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Finally! I’ve been meaning to try zucchini noodles for so long and after we finally picked up a spiralizer, I knew it was on. Love this for a meatless Monday! It’s rich and satisfying but not too heavy. Planned on making this with pork chops, but ended up just eating 2 giant bowls instead!

Creamy Red Pepper Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Red Pepper & Chèvre Sauce
via GI365

2 roasted red peppers, about 8 ounces (fresh or jarred)
1/2 cup minced onion
2 pounds zucchini, ends cut off and spiralized or cut into ‘noodles’
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces of soft goat cheese, (usually labeled chèvre)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

Add the 2 roasted bell peppers, 1 tablespoon olive oil, goat cheese and 1 teaspoon salt to the blender. Blend until smooth. For the zucchini noodles: heat a large, deep sided skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic; sauté for a minute or two until the onion is softened but not browned. Add the sea salt and zucchini noodles to the skillet and sauté using a pair of non-stick tongs to toss the noodles. Just as the zucchini noodles begin to soften, but before they start shedding water, add the sauce and cook just until the sauce is heated. Adjust the salt to your taste, and serve immediately with the freshly chopped parsley, grated parmesan, extra goat cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

Coming home to this delicious meal after an exhausting day was so wonderful. I read recently about a chef that always keeps sausage in the fridge or freezer because it’s the perfect way start to any simple dish, packed with flavor. We ate this as is, but I bet it would be great served with rice or polenta! This recipe has plenty of kick, but I’m thinking about adding a few extra veggies, like bell peppers next time. Yum!

black beans and sausage

Black Beans and Sausage
via martha stewart

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound kielbasa or other smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, diced small
2 shallots, diced small
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving
1/4 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream), for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add carrots and shallots to skillet and cook until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add black beans and broth and bring mixture to a boil. Add sausage, reduce heat to a rapid simmer, and cook until carrots are tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve with more parsley and a dollop of yogurt.

Wow. It’s been a bit since I made a marsala, and this one really, really hit the spot tonight. Shallots, perfectly mellowed in this creamy sauce. As a huge fan of bone-in, skin-on thighs that get browned a bit a in the pan before kicking up the flavor with a sauce, I’m pretty much obsessed with crispy chicken skin. It all started with Chicken Cacciatore. And this recipe does it just right.

creamy chicken marsala_raudette

Creamy Chicken Marsala
via the view from great island

6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb small mushrooms, I used white button, cremini would be great too
3 Tbsp butter, divided
2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 tbsp ground thyme
3/4 cup Marsala wine (or dry Sherry)
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Cut off the ends of the stems, and quarter them (you can halve the small ones). Heat a heavy oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until quite hot. Brush the skin side of the thighs with a little olive oil and, when the pan is good and hot, but not smoking, brown the thighs, skin down, for about 5-10 minutes, or until they have a nice brown color. Remove them to a plate.
Wipe out any burnt bits and add 2 Tbsp of the butter to the pan. Saute the shallots for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until they start to shrink and brown. Add the wine to the pan and turn up the heat and let it reduce down a bit (about half). Add the cream and thyme to the pan and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and finish the sauce by stirring in the last bit of butter.Nestle the chicken thighs back into the pan, spooning the sauce over them a bit as well. Bake the thighs for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Veggie packed, gluten-free (or gluten light, dending on your enchilada sauce), rich, cheesy, spicy magic! The satisying texture of a lasagna with a southwestern bite. This is my kind of comfort food!

mexican inspired casserole

Mexican Inspired Casserole with Roasted Corn & Peppers
via a pinch of yum

2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
1 jalapeno or 2 chipotle peppers (optional – just for more kick)
½ red onion
2 cups frozen corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar & pepperjack blend)
10 medium corn tortillas
1 can refried beans
2 cups red enchilada sauce
cilantro, guacamole, or sour cream for topping

Dice the peppers and mince the onions. Heat a large nonstick skillet with a little bit of oil over high heat. Add the onion and peppers, sprinkle with chili and cumin, and stir, rest, stir, rest until you get a nice browning on the outside of the peppers. Remove and set aside. Repeat the roasting process with the corn, sprinkling with chili and cumin, removing from the heat when browned and roasted on the outside. Sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little bit of salt and toss to coat.
Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Put the refried beans in a bowl and mix with a little bit of water to make them easier to spread. Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer in order: half of the tortilla strips, all the beans, half of the veggies, half of the sauce, half of the cheese. Cover with the other half of the tortilla strips, veggies, sauce, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted (I broiled mine for the last 3 minutes to get the top nice and bubbly). Serve with guacamole, fresh cilantro and sour cream!

Sometimes I just don’t have it in me. Sometimes I’m craving something but I want it now and it’s time for a few shortcuts. Wonton soup is one of those things I crave all the time, but with order minimums, there’s only so many times I can order take out and be left with a bunch of other stuff in the fridge (although the husband never minds). I was having another one of those cravings this weekend, grabbed a bag of pre-made wontons, and tossed a few things I had in the fridge and freezer in. Voila! If I did a little more shopping before hand, I might pack this with some more veggies, like bok choy, carrots, broccoli, maybe a bit of cilantro. This is a great base for so many options. Easily made vegetarian or vegan too, subbing out the fish sauce, chicken broth and opting for meatless wontons. Endless possibilities!

5 minute won ton soup

Five Minute Wonton Soup
inspired by the view from great island

4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 package wontons (I used Trader Joe’s frozen chicken cilantro mini’s)
1/3 cup very thinly sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

Bring your stock and water to a low boil, stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Toss in the wontons and let cook for about a minute. Add the mushroom and cook for an additional minute, until the wontons are just done. Remove from heat and stir in in the scallions. Serve hot!

I know that title is soooo long, but I felt like each ingredient really deserved to be highlighted because wow are they great together. And I’m usually a little meh on chickpeas and just sorta like sweet potatoes mostly — together with this lovely browned chicken and bright delicious sauce though, it was such a lovely tasty surprise!

braised chicken thighs in tomato honey ginger with sweet potatoes and chickenpeas

Chicken in Tomato Honey Ginger sauce with Sweet Potatoes & Chickpeas
via food52

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on), about 2 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 (1-inch) piece peeled ginger
1 medium sweet potato
15 oz can chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons orange juice
Torn mint leaves for garnish, optional (I subbed parsley and it was great!)

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Brown chicken in hot oil, skin-side down, about 7 minutes. Set chicken aside. (Reserve skillet and fat in pan.) While chicken browns, finely chop shallot, garlic and ginger. Thinly slice sweet potatoes and set aside. Raise heat on reserved skillet to medium-high. Add chopped shallot, garlic, ginger, turmeric, paprika and cinnamon and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add honey and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and add chicken to pan, covered with sweet potato slices and chickpeas. Cover and simmer chicken until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Before serving, stir in orange juice and scatter mint over servings.

My husband is a HUGE pickle fan and has been on a roll with pickling lately. He started just last month and we’ve already eaten our way through jar after jar of deliciousness. But he really topped himself this week with these amazing sesame ginger pickles. They are super fresh and crunchy and packed with flavor! We served them as an appetizer to our favorite Paleo Chicken Pad Thai. We almost ate an entire jar each (and some the next night too!). This is a super simple recipe, great for beginning picklers.

sesame ginger pickles 01

Sesame Ginger Pickles
via The Joy of Pickling

1 lb Asian or pickling cucumbers (about 3/4 inches in diameter)
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 scallion, cut into 1 inch lengths then slivered
1-inch piece fresh ginger slivered
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and slivered
3 tbs rice vinegar
5 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil

Halve the cucmbers lengthwise and then cut them into 1-inch long pieces. In a bowl, toss the cut cucumbers with the salt. Let them stand at room temperature one hour. Drain the cucumbers and return them to the bowl. Mix them with the scallion, ginger and jalapeños. In another bowl, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, and oil, and pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (he transferred them to mason jars here). Let the pickles stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the cucumbers occasionally. The pickles will keep in the fridge for about a week (day 3 today, and they’re still delicious and crunchy!)

sesame ginger pickles 03

(ps) this is how much my husband loves pickles…. meet Mr. Pickle:

mr pickle