Monday, June 17, 2013

Brown Rice & Broccoli Bake

Yum, yum, yum...This recipe taste like it should be a guilty pleasure, but its NOT! This is a healthier version of Chicken Divine Casserole. By replacing pasta with brown rice and mayo with a simple low-fat roux, this recipe is one healthy crowd pleaser.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 flour
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used organic unsweetened soy)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup low-fat cheddar cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for topping)
  • 1/2 parmesan 
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rice (cook according to directions)
  • 2 cups chopped chicken

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Put the olive oil in a medium heat pan. Add the onion and cook until it is tender, then add the garlic. After the garlic has been in the pan for about 3 minutes add your flour, let the flour cook for 1 minute. Then add your milk and chicken stock, stir until it thickens which will take about 3-5 minute. Make sure you keep stirring the entire time!!

3. Once the sauce has thickened stir in the salt, pepper and mustard. Once that is well combined add both cheeses. After the cheese has melted into gooey goodness, stir in the broccoli. Set mixture aside.

4. Grab your casserole dish and grease it!

5. Fluff the brown rice and place all of it in a layer on the bottom of the casserole dish. Place the cubed chicken on top of the rice.

6. Place the broccoli and cheese roux on top of the rice and chicken in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake covered for 25 minute. Take the cover off and bake for an additional 5 minutes to make it a little brown on top!

Sparkling Summer Sangria

This sangria recipe was brought to life through the my love of champagne! It is simple to throw together the night before a party so that you don't have to worry about it serving everyone individual drink at the event. However; if you feel the need to drink an entire pitcher of the sangria yourself, please do so! Here is the recipe:

  • 1 bottle of sauvignon blanc
  • 1/2 bottle champagne
  • 3 ounces triple sec
  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1 sliced apple
  • 1 sliced mango or peach
  • Berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (any amount you want!)
If you are going to make the sangria the night before, do not add the champagne. Add it right before you serve so the carbonation is still bubbling. Also, add as many ice cubes to your serving glasses as you feel necessary. Stir, drink and enjoy :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to celebrate by making a healthy festive snack...Guacamole!  Knowing that this dish is best fresh and tough to keep for leftovers, I only wanted to make enough for two.  I used my typical party-sized recipe but cut it back to make just the right amount with a little to spare for tomorrow's lunch.  Hope you enjoy this healthy Cinco de Mayo treat!


  • 1 whole avocado 
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1roma tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 sweet onion (finely chopped)
  • 1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • salt & pepper

  1. Half, seed, and peel the avocado. Place in a large bowl (*Save the seed and keep it in the guacamole as this keeps the avocado from browning!)
  2. Coat the avocado in lime juice
  3. Add red pepper flakes, cilantro, salt, and pepper and mash with a fork
  4. Add tomato and onion, and mix well
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to marinate
  6. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or pita chips 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Orzo Pasta Salad

While on the phone chatting away with an old friend, she noted how much she missed my cooking...especially her favorite Orzo pasta salad.  After reminiscing our cooking time together, I felt inspired to make the famous Orzo pasta dish for dinner tonight!

  • 1 box whole wheat Orzo pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion (finely chopped)
  • 1-2 gloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 large tomato (diced)
  • Spices of your choice (I usually use ~1 T. basil, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. thyme, salt, and pepper)
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh mozzarella
  • Optional: roasted red peppers, roasted artichokes
  1. Cook Orzo pasta and set aside - season with salt and pepper and add some olive oil when done
  2. Coat skillet with olive oil and warm on low-medium heat
  3. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until golden brown
  4. Add tomatoes and spices and cook on low/medium heat for ~5-10 min
  5. Add mixture to pasta and stir well
  6. Stir in fresh mozzarella
  7. Top with fresh basil for a finishing touch

Serve with grilled chicken and some veggies for a full meal.  Also, a great dish to chill and eat cold tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Going Green!

From Alex: This green smoothie was a pin that had originally been posted to Pinterest and I put my own spin on it. I think the best part about these smoothies is that you can pre-make them all in one day. I have listed the ingredients below, put them all into one quart Ziploc freezer bags:
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1/2 cup Parsley
  • 1 chopped green apple
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 chopped banana (optional)
If you measure out all of these ingredient and put them into freezer safe Ziploc bags, one bag will produce 2 small smoothies or 1 large smoothie (that's what I prefer). Once you pull the bag out of the freezer and slide the ingredients into the blender you can add any of these supplements:
  • 1 cup of Water or Coconut water (necessary)
  • 1 scoop of Green Superfood - High Energy
  • 1 tablespoon Flax oil
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 1 scoop of Protein Powder

BLEND! If your smoothie does not seem to be blending, just add a little more water or coconut water. This is a seriously delicious healthy smoothie. I really think you are going to like it!
Cheers Amy!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta - Gluten Free!

From Amy:  While vacationing in Cali, I find it pretty easy to hop on the healthy band wagon eating clean and nutritious.  As my aunt eats a gluten free diet, I have decided to adopt her eating habits for the week - and we are off to a good healthy start!  Stopping for fresh ingredients at the local market we put together a simple and healthy dish as we drank wine and visited.  I give my aunt total credit for this gluten free recipe!

Starting with a light tomato and garlic sauce for our gluten free pasta, we also indulged in some sauteed swiss chard and fava beans.  Most importantly, all paired with a glass of gabbiano chianti classico. 

Buon Appetito!

  • 1 package (1 lb.) gluten free pasta
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  •  4-5 large garlic cloves
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • optional: sauteed shrimp, grilled chicken

  1. Roast tomatoes with garlic at 350 degrees for ~45 min
  2. While roasting tomatoes, cook pasta and set aside
  3. Blend together roasted tomatoes and garlic, with parmesan cheese, basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper
  4. Pour blended mixture over pasta and serve (with your favorite vino)! Add optional shrimp or chicken.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Paleo Banana Bread...Yummm

From Alex: In an attempt to get more protein and less carbs in my diet, I decide to try some recipes from the Paleo Diet. Both breads that I made were super moist and full of flavor. First I made the Banana Bread:

2 cups almond flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray loaf pan with cooking spray. (this is a very important step!!)
  2. Mix together almond flour, ground cinnamon, and baking soda in a bowl.
  3. Beat two eggs in a bowl. Mix in water, almond extract, agave syrup, mashed bananas, and vanilla bean paste. Add banana mixture to almond flour mixture; mix until no dry areas are visible. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake banana bread in the preheated oven until brown and crisp around the edges, about 45 minutes.
This bread made my entire house smell so delicious!! My husband and mother-in-law couldn't resist the smell and before I could turn around to take a picture it was gone...This recipe is definitely worth trying because it will satisfy your sweet tooth without all the sugar and carbs.