Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon

I love kale and this is my favorite way to serve it as a side. Adding lemon to kale really puts its flavor over the top, while giving the already great health benefits of kale an extra boost.

Infographic courtesy of  Smarty Pants Mama 

Sauteed Kale with Garlic and Lemon
Adapted from The New York Times
Servings: 2
Difficulty: Easy


1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped (about 1/2 of a bunch)
1/2 c. vegetable broth
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice


Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add vegetable broth and kale. Stir to coat kale with liquid and cover pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes until kale is slightly wilted and vivid green. Remove lid and cook a few minutes more until all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Mix well and serve.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sweet Vegan Dreams!

Some of the most rewarding meals are the ones I make while I'm not even conscious. That is serious talent.

But all joking aside, I love using the slow-cooker. It's so easy to prep a few ingredients and throw them in the crock-pot just before bed. When you wake up in the morning...a whole week of lunches to pack for work, served!

It may not look that pretty but it smelled amazing enough to get complements from co-workers all week long!

Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and red lentils, all slow-cooked down into a delicious, mildly curried stew. I am not vegan, but this recipe happens to be. The original recipe called for 1 whole butternut squash (3 lb). I only had one pound, so I substituted sweet potato for the rest. I also substituted homemade canned tomatoes for store-bought because I'm lucky enough to have a mother-in-law that keeps me well-stocked.

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Red Lentil Stew
Adapted from eat, live, run
Servings: 10-12
Difficulty: Easy


1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 lb. sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 pints homemade canned tomatoes (or 1 store-bought 28-oz. can diced tomatoes in tomato juice)
1 quart , low-sodium vegetable broth
1 c. red lentils
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and mix well. Turn slow-cooker on low and let cook for 8-10 hours without opening the lid. Season with kosher salt to taste. Optional garnishes could be fresh chopped parsley, cilantro, or a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Garden-Style Lasagna

It is quite a labor of love to make this veggie lasagna. It is so involved in fact, that I usually prep parts of it the night before and assemble, bake, and serve the second night. It is so labor intensive (as most lasagnas are) that I only make it once or twice a year. Even though it's a lot of work it is totally worth it. It's the best lasagna I've ever made!

I adapted the recipe from Cooking Light, which calls for the veggies to be sauteed. Instead, I roasted them, played around with the type and amount of veggies, and bumped pumped bumped and pumped up the flavor by using a multitude of fresh herbs.  I also a little extra cheese to the spinach sauce by accident (oops...) but it turned out well so I included my "mistake" in the recipe below.

Garden-Style Lasagna
Adapted from Cooking Light
Servings: 10+
Difficulty: Medium


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 c. onion, sliced 
  • 3 c. zucchini, yellow squash, or combination of both, sliced into half-moons
  • 3 c. green bell pepper, red bell pepper, or combination of both, halved and sliced
  • 1 c. carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. broccoli, chopped
  • Assorted herbs, chopped (up to 5 Tbsp fresh, 4 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/2 c. 1% low-fat milk
  • 1-1/4 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1-1/2 c. 1% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 c. (8 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 12 precooked lasagna noodles, divided

  1. Preparation

  1. Evening before serving

  1. Veggies

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Prep all veggies. Toss each veggie with approximately 1 Tbsp of any fresh herb of your choice and cooking spray. Roast in batches until vegetables soften and begin to brown.

  • Squash/oregano - 15 min
  • Onion/parsley - 20 min
  • Peppers/thyme - 20 min
  • Broccoli/basil - 15 min
  • Carrots/rosemary - 15 min
  1. **Note: Cooking times are approximate. This is how I roasted, you can do it however you'd like with whatever veggie/herb combo. You probably don't even have to add the herbs at this point. It might be better to just add them to the spinach sauce. But all those herbs do make your kitchen smell wonderful as the veggies are roasting!
  1. While veggies are roasting, saute garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds. As the veggies finish roasting, combine them with garlic in a large mixing bowl. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container overnight.

Spinach Sauce

Place 3 c milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 c flour. Gradually pour flour mixture into pan, stirring until blended. Stir constantly for a few minutes, until the milk begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Add 1 c Parmesan, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Stir in spinach. Cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container overnight.

Cheese Mixture

Blend cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Combine cottage cheese and 1-1/2 c. mozzarella; stir well. Store in the fridge in an airtight container overnight.

Night of serving (i.e. the pay-off!)

  1. Cook and drain lasagna noodles according to package directions (I always cook a few extra because a few are inevitably damaged during cooking/draining). While noodles are cooking, rough chop the roasted vegetables into bite-size pieces.
Coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 c. of spinach sauce over bottom of baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles over spinach sauce. Top with 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture, 1/2 of roasted veggies, and 1 c. spinach sauce. Top with 4 noodles, remaining cottage cheese mixture, remaining roasted veggies, and 1 c. spinach sauce. Top with the last 4 noodles. Spread remaining spinach sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c mozzarella and 1/4 c Parmesan.
**I always find it hard to follow layering instructions in recipes. I usually sketch it out. I guess I'm a visual learner?? I'm curious if anyone else ever thinks of layered dishes this way... 
 Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Info for 1 serving:
Calories 342
Carbs 39 g
Fat 10 g
Protein 25 g

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dinner #7: Colorful Quinoa Bowls

I struggle with making quinoa. It is apparently some type of wonder-food, but it is also one of the most bland things I've ever tasted. I have bookmarked a ton of quinoa recipes, but in reality have made very few of them. That is why I was so thrilled with how this recipe turned out!

It was flavorful, bright, and colorful. I almost wanted to title this post: "Snow on the Mountain Christmas Quinoa". I loved the slight bitterness of the broccolini, the sweet richness of the red peppers, and the saltiness of the Feta. All those flavors actually complimented the the "nuttiness" (read: blandness) of the quinoa.

Also, I finally am able to spell Q-U-I-N-O-A with confidence. Phew...that took a while! ;-)

Colorful Quinoa Bowl
Servings: 4
Difficulty: Easy

1 c. organic pre-rinsed quinoa*
2 small bunches broccolini, cut into 1 in. pieces
1 c. roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 c. capers, rinsed and drained
14.5 - 15 oz. can organic chick peas, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
S+P to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. EVOO
4-6 oz. block of Feta cheese, cubed

Bring 2 c. water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Throw the broccolini in the saucepan with the quinoa, cover it up again and cook about 5 minutes more until water is absorbed and broccolini is bright green.

Mix quinoa, broccolini, and the next 8 ingredients through EVOO in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture sit to cool slightly before serving it up in individual bowls. Finally, top with Feta cubes.

*If you don't buy pre-rinsed quinoa make sure you rinse it before cooking.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dinner #6: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chili

The sweetness of the baked potato goes so nicely with the smokiness of the chili. Now I have to find a recipe for sweet potato chili...

Topped with Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeno slice and sour cream

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chili
Yield: 6 servings
Difficulty: Easy

6 small organic sweet potatoes (I used 2 giant cut in half + 2 small)
2 tsp. EVOO
1 c. organic yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
red pepper flakes, to taste
2 - 14.5 oz. cans fire-roasted, no salt added tomatoes
1 - 15 oz. can organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 15 oz. can organic black beans, rinsed and drained

Possible toppings/garnishes:
Sour cream
Greek yogurt
Fresh cilantro
Thinly sliced jalapenos
Freshly grated Monterey Jack

Pre-heat oven to 400. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and wrap loosely in foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

While potatoes bake, saute onion and garlic in EVOO until onions are soft. Add spices and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add beans and continue to simmer until potatoes are finished baking.

Split each baked sweet potato open and top with 3/4 c. chili. Add toppings as desired.

Topped with sour cream, cilantro, and jalapeno slices

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tzatziki Potato Salad

I had some leftover tzatziki sauce from the falafel I made at the end of last week.  I also had a bag of organic red skinned potatoes that I didn't want to go to waste. Then I saw this recipe come across my Google Reader.

I thought I could boil just enough potatoes to use up the tzatziki but looking back I now realize I was lying to myself. Upon tasting, I made more tzatziki and I boiled more potatoes.

I never would have thought to combine cool, tart tzatziki with starchy potatoes. To someone who never tires of classic potato salad, this variation is strange, new, and delightful.

Tzatziki Potato Salad
Adapted from smitten kitchen
Yields: 8-10 servings
Difficulty: Easy

2 1/2 - 3 lbs red skin potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 c. 2% greek yogurt
2 small organic cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill + more to taste
Fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until al dente.

While potatoes cook, combine greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, S+P.

Drain potatoes and combine with tzatzkiki sauce. Chill before serving.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dinner #5: Quinoa Falafel

I found a new favorite blog this week, SPROUTED KITCHEN. I love the photos and I love originality of recipes. Basically, I love the whole idea behind the blog. This is the first recipe I've made from the site and I'm sure that I will be making many more.

Disclaimer: This is not traditional falafel. It's a lighter take on the traditional street food from the Middle East. Also I realize that Tzatziki sauce is not a traditional topping for falafel. I just thought it would taste good and...it did! I served the falafel topped with Tzatziki sauce on a bed of fattoush (chopped herb and vegetable salad with lemon and olive oil).

Fatoush Salad

Quinoa Falafel
Yield: 8 patties
Difficulty: Medium

1/2 c quinoa
1 c carrots, sliced
3 Tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 c green onions, cut to 1 inch pieces
15 oz can organic garbanzo beans (chick peas)
2 organic eggs
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Handful of panko bread crumbs, if too wet
2 Tbsp olive oil

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Pulse carrots and parsley together in a food processor. Add the next 8 ingredients (through garlic). Pulse until combined. Add quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. Note: If the mixture seems too wet, add a handful of panko bread crumbs and mix.

Add 1 Tbsp of oil to a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Divide falafel mixture into 8 portions. Shape each portion into a ball and flatten slightly. Cook patties in batches, adding more oil as needed. Cook falafel until nicely browned.

Remove from heat and top with sauce of your choice.