Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crustless Breakfast Quiche

My boyfriend and I decided that plane tickets were too expensive and travel was too messy to make the trek home to California for Christmas this year.  We knew it would be hard to be away from our families on such a memorable holiday, so we were sure to have a lot of good food and alcohol to lesson the pain.  On Christmas Eve we went to the famous Willard hotel for overpriced cocktails, then we cruised the National Tree display at the Whitehouse.  On Christmas morning, I popped on some Michael Buble' Christmas music, and prepped this simple quiche while he finished wrapping my presents...typical.  I popped it in the oven before we opened gifts and it was ready to eat just as we finished our first round of mimosas.

2 large turkey sausages (castings removed)
1/2 onion
1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 cup frozen spinach (thawed)
1 medium tomato
4 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesean

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray.  On medium heat, saute' sausage, onion and seasonings until done.   In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and the milk.  Add the cooked sausage and onion, then add the sliced tomatoes and thawed, dried spinach.  Pour the entire mixture into the pie pan and sprinkle the cheeses on top.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges and the center is cooked through.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Meaty Garden Lasagna

Believe it or not, I have never made lasagna in my life.  Mostly just because I was always more of a pizza/eggplant parmesan kind of girl.  I decided to give it a shot but wanted to make something that both my boyfriend and I would enjoy.  He likes a lot of meat, I usually opt for a variety of veggies.  So I decided to do a combo of the two.  I kept it healthy by using whole wheat noodles and part skim cheeses.  My boyfriend ate the leftovers for lunch three days in a row... success.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 large yellow onion
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped yellow squash
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 links of sweet Italian lean turkey sausage, castings removed
1 1/2 cups of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup of white wine
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Whole wheat lasagna noodles

Cook lasagna noodles to al dente and run under cold water to cool.  Heat olive oil over high heat and add garlic and onions, saute until soft, then add the rest of the vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper.  Once the vegetables soften, add the turkey sausage and Italian seasoning.  Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and white wine.  Stir and simmer until meat is cooked through.  In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese.  To assemble the lasagna, spray a dish with cooking spray and spread just a little bit of the meaty veggie sauce on the bottom.  Add one layer of noodles, then spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Then pour a generous amount of the meaty veggie sauce on top of the cheese, followed by another layer of noodles, more ricotta mixture, more meaty veggie sauce and sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella on the very top.  Cover with foil and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Orange Cranberry Walnut Loaf

December has been a fun, social month, full of lots of eating.  Last weekend I went to a ladies brunch with my best girlfriends in the city.  We each brought something to contribute.  Unfortunately, the egg and meat dishes were claimed first, so I decided to bring the carbs.  This loaf of bread, which I made in my bread machine, came out absolutely perfect (that rarely happens).  A nice crispy crust, a light, soft center, a great crunch from the walnuts, and tons of bright citrus flavor.  I found the original recipe on and adapted it slightly for the ingredients I had in my pantry.

1 1/8 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry nonfat milk powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Place ingredients in the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. I selected the basic white bread cycle, and 1.5lb loaf.  Press Start.  Add the walnuts and cranberries at the beep.

Friday, December 16, 2011

BBQ Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled pork sandwiches are one of my absolute favorites.  I love making pulled pork because it's inexpensive, it's easy, and it lasts for days!

There is not much to it...
Pork Shoulder (or Boston Butt)
Bottle of Root beer
Sliced Onion
Your Favorite BBQ Sauce (I like Hickory Smoked Safeway Brand)

Put it all in a crockpot on low and cook for about 7 hours.  Remove and shred with a fork, removing any fat as you go.  Stir in BBQ Sauce.  Serve between two slices of soft white bread or hamburger buns.  Sometimes I also pile it on tortilla chips and make pulled pork nachos, or eat it "as is" with a good old fashion fork!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

No-Butter Chicken

My good friend Alexis hosted a fantastic girls dinner and wine night at her apartment last week. She created a delicious Indian dish inspired by "Butter Chicken", but without all of the butter and the fat. It was spicy, flavorful, and surprisingly quick and simple. Piled on top of warm naan, it made a delightful Winter night meal. I added onto the original recipe by including garbanzo beans (my favorite!), which added a nice balance to the spices.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion chopped
2 tablespoons garlic chopped
2 tablespoons ginger chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup garbanzo beans (from can, rinsed and drained)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
2 pieces of naan (heated in the oven for a few mins)

Heat oil in large skillet, add onion, garlic, and ginger, and saute for about five minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, brown sugar, garam masala, chile flakes, and salt. Stir everything together until fully combined. Add garbanzo beans and chicken breast cubes. Saute for about 6 minutes, until chicken is about halfway cooked. Add Greek yogurt and water. Simmer for about 6 more minutes. Scoop on top of naan and serve.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pasta with Shrimp, Spinach and Butternut Squash

Made another trip to the Dupont circle farmers market. I went without a recipe, just knew that I wanted to buy a lot of fresh produce, but couldn't buy more than I could carry home. I settled on a butternut squash, spinach, homemade pesto, and apples. I concocted this recipe from nowhere, but it ended up being one of the best dishes I have ever prepared.
*Note: The apples were devoured prior to making the meal below :)

1 medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch squares)
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 20 medium uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (oregano and basil work fine also)
a few hand fulls of spinach
3 cups whole wheat rigatoni pasta
Prepared pesto (I used a spinach pesto I found at the farmers market, but I also have a pesto recipe that would work well)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash with a little olive oil or cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about an hour. After about 45 minutes into roasting the squash, cook the pasta and heat a skillet and olive oil over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add shrimp to hot pan. Add Italian seasoning and sauté until shrimp is almost cooked through (about five minutes). Lower the flame to low and add spinach, toss until the spinach is wilted. Mix shrimp, spinach, and roasted squash to cooked pasta. Stir in several tablespoons of the pesto.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Cornbread

Our first Thanksgiving together in DC did not disappoint. We were far from home and our families, but were surrounded by friends, alcohol and good food. We feasted on a variety of unbelievable dishes (more recipes to come) but this was one of my favorites. Its sweet, moist, and pretty healthy overall.

1/2 cup light butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square pan. Melt butter and stir in sugar. Add the eggs and beat until well-blended. In a separate bowl, combine nonfat milk and lemon juice with baking soda and stir into egg/butter mixture. Add in cornmeal, flour, and salt until the bumps are gone. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holiday Oatmeal

I had some leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin cookies I made last weekend. I can't bear to throw that stuff away, so I stuffed the mush into a small tupperware and stuck it in the fridge. Decided to scoop a big heap into my bowl of oatmeal this morning. I also added a little cinnamon, brown sugar and a splash of almond milk. This warm creamy bowl of scrumptiousness was the perfect way to start the crisp fall morning.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Good Luck Glazed Pumpkin Cookies

After suffering through a pretty tough day of moving into a new apartment with my boyfriend- you know, the kind of day where you smash the Uhaul mirror and carry a couch up six flights of stairs and then realize that you are unable to fit it through the doorway - so I decided to make some pumpkin cookies to help us remember the small joys in life.

Well it turns out that these happen to be the best pumpkin cookies in the world. They mark the turning point in our recent string of bad luck. They are a reminder that despite it's obstacles, sometimes life can be absolutely delicious. That denting two trucks in two days, that getting a $500 bill from the cable company for unreturned equipment, that enduring a lovely case of food poisoning right before the start of Notre Dame v. Maryland game is not really that bad when you have something this scrumptious to sit and enjoy when the trials have passed.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together the first 6 dry ingredients and set aside. In a large mixer, mix butter, sugar, pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients slowly until combined. The dough is gooey and cake-like, so you will need to use a spoon to scoop them onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

For the Glaze:
Mix together confectioners sugar, milk, and a little melted butter (I just usually go by taste - if you have cream cheese, adding a little bit adds a nice flavor element as well).

After the cookies have cooled completely, take a spoon full of the glaze and creatively toss/drizzle the glaze onto the tops of the cookies.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meaty Butternut Squash Stew

The decision for me to move across the country to Washington DC over a year ago was a very difficult one to make. Since my move, my life has been full of new adventures, new friends, and unforgettable memories. But I always imagine what it would be like if I could share the experiences with him. Finally, in less than a week, my life is going to change a lot. My love has decided to move east to be with me. As the date of his arrival nears, I get more and more giddy each day. I can't wait to cook "manly" food for him, but I am definitely out of practice. Today we had a freak snowstorm here in DC (it is only October 29), and I realized that my boyfriend, a San Diego native, is going to have a lot of adjusting to do. So I decided to practice a meaty recipe that will keep his body warm and his stomach full.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 lbs cubed pork tenderloin (you can use any kind of meat you like)
1 peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into cubes
chopped carrots
chopped celery
4 cups of beef broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, garlic and herbs. Season meat with salt and pepper and coat in flour. Turn up heat and add to pot. Brown the meat for about five minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and stir in the broth. Add the salt and pepper. Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about an hour.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Veggie Enchilada

Every time I go out drinking with friends in the city I crave Mexican food at the end of the night. This usually results in me binging on a massive amount of steak nachos. Lately however, this super healthy enchilada recipe has become a staple in my diet and I am convinced that eating it regularly has helped to control these late night cravings - at least to some extent.

Lots of veggies of your choice- whatever you have! I used a frozen mix of carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, and asparagus.
3 oz. of canned (half of 6 oz. can) or diced tomatoes and green onions (can also use salsa)
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper
1 large tortilla
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
Dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt
Avocado slices

Heat veggies, diced tomatoes and green onions in a large skillet. Add chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Preheat broiler, place foil on a baking sheet, ans spray it with cooking spray. Lay tortilla on the pan and fill with 3/4 of the veggie mixture. Roll up the tortilla and poor the remainder of the veggie mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese and broil on high for 6 minutes. Top with Greek yogurt and avocado slices.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pork Tenderloin with Rasberry Sauce

This is a simple recipe that will make you look like a pro.

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 inch thick slices of pork tenderloin
1 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
splash of dry white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon of raspberry preserves
2 teaspoons marinara sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add pork slices and saute a few minutes on each side until done. Remove pork from pan and add garlic and ginger - cook until browned. De-glaze pan with white wine. Add the rest of the ingredients and let the sauce reduce. Pour sauce over the pork and serve.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Baked Cajun Catfish

In an attempt to save a little more money each month, I am trying to cut back on Chilean sea bass and black cod purchases and have been exploring more budget friendly fish options. Catfish is super inexpensive, is mild tasting, and is more filling than most other flaky white fish. This is a simple, foolproof recipe for cooking catfish - I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Fillet of catfish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon light Italian dressing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix all of the seasonings together and rub all over the catfish. Place catfish on a pan sprayed with cooking spray, drizzle the light Italian dressing on top. Bake for 10 minutes.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hot or Cold Faux Mashed Potatoes

So I know this dish sounds like a nasty dieters mashed potato substitute, but I swear you will be surprised by the creaminess and depth of flavor. With only a few ingredients, this is the perfect dish to make on a Sunday to save as a side dish for meals throughout the week. It also tastes delish with the turkey chili recipe below - just scoop into a big boll and pile the chili right on top!

A bunch of fresh cauliflower
3 oz. nonfat greek yogurt
Splash of milk
3 cloves fresh minced garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt

Boil cauliflower until soft. Put cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients above into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, be sure to taste it and add more of the above ingredients if necessary to obtain the best flavor and consistency. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of more greek yogurt on top. Special thanks to my innovative foodie roommate Steph for introducing me to this healthy play on mashed potatoes!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Three Bean Turkey Chili

After returning home from my Dad's annual fantasy football draft, it struck me that summer's end is near. The thought of bearing another East Coast winter gave me goosebumps, I needed something to remind me that winter isn't all that bad. Nothing warms you up and goes better with sunday football than hearty chili.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 lb lean ground turkey breast
1/4 cup chili powder (a little less if you prefer mild chili)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons oregano
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons cumin
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 4 oz. cans diced green chilis
1 12 oz. can garbonzo beans (rinsed and drained)
1 12 oz can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 12 oz. can black beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cups of chicken broth

Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Add the turkey and cook through. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Baked Eggplant Parm with Onions

It has been a scorcher this summer. Record breaking temperatures and dense humidity have made me want to eat nothing but cool salads and frozen yogurt. But for some odd reason I had a craving for some Italian comfort food. Perhaps I owe it to the recent premier of the Jersey Shore, which is taking place in Italy this year. I may or may not have watched the same episode twice last weekend to make sure I didn't miss anything important. This easy eggplant parmesan recipe crusted with panko bread crumbs and onions successfully fulfilled that craving and is healthy enough to make me resemble J-Wow in no time. It makes a yummy dinner, and is great as a sandwich the next day for lunch.

One large eggplant
1/2 onion
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup graded parmesan cheese
salt to taste
Marinara or tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with cooking oil. Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick round slices. Dip slices of eggplant in egg mixture, then in bread crumbs (I seasoned the breadcrumbs with a little salt, dried basil, dried oregano as well as a little parmesan cheese - but I have been in a hurry and skipped the seasoning and they were still delish). Place coated slices of eggplant on the cookie sheets about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 15 minutes before removing from the oven. In a casserole dish, put a thin layer of your favorite marinara sauce. Place a layer of the eggplant slices on top, top with sliced onions, another layer of sauce, some salt and some parmesan cheese. Then place on the next layer of eggplant slices and repeat the process. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pork Loin Chops with Nectarine Salsa

Nectarine salsa:
2 ripe nectarines
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 sweet onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt to taste
Chop above ingredients and refrigerate for a few hours before grilling chops

Brine (Optional) for extra juicy, tender chops:
2 boneless pork loin chops
1/2 cup kosher salt
4 cups water
2 tablespoons molasses
Add chops to brine and refrigerate four hours before grilling

Season pork before grilling with:
Chili powder

Remove pork chops from brine, coat with seasoning, grill for about 10 minutes per side (depending on thickness of the pork chop). Pile the salsa on top and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dupont Circle Sundays

Despite the 110 degree temperature outside, I ventured to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market this weekend. I ran into some metro challenges, as usual, but arrived in the circle to a frenzy of locals scavenging a plethora of booths for the freshest produce, greenery, artisan breads, and cheeses. When I got back home, I cranked the oven to 400 (cranked down the thermostat to 65), and roasted two foil-lined trays of sliced zucchini, eggplant, onions, and large chunks of chopped garlic. I seasoned the veggies with a little cooking spray, onion salt, fresh ground pepper, and parsley. I roasted them for about 40 minutes and tossed them a few times throughout for an even char.

As soon as they were done, I made a veggie wrap with cheese and couple dollops of nonfat greek yogurt and stashed the leftovers in a large Tupperware. The roasted veggies made a terrific side dish to my salmon that evening. I enjoyed them on pizza with pesto sauce the next day for lunch, and I mixed them with rice, chicken and soy sauce the next night for a pseudo – stir fry. So versatile and healthy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Rooftop Brunch Barbeque

My roommates and I all love to cook and entertain, so we decided to host a brunch for our friends. We eagerly brainstormed menu ideas. Visions of fatty egg casseroles, strata, and quiche were dancing in our minds. We have a small apartment and knew that there wouldn’t be adequate space to accommodate our large network of DC 20-somethings. Luckily, our steep rent includes accommodations such as a “club room” with ovens, a stovetop, a pool table, and plenty of space – or as we call it, a “party room.”

Invitations were extended, and weeks went by. Then we received a notice that the “club room” would be undergoing renovations for the rest of the summer. At first, we were somewhat excited that perhaps we could use this as leverage to negotiate a discount on our rent. Our apartment complex owners quickly sent us a copy of the clause in our rental contract stating that this was not an option.

Then the disappointment set in and panic ensued. Where will we host this rager-of-a-brunch? We would have to do it on the outdoor patio attached to our building. What kind of dishes would fare well outdoors? Certainly not fatty egg casseroles! What if it thunderstorms, or worse, what if it’s humid?!

The pluses were that we would have access to a grill. But what kind of brunch barbeque would this be? What is a brunch barbeque? Here are a couple of recipes we tried:

Grilled Peaches and Yogurt

5 large peaches cut in half, pit removed
Cooking spray
Nonfat vanilla yogurt

Prep the peaches and turn the grill on medium low. Spray the bottom of the peaches with cooking spray and place directly on the grill. Close the grill and let them cook for about 15 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from grill, drizzle with honey, and top with a scoop of yogurt and sprinkle of honey. These were DELICIOUS!

Cinnamon Buns (recipe courtesy of Lucy Rothlisberger, my boyfriend’s fabulous mother)

1 c of warm milk
1/4 c butter
1 egg
3 1/2 c of flour - I usually use bread flour but regular flour works
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
3 rounded tsp of regular active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in your bread machine in this order. Then select the dough cycle. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Once the dough is done rising, roll it out on a flowered surface until it is a large rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Then rub butter all over the dough - just enough to coat it. Sprinkle the dough generously with brown sugar and cinnamon (be VERY generous). Then just roll the dough up into a long sphere. Take a piece of thread and slide it under the sphere then cross it over the top to cut the dough into separate cinnamon rolls. Bake the rolls on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. I baked them several days before our brunch, let them cool, and froze them. I took them out of the freezer the night before brunch, heated them in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees, whipped up a quick icing with milk, butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar, and voila!

Monday, July 11, 2011

DC has a Wharf?

I had heard rumors about the infamous "DC Wharf." Allegedly this place exists in the "dangerous" part of DC. The part of DC that a 20 something girl should not go alone... Southwest.

I decided to take my chances in search of the freshest seafood this place has to offer. I took the metro to the L'Enfant Metro Station and walked a half mile to the riverfront. There I found it. Seafood Mecca. From peel-and-eat shrimp, to fresh oysters, to live crabs and seafood gumbo, this place had it all and it was packed with people! I wandered among the excitement in awe and finally decided to get a dozen littleneck clams to cook for dinner and a cup of gumbo to enjoy before my metro ride back home to chinatown.

The gumbo was outstanding - hot, spicy and hearty. The clams made a great meal, here is how I prepared them:

One dozen fresh littleneck clams
3 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
Splash of white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 can of italian diced tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
Crusty french bread (to soak up the broth)

Soak clams for several hours in water to remove any sand. Saute' onions and garlic with EVOO in a large pot (actually used a large wok because my roommates and I are short on pots with lids). Add a splash of white wine, followed by the chicken broth and the diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Scrub and rinse clams before adding them to the broth. Cover the pot and wait about ten minutes. The clams are done when the shells open.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Low-cal (but better than the original) Tuna Salad

I never particularly liked tuna salad as a kid. Probably because I hated mayonnaise. Recently I decided to give tuna salad another chance by replacing the mayonnaise with nonfat greek yogurt. It was delicious and much healthier than your mom's tuna salad!

2 cans chunk tuna light drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
chopped celery (add as much as you like for a nice crunch)
1 large chopped red bell pepper
1 medium chopped red onion
6 oz. nonfat greek yogurt (drained)
salt and pepper to taste

Just mix all the ingredients together and enjoy alone or between two toasty pieces of bread!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Healthy Chinese Takeout

Living in chinatown means I am constantly surrounded by the tantalizing scents of greasy chinese takeout. Here is a dish that I created to satisfy that itch.

1/2 lb. fresh brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 yellow onion
2 handfulls diced mushrooms
1/2 package of extra firm tofu, diced
4 ounces of water chestnuts
3/4 cup of vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet and sour sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
1/2 tablespoon water
1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

Roast brussel sprouts in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes
In a large skillet, heat olive oil
Add ginger, garlic, onion and saute for 5 minutes
Add mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes
During that time, mix water and cornstarch separately
Add tofu and the rest of the ingredients (including the cornstarch)
Mix in the baked brussel sprouts
Let simmer for 3-5 minutes


Lemon Mustard Salmon with Greek Quinoa

My roommate and I decided to prepare dinner together this weekend. Neither of us had ever cooked quinoa, but had both heard that it is a healthy grain and a complete protein. After doing a little research, and learning how to properly pronounce it, I discovered that it comes from South America, can help cure migraines, and is also great for your heart! It came out a little mushy, but still absolutely delicious! Next time we will add a bit less liquid. The vegetables made it hearty and the feta added a refreshing touch. The salmon was perfect. The panko absorbed the sauce which complimented the fish perfectly; it also added a nice crunch.

1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey mustard
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper
Panko bread crumbs

Whisk together the first six ingredients and pour half of the mixture over the salmon
Sprinkle bread crumbs over the salmon
Pour the rest of the mixture over the salmon
Bake at 450 degrees for eleven minutes

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa):
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup quinoa
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 yellow onion
2 medium zucchini
1 cup fresh packed spinach
1/3 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper
Feta cheese

Cook quinoa according to package
In a separate skillet, heat olive oil
Add onions and garlic and saute
When onions are soft, add zucchini
Cook for about 10 minutes on low to medium heat
Stir cooked quinoa into skillet with vegetables and add spinach
Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
Sprinkle feta cheese over quinoa
Serve with salmon

Friday, April 15, 2011

City Living

Aside from the noise of angry street preachers, screaming drug dealers, and honking drivers, city living is great! After a recent move into the heart of Washington DC’s Chinatown, I am once again adjusting to more change. I now live with two female roommates, both about my age. My weekends aren’t nearly as lonely, and I am still trying to figure out whether that is good or bad. Due to a cluttered kitchen and numerous weekend social commitments, my weekend cooking experiments have been put on hold. I am stuck in a place between happiness and over-stimulation. My relaxing Friday nights with a bottle of wine and a good piece of fresh fish have morphed into food trucks and cheap beer. Trying to figure out how to embrace the change but find the time to do those things that I loved as a weekend hermit.

This weekend’s goal – fresh rosemary bread.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Perfect Salmon

The key to perfect fish is not over-cooking it. For a medium-sized fillet of salmon (about an inch think), preheat your oven to 425 degrees and bake for ten to twelve minutes. Take it out and let it rest for about three more minutes. You can't go wrong.

For a some added flare, try this simple asian sauce:
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of sweet and sour sauce
1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon of molasses (optional)

Brush the mixture over the fish just before baking.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Craving Something Salty with a Crunch?

Kale Chips!

I know, I was hesitant at first too. This definitely sounds like a classic diet-food. But don't be fooled, these salty, crunchy "chips" will change your perception of kale. A sister of cabbage, kale is high in antioxidants, is a natural anti-inflammatory, and is high in calcium, iron, beta-carotene and vitamin C.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
Rinse kale and tear off chunks from the thick stems (discard the stems)
Pat the kale dry and lay on the baking sheet
Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt
Bake for 10-12 minutes until chips are crispy but not burnt