Category: Healthy

Creamy Vegetable Lentil Soup


I know that January is the month to detox and get your body back on track after the holidays, however this hasn’t been the case for me.  There is actually a great reason – I haven’t felt like it.  The shock to my system (both body and especially mind – HA!) would just be too much and I wasn’t ready.   But now I have regulated my taste buds and I am ready to get back on track with some delicious and satisfying food.  Yesterday I made this Creamy Vegetable Lentil Soup that is so good you would never guess there is no cream, is low in fat and super simple to make.

The ingredients for the soup are basic and I love that these are items I always have on hand.   The soup starts with a chopped onion and carrots followed with a couple of cloves of garlic and some pantry staples.  Even though there is no cream in the soup, it is made creamy by putting all the softened, caramelized veggies in the blender for a minute or two.  The result is a velvety, delicious base for your soup.  Add the lentils and you have a delicious meal that is protein packed as well.

If you have been having trouble getting back on track after the holidays (or anytime of the year) try this soup.  Oh and I have to add that if your kiddos aren’t a fan of vegetables this is the perfect way to sneak in those healthy goods.  Enjoy!

PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad – Vegan and Delicious

We have been having our home remodeled which has been a massive pain.  Now that it has been completed I am thrilled with the end result, however the process was painful.  Since my ability to cook was sidelined I searched for delicious and healthy options to curb my hunger, which is how I stumbled across a salad at my local PCC store called, the Perfect Protein Salad.  I instantly became addicted and wanted to share my version, which tastes extremely similar to PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad.

One of my favorite parts of cooking is the ability to customize recipes.  In this case the recipe calls for lemon, dill and garlic.  Since I am crazy about these three flavors I upped the amounts to make them more pronounced.   The base for this salad is garbanzo beans and spelt berries which provide both a creamy texture and a chewy texture.  Since I am huge on texture the crunch of numerous veggies, including cucumbers, celery, peppers and onions are also a complete bonus.

In a nutshell, this has become one of my go to salads.  I love enjoying it for a quick lunch, enjoying it at dinner with a grilled piece of chicken or fish and it also makes a great salad to take to a friends house.  In the event you have someone in your life that is vegan, this version is made with vegan mayonnaise* which is an added bonus.   I hope that if you live in the Northwest you stop by PCC and try their Perfect Protein Salad or make it at home for yourself.

Perfect Protein Salad (inspired by PCC’s Perfect Protein Salad)
(serves 2 for a main dish or 4 as a side dish)

Ingredients
1 – 15 ounce can of Garbanzo Beans
2 stalks cucumber, diced
1 cup cooked spelt berries
1/3 c. Vegenaise
2 carrots, diced
1/4 c. green onion, thinly sliced
2 T. red onion, small dice
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. italian parsley, thinly sliced
1 T. cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
2 T. fresh dill weed or 1 t. dried dill weed
2 T. fresh basil or 1 t. dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients.  Put in refrigerator and let flavors meld together for a couple of hours if possible.  More often than not I am rushed and not able to do this, but if you can, definitely do this.  This salad is very easy to make and lasts for a day or two in the fridge so you can make it ahead and enjoy leftovers later.

* Side note, vegenaise tastes great! If you have never tried it, I would recommend doing so. I was extremely hesitant at first, but now I really love it.)

PCC's Perfect Protein Salad Recipe

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie – Healthy & Dairy Free

It is the New Year and like many people I indulged and enjoyed in glutenous baked goods and enjoyed many, many, many savory appetizers at holiday parties.  I didn’t want to be rude and not eat.  So I am feeling a little bloated and am looking to lighten up my diet up a bit so feel healthier and more energetic.

In an effort to try and feel less bloated I decided to try this smoothie I saw featured on YouTube and wow – it is really, really good.  The original recipe was featured on Miss Glamorazzi’s channel where cookbook author and blogger Claire Thomas shared several recipes that were quick and healthy.  You can see the video featured here that also has other delicious recipes.  In the meantime, here is the recipe for the Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie that is amazing!  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Ingredients
Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Ingredients

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
Ingredients
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. chia seeds
2 T. agave nectar (I didn’t have this so I used brown sugar – YUM! (perhaps why I have gained some weight…))
1 pinch of salt
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. flax meal
1/3 c. gluten free oatmeal
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice

Directions
Put all ingredients in your blender for about a minute and enjoy!

Banana smoothie and fresh banana on wooden background.

Emeril Lagasse’s Turkey and White Bean Chili

I have mentioned several times that I love one pot meals and one of my favorite one pot meals is Emeril Lagasse’s Turkey and White Bean Chili.  It is amazing!  I actually can’t believe that it has taken me so long to blog about this dynamite dish since it is my all time favorite chili recipe.  I have made this for football parties, for lunch on a rainy day and when I need a weeknight meal on a busy evening.     The other plus to this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and the longer it sits the better this chili gets.

So let’s talk about the ingredients.  I love that the main protein in this chili is turkey, you could use ground beef, however I absolutely love the clean, lean taste of turkey.   The addition of white beans is another clean flavor that really makes this chili recipe different from other chili recipes.  Then there are the spices, from chili powder to red pepper and many flavors in between there is some serious flavor going on.   One of the last ingredients I was very surprised to see is the addition of corn meal that acts as a binder to thicken the chili up.  I think this is a genius addition since corn naturally complements chili so well.

I hope I have sold you on making this chili.  It is delicious, healthy and the perfect chili to serve your friends and family.

Ingredients
4 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons Emeril’s Southwest Essence, recipe follows
1 2/3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons cornmeal
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (10-ounce) cans Ro’tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (original), undrained
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles, undrained
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, for serving
Tortillas (optional)

Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Directions

In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion and jalapeno until soft and beginning to caramelize, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey, Southwest Essence, chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until turkey is browned and cooked through, 6 minutes. Add the cornmeal and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, canned chiles, and cilantro stems and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After it has cooked for 30 minutes, add the cannellini beans. Add the heavy cream and cilantro leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes longer.

Serve the chili in deep bowls, garnished with cheese and cilantro.

 

 

 

Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese

Have you ever slaved over a meal to only have your family either not eat it or simply give you that indifferent look while they force it down?  If you haven’t you’re lucky, however unfortunately I have had this scenario happen to me more than once.  So, I can’t begin to explain my shock when I made this Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese that my crew loved.  In fact they claimed this was the best bolognese I have ever made.   Uh, ok…noted, I will never slave over my more complex bolognese sauces in the future.

So let me explain how this easy recipe came to be.  I became discombobulated and dizzy on Monday.  I thought I was just experiencing a bad headache, however when I continued to feel like I was on a moving boat on Wednesday I decided to go to the doctor.  I can’t tell you how relieved to find out I had vertigo.  All I can say is I was sooooooo relieved to be diagnosed with a medical condition and know that this was not all in my head.

Since I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store for some fresh ingredients (and because my family had not had a home cooked meal in days) I decided to throw together a spaghetti bolognese.  Ingredients are simple pantry staples with the exception of some basil, garlic and parmesan I had on hand.  There is no lengthy simmering of sauce and because I used 93% lean ground turkey the meal was low fat as well.

So here is my recipe for Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese.  I hope you enjoy

Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese
(serves 4-6 people depending on how hungry your crew is)

Ingredients
1-2 T. olive oil
1.25 lb. lean ground turkey
1 – 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1-4 garlic cloves minced (I use 4 and it is super garlicky so you may want to start with 1 to be safe)
1 beef flavoring packet from Top Ramen (remove beef flavor packet and either discard the noodles or save noodles for later)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
basil to chiffonade
parmesan
1 lb. spaghetti*, cooked according to package directions (reserve about a cup of the cooking water)
*I use gluten free, but use whatever you have on hand

cooking bolognese sauce
cooking bolognese sauce

Directions
Heat large saucepan over medium-high heat with olive oil.  Brown ground turkey (after it cooked, because the meat is so lean I do not drain the fat out, but you certainly could if you’d like).

Add tomato sauce, garlic, beef flavoring packet, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.  Simmer on medium low heat about 10 minutes and taste with salt and pepper.   If sauce reduces too much or is too thick to your liking, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.  Place in pasta bowls or plates and sprinkle with basil and parmesan cheese.

spaghetti bolognese closeup