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

One zucchini, sliced and quartered.

One yellow squash, sliced and quartered.

One orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped.

One yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped.

One 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.

Mango And Avocado Guacamole

Mango and Avocado Guacamole. Hey everyone! Now mango is not only a household favorite snack for myself and my kids but its just so reminiscent of my childhood. And I put it in as many dishes as I can. Did you know that its only 100 calories for a cup of mango?! You can easily prep this and store it in some glad containers or baggies to take on the go or pack in your kid’s lunch for camp or school. Another favorite of mine has to be avocado. So making guacamole and adding in mango was natural. You get a little spice from the jalapeño and a subtle onion/garlic bite from the shallot. Do you have any interesting recipes for guacamole? Share in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Xo- Ayesha

Mango And Avocado Guacamole

Two ripened avocados, halved pitted and diced. (I like mine chunky)
One jalapeño chile, deseeded and minced. (Leave some of the seeds if you like heat)
One shallot, finely chopped.
Two tablespoons lime juice
1 Tommy Atkins ripened mango, peeled and cut into chunks. (Most common mango found in stores)
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped.
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl add avocados, jalapeno, shallot and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and give a gentle toss. Now fold in your chunks of mango and cilantro. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve with vegetable or tortilla chips and enjoy!

Creamy Edamame And Avocado Dip

Creamy Edamame And Avocado Dip. Hey everyone! Here is another quick and easy recipe. Edamame and avocado dip. I happen to love edamame. So I wanted to create a creamy dip using both edamame and avocado. It transforms into a healthy and tasty dip that will brighten the table at your next gathering. Its fresh flavor is loaded with fresh lime juice, garlic, and cilantro. And the added siracha gives it a nice tangy and spicy kick. Enjoy this as a dip, healthy snack or sandwich spread!

Enjoy!

Xo– Ayesha

Edamame and Avacado Dip

12oz. Edamame shelled.
One large avocado pitted and cubed.
1/4 cup onion, diced.
1/2 cup cilantro
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup lime juice
1-2 tablespoons sriracha
One teaspoon sea salt
One teaspoon black pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat a large pot of water over medium-high heat. Add frozen edamame and quickly blanch for 2-3 minutes.

Place the hot edamame into a blender or food processor. Pulse five or six times until slightly broken up. Add in avocado, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime, and sriracha. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and drizzle in olive oil. Puree until smooth but still chunky. You can adjust the seasonings to taste.

Transfer to a bowl and serve with desired accompaniments. (Cucumber slices, pita, bell pepper, carrot sticks, etc.)

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!

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.

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!

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!)

Pasta With Quick Kale Sauce

Pasta With Quick Kale Sauce. I’m in love with this quick and easy no-frill pasta dish. It has Kale in it which is a highly nutritious vegetable. It has numerous health benefits and happens to be pretty darn tasty. And for those of you that are scared of anything green. Give it a try! It turns out to be a smooth and silky sauce, so delicious, and a great side dish for almost anything. What’s your favorite way to eat kale? Leave a comment below.

Enjoy!

Xo-Ayesha

Pasta With Quick Kale Sauce

12 ounces favorite pasta (I used orecchiette pasta)
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped.
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped.
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
2-3 cups fresh kale, ribs and stems removed.
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (I used about a teaspoon each)

 

Cook your pasta according to the package directions.

Remove the pasta from the boiling water and set aside. Add your chopped kale to the water and quickly blanch for 1-2 minutes and remove.

In a blender or food processor add blanched kale, garlic, onion, parmesan, lemon, and nuts. Stream in olive oil and puree until smooth.

Add kale sauce to your cooked pasta and toss to coat! Serve immediately!

Saffron Salmon

Here is a flashback Friday recipe to kick off the weekend! Super easy and delicious “Saffron Salmon”. It’s always so much fun to look how far we have come since I started this website. I came up with this light recipe while dining with friends and reminiscing about a meal they frequently enjoyed having at a local restaurant. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and had to recreate it on my own. It takes a mere 5 to 7 minutes to prepare the entire meal. And ghee acts a the perfect crisping agent for the fish while sea salt and saffron infuse the fish with subtle yet delicious flavor. It’s quick, easy, healthy and filling! you’re going to check mark all of the boxes with this easy salmon recipe.

I hope that you enjoy this flashback recipe and have a fantastic weekend. And be sure to check in next week for some great Easter recipes and ideas for you and your families.

Xo- Ayesha

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Saffron Salmon

Two 6-8oz Salmon Filets (Skin on, crisp skin is always a GOOD thing! :))

Sea salt, to taste.

2 teaspoons saffron

2 tablespoons ghee (grass fed pure butter)

 

*You simply heat a skillet on medium high and melt the ghee. While the pan is heating season both sides of the fish with a generous coating of coarse sea salt and the saffron. Place the fish skin side down for about 3-4 mins or until skin is crisp and golden. Flip and finish cooking until your preferred doneness. I like my salmon well done but moist, so 2 minutes did the trick for me.

Serve the salmon with some lemon slices for freshness, next to a bed of mixed greens and tomatoes! I lightly season them with salt, pepper and olive oil. So fresh! You can find my own brand of olive oil at “Cook Homemade.”

 

Enjoy!

Homemade Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Who doesn’t love a vinaigrette? Homemade salad dressing not only tastes better than the bottled stuff but it is incredibly easy to make. And although bottled salad dressing can be the easy alternative and inexpensive its full of salt and sugar. Making it yourself allows you to control what your eating. Not to mention its a nice touch to any dinner party to pop out your own bottle of salad dressing for serving.

I make it in big batches for large salads and sometimes will make a homemade vinaigrette to marinate some meat for the grill. This particular recipe is put together in a flash and has a little sweet and sour going on! You can store it in your refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid for 3-5 days! So give it a shot and embrace the homemade salad dressing. Make sure to try this with my “Grilled Chicken Salad For A Crowd”. Whats your favorite salad dressing? Leave a comment below.

Xo- Ayesha

 

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (Freshly squeezed of course!)
salt and pepper to taste. (I used 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper)

Just place all of your ingredients into a mason jar with a lid and shake well.

*Before you use your dressing, be sure to give it a taste. This is your moment to add more salt and pepper or make any other adjustments. *

Pour over salad and enjoy!

Wedge Salad Skewers

Hey everyone! Heres, another crowd pleaser that will be sure to impress. Wedge salad on a skewers with crisp iceberg lettuce, bacon, and tomato. Topped with a blue cheese dressing, red onion, and a balsamic drizzle. Simple and delicious! I dare you to try this recipe with my brown sugar bacon. You can find the recipe in my cookbook “The seasoned life.” This is a slight twist on a classic steakhouse wedge salad. I’m guilty of probably ordering a wedge salad anytime we go to a steakhouse. Just don’t forget my red onion! I love that for something so simple it packs a lot of flavors. And the tangy and easy to make blue cheese dressing is the perfect complement to this salad. Does anyone love a wedge salad as much as me? Leave a comment below.

Enjoy,

Xo-Ayesha

 

 

 

Wedge Salad skewers

6-8 slices cooked bacon, cut into quarters.
1-pint cherry tomatoes
Head iceberg lettuce, cut into quarters.
One red onion, finely diced.
Blue Cheese Dressing recipe (recipe below)
6 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled.
Balsamic glaze, optional.

Remove outer layer of lettuce head and the stem. Slice lettuce into quarters and slice into bite-sized wedges to fit on the skewer. Assemble the skewers by layering lettuce, bacon, and tomato.

Drizzle creamy dressing on top of the skewers. Top with diced red onion and gorgonzola cheese crumbles. Drizzle with a little balsamic glaze and enjoy!

Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
One tablespoon red wine vinegar
One tablespoon sugar
Dash of Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste. (I used about a teaspoon each)
1/3 cup blue cheese (I prefer a creamy Danish cheese)

Simply place everything but the blue cheese in a mason jar or bowl and combine thoroughly. Add your crumbled blue cheese and carefully mix. You want it to be chunky! If you like your dressing to be thinner just add more milk.