Balsamic Roasted Portobella Caps

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One of the best things about a portobella is it’s meaty texture. Super filling and marinades beautifully for a full flavor meal. This is one of my favorite things to eat post-workout since it’s so satisfying and barely has any calories – can you say win-win? I marinated the mushrooms before I left for the gym and by the time I got back they were ready to be popped into the oven – for 10 minutes. SUPER fast, as long as you’re efficient you can have this meal cooked and ready in under 15 minutes. I paired my mushrooms with a side of cilantro-lime rice, wilted greens and many glasses of red wine for a well-balanced meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1.5 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, small dice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • salt, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a shallow 9×9 dish, lay out portobello mushroom caps. Mix together vinegar, shallot, thyme and pinch of salt. Pour over mushrooms. Cover and marinate for at least thirty minutes.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a cooling rack on top of a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place mushrooms on top of cooling rack and place in oven. Roast for 5 minutes. Flip and roast another 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and serve.

Baked Gemelli with Pecorino and Smoked Mozzarella


Yeah… so you may have noticed that I’m kind of in the middle of a love affair with smoked cheeses. They are just so gosh darn yummy!

Since it’s birthday season in my world, my wallet has been a little tight – not to mention Mondays are usually very long days for me with work, gym, boy toy, loving on my dog… you get the picture. I had slacked on my running schedule over the weekend so I really pushed myself yesterday. When I left the gym, all I really wanted to eat was a big heaping bowl of pasta. I wanted a recipe that was full of flavor but required minimal effort.

Enter the simple and oh-so-scrumptious Baked Gemelli. As simple as it was, this is one of my favorite things I’ve made so far. I think Nick would have to agree…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Gemelli pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups My Favorite Tomato Sauce (or any type of tomato/marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • Thyme, to taste (I like A LOT)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, heat the EVOO in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and thyme. Saute until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the tomato sauce, sauteed onion/garlic/thyme mixture, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Grilled Tofu with Marinated Tomato Salad and Wilted Spinach

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Tofu ingredients:

  • 1 block of extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tbp. Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil

Tofu instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a shallow bowl.
  2. Once the tofu has drained, slice five 1-inch strips and toss them in the marinade.
  3. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Throw strips on a medium-high heat grill pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side.

Marinated Tomato Salad ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful fresh parsley leaves, lightly chopped
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Marinated Tomato Salad instructions:
  1. Cut the tomatoes into 4 wedges, then cut the wedges in half and add to a bowl. Lop off the tops of the green onions, then slice the white and mostly light green parts really thin. Add to the tomatoes.
  2. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, dash of salt and pepper to a jar. Screw on the lid and shake to combine. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and toss.
  3. Add the herbs and gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
Wilted Spinach with Fried Garlic ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound spinach, washed and stemmed
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Wilted Spinach with Fried Garlic instructions:
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and stir until golden, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add greens in batches, if necessary, and toss until just wilted, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Mediterranean Feast

Ladies, brace yourselves: Bikini Season is just around the corner.

That’s right, I put the stinky fish on the table. Even though summer is a season that most people look forward to, some women most women are paralyzed by fear when thinking about slipping (or stuffing) themselves into that itty-bitty bikini. I don’t blame you, we’re all guilty of indulging during the holidays and colder weather… we need to keep warm somehow, right?

So what are our options? Jenny Craig? Cleanses? Food that tastes like cardboard?

I’m not going to suggest against any of the former methods- well maybe the third one, but there are plenty of websites that have yummy recipes that keep the pounds off (yes, I just shamlessly plugged my own blog… oops, I did it again).

Last night, Nick and I made a Mediterranean inspired meal that boasts only 197 calories per serving. I didn’t even HAVE to feel guilty for having seconds… and thirds ;). It was delicious and very fresh tasting. I think the boy-toy agreed.

Mediterranean Kabobs:

1block of super-firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes (non-veg: 1 lb boneless chicken breast)
For the marinade:
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic, crushed
kosher salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
For the salad:
1 1/4 cups cucumber, peeled
1 1/4 cups diced tomato
2 tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 cup black olives
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh dillweed
1 tsp fresh parsley
1/8 tsp dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup feta cheese, grated

lemon wedges for serving
Directions:
  1. Marinate the tofu at least 2-3 hours or overnight. If using wooden skewers, soak in water at least 30 minutes if grilling outdoors.
  2. Combine the first 12 salad ingredients (cucumbers through salt and black pepper, not the lettuce) and set aside in the refrigerator to let the flavors set.
  3. Thread tofu on 4 skewers and cook on a hot grill (indoor or outdoor grill) until tofu is cooked though, about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Divide lettuce between four plates, top with tomato-cucumber salad, fresh grated feta cheese and grilled tofu. Serve with lemon wedges.

Pic of Nick’s dish for good measure:

Forbidden Rice

I’m not going to lie to you – the reason I made this is because the end result is so-freakin-beautiful. Don’t you think?

The fact that Nick happens to LOVE bacon was just an added bonus. I think he and I can both agree that this dish was a winner. How do I know? We made more than enough for left-overs but we ate it all that night. I should probably point out that mine was made with vegan Smart Bacon, and his was made with lean bacon, exactly what the recipe called for.

So this is my take on Food and Wine’s Forbidden Rice Recipe. Of course, I had to make a few changes in order to make it vegetarian for me, but the end result was divine. Enjoy.

Forbidden Rice

1 head of garlic (about 12 cloves), cloves peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups black rice (most markets carry Forbidden Rice in the bulk section)
2 cups water
6 strips of Smart Bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
4 scallions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup edamame, thawed and shelled

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the garlic cloves on a double sheet of foil and drizzle with vegetable oil. Seal the foil around the garlic and bake for about 1 hour, until the garlic is soft and caramelized. Let cool, then refrigerate overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the black rice with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is just tender. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Spread the rice on a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet after removing the bacon. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the bacon, black rice and roasted garlic and stir-fry over moderately high heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to bowls, garnish with the scallions and serve right away.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

This is my take on Joy the Baker’s Mustard Roasted Potatoes. I almost followed the recipe exactly, except my grocer didn’t have any whole-grain dijon AND I’m an idiot and forgot to pick up parsley at the store. Palm to forehead. Anywho, this is a great side-dish for ANY entree and it gives you your carb fix for the day. And since I’m dating a meat-and-potatoes kind of a guy, I knew that this side-dish would be a hit. I think it’s also worth pointing out that this would be a great potato dish for family get-togethers, holidays, etc. Recipe below.

As always, enjoy.

Ingredients:

3 pounds new potatoes
1/2 cup dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted (any butter here will do, vegan or not)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
Thyme to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set baking sheets aside.
  2. Clean and dice new potatoes. Try to slice them so they’re just about all the same size. Place in a large bowl. Toss in sliced onions.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, olive oil, melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Pour mustard mixture over diced potatoes and onions. Toss until potatoes are coated. Divide the coated potatoes between the two baking sheets. Leave any extra mustard mixture in the bowl. It will just burn in the oven.
  4. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss. Return to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven, toss with parsley, and serve warm. They’re yummy.

Roasted Garlicky Green Beans

I’ve never claimed to be a “healthy” vegetarian. For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a carbohydrate fiend. I simply would not be able to live without my pasta and bread. However, eating a strictly carbohydrate-based diet will undoubtedly cause weight gain and all sorts of health issues. But I must admit that dressing up some simple veggies, like these yummy Green Beans above, with some parm and truffle oil makes what you used to try to hide under mashed potatoes, your favorite option on the plate. I got this recipe from Skinny Taste, and the recipe claims to be kid-approved; I totally believe it. I think we may have just solved every mother’s crisis when butting heads with their toddler at the kitchen table. Kids: Eat your veggies!

Ingredients:

12 oz green beans, trimmed (make sure they are dry)
2 tsp truffle oil
kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tbsp shredded parmesan

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum for easy clean-up.
  2. Lay green beans out on the baking sheet and drizzle oil over them. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Spread them out on the sheet so that they all lay flat and place on the lower third section of your oven. Bake 10 minutes, shake the pan to turn; bake 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated cheese.