Deconstructed Ratatouille

Dinner last night was fantastic. It was easy to prepare, simple and delicious ingredients, perfect for summer and meatless! I used to be better about including a vegetarian or vegan meal to my dinner menu once a week, but I've gotten away from that lately. If it was my choice, right now, we'd only eat steak. That's one preggo dinner craving that isn't going away! Anyway, back to dinner.

This one is a breeze to put together. I originally got the recipe from one of our Hello Fresh deliveries, but saved the recipe and have made it several times now. I make the 4 person serving because the leftovers are so good for lunch. The original recipe is posted below, but I don't really follow it. We are not eggplant fans around here, so I omit that and substitute yellow squash. I be you could even substitute portobello mushrooms too, and it would be just as yummy! I also have subbed red bell peppers for the yellow because it's what I have on hand. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Deconstructed Ratatouille with Balsamic Tomatoes, Feta, and Garlic Ciabatta (why are their recipe names so LOOOONG)
Recipe via Hello Fresh
Prep: 15 minutes, Total: 35 minutes
Serves: 4 People

1 red onion
2 yellow bell peppers
1 med-large eggplant
8 oz. Grape tomatoes
2 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Zucchini
4 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
4 ciabatta rolls (or you could sub whole wheat baguette)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 oz basil
2 cloves garlic
6 tbsp olive oil

1. Prep: Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Halve, peel, and cut the onion into 1/2 inch wedges. Core, seed, and thinly slice the bell pepper. Trim the eggplant, then slice into 1/2 inch strips lengthwise. Cut each strip in half width wise. Cut the zucchini into 3 inch sticks. Roughly chop the basil leaves.

2. Roast the vegetables: Toss the onion, pepper, and half the grape tomatoes on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, the Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing once, until softened and beginning to char.

3. Marinate the tomatoes: Cut the remaining tomatoes in half. Toss in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. (I added a bit of basil, because it's yummy and pretty).

4. Cook the eggplant and zucchini: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the eggplant to the pan in a single layer. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly charred and soft. Set aside and cover and keep warm. Add the zucchini to the pan in a single layer. You may need to work in batches for zucchini too. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly golden brown.

5. Toast the bread: Halve the ciabattas. Place in the over to toast 4-5 minutes. Cut the garlic cloves in half. Once the ciabatta is toasted, rub the cut side of the garlic onto the cut side of each toast. Drizze with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

6. Finish the plate: On the baking sheet, toss the fetes cheese and half the basil with the roasted onion, pepper and tomatoes. Plate the ciabatta toasts. Top with eggplants slices, roasted veggie mixture, zucchini slices, and marinated tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Optional: drizzle with balsamic glaze. (You can also make it into a yummy sandwich). Enjoy!

Shortcut tips: I do it a bit different because I have a 4 year old that likes to help make dinner and I'm busy and don't have time for "batches" of things on the stove. Plus, I'm a big fan of one pan clean ups. So here's my shortcuts:

* I use one of those food chopper thingies. Yo know, the ones that look like big alligator mouths with the grate in the base so you just push on the handle and it cuts things. I have a blade that does like 2 inch by 1/2 inch sticks. I just chop into larger pieces, and my daughter is in charge of chopping into sticks.

* Roast all the veggies together. I mean, they're are all going onto the same piece of bread, so why not? I be you could grill them too and it would be delicious!

* Top with a bit of balsamic drizzle for extra flavor. I get mine at Trader Joe's.

If you use the roast all your veggies tip, dinner is ready in no time at all it seams, because the oven is doing the work. You can clean up while you wait, or play SNAP, which is what I did.

Hope you like it as much as we do. My hubby was impressed with this one. He's never had it…he's always traveling when I make it.


Meal Plan Monday

I’m back.  Nothing special has been happening with my menu’s lately, so I haven’t shared.  Although last week, I did make a killer 20 minute lettuce. Wrap recipe that was gobbled up by everyone…and there were no leftovers!  It’s been a while since that happened.   This week isn’t anything special either, but I’ll share nonetheless.  

Breakfasts: The shakes continue!  Most days accompanied by a piece of toast because I’m super hungry lately.  

Lunches: Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers.  I’ve been trying really hard to make sure they get eaten so we aren’t wasting so much food.  Every feel like you are just throwing away tons of food at the end of the week?  That’s gotta stop.

Snacks: Still loving all the fruit.  It’s been grapes and apples lately.  But today, the plums were calling my name at the grocery store.  


Marinated Flank steak with Grilled artichokes

Grilled sausages and chopped greek salad

Chicken Picatta and salad

Portobello fajitas

Veggie quince and salad
Spotlight recipe on this quick and easy side or lunch.  This was shared by one of my challenge group participants.  It’s a Trader Joe’s ingredients only salad.  You know my deep love for Trader Joe’s so this was right up my alley.  Also, it’s literally 4 ingredients.  You open packages, dump, and mix together.  I can do that!

Middle Eastern Combo Salad

Here’s the ingredients: 

Open ingredients and dump into a bowl.  Juice entire lemon and mix it all together.  It’s a super refreshing salad and is full of flavors that I love!  Make it and tell me what you think!

What’s on your menu this week?

What are you quick and easy recipes?  

Meal Plan Monday

I have been MIA lately, I know.  I’m still cooking healthy and clean, just haven’t sat down to really meal plan.  Just going with my trusty stand by’ and being okay with the preggo cravings (Thai food ALL THE TIME).  But back to it for the week.  It’s starting to get hot here, and when that happens, we grill and use a lot of fresh flavors.  This week I’ll add a few grilling recipes, which is fitting since my fellow coaches are putting on a FREE clean eating BBQ recipe group this week (let me know if you want to be added.  It’s on facebook.  There will be 2 recipes a day, with a recipe for clean BBQ sauce already being posted).  So, here’s the plan…for dinners at least.  Breakfast lately has been avocado toast with a sprinkle of Trader Joe’s Everything but the bagel seasoning (<——–GO BUY THIS IMMEDIATELY, it’s so good).  Lunches are usually leftovers, or I throw together a quick salad and side of fruit.  Yep, I’m still loving all the fruit.  Watermelon is the current favorite around here.  Oh, and Cotton Candy grapes.  We go through like 5 pounds of those bad boys each week.  There is no sign of stopping with that trend any time soon.  Anyway, rambling over…here’s the plan for dinners this week:

Monday: Pioneer Woman’s Beef and Broccoli served with either cauliflower rice or brown rice.  This will be attempt #43,579 of trying to get my daughter to eat broccoli.  Why doesn’t she love it as much as I do?  

 (Picture via Pioneer Woman)
Tuesday: Turkey Tacos (hubby’s request for tacos).  I use my own taco seasoning to avoid all that sodium and questionable other ingredients of store bought).  Hubby also requested a batch of my crockpot “refried” beans.  

Wednesday: Grilled Garlic Shrimp Skewers with a Grilled Veggie Salad.  Salad will consist of grilled zuchini, squash, peppers and tossed with romaine and a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing).  I know that those grilled veggie leftovers will make their way into a wrap for lunch the next day!

Thursday: These Greek Chicken Gyros.  I’ll use whole wheat pita or Ezekiel wraps.  Love the freshness of cucumbers and tomatoes and lemon!  

 (Picture via Recipe Tin Eats)

Friday: Repurposing leftovers–Chopped Greek Salad.  Taking the leftovers from yesterday and maybe even the grilled veggies.  Chop it all up with some crispy romaine and top with a lemon oregano vinaigrette.  Sounds like the perfect summer meal.

Saturday: Take out night aka “this momma isn’t cooking”.  Wonder if we will make it Thai take out for the 3rd week in a row.

Now, off to the store and to come home and relax.  My mini says she so tired and just wants to relax today.  Maybe I can get in some more work on the nursery–in other words, start another DIY project.  I have big ideas in my head.  Totally nesting over here!

What’s on your menu this week?

What’s your favorite grilling recipe?

Are you a DIY person or buy everything to match kind of person?  

Meal Plan Monday

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve really meal planned.  So, here I am, back at it.  Warning: my actual eats may change based on what I’m craving at the moment.  Lately the cravings have been ALL THE NETARINES, and so many salads.  Here’s what’s on the menu this week…sorry, no pictures:

Breakfasts or Lunch (depending on when i fit my workouts in): Shakeology shake.  My current favorite combo: vegan chocolate shake mixed with 1/2 a banana, spinach, and frozen cherries.  Tastes like dessert.  But it’s so much better for you.

Breakfasts or Lunches: oatmeal (I’m on a kick lately), sandwiches on sprouted bread

Snacks: fruit (I’ve been a fan of watermelon, nectarines, and blackberries lately), carrots and hummus, trail mix.


Monday: Chicken Picatta and hubby’s favorite arugula salad.  I don’t bread my chicken, and I don’t use butter in anything either.  The salad is arugula, fresh mozarella, avocado with a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing.  So simple and delicious.  

Tuesday: Crock Pot Asian Chicken lettuce wraps.  I’ve made these before, and they are so delicious.

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Taco Scramble–ground beef, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell, spinach and seasonings.

Friday: Grilled chicken, grilled veggies and arugula salad.  

Saturday we leave for a week on vacation.  We are surprising our 4 year old with a trip to Disney World.  I’m hoping to stay on track with my workouts and eating there–should be easier for breakfasts dinners since we are using our time share and have a full kitchen available to us.  

30 Minute Chili

I haven’t posted a Meal Plan Monday in two weeks.  Mainly because I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants in the kitchen lately.  There have been a few planned meals, but last week I let Hello Fresh plan 3 of my dinners, and had the leftovers for lunch.  I still had my shakes every day, and my snacks were ALL THE FRUIT (seriously, nectarines are so good right now).  But really, this mommy, with her hubby being out of town on a business trip for 3.5 weeks, was reaching the height of being tired.  But I did manage a recipe here and there.  We had a weird “heat wave” for Spring last week.  One day it was a high of 87.  The following day it was raining and like 52.  Whatever.  Either way I made this super easy and CLEAN chili.  It was so delicious…and provided leftovers for days.  I love leftovers.  Makes my life super easy.  

1 lb ground beef (browned)

15 oz. can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

15 oz. can chili beans (I actually used pinto beans because that’s what they have at Trader Joes).

15 oz. can of black beans (drained and rinsed)

14.5 oz. can of tomato sauce

14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

Homemade chili seasoning (2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/8 tsp garlic salt).

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot.  Stir together.  Heat on medium high until the chili starts to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or longer.  

Add your toppings of choice!  

Meal Plan Monday

It’s been a crazy Monday.  I think this is the first time we’ve been home for more than 30 minutes since we left for school this morning at 8:45.  Mondays are like that for us though.  But, it’s now 4:15 and I’m so ready for bed.  Only 3 hours and 45 minutes until my mini’s bedtime…but who’s counting.

Okay, let’s get to it.  This week’s meals aren’t very creative…but when it’s just me and my mini eating I don’t have the energy to be creative in the kitchen or make elaborate meals.  It’s all about what’s fast and easy.  So, here you go.

Breakfasts: Shakeology Shake, of course.  

Snacks: Fruit (I’ve been combining kiwi, mango and blackberries and then topping it with unsweetened shredded coconut–it’s so good!), veggies and hummus

Lunches: Random salads that I make up with whatever is int he fridge, or leftovers.  It’s that kind of uninspired week.


Monday: Leftovers from last night’s family dinner.  I made the Creamy Pasta from last week’s menu.  My mom is diabetic and is all about finding healthy ways to eat.  She has lost over 25 pounds since moving here a year ago (ISN’T THAT AMAZING?!).  So I wanted to make something that seemed like it was extravagant and a “cheat” meal, but it was whole wheat pasta, tons of veggies, and a sauce that was greek yogurt based.  She LOVED it and so did my dad.  That’s a win!

Tuesday: Bruschetta Chicken zoodle bowls.  I love this because it takes about 30 minutes to throw together.  And its so yummy!

Wednesday: Thai Basil chicken over Cauliflower Rice.  Tuesday and Wednesday’s dinner brought to you by the giant bunch of basil I bought last week that I don’t want to go to waste!

Thursday: Leftovers 

Friday: Honey Garlic Pork chops and salad

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Family dinner at my parent’s house.  

I’ve got a new challenge group starting today so my eating has to be on point.  We are having a little competition where clean eats and exercise gets us points for our team.  As the team coach I should probably lead by example…right?  Meals may not be that exciting and inventive this week, but they are clean!  

Meal Plan Monday

I’m baaaack.  We are still not 100% over here, but I no longer feel like I’m going to die, so there’s that.  My mini is finally able to go back to school.  We are still battling a little yuckiness over here, and SLEEP is our remedy.  I had to wake my daughter up at 8:15 today so she could get ready for school eat breakfast and not be late.  Luckily we live like 5 minutes from her school.  I got 10 hours of sleep last night, and we are usually still taking like 45 minute naps around here in the afternoon.  I usually dread an afternoon nap with my girlie but, man, whatever it is we are battling is taking everything out of use.  The good news is that our appetites are back and I actually had the energy to meal plan for the week.  So buckle up and away we go.

Breakfasts: Shakeology Shakes.  I switched to their vegan formula and I really like it.  It’s like dessert for breakfast, and SO SO SO healthy and good for you.  

Snacks: We have been on a fresh fruit kick over here.  Blackberries, apples, strawberries.  Oh, and a little cheat…the Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn in Sweet and Spicy.  It’s addictive.  Like I can’t stop eating it.  Run out and get yourself some.  Immediately.  You can thank me later.

Lunches: The hubby is out of town, so I’ll be knocking out dinner leftovers for lunch.  Someone’s got to do it.  Don’t want the food to go to waste.  


Whole Wheat Pasta with Veggies and Cream Sauce (I’ll spotlight this recipe later this week.  Spoiler alert…it uses greek yogurt, no cream and TONS of yummy veggies).

Marinated Flank Stead with Chimichurri served with roasted sweet potatoes (my daughter’s fave) and salad.  The chimichurri is everything.  You could put it on a shoe, and it would be delicious.  Herby, garlicky, a tad spicy, tangy…its so good.  
Crockpot chicken tacos with black beans.  This was on the menu last week but didn’t get made.  Instead I consumed a lot of soup…if I was even hungry.  

Pizza night with family (I have family in town this week, so this is our “cheat” meal).  

The rest of the days are leftovers, because it’s hard to cook for 1 adult and a toddler and not have leftovers.  

Stay tuned for that pasta recipe.  There’s something about it that screams Spring!  Happy eating.