Tag Archives: Weeknight Dinners

Crock Pot Vegetable Lasagne

Fresh From Jeff’s Kitchen: Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna

For busy families, the slow cooker can be a real time and energy saver. There is nothing more comforting than coming home and having a delicious, hot meal ready to for the whole family to enjoy. This slow-cooker vegetable lasagna recipe makes for an easy dinner and puts a nutritious and delicious Mediterranean twist on a comfort food classic. All you will need are some fresh veggies from your local farmers market or grocery store and some everyday pantry items like marinara sauce, lasagna noodles and of course,  jars of your favorite Jeff’s Naturals Mediterranean pantry staples.

This recipe calls for Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini, but feel free to add your own flavors like Organic Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives,  Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, Marinated Artichoke Hearts and more!

Crock Pot Vegetable Lasagne
Sometimes a classic recipe needs a little extra something! Try layering your favorite lasagna with sliced peperoncini for a new dimension of flavor.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

4 c. or 2 jars marinara sauce
2 c. water
2 zucchini, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 medium onion, diced
1 yellow squash, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1/2 eggplant, diced into 1/2″ cubes
16 oz. Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini, drained
30 oz. ricotta cheese
1 tsp oregano
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
16 oz. lasagna noodles (regular, not oven-ready)
16 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
non-stick spray
Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, bring the marinara sauce and 2 c. water to a simmer. Add the zucchini, onion, squash, eggplant and peperoncini and stew, on low, for 5-10 minutes.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ricotta, oregano, parmesan and mozzarella. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.

Spray the inside of a 2.5 qt. casserole crock pot* with non-stick spray and spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom. Place the lasagna noodles on top in a single layer. Some overlap is fine.

Spread about 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top, then spoon the vegetable and sauce mixture on top of that. Sprinkle with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Repeat this process two more times, ricotta, vegetables and sauce and mozzarella cheese.

On the top layer, place lasagna noodles, the remainder of the sauce and vegetables, then mozzarella cheese.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley (optional) and serve warm.

Jeff's Naturals Loaded Sweet Potato

Quick & Healthy Weeknight Dinner: Jeff’s Naturals Loaded Sweet Potato

Back in November, we asked our fans to submit their favorite recipe & photo using Jeff’s Naturals products for a chance to win some cash and some Jeff’s Naturals goodies. Lucky for us, Emily from One Lovely Life  shared her delicious and super simple Black Bean & Chipotle Stuffed Potato recipe and photo. “One of my favorites,” she writes. “Such an inexpensive and easy meatless dinner. Use your favorite taco toppings to build an amaaaaazing potato.”

This recipe is a fantastic way to enjoy our Roasted Bell Pepper Strips and Sliced Tamed™ Jalapeños. It also reveals Emily’s fail-proof method for baking the perfect sweet potato. Read One Lovely Life’s post, 6 Amazing Ways to Stuff a Baked Sweet Potato for more creative ideas.

Black Bean & Chipotle Stuffed Potato

Recipe by One Lovely Life
Note: There are no measurements to track, all you have to do is stuff your potato according to your individual tastes.

Jeff's Naturals Stuffed Sweet Potato


Sweet potatoes (however many you’d like to bake)
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black beans
Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Pepper Strips
Chipotle Ranch Dressing
Baby tomatoes (optional)
Jeff’s Naturals Sliced Tamed™ Jalapeños (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Wash all potatoes and stab with a fork or a knife several times each (6-8 times at least).

Rub each potato with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and place on baking sheet to prevent spills. You can place them directly on the rack if you like.

Bake 45-60 minutes, or until you can pierce them easily with a knife.

Make a slit lengthwise end-to-end across the top and fluff the inside with a fork. Stuff with toppings: black beans, avocado, peppers, Chipotle Ranch Dressing and (optional) tomatoes & Jalapeños.

Visit One Lovely Life for more delicious ideas and recipes.

Back to School Recipe Round Up

JN back to school headline

Let’s face it, it’s never easy to say goodbye to summer and hello to a new school year. Between settling into a new routine, packing lunches, shopping for back to school clothing and supplies, sifting through homework assignments and permission slips, and attending new school meetings, it can be easy for busy parents to neglect the dinner table!

That’s where we come in. Because we’ve done the hard work for you, our all natural olives, peppers and other gourmet pantry staples will save you time and energy. Not to mention, we use only the freshest ingredients available without artificial preservatives so you can keep on creating healthy meals and snacks to fuel active bodies and minds!

Here’s a quick round up of recipes perfect for the busy Back to School season using wholesome Jeff’s Naturals ingredients.

Afterschool Snacks

Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

Refuel young bodies after a long day of learning with this vitamin and fiber friendly salsa made with black beans, Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, cilantro and Sliced Tamed Jalapeños (don’t worry, we tamed them so they are not too spicy).

Click Here for Recipe

Queso Dip

Spicy Queso Dip
Queso Dip

This tasty after school treat comes together quickly by melting shredded Mexican blend cheese, Diced Tamed Jalapeño Peppers and Roasted Bell Pepper Strips over a stop top oven.  Perfect for study groups or days when the whole gang unexpectedly drops by after practice.

Click Here for Recipe

Baja Fruit Salad

Baja Fruit Salad
Baja Fruit Salad

Roasted Bell Pepper Strips gives this tropical fruit salad an unexpected kick!  Made with pineapple,  mandarin oranges,  jicama, cilantro and coconut, this healthy snack will give your young learner a taste of summer while restoring energy.  Goes great with school lunches!
Click Here for Recipe

Now, let’s talk about dinner!  Here are some easy meals that can be put together in no time at all!

Easy school night dinners

Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Baby Arugula Panini

Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Baby Arugula Panini
Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Baby Arugula Panini

Feed a family of 4 in under 10 minutes?  Yes please!  This simple panini recipe made with Roasted Red Bell Peppers, Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini and Sliced Kalamata Olives is a fantastic meatless option that is sure to satisfy.

Click Here for Recipe

Autumn Apricot & Turkey Panini

Autumn Apricot & Turkey Panini
Autumn Apricot & Turkey Panini

Sweet dried apricots, Jeff’s Naturals™ Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes and brown sugar transform an ordinary turkey sandwich into something quite extraordinary the whole family will enjoy in  35 minutes flat.
Click Here for Recipe

Grilled Pizza with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion

Grilled Pizza with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion
Grilled Pizza with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Jeff’s Naturals™ Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions– what’s to love?  This grilled pizza comes together in 10 minutes flat- It could not be easier!

Click Here for Recipe

Greek Antipasto Platter

antipasto platter
Even the pickiest eaters can find a healthy treat when you set out a plentiful antipasto platter with our Whole Golden Greek Peperoncini, Kalamata Olives, marinated Artichoke Hearts, Roasted Bell Pepper Strips and assorted meats and cheeses!

Click Here for Recipe


Top Image Credits-

school bus photo credit: First Student #292 via photopin (license)
apple photo credit: Project 52: Week 10 – I made it. via photopin (license)
classroom photo credit: college students via photopin (license)

Simplify Back to School Menu Planning With Easy Wraps & Paninis

Back to School Treats
From Top Left: Greek Garden Lavash Wrap, Autumn Apricot & Turkey Panini, Southwestern Roasted Chicken Jalapeño Wrap, Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Baby Arugula Panini

No matter how seasoned you are as a parent, sending the kids back to school is almost always an event. Between settling into a new routine, packing lunches, shopping for back to school clothing and supplies, sifting through homework assignments and permission slips, and attending new school meetings, it can be easy for busy parents to neglect the dinner table!

Even through the next few weeks are probably going to be hectic for many of us, it’s important to make the time to prepare healthy meals and snacks that will fuel active bodies and minds! Wraps and paninis are a great way to put a healthy kid friendly meal on the table in a matter of minutes.

Here are some fast and tasty back to school recipes to “wrap” your head around!

Back to School Recipe #1:  Greek Garden Lavash Wrap

Prep Time: 20 min. Serves: 4

1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 c. Middle Eastern yogurt or whole milk Greek-style yogurt
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium cucumber, peeled if desired
4 pieces white or whole wheat lavash (Middle Eastern flat bread)
1-1/2 cups Jeff’s Naturals™ Roasted Red Bell Peppers, drained
1 jar (6.5-ounce) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 c. Jeff’s Naturals™ Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini, drained
1/2 c. coarsely chopped Jeff’s Naturals™ Sliced Kalamata Olives
2 C. baby spinach leaves

In a small bowl, use a fork to mix the feta, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint, oregano, and ground pepper to make a chunky paste.

Cut a thin slice the length of the cucumber to create a flat surface, then rest it on the flat side and cut the cucumber lengthwise, as thin as possible, into long strips.

Lay out the 4 lavash on a flat work surface with a long side facing you. Spread the feta mixture evenly over the breads, leaving a 1-inch border at the tops and bottoms. Distribute the cucumber slices, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, peperoncini, and olives over the breads. Distribute spinach leaves over the filling.

Fold the border of one lavash from the side closest to you over the filling, then continue to roll tightly until you reach the other side. Repeat to make 4 lavash rolls.

Cut each lavash in half on a bias to make 2 sandwich halves, placing the halves seam-side down on a plate. To make ahead, wrap each roll tightly in plastic film and refrigerate up to 8 hours before cutting and serving.

Back to School Recipe #2: Autumn Apricot & Turkey Panini

Prep Time: 35 min. Total Time: 35 min. Serves: 4
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. sea salt
4 tsp. crushed garlic
1/2 c. dried apricots, sliced
2/3 c. Jeff’s Naturals Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, drained
2/3 c. dry white wine
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 loaf herbed focaccia bread
6 oz. roasted turkey, deli-sliced
4 slices provolone cheese
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil
*Calculated ingredients may not always be as accurate as the original recipe.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, brown sugar and salt for 20 minutes, or until caramelized. Add the crushed garlic, apricots, sundried tomatoes, white wine, and fennel seeds and sauté for an additional 10 minutes.

While the above mixture sautés, preheat the Panini press, slice the focaccia bread into 4 pieces and cut in half to create a top and bottom. Layer the turkey and provolone on the bread. Evenly divide the apricot mixture between the four sandwiches. Brush the tops of the focaccia bread with olive oil and press the sandwiches in the Panini press for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, and serve.

Back to School Recipe #3: Southwestern Roasted Chicken Jalapeño Wrap

Prep Time: 5 min. Total Time: 10 min.
Serves: 6

6 large wraps or tortillas
5 c. rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded or sliced
Chef Natalie’s Creamy Jalapeño Dip (see recipe below)
½ bu. green onion, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, sliced
6 romaine lettuce leaves

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, cheese and Jalapeño Dip together. To assemble the wraps, divide the chicken mixture on the tortillas, top with green onion, tomatoes and lettuce. Wrap up and enjoy!

Recipe: Chef Natalie’s Creamy Jalapeño Dip

1/4 c. mayo
1/2 c. cream cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. Jeff’s Naturals Diced Tamed Jalapeños, add brine to taste
1/2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Serve warm or cold with crackers or a sliced baguette.

Back to School Recipe #4: Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Baby Arugula Panini

Prep Time: 5 min   Total Time: 10 min   Serves: 4

8 slices Artisan fresh baked bread (thinly sliced)
1 jar Jeff’s Naturals™ Roasted Red Bell Peppers, drained and diced
Jeff’s Naturals™ Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini
Jeff’s Naturals™ Sliced Kalamata Olives
1 bag baby arugula
3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. fresh goat cheese

Generously spread one slice of bread with fresh goat cheese. Add roasted red pepper strips, peperoncini, kalamata olives and baby arugula leaves. Top with second piece of bread and press together.

Brush both sides of bread with olive oil. Use a panini press or skillet to crisp the sandwiches.  Remove when golden brown and the cheese warms and softens