Gurlin’ Potatoes


Who said grillin’ was only for the men?  Hold up, we will get there in a second.

I’ve got a new hobby to look forward to during the summer time!  I used to be a winter-girl, and pray for colder seasons.  Although, living in the south…you don’t get much of those.  So, I’ve begun to embrace the summer and look forward to all it has to offer.  Shedding my cute boots, bright colored peacoats, and leggings and enjoying short shorts, sandals, and tank tops!  Thankfully we live right near a lake, so we don’t have to endure the summer heat without any fun accompaniments.  Now, that new hobby…I’ve decided to start (trying) to grow…

HERBS!  I’m super excited about this and hopefully I can keep them alive and growing!  I’ve bought parsley, cilantro, oregano, and I bought some seeds for basil.  I know it seems silly to buy one herb just as seeds when the rest are already established, but I just want to prove to myself that I can (or prove to myself that I can’t…we’ll see).  I’m going to get some soil today so I can plant them in their cheap pot (hey, what can a college girl do?  It was either this cheap $5 pot or a super cute $20 pot).  I’ll be posting updates on how my herbs are coming along, and maybe if I learn a thing or two, I’ll share some tips!

Now,  back to this nasty matter of men are the only ones who grill!  What’s up with all of these TV shows with only grillin’ men?  Okay, maybe not all these TV shows, but I can think of Grillin’ with Bobby Flay!  The other day when I tried my hand for the first time in grilling, my boyfriend immediately said “when we get married, you can leave the grilling to me.”  He automatically assumed that he would have the grilling duties because it was the manly thing to say.  Well I have other news.  I like to grill, so I think I will have the grilling duties, thank you very much.  (Just kidding baby, you can grill for me whenever you want to!)  Now that I’ve discovered this grilling thing I’ve begun to try just about anything on the grill.

We are a little low on groceries, and I was trying to come up with something to eat besides my go-to meals that get very boring from time-to-time.  So, I came up with a new side dish that I am very proud of.  While I was cutting up the ingredients and putting them in their grill basket, my stepmother said “I don’t think that is going to taste very good” but after they were complete, I made her try one and she said they were delicious.  I am very happy to say I told you so with this one.  This will definitely become a staple in our go-to recipes.

Ingredients

Russet potatoes, chunks
Onion, chunks
Sage*
Oregano*
Parsley*
Nature’s Seasoning
Garlic Salt
Butter
EVOO

Cut your potatoes and onions into chunks and place them in an aluminum foil lined grilling basket.  Then, season the potatoes to your likening with the rest of the ingredients.  I did about five tablespoons of EVOO and 3 tablespoons of  butter.  Cook them over direct medium-heat on grill.  My grill was at about 300 degrees the majority of the time.  Mine took about 30-45 minutes to cook, but as long as the texture is to your likening, that is all that matters!

* You can use either dried or fresh.  I used dried, but next time I think I’m going to take a little from my new fresh herbs!

I just paired these with some more grilled chicken and french-style green beans.  It was delicious!

Summer Lovin’


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Okay, maybe it isn’t summer YET but it sure feels like it down here in the South.  Actually, I don’t think we ever left summer but for maybe two weeks.

Before my boyfriend and I enjoyed a long motorcycle ride, I felt a little spunky and decided to grill up some chicken and vegetables!  I paired it with my favorite rice pilaf recipe and BAM we had a great summer meal.

For the chicken:

I food processed some jalapeno, onion, vegetable oil, soil sauce, vinegar, natures seasoning, oregano, and garlic.  I let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge and then popped them on the grill!

For the vegetables:

I used a grill basket and wrapped some vegetables in tin foil in the basket with some EVOO, natures seasoning, crushed red peppers, salt and pepper.  You can use pretty much any vegetable you have on hand in this.  I happened to have some fresh garlic, orange pepper, and onion.  I really wanted to add some tomatoes and green beans but we didn’t have any fresh!  I should’ve put this on the grill before the chicken, because I didn’t let them cook down long enough but it was still delicious!

Rice Pilaf:

I can’t express to you how much I LOVE this simple recipe.  My boyfriend and I lick the pan we cook this in because it is so good (okay, maybe not).  I’m a big fan of Rice-a-roni and I find this to be even more delicious than that.  I take 1/4 cup of orzo and let it crisp up a little with EVOO over low heat.  I then add a cup of rice (not the easy cook rice, the real rice), and then add a can of chicken broth (or water with chicken granules/bouillon cubes), and then I season it with garlic salt!  I let it cook down for about 30 minutes covered and it is so good!

Back-of-the-box Brownies


Chewy and delicious!

Ethics paper, management project numero uno, management project numero dos, ethics paper, study, study, eat, gym, blah blah blah
Spring break is here, and how am I celebrating it?  With the beginning stages of a kidney infection!  On with brighter things!

As I’ve mentioned before, my boyfriend has a sweet tooth and is always begging me for brownies.  I usually make him cookies because they are much easier to make, but only because I’ve never found a brownie recipe that just really worked for me.  The other day he had a bad day, so I decided to make him some brownies.  I used the recipe on the back of the Nestle’s cocoa powder container and they turned out amazing!

I added some chocolate chunks on the outside to make it extra delicious!

 

 

 

Black & Blue


Not too long ago I tried my first smoothie that I actually enjoyed at Tropical Smoothie.  Since then I’ve been itching to try one of my own.  Yesterday morning I made a smoothie that I’ve entitled the “Black & Blue.”  I really enjoyed this smoothie, but the banana was kind of a drawback for me.  I don’t really enjoy bananas, and the smoothie I had at Tropical Smoothie didn’t taste like a banana.  Next time, I’m just going to put less banana in it.

I’m not much for fruits but I know they hold key nutrients that your body needs.  Smoothies are a great way to get those key nutrients faster and it tastes better.

Frozen fruit is a great way to make smoothies.  I happen to have some fresh banana and blackberries, but I used frozen blueberries.  Frozen fruit is actually better to use in smoothies because it makes it creamier.

Ingredients

1 whole banana
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup of milk

Blend it all up and you get a Black & Blue smoothies.  Smoothies are all about your own taste, so if you don’t like the way it tastes, add some more of each ingredient until you get the right taste!

Not-your-ordinary Lasagna


This is a great spin on a classic meal.  I loved the addition of Italian sausage and spinach to this meal.  Very delicious!

Sausage LasagnaImage

from Food Network

Directions

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup chicken broth
½ chop chopped basil leaves, plus 2 whole sprigs
2 cloves garlic, minced
Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 (16 ounce) container 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese *
1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1 whole onion
nutmeg
8 ounces lean sweet Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed**
9 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
1 ½ part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

*my grocery store is ridiculous and doesn’t carry ricotta cheese, so I substituted this with a mix of 3 Italian cheeses they sell.
**once again, my grocery store is RIDICULOUS and doesn’t carry this.  I used regular spicy Italian sausage

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  While it is heating, bring a small pot of tomatoes, chicken broth, whole basil sprigs, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a simmer.  Cook until slightly thickened; about 10 minutes.
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  2. While the tomato sauce is cooking, coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray set over medium heat.  Cook the sausage and ¾ of the onion.  Break it up into small pieces, and cook until the meat is browned and the onion is tender (10 minutes).  After it is done cooking, pour the sausage and onion on a plate covered with paper towels to get off all the excess juices.
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  3. Meanwhile, puree the cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth, then add the ricotta cheese (or whichever you have), spinach, ¼ cup chopped basil, remaining onions, salt and pepper.
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  4. Assemble the lasagna.  Mist a 9x13inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Spread enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.  Top with 3 noodles, half the cheese mixture, half the sausage, and shredded mozzarella.  Repeat layers with sauce, noodles, remaining cheese, sausage, and mozzarella.  Top with remaining noodles and sauce.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the noodles are tender and the sauce is bubbling around the edges of the pan (the recipe called for one hour, but it only took mine about 45 minutes).
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  5. Uncover, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.  If you live your cheese a little burnt on top then you can put it back into the oven until your liking.  Otherwise, the cheese will melt a little on its own thanks to the heat coming from the lasagna.

Healthy Bread


What is healthy bread?

I’ve recently started to eliminate all unhealthy foods from my diet, and replacing them with healthier options.  I’ve gotten rid of sodas (completely…no more “one a day” bull), Reese’s Blast (my Kryptonite), and chocolate chip poptarts.  I’ve replaced these unhealthy foods with water and lemon, fruit&yogurt parfaits, and turkey bacon and eggs.  Now I’m on a mission to find the healthiest breads.  I’ve gathered a few tips to help you out and broke them down into two simple rules.

  1. DO NOT EAT WHITE BREAD

– Simple enough right?  I know it is hard to resist.  White breads are much more delicious when dunking into a bowl of soup.  White breads should be given to children only because they have a hard time digesting the fibers in the healthier options.

  1. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHOLE WHEAT BREAD AND WHOLE GRAIN BREAD

– These bread companies like to trick us.  They will make a piece of “wheat” bread but technically is only white bread with a splash of wheat in it.  Beware of these types of breads.  Focus on those that mention wheat as the first ingredient.  Only trust a whole wheat bread when it says “100% whole wheat” and on the back, the first ingredient listed is whole wheat.

– Whole grain bread should contain the bran, germ, and endosperm.  For it to be considered whole it must have all three of these.  A true whole grain will be high in fiber so look for bread that has at least 3 grams of fiber per SLICE.

The most simple way to ensure that you are getting a healthy bread is by looking at the ingredients and picking the one that has whole wheat as the first ingredient.

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