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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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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A Filipino meal that’s somewhat healthy!

As you’re probably aware by now, I’ve adapted a semi-Paleo lifestyle.  Personally, I cannot commit to 100% Paleo diet; there are some foods that I can’t give up (being Chinese American, I absolutely love my Jasmine rice, among many other things), but there are also some aspects of the Paleo diet that I don’t understand or agree with.  One of the items excluded in the Paleo diet are legumes.  Based on my research, it seems that legumes are made up like grains.  Multiple sources continue to describe the high amount of lectins, which is a sugar binding protein.  (BTW, I had to google what lectins even were).  I don’t know… I think all vegetables are great for your health and high in fiber, so I’ll continue to consume my legumes, thank you very much.

Since Bjorn is Filipino, I’ve tried a few Filipino dishes in the kitchen, but struggle a bit because a majority of the classic dishes are not the healthiest.  To name a few: Pancit (rice noodles stir fried with meat and veggies), lumpia (fried spring roll), turon (deep fried plantains wrapped in spring roll wrappers), kare-kare (meat, tripe, and oxtail stew with vegetables in a peanut sauce)…

One of the dishes that I learned to make over the holidays was Ginataang Hipon Kalabasa.  Basically, it’s a veggie dish made of kalabasa (squash), long beans, coconut milk, and shrimp.  It’s such a hearty and healthy dish; Bjorn loved it and approved!

Ginataang Hipon Kalabasa (Shrimp with coconut milk and squash)

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks (the traditional dish calls for kalabasa, which is Asian squash, but butternut squash is a tastier alternative)
  • 1 lb of jumbo shrimp (approximately 20)
  • 1 lb of string beans (don’t add this if you want to keep this dish Paleo)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (14 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Olive oil
  1. In a large pot, over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and add in onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
  2. Toss in butternut squash and string beans.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup of water and cover for an additional 5 minutes or until the squash is tender.DSC02149
  3. Add coconut milk and fish sauce.  Stir well.  When the liquid comes to a boil, add in shrimp and mix well.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

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Sundried tomato obsession (this will be the first of many sundried tomato posts)

I’ve always loved sundried tomatoes.  I’m not really a huge fan of grape tomatoes or raw tomatoes, but boy do I love sundried tomatoes.  It’s something about the texture and the tang-iness that I love.  I also love basil.  Mmm.  When I found this recipe for sundried tomato and basil paste, I immediately knew that I had to make it.  After making this dish, I’m also a huge fan of layering the components on the dish.  This way, you get a little bit of the goodness in each bite.

Bjorn gives this: 2 thumbs up (and very satisfied afterwards!)

Baked Chicken Breast

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Olive oil
  • Dried herbs
  • Sea salt and black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degreees.

2.  Lay chicken breasts in baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Add a few pinches of dried herbs (e.g. Italian seasoning) and some sea salt and pepper.

3.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Sundried Tomato and Basil Paste

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup oil from the sundried tomatoes

1.  Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

2.  Serve on top of the chicken breast (or use as a dip!)

Mixed Veggie Saute

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 handfuls of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

1.  In a large pan over medium-high heat, add in olive oil, onions, and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes.

2.  Add in chopped zucchini, green pepper, and mushrooms.  Throw in a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.  Cook for another 7 minutes until tender.

3.  Throw in spinach.  Remove from heat once the spinach is wilted.

4.  Serve as a component of your dish.