French Green Beans With Olive Oil, Parmesan, and Cashews

green beans

It’s been a few days since my last recipe post, I’ve been so busy with work, and the baby, but I am back on track with a healthy recipe I hope you’ll love. I was out food shopping yesterday, and normally green beans aren’t on my list, but I thought I would get some to make for a quick side dish, or as I’m having for lunch. Green beans are healthy, and full of vitamins. My mom usually makes them with spaghetti, garlic and olive oil, her Italian style! It’s delish. Anyway, I made mine without pasta, my hubby and I are on the track to get healthier! Typically green beans can be made with almonds as a topping. I added some cashews because I love them, and thought of trying something a little different. This recipe is good for at least 4 people as a side dish.

Ingredients

6 Cups French Green Beans, Fresh or Frozen
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic, or more if you like
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup Cashews
Salt to taste

Directions

In a large non stick pan, add your olive oil, and garlic. Saute just a minute. Add your green beans, garlic powder, and a dash of salt. Cook until green beans are slightly softened, yet still crisp. Add your Parmesan cheese, and cashews. Taste a green bean, if it needs more salt add it. Serve warm alongside a bed of brown rice, and grilled chicken or fish, for a really healthy meal! Enjoy!

green beans

Berry Spinach Salad With Caramelized Pecans

berryspinachsalad

I whipped up this berry spinach salad with caramelized pecans today. I am introducing new fruits to my baby, and purchased blueberries. He didn’t love them, so I thought to make a healthy salad with them. It’s a really simple six ingredient salad with lots and lots of flavor! Blueberries are high in antioxidants called flavonoids, help keep your skin bright, revived, and are cancer fighters! That’s amazing to me. I sometimes buy frozen blueberries when making smoothies, or muffins but for this recipe use fresh please. My berry salad serves one, but can be shared if you’d like. I wouldn’t! LOL

Ingredients

6 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup fat free feta
lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup blueberries

For the Caramelized Pecans

1/4 cup pecans
1 tablespoon butter
Dash of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

In a small non stick pan add 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Add vanilla extract, brown sugar, and butter. Cook until pecans are coated and sugar and butter have melted. Allow to cool on a plate. Once cooled, set aside for salad.

Next, your handy salad spinner or food colander, rinse and drain your spinach. Add to a medium sized bowl. Add your feta cheese, blueberries, pecans, olive oil, and lemon juice. Give a light toss, and your done. Enjoy with a side of soup, or crackers.

berry spinach salad

Sunshine Lemon Cookies

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sunshinelemoncookies

Spring is less then a month away now, and I cannot wait! Here in New York the snow is still covering my lawn, and although I love the snow, I am over it! I made these Sunshine Lemon Cookies to remind myself that soon Spring will be here! I love the taste of lemon. Lemons are fresh and light, and add a burst of flavor to many things. I found a recipe that I thought was perfect, but tweaked it to my liking. The original recipe called for lemon oil which I swapped for olive oil and more lemon juice which I cut back on. I also added some yellow food coloring to tint my sugar for rolling my cookies in. With that said, here is the recipe I found and tweaked. Hopefully you can make it, and it will remind you that Spring soon will be here…

Ingredients

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Olive oil
4 Teaspoons Grated Lemon Zest
Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Sugar, for rolling
Yellow Food Coloring
sunshinecookiesprebake

For Tinted Sugar

In a small bowl add 1/2 cup white sugar, add 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring and mix well with a fork until your sugar has turned yellow.

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together.
In another small bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then mix lightly until it resembles wet sand . Using your hands, roll into one inch balls. Roll cookie balls in a little tinted sugar and roll in your hands to distribute it. Put the cookies about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets and bake for about 12-15 minutes. Makes about 36 to 40 cookies.

Tips:

You may need to add a little more flour, so keep it aside when your mixing ingredients. You may also use more or less lemon juice depending on the size of your lemons. I used medium sized lemons.

sunshinecookiesafter

sunshinelemoncookies

Rana’s Ravioli in Light Tomato Sauce

rana truffle ravioliAbout a week ago my husband and I attended an event in New York City for a special marble piece he took part in making. It was a beautiful evening with lots of people, and great food! Ravioli were being served all night from a company called Rana.  As a matter of fact, we each got a goodie bag of fresh ravioli to take home, I was thrilled. Tonight I think it’s time to eat them, so I’ve decided to make a light tomato sauce to spotlight the ravioli more. The ravioli they gave us are truffle ravioli with mascarpone cheese!  Here’s what you’ll need to make my light tomato sauce.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. butter

1 small onion

2 tbsp. olive oil

1-15 ounce can tomatoes

dried parsley

salt and pepper

dried oregano

dried basil

1/2 cup half and half or cream for more richness.

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

In a large pot add enough water to allow for 2 packages of Rana ravioli. Approximately 24 ravioli. Once water has boiled cook ravioli as instructed on package. Set aside once ravioli are done.

In a medium sauce pan melt your butter and add olive oil. Add your onion, sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic. Cook another 2 minutes. Next add your tomato sauce and simmer on medium low. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley and half and half. Let your sauce cook for an hour on low. I always add more parmesan cheese at the end of my cooking time. You can plate your ravioli, and top with tomato sauce and more parmesan cheese.  This recipe serves 4 with 6 ravioli each. Enjoy!

Some things you may want to change are:

Using fat free half and half, or a light cream, or milk

Using fresh herbs for dried (here’s how I dried my oregano)

Switching to a different pasta besides ravioli.

This sauce can be used right away or put away in your freezer for another time.

Bacon Egg and Cheese Breakfast Strata

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast StrataIt’s lightly snowing today, I am off from work, and the baby is still sleeping. Wanted to make something comforting, so why not a bacon, egg and cheese strata! I have made stratas in the past and they are always a winner. Stratas are so simple to make.  You can even prepare them the night before, and pop them in your refrigerator to bake in the morning. Mine however will be baked as soon as I am done preparing it. I can’t wait! My house smells of bacon as I type this. Yum! Soon it will be time to slice up some strata for me and Julian. This strata is definitely not a diet food, however, there is broccoli involved, and that’s good ;o)

 Here is how my breakfast strata was made…

Ingredients

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 cup broccoli florets

1 small onion, diced

salt and pepper

grated nutmeg

1 1/2 cups cheddar shredded

6 cups Italian bread cut up

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk of your choice

6 slices bacon

1 cup Oreida potato tots

In a frying pan or toaster oven cook 6 slices of bacon. This morning I used my toaster oven, and it took about 20 minutes on 350 degrees.  I prefer this method because of the oil splashing on my stove. After it has cooked set your bacon aside on paper towel lined dish until ready to use. Meanwhile, keep your toaster oven on warm for now if your going to use it for your recipe.

In a medium sized pan, sauté your onions, in butter and olive oil. Cook on medium low for a few minutes.  Add your broccoli next, cook for  5 minutes until softened. Next add salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg to your onions and broccoli. While that’s cooking, shred your cheddar cheese, and cut up your Italian bread. Set them aside.( I want to say you can use whatever bread you love in this recipe. ) In a small bowl beat your eggs, and add your milk , potato tots half of your cheddar cheese.  After your onions and broccoli cool, mix them with your egg mixture.  To a buttered baking dish add your Italian bread pieces, next pour entire egg and broccoli mixture, and lightly press down to allow bread to soak up all the flavors. Sprinkle leftover cheddar and crumble bacon on top! Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes. It may depend on your oven, or toaster oven with cooking time. You can also feel it it’s slightly firm. If it is , it’s done!  Top with sour cream for extra goodness…I’m out of it, too bad! Grab a fork and take a bite. You won’t be sorry ;o)

Baked Brown Sugar Acorn Squash

acornsquash

Tis the season for warm, acorn squash!

This recipe makes a great side dish on a cool Autumn night…I made this because I love all types of squash. Add a little brown sugar and butter and man this is oh so good! Your family will love it!

Here is what you will need:

1 acorn squash, mine was average size, good for 2 or 3

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

cinnamon, to taste

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil, for drizzling

Once again, you may use more butter, brown sugar, whatever you like…

Rinse your acorn squash well, and slice in half. Place cut side up on a foil lined baking pan. In a small bowl, mix your brown sugar, and cinnamon, set aside. For the butter make sure it’s room temperature, and spread on top of each acorn squash. Then sprinkle on your brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Use as much as you like. Drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper to your liking. Cover with foil and bake at 350F until squash is soft, tender, and butter is bubbly. If your squash needs more or less time, check on it. Mine took about an hour.  You may then serve the acorn squash alone and eat it right in it’s skin, or scoop it out in a bowl, and serve on your table to enjoy with your family!

You may add more toppings like pecans, fresh herbs if you like, but I like mine nicely sweetened with sugar and cinnamon! So does my son ;o) Enjoy!

Arugula and Lime Shrimp Salad

Arugula and Lime Shrimp Salad
I made this salad just for me! It’s quick, easy and very yummy!  This portion is meant for one, so double or  triple the recipe if you want to share!

This is how I made it…

You will need:

6-8 peeled and cleaned shrimp, fresh or frozen. I used fresh shrimp.

1/2 of  a lime

cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon light mayo

1 teaspoon  dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped red onion

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar pecans, I’ll let you know how I made ’em!

ranch dressing, any amount you like.

2 cups cleaned arugula

dash of pepper

dash of old bay seasoning

Clean your arugula in cold water, or use a handy salad spinner, I love mine! Once your salad is rinsed and drained of excess water place in a bowl or dish.  Meanwhile cook your shrimp if you bought them raw, or let them thaw if you bought them cooked but frozen. Let them cool in ice water if you wish. I usually do, I like cold shrimp. In a clean bowl, add your shrimp once cooled. You can cut them up, or leave them whole. Then add the mayo, mustard, chopped red onion, pepper, old bay, juice of 1/2 a lime. You may add more or less seasoning if you like. Mix well, and add on top of your arugula. Slice up some cherry tomatoes, and sprinkle the brown sugared pecans on top. Add your ranch dressing, as much as you like, or use any dressing you desire.

To make the brown sugar pecans I took whole pecans, about 1/2 cup, and chopped them just a little. I placed them in a not stick pan with a tablespoon of butter, a dash of vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Let them get nice and coated in the sugary goodness for  just a couple of minutes. Place on a plate to cool, and use on salad. They can be used as toppings for cupcakes, or muffins too! Enjoy!