Jalapeño Cornbread.

I LOVE cornbread!  It is a must in my house when we have chili.  Tonight was no different.  I went with the spicy theme of the evening and added a chopped jalapeño to it.  It was a perfect compliment to the honey butter.

1 c of yellow corn meal
1 c of all purpose flour, unbleached
1/4 c of sugar
3 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
1/4 c of oil
1 c of low fat or non fat milk
1 egg
1 jalapeño, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a dry mixing bowl combine, corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then add oil, egg and milk together.  Then blend with the dry ingredients.  Then add the chopped jalapeño.  Spray your pan with nonstick spray and pour the batter (it will be thick) into the prepared pan.  Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes then slice and serve.


Bison Chili. ~Lean & Spicy.

I have a wonderful friend/chiropractor/therapist that  I use when I train.  He works on my injuries & is such a sweet guy.  We were talking about food one day and he was telling me that he gets Bison from one of his clients who raises them – free range etc.  During my visit on Friday, he gave me some ground up Bison and I thought I would give it a try in some spicy 5 alarm chili.  We all loved it!  The meat is extremely lean, not gamey at all – much to my surprise!  I will certainly be ordering some from his contact :)
2 tsp of olive oil
1 lb of ground Bison
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 -15 oz cans of Chili bean (undrained)
1 -28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 -8oz can of fired roasted tomatoes, diced
1 – 6oz can of tomato paste
1/2 c of beer
3 tbl of chili powder
1 tbl Worcestershire
1 tbl of dried oregano
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of hot sauce (like Tabasco)
1 tsp of basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of sugar
Shredded low fat cheddar for the garnish.

In your Dutch oven, I pour a tiny bit of olive oil in the pan and heat it.  Add the bison and cook until no longer pink.  Be careful to keep a watchful eye on it.  Add the onions, celery, peppers and garlic.  Cook for 4-5 minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Keep stirring.  Bring to a boil and then turn to low, cover and simmer.  I let this simmer for as little as 1 hour and as long as 6 hours.    Serve with jalapeño corn bread.


Seoul Short Ribs & roasted carrots/fingerlings.

This is the second recipe I’ve tried from Cooking in Everyday English by Todd English.  My friend Regina met Todd and got a signed copy of his cookbook for me for my 40th birthday.  I found this recipe and knew I had to make it.  My family loves short ribs!

This recipe was super easy but you do need to marinade the ribs for 24 hours.  So this isn’t a quirky recipe – you must plan accordingly.  But once the ribs start cooking… your house will smell incredible.  I was glad I was home all afternoon to enjoy that aroma.

1 Asian Pear
2 c of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/4 c Sweet Rice wine
3 tbl of chopped fresh ginger
2 tbl of granulated sugar
2 tbl Sriracha sauce
2 tbl dark sesame oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 lbs of short ribs
1 tbl of vegetable oil
1 -32 oz of beef broth (I didn’t have beef so I used chicken)

1.  Grate the pear using the large holes on your box grater.  Whisk together pear, soy sauce, and the next 6 ingredients in a bowl or ziploc baggie.  Add the ribs and cover.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.

2.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the ribs from the marinade and reserve the marinade.  Cook the ribs in hot oil in your Dutch oven over medium high heat.  3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan and place on a dish.  Drain the liquid in the bottom of the pan.

3.  Add broth and the marinade liquid.  Scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (deglazing).  Bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the ribs.  Cover and place in the oven for 3-4 hours.  When the meat falls  off the bone, they’re ready!  I served this with olive oil roasted carrots and purple fingerlings & a tossed green salad.


Crock Pot Tart Cherry & Apple Steel Cut Oats.


I love steel cut oats made in the crock pot.  I simply throw everything in before bed & have this wonderful breakfast all ready when we get back from our frigid run.  This recipe is so flexible. You can use what you have in your pantry, as I do each time I make steel cut oats.

I use my small crock pot but if you don’t have one, the larger model is fine.


Non stick butter spray (I use Pam)
1 cup of steel cut oats
3 cups of cherry cider (I use Trader Joe’s) but you can use apple juice, cider, cherry juice
1 cup of water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
One apple, cored and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup of dried tart cherries (raisins or other dried fruit will work beautifully too)


Spray the insert to your slow cooker then add all of the ingredients.  Stir gently. Cover and cook overnight on low.  I normally make this around 8 pm and eat around 6-6:30 am.  I like to remove the lid of the slow cooker for about 10 minutes prior to serving – helps release the condensation that’s built up.

Top with your favorite nuts, chia seeds, honey, brown sugar, agave… whatever you like!  My daughter gobbles this up in the morning.  Great way to start your day off :)


Vegetable Minestrone.

My dear friend Regina bought me Todd English’s Cooking in Everyday English cookbook for my 40th birthday.  This recipe is adapted from his Fava Bean Minestrone.  I served this in sourdough bread bowls and it was fabulous!  Kids & adults enjoyed it & I love that it’s veggie-packed!  Great winter meal :)

1 c of diced carrots
1 c of chopped onion
1 c of chopped celery
1/4 c of olive oil
4 oz of pancetta (to make this vegetarian, omit this ingredient)
8 c of chicken stock
3 tbl of Italian Parsley
1 tsp of fresh Rosemary
2 tbl of chicken Better than Bouillon
2 c frozen lima beans
2 c of peas
1 c of baby spinach
2 – 16oz cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas
Salt – 1 tsp
1 tsp ground black pepper

Sauté the first three ingredients in a Dutch oven in olive oil over medium heat for 8 minutes.  Add pancetta; sauté for 7 minutes or until crisp.  Add chicken stock and next three ingredients.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered.  I let this simmer for 4 hours.    A half hour before serving, add lima beans, peas, spinach, chickpeas, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust spices.

The spoon was made by a very talented friend Carrie.  Click the link below for her website.



Low fat Mint Cheesecake Brownies.

Admittedly, I’m not a huge brownie fan but my girls love them!  They also both love anything mint & cheesecake.  These brownies are definitely a favorite.  I adapted this recipe from an old Cooking Light recipe.

Cheesecake batter:

1 8 oz block of Reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 c of granulated sugar
1 tsp of mint extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tbl of all-purpose unbleached flour

Chocolate Batter:
1 c of all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 c of unsweetened cocoa (I used Wilbur)
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 c of packed brown sugar
1/4 c of canola oil
1/4 c of buttermilk (low fat)
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
Cooking spray.

Preheat your oven to 350.  Spray a 9 inch square pan with cooking spray with flour.

To prepare the cheesecake batter, place the cream cheese in your mixer bowl and beat until creamy.  Add sugar and mint extract, blend well.  Add 1 egg and 1 egg white; beat that well.  Add tablespoon of flour and beat until just blended.  Set aside.

To prepare the chocolate batter, spoon flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife.  Combine flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir with a whisk.  Combine brown sugar and next five ingredients through egg.  Beat on high until well blended.  Add flour mixture to the brown sugar mixture and beat on low until just blended.

Reserve 1/2 c of the chocolate batter.  Pour the remaining batter into your prepared pan.  Carefully pour the cheesecake batter over top and spread completely over the top of the chocolate batter.  Dot the cheesecake batter together with the reserved chocolate batter.  Using the tip of a knife, swirl the batter.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the top is set.  Let cool for 1 hour before cutting.

Calories 210, fat 7.5g, protein is 4.4g, carb 32.3g, fiber .7g, cholesterol 37mg, iron 1.3 mg, sodium 169 mg, calc 32mg.


Cuban Chicken.

I went to the farmer’s market and picked up a ton of citrus. Then I thought this recipe would be perfect for dinner tonight plus I love crock pot dinners.  Light, fresh and full of flavor without a lot of calories.  You can serve this alone, with salad or over brown rice.

4 large chicken breasts (to serve 5 for dinner)
Salt and pepper
4 tbl olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 c of orange juice
1 c of freshly squeezed lime juice
Zest from one lime
1 Bay Leaf
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1/4 c of fresh parsley, minced

Over a medium flame, heat some olive oil in your skillet.  Once hot, add the chicken and brown on both sides.  Work in batches if need be.  Once browned, remove and place in the crock pot.

Deglaze the pan.  First, add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.  Then add both juices and the zest.  Raise the heat to high to a boil.  Scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.   This process will add a ton of flavor to your dish.   Remove from the heat and pour over the chicken in the crock pot.  Add your bay leaf and onions on top.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

If serving with rice, follow the package instructions.  Place cooked rice on the bottom of the plate.  Spoon the chicken and juice overtop.  Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve.


Kira’s Spinach & garlic burgers.

I’m so proud of my daughter!  She created & made this recipe all on her own!  While grocery shopping today, I asked what she would like for dinner.  I figured tacos or hamburgers…. Hamburgers won out!  So we purchased our goodies & off we went.

I’m a firm believe that when children are involved in growing, selecting and cooking their food… they will see the value, understand the importance and eat more because they had a hand in the preparation.  This was definitely a great example of that… she ate everything tonight :)

Here is her list of ingredients:

1.25 lbs of organic lean ground beef (85% lean).  I wouldn’t go any leaner as the meat will be too dry for grilling.
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 of a medium sized onion
1 tbl of Montreal grilling hamburger seasoning
1 tsp of garlic salt
1/4 c of Panko bread crumbs
1 egg
Salt & Pepper to taste

In you food processor, blend the spinach leaves, garlic and onion until finely chopped.   Then transfer that to your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment.  Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is incorporated into the meat.  Avoid over mixing.  If the meat mixture is too wet, add some additional bread crumbs.

Here is a valuable tip.  Pinch a small amount of the meat mixture in your fingers and cook it on the stove (in a small pan) until done.  Sample it to ensure the seasoning mixture is just right.  Adjust it in the main mixture accordingly and then grill all of your burgers.



Chobani Guacamole

This recipe is one of my favorites for sure!  I love Chobani & the protein it adds to any recipe.  It also extends the avocado, especially when they were priced well over $2 per.  I’m estimating amounts, again, add more of what you love & less of what you don’t care for.  Make it your own!

2 large avocados
1/2 c of plain, non fat Chobani yogurt
4 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño
3 tbl of fresh lime juice, 1 tbl reserved to be used if needed
1 handful of cilantro leaves, washed and dried
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1/3 c of cherry tomatoes, quartered

In your food processor blend garlic and the jalapeño.  Once finely chopped, add the remaining ingredients except for the tomatoes until creamy and well blended.  I start with 2 tbl of lime juice and add the 3rd if I need the guac to be a bit looser.  Add the spices as you prefer.  We like it spicy, so I add about 1/2 tsp of cayenne.  I also add a few chopped jalapeño slices in to the mixture as well.  Add to a bowl and hand mix in the tomatoes.  Enjoy!


Pot Roast in the crock pot.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most comforting meals.  This recipe is perfect for several reasons.  One, you get to throw everything in your crock pot and not worry about dinner.  Two, you can clean out your veggie drawer and toss everything you have in this dish.  And finally, you can use a lesser quality meat and the end result will be divine!

This recipe is super flexible.  I use what I have!

3-4 lb chuck roast
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1.5 -2 c of broth (I used vegetable b/c I already had it open but beef would also work well.)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 sweet potatoes, sliced into medium sized pieces
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, diced
2 tsp of oregano
2 tsp of dried parsley
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of onion salt
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 crushed bouillon cube

Heat a skillet over a medium flame and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper.  Add it to the pan and brown it on both sides for about 5 minutes each.  Remove from heat.

Add the meat and juices to the crock pot (setting on low).  Then add the remaining ingredients on top.  Cover and cook for 6-8 hours.

This dish can be served over egg noodles or brown rice.  Cook your choice according to the package directions.  Serve the meat and vegetables over top and enjoy!