Week #3 in the Where Should We Eat Series covers one of my favorite cities: DC. Because I’ve only been there for a few long weekends, I’ve enlisted a little help from fellow Dietitian, Heather Caplan. Aside from being a dietitian, Heather is a certified running coach and yoga instructor and she’s lived in DC for over seven years.
When I was in eight grade, my first period science teacher told my parents that I was a "good student" but I always seemed tired in the mornings. He suggested they send me off with a cup of coffee in the morning to "help wake me up." Mr. Marlow... if you're reading this, you probably should have suggested I went to bed earlier!
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!
One of my favorite apps to order is a classic spinach artichoke dip. Nothing beats that warm, savory drip, spread across some crispy, salty pita bread (or any bread for that matter). And hey, there's spinach in it! And artichokes! it must be healthy.
Eh, not so much. I wanted to give my best shot at making a healthier (but just as tasty) alternative. This version uses cashews and white beans instead of sour cream or cream cheese. You still get the creamy, savory texture, but this time with loads of extra fiber, protein, and healthy fats. I've also added an extra green, kale, to give it an extra nutrient boost.
This version does still have cheese in it, a sprinkling of parmesan. However, if you "don't do dairy" you can eliminate this, and instead sub in nutritional yeast. I've made it both ways, and I think they're both bomb.
Creamy Greens & Artichoke Dip
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup white beans
- 2 cloves garlic, minced,
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup water, boiling
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 1 cup kale, packed
- 1 cup spinach, packed
- Pita Bread for dipping
In blender or food processor place cashews, white beans, garlic, salt, parmesan and water. Blend until completely smooth. Add artichoke hearts, and pulse until well blended. Add kale and spinach and pulse again. Enjoy with pita bread.
To reheat: transfer to oven safe bowl and heat at 400 F. until warm.
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.
When someone thinks "healthy," Chinese foods is rarely the first thing to come to mind. I looove Chinese foods, but rarely ever order it because it's so heavy on the greasy, sticky, salty sauces and so light on the veggies. Once in a while you'll find me with some fried rice, egg rolls, or lo mein, but I have to say this popular take-out dish is quite easy to make yourself (and MUCH healthier). It's been tested and approved my both myself and a client. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!
Orange Sesame Chicken
- 1 lb chicken thighs, chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
For the sauce:
- 3 oranges, zested and juiced
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you prefer spice, add more to taste)
Whisk all sauce ingredients together and set aside. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add sauce and chicken. Cook about 30 minutes until the sauce is thick and sticky. Top with sesame seeds and serve with a side of white or brown rice and steamed broccoli.
Tip: Don't have enough time? Throw the chicken and sauce in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8. Steam some broccoli in a basket steamer with some cooked, frozen brown rice (takes 5 minutes) and enjoy.
I talk to so many clients who experience very real barriers when it comes to cooking. Long work weeks and lack of energy are just the start. Many people I talk to complain that cooking healthy food is "boring" or they feel like they have an undeveloped, what I like to call "cooking vocabulary." The truth is, to really eat healthy in the long-run, you have to make cooking for yourself part of the program, unless you're going to hire a personal chef to cook your healthy meals for you. Luckily, I discovered an intermediate option, Hello Fresh.
Here's how it works: You can decide if you want enough meals for 3, 4 or 5 days of the week. You can also specify if you want vegetarian or omnivore boxes. Then, they send you 3-5 different recipes, and perfectly portioned ingredients for each recipe, all divided into individual boxes. My box included bean burritos, oven roasted chicken and vegetables, and a simple steak recipe (not pictured below). Each recipe took about 30 minutes to make and each had a few ingredients I would have never used, which definitely took the "boring" away from these meals.
Is this something I would do again? Probably not. I actually love creating recipes of my own, going to the grocery store, and cooking everyday. So this service is not for me... but if you're something who doesn't like doing any of those things, I highly recommend you giving it a try! Then, let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: Hello Fresh did send me a complementary box in exchange for this block post. The opinions are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation.
Have any questions about my experience? Drop them in the comments below and I'll get back to you.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! The lovely Alix has done me (and you!) the huge favor of rounding up 6 deliciously nutrition holiday recipes. I'll let her take it from here. Enjoy!
It seems like it was just a month ago I was home with my siblings cleaning up all of the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner while the adults munched on my aunt’s homemade poppyseed rolls. When I go home for the holidays, my mom always has me take over the kitchen for what I assume is a nice break for her and my dad. Below are a few of the dishes very similar to some of the ones I typically prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. Hopefully these make your food prep a little bit easier, as well as a little (or a lot) more healthy and delicious!
Brussel sprouts can be tricky. If you cook them right, however, they are absolutely delectable and super rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. I like my brussel sprouts a little crispy, and in this recipe the tender squash compliments them well. Photo credit: www.bloggingoverthyme.com.
This one goes out to all of you that feel like you can’t eat with your family on Thanksgiving because you don’t eat meat, gluten, or eggs. I'm trying out a vegan lifestyle for a month, and that means no turkey for me on Thanksgiving. I have been brainstorming a few things that I can help my parents make to prove to them that vegan food can still be equally, if not more delicious than non-vegan food. This recipe is definitely on my list! Photo credit: www.shelikesfood.com.
Green Bean Casserole with Parmesan Crumb Topping from iFOODreal
My grandma always prepares the green bean casserole. Every. Single. Year. Here’s a recipe from iFOODreal that takes a different approach to the green bean casserole that subs Corn Flakes for crispy onions on top. Photo credit: www.iFOODreal.com.
You can’t just have one casserole. Everybody knows that. I want to make a casserole with a nice, starchy vegetable that keeps me from reaching for too many of those butter rolls my aunt always brings. Below is a recipe that is similar to a sweet potato dish I make, and I might even make the switch over because it happens to be vegan! Photo credit: www.jessicainthekitchen.com.
Here we go, another vegan alternative for me that I’m hoping my mother will not even notice the difference. I plan on using almond milk because I don’t like the taste of coconut milk. I can taste 1 drip of it in just about anything. However, coconut milk has many nutritional benefits, so if you like it, definitely go for it! Photo credit: www.itdoesnttastelikechicken.com.
This is the second recipe I searched for, just to make sure I was on the right track with my vegan modifications. I could not possibly risk messing up a pumpkin cake. What’s Thanksgiving without pumpkin? Hopefully, I’ll have leftovers of this one that I can freeze for Christmas. Photo credit: www.jaysbakingmecrazy.com
What will you be making for Thanksgiving this year?
Have you ever made a dish that came out sooo delicious, you then preceded to make it every week for the rest of your life? That's how I feel about this butternut squash mac & cheese. I will never tire of it. Well, at least not until winter is over. Let me not waste anymore of your time with these words, and let's dig in.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
- 1 butter nut squashed, halved lengthwise
- 10 pieces nitrate-free bacon, chopped (optional)
- 1 pound pasta (I used brown rice penne pasta)
- 1/2 head kale, de-veined and chopped
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Place butternut squash on lined baking pan face down for 25-45 minutes, until fork tender. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
- Begin cooking bacon in non-stick bacon pan. Cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Place bacon on a plate lined with paper-towel.
- Add pasta to boiling and set timer for time on package instructions.
- When the squash is completely cooked, remove from oven. Scoop out seeds from butternut squash and discard.
- In a blender, blend broth, cashews, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Blend until smooth. Then, scoop out butternut squash (seeds removed) and transfer to blender. Blend until smooth, adding extra broth if necessary.
- In a large pan, over medium heat add kale and a few splashes of water. Cook until wilted. Then, drain pasta and add to pan. Top with sauce, bacon, and parmesan cheese. Stir until well coated. Serve and enjoy!