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My daughter is attending pre-K three times a week this year and while I know that I have barely grazed the full-time school routine, our household has become a little chaotic as we adjust. This is only our second week in so I am hopeful that we will soon get into a rhythm. I’m fortunate to have some help with my little guy while I feel like a constant shuttle dropping and picking up my daughter after only three hours. I admire those that do it every day but also feel for you! I wake up every school morning groaning almost as much as my daughter, but getting it over with before she sees or hears me. I’ve also come to love the idea of the bus. It wasn’t too long ago that I swore my child would never ride the bus. Helicopter parent right here. Now, I wish for the bus. Please, come pick up my child so I can hang out in my pajamas for a little while longer!

So, while we try to get back into the grind of schedules and enjoy the fall season filled with fairs, apple picking, and putting away all of the fun summer toys in the yard, I need quick and healthy meals to put on my table. This recipe appealed to me because it used up a bunch of fresh herbs I have in my garden. I don’t have that many windows with great sun so I can’t keep tons of herbs growing in the winter. This also used tortellini which is one of my daughter’s favorite things to eat. It’s a great way to introduce some new flavors while keeping it safe in her eyes. Throw in some peas from the garden right into the mix and then everyone is forced to eat it!

This was really a delightful surprise. We all knew we would like it, but we didn’t expect to love it. My mother was over for dinner and even she really enjoyed it. It was light and refreshing and so easy to make!

Tortellini with Snap Peas and Pesto

Ingredients

  • 9 oz three-cheese tortellini
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved diagonally (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cook tortellini according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add snap peas to pot during the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain.

Place mint and next 7 ingredients, through garlic, in a mini food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides once. Combine oiil and juice in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. With processor on, slowly pour oil mixture and process until well blended. Combine tortellini mixture and mint mixture; toss gently to coat.

Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Per serving: 351 Calories, 17.4g Fat, 13g Protein, 37g Carbohydrate, 5g Fiber, 26mg Cholesterol, 3mg Iron, 392 mg Sodium, 191mg Calcium.

Source: Cooking Light May 2014

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Last week we had very warm weather, which then turned very cold but I’m trying to still think *warm* thoughts, and I was kept busy trying to make the most of my garden harvest. We are inundated right now with tomatoes and cucumbers and lots of herbs. I don’t want any to go to waste and summers are so short here in Maine. I really would consider a green house, but I don’t think my husband would go for that.

What I love about this panzanella is that it has those sweet late summer tastes from the peach and tomatoes, but the crunch and warmth from the bread brings a feeling of fall. It’s just perfect for this time of year.We enjoyed it as a light lunch, but it can be served as a delicious appetizer or side dish as well.

Peach & Tomato Panzanella

Ingredients

  • 1/3 loaf of crusty whole grain bread (about 8 slices)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 ripe yellow peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Tear bread into 1 1/2 – 2-inch pieces and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Place baking sheet in oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

While the croutons are baking, combine the tomatoes, peaches, red onion, and thyme in a large bowl. Stir in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Remove the croutons from the oven and allot to cool for 5 minutes.

Gently fold croutons into salad and divide among serving dishes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: 293 Calories, 15g Fat, 7g Protein, 38g Carbohydrates, 5g Fiber, 13g Sugar

Source: Kiwi Magazine August/September 2014

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We make pizza in my house about once a week, often playing around with different toppings and sauces. Pizza is a great way for everyone to get something that they like. For my non-sauce loving daughter, it’s simply dough and cheese. Occasionally, she’ll throw some peas or carrots on there as a joke. My husband loves the meatier pizzas and I love mushroom or spinach. When it was time to create my last recipe for Smart Balance as part of the Battle of the Blogger’s contest I won a year ago, I decided on pizza. It’s something we love and most everyone does as well and it’s quick and easy as everyone gets back into the Fall grind. I’ve made this combination before, usually opting for a thicker sauce that also yields a lot more calories and fat, so I lightened it up and we were really happy with the end result, so much that we haven’t gone back to the heavier version since!

This is an easy recipe to whip up if you have your kitchen stocked with lots of frozen shredded chicken and pizza dough just ready to go. No need for take-out or processed frozen pizzas. Make a gourmet pizza in your house any night of the week in less than half an hour!

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Chicken & Garlic White Pizza

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Smart Balance Original Spread
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • Pizza dough (store bought or can use my recipe http://www.thewaytohisheartblog.com/pizza-dough/)
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 5 oz fresh part-skim mozzarella, sliced
  • 2 or 3 basil leaves
  • corn meal for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 450F. Place pizza stone in oven to heat.

In a small saucepan, simmer butter and garlic until melted and aromatic. Stir in milk to combine. Turn heat to medium, bring just to a boil and whisk in flour until combined. Remove from heat and allow to thicken.

Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. Sprinkle corn meal on pizza peel. Carefully, transfer dough onto pizza peel. Spread garlic butter sauce onto dough. Top with chicken and cheese. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Tear basil leaves and place on top of pizza.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 238 Calories, 9g Fat, 27mg Cholesterol, 353mg Sodium, 27g Carbohydrates, 1g Fiber, 14g Protein

The Way to His Heart

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I think this summer I’m officially a fresh, made from scratch pickle convert. While I will never let a pickle be lonely on a plate and will do my best to eat all of the pickles, at home I’ll be making my own from here on out. A couple of weeks ago I posted these easy Bread and Butter Pickles and today I’ve got an even easier recipe for Dill Pickles. While I’ll be on the hunt for a great dill pickle recipe that I will be able to can to have on hand in the winter months, these refrigerator pickles hit the spot and just seem that much fresher. They have a wonderful crisp bite and there is something to be said about opening a jar and looking into the clear liquid and seeing the still beautiful dill. I like pretty food and had never thought of pickles that way before. Even before you take a bite you know that they will be refreshing! I hadn’t heard of refrigerator pickles until some of you asked for a good recipe on Facebook and I am so thankful to those that did. I had a lot of fun sampling out a few recipes and this one was the winner!

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Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/5 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3/4 tsp dill seeds
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 lbs cucumbers, sliced or cut into spears
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

In a large, heat proof measuring cup combine the first seven ingredients, up to the hot water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow brine to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, mix cucumbers, fresh dill, and garlic. Add cooled brine and toss cucumbers. Place a small plate over cucumbers to keep submerged and then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate over night or until cooled, stirring once or twice. Since I like my cucumbers in jars I placed cucumbers, dill etc. into jars and then poured the brine directly into the jars, making sure a fair amount of all ingredients went into each jar.

Pickles will remain fresh for up to one week in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container.

Yields 2 pints

Source: Food & Wine ~ Bobby Flay