Category Archives: Recipes

{Healthy Comfort Food} Pot Roast & Mashed Cauliflower

Thanks to the polar vortex nonsense, it’s been super frigid across the country and what is better on a cold day, than watching movies, cuddling under warm blankets and eating some yummy comfort food?!

For this recipe, I substituted the usual decadent, mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower and I really enjoyed it!

Garlic Studded Pot Roast
Serves 6

pot roastIngredients:
1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds)
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in 1/2 lengthwise
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 beef stock or red wine

Directions:
1. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make 10 small slits deep all over the pot roast. Insert the garlic cloves as deep into the slits as possible.
2. Season the roast on all sides with the salt and pepper.
3. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Carefully add the meat and sear on all sides until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes per side.
4. Add the vegetables, carefully add the stock or wine and cover the pot.
5. Reduce the heat to low to medium-low and cook until the roast is very tender, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Turning 2 or 3 times during the cooking process. (Add a little more water, stock or wine as needed so that a little liquid always is on the bottom of the pan.)
6. Allow the meat to rest 10 minutes. Slice or pull the meat apart into serving pieces and serve with the vegetables over the mashed cauliflower (recipe below).

Mashed Cauliflower
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower
2-4 Tablespoons pastured butter ( I used coconut oil because that’s what I had – you won’t need as much)
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Cut the cauliflower into large pieces.
2. Place cauliflower in a pot of water. Make sure it is fully immersed.
3. Bring water to a boil. Let cauliflower cook for about 15 minutes. (It should be very easy to pierce it with a fork.)
4. Drain the water from pot. Leave cauliflower on low heat, and mash with a potato masher.
5. Add butter and seasonings.
6. Mix well. Serve hot.

I was a little unsure if Mike would like the mashed cauliflower, instead of traditional mashed potatoes, but he really enjoyed them and said he didn’t feel overstuffed like usual after eating dinner. That’s a big win to me…now if only I could get the kids to eat them…sigh!

Have you tried making your favorite comfort foods healthier? If so, what have you substituted?

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Baked Chicken Fajitas

Everyone has those nights when they need something quick and easy to make for dinner. You may not be into meal prepping yet (which is a life saver) or maybe you just don’t feel like eating what you prepped again, but you also don’t want to sabotage your healthy eating. This recipe is perfect for those nights!

Baked Chicken Fajitas
Serves 4

baked fajitasIngredients:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp mexican oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 jalapeno, sliced (you can remove the seeds if you prefer less heat. I used a small can of fire roasted green chilies because I didn’t have a jalapeno on hand)
1 large onion, cut into thin strips
2 medium peppers, cut into thin strips (use any color you have on hand)

Directions:
1. Place the chicken strips in a gallon sized zippered bag.
2. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Sprinkle over chicken; toss to coat.
3. Put in the refrigerator to marinate 30 min. to overnight.
4. When ready to bake, Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then coat a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray and place the marinated chicken strips in.
5. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, onion and peppers to the dish and stir to combine.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.

This recipe came in handy yesterday! I was busy studying for my midterm most of the day and didn’t think about dinner until late. Mike and I started working out together at night, so I was able to prep this, toss it in the oven and by the time we were done with our P90X3 workout, our post workout meal was ready and waiting! How perfect is that?!

If you are following a paleo or gluten-free lifestyle, serve these as lettuce wraps and top with a little guacamole, a squeeze of lime and hot sauce, if you desire. If you are non-paleo, but gluten-free, you can use white corn tortillas and if you are just eating clean, serve these with whole-grain tortillas and top as you wish. This is really a great recipe for entertaining too, since it is easy and healthy, but can fit different nutritional lifestyles with ease.

Do you have any healthy, easy, go-to recipes that you rely on when you’re short on time?

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Beef Bone Broth…Who Knew?!

While collecting recipes this past week, I finally decided to give bone broth a try. I’ve seen quite a few people on Instagram share photos of their crockpots loaded with bones, veggies and water, but I had no idea what the benefits of this broth were and why they were doing this. Then I decided to consult my good friend Google, since he always has the answers (he’s such a know it all…it’s a little obnoxious sometimes).

If like me, you are not aware of the benefits of consuming bone broth, please take a moment to READ THIS you’ll thank me after you do.

If you ARE familiar with bone broth, well….WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME ABOUT HOW AWESOME AND EASY IT IS?!

This is the recipe that I used for mine. I already have a chicken carcass in the freezer and plan on making a batch of chicken bone broth after I roast another chicken next week.

Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth
Recipes from NomNomPaleo
Makes about 4 quarts

Bone BrothIngredients:
2 carrots, chopped medium
2 celery stalks, chopped medium
1 medium onion, chopped medium7 garlic cloves, smashed
3.5 lb of beef bones (I used beef marrow bones)
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
water

Directions:
1. Add the vegetables to the bottom of your slow cooker. Then place the beef bones on top.
2. Tuck the bay leaves between the bones, sprinkle with salt and then drizzle the bones with the apple cider vinegar.
3. Add enough water to cover everything.
4. Set your slow cooker to cook on low for 10 hours. (After speaking to some friends, I set mine for a second time and cooked it for 20 hours. After reading the above article, I’ll be cooking it even longer next time.)
5. When the broth is done, pour it through a fine strainer and discard the solids. (we gave our dog one of the bones as a treat)
6. Portion into tupperwares and place in the fridge. If your bones were fatty, you can skim off some of the fat after it separates and sets in the fridge. The broth will turn into a beef gelatin, so don’t be alarmed.

The broth will keep in the fridge for a few days or if you freeze it, it’ll last for several months.

So far I’ve tried heating up the broth and drinking it like a tea and I’ve also sauteed some veggies and then heated the broth with them to make a quick, healthy, lunchtime soup. From now one, I’ll be using this in place of boxed stock for all of my recipes as well. Why should I spend my hard earned pennies on boxed stock that isn’t as good for me as the liquid from the Gods?!

On a side note, Mike and I also started P90X3 last night, so keep an eye out for a review of it once we complete week 1!

Have you tried bone broth? If so, I’d love to hear anything different you do in your recipe. If you’re new to this, are you considering making it since reading this post?

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Paleo, But Not Paleo

While I don’t follow a paleo lifestyle, I do appreciate many of the ideas behind it. I have never been a person to subscribe to just one lifestyle when it comes to food. I prefer to listen to my body, eat as clean as possible and try to stay balanced with my choices. I’m also not one for depriving myself. If I want pizza, I’m going to eat pizza. If I want a regular baked potato, I’m going to eat a regular baked potato and I may even put a little margarine on it even though I know it’s not healthy. I’m such a rebel!

Regardless of this, I have been trying a lot of paleo recipes lately. I do feel better when I eat clean and honestly, paleo is just a strict version of clean eating. I just don’t stress out if I only have soy sauce and not coconut aminos or if I have peanut butter and not almond butter. I have a limited budget for food and I do the best I can when shopping, however there are times that $6 for a jar of something just doesn’t work and that’s okay.

With that said, I got very excited when I found this recipe for Kotleti which are Ukrainian meat patties. It’s rare that you find recipes like this unless you specifically look for them (I don’t know why I haven’t before) but Mike is half Ukrainian and since his mom passed away when he was young, the only traditional recipe we have is her peirogi recipe, which we love. I enjoy showing the kids pieces of their heritage (even though they make a funny face at most food items) and I hope they will carry on the pierogi tradition when they grow up and have families of their own.

I prepared the Kotleti with a spiced roasted vegetable recipe I found and I was pleased with both, especially because they can be made during meal prep sessions.

Kotleti – Ukrainian Meat Patties
Recipe from A Teaspoon Of Rosemary

Kotleti and Roasted VegetablesIngredients
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions
1. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix well using your hands, until everything is incorporated.
2. Wet your hands and shape a two inch ball of meat into an oval and then pat it gently to flatten it into a patty.
3. Heat a frying pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Place about 4-5 patties into the pan. Do not overcrowd.
4. Flip the patties after a few minutes, once they have browned and repeat on the other side. Don’t worry if your patties are not cooked through all the way, they will continue to cook in the next step.
5. While the patties fry, put some water in another saucepan (just enough to cover the bottom) and set it next to the frying pan.
6. When the patties are browned on both sides, remove them with the spatula and place them closely in the saucepan with water, then cover.
7. Once all of the patties are browned and stacked in the saucepan with water, bring that saucepan to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes. This will ensure all of the patties are cooked through while making them moist and tender.

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Paleo Diet Roasted Vegetables
Recipe from AncestralChef.com

Ingredients
2 carrots, peeled
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1 lb of Brussels sprouts
1/4 – 1/3 cup of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 tablespoon of sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Chop up the peeled carrots and sweet potatoes into large chunks.
3. Boil the carrots, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes.
4. Strain out the vegetables and place on a baking tray.
5. Sprinkle with the spices and melted coconut oil and rub everything together.
6. Roast in oven for 30 minutes until soft and slightly browned.

I will tell you that I drastically reduced the spices used in the roasted vegetables and I didn’t have tumeric on hand but they came out really yummy. While I normally just cut up my vegetables and toss them in the over for an hour to roast, I did like the reduced cooking time with boiling them first, even though it meant another pot to wash.

The other upside to the recipes I’ve been trying is that they have all been using similar ingredients, so it allows me to buy some vegetables in bulk and save some money.

Do you have heritage specific recipes that are a tradition in your family?

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Back In The Kitchen and Loving It

As I posted yesterday, I’ve started off the New Year by collecting new recipes, heading out the grocery store to collect ingredients and with a focus on resetting my system to not feel the need to constantly consume sugar. So far things are going well with my sugar addition and I haven’t been rocking back and forth in a corner crying out for a cookie. I honestly believe that going back to clean eating and being aware of what I put into my body is making this process a lot easier.

The past 3 days I’ve been busy in the kitchen and I couldn’t be happier. The kitchen is truly my happy place, when I know what I want to do and I’m feeling inspired, which is the complete opposite of what I was feeling in there during the holidays (unless I was baking cookies, which is where the issues started, so I digress).

I have a major love for tacos and for sweet potatoes, so when I stumbled upon a recipe that included both, I knew I had to make it. This is also when I realized I’m running very low on spices in my pantry so if Mother Nature cooperates today, I’ll be going out to restock.

Taco Smash
Recipe from PaleoGirlKitchen.com
Serves 4

taco smash

I apologize for my lack of professional photography with my food photos. I promise to work on it this year.

Smash
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 small turnip, peeled and cubed
sea salt & pepper, to taste

Taco Meat
1 lb ground beef (grass fed is possible)
1 ½  tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (adjust to fit you taste)

Toppings
2 small avocados, sliced
1 roma tomato, diced or cherry tomatoes
¼ cup cilantro, minced (if you don’t like cilantro use any lettuce or green you prefer)
⅓ cup white onion, diced
Your favorite hot sauce

Directions
1. Place sweet potato, carrots and turnip in a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes. Drain the mixture. Place them back in the pot or in a large bowl,  add the sea salt, and pepper. Mash them together.

2. In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, brown the beef, breaking it up into crumbles. Mix in the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper as the meat is browning. (If your meat is not lean, you may need to drain off some of the extra fat BEFORE adding your spices)

3. To assemble: put a scoop of smash on a plate. Top with ¼ of the meat mixture. Sprinkle with the toppings!

This recipe was quick and delicious! I was leery at first because I’ve never eaten, let alone cooked with turnips, but I really enjoyed the flavor of this smash. It had a nice sweet flavor to it which really balanced out the meat topping and all of the hot sauce that I like to use. I topped mine with some cherry tomatoes, avocado, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. I also toasted a white corn tortilla (which gluten-free but not paleo) on the stove to go with it, but I honestly didn’t even need it. I think I prepared that just in case I wasn’t a fan of the recipe.

The smash can be used as a side dish with any type of protein so if you are not a fan of taco meat, at least make the smash and have it with some pot roast, chicken or any other protein of your liking.

What do you like to top your tacos with? I never thought I would enjoy a taco without sour cream and lots of cheddar cheese but now I couldn’t imagine using either of those.

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Sugar. Sugar! SUGAAAAR!

After being a slacker for a few weeks, I’m happy to report that I spent New Year’s Day scouring the web for new recipes to try so I get my ass back on track. I spent most of the holiday season studying, chasing my goal of 500 miles for the year (which I fell short of but that’s okay) and holiday shopping/prepping. I had very little time or desire to grocery shop and meal prep. I barely wanted to do my workouts but thankfully I stuck with those.

Sugar and I have been BFF’s for a very long time and our relationship is very toxic. I have no control when it comes to sugar. It’s my crutch when I’m feeling stressed and anxious and I was feeling both during the holidays. I also love baking and it doesn’t feel like the holidays to me without it, so I created the perfect storm for myself over the past few weeks.

Thankfully I didn’t gain any weight during this downward slide, but I did become highly dependent on sugar again and that’s no good.

I have been wanting to get my hands on a copy of the 21 Day Sugar Detox book but I haven’t ordered it yet (don’t ask why because I don’t have a good answer to that) but I started searching for recipes that are compatible with it and that’s a start.

With my list of ingredients in hand, I braved the grocery store right before a snow storm was arriving. I had to get what I needed to begin the process of meal planning, prepping and detoxing myself of sugar! I figured if I steered clear of the milk, bread and egg aisles, I would okay. What is it about snow storms that make people want to make French toast, anyway?!

The first recipe I decided to try was for Paleo Banana French Toast muffins that I found on What I Gather. Now I know there are different stances when it comes to paleo on the topic of muffins, cookies, cakes and pancakes. Many die-hard fans of this lifestyle feel that our ancestors did not eat these items so we shouldn’t create paleo forms of them, while others feel that it is okay to do so using paleo approved items. Since I don’t follow a paleo lifestyle (I just like some of the principles of it) I didn’t think twice about making these.

Paleo Banana French Toast Muffins
Recipe from whatigather.com
Makes 12 muffins

Paleo Banana French Toast MuffinsIngredients
2 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
 2 ripe bananas
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp ghee, softened (I used coconut oil which the original recipe said was okay in a pinch)
3 eggs (For an egg-free version add an extra banana and 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce)
For the drizzle topping
1 tbsp ghee, melted (I used coconut oil again)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, add almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas. Add vanilla, softened ghee and eggs into bowl with bananas. Whisk until large clumps disappear and mixture is mostly smooth. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and mix well. Line a muffin tin with liners. I also spray the liners just for a little extra insurance that the muffins won’t stick. (You can also use a silicone baking pan and then you can skip the liners and spray). Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into each tin until they are all evenly filled. Each tin should be about 3/4 full.
For the topping, mix melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a spoon, drizzle about a teaspoon of the topping onto each muffin.
Pop the muffins into the oven for 20-25 minutes (until a toothpick entered into center of the muffin comes out clean).

These muffins are not sweet, but they satisfied my craving for something “naughty”. They were really yummy with a little pure maple syrup drizzled over them and I’m sure they would be amazing with some almond butter on top too.

They are not something that I would eat on a daily basis because I view these as a “treat” and they are a less evil option for me while I retrain my brain and break the sugar addiction that I relapsed into these past few weeks.

Do you follow a paleo lifestyle? If so, what is your view on “paleo approved” muffins, cakes and pancakes?

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Lunchtime Meal Prep…Body Beast Style!

Today I decided to meal prep my lunches for the rest of the week. I’ve been dying to try a recipe from the Book of Beast for Turkey Chili and I’m so glad I finally got around to doing it today.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, chili is perfect for this time of year, right? Well…I of course pick the 80 degree freak of nature day to make this. Oh well! Did I mention it’s going to be almost 90 tomorrow?! So much for the nice sweater and boot weather we were having. I’m so done with summer.

Body Beast Turkey Chili

This recipe was super easy to prepare and it was really yummy. I put some green jalapeno hot sauce over it and I wish I have an avocado on hand, because a few slices would have been perfect. I just realized I have some tomatoes sitting on my window sill, so those will be chopped up and tossed on top of tomorrows lunch!

Each serving works out to be about 433 calories and contains 43 grams of protein!

I also made a cup of rice to serve this over and split it into the 4 servings.

I love knowing that my lunches for the week are all taken care of. Meal prepping, especially for lunch has really been a game changer for me. In the past, I’d scrounge for something to have or just snack instead of eating a meal, because I couldn’t think of what I wanted. Now it’s all done for me. Everything is measured out, I know how many calories each container has inside, I heat and I eat.

Do you meal prep? If so, I’d love to hear what your staple meals are. Do you meal prep for all meals? Right now I’ve just been prepping for lunch. I meal plan our dinners and I always have a few options within the same caloric window for breakfast, in addition to Shakeology.

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Finally Found a Groove

After being wishy washy for a while with my nutrition and fitness, I think I have finally found my groove.

As I mentioned before, I started Focus T25 a few weeks ago. I did three weeks of the program just to check it out and see how I liked it, then restarted it with a challenge group on Facebook. I gotta tell you…I have NEVER sweat as much with any program, like I do with T25. Okay…I sweat my ass with Insanity but this is almost a tie! A TIE…that’s crazy!

This program fits into my schedule like a glove and while I get frustrated at being rhythmically challenged, my two left foot are making progress! I may even develop rhythm, along with cardio endurance, thanks to this workout!

I’ve also made some changes in my diet. I borrowed a few books from the library on Paleo and Whole 30 diets. While I’m not adhering to either 100%, there is tons of amazing information in there and I’ve taken that info into account, when assessing my dietary needs and goals. Two of the books I found most informative are Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC and It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.

The other change I made was incorporating weight lifting into my routine again.

I LOVE lifting. It makes me feel strong, I can feel my metabolism really kick in and I love the way my arms look when I lift.

Mike just started a Body Beast/Focus T25 Hybrid this week, so I decided to join him at night when he does the Body Beast workouts. It feels great to lift again and I can already feel a difference in my body by adding it! Weight lifting is so important even if you are looking to lose weight. Having more muscle increases your metabolism, even when you are not working out, so your body burns more calories all day long.

Another aspect that has really helped me the past few weeks is meal planning and meal prepping. All of the programs I have done come with amazing Nutrition Guides which are full of recipes, so I started digging through them, the books I mentioned above and of course Pinterest, for meal ideas and tips on meal prepping (I’ll have a separate post on this soon!)

One of the great recipes I’ve used came from the Body Beast guide…this recipe is quick, tasty and can be transformed into many different meals throughout the week. They also freeze really well so you can make double batches and just pull one batch from the freezer midweek and you’re good to go!

Body Beast Sagi's Signature Meatballs

This is another good recipe I tried this week from the Body Beast guide. I didn’t have the seeds on hand so I used some ground flax seed and unsweetened coconut in it’s place. They were missing some crunch without them, so I need to try this again!

Body Beast Power Protein Balls

Finding my groove has been a long time in the making and I’m happy I finally lifted the right rock to locate it. I look forward to sharing more on this new chapter with you as well as recipes, tips and anything else I come to realize along the way.

If you are trying to find your groove, please stop by my Facebook page. There are a few different accountability groups going on as well as info on the programs I have completed on my journey.

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{Recipe} Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Thighs

We are a week into the August Clean Eating Accountability and Yoga Challenge and I’m loving it!

I’ve been following a good 80/20 rule with my eating and even that 20% has been full of smarter choices. A new challenge always means new recipes for me, so I hit Pinterest and started searching for Clean Eating and Whole 30 meals that looked good to me…then I put my own spin on them.

The recipe I’m about to share is a combination of two recipes I found on there. One was a stuffed chicken thigh and the other was a bacon wrapped chicken thigh. Both sounded delicious and I couldn’t choose which one sounded better so I decided to merge them together, make a few changes to the stuffing and the results were delish!!

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Thighs

  • bacon wrapped stuffed chicken thighs¼ cup cashews
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • small handful of basil
  • 1 cup baby spinach (kale would work too)
  • boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Cajun seasoning, to taste (I use Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning)
  • nitrate-free bacon

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a food processor, combine the cashews, onion, garlic, basil and spinach. Pulse until it forms a thick paste with no large chunks in it. (If needed, add a little water or vegetable stock to thin it out so it doesn’t get stuck – but don’t make it runny.)
  3. Open the chicken thighs and lay them out flat. Sprinkle with your seasoning, then spoon some of the mixture into each thigh. Roll it up and then wrap with a slice a bacon. Place each thigh, bacon seam down on your baking pan.
  4. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads the proper temperature, between 165- 175 degrees.

These were really easy to make and they tasted amazing! I served them with some roasted sweet potato and zucchini.

As for yoga, I’m REALLY loving this series and I’m so happy I stumbled upon it on YouTube! Having a quick, program that is beginner friendly has been key to me sticking with daily practice.

I’m also happy to report that I have started running again! It felt good to get back out there and while my legs are really sore right now, I didn’t lose that much progress, which was a pleasant surprise.

Have you tried any new recipes since starting the challenge? Please be sure to share them with the rest of the group and if you Instagram or Tweet a photo, use the hashtag #EatCleanWithNikki

If you are hearing about this for the first time, please join us over on Facebook for daily accountability, recipe and snack ideas and of course, the daily yoga video!

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Grilled Ratatouille

The warm weather of spring and summer bring about lots of time spent outdoors. We love to grill in the summer and we also visit farm stands and farmers markets more often. I tend to gravitate towards meals that showcase the great veggies I pick up at these stands or that my neighbors drop off.

I’ve typically always thought of ratatouille as a meal prepared in the oven (as well as a Pixar movie), but I love the spin that this recipe has put on a classic meal.

Grilled Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • This photo is from when I prepared it on the stove, but it's still super tasty!

    This photo is from when I prepared it on the stove, but it’s still super tasty!

    Salt

  • Pepper
  • Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press or minced
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 large orange or yellow peppers, quartered
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions:

  • Prepare your grill for direct grilling on medium-high.
  • In small bowl, whisk vinegar, oil, and garlic.
  • Cut onion crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Trim your zucchini and eggplant, then cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  • Brush half of the vinegar mixture on one side of onion, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with cajun seasoning.
  • Grill tomatoes 6 minutes, zucchini and eggplant for 10 minutes, and peppers & onion for 12 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender and charred, turning over once.
  • Transfer vegetables to a cutting board. Cool slightly, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces. (I remove the skin from eggplant at this time)
  • Toss with vegetables with remaining vinegar mixture, parsley, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

You can serve this with pasta (you would toss the pasta along with everything in the last step. Or serve over rice.

I’ve made this on the stove when the weather wasn’t good for grilling and it came out just as good (just a little less char). I also love picking up the pre-marinaded chicken breasts or thighs from Wegman’s to cut up and toss in with this. My current favorite are the Cilantro Lime ones….so yummy!

 What is your favorite way to prepare fresh vegetables in the summer months?

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