Stir-Fried Garlicky Bok Choy

I’m a sucker for a sale, especially when it’s in season. Recently, I discovered a local Asian market. I love walking the aisle checking out new veggies, sauces and seasonings, oh my! The veggies at the market, are typically pretty cheap, which inspires me to try new foods and recipes. It’s fun to experiement! As with most of my veggie recipes, this recipe is works well for most veggies or stir-frys. The coconut oil and the sesame, really give the flavorless bok choy some sass. I use this story-fry method for cabbage and asparagus and mixed story-fry veggies. Sometimes, I finish the dish with thinly sliced green onions or sesame seeds.  But, I NEVER leave out the garlic. I think, mo’ garlic, mo’ better! Now get in the kitchen and stir-fry some healthy and yummy veggies.

Peace & Java

Prep Time:  15 min          Cook Time: 10 min               Total Time: 25 min          
Serving Size: 1 cup 

Servings: 4                         Difficulty: easy peasy          Yield: about 4 cups         SP: 2 SP


1 pound baby bok choy, washed, top leaves trimmed and halved

4-6 cloves garlic, minced 

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tsp sesame oil 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat a wok or large skillet or medium high heat. Add the baby bok choy in batches, cut side down. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes until crisp tender with a little browning. The bok choy tops should be bright green. Season each batch as it cooks, then place on a plate to cook next batch. 

2. Once the last batch is cooked, return all of the bok choy to the wok. Add the garlic and combine. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed. Drizzle with the sesame oil and serve. 


If you can’t find baby bok choy, regular bok choy roughly chopped works just as well. 


Minestrone Soup

My body begs for soup in the winter. This veggie packed hearty Italian soup is one of my go to healthy comfort foods. I love chopping the veggies, it’s great therapy! And, the smells that fill my house and kitchen as the soup simmers on the stove or in the crockpot. Aaaah, now that’s a lil bit of heaven. Serve this yummilicious soup with a green salad and a garlic bread for dipping. 

If you’re cooking for just one or two, go ahead and make the full batch of soup. The soup freezes well, for those days when you’re pressed for time. Make this soup your own by adding your fav veggies or beans. Don’t like cannelloni beans, use kidney beans. As you can tell from the recipe, I LOVE garlic! If you don’t, ease up on the garlic madness! 

Peace & Java
Prep Time: 20 min          Cook Time: 60 min            Total Time: 1 hour 20 min              Serving Size: a heaping 1 1/3 cups

Servings: 12                       Difficulty: easy pease        Yield: about 4 quarts, 16 cups       SP: 2


1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 bulb fennel, chopped

1 medium potato, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cups kale, washed and roughly chopped

1 small yellow squash, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 cup cut green beans, fresh or frozen, 

1 cup, whole wheat pasta shells, or elbow macaroni

4 cups fat free vegetable both

1 8 oz.  can spicy low sodium vegetable juice

2 14oz. cans diced tomatoes, with basil and oregano with juice

1 can reduced salt cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped

1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

6 roasted garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsps Italians seasoning

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground oregano

2 bay leaves

2-3 Parmesan rinds

Freshly grated Parmesan, optional


1. In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onions and sauté, uncovered until a lil browned, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and fennel to the pan and sauté, 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper, the veggies and add the garlic and Parmesan rinds to the party, stirring to mix the seasoning with the veggies.

2. Add the bell peppers, potato, red pepper flakes, oregano and bay leaves to the pot and cook 5 minutes.  – At this point, you may transfer the cooked veggies to a crockpot set on low and continue with the recipe. 

3. Add the canned tomatoes with juice, the tomato juice and the broth. Stir to lift any browned bits from the pot. That color is flavor! Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer the soup covered for 20-30 minutes, until the vegges are soft, but still have some bite. No mushy veggie soup here! We are not making baby food. 

4. Stir the green beans, zucchini and squash into the soup. Stir in the beans. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add additional broth if needed for desired consistency. Add the basil, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. 

4. Serve the soup garnished with 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan for 1 additional SP if you’re counting. 

The pasta will swell as the soup sits and it soaks up the broth. If you don’t like that look or taste, cook the pasta separately and add the pasta portions to the soup as you reheat it.  

I like to vary the types of canned diced tomatoes for this soup. There are brands with onions and garlic. I think I’ve seen red peppers too. I also like to use ones with reduced salt or no salt added if I can find them. 

If fresh herbs aren’t available, or don’t look great at the grocery store, buy frozen herb cubes and use them instead.  

When you buy Parmesan cheese wedges, save the rinds. Toss the rinds in a freezer bag and freeze. Use the rinds to flavor soups and sauces. 

Carrot Salad with Craisins

This quick, no cook salad is an awesome fresh and  zesty side dish that can be whipped up in no time.

Prep Time: 5 min                 Cook Time: 0 min                       Difficulty: Easy Peasy

Servings: 8                             Serving Size: 1/2 cup                  Yield: varies      SP: 2


1 pound shredded carrots, pre-shredded carrots are fine

1/2 cup craisins, or raisins

1 tablespoon spicy or Dijon mustard

zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon parsley, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1.  Shred carrots

2. In a large bowl, combine the mustard, lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the carrots, craisins and parsley.  Toss well to coat with dressing. Adjust seasoning as to taste and serve.

NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: If you prefer lemons to limes, substitute the lemons for the limes or try raisins instead of craisins. Make it yours!

233 words
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Pasta Salad with Artichokes, Tomatoes & Zucchini

Healthy, fast and fresh! The calories and carbs are held in check by increasing the veggie to pasta ratio. I used the first zucchini of the year and basil from my garden. Use whatever veggies you have on hand to make this recipe your own.

Prep Time: 30 min            Cook Time: 6 min                  Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 6                          Serving Size: 1 1/3 cup          Yield: about 8 cups     SP: 4


  • 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, thinly sliced matchsticks
  • 1 cup basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery with leaves, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz uncooked whole wheat pasta, cellentani or rotini recommended (about 1 cup)


  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp spicy or Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste



1. In a large bowl, whisk red wine vinegar, olive oil and mustard together. Whisk in garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, peppers, red onions and bail to bowl. Toss veggies to coat with dressing. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt water and cook pasta according the package directions. Drain pasta, reserving about a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

4. Add pasta to bowl with veggie mixture; toss to coat. Add 1 tablespoon at a time of the pasta if salad seems dry. Adjust seasoning as needed

NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: For a complete meal, add grilled chicken or shrimp.