Monday, August 31, 2009

Sauteed Swiss Chard

So here's raw Swiss Chard... I prefer the white stemmed verses the red or multicolored, but feel free to try them yourself!
Here's what it looks like once it's sauteed, simple and delicious!

OK, so this weekend, I had quite possibly some of the best meals in my life while celebrating a dear friends Birthday weekend, one of which was a New York steak served over a bed of sauteed Swiss Chard and Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes!!! YUM! So it reminded to post one of my favorite veggie dishes- Sauteed Swiss Chard with Balsamic Vinegar. It only takes a few minutes and it is packed with vitamins and flavor!

1-2 batches of swiss chard 
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP water

Wash your swiss chard leaves and then chop them into strips length wise. You can use the white stems, but I pass on them because I am not wild about their flavor. Add about 2 TBSP of water to your frying pan and your cloves of garlic. Let that heat up, then add in your chopped chard (which will have some water on it from rinsing, which is a good thing). Let it sautee uncovered until it cooks down (just a few minutes, then add a small drizzle of olive oil and mix it up with a pair of tongs. Remove it from the pan onto a plate and then drizzle balsamic vinegar over top and enjoy!

Meal Plan for Aug.31- 5th

So, this week's plan is going to be a little different than normal due to some things we have going on in the evenings, but switch around the days to work it for you!

Monday- Baked Penne Pasta
Tuesday- Left Over Pasta
Wednesday- On the BBQ-Steak, Grilled Veggies, Portabella Mushrooms
Thursday- Pear Salad with French Bread
Friday- Lime Chicken Soft Tacos
Saturday- out!

**I will use the same veggies in the pasta as I will on the grill (like the mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash) so keep that in mind while shopping. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Harvest Grains Blend

ATTENTION: This is an idea, not a recipe, the recipe is a free-be on the back of the package!!!!
I just had to post this, because for the past 6 months this has been our families grain of choice. We love it, the kid loves it, friends love it- it's about time it makes it to the blog!!! It is an awesome blend of couscous, red quinoa, orzo, and baby garbanzos. It is so chewy and fluffy and high in protein, we love it as a side dish to anything! AND if all that wasn't good enough, it cooks in 15 minutes or less with just some chicken broth (I recommend broth verses water for the flavor) and you can add a TBSP of butter if you want, but it's not necessary. If you have kids, you will love this, because it stays kinda clumpy so it is easy for them to scoop up and eat! Give it a whirl, you know where to find it if you read this blog--- TRADER JOE'S!!! ** Follow the measurements on the package.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Roasted Red Potatoes

1- 1.5 pounds red potatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP coarsely chopped rosemary
S & P ( I prefer sea salt)

Preheat your oven to 425. Wash and cube your potatoes, you choose the size, the smaller they are the faster they cook. (I usually cut mine in 4ths or 6ths). Toss the potatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, s & p and then pour them out onto a roasting pan or cookie sheet (I put parchment paper down first for faster clean up). Make sure they are in a single layer for best cooking results. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, turn them once half way through the cooking process. Enjoy!

NOTE: I have made them without rosemary before, you can substitute it for fresh garlic (2 cloves) or garlic powder if you don't have fresh- but fresh is so good and so good for you!!! I also have added garlic WITH the rosemary and that is yummy too!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chicken Marsala

2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter * optional
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
2-4 chicken breasts, depending on size
fettuccine noodles

First prep your chicken. If the chicken breasts are larger, I cut them in half (width wise) and then pound them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Then in a bowl (or Ziplock) add your flour, salt, pepper, and oregano and coat the chicken with a thin layer of flour mixture. Next heat your pan, add your butter, oil, and garlic and let that saute together. (The butter is optional, it gives it a richer flavor and more of the traditional Marsala Flavor, but if you want to make it a wee bit healthier, you can omit it). Then add your chicken breasts and let them brown on one side before turning them over. Once you turn them over, add your mushrooms and let that side brown for about 3 minutes. Then add your chicken broth and wine. Cover your pan and let simmer for about 10 minutes, turning the chicken one more time. Serve solo or over a bed of fettuccine pasta with the left over juices drizzled on top with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. 

*You may want to add a little cornstarch when it's close to being done if you want your sauce to be on the thicker side. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honey Chicken Kabob

Here's a great recipe full of flavor and color with pretty presentation to boot!

1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil) 
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 chicken breasts, cubed
2 yellow zucchini, sliced
2 green zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, sliced

You are going to wash and cube your chicken breasts. Whisk your oil, honey, soy sauce, and pepper in a dish (set some aside in a mug to baste the kabobs with once they are on the grill). Then pour the remaining marinate into a Ziplock bag and marinate your chicken breasts in there for at least 2 hours in the fridge (the you can leave them longer than that, the longer you leave them the more flavor they will have). Next, slice your zucchini and onion, toss them in a big bowl, add some olive oil, s & p, mix them up and then thread them onto kabob sticks. (I have soaked my kabob sticks in water in a shallow dish so they don't burn, and there have been times when I have forgotten to do so and they turn out okay- so it seems fine either way).  Once your chicken is done marinating, thread the pieces onto kabob sticks and out to the grill they go. Cook them over high heat for 12-15 minutes, turning them and basting them with the marinate that was set aside in the mug. Don't forget to turn the veggies as well so they don't burn on one side. Enjoy!

Picture complements of my dad, Resti Zaballos, he is a master at the grill, I have a lot to learn!

Parmesan Toast

So, this is a little hokey, especially because it's not a recipe, and it's not at all "pretty or unique" it is just simple practical and fills that little empty spot- you know the one that's there when you finish dinner but you still have 10% hunger left in you??? Well, this takes care of that 10%! We do it on nights when dinner is a little light or when we need that extra crunch with a salad and I don't want to buy an entire loaf of french bread for the 2 of us that will get thrown out with mold on it in a day of two! You can definitely use the same idea with french bread, it's just as tasty! Hope it helps fill your 10% :)

Bread (I use Trader Joe's "Whole GRAIN" sliced bread)
Garlic Powder or Garlic Salt
Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Turn your broiler on (that's part of your oven if you have never used it!) Get out your bread slices, spread on your butter, sprinkle your garlic, top with parmesan cheese and pop it in the oven for just a few minutes. I lay them on something, a cookie sheet, a cake pan, something to keep them from making a mess all over my oven. Now keep your eye on these little guys, I have burned mine more times than I can count and they really do only take a few minutes!

Meal Plan for Aug. 23- 29th

So, you can probably tell the weekends when I am out of town- I forget to post and my meal plan is always late!!! Especially when I am not thinking of cooking at ALL like this past weekend when I was spoiled by my parents awesome cooking. Check back here this week to sample some of their yummy recipes, you will LOVE them!

I am having 2 salads this week, trying to squeeze in the best of the seasonal produce before fall comes! 

Sunday- oops! already missed it!
Monday- California Salad with Parmesan Toast
Tuesday- Marsala Chicken (with a side of pasta for the hubby), simple asparagus
Wednesday- Strawberry Salad with Firestone Fries
Thursday- Beer Burritos in the Crock pot with Veggie Sticks
Friday- left overs
Saturday- out

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taco Soup

Here's an easy one- you can serve it as soup or use a slotted spoon and serve it over chips as nachos.

1- 1.5 lbs. ground turkey/beef
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can corn * optional
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth (reduce to 1 cup if you are making this for nachos)
taco seasoning- make your own (directions below) or use a packet

sour cream
shredded cheese
tortilla chips

Homemade Taco Seasoning: make this in a separate jar, it will make more than you need, so you will have leftovers for next time. Use about 3 tsp. and add more if desired after tasting.
6 teaspoons chili powder
5 teaspoons paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

This is a change to the original recipe- I originally made this recipe in a crock pot, but the second time around, when I tried it in the crock pot again, it turned out with a really unusual texture. So, here's a change to the directions, brown your meat first in a big pot, then add your seasoning to the meat, and then pour in the rest of the ingredients. Let it simmer for 20 minutes in the stove and serve it with all the listed toppings.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Homemade Mango Sorbet

Okay, so my hubby is the BIGGEST fruit-loving-ice cream fan in the world so for his birthday this year I thought he would LOVE this for a treat. Happy Birthday my sweet mango-loving honey!

1 bag frozen mangos (from Trader Joe's)
1 can coconut milk (TJ's also)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave (again TJ's carries it)

** I updated this recipe after trying it a few times. I omitted the sugar (used to be 1/2 cup) and lessened the agave (used to be 1/2 cup) and I like it better this way. It has less stuff, more economical, and no sugar!

Mix it all up, put it in your ice cream maker (follow the directions with the machine) or put it all in the Vitamix for a few minutes and your tummy will thank you!

*** I have omitted the sugar in the recipe and I think it still turns out great!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Meal Plan for Aug. 16th- 22nd

Here is what's on tap this week, I will be adding more recipes as the week progresses:

Sunday: Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Monday: My Husband's Birthday Choice: BBQ chicken, green salad, fruit salad, & french bread with homemade Mango Sorbet!
Tuesday: Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi, Asparagus, Brown Rice
Wednesday: Taco Soup (crock pot)
Thursday: left overs
Friday: Marinated Flank Steaks, Snappin' Snap Peas, Roasted Red Potatoes
Saturday: out

Oat'Nana Pucks....

Oat'Nana Pucks...
the ingredients and mixing....
it will look crumbly like this...
pucks on a cookie sheet :)
yummy goodness all over the face!

Ok folks, stick with me here. This is a new recipe I tried off of a blog my sister in law sent me, and I really liked the idea of this "snack/cookie/granola/puck" thing. It has no sugar, butter, or cooking oil (just a little bit of coconut oil) and I thought it would be a great little something to snack on throughout the day when my "munchie" signal went off. And it turns out, it has become a fabulous little "treat" for Emery. The only "naughty" ingredient is the chocolate chips, but you could really use carob chips, raisins, or dried cranberries if you wanted to or you could leave them out all together-- but let's just be honest, that would take away from the oat'nana goodness.

3 ripened bananas
2 TBSP vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil (you could use olive oil if you don't have it, but coconut has such good flavor!)
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup oat bran or wheat bran (I used oat bran from Trader Joe's)
2/3 cups finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, raisins, or crans

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mash you bananas with a fork and add the coconut oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix them all together. Add your wet ingredients to the dry and continue to mix together until the mixture is well blended. On a baking sheet with parchment paper ( or use a little spray since there is no butter and hardly any oil in the pucks) scoop mixture onto the cookie sheet in small clumps. The mixture will be "loose" and not like dough. Flatten each scoop with the palm of your hand, hence the puck name, and place them about 1 inch apart because they will not expand when baked. Cook for 14 minutes and enjoy the goodness!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

French Dip Sandwiches

Here's a recipe I haven't made in a long time, I mean probably 4-5 years, so let's dust it off and give her a go- eh??

3-4 lbs. of boneless, chuck roast
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup beef broth (or one bullion cube + 1 cup water)
1 tsp garlic powder 
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried, crushed rosemary (or a sprig of fresh if you don't have dried)
3-4 whole peppercorns *optional

Directions: Remove fat from roast, place in crock pot. Combine soy sauce, beef broth, and spices and pour over the roast. Add additional water to the crock pot to almost cover the roast (this will become your Au Jus). Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Remove the meat from the crock pot, shred on a separate plate, and then serve on rolls. Use the remaining juice in the crock pot for your Au Jus dipping pleasure! (*if you added fresh rosemary, remember to remove it and throw it way before serving!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Green Veggie Salad

So, someone asked me... "what are the basics you put in your daily, average green salad" so I thought I would jot it down in a post. My mama and sister make wonderful salads, I guess you can say we are a salad loving family- actually on both sides because my sister-in-law Gelayol makes a mean one too-- so here are some ideas that we all use that you might enjoy for your next side salad to add to any meal.

Ingredients for a staple salad in my house:
Red Cabbage
Carrots, shredded or chopped
bell pepper
roasted almond slices
dried cranberries
balsamic dressing

Random Ingredients I would throw in if I had them in the fridge:
kale, ripped into small pieces
red onion, sliced thin
green onions
broccoli florets
snap peas, chopped
sunflower seeds
sesame seeds

Remember to think of how flavors blend, I wouldn't throw all those nuts & seeds in their together, nor would I put apple with bell pepper. A great combo if using apple: lettuce, carrots, apple, avocado, celery, sunflower seeds, & balsamic dressing. Mix and Match to see what you like best!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cumin Lime Shrimp

Ok folks, this is a little risky, I am adding a recipe that I HAVEN'T ACTUALLY TRIED YET so we can all try it together and see what we think! My sister-in-law , Lisa, loves this recipe and thinks we should give it a whirl, so it's on this weeks meal plan! It sure looks tasty and simple! OK, I can officially say I have made this meal and It IS TASTY!!! It has a ton of flavor with different ingredients and we really enjoyed its zest! We had a little left over so we put it in some pitas with the brown rice and some avocado for lunch the next day and it was delicious! Also, we were in the mood for green onion (instead of cilantro) and that definitely worked, so you could do either!
¼ cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon 
¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
Zest of one lime 
1 teaspoon cumin 
⅛ teaspoon salt 
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp (U.S. wild-caught or farmed)
½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 large shallot, sliced 
½ cup chopped cilantro
In a large bowl, add  whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, cumin, and salt. Add shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add jalapeño and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add shallot and cook for additional 2 minutes.  Add shrimp and one half of the marinade to the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until shrimp turn pink. Stir occasionally to make sure shrimp cook evenly. Turn off heat, stir in cilantro, and serve. Let me know if you liked it!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Meal Plan Aug.9- 15

Sunday: BBQ'd Burgers, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon
Monday: Chicken Cesar Salad with Bread sticks
Tuesday: Lime Shrimp
Wednesday: French Dip Sandwiches
Thursday:  Baked Penne Pasta
Friday: left overs
Saturday: out

I am going to do my quick marinate on the chicken tenders that I use in the Cesar Salad and BBQ those at the same time as I BBQ my burgers, prepping two meals at once= saving time and energy for me! (Then you can reheat your chicken for the salad on Monday night, or just chop it and serve it cold over the lettuce- you decide!) The lime chicken and the French Dip are new recipes that I will post this week. And the Baked Penne Pasta is a good, ol' classic around here!

I did a poll (which not too many people replied on) but it looks like people prefer to make their own shopping lists, so I will not be including one anymore! It's probably easier to make one individually depending on what is and is not already in your kitchen! Happy Planning!

Friday, August 7, 2009

BBQ Chicken Pizza

OK, here's a crowd pleaser.... BBQ chicken pizza just like California Pizza Kitchen!!!

pizza dough (I use the whole wheat or plain dough from Trader Joe's)
BBQ sauce (use your family's favorite)
Red Onion, thinly chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Mozerella Cheese, grated
Shredded Chicken (pre-cooked of course!)

Let me start off by saying I don't use measurements for this recipe, I just eyeball the whole thing. If you like a lot of cheese or a little sauce, whatever your preferences, make it to suit you! Moving on, I usually crock pot my chicken (see BBQ shredded sandwich recipe) so I don't have to worry about cooking the chicken specifically for the pizza. (Another side note, I usually make 3-4 chicken breasts in the crock pot and split the chicken between two meals- this and shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches- to save time, energy and headache during the week!)

Now, if you get the pizza dough from Trader Joe's you are going to use a little flour and roll it out. Spray your cookie sheet before placing the dough on there or it will never come off in one piece. Pour some BBQ sauce on and spread it around with the back of a spoon, add some chopped cilantro, thinly sliced red onion, sprinkle on your shredded chicken, and then your mozerella cheese. (I like to put the cheese on last because it holds everything else on the pizza when you eat it). Bake it in the oven per dough instructions (Trader Joe's instructions are 450 degrees for 15 minutes, approximately). I watch it and pull it out then the cheese is melted and the crust is toasted.

Serve with a green salad and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

This is a crock pot favorite and so simple! Put 3 chicken breasts and 1/2 cup of water (or chicken broth) in the crock pot and cook it on low for 6-8 hours. About 1/2 hour before it's done cooking, open the crock pot lid, shred the meat with 2 forks, add some s&p and some of your favorite BBQ sauce. Let it cook the rest of the time- or sit on warm if it's already done. Get some fun dinner rolls (we like Chibata rolls from Trader Joe's that are par-baked, so we bake them for about 15 minutes so they are warm and toasted and crunchy!). Serve them on warm or toasted rolls with baked beans, corn on the cob, salad or any other side!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Baked Salmon

So sorry, I just realized this wasn't posted! It is super simple, I use the frozen salmon steaks from Trader Joe's, fresh caught not farm raised for more food value and less "added junk". I let them defrost the day that I am cooking them on my countertop and if they are ready before I am, I put them in the fridge until I get cookin'!
Preheat your oven to 375. Line your broiling pan with a piece of foil, spray it with your choice of kitchen spray so the fish doesn't stick. Lay the fish down, if it has skin on it, lay the skin to the foil. Sprinkle the fish with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Let it bake for 15-20 minutes until it is no longer translucent and flakes easily. It will peel easily off the skin when done, so when transferring it from pan to plate, leave the scales behind! Serve with plenty of fresh lemon wedges! 
*picture coming soon*

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meal Plan Aug.2-Aug.8

Okay, so one of my favorite blogs makes mention of ways to simplify your life, and one of those ways is to simplify your meal plan. So here is my attempt at that. The recommendation was to make a plan for each day of the week and carry that out, week after week. Like this:

Sunday: BBQ
Monday: Main Dish Salad
Tuesday: Chicken or Fish
Wednesday: Crock pot
Thursday: Pasta/Pizza/Soup
Friday: Left overs
Saturday: out

So, here I go at attempting to simplify my life by sticking to my plan within my meal plan!

Sunday: BBQ Steak, Grilled Bell Peppers & Onions, Wild Rice
Monday: Steak Cobb Salad
Tuesday: Salmon, Brown Rice, Snappin' Snap Peas
Wednesday: BBQ Shredded Chicken Sandwiches, Confetti Coleslaw, Fruit Salad
Thursday: BBQ Chicken Pizza (CPK Style), Green Veggie Salad
Friday: Left overs
Saturday: out

Saturday Morning Scramblers

We don't eat these very often, not because they aren't good, but because I don't usually make a big breakfast in the morning. But this is a fun "treat" breakfast in our house- good to wake up to on a birthday morning or for a fun surprise for the family. And I only make it on the rare occasion that all these ingredients are already in my fridge! (usually the weekend following the week when I have made a Steak Cob Salad for dinner one night).

green onion
bell pepper
shredded cheddar cheese
3 pieces of bacon 

* Mix and match the ingredients, the more the merrier! If you have to omit some or don't like others, that's a-okay too!

Add a little coconut oil to a hot frying pan, beat your eggs in a bowl with a little pepper, and pour into the frying pan. With a spatula, move the egg batter to the center of the pan, in a motion all the way around the pan. When the eggs are half way cooked, add your green onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers and those continue to cook with the eggs. Then add your already cooked chopped bacon and your shredded cheese until the cheese melts. Constantly turn the eggs so that they don't burn or stick. Serve with some fresh fruit and enjoy!