Tag Archives: baking

The Best Food Gift Recipes You Still Have Time to Make

Food gifts are one of the most popular of the gift-giving season, and almost always one of the most well received. Whether it’s a last-minute gift or just a desire to share something wholesome and homemade with friends and loved ones, this menu is all you need to share awesome food gifts.

Skip the expected boxes of drug store chocolate and tins of stale popcorn; these 14 treats and snacks will truly be unexpected, welcome surprises.

Pomegranate Pistachio Bark

POMEGRANATE PISTACHIO DARK CHOCOLATE BARK

This foodie gift is beautifully shared with wrapped in brown butcher paper.

chocolate covered pretzel protein balls

CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZEL PROTEIN BALLS

These bite-sized gems are like a homemade Lara Bar. Fill a Mason jar with the balls and wrap in a ribbon.

homemade sour mix

FRESH SOUR MIX

Prepare the mix and pour the juice in to clasp-top bottles or re-use wine bottles. Give this gift with a bottle of vodka or tequila. (more…)

Crustless Pumpkin Pie Mini Muffins: Clean Eating Dessert That’s Entirely Decadent

crustless-pumpkin-pie-muffins

The holidays are here and that means we get to feast! Whether you do so mindfully or mindlessly, the point is to enjoy the time, the family, and definitely the food.

I LOVE sweets, however I don’t love how I feel afterwards. This means that some of my greatest ingenuity in the kitchen happens while trying to create desserts that still taste sinful without punishing my tummy later on. And this becomes especially necessary during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.

Enter: the Crustless Pumpkin Pie Mini Muffins. This quintessential holiday dessert does not need to be on your “No-no” list this year. I have adapted this recipe from 58 Day Dreams into a cleaner more health-friendly version. Why wait until New Year’s to start eating right again?

mini-pumpkin-pie-muffins

My favorite way to watch portions with most delectable treats is to make mini versions, and in this case that’s mini muffin pies. I often find that those few bites are enough to satisfy me for the rest of the night. (more…)

Cozy Winter Dinner for Four: Turkey and Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash

turkey-acorn-squash

Some (huge) part of me loves hunkering down for the cooler months. This season mean more time by the fire, with a book, wearing cozy sweaters, and playing board games. Maybe this means I’m secretly an 85-year-old woman living in a millennial’s body, but maybe I’m OK with that.

One of my favorite parts of fall and winter is spending time in the kitchen creating wholesome, seasonal recipes. I love all of the winter vegetables and making “comfort food” that won’t ruin my wellness goals — like these fall comfort foods for vegetarians. My household tries to avoid excessive grain consumption, and increased veggies, the result being my favorite format of dinners: stuffed anything. Stuffed zucchini, butternut squash, these stuffed kale and bean sweet potatoes — name the veggie and I’ve packed it with goodies and served it as a meal.

acorn-squash

So then I tried to include the much less popular cousin of the beloved butternut or spaghetti squash, and experimented with acorn squash. It is perfect for a foggy fall night and lasts forever to make GREAT leftovers — even served cold! Plus, acorn squash is more nutrient-dense than any of its other summer squash relatives. Score!

stuffed-acorn-squash

Acorn squash is loaded with vitamin C to boost the immune system, vitamin A for healthy vision and skin, and has more than 9 grams of dietary fiber! This is more than one-third of the daily requirement and helps to regulate blood sugar, diabetes, and digestion. Plus, hello, isn’t she so pretty?

To choose a ripe acorn squash, look for one with a dark green color, with a small patch of yellow or orange. The skin should be hard and the stem slightly withered.

acorn-squashes

For this recipe, slice the squash lengthwise, brush with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Remember a little bit of this powerful autumnal spice goes a long way!

I chose to stuff the squash with ground turkey, as it is leaner than red meat and the subtler flavor lets the squash taste take center stage! Like all of my recipes, this is extremely forgiving in what you choose to throw in to the stuffing mixture. Consider adding red and green bell peppers, chopped onions, or sun-dried tomatoes. Those are some of my favorite bonus additions when I have them lying around the house.

minced-garlic-and-herbs

But for the purposes of guiding you on a ready-to-follow recipes with little improvisation needed, I’ve literally stuffed this recipe with some of the best natural flavor agents around. Minced garlic and onion, sweet raisins, and a trio of fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme. The aroma before you even start roasting will fill your senses and boost your anticipation of this meal.

stuffed-turkey-acorn-squash

As always, I’d suggest tossing any almost-moldy greens into the mixture right at the very end so they wilt slightly and blend in with the other flavors. I’m always looking for ways to hide any extra veggies!

If your tummy and nutritional choices allow, you may even want to top with crumbled feta cheese before drizzling with balsamic vinegar and serving for an extra flavor boost!

And one more favorite preparation tip? I’ve made this with sweet potato flesh combined with the turkey mixture. Having both acorn and sweet potato together makes it extra yummy!

Turkey and Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash
serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise with seeds removedacorn-squash-stuffed-turkey

1 lb. ground turkey

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

16 oz. baby spinach

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/4 cup raisins

1 tsp. parsley, chopped

1 tsp. thyme, chopped

1/2 tsp. basil, chopped

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2+ tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and adjust rack to middle position. While it warms, brush the squash lightly with olive oil and dust with nutmeg. Place squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Brown the ground turkey. Add the diced onion, garlic, and celery, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes until soft.

3. Stir in herbs, spices, and raisins. Add spinach and wilt 2-3 minutes. Add in butter or coconut oil and combine over medium heat.

4. Spoon filling into acorn squash and roast for 20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.


ALSO TRY THESE PERFECT FALL MEALS

Twice-Baked Shepherd’s Pie

Whole Wheat Chicken Pot Pie

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese


Recipe by Katie McGrath; Photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com

No Brainer Dinner: BBQ Pork Sliders with Homemade Cole Slaw

bbq-pork-sliders

There’s a new D-word, and all of us cringe at its mention. But inevitably, once a day, that question sounds: what’s for dinner? There’s too much pressure on this one single meal that doesn’t even carry the responsibility of being the most important meal of the day. And yet, it’s the one that we focus on the most.

We need it easy, fast, delicious, healthy, and we need all of it for an affordable price. Something has to give, right? Not with these BBQ Pork Sliders! You get the whole package for a fair price in less than 45 minutes. You can’t beat that with a sack of burgers!

bbq-pork

35 Quick & Easy School Night Dinners Your Kids Will Actually Eat

This recipe uses lean pork tenderloin, and the name says it all. This cut of meat is very tender (it’s honestly hard to mess it up) and it’s very lean. Four ounces of pork tenderloin weighs in nutritionally almost identical to the same amount of chicken breast, with 185 calories and 5 grams of fat. For the serving size and the amount of satisfying flavor pork tenderloin offers, you seriously cannot beat this cut of meat. It’s one of our favorite go-tos.

bbq-pork-tenderloin

The pork roasts for about half an hour in the oven, staying moist and building flavor with your favorite barbecue sauce. Sodium and sugar are two things to watch out for when buying bottled sauce, but tasty options abound if you’re willing to read a label.

While the pork is cooking, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare the homemade slaw to top the sandwiches. This is way too easy, and if you’ve got eager hands who love to help out in the kitchen, this is the perfect task to pass on to the kids. Simply mix reduced-fat mayo and milk with white vinegar and scallions (green onions) and toss that with a bagged cole slaw mix from the store.

bbq-pork-coleslaw

Then prep the dinner rolls or slider buns with a scoop of the slaw, finishing with the pork. When this comes out of the oven, you can use a fork to shred or pull the pork. Top with any remaining scallions and barbecue sauce and dinner is served!

bbq-pork-slider

BBQ Pork Sliders
serves 12

INGREDIENTS

One pork tenderloin (about 1 ¼ lbs.)
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
3 cups bagged Classic Cole Slaw (shredded cabbage and carrots)
3 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fat-free milk
1 ½ tsp. cider or white vinegar
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sliced scallions
12 dinner rolls or slider buns, split and warmed or toasted if desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or regular foil coated with cooking spray.
  2. Place pork on pan and brush with 1 Tbsp. barbecue sauce. Roast until meat thermometer inserted in center registers 155 degrees, about 30 minutes.
  3. To make coleslaw, put coleslaw, mayonnaise, milk, vinegar and 2 Tbsp. sliced scallions in a medium bowl and toss to mix and coat. (Can be made 1 day ahead).
  4. Slice pork then tear or cut into shreds or pieces.
  5. Put pork, remaining scallions and barbecue sauce in a large nonstick skillet and warm over low heat. (Can be made one day ahead and reheated just before serving).
  6. To serve, spoon about ¼ cup BBQ pork on each bun bottom. Top each with about 3 Tbsp. coleslaw, then bun tops.

Sriracha oven fries rack

TRY THESE HOMEMADE SIDES

Sriracha Oven Fries (pictured)

Red and Sweet Potato Salad

Parmesan Orange Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Cheesy Black Bean and Sweet Corn Dip

recipe by Terry Grieco Kenny; photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com

Easy 5-Ingredient Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip with Homemade Graham Crackers

pumpkin cream cheese dip and-crackers
This time of year I find any excuse I can to invite people over. Saturday afternoon football games, Friday night TGIF-ing, or just because, Autumn feels like the most inviting season of all. Halloween night, especially. Our patio always turns in to the must-be spot for family and friends. Everyone pitches in goodies for the trick-or-treaters, and we provide the turkey & black bean chili.

While a healthy dinner that fuels our party and little costume wearers, I’m always trying to find some new and exciting to serve for dessert. This year, we’re going with a crazy-kind-of-simple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip. Part appetizer, part dessert, wholly scrumptious, there’s nothing not to love about these seasonal creation. (more…)

9 New Ways to Eat a Pocket Full of Pawpaws

pawpaw-fruit

Nine ways to eat a … what? That’s right, a pawpaw! It is North America’s largest indigenous fruit you’ve never heard of. Affectionately titled the “poor man’s banana,” pawpaw is PACKED with more potassium than a banana and three times more vitamin C than an orange, according to Modern Farmer.

Not convinced to try them? Maybe these recipes will change your mind.

Pick a Pocket Full of Pawpaws: Sure to be the Hottest New “it” Fruit

1. Straight up raw. 

Any pawpaw fan will tell you that the best way to enjoy this adventurous produce is straight off the tree during peak season, which is mid-August through mid-October. With a custard-like texture and taste similar to mangoes, bananas, and melons, it’s no wonder eating the raw fruit is the way to go!

2. Pawpaw pie. 

Think lemon meringue with a new twist. Combine pawpaw pulp (peeled and seeded) with sugar, milk, egg yolks, and flour to heat over the stove. Then top with whipped egg white meringue and bake for 12 minutes at 350. See the full recipe here.

3. A micro-brewery trend

Midwest microbreweries and distilleries are catching on to pawpaws and have introduced several craft beers and wines that incorporate the subtly fruity flavor. These pawpaw brews are most commonly found throughout Ohio and the Carolinas. (more…)

Fall for Kale and White Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for Dinner

kale-bean-sweet-potato

As fall approaches, I can’t get enough of nutrient dense root vegetables. Most notably: the sweet potato. While some prefer variety in their diet, I could eat some form of sweet potato every day: mashed for breakfast, fried for lunch, and stuffed for dinner.

sweet-potatoes

Stuffed sweet potato, you ask? Yes. My multiple experiments in the kitchen to include as much sweet potato as possible has led to one of my staple year-round dinners –the kale & white bean stuffed sweet potato. Who needs to wait for fall to have a hearty, yet surprisingly light, dinner? Not me!

Sweet potatoes are an all-star source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and the purple sweet potatoes are even thought to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just as the recipe name implies, you simply bake the sweet potatoes, choose your green and your white bean, prepare as directed, then stuff the greens & beans into the sweet potato for a healthy and satisfying edible boat! It’s truly delicious. (more…)

Back to School Clean Eating Cookies Made Just About Any Way You Like!

allergy cookies

It’s that time of year again for brown bag lunches and busy fall schedules. To keep the kids healthy AND keep their sweet tooth happy, try these super simple, super clean cookies. What we love about these cookies is that they are very forgiving and flexible in terms of the goodies you add in at the end.

Consider adding almond butter, cocoa powder, protein powder, chopped almonds, canned pumpkin, extra cinnamon…the sky’s the limit!

healthy cookie ingredients

The mashed bananas as the base is a great way to keep the cookies moist while providing a stable base packed with nutrition and energy. Adding oats provides essential fiber to keep little bellies full. (more…)

Our 13 Favorite Chocolate Covered Recipes to Indulge in on National Chocolate Day

Fellow choco-holics, today is our day. Though other days may masquerade as a Chocolate Day of some sort, today, July 7, is in fact Chocolate Day. Whether your preference is dark, milk or something in between, I think we can all appreciate a day dedicated to this delicious, and healthy (when eaten in moderation) treat.

chocolate heart

We don’t need to remind you about the benefits of enjoying a few bites of chocolate, especially dark chocolate which is full of antioxidants. It’s not just the finished product that’s good for you either. Raw cacao, the beans from which chocolate is made, is one of the best kept nutrition secrets.

If you’re looking to satisfy a chocolate craving on this holiday, or really any day, we’ve got the perfect line-up of recipes that will allow you to enjoy the chocolaty goodness without feeling like you’ve completely overindulged.

smores cupcake

S’more Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

S’mores are good, cupcakes are good, and both are made even better when combined into one finger-licking delicious treat! Topped with a simple chocolate cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.

chocolate peppermint donuts

Double Chocolate Peppermint Donuts (more…)

The More the Berrier with Summery Blueberry Muffin Tops

The best part of the pizza? That very first bite of the pointy triangle end.

The best part of a cinnamon roll? The ooey-gooiest center.

The best part of the muffin? The top. Duh!

blueberry muffin tops

My completely made up statistic that 99.5 percent of people would rather eat the top of the muffin exclusively, rather than what a friend of mine calls “the stump,” is the reason an entire pan has been created to let you accomplish such baked good sorcery. There’s no waste; just bake the part people actually want to eat!

I know it’s warming up outside and the last thing you want to think about doing is firing up the oven. But berries are in season! So, you kind of have to. Rules and what not.

blueberry muffin tops pan

Blueberries are one of those can’t-fail foods, at least from a mom perspective. I don’t care what my four-year-old’s mood is, what she is or isn’t liking that week, or where we are — blueberries always get a yes. They are one of the original super foods, so it’s a no brainer to add them to pancakes, salads, smoothies, or just devour a fist-full every chance you get. One of the few, rare “blue” foods that occur in nature, those juicy little beads of sweetness can stand on their own with a healthy dose of fiber, a bit of protein, potassium, vitamin c, anthocyanins, antioxidants, and a host of other good-for-you goodness.

blueberry muffins

So when I tell you this recipe calls for blueberries, do not be shy. Dump ’em in! The more the berrier, right?

You’ll notice we don’t add any sugar to this recipe. A generous, drizzly pour of honey with some natural applesauce really take on the heavy responsibility of sweetening these muffins. It’s not a two-man job though, the lemon juice, vanilla yogurt, and of course the blueberries, all carry their own weight in that department, too.

honey and applesauce

However, just before baking, I do sprinkle the tops with just a pinch of raw turbinado sugar. This gives the muffin that glazy top that you’d ordinarily create with a streusel topping, but without gobs of butter and white sugar.

sugar topping muffins

I use half-and half all-purpose and whole wheat flours. This gives me the bulk of fiber in a better flour with the texture we’ve all become accustomed to with white flours. To make up the difference, I add just a bit of uncooked oats for more fiber and a denser bite.

baking muffin tops

After it’s all whisked and folded together, scoop that batter into a pre-formed muffin top pan. Roughly 20 minutes later, you’ll have a pile of muffin tops that are just jam-packed with blueberries! You’ll want to save them all for yourself, but they’re so darn cute that sharing will seem like a reasonable option, too.

Blueberry Muffin Tops
makes 6

INGREDIENTSmuffin tops recipe

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp honey
1 egg
1/4 cup natural applesauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp. raw turbinado sugar, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.

3. In a second bowl, beat the egg with the other wet ingredients.

4. Fold the wet ingredients in to the dry, then gently add the blueberries.

5. Lightly mist the pan with cooking spray, then add the batter. If you choose, sprinkle the tops with raw turbinado sugar.

6. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

ALSO TRY THIS!

Turkey Burger Sliders with Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

S’More Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Muffins Recipe is In Season!

 

Recipe by Brandi Koskie; photos by Kacy Meinecke