Simple Breakfast Salad

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On days that I want a substantial breakfast without the carbs, a breakfast salad is my go-to.  It’s easy, delicious, and filling without making you feel guilty.  For this breakfast salad there is of course a side of bacon to go with it.  I used romaine lettuce, but you can use any greens you may have available.  Add as many vegetables as you would like, this is a simple starter salad to get you going.  Instead of a fat filled dressing, the roasted red peppers, lemon juice, and egg yolks combine beautifully in the bowl to do the trick.  This makes 2 salads.

Ingredients:

8 slices of thick cut bacon
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup of red onions, diced
4 slices of roasted red peppers, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 avocado, diced
4 eggs
fresh cilantro and lemon wedge for garnish

Directions: 

1. Cook bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  It will take less time if sliced thin.
2. In a heavy skillet take a small amount of the bacon grease from the pan to saute onions and garlic for a few minutes.

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3. In your serving bowl combine lettuce, diced red peppers and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
4. When bacon is crispy cut 2-4 slices into small pieces and add to salad with cooked red onions.
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5. Cook eggs sunny-side up in skillet over medium-low heat with bacon grease to keep from sticking.
6. Top salad with avocado, eggs, cilantro, and a squirt of lemon.  Breaking yolks to mix with the salad is the best dressing!

Enjoy and Stay Healthy!

Glazed Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

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This dish sounds only half as good as it actually tasted.  I really enjoy lean proteins for a main course with lots of fruits/veggies on the side, but sometimes the meat will quickly dry out no matter how much care you take to avoid overcooking.  Lately I have been on a serious bacon kick, even using the grease to cook vegetables…I know, perhaps I will cut back in the new year.  Using the bacon to keep lean meats from drying out is a great way assure a crowd pleasing moist cut of meat.  With the garlic and herb rub it’s unbeatable.  I combined recipes I found online from Fabio Viviani and Giada De Laurentiis to come up with this dish.

The glazed bacon was so fantastic and crispy with the flavorful layer of garlic herbs hiding underneath.  I served this with a simple salad of shaved brussel sprouts, kale, and fennel tossed with a dressing made with fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, and shaved parmesan topped with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  So good with a nice flavor that didn’t get lost next to the bacon and pork.

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Ingredients:

1 2-4 pound boneless Pork Loin (not tenderloin)
5 large cloves of Roasted Garlic
1 Tbsp fresh minced Thyme (center stalk removed)
1 Tbsp fresh minced Rosemary
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 pound of thick cut Bacon
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

1. Rinse and dry the pork loin, place fatty side up on a broiler pan.  I scored the shiny tendon/fat of the loin, careful not to cut into the meat.

2. Mash together the roasted garlic with the dried herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano) to make a rub.

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3. Rub the garlic herb mixture over the exposed surface of the pork loin.

4. Lay the bacon slices over the loin, overlapping slightly.  Tuck the ends under the loin to hold in place.  If the bacon slices aren’t long enough they will curl up while cooking, so you may want to tie them down with kitchen twine.

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5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

6. Mix together the vinegar and brown sugar (adjust amounts as needed to make a thin glaze).

7. After the initial 1 hour of cooking, brush the glaze over the bacon.  Return to oven to finish cooking until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (about 30 minutes depending on the size of your loin).  If you have to add a considerable amount of time to fully cook, you may want to lay foil over the bacon and/or re-glaze to avoid burning.

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8. Remove and let rest for about 20 minutes.  Internal temperature should rise another 15 degrees to reach 160 before serving.  You will need to check the internal temperature of the pork with a thermometer unless you are really confident in your ability to judge cooked pork.

This dish is truly amazing and very easy to make.

Enjoy!

Skillet Baked Chicken

This recipe is incredibly easy, uses only 1 dish, and a handful of ingredients.  I made this for a quick weeknight dinner but will definitely be making it again for a crowd.  The key to this is good quality bacon, shocking I know.  You want a thick cut applewood smoked bacon if you can find it.  I get our bacon at the Paulina Meat Market usually so the slices are fresh and as thick as I want, but I also like Wright brand from our local grocery store.  This is not for turkey bacon or a thin sliced lean bacon, the smokey fat makes all the difference in giving depth and keeping the chicken moist.

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Ingredients:

3 slices of bacon, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In an oven safe skillet cook the bacon stirring frequently.  When half-way cooked add the bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes on medium low heat.
3. Push the bacon and peppers to the edge of the skillet and turn heat up to medium.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, place in the center and brown about 5 minutes on each side.
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4. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

One Pot Curry Chicken and Rice

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This is an easy and very flavorful one pot wonder that is great for a last minute dinner party.  I have substituted various vegetables into the mix, so you can use whatever you on hand.  I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts, but you can use any cut of chicken you have on hand.  I imagine this being good and even cheaper using chicken thighs.

Ingredients: 

1 cup of Rice (not instant)
3 tsp oil (canola, olive, or coconut)
4-6 skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), trimmed
2 cups finely chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (or 1/2 tsp ginger powder)
2 Tbsp curry powder (red or yellow)
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 cups chicken broth
1-15oz can of chickpeas, rinsed
1-14oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped zucchini (as shown) or frozen peas, thawed
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Heat 1 tsp oil in dutch oven over medium heat, add chicken and cook until browned on all sides ~8 minutes.  Remove and put on plate.

2013-11-07 18.29.543. Reduce heat to low and add more oil, cook onions until golden brown ~15 minutes.  Stir in garlic, ginger, curry powder, coriander and ground red pepper.  Cood until fragrant ~2minutes.

4. Increase heat to medium high, stir in broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, zucchini and rice.  Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer.  Nestle chicken into the rice, cover, and cook in oven 20-25 minutes.

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5. Serve with a small wedge of lime if desired.

Enjoy!

Coconut and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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After Thanksgiving you are likely looking for something to eat that is healthy but perhaps with flavors that are out of the comfort food category.  This dish is full of vegetables and has a spicy flavor that is perfect for this time of year.  Serving on a bed of spaghetti squash cuts back on calories and sneaks in some extra fiber.  I made this dish with coconut milk to keep it dairy free and change the flavor profile even further out of the comfort food zone.  I used chicken, but this would be good with pork or even shrimp.

Ingredients: 

1 Onion, diced
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp sriracha (or red pepper paste)
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
3 red peppers, roasted with skins removed
1 jalapeno, roasted
1 15oz can of coconut milk
1 tsp truvia or sugar

Directions:

1. Slice red peppers and jalapeno into flat pieces, spray with olive oil and roast for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees.

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2. While the peppers are roasting heat grapeseed oil, coconut oil, or olive oil in large dutch oven, saute onions over medium heat for 5 minutes.

3. Add coriander and cayenne, simmer for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in garlic and ginger, continue to heat for 5 minutes.

4. Add can of diced tomatoes including juices and mix well.

5. When the peppers are blackened, remove from oven and place in bowl covered with saran wrap.  Allow to sit in bowl for at least 5-10 minutes before removing skins (sitting in steam will allow skins to slide off easily).

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6. Roughly chop peppers and add to pan.  Add sriracha and truvia or sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

7. While your sauce is simmering start to brown chicken (seasoned lightly with salt and pepper) in heavy skillet for 5 minutes on each side.

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8. Add coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing.  I used an immersion blender, but if you don’t have one you will have to transfer to a regular blender to puree in batches.

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9. Nestle browned chicken into sauce and simmer on low for 15 minutes to finish cooking.

10. Serve over rice or spaghetti squash as pictured above.

Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken and Orzo Soup (crock pot)

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With my husband sick last week I wanted to make a good but easy chicken noodle soup.  Using a whole chicken, I broke it down and cooked it all day in the slow cooker to develop a spicy homemade broth.  Adding orzo noodles at the end you can finish the meal with little effort.  The hardest part of this dish was breaking down the raw chicken, very different from carving a cooked bird.  I had never really done this before, but I have read about it in my cooking magazines.  Don’t let them fool you, it is a bit of a process.  For those of you who don’t like to handle raw chicken…this is not for you.  I unfortunately don’t have pictures of the process as I didn’t want to get raw chicken hands on my phone.

Here is a link to a brief tutorial.  http://www.marthastewart.com/967789/how-cook#973692

Now I cut mine a little differently because I didn’t watch the tutorial first, rather went from memory.  Using kitchen shears I cut the bird in half through the spine and finished separating right from left by then splitting the breasts.  With the two equal halves I cut off the legs and wings.

If you don’t want to deal with bones you can use boneless and skinless chicken breasts, but I’m not sure you will develop the same flavor in the broth without the bones and skin.

I decided to use the orzo noodles for a smoother consistency with the large pieces of chicken, but you can use a traditional egg noodle or whatever noodle you want.  The fun part of cooking with orzo is that on day two the noodles will soak up almost all of the broth making a thick casserole consistency for the leftovers.

The best part about this meal is that it is very cheap to make a large quantity of food.  Whole chickens are inexpensive compared to buying the pieces separately.  I paid $5 for the whole chicken and about $3-4 for the rest of the ingredients (except spices that I had on hand).  After we had this for dinner I put the rest into mason jars for lunch, it made enough for 2 of us for the entire week.  Less processed and way less sodium than the canned stuff!

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Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), broken down into pieces.
1 large onion, diced
6 large carrots, peeled and diced
6 stalks of celery, diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 dried chili pepper (Optional for heat)
4-5 sprigs of thyme, stems removed
1 bay leaf
1 lb orzo noodles, uncooked.
water
salt and pepper to taste (be generous, at least 1-2 tsp of salt and pepper each)

Directions:

1. Break down your chicken as instructed above.

2. Layer the crock pot with onions, celery, carrots and top with chicken.

3. Season with salt and pepper generously, add garlic, thyme, chili pepper and bay leaf.

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4. Fill the crock pot with cold water.  Cook on high for 2 hours then cook on low for 4 hours.

5. At least 30 minutes before serving add orzo noodles and stir gently.

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6. To serve ladle out noodles and vegetables with a whole piece of chicken per person.  The chicken will literally fall off the bone in your bowl, so you can grab end and it will come out clean with little effort.

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7. For storage remove the rest of the pieces of chicken and separate meat from bones, stir to mix well (you can do this immediately if you don’t want to serve the chicken pieces whole).

Enjoy!

 

Taco Seasoning

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The first time I made my own taco seasoning I made it because I was in a pinch and didn’t have time to go pick up a packet at the store.  I always used to purchase the pre-made packets thinking they were cheap and easy, but there is something so much better about making the seasoning yourself.  Plus you can adjust measurements based on your personal tastes.  I’m not exactly sure where I got this recipe, but it is flavorful and spicy and perfect.  I have used this with chicken, pork, and ground beef.

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Taco Seasoning Ingredients: 

1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Directions:

Add seasoning ingredients together, store in airtight container to use as needed.  This amount will generally be enough for 1 lb of cooked meat and vegetables.

Tonight I sliced pork thin and sauteed with peppers and onions until cooked through.  Once mixed I added enough taco seasoning to coat.  Of course this is wonderful in a taco or burrito shell with conventional ingredients, but tonight I had it on a salad for a healthy and filling dinner!

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Spicy Pork

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I recently saw a recipe with a sriracha sauce drizzled on top of salmon, and it got my wheels turning.  Tonight for dinner I made some quick marinated boneless pork chops and topped it with a sriracha drizzle to spice it up.  AMAZING!  I imagine this would be good with chicken, beef, shrimp, or even salmon.  I served this with a side of garlic broccoli, but it would also be good over a bed of rice as well.  I will definitely make this again, I think it would be great as an appetizer with the meat skewered and sauce on the side to dip.

Sriracha drizzle Ingredients:

3 Tbsp of mayo
1 Tbsp sriracha (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 tsp of agave

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Marinade:

1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder

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Directions:

1. 30-60 minutes before you want to cook dinner, get your marinade ready.  Combine marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake to combine, add 2-4 boneless pork chops to bag and allow to marinate for at least 30-60 minutes.  You can marinate the meat longer, but I was short on time and it ended up being the perfect match for the sriracha drizzle after just 30 minutes.

2. Make your sriracha drizzle by combining sriracha, mayo, and agave.

3. In a medium-hot skillet heat a generous amount of olive oil.  Cook marinated pork chops ~4 minutes on each side until cooked through.

4. Remove from heat and top with sriracha drizzle.

Enjoy!

Whole Sage Chicken and Stock (slow cooker)

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Starting with a small roaster chicken, an easy weeknight meal can be made in the slow cooker while you are away at work.  I found this recipe online a few years ago, so easy and inexpensive to make.  The best part is that this chicken is super moist and the flavors can be unique based on the spices you want to use.  I used dried sage, onion, and garlic for tonight’s chicken.  I am including two options for stock with this post as well.  The quick stock is nice but unnecessary for basting during cooking, the chicken will be delicious if you leave it alone all day.  I used this quick stock to make a butternut squash soup to have as a side to the chicken, yum!  If you have the time and patience, you can make a true slow cooked stock in the slow cooker after you eat the chicken.

Ingredients:

– 1 small roasting chicken 4-6 lbs
– 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
-1 medium yellow onion, half sliced in rings and half diced.
– 2 Tbsp of dried sage
– salt and pepper to taste

Quick Stock:

– chicken neck and organs (that are usually neatly cleaned and packed in chicken).
-1/2 onion, diced
-2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
-1 bay leaf
– 1 tsp dried sage
-1 tsp ground pepper
-1 tsp salt (more to taste)
-4 cups of water

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Directions:

1. Line bottom of crock pot with sliced onion and 1/2 of the sliced garlic.

2. Remove organs and neck from chicken (reserve for stock), rinse with water and pat dry.

3. Season inside of chicken with salt, pepper, and 1/2 the sage.  Fill with diced onions and 1/3 of garlic.

4. Place chicken breast side up on top of onion bed.  Season with salt, pepper, remaining sage and garlic.

5. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until fully cooked.  (Optional if home while cooking) Baste chicken with a small amount (1/8 cup) of quick broth after 1 hour.  Then baste every hour after with juice on bottom of crock pot.

6. Carefully remove chicken when fully cooked from crock pot and carve.

Quick Broth:

1. Place reserved chicken neck and organs in medium sauce pan.

2. Add garlic, onions, seasonings, and water.

3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for at least 45 minutes, up to 2 hours if able.

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Slow cooker Broth:

If you have the ability, after eating the chicken reserve the bones and return to crock pot with residual juices from cooking and sliced onions on bottom of pot.  Fill crock pot with water to cover bones and cook on low for 8 hours.

Strain and store in refrigerator until ready to use for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

Teriyaki Marinated Pork Tenderloin

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Making your own marinade is a great way to know exactly what you are eating.  This is an easy recipe that brings a sweet teriyaki flavor to a nice cut of meat.  I am sure there are different proportions that can be used and other ingredients that make a more teriyaki worthy marinade, but this combination tasted wonderful and cooked well.  Add a vegetable side or two and you have a full meal.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of pork tenderloin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup diced onions
2 ” slice of ginger, minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon, juice
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar or agave nectar
3 tbsp oil (sesame oil if you have it)

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Directions:

1.  Mix together all ingredients for marinade into a large ziplock bag.  Add pork tenderloin and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 6-12 hours.  If you are able, shake the bag to re-mix several times while marinating.

2. After the pork has had the opportunity to marinade, remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.

3.  Arrange in small baking pan 2-3 inches deep with a small amount of marinade.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until internal temperature reads 145 degrees.  Allow to rest at least 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

2013-10-27 19.54.16Enjoy!

 

Prosciutto Panini

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If you are looking for a hearty weekend lunch or a weeknight dinner that can be varied according to individual tastes, a sandwich is a pretty good place to start.  Making a Panini is an easy way to spice up the meal, especially in cold weather with a side of soup.  To make the Panini today I started with small loaves of half-baked ciabatta bread from Trader Joe’s.  A hearty bread such as ciabatta or sourdough holds up nicely to the heat you will be adding to cook the panini and allows for a lot of ingredients stuffed inside.  A little trick to add flavor and a little more crunch is to toast the inside of the sandwich first.  Today I really went wild toasting the bread in a cast iron skillet that had a thin layer of bacon grease and roasted garlic…delicious.

Like I said you can really make any combination you want, I will share what I used today as it was amazing!  This is enough for 4 small sandwiches.

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Ingredients:

4 small loaves of ciabatta bread, fully baked.
3-6 Tbsp of oil of choice (I used bacon grease)
2-3 cloves of roasted garlic
8-10 slices of fresh shaved Prosciutto
4 Tbsp of light spinach and artichoke dip (see previous post)
fresh shaved parmesan cheese
4 thin slices of fresh mozzarella
1/2 avocado, sliced thin
1 handful of arugula
1 small zucchini thinly sliced, sauteed until cooked adente.

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Directions:

1. Prepare your bread first: Cut loaves in half.  Heat heavy skillet over medium heat to warm bacon grease (or oil of choice).  Add thinly sliced roasted garlic to hot bacon grease, stirring for about 1 minute.  Place sliced bread in skillet cut side down to brown in bacon grease, when you remove bread try to keep the garlic slices on the bread for extra flavor.

2. Prepare your sandwich by smearing spinach and artichoke dip inside top half of bread.  Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on bottom side of bread, layer with zucchini, followed by prosciutto, avocado, a few pieces of arugula, fresh shaved parmesan (to make this a breakfast sandwich we added thinly sliced hardboiled eggs to a few as well).

3. In your heavy skillet on medium-low heat place the sandwich in the pan.  If you have a panini press, use it to smoosh the sandwich gently.  Flip over after a few minutes when bottom is browned and cheese is starting to melt.

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A few secrets to a good panini:

-Place cheese in sandwich twice, once on the bottom and once on the top of your pile-up, this will keep the panini together better once cooked.  You don’t have to use the same kind of cheese, I used mozzarella on the bottom and parmesan on the top.

-Slice all ingredients very thin so they can be layered smoothly to prevent them from slipping out when you take a bite or press the panini.

-Cook on lower heat for longer periods of time to allow center to get hot and cheese to melt.

-If you are using sliced bread (like a grilled cheese), butter the outside with a mixture of butter and mayonnaise (50/50 mix) to avoid burning while cooking.

-A classic combination that never fails: tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and a smear of pesto.

Enjoy!

Light Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Last weekend I made a vegan spinach and artichoke dip from http://www.plantpoweredkitchen.com (great ideas on this site).  I really enjoyed the idea of pureeing cashews with almond milk to make a dairy-free creamy base for a dip or spread.  I took the recipe a step or two in a different direction to make a vegetable based dip (no longer vegan) with peppers, basil, and a little parmesan.   After a few trials I found a combination that is really good and very healthy.  Earlier this week I baked it with chicken over a bed of onions, not bad.  The real winner came today when I used the dip as a spread on a prosciutto panini (recipe to come), it was perfect. The spread alone is a simple snack to bring to a gathering or to put out on football Sunday.  Serve warm with veggies, pita chips or toasted bread.  If you are into the dairy-free thing, skip the cheese.

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup almond milk (more for consistency)
1/2 lemon, juice
2 cloves garlic
10 small fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicy)
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 lb frozen spinach (you can use fresh as well, try 1 cup packed)
12 oz artichoke hearts (frozen or canned-drained)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Add cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, garlic, basil, salt, mustard, red pepper flakes, and jalapeno to food processor with “s” blade.  Process for 1-2 minutes until liquid.

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2. Add red pepper, spinach, and artichokes to food processor and blend until combined to desired consistency.  Add more almond milk as needed.  If you are planning to serve this as a warm dip, just pulse in the vegetables to leave larger pieces of artichoke and pepper.  If using as a spread then pulse to the consistency above.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.

3. Spread the mixture into a small baking dish to heat for serving at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

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Butternut Ham Soup

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After making a ham last weekend I had another ham bone to utilize in a dish.  Instead of making split pea soup or red beans and rice, I wanted to make a fall soup without beans involved.  It took a lot of research to find a recipe that did not involve beans in some way, and when I finally found a reasonable recipe (vegetable ham soup on Cooks.com) I make a few changes including incorporating a butternut squash I had sitting around.  I also made this soup in the crock pot instead of on the stovetop to get as much benefit of the ham bone as possible.

Ingredients:

-1-2 Tbsp of olive oil or butter
-1 large onion, chopped
-6 carrots, peeled and diced
-4 stalks of celery, chopped
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-10 cups of chicken stock
-4-5 sprigs of thyme
-1 Tbsp chopped parsley
-1 bay leaf
-1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
-3 cups chopped ham
-1 meaty ham bone
-ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat oil or butter in heavy pot over medium heat.  Cook onion, garlic, carrots, and celery for 10-15 minutes.

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2. Add squash, ham, and black pepper to vegetables.  Stir to warm.  Add chicken broth, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and ham bone.

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3. When warm, put in crock pot on low for 4-6 hours.

4. Remove thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and ham bone before serving.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Turkey Bolognese

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My mission of reducing processed foods in our diet is reaching an all time high with spaghetti squash season.  This dish is easy, flavorful, and very healthy.  From what I have learned a bolognese is really just a meat based sauce, so you can substitute for any meat of choice if you don’t have ground turkey on hand.  This recipe started to develop for me after I read a recipe from Martha Stewart (we are totally friends 😉 ), then I added a few additions of my own…like more bacon…and wine…and mushrooms.  My husband really enjoyed this dish without me having to make regular pasta noodles, so I consider this a total success!

Ingredients:

-1 medium spaghetti squash
-1 pound of lean ground turkey
-5 slices of bacon
-1 Tbsp garlic and chili pepper infused olive oil
-1 large onion, diced
-3 stalks of celery, diced
-1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (any mushrooms of choice)
-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
-1 Tbsp fresh thyme
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 tsp black pepper
-1/4 cup dry red wine
-1 15oz can of tomato sauce
-2 15oz cans of diced tomatoes

Directions:

1.  Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, spray with olive oil and season with pepper.  Bake in oven at 375 for 45 minutes.  When it is fully cooked it is easily scraped out with a spoon to make spaghetti-like strands.

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2.  While squash is cooking, in a large heavy sauce pan cook bacon over medium heat until cooked through, remove from pot to use later.

3. Add 1 Tbsp of infused olive oil to pan with bacon grease along with onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes and black pepper, cook for 10-15 minutes until soft.

4. Remove onion and mushroom mixture and put in bowl for later use.

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5. Brown turkey in pot, breaking to crumble.  When fully cooked drain grease and add onion and mushroom mixture and crumbled bacon back to pot.  Add red wine and simmer for 5 minutes before stirring in tomatoes and tomato sauce.

6.  Let simmer for 30 minutes to develop flavor.

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7. Serve over spaghetti squash, add parmesan cheese if desired.

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce with Turkey Meatballs

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Knowing how to make a good spaghetti sauce is a necessity in every at home cook’s life.  There are plenty of spaghetti sauce jars to pick from at the grocery store that are okay in a pinch, but nothing compares to a homemade sauce that spent all day on the stove perfecting.  This is a spicy sauce that is hands down the best I’ve ever made.  I added turkey meatballs while cooking, which were perfect and flavorful.

Sauce Ingredients:

– 2 Tbsp butter
– 2 tsp fresh sage, minced
– 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced
– 2 tsp fresh basil, minced
– 1 Tbsp dried oregano
– 1 Tbsp dried basil
– 2 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1 dash of salt
– 1 tsp pepper
– 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 green bell pepper, diced
– 1 jalapeno, diced
– 1 hungarian pepper, diced
– 1/4 cup red wine
– 4 15oz cans of tomato sauce
– 2 cups chicken broth

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Directions:

1. In a large sauce pan turn heat to low/medium-low and brown butter with the fresh herbs for a few minutes.

2. Add the dried herbs, garlic, onion, and peppers and saute for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Add red wine and simmer for 5 minutes before adding tomato sauce and chicken broth.

3. Allow sauce to simmer on low for 1 hour, then puree with an immersion blender or transfer to stand up blender and blend in batches.

4. Continue to simmer while making meatballs.

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Turkey Meatball Ingredients:

– 1 lb ground turkey
– 1 lb hot sausage (jimmy Deans)
– 1/2 lb ground pork
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
– 1 medium onion
– 1/2 jalapeno, diced
– 1/2 cup bread crumbs
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1 tsp oregano
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp pepper
– 1 tsp garlic, minced

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Meatball Directions: 

1. Combine all ingredients except for the meat in a large bowl, mix well.

2. Add meats and mix with hands thoroughly before rolling into balls.

3. Place meatballs into pureed sauce and simmer on low for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally.

2013-10-04 16.40.45 2013-10-04 16.47.57I served the sauce over thin spaghetti noodles, but it is also excellent over spaghetti squash as a healthy alternative.  Expect leftovers if you are serving less than 10 people.  The turkey meatballs are perfect for a meatball sandwich the next day.

Enjoy!