Repost: Slow Simmered Split Pea Soup

On a freezing cold day, especially during my favorite thing in the winter (a snow storm) we like warm, hearty soup.   During our recent "blizzard", split pea soup was on our menu, and despite appearances, it is truly "blog worthy!"  

The key to the creamy texture, is the slow cooker. It started on the stove but, once all the ingredients were mixed it's moved to the slow cooler and 6 hours later, or 4 hours, whatever your preference, voila! 

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What you need: 

  • 1 lb bag of split peas
  • 2 Tbls olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped into centimeter sized pieces 
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped into centimeter sized pieces 
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme (about 8 stalks) 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 2 pound baby ham hock, cut in half, one half stays whole, the other half gets cut up into centimeter size cubes. 
  • Large pot 
  • Slow cooker

Like most soup recipes, you'll start the pan with your olive oil, onion, celery and oregano. Let that simmer for about 5 minutes. Add your chopped garlic, your carrots and the all the ham hock, stir it up, add the thyme. and stir another 5 minutes. Things will get cozy, the onions a tiny bit brown. Add your peas and mix a bit longer, maybe 3 minutes, then add your chicken broth. 

I let it simmer for about 5 minutes. At this point, you can keep the process moving for another day or keep it rolling. If you're ready to roll the only thing you need to do is remove the one uncut ham hock (you can leave it out or chop it up, totally up to you on how much ham you'd like in your soup) Next, take the contents of your pot and pour into your slow cooker for 4 or 6 hours. 

You won't believe how beautiful this is when it's done! 

Enjoy, xo Measure 

Repost: Oven Roasted Shrimp "Fajitas"

Roasted shrimp 2.JPG

I called these "fajitas" rather than just fajitas because I don't want to you to think I don't know what fajitas are, or that I've never experienced a waitress rushing to my table with a sizzling pan in one hand and clearing the way of gawking diners with the other hand.   Fajitas are almost any combination of meat and vegetables served on a HOT, SIZZLING, iron skillet... not these though.

I am not a fan of receiving still-cooking food at a restaurant.  Finish it in the kitchen and bring me a nice, normal, quiet plate of food.  

I am, however, a huge fan of the following series of week night events:

1.  Enter cozy home

2.  Get dinner started and into the oven

3.  Get comfy  (sweats, slippers, remove make-up & princess jewels)

4.  Get assorted chores started; ie Kindergarten homework, empty and refill back packs, lunch bags, unload dishwasher,  etc. etc. etc. etc. sigh   .... (start smelling delicious dinner cooking)

5.  Set the table because dinner is ready!

6.  EAT

7.  Wash ONE large pan.

8.  Finish above various chores and Good Night.

This recipe is the easiest and makes a tasty, healthy weeknight dinner.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Shrimp, 15-20 peeled and deveined.   (if frozen, defrosted)
  • 4-5 Assortment of red, yellow, green, orange peppers, chopped (smaller if you want them cooked soft, larger if you don't mind "al dente" vegetables)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • cilantro, small bunch chopped, reserve some for garnish
  • olive oil, drizzle (about 1  tbsp.)
  • salt & pepper
  • lime, juice
  • tortillas, flour or corn - or lettuce wrap.
  • cheddar cheese, shredded for topping

Heres what you'll do:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, chopped cilantro, olive oil, salt & pepper together on a large sheet pan.  Top with shrimp and  roast 20-25 minutes, until shrimp is opaque and vegetables are softened.

2.  At the very end, switch the oven to broil to brown the shrimp and veg a bit.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro garnish.

3. Serve in tortilla or lettuce wrap and if you wish, top with your favorite salsa.   (I added some spinach leaves to mine for extra bulk and fiber) 

What is your favorite, quick & easy weeknight dinner?

xo & a pinch,
Kelly

 

 

Asian Tuna Wraps

New Year, New You?  If so, these may lead the way to a leaner you if that's what you're looking for.    

I'm one of those people who really enjoys the season of resolutions and healthier living is always top of my list. This year, like many of you, I'm planning on cleaning up our diet by reducing sugars and adding lean protein and more vegetables.  When I say "our diet", yes I mean the whole family...  I'll let you know how it goes. 

Here's what you'll need for 4 wraps:

  • 1 can Albacore tuna, packed in water
  • 4 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup of sliced water chestnuts
  • 1/4 tsp black sesame seeds, for garnish

For the dressing, whisk together the following ingredients:

  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp wasabi paste (more or less to taste)

Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter, add cucumber sticks, 1/4 of tuna into each leaf.   Top with chopped water chestnuts and sesame seeds.   Serve with dressing drizzled on the wraps or on the side. 

Happy New You!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly 

The Classics: French Onion Soup

I usually don't insist upon proper serviceware, but for French Onion, you need crocks.  I got these at Target years ago and they are holding up nicely.  I also use them for chowders and crumble desserts. 

I like making French Onion Soup for guests because its classic and traditional, yet unexpected from a homecooked dinner.  Its also host-friendly. Once you have it simmering, it can sit on the stove all day until you're ready for the final elements; a hunk of toasted bread and delicious creamy Gruyere (also, a must).

I don't usually insist upon a proper cheese, but Gruyere.  I'm sorry.  This dish will cost you about $8 in cheese.   The rest, however is mostly just onions (cheap) and water (free!).

french onion soup.JPG

Here it goes:

  • 8-10 small - medium white onions, sliced(enjoy a good cry)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz box of reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh thyme 2-4 sprigs
  • 1-2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar(secret ingredient ALERT!)
  • 6  slices of French baguette, cut on a diagonal
  • thinly sliced Gruyere cheese, about 3 slices per crock
  • parmesan cheese, grated for topping

1.  In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook onions, butter, salt & pepper, olive oil, uncovered.  Stir frequently, until onions are very soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes.  Add brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes.  Add water throughout the cooking process as needed to prevent sticking or over browning. 

french onion soup browning onions.JPG

 

2.  Stir in wine and let cook for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir in broth, water, bay leaves and thyme and simmer for 10 minutes.

4.  Reduce heat to low and partially cover.  Let lightly simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  The longer it simmers, the better. 

5. When ready to serve.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove thyme stems and bay leaves.  Taste soup for proper seasoning.  

6.  Place bread slices on large cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes until dried and toasted. Reserve toasts.

7.  Place crocks onto foil-lined cookie sheet.  Ladle soup into crocks.  Place one slice of bread into each crock. Top each with 3 slices of cheese to cover. Sprinkle parmesan cheese onto each bowl.

8.  Broil until cheese is melted and golden about 2 minutes.

Stay cozy & patient!  Spring will be here soon... I think.?


xo & a pinch,
Kelly

Strawberry Salsa

I think there is universal agreeance (yes, its a word) that sweet & salty food are simply irresistible. The combination of juicy, sweet fruit and salt, lime and cilantro is perfection, and on a tortilla chip, totally addictive.  This time of year, we usually chop up a big batch of mango salsa as an addition to our Cinco de Mayo festivities.  To me, the mango is the sweetheart of all fruits.  I just cant say enough wonderful things about the sweet, pretty mango. But strawberries have been having a tough time lately.  They made it to the ever shameful dirty dozen list.  Poor strawberries... happens to the best of us.  Don't believe the hype and just hunt down some organic berries.  This salsa is too special to pass on.  Its kind of like a fresh strawberry daiquiri on a chip. Strawberry Fields Forever!     

Chop up the following:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, hulled   
  • 2-5 plum tomatoes, cored (discard the wet seeds with a spoon)
  • 1 (medium) red onion 
  • Bunch of cilantro 
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lime, juice

Try to chop the berries and tomatoes to be about the same size.  Combine all ingredients and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Salud!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 

 

Weeknight Skillets: Light & Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Pam's favorite Italian meal is eggplant parmesan.  So, this quick & healthy version has her in eggplant heaven!  One night, Pam was flying home from God-knows-where on a business trip.  We did our quick usual check-in texts covering her ETA (12AM), random food thoughts (weekend eating plans) and what I was eating for dinner (this eggplant). Long story short, at about 1:00 in the morning, Pam crept up onto my porch to collect a Tupperware of this delicious mess for a very late-night dinner!

Make this when you want something quick, easy, light, vegetarian and Italian, or when your travel-weary best girl needs a healthy dinner after a long flight.

Heres what you'll need:

  • 1 large eggplant, cubed  
  • olive oil, about 2 tbsp
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
  • parmesan, grated for topping
  • fresh basil, 5-6 leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add a generous swirl of olive oil.  Add cubed eggplant. Season with salt & pepper.  Let cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened and browned a bit.

2.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, tomatoes and season again with salt & pepper. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes until eggplant is soft and tomatoes are cooked.

3.  Using a teaspoon, dollop ricotta around the pan, swirling slightly into the sauce.  (don't completely stir it in).  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top and put skillet into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted. 

4.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Top with torn basil leaves and grated parmesan. 

(5. pack into a Tupperware and place in a secret, yet obvious place on your porch and go to bed, hoping for cool weather and exclusively carnivorous neighborhood wildlife!)

xo & a pinch,

Kelly  

Weeknight Skillets: Chicken & Escarole

 Chicken Thighs over escarole, pam's bad photo

Chicken Thighs over escarole, pam's bad photo

When Kelly and I started our clean eating weight loss program back in December of 2014 I had no idea I had 20 lbs to lose. I was sure I could lose 10 absolutely but, not 20. Well, when 20 came off I realized maybe I did have 20 to lose.  

A few keys if you're looking to lose weight when & if you're born in 1967 (yes, I'm old.)  You simply can't eat more than 1200 calories a day and as my doctor says, "fruit is not your friend." 

Anyway, looking for new inspiration for recipes Kelly found Cooking Light Magazine so, we both asked for subscriptions for Christmas. Now, when Bon Appetit comes Cooking Light comes, too! It's a double celebration. 

Chicken Skillet Dishes were on the cover so, we both dove in head first! I made this one for us and changed it up a bit. As, always...

It's simple, and it's fast.  Its perfect for a weeknight. 

The M&P version:

  • 10 Chicken thighs (I can give up a lot of things but, the flavor in a boneless chicken thigh rules over the flavor of a boneless breast, all day long..) 
  • 2 bunches of escarole, clean and sliced into strips 
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de provence 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper 
  • 4 cloves of garlic 
  • 3 tablespoons oil 
  • 1/2 ounce pecorino cheese (shaved with a peeler) You can use Parmesan if you don't have Pecorino. My grandfather used to say, "Pecorino is a little more sharper.." Yes, his first language was Italian :) hence the wrong use of sharp! 
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Best way to start, grab a pot of water to boil with about a tablespoon of your salt. When boiling, pop in your cleaned, sliced escarole for one minute then drain and let sit while you start your chicken.

Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.   Then dust with the herbs de provence.  Over medium high heat,  add olive oil to a large skillet.  When the oil is good and hot, put the chicken in your pan.

Let the chicken cook until you see some liquid on the top of the thigh, the bottom should be nice and brown (3-5 minutes) flip them, let them sit in the pan another 2-3 minutes then place skillet into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take them out.  (Usea pot holder on the handle from this moment on! )

Take the chicken out of the pan, and reserve.   At this point, the pan has some FABULOUS yummy juices in it and a bit of oil so, now is the perfect time to toss in your garlic & red pepper flakes. Let those sit a few minutes but, pull out the garlic when it starts to get a little brown. Now, toss in those beautiful red onions.. yum.... let them drink up the juice and let them brown a bit. When browned, throw in the boiled, drained escarole.

What we're doing here is simply warming everything up before we serve it. When the escarole gets hot, feel free to put the chicken back on top of the bed if you're serving in the hot skillet. If you're serving on a platter like I did, put everything from the pan onto the dish and top with the chicken and the peeled pecorino cheese. 

Totally blog worthy and totally delicious!

Enjoy! xo Measure

 The professional picture, and recipe

The professional picture, and recipe

The Classics: Escarole Pie

I love escarole.  Mostly, the way my friend Delia (aka "Nonna" to my boys) prepares it.  She "massages" the leaves with lemon, salt & pepper.   She says to do the massaging (with clean hands,  of course) in the kitchen so that your guests don't see you up to your elbows in their dinner!  For some reason, her method makes the most refreshing, delicious simple salad.

Onto this recipe, which is more suitable for this non-Spring Spring that we're having.  Here the escarole becomes hearty, sweet and savory in a warm flaky pie.  Its our take on a classic Italian side dish that's perfect for any gathering, but especially brunch.  Don't be afraid of the anchovies, they melt into wonderful nutty-ness, plus they are a must-have ingredient in this pie.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 heads escarole
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp.
  • 3-4 anchovies
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Nutmeg, a pinch
  • 2 eggs(one egg is for egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • Pie crust, prepared or pizza dough
  • Salt & pepper

Here's what you'll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In skillet over medium high heat, heat oil & anchovies, red pepper flakes and garlic.  Once anchovies are melted, add chopped escarole, salt,  pepper & nutmeg.  Once escarole is wilted, let cool.

2.  In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine cheeses, egg, olives & raisins.  Season with salt & pepper.



3.  Combine escarole with cheese mixture and pour into pie crust. Top with second crust, crimp and brush with egg wash.  Bake 35-40 minutes until golden.


Mangia!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 

Baked Potato Soup

Ok, so its cauliflower.  You know I love skinny-food trickery and cauliflower is my best partner in crime.  I promise, when you're eating this, you'll think its potato soup.  Its creamy, hearty and when its topped with the usual baked potato bits, you'll find yourself high-fiving "I can eat this whole thing?!"  Yes.  Its cauliflower.  Ok, there's one potato in there.

Here's what you'll need:

  • potatoes, 2 small or 1 large, roughly chopped
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • vegetable or chicken broth, 1 cup, but you may use less
  • salt & pepper
  • cheddar, shredded for topping
  • bacon, cooked & chopped for topping
  • chives or scallions, chopped for topping
  • sour cream, dollop for topping, if you wish

1.  In a large pot over high heat, add the cauliflower & potato. Cover with water and add about a tsp of salt.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.  Drain in a colander and return to the pot. 

2.  If you are using a blender or food processor, let the cauliflower cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth.   If using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency.  Return the pureed cauliflower to the large pot.

3.  Over medium heat, stir while adding broth until you get your desired consistency.   Season with salt & pepper.

4.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon, cheese & scallions.

 What's your favorite cauliflower recipe?

xo & a pinch,
Kelly

Quickie Weeknight Shrimp

 Quickie shrimp for two

Quickie shrimp for two

There's something so very satisfying about a delicious meal that can be made in less than 15 minutes. Yup!  15 minutes. It turns out there there are 30 minute meals and then there's this super speedy, yummy, good for you week night shrimp dish!  

(That was probably too many adjectives..) 

Here's what you need:

  • One bag (approx. 20) peeled and deveined, shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 cup of sun dried tomato, cut into strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed (or minced)
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 cup of olives (I used green but, you can also use pitted Kalamata) 
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in garlic, artichoke hearts and sundried tomato and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add olives and thyme, stir for another 2 minutes and then, add the wine.  Let simmer and turn your oven on tobroil.

Toss the shrimp into the pan,  cook for about 2 minutes then turn it over for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. 

Transfer the pan to the oven and broil for 2 minutes.  Keep an eye on it!  

Serve over pasta or zoodles (spiralized zucchini).   We zoodle! . 

PS I don't add grated cheese to anything with seafood but, if you really really like grated parmesan I suppose you can add it. 

Enjoy, xo Measure! 

Cauliflower Cream of Mushroom Soup

Its no secret, I love cauliflower.   To me, cauliflower is the most magical vegetable in my kitchen.  Its versatility is endless and adding lots of cauliflower to your diet does wonders to your waistline.  Sometimes when I'm eating mashed cauliflower, I find myself trying to resist eating the entire plate.  I forget what I'm eating and think its potatoes!  No offense, potatoes, I love you too.   We go way back, but ... muffin top.

So, I introduce my newest cauliflobsession*- cream of mushroom soup.   Like I said in my post on our Cauliflower Broccoli Cheddar soup** (also fantastic), I would never eat the true versions of these soups; made with cream, flour and butter to get the "cream of ---" consistency.   To me, soups shouldn't be laden with fat and carbs.  Soup should not be a guilty pleasure.   It should be healthy, satisfying and cozy-inducing.  This soup is all of the good things and its so delicious and creamy, you'll forget what you're eating!

  • I small onion, chopped
  • garlic, 2-3 cloves, chopped
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • beef or vegetable broth, 32 oz.
  • 8-10 mushrooms, chopped
  • Worchestershire, a small splash
  • thyme, fresh (a few sprigs, plus more for garnish)
  • salt & pepper

1.    In a large pot over high heat, add the cauliflower. Cover with water and add about a tsp of salt & pepper.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender.  Drain in a colander and return to the pot. 

2.  If you are using a blender or food processor, let the cauliflower cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth.   If using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency.   Return the pureed cauliflower to the large pot.

2.  Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium high heat, swirl olive oil.  Add garlic, mushrooms & onion.  Cook for 10-12 minutes until softened.  Add thyme and splash of Worchestershire.   Season with salt & pepper.

3.  Put the pot of pureed cauliflower over medium heat.   Stir in broth until you achieve your desired consistency and let heat through.  Once you have the consistency that you like, stir in the cooked mushrooms & onions. (remove the thyme stems beforehand)  Taste for proper seasoning, adding salt & pepper as needed.  Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

So good.

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

*they say that people who create their own words are geniuses, just saying.

**for the Cauliflower Broccoli Cheddar soup recipe, search out site.  It'll pop right up!

Cornmeal & Parmesan Crusted Baked Squash

The crunchy cornmeal topping with warm, fragrant rosemary and parmesan combined with a zip of lemon is perfect here.  Its kind of pretty too! 

  • 2-3 zucchini, sliced into coins
  • 2-3 yellow squash, sliced into coins
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary, small bunch chopped, about 1 tbsp
  • 1 lemon, zest & juice
  • salt & pepper
  • red pepper flakes, a pinch (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.  Cut the squash into thin coins.  On the cutting board, coat with 1 tbsp olive oil, season with salt & pepper, red pepper flakes.

Arrange in a baking dish... neatly or not- your choice!

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cornmeal, parmesan, chopped rosemary, zest and juice of the lemon, salt & pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Combine with a fork until mixture is a sandy consistency.

Place the cornmeal topping on the arranged squash.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and the squash is tender.

 


zucchini cornmeal prep.JPG

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a spritz of lemon.

 



Beet & Blueberry Salad

I'm one of those people that reads "Click Here for 10 Foods You Must Eat to Live to be 105!" and clicks.  I just have to do it.  I've heard these things referred to as "chick bait."  Whatever, call me caught hook, line & sinker, but who doesn't want to live to be 105?  

So, in the spirit of post-Halloween detox, I read (on the internet, of course) about the best foods for natural detox.  Or, was it the top 5 cancer fighting foods?  Whatever it was, when I went to go back and read the article again, I couldn't find it, naturally.   So, I've been walking around with these magically healthy foods bouncing around my head.  Today, I decided to get them out of my head and onto a plate.  I remember that beets, blueberries, lemons and pomegranate are super foods that fight disease and make you feel and look your best.  I decided to throw them all together into this gorgeous salad because lets face it, I'd love to naturally detox, ward off cancer and live to 105!  Who doesn't?

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3-4 medium sized beets, stems trimmed and scrubbed.
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • Feta cheese crumbles, 1/4 cup
  • Parsley leaves, 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 Pomegranate, seeds
  • salt   

Here's what you'll do:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you scrub and prepare your beets.   Place scrubbed, whole beets in a foil packet and on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven until fork tender, about 60 minutes.   Let cool.   Scrub skins off.  They should come off easily with a paper towel.

2.  Cut beets into cubes.   Combine cubed beats with blueberries, parsley, lemon and salt.   Tumble the feta over the salad.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Enjoy Super Health!

xo & a pinch,
Kelly

** If you like recipes like this, click "SUPER FOODS!" on side bar (on a PC) or bottom bar (on you mobile device) for our favorite super healthy recipes.


Hasselback Spicy Sweet Potatoes

sweet potato top.JPG

Besides their interesting looks, there are two other reasons that I love these potatoes. 

1.  I love, love, love sweet & spicy food.  

2.  I love a side dish that gets into the oven early and takes care of itself until your ready to eat.

We recently had a little dinner party that looked a lot like early Thanksgiving with a big, golden bird in the oven and delicious, fall inspired side dishes.  These potatoes were a hit with an unexpected spicy bite!   

Here's what you'll need:

  • 4 sweet potatoes, similar in size and scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. chopped pecans
  • 1-3 shakes of hot sauce (we love Outer Limits Jalepeno Lime)
  • butter, about 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the potatoes:

1. Scrub well. 

2.  Create a "foot" on your potato for better control while cutting.

3.  Slice using pencils as a base on each side to prevent cutting completely through.

sweet potato cutting with pencil.JPG

4.  Make slices. Do your best with keeping each slice the same width, but don't make yourself crazy. Perfection is overrated.

5.  Place the potatoes in a medium roasting pan.

To make the topping:

sweet potato sauce ingredients.JPG

6. Combine honey, Dijon, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper flakes, rosemary, chopped pecans and hot sauce in a medium bowl.

7.  Spoon over the potatoes, pushing some of the sauce into the slices.

8. Add 2 pinches of butter to each potato.

9.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for one hour at 350 degrees.  Then, remove foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.

When to potatoes are tender, they are done.  Top with pomegranate seeds.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy with your favorite sweet & spicy friends!

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 



Sausage & Cannellini Stuffed Eggplant

During these gorgeous golden days of early fall, we are still enjoying summer's harvest and eating outside.  Every last minute cherished before it becomes completely Siberian and we are under blankets, eating carbs. 

This weekend I noticed that our basil is still full of green leaves and eggplants at the market are gorgeous and abundant through October.   I love stuffing eggplant this way. I've featured it here before with tomatoes, basil & cheese.  I love eating a half an eggplant as my dinner... and then the other half for lunch the next day.   

Here's what you'll need for two halves:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper or 3-4 baby peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • olive oil, 3-5 tbsp
  • 3 links of Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 16 oz can of cannellini beans
  • red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp
  • salt & pepper
  • mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup, shredded
  • parmesan, 1/4 cup, grated
  • basil, a bunch chopped or torn (some for cooking, some for garnish)

Here's what you'll do:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

2.  Prepare the eggplant:  Cut the eggplant in half.  Scoop the meat from the halves and chop.  Coat the eggplant shells with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Place on a baking sheet, cut-side up and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes; until the eggplant shells are tender.  Remove from the oven and reserve.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the sausage, crumbling the meat at it cooks.  Once completely browned, remove the sausage from the pan and reserve.

4.  In the same skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tbsp. oil, garlic, cubed eggplant, chopped peppers, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.   

5.  Cook on the stovetop until the vegetables become tender.  Add the tomatoes and beans.  Return sausage to pan.  Stir in most of your chopped basil, combine and simmer about 15 minutes.  Taste to adjust seasoning. Add salt & pepper if needed.

6.  Scoop the eggplant/sausage mixture into the eggplant halves.

7.  Top each half with mozzarella and parmesan.  Return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted.

8.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with torn basil leaves and more grated parmesan.

Mangia!

xo & a pinch

Kelly

Greek Chopped Salad

Right now tomatoes are my middle name; beefsteak, plum, cherry, you name it in Jersey we're eating it! 

This salad is one of many I'm eating on on the weekends! It's super easy and it requires no lettuce. Is it still a salad without leafy greens?  We say YES and this salad is a must-have! The fresh, crisp cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and the salty, creamy feta! YES. Who else is in? 

  • 10-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cucumbers, sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • Dill, 1 small bunch, chopped
  • Feta cheese, 4 oz crumbled

We dress this salad simply with the juice of a lemon, swirl of olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss and share with your friends! 

And, since I'm all about the salads lately, take this one if you love it only leave out the dill and add these next four ingredients instead. You'll still have an amazing salad just a different version! 

  • I can of chick peas, strained and rinsed
  • Mint, 1 small bunch chopped
  • Kalamata olives, about a cup and go for the ones w/out the pits! 
  • And, yup, one head of romaine lettuce, chopped! 

Two salads for the price of one entry! :) 

Enjoy, xo Measure! 

 

 

Chilled Corn & Basil Summer Soup

I never believe it when people say "I'm too hot to eat!"  How could that be true?  Ok, maybe some days are too hot for meatballs and Chianti but... well, is that even true?   

Now, "I'm too hot to cook"  I get.  Hanging over the grill or the stovetop is not ideal during a heat wave.  This little chiller resolves that issue.  It also answers the old summer time question of "what do I do with all of this corn and basil?"  Its delicious and satisfying too.

Heres what you'll need for 4 small bowls:

  • 4 ears of corn, cooked (we roasted ours, but boiled is just fine)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk (fat content, your choice... we use whole organic milk)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil, for garnish

Equipment:  Standard Blender or Immersion Blender

Here's what you'll do:

1.   In a large bowl, combine the kernels from THREE ears of corn, (reserve the kernels from one ear for later), lime juice, minced garlic, milk, chopped basil, salt & pepper (about 1/4 tsp each).

2.  Blend everything together until you achieve your desired consistency.   Add more milk if you wish.   Taste for proper seasoning.

3.  Once youre finished blending, stir in the kernels from the last ear of corn.   Chill for at least an hour before serving.   Ladle into bowls and garnish with basil and olive oil.

Stay cool.

xo & a pinch,

Kelly

 


Green Goodness

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If you've read a word of this blog, you know that we think that adding cilantro and lime to anything makes it delicious.  Chicken, potatoes, shrimp, pork,  any taco, vegetable or fruit-  add a sprinkle and spritz of my green friends and you've got a party. 

This is a staple salad at the Measure & Pinch kitchens.  Its chopped green apples, cucumbers, avocado, salt & pepper, and of course toss with a sprinkle of cilantro and a spritz of a lime. 

Try it.  They don't disappoint.  We promise.

xo & a spritz of lime,

Pam & Kelly

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Cauliflower Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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Spring is being really shy this year, but I'm still having a spring fling.  Its still dreary, drizzly and chilly here, but I need few excuses to eat cauliflower soup.  As weird as it sounds, I can not resist a cauliflower soup.   I'm hooked and not at all shy about it.    

This soup is practically "free" if your tracking on weight watchers, but if you're looking for something warm, satisfying, good for you and crush-worthy.  Here you go:

  • I onion, chopped 
  • garlic, 2-3 cloves, chopped
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • vegetable broth, 32 oz.
  • broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (frozen works too)
  • salt & pepper
  • cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded plus more for topping  (we used white cheddar)
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1.    Over medium high heat, add olive oil to a Dutch oven or large soup pot.  Add garlic and onion.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until onions are softened.

2.  Add cauliflower, vegetable stock to pot. Season with salt & pepper.  Let pot come to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, when all vegetables are softened.    Taste to adjust salt & pepper.

3.  If you are using a blender, let the soup cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth with some small chunks (if desired).  

4.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency. 

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5.  Heat soup to a simmer over medium heat (if you let cool before blending).  Now,  add broccoli (frozen or fresh) to the creamed soup and let cook 5-8 minutes.  Lastly, stir in shredded cheddar.  When its melted through, its ready to eat.

So, about this weather...

xo & a pinch,
Kelly

 

 

WW Rainbow Slaw

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Rainbow Slaw-  2 PP per 1 cup serving.

I am not always on a diet, but when I am, I'm on Weight Watchers.

After having my kids, I needed to do something to get myself back in shape.  Being eternally gluttonous, but also pretty active, I'd never really been on a diet -diet.  In the past, I'd skip the third slice of pizza or put in some extra time at the gym if I felt squeezed in my jeans.   Now, being 40+, having two kids and a very full-time, sedentary job, my old plans were.. in a word, hilarious.

So, I went hard-core... well, not exactly.  I joined Weight Watchers on-line and (cue the angel music... aaaaaahhh)  my world changed.   I lost 30 lbs in about 4 months.  I was back into my pre-baby jeans and feeling great.   I've kept it off with a few slips here and there (wine weight).  The wonderful lesson from WW is that you know what you need to do to get back on "track" (see what I did there?)

My husband and I are taking a long-awaited, very necessary, island vacation this spring.  We planned it months in advance so that we can have time to dream about it (and get beach-ready).  Of course, I'm relying on my old friend, Weight Watchers  to get me there and I'm tracking my points as we speak.   

Today I'm sharing a great recipe from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.  Its a slaw with lots of color and extra flavors.  I love to make a big batch and munch on it all week.  It goes with almost everything.  I love the WW cookbook for its ideas, options and points value per serving, but I tweek everything like crazy.   I'm a tweeker, what can I say?  

Heres what you'll need:

  • 3 tbsp. reduced fat mayonnaise (I like Hellmann's Low Fat)
  • 3 tbsp. light sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups sliced red cabbage
  • 3 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 3 large carrots, spiralized (or grated)
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped into sticks
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, juice and finely grated rind

For the dressing:

1. In a large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lemon rind and juice, salt and pepper until combined.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss until evenly coated.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.   You can also make this a day ahead and keep overnight.  Let stand for 20-30 minutes and toss again before serving.   Add additional dill sprigs to garnish, if you wish.

How do you get yourself "beach ready?"

xo & a pinch

Kelly