Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Pickled Jalapenos

Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Pickled Jalapenos

1 pound ground turkey (lean)
1 15−ounce can of dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 15−ounce can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 8−ounce can tomato sauce
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 4−ounce can of diced green chilies, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1  to 1 1/2 cups water (less if you desire thicker chili)
3 to 4 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, diced into smaller bits

1. In a medium sized skillet, brown/cook/crumble the ground turkey over medium heat, breaking into small pieces with the spatula.
2.  Drain any excess fat from the ground turkey; put the cooked turkey in the slow cooker (Crock Pot).  Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir well, cover, and cook on HIGH for about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours or on LOW for about 4 to 5 hours.
3.  Enjoy!

STOVE TOP INSTRUCTIONS:  Chili can also be made on the stove top.  After browning, cooking and crumbling the turkey, add in remaining ingredients.  Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!



Monday, October 16, 2017

Turmeric Farro Salads



Turmeric Farro

Last week I shared a recipe I had tried for Turmeric Farro with Roasted Vegetables. I learned that I liked the farro and also the roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts; the roasted sugar snap peas were not my favorite roasted vegetable. 

I had left over farro so I added it to my salads and I love it.  Here’s the Turmeric Farro recipe if you missed it (click HERE) and here are my salads. Aren’t they pretty?!?  


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Turmeric Farro with Oven Roasted Vegetables



Turmeric Farro



Farro is a grain that has lots of health benefits.  I bought farro more than a year ago at a health food store and never tried to cook it until this weekend.  It's nutty and chewy, much like brown rice.  I really like it!  Now that I tried this farro recipe, it occurs to me that I have had farro before.  Panera Bread restaurant has a great salad with "ancient grains".  Turns out farro goes by many names, including "ancient grain", and it's high in fiber, protein, fiber, and is otherwise a really heart healthy choice.  You can read more about farro HERE and HERE.

I found the Tumeric Farro recipe, using turmeric and vegetable broth, on a cooking blog and decided to serve it with vegetables I had on hand. I already had some roasted Brussels sprouts in the refrigerator.  I had also purchased a big bag of sugar snap peas and I had baby carrots in the refrigerator, so I decided to roast them while the farro simmered.  Let me just stop and tell you now... oven roasted carrots are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good.  Where have these been all of my LIFE!?!  I just roasted the carrots and sugar snap peas at 450 degrees with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. I realize now that the sugar snap peas roasted faster than the baby carrots, so I will keep that in mind next time.  The sugar snap peas are a bit slimy.  Or maybe next time, I'll just roast baby carrots.  Did I mention that roasted baby carrots are REALLY, REALLY good?!?  In the photo at the very top, you can see I also had some chopped hard boiled egg to my farro and roasted vegetables.  I know this may sound weird, but it added incredible creaminess and flavor to this healthy, hearty bowl of yummy goodness.

When I used to watch cooking shows on the Food Network a lot, celebrity chef Giada De Laurentis talked about farro quite frequently. She said her mom made it for breakfast.  I could totally imagine farro with milk, cinnamon, raisins, and honey.  Basically, I can imagine topping farro in just the same way you would enjoy hot oatmeal.

One other thing to point about farro... it comes in a few different forms.  My farro is Organic Pearled Farro.  Turns out this pearled variety is a quicker cooking farro.  If you get other varieties, the cooking time will vary.

Turmeric Farro
Recipe Source:  www.whiskandshout.com
Original Recipe link is HERE
  • 1½ cups dry farro
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine dry farro, broth, water, salt, and turmeric in a large pot and set over high heat until gently boiling.
  2. Mix well, reduce heat to low-medium, and cover to simmer for 10-15 minutes (mine took a bit longer). Check periodically to stir.
  3. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, take farro off heat and stir to avoid sticking.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pumpkin Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts (Wheat Free Blender Muffins)



Pumpkin Pie Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts



I've made a lot of flourless blender muffins in the past year or so.  This recipe is great. It comes from a blog with a clever name: Making Thyme for Health.  Here is the ORIGINAL recipe link (click HERE).

http://makingthymeforhealth.com/healthy-flourless-pumpkin-muffins/

I made a few changes to the recipe and the muffins turned out great.  I am certain the original recipe is super good but I knew my husband would not eat pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips.  Some folks just don't get the pumpkin/chocolate combination.  My changes to the original recipe included omitting chocolate chips, and adding in raisins and walnuts, as well as ground ginger and cloves.



Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins with Raisins and Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 and 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and then grease or line a muffin tin for 12 muffins.
Starting with the wet ingredients first (pumpkin, maple syrup, eggs, etc.) layer everything except the chocolate chips into a blender or a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.
Using a spoon, gently stir the raisins and walnuts into the batter. Pour the batter into the muffin tin, filling each about 3/4th of the way full. Bake in the oven for 22 minutes, until light golden brown.
Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes.

These muffins keep best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats (such as Bob’s Red Mill) for allergies.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Super EASY *SPICY" Turkey Taco Chili (Slow Cooker)


Super EASY *SPICY" Turkey Taco Chili (Slow Cooker)

I liked the looks of a recipe I saw on the "Skinny Taste" blog but I knew I wanted to make a few changes so my husband and I would both like it.  The recipe called for chicken breasts; I used cooked, crumbled ground turkey instead.  The recipe also calls for two cans of Ro-Tel (diced tomatoes with green chilies) and one can of green chilies.  We were wanting some HOT & SPICY chili, so I selected one can of Ro-tel "Original" and one can of Ro-tel "Hot".  The canned green chilies I used were also the "hot" variety.  Finally, the recipe called for frozen corn; we left out the corn.  

Yowza, our chili is HOT & SPICY.  Ro-tel comes in so many varieties which you can see HERE.  If you are sensitive to spice or don't like things too spicy, I recommend the "Mild" Ro-tel.  And I recommend you use mild green chilies as well.  You could substitute canned diced tomatoes or canned fire roasted tomatoes if you'd like. There is plenty of seasoning in this chili without the green chilies. 

Aside from browning/cooking/crumbling the ground turkey and chopping up an onion, this is a dish you can assemble in just a few minutes.  I had this simmering in the slow cooker first thing this morning before we headed out the door to walk the dogs.


Super EASY *SPICY* Turkey Taco Chili (Slow Cooker)

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes w/chilies (I used 1 can Ro-Tel "Hot" with habanero peppers and 1 can Ro-Tel "Original" with green chilies)
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies (I used Ortega brand "Hot" green chilies)
1 pound ground turkey (browned/cooked/crumbled)
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, stir, cover with lid, and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Adapted from www.skinnytaste.com/LINK:
http://www.skinnytaste.com/crock-pot-chicken-taco-chili-4-pts/



Friday, September 1, 2017

Easy Tangy Salad Dressing


You can see from my photo above that I take my salad making very seriously!  Ha, ha!  If I were to make a salad for myself (just one portion for lunch for example), I would never bother to wash, dry, and chop such a variety of vegetables, but I make what I am calling "Assembly Line Salads".  If I am making 4 to 6 salads all at one time, it is totally worth the effort to wash, dry, and chop a lot of ingredients.  I usually make up these salads on the day I do my grocery shopping. 

For these salads, which are all identical, I used the following ingredients:

1 bag of Kroger "Tender Spinach" (comes triple washed/ready to eat)
1 can of Kroger garbanzo beans, rinsed/drained/spread out on a paper towel to dry
1 small container of grape tomatoes
1 small container of sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced or grated
about 3/4 cup of finely chopped red cabbage
1 small cucumber, chopped (this is an Armenian cucumber from my neighbor's garden)

My salads vary just a bit each time I make them. I love a prepackaged/prewashed salad from Walmart which contains a blend of baby kale and spinach, but really use all kinds of greens for the base. Then I just divide up the ingredients among the containers so my salads are ready.  I often add chopped hard boiled egg to my salads. I guess the most important tip I have it to not place any very wet ingredient in the salads or they will spoil more quickly.  This is why I use grape or cherry tomatoes instead of diced tomato as an example.

My "go to salad dressing" has been a homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette.  You can find the recipe HERE.   But I do love to try new dressings.  I was resistant to make salad dressing at home for awhile. The big draw back is that sometimes the salad dressings gets "gloopy" in the refrigerator as a result of the oil solidifying.  When this happens, I shake the dressing like mad and then measure out about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of dressing and then microwave it for about 5 seconds on high. Works like a charm.  Of course, if you prefer, you can let your salad dressing sit out at room temperature for awhile and the oil in the dressing will become less "gloopy" as the oil warms up.

The dressing I am using this week is called "Tangy Dressing".  I found it on Facebook and I took a screen shot of the recipe so I only know the ingredients, but not the source of the recipe. Sorry!  It looks like it's a dressing for a broccoli salad with apple, walnuts, carrots, goji or cranberries, and a little red onion.  Sounds amazing!  I am using the dressing on my veggie salads and I really like it.  The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes; that had me a bit worried... that sounds mighty spicy.  I just used a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes.  In addition, I used dried parsley in place of fresh parsley since I did not have any on hand.

Next time you are having a salad at home or buying salad dressing at the store, look at the ingredients in pre-made salad dressing and see how many ingredients are in there.  You might wonder what some of the ingredients are.  For the homemade "Tangy Dressing", I had all of the ingredients on hand and I love that there are no weird additives.  My diet is far from perfect, but making salad dressings at home is a change I feel really good about. 


*** I used just a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes; 2 teaspoons sounds like a LOT! Also, I used dried parsley (about 1 teaspoon or less) instead of fresh since dried is what I had on hand.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Zucchini Soup with Curry Spice


HELP! My neighbor keeps bringing me zucchini after I told her I LOVE zucchini!  I can't use it as fast as she is bringing it to me. Yesterday, I made some blender muffins with oats, banana, chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut, and zucchini.  A weird combination but I love these muffins and they freeze well.  I also made some Double Chocolate Zucchini muffins.  Seriously, these muffins taste like chocolate cupcakes.  So good!  After all the baking was done, I decided to try a new zucchini recipe... Cream of Zucchini Soup from one of my very favorite food blogs www.skinnytaste.com.

I read many reviews of this recipe before making the soup. A few folks felt the soup was kind of bland so they mentioned some alterations they made to make the soup a bit more to their liking.  I took a few ideas and ran with it. The original recipe calls for zucchini, chicken broth, onion, garlic, and a little light sour cream.  I left out the sour cream but am swirling a little Greek yogurt into my soup when I eat it.  I also added carrots, curry powder, and honey to my soup.  In addition, I sautéed my veggies a little while in a bit of extra virgin olive oil before adding in the chicken broth. The original recipe calls for throwing all ingredients in a pot, simmering, and blending. I thought the sautéing might make the soup a bit more flavorful.  I also read that some folks enjoy this soup cold. I just tried a bite of cold soup and it is quite flavorful; I am just not sure if I am a fan of cold soup or not.  Finally, I read in the reviews that this soup freezes well.  Maybe I can make up a bunch of this soup and freeze it so this zucchini does NOT go to waste!

Zucchini Soup with Curry Spice
Adapted from www.skinnytaste.com
Original Recipe Link is HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sized sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium zucchini, skin on cut in large chunks
  • 2 to 3 small to medium sized carrots, chopped
  • 32 oz.  Swanson chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (or a little more if desired)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons honey
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • optional: plain Greek yogurt to stir into each bowl of soup

Directions:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil.  Add in the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Onions will begin to soften.  Add in the zucchini, garlic, and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender.  Add in the curry powder and honey.  Blend in with the immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can blend your soup in a traditional blender; just be very careful, as hot soup can make the lid fly off resulting in burns. If using a traditional blender, you may wish to just blend your soup in batches (a little soup at a time).
  5. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to taste. If soup seems bitter, add in a bit more honey. Serve hot.  If desired, stir about 1 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt into each bowl of soup.