Easy Recipes

Keep it simple, silly.

BB (Berries and Beets) Purple Smoothie

I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate more vegetables (AKA “undesirables,” to some people) into meals. It’s even easier to do with kids if you can leverage the fun colors. A purple smoothie? Yes, please.(AKA “undesirables,” to some people) into meals. It’s even easier to do with kids if you can leverage the fun colors. A purple smoothie? Yes, please. I was just thinking the other week about different ways to use the vacuum-packed beets in my pantry. When I received a Snapchat from my Aunt Michelle this morning showing her adding the gorgeous red root veggie to a smoothie, I knew exactly what I was having for breakfast. Here’s the beet-filled purple smoothie I whipped up this morning. The berries and banana in this smoothie really add some nice sweetness, and balance out the earthy flavors of the spinach and the beets — I promise. But if you’re nervous, feel free to use just one beet to start. (Bonus: It’s a non-dairy smoothie recipe. But if you’re a fan of cow’s milk, just substitute.) INGREDIENTS: 2 Beets, Cooked and Peeled 2 Cups Baby Spinach (because I add spinach to just about every smoothie) 1.5 Cups Rice Milk 2 Cups Mixed Berries (I happened to have blackberries and raspberries on hand) 1 Banana 6-8 Ice Cubes DIRECTIONS: Blend spinach, rice milk, and beets until liquefied. (I always mix the harder to blend items with the liquid first, to minimize any chunkiness in texture) Add berries and banana, blend thoroughly. Add ice, blend again – then pour and enjoy! This definitely makes one BIG purple smoothie, but it’s all good...

MaK’s Good Green Smoothie

Have you tried green juices or smoothies in the past and struggled with finding the right balance of veggies to fruit. You know, so you don’t feel like you’re drinking straight kale with a sprinkling of dirt? This green smoothie recipe is for you. This came about when I had a bunch of avocados to use up FAST, and my mini decided to go on an avocado strike. (Up until recently, she LOVED them. Toddlers. Go figure.)  I typically make protein shakes or smoothies, and present them to her as “ice cream.” She’s never turned one down. I win. Alright, you green smoothie maniacs who want things to be healthy AND taste good — here you go: INGREDIENTS: 1 Cup Fresh Spinach or Kale Leaves Optional: 2 Scoops Livfit Superfood Blend with Protein (Or Other “Greens” Powder) 2 Cups Milk (I use rice milk; you could use almond, or even orange juice) 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice (About 2 Whole Limes Worth) 1 Banana 1 Fresh Mango, peeled, pitted & chopped (could also substitute a handful of frozen mango chunks) 1 Ripe Avocado, peeled, pitted & chopped 5-6 Ice Cubes DIRECTIONS: Blend milk, lime juice, spinach, and greens/protein powder if using. Mixing leafy ingredients with liquid first will ensure a smooth blend, other you might end up with a stray whole spinach leave between sips. Not a “smooth” smoothie. Add banana, mango and avocado pieces. Blend for 60 seconds or longer, depending on the power of your blender. Lastly, pulse in ice cubes and blend until smooth, Add more liquid or ice until you reach your desired consistency. Typically...

Easy Creamy Coconut Sauce

If you struggle with the idea of cutting down on sauces from a packet or jar, this is the perfect starter for those who are just beginning their journey of cooking real food from scratch. The best part? This creamy, savory coconut sauce could make a piece of cardboard taste delicious — but it’s actually HEALTHY, and it really can go over just about anything, from chicken, to veggies, to fish. And it’s super fast to boot, so let’s get to it. INGREDIENTS: Sprayable Coconut Oil (Enough to coat your pan to sautee onions) 1 Small Onion (or 1/2 a large onion), diced 1 Clove of Garlic, chopped (Feel free to sub 1 teaspoon of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh) 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk *Note: I recommend full fat coconut milk (I use Aroy-D). Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure it’s straight up coconut. Some discount brands will be “low fat” or will include several preservatives in their ingredients — these are processed, have little flavor, and have a waxy quality that isn’t great for that creamy quality you want in a sauce. DIRECTIONS: Put a saucepan on medium heat; once it’s hot, add your diced onions, stirring occupationally until they’re translucent Add chopped garlic and stir briefly, then pour in the coconut milk Simmer on medium heat, uncovered, until sauce is reduced and thickens — about 10 minutes. Pour over meat, vegetables, or anything you want! Creamy Coconut Sauce Tips: When I’m eating super clean, I don’t add any other seasonings, so this is a great sauce for low-sodium diets. If...

MaK’s Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

Every now and then, I crave a big, juicy bacon cheeseburger. But then realize I don’t have time to thaw burger, form patties, and flip them in the frying pan, all before the Midget’s 6:30pm bed time — so I came up with this quicker version a few years back, and it’s in high demand during football season. If you’re looking for a creative Super Bowl party recipe, it’s time to dole out some liquid bacon cheeseburger in a bowl. And good news — there’s still time to whip up a batch of bacon cheeseburger soup before the big game tonight! INGREDIENTS: 1 Large Onion, diced 3 Tbsps Flour 3 Tbsps Butter 1 Tbsp Chicken Stock Base (I use Better Than Boullion) 8-12 Slices of Cooked Bacon; chopped 1 lb – 1.5 lbs Ground Beef 1/4 Cup of Light to Medium  Bodied Beer (I used Fulton Lonely Blonde, which is something I drink regularly anyway) 4 Cups Water 2 Cups Half & Half 16 Oz. Natural American Cheese (If you’re not a “real food” freak like me, you’d use Velveeta, but I’m not about manufactured cheese, so I went on the hunt for a real, natural melting cheese and this works great.) 8 Oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (I hate how much junk  is in store bought sauces, so I made some homemade Worcestershire) 2 Tbsp Ketchup 2 Cups Diced Tomatoes 1 Cup Dill Pickles, chopped 2 Cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped DIRECTIONS: I typically keep a bit of pre-cooked bacon on hand, but if you’re starting from scratch, I recommend baking it on a foil-wrapped pan at 375° for...

Aunt Karla’s Easy Homemade Eggnog

Hi. My name’s MaK, and I refuse to buy eggnog from the store. Ever since my Aunt Karla visited us a couple years ago just before Christmas time and whipped up a batch of her delicious, EASY homemade eggnog from scratch, I simply cannot. To me, store bought eggnog is a thick mixture of processed eggs, sugar, and regret that’s just plain hard to swallow, and frankly does not mix well with brandy. So in order to share this lovely, Christmasy world where eggnog does not taste like liquid quiche, today I am sharing my Aunt Karl’s easy homemade eggnog recipe. Your family and any other holiday guests will thank you. *Disclaimer: This is an easy homemade eggnog recipe, because it is RAW. It is delicious. But I do not cook the eggs, so — consumption of raw food can cause illness, give you a tummyache, blah blah, etc. I choose to use this recipe because I get fresh, organic eggs from a source that I trust, but feel free to find a tempered egg recipe to if you’re not comfortable with the raw egg thing. What You’ll Need: A  Large Bowl (Or Empty 1-Gallon Bucket) WITH a Lid A standing mixer One Dozen Eggs 1 Cup Sugar 1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream 1 Pint Half and Half 1 Pint Milk 1 oz Rum Flavoring Directions: You need to crack the whole dozen eggs up, separating the whites from the yolks (get a few bowls out – one for yolks, one for whites, etc.) Put egg whites in mixer and whip to stiff peaks – the transfer egg whites...

Easy One Pot Sausage Rigatoni

Temperatures have dropped, the wind has come up, and winter is on its way. With little daylight left to whip up something warm and filling for dinner, this one pot pasta (inspired by my dear friend, Marsh, who suggested a sausage rigatoni fix for an impromptu family dinner last night) is a winner on both time and taste. INGREDIENTS: 1 Box Rigatoni (or any other short cut pasta) 1 Small to Medium Onion, Diced (Whatever color you have on hand. We used white.) 1 Tablespoon of Flour 1 Package Italian Sausage -OR- 3-4 Whole Sausages w/ Casings Removed 1 Clove of Garlic, Minced 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil 1/2 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese 2 Cups of Arugula (Chopped if you want smaller pieces) 2 Cups of Chicken Broth DIRECTIONS: First of all, let’s clear something up: the sausage rigatoni ends up in one pot, but you’ll also need a pan to brown your sausage while your pasta cooks. Sorry for the misleading title. 🙂 Place a large skillet or saucepan on medium heat; while this is warming up put a large pot of salted water on high to boil your pasta. Once your skillet is hot, add your sausage so it can start browning. (Remember, if you don’t have an actual package of ground sausage, you can always remove the casings of any breakfast sausage, bratwurst, etc. — whatever you have on hand.) *Note: In the next step you’ll start to make the roux (flour/fat mixture that will thicken our sauce). I used the fat that cooked off the sausage, but some sausage is greasier than others, so...

Simple Grilled Lasagna

Grilled lasagna? I know, I know. Sounds weird. But if you’re stuck between your love of noodles and summer grilling, this is nirvana. I’d love to give credit to wherever I picked up this idea, but I completely forget. I saw it in a magazine (Food Network maybe?) a few years ago, and like most recipes, simply skimmed it, then headed into my kitchen to make it my own. Here’s what happened. INGREDIENTS: 1 Package of Lasagna Noodles 1 Cooked Chicken Breast (Or pieces of rotisserie chicken, or ground beef or turkey — or no meat at all if you’re out or a vegetarian. You make the rules.) 1 Ripe Tomato, Sliced 1 Bunch Fresh Basil Leaves 1 Package Fresh Mozzarella (Shredded also works nicely, but I love how gooey fresh mozz gets!) 1 Container Ricotta Cheese 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil -AND/OR- 1/2 Cup of Pasta Sauce (Your choice. Homemade freezer tomato sauce is awesome on this, but if you’ve got a jar of alfredo laying around, whatever works!) DIRECTIONS: Gentleman, start your grills. (Especially if you have a charcoal grill. Those sons o’ Bs turn out delicious food, but they take forever to heat up.) Cook your lasagna noodles as directed, but cut about 1-2 minutes of your cook time so they’re just under al dente (remember these are going on the grill, so they’ll cook some more) Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water, and set aside. Then lay out your aluminum foil. Cut your noodles in halves or thirds (depends how big you want your portions), then brush your foil with olive oil and...

How to Roast Garlic

How to Roast Garlic Ever go to Sam’s Club, Costco (or any other warehouse store filled with bulk goodies), see one of these bad boys and think, “Yes! I love garlic! And it lasts forever, so I’ll totally use that much!” …then several weeks fly by, you don’t get to cooking like you thought you might, and you wind up with a mesh bag full of feathery paper and soft, rotten bulbs. Boo. My answer to this dilemma? Roast the hell out of that garlic. That’s right, today we’re talking how to roast garlic. It’s a wonderful magic trick, super quick and easy, & does a lot of cool things like: 1.) Roasting garlic gives it a soft, creamy, spreadable texture (which is great healthy alternative to mayo or other calorie-heavy dressings or spreads) 2.) Roasted garlic tastes SO different than raw garlic; there’s no bite – it’s sweet and creamy, with a smokey quality. 3.) Best of all, roasting garlic cuts down on waste because you typically use it faster and it lasts a long time in the fridge. I usually roast at least 6-8 bulbs as soon as I buy a package so I’ve got it handy right away! INGREDIENTS + GEAR: Whole Garlic Bulbs (As many as you want) Olive oil -OR- Coconut Oil Tin foil DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 400° Pour your oil (if you’re using coconut you will have to melt it first) out into a bowl — or ridged plate if you want to do this mass-production style Slice the entire bulb horizontally, so about 1/4 of the top is removed, exposing most of the individual cloves (if you...

Baked Tortellini and Sausage

Baked Tortellini with Sausauge Who makes baked pasta in August? Me, because I’m a crazy person and when I want carbs I make carbs, even if it’s hot as [meat]balls out. (Though I then proceed to have dinner in my air conditioned icebox of a basement.) I’ll be honest, sausage is typically not my go-to meat, but paired with cheese-filled pasta and a nice red sauce to cut the fattiness of the meat? It’s perfect. Oh, and you can work ahead of time by prepping the sauce on a different night if you’d like. Per usual, I did the sauce on a Sunday meal prep session and assembled Wednesday night. INGREDIENTS: Olive Oil or Coconut Oil 1 Package Italian Seasoned Ground Sausage 1 Onion, chopped 3 Cloves Minced Garlic 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Spinach 1 Bunch Fresh Basil 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes 1/4 Cup Red Wine (Best use of a bottle you might have opened & forgot about, or didn’t like!) 1 Package Cheese Tortellini (I used fresh from Costco. Frozen works too!) 1 Cup Fresh Shredded Parmesan Cheese THE SAUCE: In a deep skillet on medium heat, add your sausage. When it starts to brown, add your onions and garlic. Once the meat is browned and the onions are sauteed enough to be soft/translucent, add spinach, basil, and crushed tomatoes. (But you know what else I do sometimes? Tomato puree. Or jarred marinara. This one’s shortcut friendly.) Turn down your heat a tad and let it simmer for a few minutes…toss in your wine and let it simmer some more. *Tip on cooking with wine: Unless specifically directed,...

Turkey and Coconut Curry Stuffed Peppers

Turkey and Coconut Curry Stuffed Peppers Last night I was staring into the colorful abyss that was all of the leftovers and uneaten groceries in my refrigerator. (If you follow my posts you’ll get to learn that I hate, hate, hate wasting food, so I’m always trying to find ways to repurpose leftovers or salvage something about to go bad.) I had two big bags of bell peppers from Costco and three large tupperware containers full of leftover roast turkey I made for a get together the weekend before. Also, we’ve been eating like crap for weeks. Time to make something that A) wouldn’t fill me with regret, and B) Future MaK would thank me for down the road when she comes home from full day of traffic, or kid-related craziness. So here you are: Turkey and Coconut Curry Stuffed Peppers4-6 Bell Peppers, any color. (We don’t discriminate.) 1 Large Onion (I used yellow, but whatever you have works) 2-3 Cups Shredded Turkey (Or chicken. Or whatever meat you have on hand.) 1 Tsp Turmeric (Bonus: This gorgeous orange spice is also a known anti-inflammatory) 1 Tbsp Yellow Curry Powder (I use yellow because I’m a weenie. Spice it up if you wish.) 1 Tsp Cumin 1 Tsp Oregano 1 Tsp Parsley (Dried works, but use fresh if you’ve got it.) 1 Tsp Salt (Skip it if you’re trying to cut down on sodium. The curry does the work here.) 1 Can Coconut Milk (Check ingredients when buying. Lots of generic brands add stuff I can’t even pronounce. How freaking hard is it to put coconut milk in coconut milk?)...

Fresh and Healthy Quinoa Salad

Fresh and Healthy Quinoa Salad I’m a HUGE carb gal, so give me a side dish that’s light and healthy, but actually hearty enough to replace a side of rice or potatoes? Big win. This fresh and healthy quinoa salad is a side dish originally made by my lovely sister, but we’ve both reinvented a few times over depending upon what we had in the fridge. That’s the great thing about it — it’s versatile, so you don’t need to make a grocery store run for if you happen to be missing a veggie or two. I typically cook up at least 2-4 cups of quinoa every Sunday as part of my food prep for the week; it’s a great healthy meal option because it’s easy to serve hot or cold, & it has a ton of protein. Also, this recipe makes a BIG salad, so if you’re just testing it out, you can always start with 1 cup of quinoa and slowly add your veggies in to a ratio you like. SALAD INGREDIENTS: 2 Cups Cooked Quinoa (You could also use couscous!) 1/2 Cup Red Onion, Finely Chopped 1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped 1 Bunch Spinach Leaves, Chopped (Or Kale. Or Arugula. Whatever leafy green you’ve got) 1 Cup Hearts of Palm, Chopped (You can buy whole & chop them) 1 Can Baby Corn, Chopped 1 Ripe Tomato, Diced 1/2 Cup Artichoke Hearts 1/4 Cup Feta Cheese (I also love shredded Parmesan in this) DRESSING INGREDIENT: 1 Clove Chopped Garlic 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar 2 Tablespoons Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1 Teaspoon Sesame...

Roasted Beef Bone Broth in a Slow Cooker

Ah yes, the bone broth trend. Well, I hate to break it to ya, but it’s less of a “trend” and more just…. well, how it should be done. I’m not busting on you if you use canned broth, but if you want a better tasting, better for you, more flavorful broth, then bones are the way to go. And it’s WAY easier than you think. Promise. I’m not about to tell you that I was doing this before it became a trend. Because actually, my mom was, and she’s the one who taught me. We’d throw bones, veggies, and seasoning in a big stock pot and let it simmer on the stove most of the day. At the end we’d wind up with a lovely, golden-colored bone broth. Then I had a kid and “most of the day” was gone before I knew it. But you know what else is making a comeback? Slow cookers. Normally I’m about doing things the old-fashioned way, but when I added this handy dandy convenience to the mix, it actually made it…GASP…better! With just a quick oven roast on the bones before hitting the slow cooker, this is probably the easiest bone broth I’ve ever done.   Before you get started, preheat your oven to 425°, then start pulling your ingredients together. INGREDIENTS: 1 Package of Soup Bones (I used beef, but you can do it with just about any leftover bone from a meal — so if you just had bone-in pork chops or a T-bone steak, don’t give them to your dog. Seriously.) Nonstick Cooking Spray (I use Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray)...