Archives for category: gardening

avocado-lime-mason-jar-salads-zucchini-noodles-and-fresh-veggies

Our garden still runneth over with zucchinis. I made a batch of mason jar salads, using spiralized zucchinis instead of lettuce. I threw in some baked chicken breast and fresh veggies. Then put the jars in the fridge for a week’s worth of lunches. For the dressing I mixed up avocado, lime juice, fresh cilantro, garlic, and olive oil. Can you say delicious?!?

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci, and she uses a big fancy spiral cutter called “The Inspiralizer.” However I just use a tiny GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer. Anyway here’s what I came up with:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 lb. cooked boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3/4 c. sliced black olives
  • 2 or 3 zucchini, spiralized into noodles
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 pint-size mason jars

WHAT YOU DO:

Make the dressing: In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lime juice, and avocado. Pulse until creamy. Add some room temperature water a few teaspoons at a time then pulse after each addition of water, until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble the salads: Divide the ingredients and the dressing among the four jars: First the dressing (bottom layer), then the remaining ingredients up to the top. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate.

*I assembled everything in advance except for the dressing (just in case the avocado browned), so I prepared the dressing right before serving.

And here’s a link to an avocado scoop I hand-stamped; available at my Etsy shop!

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Cucumber Avocado Tomato Salad Recipe 

Cucumber Avocado Tomato Salad Recipe - fresh and delicious not to mention easy!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced into halves or quarters
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced then cut in half
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 avocados, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

Place tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, avocados, garlic, and dill in a large bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Toss gently to combine.

Just before serving, season with salt and pepper.

Here’s a link to an avocado scooper I hand-stamped, available at my Etsy shop!

DIY greenhouses to protect your plants from rabbits and deer - I just used stuff from our recyle bins - awesome!

Spring is here! My tulips are sprouting, hurrah. Apparently, however, the rabbits think of them as an all you can eat salad bar. They have chewed a bunch of them down to nubs.

To try to keep the wasscaly wabbits from eating any more, I made some DIY mini greenhouses. I grabbed some empty containers from our recyle bin and cut them so the bottoms would be open, and poked some air holes in. I attached them to the ground with push-in gardening staples that I had leftover from a landscaping project.

I ended up reusing a strawberry clamshell container, a little milk bottle from a happy meal, a couple of soda bottles, a gallon milk jug, and an apple juice container. The white milk containers look “unique” in the flower bed (AKA not a lot of curb appeal), so I plan on replacing them with clear containers that blend in a little better and don’t look so obvious.

Sun, and air, and water can go in, and (fingers crossed!) rabbit teeth will stay out. Happy gardening!

DIY mini greenhouses - upcycle milk containers soda bottles and more

gardening tips and tricks - reuse containers and attach with lawn staples - awesome way to recycle AND keep rabbits away

DIY Garden Markers - laminated seed packets so you know what you planted, and where you planted it

DIY Laminated Seed Markers for gardens and containers!

Here’s a healthy, low-carb, pizza option: instead of crust, use roasted eggplant slices. This is similar to my earlier zucchini pizza recipe, except this has a homemade sauce. It takes a little longer to prepare but it’s worth it! You could also add your favorite vegetable or meat toppings to these.

Roasted Eggplant Pizza Recipe

I didn’t have Italian Seasoning, so I make my own little combo of herbs, as you will see. 

Eggplant Pizza Recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 globe eggplant, around 8 ounces or so
  • 1 Tbs. salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting
  • For sprinkling on eggplant before roasting: 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (*or see note below for what I did)
  • 1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend*
    (*note: I didn’t have Italian seasoning so I made my own combination, to taste, with dried basil; dried oregano; dried parsley; garlic powder; onion powder; black pepper; and red pepper flakes.)
  • Optional toppings when serving: red pepper flakes, garlic powder, parmesan cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut 3/4 inch thick slices. Put eggplant slices on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the salted eggplant sit for 30 minutes or so, to draw out the liquid.

While the eggplant is sitting preheat oven to 375°F.

Also while the eggplant sits, make the sauce. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat 2 tsp. EVOO, adding the garlic and sauteing just until it becomes fragrant (don’t let it brown). Add tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning (*or whatever combination of herbs you want), and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it’s thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks. Add water as needed, a few spoonfuls at a time as the sauce cooks, keeping it hot until you need it for the eggplant slices.

After 30 minutes, wipe eggplant dry with paper towels, which will also remove most of the salt.

Mist a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray (I used parchment paper), lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with EVOO, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning (*or your own herb combo mentioned earlier).

Roast eggplant for 25 minutes or so, making sure not to overcook them, which would make them soggy.

While eggplant roasts, combine grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

After eggplant pieces are done, remove from oven and turn oven temperature to broil.

Spread a few spoonfuls of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, and top with cheese. Place under broiler for 1-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve hot, with optional toppings.

recipe adapted from kalynskitchen.com

Roasted Eggplants Pizza Recipe - slice evenly then let sit with salt to remove excess moisture

Roasted Eggplant Pizza Recipe - make an awesome red sauce with tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, and herbs

Roasted Eggplant Pizza Recipe - roast slices then top with sauce and cheeses, then broil

Roasted Eggplant Pizza - top roasted eggplant slices with sauce and cheeses then broil

Roasted Eggplant Pizzas Recipe - sooooo delicious

Use a baking sheet for awesome eggplant pizzas

Here’s an easy and delicious recipe for a 30-Minute Meal: Lemon & Dill Chicken. With less than 200 calories and 6 grams of fat, it has just 4 Weight Watchers +Points/serving! The sauce in this  is delicious. Also, I reheated leftovers the next day and the flavors tasted even better!

I used my spiral cutter to make “noodles” out of a zucchini and threw ’em in. Gotta love ZOODLES.

30 Minute Meal - Lemon and Dill Chicken - WW friendly just 4 points per serving

Lemon & Dill Chicken

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 lb. uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth – try making your own broth!
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 zucchini, spiral cut into long strips

WHAT YOU DO:

Season chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and cook thoroughly. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth, flour, 1 tablespoon dill and lemon juice in a measuring cup and add to pan. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 mins.

Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan; reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-4 mins. At the very end of cooking mix in the zucchini. Transfer to a serving platter. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon sauce over the chicken. Garnish with the remaining 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill.

Makes: 4 servings

Estimated nutrition information per serving:

  • 193 calories
  • 6 g fat
  • 8 g carbohydrates
  • 24 g protein
  • 2 g fiber

WW PlusPoints per serving: 4

recipe adapted from eatingwell.com

One of my favorite summer recipes is a mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and olive oil salad. We recently had some leftover crusty garlic bread (I don’t know why, but I hate the word “crusty”) so I made a crostini with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, and the bread. It was basically the mozzarella and tomato salad on top of garlic-y toasted goodness. Here’s how it turned out:

Fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil crostini. Delicious healthy ingredients on top of thinly sliced toasted bread.

 

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Crostini

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • French bread, cut into thin slices (however many slices you need)
  • A few Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 10-20 cherry tomatoes (depending on how many slices of bread you have), chopped
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (I used one slice per crostini)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Brush bread slices with EVOO and sprinkle with garlic. Place on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven for 3-5 mins until toasted.
  • In a bowl, mix tomatoes, a drizzle of EVOO, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • After bread is toasted, place slices on a serving platter. Top with a slice of mozzarella, then tomato mixture. Garnish with fresh basil.

Delicious and simple crostini - just a few ingredients but tons of flavor.

 

Also check out these meatless options:

Stuffed Baby Bellas

Fresh Pesto

Homemade Ranch Hummus

Wasabi Sesame Soy Cucumber Salad

Feta, Avocado & Tomato Pita “Nachos”

Mango Salsa

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Whole Wheat Noodles with Fresh Veggies

Lemony Smashed Dill Mustard Potatoes

Skinny Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (no cream – Greek yogurt!)

Here’s a show and tell of my lunch. And an easy light meal idea; it’s more of a “no recipe” recipe. 🙂 It has whole wheat pasta tossed with veggies sauteed in olive oil and garlic, sprinkled with soy sauce and lemon juice.

Whole Wheat Pasta Tossed with Veggies - the 'no recipe' recipe!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • whole wheat spaghetti (however many servings you want to make)
  • a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for sauteing the veggies
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • fresh vegetables, washed, cut and sliced (2-4 cups depending on how many servings you want) — I used asparagus, mushrooms, onions, yellow squash, zucchini, and bell peppers.
  • soy sauce
  • fresh lemon juice

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare spaghetti noodles according to package directions.

While noodles are boiling, heat EVOO and garlic in a skillet over medium heat. Add veggies and sautee until tender.

Drain noodles, and place on serving dish. Top with veggies, then sprinkle on some soy sauce and lemon juice to taste. Stir to combine, then serve.

OMG you guys — this might be my most favorite potato recipe EVER. I used potatoes from our garden and topped it with chives from our herb pots. It reminded me of a delicious mustard potato salad, but it has no mayonnaise! It’s a “clean eating” recipe and has just a few simple ingredients. Here’s what I ended up with:

Clean Eating Lemony Dill Mustard Smashed Potatoes - my absolutely new FAVE recipe. I used 'taters from our garden and topped it with fresh chives. Lemony and dill mustard-y.
recipe adapted from “Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook

Clean Eating Lemony Dill Mustard Smashed Potatoes

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. dill mustard
  • juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • chives, chopped (just a sprinkle for topping)

WHAT YOU DO:

Boil potatoes until “fork tender” (approximately 20 mins or so).

Drain then place on low heat to dry potatoes, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning.

Keeping the potatoes on the stove, add the rest of the ingredients. Use a large wooden spoon to smash everything together, then serve. Garnish with chives.

recipebookandmore.wordpress.com

Need more potato recipes?

Not your Mama’s pork chops and potatoes: 3 ingredient cheesy ranch pork chops served with lemony dill mustard smashed potatoes, and corn on the cob with “corn dog” holders:

Not your Mama's pork chops and mashed potatoes - put a spin on this comfort food with cheesy ranch slow cooker pork chops and lemony dill mustard smashed potatoes.

Our basil plants are still growing like crazy. I have used them in pesto, tomato salads, and now in this creamy tomato basil soup. It is lightened up by switching out cream, and using nonfat plain Greek yogurt. There are only 125 calories and 7 grams of fat! Creamy Tomato Basil Soup - Greek nonfat yogurt instead of cream! Fresh ingredients and only 125 calories for a big bowl. Perfect for eating light - Meatless option.

recipe adapted from fannetasticfood.com

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 C. chicken (or vegetable) broth – try homemade!
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 C. plain nonfat Greek yogurt

WHAT YOU DO: In a medium sized pot add olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes and saute on medium heat for a few minutes. Add broth, basil, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to med-low, and let simmer about 15 mins. Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 mins. Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender in small batches) to puree. Then reheat it, add yogurt and serve. Garnish with fresh basil.

recipebookandmore.wordpress.com

ESTIMATED NUTRITION INFO:

125 cal.

7 g fat

9 g carbs

o.5 g fiber

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup - Greek nonfat yogurt instead of cream! Fresh ingredients and only 125 calories for a giant bowl. Perfect for eating light, and Meatless Monday option.

Here are some stuffed mushrooms I recently enjoyed. Super easy, fresh, and healthy!

Stuffed Baby Bellas - just 5 ingredients. Perfect as a side dish or even a meal. Meatless Monday option!WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • small handful of fresh spinach
  • approx 1 Tbs. of banana pepper rings
  • dillweed to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

Line a baking sheet with foil, then spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Place mushrooms on foil then stuff with spinach leaves and feta. Top with dill and pepper rings.

Broil in the oven for 5-10 mins, until cheese is browned.

‘Shroom lover? Check out: portabellos stuffed with baby spinach, fresh salsa and feta cheese