Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Recipe adapted from:


2 cups grilled chicken breast
3 cups cooked quinoa (3/4 cup uncooked)
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (one 16 oz. can) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups (one 15 oz. can) corn, drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium fresh tomato, diced, or 10-15 cherry tomatoes quartered


Mix grilled chicken, cooked and cooled quinoa, diced onion, garlic, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Chop cilantro, then stir into quinoa along with seasonings, black beans, and corn. Stir in oil, tomato, and pepper, immediately before serving.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Notes & Tips:

Mat and I have recently embarked on a clean eating lifestyle. This is going to become my staple recipe for quick lunches or dinners on busy nights. The quinoa can be cooked days in advance and so can the grilled chicken. I keep 5 or 6 grilled chicken breasts in the freezer for quick defrosting and adding into recipes. It would also taste great with avocado, black olives and jalapenos too! But it's absolutely delish the way it is!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pasta with Butternut Sauce, Sausage and Spinach

Recipe adapted from:


  • 11 oz (4 links) Italian sausage
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 1 lb any fun shaped pasta, I used trulli 
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 - 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking. Add baby spinach and stir in Parmesan cheese and seasoning. 

Toss in cooked pasta and sausage and mix until well coated.

Tips & Notes:

I thought this turned out really good. You can certainly customize this to your preferences, but I really enjoyed that the sauce didn't have cream in it, yet was still super creamy.  I served this with a salad and bread.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Super Easy Breakfast Pizza

  • Pizza crust (I used store brand personal size pizzas)
    • this could be anything from pita bread, naan, homemade crust, store bought
  • Cream Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Shredded cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put slices of bacon on a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake bacon for 18 minutes or until crispy.
  4. Take bacon out and drain on paper towels.
  5. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.
  6. While bacon is cooking, scramble the eggs (I used 8 eggs for 3 individual size pizzas)
  7. Spread the pizza crust with cream cheese
  8. Put the eggs on the cream cheese, followed by the meat (bacon, ham, ground beef, sausage)
  9. Sprinkle on the cheese
  10. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is tan and cheese is melted 
Notes & Tips:

Nothing fancy to this, but man it was good. Mat and I topped ours with hot sauce, because really what are eggs without hot sauce?  Totally customizable. Use anything you'd like. You can even whip up some sausage gravy and spread it on the crust before you put the eggs on. YUM!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lentil, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Recipe adapted from:


- 5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
- 3/4 cup dry steel cut oats, gluten free
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce

- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning  
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick each sweet potato several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until very soft to the touch. Set aside to cool.

In a medium pot, combine the lentils, oats, bay leaf and salt with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are soft but not mushy, stirring occasionally to keep the oats from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Discard bay leaf and drain mixture into a colander.

While the lentils and oats are cooking, finely chop half of the mushrooms and set aside. Cut the remaining mushrooms into quarters. Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until browned and soft. Add the chopped mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Lower heat to medium and add the lentil and oat mixture, followed by the vegetable stock, wine, tomato paste, soy sauce, paprika, and parsley. Taste and add salt if needed. Simmer mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a few grinds of black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel sweet potatoes with your hands and place in a medium bowl. Use a fork to mash them into a smooth paste and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Evenly spread the lentil mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish. (For thicker layers, use a 9x9-inch pan.) Spoon the sweet potato mixture on top and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling at the edges.

Notes & Tips:
This is Gluten Free, Vegetarian and  from what I know it's Vegan too. I made this to take to a friend who is feeling under the weather, who is a gluten free eater. So I divided this into 2 round aluminum disposable baking dishes (I think they were the 9 inch ones). You could always add ground beef if you'd like to make it a meat dish. Mat and I try to eat meatless one meal a week so this was ours. I used my Tupperware Quick Chef Pro to chop all of the veggies. So quick and easy! This recipe can also be made in advance (just keep the filling and roasted sweet potato mash separate) until you're ready to assemble and bake. The original recipe also says it can be frozen unbaked (just bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees after thawing)!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Soy Maple Salmon with Cauliflower

Recipe adapted from:
Erica McMannes 

  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice (fresh squeezed if you'd like)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 4 5-ounce salmon fillets, (preferably wild salmon)
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (1 head chopped)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, or water
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped almonds or pistachios (I used pecans)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoon parsley (I used basil)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Mix soy sauce, maple syrup, orange juice, 2 of the garlic cloves and 2 Tablespoons of water in large bowl. Add salmon, turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  3. While that is marinating, put the cauliflower in microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap (or Tupperware's stack cooker. Microwave until tender, about 6 minutes.
  4. Coat rimmed cookie sheet with canola oil. Drain salmon, season with salt and pepper. Place skin side down on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until salmon flakes when you put a fork in it. 
  5. Heat olive oil in large skillet, heat oil and remaining garlic until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and broth, cranberries, nuts, orange zest parsley, salt and pepper stir to heat through. Serve cauliflower with fish. 
Notes & Tips:

I thought this was a great recipe, healthy and very easy. The wild caught salmon really has a much better flavor than anything farm raised or flash frozen. Obviously, I didn't go catch the salmon myself. I was glad this recipe had a built in side dish. I served it with Parmesan couscous. Without the couscous this is gluten free. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Recipe adapted from:


  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bag frozen mixed veggies (I used Kroger brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Cook chicken however you like. I steamed mine in my steamer from totally frozen with steak seasoning sprinkled on it for 30 mins.
  2. Shred chicken. (I used my Kitchenaid mixer to shred mine, just make sure you put a towel over the mixer so you don't have flying chicken).
  3. Add butter to a large pot, add celery, onion and carrots along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add flour and spices. Cook and stir one minute.
  4. Stir in broth and milks, cover the pot, and bring soup to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.
  5. Stir in chicken and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  6. Divide soup among serving bowls.

Notes & Tips:

The original recipe called for parsnips, which sounds good to me, but as I didn't have any I added the frozen veggies to bulk it up. You can also lower the fat in this by subbing the cream for whole milk and the whole milk for skim. I wouldn't use all skim milk though, I feel it would make the soup kinda watery. I served this with biscuits. The original recipe called for puff pastry adornments, but honestly if I was going to go that far, I'd just make chicken pot pie.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Beef Bourguignon

Recipe adapted from: Julia Child's Joy of Cooking


  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon (or 6 slices of thick cut bacon)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

  • Cooking Directions

    -Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). -Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
    -Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    -Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
    -Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. -Add it to the lardons.
    -In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
    -Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
    -Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
    -Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust).
    -Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
    -Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
    -Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
    -Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
    -While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
    -Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
    -Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
    -Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
    -Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
    -Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
    -Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
    -When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
    -Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
    -Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
    -If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
    -Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
    -Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley. 

    Notes & Tips:

    Ok... so where to start. I've always wanted to make this and have admittedly been a tad intimidated to make it. But I bought the ingredients because we thought we were going to have guests for dinner. That fell through and I almost backed out, but I figured I had all the good stuff so I'd go ahead and make tonight a special night anyway. I started this recipe at 11:50am, and we ate at 6pm. There was LOTS of hands on time, there was also a 3.5 hour period where it just simmered. It was very very good, you could taste the wine and the rich beef flavor. I'm not sure I will be making this anytime soon, but it is truly something every cook should attempt. I served this with roasted potatoes and crusty bread.