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. 


Sesame Garlic-Ginger Cabbage

I like most veggies. Add some sesame, garlic and ginger and I’m in love. This cabbage sauté is quick and yummy and works great with any variety of cabbage. It’s even good with other greens, like spinach, kale or chard. It’s equally tasty with book chop and mushrooms. Ya know, this sauce is probably even good on a shoe! If you’re trying to keep things healthy, you can substitute this cabbage for rice in other stir-frys….or not, your choice. As always, feel free to adjust the spice level to make this side dish your own. This cabbage reminds me of kimchi, a mild to spicy Korean fermented slaw made with cabbage.

In case, I’ve neglected to mention it before, I always use low-sodium soy sauce  and fat-free, low sodium broths for cooking. 

Prep Time: 10 min           Cook Time: 5 min               Total Time: 15 min.        Serving Size: 1 cup

Servings: 6                          Difficulty: easy peasy        Yield: about 6 cups         SP: 1 SP


1 large Nappa cabbage, any variety, cut into ribbons

2 teaspoons toasted black sesame seeds


4 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons, sriracha or chili garlic sauce

1 tablespoon freshly  grated ginger

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, Tamari (gluten-free)

2 teaspoons toasted dark sesame oil

Kosher salt, pinch (optional)


1.  Whisk garlic, sriracha, ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small. Set aside.

2. Spray a  wok or large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium high heat. I like to add the tougher core pieces of cabbage first and let them cook before adding the softer leaves. Stir-fry the cabbage core pieces, about 2 minutes. It’s great to get a lil color on them. Add the cabbage leaves  to wok and stir-fry 1-2 minutes until wilted but still crisp with a little bit of color. 

3. Add the sauce to the pan and stir-fry, combining the sauce with the cabbage until the sauce is slightly thickened  1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

4. Remove the cabbage from the eat, garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy as a side dish or with my Kung Pao Shrimp.  


Don’t worry about peeling the ginger. I keep a piece in the freezer at all times and just grate it straight into recipes with a micro place as needed. Plus, it’s extra fiber! To get this dish on the table even faster, prep the cabbage and make the sauce the day before. 

Sometimes, I like to add thinly sliced onions to the cabbage stir-fry for a little sweetness. Add the onions with the cabbage core pieces in Step 2. They’re sooooo good when they car Alexis a bit. 

If you can’t find black sesame seeds, the regular ones are just fine! I just like the contrast of the black seeds with the cabbage. 

If you’re allergic to soy, try liquid amigos as a soy alternative, to achieve that salty, umami flavor. 

Simple Sautéed Mushrooms

As you know, I do love my veggies. The other day, I scored a great sale on shrooms. So, what’s a girl to do, but head home and sauté up a big ol’ batch. These simple mushrooms are great as a side dish or added to other dishes throughout the week. I like shrooms and scrambled eggs or shrooms on toast with a lil light garlic and herb cream cheese. Toss the mushrooms in a soup or salad. Make a frittata or an omelette or serve them with buttered noodles. This versatile veggie sauté is quick and easy. The method works with almost any veg. Learn the method and sauté your fav veggies in a flash to eat now or to use with dishes later. 

Peace & Java

Prep Time: 10 min            Cook Time: 10 min             Total Time: 10 min         
Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Servings: 4-6                     Difficulty: easy peasy         Yield: about 3 cups          SP:


1 pound mushrooms, any variety, cleaned, sliced or quartered 

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided 

Non stick coopking spray, optional 

1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. In a large skillet heat about 1 tsp of the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms in batches using oil or non-stick cooking spray for each batch. Don’t crowd the mushrooms, so they will brown. Place each cooked batch on a plate. 

2. Once the last batch is done, add the mushrooms on the plate back to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add theWorcestershire sauce to the pan, combing with the mushrooms. Turn the heat to high, so the Worcestershire sauce bubbles and reduces. Let cook 1-2 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve. Remember,  leftovers are great to use in other dishes. 


Slice or quarter the mushrooms, depending on how you plan to use them. Use all one type of mushroom or mix the varieties, your choice! 

If you’re feeling a lil decadent, add a tablespoon of butter after the mushrooms are done. The mushrooms heat will melt the butter, making a yummy sauciness with the Worcestershire. 

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. 

Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice

Like Shrimp? Like Fried Rice? Wish there was a healthier version? Well, thank me anytime, because I’ve got you covered. This mock fried rice features califlower rice. It’s tasty, healthy and soooooo soooo good. And, the bonus is, you can have a second helping without any guilt!! Get your “fried rice” on friends!!

Substiute any of your favorite veggies to suit your stir-fry tastes. 

Peace & Java

Prep Time: 30 min            Cook Time: 30 min         Total Time: 1 hour          Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups        Servings:

Difficulty: easy peasy       Yield: about 8 cups          SP: 2 without oil; 3 with oil


3 teaspoons canola oil divided, optional 

Non-stick cooking spray

1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 eggs, lightly beaten

6 scallions, chopped

1 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 carrots, chopped

4 cups cauliflower, riced (use 1 package or prepare your own with 1 small-medium head of cauliflower)

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 tableshpoon garlic chili paste, or to taste

1 tsp sesame oil

1. Spray a wok or large skillet with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat. Or, if using oil, add 1 teaspoon canola oil to the pan. Add the shrimp. Stir-fry in batches, until pink and just opaque in the center, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate. 

2.If using oil, add 1 teaspoon to the wok or skillet. If not, add more cooking spray. Add the lightly beaten eggs or medium to low heat. Softly scramble the eggs, about 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs to the plate with the shrimp.

3. If using oil, add the last teaspoon to the work or skillet. If not, add more cooking spray. Add the carrots and stir fry until a little browned, but still a lil crunchy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the scallions, ginge and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes to incorporate. Add the peas, shrimp and scrambled eggs. Cook until heated through, 3-4 minutes.

4. Stir in the soy sauce, hoisin, garlic chili paste and sesame. Stir-fry to combine veggies with shrimp and seasonings. Add the cauliflower rice. Mix well, 2-3 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed. 

5. Chow down!!

NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: Speed up cooking by preparing the cauliflower rice and chopping the veggies the day before. Or, use pre-chopped veggies from the salad bar.

You can buy riced cauliflower in the cold pre-packed veggie section of your store. To rice it yourself, just pulse cleaned cauliflower florets in a food processor or chop finely with a knife. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

It’s the time of the year for fresh starts and cleansing. This zesty veggie filled soup is comfort food for the cold winter months. Though, I must admit, it’s equally tasty any time of the year. Plus, it’s Weight Watchers & figure friendly. Go soup! 

Peace & Java

Prep Time: 20 min         Cook Time: 30-45 min     Total Time: about 1 hour          Servings: 4          Serving Size: 2 cups                    Difficulty: Medium         Yield: about 8 cups.          SP:


1 large onion, chopped 

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 medium rib celery, chopped with leaves

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes & green chilies with juice 

1/2 cup canned low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup corn, frozen or fresh

1 cup chicken breast strips, cooked and roughly chopped

4 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce, minced

1/2 tableshoon canola oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon Goya All Purpose Seasoning, Lemon & Pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Optional Garnishes: avocado, shredded reduced fat cheese, fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt, tortilla strips


1. Add canola oil to a medium Dutch oven obverse medium high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, celery and carrots. Sauté, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Strain in the garlic and chipotle. 

2. Add diced tomatoes with juice, corn and chicken stock, Goya seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a simmer. Stir in chicken.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. 

3.  Reduce heat to low and cook 30-45 minutes covered. 

4. Add lime juice and cilantro to soup. Adjust seasoning if needed. 

Serve with your choice of optional garnishes. 

NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: Adjust the spice level of the soup by ramping up or omitting the jalapeño and the the chipotle in adobo sauce.  
For WW SPs: 1/2 oz avocado: 1 SP; 2 tbsp RF shredded cheese: 1 SP; 1 tbsp FF sour cream or Greek yogurt: 0 SP; 1.4 oz tortilla strips: 1SP