Tomato Soup

im experimenting with vegetables.

and with varying the foods i give to my sassy toddler.

i came across this awesome website: yummytoddlerfood.com and thats where i got the inspiration for this recipe.


Ingredients:

2 TBSP butter

1/2 medium onion, thin sliced (recipe called for a whole) (i sliced with my mandolin)

1/2 tsp salt

2 cans diced tomatoes (i used one fire roasted and one regular) (original recipe calls for 5 cups diced fresh tomatoes)

3 cloves garlic

1 medium roasted sweet potato or 2 small

some fresh basil

  1. Melted the butter and let the onion, garlic and salt cook on medium for just a few minutes. 
  2.  Added in the tomatoes, covered let cook for 10-15 mins.
  3. Baked & roasted my sweet potato (i use the microwave and then my toaster oven) 
  4. Added the roasted sweet potato to a blender, with the tomato soup. Pureed til it was smooth. 
  5. Made a grilled cheese.
  6. Put it on a plate and ate it all up! 
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Zoodles w/ Chicken Parm

I’m really digging these zoodles.

Here we cooked chicken parm (using a Shake n Bake Parmesan Chicken box) and topped it with modified pasta sauce* and shredded parmesan cheese. [shortcuts are nice sometimes, especially when you are feeling lazy and don’t want to be on your feet in the kitchen all night]

I seasoned the zoodles with sea salt and a little garlic powder and then cooked them in a garlic butter sauce.

Plated them next to the chicken and spooned some pasta sauce on them. boom, dinner is served.

*modified pasta sauce = pasta sauce you can buy at the store +  a little extra seasoning cause it can still be a little bland.

Zoodles ! – Garlic  & Parmesan Cheese with Mushrooms 

“what the heck is a zoodles?” thats what i asked michelle when she told me she was making them for lunch the other day.

noodles made from zucchini! she sent me a pic of her lunch so i could see what they were; this new found way of eating pasta and vegetables- veggie pasta!


Idk if you can tell but they are there under the broccoli. And she has some protein off to the right on top of sautéed onions.

and then i started to see them in lots of places, zoodles I mean…

apparently they are really easy to make as long as you have a vegetable spiral slicer (other names include Vegettiti, spiralizer, spiralife, etc) i figured since im trying to eat healthy and whatnot i might as well pick one of these things up and see what they’re all about. i got mine from bed bath and beyond but i know there’s a multitude on amazon.

(researching these spiral cutter thingys found that you can cut lots of different vegetables with it and store them in the fridge. as long as they are the RAW veggies. – carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, jicama just to name a few…

apparently if you cook them and try to take them for the lunch the next day they’ll be a mushy mess. which isn’t what most people want to eat for lunch. haven’t done my own field testing to say for sure, but i don’t want to waste food trying either 🙂 )

they are also a way better option if you are going for a “pasta” dish as they contain wayyy fewer calories.

also a good way to make curly fries, your own ramen soup, maybe even a sweet potato mac n cheese. experiments for another day…

I gathered up my stuff and made Zoodles for dinner !

after you spiralize the zucchini they are really wet. i seasoned mine and let them sit for like 20 minutes and then i pat them dry. and they were still really wet so i like had to wring them out lol. 

I cooked the mushrooms first and then did the zoodles. 
I also did a baked sweet potato on the side. In case I didn’t like the zoodles lol.

But I must say it was a really tasty dish! D liked them too! I’m definitely gonna make them again! I think I might try pesto zoodles next..


Garlic & Parmesan Cheese Zoodles w/ Mushrooms

to make them you need:

zucchini ( i used 2 fairly large ones)

garlic cloves (i used 2 big ones)

parmesan cheese

butter

mushrooms

seasoning ( i used garlic powder and sea salt)

a spiral slicer

1.Cut the stem off the zucchini, and use your spiral slicer to cut them into noodles. Put them in a bowl.

2. Season the noodles, I used garlic powder and sea salt.

3. Let the noodles “marinate” in the seasoning. I let mine sit for 20 mins.

4. Get a pan and melt some butter ( i used I can’t believe its not butter light!). Let the garlic cook for a bit in it. ( I had my stove on a little higher than medium)

5. Cook the mushrooms in the butter. Remove and set aside.

6. Pat dry the zoodles. [Or in my case squeeze all the excess water off]

7. Cook them in the pan for at least 5 mins. Add the mushrooms. Let them cook together for like 2 minutes. Remove from the stove.

8. Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy !!


BAKED SWEET POTATO

(this is how i quickly make baked potatoes)

  1. Get a potato (sweet or regular) Poke it all over with a knife.
  2. Put it in the microwave. Depending on the size cook it for at least 3 mins on each side. I always touch the side that was face down and if it feels a little soft I know it is basically good.
  3. After cooking both sides, take it out and slice it in half, open the sides so it lays flat with the open sides up.
  4. Slice diagonals into each side, both ways. (It will look like you have cubes in the potato skins.
  5. D likes cinnamon so i sprinkle that over his. I like butter so I put it in the crevices, and sometimes I do parmesan cheese. – this time i just added the cheese after.
  6. Put it in the toaster oven on broil for a few mins.
  7. Take it out and enjoy !

Biscuit pizza

I am not a fan of cooking on Fridays, something about the weekend just screams relax and get out the kitchen (unless it involves baking yummies ! Lol). My mom has this thing where she does NOT cook on Fridays either, pretty sure I’ve come to adopt her philosophy.

Anyway this past Friday, I needed something to feed mini and myself. We ate all of my meal prepped food for the week and I didn’t feel like standing at the stove to make something. Soo I thought about what I had in my kitchen and what felt Friday appropriate. Pizza.

[But when isn’t pizza appropriate? I mean come on, bread and cheese alone: yummmmm. Throw in some saucy tomato goodness and voila! Amazingness that you can eat with your hands. I seriously think pizza should be in the major food groups but what do I know. ]

Anyways, I didn’t have a premade crust, and I didn’t feel like attempting to make my own dough (which I will do soon cause I can, with my mixer!) but I had biscuits! You know the kind that come in the tube that you pop out and separate and bake for like 10 mins? Yup those, I’m sure you have some in your fridge right now. They are a great quick side for dinner so I know when they’re on sale I grab a few.

Anyway I popped those out and put them on a baking sheet, and pressed them flat. I didn’t use a rolling pin or anything, just used my fingers and kept pressing til I had a flatter disk to work with.

Then I spread tomato sauce on my mini pizzas.

I only had cheddar cheese so I layed that heavily and realized that I had some spinach so I shredded that up and only covered two before my oven was ready.

We really weren’t in a mood for waiting any longer for dinner 🙂 two spinach and 3 cheese it would be.

I baked them for about 15 mins at 350 and dinner was ready.

After enjoying them, I think I maybe could have cooked them longer? The crust wasn’t as crusty but I’m not sure if that’s because I was using a biscuit and not pizza dough lol. Maybe I could have precooked them for a few mins before adding my pizza toppings? They were good but not perfect. They did make a good quick fun dinner though !

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Chana Masala & Garlic Roti

Years ago, my dad and I went to a family friend’s sister’s house.

They were a nice older Jamaican couple, and she cooked dinner for us. I don’t remember everything she made, (and haven’t seen her since) except for this red chick pea dish. Chick peas were relatively new to me, and I don’t know what she put in them but to this day I have always thought about that one time that I had the red chick pea dish.

On a few occasions I have researched red chick peas dishes, but I didn’t really find much.

A few days ago, I took chick peas out and they had been staring at me on the kitchen counter waiting to be used. But everyday I came home and i was so unmotivated to do anything spectacular with them, plus i had food from meal prepping anyway. So the chick peas sat, and they sat…

Until the red chickpea dish memory came into my mind again! I was determined to do something remotely close to what I had tasted and was persistent enough this time to not stop until i found a recipe or starting point.

I finally stumbled onto an indian dish called chana masala or chole masala or punjabi chole. (I don’t know why i didn’t search indian red chickpea dish before)

The recipes I found called for things I didn’t have in my kitchen, and I didn’t have time to go out and get them before dinner that night so I improvised and did my own version. Unfortunately I didn’t capture my journey except for one final plate picture, but I’ll tell you what I did:

CHANA MASALA

Chick peas

garlic cloves

onion

garlic salt

black pepper

Cumin

Tumeric

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

(Some recipes call for ginger, garam masala, coriander seeds, chili peppers, paprika, ..)

1. Minced garlic and onion. Let that simmer in a pan with olive oil.

2. Chopped up some tomatoes and threw that in as well.

3. Added garlic powder, onion powder, a little turmeric, cumin, black pepper, garlic salt.

4. Added in my chickpeas, a little water, and a small can of tomato sauce.

5.Simmered all of that, and covered it almost all the way for a while. Taste your sauce as you go, if it’s not amazing add in whatever else you think it needs. I clean my plate of chick peas and sauce altogether, and mini me helped!

GARLIC ROTI

(The perfect thing to sop up all that delicious sauce!)

1.5 cups flour (i like self rising flour for this but all purpose works too)

A little salt

Garlic powder

Water

(this will make like 4)

1. Combine all the dry ingredients.

2. Add in the water a 1/4 cup at a time; you’re trying to make a dough.

3. Knead the dough when you get the right consistency. Don’t over knead it, and make sure you flour your surface for when you roll it out.

4. Break off bits of the dough and roll them out til you get flattish disks. I prefer mine to be a little on the thick size, maybe 1/4″ thick ? But i know of roti that is made to be much thinner.

5. Heat a pan with some oil. Put in your roti when the oil is hot and cook on each side. You don’t want to overcook them or they’ll get tough.

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Old Rice = Fried Rice.

Who doesn’t like fried rice, raise your hand.

Now be ashamed of yourself! Fried rice is awesome. Unless you can’t eat rice in which case I apologize. But seriously, you can put anything in it and it’s great!

What I love even more about it, is that babygirl likes it. She has been a little bit of a picky eater lately and white rice is just not cutting it for her. But fried rice? OH YES, she will take more. and then some more.

And what most people don’t know is that it is so easy to make at home! I sometimes don’t like the taste of reheated white rice but I will eat fried rice day after day and not get tired. Maybe I was asian in a past life? who knows.

If you have leftover rice this is a great use for that, because old rice makes the best fried rice! Or when I really am craving it, I will make rice then cool it in the fridge/ freezer for a bit. (It seems to help)

What did I use?

White rice

Butter

Garlic & Garlic Salt

Soy Sauce

Mirin (most people use sesame oil but I only had Mirin which is not the same but I tried it and it tastes good)

Cooked Chicken

Carrots

Scrambled Eggs

1. Left my rice in the fridge til I was really ready for it. Peeled and diced my carrots.

2. Took a large skillet and heat it up. Put about 2 tbsp of butter and 2 cloves of garlic. Waited til that melted out a bit and threw in some garlic salt. When the garlic cloves looked like it marinated the butter a little I removed from the pan.

3. Put carrots in the pan to cook for a bit, I need them to be a little soft for little mama.

4. Added the rice to the pan and let it cook for a bit, I let it actually kind of fry in the butter.

5. Added in some of the Mirin (most people swear by using Sesame Oil which i didn’t have, but will need to get for future experiments) and tossed that through. After  it made its way thru all the mix, I added in some soy sauce. I stirred til all the rice was coated and made sure that it was the color I liked, added more as needed.

6. I diced up my cooked chicken and threw that in the pan as well. I let the fried rice sit on low at this point.

7. I scrambled up some eggs in a pan and then after they were cooked I used my spatula to try and dice it all up into small pieces. Which I then added into the fried rice.

You can use any veggies you like, I only felt like carrots this time, and didn’t have green onions or else I probably would have used those as well. If you add milk to your scrambled eggs it makes them fluffy which I prefer. This is also a great way to use up chicken that you kind of didn’t want to eat as is, which happens to me with my leftover chicken sometimes lol.I also find that this is a great meal prep option, as I never have a taste issue with reheating fried rice.

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Beef Stir Fry – w/ a Kick !

D’s been happy to be home and enjoy my cooking and baking so tonight I decided to try something new.

I got the recipe off Pinterest, it’s called a 30 minute Saucy Korean Beef Stir Fry, and it is saucy and i do like that. a lot.

I did a few small things different so I’ll link the inspiration and tell you what I did, and what I would change in the future.

BEEF STIR FRY

Beef stir fry meat – (beef top sirloin or flank steak works)

2 tbsp cornstarch, divided

-Marinade

Garlic cloves

White Onion

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup Mirin

1/3 cup granulated sugar

black peper

2 tsp Sriracha

– Stir Fry

1 zucchini  – sliced in thin strips

2 cups mushrooms

3/4 red bell pepper – sliced in thin strips and cut in half

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

First I made the marinade and put all the beef in it with 1 tbsp cornstarch. I let that sit for at least 15 mins in the fridge covered.

[While waiting I cut up all the veggies.]

I heated my skillet up til it was hot and used a little butter and olive oil to coat the bottom. I removed as much of the onions and all of the beef from the marinade and seared/browned the outsides. I removed them from the pan and placed them aside. Don’t cook them all the way cause they will get tough, don’t worry they will finish cooking when you simmer it later.

I added a tiny bit more olive oil and cooked the veggies for about a minute or 2 in the same skillet.

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I added 1 tbsp more cornstarch to the marinade and whisked it so there were no clumps. Then I added the salt and pepper and put that in the skillet to cook til the sauce thickened – about a minute or two.

Then I added in the rest of the beef so it could finish cooking/ simmering in the sauce and veggies.

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Served it over white rice.

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I think in the future I might add less of the grated ginger, I’ve never been a fan of ginger. But the dish was still amazing ! The kick that the ginger and Sriracha gave was definitely something different for me.

Also I may try it over noodles.

Italian Chicken

So I did my meal prep this past Sunday, and had my friend over for dinner and somehow all my meal prepped food is gone 😦 It was so good that it just disappeared. No but really. ( I think the amount of chicken I made also didn’t make as much as I had anticipated so that didn’t help either. )

And today I went to the gym and had to run to Target after and pick up some Pedialyte (have you tried their brand pedialyte? it’s a tad bit less expensive and the orange one smells really good!) So by the time I finally made it home I was already pretty tired, and she was kind of cranky cause she’s a little under the weather so I needed a quick dinner option that would last til at least lunch tomorrow.

I am a big fan of the Knorr Pasta Sides, they are always on sale like for a $1 and make a great quick side but I am not always pleased with their reheat consistency. I also really like the Zatarrin’s Rice Sides. Especially the yellow rice one ❤ ❤ ❤

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I threw the yellow rice on the stove and it cooks in like 20 mins, and then I cut up some chicken I had thawed out this morning and cooked it in some olive oil and garlic. After the sides were all cooked I poured Italian dressing and Italian seasoning on it. It’s also nice to marinate in the dressing for a bit prior but like I said I was pressed for time here. (I think someone told me once to try adding cut pineapple in it as well but I always forget when I go to make this dish) After adding the dressing I cook the chicken til it gets a really nice golden brown color.

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And 15-20 mins later.. Voila! dinner is done. No hassle, well not so much. and quick and yummy. Plus leftovers for tomorrow.

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What do you do when you need a quick dinner option?