Category Archives: great meals

beef & vegetable noodle stir-fry

We often hear that eating healthy, fresh foods is too expensive and that it’s much cheaper and easier to pick up fast food on the way home then to make a meal at home.

One of my goals is to dispel this myth. Eating healthy doesn’t mean slaving away at the stove or breaking the bank. What it does take is some planning ahead, a little creativity and a love for great food.

The next time I make a stir-fry I’ll be reviewing a wok set sent to me by CSN Stores. CSN Stores has everything from dishes to dining room tables. Look for the review and a new stir-fry recipe coming soon!

Here is a meal that is well-balanced, comes together quickly, tastes great and costs $10.20 for four servings! ($2.55/person)

Even better? The pasta and vegetables were organic and the beef passes the Whole Foods Meat Quality Standards.

Money-Saving Tip: Add frozen veggies to your grocery list! They won’t go bad, they are often cheaper and have just as many nutrients as fresh ones!

Beef & Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry – 4 servings

  • 4 oz whole-grain spaghetti
  • 16 oz bag of frozen Chinese Stir Fry Vegetables
  • 8 oz skirt steak
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (if desired)

Prepare the pasta as directed.

Heat large pan over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add steak to pan and season with salt & pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board to rest.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha.

Add the frozen vegetables to pan and saute for about 6 minutes, until cooked through.

Turn off heat and add pasta and sauce to pan. Toss to combine. Slice steak into thin slices and serve over pasta.


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Filed under great meals, pasta, protein, Recipes, sriracha, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

4th of July Menu

Still need some menu ideas for 4th of July celebrations? Look no further! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes along with others from the blog world!

Appetizers:

Guacamole with Basil & Shallots

Roasted Vegetable Cheese Spread

Cheese Filled Endeive Leaves from MommyRD

Main:

Chicken Satay with Coconut Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pizzas from Fake Food Free

Prosciutto Chihuahua Panini from Eating for England

Sides:

Artichoke Ravioli Pasta Salad

Greek Potato Salad

Arugula & Apple Salad

Lynn’s Cabbage Slaw with Mango from The Actors Diet

Drinks:

White Wine Mojito

Pomegranate Champagne – add some blueberries for the 4th!

Desserts:

Strawberry & Mascarpone-filled Cupcakes

Banana & Blueberry Popsicles – perfect for little ones – from Weekly Bite

What’s on your weekend menu? If you have some good recipes,  please share below with a link!  Have a safe & happy 4th!

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Filed under antioxidants, appetizers, blog friends, cheese, cocktails, dessert, entertaining, fruit, great meals, in season, Recipes, salad, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains, wine

Foodbuzz 24×24: Kids Cooking Club

Last week, I told you that there was something exciting happening soon at Camp Endeavor. My Kids Cooking Club proposal  was chosen to be a part of this months 24×24, sponsored by Foodbuzz, and our meal was Saturday night! The concept was to have a group of kids at camp come up with a menu for our Saturday night cookout. Once the meal was decided on, they would help prepare the meal for their fellow campers. Reminded me a bit of Dinner Impossible, but I was hoping for a little less stress.

Planning:

There was no problem in finding enough campers to help, in fact so many of them wanted to be involved that we decided to hold another Kids Cooking Club in a few weeks. I just can’t turn down kids who want to cook! After the group was decided on, it was time to get to work.

Armed with some cookbooks and a handout on planning a menu with a few ideas, we discussed how to build a menu, pick a theme and prepare food that everyone will like. They decided to go with an Italian theme and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the menu they decided on. Whoever says that kids will only eat mac & cheese hasn’t met these kids. The only steering I had to do was suggest a vegetable side instead of a starch – the spinach in the salad? Entirely their idea.

Menu:

  • Grilled Pizzas with Fresh Herbs and Veggie Toppings Bar
  • Romaine & Spinach Salad with Home-made Croutons & Dressing
  • Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Berries or Grilled Fruit

Shopping:

Most of the campers opted to go to the pool instead of to the store – a choice I would have made myself if given the choice – it was a hot day! Fewer people allowed for a quick and easy trip, just what we wanted considering what was ahead of us.

I even learned something new at the store from Emily! She taught me a way to tell if pineapple is ripe –  if the leaves pull out easily, the pineapple is ready to eat!

We also had an interesting dilemma in the pizza aisle. When comparing the whole wheat pizza crust vs the white pizza crust, I expected to show Emily the reasons why whole wheat is a better choice – more fiber, protein, vitamins, etc. Oddly enough, the nutrition stats were exactly the same and the ingredients? Essentially the same as well. I’m not sure if there was a mistake in the ingredient list, but the only difference in the crusts seemed to be the color. I let Emily decide which crust to go with and she decided on the Thin & Crispy because, “we’ve had enough whole-wheat.” Ahh, you can’t win them all 🙂

Preparing:

The plan of attack – with about 3 hours before dinner- was to make the ranch dressing first, in order to let the flavors meld together. We would then make the croutons, move on to the pizza toppings, which were all going to be sautéed, and finish up with the salad and dessert preparation. The actual pizzas would be prepared and cooked once we got up to the grill and right before dinner.

We chopped more fruits and veggies then I’ve ever done in an afternoon and also sampled a lot of fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits along the way. A few of the kids had never had fresh pineapple before and they were shocked at how delicious it is!

We sometimes overhear campers longing for certain foods – typically fast food and pop, but on our walk over to the grilling/lake area, I overheard them saying, “when I get home I’m going to have my Mom buy me 7 pineapples!” I can’t be certain, but I think I had a huge grin on my face at that moment. This is what I’m here for, to introduce kids to fresh foods and have them longing for pineapple, not pop.

The Meal:

When someone asks for the recipe to a salad, you know you’ve done something right. But I can’t take the credit for this one – the campers came up with this salad idea. The fresh herbs added some flavor they weren’t used to and the home-made croutons and ranch dressing made the salad a definite crowd-pleaser.

Our grilled pizzas were served along with a “toppings bar” where everyone could choose what toppings they wanted to add to their pizza slice – sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms and olives were the choices and it was up to the campers if they wanted all or nothing, and everything in between. The pizzas turned out fabulous, the crispy crust was a perfect base for a mound of toppings.

The boys were still talking about the salad the next day and while not all of them were fans of the feta or fans of the dressing, they all tried it, and most loved it.

Dessert was a hit too, I often forget how good ice cream is with some fresh berries and I was introduced to how good it is with grilled fruits as well. Grilling the pineapple and nectarines caramelizes the sugars and turns it into an amazing treat!  It truly was the perfect ending to the perfect cookout.

Will we do it again? We just might have to. I don’t want to stop introducing cooking, fresh & wholesome foods to kids, one delicious meal at a time. Thanks to Foodbuzz for a wonderful evening!

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Filed under article, eating local, fruit, great meals, grocery shopping, ice cream, lose weight, salad, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

kogi inspiration

This sandwich was inspired by the Midnight Torta, a popular late-night sandwich from the Kogi Truck in LA.  Around 50,000 people follow the Korean BBQ tweets and show up all over LA for a chance at some food from the Kogi Truck. I have yet to experience the Kogi Truck so when I came across a recipe, I knew I would have to give it a try. And try it that day – there was no waiting with this recipe.

There were a few problems I had with this recipe however, the main one being that it calls for pork belly. I’ve searched high and low for this pork delicacy but have yet to have any luck finding it.  I even asked a local farmer if he had any, but alas, once again I was denied. “I just can’t keep up with the bacon,” he replied to my plea. Screw the bacon slices, I want a whole big slab of it! I’ve been looking for pork belly ever since a dinner in Denver but I’m not so sure that I’ll ever be able to find it. (If you know how to track some down, please fill me in!)

Originally, I was going to sub the pork belly with some bacon, which seems like the logical replacement, but when at the store I decided on a different direction. My pork of choice? Prosciutto. Cheese of choice? Graskaas. (Graskaas is a special spring cheese that is made from the first milking after the cows run and jump out of the barn to the pastures after the long winter. Apparently, cows, much like humans get overly excited for spring. Their happiness, in turn, produces an incredibly creamy, smooth and once-a-year cheese.)

This sandwich, while it certainly required napkins, had a variety of flavors, was filling, and pretty easy to throw together for a casual summer dinner. I’m starting to think that I may be able to survive without that pork belly after all.

Kogi Inspiration – 2 servings adapted from Food & Wine

  • 1 demi french baguette (the small one)
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices Graskaas Cheese
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 red onion slices
  • 2-4 green onions
  • 2 jalapeños

Grill onions and jalapeños until soft and lightly charred. Thinly slice green onions and jalapeños. Set aside.

Pre-heat broiler.

Heat large pan and spray with cooking spray. When hot add prosciutto and cook until crisp. Set aside. Add spinach to pan until just wilted, about 2 minutes, and set aside. Crack eggs into pan and cook until just set, 2-3 minutes.

Cut bread in half and then cut each piece lengthwise. Add slice of cheese to bread and broil until cheese has melted. Spread other side with mayonnaise if desired.

Layer prosciutto, egg and veggies on sandwich. Enjoy!

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Filed under cheese, great meals, Recipes, restaurants, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods

boston

Last weekend the taster and I spent an amazing few days in Boston. That is what I love about vacation. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, but bumming around a city, soaking up whatever I can, is my idea of a perfection.

I hadn’t been to Boston in a few years and complete with the tasters love for history we managed to squeeze in a trip to a museum, a history tour, a baseball game, a wedding, seeing both sides of our families and of course, a lot of delicious food.

First time having pho, and now officially addicted. Any Minneapolis recommendations for me?

Kennedy Library Museum

Seafood, Seafood, Seafood

Red Sox Game

Many trips to Dunkin Donuts.

Your boys Patty! 🙂

And a beautiful wedding to top things off!

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Filed under coffee, great meals, restaurants, travel, Uncategorized

classic chicken salad

For some reason I’ve had a hankering for chicken salad lately – I’m not sure if it was inspired by the cherry chicken pasta salad that I recently made or the desire to find something new and exciting for lunch, but this is the perfect light lunch for a sunny, summer day. This lunch proved to be quite filling over a bed of arugula and I love the juicy sweetness that the grapes added. An added bonus? Two lunches completed on Sunday, which significantly cuts down on my normally ridiculous lunch prep. 🙂

Chicken Salad – 2 servings

  • 1 organic chicken breast
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cups red grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise (I used a vegan canola oil mayo)
  • 2 Tbsp Simply Boulder Culinary Honey Dijon Sauce
  • salt & pepper

Poach or cook chicken breast. Let cool and cut into pieces. Combine all ingredients and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve over greens or on bread.


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Filed under fruit, gluten-free, great meals, protein, Recipes, salad, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods

orzo salad with zucchini & feta

Orzo is not as easy to find as one might expect. Maybe Minnesota has too much Norweigen influence and prefers lefse over orzo but once I finally tracked some down, the hope of finding a whole-grain version was long gone. As long as I left the store with orzo, I would worry about fitting in whole-grains later.

I wanted to come up with a salad that was light, but flavorful and this turned out just as I had hoped. Bright and citrusy flavor, full of good-for-you zucchini, and a touch of pasta for good measure. Because you can never have too much pasta. And I’m not even Italian!

Orzo Salad with Zucchini & Feta – about 2 servings

  • 1/4 cup orzo
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into half length-wise and then into 1/4-1/2 inch slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Greek Seasoning
  • salt & pepper

Prepare orzo as directed. Set aside in medium sized bowl.

Heat large pan and spray with cooking spray. Add zucchini and garlic to pan, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Add to bowl with orzo and let cool.

Prepare dressing: mix olive oil, lemon juice and greek seasoning. Whisk until combined and pour over orzo and zucchini mixture. Add feta crumbles and toss until combined. Let cool and serve cool or at room temperature.



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Filed under cheese, great meals, in season, pasta, Recipes, salad, vegetables