Category Archives: Food Pintrinspiration

One would think growing up on a dairy farm would mean that you’d have huge gardens and eat oodles of vegetables. Nope! My mother didn’t like vegetables, so therefore she didn’t make us eat vegetables. Well, except potatoes and corn. She’s a noble woman. The unfortunate part in all of this is the reality that you’re in your late 20′s and still don’t eat vegetables. I made it my New Year’s resolution in 2008 to try even vegetable in the store twice. I found I liked onions. That counts as a vegetable, right? In 2011 I met my knight in shining armor and he was from a big city. And, his mother made him eat vegetables and now as an adult likes vegetables and eating healthy. (I honestly never thought people actually liked them – I just assumed they forced themselves to eat them because they were healthy.) But, the good news was he also liked to cook and is an amazing cook.…

Kale Minestrone

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a book club meeting at my house. Since it was a Friday evening one I decided to make dinner for the group. My friend Jenny is a vegan, which is why I specifically picked the recipe. It’s so delicious you won’t even notice that it’s missing meat! The only modification I made was that I found the original recipe a little bland, so I added some salt, pepper, and oregano. Below is the updated recipe. Be warned it makes a lot, so you may need to modify it. I made it in an 8 quart pot.Vegan Kale Minestrone

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 6 small Yukon gold potatoes chopped
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 bunches of kale chopped
  • 15 oz can chick peas
  • 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a large pan, saute the onion and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add broth, water, parsley, potatoes, celery, carrots, basil, bay leaf, oregano, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the veggies are tender.
  3. Add chick peas, kidney beans, kale and pasta.  Simmer another 20 minutes.   Add salt and pepper.

Caesar Pork Chops with Asparagus

 

Caesar Pork Chop

Tonight for dinner I made some Caesar Pork Chops from the KitchMe.com website. I served it with a side of asparagus with onion, olive oil, a speck of butter, and some goat cheese on top. This has now become one of my new favorite recipes…but it’s not overly healthy if that’s what you’re looking for.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing
  • 4 piece pork loin chop, 1/2″ thick
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instruction

  1. Heat oven to 375. Spray a 12 X 8 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In pie pan or shallow dish, mix flour and Italian seasoning. Mix dressing and cheese into another pie pan or shallow dish.
  3. Coat both sides of each pork chop with the flour mixture; dip into dressing, coating both sides well. Place in baking dish. Discard any remaining flour and dressing.
  4. Bake uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in center.

Lemon & Rosemary Chicken with Sweet Potato Hash

Rosemary Chicken & Potato Hash

I decided to get us out of our rut and introduce  us to some new meals (and maybe give you all some inspiration as well). Last night I made a new recipe of Lemon & Rosemary Chicken. I chopped up some sweet potatoes and onions to go with it.

Ingredients

  • 2 Boneless chicken breasts, about 6 oz. each
  • Salt
  • 1 Lemon, cut in half
  • 1 Sprig of rosemary
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut up your chicken breasts if they’re too large and place them on a baking pan and drizzle olive oil. Coat the chicken on both sides with the oil.
  3. Season the chicken on both sides with salt. Strip the rosemary leaves from their branches; rub the rosemary on both sides of the chicken. Squeeze the lemon juice on the chicken.
  4. (Optional: Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 25 minutes.
  5. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, until the pan juices are bubbling and dark brown. If each chicken is over 6 ounces then you might need to cook a little longer, but don’t over cook!
  6. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve!

Chili-Glazed Pork With Sweet Potato Hash

I was really excited last night when I made dinner and announced to my KISA that sweet potatoes are my favorite vegetable. He decided to stomp all over that excitement over vegetable love by telling me sweet potatoes are a starch, not a vegetable.

This was my recipe inspiration. I decided that two sweet potatoes and two shallots were too much, so I only did half that. Oh, and I didn’t peel it. Who has time to peel a sweet potato? And, I definitely didn’t grate the sweet potato. Ever tried to do that? It’s not easy. Even my KISA with his big muscles thinks it’s a pain. No thank you. I just sliced them and then chopped them. I like things easy. I just wish I would have done it all as prep work ahead of time to make the cooking more seamless. Here’s how I’d change it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1⁄4 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 5-ounce package baby spinach, chopped

Directions

  1. Cut the sweet potato into small pieces and then dice it in the chopper.
  2. Turn on the broiler. Place the pork on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Mix together 1 teaspoon of the oil, the chili powder, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and rub on the pork. Broil, turning occasionally and basting with the maple syrup twice, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Or, if you do them in smaller pieces, it may only need 8-10 minutes to cook.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 7 to 9 minutes more. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes more.
photo

I was so excited about how delicious dinner was that I almost forgot to take a picture for y’all.

Broccoli Almond Avocado Salad

Part of this whole Insanity Challenge is also eating healthy. I thought I would be proactive on Friday before we flew out on yet another red eye to make a broccoli salad. Now, I’ve eaten cooked broccoli before, but never raw. After making it, which was super easy, I realized that I didn’t love it. And, that it should be more of a side salad than an actual meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 avocado
  • handful roasted almonds
  1. Combine mustard, vinegar and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a salad bowl. Season.
  2. Chop broccoli into tiny trees and toss in the dressing.
  3. Chop avocado in half and scoop bight sized chunks into the dressing using a spoon.
  4. Toss salad to distribute the dressing and serve with almonds on top.

photo (3)

Chicken and Asparagus with Pesto Sauce

This is becoming one of my favorite, easy, go-to meals. It’s so super simple. I made two minor changes to the original recipe – I cut up the chicken first to make it more bit-sized with the asparagus and so it cooks faster. I also added only half a cup of regular whipping cream to cut down on the calories. And, it still tastes just as delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 pound thin asparagus (or 2lbs thick), trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared pesto (found next to your jarred spaghetti sauces)
  1. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces
  2. Season evenly with salt & pepper
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat
  4. Add chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown
  5. Remove chicken from skillet, set aside & keep warm
  6. Add asparagus to skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until just tender (a little longer if you’re having to use thick asparagus)
  7. Add cream, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until reduced by half
  8. Stir in pesto
  9. Return chicken to skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes longer, or until heated through. Serve immediately

photo (3)

Chicken, Sweet Potato & Apple Skillet

I’m not really sure what the difference is between a skillet and a stir fry, but I seem to like them both. This recipe has become my new favorite and I’ve actually made it a couple of times now. I’m not a huge fan of the prep work, but I am a fan of the taste! Essentially you’re cooking some chicken, then some bacon, and then frying everything in that bacon and grease. What’s not to love? Plus, I have a soft spot for sweets, so sweet potatoes and apples are right up my alley.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 3 slices 30% less fat center cut bacon (we used Oscar Mayer), chopped
  • 1½ c Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 med sweet potato (8 oz), peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 tsp salt

1. SEASON chicken lightly with salt. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in large nonstick frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

2. RETURN pan to heat and add remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Stir in bacon and cook until starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in apples, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook 3 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth, bring to a boil, and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add reserved chicken and remaining 1/2 cup broth. Season with the salt and black pepper as needed. Cook until hot, about 2 minutes.

photophoto (2)

Easy Cajun Jambalya

My Knight In Shining Armor had a recipe for jambalaya that he promised me was super simple (I mean, even the recipe has the word easy in it). Well, it wasn’t difficult, but it was definitely more time consuming than I’d anticipated. I chopped up the meat and all the veggies and cooked it. I was starving by the time I realized that it had to sit for 20 minutes simmering. Ugh. When it’s 8:00 pm the last thing I want to do is watch the food simmer. Thankfully the meal was really, really good. It had the perfect amount of hotness. I should mention we subbed some New York hot links for the kielbasa it called for.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  •  2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  •  8 ounces kielbasa/New York hot links, diced
  •  1 onion, diced
  •  1 green bell pepper, diced
  •  1/2 cup diced celery
  •  2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  •  1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  •  salt and ground black pepper to taste
  •  2 cups uncooked white rice
  •  4 cups chicken stock
  •  3 bay leaves
  •  2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute chicken and kielbasa until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Season with cayenne, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, or until onion is tender and translucent.
  3. Add rice, then stir in chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  4. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce.

Jambalaya

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Mozzarella

I’m learning that just because a dish has a vegetable in it, it does not automatically make it healthy. Case in point – our Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, Mozzarella I made last night. I had the best of intentions, but one bite of it and you realize that it’s a casserole and casserole is comfort food.

My first mistake in making this dish was the pre-planning (are you noticing a pattern?). I knew we had a box of penne in the pantry, so I didn’t buy any when we went shopping. Shortly after I started I realized we had only a half a box. So, I decided to improvise. We also had a half a box of whole wheat elbow macaroni (and who doesn’t love macaroni) that I decided to dump in with the penne. .3 seconds after dumping it in I realized I cook time on both was rather different. Oh well!

I really liked the recipe because of how clear everything was that they make it idiot proof. But, I still managed to mess it up. I decided to not follow the recipe and have everything pre-cut, which made the broccoli cool and the pasta to start to harden. Also, I decided to use two pans instead of the one suggested – and then promptly moved everything back to one pan after dirtying the other and understanding why she suggested only one (good thing my knight in shining armor has to do dishes when I cook).

The flavor was a meh rating. It was ok, but nothing to write home about…just blog about.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 bunch broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded
  • 8 ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces
  1. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli. The broccoli cooks quickly so stay close! Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.
  3. Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella.
  4. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Penne Broccoli ChickenPenne Broccoli Chicken Before CookingPenne Broccoli Chicken After Cooking

Mexican Casserole

I love Mexican food and I love casseroles, so why not combine my two favorite things? This recipe has come to the rescue. It was pretty simple to make – chop some onion, brown the hamburger, add some chopped jalapenos, add some cans of black beans, corn, and tomatoes, and then put them in a casserole. I think the most confusing parts for me was putting in the tortillas, but I quickly learned why – even though the wrapper clearly said 8, I ended up with 9. I seriously counted them at least 5 times. Wow. I did do my normal thing and substituted sour cream for plain greek yogurt for the middle layer. And, I most definitely added too many jalapenos. If even my knight in shining armor mentions that it’s a bit hot you know it was a few peppers too many. However, I still liked it. I may have liked it better if there was some tomato sauce or something to make it less dry.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra lean lean ground beef, (drained or rinsed)
  • 1⁄2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup canned jalapeno pepper, slices, chopped
  • 2 cup fresh tomato, chopped (or 15 oz can diced canned tomatoes)
  • 15 oz can corn, kernels drained
  • 15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1⁄4 oz package taco seasoning mix
  • 8 corn tortilla
  • 3⁄4 cup nonfat sour cream
  • 1⁄3 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese, blend, shredded
  • 1⁄3 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste (less or more)
  1. Brown ground beef and chopped onions in large skillet; brown 10 to 12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring constantly. Drain well and rinse with warm water to remove all fat; return beef/onions to skillet.
  2.  Add corn, black beans, tomatoes, chilies/jalapenos and taco seasoning mix; mix well. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile spray 12×8-inch (2-quart) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut each tortilla in half; place 8 halves in bottom of sprayed baking dish, overlapping slightly.
  4. Spoon half of beef mixture evenly over tortillas. Spoon sour cream over beef mixture; spread evenly. Top with remaining 8 tortilla halves and remaining beef mixture. (Cover tightly with foil & Freeze for later OR cook as directed below…).
  5. (Thaw overnight if frozen) Heat oven to 350ºF. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Cover; let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with fresh chopped lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, black olives, etc.
Mexican Casserole Cooking

Step 1 – Open the cans and mix all the ingredients in the pan.

Mexican Casserole Tortillas

Step 2 – Line the casserole dish with tortillas and verify if there is indeed 8 or 9 in your package.

Mexican Casserole Sour Cream

Step 3 – Add the meat and then the sour cream or greek yogurt to the topping. (Then add another row of tortillas and meat mixture.)

Mexican Casserole

Step 4: EAT!! (After you cook it, of course. Oh, and then add cheese and parsley.)