Light and Healthier, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

We try – and sometimes succeed – to make Monday a meatless Monday when dinner time rolls around.  When I described this meal to my kids they wrinkled their noses – but – they liked it!  you could add in veggies if you like – I kept it simple for the first try.

I roasted my red peppers right on the gas burner of my stove.  Char them up on the outside and put in a sealed bowl (cover with plastic wrap) for about 20 minutes – the char and the skin just slides right off.  Cut off the tops and take out the seeds and voila – roasted red peppers.  You want them to get BLACK – so don’t be scared!

roasting red pepers


Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
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Roasted Red Pepper Pasta


  • 1 lb Fettuccini
  • 3 Medium to Large Red Peppers, Roasted, Seeded & Peeled
  • 2 Medium Shallots - chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic - minced
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan Cheese


  1. Cook Pasta according to package directions to al dente - almost completely cooked
  2. In a small skillet heat 1/2 tsp Olive Oil and sautee shallots and garlic until translucent - don't overcook
  3. Place shallot mixture in your blender with red peppers, remainder of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend well.
  4. When pasta is done, drain but reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta sauce
  5. Return pasta to pan and spoon over about 2/3 to 3/4 of the sauce and mix well - if it's not enough sauce - add a bit more - if its enough sauce but looks a bit dry - add a bit of the pasta water.
  6. Turn pasta out into a large serving bowl and top with shaved parmesan cheese
  7. ENJOY!

Budget Friendly, Homemade Not Storebought, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit

Fast & Simple Easy Ranch Dressing Recipe

If your house (and kid) is anything like mine – Ranch Dressing is a major component in getting vegetables down the hatch.  My son will only eat a salad with ranch dressing, and only eat raw veggies if dunked in ranch dressing…..the problem is – Hidden Valley Ranch in the bottle from the grocery is gross, and litehouse Ranch is awesome, but expensive.

If I’m a with it mom that week, I have a packet to make ranch from, but I’m usually NOT that “with it” – so I came up with this fast & easy Ranch Dressing recipe that pleases the kiddos and is made from mostly pantry staples.  They’re staples in my fridge/pantry – probably in yours too.

Fast & Simple Ranch Dressing
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Fast & Simple Ranch Dressing


  • 1 C Mayonnaise (can use light or fat free if you want)
  • 1/3 C Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Dill Weed
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Salt (more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper (more to taste)


  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your immersion blender or a whisk, refrigerate and enjoy!

Light and Healthier, Mom Approved, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit

Zucchini Boats

Zucchini season will be here before you know it. Especially if you live or spend your winters in the warmer climates like I do here in Arizona. These were fun to make a just delicious, even my main man liked them and he has extremely discriminating tastes. Try this when zucchini season hits I think you will like them too. One last thing, just bake them to el dente’ otherwise they get mushy. Hope you enjoy them.

Zucchini Boats
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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1 boat

Zucchini Boats


  • 3 Zucchini washed and split lengthwise, ends removed and scoop it out a little
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 6 Ozs. Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 3 Ozs. Parmesan cheese, grated or flaked
  • 6 Basil leaves, fresh sliced thin
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced very fine
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a bowl mix the garlic, salt and pepper, let stand for 20 minutes.
  2. Brush the zucchini with olive oil, making sure to use it all evenly between the boats.
  3. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper mix over each boat and then top each boat with mozzarella.
  4. Place tomato slices along the top of the boats evenly and top with basil.
  5. Place the boats on a foil lined pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Baked Apple Chips Recipe
Budget Friendly, Homemade Not Storebought, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit

Spiced Apple Chips – 2 Ways

Snacks are a hard choice sometimes.  It’s so easy to buy a bag of potato chips.  I recently bought a case of apples through my Bountiful Baskets fruit and vegetable share and decided to give making my own apple chips a try.  I tried 2 different ways today – one successful, one not so successful – but it was worth it to see how they tasted and how they came together.

The first batch I put in the oven.  See the pic above.  The instructions say to bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes, flip and bake for 30 more minutes. They weren’t even CLOSE to done.  They seemed to stew in their own juices on the parchment paper.  I finally pulled them out after 2 hrs and let them cool, they’re good – but not crispy.  This might work if you put the apples on racks so they dried all the way around.

The second method involved digging out my long neglected food dehydrator.  A little trial and error and I think I’ve got it down.

First – don’t put sugar and cinnamon on your apples BEFORE they go in the dehydrator….what a hot mess that was.  I’m still not convinced I got all of the goop out of the dehydrator.

Second – Be sure to slice your apples as thin as you can.  I did mine about 1/8 of an inch, i think they should have been thinner, but that was as thin as I could get them without mutilating the slices.

Spiced Apple Chips – 2 Ways
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Spiced Apple Chips – 2 Ways


  • 5 small to medium Apples
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt


  1. Use a mandolin or other type of slicer to slice your apples 1/8" thick
  2. Place the apples on your dehydrator trays and turn your dehydrator on - let dehydrate for 10 hours until completely dry and crisp. Too long will turn them into powder - so watch carefully.
  3. Once apples are done, put sugar and spices in a paper bag and add apples and toss to coat.
  4. If the coating doesn't want to stick, you can spray the apples lightly with non stick cooking spray and then toss to coat.

8 great snack ideas you can make at home
Light and Healthier, Veggies and Fruit

8 Quick Snacks To Make At Home

I’m a snacker.  If there are no healthy snacks around, I eat really unhealthy snacks.  So I’ve come up with some strategies to help me circumvent candy bars and horrible fat filled chips.  Not all of these are necessarily the lowest calorie treats you can find, but they’re easy to throw together and not the worst thing in the house you can grab.

8 great snack ideas you can make at home

  1. Almonds & Dark Chocolate.  This is my current fave.  Both are good for you in moderation.  I throw a handful of unroasted almonds and a handful of Girardelli dark chocolate bits into a bowl and snack away.
  2. Popcorn.  We love popcorn here, but I don’t care for microwave popcorn.  I have a whirley pop and pop a huge tub of popcorn a few times a week that I drizzle with a tad of butter and salt.  I dont like plain popcorn, but i can control the oil and salt on my own.  A special treat for movie night is kettle corn, just toss 1/4 cup of sugar in with the kernels right before they start to pop.  When i need a snack, I scoop a couple cups into a bowl and i’m ready.  If i’m looking for sweet & bulk, i mix the popcorn into the almonds and chocolate in #1.
  3. Fruit.  I have a really cool apple peeler and slicer, makes it easy to core and slice an apple fast.  I usually leave the peel on if eating it raw, lots of nutrients in the peel, so keep it.  I also eat a lot of oranges.  Slice and eat, much faster and easier than peeling and segmenting.  Grapes are sweet and if you eat them cold or frozen they can stop your craving for something crunchy.  They’re also great frozen in a glass of water for a different flavor.
  4. Pudding Pops.  I buy pudding cups, stick Popsicle sticks from the craft store in the top, and freeze.  This is way cheaper than buying actual pudding pops, and works well.   ($1 for 4 cups – and you can get fat free or sugar free)
  5. Veggies – celery and peanut butter is a great snack.  Celery is easy and fast to clean, also.  You can clean a whole bunch of celery in a few minutes and plunk a spoonful of peanut butter on a plate pretty quickly.  I also love Sliced hothouse cucumbers and ranch or italian dressing.  I usually make my own Olive Garden dressing, or buy Kens Lite Northern Italian dressing.
  6. Pretzels.  Generally these are baked instead of fried, so they’re lower in fat.  They do have carbs and calories, so moderation is key.  If you’re craving something salty, pretzels are a pretty good choice in the grand scheme of what’s available.
  7. Cheese and ham.  I usually have smoked ham in the fridge.  Generally sliced thin from the deli if I can get it.  I like to cube cheese and cut squares of deli meat and toss them on a plate.  Then wrap the ham around the cheese and nom nom nom.  This is higher in fat, so moderation is key.
  8. Olives and pickles.  Dill pickles are one of my favorite foods.  I like them cold and crunchy.  I also like olives.  Sometimes I just throw some pickles and olives in a bowl for a quick snack.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Holidays, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Honey & Pecan Topping

This side dish is a staple on our holiday table, but honestly it’s good any time of year.  Consider varying the spices and topping to accommodate your tastes, but this is the best version I’ve ever had.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Honey & Pecan Topping
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  • 3-4 lbs Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Milk or Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Tsp Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Pecans, chopped
  • 3-4 Tbsp Clover Honey


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into like-size chunks - I generally do 1-2 inch chunks. Cover with cold water and bring them to a low boil and simmer until soft
  3. Drain and dump into the bowl of your mixer while still hot, add the butter, milk or cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves and mash/whip until smooth.
  4. Slide into a greased baking dish and level
  5. Top with chopped pecans and drizzle the honey over the top
  6. Bake for 30 minutes