Tag Archives: cooking

What I Love Now

28 Oct

I love roasting vegetables, I don’t know how I ate veggies before discovering this amazing form of cooking- o wait, I avoided stand alone vegetables back then. If it wasn’t mixed in with something else or a green bean I was like not into it (think valley-girl speak). Well ever since roasting vegetables rocked my world I have been regularly enjoying a bounty of delicious and nutritious vegetables. This is the perfect time of year to enjoy seasonal favorites roasted, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts,  etc the possibilities are endless!

I personally used to hate carrots until I started roasting them and now they are one of my go-to sides. Carrots have a ton of vitamin A which is great for sight. Brussels sprout? Yea, I avoided that like the plague until about a year ago because frankly, I thought they were weird and smelled a little funny. NO, its not true, they are delicious and crazy nutritious. Brussels sprouts have chemicals called indole-3-carbinol which may help to prevent cancerous cell growth. I will literally eat these leftover roasted sprouts all by themselves, even cold right out of the fridge. Butternut squash is so amazing when it’s roasted, it is definitely my favorite way to cook it. Butternut squash is insanely difficult to cut up (so purchasing chopped and prepared fresh packages is great) but they contain a ton of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and potassium.

Roasting vegetables couldn’t be easier also, see below for my tips.

Carrots

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For carrots, I either trim them and then cut them into planks like you can see above or I will halve them and make them into chunks about 2 1/2 inches long. I try to lie them flat in the baking dish so that everyone will cook evenly. I usually toss them with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of salt and pepper, place them in a preheated over at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until softened and in some places browned.

Brussels sprouts
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For Brussels Sprouts I like to trim their ‘stem’, remove any unsightly or yellowed leaves, then cut them in half and rinse them using a colander. I toss them with salt and pepper and olive oil as well and try to have them all in a single layer. I place them in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes as well, they should be tender (you can stick a fork in it) and browned where the olive oil coated them.

Butternut squash
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For butternut squash I peeled the skin off, then chopped the squash into smaller even pieces. tossed with salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg, and olive oil. Roasted them in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until tender (check by sticking a fork in it).

Roasting is easy since you literally just cut things up and put it in the oven, no occasional stirring or keeping your eye on it which frees you up for other cooking tasks. Hopefully you will start loving roasted veggies and up your intake of these valuable nutrients.

Comfort Food- Roasted Chicken and Nana’s Stuffing

12 Sep

During my kitchen therapy weekend, I needed comfort and found it in the form of baking and cooking nutritious and delicious food for me and my family, reading a good book, and snuggling on the couch with my kitty mama (the sassy lady herself- miss Colbie).

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If someone were to ask me what I think the ultimate comfort food is I would probably say 9 times of of 10, roasted chicken. Add my Nana’s stuffing to that and you have meal that can’t be beat! I started making roasted chickens after receiving my first Barefoot Contessa cookbook which featured the most amazing chicken recipe that I have ever tried. It is the very best! It is one of those things that you can count on being amazing every time and you don’t have to question it.

For the brilliant Mrs. Garten’s Roasted Chicken recipe please click here.

I like to make it with carrots, celery, sweet or yukon gold potatoes, and sweet yellow onions. This time I decided to cook bone in chicken breasts rather than a whole chicken so that it would be done a little quicker and make a little less food since it was only for my husband and I.

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My Nana’s stuffing is something I grew up eating and loving. It’s so simple and so delicious! I converted my husbands non-stuffing eating family to stuffing lovers with this recipe. It’s great for holidays or anytime you want a comforting meal.

Nana’s Stuffing
1 cup celery finely chopped
1/2 cup yellow or sweet onion chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups 1 inch cubed bread (sourdough or Italian bread)
3/4-1 cup chicken broth

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat, sauté celery and onion until translucent. Add poultry seasoning, salt & pepper. Put bread cubes in a large bowl, pour butter mixture over it & combine. Add broth to mixture and combine till moistened. Spray or butter a dish to avoid sticking and place the bread mixture in, dab butter on top. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.
*For holidays you may want to double the recipe.

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It’s so delish! I hope you love it as much as we do!

Tortilla Soup

18 Jun

In my humble opinion, chicken tortilla soup is the perfect meal. I love the stuff. And the weird part is that I never tried it until about a year ago, and when I did, it was LOVE at first sip! There are so many recipes out there that you can follow and adapt, there’s creamy thick ones and ones that are broth based, which are the ones I prefer. I first tried to make tortilla soup after watching The Pioneer Woman make it on her Food Network Show. I adore her and she never misses the mark when it comes to all recipes she makes. I adapted The Pioneer Woman’s recipe to fit my likes: extra veggies, etc. If I could make this everyday, I probably would! And my hubby would love that too, he is obsessed with this soup. Whenever friends ask me for my favorite recipes, this is always included. This may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it’s really simple and so delicious! I hope everyone gives it a try and loves it as much as we do! Here is what I do:

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet yellow onion chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 zucchini quartered

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder

32 oz. organic chicken broth

1 rotisserie chicken shredded (or two cooked chicken breasts shredded)

1 15 oz can of black beans drained

1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilis (I too like Rotel for this)

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

1/2 lime juiced

For toppings:

Shredded cheddar cheese

Chopped onion

Cilantro

Sour cream

Tortilla Strips (see below for recipe)

*You can make this vegetarian by taking out the chicken and substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth.

In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add chopped carrots, onion, peppers, and zucchini and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. In a small bowl combine the three spices, cumin, garlic powder and chili powder, mix together and then add to vegetable mixture. Add diced tomatoes with green chilies and drained black beans and stir to combine. Add in shredded chicken and chicken broth, bring mixture up to a low boil and then reduce to simmer. Add frozen corn kernels and let simmer until corn is heated through, about 5 minutes. Before serving add lime juice. I like to add the tortilla strips straight to the individual bowl, but you can add them to the entire soup pot if desired (you will notice that I used regular tortilla chips because I ran out of corn tortillas yesterday).

Tortilla Strips:

Take 4 small corn tortillas and brush each with vegetable oil on both sides, then take a pizza cutter (or knife if you don’t have a pizza cutter) and cut them into about 1-2 inch by 1/2 inch strips. Spread them out evenly on a foil lined baking sheet (do not let them overlap) and sprinkle with salt (you can also squirt a little lime juice too). Place them in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until crispy. I am obsessed with these too, I cannot get enough. There is such a difference between store bought chips/strips and home baked.

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Veggie Chili Goodness

1 Apr

Veggie Chili Goodness

I love chili, I love the warm, cozy feeling it gives you. I also love that it’s super easy and my recipe is relatively fast from start to finish. I love it all alone, over pasta, over rice, over a baked potato, with chips, etc. I pretty much just love it. Before the Veg Project I also would add in a pound of ground turkey that I browned with a little olive oil and then added the rest of the ingredients per the directions below. I have adapted an old recipe that my mom used to make when I was growing up, it’s got a lot more kick than mom’s and some move veggies as well (just the way I like it!).

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Veggie Chili

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ yellow onion chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 15 oz. can chili beans

1 15 oz. can black beans

1 15 oz. can great north beans (drained and rinsed)

1-1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ tablespoon ground black pepper

2 cloves crushed garlic

Toppings:

Chopped cilantro

Sour cream

Shredded cheddar cheese

Tortilla chips/strips

Chopped red onion

Instructions:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in chopped onions and bell peppers, sauté over till vegetables are tender (not browned) about 4-5 minutes. Stir in chili beans (with liquid), black beans (with liquid), great north beans (drained and rinsed), add in chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Turn heat down to simmer, allow flavors to develop for about 15 minutes and then add frozen corn. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes till corn is fully cooked through. Serve hot with any of listed toppings above. (I like it with cheddar, cilantro, sour cream, & chips!)

The Veg Project: What’s For Dinner?

27 Mar

Since Stephanie & I began The Veg Project (a three week challenge of becoming Pesco-Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians) we have spent quite a bit of time texting each other about what we are eating for our meals. At first when thinking about becoming a vegetarian people tend to say “so I guess I can only eat vegetables” and then picture themselves sat down in front of a dinner plate with a measly stalk of celery as their taste buds die off one by one- this is not so. Conversely there are those that think their life is going to be one pb&j after another until the bitter end- also not true. There are so many awesome things that can be made vegetarian and this is especially true I find for Pesco-Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians because they can still eat seafood, dairy, and eggs.
Some of the things I have been making or ordering include: vegetable lasagna, egg & cheese quesadilla, black bean veggie burritos, shrimp & fish tacos, seared scallops with sautéed spinach and roasted Brussels sprouts, corn, peppers, & jack cheese stuffed portabello mushroom caps with roasted sweet potatoes, spinach salad, bean & cheese burritos, baked salmon, veggie chili, & of course my ‘everything’ veggie pasta sauce, just to name a few. br />
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