recipe: “Zoodles” with Grape Tomatoes (℅ Door To Door Organics)

***Disclosure: Door to Door Organics approached me with an opportunity to share information about their products and services. In return, I received an account credit and the opportunity to share a recipe using their organic ingredients. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***

It’s hard to believe it’s already been three months that we’ve been receiving our Door to Door Organics deliveries. Once a week since mid-May, a shipment of organic produce (and other groceries when I remember to place the additional order) appear on our doorstep like clockwork. There’s nothing to do but to remember to put our cooler out on our front porch — and even when I forget that, the DTDO crew has my back, placing our groceries with a cold pack in a reusable box. It’s cut down on my grocery store visits, which means more time for me in the kitchen.

Another new-to-me thing I’ve been enjoying this summer is my spiralizer. I purchased mine on Amazon for less than $8 and have been spiralizing veggies since. Good thing we’ve gotten plenty of zucchini in our boxes the past month or so!  My new found love for delivered organic produce + my new kitchen toy lead to the inspiration for this dish.

zoodles collage

“Zoodles” with Grape Tomatoes

Serves two hungry Hansens — or four servings as sides

Ingredients:
  • 2 small zucchini*, spiralized
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (enough to coat your pan)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic*, diced
  • 1 small onion*, diced
  • 1/2 a pint grape tomatoes*, halved
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Cheese for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan at  medium to high heat. Add the onion and garlic once the oil is hot. Cook until garlic and onion are gold in color (to allow some caramelization to occur.)  Add the zucchini and season with salt, pepper and oregano — be generous with the seasonings! Combine all ingredients to coat evenly with the olive oil/onion/garlic “sauce”. Reduce the heat to low, and add the tomatoes. Cover the pan with a lid, then let simmer on low until the tomatoes are soft. Serve as is or garnish with your favorite hard, white cheese — a Parmigiano-Reggiano would be excellent with this!

* indicates products used from my Door To Door Organics delivery

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Heinen’s Game Day Recipe (& GIVEAWAY): Pork Brats Chili

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this recipe and running a giveaway for a gift card for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Craving a brat before the big game, but don’t want to involve the grill? Get more than one football-watching favorite with this slow-cooker combo creation featuring ingredients from your local Heinen’s grocery store. 

pork brat chili ingredients collage

Pork Brats Chili
Serves approximately 6 or so hearty bowls

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 raw pork brats (regular or hot, depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 heaping cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced (optional, depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • your choice of chili fixings (see note below)

METHOD

  • Turn your slow cooker on to high.
  • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, starting with the brats*. Do your best to equally distribute everything.
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and leave it be for four to six hours. Don’t lift the lid!
  • When ready (when the brats are cooked through), give the mix a good stir, and scoop desired servings into bowls, grabbing a brat from the bottom for each serving.
  • Serve with your favorite chili fixings: rice, pasta, corn chips, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, Oyster crackers, hot sauce, black olives, chives, etc.  You can also even serve the brats on hoagie rolls and top with your accompanying chili mix as you cheer on your favorite team!

*ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Instead of cooking the brats whole, you can de-case the brats as you place them in the slow cooker, breaking it up into more of a “ground pork” consistency. 

pork brat chili

So in prep of the big game, why not head over to Heinen’s? I’ll make it even sweeter — how about going with a $50 gift card in your pocket? Enter to win at the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until Tuesday, January 27th at 12:00AM EST to enter. The winner will be announced later that morning.

Remember to stay in touch with Heinen’s via their social media feeds: on Facebook, on Twitter at @heinens and on Instagram at @heinens.

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this recipe and running a giveaway for a gift card for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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PumpkinFest (or how I threw my first surprise party)

The winner of my Fabulous Food Show giveaway (℅ random Rafflecopter.com pull) is Rachel from itsahero.com! You can still purchase tickets at the Fabulous Food Show website.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

When I was sixteen, my parents threw a surprise birthday party for me. I still have the “happy birthday” banner that hung in our garage that afternoon — it’s displayed on my fridge even to this day. What a fun feeling it was to have a rush of gratitude overcome you so suddenly!

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to throw Hans a surprise party. In past years, I’ve remembered this only days before his birthday. But this year, I remembered in early October — giving me plenty of time to gather up the troops and make a plan.

This was also a little self indulgent, I’ll admit — I’ve NEVER planned a surprise party before. Out of ALL the events over ALL the years! It was time to make sure I held on to my event planning talents by having some fun with this one. Here’s what came in handy in the process…

A CREATIVE THEME

That came easily, all thanks to Hans’ favorite fall food: pumpkin. (He’s on pumpkin pie number seven for 2014, BTW.) With a lot of help from my friends, the menu came together with pumpkin items I didn’t even know existed:

pumpkin fest dessert

…plus a couple non-pumpkin items. Let’s just say we ate very well that night.

A GAME PLAN TO GET HIM OUT OF THE HOUSE

I have to give full credit to my brother here. Drew came over the Monday before (questioning my last minute event planning skills) with the idea to ask Hans to go see a three-hour space-themed movie mid-Saturday afternoon. #jackpot Drew and Hans were gone by 2:45PM, giving me plenty of time to clean, prep food, get dolled up and greet guests before they returned at 6:30.

 PUMPKIN FEST HANS

Sure, his eyes are closed, but look at that smile. And those jazz hands. #onlyagleekalwaysagleek

A GREAT GUEST LIST OF FAMILY & FRIENDS

These people — plus my unpictured brother, mom and Hans’ best friend — all pitched in, while managing to keep it all a secret for the past few weeks…

pumpkin fest group shot

 …all for one very happy redhead. Somehow, he had no clue — so all and all, I guess it was a huge success! Now if only I talked my mom into making two of those cheesecakes… there is a full holiday season ahead of us though. Keep the pumpkin coming!

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