How Does Your Garden Grow? Deliciously!

Standard
FullSizeRender (201)

The outer edge of the garden is for my herbs, and the inside is full of vegetables! Chewie likes to sniff the herbs, as you can see!

 

Hello, friends! It’s a beautiful summer day here. How is it where you live? I hope it’s as gorgeous as it is here! Because we now have our forever home, I have FINALLY been able to have the vegetable and herb garden of my dreams. We decided to make raised beds so I wouldn’t have to stoop or kneel to weed or pick my veggies and herbs. Now I’m really glad we made that decision. We also decided to make the raised beds out of stone instead of wood, because stone lasts forever, and we knew we would have to replace wooden beds in 3-5 years. I actually had to make the footprint of the garden larger twice while it was being built because I didn’t want to outgrow it too soon. We used organic soil once the stone was in place, and only use organic fertilizers on it as well. We never use pesticides or any chemicals of any sort on it, as there are lots of great natural ways to prevent infestations of bugs.

FullSizeRender (203)

This is my tomato section, you can see how tall and luscious they can get with organic fertilizer and soil!

 

Eventually I would like to have a massive garden, and grow veggies and herbs to sell to restaurants who are interested in providing their customers with organic, scrumptious and beautiful vegetables and herbs. For now, though, I am focusing on growing enough for our family. I am writing about this today because I want to encourage you all to grow your own vegetables and herbs. It’s astonishingly easy to do, and requires very little maintenance along the way to deliciousness. I also want to share my recipe for salsa from my home grown tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro.

FullSizeRender (204)

The back side of my garden with more herbs on the outside, and the inside has veggies, veggies and more veggies!

 

You don’t have to use stone, or make raised beds. Making a garden is as simple as clearing a spot for it, planting vegetables, adding organic fertilizer, watering every other day, picking weeds (I used to pull weeds every day and because they’re so small and tender they literally pull out in seconds, but now that the plants are so tall and well established they have pushed the weeds out), and enjoying the bounty of your garden. If you live in an apartment or condo (or like us were renting a home), you can grow your vegetables and herbs in pots on your patio.

FullSizeRender (205)

Ok, I admit, I already outgrew my raised garden and had to use the edge of the fenced in area to plant my melons, zucchini, and cucumbers.

 

The vegetables I am growing are onions, peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, arugula, kale, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, corn, and garlic. The fruit selection is strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes (they are a vegetable!8 different kinds!), blueberries, and watermelon. The herbs are 5 different kinds of basil, 4 different types of oregano, 6 different types of thyme, rosemary, French tarragon, lavender, 3 kinds of mint, curry, and probably a lot more that I can’t recall right now. As you can tell I love herbs!

FullSizeRender (206)

Just outside of the fenced in area of our yard, I am growing potatoes and garlic!

 

One of the main advantages to growing your own over buying store bought produce is price. For example, if you buy herbs from the grocery store it can cost anywhere from $3-6, and you can use them for 1-2 meals. Buying potted herbs costs $2.5-4.00, and they can last anywhere from 8 months to indefinitely. I have rosemary and parsley in pots that I brought with me from our old house that are going on 1 1/2 years old now. They wintered inside our house, I took them outside once it got warm enough, and they are flourishing now! That’s a great return on a $4.00 investment!

Another reason for growing your own is that you can control what goes into your food. You can use organic soil, fertilizer and pesticides like I do. For me it is such a relief to know how my food is grown, and what is used in the process. In addition, store bought produce is often picked half-ripe so that it can ripen once it gets to the grocery store, causing it to not grow to its full potential of nutritional value. Home grown produce can be picked at the peak of ripeness, thereby getting the full value of every single vitamin and mineral it contains. It’s also super convenient, instead of driving to the grocery store, you can walk out into your yard, snip off some basil, pick a few tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and you are on your way to a delicious homemade tomato sauce.

So with the bounty I currently have from my garden, I made my yummy salsa the other day. It is so easy to make fresh salsa, but it’s even easier when I can go into my yard to pick the ingredients for it. I will share it with you now!

FullSizeRender (208)

Valerie’s Fresh Garden Salsa

  • 4-6 large tomatoes chopped into smallish pieces FullSizeRender (210)
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped (I used two large green onions) FullSizeRender (212)
  • 2 jalapenos– seeded and insides removed if you don’t like much heat, I put them in intact because we love heat in our salsa! I also used sport peppers (heat index, somewhere between bell pepper and jalapeno) and banana peppers too!FullSizeRender (211)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro FullSizeRender (215)
  • 1/2 cup each extra virgin olive oil and vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

Chop tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro and add to large bowl. FullSizeRender (214)

Add extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the bowl and mix well. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. It tastes really good right away, but it’s even better the longer it sits. So if you make it in advance of the time you want to serve it, and let it sit and chill in the fridge that would taste extra amazing!

FullSizeRender (218)

And voila! The finished product! It tastes delicious and it’s so good for you too. It’s full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our bodies need to be healthy. It also helps prevent all kinds of diseases like cancer and heart disease. So remember to grow your own herbs and produce, and make yummy things with that home grown produce like my salsa. It will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂

FullSizeRender (219)

Join my current quinoa kick!

Standard

  
Hello, my friends! It’s the most beautiful morning here in central Indiana, and I’m so grateful for the warmth and sunshine that spring brings. It thaws the chill from my winter-weary bones. 

Since spring is the time of greater light, it usually is a time of lightened up eating for me as well. My new eating passion is replacing simple carbs with complex ones, and my primary way of doing that is to use quinoa in the place of simpler carbohydrates like pasta and white rice. I’ve also been using vegetables in the place of simple carbs, and I’ll share some of those recipes with you soon. 

The newest recipe I’ve created is called quinoa con pollo. Now, arroz (rice) con pollo has always been one of my favorite things to eat. I’ve shared the recipe previously on the blog. The other day when I went to make it, though, I thought that if I used quinoa in the place of rice I would have a healthier dish. But could I still get the same rich, complex, delicious flavors and textures with quinoa? I decided to make it and find out. The conclusion to the experiment was that it was just as yummy and amazing as it is when rice is used in the recipe. And swapping rice for quinoa resulted in a bigger bang for my nutritional buck, which was my ultimate goal. I’d like to share the recipe with you now; come along for the ride! 
Valerie’s Quinoa Con Pollo

  • 1 whole chicken cut up
  • 1 teaspoon annato paste (optional)
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 onion quartered 
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • Red pepper quartered
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken broth 
  • 1/2 cup rough chopped black, green or Greek olives- pitted
  • 1 roasted red pepper (optional)

  
First, take your cut-up chicken and salt and pepper it on both sides. 

  
Next, add the EVOO and annato paste to a large skillet on medium heat, and stir until the paste is melted into the oil. Annato paste adds a nutty flavor and rich golden color to the chicken, but is totally optional if you don’t have it.  Then add the chicken to the pan and brown for three minutes on each side. Remove from skillet to a plate to rest for a few minutes.

  
Then, take the garlic, onion, jalapeño pepper, red pepper, tomato and cilantro and throw them into a blender. Blend the ingredients for a minute until smooth, and then add them to the skillet. This is called soffrito, and is a blend of ingredients that is a staple of Mexican cooking. 

  
Stir occasionally and cook for 5 minutes until thickened and bubbly. 

  
Add the quinoa to the soffrito and simmer for a few minutes until the liquid is absorbed into the quinoa. Put chicken back into the pan, and then add the chicken broth. Toss the olives in as well. 

  
Cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until the liquid in the pan is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. 

  
Garnish the chicken with the roasted red pepper and a few leaves of cilantro. Eat and try not to make loud yummy noises! 🙂

The quinoa adds twice the protein, half the carbs, 2 1/2 times the fiber, and twice the iron for the same number of calories as rice. It’s a true nutritional powerhouse, especially if organic quinoa is used. I really didn’t miss the rice in this dish, I promise!  I hope my Mexican grandma isn’t going to send down her disapproval from heaven for changing a dish of such rich cultural heritage, but I think if she tried it, she’d approve! Let me know what you think when you try it. Making healthy but delicious swaps in your meals will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie! 

One of the healthiest things you can eat!

Standard

  
Hello, friends! Well I have an abundance of tomatoes and peppers in my garden right now, and I’m always trying to think of ways to use the bounty of my garden before it goes bad. One of my absolute favorite ways to use my tomatoes and peppers is to make salsa. I make a delicious and easy salsa that my family raves about. In fact, they fight over it when I make it and it certainly doesn’t last very long in my house. The other day Jacqueline’s boyfriend texted me to ask if I had made any salsa and if so, could he come over and have some. He has eaten an entire bowl of my salsa at one sitting quite a few times! I have made it for years, and in doing so I’ve tweaked my recipe and now I think it’s perfect, but you can be the judge of that.

I have discussed the health benefits of tomatoes and peppers numerous times this summer but let’s review this. 

  
Tomatoes have fiber, potassium, choline, folic acid, vitamin C, lycopene and beta-caratine all of which help prevent heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure. They lower blood glucose levels, improve overall skin texture, help with depression, etc etc etc. 

  
Peppers are full of vitamin C, capsaicin, B6, Folate, and carotenoids, which help with weight loss, controlling cholesterol, fighting against inflammatory disorders like arthritis, and lowering your risk for breast cancer and heart disease. The benefits are enormous!

  
Salsa also contains onions which have vitamin C and B6, folate, potassium, iron, and flavonoids quercetin and allyl disulphide.  They’re anti-allergic, anti-histaminic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant all rolled into one! 
Now are you convinced that salsa is good for you? Here’s the bonus- it also TASTES GOOD! It is one of my favorite things to eat and it’s so versatile. You can put it on tacos, eggs, chicken, and steak. You’re really only limited by your imagination. Without further ado, here we go!

Valerie’s kick butt salsa

  • 7-8 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 4 jalapeño peppers
  • 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  

First chop the tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro. Add them to a large bowl. If you want a mild salsa remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeños, but I left them in because we like a medium salsa. 

  

Add the garlic to the bowl with the tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro. Squeeze half a lime into the bowl. Add the garlic, vinegar and olive oil. Finally, add the salt and pepper and mix to combine all the ingredients. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

I like a rough chopped salsa, but if you life a smoother salsa you can always give it a quick mix in the blender to smooth it out a bit. 

  
That’s all there is to it! It’s healthy, easy and delicious! I’m eating it right now actually and it really is very tasty. If you try it, let me know how you like it. Eating food like this will help you live a healthy life, and a life of vitality-with Valerie!

One of my fave healthy dishes!

Standard

Hello friends!! Summer is busting out all over, at least in my garden and at my local farmer’s market. I have so many peppers and tomatoes I almost cannot keep up with picking everything. My herbs are exploding too, especially my basil. One of my basil plants is over three feet tall! 

  
So I’m trying to think of as many recipes as I can to utilize all of my gorgeous veggies (I know tomatoes cucumbers, peppers and avocados among others are members of the fruit family, but since I use them like vegetables, for the purposes of this post I am considering them veggies) and herbs. Inspiration always comes from the mouths of (my) babes for me. Jacqueline has mentioned gazpacho a few times this summer, and I thought that it would be a good idea to make it again. I haven’t made it in years, so as usual I turn to my handy dandy Vitamix blender to help me out in this endeavor. 

  
 The reason I like gazpacho, salsa and other tomatoey foods is because they taste SO GOOD. Additionally though, tomatoes are SO GOOD for you too. They are on the top of any list of super foods, have cancer fighting properties and are full of caratenoids- alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene. Lycopene has the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids and tomatoes are LOADED with them. Tomatoes also contain three high powered antioxidants- beta carotene (works as vitamin A in the body), vitamin E and vitamin C. Most of us only get half the vitamin A we need, and a third don’t get enough vitamin C. Tomatoes also have loads of potassium (a cup of tomato juice has 534 mg and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 mg). They are part of the famed Mediterranean diet which leads to lower death rates from heart disease and cancer. A cool fact is that when tomatoes are eaten together with healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, the body’s asorption of phytochemicals increases by 2-15 times. I love that because I’m usually combining tomatoes with one or both of those healthy fats. 

  
I love gazpacho in the summer, or anytime of the year actually I just really love it. It’s full of delicious flavor and it’s super healthy for you. Not just the tomatoes, but it contains lots of other veggies and heart healthy extra virgin olive oil too. It’s also really easy and it’s very low in calories. 12 ounces of gazpacho contains 106 calories, 637 mg of potassium, 3.3 g of fiber, 4 g of protein, 28% of your RDA for vitamin A and 81% of vitamin C. Very healthy, right?!!  My recipe is super easy and tastes so delicious that I can’t wait to share it with you now.

  
Valerie’s Gazpacho

  • 5 large tomatoes 
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder(I used Aleppo pepper which is a moderately heated, fruity spice used in Mediterranean foods)

Here’s the easy part. First rough chop all the vegetables and put them in the blender, then add the rest of the ingredients. Start with the blender on low and slowly turn it up to medium. Blend on medium for 30 seconds. And that’s it!

  
I garnish the gazpacho with chopped cucumbers, cilantro, and thin slices of avocado for Jacqueline. 

  
In addition, I added 3 crumbled up tortilla chips to mine because I like the crunch. Salt and pepper to taste of course. 

  
I promise you this is easy and delicious. It is so refreshing and surprisingly filling. Don’t forget that it’s very good for you too! Try it, you’ll like it! It will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂

One Fish, Two Fish… it’s good for you, Fish!

Standard
Lenten ladies!

Lenten ladies!

It’s Lent for me, and many other Christians in the world. Lots of us follow the Lenten custom of not eating meat on Fridays until Easter. Now, not eating meat does not mean fish, because fish is not meat, even though fish is meaty. I get many questions about this from  people who don’t follow this custom, and I know it has a biblical foundation, though I’m not sure what it is exactly. Anyway, I think it’s a healthy habit to get into regardless of your religious affiliation, and I try to eat fish at least 2 or 3 times a week. In today’s post I wanted to let you know why fish is so great for you and then give you a REALLY SUPER EASY RECIPE FOR A SUPER DELISH FISH DISH- I’m so rhymey today, aren’t I?!

Salmon is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids- the good stuff!

Salmon is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids- the good stuff!

Ok, so why is fish so good for us you ask? Great question, my friends! Well, first it’s low in calories and high in protein, which is always a good thing. Mostly, though, the reason fish is so good for us is because of Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s are fatty acids that improves the immune system, and helps prevent blindness, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, lupus, kidney disease and cancer.

Rainbow trout is another excellent source of Omega 3's- and it tastes good too!

Rainbow trout is another excellent source of Omega 3’s- and it tastes good too!

The fish with the highest amounts of Omega 3’s are farmed Atlantic salmon, tinned anchovies, sardines, Pollock, oysters, Albacore tuna, wild caught Salmon, farmed rainbow trout, and my old friend canned light tuna. However, even white fish has a significant amount of Omega 3’s, so if that’s the only kind of fish you like, eat it and enjoy the Omega 3’s! The recipe I’m going to share with you next can be made with any kind of fish that you would like to use. I just always say to use the freshest fish available in your area and don’t be afraid to ask the butcher which fish is most fresh. He/she will lead you in the right direction. Here we go!

 

Ingredients assembled for Easy, Delish Fish Dish!

Ingredients assembled for Easy, Delish Fish Dish!

Easy Peasy Fish and Salsa

  • 1/4 cup chopped, pitted green olives
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
  •  Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh or pickled jalapenos chopped (optional)
  • 4 fish filets 4-6 oz each
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large sheets aluminum foil
Salsa ingredients in the bowl and ready to go onto the fish!

Salsa ingredients in the bowl and ready to go onto the fish!

1. Make the salsa first- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or heat your grill to medium low. In a mixing bowl, combine the olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, parsley or cilantro (cilantro is my personal choice), lime juice, olive oil and jalapenos if using.

 

Fish with salsa on top- ready to go into the oven!

Fish with salsa on top- ready to go into the oven!

2. Assemble the packets- Fold four sheets of aluminum foil in half lengthwise, and then unfold and lay them on the counter. Season each fish fillet with salt and place it on one side of the foil, parallel to the crease. Top each fillet with one quarter of the salsa. Fold the foil over so it covers the fish completely and then roll the edges tightly to seal the package.

 

Fishies in foil, cooking away in the oven!

Fishies in foil, cooking away in the oven!

3. Cook the fish- Place the packets on the grill or in the oven. cook the fillets until their done all the way through, about 8-10 minutes on the grill, 20 minutes in the oven. Slash the packets open just before eating.

All done and ready to plate!

All done and ready to plate!

This is flavorful and simple, however it will definitely impress whoever you’re serving. It seems like a much more complex dish because of the flavors, but because of the quick prep and cook time you can seriously be ready to eat in 25 minutes, no joke. Make some brown rice to go along with this, serve with guacamole and you’re done!

This will be my lunch and I CAN'T WAIT TO DIG IN!

This will be my lunch and I CAN’T WAIT TO DIG IN!

So there you go, my friends, a little info about fish and one super tasty recipe for a simple fish dish. Remember to eat fish at least once or twice a week, and not just because it’s Lent. Fish is high in protein, low in calories, and it is full of Omega 3’s to protect you from some heinous illnesses. Enjoy your fish, it will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie!

 

 

Super Healthy Superbowl Sunday? It’s Super Easy!

Standard
Ready for the Superbowl?!!

Ready for the Superbowl?!!

Ok, here’s the deal, did you know that Superbowl Sunday is the NUMBER ONE EATING DAY OF THE YEAR? Yes, that’s right! More food is eaten on this upcoming Sunday than any other day of the year! Even Thanksgiving is a distant second to Superbowl Sunday in terms of calories. And get this, OVER 6,000 CALORIES ARE CONSUMED!!! When I read that statistic I was stunned. I also read that the week before Superbowl Sunday is also at the top of the list in terms of calories. I guess anticipating the gorge fest brings on early pre-gorge fests.

The typical gathering!

The typical gathering!

I read this morning that the most popular food item served at Superbowl parties is vegetables! What?!!  I guarantee you that people aren’t eating 6,000 calories of veggies on Sunday! Though, vegetables are the most popular food item, we finally get to the root of the problem when you hear the most consumed food items on this day, which are chicken wings and pizza. According to Fox Sports, Pizza Hut will deliver 2 MILLION PIZZAS with 1,700 orders per minute occurring shortly before kickoff. One slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza is 350 calories and three chicken wings are approximately 255 calories so you can see how this meal is problematic calorically. That’s before the beer or margaritas are consumed, and the chips, dips, and desserts too! Can you see now how you can easily get to 6,000 calories with a four hour plus game?!!

So you see the concern that I have, don’t you? And you should be concerned too! With all of this in mind I began to think about my wonderful readers and how I could advise you to make good choices on Sunday (and every day, of course!). The first scenario is the easiest one, which is if you are the one hosting the Superbowl party. Then you can control the menu and preparations. You can also control what your guests bring, that is if they call to ask you.

The second scenario is more difficult- if you are someone else’s party guest. Then, you have MUCH less control over what is served and your choices will be more limited to what is available. However, I have a solution for you that I hope you’ll like (and it’s not to starve yourself by the way, I’d never say that!). The solution is CHILI!! Specifically, you call host of said party and ask him/her if you can bring something to contribute to the party and when he/she says yes then you offer to bring a pot of chili. It won’t be turned down because EVERYBODY loves chili! This is how you will eat safely and healthily on Sunday.

My yummy (and healthy chili)!

My yummy (and healthy chili)!

Why is chili such a good solution you ask? Well I’ll tell you, it’s because chili is healthy and filling! The beans and meat provide a nice serving of protein, the tomatoes and tomato sauce a great serving of vegetables, and the beans give you a nice punch of fiber which fills you up and helps you stay full. Calorie wise you’re better off with chili too because one serving (one cup) is only 259 calories and you will feel FULL after you eat it. If you have a cup of chili, one (only one!) beer, a handful of tortilla chips and guacamole you will only have consumed about 600 calories. That’s a FAR CRY FROM 6,000!! Plus all of the nutrition you will have gained from this meal is light years away from the nutritional wasteland of greasy pizza and fried chicken wings!

The best salad I've ever made- REALLY!

The best salad I’ve ever made- REALLY!

I’m going to share my recipe for chili, which I think is simple and fabulous. I’m also including the MOST DELICIOUS SALAD RECIPE EVER which I just made up the other night when I was in the mood for something different. I served the salad with my chili and I think the Mexican flavors in the salad really complemented the similar flavors in the chili. Bring the salad and the chili to the gathering and you will make some friends I promise you! If it’s your own gathering make my salad and chili, add some salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips and you’ve got a HEALTHY, DELICIOUS PARTAY!

My yummy chili con carne

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large can (28 oz) pureed tomatoes
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 big cans (28 oz) kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

First, sauté onions and minced garlic in a dash of extra virgin olive oil, then after about 3 minutes, add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Next add all the rest of the ingredients and either put that into a crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours, or leave it on the stove on low heat, stirring frequently until thick and bubbly. You may need to add more spices as it cooks so taste it every once in a while. And that’s all there is to it! Done!

Chili and Mexican salad- what could be better?!

Chili and Mexican salad- what could be better?!

The most delicious salad ever

  • 1 bag of organic lettuce greens of your choice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and with insides removed, chopped
  • 1 stalk of green onion chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves, rough chopped
  • 1/2 avocado chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Take the first 6 ingredients and add them to a large bowl. Then in a smaller bowl take the next four ingredients and make the vinaigrette by squeezing one lime into the bowl and then whisking in the olive oil until the two ingredients are combined. Then add the salt and pepper, stir, add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss. This one’s done too! The creaminess of the avocado makes the salad so rich and the jalapenos, since they’ve been deseeded and the insides removed, are no longer really spicy, just fruity and flavorful. The cilantro adds that delicious freshness too. And the lime makes the vinaigrette really pop with flavor! It’s just really good!

And that’s how you avoid consuming 6,000 calories on Sunday, my friends! If you make a pot of chili and a delicious salad you will feel satisfied and know you’ve eaten something really good for your body. I know you can do it! Enjoy yourself in moderation and you’ll be living a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂

 

Leftovers you’ll love! What to do with all that turkey part 1.

Standard
Turkey Enchiladas!

Turkey Enchiladas!

Ok, so once Thanksgiving is over and you have mountains of turkey left- or you’re a college student and your mom has sent you back with piles of turkey- what do you do with it? I mean, there are only so many days you can eat turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy before you get truly sick of it! Well, I am here to help you! I will be sharing my favorite turkey leftover recipes with you this week so you can mix it up with some different meals you will enjoy. They are easy too, so you can spend time with family and friends without toiling for hours in the kitchen, we already did that on Thanksgiving and we need a break! The great thing about these recipes that I’m sharing is that you can use any leftover meat to make these recipes great, so if you made a ham, steaks, or any meat they’ll taste delish!

Easy Turkey Enchiladas

Leftover pork roast, but any meat will make this recipe delicious!

Leftover pork roast, but any meat will make this recipe delicious!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then, warm up leftover turkey (or any meat) in the microwave to get it warm.

Simmer some tomato sauce.

Simmer some tomato sauce.

2. Take a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes, add a teaspoon of cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and simmer until thickened and bubbly- 10 minutes.

Pork with tomato sauce added!

Pork with tomato sauce added!

3. Take half of the tomato sauce mixture and a cup of shredded cheese, and add it to the warmed meat- I also added some black beans to it but if you don’t like them, they are optional. Give this a quick stir to combine the ingredients.

Pan is ready to receive the enchiladas!

Pan is ready to receive the enchiladas!

4. Prepare the pan by swiping a little tomato sauce across the bottom. I do this so that the enchiladas won’t stick to the bottom of the pan when I try to remove them after baking.

Roll the enchiladas and place them in the pan.

Roll the enchiladas and place them in the pan.

5. Next, take tortillas, put 1/4 cup of meat mixture into them, and place them with the opening side down into the pan. Fill them until the pan is full, as you can see the meat I had made 6 enchiladas.

Baking in the oven- yay!

Baking in the oven- yay!

6. Cover the enchiladas with the rest of the tomato sauce and a half bag of shredded cheese, whichever kind you like the best. Bake the enchiladas for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. When they’re done, take them out and let them cool for a few minutes so you can lift them from the pan without the cheese sliding all over. There’ s nothing worse than an enchilada with no cheese on it- no fun!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

7. I topped the enchiladas with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro for freshness before serving but that is also optional. Add a salad to get your veggies in and you’re good to go!

So that’s it. A super easy and delicious enchilada recipe for you to enjoy with your leftover turkey, or any leftover meat. Let me know what you like to do with your leftover turkey, and look for another leftover recipe later this week. I hope you try my enchiladas because they’ll help you to live a life of vitality- like Valerie! 🙂