Grown-Up Mac n’ Cheese

grownupmacncheese2Grown-Up Mac ‘n Cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) gluten-free/whole-wheat penne
  • 1 lb. spinach leaves, trimmed
  • ¼ cup olive oil or butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour/gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk/soy milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese/Daiya cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, optional
  • Optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, hot sauce, scallions, etc.

the method:

  1. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted, stirring with tongs to cook all leaves. Drain, and press out any excess liquid. Coarsely chop wilted spinach, and set aside.grownupmacncheese1
  3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, then add penne, spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan, garlic, and nutmeg, if using, to sauce, and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer to prepared baking dish, sprinkle remaining 2 Tbs. Parmesan over mixture, and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until top is browned.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 11- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Rise and Shine Detox Smoothie (V) (GF)

smoothieI’m not going to lie to you, this smoothie is absolutely hideous, yet oh-so-delicious. It will also give you that energy boost you need sans coffee! I am doing a detox with Nick this week – so I plan on adding more smoothie recipes to the collection. Enjoy!!

Rise and Shine Detox Smoothie (V)(GF)

the ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp flax seed, ground
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp almond butter/peanut butter (I used peanut butter in Nick’s since he has an almond allergy)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

the method:

Blend. Sip. Repeat.

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

 

I had a late start getting to the gym yesterday, so I needed something quick – and delicious, of course. I opted to make the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese to satisfy my taste buds. If you have ten minutes, then you have time to make this yummy gourmet-esque sandwich.

With a hearty helping of avocado and cheddar, this recipe was exactly what I needed after my run. I hadn’t been to the gym in over a week due to our Mexico vacation so the treadmill was definitely my worst enemy. The lesson I learned: When training for a 5K, NEVER go longer than three days without running or you will face a brutal attack that will possibly trigger tears to run down your face. In public.

Okay, enough of the sob story and back to the food. I highly recommend this recipe whether you’re crunched for time or not. I was very short on time and used store-bought pesto, but you should try making your own if time allows. Enjoy!

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bread (I used 12-grain, but sourdough would be delish)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  • handful fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

The Method:

  1. Spread about 1 tablespoon of pesto onto each slice of bread.
  2. On one slice of bread, add 1 slice of cheese, sliced avocado, parm, spinach, second slice of cheese, then top it with second slice of bread. Press together gently.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add the sandwich to the oil and cook until bread is golden brown. (I like mine extra crispy so I left it on a tad longer than usual)

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.

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.

Meatless Monday: Stromboli Night

In my house (and mind) you can’t go wrong with cheese. Let’s just say if I were Barney Stinson, and you challenged me to eat nothing but cheese for the rest of my life, I’d have no choice but to say, “Challenge accepted,” with a big cheese-eating grin on my face. I’m sure Nick wouldn’t be the happiest with the results of said challenge, but I suppose he’d just have to deal. 😉

All jokes aside, a stromboli recipe never fails to exhilarate the taste buds and this recipe did just that. We both made the same exact recipe except Nick added some chicken to make it man-cub friendly. With it’s bubbly cheesy goodness, fresh herbs and crispy crust – this recipe will be repeated, no doubt.

And of course, there is only one word to describe this recipe: Legend-DAIRY.

Ingredients:

(Makes 1 stromboli; for non-vegetarian stromboli, add 2 cups shredded chicken)

1 pizza dough ball
1/2 cup Pesto Sauce
2 cups Spinach
1/2 cup Hothouse Tomatoes, sliced
2 cups Shredded Mozzarella
1/2 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 tsp. Truffle Oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
Marinara sauce for dipping
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, on greased counter roll out dough to a rectangle, about the size of a cookie sheet.
2. Spread Pesto all over leaving a 1 inch space from edge
3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan on top of pesto. Sprinkle Mozzarella the layer of spinach, last your tomatoes and peppers. This is also where you would add the chicken if making non-vegetarian.
4. Now roll, jelly roll style,  starting at the long end so the end result is a big tube.
5. Place on a greased cookie sheet, make sure seam is on the bottom.  Tuck ends under.
6. Brush with egg. Sprinkle with Parmesan and Garlic Salt.
7. Cut slits along the top to vent
8. Bake until golden brown, 20-30 minutes.