Feta and Beets

20180103_142340

Beets are one of those vegetables you either love or hate. If you love beets, this is the simplest, and probably the most delicious, way to eat them. They are high in folic acid, magnesium, iron, potassium, and Vitamin B6. They are sweet, earthy, beautiful, and always take salads to the next level. What’s not to love?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-5 beets, halved or quartered (always cut your vegetables to same size when cooking, steaming, etc. so they cook evenly)
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • 2 Tbs parsley
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt / 1/2 tsp pepper

DIRECTIONS:

~ Steam beets for 25-30 minutes until tender or roast them wrapped in tinfoil at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool, then peel skins. You can use a paper towel to rub the skins off to lessen the stain on fingers, but that takes all the fun out of it.

~ Mix oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, then drizzle over beets. Add parsley at the end.

Lentil Sweet Potato Salad

lentil salad

This meal may not appeal to the not-quite-so-healthy, but the sweet potatoes make it a real treat, and believe it or not, my little zombies finished their plate. It makes for great leftovers…that’s actually the photo-I dished it up on a bed or arugula and whala! It’s also packed with a ton of nutrients and is pretty as heck, right?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 10 Brussel sprouts, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup of lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt / 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 handfuls of arugula

DIRECTIONS

~ Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes on a sheet pan, drizzle with about 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, tossing vegetables half way through cooking time.

Heat up 1 Tbs olive oil in large pot and cook onion for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add lentils (rinsed/drained already) and garlic. Stir for another minute, then add bay leaf and enough water to cover lentils by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, turn stove to low/simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until lentils are softened. Drain when finished and remove bay leaf.

~ Add vegetables to lentil mixture and stir. Drizzle with more olive oil, about 1 Tbs, and Balsamic vinegar, about 1-2 Tbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Serve over a bed of arugula.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Salad

20170619_182548

This salad speaks to every zombie heart – bacon and blue cheese! A combo that is about as good as free WiFi. It’s not far off from the BLT salad, but carries a distinct taste swapping ranch for blue cheese, peas for tomatoes, and the addition of egg. With all that protein, it’s a salad that could easily masquerade as a meal. Plus, the only cooking involved are eggs and bacon.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Hard boiled eggs, quartered (buy or cook your own, see below)
  • 5-7 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup of croutons (homemade is best – recipe below)

DIRECTIONS

~ Brown bacon and crumble.

~ Assemble salad: toss romaine with blue dressing before adding the blue cheese crumbles, peas and bacon. This helps keep ingredients from falling through lettuce and to the bottom of the bowl. The dressing helps ingredients stick to the lettuce better.

PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS

  • Place eggs in a pot with cold water about 1 inch above eggs.
  • Heat to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Ladle eggs from hot water into an ice bath (bowl of water and ice) to stop the cooking and to cool the eggs.
  • Crack eggs gently over counter, giving the egg a slight roll beneath your palm to loosen the shell; then peel under running water.

HOMEMADE CROUTONS

  • Dice up bread into cubes.
  • Lay on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes in a 400 degree oven, tossing once half way through.

Turmeric Mango Smoothie

20171209_093601

Tired of the usual berry smoothie? This blend is sure to inspire, and it’s good for you! The rich blend of turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon ease inflammation in the body, help your digestive tract, and protects the body against sicknesses. The recipe calls for frozen fruit, but if using fresh, just add 1/2 to 1 cup of ice to chill.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of coconut or almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbs honey

Drop ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy.

Blueberry Peach Pistachio

20180101_082317This is a nutritious powerhouse breakfast bowl, packed with fruit and superfoods. There are endless possibilities of mixing and matching this type of dish, substituting peach for strawberry or a combination of fruit, almonds instead of pistachios, etc.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 slices of peaches (fresh or frozen)
  • Blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup coconut water or juice
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 10 pistachio seeds
  • 1-2 Tbs honey

Directions:

~ Blend peaches with coconut water/juice in a blender, then arrange ingredients into a bowl.

Grandma Belle’s Potato Soup

20171225_141028

I wish this were a one pot soup, but the potatoes and bacon need to be cooked separate from the onions and carrots. It’s nothing complicated, a zombie can still do it, but it isn’t as easy as other soups where you can throw all the ingredients into a pot and heat through. HOWEVER, it is the BEST soup on this website (Grandma Belle rocked in the kitchen). Also, there’s just FIVE ingredients! And there is something magical about the combination of those five ingredients. PLUS, you’ll have leftovers the next day that will be better than the first.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 cups of milk (I like to substitute 1 cup with half and half for extra richness)
  • 3-4 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6-8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 3 Tbs flour (optional for extra thickness)

DIRECTIONS
~ Boil potatoes until tender. Drain MOST of the liquid, saving about 1 inch at the bottom of the pot. (This pot will become the soup pot.) Lightly mash some of the potatoes at the bottom, just 3-4 times for a thicker soup, leaving most intact.
~ Cook bacon until crispy (Save 3 Tbs of grease). Drain on papertowel, then crumble.
~ Saute onions and carrots in bacon grease until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
~ Add onions, carrots, bacon, milk to pot. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and heat through for 10-15 minutes.

*** For a thicker soup, mix flour with a few Tbs of water, and mix into pot, heating through for another 5-10 minutes until thickened.
*** Members in my family have lactose intolerance, so I use lactose-free milk, and honestly, I don’t notice any difference in flavor.

Italian White Bean Soup

20171127_124520This soup is about the only way I get my zombies to eat kale, unless I sneak it into a blueberry smoothie, but since they always want to help, that puts a big kink in my secret efforts. That’s okay, I have more where that comes from.

While it’s similar to minestrone, there are a few swapped ingredients, mainly farro instead of pasta, kale instead of spinach, and cannellini beans over kidney. Like minestrone, this soup is versatile, so swap out and use what you have on hand. The list looks long, but the ingredients are common and the recipe is zombie-tested.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 6-8)

  • 64 oz chicken stock
  • 1 can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2/3 cup of farro grain (rinsed)
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 1 Tbs diced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of roughly chopped kale
  • 1 1/2 Tbs salt / 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

~ Sautee the onions, celery, and carrots for about 5 minutes until soften. Add the garlic and oregano, and stir for another minute, then the can of tomatoes and stir for another minute.
~ Pour in the tomatoes, beans, farro, and kale. Bring to a light boil over med. high heat, then cover and turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

chicken pesto pasta

This pasta salad is a hit with many, and like most of my recipes, it is versatile. Substitute chicken for mushrooms, shrimp, or another vegetable. Don’t like zucchini, asparagus is another delicious option or try broccoli. Also, this is sort of a one-pan meal with the exception of the pasta.

*    It looks like there is a ton of salt in this recipe, but most of it is for the pasta water.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. pasta (farfalle, penne, fusilli or tortellini)
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped, and 3 Tbs reserved oil
  • 1/3 cup of pesto
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 Tbs salt / 1 tsp pepper

DIRECTIONS

~ Marinate the chicken breasts for at least 5 hours or overnight in Italian dressing, discard marinade after use – never reuse meat marinade!

~ Cook the pasta al dente, use 3 Tbs of the salt for the pasta water. Drain and pour into a large serving bowl with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the reserved oil, pesto, and 2 Tbs of the olive oil, stir to mix.

~ Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken on a large baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

~ Toss the zucchini and tomatoes in 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp salt / 1/2 tsp pepper. Place on the baking sheet with the chicken and flip the chicken over. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring the veggies once.

~ Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Add chicken, vegetables, and another drizzle of olive oil, stir gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Teriyaki Chicken

20180105_175758This dish, served with short-grain brown rice and grilled asparagus or zucchini, is a real treat. It’s fast, healthy, and so easy, a zombie could cook it.

Don’t let the amounts of oil, sugar, and soy sauce in the ingredients list deceive you into thinking this meal isn’t healthy. Most of it serves as a marinade and is tossed out afterwards.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 chicken breasts, pounded for tenderness
  • 1 1/3 cups low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 canola oil
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 diced green onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

~ Mix ingredients from soy sauce down to chili flakes. Pour 3/4 into a large Ziploc bag or bowl and add chicken. Use the remaining marinade for later. Marinate for a few hours to overnight. (Do not reuse marinade chicken marinated in – dump out when ready to cook)

~ Grill chicken over medium to high heat for 4-6 minutes per side.

~ Let chicken rest for five minutes after removing from heat and before slicing into it. Cut into bite-sized chunks and serve with grilled asparagus/zucchini/broccoli and short-grained brown or white rice, and the remaining 1/4 marinade.

SKEWERS:
Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks before marinating and grill instead on skewers with  zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, and/or onions over medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes, rotating once or twice.

 

White Bean and Tuna Salad

20170805_120317The flavor and simplicity of this salad are what makes it one of my go-to salads. Plus, it’s super healthy. There’s lots of protein with the tuna and beans, flavorful red onions, and the tasty red peppers add the perfect crunch. Plus, any zombie can put it together in under five minutes. No lie.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 can of navy beans
  • 1/2 cup of diced red peppers
  • 1/2 cup of diced red onion
  • 1 lemon, juice or 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3-5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt/ 1/2 tsp pepper

DIRECTIONS

~ Rinse and drain the navy beans.
~ Place beans, tuna, red onion and pepper in a large bowl.
~ Drizzle lemon juice/vinegar and 3 Tbs olive oil over the top.
~ Season with salt and pepper.
~ Toss well and let sit 15 minutes to a half hour for flavors to blend.