Three Little Pigs Soup

This wonderfully delicious, rich and smokey soup is just what you need on a cold winter day.

Delectable Chocolate Chip Cookies

Look no further - this is the only recipe you need for chocolate chip cookies!

Bella's Perfectly Chocolate Cupcake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

A cupcake that is the perfect marriage of double chocolate and salted caramel

Authentic Lebanese Hummus

Add a lighter fare to your big game day menu with this delicious appetizer

Flank Steak Vegetable Rolls with Balsamic Glaze

Easy weeknight dinner or perfect appetizer for a dinner party

07 January 2016

Slutty Low-Carb “Pasta”

Slutty Low-Carb “Pasta”
I have been seeing recipes all over Pinterest that require the use of a tool that cuts veggies into spiral noodles. I gave in and bought one months ago, yet it sits in my kitchen in the original packaging begging to be used. Well…until tonight that is! I was inspired by a recipe I pinned on my Lighter Fare board. I went to the grocery store with my weekly menu in hand and when I came home, I couldn’t wait to get started on my creation.

This is a low carb, sugar free, delicious meal that combines delicious veggies, ground turkey and a little bit of heat. The outcome ….. I can’t even tell you how good this was.  The name for this recipe is pulled from the inspiration recipe on pinterest. Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is an old school Italian recipe that translates into “spaghetti a la whore”. The name works and it’s catchy so I decided to keep it.

So let’s get started. This was enough for me to have dinner and lunch the next day.

2 ripe zucchini’s

97% fat free ground turkey (I used ½ pound)
Olive Oil
½ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon capers
Pine nuts
Lemon juice
15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced (not drained)


To start, brown your ground turkey in a pan (add a touch of olive oil if the meat sticks to your pan). Season with sea salt, pepper, dehydrated onion and garlic powder. Add in red bell pepper and onions and cook until turkey is cooked through and veggies are translucent. Toss in a handful of pine nuts and cook for a few minutes to sort of toast them. Add in garlic and capers, cook for a few more minutes.  Add the can of tomatoes and turn up the heat to medium high. Once the skillet is pretty hot, squirt some fresh lemon juice around the inside edge of the pan and stir. I love adding lemon to tomato sauces/mixtures because it really brightens up the flavor of the veggies. Turn down to medium and let simmer while you cut the zucchini noodles.

Use your spiral veggie cutter to cut 2 zucchinis (wash and dry them first). Once the sauce is hot and bubbly, I add just a pinch of red pepper flakes and toss. Put your “noodles” in a bowl, top with a few ladles full of the tomato sauce and garnish with parmesan cheese.

You could add other veggies as you see fit. Mushrooms would be delightful, other bell peppers, asparagus even. The possibilities are endless. Then you could change up the spices to make the flavor completely different.



02 April 2014

Flank Steak Vegetable Rolls with Balsamic Glaze

I have seen this recipe pop on Pinterest quite a bit lately and decided to give it a whirl. And I am so glad I did. This recipe was super easy, fairly inexpensive and was on the table in 40 minutes (30 minutes of that was marinade time). Of course, if you plan ahead and marinade the steak ahead of time, it literally can be on the table in 10 minutes!!! And this is a dish you can feel good about serving to your whole family. Even Bella ate every single bite! That is a win in our house any day of the week.

Flank Steak Vegetable Rolls with Balsamic Glaze

recipe slightly altered and photo courtesy of this blog
1 1/2 pounds flank steak (or very thinly sliced sirloin)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4-5 T Worcestershire Sauce
Steak Seasoning of your choice
Olive Oil
1 Carrot, sliced thinly (matchstick size)
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, sliced thinly (matchstick size)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced thinly (matchstick size)
1/2 Zucchini, sliced thinly (matchstick size)
5-6 Green Onions (green part, discard the white, cut green part to similar size of other veggies)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Italian Herb Seasoning
Smoked Paprika
2 T Butter
2 T Shallots, finely minced
1/4 C. Balsamic Vinegar
2 T Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Beef Broth
Start by laying your steak on a cutting board and slicing into strips that are approximately 2 inches wide. My steak cuts were pretty long so I cut mine in half that way also. I think my final measurements were about 2 inches wide and 6 inches long. Season with steak seasoning of choice, throw in Ziploc bag and add in Worcestershire sauce. Let marinade for 30 minutes. If you have a tougher cut of meat, longer will be better.
While the meat is marinading, cut your veggies. You want your veggies to hang over the steak (so they look like above). If you are grilling, cut your veggies a tad shorter than your steak so that the veggies don't burn while you are cooking them.
To start the glaze, put your butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add in shallots and cook until translucent. Now add in balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and beef broth and bring it to a boil. Let the sauce reduce to half its volume. You'll know when it's done because it will start to become thick like syrup. Don't overcook it because it can quickly turn very hard very quickly. Once it's done, turn off the heat and pour it into a bowl.
In a large pan, over medium high heat, add in olive oil and garlic. Toss in cut veggies (not the green onion) and season with Italian herb seasoning and salt/pepper. Stir fry them for 2 minutes. Remove from pan.
To assemble your rolls, lay each strip of steak on a cutting board and gather bundles of veggies. I used two of each cooked veggie and one green onion to each strip. Place it towards one end of the strip and then roll them up and secure the seam side with a toothpick. Continue until all are made.
To cook, heat olive oil in pan you cooked veggies in over medium high.  Place the rolls seam side down and not touching and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until you get a nice sear to them. The thicker your steak or larger your rolls will determine the appropriate cook time. Mine were thin and when rolled, the steak was in two layers so my cook time was about 3-4 minutes total. While cooking, season with a dash of smoked paprika and more steak seasoning.
When done, remove the toothpick, plate and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.
We served this with chive and curry couscous and French baguette drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with herbs and toasted it. Shawn and I each got 4 rolls and Bella ate 3. They are a perfect size for appetizers too if you're hosting a party and want to impress the guests with some Hors d'oeuvres that look like they were difficult to prepare and delicious in taste!

30 December 2013

Carnitas Burrito Bowls with Salsa Fresca and Lime Cilantro Rice

I loooovvveeeee me some Chipotle! If I didn't feel like crap after eating it (basically because the portion sizes are so incredibly ridiculous), I would probably eat it on a weekly basis. But since that would result in a few less than desirable consequences (like having to buy larger pants), I'll refrain.

Not that my homemade version is significantly more healthy, it does taste a lot better. I love that I can control the fat by trimming the excess off of the pork and keep the sodium levels in check. Everything tastes fresh and I didn't have to get changed out of my comfy clothes to put dinner on the table! This is pretty easy to put together and it's awesome not having to stand in line. That's a win in my book!

Carnitas Burrito Bowls with Fresh Salsa

3 lb pork shoulder roast, remove excess fat
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced.
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 T ground cumin
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice

1) With a sharp knife, cut several slits into the pork roast and stuff the holes with garlic. Tightly wrap with Seran Wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight.

2) In the morning, pull out the pork. Combine the remaining ingredients in the crock pot and stir.

3) Heat a large frying pan on high heat and sear the pork shoulder on each side. Once its seared, place it in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. 

4) After 8 hours, remove the pork from the crock pot and using two forks shred the pork. Reserve one cup of the juices, drain the rest. Place the shredded pork back into the crock pot with the reserved juices and allow to cook for another 20 minutes, to soak up the juices.

In the meantime, prepare your fresh salsa so that flavors marry well.

Salsa Fresca

1 large beef steak tomato, chopped in small pieces
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
Sea Salt
Lime juice

1) Combine all measured ingredients into a bowl.
2) Add in a few cranks of sea salt from a grinder and lime juice (I usually don't measure this, but its probably the juice of a half to full lime)

Next .... make the Lime Cilantro Rice 

Lime Cilantro Rice

Jasmine Rice, prepared as directed (mine called for 1 cup of rice)
1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Sea Salt

1) Prepare rice as directed.
2) Once rice is done cooking, fluff with a fork.
3) Add in cilantro, lime and salt to the rice and stir.

Now its time to build your most amazing burrito bowl ever. Start with a good helping of rice, topped with a good portion of pork, then add some cut up lettuce, cheese, sour cream and top with a good spoon or two of the fresca salsa.

You're welcome!!

29 December 2013

Buttermilk Cornbread

This cornbread is a great compliment to any meal. This  recipe is a bit sweet but not overly sweet. Just a nice hint of sweetness amongst the other wonderful flavors.

Buttermilk Cornbread

(photo courtesy of this blog)
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cups white sugar (can use 1/3 c brown sugar in place of white)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch pan with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Melt butter and pour into mixer bowl. Add in sugar and eggs quickly and mix until combined.
3) Measure out buttermilk and add baking soda to it and add into the egg mixture.
4) Add in remaining ingredients and pour into prepared pan and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until done.
5) After pulling it out of the oven, immediately drizzle honey over the bread and melt a small amount of butter over the top also.

Three Little Pigs Soup

As the name suggests, this soup has three types of pork in it. Of course, you can eliminate one or two of them but I think you'd loose some of the depth this soup has. Its everything a soup should be: hearty, earthy, thick, and bursting with layers of flavor.

I had my sister and her main squeeze over for dinner and they agreed by helping themselves to seconds. This was a great way to use up the leftover christmas ham (check the blog because that recipe was FANTASTIC and blows the national ham chain out of the water) and get in some fiber and warm up on a cold Ohio December day.

I served this with a very delicious homemade cornbread (recipe on the blog also). This particular cornbread is a bit sweet (but not overly sweet) to balance the smokiness of the soup.

You're welcome in advance!

Three Little Piggies Soup

6 slices of bacon, coursely chopped
3 links of mild italian sausage, cut into bite size pieces (casing removed)
Ham, chopped into small pieces (I used leftover, equivalent of about 4-6 spiral slices)
1 small white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 cans chicken broth (the normal size cans) I always use low sodium/low fat
1 chipotle pepper (with adobe sauce), chopped small
2 teaspoons cumin
3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
few dashes of smoked paprika
dash of dried minced onion
salt and pepper to taste

1) In a frying pan, cook the chopped bacon until it is crispy. Remove from the pan and put on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess grease. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the grease, discard the rest. 

2) In the reserved grease, add onion, garlic and italian sausage and cook until the sausage is done and the onions are not burnt.

3) Combine all the other ingredients into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Add in sausage/onion mixture and bacon.

4) Allow to boil for a short period of time, then reduce heat to medium low and allow soup to cook for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally and adjust flavors as you see fit. I liked the smokiness that the adobe paste brought to the soup so I added a bit more while it was cooking. If you like less heat, remove the seeds from the pepper before adding it to the pot.

13 August 2013

Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Lasagna

I'm sure in previous posts, I have declared my love for all types of Mexican food. The flavors, the colors, THE AROMAS...All of it just makes my stomach rejoice!!

..... I digress ....

In my attempt to feed my family healthy meals that don't lack the deliciousness we deserve and trying to loose a few pounds myself, I am always on the lookout to be inspired. Mexican food isn't typically waist-line friendly but there are definitely ways to lighten them up without sacrificing the flavors.

In this dish, the real star is the roasted vegetables. There really is not a lot of added flavorings to this dish. Do not let the simplicity of this recipe and the ingredient list turn you off or make you think you will have a flavorless dish. It is quite the opposite, my friends!

I hope you enjoy! As always, I welcome the feedback and why you're at it...why not PIN it to your favorite board!

Roasted Vegetable Enchilada Lasagna

1 poblano chile, cut into thin sticks
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin sticks
1/2 head of cauliflower broken into small/medium sized pieces
1 small white/yellow onion, shaved or sliced thin
1 c. frozen corn
1/3 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick then into thin sticks
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
baby spinach leaves (a few hand fulls)
2 T ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups salsa
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
9-10 flour or corn tortilla's, cut in half
2 c. shredded cheddar or mexican blend cheese
light sour cream and green onions, for garnish

1) Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 

2) Place poblano chile, bell peppers, cauliflower, corn, onion and zucchini into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat all vegetables (but you dont want to have a pool of oil at the bottom). Sprinkle with cumin, garlic and salt and pepper and toss again.

3) Place vegetables in a roasting pan (or any other deep dish) and roast for about 40 minutes, or until you start to see the vegetables get a gorgeous roasted look. You'll want to stir them every 15 minutes or so to roast evenly. Remove and reduce oven temperate to 350 degrees.

4) Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl combine the salsa and cilantro. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture on the bottom of your pan. Lay down a layer of tortillas, then 1/3 of the roasted vegetable mix, 1/3  shredded chicken, handful of spinach and 1/3 shredded chicken. Repeat each layer and you should end with cheese on the top. 

5) Top your lasagna with the enchilada sauce (use as much or as little as you'd like)

6) Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes to get a nice color on the top of your lasagna. Let stand and cut into servings. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions. 

recipe inspired by this blog

Zucchini and Rice Skillet

Way back when I first stumbled upon the Pinterest world, I pinned a recipe that sparked some interest to me. Funny how when I look through all of my pins, how many of the food items I have yet to try.

This past week, I decided that I was going to add this into the mix. I changed up the originally recipe a bit because I was afraid that the original was going to lack a little flavor and would leave the stomach still wanting more. 

Our little family really enjoyed this dish. I especially liked that it was a one pot meal which meant less dishes for me!! It's really a win-win. I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to hear your feedback.

Zucchini, Beans and Beef Skillet

photo courtesy of this blog

1/2 pound beef
1 1/2 c. sliced zucchini, washed and cut in quarters
1/2 c. green bell pepper
1/2 c. red bell pepper
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, diced (I used the kind seasoned with garlic) UNDRAINED
3/4 c. water
1 c . instant brown rice, uncooked
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1) In a skillet on medium-high heat, dropped your ground beef into medium sized chunks and cook until cooked through.
2) Drain most of the grease (reserving 1-2 T of drippings in the pan) and add in onions, bell peppers, zucchini and garlic. Cook until veggies are a bit soft (just about 5 minutes).
3) Add beans, undrained tomatoes and water and turn heat on high and bring to a boil.
4) Add in uncooked rice. Stir well.
5) Cover and remove from heat and let stand for about 9 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
6) Garnish with cheddar cheese and serve. 

this recipe was adapted from this blog