turkey, egg & sweet potato breakfast bake {with a kick}

Y’all. This breakfast bake is one of the most delicious breakfast/brunch meals I’ve ever made, hands down. It is easy, healthy and delicious – what more could you ask for?! It fed 4 hungry adults, with 1 piece leftover. I made it a little spicy, but you can omit the jalapenos and sriracha if you don’t want the kick.

ingredients:

  • one dozen eggs, or the equivalent in egg alternative, whisked well in a mixing bowl bowl (Note: I used¬†~half egg beaters/~half eggs, because I had egg beaters that needed to be used up.)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or other lean meat)
  • ~ 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • jalapeno slices (If you don’t like spicy, omit these!)
  • oil of choice, for cooking turkey (I used coconut)
  • sriracha (optional, for serving)

tools:

  • casserole dish (I used a 9 x 9)
  • medium skillet (for cooking the ground turkey)

directions:

Preheat your oven to 375* F. Cook the ground turkey, or lean ground meat of choice, with chili powder, salt and pepper to taste, on medium heat in your oil of choice until cooked through. It is done when the turkey is no longer pink. While the turkey is browning, grease up your casserole dish and line with the sweet potato rounds, also lining the sides of the dish. (Note: I broke several rounds in half and used those to line the sides.)

Cover the sweet potatoes with the cooked ground turkey, then pour the whisked eggs (add more salt and pepper) over the turkey and lightly mix, ensuring the turkey is evenly distributed. Top with the spinach, and press it down lightly into the egg mixture so some of the eggs cover the spinach. I then sprinkled 7-8 “sweet & spicy” jalapeno slices on top of the spinach. It’ll look something like this:

pre-cook

Put the dish in the oven and cook for 35-36 minutes until the edges begin to brown and release from the sides of the casserole dish. The eggs should be firm if you slightly shake the dish.

…and, voila! I cut it into 6 servings using a spatula, and served with sriracha for a spicy brunch of deliciousness. Eat up, y’all!

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grilled cinnamon sugar peaches

I don’t know about y’all, but I just love peaches. They are such a lovely (read: ambrosial) gift from God. We recently bought a bunch of peaches from Costco (a store that never ceases to amaze me) and decided to test them out on the new BGE. Grilled peaches are incredibly simple to make; and actually really hard to screw up. Since peach season is swiftly coming to a close, buy them all up and grill some for a {healthier} dessert treat!

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ingredients:

  • peaches (1 per person), sliced in half (along the seam) and pit removed
  • 1-1.5 tsp butter, melted, per peach
  • ~0.5 tsp cinnamon, per peach
  • ~1 Tbs brown sugar (I used coconut sugar), per peach
  • vanilla ice cream (optional, but highly recommended)

tools:

  • basting brush
  • small bowl or ramekin for brown sugar/cinnamon mixture
  • small bowl or mug for melted butter
  • knife, for slicing peaches
  • grill

directionsIMG_2515

Step one: heat your grill. [We grilled our peaches after grilling beer butt chickens (pictured to your right), so the grill was already hot (~350 F). If you Google grilled peach recipes, you’ll find recipes that call for high heat and recipes that call for low heat; so either will likely work as long as you monitor your fruit.] Mix the cinnamon and sugar together well and set aside.

Once the grill is hot, brush the cut side of each peach with melted butter (no need to saturate, but enough to cover the space). Place each half cut-side down on the grill plate. Grill for 2-4 minutes, or until there are grill marks. [Note: I put them cut-side down over direct heat, for those with both direct and indirect heat options.] Brush the skin of each half lightly with butter, then flip the peaches over. [Note: I put the halves on indirect heat at this point.]

Sprinkle (heavily) the cut side of the halves with the cinnamon sugar mix. Close the grill lid and grill the peaches for about 6-8 minutes, or until the peaches are tender and a fork slides into the fruit with ease.

Remove the peaches from the grill and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream (you won’t regret it). Eat up, y’all!

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p.s. and you should probably serve dessert with a glass of wine. in a fantastic wine glass such as this one. #watchmesip #onchardonaynay  ūüôā

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Saut√©ed Chicken + Kale Pasta

Today’s recipe is brought to you by laziness and needing to clean out the kitchen.

But y’all. Recipes do not come easier than this one. My friend was coming over for dinner and we did not want to cook anything elaborate (read: laziness had set in for the evening); so, I checked the fridge and pantry to see what I had on hand (read: what needed to be cooked ASAP or else thrown out). I had thawed chicken breasts, half a bag of kale (that was on its last legs…), GF pasta, some lemons, grated Parmesan, and olive oil. And so, this recipe was born!

Here are your players:

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts¬†(If you make¬†the whole box/bag of pasta, I recommend cooking 2 medium-sized chicken breasts)
  • Pasta of choice ( I love this¬†pasta¬†from Trader Joe’s)
  • Kale (about 4 – 5 large handfuls)
  • Olive oil
  • One lemon (you can certainly make this recipe without the lemon if you don’t have one on hand)
  • Grated Parmesan, to garnish

Tools:

  • Large saut√©¬†pan
  • Large pot (for boiling water for the pasta)
  • Colander

Directions:

Heat 1 – 2 tablespoons of your cooking oil of choice in the large saut√© pan over medium heat. (I’m partial to coconut or red palm oil.) Prepare your chicken breasts by washing them and patting them dry, then seasoning with salt, pepper and juice of half of the lemon. I cut mine into uniformly-sized strips prior to cooking. Cook over medium heat, flipping a few times, until no longer pink on the inside (it usually takes about 8 – 10 minutes for several chicken breasts; less time if you cut them into strips or if they’re flattened).

While your chicken is sautéing, cook your pasta per the instructions on the package and drain when done.

Once the chicken is done, remove from the pan, put on a plate and keep in a warming drawer (or store in your microwave). Add an additional 1 Р2 tablespoons oil to your large sauté pan and (re)heat over medium heat. Add the kale and season with salt, pepper and juice from the other half of your lemon. Using a spatula, stir the kale and flatten it as it cooks. Kale will not wilt like spinach does, but it will turn a deep green and reduce a small amount. Sauté the kale for about 5 minutes.

{You’re almost there!} Pour the cooked pasta¬†back into the large pot, then add the chicken and kale and toss with 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir it all up and voil√°! Serve hot with Parmesan. You won’t be disappointed. And you may hate yourself for how much of it you’re going to eat. {It also heats up well as leftovers!}

Eat up, y’all!

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BBQ Sweet Potato Nachos

Hey y’all, I’m back! After an almost 9-month hiatus, I’m back on the blog! Last night’s dinner was just too good (and easy and cheap) not to share. These “nachos” can also be made with ground beef, turkey or chicken, cooked in taco seasoning. But, nachos of the BBQ variety are simply my favorite.

We recently got a Big Green EGG (eek!) and Man Crush has¬†been smoking different meats every weekend that we’re home (which, so far, has only been 2. Hello wedding season!). The project last weekend was turkey, and HOLY COW did it turn out so delicious. We¬†found ourselves with¬†12 lbs. of turkey to consume, so I wanted a creative way of consuming said deliciously-smoked poultry. Obviously, nachos was my first thought (well, behind pizza, but I wanted a less-carby option ūüôā ). So, nachos it was, and I’m veryglad I made them because they were dynamite! (I’m so humble, I know.)

Here’s how I did it:

Ingredients:

  • Two (2) medium sweet potatoes
  • One (1) bunch fresh cilantro
  • One (1) can tomatoes & green chilies (or plain diced tomatoes, if you don‚Äôt like green chilies)
  • One (1) can black beans (low sodium)
  • One (1) can yellow corn (low sodium)
  • Fat free sour cream (or 0% Greek yogurt)
  • One (1) bag low fat Mexican blend shredded cheese (I probably used about 1-1.5 cups)
  • Two (2) ripe avocados
  • 2-3 cups pulled turkey, chicken or pork, tossed in BBQ sauce of choice (make it as meaty as you want!)
  • Salsa, of choice (I recommend mango, peach or pineapple salsa! It complements the BBQ very well.)
  • Coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)

Tools:

  • Two (2) medium mixing bowls (one for the BBQ/meat combo, the other for the veggies)
  • One large baking sheet, lined with a Silpat or aluminum foil
  • Knife and cutting board, for chopping cilantro and slicing open that ripe avo

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel and slice sweet potatoes into thin slices (that resemble chips). Toss in coconut oil (or baking oil of choice) and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you want them. I like mine pretty crispy!

While the sweet potato ‚Äúchips‚ÄĚ are baking, drain your corn, black beans and tomatoes and chilies. Combine in a medium bowl. When the sweet potatoes are cooked to your liking, remove them from oven and spread the corn/black bean/tomato/green chili mixture on top of the ‚Äúchips.‚ÄĚ Then spread the BBQ meat, and finally top with cheese! (I tend to go lighter on the cheese so it does not overpower the BBQ flavor.) Turn your oven tobroil and pop the sucker in! All broilers are different (I learned the hard way…), so watch your nachos and remove once the cheese is melted and the exposed sweet potato edges are crispy. (Mine were¬†crispy at 3 minutes, but I like them that way.)

Top with sliced avocado (I serve ¬Ĺ avo per serving/plate of nachos), a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt), a large spoonful salsa and chopped fresh cilantro.

The above quantity of nachos fed the Man Crush and I both for dinner and lunch the following day (so, 4 meals total for hungry adults). They heat up really well as leftovers!

Eat up, y’all!

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crock pot honey garlic chicken

Fall is in full swing (even though it pretty much still feels like summary outside). Regardless, fall means soups and stews and CROCK POTS! Here is my first crock pot recipe of the season. It’s easy, cheap and pretty darn delicious.

crock pot honey garlic chicken

ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c honey (I used my uncle’s honey from his very own bees!)
  • 3/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • pepper, to taste

method:

Mix the garlic, honey, soy sauce and ketchup in a small bowl. Place the chicken in your¬†crock pot and pour the garlic/honey/etc. mixture over the chicken. Turn it on “low” for 5.5 – 7 hours and BAM. Once the chicken is done (mine finished in just under 6 hours), remove the chicken and cover to keep warm. Pour the liquid from the crock pot into a large sauce pan and simmer until it reduces to your desired thickness. (I reduced at a heavy simmer for about 16 minutes).

I served our chicken over rice with some sauteed peppers and onions. Pour that delicious sauce over the chicken (and whatever you choose to serve it with) and voila!

Eat up, y’all!

honey garlic chicken

sweet potato pulled pork BBQ nachos

One of my favorite things is game night with our neighbors, which is what we did on Saturday night. We had a panoply of food and drinks; and it was amazing. My contribution was sweet potato pulled pork BBQ nachos. They are stupidly easy. Like… the whole thing can be done in 20 minutes if you buy the pulled pork. I’ve made them before with my number-one-cooking-partner, Lauren, but we made shredded chicken, instead. Note: I did not make the pulled pork! I only wish I had such talents… I picked some up from Slow & Low¬†on the way home, along with three different BBQ sauces.

Ingredients:

  • 1¬†can sweet corn
  • 1¬†can black beans
  • 1¬†can diced tomatoes
  • 3 sweet potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • shredded cheese, to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 lb pulled pork
  • BBQ sauce(s) of choice

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line two or three baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay your thin slices of sweet potato on the baking sheets, without overlapping them. Place them in the oven for 10-13 minutes; then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes. You want them to be crispy on the edges.

While your sweet taters are baking, open all of your cans and drain them. (I used low sodium, where available.) Throw them into a mixing bowl and stir. Slice your avocado however you prefer.

Once the sweet tater “chips” are done, put them on a serving dish (make sure it is oven safe!) and load ’em up with the BBQ corn-bean-tomato mixture. Top with cheese and put under the broiler for about 3 minutes (or until cheese is melted). Top with sliced avocado and serve with plain nonfat Greek yogurt and BBQ sauce on the side. Boom. Done.

Eat up, y’all!

sweet potato bbq nachos

tomato basil spaghetti sauce

I must be on a pasta kick. I blame it on our big move into the new house¬†and working full time… I just need my carbs, right? Right. Oh well. While I may be carb loading months before my next half-marathon, at least I can get in some healthy lycopenes in the process! This is a very easy and quick recipe. You can use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones, too. But, as always, I prefer fresh ones.

tomato basil spaghetti sauce

{serves 4}

ingredients:

  • 1¬†bunch of fresh basil, leaves roughly chopped, stems finely chopped (reserve a few of the smaller {pretty} leaves, for garnish)
  • 1/2 a medium sweet onion, minced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1+ lb fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar (may use balsamic if no red wine)
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Olive oil, or other oil of choice, for cooking

method:

In a large sauce pan on medium heat, add 1-2 Tbs olive oil. Once warm, add onion and cook until translucent and golden (about 5-7 minutes). Stir in garlic and minced basil stems, stir and cook for about 2 minutes. Then, add your tomatoes and vinegar. Season your sauce with salt and pepper and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, add your chopped basil, stir it all together, and turn the heat to low. Let your sauce sit on the stove on low heat while you cook your pasta and, voila! Homemade pasta sauce! {Wasn’t that so easy?!}

Toss in some pasta, throw some Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with a few small basil leaves. I topped our pasta with roasted broccolini, one of my fave veggies.

Eat up, y’all!

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{Stupid Easy} Chicken and Kale Brown Rice Pasta

I’m backkkk!

I realized that it has been ALMOST A YEAR since my last post! How is that even possible?! Where has the time gone?!

I just have no idea. I’ve missed blogging like crazy. The question then obviously becomes: “so then, stupid, why did you stop??” The answer is, “I did not make it a priority.” Simple as that. Well, times are a changin’, as¬†it were. So, I’m back! And, I’m back with a simple, stupidly-easy pasta dish that is surprisingly flavorful and cheap. Here goes:

{Stupid Easy} Chicken and Kale Brown Rice* Pasta

*You by no means need to use brown rice pasta. Any pasta of choice will work splendidly.

Ingredients

  • Pasta of choice
  • Three large handfuls of roughly chopped kale {serves two}
  • Chicken, cut into strips (I used frozen chicken strips, and sauteed them on the stove) {enough for two servings}
  • Black pepper + sea salt
  • EVOO
  • Garlic, to taste/preference
  • Grated Parmesan

Method

The great thing about this “recipe” is that you can make as much or as little as you want. We made enough for two {sizable} helpings. We made all of the pasta in the package, but¬†only tossed enough of it for two people with the chicken and kale.

Get your chicken ready to cook (or heat, if you’re using frozen chicken strips – they’re so easy! Just be sure to get hormone free, organic :)). Then, put your pasta on the stove, cooking per the package instructions.

When the pasta and chicken are almost ready, start the kale. Heat EVOO over medium heat in a sauce pan. If you are using fresh garlic, throw in the minced garlic to sweat it out. Then add your kale. If you are using garlic powder, add it with your kale. {I really like garlic, so I use a good bit.} Saute your kale until it turns dark green and starts to wilt. It takes longer to saute kale than spinach, FYI. Once it reaches a dark color and has ceased wilting, remove from stove.

Throw your drained pasta, chicken, kale and about 2-3 Tbs EVOO in a large bowl. Add sea salt and pepper, to taste. Put your grated Parmesan cheese on the table and, voila! You have a delicious, easy – and quite lovely – pasta dish, for you! It would also be very easy to make enough for a larger group.

Eat up, y’all!

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Restaurant review – The Local Taco

It’s finally starting to feel like fall! With fall comes football, and with football comes day drinking. And what better way to get your day of football frivolity started than with brunch?

Nick and I went to Local Taco around 1:00 on Saturday, looking forward to some tacos before heading to watch Alabama beat up on Texas A&M. (#rolltide). Little did we know that Local Taco has BRUNCH on Saturdays and Sundays! My world was rocked. And let me tell you… the brunch was out of this world. Granted, I’m partial to brunch/breakfast food of the Latino persuasion, but this was dynamite.

Between the two of us, we tried 3 different tacos. One had eggs, house-made chorizo and some kind of sauce made from peppers (excellent); another one of mine was the vegetarian option, with eggs, spinach, a zucchini slaw and other spices. But Nick won the prize on his choice Рone of the specials (which we confirmed is not going away anytime soon), a BBQ and egg taco. You absolutely MUST try one (or three) of these bad boys. Along with a marg or mimosa, obviously.

Local Taco is hands down our new favorite brunch place. Go check it out!

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Restaurant Review – Eastland Cafe

I haven’t been to Eastland Cafe recently (it was before I started doing my little restaurant reviews), but I highly recommend it if you find yourself in East Nasty (read: East Nashville). It has a great atmosphere and wasn’t overly loud (big ‘plus’ for me).

Wine: I was not sure about anything on the menu, so I told the waitress what I like in a red wine (bold, not too fruity). She parleyed with bar tender who let me have a glass (or two) of something not on the menu (but within the same price range). It was pretty great, and I really wish I remember what it was. But alas, I do not. The important thing is that they worked with me (I’m normally not so picky, I promise) and I was thoroughly pleased with the results.

Food: I love mussels. Nick had never had mussels, so I introduced him to these delicious little sea mollusks. Y’all… these mussels were to. die. for. They serve Prince Edward Island mussels in a white wine and crushed tomato sauce and serve them with grilled tuscan bread. We ordered more bread just so we could sop up all the sauce.¬†Highly recommended appetizer.

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Entree: Instead of ordering a “real” entree, I went with another appetizer: the Stone Baked Pizza Margherita . House-pulled mozz, basil from a local supplier of microgreens (C.C. Gardens) and crushed tomatoes. Again, it was delicious. If you haven’t figure it out yet, I love a good thin crust pizza. Just love it. And this one did not disappoint. Again, recommended (not as much as the mussels, though.)

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Eat up, y’all!

[photo creds: http://www.foodrenegade.com/southwest-mussel-chowder/ (just a pretty photo of mussels, I think); http://eastlandcafe.com/menu.html]