Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Since boycotting pumpkin this year, I stepped up my squash game. Er… let me rephrase that so I sound less moronic, since pumpkin is technically a squash too! I benched pumpkin and brought my favorite over-looked and under-loved squash all-stars out to play the field. They’re seriously rocking my plate and I’m certain you’re going to love them too! It’s safe to say that I’m one proud couch. I mean cook! I mean… Oy, just eat your veggies will ya?

In other news, I think my brain is broken.

I’ve never been a huge fan of squash [Though I said the same for sweet potatoes a few years back and look at me now! Hah!] mainly because any time I tried it, that poor veggie had been manhandled and mistreated into a mushy, soggy, and/or sweetened state. With the right cooking techniques and the right add-ons, it’s downright delicious! A little roasting and some savory side-kicks can take squash from meh to MEEEEEE-OWW!

And with that, my brain finally broke.

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash


Since Winter squash finally hit the shelves, I’ve been hoarding dumpling squash. Have you had it before? It’s actually the perfect squash for people who don’t like squash! It has the buttery texture and facade of an acorn squash but the mild, easy to compliment flavor of yellow squash and spaghetti squash. It’s not too sweet or too strong or too anything, as Goldilocks would say, this one is juuuuust right!

Can you tell I’ve been reading more baby books than big girl books as of lately? Yeah. Sorry about that.

Let’s get squashed! [again!]

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 dumpling squash
  • ½-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast [1-2 cups cooked]
  • ½ cup salsa verde [I'm obsessed with Target's brand]
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp butter or oil for sauteing
  • ½-1 cup diced tri-colored bell peppers
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2-4 oz freshly grated cheese

  • tower of toppings:
  • plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  • chopped green onion
  • am optional pinch of red pepper flakes for added heat
  • diced jalapenos for even more heat! [also yummy; also optional]
  • fresh cilantro

  • note: Any cheese that rocks your tastebuds will rock this dish! My favorites lately have been gouda [the un-smoked variety!] and pepper jack yogurt cheese. The yogurt cheese is usually in the fancy cheese section and goes on sale often! It's delicious!

  • Have some of your favorite enchilada sauce handy? Go ahead and add it to the mix!
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mental prep: though this dish has a few components that are all cooked differently, don't fret! You can cook the chicken while the squash roasts and the veggies while the chicken poaches and, before you know it, the kitchen will be clean and you'll have food in your face. Ready? Let's do this!
  3. Slice your squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  4. To prevent sticking, rub the rim of the squash's flesh with a teeny bit of olive oil or simply place a little water inside your baking dish. Both work great!
  5. Place inside a baking dish or atop rimmed, lined baking sheet [some liquid will escape] and roast face-down for approx 40 minutes.
  6. While the squash roasts, cook your chicken and saute your veggies.
  7. You can cook the chicken any which way you prefer but to save on time I typically crock-pot it ahead of time [see notes in the post below] or throw it together on the stove top while the squash bakes away.
  8. Bring a medium pot of water or your favorite broth [hello flavor!] to boil and add your boneless, skinless chicken breasts to the water.
  9. Cover your pot with it's lid and remove from heat.
  10. Allow the chicken to poach for approx 25 minutes.
  11. Remove from liquid, chop with the grain into small pieces and combine with salsa verde.
  12. Season with salt and pepper [cayenne pepper if you're feeling spicy!] as well as your garlic powder and cumin.
  13. Stir and set aside.
  14. As mentioned earlier, while the chicken cooks, saute those veggies!
  15. Simply bring a little bit of butter or oil to heat, add your peppers and onion and saute until tender.
  16. By now you should have a kitchen full of yum!
  17. Rake a fork across the bottom of the squash and stir in your salsa chicken, peppers, and onion.
  18. Top with a mountain of freshly grated cheese and pop squash back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
  19. Serve bubbly and hot with all your favorite toppings!

chopped bell pepper and onionfreshly grated pepper jack yogurt cheese

shortcut shenanigans: If your kitchen happens to be overrun leftovers from a festive Taco Tuesday the night before, or any night of the week really, then you can whip this dish up with little to no effort! That’s actually how I created this baby in the first place! Of course other ways to shave time off this recipe would be to bake your squash ahead of time, when you know you’ll be around to yank it from the oven when the timer goes off. It’ll stay fresh in your fridge for a few days awaiting this delish dish. You can also cook the chicken in advance on the stove top, in the oven, or using your slow cooker! I love making a huge batch of salsa shredded chicken over the weekend to toss into meals all week long. It’s easy and requires so little effort that it’s become a go-to these past few months. Simply season the chicken with a little salt, cumin, and garlic powder, pour over your favorite salsa verde, and let your crock-pot do the work! It can be ready in 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low; choose what works for you!

update: squash can also be microwaved for 5 minutes, halved, and then roasted at 400 F for 15-20 minutes! I tried this method the other day and it worked great! xo

so… how was it?

Despite the fact that it I over-explained the crap out of this recipe, it’s so ridiculously easy and awesome and, well, you’ve got to try it! It’s a fiesta in a [squash] bowl!

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Squash

I think I have a cheese problem.

case in point:

Savory Sweet Potato NachosPanera Broccoli and Cheese SoupCreamy Tomato Soup with Baked Mozzarella Balls

Healthy Hummus Stuffed Peppers

Healthy Hummus Stuffed Peppers

The interwebs needs another hummus recipe like I need a need another pint of Ben and Jerry’s birthday cake ice cream [lies; I must have more!] so I got creative. After all, I think we all could use another healthy snack for our faces.

Ok, fine… a healthy snack AND a pint of birthday cake deliciousness. Balance: it’s delicious!

If you find that your good intentions to scoop your hummus with an array of healthy sliced veggies always seems to be led astray by crusty bread, this is for you. If you can’t seem to wind up any which way other than staring down an empty container of hummus covered in crumbs at the bottom of a bag of pita chips, this is for you. If you just really want some effing veggies, then this is clearly for you.

If you really just want to be left alone with a full bowl of hummus and your feelings a spoon… I’ll leave you to that. I’ve been there.

Enjoy!

Healthy Hummus Stuffed Peppers

Healthy Hummus Stuffed Peppers
5.0 from 1 reviews
Healthy Hummus Stuffed Peppers
 
Since the measurements will vary depending on the number of noshers, here's a simplified "un-recipe" to help you out when gathering your ingredients!
Author:
Ingredients
  • your favorite homemade or store bought hummmus
  • sweet mini peppers [or go big with sliced bell peppers!]
  • minced red onion
  • sliced grape tomatoes
  • fresh parsley
  • crumbled feta cheese

  • feeling feisty? top with a drizzle of your favorite olive oil or balsamic!
Instructions
  1. Slice the top off of each pepper and discard.
  2. Next slice each pepper lengthwise.
  3. Top with hummus and all your toppings.
  4. Scarf 'em!

Healthy Hummus Stuffed Peppers

These are perfect for a small snack for friends and/or family and great when you need an impressive little app for a shower or potluck that will stand out amist the giant crock-pots and casserole dishes. They’re cute, bite-sized, and easy peasy finger food. Though if volume is what you need, make this:

Jazzed Up Hummus turned YUMMUS!

 

Or you can channel the chickpea and run circles around the dog with a spoonful of hummus. It looks pretty fun; I’m gonna try it!

What’s your favorite thing to do with hummus?

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Say hello to the best spaghetti squash of your life!

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

hello gorgeous! 

I almost don’t want to even bother with an intro, story, or musing of any sort because, seriously, I don’t want to slow you down. I expect all of you to fling yourselves into the kitchen immediately and get to work on this bad boy. Gah! It’s SO good.

Oh hello vegetarians, I see you’re giving me some serious side eye right now! Not to worry! You’re still required to haul your veggie-loving butt into the kitchen as well. Sub meaty mushrooms [buttons or bellas] for the chicken and maybe add a few sauteed onions and you’re good. to. go.

Um, I wasn’t joking. Print the recipe below and get this in your face. Please and thank you. Love you bunches!

4.8 from 5 reviews
Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-large spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups chopped chicken, cooked via your favorite method!
  • ¼ cup homemade or store bought pesto
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ an egg [use the white or the yolk!]
  • ¼-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, packed
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp Italian spice blend [like Mrs. Dash]
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped tomato, plus extra for topping
  • 6 slices of fresh mozzarella or 2-4 oz freshly grated mozz
  • fresh parsley and/or basil to garnish

  • optional: you can absolutely use your favorite red sauce in place of the chopped tomato or go all out and use a little of both!
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  3. To prevent sticking, rub the rim of the squash's flesh with a teeny bit of olive oil or simply place a little water inside your baking dish. Both work great!
  4. Place inside a baking dish or atop rimmed, lined baking sheet [some liquid will escape] and roast face-down for 40-60 minutes.
  5. Cooking time will depend on size and the once rock-hard exterior of the squash will be visibly softened with a tender inside.
  6. The squash can be roasted and stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days awaiting it's stuffage with your lovely lasagna ingredients. You can also make the whole shebang one weekend and pop it in the fridge until about 35 minutes before dinnertime. Wind up with a little bit leftover? It reheats marvelously the following day! Now let's get back to the recipe!
  7. If they aren't already in one, add your cooked squash to baking dish.
  8. Cook chicken via your favorite method or squirrel away leftovers from the previous night's dinner to use in the lasagna.
  9. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and toss in ¼ cup of pesto.
  10. Set aside.
  11. Next whisk up an egg yolk [or grab the whites from one large egg] into your ricotta and add freshly grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, dried parsley, salt, and your favorite Italian seasoning blend.
  12. Set aside.
  13. Line each cooked spaghetti squash with chopped tomato or a thin layer of your favorite red sauce!
  14. Top each with your seasoned ricotta; pile it on!
  15. Next add your pesto chicken [it'll start to look mile high at this point, just go with it!] and sprinkle with some extra chopped tomato.
  16. Top with sliced or grated mozzarella and cover the baking dish in foil, leaving a little room at the top [like a tent!] so the mozz doesn't stick.
  17. Bake at 350 degrees F for around 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  18. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or basil leaves and dig in!
  19. Leftovers taste phenomenal the next day and can be reheated via oven or microwave; up to you!

 Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: the ingredients

Now I know you’re looking at that bake time and thinking “ain’t nobody got time for that!” But here’s the thing: you can bake the squash in advance.

Pop it in the oven the night before while you curl up with a book or wrestle tiny tykes into bed, just set a timer and walk away! The squash itself can be prepped up to 3-4 days in advance if needed [I do this all the flipping time, promise!] so don’t stress it one bit. You can also prep the chicken and pretty much everything else ahead of time while you’re at it.

Stuffed squash is one of my favorite fall faceplantables, and I almost always prep everything the previous day so that when the next day kicks me in the face, I have dinner ready for the oven. It makes the house smell absolutely scrumptious and is super convenient to have chilling in the fridge for a busy night. So there you have it, all time excuses have been squashed [how embarrassing!] and we’re good to go!

tip: if your sharpest, longest knife seems no match for a giant spaghetti squash, have no fear! You can pierce the skin a few times with your knife, much like you would with a potato, and microwave the squash for a minute or two before slicing! 

Also, if you’d like a larger stuffing to squash ratio, feel free to scrape your spaghetti squash with a fork to release a small pile of yummy squash noodles and mix it with your pesto chicken before adding it back into the squash to bake with the mozzarella. Anything goes when stuffing a squash, now have at it!

Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pesto Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Stick a fork in me. I’m done. 

Baby Bites III: Mini Meals for Tiny Tummies

Baby Bites III: yummy meals for tiny tummies

Well, it happened. My sweet, squishy little chickpea is now officially a toddler.

As my Baby Bites series comes to a close, I decided I wanted to go all out! The third and final installment of my little pet project is going to be a doozy, but hello! When is feeding a kiddo not a whirlwind? The yogurt in the hair, the avocado in the nose, and the banana that somehow got smashed between poor unsuspecting toes…. and that’s just me! You should see the other guy!

I enlisted the help of Dr. Praeger’s and their new line of Veggie Littles for Kids and we’re stoked to cover all the bases from homemade meals to packaged goodies with a giveaway and lots of pint-sized meal ideas. I’m super excited to have them on board sponsoring this yummy post!

Let’s kick things off with a few meal ideas! In general we tend to gravitate towards oats, sweet potato pancakes, and fresh fruit for breakfast, while lunch, second lunch [my girl can eat!] and dinner have a mix of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and protein sources such as yogurt, cheese, beans, and meat. I have a heavy hand with herbs and spices and most foods are spiked with a sprinkle of cinnamon or garlic, turmeric or cumin, and even paprika, basil, oregano and, well, you get the point! Let’s dive in to some mini-meals!

Baby Bites III: Mini Meals for Tiny Tummies!

Baby Bites + Toddler Bites: Balanced Meals for Tiny Tummies

Dr Praeger's Broccoli Littles Dino Veggie NuThese perfectly seasoned broccoli and potato Littles are amazing! The taste reminds me of a broccoli-spiked tater tot and I have to refrain from eating too many myself. They’re best straight from the oven [or toaster oven!] and smell absolutely divine. Out of the three flavors we tried, the chickpea and I both like the broccoli the best, though we’ve been team broccoli for a while now!

Broccoli Baby Led Weaning

Sometimes she’ll eat it straight up like it’s the best thing she’s eaten all day, other days I mix blanched broccoli florets with either homemade or store bought pesto [depending on availability!] and then mix it with a little freshly grated cheese and whole grain bowtie pasta or cheesy whole grain tortellini. Between the basil, the broccoli, and the whole grains, it’s a main course I can feel good about! We even add butter-garlic shredded chicken to the mix or just give her the entire drumstick to work on. This kid’s a beast when it comes to giving all food groups equal loving.

Though she’s a baby, of course, and what is the OMGBESTMEALEVER one day is thrown to the dog and cat the following day. It’s the nature of the game and if I have to just hand her a cheese stick and call it a wrap, I do. Kids have a great way of making up for lost calories the next time they eat. I just have to keep reminding myself to silence that little voice that pops up and says “Noooo she didn’t eat enough!” and replace it with “Chill mofo, snack time is only in a few hours, she’ll eat more then!” And I do. And she does. Phew!

Oh hi! Rambling! Let’s get on with the meal mash-ups!

Baby Bites + Toddler Bites: Balanced Meals for Tiny Tummies

My daughter will not eat plain avocado. Though she *will* glare at you like you tried to serve her toxic sludge and promptly toss it over the side of the high chair for us peasants to clean up. The solution? I season the crap out of it! a sprinkle of garlic powder and paprika and a pinch of salt and she’s as happy as a bird with a french fry. Clearly she just wants some guac. When I season it up or mash it with fresh tomatoes and onion suddenly she’s eaten an entire half avocado and gunning for my portion as well.

As for the fried rice, it’s this girl’s JAM! Ever since her first Japanese restaurant experience a few months ago, the chickpea has been hooked on fried rice and lo mein. I’m sure it’s the 100000 milligrams of sodium fueling her faceplant so I try to make a lightened up version at home and save the restaurant adventures for special occasions. This particular batch had bean sprouts [she adores them! weirdo!], onion, carrots, scrambled eggs, and brown rice with a little butter, garlic powder and a tiny drizzle of low sodium soy sauce. Sometimes we add chicken for extra protein. If you’re new to making fried rice, I have a family friendly recipe [here] that can be made with quinoa or rice!

Oh and those dashing dinos up top are the Dr. Praeger Sweet Potato Littles. They’re fabulous with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top!

Baby Bites + Toddler Bites: Balanced Meals for Tiny Tummies

Another uber-typical meal for the chickpea involves what can only be described as a metric ton of kiwi [she knocks back one day!] along with asparagus spears, organic cheese, broccoli littles, sweet potato pancakes, and a chicken drumstick. I left the drumstick out of the photo because the chickpea was happily munching on it while I took cutesy photos of her food. [Here's a visual] if you need one. Haha! Hopefully you enjoyed this little peek into our journey through baby-led weaning! It’s been a fun!

Holy cow that was a lot of food! Are you hungry?

Let’s get our giveaway on!

Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods Veggie Littles for Kids!

These Dr. Praeger’s Kids veggie Littles are awesome freezer fare! When it comes to purchasing pre-made meals and snacks, I’m a stickler for the ingredient list, and these guys make the cut! The ingredients in the Broccoli Littles are broccoli, potato, onion, egg whites, potato flakes [dried potato to help hold those cute shapes together!], expeller pressed canola oil, arrowroot, salt, and garlic. That’s it! They’re pretty darn cute too – I love that there’s a shaped “nugget” on the market with real ingredients, kudos Dr. P!

Wanna try some? Enter the giveaway via the widget below! 2 winners in the US will win two free product coupons to try out some Dr. Praeger’s sensible foods! They also have an awesome line of veggie burgers and pancakes!

…[Giveaway!]…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received three boxes of Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Littles and a stipend to cover ingredients. All opinions are my own [we know I have many of those! haha!] and I’ll always be forthcoming with you guys. Thanks for letting me pay the grocery bill every now and again while still offering up free stuff with giveaway shenanigans! Love you so!

Also, I think the chickpea is in love…

dr-praegers-kids-sweet-potato-littles-kiss2

A mail day just for her!? Kisses for the box-o-veggies!

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Every time I post a recipe with meat in it people go nuts. The general response is usually “Whaaaaaaat I thought you were vegetarian!?” or “Jenny don’t take a bite of that there’s meat in it!” Oops.

I guess I don’t talk about it much, huh? Though I haven’t been one since starting P&C, I was a mondo vegetarian/pescatarian for around 6 years. I loved it! It challenged me to embrace new foods [Beans and I became BFF finally!] and step outside of my comfort zone in order to nurture my body. Though I was happy at the time, my body’s needs changed and thus, so did my dietary lineup. Initially I only had a few servings of local grass-fed, pasture-raised meat a month, but it’s since increased to a few times a week, along with the occasional addition of poultry and pork. Pregnancy, nursing, and all that jazz played their role. I’ve even gotten as lax as to order an occasional burger at a restaurant and feed into my life-long BLT infatuation. While I’ve always tried to keep things veggie-centric on the blog, I will occasionally throw a t-rex friendly recipe your way when the craving strikes.

Well the craving struck. Hard. This one is for all my gluten-free carnivores that will humor me and let me stuff their food into vegetables. They’re flavorful finger food, perfect for a party or a holiday appetizer!

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage, Garlic, and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 25 stuffed mushrooms
Ingredients
  • about 25 standard-large whole button mushrooms [24oz]
  • ½ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • ¾ cup broth or water
  • 3 hot Italian chicken sausage links [the larger sized ones]
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 5 button mushrooms, diced
  • 2 TBSP garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • Feel free to use regular button mushrooms or baby bella portobellos! I've made it with both and they're delicious! I've also tested the recipe using both organic chicken sausage and pork sausage and it was divine both ways. Choose your favorite!

  • No quinoa handy? These are also marvelous with Italian style or Panko breadcrumbs! Yum!
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Clean mushrooms, remove stems, and arrange on an oiled baking sheet.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Bring a small pot with ¾ cup of broth or water to boil.
  5. Add quinoa and cook, partially covered for 12-13 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Set aside.
  7. While the quinoa cooks, bring a skillet to medium-high heat.
  8. Remove casings from sausage and add to your skillet.
  9. Cook sausage, stirring often to create small crumbles, and once it's no longer pink in the center, set aside. The goal is to leave the sausage a bit juicy since it still has some oven time ahead of it.
  10. Keep burner on and, using the same skillet, add your onion and a little bit of water [or broth... or wine!] to deglaze the pan and saute.
  11. When onions start to soften, add in garlic and chopped mushroom and reduce heat to medium.
  12. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are tender and translucent.
  13. Add your quinoa to the sausage mixture mix thoroughly.
  14. Season with sea salt, garlic powder, and paprika. I like these garlicky [and wouldn't have them any other way!] so feel free to give the mixture a taste before adding the garlic powder. If you love it as is, have at it. If you're a garlic lover, add the 2 TBSP in full. Let your taste buds be your guide!
  15. Remove from heat and allow to cool just a tad before handling.
  16. Refrain from scarfing too many spoonfuls of the stuffing in your mouth while you spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps.
  17. Bake for approx 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and steamy after giving up a bit of their liquid.
  18. Dig in! Well, once the mushrooms are a little less molten hot than they will be straight out of the oven. Burning the roof of your mouth is the worst!

Sausage Garlic Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

Garlic, Quinoa, and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Creamy Mushroom and Brie White Bean Soup

Hoooooomygosh! So! I’m even more hopelessly tech challenged than I originally thought because I’m having permalink problems with a few of my favorite posts. I’ve been troubleshooting for a few weeks and totally utterly give up. I’m sucking it up and re-posting the recipe so it doesn’t vanish into some weird cyber black hole never to return again. The post itself is gloriously out of context but the soup? The soup is gooooood!

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup

Oh hi!  I’m afraid I have ANOTHER soup recipe.  Please don’t throw things.  I promise this is the last one for a while.  Though my fingers may or may not be crossed behind my back right now because I have one more soup recipe in my draft folder.  Lo siento.  I cant help what happens when inspiration strikes.  I also can’t help the obnoxious happy dance I do around the kitchen when inspiration turns into deliciousness.  This particular recipe resulted in a happy dance, bowl lickage [by P -- I'm far too classy for that!  Hah!] and a few texts informing the bestie of my intentions to wed this soup.

Today’s recipe remix is a thicker, creamier, protein-packed version of the Mushroom Brie Soup I posted last month.  I think the pilot and the amazon both scoffed when they learned that I’d be adding beans to the soup.  You might be scoffing too!  I, however, am smiling because not only did it work, its freaking delicious too!  *cue yet another obnoxious happy dance* 

Creamy Mushroom Brie and White Bean Soup

Creamy Mushroom and Brie White Bean Soup

[yields two large bowls or four smaller ones]


Creamy Mushroom Brie White Bean Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg [8oz] button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pkg [8oz] baby bella portobella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 [15oz] can of cannellini beans [or whip them up from scratch!]
  • 4-8oz of brie cheese, rind removed
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of dairy [heavy cream, half and half, evap. milk, coconut or almond milk]
  • 1-2 TBSP your favorite healthy oil
  • 2 TBSP cream cheese, room temperature or melted
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • 2 cranks of black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • a pinch of parsley and red pepper flakes, to taste
Instructions
  1. Drizzle a little olive/avocado/coconut oil at the bottom of a large pot/pan and saute mushrooms until tender, adding the minced garlic towards the end.
  2. While that's cooking, add your white beans and onion to a pot with veggie stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to medium-low heat and add a bay leaf, ¼ tsp of salt, a crank or two of black pepper, ¼ tsp of basil and a pinch of red pepper flakes [optional] and simmer for around 15-20 minutes.
  4. Once the flavors have had some time to mingle, remove the bay leaf and puree the beans/broth [in batches if needed!] with an immersion blender [or a vitamix-type blender] until the beans are creamy and perfectly smooth.
  5. Return to the pot and add your sauteed mushrooms and garlic along with the basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to simmer along with your soup.
  6. Next grab your dairy.
  7. All I had on hand was some coconut milk creamer [thickened, unsweetened coconut cream] so I added a little cream cheese to add extra creaminess to the broth. If you're using half and half or heavy cream you can skip the cream cheese. [or go nuts and add both - up to you!]
  8. Reduce heat so it's at the lowest setting and stir in your dairy of choice. I added the thickened coconut milk and cream cheese this time.
  9. Remove pot from heat entirely and stir in your cubed brie, stirring constantly as it melts.
  10. Taste test, adjust brie and seasonings as desired and serve alongside some crusty garlic bread for a filling and flavorful lunch or dinner! It also makes a great starter to any meal; simply serve up smaller bowls!

vegansarus chefs skip and/or sub the dairy and add wilted kale or spinach
brontosaurus chefs make as written above or add kale/spinach too
t-rex chefs feel free to use chicken broth or stock if desired – resist urge to add bacon
 

Gouda makes an excellent sub for the brie if needed!  

Serving Suggestion: whip up some crusty garlic bread or toasts to go alongside the soup!

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup
Creamy Mushroom Brie and White Bean Soup

so… how was it?

If you’ve been reading, you know it’s definitely happy-dance worthy.  If you haven’t been reading you should probably go sit in the corner =)  I’ll be in the other corner continuing my happy dance.  Love.  This.  Soup!  Though by normal standards it may make 4 servings… P and I split the pot and called it a day.  The funny part was that I was in utter denial over finishing the soup in a sitting.  Surely there were leftovers!  I must have dreamt of them because when I raided the fridge the following day looking for leftovers, I came up empty handed.  I need to buy more mushrooms.  And Brie.  Oh brie!

So I think after I get one last soup recipe out of my system I’m going to return to my adventures in baking!  You can expect lots of breads and muffins with a few cookies and scones sprinkled in for good measure.  I also have a few healthy veggie side dishes and entrees that I’ve been recipe testing and I may or may not a bit of good news that I will reveal the second it’s unjinxable.  Let’s pretend that’s a real word.  Along with fanfreakingtastic…. As in, I hope you had a fanfreakingtasting weekend and are ready to kick this week’s butt!  And eat your veggies.  Always.

 
OoOh! and in case you actually *do* want more soup in your face, try these:
Creamy Tomato Soup with Baked Mozzarella BallsPanera Broccoli and Cheese Soup
 
Has anyone else gone soup-nanas? I can’t be the only nutjob dreaming of the stuff!
 
pleasesayyes

Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup

Hookay soo… if everyone else is allowed to peddle pumpkin and squash like it isn’t still hot as Hades outside, then I’m allowed to make soup. [Mmmm soup!] Of course it is very much still face-meltingly hot outside [at least here in Florida it is!] so I’m doing the right thing and not touching my oven whatsoever. Heck no; we’re doing this slow cooker style baby!

Did you just do a little dance? Crock-pooooooot: I love you!

This soup is the cousin from another oven of my Veggie Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Same concept, different genre. Or something like that. I really shouldn’t be allowed to write blog posts on post-op pain meds. It doesn’t bode well for my cool, calm, intellectual demeanor.

Stop laughing, we have soup to make!

Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup

Crock-Pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup



5.0 from 3 reviews
Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 large jalapenos, diced + seeds removed
  • 2 cups diced yellow onon
  • ⅓ cup choped green onion
  • ½ cup salsa verde
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 heads of roasted garlic
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • white or black pepper, to taste

  • extras: a little butter or olive oil can help round out the creaminess of the soup if you'd like, totally optional and yummy both ways!

  • tasty toppings:
  • greek yogurt or sour cream
  • freshly chopped cilantro
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped green onion
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes [optional]
Instructions
  1. Peel your potatoes and give them a rough chop [nothing fancy!]
  2. Next chop your veggies and toss em in the pot along with your potatoes.
  3. Add veggie broth, salsa verde, cumin salt, oregano and garlic powder.
  4. If you're a pepper fiend, some black or white pepper would be a great addition.
  5. Set your slow cooker to HIGH and cook for 4-5 hours, or, if you're gone for the day, set it to LOW for 8 hours.
  6. You can roast your garlic while the soup cooks by setting your oven to 400F, chopping the tippity top off each garlic head, drizzling with olive oil, and sealing in a foil pouch. Roast for about an hour and then squeeze each head of garlic to release the yummy roasted garlic "butter" from the bulbs and spoon into the soup when it's done! You can also roast a huge batch of garlic earlier in the week to use in recipes [like this one] all week long! In a rush? Saute a few cloves [I would say maybe 4-5 cloves max] of garlic and toss it in the slow cooker with your veggies!
  7. After returning to your slow cooker, you have a very important [ok not that important] decision to make. Do you want your soup chunky or smooth?
  8. For smooth soup, use a potato masher or even an immersion blender to creamify the soup.
  9. For chunky potato soup, grab a wooden spoon and mash the potatoes partially. I went the fabulously chunky route and it came out deliciously thick and hearty.
  10. Ready to eat? Simply mix in your cheese and garnish with all your favorites!
  11. I add extra cheese to mine; like you hadn't guessed already =) Yum!

Crock-pot Mexican Baked Potato Soup

 so… how was it!?

Like Fall in a bowl! Well, I suppose Fall in a bowl would technically be something of the squash or pumpkin variety so… it’s like Cinco de Mayo in a bowl! Bam! Even better! The jalapeno added amazing flavor without making the soup too spicy. I really wouldn’t call it spicy at all… more zesty. Though you could amp up the heat by adding in some of the jalapeno seeds and using a spicy salsa verde. A little hot sauce or cayenne pepper could also do the trick quite nicely! But as is, it’s full of flavor and oh-so-comforting. I’ll turn the other way if you decide to speckle it in crispy chopped bacon. My family did because I made the mistake of leaving the baby’s bacon out next to the soup [girl can get down on some bacon!] and who can help themselves around bacon? It’s great with. Great without. And… why are you still sitting here? Go make some soup!

It’s great the first day, even better the next [soup for breakfast? anyone? It's tradition around here!] and even freezer friendly. Have at it!

Psst! If you’re looking for the classic version of Loaded Baked Potato Soup, don’t fret, I’ve got you covered!

Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites

Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites

 Let’s see if I can make it through this entire post without cracking a single ball joke.

I think I can. I think I can. I probably can’t.

I have a thing for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If I have a fresh loaf of bread in the house, I’ll eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until we finally run out of bread. Well, at least until we get to the bread butts, because as much as I love a good PB+J, there’s no way I’m touching a bread’s hiney. Not happening.

Of course my peanut butter and jelly craving always seems to strike hardest when there isn’t a crumb of bread in sight; so I improvised.

 Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peanut Butter and Cherry Energy Bites
 
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Author:
Recipe type: snack, dessert
Serves: 15-20 bite sized balls
Ingredients
  • 16 juicy dried dates
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup almonds [I used blanched + toasted almonds]
  • ½-1 TBSP juice [cranberry, cherry, or simply use water]
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¼-1/3 cup of all-natural peanut butter chips, chopped
  • 1-2 TBSP slightly warm peanut butter, for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Toss your almonds and walnuts into a food processor and pulse until they appear finely chopped.
  2. Next add dates, dried cherries, juice and salt.
  3. Pulse your heart out with the food processor until the mixture is well-incorporated and a bit sticky.
  4. Remove the mixture from the processor and spread onto a piece of wax/parchment paper or cutting board.
  5. Next you'll want to add the luscious peanut butter chips. Since they're sized a bit awkwardly for folding into the energy bite mixture, use your food processor or a sharp knife to give the PB chips a rough chop so they resemble peanut butter chunks.
  6. Incorporate the two and then roll into bite-sized balls.
  7. Scarf some as a snack right away, and store extras in an air-tight container.

Peanut Buttery and Cherry Energy Bites

Big thanks to my lovely assistant for providing optimal lighting and a visual scale.

so… how was it? 

Like biting into a fresh PB+J sandwich! I absolutely love them! I’ve been positively cuckoo for peanut butter lately and having this bread-free alternative to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my arsenal makes me giddy. Since the peanut butter and cherry bits remain separate in the recipe, you can taste them both with similar intensity. It was love at first bite!

Ahhh I did it! There isn’t a single stray ball joke in this entire post. I don’t know about this… it just doesn’t feel right without one… Leave me a comment and tell me how much you love these balls =)

Confetti Quinoa Salad with Barbecue Ranch

Confetti Veggie Quinoa Salad with Barbecue Ranch

Continuing on with yesterday’s barbecue ranch theme, I had to take the combo a little bit further. Inspired by a salad blend I scored while grocery shopping famished [when will I ever learn!?] this dish is light, healthy, and full of flavor! It makes a fantastic vegetarian lunch or a sassy side that will try to show up the main course at dinner. Hope you love it as much as I do!

On my first attempt, I took the easy way out: I found a bag of chopped veggie salad at the grocery store, fluffed up a pot of quinoa, and combined! Done! The downside? The salad blend I used is nearly impossible hunt down and I haven’t been able to find it again since. Ummm… Let’s try this again! Skip the bag, chop the vegetables, then measure out said veggies so everyone can partake in a bowl of confetti quinoa deliciousess. Actually screw that. It’s essentially a salad; we can skip measuring altogether if you’d like. Anything goes!

Have at it!

Confetti Quinoa Salad

Confetti Quinoa Salad with Barbecue Ranch
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 + ¾ cups broth or water
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced [red/yellow/orange]
  • ½-1 cup finely chopped cabbage [green/purple]
  • 1-2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • ½-1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 2-3 stalks chopped green onion
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • toppings:
  • crunchy seasoned tortilla strips
  • bbq ranch

  • To make your own snazzy shaker of barbecue ranch, simply grab your favorite ranch dressing [or use this recipe] and mix 1 cup of ranch with ¼ cup of your favorite smoky BBQ sauce. Taste, then add up to an additional ¼ cup of b.sauce to the dressing. Want it super smoky? Add a little smoked paprika into the mix too! Done deal!
Instructions
  1. First, rinse your quinoa. Always. Never skip this step.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil with either 2 +3/4 cups water or broth.
  3. Add quinoa and reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar and cook for 12-14 minutes until fluffy perfection is reached.
  5. While your grains simmer, chop the veggies and pile them into a large bowl.
  6. Whisk together your dressing and set aside.
  7. Once the quinoa is good to go, mix it into the veggies because, duh, salad.
  8. Drizzle with dressing and top with tortilla strips!

so… how was it?! In a nut shell? It was the foodie highlight of my week!  Now I know what you’re thinking: I thought it too! Why on earth would you put creamy, barbecue-y deliciousness on such a light and delicate salad? It’s too heavy! In theory this would be true. However inn actuality, its phenomenal. My friend Shauna and I stared long and hard at this one before we decided I needed to be the guinea pig and just take a bite already. I’m guessing I must have made a pretty dramatic “MmMmm!” sound because before I could blink she had the bowl in her face. Well played barbecue ranch.  Well played.  We salute you.

That was way too easy to call it a recipe, eh? Let’s dub this one salad-spiration, since you can essentially whip it up with any and all veggies in your crisper! Quinoa is delightful, and I hope you’ll give it a chance soon if you haven’t yet! To get you started, here are a few more quinoa-riffic recipes [yes, these are actual recipes this time! hehe] to get you started:

quinoa fried ricevegan vegetable sushi with quinoa sticky riceBLT quinoa salad with creamy honey mustard

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

Today’s recipe is one of those token “why didn’t I think of this sooner!?” moments brought to life. I easily can eat plain old sea salted edamame until I’m green in the face, but sometimes a special occasion [or a monster craving] calls for a little extra oomph. It seemed only fitting to bring a little buttah in on the fun! After all, edamame is as addictive as buttered popcorn so, total no brainer. The addition of roasted garlic though? You’re going to die over it. Or swoon. Or do some sort of happy irish jig. Laugh now, but I’ll be the one laughing when you break into dance at first bite. Enjoy!

Don’t let the hour long cook time below scare you off, you’ll simply be popping a bulb or two of garlic in the oven and walking away. No effort or stirring required! The garlic can even be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to four days. I’ll make multiple bulbs at once and stir that golden goodness into everything from dips to soups to mashed potatoes. It’s divine.

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame




5.0 from 1 reviews
Garlic Butter Edamame
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of garlic, roasted
  • 2 [10 oz] bags of whole edamame
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

  • optional: toasted sesame seeds for a crunchy topping
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Grab an entire bulb of garlic and slice a little less than ¼ of the top off, just enough to expose the cloves.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and seal into a pinched pouch of aluminum foil.
  4. Roast anywhere from 40-60 minutes, depending on your oven and patience.
  5. Once the house starts to smell like heaven, resist the urge to dive straight in to the oven and spread the entire thing on toast. Better yet, roast a second bulb so you can do exactly that! The garlic can be roasted ahead of time and stored in the fridge if you'd like to have it on hand for easy additions to meals.
  6. Next bring a medium to large pot of water [approx 4-6 cups] to boil on the stove top.
  7. Boil the edamame until tender, but still firm, approx 3 minutes or so.
  8. Test a pod for desired tenderness and drain liquid from the pot.
  9. Grab a warm head of garlic and squeeze out the bulbs into a bowl. After roasting it basically turns into buttery, garlic paste and will leave your house smelling amazing all day long. The only thing better than the smell is the taste! I die.
  10. Whisk together melted butter, roasted garlic, garlic powder, and salt and pour over edamame.
  11. Toss to coat.
  12. Add your cayenne pepper and any additional sea salt to taste and dig in!

Feel like getting butter wasted? Ill totally look the other way while you pour an extra tablespoon over. Want a bit of fire in your face? Up that cayenne and feel the burn!

Buttery Roasted Garlic Edamame

And while we’re at it, let’s talk about these bowls! This set of ridiculously gorgeous emerald dipped acacia wooden bowls rock my kitchen! Red Envelope was sweet enough to gift me a set of bowls, just because, and I loved them so much I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! Talk about getting bowled over! I literally tore through their site to order the matching set of plates and a few early birthday presents for the pilot. Thank you so much Red Envelope for the super sweet gift! All meals shall be eaten out of these bowls forevahh!

Let’s get back to that gorgeous green edamame eh!?

This buttery roasted garlic edamame was fan-freaking-tastic! I don’t think I’ve ever inhaled edamame so fast in my life! I’ve always slacked off in my seasoning routine and gone with just plain garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and sea salt but the addition of butter and creamy roasted garlic took this dish to a whole new level of yum! I dare you not to lick your fingers. And the bowl. And the other bowl you mixed the garlic in. Enjoy!

green your snacking routine!

Creamy Cilantro SpreadAvocado Topped Sushi Recipe and Instructions Healthy White Bean Dip with Avocado and Cilantro Spicy Cayenne Kale Chips + tips on how to make the crispiest oven-baked kale chips ever! Bell Pepper Pizzas Easy Broccoli Cheese Pizza