Blistered Shishito Peppers

It’s always good to have easy appetizers in your back pocket. This recipe can be thrown together in 10 minutes and will please any crowd. Pair it with a creamy dip:  it’s healthy and not too spicy–just full of flavor. 


  • Shishito peppers
  • Kosher or Sea Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Olive oil 
  • Mayo and/or sour cream
  • Half of a lemon, juiced
  • Dash hot sauce to taste 

Put your clean and dry peppers in a bowl. Toss with the seasonings and oil. Go a little heavy on the salt. 

To make the dip put equal parts sour cream and mayo with lemon juice and hot sauce to taste. Mix and let sit. 

Put your cast iron skillet on the stove and get it piping hot. Then turn to medium/high heat. 

Place your peppers in the pan and let cook for a minute or two then toss to blister the other sides. Cook for a total of 5-6 minutes. 

Serve immediately with dipping sauce. Sprinkle peppers with more salt on top and a dash of paprika in the sauce for a touch of color.  

To eat – pick up peppers by the stem, dip in sauce and chow down on everything but the stem. 

Caesar Salad

There are a lot of ways to make caesar dressing and this just happens to be my way. It doesn’t include egg yolks or whole anchovies and it’s not thick and white. My lightened up version is pretty healthy compared to other options (definitely better than store bought) and when you’re just having salad with grilled chicken for dinner, it’s ok to have some calories in the dressing. Plus I don’t use croutons, so throw a little more cheese in there!

This recipe is quick and easy for a healthy weeknight meal. You have to taste test the proportions of ingredients but you’ll get the hang of it. It’s not an exact science. 


  • Juice of 1-2 lemons 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Squeeze of anchovy paste (optional- about 1-2 tsps)
  • Squeeze of brown mustard (about a tablespoon or less)
  • Dash or two of worchestshire sauce
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (at least 1 tbsp. Go with 2!)
  • Olive oil, the good stuff
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper 

Put all ingredients except the cheese and oil into a bowl and mix well with a whisk. Then add your oil and whisk some more. Then add cheese which will add a creamy saltiness to it. Mix well and do a taste test to see if it’s balanced. 

It will take some practice to get it right but once you get it, it’s so good. 

Toss on your romaine, and add grilled chicken on top! I recommend washing and cutting your lettuce, put it in a bowl with paper towels in the fridge while you make the dressing and do other things. It will make your lettuce nice and crisp. 

Fish Tacos

There are so many versions of fish tacos out there and believe me I’ve tried more than my fair share. There’s nothing better than a deep fried crispy fish taco with a tangy coleslaw on top. Especially if it’s paired with a margarita and lots of sunshine. But, reality check, it’s February and it’s the time of year when we really need to shed those winter thermals (otherwise known as fat on the gut) and trim down our waste lines. This recipe will transport you to warmer times and deliver on flavor without all the guilt.


For the Fish: (this will make 4 good sized tacos, so 2 each)

  • 1lb of cod (it’s a nice white fish and much less expensive than Sea Bass or my favorite, Halibut)
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil drizzle
  • Yellow corn taco shells

Avocado Crema

  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Jalapeño (seeds and veins removed)
  • 1-2 spoonfuls of light sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt & Pepper


  • 1/2 red cabbage sliced thin
  • 1/2 of white cabbage sliced thin
  • Cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Little olive oil
  • Splash of apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

You can buy a bag of pre-cut coleslaw to make it easier. I’ve used Whole Foods cabbage, carrot and beet slaw which is also great.  With the recipe above, you will have leftovers of the coleslaw which is great on its own as a salad or even better leftover the next day.


Season your fish with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (just a little cayenne if you don’t like spicy), lime zest, lime juice and olive oil. Let marinate in the fridge for 10-15 minutes while you prep your other ingredients.

Place your cabbage in a bowl with cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Using a small food processor, place all ingredients in for the crema- avocado, a bunch of cilantro, a jalapeno, lime juice, sour cream and salt/pepper. If for some reason it comes out too bitter, add a dash of agave syrup (or white balsamic) to sweeten it. I find sometimes if your avocado isn’t ripe enough, it needs it. Puree to combine.

Put your pan on medium/high heat and put fish in. Cook for a few minutes and flip. It won’t take long but it depends on how thick it is. When it’s solid white you are good to go!

While your fish is finishing, place your taco shell on the burner and brown. If you don’t have a gas burner, just heat it up anyway you like (in a pan, microwave, etc. I like the flavor of the char). 

Put your crema down first, then your fish and top with the tangy fresh cole slaw.

Eat and enjoy all the flavor and none of the guilt!

Here’s a snap chat video from the last time I made them.


Don’t knock ’em til you try ’em “Turkey Meatballs”

I’m not going to lie, the thought of turkey meatballs wasn’t appetizing to me. As an Italian especially, I made some assumptions that they couldn’t possibly be good. I was wrong… And I made these on a weeknight in under a half hour and not only was it a healthy option but it was truly delicious. They were also good leftover. Give em a try!


  • 1.25 lbs of lean white meat turkey breast
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup imported parmigiano cheese
  • Tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt & pepper
  • Pam oil spray


Pre heat oven to 400.

In a mixing bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, onion, egg, bread crumbs and cheese. Mix well and then add the turkey. Roll into balls and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. This recipe made 15 balls which came out to 119 calories each including the sauce and cheese.

Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes. Then place in cast iron pan to finish searing on all sides.

Then add tomato sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.

Then add mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler until bubbly and browned.

Mmmmmmm. Time to eat!

Prosciutto Wrapped Arugula with Pear and Blue Cheese

It’s nice to have easy go-to recipes in your back pocket that taste delicious. This particular recipe also happens to be pretty healthy for you as far as summertime BBQ dishes go. It can be used as an appetizer or side dish, it’s easy to serve and eat with your fingers. The one downside to this recipe is that it’s not one of those make ahead dishes that can sit…otherwise you will have soggy lettuce. But you can whip it up in 10 minutes right when guests arrive or right before you leave the house.



  • Argulua, washed and dried
  • Balsamic glaze (like this one or make your own)
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Fresh cracked pepper (you really don’t need salt b/c the prosciutto takes care of that)
  • 1 pear, sliced into thin pieces
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • 15 thinly sliced imported prosciutto


  • Put the arugula in a bowl, add a drizzle of balsamic glaze and olive oil. Then add fresh cracked black pepper and combine.
  • Lay your prosciutto out flat and place a small handful of arugula on the end of the slice. Add 1-2 pieces of apple and some blue cheese crumbles.
  • Roll all the ingredients inside the prosciutto.
  • Serve on a platter. Option to drizzle more balsamic glaze on top.


If you have any vegetarians, skip the prosciutto and they have a delicious salad! image

July 2016 Update: I put a spin on this recipe so that it would stand up better to being left outdoors in the summer time. Form the prosciutto slices in small muffin tins and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Add the same ingredients as above and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Amaze!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower is all the rage lately on Pinterest. I’ve looked on with skeptical curiosity but finally decided to take the plunge given our goal to keep eating healthy. I will say making this crust was a bit more work than I expected, but, it really, truly was delicious. My crust was a bit soft in the center so I think I could have cooked the crust a few more minutes or the tomato sauce was too much to handle (I’ll have to make a few more before I can submitt a perfect recipe to you all). But if you are gluten free and cutting back on carbs (or want to hide some veggies from your kids) this recipe is a great option. It can be fun to do as a family, too!

Cauliflower crusted pizza by jewtalian


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried or Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional for some spice)
  • 1 TBSP flax seed meal (optional)
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • Few TBSPs of fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese


  • Put your pizza stone in the oven at 450 degrees.
  • Place your cauliflower in the blender and pulse until it looks like rice or some people say, snow.


  • Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 4 minutes. It will come out piping hot. Dump the mixture on to a clean dish towel and when it’s cooled enough squeeze all the water out–this will take you several minutes. You will be shocked by the amount of water that comes out!
  • In a mixing bowl add the egg, cheeses, and seasonings. (I have used fresh parsley and the spicy oregano I grow in my garden) Incorporate the cauliflower and mix together–use your hands!


  • Roll it into a ball and place on top of a piece of parchment paper.


  • Using your hands press down on the “dough” flattening it out into the shape of a pizza. I used my fingers to create a crust around the edge.


  • Place the crust on the parchment paper on the pizza stone and cook for 15 minutes 


  • I topped mine with some leftover homemade sauce, caramelized onions, reduced fat mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and of course some spicy soppressata.
  • After your toppings are done, bake the pizza until the cheese is bubbly and browning. NOTE: let your pizza cool and set a few minutes before you cut into it or it will be messy and more difficult to pick up a slice and eat it. Buon Appetito!


Here’s another version I did with zuchinni, tomatoes and shrimp. 

Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

In an effort to keep things healthy post January 1, last weekend I decided to try a healthy spin on buffalo chicken wraps–one of my favorites. Whats better than a soft flour tortilla, crunchy fried chicken smothered in buffalo sauce, some mayo or ranch and crunchy lettuce…. amazing. So, how can we make this better? Avoid frying and the calorie ridden flour tortilla. This recipe satisfied my craving. The crunchy bread crumbs and avo purée make this healthy dinner feel indulgent but it’s much more friendly to your waistline.


  • Package of chicken breasts, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup or so of Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 cup or so 2% Greek yogurt 
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped for topping 
  • Bibb lettuce, washed and separated
  • Avocado 
  • Fresh parsley 
  • 1 tbsp White balsamic vinegar 


  • For this recipe I cut my chicken into nugget shapes. You can cut them into tenders or anything you want. 
  • In a large mixing bowl add your chicken and sprinkle with salt. Add 3/4 of the Greek yogurt and some Franks red hot. Stir everything to combine and then cover with saran wrap and stick in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. (A few hours is fine if you want to get prep out of the way early).

    • Pre heat the oven to 375.
    • Pour panko bread crumbs into a shallow dish and wet with some oil. Coat each piece of chicken with the bread crumbs but pressing them firmly into the chicken, and place on a cookie sheet topped with a drying rack. This will help crisp up the chicken. 

    • Bake for about 30 minutes or until they get golden. If necessary broil them at the end to finish browning. 


    • You have the option of spraying the chicken with a light olive oil towards the end to ensure the breadcrumbs get nice and crispy.
    • Meanwhile put avocado, the rest of the Greek yogurt, fresh parsley, vinegar and salt and pepper in blender and purée until smooth. I also added a few celery leaves. 


    • When the chicken is done, assemble a lettuce wrap with the purée, chicken, celery,  and a drizzle of hot sacue and a dollop of ranch.  Enjoy!

    These also make great chicken nuggets for kids without the hot sauce on top! My neighbors 2 year old ate them right up! 

    Updated 3/26/17

    No Bake Protein Bites

    We have all reached for the bag of potato chips, chocolate cookies or in my case usually goldfish, at some point during the day. You’re hungry or bored (or hungry and bored) and you didn’t pack anything healthy to bring to work. Or the case may be that any healthy choices are uninteresting or too difficult. I’m not going to pretend to solve that problem totally but I have found something that is super easy to make, you can store it in your fridge for a week and they actually do taste delicious. The no bake protein bites have been a craze for a while now but they are new to me so I’m excited and sharing it with all of you. There are endless ways to craft these and I will probably try using raisins instead of chocolate chips and maybe some almond butter instead of peanut butter. But for now, this recipe works great! One ball if made the size of a golf ball is roughly 165 calories and  5 grams of protein. (You can also consider adding protein powder if you’re working out and need the extra protein).




    This should make 12 snack bites.

    • 1 cup of dry oatmeal
    • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup honey (I used half agave nectar and half honey)
    • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup wheat germ (or flaxseed)
    • 1/4 cup or so of dark chocolate chips



    Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so to get everything cold. Then roll them into balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat one for your late afternoon snack!






    Huevos Rancheros

    Mexican breakfast eggs, as my husband calls it, or otherwise known as huevos rancheros is one of my favorite brunch selections. Some combination of eggs, beans, tortilla and salsa… yum. There’s endless ways to make this dish and mine is simply based off what I had in my kitchen. You can certainly make it for breakfast but “breakfast for dinner” is an even better weeknight option – cheap, easy and usually pretty fast. This meal also happens to be incredibly delicious.




    -1 can black beans

    -1 can pinto beans

    -Fresh cilantro

    -1 can fire roasted tomatoes

    -1 onion

    -3 cloves garlic

    -Chicken broth

    -1 lb flank steak (an optional ingredient but Kyle reeeally wanted steak that night and I reeeeally wanted eggs)

    -1 red chili pepper (use any hot or sweet pepper you like)

    -Ancho chili powder

    -Salt & pepper

    -Fresh head lettuce, chopped in thin strips (washed and refrigerated with a paper towel to get it crispy)

    -Crumbled feta or cotija cheese (whatever you can find in the grocery store)

    -Olive oil


    If you are using flank steak, season well with salt, pepper, ancho chili powder, garlic powder and rub into the steak with a tiny bit of oil just to moisten it before you throw it on a hot grill. Cook on the first side about 7 minutes and then flip the steak over. Take it off when it reaches your desired temperature (I like it medium) and cover it with tin foil to let it rest while you make the rest of your meal. This will help suck all the juices into the meat and will leave you with a tender and juicy steak!


    Strain both cans of beans and add to a pot with fresh cilantro. You can add lime juice if you have limes or I added some chicken broth.


    I wanted to make the texture a bit like refried beans even though isn’t your traditional refried bean recipe. I mashed the beans up with a spoon and then I poured the flank steak juices on the plate to add some flavor to the beans. (Usually refried beans are cooked in bacon fat)


    Add your can of fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, pepper and onions to a pot. Season with salt & pepper and cook on medium heat.


    Puree the mixture with your hand mixer. I left mine as more of a chunky salsa rather than puree everything together to a smooth sauce.



    In a hot pan, heat up some vegetable oil to fry your tortillas. Cook them on both sides until they crisp up and start to brown.


    Top the tortilla with the bean mixture and then sliced flank steak.


    Then add your salsa.


    Finally, fry up an egg on medium to high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over easy and place on top of your salsa.


    Finish with shredded lettuce and feta or cotija cheese.



    Baked Chicken Egg Rolls

    I love coming up with game time food during football season. Something about the fall and watching sports on Sunday that really makes me want some delicious homemade food. I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like an egg roll and I figured it was worth trying some out to see if you can make them with out putting them in a deep fryer. Were they as good? No. But they were still crunchy on the outside and full of flavor in the middle. Plus you can use any ingredients you want–an Italian twist, an Asian twist, a Mexican twist… sky is the limit. I had limited ingredients on hand and certainly wish I had some fresh ginger to add but these were good nonetheless. Try ’em out using your favorite flavors!



    -1 link of organic chicken sausage with casing removed or ground chicken

    -1/2 red onion

    -Fresh cilantro

    -4 Won Ton wrappers

    -Chinese cabbage, sliced thin

    -1 Red pepper, julienned

    For the Sauce:
    -Sriracha sauce to taste

    -Corn starch (optional)

    -Soy sauce

    – 1/2 TBSP honey

    -Salt & pepper


    For the Sauce:
    -Combine a few tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of honey and sriracha (to taste) in a bowl. Mix well. Heat up in sauce pan or in the microwave. Add corn starch to thicken. Set aside for dipping later.

    -Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    -Saute chicken and onions until the chicken is browned and onions are softened.


    Cut your cabbage and red pepper in thin strips.


    Place the chicken, cabbage and peppers towards the edge of your won ton. Dip your finger in water and wet the edges of all sides of the won ton. Roll the wrapper and fold in the sides as you continue rolling. Pinch the edges and wet again if necessary to be sure they stick together.



    On a baking sheet, drizzle some olive or vegetable oil (I used both). Roll your egg rolls in the oil so they are covered.


    Place in the oven to bake for roughly 15 minutes or until the egg rolls are golden brown. Dip in sauce and enjoy some football! Pretty simple, no?


    Crispy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

    I love pumpkin seeds. And until you’ve made them at home, and have eaten them right out of a hot oven, you don’t know what you are missing. This past weekend my sister and her boyfriend were visiting and we decided to carve some pumpkins and make some delicious crispy, salty pumpkin seeds. She took the beautiful photos.  I encourage you to go buy a pumpkin and get your hands a little dirty–it’s fun and it will bring you back to your childhood! Disclaimer: my pumpkin seed making skills far surpass our pumpkin carving skills–or maybe I should say “my” skills so not to offend my sister and her boyfriend. 🙂  My pumpkin is bottom right.

    pumkins and seeds finished


    1. Seeds from a pumpkin (we used 3 medium-sized pumpkins)
    2. Olive oil
    3. Kosher salt


    Clean your pumpkin seeds well in a strainer by running cold water through them and make sure to get all the pumpkin out of the seeds.

    Put your pumpkin seeds in a large pot of salted water on the stove. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 5-10 minutes. This method supposedly makes the outer shell crisper when you roast them.

    seeds boiling

    Strain the seeds and dry with a towel. They don’t have to be totally dry but do the best job you can. They will stick to the towel a bit but you can easily shake them off.

    seeds out of oven

    Lay them flat on baking sheets so they don’t overlap each other. Coat in some olive oil (don’t drench them) and finish with kosher salt.

    Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Watch them and taste them every few minutes. Just because the outer shell isn’t browned, it doesn’t mean you aren’t burning the inside seed.

    pumkin seeds

    EAT! These are delicious, crunchy and salty. I think they taste a lot like popcorn and they are very good for you! Pair with a nice fire, a movie and some beer. Enjoy!

    Oh- and display your pumpkins proudly!


    Grilled Jalapeño Poppers

    Finding delicious new appetizers to bring to a summer BBQ is always a fun challenge for me. It’s a risk trying something new, especially when bringing it to a large group of people but if you just have confidence in your ingredients it will turn out great! I’ve seen a lot of Jalapeno Popper recipes on Pinterest lately but they are typically stuffed with some mixture of cream cheese and jack cheese and wrapped with bacon and sometimes fried. Not exactly healthy and not that exciting (to me) in terms of ingredients. I love jalapenos so I started thinking how I could put my twist on this recipe. I substituted using all that cheese with avocado and I bought an all natural chorizo made by Whole Foods meat department. I used fresh herbs, quality cheese and cooked them on the grill; great flavor with out all the fat.




    -2 Fresh Chorizo sausage links from Whole Foods (you could substitute with other kinds of ground beef or pork but make sure you season it well with things like chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper cumin, etc.)

    -2 garlic cloves

    -12 to 15 jalapeno peppers (Make sure you pick out larger and fatter jalapenos so you can fit a lot of stuffing in them)

    -1/2 of a ripe avocado

    -1-2 tbsp whipped cream cheese with chives (of course you can use any kind but I had this in my fridge)

    -Manchego cheese, freshly grated

    -Fresh chopped cilantro

    -Fresh chopped chives

    -Juice from half of one lime



    -Cut your jalapenos in half and take out the seeds and membranes. If you have some jalapenos on the skinny side, cut off 1/3 of it so you have a big enough pepper to stuff.


    -Cut the casings off the chorizo and place in a medium hot pan with fresh chopped garlic.


    -Combine the cream cheese, avocado, fresh herbs and lime juice in a bowl. Add salt & pepper. When the chorizo cools, add it to the bowl and mix well.


    -Using a spoon, stuff each pepper and top with a sprinkle of manchego cheese. Press down the cheese into the stuffing so it sticks to the mixture and doesn’t fall off. I stuffed them in advance and covered with tinfoil for a few hours until they were ready for the grill.


    -Get the grill nice and hot and put the flames on a medium level. Place the jalapenos directly on the grill and cook until the cheese melts. It’s a good idea to warn your guests that sometimes jalapenos are mild and sometimes they are spicy–it’s hard to know which one you will get.


    -Pop one in your mouth! Enjoy!


    Baked Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Stack

    I was somewhat complaining earlier today because all I had in my fridge for dinner was an eggplant and I didn’t feel like going to the store. I ended my night however with a meal that Kyle said was in my top 5 of all time. (Woo hoo!) I was able to pick some tomatoes right out of my aunt’s neighbor’s garden and somehow I came up with a healthy, heavenly, fresh summer dinner.



    • 1 Eggplant
    • 2 ripe tomatoes
    • Fresh mozzarella, sliced
    • Fresh basil
    • 1 egg
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped (optional)
    • Fresh chopped parsley (optional)
    • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
    • Whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
    • Balsamic glaze
    • Olive oil spray
    • Salt  & pepper



    Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

    Cut your eggplant into thick slices.


    Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Add your breadcrumb mixture to another shallow bowl. Add fresh chopped garlic and parsley if you have it on hand- if you are using seasoned italian breadcrumbs it’s not necessary.  I also added some salt and pepper.  Then add oil to the breadcrumb mixture to wet it a bit. Since we aren’t frying the eggplant, wetting the breadcrumbs will help them crisp up in the  oven.


    Place each slice of eggplant in the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs. Coat it well. Then place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and sprayed with oil so they don’t stick.



    After about 15 minutes turn the oven to broil so the breadcrumbs start to brown. Then turn the eggplant over and do the same to the other side. Spray with more oil if necessary.


    Slice your tomatoes and mozzarella into thick slices.



    I placed some fresh arugula on the plate (an optional step). Then layer the eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and drizzle some balsamic glaze. Repeat steps until the stack can’t grow anymore.


    Dig in with a knife and fork. It may get messy but don’t let that stop you.


    Portabella Pizza

    Want to eat pizza without all the carbs? Instead of using dough, buy some large portabella mushroom caps. They can hold a lot of toppings, they cook well in the toaster oven (or on the grill) and they pair wonderfully with all the traditional pizza ingredients. Tonight’s mushroom pizza was one of my favorites so I thought I would share it. Plus, Kyle loved it, and when he loves something healthy I know I’ve done it right. You can make any kind of pizza toppings and cheeses you can imagine.  While I was making the topping for this pizza I also reserved half to put over whole wheat pasta for lunch the next day. So this recipe can make 4 portabellas or, 2 portabellas and a lunch portion of pasta.



    -4 large portabella mushrooms

    -2 spicy Italian chicken sausages from whole foods

    -2 garlic cloves

    -1 fresh tomato, diced

    -About 1 cup of tomato sauce (you can just use a can of diced tomatoes instead of the combination of fresh and sauce but I didn’t have any)

    -1/4 or so of red wine

    -Fresh chopped basil


    -Parmesan cheese


    Saute your red onions in olive oil in a hot pan until they start to caramelize. Cut your chicken sausage out of the casing and add to the pan. Let it brown on all sides. Using a potato masher will help grind the chicken up in to small pieces. Then add garlic. Let the mixture cook until the sausage is browned and mostly cooked.

    Add the red wine and let reduce. Using your spoon, scrape the grits off the bottom of the plan. They have tons of flavor.

    Get your toaster oven heating up to about 350 on bake.


    Add the fresh tomatoes, basil and tomato sauce. Let simmer for a few minutes. You want it to be a thicker sauce so it holds well in the mushroom. If it is too thin, add some tomato paste.  I used half of the mixture in the photo below to fill two large mushrooms, and saved the other half for pasta the next day. If you choose this option, add a bit more tomato sauce to the pan so the noodles have liquid to soak up. I recommend cooking the pasta now, adding it to the sauce and then putting it in the fridge for lunch the next day.


    Place your mushrooms on tinfoil and using a spoon scrape out the insides so they are easy to fill. Add the mixture.


    Top with your favorite cheeses! I sprinkled some parmesan, some shredded low fat mozz and I diced up some fresh mozz I had on hand. 20130805-201413.jpg

    Cook in the oven until the cheese melts and turns golden brown. The mushrooms will release some liquid which is normal. Use a spatula to take the mushroom off the tinfoil and plate.


    Top with fresh basil and enjoy!!


    Get out your fork and knife and dig in! 🙂20130805-201554.jpg

    Turn Zucchini Into Linguine

    I bought a new kitchen toy! And I am REALLY excited about it. For $35 you can make pasta out of vegetables, too! This is a great way to eat pasta guilt-free and perhaps for the Moms out there, a great way to hide vegetables from your kids! And if you are gluten free this is a great substitute for pasta–certainly more nutritious AND tasty !

    The machine I bought is made of plastic–this isn’t a high quality piece of kitchen machinery. If I’m being 100% honest, it was not the easiest to clean (according to Kyle). I’m sure you can buy a nice stainless steel one for a few hundred bucks. But this one does the job and the results were perfect. I highly recommend it! I can’t wait to try more vegetables and use all the different blades provided! Of course, more reviews and recipes will come 🙂


    So for starters, you are going to have to buy one of these. 

    It’s really quite simple. I started by making a quick meat sauce. I have plenty of different pasta sauce recipes you could use for this. A pesto would even go really well!  Something to learn from my experience: we are used to making pasta and having the noodles soak up a lot of the liquid in our sauce. The vegetable will not do this, therefore I recommend making a thicker sauce than you might otherwise.


    Wash your zucchini and cut off the ends.

    Insert the zucchini as shown and turn the handle. As you are turning the handle you will have to continually push the handle in so the zucchini stays locked into position. It’s not hard work. I used 4 zucchini, it took me about 10 minutes and it made dinner for two and leftovers for 2.


    As you are turning the handle, the zucchini will come out the side. I actually used kitchen scissors to cut some of the long strands or you would be twirling your fork for hours!


    Then I boiled it in salted water. I also added a dash of oil just in case the veggies wanted to stick together. I cooked it for maybe 3 or 4 minutes and then put in a strainer just as you would pasta.

    20130725-095930.jpgThen I put the cooked zucchini in the sauce pan and incorporated.

    I topped with fresh basil and parmesan cheese, of course!

    Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes!!


    Ancho Chicken Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Crema

    It’s taco night!! Kyle and I LOVE tacos. We have multiple restaurants nearby that serve fantastic tacos: Bodega in Darien, Molcajetes and Tacos Mexico in Norwalk and in Hartford, my coworkers and I love (almost) weekly trips to the Lucky Taco truck parked on Bushnell Park. Tacos are versatile, incredibly flavorful and the best part, are really not bad for you. (Okay, well if you stuff it with fried fish and lots of cheese, that’s another story).

    I’ve made countless kinds of tacos: shrimp, steak, black bean & veggie…I could go on. But this week I was looking for a high protein and low-fat taco to compliment the T25 workout program Kyle and I are doing. So I used a skin less and boneless white meat chicken breast, red cabbage and an avocado crema topping.

    I had to leave the house for a meeting before Kyle got home. I left the tacos out for him to eat and he texted me to say, “I ate 3, is that really bad??” I responded “Haha no; I also had 3”. And his response was “I feel like I was really bad…” meaning no way eating 3 tacos was a healthy choice! So, this proves to you they are delicious and don’t compromise on flavor. Now, let me prove to you that they are good for you.

    For 3 of these tacos you are looking at roughly 450 calories, good fat from the avocado and a fresh vegetable. And you will be full. Kyle may have went on to eat 4 but who’s counting, and he’s allowed more calories. Dig in and enjoy 🙂



    • 2 boneless and skin less chicken breasts
    • 2 jalapenos (add one more if you like it hot!)
    • Fresh cilantro (maybe 1 cup? – just eyeball it people!)
    • 2 limes
    • 1 avocado
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 tbsp reduced fat sour cream (optional ingredient)
    • 1/3 of a head of red cabbage
    • 2 tbsp red or white vinegar
    • Salt & Pepper
    • 1 tbsp or so of ancho chili powder
    • 1/2 tbsp lawrys seasoning
    • White corn tacos



    Avocado Crema:

    Cut the jalapenos in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds and stems.

    Place jalapenos, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth.



    Slice the red cabbage into coleslaw-style strips. Add vinegar and salt and mix.


    Ancho Chicken:

    I marinated my chicken overnight with ancho chili powder, lawry’s, pepper and a bit of extra virgin olive oil just to moisten the ingredients. If you use lawry’s you do not need to add more salt. The overnight marinade is an optional step. If you don’t have time, simply season the chicken before you cook it.

    Sear the chicken on both sides of a hot pan to get a nice crust. Then add chicken broth or a squeeze of lime juice, place a lid over the pan and let cook on low heat.

    When the chicken is close to being finished, remove from the pan and dice in tiny pieces on your cutting board. Then place back in the pan to be sure everything is cooked through.



    Build your tacos with each of the ingredients and enjoy them guilt-free!


    Chicken Sausage, Veggies and Tomato Sauce Over Whole Wheat Pasta

    What to do when you are craving pasta but you’re trying to be good? Instead of having the pasta as the feature of your meal, use a portion more equivalent to a side. I had some Whole Foods Italian chicken sausage in my fridge and all I could think about was putting it over a large bowl of pasta and covered in parmesan cheese. With this recipe, you can have your cake and eat it too. I satisfied my craving by using lots of protein and fresh vegetables and didn’t overdo it on the carbs and fat.

    This recipe yields 3 servings: Dinner for Kyle and I and lunch for me the next day!



    • 2 links Whole Foods Italian Chicken Sausage
    • 2 cups whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
    • 1 red bell pepper
    • 1 sweet onion
    • 1 clove of garlic
    • Handful of spinach
    • Fresh chopped basil
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Tomato Sauce (I used Jerry’s because it’s the only jarred sauce I will buy, it’s simply amazing! You can use your own sauce, or some canned diced tomatoes.)
    • 3 slices, fresh mozzarella


    Put a pot of boiling water on, salt it and add your pasta. When your pasta is done, portion it out into the bowls and put a spoonful of sauce on each one so the sauce sticks to the pasta.


    You can choose to saute all of your ingredients in a pan, or grill all of your ingredients. Out of personal preference, I grilled the sausage and peppers and sautéed the onions and garlic in a pan.


    This is not a necessary step but I am funny about sausage. I like it to have a nice crunchy outside so I sliced it up and threw it on a pan to crisp up the edges.


    Do not dice your veggies into small pieces as you might normally would, instead cut them into larger bite sized pieces so they don’t get lost in the pasta. Remember, veggies and protein are the feature of this dish!

    Now add your veggies to the pasta.


    Then add an even number of sausage pieces into each bowl. Finally, add some spinach to each bowl–as much as you’d like.


    Add a few more spoonfuls of tomato sauce to each bowl.


    Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Since all the ingredients are already warm, put the bowls under the broiler until the cheese turns golden brown and bubbly.


    I cooked two and put the third in the fridge to save for lunch tomorrow. When they come out, top with some fresh chopped basil and enjoy!


    Cod Fish & White Bean Cakes

    I want to say up front that the thought of a “fish cake” is really unappealing to me. But don’t let the name of this recipe prevent you from trying it.

    We bought some fresh cod at Whole Foods and wanted to make something different than your typical pan-seared fish with lemon and capers. While fried fish and chips or fried fish cakes are delicious, they really aren’t something we should eat on a regular basis. I searched Pinterest for cod fish recipes and countless photos of golden brown, deep-fried fish appeared. The photos of these cod cakes, despite the fact that their name irks me, caught my attention. By substituting white beans for the potatoes and a pan sear instead of a deep fry, we cut a lot of fat and carbs from this dish–but we didn’t lose out on flavor. This recipe is a perfect compliment to a summer night and a glass of wine!



    • 1 lb fresh Cod
    • 1/2 can white cannelini beans
    • 1/2 red onion
    • 1/2 sweet onion
    • 2-3 stalks of celery
    • 1-2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 jar sweet pimiento peppers
    • 2 TBSP whole wheat panko bread crumbs
    • 2 TBSP Italian bread crumbs
    • 1 egg
    • Fresh chopped parsley
    • 2 dashes hot sauce (I used Franks)
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Oil to spray on pan (I use a mixture of 75% canola and 25% olive oil)


    Put your fish in a pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Put the lid on and cook at a low boil for roughly 5 minutes so the fish turns white. You don’t want to over cook it, just steam it so you don’t have to sear your cakes until the fish cooks through.


    Chop your ingredients.


    Saute in a pan for 2-3 minutes. (Don’t forget to salt them!)


    Set them aside to cool.

    Place your beans and parsley in a food processor to give them a rough chop. You want them to have somewhat of a pasty texture so it holds the mixture together (remember we are substituting for potato).


    Place all of your cooled ingredients in a mixing bowl (fish, beans and vegetables) with the breadcrumbs.


    In a separate bowl, mix the egg with the hot sauce and add to your fish mixture. It’s okay if you leave a little egg in the bottom of the bowl. (I used that later to brush on the cakes before cooking.) Mix gently so not to break the fish up too much. You want to see healthy-sized chunks of fish in there! (Or at least I do).

    Form the mixture into patties and place in the refrigerator to let them rest. I suppose you could cook them right away but they may fall apart on you.


    I opted to brush the cakes with leftover egg and hot sauce mixture and sprinkled some extra bread crumbs just to form a nice crust on the outside.

    Sear on both sides until you get a nice brown crust. Mine did fall apart a little, I think due to the fact that I didn’t purée the bean mixture well enough.




    Last minute I realized I wanted a dipping sauce of some kind. I took some reduced fat sour cream and threw in some franks red hot sauce and added some cut up chives. It ended up pairing great but whatever sauce you want to use is fine! A tartar sauce would work great, too. Enjoy.

    Basil and Pistachio Nut Pesto Grilled Chicken

    With the arrival of warm weather, the grills start firing up. Walking around my condo complex I can smell the different meats and marinades-it makes my mouth water! The grill is great for healthy eating and it gives flavor to your proteins and veggies that cannot be substituted on the stove.

    While Kyle was out golfing last weekend and the sun was shining, I decided to surprise him with a healthy lunch. My basil plant was overgrown but I didn’t have the traditional pesto ingredients. After looking around my kitchen I came up with a substitute that did the trick.



    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 1 onion cut in 4 thick slices
    • 2 cups fresh basil
    • 10 or so pistachio nuts
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Red Pepper Flakes
    • Juice from 1/2 of 1 lemon
    • Olive oil
    • 1 tbsp of parmesan cheese (or more if you’d like)


    Place all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

    Brush the pesto on the chicken and onions and place on the grill (just a thin layer).


    When your chicken and veggies are done, immediately smother them in pesto so it really takes on the flavor.


    Serve with a fork and knife.

    Caramelized Onion Turkey Burger

    For a long time the idea of a turkey burger, for lack of a better phrase, grossed me out. I can’t explain it, but it just didn’t sound appetizing. Maybe because for years my father has repeatedly told us the ONLY bad meal my mother ever made in 30 years of marriage was turkey meatloaf. It ingrained in me the belief that turkey belonged on the Thanksgiving table with mashed potatoes and gravy– and that’s it.

    However, given my desire to eat a little healthier and my passion to explore new foods and make my own recipes, I gave it a try. I went to the local market where I could get fresh ground organic white meat turkey (so I could be sure what was in there) and gave it a shot. I knew it needed to be packed with flavor in order to even try to compare it to a beef burger, so what better than caramelized onions and Italian seasonings?? All in all, I thought these “burgers” were delicious and would make them again–definitely on a grill this summer and try different variations.



    For the burger:

    • 1/2 lb ground white meat turkey
    • 1/2 lb ground dark meat turkey (optional but adds flavor and juiciness)
    • Fresh chopped parsley
    • 3/4 of a cup (ish) of caramelized onions (2 onions raw… I know, I’m bad at keeping track of how much I use. It’s the Italian in me… go with the flow)
    • 2 cloves fresh chopped garlic
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Mozzarella cheese (if you have something with more flavor like fontina or gouda that would also work well)
    • 2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
    • Red pepper flakes, to taste

    For the rest:

    • 1 garlic naan or whole wheat pita
    • Arugula
    • Tzatziki sauce (I made it from scratch the first time and while it was good, it wasn’t perfect. So after I perfect it, I will post it)

    You can also throw this burger on a traditional bun and it would be great!


    • Caramelized onions can be made at any time and kept in the fridge for sweet and savory additions to meals throughout the week. Simply slice your onions thin, and place in a hot pan with olive oil. Cook on medium to high so they brown (be careful not to burn!). The longer you cook them, the better. About 20-30 minutes should do it. For this recipe I would dice them into smaller pieces so they work in the burger.
    • Add your turkey, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, parmesan, red pepper flakes and onions in a bowl and mix to incorporate. Make 4 even sized patties.
    • Place your cheese on top of 2 of the patties and then put the remaining 2 on top to make 2 larger burgers.


    • It was winter so I was working inside instead of on the grill but either cooking method will work. Put your pan on medium/high and spray with oil. Place the burgers on the pan and brown on each side (roughly 5 minutes each). I then turned the heat down and put a cover over the burgers to ensure they cooked through.


    • Place your burger on a bed of arugula and top with tzatziki sauce! Dig in and enjoy.


    Spinach Stuffed Filet of Sole

    This is a very straightforward dish inspired by Italian flavors and made for the fish lover. It’s very easy to make and you can adapt the stuffing ingredients to whatever your heart desires! It’s also very healthy and satisfying.



    • 4 pieces filet of sole
    • Fresh spinach
    • 1 shallot
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1-2 tbsp of whole wheat bread crumbs (optional)
    • olive oil for sauteing
    • Red pepper flakes
    • Salt & pepper
    • Tomato sauce (2 or so cups of your favorite!)
    • Fresh basil


    • Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
    • Heat up a pan with olive oil and add red pepper flakes to infuse the oil. Add onions and then garlic until translucent (3-5 minutes).
    • Saute the spinach and add the onion mixture and breadcrumbs. Cook for about 3 minutes and then set aside to cool.


    • Lay your fish flat and season with salt and pepper. Divide your spinach stuffing into 4 parts (for the 4 pieces of fish) and spoon the mixture on the end of your fish.


    • Gently roll the fish and place in the baking dish.




    Add your tomato sauce (enough to just cover the fish) and sprinkle with fresh basil.


    • Cover your pan with tin foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.



    Spicy Italian Baked Zucchini Chips

    I often am looking for a salty and crunchy snack in the afternoon or after dinner late night. Sweets don’t do it for me: I need the salt. Given that zucchini is a vegetable and you are baking them (rather than frying) this recipe is a smart alternative to the typical fried potato chip or goldfish (my personal favorite). You can modify these any way you’d like but I opted for a thicker slice so it would be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside and I added lots of red pepper flakes for a real kick.  This recipe is a hefty snack for 2 people, double it if you are making for a group. It’s also great to make as an appetizer.  As per usual, I didn’t measure when I created this recipe so go with your gut when proportioning out the various ingredients in the bread crumb mixture. Enjoy!

    Zucchini Chips

    Zucchini Chips


    • 1 zucchini, washed and sliced roughly 1/4 thick
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 or so tbsp fresh chopped parsley
    • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
    • 3/4 cup whole wheat panko break crumbs (or whatever kind you have/prefer)
    • hefty sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 tbsp non fat plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 egg white
    • salt & pepper
    • Olive oil



    • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
    • Brush a layer of olive oil or vegetable oil to a cookie sheet
    • Combine egg white and yogurt in a shallow bowl and combine well
    • Combine bread crumbs, salt & pepper, red pepper flakes, cheese, garlic, parsley in a shallow bowl
    • Coat your zucchini slices in the yogurt mixture and then transfer to bread crumbs


    • Place the slices on your cookie sheet. Using your misto, spray the slices with olive oil to dampen the bread crumbs.

    Ready for oven

    • Bake at 400 until golden brown (about 20 minutes)
    • Serve with your favorite sauce

    Italian Baked Zucchini Chips

    Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Burger

    I love burgers especially those huge juicy, cheesy ones topped with tons of fun things! However, I am always willing to try new things–especially if means a healthy alternative. In anticipation of our vacation next week, I decided to stick with low carb and low-calorie meals.  For that reason I opted to rest the burger on a bed of kale and spinach but I this would be phenomenal on a bun! I tried black bean burgers on their own which were delicious but the quinoa makes the burger a bit more hearty and filling.  As far as toppings go, the options are endless. I went with a small scoop of guacamole and some tomatillo salsa I had on hand. You could do caramalized onions, a fried egg, sautéed mushrooms, cheese, and much much more.

    photo 2 (1)


    photo 1 (1)

    • 1 can black beans
    • 1 cup quinoa
    • bell peppers (I used baby red, orange and yellow for nice color), chopped


    • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper for heat (optional)
    • 1 lime
    • 1 egg
    • 3 scallions, chopped (you can use onion instead)
    • 2-3 chopped garlic cloves
    • Avocado for topping
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Chili powder (1/2 – 1 TBSP)
    • Cumin (1 teaspoon)


    • Cook 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups liquid (water or chicken broth)
    • Strain the can of black beans and place in a bowl. Using a fork, mash up the beans so it will form into a burger. If you need to add a splash of water it will help the process along.

    photo 2 (2)

    • Add the chopped ingredients to your bean mixture. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the ingredients and if you like lime zest like I do, add some to the bowl as well.  
    • Season with chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin.

    photo 3 (2)

    • Add the cooked quinoa and egg to the bowl and mix well. I made 2 very large burgers with these ingredients. It might be more manageable to make 4 smaller patties – but it’s your call. 

    photo 1 (3)

    • Heat a flat pan to medium high heat and spray with olive oil.
    • Place your burgers on the pan and cook until you crisp up each side and the ingredients head through (about 4-5 minutes per side)

    photo 3

    • While they are cooking place half an avocado in a bowl with fresh lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix well to place on top of your burger.
    • Serve your healthy and flavor packed black bean burgers!

    Black Bean Quinoa Burger

    Shrimp Fried Quinoa

    Fried rice is one of my favorite take out items. I can’t imagine it’s that great for you so why not put a healthy quick on it and make it at home. I  made this “fried rice” with quinoa and lots of veggies. Feel free to use any vegetables you like or have on hand. This can also be made with chicken or any other kind of protein. Enjoy!

    Shrimp Fried Quinoa


    • Shrimp, cleaned and deveined, chopped into bite size pieces
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • Peas
    • Fresh ginger
    • 3 scallions, diced
    • 1/2 white onion, diced
    • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 2 stalks of celery or bok choy, chopped
    • 1-2 tsp sesame oil
    • Vegetable oil
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • salt & pepper
    • A few tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
    • 1/2 tbsp sriracha sauce (more for a spicier kick)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

    Seasonings are optional. Fresh cilantro would work well. I have a Chinese dried seasoning blend that I use

    Chopped veggies
    Fresh grated ginger
    Fresh grated ginger
    Cleaned, deveined, and chopped frozen shrimp


    • Add sesame and vegetable oil to a wok and turn to high heat
    • Add onion and scallions to the hot pan and saute for 1-2 minutes
    • Add your egg to the middle of the pan, season with salt and pepper

    image (4)

    •  Add the garlic and the rest of veggies and saute for 2-3 minutes.
    • Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and fresh ginger. Then immediately add the quinoa. (the shrimp will only need 3-5 minutes to cook)

    image (5)

    image (6)

    • Add sriracha to taste and mix well.  Then serve!

    Shrimp Fried Quinoa

    Black Bean Soup

    Black bean soup has been on my food bucket list for a while now. (Yes, I have a food bucket list– which includes foods that I have never attempted to make. i.e. crab cakes, sushi, homemade ravioli, etc). Black beans are good for you and I happen to love them. And loving black beans is clearly a pre-requisite for making this soup. It’s easy to make and it’s a low-calorie, healthy anytime meal/snack (Kyle and I calculated a hefty bowl being under 300 calories). If you puree the entire batch (instead of adding ingredients back in for a hearty more chunky soup), it can be used as a delicious sauce on top of chicken or in a burrito. I know the photo doesn’t exactly make you salivate but I promise it’s good, real good. There were two ingredients I didn’t have in my house which I highly recommend adding; fresh lime juice for some acidity and fresh cilantro for a finishing touch.


    -4 cans organic black beans
    -3-4 cloves of garlic
    -1 red bell pepper
    -1 Spanish onion
    -Olive oil (for sauteing)
    -1 Anaheim chile pepper (a jalapeño or other hot pepper of your preference is fine)

    -Broth – chicken, vegetable or beef is fine. It’s a matter of preference. I used vegetable because I had it on hand. I used about 1 box.
    -Squirt of tomato paste (optional)
    -Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano
    -Optional Toppings: reduced fat sour cream, cheese, avocado, cilantro

    -In a large soup pan on med-high heat, add chopped onions with salt and pepper. Let cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add in the peppers and garlic. Stir and let cook for another minute.
    -Add the strained and rinsed black beans to the pot and mix well (personal preference, not necessary). Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir again making sure everything is evenly coated. Let cook for a few minutes.

    -Take about 2/3 of the ingredients out and put in a small bowl to the side.
    -Add your broth of choice. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.

    -Using your hand held mixer puree the soup until smooth. If you feel your soup is not thick enough add some tomato paste or if its too thick add more broth. (If you don’t have a hand held mixer, you can pour half of your soup into the blender)

    -Add the mixture you set aside back into the soup bowl and let simmer until you are ready to eat.
    -Serve with a small scoop of reduced fat sour cream, a slice of avocado, a sprinkle of Mexican cheese and topped with fresh chopped cilantro. You can use any or all of these toppings. I happen to think the avocado added a creamy and decadent flavor to the soup. Enjoy!