Blueberry and Sweet Corn Oatmeal Bake

1 03 2015

Here’s an easy baked oatmeal that you can whip up over the weekend and enjoy for breakfast throughout the week. While the corn may seem like a strange ingredient, it’s a creative way to sneak in a serving of veggies. If it’s too strange for you, just leave it out and it won’t affect the dish.

Blueberry and Sweet Corn Oatmeal Bake

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Fresh Fork Market):

  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn (you’ll just need enough to line the bottom of the casserole dish)
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • Plain yogurt for topping

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a 1.5 or 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Spread corn in an even layer on the bottom of the casserole. Then top with a layer of blueberries, making sure to reserve some for the top. Note: if you use frozen corn and/or blueberries, be sure to thaw and drain them first.

In a bowl mix together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pour the mixture over the corn and blueberries in the casserole.

To save on dishes, use the same bowl and whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla and honey. Whisk well until the honey is fully incorporated. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the oats.

Top with the diced butter and the remaining blueberries. Bake uncovered for 35 – 50 minutes, until baked through and bubbly, but not runny and also browned on top.

Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with yogurt.





Minestrone

21 02 2015

This is a healthy and comforting Italian soup, sure to wrap you in warmth even on the coldest of winter days! It’s loaded with veggies and is a great option for meatless Mondays, or to enjoy during Lent. Mangia!

Minestrone

The following serves 6 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes – if you don’t have crushed on hand, puree a can of diced tomatoes in a high-speed blender until smooth
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, or fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, dry herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring around, for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until nearly evaporated.

Next add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in green beans and cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the pasta and cook 10 minutes more. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with lots of cheese and parsley for garnish.





Baked Crab Mac-n-Cheese With Peas

18 02 2015

I love the decadence of crab mac-n-cheese! This recipe offers that rich, comforting flavor, but with a few healthier ingredients. In a meal like this, you can easily swap things like coconut oil in place of butter and whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, as well as sneak in a veggie like peas. And if you’re an observer of Lent, this is a great dinner to dig into on Fridays!

Baked Crab Mac-n-Cheese With Peas

The following serves 3-4 (adapted from Will Cook For Smiles):

  • 2 cups dry whole wheat penne
  • 1 cup (8 oz) crab meat
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 – 1 cup white sharp cheddar cheese, grated from the block
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • Chopped parsley

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

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Cook to al dente, then drain well and add back to pot. Add the crab meat and frozen peas to the pasta and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat and add shallot. Saute a minute or two until beginning to soften. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Slowly pour in the milk and constantly whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the grated cheddar and salt and pepper to taste. Keep whisking, slowly, until the cheese is melted. Off heat, stir in half of the parmesan.

Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta, crab and peas and stir well to combine. Transfer to prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the panko and the rest of the parmesan.

Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove cover and finish baking another 5-10 minutes to help brown the top (you may want to up the heat or turn on the broiler). Allow to rest a few minutes before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley.





Harissa Lentils and Cauliflower

10 02 2015

This meatless lentil and cauliflower dinner is loaded with good nutrients and offers a unique middle eastern flavor. The homemade harissa is a little spicy, but not overpowering. By using chipotles in adobo rather than other chili peppers, you actually get a smokey flavor.

Harissa Lentils and Cauliflower

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Naturally Ella):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 and 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, low sodium chicken stock, plus more as needed

For the Harissa:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime (reserve the zest and toss with cooked rice)
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted/charred, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, along with a little of the sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro

Add all the harissa ingredients to a high-powered blender in the order listed. Turn on high and pulse until well combined. Remove from blender and set aside.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for a minute or so until beginning to soften. Add the cauliflower and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils and toast for a few minutes. Next, add the tomatoes, harissa and 1 cup of broth. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check often to make sure the liquid hasn’t evaporated too much. If it looks like it needs more liquid, add a little more broth. Taste and season with salt.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.





Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

26 01 2015

Tonight’s dinner paired zesty chorizo with sweeter veggies like carrots and corn, along with ginger beer, creating a unique chili recipe that offers a sweet beginning with a spicy finish. I’m betting this will be equally delicious, if not better tomorrow after it’s had time to sit!

Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

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

  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lb bulk chorizo
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) ginger beer (I used a low-calorie option)
  • 1 pint chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Rinse the beans well, then add to a large bowl with 3 cups of water. Let the beans soak for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans, rinse and add to a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. Strain the beans and discard the bay leaf, and set the beans aside until later.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Season lightly with salt. Then add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook for another minute, stirring to toast the spices. Deglaze the pan with a little of the ginger beer, one good turn of the pan, and cook for a minute or two. Reserve the rest of the beer for later. Next, add the chorizo and brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Once the chorizo is cooked through, add the tomatoes, cooked beans, the rest of the beer and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook chili for 1 to 1 and a half hours, stirring occasionally. During the last 20 minutes, add the corn and remove the lid. Let the chili stand for 5 minutes or so off the heat before serving.

Garnish with lime wedges, sour cream and cheese. If you like it spicier, just serve with some hot sauce as well.





Risotto-Style Couscous With Asparagus

25 01 2015

The style of cooking risotto can be applied to other similar “miniature pearl” starches, such as couscous. The technique is all about adding warm stock in stages to allow it to cook gradually and absorb the liquid. By using a large skillet like I do here, it will take less time too. Serve with quick cooking scallops and asparagus for a special meal that won’t take hours!

Risotto-Style Couscous With Asparagus

The following serves 4 (adapted from The Italian Table):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken stock, warmed
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous or couscous medley with orzo, peas and lentils
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and 1/4 – 1/2 of the bunch cut into thirds
  • 1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Next, add the couscous and cook, stirring until lightly toasted, a few minutes. Add the wine, stir well and cook until the wine evaporates.

Meanwhile, heat chicken stock in a saucepan until warmed.

Add 1 cup of warmed chicken stock to the couscous and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the stock is absorbed. Add another cup of warmed stock and continue to cook, stirring often and until absorbed. Finally, add the remaining cup of stock and cook couscous, stirring until tender. This process will take about 15 minutes. Just be sure not to walk away and don’t forget to stir.

Fold in the chopped asparagus, butter and cheese, stirring constantly until butter is melted and everything is fully incorporated and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While the risotto is cooking, you can roast the rest of the asparagus and quickly sear scallops to round out the meal.





Sausage and Lentil Soup

17 01 2015

This hearty Italian soup, packed with protein, is a great addition to your winter recipe lineup! I didn’t grow up with lentils like a lot of Italians, but my Mom did….eating them all the time. Which is likely why she left them out of her meal plans, she was over them.

But I’m a lentil convert now, thanks to this soup (and maybe my Ma will be again when she sees this)! Don’t be intimidated by the amount of ingredients. They basically all go into a large pot and time will do the rest. I recommend making this over the weekend so you can enjoy it throughout the week – the longer it sits the better it gets.

Sausage and Lentil Soup

The following serves 6 (adapted from Food.com and The Italian Table):

  • 1 lb bulk mild chicken sausage – if using sausage that’s in a casing, just remove the casing first
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 pint fresh, diced tomatoes or a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups of water or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving

In a large dutch oven, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until the veggies begin to softened, 3-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Next, add the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and broken up in little pieces.

Next, add all the spices (parsley, oregano, basil, salt, thyme, pepper flakes and pepper) – stir to combine well and toast for a minute until the spices become fragrant. Add the dried lentils, stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the lentils are lightly toasted.

Add the tomatoes and all their juices, mix well and scrape up any bits that formed on the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the water or stock, stir to combine and bring to a slow boil. If using water, you can also add a few chicken bouillon cubes for extra flavor (1 cube for each cup of water).

Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 – 1 and 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you let it cook, the thicker the soup will become on its own.

Turn off heat, stir in vinegar if desired and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Allow the soup to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese.








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