Roasted Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Roasted Zucchini and Yellow Squash

img_4603I love zucchini and squash, but I always find it hard to find time to sauté or fry them like I typically would with two kids running amuck at dinner time.  I came across this recipe from The Toasty Kitchen.  It uses ingredients I always have, it’s easy to throw onto a pan, and bakes quickly.  It has a lot of flavor with little cleanup.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Slice zucchini and yellow squash into 1/2″ disks.  Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Add zucchini and yellow squash discs and toss to coat.
  4. Pour zucchini and squash onto the parchment lined baking sheet and spread into a single layer.  Sprinkle tops of zucchini and squash with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Roasted Rutabaga with Maple Syrup

Roasted Rutabaga with Maple Syrup

img_4384I am now a fan of rutabaga, thanks to Misfits Market.  I had no idea what in the world to do with a rutabaga, so Google helped me out.  I found this recipe from Sprinkles and Sprouts.  She’s a genius… rutabaga… who would’ve thought?!

This recipe pairs really well with baked chicken.  I was able to put both in the oven at the same time for a complete meal.  Make sure to use REAL maple syrup, otherwise there won’t be much flavor, but will taste like pure sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb rutabaga (about 3 small rutabaga)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (for garnish – optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 390ºF.
  2. Peel the swedes and cut them into large chunks.
  3. Place the swedes in a bowl and dress with the olive oil, maple syrup and dried thyme.
  4. Add in a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss to combine well.
  5. Spoon the swede into a foil covered pan (the foil only makes for easy clean up), reserving any dressing that has pooled at the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Roast in the oven, for 25 minutes, then drizzle over the reserved dressing and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden.
  7. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh thyme (Or chives works well too!)
Mustard-Maple Roasted Salmon

Mustard-Maple Roasted Salmon

I love the versatility of salmon. It can be savory, it can be a little sweet, and you can pair it with so many sides. I love this recipe because it has a hint of sweetness from maple syrup, but dijon mustard gives it a lot of flavor. This is hands down my favorite salmon recipe for a busy night! I usually have all of the ingredients on hand and I actually prefer dried cilantro in this recipe to fresh.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found a long time ago from Food Network.

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillets (any amount will do-this recipe stretches far for a large amount and is also great for a thick coating on a small amount)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro (fresh is great, but I use dried cilantro all the time to avoid a grocer trip only for cilantro!)
  • 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up later.
  2. Mix the mustard, 1 Tbsp of the cilantro (save the rest for garnish), mayonnaise, and maple syrup in a bowl.
  3. Place salmon fillets in the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the mustard mixture evenly over each fillet and bake until cooked through. For larger, thicker fillets, start with 10-15 minutes and bake longer in 5 minute increments until cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cilantro and serve.
Easy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Easy Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

I almost wish I had never attempted to make sausage gravy. Now that I know how easy it is to make I will want it all the time… goodbye, swimsuit season. I’ll be eating my sausage gravy!

As for the biscuits… I didn’t even attempt those this time. Someday I’ll venture out to the land of homemade biscuits, but for now, biscuits in a can will have to do!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage (I like Jimmy Dean country sausage but any kind will do!)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Directions

    1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high until thoroughly cooked (approximately 10-12 minutes). Remove sausage from pan and reserve sausage drippings (approximately 4 Tbsp).
      Add flour to skillet. If less than 4 Tbsp of drippings were reserved from browning the sausage, adjust the amount of flour accordingly. Continually stir the drippings and flour about 2 minutes.
      Add milk to the flour and drippings mixture. Adjust the amount of milk according to the amount of flour added. Allow to cook and bubble while stirring for approximately 5 minutes. If the gravy becomes too thick, add more milk. The consistency should be fairly thin as the addition of the sausage will thicken the gravy significantly.
      Add sausage to the gravy and stir to heat thoroughly. Add more milk if the mixture becomes too thick or cook additionally if the mixture is too thin.
      Serve over biscuits.

    Easy Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

    Easy Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

    img_3438

    I’ve made this a few times this winter since the cold and flu season hit us HARD this year.  I figure it might be a good comfort food for everyone right now, so here’s my adjusted recipe from Family Fresh Meals.

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen since it’s usually what I have on hand)
    • 2 cups carrots peeled and chopped
    • 1 medium yellow onion diced (I use frozen chopped onion-no smelly chopping!)
    • 3 stalks celery chopped
    • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
    • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 bay leaves
    • 7 cups chicken broth
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 cups (or more… we love noodles… I use more!) wide egg noodles, cooked per package directions
    • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

    Directions

    1. In a 6 quart crockpot add in whole chicken breasts, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, olive oil, thyme and bay leaf.
    2. Next, add in chicken broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Cover and cook on low heat 6 – 7 hours or high heat for 3 1/2 hours.
    4. Cook egg noodles per package directions.  I usually cook an entire package of noodles and save the remaining noodles for another dish the next night.  Two meals out of one?  Yes, please!
    5. Remove cooked chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces. Place chicken back in to the crockpot and add in egg noodles and parsley.
    6. Enjoy!
    Crispy Garlic Parmesan Salmon

    Crispy Garlic Parmesan Salmon

    salmon
    Photo Credit: Cafe Delites

    Salmon is definitely my favorite fish.  Partially because all recipes I have happen to be mix some ingredients, cover the salmon, bake, and voila!  Delicious salmon dinner.  Well, this one is pretty much the same, so it works for me!  I typically make a mustard-maple salmon, so I was excited to try a more crusted salmon recipe.  This one didn’t disappoint!  I found this recipe from Cafe Delites.  Check out their original recipe here!

    Ingredients

    • 2 pounds wild salmon fillet
    • 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
    • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
    • 4 cloves garlic , minced
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    • Salt and pepper
    • Lemon wedges , to serve

    Directions

    1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray / sheet with a large piece of foil. Place the salmon fillet, skin side down, on the baking sheet; set aside.
    2. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/3 teaspoon pepper (or to taste). Using your hands (it’s easier than using a wooden spoon), mix the ingredients together until the breadcrumbs absorb the butter (about 40 seconds).
    3. Pour the mixture over the salmon, pressing it into the top until the fillet is completely covered. Lightly spray salmon with cooking oil spray for a golden crumb.

    4. Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillet), until the crust is golden and the salmon is cooked and flakes easily with fork.
    5. Serve with lemon wedges and a squeeze of lemon (optional).

    This is a great salmon recipe if you’re looking for something with a little extra crunch.  I hope you enjoy it!

    One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta

    One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta

    cheesy pasta
    Photo Credit: RiverBender.com

    Cheese.  Sausage.  Pasta.  All in one pot. Ingredients I usually have on hand at all times.  Easy weeknight meal with no prep whatsoever.  Yeah… we eat this quite a bit.  Good thing it’s delicious 😉   This is also a flexible recipe.  I’ve used all shapes and kinds of pasta from farfalle to rotini to whole grain pasta-it all works.  Out of shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese?  No problem!  Use whatever shredded cheese you happen to have on hand.  I adapted my recipe from one I found from RiverBender.com.  You can check out the original here!

    Ingredients

    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 lb Smoked Turkey Sausage, sliced
    • 1 cup frozen diced onion (fresh is fine, too-I use frozen to save time)
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about two fresh cloves)
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can Chicken Broth
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
    • 8 oz dry pasta (any small pasta will do)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
    • 1 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese
    • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, for garnish

    Directions

    1. Add olive oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions and sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
    2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
    3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover for about five minutes to allow cheese to melt. Top with sliced scallions and serve.

    I typically use a lot more cheese than a cup, because… cheese!  This is a recipe everyone loves.  You can customize it to your taste by using your pasta and cheese of choice, omitting chopped scallions or using green onion, and the list goes on.  I hope you enjoy this one!

    Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

    Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana

    More soup for the cold winter months!  This Olive Garden copycat soup is hearty and can stand on its own as a meal.  It has it all-meat, potatoes, kale… shhhhh… hang with me, kale haters!  I promise you’ll love it.  I adapted my recipe from the Crock Pot Zuppa Toscana recipe at Homemade Hooplah.  My version has cut some corners to save time.  Last time I made this recipe I forgot to brown the sausage with garlic and onion, so I added it to the crock pot instead and it still turned out great!

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
    • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
    • 1 cup frozen diced onion
    • 1 package Ore Ida diced hashbrown potatoes or 4 russet potatoes, diced (I sometimes use a combination of both as I love to leave the skin on red potatoes if I use them in this soup)
    • 1 pinch salt to taste
    • 1 pinch black pepper to taste
    • 4 cup chicken broth (32 oz)
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 bunch kale stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (for topping)

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown and crumble hot Italian sausage, about 5-8 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until some of the onion begins to turn opaque (no need to cook onion completely at this point). Drain grease from skillet.
    2. In a 6 quart crock pot (or bigger), add cooked sausage & veggies plus the diced potato. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour chicken broth on top. There should be enough broth to cover the tops of the potatoes; if there isn’t, add up to 2 cups water so potatoes are covered.

    3. Gently stir ingredients, cover crock pot, and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
    4. Remove lid from crock pot and add kale and heavy whipping cream, then stir to combine.
    5. Cover crock pot and cook on HIGH for another 30 minutes.
    6. Serve zuppa toscana immediately with shredded parmesan cheese as garnish.

    Simple enough!  I usually brown the sausage, onion, and garlic and dice the potatoes and store in water in the fridge the night before to make for a dump and go meal in the morning.  It’s chilly outside-hibernate and enjoy!

    Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

    Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

    img_6036Ignore my horrible photo… I promise this is a delicious recipe.  And yes… that is half of an avocado.  Don’t judge.  I was just so hungry by the time I was able to eat the dinner I prepared at 8:30 pm that I snapped the quickest photo I could.  Anyway, enough with the reasoning for my horribly unappetizing photo…

    This black bean soup is both delicious and healthy.  I will warn you that it might not make a great main course, since it is basically, well… beans.  It’s enough for me, but most people might like something a little heavier to go with it.  Don’t let the “Instant Pot” title fool you-it is definitely anything but instant.  This recipe requires the pressure cooker to naturally release, which takes a little longer than a manual release would.  It took well over an hour and a half for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, cook on high, then naturally release, so be aware before you make this for the evening!  If you want to see the original recipe, check it out at A Pinch of Healthy.

    Ingredients

    • 1 medium onion, diced (save some time and use frozen chopped onion!)
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (14.5 ounce)
    • 3 stalks celery, diced
    • 1 pound dry black beans, rinsed
    • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
    • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used a little less… tiny people in the house)
    • 1 Tablespoon paprika
    • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (again… a little less for us-tiny people)
    • 2 Tablespoons cumin
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • Toppings: avocado, sour cream, lime, green onion, tortilla chips

    Directions

    1. Add all ingredients (except toppings) to the Instant Pot, and place the lid on top, with the vent set to “sealing.”

    2. Cook the soup on manual high pressure for 40 minutes, and let the pressure naturally release.

    3. After the pot is depressurized, remove the lid, and carefully remove the bay leaves.  Soup will thicken after sitting.

    4. Serve with desired toppings.

       

    Enjoy!

    Healthy Crock Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip

    Healthy Crock Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip

    spinach dip
    Photo Credit: Prevention

    I love spinach artichoke dip, but somehow always have the mindset that it’s a recipe that would be far too complicated for me to even attempt.  That is, until I found this simple (and healthy!) recipe from Prevention.  The prep is easy, the ingredients are much healthier than most spinach artichoke dip recipes, and… it’s delicious!  Check out the original here!

    Ingredients

    • 2 c shredded reduced-fat mozzarella
    • 1 container (8 oz) reduced-fat onion and chive cream cheese
    • ¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
    • ¼ large onion, chopped (or frozen chopped onion, thawed)
    • 1 bag (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed
    • 1 can (13.75 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    • ¼ tsp garlic powder
    • ¼ tsp ground red pepper
    • Salt and ground black pepper
    • Baked tortilla chips, pita chips, carrots, or celery for serving

    Directions

    1. Combine and stir together the mozzarella, cream cheese, Parmesan, onion, spinach, artichokes, garlic powder, and red pepper in a 3- to 5-quart slow cooker.
    2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
    4. Serve warm with tortilla chips or celery and carrot sticks.

    So simple!  Pour ingredients, stir, let heat through, and chow down!