Bruschetta

Bruschetta! I love it. I always make way too much it. We always eat ALL of it. What can I say, we love our carbs.  This recipe compliments the delicious Celery Soup I made! Try them together, it won’t disappoint. My only complaint…I probably shouldn’t have made it on a day where the humidity was 90%. Whoops. Sweating while eating is NEVER preferable.

IMG_1424Bruschetta

1 baguette; sliced evenly
1 large tomato; chopped into small cubes
3 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
5 basil leaves; chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients (except bread!) in a bowl and whisk together. Give it a taste and add seasoning as needed. I ended up adding a touch more garlic and salt and small drizzle of olive oil.
*This recipe is great because you really can’t mess it up! Too salty? Add more olive oil. Needs more flavor? Add more seasoning. Easy!IMG_1415IMG_1416IMG_1417
Place bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy clean up!)

Top each slice with a spoonful of tomato mixture. Use as much or little as you want. We used a lot and got 12 slices out of it.

Drizzle the remaining olive oil in the bowl over each slice of bread. Top with a small sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
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Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, broil for another 1-2 minutes until cheese gets melty and bread is crispy. Enjoy & eat it all!IMG_1421

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Celery Soup

Hello everyone! It seems like forever since I’ve posted. Paul and I just got back from our 7-day Bermuda cruise and it was fabulous! I had meant to give a proper send off last Thursday evening with a cauliflower pizza crust I was working on, however that turned out to be somewhat of a kitchen disaster. Not quite post-worthy if you know what I mean.

Anywho, as I’ve mentioned before I absolutely HATE wasting food. I did my best to plan our perishable shopping accordingly  before we left. I would call it a success, because while we were gone we had only one refrigerator causality; a half eaten english cucumber. Fair enough. However, the next thing on its way out was almost an entire package of celery. Gasp! I opened up our (useless) crisper to find that most of the bunch had become somewhat wiggly and wilty, a sure sign it had to be eaten and it had to be eaten now. Well, rather than eating an entire bunch of raw celery I decided to make a batch of Celery Soup! This was new to me, but definitely a great way to use up leftover celery. Next time I would maybe add some carrots to the mix too.

Celery Soup

  • 4 tbl margarine
  • 1 batch celery (about 6 cups); chopped
  • 1 medium onion; chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 2 medium potatoes; peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbl flour
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • Pepper & Salt

Heat a soup pot to medium heat. Melt butter and add onions, garlic and celery. Saute for a few minutes then lower heat and cover pot with top. Allow veggies to steam for about 10 minutes. Continually check and stir.IMG_1147

After 10 minutes, add potatoes, celery salt, and pepper and incorporate. Continue to cook and cover with top. Cook for another 10 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally.IMG_1148

Add chicken broth to pot (I used 2 cubes bouillon to 6 cups water). Add bay leaf. Bring pot to a boil. When it reaches a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.IMG_1150

Take the soup of the heat and remove bay leaf. Use an impulsion blender, or work in small batches pureeing the mixture in a regular blender. Pour pureed soup back into pot. Bring soup to a medium heat.

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In a separate measuring cup, whisk together flour, milk and a 1/2 cup of pureed soup. Whisk well. Pour this mixture back into the soup and incorporate well. Allow soup to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add thyme and season with salt and pepper too taste.

Eat without guilt, because this is creamy without cheese or cream and a great way to get your veggies! Enjoy!IMG_1425

Vegetable Lasagna Roll-Ups

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Zucchini Challenge Day #2. So as I mentioned yesterday I have a gigantic zucchini my parents gave me that absolutely needs to be eaten up by tomorrow evening. Paul and I are setting sail to Bermuda this Friday for on a week long cruise and I refuse to let anything in my refrigerator go bad…ever! Because our fridge is filled with summer squash and zucchini I decided to make these cute little Vegetable Lasagna Roll-Ups. I channeled an old veggie lasagna recipe I made awhile back and jazzed it up a bit with a white sauce. I think the next time I make them I would love to add some carrot to the veggie mix or even some mushrooms. Yum!

Vegetable Lasagna Roll-Ups

  • 10 lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup summer squash; diced
  • 1 cup zucchini; diced
  • 1/2 medium onion; diced
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 cup kale; torn
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 10 leaves basil; chopped


White Sauce

  • 2 tbl margarine
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package; about 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool in colander. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan to medium heat. Add onion, squash, garlic and zucchini. Saute until soft and onions are translucent; about 10 minutes. Add kale and saute another minute, until kale is wilted. Add salt, pepper and dried basil.
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Once cooled, in a separate bowl combine veggie mixture into the ricotta. Mix well and set aside.IMG_1388

White Sauce: In pan heat margarine until melted. Whisk in flour and allow to cook for about 2 minutes, until golden.
Slowly whisk in milk a little as a time. Whisk continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. Add parmesan cheese and continue to cook and whisk; about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt & pepper to taste. IMG_1386

In a baking dish spoon a small amount of white sauce on the bottom of the dish. Take each lasagna noodle and spread about 2 small spoonfuls across each noodle. Sprinkle with a small amount of fresh chopped basil. Roll each noodle up and place seam down in the baking dish. Continue this step with each noodle.

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When all of the noodles are rolled and in the dish, spoon the remaining white sauce liberally over the roll-ups. Make sure every noodle is covered well. Cover with tin foil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

IMG_1393Yum! Next time I might top it with mozzarella cheese and add a little to the noodles before rolling them up for a more lasagna-like feel. I thought about it before but couldn’t stand the thought of running another errand. These came out great anyways. Enjoy!

Zucchini Turkey Burgers

As I’m sure most people with gardens know, zucchini grows like a weed. Summer months consist of everything zucchini!. I obviously do not have a garden of my own as living in the city doesn’t often allow for that. However, when I visited my parents house this past weekend I reaped the benefits of their hard work…again! They gave me a humongous zucchini that I am sure I will be using for days!

Today I shredded it up and beefed up (metaphorically) some turkey burgers with this lovely vegetable. We ended up using the same amount of meat we normally would, but adding vegetables to your meat is a great way to stretch the amount the recipe makes. It also adds the wonderful nutritional element of more vegetables without anyone really realizing it. I imagine this recipe would be great for picky eaters…although we don’t know anything about that here! 🙂

Zucchini Turkey Burgers

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp worcestershire
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Shred zucchini and squeeze excess water out.IMG_1377

Incorporate all ingredients together. Form 4-6 patties (depending on how big you want them). Press your thumb into the center of each patty. This keeps the meat from puffing up when cooking.IMG_1379

We cooked ours in a skillet. If you choose to do the same, spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Cook patties slowly, when about halfway cooked through, flip patty over. Cook until the meat is firm to the touch and beginning to brown on the outsides.IMG_1380

Dress it up with cheese, avocado, onions, or condiments.IMG_1381

Vegetarian Enchiladas

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I was visiting home this past weekend and was presented with a dinner challenge! Sounds exciting right? I mean it’s not that exciting….But I offered to make dinner for my family, however the catch was that my meal needed to consist of a can of black beans that has been sitting, untouched, in the pantry for weeks. Black Beans?! Easy. I eat them almost every day. The dilemma you ask? How do I get EVERYONE else to not only eat them, but enjoy them in a somewhat healthy meal.

I make a lot of black bean, vegetable extravaganzas as I like to refer to them, but I didn’t want to totally shock my families systems with the weird stuff I consistently make Paul eat. That’s love right? So what to do…Mexican! And what’s better on Meatless Monday than rice, bean and veggie packed enchiladas? Give these a try, you won’t even miss the meat!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups rice; cooked
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 medium onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper; diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 can black beans; rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1- 1/2 cups shredded chedder cheese; divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth salsa (or chunky salsa or enchilada sauce)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cook rice according to directions and set aside.

Heat olive oil to medium heat. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper. Saute on medium heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.IMG_1038

Add tomatoes with sauce to the onion mixture. Mix in chili powder, salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.IMG_1039

Add beans, corn and rice to mixture. Incorporate well. Add 1/2 cup cheese and mix thoroughly.
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Spoon about two large scoops of rice mixture into each tortilla. Make sure you have enough of the mixture to feel each one equally. Roll the tortilla up and place crease-side down in baking dish. You may need to squish them over a bit to fit all 8, buy they should fit!
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Pour 1/2 cup salsa over enchiladas. Feel free to use more if you prefer it. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 to 1 cup cheese over the top of the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

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Serve with sour cream, salsa or guacamole….or all of it!IMG_1051

Cold Red Potatoes

Looking for an easy side dish? Well, I’m looking for an easy post today!  My mom used to make red potatoes for dinner, but I always asked for mine cold. I’m not really sure how that started, but it feels like a nice mix between a baked potato and potato salad to me. Give it a try! Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Cold Red Potatoes

3 large red potatoes
2 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
5 basil leaves, chopped (more or less is fine)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Fill a large pot with salted water. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. My potatoes were HUGE so it took me more than 25 minutes to cook them. Cook yours until fork tender.IMG_1364

Drain and allow to cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hours.

Cut potatoes into cubes. Incorporate olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and basil into potatoes. Return to refrigerator until ready to eat or enjoy as is!

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Lemon Pepper Tilapia

I freeze everything. I mean EVERYTHING. It’s hard to shop on a budget, for two people and not max out your freezer space….at least I think so. So when I went to Stop & Shop and saw frozen Tilapia was buy one get one free obviously I pounced on it. Now our freezer is a sliding avalanche of frozen fruit, veggies, meals, meats, bread and more. It’s out of control. In fact, it’s actually scary opening up the door because you never know what’s going to come sliding out at you. Gotta have quick reflexes in this kitchen!

With all this Tilapia stock piled I figured it was time to cook some up. I decided to make a Lemon Pepper baked Tilapia from some of the ingredients I had laying around. Give it a try and see what you think!

Lemon Pepper Tilapia

2 tilapia fillets
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl lemon juice
4 garlic cloves; minced
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp parsley (I used dried and fresh)
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a glass baking dish and place fillets in it. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.IMG_1365

In a pan heat olive oil to medium heat and add garlic. Cook garlic until soft. Lower heat and add lemon juice. Continue to cook for about a minute.IMG_1366

Pour olive oil-lemon mixture over fillets. Sprinkle fillets with lemon pepper seasoning and parsley. Cook in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.   IMG_1367

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Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Living in the city, let alone an apartment building often leaves me missing the sweet outdoors that come with living in suburbia.  I’m actually desperate enough for fresh air and sunshine that I often sit out on our scary fire escape just to create the illusion of a warm patio in the summer. Gotta work with what ya got I suppose. And who cares if all my neighbors can stare directly out at me in my pajamas reading Runners World…right? Eh.

Anywho, I am just as desperate for an outdoor space as I am for a garden. I visited home this weekend and reaped all of the fabulous benefits of my parents garden. Tomatoes, squash and bell peppers, Oh My! The peppers I received from my parents are itty bitty, but I decided they’d make a super cute stuffed pepper recipe.  We had a lot of extra of the mixture. but we just cooked it in a separate dish and enjoyed it on the side. However, the recipe below is meant for normal sized peppers, so fear not and enjoy!

IMG_1023Turkey Stuffed Peppers

  • 6 medium bell peppers
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded chedder cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spary a glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook 1/2 cup rice with 1 cup water. Follow instructions on box. Set aside

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Cook ground beef on medium heat. Add worcestershire to the meat when it’s just about cooked through. Remove grease and add turkey to rice. Incorporate beans into mixture as well.

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Add tomato sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to rice-turkey mixture. Incorporate well and set aside.
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Wash and remove tops and insides of bell peppers. We cut ours in two different ways because we didn’t know which we preferred. After eating, we preferred to cut them lengthwise.
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Whichever way you prefer, fill the bell peppers with rice mixture and top with shredded cheese. IMG_1359IMG_1360
Cook in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. The peppers came out tender and delicious. If you have extra rice mixture, feel free to cook that up for about 20 minutes in the oven and enjoy on the side!
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Pineapple-Coconut Smoothie

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I was so super pumped when Chobani came out with some exciting new yogurt flavors. I absolutely love love love the Blackberry one, and I think it has definitely become my newest favorite. I was anticipating really loving the Coconut one so I bought a 4-pack and dug in. Well, it isn’t my favorite. I don’t mind it by any means, but it’s kind of just blah to me. I think it reminds me of a plain old vanilla, which I used to eat EVERYDAY in high school. Ya. True story.

Anywho, I’m running out of time and I’ve still got coconut yogurt to spare so what’s a girl to do? Smoothie! This yogurt is great in a smoothie. I made a fabulous tropical, pineapple-coconut smoothie that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Pineapple-Coconut Smoothie

1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned- 100% juice NO SYRUP)
1/4 cup almond milk
1 container coconut yogurt
1 tsp agave
water (you may need a splash it to help puree)
1/2 tsp flax meal
1 or 2 spinach ice cubes(optional)

Blend it all together! If it’s too thick feel free to add more liquid, such as almond milk, water or pineapple juice.

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IMG_1354Mine is green due to the spinach!

Beef & Broccoli

Friends, I had my very very last day of work this past Friday and ever since I’ve been go, go, go! I only have about three short weeks until I begin my newest adventure as a MSW student at Simmons College. Yikes! I can’t believe how fast it’s approaching, but I’m much looking forward to some time off beforehand. Paul and I visited the Cape for a night and boy did I get a little taffy/candy/seafood crazy! I had a legitimate food hangover today.

Due to my food hangover, I decided to try and get back on track today and whipped up a delicious, clean eating dinner. I’ve been wanting to make this Beef & Broccoli all week and today was the perfect opportunity since I already had the ingredients. Here ya go!

Beef & Broccoli

  • 1/2 lb beef sirloin, cut into stir-fry strips. (Got mine at Whole Foods)
  • 1 small broccoli crown
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion; sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 2 tbl soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

.Steam broccoli (or boil if you don’t have a steamer) until tender. A fork should be able to easily pierce it. Set aside.
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In a non-stick pan, heat on medium-low and cook beef until browned. Remove grease from pan and set beef aside.
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Use the same pan and heat olive oil to medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.IMG_1008
Whisk cornstarch and water together in a separate cup. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch-water mixture, and ginger to garlic-onion mixture. Continue to cook on medium until liquid has a thickened- about 3 minutes. IMG_1009
Add broccoli and beef to pan and incorporate. Allow mixture to heat evenly, about a minute,. We poured ours over brown rice and devoured it! Better than take-out!IMG_1011