This is an old recipe of mine. I originally started with a Cooking Light recipe (all of my older recipes began with Cooking Light) and modified it over the years. These are baked in the oven to reduce unnecessary calories from frying them in oil and to make the clean-up easier. I began making these when my oldest child was pretty young so she could eat some protein with the pasta (and often peas) that she was deeply into at the time. I don’t make these very often anymore, but I should as my son is currently on a pasta kick and these are much healthier then the frozen Trader Joes meatballs I have been feeding him lately. These are a good source of lean protein and it is a very easy recipe to throw together in a hurry. All of the ingredients except for the ground beef are usually in my kitchen already, so it just takes a quick trip to the store to get the beef. I usually make enough to freeze a bunch so I can warm a few up in the microwave or oven quickly when I need a little protein to quickly put on my son’s plate.
1 pound extra lean ground beef (I use organic grass-fed 10% fat)
1/4 cup sweet or yellow onion, finely diced (about 1/2 of a small onion or 1/4 of a large onion)
2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (low sodium if you can find it)
1/4 cup of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely shredded
1/4 cup of Panko
1/4 cup low sodium tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional-not sure it adds much)
10 – 15 turns of the black pepper grinder (maybe 1/4 teaspoon?)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (or less, I don’t measure this and tend to use less)
optional: 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I have never added this because I have made this mostly for my kids when they were young and not into spicy foods).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients into a bowl except for the cooking spray. Mix well (I use my hands, seems the only way I can get all the ingredients well-distributed into the meat).
Shape mixture into 25-30 meatballs (1 1/2″ approx.). Today I got 28 meatballs out of the recipe. Place meatballs on a pan coated with cooking spray and bake at 400 for 12 minutes or until cooked throughout. Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks or with your favorite pasta. Leftovers freeze and reheat well.
I was torn about whether or not to post this very basic ground beef (or turkey) taco recipe as it is quite mundane, but every night can’t be gourmet and this is a staple in our house, it comes together fairly quickly and is pretty healthy. Once upon a time I made ground beef or turkey tacos using the little McCormick package of seasoning. Then one day I read the ingredients and was horrified at the sodium content and decided getting the spices right on my own can’t be too difficult, so I have been making totally homemade tacos ever since (last 10 years or so). Today I used organic, grass fed, lean (10% fat) ground beef, but I use ground turkey breast just as often, just depends on what we have already eaten that week. We have had a lot of chicken this week (which my son currently doesn’t really care for), so I thought it was time for a little beef to mix things up. I served the tacos with fresh corn cooked in the microwave and sliced off the cob since there is still some decent looking corn at the market that has been grown locally here in Northern CA, I figured we should get it fresh while we still can. I don’t add anything to the corn since it is so fresh and sweet already. I also served some chopped tomatoes, homemade fresh guacamole and sliced bell peppers with the meal. I made mine into a taco salad and my son had his as a soft taco.
Basic and entirely homemade taco recipe that works perfectly with ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey.
Note: I am really guessing on the spice amounts on this as I don’t follow a recipe I just improvise when I make it, so hopefully it will be accurate. Feel free to add more of less to your liking.”
1/2 large sweet onion (or a yellow onion), chopped
2 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 pound of lean ground beef (I use grass-fed organic beef) or ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
black pepper to taste (I start with about 20 turns of my pepper grinder)
salt to taste (start with maybe 1/4 teaspoon)
1 jalapeño, diced
cheddar cheese, grated
tortillas of choice or lettuce for a salad base
3 ripe avocados
1/2 fresh lime, squeezed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 tablespoons onion, minced
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
a few turns of the pepper mill
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add a little extra virgin olive oil to the pan and swirl to cover pan. Add onion and sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add ground meat to the onion mixture. Cook approximately 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Drain grease.
Add spices and 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil and then turn heat down to medium low and simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the water is mostly gone. I usually make ahead of time and let it simmer longer, adding more water as needed to keep it from drying out and the additional time intensifies the flavor.
While the meat is simmering make the guacamole by smashing the avocados in a small bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, black pepper and lime juice, mix well.
Warm the tortillas. Serve the meat with shredded cheese, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, jalapeños and other toppings of your choice. Today I served fresh corn and sliced bell peppers. Sometimes I roast an assortment of peppers.
Wow, this was an amazing recipe! I made it for my husband, son and mother-in-law and everyone had seconds! This is from the most recent Food and Wine magazine. As usual I made some changes, most notably I don’t like dark meat chicken so I subbed organic boneless skinless chicken breasts for the chicken thighs. I also skipped browning the chicken in a pan before cooking in the baking dish which was a big calorie and time-saver and the dish was still very flavorful. Lastly I added some additional vegetables so I could make it a one-dish meal (well I also cooked some rice in the rice maker to server with the dish, but that is so easy it doesn’t really count as a second dish to cook). Unfortunately I didn’t feel confident that this would be so amazing so I didn’t take any photos, I will have to make it again and add photos then.
Braised Chicken with Cauliflower, Carrots and Marinated Artichokes
15 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, plus 1/4 cup marinade from the jar
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in thirds
1 cup of Castelvetrano olives, pitted.
1 whole head of fresh garlic, halved crosswise (keep the flaky skin on the garlic)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
6 thyme sprigs
1 cup of chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup of semidry sherry, such as amontillado–NOTE:I don’t have sherry, and didn’t want to buy sherry for a recipe, so I used what I had available in my fridge, Mirin, which is a Japanese sweet cooking rice wine. I think it worked well. If you use regular white wine you may want to add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to capture some sweetness that the sherry would have had.
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a large baking dish lightly with cooking spray.
Season the chicken with a little pepper. Place the chicken in the baking dish. Scatter the artichokes, carrots, olives, garlic, lemon slices and thyme sprigs in the baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the artichoke marinade, stock, sherry and fish sauce. Pour over the chicken and vegetable mixture and then cover tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is very tender.
Uncover the the chicken and increase the oven to 400 degrees. Roast the chicken mixture for 15 minutes longer. Discard the thyme. Serve over rice (I made a simple jasmine rice in the rice cooker).
Note: I gathered the roasted garlic, mashed it up and stored it in a jar in the refrigerator. The next evening I spread it on some bread with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and broiled it in the oven. It made a very tasty garlic bread spread.
This soup turned out to have amazing flavor and texture! I started searching online for a mushroom soup recipe and found they tend to have either milk or cream added or a lot of butter and flour, none of which fit into my idea of a healthy soup, so I created my own. I did borrow the idea of roasting the mushrooms from a Food and Wine recipe , but decided not to roast them until they were crunchy, instead I just roasted them until they shriveled down some, lost most of their water and just became little flavor-bombs. When the soup is blended with the cooked vegetables it looks like it might be creamy, but there is no dairy or flour in it! I think the soup is pretty healthy and not too fussy. My picky son actually ate a whole bowl of it and my husband ate a couple of bowls of it (he was hungry?). I served it with a chopped salad of kale, romaine and butter lettuces; chopped carrots, avocado, tomatoes and a hard-boiled egg for a little protein with a little shredded mixed Mexican cheese I had leftover from the enchiladas a couple of days ago and some toasted pine nuts. I dressed it with a very simple dressing made of extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and freshly ground black pepper.
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dry oregano) ; reserve a few fresh leaves (if using) to garnish with.
1 cup water
4 cups of low sodium vegetable stock or broth
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place about ¼ of the sliced shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms and the carrots on a lightly greased (cooking spray) baking sheet. Drizzle about a tablespoon or so of olive oil on the vegetables and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. Check on them, if they have shrunken and dried out some they may be ready, if not cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat 1–2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add chopped onions, garlic and remaining carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Add remaining uncooked shiitake and cremini mushrooms to the onion mixture in the pot, season with salt and pepper and add 3 thyme sprigs, white wine and the fresh or dry oregano and sauté with for 5 more minutes.
Add dry porcini mushrooms, water and vegetable stock to the pot with the sautéed vegetables. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to gently simmer the soup for 30 minutes with the lid on.
Remove thyme sprigs, peeling the leaves off and returning them to the pot but throwing away the stems. Pour soup into a blender (or use an immersion blender) and carefully blend until completely smooth. Return soup to the pot, add additional salt and pepper if needed. Add the roasted mushrooms and carrots, ladle into bowls and garnish with a little fresh thyme and oregano.
Rich, savory, homemade chicken soup that I make for Jewish holidays as well as for occasional cold days. I usually make with matzo balls and sometimes with noodles for a warming one pot meal.
Credit: This recipe was originally given to me by a friend , Michelle, years ago. She originally got it from her husband’s grandmother. I have personalized it a bit over the years. Thank you Michelle for the recipe.
14 cups of water
1 whole chicken cleaned and washed. (Instead I often use a couple of large bone-in chicken breasts because it is easier and I don’t like dark meat chicken – but a whole chicken will add more flavor).
1 large onion, quartered.
4 large carrots, peeled and cut in thirds
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut in half
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and quartered
1 rutabaga, quartered (I couldn’t find this today, so I left it out and the soup still tasted fine)
1 small bunch of fresh dill, whole including stems
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a few sprigs of fresh parsley
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Optional – 1 quart of low-sodium chicken stock or broth. (If you use a whole chicken cook longer and leave the stock out- also you may need to add another quart of water if cooking longer).
Matzo balls (optional)
Noodles or pasta (optional)
Add the water to a large Dutch oven or pot. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms. Boil for 15 minutes.
Chop vegetables while the pot is boiling.
Add the vegetables and herbs after the chicken has boiled for 15 minutes. Bring back to a boil, then turn down to a rapid simmer, cover and cook for 2-2 ½ hours (or longer if using whole chicken and you don’t want to add stock- 4-6 hours will make it quite rich).
Add stock (if using) after an hour of cooking. Check occasionally that the soup is just simmering gently, with small bubbles-not large ones – continually, but slowly rising to the top – this keeps the soup translucent. It is also recommended not to stir the soup vigorously (this helps to keep it clear).
Once the soup has the desired flavor, strain the soup. Keep the chicken parts and vegetables that you like. I usually keep the carrots and chicken and discard the rest. Be careful to discard all the chicken bones. Return the chicken and vegetables you want to keep to the strained soup. Ideally let cool for a couple of hours or refrigerate overnight and skim the fat off the top.
When ready to serve re-heat for 30 minutes or so. I sometimes add some extra fresh carrot slices at this point because not everyone likes really soft carrots.
Serve in a bowl with matzo balls, or noodles or rice. I usually make simple matzo balls from the mix (recently noticed this is pretty high in sodium) or from the recipe on the back of a matzo meal box.
We love to do “make your own pizza” nights at our house. Overall we prefer our own pizza to most restaurant pizza because we can control the ingredients and make it exactly to each person’s liking. I also think it is a lot healthier than restaurant pizza as well. Today my daughter and I made our own sauce (see Basic Tomato Sauce recipe), but we often buy commercially-made organic sauce. I do always buy the pizza dough. There is nothing I dislike more than kneading dough, so I buy Whole Foods fresh pre-made whole wheat dough and go from there. I think because we like to make out dough cracker-thin (except for my son) that probably any dough will do. The other thing about “make your own pizza” night is that we load our pizza with veggies, no restaurant will ever do that!
1 spicy chicken sausage (to please my carnivorous husband), baked and chopped. (I also used a chicken apple sausage for my son’s pizza)
1 bag of spinach.
1 package of exotic mushrooms, sliced (plus some button mushrooms if you love mushrooms like I do!)
1 bell pepper, diced
Optional: chopped jalapenos or dried red pepper flakes
Let pizza dough rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Cook the chicken sausage in the oven. Time will vary depending on the type you use. Let cool and chop.
Put spinach in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 – 60 seconds to wilt. Squeeze out excess liquid. Chop spinach and set aside.
Slice mushrooms and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 10 – 15 minutes or until the mushrooms have dried some. Soak up remaining liquid if necessary.
Dice a bell pepper of your choice.
Chop a jalapeno if you desire a little spice (or dried red pepper flakes if that is more convenient).
Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness and desired sizes. We make 4 pizzas out of one package of Whole Foods pizza dough. Usually one is small and thick and the others are very thin and have a diameter of roughly 10”.
Pre-bake pizza dough on a baking sheet or pizza stone for 5-7 minutes (depending on oven). We like to get it crispy, but not everyone does.
Spread sauce on cooked dough. Spread desired amount of cheese. Spread desired toppings.
This is a very basic and simple homemade tomato sauce that can be used on pizza or pasta. It is another Tabula Rasa recipe, and I am thinking I seem to have a lot of these basic recipes that one can add a few different ingredients to at different times to make them slightly more interesting or seasonal. You can add additional vegetables to make a Ragu, meat to make it a bolognese sauce, the possibilities are endless! The sauce needs to simmer for a long time to allow the ingredients to meld, the tomatoes to break down and for the sauce as a whole to thicken. Once the sauce has been reduced the flavors are really intensified. The leftovers freeze well so you have good healthy sauce on hand whenever you need it for a quick pasta or pizza dish.
Very basic homemade tomato sauce that can be customized with the addition of meat or vegetables and goes equally well with pasta or pizza.
olive oil to cover pan
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano or 2+ tablespoons fresh chopped oregano (if using fresh, add at the end of the cooking time)
3 pounds diced fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, agave nectar or sweetener of choice
Black pepper and salt to taste
26oz package of Pom strained tomatoes (I prefer this brand as they are Italian tomatoes with literally nothing added, but use what you prefer and can find easily)
½ cup chopped fresh basil (and I sometimes add some fresh thyme)
In a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
Add the garlic and onions (and dried oregano if using – fresh you can add later) and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and soft.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes, sugar, black pepper, and salt. Stir well.
Leave over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer partially covered for at least 60 minutes. I simmer until I get my desired consistency, for me thicker is better, so if I have the time I may let it simmer for a few hours.
Stir in fresh oregano and fresh basil (sometimes I add some fresh thyme as well). Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta or use as pizza sauce. Enjoy!
This recipe popped into my inbox yesterday morning and I thought it looked like a pretty tasty and healthy vegetable and chicken enchilada recipe so I made it for dinner with a few modifications. Since it was written for two and there were going to be three of us I doubled all of the ingredients and figured it would make a little extra but that would make a nice lunch for tomorrow. One unknown was the bell pepper. The ingredient list doesn’t have a bell pepper in it but the instructions do, so I added a whole red bell pepper to the ingredients. I made the recipe without the jalapeño until the end when I put the ingredients together into the enchilada. Then I added a roasted chopped jalapeño to the enchiladas for my husband and myself and left it out of Aidan’s enchiladas. We all really thought these were particularly flavorful; a rarity for my son who eats Mexican but often doesn’t really love it. What I especially like is how may vegetables this incorporates. We all agreed this is a keeper!
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (the smokiness makes this really unique and interesting)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
Kosher salt • Fresh ground pepper
28 oz can of organic no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 ears of fresh corn, cooked and shucked
12 oz. bag of fresh spinach
6 – eight inch corn or flour tortillas (I like to use the corn and wheat hybrid tortillas, they taste like corn but are actually pliable)
1 1/2 cups cheddar-jack cheese blend
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large saucepan on medium high to high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onion and bell pepper until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, but allowing the peppers and onions to “roast” some. I think next time I make this I will actually roast the vegetables in the oven with a little olive oil instead. This will make the flavor richer.
Add the garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. *NOTE: I roasted the jalapeño in the oven during this time and added it later to the actual enchiladas (in the filling) that my husband and I would be eating as my son won’t eat spicy food – this is an easy adjustment. Also add a second jalapeño or a Serrano if you like your food very spicy as one didn’t add that much spice in my opinion.
Add the tomatoes and remove from the heat.
Blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the tomato mixture to the saucepan and over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Add the chicken breasts to the tomato mixture and turn down heat to a simmer and cover and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and cover and cook for 10 more minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking cook the spinach for 1 minute in the microwave, squeeze out water and chop. Cook the corn for about 5 minutes in the husk in a microwave (or grill) and slice off the cob. Set aside.
Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks.
In a large bowl combine the chicken, corn, spinach, 1 cup of cheese and 1 cup of tomato sauce.
Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds or until pliable.
Lightly spray a square 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the chicken mixture into the tortillas and roll them up (adding jalapeños now if you are only adding them to some). Place enchiladas in the baking dish seam side down. Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce, try to cover all of the tortilla on the top so they don’t dry out. Sprinkle the tops of the enchiladas with about ½ cup cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and the cheese is melted.
Top with chopped cilantro and additional jalapeños if you wish. Enjoy!
This is a favorite of mine on busy days when I don’t have a lot of time to cook as it comes together pretty quickly. The recipe is inspired by a combination of Thai/Laotian Larb and generic Asian lettuce wraps and is a combination/modification of two different Cooking Light recipes I have made over the years. The recipe actually works best with cabbage leaves, they hold in the liquid best, but I couldn’t find good-looking cabbage today so I used red leaf lettuce. I have to admit that the lettuce didn’t work very well. The turkey mixture just burst through the lettuce, so we ended up eating it with a fork instead of picking it up like a taco. It still tasted great though. I typically use ground turkey breast but sometimes use ground chicken breast or lean grass-fed ground beef. I have added more vegetables over the years and this is my latest spin on the dish. Enjoy!
Heat a large skillet with some sesame oil. I just use enough so that my ingredients don’t stick.
Sauté the garlic, ginger, shallot or onion, carrots and *jalapeño on medium high heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. *NOTE: I often leave the jalapeño chopped and uncooked on the side instead of adding it here as my son won’t eat spicy food. It works fine this way and everyone is happy.
Add the ground turkey and mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until turkey is fully cooked. Add the beansprouts and cook for an additional minute or two. Remove from the heat.
While the turkey mixture is cooking, add 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, the lime juice, honey, fish sauce, cilantro and mint to a large serving bowl. Stir with a whisk.
Add turkey mixture to the liquid mixture in the bowl and toss to coat the turkey mixture.
Fill cabbage cups with the turkey mixture. Top with chopped peanuts if desired (I seem to always forget this step). Top with chopped jalapeños if they are on the side.
I have been making these waffles since my 16 year old was a toddler. The recipe is based on a Cooking Light recipe Waffles with Two-Berry Syrup. I don’t eat syrup, so I have always left that part out. My kids have always eaten these with a little butter and fresh fruit spread on top of it. I think people eat whatever they are used to, so I think if you introduce waffles at an early age with fruit instead of maple syrup, then that is what the person equates with waffles. Healthy habits begin young!
Regarding the flavor of the waffle, I always add fruit, depending on what I have handy and the time of the year. I made these last weekend with mashed banana and frozen blueberries as shown. Yesterday I made them again with some leftover pumpkin I had from the pumpkin banana bread I made earlier in the week. So yummy on a cool fall morning! So any fruit will work, be creative and use what you have. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family has over the years.
1 cup fat free milk (or whatever type of milk you prefer)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a whisk
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon canola oil (with the yogurt in there you can leave this out)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
Pre-heat waffle iron
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl — flour, flaxseed, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir with a whisk. If using honey, add it to the wet ingredients instead.
Combine all the wet ingredients in a small bowl — yogurt, milk, eggs, banana, canola oil, vanilla, stirring with a whisk. Add blueberries and stir with a spoon. — note: If they are frozen they will turn everything purple, which actually lends a fun touch to the waffles. If the color bothers you, you can thaw the blueberries if frozen and lightly dust them with flour before you fold them in the batter. Fresh blueberries shouldn’t be a problem.
Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture, stirring with a spoon just until moist, don’t over-stir.
Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray. Cook waffles according to your waffle iron instructions.
Top waffles with butter if desired and fresh banana slices and/or fresh blueberries, strawberries or whatever you have handy. Enjoy!