Category Archives: Tasty Food

Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Usually when I talk about family recipes, I’m talking about ones from my side of the family simply because I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mom, my mom’s parents, and years of trial and error. But every now and then I’ll realize there is something missing in my repertoire thanks to my mother-in-law.

rach and marty

For example, she taught me to stop being afraid to cook fish. And she also introduced me to Jiffy cornbread. Which isn’t a family recipe or anything, but I always thought that I didn’t like cornbread until I tried Jiffy. Mmm!

toph and marty

And over the past few months she has been making the most delicious muffins every time we visit. Even when I was feeling especially sick, Baby Girl has loved these health-ified muffins so we’ve been making them at home as well.

Marty's Healthy Muffins (3)

Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp Stevia
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup blueberries OR 60% Cocoa Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl mash bananas and mix in Stevia. Add beaten egg, vanilla, and applesauce and mix together.

2. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared muffin tins (either use non-stick spray or muffin liners).

4. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Makes a dozen delicious muffins.

Marty's Healthy Muffins (1)Made with chocolate chips!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (2)Made with blueberries!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (4)Covered in butter and served with a glass of unsweetened almond milk – my fav!

The first time Marty made these for us at Christmas, I literally ate 8 of the 12 muffins she made over just a couple of days. Baby Girl had not been impressed with many of the foods I had been trying to feed her so this was a huge win for me (I had been losing weight at that point). Since then I’ve continued to love these and so has Christopher! They are moist and sweet without being laden with sugar and butter (well, except for the butter that I slather on the muffin just before eating, ha!). Served with a glass of almond milk, they have become my favorite snack when we visit my mother-in-law!

Love Rach

Italian Pasta Salad

I wasn’t a picky eater when growing up, but pasta salad was one of those few things that I really didn’t enjoy. Thankfully my parents seldom made it at home and the few times I found myself needing to eat it at someone else’s home I would give myself just a small serving to be polite and choke it down quietly. Somehow, over the years, I’ve discovered that when made with some of my favorite ingredients – I actually not only tolerate pasta salad, but love it. 10-year-old me would be disgusted. 😉

So when my friend Nicole (who blogs over at Just Live It) shared that she had made an this pasta salad recently I took one look at that photo and said “YUM!” I went out and bought the ingredients the next week and with a few minor adjustments – it was perfect to our liking! The original recipe can be found here on the Taste of Home website.

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Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

16oz rotini
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4oz provolone cheese, cubed
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small sweet onion, minced
14oz pitted Kalamata olives (note: I used regular black olives the day I took this photo, but this recipe is much better with Kalamata because they add an extra zing of flavor!)

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp fresh basil, minced (or 3 tsp dried basil)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder

Directions:

1. Cook pasta until al dente then drain and rinse with cold water.

2. While the pasta is cooking, mix together ingredients for dressing.

3. When pasta is cooked and drained, place in large salad bowl. Add tomatoes, cheese, peppers, onions, and olives. Pour dressing on top and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

Serves approximately 100 people. Just kidding. It only felt like it. It’s more like it serves 6 people for dinner or would be a great size salad to take to a party as a side dish.

Italian Pasta Salad2

Do you like pasta salad?
What’s a food that you didn’t like when growing up, but really enjoy now?
Love Rach

The Perfect Grilled Cheese

So the secret to the perfect grilled cheese is really quite simple. It’s patience. And butter. There should always be butter.

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You start with a skillet on low-to-medium heat (we have a scale of 10 with 5 being “medium” and 10 being “hottest” and I usually heat the skillet to a 3 or 4). This is where patience comes into play. Butter one side of a slice of white bread (yes, white bread. This is one of the few times I’ll buy white bread instead of a whole grain type) and lay it buttered-side down on the skillet. Lay a piece of Colby Jack cheese (yes, this is important – it’s the best type of cheese!) on top of the bread and then top with another slice of bread. Butter the top slice as well. Now we wait as the cheese slowly begins to melt. Usually 8-10 minutes for my stove.

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So how do you know when to flip it? Well, that’s quite simple. When the top side begins to look like this. See how the butter is beginning the melt on top of the bread? That’s a good indicator that the cheese is melting! Let’s check the sides…

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Yup! The cheese is definitely beginning to melt! Time to flip it over for sure!

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Look at that beautiful golden crust now that we’ve flipped our sandwich over! Low and slow really does win out! Let the bottom side crisp up a bit (about 1-2 minutes). You can check the bottom by gently reaching under the edge of the sandwich with a spatula to get a peak underneath to see if it’s done. It should be ready soon!

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Look at all that melty cheese and that beautiful golden, buttery crust! YUM! You can use most different types of cheese for this, but I’m telling you – try Colby Jack. It’s the best.

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And now it’s time to enjoy your grilled cheese! Trust me, it will absolutely be worth going the low & slow method of cooking in order to get this delight! And if you have a big enough skillet (or even a griddle), you can easily cook several at once. We had these for dinner last week and I could make 3 of them at a time in my large skillet. Mhmmm YUM!

Love Rach

Chocolate Chip Beer Bread Muffins

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday! So we had gumbo and other Mardi Gras inspired foods with our friends. I was in charge of bread for the evening so I decided to make a loaf of beer bread which is the bread I bake most often because it’s just so simple. My favorite way to make it is with Strawberry Abita, which you can read all about here. But I decided to make a second batch of beer bread for last night and decided to make them in muffin form… and add chocolate chips. I mean, why not go all out on Fat Tuesday? 😉

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Chocolate Chip Beer Bread Muffins

Ingredients:

3 cups self rising flour
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz beer
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 count muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk together flour and sugar. Then add beer and stir with spoon until combined.

3. Add a small amount of melted butter to bottom of each muffin cup. Pour batter into muffin cups. Pour remaining melted butter over each one.

4. Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown on top.


Like Beer Bread, these are incredibly simple to make and yet taste so delicious! All that buttery goodness!

And now today Lent begins. I don’t talk much about fasting on this blog, but I did write a little about it two years ago and I loved re-reading that post today. If you are interesting in fasting or want to know more, that post is a great place to start. 🙂

Blessings on this Ash Wednesday. Easter is coming, my friends. 🙂
Love Rach

Buttermilk Biscuits for Valentine’s

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends! I’ve been wanting biscuits lately so I finally whipped up a batch yesterday. I had forgotten just how easy biscuits are to make and just how delicious they are fresh from the oven. Mmm… warm biscuits! Yum! And because it’s Valentine’s… I made half the batch into heart-shapes. 🙂

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Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe originally found here on MyRecipes)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 stick butter
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475.

2. Grate butter using large holes of a box grater. Toss together grated butter and flour in a medium bowl. Chill 10 minutes.

3. Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk, and stir 15 times. Dough will be sticky.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly sprinkle flour over top of dough. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Fold dough in half so short ends meet. Repeat rolling and folding process 4 more times.

5. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch floured round cutter, reshaping scraps and flouring as needed.

6. Place dough rounds on greased cookie sheet or glass pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

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If you are looking for a good old fashioned biscuit recipe – this is it!

Tonight we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s with our normal Tuesday night crew (for those who don’t know, we have eaten dinner with the same group of friends nearly every Tuesday night for the past 5 years). The guys are making dinner for the ladies and Christopher is in charge of veggies so I’m excited about that (he’s a great cook!). I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes later this week! 🙂

Love Rach

 

18 Favorite Go-To Healthy Recipes

A couple of years ago we found out that I need to control the number of carbohydrates I eat at a time. To be clear, it’s not a carb-restricted diet, it’s a carb-distributed diet. Meaning that I can still eat carbohydrates, I just need to limit how many I eat at a time. Which for the girl who loves giant piles of spaghetti and could put away a pizza by herself… this was difficult news. But in the long run it has actually been awesome for me. Once I started eating the way my body needs (carb-distributed, higher protein, and every 2-3 hours!) with good quality calories, I noticed a HUGE difference in how I felt overall. So today I want to share my favorite go-to healthy recipes that I’ve loved over the past couple of years.

18-favorite-healthy-meals

SALADS:

healthier taco salad

A Healthier Taco Salad

greek-salad-2

Greek Salad

cobb salad (2)

Cobb Salad

kielbasa and cabbage

Kielbasa & Cabbage Skillet (not really a salad, but I didn’t have another category for this to go in, ha!)

SANDWICH:

prosciutto and rocket sandwiches (2)

Prosciutto & Rocket Sandwiches (I’m generally not a big sandwich person, but I LOVE this one we discovered while in Italy!)

SOUPS:

Chicken Enchilada Soup (3)

Chicken Enchilada Soup

our chili

Chili (can also be used for Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes)

veggie soup

Vegetable Soup

taco soup

Taco Soup

minestrone soup

Minestrone Soup

CHICKEN:

cayenne rubbed chicken with avocado salsa3

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

chicken broccoli bake

Chicken Broccoli Bake

chicken stir fry

Chicken Stirfry

SWEET POTATOES:

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Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping

SEAFOOD:

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Shrimp Fajitas

baked salmon (2)

Baked Salmon

Tell me, what are some of your favorite go-to healthy meals?

Love Rach

Greek Salad

I am way behind on sharing this post. I meant to share it soon after we got back from Europe last fall and yet somehow it kept slipping away from me. So here we are today, months later, talking about one of the best things we discovered in Greece… the Greek Salad!

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Greek Salad is such a simple thing. I’m not sure why we over complicate food sometimes. Both times I’ve traveled to Europe I have been amazed at how simple some of their most delicious dishes are (like pizza in Italy!). The Greek Salad is definitely one of those. So today I want to share with you guys this simple dish.

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Greek Salad

Ingredients:

1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cucumber, thinly sliced cut into halves
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 very small red onion, thinly sliced
Greek pitted Kalamata olives
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
8 oz creamy Greek feta cheese
1/2  tsp oregano
1 tbsp capers

Directions:

1. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, onion, and olives. Add a pinch of salt and then pour on olive oil & red wine vinegar. Give it all a good stir to combine.

2. Serve vegetable mixture on individual plates and top with feta, oregano, and capers. This recipe serves 2 dinner portions or 4 side portions.

NOTE: we only ever received our Greek salads in Greece with a BLOCK of feta cheese on top. Never crumbled. You did the crumbling yourself. Since being home we have made it with a block or slice of feta every single time except this week when I needed to photograph the dish and naturally our grocery store was out of block feta, ha! So I may come back and update this photo later. It honestly tastes the same whichever way you make it, but the more authentic way to serve it is definitely with a block of feta on top of the salad instead of crumbles.

I love this dish because it’s simple, quick to make, and delicious. It’s also easy to adapt to different tastes. I’ve made it before and left out the onion for people who don’t like that sharp taste. Or this week I left the feta off mine. It’s easily adaptable and always delicious! 🙂

Have you had Greek Salad before? Do you make it at home?
Love Rach