Home Cook and Avid Runner

White Wine and Shallot Mussels


There are times when a craving hits you and you just have to make the dish immediately.  This somehow always seems to happen with mussels in the Thyme to Beet household.  We never seem to plan on having mussels, but will then be out at the store and all of sudden start craving mussels in a flavorful broth with crusty bread.  Mussels are one of the easiest “fancy” dishes to make at home in my opinion.  The only thing you have to remember is to clean the mussels very well otherwise you will get grit in your sauce, which is not tasty at all!  This recipe is a base recipe that I use to build upon:  adding saffron or curry or other flavor profiles that sound good at the time.  Also, you can substitute the wine with a nice craft beer if you have it at home instead, the beer makes for a great pairing with the crusty bread.  Have these mussels for a quick weekend meal or a fun way to entertain.

White Wine and Shallot Mussels


  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed clean under running water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley


Put the mussels in a bowl of salted water (1 Tbsp salt per quart of water) for 10-15 minutes.  Throw out any that are wide open or refuse to close when you handle them as these ones are likely dead. Looking over the closed mussels, see if any still have their beards and pull them out, pulling slowly and strongly towards the hinge of the shell.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven. Add the shallots and cook a couple minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Add the white wine and let cook for 2 minutes. Add the mussels to the Dutch oven, stirring once to incorporate the flavors, then cover and let steam for 7-8 minutes. Add the minced parsley to the sauce.  Place mussels in serving bowls. Pour some sauce over each bowl of mussels.

Serve immediately. Serve with crusty bread for dipping in the sauce.

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Chilled Cream of Zucchini Soup


As promised the recipe and entry for Zoup’s Recipe Contest!  Cannot wait until August 3rd to see if I am a finalist. Recently, my husband and I moved to Arizona and have become regulars at several farmers markets.   Every week, I have a house full of fresh veggies and am always trying to think up new and fun ways to serve them.  Since moving, our household has embraced “meatless Mondays”.  I am always trying to think of new and interesting vegetarian dishes to introduce to my husband.  Zucchini is definitely one of my go to vegetables because it is so versatile.  With the weather warming up in Arizona, I thought why not try zucchini soup and chill it.  Like many of my recipes, this came out of having to use up whatever ingredients I had at the end of the week and also what was in the pantry.  This is a recipe that a home cook can easily make on a weeknight, but also elegant enough to be served at a tapas dinner party.  This has become a favorite in our household.

Chilled Cream of Zucchini Soup


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small onion, quartered
  • 3 medium zucchini, skin on cut in large chunks
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch fresh ground black pepper
  • croutons and feta cheese to garnish


Combine vegetable broth, onion, garlic, kosher salt, and zucchini in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender, add the sour cream and purée again until smooth.  Add pepper to taste.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hrs.  Serve with desired toppings.

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Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce


I absolutely love entering food competitions, because it involves so much creativity.  I tried making 6 different sauces, all with different flavor profiles, but this was the one that made the final cut.  It is an amazing combination of sweet and spicy, with a little smoky flavor from both the chipotle and liquid smoke.  I made this sauce a few times to make sure the ratios were perfect, and the end result is incredible.  It can be used for anything from chicken wings to brisket.  I think it would be great on pulled pork as well.  I cannot wait to see how this sauce stacks up against the competition. The winner will be announced on August 31st!! This would be a big hit at your next BBQ.

Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

3/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tbs of strawberry jam
I chipotle in adobo minced
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbs honey
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
pinch of fresh cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients in saucepan.  Whisk over medium heat until sauce comes to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes and serve warm.  Can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week, reheated before serving.
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Mini Veggie Meatloaves



Sundays are my meal prep day for the week.  I usually make our lunches as well as prep any sauces or big items that I will need throughout the week.  This keeps us on track with healthy eating as well as eating at home.  It is so easy to come home and make a good meal instead of going out when you have all the ingredients ready to go.  For lunches this week, I wanted to make something different and I knew I wanted to use turkey.  I had a lot of veggies in the fridge that needed to be used up as well.  This recipe has a ton of veggies mixed in with the meat and the loaves come out tender, yet they hold together perfectly.  Be sure to get as much moisture out of the veggies as you can, otherwise the loaves may not hold together properly.  One trick is to wring out the veggies in a tea towel as well after cooling if you wanted.  I just set the temperature high and let all of the water evaporate out of the bottom of the pan while the veggies sweated down.  These are perfect portion control too.  Each serving is two loaves, and they can be frozen as well for a quick dinner or lunch.  Enjoy!


Mini Veggie Meatloaves


      For Meatloaves:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 lg. egg
  • ¾ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 19oz. package ground turkey 93% lean (normal ground turkey packages are 19 oz.)

      For Glaze:

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Sauté both in a large skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until soft and transparent. Peel the carrots, then use a large holed cheese grater to shred them into the skillet. Cut the ends off the zucchini and shred it into the skillet as well. Continue to sauté over medium heat.  While the onion, garlic, carrots, and zucchini are sautéing, roughly chop the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and season with ¾ tsp salt and a generous dose of freshly cracked pepper. Continue to sauté the vegetables over medium heat until they release all of their moisture and it has evaporated from the bottom of the skillet (there should be no juices pooling on the bottom of the skillet).  After the vegetables have sautéed and are mostly dry, transfer them to a bowl and let them cool for 5-10 minutes. Begin to preheat the oven to 375 degrees and coat the wells of a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Once the vegetables have cooled some, add the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, egg, and breadcrumbs to the bowl. Mix these ingredients well until they are evenly combined. Add the ground turkey and use your hands to gently mix it into the vegetable mixture. Try to avoid over mixing. Evenly divide the meat mixture between the 12 cups of a muffin tin. Bake the mini loaves in the preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  While the loaves are baking, mix the tomato glaze. Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Once the loaves have baked for 15 minutes, spoon the glaze over the muffins and let them bake with the glaze for the remaining 15 minutes.  Allow the loaves to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carefully running a knife around their outer edges and lifting out of the tin with a fork. The rest time will help solidify the loaves and keep them in one piece.

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Orange Chipotle Shrimp

  With how hot the weather has been in Arizona, lighter meals are definitely the way to go.  With the holiday weekend coming up, I wanted to make something healthy since I knew there would be some BBQ indulging.  I also wanted to integrate the new way of eating I am pursuing (cleaner) with a yummy seafood dish.  I thought about BBQ shrimp, but then realized I had all the ingredients to make a sweet and spicy combo.  You can add more adobo chiles if you would like it spicier, but I found this to be the perfect combination.  These shrimp were so delicious paired with a quinoa and rice mixture.  This will definitely be a weeknight dinner staple in the Thyme to Beet household.


Orange Chipotle Shrimp



  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Juice 1 medium navel orange (1/3 cup orange juice)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp orange zest


In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin and 1/4 tsp salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet to medium-high. Tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Season both sides of shrimp with chile-cumin mixture and cook until almost opaque. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add orange juice and maple syrup to juice and bits left in skillet and cook for 1 minute to thicken slightly (until it measures 1/4 cup liquid), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and orange zest. Add shrimp back to skillet, return to heat and cook for 1 minute on medium-high, turning constantly.

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Velvet Tomato Soup

tomato soup

Mondays have become one of my favorite days for meal planning since it is “meatless Monday’ in the Thyme to Beet household.  It definitely gives me a creative outlet and makes me seek out recipes that maybe I would have never made before like zucchini and ricotta fritters.  But this week, I was wanting comfort.  And I find nothing more comforting than tomato soup and grilled cheese. Let’s completely ignore that the average temperature is 110 degrees in Arizona right now.   Making my own tomato soup was something I have wanted to do for some time and this recipe seemed to fit perfectly into a weeknight meal since I was going to use canned tomatoes.  I made it with veggie broth since it was meatless, but you could also use chicken broth for a more robust flavor.  I used a food mill for the first time and could not believe the velvet smooth texture of the soup!  This can be made the day before and also frozen as well.  Definitely one of my favorite Monday meals so far!


Velvet Tomato Soup


  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed (include the juice)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the onion and garlic.

Add the broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig. Let cool briefly and then use a food mill (or food processor for chunkier consistency) in two or three batches. Rinse the pot and return the soup to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary.

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Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Slaw

apple and pork

We are trying to eat less and less process ingredients, which has brought me to research clean eating.  As I know you have heard from me before, I love Rocco Dispirito and his way of eating.  He creates an extremely healthy relationship with food I believe and shows portion control and how to eat less and less processed ingredients.  At the Thyme to Beet household we are embarking on clean eating and Rocco’s philosophy in order to hopefully shed some pounds, have more energy, and become healthier.  The first recipe I tried last night was a pork tenderloin rubbed with chili powder and cinnamon.  I must admit this sounded extremely weird to me, but as it baked, it smelled like the holidays.  Then paired with the fresh crunchy apple salsa, it was the perfect combination.  I served it with a side of lime cauliflower rice.  It was a hit and I will definitely be making it again.

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Salsa


Pork Tenderloin:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin

Apple Salsa:

  • 2 cups crunchy sweet apples (like Fuji), cored and diced (about 2 medium apples)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch baking dish with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together the 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large shallow bowl or pie plate. Add the pork and turn each piece to coat with the cinnamon mixture.  In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat another tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer the browned pork to the prepared baking pan (if your skillet is oven-safe, you can simply pop it into the oven and save having to clean up an extra pan). Bake for 16-18 minutes (more or less) until an instant read thermometer registers 145 degrees in the thickest part of the pork. Cover the pork with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with the apple salsa.  For the apple salsa (this can be prepared while the pork is cooking), combine all the apple salsa ingredients, stirring well to coat the apples with the lime juice and other ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Jicama Slaw


Since moving to Arizona we have explored a different farmers market each weekend it seems.  There seems to be an endless variety of markets in the Phoenix area, each with a different focus.  There are several items at the markets that are new to me that I have not used before.  While watching The Kitchen, there was a segment called “Try it, you will like it”.  We have so far tried two items off of the show.  First, we tried Swiss chard pesto, which ended up becoming a favorite of ours and then the jicama slaw which paired well with grilled tenderloin.  The jicama pairs perfectly with the red cabbage in this slaw.  The mint was an addition I was leery about, but it turned out to be the pop of freshness the slaw needed and gave it such a great aroma.  This is the perfect side dish for summer BBQ’s and figure friendly too!


Jicama Slaw

from Geoffrey Zakarian



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 medium jicama (about 1 pound), peeled and grated
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, thinly shredded (approximately 2 cups)
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons torn fresh mint


In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and lime zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.  Toss the jicama, cabbage and scallions with the dressing until coated. If using right away, toss with the mint and serve. (The slaw can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to overnight; if making ahead, wait to add the mint until just before serving.)

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Zucchini and Mushroom Wonderpot


Since moving we have embraced the idea of “Meatless Monday”.  Each week it seems we have been alternating between a Rocco Dispirito or Geoffrey Zakarian recipe.  I keep seeing all of these one pot dishes on Pinterest and other sites so I decided to finally try one.  The produce at our farmers markets is so great that I could not pass up a zucchini and cremini recipe.  When I put the ingredients in the Dutch oven, I definitely was a bit leery and concerned with the way it looked.  There looked like there was way too much water versus other ingredients.  I was extremely worried I would just have a soupy mess at the end of the 20 minutes. I could not have been more surprised when the liquid started to evaporate and the pasta soak up a little, it smelled so good with the garlic and thyme.  I mixed in the half and half and parmesan and it made the most delicious, creamy sauce.  This dish could not be easier and it makes a very large amount.  I knew it was a hit when my hubby asked if he could have some put in his lunches for the week.  It is a fun, fast, healthy dinner.


Zucchini and Mushroom Wonderpot

adapted from Rocco Dispirito “Eat this, not that”


  •             12 oz of reduced calorie thin spaghetti
  • 12 oz pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  •  2 zucchini, thinly sliced and quartered
  •  2/3 cup frozen peas
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  2 sprigs thyme
  •  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •  1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  •  1/4 cup half and half


In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme and 4 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and heavy cream.  Serve immediately and top with additional parmesan cheese if desired.


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Chinese Takeout Style Ribs


First, let me set the disclaimer that I have never had Chinese takeout ribs, but also let me say these turned out amazing!  Jeff Mauro is one of my favorite chefs, because he cooks each and every day for his family foods that most everyone can relate to.  When we saw these ribs on TV, we knew we had to make them for Memorial Day.  I would definitely let them marinate overnight as suggested.  When making the marinade be careful, because the red food coloring stains very quickly.  The flavors are amazing and it is such a fun spin on the normal BBQ rib.  In the show, these are made with spareribs instead, which next time I am definitely going to try.

Chinese Takeout Style Ribs

adapted from The Kitchen



1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey, plus a bit extra to finish

1 tablespoon five-spice powder

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon red food coloring

2 racks baby back ribs, individually sliced into single ribs


Mix together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, five-spice powder, garlic, ginger and food coloring in a metal, non-reactive bowl. Pour the marinade into a large zip-top bag, reserving 1/2 cup on the side for basting later. Add the ribs to the bag and marinate, refrigerated, for at least 3 hours, though longer is better and overnight is ideal.

Heat the oven to 275 degrees F.  Remove the ribs from the marinade (discard the marinade) and place onto a wire rack. Place the rack directly in the oven. Cook until the meat is very tender, basting with the reserved marinade 3 times during the cooking process, 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat.  Drizzle the ribs with honey, move them to the direct heat side of the grill and quickly char each rib to caramelize.

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