Thursday, October 17, 2013

Easy Crunchy Kale Chips

      I have a secret I need to confess to everyone who reads this blog.  I love chips!  I know, I know, chips aren't healthy, they're really oily and fatty and have way more sodium than I should be consuming...but chips are my vice!  Malissa always gives me grief because I can turn away the ice cream, chocolate, candy, or any other type of junk food, but when chips are placed before me, my mouth immediately starts watering.  Fortunately, I have devised a plan to turn that weakness into a strength!  Behold the kale chip!  A healthy, delicious chip that you can eat guilt-free!  (And I think that picture looks cool too).  For all of you who have a weakness of loving chips too much, I have an incredibly easy win-win solution!

Kale Chips

Kale, stemmed and cut into chip-sized pieces
Olive oil
Salt or Seasoning of your choice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine a small amount of olive oil (just enough to lightly coat all your kale), kale, and seasoning in a bowl.  Mix well and spread kale evenly in one layer over a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are nice and crispy, but not burnt.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Spicy Tomato Basil Pasta

    Okay people, move over sloppy joes,  this is the new favorite recipe in our house!  Malissa and I have recently discovered a new sauce that we have become completely converted to.  It's called Harissa and it is divine!  Now, you all know how much I love to read labels, so I can tell you that I have read the label of the Harissa sauce thoroughly and there is nothing hidden or bad about its contents.  Every ingredient is healthy and natural.  As we mixed it in with some garlic, basil, cherry tomatoes, and spices, we created a middle-eastern pasta sauce that is out of this world.  If you try one of the recipes I have written this year, make it this one.

Spicy Tomato Basil Pasta

1 Pound spaghetti, cooked (or any pasta)
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Pound cherry tomatoes, halved 
3 Garlic cloves, sliced (NOT diced or minced)
3/4 Cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
2 Tablespoons dried chives 
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
2 Tablespoons onion salt
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1-3 Tablespoons harissa
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes.  Lower heat to medium low.  Add cherry tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Add one tablespoon of oregano, chives, parsley, onion salt, and 1/4 cup of the fresh basil. Simmer another 5 minutes. Add Harissa paste (amount depends on how spicy you want this), salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup of fresh basil. Cook another 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, another 1/4 cup of fresh basil, and 1 Tablespoon of oregano, chives, parsley, and onion salt. Cook another 5 minutes. Add sauce to pasta and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Summer Veggie Pasta Salad With Balsamic Dressing

    I have loved pasta salad all my life.  Every time I eat some, I can't help but reminisce about my childhood, eating with my family outside on a warm summer evening.  My craving for pasta salad has not been satisfied for a long time however, as most pasta salads usually come with fatty, sugary dressings, and bleached, unhealthy pastas.  Malissa and I have successfully remedied this inability to enjoy pasta salad with our new healthy, whole grain version.  This meal only takes 15 minutes to make and will create new lasting memories ingrained in your mind forever!

*Veggie Pasta Salad

1 Pound whole wheat pasta (we use fusilli)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Clove garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 Bell peppers, diced (red, green, or both!)
2 Zucchini, chopped
1 Tablespoon thyme
1/2 Cup fresh basil, cut into small pieces
Salt, to taste

4-5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dash of cayenne or chili powder (optional)
Dash of crushed red peppers (optional, for a little spice!)

    Cook pasta according to package directions.  Place in large bowl.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the cherry tomatoes and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the peppers, zucchini, and thyme.  Cook until *veggies are soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add to pasta bowl, along with the basil.  For the dressing:  Combine all ingredients and stir.  Add to pasta bowl.

*Note:  I call this a veggie pasta salad even though from a scientific point of view, all the main ingredients are actually fruits...however, I think you would agree with me that to claim this as a fruit salad would be ridiculous!  Therefore, I am taking a culinary liberty, and calling these vegetables.