cheese

Pizza Frittata with Applegate Naturals®’ New Cheese Line

This post is sponsored by Applegate, however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Applegate, however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

Applegate has been a go to in my kitchen for years with their natural and organic meats, so you know that I was super excited to learn about their new sliced and shredded cheese line! They are expanding their core values and the high quality standards upheld by their meats to cheese sourcing and production with a transparent, traceable milk pool.

Applegate Naturals® Sliced and Shredded Cheese comes from the milk of pasture-raised cows living in small herds on independent, family-owned farms. These cows are humanely raised and never administered antibiotics or growth hormones.

This cheese is the brand’s first ever to be Non-GMO Project Verified, and it has no added colors, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. There are six new sliced varieties – Medium Cheddar, Provolone, American-Style Colby, Muenster, Pepper Jack, and Mozzarella. Sliced Swiss will be released in 2019. There are also three shredded cheese offerings – an Italian blend, Medium Cheddar, and a Mexican Blend. You’ll be able to find the new cheese lines at selected retailers including Whole Foods Market, Publix, and Sprouts. You can also find more information by visiting www.applegate.com.

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To celebrate the launch, I decided to make a fun and delicious recipe using their new sliced mozzarella (and turkey pepperoni). Pizza is always an easy and delicious go to, and breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. So I figured why not combine them? I whipped up the perfect, easy pizza frittata for two! It packs in the protein and makes it easy to enjoy guilt-free pizza for breakfast!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-4 eggs
-1 slice Applegate Sliced Mozzarella
-6 pieces Applegate Turkey Pepperoni
-1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
-1 cup fresh arugula
-2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
-3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
-1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
-1 tbsp EVOO
-Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a small oven-friendly skillet, heat up the EVOO over medium high heat.
2. Add in the chopped garlic and arugula, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to turn golden and the arugula cooks down.
3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and pour the mixture over the arugula and garlic.
4. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes on the stovetop until the sides are cooked (but the center is still raw).
5. Place the pan in the oven on broil, and cook for about three minutes. The eggs should be cooked on the top but still a light yellow.
6. Remove the pan, top the eggs with the diced tomatoes, sliced cheese (feel free to add in an extra slice if you’d like!), and pepperoni.
7. Place the pan back in the oven for another 3 minutes or so until the cheese melts and the eggs begin to turn golden brown.
8. Remove the pan, and top with fresh basil. Slice the frittata in half, serve, and enjoy!

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Feel free to share the other half with someone special (delicious cheese fans recommended)! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and make sure to check out www.applegate.com for more info on their delicious cheese and meats!

Eggplant Parm Frittata from Whole Foods Market

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I feel like February often gets a bad wrap. It's dark and cold (if you're in the Northeast like I am), and there doesn't seem to be much going on. But in reality there's lots to celebrate! It happens to be my birthday month, and for everybody else, there's Valentine's Day with that special person in yourself life (or Galentine's Day if you choose to celebrate with your closest gal pals). Plus, Whole Foods Market has an entire other, delicious reason to celebrate!

February is the month of Parmigiano Reggiano at Whole Foods Market, which just so happens to be one of my favorite cheeses! This year marks WFM's 10th anniversary of their traditional Parm Crack event. At this event, Whole Foods hand selects the highest quality wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano from defined creameries in Northern Italy. At 3 pm ET on February 24th, each store will simultaneously crack wheels of cheese, and there will be demonstrations and tastings for customers. If that weren't enough, Parmigiano Reggiano will be on sale from 2/23-2/25 at $5 off per lb. 

To celebrate this delicious event and give you a fun way to put that Parmigiano Reggiano to good use, I'm bringing you one of my favorite frittata recipes - eggplant parm.

Here's What You'll Need:

-1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
-1/2 medium eggplant, sliced
-4 eggs
-1 Roma tomato, sliced
-6 fresh basil leaves (2 chopped, 4 whole)
-2 garlic cloves, chopped
-1 tsp Italian seasoning
-Splash of milk of choice or water (optional)
-Sea salt and pepper to taste
-1 tbsp EVOO

Serves 2

Instructions:

1) Heat up the EVOO in an oven-safe pan on the stove top over medium high heat.
2) Add in the eggplant slices, and cook 2-3 mins/side.
3) Add in the chopped garlic and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.
4) In a bowl, whisk the 4 eggs with a splash of milk, 2 chopped basil leaves, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper.
5) Spread the tomato slices throughout the pan, layering with the egpplant. Sprinkle the Parmigiano Regianno throughout the layers, and top with the remaining cheese.
6) Pour the egg mixture over the top, and top with the 4 basil leaves.
7) Cook, covered on the stove top, for 3-5 minutes until the sides are cooked.
8) Move the pan to the oven on broil, and cook until golden brown (~5-7 minutes).
9) Remove, and cut the frittata into two halves.
10) Plate, serve with your favorite sides, and enjoy!

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Make sure to head into your local Whole Foods Market to pick up that delicious Parmigiano Reggiano and experience the Parm Crack event for yourself! If you're local to Northern NJ, you can find more information here. And as always, let me know what you think in the comments below!

One-Pan Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Would you believe that I've never made eggplant Parmesan? It's literally one of my favorite meals, and probably my go-to splurge meal at an Italian restaurant. So yesterday I decided that today was the day.

I had randomly bought an eggplant at Whole Foods with literally no idea or intentions for what I was going to do with it. I thought about roasting it, eggplant fries, and then it hit me (and by hit me, I mean I saw eggplant parm on Instagram). The delicious, crispy crust and ooey gooey cheesy goodness of eggplant parm was calling my name. I literally thought about it all day. Nearly 12 hours dreaming about this dish that I had never made and that could ultimately be a real F-ing disaster. But I had to give it a whirl. 

I don't know how, I guess the food gods were on my side with this one, but it was seriously BOMB. Part of me just cringed at using that word, but there's no other way to describe it. It was crispy, it was cheesy, you can still taste the eggplant, AND it's wayyyyyy better for you than the restaurant version. So let's get right on into it.

Here's What You'll Need:

-1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4-1/2" slices depending on preference (I went with about 1/2", making 10 slices)
-1/2 cup almond flour (I used this one)
-1 cup panko bread crumbs
-3 tbsp shredded parm, separated
-2 eggs, whisked
-2 tbsp olive oil, separated (into 1/2 tbsp increments)
-12 oz marinara sauce or more if desired
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (I used this one)
-Sea salt and black pepper

Serves 3-4

Directions:

1) Season both sides of each piece of eggplant with sea salt and black pepper.
2) Set up your dipping station (near your stove) - (a semi-large, shallow bowl of each) almond flour, 2 whisked eggs, and the panko bread crumbs mixed with 2 tbsp parmesan.
3) In a large oven-friendly pan, heat up 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. 
4) Dip one eggplant slice at a time into the almond flour followed by the eggs followed by the bread crumb Parmesan mixture, coating all sides and edges), and place the eggplant directly into the heated pan.
5) Repeat until the pan is full, cover, and cook for about 3-5 minutes until one side is browned. Flip and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
6) Remove the eggplant pieces onto a cutting board or plate. Add in another 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and repeat until all of the eggplant slices are coated and cooked. This took me about 4 rotations (hence the 2 tbsp of olive oil).
7) Remove the pan from the heat, and pour in enough marinara to cover the bottom.
8) Add in a layer of the coated and cooked eggplant, topping each with a small spoonful of marinara, a sprinkle of mozzarella, and a sprinkle of the remaining parm.
9) Add in another layer of eggplant and repeat.
10) Add any remaining sauce or cheese over the top of the eggplant pieces.
11) Put the entire pan into the oven on broil for about 5-8 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn a slight golden brown.
12) Remove the pan, serve, and enjoy!

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I served mine over some cooked garlic zucchini noodles, and it was the perfect pair. Let me know what you think in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you.

Spiralized Zucchini and Bell Pepper Taco Bowl

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Mexican food is one of my favorites. I love the spice it can bring. I'm also a sucker for cheese and carbs, so I sometimes struggle to make healthier choices when it comes to Mexican food. That's not say Mexican food is automatically unhealthy; it can just be harder to make good choices when cheese and tortilla chips hold the keys to your heart.

I was craving something with a kick, but I wanted to try to combat my unhealthy ways with Mexican food. When I make fajitas or tacos, I love throwing in zucchini, bell pepper, and onion. However, my boyfriend HATES onions, so the onions were out. But I decided that I could turn the remaining two into a base for my dish.

I like to use ground turkey when I make tacos. Unfortunately for me, Whole Foods was behind schedule the day that I went, and there was an hour wait for ground turkey. I decided to try ground chicken, and it ended up turning out great.

Top it all off with some fresh avocado, cheese, and salsa, and we have ourselves a meal!

Here's what you'll need:

-About 1 lb of ground chicken or turkey (the package I used was .91 lbs and was perfect)
-2 zucchinis, spiralized
-1 red bell pepper, spiralized
-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
-5 tbsp salsa (I used Muir Glen organic black bean & corn)
-1/4 cup + 3 tsp Mexican blend shredded cheese
-1 tbsp sriracha
-1 tsp Mexican seasoning
-1/4 tsp cilantro
-1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
-1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
-1 clove garlic
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1/4 avocado, sliced

Instructions:

1) Heat up a pan, add cooking spray, and toss in the ground chicken. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, mixing around regularly. This will take about 10 minutes total.
2) Simultaneously, heat up a second, much larger pan. Add in the olive oil and garlic and let cook for about a minute.
3) Add in the spiralized zucchini and bell peppers along with the mushrooms to the second pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, mixing regularly.
4) Add sriracha and cilantro to the meat, and continue mixing for about a minute. Remove from heat.
5) Add 2 tbsp of salsa, Mexican seasoning, ancho chili powder, and sea salt to the vegetable mixture. Mix and let cook for about a minute.
6) Add 1/4 cup of cheese to the vegetable and mix for an additional minute. Remove from heat.
7) Dish out the vegetable mixture into 3 bowls, and top each with ground chicken.
8) Add 1/3 of the avocado slices, 1 tbsp of salsa, and 1 tsp of additional cheese to each bowl.
9) Enjoy!

Feel free to top with some fresh cilantro or plain Greek yogurt for some added flavor. Let me know what you think, and feel free to subscribe below!


Healthy Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Grilled food is without a doubt some of my favorite food. I get so excited when it starts to get warm in the spring because that means that grilling season has finally arrived. Not to say that I won't grill in the winter because, trust me, I will. Over the past couple of months, I've grilled everything from salmon to turkey burgers to kabobs, but I wanted to try something a little different.

I was trying to come up with what I should cook for dinner for my boyfriend and myself. Chicken parm, one of his favorites, instantly came to mind. But I wanted to grill and I wanted to make something healthy. Then it dawned on me - why can't I have all three? How about healthy chicken parm burgers. I even stuffed in some spinach because I love getting in greens wherever I can.

Here's what you'll need:

-1 lb ground chicken
-1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
-1/4 grated parmesan cheese
-1 tsp dried basil
-1 tsp Italian seasoning
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 cup spinach
-1/3 cup tomato/marinara sauce
-1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
-1/4 tsp ground black pepper
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/3 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded

Instructions:

1) Mix together all ingredients except for the mozzarella in a  bowl.
2) Form mixture into 3 to 4 burger patties depending on the size patties you'd like. We made 3 because we were going bunless.
3) Grill the burgers for about 8 minutes on each side. Watch the burgers closely because cooking times may vary by grill.
4) Add the shredded mozzarella to the tops of the burgers and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
5) Remove the burgers from the grill and serve as desired. You can also add some additional sauce if you'd like.

I also grilled some broccolini (tossed in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes) and whole tomatoes as sides. They were both delicious and highly recommended! The tomatoes were great with the burger and are a good substitute for adding additional sauce.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! Let me know what you think, and feel free to subscribe to e-mail updates on new blog posts below!