Fresh Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto with Blue Cheese

So simple, so delicious. Try these and you won’t be disappointed, I promise. I first made these last thanksgiving and used goat cheese instead of blue cheese. Both are equally as good and really depends on your preference of cheese. My husband doesn’t like goat cheese, so, since it was just the two of us tonight…I went with blue. 

What you’ll need:

  • fresh figs, green or black
  • blue cheese block
  • prosciutto, sliced a little thicker than thin
  • toothpicks

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lay out your ingredients
  3. Smear the blue cheese over the prosciutto 
  4. Wrap the fig and hold together with a toothpick (the one you see below is double wrapped with prosciutto. I preferred just one layer but my husband liked the double…you choose)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until sizzling all around. 

Enjoy!!!

    Kale & Basil Pesto with Orecchiette & Chicken

    Some of the simplest dishes are simply the best! Pesto is one of my favorite things to eat when the weather is hot and humid. It’s light and requires no “cooking” itself. Although, the pasta and chicken does but not much!

    What you’ll need:

    • 4-5 Leaves of Kale (flat or curly – your preference)
    • 1 bunch of fresh Basil
    • 3/4 lb of Orecchiette
    • 2 Chicken Breasts (or Tofu for a vegetarian option!)
    • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
    • 1/3 oz of pine nuts
    • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half, optional
    • S & P

    What to do:

    1. Bring water to a boil for the pasta.
    2. Cook according to the directions.
    3. Separately, place the chicken in a pot, cover with water and boil until cooked through for about 10-15 minutes. (If you’re using tofu, prepare according to the directions and cut into small cubes. Sautée with a little olive oil and S & P. 
    4. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. Combine the kale, basil, 1/2 cup of cheese, pine nuts and oil in a food processor and put on high until it becomes a paste. (If you prefer a thinner sauce add more oil). 
    5. Drain the pasta and remove the chicken from heat. 
    6. Chop or shred the chicken. 
    7. In a large bowl, mix the pesto, chicken (or tofu) and pasta and until evenly combined. 
    8. Add S & P to taste. 
    9. Add in the tomatoes and top with the additional cheese on each plate. 

    Spaghetti Squash “pasta” with sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms and spinach

    Spaghetti squash is one of the easiest vegetables to make. It’s also versatile and can be used as the star of the meal, as a side by itself or mixed into any kind of dish. This dish is simple and easy but does take a bit of time. Well worth it though!

    A tip if you want to do it this way, prep the squash ahead of time and store it in the fridge until your ready to make the dish.

    What you’ll need:

    • 1 spaghetti squash
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • 2 sweet bell peppers, sliced
    • mushrooms, chopped
    • fresh spinach, about 2 generous handfuls
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 lb ground sausage
    • 1 cup beef broth
    • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    • S & P
    • Olive oil
    • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
    • Green or yellow squash, optional

    What to do:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Season with salt and pepper and lightly brush it with olive oil.
    3. Roast the squash for 1 hour until soft.
    4. Take the squash out of the oven, shred it with a fork out of the shell and set aside. It should look like spaghetti.
    5. While the squash is in the oven, in a cast iron skillet (or your choice of sauté pan), brown the sausage and set aside.  
    6. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and heat on medium.
    7. Add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.  
    8. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
    9. Add the broth and red wine vinegar and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  
    10. Add the squash and sausage and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    11. Add the spinach, stir to incorporate and simmer until spinach wilts.  
    12. Serve on a plate or a bowl topped with Parmesan cheese.

    Enjoy!!

    Dark Chocolate Detox Bites

    One of the reasons I love Pinterest so much is because you find amazing food ideas. That’s where I found these and made them my own of course. 

    Dark Chocolate Detox Bites
    Dark Chocolate Detox Bites with fruit and nuts

    What you’ll need:

    • 2lbs dark chocolate
    • pistachios 
    • almonds 
    • coconut
    • pumpkin seeds
    • sunflower seeds
    • flax seeds
    • dried figs
    • dried cherries
    • dried currants
    • raisins 
    1. Prepare the nuts, seeds, and dried fruits by coarsley chopping the bigger ingredients. Mix all together in a bowl.
    2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30-60 seconds. 
    3. Cover a sheet tray with parchment paper.  
    4. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper in cookie size. Sprinkle the fruit and nut mixture over the chocolate. Work with one at a time so it adheres to the chocolate. 
    5. Place in the refrigerator to harden and serve!

    Enjoy!

    Dark Chocolate Detox Bites

    Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Sriracha Honey Garlic Sauce

    Warning: These are not healthy by any means, however, they are SOOOOOOO delicious. I made them for a food day and brought them into the office for my team. They were a big hit! They would also be good as an app for any kind of party or get together. Eh hem….Super Bowl party 🙂

    What you’ll need:


    Meatballs…

    • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
    • 2 eggs (I forgot to add them in the pic)
    • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 3 carrots
    • 3 stalks of celery
    • 1/2 medium onion
    • Handful of parsley
    • Fresh cracked pepper
    • All season salt
    • Blue Cheese dressing, I like Kens

    Sauce…

    • 1 cup Franks hot sauce
    • 1/2 cup Sriracha
    • 1 cup honey
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 sticks butter
    • 1 Tbls whole grain Mustard
    • Fresh cracked pepper
    • All season salt

    Back to the meatballs…

    1. You’ll need a meat grinder. I used my Kitchen Aid attachment. If you don’t have one, just buy ground chicken.
    2. Preheat the over to 375.
    3. Trim some of the fat from the thighs. Put all the chicken through the meat grinder. Also, put the carrots, celery, onion and parsley through the grinder. If you’re not using a grinder, mince it in a food processor.
    4. Add the Panko, eggs, salt, and pepper to the mixture.
    5. Mix everything together and use a teaspoon to make mini meatballs.
    6. Bake for 15 minutes

    And now back to the sauce…

    1. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan on medium low heat.
    2. Add the garlic and simmer for 2 minutes continuously stirring to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn
    3. Add the remaining ingredients
    4. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Taste to make sure it’s not too spicy for you. If it is, add more butter. Just remember that it will always taste spicier on its own.
    5. Poor the sauce over the meatballs in a crock pot and place on warm.
    6. Serve with the blue cheese dressing and some fresh celery and/or carrots

    Enjoy!

    Inspired by Turkish Kofta

    I was recently introduced to Turkish Kofta and found it is really what I knew to be meatballs, just with a Turkish cuisine spin. Traditionally, they are made with ground lamb or beef and, the recipe I saw, served with a spicy tomato sauce. I opted to go healthier and chose a combination of turkey and pork. I was also pressed for time and used organic ketchup with a splash of hot sauce. 

    Honestly, I didn’t know how these were going to turn out because I literally used what I had in the fridge to make them. I don’t have any picture other than one I took when I was packing the leftovers. I never anticipated they would be so delicious.   

    These are so easy to make. My prep time was about 15 minutes. 

    What you need:

    • 1lb Ground Turkey
    • 1lb Ground Pork
    • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese 
    • 3 Splashes of Milk
    • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
    • 1 Cup Cubed White Bread, Crust Removed (not prepackaged, fresh bakery bread that is a couple days old)
    • 1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
    • 2 Handfuls Toasted Pine Nuts
    • 1/2 Medium Onion, chopped small
    • 1/4 Cup Parsley, chopped
    • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
    • Olive oil spray 

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except the olive oil. Make small patties or balls out of the mixture (I made patties). Spray a sheet pan with olive oil spray lightly and place the patties on it. Bake for 20 minutes or until they are cooked through and slightly browned. It really depends on how big you make them. Serve with ketchup, spicy ketchup, or eat plain. 

    If you’d like to see what inspired me, click here.

    Enjoy!

    Bean, Quinoa, and Kale Salad

    What a tasty dish for Summer! It’s light, nutritious, and filling at the same time. I decided to make this after reading about switching out one or two meals a week to vegetarian. You will save a few dollars on your grocery bill and you still can get all the vitamins and nutrients if you choose the right products for the meal.  I, of course, want to be sure my family and I are getting enough protein if we were leaving out the meat. So, I loaded it with beans, quinoa and kale. Believe it or not, raw kale has 3g of protein in one cup.* 

    Here is an article about all the great benefits of quinoa:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/juliewilcox/2012/06/26/7-benefits-of-quinoa-the-supergrain-of-the-future/

    This recipe makes A LOT! That’s usually how I roll lol. What’s good about making A LOT is that it saves time for me during the week. I can bring some to work for lunch, have it as a quick dinner at night, and it’s an easy meal for me to send to daycare for my toddler! He loves it by the way 🙂

     
    Ingredients:

    • 3 stalks of kale, chopped
    • Cilantro, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
    • 2 Corn on the Cob
    • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
    • Juice of 1 Lime
    • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
    • 1 cup Uncooked White Quinoa
    • 2 cans Black Beans
    • 1 can Cannellini Beans
    • 1 can Pinto Beans
    • Salt
    1. Prepare the corn. Clean off the husks and boil in a large pot until corn is soft. Remember to salt the water. 
    2. While the corn is cooking, chop the pepper, tomatoes, kale, juice the lime,  and rinse the beans in a strainer with cold water. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. 
    3. Remove the corn, set aside, and let cool. Using 2 cups of the same water, cook the quinoa until all the liquid is absorbed. Put a little more salt in the water. (Tip – Don’t boil the quinoa. Let it simmer on low for 10 minutes while covered. Remove from the heat and let stand another 5-10 minutes until you start to see the rings). Once done, add to the other ingredients. 
    4. Cut the corn off the cob and add it to the other ingredients. 

    Once it’s all mixed, I stored portion sizes in snack and sandwich size ziplock bags and then put them all into a freezer bag. Organization is key for me! I also save some for the next day or two. If you do the same, I suggest adding a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil. It will be a little dry if you don’t. 

    Enjoy!

    *Source

    Healthy, Simple Grilling

    Ah, the simple things in life. Summer is the best time to cook on the grill for so many reasons. The weather is perfect (usually), cooking becomes easier and it’s a great way to hang outside with friends and family! Let’s not forget it’s one of my favorite times to enjoy a beer or two while sitting in my lawn chair on the patio. 

    This was my latest dinner on the grill: 

     

    I have to give some credit to my husband because he did help out with this one. You’re looking at Spiced Grilled Chicken, Corn The Cob, Potatoes with Onions and Sweet Bell Peppers, Broccoli, and Asparagus. Keep in mind that you can use any veggies you like and prepare and cook them the same way as the broccoli and asparagus. 

    I like to use chicken thighs instead of breasts simply because they don’t dry out. However, breasts do have better nutritional stats and can be substituted if you really want an even healthier meal. When comparing equal portions, some that are noteworthy…

    1. Protein – 21g in thighs and 25g in breasts*
    2. Fat – 13g in thighs and 7g in breasts *
    3. Calories – 210 in thighs and 170 in breasts*
    4. Cholesterol – 80mg in thighs and 70mg in breasts*

    CHICKEN:

  1. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. Paprika
  3. Crushed red pepper, a few pinches or more if you want heat
  4. Garlic powder
  5. Cinnamon
  6. Sea salt
  7. Black pepper 
  8. Mix all spices together (equal parts except the crushed red pepper), coat the chicken, and put it in a covered pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the sides. 
    CORN:

  9. Corn on the Cob
  10. Water 
  11. Don’t clean the corn, just keep it as is and soak it in water for at least 10 minutes​
    POTATOES:

  12. Russet potatoes
  13. Olive oil spray
  14. 1/2 Red bell pepper, slices
  15. 1/2 Sweet onion, slices
  16. Paprika
  17. Garlic powder
  18. Sea Salt
  19. Black pepper 
  20. Lay out a long piece of tin foil and then double it with the second piece perpendicular to the first. Spray lightly with oil. Place all ingredients on top of the foil, wrap it sealing all sides. Put these on the grill first since they usually take the longest to cook. 
    BROCCOLI:

  21. Broccoli
  22. Olive oil spray
  23. Sea salt
  24. Black pepper 
  25. Same as the potatoes, lay out a long piece of tin foil and then double it with the second piece perpendicular to the first. Spray lightly with oil. Place all ingredients on top of the foil, wrap it sealing all sides.

    ASPARAGUS:

  26. Asparagus
  27. Olive oil spray
  28. Sea Salt
  29. Black pepper 
  30. And…repeat preparation a third time.
    Cook everything on the grill over medium heat together until steamy and the chicken is cooked through. Don’t worry if one thing is done before the other, just keep it in its foil or cover it until you’re ready. Cooking is suppose to be stress free!

    ENJOY!!

    *Source