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Cold Sesame Cucumber Salad

20 Sep

Cold Sesame Cucumber NoodlesMmmm, tasty sesame noodles for a rainy day. Only a slight twist to make it slightly healthier. Cucumber!

Delicious, but then again, I love everything sesame-related.

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • pinch of ginger powder
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 packet soba noodles (optional)
  • Sesame or black sesame seeds, for garnish

Method

  • Peel and cut the seeds out of the cukes. Then peel and finely chop cukes into long strips, so they resemble long noodles. Cut the green onion into little rings.
  • Mix everything else in a small dish, mixing with a fork until smooth and add a splash of water if it’s a bit too thick.
  • Pour the sauce onto the cuke noodles (and cooked soba noodles, if that’s your style) and tosh until mixed evenly. Add the sesame seeds for pleasant garnishes on top. Mmmmm.
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Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

22 Apr

photoThis weekend, I was a single girl (woohoo!) with Rafe at home in South Carolina. True to form, however, I didn’t do much out of the normal. In fact, as usual, most of the weekend was spent either at the gym, out on the deck, or in the kitchen. The weather was beautiful (sunny but brisk, with a slight wind) and on Saturday I went for a nice like (11 miles) run in the neighborhood and around Rice University to prepare myself for next weekend’s Nashville half-marathon.

I adapted a Gwyneth Paltrow recipe to make this pretty amazing veggie entree. In the future, I might add pork/ham to give it a little more savoriness or body. This would be good for a side dish, or a main, as we ate it last night…

With all the good things in lentils, this might become a regular in our household.

There are a few awesome things about lentils, and I’ll just name a few:

  1. 18g of protein per cup! That is a ton of awesome protein to build lean muscle.
  2. Only 230 calories in a cup, much lower than animal proteins.
  3. Contains nearly half of the fiber we’re supposed to get every day.
  4. Iron. A cup contains nearly 40% of the RDA value for iron.

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (with sweet potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (with lentils)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 pinches of chili flakes
  • 2 tsp chopped oregano
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (samish size as the sweet potatoes)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 14 oz dried lentils (~2.5 c)
  • 2 tsp salt

Method

  • Heat oven to 400, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and maple syrup, add a little salt and pepper to coat. Roast in middle of the oven for 25 min, until fork goes into cubes easily.
  • Heat large saucepan over medium, coating with olive oil. When warm, saute onion with herbs, garlic, and chili until glassy (~5 min). Add in carrot, stirring occasionally.
  • Add bag of lentils in, and add 5 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for ~40 min or until lentils have soaked up most of the water and are soft.
  • Add sweet potatoes into the lentil mixture.

Mexicali Chicken Lime Soup

21 Feb

photo_1[1] After perusing the Budget Bytes website, admiring the simplicity and wholesomeness of most of those recipes, I was inspired by her chicken lime soup. I adapted using slightly different proportions and veg stock instead of chicken stock; I find chicken stock a bit too chicken-y. Also, for clarification, when I say chicken breasts, some people think breast= 2 parts (since breasts come in pairs, no?). Well… I actually mean pieces. So one breast= one piece.

This was a very easy recipe, and after a long day, it was quite easy to get this soup going.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped/diced (depending on how much you like celery)
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • jalapeno, diced
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes (15-oz)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp roughly chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 limes (or more if you like it limey)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked off the stems
  • tortilla chips (we used bean-based chips)

Method

  • Heat olive oil on high in a deep soup pot. When hot, add onion, celery, jalapeno, and garlic. Stir until onion is translucent.
  • Add in tomatoes, chicken breast (raw), and veg stock. Allow soup to come to a boil, then cover and lower heat so that it is at a nice simmer for about 15 min.
  • Lift out the chicken breast from the soup and roughly tear (pull apart) so that it forms nice strips. Place back into soup and add spices, juice from the limes, and 1/2 of the cilantro to the soup.
  • Garnish with avocado and remaining cilantro.

photo_2[1]

Creamy Asparagus Soup

9 Feb

photo (3)

Been a while! Been absolutely slammed at work… So have been cooking but not blogging.

While it’s not completely frozen outside like it is on the East Coast right now, it IS in fact, in the 50s and gray. A warm asparagus soup is perfect to perk me up for the rest of this gray Saturday afternoon. Also, who doesn’t like a 5-ingredient soup??

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 bundles of fresh asparagus
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 in cubes
  • ~24 oz vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Heat a deep soup pot and add olive oil at med-high. Once hot, add onion. Stir once in a while, cook until translucent.
  • Wash and trim bottoms off asparagus. Roughly chop. Add asparagus and potato to onions in pot. Cook, stirring, for ~5 min.
  • Add veg stock and cover pot, cooking for another ~10 min, until potato is cooked through. Blend thoroughly (though I like to leave a few lumpy pieces for texture) with a hand blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

Perciatelli with Pea Pesto

5 Oct

Last weekend, I pretended to be a single girl. And by that, I mean, I cooked and baked all weekend like I used to… I wanted to try out a new pasta sauce, so as soon as Rafe left for Mississippi, I got out the food processor and tried my hand at making a pea pesto, since we all know cilantro pesto also works out amazingly. It was a cinch, and quite tasty!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c frozen peas
  • 1 to 1 1/2 medium clove fresh garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (depending on how much you love salt) and a few presses of fresh pepper
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan or other hard cheese
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 lb perciatelli or other pasta shape

Method

  • Bring a medium saucepan filled halfway with water to a boil. Once it starts boiling, add a smidge of salt. Then add 2 c of the peas in. Allow to boil for ~2 min. Strain and allow peas to sit in an ice water bath to cool. Set 1/2 c of peas aside to have on top of pasta.
  • Boil pasta according to instructions.
  • Take out your food processor. Toss the 2 c of peas in, along with the garlic, pine nuts, salt/pepper, and parmesan. While the machine is purring, drizzle the olive oil in through the add-in hole (I had wondered what that was for)
  • When pasta is done, toss with the sauce until evenly coated. Serve in a bowl and top with remaining peas.

Lemony Zucchini Orzo Feta Salad

30 Jul

Served with a lemon twist

Basically yesterday was a marathon of zucchini-related meals. First, zucchini morning glory muffins, then this pretty awesome orzo salad. We were so hungry, as we hadn’t eaten lunch yet and it was already 2:30pm. This meal got whipped together with what we had in the fridge in 15 min, and had us sated lickety-split.

Ingredients

  • one small box of orzo
  • 2-3 medium zucchinis, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 c herbs– we used cilantro, but basil would be tasty too
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan
  • 3 tbsp crumbled fat-free feta
  • 2 tbsp pesto sauce
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Optional: pine nuts, halved cherry tomatoes

Method

  • Cook orzo according to box directions. Drain.
  • Chop zucchini. With 2 zucchinis, our version was more orzo-heavy than I thought it would be. Next time, we will use 3!
  • Pam a non-stick fry pan and sautee zucchini in the pan until tender and cooked through. Should be slightly brown. I would recommend lightly salting the zucchini as they sautee.
  • Toss the orzo, zucchini, cilantro, cheese, pesto, olive oil, and lemon juice together in a large serving dish. Serve warm.

Spicy Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps (super healthy)

26 Jul

Another day, another healthy recipe (trying to keep it light over here!). It hasn’t been too difficult at work, and at home, Rafe, who is instead fighting to keep the pounds on, basically takes whatever base I’m starting with and adds a fattier meat or carbier side. So it’s working because it’s good to have a good support system… 🙂

These spicy lean turkey lettuce wraps were fantastic– filling, flavorful, and super low-cal (about 200 calories in each serving). The lettuce part of the wraps give it crispness, which is a nice contrast to the savory turkey. This recipe is for 2 servings.

Ingredients

  • about 8 oz of Jennie-O lean ground turkey (roughly half the packet– or double the recipe)
  • onion power, garlic powder, chili powder, and cayenne– all to taste
  • 1 inch fresh ginger cube, grated on microplane or otherwise chopped finely
  • 1-2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha, to taste
  • 1/2 a zucchini, grated
  • romaine fronds
  • cilantro, for topping

Method

  • In a medium bowl, mix turkey and spices, including ginger, with a fork. I added a fair amount of onion and garlic powder, since I like them!
  • Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium, spray with Pam. Add the turkey to the pan and continue stirring and breaking up chunks of turkey until the meat has a nice ground consistency and is more or less cooked (~5-7 min). Add soy sauce and Sriracha to taste.
  • Add grated zucchini to turkey and continue stirring.
  • Once you’re done, let cook slightly and wash and pat dry your romaine.
  • Lay the turkey mix into the romaine fronds and top with cilantro.

Super Healthy Diet-worthy Tomato Soup

25 Jul

So after more than a few months of being injured and carrying a little more weight than I’m happy to, I decided to cut back on the calories a bit and try to stop eating the crap (I’m looking at you, Blue Bell ice cream).

This soup (made it last night), is not only super tasty and protein-enriched, but also very low-cal (230 for a large serving). And it includes one of my favorite veggies– cauliflower!

I have leftovers for lunch, and I’m psyched for them!

Ingredients

  • 8 small/medium tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning, salt, pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 c fat-free cottage cheese

Method

  • Roast tomatoes, onions, and garlic (whole) in a baking dish sprayed with Pam at 400 for ~1 hr, with Pam spray on top with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • While this is roasting, steam the cauliflower until tender.
  • Once the tomatoes, onions, and garlic are done (this should make your house smell amazing), put them through a food mill, or if you don’t have one, just use the blender. Add the cauliflower and cottage cheese, and add a bit more salt if you’re feeling it.

Pumpkin Spinach Mac & Cheese

10 Jul

Cheesy and delicious

You can file this under the using-everything-in-the-cupboard-before-we-move category. Whipped this up super easy and fast, a day in advance so that our Monday night (and lunch Tues meals would be a snap).

Ingredients

  • one lb of pasta
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of onion, chopped
  • Italian seasoning/herbs
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • one large can of pumpkin
  • one brick of frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 c grated cheddar (or your choice of cheese)
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs

Method

  • Cook pasta in water according to instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in deep pot on med/high. Add onion and sautee until glassy, stirring constantly. Add in Italian herbs, nutmeg, and salt and stir. Add in all of the pumpkin from the can. Taste, as you might want to add more salt…
  • Break up and stir in spinach (don’t bother thawing, as the pot will take care of that). Finally stir in the milk and all but a handful of cheese, so the sauce is smooth.
  • Dump the pasta in and stir, until all pasta is relatively evenly coated. Put all of this into a large rectangular glass dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese. You can let it all cool and store for a few days if you like, or eat tonight… If tonight, then you’ll want to preheat the oven to 400 and allow the breadcrumbs and cheese to get crispy.

Beet Cheese Burger

28 Jun

This might be the healthiest burger in the world. It also might be the one you make with all the leftovers in your fridge… This was basically a stone soup kind of burger, but it turned out delicious. We would definitely repeat this!

And so we continue Zucchini Week 2012, in which we attempt to finish eating about 10 zucchinis in one go.

Ingredients

  • 3 small/medium beets (either roasted, peeled, and chopped OR peeled and grated raw)
  • 1 1/2 c grated zucchini (keep peel on)
  • 1 c canned black beans
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • optional- 1/2 c chopped walnuts/pecans
  • Cheese and lettuce for topping
  • BBQ sauce or ketchup

Method

  • Mash up the beats with a fork in a large bowl– breaking up most of the larger chunks.
  • Add in the grated zucchini, chopped/grated beets, salt, and bread crumbs (and chopped nuts if you want a little crunchy texture). The consistency should be dry enough that you can form balls with it.
  • Heat a non-stick fry pan with Pam on high. Form balls with your beet meat, and flatten into burger shapes. Place on the fry pan and reduce heat to med-high. Cook until crispy and flip. Cook until crispy again, and then if you want to make it a cheese burger, add cheddar on top and reduce heat even more to low, covering the pan (so the cheese melts).
  • Serve with lettuce and sauce!