Tag Archives: recipe

Crockpot Taco Soup

14 Nov

I don’t usually participate in #WIAW because I’m not too big into photographing all of my meals in a day (I’m too forgetful, and let’s face it, how many pics of pumpkin-based foods can I show you nice people before you leave me forever?) But, I love the concept — so many bloggers link up to share their eats, resulting in such an interactive community.

So this Wednesday, I thought I’d join the party by sharing in the best way I know to share.

This is not your ordinary taco night.

I woke up about 15 minutes earlier than usual and prepped before work yesterday. Threw it all in the slow cooker and, when I strolled through the door last night, our home smelled like a bonafied fiesta.

Friends, I give you the gift of a rock star throw-together slow cooker dinner. And, it’s actually fun to eat – there are so many ingredients in this bowl, I can hardly call it a soup!

{Barely adapted from this recipe}

Serves 6

1 lb lean ground beef (We used 80/20)
1 TBSP coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 onion, chopped
1 jar roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
1 15 oz. can black beans, with their liquid
1 15 oz. can white cannelini beans, with their liquid
1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, with liquid
2 14.5 oz. cans peeled & diced tomatoes (the Trader Joe’s fire roasted variety is great)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
2 cups water
1 oz. taco seasoning (I like the all natural variety from Whole Foods

In a medium skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high eat until liquified. Next, cook beef until browned over. Drain and set aside.

Chop up your onion.

Ready for this? Open cans. Throw them their contents in your crockpot. Add beef and onion. Stir, set, forget – cook for 8 hours on low.

Come home & feast. I recommend topping with light Mexican shredded cheese & a dollop of 2% Greek yogurt.

Pinata optional.

Your turn! Do you use a slow cooker when the weather outside is frightful? For me, it’s tough to beat a greeting as sweet as a  home cooked meal waiting for me on a Tuesday!


One Pot Turkey Pumpkin Chili

23 Oct

Full disclosure…

If you hate pumpkins, or are annoyed by the pumpkin thing, or if pumpkin offends you in any way, you should probably not read my blog for the next few weeks.

Pumpkin related products thrill me. Even the simplest of goods can make me squeal when pumpkin-ized. Candles? Cream Cheese? Butter? Yogurt? Oats? Ice cream?? Vodka??? (Ok, so I’ve made better decisions.) Mini trees for the home?!!

{source– I would show you my own, but technical difficulties over here.)

It’s all happening. I love it all – not just because I genuinely adore the flavor of pumpkin and its affiliated natural products (I stress natural here – because knockoff pumpkin tastes like bubblegum and cinnamon got in a slapping fight.) I also worship pumpkin like it’s going out of style because, to me, it encapsulates that warm, festive fall feeling that makes you want to reach for a blanket, watch some football and slow down a little.

I realize not everyone consumes this crop as though they are trying to turn their insides orange. In fact, I tested out a dish this weekend that will have your pumpkin enthusiasts and those who turn their nose up at the idea of pumpkin coming within 6 feet of their chili (read: JC) sitting down happily at the same pumpkin-adorned table.

Try it. The pumpkin flavor is subtle, and just makes for a creamier, more velvety chili base.

{Barely adapted from this recipe – makes 4 hearty servings}

1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 jalapenos, finely chopped
1 LB ground turkey
1 15 oz. can Organic pumpkin puree
1 14.5 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes, in their liquid
1 C. water
1 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP natural taco seasoning
a few hearty shakes cayenne pepper
ground black pepper, to taste
1 15 oz can kidney beans
a few slices fresh goat cheese

Heat EVOO in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, peppers and jalapenos, cooking until fragrant, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add turkey to pot and cook until turkey is browned.

Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water and spices, bringing mix to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover & simmer for 30 minutes.

Top with goat cheese (other toppings: shredded mozzarella, greek yogurt, sour cream, or if you’re JC, crunched up tortilla chips!)

A delicious one, and a one pot dinner makes for a speedy clean up – leaving you more time to watch football!

Or whatever you are into.

How do you feel about pumpkin – love it or leave it?

Easy Tofu Stir Fry

4 Oct

Earlier this week, I saw the bone & joint doctor who desecrated my broken finger with pins during my surgery last week. As they unwrapped the finger to assess the damage, this was the first time I laid eyes upon the pinned up appendage.

I’ll give it to you straight: it really wasn’t pretty. I did take some pictures, but considering I tend to post around the breakfast hour I’ll spare you just this once.

Anyway, short of peddling my pin photos to some medical fetish website, I’m not entirely sure why I chose to document this. I kind of had to make myself stop before I felt too faint.

The good news is things appear to be healing up pretty well, and my finger is “relatively straight” according to my 23 year old babysitter resident doctor.

I’ve also downsized in terms of the ridiculous dressing I have to deal with. I’ve officially graduated out of sling, and have even restored some mobility in the finger since they decided to wrap about half of it. This is awesome, considering I had basically lost full use of my hand before due to how much gauze and other junk I was dealing with.

Bottom line: things are going OK. It’s still pretty much impossible to exercise without some severe throbbing kicking in around minute 15 (I know, poor me.) I have to see the big girl bone doctor next week and we’ll find out more.

Yes Jim, we sure can.

If you saw my menu on Monday, I included a tofu stir fry. Truth is, while I don’t eat a ton of tofu, I actually really enjoy it. Since the jury is still out on soy I try to eat it sparingly, but I feel like it gets a bad wrap (“it’s squishy”, “it’s boring”, etc.) In reality it’s super easy to prepare, and when squeezed dry really takes on the flavors of any dish.

I chose to tackle this dish this week as I ease myself back into kitchen adventuring. Clearly the finger is still far from healed, so I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. This recipe takes about 15 minutes to whip up, maybe 20 if you’re not very good with a knife and/or only have 8 mobile fingers.

Hope you’ll give it a try!

{Serves 4}

1 (1lb) block organic, extra firm tofu (I pick mine up at Trader Joe’s)
2 bags stir fry vegetables** (again, Trader Joe for President 2012)
1/3 C. minced onions
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
1/2 C. Soyaki sauce (or soy sauce, or teriyaki sauce)
a few shakes ground pepper & garlic

Using a paper towel, squeeze as much liquid from tofu block as possible. This insures it will pick up more juices & flavors from the dish. Cut block into 4 strips, then chop into bite-size strips. Place the cut tofu pieces into a bowl and bathe in apple cider vinegar & Soyaki sauce. Place in refrigerator 10-20 mins.

Heat EVOO over medium high heat; add veggies and cook until thawed. Add spices.

Finally, add tofu & all remaining marinade. Stir well. Whip out chopsticks & serve over brown rice, if you like!

So easy, a gimp can do it.

**Check the ingredients included in your stir fry vegetables – ONLY veggies should be listed. Do not choose a brand including any frankenfoods, extra oils, etc. If you can’t find a bag that’s up to snuff, add snap peas, Chinese water chestnuts, carrots, and bean sprouts, about 4 cups total.

Spiced Salmon with Cool Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

27 Sep

You guys have been through the ringer; you bore with me during my finger surgery saga.

Now comes your sweet and savory reward.

Unless you count build-your-own-frozen yogurt or tossing various items of nutritional value into a blender and pressing “liquefy”, my kitchen hasn’t exactly been a factory pumping out delicious nutritious contents as of late. My left ring finger still resembles an overstuffed lumpy caterpillar wrapped in a gnarly cocoon so I imagine that, until a new butterfly of a finger emerges, my kitchen will remain a barren memory of meals past.

Thank God for frozen yogurt.

This recipe is an oldie but goodie. I stumbled upon it during my first few months out of college, when I had already decided I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle but hadn’t necessarily yet worked out the fact that the best version of healthy for me included as few fake foods as I could get my hands on. I remember the amazement I felt at how simple the recipe was — how could a dish so easy with so few ingredients taste so good?

The original recipe recommends serving over whole wheat orzo which I also endorse, but my version kicks it into salad-gear.

{Adapted from Self Magazine – Serves 4}

4 salmon filets (1 lb salmon cut into 4 pieces)
2 tsp EVOO
1/2 tsp sugar (I use stevia instead)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

For the sauce:
1/2 C. 2% Greek yogurt
1 large cucumber
1 scallion, finely chopped
3 TBSP fresh minced parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a small bowl, combine sugar/stevia, cumin, pepper and salt. Rub the salmon filets with olive oil, then rub spice mixture on top. You can also use a brush if you’re less grizzly than I am. Refrigerate for 10-20 mins.

Preheat the broiler. Combine yogurt, finely chopped cucumber, scallion, parsley, lemon juice and a little pinch of salt in a bowl.

Broil salmon until it is barely opaque at the center, 7-10 minutes.

Serve over spinach dressed in olive oil & balsamic – top the salmon with the yogurt sauce.

How easy was that? This will forever stand as one of my go-to, simple yet scrumptious staples.

For the peanut gallery: 

Do you cook with fish very often? What’s your favorite way to prepare?

South Beach Shepherd’s Party

10 Jul

Judging by the overwhelming presence of Monday grumblings on someecards, I am guessing I am not the only person struggling hard to accept that this is, in fact, reality, where people work 5 days a week, 40+ hours in said week.

Sigh. Can’t every work week be home to an American holiday revolving around barbecues, beer, swimming & playing?

On second thought, if any of you celebrated America’s birthday on a level even remotely close to mine, your jeans are probably grateful that every week is much more… healthful.

I’ve been married for a month now (!!!), and I will continue to claim that I have the right to celebrate my recent nuptials like a fool for at least 90 days. But because I’ve enjoyed a few too many slices of desserts bearing American flags & indulged in one too many rounds of cup flipping games over the past month, it’s time for me pump the brakes before I lose sight of all I’ve worked for in the months leading up to my wedding.

After all, a healthy balance means consistency – something I still struggle with regularly. Heading back to the basics usually lends me a starting point, and for me, the South Beach Diet is typically a pretty solid starting point for kicking creepy cravings to the curb and resetting my palate all together.

Before I even unpacked most of my home, I dragged myself (and a very patient JC) to Whole Foods to insure the week got off on the right foot. I wanted to have a well-rounded week, and I knew just the tool I would call upon.

My mom got me this sassy pistachio colored KitchenAid mixer as a shower gift, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to pledge into the global class of electric mixer lovers.

With my newly acquired kitchen weaponry, I whipped up a healthy casserole I can feast on for most of the week.

I know what you’re thinking: Healthy casserole? Is that a thing? Just wait until I tell you that it’s actually shepherd’s pie, a classic calorie bomb.

Stay with me!

I tweaked this very lightened up version from South Beach Diet’s newer book, Supercharged. All natural ingredients, and as mashed cauliflower replaces traditional buttery mashed potatoes the dish quickly becomes a reasonable meal. But don’t fret: there’s nothing “diet” about bubbly cheese, juicy meat & chewy edamame in every bite!

{Adapted from South Beach Supercharged – 4 delicious servings}

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb extra lean ground beef (turkey is tasty too if you don’t swing that way)
2 C. shelled edamame
1/2 C. low sodium beef broth
3 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
16 oz. frozen cauliflower
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 egg yolk
pinch sea salt
1/2 C. Mexican blend shredded cheese

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil – add cauliflower and cook until soft, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl or food processor.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions & garlic and cook until fragrant, 5 minutes or so. Add beef and cook until browned through.

Add edamame, beef broth & worcestershire sauce; cook 3 minutes more. Remove from heat & add the mixture to a lightly sprayed 2 quart casserole dish. Set aside.

Add greek yogurt, egg yolk and sea salt to cauliflower. Mix or blend until smooth, with a consistency resembling that of lip smackin’ calorie packin’ mashed taters. Carefully & evenly spread cauliflower cloud over the beef mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve al fresco with a side of vino, if your little heart desires the finer things in life.


How do you get back on track after an indulgent holiday? Any favorite lightened up make-ahead meals out there?