Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quick Healthy Marinara Sauce and Garlic Cheesy Bread










Marinara Sauce Ingredients:

24 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
1/2 red onion chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 small bunch of fresh basil chopped
1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper
Sugar (1-2 Tablespoons)

Directions:

Sautee onion, garlic, and basil in olive oil for a minute or two. Add tomatoes, salt & pepper, sugar and simmer with a lid on the sauce for about 10 minutes. Stir freshly grated parmesan cheese into the sauce right before serving. Serve over your favorite pasta (al dente).



Cheesy Garlic Bread Ingredients:

1 store-bought italian loaf of bread (or whatever crusty bread you prefer)
1 stick of salted butter (melted)
Small bunch of scallions chopped
1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup freshly shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded extra sharp white cheddar
small bunch of freshly chopped parsley
Salt & Pepper 
2 Tablespoons minced garlic

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut your entire loaf of bread in a criss-cross or X pattern. Do not cut the entire way through your loaf or your ingredients will soak out. Mix melted butter, oil, chopped scallions, mustard, chopped parsley, chopped garlic, and salt & pepper (to taste) together in a bowl. Pour butter mixture evenly throughout the loaf. Next, stuff the loaf of bread with your cheese. Wrap entire loaf of bread in tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Unwrap, bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve along with your pasta and enjoy!

Watch the Episode:


Monday, March 24, 2014

Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Vinaigrette


Ingredients:

1 fresh stalk of brussel sprouts
{OR two 12 oz. bags of frozen brussel sprouts}
1 package of bacon (12 slices)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons dijon mustard
Extra virgin olive oil 
Salt & pepper
Paprika
Minced onion flakes
Garlic Powder

Directions:

Brussel Sprouts:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut all brussel sprouts in half and toss onto an aluminum foil lined pan that has been coated in a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil. Pour a bit more olive oil onto the brussel sprouts. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper onto the sheet, along with a sprinkling of garlic powder, onion flakes, and paprika. Toss to evenly coat the brussel sprouts and bake for 20 minutes.

Hot Bacon Vinaigrette:
Dice the entire package of bacon and fry in a pan until all the bacon bits are cooked and golden brown. Remove bacon pieces from pan with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper towel covered plate. Reserve 1/4-1/2 cup of bacon fat drippings. Leave bacon drippings in  the pan and add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, dijon mustard, and a bit of salt and pepper. Simmer for 8-10 minutes and let cook down into a glaze. 

Serving:
Remove brussel sprouts from the oven and place in a bowl. Pour the entire pan of glaze onto the brussel sprouts and sprinkle with the fully cooked bacon bits. Toss all ingredients together until the brussel sprouts are fully coated. Serve and enjoy!

Watch the Episode:


Monday, March 10, 2014

Shrimp & Crab Enchiladas

Ingredients:
1 package small flour tortillas
16 oz. can claw crab meat
Two 4 oz. cans of baby shrimp
4 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 jar green salsa verde
1-2 cups shredded block pepper jack cheese
4 small green chilies
1/2 yellow onion 
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1 lime
1 Tablespoon salted butter
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Directions:

Crab & Shrimp filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and olive oil in pan, add chopped onion, green chilies, and garlic together. Sweat onions and chilies together for a 2-3 minutes. Add ingredients from pan into a large bowl along with the crab and shrimp. Season bowl with paprika, salt & pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Stir in 4 oz. of room temperature cream cheese, along with the juice of one lime.

Assembling Enchiladas:
Pour a little of the green salsa verde into bottom of 13x9 baking dish (this will keep your enchiladas from sticking to the pan). Spoon a generous portion of the shrimp and crab filling into the flour tortillas one at a time. Roll them up and tuck them nicely into the pan. Once all tortillas are filled, top them with the remaining green salsa, covering the entire dish. Sprinkle 1-2 cups of freshly shredded pepper jack cheese on top of the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, take off foil, bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted. Broil the entire dish on high for about 1-2 minutes to give a nice crusty finish to the cheese.

Serving and Garnish:
Dish out 1-2 enchilada rolls onto a plate. Serve with a dollop of creamy sour cream, freshly chopped cilantro, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Eating Clean {A Homemade Granola Bar Recipe}



I absolutely LOVE having healthy cereal bars, or quick-to-grab whole food items on my kitchen counter top. Most early mornings I am at the bakery, and it's not always the easiest feat for my husband to make a healthy breakfast for our babes. And to be honest, it's not always easy for me to find extra time to make sure I'm eating well, too. That's exactly why I try to plan meals ahead of time, so I'm not scrambling last minute to find something good to eat.

"God created it. Jesus died for it. The Spirit lives in it. I'd better take care of it." - Rick Warren 

As I've shared before, I like to use as many organic/non-gmo food brands as I can. I am a firm believer in taking care of the body you have. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy junk food just as much as the next girl :-) I bake cake for a living, for crying out loud! However, the majority of the food I make at home for my family, and pack for lunch, is typically made with whole, cleaner foods. I indulge and enjoy treats often, but I try to keep it all within balance.

Another thing that I would like to share is that it is OKAY if you aren't able to purchase all organic foods. It is expensive. I get it! There was a season when I was still a stay-at-home momma that we just could not afford organic foods. The idea of it was laughable. But, as I learned more about what I was putting in my body (as well as my family's), I started feeling more of a burden to do my best to nourish the bodies God gave us, and take care of them to the best of my ability. I prayed for a few years, and it took awhile, but God did answer my prayers to help teach me knew ways to prepare meals, and to finally be able to afford cleaner foods. 

Can we always afford all organic food every week? Nope. Not always. And you know what? It's okay! I just get what I can, and fill in the gaps with non-organic whole foods. Even if you start just adding more veggies in your diet, that's a start! Start small, take baby steps, google clean recipes, buy new cooke books, etc. You'll get there! And with time, you will see how much better you feel after fueling your body with REAL food.

Homemade Granola Bars 

Ingredients:

4 cups whole grain rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 Tablespoons Wheat Bran (nice fiber filler)
2 Tablespoons Flax Seeds
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (preferably organic)
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips (you may substitute with white or semi-sweet, whichever you prefer)
1 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Baking: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl until very well incorporated. Press into a parchment lined 13x9 dish {be sure to use parchment paper--your bars will NOT come out if you don't}. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let entire pan cool for several hours, or even over night. This lets all of the ingredients settle together nicely. If you don't let them cool completely your bars will crumble when cutting.

Cutting & Storing: 
Turn your pan over and cut into standard cereal bar sizes. You may wrap them with plastic wrap, or use parchment paper and a small piece of tape. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Enjoy!

Watch the Episode:


Monday, February 24, 2014

Lemon Rosemary Baby Roast Chicken


Ingredients: 

2 1b. whole baby chicken (preferably free-range or organic)
1 bag baby carrots
1 pre-cut package of butternut squash
1/2 a yellow or white onion
1/2 stick of salted butter
salt & pepper
one lemon
one small bunch of rosemary sprigs
one small bunch of fresh thyme
parsley flakes
onion flakes
garlic powder
paprika

Directions:

Chicken:
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove innards from chicken, rinse chicken in sink, and fully pat dry. Rub entire chicken (inside and out) with salted butter. Season chicken with salt, pepper, onion flakes, garlic powder, and paprika. Season cavity liberally with same ingredients. Stuff cavity with rosemary, thyme, and lemon slices.

Veggies:
Dice onion and toss along with carrots and baby squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add a few tablespoons of chopped chilled salted butter to the pan as well. Season with salt, pepper, parsley flakes, and toss to evenly distribute seasoning throughout veggies. Nestle baby chicken in the middle of the veggie pan. Bump oven temp down to 400 degrees and bake chicken for 45 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165 degrees at the meatiest part of the chicken thigh. Another way to check for doneness is when clear juices run from inner part of the chicken thigh when pierced, and no pink/red remains.

Quick Pan Gravy:
Melt 2 tablespoons of salted butter in a frying pan. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to melted butter. Cook together for 1-2 minutes until flour taste is cooked out. Add 3/4 - 1 cup of pan drippings. Cook for a few minutes until gravy starts to thicken. Salt & pepper to taste.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chicken Pie


Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 carrots (peeled)
1-2 stalks of celery
Half a yellow onion (diced)
1 potato (diced)
2 9" store-bought pie shells
1/2 cup milk 
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Powder
Rubbed Sage 
Parsley Flakes



Directions:

Chicken & Vegetables:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Chop carrots, onion, celery, potato, and chicken. Season well with salt, pepper, garlic powder, rubbed sage, and parsley flakes and fry in a pan with extra virgin olive oil until chicken is cooked.

Roux Filling:
Remove chicken and vegetables from the pan and place in a separate bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of salted butter to the pan and let melt. Add 2 Tablespoons of flour to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook roux until it becomes a thick paste (for about  1-2 minutes). Add about 1/2 - 1 cup of milk and stir continuously until gravy like texture occurs. Add roux to the chicken and veggies bowl, then add 8 oz. cream cheese package to the entire mixture as well. Stir cream cheese and roux into the chicken and veggies until well blended together.

Pie Shell:
Spray a standard pie dish with cooking spray, or fully coat bottom of the dish with some extra virgin olive oil. Place one pie shell in the dish and then add your chicken pie filling mixture. Top with other pie shell, crimp edges, and put 1-3 slits in the middle of the pie for steam to escape. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until crust is golden brown. If too much browning occurs in the middle of baking, just cover the pie with some aluminum foil until finished baking.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pan Baked Spiced Apple Sausage



Ingredients:

Spiced Apple Sausages (5 pack)
5 Strips of Bacon
5 green apples
1 Orange
1/2 yellow onion (sliced)
1 Bag of Collard Greens (cut & pre-washed)
3 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Powder
Paprika
Parsley Flakes


Directions:

Sausage: 
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly sprinkle olive oil on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Chop onions and apples into slices and set aside. Season both sides of sausage with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to taste. Arrange apple and onion slices around sausages on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Cut orange in half (reserve other half for later) and squeeze the juice on top of the sausage, apples, and onions. Bake for 15 minutes on one side, flip sausages, and continue baking for another 15 minutes.

Collard Greens:
Dice up 5 bacon strips and fry until fully cooked. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon bits and place on a paper towel covered plate (set aside to use as a topping for later). Add collard greens in batches to bacon fat and fry up until all of the greens can fit in the pot. Add a bit of olive oil to help fry the greens. Season well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Continue frying until greens are cooked down (for about 5-7 minutes). Add 3 cups of chicken stock, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until collard greens are tender enough to eat.

Plating:
Take pan out of the oven and squeeze the other half of the orange on top of the sausages, apples, and onions. Make a bed of collard greens on a serving plate. Place pan baked sausage on top, then add the apple and onion mixture. Sprinkle bacon pieces on top of entire plate. Serve and enjoy!