Thursday, December 11, 2014

Love and Turkey Chili

Well, winter is here! Time to make savory foods that will warm us up and this chili is the perfect dish to warm up to. 

Not to mention it is so filling and healthy.

Great comfort food and an easy way to add tons of veggies into your diet!

Steve just bought me a crockpot, which I have been wanting forever!

Years ago, I wrote my college application essay about how there was a time when I didn't know what a crockpot was. I related it to being raised in a Russian household, living between the Russian and American culture, and well, it all made sense at the time!

And here I am, (basically) done with my Master's and excited to finally own a crockpot! It all comes full circle. 

Anyway, I was looking up slow cooker recipes and came across Two Peas and Their Pod's Slow Cooker Turkey Chili. I ended up making this stove top and adapted the recipe as such, plus to include more veggies, but must give credit where credit is due because this chili is seriously so tasty!

I always wanted to try my own chili but thought I would have to buy all these different spices. All this one needs (other than salt and pepper) is chili powder and cumin. 

This can also be made vegetarian by excluding the ground turkey. It has plenty of other great ingredients to make this filling and delicious.

It is so flavorful, packed with tons of nutrients and only takes a little prep work.

Let's get cooking!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Love and Garlic-Lime Shrimp Tacos

I am by no means "old". I actually still feel like a baby sometimes, but I am getting older. 

One of the things that makes me realize this is my lack of presence on social media.
I was talking to someone I work with who is several years younger than me, and she had almost 100 likes on an Instagram photo. I told her I've never had more than 30 and she even said, "but it's different for you" because she and those her age utilize social media more so than my age group.

And although before Facebook, we all had Myspace, xanga, away messages etc., Facebook obviously changed things in the social media world. So I mainly use that, as well as Instagram

Now what does this have to do with Love&Grub? 

Well, social media is how I promote this little blog.

I've been trying to increase my presence by utilizing Snapchat to cook my recipes, record them live and posting them on snapchat. (Follow me @loveandgrub)

The first thing I cooked was my Cream of Mushroom sauce and the second thing was... 
you guessed it, Garlic-Lime Shrimp Tacos! 

 These tacos are so easy to make! Shrimp is low in total fat and especially important, it is low in saturated fat. Plus, they cook super fast so they are easy for quick, weekday meals.

I used my Roasted Root Veggie Salad as the base of veggies, but you can use any you like! 

I highly suggest trying sweet potato which is my new favorite sweet addition to tacos. It is an awesome balance with the savory, garlic-y shrimp!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Love and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Now this isn't your average roasted root veggie salad. For all my Russians out there, you may recognize that some of these combined ingredients look a little familiar.

Well, this is my healthy take on a very classic Russian salad called "Vinegret"

This month, the Recipe Redux asked us to share some favorite food memories and this salad definitely has many great memories. 

It brings me right back to sitting around the table with my family during holidays and family events, eating, talking and eating some more. 

Russian cuisine (like the people) is quite unique. If you ever go to a Russian family's home, or a wedding or some sort of celebration, prepare to eat a lot of food.

I know, everyone eats a lot of food at the holidays but Russian's definitely take the cake on this one.

Russian people have a table usually filled with "zakuski" or appetizers, which is typically a few salads, different vegetables, and other various little sides. Sounds kinda healthy, right?

Well, not entirely.
A lot of these salads use tons of potato and tons of mayo.

But they are SO good, so it's okay.

We do incorporate the use of a lot of fresh herbs and veggies, so I have grown up with this great healthy habit that I've taken well into my adulthood and it is something I am forever grateful for. #thanksgiving

A lot of people do this salad their own way. Some use beans instead of peas, some use no mayo, etc. 

The way my mom makes it (which is obviously the best way) is she uses boiled beets, boiled potatoes, carrots, pickles and sweet peas. She usually adds either a little extra oil or just a little mayo, with some scallions or some fresh herbs. 

Boiling the root veggies gives them a soft texture, and it really lends well to making this salad sweet and savory with the beets and potatoes.

I decided to make my own take on this by replacing the potatoes with sweet potatoes, using parsnips instead of carrots and roasting the veggies instead of boiling them.

You can definitely use carrots, but I wanted to use parsnips for the color since the sweet potato is orange too.

I know pickle sounds kind of weird but it gives it a nice crunch, with a pop of vinegar. The beets caramelize, the sweet potato and parsnips soften and the sweet peas bring everything together (and would be a great way to use some of the Libby's packages I mentioned in my last post see: Cilantro Lime Couscous)

It is just a wonderful mix of flavors for a perfect side dish (or starter).

Let's get to it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Love and Cilantro-Lime Corn Couscous

I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

What a week it has been! I found out this past Sunday that I matched with my first choice for a dietetic internship. 

Now, I am sure you wondering to yourself...what does that mean?

Well, in order to become a licensed Registered Dietitian, you must complete a dietetic internship where you essentially are trained how to be a dietitian, mostly in a clinical setting (aka hospitals), and other areas of the profession. It is the last stage in the process, which also qualifies you to take a licensing exam.

Basically what I have been working my butt off for the last 3 years. So I am just thrilled, excited and feeling very blessed.

I have been waiting for several weeks to find this out so in the meantime, I have been distracting myself by working on an awesome recipe for the Recipe Redux's latest challenge -- to create delicious appetizers, soups, salads and side dishes in 10 minutes or less using Libby’s!

What are Libby's, you ask?

They are these awesome little veggie packs. They are microwavable, which makes them so EASY to use, they take up less space in your pantry (which is perfect for a small kitchen like mine) and environmentally friendly! They use 75% less energy to produce pouch packaging.

I was excited to try something out, and love the challenge of making something in 10 minutes or less.

It made me feel like I was on Chopped or something. Kind of.

Anyway, these little guys come in different types, including sweet corn, sweet peas and green beans. They are currently available at Walmart, but will be available nationally soon.

When I think of making something fast, couscous comes to mind because it takes almost no time to cook. You make a quick, sweet broth using some of the corn and the juice. It is dressed in some cilantro, lime and olive oil to liven it up but it is pretty amazing on its own.

I love taking couscous and turning it into a salad by adding some more fresh veggies and some vinaigrette! So so good!

Let's get to it!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Love and Cream of Mushroom Spaghetti Squash

When I was younger, my mom used to make this cream of mushroom chicken dish that was my absolute favorite.

Although typically we would eat fresh, traditional Russian dishes, this dish, which was made from a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, was a special treat.

I absolutely adored it.

So when I started thinking of it lately, I knew I would have to recreate it with a healthy spin. And I am SO glad I did. 

It's creamy, comforting and a perfect dish for cool, Fall nights. 

I first tried to make everything fresh b
ut I quickly realized this would be a great recipe to use leftovers for, specifically chicken and spaghetti squash.  (Follow the link for instructions on how to make fresh spaghetti squash)

This super quick meal has tons of flavor and so damn tasty.

Let's get cooking!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Love and Maple-Spiced Breakfast Sausage

While vacationing with my family this summer, I tried some breakfast sausage.

I'm sure I've had it before, but this was the first time in a while. And it was so delicious.
It quickly became something I wanted to order again and again. 

However, it is incredibly unhealthy. High fat, high sodium, and all sorts of other stuff. 

So when trying to come up with an idea for this month's Recipe Redux theme, Spooky Spices, I thought of trying to make my own version of breakfast sausage.

I  am not a big spice user. I will use a little here and there, but I have never really known what spices to use. Or how much to use. So I dug through the spices and through a little trial and error, came up with an awesome recipe.

The best part of cooking with spices is that you have so many ways of enhancing the flavor of the dish without adding the things that are bad for us. It's an important tool when learning to cook healthy foods. 

I am also all about sweet and savory dishes this Fall, so these little guys are no different.

In order to drop our fat content down, I used ground chicken. You can also use ground turkey, which might have a slightly higher fat content.  However, either is a good choice here! 

Lets get cooking! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Love and Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Pesto Pasta

“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Happy Fall everyone!

I love Fall! Its beautiful, the clothes are so comfortable, and of course, the FOOD.

 It's warm, savory and comforting.

Don't get me wrong, I love the fresh and sweet foods that come with Summer but I have a special place in my heart (and stomach) for savory foods.

Give me a pasta dish with something cheesy and I am in heaven. 

So of course when I found out that the Recipe Redux is hosting a challenge for National Pasta Month, sponsored by the National Pasta Association, I was EXCITED. 

There can be no better way to celebrate this amazing month than with this delicious combination of sweet and savory. 

Plus, we all know how much I love pasta, pasta and more pasta.

Pasta is the type of food that can be made in just a few minutes and is so versatile.

 You can add so many different ingredients to make it truly delicious and healthy.

It has gotten a bad reputation over the years, but it can be made very healthy and it is so easy to do so.

The most important part is to make sure you are using wheat or whole wheat based pastas, which are filled with fiber and protein which help you stay fuller, longer.

Add some veggies, a lean protein like chicken or fish, and you have a perfectly balanced and delicious dish.

What is even better is PESTO. I recently tried making it for the first time and I honestly don't know what took so long.

When you buy basil, it is usually less than 3 dollars and you get so much! 

I don't know about you but I have a seriously hard time keeping it alive. 

This is the perfect way to use up all that basil and preserve it for using it later.

Once you make the pesto, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze until you are ready to use it! 

Also IMPORTANT side note: Most pesto recipes are made with pine nuts, but jeez those little things are expensive. So I use slivered almonds here and it's just as good!

Easy, cheap and SO tasty.

Enough talking...Lets get cooking!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Love and Oat-Full Pancakes

First and foremost, it feels great to be back to cooking and blogging.

I recently took a very important exam for my Master's so I had to take a little bit of a break to focus on studying. I also started a new job/internship so it's been a little hectic these days. 


But alas, life is somewhat back to normal and that means, yummy creations from my kitchen!

I've never been much of a pancake fan to be honest. Don't get me wrong, they are DELICIOUS but I tend to crave more savory foods.

However, one night, I suddenly had the urge for something sweet for dinner.

Of course, I wanted to make sure there was something a little healthy about them and looked at what I had on hand.

I threw together some ingredients and out came these AMAZING little oat-full pancakes.

And with just a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have at home.

It's your basic pancake recipe, but the oats hook these little guys up with some protein and fiber, which means these will keep you fuller longer! 

Perfectly delicious!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Love and Avocado-Caesar Dressing

Caesar salad is one of my favorite salads. 

I think it is one of the first things I ever learned was unhealthy, so it was something I definitely did not eat for many years.

That was until, well, I just ate it to enjoy it. And I realized how delicious it was.

The crispness of the romaine, the creamy yet tangy dressing and those crunchy croutons.

What's not to love? 

I'll tell you what...

Lots of fat, calories and little nutrients.
It's true. Just because something is labeled a salad, does not automatically make it healthy.

However, as we all know, when we love something, we have it.

So yes, I order it often and yes, more cases than not, will have it is a SIDE.

Which brings me to this AMAZINGness...

This salad takes all the tastiness of my favorite salad and actually makes it healthy.

An ACTUALLY healthy Caesar salad. 

Using avocado and dijon mustard for the dressing, plus using kale instead of romaine and making croutons from whole-grain toast, this salad is jam packed with flavor, bite, and most importantly, things that are oh so good for us.

Ready to cook? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Love and Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad

Summer is amazing for many reasons...the weather is great, our moods are better and most importantly, there are so many delicious fruits and veggies that are in season.

Especially (if you couldn't tell by the title) peaches and tomatoes.

Who would have thought that these two could come together in such a beautiful medley of flavors? 

Not me!

I got this idea at an internship I am currently taking part in, where my basic job is to find and try out healthy recipes for a clinic for children who are overweight or obese.

Sounds pretty perfect, right?!

So a few weeks ago, the local CSA (community-supported agriculture, if you are unfamiliar) delivered some juicy tomatoes and peaches and I was assigned with finding a recipe to use them...and I found a basic salad recipe that combined these two.

I was shocked by how delicious they were I knew I had to try this one at home and share it with all of you.

I also decided to spruce it up a bit with some goat cheese and cilantro. 

The creamy goat cheese goes so well with the sweet peaches and the tang of the tomato and vinaigrette. This is a perfect salad to serve at any summer BBQ or meal.

Servings: 6

Monday, July 28, 2014

Love and Chicken Cauliflower-Alfredo Pasta

I have discovered the BEST thing since sliced (whole-grain) bread.

As some of you may remember, I have dabbled with cauliflower purees in the past, but this has taken it to a whole new level.

The cauliflower serves as the creamy component of Alfredo sauce...and with a little seasoning and some parmesan cheese, it tastes just like the kind we all love!

Now of course at Love&Grub, we add veggies where we can, so I've made my favorite combo of whole grain pasta, chicken and of course, vegetables.

So on top of all that goodness, we are gonna cook a sauce that is literally made from a vegetable. 

Can't stop. Won't stop.

Pasta gets a bad reputation because usually when you go out to eat, it is just white pasta and the sauce is loaded with butter, cream and cheese. 

Yes, it's delicious but it is just not healthy and definitely won't keep you full for long. Of course, if you are craving it, go get that pasta! 

When making pasta at home, using a whole-grain pasta is the first important component.

Also, make your veggie-protein-pasta ratio about 3:2:1. 

What I mean by that is, make it mostly veggies, add a protein if you'd like and make it less pasta than those 2. That way you fill up on the good stuff while still getting some pasta.

Enough talking...Let's get cooking!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Love and Beer Soaked Beans

"Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy"

I think we have all heard the famous quote by Philly's own hero, Benjamin Franklin, and I think many of us can agree that beer is pretty awesome.

It's the perfect drink for the summer. It is cold, crisp, refreshing, and has so many varieties of flavors.

So when I found out this month's Recipe Redux theme was cooking with spirits, extracts and other alcohols, I was really excited to try something new.

Beer actually has a few health benefits as well, which makes it perfect for some Love and Grub.

Having a little alcohol a day is thought to be heart healthy (2 drinks for men, 1 for women), can increase the good cholesterol, HDL, while also lowering the bad, LDL.

Beer also contains some fiber, has several B vitamins and also could be good for your bones!

Now, I'm not talking drinking as many beers as you can in one night. That is definitely not healthy. 
But having one or two, here and there, can add some benefits without causing more harm. 

Today, I'm using Harpoon's Big Squeeze Shandy which is flavored with grapefruit. It is a sweet beer, so the sweetness pairs well with richness of the beans.

Also, this citrus goes even more perfectly with a little Asian flair of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and a little sesame oil.

I even added a little kale because you all know that I love to add veggies where I can.

So let's get to it!


One 12oz beer, preferably a wheat beer or shandy 
1 can pinto beans (no salt added)
1/2 can black beans (no salt added)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste!
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Love and Baked 'Fried' Chicken

I received a special request, from one of my very best friends, to make a healthy version of fried chicken. 

As a fried chicken [tender] lover myself, it was not hard to convince me to try this as my next recipe. 

I originally thought of making this with drumsticks, but in an attempt to cut down on portions and some excess fat, I opted for the tenders which are smaller and skin-free. 

You can use this breading recipe and make it with drumsticks, or wings, but keep in mind that it is healthier without the skin. 

Plus, the thing I love about smaller portions is that it is easier to limit your intake, while also being able to indulge. You don't have to overdo it... you can enjoy a little and still get that satisfaction you crave. 

This recipe allows for some serious satisfaction, with less of the things that are not so great for us.

It is also very simple, straight forward and freakin' delicious. 

Let's get to it!

Servings: 8 tenders (good for about 2 people)

1 pack chicken breasts or tenders, cut into 8 tenders
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (regular bread crumbs work too)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Love and Garbanzo-Black Bean Purée

We all know or have at least heard that beans are good for us. 

Garbanzo and black beans are a good source of protein, fiber, folate and magnesium. 
Black beans are also a good source of iron. 

But, to be honest, these affordable, easy and healthy little things can get kind of boring sometimes.

Yea, I said it. 

Adding beans to salads and tacos is awesome, but sometimes, I just want to try something new and improved. 

And fortunately for me and you, beans are also super versatile.

I even saw one chef on Chopped make a black bean caramel sauce. 

Today, we are making something a little more savory.

 This AWESOME purée/dip using only a few extra ingredients.

Let's also take a second to talk about cilantro.

I grew up eating a lot of this so I am used to its flavor and LOVE LOVE LOVE it, but I have been told it can be strong if you're not used to it. 

Therefore, it's important to add a little, taste and then add more if you like it.

If you just hate it, you can substitute it with another herb like basil.

It's also has antioxidant properties and is a low calorie, sodium and fat free way to add SO much flavor. 

Can't beat that!

On to the recipe...


1/2 can of black beans
1/2 can of garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil


Now, this is an easy one.

Take all these ingredients, EXCEPT the olive oil, and put into a food processor.

Season with salt and pepper. 

Begin to purée, while slowly adding the olive oil. When you've poured about half of oil, stop the processor.

Using a spoon, press down the beans and stir. This is also a good time to taste it. If it has softened up, you can choose to not add anymore oil. 

This is will be about taste and texture preference.
If it is still a little chunky, continue to purée with the remaining oil. 

It should look a little like this.

So delicious. 

It's smooth, so flavorful and herbaceous and most importantly, so simple.

You can use this as a a healthy dip, as a spread for a sandwich or tacos, burritos, etc. 

Feel free to use only one can of either beans or you can experiment with mixing others.

Hope you enjoy it, whichever way you make it!

Until next time!

Lots of LOVE,


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Love and Shrimp Scampi

I have recently become obsessed with topping my dishes with a fresh arugula salad. 

Arugula is a bitter green, with a little bit of bite but when you add a little olive oil, fresh lemon juice and parmesan cheese, it's lemony and simply refreshing. 

It is especially delicious when served with seafood! I've topped salmon, pasta and now shrimp scampi. It adds a level of freshness to the dish which just lightens it up and makes it oh so good. 

I've never cooked shrimp before but it is actually quite easy. It turns a beautiful red color and you know it's just about done. 

This recipe is a lightened up version so it will be healthier, lighter but still delicious.

It was also really simple and only had a few ingredients! 

Time to start cooking!

Servings = 2

3/4 lb of peeled, deveined small shrimp
Whole Wheat pasta, about half the box
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice 
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Arugula, 1 cup

Also...olive oil, salt and pepper and (optional) a little butter.


Begin by cooking the pasta, using the instructions on the package.

You can also use this time to begin making the arugula salad. Combine arugula, lemon juice and olive oil (1 tbsp of each), salt, pepper and about a tbsp of parmesan cheese. Toss and set aside.

For the shrimp, start by heating up a little olive oil. On medium-high heat, add the minced garlic and shrimp and begin to cook. Stir and flip the shrimp so it cooks evenly. Season with salt and pepper.

[Side-note: if you like onion, you can begin by sautéing that before you add the shrimp and garlic. It will add another depth of flavor.]

Once they turn a beautiful red color, add the white wine and let it reduce, about 3 minutes. You can add 1-2 tsp of butter to add a little silkiness to the flavor, but this is optional.

Once the wine reduces, add the pasta directly into sauté pan. Toss the sauce into the pasta.

Serve it with a little of the arugula salad on top. 

Deeeeelicious and easy!

This would also be good with spaghetti squash or without the pasta all together. 

Make it how you love it!

As always, hope you enjoy.

Lots of LOVE,