Happy (Meatless) Monday!

Another wonderful meal made out of just vegetables.  I love the layering technique since you are able to jam so many flavors into one little bite.  I also included a lot of ingredients because I was skeptical about the kale.  I’ve been trying to get into it and am not a fan of raw kale.  Cooked, however, tastes divine!  Saute it with some olive oil, garlic, and onions, and this is easily one of my new favorite vegetables!

I’ve also been working on my plating skills.  I’m not professional, but I try to have fun with it!

Vegetable Tower

  • 4 slices of eggplant
  • 2 oz. kale, chopped
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 2 oz. sundried tomatoes
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (can forego this to make it Paleo or Vegan friendly)
  • 1 basil leaf, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. In a medium sized pan over medium heat, drizzle olive oil. Place eggplant on pan and cook each side for 4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, drizzle olive oil, add garlic and onions. Add in kale.  Saute for 5 minutes or until kale is cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Place one slice of eggplant on the plate, then a layer of kale, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and goat cheese.  Repeat until all ingredients are used up.  Top with chopped basil.

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“Ice Cream” for One

91 degrees today.  Humid.  Hot.  Sweaty.  Need to cool off.  Started out the day with a green smoothie and ended the day with delicious almond butter “ice cream”.  The Nutribullet comes to the rescue again.  I can’t believe this delicious treat consists of only 3 wonderful ingredients.  So easy and very satisfying after tonight’s gym class.

Almond Butter “Ice Cream”

Serves 1

  • 1 banana, cut into 1″ pieces, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon, almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
  • 2 oz. almond milk

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  1. Place all ingredients into Nutribullet.  Blend until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy!  I suppose you can place in an airtight container and freeze for a later date, but why wouldn’t you want to consume ALL OF THIS right now?!

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Another Tribute to Meatless Mondays

Vegetables are amazing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my meat, but sometimes a vegetarian meal can be so satisfying.  Here’s another tribute to meatless Mondays…

Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms

Serves 2

  • 2 medium sized zucchini, julienned into “pasta”
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 oz. sundried tomatoes
  • 6 oz. marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)
  • 4 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, drizzle olive oil and saute half the garlic and half the onions.  Saute for 3-5 minutes until golden in color.
  2. Add mushrooms.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove garlic, onions, and mushrooms and set aside in a separate bowl.
  3. Using the same skillet, over medium heat, drizzle olive oil and add remaining garlic and onion.  Saute for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Turn to low heat.  Add zucchini pasta and saute for an additional 5 minutes.  Constantly stir the zucchini pasta to ensure it does not stick to the skillet.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. With the same skillet, over low heat, add roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, basil, and marinara sauce.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  6. To plate, place the zucchini pasta first, then layer with marinara sauce, and top with sauteed mushrooms.

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Vegetarian Inspiration

I spent a whole day last weekend in the kitchen.  It was amazing.  I was so happy experimenting with the food that I had in my fridge and pantry.  Oh, the joys of cooking!

I make Paleo meals every other day, but I have been attracted to cooking dishes that feature in season ingredients are full of flavor and healthy in different ways.  I’m not a vegetarian, nor do I think I will ever become one, but I made this pasta salad dish and immediately fell in love (even Bjorn enjoyed it).  It features a lot of my favorite ingredients and is an easy option to pack for lunch the next day.

Goat Cheese and Arugula Pasta Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 box (12 oz.) of whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 6 oz arugula
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. Cook pasta as directed.
  2. Add pasta and remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Mix well.
  3. Serve immediately.  (Yes, it’s as easy as that!)

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Roasted Garlic Just Makes Everything Better

Thanksgiving;  a holiday for friends and family to gather in a warm house, spending quality time in the kitchen and at the dinner table.  No pressure with gift giving – What to get?  How much to spend?  Will they like this?  Just a simple day spent with good company and most importantly, good food.

As the years have evolved and we’ve grown older, the cooking duties have been passed from my mother to her daughters.  My parents are still in charge of the turkey, but the rest of the fixins are handled by my sisters and I.

Here’s a simple recipe for roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  Roasted garlic is great for other uses – spreading over a warm and crispy baguette, mixed in with pasta and sauteed vegetables, or just enjoying it as is.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 8 medium sized Russet potatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut off about 1/4″ off the top of the garlic head, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
  3. Drizzle olive oil in a small baking dish.  Place garlic head in the baking dish and drizzle additional olive oil atop.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  4. While the garlic is roasting, peel and halve the potatoes.
  5. Place the potatoes in a large pot, add 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and add water.  The amount of water should just cover the potatoes, no more, no less.
  6. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook until potatoes are soft and fall apart when poked with a fork.  Remove from heat and mash with a fork.  Set aside.
  7. Remove garlic from oven and let cool.  Use a fork to pull the cloves from the skin.  Add to mashed potatoes and mix well.

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Meatless Mondays (and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays…)

I go through a lot of phases with my eating/cooking.  Right now, I’m in my veggie phase.  I’ve been eating vegetarian meals for dinner every night… not necessarily because I want to explore being a vegetarian, but more so because I’m loving the flavors and endless possibilities.  My office is near Fairway market – the perfect way to spend a lunch break.  I could just spend endless hours in that store, admiring all of the different types of fruits, vegetables, olive oils, etc.  It’s nice to be able to pick up some fresh (and local) vegetables to cook for dinner or tomorrow’s lunch.

The only issue with cooking vegetarian meals is that Bjorn is not very thrilled.  But honestly, how can you say no to this delicious veggie burger…. topped with chopped beets (leftover from a previous meal), shredded cheddar cheese, and avocado on a freshly baked multigrain roll (from Fairway bakery)??

Veggie Burgers

Makes 6 patties

  • 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 oz frozen butternut squash, chopped
  • 6 oz frozen pearl onions, chopped
  • 6 oz frozen kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. In a medium bowl, mash the black beans with a fork.
  2. Place butternut squash, pearl onions, and kale in a food processor and finely chop.  Add to mashed black beans and mix well.  (Note that you can substitute this recipe with any type of vegetable!)
  3. Add breadcrumbs, egg, and seasonings.  Mix well.
  4. Form into patties and place onto wax paper.  Freeze for at least 2 hours before cooking.  (Keep frozen until ready to be cooked).
  5. In a skillet over medium high heat, drizzle olive oil, and cook each side for the patty for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, add desired toppings (my choices were chopped beats, cheddar cheese, and avocado), and serve atop a multigrain bun.

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The Best $80 I’ve Ever Spent

We bought the NutriBullet a few weeks ago.  Ah-mazing.  It is one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets thus far.  It comes with a recipe book, which is nice for ideas, but you can pretty much add anything you’d like!  Here’s a recipe for one of my power smoothies that I have in the morning to get me going!  So easy to make.  The NutriBullet also blends everything in about 30 seconds or less.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I first used it.

It usually goes for $99.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond, but use your 20% coupon and you’re golden ($80 before tax).  I already bought one to give to my mom for Mother’s Day!

Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 handfuls of organic baby spinach
  • 1 organic apple, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 8 seedless grapes
  • 4 strawberries, cut in 1/2
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1/4 of Goji berries
  • 1/2 cup of water
  1. Place all ingredients into Nutribullet cup.
  2. Blend.
  3. Enjoy.IMG_1358

 

And……. here’s a random picture of my kittykins, Gracie!!! Just loungin’ on the couch.

 

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Arborio Rice Goodness

My oh my, it has been awhile, my friends…!

I haven’t been whipping up many new recipes in the kitchen, just been cooking a lot of the same ol’ stuff or some variation of it.

On a lazy Sunday night, Bjorn wanted to get take-out, but I knew I had a ton of goodies in the kitchen and some extra time on my hands… and so I whipped up today’s recipe – Mushroom Risotto.  I always tend to order risotto when we’re out to eat because it is SO labor intensive, but it never really tastes like what I’m expecting.  Risotto is definitely a pain to make, but the end result is worth it.  My good friend, Christian, also gifted me with a bottle of truffle oil, so I knew I had to put that to good use.  This recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence.

Mushroom Risotto

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  1. Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic and saute until translucent.  Add the mushrooms, herbs and butter. Saute for an additional 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Season with sea salt and black pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, drizzle olive oil and saute the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove.  Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque (1 minute).
  4. Using a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm chicken broth to the rice and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook briefly until melted. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and chopped parsley before serving.

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