Roasted Veggie and Goat Cheese Pasta

This dish makes a lot, which is good because it I makes for GREAT leftovers.  This is a good recipe to have on hand because it uses mostly pantry staples so you can make it anytime. I mean, I don’t usually have prosciutto just lying around, but this pasta is still really yummy without it too. The prosciutto was an added bonus this time around.

It all comes together really quickly, so it makes a good weeknight meal even when you’re busy.

Roasted Veggie and Goat Cheese Pasta

1 each red, orange, yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 large zucchini, sliced

1 medium shallot, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Goat cheese

4 oz package prosciutto, cut or torn into small pieces *optional

1 box small pasta, like penne or small shells

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

*Note: Prosciutto is a bit salty on its own, so if you are using it, you can go easy on the salt on the roasted veggies.

Toss the bell peppers, zucchini, shallot, and garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and salt & pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until tender and a little caramelized on the edges.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, crisp up the prosciutto if you are using it and cook your pasta per package directions. I like using Banza chickpea pasta for this, but you can use any pasta you like.

When the pasta is done, drain and put it in a large bowl. Add the prosciutto and the veggies. Use any of the oil that comes off during roasting as well. That’s lots of flavor!

In a small bowl, whisk together a tablespoon of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Pour over the pasta mixture and toss.

Finally, add some crumbled goat cheese (as much or as little as you want; there are no rules here!) and the fresh herbs. Toss again and serve.

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.

Chicken Fajita Bowls with Mexican Cauliflower Rice

So I’m pretty active on Instagram. I’m not the best at taking pictures of my food, so I really love scrolling through people’s Instagram feeds with beautiful food pictures. I try. I like to think I’m getting better at it, but still. Taking lovely food shots is not my forte.
 

One of my favorite types of pictures are when people do food bowls. I don’t know if this is a new trend or if it just photographs well, but they are so beautiful. The food is organized so cleanly and is usually very colorful. I can’t get enough of them!

All that was said to introduce this Chicken Fajita bowl I recently made. I’ve made similar things before and I swear I posted them on here, but I guess not. Which just means I need to make them again so I can post them again and practice taking better pictures of them! See, it all works out.

This is a super easy weeknight meal that is totally family friendly and can be customized to your tastes.

Chicken Fajita Bowl

Makes enough for 2-4 bowls, depending on how much you put in them

 

Mexican Cauliflower Rice:

– 2 tablespoons Olive oil

– ½ onion diced small

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 bag riced cauliflower (I used the 12 oz bag from Trader Joe’s)

– 1 ½ tablespoons (or so) of tomato paste

– ½ tablespoon each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder

– Salt to taste     

Bowls:

Mexican cauliflower rice (you can use regular rice or Mexican rice if you want)

Shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)

½ purple onion, sliced

½ each red, orange, and green bell pepper, sliced

Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Plain non-fat greek yogurt for topping

Guacamole or avocado slices for topping

Place the onion and bell pepper slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Mexican cauliflower rice:

In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until just starting to soften. Then add the cauliflower rice and cook for about 7 minutes until cooked through. Add the seasonings and tomato paste and stir together until well mixed.

 


Once the rice and veggies are ready (either the cauliflower rice or whatever rice you want to use), you can assemble your bowls.

 

You can be fancy and do layers and sections and organize the whole thing by color or whatever. Or, if you are not planning on taking a photo and you couldn’t care less what your bowl looks like before you eat it because you are just going to mix it all up anyway, you can just throw everything together and have at it.

As long as it tastes good, who care? You do you, love.

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

I think I’m really getting the hang of this soup thing, you guys! I love coming up with new combinations of veggies and flavors that complement each other to whirl up into delicious soups. I am also LOVING my Vitamix more and more. I can whip up these soups on the soup setting and the result is a creamy, velvety soup that doesn’t have any dairy in it at all. It’s so mind boggling; every time I take a bite, I can’t believe there’s no cream or dairy in the soup.

The only thing I need to start working on is making bigger batches. Just when I think there’s going to be enough, it only makes about 3 servings, maybe 4 depending on how much you eat in one bowl.

So far this little makeshift soup cleanse we’ve been on has been very successful. We are getting all our veggies in and we still feel full after a bowl of soup. And the hubby and I are both down to below our pre-vacation weight!

 

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

½ red bell pepper, cut in half

½ orange bell pepper, cut in half

1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1 poblano pepper

1 cup frozen corn

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the peppers and zucchini on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

When the veggies are done, place the bell peppers and zucchini in a blender. Put the poblano in a zip top bag and seal it. After about 5 minutes, remove the poblano and peel the skin off. It should just pull right off. Cut it in half (carefully because it will be hot), and remove the stem and scrap out the seeds. Add the pepper to the blender.

Add the rest of your ingredients to the blender and let her whirl until done.


Taste to see if you need to add more salt.


I had some avocado I needed to use up so I topped mine with avocado. I didn’t do it this time, but it would probably be yummy to add more corn pieces as well, to off-set the texture a little bit.

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!

Chicken and Harvest Veggie Skillet 

This time of year always seems to get really hectic. With all the other things going on during the holiday season, easy dinners are high on my priority list. 

Another thing I’m looking for is healthy meals. I’m all about the Christmas treats and yummy special meals, so that makes it all the more important that we eat healthy as often as we can to try to stay on track.

This meal fits both those criteria. It honestly came out of necessity. I needed to clean out my fridge so I just sort of threw a bunch of ingredients in a skillet and crossed my fingers. I’m so glad it worked because this was delicious! My husband requested it immediately be added to our regular rotation!

Chicken & Harvest Veggie Skillet 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed, seasoned with salt and pepper

4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces

1 medium sweet potato, cubes

3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered 

1/2 diced Onion 

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Granny Smith Apples, cores and cubes

2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 cup chicken broth 

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

1-2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a skillet, brown you chicken in some olive oil until just cooked through. Remove from the skillet to a paper towel-lined plate.

In the same skillet, cook your bacon until crispy. Remove to a lined plate.

To bacon grease, add the onion, garlic, sprouts, and sweet potato and cook until slightly softened.

Add the thyme, salt and pepperto taste, and apple and cook until softened and the rest of the veggies are slightly browned.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the broth evaporate. It will only take a few minutes.


In a small bowl, add the Dijon, vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk until smooth. Note: these are approximate measurements. I eyeballed it and forgot to keep track. 

Add the chicken and bacon back to the skillet. Toss the whole mixture with the Dijon vinaigrette.

Enjoy!!! 

Shepherd’s Pie

I was going to start out by saying that even though it is really, REALLY tasty, Shepherd’s Pie is not a “pretty” dish. Whenever I make Shepherd’s Pie, it always turns into a big ol’ mess when I serve it up. It does not photograph well. It tastes great. It is complete meal all in itself (protein, veggie, carb). It is primo comfort food. But it isn’t winning any beauty contests here.

I was going to start off that way, until I did a Google Image search for Shepherd’s Pie and found some quite lovely photographs of this dish. I mean, in reality, those are probably styled and photographed by people who know what they are doing. I have a nice camera that I use occasionally, but for this blog, I tend to use my phone because it is easier. I guess that means I don’t always get the best pictures of some things. I think I do pretty well, though, on most posts. Right?

 

Anyway, back to the food… As I you saw in my last post, I made mashed potatoes in the slow cooker. I really wanted to try that to see how it would work before Thanksgiving, but then I was going to be stuck with a bunch of potatoes. That’s when I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie. It is always a favorite in our house, so I knew it would be a good use of the potatoes.

A little background: Shepherd’s Pie (sometimes known as Cottage Pie, when not made with lamb) is an Irish dish. It dates back to the 18th century and was a way for the poor to use up potatoes and leftover meat (usually beef or lamb) and stretch their food supply.

I usually make mine with ground beef, but in an effort to be healthier, I made this one with ground turkey. My husband said it was still really good, but it did taste a little different with the turkey. I used all the same ingredients otherwise and I didn’t really notice a difference. Bottom line: you can use whatever ground meat you want (or roasted. This would be good with Thanksgiving leftovers).

Shepherd’s Pie

1 pound ground turkey

½ onion, diced

1-2 cloves minced garlic

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

About a cup of frozen peas (eyeball it)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-2 cups beef broth *I’ll explain this in the directions. Also, chicken broth is acceptable, but it will taste MUCH different)

2 pounds of potatoes, mashed

In a skillet, add a little bit of olive oil and brown your turkey. Remove the meat from the skillet.

 

Add a little more oil to the same skillet (if you think you need it) and saute your onions, garlic, and carrots until the onions are translucent and the carrots are soft. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add back in the turkey and the peas and cook until the peas thaw out mostly. 


Sprinkle the flour over all of it and stir to coat. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Then slowly add the beef broth until until the sauce forms. You don’t want it too soupy but you don’t want it too thick either. Find a happy medium so it’s like a gravy almost. That’s why I suggest slowly adding the broth until it is at a consistency you like.

Pour everything into a 9×13 baking dish in an even layer. Then top with your mashed potatoes. I made mine with a little butter, a little milk, and some parmesan cheese, but you can do whatever you normally do.

 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

 

I know my pictures may not look as pretty as some of the others, but I can promise you this tastes really good!