Butternut Squash Soup

Yep. You read that title right. I’m making butternut squash soup just as winter turns to spring on this lovely 50 degree day. Now normally I would be celebrating all things spring right now, but it occurred to me this week that I hadn’t bought one butternut squash all season long. Crazy right? So I bought one. I asked Paul how and he wanted it and he said soup, so who am I to disappoint? I suppose this will be (hopefully) a farewell dinner to winter. Yea, that makes sense.

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IMG_1768Chop it.

IMG_1769Roast it.

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IMG_1772Simmer it.

IMG_1773Puree it.

Butternut Squash Soup

For the squash:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • pinch of salt and pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (or one small onion); chopped
  • 2 celery stalks; chopped
  • 1 cup carrots; chopped
  • 1 garlic clove; minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 cups chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • salt & pepper

To Roast Squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place chopped butternut squash onto a tin-foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary over squash. Toss with tongs or your hands so all pieces are evenly covered.

Put in oven and toss with tongs intermittently. About every 10 minutes

Cook for 35 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside.

For the Soup: 

Heat olive oil in soup pot or dutch oven over a medium heat.

Add onions, celery and carrots. Sauté until onions have softened; about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, rosemary and thyme. Sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add broth to deglaze the pot. Add butternut squash and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 40 minutes.

Puree soup with immersion blender or a regular blender.

Add cinnamon and milk to soup. Add salt & pepper as needed.

IMG_1774Eat it!

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Spicy Chorizo Bean Soup

I’m headed into the final days of my winter break and boy has it gone fast! Unfortunately for me…and my body I haven’t been the most productive or healthy person these last couple of weeks. I blame the holidays! (Because I need to blame someone right…?) Even with my best intentions its been hard not to oversleep a smidge, go light on the workouts and forget some of my usual eating habits. That being sad, I’m still feeling in pretty good shape, I’m just sad to say I’m in need of a good ole dose of my regular routine *sigh.*

Today we have a winter storm headed our way, “Hercules” if you will. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get up early, workout, clean and cook! A few things I have been slacking on for sure….

I cozied up in our broiling apartment and made some Chorizo Bean Soup and Southwestern Quinoa Casserole. Woop! Healthy New Year here we come!

Spicy Chorizo Bean Soup

  • 2 tbl coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic: diced
  • 1 tbl dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15.5oz can kidney beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5oz can garbanzo beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5oz can cannellini beans: drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale; washed and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups broth (i used chicken)
  • 1 tbl rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 links chorizo; cut into rounds
  • salt

Heat oil in dutch oven (or soup pot). Add onions and saute on medium for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add basil, oregano and rosemary and saute until fragrant. Add all beans, kale, tomatoes and broth to pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling add rice wine vinegar and red wine vinegar.

My kale is overflowing! Next time I'd recommend adding this to the pot first.

My kale is overflowing! Next time I’d recommend adding this to the pot first.

Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes add chorizo and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

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Optional: Once soup has simmered use immersion blender to lightly blend some of the soup. This step is optional. I like it somewhat blended to make it a thicker soup, but with some texture. Taste the soup and add salt as needed.

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 Have a happy and healthy new year!

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

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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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

BBQ Beer Chicken

I’m totally winging it today everyone! I sat down last night thinking and thinking about how to use the leftover tofu I have in the fridge in a quick and fast meal that I could prep the night before. That way, when I came home from volunteering today I could do less cooking and more eating. Well, I failed. I couldn’t come up with a single simple and appetizing meal. So alas, the tofu will have to wait. I’m open to suggestions for a future quandary!

Anywho, what else is ready as soon as I walk in the door than a crockpot meal? I decided to go crockpot only and try a simple BBQ Beer chicken recipe with some odds and ends in my fridge.

IMG_1333BBQ Beer Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1/2 cup beer
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans

Serves 2-3 people

Place chicken breasts at the bottom of crockpot. Season with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Whisk together bbq sauce and beer in a separate cup and pour over chicken.

Pour in beans and corn and lightly incorporate into bbq-beer mixture.IMG_0993

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.5 hours. Mine wasn’t as shreddy as I was hoping for since somebody turned the crockpot off about a half hour early. Ehem, Paul.

To be fair, it came out great anyways!IMG_1329IMG_1330

We served this with sautéed kale and couscous.IMG_1332

Spicy Lime Mahi Mahi

Hello Friends! I am counting down the days to this weekend! My long awaited trip to the Cape is finally approaching. Hello sweet vacation! I cannot wait to spend some quality time with my family and boyfriend going to the beach, eating delicious seafood and relaxing with a few great beers all week long.

As a kid we always spent summers down the cape in Orleans and have continued to the tradition as adults. I remember peddling along the bike paths for hours, (whining…definitely whining) playing miniature golf, walking out on low tide at Skaket Beach, and eating the most delicious salt water taffy. As an adult my priorities haven’t changed much. I plan to do all of those things, and more!

In anticipation of this fried seafood heaven I decided to cook up a light and healthy Mahi Mahi before the gluttonous “Cape Cod Alison” takes over. This Mahi Mahi ended up being a little too spicy for me, so I halved the cayenne pepper below. Feel free to double it up though if you like a lot of heat!

Spicy Lime Mahi Mahi

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of one lime
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 Mahi Mahi fillets

photo 1Whisk all ingredients together in a shallow dish. Place Mahi Mahi fillets into marinade. Turn to coat. Allow Mahi Mahi to marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour.
photo 3Heat skillet on medium heat. Add Mahi Mahi fillets and marinade. Allow fillets to cook at least 3-4 minutes on each side. Check the fish to make sure the inside is white and flaky.
photo 4Dig into this light flaky fish without guilt! We enjoyed ours with a side of steamed cauliflower and broccoli, as well as Israeli couscous simmered in chicken bullion. Enjoy!