Butternut Squash Soup (GF, DF, Paleo) — Guest Post

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Today I’m posting a delicious, healthy butternut squash soup recipe over on Vylette. I met Julie, the author behind the blog, at the Maiedae mixer a couple months ago and have stayed in touch ever since! Julie has such a warm, inviting personality and I’m so glad we started chatting at the mixer. She’s one of those people you can instantly connect with. I am honored she asked me to post on her blog. Her posts are always beautiful and inspiring!

Since we’re still in Thanksgiving-countdown mode, I wanted to share an easy recipe you just might not have thought of yet that would be perfect for the holiday: butternut squash soup! I make it several times each fall and it is naturally gluten free, and can easily be made dairy free, paleo, vegetarian, and vegan! Hooray for addressing everyone’s dietary concerns!

Click here to check out the full recipe and see all of the wonderful posts Julie has on her lifestyle blog!

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Questions? Comments? Let me know!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Mashed Sweet Potatoes. (GF)

 5 simple ingredients come together to create a comforting side dish perfect for holidays, guests, or just a weeknight meal!

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It’s the week of Thanksgiving!!! The last month has been an absolute WHIRLWIND and I’m so thankful for a week off to catch up on every area of my life. You too? I thought so.

All you need is a scoop of creamy, lusciously savory spinach & goat cheese mashed sweet potatoes to know holiday time is here. Not that you couldn’t make it year-round (guilty!), but it’s the type of dish that looks and tastes fancy. I mean spinach + goat cheese + sweet potatoes? That could definitely be on a restaurant menu.

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So, if you’re looking for a really unique side to bring to impress all your foodie friends, or you just want to step up your weeknight dinner game, you’ve got to make this dish.

Also–feel free to swap out the spinach for kale depending on what you have on hand! Enjoy!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Mashed Sweet Potato

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (I used 1 large and 2 medium)
  • 4 cups chopped spinach
  • 3/4-1 cup milk (I used non-fat)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • Freshly cracked pepper and sea salt

1). Bring a large pot of water to a boil Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-2 inch cubes. Add the sweet potatoes to the boiling water and cook for about 15 minutes or until softened.

2). Drain the sweet potatoes. To the now empty pot, add the spinach, milk, and goat cheese and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Turn off the heat and add salt and pepper.

3). Add the sweet potatoes back to the pot. Mash until you reach your preferred consistency. Add more milk if necessary. Enjoy!

Servings: about 4. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 181 Carbs: 22g Fat: 6g Protein: 10g Fiber: 3g Points+: 5 
Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili. (GF)

A cozy fall chili recipe made in the crock pot that your whole family will love!

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Oh October.

I love you.

You’re the month of bonfires, football, plaid, boots, and scarves.

And ever-changing brightly colored leaves.

And, of course, #pumpkinallthethings! Yes, even chili!

You know what’s awesome about putting pumpkin in chili? You can’t taste it, but it thickens the chili up (yay texture!) and you get all kinds of important vitamins and nutrients (yay health!).

Did you know pumpkins have a large amount of vitamin A, fiber, beta-carotene (an anti-oxidant), potassium, vitamin C, and more? Now we can all feel good about our pumpkin-obsessions because they’re so good for us! Yes yes yes.

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If you have non-pumpkin loving friends and family, you should definitely still make this chili. I promise you really can’t taste the pumpkin! Pumpkin alone does not have a very strong flavor; it’s all of those strong fall spices that are usually added to pumpkin baked goods that make it stand out. Since this is a savory recipe, none of those spices are present. What does that mean for us? Nice, even flavored chili.

This recipe comes together very quickly. After you cook your meat (ground beef or turkey, whatever you prefer!), add all the other ingredients together in the crock pot. Let it cook all day, and when you come home you’ll be greeted with piping hot chili and a wonderful aroma.

Sound perfect? It pretty much is.

Then all that’s left to do is light a pumpkin candle (tell me I’m not alone), cozy up on the couch with a big bowl of this hearty stuff, and revel in autumn’s arrival!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 large can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin

1). Cook the ground meat and chopped onion in a large skillet until the meat is cooked through and the onion is soft.

2). Spray the crock pot with cooking spray. Add the cooked meat and all the other ingredients. Stir to combine.

3). Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Servings: 6. Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 434 Carbs: 57g Fat: 8g Protein: 37g Fiber: 14g Points+: 11 Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette.

My go-to balsamic vinaigrette recipe–quick, healthy, and easy!

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I can’t help but think about all the holidays (also: holiday food) that will be here soon, so I’m hoping this recipe will make eating salads more exciting in the meantime! Once the weather turns cold I don’t find myself craving crisp salads as much, but thankfully here in the south we’re still having highs in the 80’s, and my tomato plant is still producing lots of tomatoes, so salads are here to stay for now!

But let’s be honest…with a vinaigrette this delish we eat salads year-round.

Making a homemade vinaigrette is easy and I PROMISE it barely takes 5 minutes, but it makes a huge difference in the end result of your salad. I’m the first to admit that I don’t aaaaaaaalways make my own dressings, but I really prefer them. Not only do you have 100% control over every ingredient (goodbye crazy ingredients you can’t pronounce!), but they just have so. much. flavor!

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I like making my vinaigrettes in mason jars because I can measure straight into the jars, AND shake ’em up right in the container before serving. I also prefer using agave nectar over honey, but if you don’t have any agave nectar you can make that substitution. I also like a tart vinaigrette, but if you taste it and find it’s too tart for your liking, simply increase the olive oil by about 1/4 cup. It will dilute the balsamic vinegar for you.

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One of my favorite salad combinations? Lettuce, homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, avocado, a sprinkle of feta cheese, and this vinaigrette. Add some grilled chicken and you have yourself a complete meal!

Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette.

  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp agave nectar (start with 1 and add more from there if it tastes too tart)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • sea salt and black pepper

1). Combine all ingredients in a jar (or bowl) and shake (or whisk) to combine.

Servings: about 12. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 90 Carbs: 2g Fat: 9g Points+: 3 Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

A gluten-free copycat of a restaurant favorite that’s full of bold flavor!

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Even before I had to begin eating gluten-free, I always loved lettuce wraps. They’re light, crunchy, and (mostly) healthy. When I came across this recipe, I was hopeful it would be a successful Asian dish I could make at home. The verdict? Definitely a keeper.

I broke down and bought a new-to-me ingredient for this recipe: mirin. I did a lot of research trying to figure out a way to get around purchasing it, but none of the replacements were any more convenient. I used to shy away from cooking Asian dishes because of the long list of ingredients I didn’t have in my pantry. About a year and a half ago I broke down and finally bought some of those staples, and I’m so glad I did! Now I have a little corner in my pantry dedicated to those types of ingredients. They last quite a while, so if you’re wondering if you should invest in those specialty ingredients, do it!

Ok, back to this awesome recipe.

After the small pieces of chicken breast are coated in a mixture of corn starch and GF soy sauce, the go into a hot skillet until cooked. The cornstarch helps give the chicken an amazing texture when it cooks. The last step is to let the chicken and zucchini/garlic simmer in a perfectly sweet-and-spicy sauce, giving each bite tonsssss of flavor. We both thought it was pretty spicy (in a good way!), so be ready for it!

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I used gluten-free soy sauce but you can use regular if that’s not an issue for you. If you aren’t a fan of lettuce wraps, you can also serve this over rice! Thanks to the quick stir-fry method, this came together really quickly, making it a great weeknight meal. I hope you’ll try it!

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Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1lb chicken breasts, chopped very small
  • 3 Tablespoons GF tamari or soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoons + 1 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped small
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce but iceburg or baby romaine work well too)

1). In a large bowl, combine the chopped chicken breast with 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and 1 Tablespoon cornstarch. Make sure each piece is evenly coated.

2). Add the other 2 Tablespoons of GF tamari/soy sauce, mirin, sriracha, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil together in a bowl.

3). In a small separate bowl, stir the water into the remaining Tablespoon of cornstarch, THEN stir into the soy sauce mixture (from step 2). Set aside for later.

4). Heat 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan (or wok, if you have one) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink. Remove from pan to a plate and set aside.

5). Add 1 tsp vegetable oil to the pan and add the zucchini. Stir fry until crisp tender. Add the minced garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.

6). Add the chicken back to the pan along with the sauce from step 2. Let it simmer for a few minutes until it reduces slightly.

Servings: 5. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 177  Carbs: 11g Fat: 7g Protein: 20g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g Points+: 5 Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

My 5 Favorite Apple Recipes for Fall.

Now that it’s almost October, I’m starting to get on board with all the fall things! The weather has turned a little bit cooler and the leaves are starting to change, so I’m starting to accept the fact that summer is over and fall is here.

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Yesterday my friend and I picked apples and  now I have no less than 50 apples to use up. So, here are my favorite apple-based recipes in case you pick up some fresh fruit, too! These recipes scream fall to me and are tried-and-true. Some of them are pretty indulgent, so enjoy in moderation.

Easy Crock Pot Apple Butter

If I have to choose one apple recipe to make each year, it’s this one!! It’s fool-proof. I’ve been making this for years and it always turns out fantastic. It’s so easy to do because I let it cook in the crock pot overnight. In fact, I made this last night and woke up in the middle of the night to the sweet aroma of apples and cinnamon. I LOVE the way it makes my house smell, and the taste is even better! Make a large quantity and freeze some of it for later.

The Best Apple Pie Ever. 

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Now, if my husband could pick just one apple recipe for me to make, it would be this one. I use my one-minute homemade pie crust to hold in those sweet, juicy apple slices. They get tossed in a rich butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture before baking, and some of that lovely mixture gets brushed on the crust. It is sooooo ridiculously good.

Apple Crisp Muffins

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Super sweet muffins with real chunks of apple in the batter, then finished with an oat topping reminiscent of an apple crisp (hence the name). There’s enough sweetness that these can be dessert instead of breakfast!

Autumn Chopped Salad

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This salad is ahhhhmazing. There’s lots of yummy things like crunchy romaine, feta, peanuts, cranberries, bacon, a pear, and (of course) an apple! Toss the whole thing in a combination of poppyseed dressing and balsamic vinegar (seriously, so delicious) and dive in!

Easy Crock Pot Apple Sauce

Here’s another super easy crock pot recipe. You can make this refined sugar free by simply omitting the sugar. Like the apple butter, it all cooks down in the crock pot, but the apple sauce takes about half the time (6 hours). When it’s done it looks like this:

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What is your favorite apple recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Roasted Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Sauce.

An easy, home-made version of my favorite jarred marinara sauce made with roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion, carrots, and fresh basil!

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I’m pressing pause on the apple, cinnamon, pumpkin-everything recipes, even though we’re a few days away from the official start of fall. My garden is exploding with beautiful summer fruit (now more-so than ever!), and I bet I’m not the only one!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know this year was my first year planting a garden, and you also know I recently harvested dozens of tomatoes. Until now, I’ve been able to pick a couple tomatoes from the garden each day ad incorporate them in simple caprese or garden salads. Last weekend was a game-changer! I had two buckets full of tomatoes and I realized I was going to have to use them up in a large quantity all at once.

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I asked for your opinion on what I should make. Some said marinara, some said salsa, and some said gazpacho. Having spent time in Spain, I loooove gazpacho and was ready to make it until I realized I would be the only one in my family eating it. I was leaning toward marinara sauce, but I dreaded having to peel so many tomatoes. I know the trick about blanching them in boiling water, but it still seemed overly time-consuming. I wanted big flavor without slaving away in the kitchen all day, ya know?

Thankfully, an extended family member suggested an easier alternative to marinara sauce that included roasting the tomatoes first (hooray for not peeling tomatoes!!!). I tweaked her recipe a little bit and included carrots for some sweetness with the onion and garlic.

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Oh, and I roasted a WHOLE head of garlic for this recipe. I’m glad I did, because the garlic flavor was still subtle even with the large quantity I used! Have you ever roasted garlic before? I hadn’t either–but it is SOOOOO easy. Much faster than having to take out individual cloves. Are you ready? It’s done in 3 steps

1). Cut the top (pointy) side of the garlic bulb about 1/3 of the way down, so the tops of the garlic cloves are exposed.

2). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3). Wrap in foil and place in the oven. Ta-da!

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I am probably going to be roasting garlic for everything now! The little garlic foil packet roasted right on the oven rack next to my giant pan of tomatoes and veggies for about 40 minutes. More room on my baking pan = more tomatoes get used!

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When the liquid in the veggies has evaporated and all the tomatoes are shriveled up (lovely imagery, no?), you know they’re ready to take out. For me, that was about 40-45 minutes at 400F. Let them cool a little bit and then get out the food processor.

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Seriously, I love my food processor. It makes fancy sauces so easy. If you don’t have one, use a blender. Scraaaaaaaaaaape all that yummyness off the pan, straight into the food processor. Don’t forget about the garlic!! The cloves are soft and easy to squeeze out, so add them all to the big roasted veggie party. Did I just call it a party? Yes I did.

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Taste and add whatever you think would be good: balsamic vinegar, more olive oil, parmesan cheese, more seasoning, a touch of sugar, fresh basil, etc. I love basil in my sauce, so I added a small handful of leaves and processed them together. My sauce was thick (which I actually like), but you can thin yours out with more olive oil if you prefer a looser sauce.

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What do you like to do with fresh tomatoes? Let me know in the comments!

Roasted Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Sauce

Yield: about 2 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1-2 dozen chopped tomatoes, depending on size. (I used cherry and regular tomatoes, enough to fill 1 large baking sheet)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly cracked sea salt and pepper
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • Fresh basil (I used about 8 leaves)

1). Pre-heat the oven to 400F. For the roasted garlic: cut off about 1/3 of the top of the garlic bulb (pointy side). Cut enough so the tops of the garlic cloves are now exposed. Place on foil, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap up tightly and bake directly on the oven rack with the tray of tomatoes.

2). Place the chopped tomatoes, carrot, and onion on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

3). Remove the garlic and veggies. Let them cool about 15 minutes before scraping into the food processor. Add a small handful of fresh basil. Pulse until smooth. Taste and re-season, if necessary. You may need to add more olive oil for a looser sauce, balsamic vinegar for tang, sugar to sweeten, or more basil based on your preferences!

Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron. Thanks to family for the inspiration!!

 

1-Minute Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake.

A rich, indulgent chocolate cake that’s gluten-free, full of chocolate flavor, and made in a mug. It’s the easiest cake you’ll ever make! 

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Baking is fun, but it’s not something I do often. In fact, I rarely bake unless there’s an event coming up where a dessert is requested. With only 2 people in our home, there’s no need to have large quantities of desserts lying around, and I try to keep our sugar consumption to a minimum.

With that being said, every now and then there are times when one of us (ok, me) would really like a sliver of (gluten-free) chocolate cake. How am I supposed to have just a sliver without baking an entire cake and having the rest of it on our kitchen counter for days? Solution: 1-Minute chocolate mug cake.

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Have you ever made a mug cake? My first attempt was in college, and it was aaaaaawful. Talk about tasteless cardboard! Bleh. I blacklisted all mug cake recipes after that major fail.

But then, a few years ago, I had great success making a vanilla mug cake, and my faith in these types of recipes was revived. Just a couple weeks ago I came across this recipe and thought–why not?! I’m so glad I tried it because it turned out great and it was a fast way to make a small amount of gluten-free cake–perfect for 2 people.

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Reasons I love this recipe:

  1. It makes 1 large mug, perfect for two people to share.
  2. It does not require heavy clean-up. Just a measuring spoon, fork, and a mug!
  3. It is EASY. If you can measure and mix, you can make this.
  4. It is rich and will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving.
  5. It is super quick to whip up. Just 1 minute of cooking, after all!

All in all, you can probably make this in 3 minutes, and that includes measuring and cooking. I know some of you out there barely have 5 minutes to spare, so this recipe is perfect for you busy folks!

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Did I mention it actually tastes good? It’s sweet, chocolate-y, and rich. Mine almost had 2 textures to it: light fluffy cake towards the top and rich fudgey brownie on the bottom. This may have been due to the fact I didn’t mix in the baking soda enough, but I actually loved this happy accident. It’s like having my two favorite chocolate desserts in one!

I think if you leave the baking powder out completely you’ll end up with just a chocolate brownie. I haven’t tried that yet, so if you try it, let me know!

1-Minute Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or butter, if you prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons gum-free all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used King Arthur’s GF mix)
  • About 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1).  Add coconut oil and sugar to a large mug, mason jar, or ramekin.

2). Put the mug in the microwave on high power for 30 seconds, then stir.

3). Whisk in the egg and vanilla until well-combined.

4). Mix in the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt with a fork. Mix until very-well combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.

5). Microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it’s cooked through. Mine was perfect at this point but microwaves vary, so add 15 seconds. Do not overcook it or it will become very tough.

Servings: 2, or 1 very generous serving. Approximate Nutritional Information: Calories: 263 Carbs: 33g Fat: 14g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 21g Protein: 4g Points+: 7. Recipe adapted from here.

Taco Stuffed Squash (or Zucchini) Boats.

Squash boats nestled in salsa, filled with zesty taco meat, and topped with cheese. A new twist on taco night!

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Everyone loves tacos, right? Right. This recipe is a new take on a taco, and a great way to get in a serving of vegetables. Same taco flavor you love and expect, just using a healthier, gluten-free alternative. I used yellow squash because I had a ton, but if you have zucchini feel free to use that instead! My husband doesn’t love yellow squash but he went back for seconds on this dish!

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The meat in the boats is really flavorful due to a low-and-slow simmer in a homemade taco seasoning. Fear not–homemade does not have to equal complicated! It’s made with just cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. There’s no need for a taco seasoning packet filled with all sorts of additives when making your own is this simple! Chances are you already have those spices sitting in your pantry right this very moment.

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To make the squash into “boats”, you have to spoon out the seeds in the middle. You can’t do this easily without cooking the squash first. Lucky for you I tried that method to see if I could skip a step and the answer is clear: NOPE! If you’re using zucchini, you might be able to do this with a melon baller while they’re raw. Regardless, you need to cook the boats before you stuff them because the final bake in the oven is not going to be long enough to cook them start to finish.

So, you have two options:

  1. Boil the squash halves in a pot of water for a few minutes.
  2. Bake the squash cut-side-down on a pan at 400F for about 12-15 minutes.

I prefer the second option for many reasons:

  • It gives me time to cook the meat mixture while they’re baking, so I don’t have to multi-task too much.
  • I actually think it enhances the flavor because you sprinkle them with oil, salt, and pepper before baking.
  • I’m going to preheat the oven to 400F anyway, so that’s not an inconvenience.
  • It reduces the final bake time because they’re more cooked through with this method.
  • And finally, covering the pan with foil = no clean up, while boiling in water = a pot to clean up.

Let’s be honest, that last point was the real reason. : )

But, if you’d rather boil the halves then go for it! Either way, let them cool before you scoop out the seeds in the middle.

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Would you try this? Does your family have a taco night? Let me know in the comment section below. I see a lot of “Taco Tuesday” posts on social media. I love experimenting in the kitchen a liiiiiiittle too much to dedicate an entire meal every week to the same dish, but I can definitely see the appeal!

Taco Stuffed Squash.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 squash or zucchini depending on size (I had a couple tiny ones so I used 6), cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2-3/4 cup mild salsa
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, minced
  • 4 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions or cilantro, for topping

1). Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Lightly drizzle squash with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash face down on the pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Allow them to cool a few minutes until they aren’t too hot to touch, then use a spoon to scoop out the center of each half. Reserve this to add to the meat mixture (optional).

2). While the squash is baking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meat. Add the onion and bell pepper. When the meat is no longer pink, add the spices, leftover squash, tomato sauce, 1/4 cup salsa and water. Stir, cover, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

3). Meanwhile, spread about 1/4-1/2 cup salsa in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange the squash boats in the baking dish. Add 1/3 cup of meat to each boat, then sprinkle with about 1 tbsp cheese and some fresh cilantro. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serving size: 2 halves. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 286 Fat: 12g Carbs: 18g Fiber: 5g Protein: 28g Points+: 7
Recipe adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/07/taco-stuffed-zucchini-boats.html

 

Caprese Quinoa Salad.

A healthy, easy side dish filled with bright mediterranean flavors!

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Tomatoes + basil = perfection, am I right? I never get tired of that flavor combination.

I know adding mozzarella to the mix is the most traditional option, but I decided to use feta instead. It’s still very mediterranean, but more flavorful in my opinion. Feta is slightly more tangy and salty than mozzarella, and I think it worked great here. If you prefer mozzarella, use it!

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If you have a garden, this is the perfect way to use up a lot of fresh tomatoes and basil. It’s amazing how such simple ingredients can be so good, am I right? Complicated recipes have their time and place, but this is not one of them, making it perfect for a weeknight meal. Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and you’re good to go!

I served this with grilled chicken breast, but this would be great with fish, pork, beef, whatever! And, if you’re vegetarian, this could become a main dish. You can eat it warm, at room temperature, or cold from the fridge. The leftovers were great, too!

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Do you like caprese salads? Tell me your opinion in the comments section below!

Caprese Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 10-15 basil leaves cut chiffonade
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
  • Generous amount of sea salt (about 3/4 tsp) and freshly cracked black pepper (about 1/2 tsp), to taste

1). In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and quinoa to a boil. Cook according to package directions, about 15-18 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed. Move the quinoa to a large bowl to let it cool.

2). Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl of quinoa, tossing to combine well. Taste and re-season, if necessary. Enjoy immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Servings: about 8 1-cup servings. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 157 Carbs: 17g Fat: 7g Protein: 7g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 2g Points+: 4.
Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.