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.

IMG_4926

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!)

IMG_5777

Date Exploration: Part 2

Finding fun recipes for the wonderful Medjool date continues…

This recipe is an addition to my previous post.  But this time, I added bacon.  And yeah, it was THAT good.  Serve this up as a passing hors d’oeuvre at your next dinner party and your guests will be oooh-ing and ahhh-ing in excitement.

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Almonds

Makes 6 pieces

Ingredients

  • 6 whole Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 oz of goat cheese
  • 6 raw almonds
  • 3 strips of uncured bacon, cut in half
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Stuff each date with goat cheese, one almond, wrap with bacon strip and secure with a toothpick (or two).
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

DSC02437

 

Date Exploration: Part 1

In my 27 years of existence, I have never eaten a date before.  Raisins? Sure.  Prunes? Yep.  But, never a date!  I recently learned a new recipe from a colleague and thought to myself… wow, another new food item to try!

Last weekend, I picked up a box of fresh Medjool dates from Trader Joe’s ($4.49/16 oz).  There were about 25 dates in the container.  Plenty to help my exploration of tasty date recipes.

Ever since going (semi) Paleo, I’ve really cut out a lot of dairy.  I’ve switched to almond milk and have limited my yogurt and cheese intake.  I’m a huge fan of cheese, but choose to stay away from it for several reasons; it usually upsets my stomach (I’m probably lactose-intolerant) and it’s high in fat.  I’ll never be able to fully give it up because it tastes SO GOOD (of course, in moderation).  My two favorite cheeses are Parmesan and goat cheese… delicious.  Goat cheese is actually one of the “healthier” cheeses, low in calories, fat content, and actually contains less lactose than cow’s cheese.  So, when I found out that goat cheese paired well with dates, I knew this recipe was a winner.

Here’s the first of three date recipes… more to come!

Dates with Goat Cheese and Sliced Almonds

Makes 8 pieces

Ingredients

  • 4 whole Medjool dates, pitted and halved
  • 1 oz of goat cheese
  • Sliced almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Stuff each date with goat cheese.  Sprinkle sliced almonds atop.
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

DSC02427

Awesome Winter Salad

I made a special trip to Whole Foods this weekend.  I rarely shop there; it’s just way too expensive and I don’t enjoy my experience there like I do at Trader Joe’s.  I spent like $12 on a jar of whole dried cranberries (really good and juicy), 2 mineola oranges (on sale), coconut flour (the only place around that freakin’ carries this), and beautiful golden and red beets (EXCITEMENT!).

I roasted the beets in the oven and made a warm beet salad to warm the heart.  Note, when preparing beets, make sure you wear gloves or your hands and fingers will be bright and red!

The goat cheese is optional, and of course, if you are eating strictly Paleo, then do not add the cheese.  But there’s something about the combination of beets and goat cheese… A bite that encapsulates those two flavors is just so right.

Warm Beet Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 oz of arugula
  • 2 medium sized beets (I used 1 red and 1 golden), peeled, and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 oz of pistachios
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 oz of goat cheese (optional, but highly recommended!)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).
  2. Put on rubber gloves.  Wash and peel beets, then chop beets into small cube like pieces.
  3. Place beets onto baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. On your serving plate, spread a layer of arugula leaves.  Add the beets, then pistachios.  Top with goat cheese.
  5. EAT UP! No dressing needed!!

DSC02404