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I love soups of all kinds and they are so easy to make!  Sauté any veggies you have in your fridge, add some spices, boxed broth and simmer away for 15 minutes. Healthy. Delicious. And a great way to use up leftovers in your fridge.

This is my super easy minestrone. Sauté a cup each of chopped onions, zucchini, carrots, green beans and celery until crisp but tender. Add in a box of chicken broth, a cup of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, herbs de provence, oregano and fresh parsley. Stir in a can of drained white beans. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with a small shaped pasta and grated parmesan. Make a batch on Sunday and eat it for lunch all week long. Tons of veggies and protein from the beans…just yummy!

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This was part of my New Year’s Eve menu and it was a HIT. Enjoy!

Ingredients….

Premade pizza dough (you can get it in the dairy aisle of your grocery store or local pizza shop)

1 green pepper, sliced

½ yellow onion, sliced

3 sausage links, out of casing

oregano

crushed red pepper flakes

olive oil

handful pecorino romano cheese (grated)

flour

Directions…

Bring pizza dough to room temperature. Leave it out of the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, heat a teaspoon of olive oil. Add sausage to pan and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until brown and crumbled. Remove from pan with slotted spoon, reserve on a plate. Pour out most of the oil. Add the sliced peppers, onions, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about 8 minutes until the veggies are tender.

Roll dough with a little bit of flour into a large rectangle. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet (with sides). Add filling on half of the dough (long side), leaving a one inch space on the top and bottom. Begin rolling, starting on the side the filling is on. Keep rolling until you have a log shape. Seal off the edges by pinching them and folding them under the roll. Brush the top with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with the cheese. Cut 3 slits in the top to let the steam escape. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Slice and serve.


With flu season looming….here is my easy and healthy chicken soup packed with vitamins to get you back on your feet quick. And the best part is, it’s ready in no time at all.

Directions…

Saute chopped onions, carrots, celery, parsnips and zucchini (or any veggies you have on hand or like) in a large pot with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they are slightly browned. In the mean time, shred up left over chicken or a store bought rotisseriee chicken (remove the skin). Add boxed chicken stock, herbs de provence and chopped parsley to the pot. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Serve over cooked egg noodles or left over pasta. Enjoy!

eggplantI have so many yummy veggies left from the farm, so I decided to make a great caponata to use them up. I used a Tyler Florence recipe and adapted it to use up what I had in the fridge.

This is delicious warm, cold or room temperature. Sever on toasted bread as an appetizer, mix with pasta or serve with chicken or fish for an easy dinner. This is a very versatile dish…and yummy too!

Ingredients…

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

dash of red pepper flakes

1 large eggplant, cubed

1 zucchini cubed

2 ribs of celery cubed

2 tomatoes, halved and seeds squeezed out, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 tablespoons capers, drained

1/2 cup pitted kalamata and green olives

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

pinch sugar

handful of torn fresh basil

salt and pepper

Directions…

Pour the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant in the oil. Add red pepper flakes. Cook until brown, be sure to stir often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, zucchini, celery and onion cook for about 15 minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the capers, olives, balsamic vinegar, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and slowly simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until thickened.

This past weekend we did the “pick-your-own” at a farm in NJ. Not only was it so much fun to pick apples, red & yellow raspberries, blackberries, peppers, tomatos (of all varieties) and eggplant…but it’s even more fun to come home and eat them! Check out some pictures of what we picked…it was just delicious!

Tonight’s dinner had two inspirations….the smell of fall in the air and a need to begin cleaning out the fridge / freezer / pantry. This meal is an easy way to use left over veggies and chicken.

Here is how to make the version I had tonight, but switch it up with whatever you have on hand.

2 carrots

2 shallots

1 large red potato

2 handfuls of frozen peas

1 cup skim milk

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons of flour

2 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 cooked chicken breasts shredded

1 sheet puff pastry (defrosted)

salt, pepper, olive oil, herbs de provence, parmesan cheese and parsley

For the sauce: Melt the butter in a small sauce pot on medium heat. Mix in the flour. Let bubble and cook for 3-4 minutes, mixing constantly. (This is called a roux, for this recipe it should be a golden color.) Once it has reached that color, whisk in the chicken stock and milk. This mixture will need to come to a rolling boil, whisk frequently. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, mix in the dijon mustard, and salt / pepper to taste.

For the filling: If your veggies and chicken are already cooked all you need to do is cut them into bite size pieces. Mine were not cooked, so I sauteed the shallots, carrots and potatoes in a little bit of olive oil with salt and pepper and herbs de provence. Do not cook them all the way, only cook them about half way (it will cook the rest of the way in the oven)

Mix all of your components for the filling (shredded chicken, shallots, carrots, potatoes, peas, chopped parsley) with the thickened sauce. Poor mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Top with puff pastry. Make sure the edges are sealed to the dish. Brush the top with olive oil and top with shredded parmesan cheese. Cut four slits in the top for the heat to escape. Cook at 375 for about 15 minutes or until the top has puffed and is golden brown. (Tip: To eliminate having to clean the oven…put the casserole dish on top of a cookie sheet to catch any overflow)

Scoop and serve in bowls.

Note: You can use a rotisserie chicken from the store or left overs. Other veggie options could include asparagus, green beans, corn, pearl onions – really anything you have on hand will work.

After walking around the city all day I wanted to make something easy with what I had in my fridge aka no grocery store stop. I remembered I had leftover veggies from the pizza I made the other day. Here’s a super easy…clean out the fridge meal.

Preheat oven to 400. Cube up any veggies you have on hand. I used red onion, zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash and cherry tomatoes (keep those whole) and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de provence (see picture below). Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

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Cook up some whole wheat pasta, I used rotini…to al dente of course. Before draining off the pasta, save about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and put back in the hot pot on medium-low heat. Mix the roasted veggies with the pasta, reserved water, a handful of fresh basil, a few ounces of goat cheese, 1/2 cup of ricotta and a generous amount of freshly grated pecorino cheese. Heat until cheese melts and a sauce is formed (about 5 minutes). Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

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I made homemade pizza tonight (which by the way was just delicious) for less money then it would cost to order in a pie and tip the delivery guy. I had a few things already in the fridge / pantry, but bought the majority of the ingredients. Making a whole pie chock full of yummy healthy toppings only cost $11! By making it at home I saved about $8 and I bet a lot of calories too! Here’s how to do it…

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Store bought pizza dough purchased from your favorite pizza shop or Italian market (I buy mine from Corrados) – this time I used whole wheat

2 vine ripe tomatoes sliced thin

1/2 zucchini, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/2 eggplant (sliced a quarter inch thick)

1 jarred roasted red pepper (sliced into thin strips)

1/2 red onion (sliced)

1 ball fresh mozzarella (patted dry and sliced thin)

1 handful fresh basil

olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 450. Stretch out the dough until it forms a circle (depending on the consistency of the dough you may need to use a little flour). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the crust starts to get crispy. If any bubbles start to form prick them with a fork.

In the mean time, drizzle a little olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Saute the sliced onions until they are caramelized (about 10 minutes).

Toss the sliced zucchini, squash and eggplant with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill in a grill pan until the are almost cooked through.

After the dough starts to brown (about 10 minutes) pull out of the oven and add sliced tomatoes on top. Cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes start to “melt”. Take out of the oven and put all of the veggies on top (zucchini, squash, eggplant, roasted peppers, onion) then sprinkle with the thinly sliced fresh mozzarella. Bake for a few more minutes until the cheese melts.

Remove from oven and top with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil…just like the do in Italy! I topped mine with a little grated pecorino romano cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Healthy…delicious…inexpensive! ENJOY!

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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