recipes

Stupid-Easy Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

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IMG_4922Good morning. Happy Monday. I’ve got a meatless recipe for you today.

Stuffed peppers were one of the first meals I learned to make as a college grad. They were so easy—and so cheap! For years, they were a weeknight staple, and I have no idea when and how they fell out of rotation. Until this weekend, I can safely say it had been ay least 3 years (if not longer) since I’d made them.

Go figure, it was this recipe from Self magazine that reminded me of how much I love lentil-stuffed peppers. Aside from being delicious, they’re a great source of protein, fiber, and iron—the absorption of which is enhanced by the vitamin C in the pepper. I decided to put a Mediterranean-style spin on it by using a blend of spices instead of salsa. I also topped mine with goat cheese and served it with mixed greens veggies mixed with hummus. Feel free to experiment.

Ingredients:

  • 1 halved bell pepper, cut in half and seeded
  • ½ cup cooked lentils
  • ¼ tsp each: oregano, rosemary, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • ½-1 cup roasted peppers, eggplant, onion, and/or zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tbsp hummus

Directions:

  1. Microwave pepper halves on High for 2 minutes to soften. Set aside.
  2. Mix lentils with spices. Divide between the pepper halves and microwave for another 2 minutes until warm. Sprinkle 1 tbsp goat cheese on top and microwave another 30 seconds or so until the cheese melts.
  3. Place spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and wilt by cooking on High for 30-60 seconds. Add veggies and microwave another minute. Add hummus and mix well. Cook another 30-60 seconds if desired.
  4. Pour veggies onto plate with pepper. Add the last tbsp of goat cheese if desired.

What was one of the first foods you learned to make? 

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Red-and-Green After-Christmas Detox

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If you are like the majority of Americans who just celebrated Christmas, chances are you’re probably feeling a little, “OMG why did I eat that?” Or “Ugh, SO. Much. Pie.” Or at least feeling extra-motivated to hit the gym and “eat better” come January first. Why wait to feed yourself something healthy?

red and green detoxThis recipe is stupid-easy and super-satisfying. Yes, we are going to use a lot of hyphens for this one. Sorry, no bacon here, but maybe you’re bacon-ed out from all those holiday brunches and side dishes with their salty-crunchy garnishes?

I made this on the 26th and enjoyed the leftovers at work the next day. You can also serve this for two with some wine and crusty bread instead of seltzer from the soda fountain and a side of crackers in a Ziploc…

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale and/or spinach
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 handful grape tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
  • red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and shallot. Sauté until fragrant and shallot is translucent.
  2. Add greens and cook until they start to wilt. Add red pepper flakes, if using.
  3. Add mushrooms and grape tomatoes. Cook until they begin to soften.
  4. Add chickpeas. Mix everything well and cook until greens are wilted, mushrooms and tomato are soft, and chickpeas are nice and hot.
  5. Serve garnished with grated cheese.

What foods do you like to make after a string of indulgent holiday meals? 

Super-Food Granola

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Superfood GranolaThis year for Christmas, I decided to make some edible gifts for all the aunts and uncles in the family. I thought it would be fun to make something vaguely healthy but still festive.

So, after some thought, super-food granola floated to the top of the thought-pile. This recipe is very similar to my dark chocolate coconut granola, except with more add-ins. Enjoy on its own with milk or as a garnish on yogurt, oatmeal, or anything else that sounds good! I made a giant batch, but here’s a scaled-down version if you’re looking for something to get you through the week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • cinnamon to taste
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 c  dark chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c dried cherries, blueberries, and/or strawberries (cranberries would work too)
  • 1/2 package Trader Joe’s roasted coconut chips
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt coconut oil, maple syrup, and honey in a microwave-safe bowl (~10-20 seconds). Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla. Mix in 2 tbsp chocolate chips. Melt a few seconds in the microwave if needed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together oats, coconut, flax, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  4. Add chocolate mixture to oats. Stir to combine. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove and stir. Put back in oven and back another 15 or 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
  5. Allow to cool before adding dried fruit, coconut chips, chia seeds, and the rest of the chocolate chips and pouring into a storage container.

Serves 8

Did you make any edible holiday gifts this year? 

Happy Solstice

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Fortune cookieToday marks the beginning of the season of winter. Am I the only one shaking my head wondering where the time is going?

I say that a lot, don’t I?

I’m actually heading to a winter solstice-themed event today, so in lieu of a regular Saturday post, check out a few of my favorite winter-time recipes:

What kinds of things do you like to eat when it’s cold out? 

Black Garlic Quinoa Stir-Fry

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Have you ever tried fermented black garlic? I saw some when I was at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago,and I just had to try it. I’m glad I did! It’s mild and a little bit sweet and adds a note of wtf-is-this-awesomeness to a humble stir-fry.

black garlic quinoaI made this the other night when faced with a craving for a grain & veggie /vehicle-for-poached-egg dinner. I made a large amount so I would have leftovers for the next day, but you can definitely make a smaller amount if preferred.

Serves 2 (or 1, twice)

Ingredients: 

  • ~2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 head black garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 10-oz package shredded brussels sprouts
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste, if desired
  • ~1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup roasted golden beets
  • 2 poached eggs
  • tahini, for drizzle (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook a few minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add shredded brussels sprouts and cook until wilted and hot. Add soy sauce and salt/pepper if using.
  4. Add quinoa and beets. Cook until flavors are well-blended.
  5. Serve hot. Divide into two bowls and top each with a poached egg. Drizzle with tahini if desired.

Have you ever tried black garlic? What are some of your favorite dinner recipes? 

Last (Free) Meal

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When I started my job, free breakfast and lunch were offered to food service staff. While I can’t say it was gourmet cooking, on days when I didn’t have anything to pack, it was nice to be able to count on grabbing something at least slightly edible in the cafeteria. I also came to rely on the free—if nasty—coffee. morning coffee

Predictably, budget issues have dictated that free meals will no longer be available. Ditto free sh!tty coffee. Actually, I lied—we’re allowed to get free fountain drinks, and we also ask for a mix of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber from the salad bar. I think sandwiches may be available as well  at a reduced cost. On the one hand, I appreciate the company trying to still provide something, but on the other, I’d kind of rather it be all or nothing.

I kind of saw this coming a few months ago, which is why I’ve been gradually getting myself into the habit of packing lunch. Like so: antipasti salad

IMG_3784So photogenic, I know.

For better or worse, my last totally free lunch was kind of anticlimactic.chickpea stew

This chickpea stew was way better than it looked, but, well, yeah. The dietitians were chatting about how maybe this will motivate us to try some new recipes and get more creative. So we will see. Good times. Always an adventure.

What’s the lunch situation like at your job? 

Frittata to Go

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Even as a morning person, I am not in denial about the fact that I get up stupid-early during the week. Part of it is my own fault—I like to work out first thing when I get up. Because of my weird chemistry, it’s way easier for me to roll out of bed and hit the gym than it is to find the energy later in the day. That said, I’m usually at work by 7:30ish, so it’s not all on me. One day maybe I’ll have “normal” work hours…And vacation time. I’m looking forward to that.

egg white frittata to goIf you’ve been with me a while, then you know I love to pack oatmeal (lately I’ve been digging on chocolate egg white oatmeal and, as always, my zucchini bread oats with—yep—egg whites) to heat up and eat at my desk, but once in a while I like something savory. So maybe my egg white obsession is a little out of hand, but it keeps me satisfied and fueled for my toenail-breaking workday. When I recently had some leftover sliced polenta, I decided to work that into breakfast. Turns out it’s the perfect pairing with a mini egg white frittata. It was so good, I made one a few days later. This is totally my new favorite way to use up leftover veggies.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 small handful leafy greens
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or garlic powder
  • 1/2-3/4 cup veggies of your choice (I used leftover roasted broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1-2 tbsp feta (or other cheese)
  • dried basil (optional)
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wilt greens in the microwave (zap for 3o seconds)
  3. Spray the inside of a large ramekin with nonstick cooking spray. Place veggies inside.
  4. Mix egg whites, spices, and cheese together.  Pour egg mixture over veggies. Mix.
  5. Bake ~25 minutes until set.

What time do you get up during the week?