Vegetarian

Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

Scallops with Soy and Cilantro

It’s been so long since my last seafood post!  That’s largely because I don’t crave seafood in the winter, but also because I don’t like cooking seafood in larger quantities.  Reheating fish (in my opinion) never tastes as good unless repurposed into some other dish, and as you can tell from my previous posts I’m not into high-maintenance cooking.  So while this recipe might deviate from my typical “bulk/freeze mentality” entries, I promise it is just as simple to make.  This dish is the perfect easy-entertaing yet elegant meal that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Sea scallops are typically larger than bay scallops, so you will only need 4-6 per person.  I remember that little fact because you’d think sea scallops would be smaller (and bay would be bigger), but they aren’t…good one, right?  However you choose to remember the difference, your local fish monger – or good frozen seafood section – will be able to help you figure out how many you will need per guest.  Scallops are definitely a treat due to convenience, expense, and delicate silky wonderful taste, so let’s cook them right, shall we?

Ingredients:

-1 lb Sea Scallops, fresh or thawed

-olive oil

-citrus seasoning blend

-1 lime

-1 cup mango, fresh or frozen

-1 cup quinoa, uncooked

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1T garlic, minced

-reduced sodum soy sauce

-Worcestershire sauce

-fresh clinatro, for garnish

 Easy Pan Seared Scallops

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  While the quinoa is cooling, pour 1-2T olive oil to a small bowl, and sprinkle over 1T citrus seasoning blend.  I like this McCormick fiesta blend – it has a great bold flavor, and I can use a ton of it without having too much sodium (I do add my own salt).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, dip each side of the scallop in the oil/seasoning blend, and cook in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  They cook pretty quickly, but I’ve found that medium heat gives you enough time to get that good crisp sear on the outside without overcooking them.  I like to plate the scallops over a mix of soy and worcestershire sauce, some freshly squeezed lime juice, and a cilantro garnish.

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, add the mango, chopped zucchini, garlic, and a little soy/worcestershire sauce, and stir.  I also added some chopped (turkey) bacon to mine… because scallops and bacon…and also some more lime.

Spicy Scallops and Mango Quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook, 20 minutes?  So all in I’d guess this recipe took about 25 minutes to make. Rachel Ray would be so, so, proud.  If, for some reason, you’re not sure that you’ll have 25 minutes to prepare a meal for your guests, you can absolutely make the quinoa the day before!  This cuts the cooking time down to about 6 minutes, plus a quick prep.  So in that case, 10 minutes stand between you and a brag-worthy meal.  Trust me, you can do it!

 

Lighter Brunch Quiche

Vegetable Pie Recipe

Breakfast post alert!!! (Surprised?)

The weather is warming up, and restaurant patios are opening.  We all know what that means…brunch season is here!  I love a good breakfast/brunch outing, but I also love eating healthier and that can be tough when you’re out with friends.  Thankfully, cooking healthy is easy, affordable, and contrary to popular belief, FLAVORFUL.  Bring the BYOB to your place for a change, and serve up this lighter spin on a brunch staple.  Throw whatever vegetables you have on hand into this lower-fat version of a classic quiche, and enjoy an extra mimosa (or two three) instead!

Egg White Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

– 1 Wholly Wholesome Organic Whole Wheat Pie Shell

– 1 16 oz. carton of egg whites

-10 oz package of mushrooms

-4 cups raw spinach

-1 bell pepper

-1T minced garlic

-½ T olive oil

-reduced fat feta, asiago, or other cheese to top

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your pie shell out of the freezer, and let thaw.  I placed mine on my preheating oven, to help speed up the process.  Next, chop up your vegetables – including the spinach – and heat a large skillet on the stove over medium heat.  Add olive oil, minced garlic, and vegetables – sautee until the peppers are soft and the spinach has wilted.  Remove the sautéed veggies from the heat, and let cool until at room temperature – be sure not to mix anything that is too hot with raw eggs, or else you might start cooking them!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Quiche

When cooled, add the veggies to the thawed pie shell and place on a baking tray. Carefully pour the egg whites over the veggie mix – it will look like you won’t be able to fit all of the egg whites, but you will!  Cook for 30 minutes, then shut the oven off and keep the quiche in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes.

Low Calorie Brunch Recipe

You can enjoy this quiche warm, room temperature, or my favorite, cold!  It’s a great make-ahead dish, and can even be frozen after it’s cooked! I know that you can freeze casseroles and other dishes with cream and cheese, but I prefer not to when it comes to egg based recipes.  I did, however add some crumbled feta to my serving…because you just can’t have a quiche without cheese.  I picture this quiche on a brunch table with fruit, some grilled/roasted asparagus, and a strong cocktail.

Low Calorie Vegetable Quiche

Now, if you’re NOT looking for a lighter recipe, substitute the egg whites for 4 eggs and about half a cup of cream or a cup of crumbled/shredded cheese.

Loren’s Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

My boyfriend Loren has always made the BEST homemade hummus. I wanted to share his recipe, but when I asked, he told me he doesn’t really have one and just makes it each time by memory and taste. But I still wanted to share an easy, basic, homemade hummus recipe with you guys… SO we made a batch together and I took studious notes! This is a recipe for a basic hummus base which you can mix up to make dozens of different delicious versions!

Here’s what you will need:
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
2/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

The prep couldn’t be any easier – just throw all of the ingredients in a food processor (or blender – but this takes more patience) and pulse it all together until smooth!

My favorite add-in for this basic hummus is olive tapenade. I’ve recently made my own which I might share soon! It gives an awesome added Mediterranean flavor. Roasted red peppers, hot peppers, and roasted eggplant are also great additions! Get creative and create your own mix or enjoy it plain. Serve it with fresh cut veggies, bread and crackers, or spread it on toast or a sandwich.

Loren's Hummus Recipe

Winter Greens with Citrus Thyme Dressing

Blood Orange Tangerine Salad Dressing Recipe

It’s CITRUS SEASON!  Here at Lemons we are so so excited for citrus season.  It brings a ton of brightness to our foods – in taste and in presentation – and helps us dream of warmer weather while we’re stuck in this winter tundra.  Plus, lemons are a citruis fruit, so it’s almost like a celebration for us…and as I’m sure you can see, we love to celebrate.

 Orange Honey Dressing

I love love love vegetables, and I’m not ashamed of it!  So many people think it’s sarcasm, but as my sarcastic/joking skills are not resume worthy, I can assure you it’s the truth.  But in the winter time, all I want is BREAD.  Anything bread-y.  And dense and rich and carb-centric.  Another wonderful thing about citrus?  It is an amazing compliment to lighter proteins and (almost) all vegetables, and starts to pull us out of our carb-induced hybernation and into the fresh and even raw foods that we enjoy in the spring and summer months.  In this case, we’re complimenting sweet citruis and raw honey with sharpness of fresh shallots, and keeping it winter appropriate with the bitterness in the greens and warmth from the thyme. 

Swiss Chard Salad Recipe

 

Ingredients:

-fresh juice from 4 small citrus fruits – I used 2 blood oranges and 2 honey tangerines

-2t raw honey

-1 shallot, divided

-2-4T extra virgin olive oil – this just depends on how light you want to make the dressing

-2t dried thyme

-salt and pepper to taste

-winter greens – I used swiss chard

Orange Thyme Salad Dressing

Instructions:

(If you’re making the salad and not only the dressing…) Wash your greens!  When choosing your greens for this salad, pick something in season and hearty – for winter, that means dark, leafy, and nutrient PACKED!  I chose a mixture of white and red swiss chard.  I love the texture of both, and the color and earthy flavor of the red chard – it’s almost beet like.  The white chard is much more mild in it’s earthiness, so if you’re not a fan of anything remotely similar to beets, stick with the white.  Plus, its a good winter green that is still enjoyable raw!  If chard’s not your thing, try kale, escarole, collard greens…anything that looks fresh.  Just keep in mind, some greens are best when cooked, and some leafy stems are just not fun to eat (i.e. kale).  Not sure what green to use? Ask your produce man, or better yet…ask us!!

Swiss Chard Chopped

I washed, rinsed, and de-stemmed the chard, keeping the stems for later on.  Stacking the leaves on top of one another, I tightly rolled them almost like a sleeping bag and cut the chard into ribbons.

How to Cut Swiss Chard

Next, juice your citrus.  I don’t have any type of citrus juicing tools, and find that a good squeeze works just fine.  If your fruit is a little stubborn, try using a fork like a traditional reamer.  Remove all seeds using a strainer or fork. 

 Healthy Citrus Salad Dressing Recipe

Add the honey, and whisk.  I’m LOVING raw honey these days – the texture is almost like gooey table sugar but the taste is sweet and floral.

 Raw Organic Honey Recipe

Next, mince the shallot, and add half to the bowl.  Crush the dry thyme in your palm, and add all spices to the bowl, whisk.  Finally, add your olive oil, and you guessed it, whisk again.  At this point, you can pour the dressing over the greens and mix, or you can store the dressing for use, later.  If you are using the dressing in a hearty-greens salad, it’s perfectly OK to make this dish in advance and let it sit in the refridgerator.  Winter greens are very strong and will actually benefit from this pseudo marinating technique both in texture and in flavor.

 Healthy Dressing Swiss Chard with Shallots and Citrus Juice

 

Heat the rest of the shallot in a little olive oil in a sautee pan.  Chop the stems of the chard – which will look like celery and rubarb stalks – and sautee in the pan for a few minutes, just to slightly soften and remove some bitey bitterness. 

 Citrus Salad Recipe Winter Greens

Add the stems to the dressed salad, mix, and enjoy!  This would pair wonderfully with roasted chicken, walnuts and cranberries, or heighten the earthiness with beets and goat cheese!  How do you eat your greens?? Let us know!!

What To Do With: Juice Pulp

 
Juice Pulp Recipes

Did I mention I got a juicer for my birthday? 2014 was the year of kitchen gadgets, and I’m NOT upset about it.  It saves a ton of money for someone who enjoys a good juice – NYC juices are $$$.  One thing about my juicer – and there’s only one thing – that I don’t love, is that there is just so much pulp left over after I’ve juiced all my vegetables, and I don’t always know what to do with it.  Composting would be great, but I don’t have that resource where I live.  And there are only so many times you can add the pulp to eggs…why not stretch the buck – and the nutrition – of these veggies into some other, more fun, recipes???

Juice pulp from Juicer Recipes

I juiced 3 cucumbers, one package of celery, one package of carrots, one large bag   of spinach, and one large head of romaine.  I also juiced half a pineapple – sometimes I like a little sweetness to my green juice.  Keeping my carrot juice separate, I mixed all of the green juices together, added the pineapple juice and one container of unsweetened coconut water, and ended up with a TON of delicious juices for the week, and with these recipes, I really stretched out the value of these veggies – aside from the peels from the carrots, I didn’t throw out anything.

Fresh Cucumber Relish

1) The Easiest Relish…Ever!

This is the only “recipe” that I know that takes less than 30 seconds, and is perfect every time.  Mix the cucumber pulp with some pickle juice from your favorie pickle.  Refridgerate overnight. That’s it.  It’s like pickle up-cycling!

Green Vegetable Spread

2) Roasted Vegetable Tapenade

Take one cup of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp mix, and all of the romaine.  Add some fresh minced garlic and 1T olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree oven on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. When the vegetables have cooled, add them to a blender or food processor with salt, pepper, any other seasonings you like – I added some onion powder – and another 1T of olive oil. You’ll end up with a flavorful and nutritious spread for crackers, paninis, or even other veggies to dip in!

DIY Veggie Burger Recipe

3) Quinoa Edemame Veggie Burgers

I impressed myself with this one.  Take the rest of the spinach, celery, and carrot pulp, and warmed it in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, just until the flavors came together – about 5 minutes.  Once the mix is cool, add a cup of cooked and cooled quinoa, just shy of a cup of shelled edemame, and one whisked egg.  Stir all of these together – I used my hands – and refridgerate a few hours.  Form the veggie mix into burger shapes, and freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan.  When the burgers are frozen solid, move them into a freezer safe container or bag for long term storage.  I’d recommend reheating these burgers in a sautee pan.  I served my burger on a toasted Ezekiel sprouted english muffin with a smear of Trader Joe’s tzaziki and a simple watercress side salad.

 Quinoa Veggie Burger Edemame Juice Pulp

Do you have any favorite recipes, or recipes you want us to experiement with? Let us know in the comments!  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and now announcing, TWITTER!

Marsala Mushroom Bites

Asiago Mushroom Appetizers

It’s DECEMBER?  I know I’m not the only one wondering where all the time has gone… after all of the plotting and planning for new recipes to try this year, the “end of the year” work push has left little time for experiments,   I wish there was another month to make the season Merrier and Brighter, amiright? That’s where these little bites come in handy – (basically) three ingredients, and about 25 minutes, and you’ve got a warm and hearty appetizer perfect for any celebration. 

Ingredients:

-4 pillsbury crescent rolls, uncooked

-10 oz. mushrooms

-1T butter

-about ¼ cup red wine, or a little less

-salt and pepper, to taste

-asiago cheese, or other bite-y cheese (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Stem, clean, and dice your mushrooms.  In a large sautee pan, heat 1T of butter over medium heat until the butter just starts to melt.  Add the mushrooms, stir, and sautee about 5 minutes.  Once the mushrooms start to brown completely, add the wine, and turn the heat to a simmer.  Allow the wine to reduce – this should take about 6-10 minutes – and remember to stir often.

Easy Mushroom Appetizer

While that’s going, open your crescent roll can and roll the dough on your counter.  Pinch the diagonal edges of the adjacent rolls together, and cut each 2-roll rectangle into 6 pieces.  Take each piece and lightly press into an ungreased/unlined mini-muffin tin, and wait on your mushrooms!

Sauteed Mushroom Pillsbury Bites

 When the mushrooms are done, allow them to cool for a few minutes so that they can absorb some of the sauce.  Then, take about a tablespoon or so of the mushrooms and place in each crescent rolled-mini muffin cup. I used a slotted spoon for this, so that there wasn’t too much liquid in each cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until brown.

I added some Asiago cheese shavings to a few of these little cups for an extra bite.  They are so buttery and delicious, and would make a great pair to a creamy soup, or an addition to your holiday apps spread!  I’m looking forward to making these again using leftover sauteed mushrooms after Christmas dinner…can’t wait!

Marsala Mushroom Bites

Cauliflower Quinoa Garlic Parmesan “Mac” & Cheese

Cualiflower Quinoa Garlic Mac and Cheese Bars

Cauliflower quinoa “mac” & cheese is a great alternative to a traditional au gratin holiday dish, or even a lighter side dish to be served with the leftover turkey the next day.  I used a larger baking dish, and spread the mixture out about ¾ inch thick, and cut it into bars. So far, I’ve eaten this dish with chicken, eggs, turkey, and roasted asparagus – it pairs well with everything.  Cheese and sneaky vegetables – who knew!!!

Cauliflower Quinoa Mac and Cheese Bake

Ingredients:

-1 head cauliflower

-¾ cup quinoa, dry

-8 oz. cheese (I used 50% reduced fat cheddar)

-1 cup milk (I used fat free)

-½ cup plain greek yogurt (I used 0%)

-shy of ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

-shy of ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, plain

-1t italian seasoning

-2T garlic onion puree

-cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375.  Start by cooking your quinoa in water (or broth) per the instructions on the package.  While that is cooking up, wash, chop, and “rice” your cauliflower.  To rice the cauliflower, place florets in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower looks like, well, rice – it should be grainy and not too fine, so that it will be able to hold the cheese later on.  At this poiint, you can either quickly blanch the cauliflower to take away some of the crunch and flavor, or keep it raw.  I kept it raw because I like the flavor of cauliflower, and I thought it would be a great texture pair with the quinoa (I was right…but feel free to blanch if you don’t love the taste).  Grate your cheddar cheese, and season your breadcrumbs – set aside.  Next, add the garlic onion puree to the bottom of a pot, and heat over medium.  When the puree looks translucent and you can smell the garlic, add the milk and cheddar. 

Cauliflower Rice Mac And Cheese Healthy

As the cheddar begins to melt. add in the yogurt – stir, and heat until combined.  At this point, your quinoa should be done – remove from heat, and add to large mixing bowl.  When the cheese mixture is done, you’re ready to assemble.  Combine the quinoa and cauliflower, then fold in the hot cheese sauce.  Spray a glass baking dish (9×13) with cooking spray, spread the mixture evenly throughout, and press to remove any air pockets. 

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Quinoa Healthy Mac and Cheese

Sprinkle the top with the parmesan and seasoned breadcrumbs, and bake for 20 minutes or until the top starts to brown.  When its ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing into bars.

 Cualiflower Quinoa Garlic Parmesan Mac and Cheese

I made a lot of this dish my first go-around, and I was not dissapointed.  I ate some all week, and froze the rest – it reheats perfectly!

Starbucks Spinach Feta Wrap Copycat

Frozen Spinach Feta Starbucks Recipe

I love Starbucks, and with the re-opening of a location right next to my office, I’ve incorporated a grande coffee and spinach feta wrap into my weekday routine.  I initially tried the wrap because it was the healthier option available…now I just eat it because I love it!  Now, I’m not here to put a product down, or suggest that you shouldn’t eat Starbucks food or frequent the cafe – I still do!  I just needed to not be spending $8+ on breakfast every morning, when I knew I could prepare an equally tasty, but cheaper/healthier option.  Set out to make this happen, I took to the grocery store and kept things simple.  Spinach, feta, egg whites, and sun dries tomatoes are what the wrap is known for – I added some spices and artichokes for an extra tang and bold flavor.  Start to finish, this recipe takes less than 20 minutes, and makes 6 servings.  All for the price of one breakfast, this “wrap” can (almost) be prepared in the wait time it would take during coffee rush-hour.

Spinach Feta Sun dried tomato breakfast

Ingredients:

-6 whole wheat pita pockets (or wraps, of your choice)

-egg whites – about 2.5 cups

-sun dried tomatoes (not stored in olive oil) – I used 3 per wrap

-canned artichoke hearts, about 6

-10oz bag of baby spinach

-6oz fat free crumbled feta cheese

-up to 1T olive oil

-dried italian herbs

-salt & pepper

Sun dried tomato herbed feta artichoke spinach

Instructions:

Start by wilting your spinach in a hot pan, with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  In a separate pan, scramble your egg whites.  While your spinach and eggs are cooking, chop the sun dried tomatoes and artichokes, and mix about 2t of dried italian spices (parsley, basil, oregano) with the feta.

sauteed spinach feta sun dried tomato artichokes

If it’s not already crumbled, break it apart into smaller pieces.  Let the spinach and egg mixture cool, and portion out all ingredients into 6 servings.  When cooled, stuff the pita pockets with the ingredients, and enjoy!  I decided to freeze all 6 of my wraps as a to-go healthy breakfast option.  To freeze, prepare each pita, wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.  Store in large freezer bags and when you’re ready to eat them – remove the foil and microwave!

spinach feta wrap starbucks recipe

According to my calculations, each pita is 250 calories, with 3g fat, 28g carbohydrates (and 9g of fiber), and 26g of protein.  Compare it to the 290 calories, 10g fat, 33g carbohydrates (6g of fiber) and 19g of protein, and this is an amazingly healthy (and delicious) option…not to mention cheaper!

DIY Starbucks Spinach Feta Wrap

Roasted Portobello Mushroom Florentine

IMG_9056

This quick brunch side was inspired by a Saturday cafe date I had with two of my best friends – Portobello Eggs Benedict.  The original dish had artichokes, poached eggs, and creamy holandaise.  It was delicious, but with the sauce and runny yolk I found it a little too soupy.  I loved the idea of using portobellos in place of English muffins in a brunch dish, and took a stab at my own.  These roasted portobellos are layered with flavor and come together in no time at all – I ate the one pictured as a mid-morning snack!

Ingredients:

-4 portobello mushroom caps

-10oz bag of baby spinach

-2T olive oil

-1t minced garlic

-riccotta cheese, or whipped cottage cheese

-2t total of dried Italian spices (parsley, basil, oregano)

-salt and pepper to taste

-your favorite jarred bruschetta – here, I used my go-to Trader Giotti’s, but don’t be afraid to use your own!

-eggs (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Rinse and dry your portobello mushrooms, and remove the inner stem.  With the top side of each mushroom down, brush the bottom with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.  Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat the pan with about 1T of olive oil.  Add the minced garlic, and stir – cook about 3 minutes or until the garlic is slightly toasted.  Add in the entire bag of spinach, and toss to coat.  I like to use tongs when sauteeing greens – it’s easier to move them around.  The spinach should wilt down in about 5 minutes.  By this time, your mushrooms are probably roasted and can be removed from the oven to cool.

 

Roasted Portabello Mushroom Caps

Now, for the topping.  I know it seems odd, but low-fat whipped cottage cheese is an identical replacement to part-skim ricotta.  It is salty and creamy with a slightly lumped texture, and in my opinion, is much more flavorful than ricotta when eaten raw, especially when you add in the spices.  I put this cottage cheese – spice mixture over eggs, in pasta, and even eat it by itself.  It’s really good, is normally cheaper, and it even has more protein!  I wouldn’t recommend substituting cottage cheese for ricotta in baked recipes, however, as it will release much more moisture when cooked.

Italian Seasoned Whipped Cottage Cheese

For the assembly, layer the spinach on the roasted portobello, and top with the spiced cottage cheese and bruschetta.  So simple, and so good.  I had a ton of leftovers, so I cooked up some eggs and ate it as breakfast for a few days – didn’t mind my early morning desk routine this week!

Portabello Florentine Eggs

 

 

Roasted Graffiti Eggplant and Yellow Zucchini Salad

You can find some pretty interesting things at a farmers market, and on my last trip I snagged some graffiti eggplant and yellow zucchini – not squash, neon yellow zucchini.  To be honest, I had never seen these vegetbles before, but was excited to take them home and experiment.  I made big plans for these finds – grilled vegetable skewers, using a few veggie add ons I had at home – but quickly realized that I’d have to come up with a new idea, due to “equiptment restrictions” (I don’t have a grill).  Roasted vegetables are great as a side dish, or sprinkeld over some greens  for a savory lunch salad, and in retrospect, I’m so happy to have roasted these veggies.  Graffiti eggplant’s opaque white center becomes completely marbled in the oven, and the zucchini skin retains it’s vibrant yellow color – it was a great surprise, and a great lunch add-on!

Ingredients:

  • 2 graffiti eggplant (they are about half the size of a standard eggplant)
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • half of a red onion
  • 2T (or more) extra virgin olive oil
  • Spices, to taste
  • spinach or other salad greens
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Chop the eggplant, zucchini, and onion into any shape or size that you want to eat – just remember that the vegetables will shrink down when you roast them so don’t cut them too small.  Because I keep the skin on my vegetables, I also have to cater my shapes to the texture of each one.  For example, eggplant skin can be chewy when roasted, but the flesh stays soft, so I cut mine into smaller cubes as opposed to round slices – if not, you’d end up mashing the middle to cut through the skin when you’re ready to eat.  Next, place your vegetables on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle over the olive oil, and toss the veggies to coat.  Sprinkle over your spices, and toss again.  I used salt, black pepper, and a mix of oregano, basil, and parsley.  If your spices are dried like mine were, crush them between your fingers before sprinkling them over the veggies to release the flavors.  Distribute your veggies inthe pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are roasted, but not too soft.  I used the onions as a judge for this one – once they were translucent and browned but not completely mushed, I knew they were ready.

photo 3

I used my 25-ish minute wait time to make a balsamic reduction to dress my vegetables.  I used to think that this was a complicated, fancy dressing, but really it just sounds fancy and complicated, and you can bump your chef-cred in no time.  Take 2 cups of balsamic vinegar and 2-3 cloves of garlic, and heat on medium-high for about 30 minutes, or until the vingegar has reduced by about half, stirring often – cool before serving.  The vinegar will bubble and simmer, and reduce into this syrupy-sweet drizzle, perfect for a salad.  You can make the reduction without the garlic, or subsititue in any other flavors that you’d like – sage leaves, thyme sprigs – just cater the spices to those you’ve already used on the vegetables.  I love garlic, so I used 3 cloves that I had roasted earlier to enhance the flavor.

When the veggies are done, and the balsamic is cooled, assemble your salad, and enjoy!  I also added baby heirloom tomatoes for an extra color boost – add in whatever you like!

photo

Summer Fruit-nola Parfait

 

Yogurt is NOT boring.    But eating it on its own or with the same-old granola can be, and though delicious, grabbing an off the shelf flavored yogurt isn’t always the best option.  Making your own yogurt topping with mixed fruit and crunchy add-ins lets you control the flavor combination and ingredients, and turns up the volume on this otherwise plain snack.  I like to think of it as a hydrated granola, with the emphasis on the fruit instead of the oats and nuts.

Photo_2

Ingredients:

  • fresh, seasonal fruit (strawberries, black cherries, raspberries, pomegranate seads)
  • the juice from half of a lemon
  • crunchy add-ons (dried coconut, dark chocolate coated cacao nibs)
  • yogurt of choice (I used non-fat, plain greek)

 

Instructions:

Wash and roughly chop your fruit, add lemon juice, toss in pomegranate seeds, and mix.  I had a red on my mind, so I chose strawberries, black cherries and raspberries.  You can serve this mixture as a topping for yogurt, pancakes or waffles, or with some cinnamon pita chips as a fruit-salsa.  The mixture will be sweet enough like a granola with a little crunch from the pom seeds, but I like to add in dried coconut and dark chocolate coated cacao nibs for texture and flavor.  The coconut will be fatty and slightly salted, and paired with the bitter nibs and sweet fruit, you’ve really covered all the bases.  You can make the fruit mixture in advance and even assemble a parfait to-go,  but hold off on adding in any other ingredients until right before serving to keep the crunch.  I make a large batch of the fruit-nola and keep it in a bowl in the refrigerator, overnight.  The lemon and fruit juices mix together to make a natural syrup – can you say ice cream topping?  If you are going to chop your fruit in advance, stay away from fruit that might brown like apples or bananas.  Next time, I think I’ll try mangos, blueberries, pineapple, and lime juice, with some roasted and salted pistachios and dried goji berries.

Yogurt is even less boring when its served out of a wine glass, as a Gilmore Girls snack, on a weekday.

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Weekend Frittata and Bruschetta

I love breakfast. Breakfast makes it OK that your first waking thought is food and makes eating mandatory.  It’s the most important meal of the day, and it’s my favorite meal of the day.  I also love to eat fresh foods, but cooking every morning is hard!  Frittatas and egg bakes are great options for single-chefs, because you can cook them in bulk and eat them all week.

This recipe is easy, affordable, and versatile – substitute any vegetables you want, or swap the basil, red onion, olive oil and parmesan for cilantro, white onion, lime juice and manchego and you’ve got a completely different dish.  It can also be eaten at any temperature!

Ingredients:

Frittata

  • 2 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t garlic, minced
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 10 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 1 pack of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large carton of egg whites, or about a dozen eggs

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Bruschetta

  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 medium kumato tomatoes (taste the same, but adds awesome color)
  • ¼ red onion
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • really good parmesan

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Instructions:

Start by preheating your oven to 350°.  In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Dice your onion, and chop up the mushrooms and spinach.  When the oil looks like it’s starting to spread around the pan by itself, you’re ready to start cooking.  Add in the minced garlic and onion, and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.  Add in all of the mushrooms and about ⅔ of the chopped spinach, and continue to cook and stir for 5 more minutes or until the mushrooms soften and the spinach wilts.  While you’re sauteeing, spray your baking dish with non-stick spray, and add in the uncooked spinach – this will add bright color and texture to your frittata, and it will also help to cool down the cooked veggie mixture so you won’t cook your eggs before they go into the oven.  Once the veggies are done, toss them in with the raw spinach, pour the egg whites over the mix, and set the pan to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture doesnt wiggle when you shake it.

While that’s baking away, get started on your bruchetta by chopping up the tomatoes and onions.  I like to finely dice half of the tomatoes, and keep the other half bite-sized – bruschetta always looks better when it’s rustic.  Mix the olive oil and garlic in a bowl, and add the tomatoes and onion.  The red onion adds some spice that, along with the basil, turns these tomatoes into bruschetta and not salsa.  Don’t worry if there is a lot of tomato juice in your bowl.  It will help to spread the spices around and act like a dressing.  To cut your basil, layer the leaves on top of one another, and roll the stack along the longer edge.  Then chop the leaves into thin ribbons, and sprinkle them over the tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir.

At this point, your eggs will be (almost) done – let them cool, cut, and serve!  Top your eggs with the bruschetta, and a few parmigiano shavings, or chunks. I never need an excuse to add more cheese.  And this is bruschetta, so don’t forget about the toast.

That’s it! From start to finish, the entire meal takes less than an hour and looks pretty impressive.  If you don’t want to eat the eggs right away, stick them in the fridge. You can even make the bruschetta ahead of time and keep it in the refridgerator to let the flavors marinate.