It’s officially after the Holidays and for many the New Year brings new resolutions. Many people scour the web for not only healthy recipes but recipes that taste delicious; recipes that don’t appear as though you’re trying to eat healthy especially if you have picky eaters in your house, recipes that actually taste amazing with little effort in prep time. This recipe has many fan favorites that are sure to be enjoyed by even the pickiest of eaters; like smoked bacon or pancetta, apples, and other herbs and spices to add flavor not fat.
When I am preparing any type of meat I always choose healthier and leaner options so the overall fat content is relatively low. For this recipe I marinated the chicken overnight. Now, most of you may see this and say ‘I don’t have time for that!’ That’s’ perfectly fine if time is of the essence then marinate 15-25 minutes. Also, make sure your chicken is cut in thicker pieces so it does not dry out baking in the oven. In preparation for the marinade I used a large bowl because I wanted to make sure the chicken was submerged in the bowl to properly marinate. I used a mixture of olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, paprika, garlic, thyme, lemon zest and lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar.
As the chicken is marinating you then have time to cut the apple slices, Brussels Sprouts, and bacon to the mixture. I also used pre-cooked bacon since I had it available in my freezer. On a side note I personally, did not add the bacon the second time I made this meal and it turned out fine.
Once everything was cut I placed and spread out the Brussels sprouts, Apples, and Bacon on the largest baking sheet I had that was lightly sprayed with cooking spray. I then strategically placed all the marinated chicken with the marinade over the sprouts, bacon on the baking sheet. Finally, I added additional fresh thyme, lemon zest, and craisins for more color and flavor!
**Optional, you could place the cookie tray of Brussels sprouts, Apples, and Bacon in the oven to bake for 10 minutes before you add the chicken, allowing the vegetables, apples and bacon crisp up for further flavor.
When my husband and I were in Chicago this past summer visiting family, my sister-in-law and I went grocery shopping to pick up necessary items for the fourth of July holiday and she picked up a container of candied pecans.
I knew I could make these sweet treats, but I wanted to make them according to stricter food preferences and I wanted to see if my version of candied pecans, tasted just as good or better than the store-bought version.
I must say I am by no means a baker, but I enjoy baking especially for special occasions or if we are having company over. These candied pecans were seriously, the easiest sweet treats or anything actually I have ever made. Now, it made my life a lot easier because I already had all the ingredients in my pantry so that was very convenient!
If you do not have the ingredients it’s not hard at all finding them in the health food section of the grocery store. And really the only ingredients that might not be with all the other baking ingredients would maybe be the coconut sugar and coconut oil. However, the other ingredients should already be located in the baking aisle. On a side note, when I was making this recipe it not only doubled as a sweet treat and but also as a festive holiday air freshener!!
I actually made a double batch and froze the majority of the pecans and took some home for Thanksgiving and kept the other batch in the freezer. These candies will last about a month and are great to make ahead of time for any parties or to use in a cookie/candy gift exchange!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
O' the weather outside is frightful.... but the kitchen is so warm and delightful and since we have NO place to go let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!
In between this wonderful time of the year, the hustle and bustle from Thanksgiving to Christmas have always been magical. I am not trying to be cliché, but this time of year has always been enchanting, to say the least. From attending Christmas parties to buying and wrapping presents, making Christmas cookies, spending quality time with family and friends, and above all celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus. These moments help us to detach from the daily grind and remember what is truly important in our lives. In the end, it’s these moments in time we reflect back on and remember the good times.
And isn’t that what the Holidays are really all about anyway???
With great memories being made, food is always front and center for any holiday party or get together you are invited too. Sometimes ‘all of this amazing food’ can be a bit much to handle over the holidays. And sometimes you want comfort food that is both hearty and healthy. My husband and I love to make a large pot of chili, freeze most of it and pull it out during this time of year to warm the soul.
Chili is one of those versatile meals and can be tailored for even your pickiest of eaters. You can make it any which way you want; from white bean chicken chili to a vegan chili. The possibilities are endless but sure to be absolutely delicious!!
So today, I’m sharing my chili recipe with lean ground beef.
1.5 lbs. of ground beef
3 cloves garlic
1 medium to small onion
2 large diced tomatoes (keep juice)
2 cans of tomato paste
2 cans of beans (chili beans or brown/black kidney beans)
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp. Sea Salt
¼ tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1.Cook ground beef in a separate pan. This can help cook off additional fat from the chili before it’s all combined.
2. In the actual pot you will be using for the chili; add chopped onion and garlic and chopped celery to the pot and sauté.
3.Drain any excess fat from the meat before adding it to the onion, garlic, and celery mixture.
4.Add your rinsed cans of beans, tomato paste, water, and tomatoes and turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or longer allow the flavors to blend and heat up.
5.Add salt, pepper, and chili pepper and continue to allow the chili to heat up.
**Optional you can add other ingredients to your chili like corn or make macaroni to add to your bowl and scoop a cup or two of chili on top of the noodles.
Here’s another ‘Meatless Monday Meal’ to make before or after the ‘oh so delicious’ Thanksgiving Day Feast! Are you looking for something light and delicious? Then you HAVE to try this concoction I conjured up after I came home from Italy where I had the one-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to study the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ when I was in college. Little did I know then, that Romans actually do not follow “diets” but rather the 'Mediterranean Diet' is just their way of actually eating. This experience only elevated my love, passion, and interest in nutrition and all things food. So I arrived home with a new found knowledge of food and sought out to make something delicious as well as highlight the simplicity of any dish using fresh herbs. And Viola…this became my new recipe.
Honestly, since this Italian experience I have never looked at food the same way. I have a better appreciation for the simple meals that make your taste buds jump for joy! I make food more specifically geared around my surroundings, or what season we’re in, or the specific occasion the food is the star, all the while using ingredients for those purposes. The blending of flavors to make simple yet, out of this world combinations, add the wow factor to any dish. Simple ingredients in my humble opinion, take food from ordinary to extraordinary!
Upon returning back to the U.S. and before my senior year in college started, my dad, who always had a large garden, always had yellow and green zucchini growing. So zucchini would be my starting point as to what vegetable I was going to use for my new recipe, but what else could I add? So I started sautéing onions and garlic in a pan with olive oil while adding fresh parsley and basil to the mix. I chopped my freshly picked zucchini and thought now this is exactly something that I would have seen on the menu in Italy. But, I didn’t stop there; I wanted to add protein to this so that if I wanted to have this for lunch I would be satisfied for a longer period of time. I also knew that I did not want meat of any kind with my zucchini because to me it just didn’t look quite right. So being also equally obsessed with garbanzo beans I open, rinsed and dumped a can of garbanzo beans (aka chick peas) to the mixture and allowed the flavors to blend. I knew I was on to something when my dad walked in and said ‘you know whatever your making I could smell from outside.” I knew then that if this aroma of blended fresh herbs and onions and garlic could lure him in to tell me this from outside then it must be good! And so the old adage goes without saying…thus my homemade recipe of sautéing garlic and onions in olive oil with sliced zucchini and adding garbanzo beans was born.
1. Chop medium onion in skillet with some olive oil
2. Chop garlic and place on top of onion so the garlic does not burn and cook until translucent.
3. Add herbs to the skillet
4. Slice zucchini in even pieces add to the skillet once and cook until tender.
5. Open 1-2 cans of drained garbanzo beans and add to the mixture for about 5 minutes
Trick or Treat...
There is nothing that says Trick or Treat like Taco Tuesday....wait what???
With trick-or-treating and the inevitable sugar overload that will surely follow, why not meal prep ahead with quick and easy tacos for dinner??
Everything can be made ahead of time and safely placed in the refrigerator before all you ghost and goblins head out for the evening. My husband and I just LOVE Tacos. Let's be honest any Mexican food is always a favorite!!
Recently, I started using these Stand-N-Stuff Tacos along with the Dinner Kit from Olde El Paso, where everything is included, well except the stuffing part which generally includes lean ground beef and black beans in our house. What I love about Taco Tuesday, is the easiness of making tacos at home or even on the go. Tacos are that one food you can take with you and eat as you go with your trick-or-treaters.
So here’s to dinner on this ghoulish night. Happy Halloween ?
P.S. For my Gluten-Free friends Olde El Paso also has gluten-free options too!
Check out this amazing Stand-N-Stuff Taco Dinner Kit from Olde El Paso: https://www.oldelpaso.com/products/stand-n-stuff-taco-dinner-kit
NOTE: This is an honest and genuine post Powered by BrandBacker.
With football, tailgates, or get together with friends and family for weekend games the looming question always comes down to…‘What are we going to eat?’
I have my go-to favorites but sometimes you need a new recipe to add to the weekend mix.
Enter Shepard’s Pie or is it Cottage Pie??? Nothing says comfort food like this simple and delicious recipe.
My mom starting making this for my Scotch-Irish brother-in-law when he was dating my sister and it’s become a family favorite. I added a twist of course to this recipe and trust me if you do any search online for ‘Shepard’s Pie’ you will no doubt have a smorgasbord of ingredients which can be added or omitted depending on your preferences.
Honestly, I have never heard of ‘Cottage Pie’ and until I looked further into this recipe, I realized the ‘Cottage Pie’ is actually older but other than the time frame both of the pies are quite similar generally topped with a mashed potato crust.
The notable difference between Cottage or Shepard’s Pie boils down to the type of meat used:
The history of ‘Cottage Pie’ dates as far back as the late 1700s to the early 1800s in Northern England and Scotland. Families often times did not have much food but the food they did have from meals in the week, they would take the leftover food, combine it all together and bake it into what we now know as Cottage Pie. This time frame in northern England and Scotland is right around time potatoes were introduced as a staple crop. Not to be confused to when potatoes were actually introduced at the end of 16th century and actually grown in London, but this crop did not have the popularity in the rest of the United Kingdom as it had primarily in Ireland.
It appears as though ‘our’ version of what we think of Shepard’s pie is actually ‘Cottage Pie’ under the wrong identity. But at any rate, this recipe is sure to be a hit at any gathering. Now, you have a bit of history behind this comforting and savory dish!
We all have our favorite Chinese food and for some the owners may even know what you want the minute you walk in to their restaurant or the moment you call to place an order. For others, like myself who truly miss the thought of Chinese food, but can’t necessarily tolerate the added flavoring or the ingredients added to the food itself, my heart goes out to you.
As most of you are well aware by now, I too, am one of those people who cannot tolerate all the above. However, just because I may not be able to enjoy the same food as my husband, it does not mean that I will not occasionally make his 'favorites' for him to enjoy. I am not going to lie, although the aroma of the food I am making for him tantalizes my senses, I know the pain that will quickly ensue is not worth the moment of amazing smells period. I have just learned to modify foods I miss to make them tolerable for me and through these modifications I have made some pretty amazing meals if I do say so myself. My food intolerances were one of the reasons I started my blog to share options with so many others. I wanted to give hope to people that you can still enjoy food, but you will just need to be more aware and vigilant as to how that food is prepared.
Now, this option is something I cannot eat, but my previous blog post on; gluten-free-shrimp-spring-rolls.html using rice wraps is my modified option for my food allergy, intolerance, sensitive friends. You can simply swap out the shrimp for chicken or beef or whatever you prefer.
When it comes to summer I think of Italy, Basil, Sun-ripened Tomatoes, and Lemons! I can't help it...it's in my blood! With Summer unofficially coming to a close over the Labor Day weekend I wanted a last summer-y salad to share before September 22, which is the official first day of fall.
I will say this: this salad is something you can LITERALLY eat all year long but, when you think of Caprese salads you usually think of warmer weather.
Tomatoes are in season right now and this is another option of getting your vegetables in your diet with a twist. Instead of using the traditional Mozzarella du Buffalo cheese (mozzarella balls) I swapped the cheese for fresh, creamy avocado with chopped fresh basil and red onion to give the Caprese Salad an additional pop of color!
This super quick and very easy side can be used as a salad or an appetizer! This is a healthy, easy and always delicious twist to your typical Caprese salad.
**Optional**You can add lemon/olive herb oil dressing
What are you having for dinner tonight? Looking for something easy and delicious? I have the recipe just for you!
I'm not sure how the weather has been for all of you, but around here the weather seems more chilly than usual for this time of year. When the weather changes and the temperature slowly dips down to just plain cold outside there is nothing that warms the soul like a bowl of fresh, delicious, hearty, and easy soup to sip and simply enjoy.
Making soup is easier than you think and soup is amazing to freeze and pull out later for a quick meal. Which is one of the many reasons why I love soup!!! Generally, when I make soup I usually make a bit more so that I can freeze it for a later use and more specifically for those brutally cold winter months when you don't always feel like making something. Soup is easy to dethaw, heat up and eat within 20-30 minutes.
What are lentils? Why are they so healthy for you?
Lentils are a legume, along with other types of beans you probably consume on a regular basis. These little power houses grow in pods about the size of an eraser on a pencil. Lentils can be black, red, yellow, green or brown in color and will retain their shape even after cooking.
Lentils are high in fiber and protein, not to mention a whole host of other essential vitamins and minerals packed into these tiny little powerhouses, many people from vegan to non-vegetarians can add lentils to any dish giving their meals a boost of nutrition thanks to the mighty lentils versatility in cooking.
Lentils have been in cuisines for centuries and like the Garbanzo bean are a staple in many cultures. Here is a list of only some of the amazing health benefits lentils provide:
When it comes to seafood and fish I do have my absolute favorites as well as options that do NOT make the list...I mean that would never make the list! However, I am only sticking to the options I prefer to make and one of those choices unequivocally would be wild fresh Salmon. Out of all the ‘fish dishes’ this is my regular and most preferred fish on any menu to make or order when dining out!
I have heard over the years from friends and family that making a new type of fish or fish in general can be somewhat intimidating to make, prepare and ultimately fish and would prefer to opt out having any fish on the menu because of their uncertainty.
So let’s get started on how I prepared my fish.
Depending on the amount of servings of salmon I am preparing will be the amount of aluminum foil sheets I will need per salmon filet. Make sure aluminum foil is large enough so each individual salmon has its own pouch while baking in the oven.
I found that fresh salmon is easiest to work with but if you know you are going to make this recipe preferably de-thaw your salmon overnight in original packaging on a plate and place on the bottom shelf in your refrigerator. Once salmon is de-thawed place each piece of salmon on the foil and sprinkle a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. I then take a fork and poke it to allow the olive oil and salt and pepper to marinate the salmon.
I then take the time to cut up my other ingredients that I will be using to eventually pour over each salmon filet. I preheat my oven to 375° degrees and then place my individual sealed fish pouches either in a glass baking dish or pan and bake 35-45 minutes.
I think people get nervous preparing fish for fear of overcooking or undercooking the fish. To test for doneness, fish becomes flakey. You can cut a small piece in the thickest part of the fish and see if it looks cooked through thoroughly or not. If it’s cooked it’s done. If however, the fish is not done cooking it will appear to resist flaking and be more translucent. Place fish back in the oven for a few more minutes carefully monitoring, since fish cooks rather quickly.
Well, that's all for now!
I hope you all have a chance to experiments in the kitchen with this recipe!
**(On a side note, I am sharing my other Salmon recipe in another blog later on!!)