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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guiltless! Creamy Broccoli Soup


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 large crown broccoli
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan rind (optional)
  • ½ cup low-fat greek yogurt (I used full-fat plain yogurt.)

  • Directions:
    Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into florets. Remove and discard  woody ends of the broccoli stems. Peel the stems and then chop into 1-inch chunks.
  • Once the onion is softened, add the broccoli, veggie broth, salt, and pepper to the pot. Add in the Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with the lid slightly cracked and let cook until the broccoli is fork tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the Parmesan rind. Remove the pot from the heat. Use an immersion blender (or food processor) to puree the mixture until smooth. Stir in the greek yogurt and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked) (See this post for tips on how to cook perfect quinoa!)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles 
  • 1 cup corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1/2 cup petite diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese 
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded (I filled 5 peppers and had no filling left to spare.)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. 
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste. 
  • Spoon the filling each each bell pepper cavity. Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes. (Mine had to cook for a bit longer.  Check internal temp after 30 and cook more as needed.)
  • Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Broiled Tilapia Tacos

real yum.
(p.s. These ingredient amounts serve four, so halve the recipe if you're serving for two!)
  • 8 6-inch white or yellow corn tortillas
  • Quick Slaw:
  • 2 cups finely chopped green cabbage or prepackaged angel hair coleslaw mix (I bought the prepackaged broccoli slaw and it was delicious.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 small radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Pinch of salt, plus more to taste if needed
  • Avocado Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and membranes removed
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tilapia:
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 4 tilapia fillets, about 5 ounces each
  1. Preheat the broiler to high with one rack in the center and another placed about 4-5 inches from the top of the oven or heating element. 
  2. For the coleslaw, in a medium bowl, toss together all the ingredients. Set aside.
  3. For the avocado sauce, blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside. (Just the 1,000,001th reason to have a Vitamix!)
  4. Wrap the tortillas in foil and place them on the center rack of the oven to heat through.
  5. For the tilapia, in a small bowl, combine the cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and salt. Place the tilapia fillets on a lightly greased baking sheet (you can line with foil and grease the foil to minimize cleanup) and rub lightly on both sides with the oil. Sprinkle both sides of the fish with the spice mixture. Broil on the top rack until the flesh is firm but not overcooked, 5-8 minutes. (Half of my fish was cooked after about 8 min, so I took the finished fish out and left the rest of the fish to cook for another 2 minutes or so.)
  6. To serve, use two forks to lightly break apart the tilapia into pieces. Divide the fish between the tortillas and top with slaw and avocado sauce. Serve immediately.  


Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole

Laura swore by this one!  I trusted her.  She delivered!  Thanks, girl!
(See her modifications and then see mine in red.)
  • ¾ lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (Laura used one pound.)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks (Laura used a container of cherry and halved them.)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped, optional (See directions for my suggestions.)
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion (See directions for my suggestions.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (See directions for my suggestions.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (Laura used 2 tablespoons.)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2½ teaspoons cajun seasoning, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2½ cups cooked quinoa (See below for the best way to cook quinoa...)
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


Gwyneth Paltrow taught me how to cook the perfect quinoa.  
-Rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.  (Although this may sound like an unnecessary step, it really makes a huge difference in flavor, since quinoa's natural coating tastes like soap.)
-Place it in a pot set over high heat with 1 3/4 cup water and a big pinch of sea salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid (lid back on), and let the quinoa sit for at least 5 mintues before giving it a fluff with a fork. You'll have a little more than 2½ cups, so make sure you measure it out for the recipe when you need it.

Also, to minimize prep and time, I put the seeded jalapeño, onion, and garlic cloves in a food processor and it was all minced in seconds!

Now let's continue...

  1. Toss the shrimp and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning together; set aside.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet). Cook the shrimp until opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan along with the onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Cook until the onion and jalapeño are tender, stirring often. Mix in the quinoa, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning and tomato chunks. Top with the shrimp and then sprinkle with the fontina cheese.
  5. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. During the last 2 minutes, turn on the broiler to high and broil until the cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Notes from blogger:
*If you don't like quinoa, you can sub the quinoa for brown rice.

*If you do not have a cast iron or oven-safe skillet, after mixing in the quinoa, tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, and tomato chunks in step 4, transfer the ingredients to a casserole dish and then top with the shrimp and fontina cheese.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Cheesy Garlic Pinwheels

I halved this recipe, so if you only need 13-15 pinwheels, do the same!  
(They are pretty small.)
  • 1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb with Garlic Soup mix *(I couldn't find this mix, so I used an envelope of dry Italian dressing mix.  I did not use entire envelope.)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used 4 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (I used 3/4 cup.)
  • 2 tsp. milk (I used 1 tsp.)
  • 2 tubes classic, refrigerated pizza crust (I used 1 tube.)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Mix together garlic soup mix, cream cheese, mozzarella, and milk.

3. Unroll pizza crusts, then top evenly with filling. Roll, (top to bottom) starting at longest side, jelly-roll style. Cut into 32 rounds. (I was able to cut 15 per tube, then tossed first and last cut.)

4. Bake for 13 minutes, or until brown. (Check at 11 min.  13 was too long for mine.)


Shortcut Vegetable Ragu

Gree has been a pill about eating his veggies lately, and this recipe was a perfect way to hide them.  Some of you may feel the same way about vegetables, so try this recipe!  This was super yummy and especially easy.  The food processor works wonders, as it chops the vegetables down to basically nothing.  This Cuisinart 4-cup food processor is amazing for small, quick recipes like this one.  (Link is the cheapest I could find, but they are everywhere.)  Enjoy!


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot, peeled then roughly chopped
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • 1lb ground beef *(I used 85/15.)
  • 24-25 oz. high quality marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, optional
  • 1 lb. pasta


  1. Add onions and garlic to the bowl of a food processor then pulse until minced, or mince by hand. Heat oil in a large skillet with high sides over medium heat then add onions and garlic and saute until softened, 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add carrot, celery, and mushrooms to the bowl of the food processor then pulse until minced, or mince vegetables by hand. Add to skillet then turn heat up to medium-high. Season with salt and pepper then saute until vegetables are tender, 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef to skillet, season with salt and pepper, then saute until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Add marinara sauce and chicken broth then stir to combine, turn the heat down to medium, and then place a lid partially on top and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh basil then taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then drop in spaghetti. Cook until al dente then serve tossed with ragu.  Serves 5-6
*I froze my leftover ragu so I could serve again on another day!


Monday, January 26, 2015

New! Lasagna Soup

  • 8 ounces elbows pasta (1-1.5 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed (I used sweet Italian turkey sausage.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 2 teaspoons oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I used two 14.5 oz. cans.)
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (I didn't bother.)
  • 8 ounces ricotta 
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. 
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well. 
  • Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat. Add garlic, onion, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until well combined, about 1 minute. 
  • Stir in chicken stock, diced tomatoes and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in pasta. 
  • Serve immediately with a heaping spoonful of the ricotta mixture, sprinkled with mozzarella and basil.