Posts tagged ‘easy’
I spoke too soon! I may have mentioned that I rarely receive excited unknown veggies anymore in my Boston Organics box… well, the veggie gods must have taken that as a complaint and decided to throw me a curveball.
That, right there, is (not my own picture of) kohlrabi. I had no idea what this strange and questionable vegetable was until I googled it. I had heard of kohlrabi before but never actually seen it (or many recipes with it) and so was at a loss until 4 failed searches in. After reading a little bit about how the inside of kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked, I searched some recipes, which led me to this delicious creation from Epicurious. It looked simple and amenable to ingredients I already had in my fridge and freezer, so I decided to give it a shot!
The result? Amazing! Now, I might not be running out to the store for kohlrabi to incorporate into every meal. However, I would definitely make the trip to make this recipe again, and am looking forward to further experimentation should I happen upon this veggie in my box in the future! Kohlrabi has a great firm texture with a sharp, fresh taste. I almost want to compare it to a hybrid apple and potato, but that might be a stretch. Regardless, it worked great with the sweet corn and tropical flavors from the salsa I used, and really enhanced what would otherwise be a boring white fish. The key to the kohlrabi being edible and enjoyable is to peel it well– we used an industrial peeler and still ended with some of the thick, waxy coating in the finished product. Next time I know to be more careful! Also, though sources say you can enjoy it raw, I definitely preferred it cooked! Lastly, I made mini wedges instead of dicing the kohlrabi, which led to longer and more uneven boiling. Next time, I am going to dice the kohlrabi (and suggest you try it that way!) so that it is faster and blends into the compote better!
If you find yourself with kohlrabi or a craving for something new, give this recipe a shot! It comes together in less than a half hour, including prep time, so is great for a quick, healthy and delicious weeknight meal for two!
White Fish with Tropical Kohlrabi and Corn Compote
inspired by this recipe, serves 2
2 haddock (or other local white fish) fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 kohlrabi, peeled well and diced
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup tropical salsa (I used Mango Salsa from Costco)
Heat olive oil in a frying pan until popping hot. Add the fish fillets and season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes, then carefully flip. Season again with salt and pepper, then cook 4-5 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer fish to oven-safe dish and keep in a warm oven.
Meanwhile, bring roughly diced kohlrabi to a boil and cook until fork tender – about 5 minutes. Drain and mix with corn and salsa over low heat. Once warmed through and well combined, spoon mixture over fish fillets and serve.
It has been humid this past week in Boston, and so I have been craving cold salads and anything frozen. Last summer, I made a heavenly frozen treat that I nick named “Monkey Bites.” When I got around to making them again this summer, I found a way to simplify and clean up the process.
Smart, you say, right? I’d like to say that I am always that on top of my game, but we all know that is not true. More often than not, I am prone to some pretty hilarious blonde moments. Take the time I walked into my grandparent’s glass door in Florida trying to look at the alligator in their lake. They were nice enough to tape a napkin to the door for the rest of the week so I knew my boundaries. In my defense, my grandma is a very clean lady…
When I am not walking into doors or saying silly things, I am at least coming up with creative kitchen ideas! The recipe is about the same: bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter. But the method is simplified and cleaned up with some handy grill skewers. First, cut the bananas into bite sized chunks. Then, thread a few onto a skewer and pop them into the freezer for an hour or two. When they are almost frozen, melt down some chocolate and peanut butter. This is much easier than creating a peanut butter layer on each individual banana piece but still gets you some chocolate and peanut butter-y goodness in every bite!
Then, take the skewers, and rotate the banana pieces in the chocolate, using a spoon to make sure they get fully covered.
Pop ‘em back in the freezer for 20 minutes, then slide ‘em off the sticks and keep in a Tupperware in the freezer! They make a good snack or small dessert bite, perfect for steamy summer days. Enjoy!
Question: Are you prone to blonde moments? Leave a comment telling your funniest silly story!
Smarter than a Monkey Bite
3 medium bananas, very ripe, cut into chunks
3 standard chocolate bars of your choice
2 tbsp peanut butter
6 wooden skewers
Cut the banana into pieces. Slide, with space, onto skewers and freeze. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and peanut butter over a double boiler. Cover each banana piece with chocolate mixture. Freeze for 20 minutes on the skewers, and then remove to a storage container. See text of post for more detailed instructions.
The only thing better than cooking a great dinner is having leftovers for the next day or week. I frequently suffer from food boredom, though, so have become quite creative in repurposing some of my recipes into new grab-and-go lunch creations. I highlighted some of my leftover makeovers last summer, and figured I’d keep up with this mini-series again this summer! Hopefully there will be more to come!
This repurposing is simple: it is basically the previous night’s dinner all re-bundled grab-and-go style. All I did was take a few spoonfuls of the leftover curried quinoa with greens, a spoonful of caramelized sweet potatoes, some chopped cucumber, and a stripe of Greek yogurt and mango butter. I rolled this all up inside of a wrap and then rolled that in foil. This lunch was surprisingly filling, thanks to the protein from the quinoa and the Greek yogurt, and helped me conquer a busy Saturday afternoon on the wards!
My friend must know me really well. I check in on her dogs every once in a while if she and her husband are out of town, and in turn am always offered produce they have in their fridge that they want to make sure gets eaten! So I think I get the best of all ends of the deal: I get my puppy fix by playing with two adorable dogs for a bit, and then get to take home fruits and veggies as I leave? Yes, please!
This time my payment was a giant head of green cabbage. I can tell I am getting older because of how much I have grown to love this vegetable. As a kid, I associated cabbage with the boiled stuff you picked at on St. Patrick’s Day. Bland, soft, and generally not my favorite. Now, I know that cabbage is great sautéed with fennel, pickled with apple cider vinegar, or added to stir fries. Thanks to Chelsey, I have one more way to enjoy it: roasted. I followed her recipe closely, but wanted to spice it up a little bit. I added some garlic powder and apple cider vinegar in addition to the olive oil, salt and pepper that she called for. Also, I decided to make a quick mustard vinaigrette, and have never been happier. I combined a tablespoon each of Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil and poured that over my portion of cabbage. I enjoyed bowls upon bowls of this for lunch over the past week, along with some leftover burek that my friend brought for dinner while visiting. It’s like eating a salad, but more warm and comforting – delicious for the still chilly winter air. My roommate stole a bite and liked it enough to get her own head of cabbage – that should be convincing enough to convert some new cabbage lovers out there!
My friend discovered that the Au Bon Pain near where she worked sells their bakery items at a huge discount, and so she started bringing over fresh bread and treats anytime she would come for dinner. The coconut macaroons she brought once were huge, as big as a clementine, filled with dried cherries and covered in chocolate. I was in dessert heaven, a very indulgent place. I wanted to enjoy these treats again without making such a splurge. Of course, I passed some along to my friend as well. They are much smaller, slightly healthier, but every bit as tasty! They take a little longer than the 4 minutes promised in the original recipe, but these cookies are still super easy and a must try for any special occasion coming up! ;)
Question: Do you have any Valentine’s Day plans?
Chocolate Cherry Coconut Cookies
based on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Coconut Macroons
1 1/3 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened since that is all I could find!)
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp lite coconut milk
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
3 squares baking chocolate
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut, flour and coconut milk. Heat over medium low heat until the coconut starts to get sticky. Stir in the cherries. Form small balls and line on a cookie tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned. While cooling, melt chocolate. (I added a drop of coconut milk for smoother melting). Using a spatula, drizzle the cookies with chocolate. Allow to set completely; store in an air tight container.
Growing up, my sister and I loved helping my mom out in the kitchen. We loved mixing, chatting, and wearing fun aprons. My personal favorite: a red cloth apron emblazoned with white letters proclaiming, “Got more time for misbehavin’, since I started microwavin’!” We still have that apron, and I still wear it when I am at home. Personally, my microwave is my least utilized kitchen tool. I reheat leftovers in it, but that is about it. I can’t seem to microwave oatmeal without it exploding, I make air popped popcorn, and rarely find other uses for this kitchen staple. That was true until I made this soup!
I blame the craving I had for Broccoli Cheddar Soup that came over me on two circumstances: the rainy day and my afternoon of studying spent in Panera. I used to love this soup in a bread bowl from Panera, but haven’t had it in a long time since it is not vegetarian (made with chicken broth). I searched for some vegan recipes online, but didn’t want to spend a lot of time making a whole pot of soup since I needed to finish up some studying before going out for the night. I decided to experiment, try my luck with the microwave, and hope for the best! The resulting soup was so much better than I could have even hoped for – perfectly salty, broccoli laden, and a little creamy. Reminiscent of my favorite Panera soup, but with a much better nutrition profile. So easy that it requires about 10 minutes total prep and cooking time, and clean up is a breeze since you only use one dish. My picture for proof of this is somehow corrupted, but at least these few survived! I made my own mini-bread bowl for a few bites of soup by hollowing out a sourdough roll – craving fulfilled. This will definitely be a soup I will make often! No matter what your skill level is in the kitchen, give this a try – it is foolproof!
Microwavable Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Inspired by Novel Eats, serves 1
1/4 small onion, chopped
1 tsp vegan butter
1/2 white potato, peeled and diced
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 small crown of broccoli, sliced into small florets
2 tbsp almond milk
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch kosher salt
In a large microwave safe bowl, combine onion and butter. Microwave for 2 minutes so that onions soften. Add the diced potato and vegetable broth. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; stir, then microwave for 2 more minutes. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from microwave. Stir together the almond milk, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, and salt; then mix into soup. Enjoy with a side of bread.
You know you are a med student when:
A. you ask for highlighters and notecards for Christmas
B. you get excited about going to an outside-of-school lecture on the link between diabetes and obesity
C. you view a day off as an extra reading day for your upcoming exam
D. all of the above.
Guilty as charged. Even nerds have to eat, though! Here is a glimpse into my MLK Day!
I started Jillian Michael’s “No More Trouble Zones” – but I couldn’t finish! I need lighter weights, stronger arms, or a longer attention span… or maybe this is another all of the above question ;)
My aunt had me over for dinner on Saturday, and graciously found a vegan friendly recipe for me! It was absolutely incredible the first time, so I was happy to take home some leftovers! The recipe is from her Sicilian hair dresser, and contains cauliflower, raisins, pine nuts, bread crumbs and saffron. I would love to try to recreate it for myself sometime! I had some mixed salad greens and spinach with almonds, cranberries and balsamic viniagrette on the side.
My afternoon was spent doing work with a friend at Panera. Unfortunately, not the most vegan friendly if you have a craving for something sweet, but I was satisfied with a handful of peanuts and raisins, an orange, and a bottomless mug of hot tea!
Dan was complaining about how his veggie and rice dinners are getting boring, and so I recommended this peanut sauce to him. I used to make it a lot in college, and would always share the recipe with guy friends who were new to cooking. It is easy and the ingredients are something most people always have on hand. I spiced up the basic sauce recipe a bit, and was amazed by the results. I may or may not have used a spatula to scrape up every last drop… give me peanut butter and veggies in one meal and I am a happy girl. You can be happy, too, since the recipe is below!
I needed to make cookies to bring to a friend’s house on Tuesday, which needed to be vegan friendly and use only what I had on hand. Enter these Skinny Fig Bars from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Of course taste testing was in order! I was shocked by how well these turned out. They have almost no added sugar, and are reminiscent of Fig Newtons, but have an even better texture. I used some fresh squeezed orange juice instead of lemon juice and anise extract, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly!
Question: Did you have off for MLK day?
Thai Peanut-Ginger Stir Fry
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp + 1 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp ground giner
1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
for stir fry:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 red and 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
2 large handfuls snap peas, cut in half
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to instructions
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Mix together all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a small bowl. Set aside. Over medium heat, sautee onions in olive oil until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the snap peas and bell peppers and sautee for 3-4 more minutes. Stir in the peanut sauce until vegetables are well coated. Serve over cooked brown rice and top each bowl with 1 tbsp chopped peanuts.
Ever eat something that is super tasty, but no so photogenic? Can’t always judge a book by its cover, and that is certainly true for this dish! The spaghetti squash absorbs a little more of the color from the pesto than pasta does, which gives everything a strange green hue. Regardless, this pesto was so good that I didn’t even miss the cheese!
I roasted up a small-sized spaghetti squash, and then pulled it with a fork into short spaghetti noodles. While that was happening, I used up a clamshell of basil left in my fridge from my friend’s New Years Bruschetta, and brainstormed how to make a pesto sauce with no Parmigiano. I remembered seeing a vegan pesto made with white beans, and thought chickpeas would make an interesting substitution, since that was all I had on hand! I still added the pine nuts and the olive oil, and threw in a pinch of salt since the cheese usually adds that salty component. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this! Confession: I may or may not have eaten a spoonful of pesto straight out of the food processor… The chickpeas added some heft to the sauce, making this all-veggie, vegan delight very filling. This is also a cheaper alternative to the classic pesto I have raved about before, no matter what your dietary preferences are. Give it a try, over spaghetti squash, regular pasta, or even with tomato slices on toast… Being a vegan for the month is really helping me to think outside of my food box!
Question: Do you ever get stuck in food ruts? What do you do to break out of them?
inspired by my classic pesto, serves 3-4
1 cup packed fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chick peas
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth sauce is formed. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, or use as a spread.
Is it Wednesday already? I have mixed feelings of both elation and dread, for Wednesday is so close to Friday. I am officially on Christmas vacation on Friday, but there is a pesky exam that stands in the way of me and that break! Med school is interesting in that we don’t have finals this year. Our schedule is blocked by system, so we focus on one organ or group of organs for two to three weeks at a time and are then tested on it. It makes it so we don’t face crazy exam weeks, but also makes it feel like we are always gearing up for an exam! My workload has been the same since August, but my motivation has precipitously declined since getting back from Thanksgiving. Hence, both the elation and dread for Friday to finally come. Enough rambling, here is a peek into my eats while studying for my last exam of 2011! The theme of today: finding and using anything in the fridge that won’t last over Christmas break.
I am sick, again! (I really thought that was just last month, but apparently it was in September! Where does time go!?) My throat is scratchy and feels swollen, but no other cold symptoms… I figured that a liquid breakfast would help my throat feel a bit better, and would also help me finish off a can of pumpkin. I saw this idea on Pinterest (yes, I’m addicted… more on that on Friday!) and adapted it to use what I had on hand. The results were pretty tasty, definitely reminiscent of pumpkin pie filling. It was easy on my throat, as well as the Nutcracker tea I drank on the side. Coffee makes my scratchy throat feel even worse, so I had to do without today.
Throwing together some more random tidbits, I made a
breakfast brunch burrito that was really tasty! It took almost no time to assemble and was protein and veggie packed for a long afternoon of studying.
I finished my lunch off with a Stonyfield blueberry yogurt, topped off with some frozen blueberries and a few walnut pieces. I also had a big mug of peppermint tea with honey, in a futile attempt to soothe my throat. I survived an afternoon meeting and a few hours of library studying, but retreated home quickly. I grabbed some Sugar Free Riccola cough drops from Rite Aid on my way home, and munched on those, some carrots, and a handful of trail mix while studying in more comfy sweats. The clementine was saved for an after dinner treat – delicious and packed with good-for-sick-me vitamin C, but it burned my poor sore throat!
All of those cough drops took away my appetite, so I was working away until 7:30 before realizing I needed to made dinner! I was tempted to pull out some frozen leftovers, but I still need to make my way through fridge food first! My last creation of the day was my favorite: Antipasto Black Bean Soup. Featuring an onion caramelized in Balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, black beans and sage. Heaven in a snowman mug, warming my throat with every sip.
Question: What is the best thing you ate today?
Can you still call something a quesadilla if there are no peppers and little cheese, and no need for salsa or sour cream or guac? I think so! Just like those fall calzones, you have to think outside of the box! Like most of my best meals, these quesadillas were concocted after pilfering my fridge for what I had on hand and could easily assemble into a meal. I hosted friends from my book club on Sunday evening, and after a weekend filled with Christmas parties, studying, and too little sleep, I didn’t want to make another grocery store trip. Utilizing sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach, sage and goat cheese, these quesadillas were a hit. Filling and full of fall flavor, they were the perfect treat to accompany our discussion of our most recent read, Note to Self. (If anyone is looking for a challenging Christian devotional book, I would definitely recommend this!) Embrace the root veggie love and try out the calzones or these quesadillas, or share your own root vegetable creation!
Question: What are you reading right now?
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup cooked black beans
4 cups raw chopped spinach
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp chopped sage
6 oz goat cheese
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
Roast the bite-sized sweet potatoes, drizzled lightly with olive oil, in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring once. In a large pan, cook spinach in 1 tbsp olive oil until lightly wilted. Stir in black beans and red onions. Add sweet potatoes and heat for 5 minutes. To assemble quesadillas, spoon the mixture onto one side of each tortilla. Top with a pinch of chopped fresh sage and crumbled goat cheese. Fold in half. To make six quesadillas at once, arrange on a baking tray and bake in 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, until cheese is slightly melted. Remove from oven, and lightly crisp the tortilla in a pan over high heat for 30 seconds on each side. Slice into thirds and serve.