Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Peppers and Onions

My go-to topping -> roasted peppers and onions. I use it for everything! To top rice and beans, meat or as a lovely addition to any sandwich. So versatile and flavorful, it is a must to keep some on hand. When I make a batch, it will usually keep for 3 days, if it lasts that long. Adding the aged balsamic gives it a nice tarty-sweetness and helps caramelize the peppers and onions. A good aged balsamic should be thick and sweet. Not runny and vinegary. 

I'm making a double batch of these tonight, because I have something special planned for some of it tomorrow :)

Roasted Balsamic Peppers and Onions

Cook Time: <60 minutes @ 400F
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: makes about 1 1/2 cup of roasted veggies

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 organic bell peppers, sliced thinly (1/4 inch) 
  • 3 onions, sliced thinly (1/4 inch)

Preheat oven to 400F. 

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, add the peppers and onions. Drizzle the oil mixture over and toss by hand until well coated.

Transfer the peppers and onions to an oven safe pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Spread evenly across the surface so that all pieces are able to roasted efficiently.

Place the cookie sheet in the oven and cook for about 50-60 minutes, tossing the peppers and onions every so often. They should have flecks of browning, be very soft and tender. If you prefer a bit dark, place the cookie sheet under the broiler for a few minutes for more color.

Serve as a side dish, a topping for beans or meat. (Or if you are like me... just eat them as they are)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Skinny Taco Salad

Taco salads can be so filling, but sometimes loaded with a lot heavy ingredients. This dish is the taco salad at it's core. Loaded with plenty of veggies and flavor - this taco salad is a hearty 1 pan meal that everyone can enjoy. Also the mixture of beans and ground beef makes it an affordable option for any family meal.

What keeps this taco salad skinny is omitting the fried taco shell they are normally served in, omitting heavy amount of oil used in the cooking process and adding any topping lightly. It's so easy to customize this meal to each person's liking. Having a variety of topping options can also make this into an awesome potluck meal (just double or triple the recipe). Top with any of your favorites - organic corn chips, cilantro, sour cream, fresh guacamole, organic shredded cheese, salsa, etc. With everyday pantry staples, this meal can be whipped up any night of the week.

Skinny Taco Salad

Cook Time: <25 minutes
Prep Time: <5 minutes
Serves: 4

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 lb of lean grass-fed ground beef
1 1/2 tsp of cumin
1 1/2 tsp of chili powder
couple splashes of hot sauce (optional)
1-15oz can of organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with chiles, do not drain
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach

Head of romaine lettuce, rinsed well and leaves separated
1/2 cup of Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Place the onion mixture in a side bowl.

In the same pan, brown the ground beef until fully cooked. Crumble well and season with salt and pepper. Drain the fat.

Add the onion mixture back into the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Cook for about 10 minutes, uncovered or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.

Serve the mixture over a couple romaine hearts. Top with freshly grated cheese and cilantro.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Open Faced Meatball Sub

I've tried meatball subs from different places, but nothing beats a homemade one. Freshly made meatballs is what makes this sandwich. Frozen ones just don't cut it. They have an odd texture. I prefer to eat mine as an open faced sandwich. It makes it more of a meal, and I really want to taste the meatballs - not a bunch bread. 

I decided to make some of my garlic bread for this sandwich. It was the perfect touch and I highly recommend it. If not, the baguette as is, is just as tasty. I used Newman's Own Organic Tomato Basil Sauce, as my sauce of choice. Works really well with this. 

Open Faced Meatball Sub

Cook Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 

Meatballs -

  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of lean grass fed ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs 
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
  • olive oil spray

  • 1 whole french baguette, halved and cut into desired sizes (toasted) or My Garlic Bread
  • 1 cup (or more) of favorite organic pasta sauce
  • freshly grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • fresh parsley, minced (optional)

Meatballs - Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, or until softened. Set the mixture aside to cool. 

Go ahead and preheat the oven to 400F. Prep a mini muffin tin with olive oil spray in each cup. Or if you are using a cookie sheet, grease the surface.

In a large bowl, add all the meatball ingredients (including the onion mixture) and combine by hand. Do not over mix. Make 24 meatballs (about the size of a ping pong ball) and place each in the mini muffin tin.

Transfer to the oven to bake for 10 minutes, then flip the meatballs to brown on the other side. Bake for another 10 minutes or until fully cooked. 

While the meatballs are baking, cut up your baguette, grate your cheese and heat up your tomato sauce. 

If you are planning on toasting your baguette in the oven, I would put it in when you flip the meatballs. Should take about 5 minutes or so to toast. 

Once everything is ready, it is time to assemble. Place a slice of baguette on the plate and top with desired amount of meatballs. Spoon the tomato sauce over the meat balls and top with the cheese and parsley. 

Serve with a fork and knife. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Garlic Bread

Sometimes all you need to make a meal just right, is to add fresh garlic bread. I'm guilty of just eating garlic bread as a snack - it's so good! This garlic bread puts frozen ones to shame. It is true to it's core - garlicky and flavorful. With simple ingredients and less than 5 minutes of cooking time, there is no reason this can't be on your table tonight! 

I had a whole wheat baguette on hand, so that's what I used. But I've made this with both white and wheat breads and it doesn't make much of a difference. 

My Garlic Bread

Cook Time: < 5 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 6 or so


  • 1 french baguette, cut into desired sizes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp of organic butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • fresh parsley, chopped

In a microwave safe mug, add the garlic, butter and salt & pepper. Heat for 10-15 seconds, or until the butter is melted. 

Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet. Spoon the garlic butter over each slice. Top with a sprinkle of cheese over each. 

Transfer the cookie sheet to the oven, and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. 

Garnish with fresh parsley.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Veggie Frittata

Looking for a quick, inexpensive meal? Why not make a frittata. They are the perfect vehicle to use up whatever extra veggies you may have on had. Great as a brunch main dish or a quick dinner, this can an easy go-to meal. No need to go out and buy anything special, this is meant to use up what you have in your pantry and fridge. Also if you are a vegetarian, this frittata is filling and has a meaty texture (thanks to the mushrooms). Meatless Monday anyone?

Adding a small splash of chili oil give this frittata an extra something. Not really spicy, but if you prefer it to be spicy, add a little bit more. The cheese and parsley is optional, but I prefer a little freshness on top. 

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

  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4lb of cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
  • chili oil to taste (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • fresh parsley, minced (optional)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. 

Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. 

Add the onions, peppers and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions have softened. Add the mushrooms, thyme, chili oil, and salt & pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. 

Then pour the eggs into the pan and swirl the egg mixture with veggies.

Transfer the pan into the oven and cook for about 8 minutes or until the frittata is set. Slice into 4 wedges and top with parsley and cheese (optional). Serve immediately.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunrise Juice

This is my go-to juice in the morning. Who needs an energy drink when this tastes so much better and doesn't leave you feeling jittery afterwards? I always have these ingredients on hand - making it very easy to start my day off right. I really like having ginger with my greens, so why not in my juice too? This juice isn't very sweet, so if you prefer a sweeter juice, add more fruit or honey. Or like I do for husband, I add about 1/4 cup of orange juice to his. 

I have a Huron juicer, which I highly recommend. It's pretty quiet and juices very efficiently. The pulp that is left, is almost dry - meaning the max amount of juice is in the glass. 

I'm going to dedicate a post to juicing in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled. Enjoy your Sunrise Juice! Cheers! 

Sunrise Juice

Cook Time: 0 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 1


  • 5 pieces of kale (with stems)
  • 2 whole carrots
  • 1/8 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 apple, core removed
  • 1 orange, peel removed

In a juicer, add the ingredients one at a time. Stir the juice before serving. Serve in a nice glass and enjoy the moment :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

Sometimes, everyday pasta doesn't have to be jarred tomato sauce and frozen meatballs. This dish is so simple to make, you might be using it as your go-to weeknight pasta. Sun-dried tomatoes have such a rich flavor without adding too much fat, salt or sugar to the dish. This definitely makes it feel like spring - light, refreshing and clean tasting.

If you are using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, then there is no need to re-hydrate them. Just chop them up and add about 1 tsp of the oil they are packed it to give some moisture to the chicken. 

Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

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

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb of free range boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, re-hydrated* and chopped
1/4 cup liquid from sun-dried tomatoes (only if you are re-hydrating them with water)
1 tsp red wine vinegar 
1/4 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb of mini rotini pasta
1 tsp olive oil (optional)
freshly grated Parmigiano

* re-hydrating sun-dried tomatoes- place the 6-8 piece in a bowl and pour over 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and let steep for about 20 minutes or longer.

Cook pasta according to directions. Toss pasta with 1 tsp of olive oil and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. 

Then add the chicken, Italian seasoning, sun-dried tomatoes (and liquid), vinegar and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked, stirring often. 

Add the peas to pan and warm through (about 2 minutes).

Serve the sun-dried tomato and chicken mixture over the rotini and toss well. Garnish with freshly grated Parmigiano.