Veggie Nuggets

Quickly after becoming a Mom I started becoming a bit obsessed with sneaking vegetables into my toddler. Luckily for me, Max is pretty open to most vegetables and while I love to roast fresh broccoli and sweet potatoes for him – life gets busy. Having a freezer stocked with these veggie nuggets is a great way to have something healthy for him on busy weeknights. Dip these in ketchup and Max will eat these nuggets just as quickly as any chicken variety. And I get to have my proud mom moment as I see my son eating broccoli, carrots and kale. Kale!
Sorry, that was gloating 🙂

Veggie Nuggets

Ingredients
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, steamed
1 handful kale
2 eggs
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Begin by pulsing the mixed vegetables and kale in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add all remaining ingredients and pulse until everything is incorporated and vegetables are in smaller pieces. Veggies should not by mushy!

Veggie Nuggets

Veggie Nuggets

Spoon about ¼ cup of the mixture on the baking sheet for each nugget. Bake until golden brown along the edges, about 20 minutes.

If eating immediately, enjoy!

If freezing for later, you can simply freeze the nuggets right on the baking sheet for two hours or until completely frozen. Once frozen just toss the nuggets into a freezer bag and keep in the freezer until later. They can be reheated in the microwave in about 45 seconds and are a big hit with ketchup or BBQ sauce!

Italian Sausage Frittata

Frittatas are one of my go-to weeknight meals. Not only do they bring me back to lazy weekend brunches, but they are also easy to throw together using whatever is in your fridge. And another plus? Eggs are cheap at Aldi and we are in the middle of a bathroom remodel – so cheap is good!

Italian Frittata

This frittata has an Italian spin with Italian sausage and herbs. I plan on serving this with marinara drizzled on top and  a simple spinach salad on the side. And of course some crusty bread.

Ingredients
4 egg whites
4 whole eggs
1 link Italian sausage, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1 roma tomato, sliced
salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and seasoning. Set aside.

In your 8-inch skillet, cook Italian sausage thoroughly. Add red onion and cook until just softened. Arrange sausage and onion evenly in the skillet and slowly pour over egg mixture. Cook on medium heat until edges begin to set, about 5 minutes. Carefully place tomato slices on the top of the eggs.

Place skillet in the oven and bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until center is cooked through.

Slice and serve with a simple spinach salad and toast!

Enjoy!

Italian Frittata

Savory Dutch Baby with Bacon and Asparagus

Growing up my sister and I always made Dutch Baby pancakes on the weekends. It was one of the first recipes we learned in Home Ec and my mom had no problem with us making these ourselves so she could sleep in. However, our Dutch Babies in the past looked very different and were often topped with copious amounts of powdered sugar and syrup.

I’d like to think of this Dutch Baby as the adult, savory version but just as fun. An easy weeknight meal topped with asparagus, bacon and Parmesan cheese. What is not to love?! And you can really use any combination for the toppings. I was debating between lemony roasted brussels sprouts vs. asparagus and bacon. My husband had a vote and we went with bacon.

Ingredients
3 large eggs
3/4 cup skim milk
tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 handful of asparagus, ends trimmed
4 slices of bacon
Parmesan – the more the better! 

Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees with the cast iron skillet in the oven.

In a blender or food processor begin adding all ingredients, beginning with the eggs. Blend eggs until frothy then slowly add milk and melted butter. Add remaining ingredients, blending thoroughly.

When the oven is up the temp, carefully remove the skillet add about a tablespoon of butter. Swirl the butter around the pan to coat and quickly pour in the batter. Put the skillet in the oven and ignore it for 20 minutes! It will puff up and become a toasty brown.

While the Dutch Baby bakes, cook your bacon until crisp and remove from the pan. Add the asparagus and saute the asparagus in the bacon drippings. Salt and pepper to taste.

Top the Dutch Baby with the asparagus, bacon and a mountain of grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Balsamic Lime Fajitas

It’s been awhile! But that is what happens when your 8-month old, affectionally known as Chicken Nugget, has an ear infection in both ears – your blogging habit falls to the wayside. But we still need to eat and luckily he is feeling better.

Enter these balsamic lime fajitas! The marinade is simple, which makes this a perfect weeknight meal. The chicken marinades while you prep and cook the veggies and the entire meal can be made within 30 minutes. Coincidentally my baby will only nap in 30 minutes increments.  Perfect!

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Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice (about one lime)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon adobo seasoning
salt & pepper
1 green pepper
1 small onion
tortillas
avocado, for topping

Begin by mixing the marinade by combining the balsamic vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, adobo, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken and let marinade for 20 minutes – or as long as you can.

Heat a large sauté pan and cook the pepper and onion until soft, about five minutes. Remove from pan. Add a little olive oil into the pan and cook the chicken through.

Build your fajitas with the chicken, peppers, onions and avocado.

Enjoy!

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The fajitas were good but these Spring tulips are prettier


Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

There is a little Greek lunch diner I frequented in downtown Pittsburgh while working my first real world job. Every Tuesday the special of the day was a thick, creamy lemon chicken soup. The lemon offered the perfect amount of tang to combat the heavy cream and orzo.  It was heaven on a cold, rainy Pittsburgh afternoon. Or even a hot and humid August day.

I was daydreaming about that soup the other day and sought to recreate the flavors in a lighter and easier recipe. The result? A lemon and broth based chicken soup that is full of the classic Greek flavors while being packed with vitamins from the kale and quinoa. And since its so healthy you can go ahead and pile on that fresh grated parmesan!


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Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
5 cups chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked
salt & pepper, to taste
parmesan for topping

Begin by softening the onions in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add garlic. Once fragrant add chicken broth, chicken, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper  and oregano. Let the mixture simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add back to the pot with chopped kale. Let kale wilt, about three minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

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It wilts down – I promise!

Pour soup over bowls of quinoa and top with grated parmesan.

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Enjoy!

 

Lemon, Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts

Life has been pretty busy lately. Between juggling work and a teething baby, the last thing I want to do is cook some complicated dinner when I get home. However, I also don’t want to eat greasy takeout or a boring freezer meal.

Enter, my freezer full of frozen salmon. Salmon cooks quickly but feels fancy. Perfect for a crappy weekday after sitting in rush hour traffic. Toss together some pistachios and panko – both pantry staples in my house – and this dish goes to another level.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Ingredients:
4 Salmon filets
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
4 cups brussels sprouts, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Begin by tossing the halved brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender.

While the brussels sprouts cook you can focus on your salmon. To make the topping, combine the pistachios, panko and lemon zest. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour topping over the salmon filets, pressing it on lightly.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and begin cooking your salmon, skin side down. Cook on the stove for about five minutes then transfer the pan into the oven to finish. About another five minutes or until it is cooked to your liking. I prefer mine a bit more well done than most.

Once the brussels sprouts are tender, remove from oven and toss in lemon juice and grated Parmesan.

Serve salmon with the brussels sprouts.

Enjoy!

Tomato “Risotto” with Italian Sausage

Confession time – I did not intend to make risotto tonight. I planned on throwing some random rice dish together using leftovers we had in the fridge. But about ten minutes into my improvisation I realized something magical was happening. Not traditional, real risotto but something just as delicious and decadent.

Sure it was just left over brown rice  but I think the key to the dish was the leftover rice. Cooking it a second time helped to achieve that creamy risotto consistency – without using traditional arborio. A delicious accident.

And really, who doesn’t have left over brown rice after getting Chinese takeout?

risotto

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 links Italian sausage, sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup broccoli
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, more if desired
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Salt & pepper, to taste

Heat a skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Add the sliced sausage and cook until cooked through, about five minutes. Add onions to skillet and brown. Add tomatoes, broccoli, rice and seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste.

risotto

Let mixture simmer for ten minutes or until rice becomes creamy and the broccoli is softened. Stir in cheese until it melts.

Enjoy!

 

 

Greek Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Monday is the perfect day for a slow cooker meal. Who wants to cook after a manic Monday at the office?! No one. Which makes this recipe for Greek chicken perfect. Another plus? It makes enough for brown bag lunches to bring to work. Add the chicken to the a salad or wrap it in a pita – perfect for a lunchtime break.

In this recipe, frozen chicken simmers all day in oregano, lemon, onions and peppers. When you are ready to eat simply top a bowl of quinoa with the chicken mixture,sautéed zucchini and tzatziki. Quick, easy and delicious. Perfect for a manic Monday.

greek chicken quinoa bowls

Ingredients:
Slow cooker chicken:
3 chicken breasts
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Tzatziki sauce:
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated cucumber
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt & pepper, to taste

Extras:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 zucchini, cubed

Place chicken in slow cooker. Mix together onion, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over chicken and cook on low for 7 hours.

greek chicken quinoa bowls

Combine all ingredients for the tzatziki sauce and set aside. The longer the sauce sits the better the flavor gets!

greek chicken quinoa bowls

When you are ready to eat, begin to cook the quinoa per the package directions. Sauté the zucchini until tender. Now you are ready to build the bowl!

Begin building your bowl by topping some quinoa with sautéed zucchini and the chicken and onions from the slow cooker. Top with tzatziki.

greek chicken quinoa bowls

Enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers

My husband loves burgers but I am not always up for a heavy red meat patty so we compromise with black bean burgers. It is a healthy option that I can throw on a bed of spinach with avocado and he can enjoy between two pieces of bread (with cheese, BBQ sauce and caramelized onions).

And on the plus side its a quick meal – which is perfect for this weekend. Max is teething and refuses to sit calmly for more than ten minutes, which makes cooking (or anything) difficult.

black bean burgers

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My teething monster

Ingredients:
15 ounce can black beans
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 green onions, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon ground cumin
salt & pepper, to taste
Avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Begin by smashing black beans into a rough paste. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. You may want to add a bit more bread crumbs depending on how wet the mixture turns out. Form into four patties.

black bean burgers

Heat oil or cooking spray in a pan over medium heat. Cook patties until warmed through, about three minutes per side depending on thickness.

Top patties with cheese and broil until melted. Add sliced avocado.

black bean burgers

Enjoy!

Chipotle Turkey Chili

Another cold gray day in Pittsburgh and another batch of turkey chili. The weather has been downright disgusting lately – cold, snow, ice and rain.  The kind of weather than makes you just want to stay in bed and since adults don’t get snow days I had to go into work. The spicy yet smokey chipotle was the perfect cure for a snowy day and added something extra to the simple turkey chili.

*Note – This recipe calls for chipotle in adobo, which is rather spicy. You can reduce the amount of omit it all together – your call!

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Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles in adobo
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano
salt & pepper to taste
15 oz  can black beans
15 oz can kidney beans
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup green onion, diced

Begin by browning your turkey in a large dutch oven. Add onion, green pepper, chipotle and garlic. Stir until softened – about 5 minutes.

turkey chili

Then add all remaining ingredients, except the cilantro and green onion. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened to your liking.

turkey chili

Top with cilantro and/or green onion.

turkey chili

Enjoy!