Tag Archives: nutritious

Roasted Veggies-3 ways

7 Dec

The other day I had two things:  a lot of good fresh fall vegetables and a little extra time.  So I went to my happy place…the kitchen.  I decided to roast the vegetables.  I started peeling, chopping and layering.  This was going to be a big honking batch of veggies!  Mushrooms, bell peppers, butternut squash, onions, celery…Yum!

A big batch it was.  After they were chopped, I dusted the vegetables with salt, pepper, basil, and parsley then sprinkled olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar on them as well.  After a good healthy stir, I poured them onto a lined baking dish and placed them in a preheated 400 degree oven.  Almost immediately, warm succulent aromas began to fill the house.  My mouth began to water with those decadent scents wafting though the air.

I checked the vegetables after 15 minutes in the oven and couldn’t resist sneaking a taste. Ooh!  What a delicious bite!  Back into the oven for a few minutes, and then they were ready.  We enjoyed the roasted  veggies with lovely grilled salmon.

Did I mention that it was a big ol’ batch of fall veggies?  And that I love leftovers?  Did we ever have leftovers!  But that’s okay.  They were fantastic to have around.  And like spaghetti, the vegetables were more flavorful as leftovers.

Leftovers day one: Roasted veggies made an amazing addition to an omelet the next morning.

Leftovers day two:  I cooked quinoa to mix into the vegetables.  That created  a powerhouse side dish of veggies and quinoa.

Leftovers day three: Roasted veggies piled on a turkey sandwich.  Who needs mayo??

And that is what you do with leftovers my friends.  I used a little extra time to cook big, and had nutritious  leftovers to launch other dishes.


Time for soup!

12 Oct

Ah yes.  The calendar says its October.  We may still be having some warm days, but make no mistake.  It is fall.  Soup is on!

Let’s have a brief history of soup.  Many historians believe that soup is as old as the history of cooking.  Soup is an ancient food.  It was the perfect food for rich and poor, all cultures, healthy people and invalids.  In other words, it was an ideal food for everybody.  Most everyone had access to a pot and fire  Not only that, anything can go into soup.  So it is easy to understand how it dates back hundreds of years.

The art of tossing things into a pot for a one dish meal started out as a rustic meal, and has come a long way.  Soup is nutritious, flexible with ingredients, warm and nourishing.  It can be as simple or as sophisticated as desired.   My number one reason for loving soup, though, is that it can be made on any budget.  Another bonus…soup can easily feed a crowd.

I am not the only one craving comfort food at the moment.   I went out to lunch with some folks from the office.  They invited me to “go out for soup”.  Sure, I thought.  When I inquired as to where we were going for soup, the answer confused me.  Donna, a coworker,  said “Oh, to a Mexican restaurant down the street”. Umm, what?  A mexican place?  But always one for a culinary adventure, off I went with the office crowd.  I need not have questioned the rationale.

The soup and quesadilla lunch special was about 6 bucks.  It was easy on the budget, but more than that, it was fantastic!  Who knew that you could get delicious soup at a place that I relate more closely with a cheesy, spicy, rice and tortilla meal.   This lunch outing really got me jazzed yet again for soup season.  Its time for some fun.   After all, it is fall!

The soup and quesadilla lunch special.  Delish!

The soup and quesadilla lunch special. Delish!

Just look at that chunky soup filled with veggies, avocado, and chicken.

Just look at that chunky soup filled with veggies, avocado (a favorite superfood of mine), and chicken.

What’s for Dinner?

9 Apr

My friend  Beth hates this question.  I love it.  For me, it is the creative ending to my busy day.  A chance to express my artsy side.  Hanging out in the kitchen is a time for family to connect after a long day.  Sometimes I will stop at the grocery on the way home from work if I want to make something fresh, like fish.  But usually, I just head to my fridge, freezer and pantry.  Then I unleash the creative juices!

So last night, this is what I pulled out for dinner.

  • Fresh leftover veggies including tomatoes, mushrooms, and yellow squash.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Penne pasta (dried in the box)
  • Italian bread, 1/2 loaf pulled from the freezer
  • 1/2 cup leftover pesto
  • a hunk of parmesan cheese

And that, my friends, was dinner.  I started with the chicken.  I seasoned the meat simply, with salt, pepper, and herb de Provence.  After starting the grill and letting it get hot, I plopped the chicken on there to cook.  Meanwhile, I started a pot of water to boil, and then cut the veggies up.

When the chicken was done, I brought it back inside and tented it with some tin foil.  It is a perfect way for meat to stay hot and juicy, and meat should always “rest” for 10-20 minutes prior to serving.   Then I tossed the pasta into the water for its 10 minute boil time and sautéed the veggies in a bit of olive oil.  I seasoned the veggies with a bit of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and some basil.  Simple.

These are the veggies that I sauteed for dinner!

These are the veggies that I sautéed for dinner!

As the pasta finished cooking,  my son set the table.  It was, after all, Manners Monday, so we talked about table settings and appropriate dinner conversation topics.  In my home, while I cook the other family members (and even guests!) are helping to get the meal on the table.  Meals are, after all, a family affair, and all should be present and participating.  Setting the table, pouring water, placing napkins out…these are all necessary prior to the meal coming to the table.  Everyone pitches in.   And to keep the mood light and joyful, I always have music playing.

Okay, so next I drained the pasta, chopped up the chicken, finished sautéing the veggies and tossed it all together back in my big stock pot that the pasta cooked in.  Conserving dishes is important on most work nights!  We loaded up our plates and to the table we went.  Quick, nutritious, homemade, and voila!  A family meal, and moment, came together.  Try it.  What’s in your fridge?  What are you making for dinner?

Dinner!  Pasta and veggies with pesto, and crusty bread! Yummy and easy!

Dinner! Pasta and veggies with pesto, and crusty bread! Yummy and easy!


17 Sep

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship”.  Benjamin Franklin

Budgets.  Ugh!  It’s an ugly word for sure.  Budgets are so constricting.  They stink.                       But let’s face it.  To manage a family, a budget is a must.  It is a way to achieve some      financial goals for your family.  And there is no time like the present.

A successful business or company won’t survive without not only a budget, but a way to stick to it too.  Low cost recipes can be key.  Home cooked, inexpensive, and quick meals can sure help keep a budget within reason.  But the food has to be flavorful and nutritious as well.  So here comes sauce from a can.  This recipe will make you a hero!

Linguine with clam sauce from a can (several cans actually!)

2 T. Olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can tomato paste

1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

2 cans chopped clams in clam juice

2-3 T. chopped parsley

2-3 T. chopped basil

1/2 -1 t. red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Toss garlic in and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Do not let garlic brown.  Next, add tomato paste.  Saute in oil and with garlic for 4-5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir.  Add parsley, basil, and red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.  Open and add the clam juice from 1 can of clams. Stir well to incorporate. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Put a big pot of water for the linguine on high heat.

Drain the second can of clams.  Add during the last 5 minutes of cooking the sauce so they don’t get rubbery.  Serve with linguine.  I usually serve frozen green beans and garlic bread with this meal.  It is very inexpensive, colorful, and nutritious.  This meal can be done on a shoestring budget, so enjoy.  Bon Appetite!

Linguine with clam sauce! A delicious budget friendly main dish!

Quick and Easy!

3 Jun

I realize that some people feel about cooking the way that I feel about balancing a checkbook.  I would rather do anything but that!  Bring on the shortcuts!  Here is the good news for people who don’t like cooking.  There are shortcuts to making a good healthy meal!

Grilling is a snap, and clean up is a breeze.  A good meal can be prepared quickly if you throw most of it on the grill.  Don’t have outdoor grilling space?  Those table top/counter top models work great too.  Start looking for one on sale and snap it up!

Now comes the easy part.  Here is a quick, easy, and nutritious meal.  Simply salt, pepper, and season some fresh chicken breasts with your favorite spices.  Rub it in, drizzle a bit of olive oil on it, and let it sit for a moment.  Take some fresh vegetables, a yellow squash for example, and cut it in half down the middle.  Salt and pepper it.  Set that aside.

Grab some minute rice and vegetable stock (always keep some yummy chicken and vegetable stock in your pantry).  Toss equal parts of stock and rice, preferably brown, into a sauce pan and fire up your stove top.  Get that cooking.  Light your grill.  Toss your chicken on when your grill is good and hot.

There are a couple of easy ways to cook vegetables on the grill.  Making a dense vegetable, like beets or onions may take a bit more time than other vegetables, and a foil pouch helps it steam quickly on the grill.  Making a foil pouch is just like it sounds.  Take some tin foil, put your vegetables on it, add some olive oil or a tiny bit of butter.  Sprinkle your favorite seasonings lightly over it.  Now crimp a piece of foil on the top.  Make sure the pouch is good and sealed.  Now toss it on the grill.

Making a juicier vegetable, such as summer squash, is also super easy.  When your chicken is about done, simply toss it on the grill.  Let it grill and get some good grill lines on it.  That only takes a couple of minutes if your grill is at around 400 degrees.  Turn it once.  Now its done.  Yup…it is that easy!

Pull all of your food off the grill.  Stir your rice.  Plate up.  A quick fresh dinner is now ready for 1, 2, or 10!  It

grilled chicken!

is that easy!  I use a gas grill for ease of starting, and I love cooking with gas.  But any grill will do.  As I said, even an electric table top model is a snap to use for quick meals!  So if you do not like cooking but want a simple fresh meal, toss your food on the grill and you will have a nutritious meal in no time!