15 Minute Garlic Croutons

Have you ever passed by the marked down aisle of food at the grocery store and wondered what you could do with any of the marked down bread? So much! Yesterday I bought a bag of french loaf pieces that was marked down to 49 cents with the intentions of making croutons out of it. I’ve got a salad planned for my lunch this week, as well as a soup and croutons go well with both.

Anyone can make their own croutons with just 4 basic ingredients and an oven. Add some spices or parmesan cheese to give them a more flavorful taste to match whatever entree you have planned to incorporate them in. I promise you won’t buy store brand croutons again!

Homemade Garlic Croutons
Yields 4
You can make your own croutons with just 4 ingredients and an oven.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups of bread, cut into small cube shapes
  2. ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  3. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1/3 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add bread cubes to a large bowl. Sprinkle both garlic powder and sea salt overtop, gently stirring. Next drizzle olive oil overtop and carefully fold; making sure to coat all bread.
  3. Using a cookie sheet, add bread; spreading out evenly so none overlap. Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly they brown.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before adding to your recipe or storing in a gallon size ziplock bag.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Happy 2017! I decided to start up the new year with a more strict diet and exercise plan due to adding a few pounds on over the last year that I’m not too happy about, just like pretty much everyone else in the world. With bikini season a few months away, I know that winter time would be the best time to start focusing on tightening up my healthy lifestyle a bit, starting with what I eat.

While putting together my meal plan for the week, I decided to include a breakfast casserole that would not only taste good reheated, but hold me over until my morning snack. This previous week I enjoyed an overnight oats breakfast and while that was delicious, I was craving something more “solid.” With a breakfast casserole, not only would I be getting a good source of protein from the eggs, but I’d also be getting a good source of calcium from the dairy; something we all could use. Plus I’d feel more full after eating my portion!

A breakfast casserole can vary in ingredients but usually consist of a basic build; eggs, milk and cheese. To add taste and a better base to mine, I decided to add southern hashbrowns and ham as well. The hashbrowns would give a nice golden crust feel to the casserole while the bacon and ham would just be a bonus addition for the tastebuds. It also helps that I already had all of these things on hand.

As for my dairy; I love to purchase products that are locally made whenever opportunity arises and Reiter Dairy has over 20 dairy farms here in the state of Ohio. Our nearby grocery carries Reiter’s milk product DairyPure and after doing a little research on the brand, I decided I wanted to give it a try. 

What I love most about DairyPure is their 5-Point Purity Promise. When you purchase DairyPure milk you’re giving your family not only a product that comes from cows that are fed a healthy-diet, but also has no artificial growth hormones, has been tested for antibiotics, is continuously quality tested to ensure purity and is cold-shipped from their dairy. Hearing that, I knew that this would be a product that I can feel confident feeding to my family. 

Be sure to check out Reiter Dairy to see which of your local groceries carries their products. 

 

Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Serves 8
In need of a quick and delicious breakfast for brunch, "Breakfast for Dinner," or something you can reheat in the morning throughout the week? This breakfast casserole is perfect for just that and can be thrown together in just 5-10 minutes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 16 oz diced ham, package should state that it's already fully cooked
  2. 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  3. 8 cups frozen southern hashbrowns
  4. 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  5. 12 large eggs
  6. 1 cup DairyPure milk
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. a pinch of ground pepper, for taste
Instructions
  1. Well grease two quiche pans or a 9x13 size casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, combine ham, cheese, hashbrowns and bacon well. Add to combination to casserole dish, spreading evenly.
  4. Wash out large mixing bowl and next add eggs, DairyPure milk, salt and pepper (optional) whisking well. Pour overtop ham and hashbrowns, making sure that it is evenly spread.
  5. Cook for one hour.
Notes
  1. If you'd prefer to just make a smaller serving - cut ingredients in half and use just one quiche pan.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

This is a sponsored post. All thoughts, and opinions I have expressed here are that of my own.

Easy Apple Yogurt Dip

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It’s September and to me that’s basically fall. AKA apple pickin’ time. Last year we visited a local apple (and various other grown fruits and vegetables) farm and picked enough to make a serious amount of slow-cooker apple sauce and some cute little mini apple pies. However, I think that this year I would like to branch out a little more with my apple recipes and try some new things. This little dip recipe isn’t new, but it sure is delicious and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up for a quick mid-day treat. 

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Having fruit for a snack is a for-sure way to stay on the healthy path. Especially if you’re eating apples as they contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber. Pair them with some peanut butter for protein and greek yogurt for your nutrients and you have an extremely good-for-you dip.

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Easy Apple Yogurt Dip
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Ingredients
  1. plain greek yogurt
  2. small apple of your choice, sliced
  3. 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Add each ingredient in an amount to your liking. Stir well and enjoy with fresh apple slices.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Slow Roasted Seasoned Tomatoes (Sauce)

A gas range is something I am still getting used to. No one quite understands the difference between an electric stove and a gas range until they actually go from having one to the other. I’ve always heard that a lot of food not only tastes different when using a gas stove (or oven), but also cooks much quicker. It’s still too early for me to validate the taste answer, but I can absolutely attest to the cooks quicker one! I learned just how quick after burning french toast.

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Since we are now officially in the new home, I can settle in more comfortably and get back into the swing of things – meaning actually cooking again; something I desperately missed both mentally and physically. I always feel so much better about myself when I know where my meals came from and who prepared them. Don’t get me wrong, eating out every once in awhile is nice but not only does it get expensive but it’s also most likely not healthy.

Tonight’s dinner was a late one due to schedules so it had to be something more on the simple side. It’s been some time since I made a marinara sauce and pasta can be both satisfying to all tastebuds and a quick clean-plater. I had most things already on hand, aside from the tomatoes which I happily walked over to Whole Foods to acquire. It’s awesome just how good even a basic marinara sauce can taste. Those tomatoes really do their job!

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Tomato? Tomahto? Marinara is a personal preference. I happen to like mine sweet so cherry tomatoes that were roasted in an oven were sure to give my marinara a sweet taste. I made sure to marinate them with some olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, italian seasoning, oregano and fresh basil leaves before I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours. And if you don’t want to get out the whisk and crush your tomatoes after they’re done roasting; you can puree them the lazy (and super smart) cook way – in a blender! Just make sure to pulse for less than a minute if you would like to have some “chunk” pieces to your sauce.

What would you add in your marinara sauce?

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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I understand most would think that with it being still summer, the temperature outside may just be a little on the “too hot” side for a bowl of soup. However, just because summer is still here doesn’t mean that we can’t feel under the weather and crave some chicken noodle soup.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Yields 6
A delicious homemade version of Chicken Noodle Soup cooked over the stovetop in just 30 minutes.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. ½ cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  3. ½ cup celery, sliced thin
  4. ½ cup yellow onion, peeled and diced
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced
  6. 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  7. ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  8. ¼ dried oregano
  9. 1 teaspoon pepper,
  10. 6 ounces wide egg noodles
  11. 1 cup shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
  12. ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  13. salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large saucepan with 2 tablespoons olive oil over med-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and allow to saute for 8 minutes. Stir continuously. Add garlic and allow to saute an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Next add chicken broth, thyme, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Check to make sure vegetables are softened, cook additional 2 minutes if not.
  3. Add egg noodles, stirring often for 10 minutes or until noodles appear thoroughly cooked.
  4. Throw in rotisserie chicken, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Cook an additional 2 minutes so that chicken combines with broth. Serve.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Healthy Banana Blueberry Bread

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I could go on and on about how blueberries seem to make everything tastes so much better, even delicious banana bread. But instead of wasting your time and trying to convince you just why; I’m going to assume you already like blueberries because you clicked on a link somewhere just for this recipe. So just right below the pictures, you’ll find a list of ingredients and instructions. Get to it!

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Healthy Banana Blueberry Bread
A delicious bread baked with fresh bananas and blueberries, healthy enough that you won't feel guilty while enjoying a slice.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. ½ cup brown sugar
  7. ¼ cup coconut oil
  8. ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  11. 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  12. 1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix together.
  3. Next, in a large size bowl add brown sugar, coconut oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla extract. When all ingredients have been whisked well, add mashed bananas. Whisk well again. Next, gently fold in blueberries.
  4. Add dry ingredients into large bowl with banana mixture. Combine well and pour into loaf pan. Check at 55 minutes by inserting a toothpick in the middle. If toothpick comes out clean, bread is ready. If not, bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool down for 10 minutes before transferring to a baker's rack. Serve warm.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Watermelon Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

watermelonsalsa

It’s watermelon season! And because so, I challenge you to make this salsa and serve it at your next party; be it the 4th of July or potluck. Just make sure not to tell your family and friends what’s in it at first! Chances are they won’t suspect those small delicious red cubes to be watermelon. 

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Watermelon Salsa
Serves 6
A sweet way to enjoy your favorite summer past-time snack. Don't let the watermelon fool you though, this salsa has quite the kick to it!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups seedless watermelon, diced into small cubes
  2. 2 jalapenos, deseeded and diced
  3. ¼ cup red onion, minced
  4. ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  5. ¼ cup lime juice
  6. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl. Serve chilled with tortilla chips or baked cinnamon tortilla triangles.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Oven-Cooked Paleo Italian Meatballs with Sauce

We’ve been using ground turkey instead of ground beef for so long that I’ve forgotten what beef actually tastes like. I like ground turkey. The kids have grown to like it too, so I really see no point in switching back. It’s healthier and that makes spending a couple extra bucks worth it to me.

While trying to expand my “bowl recipes,” I stumbled across this particular one for with what seemed like extremely good-for-you meatballs. I liked that they were an oven-bake and the marinara was an easy homemade sauce you could put together in no time and patiently hang out in the kitchen with a cup of tea while it slowly cooked over the stove. 

And so I did just that.

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Not to mention, it tastes great over whole-grain rice. Which obviously makes it a keeper, a blog post and handwritten down on a recipe card to go in my book. But if you don’t like rice, you can eat just the meatballs with the sauce, overtop a plate of linguini noodles or on a sub. 

That makes it pretty hard not to want to give it a try, don’t you think?

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Oven-Cooked Paleo Italian Meatballs with Sauce
Serves 4
Healthy ground turkey meatballs baked in the oven and then simmered in a sauce-pan of delicious and hearty homemade marinara sauce. Recipe is both paleo and gluten-free.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Meatballs
  1. 1lb ground turkey beef
  2. 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  3. 1 egg, beaten
  4. ½ tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  7. 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, divided (optional)
  8. whole grain rice, (optional)
Sauce
  1. 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  2. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 bay leaf
  5. 1 garlic clove, chopped
  6. 1 tablespoon parsely, finely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a large baking sheet, cover with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add beaten egg with ground turkey, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, parsley, salt and black pepper. Combine well with clean hands.
  3. Using hands, roll meatballs, about 2 tablespoons of mixture, evenly and spread on baking pan. Space out each meatball at least ½-1 inch apart from each other.
  4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
Marinara Sauce
  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and allow to saute for 5 minutes. Next add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Both onion and garlic should appear transparent. Add canned tomatoes, bay leaf and pepper. Combine well with a wooden spoon and lower heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Serve overtop meatballs and whole-grain rice.
Notes
  1. Recipe has been adjusted from original posted via adapt link.
Adapted from Noshtastic
Adapted from Noshtastic
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Strawberry Pickin’ and Homemade Jam

strawberrypicking

I’ve been wanting to make some homemade jam for quite some time, so I took the kids to Jacquemin Farms in Plain City to do a little bit of strawberry picking. Every year when I remember it’s strawberry picking time, that time is basically over and we have to wait for it to be apple season before we get to experience anything similar.

We got there shortly after they opened for the day (830am) and I was surprised at how many people were already out in the fields picking! Luckily there were still a  bountiful amount of strawberries still on the vines. Enough that we came home with 6 quarts of strawberries; probably triple what I actually needed. So I imagine for the next few days, there will be several strawberry-based recipes. That’s convinent even if you can’t make it out to a strawberry farm; strawberries are in season now so they’re not super expensive at the grocery store!

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Washing strawberries is the easy part. Finding somewhere to store them turned out to be a little interesting, so I ended up lining the bottom of one of the 4qt carriers with parchment paper and filled it with strawberries to put in the refrigerator.

Next comes the time consuming part –  chopping the strawberries. While there’s always the option of washing your strawberries, cutting off the tops and throwing them in the blender, I happen to like my jam chunky and so I opted to slice small and large pieces instead. This means my prep-time was well over 30 minutes.

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Now for the real fun part, cooking strawberries. This is one of the quickest ways to make your entire house smell delicious. It’s such a sweet aroma combined with the lemon and sugar; definitely something that you taste test if your impatient like me.

Your jam will eventually thicken after boiling. Because all stoves cook differently; it may before the estimated time given on the recipe card, or it may be longer. You just have to constantly check as not to overcook.

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Aren’t they cute!? I’m in the process of making some cute tags for them as well and will post those when finished.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Jam
Yields 2
A small-batch recipe for strawberry jam made with fresh strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups of fresh strawberries, cut into small and large pieces
  2. 2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Allow strawberry mixture to come to a boil while mixing frequently with a wooden spoon. Scoop up as much foam as you can and dispose in sink. (foam will be a light pink color)
  2. After removing foam, allow strawberry mixture to continue cooking for 10-15 minutes; constantly stirring. Jam should begin to thicken. If it seems watery still, let it continue to cook but be sure to watch it so that it doesn't overcook.
  3. When jam seems thick enough your likening, add to clean mason jars and allow to sit out until they are room temperature. Refrigerate after.
  4. Canned jam lasts 2-3 weeks if it remains in fridge.
Notes
  1. If you want to try a quick set test, freeze a spoon while cooking mixture. When you want to see if jam is thick enough, use spoon to scoop mixture and tilt spoon ovetop a plate. If the mixture runs off the spoon quickly, your jam isn't thick enough.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/