Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers i mini muffin tins View Post

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers i mini muffin tinsSpinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers

Small Things

I’m a sucker for “itsy-bitsy” things. For example, a newborn’s perfectly wrinkled feet, an eight-week-old golden doodle with puppy breath, a tiny cup of espresso that gets me pumped for action, a flower bulb sprouting in Spring when it first breaks through the ground, plus a million more “tiny” things on my list.

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers - the filling in a bowl

Bitesize Appetizers are Cute and Enticing

When it comes to food, one of my favorite has got to be bitesize appetizers. There’s something very cute and enticing about a food item you can just pop in your mouth. Who has the willpower to turn away from mini chicken and waffles waiting to be dunked in maple syrup or tiny grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shots? I know I don’t!

Appetizers, according to Michael Scott of The Office, are “appe-teasers.” They have a flirting aspect that gives us a little taste of yumminess but keeps us coming back for more.

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers - raw in mini muffin tins

Keep the Party Moving

One thing that works well to keep your party moving is having different appetizers at different places in your home. You could place a platter of “Loaded Potato Skins” on the patio, a plate of “Spanish Pork Skewers” on your coffee table, and these Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers on your kitchen bar. This movement keeps your party from becoming stagnant. It also helps the flow of discussion which allows your guests to become acquainted before the sit-down meal.

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers i mini muffin tins

A Balancing Act Between Appetizers and the Meal

When providing heavier starters such as these Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers you will want to go lighter on the actual meal. Or vice versa – if you go light on the appetizers, you can pull together a heavier menu for dinner. The balancing act is important when providing food for the entire evening.

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers i mini muffin tins

Make-Ahead Food

In my opinion, the most important aspect of preparing for a dinner party is the make-ahead food. When I’m deciding on a menu list, I always include several items that I can throw together a day or two before. This removes the frazzle of the “day-of” prep. I hate being hidden in the kitchen still throwing things together while I miss out on the fun happening in the other room.

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers

Speaking of make-ahead, these Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers are so convenient. You can do one of two things. You can make, bake and freeze all at the same time, then thaw and serve them at room temperature. Or you can prepare them in the mini muffin pans, and freeze them before baking. When they are frozen solid, pop them out of the pans and place them in a freezer bag. When ready to bake, I place them back in the muffin tins, thaw and bake according to the instructions in the recipe.

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers i mini muffin tins

Blending of Flavors with the Flaky Puff Pastry

Spinach, artichokes, green onions, garlic, and feta are the ideal blending of savory flavors to accompany the flaky puff pastry.  I guarantee you will want to make a double batch if you’re having a party because these little nibbles will be gone in a flash.

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Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizers

This Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Appetizer is loaded with savory flavors. It is a buttery puff of goodness that just about melts in your mouth. A simple make-ahead finger food that your guests will devour.

  • Author: Kristy Murray
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 mini spinach cups

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. frozen Spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 14 oz, can Artichoke Hearts, drained, chopped and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped
  • 8 oz. Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 4 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 6 garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2 stick of Butter, melted
  • 3 Eggs, beaten, divided
  • 3 Puff Pastry Sheets

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Using a cheesecloth, squeeze as much water out as possible of both the spinach and chopped artichokes.
  • In a medium-size bowl, combine spinach, artichokes, onions, cheeses, salt/pepper, garlic, butter and 2 beaten eggs.
  • Roll each sheet of puff pastry out (separately) to 10 x 10 inch. Using a pizza cutter, divide each sheet of the puff pastry into 9 equal squares giving a total of 24.
  • Spray 2 mini muffin tins (24 muffins) with Pam spray. Press each puff pastry square into the bottom and sides the muffin tins. Place a heaping tablespoon of the spinach mixture into square. Bring each corner up and twist to seal.
  • Brush the additional beaten egg onto each spinach cup.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve either warm or room temperature.

Notes

  • Make-ahead instructions. You can do one of two things. You can make, bake and freeze all at the same time, then thaw and serve them at room temperature. Or you can prepare them in the mini muffin pans, and freeze them before baking. When they are frozen solid, I pop them out of the pans and place them in a freezer bag. When ready to bake, I place them back in the muffin tins, thaw and bake according to the instructions in the recipe.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 mini spinach cups
  • Calories: 342
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 748 mg
  • Fat: 22 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Cholesterol: 42 mg

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers on a wooden tray View Post

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales on a wooden traySmoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers

Sweet Time Spent with Family

Mondays! Either we love ‘em or hate ‘em. Monday for me, this week, feels pretty dang good. I was out of town the past couple of weeks and although I didn’t get a lot done on my weekly “to-do” list, I feel completely satisfied. The reason: I spent some really sweet time with family: my brother, his wife and all of their crew.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers on a wooden tray

Relationships take Priority

I’ve learned a hard lesson over the years: relationships take priority over projects, goals, and productivity. When I was younger, I was “on the grind” constantly. “Hustle” was my second name. And although I set aside time for other things, it was difficult for me to be “in the moment.” I was always thinking about the next accomplishment.

I still love the energy that comes with being productive. There’s nothing like ending the day after you’ve given your all to a difficult task. Your mind or your strength may be spent but there’s contentment that brings a satisfying rest. What I’ve learned though, (or shall I say still learning) is work must be balanced with play. And relationships should take priority.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers on a wooden tray

Life Gives Us Second Chances

Thank goodness lessons can be learned and changes made. Life gives us second chances all the time. That’s the beauty of a new day. The sun comes up and we get to start all over, leaving yesterday behind and beginning anew.

I think that is why I love Mondays so much – it’s the dawning of another week. It feels fresh. It’s glistening with so many possibilities.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers on a wooden tray

So, with my heart satisfied because of time spent with family, I’m turning my attention to a blog which is feeling a wee bit neglected. Here I am, this Monday morning, ready to crank out some great recipes.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers

I have a splendid appetizer for my continued series, “Dinner Parties with Friends.” This recipe, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers, is both beautiful and extremely easy to pull together. Since you are providing food for the entire evening, you want to begin with a light teaser.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers on a wooden tray

Make-Ahead Recipes

Anytime I’m planning a get-together, my number one consideration is simplicity and make-ahead recipes if possible. I hate the frazzle of hurried preparation. I can still fall into that trap, but I have gotten better over the years. The more things I can get done beforehand, the more relaxed and enjoyable I am during the dinner. These Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers can be prepared 24 hours ahead.

Flavors that Complement Each Other

I was inspired by a timbale appetizer at a local restaurant that we have near us. I changed up a few ingredients for the cream cheese mixture. I added some fresh dill and gave it a little kick with horseradish. If you’ve ever had a bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and capers, you will know how wonderful these flavors go together. The cucumber is light and crisp which is a perfect base for this appetizer.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers on a wooden tray

A Great Beginning to Any Dinner Party

I peeled strips off the cucumber for a nice, striped effect, but you can either peel the whole cucumber or leave the skin completely intact. It is mainly for appearance. A pastry bag with a large round tip works great for piping the cream cheese onto the cucumber. Cut the smoked salmon in strips, roll them up and place them on top the cream cheese mixture. When I first made these, I added too much lemon juice and zest to the cream cheese. So I pulled back on it as not to overpower the other flavors. What tops this little nibble off is its capers. They are small but they pack a powerful salty, briny punch.

You will find that this is a great beginning to your dinner party. I think your guests will find it quite appetizing! (This rcipe was adapted from the Allrecipes site.)

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Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Timbales with Cucumbers on a wooden tray

These splendid appetizers have the ideal blending of smoked salmon, cream cheese and the crunch of cucumber. A nice start to any dinner party.

  • Author: Kristy Murray
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Appetizers

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Dill, chopped
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 English Cucumber, sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 4 oz Smoked Salmon
  • 2 tablespoons Capers
  • Small Sprigs of Fresh Dill, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • In a small bowl beat all the ingredients together except the cucumber.
  • Lay out the cucumber rounds onto a serving plate. Using a pastry bag with a large round tip, pipe the cream cheese mixture onto the rounds.
  • Cut each slice of smoked salmon in half lengthwise and roll up. Layer the Salmon on top of the cream cheese mixture and place the small sprig of fresh dill in the center (optional).
  • Sprinkle the capers over each of the salmon timbales.
  • Chill for at least one hour, up to 24 hours.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 Timbales
  • Calories: 138
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 296 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 37 mg

Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs

Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs in a silver dish View Post

Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and HerbsPerfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs

The Significance of a Side Dish

Veggies seem to get a bad rap most of the time. The star of the show on your dinner table is usually the entree, which is why they call it the “main” dish. Of course, there’s the dessert with all its indulging glory at the end of the meal. Somewhere in the middle, you can find a vegetable side dish pushed off to the “side.” It doesn’t necessarily mean nobody likes them. They just haven’t fully found their significance on the table yet.

Don’t Push Aside the Veggies

With all the colors, textures, flavors and varieties of veggies, it’s a wonder they’re not more prestigious. On several occasions, I’ve found them pushed to the back of my refrigerator next to a number of moldy green things. I kinda feel bad for them which makes me wanna help boost their self-worth a bit.

Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs on a silver place

Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs on a cookie sheet, raw

Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs

So, here I am today, raising the banner of significance for every Vegetable Side Dish out there. And to kick it off, I’m bringing you these Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs.

Colors, Flavors and Lots of Nutrients

Speaking of colors, this dish is brimming with vibrant ones. The mingling of flavors will not only stir your taste buds, they release an appreciation for fresh and wholesome foods. There’s an array of nutrients hidden in each veggie with a mission to help improve your overall health.

Some Chopping and Prepping Involved

I know there’s a lot of chopping and prep work with a dish like this. But much of that can be done ahead of time and stored in your refrigerator for a few days. All you have to do when you’re ready to serve these beauties is pull them from the ziplock bags and arrange them on a couple of cookie sheets. The oven does all the work after that.

Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs on a silver place

I parboil the Brussel sprouts and the baby red potatoes beforehand. It helps them cook easier during the roasting process since they’re already softened. The sweet potatoes and butternut squash take a little longer in the oven. I cook them on a separate cookie sheet and bring in the other vegetables 10 or 15 minutes later. When its all said and done, here’s a dish, Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs, that will shine on its own any day of the week.

So let’s raise our glasses to a new era where veggies are no longer considered a “pushed to the side” dish but a “please pass that dish,” dish. You’re welcome!

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Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs

Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs on a silver place

These Perfectly Roasted Veggies with Garlic and Herbs are brimming with vibrant colors. The dish has an array of flavors and textures along with nutrients that will boost your overall health.

  • Author: Kristy Murray
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 side dish servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small Butternut Squash, seeded, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound Brussel Sprouts, parboiled and halved
  • 1 pound Baby Red Potatoes, parboiled and halved
  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large Orange Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large Red Onion, quartered and cut into large strips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Rosemary, chopped & divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Thyme, chopped & divided
  • 8 large Garlic Cloves, minced & divided
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line two cooking trays with either foil or parchment paper.
  • Combine butternut squash and sweet potato in a medium size bowl with half the rosemary and thyme,  1/2 the minced garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread on one of the lined trays. Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes.
  • Combine the parboiled Brussel sprouts and potatoes, bell peppers and red onion with the remaining herbs, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread on the other lined tray and add to the oven after the squash and sweet potatoes have been roasting for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Roast until the veggies are soft when poked with a fork and are charred on the edges.
  • Combine all the veggies together in one serving bowl.
  • Cook until the veggies are soft when poked with a fork and charred on the edges.

Notes

  • Parboiling the baby red potatoes and Brussel sprouts help them to better soften while roasting.
  • Toss the veggies with a generous amount of olive oil. Use your hands to coat every piece.
  • Line the pans with either foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  • Use two pans for roasting the veggies. Do not over-crowd the veggies as they will steam instead of roast.
  • Roast the butternut squash and sweet potato separate from the other veggies as they take longer to cook than the other veggies, about 30-40 minutes. Add the tray of other veggies after 10 or 15 minutes. This way all the veggies will be done cooking at approximately the same time.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 176
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Sodium: 161 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives View Post

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata OlivesRoasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Shopping Like a Crazy Woman

Somewhere within the past two or three months, I decided my living room was way too drab and needed a shiny new look. I have been shopping like a crazy woman from furniture stores, to home decor shops, to a million other places in order to pull together the perfect interior design. I like a sophisticated feel but not too stuffy. An elegant style but still quite simple. Chic with a little whimsical charm. A polished look yet distressed. As you can tell, I’m not difficult at all.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

In my quest these past several weeks, there was one decor item that I kept seeing over and over. It wasn’t necessarily anything that I particularly gravitated toward. But subconsciously it began to take a hold of me. I grabbed it, put it back on the shelf, grabbed it again and stood there contemplating for a good five minutes. It’ll work. It’s my colors anyway. You’re interested now in what it is, huh?

A Symbol of Hospitality, Welcoming, and Friendship

A very simple, yellow ceramic pineapple. I brought it home, joined it with three metal candle pillars in a wooden/metal tray and … I love it! Then I began to wonder, “why all the pineapples everywhere?” So … I went on a little cyber search and this is what I found. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, welcoming, and friendship. When I read that, my heart and my soul just had a party together. Of course, I love that little pineapple even more now.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Elegant but Simple

Remember when I said I lean toward “elegant but simple?” You will not believe how simple this Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives is. And I guarantee you will impress all of your friends at your dinner party with how elegant it looks on your table. I like things that look like they take a lot of time and effort but in reality, you throw something in the oven, pour a glass of wine and relax with your feet up while the oven does all the work. I know that’s deceptive, but it works for me.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Tying the Leg of Lamb

The only effort and time that truly goes into this recipe is tying the leg of lamb. Even that’s super easy though. Check this youtube video out to see how it’s done. Sometimes you can buy one that has an elastic netting around it. Although I’m not as crazy for this because it’s just not that pretty. The best option is asking your butcher to roll and tie a boneless leg of lamb for you. Now that’s what I call “simple.”

Garlic, Spices, and Herbs add Flavor to the Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

What makes this meat so flavorful is the rub that you apply before it goes into the oven. It consists of minced garlic, spices, and herbs. And of course, the roasted tomatoes, onions and kalamata olives are an excellent pairing for the roast. The flavors have all mingled together through the cooking process and enhance the overall dish.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

And Instant-Read Thermometer Works Best

When it comes to this Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives, I prefer it cooked “rare.” I want that beautiful red meat showing through when I slice and plate it. Cooking time is not the best indicator of when a roast is done. I always use an instant-read thermometer to test its doneness. Everybody has their own preference so I am including this cooking chart which I found on What’s Cooking America.

Lamb Roast Internal Cooking Temperatures:

Rare: 120 to 125 degrees F – center is bright red, pinkish toward the exterior portion

Medium Rare:  130 to 135 degrees F – center is very pink, slightly brown toward the exterior portion

Medium:  140 to 145 degrees F – center is light pink, outer portion is brown

Medium Well:  150 to 155 degrees F – not pink

Well Done: 160 degrees F and above – meat is uniformly brown throughout

Let’s get the Party Started

Add a side salad and some couscous to the dish and, there you have it, a perfectly exquisite meal to present to your guests. Let’s get this party started!

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Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

This Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives is an elegant entree for your table. Minced garlic, herbs, and spices add depth of flavor to this tender meat.

  • Author: Kristy Murray
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes (without tying time)
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 5-7 pounds boneless Leg of Lamb, rolled and tied
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Herb de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 12-14 large Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 heaping cup Kalamata Olives
  • 2 Sweet Onions, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 2 Lemons, quartered
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine

Instructions

  • Pull the leg of lamb from the refrigerator and let it sit out for about an hour before it is ready to go into the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Pat the lamb dry with paper towels and smear 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on all sides.
  • Combine the garlic, herbs, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cumin and pepper flakes. Rub the mixture on all sides of the lamb. Place the lamb in a large roasting pan (do not cover it with foil) and cook for 15 minutes in the 450°F oven to get a nice sear.
  • Pull the roast out of the oven and scatter the tomatoes, onions, kalamata olives, and lemons around the roast. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on them. Pour in the white wine.
  • Turn the oven down to 325°F and continue to cook for 40-50 minutes. Because of oven temperature variations and different weights of the lamb, time is not the best indicator for a perfectly cooked roast. An instant-read thermometer will give an accurate internal temperature. Rare should read 120-125°F, Medium-Rare 130-135°F, Medium 140-145°F.
  • When done, pull the pan from the oven, place the roast on a meat cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Using scissors, cut the string or netting, remove and discard. Slice the lamb against the grain.
  • Spoon the vegetables into a serving bowl, add pan juices and squeeze the lemon wedges over them. Serve with the lamb.

Notes

  • Pull the leg of lamb from the refrigerator at least one hour before it is ready to go in the oven. This will ensure the lamb is at room temperature and will cook evenly through.
  • Time is not the best indicator for a perfectly cooked roast. It’s best to invest in an instant-read thermometer for an accurate read on when a roast is done.
  • Letting the cooked roast set for 10-15 minutes before cutting will redistribute the juices into the meat and cause it to be a juicy roast.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 529
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Sodium: 364 mg
  • Fat: 35 g
  • Saturated Fat: 16 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 43 g
  • Cholesterol: 170 mg

Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding

Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding View Post

Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate PuddingKeto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding
(This recipe is part of  “The Healthier Side of Life”)

Adding to Your Repertoire of Keto Recipes

To all my Keto lovin’ friends out there, here is a perfect delectable treat to add to your repertoire of recipes – Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding. Oh my goodness! How things have changed over the years in the low-carb category. In times past, everything you craved was completely off-limits, for instance, anything chocolate and sweet.

Sugar is not the Healthiest Thing to Consume

Sugar – it’s a pretty well-known fact, that this white granular substance that we crave from morning until night is not the best thing we can put in our bodies. More and more studies show that it causes inflammation, can lead to diabetes and obesity. From our early years, the very moment we learned to say “more please” we became addicts. And we’ve had a “sweet tooth” ever since. Our American diet is compacted with sugar on every level.

2 Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding and Glass of Milk

My Philosophy is Moderation in Everything

I’m not here to push one lifestyle over another or one diet over the next. The truth be known, my philosophy in life is more about “moderation in everything.” So fear not, I’m not switching over to a “Keto” Blog.

3 Keto Espresso Chocolate Pudding with whipped Cream

Great Results with the Keto Diet

But, I will say this, my husband has lost 40-45 pounds with the Keto diet and feels great. So I’m definitely a proponent of things that give you results. His recent blood work impressed his doctor to such a degree that she said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it because it’s working.”

 The clothes in his closet have been downsized a couple times and honestly, he really needs to go shopping again. Boy, this diet is costing us a fortune in a new wardrobe. Just this morning, the slacks he pulled from the hanger was about two or three inches too big again. That’s always a good thing.

Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding

Tons of Tasty Keto Recipes

It seems the whole world has gone after this Keto thing, at least in my world they have. The dilemma for me is to be able to invite friends over and make a “normal” meal or have a “normal” cocktail because everyone is on “Keto.” But I will say this, there are a ton of incredibly tasty Keto recipes out there that you can make either for yourself or your friends. One, in particular, is this Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding.

Some of My Recommendations

If you’re wanting a good cookbook that has some fantastic recipes, check this one out: Cooking Keto with Kristie. And then my favorite for sugar-free cocktails is Keto Happy Hour.

Another recommendation I have as a healthy substitute for sugar is a plant-based sweetener called Xylosweet. To me, it tastes exactly like sugar. I totally prefer it over the white stuff, especially in my coffee. I’m not a stevia fan, only because it has a bitter aftertaste. But this stuff I really love.

Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding

 You’ll Feel Like You’re Cheating

Now, let’s talk about this Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding recipe. I found the recipe while I was looking for snacks/desserts to make for my husband. I came across this recipe on the “Fat for Weight Loss” website. This is a great site for everything keto. You totally feel like you’re cheating when you stuff this pudding in your mouth. It’s that good. This recipe delivers on “simple” and of course, that’s always a bonus.

Who doesn’t love coffee and chocolate together? The easiest and quickest way to get a good espresso for this recipe is a Nespresso machine. Which if you are a coffee snob like me, I highly recommend this sophisticated apparatus. Of course, the day I was making these Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding cups, was the day I was out of espresso pods. So I headed to my favorite coffee shop and had them make me four shots to bring home.

Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding

Topped with Sweet Whipped Cream

The beauty of Keto is you get to indulge with heavy cream (yep you heard me right). So I topped this chocolate deliciousness with whipped cream made with the xylosweet. Also, as a side note, you can upgrade your morning coffee with some of that extra sweet cream left in your refrigerator.

So, there you have it. My first Keto Friendly Recipe. If you don’t mind, I may just sneak one in every once in a while.

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Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding

This Keto Friendly Espresso Chocolate Pudding is so decadent that you will not believe it is sugar-free. It has a nice blend of coffee and chocolate.

  • Author: Kristy Murray
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces Espresso
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup Xylitol (I use Xylosweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Xanthum Gum
  • Whipped Cream Topping, sweetened with Xylitol

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream with the espresso over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the cocoa powder and xylitol until completely combined.
  • Increase the heat to medium, slowly whisk in the xantham gum. Continue to cook until the pudding begins to thicken.
  • Pour into ramekins and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Serve with sweetened whipping cream.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 ramekin
  • Calories: 380
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 38 mg
  • Fat: 35 g
  • Saturated Fat: 21 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 122 mg

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping Sauces

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping Sauces View Post

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping SaucesCrispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping Sauce
(This recipe is part of  “The Healthier Side of Life”)

What’s Better than  Golden Crispy French Fried Potato?

I love, with all my heart, a golden, crispy, hot french fried potato. I wish I could kiss whoever came up with the idea to take a brown rugged root vegetable from the earth, slice it into perfectly long strips, dunk it into a pool of scalding hot grease, and then douse them with loads of salt. In my book, this genius should go down in history as the ultimate recipe developer. How simple, but how profoundly innovative. If only they were good and healthy for you! Ugh! This is the dilemma of the ages, well maybe not the ages, but definitely in my little world.

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping Sauces

But then … along comes, a lovely orange beauty called the sweet potato! Who would’ve ever guessed? What an amazing array of things you can do with this delectable vegetable: sweet potato pie, sweet potato hash, sweet potato pancakes/waffles, sweet potato bisque. It seems these days, you can put a sweet potato into just about anything and make it work. But the recipe above all recipes (for the sweet potato, that is) taking center stage is (drum roll please) Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping Sauces.

A Flimsy Sweet Potato Fry – How Sad

The last thing a sweet potato wants to grow up to become is a flimsy strip of mush. What an embarrassment, a complete disgrace to every potato on the planet. Oh, the horror! But take heart. We can do our part in the world of “sweet potatoes.” We can help them find their true destiny and calling which is to become a “Crispy, Crunchy Delicacy.” There are a few extra steps involved, but in the end, it is so worth the effort. And your sweet potatoes will be forever grateful.

Secrets to Achieving Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
  1. Big is not always better, especially when it comes to crispy fries. Be careful to not cut the strips more that 1/4×1/4 inch thick or they will not crisp up well.
  2. Throw the sweet potato strips into a bowl of water and let them sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This process pulls the starch from the potato which helps them crisp up much better.
  3. When ready to bake, remove the sweet potatoes from the water, and dry them on paper towels.
  4. You’ll probably be surprised, but the secret ingredient to making your baked sweet potatoes fries really crispy is coating them with a starch. This could be cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch. Put your dried strips of sweet potatoes into a large ziplock bag and add enough starch to lightly dust them. Shake until every piece has starch on it.
  5. Be careful to not use too much oil. After coating the sweet potatoes with starch, place them into a large bowl and add a small amount of olive oil and smear it on all of the potatoes, just enough to coat over the starch.
  6. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray it with a light coating of cooking spray. You do not want the sweet potato fries to steam, therefore leave room between each of them.
  7. When the fries are done, turn off the oven, open the door about halfway and let them sit for 10 minutes.
  8. Do not salt your fries before baking them. Salt draws moisture out during the cooking process and will leave your fries somewhat soggy. Therefore wait until after you bring them out of the oven to add salt.

The baked sweet potato fries are a healthy alternative to the french fried potatoes that we all love and adore. Unless, of course, you eat a whole batch in one sitting. Okay, I have to admit that I’ve done this a time or two.

Concerning dipping sauces for these crispy delights. For full disclosure, there is nothing healthy or light about them. But every once in a while it’s good to throw caution to the wind and indulge. I have included three sauces in the recipe below. Each is very different from the other. But they all go great with the sweet potato fries.

  • Toasted Marshmellow Cream
  • Spicy Aioli
  • Honey Mustard
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Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping Sauces

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Dipping Sauces

These baked sweet potato fries are perfectly crisp. Sprinkled with coarse sea salt and dipped in one of three sauces make this a delectable side dish or an afternoon snack.

  • Author: Kristy Murray

Ingredients

  • 4 large Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 teaspoon cornstarch, potato starch or tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Toasted Marshmallow Sauce

  • 50 large Marshmallows
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Honey Mustard Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Grain Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Honey

Spicy Aioli Sauce

  • 2 medium Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 medium Red Onion
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1//2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 4-5 dashes Hot Pepper Sauce (Tabasco)
  • Splash of Cooking Sherry

Instructions

For the Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • Wash, rinse and peel the Sweet Potatoes. Cut them into long strips about 1/4×1/4 inch wide. Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl of water and let sit in the refrigerator at least one hour. You can let them sit overnight as well.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425, remove the sweet potatoes from the water and dry on paper towels.
  • Place the sweet potatoes in a jumbo ziplock bag and sprinkle 4 teaspoons of cornstarch over them. Seal and shake the bag until all the potatoes have a nice light coat on them. You could use a large ziplock bag and divide into 2 batches.
  • Place the strips in a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lightly smear the oil all over the sweet potatoes.
  • Cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray the sheets with cooking spray. Place the sweet potato strips in a single layer on the cookie sheet without touching each other. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Carefully turn the sweet potato fries over and bake for another 15-20 minutes until they are nicely brown on both sides. When they are done, turn the oven off and open the door halfway and let the cookie sheets sit in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Serve with dipping sauces is an option.

Toasted Marshmallow Sauce

  • Thread large marshmallows on wooden skewers. Place skewers on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and place under the broiler in the top of the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes until charred and bubbly. Let cool slightly.
  • Carefully remove the marshmallows and combine in a medium bowl with cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add  1/4-1/3 cup whipping cream to desired consistency. Beat until smooth. You will see specks of the toasted marshmallows in the sauce. Serve semi-warm.

Honey Mustard Sauce

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth. Keep refrigerated.

Spicy Aioli Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut tomatoes lengthwise and arrange on shallow pan cut side up. Cut the red onion into 2-inch chunks and add them to the pan along with garlic cloves with skins still on. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the sprigs of thyme over the top of the vegetables. Cook in the oven for 1 hour or until tomato skins are wrinkled and the vegetables are soft. Let cool. Squeeze the soft garlic out of its skin.
  • In a food processor, blend the roasted vegetables, mayonnaise, paprika, cumin, hot pepper sauce and the cooking sherry. Process the mixture until smooth scraping the sides in between pulses. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight for all the flavors to meld together.

Grilled Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce View Post

Grilled Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping SauceGrilled Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce
(This recipe is part of  “The Healthier Side of Life”)

Sometimes you just have to spice up life a little bit.
Obligations vs Dreams

Life is divided into two categories. Maybe more, but for illustration on this particular post, let’s say, there are two. One, a grown-up life where obligations and responsibilities are carried out every day. It can be quite monotonous and boring but necessary to accomplish goals. Two, a child-like life with an adventurous spirit, where excitement and dreams rule the moment.

Two Golden Doodles being lazy on the bed

Life Should Have Anticipation

Take for instance these two doodles of mine, Charlie (aka Charlie Brown) and Sammy (aka Sammy Boy). What lazy bums! Albeit, cute, adorable and cuddly, but lazy bums nonetheless. Boredom is currently dictating their existence. But believe me, as soon as I say “you wanna go to the dog park?” they would be off this bed in a flash and violently wagging their tails with anticipation. That’s how you add “spice” to a dog’s life.

I have a friend that when her little boy was probably two or three would wake every morning, shoot straight up in his bed and pronounce to the whole household “I awake!!” Now that’s anticipation. And that my friends should be the way we approach getting out of bed every morning – with an expectation that today holds a fascinating adventure.

Beef Satay with Veggies on Electric Grill

Adding Spice to Life

Speaking of adding spice to life, you gotta try this Grilled Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce. There’s a kick in both the marinade and the peanut sauce. The sauce, although it brings a little heat, adds a creamy, cooling influence to the dish. If you don’t like too much heat, you can taper down the hot chili sauce and the crushed red peppers. But if you’re like me and my husband, we both say, “Bring. It. On!”

Beef Satay with Veggies on Electric Grill

Grilled Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Although flank steak can be a little tough, there are a few things that can help tenderize the meat. (1) Slicing against the grain makes the fibers shorter and easier to chew. So if you are slicing it yourself, it will make life much easier if you cut it while partially frozen. I always ask my butcher to slice it for me. They do a better job getting it thin. And I’ve never been charged for that service. (2) Marinating the meat for at least an hour will help break down the fibers as well. (3) Be careful not to grill the skewers long – 3-4 minutes on both sides is perfect for medium rare. Overcooked meat is always tough. (4) And of course, when you bring it off the grill, cover it with foil and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Beef Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Taking a Challenge

Let’s take a challenge together. First of all, let’s add some of that spice to our lives by making this Grilled Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce. But beyond that, let’s do something bold this week, something that energizes us and makes our “tails” wag! Let’s do something fun and exciting that we’ve been putting off because of other responsibilities.

Beef Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Okay, I’m headed right now to find my adventure for the day! What about you?

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Grilled Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce

These lip-smacking beef satay skewers bring a bit of heat with both the marinade and the spicy peanut sauce. Perfect for dinner or an appetizer.

  • Author: Kristy Murray
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including the marinating time)
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Raw Honey

Beef Satay Skewers with Veggies

  • 2 lbs Beef Flank Steak, cut into long thin strips
  • 2 large Red Bell Peppers, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 large Red Onion, cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
  • 1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Hot Pepper Sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil for Grill

Instructions

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • In a medium-sized microwavable bowl combine peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, water, hot pepper sauce, sesame oil, and honey. Microwave on medium for about 45 seconds. Using hot pads, remove the bowl from the microwave and whisk all the ingredients together. Set aside.

Beef Satay Skewers with Veggies

  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the teriyaki sauce, hot pepper sauce, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil.
  • While the flank steak is partially frozen, cut the flank steaks crosswise into thin strips. I have my butcher do this step which saves me time in the kitchen.
  • On wooden or metal skewers alternately thread the strips of flank steak (accordion style), red bell pepper chunks and red onion wedges. Line the skewers in a large cake pan and drizzle the teriyaki mixture over the skewers, making sure to coat the bottom sides. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Marinate for 30 minutes, turn each skewer over to coat the other side and marinate for another 30 minutes. Discard the marinade after use.
  • Brush the electric grill with grapeseed oil and heat on high until almost smoking. Place each skewer on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on high, turn over and cook another 3-4 minutes. Pull the skewers off the grill and cover with foil for 10 minutes. Use a hot pad to remove the skewers as they can become hot from the grill.
  • Serve with the peanut dipping sauce and a side dish of brown rice.

Notes

  • Have your butcher cut the beef flank steak into long thin strips for the skewers. This will save you so much time in the kitchen. Butchers do not charge an additional fee for cutting meat, I always take advantage of it.
  • If I use wooden skewers, I always soak them in water for about 30 minutes. It’s not as necessary with this dish because they are only on the grill for a few minutes.
  • I use grapeseed oil for the electric grill because it can endure high heat.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 321
  • Sugar: 14 g
  • Sodium: 838 mg
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.7 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 30 g
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg

Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce

Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce View Post

Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut SauceCrunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce
(This recipe is part of  “The Healthier Side of Life”)

There is Sheer Delight When You Can Cook for Others

As someone who loves to cook, I’m most gratified when I know that someone else will be enjoying whatever it is I’m preparing. Of course, I love to eat it myself, but the full satisfaction comes when I hear the oooh’s, ahhh’s, and mmmm’s around my table. It is like music to my ears. The heart and soul of any cook is the sheer delight of seeing someone else indulge in their food.

Ahi Tuna Steaks with lemon wedges

Bringing the “Wow” Factor

I love it when I can produce a “wow” factor around food. “Wow” this is gorgeous, or “Wow” that tastes fantastic. And I gotta tell ya, this Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce most definitely brings the “WOW!” in every way. The presentation is stunning with all the color and texture and the seared tuna is like butter that melts in your mouth. But the flavors that highlight this dish and bring it all together are for sure the Asian salad dressing combined with the peanut sauce.

Raw Ahi Tuna Steaks with lemon wedges, peanut sauce and asian dressing

Handfuls of Spring Greens in this Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce

The foundation of this salad is several handfuls of the springs greens mix. Of course, you could use any greens that you prefer, but I found this to be hearty enough to carry the weight of all the goodies on top. This package has a variety of greens that add to the overall appeal. And could it be any simpler? You open the bag and grab out what you need.

Colorful Asian Salad

We Eat with Our Eyes First

They say (whoever “they” are), we eat with our eyes first and I wholeheartedly agree. You can toss all the ingredients together, but I love to design it as a colorful pinwheel with the red bell peppers, carrots, edamame, red cabbage, peanuts and rice noodles. All the colors and textures make this salad truly pop with excitement.

Colorful Asian Salad with peanut sauce

Tuna is In and Out of the Pan in Two Minutes

Don’t be intimidated by the Ahi tuna steaks. They’re seriously one of the easiest and quickest things you can prepare. You will literally have it in and out of the cast iron pan in 2 minutes. When I first started making seared tuna, I was tempted to cook it longer which always resulted in a tough piece of fish. The trick is to heat the oil in the pan to almost smoking and add the tuna. Cook it on high for one minute, turn it over for one more minute and “Voila,” a perfectly seared piece of tuna that will melt in your mouth.

Bowl of Peanut Sauce

Asian Salad Dressing and Peanut Sauce

At a glance, the ton of ingredients for making the Asian salad dressing and the peanut sauce can seem a little overwhelming. But you’ll have most of the ingredients either in your pantry or in your refrigerator. And it is the combination of all of these that bring the depth of flavor. In my opinion, it’s what truly makes the dish “sing!”

Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce

Serving this Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce

Now, I’m ready to make the “wow” happen. It’s time to invite some friends over, serve this luscious salad with a light Rosé wine and watch the evening unfold in happiness. What could be better?

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Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce

Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce

Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce is brimming with color, texture, and flavor. The tuna is like butter that melts in your mouth. Asian Dressing and Peanut sauce top this salad with yumminess.

  • Author: Kristy Murray
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
  •  3 tablespoons Water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Hot Sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 3 tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil

Asian Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon Black and White Sesame Seeds

Ahi Tuna Steaks

  • Grapeseed Oil, to cover 1/2 inch of the bottom of cast iron pan
  • 4 Ahi Tuna Steaks
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Black and White Sesame Seeds, for coating Tuna
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, season generously
  • 4 cups Spring Mix
  • 3/4 cup Edamame, shelled
  • 3/4 cup Carrots, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Red Cabbage, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup Lightly Salted Peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Rice Noodles

Instructions

Peanut Sauce

  • Combine peanut butter, Teriyaki Sauce, and water in a medium size microwavable dish. Heat in the microwave on medium for about 1 minute. Whisk in the raw honey, hot sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.

Asian Vinaigrette

  • In the food processor combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic and lemon juice. Start the food processor and let it run as you slowly drizzle in the sesame oil and grapeseed oil. Remove to a small serving bowl and whisk in green onions and sesame seeds. Serve Immediately or refrigerate up to a week.

Seared Tuna Salad

  • Coat the tuna steaks with olive oil and generously salt and pepper each.
  • Combine the black and white sesame seeds in a saucer and coat top and bottom of tuna with the sesame seeds.
  • Add the grapeseed oil to cover 1/2 inch of the bottom of a cast iron pan and heat over high heat until it begins to smoke.
  • Add each tuna steak and cook for 1 minute. You will be tempted to cook it longer but the best way to sear tuna is very quickly. Turn and cook for 1 more minute and remove from the oil and let sit for a few minutes. Cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips.
  • In a salad serving bowl, add the spring mix salad. In a pinwheel design add the edamame, carrots, red cabbage, red pepper, peanuts and rice noodles. Serve with the Asian Vinaigrette and the Peanut Sauce.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 Salads
  • Calories: 579
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Sodium: 600 mg
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 18 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 45 g
  • Cholesterol: 63 mg

Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices

Juicy Turkey Burger View Post

Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado SlicesJuicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices
(This recipe is part of  “The Healthier Side of Life”)

I’ve Been Lying to Myself

We all need a break from life every once in a while. It’s beneficial to get outside the routine in order to readjust our perspectives. If you’re like me, “life”, in general, is swallowed up every day by hundreds of demands and requirements. For years I’ve been trying to convince myself that life will eventually slow down in this next season. Well, I’ve been lying to myself forever! I’ve yet to find that slower pace. Sometimes though you just have to make it happen.

Panama City Infinity PoolRelaxing in Panama City, Panama

Relationships Make Life Rich and Satisfying

I love life! I love my relationships and friendships. They are truly what makes life rich and satisfying. Sometimes the swirling of busyness can steal away those things that are most important. That’s where I’ve been this past year. Thankfully it came to an abrupt halt a few weeks ago while on vacation in Panama and Costa Rica. I must say these are the perfect places to slow down and re-evaluate life. And believe me, I did!

Sunset in Costa RicaCosta Rica Sunset

If you ever find yourself needing to get away, please consider these two places. Panama City, Panama is a buzz of modern excitement while Costa Rica was the epitome of relaxation. Both places gave us a mixture of trying new things like zip lining or canoeing in the Pacific Ocean. But we also did a lot of lying by the pool and eating wonderful food. It provided me time to decompress, reflect and dream again.

Every Area of Life Contributes to Overall Health

Which reminds me of this series we are in “The Healthier Side of Life.” In my younger years, I thought that being healthy meant losing weight. But the truth is every area of life contributes to my overall health. If I only go after one aspect, say, for instance, working out in the gym like a crazy woman but my relationships get no attention, I’m not truly healthy. My nutrition, my spiritual life, relationships, productivity in work, my physical well-being, etc – they all hold each other in tension. If I allow one segment to eclipse another over an extended period of time the result will be an unbalanced life.

Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices

Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices

On the nutritional side of life, I’m bringing in one of my favorite healthy burgers – Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices. Turkey in itself can be quite bland and dry. But the ingredients found in this recipe create a delicious burger that is both juicy and flavorful. I add a can of Rotel to give it a nice bite. Chopped onions, minced garlic along with fresh herbs and spices intensify the flavor of the meat.

No Wimpy Patties!

I’m not a wimpy patty kind-of-girl. If I’m gonna make burgers, their gonna have some “meat” to them – usually, I go with 1/2 pound patties. This recipe makes anywhere from six to eight burgers.

The Bun Helps to Make the Burger

The ratio of bun to meat should be in balance with any burger. It is difficult enough to fit this mountain of turkey meat in your mouth without adding too much bread to your bite. I really like brioche buns because they are light and buttery. My favorite way to create the perfect bun is to brush with some good olive oil and toast it on the grill.

Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices

Don’t Forget All the Fixin’s

Arugula, ripe tomatoes and a dollop of mayo complement these Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Sices. And please don’t forget the cheese, that gooey mess needs to blanket the entire burger. Ooooh! I’m making my mouth water just thinking about its deliciousness.

Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices

Healthy Means Wholesome

Healthy doesn’t mean to eat “rabbit” food while we starve ourselves. Healthy means wholesome. There are wonderful recipes out there that add to the quality of our life because of their nutritional value. The flavors found in really good food like these Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices is far more appealing than stuffing our face with something to just appease the hunger.

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Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices

Juicy Turkey Burgers with Avocado Slices

These Turkey Burgers are some of the juiciest and tastiest I’ve ever had. Rotel gives it a little kick and the spices add a nice flavor.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Large Turkey Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Ground Turkey Breast
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, drained
  • 1 large Sweet Onion, finely chopped
  • 8 large Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons Fresh Sage, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Olive Oil for brushing on the Hamburger Buns
  • Other Ingredients: Sliced Provolone Cheese, Arugula, Sliced Avocado, Sliced Tomatoes

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, Rotel, onions, garlic, parsley, sage, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Divide into 6 or 8 balls and flatten into patties with the palm of your hand.
  • Heat an indoor electric grill to medium-high heat. Brush olive oil on the grill when hot and add the patties. Cook for 5 minutes on one side and flip over. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer is 160° F. Add slices of cheese to each patty.
  • Brush olive oil on the cut side of the hamburger buns and place on grill until they are nice and toasty with grill marks.
  • Garnish the Turkey Burgers with arugula, sliced avocados, and sliced tomatoes. Add mayo or your favorite aioli to the burger.

Notes

  • One thing you will notice when you are making the turkey recipe into patties is the meat is not very firm like you find with beef patties. The texture is less dense and you will think something is not quite right. They will feel somewhat watery but that is what you want. The texture is perfect once they are cooked.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Turkey Burger with Bun
  • Calories: 319
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 616 mg
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 43 g
  • Cholesterol: 93 mg
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