Thursday, March 31, 2011

Southwest Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Quinoa is a grain-like crop from South America. It's packed full of protein, and is a favorite among vegetarians. This is a great quinoa recipe. I put it over salad and it's wonderful. I will also sometimes cook the quinoa in a rice cooker and add it to the onions and garlic, skipping the 20 min simmering. I add some veg. broth still though, just enough to keep it moist and from burning. Enjoy!



  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Southwest Chipotle Ranch Dressing
  • Bell Peppers (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
  3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.
  4. Place over salad, top with bell peppers and Southwest Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have A Sweet Tooth and Little Patience?

If you have a sweet tooth like me, but not tons of time to spend measuring out flour, oil, etc... then give these cupcake recipes a try! They can be made from any brand of boxed cake mix... roll your eyes if you must, but, honestly, the best part of these recipes is the filling, not the cake itself. The Lemon Burst Cupcakes are especially easy to make!

Check them out at my other blog

Monday, March 28, 2011

guilt free spaghetti

Living in a Gluten Free family, this has become one of my favorite things to make. It gives you the flavors of Italian without the regretful feeling of eating too many carbs after.

What you need:

Spaghetti Squash: Preheat oven to 375. Take a knife and carefully cut it in half scrapping out the seeds and stringy stuff that is on the meat of the squash. I like to put them in olive oil skin up on a cooking sheet and put them in the oven checking periodically from 30 minutes to one hour for desired tenderness. (I like it a little firmer)

Meat Sauce: Really just put in any vegetables you think will be good, below is a combination that I use.

I cook the turkey first, either clumping it or making them into small meatballs using italian seasonings, salt, pepper and garlic- Once cooked I add the vegetables.

Green Pepper or Red Pepper
(broccoli can be really good too)

I like to add the vegetable packed Ragu.

Take out Spaghetti Squash and shread with fork. Put sauce on top and enjoy. This is a ton of vegetables so feel good eating it. You can also use spaghetti squash for any italian favorite like you can add pesto and chicken and that is also super delicious

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Parmesan Cheese Grits with Sausage and Peppers

Here's a dish that I just sort of made up last night and it turned out SO SO SO good. I love to make sausage and peppers and eat them just by themselves, but it was even better over grits.

(for grits)
4 servings of Quaker Grits (I did NOT use the instant kind... I think the slow-cook kind are better)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter/margarine (I used SmartBalance)
Salt & Pepper

(for sausage and peppers)
1 package Aidell's Italian-style turkey/chicken sausage (4 precooked links, cut into bite-size pieces)
1 tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Cajun seasoning
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt & Pepper
Half & Half

1) Cook the grits according to the package directions; it should give you the measurements for 4 servings. Once they are thickened, add the shredded Parmesan, butter and salt&pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2) While the grits are cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all the veggies and cut up sausage- season with lots of Cajun seasoning, a little garlic and onion powder, salt&pepper and cayenne pepper if you're into that sort of thing. Let cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, until the peppers are tender but not mushy and the sausage is heated through. Add a splash of half & half if you're feeling dangerous and let the whole thing simmer on low for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens up a bit.
3) Serve the sausage and peppers over the grits (make sure to use a good amount of the sauce from the sausage and peppers). Grate some Parmesan cheese over top and eat up!

Sorry I don't have a picture, but trust me: good stuff.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bayou Pork with 'Not Your Ordinary Black Beans

My husband comes from a Cuban family, so we often eat a combination of black beans and rice paired with a variation of protein. I love my hubby's black beans! Tonight we made the beans and rice and paired it with 'Bayou Pork'. 


You will need:

Goya black beans
Red Wine Vinaigrette
Basil Leaves

Always start with Goya black beans. You can get them at the ordinary grocery, though sometimes only one store in your area will carry it... for example, the Kroger here doesn't have them, but Publix does.

Cook the beans in a small sauce pan. Add a few squirts of a red wine vinaigrette, two basil leaves, a dash of cumin, and a dash of salt. Stir beans periodically. We start the beans first and time them based on how long it takes the rice to cook. We cook our rice in a rice cooker. 

Bayou Pork

You will need:

1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp rubbed dried sage
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 pork chops

This recipe is a quick, four step process! Hooray for easy meals! 

Step 1: Combine all seasonings in a shallow bowl.

Step 2: Place pork chops in the bowl, turning over so each side gets coated in the seasoning

Step 3: Heat olive oil over high heat

Step 4: Turn burner to medium heat and cook the pork chops for about 10 minutes, turning over half way through. 

The pork is under 90 calories per serving. Don't judge me for the lack of greens in this dinner... oops.

Poppy Seed Chicken

Jay made this for me last night so I thought I would share the recipe!

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves- diced
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 small container of sour cream
2 tablespoons of dry sherry
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz of Ritz crackers- crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons of poppy seads
1/2 cup butter melted
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the diced chicken in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
3. In a bowl combine the soup, sour cream, and sherry.
4. Pour this mixture over the chicken.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
6. Mix the poppy seeds and crushed crackers.
7. Sprinkle the cracker mixture over the chicken.
8. Pour the melted butter on top.
9. Cover & back for 30-45 mintues.
10. During the last 5 minutes uncover so the crackers will get crunchy.

We got this recipe from I am not going to tell you the nutritional value of this meal but it's worth it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Strawberry Challah French Toast

Made this up last weekend. Way good for a weekend morning! Will add picture later.


Icing: mix 2 parts cream cheese, one part butter and add powdered sugar to desired sweetness
Strawberry Cream Cheese
Powdered Sugar
(vanilla is optional)

Topping: Turn burner on low. Slice strawberries and coat with maple syrup and put in pan. Let it caramelize.
Maple Syrup

Toast: Slice and dip in an egg/milk mixture. more egg than milk.
Challah Bread
2 Eggs

To construct: Put icing between two pieces of Toast. Top with strawberries and whip cream!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sundried Tomato & Spinach Turkey Burgers

I made these turkey burgers the other night and they are DELISH. So yummy and easy. Here's what you need:

1 lb ground turkey
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes (jarred, in oil)
1/2 cup spinach leaves, plus a few extra
Red pepper flakes
Garlic powder
Season salt
Dried parsley
4 buns (I used whole wheat)
4 slices of fresh mozzerella
1-2 tablespoons butter/margarine

To make:

  1. Add sundried tomatos and spinach leaves to a food chopper and pulse until combined (the end result will look like pesto). If you don't have a food chopper, just chop the ingredients by hand until very fine.

  2. Combine the ground turkey, tomato/spinach mixture and seasoning in a large bowl. I don't have any specific measurements for the seasonings- I just added what I thought looked good... I would estimate about 1/2 tsp of each.

  3. Divide into four patties. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the burgers until complete (about 6-7 minutes on each side). Once they're cooked, add the mozzerella cheese and melt.

  4. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a seperate pan. Slice the buns and toast face down until just brown.

  5. Spread either dijon mustard, honey mustard, or ketchup (or nothing! whatever floats your boat) onto the buns. Top with the turkey patty and a couple spinach leaves.


*Originally, this recipe called for feta cheese to be added to the sundried tomato/spinach mixture (no mozzerella). When I went to use my feta, it smelled a little funk so I improvised with the mozzerella. But I'm sure it would be really good with the feta as well! I believe it called for 1/2 cup crumbled feta- pulse with the tomatos and spinach and mix into the ground turkey.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Garlic, Basil, and Parsley Baked Chicken Dinner

This is a recipe for a very easy baked chicken dinner that is only 150 calories per serving! Enjoy!


1 tablespoon dried parsley, divided
1 tablespoon dried basil, divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tomatoes, sliced

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

 Step 2: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon parsley and 1 teaspoon basil evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.

Step 3: Arrange chicken breast halves in the dish, and sprinkle evenly with garlic slices.
I used thinly sliced chicken breasts

Step 4: In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 teaspoons parsley, remaining 2 teaspoons basil, salt, and red pepper

Step 5: Sprinkle seasoning over the chicken

Step 6: Top with tomato slices

Step 7: Bake covered in the preheated oven 25 minutes

Please ignore the dirty oven floor ;)

Step 8: Remove cover, and continue baking 15 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear.

Pair with a yummy side or salad and enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

This was super oomy when I made it for my mom's dinner party recently. It's from a French cookbook so there's lots of deliciousness in it. It's perfect if you want a pretty and impressive-looking dessert that is still rather easy to make!

For the almond cream:
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 lg. egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
5 tbl. heavy cream

Whisk the almond flour and sugar together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg, vanilla and salt together. Whisk in half of the dry mixture, and when it's well combined, whisk in the heavy cream. Press a piece of plastic wrap across the surface and chill for at least 3 hours.

For the tart:
8 sheets of filo dough (found in the frozen pastry section at grocery stores but you'll want it to be defrosted when you make the tart)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
About 1 tbl. sugar
3 medium sweet apples, such as Gala

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Place one sheet of filo dough on the sheet or paper, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle it with sugar. Repeat this until you've stacked, buttered and sugared all 8 sheets of filo dough. Very gently spread the almond cream over the top of the filo, leaving a slim border of uncovered dough on all sides.
Slice each apple in half from top to bottom and remove the core. Cut each half lengthwise in thin slices- you should get about 14 slices per half. *The apple slicing was the only hard part for me. Make sure you're knife is really sharp and have patience :)* Arrange the apple slices fanned into 3 long rows down the length of the tart. Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes or until the apples are tender. Transfer to a cooling rack, then enjoy!

Optional glaze:
2 tsp. water
1/2 cup apple jelly

Stir the water into the jelly and bring to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Gently brush over glaze over entire tart after it comes out of the over. Transfer to a cooling rack, then enjoy!

My Real Housewives Beverage of Choice

Make this while watching something trashy and enjoy!

Grapefruit Spritzer:
1 part grape fruit juice
1 part sprite or sprite zero
1 or 2 parts Vodka
1 good squeeze of lime

pour over ice.