Monday, April 30, 2012

Chicken Florentine Bowtie Pasta


This is a really yummy way to introduce kids to spinach- it's so creamy and cheesy they'll love it.
*Modified recipe from Picky Palate.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 pound whole grain bowtie pasta or other small noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring pasta to a boil and cook according to package directions.

In the meantime, heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add spinach leaves, chicken, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in milk to thin the cream and prevent sticking to the pan.

Drain pasta and stir into chicken mixture. Transfer to baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos


If you are a lover of Mexican food, you HAVE to try this. It is amazing. I modified the recipe from the Cooking Quinoa blog (a fabulous site for incorporating this superfood into everyday meals). This is fabulous by itself, with chips or in a tortilla. I didn't add meat to mine and didn't miss it a bit. Seriously, couldn't get a healthier, tastier burrito. We used the leftovers to make quesadillas and they were just as great. This is definitely being added to my regular meal rotation.


Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos

Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
Diced green and or red pepper (I used both)
1-2 cups black beans (or one can)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (less if you use canned beans)
2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 lime (or 1/2 lemon)
1/2 bunch cilantro (I forgot to add mine and it still tasted fabulous)
diced avocado, tomato

Heat 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil in pan and saute onions and peppers. Stir in black beans, salt, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir in quinoa just until heated through. Remove from heat and toss with lime or lemon and cilantro.
Serve with avocado and tomato. I had mine with whole wheat tortillas. I didn't add any sour cream or cheese, but that would also be a nice addition.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

No Bake Cookie Bars


Another pinterest recipe...these are fabulous. They're similar to no-bake cookies (which I figured out how to make with honey instead of sugar!) except more fudgy. I just changed it a bit, left out the craisins and added coconut.

No Bake Cookie Bars

1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups oats
1 cup organic semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

In a saucepan, melt together peanut butter, honey and coconut oil, bring to a boil stirring constantly (careful not to burn the honey!)

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, oats, chocolate chips and coconut. Stir until combined and chocolate chips are melted.

Spread into an 8x8 foil/parchment lined baking dish. Refrigerate until hardened, about an hour. Remove from pan and slice into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Make sure you are not home alone after baking these. They're dangerous...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts


I never had brussel sprouts growing up but based on comments from those around me, I figured I wasn't missing much. The one or two times I had tried them, they were a soggy mushy mess that only reinforced the bad rap this little vegetable seems to get. Then my sister-in-law made some for us that were roasted. Not only did they smell great, they tasted great. My boys gobbled them up and really enjoyed them. I was thrilled when I got two bags of them in my bountiful basket this week. I found this recipe on pinterest from the Cooking Photographer.

Why should you eat brussel sprouts you ask? Not only to teach your children to try (and like) different foods, but also because (among other things), they protect you against cancer, and with all the cancer causing agents in our environment we need a little something to fight back with!

2 lb Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved (remove any yellow leaves)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced fine (I use a garlic press and squeeze right over the sprouts)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat to 425 degrees.
On a roasting pan or 9x13 inch baking dish, toss together Brussels sprouts, garlic, water, oil, salt and pepper and spread out in a single layer.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until caramelized and tender.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Creamy Potatoes with Asparagus


I saw a recipe for these cheesy potatoes on the Get Off Your Butt and Bake website. The pictures were mouthwatering and the recipe simple. All I did was add asparagus to make it a meal rather than a side dish. It really is amazing.

Creamy Potatoes with Asparagus

5-6 large potatoes (I used red)
1 pint whipping cream (2 cups)
Salt & pepper
1/2 bunch fresh chopped parsley (I forgot mine)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 bunch asparagus washed and broken into pieces (bend the asparagus and it will snap into sections)

Wash and cut potatoes into thin strips (or slice thinly) and layer into a 9x13 baking dish. Mix in asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the cream over the pan. Top with cheese and parsley.

Cover pan with tin foil, cutting a few slits in the top and bake 400 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove tin foil during the last 15 minutes.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kale/Chard Veggie Chips


I got some chard and kale in my bountiful basket the last month and had no idea what to do with either of them. I finally found this recipe for kale chips and thought I'd give it a try. I was really surprised when I liked them. A lot. My boys gobbled them down in seconds. I gave up potato chips when I was like 18, so my boys have only had them once or twice in their entire life, and I have to say we like these as much as we do potato chips. Even better, these are some of the healthiest vegetables on the planet and they're super easy to make (just don't try and store them in an airtight container like I did- you must eat these fresh).

Wash and pat dry kale or chard leaves. Toss with olive oil and sea salt. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake in 300 degree oven for 5-20 minutes or until crisp- depending on what kind of leaf you use (they will crisp up more after removing from the oven). Eat as many as you like- completely guilt free!

*I found that with the curly kale the centers didn't quite get as crisp as the ends, so we only ate the curly part, but with flat kale or chard the entire thing is crunchy, just like a potato chip.
*Flat kale cooks in less than 5 minutes so watch closely!

Chard Chips

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes


These are perfect pancakes, light, fluffy and healthy. The recipe is from the 100 Days of Real Food website, I only made a few minor changes...

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 to 2 cups milk
Butter for cooking

Mix flour with baking powder, soda and salt. Stir in honey, vanilla and eggs. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk and slowly add the remaining 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk to desired consistency. You want the batter to be thin and pourable.

Heat butter in skillet until it sizzles. Pour a thin layer of batter and gently spread into a circle, pancake will puff up as it cooks (the thinner batter helps to keep the pancakes light and fluffy). Makes 8 pan sized cakes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sweet Buttered Carrots



Remember my friend's husband, that makes this amazing cauliflower? Well, he also made the most amazing carrots I've ever tasted. I'm normally not a fan of cooked carrots. I can eat them, but I don't love them. Until now. It's amazing how something so simple as a carrot can turn into such a fabulously tasty side dish! Cooking them with the butter really brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots- no sugar needed. My boys scarfed down the entire dish of carrots and were begging for more. In fact, I only served the cauliflower and carrots for dinner and we were all so full we had to go for a walk afterwards. Who knew veggies could be so satisfying and filling?

Carrots, grated
Small onion finely sliced
Butter, 2+ tablespoons
Salt & Pepper

If you grate the carrots and slice the onions by hand they will look much better as far as presentation and you'll feel more like a real chef, but I'm kind of lazy, so I cheated and used the food processor.

I used 4 carrots, one small onion (the size of a golf ball) and grated them both in the food processor. Next, saute butter in a saucepan over medium heat, I used about 3 tablespoons. The butter really adds the flavor here, so don't scrimp. I start with about two tablespoons, add the carrots and as they cook if they start to dry out I add more butter. You want them to be really moist. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover. Continue cooking covered until carrots are tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
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