Grilled Pizzas

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Hot pizza, straight from the grill!

Summer time means something different to each person.  Vacations, trips to the beach, no school, bond fires, picnics, swimming pools, slip n’ slides and cookouts.  Summer is all these things to me.  Especially grilling.  I love being in my kitchen but when it is hot and sticky, I want nothing to do with it.  The grill is easy and there is hardly any clean up.  And even better, the husband man’s the grill!

After awhile, hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages and BBQ chicken no longer cut it.  Well, for me they don’t.  I get bored with the same meal over and over again.  Enter grilled pizzas.  So easy, so quick and yummy.  Once you get everything assembled, the rest take about 7-10 minutes till hot pizza is on your table.

First you start off with the pizza dough.  You can either make your own or use store bought.  Just make sure you let the store bought come to room temp so the dough is easier to handle.  Me, I make my own but I do not have my own recipe.  I use a fabulous recipe for crust from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  It’s been my go-to pizza crust for over a year.  It freezes too!  Can’t beat that!

Next, gather all the topping that you are going to be putting on your pizza and put them on a tray.  Once you put the pizza crust on the grill, you move fast.  No time to be running back in the house to grab things.

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After turning the grill to high, it’s time to roll out the pizza dough.  I highly recommend doing several smaller pizzas or individual ones.  One large pizza on the grill is extremely hard to flip without dropping.  Trust me on this one.  We let the boys roll and top their own and then we do one that is a bit bigger for the hubs and I to share.

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Once the pizzas have been rolled out and the grill is preheated, head outside with all of your ingredients, a grill safe spatula and I even use tongs.

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Oil grill grates and lay the pizza dough over the cleaned, oiled and debris free area.  Close the lid and cook the dough till it is golden brown. Then use the spatula and tongs to help to transfer the pizza to a cookie sheet and flip the dough over.  At this point, turn the grill to medium and start to add your toppings (make sure you close the lid though).  Whatever topping you would like starting with sauce and ending with cheese.  We didn’t cook our mushroom, peppers and spinach first but if you prefer your already cooked, saute them before you get started with grilling.  Oh and don’t over load the pizza with toppings.  This will make it soggy.

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Slide the pizza back on the grill, close the lid and cook till the cheese is melted!  Hot cheesy, goodness in no time flat!

Grilled Pizzas

15 minPrep Time:

5 minCook Time:

20 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (homemade or your favorite store bought)
  • Olive oil
  • Toppings of tomato sauce, herbs, cheese, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, or pepperoni, whatever you want
  • Some flour or corn meal for dusting the cookie sheet

Instructions

  1. Make the pizza dough if doing so.
  2. Turn the grill for high direct heat.
  3. Prepare a small bowl with olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing the pizza.
  4. Prepare the toppings so they are ready to go on the pizza—tomato sauce, cheese, and anything else you wish.
  5. Shape the pizza dough
  6. Once the grill is hot, dip a tightly folded up paper towel in olive oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates.
  7. Then place a pizza dough round on a lightly floured (or you can use cornmeal) rimless cookie sheet.
  8. Let the dough slide off the cookie sheet onto the hot grill grates.
  9. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.
  10. After two minutes, check to make sure the pizza is browning. The top will start to bubble up.
  11. Once the pizza dough is golden brown, use your spatula and tongs to help you transfer the pizza to your cookie sheet.
  12. Use a spatula to flip the dough over so that the grilled side is now up (Keep the grill covered so it retains its heat)
  13. Add your sauce (not too much), toppings then cheese. Remember to go light on the toppings, or your pizza will be heavy and soggy.
  14. Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the heat. If working with a charcoal grill, close the vents on the cover almost all the way.
  15. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is bubbly.
  16. Pull off the grate with a spatula onto the cookie sheet and it let rest for a couple minutes before cutting into slices.
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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/06/grilled-pizzas/

Grilled Vegetable Pitas

DSC_0081Grilled summer vegetables and fruit.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the recipe for grilled vegetables that we make quite a bit over the summer.  We have a garden stocked with all kinds of veggies and I have to get creative with what I do with them.  Let’s be be honest, eating the same thing over and over again get extremely boring and burns people out.  One has to get creative if they have tons of stuff laying around.

We have always been lucky with our kids and eating their vegetables.  There are very few that they do not eat so, at least twice a week, I try to do a meal that is all veggies. No meat.  For me, it’s usually a few night.  I don’t care for beef so I rarely eat it.  The family however, loves it!  So on the nights when they have beef, I have just veggies.  Works for me!

The other night when I was making my meal plans for the week, I saw a recipe for chicken gyros.  I immediately added it to my list of meals I must try.  So the day came to make them and I realized I had completely forgotten to take out the chicken to thaw.  HATE when I do that!!  Well, it was one of those crazy evenings when the oldest had a soccer game and we needed to leave at a certain time.  No time to thaw chicken.  Enter quick thinking meal of grilled veggies in pitas.

I used the same recipe to cook the veggies as in my grilled vegetables over rice pilaf, minus the eggplant because I didn’t have one.

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I mixed all the veggies together in a bowl and stirred in the oil and garlic.  I then grilled them along with some nectarines. When they were ready, I took one half of a pita and spread some light garden cream cheese inside stuffed in the veggies along with some spinach and tomatoes and it was dinner.  The kids aren’t fans of cream cheese so I stuffed theirs with some provolone cheese instead.  We served this with some fresh cantaloupe and the grilled peaches with a dab of mascarpone cheese on top!

I highly recommend this for a quick and yummy summer meal!

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Slow Cooker Southwest Dump Chicken

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Okay, dump chicken sounds horrible, I know…BUT I have to tell you how simple and fabulous this chicken is! Three ingredients!  That’s it!  And literally all you do is dump them in the slow cooker, turn it on and go about your day. The majority of dinner is done when you get home and you have wonderfully moist (sorry Anna) and delicious southwest chicken.  How easy is that?

You take fresh or frozen chicken (I buy my chicken in large quantities, divide it up and freeze it), a jar of your favorite salsa and some homemade taco seasoning and dump it all in your slow cooker.   DSC_0071

Once it is done cooking, you take two forks and shred the chicken.  Or if you are like me and the sound of forks scrapping against glass or metal is worse than nails on a chalkboard, you put it in your stand mixer and let the paddle attachment shred it for you!

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Seriously though, I can’t stand the sound of utensils scrapping against a plate, teeth, glass or metal.  If it were healthy and cost effective, my family would eat with plastic utensils at every meal.  I spend most of my meals cringing.  Anyone else have this problem or am I the only weird one?

Anyway, back to the chicken.  I use this recipe for pretty much every Mexican/Southwest meal I make.  We made tacos with it this night but I have made burritos, enchiladas, tostada’s, copycat southwest egg rolls and salads with it.  If you want you can add corn and black beans for the last half hour of cooking and make it a meal over brown rice or quinoa!  Kind of like a burrito bowl!  The options are endless!

I usually divide the mixture up and freeze half to use another time.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of salsa.  If you prefer peach or mango salsa, use it!  It’s actually very tasty.  Prefer more spice? Add hot salsa.  Like it green?  Add salsa verde!  You get the picture, taylor it however your family wants!

Slow Cooker Southwest Dump Chicken

Slow Cooker Southwest Dump Chicken to use in tacos, enchiladas, burritos or salads

5 minPrep Time:

6 hrCook Time:

6 hr, 5 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 1 16 ounce jar of your favorite salsa
  • 3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or 1 packet store bought)

Instructions

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Place fresh or frozen chicken in a single layer at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Sprinkle the taco seasoning evenly across the top of the chicken breast.
  4. Dump the jar of salsa over the top of the chicken breast.
  5. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Depending on your slow cooker and whether you use fresh or frozen chicken. Internal temp of the chicken breast should be 165 degrees.
  6. Remove chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred with two forks or place in a stand mixer and shred the chicken on low speed with the paddle attachment.
  7. Place chicken back in the slow cooker and stir everything together.
  8. Serve in tacos, burritos, enchiladas or salads. Or add cooked corn black beans and serve over rice.

Notes

Recipe freezes well. After chicken has cooled, place in a freezable container for up to 4 months.

Get creative! You can add corn and black beans to the slow cooker for the last 30 minutes for more vegetables. Also try out different salsa's ! I have used homemade and even ones with mango's and peaches! It was fabulous!

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/06/slow-cooker-southwest-dump-chicken/

Cucumber, Tomato & Avocado Salad

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Lite and refreshing with vegetables straight from the garden or market! No cooking required!

It’s been hot and humid here in upstate NY lately.  I used to be able to handle the heat and humidity without a problem.  The hotter the better.  I spent summers in Nashville with my grandparents so compared to their heat, the “it’s hot” in NY,  was nothing.  Not the case anymore.  I makes me cranky.  Like REALLY cranky. When it’s like that outside, no one wants to run an oven or stove and I especially don’t want to stand over one.  Cue today’s recipe.  A simple summer salad – a tomato, cucumber, avocado salad. This is a quick and easy salad to put together that uses just a couple of summer ingredients most people have growing in their gardens. Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and my favorite, avocado.  Seriously, if I could figure out how to get an avocado tree to grow in upstate NY, I’d save so much money.  I also added some creamy fresh mozzarella and a little minced parsley as well.  Just toss all that together with a red wine vinaigrette and the salad is ready in under 15 minutes. No cooking required!

We put our salad over the top of turkey zucchini burgers and had some grilled nectarines on the side.  You can use this as a side dish or put it over the top of grilled chicken, pork chops or burgers like we did.  If serving as a main dish, I would say it serves two instead of four.

Enjoy!

Yield: 4 servings

Cucumber, Tomato & Avocado Salad

15 minPrep Time:

15 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes chopped, I used grape tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled (optional) and chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 4 ounces fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cubed
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, finely minced

Instructions

  1. Chop tomatoes into a medium dice. If using grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Add to a bowl.
  2. Peel (optional) and dice one cucumber. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.
  3. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Dice avocado and using a spoon scoop out the avocado from the peel. Add it to the bowl with the tomatoes and cucumbers.
  4. Cube mozzarella and add to bowl with the other ingredients.
  5. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and pour over the salad.
  6. Toss gently. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately

Notes

If not eating immediately, refrigerate and keep the avocado aside. Dice and add before serving.

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/06/cucumber-tomato-avocado-salad/

Ground Turkey & Zucchini Burgers

 

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The trick to juicy turkey burgers is zucchini!

Let’s talk turkey for a minute.  Turkey burgers to be exact.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, “I don’t care for turkey burgers.”  Can you guess the number one reason people say they don’t care for them?  Dryness.  Turkey burgers tend to dry out to quickly.  Well not any more!  I have a perfect secret to making the moistest, juiciest, most flavorful turkey burgers!

The secret weapon?  Zucchini!  I kid you not.  Zucchini keeps these burgers juicy and moist while adding little “veg” to the meal! Adding zucchini also lowers the calories per serving because you get five normal sized patties out of 1 pound of ground turkey instead of the usual four. Serve them with your favorite burger toppings, whole wheat buns or lettuce to keep the carbs low.  Or you can serve them covered in Cucumber, Tomato & Avocado salad like we did (recipe to come)!

You will want to make these burgers ahead of time so they can sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.  This helps the ingredients to meld together and the burgers to firm up so they hold their shapes while on the grill.  Another wonderful thing about these burgers is they freeze!  You freeze them and throw them straight on the grill still frozen!  No more running out for fast food burgers when you forget to thaw something for dinner!  You can have healthy burgers in just a few minutes, at home!

*Note: Make sure you squeeze all the excess liquid out of the zucchini before adding to the bowl.  To do this, just place the grated zucchini on a layer of paper towels, bunch the layer into a ball and squeeze!

 

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Serving Size: 1 Patty

Ground Turkey & Zucchini Burgers

2 hr, 10 Prep Time:

10 minCook Time:

2 hr, 20 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup zucchini, grated and squeezed of all moisture with paper towels
  • 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  1. Squeeze the moisture from the zucchini with paper towels.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, zucchini, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, salt and ketchup.
  3. Make 5 equal patties but not too thick so they cook evenly.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours so flavors intertwine and it helps the burgers keep their shape.
  5. Spray the grill with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  6. Cook the burgers on medium heat about 5 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/06/ground-turkey-zucchini-burgers/

Cottage Cheese Pancakes & Eggs … Healthy Breakfast options that taste sinful!

IMG_1876Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Fun Fact:  The first known use of the term “cottage cheese” dates back to the 1830’s and is believed to have originated because the simple cheese was usually made in cottages from milk left over after making the butter.

I find that cottage cheese is one of those foods that you either like or you don’t.  There really isn’t a “eh, it’s okay” response when I ask people if they like it.  What if I told those who don’t like it, I have recipes where you won’t even know that cottage cheese is in them?

Why even use it, you ask?

Well, while most cheese has a reputation for being bad on a diet, cottage cheese has long been a staple in many healthy diets. It comes in many different varieties like low fat or low sodium and is versatile in the kitchen. It can be eaten on its own or added to sweet and savory recipes. It is healthy to eat as part of a balanced diet and provides a source of several essential nutrients.

So in other words…because it’s good for you, silly!

The first of two recipes I want to share today is…Cottage Cheese Pancakes!  I am telling you, you will be pleasantly surprised! Cottage cheese, oats, egg whites, vanilla, cinnamon and bananas make up these delicious delights.  This is my go to recipe when I am craving pancakes.  Which I do…A LOT!

Does any one else have a pancake obsession?

Mmm…pancakes (in my best Homer Simpson voice)

 

Cottage Cheese Pancakes                                       Makes 12 pancakes Total (3 a serving)


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup  2 % milkfat Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup egg whites (I used egg substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 a large banana (1 whole if small)

 

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Place lid on and blend for 1 minute or until well blended.
  2. Lightly coat a large skillet or griddle with spray oil then heat over medium heat. Working in batches, form each pancake by pouring or spooning  about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet.
  3. Cook, flipping pancakes once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes total.
  4. Transfer to plates and serve with 1 tsp pure maple syrup or honey and fresh fruit.

 

 

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Cottage Cheese Eggs

A nice change from regular scrambled eggs. These eggs come out creamy and soft. Perfect with a slice of whole wheat blueberry toast and fresh fruit for a delicious and fast low-carb breakfast option!

 

Cottage Cheese Scrambled Eggs                                                                            Serves 2


Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten (or 1 cup egg substitute)
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley or chives (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium low heat. Pour beaten eggs into the skillet; let cook undisturbed until the bottom of the eggs begin to firm, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Stir cottage cheese and chives, if using, into eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until eggs are nearly set, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  3. Serve immediately.

Grilled Vegetables over Rice Pilaf

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A lite, quick vegetarian dinner

Some nights you just need something lite and quick without a lot of clean up.  We had one of those nights a few days ago.  Karate, piano, soccer practice…one right after the other.  Ever have those days?  I really try to avoid just grabbing something out to throw at the kids in between events.  Besides it being incredibly unhealthy, it makes you feel gross. Especially on hot days when you are constantly on the go. Instead I make sure I have healthy snacks already cut and portioned in bags for the kids to snack on and then we have a late dinner.

An assortment of chopped veggies tossed with freshly minced garlic and olive oil then lightly grilled and served over rice pilaf.  It’s lite, quick, filling and everyone gets in their veggies for the day. Use whichever vegetables are your families favorites.  I used red peppers, zucchini, eggplant, onion and sliced portabella mushroom caps.

Enjoy!

Grilled Vegetables over Rice Pilaf                                                                            Serves 4


Ingredients

  • 1 Red pepper, sliced in thin strips
  • 1 Zucchini, sliced
  • 1 Eggplant, sliced and quatered
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Portabella mushroom caps, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 box Rice Pilaf (I used Near East)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Cook rice pilaf according to box directions.  Preheat outdoor or indoor grill to medium high heat.
  2. While the rice is cooking, combine sliced and chopped vegetables in a large bowl.  Stir in minced garlic and olive oil.
  3. Pour vegetables onto a grill pan and place on the grill.  Grill till vegetables are tender crisp (5-7 minutes), stirring frequently.
  4. Serve vegetables over rice pilaf.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Dijon Mustard Tuna Salad with Garlic, Egg and Banana Peppers

 

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Tangy Dijon Tuna Salad

This recipe took me forever to come up with.  TONS of trial and error.  I am not a fan of mayonnaise so tuna salad has never been an option for me.  Okay, it’s an option, let’s just say…not a viable one.  Many in my family would like to disown me for this, “flaw.” They all live in the deep south where mayo is considered a vegetable.  But, my dislike for mayo, runs deep.  Whatcha gonna do.

I had to make 3 lbs of macaroni salad for our church’s chicken BBQ recently.  Everyone had to follow the same recipe.  1  1/2 quarts of mayo people!  I gagged through the entire process.  Of course, my husband thought it was the best macaroni salad he has ever had.

Any who, back to the tuna.  I tried using Greek yogurt, avocado, sour cream and combinations of each mixing in different things such as garlic, onions, hard boiled eggs, dill, cucumbers, celery and pickle relish.  Each were better than mayo but wasn’t quite what I was looking for.  Not something that I would say were great and I would make again.  Then I decided to try Dijon mustard (I used Jack Daniels brand).  I LOVE mustard!  Why I never thought to use it before, is beyond me.  My husband says it’s because the combination of tuna and mustard is repulsive.  In his defense, his distaste for mustard rivals my distaste of mayo. Oh well, more for me!

It was good with just the tuna and mustard.  The zip i was looking for was there but it still needed something.  Garlic helped but it still needed more.  I had a hard boiled egg that needed to be used, so I chopped that and threw it in.  Not bad but it needed more zip.  Then I saw them.  Banana peppers!! I quickly chopped a few and stirred them in.

Eureka!!  I had found it! It had the tangy zest I was looking for and it is a recipe I will definitely be making again!

Dijon Mustard Tuna Salad with Garlic, Egg and Banana Peppers                                                                                                                      Makes 1 serving


Ingredients

  • 1  3 oz can or pouch of albacore tuna in water
  • 1 hard boiled egg, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard (or to taste)
  • Banana peppers, chopped (to taste)

 

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

 

Tips:  Get creative!  Serve the tuna salad in a hollowed tomato or pepper, over a tossed salad or with some baked pita chips!

Fiesta Lime Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad over Ground Turkey Taco Salad

Ha!  I love it!  I am already getting requests for certain types of recipes.  Well, since it is my neighbors Birthday and she requested some ground turkey/ground chicken recipes, I am going to push this recipe up on the posting list and present…

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A light a refreshing summer salad…with zesty a twist

The title sounds a little redundant but I wasn’t sure what else to call it.  Grilled corn, black beans, ripe tomatoes, red onion and avocado, marinated in a garlic-lime dressing ans sprinkled with fresh cilantro.  How amazing does that sound?  Make sure if you are using dry black beans you have let them soak overnight.

This salad could be a complete meal on its’ own or a yummy side dish.  We chose to put it over a ground turkey taco salad.  Homemade taco seasoning, crisp baby spinach, more ripe tomatoes, olives and cheddar cheese.  We also served blue corn chips on the side to help scoop shovel the taco salad in our mouths.  I am not a huge fan of beef so a lot of the time I use ground turkey or ground chicken.  Feel free to substitute ground beef here if that’s your preference.

Since Taco salads are very versatile and can be made to accommodate individual taste preferences, I will let you decide how to want to build your taco salads.  However I will provide you with my homemade taco seasoning.  It is so much better then any packaged stuff and it has a fraction of the sodium!  So much better for you!

Ole!

Fiesta Lime Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad over Taco Salad


Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 can drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Avocado peeled and chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (about one lime)
  • Zest from 1 one lime
  • 2 cloves freshly minced garlic
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

 

Directions

  1. Heat an indoor grill to high.
  2. Once heated, spray the grill with cooking spray and add the corn to the grill spreading it out as much as possible.  Grill for approximately 4-5 minutes.
  3. The best you can, gently stir the  corn every minute for even cooking.
  4. Turn off the grill, remove the corn to a medium bowl and set aside to cool.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lime juice and zest.  Set aside.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, beans and onion to the bowl with the corn and stir.
  7. Gently toss with the marinade and chill for 30+ minutes prior to serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Before serving add avocado and stir and sprinkle with the fresh cilantro.

Notes:  Fresh corn on the cob can be used in place of frozen corn. Simply rub the corn with vegetable oil and grill it, cover down, for approximately 6-8 minutes. Rotate the corn every few minutes for even cooking.

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning


Ingredients

1 and 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 and 1/2  teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoom onion powder

cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

 

Directions

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. Store the mix in an airtight container. 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons is equal 1 packet of taco seasoning.

Homemade Vegetable Marinara with Ripe Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs and Garlic

The ultimate comfort food with a healthy twist!

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When you think of comfort food, what is the first thing that pops into your head?  For me, it’s Italian.  Thick, rich savory sauce, over a pile of spaghetti, freshly grated parmesan cheese and some nice crusty bread. Nom Nom Nom…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

BUT, let’s face it, spaghetti consumed on a daily basis (yes, I crave it daily), isn’t healthy. Carb overload!

Since upstate New York has been getting so much rain lately, the dark gloomy days put me in the mood for comfort food.  I knew my favorite sauce recipe didn’t jive with my current eating plan so I decided to come up with my own healthy version.  Cue, Vegetable Marinara.

newspagAll fresh ingredients that simmer all afternoon.  The smell was intoxicating!  I couldn’t wait to try it.  Fresh tomatoes, lots of vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil, a tiny bit of stevia, garlic and my secret ingredient; worcestershire sauce! Yum!

For this recipe, you’ll start with 4 pounds of ripe tomatoes.  Yes, you read that right.  Roma tomatoes are my favorite to use in sauces because I think they are meatier.  I also do not blanch or peel them first.  I’m way to lazy to do that.  If you prefer no skins in your sauce, feel free to go ahead and do that.

First, I chopped the tomatoes in large chunks then I squeeze them with my hands to break them up a bit more into a bowl.  You can also use a food processor.   After I sauteed the chopped vegetables and garlic in olive oil in my Le Crueset dutch oven, I added the tomatoes with juices and fresh herbs, covered the pot and let it simmer down for about 30 minutes. Once it was nice and thick, I added the final ingredients and let it simmer about 20 more minutes.  Viola!  Quick, easy, healthy marinara sauce!

I served the sauce over whole grain pasta for the boys but the husband and I had it over sauteed zucchini noodles!  Enjoy!

Homemade Vegetable Marinara with Ripe Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs and Garlic (Yields approx. 1 quart)


Ingredients

  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon good Olive Oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs including basil, thyme, parsley and oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt*
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (if using stevia 1 teaspoon)*
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Using your hands, squeeze tomatoes into smaller bits over a large bowl.  Include juices.  (or pulse a few times in a food processor). Set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, green pepper, onion and garlic and saute till until vegetables are softened and garlic is fragrant.  Add tomatoes and juice to the pot along with the fresh herbs and bring to a simmer, stirring on occasion.  Reduce the heat to low. cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Again, stirring occasionally.
  3. When sauce has thickened, stir in sea salt, sugar and worcestershire sauce. Continue to simmer on low for another 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in a jar.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Sauce can also be frozen.

*The amount of sugar and salt, required will depend on the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes you choose to use. Start with the directed amounts  and add more as needed.