Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chocolate Banana Spinach Smoothie

This smoothie has become my favorite snack when I’m craving something sweet but don’t want to resort to eating candy or a cookie. Even though it contains 2 packed cups of fresh baby spinach, this smoothie’s green hue is the only indication it contains vegetables.

Chocolate Banana Spinach Smoothie 
1 large banana
2 packed cups baby spinach
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk (I use low-fat cow’s milk, but it’s also really good with unsweetened almond milk)
A couple ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Frittata Bites with Spinach and Parmesan

Our friends recently invited us to a brunch potluck...with a bit of a twist. What set this party apart? It was a tiny food party! Everyone was encouraged to bring a bite-sized food or beverage to share. It took a while for me to figure out what I wanted to bring that would fit the theme, and settled on making frittata bites, which were quick and easy to make in my mini-muffin pan. This recipe yields about 30 tiny frittatas, which ended up being plenty to go around considering all the delicious options people brought including tiny burritos, hard-boiled quail eggs and even mimosas in miniature champagne flutes.

Frittata Bites with Spinach and Parmesan 
8 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces baby spinach, chopped
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat eggs, milk and olive oil together in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. If your mini muffin pans aren’t the nonstick variety, be sure to prepare them with a little bit of cooking spray or butter. Put one tablespoon of egg mixture in each muffin cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the middle of mini frittata comes out clean.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mushroom Marsala Lasagna

If you don’t already know this about me, I LOOOOOVE mushrooms. This decadent lasagna is just my latest in a long list of meals centered around my favorite fungus.

If you, like me, can't get enough mushroomy goodness in your life, scroll down beyond the lasagna recipe for links to some other delicious recipes!

Mushroom Marsala Lasagna 
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped shallots
2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup marsala wine
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups milk
½ cup cup grated Parmesan
⅓ cup chopped Italian parsley
3 cups mix of grated Fontina and Gruyère
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In Dutch oven or other large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add half the mushrooms to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes before adding the remaining mushrooms and cooking for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the marsala and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in flour and nutmeg and cook for a minute. Add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened a little. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley. 

To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer the dish with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles followed by mushroom sauce and grated cheese. Cover dish loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil from dish and bake for additional 15-20 minutes, allowing cheese to brown. Remove lasagna from oven, season with fresh cracked pepper, and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Make-Fast Mondays: Curried Red Lentil, Chickpea and Spinach Soup

Looking for a quick, vegetarian-friendly dinner that’s both filling and flavorful? Give this lentil soup a go.

Curried Red Lentil, Chickpea and Spinach Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1 bay leaf
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup reduced-fat coconut milk
2 cups chopped baby spinach
Salt, to taste
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Heat oil in large pot. Add garlic and onion and sauté over medium for 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add curry paste, bay leaf, lentils and broth to pot. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then bring the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender. Stir in coconut milk and spinach. Simmer for a couple minutes until spinach is wilted. Season soup with salt, and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Chicken Curry Pot Pie

When it comes to comfort food, you can’t beat a pot pie. A curry-coconut sauce and puff-pastry crust make this pot pie extra special.

Chicken Curry Pot Pie 
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup chopped carrots
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 can reduced-fat coconut milk
Salt, to taste
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add potatoes and carrots to a pot with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are cooked but still a little firm. Drain pot.

While potatoes and carrots are cooking, melt butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add curry powder, chicken, peas and coconut milk to skillet and simmer until mixture is warm. Add cooked potatoes and carrots to skillet and stir so everything is mixed. Season with salt to taste and remove skillet from heat.

Roll puff pastry on a lightly floured surface so it’s big enough to cover the skillet (if necessary). Drape puff pastry over the skillet and trim excess. Use a knife to cut a couple vents in the pastry.

Put skillet in the oven and bake until crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Make-Fast Mondays: Cheesy Grits with Sausage, Fried Egg and Collard Greens

Making this meal won't take much time, but it will take up some space on your stove -- you’ve got the grits going in one pan, you’re frying eggs in another, and using a third pan to cook the sausage and greens. But trust me, it’s worth having to clean a few dirty dishes.

Cheesy Grits with Sausage, Fried Egg and Collard Greens 
Serves 4
3 cups lowfat milk
¾ cup quick-cooking grits
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
2 tablespoons olive oil
14-ounce smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and leaves cut into thin strips
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ -½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on your spice preference)
1 tablespoon butter
4 large eggs
Garnishes: Salt and pepper, Tabasco sauce

Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the grits. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grated cheese and stir grits until cheese has melted into the grits. Cover and remove from heat.

While grits are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan or skillet. Add sausage and cook until browned, 4-6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage from pan to a plate.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in same frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute, until fragrant. Add collard greens, chicken broth and red pepper flakes. Cook greens, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until greens are just wilted but still bright green.

Just before serving, melt butter over medium heat in a large nonstick pan. Crack eggs into the hot pan and cook until the eggs have reached desired consistency. I cooked mine for 3 minutes, until the whites were set but the yolks were still runny. Divide grits among four bowls. Top each bowl with greens, sausage and a fried egg. Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce as desired.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bulgur, Chicken and Salsa Verde Casserole

The next time you feel like cooking a cozy dinner without spending too much time in the kitchen, give this delicious casserole a try. Use an oven-proof skillet or frying pan if you’ve got one to save yourself some time when cleaning up!

Bulgur, Chicken and Salsa Verde Casserole 
1 cup dried bulgur
2 cups water
1 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
8 ounces canned diced green chiles
12 ounces salsa verde
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of aged white cheddar and pepper jack)
Possible garnishes: avocado, cilantro, green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring water and bulgur to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Drain off any extra liquid.

While bulgur is cooking, combine combine chicken, salsa and chiles and in a skillet or frying pan. Warm the chicken mixture up over medium heat. Stir in cooked bulgur until everything is mixed. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to an ovenproof dish if needed. Top with shredded cheese, cover with aluminum foil or an oven-proof lid, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven, top with garnishes, and serve.