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup small pasta, such as ditalini
  • 3/4 cup diced chicken, cooked (I used a leftover rotisserie chicken)
  • 1-2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in large sauce pan, add onions and carrots.  Sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth and water, bring to a boil.
  3. Once the broth is boiling, add diced chicken and pasta, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.
  4. Cook until pasta is al dente.  Stir in fresh chopped parsley.

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Quinoa-Pallooza!

We’ve been on a bit of a quinoa kick lately.  It all started because Greg is sick of making and eating eggs for breakfast but still wants to get some protein in his meal.  I came up with a couple ideas that have been really successful!

My first quinoa experiment was to make Quinoa Burgers to go with eggs.  I thought the burger would work well with a sunny side up egg and a piece of low calorie cheese.   A little texture, a little crunch, a little something different than just scrambled eggs!

Quinoa cooks very similarly to rice.  It’s a 2 to 1 ratio.  If you are cooking 1 cup of quinoa, you need 2 cups of water (or fat free, low sodium chicken broth).  For this recipe for Quinoa Burgers you will need to cook 1 cup of quinoa.  This will yield 2 cups of cooked quinoa.

QUINOA BURGERS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • nonstick cooking spray or coconut spray oil 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients (except cooking spray) in a large bowl.  The consistency will be a thick and sticky.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop the mixture onto a large hot skillet sprayed with coconut spray oil (you can cook 4-5 burgers in a large skillet at once).  Use the measuring cup to slightly flatten out the burger as it cooks.  After 3-5 minutes over medium heat, one side should be golden brown and the burger ready to flip!  Once both sides are golden brown, remove from pan and repeat with remaining mixture.

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We love these burgers topped with a couple sunny side up eggs and reduced fat cheese for a really healthy, satisfying breakfast!

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QUINOA PARFAIT

When I made the burgers, I made a bunch of extra quinoa to incorporate into an additional breakfast item.  You wouldn’t necessarily expect quinoa to work so well for breakfast, but surprisingly…it does!

Rather than savory, this next breakfast item is on the sweeter side!

It’s a Quinoa Parfait!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz Greek yogurt (any flavor you like)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • blueberries

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix quinoa with agave nectar and vanilla bean paste.  Layer 1/4 cup of quinoa, 3 oz green yogurt, blueberries.  Repeat once more.

There you have it!  Simple, healthy, delicious!!!

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Yogurt for Breakfast….but not really.

Nonfat Greek yogurt never tasted so good!!  My kids and my husband all loved these pancakes.  If you’re not a fan of yogurt, don’t worry, you would really never even know there is yogurt in them.  I found the recipe at www.everydaybelle.com and I added my own special touches to it.  If you love pancakes, but are looking for a healthier version, definitely give these a try!!  I doubled this recipe and got 8 large pancakes.  It would probably make 12-15 small pancakes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz. Greek Yogurt (I used plain nonfat, but you could experiment with flavors too)
  • 1 egg
  • scant 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Stir greek yogurt until it is smooth and creamy.  Add 1 egg and stir until combined.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Add to bowl with flour mixture and stir to combine.  The batter will be very thick.
  3. Spray griddle or skillet with nonstick cooking spray and spoon mixture onto hot griddle/skillet to your desired size.  Sprinkle each pancakes with a few blueberries.
  4. When the pancakes start to bubble on one side, they are ready to flip.
  5. Cook until both sides are golden brown.  Serve with maple syrup, honey, peanut butter or whichever topping you like!  Enjoy!

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Turkey Stuffed Peppers

This is one of my favorite recipes from skinnytaste.com.  I swear it tastes better every time I make it.  This time I added a lot more fresh cilantro than the recipe calls for and it made for really bright, fresh flavors.  I ran out of cumin too, so I used paprika which was equally as tasty.  A great shortcut I like to use for the rice is one bag of Steamfresh brown rice.  Typically, brown rice takes an hour to cook, but 5 minutes in the microwave and the rice is done and ready to be added to the ground turkey.  Huge timesaver!  You can’t get much more healthy than this recipe and it’s completely satisfying on its own or with a side salad with a nice light vinaigrette.

ImageImageReady to be covered with aluminum foil and go into the oven!!  Don’t forget to put about 1/2 cup of chicken stock in your baking dish.  The chicken stock helps to steam the bell peppers and soften them up.

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Once they come out of the oven, top with a little reduced fat shredded cheese, sprinkle with some fresh cilantro and enjoy this simple, healthy, delicious meal!!

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Dried Fruit & Nut Mix

Dried Fruit & Nut Mix

This is a delicious snack mix I made today.  I bought each ingredient separately and combined everything in a large tupperware container so that Greg and I would have something healthy to snack on this week.  I like to create my own snack mixes because more often than not there are 1 or 2 things in a store bought trail mix that we don’t like.  Buying each ingredient separately and making your own trail mix lets you create something specific to your taste.  This mix contained dried fruit (pineapple, cranberries, strawberries), cashews, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate covered almonds.  A perfect way to sneak in a little chocolate!

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