Citrus Water

I love serving this for holiday meals in addition to other beverages. And all you need are oranges, lemon and water.

This is a good thirst quencher and very refreshing. It’s water flavored with the perfect amount of lemons and oranges. I don’t add sugar or anything else because the rest of the food around the dinner table is so flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 2 Oranges

  • 2 Lemons

  • Water

  • Ice

Directions 

Pour drinking water into your favorite pitcher. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and one orange into the water. Cut the other orange and lemon into slices and drop in the water. Add some ice and you’re done!

How do you like to drink your water?

Green Bean Casserole

Did someone say Green Bean Casserole? I’m in. I love green beans and I love making this dish Thanksgiving or not. It’s my go-to comfort food and maybe it will soon be yours too. And it’s not entirely bad for you since it consists of green beans, mushrooms and ok, you got me, French onions. Admit it, healthy or not, without a little sprinkle of French onions this would just not be the same.

There are a million ways to make green bean casserole – what’s your favorite way to make this crowd pleaser?

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Green beans

  • 2 cups of Mushrooms

  • 1 can Cream of mushroom soup

  • 1 cup French onions

Directions

1) Boil a pot of water over stove and put in the washed and clean green beans. Boil for about 10 minutes or until tender.

2) Wash and slice mushrooms into thin slices and sauté in a pan until golden brown. Add cream of mushroom and set aside.

3) In an oven proof baking dish, add drained green beans, mushroom mixture and French onions and bake in oven 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Tip: Since the French onions and cream of mushroom are heavily seasoned I avoid adding salt and pepper.

Baked Zucchini

Baked Zucchini? Try this, and you’ll be eating Zucchini all fall long. Make these as a side dish or to snack on during the day. Super easy and fun to make!

Ok, you guys – spill all your zucchini secrets here! How do you get this veggie into your diet? Any other cool ways to eat zucchini?

Ingredients 

  • 3 Zucchini

  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs (your favorite kind)

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

Directions 

1) Wash, peel and cut zucchini in ½ inch rounds

2) Dip zucchini in egg, then in breadcrumbs and lay on baking sheet. Repeat this until all are done.

3) Sprinkle parmesan on top of all the zucchini rounds and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

4) Serve warm.

Moroccan Lamb Stew

If fall isn’t the perfect season for stew than I don’t know what is. This adds a bit of a twist to your meal if you don’t generally add a sweet flavor to your dishes. The plums are what make it Moroccan for me and they add a little warmth to the stew. Plus, how good does Moroccan Lamb Stew sound in this chilly weather?

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  • 5 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Salt and ground pepper

  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced

  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes

  • 2 tomatoes, diced

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish for the lamb

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 cup rice

1) In a pot with tight fitting lid, heat oil over high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper and brown for 3 to 5 minutes. Add water, close lid and cook for about 30 minutes, adding water as needed.

2) In skillet, add a little olive oil, add onion and garlic and cook until golden. Add paprika, tomatoes, prunes and lamb with its broth. Bring to boil, then turn heat to low, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

3) After its simmered, add cilantro and lime juice and serve on top of rice.

Tortilla Soup

This is a great cold weather soup and it’s perfect for Fall. I love this soup because it’s so flavorful and healthy at the same time. It combines lots of veggies and people can have fun with adding the avocado and tortilla chips to their own soup bowls. It’s always important to keep food and the eating process interactive! This will easily become a favorite of your guests and family.

Ingredients

  • 4 (about 1 1/2 pounds) skinless chicken thighs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

  • 4 large scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 4 jalapenos, diced

  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

  • 1 cup cilantro, diced

  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1) Add skinless chicken thighs in a pot of boiling water. Let boil for about an hour, adding water as needed. Once these are done, reserve the water. Take chicken thighs out and shred meat with a fork. Set aside.

2) In a separate pot, on medium heat, add olive oil and garlic. After a few minutes when it begins to brown, add the reserved chicken broth. Add shredded chicken, cayenne pepper, cherry tomatoes, black beans, lime juice, scallions, jalapenos, cilantro and salt and pepper. Let all this simmer on low for about 30 minutes.

3) When ready to serve, add avocados on top with crushed tortilla chips.

Makes 4 servings.

Feta Cheese Puff Pastry

These feta cheese puff pastries are my favorite thing to have around the house at all times. If I could make them everyday, I would. You can serve these with dinner or just as a snack by themselves. And they’re great to take to work too! Pack yourself some or take a bunch for your team! These feta cheese puff pastries were originated in Armenia but have been adopted by surrounding countries like Russia. Also many Middle Eastern and European countries make these now too, like Greece, Georgia and Syria. Of course, the ingredients don’t stay the same and everyone has their own way of making it. However, this is the original feta cheese puff pastry recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 blocks of Feta Cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • Puff Pastry dough
  • Flour

Directions 

1) Take out pastry dough from freezer and let thaw.

2) In a bowl add Feta (rinse under water after removing from package) and 1 egg. You will usually need 1 egg per feta block. Combine ingredients together using a fork. Set aside.

3) Open up pastry dough and cut into squares. Add some flour to the area that you’ll be working on so the dough doesn’t stick. One long pastry sheet will yield 9 squares and there are 2 of those in one package so 18 squares total. Use dough roller and open squares up a little. Put 1 full packed teaspoon of the feta mixture into a square and fold over so it becomes a triangle. Press corners with a fork to seal. Repeat until all of them are done, and put on a flat baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

4) Turn oven on to 350 degrees. While waiting for oven to heat, take one egg and whisk with fork until it’s smooth. Use a kitchen brush (you can do this with a paper towel too) to brush each feta puff pastry triangle with whisked egg. Once done, put in oven to bake for about 30-45 minutes.

5) Once they are ready, remove from oven, let cool, put in a big flat bowl and serve. They are best when they’re warm.

Makes 18 puff pastries.

Creamy Rice Hot Cereal

This “Creamy Rice” Brown Rice Farina Hot Cereal is a favorite of mine anytime of the day. I eat this for breakfast, as a snack and even after dinner at times. I use almond milk but you can make this with whatever you like including water, coconut milk and just plain milk. As you’ve noticed, I like to keep things simple and easy so here’s to a quick and simple snack anytime of the day.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups almond milk
  • ¼ cup Farina
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 

Directions 

1) Bring almond milk to a boil and add Farina, reducing heat to low. Cook for about 5-8 minutes while stirring.

2) Pour contents into bowl, add butter, honey, sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve.

Serves 1.

Mediterranean Farro Salad

I felt like I was in the Mediterranean eating this while listening to the water splash on the rocks. This is a great side dish or a meal in itself. It combines lots of healthy veggies like red peppers, green beans and black olives. You can eat this warm or cold, which makes it perfect for the warm summer months. Once you make this, you can put in the refrigerator, and eat it later on or even the next day.

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Ingredients

  • About 1 ½ cups farro
  • About 2 cups greens beans, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • ¾ cup pitted black olives
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • ¾ cup Parmesan, crumbled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1) In a pot, add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil and add farro. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the water has soaked up. Add a teaspoon of salt while simmering. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

2) Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain the cooked greens beans and let cool.

3) Add green beans, olives, red pepper, Parmesan, olive oil, and black pepper to bowl of farro, mix and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Beef Short Rib and Chickpea Soup

This Armenian inspired soup is great for the cold winter months (coming up soon) but it’s also super convenient to make the night before for eating the next day. I try to plan ahead, so if I know I’m not going to be home until later in the evening this is one of my go-to meals. If you like chickpeas and beef short ribs you will love this.

Do you have any favorite soups you like to make with chickpeas? Beef short ribs? Please share, I would love to hear!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of beef short ribs
  • 2 cans chick peas, rinsed
  • About 10 bay leaves
  • About 10 peppercorns
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups water (more as needed)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • ¼ stick of butter
  • salt and pepper

Directions 

1) Heat water over stove. As it starts to boil, add bay leaves, peppercorns and washed beef short ribs to the water, close lid, and let boil on medium-high heat for about 1 hour-90 minutes (adding water as needed).

2) In the meantime, add butter to pan and as it starts to get hot, add diced onions. Brown the onions for a few minutes and add tomato paste and basil to it. Add 1 cup of water and let simmer for a few minutes.

3) Once the beef short ribs are tender, strain the water into another pot (this is done to remove the bay leaves and peppercorns), add beef short ribs, potatoes, chickpeas, and the browned onion mixture to the new pot. Add a little more water if needed. On low heat, let everything simmer for about 30 minutes to bring all the flavors together.

Serves 4.  

Minted Blueberry Lemon Water

How refreshing is this? Blueberries, lemon and mint are the perfect combo on a hot summer day. It’s hot out there so it’s important to keep hydrated. This will make it easier to drink more water. Make a pitcher of it and drink it all day!

Do you have any fruit combinations that you would like to share? Would love to hear what you use to help you drink more water!

Ingredients

  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 sprigs of Mint
  • ¼ cup of Blueberries

Directions

1) Drop blueberries in a cup of cold water and use a fork to crush them in the water to release its flavor. Add 2 slices of lemon to the water and do the same.

2) Put the mint inside, garnish with a lemon on the side of cup and serve.

Makes 1 serving.