Posts tagged ‘goat cheese’
Ok, so here’s my first attempt at a recipe post. I have made this sandwich for lunch three times this week and bragged to Jen about it so she encouraged me to share it as my first post!
So, who doesn’t love grilled cheese? There is something so remarkably comforting about a simple grilled cheese sandwich, especially when paired with a bowl of tomato soup. I also love the flavor combinations of Greek food, especially Tziki sauce. I was inspired to make this sandwich from a post I saw on Pinterest.
I love to make my own Tziki dip, but who wants to do all that work for a quick lunch sandwich, so I came up with a cheater to still get the flavor. This sandwich combines all the flavors I love, pumpernickel bread, cucumber, dill, and goat cheese, which packs a punch with flavor.
To begin, I weighed my goat cheese on a kitchen scale. It is easy to completely load or sandwiches up with unnecessary fat and calories, and until you have a great understanding of servings, this is the easiest suggestion to monitor calorie intake. You may be surprised with how much you end up with, a serving often being larger or smaller than you think. After weighing out an ounce of cheese, I popped it in the microwave for 10 seconds to make if more spreadable. You can skip this step if you leave the cheese sitting on the counter for a little bit, but let’s be honest, who thinks that far ahead? I know when I’m hungry, it is time to make that sandwich and eat it!I This makes the cheese wonderfully spreadable. Then layer the cucumbers up on top of the cheese. This is the fun part. No measuring, just as much as you desire. Nobody got fat by eating too many vegetables! I personally prefer my cucumbers sliced very thinly so I can pile them up higher and feel like there is more on there, but feel free to cut to your desire! I also peeled my cucumber, simply because it is on it’s way out of being good (frugality at its finest!) On this particular sandwich I photographed I do feel like I would have liked more cucumbers. Live and learn!
On the other piece of bread I make my quick tziki. I simply spread a thin layer of greek yogurt on the other piece of bread, sprinkled some onion powder and dill. These flavors combined with cucumber very successfully imitates the tziki flavor, though I will post the recipe at a later time, being that it is one of my favorite dips to make for veggies. After the sandwich was assembled, I sprayed both sides with cooking spray. This way, you achieve the buttery flavor on the outside without loading up on the calories of spreading butter all over. It also helps crisp up the bread. I cooked my sandwich on my George Foreman grill because I like the lines and even texture it gives, but there is nothing stopped you from throwing it in a frying pan the old fashioned way!
I accompanied my sandwich with a bunch of plain baby carrots. For me it added the crunch and sweetness I needed to feel completely full and satisfied. If you are counting calories or doing WeightWatchers, this entire sandwich is 7 points, mostly due to the pumpernickel bread which is 2 points a slice, but feel free to find a different brand!
Goat Cheese and Cucumber Grilled Cheese
serves 1, 7 points total
2 slices pumpernickel bread
cucumber (however much you desire)
1 ounce goat cheese
1 tsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp dill
1 tsp onion powder
2 sprays cooking spray
Every once in a while, I get a bunch of unidentified green stuff in my Boston Organics box. I’d like to think I’m better than the average gal at green identification, but there are still occasions when I can’t quite distinguish certain species of kale from chard from random leafy greens. Last week was one of those weeks – I got a bunch of what looked like a mix between kale and Swiss chard in my box. Not sure exactly what the flavor of the greens would be, I decided to make a frittata out of them! I have posted several frittata recipes before and generally follow the same framework. For those of you who are new to this recipe, a frittata is essentially a fancy, fluffy baked omelette that is much simpler to make than its name implies. I use onions and garlic for a flavor base and 8 eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper for the fluffy egg center. To change the profile of the frittata, I simply switch up the veggies and cheese that I use. Goat cheese is my favorite because it is soft and melty in a freshly warmed frittata. To further switch things up, I splashed a bit of Balsamic vinegar over the greens as well. The result was a satisfying, fluffy egg dish bursting with green stuff. Who needs to know exactly what greens you are eating when it tastes this good?
Ever find that most recipes with goat cheese call for an ounce measurement instead of a tablespoon or cup portion? You’d need a scale to do that… so here is your chance to win one!
Sue from SlimKicker.com contacted me about hosting a give away so that one of you has a chance to win this amazing kitchen scale! SlimKicker.com is a calorie counter and healthy lifestyle app that turns your diet and fitness goals into a game-style challenge, complete with points and rewards. You simply track calories and your healthy food choices, as well as complete healthy challenges, to rack up points. Once you reach a certain point level, you are reminded to reward yourself with something like a “cheat food” or new fitness gear. The tracking system and supportive community are great motivation to stay on track with your fitness goals! I definitely found this type of support essential during my Game On challenge!
This is where you come in – SlimKicker.com is in need of some new ideas for healthy living challenges. To enter this give away, simply leave a 1-2 sentence comment with your idea for a fun and creative healthy living challenge. They can be anything from drinking 8×8 glasses of water a day, to getting 30 minutes of exercise per day, to learning to snack wisely between meals. The best idea will be chosen and featured as part of the SlimKicker challenges, and will receive the kitchen scale! The contest is open for one week, so leave your comment by Tuesday, August 7 at 9am to enter. One comment per reader, please, and prizes can only be shipped within the US. Looking forward to seeing the ideas that you come up with!
Hidden Greens Frittata
1 sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
1 bunch greens, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
dash garlic powder, parsley, salt
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup milk
2 oz goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chopped greens and saute until slightly wilted. Add Balsamic vinegar and allow liquid to reduce slightly. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk and spices. Pour over the greens and stir slightly to distribute. Allow to cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Transfer heat-safe saute pan to the oven and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Crumble goat cheese over the top and return to oven for 5 more minutes or until edges are browned and center is set. Immediately sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired. Cut into 4-6 wedges and serve warm.
I am at the halfway point with my first rotation of my third year of medical school. I am starting off with one of the most time-consuming rotations – internal medicine. Despite the 6 day a week schedule, I have loved the rotation so far and am learning so much. I feel incredibly lucky to get to talk to people each day, to learn their stories and help be part of the team that figures out why they are sick and how they can get well. There are hard moments, and the days can be long, but the work is rewarding and challenging. The hardest part of this rotation is keeping up with friends and family. Weeknights are filled with studying, writing notes, and reading, and the one weekend day off is often filled with necessary life tasks like laundry and cleaning. However, you always need to eat and so I have found food the best way to stay in touch with friends over the past month!
My wonderful friend brought me a home-cooked meal at the end of a very long week in the middle of my rotation, and I was so incredibly grateful both for the delicious food and the lovely company. She made Lemon Thyme Farro following this recipe from The Pursuit of Hippiness, which we enjoyed with green beans on the side and fresh berries for dessert. (I was a bad tired blogger that night and forgot to take pictures!)
I also got to make homemade sweet potato ravioli with another med school friend, which were delicious but the recipe still needs tweaking before it is blog worthy. Rolling out the pasta dough gave us plenty of time to girl talk and swap rotation stories, so the fancy meal was worth the extra effort!
This post can’t end without a recipe! I had a few friends over for dinner on my most recent day off, and a dinner party was just what I needed to feel balanced and re-centered for another week on the wards. I made grilled polenta with a honey-balsamic reduction, caramelized onions, and goat cheese, which blew my taste buds away! The sweet and sour combination of the honey and goat cheese really gave this side a gourmet feel, and the results are much more impressive than the minimal effort this dish took. I would make this again in a heart beat!
Grilled Polenta with Honey Balsamic Reduction, Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
serves 3-4 as a side
1 polenta log, sliced into 1-in pieces
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 onions, caramelized
2-3 oz goat cheese
Before preparing this dish, make the caramelized onions. In a small sauce pan, combine honey and balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Stir; heat so that sauce thickens and reduces but does not boil. Do not cook for too long, as vinegar will reduce too far and become sticky and hard. Want a honey like consistency. Meanwhile, slice the polenta logs. Spray a griddle with cooking spray and heat to 350 degrees. Grill the polenta for 5 minutes per side. Heat the caramelized onions on the side of the griddle. When the polenta is crispy and has been cooked on both sides, pour reduction over the rounds. Allow to heat for 1 more minute. Transfer to a serving platter. Top with caramelized onions and a crumble of goat cheese. Serve warm.
The one thing I miss most about home, besides my family and friends, of course, is the grill. I do not own a grill in Boston, and love grilled foods during the summer months. There is something about the open flame and cooking outside that makes everything taste better, from mushroom burgers to vegetables to pizza! I made sure to request all of my favorite grilled foods while I was relaxing at home for the week, and my mom and I had a blast grilling together!
My mom has been making grilled pizza for years and it has always been one of my favorite meals. You take homemade pizza dough, cook it directly on the grill for a few minutes on each side, and then top it with your favorite pizza add-ons. (I love making non-traditional pizzas loaded with goat cheese, caramelized onions, and as many veggies as I can think of.) Cooking the dough directly on the grill gives it a great crispiness that mimics brick oven pizzas, but in a unique and homemade way. It can be a challenge to get the crust right, and takes constant attention as to not let it burn. (See the bottom of the post for step-by-step pictures). If this is not your thing, you can always use a pre-cooked crust from the grocery store and then warm it up on the grill after topping it. Give this pizza a try this summer, it is worth the extra step!
1 batch pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp Balsamic vinaigrette
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 small bunch asparagus spears
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz goat cheese
2 oz Parmesan cheese
If making dough from scratch, prepare dough. While it is rising, toss the cherry tomatoes with the garlic and 2 tbsp of Balsamic dressing. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears. Roast the vegetables in a grill basket for 5-7 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes are wrinkled and ready to burst. Remove from the heat and separate. Cut the asparagus spears into bite sized pieces. In a medium saucepan over the stove, heat olive oil. Add the sliced onion and cook until soft. Add 1 tbsp Balsamic dressing and allow the onions to continue to cook until they are dark brown and slightly caramelized. When ready to create the pizza, form dough into a roughly round pizza shape. Rub both sides with olive oil. Preheat the grill and clean the rack. Place the dough directly on the grill rack. Turn down the flame, close the lid, and allow the dough to cook for 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip the dough, and cook for 3 more minutes. Keep a close eye on the dough at this point – you want it to rise and cook, but not burn. When the dough is cooked, transfer to a large sheet of aluminum foil. Spread with the roasted cherry tomatoes, squishing them slightly to release the juices to form a crust. Layer on the caramelized onions and asparagus pieces. Dot with goat cheese crumbles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Close grill and allow to heat through for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cut into slices and serve.
Not only were my meal creations earlier this week tasty for two days in a row, but they also were really simple to make! And they lend themselves to fun alliterative names! You’ve waited long enough, so here are the stories and recipes behind the pictures…
My mom frequently stocks me up with bulk goods from Costco, which makes me a happy camper to have an endless supply of shelf stable nut butters, pasta, quinoa, raisins, oatmeal and other staples. One of my Mom’s favorite gifts are Tasty Bites Madras Lentils. She leaves a box in her office for a quick, filling, healthier-than-fast-food lunch when work gets out of control. They are all natural and vegetarian, and taste really good for a pre-packaged meal. My only problem is that I never find a need to use them as is! Between dinner plans with friends and a well stocked freezer with my own frozen leftovers, I rarely run into an emergency situation that necessitates a lentils and rice kind of meal. However, even shelf stable food eventually expires! I had two pouches to use up and wanted to spice things up a little bit… hence, the Cheater’s Chili was born! Vegetarian chili is not too difficult to make in the first place, and this takes even less effort for a fast weeknight meal!
2 pouches Tasty Bites Madras Lentils
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 large can tomatoes, chopped with liquid
2 small red onions, sliced thinly
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 sweet potatoes
Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Roast on a greased pan in the oven for a half hour, until they start to soften. Meanwhile, saute the onions in the juice from the canned tomatoes. Once the onions are soft, add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Add the sweet potatoes and bring to a low boil. Add the lentils and spices and stir to combine. Cover and let cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!
The Persimmon Pizza came about in a similar need to rid my fridge of older produce before receiving my latest Boston Organics shipment. Persimmons are not an east coast local food, and I had heard very little of them before receiving them from a friend and her mom. There are two types: hard and soft, with the latter having an almost jelly like consistency. The hard can be sliced and eaten in wedges, and remind me of a cross between a tomato and apple. The flavor is growing on me, but I still couldn’t eat them fast enough! The sweetness of the fruit reminded me of figs (even though they taste nothing alike) and so it made me feel like they would pair well with goat cheese. After a Google search of “persimmon pizza,” I found a blog that linked to another blog written in Portugese. Nothing that Google Translate can’t solve! My suspicions were confirmed: garlic, basil, goat cheese, and persimmons do in fact make a wonderful pizza. I added some spinach for some of my own veggie flair, and this pizza was finished within two days. My dinner guest loved it, and I was glad to have someone to experiment on!
1 batch pizza dough, rolled into a rectangle
1 tbsp olive oil
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of dried basil
3 cups spinach, lightly steamed
2 persimmons, sliced thinly
4-5 oz goat cheese
Roll pizza dough into a rectangle and transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Drizzle crust with olive oil and dust lightly with garlic powder and dried basil. Top with spinach, persimmon slices, and crumbled goat cheese. Cook at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes, and then broil for 3 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
Time for another WIAW! Thank goodness this is a short week! I really needed Monday to recover from my half-marathon and other related festivities! I spent the day doing laundry, prepping snacks for the week, and enjoying good muscle-recovery food. Here is a glimpse into my day of domestic recovery!
I woke up much earlier than planned because I was starving! I guess running 13.1 miles the day before will do that to you! I grabbed a handful of granola and tried to fall back asleep, but eventually gave in and got up. I am done with my sugar fast, so I enjoyed jam again for the first time in three weeks! One of my favorite combos on toast is berry jam with goat cheese, and this sandwich was made extra special by homemade blackberry jam from my visit to Italy and fancy bread from the pre-race pasta party.
I spent most of my morning catching up on blog writing and reading, cleaning, doing laundry, and making snacks for the rest of the week! I made these bars from Miss Smart, and enjoyed a few bites as I was rolling them out! I also made these cookie dough balls from Chocolate Covered Katie, taste testing a bit here and there!
Vitamins and minerals in leafy greens are also essential for muscle recovery, so I made myself a big raw kale salad! Angela recommends allowing the kale to marinate in the dressing for 15 minutes, so that is what I did. The result: balsamic marinated raw kale with cranberries, celery and almonds. I was surprised at how good this was! The kale softened a bit in the dressing and had more flavor and crunch than normal lettuce leaves. And how could a combo of balsamic, almonds, and cranberries be bad?
I received a bag of whole almonds as a gift, and just couldn’t let them go to waste! I spent some time shelling them, and then made Chelsey’s cocoa roasted almonds. I probably nibbled as many cracked almond pieces as I did get successfully shelled almonds, but at least nothing went to waste. ;) And now I have a great study snack to satisfy any chocolate cravings I might have in the next few weeks! Afternoon snacking was rounded out by a crisp apple, though not pictured.
My original plan for the afternoon was to make a Roasted Garlic and Potato soup that I have been daydreaming of for a while, complete with some homemade bread, but the unseasonable weather changed my mood! After having the oven on for only 20 minutes to roast the almonds, I decided it was way too hot out to make soup and bread. I pushed that recipe back into my head until it cools down later in the week, and settled on some leftover barley and beet risotto instead. Served with a little shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top – just as good as the first time! My night was finished off with a handful or two of BBQ potato chips and a glass of red wine while studying with a friend – a little splurge to treat myself for the previous day’s work!
Hope to be making that soup later today now that fall is back in Boston… stop by later this week to see the results!
Question: What is the best thing you ate today?
Figgy pudding. Fig Newtons. That used to be my only understanding of figs. And I was not a fan. That all changed when I ate my first fresh fig this summer in Bosnia. Azra had green figs, and Melissa and I were weary of them at first because you could pretty much just grab one and eat everything but the tiny stem at the top. Inside, the pink fruit was unique and like nothing I had ever seen before. There, I learned to love figs. They are sweet, not to juicy, and easy to eat. I definitely ate my fill while I was gone, in everything from sandwiches to gelato!
I thought my fig season was over when I returned, since they are usually quite expensive in the States when you can find them, not to mention that I had never even seen them at my grocery store. Costco, however, was selling figs when my mom went shopping for Amanda’s rehearsal dinner. Remembering how much I loved them, she bought a case of them and split them between us. Now my fridge is was filled with figs! I ate probably about half of them plain, but had fun finding other flavor combinations. Some good breakfasts:
Question: Have you tried fresh figs before? What is your favorite way to eat them?
Fig, Goat Cheese, Cucumber and Hazelnut Salad with Balsamic Viniagrette
for 2 lunch salads
small head of lettuce
2 oz goat cheese
4 figs, quartered
2 pickling cucumbers, sliced and quartered
2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted and slightly chopped
4 tbsp balsamic viniagrette
Toast the hazelnuts in a toaster oven for 5-7 minutes until warm. Rip lettuce into bite sized pieces. Top each bowl with half the cucumbers, goat cheese, figs and hazelnuts.Drizzle each salad with 2 tbsp balsamic viniagrette, or simply dress with oil and vinegar.