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.

IMG_4915

Deconstructed Omelet

Breakfast is my favorite meal.  During the week, breakfast is always on the go – grab a protein bar, have some cereal, make instant oatmeal in a paper cup with the hot water from the coffee machine at work … A full and complete breakfast, with eggs, bacon, toast, & coffee (or a mimosa ;)) signifies the weekend to me; a time to decompress and relax from a long week of work.

Today’s breakfast was inspired by the following:

  1. Watching too much Top Chef; which gave me the idea of a deconstructed omelet.  They seem to always be deconstructing traditional dishes on that show.  It never gets old.
  2. Too many clothes in my closet; which has made me start shopping for really fun (and perhaps useless) kitchen gadgets.

I was shopping at Marshall’s the other day and came across this awesome gadget that makes your egg a perfect round circle when cooking!  Haven’t we all experienced that issue before?   You crack the egg into pan and then the egg whites just fly everywhere.  You try to save it, get super frustrated because it won’t go back into the shape, and then realize it’s way too late and your fried egg is a hot mess.  This “roundy egg ring” by Joie will solve all of those problems!

DSC01839

Since I now had the opportunity to make a perfect round fried egg, I had to make the perfect round components to go along with it!

Deconstructed Omelet

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slice of uncured bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 slices of wheat toast (optional for those Paleo folks)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small skillet over medium to high heat, cook your bacon until it becomes nice and crispy.
  2. Using the bacon fat as your cooking oil, toss in onions, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes. Saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. On low heat, fry your 2 eggs, using the awesome “roundy egg ring” tool.
  4. As the eggs are almost done, toast 2 slices of wheat bread.  Use the rim of a drinking glass to cut out the round shape on the toast.  (There’s a kitchen gadget for this, but I don’t own one yet…)
  5. Remove eggs from skillet.
  6. Layer your deconstructed omelet – Lay 1 piece of toast, then top of bacon hash, then with a fried egg, and repeat process until ingredients are used up.
  7. ENJOY with a nice cup of coffee to start your day off right!

DSC01844 DSC01846

Yam Flour Pasta? Worth a try, I guess!

No pasta on the Paleo diet so I’ve had to find substitutes.  I’ve cooked with spaghetti squash which is pretty good.  I want to make zucchini spaghetti next, but I have to purchase one of these first!  A few months ago, I came across this deal on Groupon for a product called Nooodle.  It’s a pasta made out of yam flour – gluten free, soy free, guilt free!  Thought I’d give it a try.

DSC01630DSC01634

It’s an interesting consistency… Kind of chewy, kind of soft, kind of strange at first, but you get used to it. 🙂  For comparison purposes, I’d say it’s pretty close to a rice vermicelli (like the noodles they use in the Vietnamese dish, Pho).  I’ve made this in a few different ways – chicken “nooodle” soup and in a meat sauce.  I think I’m going to try some sort of stir fry next!

Meat Sauce with Veggies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb organic ground beef
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced
  • 6 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 package of Nooodle pasta (or spaghetti squash)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat.
  2. Add in onions and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and brown for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. Toss in the zucchini and mushrooms.  Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, until veggies are tender.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Add tomato sauce.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Prepare the Nooodle pasta separetely (follow directions on package).  Once complete, mix in well with the meat sauce and enjoy!

photo

Zucchini Lasagna… Hold the pasta and hold the cheese!

I bought a 16 oz pack of frozen grass fed 85/15 Angus ground beef from Trader Joe’s last week ($5.99/lb).  I was kind of hesitant about getting frozen beef, but the price was great and it sounded good, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Since I’m pretty sure we’re going to lose power tonight (and for the next few days, thanks to Hurricane Sandy), I decided to whip up dinner with ingredients that I already had in the fridge/freezer.

I’ve never made a traditional lasagna before, but I love eating it.  I’m a huge fan of any layering technique.  It’s awesome because you get a taste of everything in one bite (see picture below!).  Tonight’s dinner was a zucchini lasagna dish.  Lots of layering of the ground beef sauce, slices of zucchini, slices of baby bella mushrooms – and hold the cheese!

Zucchini Lasagna

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of grass fed ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • A few pinches of dried oregano, basil, parsley (optional)
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and saute onions and garlic for a few minutes, until onions become translucent.
  3. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. Add chopped red bell pepper and tomotoes.  Mix well and cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Pour tomato sauce into the skillet and add a pinch of sea salt, black pepper, and dried herbs.  Stir for an additional 3 minutes.  Set ground beef sauce aside.
  6. In a baking pan, coat the bottom with olive oil.
  7. Scoop the ground beef sauce into the pan and spread to create one layer.
  8. Layer with the sliced zucchini, then add another layer using the sliced mushrooms.
  9. Repeat steps 7 &8 until all ingredients are used up.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 25 minutes.

As you can see from the pics, it’s pretty messy when serving because it doesn’t have any cheese to hold it together.  Doesn’t really matter; it’s all going to the same place anyway, right?  Get in my belly!

Over easy, medium, or hard?

How do you like your eggs cooked? Over easy for me, please!  My husband likes them over hard.  What’s wrong with him?  As a matter of fact, what’s wrong with all of you people that enjoy your eggs over hard?  Add that to the list of things in life that I’ll never understand.
Sausage scramble topped with a fried egg

Ingredients

  • 12 oz package of Applegate chicken sausage (or any sausage of your choice), chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 sundried tomatoes in olive oil and herbs (adds a really nice flavor), chopped
  • 6 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 4 large handfuls of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  1. In a skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and add onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until the onions become translucent.
  2. Add sausage, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms to the skillet.  Mix well and saute for 5-7 until cooked through.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Throw in spinach, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, while mixing the spinach in with the other ingredients.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. In the same skillet, over medium heat, drizzle olive oil and fry your egg to order (optional).

 

A dinner consumed in 5 minutes

I don’t even know where to begin with this post.  I just have too many yummy food thoughts running through my mind.

Okay, let’s backtrack to Sunday where I had a wonderful afternoon with one of my good buddies, Lindsey, out in the city!  She moved there about a month ago and we finally found some time to get together – we had three goals in mind – EAT, SHOP, and GOSSIP.  Perfect girl afternoon, right?  I got into Grand Central and was starving, so my words basically were… “Lindsey, I don’t care what we do today, but we need to eat first.”  Being the awesome foodie she is, she knew exactly where to go.

So, we walked a few blocks downtown to 33rd and cut across a couple of avenues to 3rd and met our destination: Bareburger.  I loved that this place served grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and organic and natural products.  I had the Bareburger Supreme with beef and I ate it slowly so I could savor every single bite.

I got it on the brioche bun, which was amazing, but what really makes a burger is 1) the meat and 2) the toppings/pairings.  Also, had it with pear cider…. Needless to say, this meal was not Paleo (but maybe semi-Paleo since it was grass-fed beef???) Oh, and we also had side of hand cut fries and onion rings 🙂

Now, fast forward to tonight.  After an awesome and sweaty Zumba class with my friend (and fab instructor), Pamela, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for dinner.  A scrumptious burger with savory toppings (hold the bun!) served with a side of baked sweet potato fries.

Paleo Burger

Makes four 4 oz. burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Organic ground beef (I used Trader Joe’s Organic 85/15 ground beef – $6.49/lb)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl, mix well.
  2. Form into 4 patties.
  3. In a skillet over medium high, drizzle olive oil and grill patties for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your preference. (I like mine medium rare, so this timing was perfect)
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add toppings of your choice;  I added sauteed onions, sauteed mushrooms, sliced avocado, bits of uncured bacon, and a fried egg.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A few pinches of paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
  2. Slice sweet potatoes into fries.
  3. Place sweet potato fries onto baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.  It’s also helpful to check in after 10 minutes to give the sweet potatoes a good toss in the olive oil and other seasonings.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy!

A love for basil, sundried tomatoes, and stoneware

As the days of summer were coming to an end, I made sure to pick a bunch of fresh basil from my mom’s garden.  I love the combination of basil and sundried tomatoes, so decided to make this delicious Italian inspired stuffed pork chop.  Since I had to bake these pork chops, I decided to throw some sliced squash in the pan to roast to complete the dish.

I also used my beloved Pampered Chef stoneware baking pan.  I LOVE STONEWARE!!! Every chef should own this fabulous piece of cookware.  You only wash stoneware with water – no soap!  You want the pan to get really seasoned from all of its use.  Mine is getting there…. slowly, but surely.  I can’t wait till it’s nice and brown and dirty 😉

Stuffed Pork Chops
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops (boneless)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 8 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 squash, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  1. In a skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and saute onions, garlic, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil leaves, mushrooms and tomato paste.  Saute until the onions are translucent and the other ingredients are tender; approximately 6 minutes or so.  Set aside the “stuffing” to cool. (Note that you don’t have to use the exact amounts I’ve listed above – a chef should always feel free to play around with the ingredients based on personal preference)
  2. Drizzle olive oil on the pork chops and season both sides with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees (F).
  4. Once the stuffing ingredients have cooled, whisk in the egg.  It’s important that the stuffing has cooled because otherwise, the egg will cook as you whisk into the mixture (we don’t want this to happen).
  5. Scoop the stuffing onto half of the pork chop.  Fold the pork chop in half and use toothpicks so that the stuffing stays in.
  6. Place stuffed pork chops into the pan.  Surround with sliced squash.  You do not need to add any olive oil or seasoning to the squash; the juices from the pork chops will drip into the pan and will provide an awesome flavor.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pork chops are fully cooked.