Butter Dill Beets and Carrots

I tell you what, I wish you guys could be here now.  What a lovely evening it is!!  I’m sitting here with a fuzzy puppy at my toes, the lingering scents of dinner in the air (seared pork chops and an awesome soup I can’t wait to share with you!), and my favorite part of all…Mr. Rodgers on the other side of the couch with his new “studious” glasses on, intently writing a beautiful song with his acoustic.  It is a wonderful day.  An unexpected day off, no less…considering there is a ton of snow out there and I work at an ice cream store.  😉  My tummy is full, but with healthy things.  And you know what?  My heart is full too…with healthy things.  I am so thankful for new years.  For people that inspire me to be better, and a God that gives me strength to pursue health and peace and loves me no matter how many times I screw up.

Sigh.  I am thankful.

Anywho…on from your glimpse into the Rodgers’ lives!  I hope all of you are enjoying this start to your year as well.  I pray you are blessed with new levels of HEALTH this year.  That is the mantra in our house for the year.  And if you let me, I would love to help you bring health to your house this year too!!  So let’s get started with some root veggies with a great flavor to boot!

Beets.  I don’t have much history with them.  I was always so scared of the smell that came out of the can when my mom ate the canned ones…so I never really gave them a chance.  Then came that one time Mr. Rodgers and I juiced for a few days after watching “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.”  (Very interesting, you should check it out!!  It helped us on our journey, even though we decided to go a more protein-heavy direction.)   I drank beet juice then…and actually didn’t mind it!!  It was a different flavor, but I grew to love it.  The husband, not so much.  He was not a fan of the beet juice.

But then I made these babies.  He WAS a fan of these.  Great flavor, I tell you!  Not to mention all the benefits of beets…they are very good for detoxing (which we all need to do after the holidays, good gracious!), and house a ton of vitamins apparently!  And I don’t think I need to tell you that carrots have benefits as well…especially for your eyes.

So whether you are an avid beet lover, or are fearful of them like me…you should give them a chance.  And roasting them should definitely be that first chance.  Here’s a great way to try:

 

What you need:

  • 1 lb baby beets, or 2 bunches “normal” beets
  • 1/2 bag baby carrots (yes, I used the snack kind for ease.  You can also use 1/2 lb the bunch kind if you desire.)
  • 3 Tbsp Grassfed Butter, such as Kerrygold
  • 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dill paste, or fresh chopped (Warning: I have recently discovered that the herb pastes often have Dextrose in them 😦  So use at your discretion..they are great for when you are in a hurry or don’t want your herbs to go bad before you get to them…but fresh is definitely the better alternative health wise.  Sigh.)
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400*
  2. Clean, trim, and peel your beets.  Chop into pieces all about the same size…some you will halve, some into quarters, some into eighths, depending on the size.  You want to have roughly one inch wedges.
  3. Place beet wedges and carrots on foil lined baking sheet.
  4. Melt butter and add dill and garlic.  Whisk together.
  5. Dump butter mixture over veggies and toss around till everything is nice and coated.  Share the love baby!  Add some salt and pepper.
  6. Slide into your preheated oven and roast about 35 minutes, (stirring occasionally), or until the veggies are tender but a bit browned and crispy on the outside.
  7. Remove, and eat!!

Beets 1

 

Trim, clean, and peel those bad boys.  Chop into even sized wedges.

Beets 2

Look down and realize this looks bad…really bad.  I sent this pic to my mom and she got a good laugh about it.

Beets 3

Toss onto a lined baking sheet.  Add baby carrots.

Beets 4

Melt butter and add garlic and dill.  Whisk together.

Beets 5

Dump it all over.

Beets 6

Mix it allllll up. Add a little salt and pepper, naturally.

Beets 7

And roast!  About 35-40 minutes, or until starting to brown and crisp but tender inside.

Beets 8

Yeah baby.

Beets 9

And enjoy!!

 

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Pesto Green Beans

I have been meaning to make these for a very long time!  But if you read my last post, you know that the requirement for fresh herbs and the effort it takes to make pesto has always caused me to put it off till “next time” because I live a busy life and run out of time or my herbs go bad.

But I have finally hacked the system!  Check out my Super Easy Cheater Pesto post to see how I can now make really fast pesto!

I finally made pesto green beans!  Happy dance!!  They were full of flavor, and something new on the veggie front!!

 

So, here’s what you need!

  • 1/4 – 1/2 C Pesto (Depending on how “saucy” you like it.  Baha.)
  • 1 Small Onion, Cut into chunks
  • 1 lb Green Beans, Cleaned and Trimmed
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

And here’s how you do it!!

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place green beans and onions in a bowl.  Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat and toss.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
  4. Slide into your pre heated oven and cook until teder crisp and starting to brown, about 15 minutes or so.  Just keep an eye on ’em.
  5. When browned and tender crisp, remove from oven, return to a bowl, and toss with pesto.  Serve and enjoy!

 

Photo (40)

Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper!

Photo (41)

Roast until starting to brown and tender crisp!

Photo (42)

Put back in a bowl and add pesto.

Photo (43)

Toss to coat!

Photo (44)

And enjoy!  Yummy!  I had a bowl of this for a quick lunch!!

Savory Zucchini Bites

These were fun!  I liked them, and my husband REALLY liked them.  Seriously.  They were done before the rest of the meal and I had to keep swatting his hand to keep him from devouring them all before we sat down for dinner, haha.  Something about the saltiness of the parmesan, the sweet nature of the Zucchini, and the crunch of the sunflower seeds kept him chattering about these guys all night long.  The original recipe, which has been much adapted, called these little bites of deliciousness “Zucchini Tots.”  I decided to change the name because when I read “Zucchini Tots” I started thinking “Tater Tots” and that was what I had on my brain when I bit into them….what I found was more of a fun little mini quiche sort of effect.  Very delish.  But I didn’t want you to be surprised, expecting a tater tot like I was….so here you have it, let’s make some Savory Zucchini Bites!

Adapted from http://www.emilybites.com.

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 C Zucchini, Shredded
  • 1/2 Red Onion, minced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 C Oatmeal
  • 1/4 C Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/3 C Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain as much moisture as possible from the shredded zucchini.  Place on top of a paper towel and squish it with another paper towel to get more of the moisture out.  You’ll be amazed at how much just keeps coming!
  3. Mix together all the ingredients!
  4. Spoon into a greased MINI muffin pan.
  5. Bake until beautifully golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove from the pan using a butter knife or some such tool…and enjoy!!  Fun!!!

 

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Zucchini Bites 1Drain as much moisture as possible from the shredded zucchini.  Place on top of a paper towel and squish it with another paper towel to get more of the moisture out.  You’ll be amazed at how much just keeps coming!

Zucchini Bites 2

 

 

Put all the ingredients in a bowl…

Zucchini Bites 3

 

And mix!Zucchini Bites 4Spoon into a greased MINI muffin pan.

Zucchini Bites 5

 

And bake until beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.Zucchini Bites 7

Carefully remove from the pan.  I used a butter knife to loosen around the outside and it worked well.

Zucchini Bites 8

 

Now serve along side a yummy protein!  Though really…these have plenty of protein too, since there are two eggs in here!!

Zucchini Bites 11

 

Here they are along side our Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Burgers!  It was the perfect side 🙂

Zucchini Bites 9

Summer Skewers (Summer Grillin’!)

One of my favorite memories growing up: when my parents  led a group for single people in our church that wanted to get together, have fun, grow in God, and serve the community.  They would meet at our house often, and there was always lots of fun, lots of people that would pass me around cause I was so cute (hehe!), and LOTS OF FOOD!  The best was our shish kabob parties!!!  Everyone would gather around, grab a skewer, stab what they want, and dad would grill all day long!  I could never wait for our shish kabob parties!!!

So I have decided…to try and give you some inspiration for your own shish kabob party!!!  Obviously shish kabobs are the kind of thing that you can make up as you go…the possibilities are literally endless…if it can be stuck on a stick and grilled, then its fair game.  But just in case you don’t wanna think too hard…or just want a combo that someone else has tried and enjoyed…then read on!  It was real tasty, and one thing I loved about it was how far it stretched…I prepped everything I thought I would need for Jay and I to eat, then we ended up with two of our friends at our house!  I was so nervous that we wouldn’t have enough….and then we ended up with too much haha!

So, here’s what you need:

Steak:

  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 1/3 C Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Amino Acids (our soy sauce substitute)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley, minced
  • 2 Leaves Basil, minced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Pepper to taste
  • A pinch of pepper flakes

Chicken:

  • 1-2 Large Chicken Breasts, Cubed
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro, minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp lemon
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2-1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Additional Goodies:

  • 1 Onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 Red Pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 Green Pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 Fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
  • Bamboo Skewers

Now I know that sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t complicated or scary I promise!!  And if you are a foodie, you will probably have most of those things in your kitchen any ways!  It’s so worth it!!

So, here’s how you do it!

  1. To get the full affect, start prep somewhere between 3 hours to the night before.
  2. Chop your steak into bite size pieces.
  3. Whisk the rest of the “steak” ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Pour about 2/3 of the marinade over the meat in a ziploc bag or bowl.  Seal and put it into the fridge until ready.  Save that remaining marinade!
  5. Chop your chicken into bite size pieces.
  6. Whisk the rest of the “chicken” ingredients together in a bowl.
  7. Pour about 2/3 of the marinade over the meat in a ziploc bag or bowl.  I’m sure you can see where this is going .  Seal and put it until the fridge until ready.  Save that remaining marinade!
  8. About an hour before grilling, soak your skewers in water so they will not burn.
  9. Next, when you are ready to start assembling, prep your veggies.  Put your onions in one bowl and your peppers in another.  Now it’s time for the remaining marinades!
  10. Take the reserved steak marinade and toss it with the bell peppers.
  11. Take the reserved chicken marinade and toss it with the onions.
  12. Now…gather the family!  Place everything out in bowls and let everyone build their own custom skewers!  Treasure a fun moment together in the kitchen!  A nice break from being alone in the kichen until everyone sits down to eat.
  13. You’re good to go, grill away!  I would say medium heat, about 10 minutes…until the chicken is cooked through and there are little bits of char throughout.  Feel free to baste with something…barbecue sauce, maybe more marinade if you have more left over…but it works just how it is as well!

Yummm!  How fun is that?!

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures yaaaay!

First, the night before (or at least a few hours in advance) prep your meats!  Cut both meats into bite sized pieces.

Summer Skewers 1

Mix up your steak marinade, toss 2/3 of it with the meat, and put it in the fridge until ready.

Summer Skewers 2Repeat with the chicken marinade…

Summer Skewers 3When ready to get things rolling, get your skewers soaking, then prep your veggies!  Toss the bell peppers with the reserved steak marinade…

Summer Skewers 4And your onions with the reserved chicken marinade…Summer Skewers 6

Now put everything out in bowls and gather the people you love most to have a skewer party!  He’s so cute.  Though I don’t necessarily recommend his method hehe.  This is one of his favorite meals ever.  🙂

Summer Skewers 5

Make sure to enjoy the moment.  Heheheee.  Laugh a little.  I love that there Mr. Rodgers.

Summer Skewers 7

Now take them out to your grill and toss them on, I’m thinking medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Just make sure the chicken is done and you have a little char! 😉

Summer Skewers 8

Like so!  Yummmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!  I boiled some quinoa with ours and it was all we needed!

Summer Skewers 9

Pile o’deliciousness.  Fantastic.  Enjoy!!  Be inspired!!  What is your favorite shish kabob combo?!

Easy Roasted Asparagus (Surprisingly Flavorful)

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is easy.  Honestly, in my opinion…roasting any veggie is pretty easy.  And probably the tastiest way to make them too.  So you can’t really go wrong!  This is probably your best  bet in getting picky eaters to get their nutrients, too!  Instead of having mushy greens from accidentally over boiling or steaming… you have them crispy, vibrant green, and with the flavors cooked in the whole time instead of added at the end!  Yum!!  Honestly…you can do this simply with salt and pepper, and it’s delicious.  But, like my pal Emeril, I like to kick it up a notch!!  So here’s my typical flavor combo, please try!!!

This recipe is fantastic simply as a delicious side dish for your protein.  Personally I think asparagus is pretty hearty, so it’s good for everything from complimenting a good steak all the way to making a light fish dish that much more satisfying and hunger-filling.  However, it is also a perfect add in for main dishes!!!  What do I mean you ask?  Have you ever had asparagus bits in a white sauce with noodles?!  OH MY GOSH!  Or…as I am going to show you in a few days…on top of a healthy, guilt-free pizza!  That’s right!  Be watching for it, because every post this week will be building up to it…my masterpiece that I am definitely the most proud of to date!  And I am hoping my hard work and experimenting will save you from the process…and satisfy your pizza cravings without giving you a heart attack!  Yay longer life to spend with the people you love!  Yaaaaay!  So with that said…step one…on to roasted asparagus!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • Seasonings of choice, mine being:  Salt, Pepper, Mrs. Dash, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and Chili Powder or Red Pepper Flakes!!
  • 1 Tbsp(ish) Olive Oil

And here’s what you do!

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse and trim your asparagus.  How I was taught to do this was to start bending the stalk, and wherever it pops off naturally is the best place to trim it!  Toss the bottom part, and keep the top.  You don’t have to do it that way, because it will seem like you are discarding quite a bit of it.  However…not once since I have started doing it that way have I had one of those unpleasant, tough, stringy bites of asparagus that were frequent when I trimmed it any other way 🙂
  3. Line a cookie sheet with foil if you desire quicker clean up.
  4. Toss the asparagus in a bowl (or you can do it right on the cookie sheet, up to you), drizzle with olive oil, and toss till each piece has a coating.
  5. Sprinkle GENEROUSLY with every spice!  I literally shake it until there is a coating on the entire shown surface.  Shake it.  Haha.  Yeah that’s right.  If you’re going to shake it, where better than your kitchen?!  Put on Spotify and SHAKE IT!  The spices of course, sicko.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Geesh.
  6. Toss again until the spices are evenly dispersed.
  7. Slide it into your oven and roast, anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes.  I know that sounds like a big difference in those numbers…but I also know there is a big difference in asparagus sizes!  Basically you want to be able to pick up a piece with tongs and have it still hold it’s shape, but be starting to go limp!

Want to see?  🙂  Let me show you.  First, preheat your oven to 400.  Then, choose your spices.  Like I said, my favorites are sea salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder or red pepper flakes.  Pepper not shown.

Roasted Asparagus 2

Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends. Lay them in a bowl, or right on the pan you are going to be roasting on if you so desire.  Feel free to cover the pan with foil for easier clean up.


Roasted Asparagus 1

Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat each piece.  Now sprinkle on your spices to taste…like I said…I do a generous coating!! Toss again to disperse the seasonings evening.

Roasted Asparagus 3

Roast till they are starting to get limp, but still have a crispness. You should be able to pick one up with tongs, and see it going limp but still hold its shape…your tongs should not squish through the stalk.  Make since?  If they are tiny, it could take as little as 10 minutes…but for the more normal, larger size it will take more toward 20/25 minutes 🙂

Roasted Asparagus 4

Now scoop on plates beside your main dish, or mix it in to a main dish!  It is so great chopped into pieces and added into things, or wrapped up in a chicken breast with melty mozzarella….ahhhhh!  Stay tuned for it being a star in my healthy pizza!  Just a few more posts 🙂  Yay!

Lemon Dijon Broccoli, Roasted or Raw!

My husband…is my treasure.  He is also…a weirdo.  Especially when it comes to food temperatures.  Apparently, warming things up is too much of a hassle.  He’ll eat all sorts of things cold…restaurant leftovers, mashed potatoes, burgers…bleh!  This is coming from the lady that hates even eating pizza cold 😉  But that is a little weird, right?  I mean, come on…cold mashed potatoes?!  (Though, really…I was raised with three brothers….I should know by now that he is a boy, which means he is probably doing those things in front of me just cause he enjoys my reaction :P).  Anywho.  Most of the time I freak out and have to turn around when he is eating strange cold substances.  But a few nights ago the situation had a funny twist.

Do you remember when I was mentioning in my Caper Green Beans post that I have been so pleased to discover all the different things you can do with veggies simply by tossing them in different vinaigrette variations?  Well…this is one of the experimental variations I have come up with, all by myself.  And may I just say…I ROCKED IT!  Haha.

So.  I was preparing to roast some broccoli…I had it all washed, chopped up, I mixed up a nice sauce and tossed the broccoli in it, then dumped it out on my baking sheet…but right before I tossed it in the oven, sweet husband walked up and grabbed a piece. He had smelled the sauce from the living room and had to inspect.   In usual OCD chef form, I started flipping out!  My first thought; “no! Don’t do that!  What if we won’t have enough?!”  (Wow…like one floret is going to change the success of a meal.)  My second thought; “what the heck?!  That’s gross I have to cook it!  You’re so weird!  Don’t…no…wait…stop…oh.  You did it.”  (Apparently I forgot that I gladly eat raw broccoli with veggie dip.)  His eyes got wide, he grabbed another floret and shoved it in my face.  I started squirming away but he kept insisting that it was “SO GOOD.”  So I finally gave in, he plopped it in my mouth…and it was DELICIOUS!  So garlicky, tart, and wonderful.  Like seriously, I would make it for a snack!  So we laughed together, and I popped it in the oven, saying “Wouldn’t that be so sad if it’s not good roasted?”  Good news.  It was good roasted too!  A different kind of crunchy, the ends slightly blackened and roasted, lemony and still garlicky…but somehow, a different flavor!  And so.  In this recipe, you have a choice.  Hot or cold?  Yum either way!!!!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Large head Broccoli, or 2 Small (I used 3 of the chunks you buy individually instead of the pre-wrapped heads)
  • 3 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Sour Cream
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Few Squirts of Hot Sauce

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees if you are roasting.
  2. Wash and dry your broccoli, and chop into florets.
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Place your broccoli in a large bowl, drizzle with the sauce, and toss together so it all seems to be coated.
  5. Eat raw, OR cover a baking sheet with foil for easier clean up, and dump your broccoli onto it in a single layer.
  6. Roast for 30-45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.  I like ours really crispy and blackened, so I left mine in pretty long…but that part is up to you!!!

Serve with a lovely protein, and enjoy!

Mix up your sauce!!  Just like a vinaigrette, but I used melted butter instead of olive oil!  I love the taste of butter on veggies…and did you know that if you really get down to the nitty gritty of health…it is not recommended that you cook with olive oil?  Apparently heating olive oil destroys every health benefit and something happens chemically that can actually cause it to be harmful.  Weird, huh?  That’s definitely what I was told growing up, but we have learned that in some of our research.  So save the olive oil for salad dressings…and if you’re gonna heat a dish…stick to coconut oil or butter.  Yes, I actually think butter in moderation is a good thing 🙂

Lemon Mustard Broccoli 1

Choppy choppy broccoli broccoli!!!!

Lemon Mustard Broccoli 2

Tossin it with the sauce, hey hey hey hey!

Lemon Mustard Broccoli 3Now roast it, or just eat it cold!  You decide!!  Here’s to Mr. Rodgers for making that fine discovery…without his persistence I would have turned up my nose and never known how wonderful it could be!

Lemon Mustard Broccoli 4

Here it is being served with my new favorite, TURKEY FETA BURGERS!  Yeah baby!  See how crispy I got it?  Yay.  Beautiful combo.  Lovely meal.  My favorite company, even if he’s a weirdo.  It was a wonderful moment 🙂  I hope you have a moment just as wonderful with this meal!  Try it out and let me know what you think 🙂

Feta Burger and Broccoli