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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.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

Looking for an easy dinner to make in the summer? All you need to do is turn on the grill.  Another bonus is quick prep time and you can cook it outside while the kids (or you) play. For you women out there, it's always nice to have the husband continue to think we have no clue on the grill..wink wink) BONUS: Wrap up your favorite veggies in foil with a little olive oil and seasonings and cook them on the grill right along side the meat.

While looking for a new marinade to use on chicken, try yogurt-based marinade.  Wouldn't you rather have a marinade with ingredients that are all pronounceable and familiar?  The family may be a little skeptical (but they don't need to know what they are eating, just that it is good), but if you are adventurous give it a try.  The chicken should come out very moist and with delicious flavor!  Your whole family will enjoy it and cut up on your salads for a quick lunch the next day. Let us know what you think!

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

1/2 cup plain Greek style yogurt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Agave Nectar
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp minced  fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
6 organic chicken breast halves

Directions:

Look for Greek Style Yogurt that is high
protein and contains no artificial
sweeteners or added sugars.

1. In a large resealable plastic bag, or large container with a lid, combine the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, oil, Agave and seasonings.  Mix well and add chicken.  Seal bag or container and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.


2. Before grilling, drain and discard marinade.  Grill as normally would.

Tip: You may want to coat the grill rack with non-stick spray before starting the grill to prevent sticking.

Do you have a favorite marinade that your family enjoys?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chickpea, Edamame and Basil Salad

Who doesn’t LOVE basil, especially freshly picked from an herb garden? Incorporating this delicious herb and others like it into salads throughout the summer is a wonderful way to add a fresh look and taste.   Next time you need a side dish for a cookout, try this delicious salad!  While this recipe is delicious served on its own, serving it over leafy greens can change it from a side dish, to a main dish!  Enjoy!

What You Will Need:
2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 cup cooked edamame (or cooked peas)
1 organic red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Dash of sea salt
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper

Directions:
  1. Combine chickpeas, edamame, bell pepper, red onion, cucumber, and basil in a mixing bowl.  Toss to combine and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing by combining the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper.  Whisk until ingredients emulsify.
  3. Pour dressing over the chickpea mixture while tossing ingredients to ensure everything is completely coated. Serve and enjoy!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Fruit Kabobs

This month the Healthy Edge Online Community is discussing a topic that is very important to many people: Healthy On A Budget!  Many people have the thought that “healthy eating this” is expensive, but this is far from the truth!

During summer break it may feel as though your kids have a bottomless stomach!   It doesn’t take long to get fed up from hearing, “I’m hungry”, multiple times during the day. It is also easy to feel overwhelmed and give into purchasing the “convenient” foods that will just SHUT THE KIDS UP ALREADY! But convenience comes as a cost. What are these foods doing to your children’s health?  AND…Have you ever added up the amount of money that these “convenience” and so called “economical” foods cost you?  You may be shocked!

At The Healthy Edge, we are firm believers in creating a safe environment for your family.  If you bring the food into your home, YOUR FAMILY WILL EAT IT, whether it is processed or whole foods.  It’s time to break through your belief systems and old habits and give your family a healthy, happy summer!

Fruit Kabobs are a great “go to” snack throughout the day and make a perfect addition to any cookout! Actually anything on a stick seems to be a hit with the kiddos (big and small).

What you Need:
Fruits or Vegetables
Wooden Skewers

Preparation:
Wash and cut your fruits or vegetables into bite size pieces, put in containers with lids, store in the refridgerator.  That’s it!!

Assembly:
Take the containers out of the refrigerator, set up a buffet, give your kids a stick and let them create their own kabob.  Done!

The biggest thing with kids (and parents) is keeping it simple and fun (and sometimes clean).  Each week you can mix up the fruits or vegetables you use so they don’t get burned out on the same ones.  And the wonderful thing about fruits and veggies are the colors!  Try making holiday kabobs for your next celebration.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Freezing Strawberries

Strawberries are a delicious indicator of summer. How can you not LOVE the look, smell and taste of this amazing fruit. The problem is that strawberry season is short-lived and buying strawberries out of season leaves you wondering where they came from and how far they had to travel to get to the grocery store.

If you are growing strawberries in your garden or a planter box, there is a wonderful benefit to the abundance of strawberries you can collect. If you do it right, you can freeze these beauties and enjoy them all year long. If you do it wrong (which we have learned and therefore is why we are writing this blog), you will simply have a big red frozen glob of strawberries with freezer burn. This is disappointing and we would like to support you in avoiding this mistake.

If you don’t have your own strawberries, it’s amazing how many people have an overabundance of strawberries they might not mind sharing. You can also purchase at local farmer’s markets (which is what we like to promote) or your local grocery store.
Here is a great guide to freezing strawberries:

What You Will Need:
Fresh Strawberries

Large Bowl with cold water
Paring Knife
Strainer
Cookie Sheet

Step One: Get your berries J   You will want to freeze your strawberries when they are fresh so you do not lose flavoring or nutrients.

Step Two: Rinse the berries in cool water.  Be sure to not leave them in the water too long or you will lose flavor.  From the water, pick through the berries and put them in a strainer for about 3-4 minutes and then gently pat them dry.


Step Three:  Hull the berries (remove the green stems) and remove and spoiled or soft spots on the berries.

Step Four: Place the strawberries in a single layer, not touching each other, on a cookie sheet.  Put cookie sheet in the freezer overnight or until berries are frozen completely.

Step Five: Transfer strawberries to an air-tight container or freezer bag.  Label with date and content and store in the freezer for up to six months.


These steps can also be followed for raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and grapes.  If you know someone with an overabundance of apples be sure to try our Ez Homemade Applesauce!  Does anyone have any other tips for preserving fruits?


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