Charred Broccolini

I had such a strong craving the other day for my spice rubbed seared Ahi Tuna. But I wanted to try to make it with broccolini – for the first time. I often get it when my husband and I go out for date night. But with a new little one in our life – date nights look a little different now. So I used my Ahi Tuna and wasabi cauliflower recipes.

The charred broccolini is super simple but you really need to ‘char’ it (IMO) to get the right taste.

Ingredients:

  • Two (14-ounce) bunches broccolini, larger stems halved lengthwise
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  3 or 4 garlic cloves
  •  1/4 cup water
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  Coarse sea salt
  •  2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
  •  Squeeze of lemon

Directions:

  • Wash the broccolini and shake off all but a little water clinging to the tops and stems.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Carefully add the garlic confit oil and cloves and let the garlic sizzle for about 1 minute.
  • Add the broccolini to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Carefully pour in the water (it will steam and may splatter), reduce the heat to medium, cover, and steam the greens for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Uncover the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add the olive oil and season with salt. Toss once with tongs in the skillet, then cook until the broccolini are charred to your liking, 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the cheese and allow it to melt over the broccolini.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat, squeeze lemon juice over the top and serve right away.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Simple Lemon Marinade

When life hands you lemons…….

…….make this super simple lemon marinade!

and then put it on whatever you like!!

I made some chicken kababs because the weather was just so beautiful recently and I wanted to enjoy our patio.
This marinade is super simple that most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Enjoy – see you in the kitchen!

Sheet Pan Jambalaya

Calling all big flavor / easy dinner / sheet pan meal lovers!

Coming your way in the form of sausage, peppers, onions, shrimp, and… wait for it… cauliflower rice!

Now – This isn’t just your average pan of roasted goodness. It takes the form of a surprisingly satisfying rice-less sheet pan jambalaya with the addition of a spicy Cajun spice, melted butter, lemon juice squeezed over the whole thing, and a nice little sprinkling of parsley to make it table-ready. Easy weeknight meal with also easy clean-up!! It’s a win-win.

I mean, for being extremely practical and easy, you have to admit: she really is a beauty with all the different colors.

Sheet Pan Jambalaya = maximum flavor, minimal dishes. Sausage, peppers, onions, shrimp, and cauliflower rice all roasted up on a sheet pan. Big flavor, easy dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bags frozen cauliflower rice (10 oz. each, 20 oz. total)
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails on
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • fresh parsley, to garnish
  • lemon juice, to serve

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add the kielbasa sausage, onion, and bell pepper to a large sheet pan along with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. Toss the vegetables and sausage to make sure they are well-coated. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the vegetables and sausage from the oven, add the tomato paste, and stir to thoroughly mix it in with the vegetables. Add the frozen cauliflower rice and remaining teaspoon of Cajun seasoning to the pan. Toss all the ingredients together until the are well-incorporated and return the pan to the oven. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower rice is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Taste the jambalaya and season with salt and pepper. Add the raw shrimp on top of the jambalaya and drizzle the butter over the top.
  • Return the pan to the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through and pink. Garnish with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Cashew Chicken

Obsessed with how this meal turned out!! The chicken is so sweet and savory, the sauce is saucy and sticky, and oh-so good!! This is by far my favorite recipe to date! It’s just a really fun and easy recipe to make for a special date night, or during the week.

My version of cashew chicken is actually based off of my interpretation of the Cheesecake Factory meal. Obviously I don’t have a fryer handy so I just paned fried the chicken and it turned out great!

The aroma that this dish brings as well while cooking is so mouth-watering, that anyone who is around will come running when you yell – “Dinner’s Ready”. The smell of garlic, ginger, and soy in the sauce is so good!

Try to stop yourself too – while cooking the chicken to not pop any of the bite size pieces into your mouth.

Ingredients:

Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • about 1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cashew halves

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha (optional – but I recommend)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, grated
  • a small piece of fresh ginger, grated

Directions:

  • Make Batter: Mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, and paprika. Set aside half of the flour mixture in a small bowl. Mix the other half of the flour mixture with 3/4 cup cold water to form a loose batter.
  • Make Sauce: Whisk all sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  • Fry Chicken: Heat oil over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles across the top. Dredge the chicken pieces in the dry flour mixture, then dip into the batter. Let excess batter drip off. Add battered chicken pieces to the oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel lined plate. Drain out any excess oil from the pan
  • Finish: Put chicken back in the pan. Add sauce and cashews. Stir for about 1 minute, until coated and you can start to smell the garlic. Done! Serve with rice and maybe some roasted or steamed vegetables. I had asparagus handy so that’s what I used. SO GOOD! 

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Sesame Ginger Stir Fry

Allow me to introduce you to the BEST stir fry sauce in the world. Yes, it is very necessary that BEST is in all caps.

The BEST stir fry sauce recipe you’ve ever had! Delicious on vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp. Can be made gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan.

Now, this may not look like much, but it’s lack of beauty is more than made up in flavor. Delicious Asian flavors like soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame seed oil and rice vinegar. It can easily be adjusted to be vegan or gluten-free without losing any flavor. Just add all the ingredients to a pint sized mason jar, shake it up, and your sauce is ready in minutes.

It’s the only stir fry sauce you’ll ever need. I’ve used it with just about every combination of vegetable, and with every type of meat. It’s great with chicken, beef, pork, even shrimp.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce (or Tamari if gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable broth if vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch (or arrow root)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar if vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced (or 1 tablespoon ginger paste in a squeeze tube, and other readers have had success with 1 tablespoon ground powdered ginger)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
  • Vegetables and meat of your choosing for the stir fry

Directions:

  • Whisk all ingredients together. Adjust the amount of sauce you add according to how much stir fry you’re making. When adding to your stir fry, allow to cook for 3 full minutes to allow the corn starch to thicken the sauce.
  • Makes 1-1/4 cups. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Chicken Tortilla Chili

Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods! Chicken breasts, corn, beans, and other delicious ingredients are simmered in a tomato base. Top this delicious soup with crispy homemade tortilla strips, avocado, lime, and cilantro for the perfect Mexican-inspired soup!

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of your favorite Chicken Broth, I used reduced sodium
  • Can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (15 oz)
  • 1 lb of cooked chicken, shredded or chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes

Directions:

  • In a blender or a food processor, combine 2 cups chicken broth with one can of cannellini beans. Blend until smooth.
  • In a large pot, over medium heat, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil. Add onion, pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add reserved chicken broth mix, remaining chicken broth, beans, cooked chicken, spices and tomatoes.
  • Bring in a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Top with your favorite toppings; cilantro, sliced green onion, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Zucchini Brownies

Zucchini Brownies are rich, chocolaty, and a favorite dessert! You will never know they are made with zucchini! 

I love baking with zucchini. You start with a green vegetable and end with a decadent dessert. Zucchini really is a magic ingredient. Zucchini makes these brownies extra special.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini don’t squeeze out the moisture
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips divided

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, combine sugar, oil, and flour, combine until mixture resembles wet sand. It will be dry looking and that is ok. While mixing, on low, add cocoa, shredded zucchini, vanilla extract, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined. The mixture will moisten once the zucchini is added. Stir in one cup of the chocolate chips.
  • Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the brownies are set.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut brownies into squares and serve.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars are a simple & delicious ripe banana recipe that’s even better than banana bread! Great for breakfast, lunch, snack time and even dessert!

This recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Bars is my favorite banana recipe ever. They are delicious, filling, and your whole family will love them. I like to bake a batch, cut them into squares and freeze them individually for when we’re on-the-go! They’re chock full of bananas and I use whole wheat flour to make them more filling. I know the addition of cinnamon may seem a little different, but I encourage you to try it. It adds just a nice pop of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 5 very ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil any type- I use coconut
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 15×10.5? pan with non-stick spray.
  • Peel bananas and mash well. Stir in brown sugar, oil, milk and eggs until combined. Add in dry ingredients and stir. Fold in 1/2 the chocolate chips.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Juicy Baked Pork Chops. . . .

. . . . with a Super Simple Marinade!

These baked pork chops are the best oven baked pork chops ever! They are so easy to make, super juicy, and flavorful. Rub them with a few pantry staple spices and pop them into the oven for 20 minutes and dinner will be ready!

The biggest ‘trick’ to making oven baked pork chops is to not overcook them. Since pork chops are lean meat, they will dry out if you leave them in the oven for too long.

Here’s an easy way to know exactly how long you should cook your chops:

In a 400 degree oven, boneless pork chops need to cook for 7 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness. If you are using bone-in pork chops, add an extra minute for each 1/2 inch. The best way to tell if they are fully cooked is using a instant read meat thermometer. I use this one, to make sure I don’t overcook any meat that I am cooking. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp EACH: onion powder & garlic powder
  • 1 tsp EACH: salt, pepper, and oregano
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 4 – boneless pork chops

Directions:

  • Turn your oven to 400 degrees
  • In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oregano.
  • Drizzle the 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over both sides of the pork chops. Sprinkle the spice mix evenly over both sides of the pork chops and place them in a baking dish.
  • Bake the pork chops for 20 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you remove them from the oven, let them rest in the pan for 5 minutes before serving. Pair with your favorite sides!

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Lasagna Soup

This quick and healthy lasagna soup recipe has all the comforting flavors of classic lasagna with plenty of tomatoes, Italian turkey sausage and lasagna noodles broken into bite-size bits. A dollop of mozzarella and Parmesan adds a creamy finishing touch. Serve this soup with a green salad and crusty bread to sop up what’s left in the bowl for an easy healthy dinner that’s ready in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion 
  • 6 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can no-salt added crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups water 
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ½ lasagna noodles (about 6 ounces), preferably whole-wheat, broken into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost translucent, about 5 minutes. Push onions to one side of the pot and add sausage to the other side. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste is heated through, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, broth, sugar and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Add lasagna noodles and stir to separate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just cooked through but not completely soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.
  • Meanwhile, combine ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Ladle the soup into 6 bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with basil.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!