Paleo Recipe - Sausage Casserole Recipe

Before when I was trying to lose weight, I somewhat had success when I decided to make paleo dinners.  So I decided to do the same this summer.  I can never seem to give up wheat completely so I try it with dinners first.  

Paleo Leap is a wonderful website and resource for recipes and where I found this simple sausage casserole recipe.  I didn't have all the ingredients so I used what I had and make a sausage casserole with the following.  I was surprised at how tender the yams turned out and I really loved the flavours that my bratwurst sausage brought to the vegetables.  I would make this again and feel that is is completely a recipe that you can make your own.  Here's what I used for this simple sausage casserole recipe to make it my own.

4 bratwurst sausages
2 yams, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh lemon thyme sprigs from the farmer's market

I think it would have been lovely as in the original recipe with a red onion but my onion that I had was rotten so what's more important is to have fresh healthy vegetables.  

Directions:  All the vegetables in a baking dish.  Brown the sausages on all sides.  Top with fresh lemon thyme and bake in a pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.  




Brown Bag Lunch - Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Dill

I've been pretty good at bringing a brown bag lunch to work this week.  I am trying to eat healthy and keep fit and one way to do that is to bring a quick lunch to eat so the rest of the lunch break I can take a brisk walk instead of sitting in the lunch room.  

What this means though is that even if I eat out for dinner, when I get home, I am cooking up a little something for my brown bag lunch the next day.  

Tonight I was inspired by an Orzo Salad with Chickpea, Dill and Lemon from MyRecipes:  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/orzo-salad-with-chickpeas-dill-lemon


I gathered up my ingredients and noticed white mold on my lemon.  I thought about it.  But I like my healthy stomach much better and decided not to chance it.  Yes, normally you would think that the sight of mold itself would make me think twice.  I guess I really wanted to follow the recipe as is.  Instead I made the recipe my own and it turned into Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Dill.

1 cup orzo
1 tbsp dill (I had dried in my pantry so I used that, if you have fresh, fabulous)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can 19oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup feta cheese

Cook the orzo until al dente or to taste.  Rinse with cold water.  Mix orzo in a mixing bowl with the dill, olive oil and chickpeas.  Add the feta cheese.  

Enjoy the light refreshing Orzo Salad with simple ingredients.

Blueberry Scone Recipe

This morning I decided to bake up a fresh batch of scones.  I found a Blueberry Scone recipe on the Food Network and decided to give it a try.  Of course, I didn't know that I only had 2 cups of flour left which meant that I did not have any extra flour to help make the dough pliable to roll out into a circle.  So instead my sticky dough scones were dropped onto the baking sheet in rounds.  The scones turned out well with blueberries bursting from the seams.  I used 1 cup of frozen blueberries which was quite generous.  I still have the last frozen batch of blueberries from last season.  Luckily August is just around the corner.  It's been a lot of fun baking with blueberries.  I didn't use a glaze as we found the blueberry scones were delicious without one and when they are fresh from the oven, we couldn't resist or wait to taste one.

The Blueberry Scone Recipe is Here:  

Blueberry Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/blueberry-scones-with-lemon-glaze-recipe.html?oc=linkback


Meatless Monday - Olive Garden Copycat Inspired Minestrone Soup Recipe

It's Meatless Monday and I was inspired by an Olive Garden Copycat Recipe for Minestrone Soup.  I turned a minestrone soup into my own by using the vegetables I had on had and less beans.  This is how my recipe turned out.  Enjoy!  

Ingredients

1 diced white onion
1 diced zuchinni
1 diced celery
6 chopped baby carrots or 1 chopped carrot
3 tbsps olive oil

4 cups vegetable broth
1 can white beans 
1 can diced tomatoes with italian seasoning, drained
dash pepper
sprinkle thyme

4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 cups egg noodle
2 cups water

1.  Saute onion, zuchinni, celery, carrots in olive oil until the onions are translucent.  
2.  Add the vegetable broth, beans, drained diced tomatoes, pepper, and thyme.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes
3.  Add the baby spinach leaves, egg noodle, and an additional 2 cups of water.  You can look at the consistency of your soup and add enough water to cook the noodles but still have it as thick or thin as your preference.

Serve in soup bowls and you can sprinkle cheese on top (optional).  Delicious hearty vegetarian soup for you #MeatlessMonday.  Bring it for your brown bag lunches.  

Pioneer Woman's Recipe - Baked Ziti

Rhee Drummond is the Pioneer Woman and her rustic comfort food is the opposite of Jamie Oliver's healthy meals.  After a week of trying out Jamie Oliver's healthy recipes, I decided to switch it up and make some hearty comfort food from the Pioneer Woman.

Baked Ziti (make with penne) recipe made enough for the entire week.  My husband could have friends over and not have to spend money on dinner.  The casserole was great for taking to work for brown bag lunches and provided meals for two all week long.  

Find the easy to follow recipe here:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/baked-ziti/

Brown Bag Lunch - Soba Noodle Recipe

Now I've made cold soba salads with a peanut sauce but wanted to try a soba noodle salad that could also be served warm.  With a bit of google recipe searching for a warm soba noodle salad, I found Rachel Ray's Sesame Soba Noodles that I could adapt.  The great thing about cooking is that I can get the main flavors and ideas and then adapt according to what's in my fridge and pantry.  Just cook up the noodle, prepare the vegetables and dressing and toss it all together.  This is great eaten as a warm or cold salad and is healthy too.   Perfect for a brown bag lunch!  

- soba noodles - cook and drain
- grated carrot (1)
- edamame (1 cup)
- julienned red pepper (1)

Dressing - the measurements you can take a look at Rachel Ray's recipe above.  I basically looked at what was ingredients were and added them to make a dressing.  I didn't have many soba noodle so made less dressed than in the recipe.

 - soy or tamari sauce
 - honey
 - ginger and garlic
 - olive oil


Wild Barley Mushroom Risotto

What I love about the weekends is that I have a lot of time to cook and practice the culinary arts.  Tonight I decided to make a healthy dish of Wild Mushroom Barley Risotto.  My package of brown mushrooms best before date was arriving and I had an half a bottle of white wine in the fridge.  The risotto is made with pearl barley and since I didn't have an onion, I cut up the white part of a leek instead.  This recipe a friend passed down and originally it is part of a healthy brown bag lunch series.  Tonight I had the time to stir as you need to be patient with risotto and lovingly watch as the pearl barley cooks into a healthy dish.  

I had turkey stock cubes in the freezer which are great to have on hand when you are preparing risotto since you need almost 4 cups of stock.  I omitted the marscapone or ricotta cheese but I still had the parmesan to give it the smooth feeling.  I had leftover roast chicken that I heated up and threw on top of this risotto if you want to add more protein.  

14ounceswild mushrooms
3.5cupschicken or vegetable stock
1.5tbspbutter
3tbspextra virgin olive oil
1onionminced
1cuppearl barley
splashdry white wine
12cupparmesanfreshly grated
2tbspmascarpone or ricotta
Clean the mushrooms and thickly slice the large ones. Set aside while you start the risotto.
Brink the stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, heat the butter and a tablespoon of olive
oil in a large saucepan or sauté pan and add the onion and a little seasoning. Gently fry the onion, stirring
occasionally, until it begins to soften 4-6 minutes. Tip in the barley and stir well to coat. Toast the barley for 2
minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the splash of wine and let it bubble until reduced by half. Stir in two-thirds of the hot stock and simmer,
stirring every once in a while, until the barley has absorbed almost all the liquid. Add more stock, a ladleful at a
time, and simmer until the barley is just tender (you may not need all the stock). Stir in the Parmesan and
mascarpone and season well to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm.
Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Fry the mushrooms with some seasoning until they are lightly
browned and any moisture released has evaporated, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the risotto and stir
well to mix.
Divide the risotto among warm plates and sprinkle with the minced parsley. Serve immediately.