Thanksgiving: My Favorite Time of Year

Food Talk

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Anyone who loves to cook lives for Thanksgiving and the holidays. I get so excited just thinking about spending the day in the kitchen and cooking for all of my loved ones.

With Thanksgiving being next week, I need help creating a Thanksgiving menu! What are some of y’all’s favorite Thanksgiving dinner sides?

Stuffing and green bean casserole are some of my favorites! And ya can’t forget pumpkin pie for dessert! 🙂

Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins: Microwave Monday

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College Recipe Cafe

Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

Level of Effort: Easy 
Cost of Ingredients: $1.44
Nutrition Info (1 half): 189 calories, 8.4 g fat, 9.2 g protein, 3.7 g fiber, 19 g carbs

Chelsea over at The College Crumb recently asked a great question on her blog. She was interested in knowing how her readers dealt with eating poorly during stressful times (a.k.a. mid-terms). It made me think about how I’ve taken comfort in eating junk during times when my energy-depleted brain could have used something nutritious.

Recently my eating habits have changed, for the better, by applying a method Meb Keflezighi (2014 Boston Marathon winner) uses to train to win marathons.

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Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Recipes

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Just tried this recipe today and it was delicious! Such a great way to fulfill that cheesy, tomato sauce, Italian craving without all the pasta. Super easy to make and I recommend everyone try it!

Ingredients:

1 Spaghetti squash
1/2 tblsp. Olive oil
1 lb. Lean ground turkey
1 can Tomato sauce (I used Classico’s Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic)
1 tsp. Red pepper flakes (optional)
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 c. Shredded Mozzarella
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400. Slice spaghetti squash length wise and scrape out the seeds. Rub 1/4 tbsp olive oil into each squash half and season with salt and pepper. Place each spaghetti squash half face down in a large baking dish and bake for 40-60 min. When squash is done, middle will be tender and pull apart easily.
2. In a large pan, cook ground turkey over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Add tomato sauce and simmer then reduce to low heat for 15 min.
3. When spaghetti squash is fully cooked, flip in the baking dish so that it is now skin side down. Evenly divide ricotta between each squash half. Repeat with meat sauce. Top each half with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
4. Turn oven to broil, and cook for an other 2 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbling. This happens very quickly–make sure to watch closely, otherwise it can burn easily. Remove and serve!

*Retrieved picture from arismenu.com

Midterm Mayhem

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Sorry I haven’t posted in over a week! Definitely find it hard to blog when I’m swamped with homework, tests, and projects.

I’ve noticed that the time around midterms and finals are the times during the semester that my eating habits really take a turn for the worst. I do try to meal prep in order to avoid living off of Ramen noodles, Hot Pockets, and fast food. I’m ashamed of what my diet has consisted of these past couple of weeks…

It got me wondering… What do you guys do to avoid eating poorly during stressful times in your lives?

Apple Sage Turkey Meatloaf

Recipes

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This is by far the best meatloaf I have ever had! I made this recipe last week and it was absolutely delicious. My favorite part about this recipe is that it uses ground turkey instead ground beef. Super simple and I encourage everyone to try it!

Ingredients:

2 apples , cored, peeled and finely chopped
1 large yellow onion , finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2/3 cup Italian-style (seasoned) bread crumbs
1/2 cup low-fat (1%) milk
2 pounds ground turkey , preferably a mix of white and dark meat
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
1 large egg , lightly beaten
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional) , plus more for serving

Directions:

1.Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine apples, onion, bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes to soften bread crumbs.
3. Add turkey, sage, egg, salt and pepper and mix until combined.
4. Scrape the mixture onto the baking sheet. With water-moistened hands, shape the mixture into a loaf about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide.
5. Spread top of loaf with 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce, if using, and bake until meatloaf is lightly browned and cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should register 165°F), 50 to 60 minutes.
6. Let meatloaf sit 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with warmed tomato sauce if desired.

Picture and recipe retrieved from http://m.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/apple-sage-and-turkey-meatloaf#sthash.K3gYMRHd.dpuf

Chicken Marsala

Recipes

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Such a simple and delicious recipe using Campbell’s Skillet Sauces!

Ingredients:

1 lb. chicken breast cut into chunks
2 tblsp olive oil
4 c. sliced white button mushrooms
1 pkg Campbell’s Marsala Skillet Sauce

Directions:

1. Heat 1 tblsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat
2. Add mushrooms and cook until tender
3. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside
4. Heat another tblsp of olive oil in the same pan
5. Add chicken and cook thoroughly
6. Add sauce and mushrooms to chicken and simmer for 5 minutes
7. Serve and enjoy!

I like to serve the chicken over buttered pasta with a side of steamed broccoli!

Lil’ Smokies

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Lil' Smokies

If you want to win a man’s heart, I’m determined this recipe will do the trick. Any man I’ve ever talked to about favorite football foods has always mentioned “Lil’ Smokies.”

The good thing for you and me is that they are so so easy. But we don’t have to tell them that. (HA)

Ingredients:

– 1 14oz pack Hillshire Farms beef Lit’l Smokies
– 1/2 cup grape jelly
– 3/4 bottle (18oz) BBQ sauce

Directions:

Place sausages in skillet and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. You just want to brown them slightly.

Next, add jelly and continually stir until melted. Add BBQ sauce and serve!

_______________________

See I told you it was easy! Now go win some hearts!

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Sautéed Peppers

Recipes

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Such a great side dish with pork or beef. Really tasty as a burger topping!

Ingredients:

4 bell peppers (I used 2 red and 2 green)
1 medium onion
2 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Wash bell peppers, chop off the tops, clean out the seeds, and cut into large chunks
2. Chop onion into large chunks as well
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat
4. Add bell peppers, onion, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
5. Sauté until peppers and onions are tender (about 20 min)
6. Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

Recipes

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Such a great, cheap, and easy side dish for almost any meal!

Ingredients:

4-5 c. fresh broccoli florets
2 tblsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powders

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 F
2. Place broccoli on baking sheet and toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
3. Bake for 20 min
4. Enjoy!

*Time may vary depending on your preference in texture. Add 5 or 10 more minutes for a more crispy texture.

Healthy Meals in a Microwave Minute

Recipes

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The week has just started and your to do list is already miles long. You have 2 tests to study for, a group meeting, a few readings, a presentation, and ungodly amounts of homework… All due by Friday. You catch yourself munching on a bag of chips or running to Taco Bell in the few free minutes you have to eat.

Eating healthy, home cooked meals just sounds unrealistic during your busy semester… But it is possible! My solution: meal preparation.

Every Sunday, before football starts, I’ll run to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients I need to make a weeks worth of meals. I’ll begin to cook up these healthy meals in between studying and watching Sunday football. After cooking the meals, I’ll make myself a plate for dinner and portion out the leftovers into little meals I can quickly heat up during the week.

As long as you don’t have a problem with eating leftovers, I think this is a great way to solve the unhealthy eating habits of those who just can’t find the time to cook during the week.

*I’ll be posting the recipes of this week’s meal prep, which include chicken Marsala, roasted broccoli, and sautĂ©ed peppers and onions.