Monday, December 16, 2013

One Pot Wonder

Tonight I tested out a way of cooking pasta that I had never thought of before and I guarantee I will never be using sauce out of a jar again.  This recipe is simple, quick, and best of all full of fresh flavor.  Give it a try and you will never cook pasta with water and jarred sauce again.

Low Carb Pasta with Spinach and Herbs:

1 box Dreamfield's Spaghetti Noodles
4 cups vegetable broth
1 package frozen spinach
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 container mushrooms
1/2 tbsp. dried basil
1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
black pepper
Grated Parmesan and Romano Cheese

Add the vegetable broth to a soup pot and break the pasta in halves, adding to the pot.  Add the tomatoes, olive oil, spinach, onion, garlic, and all herbs to the pot.  Make sure all ingredients are submerged in the liquid.  Place the lid on top of the pot and bring to a rolling boil.  Remove the lid and reduce to medium heat.  Cook for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Stir the pot frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and Romano and serve warm.
Low Carb Pasta with Spinach and Herbs

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper, and Gouda Bisque

We are currently dealing with an ice storm in Texas, so I adjusted the tomato soup recipe that I normally use, adding in roasted red peppers and smoked Gouda cheese from the deli.  This was a winning combination and perfect for freezing temperatures.

1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. olive oil
2 14.5 oz. cans fire roasted tomatoes
12 oz. jar roasted red peppers
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 oz. smoked Gouda cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Add tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chicken stock, tomato paste, basil, salt, oregano, and black pepper to the slow cooker. In a pan, over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the onions to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 3 hours.  Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  My Ninja worked awesome for this! Pour the soup back into the slow cooker.  Once in the slow cooker, stir in the sour cream and Gouda cheese.  Cover and cook on low for about 30 more minutes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts

Believe it or not I had never had Brussels sprouts in my life until my husband and I began cooking together.  I was really missing out.  Who can resist these cute little cabbage-like babies? 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 Gala Apple, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp. local honey
2 pieces of bacon, crumbled
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil

Toss the trimmed Brussels sprouts, apples, salt, pepper, and olive oil together in a mixing bowl.  Pour onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the outsides of the Brussels sprouts begin to brown.  Remove from the oven and return to the mixing bowl.  Combine with the cranberries, bacon crumbles, walnuts, and honey.  This recipe was delicious served as a side to steak.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Garlic and Sage Butternut Squash

This recipe was inspired by one I read last year in Cooking Light.  Even with the changes I made, it turned out great and was enjoyed by many at our Friendsgiving celebration.

Garlic and Sage Butternut Squash:

1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. garlic
1/3 cup fat free sour cream
1 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

After cutting the butternut squash in half lengthwise and removing all the seeds, place in a microwave safe dish with 1/2 cup of water in the bottom.  Microwave on high for about 12 minutes, or until the inside of the squash is soft.  Scoop out the squash into a mixing bowl and discard the skins.  Add all of other ingredients to the mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher.  Place in an 8x8 inch baking dish and sprinkle with some additional Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

White Bean Chicken Chili... in honor of the approaching cold front

I am aiming to get back on track as far as my blog is concerned.  I have cooked so many new things, but life hasn't allowed for much time to post to the blog.  The weather is set to be significantly cooler beginning tomorrow, so I got into the spirit tonight by making a big batch of White Bean Chicken Chili.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 white onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 32 oz. container chicken broth
1/2 jar tomatillo salsa verde
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 7 oz. can diced green chilies, drained
1 15 oz. can great northern bean, drained
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
pinch of salt and black pepper
Optional- Shredded cheddar, sour cream, cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat and sautee the garlic and onion until soft.  Stir in the broth, tomatillo salsa, tomatoes, chilies, and spices.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the chicken and beans to the pot and add salt and pepper as needed.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve topped with cheddar, sour cream, and cilantro if desired.
White Bean Chicken Chili

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spinach Ricotta Mock Lasagna with Gluten Free Penne

I had yet to cook with gluten free pasta until tonight.  I used to cook with Dreamfield's due to low carbs, but it is loaded with gluten, so I now have to limit our pasta dishes when it comes to pasta.  Unfortunately, the gluten free variety has more carbs than I typically prefer to consume.  Otherwise, this recipe is terrific.

Spinach Ricotta Mock Lasagna with Gluten Free Penne

12 ounces gluten free penne
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper
3 cups your favorite marinara

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and set aside.  Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, cheese, and egg.  Stir until smooth.  Then add garlic, spinach, nutmeg, basil, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Put half the pasta into the baking dish and top with half of the marinara.  Spoon the spinach ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer.  Cover with remaining pasta and marinara.  Top with cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This spinach salad is perfect for bringing myself into a summer kind of mindset.  Such a delicious combination!

Strawberry Spinach Salad:

1 bag raw spinach leaves
1 container of strawberries, tops removes and cut in halves
 Couple of handfuls of shelled sunflower seeds
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
Poppy Seed Caramelized Onion Dressing (I used Safeway Selects)

Cook and crumble the turkey bacon.  I cooked mine in the microwave with a paper towel over it to soak up any grease.  Cut the tops off of the strawberries and chop into halves.  Arrange spinach leaves in a bed on the plate.  Top with strawberry halves, sunflower seeds, and turkey bacon crumbles.  Drizzle the dressing over the top and enjoy!

Roasted and Marinated Cabbage Wedge

These cabbage wedges were a take on raw wedge salad and made for a quick dinner to prepare.  One cabbage will make four servings.

Roasted and Marinated Cabbage Wedge:

1 head cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
Black pepper

 Cut cabbage into four wedges.  Place each wedge onto a sheet of foil.  Whisk together the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, garlic salt, and pepper.  Brush each cabbage wedge with the mixture, sprinkle with bacon, and wrap tightly in foil packet.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Avocado Salad + Blue Corn Tortilla Chips = Gluten Free Nachos

Turns out that I am completely in love with the combination of avocado greatness and being able to still enjoy tortilla chips on occasion since this blue corn and flax seed variety it gluten free.  Even if you're not someone going gluten free, this is one that you will love too.

Avocado Salad and Blue Corn Nachos:
3 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 can Rotel, drained
1 small can black olives, drained
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp. dried parsley 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic salt
Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine avocados, Rotel, black olives, chickpeas, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic salt.  Toss to coat all of the ingredients with the vinegar and olive oil.  Top each blue corn chip with the avocado salad.  This dish will be served cold.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Toscana Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Turkey Sausage, Kale, and Onions

Again proving that soups are my absolute favorite thing to cook, this one is certainly one I will make again and again.  It is a take on Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, except with a few changes, and of course, this one is gluten free.

Toscana Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Turkey Sausage, Kale, and Onions:
1 lb. turkey sausage
1 red onion, chopped
3 small sweet potatoes, chopped
4 cups kale, torn into small pieces
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
2 tsp. sriracha
4 cups low sodium, gluten free chicken broth
4 cups water

Brown the sausage in a medium size pan.  Add the onions and saute until they soften.  Add all of the spices.  Pour the broth and water into the pan and bring to a boil.  Add the kale and sweet potatoes, simmering until the sweet potatoes soften.  This will take about 20 minutes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lentil Cauliflower Cabbage Stew

Here is a gluten free take on my Spicy Lentil Soup that we love so much.  This one is made in the Crock Pot and contains cabbage, which was a wonderful addition.

Lentil Cauliflower Cabbage Stew:
16 oz. dried lentils
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 cups low sodium, gluten free vegetable broth
1 large can diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups chopped cabbage


Saute the onion and garlic in a pan.  Add everything to the Crock Pot and cook on low for 8 hours.

Smoked Salmon Quiche

This recipe is a take on one I saw in a magazine.  However, rather than using grain in the crust, I used thinly sliced sweet potatoes.  The smoked salmon is also an interesting addition that gives some depth to the flavor.

Smoked Salmon Quiche:
For the crust, you will need:
Coconut oil
1 sweet potato, cut into thin rounds
2 eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp. rosemary

Grease the bottom of a pie plate with coconut oil.  Arrange two layers of the sweet potato rounds, topping with rosemary.  In a bowl, beat the eggs, coconut milk, salt, and pepper.  Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

For the quiche, you will need:
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dill
1 tbsp capers
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz smoked salmon, crumbled into bits
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, spices, and garlic.  Sprinkle the top of the sweet potato crust with the smoked salmon.  Pour the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle on the dill.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free Challenge: Bacon Egg Muffins with Jalapeno, Onions, and Roasted Red Peppers

Due to some recent test results, I am reevaluating my entire way of eating.  I'm not saying I ever ate terrible to begin with, but for the sake of obtaining complete wellness and having abundant energy, which I do not have currently, I am more than willing to make some changes.  I refuse to be put on a daily medication and in order for that to happen, I believe gluten free is a good starting point.  Luckily, cooking is my passion and any challenge having to do with food is something I am up for.  So, join me on a new journey to complete wellness as I share some of my recipes from the past few days.

I have always been a fan of making a large batch of egg muffins on Sunday to have readily available for breakfast throughout the week.  My old recipe contained quite a bit of cheese to bind things together.  The gluten free version contains no cheese, but instead, more vegetables and bacon as the outer "crust".  To mine and my husband's surprise, the gluten free version turned out even better than before.

Bacon Egg Muffins with Jalapeno, Onions, and Roasted Red Peppers:
Coconut Oil to grease the pan
12 strips peppered bacon
8 eggs
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, chopped into small pieces
1 jalapeno, finely chopped with seeds removed
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. paprika

Lightly grease the muffin tin with coconut oil.  Line each muffin space with one slice of bacon.  Bake the bacon for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  In a skillet, saute the onions, red peppers, and jalapeno.  Place a tablespoon of the onion mixture into the bottom of each muffin space.  Beat eggs, coconut milk, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Using a ladle, fill each muffin cup 3/4 full.  Bake for about 25 minutes and allow to sit for 5 minutes to cool.  Use a knife around the edges to remove from the muffin tin.  Store the egg muffins in a Tupperware container in the refrigerator.  They can be reheated as needed and will keep for about a week.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Coconut Shrimp Soup

This recipe happened by complete accident, but I am so glad it did!  I had planned on making shrimp soup, but realized I forgot to get half and half at the store.  So I made do with what I did have in the pantry.... coconut milk.  As it turns out, nothing could have complimented the shrimp more.  Plus I added a touch of lime juice that really pulled everything together.  I will definitely be making Coconut Shrimp Soup again!

Coconut Shrimp Soup:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1 bundle cilantro
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
2 tbsp. sriracha
1 lime, juice
salt and pepper

1.)  Heat the olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the onion, allowing it to become translucent.  Add the garlic and roasted red peppers and cook until heated through.

2.)  Add the tomatoes with the juice, shrimp, and cilantro to the pot and simmer until the shrimp is completely cooked through.

3.)  Pour in the coconut milk, sriracha, and lime juice, cooking until just heated through.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.

4.) Serve hot with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.

Salsa Verde Swiss Egg Muffins

These little egg muffins are so simple for Nick and I to grab, heat, and go each weekday morning.  My recipe makes 12 muffins that can me stored in a Ziplock in the refrigerator and reheated for 2 minutes in the microwave.

10 eggs
4 Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese Wedges
5 slices deli ham or turkey, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup Tomatillo Salsa Verde
1 small bundle green onions, chopped fine

1.)  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.)  Mash the Laughing Cow cheese wedges into a large mixing bowl.  Crack the eggs into the bowl and whisk until well combined.  Add in the ham or turkey, salsa, and green onions.  Make sure all the ingredients are mixed together well.

3.) Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and fill each cup 3/4 full of the egg mixture.  Bake for 25 minutes.

4.)  Allow muffins to cool on a plate before storing in a Ziplock bag in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Zucchini Lasagna

Who needs pasta when you can enjoy flavorful lasagna that uses thinly sliced zucchini instead?  This is similar to a low carb recipe I have run across before, but I added an artichoke pesto sauce that added so much flavor.

Zucchini Lasagna

2 large zucchini squash
4 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can mushrooms
¼ cup yellow onion, chopped
1 lb hamburger meat
1/2 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I am obsessed with Safeway's Artichoke Pesto) 
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. chopped chives

 1.)  Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Peel zucchini and slice, lengthwise, to 1/4” strips with a sharp knife.

2.)  Cook zucchini in pan until soft, about five minutes, stirring and flipping zucchini occasionally to keep from browning. Remove zucchini to a plate.

3.)  In skillet, saute minced garlic, onion and green pepper, chopping, until onion is transparent, 3-5 minutes.  Add ground beef. Cook until browned, stirring and chopping occasionally.

4.)  Add jar of sauce. Turn heat to medium low and allow sauce to cook down/thicken, about 15 minutes.

5.)  In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan and chives. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.<

6.)  In a 13 x 9 baking dish, arrange layers in this order:
1/3 of the sauce mixture
1/2 of the zucchini strips
1/3 of the sauce mixture
1/3 of the  cheese mixture
1/3 of the shredded mozzarella
1/2 of the zucchini strips
remaining sauce mixture
remaining cheese mixture
remaining shredded mozzarella

7.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble and turn slightly golden. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes to allow to set prior to serving.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Soup with Green Onions and Blue Cheese

This recipe is dedicated to my brother, who is notorious for adding Frank's Red Hot Sauce and Tabasco to everything he eats.  If you're a hot wing lover, this recipe is for you.  It's definitely got a kick.

Buffalo Chicken Soup with Green Onions and Blue Cheese

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8-10 oz), cooked and shredded
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
3/4 cup Frank's Red Hot buffalo wing sauce
1/2 cup Half and Half
1/2 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 tbsp. Blue Cheese (1 tbsp. for each bowl)
Sliced green onions, for garnish

1.)  Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions with a sprinkle of salt to the pot, stirring to coat, then cook for about 5 minutes until soft.

2.)  Add in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

3.)  Add in stock, buffalo sauce, half and half, chicken and grated cheeses, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often.

4)  Top with green onions and blue cheese before serving.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chicken Avocado Enchiladas with Avocado Cream Sauce

The Avocado Cream Sauce in this recipe is to die for.  It added so much to my traditional better for you enchiladas.  I used the same Mission Carb Balance Tortillas that you see often in my recipes.  Even if the sauce weren't used in this recipe, it would also make a great dip for vegetables, crackers, or chips.

Chicken Avocado Enchiladas with Avocado Cream Sauce

1 cup chicken broth 
1 cup salsa verde (I used Safeway Artisan Tomatillo Salsa)
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt) 
2 avocados 
1 clove garlic 
salt and pepper to taste 
1 bundle cilantro 
1/2 lime, juice 
4 cups cooked shredded chicken 
2 green onions, sliced 
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded 
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded 
8 (7 inch) tortillas

 1.)  Puree the chicken broth, salsa verde, sour cream, avocados, garlic, salt and pepper, cilantro and lime juice in a food processor. 

2.)  Mix the half of the sauce with the chicken, green onions and half of the cheese. 

3.)  Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with some of the sauce, wrap the chicken and avocado mixture in the tortillas and place them in the dish seam side down. 

4.)  Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese and bake in a preheated 350F oven until the cheese has melted and the sides are bubbling, about 15-20 minutes.