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!!

 

 

Pesto Cod 1

Blend everything together to make your pestoooooo!

Pesto Cod 2

Sear your fish on each side for about 3 minutes.

Pesto Cod 3

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

Pesto Cod 4

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!)

Pesto Cod 5

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

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High Protein Paleo Breakfast

Also known as the best dang omelet I’ve ever made (or eaten) in my life!!

Some of you may remember my recent story about the horrifying breakfasts I found Mr. Rodgers making because he was rushed and going for protein and health content…completely ignoring the TASTE factor.

This omelet is another result of my horror and determination…horror that I had allowed him to eat that stuff that he was creating, and determination to give him his taste back!!

 

And boy!  Did I ever nail it with this one!!  Sorry, I don’t usually brag, I promise I’m not arrogant…just really excited, yay!  Just so you know…all of this is coming from a person that traditionally doesn’t like omelets!  So without further ado…

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp Grassfed Butter (Kerrygold)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 C Onion, Diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Italian Sausage Patties, Diced (Check out my homemade recipe!)
  • About 1/3 Small Can of Tomato Sauce
  • Squeeze of Basil Paste (or use fresh if you have it)
  • 1/3 can Black Beans
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Avocado (For garnish)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk.
  2. Melt half the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Add in onion and sauté until transparent.  Add garlic, stir, and sauté an additional 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add sausage patties, black beans, tomato sauce, and basil and stir, cooking for 2 minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the flavors can infuse a bit.  Put in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Melt the rest of the butter in your pan over medium heat.  Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk together, then dump in heated pan.
  5. Cook until starting to solidify most of the way in.
  6. Spoon as much filling as you can fit on one half of the egg “disk,” then fold the empty side over to make a little pocket!
  7. Carefully slide out of the pan onto your plate and garnish with sliced avocado.  Eat and be amazed!!  So much protein in one breakfast…AND so much flavor!!  BOOM BABY!!

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Garlicky Mashed Cauliflower

Yes.  I know.  I got accused of being weird again with this one.  Sometimes it gets interesting being a 24 year old that eats healthy food substitutions.  We’ll get teased now and then as our friends wonder why in the world we would eat mashed cauliflower when we could have mashed potatoes, or why we drink those bright green smoothies when we could get free fruit smoothies any time from my job.  But my husband…is amazing.  For one, he has turned a corner.  Mr. Rodgers has put his foot down and decided to change his life so that he can live long and live well.  Sure, we still have one “indulgence” day a week, but his passion fuels me.  And his love to research helps too so we know the affects of potatoes and such things on your body!!

And so…we eat mashed cauliflower.  Garlicky mashed cauliflower in fact.  And I must tell you, I barely miss the potatoes.  I have simply fallen in love with cauliflower.  You can do so much with it.  The flavor is fantastic in so many different ways and styles.  And it’s one “white” thing that is actually good for you!  I have multiple plans for it this week that I can’t wait to share with you!!!!

But back to this super easy, super comforting, super yummy creamy garlicky deliciousness.

 

Garlicky Mashed Cauliflower.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Lg Head Cauliflower
  • 3-5 Tablespoons Grass Fed Butter (Healthy Fat!  And creamy deliciousness!)
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 C Almond Milk (Or so!)
  • Salt and Pepper (Be generous!)

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Rinse cauliflower and cut into florets.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add cauliflower, boiling for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain cauliflower and dump into a food processor.
  4. Add butter first so that it melts.  Add garlic, salt, and pepper and pulse a few times until combined.
  5. Slowly add almond milk a little at a time, pulsing, until you get just the right creamy consistency that makes you happy!  Taste and adjust as needed, I always play with a little more of this, a little more of that.  Just like Amelia Badelia!  Any one?  Eh?
  6. Serve along side your favorite meat dish…for example, a tasty pot roast!

 

Peectures of the simple process 🙂

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Butter, salt, pepper, garlic, cauliflower…heaven?

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Creaaaaaaaamy!  See how I tasted it to make sure it was perfect?  Haha.

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Make this.  Do it.  I want some right now!!

A Tip On Entertaining: On the 11th Day of Christmas…

…my true blog gave to me a tip to help me not stress when cooking for a party!!

Yes, cause we all know that entertaining and hosting can be stressful. Personally, I LOVE throwing parties! I love making gorgeous food spreads that people ooh and aah over and enjoy to the fullest. However, there are times when I over plan and stress myself out to such a degree that I end up having a panic attack before the party which makes it so hard to enjoy the party itself!! So, here is my thought that can help.

Put out appetizers. Now I know that sounds silly, cause it’s more food to think about. But here’s my thought.

Sure, make an extravagant meal. Something that will make you happy, and your guests. But put out a SUPER simple appetizer. Something crazy easy like the Grinch Kabobs I showed you earlier in my 12 Days of Christmas series, or even…gasp, don’t hate me for saying this…go out and BUY something!!

I know. You never thought I’d say that. I’m all about making stuff. Home made home made home made!!! But I’ll explain.

Timing. Timing is what stresses me out the most. People arrive and I am still frantically trying to prepare things. Or even if it’s just a family holiday with my husband and mother in law, everybody starts getting grumpy cause they’re hungry and can smell the great food but not eat it yet. So…turn on some happy tunes, light a few candles, make a nice atmosphere, and put out a cheap, easy appetizer. Not too much. We’ve done that and been too full to eat dinner. But just a little something for people to snack on while they chat…to keep them busy so they don’t notice that you haven’t served the main course yet…so you’re off the hook and free to not rush your little hiney off!! Want to see our super fancy appetizer this Christmas? Kudos to my husband for plating it and taking artsy fartsy pictures. Here it isssss!!

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Crackers. Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar. And a nice big summer sausage. (By the way…have you ever wondered why summer sausages come out during the winter?!). Not fancy. Not expensive. Not hard to prepare. Everybody loves it and will be pleased snacking on that while you calm down and do what you need to do!! You know what else we do sometimes? A jar of mini dill pickles. They go fast, they’re tasty…all you have to do is dump them in a bowl. You see what I’m saying here? Deviled eggs take a tiny bit of prep, but are still easy and a well loved favorite.

So here’s what I’m saying. Don’t stress. It will all come together. Don’t be ashamed to buy a little something to put out on the table while people gather. And remember the real reason for your party. People. Fellowship. Fun. Best of luck to you!!

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Roasted Asparagus with a Hint of the Mediterranean

I love asparagus. Really I do. It makes me so happy…in fact I want some right now!!! But instead of getting off the couch and going grocery shopping….I’m tired…I will just tell you how to make it so one of us can enjoy it. 😉

That being said…this is actually a very simple, easy recipe! Sometimes there is beauty in simplicity, right? But what I think is even more beautiful is when a veggie recipe shines with flavor and creativity…when it seems fancy simply because no one thinks to do that with a veggie…but it is still very simple. And easy. That is the essence of this recipe! 😉 Tasty, creative, healthy, light and refreshing, and oh so easy!!! Read on my friends!

Adapted from http://www.onceuponachef.com

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 C Feta

 

Are you excited about these flavors yet?  I was.  Heck.  I still am.

 

Here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash and trim your asparagus by bending the stalk until it pops off…or you can just trim the bottom inch or so, but if you let it pop off where it breaks naturally you have more of a guarantee of being free from tough bites.
  3. Toss your asparagus with about a Tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Dump the asparagus on a foil lined baking sheet and put in your oven to roast, until starting to get tender.  This is going to depend on how thick the asparagus spears are, but I would start with about 8 minutes.
  5. Take the asparagus out and let it cool until you can handle it.
  6. Stir together the lemon juice, lemon zest, and remaining Tablespoon of olive oil.
  7. Cut asparagus into bite sized pieces.  Place in a bowl and top with feta cheese, and drizzle with the “dressing.”  You can give it a toss if you want.  🙂
  8. Admire it’s prettyness, then eat!!

 

I hope you enjoy this fresh, healthy, wonderful vegetable side dish!  The lemon makes it so refreshing, and yet it is paired so well with the salty, tangy, WONDERFUL feta.  I love feta cheese.  😉  Sidenote…I LOVE asparagus with fish.  Fish is so light and flakey, and asparagus, while also fresh and healthy…is something satisfying to bite into.  It’s decently hearty I’d say!!  So hop on over to my last post, Simple Grilled Garlic Dijon Salmon for a fun pairing!

Try this recipe grilled or sauteed too!!

 

Asparagus Feta Salad 1

 

Bell Pepper Nachos

I love to cook fun, creative, fancy things for dinner.  However, when it comes to lunch I am usually like “meh…let’s make a salad or eat leftovers.”  My inspiration is usually more for evening dinners.  That was always the one meal that was a big deal at my house growing up.  Everybody had their own thing going on during the day, some of us were in school or had jobs, others were sleeping in and wouldn’t even come upstairs till after noon…so ma would just make us a sammich or warm up some of last nights left overs.  However, dinner was different.  Mamma would slave away in the kitchen, sometimes for hours, and as soon as dad got home from working hard all day, she’d wrap it up, dad would stick his pinkies in his mouth and whistle so loud you could hear it no matter where you were and we would all come running to the dinner table.  Everything else stopped when it was dinner time, and we would all be together and enjoy a HUGE tasty meal.  That attitude has kind of carried on through me!!!  However, every now and then I find myself being bothered

Needless to say, when I do create a lunch that is fantastic…something more fun and creative than a roast beef sammich on Ezekiel bread or a grilled Chicken salad…I get SO excited!  That is what this recipe was!!  Pure excitement!!  Something fun for lunch, or snacks, or even a healthier party alternative!!!  YAAAAAY!!!  You could even make it for dinner too!  I just adored not only the flavors, but the colors!  I love making things with a taco-y flavor that are decently healthy, because my husband is in love with tacos but doesn’t get them often any more  because of our new lifestyle goals.  This made him happy, as you will see in the pictures below!  🙂  The only reason I do not feel like I can claim that these are perfectly healthy is because I used refried beans to hold all the ingredients together.  Apparently they have lard in them, haha.  Funny thing is…we don’t really mind animal fat…but just the fact that they are called reFRIED beans tells me something.  If you want to be better you can skip them, your ingredients may just fall out of your bell pepper “chips” easier.  🙂  Read on!!

Inspired by tasteofhome.com.

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • A Bell Pepper of each color (Red, Yellow, Orange, Green)
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1-2 C Cheddar, Shredded
  • 1 Recipe Taco Seasoning
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Can Refried Beans (If anyone has a good home made recipe, please share!!)
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Toppings (Optional…we didn’t use any but I can imagine salsa, guacamole, and sour cream would be tasty!)

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Mix together your taco seasoning mix.  Alternately, you can use a packet.  It is a little easier, but less healthy I do believe.  And you can’t adjust it to your own tastes.  I like it that when you make your own you can make it as spicy or mild as you want, and I always add extra cumin.  🙂
  3. Brown your beef and drain excess fat.  Return to burner and season with taco seasoning.  I would start with 2-3 Tbsp, and adjust to your tastes after that.  Add a small amount of water, stir, and let simmer.  (Do not add as much water as you would for a packet, unless you plan to add flour or something to thicken it.)  Set aside until the rest of your prep is done.  You can keep it on low on the burner if you want.  🙂
  4. Cut your bell pepper into 1-2 inch chunks.  I will show you how I did this in my pictures, mine turned out kind of like scoops!  I cut my peppers into halves, then 1/4, then cut each 1/4 in half short ways, then trimmed off the ribs and seeds. It will make more sense with the pictures. 😉
  5. Chop your jalapeno, tomatoes, and cilantro.
  6. Place your bell pepper “chips” out on a foil lined cookie sheet.
  7. Spread a layer of refried beans in the bottom of each bell pepper piece.
  8. Place a small spoonful of taco meat on top of refried beans and gently press it into the beans.
  9. Top with tomatoes, jalapeno, and cheddar.
  10. Place under broiler until cheese has melted, and everything is heated through.
  11. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
  12. Serve, and enjoy!!  Super fun, super tasty…feels like you are eating naughty junk food…but really, you aren’t doing too bad! 😉

Let me know what you think.  What would you put on bell pepper chips?!

 

Peectures!!

Bell Pepper NachosFirst, mix up your taco seasoning!  Feel free to adjust the heat, this recipe is a little more spicy than the packet so if you like it more mild, either omit the red pepper flakes or cut out part of the chili powder.  You can always add heat later!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 6

Put your beef in a pan and get it browning!!  Drain the excess fat…

Bell Pepper Nachos 8

 

Season with taco seasoning to your own tastes, start with a couple Tablespoons, then taste and adjust 🙂  Add a small amount of water and let it cook down.  Don’t add tons of water because it won’t thicken quite like a taco seasoning packet, unless you add flour of course.  Set aside until you are ready to use!

Bell Pepper Nachos 1

 

Now start your veggie prep!  Isn’t that a pretty picture?!

Bell Pepper Nachos 2You don’t have to cut your bell pepper “chips” exactly how I did…but this is one way to do it if you feel lost! First, cut it in half…

Bell Pepper Nachos 3Then into fourths…

Bell Pepper Nachos 4Then cut each fourth into half short ways…aka across the width.

Bell Pepper Nachos 5Now remove the ribs and seeds and look!  You have scoops!!  Yaaaaaay scoops!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 9Now for the layer of refried beans!! Lookin tasty already!

Bell Pepper Nachos 11

 

Add a small spoonful of beef to each, and smoosh it down into the beans a bit.  Top with tomatoes, jalapenos, and cheddar!

Bell Pepper Nachos 10

 

Bell Pepper Nachos 12

 

Now slide it into your oven and broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through!!  Now you have bell pepper nachos, yaaaaaay!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 13

 

Sooooo tasty!  Make sure to sprinkle with cilantro….I forgot until we had already eaten 3/4 of them and I was so upset!

Bell Pepper Nachos 14

 

Now go serve them nachos to a cutie like this!!

Bell Pepper Nachos 15

 

Hahhahaaaa…..I just love that man!!  He loves nachos!!!  He gives this recipe two thumbs up!