Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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I have seen these recipes floating around on pintrest for a while but I’ve been too skeptical to give them a try. Our neighbors, Ryan and Laura, are fellow foodies and we often share samples of what we are cooking. They gave us a sample of their zucchini boats a few weeks ago and it totally fueled this recipe. I was blown away by the flavor and heartiness of their boats. A bit later I bucked up and gave this taco variation a try. This is a safe place to start in the world of zucchini boats because you can add toppings and customize it to your tastes. We floated some Ghost Scream Hot Sauce (a gift from Ryan) that really kicked these babies up a notch. The recipe in general isn’t overwhelmingly “squash-y.” Instead it is a fresh addition to the classic taco flavor. I’m very excited to experiment with these and am looking to try out a sausage or lentil zucchini boat recipe in the near future. Massive thanks to Ryan and Laura for giving me the confidence to try this recipe! I also want to note that this recipe is adapted from http://www.willcookforsmiles.com

Makes: 8 boats     Calories: 350     Time: 5o minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Zucchini
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large jalapeno, chopped (if you like it hot include the seeds)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • (optional toppings we used) rotel tomatoes, hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. To keep stability of the zucchini boat on your baking pan cut a little sliver out of the green flesh on the bottom side so that the zucchini will lay flat. With a spoon scoop out the seeded middle part. Set the boats aside.
  3. In a large pan heat oil and saute the onion, tomato and jalapeno for about a minute
  4. Add the ground beef and crumble as you cook. When it is about half way done add the taco seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Stuff each zucchini boat with this beef mixture and place them on a greased baking pan. Bake for about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with pepper jack cheese. Continue to bake them until cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from the oven once more and top with your favorite toppings.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.willcookforsmiles.com

Inside Out Cabbage Roll Soup – Crockpot

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I’m late to the “get bikini ready” party. It is the end of June and I’m just now starting to worry about eating healthier, exercising more and ultimately looking decent this summer. Better late than never I always say! I was unsure of this soup at first because I am not a huge fan of cabbage unless it is in colcannon on St. Patrick’s Day. However I needed something to start me off right and everyone raves over cabbage soup. I have to say this recipe took me by surprise. It had a great flavor that was not overpowered by the cabbage. Also, my apartment did not stink as the cabbage cooked either which was a fear of mine. I was pleased with how easy and tasty this recipe ended up being. We had many meals, lunches and dinners, out of one batch. This recipe will make it into our soup rotation for sure! The original recipe can be found at http://www.sugarfreemom.com, but I did modify the ingredients a bit. I halved the amount of ground beef and upped the amount of veggies.

Serves: 9-12     Calories: about 290 per serving    Time: 3.5 hours on high or 6.5 hours on low

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 16 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, riced
  • 8 cups of beef broth
  • 1 large head of cabbage

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over high heat and sauté until soft.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the garlic for 30 seconds or until fragrant
  3. Add the seasonings, cauliflower and marinara sauce to the beef and mix until combined.
  4. Add beef broth, cabbage, and beef mixture to your crockpot. Stir until combined
  5. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.sugarfreemom.com

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal Cups

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These baked oatmeal cups were just as enjoyable to make as they are to eat. My apartment smelled like the warm cinnamon spice that I associate with autumn. The recipe itself is very straightforward and easy to follow. As someone who does not bake I can assure you that anyone can make these. I also want to note that I chose to top these with blueberries to mock a blueberry muffin but you can choose any topping you like. If you plan to eat these for an entire week I suggest not using fruit because the topping will get “fuzzy” after a few days. Try some nuts or chocolate chips if you want them to last more than 4 days. If you are counting calories keep in mind that if you change the toppings you will need to account for that. I used 5-6 blueberries per cup which accounts for about 5 calories per cup so if you do not use blueberries the calories are 175 per cup + whatever calories make up the topping you use. This recipe has been adapted from http://www.thewholesomedish.com which is a great recipe blog I highly recommend.

Perry started a new job recently which means his mornings can be crammed/rushed. I’ve started making muffins to make sure he gets something good to eat and it has made the morning madness much more bearable.  I’ve been having them for breakfast also, and as someone who treats breakfast as the “big meal,” I can confirm that one of these is a good portion with some yogurt.  If you can, I recommend popping one in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm it up and drizzling a bit of honey over the top.

Makes: 16 cups     Calories: 180 per cup (with blueberries)     Time: 5 min. prep ;  35 min. baking time per batch

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, I suggest keeping to the “no sugar added” variation
  • 1.5 cups of milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Toppings
  • muffin/cupcake cups

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large bowl mix the eggs, oil, and brown sugar until combined (no brown sugar lumps).
  3. Add the applesauce, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Stir in the oats and baking powder.
  5. Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way and add your topping(s). If you are using toppings that don’t melt (i.e anything that isn’t chocolate) press them into the mixture a bit so they don’t fall off the top as you eat it.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Let the cups cool completely before digging in as they need to “set” otherwise they will crumble.
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from the beautiful blog : http://www.thewholesomedish.com

 

Hearty Hot and Sour Soup

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My gosh this soup has so much flavor! With this recipe you’ll expect tons of veggies, tons of spice and such a savory broth. Don’t be surprised to find yourself slurping up every last drop of this stuff. I had started getting tired of the traditional vegetable soups. You know the usual culprits – barley vegetable, summer vegetable, root veggie puree. We desperately needed something different so I turned to my recipe companion, Pintrest. I fall so hard into the Pintrest web but have climbed my way out with some killer recipes, this being one of them. The original recipe does include tofu and mushrooms, but there are just some things I cannot stomach and those are two of them. So if you want to make this soup even more hearty then you will want to visit the original recipe posted at http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com.

Serves: 8     Calories: 200/serving     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (Add an extra one if you really like it hot)
  • 1lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced into disks
  • 1 small savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2.5 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 6-8 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onions, ginger, and jalapenos Cook for a few minutes, stirring.
  2. Add in the carrots, and cabbage. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, or until cabbage starts to wilt. Add in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, cold water, and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add the zucchini, and bell peppers to the pot. Simmer until the veggies are tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the soy sauce mixture and stir until the soup thickens, about 8 minutes. Add in the bok choy and tomatoes and bring the soup back to a simmer. Stir in the sesame oil.

Spinach and Mozzarella Meatloaf

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This is not you mother’s ketchup and brown sugar topped meatloaf. This is a flavor packed cheesy meatloaf. I’ve had fails with meatloaf before that left me with a brick of dry beef but this recipe made such a juicy loaf that I doubt I’ll ever use a different one again. It is really hard to describe just how good this meatloaf was! I was able to prepare this ahead of time which was great as I had a busy afternoon planned with the kids. We got home in the late afternoon and all I needed to do was preheat the oven and cook this baby up. It does take an hour and 15 minutes to bake so be sure to allow yourself that time.

Serves: 1 loaf about 8 slices     Calories: approximately 444/ slice     Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups of finely chopped spinach
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together ground beef, spinach, bread crumbs, 1.5 cups of the mozzarella cheese, onion, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix well but do not over-mix as you run the chances of drying it out.
  3. Transfer this mixture to a loaf pan.
  4. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella over the top of the loaf.
  5. Make a tent over the pan with foil. Don’t let the foil touch the cheese on top of the loaf because it will just stick to the foil and peel off.
  6. Bake for 1 hour
  7. Remove loaf from the oven and take off foil.
  8. Place loaf back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.simplifylivelove.com

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs

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Give me a sticky sauce on anything and I’ll devour it. These meatballs were dripping in a wonderfully sticky and sweet sauce. I didn’t find these unbearably spicy but they do pack a delightful kick. The heat in these guys is more of an aftertaste then a knock you out kind of spicy. I paired it up with some crunchy veggies and rice. I do think it would taste great alongside some grilled veggies or even in a sandwich to switch it up for lunch. The process was very simple and straightforward making it a great weeknight recipe. There were plenty of left overs that kept really well. I will be making this one again and again! I found the original recipe at http://www.littlespicejar.com and have to tell anyone reading this how beautiful that blog is. They have so many yummy recipes over there and I definitely recommend that you give them a look.

Serves: 18-22 meatballs     Calories: 100 calories per meatball     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs of ground chicken
  •  6 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2  tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Adjust your oven rack to the middle and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the firecracker sauce over medium high heat. Bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, eggs, panko, paprika, and onion powder. Mix well but don’t over mix.
  4. Roll the mixture into 18-24 meatballs and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  5. Remove the meatballs from the oven and brush them with a bit of the sauce. Place them back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Remove and top with the remaining sauce and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from www.littlespicejar.com

 

Grilled Jerk Wings

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I tend to make major leaps after a small success. I pulled off a grilled romaine salad so I got cocky and took my grilling challenge to wings. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little terrified. Additionally I’ll be honest and admit that the emergency water bottle was used a handful of times to put out small rack fires.. However I pulled it off and these wings were yummy. Who knows what’s next in my grilling adventure. Tri-tip anyone?

These wings are spicy and tangy. The original recipe called for a Scotch Bonnet chile pepper which is reportedly much hotter then the habanero pepper I used. If you like really really hot wings then I suggest finding said pepper and using it in this recipe. Our grocery store does not carry it so I had to substitute. I also shared some wings with my neighbors who are connoisseurs of all things chicken wings and they suggested rounding out the sauce with something sweet such as honey. I will certainly heed this advice and cannot wait to make these again. As for the grilling process, this recipe is pretty easy to follow. You season the wings, grill them, and toss them in sauce. Done deal! These will be great for the upcoming Super Bowl and quickly approaching summer barbecues.

Serves: 4     Calories: 460 per serving     Time:25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken wings, we bought party wings already cut
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • *optional* any chicken rub you like, I used garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 large habanero pepper, minced (wear gloves when handling these hot peppers)
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • scallions, chopped for topping

Directions:

  1. Light your grill and heat to medium, approximately 350 degrees F
  2. Rub your wings with olive oil, salt, pepper and optional chicken rub.
  3. Put chicken on the grill and turn them occasionally cooking for 25-20 minutes. Times vary depending on the size of your chicken and how often you lift the lid of your grill to turn the wings. Do not open too much as it releases the heat and takes longer to cook your wings. You will know the chicken is done by cutting into one of the wings and finding that there is no redness near the bone.
  4. While your wings cook prepare the sauce by mixing together the vinegar, habanero, mustard and oregano in a large bowl.
  5. Once wings are done and have a nice char add them to the bowl with sauce and toss coating them evenly.
  6. Top the wings with chopped scallions and enjoy!

*photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from:

Schlesinger, Chris.  Willoughby, John. “Jerk Wings from Hell.”  Grill It!. Ed. Louise Abbott, Marek Walisiewicz, Kati Dye. New York: DK Publishing, 2008. 165. Print.