Saturday, May 12, 2012

Roasted Summer Squash

Now that it is getting much warmer, fresh produce is in abundance! I went to the farmer's market and got some lovely local summer squash, super inexpensive. My favorite way to eat my veggies is roasted - a little seasoning and let them come to life on their own. I love to taste my food, not mask it. It is a very simple recipe with ingredients most people have on hand. 

Roasted Summer Squash

Cook Time: <30 mins @ 425F
Prep Time: <10 mins
Serves: 4


  • 3-4 large summer squash, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl toss the squash with the rest of the ingredients. Coat well with the oil and spices. Place in the oven for about 25-30 mins. Stir the squash half way through the cooking process. Try not to over cook, as it can dry out. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Stuffed Chicken

With a little bit of assembly, you can transform bland chicken breasts into a main dish that is elegant and simple to make. I love the combination of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and feta! They work so well together. Especially when warmed. If you have picky eaters in your house, this is a great way to sneak in a little green in without it being overwhelming.
I don't usually add salt to this recipe because of the Parmigiano and the Feta, which are both salty, but if you enjoy it saltier, then add some to taste. Same goes for the cayenne. I enjoy my food with a little kick, but it can easily be omitted.

As for dietary restrictions, you can omit the cheese in this recipe and substitute the feta for a tsp or so of vegenaise or mayonnaise to give it a little creaminess. Also subbing the bread crumbs for gluten-free bread crumbs is doable as well. You can make your own by putting 2 stale slices of gluten free bread in a food processor and process until you've got bread crumbs. If you make your own bread crumbs, make sure the bread it stale or slightly toasted because the moisture will make it difficult to achieve crumb consistency. 

Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Stuffed Chicken

Cook Time: 40 minutes @ 350 degrees
Prep Time: <15 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded out to about 1/4 in thickness
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (gluten-free breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • cayenne pepper to taste(optional)
  • salt to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes (hydrated or jarred)
  • Oil Spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a large rimmed cookie sheet or oven safe baking dish with olive oil or oil spray of choice. Set aside.
Prep a flat surface with either parchment paper or use a cutting board (this is where you will construct the stuffed chicken). Place one thinly pounded chicken breast on the surface (salt and pepper the chicken, if you'd like). Place about 6-8 leaves of spinach on one side of the chicken breast and 1-2 pieces of sun-dried tomato. Then sprinkle about 2 Tbsp of feta cheese on top. Grab the side that you have the filling on and start to roll towards the other side. You should be able to complete one whole roll. Keep seam side down (secure with toothpick if you'd like). Repeat these steps with the remaining chicken breast.
In a shallow bowl, beat the egg whites until well combined and slightly frothy.
In another shallow bowl combine bread crumbs, pepper, parsley, Parmigiano, cayenne and salt.

Now let's bread the chicken! Take the whole roll and dip into the egg white mixture. Let the excess liquid drip off, then place in the breading mixture bowl and coat the entire outside with the bread crumbs. Place the breaded chicken breast on the cookie sheet and repeat these steps with the other stuffed chicken breasts.
Next, spray the tops of the breaded chicken breasts with a little oil spray and place in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the until temperature reads 165 degrees. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chocolaty Avocado Brownies

So I found this recipe on Pinterest and had to try it out! I modified a few things to my liking and found them to be pretty good. Not too sweet, dense and very chocolaty. They are super moist as well. Who would have thought to use avocados in a brownie recipe? I sure was surprised and not a lot of things surprise me in food world. I will be making these again but I think next time I'm going to make them into cupcakes...

These brownies are practically guilt free! Avocados are an amazing fruit that we all could benefit from. A healthy fat. And yes, fat is good! Fat is very good. It is essential. Avocados provide a great source of vitamin B, folic acid, fiber and vitamin E - all of which, every pregnant woman (and every person) should be getting plenty of. 

I used Frontier organic cocoa powder and whole wheat pastry flour, which is much lighter then whole wheat flour. I used an 8 x 8 pan because I couldn't find my loaf pan, but the original recipe uses a loaf pan and bakes longer.  I have featured my picture as well as the original recipe's picture. Man I got to work on better food pics! 

Chocolaty Avocado Brownies

Cook Time: 20-25 mins @ 350F
Prep Time: < 10 mins
Serves: 12


  • 3 ripe small avocados
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp freshly brewed espresso, room temp
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with a little coconut oil. In a large bowl, mash the avocados until smooth. Add the sugar and by hand, mix to incorporate. Add eggs, vanilla extract & coffee. Gently mix everything. In a separate medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients: cocoa powder, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt & baking powder. Add dry ingredient into wet ingredients. Gently stir just till it combines. Do not over-mix (as it can make the brownies tough). This batter will be thick! Transfer batter into baking dish.  Spread batter evenly toward the edges of pan. Bake for 20-25 mins or until the middle is set. Once cooled, cut into desired sized squares. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Kiran Tarun (and picture #2)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Easy Breakfast Quesadilla

I love having eggs anytime of the day and when you pair it with cheese and salsa... I'm in heaven. This morning I decided to make a breakfast quesadilla that would keep me satisfied until lunch. High protein and full of flavor. The chicken apple sausage gives it a little sweetness and makes everything come together. I used Applegate Farms organic chicken apple sausages. 1 sausage is enough for 4 servings but if you want to add more, by all means - do it. It took me minutes to put the whole thing together and it is portable. You could do more than one at a time if you have a large enough skillet. 

Also this recipes can be re-sized for 1, 2, or 10. Basically the ratio is 1 egg, 1/4 sausage, 1 tortilla, 2 tbsp cheese, 1 tbsp salsa. 

Easy Breakfast Quesadilla 

Cook Time: < 10 mins
Prep Time: < 5 mins
Serves: 4 


  • Olive oil spray
  • 4 cage-free eggs
  • 1 tbsp organic milk (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 organic chicken apple sausage, diced
  • 4 medium flour or corn tortilla
  • 1/2 cup shredded organic cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup organic salsa

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil spray over medium heat. In a side bowl whisk the eggs, milk and salt & pepper until slightly foamy. Pour the egg mixture in the skillet and stir frequently until half way cooked. Now add the chicken sausage bites and stir in well. Cook until eggs are cooked through. Remove from heat and place on the side. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil spray over medium heat. Place 1 flour tortilla in the skillet and fill 1 side of the tortilla with the egg mixture. Top with about 1-2 tbsp of cheese and 1 tbsp of salsa. Now lift the side of the tortilla that doesn't have anything on it and fold it on top of the egg mixture (it will look like a half moon). Press down slightly with a spatula and let it cook for about 1-2 minutes, then flip it and let it cook for another minute on the other side. Place on plate and cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Breakfast is served. 


One of my husband's favorite meals is Picadillo. Picadillo is a typical Hispanic ground beef dish. It is basically a ground beef mixture consisting of some type of tomato or brown sauce. There are many variations to this simple, yet delightful dish and this is my version. Easy to make, full of flavor and the leftovers are stellar - How could you go wrong? I know that the idea of raisin in a savory dish probably doesn't appeal to you but I promise you, it gives it that "something else". 

Cook Time: < 30 mins
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb grass-fed lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 small can of organic tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of cumin
  • 1 Tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of hot sauce (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes or until soft. Place the onion mixture in a side bowl.

Add ground beef to the pan and stir and crumble until thoroughly cooked through. 

Drain the excess grease and add the onion mixture into the pan with the meat. 

Add the remaining ingredients and incorporate everything well. Bring the heat down to low and cover the pan. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes (or longer if your prefer).

 Serve immediately over rice, mashed potatoes or how ever you'd enjoy.

Nutritional Info for 1/4 recipe:
Calories: 230 ; Fat: 9g ; Carbohydrate: 13g ; Fiber: 2g ; Sugar: 7g ; Protein: 25g

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

Went to Whole Foods today and decided to grab some shrimp for dinner tonight. I haven't had shrimp in awhile and wasn't sure what I was going to do with it until I got home. I just grabbed a few things from the fridge and pantry and this dish was born. Quick and easy - my kind of meal. It is basically my version of Aglio e olio - pasta with garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes.

This dish is pretty spicy and super garlicky. If you need to reduce the spice or garlic, that is absolutely fine. Also if you prefer to skip the pasta then this can be eaten with a good crusty bread, over rice or as is. Great low-carb main dish if you forgo the pasta. I topped it with cheese, but completely optional.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

Cook Time: <15 minutes
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 10oz fettuccine 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2lbs of fresh jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lime 
  • 3 tbsp of cilantro, minced
  • freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

Cook pasta according to directions on the package in a large pot.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. 

Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for a minute. 

Now add the shrimp and toss with the garlic mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp is pink. 

Squeeze the lime over the shrimp and stir in the cilantro. Pour the shrimp mixture on top of the pasta and toss well. Serve and top with fresh Parmigiano.

Nutritional Info for 1/4 of the recipe (not including optional ingredients):
Calories: 450 ; Fat: 10g ; Carbohydrate: 55g ; Fiber: 2.5g ; Sugar: 1g ; Protein: 36g