garlic

Chickpea Bolognese

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Ok, so this may not be a typical meal that you would create on a weeknight...

BUT IT SHOULD BE!!!

It is quick, filling, tasty, high fiber, rich in vegetables, EASY, and affordable!

This is a fun twist on an Italian classic that is normally high in cholesterol and saturated fat!!! This will have your entire family reconsidering a MEATLESS MONDAY!!!!

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food processor
ChickpeaBol
ChickpeaBol

Savory Balsamic Fig & Heirloom Tomato Tart with Prosciutto

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Having company over and need a crowd pleasing recipe?

Want a creative recipe that showcases the beautiful heirloom tomatoes you found at the farmer's market?

Looking for a quick weeknight dinner option that provides flavor and nutrition for your family?

This recipe will be your new best friend!! This recipe is full of flavor, loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, and is ready with minimal effort in the kitchen!!!

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tart 3

Savory Balsamic Fig & Heirloom Tomato Tart with Prosciutto

Ingredients

  • Prepared Puff Pastry Sheet, thawed (I recommend Dufour’s Puff Pastry)
  • 1/3 cup Fig Preserves
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Salt + Pepper
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
  • 4 ounces Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese or Burrata Cheese
  • 8 slices Thinly Sliced Prosciutto
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stack two pieces of puff pastry one on top of the other and press gently to adhere. Repeat with the other two sheets. Cut each pastry into a large circle or leave as a square. You may also make mini tarts by cutting the pastry into smaller circles or squares. Whatever shape you prefer works fine.

Place the puffed pastry sheet on the prepared baking sheet and spread about 1/3 cup of fig preserves over the puff pastry.

In a bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and oregano. Add the cherry tomatoes to the balsamic mix and toss well. Arrange the sliced heirloom tomatoes over the puff pastry sheet evenly. Add the cherry tomatoes along with any remaining balsamic mixture left in the bowl. Sprinkle the tart with crumbled blue cheese.

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tart 1

Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes or until the crust if puffed and golden and the cherry tomatoes lightly burst. Remove from oven and top with torn mozzarella or burrata cheese and prosciutto. Let tart stand for 5-6 minutes to set. Garnish with basil. This tart makes 6 servings.

This tart is great to serve alongside a simple arugula salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette for lunch and/or dinner. This tart reheats very well! If you have leftovers, consider topping with a fried egg and serving for breakfast!

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tart 2

Recipe Inspired by Half Baked Harvest

Spice of Life - Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices

Spices have health benefits!! Spices and herbs have one of the highest antioxidant and polyphenol (a plant compound) level in food particles!! Both polyphenols & antioxidants help fight chronic health problems such as heart disease.

Not only do spices and herbs make our food taste great, but they serve as a substitute for ingredients that do not add value to our health such as salt, saturated fat, and sugar!

My hope is that you enjoy this easy, weeknight chili recipe that Im sharing in this post!! The recipe includes several spices that will benefit your body and satisfy your taste buds!!

Chili Powder - Helps rev metabolism and eases indigestion!

Paprika - potent vitamin A source which promotes immune function, good eyesight, healthy skin, and wound healing

Cumin - aides digestion, relieves constipation, helps with insomnia, and promotes healthy skin

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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

INGREDIENTS: 2 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 2 Medium Sweet Potato, Peeled & Diced 1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced 2 Tbsp Pickled Jalapeño, Diced 3 Tbsp Chili Powder 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika 1 teaspoon Sea Salt 3 cups Water 2 15-ounce cans Black Beans, Drained & Rinsed 2 14-ounce cans Diced Tomatoes 3 teaspoons Lime Juice

DIRECTIONS: Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion to the Dutch oven and cook until onion softens.

Add minced garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and sea salt to onion mixture. Stir constantly for 30-seconds.

Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender.

Add black beans, diced tomatoes, diced jalapeños, and lime juice and return soup to a simmer for another 5-6 minutes.

Serve warm and garnish with diced avocado, sour cream or French fried onions. Serve alongside cornbread or cold guacamole salad!!!

RECIPE INSPIRED BY EATING WELL

Gambling on Meat? Grass-Fed or Grain-Fed?

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Confused by the hype of grass-fed versus grain-fed beef? Is grass-fed beef really worth the extra expense?

Today NutriFocus highlights 4 good reasons to consider choosing grass-fed beef....

  1. Grass-fed beef is much higher in nutrient levels. Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner, and have higher levels of vitamins, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beta carotene.  Grass-fed beef has shown to have 4x the levels of vitamin E and 6x the levels of Omega-3 (compared to grain fed beef) which helps reduce the risk of arthritis, obesity, insulin resistance, allergies and autoimmune diseases.  It is also a good source of CLA which is a healthy fat that protects against cancer.
  2. Grass-fed beef is better for the animals. Supports a natural and humane approach to sustainable farming BC the animals are allowed to roam free on the land.
  3. Supports local farming science. Raising livestock on pasture requires knowledge and skill -- it is a true science!!
  4. Grass-fed animals are healthy and drug-free. Cows fed grain can suffer digestive problems because grain is not their natural diet and is not digested properly. This can lead to the use of  antibiotics and other medications which ultimately pollutes our food supply and environment.

This NutriFocusRD original recipe won me major points with my husband so I could not resist sharing this easy, slow-cooker meal with my NutriFocus Family!!!  This chili is super easy, full of fiber, powered with protein, and packed full with vegetables!  It is perfect for a weeknight dinner or to serve at your next tailgating party!! Best news is... it is even better the next day!!!  Hope you guys enjoy!!

Organic Beef and 3-Bean Chili:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
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  • 1 Red Onion, Diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Seeded and Diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 (29oz) can Tomato Puree
  • 1 (15oz) can Red Kidney Beans, Drained
  • 1 (15oz) can Cannellini Beans, with Liquid
  • 1 (15oz) can Chickpeas, Drained
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin (optional)
  • ½ Tbsp Smoked Paprika (optional)
  • 2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce

Directions:

Place ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Season with 1 Tbsp Chili Powder, 1 Tbsp Cumin, ½ Tbsp Smoked Paprika, 1 tsp Garlic Salt, and Ground Black Pepper. Cook until evenly brown. Drain remaining liquid.

Place the beef in your slow-cooker. Add in onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic, tomato puree, drained kidney beans, drained chickpeas, and cannellini beans with liquid. Season mixture with 1 Tbsp chili powder, dried parsley, garlic salt, dried basil, oregano, black pepper and sriracha sauce. Stir mixture well. Cover and cook on low for 8-hours!

Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and low-fat sour cream and serve alongside sweet cornbread muffins!

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To Locate Local Grass-Fed Farms, Check Out the Eat Wild Website for Farms Across the Southeast!

3 Reasons to Start Eating Chickpeas!

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I love foods that are versatile!!!  This is probably the main reason I love chickpeas!! Chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, curries, chilis or stews.  I highly recommend that you consider roasting chickpeas as a tasty and inexpensive protein source!

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 In addition to their versatility, chickpeas also offer 3 health benefits you do not want to miss.

  1. Reduce Cholesterol Levels: Research has shown that including 3/4 cup of chickpeas in your diet can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) which in turn, lowers your risk of heart disease!  Research has also shown that individuals that consume chickpeas on a regular basis have better body fat regulation, lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower total cholesterol levels, and lower triglyceride levels.
  2. Control Hunger Cues: Due to their high fiber and high protein content, this powerful combination will stabilize your hunger cues.  My consuming 1/2 cup chickpeas in your daily intake you are more likely to eat an appropriate amount of calories for your body due to more accurate hunger/fullness cues.  The long-term benefit means your body will rest at a healthy body weight.
  3. Improved Digestive Support: Did you know that 2 cups of chickpeas will give you approximately 28 grams of fiber? That is 100% of the recommended daily value!  Consider chickpeas a staple on your grocery list if you want good colon health. 65-70% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber.  This means the fiber is not digested until it reaches the very end of your colon which promotes healthy bacteria growth and reduces your risk of colon cancer!

Today, I'm sharing the easy concept of roasting chickpeas so you can always have a tasty, nutrient dense, meatless protein option available for your main entrée or for a snack!

Roasted Chickpeas:

Ingredients:

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  • 2 - 15oz Cans of Low Sodium Chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Assorted Herbs and Spices of Your Choice (I like to use Dried Thyme, Oregano, Ground Cayenne Pepper, and Crushed Rosemary)
  • Garlic Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Pat dry.  Once dry, toss chickpeas with EVOO, assorted spices and herbs of your choosing, garlic salt, and ground black pepper.  Toss chickpeas to make sure they are evenly coated with EVOO and herbs/spices.  Pour chickpeas onto baking sheet and spread out so that all chickpeas are in a single layer.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  Stir chickpeas halfway through cooking process to cook evenly on all sides. Serve hot or cold.  This recipes makes 4-5 servings.

I like to serve roasted chickpeas on salads or over rice as a curry!  Roasted chickpeas are great to make hummus and delicious as a portable snack!!!  Be creative and enjoy this nutrient dense food!!!

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Greek-Style Green Beans

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Need a quick and simple side dish, but do not want to compromise your nutrient intake? 

Looking for a side dish that provides a nutrient-dense punch with delicious flavor?

Do you have 5-minutes?

If you answered yes, then Greek-Style Green Beans are the perfect side dish for you!!!

Greek-Style Green Beans are extremely versatile. They pair nicely with sandwiches, grilled wraps, or alongside chicken, tuna, or salmon salad. (Pictured below is Greek-Style Green Beans Mediterranean Chicken Salad from Whole Foods on a Bed of Greek-Style Green Beans -- Flavorful Lunch Idea That is Quick on Time and High in Nutrients!!)

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These flavorful beans also provide the crunch that most individuals enjoy about potato chips.

Consider this dish for your next tailgating party. It can be served hot or cold and compliments all grilled meats, burgers, and sliders!

Greek-Style Green Beans:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package Green Beans in a Steamable Bag
  • 2-3 Handfuls Organic Baby Spinach Leaves
  • ½ Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or Coconut Oil
  • ½ Red Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • ½ cup Kalamata Olives (pitted)
  • Garlic Salt to Taste
  • Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Directions:

Microwave green beans according to package directions. Meanwhile, sauté baby spinach and diced red onion in a skillet over medium heat. Once green beans are cooked, add the beans to the spinach and onion mixture. Gentle toss in crumbled feta, garlic salt, pepper and olives. Serve hot or cold.

Roasted Okra .... Your New Favorite Food

Wash & Pat Dry Okra. Toss with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

Place on a Baking Sheet in a Single Layer

Roast for 15 minutes!

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ENJOY AS AN APPETIZER, SIDE DISH OR A NUTRIENT DENSE SUPERFOOD SUMMER SNACK!

Okra is high in antioxidants such as xanthin and lutein, Vit A & C & B, Calcium, Iron, and Fiber!

And the seeds are high in PROTEIN!