Autumn Squash & Spinach Salad

Autumn Squash & Spinach Salad

HELLO, friends! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a recipe or blog, and I thank you for keeping up with me, via Instagram and Facebook!

Summer has ended, and it was a season full of changes (all positive), and travel! The summer began with an unexpected shift in my full-time job, but I saw it as a blessing from God. I had been praying for something different for a while, and although what was presented to me wasn’t what I had in mind, I accepted it with gratitude, and decided to work part-time until I found something better. After months of applying, I was recruited by an amazing company, and began working full-time in September. God is good, and I’m so happy to be where I am! Also – working part-time is not my thing. #workaholic

I took two trips out of the country, to Mexico in July (I was a bridesmaid in my good friend’s wedding), and to England (to visit my boyfriend) in August. Two places I have never been before, and they were both so much fun in their own ways. I’ll be headed back to England this New Year’s.

As many of my fellow Southerners know, fall weather in Nashville is pretty unpredictable. One morning you’ll be missing the pool due to the heat, and the next day you find yourself dusting off that winter coat. I’ve been cooking warmer dishes like curry, and chili, but I also like to take advantage of the produce of the season, like squash!

Delicata squash was originally what I wanted to cook for this salad, but after searching many stores, I gave up and settled on acorn squash from a local farmer.

What I love about this salad is the mix of flavors, textures, and color! Acorn squashes are naturally sweet, FYI.

TO CUT AN ACORN SQUASH

  • They’re nearly impossible to peel, so don’t bother.
  • A ripe acorn squash is a dark green with some orange coloring mixed in. It should not be mushy.
  • The more yellow the squash, the sweeter it’ll be.
  • Have a large, sharp knife on hand. To half, cut through the stem end to the point, rather than across the diameter.
  • Once halved, cut pieces along the diameter. For video instructions, click here.

244D45B9-E178-42F3-BBE3-6E55CE1CFD11.jpegAutumn Squash Salad
Serves 3

Ingredients:
1 acorn squash, sliced
1 bag LoveBeets – Organic Cooked Beets, diced
1 bag raw spinach leaves
Dried Cranberries
Raw pumpkin seeds
Pistachios, shelled and crushed
Feta cheese, crumbled
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Slice acorn squash as directed above.
2.  On a non-stick baking sheet (or grill tray), spread acorn squash slices out evenly. Lightly coat in olive oil, and a tiny pinch of salt.
3. Put in oven and cook for 45 minutes.
4. In the meantime, place diced beets in oven-safe dish, lightly coat them in olive oil,  and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Let beets and squash cool before assembling salad.
6. Arrange salad: spinach, squash, beets, dried cranberries, raw pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and crumbled feta.
7. Lightly spray or pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing.

If you loved this recipe, leave me a comment or share on Instagram, @goodafeats, #goodAFeats!

xoxo, Amber

 

How To Make Basil Pesto

How To Make Basil Pesto

It was brought to my attention that I did not have a pesto recipe on my blog. In years past, I’ve been lazy and bought pre-made pesto, but honestly, it’s soooo easy to make, and not full of preservatives. Ingredient wise, it’s pretty inexpensive (minus the pine nuts)!

There’s a ton of different recipes out in the universe for pesto, but I like one that’s heavy on the basil, has a touch of lemon, and doesn’t contain cheese. A good pesto doesn’t need parmesan cheese to taste delicious.

Can you add cheese? Absolutely. You do you, no judgments.

What can you do with pesto?

  • Pizza base
  • Drizzle on fresh veggies
  • Pasta sauce (I added mine to TJ’s Cauliflower Gnocchi in the photos below!)
  • Top on scrambled eggs
  • Sandwich spread
  • Bake into artisan bread
  • Use as a dip
  • Marinade or salad dressing

The possibilities are endless….

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Since this recipe is dairy-free, it is vegan, keto, paleo, and Whole30! Healthy and yummy.

NOTE: This pesto does have lemon in it. If you’re wondering why I didn’t call it “Lemon Basil Pesto,” it’s because it is not a dominant flavor. The lemon pepper and juice give it a better taste, but it does not taste “lemony.” If you want it to, you can definitely add more juice. Lemony pesto is terrific on vegetables or a salad.

TIP: Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. If freezing, cook basil briefly in salted water (this will help keep it fresh), and spoon into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight, then put cubes into freezer safe Ziploc bag. To defrost, set out for 30 minutes, or heat in microwave in 30 second intervals.

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Basil Pesto
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh parsley
4 tbsp. pine nuts

Directions:
1. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic into bowl. Mix well.
2. In food processor or blender, add bowl of oil and spices, plus parsley. Pulse until blended. Add pine nuts, pulse until blended. Add basil, pulse (1 cup of basil at a time if using a blender.) Keep pulsing until mixture is processed and smooth.
3. Serve immediately or freeze (directions for freezing are above).

Let me know if you made this recipe and what you thought! Tag your pics on Insta @goodAFeats! xoxo, Amber

Gochujang Chicken Rice Bowl

Gochujang Chicken Rice Bowl

While I was in England, Joe took me to this wonderful Korean Bowl restaurant that serves rice bowls with different types of marinated meat, stacked with raw veggies, and different yummy sauces. It was so good, I decided to re-create my own bowl for you guys, and I’m pretty proud of this recipe! If you’re ever in Leicester, go to Grounded Kitchen… it’s healthy, filling, and good af.

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“Gochujang” is a popular condiment from Korea, and is a red-chili paste that is savory, spicy, and pungent. It pairs well with beef, or chicken and is easy to make yourself as well. Many grocery stores in my area carry different varieties already made, so I just bought one (time and money saver).

NOTE: I cooked the chicken in my Instant Pot on the pressure cooker setting. You can cook your chicken stove top, in a crock pot, or pressure cooker.

I made mine with cauliflower rice for a low carb option, but you are welcome to make it with jasmine or brown rice.

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Gochujang Chicken Bowl
Serves 4

For the Gochujang Chicken:
3 tbsp. gochujang hot pepper paste
2 tbsp. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. coconut aminos
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 Korean chilies (or Thai), crushed
1 pound chicken tenders or breasts (frozen or fresh)
Sesame seeds

For the Cauliflower Rice

Bowl Toppings:
Red bell pepper, sliced
Avocado, diced
Green onions, chopped
Red cabbage, chopped
Baby spinach
Chopped peanuts
Spicy mayo (or Yum Yum sauce)
Sriracha
Lime slices

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients for the chicken, starting with the dry ones, and then adding in the liquids. Do not add the sesame seeds. Mix well.

2.  Coat chicken in gochijang sauce, and place in Instant Pot. Select pressure cook option for 15 minutes, making sure your steam valve is switched to the closed option. Put lid on pot, lock, and cook. (If you do not have a pressure cooker or instant pot, you can cook your chicken with sauce on the stove).

3. In the meantime, prepare your cauliflower (or regular) rice. Directions are linked above.

4. Once chicken is done cooking, use the natural release on the steam valve for five minutes.

5. Turn Instant Pot off. Shred chicken in pot, and mix well with sauce, making sure all meat is evenly coated. Sprinkle sesame seeds lightly onto chicken.

6. Now to assemble the bowls. Spoon rice into bowl, then chicken, and then your toppings…. there’s no wrong way to do it! Eat and enjoy!

Let me know if you made this recipe and what you thought! Tag your pics on Insta @goodAFeats! xoxo, Amber

Sweet Potato Nachos with Instant Pot Carnitas

Sweet Potato Nachos with Instant Pot Carnitas

For Christmas, my mom got me an Instant Pot, and for the past few months, I’ve been experimenting  and learning how to use it (I have yet to try boiling eggs in it, which I really want to try next). What I’ve liked cooking most in my pot is chicken and meat – it cooks for 40 minutes or so, and can be shredded right after. It’s 10x faster than a CrockPot, and for me, that’s perfect. I’m a busy woman and got things to do, and places to be!

I posted a Shrimp Nachos recipe earlier this year, and here we are just a few short months later with more nachos. Clearly, I love me some nachos (who doesn’t?). These however, are healthier, and you can feel less guilty as you shovel them down.

Replace those corn chips with a complex carb, and try my Sweet Potato Nachos! I whipped up an avocado cremé sauce, that I’ll include too! I promise you won’t miss those grain-filled chips. Nachos are all about the toppings anyways, the bottom is just to serve it all into your mouth.

This recipe is Paleo and Whole30 approved (minus the cheese)!

NOTE: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, NO PROBLEMO! Cook these in a crockpot on high for 6-7 hours instead.


Sweet Potato Nachos with (Instant Pot) Carnitas
Serves 6

For the Instant Pot Carnitas:
4-5 lbs pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
2 large oranges, halved
1 lime
1 c water
1 bottle of beer

For the Sweet Potato Slices:
4 large sweet potatoes
Mexican Chili Powder Seasoning
Salt
Olive Oil

For the Avocado Cremé:
3 avocados, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 lime, juiced
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, to taste
Adjust ingredients as needed

Additional Nacho Toppings:
Pickled Onions
Pico De Gallo
Cilantro
Cojita Cheese
Valentina Hot Sauce
Pickled Jalapeño Slices

Directions:
1. Cut pork shoulder into 2 inch cubes. Make sure the fat is trimmed! Place meat into 2. Instant Pot, and rub pork pieces with all dry ingredients. Make sure all pieces are coated well and evenly.
3. Squeeze the lime and oranges over the pieces, and set rinds (pulp side down) in the Instant Pot.
4. Add in water and beer.
5. Set Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. Make sure the seal valve is CLOSED, and will not be open to release steam. Don’t forget, it takes 10 minutes for the pot to warm up (I learned the hard way… always read the manual first).
6. When the meat is finished cooking, allow it to release naturally for 15 minutes. Shred meat with fork after it has cooled.

7. Slice sweet potatoes into coins, 1/4 of an inch thick.
8. Place on large baking sheet (two if needed), and spread slices evenly so that they are not overlapping one another.
9. Generously season both sides with Mexican spice blend, a few pinches of salt, and then drizzle top with olive oil.
10. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and cook for another 15 minutes, or to desired crispiness. Personally, I don’t like mine too crispy.

11. While carnitas and potatoes are cooking, make pickled onions in the mean time. (Follow link for recipe!)
12. Once pickled onions are done, time to make the avocado cremé.

13. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Add dry ingredients, and then liquids, and blend until blended well. Adjust ingredients as needed to obtain consistency and taste. There’s no wrong way to do it!

14. Top nachos with sweet potato slices as base, followed by carnitas, avocado cremé, pickled onions, pico de gallo, cilantro, cojita cheese, and hot sauce, and any additional toppings! Valentina hot sauce tasted amazing on these. 🙂

Let me know if you made this recipe and what you thought! Tag your pics on Insta @goodAFeats! xoxo, Amber

Homemade Pickled Red Onions

Homemade Pickled Red Onions

Take back Taco Tuesday with a vengeance, with these easy-to-make, delightful pickled red onions. Fresh cilantro, pickled onions, and a lime wedge can really bump your taco game up a notch. I love to top fresh Mexican food or avocado toast with these lil’ purple guys. Not only do they had a unique flavor, but they’re pretty too (Instagram worthy fa sho).

I was trying to find these in the store this past week, and was having a rough time. Do you know how hard it is to find jarred pickled onions at the grocery? It’s nearly impossible, so, I thought, “why not make them myself?!”

 

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The best part is, they are SO easy and effortless to make, and last up to 2 weeks once made!

For many people, these are a pantry staple, and can add just the right touch to a dish you’re making. I suggest storing them in a jar, and make sure you keep them in the refrigerator. These all make a great hostess or holiday gift idea too when packaged in a tiny mason jar. Tie a ribbon around it, and voila!

TIP: It’s important to always use fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, when a recipe calls for it. Pre-squeezed juice will impact the flavor, and not for the better!

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Homemade Pickled Red Onions
Yields 6 Servings

Ingredients:
1 Red Onion, halved, and thinly sliced
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 c white sugar
Few pinches of sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions: 
1. Place sliced onions in a bowl, large enough to transport water in.
2. Boil a kettle or pot of water. Once boiling, pour over bowl of onions, making sure all onions are fully submerged. After 10 seconds (you can count to 10), drain onions, and set aside.
3. Over low-medium heat, heat vinegar, lime juice, sugar, chili flakes, and salt in a saucepan for 3-4 minutes. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from heat.
4. Pour heated vinegar mixture over onions, and let stand for a few minutes. Preferably, let cool to room temperature before serving.
5. You can eat immediately, or let sit overnight for maximum flavor.
6. Serve with tacos, nachos, vegetables, toast, or whatever you desire!

Let me know if you made this recipe and what you thought! Tag your pics on Insta @goodAFeats! xoxo, Amber

Cauliflower Tabbouleh (Tabouli)

Cauliflower Tabbouleh (Tabouli)

Mediterranean food is one of my favorite cuisines, due to the immense mixture of flavors you can create, plus it tends to be on the healthier side. A Mediterranean diet tends to be rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, seafood, low grains, low dairy, and low meat. Great for people who need to eat a heart healthy diet, or have digestions issues. Popular dishes include: pita, gyros, greek salad, falafel, and one of my favourites, tabouli* (or tabbouleh). *Spelling depends on which region you’re in.

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Tabouli is a popular vegetarian salad among the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. Traditionally, it is made with bulgar wheat, but to save on carbs I have subbed it out for riced cauliflower, making it even more nutritious. It’s keto, vegan, Whole30, and delicious!

This salad contains tons of superfoods, such as:
Cauliflower – Vitamin C; Fights inflammation, low carb
Parsley – Vitamin C, Iron
Mint – Magnesium; Aids in digestion
Cucumber – Vitamin A; Can reduce the risk of diabetes and lower cholesterol
Tomatoes – Antioxidants (Vitamin A + C); Fights inflammation
Lemon Juice – Vitamin B; Cleanses liver, helps food digestion
Olive Oil – Lowers cholesterol

Toast some pita, and serve up this side dish with your favorite Mediterranean dish, or pair it with my Lemon Tahini Cod or, my absolute fave – Babaganoush dip!

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Cauliflower Tabbouleh (Tabouli)

Serves 4

Ingredients: 
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 c riced cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 c Italian/flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped

Directions:
1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in nonstick skillet. Cook riced cauliflower for 10 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat when done.
2.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, minus the cauliflower (parsley, mint, cucumber). Stir well. Add cauliflower once cooled.
3. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
4. Chill for at least one hour before serving. Mix in tomatoes right before serving.

Tried my recipe? Comment below or tag me on Instagram!

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Lemon Tahini Fish

Lemon Tahini Fish

When trying to eat low fat, but high protein, I love to incorporate white fish into my diet. Cod is one of my favorites because it’s flavorful and inexpensive; I also enjoy making halibut. I’ve always said Nashville would be the perfect place to live, if we were bordered by an ocean, and had fresh access to seafood.

This recipe is great for meal prep, has only a few ingredients, and is super easy to make.

What is Tahini? Tahini is a paste made from ground up sesame seeds, and also the main ingredient in hummus (God, I love hummus). It contains 20% protein, which is higher than most nuts. It’s high in calcium, and also contains phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, and iron. If you have digestion problems, tahini is great to eat, due to high alkaline mineral contents (which also can promote weight loss).

This recipe pairs well with my tabouli salad and toasted pita bread. It is keto, paleo, Whole30, and pescatarian.

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Lemon Tahini Fish
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/2 medium lemon, juiced
3/4  tahini
3/4 c water
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
4 white fish fillets (6 oz each), cod or halibut
1 tbsp fresh parsley

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking pan with cooking spray, or parchment paper.
2. Bake fish for 10 minutes.
3. In the meantime, make the tahini sauce. In a mixing bowl, add lemon juice, tahini (make sure it’s stirred well), water, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix throughly.
4. After fish bakes for 10 minutes, remove from oven. Evenly spread tahini sauce on fish fillets.
5. Bake for 15-20 more minutes. Fish should flake when pierced with a fork.
6. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Tried my recipe? Comment below or tag me on Instagram!