Sauteed Artichoke Hearts – Finger food

If you and your family are looking for healthy alternatives to Game Day snacks, these could be it! Sauteed Artichoke Hearts are the perfect finger food to serve at any party!

Artichoke Hearts

This trip to Trader Joe’s I picked up Frozen Artichoke Hearts. When I was in California visiting my mom one of the nights we ate home they made these Artichoke Hearts. It was cheap, easy, and really good! I wasn’t even sure I liked artichoke hearts. You probably aren’t sure either. Most people who eat artichokes have them around the holidays for their family members stuffed artichokes. Those are good but you don’t eat the actual shell of the artichoke which I never understood.

Anyways, this is super easy to make which of course is the only way to go when you live a busy schedule. I think that is the beauty of frozen vegetables. I wouldn’t normally go with frozen over fresh but when it comes to Artichoke Hearts, that’s the way to go. After some research online, I have found that many people who try different brands of Artichoke Hearts prefer the Trader Joe’s over other competitors in super markets. This is because they stay fresh tasting and tender.

Trader Joe's Artichoke Hearts

You can serve these Artichoke Hearts as a side dish to your meal, change it up. Or go for an appetizer while you are waiting for everything to cook. I’m sure these would also be delicious roasted with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, lemon and parsley but today I decided to Sauté them in a pan.

I’m excited to find new ways to use artichoke hearts in recipes perhaps a stew, soup, or even a dip because they are really starting to grow on me. Now be careful if you are looking to make artichokes after reading this! Don’t just get any brand as the results may not be the same. If you are a Trader Joe’s fan add this to your shopping list and keep it in your freezer for simple, easy and delicious meals.

What you need:

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Frozen Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • sprinkle of dried parsley or fresh if you have it on hand

What to do:

  1. Remove the artichoke hearts from the bag and rinse under warm water. Let sit in colander for a few minutes to defrost.
  2. Heat a saute pan with oil and then add minced garlic until lightly browned. Add in the defrosted Artichoke Hearts and sauté until they are hot, squeeze fresh lemon juice. Stop mixing and allow the Artichoke hearts to brown a little bit. Season with salt and pepper. (Don’t let garlic burn)
  3. Remove from pan and sprinkle with parsley. A delicious appetizer or side dish.
    Trader Joe's Artichoke Hearts
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Oven-Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Bread Crumbs

Oven-Roasted Broccoli

More side dishes! I love having endless side dish option, each one a little different. Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables. When cooked properly it can be super delicious and nutritious.

If available, fresh vegetables are always better than frozen. I find that roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to serve broccoli. You don’t need to roast them to a crisp and remove all the nutritious value to get the flavors that roasting gives. The Barefoot Contessa is always roasting vegetables on her show and I love that. She understands how easy and simple it is. You don’t need to blanch your vegetables before roasting as many recipes online call for.

This recipe uses parmesan and Italian breadcrumbs to add some flavor and crunch to this delicious and tasty dish. The key to cooking vegetables perfectly is to not over cook them. I hate when that happens. You just need to take a little bit of the bite and rawness out of the vegetables and then it is perfect. This is also important because you leave more of the nutritious value that is in the raw vegetable. As you keep cooking it the nutrition goes away.

Serve this with your favorite protein for dinner like Salmon (see here for the best salmon seasoning), turkey meatloaf, or a steak.

I love this because of the zingy parmesan that adds a nice salty flavor and breadcrumbs which gives the broccoli a little bit of texture. Make this the next time someone calls your broccoli boring. 😛

What you need:

  • 2 heads of broccoli, stems removed and cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder to taste

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. While oven is preheating prepare broccoli and rinse with water in a colander. Pat dry broccoli and place on a baking tray.
  3. Pour olive oil over broccoli and mix to coat. Once coated sprinkle over parmesan and breadcrumbs. By using the olive oil first this allows the cheese and breadcrumbs to stick to the broccoli. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to finish
    Oven-Roasted Broccoli
  4. Roast for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned but still tender. Serve with your favorite protein for dinner.
    broccoli

Quick Chicken in a Pan Sauce

Tasty Chicken Cutlets In a Quick Pan Sauce

chickeninpansauce

Say goodbye to boring grilled chicken cutlets that you are probably eating. This chicken in a quick pan sauce is far from boring and adds some jazz to your chicken.

So what is a pan sauce? A pan sauce is a cooking technique that involves removing browned bits from the bottom of your pan and with a liquid to make a sauce. It may seem like a difficult concept but it’s actually really easy! You can use your favorite white wine to deglaze the pan and make the sauce.

I served this recipe with cauliflower couscous which complimented the chicken and soaked up the sauce and is very low carb. Cauliflower couscous is really easy to make all you need to do is use a food processor and process the cauliflower until its the size of small couscous. Then sauté it in a pan and add your favorite seasonings. After all the food on Thanksgiving it was time to have something a little lighter. This recipe only takes about 25 minutes so it’s perfect for a weeknight and everyone will love it!

This recipe is from Serious Eats and can be found here.

What you need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cutlet or really any type
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

What to do: 

  1. Heat a large skillet with olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. While skillet is heating put flour in a shallow bowl. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken and then coat the chicken with flour and add 2 or 3 pieces without over crowding the pan.
  2. Cook until browned on first side for about 5 minutes then flip and cook until just cooked through about 2-3 more minutes depending on your cut of chicken. Remove from pan and let sit on a plate while you finish cooking the other pieces of chicken working in batches.
  3. Once all the chicken is cooked and too the side make the pan sauce. Add the wine to the skillet over medium heat let it bubble and scrape the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken stock and let cook for another 3 minutes until mixture reduces. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl around the pan until melted. Turn off the heat.
  4. Put the chicken back in the pan and then add the parsley while coating the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges if you wish and something that will soak up the yummy sauce.
    chickenpansauce

Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Roasted Thyme and Lemon Chicken with Root Vegetables

roastchicken
There is something very comforting in roasting a chicken. Everybody has their own ways of doing it, and of course they all think that way is the best. My favorite part of roasting a chicken is the vegetables that soak up all the chickens flavor roasting around the chicken. I also can’t forget the aroma that roasting a chicken puts into the air, love that too.

In my family you can usually find a chicken roasting on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The great thing about roasting a whole chicken is there is many different uses for the meat, and it makes great leftovers. You could make chicken soup with the bones, chicken salad, chicken sandwiches, chicken pot pie, or any recipe that involves chicken!

Now it’s your turn to roast a whole chicken. Don’t be worrying that there is too much food! You can always find uses for leftover chicken.

This recipe is from Ina Garten and is known as Perfect Roast Chicken. She’s right, it is perfect.

Here’s What You Need:

  • a 3.5 pound chicken (or lager if you prefer)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 onions
  • 1/4 stick of melted butter about 2 tablespoons
  • juice of lemon fro
  • 3 carrots cut into chunks
  • 3 parsnips cut into chunks
  • 2 potatoes cut into cubes
  • olive oil

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter and squeeze juice of lemon into the bowl to go on the chicken.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Salt and pepper the whole chicken and put on a baking sheet. Stuff the cavity with half of the bunch of thyme, the leftover lemon, a head of garlic cut in half, and a whole peeled onion.
  3. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter lemon mixture. Next place the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes around the chicken and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and remaining thyme.
  4. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes to an hour (watch for the size of your bird) or until the juices run clear.
  5. Let rest for 20 minutes and serve with green vegetables.
    roast chicken
  6. Yummy! Enjoy.

 

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
roastedbrusselsprouts

This side dish reminds me of fall, and I love it! Anything roasted with a sort of blackened shell and tender on the inside is delicious. Brussels Sprouts are a great side dish to serve your family.

I know brussels sprouts aren’t for everyone and when I was a kid I wasn’t crazy about them. But now, I love them! This was my first time trying brussels sprouts with a little bit of bacon and it added a delicious element. Possibly a great side dish for Thanksgiving!

Also for people with kids out there, my nephew will eat roasted brussels sprouts, and loves them! So don’t just automatically assume your kids won’t eat it, let them try it! And same with any adults who say they don’t like them!

This recipe serves 2-3

Here’s what you need:

  • About a pound of cleaned brussels sprouts (I grabbed one of the small containers from the supermarket)
  • 2 pieces of thick cut bacon chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • splash of balsamic vinegar

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put halved brussels sprouts on the baking tray and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix in chopped bacon, salt, pepper, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
    brusselsprougs
  2. Bake for 25-30 minutes until brussels sprouts are browned and bacon is crispy. Serve immediately and enjoy.
    It does not get any easier then this for a tasty delicious side dish!

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Healthier Chicken Pot Pie loaded with vegetables! A delicious and cozy meal for a fall day.

chicken pot pie Chicken Pot Pie is a meal that always comforted me as a kid. However, when I was younger the only time I would really eat it is at my friends house. And it was always the frozen pies. As I got older, a little wiser, and more health conscious, I started to make my own and realized that it’s easy.

You might think chicken pot pie isn’t healthy. But this recipe only uses a crust on top and is crustless on the bottom, which you won’t miss. I also made this recipe easier using a pre made dough crust. This saved me a lot of valuable time. I suggest you do the same!

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 pound of chicken thighs cooked and chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of peas
  • 2 potatoes boiled until tender and diced small
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • splash of white wine
  • splash of milk
  • italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • thyme
  • 1 unbaked pie crust room temperature
  • 1 egg and 2 tablespoons water

What to do:

  1. Begin by cooking your chicken (you can use store bought cooked chicken if you wish). I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and baked chicken thighs for 25 minutes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Cool and chop for pie.
  2. While chicken is cooking preheat large sauté pan with olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Stir in cooked chicken until warm. Sprinkle flour over chicken and onion mixture. Pour in can of peas, corn, and potatoes.
  3. Then add 2 cups of chicken broth and splash of wine. Let cook and thicken about 1 minute. Then add additional seasonings. Add milk and let thicken and remove from heat.
    chicken pot pie
  4. Change temperature to 375 and get a casserole dish out. Pour the chicken and vegetables into the dish. Put pre made crust on top and fold edges over.
    chicken pot pie DSCN0770
  5. Make 3 slots for air while cooking. Make egg wash and put on pot pie. Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest for 10-15 and enjoy!Enjoy! Makes great leftovers. (:

Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf

Meatloaf loaded with vegetables and fresh herbs that is so moist and tasty!

turkeyvegetablemeatloafI have made many meat-loafs recently because they are easy and make great leftovers. I also find meatloaf to be a very comforting meal and that’s why my family also loves it!

My favorite meatloaf is made with turkey. Some say turkey can make meatloaf dry. But I do not agree with this. Lean ground turkey is a great source of protein and is always moist!

In this recipe I added celery, onion, and shredded carrot to my recipe. I also love the addition of fresh parsley from my herb garden.

You Will Need:

  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 2 celery stalks chopped small
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 shredded carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoon favorite bbq sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt and sprinkle of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

 What to do: 

  1. Prepare chopped vegetables and preheat a saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot sauté onion, garlic, carrot, and celery for about 10 minutes until onions become translucent.
    vegetables
  2. While vegetables are cooking preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once vegetables are tender combine ground turkey meat, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, vegetable mixture, chopped parsley, 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a mixing bowl. Do not over mix.
  3. Put meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan with coated with non-stick cooking spray. Next combine 2 tablespoons of ketchup and 2 tablespoons of bbq sauce. Spread sauce over the top of the meatloaf before it goes in the oven.
    turkeyvegetablemeatloaf
  4. Bake meatloaf for 55 minutes at 350 degrees. Let sit for 10 minutes after it comes out of oven.
  5. Enjoy with 2 Potato Mash, and steamed broccoli. To get the recipe on russet and sweet potato mash.

meatloafdinner

 

Summer Minestrone Soup

summer minestroneMinestrone Soup

I know what you’re thinking… It’s summer… how could you be eating soup? Once you try one bite of this Summer Minestrone Soup you will change your mind. The squash, zucchini, basil, and red bell pepper are from my garden. This recipe would be good with any fresh summer vegetable- you could also add corn or green beans as well.

This soup is inspired by the small italian restaurant close to my house that serves the best minestrone soup. Every time I went to the restaurant I would order this soup so I decided to make it. I love their soup because all the vegetables are fresh, they are not mushy and are cooked perfect al dente, and finally it comes out piping hot.

As summer begins to wind down and September rapidly approaches the nights are getting cooler. This is a perfect soup to have on a cool August/September night, fall, winter, or spring! I served my Summer Minestrone Soup that is filled with vegetables with crispy garlic bread and shaved parmesan reggiano.

DSCN0733Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 carrots cut into half circles
  • 2 celery stalk sliced
  • 2 cans of diced tomato in juices 14.5 ounce
  • 44 ounces of organic vegetable stock
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 red potatoes diced into small cubes
  • 6 fresh basil leaves torn up
  • 2 zucchini cut into quarters
  • 1 squash (yellow) cut into quarters
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1 can of green peas drained and rinsed

What to do: 

  1. Cut all vegetables up to add to soup when needed. While chopping preheat oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Sauté onion, garlic, red bell pepper, carrot, and celery for about 5-6 minutes until onion begins to cook and soften. Add a little salt, pepper, italian seasoning, bay leaf, and thyme.
    summer minestrone
  2. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes in juice and vegetable stock. Mix and bring to a boil. Once boiling add potatoes for about 20-25 or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Once tender lower heat and add the squash and zucchini. Simmer for another 12 minutes until vegetables are tender. Mix in the basil.
  4. Lastly stir in the handfuls of spinach and green peas. Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
    summer minestrone soup
  5. Remove from heat and serve with shaved parmesan reggiano and garlic bread.

    This soup serves at least 8 people and is flavorful and delicious, enjoy!

 

Easy Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry

Chinese Stir-Fry with Fresh Vegetables and Chicken served with Cauliflower Ricechicken stir-fryStir-fry is one of the easiest things to make- and that’s why I love it. This recipe is loaded with fresh vegetables and has all the flavors of Chinese takeout-but without the bloat.

I found this recipe so easy because of the components in the “Chinese sauce” for the stir fry, pretty much just lemon juice and soy sauce. I was hesitant that those two flavors alone would not be enough. But it was, and I loved this chicken and vegetable stir-fry!

I also decided to switch it up by not using rice with this dish. Instead I opted for cauliflower rice. This was my first time making cauliflower rice. It was very easy and I thought substituted nicely for rice.

Serve this chicken stir-fry with a side salad, rice, or my cauliflower rice, and you have a healthy and low-fat weeknight meal.


 

Here’s What You Need:

Chinese Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 1 pound of chicken cubed – I used chicken tenders and cubed them
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of defrosted peas
  • half a yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot peeled and sliced thin
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1/3 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • salt/pepper
  • garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • food processor

What to do:

*see below on how to make cauliflower rice

  1. Prepare red and yellow bell pepper, onion, and carrot as noted above. Cut up chicken and season with salt and pepper and place aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with tablespoon of olive oil. Add minced garlic and let cook for 2 minutes. Next add the onion and saute for another minute. Finally add the carrots and bell peppers. Saute until tender about 5-6 minutes.
    vegetablestirfry
  3. Add defrosted peas, raw chicken, soy sauce, lemon juice, red pepper flake, salt and pepper. Stir and let chicken cook. Cover pot for about 10-15 minutes until chicken is completely cooked.
    chicken stirfry
  4. Enjoy over cauliflower rice!

* To make cauliflower rice cut cauliflower head into small pieces and put into a food processor working in about 4 batches to complete the whole head of cauliflower.
cauliflower rice2Do not over process because then it turns mushy. Just let it chop into small rice pieces for about 10 seconds per batch. Remove from blender.cauliflower rice*To cook the cauliflower from there you can heat a skillet on the stove while chicken is cooking with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot add cauliflower rice into skillet to cook. Add salt, pepper, garlic salt, and whatever seasoning you like. Let cook for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.


 

Steak and Vegetable Kabobs with Tzatziki

steak kabob with tazikiTender steak and vegetable kabobs marinated in a blend of olive oil, spices, herbs, and lemon juice. Served with cucumber and mint Tzatziki sauce.

I love to go to Greek Restaurants and have lamb kabob with Tzatziki and lots of hummus. Yum! My favorite Greek Restaurant is on Long Island, NY and called It’s Greek to Me. The restaurant is very small and run by a close Greek Family. The first time I dined at It’s Greek to Me I was a skeptic but you know what they say- Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. This small restaurant is known more for takeout but the lamb kabob, gyro, and hummus are all delicious.

Originally this recipe was going to be made with lamb. However, I had the hardest time finding lamb in the supermarket that wasn’t 20 dollars a pound. Lamb cubes are hard to come by I guess. So after visiting like three supermarkets the game plan switched to steak kabobs. The kabobs were inspired by the flavors of my favorite lamb kabob dish and Tzatziki sauce.

Why Tzatziki?

In case you are not sure what Tzatziki sauce is…. Tzatziki sauce is a Greek sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Usually made with yogurt, garlic, cucumber, salt, pepper, mint, and parsley. The Greek yogurt and cucumber make the Tzatziki a healthy and light sauce that goes perfectly with grilled steak kabobs and vegetables.
Tzatziki sauceHere’s what you will need:

  • About 1.5 pounds of cubed steak or your preferred protein
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 onions
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cucumber remove the seeds
  • handful of mint and parsley
  • about 1 1/2 cups of plain Greek  Yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Begin  by marinating steak cubes in olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Let sit for up to 3 hours or as little as 30 minutes. If you are using wood sticks make sure to soak them so they do not burn.
  2. While steak is marinating cut vegetables to go on skewers in medium size cubes.
  3. When ready to make kabobs take meat out of refrigerator and take vegetables out. Make kabobs filling them up alternating between meat and vegetable. Once finished sprinkle with olive oil salt and pepper make sure to coat vegetables.
  4. When finished making kabobs you can let them sit for a minute and start to make the Tzatziki or cucumber sauce. Get a food processor out and prepare cucumber by removing seeds. I left the skin on because I do not mind it. Once you remove seeds put into food processor with plain Greek yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, and a lot of fresh herbs. Process until it is at your desired consistency. Keep cold in refrigerator.
    Tzatziki sauce
  5. Preheat Grill to high and then grill kabobs for about 10  minutes or until vegetables and steak are charred but not over done on the inside.
    grilled kabobs
  6. Remove from heat and serve steak kabobs with Tzatziki sauce.
    grilled steak kabobEnjoy!!!