Yes. I am here to tell you that it is possible for you to be turning on your oven in the middle of August (especially if you live in central Ohio where it was a cool 58 degrees this morning!) and this recipe is the perfect reason to do it.
First, I recently received a question asking me what healthy snacks I like to eat. So here are my top five picks in no particular order:
1. Dry Roasted Almonds (I usually eat a handful (about 15) for a quick 100 calorie pick me up)
2. Carrots plus a couple tablespoons of hummus
3. Roasted Kabocha Squash (Love this squash! It is so sweet and pairs well with peanut butter or a laughing cow)
4. A light Laughing Cow cheese spread in a tortilla (you can add veggies but sometimes I just like the taste of carbs and cheese)
5. A smoothie like this one
I like my snacks to contain a little nutrition and staying power and all these options are great for meeting both of these requirements.
Back to business. . .
The following recipe was so delicious that I am making it again tonight for dinner since I haven’t stopped thinking about the last one I made.
It is a quick and healthy “stromboli.” I got the idea from here and adapted the recipe to use what I had on hand.
4 oz of ground turkey breast
a handful of sliced mixed bell peppers
1/2 of a small onion thinly sliced
2-3 sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 flatout flatbread
1 light laughing cow cheese
tomato sauce (for dipping)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown the ground turkey in a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray for 2 minutes before adding the bell peppers, onion and mushrooms (if using). Continue cooking until the veggies are softened (you can add some italian seasoning and garlic at this point for a more prounounced “pizza” flavor). Lay the flatout on a cookie sheet. Spread the laughing cow over the entire flatout. Spoon the turkey and veggie mixture down the center of the flatout and roll up like a burrito. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting in half and serving with tomato sauce for dipping. Enjoy (I sure did 😉 )!
I just got back from a trip to Allentown, PA to visit my grandparents for a week. It takes a solid 8 hours to travel from Columbus to Allentown. During one of our many rest stop breaks we happened upon a woman selling peaches from her farms that she had picked that day. Peaches in my opinion are one of the tastiest fruits there is but you have to get them at their utter peak or they are mealy and require a lot of sweetening in order to palatable. Well, these peaches were neither.
They were so juicy and not mushy at all–meeting all the qualifications of the perfect peach. Since, I don’t get to work with perfect peaches very often I thought I would make a meal that would highlight them.
Sweet Peach, Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad (Serves 1)
3 cups of arugula
Shredded Chicken Breast (about 4 oz)
1 oz of crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped (or sliced) fresh peach
basalmic vinigarette dressing (I made my own using this recipe)
Layer arugula, chicken, goat cheese and fresh peach. Drizzle with dressing. Enjoy with a slice of thick multi-grain bread for a simple summer supper.
I remember the first time I had tortilla soup. It was in an exhibition hall at the Texas State Fair. My family and I stopped to “watch” a vita mix demonstration (I say “watch” because really we were just waiting for the demonstration to be done so we could get a free sample). The man began by making fresh peanut butter with nothing put peanuts and salt. He then moved on to a simple tortilla soup. I seem to remember him throwing a plethora of veggies into the blender as well as some stock and taco seasoning before blending it all at such a high speed and for so long that it heated the soup up. Then he poured the resulting orange mixture into tiny paper cups and doled them out to the expectant crowd.
Reminiscing aside. . . I found myself craving that particular tortilla soup the other day. However, I don’t have a vita mix so I knew I wouldn’t be able to incorporate whole tomatoes and wedges of cabbage like the demonstrator at the fair. After searching for a while I stumbled upon a super simple tortilla soup recipe.
I chose this recipe because I like the idea of adding a smoky flavor to the soup by first charring the onions and jalapeno. I also thought the idea of thickening the soup with crumbled corn tortillas was unique and sounded delicious.
I was right. This soup is amazing. It tastes very similar to what I remember sampling at the Texas State Fair. It was also super simple to make (and there is no vita mix involved). I served our soup with quesadilla wedges that I layered with a little shredded cheddar cheese and some black beans. I highly recommend serving this soup with something to dip into it because it tastes a little like gourmet taco sauce (in a good way). A healthy way to kick a Taco Bell craving!
Creamy Tortilla Soup(Serves 2-3 large bowls or 4 small bowls)
•1 small white or yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
•3 cloves of garlic (still in the paper)
•salt & pepper
•1 can (14-oz.) fire roasted diced tomatoes
(or about 4-5 fresh roma tomatoes, roast them with the onions & peel skins)
•1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
•1/4 teaspoon dried cumin
•1/2 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder
•1/2 teaspoon agave syrup (or a pinch of sugar)
•1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
•3 cups veggie or chicken broth
•3-4 corn tortillas*, chopped (plus one extra for crispy topping)
•juice of 1 lime
serve with your choice of:
•crispy tortilla strips (sliced from 1 tortilla, toss in olive oil & salt, bake 10 or so minutes)
•crumbled queso fresco (or feta)
•lime wedges, on the side
•more tortillas on the side (optional)
•avocado slices (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a large baking sheet, spread out the onion slices, the jalapeno (still whole), garlic cloves and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-30 minutes until the edges of the onions blacken, tossing them about halfway through. Remove the garlic after about 5 minutes, so it doesn’t burn. Remove the jalapeno when the skin is blackened and blistering.
Place the roasted jalapeno in a small glass bowl with plastic wrap over it (but not touching it). Let it cool for 15 minutes and carefully peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. (use utensils if you can, and don’t touch your eye afterward).
In a medium pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions, garlic (remove the paper), jalapeno, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, chile powder, a splash of agave or a pinch of sugar, and some salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to sizzle.
Add a splash of sherry vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth and chopped tortilla pieces and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Transfer to a high speed blender and puree (I used an immersion blender and it worked just fine). Taste and adjust seasonings, adding in a squeeze of lime.
I will admit when I first read this recipe from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows I was skeptical. I didn’t think that stuffed shells could possibly be palatable without even a smidgen of cheese. I decided to bookmark the recipe anyways because I am always looking for something new to try. I also loved the idea of making the “cheese” out of tofu which would add a ton of belly filling protein.
The recipe stayed in my bookmarks for months. Then. . .
My sister has a lot of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which include food sensitivities to things such as dairy. Whenever she experiences an increase in her reaction to certain food items I try to be careful about eliminating them from our meals. I thought this recipe would be a great way for her to get some extra protein and nutrients without the addition of excessive dairy.
Still, the tofu filling might be healthy but would it taste good?
The answer is yes.
These stuffed shells taste like the real deal. They are cheesy and rich with a nice kick and body from the fresh herbs, onion and celery.
No one will ever be the wiser.
In fact, I didn’t even tell my dad (and he still doesn’t know) what they were made of and he scarfed them down and declare them “really good.” I decided what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him 🙂 .
Jumbo Stuffed Shells (from Oh She Glows)
Yield: approx. 30 shells or 6 servings
- 3.5 cups pasta sauce
- 340 grams jumbo pasta shells (I used 30 shells or 2/3 of the box – but make extra as some break)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, minced
- 1 (14oz) package extra-firm or firm tofu, pressed
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4-1 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Rinse block of tofu and wrap with paper towels followed by 2-3 tea towels. Place it on a cutting board or plate and add several heavy cookbooks on top. Press tofu for about 20-25 minutes to drain out the water. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press.
2. Grease a very large casserole dish. I used about 30 shells, but you’ll need to cook more than that as some shells will break during the cooking process. Cook shells in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 8-11 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Drain shells and set aside to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. For the tofu ricotta: In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in the oil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped celery, basil, and parsley and sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Feel free to throw in some spinach for extra greens.
4. For the tofu, you can either crumble it into the skillet with your hands or you can give it a whirl in the food processor and then stir it into the skillet. If you use the processor, the texture will be very creamy like ricotta cheese and if you crumble it with your hands it will be more chunky/crumbly. It’s up to you how you want to make it. I usually opt to crumble it by hand so I don’t dirty the processor. Stir in the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, lemon, and cayenne all to taste. Over medium heat, cook for about 8-10 minutes or until most of the water cooks off.
5. Spoon about 1 cup of marinara sauce into the casserole dish and spread around. Add about 2 tbsp of tofu ricotta into each stuffed shell and place shells on top of marinara sauce. Cover shells with the remaining 2-2.5 cups marinara sauce and any leftover tofu ricotta. You can add vegan cheese on top, but I don’t bother. Cover dish with tin foil and poke several air holes. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until heated throughout. Serve with a basic green salad and garlic bread, if desired.
I love oatmeal for breakfast (an opinion I have expressed more than once: here, here (my favorite) and here). It is so filling and keeps me satiated much longer than any other breakfasts I have tried. Then, I threw together this breakfast on a whim yesterday morning.
It was one of those mornings that you feel like breaking out of your usual breakfast rut. The birds were singing the air was warm–too warm for a hot bowl of oatmeal. I was craving something a little more savory.
I opened the fridge.
I spied some tortillas and started to think of different breakfast options that utilized said tortillas. Eventually, I settled on a mix of a breakfast taco and a tostada and the Mexican Breakfast Pizza was born.
Quick High-Protein Mexican Breakfast Pizza (serves 1)
1 large whole-wheat tortilla (I used La Tortilla Factory’s low-carb tortillas)
1/4 cup of black beans
2 tbsp of Greek yogurt
1 egg (scrambled or fried)
4-5 cherry tomatoes (chopped)
1/4 of an avocado (chopped)
optional toppings: light sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro
Heat the tortilla in a large non-stick pan until firm and crispy. Meanwhile, in a separate non-stick pan cook egg as desired. Warm the black beans in a microwave for 15 seconds. Mash the black beans with the Greek yogurt (you can add a sprinkle of any seasoning you like here such as cumin, chili powder, garlic powder etc). Spread black bean mixture over tortilla “crust” and top with egg, chopped cherry tomatoes and avocado. Add a dash of hot sauce or any other toppings you desire. Cut into wedges and eat!
Delicious and filling! A new favorite for the 2 days a year I don’t wake up craving oatmeal for breakfast 😉
Looks a little like summer doesn’t it (only minus the perfectly sweet tomato slices because mine was mealy. . . oh well)
This recipes comes from Mama Pea whose had her recipes being posted all over blogosphere today with the release of her new recipe book. I actually just finished reading her first book and really enjoyed her recipes. She has a talent for making the flavors of healthy food accessible to not just adults but children as well (she probably gets lots of practice considering she has two young daughters herself).
It’s funny because I was actually planning on making one of her recipes that I have made a variation of a number of times tonight for dinner. It is your basic quinoa dressed up with sunny mediterranean flavors. I love it because it is super simple, takes about 20 minutes and can be served with hummus (always a plus in my book).
I served ours warm because, even though it is suppose to be spring in Ohio, the weather is still clinging to the last cool gray days of winter.
The quinoa tasted sort of like the summer that lies ahead (only better 🙂 ).
Mama Pea’s Greek Spinach Quinoa (Makes 6 servings)
- 1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 c. vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 2 c. baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 c. crumbled feta
- 1/3 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 c. Kalamata olives, sliced
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1/2 t. dried parsley
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- optional garnishes: baked pita chips, hummus, Greek yogurt, vegetable crudités
Place a medium pot over medium high heat. Add quinoa and dry toast for several minutes, until grains are starting to brown. Add stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed and grains are fluffy.
Add spinach, cheese, tomatoes, olives, oregano, parsley and vinegar and continue to heat until spinach starts to wilt and cheese has melted.
Serve hot or cold with desired garnishes or as part of a mezza platter.
Can you tell I like my food from my pictures? I don’t “style” my food per se like some bloggers do because I am always in a hurry to eat it! Yes, I eat everything I post :). Just sort of a disclaimer.
I served our quinoa with a dollop of greek yogurt, sliced onion roast beef from Whole Foods, spicy hummus, whole-wheat pita, kalamata olives and cucumber (not in season but it completed the theme somewhat). It was a nice combination but I think a piece of white fish or chicken might pair better with the quinoa.
I am definitely going to save this recipe for summer and serve it chilled with fresh veggies and hummus. I am looking forward to it already. 3 more weeks left of school for me (can you tell it is on my mind?)
Ever since I tried a delicious mole sauce by That Food Truck in October (you can read my blog post about it here) I have been wanting to re-create the recipe at home. Given the originally recipe requires over 20 different ingredients and a day-long simmer time I knew that an exact replication of the sauce was not quite feasible.
Then I stumbled across this recipe.
And it has chocolate in it. Need I say more?
Believe me. Even if you aren’t a fan of chocolate in savory dishes you will like it in this dish. It adds smokiness and richness without a long simmer time.
Quick Chicken Mole (4 servings)(slightly adapted from here)
- 1 lb of boneless skinless chicken tenders (cubed)
- 1 Clove Garlic (minced)
- 1/2 Red Onion (diced)
- 1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds
- 1/4 Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1-15 oz Can of Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup of dry White Wine
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Cocoa Powder
- 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (or another hot sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro (diced)
- Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Chopped Fresh Cilantro to sprinkle over the top
- Lime Wedges
Spray a deep skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place cubed chicken in skillet and cook until no longer pink. Toss the garlic, onion, sesame seeds and Kosher salt into the skillet with your chicken. Cook about 5 minutes– until the red onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Mix in Cayenne Pepper, 1/2 Teaspoon of Cumin and Cinnamon. Remove chicken mixture to a bowl and keep warm.
In the same skillet, add diced Tomatoes, White Wine, 1/2 Teaspoon of Cumin, Cocoa Powder, Hot Sauce and Cilantro. Stir your sauce to make sure your Cocoa Powder doesn’t clump. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in chicken mixture and simmer another 5 minutes.
Serve over Brown Rice with Cilantro and Pumpkin Seeds over the top and with Lime Wedges. Enjoy!