Tag Archives: Veggies

Slow Cooker Pork Loin and Sweet Root Vegetables

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It has most certainly been awhile! You must be under the impression that I’ve been surviving on take out and peanut butter sandwiches!  No worries…things haven’t been that bad. School is a bit busy (aka overwhelming), so it has been a lot of slow cooker meals for us. Who ever created the crock pot, I thank you. I appreciate the lack of mess every evening and the fact that dinner is taken care of each morning before I walk out the door. This particular crock pot creation was a home run. Simple and delicious, what can be better?

IMG_2339The Ingredients:

  • 1 pork loin (whatever size feeds your family best, the one I cooked was about 1.5 pounds); allow it to take the chill from the refrigerator off while preparing the rest of the recipe
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (and whatever else may sound good in your refrigerator, diced potatoes would also be fantastic!)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or pineapple juice
  • For the dry rub: 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper  Read the rest of this entry

Maple Sausage, Pepper, & Potato Breakfast Casserole

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Husbands ask for a lot of things…and some requests are harder to grant than others. Like when they try to convince you that entertaining the idea of them growing a mustache for a month will make them look cool or when they think its a good idea to watch television in place of folding laundry. Thankfully, one for a breakfast casserole was something I could happily oblige to. Not only does it make husband happy (and possibly more inclined to fold laundry while watching football) it’s easy to throw together and tastes amazing.

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mmmm cheese and sausage, what more could you ask for?

Here’s a little story for all of you, we’re friends now right? It seems as though we’ve had a pretty steady friendship for the past 6 months and I feel ready to open up to all of you. Anyhow, now that we’ve established our virtual relationship, here’s the story. This one time, my very sweet husband, thought it would be a great idea to cook me breakfast. He actually surprised me while I was still sleeping. I woke up to a very proud husband. Matt announced, “I made you eggs!” I smiled and was excited about his very thoughtful gesture. He poured me a glass of orange juice and said “Not only did I make you breakfast, but there is a secret ingredient!” Yeah, I was worried too. So I smiled, picked up a forkful of the mystery eggs. I couldn’t even chew it….it tasted that bad! I gulped it down. Care to guess what was in them? Maple syrup, hot peppers, and feta cheese. Don’t get me wrong, these are actually a few of my favorite things. Mixed into eggs together however, not so great. I politely ate my whole plate but I’ll tell you I sure didn’t ask for seconds…

The Ingredients: 

Makes an 8 x 8 pan

  • 8 0z frozen of potatoes  
  • 5 eggs scrambled
  • 1 lb of breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 red pepper & 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of freshly grated cheese, I used pepperjack (I actually roughly chopped a block of cheese and put it in my food processor to grate it; great time saving tip!)
  • Salt and pepper

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Spiral Chili Dogs

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Spiral Chili Dogs

I saw a video on youtube showing how to spiral cut hotdogs and I thought it was brilliant! You may be asking yourself why you’d ever want a spiral cut hotdog…but believe me, there are lots of benefits!

For example:

  • A) your toppings sit nicely in the created slots and don’t slip off
  • B) you are able to get an equal char on each side of the hotdog
  • and C) the hotdog actually gets crispy in that crispy bacon kind of way, mmmm

I think that once you give it a shot, you’ll never go back to eating a regular hotdog…who would have guessed that a wooden skewer could improve a hotdog so much.

I had never had chili dogs before I married my husband, but I will admit that they are delicious. We love to eat chili in the fall and I especially love that you are able to make a big batch of chili with very little hassle. I use ground turkey in place of ground beef and always throw in lots of veggies. I have made several batches of chili for our friends and our friends in Indianapolis used to request it all the time. I will tell you that my chili has a bit of a kick–so if you are not into spicy food, I’d recommend going a little lighter on the spices. 

The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers, diced–I used a red and green bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 large sweet or red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp hot sauce–or less or you can omit it if you’d like 
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

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Peach & Pineapple Salsa

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Peach & Pineapple Salsa

I love love love homemade salsa. It encompasses all the deliciousness of summer in a single bite. I try to eat as many fresh fruits and veggies as possible during the summer because not only is it good for your body but it’s when everything taste the best. Nothing compares to fresh picked produce in my book. I can’t wait to eventually have my own garden instead of growing herbs on my urban windowsill.

Anyhow, I make many variations of salsa (try my traditional Vine Ripened Tomato Salsa or Avocado Mango Salsa) but this is one of my favorites! I think salsa is a great, inexpensive way to entertain. I like to make a few variations and allow guest to sample each kind–it makes a get together a lot less boring having variation. This particular recipe is one of my favorites because it is a great balance between sweet and spicy. The fresh peaches and pineapple provide a sweet and tangy quality to the salsa that balances the heat from the jalapeños peppers. Trust me–you’ll love it.

The Ingredients: 

Equipment needed: Food Processor 

  • 3-4 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1-2 large ripe Peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of chopped pineapple
  • 1 small red or sweet onion
  • 2-3 large cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of pickled Jalapeños--depending on your heat preference; I actually use a lot more than I usually do in regular salsa because the heat is balanced nicely by the fresh, sweet fruit
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • Small pinch of Oregano
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper
How to:
  • Roughly chop the red onion into large pieces–rinse under cold water to get rid of the pungent onion smell/taste
  • Add to food processor and lightly pulse to break it down a bit
  • Roughly chop tomatoes and pineapple and add to food processor
  • Slowly pulse to break down mixture
  • Grate 2-3 large cloves with micro-planer directly into food processor
  • Add desired amount of jalapeños based on your heat preference–I added a little less than a 1/2 cup of pickled jalapeños (considerable less spicy than fresh jalapeños)
  • Pulse to desired consistency
  • Stir in diced peaches and add juice of 1/2 lemon or lime–the citrus juice really helps keep the flavors clean
  • Add salt, pepper, and oregano to taste and serve chilled

Chicken Fajita Soup & A Vegetarian Version

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Chicken Fajita Soup & A Vegetarian Version

We love all foods that are Mexican in our house. Tacos. Fajitas. Enchiladas. All of it. Sometimes it gets a little monotonous eating the same foods though–and that’s why I like to come up with what I refer to as recipe redos. If you are tired of making the go to dishes, like tacos and burritos, you’ll love giving this dish a try. I not only love Mexican food but am obsessed with soup. I literally could eat soup every day and not get tired of it. Matt on the other hand, refuses to eat soup in scorching weather, so it has been awhile since I’ve made any. Now that the weather is cooling down a bit, it was my free pass to make one of our favorites. This recipe for Chicken Fajita soup is definitely one of my favorite recipe redos. This recipe is also very vegetarian friendly–omit the chicken and add another can of black beans, and you have yourself a high protein meal with a lot of veggies. I like to serve my soup over crushed tortilla chips and cheese as opposed to sprinkling them on top. I like that the chips get soft and they actually help to thicken the soup. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do–it’s the best on cold Fall evenings–plus it can definitely feed a crowd and it’s a one pot meal. Bonus.


The Ingredients:

  • 1 box (32 oz) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 red peppers–sliced to uniform thickness
  • 1 large red or sweet onion–sliced to uniform thickness
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can condensed chicken soup
  • 1 can black beans-rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 cloves of cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 can enchilada sauce–mine was the medium heat level
  • 1 lb of chicken breast–precooked, I cooked mine in the slow cooker earlier in the day
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pickled jalapeños chopped–or less if they are fresh/based on your heat preference
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of frozen corn (optional)
  • Cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, & avocado for garnish
  • A squeeze of lime juice over each bowl served (optional)

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Achieving a Balanced Diet With the Help of Your Juicer

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Achieving a Balanced Diet With the Help of Your Juicer

Some days it is really hard to get the recommended daily allowance of fruits and veggies in your diet. An easy way to make sure you are getting a few extra servings is by using your juicer. The great thing about juicing is that if you always use carrots and apples as your base, despite adding spinach or other hearty greens, it still retains a sweet flavor. Plus you know that there are no additives–you are only consuming fresh fruits and veggies not sugar filled juice cocktails. It is also said that juicing allows you to digest the produce more readily so your body is making the most of the nutrients–but there is a draw back to juicing. Juicing doesn’t provide a high amount of digestible fiber like just eating a piece of fruit with edible skin does (fruits are most fiber rich with the skins left intact–that’s when it is important to get your fiber from a different source too–from beans, corn, whole wheat pasta, brown rice etc). It’s important to only juice as much as you are going to drink in one setting because fresh juice doesn’t store well (no preservatives = gross bacteria growth). Great juicers are really coming down in price too, so they are a great gadget to add to your kitchen.

I absolutely love my juicer and love the fact that I’ve never had the same juice twice. I often just gather whatever produce I have in the fridge and give them a try. Today I had an apple, 3/4 cup of carrots, a kiwi, 3 ripe plums, 1/4 cup of green grapes, and 1/2 cup of strawberries. I usually toss in a handful of spinach or some fresh ginger but I didn’t have any of that on hand today. I really enjoyed today’s combo though–I had never juiced plums before (remove the pits obviously) and I loved the flavor and color it added to my juice. There’s no real recipe–it’s pretty much trial and error to find what you like. I often incorporate cucumber into my juicing combinations too, which is really light and refreshing. Adding carrots gives you a lot of great health benefits (vitamin A and antioxidants) and also keeps the cost of juicing down. Enjoy!

Baked Hawaiian Chicken Skewers

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Baked Hawaiian Chicken Skewers

Cooking on the grill is probably one of my favorite cooking methods. I think food just tastes better fresh of the grill.Unfortunately, now that we live in the City we are unable to have a grill because we have no where to store or use it in our apartment complex. It’s a terrible thing really. I honestly used to grill year round–I would freeze in the winter on our patio area usually once or twice a week because I love grilled food that much.

Anyhow, now in order to eat some of our summertime favorites, I’ve had to get a little bit creative in the approach. Matt loves skewers so I have been baking them in the oven for the past year or so. They come out really well and allows us to enjoy them year round. It is definitely a light, easy meal to throw together. I call this my Hawaiian version of skewers because I marinate the chicken in citrus juice with a bunch of dried herbs, as well as add pineapple to the skewers. I think taking the time to marinate the chicken, even if you can only do it for 20 minutes, really improves the flavors. If you’re lucky enough to have a grill, this recipe will obviously work great for grilling out too (I’m wicked jealous if this is the case!). Skewers are great for entertaining and you can even have your guests help you put them together, so each person is able to customize their skewers according to their taste. If you are able to grill out over the weekend, you should give this recipe a try! Enjoy.

The Ingredients:

  • Vegetables of your choice: I used red pepper, red onion, squash, & zucchini
  • Pineapple
  • Chicken (Sausage is also a great addition to any skewer)
  • Garlic
  • Orange Juice
  • Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dried Seasonings: I used rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, & onion powder Read the rest of this entry

Baked Zucchini Chips

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Baked Zucchini Chips

Matt and I went out to a Greek restaurant in Philly last Saturday called Opa. It is newly renovated with a pretty cool scene. The specialty cocktails were pretty tasty but my favorite thing about the meal were the zucchini chips served with a tzatziki dipping sauce. Their version was fried but I knew I would be able to come up with something just as tasty without all the calories. I decided to try baking my zucchini and they came out really delicious. I will say that they are quite time consuming because it takes awhile for the veggies to crisp…but they are definitely worth the wait. In place of the tzatziki I made my dipping sauce with Greek yogurt and a few other flavors.

I tried two cooking methods: placing the zucchini right on the baking sheet and placing the zucchini on a baking rack. I will say that I think that just placing them on the baking sheet worked better. Maybe if I were to set the oven to a higher temperature the baking rack would come in handy to make sure heat was able to surround all sides of them before they burn. Perhaps next time I’ll test my theory and update you all with any new results.

Anyhow, I think they are definitely worth a try! They should be eaten the same day they are baked–or else they lose their crispiness and will need to be thrown back into the oven. It’s really no problem to finish them though. I used 2 large zucchinis and it yielded about 1 cup of chips. It’s not a bad way to get one of you daily servings of veggies.


The Ingredients:

Necessary equipment: mandolin will make this much easier, but you can slice by hand