Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Black Bean & Corn Salsa.

One of my favorite new healthy snacks is black bean and corn salsa.

It makes a wonderful “scoop” with tortilla chips.

It is also great all by itself as a salad or piled on top of a grilled chicken breast or fish.

It is light, healthy, crunchy, tangy, low-calorie, high-fiber, and absolutely DELISH too!

Here is how I make it, but you can surely tweak to your liking.  It would be great with a bit of fresh cilantro, which I didn’t have on hand when I made this batch on Sunday.  You could also switch it up with any other kind of bean you like or other veggies like cherry tomatoes or cucumbers.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

  • Servings: approx. 3 cups
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Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or canned corn*
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste (approx. 2 Tbsp)

Directions:

Combine all  vegetables in a bowl.  Stir to combine.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar to taste.

Serve as a salsa for tortilla chips, as a salad, or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.

Store well in airtight refrigerator container for several days.

*TIP:  When we buy fresh corn on the cob in the summer, we always buy a full dozen, though we never eat all of that for the two of us.  We cut the leftover off the cob, throw it in a Ziploc freezer bag, and toss it in the freezer for the winter months or times when fresh corn is not available.  It is so much better than canned corn.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Brussels Slaw

Brussels Slaw.

Who is a Brussels Sprouts fan?

Yes?  No?  Not sure?  Maybe not?

I was chatting with a friend at work last week that said she doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts, but said she wondered how they would be raw in a coleslaw like salad.  She commented that she likes cabbage in coleslaw, but not cooked cabbage.

It got me thinking…..  I am a Brussels sprout fan…. adore them roasted….  but I, too, wondered how they would be shredded and served raw in a slaw-type salad.

Then the universe poked me with a nudge, when I saw bags of  Shaved Brussels at my local Whole Foods Market!  

I bought a bag for me and a bag for my friend.

Trying to eat healthier these days, I decided on a vinaigrette slaw.  My friend made a creamy version using Marzetti slaw dressing, and she and her family loved it.


Here is the recipe for how I made mine.  Hope you will give it a try!

Brussels Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz bag Shaved Brussels Sprouts (or you can slice/shave your own)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sugar (or sweetener)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all together and let marinade in refrigerator for at least a half hour before serving.

You can change it up by adding sliced almonds or chopped apples or anything else you like.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.

I found another gem at our new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market this week – beautiful fresh golden beets!

I love beets – red or gold – but since these are a little harder to find where I live, I was excited to get them.  Golden beets are slightly sweeter and a little less earthy than red beets.  I actually love the earthiness of red beets, but those that don’t might enjoy these.

I love beets hot or cold, plain or fancy, so I decided to make a bit of a fancier salad for our Sunday supper this past week.  Here is my recipe.  Hope you will give it a try.

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small gold or red fresh beets (or a combination of both), cooked* and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Small bunch of arugula or mixed greens of your choice
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 small clementines or oranges
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat pecans or walnuts until warm and beginning to toast.  Add maple syrup and cook and stir to coat.  Remove from heat.  Spread out on cutting board or parchment or waxed paper to cool.

Prepare dressing by squeezing juice of clementine or orange into a small bowl.  Drizzle and whisk in vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place a small bunch of arugula or mixed greens on each of two salad plates.  Top each plate with equal portions of the cut-up beets, followed by clementine or orange slices, toasted candied pecans or walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional coarse black pepper and salt to taste.

*To cook fresh beets, cut greens off top to about an inch from beet.  Place unpeeled fresh beets in a saucepan of water to cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20-40 minutes, depending on size, until beets are fork-tender.  (When you stab with a fork, the beet should slide right back off when done.) Drain under cold water and remove skin with paper towel.  Cool completely for salad.  Cut up after beets have cooled.

Enjoy!

Nothing beats a fresh beet!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips.

I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier and make better food choices.

It’s hard.

While some people crave chocolate and sweets, I am a salty, savory girl.  I will take a crunchy pretzel or chip any day over a Hershey’s Kiss or cookie.

So when I heard about making homemade sweet potato chips, I had to try.

And HOORAY!  They totally satisfied my salty, crunchy chip-loving craving.

These are so easy to make, so delicious to eat, and healthy enough to not feel guilty!

The only tricky part is baking them long enough to get crispy without burning them.

This recipe is what works in my oven in my area.  I have an electric convection oven.  Your baking time may vary.  Just keep watching – and tasting – until you achieve your best results.

The batch pictured here is ONE sweet potato!

Here is how I made them:

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder or dry rub or your favorite seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Thinly slice sweet potato with a mandoline slicer and layer on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and combine to coat well.  Sprinkle with salt and seasoning.  Re-spread evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Continue baking for 10 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Bake 10 more minutes or until edges are browned and chips become crisp.  Remove to paper towels to dry and drain off any excess oil.   Serve immediately and enjoy!

TIP:  Some type of mandoline slicer is really a must as well to get super thin, even slices.

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  Do you see a familiar furry, four-legged friend in the first photo who also loves these sweet potato chips?  (Charlie says “Hi” and wants you to know how good these are!)

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages.

You totally have to love when your grown sons start sharing recipes with you!  I am so proud of the great cooks they have both become (and so happy for the lucky wives they have because of it!!!).

My younger son shared this recipe recently he found online at slenderkitchen.com.  I tweaked it up a bit by changing garlic salt to fresh garlic, oregano to rosemary, doubling the sausage, and zipping it up with horseradish mustard.  It is a healthy, clean eating meal that is gluten-free and Paleo as well.


But it is also super delish!

Imagine a pan full of crispy roasted potatoes coated in a mustard-garlic glaze, caramelized Brussels sprouts, and hearty sausage that only takes about 10 minutes to throw together.

One-pan meals are so awesome, and I love making something that also serves as an extra lunch or two to take the the office and dinner another night that same week.

I roast it all up in my all-time favorite baking pan, the Pampered Chef Large Stoneware Bar Pan.  It is so worth the investment for how beautifully and evenly it bakes and roasts.  I use this pan at least once a week for roasting veggies or baking.  I can’t imagine my kitchen without it.

Here is the recipe for how I made it.  Tweak it up to your tastes and share your ideas!  You could use butternut squash instead of potatoes, cauliflower or carrots or green beans instead of Brussels sprouts.  The ingredients and combinations are pretty limitless.

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks (I used a bag of mixed baby potatoes in white, yellow, and purple and cut them in half)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. whole grain or horseradish mustard (I used horseradish – you can use your favorite!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (you might also like to use oregano – dried or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken sausages (I used two packages of Aldi’s Never Any Brand – one Italian Sausage and one Tomato Basil)
  • 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts (cut in half)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used Malton Sea Salt flakes)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together 2 Tbsp olive oil, mustard, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Toss the potatoes with the mixture, and spread out in a large baking pan.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes, tossing once or twice during roasting.

Remove pan from oven and push potatoes to one side.  Spread out Brussels sprouts on other side of pan evenly.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken sausages in the middle of the pan between the potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees F, and place the pan back in the oven to roast for another 15 minutes.  Shake the pan once or twice during the roasting time to ensure even roasting.

To serve, slice sausages into bite-sized pieces and toss all into a bowl.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa.

I LOVE salsa!

And this time of year when tomato plants in our gardens are overflowing with more tomatoes than we can eat, it is the perfect time to make fresh salsa.

It is so easy to make and so healthy and versatile for snacking or cooking.  I love dipping tortilla chips in it for snack.  It is also my favorite baked potato topping.  Skip the butter and sour cream for me, and pile on the salsa!  Throw frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts in a crockpot on low, top with a pint of salsa, and ignore it for 8 hours.  Return for a delicious, nutritous main course of Salsa Chicken.

There are gajillion ways to make salsa.  You can add corn and black beans for a heartier twist.  You can add chopped peaches or mango for a sweeter twist.  You can add jalapenos or your favorite spicy, hot peppers if heat is your style!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy salsa?

Here is how I made it this past weekend.

Fresh Homemade Salsa

  • Servings: approx. 6 cups
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Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Ripe Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles
  • 1/2 Large Vidalia Sweet Onion, quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Fresh Cilantro (or dried) to taste
  • 3 green onions, cut into pieces
  • Juice of a fresh Lime
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Maldon Sea Salt Flakes or your favorite salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse several times until desired chopped consistency.  Serve immediately or store in a jar or airtight container in refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Roasted Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot Soup.

One day last week I woke up with a sore throat.

And even though the temps lately have been in the 80-90 degrees F range, there is a feeling of Autumn in the air.

In the mood for soup, I decided to create a roasted carrot soup with some vegies I had in the fridge.

It turned out SOOOO good!

I mean – how can you go wrong with roasted vegetables that include onion and garlic and fresh rosemary pureed into a creamy, warm, soothing soup?

You could add some greek yogurt or cream to make it even creamier, but I loved the freshness and healthiness of this soup that tastes like it is loaded with calories, but instead is low-calorie and loaded with flavor!

Hope you will give it a try.  I loved how it turned out!

Roasted Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bag organic short cut carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chunked
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • Maldon Sea Salt Flakes * (which I purchase through Amazon)
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Croutons for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Layer first 8 ingredients in a large stoneware bar pan or shallow roasting pan.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and toss to coat.  Roast 30-40 minutes.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a pot.  Add chicken broth.  Blend with Immersion Blender or in food processor or blender until creamy.  (I love using an immersion blender as it is quick, efficient, and easy to clean up.)

Ladle into bowls, and top with croutons if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*I have become such a huge fan of Maldon Sea Salt!  I’ve always been a salt lover, but these soft, flaky sea salt crystals have a clean salt flavor without the bitter after taste that table salts I’ve always used in the past leave.  It truly provides a freshness that enhances the flavor of food.  I so highly recommend it!  It not only tastes wonderful,  but it is also beautiful to season with.  AND, as a watercolor artist, I love it to use to create textures in my artwork!  I keep mine in a cute little bamboo salt box on the kitchen counter next to the stovetop for ease of grabbing pinches of for cooking.  Bravo Maldon!!  (and this is not a paid promotion in any way, shape, or form – I just seriously love this stuff!)

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Garlic, Rosemary & Browned Butter

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Garlic, Rosemary, and Browned Butter.

O. M. G!

Where have you been all my life spiralized butternut squash?

Many of us have been spiralizing our zucchini squash into beautiful noodles, but am I one of the last on the bandwagon for spiralized butternut squash??!!

So simple…
So quick…
So DELICIOUS!!!

I happened to come across a package of fresh spiral-cut butternut squash at my local Aldi Grocery Store recently.

I thought about pan frying it in butter and garlic, but then chose to roast it like I typically do with cut butternut squash, and WOWZIE PaZOWzie was I pleased!
And so was hubby!

What a quick, easy, delicious, and nutritous treat!

Here is the super simple, yet amazingly delicious way I prepared it.

Roasted Spiral Butternut Squash with Garlic, Rosemary, and Browned Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-oz package of prepared spiral cut butternut squash “noodles” (or spiral cut your own)
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, browned
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. flaked sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Brown butter in skillet.  Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.  Once browned, remove from heat and stir in garlic.

Spread spiral-cut butternut squash “noodles” onto a stoneware bar pan or your favorite shallow baking pan.

Sprinkle with salt.  Drizzle with garlic-enhanced browned butter.  Top with minced rosemary.  Toss to coat all.

Roast for 7-9 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Gluten-Free (Flourless) Banana Oatmeal Bread

Gluten-Free (Flourless) Banana Oatmeal Bread.

When you have a bunch of bananas that ripen before you eat them – and you know nobody will eat them – they are perfect for baking.

I have a really yummy banana bread recipe, but it is not the “healthiest.”  I decided I wanted to make something with less (or no) sugar, and maybe no flour either.

I was excited when I found this super-easy and oh so yummy recipe at The Baker Mama.

It’s been very hot here, so I baked this early on a Sunday morning.  I made one loaf for my youngest son and his wife (my son loves banana bread and my daughter-in-law likes to eat healthy and gluten-free if possible) and one loaf for hubby and me.

My son mentioned that if I added some protein powder to the recipe, it would be the perfect breakfast.  I will have to try that next time.

But how simple is this recipe with five healthy, wholesome ingredients?!

Hope you will give it a try.

Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2  eggs
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and well combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Garnish the top of the batter with thinly sliced bananas or pecans or walnuts, if desired).

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Do not overbake or bread will be dry tasting.

Let loaf cool completely in pan. Store in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator,

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad.

I love broccoli  – cooked or raw.
And I love broccoli salad.

The traditional version has a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing, and it is delicious!

But I was looking for a way to “lighten it up” a bit when making dinner one day this week, so I tried it with a vinaigrette dressing instead.

And it is DELISH too!

It is lighter and fresher tasting, and it is about half the calories of the traditional version!

This really is a nice twist on a classic that is healthier and just as yummy.

Here is how I made it.

Lightened Up Vinaigrette Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 thinly sliced, chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 large sweet red pepper, thinly sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices bacon, diced and cooked
  • Vinaigrette:
    • 2 Tbsp apple cider (or your favorite – red wine, white, etc.) vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 Tbsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:  Combine first seven ingredients in large bowl.  Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over salad and toss to coat well.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi