Pepperoni “Pasta” Salad

pepperoni noodle salad 2

The warmer days are becoming more and more abundant and we’re getting closer to actual summer, which means more salads and other cold foods. I love the change in eating that each season brings and look forward to the variety that each season offers.

This cold “noodle” salad is reminiscent of pizza and tastes incredible. It’s fresh, light, and full of Italian flavor. The “Rawmesan” really brings the salad together and adds a wonderful cheesy flavor minus the actual cheese. If you don’t want to buy it, you can also make your own by following this recipe. It’s very easy. Alternatively, you can opt for some high-quality Parmesan if you tolerate it. I personally do okay with small amounts of aged cheese, like Parmesan, but find that I feel better without cheese completely and prefer to mostly avoid it. So, I opted for the Rawmesan. Do what’s best for you.

I recommend eating this within a couple days, as the zucchini starts to soften slightly and more water is drawn out (of course, it still tastes good though). If you do have leftovers, it works well to add a little more zucchini and fresh basil the next day.

Meanwhile, I’m off to NYC bright and early this morning for an intense 3-day kettlebell training and then some fun. I can’t wait, as I love NYC!

Cheers and enjoy!

pepperoni salad 3

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 4 oz package Applegate Farms mini turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • About 1/3 cup Rawmesan or high-quality Parmesan cheese, if tolerated

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, basil, red onion, and pepperoni.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, garlic granules, sea salt, and black pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and mix well with tongs. Lastly, mix in the Rawmesan or Parmesan cheese. Serve.

 

Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

Isn’t it hard to believe that it’s almost Autumn already? We’ve already had several days that feel and smell like fall, but they’ve been interspersed with hot days. I do enjoy fall, but am not quite ready for summer to be over yet, even though it’s been a scorching one. Summer is definitely my favorite and I love the warm weather. But, I have a lot of exciting things on my plate this fall, so the anticipation of the changing season is sweet.

Next month, Jesse and I are headed down to the LA area to complete a week-long training with Jill Miller of Yoga Tune Up. We both have a lot of respect for Jill’s work and are grateful for the opportunity to train with her. Then, in November, I’m headed to NYC with a very dear friend of mine. We’re going to a conference called, “I Can Do It!” and are spending some extra time there for fun (it’ll be my first visit to NYC!). I’ll get to visit my second cousin who lives in Brooklyn as well. In December, Jesse and I are headed to Honolulu for a week of pure vacation. The ticket prices were a super good deal, so we decided to bite. We won’t actually be spending Christmas there, but will be there a little bit before.

Tonight, we’re headed to an Empire of the Sun concert at Edgefield, and I’m really excited! Jesse surprised me with tickets a couple months ago, and it definitely was a pleasant surprise. I get the evening off from work to go too, which is a nice change of pace for a Friday.

Meanwhile, enjoy the soup recipe and if it’s still warm wherever you are, tuck this one away for a chilly fall or winter day.

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Italian pork sausage
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 5.5 cups beef and/or chicken bone broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 box (~18 oz) unsweetened tomato sauce (I used this brand)
  • 2.5 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 medium zucchini, “noodled” with a spiralizer or julienne peeler
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for topping, if desired
  • Raw Parmesan cheese for topping, optional and if tolerated

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the ground beef and pork sausage, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Add the sea salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme and cayenne to the mixture, and stir.
  2. Once the meat is browned, add the broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste and bay leaf. Stir well and then add the zucchini noodles and fresh basil. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Taste soup after simmering and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remove bay leaf when ready to serve.
  3. Garnish with extra chopped basil and/or raw Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.

Chicken Pesto “Noodle” Bowl

 

chicken pesto noodle bowl 2

I know I mentioned it already, but the summer heat has been insane in Portland! It has been consistently in the mid to upper 90s for many days now and it looks like it’s going to continue. I’ll be going home for a visit to Michigan in a couple weeks and I’m thinking it’s going to feel cold compared to what I’ve adapted to! It looks like temps in my hometown have been in the low 70s, but there’s also more humidity involved, so it usually feels warmer. Regardless of what the weather is like, it’ll be nice to be home for a visit.

Anyway, onto the food. I made this for dinner two nights in a row this past week because it’s so tasty and doesn’t involve any heat! It’s super easy and you don’t have to cook anything, unless you don’t have leftover chicken breasts in the fridge. If you don’t, then you have to cook a little bit, but at least it’s simple. I’d recommend either throwing some chicken on the grill or poaching it on the stove to get the job done.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch homemade basil pesto (replace parsley with fresh basil)
  • 2 leftover boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, noodled with a spiralizer or julienne peeler
  • 1 medium heirloom tomato, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place chopped chicken in a large bowl and mix with 2 Tbsp or so of fresh pesto. Place in fridge and let sit for a couple hours. (Note: if you don’t have time to let the chicken marinate in the fridge, skip it, but I recommend doing so if you can, so the chicken absorbs more pesto flavor).
  2. Shortly before eating, place the zucchini noodles in a colander and generously salt with sea salt. Place the colander in the sink or over a large bowl and let the zucchini “sweat” for 10-20 minutes. Then, squeeze out any excess water and divide the zucchini noodles among two bowls.
  3. Divide the tomatoes between the two bowls and add a little more pesto (probably 1-3 tsp per bowl or to taste). Then, divide the chicken mixture between the two bowls and mix well. Season to taste with a little sea salt and/or pepper, if needed.

Simple Supper Friday: Italian Sausage “Fettuccine”

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Snow is coming down in Portland, or at least it was at the time I wrote this post on Thursday. I actually haven’t seen this much snow in the city since my first winter here, back in 2008. It’s beautiful, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t impact my early morning flight to Kentucky today. I have some buffer room to get there, as my seminar doesn’t start until Saturday morning, but the less hiccups, the better. Really though, I kinda wish the snow would have held off until next week, but it is what it is. The same can be said about this head cold that I got too. Quite the combo to get right before a weekend of travel, but I guess it makes it that much more of an adventure (well, minus the being sick part).

Meanwhile, enjoy this simple, satisfying meal, which was inspired by the cauliflower recipe I shared last week. Cheers and happy weekend!

Ingredients:

  • ~1 lb bulk Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter, separated
  • 1 large or 2 small/medium zucchini, noodled with a spiralizer (straight blade attachment)
  • 3 Tbsp blanched almond flour
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dessicated garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, optional

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/2 tbsp of grass-fed butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the chicken sausage. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks with a spatula.
  2. Once sausage is browned, after 5-7 minutes or so, transfer to a large serving bowl and set aside.
  3. To the same pan, add the noodled zucchini and heat briefly over medium-low heat. After a couple minutes, transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
  4. Combine the almond flour, oregano, dessicated garlic, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the same pan over medium-low heat and then add the almond flour mixture.
  5. Stir mixture, allowing it to soak up the butter and continue to cook a few minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle on top of the sausage and zucchini. Serve warm and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Add more sea salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If you tolerate some dairy, you could also sprinkle on a bit of raw Parmesan cheese.

Yields: 2-3 servings

Simple Supper Friday: Lemon Dill Salmon with Buttered ‘Zoodles’

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I’ll be honest…I feel kinda silly posting this recipe. It almost seems too simple. But then, I thought about it more and realized that it’s the point behind my Simple Supper Friday meals — simple and uncomplicated. Not only that, but as basic as this recipe and ingredient combination is, it’s really delicious and makes for a nice summer meal. I think that’s reason enough to share.

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As for my weekend, I work a couple hours out at Clackamas Physical Conditioning with Jason tomorrow morning and then will come back to town and run the usual errands with Jesse later in the day — mainly just grocery shopping. The rest of Saturday is open to whatever I want — yeah! I work at Recreate Sunday morning and then later, Jesse and I are going to a friend’s house out in Scapposse to have dinner and drinks, and also pick some veggies from their garden. I also have to go pick up my jar of Fatworks pastured pork lard on Sunday! I now have their duck fat, beef tallow and lard. I love that this stuff is made locally, and I can just order it and pick it up from the guy’s house. It can be shipped though and is not limited to Portland residents, so keep that in mind if you’re interested!

Any fun plans for the weekend?

For the salmon:

  • 2 fresh wild Coho salmon fillets (or 1 large fillet, cut in half)
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter, melted
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill, plus more if desired
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 thinly sliced lemon rounds
  • Extra lemon wedges for serving, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9×9 pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Place fish fillets skin side down in the pan. Brush on the melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Then, sprinkle the dried dill atop of the fillets.
  3. Pour fresh lemon juice over each fillet and then place one of the rounds atop of each, in the center.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
  5. Serve atop of buttered ‘zoodles’ (directions below) and squeeze on extra lemon juice, if desired.

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For the buttered ‘zoodles’:

  • 2 medium zucchini (I used one green and one yellow)
  • Generous amount of sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  1. Peel zucchini with a julienne peeler or use a spiralizer if you have one. Sprinkle the zoodles generously with sea salt and then place in a fine mesh strainer to “sweat.” Allow the water to drain from the zoodles for 15-20 minutes.
  2. After 15-20 minutes, squeeze out any excess water from the zoodles with your hands. Then, place in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 45-60 seconds. Once warm, add the butter and toss. Of course, you can briefly heat the noodles in a skillet on the stove and toss with butter.

Yields: 2 servings