Friday, April 20, 2012

Minestrone Soup with Pesto

Rainy Oregon weather often times calls for a nice bowl of soup.  And this one is loaded with good stuff.  So if you are looking for something healthy and delicious you won't be disappointed. 

What You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3 cups water
2 cups zucchini, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 can cannellini beans
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
28 ounces canned chopped tomatoes, include liquid
2 garlic, minced
1/2 cup elbow macaroni

What You’ll Do:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add onion and celery sauté for 4 minutes or until just lightly browned.  Then add water, zucchini, carrots, canellini beans, celery, basil, oregano salt, pepper, tomatoes and garlic.

Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add macaroni, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. Adjust spices to suit your taste.

Serve hot with a dollop of pesto.

Pesto Recipe

What You’ll Need:

3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 pinch sea salt
5 ounces olive oil

What You’ll Do:

While soup is cooking make your pesto.  To make the pesto put the pine nuts, basil, garlic and salt into a food processor and blend.  Pour in olive oil and blend until smooth.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simple Mini Blueberry Muffins

Ever find yourself craving muffins but don’t indulge cause deep down you know you really shouldn’t  Well I can’t say these are completely guilt free but you can enjoy these little guys with a little less guilt. Pop one of these bad boys in your mouth and you are will be completely satisfied.

What You’ll Need:

1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup soymilk
2 cups blueberries

What You’ll Do:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray. Mix all ingredients together until moistened. Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are firm. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Note: If you are making regular sized muffins, bake them for about 35 minutes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Honey Basil Vinaigrette

This dressing goes perfect with garden fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. But really its a great dressing for your green salads as well.

What You’ll Need:

½ cup fresh basil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and Pepper

Combine ingredients in a Vita-Mix or food processor, blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Don’t be fooled there is nothing healthy about cheesecake. But it sure is delicious and there is nothing wrong with having something sinfully delicious every once in a while, is there?

I’ve been making this cheesecake recipe for years and it is without a doubt one of my personal favorites, as far as cheesecake goes. I’ve included a sour cream topping which goes very nicely with it but have also made it with several different types of topping, blackberries, cherries, drizzled chocolate, so have fun with it!

What You’ll Need:

2 lbs cream cheese, set a room temperature until softened
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla
Box of graham crackers or vanilla wafers
½ cup whipping cream
A few drops of lemon juice
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 stick of butter, melted

What You’ll Do:

Using your food processor, gring half the box of graham crackers (I will often use more because I like a thicker crust). Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of a 12 inch springform pan.

Beat eggs, vanilla and whipping cream into the softened cream cheese. Then add lemon juice and sugar. Beat until smooth. Pour into springform pan and bake in a water bath at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Then turn oven off and let sit for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from oven and add sour cream topping (recipe to follow).

Sour Cream Topping

What You’ll Need:

1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon sugar

What You’ll Do:

Mix ingredients together and spread over the top of the cheesecake while still in the oven. Let sit in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Remove cheesecake and let cool in the pan on a rack. Use a knife to go around the edge before removing the outside of the springform.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Caprese Pasta

As a working mother with three active kids there are often times when we need to just throw something together for dinner.  This is a quick and simple meal for those nights when you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.  And the best part is you can put some aside for lunch the next day. 

While the pasta is cooking, you can prep the remaining ingredients, throw together a nice salad and there you have, it dinner is ready in no time.   This recipe is also great for picnics and potlucks.

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls, halved
1 pound penne pasta, cooked
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine first five ingredients.  Add pasta and mozzarella, toss well.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.  Enjoy!