15 Minute Dinner….No Joke! November 1, 2011

Halloween can be a tricky time…..candy, candy, candy, everywhere.  I spent the afternoon at my children’s school helping out with Halloween parties.  There was a lot of sugar, and a lot of salt.  I think that’s to be expected; after all, it’s a party!  But, I knew there was more treats to come and I was short on time, as well as ideas for dinner that night.  It was important to me that they had something healthy and filling before we headed out for an evening of Halloween haunts. 

The kids where rooting for pepperoni pizza……….while I was on board for the pizza I couldn’t help but think there has to be a quick, healthy and tasty side-dish that didn’t require chopping veggies for a salad.  Ah-ha the freezer holds the key.  I always keep a large frozen bag of prepackaged, organic, broccoli from Costco on hand.  I also had some frozen cheese pizza on hand too, and of course there were more veggies in the fridge.  I opted for baby, pre-washed, organic spinach.  Along with mini portabella mushrooms.  In an instant we had cheese pizzas loaded with veggies right from our own kitchen.  It was so good, and the kids asked from more! 

Spinach and Broccoli are excellent sources of calcium, fiber and vitamins……..while those yummy mushrooms reduce inflammation in the entire body.  Need we say anymore?  Let’s get to the YUM!  You will need the following ingredients:

1 frozen cheese pizza of your choice (most health stores offer wheat crust pizza….just an option if interested)

1 package of frozen broccoli

1-2 handfuls of baby spinach

1/2 cup of sliced baby portabella mushrooms

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (add more if you like spicy, omit if you don’t)

 extra virgin olive oil use as needed

salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven and cook pizza according to package.  Pre-heat two skillets over medium-high heat.  Add frozen broccoli to one skillet with drizzle of olive oil.  Cover with a lid, cook for 3-5 minutes.   Wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth and slice.  Add mushrooms to the second skillet drizzle with olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper…..cook until softened and they become golden in color.  Add spinach to skillet with mushrooms…..give a quick stir and set aside.  Spinach will wilt quickly…..season with salt and pepper to taste if needed. 

Check back with the broccoli….should be vibrant in color with a firm texture.  Add minced garlic, red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove Pizza from oven when fully cooked.  Cut into individual slices and top with the veggies of your choice.  So good, so easy and it beats chopping a salad when there is little time to spare. 

These two veggie sides could easily accompany a pasta, fish, or chicken dish any weeknight too.  We enjoyed this meal so much I forgot to take a photo!  If you try this quick meal……please feel free to send us your photos and we’ll put them on the blog.  Remember have fun in your kitchen and don’t make veggies more complicated than need be.



Zesty Spinach Soup October 4, 2011

I’m so grateful that the temperatures are cooler….fall is truly my favorite time of year.  It’s also the time when I bring out my big soup pot….another one of my favorite things is a meal that can be made in one pot.  Simple ingredients, minimal time, and oh so good yummines that just gets better as the week extends.  The first soup made this season in our family kitchen was Zesty Spinach Soup from Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook.  This soup is great for a quick meal packed with vital nutrients, and most of the ingredients may already be in your pantry.  If you’re real hungry it’s nice to pair it with a green leaf salad, or a grilled provolone cheese sandwich on seeded bread.

This soup includes a hearty helping of spinach which contains high levels of readily absorbed calcium.  And let’s not forget the quinoa, which is a relative to the green leafy vegetable.  Quinoa  is a complete protein, which simple means it includes all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is also well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.  It’s also a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.  But, even with all of that good health news….the bottom line is its good, and very satisfying. 

Let’s get to the YUM!  You’ll need the following ingredients:

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 red onion, peeled and coarsely ( if the onion is large, half will work fine)

1 thick carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped ( 1-2 handfuls of baby carrots sliced on an angle will work fine)

3 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press, or finely chopped

1 tsp of sea salt

Pinch of black pepper

6 cups low-sodium chicken, or vegetable broth

1 14.5 oz can of low sodium, petite diced tomatoes

1/2 cup of quinoa

2 cups white kidney beans, well rinsed and drained

1 tsp curry powder

Pinch of ground nutmeg

3 cups baby spinach

Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, add onion and saute until translucent.  Add carrots, garlic and salt.  Saute until vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes.  Add stock, tomatoes, quinoa, beans and spices.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.  Add the spinach and cover.  Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.


Want more info on Quinoa?  Visit: WHFoods: Quinoa – The World’s Healthiest Foods


Chuck’s Yummy Egg Surprise August 17, 2011

My husband is not a chef, and he doesn’t cook often, but when he does we’re usually in for a pretty good treat.  We were looking for something to kick up the excitement with our eggs, and I think he went above and beyond the task.  This recipe takes some time to chop veggies, but after all that work is complete it’s pretty simple.  I love simple, especially when it’s tempting to the eyes and belly.

Let’s get to the YUM!  You will need the following ingredients:

3 egg whites

splash of non-fat milk

1/4 of a small red onion chopped

3-4 baby portabella mushrooms chopped

3-4 cherry tomatoes chopped

handful of baby spinach

feta cheese

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

extra virgin olive oil

cooking spray

1 medium-sized ramekins

***ingredients are for an individual serving***

Drizzle a non-stick skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the onions until they’re translucent.  Then add the chopped mushrooms and let them saute….the will shrink in size and caramelize a bit.  Last, add the chopped tomatoes.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes and set aside.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If you like a little kick add some red pepper flakes.  A little goes a long way! 

Combine the egg whites and milk, then pour them into a ramekins that has been prepared with cooking spray. The milk with make the eggs fluffy.  Add the cooked veggies to the egg whites.  Place a handful of baby spinach on top of all ingredients.  Place the ramekins into the microwave and cook 1-2 minutes.  Keep an eye on the eggs, so it does not overflow.

Plate onto a dish and sprinkle with feta cheese.  So pretty, and oh so good! Once again have fun in your kitchen and experiment.  Switch the veggies, cheese and spices to see what egg surprise you might come up with.  Also, you could make a large batch and cook in prepared muffin tins in the oven.  Then store them in your fridge for the week to come.  This would allow for a real quick bite to start off any day during the week. Or, add some fresh fruit and have a pleasant brunch for the weekend.