Green Salad with Lemon Garlic Tahini Dressing

Making salad dressings can be a challenge to me sometimes~ for some reason,  occasionally they just don't taste quite right when I make them (my mom of course makes the best ones!)  But this Lemon Garlic Tahini Dressing turned out just great- although it is creamy, it is still healthy and very flavorful with garlic and lemon. It was perfect with hearty lettuce like baby chard, arugula and spinach.

Lemon Garlic Tahini Dressing
recipe from Cooking Light

2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 grated garlic clove (with microplane grater)

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and whisk together until emulsified.  Enjoy!


Easy Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Sadly, winter break is coming to an end and my family is all headed back to work and school.  Our mornings can be rushed, so I made a batch of breakfast burritos the kids love to have in the freezer ready to go on those crazy mornings. You can tailor them to your liking by adding salsa, sausage, green onions... whatever makes your mouth happy!

 Easy Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos

8 eggs
10 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
8 slices cooked bacon, chopped

Scramble eggs over medium heat. Chop cooked bacon and make assembly line. 
Place spoonful of scrambled eggs on tortilla, top with grated cheese and a bit of bacon. Wrap both ends over egg mixture and then roll. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for 6 hours. Take out of freezer and wrap each burrito in wax paper or saran wrap and place in freezer bag. 

Right before rushing out the door to school or work, take burrito out of freezer, remove from plastic wrap and wrap in damp paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes, put in new paper towel and enjoy on the go! 


Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Mayo

These flavorful lettuce wraps have a delicious sweet/soy beef filling topped with fresh carrots, micro greens and a tasty spicy mayo. You can add rice to make them a little more hearty or eat them as is for a refreshing light meal, which is wonderful after the holidays!

Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Mayo
*recipe from The Family Flavor Cookbook by Whitney Ingram

Spicy Mayo Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

In a small bowl, whisk mayo, garlic, Sriracha and sesame oil until combined.

Beef stir-fry ingredients:
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 head romaine lettuce leaves torn off core
1 cup cooked rice (optional)
1  shredded carrot
handful of micro green sprouts

Measure soy sauce in liquid measuring cup. Once measured, reserve 2 tablespoons in small bowl. Add the cornstarch to the reserved soy sauce and mix well. Set aside. In medium bowl, whisk together remaining soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and rice vinegar.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add ground beef, garlic and salt.  Saute until ground beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in soy sauce/brown sugar mixture. Once simmering, add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.

To serve, line a romaine leaf with rice (if desired), spoonful of ground beef, sprinkle with carrots and sprouts and drizzle with spicy mayo. Enjoy!


Healthy Chicken Vegetable Soup

I make a pot of soup practically every week in the winter. My daughters are always requesting vegetable soup and sometimes I like to add protein so it can be a meal in a bowl. What I like about this recipe is that the ground chicken makes it a bit different than soup with shredded chicken. Delicious!

Healthy Chicken Vegetable Soup
1 pound ground chicken
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
6 cups of chicken broth
handful of torn kale
salt and pepper to taste

Saute chicken and onion in soup pot over medium high heat until chicken is cooked and onions translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Add chicken broth, carrots and thyme and bring to a boil. Add zucchini and simmer for 15 minutes. Add torn kale and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with crusty bread and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Garden Zucchini Pie

Quiches are the perfect one dish meal for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Although this savory "pie" is great to make with all the zucchini you may grow (or neighbors give you!) in the summer, I find it to be a delectable meal even in the winter. I cut this recipe out of a magazine over 20 years ago, and still enjoy it every time I make it.

Garden Zucchini Pie

3 cups refrigerated loose-pack hash brown potatoes (I used the whole bag of Simply Potatoes which has 3 1/2 cups, so the crust was nice and thick)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (2 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese OR Swiss cheese(3 oz.)
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. snipped fresh oregano OR 1/2 tsp. dried, crushed oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl combine the 1 egg, onion, and Parmesan cheese. Stir in potatoes. Transfer potato mixture to a 9-inch pie plate or a 10-inch quiche dish. Pat the mixture in the bottom and up the sides of the dish (to form a crust).

Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, cook zucchini and garlic in the margarine or butter until zucchini is crisp-tender; cool slightly. Arrange zucchini mixture atop the crust.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining 3 eggs, cheddar or Swiss cheese, milk, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour atop the zucchini mixture in the crust.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the filling appears set when gently shaken. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Easy and Delicious Fresh Spinach Lasagna

This is the easiest lasagna recipe you will ever make- no cooking noodles, no draining frozen spinach, just layer and bake! You can add cooked ground turkey or beef to the sauce to make it a meat lasagna, but my kids love this vegetarian version. Perfect for a cold winter night!

Sauce and uncooked noodles

Fresh spinach on top of cheese

Lasagna ready to bake

Easy Spinach Lasagna
1 1/2 jars (24 ounce) spaghetti sauce (I like my lasagna a little saucy, so will sometimes use 2 full jars)
1 pound package uncooked lasagna noodles 
2 cups fresh baby spinach (just throw the whole leaves in- no need to chop!)
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped basil, if desired

Layer the following  in a 9 x 13" baking dish:
Put 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of baking dish.
First Layer: noodles to cover bottom of dish, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese, 1 cup spinach, 1/3 of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, 1/3 of sauce
Second layer: noodles, 1/3 ricotta cheese, 1 cup spinach, 1/3 mozzarella cheese, 1/3 Parmesan cheese, 1/3 sauce
Last layer: noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan 
Cover in tin foil.

Bake at 400 for 45 min, then remove foil & broil for 2 min to brown cheese on top.
Let sit for 10 minutes and then enjoy!


Polenta Breakfast Bake

I love having my kids home for the holiday break and with our long leisurely mornings, it's fun to throw together an easy breakfast bake that we can nibble on all day long. This dish is gluten free and  can be made and cooked in under an hour. Try it with your family!

A few of the simple ingredients:

 Polenta squares, bacon, eggs and cheese ready to bake

Polenta Breakfast Bake
2 tubes precooked polenta
8 slices cooked bacon, diced (I use Kirkland precooked bacon)
8 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
chopped basil for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
Cut polenta into cubes and place in bottom of dish. Sprinkle diced bacon and gruyere on top of polenta. Whisk eggs, milk, Dijon, salt and pepper in bowl. Pour over polenta, bacon and Gruyere cheese and top with Parmesan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until eggs are set and browned a bit. Enjoy!


Potato Chip Cookies

I remember my grandma making these amazing cookies for my brother and me when we were young. They are a delicious combination of slightly sweet with a little bit of salt and have a rich buttery crunch. They remind me of shortbread, but the potato chips just add that something "extra." Make these for your next holiday cookie exchange!

Potato Chip Cookies
1 pound butter (yep, 4 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups potato chips, crushed (Lays without ridges are perfect)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray baking sheets with nonstick spray or use a silpat mat or parchment paper.
Mix butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add flour a little bit at a time into bowl. Gently fold in the potato chips. Put spoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a glass in powdered sugar and press on each ball of dough.  Bake until cookies are golden, about 15 minutes. Remove and cool on racks. Enjoy!


Spiralized Sweet Potato Spaghetti Pie

I love spaghetti pie- it's such an easy to make comforting meal. This casserole tastes just like it without the carbs since the noodles are sweet potatoes! It really is easy to make, gluten free and tastes great the next day, too.

Spiralized Sweet Potato Spaghetti Pie

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large sweet potato, spirlized
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups jarred marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel sweet potato and spiralize.

Saute ground turkey with diced onion and garlic over medium high heat until cooked through, around 8-10 minutes. Transfer meat into bottom of 8 x 8 oven proof dish or 10" round baking dish. 
In same cooking pan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook spiralized sweet potato 8 minutes, or until tender.

Layer potatoes loosely over meat and top with marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. Enjoy!


Quick and Easy Tomato Soup

Soups are awesome- fun and easy to make, wonderful to share and delicious to eat! I have simmered and cooked so many pots of soup in our kitchen and yet have never made homemade tomato soup until today. Madeleine is home from college and adores tomato soup, so in her honor I made my first batch. This warm and comforting soup was ready in under an hour and tasted perfect along side a crusty grilled cheese sandwich on a cold winter night.

Quick and Easy Tomato Soup

1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
4 cups chicken stock
28 ounce can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
fresh basil for garnish

Melt olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; saute for 8 minutes until soft. Add garlic and saute 2 more minutes. Add chicken stock and crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Enjoy garnished with fresh basil alongside a grilled cheese sandwich on fresh sourdough bread with grated Gruyere cheese.