Fig & Almond Butter Smoothie

Fig & Almond Butter Smoothie

Smoothies are my go to breakfast on weekdays, not only are the light enough to drink before work, but with the right ingredients, they can keep you full all morning long!  As a self-diagnosed obsessive discount shopper, I’m always perusing the aisles in the grocery store looking for a good deal or something new and exciting to add to my favorite recipes.  On a recent trip down the frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s I discovered frozen figs and couldn’t help but think these would be perfect in a smoothie.  While I generally go for the green smoothies for breakfast (if you can’t enough greens, you might as well drink them, right?), this smoothie combination is the perfect sweet treat on a hot day or a great reward after a hard workout- add in some protein powder and split it with your workout buddy!

Fig & Almond Butter Smoothie

ingredients:
1 cup almond milk
1 ripe banana
3 frozen figs
1 tablespoon almond butter

Fig & Almond Butter Smoothie

directions:
Place the almond milk, banana, figs and almond butter in the blender in this order. Blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Serves 1 // 327 calories

Fig & Almond Butter Smoothie

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Another family recipe passed down by my boyfriend’s mom. The recipe was originally featured in Sunset Magazine in the 1960’s and was passed along to me since it was one of Bill’s favorites when he was a kid.  I love everything about soup for dinner, except when it’s 80 degrees out, which thank you Los Angeles– it’s mid March and it already feels like summer.  Any who, this soup is good enough to eat even if it feels like death valley outside by back door.  The plethora of fresh veggies combined with spinach stuffed meatballs (seriously, who can resist meatballs in soup??) will have you wishing winter was coming back in style.   If you’re like me, just crank up the A/C throw on that blanket scarf and chow down with that big bowl of minestrone.  You deserve it!

Minestrone Soup

ingredients:
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
4 cans (14 1/2-oz. each) beef broth
1 can tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup pasta shells

Minestrone Soup

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With hands, squeeze as much moisture from spinach as possible. In large bowl combine spinach, beef, crumbs, egg, salt and pepper. Shape into 1-inch balls. Bake on oiled cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 350: F. Save drippings and set meatballs aside to cool.

In a large pot over medium heat, using the drippings from meatballs, saute onions, stirring occasionally, until soft. Stir in broth, tomatoes (break up with a spoon) and their liquid, beans and their liquid, oregano and basil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add carrots and celery. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Stir in pasta. Cover and simmer until pasta is cooked al dente, about 10 minutes. Place meatballs in soup to reheat thoroughly.

Serve with warm french bread.

Minestrone Soup

Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette

Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette

Counting calories can be one of the hardest ways to diet. Not only do you realize how many calories are in some of your favorite foods, but now you spend hours a day calculating the perfect ratio of breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can squeeze in that 170 calorie soft serve from McDonald’s… At least when you’re just counting you can still eat those things you know are bad in moderation. One of the easiest ways for me to find new low calorie recipes has been by browsing copies of my grandma’s Cooking Light magazines. Not only are the photos saliva inducing, but to date every recipe I have tried has tasted delicious. Bill can’t even tell that we’re eating a “diet” recipe! This recipe is the perfect lunch on a hot spring day– the soba noodle salad is flavorful, yet light and the chicken is moist and tangy thanks to the miso vinaigrette. What are some of your favorite “diet” meal options?

Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette

ingredients:
3 ounces uncooked soba noodles
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon white/yellow miso (soybean paste)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup diagonally sliced green onions
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 (8-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, halved horizontally to form 4 (4-ounce) cutlets
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette

directions:
Prepare soba noodles according to package directions. Add carrot during last minute of cooking. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain.

Combine oil and next 6 ingredients (through honey) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place 2 tablespoons miso mixture in a medium bowl. Add noodle mixture, cabbage, and green onions to remaining miso mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt. Add chicken to reserved 2 tablespoons miso mixture, turning to coat. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with noodle mixture.

Serves 4 // 329 calories

Recipe from Cooking Light

Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette

Turkey Meatball Submarine Sandwiches

Turkey Meatball Submarine Sandwiches

It’s funny how certain recipes become such a staple, but I haven’t had the chance to blog about them. I don’t know if it’s just how easy the recipe is to make or the fact that I’m counting down the seconds until I can get this sandwich in my belly, either way, it’s finally time to share one of my go-to favorite recipes. I’ve definitely shared the meatball recipe before, but this is the perfect use for any of your leftover meatballs. While I prefer to toast/ broil them if I’m home making dinner, but they’re easy to warm up in the microwave for lunch at work. And they might even taste better the next day!

Turkey Meatball Submarine Sandwiches

ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can of your favorite tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
6 wheat sandwich rolls

Turkey Meatball Submarine Sandwiches

directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until the pancetta is crisp and the onion is tender, about 4 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool.

In large bowl, combine the pancetta and onion mixture with the remaining meatball ingredients and stir to combine. Form the turkey mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter, using about 2 tablespoons for each, and place on foil-lined and greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Heat the tomato sauce on medium high until warm. Add cooked meatballs to sauce, tossing to ensure that each meatball is covered.

Slice each sandwich roll in half and remove some of the extra bread in the middle. Coat each side of the sandwich with a spoonful or two of tomato sauce. Add three meatballs to each sandwich. Sprinkle with as much or as little mozzarella cheese as desired. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Turkey Meatball Submarine Sandwiches

Bacon & Egg Chilaquiles

Bacon & Egg Chilaquiles

This brunch & Sunday football equals the perfect Sunday. Since we’re currently in the middle of the football slump, September can’t come soon enough.  This dish will make you forget we have to wait six more months for our favorite sport to return.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a basic breakfast sandwich or an easy bowl of fresh fruit, granola and greek yogurt, but nothing beats homemade brunch. Add in some fresh brewed coffee straight from the French press and you can’t help but be in a good mood. Be forewarned the serving size on this recipe is made to share, but also be forewarned that you’ll be fighting fork and fork over who gets the last bite of these chilaquiles. You could easily swap out the eggs for another protein and make these babies for dinner too.

Bacon & Egg Chilaquiles

ingredients:
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
1 cup organic vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
4 cups tortilla chips (about 40 chips)
6 large eggs
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Bacon & Egg Chilaquiles

directions:
Place tomatoes and jalapeños in a blender. Add broth, salt, and garlic. Cover and process on high speed for 1 minute or until smooth; set aside.

Heat a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes or until just tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato mixture to pan. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chips to pan, and stir to coat with tomato mixture. Crack eggs, 1 at a time, over chips, evenly spacing them in a circle inside pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until eggs are set but still runny in the centers. Remove pan from heat. Top with chopped bacon and arrange avocado slices over eggs. Serve immediately.

Bacon & Egg Chilaquiles