dinner

The Fall Caprese Salad

The Fall Caprese Salad

My original idea was to put a Fall spin on a Summer classic: The Caprese Salad. There's nothing more refreshing than a juicy tomato topped with a cool slice of mozzarella and a fresh piece of basil. Unfortunately, in the Fall, it’s pretty impossible to find good tomatoes. This Fall, I thought it would be fun to break the caprese salad rules, and make a version with Squash instead of tomato, and a pumpkin seed pesto instead of the traditional pine nut version. 

Bread-Crumb-Free Stuffed Artichoke

Bread-Crumb-Free Stuffed Artichoke

My dad makes quite possibly the best artichokes. In fact, they weren't anything I really cared for until her started making them into these epic and elaborate side (or main!) dishes. His secret? He stuffs them with Italian breadcrumbs. They reason they're so delicious? The artichoke basically becomes a vehicle for eating stuffing. Instead of a fork, you use artichoke leaves. 

Blackened Fish Taco Salad

Blackened Fish Taco Salad

One of my favorite make-at-home meals is tacos. They're super easy to make, delicious, and if made right, are still packed with nutrition. These next couple of weeks I'm hosting a 12-Day Sugar Detox, so tortillas and taco shells are on the "eliminate" list, as they fall under the category of processed carbohydrates. I didn't let that stop my from creating a satisfying taco bowl, no shell required. 

Rainbow Crunch Salad with Creamy Cashew Sauce

Rainbow Crunch Salad with Creamy Cashew Sauce

In the hot summer months it might be difficult to keep up with the water consumption you need. That's why I always recommend eating your water! This salad is loaded with hydrating veggies and topped with a healthy-fat and protein filled dressing. Not to mention it's bursting with flavor, and a much healthier and lighter option to lug to a picnic or barbecue. Check out the recipe below. 

Spicy Peanut Tofu with Cilantro Lime Zoodles

The flavor combinations in this dish show up frequently in my dinners. I love peanut butter all ways, but it's especially delicious when its used to make a marinade. I decided to use tofu in this situation, but you can easily use chicken, shrimp, or steak. 

In the past I would make this dish with soba or rice noodles, but after receiving a spiralizer for Christmas, I decided to sub out the easy-to-overeat noodles with some nutrient dense zucchini noodles, or "zoodles." If you don't have a spiralizer you can get the same result by using a vegetable peeler and peeling the zucchini length wise. It might take a little longer, but it will still be delicious!

IMG_1095.JPG

To Make the Zoodles

  • 2 zucchinis, spiralized or peeled length wise
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced

In a medium pan (with no oil) place spiralized zucchini and salt, toss until the zucchini let's off water and water evaporates. The zoodles should be tender, but not mooshy. Remove and place in a large bowl. Toss with cilantro and lime zest and juice. 

To Make the Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you prefer spicy)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. 

To make the Tofu

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, sliced width wise (about 1/2 inch)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Spicy peanut sauce (above)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Take 10 paper towels and stack them. Lay out the tofu pieces in one layer on top of the towels, and then top with 10 more paper towels. Place a heavy book or pan on top of them to dry out the pieces. 

On a parchment lined and sprayed baking sheet, lay the tofu flat, in one layer. Brush with spicy peanut sauce and bake for 15-25 minutes, until tofu is slightly browned. Layer on top of zoodles and top with peanuts. Enjoy!

 
 

Buffalo Chickpea Salad with Avocado Blue Cheese Dressing

I've been playing a lot lately with "transporter" foods. To me, that means foods that we typically consume a lot, but usually just because they are topped with some delicious sauce or flavor. The tastiness of the dish usually has nothing to do with the main ingredient. With this dish? The chickpeas replace the chicken and well, you can't really taste the difference! Give it a try. 

Buffalo Chickpea Salad

  • 2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1, 15 oz can chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

In a medium pan over medium heat melt butter and hot sauce. Add chickpeas and toss until well coated and chickpeas are lightly roasted. 

In a large bowl add lettuce, tomatoes, and blue cheese. Top with chickpeas and dressing (below). 

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Pulse all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Add on top of dressing. 

 
 

Mini Portobello Pizzas

My original goal for this blog post was to provide ya'll with a delicious, hearty, cheesy alternative to pizza. Now, my only goal is to settle this debate:

A few months ago we started a weekly tradition: Pizza Sundays. On Sundays, we make pizza... and then decide who's tastes best. I hate to brag, but I often win this competition. One week, I made a pizza with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, roasted mushrooms, garlic chicken sausage, and loads of basil. It was perfection, and everyone agreed. 

While delicious, this pizza isn't something I'd recommend making on the daily. So, I decided to find a way to lighten it up without sacrificing the most flavorful ingredients. So, I ditched the crust and instead of using the mushrooms on top of the pizza, I put them on the bottom. When I told Jake about this genius idea he said "Sounds good. But doesn't sound like a pizza." 

 But they look like little pizzas! And they're inspired by a pizza I made! So, pizza? Or not? Settle our debate in the comments below. Then, go make these Mini Portobello Pizzas!

Mini Portobello Pizzas

  • 6 Portobello Mushrooms, stems removed, and bottoms cleaned.
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 10 pieces fresh mozzarella (the small "Ciliegine" cherry-sized mozzarella is best), halved
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 2 fresh, garlic herb chicken sausages, casing removed. 

Preheat oven to 425F. On a parchment lined baking sheet, place mushrooms bottom side up. Place in oven 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Pat with paper towel to make sure they are dry.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and the chicken sausage. Cook until browned. 

Mix together ricotta, parmesan, and half the basil. With the mushrooms facing bottom-side-up, add the ricotta mixture evenly over each one. Then add a few pieces of sausage, and mozzarella on top. Place back in oven for 5-10 minutes (until mozzarella is melted). Top with remaining basil and enjoy!

Souping is the New Juicing (+ a recipe)

A few days ago my uncle (Uncle Anthony, lovingly called "Unclee" because of my sister's failed attempts to say the "Anthon" part of his name as a child) texted me this:

The LIRR is the Long Island Rail Road - for you non-New Yorkers. I love that he was trying to keep in the loop on the next big, cutting edge, piece of evidence-based nutrition advice out there; a few Brooklyn hipsters talking about eating soup, soup, as if it were something novel and eclectic. 

While I consider myself a bit more progressive than most, it's rare that I'm the first to know about these nutrition trends. So now when your friends tell you that they heard somewhere that "souping is the new juicing" you can thank me for telling you first. And I can thank my uncle. And he can thank the hippie riding the LIRR. 

Hey, just in case she's right about this, you should go make this soup. It's liquid (like juice!) and has the heartiness of a split pea soup with the flavor that you crave from Chinese food. Oh, and regardless of where it falls on the "trendy" scale, it's loaded with fiber, protein, and tons of nutrients from the broccoli I sneak in there. Give it a try. 

Asian Split Pea Soup

  • 2 cups split peas
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped,
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, green onion (for garnish)

Boil in a pot until peas are cooked. Blend with immersion or regular blender. Garnish with sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil and green onion. 

If you're looking for a spring/summer version of a pea soup, check this out.