We all want to enjoy food but not let it change our waistline, right? My grandma always used to say ” A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” Being perfectly honest, I love food and I love eating and there has to be some times when we really focus on how to enjoy food that is honest to goodness good for our bodies. After all, the good Lord only gave us one. So, I am implementing even more healthy lifestyle options into our family dinners, and am being more thoughtful about what I put in my body, working to treat it like a temple. The good news is that my take on a mashed potato “fake out” is truly yummy. The texture is super close. It’s so spot on that last night at dinner my almost 2 yr old had no clue and demolished every bite! I’d say that’s a win! So eat your veggies, feel good about it and let this recipe help!
Cheddar Cauliflower Mash
1/2 cup water
1 whole head Cauliflower
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish if desired)
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan bring 1/2 water to a boil. Rinse and clean head of cauliflower, cut bottom leaves off and discard. Next, cut into pieces and transfer to boiling water. Cover and steam on medium high heat for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender. Drain water, add in butter, milk and cheese. With an electric hand mixer or potato masher (by hand) start to mash until you get a smooth creamy texture. If too thick add a dash more milk. Salt and pepper and make sure to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve. Serves 6.
We are all kids at heart. My love of cooking started as a kid. One Sunday afternoon we came in the door from church, hungrier than usual. I grew up in Michigan and it was a winter day. Maybe 12 degrees outside. My dad said I could make lunch that day. I spun with the excitement of that task. Grilled cheese and soup was something I could pull off at the age of 8 and I was ready to kick it into high gear to pump out some excellent grilled cheeses for my family of six. That morning I wore a flowing dress with flowers all over it and a large bow on the front center. Well, about 3 grilled cheese sandwiches in, I looked down and to my horror my dress, that bow, was on fire. I leaned a little too far over near the gas burner and poof-bow up in flames! I didn’t panic oddly enough but spun around toward my dad. We locked eyes and his widened. He then took the most monstrous breath in and blew out as hard as he could. My dress was still smoking and he then rushed me over to the sink to submerge the remaining embers under water. Wow! I felt so confident in the kitchen and had a bit of a wake up call. We laugh about it now. And now I’m making a more grown up grilled cheese for my family on Sunday afternoons and smile at happy memories of kitchen adventures so many years ago.
12 slices bread ( Texas toast would be superb here)
1/2 stick butter
12 pieces provolone cheese
1 lb bacon cooked, drained and chopped
Butter bread liberally stack with provolone, bacon in the middle then another piece of provolone. Place another piece of buttered bread on top and cook in skillet on medium high about 3 min on each side. What temperature of your stove top. Try turning it down as the first side gets done to allow cheese time to melt well. Serves 6.
We also had this Homemade Italian Wedding soup this week. Grilled cheese and soup is a comfort combo worth making every time. Warms the soul, I think.
1/2 box Barilla mini Farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 8oz container fresh mushrooms, halved
3 1/2 cups fresh spinach
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick butter
1 full ladle of pasta water
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (1teaspoon if using dried basil)
Put on a pot of boiling water and cook pasta per box directions, make sure though it is al dente which means about a minute underdone. Reserve 1 full ladle of the water the pasta is cooking in. Meanwhile, get out your biggest skillet or saute pan and heat up olive oil over medium high heat. Add in chopped onion and chicken and let brown 2-3 minutes. Stir then add in mushroom, spinach, salt and pepper. Cook about 4 more minutes all together and toss until spinach is wilted down. Next turn to medium low or even low and add in minced garlic and butter. Add in ladle of pasta water, and all three cheeses and gently stir until sauce comes together. Drain pasta and add that into the skillet tossing everything together until well combined and sauce is smooth. You can play with this and add a bit more butter or even a little olive oil, or a bit more pasta water depending on the consistency you’d like. At this point add some more salt and pepper to the dish as well. To finish add in fresh lemon juice and basil. This serves 6-8 easily!
My grandma was amazing at whipping out some pizza dough over the years and just a few tries and anyone can do this. It’s more simple than you’d think to make your own pizza dough. Why go to the effort you ask? It’s healthier for you than national pizza chains crust soaked with oil, and hugely it saves you a tons of money over ordering pizza for your family. One you do this recipe 3-4 times you’ll be hooked and you’ll be so good at it that you can just make the dough faster than you can find the number to order from your local pizza shop. So vow to try this for me, you’ll feel better about knowing what went into your families pizza and know it was a healthier, better choice!
1 packet dry active yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
1 cup very warm or hot water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup 100% whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
If you have a stand mixer (such as a kitchen aid) put the dough hook attachment on. If not you can just use a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon for mixing, it just takes a little more arm strength. First, pour the warm water into your bowl, then sprinkle the yeast in and stir, bubbles will come to the top which is great. Keep stirring till yeast is dissolved in the water. Next add in salt, sugar, oil and basil, and stir for a few seconds. Next start adding in the flours in small amounts. I throw in 1 cup to start then in 1/2 cup increments after that. If using an electric mixer the dough ball will come together within a minute. If by hand about 30 strokes. After the ball forms work it with your hands into a nice ball. You may need a drizzle more olive oil if dry or sprinkle some more flour on top of the dough ball if it seems to wet. Next, keep it in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let dough rise for 10-15 minutes. Roll out on floured surface and transfer to a pizza pan, baking stone, or metal round pan. Top with red sauce, about 3 cups mozzarella cheese and any desired toppings. Let bake at 425* for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown. We had this pizza with salad last night for dinner and it was SO yummy! Try it for your family or friends tonight!
These appear fancy and are great to entertain with but the ingredient list is simple! You can so do this! The payoff is worth it as you bite into succulent tender chicken stuffed with yummy goodness inside!
Asparagus and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
6 chicken breasts
10 stalks asparagus, chopped small
6 oz crumbles Feta Cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
Heat oven to 375*. Slice chicken breasts horizontally (this will make them thinner so you can roll them). Set them on a glass cutting board, cover the top of them with plastic wrap and pound with a wooden spoon or meat mallet until very thin) season with salt and pepper. Chop, asparagus into small pieces, mince garlic and toss with asparagus and salt. Spoon mixture into each chicken breast, then…add feta cheese into the center of each chicken breasts on top of the asparagus mixture. Roll up chicken breasts and secure with a toothpick in each. Roll the top in breadcrumbs and sprinkle with paprika! Set in baking dish sprayed with a nonstick spray and bake for 35 minutes.