Help! This Gal needs a Chip

tortilla chips

No tortilla chips? No problem. You can easily make your own!

Usually, I have plain ol’ corn tortillas around the house. So, this recipe is easy peasy!

Turn oven to broil. Using a pizza cutter, quarter small(taco size) corn tortillas. Cut as many as you like. Put one layer cut tortillas on baking sheet. Lightly spray with olive oil, add salt to taste. I add paprika too for the smokey flavor. You can add any spice you like to taste.

Put in oven on broil (middle rack) for 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the chips over and broil another 2-3 minutes. Make sure to watch them–all broilers are different and you don’t want with burnt chips.

Enjoy! Serve with salsa or smashed avocado. Store leftovers in airtight container. 

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Cranberries & BBQ? You bet!

We often think about cranberries around the holidays, but these versatile, nutrient-packed berries can add flavor and health benefits year-round. Not only can these tart little berries aid in maintaining and preventing urinary tract infections, a review in Advances in Nutrition suggested that cranberries also play a role in cardiovascular health. So, it’s a good idea to keep cranberries in mind for year- round dining. For example, this Cranberry BBQ sauce, is a tangy addition to a BBQ sandwich of your liking.

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce (recipe provided by The Cranberry Institute)

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 cup minced yellow onion (don’t like onions, no sweat, leave them out)

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. chili powder

1.5 Tbsp. tomato paste

1.5 cups cranberry sauce (can use 12 oz can)

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. dark molasses

1/4-1/2 cup water, if needed

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute at least 2 minutes until transparent. Mix in garlic, mustard and chili powder and continue cooking 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 more minute. Add cranberry sauce, vinegar and molasses. Bring to a simmer, whisking often until mixture becomes smooth. Lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until sauce thickens. Add water if sauce gets too thick. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Store in covered container in refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat before using.

Suggestions for use:

-Top your BBQ sandwich, chicken or pork are both super tasty with the sauce.

-Add to coleslaw for a tangy punch.

-Use as a dip.

-Mix with olive oil for a Cranberry BBQ vinaigrette.

-Jazz up your plain ol’ turkey sandwich.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I was compensated by The Cranberry Institute to do a tv segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

 

Easy Cheesy Cauliflower Goodness

You can’t skip over that title can you?!

I’m a cheese hound and I just happen to love veggies too. Here’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy cauliflower. I have to credit my neighbor, Camille, for introducing me to this tasty combo! If you’re thinking about leaving off the cheese because you’re trying to cut fat or you’re lactose intolerant, think again. The small amount of fat per serving adds flavor and satiety of your meal (along with the bonus protein). And, cheddar cheese is very low in lactose.

Ingredients

-One head cauliflower, whole, cleaned and trimmed

-2 tbsp water

-1/4 c Greek yogurt, mayonnaise or sour cream (your choice)

-1-2 tsp mustard (any you like plain or fancy)

-Salt & Pepper to taste

-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe glass dish with cover. Add water and cook on high for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. While the cauliflower is cooking, mix the yogurt (or mayo/sour cream) with the mustard, salt and pepper. When cauliflower is cooked and soft, carefully remove from Cauliflower w cheesemicrowave, drain water in dish, spread yogurt, mustard mixture over the cauliflower and then sprinkle with cheese. Cook 2 more minutes. Remove from microwave and let set for about 5 minutes. Cut slices like a pie.

Don’t you leave any cheese in the bottom of that bowl!

Enjoy. :)

Frittata in a Flash!

You all know I’m a fan of eggs–like an eat them everyday fan. If you’re in a hurry you can still get a delish egg dish by cooking it up the night before. So the “flash” is your reheated slice you can serve or even take with you in the morning. We made one tonight. Enjoy!

Leslie’s Favorite Frittata

2 T Butter

6 whole eggs

½-1 c any cheese you like, shredded or sliced

Any flavors you like even leftover stuff (tonight I used leftover ham, cubed with cheddar cheese)

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in ovenproof medium skillet over medium heat. Pour beaten eggs into skillet. Top with cheese. Cook on stovetop about 10 minutes until bottom is firm. Transfer to oven for 10-12 minutes (until middle is not runny). Enjoy by reheating (~30-45 seconds to start)  in the microwave for breakfast.  You can also serve with a mixed green salad at lunch, brunch or dinner!

Eggcellent, I know.

Tuscan Style Flat Iron Steak

Believe it or not, I learned this fabulous recipe during my time at the CIA. If I tell you about it, I’ll have to kill you. ;)  Actually, I’m talking about the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley. This recipe has been a staple since I went to the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives event a couple of years ago. This simple recipe is fabulous for a crowd, cost-effective and wonderful leftover. And, since I aspire to be Italian, it’s one of my favorite go-to recipes for family meals and entertaining. This serves approximately 6 people unless you’re feeding serious meatatarians, then it’s more like 4 to 5 portions.Here’s what you’ll need.

2, ~1 lb flat iron steaksCIA Beef
2 large lemons
¼+ high quality, extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt of choice like Kosher
Fresh Ground Pepper
4 tbsp, fresh rosemary sprigs

Here’s what you do.
Remove flat irons from packaging and place in a 9 x 13 inch dish. Note that you’ll reserve some lemon juice, olive oil and rosemary for after cooking. Juice one lemon and coat the steaks, drizzle the olive oil over the steaks, add salt and pepper to taste, and then sprinkle with 3 tbsp of the rosemary.
Let steaks sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. During this time you can preheat your grill or grill pan.
Place on grill at medium to high heat. Grill approximately 6-8 minutes per side turning only once. The thickness of the steak varies so cook to your desired level of doneness. (Click here for grilling tips). Once you remove from the grill let sit for 5 minutes covered with foil. Slice and top with remaining lemon juice, olive oil and rosemary.

Here’s how you serve and serve leftover.IMG_3263
This is great served with roasted potatoes and a side salad. For leftovers, I usually throw it on top of salad or make a chopped steak & cheese quesadilla for little C to take for lunch.

Zoodles with Meat Sauce, a New Favorite

A zoodle? What’s a zoodle? Well, it just happens to be a noodle made from zucchini, therefore aptly named a “zoodle.” I’ve made zoodles by hand on many occasions however, they don’t always turn out uniform in size. That can impact their texture and cooking time. Since I found the the spiral vegetable slicer, zoodles have been fantastic!

First make the zoodles. Wash and dry 1 small to medium zucchini per person. Cut the ends off the zucchini and, using the directions that come with the slicer, cut the zoodles. Set zoodles aside.

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Start browning the meat for your meat sauce. Sometimes, I use a pound+ of ground beef and sometimes I add Italian sausage too. It depends on how spicy I feel. :) Once the meat is done add a jar of your preferred tomato sauce. If you make your own sauce yay for you (feel free to send me some). Let sauce simmer while you finish the zoodles. (TIP–make lots of sauce and freeze to make this in a snap later on).

Using a large saute pan on the the stove top, heat olive oil (amount to taste) to medium heat. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-10 minutes until zoodles are tender.

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Serve zoodles immediately with meat sauce on top. Don’t forget the parmesan for added flavor and garnish. Molto Bene!

Disclosure: Special thanks to the folks at World-Cuisine for generously sending me the spiral slicer. It can be purchased here. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Not your Mama’s Chicken: Chicken Enchilada Bake

If your family is like mine, they get tired of plain old grilled chicken. This tasty meal serves 6-8 people. Honestly, I’ve tried to make traditional enchilada but I break the tortillas every time and it ends up looking like this recipe anyway.

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Here’s what you’ll need.

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 tbsp, extra virgin olive oil
12-16 taco-sized corn tortillas
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp salsa seasoning or similar chili powder, dried cilantro, etc…
Salt & Pepper, to taste
One jar enchilada sauce (this time I used fire-roasted sauce)
8 oz cheese of choice, shredded, I use Colby Jack
Small can sliced black olives (optional & sometimes I forget)
Dry cilantro, ½ tbsp for garnish (optional)

Here’s what you need to do.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in large skillet, add the cubed chicken and cook completely. While the chicken is cooking, spray a 9 x 13 dish with non-stick spray. Using a pizza cutter, cut tortillas in half and then in half again. They should be quartered. Use half the tortillas to cover the bottom of the pan. When the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and add cream cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, spices and chopped tomatoes. Stir thoroughly until the cream cheese and sour cream have been completely mixed. Pour over tortillas. Use the remaining tortillas to layer over the chicken mixture. Pour all of the enchilada sauce evenly over the top. Cover with shredded cheese then garnish with olives and cilantro. Cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let set 5-10 minutes.

You may be thinking there’s a lot of fat in this recipe. You’re right. There is a decent amount of fat in this dish—I simply don’t have an issue with fat. Fat is a part of food, particularly less processed food.

It also makes about 8 servings. Put a nice spatula-sized portion on half your plate and fill the other half with a nice green side salad. Boom, you’ve got balance. This makes a tasty leftover lunch.

Now that’s some yummy in your tummy!

Don’t Blame the Cabbage & What the Heck is Braising?!

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Don’t be a hater, cabbage can be really tasty. If you have ever eaten the braised red cabbage at Houston’s Restaurant you know what I mean. So, I decided to review a few recipes and reproduce it myself. Want to know what braising is? Click here.

Come on people, put on your I’m going to try new foods pants and braise some cabbage. Here’s what you’ll need.

Ingredients
1/2 c water
1/4 c white wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey (you can use sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1 small to medium red cabbage, shredded or chopped

If you have a dutch oven pot, use it. If you don’t you can use a stainless steel pan with a lid and cover with foil and the lid. I used my small French oven–it’s super cute but it was a little small for a whole head of cabbage. Some people (my husband) call putting too much stuff in container that is a little too small “pulling a Leslie.” If you can avoid pulling a Leslie, you should. However, I obviously pulled a Leslie and made it work. :)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Get your first 5 ingredients in your pot and bring to a boil.
The add your cabbage and mix. Put in the oven.

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Take out and mix/stir every 30 minutes for approximately 1.5 hours. Your house won’t smell the best but it’s very tasty.
You can top with a little feta or goat cheese for garnish if you like. My 16 month old killed it! Enjoy.

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Don’t Blame the Beets…

To bring you this post today, I woke up early and got cooking in the kitchen.  We won’t mention that I could have done this post before now.  Procrastination? Never.  But, I will tell you that it helped me have one antioxidant rich, health laden-breakfast! See, veggies aren’t just for lunches and dinners :)BWDjVpgIEAAevIj

Enough about me, I know you are dying to hear about beets.  They are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition.  You can just look at their beautiful, dark color and know that they are chock full of phytochemicals and nutrients that our bodies love!  They get their red color predominantly from betalains, which are very anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  They are also a very  good source of other nutrients including folate and manganese.

So, how do you make beets?  Well, you can roast them in the oven (to decrease the amount of nutrients lost roast for less than 1 hour) or you could steam them in the microwave (think <15 minutes).  In either case, you will want to remove the skin at some point because it is what causes the beets to have a bitter, earthy flavor.

Delicious Roasted Beets Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Beets
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter (this is optional but it does add extra flavor.  My favorite is Kerrygold)
  • Salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Peel beets and cube them into ½” to 1” sections.
  3. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
  4. Roast in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  If you want them softer/sweeter, you can roast them longer.  After they are done roasting, add the butter if desired.  I feel it helps bring out their sweet flavor!
  5. Enjoy! You can eat them as a side dish, put them on a yummy salad, or you can even have them with breakfast if you are feeling adventurous :)

Have you tried beets?  Let us know if you try this recipe in the comments sections!

***Special thanks to Janet Zimmerman, a dietitian a  Schilling Nutrition Therapy , for creating this new “Don’t Blame the Veggie” series.

Caprese Kale Salad

Guess what?!!  It’s National Kale Day! Please contain your excitement :-)  Kale is taking the stage as more and more research comes out to support all of its health benefits.  It has tons of vitamins, minerals, and

In honor of National Kale Day, I recommend you make either the Kinky Kale Salad or this Caprese Kale Salad.

Caprese Kale Salad:20130926_165139

2 bunches of Kale, destemmed, and chopped

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

8 oz of mozzarella cheese, chopped into 1/2″ cubes

1 cup cherry tomatoes chopped

 

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Tablespoon dried basil or 1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped basil

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions:20130926_165853

1. Massage kale in the apple cider vinegar until the color brightens.

2. Rinse the kale with water and pat dry.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and mozzarella.

4. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!

 

Do you have a good kale recipe?  Please let us know what you think if you try this recipe!