Cauliflower and BBQ Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie

24 11 2014

The next time you make BBQ pulled pork, do yourself a favor and make extra and freeze it to use later in this deliciously healthy casserole! Seriously, this is divine…giving you all the comfort and none of the guilt! Topped with a creamy mashed cauliflower, you’ll think you’re indulging in an over-the-top potato Shepherd’s pie, when you’ll really be devouring a meal loaded with veggies.

Cauliflower and BBQ Pulled Pork Shepherd's Pie

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Half a small-medium onion, diced
  • 4 small-medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 heaping cup shredded cabbage
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • BBQ sauce
  • 3-4 cups worth of leftover pulled pork that has been tossed in BBQ sauce (if you have some frozen, just defrost it first)
  • Low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Splash of milk, I use almond milk, but use whatever you have
  • 1 heaping cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add cauliflower florets and boil for 8-10 minutes, until softened, but not mushy. Drain cauliflower in a mesh strainer, shaking out excess water. Return drained cauliflower to the hot pot and allow to sit for a few minutes, so that any remaining water evaporates.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add onions and carrots and cook for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Next add cabbage and stir to combine. Season with salt and for an extra kick, a pinch of red pepper flakes and even some of your favorite hot sauce if desired. Stir in BBQ sauce, either homemade or store-bought, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup (use less sauce if you have a smaller amount of pork, or more sauce if you have a larger amount – you just want the mixture to be heavily coated so it stays moist while it bakes). Add leftover pulled pork and toss until everything is combined. Add a splash or so of chicken stock to thin the sauce slightly, and cook for just a few minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt. Remove from heat.

Add cooked cauliflower florets to a food processor, along with sour cream, milk and salt to taste. Process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese and process again. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. If you don’t have a food processor, you can easily mash by hand – it might not be as smooth, but you’ll still get the job done! :)

Add the pulled pork mixture to the prepared casserole dish, spreading out in an even layer. Top with the mashed cauliflower, spreading in an even layer over the pulled pork mixture. Top cauliflower with remaining cheese, you can even add more if you’d like.

Bake casserole, uncovered, until bubbling hot, 45 minutes to an hour. The cheese will be melted and starting to brown and the cauliflower with set like mashed potatoes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so before plating. Serve garnished with chopped parsley or cilantro.





Leftover Thanksgiving Hash

23 11 2014

Thought I’d kick off Thanksgiving week with a meal that features leftover turkey, perfect for brunch or dinner the day after the big feast! Hash is so versatile, making it a great vehicle for using up leftovers or random ingredients you have lying around. You can use any leftover roasted potato you have, roasted chicken in place of the turkey, as well as any green you have in place of the cabbage. Easy and delicious!

Leftover Thanksgiving Hash

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled, diced and roasted (or any leftover roasted potato)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh sage, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Half a small-medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
  • Roasted turkey, shredded or diced
  • 2 eggs, fried, poached or however you like it
  • Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Toss diced sweet potatoes with a little olive oil, two leaves of fresh minced sage, salt and granulated garlic to taste. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silpat and roast for about 20 minutes until soft and browned, turning once half-way through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat some olive oil (a few turns of the pan) over medium. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and a few minced sage leaves and cook until fragrant, another minute. Add apple and cabbage and cook until apple begins to soften and cabbage wilts, 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste.

Add roasted sweet potatoes and turkey and cook until everything is hot and combined, a few minutes. While the hash if finishing, cook eggs however you like them, such as fried or poached.

Dish out the hash and top with cooked egg. Season egg with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hot sauce.





Roasted Cauliflower, Celery Root and Apple Salad

17 11 2014

This was my first time working with celery root, and I must admit I wasn’t sure how to feel about the funky looking veggie. But it pairs wonderfully with roasted cauliflower, fresh apple and a tangy vinaigrette! Thanks Fresh Fork Market, for continuing to introduce me to produce I wouldn’t otherwise buy.

Roasted Cauliflower, Celery Root and Apple Salad

The following serves 4 (adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen):

  • Small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • 1 celery root, trimmed and cut into matchsticks (to trim, cut the entire rough outside off using a sharp knife, leaving just the white flesh of the inside)
  • 1 medium apple, cored and trimmed into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Pecans, halved and toasted

I recommend roasting the cauliflower ahead of time, or at least make sure you have enough time to cool it to room temp if you roast it the night you want to use it.

Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower florets with a little olive oil, salt and granulated garlic to taste. Roast in a single layer on a baking sheet for 20- 25 minutes, or until beginning to brown, turning half-way through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Either store the roasted cauliflower in a sealed container in the fridge, or move onto making the salad.

In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, olive oil and salt to taste. I give a range for the olive oil, use less if you don’t like dressing as acidic or use more if you prefer the vinegar flavor to be at the forefront (which is how I prefer it!). Start with less olive oil, taste, then add more if you like.

Add the apple and celery root matchsticks to the vinaigrette, along with the cooled or previously roasted cauliflower and toss well. Add the parsley and pecans and mix. Season with pepper before serving if you like.

Enjoy this salad for lunch, or serve along with a protein of your choice for a healthy dinner.





Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Bake

13 11 2014

Are you a sucker for cheesy fries or anything buffalo chicken? Who isn’t! Here’s a healthy rendition of a riff on both, featuring leftover chicken and sweet potatoes. Using Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cheese helps keep this dish lighter, while still offering the classic creamy flavors we all love in our less-healthy favs.

Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Bake

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup buffalo hot sauce like Frank’s
  • 1-1 and 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1-2 small celery stalks, chopped
  • Reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl, toss cubed potatoes with just a little olive oil along with salt, garlic and paprika to taste. Toss well. Spread out in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with a silpat or foil sprayed with non-stick spray.

Roast potatoes until browned, about 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, mix the yogurt and buffalo sauce together in a bowl. Add the chicken and mix well. Season lightly with salt to taste.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and cool slightly. Using your hands or a spatula, move the potatoes to the center of the baking sheet until they’re all touching. Top with celery, a little cheese and then spread the buffalo chicken mixture evenly on top. Finally, top with another layer of cheese.

Bake until hot and cheese melts, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and top with parsley or cilantro before serving. Garnish with more hot sauce if desired and serve with a side salad. Pictured above is shredded cabbage tossed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.





Seared Pork and Apples With Chipotle and Caramelized Onion Squash and Brussels Sprouts

10 11 2014

Here’s a hearty and healthy fall dinner loaded with flavor. The smokey chipotle and caramelized onions add a unique flavor to butternut squash, which pairs well with sweet apples and seared pork. To make this on a weeknight, roast the squash over the weekend and store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

Seared Pork and Apples With Chipotle Squash

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 double-cut boneless pork chops
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • 2 small apples, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baby Brussels sprouts, rough end trimmed
  • Low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 chipotle in adobo
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

To save yourself time, roast the squash in advance and store covered in the fridge. To roast, preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringing flesh with a spoon. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt to taste. Roast on a baking sheet for 45-60 minutes, until you’re able to easily scoop out the flesh to turn into a puree. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin, and either store covered in the fridge, or move onto the next steps.

Preheat, or turn oven up to 400 degrees.

Heat a Tbsp or so of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook, untouched, until they start to brown on the bottom. Stir, and lower heat to medium-low and continue to cook and brown. After about 10 minutes, season with salt to taste and lower heat to low. Continue to cook until dark brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, toss baby Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and salt to taste on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until well browned.

Meanwhile, season pork with salt, granulated garlic and smoked paprika to taste on both sides. Heat some olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add pork and sear until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and brown the other side another 2-3 minutes. Remove pork to a plate. Lower heat to medium-low, make sure to give the pan time to lower temp. Add apples and diced onions and cook for a minute or so, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Deglaze pan with apple cider and cook for a minute. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and bring to a bubble, stirring to combine. Nestle the pork back in the pan, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking the pork. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the squash to a food processor along with 1/2 cup chicken stock, the chipotle in adobo, half of the caramelized onions and salt to taste. Puree until smooth. Add the pureed squash to the pan with the rest of the caramelized onions, stir to combine and heat through over medium-low heat. Add a little apple cider until you reach your desired consistency. Mix well, taste and adjust salt if needed.

To serve, dish out the Brussels sprouts and pureed squash, top with pork. Add a layer of apples and sauce over the pork and garnish with chopped parsley.





Sesame Chicken Lo Mein

4 11 2014

Here’s a super fast and flavorful Chinese meal that you can make at home in less time than it would take you to order and pick-up take out! This is also a good recipe to switch out different veggies for what you have on hand. For instance the original recipe called for bell peppers, but I used napa cabbage instead.

Sesame Chicken Lo Mein

The following serves 4 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup halved broccoli florets
  • 1 heaping cup shredded napa cabbage or thinly sliced bell peppers
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 bundles of buckwheat noodles (from a 10 oz package, which typically contains 3 bundles)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside.

Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. If you want it to have a little kick, add some chili flakes as well. Add chicken and chill 15 minutes.

Heat canola oil in a wok over high. Remove chicken from marinade; allow excess to drip off. Reserve marinade. Stir-fry chicken in batches, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

Add broccoli, cabbage and garlic to wok. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Add marinade, cooked noodles and chicken, stir-fry until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked, about 3-4 minutes.

Garnish with sesame seeds before serving, and lime wedges if desired.





Orzo With Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce

14 10 2014

This tasty dish comes together in less than a half hour, perfect for weeknight dinners and meatless Mondays. Comfort food can be healthy, and it doesn’t have to take all day either!

Orzo With Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce

The following serves 4 (compliments of Cuisine Light and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 heaping cup of dry whole wheat orzo
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season liberally with salt and cook orzo to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve a little of the pasta water, then drain the orzo.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute a few minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Add bell pepper and saute another few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Next add the eggplant and cook until eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add wine to eggplant and simmer until liquid is almost evaporated. Stir in the broth and tomato paste and mix well. Add chickpeas and  simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and season with salt to taste.

Next add the orzo and a little of the pasta water, mix well to combine and cook on low for another minute or so. Stir in a good dusting of lemon zest and some of the chopped parsley. Mix to combine and taste, adjusting seasoning if needed.

Dish out the orzo and garnish with more parsley and parmesan.








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