Saturday, December 31, 2011

Roasted vegetables tossed with balsamic vinegar

After the hiatus due to school and now after the holidays hopefully I can cook and share some new recipes.  The other night, after a couple weeks of indulging, we just wanted vegetables for dinner.  On Christmas night, my dad made roasted brussels sprouts tossed with balsamic vinegar so I wanted to add a little more.  There is not a photo accompanying this recipe because, honestly, the roasted vegetables were not too photogenic.

Ingredients:

2 cups of halved brussels sprouts
2 zucchini chopped into 1/2-1 inch pieces
2 cups of sliced button mushrooms
3 whole cloves of garlic
1 red onion sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the vegetables and garlic in the olive oil, salt and pepper.  On a baking sheet, make sure they are arranged in a single layer to roast evenly.  Roast them for about 20-30 minutes, toss them after about 15 minutes to ensure even browning.  They are done cooking when they are golden brown.  In a bowl mash the roasted garlic cloves and mix with the balsamic vinegar.  Toss the vegetables in the mixture and serve.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Appetizer Party

We had an appetizer party for dinner last night, just the two of us.  We like to have a variety of things at one time, so it was a good Saturday night dinner.  I made roasted red peppers with garlic oil, sauteed mushroom and onion crostini topped with Gruyere cheese and a greek bruschetta.

For all the apps I toasted a thinly sliced baguette drizzled with olive oil in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Ingredients/What I did:

For the mushroom/onion crostini (makes 6):

                                         
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms (I used a cremini/shitaki mixture)
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced red onion
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of wine (I used a rose)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
Drizzle a pan with olive oil and heat to medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, then add the onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes, when the mushrooms are reduced in size and soft and the onions are translucent add the wine and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Top 6 toasted baguette slices with the mixture and add the Gruyere cheese evenly to each.  Place on a baking sheet and put under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and melted. 

For the roasted red peppers:



  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small clove of garlic, chopped
To roast the peppers, heat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and bake.  Rotate the peppers about every 5 minutes, each side will look black in spots but that's good flavor.  It takes about 20 minutes for them to finish cooking, by the end the skin will look dark and the pepper will be soft if you press on it.  Place them in a bowl to cool and allow the skin to separate from the flesh.  Meanwhile, in another bowl add the olive oil and garlic, you can keep the garlic in the oil when you add the peppers or take it out before you add the peppers.  The garlic will flavor the oil if you just let it sit for 10 minutes or so.  Once the peppers are cooler, peel the skin off the flesh, and cut the flesh into slices discarding the seeds.  I topped the toasted baguette with the pepper slices and chopped Mozzarella cheese.

For the Greek style Bruschetta:





  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
Just put these in a bowl and mix, top the toasted baguette with spoonfuls of the mixture and eat.



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Portabella Mushroom Burger topped with sauteed onion and Swiss cheese


I find myself eating less meat these days.  It is cheaper, for one, and I just feel better incorporating a lot of vegetables into a normal day.  One thing I can't do without is a good cheese burger.  It is something I crave often so I wanted to try a burger with a Portabella mushroom.  It did not disappoint; it does not replace a juicy cheeseburger in my life but it's a great alternative.

Ingredients: (for one burger)
  • 1 Portabella Mushroom, wiped with a damp cloth and stem removed
  • A quarter of red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 thick slice of tomato (I used heirloom)
  • a handful of arugala
  • 2 slices of swiss cheese
  • 1 hamburger roll
  • olive oil to drizzle
For Honey Mustard:
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 1 tsp honey or agave 
  • 1 tsp of mayonnaise 
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the mushroom on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes then flip and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the  mushroom is tender.  Meanwhile, heat a skillet to medium heat and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Add the onion slices and cook while stirring often for about 10 minutes.  They should have some color, reduce in size and be translucent.  Take the onions out and put aside, in the same skillet pour the soy sauce and stock and heat on medium heat.  Place the mushroom in the liquid as it reduces.  Keep heating until the liquid has evaporated and the mushroom is coated in what has reduced.  Place the onions and cheese on top of the mushroom and cover to allow the cheese to melt.  

To assemble the burger, mix the components of the honey mustard and spread on the bun.  Place all other components on and serve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Greek Pizza


We are obsessed with pizza and cheese so we incorporate this sort of dinner frequently.  If you like feta and greek ingredients, this is for you!  Also, this is mostly prep and not so much cooking which makes it quick and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound pizza dough
  • 12-ish cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • some thin slices of red onion
  • roasted garlic cloves (I found some in the antipasta bar at the food store, but to make it you just heat an oven to 400 and roast garlic cloves in the covering for about 20 mins) (I used about 15)
  • 1 package of hummus
To start, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  On a baking sheet or pizza stone stretch the pizza dough to the desired size.  Depending on the size of your pizza, the amount of hummus to use will vary.  Spread  the hummus to cover the dough.  Then top with onion slices, roasted garlic cloves, chopped olives, feta cheese and halved tomatoes cut side up.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes, and serve.

Slow cooker Thai


Since I go to school in NYC, it was easy to find a Thai market with every type of curry paste you could want.  I wanted to make red curry so I stuck with that, but hope to branch out.  You can find red curry paste in specialty markets, and if you're lucky the normal super market.  I am posting this recipe even though it is not perfected.  I loved the flavor but the sauce wasn't a thick smooth consistancy I find from Thai restaurants.  Maybe there's a secret only Thai cooks know, but I think the problem was me trying to cut fat and using reduced fat coconut milk.  If you end up making this, go for the full fat or better yet, try coconut cream.

This recipe also makes a lot because it takes a while to make and I wanted leftovers for the freezer so I could have it again after reheating it.

Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cans of coconut milk/cream
  • 1/3 cup red curry paste (taste as you go, you may want to use more or less)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package of frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
In a bowl, mix the coconut milk with the curry paste.  At this point taste for how much paste you want to add.  Pour it into the crock pot and place the chicken breasts in also.  Set the crock pot for how ever long you need it to run, I set it for a 6 hours, since I was home all day.     Once there is about 45 minutes left of cooking add the sliced vegetables.  I add them at the end so they still have some texture.  If you don't have time to do this either add them at the the beginning or saute them separately and mix in with chicken.  I served this over rice!


Roasted Eggplant Dip


This dip is inspired by the Melitzanosalata we order every time we eat at our favorite greek restaurant, Greek Taverna in Montclair.  The amounts of each vegetable are not exact, you just want there to be more eggplant that the other vegetables.

Ingredients:
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped with skin left on
  • 1/2 of a large, or 1 whole small red bell pepper
  • A quarter of a large red onion or half of small one, cut in chunks
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic, left in the covering
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of non fat greek yogurt
Heat the over to 400 degrees F.  On a baking sheet, add the vegetables and toss with salt, pepper and olive oil.  Place the garlic on the side of baking sheet so you don't lose them in the other vegetables.  Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes so each piece cooks evenly.  They are done when they look wilted, browned and are tender.  Add the vegetables to a blender or food processor.  Squeeze the garlic out of the covering into the vegetables.  Add the greek yogurt and blend until smooth.  If it is too thick, add some water, a little at a time.  I served this with whole wheat pita chips.


Creamy Spinach Pizza


After an intense summer semester I again have time to update with the recipes I have made and also develop new ones!  Yes, very exciting because my focus can now shift back to food.  My approach is still to fill recipes with a lot of vegetables (or fruits), use little oil (especially butter) and still get great tasting and satisfying meals.   

So I wanted to make pizza one night but not the typical red sauce/cheese combo that I frequently make. 

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part skim Mozzarella
  • 1/2 pound of pizza dough (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (Yellow tomato in the photo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (if you don't have either garlic or onion just sprinkle some powdered of each over the spinach) 
  • 1 1/2 cup of frozen spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
To start, heat a skillet to medium low and cook the garlic and onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium and add the frozen spinach.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until the spinach is thawed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the ricotta cheese and stir into the spinach.  Now heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Flatten the pizza dough to whatever size and thickness you desire and place on a pizza stone or a greased baking sheet.  Spread the spinach mixture on the dough, then top with mozzarella cheese and the chopped tomatoes.  Bake in the over until the dough is crispy and the cheese is bubbly, about 10-15 minutes. 








Friday, July 15, 2011

Herb Frittata with Rosemary potatoes

Sometimes I just crave a dinner that is filling and flavorful but won't take a lot of time to prepare.  My go to for this type of night is a frittata.  Honestly, it's easy to make into an omelette but I love delicious bubbly cheese and a golden brown presentation even on a simple night, which you can only attain under the broiler.




 

Ingredients for 2 portions:
  • 4 small red potatoes
  • 2 whole large eggs and 2 egg white
  • 1 tbsp chopped chive
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp of finely chopped Rosemary for the eggs
  • 1 tsp of roughly chopped Rosemary for the potatoes
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of cheese (you choose!)(I used Feta, but Parm or cheddar would be great)
First, fill a pot with water and put the potatoes in it.  Put it on high heat and bring it to a boil.  Boil until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes depending on the exact size of the potatoes.  When they are cooked, heat a skillet to medium heat and drizzle with olive oil.  Slice the potatoes roughly and add them to pan with the rosemary, press them down so they cover the bottom of the pan and can get golden brown.  Meanwhile, add the herbs, salt and pepper to the eggs.  Heat a small to medium sized skillet that is oven safe on medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the egg mixture.  Cook over heat until the edges start to look cooked.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and place under the broiler.  Keep an eye on it for about 5 minutes, and it will be finished when the top is bubbly and golden brown.

 The frittata is ready to serve when it is out of the oven and the potatoes are ready when they are golden brown (should be around the same time).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Summer Salad Favorite

After a 4th of July weekend full of fried seafood, hearty cookouts and what else, ice cream, I opted for a vegetable filled light dinner on our first night back.  I was shopping in Whole Foods when the idea of a mushroom salad beside a caprese salad popped into my head.



For 2 servings:
  • 2 large tomatoes, I used Roma because they don't have too many seeds inside
  • 4 Slices of Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 8 medium to large white mushrooms
  • 4 handfuls of Arugala
  • 3 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard (I used Grey Poupon deli mustard)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Agave nectar or honey
  • Drizzle olive oil until desired thickness, about 1/4 cup
For the caprese salad, layer tomato slices with cheese and drizzle the top with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  For the mushroom salad, first clean the mushrooms by taking a damp towel and wiping the tops.  Then remove the stems and thinly slice.  In a large bowl add the arugala and mushrooms.  For the dressing, in a small bowl add the mustard, lemon juice and agave and mix.  Then slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  I added less than a quarter cup and had the dressing a bit thicker but it up to your preference.  When you are ready to serve, add the dressing and mix, then top with toasted sesame seeds.

You can toast the sesame seeds at home.  Just buy plain sesame seeds.  Heat a skillet to medium heat and add them in.  Closely watch them and keep stirring because they brown quickly.  Once they are golden brown promptly remove from heat and allow them to cool in a bowl since they continue to cook if kept in the skillet.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Whole wheat fusilli tossed with roasted vegetables and fresh tomatoes

I wanted some summer pasta and since grilling isn't an option right now, I turned to roasting.  I let the pasta sit for a bit to cool down and we ate it room temperature.  It makes 4 servings.






Ingredients:


  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • Half package of whole wheat fusilli
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 12 cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 of a red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of wine (I used white Zinfindel, but any white would work)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • some olive oil for drizzling 
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Parmesan or Asiago cheese to serve with
Start by washing the vegetables.  Chop the zucchini and pepper in even sized chucks so they cook evenly.  I chopped mine in about 1 inch pieces.  Slice the onion in about quarter inch slices.  Add these vegetables to a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper and the garlic powder.  Toss with your hands.  Roast them in an oven heated to 400 for 15-20 mins.  Check every 5 minutes and toss with a spatula so they don't burn.

While they cook, boil the pasta water and add the pasta.  Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.  Also chop the tomatoes.

For the mushrooms, heat a large skillet (Large enough to toss the pasta in also) to medium heat and drizzle with olive oil.  Quarter the mushrooms and add them to the pan.  Allow them to brown before adding salt and pepper.  This take about 7 minutes.  Then add the vegetable stock, wine and garlic and simmer.  Add the cooked pasta, spinach and roasted vegetables and toss.

Serve in a bowl and top with cheese and chopped tomatoes!

I am back for now...

Sorry for the delay in recipe postings, life got busy.  We moved and my creativity has returned!  So the first thing I cooked in our new apartment was Sunday breakfast, banana walnut whole wheat pancakes.  They are so hearty and the walnuts toast as they cook in the pancake, so good.


For 2 servings you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat pancake mix (I used Whole Foods brand) 
  • 1 Egg white
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk (You may need a little more or less to get desired thickness)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp butter (To coat the pan with)
Mix all ingredients, excluding the butter, together in a bowl.  Preheat a medium sized pan on medium heat with 1 tsp of butter.  When the butter is bubbling a bit, add scoops of pancake batter to the pan.  I did 4 at a time but  since you can make them as big as you want, it will differ.  When the edges begin to bubble and look dry it is time to flip them.  They cook about 2 minutes per side.

We ate the pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup.   

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vegetable Risotto

Exciting news (for me at least)!  I will now, hopefully, remember to take photos of my recipes to share on the blog.

If you want a filling yet light lunch or dinner, this risotto recipe is great.  The recipe serves 2. 

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Zucchinis (I used 1 yellow squash)
1/2 Cup peas
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
2 Cups of vegetable broth
1 Cup of Arborio rice

Start by heating a pan on medium heat.  Add the olive oil, garlic and onion and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the Arborio rice and saute for about 5 minutes, until it begins to smell toasted.  Add the zucchini and enough broth to cover the rice (I do no saute the zucchini before this because I want it to still have a little firmness and not get over cooked).  Stir often.  When the liquid is absorbed, add more to cover.  Do this until the rice plumps up, it usually takes about 20 minutes.  To make sure it is cooked but not mushy, taste it at the  15 and 20 minute mark.  You may need more or less than 2 cups of broth.  When the rice is finished, stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve.
 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Caramel Apple Crepes with Lemon Greek Yogurt

These are so good for breakfast, which we ate today, or for a dessert.  You can make the crepe batter, apples and yogurt mixture ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for a couple days, so that it's quicker to put it together when you want to eat.

For the Crepes:

The amount of crepes this will make depends on the size of your pan but if you use a small skillet it should make 15- 20 crepes.

2 Eggs and 1 egg white
2/3 Cup of low fat milk
1/3 Cup of Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp of salt

Add the wet ingredients into the flour and set aside for at least 20 minutes so the flour has time to absorb them.

To cook the crepes, heat a small non stick skillet to medium low heat.  If it is truly non stick you do not need to add oil to the pan, but if you have trouble with foods sticking to it, add just enough butter to the pan to coat.  Pour just enough batter to thinly coat the pan, into the center and swirl the pan so that the batter can form a circle.  Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until the edges start to pull away from the side.  Flip it and cook for the same amount of time.

For the Apple Filling:

This is enough filling for 6 crepes.

2 firm baking apples
3 tbsp of brown suger
1 tbsp of honey or agave nector
pinch of salt
1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Thinly slice the apples and add to a medium skillet heated to medium heat.  Add the rest of ingredients to the pan and stir.  Stir every couple minutes, until the apples are softened and there is a thin caramel in the pan.

For the yogurt mixture:

1 small container of non fat plain Greek yogurt 
The zest of half a lemon
1 tbsp of honey or agave nector
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Once the components of the crepes are finished, just fill the crepes with the apple mixture. You can put the yogurt mixture inside or on top, which is what we did so it wouldn't melt too much.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Potato Latkas

I make a big batch of these, cook and freeze them.  That way they're ready for a quick breakfast or dinner.  Just reheat them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes and they will be crispy on the outside.

4 Russet potatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 egg and 2 egg whites
3-4 tbsp of flour
salt and pepper
olive oil to drizzle pan

First grate the potatoes and onion and put them in a strainer to drain the liquid.  I squeeze the liquid out before putting it in the strainer to make it quicker.  Then I lay the mixture on paper towels to get it more dry.  Once it seems dry, put the mixture in a big bowl and add about 1 tsp of salt, sprinkle pepper, eggs and flour.  Stir until it is well mixed.  Heat a pan to medium heat and drizzle with olive oil.  Scoop, with a table spoon, some of the mixture and add to the pan.  Cook on each side for about 5 minutes until they are golden brown. 

Allow them to cool before putting them in the freezer so they don't stick together.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps

We love P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps so I wanted to make something with those flavors and lots of vegetables.  The sauce is very similar to my recipe on allrecipes.com.  This recipe makes 2 servings.

1 Head of Boston Lettuce, Iceberg works also (You'll get more servings out of it), leaves separated and washed

Filling:
1 cup of uncooked shrimp, chopped in large chunks (You can use any meat)
1 red pepper, sliced
1 cup of steamed broccoli
1/2 red onion, sliced or chopped
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1 large carrot, small slices 1/2 inch long

Sauce:
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp honey or agave nectar, depending on how sweet you want it
2 tbsp Franks buffalo sauce, this is more to taste you can add as much spice as you like

First heat a skillet to medium heat and add the pepper, onion and carrot.  Cook for about 5, until they have softened but are still vibrant in color and have crunch.  Add the shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli and sauce and cook for a couple minutes until the sauce is coating and absorbed into the vegetables.

Toast the cashews in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 5 minutes, until golden brown.  Stir a couple times while they cook.

To assemble, just pile a spoon full of mixture in a lettuce leaf and sprinkle the cashews on top.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quinoa with Mushrooms

The quinoa in this case is best served hot.  We had an arugula salad with it.  The recipe serves 2 to 4.

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red onion,chopped
1 heaping cup of sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
1 cup quinoa, (rinsed)
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped scallions for garnish

First, to make the mushrooms, saute 1/4 cup onion, 1 clove garlic and mushrooms in 1 tbsp of olive oil for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat, until the mushrooms have reduced and browned.  Salt the mushrooms after cooking, they won't brown as much if you salt before.  Set aside until the quinoa is finished cooking.

For the quinoa saute, in a soup pot, the remaining garlic and onion in olive oil for 5 minutes on medium-low heat.  Add the quinoa and cook for another 5 minutes.  Then lower the heat to low, add the vegetable stock and cover.  Cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.  Add the Parmesan cheese, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese and stir.  Top it with chopped scallions of you have them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hearty Soup

I loved eating this soup on a chilly night.  It is hearty and so warming.  I served garlic bread to accompany it.  The recipe serves 4-6

1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 (15 oz) can of cannelini beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 lb. of uncooked Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
A full bundle of Swiss chard (chopped with the white parts removed)
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup water
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
Rind of parmesan cheese (If you have it)

First, add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot to a pot on medium heat.  Cook for about 5 minutes to soften and get a little color.  Then add the sausage without the casing and stir while it cooks so it separates.  After about 10 minutes it should be cooked and browned, so add the beans, Swiss chard, tomatoes, broth, water, parmesan rind, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Simmer covered for about 45 minutes.  The Swiss chard will wilt down in size.  Make it a day in advance if you can because the longer it sits, the better it will taste.

Vegetable Panini or Sandwich

This is a filling and hearty sandwich that is also low calorie.  The recipe make 2 to 4 sandwiches depending on the size of bread slices you use.

1 eggplant
2 zuccini
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 slices of whole wheat bread per sandwich, or 2 rolls
1 small Roma tomato (sliced) per sandwich
1-2 slices of mozzarella cheese

First make garlic oil by finely chopping the garlic and adding it to a bowl with the olive oil.  Let the mixture marinate for about 10 minutes so the garlic oils release into the olive oil.  Then slice the zucchini and eggplant in about 1/2 inch slices, and brush both sides with garlic oil.  Saute them on medium to medium high heat, so they brown quickly and cook through but do not become mushy.  Then place the cooked vegetables on the bread with the mozzarella.  Brush each side of the sandwich with the garlic oil and place in a panini press.  After both sides are golden brown, place the tomato inside, and it is ready to eat!

To make this into a sandwich and not panini, which is how I now prefer to eat it, place the slices of mozzarella onto one side of a roll and place it under the broiler until it is bubbling and golden brown.  It should take about 2-3 minutes.  Then place the cooked vegetables and raw tomato slices on top of the cheese and serve.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Quinoa!!

I'm loving quinoa right now and I wanted to try another way to make it.  I wanted something sweet to mix in it and Evan thought of grapes, which couldn't have been more perfect.  The first couple times I made quinoa I did not rinse it before cooking and still loved it but heard it can have a bitter taste if you do not rinse.  I chose to rinse it last night in a fine strainer and I did notice that it was a bit less bitter.  So if you have a fine strainer go ahead and rinse first, if not, there isn't a huge difference.  The recipe serves 2.

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup red grapes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
2 scallions
1/4 of a red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

First chop the scallions and mince the onion and garlic.  Then halve the grapes.  Heat a pot on medium heat and add the garlic and onion.  Saute for about 5-10 minutes until they are translucent.  Add the quinoa and saute for 5 minutes, until it begins to brown.  Add the stock and cover the pot, reducing the heat to low.  Cook for 15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.  After 15 minutes, add the Parmesan cheese so that it melts and coats the quinoa.  Now, add the scallion, grapes and feta cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  This is delicious cold or hot.

Last night I stuffed a bell pepper with the mixture.  To do this just cut off the top of the bell pepper and pack in the filling.  Put the pepper in a baking dish with about an inch layer of water on the bottom.  Cover the peppers with foil, and cook at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Then take the foil off and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the tops are browned and the pepper is soft.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pea Soup

At first, I thought this would be gross, but I have recently realized that I love peas.  I got the idea from Ina Garten's cook book but, of course, I needed to make healthier substitutions.  The soup is bright green so it looks delicious and it tastes sweet and hearty.  The recipe serves 4 to 6.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek
1 small yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
4 ounces of low fat cream cheese
5 cups frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste


First, you need to clean the leek.  Just slice it in half longways then cut slices about a half inch thick.  Fill a large bowl with water and put the leek slices in the bowl trying to separate the layers with your fingers.  Let them sit in the water for about 20 minutes.  There tends to be sand between the layers and since the sand sinks and the leeks float they clean themselves by soaking.

Roughly chop the onion and garlic and add it to a soup pot with olive oil and the washed and chopped leek.  Saute them together on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add the stock and bring to a simmer.  Then add the peas and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the cream cheese and puree the soup until smooth.  To serve, I add black pepper on top. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vegetable Stuffed Bread

I love making these for an easy lunch.  They're filling, nutritious and great to pack for lunch because they're good at room temperature or heated.  The recipe makes 8.

1 lb. of multigrain or whole wheat pizza dough (You can purchase at the food store already made, I use Whole Foods)
10 button or cremini mushrooms
1 orange pepper
1 cup of steamed broccoli
16 black olives (2 per bread)
1/2 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp olive oil, additional drizzle for baking sheet

For the mushrooms, first clean them using a damp paper towel and gently wipe the dirt from the surface, then thinly slice them.  Chop the onion and garlic and add it to a pan with the olive oil.  Heat the pan to medium low and saute for about 2 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms.  You want to cook the liquid out of the mushrooms so the bread does not get soggy later.  Cook the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, until they have reduced in size.  While they are cooking, chop the orange pepper in about 1/4 inch squares.  Add them to the pan once the mushrooms have reduced.  Cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, then add the steamed broccoli.  Cook the mixture together for another 5 minutes.

To begin assembling the stuffed breads, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, shred the mozzarella cheese and slice the olives.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Stretch a piece of dough into a thin layer, it doesn't have to be a defined shape.  Add a sprinkle of cheese, 1/8 of the veggie mixture, sliced olives and another thin layer of cheese on top, covering only half of the dough.  Then fold the empty side over and crimp the edges together using a fork.  With a knife, slice an inch long opening on the top to allow steam to escape.  Then place it on a baking sheet that has been lightly drizzled and brushed with olive oil so the breads do not stick.  Repeat these steps to make the rest of the breads. If there is extra cheese at the end, I sprinkle it over the top of the breads to get browned and add extra flavor. Then cook them in the oven for about 25 minutes, the tops should be golden brown.

Quinoa

If you have not tried quinoa, I encourage you to!  It is a healthy and great tasting grain you can add almost anything to.  Also, you can serve it hot or cold.  I will probably post additional ways to prepare it but I have only tried it once, this way, and loved it.

1 cup Quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
3 small or 2 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup of minced white onion
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup of Kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tomato


First, mince the onion and garlic.  Add the olive oil to a medium soup pot and heat on medium low.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the quinoa; saute and stir often until it smells nutty and toasted, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Once it is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes, until the broth is absorbed.  Pour the quinoa into a serving bowl and add the olives, feta cheese and tomato either on top or stirred in.  I do not add salt because the broth, olives and feta cheese have salt in them.

Ginger Infused Green Tea

This tea is so refreshing and packed with antioxidants.  I use Agave to sweeten it, which you can find in Target or a food store.  It is not an artificial sweetener, but sweeter than sugar per tablespoon. 

1.5 quarts of water
1 tsp of minced ginger (I use minced ginger in a jar to make it easy)
3 Tazo green tea bags
The juice of 1/2 an orange
1 tbsp Agave (more or less depending on how sweet you like tea)

First, heat the water and ginger together in a pot over medium heat.  Allow the water to steam but not boil.  Once it begins to steam, take it off the heat and strain out the ginger.  I pour the water into the serving pitcher and the ginger solids stay on the bottom of the pot.  Next, add the tea bags to the ginger infused water.  Let the tea bags sit in the water for as long as you like but at least 30 minutes.  Add the Agave and the juice of half an orange.  Serve iced or warm. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Soups

I am on a major soup kick lately, so I am posting recipes for Creamy Mushroom Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup.


Creamy Mushroom Soup (4-6 servings)

I am not a huge fan of mushrooms but wanted to try this soup anyway.  I used cremini mushrooms which have a strong mushroom flavor.  Button mushrooms would work well also.

1 lb of mushrooms
4 cups of chicken broth
1 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 can of cannelini beans
4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
5 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the oil to a soup pot and heat it on medium heat.   Roughly chop the onion, garlic and mushrooms and add them to the pot.  Saute for about 15 minutes until the onion has softened and the mushrooms have reduced in size.  Add the broth, salt, pepper, beans and thyme to the pot and simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Next, add the cream cheese and puree the soup until smooth.


Roasted Tomato Soup (4-6 servings)

4 large tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 celery stalk
1 yellow onion
1 (14.5) oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
4 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil (optional)

First, preheat the oven to 450.  Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and liquid.  Then slice each half into thirds and place on a baking sheet.  Toss them with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast them in the oven for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned.  Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, celery and garlic.  In a soup pot heated to medium low, add the olive oil, onion, garlic and celery.   Saute until translucent, then add the roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper.  Simmer the soup with the lid on for 20 minutes on low heat.  Then add the cream cheese and puree until smooth.  To serve, add about 2 chopped basil leaves on top.