Easy Sausage, Potatoes, Peppers and Onions

It’s back to school and here’s an easy recipe that will be a go to for you and your family. I love making this for my family because it’s quick, healthy and fills their bellies. When school starts back we all are in the grind of life, adjusting to a new school year schedule. There are footballs practices, ballet rehearsals, music recitals and a thousand other things we have to focus on, so let dinner be one thing, you pour Love into, but not lots of time. But hey it can taste like it. 😉

Note: A short cut here for this recipe is to precooked the potatoes the night before or use frozen potatoes. I prefer to precook fresh potatoes the night before, fresh ingredients really does make a difference. If you do, cook them until they are mostly tender and not mushy. They will cook later in the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4-5 Sweet Italian Turkey sausage links

10 medium red potatoes, cut in half

1 large yellow onion, sliced

3 bell peppers, any color, sliced into strips. I used what was in the fridge.

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth

1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Sea salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Add the red potatoes to a pot of boiling water, cook until mostly tender, they will cook in the saucepan with the sausage and peppers later. Drain and set aside.

*If you are using precooked potatoes or frozen, skip this step above.

While the potatoes are cooking, Poke each sausage a few times with a paring knife or fork (this helps release steam as they cook).

In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add sausages and brown gently and slowly. Cook for 3- 5 minutes, turning occasionally to gently brown on all sides. (They should not be fully cooked.) Once browned, remove sausages to a plate. Set aside.

Increase heat to medium high. Add onion and pepper slices. Toss to coat in oil and sear vegetables until slightly blackened, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Add vegetable broth, to deglaze the saucepan, scraping bottom of pan with a wooden spoon to release bits. Simmer the vegetable broth until reduced by half.

Add Italian seasoning. Stir well to combine. Add sausages and the potatoes. Add salt to taste and gently toss. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until potatoes and peppers are soft and sausages are cooked.

Broccoli and Parmesan Cheese with a twist

This is a simple recipe, but it has a twist. Instead of using water to steam the broccoli you use vegetable broth. It gives the broccoli so much flavor. In a sauce pan add a bit of oil on heat the stove on medium heat . Toss in 2 cups of broccoli florets. Stir the florets around in the pan to help coat them with the oil. Add in a 1/3 cup of low sodium vegetable. Place the lid on top of the pan and allow to steam until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese on top, place lid back onto the pan to help the cheese melt. Serve immediately. Enjoy

Honey, how do I lower my carbs, but still have the snacks I love? 🤔

Okay, so my biggest client is my husband. He is in amazing shape… and the Oscar goes to his wife, that’s me, for making him delicious and healthy meals, everyday. Yes everyday, well almost everyday. Lol 😂

He went for his yearly annual and his doctor told him most everything looked awesome, just had to watch those carbs. Of course, I get a call, because my husband is serious about his health and he married his nutritionist.

“Honey, he says, I need to cut back on the carbohydrates, but how do I do that and still enjoy what I love to eat? ”

Well before we get to that, let’s look at Why Carbohydrates are good for us:

Here’s the deal on carbohydrates, first off they are our friends. We need carbs to function, they give us energy. They help fuel our brains, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. They help us fill full and assist in keeping our blood cholesterol levels on point.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should consume, at the very least, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of carbohydrates, which is 130 grams for adults, 175 grams for women who are pregnant and 210 grams for women who are breastfeeding. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, women should consume 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis, while men should consume 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis. Source:WebMD

If you have health issues, like diabetes or prediabetic this number can vary based on your doctors evaluation.

If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor or dietitian who can help you plan meals to control your blood sugar. Though your daily carbohydrate requirements are the same as those for someone without diabetes, it’s important to avoid eating too many carbohydrates in one sitting. The American Diabetes Association suggests that you should limit your intake to about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. SOURCE: WebMD

If you are just cutting back, I like to suggest 100 grams a day for weight loss. Substituting your simple carbs with more complex carbs, like brown rice for white rice, eating more fruits, whole grains and legumes. Eliminating simple carbs out of your diet, like sugary foods, white flour and white potatoes.

Also knowing how to count your carbs is very important. For example, multi grain bread may have 21 grams of carbs, but 4 grams of fiber, you subtract the fiber and you get a true number of how many carbs will be in that slice of bread. Got it?

Enough of the science, here’s some healthy substitutes I bought my husband that I know he will eat.

Popcorn instead of chips, is the big one for all of us:

The Special K bars have 11 g of carbs, the Dave’s Killer Bread, thin slice has 9 g of carbs, for breakfast he toast that and add a tablespoon of Nutella on it ,which is 10 g of carbs. The Smart Food popcorn has 11 g in 1 3/4 cups . We are cutting his desserts down to once a week, because we are not skipping on dessert. 🍮 . He eats some type of protein with each meal. The carbs gives him energy, while the protein builds muscles, skin, and hair. Both are needed in order to stabilize blood sugar and are best when eaten together.

So there you have it folks, my long answer to a question I think a lot of us are asking. Need more low car tips, just shoot me an email. Oh yes, I almost forgot, remember to Set the Table with Love.

Risotto Balls with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Here’s another really beautiful appetizer it is my leftover risotto balls. These are very simple to make and they are absolutely gorgeous, especially when you pair it with my sun-dried tomato pesto. I am just going to get to the recipe here, so you can get back to make the evening more magical.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked risotto

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Italian seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

Sundried Tomato Pesto:

2 cups sun dried tomatoes, drained, if packed in oil

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled

Directions: 1 Using lightly greased or wet hands, shape leftover risotto into 1-inch balls. Return balls to the baking pan. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until balls are completely chilled.

2 In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium-high heat. Roll rice balls in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs to coat.

3 Cook rice balls, one-fourth at a time, in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, carefully turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove rice balls and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven while cooking the remaining rice balls. Once all the balls cooked plate them with a side of sun dried tomato pesto.

Sun dried tomato pesto:

Process all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the mixture forms a coarse paste. This pesto will keep in the fridge inside an airtight container up to one month.

Guacamole Stuffed Zucchini Cups

This week I am sharing recipes from my cookbook, Set the Table with Love. I hope you enjoy these recipes and share them with your family and friends. I had so much fun doing this shoot with my friends and eating all the yummy food afterwards. Photography credit: ROB POLANCO. Art Design by: KEEGAN LEIBA. Love you guys!

Who doesn’t love good recipe for guacamole, well I have one for you. It’s simple and refreshing, because it’s stuffed in these zucchini cups. I love using this recipe for when I having a small dinner party or just for a nice afternoon snack.  A lot of my wellness clients are looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into their diet and this is a great way to do. I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember before the plates, glasses, silverware and candles, Set the Table with Love. 🙂

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

4 zucchini

2 tbsp. cilantro finely chopped, and enough leaves to garnish to top of the cups

1 tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice

1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

2 ripe avocados

1/2 – 3/4 cups red bell pepper, diced

1/2 tsp. of sea salt and a dash of black pepper, to taste

1. Cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak the guacamole.

2. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion and cilantro. Stir in salt and black pepper. Fill each cup with guacamole. Top with red bell peppers and cilantro.

 

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Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta with Quinoa, Cranberries and Green peas

I was shopping around in my favorite store, William Sonoma when I came across this large colorful pasta shells. They are called  Lumaconi pasta shells, shaped like the shell of a snail. They are hollow inside, and open at one end, closing in on itself at the other end. The colors intrigued me the most. I had to do something with them, but they could not be drowned in sauce. You must see the color. I decided to go with a vegan recipe, so this dish popped up in my head.  This dish is very beautiful and elegant. I served the pasta on top of a bed of the quinoa mixture. I drizzled olive oil all over it. Traditionally this type of pasta causes for sauce, but the olive oil and the lemon zest was just enough.

Enjoy! Remember to Always Set the Table with Love.

 

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Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta with Quinoa, Cranberries and Green peas

Ingredients:

4 lumaconi pasta shells, they are very large, prepare according to package directions.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1 1/2 cup water, for quinoa

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp dried fennel

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup frozen organic green peas

1/2 cup dried cranberries, good quality cranberries

lemon zest

Generous drizzle of the best extra virgin olive

Directions:

Cook your quinoa according to package instruction. Make sure to rinse it well. It will cook for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Set aside. Cook the pasta shells according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking. Add the olive oil to a medium sauté pan, on medium heat. Add your onions and cook until soften. Add and stir in the garlic and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Do not burn the garlic. Add the fennel seeds. Allow the fennel seeds to get warmed up in the pan, for about a minute. Add the green peas and cranberries. Stir. Add the cooked quinoa into the pan with the aromatics ( onions, fennel and garlic) and the lemon juice. Stir. Remove from heat.

Lumaconi Stuffed Pasta with Quinoa, Cranberries, Fennel and Green peas
Lumaconi Stuffed Pasta with Quinoa, Cranberries, Fennel and Green peas

Take one pasta shell at a time and gently stuff in some of the quinoa mixture. On a plate add some of the quinoa mixture on to a dish. Place the stuffed shell on top. Drizzle a nice amount of olive oil and lemon zest on top of the entire dish. If you need sauce, you can make a nice lemon vinaigrette to drizzle over this dish as well.

Rustic Vegan Basil Pasta with Fried Rosemary, Garlic and Walnuts

This blog will be short, simple and elegant. Well, I think the pictures of the dish is very elegant.  One of my food perspectives is that, food doesn’t always need to be complicated to be full of elegant deliciousness. High quality ingredients and a little creativity, can have you creating some delicious and unique experiences for your family. This recipe is very fragrant, the vegan pasta is very silky in your mouth and the crunch of the garlic and walnuts balances the dish perfectly. I hope you enjoy it.

*I dried my pasta overnight and used it today to make this dish, but you can make the pasta and go right into making this recipe.

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To start use my Vegan Basil Pasta recipe to make the pastaVegan Basil Pasta

Here’s what I did and what you will need:

2 -3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 large garlic clove

Fleur De Sel or Sea Salt to taste

Instructions:

Once the pasta is made, I sent it through the pasta maker, until it was think of enough to make lasagne. I laid the pasta out on my bread board with a dusting of semolina flour and left it on my counter to try dry over night. Of course it curled.  In order to avoid this you can hang it over a plastic cloth hanger with a clean white cotton dish towel over the inside of the hanger and place the pasta on top and let it dry over night.  I did not mind my pasta curling. It was going to be rustic anyway. I broke the pasta up in sections.

Add the pasta to a pot of boiling water. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, homemade pasta doesn’t take long to cook.  Remove. Rinse. Drain and set a side. Add a little olive oil, so they pasta doesn’t stick together.

In another sauce pan, add 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat. Add 2 or 3 sprigs of rosemary, stem and all. Let it cook for 1  minute. Use a grater to grate one clove of garlic into the oil and rosemary ( use the larger cheese grater part of the grater, you want slivers of garlic. You can also use a knife to cut thin slivers of garlic, as well. Add some sea salt and cook for another minute.

Once place the pasta in a bowl and pour the rosemary garlic oil over the pasta and top with chopped walnuts and pinch of the Fleur De sel.

Vegan Elegance~ Cashew Nice Dream w/balsamic reduction and macerated pineapple in Pinot Grigio Wine

I got to use my green ice cream scoop that my amazing real estate agent gave me as a  “just because” gift. I love Stacy Sugarman. She is amazing. She sold my house in 24 hours without it even being put on the market. This blog is dedicated to her, please look her up.

So what do you do when you have too much balsamic reduction and macerated pineapples? I see an adult sundae in my future.

This is crazy delish! Balsamic reduction is put on savory things and sweet things as well. It’s great on strawberries and ice cream. Well I had some Cashew Nice Dream left over and decided to take this yummy treat to a next level.

This would make such an elegant dessert for date night or girls night out. LOL.  🙂

It’s super simple and it will leave you feeling refreshed and chilled out. Hee Hee! Chilled out because it’s nice dream and it’s cold and the pineapples are filled with wine. Get it? Okay.. I am cheesy.

Enjoy and Set the Table with Love and lots of macerated pineapples, but not too many….

Elegant Vanilla Nice Dream with Balsamic Reduction and Macerated Pineapples with Coconut
Elegant Vanilla Nice Dream with Balsamic Reduction and Macerated Pineapples with Coconut

Ingredients:

Any non dairy vegan ice kream . I used a cashew based one. I found it to be more creamier.

1 cup chopped pineapples

Balsamic Reduction ( recipe here Balsamic Reduction )

1 1/2 cups of Pinot Grigio or your favorite white (dry) wine

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp coconut for garnish

Sprig of mint for garnish

Elegant Vanilla Nice Dream with Balsamic Reduction and Macerated Pineapples with Coconut
Elegant Vanilla Nice Dream with Balsamic Reduction and Macerated Pineapples with Coconut

Directions: 

In a large bowl add your pineapples, or strawberries if you prefer, pour the wine over them.

Sprinkle in the granulated sugar and add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 12 hours.

Once the fruit is ready. Add 3 scoops of the nice dream. Add the pineapples, drizzle the balsamic reductions,sprinkle with coconut and add the mint, as a garnish if you like.

Enjoy!!

Elegant Vanilla Nice Dream with Balsamic Reduction and Macerated Pineapples with Coconut
Elegant Vanilla Nice Dream with Balsamic Reduction and Macerated Pineapples with Coconut

RAW Vegan Nut Free Basil Pesto

My mama always taught me to use everything I have without waste. She also encouraged me to use it, in as many ways as you can think of. NO WASTE. She was the queen of taking a bag of potatoes and making it breakfast, lunch dinner and a snack and no one complained. My mama’s food was that incredible. Flavor and creativity was her gifts.

I went and bought a bag of GO RAW Sprouted Watermelon Seeds and I have had a field day with these nutritious little protein packed and not to mention delicious seeds. I must say, they do make a wonderful snack, but I think I channelled my mom because my mind starting racing. What else can I use this for? What about a pesto, the seeds can substitute for pine nuts. They have that same buttery, creamy texture as pine nuts, so why not?

This is a great alternative for people who have Nut Allergies. You can now have your basil pesto, without blowing up like a blow fish, or if you are like me, look like you got too much collagen injections in your lips. LOL. 🙂

Well here’s the recipe. I also added it on my RAW Squash Noodles, threw in some tomatoes and a touch of salt and pepper and you have Squash Noodles with Pesto. Oh yes one more thing, I topped it on my Watermelon Gazpacho. Delish!! 

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Ingredients~

4 cups basil
1 cup Go RAW Sprouted Watermelon Seeds
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

Directions~
Place the garlic, basil and watermelon seeds in the food processor, and rustically chop.
Slowly add in the olive oil and blend until you achieve your desired consistency.
Then gradually add in salt. Spread on veggies, add to raw vegetable pasta, make it a base on pizza dough, or the base of a raw lettuce wrap. You will have plenty leftover, so enjoy. It keeps in the fridge 3 days.

Blueberry and Lemon Zest Pancakes ~ Gluten Free and Dairy Free

This one is just yummy .

Ingredients:

1 cup ground gluten free oatmeal flakes

1/4 cup oat groats

1 cup brown rice flour

1 tbsp chia seed

1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

¾ tsp salt

1 cup blueberries or frozen blueberries for the pancake mix (organic)

1 ¼ cups unsweetened almond milk

2 tbsps maple syrup

1/2 tsp lemon juice

3 tbsps softened coconut oil

¼ cup ground flax seeds

Instruction:

1. In a food processor add the oats and flour, blend until you have a flour consistency. Add frozen blueberries and blend until the blueberries are just little specks in the flour. Transfer the flour to a mixing bowl.

2. Add the baking powder and salt.

3. Put maple syrup, vanilla and lemon juice, almond milk, 2 tbsps of the coconut oil, and ground flax seed in a pot on medium low heat and stir until the coconut oil is heated and melted completely.

4. Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until blended. If the batter is too thick add a little almond milk to thin it out. It should have a nice smooth consistency. Not too thin or too thick.

5. Melt the third tbsp of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat.

6. Add the batter into the heated pan to make 3-4 inch sized pancakes. When the edges start to dry and bubbles start to appear on top, flip the pancakes and cook them on the other side until golden brown. Add them to a platter and top with the Wild Blueberry Maple Syrup and serve.

WILD Blueberry Lemon Zest Maple Syrup

Ingredients

¼ cup real maple syrup

1 1/2 cups organic blueberries (frozen)

1/2 tsp of lemon zest (save some for garnish), just add a pinch or two for the syrup

Instruction:

In a small pan over medium-low heat, simmer the berries for about 2 minutes until some of the

juices evaporate.

Add ¼ cup real maple syrup and lemon zest for about 30 seconds. Allow to cool down for few minutes and add to our pancakes or to some creamy greek yogurt. Serves 6

No oil baked Sweet Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

This post is inspired by my Instagram friend Cristian Peters. She has this amazing blog called Simply Clean Cooking. Please go and check out her delicious blog. She is one of my inspiration to eating more Vegan based foods. Yesterday, she posted these amazing No oil/ Baked Crispy French fries. I guess the Irish makes me crave potatoes all the time. I decided today to try this technique out on my family. I know my husband and son, so I have to do a test run first. They have not converted over to a plant based diet completely, yet. So these fries have to be delicious!!

No oil/ Baked Sweet Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries
No oil/ Baked Sweet Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

Here’s what I did. 

Preheat the oven to 415.

I took one medium sweet potato. Peeled it and cut it into 1/4-1/2 inch thick fries.

I rinsed the fries and patted them dry with a towel. Sweet potatoes are a lot drier than regular white potatoes, so rinsing them I found helps the baking process. Science. 🙂

I put parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and placed the fries on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Separate them, so they can crisp up.

Bake for 12-17 minutes. It took my fries about 15 minutes to cook. If you can put a fork through them, they are ready. Once they are fork tender.  I turned on the broiler and cooked them for another 2-3 minutes.  DO NOT PUT THEM UNDER THE BROILER. YOU WILL CATCH THE PARCHMENT PAPER ON FIRE. Keep them in the oven.

This really crisped them up. WATCH THE BOILER, SO THEY DO NOT BURN. SWEET POTATOES HAVE LOTS OF SUGAR IN THEM. 🙂

Pull them out once they are brown enough. I sprinkled a nice Sweet Chipotle Rub on them while they were still hot.

Here’s the rub:

1/4 tsp. paprika, chili powder, garlic powder

1/8 tsp. sea salt

pinch of organic cane sugar.

Mix ingredients together and sprinkle over hot fries. Eat and Enjoy.

Thanks for the inspiration!! Cristian Peters!

Always , Set the Table with Love.