Archive for the ‘quick’ Category

A better BLT

Apr
2013
10

posted by on guilty pleasure, Nebraska, quick

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BLT ingredients

Summers in Nebraska meant visiting Grandma Herbert on the farm. It also meant fresh tomatoes and the best tasting BLT you’ll ever have. Times change, but luckily Grandma lives close to me here in Arizona and every time I make a BLT I think of her. She always made the best (so does my pop!) and I guarantee it had something to do with her tomatoes.

Now, I try and think of ways to not totally ruin a good, basic BLT but I am always curious to see how I can enhance the flavors of what a BLT is all about. Here’s my version! P.S. do not skimp on the bacon, don’t even bother with turkey bacon and buy really excellent (organic or homegrown if you can!) tomatoes. Heirloom are the best!

What you’ll need:

  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • 1 package of bacon (get all natural and center cut if you can – I love Applegate’s)
  • Mayo & mix-ins like cayenne, basil, cumin – whatever you like
  • 1 tomato
  • Bread of your choosing (grandma of course used good ol’ white bread – I use whole wheat now)
  1. Cook your bacon – I’m not giving you instructions on this. You may like it burnt, or undercooked, done in the microwave, oven or grill. I don’t care – just cook it.
  2. Clean up your greens (please use both, the arugula gives it an extra kick that’s fantastic – you could also add in spinach if you prefer)
  3. Slice up the tomato (thinly for easy stacking)
  4. Toast up your bread
  5. Assemble your sandwiches (duh).

My order usually looks something like this:
bread, mayo, bacon, tomato, lettuce, arugula, tomato, bacon, bread

Get creative with that mayo too! The mix-ins make a huge difference and enhance the taste. I also sprinkle my tomato with fresh ground black pepper!

Simple Kale Salad

Mar
2013
01

posted by on cooking for 2, healthy, quick, side dish, vegetable

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Kale Salad

I love my friends. I love them even more when they share recipes! I’m just now getting into the kale kick and I love it. This easy recipe will be a go to from now on.

This one’s from the super talented (and green friendly) Mandy Stos. When you’re done eating your greens, go check out her handmade goodies at iamthemandy.com!

Mandy’s Hail the Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch organic kale
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon
  • 2 tbl Parmesan cheese
  • Small bread crumbs
  • (red pepper flakes if desired)

Cut and de-stalk the each piece so only the leaves are left. Tear or cut into bite sized pieces like a normal salad. Add to a large bowl. Add in olive oil, squeeze half of a lemon, salt, and pepper. Stir up. Next add in the parmesan cheese and mix. Add as much as you like and it really depends on how much kale you are making. Once you are done, add to your plate and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. I add chicken to mine as well!

posted by on cooking for 2, healthy, quick, vegetable

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Sweet Potato & Kale

Vegetarian or not, this is something I will be making again. Go to the grocery store and head straight for the produce aisle. No meat is needed for this one at all. Versatile, quick and perfect for two. Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed/cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • sea salt & pepper
  • parsley, basil, whatever other seasonings you like (I added a little bit of cayenne pepper)
  • 1 small bunch of kale (I prefer organic), trimmed and cleaned.
  • ½ can of cooked beans, drained & rinsed well (I used white and red that were leftovers)
  • juice of ¼ of a lemon

images of sweet potato and kale

  1. Take a sharp knife and poke several “holes” into the potatoes. I cooked both of them together on a plate in the microwave until they were done (I don’t mess with waiting for an hour to have potatoes cook. I’m impatient. If you choose to do it, bake them at 400 degrees on a baking sheet for about an hour).
  2. Trim and clean up the kale. I do this by flipping the piece of kale over so the vein is facing up like shown in the picture. Trim the leaves from both sides of the vein, discarding the vein and throwing the leaves into a strainer.
  3. Heat up the olive oil over low-medium heat.
  4. Add your onions and cook just until soft.
  5. Add the garlic and your seasonings and cook for another minute.
  6. Add your beans and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the kale and some salt and pepper. Cover and let it cook until the kale is soft and slightly cooked down (I added a splash of water to help speed this process up). **side note: I’d steam the kale a bit next time I make this so it gets cooked down just a little bit more than it did**
  8. Take your knife and cut a slit through each potato, just long enough to have room to stuff the potato and fill each potato with the kale & bean mix.

This was the perfect combination of flavors and textures. I even had a little leftover kale & bean mix that would be good with scrambled eggs in a burrito.

posted by on cooking for 2, healthy, portions, quick, vegetable

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I am certain I’ve mentioned before that, believe it or not, my cupboards sometimes end up bare. I’m also sure I’ve brought up the fact that I always have frozen vegetables in my freezer for instances such as this AND at times can be too tired/lazy to cook.

Vegetarian friendly and satisfying sans meat, this isn’t really a recipe but more of an emergency “what can I use” type of situation.  Plus, it makes 3 very hearty servings and all ingredients can be switched out depending on what you have in your kitchen.

Don’t have rice? Try quinoa. Fresh vegetables can be used obviously but sometimes having frozen options works out better for me in cases of emergency such as this week.

Come up with an awesome combo? Let me know, leave a comment below! I would love to know what you guys use. Don’t forget to take pictures too!

Here’s what I had:

  • A cup of white rice in the fridge
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Frozen corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Cumin
  • Dried parsley
  • Garlic powder (or use fresh!)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A half of a lemon in the fridge (probably from a bloody mary…)
  • A little bit of olive oil

Here’s what I did:

  1. Heat up a tiny bit of olive oil in a skillet. Throw in your frozen veggies (if you’re using fresh, they won’t take as much time to cook… you want them to be slightly tender).
  2. Put a lid on it and let them thaw out and cook a bit.
  3. Cook your rice (or quinoa) according to package.
  4. Throw in the black beans and your seasonings you like (a dash of cayenne would be good) and mix!
  5. Cover and let them cook another couple of minutes until they’re slightly tender (if you’re using fresh garlic I’d mix it in now). Throw a bit of rice/quinoa in a bowl and top with the veggie mix.

Seriously… the mix of cumin, sea salt and black pepper and the mix of textures with the veggies and rice was perfect! Not bad for a girl with “nothing” in her cupboards, right? YOUR TURN!

posted by on baking, Holidays, quick

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Holidays! Cranberries are easy to come by so I always stock up when they’re on sale. Store ’em in your freezer for up to a year. Mine never last that long.

This cran-orange muffin recipe is something I changed up a bit to fit my tastes. In all honesty, it’s pretty sweet and more cupcake, almost angel food-like. I still had a couple for breakfast though. 🙂

If you’re not a fan of the tartness of cranberry, try using blueberries instead, they’d work equally well with the orange flavor. You could also try and toss your thawed out cranberries in a bowl of sugar and let them sit a little bit before you add them to the dough. Up to you!

Overall, this one’s a keeper! Moist, sweet and just the right amount of tart for me!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • ¾ cup orange juice (prefer fresh squeezed oranges!)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 cups cranberries (or blueberries), if you’re using frozen, thaw and drain first
  • Cooking spray
  1. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  2. Combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt & baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Combine orange rind, juice, oil, egg & almond extract in a small bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
  4. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  5. Fold in cranberries or blueberries.
  6. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
  7. Sprinkle with leftover sugar.
  8. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Original recipe found here.

posted by on cooking for 2, healthy, portions, quick, vegetable

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I won’t say much about this recipe other than my version has a more complex flavor than the normal ground beef and cheddar cheese version that we’re all used to. Also, since I’m pre cooking all the ingredients, it spends less time in the oven, leaving the pepper tender yet crisp. Use what you have in the fridge and your cupboards, as this is a very versatile recipe to keep. If you’re vegetarian, skip the ground turkey.

Makes 3 peppers
What you’ll need

  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (no added salt)
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and slightly drained
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • crushed and finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • dried parsley
  • dried basil
  • parmesan cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • sea salt & pepper
  1. Clean and cut the tops of the peppers off. Using a paring knife, carefully remove the seeds and membrane from inside. Rinse again, sprinkle lightly with sea salt and pepper, place in a glass baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cook the cup of rice according to package and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the onions and turkey until the onions are soft and the turkey is cooked through.
  4. Add thawed spinach, tomatoes, garlic & seasonings. Mix well.
  5. Add the cooked rice and freshly shredded parm. Mix well.
  6. Stuff the peppers as full as you can. You should have enough mix for 3 medium-large sized peppers.
  7. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake in a 375 degree oven just until the cheese has melted (10-15 minutes).

posted by on cooking for 2, healthy, portions, quick

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Life is finally starting to mellow out a bit now that I’m getting a little more settled in my new job and the weather is finally turning from the crazy desert heat. Perfect timing to get back on track with my cooking and getting back to going mainly vegetarian.

A much needed trip to the grocery store and I was set. This one is a new favorite from “Healthy Cooking For Two (Or Just You)” by Frances Price, RD from Rodale (I couldn’t find this recipe book on their website – it was published in 1995 but you can find it on Amazon to purchase).

Fettuccine with Spinach & Feta – serves 2
What you’ll need: 

  • 8 cups spinach leaves, loosely packed  (I’d recommend thawing out chopped frozen spinach instead)
  • 1 green onion
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. dried dill weed
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 oz. fettuccine
  1. Feta, olive oil, green onion, lemon juice, dill weed & pepper mix

    If you’re using fresh spinach, remove stems, rinse well, roughly chop & set aside.

  2. Thinly slice the green onion and place in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add the feta, oil, lemon juice, dill & pepper.
  4. Cook the fettuccine according to the directions. *don’t need any salt with the feta cheese*
  5. For the last 30 seconds of cooking, stir in the spinach and push under the water to wilt it.
  6. Drain the pasta and spinach and add to the bowl with the cheese and oil. Mix well and serve!

per serving: 449 calories, 18.7 g. protein, 49.8 g. carbs, 3.1 g. dietary fiber

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