Archive of ‘Food’ category

Zoodles! Spiralized Zuchini Noodles

Oh pasta, I love you so. Pasta is always there for me. It’s cheap and easy. It comforts me after a long day whether it is drenched in sauce or cheese…but today we live in a world that has turned against my favorite white flour pasta for sexier, healthier alternatives.  For anyone who is trying to maintain a healthy diet, pasta is drenched in guilt. Now when I dive into a bowl of pasta I am left feeling sad instead of satisfied. I have tried to replace my favorite carb with other healthier options but they always pale in comparison…until I met zoodles (zucchini noodles).

Zoodles provide a satisfying pasta-like meal without the guilt. The zucchini has a very mild flavor which allows any sauce to really shine, just like pasta. The mild flavor also makes pairing sauces and toppings easy. Zoodles fill that need for a quick and easy meal at the end of a long day. You can have a satisfying and healthy meal completed from start to finish in 15 minutes.

veggetti spiralized zucchini noodles

The only tool you need to make zoodles is a spiralizer. These are becoming more popular and easier to find. You don’t need to invest in an expensive sprializer. My sister found the Veggetti for $15 and I have spotted these at Target and WalMart recently. The Veggetti gives you a thick and thin sized spiral options, but if you want to get fancy there are spiralizers out there with more options for a little bit more of an investment.

You can boil zoodles just like pasta, eat them raw, saute them or even bake them.

Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Basil Sauce

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1. Prep your zucchini. You can peel them or leave the skin on, your choice. I like the contrast of green color in my pasta, so I peel most of my zucchini and leave just stripes of skin.

zucchini noodles spiralized veggetti

zucchini noodles spiralized veggetti

Look those pretty zoodles!

2. Spiralize your zucchini. You just insert the zucchini and start turning and your noodles will gloriously appear. It is as simple as that. Since there is no open blades, this would be a fun activity to do with kids (and get them to eat more vegetables!)

zucchini noodles sprialized veggetti

3.  Flash boil your zoodles. I say flash because they don’t need much time to cook and these little guys LOVE to soak up water, so the less time in water, the better.

Note: You can eat the noodles raw, boil them like pasta, saute them or bake them. It just depends on your preference for preparing them.

4. Drain your zoodles of as much water as possible. I drain mine in a colander and then squeeze them with paper towels to remove as much water as possible.

zucchini noodles spiralized veggetti

5. Top your noodles with tomato basil sauce. I like to keep it simple and use the stuff out of the jar (Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil is my personal favorite). I did a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese in this version but I also love crumbled goat cheese.

6. Enjoy! (Make sure you twirl your fork and enjoy how these zoodles wrap around it just like pasta)

Once you start spiralizing, you will want to spiralize anything you can get your hands on. I’ve seen spiralize carrots, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes spiralized and I will bring you more recipes as I try these out.

What spiralized vegetable recipes would you like to see next?

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bars

PUMPKIN OATMEAL (2)

 

In keeping with stereotypes, I am someone who is obsessed with anything pumpkin. Now that it’s a socially acceptable time of year to express this obsession I can finally pull those cans of pumpkin out of my pantry and put them to work.

Riddle me this. Why do we only have pumpkin pie once a year?

This is a travesty. I do not think I am in the minority when I say that the best part of Thanksgiving dinner is the pumpkin pie. In our house, there is rarely any left over for the next day. You better savor that small piece that you do your best to squeeze in after those seconds of mashed potatoes (and let’s not discuss all the gravy you poured on them).

Today I take a stand against the limitations of pumpkin pie to the Thanksgiving holiday. Today I stand up and declare that we eat pumpkin pie whenever we want! LET US EAT PUMPKIN PIE! Or at the very least, we should eat my Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bars.

These little morsels of goodness taste like a piece of pumpkin pie, but almost better. The oatmeal, brown sugar and butter crust is better than a traditional pie crust because it is crumbly and provides the perfect base for the pumpkin mixture. The pie like filling has cream cheese in it. Hello! I didn’t think pumpkin pie could be more delicious until this moment. Then the butterscotch chips add the perfect finish to the top.

Trust me, you are going to want to finish off the whole pan of these, so bring your self control to the kitchen and go bake these up!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bars Recipe

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Ingredients

Crust and Topping 

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of butter, cold
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats, uncooked

Filling 

  • 1 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare a 13 x 9 baking dish by lining it in aluminium foil (I recommend the non-stick type) and spraying it with cooking spray. Allow the foil to fold over the rim so you can easily pick up the bars for cutting later.
  3. To make the crust and topping combine flour, sugar and brown sugar. Then cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or fork and knife. The mixture will be crumbly and have little pockets of butter (this makes for a delicious crust).
  4. Mix in oats and then reserve 1 cup of the mixture for the topping.
  5. Press remaining mixture into the bottom of your pan to create the crust.
  6. Mix together the pumpkin, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.
  7. Pour mixture over the crust and then sprinkle remaining crust mixture on top.
  8. Sprinkle butterscotch chips over the top.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Allow dish to cool before cutting. You can wait about 10-15 minutes and lift the dish out by the foil or wait until it is completely cooled.
  11. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!

Just like a pumpkin pie, I loved this bar hot and cold. You could personalize this dish by adding chocolate chips to the top or maybe mixing a little bourbon into the filling. Whatever you do, enjoy this variation of pumpkin pie as much as you want before the season is over!

 

Homemade Dog Treats

Meet Meyer. She is (in my opinion) the world’s greatest wiener dog. 

 

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She was break your heart cute as a puppy.

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She is not a fan of selfies.

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She is not a fan of the costumes that I like to torture her with.

And bath time makes her sad. 

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But the one thing that makes her sleeping in the sun with a rubber chicken kind of happy…are my homemade dog treats.

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When Meyer was a puppy I used to have the “no people food” rule, but the first time I gave her a baby carrot as a treat and she devoured it, that rule got kicked to the curb. If I am chopping veggies, Meyer is eating the scraps. Kale, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, celery, and peppers are some of her favorites. (Note: Never give your dog: grapes, raisins, avocados, mushrooms, onions and garlic)

I started making dog treats for Meyer when I realized that I was tired of paying for treats that contained a bunch of ingredients I didn’t recognize. (We can analyze why I don’t treat my own diet this way another time.) I have found some easy ways to make treats that are healthy and budget friendly for your favorite four-legged friends.

Sweet Potato Treats 

Meyer’s favorite neighbor got her hooked on dehydrated sweet potato treats. Once I figured out how easy they were to make at home, I knew I had to make this a staple in our house as well.

These couldn’t be easier. Slice a sweet potato and then lay flat on a baking sheet and dehydrated in your oven. Literally, that is it.

  • I use a mandolin and put it on the thicker setting because Meyer likes it chewy and not crispy.
  • Grease a baking sheet and lay out the slices flat.
  • Bake in an oven between 175 to 250 degrees and let it go low and slow to dehydrate the potatoes.
  • The length of time depends on the thickness of the slices, at 175 and thick you could leave them in there for up to 8 hours. At thinner slices at 250, 3 hours tops. I usually keep an eye on them and when they dried out, pull them out and let them cool down before storing them.
  • Since there are no preservatives in these (like the ones you find at the store) they will go bad after about 7-10 days.
You can also bake a whole sweet potato and give that to the pups. I totally cheat and get the potatoes that are wrapped in plastic and throw one in a microwave for Meyer and she loves it.

Doggie Birthday Cake

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup of shredded carrots (this is optional, Meyer loves baby carrots as a treat/bone, so I threw them in)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions 

  • Mix all the ingredients together and then bake at 350 for 15-20 mins. 
  • You can frost the cake with plain yogurt. I watered down some peanut butter and then put it in a zip loc bag, then snipped the corner and wrote on the cake like it was icing. (Obviously, completely unnecessary because dogs can’t read, but it looked good for pics)

Homemade Frosty Paws 

These frozen treats are a hit at any Pup Party, but they are way too expensive for my taste. Once you learn how easy they are to make, you will always have a Frosty Paw on hand for your pup.

Ingredients 

  • 32 ounces of pain yogurt
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (i usually add a lil more because Meyer loves it so much)

Instructions 

  • Throw all of these ingredients into a blender and blend. Seriously, it is that easy.
  • I pour the mixture into small paper cups and then put in the freezer until solid. You can also put them in muffin tins and it will pop right out, but I like that I can just throw the cup away and the melting treat doesn’t get all over the place.
  • This batch makes a ton of treats, so you can half it if you want.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Treats

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This recipe is the most complicated, but worth it.  I make these treats around the holidays as a gift for my friends who have dogs from Meyer.

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (whatever you prefer, you can do whole wheat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions 

  • Set oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and it should end up being a stiff dough. If you need to, you can add a little water if it is too dry.
  • I roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to cut out individual treats. I have built a cookie cutter collection that contains bone, weiner dog, squirrel, alligator (Go Gators), and fire hydrant. 
  • If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can also just roll the dough into a log and cut in into rounds like cookies.
  • Bake for about 30-40 mins, you want them to be hard, not soft like a human cookie.

 

Many of the ingredients that I use are good for dogs with sensitive stomachs (pumpkin is great), but if you are not sure how your pup will react to any of these ingredients, I recommend giving them just a tiny taste to test it out.

 

Do you have any homemade treats that you pup loves? Please share!

White Chicken Chili

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Every cook has a few signature recipes. The ones that people talk about for years after they have had it. They beg for you to make it. If you are serving that dish, you can be certain the line will be long. Somewhere along the way, White Chicken Chili has become my  signature dish.

I guess it all started with my annual Pumpkin Carving Party. I put out a huge spread of chili and all the fixins. Everyone serves themselves and piles on whatever toppings they would like. I thought the chili bar itself would be the star of the show, but it turned out that my White Chicken Chili was what left everyone talking. This dish has also been the back to back winner at my company Chili Cook Off (humble brag) and people beg me for the recipe, so here it is! I love to top mine with crushed tortilla chips, sour cream and jalapeños.

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2-3 cloves garlic diced finely
  • 1 can chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup of frozen white sweet corn
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 boxes chicken broth (or 32 ounces)
  • 1 can white Northern beans
  • 2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 bar of Velveeta

Seasoning

All seasoning can be adjusted to your preference.

  • 1 tablespoon White Pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder

If you want to make life easier, you can use McCormick’s White Chicken Chili seasoning packet. This is a great substitute

Instructions 

1. Over a medium high heat brown the ground chicken.

2. Remove the ground chicken and drain most of the fat from the pan, leaving just enough to sauté your vegetables.

3. Sauté onions, bell pepper, celery, and jalapeño until soft. Add garlic in once it is translucent so that it doesn’t burn.

4. Add cooked ground chicken back to the pot.

5. Add chicken broth to the pot and stir until incorporated.

6. Drain the can of beans and add to the pot and add frozen white corn.

7. Allow the mixture to just come to a boil and then stir in your preferred combination of seasoning.

8. Add shredded pepper jack cheese and Velveeta and stir until melted.

9. Once seasoning is incorporated, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Top off your chili with your choice of fixins: crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, jalapenos, shredded cheese, tomatillo salsa, saltine crackers – the possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my friends and family have!