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.

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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.





Kale-Artichoke Dip

12 01 2015

Here’s a simple and unique artichoke dip that features kale rather than spinach. This healthy dip whips up fast, and is great for diving into on game day!

Kale-Artichoke Dip

The following serves 6 (adapted from Girl Who Ate Everything):

  • 1 (14 oz) can artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 4 cups fresh chopped kale
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Lemon zest from about a 1/4 of a lemon or so
  • Multi-grain chips and sliced veggies for serving

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 1 and 1/2 or 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the artichokes, cream cheese, yogurt, 1/2 cup Italian cheese blend, parmesan, kale, garlic and lemon zest. Season with salt to taste and mix well until everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Stir and bake, covered, for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add the remaining 1/2 cup of Italian cheese blend. Bake uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Serve with multi-grain chips and sliced veggies such as celery and carrots.

And here’s one more idea for you….in case you have extras, try heating this up the next day and topping it on quick sautéed chicken!





Creamy Squash Mac-n-Cheese With Chicken and Kale

8 01 2015

This comfy casserole will help keep you warm on a bitter cold night. There’s no flour, butter or excess cheese, so you can feel good about diving into this healthy take on mac-n-cheese!

Creamy Squash Mac-n-Cheese With Chicken and Kale

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Food52):

  • 1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cubed, about 4 cups cubed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (or skim milk)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 small box (13 oz) whole wheat penne
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 4 oz plain goat cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan, plus more for topping
  • Panko breadcrumbs

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, stock and garlic cloves to a simmer. Add cubed squash and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer until squash is tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil. Season chicken with a little salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes to taste. Add to skillet and cook until just browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and add to bowl with pasta. Bake in the skillet, add 2-3 cups of chopped kale – add a little at a time, wilting slightly as you go. Remove sautéed kale from skillet and add to the bowl with pasta.

When the squash is tender, remove from the heat and transfer (carefully) to a high-powered blender. Puree until smooth.

Add the puree, a little at a time, to the bowl with the pasta, along with the goat cheese and parmesan cheese. Mix everything until well combined and the cheese melts. I added a little puree at a time as I didn’t need to use it all, and will save some for another sauce. You want everything to look really creamy with a little extra sauce mixed in as it will thicken in the oven.

Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with panko and more grated parmesan.

Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for a few minutes before serving.





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.





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.





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.