Friday, June 3, 2016

Recipe: Italian Sausage Tacos with Chard and Zucchini

It's been awhile since I shared anything on this blog, but today I made this amazing dish and it needed to get posted.  

Before I share the recipe though, I want to give a shout out to two of the products that made these tacos happen.

Earth Galley Farms is a local farm that does Seasonal Produce Baskets weekly, and for a (very reasonable price) you get a ton of veggies to work with.  I often make salads for the week but I often struggle with what to make from the "non-salad" ingredients. 

Jimmy Bobby's Sausage Co is the husband of my boss at the Cafe that I work at.  He recently started making sausage to see at local markets and prides himself in the fact that he's just meat and spices - all natural.  And man is it delicious.

Ok now onto the recipe!

Italian Sausage Tacos with Chard and Zucchini 

(to make about 4 tacos)
1 lb of ground italian sausage, divided (I used about 1/4 lb for my four tacos)
1 clove garlic 
2 leaves of chard with their stems
1 small red onion (Ok actually you really need like 1/2 of a red onion)
1 small zucchini squash (or half of a large one)
Salt, pepper to taste
oregano to taste
Feta cheese for topping
4 flour tortillas


1) Brown your italian sausage, if you are like me and plan on making more later, brown the whole pound, or just brown what you need.  Don't let it get fully cooked!!
2) While the sausage is browning, clean and prep your veggies.
Dice your zucchini into small pieces, Rough chop your chard and it's stems (but keep them separate). Dice or thinly slice your onion. Mince your garlic.
3) Once your sausage is about 3/4 done, add the chard stems, garlic and onion.  Saute for a couple minutes until the onion starts to soften
4) Now add the zucchini.  Saute for another couple minutes then add the chard leaves and your spices.  

5) Let cook until chard has wilted.  You may cover if you like, but you don't have to.
6) Warm your tortillas using desired method, then portion out your taco mixture into them.  Top with feta and serve warm !

** I bet these would be even better with homemade tortillas, which I have a recipe for, but didn't have time to make**
** Consider a dressing as well? Or adding other veggies. It's super open ended**

** The fact that I know the source of 90% of this dish makes me really really happy!**

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Food Review: Marion's Kitchen Thai Kits

Today's post is a quick review of a product I tried last week.  

I recently purchased a Marion's Kitchen Thai kit at my local Kroger on clearance.  I had seen them before and was curious, but would never have paid full price for it.  So yellow sticker clearance made me pretty excited.  

These kits are designed just like any other.  They come with the sauces and seasonings, you provide the protein and veggies.  In this case, you got the curry paste, coconut milk, peanuts and spices.

Chicken (or protein) is sauteed in the paste, then the milk is added, along with potatoes and onion.  As it simmers, you add the peanuts and spices.  


After that it's pretty easy.  Let it simmer until you get it to a thickness you want - atleast 30 minutes.  

The dish itself is served best with rice, and I added broccoli to brighten up my plate. Something I wish I had done (that the box suggested) would have been to leave the Thai chilis completely out from the spices, they got way to spicy.  

Since I live alone< I eat leftovers all week.  One thing that made me was was out thick the sauce got over the course of the week.  I would like to find a way to keep that from happening again.

Overall, I would give this kit a 4 out of 5 starts.  The box does an odd job of explaining the product unless you know the chef.  Also, the price point is a bit high, even if it is "All natural".  The meal was great, but I felt like maybe it was missing something.  But I would buy it again if I could find it on sale.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Recipe: Mini Pie Bites/Cookies

So it's been almost a year since I posted. I haven't had many recipes to share though, so I guess that's an excuse, right?

Either way, I want to get back into this, starting with this simple recipe inspired by a segment I saw on my local news a few weeks back.  The recipe they did was for "Fig bars" but I am calling these "Pie Bites" because that is really all they are.

Mini Pie Bites

1 roll of store bought pie dough - thawed
(some packages come in two, so that can also work for a bigger batch)
Desired filling. Jam, pie filling, or any type of mashed fruit.
(I used apple butter)
Sugar/honey/cinnamon/etc to sprinkle on top. 


1)Preheat oven to 325
2)After thawing your dough, lay it out flat on a cutting board/cookie pan
3) Cut the best you can into small rectangles/squares.  Mine were about 1inch tall and 1/2inch wide.
4)pipe or spoon filling onto the center of each rectangle.
5) Fold each rectangle over so that it forms a nice seam. Take rolled/folded bars and place on a cookie pan (lined with parchment if desired)

6) Bake for approx. 10 minutes then remove from oven and sprinkle with toppings if desired. I drizzled honey and cinnamon
7) Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Different sizes and fillings can affect your time.

Tips and ideas:

1) The video I saw used homemade fig spread to make a "Fig newton". You can use any type of filling you like, from homemade to store bought sugary stuff.
2) Same goes for toppings, whatever goes well with your flavors
3) If you are really ambitious, make the pie dough yourself also! haha.
4) Seriously, parchment paper. I never used it until I started a kitchen job and now I swear by it. More on that for a later post.

So easy and so delicious. I have already eaten half my batch!

Until next time!


Friday, February 6, 2015

Recipe: Baked Steel Cut Oats

These past few weeks I have been joining in on the "mini-pledge" from 100 Days of Real Food, one of my favorite blogs. If you haven't checked it out you should. 

This week's pledge was to try two new "whole foods" that you have never tried before. Surprisingly, this was hard for me because I have tried so many! But then one group member shared an oatmeal recipe and I decided to give Steel Cut Oats a try. I am so glad I did, because they are fantastic!

I wish I could say this recipe was all my own, but sadly it's not. The original is here. I did, however, modify it quite a bit when I made mine. 

Baked Steel Cut Oats


2 cups steel cut oats, organic if possible
½ cup (or desired amount) chopped pecans (luckily, I had some from my backyard. Other nuts work good too!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ to 1 ½ cups raisins (or fruit or really anything)
2 cups Almond milk (original recipe calls for whole milk. I chose almond as a health alternative)
1/3 cup maple syrup (but honey works too). Get natural of course!
1 large egg
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly - I actually used Ghee since it's all I had on hand. 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2) In an 8-inch square baking dish, mix together the oats, the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Scatter the raisins on top or mix in with the dry ingredients. 

3) In another bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg, about half of the butter, and vanilla. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple of thwacks on the counter top to make sure the liquid moves down through the oats.  BUT DO NO MIX THE INGREDIENTS.

4) Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes. 

Of course this tastes best fresh out of the oven, but if you are like me and don't have that much time, make it ahead and microwave throughout the week. Still tastes just as good! 

I like the nutty flavor of the steel cut oats and the way the milk was absorbed into them to make it a bit crumbly when I reheated. I also love the cinnamon/raisin combo. But like I said, experiment with your toppings. I wander what it'd be like with chocolate chips?


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Thoughts: Restaurants and Their Calories Lists.

Something I want to try and do a bit more this year is to post my thoughts on different food and diet related subjects. I have a lot of thoughts about certain food subjects and don't have very many other outlets to share them (My mom has heard it enough), so why not share it here.

The information I will be talking about is my own personal opinion and it is not my intentions to offend anyone with my comments.

Tonight I wanted to talk about something I've seen a lot of lately: restaurants offering special, low-calorie, portions of their menus. Maybe you've seen or heard of some of these?

Applebee's Pub- menu, including whole grains and light sauce

TGI Friday's Cut back menu

Olive Garden trying to go light.

Normally, I would be really happy that so many restaurants are making strides in helping people stick to their diets and be more conscious of their food decisions, but lately I've been thinking otherwise. 

If you know me well enough, you know that I am a bit of an advocate for the idea of "ingredients over calories". Because of this, I find the fact that so many restaurants are required to post calories a bit disturbing and frustrating. If I'm eating out, I would rather NOT know that I ingesting 1000 calories with my appetizer.  

But back to my main concern. When a restaurant adds a special "light" menu, it's implying that the rest of their menu is unhealthy, caloric, and simply dangerous. It's making people (or I hope it is) feel guilty for picking something that isn't on this menu. Or for picking something without the nutrition info posted. And when a menu only has calorie info in certain areas, I see it as their way of hiding the whole truth about their food from consumers. 

A great example is an experience I had this past summer when I was counting calories (which for the record, I never want to do again). My family visiting Chili's and I was debating between fish off the light menu and a flatbread off the regular menu. The fish (and everything on the light menu) had calorie info, while the flatbread did not. Luckily I was able to get on my sister's smart phone and find the info online. I'm glad I did,because even though the flatbread had "healthy" ingredients on top, it clocked in at almost 1,000 calories. I ordered the fish...

I think that we need to stop worrying about calories and start worrying about what is actually in our food and how it's prepared. I bet the quinoa and whole grains in that dish aren't even as nutritious as if you made them at home. Don't get me wrong, it's great that places like Applebee's are offering whole grains and quinoa, but I think that these ingredients should be staples on their entire menu, not just shoved in a corner of a page. If such ingredients were to become staples on menus, I believe that more people would accept them and we could finally start the transition to eating healthy, natural foods on a regular basis. 

At the end of the day, we all feel the way we feel about our food and make our own decisions. But for me, I think I'm going to just avoid these restaurants as much as I can. If I can't pick something off the menu without wondering why they don't have the numbers with them, it's not worth my time.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Recipe: Tomato Gnocchi with Parmesan Pork Chops

New year new food! I can't wait to share all of my yummy ideas with  you guys. And hopefully more often than before.

So tonight I wanted to share a recipe I made up over the holidays, that I found really yummy.

Tomato Gnocchi with Parmesan Pork Chops


For Gnocchi:

two normal sized (forgot amount!)  of diced or stewed tomatoes
1 package of store-bought gnocchi
Italian seasons to taste

Pork chop recipe:


1) In a large skillet, add the gnocchi and one can of the tomatoes (with the juice!). Turn up the heat so it can begin to cook.

2)Once it starts to bubble, cover and let simmer. By covering  you are allowing the gnocchi to fully soften up.

3) You shouldn't need to simmer it for more than 5 or so minutes. Check on it to make sure that it isn't burning, and add extra can of tomatoes if needed. The gnocchi has a lot of starch, which will thicken the tomato sauce a lot.

4) Once it is almost ready, add your Italian seasonings. I always like basil and oregano, but you can add whatever you choose.

5) Remove from heat and serve with pork and veggies ! 

This went really well with the pork chops, and even better with Italian roasted veggies. Overall, this is a good recipe for those who like gnocchi but never know what to do with it! 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Recipe: Italian Chicken Panini PLUS Tomato Soup!

Man, it has been a long time since I posted a new recipe. I haven't been making as many new things lately though - random experiments but nothing worth sharing.

Today though, I have a recipe that I came up with completely from scratch and got completely positive reviews from my family. 

Italian Chicken Panini

(To make 5 paninis)

5 chicken breasts, cut and trimmed
Olive oil
Basil/Italian seasoning
1 loaf of french or italian bread.
Garlic butter (either homemade or bought)
1-2 tomatoes
5 thick slices of provolone cheese


Prepare the chicken first as follows: 
Pour some oil into a frying pan and allow pan to heat up.

Place as many chicken breasts as you can in pan and sprinkle with basil and seasonings (I actually was using basil-infused oil so I didn't need extra seasons).

Cook chicken until no longer pink on inside. 

Set aside/keep warm while you cook the rest of the chicken.

Prepare your paninis as follows:

Cut the bread into 1/4 inch slices (or as thick as you want to get 10 slices).

Slice your tomatoes and place 2 slices per sandwich on top of 1 slice of bread.

Next add provolone cheese.

Then chicken, followed by spinach.

Place 2nd slice of bread on top and spread with the garlic butter.

Place butter side down on  your panini press, and spread some butter on the exposed side.

Allow to cook until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.

Remove from press and serve.

I made a delicious homemade tomato-basil soup to go with these paninis and they tasted so perfect together. I highly recommend trying them both. You can also add other things to your paninis, such as mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. 

I think the biggest shocker of the evening was when my dad said "This is delicious". He NEVER says that about my cooking, so I think I must have done something right.

What's your favorite type of panini? 


PS: It was really hard to photograph these !