Today, I’ve got a Ranch Spaghetti & Meatballs Frittata to share – you heard me right! Simple, speedy and able to cure dinner distress in about 30 minutes. It gives leftover plain pasta new life! Now, don’t make the mistake of calling this egg recipe a “quiche” and scare your hungry men off – it doesn’t have a crust.
Who needs a crust anyway, it’s just a bunch of fattening pie dough! Instead pasta (and please feel free to use gluten-free) holds this skillet of goodness together well enough that it’s easily sliced into wedges that keep their shape.
Today, I am bringing you tidings of comfort (food) and joy in honor of National Comfort Food Day (December 5th). I believe it’s no coincidence that this feel-good food holiday is falling on a Monday. And, not just any Monday, but the day after I struggled through a cold, windy and rainy marathon.
Honestly, I’m still feeling a little chilled to the bone, depleted, and licking battle wounds, and embracing the opportunity to take a MAJOR rest day, hang out in my PJs and fuzzy slippers, and make comfort food my new best friend.
Y’all know I typically eat reasonably, mostly clean . . . but I’m never going to deny myself food I’m craving for comfort every now and then. Sometimes your body is telling you to eat these things for a reason, other times it’s strictly soul satisfying. Regardless, when you let go of the guilt and give your food worries a rest day, it tastes even better!
Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac – Ahh, most any pasta dish is comforting, but mac and cheese is a like coming home after being away from loved ones for too long. The addition of blue cheese and bacon makes the reunion even better!
Comforting Chicken & Rice Soup – When it’s drafty and cold, and your feeling run down and even under-the-weather, this easy chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue in a snap. And, while slurping up a big bowl is comforting to the core, it’s also a healthy choice!
Root Beer Float Fudge – Imagine if you could have the yummy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream in fudge format? Well, you can thanks to this recipe I develop a few years back for the magazine Simple & Delicious. While, I wouldn’t eat the whole pan at once, I certainly say CHEERS to a piece for a sweet treat.
Pre-make chimichurri by adding all ingredients to small blender or food processor. Pulse on and off in 10 second increments to break up ingredients into coarse sauce. Set aside.
Heat large skilled to medium-high. Add sliced sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Beef will be ready to remove from pan once lightly browned on edges and pink has been just taken off center. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
n same skillet (reserved with a tiny bit of beef fat and bits) add onion slices and cook over medium high, stirring as need, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add beef back into skillet with onions along with tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.
Meanwhile, heat Panini press or clean skillet to medium-high heat.
Butter outer sides of two slices of bread and layer each side with mozzarella. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on pan and top with ¼ of beef mixture. Add top piece of cheese and bread.
Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until bread turning golden brown and cheese melting. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
To serve, lift up tops of sandwiches and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve hot.
Make dinner “Pretty in Pink” with this lovely and light recipe for Dragon Fruit Coulis Atlantic Cod with Pink Rice Vermicelli. Dragon Fruit is just so fabulous and exotic, I get woozy with excitement when I find some beautiful ones at the market just waiting for loving attention. This easy-to-make fish dinner is as delicious and nutritious as it is lovely to look at — how fun would it be for a spa party, girl’s night in, special celebration or even just an impressive (and simple) weeknight dinner. I don’t like my food to look or taste boring, do you?!
I get my Atlantic Cod and other fish and seafood from SizzleFish.com. Their flaky, white cod is caught on Georges Bank off New England and Nova Scotia – they chose only premium fish for customers and they never try to pass of Pacific Cod (a completely different, cheaper variety of fish) as some other vendors do. I love this company that makes it quick and easy to make a healthy meal with their flash-frozen seafood collections. These assortments of high-quality fish, shrimp and other seafood are mindfully sourced from the best the world has to offer and shipped straight to my front door in perfectly –portioned, individually vacuum-sealed pouches. SizzleFish.com is the perfect way to make sure there is always quality protein around for muscle-making.
****Note: While I used Cod, you can use any type of firm, white-fleshed fish for this recipe. Also, mung cellophane noodles can be swapped for the rice vermicelli
Do you know much about the Dragon Fruit? It’s also referred to as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower and is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it! There are different types of Drago Fruit – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi –the purple-pink fleshed ones will actually stain your hands — and I took advantage of that dye-like property for the creation of my Pink Dragon Fruit Rice Noodles.
Football parties, tailgating and fall season gathers require dip to draw people together. Just think of all the great gossip, high-fiving and friendly smack talk that has gone down in, what I like to call, the “Chip and Dip Zone.”
But, maybe you hesitate to enter the ZONE for fear of the cheesy dip – is it made of mystery processed “cheese,” loaded with fat upon fat, or just boringly bland? I’ll admit, these thoughts cross my mind, especially flashbacks of tepid fake orange stadium cheese on stale round tortilla chips. That’s why I came up with my Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso – it’s bold and it’s better for you made with REAL ingredients.
I think you’ll definitely widen your mind (and mouth) in appreciation for my Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso. This unique cheese dip marrieds the audacious attitude blue-cheese with the smoky laid-back goodness of tomatoes roasted over flames. I’ve used my fav brand of blue cheese (Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles) and canned fire-roasted tomatoes which. Of course, canned tomatoes are convenient and taste great in recipes, but did you know that they contain more lycopene (a free-radical destroying antioxidant) than those fresh off the vine? It’s true!
While this cheese dip recipe requires a whisk, it’s quite easy prepare, coming together in just 15 minutes or less– and you can keep it warmed for a party but pouring into a small slow cooker. It was first whipped up to celebrated International Beer Day with Litehouse Foods. Using low-fat dairy products help keep this snack sensible in moderation and, if you are on a gluten-free diet, it is easy to swap out flour used in the roux with a gluten-free flour blend (I use Living Now Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, it’s inexpensive and provides the right texture for my recipe)
Serve Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso with veggie sticks, artisan chips, or chunks of crusty bread. I’ve even reheated the leftovers and poured over cooked zoodles and topped with shrimp for an impromptu “pasta” dinner.
If you are hosting a huge football party, you might want to consider adding my Healthy Snack Stadium to your spread of snacks, appetizers and game-day grub.
[Tweet Not yer stadium cheese dip! Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso #fitfluential #livinglitehouse”]
What football team(s) are you rooting for this season? Are you typically an at-home or stadium spectator? Please share in comments, xoxo Jennifer
Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso
Up your game day grub with this lightened up queso featuring the bold flavors of blue cheese and flame-kissed tomatoes. It's even a winner at dinner served over zoodles or pasta!
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, warm milk (without boiling), stirring occasionally.
At the same time, heat butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add flour to melted butter and whisk continuously, cooking until it is bubbling and has turned lightly golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stream in heated milk, whisking continuously, and continue to cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens slightly. Add cheeses and whisk well until melted smooth and incorporated. Add Italian Herb Blend, dried red pepper flakes, green onions and drained tomatoes, stirring until combined.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into serving bowl and garnish as desired.
Life is an adventure and many days, I’m so worn out from my adventuring that I just don’t want to make a meal – especially, if my husband and boys are gone doing their own thing, and it’s just me! But, a nourishing meal is a must to keep me fueled up for the next epic event – be that training for an obstacle race, stand up paddle boarding all day, or hurdling over parking lot puddles on my way into the store!
Today, I’m sharing a single-serve lunch or dinner solution that is, I must say, quite genius! It’s a “Just Add Hot Water” Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup that is perfect for an almost instant fix when you’ve got the hangries. The idea is to fill up a glass jar about halfway with fresh ingredients (like marinara, veggies, brown rice and cooked shrimp), stick in the fridge until ready to eat, and then add boiling hot water and shake, shake, shake before slurping up! When you have to work at your desk through lunch, this almost instant soup recipe is 100x better than peanut butter crackers out of the vending machine and can be made just as fast by nabbing hot water from the break room.
Just pour in 1 1/2 cups of water heated in microwave, coffee pot or hot water spigot!
But, it’s not only for eating outside the home. If you fancy yourself a meal prepper, multiply this single-serve soup recipe and feed the family all week! Keep loaded in the fridge and your kids can make their own on those busy nights when no one is (unfortunately) sitting down for dinner at the same time.
I can always count on Mezzetta® Marinara to help me whip up a quick and easy meal, whether it simple zoodles with sauce or an egg poached in marinara (yum)! I’m all about the #MarinaraSauce . . . every jar of Mezzetta® Marinara is packed with the world’s best tomatoes hailing from the rich soils of Italy’s San Marzano region. Mezzetta® believes in using the fewest, freshest and finest ingredients in their marina sauces (which also contain no added sugar, unlike many other brands).There are six delicious flavors of Mezzetta® Marinara including the Calabrian Chili & Garlic (used in my recipe), Italian Plum Tomato, Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil, Caramelized Onion & Butter, Truffle, Porcini & Cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano
Mezzetta® also makes a pizza sauce that is out of this world!
Use it on pizza or spread it on a panni!
You know what would be a great break from all this business of life? A fabulous Italian adventure!!! I have always dreamed of this trip, it is on my bucket list! Mezzetta® is giving away an 11-Day Italian Vacation to Italy, you need to ENTER NOW! One winner (and one guest) will attend culinary experiences (including cooking class and farm tour) in the San Marzano region of Italy and explore other cities of Italy. The Grand Prize trip consists of the round trip coach air transportation between the major commercial airport nearest winner’s residence and Rome, Italy, the culinary experience and tour of Italy. CLICK HERE TO ENTER
Layer all ingredients in quart-sized jar with sealing lid. Keep chilled for up to four days until ready to eat. When ready to serve, add 1 ½ cups boiling water (from microwave, tea kettle or coffee pot) and pour into jar. Add lid and shake well to combine, open and enjoy! Serves !
‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!
Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!
Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.
I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!
So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!
I try to eat green and eat clean, but sometimes I need to give it a rest! And, now I have the science to prove that it’s okay to indulge in my Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac recipe every once in a while. A recent study says that our willpower is like a muscle, after use it becomes fatigued and is no longer able to perform at peak levels. After a lot of use, your needs to take a break, just like you need to recover after a hard run or workout! The scientists studying decision making called it “self-regulation failure,” and people in the food and fitness world call it a “cheat day” when these decisions come to food – I don’t like those terms and am rebranding the idea a Willpower Rest Day!
This pot of cheesy goodness is about to be poured onto noodles.
I first developed this rich and creamy recipe for macaroni and cheese for Litehouse Foods using blue cheese crumbles from their Simply Artisan Reserve line of cheese. It’s become famous with friends, family and readers of the Living Litehouse Blog. And, also beloved by the thousands of people who have sampled it at Fresh Summit in Atlanta and recently the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. I’m not trying to brag (oh, who am I kidding?!), but I’m heard exclamations like, “OMG, this is the BEST macaroni and cheese I’ve EVER eaten.”
Smoky, salty bacon complement bold blue cheese – there is a lot of umami action going on with this fancy mac and cheese. However, the flavors aren’t so over the top that the kids will be freaked out. However, maybe you WANT to keep them out of it (more for you) so just double up on the blue cheese! Have I convinced you to give your willpower a rest day and make up a batch of this delicious baked macaroni and cheese recipe? This baked pasta recipe can even be made ahead and then popped into the oven an hour before serving.