oven baked spinach and goat cheese stuffed pork chops

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I love anything that’s dipped in bread crumbs and fried. It’s my weakness. So, lately I’ve been trying to slow down on the pan frying, and increase the oven baked deliciousness that is so much healthier for you. This dish is creamy, juicy, and very filling, and definitely one of my new favorite ways to make pork! I served this dish with some homemade spaghetti with pesto (you can find my pesto recipe here)!

Ingredients

2 boneless pork chops
bread crumbs
small log of goat cheese (I used homemade, will be posting the recipe soon!)
a few handfuls of spinach
a clove of garlic
a shallot
a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise
parmesan

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mince a shallot and a clove of garlic. Brown in a pan and add your spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, and dark green remove from the heat. At this point you can either use the full leaves, or throw the spinach, shallots, and garlic into the food processor to get a nice fine chop.
Slice your pork chop through the center, aka butterfly it, and pound it out so it is nice and thin. Spread your spinach mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese. Roll up the pork chop and tie it with some butchers string. Spread a little bit of mayo over the top and sprinkle with bread crumbs and some parmesan. Bake on a cooling rack, on top of a cookie sheet. This will allow the air to reach all around the pork and will keep it from getting soggy. Bake until it reached 170 degrees, about 30-40 minutes. Serve with your favorite side and enjoy!

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warm quinoa bowl with greens and mixed veggies

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Lunch is the meal I struggle with the most. Usually during lunch time, I’m at work or school and the easiest option is running to starbucks or au bon pain, or any similar option. In the mornings I’m not usually functioning enough to make myself something to bring along, so this week, I prepared a little something that I can grab and go with. This recipe is really just a base idea for something you can customize with whatever your favorite veggies are, or what ever you need to use up in your fridge!

Ingredients

1 lb of ground turkey (I use 93% lean)
1/2 lb italian sausage (I use sweet links and take them out of their casing because they are usually cheaper than the preground sausage)
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 onion
1 large clove of garlic or 2 small
your choice of greens and veggies (I used baby spinach, brussel sprouts, italian peppers, and leeks)

Instructions

Brown your ground turkey and sausage in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I also threw in a little bit of chili powder, paprika, basil, oregano, and parsley. While the meat is browning, follow the cooking instructions for your quinoa. When the meat is fully cooked, remove it from the pan, and add your onion, garlic, leeks, and peppers with some more olive oil. Once these have started to soften add your brussel sprouts and spinach. Add the crushed tomatoes and ground beef and mix it all together. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add that to the meat and veggie mixture. Once everything is mixed together, you can use this as stuffing in stuffed peppers or stuffed squash, or you can just eat it plain. I also like to add a slice of fresh mozzarella on top as an extra treat, and melt it for a couple minutes under the broiler. Serve and enjoy!

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french toast

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When I woke up this morning I was starving- but when I got to the kitchen and took out my eggs to make my usual omelet, I realized just how sick I was of eggs. I eat them all the time, and they begin to lose some of their excitement after a while. So, I dug around my kitchen to try and find something to whip up, and I remembered I had the last little bit of a baguette sitting out, which would mean it would be just stale enough for french toast! Growing up french toast was one of the family favorites, and it had been way too long since I had any.

Ingredients

slightly stale bread
1 1/2 cups of milk, half and half, or heavy cream (I actually used an almond and coconut milk blend)
2-3 eggs
vanilla extract (I use vanilla bean paste)
cinnamon & nutmeg (Wholefoods makes a great blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, lemon & orange zest that I used)

Instructions

Mix together the milk, eggs, and spices until combined. Place sliced bread into the mixture and let it soak up some of the liquid. Flip over and allow the other side to absorb some liquid as well. Once all of your bread is dunked, melt some butter in a skillet and place the slices of bread into the pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides, and serve with your favorite maple syrup!

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ricotta and leek ravioli with pesto

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I bought myself a pasta roller almost a month ago now- It’s been sitting on my counter, ready to go, but I was too intimidated to use it. Finally today I just went for it! Ravioli has always been one of my favorite foods so I decided I’d try that first. And because I was making fresh pasta, I thought it would be best to make fresh ricotta as well! It’s definitely a time consuming process overall, but very fun, and very worth it!

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Ingredients

Pasta

2-3 cups of all purpose flour
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
tiny pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Ricotta

3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
pinch of salt
juice of one lemon

Filling

1 cup of ricotta (home made or store bought)
2 caramelized leeks & 1 clove of minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Pesto

a few handfuls of basil (remove stems)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
olive oil

Instructions

Ricotta

Add the heavy cream and milk to a large sauce pan or stock pot. Once it begins to boil and foam, add the juice of one lemon and turn off the stove. Give it a few stirs, and then allow to rest for a couple of minutes and form curds. Once the curds have formed, strain them through a cheese cloth and allow to separate from the whey. Refrigerate once everything is separated and to the desired consistency (for this I’d recommend a slightly thicker or stiffer ricotta).

Pasta

Make a little well in your all purpose flour and carefully crack your eggs into the center. Add the salt, nutmeg, and olive oil and slowly mix, starting with a fork, and then moving to your hands. When everything is combined and not too sticky (you may have to add more flour), split into four pieces. Make each piece into a patty, so it’s thin enough to go through the pasta roller. Continue rolling out until you get a pasta sheet of desired thickness. Put pasta sheets in the fridge while you assemble everything else.

Filling

Dice up your leeks and make sure to thoroughly clean. Add leeks, minced garlic, and a few tablespoons of butter to a sautee pan and allow to cook down until they are a nice golden brown. Once these are complete, you can either keep them at a rough dice, or quick throw them into your food processor to make a little bit more of a paste. Mix this with your ricotta.

Pesto

Add all of your ingredients into a food processor and blend, slowly adding olive oil until it reaches desired consistency.

Assemblage

Take one pasta sheet and dollop a teaspoon or so of filling, and make sure there will be enough room to cut into individual ravioli at the end! Take your second pasta sheet and carefully lay over the top, and lightly press down around the filling to form your ravioli. Cut apart and to make sure the pasta sheets are sealed together, stamp with the end of a fork.

Cook ravioli for 2-3 minutes, or until they float. Gently strain them and drizzle with pesto. Top with a bit of parmesan or romano and enjoy!

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brie, apple, and bacon turkey burger

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After a long bout with tonsillitis, I’m back! And because I feel so bad for my lack of posts, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes with you all. One of my favorite foods ever is the cheese burger- you can do so much with it and really mold the flavors that you are looking for.

Traditionally, I’m all for your typical ground beef burger, but after experimenting with ground turkey for a while, I’ve decided this combination is AMAZING!

Ingredients

ground turkey
seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley)
olive oil
bacon
onion
apple
ciabatta rolls

Instructions

Add your ground turkey and spices into a bowl and mix together- I also add a drizzle of olive oil because ground turkey doesn’t have a high fat content. Form your pattie- you can do sliders or full sized burgers for this so it’s up to you! I also never try to make my burger too thick because unlike beef, the turkey needs to be cooked all the way through.

At this point I start cooking my bacon. You can either do it in the pan or the microwave, though I prefer cooking it in a pan, so I can use the grease later on to cook my onions. Also when I cook bacon for a burger, I weave the pieces together so they stay on the burger better. Once the bacon is finished cooking, add some thinly sliced onion, and in a second small frying pan drizzle a bit of olive oil and begin to cook your burgers.

When your burgers and onions are nearly finished, give your ciabatta rolls a quick toast to help stand up to all the toppings, and slice your apple and brie. Add the cheese to your burger and allow to start melting. Once everything is finished cooking, put the bacon on the bottom half of your roll, then the burger and cheese, then the apple slice(s), and then the sauteed/ caramelized onions. Generally I would serve this burger with homemade sweet potato fries or kale chips. Enjoy!

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oven roasted lamb shank with eggplant parm bake and creamy chard and beans

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Yesterday I was feeling the need for something warm, filling, and different. I saw the recipe for a similar eggplant parmesan au gratin, and I knew I wanted to do something similar. So what goes great with eggplant? Lamb. I had never cooked it on my own before, and I was very nervous for how it would come out. Luckily, everything turned out perfectly, and it was a great addition to this hearty meal! I also had some swiss chard sitting in my fridge, and I remembered this great risotto I made a while back that had greens and small white beans in it, so instead of doing it that way, I ditched the rice and transformed it into a creamy side!

Ingredients

Lamb

lamb shanks (or a cut you feel comfortable with)
rosemary & thyme (fresh)
garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper
wine (normally I would recommend a hearty red wine but all I had when I was making this was a dry white wine and it turned out ok!)

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

one medium sized eggplant
roma or heirloom tomatos (i used a mix of both)
breadcrumbs
olive oil
salt & pepper
fresh grated parmesan (romano will work as well)
fresh mozzarella

Creamy Swiss Chard & Cannellini Beans

one can of cannellini beans, drained
a few sliced of pancetta, chopped (optional)
swiss chard
salt & pepper
rosemary
half a container of creme fraiche

Instructions

Throw all of the ingredient for the lamb in a gallon sized zipper bag and let it marinade for a few hours. When it is finished marinading, pour the contents of the bag into a baking pan, and add some more fresh herbs on top of the shanks. For medium rare, you will want the lamb to be anywhere from 130 degrees to 140 degrees internally. I baked mine at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, with an addition 10 minutes to rest. The size of the shanks will affect the cooking times, so I would check the temperature after 30 minutes to check where the meat is at.

Meanwhile, peel the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise so you can cut half moon shaped slices. Once the eggplant is sliced, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil and put it in the oven with the lamb for a few minutes to start the cooking process. While the eggplant is roasting, slice up your tomatoes and mozzarella. When the eggplant is mostly cooked, take it out of the oven and start layering in an au gratin pan. I layered the eggplant, then the tomatoes, bread crumbs, and parmesan, and repeated. Then I added the mozzarella on top, along with breadcrumbs that I mixed a touch of olive oil and some more parmesan. When there is about 5 minutes of cooking time left on your lamb, put this back in the oven and allow to bake until the lamb is finished resting, for a total of about 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Last but not least are the creamy swiss chard and beans. This takes the least amount of time so do this as the end when the eggplant is about half way finished baking, add your chopped pancetta to a sauce pan and brown. Add the beans, salt, pepper, rosemary, and creme fraiche to the pan and let cook down to a rich a creamy sauce. Add the swiss chard last- it just needs to soften up a bit. This will only take 2 or 3 minutes.

Once everything is finished, you can plate and enjoy!

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flax seed and chive soda bread

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After seeing how much you all loved the Oatmeal Bread I posted a few weeks ago, I thought I’d give a different soda bread a try! I saw this recipe on the blog titled Farmette and fell in love with it right away! Hope you guys enjoy!

 

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Ingredients

3.5 cups of flour (i used 3/4 all purpose flour and 1/4 rye flour)
1 3/4 cups of buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbs flax seed
3 tbs chopped chives

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add all of your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and sift. Then add your flax seed and chives. Slowly add your buttermilk- you may not need all of it (I only ended up using 1 and a half cups). Once everything is combined and your dough is slightly sticky, sprinkle a touch more flour and flax seed over the top so it is easier to handle. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400 and bake for another 20-30 minutes (mine only took about 25). When the bread is a nice golden brown, remove from the oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting into. Enjoy with a smidge of butter (I recommend unsalted)!