Black Bean and Corn Summer Chili

As you may know, I’m pregnant! I’m not having any cravings, but usually by this time during the summer, I’m ready for comfort foods! I’ve been wanting things like chili, stews, pumpkin spice things, cinnamon etc. So I’m working on getting the comfort food taste but keeping that light and fresh summer feel. That brought me to this recipe! It’s hearty and comforting, yet light and summery! I even used the leftovers for a quesadilla and in scrambled eggs! You literally put everything into one pot, so it couldn’t be easier! Enjoy.

Black Bean and Chili Summer ChiliServes 4

Ingredients

◦   Salt/pepper

◦   olive oil

◦   1/2 onion, diced

◦   1 green bell pepper, diced

◦   1 clove garlic, minced

◦   1 28oz can whole stewed tomatoes (break them up into smaller pieces using your hands or potato masher)

◦   1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

◦   1 teaspoon chili powder

◦   1 teaspoon cumin

◦   2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

◦   1 avocado, diced

◦   ½ a lime juiced

◦   cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add green pepper and cook 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes, black beans, chili powder, and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add corn and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, gently toss diced avocado and lime juice. Serve chili topped with avocado and cheese (For vegan version, use vegan cheese or leave it out).

Classic Baked Beans

The past three family gatherings I’ve been to, I’ve been elected to bring baked beans… is my family trying to tell me something? My mom was always the baked bean queen, and it seems that the torch has been passed to me! Although, I can’t say I mind. Baked beans, between me and you, are the easiest thing on the planet to make! And they get better as they sit, so you can make them days in advance, pop them in the fridge, and then heat them up at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes when you’re ready to serve! You must make these for your next BBQ (or just because you want some baked beans)! I promise that you and your guests will love them!

Classic Baked Beans-serves 8-10

2 28 oz. cans vegetarian style Bush’s Baked Beans

1/4 cup molassas

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 yellow onion diced

1/2 cup bacon bits (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well and pour into a 9×11 baking dish. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour until beans are bubbling. The beans will set even more as they cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken Bok Choy Stir-Fry

I am constantly testing new recipes for stir-fry. It’s one of those dishes that uses so many veggies and has endless variations. This week in my CSA bag, I got two lovely heads of bok choy. I figured a stir-fry was perfect for this. I really love the CSA produce. You can’t buy produce that fresh in the store. So I wanted to make a simple stir-fry that really let the bok choy shine. I just used chicken, bok choy, and red pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the sauce and set aside. Heat a wok on medium heat. Saute garlic and ginger for about a minute. At this point, bring a large pot of water to boil so it’s ready for the soba noodles. Add the chicken to the wok and cook until no longer pink in the middle, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the bok choy along with half the sauce. Cook about 5 minutes until the bok choy starts wilting down. In the meantime, boil soba noodles for 3 minutes. While the noodles cook, add the chicken, pepper, and remaining sauce to the wok. Once noodles are done, use your tongs to lift the noodles out of the water and place directly into the wok. Stir all the ingredients together and cook for about 2 more minutes so the flavors combine. Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Chicken Bok Choy Stir-Fry

serves 4

Sauce:

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp apricot marmalade

2 Tbsp sesame oil (divided)

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

Stir-Fry:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 inch piece ginger, skin removed and minced

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 large head bok choy (or 2 small)

1 red bell pepper, large dice

1 bundle buckwheat soba noodles

Toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the sauce and set aside. Heat a wok on medium heat. Saute garlic and ginger for about a minute. At this point, bring a large pot of water to boil so it’s ready for the soba noodles. Add the chicken to the wok and cook until no longer pink in the middle, about 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the bok choy along with half the sauce. Cook about 5 minutes until the bok choy starts wilting down. In the meantime, boil soba noodles for 3 minutes. While the noodles cook, add the chicken, pepper, and remaining sauce to the wok. Once noodles are done, use your tongs to lift the noodles out of the water and place directly into the wok. Stir all the ingredients together and cook for about 2 more minutes so the flavors combine. Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is probably the most comforting meal for me. Growing up with my Italian family, I had it (and still do) all the time. My dad and I would laugh because whenever we go to my (very Italian) aunt and uncle’s house, we gorge ourselves with fresh homemade pasta, bread, and cheese! It’s just so good that I can’t stop! I got to a point where I still wanted to eat spaghetti and meatballs but didn’t want to feel like I ate a ton of bricks every time! So I converted to either the smart taste pasta or rice pasta, which my tummy really appreciates!

These meatballs take me back to my childhood. My favorite smell in the world is that of garlic and onion simmering on the stove for the beginning steps of my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce. You know exactly what I mean right?! I was lucky enough to have a mom who made EVERYTHING homemade. But even if you don’t do the homemade thing, there are a few things that are definitely worth the extra time. Spaghetti sauce and meatballs are two of those things. Anyway, I digress.

My mom used to make these meatballs with half turkey and half beef. I just use all turkey. They are SO moist that you have to be careful not to break them. These have all the flavor of homemade meatballs, yet so much less fat! The herbs and cheese really make these what they are. I even eat them without sauce as a snack! When my husband and I make a batch of these, we take them out of the oven and eat them right off a plate, as is. I know you’ll love them too!

Turkey Meatballs

2 pieces whole wheat bread

ice water

2 eggs

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 cup to 1 cup Bread crumbs

Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, soak bread in ice water. In the meantime, combine eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined. Remove the bread from the ice water and squeeze out excess water. Add the bread to the egg mixture. Use a fork to mix and break up the crust pieces. Add the ground turkey and mix with your hands until the ingredients are incorporated into the meat. Avoid over mixing. If the mixture is too wet and doesn’t hold its shape, add breadcrumbs a 1/4 cup at a time. Heat an oven safe nonstick saucepan to medium high heat. Drizzle about 2 Tbsp oil into the pan. Then, use your hands to form meatballs, about 2 Tbsp each. Place meatballs into the saucepan and brown on all sides. Be careful when turning the meatballs as they’re very delicate. Once meatballs are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total, place the pan into the oven to finish baking, about 7 minutes depending on the size.

Vegetable Pad Thai

This is a delicious Pad Thai dish. It’s simple and SO quick to make. The step that takes the longest is soaking the noodles for 30 minutes. But other than that, it all comes together in a few minutes. It’s been so warm here, so I wanted something really light for supper. This was the winner! Thai food is one of those genres that I want to perfect. It’s the one food that’s usually not as good as when you buy it at a restaurant. But this one IS! I don’t like fish sauce, but you can definitely add that if you like it. A light refreshing summer supper! It hit the spot.

Vegetable Pad Thai-serves 4

8 oz dried flat rice noodles

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving

3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

3 scallions, white and light green parts sliced

1 garlic clove minced

2 large eggs lightly beaten

1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro

1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts

  • Soak noodles according to the package instructions. Drain. In a bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, and soy sauce.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add eggs and cook, scraping the skillet with a rubber spatula, until eggs are cooked through. Transfer egg mixture to a plate. **If you want to add protein, like chicken or shrimp, add it in now and saute before adding the noodles.
  • Add noodles and soy sauce mixture; cook, tossing constantly with tongs, until the noodles are soft and coated with the sauce (about 1 minute). Add the egg mixture and toss with the sauce.
  • Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with herbs and peanuts.

Chicken Couscous

I’ve been working on recipes that can make chicken more exciting to eat. I want to get the protein, but sometimes it can be so bland! This recipe is very unique. It has that warming element from the cinnamon and cumin and the spicy aftertaste of the cayenne pepper. It almost tastes like something I would make in the Fall…. except it’s 80 degrees out. But it was still good!

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute on medium heat until chicken is browned on all sides. Those brown bits will all come up when you deglaze the pan (add the chicken stock) and they will add so much flavor!Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate. Add scallions, zucchini, and carrots and cook for 6 minutes. Mix the cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne pepper and saute with the vegetables for 1 minute. Add chicken stock, chickpeas, and craisins; bring to a simmer. Return chicken to the pot. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving bowl. Add the couscous to the liquid, cover and turn off heat. Let rest 5 minutes; fluff couscous with a fork. Serve chicken and vegetables over couscous, garnished with almonds and parsley.

Chicken Couscousserves 4

Adapted from Fitness Magazine 

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup slivered almonds

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced

2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock

1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup craisins

3/4 cup whole wheat couscous

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Warm the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate. Add scallions, zucchini, and carrots and cook for 6 minutes. Mix the cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne pepper and saute with the vegetables for 1 minute. Add chicken stock, chickpeas, and craisins; bring to a simmer. Return chicken to the pot. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving bowl. Add the couscous to the liquid, cover and turn off heat. Let rest 5 minutes; fluff couscous with a fork. Serve chicken and vegetables over couscous, garnished with almonds and parsley.

Avocado and Arugula Salad

I eat a lot of raw fresh produce. The longest I ever lasted with a 100% raw food diet was a month. I definitely felt great but 100% just isn’t practical for my lifestyle. The whole premiss behind this way of eating is that cooking foods above 115 degrees F kills the enzymes in food that help us digest and absorb nutrients. Now I just incorporate as much seasonal fresh produce into my day to day eating habits as possible.

When I was on the raw food kick, I ate this Arugula salad at LEAST once a week. It was so filling and satisfying. Stew and I were wanting a lighter meal, so we had this for supper. 

Avocado and Arugula Saladserves 1

2 cups arugula

1/2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 Tbsp craisins

2 Tbsp slivered almonds

1 Tbsp sunflower seeds

1 tsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped mint

Create a bed of arugula in a large bowl. Arrange the apple and avocado fanned out in a circular patter on top of the arugula (To cut the avocado, slice down the center around the pit. Then tap a large chef’s knife into the pit and twist. This should make the pit come right out. Then peel the avocado by pulling the skin off). Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with a little bit of the red wine vinaigrette. Now you have yourself a healthy and delicious lunch or dinner!

Orange and Craisin Quinoa

Right now I’m on a quinoa kick. YUM! Quinoa is the only grain that is a complete protein. What does that mean? Well, it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that humans need in their diets. So, bottom line, eat more quinoa! It’s similar to couscous because you can transform its flavor easily. I was watching Food Network and Giada de Laurentiis was making something similar to this. I added a few of my own touches. This recipe is so refreshing! I paired it with grilled rosemary chicken and broccolini. It went so well with the savory chicken! It couldn’t be easier too! You combine all the ingredients, except the craisins, into one pot and simmer it, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the craisins in, stir it, and take it off the heat. Keep the lid on and let it sit for about 5 minutes so any excess liquid and all the flavors absorb into the quinoa. This will make you fall in love with this miracle seed! 

Orange and Craisin Quinoa-serves 4

Adapted from Giada at Home

1 1/2 c. Water

Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)

Zest of 1 orange

1 c. quinoa

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 c craisins

Combine all ingredients, except the craisins, into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Add craisins and fluff with a fork. Move the pot off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Here’s my spiel for the day…Potatoes are a vegetable that you definitely want to buy organic. Not only do they get sprayed from above with pesticides, but they absorb them from the soil too. Since they have such a thin skin, pesticides get absorbed easily so you can’t exactly peal it away. Now that we have that settled, let’s talk roasted potatoes. This dish is SO easy to make, and it is a crowd pleaser. It only takes a few minutes to prep and you can swap the rosemary and garlic for any flavors you like! The potatoes I bought were pretty small, so I cut most in half and the larger ones in quarters so they were all about the same size. Then, you put ALL of the ingredients onto a sheet pan and mix it up with your hands. Move them around so the potatoes are coated evenly with the oil.

Looks delicious right?! Arrange the potatoes so they’re all cut side down and they form a nice crust. About halfway through the cooking, take a spatula and flip the potatoes around so they cook and brown evenly. Careful not to overcook these babies or they’ll dry up. After about 40 minutes, test them with a fork or a toothpick to make sure they’re tender in the center. Once they’re tender on the inside and start to brown on the outside, they’re finished! Sprinkle them while they’re hot with a little salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoesserves 4-6

2 lbs. small potatoes

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt

Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. I used a bag of organic small multi-colored potatoes. You could substitute purple, red, or fingerling potatoes. Cut the potatoes into about 1 inch pieces. You want the potatoes to be about the same size so they cook evenly. Place potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss with your hands so the potatoes are evenly coated. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, mixing halfway through. Test with a fork to see if they’re tender. Once the potatoes start to get a brown crust on the outside and are nice and tender on the inside, they’re done! While potatoes are hot, season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

Here’s another chicken idea. I find that chicken can get so boring, and I’m always looking for new ideas to spice it up! Start with the chicken breasts. I usually buy my chicken in bulk and freeze it in meal size portions. I had 2 thick chicken breasts, so I sliced them in half lengthwise to make 4 thinner breast pieces. They’re easier to cut if they’re still a bit frozen in the center (of course you can always buy the thin cutlet pieces to save a step). Then, in a gallon size ziplock bag, combine the remaining ingredients. Mush the ingredients together with your hand in the bag. Using tongs, place all four pieces of chicken in the bag. Squeeze the air out and zip the bag closed. Then, move all the chicken pieces around in the bag to get them completely coated. Place them in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 8.

Heat a grill pan to medium heat. Using a pair of tongs, pull out one piece of chicken at a time. Shake off excess marinade, and place on the grill pan. Grill on each side until chicken is cooked through. This is delicious by itself, or cut up over a salad. Enjoy! 

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

serves 2-4 depending on portion size

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (slice through the center to make 4 thin breast pieces)

1/4 c. olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Start with the chicken breasts. I usually buy my chicken in bulk and freeze it in meal size portions. I had 2 thick chicken breasts, so I sliced them in half lengthwise to make 4 thinner breast pieces. They’re easier to cut if they’re still a bit frozen in the center (of course you can always buy the thin cutlet pieces to save a step). Then in a gallon size ziplock bag, combine the remaining ingredients. Mush the ingredients together with your hand in the bag. Using tongs, place all four pieces of chicken in the bag. Squeeze the air out and zip the bag closed. Then move all the chicken pieces around in the bag to get them completely coated. Place them in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 8.

Heat a grill pan to medium heat. Using a pair of tongs, pull out one piece of chicken at a time. Shake off excess marinade, and place on the grill pan. Grill on each side until chicken is cooked through. This is delicious by itself, or cut up over a salad. Enjoy!