Fresh Corn Salad

I have been saving this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for awhile and decided to add it to our menu for Ella's family birthday party. It was the one new recipe I was trying for the big event and luckily it turned out to be a hit. I loved all the fresh crisp flavors and if you don't add all the arugula at once, the rest saves well and you just add the leaves when you are ready to eat again. I will definitely be making this again and again! Maybe next time I'll remember to get a picture of my own before we eat it all!

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper
4 ears fresh corn
1/2 cup finely diced red onion (cut to same size as the clusters of corn kernels), soaked in ice water for 20 minutes and patted dry (I totally forgot to do this, but it was fine)
1/2 cup cucumber, seeded, not peeled if unwaxed, then diced to same size of onions
1/2 cup red or orange sweet pepper, diced to same size as onions
1/2 cup cherry or pear tomatoes, halved or quartered
3 T parsley, finely torn
1 T basil leaves or buds, pulled apart
1 T fresh jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, very finely diced*
1/2 t sea salt or kosher salt
2 cups small arugula leaves

1. For dressing, in a glass bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar, the 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper until sugar is dissolved. Let dressing stand while preparing salad.
2. For salad, cut corn kernels from cobs. In a large bowl toss corn and remaining ingredients except sea salt and arugula leaves.
3. To serve, transfer salad to large serving bowl. Season with the 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Add the dressing; gently thread in arugula leaves. Serve immediately. (Cucumbers and tomatoes will begin to break down.) Makes 8 servings

Serves 8: Calories 77, Protein(gm) 2, Carbohydrate(gm) 17, Fat, total(gm) 1, Dietary Fiber, total(gm) 2, Sugar, total(gm) 10

Pasta, Cheese and Trees

pasta and trees
This recipe was in a recent issue of Parents magazine and I knew that the kids and I would love it. Broccoli is one of our favorite veggies and we don't eat a lot of pasta dishes, so it is always welcome in the dinner line up. It was easy and pretty good. The ricotta didn't get as creamy as I was hoping, but the flavor was still good. My husband didn't think it should be considered a meal on it's own though :-).

•1 pound penne, corkscrew pasta, or medium shells (I used gluten-free spirals)
•1 pound broccoli tops
•1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
•2 tablespoons butter, cut up
•3 cloves garlic, chopped
•1 cup ricotta cheese (I used skim)
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, pull apart broccoli into small "trees." Put the broccoli into a pot and add enough water to just cover the tops. Bring the water to a boil and add 4 pinches salt. Cook for 5 minutes once the water comes to a boil. Drain.
2. Pour EVOO and butter into a deep frying pan and heat over low heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic and cook 5 minutes. Stir in broccoli and cooked pasta. Add ricotta and Parmesan, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Sausage and Spinach Rice Bowls

sausage spinach rice bowl
I found this meal idea on Fabulously Delicious. It was easy, fast and super tasty. I ate it for I think 4 meals as leftovers over the next few days and still loved it! Sometimes I topped it with some shredded cheese too, which made it even better. Next time I want to try it with quinoa...I think it would be fab!

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I brown rice, but I think I'll use quinoa next time)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1/2 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 4-oz can sliced mushrooms
(I added 1 14 oz can of artichokes, drained)
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (jarred or fresh)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and onion; cook, stirring to crumble sausage, until sausage is cooked through and onion is tender. Stir in garlic; cook 2 minutes more. Add mushrooms and peppers, stir to combine, then add spinach. Cook until spinach is just wilted. Stir in rice, mix well to combine and continue cooking until heated through.

Red Chile Chicken Tacos

red chile chicken tacos
I was looking for a slow cooker meal and came across this recipe I had saved from a Rachael Ray magazine. Although you do need to do some prep first and let the chicken marinade over night, the rest came together quickly. These may not be my most favorite tacos ever, but they were still a fun way to mix up our tacos. I enjoyed the sweet and spicy flavor of the chicken with the crunch of the slaw. I used the leftover chicken for quesadillas the next day and they were super yummy too!

* 4 dried chiles (such as pasilla negro and ancho)
* Boiling water
* 1 can (15 oz.) sliced pineapple with its juice
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1/2 onion, peeled
* 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* Salt and pepper
* 1 whole chicken (4 lbs.) (I used 4 breasts)
* 1/4 head red cabbage, cored
* 4 carrots, peeled and halved
* 1 bunch scallions, greens chopped
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 12 corn tortillas
* 8 ounce log goat cheese

1. Tear the chiles into pieces; discard the stems and seeds. Place in a bowl.; add boiling water just to cover (place a plate on top to keep submerged). Let soak until tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chiles and 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add 2 pineapple slices, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, the orange juice, onion, brown sugar, cumin, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Blend until smooth; transfer to a large bowl.
2. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat dry and add to the bowl with the chile puree, turning to coat the skin and fill the cavity. Cover and refrigerate for a least 3 hours or overnight.
3. Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large slow cooker. Cover; cook on high until the chicken is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh away from the bone registers 165 degrees , about 3 1/2 hours.
4. Meanwhile, using a food processor, fitted with the shredding disk, shred the cabbage and carrots. Transfer to a bowl; mix in the scallion greens. Chop 4 pineapple slices; toss with the cabbage mixture.
5. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour the juices and marinade into a 1-qt. glass measuring cup; let stand until the fat rises to the top. Skim the fat from the juices. Transfer the juices to a medium saucepan; simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Using 2 forks, shred the meat. Discard the skin and bones.
6. Meanwhile, mix the mayo and 1/4 cup pineapple juice into the slaw; season.
7. Add the chicken to the reduced chile juices; cook until heated through. Warm the tortillas. Place about 1/4 cup chicken on each tortilla. Top with the slaw and crumbled goat cheese.

Jalapeno Popper Stufffed Chicken

jalapeno popper chicken
I have had this recipe from Skinnytaste bookmarked to try for awhile and knew it was perfect for my first meal back in the kitchen since our trip. My two youngest had a fun time helping me make them and actually ate their helpings! I think it definitely gets them more excited to try things when they were a part of the creation. They were a big hit with the whole family. I just had a leftover one for lunch today and was reminded how yummy they were. Plus, I always think stuffed chicken looks so fancy :-)!

* 2 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
* 3 jalapeƱos, chopped (remove seeds for milder...I removed all and they were SUPER mild)
* 3 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
* 4 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar/jack (I used 2% Mexi blend)
* 2 tbsp chopped scallions
* 8 thin sliced skinless chicken breast cutlets, 3 oz each (I used 4 breasts, pounded to thin)
* 1/2 cup Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs (I used GF Italian crumbs)
* 1 1/2 juicy limes, juice of
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* salt and fresh pepper
* olive oil non-stick spray

Wash and dry chicken cutlets, season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.
Combine cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeƱo and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.
Lay chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.
Place breadcrumbs in a bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.
Bake 22-25 minutes, serve immediately.

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 2 stuffed breasts • Calories: 371 • Fat: 17.5 g • Protein: 42.7 g • Carb: 11 g • Fiber: 1.5 g • Sugar: 0.6 g Sodium: 355.8 mg (without salt)

Back in the Kitchen!

I spent the last month on a 5,000 mile trip with my family in an RV.
It was actually awesome although a little crazy at times, but we did it and we made it :-).
After a week back at home catching up on laundry and life, but mostly laundry,
I think I am ready to get back in the kitchen and start trying some new healthy recipes again.
I'll be back to posting again later this week!

(and if you are curious about our adventures in the RV,
you can check out my personal blog where I documented the entire trip)