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I found this recipe online, allrecipes.com to be exact. This is ineffably one of the most delicious things I've made - especially for fall weather. Get your chopping knife, soup pot and can opener ready. Make sure your freezer is clear so you can freeze half and have delicious easy lunch when it really starts getting chilly. I never add any extra salt because the canned goods have plenty. I purchase one can of tomatoes that have green chiles. I always add a little cilantro to mine, too, because I love it. Trust me, it's easy once you have everything chopped. Here's my ever-so-slightly modified recipe for The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World! (Did I mention it's healthy?)

You'll need: 
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 med. red onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped - leave seeds if you want spice!
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (12 oz) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/4 c. chili powder
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. 
2. Stir in onion, drop in bay leaves, cumin and oregano. 
3. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and garlic. 
4. When vegetables are heated, mix in veggie burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
5. Mix in tomatoes and cilantro. No need to drain, unless you like a thicker chili. 
6. Season chili with chili powder & pepper. Stir in kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. 
7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. 
8. Stir in corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
9. For non-vegetarians, top with low-fat sour cream and reduced fat cheddar cheese. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Tip: Spoon leftover chili into individual containers & freeze them. Put a container in the fridge the night before to have a super delicious meal thawed by lunchtime! I also bring a small container with cheese & sour cream too! 


 
 
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Normally I'd actually cook the chicken and attempt making the pesto, but tonight I just didn't feel like it.

I discovered Flatout flatbread today. They're delightfully thin and are only 90 calories each. A fabulously perfect size for a personal pizza.
You'll need:
1 Flatout flatbread in Light Italian
1/4 c. Pesto (optional)
4 oz. Grilled chicken breast
6 mini fresh mozzarella pearls
10 grape tomatoes
Basil leaves to taste
Pam Olive Oil Non-stick spray (not pictured)
Fresh cracked pepper to taste

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Lightly spray both sides of Flatout flatbread with Pam.
3. On a cookie sheet, bake sprayed flatbread for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes, discarding the pulp.
5. Slice chicken into small cubes
6. Make a chiffonade of basil.
7. Remove flatbread from oven.
8. Spread pesto on flatbread with a spoon.
9. Arrange chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil evenly.
10. Add cracked black pepper if you wish.
11. Bake for about 7 minutes or until the mozzarella is melty!

Serve on a big fancy plate and enjoy your Lazy Night!

 
 
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It's no mystery I like Italian-esque food.

I adore pasta, but sometimes it's just too much at the end of the day. I'm always trying to get in more veggies, you know, because More Matters and all.

Zucchini is actually a wonderful substitute for the carb-backed noodles.

You'll need:
3 straight Zucchinis (I used two green and one yellow)
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 c. Baby Bellas mushrooms
2 Roma tomatoes
1/4 c. red wine
1/2 T. Minced Garlic (I use jarred when cooking for myself)
a few basil leaves (of course!)
1/2 c. Prego Mushroom tomato sauce (I cheat a little)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Shredded Asiago cheese for garnish
1. Measure EVOO in a sauté pan and put on low heat.
2. Slice tomatoes, basil and mushrooms to sauce-sized pieces and place in a saucepan. 
3. Add red wine, garlic and Prego to saucepan and then turn to Low-medium heat.
4. With a vegetable peeler, start making "noodles" by peeling zucchini. Yes, you can use the skin. Peel zucchini until you almost get to the seeds. Discard core.
5. Stir sauce in between peeling zucchini.
6. When all zucchini is peeled, turn heat in sauté pan to Medium.
7. Add zucchini "noodles" to oil and stir often. Zucchini will only take 2-3 minutes. It's done when it begins to turn translucent.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste, then strain excess water from zucchini.
9. Place in the middle of a pretty plate, top with your "homemade" sauce and Asiago cheese.

 
 
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Quaker Berries and Cream instant oatmeal was one of my favorite breakfasts growing up. This is my super easy, mostly healthy, big-kid version.Bonus: it keeps you full all morning!

1c. Steel-cut oats
1 3/4 c. milk or soy milk
1 tsp. brown sugar (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. Strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries



1.  Measure oats in a microwave safe bowl.
2. Add milk, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir.
3. Top with berries. No need to stir 'em in.
4. Microwave on 50% for 5 min.
5. Enjoy!
(How easy was that!?)


You can even experiment with different fruits and extracts. Other favorites: apples & cinnamon, maple & brown sugar.




 
 
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I went over to my mom's the other day and she had just pulled one of these bad boys out of the oven.

Woahmigosh. I haven't had Monkey Bread in years! Even though it's not something that I made, I think it's of utmost importance that I share this with you.

You WILL need a Bundt or angel food pan to make this work right.
Might I add: this is perfect for Easter Brunch dessert. And it doesn't even take very long!


Prepare to share this recipe if you take it anywhere to share. That is, if the monkey bread even makes it out of your house!

You will need:
3 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuits
3/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c. margarine
additional 3/4 c. sugar

And then...

  1. Mix together 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Quarter the biscuits with kitchen shears. Dip shears in water after each cut to keep the biscuits from getting too sticky. Dip biscuits into sugar mixture, and place in a greased tube pan. Do this until all biscuits are used.
  3. Melt butter or margarine, and mix in 3/4 cup sugar. Pour mixture over biscuits.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. After cooling for a bit, place serving plate over pan and then flip.
  6. Ta-da!!!
  7. Stand around and enjoy, it's called monkey bread because you pick at it to eat it! 

Thanks to allrecipes.com :)