Basic Frittata

I go to work really early during the week, so family breakfasts aren’t really a thing most of the time. I get up, get dressed, make whatever lunches need to be made, have some coffee, and head to the office. Everyone else is still asleep.

Weekday breakfasts tend to be oatmeal or cereal or toast. Something along those lines. That’s why I try to up my game on the weekends. I like breakfast burritos or French toast. Waffles and pancakes. Even just good ol’ bacon and eggs is nice for my family to sit down and have breakfast together. One breakfast I really like to make is a frittata.  I know, it sounds so fancy, but it is actually really quick and easy to make. You can pretty much put whatever you want in it: veggies, meat, potatoes, herbs & spices. I’ve even seen pasta in a frittata.

Frittatas are an Italian dish and the word means “fried.” It was just a meant as a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, but has since come to be known for this dish in particular, which is sort of a cross between a crustless quiche and an open-faced omelette.

I made mine with some leftover cooked sweet potatoes, some veggie odds and ends, and goat cheese. Next time, I’ll use a whole new rotation of meat, veggies, and cheese.  That’s what’s so great about a frittata; it is so customizable. It’s also a great way to use up veggies so they don’t go to waste.

Here’s the basic “recipe” for a frittata, you just substitute whatever you want and use however much you want:

In a cast iron skillet (or any skillet that is oven-proof), add a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium high heat. Add your veggies. I used about a cup of chopped broccoli florets, a whole chopped zucchini, and a tablespoon or two of minced garlic. Once those were softened, I added my potatoes.** If you were adding herbs, you would do so at this stage as well.

**My potatoes were already cooked since they were leftovers. They also already had onions and peppers in them. If your veggies aren’t cooked yet, make sure to add them sooner.**

***Also, if you are adding meat that needs to be cooked, like bacon or sausage, make sure you do that first***

OK, back to the frittata: Once the veggies were ready, I sprinkled them with salt and pepper to taste and I topped them with goat cheese.

In a bowl, I whisked together 8 eggs and a large splash of milk.  Pour the eggs over the veggies and cheese.

Let it sit on the stove top for a minute or two then transfer to a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are set.  Serve in wedges like a pie.

This is a great option for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner and a great way to use up just about anything you have in the fridge.

Advertisements

Minestrone Soup

I’ve been a bit in a slump lately. At least when it comes to blogging recipes. I’ve been making food I’ve already done on here or making other people’s recipe or even just making stuff that I ultimately deem “not blog-worthy.” (That parmesan French toast was pretty delish, though!)

I blame it on end-of-the-year laziness. I seriously get so lazy after Thanksgiving. I think I only worked out 2 times in the entire month of December. I barely do any housecleaning and the laundry starts when we are all on our last pairs of underwear. Well, it’s January now and a new year has started. I have a list of things I want to start doing. Work has been absolutely CRAZYPANTS but it should calm down in the next few days and my head will stop spinning and perhaps I can actually start accomplishing things.

First up, this soup. It’s been raining like crazy here in SoCal the past couple days. Now, I happen to enjoy the rain. I don’t like going out in it, but I do love being warm and cozy and listening to it pitter patter outside my window. I always like to think Fall weather is soup weather, but in SoCal that is not at all the case. It’s usually pretty warm until mid-December to January when it starts to get a little chilly.

Minestrone soup is a thick Italian soup made of a flavored broth and veggies with optional beans and pasta added in. There is no set recipe for minestrone since you can use whatever veggies are in season. This soup dates back to the Roman Empire, but the basic premise remains today.

This soup really hit the spot and was so easy to make. It hit my trifecta of easy, healthy, and delicious!  If I weren’t in the beginning of a Biggest Loser Challenge, I would have served this with a side of bread as well.

30-Minute Minestrone Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

1 16 oz bag frozen veggie medley (green beans, corn, peas, carrots. You can really use whatever veggies you want.)

Parmesan rind (optional)

1 28-oz can low-sodium crushed tomatoes

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

12 oz box of shell pasta (or other small pasta of your choice) *I used Banza chickpea pasta and it was DELISH! You can’t even tell the difference and it punches up the protein of an otherwise-vegetarian dish.

Add olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.

Add the frozen veggies, basil, oregano, some salt and some pepper. I had a leftover rind from some parmesan, so I added this as well. You don’t have to.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until veggies start to soften.

Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.

Add the beans and pasta and cook about 10 minutes (or per package directions for the pasta). Remove the parm rind if you used one and taste the soup for seasoning. I ended up adding more salt, pepper, and basil, but make it how you like it.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

Here’s another souper easy (see what I did there? Funny, yeah?) soup recipe for you. I’ve got a couple more coming in the next week or so.  These are all experiments, so whenever they turn out as good as these last couple have, I get really happy. I even have one in the works using beets! I mean, seriously. BEETS! I’ve never even had a beet before. I also know that they are really messy. The recipe is inspired by the one-and-only Martha Stewart though, so hopefully that will help things!

Anyway, I am always up for more ways to get more vegetables into my family.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

3 yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
1/2 bag of frozen corn

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (or 1/2 bag of cauliflower florets) 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 4oz can green chiles
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of cayenne *optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay out all your cut up peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in a pan with some olive oil and a little salt until softened and fragrant. Set aside.

Also, steam your cauliflower florets until softened. This will help add a nice smooth, thick consistency to your soup.

In a blender, preferably a high powered one like a Ninja or a Vitamix, put in the onion/garlic mixture, the thyme, the bell peppers, the cauliflower, the corn, and the green chiles. Blend until smooth. I didn’t need any liquid to get a perfect velvety consistency, but if you do, add some vegetable broth as needed.


Taste for flavor. Add some cayenne if you want a touch of heat. Add more salt and pepper if you want. Whatever you want to do to make it taste like what you want it to taste like!

Sweet Potato Noodles with Sage Brown Butter and Walnuts 

Anyone else feel like this year has just gotten off to a running start? I feel like there was a bit of a rush with the holidays, then a little slow-down and now it’s off to the races again! I’m doing what I can to stay ahead of things, but every so often, I require myself to sit down and make a list prioritizing my tasks.

Unfortunately, blogging is never number one on the list. As much as I’d like it to be, it’s just not possible. I end up taking lots of pictures of my food and the process and then write up the posts later. I guess that’s better than not doing it all, right? Then I end up with a small stockpile of blog posts and I feel like I’m ahead of the game for a bit. I guess this is a good plan after all.

I also keep up regularly with Instagram, so you can visit me over there and see all the yummy stuff I’ve got going on.

Anyway, back to the food!

The other night I wanted to do a meatless Monday meal. I had some nice sized sweet potatoes on hand and had recently picked up some fresh sage (love this stuff!). I thought it would be perfect for noodles so I got out my spiralizer and got to work.

This meal came together very quickly and it was delicious! You could even serve it in smaller amounts as a side dish. I was going for a “Meatless Monday” but I’ll bet it would be fantastic with some crisped up pancetta added too.

These measurements made enough for two as a main course with a little leftover. 

Sweet Potato Noodles with Sage Brown Butter Sauce and Walnuts

1 large sweet potato 

Olive oil

Pinch of salt

1 stick unsalted butter

3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

Handful of walnuts

Peel the sweet potato and make your noodles with a spiralizer (swoodles). If you don’t have one, go on Amazon and get one. They are inexpensive and such fun! While you wait for it to be delivered, you can use a vegetable peeler to make your noodles.

In a skillet with a little olive oil (about a tablespoon), add your swoodles and season with a bit of salt. Cook over medium heat until soft, stirring often.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, add your butter over medium-high heat and let it melt. Cook until it starts to brown. This will happen fast so don’t walk away. Add your sage and let it cook for about a minute. Pour the sauce over the noodles and add your walnuts. I used some lightly sweetened walnuts I had from Trader Joe’s but you can use plain or raw or roasted. Whatever you like. I liked using the candied walnuts because it added just another balance of flavor. The butter takes on a nutty taste and the sage is nice and earthy. The sweetness from the nuts and potato just round it all out. Theoretically you can leave the walnuts out, but I wouldn’t recommend it. For a meatless meal, they add some protein and the crunch gives the dish some texture.

 

This was a big hit. My 3 year old kept taking bites off my plate and my kids are super picky eaters! There’s actually some leftovers in the fridge that I’m thinking about right now….

Avocado Pesto Pasta

About a week or so ago, I discovered Banza Pasta. It is pasta made out of chick peas and IT IS AMAZING!!!!!!!  I seriously can’t tell that it isn’t regular pasta. I’ve tried healthy pasta alternatives (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta), and they just don’t cut it. This Banza pasta is 100% legit.

I promise. I mean, I’ve made it 3 times since I discovered it. I would not lie to you.

I recently bought some avocados, and as they usually do, they went from not ready to EAT ME NOW overnight, so I decided to make some avocado pesto. Yeah, there are lots of healthy ingredients going on here. But you’d never know, because it tastes sooooo good.

This made a delicious, healthy, and easy dinner that my whole family loved.

For the pasta
You can use whatever you want. I highly recommend the chickpea pasta. I found it at Sprouts and Target (if you can believe that), but I’ll bet they have it at Whole Foods too.

For the Avocado Pesto
1 whole ripe avocado
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lime juice
olive oil

handful of basil

pinch of salt and pinch of pepper

In a food processor, add all the ingredients. I wanted to use fresh basil for this like I usually do, but the store was out, so I bought this basil paste. It is still fresh and it tasted good, so I think it’s an acceptable substitution.



Blend everything together until smooth and creamy. I didn’t give an amount for the olive oil on purpose. Start with a couple tablespoons and then add more to get the consistency you want.


Toss the pasta with the sauce and enjoy! For this particular dish, I added some caramelized leeks, but that is totally optional (although a delish addition!).


 

Butternut Squash Chili 

At the risk of jinxing it all, it finally feels like Fall here in Southern California! I’m so happy that it’s finally cool enough for scarves and boots and sweaters. I mean, we still don’t get the leaves changing or anything like you see other places, but I’ll take it! Hopefully the 85/90 degree days are over for now.


Fall weather also means yummy, comforting Fall foods, like chili. You are all probably going to get sick of me posting chili recipes (like this one… and this one… and this one…), but let’s be honest. Chili is such a perfect cold-weather dinner. It’s also perfect for feeding a crowd and you can make it in your slow cooker. And you can pretty much just dump everything into the pot and leave it alone until it’s done. It’s such a lazy meal, but the results are always so scrumptious and satisfying. And, if you make it right, it can be a really healthy meal too.

This particular version actually started off as a vegetarian chili, but we had about ½ pound of ground beef that I needed to use, so I just threw it in here. You can easily leave it out and keep it vegetarian friendly, though. It’s so flavorful, no one would miss the beef, I promise. 

I was pretty bad at measuring for this one (sorry!) so I’ll give you approximates. What’s so nice about chili, is you can put in more or less of all the ingredients based on what you like. Chili recipes are more methods than hard and fast rules. 

Chipotle Butternut Squash Chili

serves 8-10* 

*not exaggerating

2 Tablespoons olive oil (since I added ground beef to mine, I didn’t use any oil)

2 bell peppers, diced small 

1 small onion, diced small

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 butternut squash, cubed (shortcut: buy the pre-cubed squash. It will make your life so much easier)

1 15 oz can black beans, drained

1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 chipotle peppers

2 tablespoons adobo sauce

1 ½ cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth is fine too)*

¼ cup cornmeal*

Salt to taste

*optional. I’ll explain below.

I made this in my slow cooker, but you can just as easily do it on the stove top. You prep it the same way, you just keep it on a low simmer for a few hours, stirring regularly.

If your slow cooker doesn’t have an insert that can be used on a stove top, just use a pan for the saute part and transfer it to the slow cooker insert. Mine can be used on the stove top, so that’s how I’ll write my instructions. OK, finally we get to it!

 

Over medium heat, add your olive oil, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Add a little salt and saute until soft. (I omitted the oil and browned my beef instead. Then added the veggies). Then add your squash, beans, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce (that the peppers come in), broth and a little more salt (to taste).


Please keep in mind that the chipotles and adobo are very spicy. I found this dish to be VERY spicy, so add more or less depending on how spicy you like things. You can always add more later.

Set your slow cooker to low for 8-10 hours (or high for 4 to 6). The longer this sits, the better it tastes, so don’t worry too much about the time.

Let me explain the cornmeal really quick before we finish this up. I checked the chili when there was about 2 hours left. It seemed really watery to me, so I added some cornmeal to thicken it up. It worked and it was delish. I would think that you could also just lessen the amount of broth you add so you don’t need the cornmeal. I only put the broth in because it seemed like it needed it at the beginning.


When you are ready to serve, just fill up your bowls and top with your favorite chili toppings!

Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

It never really occurred to me until a few years ago that food can be trendy. I figured food is food, right? But, alas, just as with overalls and midriff shirts, food also comes and goes with the times. 

Cauliflower “Fried Rice” is one of those current food trends. I can’t say for sure, but from my extensive research on the subject (meaning about 10 seconds doing a Google search), it would appear that cauliflower was the “It Girl” of the 2015 food world and that star-status has not yet faded out. 

As anyone who knows their way around Pinterest can tell you, there are about a trillion and one ways to use cauliflower to make it more flavorful and fun. Which is good, because on its own, it’s pretty gross (in my opinion). You can make pizza dough out of it, “tater” tots, mashed “potatoes”, alfredo sauce, and “fried rice” (like I’m going to show you). You can even cut it into steaks and grill it. I always viewed cauliflower as basically white broccoli, but it’s actually a lot more versatile. It is a really healthy substitute for carbs and starches. And when prepared correctly, really delicious. 

I tried making this “fried rice” a while back and it was not good. I don’t know what I did. I don’t remember what ingredients I added or didn’t add. I just know that I tried it and it was no bueno. I just figured I must not like cauliflower after all and I should just cut my losses. 

Fast forward to this week. Ever since my nutrisystem slim down success, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching clean and healthy eating. I feel like maybe I know a little more about the world of healthy eats now so I thought I’d give the “fried rice” another go. Besides, I really like the buffalo cauliflower so that sort of negated my theory about not liking cauliflower altogether. 

Like I said, I don’t remember what I did or didn’t do the last time, but this time I made sure to write it all down because it was SO FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS!! I made this twice this week. My hubby loved it. I made too much and ended up eating it as my main meal (which is fine with it being pretty much all veggies), but it would be a good side or entrée. I haven’t tried making a big batch to reheat later because I’m not sure it would reheat very well, but if any of you have any experience with that, please let me know. 

The best part? This is so easy to throw together. Trader Joe’s makes PRE-RICED cauliflower! Another reason Trader Joe’s is the greatest place on earth. They have it in the refrigerated section and the frozen section, so I just grabbed a few of the frozen bags and keep them on hand. There are a few other things I want to try with this riced cauliflower that hopefully I can sneak into the kids’ food.

This recipe is more a method than a hard and fast set of instructions. You can change up the veggies. You can add meat or seafood. It can be enough for a couple entrées on its own or four entrees with added chicken or shrimp (for example). Or it could be divided up even more as a sidedish. It’s entirely up to you and your tastes. The amounts are eyeballed, so again I say, use what you want and however much of it you want.

2 tablespoons oil

2 eggs, beaten

½ zucchini, diced

½ leek, diced

½ cup baby carrots, diced

½ cup frozen peas

1 to 1 ½ cups riced cauliflower (pretty much whatever looks good with the amount of vegetables you have in your pan)

½ tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

*Tip: Since this is basically a stir fry, it will cook fast over high heat. Make sure all your veggies are prepped and ready to go before you start.

In a skillet, put ½ tablespoon of your cooking oil. I used the garlic infused olive oil from Trader Joes, but you can use regular olive oil, or canola oil, or even coconut oil if you want. Add your eggs and scramble. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of your oil and the veggies. Start with what takes the longest to cook. I started with the carrots and then added the zucchini and leek. Sautee until soft.

Add your cauliflower and peas and cook until just about soft. Add the egg back in and then add the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Mix together and continue cooking until the cauliflower is nice and fluffy (like rice) and cooked through. You can taste it at this point and more of whatever you want.

This is a fun dish to play around with so try it with the flavors you like. Any tips? Pass them my way!