Fruits/Vegetables

Spinach Custard Pie

It’s almost Thanksgiving which means it’s appropriate to eat as much pie as you want, right? Well, maybe not. Pies in general are pretty easy to make yet seem so daunting. I admit, I’ll plan on making a pie for dessert next Thursday but this week, I still need to try to eat healthy. But who says you can’t have a healthy pie? Not all pies have to be sweet or have to have crust. So, when I came across this recipe for Spinach Custard Pie, I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for.

Frozen chopped spinach is the base for this pie which has a little onion, red pepper, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Fat-free (or light) sour cream pulls all of this together, giving the mixture the consistency of spinach dip. Topped with a dash of paprika, this vegetarian pie bakes until golden brown and fragrant. Because it’s easy to portion out, this pie is a perfect option for the quick grab-and-go meal that’s packed with veggies. I’m eating this all week for lunch but one could argue that because of the eggs, this could be a breakfast option too. Pie for breakfast or lunch? Yes, please!

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain well. Place spinach in a large bowl.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until tender.

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Add onion mixture, eggs, and egg whites to spinach. Add flour, cheese, butter, salt, pepper and sour cream; stir to combine.

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Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with paprika.

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Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

 

Sweet and Spicy Pepperonata

Years ago, my friend lived in an amazing apartment in a big old Victorian house in a small town in South Jersey. The first floor of the house was a dentist’s office and his apartment took up the entire second and third floor. Because the office downstairs closed around 5pm every night and on weekends, we never had to worry about parking or how loud the music was. Quite often, we would walk a few blocks to the main street in town and sit at the bar of a shady Italian restaurant. There was nothing particularly charming about the restaurant except for it’s location but they served perfect bread and peppers. I’d never in my life eaten bread and peppers together before (mostly because I rarely ever ate peppers at this time) but these peppers, roasted and oily, served with soft doughy baguette, was the perfect bite for us every single time. The restaurant is no longer there and my friend has long since moved out but we still talk about those bread and peppers. When I saw this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pepperonata, I knew it wouldn’t be a perfect alternative but it was pretty darn close.

A combination of peppers (I used mini peppers, poblano and long hots) are slowly cooked with shallots until soft and tender. A little sugar, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme are added to give a flavor boost. These peppers aren’t nearly as oily as the peppers from that restaurant but that’s not a bad thing. I served these peppers with some toasted whole grain bread and drizzled a little bit of olive oil over the top (perfection!). But these peppers, with their mild sweetness and heat, would be a perfect accompaniment to chicken or pasta or on a salad, especially if you are trying to eat more vegetables. Plus, just look at those colors! If you want to eat colorfully, you can’t get much more color than this.

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Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add salt, peppers, and shallots; cook 3 minutes or until shallots begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, 20 minutes or until peppers are tender.

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Increase heat to medium-high. Add vinegar, sugar, and thyme; cook 15 minutes or until peppers are tender and shallots are golden brown, stirring occasionally.

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Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Asparagus and Pistachios

Asparagus…what is that? For that matter – vegetables? What are they? My eating habits haven’t been very good lately. I can’t remember the last time I ate something green. I’m ashamed of myself. I was on a zoodle kick for a while (zucchini noodles for those of you not in the know) so that was a positive thing. But somewhere over the last few weeks, probably since I had food poisoning last month, my fruit and vegetable intake has plummeted. Now that I think about it, I think my disinterest in vegetables started right around the time candy corn showed up in the stores. I’ll happily bypass the veggies to make room for candy corn. So when I came across this recipe for Asparagus & Pistachios, I figured it was time to put those green guys in my cart and bring them home with me.

Asparagus is cooked until crisp and green before being topped with a flavorful pesto made with pistachios, basil, parmesan, garlic, and lemon.  This pesto is thick and vibrant and, although not your typical pesto, full of flavor. I added a little extra olive oil to thin it out and really loved this pesto. Pistachio anything in general though is pretty much a sure thing with me. Pistachio ice cream? Absolutely. Pistachio pudding? Gimme. Pistachio pizza? Any day of the week. With additional pistachios providing a little crunch, this asparagus is a great new twist for those everyday spears. So I guess the only thing to say is… pistachio asparagus? I’m sold.

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In food processor, pulse 1/4 cup pistachios, basil, parmesan, garlic, and lemon until crumbly.

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In skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add asparagus; cook 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water; boil 2 minutes. Season.

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Top with pesto and remaining nuts.

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Additions:

  • More olive oil

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Teriyaki Meat Loaf

Thanks to those of you who keep checking in and I’m sorry I’ve been slacking on the posts! Last week I was recovering from food poisoning and the week before that I was in Buenos Aires for work. This week – I have no excuses. I’ve been on vacation all week, laying by the lake just north of Chicago and getting in a lot of rest, relaxation and exercise. Since I’m not home, I haven’t been cooking like I normally would on my days off but I have a few recipes stashed away that I’ve made for times like this when I haven’t been cooking. One of my favorites I’ve made recently is this Teriyaki Meat Loaf.

Ground meat (the recipe calls for beef; I used turkey) is jolted with flavors of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil before being bathed in a little teriyaki sauce. After a first trip to the oven (since I used turkey, I cooked it for 40 minutes here), more teriyaki sauce is added and the meatloaf is surrounded with crisp green beans. Another 20 minutes in the often and the entire meal is done. This meatloaf is packed with salty sweet flavor and the green beans are perfect sidekicks. This meal was a hit for me, despite popping my jaw out of socket when eating a green bean, but I digress. I just might have to make this again when I get back home.

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In bowl, combine meat, egg, breadcrumbs, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. oil. On foil-lined baking sheet, shape into loaf. Drizzle with half the teriyaki sauce and bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes for beef, 40 minutes for turkey.

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In bowl, toss beans with remaining oil; season.

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Top meat loaf with remaining teriyaki sauce and surround with beans.

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Bake until meat loaf edges are browned and beans are tender, 20 minutes.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Ground turkey

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Asparagus with Tomato and Feta

Here we go again with Thanksgiving. Where does the time go? Well, hopefully you’ve got some fun and happy plans. Me? I’ll be keeping it small but my day is planned: coffee, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, eat a little food, watch football, eat a little more food. Oh and drink bourbon or wine somewhere in between, depending on how I feel. Well, I struggle with vegetables sometimes and rather than steamed broccoli or boring green beans or roasted Brussels sprouts, how about something untraditional like this Asparagus with Tomato and Feta instead?

Grape tomatoes and asparagus are roasted in the oven and topped with white balsamic vinegar and feta cheese, adding tons of flavor and color to these healthy spears. Sure, this dish may look a little more like Christmas than Thanksgiving but so what? ‘Tis the season, right? Whatever veggie you dish up with your turkey tomorrow, I certainly home you enjoy it, eat a bunch, pop a button on your pants, and appreciate every second of it. Be thankful, because I’m thankful for each one of you.

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Place tomatoes and olive oil on a jelly-roll pan; toss. Bake at 425°F for 4 minutes.

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Add asparagus; bake 9 minutes.

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Top with vinegar, salt, pepper, and crumbled feta cheese.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter

I mentioned yesterday that I served the Nut-Crusted Chicken with an orange-flavored broccoli but my puny description didn’t do this dish justice. I’m pretty used to roasting broccoli and do it more often than steaming it. But this Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter takes it a step further before taking it another step further.

Broccoli florets are roasted and then put under the broiler for a few minutes until nice and dark before being tossed in a mixture of browned butter, orange zest and orange juice. The roasted broccoli alone is flavorful enough but the browned butter and the addition of orange makes this an even fancier side dish than plain old steamed broccoli. I loved this dish with the chicken from yesterday because they both had hints of orange and paired well together but this broccoli will be a perfect addition to any meal.

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Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly browned, stirring once. Heat broiler to high, leaving pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until lightly charred.

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Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. Stir in rind and juice.

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Combine broccoli and butter mixture in a large bowl.

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego

I might as well chalk my diet up to a lost cause this week. I only have two more days at my current job and I can’t help but take advantage of my favorite Philadelphia eats (like the obsessive chicken over rice from the Halal food truck on the corner, the peanut butter cup popcorn at Go Popcorn, and the chicken tinga tacos at El Vez) while I still work downtown. Since I’ll be moving to Atlanta, I’m trying to get this great food in while I still can (luckily Go Popcorn ships nationwide!). While my taste buds are in heaven, my belly is feeling like a fat puffy gray cloud. Since I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a bite of anything green, it’s time to make some veggies. Both asparagus and red peppers were on sale at the grocery store this past weekend so this Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego seemed like the perfect recipe to make in between my not-so-healthy meals.

Asparagus is cooked with red pepper slices, smoked paprika, salt and pepper before being topped with thin shavings of buttery Manchego cheese. Amazing! The asparagus is perfectly crisp, the red pepper is slightly sweet and the smoked paprika is a smoky little cherry on top. Smoked paprika is my favorite thing in my kitchen but I’d never considered using it to jazz up some vegetables. I knew I would like this recipe because what’s not to like but I seriously didn’t expect to inhale it the way I did. This doesn’t feel like a side dish but a healthy little meal in itself. It may not be Halal’s chicken over rice but I think it’s a new obsession.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil; swirl to coat. Add asparagus; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add bell pepper, paprika, black pepper, and salt; cook 2 minutes.

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Top with Manchego cheese.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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