Friday, August 31, 2012

Spinach and Salsa Mexican Tomato Soup

I have about 15 cans of condensed tomato soup in my pantry right now...I love it because it's easy flavor,  healthy, and very versatile.  I was going to make a tomato soup with fresh basil, but then I realized that my basil had gone bad.  I took a look into my freezer  and refrigerator to see what kind of vegetables I had.  Frozen spinach is one of my favorite vegetables to cook with; it can go with and in almost anything.  I decided to use that and the rest of a jar of salsa and make this Mexican inspired tomato soup.  I will probably add black beans and jalapenos next time if I have them!

Spinach and Salsa Mexican Tomato Soup

To buy:
1 can condensed tomato soup
Unsweeted almond milk (you can use milk or soymilk...i prefer to make my tomato soup with almond milk...whatever you do though, don't use anything vanilla flavored)
1/4 bag frozen spinach
1/4-1/2 cup of salsa (I used Pace's Southwest Chipotle)
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
Mexican Seasoning
Juice of a few wedges of lime (or if you buy te lime shaped lime juice, a few squirts of that)
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
sprinkling of crushed tortilla chips

To do:
Prepare tomato soup: Put one can of condensed tomato soup in a pot, add in a can full of unsweetened almond milk. Turn heat on stovetop to medium.  While heating, add in frozen spinach, salsa, minced garlic, and mexican seasoning.  Bring to a boil so that everything in the soup is cooked.  Add in lime juice.  

Garnish with a few strips of cheese and a sprinkling of crushed tortilla chips.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chocolate Oatmeal with Rolled Oats

This is one of my favorite on the go breakfasts.  You can easily make it at home or at work, and you don't have to use quick oats! I may be the last one to know, but you can prepare rolled oats in the microwave.  Quick oats are great, but rolled oats have tons more fiber in them and are a lot more filling and nutritious than quick oats.

Chocolate Oatmeal with Rolled Oats

To buy:
1/2 cup rolled oats (obviously you'd buy more than half a cup-buy it from the bulk bins at your grocery store-you can get so much for so cheap!)
Sugar Free Hot Chocolate Packets (I used Nestle)

To do:

Stovetop: Bring a cup of water to a boil, add 1/2 cup of rolled oats (this makes one filling serving)
Once the oats have absorbed most of the water, pour the packet of hot chocolate mix into the pot. Stir until oats absorb the rest of the water and the hot chocolate mix.


Microwave: Put 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1 cup of water and hot chocolate mix into a microwaveable bowl.  WATCH as you microwave it (I do 30 second increments and stir in between until the oats have fully absorbed the water and the hot chocolate mix.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Feta and Basil Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is quick, easy, and addicting.  Seriously-I made it using two whole boxes of Rotini (or as I like to call them, Scroodles), for a small dinner party that I had and most of it was gone by the time dinner was over.  All you need is these three ingredients and maybe some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I enjoyed it both ways; your call. I will shrink the recipe to one box of Rotini-this probably will feed about 7 people? I don't know, I'm really bad at this and I'm a pastaholic.

Feta and Basil Pasta Salad

To buy:

1 box of Rotini Pasta (make this healthier by using whole wheat Rotini)
1 box of crumbled feta cheese (I used Athenos)-(make this healthier by using reduced fat or fat free feta)
1 box of fresh basil leaves (they come in bunches or plastic boxes at the grocery store in the produce section)

To do:
Boil pasta as you would normally boil pasta
Once pasta is cooked but still slightly al dente (hard), rinse and cool
Pour pasta into a big bowl, then pour the crumbled feta cheese on top of it.  Rip up the fresh basil leaves over the pasta and toss.  
Refrigerate until ready to enjoy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

GMR's Burger Goodness

My dad has made the best burgers since I can remember.  Once of my favorite childhood memories is when he would let my sister and I mush all the raw burger ingredients was gross, fun, and squishy, and what child wouldn't like that?  Over time, the recipe has changed...matured if you will...a splash of beer is now added to the mush.  It's a pretty basic burger recipe, but I'll share it, because it's amazing, easy, and they seriously blew my mind with deliciousness last weekend.  I used this same method with ground beef and ground turkey, so use what you'd like, everything else remains the same.

Just a note, we NEVER measured when we made these, and we still don't, so I can't really tell you how much to use, just eye ball it, mush it up and use your best judgement.

GMR's Burger Goodness

To buy:
Ground beef or ground turkey (poundage based on amount of people you are serving) I usually buy the leanest meat I can find-last weekend, I had 93% lean ground beef and 99% "extra" lean turkey
Matzah Meal (in the Kosher section of your grocery store...also has a recipe for Matzah Balls on it, which everyone loves, so the buy will not be a waste!)-use a dusting
Garlic Powder
Kosher Salt
Italian Seasoning
Parsley (I used fresh parsley because I had it-Parsley flakes are fine too)
Kosher Deli Mustard
Whole Eggs (yes, I used egg yolks too, OMG! Just kidding, but use 1 EGG/POUND OF MEAT)
A splash of Beer

To do:

Mix and mush it all together...I usually use a squeeze of ketchup/mustard per pound of meat.  If your'e using a broiler, set it on high and watch the meat, flip it once at the end of about half an hour (best way to tell is to cut through the middle of one)
If you're using a grill, you're on your own because I honestly do not know how to set that up...all I know is that you cook it until it's done enough to your liking

Clearly learning the RIGHT way to use a grill is on my MUST DO list.

Next time I make these, I will probably throw in some Paprika and Cayenne Pepper...I will probably also be using a charcoal grill, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Leek and Lemon Linguine

Sunday nights are not original recipe nights...hey, my creativity can only work for so many days in a row!  I found last Sunday night's recipe at Eating Well Magazine .  This recipe was not as involved as I thought it would be, or I paid more attention, because I did a really good job with it!  The serving size was just enough, and that's coming from me who literally could eat pounds upon pounds of pasta without thinking twice.  Don't be put off by the lemon aspect of this dish (unless you hate citrus)'s not a sour dish; the lemon just adds a great flavor that really goes well with the dish as a whole. It also took 30 minutes tops to make, which is definitely acceptable for quick and convenient cooking!

Be sure to check the recipe out here, or pin it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Guaca Guacamole

This guacamole is super easy to make and really addicting.  Okay, let's be real though, when is guacamole NOT easy and addicting? Just remember to leave the pits in! It keeps the guac fresh for longer! My Guac was such a hit that by the time I remembered to take a picture, it was mostly gone!


To buy:
3 avocados
2 limes
Garlic Powder
Cayenne Pepper

To do:
Cut avocados in half and scoop insides AND pits into a bowl
Cut limes in half and squeeze juice and pulp into the bowl (I use a knife to get more juice and pulp out of the limes and into the bowl)
Season with garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper to taste
Mash around with a whisk until everything is blended together and thick


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Funfetti Chip Blondies

I've always been curious about making Blondies...I don't know why though-it's incredibly easy! All of the recipes that I found up to today only had making the mix from scratch.  Awesome for everyone who does that, but it's really not my style-I feel like the more ingredients that I am responsible for measuring, the more chance that I have to make a drier than dry desert.  I finally found a recipe that called for cake mix and I was ready to rock and roll.  Credit to that recipe can be found here, at

Funfetti Chip Blondies

To buy:
1 Box of Funfetti Cake Mix
4 egg whites
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 stick of melted margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To do:

Preheat oven to 350*F

Cut stick of margarine into small pieces and melt in the microwave (I put mine in a small bowl and warmed it for 10 seconds, 3 times until mostly melted)

mix the cake mix, melted margarine, egg whites, packed brown sugar, vanilla extract in a bowl; add mini chocolate chips in.

Batter will be pretty thick.

Spread batter into a 9x13 inch greased baking pan.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350*F; turn oven off after 20 minutes, but leave pan in for another 10 minutes.

Let cool, cut into pieces and enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Spicy Bean and Vegetable Soup

The most difficult part of this recipe is soaking the beans.  I like to buy dried beans in bulk (either a bean mix, or buying a bunch of different beans and lentils to combine).  I'll usually start soaking my beans on Sunday and do the "quick soak" method.  Check out this a simple guide to the Quick Soak from EHow here.  This is another recipe where you I throw in whatever vegetables I have in my refrigerator and freezer.  This time, I used canned diced jalapenos, frozen spinach, frozen peas, baby carrots, and fresh chopped onions.  This recipe makes A LOT of soup-believe me when I say that I've been eating versions of the same base soup for 3 weeks now.  It freezes really well too!

Spicy Bean and Vegetable Soup

to buy:
1 package or at least 16 ounces of dried mixed beans
Cajun Seasoning
Frozen and/or fresh vegetables of your choice
3 Tbsp minced garlic

To do:

Quick soak and rinse your beans (if you decide to use canned beans, rinse them as well).  I use a big pot to make my soup and fill it about 3/4 of the way up with water on top of the beans.

Add chopped fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, minced garlic, and seasonings to pot.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry with Brown Rice and Vegetables

Welcome to my world of multitasking...The reason I cook my chicken in the oven is because I can let it sit while I do other things and not have to keep an eye on it until I'm ready to prep it.

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry with Brown Rice and Vegetables

This is a fabulous and easy meal to make from whatever you have in your refrigerator and freezer. I started with frozen chicken breast stir fry strips, but you could definitely use last night's leftover chicken too. This serves 1, so keep that in mind if you're cooking for more than just yourself.

To buy:
1 Chicken breast or 1 serving of chicken, any way you like it
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
about 2 cup in total of vegetables of your choice (tonight, I used fresh broccoli that I roasted, frozen spinach, and frozen peas)
2 swirly drizzles of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
Chicken Seasoning, Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic Powder/Garlic Salt
Soy Sauce
Hot Sauce (I had Tabasco Sauce in my pantry)

To do:

Cook your brown rice-it's 1 cup of dry rice to 2 cups of water...add rice once water boils and leave on low heat until it's ready (usually 20 minutes on stovetop)-I had leftover rice tonight so I got to skip this part.


Brown/cook your chicken-be sure to cut it into smaller, bite sized pieces and season it! (I put my chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes while my broccoli roasted...I then transferred it into my skillet to finish cooking it) If you choose to multitask like me, preheat your oven to 455 and get something else done while your chicken cooks and broccoli roasts.

Swirl some extra virgin olive oil into a skillet and start heating it. I had my stovetop on 8 out of 10. Once olive oil is heated, put your chicken and vegetables into the skillet.

Pour some soy sauce into the skillet and season as you stir-don't worry! Anything frozen will defrost and cook while you stir.

Once anything frozen has cooked through, add your rice and one more swirl of olive oil-I used leftovers tonight. Stir rice, chicken, vegetables, minced garlic, any other seasonings, a little bit more soy sauce, and tabasco sauce together. DON'T add too much soy sauce, you don't want wet stir fry; just pay attention, as you pour-I honestly don't know exactly how much I used, but it was just enough.

Once everything is stirred together and coated, you're ready to serve!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Salsa Tortilla Chip Chicken

I'm all about making cooking convenient. I'm a single twenty something who is constantly on the go. The last thing that I have time for or want to do is cook a very involved dinner for myself. The problem with that is it only leaves me with so many options. Or at least that's what you'd think...From here on out, this blog will be dedicated to creative and convenient cooking.

Salsa Tortilla Chip Chicken

You don't even have to defrost your chicken before cooking!!

To buy:
1 Chicken Breast (or 1 serving of chicken, any way you like it)
3/4 cup of Salsa (I used Pace)
1/3 or so cup of crushed up tortilla chips (I had a mix of blue and yellow corn tortilla chips in my pantry)

To do:
Preheat oven to 455* F

On a baking pan, lay out a sheet of foil-big enough to fold over the chicken to make a baking packet- (I use 2 sheets; one for the chicken and one for any vegetables that I might be roasting). If you're just doing the chicken, spray the middle of your sheet of foil with cooking spray and place your chicken on top.

Pour salsa over the chicken until covered-I actually just pour out of the jar until it looks right.

Crush up and sprinkle the tortilla chips on top of the salsa covered chicken.

Fold the foil around the chicken, making a baking packet. Seal by folding the edges over each other.

Bake for 30 minutes. I usually leave it in for 10 minutes longer after turning the oven off.