Lemony Pepper Goodness

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I just had the most delicious dinner, and I had to share.

If you ever find yourself in a trader joe’s, be sure to pick up a package of their lemon pepper pappardelle pasta. This stuff is loaded with fresh lemony pepper flavor. I tossed it with some sautéed swiss chard, shrimp, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Simple, fresh, delicious.  The only thing that could have made it better was a little fresh garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice. But even without, it made quite the tasty meal!

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Cookies for Breakfast?

I recently saw a blog post about some simple cookies made from oats, banana, and any mix ins desired. The post suggested cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, or chocolate chips. I first tried just cinnamon and walnuts, and eh, they were alright. I did find them to be quite satiating though.

This morning, I decided to revamp the recipe and have some cookies for breakfast. One of my favorite types of oatmeal is chocolate peanut butter (which you can find here!), so I decided to make them similar to that. They were very tasty, and a fun way to have my morning oatmeal.

So here’s how to make them (roughly):

Ingredients:
1/2 cup quick oats
1 mashed banana
dash of vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa powder (or so)
pinch of brown sugar (or any sweetener really; I only have brown sugar at the moment)
chocolate chips (not too many…this is supposed to be a little healthy!)
peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine everything except peanut butter in a bowl. Form into 8 small cookies and place on greased baking sheet. Pat down cookies and make small indent in center. Place a dab of peanut butter on each cookie. Bake for 15 minutes. Eat entire batch, if you desire. Be happy because you just had cookies for breakfast.

I’d Rather Cook Than Study…

I’m a stress cooker.

This semester, on top of working towards my masters degree, I’ve obtained a side job. I’ve been waitressing at a nearby retirement community, and it’s a pretty decent gig. But let me tell you, school plus work makes me one very stressed lady. So I’ve taken to spending more time preparing and cooking my food.

I was pretty pleased with today’s meals. I don’t normally buy red meat, but mom was in town and she always likes to buy me a ribeye steak when she takes me to Trader Joe’s. I can’t complain! But I do make my 12 oz steak last for 3 meals. That way I can savor it 🙂

 

Goat Cheese…Get in my Belly

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I got home from work and really had no idea what to make for dinner. It was almost 9 pm (Ugh – I’m normally a 5:30 dinner time kinda gal). I decided on some whole wheat penne. But what to do with it? I have this great bag of pre-chopped/washed chard (it’s super convenient and a great way to get those leafy greens into your diet), some cherry tomatoes, and goat cheese medallions, all from Trader Joe’s (gotta love that place). So naturally, I went on google and typed “pasta chard goat cheese” to see what I should make. I was going off this recipe from Crumbly Cookie, but I was just so hungry that I accidentally skipped some ingredients. Oops! Even without some parts (i.e. red pepper flakes and walnuts), it was still delicious and exactly what I needed. The goat cheese and cooked tomatoes combine to make a really yummy, creamy sauce. I’m definitely following the whole recipe next time though to get the full, delicious experience!

 

New Spin on the Sweet Potato

 

I always have sweet potatoes on hand. I bake a bunch at the beginning of the week and throw them in the fridge for later. I don’t think you can beat a piping hot sweet potato with a nice slathering of peanut butter or almond butter on top.

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But tonight, I decided to try something new: a savory spin on the sweet potato. These sweet potato skins are stuffed with mashed sweet potato, chickpeas, sweet onion, and spinach, then topped with mozzarella cheese. What a delicious, nutrient-packed meal. Yum.

 

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I based this off a recipe found on Pinch of Yum. I just skimmed the recipe and then did my own thing. I scrubbed, dried, and poked holes in the sweet potatoes, before rubbing them with olive oil, and sprinkling on salt and pepper. I popped those in the oven for an hour. While those cooked, I sautéed half a sweet onion, a couple handfuls of baby spinach, and about 3/4 can of chickpeas. Once the potatoes were done, they got cut in half and the insides got scooped out. I popped the skins back in the oven while I mixed in the mashed sweet potato flesh to the chickpea mixture, and also salt and peppered it to taste. Finally, I spooned the mixture into the skins, sprinkled on some mozzarella cheese, and baked long enough for the cheese to melt and the filling to reheat. The recipe adds sour cream and cream cheese, which would probably add a nice creaminess to the recipe, but I didn’t have either of those, and frankly, I forgot to try and come up with an alternative.

I really enjoyed this dish, and these are all ingredients that are a staple to my diet: chickpeas, baby spinach, onion, and sweet potato. I’m sure I will be making this again!

Cheese Fills the Cracks of My Heart

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When life hits, it hits hard. Haven’t slept in days for many reasons, and then midnight strikes, and I get a knock on the front door. A drunk driver smashed into my car, completely knocking off the front wheel and pushing it into a ditch. Poor Oscar (my faithful CRV) has been through so much. I don’t know if he’ll make it out of this one. Well once that mess hit, I added another night of sleeplessness to my tally. Well this is all just depressing…

Fastforward to my trip to Trader Joe’s today which just put me in a better mood. I LOVE grocery shopping. So now I have a rental car, I have food, and I have the fixins for a tasty meal. Penne & Spaghetti Squash Bake. I don’t know if it gets much better than pasta and gooey cheese. Ok, add in the glass of wine, and it’s all I could ask for.

I got this recipe from the blog, Foodlets. I used it as a basic guideline and just threw whatever looked good in there. I added in some extra sautéed onions and garlic along with my Trader Joe’s marinara, and probably put entirely too much cheese…but oh man, it hit the spot. I really love the addition of the spaghetti squash to this meal. So I’ll just be here, enjoying my gooey, cheesy pasta bake along with my ever faithful glass of Apothic Red, and maybe stop singing the blues about poor old Oscar.

Move Over Hummus, Chickpeas are for Dessert!

I love chickpeas. I’m constantly putting them in salads and making hummus. But why not use them for a sweet treat as well?

I’ll be honest, the first time I tried to make black bean brownies, I was pretty disappointed. But I didn’t have a food processor at the time, and that definitely makes a huge difference when making that kind of substitution. After Christmas, my mom gave me her old cuisinart food processor (that she’s had since she was 16 years old). So I decided to give beans another try.

This time, I made a chocolate chip cookie dough dip out of chickpeas, and it is the perfect sweet treat at the end of a long day. The recipe comes from Chocolate Covered Katie and I’ve made it several times now. Check it out!

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