Taste of the Fallidays

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I look forward to the flavors of fall, basically, all year.  Everyone goes wild for anything pumpkin when Autumn rolls around, but there are so many other amazing flavors that are utilized this time of year from apple-cinnamon, to cranberry, to even the use of different squashes or fruits and vegetables in season. A falling leaf may be summer’s wave goodbye, but it also means a wave hello to pumpkin desserts and hearty meals.

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One of my favorite fruits in season during this time are pears.  My roommates mom brought us Harry & David pears which are like the Mercedes of pears in my eyes, which I have been thoroughly enjoying this week.  I’m a huge fan of just plain, sliced pairs on their own, but I also think they are great when mixed into a dish.

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Pears can be utilized somewhat the same as apples when it comes to dishes.  Some ideas to consider if you have pears on hand: adding pear to a gourmet grilled cheese, utilizing pear in different desserts, or even adding pear to to a crostini appetizer. Most pears start becoming in season in September and there are so many different kinds making them fun to experiment with.

Utilizing the ingredients that I had at home and the tasty spotlight ingredient of pears, I decided to make a Fall Salad with Maple Vinaigrette.  Check out the recipe below!:

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Fall Salad with Maple Vinaigrette:

Salad & Toppings:

  • Mixed Greens
  • Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • Diced Pear
  • Candied Walnuts
  • Dried Cranberries

Dressing: [~2 Servings]

  • 2 Tbsp. Light Mayo
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Light Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix dressing together either in blender or with a whisk.  Make salad by taking desired amount of mixed greens and finishing off with equal amounts of toppings.  Pour dressing over, mix, and serve.

Dressing adapted from: Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

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Rolling in the Cheese

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There are so many puns I could have used for today’s recipe using the words roll, cheese, etc. because I decided to make these amazing Cheesy Spinach Lasagna Rollups.  Trending in the lasagna world is rolling up all the lasagna ingredients in noodles and then putting them in a baking dish- no more boring old lasagna here!

Reasons I chose to make this recipe:

  1. I took it from this awesome Skinny Taste blog- and I have been wanting to try them for a while
  2. I had almost a whole container of ricotta that was going to expire by the 14th– definitely needed to use that up
  3. AND all of the ingredients used in this recipe are simple and don’t add up to major spending for one meal

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This recipe for Cheesy Spinach Lasagna Rollups is extra neat because of the fact that it’s pretty versatile.  You can add more ingredients other than spinach (like veggies) into the ricotta mix.  You can make it skinny by using a fat free (or less calorie) ricotta, use less mozzarella on top, and also make it better for you by using whole wheat lasagna instead of regular. My favorite part about making pasta dishes is that you can basically use any kind of tomato sauce you want- regular, tomato basil, spicy, vodka sauce, and any brand you prefer.  So many different options for these fine little rollups.

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I always get really excited when my dinners turn out good- sometimes I don’t have patience and try to rush things without them being fully done.  This one, I had patience and waited the whole cook time and everything turned out just right.  The total preparation and cooking time may be a little long but it is worth it. You can multi task by putting together the filling while the noodles cook.  Once the dish is in the oven, you can do other things like- laundry, shower, watch tv, or anything else to keep you preoccupied without eating your hand off.

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Anyways, check out this simple and delicious recipe for these fun lasagna roll ups below:

Cheesy Spinach Lasagna Rollups:

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  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 32 oz Pasta Sauce (whichever kind you’d like, I used a good tomato basil)
  • Shredded mozzarella to top

Directions:

Boil water and cook lasagna noodles.

While noodles are cooking, preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Put about 1-1.5 cups of sauce spread onto the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish.

When noodles are done cooking, place onto paper towels/towel and pat dry.  Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Pour desired amount of remaining sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese melts.

To serve, place a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

Mexi-Can I?

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What is it that makes Mexican food so addicting, or rather, what is it that makes Chipotle so addicting??? Easy- control of what goes into your meal, variety of choices, speed and convenience, and not to mention the amazing food that you get when you go there.  Chipotle is one of those places where when I get a meal from there, I really go all out; chips, guac, burrito bowl, hot sauce, and an ice cold D Coke.

Almost every Thursday at home, my mom makes a Mexican type meal for her and my dad.  One of my favorite ideas of hers is when she puts a bunch of Mexican style ingredients out and lets us build our own burrito bowls.  It’s like having your own version of Chipotle at home without the weird music and stainless steel/plywood chairs & tables. Clever idea, right?? It’s definitely cheaper per person to make at home and control is all yours when it comes to what goes into your burrito bowl.

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Since I’ve been craving Mexican food lately and checking what ingredients I had around the house, I decided to make my version of homemade Chipotle burrito bowls.  When I am at Chipotle, I usually get a vegetarian bowl with rice, black beans, salsas, sour cream, lettuce, and cheese.  I figured out which of these toppings I could make at home/put my own twist on and my bowl came together as a healthier, smaller version of what I normally get at Chipotle.

The cool thing with homemade burrito bowls is that you can make or add any ingredients that your heart may desire.  Here are some other options you could add to your bowls:

  • Protein: Chicken, Steak, Tofu, Other Beans
  • Grains: White rice, brown rice, grains mix
  • Toppings: Different Salsas, Guacamole, Lettuce, Cheese (shredded or queso), hot sauce

Check out the recipes below that I used to make my Homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowls:

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Cilantro Lime Quinoa:

  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, chopped [or desired amount]

Directions:

Place ½ cup quinoa and 1 cup water in a sauce pan.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn heat to low and cover until quinoa has soaked up all of the water (about 15 mins)

Fluff quinoa with a fork.  Squeeze in the juice of one lime and mix in the chopped cilantro.


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Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa:

  • 1 12-ounce bag of frozen sweet yellow corn, defrosted and drained
  • 2 medium-sized jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Drain corn once thawed.  Mix together all of the ingredients & serve.

Adapted from: How Sweet Eats


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Chipotle Style Black Beans: [7 servings]

  • 2 Cans Black Beans
  • 1 Tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ Tsp. Cumin
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • ½ Tsp. Salt
  • ¼ Tsp. Sugar

Directions:

Pour the full can of beans and drained beans into a small saucepan.  Add to the beans each of the other ingredients.  Heat over medium until hot.

Adapted from: Savings Lifestyle

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

The Souper Bowl of Spice

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Deciding to make soup this week was such a great idea… until I realized that it was going to be a high of 80 degrees each day. The soup still happened and I just pretended while I was making it and eating it that it was a cool, fall, perfect day outside for a nice big bowl of hot soup.

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Butternut squash soup is all the hype these days on the Internet. Seeing as though I have never made it myself before, I thought I’d give it a try. I tried to find an easy recipe that used most ingredients that I already had in the kitchen. I really wish I would have found this AMAZING looking Smoked Gruyere Butternut Squash Soup before today…but I was too late. Luckily there are plenty of cold Ohio days ahead that I can find time to make this version.

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The recipe that I decided to use for my butternut squash soup fit all three of my criteria:

  1. Easy √
  2. Not a lot of ingredients to buy √
  3. Somewhat creamy (I like soups with cream in them… healthy, I know) √

The soup turned out to be really good. It has a good amount of spice, its not too thick, and it also was pretty simple to make.

Check out the recipe below for this fun fall soup:

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Spiced Butternut Squash Soup: [4 Servings]

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (2 pound) butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Chopped cilantro for topping
  • Sour cream to taste, optional

Directions:

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic until softened and browned.

Stir chicken broth, squash, curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper into onion mixture. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer and cover until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir half-and-half and honey into squash mixture.

Pour squash mixture into a blender no more than half full. Puree in batches until smooth.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with chopped cilantro and sour cream.

Adapted from: All Recipes <– Props to her for the recipe

Look out for more souper recipes in the future.

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

Veggin’ out

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Originally for this week I had planned to make wraps for my Thursday night dinner.  This all changed when I was reading the label on these Flatout flatbreads I bought to use as wraps.  The versatility of this one item amazes me- I was coming up with so many great ideas that I could make with these.. considering they come in a pack of six and I am often cooking for a total of one.  That was an exception this week though because I made these for my two roommates also.  Okay, so on the bag that these flatbreads come in, it says something about making pizza with these.  Lightbulb! Instead of making roasted vegetable and hummus wraps for the week I decided to create a great and easy recipe: Roasted vegetable and Hummus Flatbreads.

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I had never roasted vegetables before… I really am an amateur.  So I decided to marinate them for about twenty minutes in an olive oil mixture.  I read on a couple recipes to roast at 450 degrees and put in for about 20-30 minutes.  Worked out great for me! If I had a grill I totally would have grilled these veggies- but apartment living on a budget calls for making substitutes.  When I picked my veggies at the groceries, I got mushrooms because those are a staple in my cooked vegetable diet, peppers because those are cheap and easy, red onion because I did somewhat of a Greek flare to these, and zucchini because they are almost out of season and I want to eat them as much as I can before they are gone.

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For the toppings, I had hummus on hand from this week’s snack (pretzel crisps and hummus- addicting), and just bought some feta cheese and parsley.  Tell me that isn’t so easy.  I of course added on top some sriracha also because having that extra spice to it makes me extra happy.  This recipe was really simple and easy and these flatbreads are something you can take and make your own combination of ingredients with.  Check out the recipe for my Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Flatbreads:

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Roasted Vegetable & Hummus Flatbreads:

  • 1 Medium zucchini, cut up into chunks
  • 1 Red pepper, cut into smaller slices
  • 1/2 Red onion, cut into thick slices
  • 1 small package of mushrooms, sliced to preferred thickness
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing flatbreads
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3 Flatout Flatbreads (whichever flavor)
  • Feta cheese
  • Hummus
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Hot Sauce optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together ingredients for marinade and place in a large bowl. Chop up vegetables and place in bowl- sit for about 20-30 mins.

Once oven is ready, place in a lined dish (I used foil) with only a little big of the marinade.  I threw the rest out just because I didn’t want my veggies to get soggy.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes stirring every once in a while.

Once done, take out of the oven and cover with foil to keep in heat.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Lightly brush each side of your flatbreads with oil.  One the oven has gone down in temp., place directly on the racks in the oven for 6-7 minutes.

Once those are crispy, take them out of the oven and start preparing your flatbreads.  Spread on hummus, top with veggies, sprinkle with feta, and top off with some parsley.  Repeat this for each flatbread using as many of each ingredient as you would like.  (I also added some hot sauce to mine- great touch.)

**With this recipe you can switch up the different kinds of veggies used, you could use a goat cheese spread or different spread than hummus, you can also add on more Greek options like sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, or olives. There are many combinations you could make with these- why not try some out yourself!

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

It’s Easy Being Green

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And no, I don’t mean “green” as in save the planet.  I’m talkin’ bout green smoothies. This week in Columbus the weather has been in the upper 80’s and has even hit 90 some days. Days like that, I want to come home and cool off.  What better way to do that then with a ice cold smoothie!?

I like all kinds of smoothies- fruity, chocolatey, vegetable-y, etc. I know that I could go get a smoothie at the nearest Robeks or Smoothie King, but why spend that much on a small smoothie when I can make my own for better and cheaper at home?

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When it comes to smoothies, I believe it’s totally worth it to add in some greens for the extra added boost of nutrition without being overpowering in flavor. Spinach is a great green to mix into smoothies.  It gives the smoothie a nice green color and and provides an abundance of vitamins and nutrients. 

When making smoothies, there are so many different ingredients and mix-ins that one can use. It’s helpful to know a good ratio before making a smoothie. When making mine, I use about 1 & 1/2 cups of fruit, 2 cups of spinach, and one cup of liquid.  If not using frozen fruit, I add about 1-2 cups of ice, depending on preference of thickness.

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Once the basic ratio is down, it is easy to add in little ingredients like sweeteners, flax or chia seeds, or even protein like almond butter.  It is also a really tasty idea to top off your smoothie with granola and eat it with a spoon- one of my favorite things to do. I made a new smoothie three different times this week because I had so many ideas and fruits I wanted to use.  Check out the recipes below…

Peachberry, and Spinach Smoothie:

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  • 1 Peach, Peeled & Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 Cup Ice

 

Blueberry-nanna Maple Spinach Smoothie:

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  • 1/2 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 Banana, Sliced
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Maple Almond Butter (Justin’s)
  • Splash of Vanilla
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Cups Ice
  • Top with Granola and Drizzle with Maple Syrup

 

Strawnanna Spinach Smoothie

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  • 1 Banana Sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Strawberries, Sliced
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Maple Almond Butter (Justin’s)
  • Squeeze of Honey
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Cups Ice
  • Top with Granola    

Feel free to switch up the almond milk for yogurt, water, coconut water, or any other liquid of choice.  I also used fresh fruit, but frozen fruit can be just as good for smoothies.  Try ’em out or make your own combo and of course…go green!

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie