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


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 Review: Lasagna Margherite

Eating Utensils
Eating Utensils

Need a hearty and warm meal on the table in less than 45 minutes? This recipe is perfect to meet your time deadline! Lasagna Margherite is a recipe I frequently turn to when I’m in the mood for comfort food, but not in the mood to cook!  This recipe is by “Cooking Light” and can be found at www.cookinglight.com.

Since this meal is meant to be a time saver, occasionally I’ll make a few adjustments to the recipe to save myself a trip to the store.  If I’m out of fresh basil, I typically replace the fresh basil with dried basil and I still get a fresh and flavorful outcome.  This recipe also calls for “no boil” lasagna noodles which I replace with regular whole wheat lasagna noodles.  For future reference, ALL lasagna noodles are “no boil” if cooked in a recipe such as this so do not spend the extra money or time on the packages marked “no boil”.

Blog Pictures 021
Blog Pictures 021

This recipe has the ability to allow your creative side to explore different flavor options!  Feel free to increase the nutrition value by adding spinach, fresh tomatoes, additional fresh herbs, or lean protein!  I served the lasagna with a side salad topped with fresh, shaved Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and onion strings!  This recipe is simply delicious with endless possibilities!

Lasagna Margherite
Lasagna Margherite

Lasagna Margherite Yield:  4 servings 1 (26-ounce) jar Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce Cooking spray 1 (15-ounce) Carton Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese 1/3 cup chopped Fresh Basil 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper 1/4 teaspoon Salt 6 no-boil Lasagna Noodles 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Pre-Shredded Fresh Parmesan Cheese 2 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil

Preheat oven to 450°.

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine ricotta, 1/3 cup basil, crushed red pepper, and salt. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with 1 cup ricotta mixture and 3/4 cup sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Cover and bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Uncover lasagna, and top with Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil. Bake lasagna an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.


April and Mikie with Lasagna
April and Mikie with Lasagna