Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sweet and Savory Turkey Meatloaf


Meatloaf is a total comfort food for me. It's just one of those things that you can't go wrong with. What I love about it is that you can mix it up with different flavors and still come out with an awesome meal. This time around I made a fairly simple meatloaf. I like to cook my veggies before putting them in the meatloaf, I find it gives it a lot more flavor. Also the onions have a chance to release some of the moisture so the meatloaf isn't too wet. I like to use sausage in my meatloaf because it gives it an extra something. The seasonings used give it a unique flavor. You can use any flavor you enjoy. I got a spicy chicken sausage but if you prefer to use a mild Italian or country style sausage, that will work as well. Because the seasonings added to this meatloaf are very basic, it makes it easy to customize it to your liking.

Brown sugar on meatloaf? What!? Please... try it. It really enhances it. Think about it. Some people put ketchup or BBQ sauce on top of their meatloaf. Both have an element of sweet. So don't knock it, til you try it. As for the sausage, I purchased a fresh sausage from the meat dept. at Whole Foods and removed it from it's casing. Crumbled it up a bit with my hands and there you go - ground sausage. Now you can purchase ground sausage but I think it is usually country style or breakfast sausage. Which will work as well in this recipes.

Sweet and Savory Turkey Meatloaf 

Cook Time: 1 hr and 10 mins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 (2 slices each)

  • oil spray
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 a bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/4lb. ground sausage (or 1 large link)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, packed (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Get a loaf pan and spray liberally with olive oil.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add cumin, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add the Worcestershire and remove the mixture from the heat. Set aside and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

In a side bowl, combine by hand, the turkey and sausage. Then add the bread crumbs, egg, salt/pepper and the onion mixture. Mix by hand, until incorporated (be careful to not over mix).

Place the mixture into the loaf pan and evenly spread it out. Cook in the oven for 60 minutes or until the internal temp is 165F.

Then sprinkle the top with the brown sugar and broil for about a minute or until the sugar melts in and forms a crust. Remove from oven.

Let the meatloaf sit for about 5-10 mins. Cut into 8 slices and serve :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spiced Banana Yogurt Muffins

Got extra ripe bananas lying around? Make muffins! These are perfect as a breakfast on-the-go or as a snack item. Not overly sweet, super moist and better than any muffin you might buy. Most muffins you available at the store or at a coffee shop are loaded with unnecessary amounts of sugar and fat. These muffins have healthy fats, fiber, and real fruit. They also have a decent amount of protein, making them well-rounded. 

If you have never used coconut oil, it is solid at room temp. It melts very easily, can withstand high heat and if one of my favorite oils to use in baking. If you don't have any coconut oil, you could use canola oil or if you prefer butter. These muffins can keep for 3 days or you could freeze them. Just thaw when ready (I recommend toasting them slightly if you freeze them).

Spiced Banana Yogurt Muffins

Cook Time: 25 minutes
Prep Time: <10 minutes
Serves: Makes approx. 16 muffins

  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp ground organic flax seed

  • 1/3 cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • 6oz container of plain organic yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas

Preheat the oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating, place the pecans on a cookie sheet and let toast in the oven for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Chop pecans to bite sized pieces or use a nut chopper. 

In a side bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients until well blended. The bananas should be slightly chunky. Gradually incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture. You can do this by hand or mixer. Just make sure to not over mix (can make it tough). 

Get a muffin pan and either place liners or rub the cups with coconut oil. Fill the cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the middle is set (check by inserting a toothpick into the middle of a muffin. If it comes out clean, they are done). Remove the muffins from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Let sit until cooled. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

California Burger

I'm not much of a beef burger person. I really have to be in the mood for one... and today is that day! I used to make this exact burger but with a veggie patty all the time when I was living in California. I used to put sprouts as well, but I didn't have those on hand - but they give it a nice texture. One of my favorite things about this burger is that the avocado gets all melty and gooey. You don't need mayonnaise or any other condiment, the warmed avocado gives this burger a nice creaminess. The layers of veggies give it crunch, flavor and a unique freshness.

This burger can be modified according to any dietary restrictions you may have. Substitute the burger for a veggie patty. The cheese is optional, but I recommend it, even if it is alternative cheese. The bun can be substituted for a gluten-free bun, which you can find at Whole Foods in either the freezer section or where the fresh breads are kept. Happy Eating!

California Burger

Cook Time: 10-15 mins
Prep Time: <5 mins
Serves: 1 (but recipe can be multiplied by how ever many burgers you'd like)


  • olive oil spray
  • 1 grass-fed burger, your choice in size
  • 1 whole wheat kaiser bun, slightly toasted
  • handful of organic mixed greens
  • 4-5 slices of an english cucumber
  • 4 slices of a ripe avocado
  • 2 slices of red onion
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 slice of organic pepper jack cheese 

Heat up a small skillet with a little olive oil spray over medium heat. Cook the burger according to desired done-ness, turning on occasion. I cooked mine to medium (which is about 10 minutes) but if you prefer it more or less done, adjust time. By pressing on the burger slightly with a spatula, you can gauge how well the inside is cooked. If it is very soft, then it rare. The tougher it is to press, the more cooked it is. 

As the burger is cooking, prep the rest of the sandwich. Slightly toast the bun, until a light brown color comes across the top. Top the top half with the mixed greens, then the cucumber, red onion and avocado. Make sure to put the avocado last, because you want it to be in direct contact with the burger. Salt and pepper if you'd like.

Once the burger is done, remove the skillet from the heat. Place the slice of cheese on top and place a lid over the skillet for about 45 seconds or until the cheese is softened. Place the burger, cheese side down on top of the avocado and place the empty bun on top of the burger. Flip over and viola! A California Burger! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Simple Mixed Berry Crisp

Nothing screams comfort like a warm berry crisp. Crisps, cobblers, crumbles... all are my favorite. I love warmed fruit with a crunchy topping. This crisp is not only very easy to make, but is sure to make everyone happy. I'm not a huge fan of super sweet desserts and this recipe is just right. The mixed berries have a nice tartness to them. Add a bit of sugar and it is wonderful! Not to mention the crunchy, spiced crisp topping.

I used Cascadian Farms' frozen organic harvest berries, which is a medley of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. If you rather keep it simple and use only one berry, that works too. I used frozen berries, because it's what I had on hand and it makes putting it together very simple. Fresh berries will do just fine in this recipe, but I would reduce the time by 10 minutes and a little liquid to the berry mixture (like a tbsp of water). If you do not have turbinado sugar (raw sugar) on hand, then using coconut sugar, granulated white sugar or whatever sweetener you would like to use. 

Simple Mixed Berry Crisp

Cook Time: 50-55 mins @ 375F
Prep Time: <10 minutes
Serves: 8-10


  • 2 - 10oz bags of frozen organic mixed berries, not thawed
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour 
  • Zest of an organic lemon
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

Crisp Topping:
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 5 tbsp of organic butter, chilled and diced 

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients to make the filling. Place the filling mixture into an 8 x 8 oven safe dish. Place the dish on top of a larger pan (this will help in case the crisp bubbles over. Cleaning an oven is the worst!)

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the crisp topping. Pulsate until mixture is crumbly. 

If you do not have a food processor, you can simply do it by hand. Just make sure to not mix for too long. You want to keep the butter chilled. Smash mixture between your fingers to get desired consistency.

Once the topping is well mixed, sprinkle it over the berry mixture and spread evenly. 

Bake for 50-55 mins, until the top is golden brown. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve warmed. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quinoa Burgers

I love re-purposed food! It makes putting a meal together so simple. I took my leftover quinoa from last night and made them into veggie burgers. These flavor packed burgers are awesome by them selves but making them into the ultimate sandwich is a quick meal that everyone can customize to their liking. Since my husband is a burger man, he loves eating anything that in a bun and has a little chipotle mayo. Easy to please. I ended up eating mine over some mixed greens with a little vinaigrette. How ever you choose to eat them, is complete up to you. Get creative and enjoy!

I used a hard sheep's cheese that I got at the farmer's market over the weekend (which is absolutely amazing), but any cheese will do (if you choose to add cheese). If you didn't have leftover Latin Quinoa, you could easily use any leftover quinoa. Just make sure to season it with flavors you enjoy. I recommend that the quinoa be at least a day old, it helps keep the burger together.

Quinoa Burgers

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: Makes about 8 patties


  • 2 cups of leftover Latin Quinoa and Black Beans
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Spray the pan with some olive oil.

Mix the quinoa mixture with the eggs and combine well. Add the breadcrumbs and the cheese to the quinoa mixture and mix until well incorporated. The mixture should be slightly loose. If you prefer a denser burger, you can add some more bread crumbs.

To make the burgers - take 1/3 cup of the mixture and form into a 1/4 inch thick patty. Place on to the skillet and then continue to make the other patties. About 4 should fit into the pan. Let it cook for about 5 minutes (or until brown on one side) and then flip the burger. Press down slightly and let it cook for another 5 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through. Serve on a bun or over some mixed greens.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Latin Quinoa and Black Beans

Black beans are a staple in my home. Especially when paired with rice. Instead of rice, I'm switching it out for quinoa, to bump up the protein and to give it a twist. If you've never tried Quinoa, this could be a great recipe to introduce you to its texture and flavor. Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor and a has a unique fluffy texture. It comes in a variety of colors, as vibrant as red. I used the white/cream colored version, which is most widely available. I highly recommend rinsing the quinoa very well, to remove the bitterness and dirt. I have tried quinoa that hasn't been rinsed and it really is off putting, so please, rinse well. I usually rinse mine 4 or 5 times through a mesh colander. 

This serves about 4 people as a main dish or 6 as a side dish. I usually eat it as a main dish and pair it with a mixed salad or use it as a filling for a burrito. 

Latin Quinoa and Black Beans

Cook Time: <30 minutes
Prep Time: <10 minutes
Serves: 4-6 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 small organic bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tsp of cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry organic quinoa, rinsed very well
  • 1 cup of low sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 (15oz can) of organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp of fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 small lime, juiced

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the cumin, bay leaves, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir in well. Add the quinoa, veg broth and water. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the bay leaves. Add the black beans, cilantro and juice of 1 lime and incorporate well. Allow the mixture to heat through. Taste and check if any additional salt is needed. Serve warmed or cooled. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pork Chops w/ Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

Good old skillet pork chops. Yum. Simple flavors, but maximum satisfaction. This dish is quick and pairs well with practically anything. I ate these pork chops with the Roasted Summer Squash and some brown rice. Happy Belly = Happy Laurie. I love the mushrooms in this dish. I really think it is what makes it for me. They are so meaty and earthy! Combine with the flavor of woody rosemary and it is heaven. 

If you do not have white wine on hand, then use low sodium vegetable broth. By cooking the onions with the pork chops, I find that the pork tends to maintain its moisture. Just make sure to place them on top of the pork, so the pork can brown evenly. 

Pork Chops w/ Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless pork chops (not thick cut)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (like chardonnay)
  • 1/4lb of cremini mushrooms, 1/4 inch thick slices

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Then add the onions, garlic, rosemary and salt/pepper and saute for about 5 minutes until onions are softened. Salt and pepper the pork chops on both sides, if you'd like. Move the onions to one side and add the pork chops to the skillet. Place the onions on top of the pork chops. Cook for about 5 minutes, add the white wine and then turn the pork chops. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the internal temp is 160 degrees. Remove the chops from the pan and add the mushrooms to the onion mixture. Saute for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve - top the pork chops with mushroom/onion mixture and eat!