Crostini with Fig Jam, Grilled Pears, Proscuitto, Gorgonzola Crumbles &a Balsamic Glaze

So there aren’t many directions and there isn’t much to this but these are an absolutely delicious appetizer idea. (And it’ll make you look fancy shmancy)

For the crostini, I just sliced Italian bread into thin slices and brushed with olive oil. I put the slices on a baking tray and placed under the broiler until they were just browned enough. DO NOT FORGET YOU HAVE THEM UNDER THE BROILER!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you ;). Meanwhile, slice pears and throw them on the grill outside or if your like me and don’t have that luxury right now- use a grill pan. Cook on medium high- high & Try not to move them around much because you want those beautiful grill marks to show.

That’sthe hard part…and that was like zero effort. Now you just assemble each crostini starting with the fig jam, grilled pears, prosciutto, Gorgonzola crumbles and top with a touch of balsamic glaze. Voila!

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Roasted Eggplant Pasta Salad

Roasted Eggplant Pasta Salad

So I haven’t blogged in such a long time but finally I am getting back into it. Nothing big happened the past year, just had a baby and bought a house- so I haven’t been very busy. LOL. JK about the being busy part!! But really, I finally feel like I am getting my life organized again, which I’m sure won’t last long. But the new 3 hour nap in the middle of the day is leading to many new recipe ideas and in turn, new blog posts.

Everything that I have been making lately involves the most simple cleanups I can manage and the least amount of clanking pans, because any mom can tell you how a short nap can ruin everyone’s day :). This recipe is simple, delicious, and most importantly it looks colorful and like you spent all day in the kitchen. It’s a fancy pasta salad and the flavors come from the fresh ingredients rather than from seasonings. You can even make this ahead and as the flavors sit and combine it gets even more delicious. Great recipe going into summer and you can swap out the cheese or the type of vinegar to whatever your personal favorite may be. Enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant Pasta Salad

1 eggplant cut into bite size pieces

1 cup Kalamata olives, drained & without pits

6 tbs. olive oil

½ lb. gemelli pasta

3 tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. freshly grated black pepper

1-2 tbs. chopped fresh basil

1 c. mozzarella mini balls or diced mozzarella

1 c. halved heirloom tomatoes

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Toss eggplant and olives with 3 tablespoons of the oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in a single later until the eggplant is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, chopped basil, and remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl.

Toss together pasta, eggplant-olive mixture, mozzarella, tomatoes, and dressing. Garnish with basil leaves.

Enjoy!

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Prosciutto Wrapped Fig and Brie stuffed Chicken Breast

2 boneless, skinless, full chicken breasts
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup of cubed brie cheese
4 figs chopped plus extra for garnish
4-6 slices of prosciutto
1 tsp of olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heirloom grape tomatoes cut in half
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Balsamic glaze (store bought)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cut a line through the length of the chicken being careful not to cut completely through and create a pocket for the stuffing. Try to make sure the pocket is long enough and wide enough so that when the chicken is sliced, each piece has filling. You can also butterfly the chicken and place the filling inside and then close it up.

Stuff each hole with the Brie cheese and diced fig. Wrap 2-3 sliced of prosciutto around the chicken breasts. You can secure with a toothpick if you need but I did not find it necessary.

Place the halved heirloom tomatoes and any extra figs cut in half around the chicken for color. Drizzle the figs and tomatoes with the olive oil, white wine and chicken broth.

Cook for 30-40 minutes until chicken is at a temperature of 165 or until done. Drizzle balsamic glaze before serving and topped with fresh chopped parsley.

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Hot Thighs Italian Style

Hot Thighs Italian Style

Preheat oven to 425
10 boneless skinless chicken thighs fat trimmed
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes (more or less depending on the spice you like)
1 tsp dried crushed oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
12 oz can of Italian marinated artichoke hearts
5.75 oz jumbo pitted california ripe olives cut in half (I used half of can)
Roasted red peppers sliced (about 3 pepper halves)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar plus extra for serving
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken thighs in a roasting pan and generously sprinkle each one with garlic salt, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt. Add artichokes (without the oil), halved olives, and roasted peppers.

Pour in the chicken broth, white wine and balsamic vinegar.

Bake at 425 for about 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and slightly browned on top. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and drizzle balsamic over the chicken before serving.

Serve with a warm crusty french baguette

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Papaya Kale Smoothie with Agave

photo 3If you can’t already tell… I am on somewhat of a health kick the month before my wedding. Well, that all went in the can today after tasting wedding cakes with my mom. I needed a light snack and a pick me up this afternoon and I didn’t want to eat too much considering I ate my weight in cake for lunch- so this was the perfect treat for me.

I have been on a kale smoothie/ juice binge lately and I love to add a little bit of sweetness to anything with the kale- I love the earthy flavor but I always think there needs to be an extra something added to make me want to drink something so green, so much…

The agave is the perfect sweetener for this healthy drink and you only need a touch of it.

Enjoy!

photo 1

Papaya Kale Smoothie with Agave

Ingredients

  • 1 c. fresh papaya (I cut it into wedges like a watermelon and used one long wedge for this)
  • 7 strawberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • Handful of fresh kale (washed) about a cup
  • 1/4 c. or 1/2 c. water  depending on desired thickness
  • 1 tbs. Organic Agave

Directions

Put all items in a NutriBullet (preferred) or blender and mix until smooth. Serve cold. Enjoy!

*side note- I didn’t take exact measurements for this drink but gave a pretty good estimate- you can add more or less of any of the ingredients that you like- I had the most papaya and kale in this one 🙂

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Berry Delicious Kale Smoothie

photo 3Bikini season is pretty much here and that only means one thing. Lighter lunches. No more sandwiches for me…

But that doesn’t mean I need to sacrifice deliciousness. This kale smoothie is PACKED with nutrients and was amazing. Perfectly sweet and filling enough to replace lunch today. The best part- a whopping 1 point per serving on the weight watchers program. So you can have three glasses of this and be only at 3 points!

I used my NutriBullet for this and I am obsessed with it! It is SO easy to use and there are so many different things you can do with it. photo 2No chopping necessary. Just throwing all of the ingredients in there and adding water. And yes that is pollen on my table..

photo4

Berry Delicious Kale Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana
  • 7 strawberries
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • Handful kale
  • 2 tbs. Haagen Dazs Mango Sorbet (or honey for sweetness)
  • 1/4 c-1/2 c water (depending on desired thickness)

Directions:

Wash fruit and place all ingredients in NutriBullet. Blend together. Start with 1/4 c. water and add more if desired for a thinner shake.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Kale, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Stir Fry

photo 1It is finally starting to feel like spring is here, and as promised- I have been making some healthy meals to get myself ready for bathing suit weather- oh, and my honeymoon in 65 days….but who’s counting 😉

I feel like you either love or hate kale- no in between. I know people who eat it for every meal and then others who can’t stand the “earthy” taste of it. I happen to be one that loves kale and this stir fry was simple as can be. Since kale can be bitter and bland without the proper seasoning, I decided to make this a spicy kale dish with a beautiful hint of sweetness that comes from the butternut squash and dried pomegranates.

Try it. You might gain a new found love for kale!

Begin by melting some butter and olive oil at the bottom of a large pan. I sprinkled some crushed red pepper flakes into the oil to give it a nice kick. Remember, a little butta is good for you. This is still a healthy dish!! Dice up the butternut squash and throw it in the pan. Season with salt, pepper and some chile powder.

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You’ll need to cook the squash for a few minutes over medium heat until it has a golden brown tint to it and is tender, but not falling apart. Once you’re almost at the finish line with the squash, add the dried pomegranates and give it all a nice toss. Remove to a plate and set aside.

photo 4Now time for the kale. I have learned a few things during my short experience cooking with kale:

1.) If you don’t like crunching on pieces of dirt, make sure you wash it before cooking

2.) If you don’t like chewing on a piece of food for 10 minutes and still not physically being able to swallow it, cut the stalks off of the kale.

Now, Once you do those 2 essential things. You can begin cooking the kale. Don’t be freaked out when it appears that half of your kale is gone. It shrinks like CRAZY when you cook it.

Put the remaining butter in the pan and add the kale. Toss it around with tongs and cook for about 4 minutes. Add in the cooked squash/pomegranate mixture and gently toss. Serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese. photo 2

Spicy Kale, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Stir Fry

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup dried pomegranates
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder (more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, leaves torn, stalks discarded
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese for serving

DIRECTIONS

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the crushed red pepper flakes to the oil. Add the squash and sprinkle with the salt, chile powder and pepper. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula, until the squash is deep golden brown and tender (but not falling apart). Add the dried pomegranates and give it another toss. Remove to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat and add in the kale. Toss it around with tongs and cook it for 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the cooked squash/pomegranates and gently toss together. Serve with freshly grated pecorino romano cheese.

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Strawberry-Papaya Breakfast Bowls

photo 1Happy Day after Easter! I don’t know about you, but I know that I went a little overboard with the desserts last night and this morning was a fresh start for me…..

Much like every other Monday morning……

What a delicious and super healthy way to start my morning, if I do say so myself.

photo 2I saw a version of this on one of my favorite blogs, A Pinch of Yum and it looked AMAZING. I had to try it. My pictures are not quite as good as hers but I am still learning my way around a real camera ;).

The one thing I am missing here are the chia seeds that the recipe called for and I would HIGHLY recommend adding those because it would add awesome deliciousness and texture to such a nutrient rich breakfast.

I tried adding a hint of cream before serving and it was oh so magical. Heres a photo of natural light gone wrong, apologies!

photo

Try this. I’m telling you you won’t regret it. And if you have the time to make the coconut oil granola yourself- it pairs deliciously and I will post the recipe below as well.

Enjoy the week!

Strawberry Papaya Breakfast Bowls

INGREDIENTS
  • 10 ounces frozen papaya (you can also use mangoes or peaches)
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 ounces frozen strawberries or raspberries
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup flaxmeal
  • ¼ cup organic coconut palm sugar (or honey works too)
  • a pinch of salt
  • berries, granola (coconut oil granola recipe below) nuts, coconut, and cream for topping
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Soften the frozen fruit in the microwave or by leaving it out on the counter for a little while.
  2. Blend the papaya/mangoes/peaches with the water. Blend the strawberries/ raspberries with the coconut milk.
  3. Combine the two fruit puree mixtures and stir in the chia seeds, flax, coconut sugar, and salt. Let stand for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
  4. Serve with toppings of your choice.

Coconut Oil Granola

INGREDIENTS
Dry Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup pecans, chopped roughly
  • ½ to ¾ cup pistachios, chopped roughly
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup golden raisins
Wet Ingredients
  • ¾ cup melted coconut oil (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together (except the raisins – set aside for later). Whisk the wet ingredients until smooth. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients in a large bowl until the mixture is moistened.
  2. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet in a thin layer (use two pans if necessary – I just use one 10×15 jelly roll pan).
  3. Bake for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. During the last 20 minutes of baking, stir in the golden raisins. When you remove the granola from the oven at the end, don’t stir it right away – the granola will form crunchy clusters as it cools. Yum!
NOTES
To ensure clustering, use 1 cup coconut oil and ¼ cup honey. The more sticky the mixture, the more clustering will happen.

I made a few batches on parchment paper but I didn’t like how those turned out with the oil sort of absorbing into the paper. If you have a nonstick baking sheet, I’d recommend going without parchment paper.

This recipe is not as good when you reduce the coconut oil. I tried making this recipe with about ½ cup coconut oil and it seemed really dry to me.

Be careful with the nuts! If you pulse them in a food processor and they get too fine, they’ll make the granola dry because it almost acts like a flour. I recommend just roughly chopping or barely running them through your processor.

Recipe from A Pinch of Yum

 

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Tilapia Baked in Foil

photo s3Oh what a weekend it was…back to reality now. I had such a wonderful weekend in Palm Beach, Florida with my soon to be hubby; it was nice to finally add some color to my face and relaxation to my agenda :). Now that I am back, I want to continue to make more healthy meals- without sacrificing flavor. It’s time to get that bikini body back- I guess I realized that a couple of days too late…

This recipe is so simple and so delicious. The flavors all blend together in a wonderful way when the fish is in the oven “steaming” inside the foil wrapper.

Begin by drizzling some olive oil over the tilapia and sprinkling with salt & pepper. I used sea salt for this one. photo 3Next chop up the plum tomato and shallots, place in a medium size bowl to mix and add the olive oil, oregano, thyme, fresh lemon juice and capers. Talk about a fresh and healthy recipe!photo 2Next, take a square of aluminum foil that will fit the filet and place the tilapia on the square. Oh, and do this all on top of a baking sheet. Spoon half of the mixture on top of the filet….photo 1Wrap it up and place it in a 400 degree oven._DSC0569The wrapped tilapia will cook so nicely in the aluminum foil and all the flavors really come together so nicely. It’s a guiltless and simple meal that took me under 30 minutes to make!

photo s2 photo s1

Tilapia Baked in Foil

Serves 2 

  • 2 tilapia filets
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil for drizzling plus 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Lemon for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle tilapia with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, remaining 1 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, capers, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a tilapia fillet,  on top of a sheet of foil.  Spoon the tomato mixture over the tilapia. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely making sure that the packets are sealed closed. Place the foil packet on a baking sheet. Repeat until all of the tilapia filets have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the tilapia is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.

 

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Thai Peanut Sesame Noodles

photo 2TGIF!!! I feel like I have had an Asian/ Thai food theme the past few posts- well minus the french toast…

I threw this together for lunch today for my mom and I and I couldn’t have been more happy about how delicious it was. It was SO simple- this is going to be one of those go to recipes now when I have company for lunch and need to put something quick and easy together.

I am still learning all about my new camera and I have a ton left to learn- like to leave table cracks out of pictures- and to not use hot orange place mats. But hey, how else are ya gonna figure it all out? It’s a work in progress and I am having a great time figuring it all out…

sesame noodles
Surprisingly I had every single ingredient in my pantry, which makes me all the more proud :). Since it was such a simple meal, I didn’t have many pictures to take of the process, just the finished product.

You should try this, you won’t be disappointed. I promise…

Unless you don’t like peanuts or you’re allergic, in which case, your out of luck on this one. Sorry! Next post I will make sure to cater to the peanut haters ;).

Enjoy!photo 1

 

Peanut Thai Sesame Noodles

Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS
3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 or more for a kick- of red pepper flakes
8 oz linguine noodles
sesame seeds for garnish
green onions for garnish
INSTRUCTIONS
Cook the noodles in a large pot according to package directions.
While the noodles are cooking, in a medium sauce pan whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, ½ cup chicken broth, minced garlic, ginger, and sriracha chili sauce. Cook over medium heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Drain the noodles and toss in the peanut sesame sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Serve immediately.

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