Turkey Sloppy Joe- A Spin On A Childhood Favorite

Turkey Sloppy Joe. Sure to be of your next family dinner favorites! Sloppy joes are one of those comfort foods that you grew up eating, but probably don’t admit to actually liking as an adult! Barbecue like sandwiches that consist of sauce and ground beef or as my mom says “Minced meat.” The can of sauce has sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and other not so healthy items but let’s be honest when you were a kid who cared? This is a healthier spin on your classic sloppy joe but still has that delicious sweet and tangy flavor we all love. I mean whats not to like about a meal that combines a hearty meat mixture nestled inside a bun and is oh so SLOPPY!

Here I made this with lean turkey meat and most ingredients you probably already have on hand like onion and bell pepper. What makes these healthy? Well first off, they’re a bit leaner thanks to lean ground turkey, but they are also lower in sugar thanks to a homemade sauce that’s been toned down. That’s the best part about cooking from scratch. You control what goes into your food and how much you use. You still get to make those childhood favorites but in a healthier way. I hope you enjoy it.

Let’s get sloppy!

Xo- Ayesha

 

Turkey Sloppy Joe

1lb ground turkey
One tablespoon olive oil
15 ounce can tomato sauce
One small red onion, diced.
One red bell pepper, diced.
Two cloves garlic, minced.
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika (You can substitute regular)
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Buns, for serving.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown your ground turkey until cooked through. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Saute the mixture for 1-2 minutes and add the remaining ingredients. (Obviously not the bread!) Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Vegetables should be tender.

Spoon mixture inside of your favorite bun. Toasting the bread is also a nice touch. I like to serve it with homemade sweet potato chips or fries and some crunchy cucumber slices! (My kids layer the cucumber inside of their sandwiches.)

Enjoy!

Simple Macerated Strawberries

Simple Macerated Strawberries. Who doesn’t love strawberries? My family certainly does. This recipe is a super simple go-to when I want to elevate my berries! Perfect for topping your family’s pancakes, waffles, and yummy desserts! Macerated is a technique that releases the juices from your fruit. And you can either do this with a simple syrup or simple syrup with alcohol. I opted for the simple syrup without alcohol for a more kid-friendly recipe. You can also change this up and add in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. So easy and tasty! Share your favorite way to eat strawberries in the comments below.

Enjoy

Xo- Ayesha

Simple Macerated Strawberries

1-pint strawberries, hulled and sliced.
1/2 cup brown sugar (or white)
One tablespoon honey
Two tablespoon lemon juice (You could substitute with Grand Marnier)
One teaspoon mint, finely chopped (optional)
Pinch sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently.

Allow sitting room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Serve as a topping for your pancakes, waffles, ice cream sundaes, cakes, and more! I could eat a small bowl just on its own.

Lamb Ragu

Lamb Ragu. Here is yet another simple and delicious meal to make. This rich and creamy, pasta is a spin on the traditional spaghetti sauce. Served over your pasta. Flavored with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and a little red wine. Perfect for lunch or dinner! You can’t go wrong. So gather around the table with your friends and family and enjoy this wonderful pasta dish.

 

Lamb Ragu

1lb ground lamb
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-28oz can whole peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
2 cloves garlic, minced.
One small red onion, diced.
Three cups cremini mushrooms, sliced.
One cup full-bodied red wine (I used a cabernet)
One cup sour cream
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/12 tablespoons brown sugar (Of course I’m going to use it!)
1lb box favorite pasta (I used fusilli pasta)
Grated parmesan cheese for garnish
Fresh basil or parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Make sure to salt your water! Add the pasta and cook according to instructions. Drain pasta. And set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb into the pan. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and Herbs de Provence.

Break up your lamb as it browns. Letting all of the liquid evaporate in the pan until you see little bits start to stick to the pan. Add mushrooms.

Add wine and deglaze the pan by getting all those brown bits off the bottom of the pan. (So much flavor!!) Let the wine cook down to half its size. Add the whole tomatoes and gently break up, simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and sour cream and mix well.

Serve over the pasta. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and freshly chopped basil.

My kids loved this!

Enjoy,

Xo- Ayesha

My Sweet Tooth Smoothie

One of my favorite things to make when I’m craving something decadent is my “Sweet Tooth Smoothie”. It’s rich, thick, and creamy and gives me that sweetness I crave. Full of yummy and easy to throw together ingredients! Share your favorite and quick to make dessert smoothie in the comments below.

Thanks,

Xo- Ayesha

 

“Sweet Tooth” Smoothie

4-5 Pitted dates
1 cup Almond milk (You can substitute as needed)
1/4 Cup Sunflower Butter
1 Frozen Banana (be sure to slice and freeze for easier blending)
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2- 1 cup ice (depends on desired consistency)

Simply place ingredients in blender and blend. If the consistency is to thick for you simply add more of your liquid ingredients and continue to blend to your liking! So easy and so delicious.

Quick TIP: I love to put frozen banana and other fruit for my smoothies in Glad Freezer Bags at the beginning of the week for easy and convenient smoothie prep.

Enjoy.

Happy Mother’s Day

I want to wish all of the fantastic moms out there an extraordinary Mother’s day! Being a mother is the hardest but most rewarding job that there is. And yes there may be crying, whining, tantrums and endless messes. But the perks of sticky kisses, warm hugs, and unconditional love are priceless. Happy Mothers Day!

Now for any loved ones looking for an easy and thoughtful (DELICIOUS!) way to spoil your mother this year check out the recipe below. It’s an easy to make and stunning apple pie. No judgment zone. If you want to use store-bought pie dough then, by all means, do it. I’m sure mom will be happy either way. Whats your go-to mothers day dessert to serve? Share in the comments below.

Have a blessed weekend!

Xo- Ayesha

 

Easy Apple Pie

3 pounds apples, cored, peeled, and sliced. (Granny Smith apples)
Two tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and chilled.
One tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
One teaspoon cane sugar, for sprinkling over top of the crust.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch kosher salt (About one teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pie Crust (You can make your own or buy store-bought)
Egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water lightly beaten)
Flour for dusting.
Heart shaped cookie cutters (different sizes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust a clean area with flour. Roll out half pie dough for the topping. Use cookie cutters to make cutouts of the dough and set on a parchment lined pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In large bowl combine apples with lemon juice, sugar, flour, and spices.

Add the other half of your pie crust to a prepared pie pan and gently press into place.

Pour in your apple mixture. (Don’t pile it too high! Leave room for the crust.) And top with butter pieces. (make sure your butter is cold and cut into small pieces.)

Remove crust cutouts from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.

Top apple mixture with dough cutouts by scattering them over the top.

Brush with egg wash before sprinkling with a teaspoon of sugar.

Place pie on a large baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 60 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Allow to cool and serve! (Hopefully with ice cream!)

Jamaican Style Beef Stew

Jamaican Style Beef Stew

Hey everyone! I gotta say I’m in love with my “Instant Pot”! Not only is it incredibly convenient for this working mama but it takes some of the most time-consuming meals and cooks them in no time. I decided to make a spin on a beef stew with some of my favorite Jamaican ingredients. By using Jerk seasoning and curry powder which are always staples in my pantry. They pack a powerful punch and always give me that nostalgic taste I crave. Along with some coconut milk, scotch bonnet (habanero pepper most places) and ginger.

The stew meat turns out incredibly tender after just 20-25 minutes in the electric pressure cooker. Now anyone who has used a pressure cooker before knows that they can be incredibly intimidating and scary. But this makes it so easy. If you don’t have one, you can add all of the ingredients into a covered baking dish and do it the low and slow way. But I love that with an electric pressure cooker you can throw it all in and go and before you know it you have tender beef, carrots, and potatoes in a flavorful gravy. Yum!

Enjoy,
Xo- Ayesha

Jamaican Style Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
One tablespoon olive oil
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
One large onion, roughly chopped.
4-6 carrots, peeled and sliced.
1 pound potatoes, cubed.
Two garlic cloves, minced.
1-inch ginger, peeled.
1 cup beef broth
One can coconut milk
Two bay leaves
One sprig thyme
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste. (About one teaspoon each)

Set your instant pot to saute and once it blinks “Hot” add in your olive oil.

In a large bowl coat your beef in flour and seasonings.

Add garlic and seasoned meat into the instant pot and brown for about 2-3  minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding in broth. Making sure you scrape all of the bits and pieces off the bottom of the pan (So much flavor in that!). And add coconut milk and stir well. Now toss in your onion, carrot, potato, thyme, and ginger to the instant pot.

Make sure the lid and steam valve on the instant pot are closed.

Cook on pressure cooker function for 20 minutes then allow to sit for 10 minutes until it has released the pressure. If not thickened to your liking see the slurry note below.

* You can make a slurry to thicken your broth by adding 1/4 cup of the hot broth with 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a small bowl. Now stir into the stew for thickening.

Enjoy!

Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes With Strawberry Sauce

Pancakes. Soft and fluffy melt in your mouth clouds of greatness that are smothered with maple syrup and in my household some form of fruit sauce. These “Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes With Strawberry Sauce” are irresistible and surprising. When I think ricotta cheese I definitely don’t think pancakes. But try it and I promise to change your mind. And the strawberry sauce is simple and tasty and the perfect partner for this dish. You can always substitute others fruits instead of strawberries. I just happened to have a bunch on hand. My “Raspberry Sauce” in my book “The Seasoned Life” would also be perfect with this dish! Share your favorite pancake toppings in the comments below.

Enjoy,
Xo- Ayesha

Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes With Strawberry Sauce

1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh.
One cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar (You can substitute white sugar.)
2-3 tablespoons butter for frying

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl add ricotta, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice and combine well.

Carefully add the dry to the wet ingredients until combined. Don’t over mix the batter. It should be slightly lumpy. And set aside.

Heat a large griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and add a tablespoon of butter. (Use about one tablespoon butter for each batch of pancakes you make.)

Scoop pancake batter onto the hot pan. (I use a 1/4 measuring cup to get the same sized pancakes every time.)

Cook until the edges are set and bubbles form on top of the pancake. Flip and cook until browned.

Serve ricotta pancakes warm and top with strawberry sauce and a little or a lot (no judgment here) of maple syrup!

Strawberry sauce

1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped.
One tablespoon brown sugar
One tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt

To make the sauce place chopped strawberries, sugar, and agave into a small saucepan. Coat well and add water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat and stir until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool and serve with pancakes!

Cooking with my Kids! -Star Patties

I love cooking with my kids! Riley has been helping me out in the kitchen for such a long time. And now Ryan is showing an interest as well. Inviting my kids into the kitchen to help me cook our meals is a way for me to create quality time together but also helps them to learn some kitchen basics and feel confident. I’m always trying to come up with delicious and kid-friendly dishes that still include all of the flavors that I would put into mine. And fortunately for me, my kids are willing to try almost anything that I put in front of them. Besides chocolate of course! Weird I know. These star patties are packed full of flavor with some nutty and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano, teriyaki sauce, fresh basil, garlic, and parsley. Its rolled out on some parchment paper (Riley’s job!) before being cut into shapes and baked off. Super simple and delicious. And so much fun! Just remember that whenever you have kids in the kitchen your inviting some extra mess. But those messes can always be cleaned. So enjoy the moment! Share your favorite thing to cook with your family in the comments below.

X0- Ayesha

Star Patties

Star Patties

1 pound ground beef or lamb
3 Tablespoons Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used Italian)
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated. (You can also use just plain parmesan)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped.
1/4 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped.
One garlic clove, finely minced.
One large egg, lightly beaten.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Parchment paper
Cookie cutter of your choice (My kids wanted to use a star)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl add in ground meat.

Add the egg, garlic, teriyaki, cheese, breadcrumbs, basil, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully mix. (You don’t want to over mix it)

Place the mixture in between two pieces of parchment paper.

Using either your hands or a rolling pin to flatten.

(I recommend letting it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before continuing.)

When your mixture is ready, you can remove the top layer of parchment paper and cut into shapes.

Place your shapes on a non-stick baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

serve with your favorite veggie and starch.

We used tomatoes and some Israeli couscous.

Enjoy!

Panzanella For The Perfect Weekend Salad

Throw back Friday! Panzanella Salad. What better way to use produce than to make a Panzanella salad. Which is a traditional Italian “bread salad.” Crispy croutons made from toasted baguette cubes along with fresh, crunchy veggies bring this powerhouse salad together. Drizzle with a little dijon vinaigrette love, and you can’t go wrong. Gardening is such a joy to my family and me. Nothing beats growing something with your own hands and watching it flourish. We’ve created so many delicious recipes using various tomato plants, cucumber, zucchini, and watermelon. Along with so many amazing fresh herbs. Start your own garden! It’s a fantastic way to get the kids involved too. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Xo- Ayesha

Panzanella Salad

1/2 cup olive oil
1 long baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
One orange bell pepper, seeded and cubed
Onered bell pepper, seeded and cubed
One English cucumber, halved and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons capers

For the vinaigrette:

1 clove finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.

Spread cubes of bread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Baked in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss well.

Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 25-30 minutes. (The longer it sits the better it gets!)

A Deliciously Simple Pasta With A Fancy Name “Cacio e Pepe”

A Deliciously Simple Pasta With A Fancy Name. “Cacio e Pepe” is a classic dish that utilizes simple ingredients and turns them into something so delicious. A Roman dish that means “cheese and pepper.” It’s tossed with olive oil, cracked black pepper, butter and grated cheese. Here I threw some sauteed mushrooms over the top but that’s entirely up to you. Traditionally the recipe wouldn’t call for that. I’m all for adding extra flavor. A meal that is perfect for a late night craving or when my kids want something quick to eat. They can handle the peppery taste and my kids really LOVE pasta of any kind! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Xo- Ayesha

Oops almost forgot my mushrooms!!

Cacio e Pepe Pasta (Cheese and Pepper)

1/2 pound pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted.
3/4 cup Pecorino-romano cheese, grated.
3/4 cup Parmigiano-regiano cheese, grated.
Coarse ground black pepper (About 1 1/2- 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt to taste
Sauteed sliced mushrooms. (optional)

In a large pot bring water and bring to a boil. Salt your water with about one tablespoon of salt. Add in pasta and cook according to the cooking time on the box. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid (water) from the pot and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add olive oil and black pepper. Heat until the pepper begins to sizzle. Add in 2-3 tablespoons of water along with butter and stir well. Transfer hot pasta into the pan and coat with pepper mixture.

Add in cheese and toss until all of the pasta has been coated and doesn’t stick. Season to taste and serve.

I added some sautéed mushrooms over the top of mine. They were just baby portabello mushrooms that were sauteed in butter with a little salt.

**Make sure you serve with the option of extra black pepper and cheese if wanted.**

Maple Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Maple Balsamic Roasted Vegetables. Okay, so this side dish (Or main if that’s your preference) can be put together in a flash! Deliciously seasoned and roasted vegetables are coated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup before being roasted to perfection! But please don’t overcook it. Always set a timer to avoid mishaps in the kitchen. (You can also use your oven or microwave timer) It is a lifesaver/food saver! Nothing smells worse than overcooked broccoli! Maple and balsamic give this dish a sweet and sour flavor. This is seriously the easiest, simplest, and the BEST way to roast your vegetables.

Enjoy

Xo- Ayesha

 

Maple Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Maple Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

2 cups broccoli florets

1 zucchini, sliced and quartered.

1 yellow squash, sliced and quartered.

1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped.

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped.

1 small red onion, peeled and cut.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional.

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl add chopped vegetables.

In a small bowl mix balsamic, maple, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Mix well.

Season the vegetables with spices and salt and pepper to taste. Add vinegar mixture and gently toss to coat.

Lay evenly on a non-stick baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Green Goddess Mayonnaise

Green Goddess Mayonnaise. A deliciously herby mayonnaise mixture that is the perfect condiment to jazz up your next meal! Its a play on the green goddess dressing you would typically find drizzled over a salad. It’s vibrantly green with a big punch of flavor. And a ridiculously easy way to transform a plain old turkey sandwich (Or a grilled chicken sandwich, burger, etc.) into something drool worthy. This creamy and herbaceous mixture can be used as a dip or a spread. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

I smeared a nice amount of this green goddess mayo on two slices of my favorite bread (Daves Killer Bread) with some sliced turkey, sprouts, and heirloom tomatoes. So goooood!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

God Bless,

Xo-Ayesha

Green Goddess Mayonnaise

1/4 cup fresh basil, packed.
Two tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped.
Three tablespoons green onion, chopped.
Two garlic cloves, roughly chopped.
1/2 cup mayo
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
freshly ground pepper

Combine everything BUT the lemon juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add-In lemon juice and blend about 1 minute more. Season to taste and serve. It can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.