Monday, June 30

Chili Style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

One of my favorite things about summer is the quality fresh produce, between gardens, grocery stores and farmer's markets the food seems to always taste better in the summer months. Spaghetti squash is a mild and sweet squash and a easy pasta alternative. Whether you eat gluten free or just want to change up your dinner routine you'll love the pasta like consistency of this tasty and healthy vegetable. The ground turkey is also super lean and soaks up the tasty flavors from the peppers, garlic, onions and chili powder. This meal will most definitely be a repeat in our house!

Adapted from ifoodreal

Yield: 4 Servings

Chili Style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
2 medium spaghetti squash, halved length-ways and seeds removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced and seeds removed
1-15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
1-15 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, shredded (divided)
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (divided)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt and pepper cut squash and place face down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until fork tender (30-40 minutes). Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large skillet oven medium-high heat, add ground turkey and onion. When turkey is almost done, add the garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper. Continue cooking until turkey is cooked through. Reduce heat to low and add the kidney beans, chili powder, tomato sauce, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 cup cilantro and heat through. Check for seasonings and then turn heat off.

Fill cooked spaghetti squash with 1 1/2 cups of the turkey veggie mixture. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 375 until cheese is bubbly and melted, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cilantro over squash just before serving.

Friday, June 27

Easy Bok Choi, Zucchini and Chicken Saute

I harvested the first veggies from my garden this morning and If today was any indication of the future I'll soon be swimming in kale, bok choi, tomatoes and zucchini! Last year the garden didn't fare well so hoping for an improvement this summer. This simple dish is a BREEZE to make, super healthy and yummy! Feel free to substitute the bok choi for your favorite greens or whatever you have on hand. This was my first time growing bok choi and I love how tender and sweet the leaves are.

Yield: 1 Serving

Easy Bok Choi, Zucchini and Chicken Saute

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups baby bok choi, thinly sliced (or other favorite leafy green veggie, spinach, kale, spinach etc)
1/2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
Dash of soy sauce
Black pepper
1 small cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the garlic, bok choi and zucchini. Saute for a couple of minutes and splash with soy sauce and a few dashes of pepper. Add chicken and continuing sauteing until greens are wilted and chicken is heated through. Serve warm.

*Note: If your a person that likes carbs with their meal, try serving this over quinoa or wild rice.

Monday, June 16

Cheddar Gougères

Light, airy, and a little crunch are the textures as you bite into these delicious appetizer morsels. A fantastic accompaniment to fresh summer berries, prosciutto and asparagus roll-ups or simply on their own. You can also slice these and use them as the "bread" for mini sandwiches. I'm thinking roast turkey, Munster cheese, avocado slices and fresh sprouts. Gougères are similar in texture and taste to puff pastry with the addition of cheese and herbs.

Cheddar Gougères

Yield: 25-30 Gougères

1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup flour
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Crack eggs into a small bowl and set aside. Combine water and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a roaring boil then add flour and reduce heat to low. Stir for about 2 minutes or until a ball forms with the pastry. Remove pan from heat and add eggs in all at once. Continue mixing until the eggs are incorporated into the pastry. Gently fold in seasoning and cheese. Drop teaspoon sized balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. 

Saturday, June 7

Easy Super Food Brussels Sprouts and Chicken Salad

Brussels sprouts???? I know what your thinking, somehow this poor little veggie has been programmed to make it to one of the top disliked foods in America. I may have not conducted any formal survey but growing up it seemed if there was one vegetable in particular that people didn't like it was Brussels sprouts. Perhaps we have all been scared by overcooked sulfuric smelling sprouts, bad enough to turn any nose. Honestly, I think we need to give this cruciferous vegetable another chance! Touted for it's cancer preventing, detox support, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits you may want to give the sprout another look. Fresh sprouts are nothing like their frozen counter-parts and have a great mild taste.This salad is delicious, super healthy and perfect for warm summer days.

Yield: 4 Servings

Super Food Brussels Sprouts and Chicken Salad

3 cups fresh Brussels Sprouts, finely sliced
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh mango, diced
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon raspberry vinaigrette dressing
1/2 cup unsalted hazelnuts
Parmesan cheese, shaved

Combine Brussels Sprouts, celery, red pepper, mango, chicken, black pepper and cilantro in a large bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and raspberry vinaigrette over the salad. Stir and taste. Add additional olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve and top with hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese.

Friday, June 6

Healthy(ier) Summer Vegetable Soup with Kale

Do you ever have those moments when you open the fridge and all you see is a bunch of random ingredients and no clear direction on what to make for dinner? Two nights ago was one of those times at my house. I hate wasting food but had a ton of produce that was going to go bad unless it was eaten soon. This soup is slightly reminiscence of  Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana soup minus a bunch of calories and still super tasty. During dinner the hubs kept commenting how GOOD this soup tasted. Satisfying as a dinner entree yet not so heavy that you felt guilty after you have eaten a bowl (or two).

Yield 4 Servings

Healthy(ier) Summer Vegetable Soup with Kale
Olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, finely diced
4 carrots, finely diced
1 Anaheim pepper, finely diced
1 ear of sweet corn, corn removed
4-5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 bunch of kale, chopped (ribs and stems removed)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2- 2/3 cup heavy cream
1 fully cooked chicken sausage, finely chopped (we love the Roasted Red Pepper & Asiago by Al Fresco)
1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, celery and carrots. Cook for about 4 minutes or until vegetables have begun to soften, add the Anaheim pepper and corn and cook for additional 2 minutes. Add chicken broth (4-5 cups) depending on how "soupy" you like your soup and simmer until vegetables are soft. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat drizzle a little olive oil and add the chopped kale and garlic, cook for a few minutes or until kale has wilted. Add the wilted kale,  heavy cream, chicken sausage and seasonings to the soup and simmer for a few minutes. Check seasonings and serve.

Tuesday, June 3

Quinoa Chicken Pot Pie

I admit it; I have a huge weakness for classic comfort foods. Chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, creamy pasta alfredo... the list goes on. As we have just about eliminated all refined sugars and flours in the pantry, I've been on a hunt for reinvented classic cuisine. This recipe uses a healthy and light quinoa and cheese crust while the sauce is packed with tender veggies and sauteed chicken breast. You can easily substitute the veggies listed for your personal favorites or for the one’s you have on hand.

Adapted from iFOODreal 
Serves: 6

Quinoa Chicken Pot Pie

Quinoa Crust
2 eggs
2 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon thyme
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 cups quinoa, cooked

Olive oil
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
8 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large onion, diced
16 ounces frozen vegetable blend, thawed
3 chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs and egg whites together until well blended. Add in the thyme, cheese and quinoa and stir until combined. 

Combine chicken broth, milk and flour in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, saute the mushroom and onions in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until onions have softened. Remove mushrooms and onions and saute chicken breast and garlic just until chicken is cooked through. Remove Chicken and add the broth and milk mixture to the skillet. Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes until sauce has thickened. Add thawed veggies, chicken, mushrooms, onions and pepper to the skillet. Stir and then top with quinoa mixture and bake for about 20 minutes. Slice and serve.