Easy Slow Cooker Broccoli Mac-n-Cheese

This recipe is all my own; created out of love for both macaroni and cheese and my slow cooker! I used chick pea pasta for added protein as well as broccoli to help get more nutrients into my kids! My version of slow cooker mac-n-cheese is super creamy, delicious and sure to please! Enjoy.

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • cooking spray
  • 12 oz frozen broccoli florets
  • 8 oz uncooked pasta (I use Banza chick pea pasta)
  • 1, 8 oz block of cream cheese
  • 1/4 lb of butter sliced into 4 – 6 pats
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of paprika
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Place the frozen broccoli in the bottom then add the pasta.
  3. Nestle the block of cream cheese in the center and place pats of butter throughout.
  4. Pour milk and stock over the mixture and sprinkle with seasonings.
  5. Spread the shredded cheese on top, keeping it from touching the sides of the slow cooker.
  6. Cook on LOW for 2 – 3 hours or until pasta is cooked to your liking. One hour into cooking, give everything a good stir. Stir once more before serving!

Note:

  • Chick pea pasta can get mushy… quickly, and in this recipe tends to lose its shape/consistency. If you want your mac to remain intact/whole I suggest you use regular pasta!

Meatball Marinara with Gnocchi and Burrata

This is a semi-homemade, one skillet, made in under 30 minutes masterpiece that will wow everyone at your dinner table! Simple shortcuts make is quick and easy while still maintaining authentic flavors and textures. This will make you feel like it’s Sunday at Grandma’s (when it’s only Wednesday night)!

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • 18 – 24 prepared meatballs (I used Shady Brook Farms All Natural Turkey meatballs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes, do not drain!
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1, 25 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 16 oz mini gnocchi potato pasta
  • 8 oz burrata, chunked

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Directions:

  1. In a large, shallow, enamel coated saucepan with lid, heat the oil over low – medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown them for about 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.IMG_5442
  2. In the same pan, sauté the onion and garlic until soft and then add the tomato paste. Mix in the diced tomatoes and spices and let simmer for a few minutes allowing flavors to develop. Add the marinara, mix well and allow it to heat up.
  3. Next, add the uncooked gnocchi to the sauce and stir to distribute them evenly. Add the meatballs back in, nestling them evenly as well. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring gently half way through.
  4. Turn heat off and right before serving, drop the chunks of burrata into the mixture, in and around the meatballs and gnocchi. Close the lid one more time and allow them to melt, taking approximately 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately in bowls with crusty bread and a green salad.IMG_5446

Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

I’m baaaaack! After two decadent and delicious weeks at the beach, I am in my kitchen and craving all things non-seafood, lol! Saw a recipe similar to this on Insta and decided to simplify it a bit and make it my own, so here goes! Super easy, super tasty and sure to satisfy your need for a (healthier) cheese steak! Enjoy!!

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Ingredients: Feeds 4 (2 halves each)

  • 4 large bell peppers (assorted colors), halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 1 lb thinly sliced deli roast beef
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut, seed, rinse and dry peppers.
  3. Brush each half with olive oil (inside and out). Season the inside of each with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lay them cavity side down on a lightly sprayed/greased cookie sheet.
  5. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip them over using tongs and roast an additional 10 minutes, or until soft but not completely mushy.IMG_4307
  6. Remove from oven. Carefully (they will be hot) fill each cavity with slices of roast beef; I use approximately 3 thin slices per pepper half. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Cover each half with a slice of provolone cheese.
  8. Broil for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.

Suggestions:

These stuffed peppers can be made ahead! Roast the peppers and allow them to cool. Stuff each with roast beef and cheese and refrigerate until 15 minutes prior to serving. Remove stuffed peppers from the fridge while preheating oven to 350. Bake for 10 minutes, finish by broiling for 3-5.

Texas Caviar

I cannot take credit for the catchy name or the tasty combination of ingredients; I know quite a few home cooks who have their own version of this recipe on file! However, I can tell you how I make it as well as list a few unique ways to repurpose your leftovers!

Ingredients: Serves 10 – 12

  • 24 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro (loosely packed), chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (plus extra)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus extra)

Directions:

  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the last six ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Add the liquid to the corn mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Adjust seasoning to your personal taste preferences by adding additional salt and/or pepper..
  5. Let chill 2 – 3 hours, allowing flavors to develop.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Leftovers:

IF you have them… consider the following (drain any liquid that accumulates first):

  • Add it to eggs in a scramble or a quiche, or use it in egg cups (search site for recipe).
  • Fold into corn bread batter to jazz up your corn muffins/corn bread.
  • Top grilled chicken or fish with a scoop.
  • Toss it with a green salad.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Why order take out when you can make it (better) yourself at home?! This tasty shrimp fried rice is easy to make and satisfyingly delicious! If shrimp aren’t your thing, substitute with chicken or leave the protein out all together… it makes an excellent side dish!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice (I use Jasmati)
  • Kosher salt
  • cooking spray
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into thirds
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

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Directions:

  1. In a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid, bring 2 1/4 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the rice. Once the water is boiling, add the rice, stir, cover and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow 10 – 12 minutes for rice to steam. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Spread out and allow to cool.IMG_3052
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp of canola oil until glistening. Add the shrimp and stir fry over medium/high heat until pink and almost cooked through (approximately 3 minutes). Use a slotted spoon and remove shrimp and set aside. Drain any remaining juices.
  3. Add the rest of the oil (4 tbsp) to the wok and return to the heat. Once the oil glistens, add the beaten eggs and cook (scramble) over medium/high heat until almost done/dry.
  4. Add the rice, sugar, pepper, and a pinch of salt to the eggs and stir fry until rice is re-heated and incorporated.
  5. Add the shrimp, peas and carrots and soy sauce and stir fry until shrimp are fully cooked and veggies are heated and tender.
  6. Season to desired taste with additional salt, pepper and/or soy sauce.IMG_3056

*Originally adapted from Food and Wine

 

 

Mediterranean Farro Salad

I love this salad! Mostly because it’s so versatile (see substitutions) but also because it’s a delicious crowd pleaser and can be made ahead. It’s the perfect side dish or can serve as a main if you add protein. So get to it and come up with your own flavor combo and let me know how it goes by posting your comments below! Cheers!!

Ingredients: Feeds 6-8

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked farro, rinsed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup packed flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, chopped
  • 4 oz haloumi cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 pomegranate, seeded
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups baby arugula

Directions:

  1. Cook farro according to package directions and let cool. Toast pine nuts and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine grape tomatoes, parsley and mint. Add haloumi, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and mix gently to incorporate.IMG_2983
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper.
  4. Combine farro and tomato mixture with 2/3 of the dressing, tossing gently to coat.
  5. Pour the remaining dressing into the bottom of a large shallow serving bowl. Top with arugula.
  6. Layer the farro salad on top of the arugula.
  7. Chill* and toss before serving.

*Salad can chill overnight.

Substitutions:

The best part about this salad is making it your own! The original recipe was adapted from Food and Wine magazine but I change it up every time I make it!

  • barley or orzo for farro
  • walnuts or almonds for pine nuts
  • ricotta salata or feta for haloumi
  • grapes for grape tomatoes
  • blueberries/raspberries/strawberries for pomegranate seeds
  • add protein like grilled chicken, steak or fish for a complete meal

 

 

German Eggs

I first tasted German Eggs while staying at a B&B on Martha’s Vineyard a few summers back, called the Outermost Inn. The Outermost is a magical place which literally sits on the outermost edge of the Vineyard, up-island as they say. The inn is owned and operated by Jeannie and Hugh Taylor. Hugh just happens to be James Taylor’s brother and although they look alike, you’d never make the connection because Hugh would never solicit that kind of attention. They are lovely people living a simple life on the edge of one of the most beautiful cliffs in the world (while running a five star B&B). But I digress… German Eggs changed my life and solidified a tradition which now involves spending a week or so every summer on the Vineyard at the Outermost with Jeannie and Hugh. When I first asked Jeannie how she makes her eggs she couldn’t really tell me amounts; she rattled off a bunch of ingredients and ended with, “just google it”! So I did! And since then I’ve been making German Eggs for my family and most recently for a great group of yogis from NYC on a yoga retreat upstate! My yogis raved and so I knew it was time it went on the blog! Enjoy!!

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German Eggs

Ingredients: Feeds 12

  • 15 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups cottage cheese, small curd
  • 1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour melted butter into the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl slightly whisk the eggs. Continue to whisk while adding the flour and baking powder. The dry ingredients should be incorporated but the egg mixture should not be overly whisked.
  4. Add the cottage cheese and shredded Monterey Jack cheese and mix well.
  5. Pour egg mixture into the casserole dish. The melted butter will be pushed to the sides. Do not mix even though you’ll be tempted to do so!
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until eggs are firm and the top of the dish is bubbly and lightly browned.

*Adapted from cooks.com