Easy ‘A’ rtichokes

Artichokes are the perfect go-to food. They taste amazing, they’re easy to make, and they have multiple health benefits. Normally, I would steam them but this time, and of course in keeping with the springtime theme, I wanted to try something new.
For this recipe you’ll need:
  • 6 c. water
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 18 baby artichokes (about 1 3/4 lbs.)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 6-inch rosemary sprig
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 425. Combine water and 3 tbsp. lemon juice in a bowl. Cut off top 1/2 inch of artichokes, then cut the stems to within 1 inch of base. Peel the stems and remove tough outer leaves so the tender cores are left. Halve and add to water. Next, drain the artichokes and pat dry. Combine artichokes, oil, salt, pepper and garlic in a bowl. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add half of the artichoke mixture to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Repeat with the rest of the artichoke mixture. Return everything to the pan, add lemon slices and rosemary, and bake for 20 minutes. Once done, remove rosemary and blackened lemon rinds, and enjoy!

They are SO good. So there you have it–a fool-proof side perfect for the warm weather. Can’t go wrong with that in my book. I paired mine with a tender, juicy flank steak and crispy polenta, but you can have it practically with anything you want. Test it out and let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

Asparagus With Lots of ‘A’ Game

Words cannot describe how excited I am that the weather is finally getting nicer and warmer. Today I thought what better way to ring in spring than with a shaved asparagus salad with Manchego and almonds. I’ve never had shaved asparagus before and I have to say I would make it again (a little time consuming but completely worth it.)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. walnut oil (if you don’t have this you can substitute 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 c. water
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 oz. Manchego cheese, shaved (about 1/4 c.)

My favorite part (aside from the eating the salad part) was making the salad. First combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and stir using a whisk. Using a sharp peeler, thinly peel asparagus to equal 3 c. of ribbons. Add asparagus and parsley to the bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Next, combine 8 cups water and white vinegar in a large skillet and bring to a simmer. Break each egg into a custard cup and pour gently into pan. Cook for three minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove the eggs from pan using a slotted spoon. Finally, serve, asparagus on plate first, then almonds, next the egg and finally top with cheese.

I unfortunately was under a time crunch and being that I have never poached an egg before I simply fried mine (it still tasted delicious!) but that’s my goal for the weekend. Poach. an. egg. Wish me luck! Definitely try this salad, you won’t regret it! But until next time, keep eating!

A Salad That Packs A Punch

Have you ever had a dish you just can’t get enough of? This Southwestern Steak Salad just about does it for me–bet you didn’t think I was going to salad did you?. I absolutely love steak and unfortunately I don’t eat it as much as I would like (but then again I guess that’s a good thing). What I love about this salad is that the spiciness of the chipotle chiles in adobe pairs so well the steak.

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Southwestern Steak SaladFor this dish you’ll need:

For this salad you’ll need:

  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce (torn)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • tomatoes (grape or fresh Jersey tomatoes work here)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 c. olive oil

First, cook the steak however you prefer–I cooked mine on the grill but pan-frying it works just as well. In a large bowl, toss together lettuce, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, salt, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine chile, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and any juices from the steak (this sounds a little gross but TRUST me this takes the flavor to a whole other level). Finally, pour the dressing over the salad, add steak, and toss once more.

Now I wasn’t kidding when I said this was easy. Easy and utterly delicious. I just bought the ingredients to make this salad this week, and I can’t wait. This salad is certainly enough for dinner and I suggest adding a grilled piece of bread to soak up the amazing dressing. Let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

A Night of the Sides

I’m always on the hunt for a delicious side dish. I would argue that a good side dish can make a meal. And this is side dish is a showstopper. Tomato and feta Asparagus from Cooking Light. Now it may sound simple but boy does it pack a punch.
ImageWhat you’ll need:
  • 1 lb. trimmed asparagus
  • 1 1/2 c. grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 oz. crumbled goat cheese (I substituted in feta)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tomatoes and olive oil on a pan and toss. Bake for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, add the asparagus and bake for 9 minutes. Once done, top with balsamic, salt, pepper, and feta. Voila! Simple and delicious. The tomatoes and asparagus get a nice char on them from the oven, almost giving them the flavor as if they were cooked on the grill. There’s something about the tomato, feta, and asparagus combo that never gets old. Throw in some balsamic and BAM there you have it–a side dish that can easily win the hearts of anyone who tries it.

There are 5 other different flavor profiles in the article that I can’t wait to try. Next up: Red pepper and Manchego (one of my favorite cheeses!). Asparagus is the perfect side to any main–chicken, fish, steak, you name it! Test some of the different combos out and let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

Don’t Be Shellfish, There is Enough For Everyone!

You can never go wrong with a classic shrimp scampi. And after a long work week, I wanted nothing more than a fast, quick and delicious meal. I DO try to cook as many meals as I can, but after work, I rush home to put on my sweatpants and order Seamless (delivery is the best thing ever invented).

This night I refused to do that. On the menu, Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi from Cooking Light.
ImageFor this recipe you’ll need:
  • 8 oz. uncooked thin spaghetti
  • 12 oz. broccoli
  • cooking spray
  • 1 lb. cooked shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 c. unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese
What you’ll need to do: Cook the pasta according to package and add the broccoli for the last 2 minutes. Drain. Then, heat a large skillet over high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray, add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Next, heat the pan over medium-low heat, add butter and oil. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. add stock, bring to a boil, and make sure to scrape the pan to loosen the browned bits. Combine 1 tbsp. water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the stock and cook for about a minute. Then, stir in shrimp, pasta mixture, parsley, rind, juice, and salt. cook for a minute and stir to cook. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

There you have it. An incredibly delicious meal for less than 20 minutes. Does it get much better than that? The best thing about this recipe is that it makes a ton, so you’ll have leftovers to take for lunch! If that’s not an incentive than I don’t know what is. Test this recipe out and let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

My Newfound Love: The Crock Pot

I have a newfound love: my crock pot. It literally is one of the best inventions made (kudos to whoever you are). I love the way it makes your entire apartment smell like a little bit of heaven. 

I do have to admit I’ve only made a few dishes in it so far but this is one that keeps me coming back: Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches (the name says it all).
 
The way the chicken cooks down and absorbs the incredible sauce of hot sauce, mustard, Worcestershire, and molasses, it literally melts right off the bone. Divine.
 
ImageFor this recipe you’ll need:
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  •  1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. hot sauce (Frank’s)
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. unsulfured molasses
  • 8 hamburger buns

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken and season  with salt and pepper. Cook stirring once, until meat is golden brown (about 5 min.). Once done, transfer to the crock pot with a slotted spoon. Next, to the same skillet, add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and cook over medium for about 6 min. Add 1/4 c. water and cook, scraping up browned bits, for about 5 min. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the crock pot. Then add the tomatoes, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and molasses and stir to combine and cover all the chicken. Cover and cook on high for about 4 hours. Shred, season with salt and pepper, and serve with hamburger buns.

If you have a crock pot, bust it out and try this recipe! You can prep it before work, turn it on, and when you come home have an amazing meal waiting for you–the smell of this dish alone will be enough. The best part is too is that it makes enough for extra meals during the week (which is a total bonus considering a get lazy some nights and refuse to cook.) Test it out, you won’t regret it. But until next time, keep eating!

This Chick Loves Her Chickpeas

It’s no secret, I adore chickpeas. And naturally when I came across this recipe, I had to make it. Chickpea Curry from Cooking Light.

ImageFor the curry you’ll need:

  • 1 (3.5 oz.) bag boil-in-bag basmati or brown rice (or you could swap for Naan bread like I did)
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

If you’re opting for rice, cook the rice according to the package. Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil. Then add the onion and saute until tender (about 5 min.). Next stir in the garam marsala and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts. Once the spinach is wilted, remove from heat and stir in yogurt and salt. Serve over rice (or with Naan bread) and sprinkle with cilantro. There you have it, a super easy great meal.

The combination of the spices, the creaminess of the yogurt, the acidity of the tomato sauce are what make this dish so divine.
 
I served this dish alongside homemade lamb curry and Naan bread. You need something starchy like bread or rice to soak up the sauce (trust me you’ll want every last drop) and the lamb curry was a delicious hit of protein–you’ll just want to pick something that compliments all the flavors in the chickpea curry. Let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

It’s Brie-utiful

I love the holidays. It’s my favorite time of year–all the fun, parties, friends, family and good food. My roommates and I decided to throw a holiday party and this meant I got to make an appetizer. And what did I turn to? Warm Walnut and Cranberry Brie from Cooking Light.

 This recipe is insanely delicious. The brie literally melts in your mouth, the walnuts pack a nice crunchy punch, and the cranberry gives the brie a sweet element, all coming together for the perfect savory appetizer.
ImageFor the baked brie, you’ll need:
  • round brie cheese (the size of your choice depending on the crowd)
  • 2 tbsp. dried cranberries (I had fresh cranberries laying around so I used those instead)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350, remove the top rind of the brie and sprinkle with cranberries and thyme and nuts. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is soft.

A simple, easy, healthy, and not to mention delicious appetizer. I served the brie with a baguette and crackers but it’s one of those foods that’s great on its own. It was gone within minutes and I could certainly see why.

This brie is a party pleaser and a must try if you haven’t already. You can dress it up with different toppings (pistachio and honey is a great combo). But until next time, keep eating!

Pancetta: The New Bacon

If you like brussel sprouts with bacon, then you’ll love them with pancetta. Personally, I think sides are the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. While the turkey may be the center of attention, the side dishes steal the show.
 
The thing I love most about side dishes is that you can have as many as you want. We usually have about three different variations of stuffing, numerous vegetable sides and heaps and mounds of mashed and sweet potatoes. For this Thanksgiving, we turned to Cooking Light. Their Brussel Sprouts With Pancetta definitely won the hearts of my family.
 
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For the brussel sprouts you’ll need: 2 1/2 lbs. brussel sprouts, trimmed; 1 tbsp. kosher salt; 1/2 c. chopped pancetta (about 4 oz.); 1/4 tsp. salt and black pepper; 1 tbsp. cider vinegar. 
 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I decided to roast the brussel sprouts with the pancetta instead of cooking them in boiling water but both options work equally as well. I sliced the brussel sprouts in half, drizzled them and the cubed pancetta with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them for about 15-20 minutes.
 
That’s all it takes for this incredible side dish. Their perfect to take to a party, or as a  quick delicious side dish for a holiday meal, or even just to have as a healthy snack. The pancetta gives the brussel sprouts a deep, rich flavor that makes them simply irresistible. Try them out and I’d love to hear about your favorite side dish this holiday season! But until next time, keep eating!
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A Cornucopia of Flavors

Disclaimer: You will not be able to to stop yourself from eating the entire pot of this dish.

I’m not kidding when I say you won’t be able to stop until the entire pot of Rachel Ray’s Butternut Squash and Parsley Penne is gone (I may or may not be speaking from experience here). It’s just that good.
 
ImageFor this dish you will need:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. pre-cut butternut squash cubes
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, + more for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 1 lb. whole wheat penne
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, then finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, such as Fresno or jalapeño, finely chopped (or you can use 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper)
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • A handful of grated Parmesan cheese

First, preheat the oven to 475°. On a baking sheet, drizzle the squash with some olive oil and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast about 20 minutes (or until brown and tender). Then bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta; reserve 1 c. of the cooking water. As the pasta cooks, heat 1/4 c. olive oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the parsley, garlic, ginger, chili pepper and scallions and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then, add the stock and reduce the heat to simmer. Next, add half of the pasta cooking water to the sauce. Finally, add the pasta, parsley leaves, scallion greens, squash and cheese to the skillet and stir to combine. Voila! There you have it–a delicious meal that serves four (or is you’re really hungry serves about 1:).

Test this recipe out and let me know what you think! Butternut squash dishes are perfect for the fall/winter. But until next time, keep eating!