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Quinoa Pizza Bites

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I spend a good chunk of my Sunday in the kitchen running a cooking marathon. These little guys were the result of the most recent success. 

I received an Air Fryer as a gift from my Mr. a few months back and put it to the test as often as I can. The original recipe I found called to make these in the oven but using the air fryer cut the cooking time down significantly and allowed me to use the oven for several batches of apple chips. 

After cooling, I packed 6 of these in a small container for our lunches this week. The recipe made enough for 6 servings ( 2 servings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.) 

I can also imagine making these for a pitch-in or party. Simple ingredients, plant based, and flavorful. 

Makes 6 servings, Serving Size: 6 bites

Ingredients

1 cup cooked and cooled Quinoa (make sure to rinse it well before you cook it)

2 cups of cooked cauliflower, pureed in a blender

1 flax egg (or you can use a regular egg)

1/4 cup rice flour (I used brown rice flour)

2 Tbsp coconut flour

2 Tbsp pizza sauce

2 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Pizza Sauce for dipping

Directions

1.  If using the oven, preheat to 400° F. If using Air Fryer, make sure your basket is clean and preheat if you'd like. It's not necessary.

2. Mix all ingredients other than dipping sauce in a medium sized bowl using a wooden spoon. If you're up to some fun, use your hands. (But make sure to remove any rings and wash up!)

3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop onto plate or parchment lined baking tray (if baking in oven).

4. Smooth out balls between your hands gently.

5. If baking, bake for 30 minutes. If air frying, gently place into basket, turn temp to 400 and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes. 

6. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with a side of pizza sauce for dunking. 

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Double Chocolate No-Bake Energy Balls

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Energy balls are my jam! I'm a little bit obsessed about them. I've made 4 types in the past 4 weeks and I'm sure I'll be making more varieties in the following weeks. These are just as amazing as the others I've made recently.

Makes 12 Balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C. Quick Oats

  • 1/2 C. Old-fashioned Oats

  • 1/4 C. + 2 TBS Smooth Peanut Butter

  • 3 TBS Honey

  • 2 TBS Cocoa Powder

  • 1/2 C. Mini Chocolate Chips

  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Directions

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a big bowl.

  2. Stir like crazy to combine.

  3. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out 12 portions onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

  4. Using wet hands, compact and smooth out balls.

  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm.

  6. Enjoy!

We usually pack 2 in our lunches as an afternoon snack. With the meal planning I do, this lasts us for 3 days.

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Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip

I'm always looking for dishes that focus around protein rather than carbs. I'm a big fan of this dip when attending parties, but I've never made it myself until now. Usually it's too spicy hot for my liking. After doing some research, I found ways to calm it down so that I can enjoy it more. This dip paired with celery is the perfect mix of spice and cool for me. Typically, my MR. isn't a fan of many sauces or condiments so this one was a surprise when he admitted that he liked it and would eat it again. He's the biggest help in the kitchen when it comes to using rotisserie chickens.  I can always seem to talk him into cleaning the chicken for me since that's my least favorite part.

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Serves 10

Ingredients

1 Rotisserie Chicken, meat removed from bones (from the deli section of your grocery)

1 pkg (8oz) reduced fat cream cheese

3/4 C. Your favorite buffalo wing sauce (I prefer mild of anything spicy.)

3/4 C. Ranch dressing (you can also substitute bleu cheese, if that's your thing)

2 Tbs butter (optional, helps cut spice)

1 C. shredded mozzarella

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Clean all the meat off of the rotisserie chicken once it's cool enough to handle. Shred as finely as possible in a big bowl with 2 forks.

2. In a medium saucepan on medium high heat, add in cream cheese and buffalo sauce. Stir until heated and combined. 

3. Add in ranch dressing and butter. You can leave out the butter if you like it more spicy. Stir until all combined. 

4. Add chicken to saucepan and stir until all chicken is coated.

5. Put mixture into 8x8 baking pan. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Serve with celery and enjoy warm.

Tip: I used these containers and portioned it out for the entire week so that it's super easy to grab for lunch in the morning before work. Also, I won't eat the entire pan in one sitting...

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Chicken Bacon Cabbage Skillet

Monday and Tuesday are low carb days in my current dietary life. Those evenings, I make sure to make a dinner that focuses on protein and veggies. This is a new addition that we tried this week. I'm new to cooking in cast iron so any excuse to practice is a win.

It smelled absolutely amazing while in the oven and killed us that it was for dinner the next night instead of eating it right that very minute.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

Spice Rub

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Other Ingredients

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 head of cabbage, sliced

5 slices of bacon (I prefer center cut.)

1 parsnip, peeled and sliced

1/2 medium onion,  chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced (to save time, I use the jarred type)

1/3 C. Chicken stock

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. In a small bowl add all the spice rub ingredients and stir.

  2. Add raw chicken pieces to a large mixing bowl and add spice rub mix. Use tongs to toss chicken to coat in spices. Set chicken aside.

  3. Fry bacon in a large oven safe skillet. Once cooked remove bacon and set on plate with paper towels. Remove some excess bacon grease from pan, leaving some grease left for browning chicken. Chop bacon, and set aside.

  4. While the skillet is still on medium high add chicken to the skillet and brown and sear the chicken on both sides until browned.Once browned, remove chicken from skillet and set on a platter. Set chicken aside (this will be baked in the oven later).

  5. While skillet is still on medium high add cabbage to the skillet and stir. Add chicken broth and sliced parsnips and stir. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and stir. Add chopped bacon to the skillet and stir.

  6. Remove from heat, and place chicken pieces on top of the cabbage mixture in the skillet.

  7. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until chicken is done. If you are going to have leftovers, remove a little early so that chicken isn't 100% cooked. Reheat to complete cooking.

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Just the Facts .... on Fruit and Veg


Experts are always shouting the beneifts of fruits and vegetables.  Some may ask “What’s the big deal?” Researchers have found some very important information regarding the value of these foods over the last 30 years.  Below are 3 facts that help to explain important reasons why eating your fruits and vegetables will help you stay healthy.  Remember these facts are true for plant-based foods, so supplements and meal replacement bars may not provide the same benefits.

Fact #1 - Phytochemicals

A plant produces phytochemicals to help protect itself from the sun and environmental elements. These same phytochemicals are benifical to the human body in 4 different ways: powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxident, immune boosting capabilities, and natural detoxification in the body. The three main chemicals you should know about are: LYCOPENE - This is what gives tomatoes their bright red colors and is a potent antioxident. Antioxidents battle the free radicals in your system that can damage cell sturctures leading to cancers, heart disease, cataracts, arthritis and aging. ANTHOCYANINS - causes the dark blue color of blueberries and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. SULFORAPHANE - found in broccoli is a powerful detoxifier. This is also found in other curciferous veggies such as cabbage, kale, and cauliflower.


Fact #2- Disease Prevention

Studies have shown that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily will provide additional protection from many different diseases such as: heart attack, cataracts, gastrointestinal disorders, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, and macular degeneration. A clinical study associated with the well know DASH trial reported that people who ate a minimum of 8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day had a 30% lower chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Cancer cases are also lower for those that consume fruits and vegetables. The biggest reduction was in cancers of the throat, esophagus, mouth and stomach. The American Cancer Institute believes eating fruits and vegetables can lower cancer risks overall by as much as 20%. Broccoli has also been linked to a reduced risk for prostate cancer. \


Fact #3 - Low Calorie

Fruits and Vegetables are significantly lower in calories then the other food groups. Numerous studies have shown that increased fruit and vegetable consumption leads to greater weight loss and a more satisfied feeling then strictly low calorie low fat dieting. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provides the body with the full array of vitamins and minerals. The easiest way to make sure you are eating a variety is to make sure you are eating as many different colors as possible. The brighter the colors the better. Remember starchy vegetables such as potato, corn and peas are not as low calorie as other vegetables. Eat these in more moderation. It is also important to remember that fruit is not quite as low calorie due to the natural sugar in fruit. The other nutritional benefits of fruit often out weigh the additional calories from the sugar, but still something to be aware of.

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