Pineapple-Mango Salsa

 

 

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With summer quickly approaching I’m eager to break out all of my favorite summer recipes! Getting fresh fruits and veggies from local farmers markets and food stands definitely plays a big role in what I eat throughout the summer months, and this recipe is no exception. Combining one of my favorite food indulgences, chips and salsa, with a fresh fruit twist, this pineapple mango salsa is sure to be something you will want to make over and over again. It’s not a very heavy snack, which makes it perfect for hanging by the pool or just relaxing on your porch enjoying the cool nigh air. Plus, it takes less than twenty minutes to make from scratch, which makes it a double plus in my book.

What you’ll need…

2 cups of diced pineapple

2 cups of diced mango

1 cup of diced jalapeño

1 cup of diced red onion

1 tbs. lime juice

2 tbs. cilantro

 And that’s it.

Once you have your ingredients prepped, mix well together in a large bowl and let chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

 I know that sometimes buying ingredients based off of measurements can be stressful. So, basically what my grocery list consisted of was: one whole pineapple (you don’t need the whole thing, but I wanted to keep the rest as a separate snack. You could just as easily buy it in a can), one mango, two jalapeños, one red onion, one bushel of cilantro, and one lime.

Enjoy!

 

 


Peanut Butter Energy Bites

 

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Okay so in a couple of other recipe posts I’ve talked about incorporating more protein in my diet to keep up my energy when at work. I’ve pretty much got the breakfast and lunch part down, but I’ve been searching for a good light snack. Just something that I can eat during my planning period or even something I can munch on right after school before I go work out. This quest has been especially difficult with students having birthdays constantly and bringing cupcakes almost every single day. With my big sweet tooth I knew I wanted something tastier than just a cheese stick or a banana…so I discovered energy bites! The original recipe I used called for some different ingredients, so I actually changed it a bit to fit what I had in my kitchen and WOW these things are delicious! They are full of protein and fiber and really help satisfy my taste buds while also keeping me energized. Even if I just eat one during planning I feel like my appetite is curved and I have plenty of energy to get me through the rest of the day…like seriously they helped me that much. Another huge plus of these energy bites…no baking! They seriously probably took me a total of 15 minutes to prep all together and that’s including 10 minutes of being in the fridge to solidify.

The ingredients:

½ cup Dry Oatmeal

1/3 cup Honey

2/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

½ cup Chocolate chips

1/3 cup Chia seeds

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Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and then let chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes. After the ingredients have been in the fridge form into small balls…about the size of a golf ball or a little smaller. Should make about 14-16 balls depending on how big you make them. Place back in the fridge for at least an hour ( I did overnight) and enjoy! Only five ingredients, no baking, and these things seriously hit the jackpot in my book!


Turkey Sausage and Veggie Frittata

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            I am the type of person who loves breakfast, but definitely doesn’t feel like making it at six in the morning. When I first started my teaching career I found myself tired and grumpy by the time school was out everyday. After talking with my doctor we both came to the conclusion that getting more energy for the day was going to have to start with a protein based breakfast. This was going to be somewhat of a struggle to get use to because I spent most mornings grabbing a granola bar on the way out the door…no way did I want to get up any earlier than I was use to. So one of the things I did to help me get use to breakfast in the morning without losing extra sleep was breakfast meal prep. I’m not saying I prepped every single breakfast item, but maybe I cooked my meat the night before and just heated it up or I went ahead and cut all my fruit for the week. Eating a good breakfast before work has seriously changed my entire work day! I feel more energized throughout the day and when I get home I don’t feel like crashing in my bed anymore. With that said, this turkey sausage and veggie frittata has been one of my favorite breakfast prep meals. It has tons of protein and good vegetables in it to keep you going and keep you full…plus it tastes great with hot sauce! 😉

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 6 turkey sausage links cooked and sliced to your preference (I do frozen usually)
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ a yellow onion-diced and sautéed
  • ½ a green pepper-diced and sautéed
  • ½ cup of mushrooms-diced and sautéed
  • ½ cup of sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup of spinach (you can sauté this with your veggies too or you can toss it in fresh)
  • ½ cup of feta cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic

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What to do:

  1. Prep the turkey sausage and veggies. Even though dicing all the different vegetables takes a few minutes, the flavors really work well together in this dish. Some ways that I’ve cut down on prep time is I have bought pre-diced vegetables and I sometimes divide my pan so that the sausage is cooking in one half, the veggies in the other half. (They’re all going in the same dish anyways.) Or if you want a good crunch in your frittata you can skip the sautéing and put them in fresh!
  2. Once you have the pre-cooking done its time to assemble the frittata! Crack your eggs in a bowl and stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. After you’ve broken all the yolks in the eggs, add in all of the veggies, cheese, and garlic.
  4. Mix together well in bowl.
  5. Spray a baking dish or skillet well with cooking spray and then pour your mixture into the dish.
  6. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are done to your liking.
  7. Enjoy! I usually like to add a little hot sauce or sour cream on mine to add a little something something, or you can just rock it as is!

 


Sweet and Tangy Party Meatballs

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        Whether it’s a birthday party, tailgate, or just a few friends getting together there’s nothing like having some good party food for everyone to munch on. Most people bring something easy like chips and dips but these party meatballs are super easy and sure to be a HIT at your next party!

Probably my favorite thing about these meatballs is how little work it takes to make them. Once you get the ingredients you just dump it all in a large pot and wait for some of the best tasting meatballs you’ve ever had!

What you’ll need…

  • Frozen Italian-style Meatballs (how many would just depend on the size of people you’re cooking for-I usually get two bags for a party of 12-15 people)
  • Large can of whole cranberry sauce
  • One bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Large pot or crockpot

What to do…

  1. Grab your large pot and pour the meatballs, half the bottle of BBQ sauce, and the can of cranberry sauce inside.
  2. Place on a large stove eye and cover-leave on low heat for 1-2 hours (stirring occasionally) or medium heat for 45 minutes.
  3. About 20 minutes before you plan on serving the meatballs add the remaining BBQ sauce and bump up the heat a little bit to make sure that the meatballs are good saucy!
  4. Serve it up!

Seriously…it’s that easy! These meatballs are always a crowd pleaser whenever I make them and they definitely stand a part among the ordinary party snacks.


6 Reasons to Start Shopping at Aldi

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No matter your age, where you live, what car you drive-everyone eventually has to go to the grocery store. While most grocery stores basically sell the same products, there are always so many stores to choose from. Within fifteen miles of my apartment I have the options of Bi-Lo, Wal-Mart, Ingles, Publix, Lowes Foods, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Sams, and Costco. All great stores that I’ve always had amazing experiences at for various reasons. However, I’ve recently discovered the magical land of Aldi. I had heard people talk about Aldi plenty of times in the past.

“ Oh I love Aldi!”

“Aldi has great prices!”

“I always get my produce at Aldi!”

But I never thought much about it because that’s all they would say. Even after having several friends tell me that they’ve started shopping there I still hadn’t set foot into an Aldi. It wasn’t until my mom came home with a box full of fruits and vegetables and told me that she only paid six dollars for all of it that it all changed. SIX DOLLARS! I was so impressed that I had to see what all the hype was about, and now that I’ve been shopping at Aldi for almost three months—I honestly can’t imagine myself getting my weekly groceries anywhere else.

Why you need to be shopping at Aldi too…

  1. Produce of the Week

Yes, it’s true—their prices on produce in general are amazing compared to that of another img_9488grocery store. However, it’s their produce of the week picks that consistently blow my mind. Every week there are three of their produce that they have on special sale. I’m talking a pack of three green bell peppers for seventy-nine cents sale. Avocados for forty-nine cents a piece sale. THAT IS RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP! I almost always get their produce of the week no matter what it is, because for prices that good I’ll find a way to incorporate it into my meals.

  1. Organic for Cheap

 Okay so I feel like most people have started to go the organic-gluten free route in their diets lately. Now it’s always a great thing when you want to make your life healthier, but have you seen some of the prices on stuff lately? Whole Foods has tons of organic and gluten free products for you but you’ll end up spending fifty bucks on six items. Now unless you are a millionaire who just loves throwing their money around, that’s gonna really start to hurt your grocery budget. Health nuts no longer have to fear for their wallets, because Aldi is here to save the day! Aldi has a huge selection of organic AND gluten free products for a fraction of the cost. Now being healthy won’t actually break your bank.

  1. Off Brand Glory

img_9487For me, buying off brand food products can either be a hit or a miss. Sure, it’s usually cheaper to buy that store’s brand of product but it’s usually not as good. Well I can say with 100% certainty that there has not been an Aldi-brand product that I haven’t loved. Tortilla chips, salsa, cheese, yogurt, soup…you name it I’ve probably tried it and it’s all just as good if not better! Hands down my favorite Aldi-brand product has to be their Vie Sparkling Water. They come in a variety of flavors and taste just as amazing as La Croix but they cost almost exactly HALF THE PRICE!

  1. Name Brands Too!

Not into the off brands? I totally get that! One reason I never found myself doing all my img_9490shopping at Trader Joes is because all they have is their brand of products. Not at Aldi! Aldi has tons and tons of brand name products for a reduced price. Nothing is wrong with them and there is no quick approaching expiration date, just sold a lot cheaper because of the selection they offer. Just on my last trip there I saw products like Gatorade, Capri Sun, Pringles, Naked smoothies, McCormick, Tide, and Little Debbie. That’s just me naming a few of them; there are dozens of name brands all throughout the store for you to choose from.

  1. Save the Planet

Everyone should always be looking for ways to improve our planet and make the environment a better place. Aldi is a great place to practice those green skills! At Aldi they don’t waste a single thing. All products are placed directly on the shelf in their boxes that they were shipped in and they don’t use any bags when you check-out. What you’ll have to do is either bring your own re-usable bag or you can just grab one of the empty boxes that was on the shelves and pack your groceries in. Voila! You just shopped for groceries and made one small step to reduce waste.

  1. B.U.D.G.E.T.

Okay so as far as making a budget for grocery shopping…I’m terrible. I always make a list before I go to the store but I usually end up buying twice as much stuff as I went in there for. Before I started shopping at Aldi I was spending about $60-80 a week on groceries. My list would usually consist of groceries to cook two dinners and lunch for the week for myself. Now, I’m spending about $30-40 a week and I can get groceries for two dinners, lunch for the week, breakfast for the week, and snacks. Think I’m exaggerating? This is my exact list of groceries that I bought on my last trip to Aldi:

  • Almond milk
  • Orange juiceimg_9494
  • Boneless chicken breasts
  • Breakfast sausage
  • Turkey Pepperoni
  • Pesto sauce
  • Pack of mini cucumbers
  • Two packs of tomatoes
  • Bag of onions
  • Fresh salsa
  • Raspberries
  • Mushrooms
  • Mayonnaise
  • Spinach
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 12pk sparkling water
  • Naked smoothie

img_9495All of that for exactly $41.24!! I’m spending less and getting more groceries than I ever use to when I would shop at another store.

Aldi might not be a household name just yet, but I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Saving money on groceries doesn’t mean that you have to be an extreme couponer…if you take advantage of places like Aldi then you can easily save hundreds of dollars a year. Use the link below to see if there is an Aldi near you and start shopping and start saving!!

https://storelocator.aldi.us/Presentation/AldiSued/en-us/Start


Buffalo Chicken Dip

 

img_9367img_9365img_9364 Buffalo chicken dip is not only one of my favorite things to make, it’s also definitely one of my favorite things to eat. This dip is the epitome of a crowd-pleasing appetizer. It’s the perfect combination of spicy and savory with a whole lot of gooey cheese. The recipe is super simple to follow and is perfect to bring to a party or just for you and some friends to munch on.

Ingredients

Boneless Chicken Breasts 4

Cream Cheese 2 8oz containers

 Shredded Cheddar Cheese 2 cups

 Blue Cheese Dressing 1 ½ cup (almost a whole bottle)

 Franks Red Hot ½ a cup

What to do:

 First you’ll want to prepare the chicken. I prefer to boil mine because it keeps it more moist since you technically cook it twice. Fill a medium sized cooking pot about ¾ full of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add chicken and cook for about ten minutes or until cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, go ahead and mix your blue cheese, Franks, cream cheese, and 1 cup of
cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until cream cheese is spread out thin.

Once the chicken is cooked, go ahead and shred it into thin slices and add to the creamy mixture. Mix until all of the chicken is well covered in the mixture.

Transfer your chicken mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Spread out evenly and top generously with the remainder of the cheddar cheese.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until cheese is brown.

Enjoy with tortilla chips or bagel chips!!

*** Easy tip to turn this snack into a meal: use Pillsbury croissant rolls to form a ring on a baking sheet, and instead of putting the chicken mixture in a baking dish put in the croissant ring. Pull the dough tight around the mixture so that none spills out and bake according to the croissant instructions. Cut up some celery to eat with it and wah-la! Dinner!


Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Ingredients:

8oz bag of ready-to-cook spinach

Jar of quartered artichoke hearts (drained of juice)

3 cups of mozzarella cheese

8oz of cream cheese

1 tbs. of olive oil

 French baguette or sourdough bread

 

What to do:

  1. Cook spinach in a large skillet or frying pan using olive oil-cover and let simmer on medium until tender.
  2. Add drained artichoke hearts, cream cheese, and 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
  3. Mix and cook on medium or until cheese is completely melted.
  4. Pour into a baking dish or pour into bread bowl.
  5. Cover with additional 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until cheese is brown.

 

How to make the bread bowl:

If you choose to make the bread bowl for the dip then you’ll need a large bread knife. You will use the knife to cut an enormous whole in the middle of the bread, leaving just enough room for there to be a wall to support the dip. Pull up the center pieces of bread and rip into smaller pieces to use for dipping! You can throw these in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes.


Homemade Sesame Chicken

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If you’re like me than you know that there is almost nothing stronger than the desire for some delicious Chinese food! South Carolina, Georgia, New York, or even Disney World…doesn’t matter where my travels have taken me; if there is a Chinese restaurant nearby I’m probably going to need some. My personal go-to at a Chinese restaurant is sesame chicken. It’s not too sweet and it’s not too spicy plus the sauce on the rice is mm mm mm, good. With that being said, I think that everyone should know how to make all of his or her favorite foods so here is my recipe for an amazing homemade sesame chicken with a side of broccoli and fried rice.

For the chicken, broccoli, and fried rice you’ll need…

 Boneless Chicken Breast 4

Broccoli 1 head

Yellow Onion 1

Minced Garlic 1 tablespoon

Almond Flour 2 tablespoons

Cornstarch 2 tablespoons for breading and ¼ cup for sauce

Baking Soda ¼ teaspoon

Baking Powder ¼ teaspoon

Soy Sauce 2 tablespoons for breading and ½ cup for sauce

Water 2 tablespoons

Sherry 1 tablespoon

Coconut Oil 1 tablespoon

Sesame Oil 2 tablespoons

Chicken Broth 1 cup

Sugar 1 cup

Rice Vinegar ½ cup

Chile Sauce 2 tablespoons

Egg 1

Rice 2 cups

Peas and Carrot mixture

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*Total time for meal-45 minutes

 

The Chicken

First thing you’ll need to do is make a batter for the chicken. Combine the almond flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tbs. of soy sauce, 1 tsp. of coconut oil, 2 tbs. sesame oil, sherry, and water to the dry mixture. Mix well. Once you have a thick batter, slice each chicken breast in half and continue to cut chicken until it is in small bite sized pieces. After you’ve cut your chicken go ahead and put into the batter and coat well. Refrigerate and let the chicken rest in the mixture for about 15-20 minutes.

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 Now, time for the sauce! While the chicken is resting in the batter go ahead and grab a deep frying pan. In this pan you will need to combine the chicken broth, sugar, rice vinegar, ½ cup of soy sauce, garlic, and chile sauce. Bring this mixture to a rapid boil (should reach about 375 degrees) and then add ¼ cup of cornstarch to thicken the mixture.

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            Has it been 15-20 minutes? Yep! Go ahead and remove your chicken from the fridge and slowly add the chicken into the boiling sauce. Cover and let the chicken simmer in the sauce for 20 minutes.

 Tip: when adding your chicken, you could also add some sliced green onion and actual sesame seeds to give it some more flavors!

The Fried Rice 

            Depending on the type of rice you get will depend on how long it will actually take you to prepare the fried rice. I enjoy getting the rice in a bag because it typically only takes about 10 minutes to cook. Once your rice is cooked thoroughly go ahead and crack your egg and grab your peas and carrots mixture. Mix the rice, egg, and peas and carrots all together in a mixing bowl. In a frying pan heat up about a tablespoon of coconut oil and pour the rice mixture into the pan. Cook until the egg is completely scrambled and the vegetables are soft. Tip: You could add another tablespoon or two of soy sauce to the fried rice! It gives it an extra something if you don’t typically mix your chicken with your rice.

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 Broccoli and Onion

            Once again grab your handy-dandy coconut oil and put about a tablespoon in a new pan. Slice up your broccoli and onion into thick pieces and throw into the pan! Cook on medium without a top for 2-3 minutes then add ½ cup of water and cover with a lid for 7 minutes or until well done to your satisfaction.

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            Now, the one thing with making Chinese food at home is getting the special ingredients to do so. Sesame oil, vinegar rice, and chile sauce aren’t usually on my list of things to buy however you can pick up all three of these at your local grocery store! Most of the other odds and ends in this recipe I have on stock in my kitchen so don’t feel like you have to go out and buy every little thing exactly for what it is in order to make this meal. I definitely tried to make it as skinny of a recipe as possible but the almond flour can be subbed for regular flour and coconut oil for vegetable oil!

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Happy cooking!!