When it comes to comfort meals, pasta is right up there at the top of the list. Spaghetti, ziti, rotini, fusilli, linguine, cavatelli, and Fettucine are just a few in a vast number of shapes. They are served in a variety of delicious sauces or gravies, depending on who you ask, but the bottom line is, the sauce feels and tastes like love.
With a plethora of responsibilities at work and at home, taking the time to make pasta and a Bolognese sauce during the week isn’t something that aligns with most schedules. However, if you want to treat your family, friends, and yourself to something wonderful, this recipe for homemade pasta and Bolognese sauce is for you.
Homemade pasta is a snap. It can be made with an old-fashioned pasta machine. If you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, you can buy the pasta attachment. Both are reasonably priced and make for a good investment.
This recipe has been adapted for:
Gluten-Sensitivities or Celiac Disease
Fresh Whole Wheat Homemade Pasta by Love and Lemons adapted by Still A Chick Lit
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus ½ cup white whole wheat flour, spooned and leveled (gluten-free all-purpose flour)
3 large eggs (Just Eggs liquid vegan egg replacer or ¾ cup silken tofu pureed with ½ teaspoon baking soda)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Place the flour on a clean work surface and make a nest. Add the eggs, olive oil, and salt to the center and use a fork to gently break up the eggs, keeping the flour walls intact as best as you can. Use your hands to gently bring the flour inward to incorporate. Continue working the dough with your hands to bring it together into a shaggy ball.
Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes. In the beginning, the dough should feel pretty dry, but stick with it! It might not feel like it’s going to come together, but after 8-10 minutes of kneading, it should become cohesive and smooth. If the dough still seems too dry, sprinkle your fingers with a tiny bit of water to incorporate. If it’s too sticky, dust more flour onto your work surface. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Dust 2 large baking sheets with flour and set aside.
Slice the dough into four pieces. Gently flatten one into an oval disk. Run the dough through the pasta machine three times on level 1 (the widest setting).
Set the dough piece onto a countertop or work surface. Fold both short ends in to meet in the center, then fold the dough in half to form a rectangle (see photo above).
Run the dough through the pasta roller three times on level 2, three times on level 3, and one time each on levels 4, 5, and 6.
Lay half of the pasta sheet onto the floured baking sheet and sprinkle with flour before folding the other half on top. Sprinkle more flour on top of the second half. Every side should be floured so that your final pasta noodles won’t stick together.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Run the pasta sheets through the pasta machine Repeat with the remaining dough. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes.
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 carrots, chopped fine
1 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons, fresh basil, chiffonade-style
2 tablespoons, fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound ground beef (Vegan Ground Meat)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed,
¼ cup red wine
1 ½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
Virgin Olive Oil
In a large pot, heat olive oil over a medium flame until hot. Add the celery, carrots, and onions. Turn the heat down, and sauté for six to eight minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to darken and begins to caramelize. Add the ground beef and cook through. Add the red wine, followed by the tomatoes, herbs, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally and taste to adjust seasoning.
Most of the country has been enjoying a longer Indian summer than usual. However, fall is beginning to make its presence known with temperatures beginning to dip all across the country. Although many are sorry to see the warmer temps go, I enjoy the cooler temperatures. Sleeping weather is also a perfect time to enjoy a nice bowl of soup.
Squash is available year-round everywhere, but there are seasons when certain varieties are more plentiful. I love the hearty gourds like acorn and butternut squash. Both are versatile and can be used in many recipes. This Makeover Monday puts the spotlight on butternut squash soup.
This soup has been on my fall and Thanksgiving table for many years. The recipe is very simple, and you can adjust the ingredients according to your flavor palate. It’s a wonderful combination of roasted butternut squash, sweet onions, and ginger. To make it even easier, you can buy butternut squash that’s already prepped. It’s a time saver.
This recipe is vegan/vegetarian, low-carb, and gluten-free.
Total Time: Approximately 1 hour
Active time: 15 minutes Estimate
Inactive time: 45 minutes
Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup
2 large butternut squash (Cut in halves and seeded) (or 2 packages of pre-cut butternut squash)
4 medium sweet onions, rough chopped
1 small fresh ginger root (peeled and minced)
3 tablespoons Canola oil
Virgin Olive Oil
4 ½ – 5 cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Split the butternut squash in half and take the seeds out. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Place the squash on the pan, skin down, and drizzle olive oil until the squash is coated. Place it in the preheated oven and roast it for 45 minutes to an hour. When you can easily pierce the squash with a fork, take it out and let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool enough to handle scoop the softened squash into a bowl.
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are soft, then add the minced ginger, and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock and the squash. Using an immersion blender, blend the onions, ginger, and butternut squash. Add the remaining vegetable stock, one cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for ten minutes. How thick or thin the soup is up to you. If you like a thinner soup, add more stock, if a thicker soup is to your liking, add less.
You can save money buying fresh butternut squash and cubing it yourself. Split the squash in half, and then into quarters. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin, then cut into medium-sized chunks.
You can use unsalted or low salt vegetable broth
You can also use unsalted chicken stock or broth to add a little more depth to the soup
How much ginger you use is up to you. Remember, you can add more ginger, but you can’t take it out. If you use a bit more than intended and it has a little too much bite, you can a little applesauce to add a bit of sweetness and tamps the spiciness down.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender. Be careful to do it in small batches, and make sure the mixture isn’t too hot to avoid making a mess.
You can store the soup in the fridge for up to 11 days
This soup freezes beautifully in an airtight container for up to three months.
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This Monday meal is just right for autumn and football season. When the temperatures drop, this chili will warm you up without weighing you down. It also comes together fairly quickly. Serve the chili alone, topped with cheese or over rice. It also goes well with guacamole and chips.
This is a family pleaser and perfect for Monday Night Football.
The recipe includes adaptations for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also gluten-free and high protein.
Chicken Chili by Still A Chick Lit
4 small or 3 large sweet onions, diced (Vidalia or Texas sweet)
2 green peppers, medium-diced
3 red peppers, medium-diced
1 orange pepper, medium-diced
1, yellow pepper, medium-diced
1 can low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can low-sodium pink kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken stock or broth
3 cans Campbells tomato soup
3 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1 pound ground chicken (or ground turkey)
1 pound ground chicken breast (or ground turkey breast)
3 tablespoons Canola oil
Add Canola or vegetable oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add your diced onions and peppers. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground chicken and chicken breast in, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cover and let cook through, stirring occasionally.
When the chicken is no longer pink, add the chili powder and stir well. Add the beans and tomato soup. Mix well. Lower the flame and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
2 Packages of vegan ground meat
1/4 cup to 1/2 unsalted vegetable stock or broth
To Make Using a Slow Cooker
Cook the ground chicken separately in a skillet until cooked through. Set aside. Clean the skillet and add the onions and peppers. Cook until the vegetables are just beginning to soften. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a slow cooker with the beans, tomato soup, seasoning, and chicken stock.
Cover and cook on high until chili has thickened, about 4 hours. Or cook on low for 6 hours.
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Although life north of forty and fifty plus has changed in a more positive way for us as women, many of us still struggle with the changes our bodies go through in the three stages of menopause. According to Johnson Memorial Health, the three stages are:
Perimenopause– The earliest stage of menopause usually happens 3 to 5 years before full menopause occurs. During this time, estrogen, and progesterone levels drop.
Menopause– The technical definition of menopause is not having your period for 12 months or more without having other health issues like illness, surgery, or pregnancy. At this time, the ovaries cease to make estrogen and progesterone.
Post-menopause– When a full year has passed after your last period, you are officially in post-menopause. Over a period of years, your shifting hormones will settle into a more stable balance. Hot flashes and other menopause symptoms will likely reduce significantly.
Besides hot flashes, many women find themselves battling weight issues. For some women, hormone fluctuations make it harder to lose weight, and it can feel like you’ve lost control over your weight regardless of what you eat. There is always something shiny and new when it comes to the world of dieting and diet fads. At one time the grapefruit diet and cabbage diet were the rages. Then there was the Scarsdale diet that focused on protein and the villainization of carbohydrates, which resulted in weight loss but raised cholesterol levels and caused gout in some people. Here in the US, we have the proliferation of diet plans from Nutrisystem and Jennie Craig, diets where you buy the food you eat, and then there’s WW formerly known as Weight Watchers. WW uses a system of points for each food. Servings of food are assigned points based on four criteria: calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. Every Weight Watchers member gets assigned a daily and weekly point goal based on their height, weight, age, and gender. One of the latest entries for weight loss is Noom, which uses psychology to design a program to change eating habits. Members are coached virtually by psychologists whose goal is to help unlearn bad habits to form a healthy relationship with food. Dieting in America is a multi-billion dollar industry. Where it doesn’t seem to be a billion-dollar industry is in Europe.
People in countries like France, Italy, and Spain consume a lot of butter, pasta, cheese, and more, but they also have lower cases of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, just to name a few issues that are very common in the US. What is their secret? Well, there really is no secret. Europeans eat an abundance of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. They also eat beef, lamb, game, and pork. What is most notable is the smaller portion sizes, and if they do snack, they don’t go for a bag of chips, choosing fresh bread, cheese, fruit, or nuts.
Since there’s so much going on in our lives, one of that the best ways to address this issue is to make a change gradually. Our bodies have been evolving since we were in utero, if we embrace this as something that happens incrementally, it can help with our health goals. We’ll share recipes that touch on facets of the Mediterranean diet (Italy, Spain, Greece), and the French diet full-fat cheese and yogurt, butter, bread, fresh fruits, and vegetables (often grilled or sautéed), small portions of meat (fish or chicken than red meat), wine, and dark chocolate.
Naturally, before beginning any lifestyle diet change, check with your doctor so the two of you can work together for a healthier you.
We begin with Baba Ganoush which is usually served as an appetizer. It’s a spread made chiefly of eggplant, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon. There are a lot of variations of this eggplant spread. This recipe comes from the Mediterranean Dish Blog by Suzy, who has a number of wonderful recipes to try. The link to her site and social media platforms is below the recipe.
Baba Ganoush by Mediterranean Dish
2 pounds Italian eggplants (about 2 small-to-medium eggplants*)
2 medium cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, more if necessary
¼ cup tahini
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the eggplant and garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
¾ teaspoon salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish
Serving suggestions: warmed or toasted pita wedges, carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, etc.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place them in the prepared pan with the halved sides down.
Roast the eggplant until the interior is very tender throughout and the skin is collapsing, about 35 to 40 minutes (this might take longer if you are using 1 large eggplant). Set the eggplant aside to cool for a few minutes. Flip the eggplants over and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, leaving the skin behind.
Place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl, then transfer the flesh to the strainer and discard the skins. Pick out any stray bits of eggplant skin and discard them. You want to remove as much moisture from the eggplant here as possible, so let the eggplant rest for a few minutes and shake/stir the eggplant to release some more moisture.
Discard all of the eggplant drippings, drain and wipe out the bowl, and dump the eggplant into the bowl. Add the garlic and lemon juice to the eggplant and stir vigorously with a fork until the eggplant breaks down. Add the tahini to the bowl and stir until it’s incorporated. While stirring, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue stirring until the mixture is pale and creamy, and use your fork to break up any particularly long strings of eggplant.
Stir in the parsley, salt, and cumin. Season to taste with more salt (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon) and more lemon juice, if you’d like a more tart flavor.
Transfer the baba ganoush to a serving bowl and lightly drizzle olive oil on top. Lastly, sprinkle parsley and smoked paprika on top. Serve.
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Summer is the season of hot weather, going to the beach, cool drinks, grilling, and long lazy days. Conversely, autumn is the season of cooler temps, leaves changing, sweaters, hot apple cider, comfort food, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving. For so many of us, it’s time to put the oven on and head back into the kitchen.
Comfort meals are just the thing to help us hit the reset button in the midst of the stresses of work, school, and other obligations that can make us feel a bit off balance. During the week, we often don’t have the time or energy to deal with a long complicated meal. Even a slow cooker can be hard when you don’t have time to put the ingredients together, or some of us have even forgotten to put it on. However, we came across a recipe in Southern Living that is easy, healthy and comes together in less than thirty minutes.
Chicken soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods and cure for all that ails you. The best thing about this soup is you can buy many of the ingredients pre-cooked and pre-chopped. We’ve adapted the recipe for vegans and vegetarians ( no chicken, vegan noodles, and non-dairy milk) as a way to be sure that everyone can find comfort in a hot, creamy soup perfect for the cooler evenings ahead.
Enjoy and Happy Fall!
Creamy Chicken Soup recipe by Southern Living Magazine adapted by Still A Chick Lit
Total Time 25 minutes
¼ cup unsalted butter (unsalted vegan butter)
1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2 -inch rounds (about ¾ cup)
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups fresh spinach or 1 cup frozen peas
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 bay leaf
¼ cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, sorghum, white rice, or brown rice flour)
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
6 cups unsalted chicken stock (unsalted vegetable stock) (I like Kitchen Basics)
8 ounces Old-fashioned wide egg noodles (you can use pasta, such as orzo or even angel hair spaghetti to keep it vegan/vegetarian)
1 cooked or rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-size pieces (omit for vegan/vegetarian soup)
½ cup heavy cream (dairy: light cream or half and half) (non-dairy: rice, soy, or almond milk)
1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Melt butter in a large pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened. Add flour, garlic, and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is fragrant and the flour begins to turn brown.
Add stock to the mixture and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally. Add the noodles, spinach, or peas and cook, stirring occasionally until the noodles are tender. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is heated through, about one minute. Stir in the cream, sherry vinegar, and remaining salt. Before serving top with thyme leaves. Serves Four.
For a vegan or vegetarian version of this soup, double the vegetables for an extra-yummy creamy vegetable soup.
There isn’t a lot of knife work for this recipe, however, if you’re not comfortable, most grocery stores and supermarkets have pre-chopped vegetables in their produce section. It’s also a time saver.
Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. The kids are back in school. Fall is on the horizon. One of the things I love best about the fall is putting the oven on once again. After ditching it in favor of no-bake desserts and dinner on the grill, it’s nice to have the aroma of something delicious in the oven wafting through the house.
It was Google’s baking and cooking feed that led to finding this wonderful recipe for a perfect morning treat. 31 Daily, is a blog by Stephanie from Puget Sound is an author, publisher, and former television news writer and producer. She describes this recipe as divine and she’s 100% correct. This donut is lovely and the perfect way to begin your morning or you can save it for your afternoon snack. The recipe is straightforward and since it’s baked and not deep-fried, it seems a little less guilty. The only special equipment needed is a donut pan to bake them.
To make sure as many of you can enjoy this, we have adapted the recipe for:
Gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease
We hope you enjoy this recipe and make it this holiday weekend and many more weekday mornings. Enjoy in good health,
Double Chocolate Glazed Donuts recipe by 31 Daily adapted by Still A Chick Lit
1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend flour, sorghum, sweet rice, brown rice flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (vegan chocolate chips)
1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, 1/4 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
1/2 cup brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, organic brown sugar, turbinado sugar)
1/3 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2%, fat-free) (non-dairy almond, rice, soy, or light coconut milk)
1/4 cup sour cream (dairy: light sour cream, plain yogurt, plain Greek yogurt, whole milk or low-fat, do not use fat-free) (non-dairy: almond or coconut yogurt, vegan sour cream)
3 tablespoons cream or milk (dairy light cream whipping cream) (non-dairy coconut or almond milk)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (vegan butter)
If you would like to add more fiber use 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
If you don’t have instant espresso, you can use regular instant coffee or 1 teaspoon of strong brewed coffee
If using turbinado sugar, pulse it in a food processor a couple of times to give it a finer texture. Turbinado sugar can have more of a rock candy type of consistency.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a donut pan with oil or butter; set aside.
Make the donuts: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with brown sugar until well mixed. Add the milk, sour cream, melted butter, vanilla, and vinegar; whisk to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick. Using a spatula transfer the batter to a piping bag or zip-top plastic bag. If you don’t have either, a spoon will do just fine! Cut off the tip of the piping bag or plastic bag and fill donut cavities with batter until 3/4 full.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the donuts comes out clean. Let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the chocolate glaze: Microwave the chocolate, cream, and butter in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Or use a double boiler and melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Once the donuts are completely cool (this only takes a few minutes), dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and place them on a rack to set. While the chocolate is still wet, add sprinkles or other decorations to the top.
The donuts are best on the day they are made. If you have any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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It’s hard to believe that August is nearly over. School is already in session for some but will soon be in session for kids all over the country. As summer fades, so does summertime’s fresh produce, which gives way to fall staples like apples, pumpkins, and hearty butternut squash.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to enjoy the berries of summer. Blueberries are a superfood. Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them a favorite of doctors and nutritionists. Moreover, blueberries don’t just lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they’re anti-inflammatory. They are wonderful in muffins, buckles, coffee cakes, and pancakes. Or you can enjoy them by the handful.
Blueberry muffins have always been a favorite at my house. When you make them yourself, you are in control of the sugar, fat, and sodium content, unlike the muffins you get on the run from your favorite coffee place.
This blueberry muffin recipe is quick. easy, and delicious. The recipe has been adapted for:
Gluten-Sensitivities, Celiac disease
Jumbo Blueberry Muffins
½ cup unsalted butter softened (vegan unsalted butter)
1 ¼ cups sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, baker’s style coconut sugar, turbinado, or raw cane sugar pulsed)
2 eggs (1/4 cup Aquafaba, 1/2 cup silken tofu pureed with 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, vegan egg replacer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon
½ cup buttermilk (1/2 cup whole 2% or skim milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix and let sit for five minutes) (1/2 cup rice, almond, soy, or light coconut milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix and let sit for five minutes)
2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, brown rice, quinoa, or millet flour)
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups blueberries; or 2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed; or 2 cups rehydrated blueberries
3 teaspoons sanding sugar, optional
optional: 2 tbsp melted butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream together the butter and 1 ¼ cups sugar until it becomes light and fluffy, preferably in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
Add in the eggs, one by one, making sure you beat well after each addition.
Stir in vanilla, lemon juice, and buttermilk and mix well to combine.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into the sugar, buttermilk, butter, and eggs. Using a sifter will help to reduce clumping and prevent you from overworking muffins.
In a small bowl, lightly mash/smush about half of the blueberries with the back of a spoon (sort of like muddling mint in a drink) and then stir into the batter.
Fold in the remaining blueberries. We also like to save a couple to drop right on the tops of the muffins.
Line a 6 cup jumbo muffin tin or 12 cups standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Fill with batter – leave ⅓ muffin tin/liner for muffins to rise above.
Sprinkle the 3 teaspoons sanding sugar over the tops of the muffins, reduce oven heat to 375, and bake at 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.
Optional: Reserve sanding sugar until the end of cooking. In the final 10 minutes of baking, brush tops of muffin with melted butter. Top with sanding sugar. Continue baking the muffins until l the toothpick inserted comes out completely clean.
Remove muffins from tin and cool for at least 30 minutes.
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We are always on the lookout for delicious recipes to start your week off right. To that end, we came across this lovely recipe by the Real mom Kitchen for an unstuffed peppers skillet. Many of us know and love a version of stuffed peppers made by our moms or grandmothers. The presentation was always as delightful to the eye as it was the palate. Laura Powell’s unstuffed recipe is a great take on this classic.
To make this recipe a little more inclusive, we have adapted it for vegans and vegetarians too. Remember, you can season it your way. The seasonings used in Ms. Powell’s original recipe work nicely, but feel free to go with your own palate. It can easily be more Italian with the addition of dried oregano, basil, or parsley too. For an Indian flare, a little curry or Garam Masala might be nice. You get the idea, make it your way and enjoy.
Unstuffed peppers skillet recipe by Real Mom Kitchen adapted by Still A Chick Lit
3 bell peppers, diced (I used one green, 2 red)
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef or sausage (beef 80/20 or 85/15, 90/10) (Chicken: ½ pound ground chicken breast, ½ pound ground chicken) (Turkey: ½ pound ground turkey breast, ½ pound ground turkey)
(Beyond meat, ground, Gardein ground, Impossible Plant-Based Burger Ground, Farmland Protein, ground, Good and Gather, meatless beef style ground)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can beef broth (chicken or vegetable unsalted stock)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked extra-long grain rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Daiya cheddar cheese shreds or vegan cheese shreds of your choice)
additional diced peppers and/or green onion for garnish
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided
In a large skillet with 1 ½ tablespoon of oil, add onion and peppers and sauté until tender. Remove from the skillet and wipe clean. Brown the ground beef or sausage until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat, then add the vegetables back in. * If you are using chicken, turkey, use 1 ½ tablespoon of oil to cook the meat thoroughly until no longer pink. For the vegan ground, you can cook the onions, peppers, and vegan ground together in the oil until the vegetables are tender.
Add garlic to the meat or meatless mixture and cook for a minute until fragrant. Drain off any excess grease (meat).
Add tomatoes, beef broth, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, Worcestershire, and rice to the skillet.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until moisture is absorbed and rice is tender. At 20 minutes check and give a stir and continue cooking if needed.
Once the rice is tender, sprinkle cheese over the mixture and cover to get the cheese melted.
Once melted garnish with chopped peppers and /or green onion and serve. Serves 4-6.
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It’s already August for many of us it’s been a hot summer. It is also the time when we begin to see more zucchini recipes as it’s the time of year there’s a bumper crop of zucchini everywhere.
I found this recipe in my inbox and it was a hit, even with my seven-year-old nephew, a very picky eater. The best part was that I got to sneak in a little nutrition with all the chocolate goodness. I hope you give this recipe a whirl. There’s a link for A Kitchen Addiction to see what other goodies she has.
This recipe has adaptations for:
Happy Monday to everyone.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by A Kitchen Addiction adapted by Still A Chick Lit
Yield: 18 muffins
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (brown rice flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour)
1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (Dutch-Process cocoa powder)
1/3 cup sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, monk fruit sweetener granulated, or coconut, raw cane, golden, or turbinado sugar, pulsed fine before using)
1/4 cup brown sugar (Swerve brown sugar substitute, or organic brown sugar, light or dark)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Cup whole-fat or low-fat plain yogurt (non-dairy: almond, soy, or coconut yogurt) (dairy: Greek plain yogurt low fat, whole milk Greek yogurt, do not use fat-free yogurt)
1 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2%, or skim) (non-dairy: almond, soy, rice, or light coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs (1/4 cup Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, vegan egg replacer)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (measured in the liquid state), melted and cooled butter or canola oil would also work (vegan unsalted butter)
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 Cups mini chocolate chips + additional mini chocolate chips for garnish, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, unsweetened baking cocoa, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well-combined. Stir in yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until the mixture just starts to combine.
Add in eggs and melted coconut oil. Stir until combined.
Gently fold in shredded zucchini and mini chocolate chips.
Divide batter into muffin cups. Depending on the size of the muffin cup, each cup will be anywhere from 3/4 to completely full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
Like Beef Stroganoff, Swedish Meatballs reached the height of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. The recipe is a mixture of ground beef, ground pork, minced onion, breadcrumbs, seasonings, eggs, and heavy cream. It fell out of popularity for a while but saw a resurgence when Ikea brought it to America.
The original recipe requires time and that’s not something a lot of modern families have while living busy lives. Fortunately, we found a recipe by Inspired Taste that includes instructions to make them in a slow cooker and an Instapot or pressure cooker.
Remember, seasoning can be adjusted to your liking. We adapted the recipe to include vegetarians and vegans, so they can enjoy it too.
We hope you will give this a whirl to perk up your Monday night meal.
Crave-Worthy Swedish Meatballs by Inspired Taste. Adapted by Still A Chick Lit
This Swedish meatballs recipe makes juicy and flavorful meatballs with a creamy, rich, and crave-worthy sauce. If you prefer, you can serve the meatballs without the gravy. Serve these with mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower), buttered noodles, or roasted vegetables.
For the gravy, Inspired Taste added a few unconventional ingredients. Soy sauce seasons, mustard adds a little zing, and lemon zest brightens up the flavors of the dish.
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (dairy: whole, 2%, or non-fat) (non-dairy: almond, rice, or soy milk)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, plus more as needed (unsalted vegan butter)
1/2 cup (70 grams) finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or a pinch of dry mustard powder
1 large egg (2 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken tofu pureed with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or vegan egg replacer)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
FOR THE GRAVY
Butter, as needed (vegan butter or margarine)
3 tablespoons (24 grams) all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, sweet rice, or brown rice flour)
3 cups (710 ml) unsalted beef, chicken, or unsalted vegetable stock (you can also use broth)
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream (Dairy: light cream or whole milk) (non-dairy: full-fat coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk)
1 teaspoon light soy sauce (vegan soy sauce)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or a pinch of dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
PREPARE MEATBALL MIXTURE
In a small bowl, tear or chop the bread into small pieces then cover with the milk. Set aside.
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a wide skillet. Add the onions and cook until soft, but not brown; 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, allspice, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and mustard. Cook, stirring everything around the pan for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl to cool, and then wipe the skillet mostly clean with a paper towel so that it is ready for cooking the meatballs.
Combine the beef, pork, bread, and milk mixture, and the egg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large food processor). When the onions are warm, not hot, add them to the bowl as well.
Evenly sprinkle the salt over the top of the mixture then beat for about 30 seconds, scrape the sides of the bowl, then beat another 30 seconds to a minute until the mixture looks very well blended. (If you are using a food processor, you may need to stop the processor one more time to move the mixture around a bit.)
Form the mixture into meatballs; we like using a medium cookie scoop that holds about 1 1/2 tablespoons — you should get around 30 meatballs. Move onto cooking or cover and refrigerate up to a day or freeze them (see notes section for our tips).
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. (It’s likely you will cook the meatballs in batches. A warm oven helps to keep cooked meatballs hot while you finish cooking all of the meatballs.)
Melt half a tablespoon of butter in the pan used to cook the onions over medium-low heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning every few minutes, until brown on all sides and cooked through; 8 to 10 minutes. It’s unlikely all of the meatballs will fit so you will need to do this in batches (or use two pans). Add more butter to the pan as needed.
Transfer cooked meatballs to the baking sheet and place them into the warm oven.
MAKE THE GRAVY
After cooking the meatballs, make the gravy in the same pan. Depending on how much fat is left in the pan after cooking the meatballs, you may need to remove some or add a little bit of butter. You will need about three tablespoons of fat in the pan.
Decrease the heat to low then scatter the flour over the fat in the pan and whisk until medium blonde in color, about 2 minutes. While whisking, slowly add the broth. Continue to whisk until the gravy begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat the meatballs, another minute or so.
Whisk in the soy sauce, mustard, and lemon zest. Taste then adjust with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the gravy. Serve with parsley scattered on top.
The recipe authors Adam and Joanne prefer the combination of beef and pork, If that doesn’t suit you, use 1 ½ pound of ground beef.
If you don’t want to use beef or pork, the combination of 1 pound of ground chicken breast and ground chicken makes for just the right bite.
You can use 1/3 cup of plain bread crumbs instead of fresh bread.
If you don’t have a stand mixer or food processor, you can mix the meatball mixture by hand. An immersion blender works too. If you use your hands, it will affect the texture of the meatballs.
Make-ahead tips: The meatball mixture can be made and refrigerated one to two days in advance.
Freezing the Meatballs:
To freeze cooked meatballs, let them cool enough so you can handle them then add to freezer-safe bags or containers. To reheat them, bake in the oven until heated through. To freeze uncooked meatballs, place the formed balls onto a baking sheet and then into the freezer. Freeze until hard then transfer to freezer-safe containers or bags. To cook them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight then follow the directions for cooking in the recipe above. We do not recommend freezing the gravy, but you can make that in about 5 minutes.
Making Them in a Slow Cooker
You can make this recipe in a slow cooker or crockpot. To do it, follow these steps:
Make the meatball mixture as directed and roll it into balls.
Brown the meatballs to add some sturdiness and color, and then add to the slow cooker.
Make the gravy as directed in the recipe below, but leave out the heavy cream. Instead of adding cream at this stage, add it once the meatballs are cooked, which prevents curdling the cream.
Cook the meatballs on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH for 2 hours.
When cooked, turn the heat setting to WARM. Stir in the cream, taste the gravy, and adjust with additional salt and pepper.
Making Them in a Pressure Cooker (example: Instant Pot)
You can make this recipe in a pressure cooker. To do it, follow these steps:
Make the meatball mixture as directed and roll it into balls.
Brown the meatballs to add some sturdiness and color, and then add to the pressure cooker. Depending on your pressure cooker, this step can be done by using the SAUTE function.
Make the gravy as directed in the recipe below, but leave out the heavy cream. Instead of adding cream at this stage, add it once the meatballs are cooked, which prevents the chance of curdling the cream.
Cook the meatballs on HIGH PRESSURE for 8 minutes, and then let the pressure naturally release.
When cooked, stir in the cream, taste the gravy, and adjust with additional salt and pepper.
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