Real Recipe: Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Something happened to me the other day that has never happened before. The bf not only agreed to, but suggested, that we make a meal for dinner that didn’t, wait for it…wait for it…include meat! Yes, you read that right. The meat-eating man that I love suggested a vegetarian meal for dinner. Just not too long ago I couldn’t convince him to partake in Meatless Monday (mind you, I was eating “meatless” every day before we lived together). Don’t get me wrong though, I wouldn’t change the mediocre vegetarian life I was living for the deliciousness I am now enjoying. However, I do think you can have both. Delicious and meat-free.

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto is both those things. I pretty much love all types of risotto, so this was right up my alley. We had never ventured into making our own risotto before (or at least I hadn’t, not from scratch anyway), and honestly, it was easier than expected. We didn’t burn anything. :)

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

(adapted from Alton Brown’s Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto)

Ingredients:

2 cups Arborio rice

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

1 cup wild mushrooms (sautéed until soft and coarsely chopped)

1 bunch asparagus, roasted and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

1) In an medium saucepan, combine chicken broth and white wine. Put a lid and bring to a low simmer.

2) Melt butter in large (approx. 3 to 4-quart) saucepan over medium heat.

3) Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until soft (about 5 minutes).

4) Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains grains become clear around the edges. Careful not to let the grains or onions brown!

5) Once grains start turning clear around edges, reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir often, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed into rice. Again, careful to not let the risotto burn!

6) Once absorbed, continue to add liquid in small amounts (cover the rice and continue stirring as before) until all liquid is absorbed.

7) After all the last of the liquid is absorbed, add the sautéed mushrooms and roasted asparagus and stir to combine.

8) Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9) Enjoy!

 

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Real Recipe: Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6
 
A delicious vegetarian risotto.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup wild mushrooms (sautéed until soft and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, roasted and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In an medium saucepan, combine chicken broth and white wine. Put a lid and bring to a low simmer.
  2. Melt butter in large (approx. 3 to 4-quart) saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until soft (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains grains become clear around the edges. Careful not to let the grains or onions to brown!
  5. Once grains start turning clear around edges, reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir often, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed into rice. Again, careful to not let the risotto burn!
  6. Once absorbed, continue to add liquid in small amounts (cover the rice and continue stirring as before) until all liquid is absorbed.
  7. After all the last of the liquid is absorbed, add the sautéed mushrooms and roasted asparagus and stir to combine.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Enjoy!

Real Recipe: Spinach and Cheddar Frittata (and other yummy egg dishes!)

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So Easter is over. And my did it fly! I ate lots of delicious food, how about you? :)

Sadly, I was not witness (nor a participant for that matter!) to any egg hunts this year. Nor did I dye any eggs. Oh well. There’s always next year!

However, if you participated in the egg dying/hunting extravaganzas and have leftover eggs to use, here’s a couple of my favorite egg dishes:

1) Broccoli Feta Omelet – yum! My other favorite combo is kale and cheddar. Some good nitrate-free local bacon never hurts either :)

2) Spinach and Cheddar Frittata

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Spinach and Cheddar Frittata
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A delicious easy-to-make frittata!
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil (about 1 TBSP)
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Sauté garlic in oil until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
  2. Add in spinach, saute until starting to soften
  3. Pour in eggs and sprinkle with cheese
  4. Cook until set on bottom and starting to set on top (about 4-5 mins)
  5. Put in oven and broil until top is lightly brown and fluffy (about 2-3 mins)

 

3) Eggs and Toast (over easy eggs, on delicious French bread from the local baker). Oh and sautéed kale on top! This is definitely a knife and fork kind of meal :)

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Enjoy your eggcellent eggs :)

And happy clean eating!

Smart Swap: Baked Wonton Poppers

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I never ever used to like cream cheese wontons. In fact, I never really liked egg rolls either. Something about bland fried food (or bland in my book at least!).

However, all of that changed when a couple of winters ago the bf took me to this yummy little place called Señor Wong in St. Paul. It’s Asian/Mexican fusion, and they have the most amazing cream cheese wonton poppers. Jalapeño cream cheese filling complete with a spicy apricot dipping sauce. Seriously. So. Good. Changed my view on cream cheese wontons forever (which my body probably could have lived without, but oh well!).

The bf was craving Asian food last weekend, so we went to another yummy little place called Yangtze in St. Louis Park (a southwest suburb of Minneapolis, for those not familiar with the great state of MN!). It was here where I had the experience of foil chicken for the very first time. Never heard of it? Yep, I hadn’t either. Little nuggets of chicken and vegetables, baked in tinfoil triangles. Crazy hot trying to open those tiny little tinfoil packets up, but certainly worth it! We also shared some of the best sizzling rice soup I’ve ever had. If you’re looking for a decent Asian restaurant (with great prices!) in the twin cities area, I highly recommend.

And although I was craving cream cheese wontons, we decided to pass as I figured I could make them at home. At make them at home is exactly what we did!

Super easy to do, and much healthier than the fried version. To make them even healthier, I used Neufchatel cheese (still cannot pronounce that word for the life of me!). A third less fat than cream cheese, and quite honestly, I cannot tell the difference.

The jalapeño adds just the right amount of spice. And the real kicker? Raspberry jelly. You can put a tiny bit over the top, or mix some right in with the cheese filling. Compliments the  spice of the jalapeño perfectly!

Here’s how to make your own less-guilt, amazingly delicious, baked wonton poppers!

Step 1: Lay out your wonton wrappers.

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Step 2: Dab a bit of cream cheese (no more than one tablespoon!) and jelly onto corner of wrapper. Trial and error is the key here. It took me a couple tries to find the right amount of filling…

20130310_125030  Step 3: Fold side over, wet ends with water (I used my finger, but you could use a pastry brush if you prefer). Too much filling will spill out the sides (if you’re like me, you’ll figure that out real fast!).

Step 4: Egg wash. Beat one egg and a splash of water in small bowl with a fork. Using a pastry brush, coat top of wonton wrapper with egg wash. This will help them to get nice and brown and crispy! Crispy is key here people.

Step 5: Bake at 375 degrees for about 13-15 minutes (depending on oven). Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

Step 6: Plate and enjoy!

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Perfect for your next party, or you know, a lazy Sunday :)

Now if I could only make those foil chicken thingies…

Baked Wonton Poppers

Serves Approx. 48 won tons
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable
Occasion Casual Party
Delicious baked cream cheese won tons with a jalapeño and raspberry filling!

Ingredients

  • 1 package wonton wrappers (all-natural brand)
  • 2 packages Neufchatel or cream cheese (8 oz. each) (preferably organic)
  • 2 jalapeños (minced)
  • 6oz raspberry jelly (preferably organic)
  • 1 egg (preferably organic)
  • water

Directions

Step 1
Lay out wonton wrappers on large cutting board.
Step 2
Mix cheese and jalapeño together. Stir in raspberry jelly.
Step 3
Add one tablespoon filling into corner of wrapper. Fold over and seal sides with water.
Step 4
Brush with egg wash.
Step 5
Bake at 375 degrees for about 13-15 minutes.
Step 6
Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Ravioli & Brown Butter Sage Sauce

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In the Thanksgiving Day edition of the Pioneer Press (the local St. Paul newspaper for those of you not from this area) there was a recipe for Leftover Turkey Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Sage Browned Butter sauce. The kicker? The ravioli was made from wonton wrappers! So much easier than making your own pasta.

It sounded delicious and totally doable. There was only one problem. The boyfriend and I ate most of our leftover turkey in sandwiches for lunch the day after Thanksgiving, and thus, there was definitely not enough left for ravioli. Yet, I was still determined. So after browsing butternut squash ravioli recipes online, I found what looked like a good one from Giada of The Food Network Channel. A Butternut Squash Tortellini with Brown Butter Sauce. Made with wonton wrappers. Now we’re in business!

Instead of re-typing the whole dang recipe, I figured I would just give you the link (being I pretty much followed it exactly) and let you know of the substitutions/additions I made. So, here it is: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/butternut-squash-tortellini-with-brown-butter-sauce-recipe/index.html 

First step is to roast your butternut squash. You can peel the butternut squash beforehand and then cut it into cubes and roast that way. Or you can halve the squash and roast it that way. I followed Giada’s directions for peeling thinking it would save me roasting time, however, it was a pain in the butt and I’m pretty sure it took longer than if I would have just done it the other way. Your choice however :) Don’t forget to toss (or slather) with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices before roasting.

Next sauté your shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft. Then, puree the squash with the ricotta cheese and shallot/garlic mix in a food processor. We added in some grated parmesan and gruyere and omitted the amaretti cookies (only because I couldn’t find them/didn’t want to look any longer at the store!). We also added in some chicken stock to soften the mixture before we pureed.

Now it’s time to fill the tortellini. This is the fun part (if only you could sense my sarcasm!). I apparently like to fill my too full, so that the mixture squirts out the sides when you try to wrap up the wonton wrapper. Slowly, I learned my lesson. Here’s how to make a perfectly filled wonton:

First, place a small (about 1 tbsp) amount of mixture in center of wrapper.

 Second, wet the edges of the wrapper with water. I used my finger, but you could be more classy and use a brush if you’d like :)

Third, pull over one side so the wonton is in a triangle shape.

Fourth, pull in two sides and make sure the ends stick together (add more water to ends if necessary).

Taadah! You have made a tortellini. Now time to boil some water and plop the tortellini in lightly (I’m always getting in trouble for being too aggressive in the kitchen – whoops!). Should only take a couple of minutes to cook. When the tortellini float to the top they are done. Tip: Don’t put too many in at a time as they will either a) float up right away or b) not be able to get to the top. And don’t overcook. Nobody likes soggy tortellini. I scooped mine out with a small mesh strainer. Worked perfectly.

Now for the sauce. Brown the butter, walnuts, sage leaves, and dried cranberries until the butter is a deep brown color (but not burned!). We caramelized our walnuts first with a little butter and brown sugar.

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After your ravioli is done, pour over a small amount (a little goes a long way!) of the butter sauce. And don’t forget to sprinkle some parmesan on top. Mmm mmm.

Now go enjoy your oh-so-gourmet meal :)

Real Recipe: Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

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Oh how I love the Farmer’s Market. I mean what’s not to love? Local farmers and the community coming together, an opportunity to buy the freshest vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, eggs, honey, jam, hummus, breads (the list goes on!). However, with the amazing amount of produce you get for such a great deal (no, I’m not complaining!), I often have more vegetables than I know what to do with. Zucchini is often one of them.

Although I used some of my zucchini in the lasagna last week (click here for recipe!), I still had a couple pieces left. So, after browsing some recipes online this week, I decided zucchini sticks it would be. I’ve made baked zucchini chips before (egg wash, coat with bread crumbs, bake in oven), but this time decided to fancy up the sticks a little more (expensive parmesan cheese, panko Italian style bread crumbs, sour cream dipping sauce!). Read on for some deliciously clean Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce:

First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut two-three zucchini into sticks by slicing off ends, cutting zucchini in half, and cutting lengthwise. Next, mix 1 cup panko Italian style bread crumbs (I used Ian’s brand) with 1/2 cup parmesean cheese. Note: If you can’t find Italian style, mix in 1 tablespoon mixed Italian seasoning into regular bread crumbs!

Beat two eggs. Dip zucchini sticks in eggs (a couple at a time), and then roll in bread crumb mixture. Place on greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper), and bake for about 10 minutes per side or until both sides are starting to brown!

Now for the dipping sauce. Mix 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayo, 1/8 cup favorite mustard together. Add 1/4 cup green onions and hot sauce to taste (optional). Stir together.

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Mmm mmm mmm. This was my dinner tonight (yes I know, not very well balanced but so delicious I ate at least 10 sticks!). Enjoy!

Baked Zucchini Sticks with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Serves approx. 24 sticks
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Side Dish
Baked parmesan zucchini sticks with a delicious dipping sauce!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/4 cup mayo (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/8 cup mustard (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/4 cup green onions (sliced finely)
  • dash hot sauce (optional)
  • 3 zucchini (cut into approx. 3 inch sticks)
  • 2 eggs (preferably organic)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • 1 tablespoon mixed Italian seasonings (if not using Italian style bread crumbs)

Note

Servings will depend on size of zucchini!

Directions

Zucchini Sticks
Step 1
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Step 2
Cut off ends of zucchini, slice in half, and cut into sticks.
Step 3
Mix together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Beat together two eggs.
Step 4
Dip zucchini sticks, a couple at a time, into egg wash and roll in bread crumb mixture.
Step 5
Line on greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper).
Step 6
Bake for about 10 minutes per side or until sticks are starting to brown!
Dipping Sauce
Step 7
Mix together sour cream, mayo, mustard, and hot sauce.
Step 8
Add in green onions and stir to combine.
Step 9
Enjoy!

Real Recipe: Traditional Italian Lasagne al Forno

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With high school soccer starting tomorrow (where did the summer go?!), I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time for cooking this week. Thus, I needed to make something that would last me the majority of the week, and re-heat nicely. Lasagna sounded like the perfect dish for the occasion (not to mention I haven’t made it in forever!).

Now usually I make my lasagna American style, with ricotta or cottage cheese (substitution courtesy of my dear friend Kalyn) and mozzarella. Tonight was a little different though. I had stopped at the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning and picked up an array of peppers, zucchini, and fresh spinach (among other things!). I also ran across a traditional Italian “Lasagne Al Forno” recipe. Never having made my own Besciamella sauce (think creamy cheese sauce), I decided to give it a try.

This lasagna is loaded with veggies, packed full of protein, and has plenty of calcium (especially with both spinach and dairy!).

Here’s my recipe for an entirely clean, amazingly delicious, traditional Lasagne al Forno:

Traditional Italian Lasagne al Forno

Serves 6
Cook time 40 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Serve Hot
Region Italian
A delicious, traditional Italian "Lasagna al Forno"! Can easily be made vegetarian.

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (organic preferably )
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2lb ground beef or Italian sausage (cooked and drained )
  • 28 oz whole tomatoes (peels on or removed )
  • 4 1/2 cups milk (preferably organic)
  • 7 tablespoons butter (local or organic)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (diced )
  • 1 zucchini (diced )
  • 2 cups spinach leaves (organic preferably)
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • 1/2 cup white wine

Note

  1. Don't let your besciamella sauce burn! Be sure to whisk frequently and watch the heat.
  2. Make this vegetarian by omitting the ground beef or sausage.
  3. You may use whole peeled tomatoes or leave the peels on for more texture.
  4. Using whole milk will ensure a thick creamy consistency.
  5. Cooking time may vary. Lasagna is typically done when sauce and cheeses are bubbling and dish is starting to brown.

Directions

Tomato Sauce
Step 1
Saute garlic, onion, bell peppers, and zucchini in oil. Add pre-cooked beef or italian sausage.
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Step 2
Add white wine and let evaporate.
Step 3
Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Simmer for approx. 45 minutes (or until tomatoes are completely broken down), breaking tomatoes into small pieces as you stir.
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Step 4
Add milk and cook for approx. 15 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Besciamella Sauce
Step 5
Melt butter into saucepan, slowly stir in flour while whisking over low heat for about 2 minutes.
Step 6
Slowly pour in milk, adjusting heat to allow sauce to bubble.
Step 7
Add nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. salt. Whisk for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Cooking Noodles
Step 8
Cook noodles according to package (with a drop of olive oil in water to prevent sticking!)
Lasagne Preparation
Step 9
Cover bottom of 9" x 13" glass baking dish with 1/4 cup tomato sauce (or more as needed!) and place one layer of noodles on top. Layer with spinach.
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Step 10
Spread approx. 1/3 cup besciamella sauce over spinach.
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Step 11
Cover with approx. 1/4 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup parmesan.
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Step 12
Repeat for 3 layers. Add remaining tomato sauce and parmesan cheese over top.
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Baking
Step 13
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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Real Recipe: White Wine Garlic Pasta

White Wine Garlic Pasta

Last week I had just gotten back from yoga but had to leave shortly to see a friend’s band play, which means I needed to eat something, and fast! This dish is quick, clean, and easy – couldn’t ask for much more in a recipe :)

White Wine Garlic Pasta (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound favorite pasta (I used bionaturae 100% whole wheat organic fusilli)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped (organic if possible)
  • 1 cup kale, roughly chopped (organic if possible)
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes (organic if possible)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to directions
  2. While pasta is cooking, add butter to skillet and let melt
  3. Saute garlic, onion, and spices in butter until onion is tender
  4. Add in kale, baby tomatoes, and wine
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until kale is tender
  6. Drain pasta, add back to pot and toss in olive oil
  7. Remove bay leaf, pour wine mixture over pasta, stir to combine
  8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and ground pepper
  9. Enjoy the light, fresh flavors!

 

Real Recipe: Caprese Salad

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As most holidays can be pretty heavily food-centered, the 4th of July here in the United States is no exception. It is also one of my favorite when it comes to good eats. The night before the 4th the boyfriend and I were at his friend’s parent’s place on the river celebrating early. As part of our meal we enjoyed Caprese salad (using fresh mozzarella from Cossetta’s in St. Paul – yum!). Wednesday morning I was craving it again; I just can’t get enough these days! So I stopped at the co-op to get some fresh mozzarella (already had the tomatoes and basil) Wednesday morning, and went to work. I brought my fresh, all-natural Caprese salad to the cabin as a perfect compliment to the chicken and steak kabobs, juicy watermelon, and corn-on-the-cob. Life doesn’t get much better than this :)

Here’s how to make your own simple, oh-so-delicious Caprese Salad:

Ingredients:

1 ball fresh mozzarella, cut into thick slices

3 large tomatoes (preferably organic), sliced thick

Basil leaves (stems removed)

Balsamic vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Fresh sea salt and ground pepper (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Lay the tomato slices down on a plate or serving platter

  2. Layer the mozzarella slices on top of the tomato slices

  3. Layer the basil leaves on top of the mozzarella

  4. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil

  5. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper

  6. Enjoy!

Note: If you have the time, consider making a balsamic reduction. To do so, pour a small amount of balsamic vinegar (1/4 to 1/2 cup should be plenty – depending on how much balsamic you like on your Caprese!) into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low to medium heat (be careful not to let it burn!). Let reduce down until starts to thicken, approximately 10 minutes (or more depending on how much you started with). Remove from heat when it is nice and thick, but still thin enough to pour. Let cool and then pour over your Caprese salad.

 

Photo courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com

Real Recipe: Easy Peanut Noodles with Lime Vinaigrette Salad

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Stopped at the farmer’s market today to pick up some fresh cucumbers, the last ingredient I needed to make a Peanut Noodle dish I have been craving for the past couple of weeks. It was a perfect dish for a hot night, in which one of my best friends and I sat on the porch catching up on our lives, sipping our glasses of wine, and eating what turned out to be a delicious meal!

This dish is light enough for a warm summer night, yet filling at the same time. I made mine without meat (you’ll find I don’t cook with meat very often!), but you could add cooked chicken to yours if you prefer the extra protein.

Easy Peanut Noodles (adapted from smittenkitten.com’s Peanut Sesame Noodles) (feeds approximately 6 people)

Ingredients:

1 lb. soba or spaghetti noodles (I used organic whole-wheat spaghetti noodles)

4 scallions, thinely sliced (organic preferably)

2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips (organic preferably)

2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced (organic preferably)

1/2 cup peanut butter (organic preferably)

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced (organic preferably)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp honey

1 pinch red pepper flakes, or a squirt of hot sauce or chili paste (more if you like it spicy!)

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

 

 Directions:  

  1. Boil 6-8 quarts of water (covered with a lid to save time and energy!)

  2. While water is coming to a boil, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, honey, and pepper flakes in a bowl; whisk to combine (can add hot water to thin out sauce, I used about 1/4 cup)

  3. When water reaches a boil, cook noodles according to directions (or until tender)

  4. Drain noodles and add back into pot

  5. Pour in peanut sauce

  6. Add scallions, bell peppers, and cucumbers; stir to combine

  7. Garnish with chopped peanuts (optional)

  8. Can serve warm immediately, or put into fridge for 10-15 minutes and serve cool

Lime Vinaigrette Salad

Ingredients:

6 cups salad (I used Romaine, but a Spring Mix would work well too!) – organic

1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1/4 cup peanut oil

1/2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tsp soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

2 limes, cut into quarters (approximately 1/4 cup lime juice)

 

Directions:

  1. Add peanut oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice (from whole limes), and peanuts together in bowl; stir to combine

  2. Combine salad, scallions, and cilantro leaves together

  3. Pour dressing over salad; toss to combine

Mmm…nothing says summer like a light, refreshing, clean dish like this! Enjoy!

 

Real Recipe: Margherita Pizza

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For those of you who live in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, you have the luxury of having a Punch Neapolitan Pizza close by. If you live in the area and you haven’t tried Punch Pizza yet, you need to get there. One of the best Margherita pizzas in the Twin Cities. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Craving Punch but trying to limit the number of times I eat out (or get take-out!) this summer, tonight I made a quick homemade Margherita Pizza. Here’s my quick clean version:

Ingredients: 
  • All-natural or organic Pizza Crust (I used ready-made Rustic Crust – Tuscan 6 Grain. Rustic Crust makes all-natural, organic, and even gluten-free pizza crust!)
  • All-natural or organic Pizza or Pasta Sauce (I used Monte Bene Low-Fat Vodka Sauce for a bit of a creamier version)
  • Fresh Tomatoes (I used a big Beefsteak tomato grown in Minnesota – nothing like local produce!)
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (either cut into slices or you can use mozzarella balls)
  • Fresh Basil
Directions: 
  1. Pour the desired amount of pizza/pasta sauce on crust and spread evenly with the back side of a spoon or a spatula (leaving enough room sauce-free on the edges)
  2. Add tomato slices
  3. Put basil leaves on top of tomatoes (stems removed)
  4. Add sliced mozzarella cheese on top of basil leaves (to prevent basil leaves from burning)
  5. Bake according to crust directions (Rising Crust recommends 8-10 minutes at 425 degrees). Note, the mozzarella will melt quickly and basil leaves can burn if cooked too long. Also, adding fresh tomatoes on pizza tends to make the pizza a bit waterier, so watch to make sure the juices don’t start running off the edge of your pizza and onto the bottom of your oven!

NOTE: Although most pizza/pasta sauces are already all-natural, when possible try to use organic pizza/pasta sauce. Tomatoes are one of the heaviest pesticide sprayed crops!

Now enjoy your fresh, all-natural, easy summertime pizza!

 

 

Real Recipe: Broccoli Feta Omelet

omelet

Breakfast is my favorite meal. Especially on the weekends when I have the time to make something good (and am not chowing my cereal in the car on the way to work!). This weekend I made not one but two broccoli feta omelets. And they were both oh so delicious.

Next time you’re in the mood for an omelet, try swapping your regular ham and cheese one for this cleaner, healthier version!

Ham and other deli meats often contain nitrates (one of the top Food Additives to Watch Out For!) and if you don’t use local or certified organic ham, you probably have no idea where the meat came from or how it was processed! Check out the following article for more information about the dangers of deli meats: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/16361276/ns/today-food/t/things-you-need-know-about-deli-meats/

And instead of using processed cheese (think Kraft Singles!) in your omelet, try using organic or real (unprocessed) cheese. Although the health risks of processed cheese are debatable, processed cheese can contain artificial preservatives and colors, and oftentimes have more salt (and even trans fat!) than real cheese. Organic and unprocessed cheese are much tastier in my opinion too! Some people have sensitivities to processed cheese (myself included), and might have even come to accept the fact that they will feel congested or have an upset stomach after eating foods such as mac ‘n cheese, grilled cheese, or other dishes made with processed cheese. Making the switch from processed to real (and better yet, organic!) dairy products could make a world of difference (it sure did for me!). To read more about cheese allergies and sensitivities check out: http://www.livestrong.com/article/207905-symptoms-of-cheese-allergy/

Ingredients
Olive oil (organic if possible) – Approx. 2 tbsp, or enough to lightly coat bottom of pan
Broccoli (organic) – Approx. 1 cup  (cut into bite-sized pieces – less or more depending on preference)
Eggs (organic or free range if organic not available) – 2
Feta cheese crumbles (organic if possible) – 1/4 cup (less or more depending on how cheesy you like it!)
Milk (organic if possible) – 2 tbsp
1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions:
1) Heat stove top to medium, pour oil into small pan and let heat for 1 minute
2) Beat eggs and splash of milk together in small bowl, add in pepper
3) Pour eggs into pan, add in broccoli pieces, sprinkle cheese on top
4) Cook approximately 3-4 minutes or until omelet is firm enough to be folded
5) Fold half of omelet over and let cook (approx. 1 more minute)
6) Flip to cook other side (approx. 1 more minute)
7) Viola! Time to enjoy your clean, healthy omelet :)

 

Photo courtesy of Health.com -> Jim Bathie