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Tag Archives: food

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

12 Dec

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

Christmas is less than two weeks away and I’m already entering sugar coma status. Holiday lattes start off my morning. Everyday seems like a cookie swap party at work…and it’s rude to turn away treats people have baked, right?? And for the past few nights, I’ve been having these as dessert — they’re sooo addicting. I know I’ll have to make more once they’re gone.

Since I’m eating so much sugar, I’m really trying to balance out my diet with some healthy meals like this soup. It’s filled with vegetables and has a rich tomato base. If you like tomato soup, you’ll want to try this! By blending a can of diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, each bite you take is full of flavor. Not even a pinch of salt went into the soup!

If you’re a sugar addict like me, make this soup so you can enjoy all the holiday treats the season has to offer.

Tomato Based Vegetable Soup

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can small white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Get the ones that aren’t packed in oil. They come packaged in a resealable bag, can be found in the produce section.
  • 8 basil leaves, torn plus more for garnish
  • 8 oz bag baby spinach

Directions 

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and thyme.  Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  2. Add broth, 1 can tomatoes, and beans. In a blender, add remaining can of tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, torn basil leaves and 1/2 soup liquid. Purée until smooth. Add more soup liquid to get the consistency you want.  Stir mixture into soup, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add baby spinach and simmer 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat, and stir in basil garnish.
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Copy Cat Recipe – Taco Bell’s Meximelt (healthy option!)

6 Dec

Healthy Meximelt - The Tasty Fork

I have a secret…About once a month, usually on a Sunday night, I get a craving for Taco Bell. Yes, I know that stuff is just terrible for you but why does terrible taste so darn good?!! And why is terrible so cheap??!

I always order the same items. One of those items being a Meximelt. It has ground beef, pico de gallo and cheese all wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla. The cheese is melted and the pico de gallo has a lot of cilantro. There really isn’t much to it… which got me to thinking, “Why can’t I make meximelts at home?”

Healthy TB Meximelt --The Tasty Fork

You totally can. I made a few changes to make my at home Meximelt a healthy option. It was just as delicious! I’m not going to say I’ll never order a Meximelt again from Taco Bell, but knowing I can get my fix at home is pretty satisfying.

Do you have a favorite copy cat recipe? I’d love to know all about it! Head over to my facebook page and post your copy cat recipes. I’ll highlight the ones I want to try!

Taco Bell Inspired Meximelt

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced (no seeds)
  • 1 jalepeno, diced (remove white ribs and seeds)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 flour tortillas, taco size
  • Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese Blend, shredded
  • Hot sauce, optional

Directions:

  1. In a warm skillet, add oil and ground turkey. Cook until browned, 8-10  minutes. Drain excess liquid. Add taco seasoning to the meat mixture. (I followed the directions on the packet by adding 2/3 cup of water along with the taco seasoning.) Cook with meat for 5 minutes.
  2. Make pico de gallo – combine tomatoes, jalepeno, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. When the taco meat is cooked, take 1/4 cup of meat and add it to the middle of a flour tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cook in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the cheese has melted. Top with pico de gallo.  Add hot sauce, if needed.

BBQ Meatball Sliders

5 Dec

BBQ Meatball Slider The Tasty Fork

I may have a slight obsession with meatballs…but can you blame me? I have yet to meet a meatball I didn’t like.

Meatballs are easy to make. You can mix & match ingredients and know it’s always gonna taste good. My favorite part about making home-made meatballs — they bake fast and clean up is easy as long as you remember to line your baking sheet with tin foil. (please don’t forget this step!)

BBQ Meatball Sliders @ The Tasty Fork

I made BBQ Meatball Sliders for dinner the other night, but sliders are the perfect party sized snack! All of the prep work can be done before guests arrive and the meatballs go under the broiler for just 12 minutes.. so they’re super quick to pass around when guests are getting hungry. Not to mention, I’m sure you’ll get a lot of enthusiastic “oohs and aahs” when offering this slider to party goers. Let’s give two scenarios – The Everyday Slider vs. BBQ Meatball Slider.

Scenario #1

You – “Hi Uncle Bob. Would you like to try this slider?”

Uncle Bob – “Oh sure. Thanks.”

Scenario #2

You – “Hi Uncle Bob. Would you like to try a BBQ Meatball Slider.”

Uncle Bob – “BBQ Meatball Slider??!! I love meatballs! Ooohh my!”

Obviously, scenario #2 will generate the praise every party host wants and you can be happy you’ve made an amazing party snack people will talk about for years. Ok, “for year”s might be slightly over exaggerated but I’m sure you’ll get requests to make BBQ Meatball Sliders again.

Or you can be like me and eat BBQ Meatball Sliders on a random Monday just because they taste good. 🙂

BBQ Slider The Tasty Fork

BBQ Meatball Sliders, makes 12 meatballs

For the meatballs:

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & Pepper

Coleslaw Recipe:

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage mix
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp celery seed
  • Salt & Pepper

Additional Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • You favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 12 dinner rolls or slider buns (I used Hawaiian Bread Dinner Rolls. Perfect size for a slider!)

Directions:

For the Meatballs: 

  1. Combine the bread, onion, parsley, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the milk and Worcestershire, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the beef, eggs, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and gently combine. Form into 12 meatballs (about 1.5  tablespoons each)
  3. To cook immediately: Place the meatballs on foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Broil for 10-12 minutes, or until no longer pink.

For the Coleslaw:

  1. Toss the cabbage and scallions with the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and celery seed; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.

When you’re ready to assemble the slider, place meatball on the slider bun and top with BBQ sauce & coleslaw.

Inspired by Real Simple

Follow Friday: Kitchen Meets Girl

30 Nov

Happy Friday! I’m so glad the weekend is finally here, aren’t you? I mentioned earlier this week  The Tasty Fork will be getting a makeover. I’m undergoing a blog redesign and moving to a self hosted server. I’m so excited! I’m so anxious! I’m really excited about getting a bloggy makeover! Meg from VintPrint Designs has been amazing and she’s so patient with all of my question. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with! I’m so anxious because I heard when you move to a self hosted server, you can lose a lot of your followers. I really really really don’t want that to happen! If you’re subscriber to my blog, you’ll need to re-subscribe once I make my official move. Trust me, you won’t want to lose me! Once I’m up and running, I’m going to have a give away to celebrate my new look. You won’t want to miss out! This would be a great time for you to follow me on Facebook & Twitter so you can stay up to date on my posts.

Ooook, enough about me! #FollowFridays are never about me. This post is all about my blog crush of the week. And this week, I got a good one for you to start following. Have you heard of Kitchen Meets Girl? Ashley is amazing! Her recipes are creative, she takes beautiful photos and she’s very interactive with her followers. She’s doing everything right as a blogger. I hope to be like her when I grow up 🙂

If you’re new to #FollowFriday, this is how it works. I select a blogger and highlight 5 of my favorite recipe posts. Ashley made this job very hard on me. After 5 minutes of surfing through her blog, I had 15 posts written down to highlight…. and I had barely made a dent into her recipe catalog. The next 20 minutes of my life were very indecisive as I tried to narrow my list. Luckily I picked my 5 but trust me, you’ll want to head over to Kitchen Meets Girl and see for yourself what Ashley can do. Soo, here we go!

1. Maple Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

maple-bacon-rolls

Oh yes she did. I mean, I think my head almost exploded when I saw this post. She combined my two favorite breakfast items. Bacon & Cinnamon Rolls.

2. Jalepeno Popper Turkey Chili

jalepeno-chili

This is the recipe which got my attention to Kitchen Meets Girl. I made this chili and it was everything she promised. Delicious & Spicy! I was sad when the leftovers were gone.

3. Seven Layer Mexican Dip {Individual Sized}

layer-dip

This would be a great dip and cute presentation for a holiday party. Plus, you can double dip your chip!

4. Two Bite White Chocolate Cheesecake

two-bite-cheesecakes-2

Another great holiday party treat! I love a bite sized desert.

5. Peppermint Malted Hot Chocolate

peppermint-hot-cocoa

Just looking at this picture warms me up inside. I can’t wait to make this when I’m decorating our home for Christmas!

Do you like the 5 recipes I picked? I hope so! Head over to Kitchen Meets Girl and bookmark her page. If you like what you see, here are some more ways you can stay up to date on her latest & greatest.

I hope you liked my #FollowFriday Blogger Feature! How can you be my Featured #FollowFriday Blogger next week? It’s easy! All I have to know is know about you! Make comments on my blog, get active in Link Parties or take drool worthy pictures. (I’m easily distracted by yummy looking food!) If you are featured, all I ask is for you to tell you fans & followers you were featured on The Tasty Fork.

Have a great weekend! See you on Monday!

Whole Wheat Penne with Triple Tomato Sauce

29 Nov

Every morning I ask my husband, “What do you want for dinner?” (Yes, I’m thinking about dinner at 7am. It’s a problem.) His response is always the same, “Something healthy.” I usually give him a face that says, “Gee, thanks for the imput,” as I rack my brain for meal options. Luckily, I have 11 hours to come up with something.

Yesterday’s recipe post was all about time-saving and short cuts. If a product tastes good and can save me sometime (meaning I get to drink wine and watch TV sooner), I’ll buy it. However, there is one item in a grocery I’ll never buy. Store Bought Pasta Sauce. It never tastes good. I’ve tried different brands but there isn’t one that can trick my taste buds. Making my own pasta sauce is the only way to go.

When I get a craving for pasta, I just go with it. I always buy whole wheat pasta but the sauce creations are endless. Taking into consideration my hubby’s healthy request, I thought a marina sauce would be our best bet. But instead of just using some tomatoes, garlic and basil as a sauce — I wanted to kick it up a bit. I knew we had some sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste in our pantry. 3 different tomato flavors in one sauce. This was gonna be good.

Just because I’m making my own pasta sauce doesn’t mean I’m going to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. This meal was ready in 20 minutes. Honestly, the pasta sauce was ready by the time the pot of water for the pasta started to boil.

So if you’re like me and not a fan of store-bought pasta sauce, give this recipe a try. I think you’ll love all of the rich tomato flavor and you’ll be impressed by how easy it comes together!

Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce with Whole Wheat Penne

  • 1lb whole wheat penne 
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 6 basil leaves, torn
  • Basil for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne until al dente. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water when draining cooked pasta. You may need it to thin out the sauce.
  2. In a sauce pan with olive oil, add onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes and tomato paste. Continue stirring to incorporate paste. Add Salt & Pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes.
  3. In a blender, add canned tomatoes, basil and onion mixture. Blend until smooth. Wipe/wash clean the sauce pan if there is a lot of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. You don’t want a oily sauce. Add sauce back to the pan and keep warm until pasta is cooked. (If you have a Vitamix, just keep the sauce in the blender. The blades will warm it, so you can skip this step.) If the sauce is too thick, add a some of the pasta water to thin it out.
  4. When the pasta is cooked and drained, add sauce and garnish with basil.

Inspired by Food & Wine

{Trader Joe’s Inspired} Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions & Bacon Pizza

28 Nov

I must admit, sometimes I’m all about the easy route. After working all day, the last thing I want to do is cook a time-consuming meal.  By the time I get home, I’m really wishing I planned ahead and made a meal in my slow cooker so I wouldn’t have to do anything….but most days include me going to the store to get ingredients so I can feed myself that evening. For bad planners like me, I’m happy Trader Joe’s exists.

Trader Joe’s has a lot of things to make my busy life a lot easier! One of those items being premade whole wheat pizza dough. I know what you’re going to say, “Meghan, making pizza dough is super easy.” I know this buuuut I’m going for convenience. Since they make the dough, you still have the fun of rolling out the dough to the desired thickness (which I love) and their crust cooks up great! It tastes so good! (People will think you made it yourself, so we can keep this secret between friends.)

Another great item from Trader Joe’s is butternut squash cut into cubes. I hate hate hate peeling and cutting up butternut squash. Paying a little more for a bag like this is totally worth it for me.

As you can see from the title of this post, I made myself a pizza. The pizza – Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions and Bacon – was inspired by ingredients bought at Trader Joe’s.

The first thing you need to do is set out the pizza dough for about 20 minutes. While you’re waiting for the dough, work on the prep steps for the pizza. Sprinkle the pre-cut butternut squash with brown sugar, salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Bake squash in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. While the squash is roasting, fry bacon pieces in a skillet. When the bacon is browned, remove bacon from the skillet but save the bacon fat. Put the onions in the skillet and cook in the bacon fat. Cook until caramelized.

If you time this right, all of your pizza prep work should be done within 20 minutes. Roll out your pizza dough and top with squash, onions, bacon, goat cheese crumbles and spinach. Pop pizza in the oven and 20-25 minutes later, you’ve got dinner!

Thanks to the time saver ingredients from Trader Joe’s, I spent little time in my kitchen and more time enjoying my evening! Do you have any time saver meals you love to make? If you do, share them in the comments section.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions & Bacon Pizza

  • Pre-made pizza dough
  • 2 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 strips of bacon, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • Baby Spinach
  • 1 tsp chives, chopped (garnish)

Directions:

  1. Pizza dough needs to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Set oven to 350 degrees. On a roasting pan lined with foil, mix butternut squash, brown sugar, salt & pepper and olive oil. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, cook bacon pieces. Once bacon has browned, remove from skillet and set on a plate lined with a paper towel. In the same skillet, cook onions in the bacon fat for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface. On a pizza stone or vented pizza pan, place pizza dough and top with butternut squash, bacon, onions, goat cheese and spinach. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with chives. Slice & serve!

Thanksgiving Tip – Compound Butter Recipes

21 Nov

I have a last-minute tip for all of you getting ready for Thanksgiving. Will you be having some kind of bread served with dinner? Make a compound butter. Compound meaning add some ingredients to a stick of butter. It’s really easy and delicious!

Here are the steps.

  1. Mix a soften stick of butter with your favorite ingredients. (This can be done with a spatula or with a hand mixer.)
  2. Spoon butter mixture onto parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  3. Roll into a tight log. Tie the excess plastic wrap at the ends of the cylinder into a knot, or just use little pieces of string to tie off the ends.Chill for 2 hours before serving.

Making compound butter is something you can do before Thanksgiving day. Leftovers can be stored in the freezer and used at a later date. I LOVE flavored butter. It’s something that adds an extra touch and a little elegance. (and with little effort!) Below are some of my favorite flavor combinations.

  • Honey Butter – 1 stick of butter, 1/4 cup honey
  • Maître d’Hôtel Butter (recipe used at steak house restaurants) – 1 stick of butter, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Breakfast Butter – 1 stick of butter, 1 tsp brown sugar, splash of vanilla extract, chopped toasted pecans
  • Fresh Herb Butter – 1 stick of butter, 2 tbsp chopped chives, 1 tbsp chopped thyme

Taste butter and add a little salt & pepper if needed.

I won’t be posting on Thursday but be sure to come by on Friday to check out my #FollowFriday Blogger Feature.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!