Lemon-Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Shiitake Mushrooms

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Serves: 4

-1 large spaghetti squash

-16 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms (or any other mushrooms you prefer)

-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-Zest of 1 large lemon

-2 scallions, chopped

-4 cloves garlic, minced

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Remove the seeds. Place face-up in the microwave with a wet paper towel covering the tops of them. Cook in the microwave on 5-minute cooking intervals to see if it needs more cooking. The inside of the squash should not be completely mushy, but you should be able to poke your finger in the spaghetti squash easily. Remove from the microwave and set aside.

In a large pan, add the olive oil and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are tender, then add the chopped scallions, garlic, zest of 1 lemon, and salt and pepper. Scoop out the spaghetti squash and add to the pan, stirring frequently to evenly distribute ingredients. Add in 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, taste for seasoning, and serve! Garnish with more lemon zest and cheese if desired.

 

 

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Honey Dijon Dressing

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Ingredients:

-3 large beets; peeled

-1, 4 oz package of honey goat cheese (or plain goat cheese)

-2 tablespoons dijon mustard

-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

-1 tablespoon honey

-Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel the beets and wrap them in aluminum foil, drizzled with a little bit of olive oil. I put mine on a sheet pan so that the liquid stays contained. Cook for about 1 and a half hours, or until beets are fork tender. Let cool slightly, and cut into bite sized pieces. Crumble the goat cheese on top.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dijon mustard, olive oil, and honey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle on top of the beets and goat cheese. Serve warm or room temperature, & enjoy!

Curried Cauliflower & Peppers

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I love the meatiness of the cauliflower and the freshness from the cilantro. The curry makes this dish full of flavor without added calories, and the peppers give a nice crunch. As always, super simple to make with a fairly short ingredient list. Give it a try!

Serves: 4

-3 cups cauliflower; chopped into small pieces

-1 red pepper, sliced

-handful of cilantro, chopped

-1 tablespoon chopped garlic

-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

-1 tablespoon curry powder

-2 teaspoons salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large sheet pan, place your chopped cauliflower and toss it with 2 tablespoons olive oil, curry powder, and salt. Bake for 25 minutes until it begins to tenderize, and then add the sliced red pepper and toss the vegetables together. Place back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Once removed from the oven, toss in the chopped garlic and cilantro. Stir, taste for salt, and serve warm. Enjoy!

After a long hiatus: super simple tofu and kale foil packets

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So yeah, it has been quite a long time since my last post. Life has changed a lot; but my love of cooking has stayed solid. I thought I’d start back out with a very simple, quick side dish recipe that I love to do on busy week nights or weekends.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

-3 cups kale; chopped

-1, 16 oz package tofu

-2 cloves garlic; minced

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 tsp italian seasoning

-1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Drain excess liquid from the tofu container, and wrap with paper towels. Place something heavy on top of the tofu for 20 minutes, or until water has been adequately pressed out.

Chop kale into bite sized pieces. When tofu has been dried out, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss the kale and tofu with the minced garlic, olive oil, italian seasoning, and salt. Place onto a sheet of aluminum foil and roll up the sides, leaving the center open so that it gets crispy.

Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the kale and tofu are crispy. Enjoy!

 

 

Mushroom & Kale Puff Pastry Pockets

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Yield: 12 pockets

-1 box of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Dough (two sheets come per package), thawed

-2 cups diced baby bella mushrooms

-2  and 1/2 cups finely chopped kale, stems removed

-1 medium white onion, minced

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or dried)

-3 tablespoons butter

-2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and place into the refrigerator or on the counter for about an hour prior to making this dish. Set aside for now.

Add the butter into a large skillet. When it’s melted, add the onions & let them cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until they are slightly caramelized. Add the garlic, rosemary, & mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are halfway cooked through, then add the kale. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the pan and cover with a lid so that the kale can steam and get soft–about 10 more minutes. Taste for salt and add some if you feel it needs it.

Once the puff pastry sheets are thawed, cut each ply of the sheet into 2 equal parts. This should make 6 equal pieces per sheet (12 all together). Using your hands, gently stretch out a puff pastry square. In the center of the dough, add about 2-3 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture. Bring together the opposite corners and pinch the puff pastry together as best you can. I had a little difficulty with this (as you can tell from the photo). I suggest that if you want your pockets to stay completely closed, dab your fingers into some cold water while you’re pinching them closed–this will help the dough to stay together.

Place the pockets onto a greased baking tray. Bake for about 2o-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Enjoy!

 

 

Mayonnaise-Free, Turnip & Fingerling Potato Salad

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For all you people afraid of mayonnaise (and I know there’s a lot of you out there), fear no more! This turnip/potato salad is packed FULL of flavor and nutrients that your creamy, nasty, mayonnaise-based potato salad doesn’t even have! (I actually like mayonnaise but I’m just trying to get on your good side).

Anyways, I was having guests over for dinner who do NOT like mayonnaise–like, at all. They don’t like to talk about mayonnaise, see mayonnaise, HEAR mayonnaise (cause we all know that’s a real thing), and especially eat it! No problem what-so-ever. I love cooking for people with weird food phobias–it gives me an opportunity to play around with some new flavors and dressings. So, I knew I wanted to make a potato salad, but I wanted to make it unique; fresh & flavorful without all the fat.

So I had some beautiful fingerling potatoes that I wanted to use, and saw that I also had a few turnips. Now, if you are afraid of turnips because they aren’t the prettiest looking things, always remember that beauty is only skin deep. The true substance of this beautiful root vegetable is on the inside–and it’s DEFINITELY worth a second glance.

I mixed the fingerling potatoes with the turnips and made a really fresh, vegan, garlicky, dill dressing. The bite from the spicy turnip and the natural creaminess from the fingerling potatoes, SO good. And my mayonnaise-phobics really loved it–and that makes me one happy lady!

Serves: 4

-1/2 lb, about 8 fingerling potatoes, diced

-1 medium sized turnip, washed and diced

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

-1/3 cup olive oil

-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

-1 tablespoon honey

-2 tsps salt

-2 tsps freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt if you prefer. Add the turnips into the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the fingerling potatoes. Turnips are a much denser root vegetable and take longer to cook. Keep an eye on the potatoes, and when you can stick a form right through them easily, they are done!

While your vegetables are cooking, whisk together the oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, dill, salt, and black pepper.

And…it’s THAT easy people. While the potatoes are still hot, pour over the dressing and stir gently (the potatoes will probably be falling apart a bit, but that’s okay)! Enjoy!!

Also, mayonnaise haters, just so you don’t feel alone, Honey Boo Boo’s mom, Mama June, is afraid of mayonnaise as well. Read about it here!

Watermelon Salad with Zesty Coconut Oil Vinaigrette

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This salad is SUPER simple. Place the arugula on the bottom of the bowl, adding the watermelon and feta on top. Whisk together the coconut oil and lime juice, then add the minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir together. Pour over the salad JUST when you are ready to serve so that the arugula does not wilt. I have made this salad vegan before by adding crumbled, pan-seared tofu in replace of the feta, and it tastes just as delicious! Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6

-4 cups fresh arugula

-2 cups cubed watermelon

-1/2 cup to 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

For the dressing:

-1/3 cup coconut oil

-juice of 1/2 a lime (or lemon)

-1 tablespoon minced garlic

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp pepper

Potato and Corn Salad with Avocado & Sriracha Dressing

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Okay so, I will say right off the bat that this is NOT the most attractive looking side dish (unless your favorite color is puke green, which is TOTALLY okay :)). But it is very delicious, healthy, and vegan/gluten free (if you care about that). The avocado is creamy, imitating the typical texture we have in a mayonnaise-based potato salad. The corn is nice and sweet, & the sriracha adds a spicy kick. So despite the interesting color, I hope you’ll give it a taste!

Serves: 4

-5 medium sized red potatoes, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

-1 and 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed

-2 ripe avocados

-1/3 cup vegetable oil

-1 tablespoon sugar

-1 to 2 tablespoons taco or enchilada seasoning, depending on your preference

-1 to 2 tablespoons sriracha, depending on your preference as well

-Juice of 1/2 a lime

-Salt to taste

In a medium pot, add the cubed potatoes and cover them with water. Cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat, or until potatoes are tender when you put a fork in them. Put them into a large mixing bowl and add the thawed corn.

In a small mixing bowl, add the ripe avocados. Mash them well until it becomes the consistency of a thick greek yogurt, then add the vegetable oil, sugar, taco seasoning, sriracha, and lime. Whisk the dressing together and pour it on top of the still-hot potato & corn mixture. Stir well and taste for seasoning.

Spring Spaghetti Squash Salad

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Serves: 4

-1 medium spaghetti squash

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

-1 red bell pepper, diced

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

-1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped finely

-Salt & pepper to taste

Using a large, sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise. Make sure you are doing this on a non-slippery surface. It can get kind of tricky! Remove the seeds from the inside of the squash using a metal spoon.  Place the two halves onto a large, microwave-safe plate, and cover them with moist paper towels. Place into the microwave for ~20 minutes, or until the spaghetti squash is tender but not mushy. Set aside and let it cool for about 5 minutes.

While the spaghetti squash is in the microwave, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the red pepper and asparagus and cook until tender; about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, then remove from the heat. When the spaghetti squash has cooled a little, spoon out the squash into the skillet with the other vegetables and stir it around so that the vegetables are evenly distributed. Add the parmesan cheese, the fresh dill, and any salt & pepper if you’d like. I then like to serve the salad in the spaghetti squash skin itself for presentation, but do whatever you’d prefer!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries & Slivered Almonds (Foo Foo Salad)

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Thanks to my friend Courtney, this salad has a fun nickname! I made it for the first time when I had her over for dinner early this Spring. I had never tried it before but it turned out to be a hit. She has made it for kids she babysits for; and even the kids loved it! This salad can be served either warm or at room temperature. It is full of sweet and salty flavor, but still maintains its healthy integrity. Enjoy!

Serves: 4

-1 bag shredded Brussels Sprouts (around 3.5 cups worth)

-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

-1/2 cup dried cranberries

-1/2 cup honey roasted slivered almonds

-2 teaspoons salt

-1 teaspoon pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. It should take about 30 seconds to heat up effectively, and then add in the shredded Brussels sprouts. Cook the vegetable for 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Stir every minute. Add in the salt, pepper, cranberries, and honey roasted slivered almonds. Stir well so that the ingredients are evenly distributed, and taste for salt & pepper. Adjust as needed.