Italian White Bean Soup

Winter suddenly decided to make an appearance in the South this week!  After a warmer than normal season it was quite a shock waking up to lows in the 20’s-30’s with the highs barely making it over 40!

{I know y’all up north laugh at our cold weather whining…}

When the temps drop I love nothing more than a bowl of warm and comforting soup, even if it is mid-March and everything is in bloom!

This week I whipped up a pot of Italian White Bean Soup for the family.  This scrumptious soup was so easy to prepare and is healthy as well!

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I used organic and low-sodium white beans, chicken broth, carrots, onion and spinach to create this soup.  I chose low-sodium ingredients to counter the salt found in prosciutto. It made for a totally filling supper without adding side dishes as well as a little extra for the hubby’s lunch the next day.

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What I liked best about this soup was that it was a convenient one pot (don’t you just hate a sinkful of pots & pans on a busy night?) dish.  Start with diced prosciutto in a little olive oil, then add the veggies to sauté, adding the beans and chicken broth to simmer a few minutes before throwing in freshly chopped spinach.

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Are you hungry yet?

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Click for the printable version of Italian White Bean Soup ….

and Buon Appetito!

What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

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Game Day Fruit Salsa

It’s football season which means our Saturdays are filled with the sounds of game day as Audley and Bradley {and yes, me too} flip channels and cheer loudly for all of our favorite teams.

I don’t know about you and I have no idea why, but something about watching football makes me want to snack! With all the lifestyle changes we have made around her over the last several years, I am picky about the kinds of snacks that I keep in the house. You might think this would be a challenge.  But, really it isn’t.

 One fairly healthy treat that has been a favorite of ours is a sweet and spicy fruit salsa served up with cinnamon sugar pita chips.  It fits the rules of Jones family snacking… Sweet with a kick, crunchy, fairly healthy, fresh and totally easy!

Check it out.  It might become a game day favorite for you as well!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 cup diced pineapple

1 cup diced watermelon

1/2 cup peeled cucumber, chopped

1/2 cup diced mango

1/2 cup diced papaya

1/2 cup red bell pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 small red onion, diced

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ASSEMBLE:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir gently to mix together and rest for 30 minutes, to allow flavors to mesh.

This serves 4-6 people, so I usually double my recipe.

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Serve with anything that crunches, although we love Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita chips with our salsa, you can use plain tortilla chips as well.

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If you have any left over I highly recommend using it for a topping on a chicken taco salad. It is so delicious, and much healthier than sour cream or dressing!

Just in case you’re actually heading out to the big game, or just watching your own athlete play, this fruit salsa is great to make ahead and is easily portable.

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What are your favorite game day snacks?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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Strawberry Caprese Salad

By far one of the highlights of spring has to be farm fresh strawberries.  Whether you pick your own, purchase them at a farmers market, or travel to your local strawberry farm, there is something absolutely wonderful about these sweet, juicy berries that always beckon and call my name in the month of May!

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While just washing them and popping twenty or so a few in my mouth throughout the day is always delicious, I love to cook or make dishes that incorporate my favorite berry.  From jam (Strawberry Wine Jam, Vanilla-Laced Strawberry Jam)  to dessert (White-Chocolate & Strawberry Pie, Pavlova with fresh berries) or even breakfast (Mixed-Berry Muffins)your imagination can guide you to all kinds of mouth-watering treats!

Recently I stumbled on a recipe for a Strawberry Caprese Salad that Southern Living Mag had shared on Facebook.  After tweaking it just a little, I put together my own Strawberry Caprese Salad that was absolutely flavorful and delicious; a real spring treat for sure!

Strawberry Caprese Salad

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup Peach White Balsamic Vinegar (can be purchased in a speciality store)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup chopped basil

10 ounces mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces

1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, quartered.

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ASSEMBLING THE CAPRESE SALAD

Whisk together the peach white balsamic vinegar, garlic, Splenda brown sugar blend, pink salt and black pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Add fresh basil (saving just a little to garnish with) and mozzarella cheese bites; toss to coat. Cover and chill about 2 hours. Stir in strawberries; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve as an appetizer with toasted French bread baguette slices (I found mine at Fresh Market in the deli). Garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil.

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This is such a unique dish and with the use of farm fresh flavors of spring, you can’t go wrong!

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finger food snacks

The Strawberry Caprese Salad makes a great addition to a finger food buffet for a girls night in!

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What is your favorite dish to incorporate strawberries?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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Spinach & Mushroom Frittata

Over the weekend I slipped away for a wonderful little brunch with some fabulous ladies from the congregation where we worship.  I knew there would be plenty of pastries, muffins and cheesy quiches that I really didn’t need, so I wanted to prepare something that was fairly healthy, low-carb, as well as tasty to carry along to share.

After flipping through a few magazines for ideas, I found a fabulous recipe for a Swiss Chard and Garlic Frittata that seemed to fit the occasion perfectly.  It sounded delicious so I headed to the kitchen where I ignored the recipe totally, pulling out spinach, mushrooms, bacon, onions and eggs to create my own frittata.

A Frittata is a lovely Italian dish that are egg-based, crustless and similar to an omelette. Because you whisk your eggs together so well, they fluff up more than an omelette and make a pretty dish to share!  Most frittata’s do contain cheese, but since I was looking to create a healthier version I opted to leave out the cheese.

It turned out to be absolutely delicious, so I wanted to share the recipe before I forgot it.  You never know when you might need a quick and easy breakfast frittata.

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INGREDIENTS:

6 whole eggs

12 egg whites

6-8 slices of cooked nitrate free bacon

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1/2 Large vidalia onion, diced

3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Pink Himalayan Salt & Fresh Ground black pepper for tasting

Coconut Oil cooking spray

Fresh parsley for garnishing

ASSEMBLING THE FRITTATA

There are several little steps to assembling the frittata, but they really are quick and easy.  Put your bacon on to cook, and while it is cooking, steam you 2 cups of spinach leaves.  I just added a couple of tablespoons of water to a pan and covered the leaves to wilt, maybe three to four minutes.

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After steaming, remove the spinach from the pan of water and drain on paper towels; removing as much of the excess liquid as possible.

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In another skillet, melt 1-2 Tablespoons of the unsalted butter and sauté the onions; adding the garlic after a minute.  Sauté the mix until the onions are translucent, then add the mushrooms.

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Finally, add the spinach to your sauté, allowing just a minute for your flavors to mesh.  Season with just a little pink Himalayan salt and black pepper.

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Using a 11 x 8 casserole dish that you have sprayed with coconut oil, spread the sautéed mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan, crumbling the bacon over the top.

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Whisk together your 6 whole eggs and 12 egg whites and pour evenly over the vegetables.

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Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes until the eggs are set.  Be careful not to over cook as you will have a chewy, rubbery dish that is not very good.

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Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and cut to serve.

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I don’t know about you, but when I make a healthy dish to share I am always so concerned whether or not people liked it.  This was apparently a hit as the casserole pan came home totally empty.  The flavors paired well together, and truly, it was a perfect for a Saturday brunch.

I’m editing this to link up with My Mom’s Junk recipe party … hence the old photo of me heading off to my junior prom in 1989 in honor of my own daughter who just attended her Junior Prom over the weekend.

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Good grief could those sleeves have been any puffier and the bow any bigger?!!

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Have a great week!

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