Pesto Cod – Light and Flavorful

I’m back I’m back I’m back!! This past month has been so fully devoted to my trip “home” to visit my family in Washington! It. Was. Beautiful. I got to meet my new nephew, Ellis London. I got to build Legos with my oldest Nephew, Noah Jesse. And I got to play in an Anna and Elsa tent with my one and only niece, Olive Selah Grace. I got my toes done and shopped at Ross with the girls (one doesn’t realize how they love Ross until they move away from it!), to go on a romantic date with my husband at a spot on the beach we went to when just dating…and I got to be close to my three brothers, my best friends of all time. My heart is happy as I resume my food posting!! So please forgive me for my absence! But when one has not seen so many of the most important people in their life for a year and 3 months….one cuts out everything else in life to just BE with them!! I sincerely hope you all had a chance these past months to just BE with the ones that are important to you!

However, as glorious as it was, I am ready for a few things to resume. First and foremost, health! In every aspect of the word! Physical, mental, spiritual!! And along with that, the resuming of sharingy journey with you wonderful people!!

So, assuming you are all still feeling like fat cows just like me, let’s start off with something super light but still so yummy yummy yummy!!

Cod with Pesto! So incredibly easy and tasty!

So, here’s what you need:

16 oz Cod Fillets
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 sm bunch parsley
2 Tbsp cilantro paste or fresh (optional)
1 tsp minced garlic
Juice of a lemon
2+ tsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp minced favorite nut (I used walnut)

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400*
  2. Start your pesto. Trim the stems off the parsley and place in a good proccessor. Pulse a few times until broken down some.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the fish and blend. Add more olive oil until it becomes a thick sauce, or whatever consistency you prefer.
  4. In a cast iron skillet, melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Add fish and sear for about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Too each fillet with even portions of pesto then slide into the oven for 5 minutes to heat everything through. Serve hot and feel good about your choices!! Go you!! Happy New Year!!

 

 

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Blend everything together to make your pestoooooo!

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Sear your fish on each side for about 3 minutes.

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Top with pesto and slide into 400* oven for about 5 minutes, until everything is warmed through.

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Now serve with some nice hearty veggies!!  (I always serve fish with a sturdier veggie like broccoli or asparagus since fish is so light…it makes me feel full and satisfied!)

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And enjoy!  Yummy yum yums!  Thanks for reading guys, I truly appreciate you all!

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Chicken Bacon Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Lately I have had SO much fun searching through all my cookbooks (and buying new ones…batting my puppy eyes at Mr. Rodgers when we find them in stores hehe!), adapting the recipes to fit our lifestyle, and sharing the recipes with you wonderful people.  (Seriously, you guys are wonderful.  I love my followers, and that everyone is so encouraging!)  I hope you enjoy seeing all the fun cookbooks I stumble upon!

 

However, with that being said…I must declare that there is something SO special…so satisfying and confidence-boosting…about successfully creating your own dish.  Your brain child.  Your baby.  And when people you love rave about it…I don’t know about you guys, but that makes me want to cry happy tears!

This is one of those dishes.  MINE!  MY OWN!  MY PRECIOUSSS!  Haha.  (If you understand that reference, you may be a nerd…and I love you for it!)  I sincerely hope that some of you understand what I am talking about, and you aren’t sitting there reading this thinking “wow, she’s a freak!”  😉  ANYWHO!  Staying on track…I loved this dish.  Mr. Rodgers loved this dish.  Mr Rodgers’ best friend loved this dish!  (I wish I could communicate to you how big of a deal that is!  He is…particular…about his food.  To this day I can’t believe he ate squash…and loved it!)

 

I mean…just look at these ingredients:

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 Lg Chicken Breasts
  • Salt, Pepper, and Mrs. Dash (or your favorite seasoning blend.  I’m addicted to Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 Package Bacon
  • 1 Zucchini, sliced into bite size pieces
  • 2 Small Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 C Pesto (I used this quick recipe)

 

And here’s how you do it!  (Though there are a few components, it really is a simple process!)

  1. Cook your spaghetti squash however you desire!  I usually roast whole in the oven at 400* for an hour or so, turning occasionally.  You wanna make sure that you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork before you take it out.  Remove the seeds and use a fork to pull the inside into spaghetti-like strands.  Set aside.
  2. Cook your bacon and reserve the grease!
  3. Cut your chicken into bite size pieces, season with salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash, and cook in bacon grease until done.  Set aside.
  4. Sauté your zucchini just a few minutes in the bacon grease, until just beginning to get tender.  (Don’t let it get mushy!)
  5. Crumble in your bacon (or if you’re like me, use kitchen scissors to cut it into little uniform bites hehe.)
  6. Dump in your spaghetti squash…
  7. Stir to evenly distribute all those yummy ingredients…
  8. Dump in your pesto and stir to coat everything, it should be just enough to give you a nice covering without being too overwhelming.

 

 

 

Peectures!

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Cook your bacon, reserving the grease

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Cut your chicken into bite size pieces, season with salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash, and cook in bacon grease until done.  Set aside.

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Sauté your zucchini just a few minutes in the bacon grease, until just beginning to get tender.

PSS 4

Crumble in your bacon (or if you’re like me, use kitchen scissors to cut it into little uniform bites hehe.)

PSS 6

Dump in your spaghetti squash…

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Stir to evenly distribute all those yummy ingredients…

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Dump in your pesto and stir to coat everything, it should be just enough to give you a nice covering without being too overwhelming.

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And serve!  Yummy!!

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I wish it wasn’t so hard to make spaghetti squash look beautiful!  But I tell you what…even like that I still want to eat it right now!!  I hope this idea inspires you guys, let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

Peectures!

 

Italian Meatballs Over Spaghetti Squash

Ohhhh yum!  I made this a few weeks ago, and put it on the menu for this week as well.  However, I am saving it for one of the last meals because it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients that can go bad, unlike the other meals I have planned.  Well, Mr. Rodgers saw it on the menu and has been asking every couple days “WHEN CAN WE HAVE MEATBALLS?!”

That’s a good sign that this is a winner.  And you know what’s so great about it?  It’s super easy.  Aside from cooking the spaghetti squash, I had done the prep with other meals.  Allow me to explain.

Remember that amazingly yummy Saucy Paleo Pot Roast I posted about earlier?  And I told you to throw that extra sauce in a tupperware and freeze it?  Yeah.  Meatball sauce.  Check.  It worked PERFECTLY!

And remember that home made sausage recipe I rave about?  Yeah.  Double batch.  Make half into patties, half into balls.  Cook the sausage for your breakfast and toss the balls into a ziploc raw and put in your freezer.  Meatballs.  BAM!

 

Easy peasy, and delicious.  And healthy!  And apparently…it makes husbands really happy.  Can’t get better than that!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • Leftover sauce from Saucy Paleo Pot Roast (Or create your own, but seriously….its so easy this way!)
  • Home made sausage, formed into balls instead of patties  (Probably about half a recipe, unless you want lots of meatballs!)
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Put a soup pot on your stove, and dump your left over roast sauce into it.  Mine was frozen, so I just plopped my block of sauce in there, turned it on medium, put the lid on, and let it do its thing.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375*.  Pierce your spaghetti squash all over, place on a pan, and cook for about an hour, until it is tender to the touch.  I find it helps to roll it at least once through the cooking process.
  3. Meanwhile, when sauce has melted and is bubbly, dump in your meatballs.  My meatballs were also frozen!  Cover and let simmer at least 30 minutes, or until your squash is done.  Make sure it isn’t up too high so you don’t burn the sauce.
  4. Remove squash from oven, cut in half, and scoop out seeds.  Use a fork to remove flesh in strands.
  5. Put squash on a plate and smother with your meatballs and sauce!!  And devour!!  So flavorful and satisfying, hallelujah!

 

Peectures!

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Place sauce into pot over medium heat and begin melting.  Get your squash cooking at the same time!

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Yay bubbling sauce!  Reduce to a simmer and add meatballs, letting cook at least half an hour, or until squash is ready!

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When squash is tender, remove from oven.  Carefully cut in half and remove seeds.

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Scrape flesh out in strands and place in a bowl.

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Smother in sauce and meatballs, and DEVOUR!  Doesn’t that look amazing?!  It was just so tasty!!  I hope you enjoy this easy idea on how to prep for multiple meals at once and feed your family a super nutritious meal!

 

 

 

 

One Pot Wonder: Salmon and Asparagus With Raspberry Red Onion Balsamic Reduction

That is a mouthful!  But a wonderful mouthful!  This reduction is sweet, a little spicy, tart…and just wonderful.  It would be great on a number of different things, and it rocked on this fresh caught salmon!  Plus who can argue with a one pot, super quick meal?! Inspiration for this lovely meal came from a great blog called apronstringblog.com.  It was originally a blackberry glaze that used blackberry preserves.  However, it has been my experience that preserves and jellies are crammed with sugar, often amongst other strange ingredients that are hard to pronounce.  So I decided to make it with fresh blackberries cooked down.  However, right after we got groceries, we also got very busy.  I forgot about the beautiful blackberries in my fridge until they had fuzzies on them.  😦  It made me want to cry!!  Luckily, I found some raspberries in my freezer!  And so this beauty was born…not too reminiscent of the original, but still salmon with a yummy berry sauce!  So let me share this creation with you!!   Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Small Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 C Raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2-3 Tbsp Raw Honey
  • 2-3 Balsamic Vinegar (I used strawberry balsamic vinegar that we got in an adorable specialty shop in Lake Placid while on our anniversary.)
  • Pinch Red Pepper Flakes, Cumin, and Thyme
  • 1 lb Asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 C Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Fresh Salmon
  • Salt and Pepper

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Start your sauce first!!  Take out a medium sauce pan and melt the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add red onions and cook, stirring, until just starting to brown and caramelize.
  3. Stir in raspberries and cook for a minute or so.  If they are frozen, stir until they are mostly thawed.  Add raw honey to taste (I used 3 Tbsp and it was nice and sweet, but I know that not everyone would want it that sweet so feel free to use less.)    Let honey melt and stir to coat raspberries.
  4. Add vinegar and stir in.  Turn heat down to medium low and continue cooking until a sauce has formed from the raspberry juice.  Add red pepper flakes, cumin, and thyme.  Let simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  5. Trim the ends off the asparagus and rinse.  Put a large cast iron skillet on the stove and pour coconut milk in the bottom.  Bring to a simmer, then add asparagus spears.
  6. Salt and pepper salmon, then place on top of the asparagus.  Cover pan and steam for about 8 minutes, until liquid is almost gone.
  7. Smear the raspberry sauce all over the salmon.  Slide the skillet under the broiler and cook for a couple of minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.  Serve immediately!  🙂

 

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Gotta love one pot, fast dinners!! Have some peectures

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Thinly slice your red onion.

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Cook until starting to brown.

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Add raspberries and stir, cooking until they begin rendering their juices.

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Add raw honey and cook, stirring until meted.

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Add balsamic vinegar.  Continue cooking until raspberries have “melted” into a sauce.

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Stir in spices, reduce heat, and simmer until your salmon is ready.

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Place a large cast iron skillet on the stove top.  Pour coconut milk in the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil.  Add asparagus.

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Salt and pepper salmon, and lay on top of asparagus.  Cover and steam for about 8 minutes.

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Smear raspberry sauce all over salmon.  Slide under broiler and cook a couple minutes, until salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

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Yum!

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This glaze is amazing!!

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Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Oranges

So, even when you’re eating healthy, you need something to make you feel like you are getting a “treat.”  One thing I have learned about a healthy lifestyle is that your “treats” don’t have to be things that will make you feel like death.  Last time I was craving something rich and sweet, I used things laying around my house and created something BEAUTIFUL that I would eat as a treat even before I cared about health!  And health wise, it really isn’t all that bad!!

It all started with this, a Christmas present from my mother in law:

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Anyone who knows me well and loves me truly buys me Orange Dark Chocolate.  I tell you what, I went on a mission trip to Switzerland probably 4-5 years ago with some of my very favorite people, Christopher and Jennifer Hopper and my dear friend Abby.  While there, I discovered the beauty of Swiss chocolate.  And they had many different kinds with orange.  Some even with big chunks of orange rind in them.  Ohhhhhh it was heavenly.  And to this day, whenever one of them sees some form of Orange Chocolate, they bring it to me!!  And now my mother in law has joined in the tradition!!  So I had this beauty at my house.  Notice just HOW dark it is…and that it is 65% cacao instead of cocoa.  Yes, there is a difference, and cacao is supposed to be much better for ya.  🙂

So, back to my “I need a sweet treat” hankering.  I had this bar of chocolate.  But how could I take Orange Dark Chocolate to the next level?!  By melting it and dipping orange slices in it, of course!!  Still, it didn’t seem quite complete to me yet, and being a lover of salty over sweet…but especially salty WITH sweet (can I get a holla for Salted Caramel and Kettle Corn?!)…I got the idea to crack a little fresh Sea Salt over the chocolate before it set.

I’m glad I did.

Heaven.  Dear sweet Jesus, thank you for Orange and chocolate.  Hallelujah.  🙂

 

SO, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Orange, Peeled and as much white removed as possible
  • 1 Quality Chocolate Bar, Preferably Dark Chocolate…even better if organic, cacao…with orange!
  • Few cracks of Sea Salt

 

And here’s how you do it (SO SIMPLE!!)

  1. Break your chocolate up roughly into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 15-30 second intervals, stirring between until just melted.
  2. Separate orange segments and dip half way into the warm chocolate.
  3. Lay out on a plate or wax paper and crack a small amount of Sea Salt onto chocolate portion.
  4. Eat.  Enjoy.  Sharing is optional!  😉

Welp, there you have it folks.  I hope you enjoy this not-so-cheat treat.  I didn’t feel guilty about it one bit, and I don’t think you should either!  I think you should try it, right now!!!  What is your favorite thing to dip in chocolate?!

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Spaghetti Squash with Spaghetti Sauce – Kirkwood Style!

Now you may be wondering why I did not simply call this “Spaghetti Squash.” Or “Spaghetti with Squash.” Or something along those lines. There is a very specific reason.

You see, when you start eating healthy, or trying to eliminate things such as carbs or gluten…people will tell you about all these great substitutions…that you won’t be able to tell a difference, blah blah blah.  Here’s my take.  There are indeed tons of great substitutions.  I am passionate about discovering them.  However…you are going to be able to taste a difference, and that is okay.  Because when you change your diet, you aren’t trying to trick yourself, you are trying to change your life.  So trying new things is going to have to be part of your every day most likely.

Also…dear, sweet Mr. Rodgers.  The first time I made spaghetti squash I told him that it was supposed to be like noodles, so he expected noodles.  Because of that, he was disappointed when there were no noodles to be found, then declared that he “hates Spaghetti Squash.”  Unwilling to lose this amazing ingredient to cook with, I wisened up.  Instead of claiming to make pasta dishes with healthy noodles…I now claim to make squash dishes with yummy sauces.  So this is NOT Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti!  It is simply Spaghetti Squash with my mom’s Spaghetti Sauce on top.  And now, Mr. Rodgers is coming around to the wonderful squash, and all is well.  I seriously LOVED this recipe!  So without further ado…here it is!!

Here is what you need:

  • 1 Lg Spaghetti Squash, Baked, Microwaved, or cooked in a crock pot
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, Diced (Optional)
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 3-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3-4 Stalks Celery, Diced
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Italian Seasoning (and/or Oregano and Basil)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 C – 2 C Cheddar, Shredded (Originally my mom uses like 2 C, I was trying to make it more healthy so I cut it back to 1/4 C)
  • About 2 Cans Tomato Sauce (To preference…I like mine super thick and chunky…you can add more to stretch it if you desire)

And here is how you do it:

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First, get your squash cooking because it will most likely take a while.  If I remember right, mine baked for almost 2 hours!

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Now to start your sauce!  I would first get all of your ingredients together and prep your veggies.  (Normally I would have another color of pepper in there too but we were out of groceries haha!)

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Now brown your beef and drain, then set aside!

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Put butter or coconut oil in the bottom of a pan, add your veggies, and saute until tender.  Add beef, stir together, and cook another minute or so.

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Add in enough tomato paste to get it to your desired consistency.  Add seasonings to taste, stir in, and adjust.  Let simmer, even for hours, until ready.  The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.

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Remove squash from heat, and when cool enough to handle without burning yourself, cut in half.

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Scoop out seeds with a large spoon and discard.  Fluff out the noodles with a fork and scoop them out of the squash into your serving dish of choice (or just leave it in the half so it looks fancy!)

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Right before you serve, stir cheese into sauce.

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Pour sauce on top of squash, sprinkle some parm, and devour this wonderfully meaty, satisfying, low carb, healthy meal!!