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Friday, August 22, 2014

White Fish Foil Packs

On hot summer days, there is nothing better than turning on a grill outside. The very thought of cooking over a hot stove or putting something in the oven seems so wrong during the summer months. Fish is a  delicious and light summer meal that can easily be prepared on the grill. Full of wonderful flavor, this is a quick and healthy way to prepare your fish with minimal effort.

As well as being an excellent source of protein, white fish types are also rich in vitamins and minerals. As with many fish, meats and vegetables out there, the health benefits of them
all depend on the way you prepare it! Here is a recipe that tastes delicious and keeps it healthy!

For a full meal, try making a zucchini and yellow squash foil packet to cook alongside of your fish! Simply slice up your zucchini and squash, add a little olive oil and seasonings of your choice, wrap in foil and put on the grill next to your fish packets. Note that the squash may take a little longer than the fish so you may want to put it on first.

White Fish Foil Packs

4-5 pieces of white fish of your preference
Olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Salt and pepper
Aluminum foil


1. Tear off pieces of foil big enough to make a packet for each piece of fish. Brush the fish lightly with olive oil. Lay on foil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay a slice of lemon and 1-2 sprigs of rosemary on each piece of fish. Fold foil over fish to make a packet.

2. Place on heated grill over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes or until fish is opaque and flaking apart. Dispose of lemon and rosemary and enjoy!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole

Take advantage of the season’s abundance of fresh produce.  Whether you grow your own vegetables or you shop your local farmers market, nothing beats freshly picked ingredients!  

Enjoy this recipe that stars eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes, all ingredients that are available to you during the late summer months.  Eggplant is a wonderful ingredient to add to dishes because it soaks up whatever delicious flavors you pair it with.  This recipe is full of amazing flavors including parsley, oregano, thyme and garlic!  Enjoy!

Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole

1 medium sized eggplant, cut diagonally into ¼ inch slices
1 lb zucchini, cut diagonally into ¼ inch slices
1 lb large organic tomatoes cut into ¼ inch slices
4 oz whole grain bread crumbs (see tips below)
¾ cup grated organic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
½ cup low-sodium organic chicken stock or broth

Directions

  1.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2.       Place eggplant and zucchini slices in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.
  3.      While eggplant and zucchini are baking, tear toasted bread (2 slices) into smaller pieces and place in a food processor.  Process until you produce coarse bread crumbs.  Add the cheese, garlic, parsley, oregano, thyme, sea salt and black pepper to processor; process until thoroughly combined.
  4.           In an 11 x 7 inch baking dish (glass or ceramic), layer half of eggplant slices on the bottom of the dish.  Next, add half of the zucchini slices followed by half of the tomato slices.  Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil evenly over the initial layers of vegetables.  Sprinkle ½ of the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top layer.
  5.           Repeat layers with remaining ingredients in the same order as step 4.  Pour chicken stock or broth over top of mixture.  Place in oven and back at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until bread crumbs are browned and the vegetables are tender.

Tips.

  •      You may substitute fresh herbs with dried herbs.  Simply cut measurements in half when using dried herbs.
  •       I prefer to use whole sprouted grain (Ezekiel style) bread to make my own bread crumbs.  You can make gluten-free crumbs by using such ingredients as rice bread or whole rolled oats.
  •       REMEMBER, if you have a gluten or wheat allergy; be sure that all canned and packaged products are manufactured in a gluten-free facility.  Contact the manufacturer for this information.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Stove Top Quinoa and Black Beans

This recipe is a must try for those who need quick, healthy and delicious recipes to make for their families!  Full of wonderful flavors, this recipe has minimum prep time and simmers on its own while you do the many other things on your to-do-list besides cooking dinner.

This side dish can be used in many different ways as well.  Serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish, eat over a bed of greens, carve out a large zucchini and use this for stuffing to make Zucchini Boats or add leftover shredded chicken to it for a one dish meal.  Leftovers (if there are any) can be separated into serving size containers and packed in your lunch throughout the week.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!  Experiment with the ingredients!  This recipe is very versatile and we are confident it will become a family favorite!

Stove Top Quinoa and Black Beans

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup salsa
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 cup corn
Salt and Pepper to taste (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Brown the Quinoa.

2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until Quinoa fully cooked.


That’s it!  Simple and Delicious!  


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Watermelon Salsa

Let's first start with some Health Benefits of a Watermelon.

1.  Watermelon is rich in lycopene, which has been shown in many studies to be protective against a growing list of cancers.  Lycopene also protects against heart disease and protects our DNA inside white blood cells.


2.  B Vitamins are abundant in the watermelon, a vitamin critical for energy production. Watermelon also delivers more nutrients per calorie, as it is so water dense, making it an outstanding fruit to consume both pre- and post- exercise


3. Half a watermelon gives you over 12,000 IU's of vitamin A!  Exactly the recommended amount of daily vitamin A intake.  Vitamin A helps keep your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist.  It also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.


4. Improves our body's defense system via high concentrations of vitamin C, an important antioxidant that helps ward off illness and helps our bodies combat the daily pollution and environmental stress it is exposed to.

5. Watermelons contain citrulline, a compound that helps relax blood vessels of the body, similar to when a man takes viagra. This effect is also beneficial to the heart, circulatory and immune system.

While searching for different ways to use up extra watermelon, I found a recipe for a Watermelon Salsa!  When I was going through the ingredient list, I was very curious as to what it would taste like.  I just so happened to have everything on the list so I gave it a try and I am very glad I did.  I think this will be a new favorite in my house and a perfect side to take to any function!

Water Melon Salsa

8 cups cubed seeded watermelon

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 large white onion, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers – stems & seeds removed, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine vinegar (I used white vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Stir the watermelon, cilantro, onion, jalapeno peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Cover, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

So easy and so good!! We love snacking on this salsa with chips or serving it over a bed of greens as a dressing! Delicious! This is a must try!!  

Anyone have any other watermelon recipes??

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

There is nothing better than spending time together with the family during summer over some amazing healthy food.  This visit we were not as prepared as we usually are so we used what we had on hand.  Left over quinoa, ground sausage, corn, left-over black beans and of course, zucchini fresh from the garden!  Thrown all together, this was a delicious lunch that cooked on the grill as we enjoyed the cool and refreshing pool!

The best part about throwing together recipes like this is the leftovers!  This will make enough zucchini boats to feed you for lunch and you can put the rest of the filling in the refrigerator.  What a quick filling for tacos with a topping organic Greek-style yogurt! 

Here is the recipe!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats


1 lb ground sausage
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup corn
1 cup cooked black beans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Cheese of choice, optional
Zucchini (see tips)

Directions

Step 1:  Brown sausage in large skillet (leave 1-2 Tbsp of grease in the pan to help with flavor). Add quinoa, corn, black beans, salt and pepper to the skillet.  Mix well.

Step 2:  Slice the zucchini in half long ways.  Scoop out the middle of each zucchini slice, discarding the seeds and insides.

Step 3:  Fill each zucchini boat with your filling.  Top with cheese. Wrap each boat in tin foil (you may want to stick a toothpick in the middle to prevent the foil from sticking to the cheese).

Step 4:  Start your grill.  Turn on two burners both on the same side and place the foil wrapped zucchini boats on the opposite side or on the top rack of your grill.  Allow to slow cook for 20-30 minutes for smaller zucchinis and 50-60 minutes for large or "monster" zucchin's or until desired tenderness is reached.  Allow foil to cool before handling.

Tips:

- This filling is very versatile.  Use the amount of zucchini's you need and then save the filling for another meal.  Make tacos the next day with the leftovers but you could also put in eggs for a morning scramble, or on top of you salad. 
- If using ground turkey or other substitute, you may need to add additional seasonings such as cumin, thyme, rosemary, etc.
-  We used both smaller zucchini and "monster zucchini's" for this recipe. With the bigger ones, we had to eat it out of the skins due to the skin being to tough.  But both were excellent!
- If you have a gluten allergy, be sure to check the labels of your ingredients to make sure they are gluten free. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garden Salsa

Tomatoes From Our Garden in Ohio!

How I LOVE this time of the year!!  The weather is nice, the pool is open and the garden is loaded with fresh vegetables, just waiting to be picked.  My husband was not messing around this year and he planted 11 tomato plants!  With all of our plants flourishing with red goodies, our favorite thing to make is fresh Salsa!!  I make a batch probably twice a week so we always have it available.

Full of nutritional goodness, Salsa can be used in so many ways other than the traditional chip dip.  Try putting some on your grilled chicken, hamburgers or other meat choice.  It is also delicious over scrambled eggs, in wraps or as a dressing on your salad or taco.


Every time we have a get together at our house, whether it be a holiday or just hanging out for no reason, I make a fresh batch of Salsa.  I get so many compliments for this quick and healthy snack, and I always get asked what's in it.  Well, that is a tricky question because honestly each batch is different.  I have my main ingredients that go into each batch but the rest is usually whatever is ready in the garden. And the quantities change due to the mood I am in.  Sometimes I like it spicy, sometimes I use more tomatoes than usual. Each batch is different but always delicious!  So play around with it and find the right combination for you and your family!

Garden Salsa

Must Have Ingredients:
Tomatoes (4-5)
Sweet Onion (1 med.)
Fresh Cilantro (Cilantro can be a very strong herb.  We usually use a handful but you may need to adjust to your liking)
Lime Juice (a generous squeeze)
Salt (to taste)

**The first time we made salsa like this we used only the must have ingredients (with a little garlic) and it was SO GOOD!

Choices for additional ingredients:
Garlic (To Taste. We love garlic so we tend to use a lot)
Jalapeno peppers
Green, Red or Yellow Peppers
Banana Peppers
green onions


Directions:
Cut all your ingredients into chunks.  Put everything in a food processor and pulse until you receive your desired texture.  (It may look a little foamy on top, this is normal). For best results, chill overnight to let flavors blend, stirring occasionally.

**Sometimes we leave it on the chunky side and sometimes we pulse until it is almost liquid.  Again, depends on our mood


This Salsa reminds me of going to a really good Mexican Restaurant, and they bring you the homemade salsa that is so good and you sit there eating it thinking how I wish I could make fresh salsa like this.  Well now you can!!  Hope you enjoy!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chicken and Bean Tacos

Making a simple and delicious meal that can be used in many ways is key to those busy summer weeks.  With the kids being home for the summer, the last thing a parent wants is to be stuck for hours in the kitchen, putting together something for dinner.  Here is a great summer recipe you can easily put it in the crockpot! 

This dinner is perfect to make on Monday and use the leftovers throughout the week for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Use it for tacos with your favorite toppings and a little Greek style yogurt.  Delicious!!  The next day have it for lunch served over a bed of greens (this is definitely a recipe that tastes even better the next day).  Later in the week, serve it over quinoa or brown rice with a veggie side!  Or for breakfast, try using it in a burrito with eggs and your favorite toppings.  There are so many options for this! We would love to hear about the different ways you used it!

Chick and Bean Tacos

6 organic, free ranged chicken breasts
2 cups salsa (Homemade Salsa is ideal!)
3 cups black beans (2 cans rinsed)
Homemade Taco Seasoning:
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
½ Tbsp. cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp each sea salt and black pepper


Directions

1.  Season chicken breast with taco seasoning.  Place in the bottom of a crockpot.  Top with salsa and black beans.  Cook on low 6-8 hours or until chicken shreds easily.

2.  Shred chicken and mix thoroughly.

Tips:

- When first shredded, chicken may have excess liquid.  Let sit and cool. Shredded chicken should absorb the excess broth.
- Change up the homemade taco seasoning to fit your liking.  Add more red pepper flakes for more of a kick.


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