Lemon chicken stew

Unfortunately, kids have germs. And now that I’m teaching again, I’m surrounded by kids. Welcome to my first upset stomach of the school year.

Whenever I’m having tummy troubles, I eat chicken soup for lunch and dinner. But I HATE most canned soups – they have practically no flavor and barely any chicken. I prefer to make my own in the crock pot – it’s relatively little prep, I can add a substantial amount of protein, and I can season it the way I want to.

My favorite type of chicken soup is Greek Avgolemono. There’s something about lemon and chicken that pairs so well together. I love that the soup is thick, almost like a stew.

I decided to make this lemony chicken stew as a spinoff of standard chicken noodle soup and greek avgolemono soup. I kick it up a notch with some Italian dressing seasoning, two different kinds of pepper, and some protein pasta. It’s soothing enough to heal a troubled tummy but tasty enough to eat when you’re feeling great.

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PB&J greek yogurt parfaits

This is the second day of school with my kiddos and the hectic bustle of the school year has officially hit me. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s exhausting – So I’m keeping this brief and cutting to the chase.

Who doesn’t love a peanut butter & jelly sandwich?! This epic dessert takes the delicious nostalgia of a PB&J and turns it into a sweet, creamy, & crunchy treat. The best part is that it contains 18g of protein and is only 280 calories per serving (this recipe makes 2) – so it will keep you feeling full without destroying your diet. And it’s totally giving me a much-needed energy boost right now. #winning

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Dark cherry wheat bread

This time of year is the end of cherry season – so I’ve been trying to load up on them before I can’t find them at the grocery store anymore. This summer’s harvest has been as fresh and delicious as ever. I usually just eat mine as is, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach when I bought quite a few pounds of them recently. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to snack on my cherries before they started to go bad, so I had to start incorporating them into some pies, tarts, and breads.

This was the perfect opportunity to have fun with my bread machine (some of you know how obsessed I am with my bread machine). This bread has a wonderful balance of components and flavors – a bit of fruity sweetness from the cherries, a bit of dense chewiness from the whole wheat flour, and just a tad of spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg. This loaf is perfect sliced up and eaten as toast with butter and jam, in the bread basket at dinnertime, or as a killer PB&J.

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Italian sausage & pepper burgers

I love a good hamburger from the grill, but lately I’ve been getting bored by the standard burger. I’ve been switching things up a bit – occasionally I’ll make chicken burgers instead of beef, I’ll experiment with different cheeses, and I’ve done pretty well with trying a variety of toppings. I’ve gone from the staples of lettuce, tomato, and pickles to pulled pork, hot peppers, and fried eggs.

The other day I found sweet Italian sausage patties in the grocery store and I just had to grab them. It’s been a long time since I’ve had sausage & peppers (one of my favorite comfort foods), and I was determined to turn one of my favorites into a burger. I decided to kick things up a notch by giving my burgers some classic garlic bread buns.

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Backyard BBQ coleslaw

As the month of August approaches its end, I’ve been trying to squeeze in as much outdoor time and BBQ fun as I possibly can.

A typical American BBQ usually has the same side salads over and over again – potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, etc. – all of which are dressed in mayonnaise. Unfortunately, mayo is one of the only foods that I really hate. So when I go to BBQ’s, I end up eating burgers and wings with no side dish, except for maybe corn on the cob. Lame!

I love those classic BBQ sides when they are dressed in a vinaigrette rather than all that mayonnaise goop. It’s just so much lighter and more refreshing – not to mention much healthier and fewer calories. This coleslaw recipe is definitely one of my go-to’s when I’m having a BBQ.

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Spicy chick peas & zucchini noodles

I’ve been all about farmer’s markets this summer. There are a few that run weekly fairly close by, and I’ve been making it a point to go and load up on freshly grown produce (among other things).

I prefer to eat a bit lighter during the summertime. Maybe it’s because it’s hot out, or that I’m sweaty, or not as hungry – who knows. But I always see summer as the opportune time to start taking healthy eating a little more seriously and to add a hefty amount of fruits & veggies to my diet.

I have been buying a ton of zucchini. It’s pretty versatile, and can be prepared in a lot of different ways – all of them delicious, and all of them super filling.

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Onion & green chile shredded pork

Using my slow cooker over the summer has to be one of my favorite things – it makes each meal simple, I can run errands without worry while my food cooks, and it doesn’t heat up the house like the oven would.

With that being said, not everything tastes great coming out of a slow cooker. To quote one of my former students, everything his mom made in the crockpot “tastes like dried butt”. That’s not what I’m going for.

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Fresh herb pasta salad

As of late, the heat and humidity in New York has been unbearable. I usually eat hot food for dinner, but over the past two weeks I’ve been making a lot of different side salads to avoid heating up my house with the oven on. This version of pasta salad uses fresh basil and lemon thyme from the garden, which is a complete game changer. You just don’t get the same punch of flavor from dried herbs as you do with fresh ones.

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Coconut sandwich bread

A bread machine is a pretty awesome kitchen tool – you can have a loaf of freshly baked bread with VERY little effort. The machine does almost everything for you – it mixes, kneads, forms a dough, rises, bakes, AND keeps the loaf warm. The only real work you need to put in is the order in which you layer your ingredients, and to adjust the amount of liquid in your dough depending on if it’s too dry or too sticky.

So far I have made quite a few loaves of bread, and I have been thoroughly impressed with the bread machine each time. It always manages to turn out a perfect loaf. If you are thinking about getting one or you’re on the fence, I highly recommend an Oster. My model can be foundĀ here.

Coconut sandwich bread is one of the first loaves I’ve baked in the bread machine. It is dairy and egg-free with a slightly sweet coconut taste. It’s absolutely perfect for making toast with a bit of butter and jam, or a nutella sandwich (my favorite).

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