Bruschetta Chicken

In this bruschetta chicken, crisp Italian flavors come together for a dinner-worthy interpretation of everyone’s all-time favorite appetizer – bruschetta. However, instead of toasted bread the tomato basil mixture is spooned over grilled chicken making it filling enough for dinner. Yet still light. And with Spring FINALLY here, I am in the mood for lighter fare.

If time allows, I strongly suggest making the bruschetta mixture ahead to let the flavors marry. I often make extras to use later in the week in salads or to top a quick pasta or to eat straight out of the container in front of the fridge. Time will only make this better!

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup basil, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

Begin by making the bruschetta by combining the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil, oil and vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let the flavors marry while the chicken cooks. You can even make the bruschetta the night before!

bruschetta chicken

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly pound out the chicken breasts so they are an even thickness. This helps everything cook evenly and a bit quicker. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Grill chicken for about four minutes each side. If your chicken is not cooked through at this point, I suggest throwing the pan in the oven at 400 degrees to finish cooking without drying it out.

When the chicken is cooked, simply plate with your favorite roasted veggies and top with the bruschetta!

Enjoy!

bruschetta chicken

Veggie Pizza a.k.a cleaning out your fridge…

I have a confession. I am so excited about Spring and the delicious produce showing up in the store that I have been on a buying spree. Green onions? Bought them. Asparagus? Clearly needed TWO bags. And don’t get my started on the lemons! So clearly I need a recipe to help clean out my fridge. Hello, veggie pizza!

Looking at the pictures I now realize I should have piled on more toppings. Next time!

Veggie pizza is such a great way to re-purpose left overs or use up the last of a vegetable before it starts to turn. You can literally come up with a million combinations. For this particular pizza I used asparagus and red onion topped with a pile of lemon-kissed roasted kale. It just screams Spring!

For a simple pizza dough recipe, check out my previous post for BBQ Chicken Pizza here. I often make a few batches and freeze them in individual portions so I am always ready for pizzas, flatbread, empanadas and calzones. But you can of course by pre-made dough. We LOVE the dough at Whole Foods and there are some great options in most regular groceries store now too!

Ingredients:
Pizza dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 cup marinara *depending on your preference
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup asparagus, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
2 handfuls of kale, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1/2 a lemon

Bring your dough to room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. If you are using a pizza stone, be sure to leave the stone in the oven while it pre-heats!

Roll out your dough to your desired thickness, about a 1/2 inch. Place dough on pre-heated pizza stone or prepared baking sheet. Brush edge with olive oil and pre-bake crust for five minutes.

Remove crust from oven and top with sauce, cheese, asparagus and red onion.

Spring Pizza

Return pizza to oven until the cheese is melted and crust is crisped. I often put mine under the broiler for the last few minutes to lightly toast some of the cheese. While the pizza bakes, toss kale in lemon juice. Top pizza with kale before serving.

Enjoy!

Tex-Mex Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Another quick and healthy weeknight meal to share! These Tex-Mex turkey stuffed sweet potatoes are the perfect thing to get you out of your weeknight dinner rut. I often find myself relying on the same handful of recipes during the week – but how many times can you really eat grilled chicken and roasted veggies before you go insane? Let’s not find out!

stuffed potato

The smokey and slightly spicy turkey filling is the perfect counter to the natural sweetness of the potato. And the stuffing is a lighter take on the classic taco filling, using ground turkey instead of beef. I also make my own spice mix of cumin and chili powder rather than a  seasoning packet to control the amount of salt. This is a healthy way to enjoy the flavors of your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant during the week without the never ending tortilla chips (sorry!).

Have left over filling? No problem! You can use any left over filling throughout the week to stuff enchiladas or top chilaquiles with an egg.

Ingredients:
4 sweet potatoes
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper to taste
Toppings – sliced avocado, shredded cheese, green onions, salsa etc.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. While the over pre-heats, prep the potatoes by using a fork or knife to poke holes all over and wrap in foil. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

For the filling, begin by browning the meat. Remove meat from the pan. Depending on your turkey, you may opt to drain the turkey on paper towels to remove some of the grease. Cook onion, pepper and garlic on medium heat until soft. Once soft, add turkey and remaining ingredients and stir so everything is evenly coated. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. If the mixture gets too dry, you can add more water depending on your preference.

Once potatoes are ready, pull them from the oven and slice. Stuff with turkey mixture and top! I prefer mine with some green onion and avocado but Ben prefers melty cheese (go figure).

stuffed potato

Enjoy!

Hoisin Grilled Veggie Sandwich

Hoisin is magic, literally magic. The pungent sauce resembles an Asian BBQ and brings so much flavor to any dish! Not sure how to elevate your simple chicken and veggie dinner? Toss on some hoisin! I even love hoisin paired with raw veggies. Literally this stuff makes carrot sticks taste like heaven.

hoisin veggie sandwich

So naturally I wanted to add some of this magic sauce to one of my favorite meat-less meals – veggie sandwiches. The hoisin introduces a funkyBBQ flavor that helps my husband quickly get over the fact that there is no meat involved. Though if he had his say, he’d probably throw in some thinly sliced flank steak or pulled pork. He’ll eat veggies to make me happy though.

I joke that my son was built on vegetable sandwiches. But in all seriousness he was. Raw veggie sandwiches from a local bread bakery at least once a week for dinner my entire pregnancy. And even now that I am not pregnant, I still crave that crisp, simple sandwich. It doesn’t hurt that my go-to place has the BEST bread. I’m looking at you Loafers Bread

Ingredients:
1 zucchini, sliced into planks
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup onion, sliced thin
6 stalks of asparagus
4 slices of whole wheat bread
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded

Begin by pre-heating your grill pan over medium heat.

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the hoisin, water and sesame oil to create a loose sauce. Combine all prepared vegetables in a large mixing bowl and toss in the hoisin mixture. Throw the vegetables on the grill pan, turning after a few minutes. Cook until tender but still crisp – some may cook faster than others so keep an eye on them.

hoisin veggie sandwich

Oh those grill marks…

Spread the remaining hoisin on the bread to add more flavor and top with veggies and mozzarella. Place assembled sandwiches on the grill pan and press to toast bread slightly and melt cheese.

Enjoy!

Hoisin Veggie Sandwich

*note, cheese with an Asian flavor may seem off but the mozzarella is mild enough that is just lends a creamy element. I am also dying to try this with feta… I am convinced everything tastes better with feta!

Lemon and Spring Vegetable Rice Soup

I try to make a slow cooker meal every Monday for dinner. Not only is it super easy to prep the ingredients on Sunday afternoon but its also amazing to walk through the door after work with a “case of the Mondays” with dinner done. And the bonus? Slow cooker meals usually mean extras for lunch throughout the week. Oh and slow cooking the rice in the soup makes it almost creamy without having to use cream. Perfect!

This take on a simple vegetable and rice soup is loaded with spring vegetables and bright lemon. I change up the veggies in this soup based on what I find in the store – this week was spinach and asparagus. Spring is here! 🌸🌼🌱🌸🌼🌱🌸🌼🌱

I strongly suggest serving a bowl of this soup under a mountain of freshly grated parmesan with a side of crusty bread.

lemon veggie soup

Ingredients:
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 cup asparagus, diced
1 cup frozen
1 to 2 lemons, juiced (depending on taste)
Parmesan cheese *optional

Begin by sautéing carrots, onion, celery and garlic for five minutes until softened. Add sautéed vegetables to a slow cooker with the chicken broth, rice and oregano. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Add remaining ingredients along with lemon juice and cook on low for another 30 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Salt and pepper to taste, add more lemon if desired.

When serving, top generously with grated parmesan cheese!

lemon veggie soup

Enjoy!

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

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

IMG_4909

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!

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Pie

I strongly believe the world is divided into two camps – those who loath spinach and those who love it. I am belong to the latter camp. The leafy green can be used in some many ways and in so many styles of cooking. I usually have a bag of fresh and a few packs of frozen on hand at all times. And this recipe for spinach pie is one of my favorite ways to use it!

spinach pie

Most of the ingredients are items you have on hand – so it makes for a perfect last minute, unplanned dinner. And of course you can mix up the ingredients based on what you have and your tastes. This spinach pie recipe works great with feta and any left over veggies you have on hand. Just be sure to keep the ratio consistent so it is not too dry or wet.

This particular version of the recipe calls for slow roasted cherry tomatoes and of course the tomatoes can be roasted in advance. I love to have roasted tomatoes on hand to throw into salads, eggs, pasta – really anything. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness and they are addicting.

Ingredients:
10 oz frozen spinach
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 eggs, whisked
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powered
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Begin by roasting your cherry tomatoes. Simply toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper to roast for about 20 minutes. *This can of course be done in advance. 

While the tomatoes roast, thaw your spinach in the microwave and drain any excess liquid using a colander or cheese cloth.

Stir all ingredients, including the roasted tomatoes, together in a large bowl then pour mixture into prepared pie dish.

spinach pie

Bake for 30 minutes or until the middle is cooked through and no longer jiggling.

spinach pie

Slice up the spinach pie and enjoy!

spinach pie

 

Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

Chicken parmesan is one of my favorite dinners of all time. Who doesn’t love crispy chicken with gooey melted mozzarella? No one. And luckily for me it can easily be made healthy without loosing much flavor. So I can enjoy my favorite meal more often.

But the classic can get boring – so one way I like to mix it up is to add sliced pepperoni for a pizza spin on a classic chicken parmesan.

Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 egg
2/3 cup marinara sauce (depending on how much sauce you like)
1/3 cup sliced pepperoni (about ten slices)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet, lightly coat with non-stick spray. Set up your dredging station with one bowl of breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning mixed in, and another bowl with the beaten egg.

Begin by lightly pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness so they cook evenly. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper.

First dip the chicken in the egg then the breadcrumbs. Feel free to dip back into the egg and breadcrumbs for a thicker crust. Set on cooling rack. Repeat for all chicken breasts.

Bake chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken so keep an eye on it!

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and layer the sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella on top. Turn the broiler on and put the chicken back in the oven to melt the cheese. This should only take about two minutes.

Serve with a simple vegetable, we did roasted brussels sprouts.

Enjoy!

 

Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

Pepperoni peaking out from under melted cheese? Yes please!