The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs. August 13, 2015

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner — Jessica @ 4:05 pm
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Fresh pineapple is one of those things that I often buy and we either eat it within a day or we don’t eat it at all and it goes in the compost. After throwing away two whole pineapples, I was optimistic that we would actually get around to eating this one. Well, we didn’t- at least not in the traditional way alongside breakfast or lunch. I came home from work and noticed it was still sitting on the baker’s rack and needed to be used. I thought about making some kind of dessert but really, I just needed to get dinner on the table. So, I decided I would work the pineapple into our meal. (I should clarify that I am not generally a fan of fruit in my dinner). This is what I came up with based on the chicken I had thawed and some veggies we had in our refrigerator. It was a winner for both of us & perfect served with coconut rice for a complete meal.

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Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Serves 6

Ingredients-

Marinade

1 fresh pineapple- peeled, cored and diced into large chunks- RESERVE HALF

1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)

1/4 c packed brown sugar

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup water

3 TBLS olive oil

1 bunch green onions- sliced (I use scissors)

Everything Else

1 lb chicken cut into large chunks (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts)

8 oz mushrooms

1 lb mini sweet peppers

1 large red onion- quartered and seperated

Remaining pineapple chunks that you reserved from the marinade

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1.Place first 6 items in food processor and blend until pineapple is broken down into very small pieces.

2. Add green onions

3.Reserve 3/4 cup marinade for basting while on grill

4. Add chicken and mushrooms to marinade and let sit in refrigerator for 2-12 hrs.

5. Using kabob sticks that you have soaked in water, alternate ingredients (chicken, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple and onion). Place on foil lined cookie sheets until you get them all done.

6, Cook on grill (grilling times will vary). Ours took about 35 minutes. Rotate every 10-15 minutes. Baste with reserved marinade when you place on grill and every time you rotate them.

7. Remove from grill and let cool slightly.

8. Enjoy!

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Easy Pesto Grill Pizzas. May 12, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,grilling — Jessica @ 9:41 am
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We do a lot of grilling in the summer. Dinner is often some kind of meat and whatever veggies need to get used up thrown on the grill while we work in the garden or enjoy a cocktail in the backyard. These grill pizzas are a nice change in the meat and veggies routine. Using pre-made Naan makes things much easier than using pizza dough (especially when cooking on a charcoal grill). The toppings can be switched out to your own taste but this combination is always a winner for us.

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Pesto Grill Pizzas

serves 2-4

Ingredients

2 pre-made Naan Bread

4 Tbls Pesto

4 oz Fresh Mozzarella (thinly sliced)

1/2 each red, yellow and green pepper ( I slice off the entire half and cut into two pieces for grilling)

1/2 red onion (thick sliced rings)

4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms

3 Tbls olive oil

2 Sausage Links (these are turkey Italian but I have used chicken & pork Italian as well)

Fresh grated Parmesan for garnish

Medium Tomato- diced (optional)

1. Get your grill ready. We use charcoal and there is not a lot of temperature control, so we just start when it is ready. While grill is heating, chop pepper and onion and toss with  2 Tbls olive oil. Be careful with the onions because you want them to stay together as best as possible. Toss mushrooms with remaining olive oil and wrap in foil.

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2. Put peppers, onions and sausage links directly on grill. Put foil packet on grill. Cook until peppers are blistered and sausage are cooked. Onions may still have a little “bite” to them and that’s ok. Cooking times will vary based on your grill.

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3. While items are grilling, place Naan bread on grill safe pan. Top each Naan bread with 2 Tbls Pesto and 2 oz of mozzarella. You can place bread directly on grill but I find it easier to use a pan.

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4. Once items are cooked, remove from grill and slice all into bite size pieces. Pile grilled veggies and sausage on Naan. Top with fresh Parmesan. Return to grill and cook with cover closed until the cheese melts (again, times will vary based on your grill).

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5. Remove from grill, Top with diced tomatoes and cut each Naan into 4 pieces.

6. Enjoy!

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Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce. January 9, 2015

Confession- this is kind of a cheater recipe. It uses a jar of spaghetti sauce. While I love the idea of making my own spaghetti sauce from scratch and even canning it to have on hand, I am just not quite there yet. I do occasionally make sauce, but not often enough to support my partners spaghetti habit. This is our go to recipe.

Truthfully, I never really even liked spaghetti and meat sauce before I tried this.That is actually the only reason this recipe made it on the blog despite using a jar of sauce, maybe it will convince someone else who is on the fence about this classic meal. The basic idea came to the relationship with my partner, but we have really amped it up over the years. This recipe is bursting with flavor and texture and is just simply delicious. It tastes like something you spent a long time on but can be done and on the table in less than 45 minutes.

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Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce

serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb very lean ground beef

1/2 red bell pepper (large dice)

1/2 orange bell pepper (yellow would also work) (large dice)

1/2 green bell pepper (large dice)

medium red onion (diced)

1 cup cremini mushrooms (quartered)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1/4 cup water

1-2 Tbls good olive oil

Fresh Parmesan

Pasta of choice

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1. Brown ground beef in large, deep skillet. There is not a lot of fat in the ground beef we use, so I don’t even have to drain it, but do so if your ground beef is not quite as lean.

2. Add diced veggies and garlic to browned meat and mix. Cook over medium heat about 7 or 8 minutes. We are not trying to cook the veggies until they are soft. I like them to stay a little firm.

3. Add jar of sauce and water and mix in. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil.

5. Serve over pasta of choice. You could also stir the pasta right into the pan of sauce. We don’t do that because I eat gluten free pasta and my partner does not. Top with grated Parmesan.

6. Enjoy!

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Crock Pot Eggplant & Sausage Sauce. November 11, 2014

Filed under: Crock Pot,Dinner — Jessica @ 6:00 am
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We really love eggplant, but I do not have a lot of eggplant recipes in my repertoire. I recently came across a recipe for a crock pot eggplant sauce that I didn’t really have all of the ingredients for, so I improvised and came up with this. I do not know what the original recipe tastes like, but this one is damn good. We have had it for dinner twice in one month, which is pretty much unheard of around here. It is packed with veggies and requires little hands on time. The best part about this recipe is that it is an all day crock pot recipe! I see so many recipes that call for 4-6 hrs in the crock pot (I have some of them myself) but that usually doesn’t work for me. I like to use the crock pot for when I will be working all day and I just want to come home to a nice hot meal. This recipe cooks for 8 hrs but can easily be cooked for 10 if you need it to.

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Crock Pot Eggplant & Sausage Sauce

Ingredients

3 Italian style sausage links- removed from casing

1 medium eggplant- peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks

2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes

8 oz fresh mushrooms- sliced

1 6oz can tomato paste

1 medium red onion- diced

1 medium green pepper- diced

1/2 c dry red wine (or beef broth)

6 cloves garlic- minced

1 heaping tsp each of dried basil and oregano*

1/2 tsp dried thyme*

* fresh herbs are great if you have them on hand

6 c cooked pasta of choice

1 c fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Remove sausage links from casing and cook sausage in medium pan until done, breaking up links as they cook.

2. Add peeled eggplant, canned tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato paste, onion, pepper, garlic and spices to large crock pot (6 qt). Stir to combine.

*It is going to look like this and you are going to think that there is no way this is going to turn into any kind of sauce, but you will just have to trust me on this. Eight to ten hours in the crock pot does some magic.

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3. Cook 8-10 hrs on low heat. If you are home you can stir it occasionally but it is fine on its own too.

4. Serve over pasta and sprinkled with fresh Parmesan.

5. Enjoy! (with a glass of dry red wine if you’re into that kind of thing)

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Pepper & Pineapple Stir Fry. (3pts+) March 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:00 am
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Stir fry is always one of my go to options for a quick & healthy meal. Throw together some protein, a yummy sauce, veggies and in this case, fruit and it is easy to have dinner ready in about 20 minutes. This is one of my favorites because I usually have everything I need on hand. This particular version used up a chicken breast that was in my refrigerator, but shrimp, tofu or seitan would stand in perfectly.

Pepper & Pineapple Stir Fry
4 servings 3pts+ each

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8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast (or protein of choice)- cubed
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbls soy sauce
2 Tbls hot sauce
2 Tbls honey
Medium red pepper- sliced
Medium green pepper- sliced
Medium orange pepper- sliced
Medium red onion- sliced
2 cloves garlic- finely diced
1 can of pineapple (pack in it’s own juices)- drained
Brown rice (optional & not included in points+ value)

1. Spray large skillet with olive oil or cooking spray
2. Add diced chicken, oregano & pepper. Brown chicken on all sides (about 5-7 minutes)
3. Add pineapple, sliced peppers & onion, honey, hot sauce, soy sauce & garlic to pan. Stir.
4. Cover & cook about 5 minutes (until peppers are crisp tender)
5. Remove lid & let sit about 5 minutes
6. Serve with brown rice if desired (not included in pts+ calculation)
7. Enjoy!

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