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Roasted Root Vegetables topped with Baked Portobello Mushroom and Frisee

26 Mar

Roasted-Root-Vegetables-Baked-Portobello-Mushroom-Frisee-Salad-3

I saw a picture of a similar meal posted on Facebook and thought it looked delicious. I decided to try my hand at it and added more root vegetables, changed the salad to frisee and had to figure out what dressing would pair well with all the flavors. I almost used apple cider vinegar for the dressing, but made a game time decision and decided to go with champagne vinegar. Definitely the way to go. The champagne vinaigrette stood up really well to the bitterness of the frisee and the root vegetables really brought out the flavor of the vinegar. Michael’s only complaint was that there was only one of them!

Roasted-Root-Vegetables

Ingredients:
Serves 2
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed
1 large beet, peeled and cubed
2 portobello mushrooms, stemmed
Pizza Dough or puff pastry
2 cups frisee, washed and chopped
2 tbsp goat cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp german mustard
1/2 small shallot, minced
2 tbsp honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400o.
  2. Place the diced vegetables on a baking sheet and lightly toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables until soft, about 30 minutes turning them half way through.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough or puff pastry until 1/16 inch thick. Place the mushrooms on the dough and cut circles about an inch larger than the mushrooms. Wrap the edges around the mushrooms, place on a baking sheet and bake along with the vegetables.
  4. Wash the frisee, place in a large bowl and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot and honey. Pour the dressing over the frisee, add the goat cheese and toss well.
  6. Place the roasted vegetables on a plate, then the mushroom and top with the frisee salad.

As always, enjoy!

Roasted-Root-Vegetables-Baked-Portobello-Mushroom-Frisee-Salad-2

Homemade Cheeze-its

25 Mar

Homemade-Cheeze-its-top

Cheesy snacks are a classic, a terribly addictive classic. This is precisely why I try to avoid them. Sometimes my craving gets the best of me and I can’t resist. Rather than buying store-bought junk food, I opted to make my own! I devoured them within 24 hours.

Homemade-Cheeze-its2

Ingredients:
1 cup white whole wheat flour
11/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (reduce to 1 cup if you use extra sharp cheddar)
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp ice-cold water

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cheese and coconut oil.
  2. With the mixer on low, add the water one tablespoon at a time.
  3. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for 3-4 minutes. While the dough is still in the bowl, use your hands to form a ball.
  4. Transfer the dough to the countertop and shape it into a square. Roll the square out to about 1/8 inch thick.
  5. Cut the dough into squares and place the squares onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes until the edges are a light golden brown. Allow the squares to cool on a baking rack.

As always, enjoy!

Homemade-Cheeze-its1

Spanakopita

20 Mar

Spanakopita

While at the gym a while back the Barefoot Contessa was on one of the TVs and she was making individual spanakopitas. They looked delicious but I had completely forgotten about them by the time I got home. It dawned on me while planning my meals for the week, that I should make spanakopita. So, I powered up google, did a little research and came up with this amazing mess!

Ingredients:
11/2 lbs spinach
1 large onion, chopped
2 bunches green onions, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp nutmeg
8 oz crumbled feta cheese
24 sheets of phyllo dough (half for the top and half for the bottom)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375o.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until clear, about 5 minutes. Add the green onions and spinach and saute until the spinach is wilted.
  3. In a bowl, beat the eggs and add the spinach mixture, feta cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Lay 1 of the phyllo sheets out on a flat surface and carefully brush olive oil across the top. Lay the sheet into the baking dish and repeat with the remaining 12 sheets.
  5. Pour the spinach mixture into the baking dish.
  6. Lay 1 sheet of the remaining phyllo dough on the flat surface and brush olive oil on the top of each sheet and layering them to form the top.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

As always, enjoy!

Homemade Nutella Filled Cookies

19 Mar

Homemade-Nutella-Filled-Cookies

Back in the day, you could find me in front of the cupboard with a knife eating nutella. When I finally took a look at the list of ingredients, it was enough to turn me off of it forever. Then one day it dawned on me… I could totally make this with regular food! So, off I went trying out a number of combinations before I finally got it. So satisfying!

The cookies are so delicious. They are light and buttery, which is amazing since there is no butter in them. They’re crumbly and taste amazing with the nutella. These cookies came much easier after all the experimenting I did with my girl scout cookies. I tried adding almond milk but that made the batter too wet. I tried it again without the almond milk and that seemed to do the trick. I also tried these using spelt flour and while they were really good, the flavor overpowered the hazelnut.

Homemade-Nutella

For the Nutella:
Ingredients:
1 cup dry roasted hazelnuts
2 tbsp coco powder
1 tbsp confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp stevia (optional)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. In a food processor fitted with an S blade, process the hazelnuts, coco powder, confectioners sugar, stevia (if using) and vanilla.
  2. Through the feed tube, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil and continue processing until smooth.

For the Cookies:
Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325o
  2. Combine the almond flour and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla until creamy.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and turn the speed up to medium.
  5. Form balls with the dough and flatten out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Rotating the baking sheet 180o half way through.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool on a baking rack.
  8. Once the cookies are cool, spread the nutella on one cookie and top with another.

As always, enjoy!

Veggie Fajitas with Homemade Guacamole

18 Mar

Guacamole

I am a fajita connoisseur. If there are fajitas on a menu, you can bet your last buck that I’m ordering them. Needless to say, this is hands down my favorite recipe. Not only is it knock your socks off delicious, but it’s incredibly easy to make. Add in some homemade guacamole and you’re good to go!

Veggie-Fajita

If you choose to add chicken to the fajitas, I used to marinate the chicken in the spice mixture instead of the veggies. I would saute the veggies, grill the marinated chicken and toss them together at the end.

For the Fajitas:
Ingredients:
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1 large yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 large orange pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, cut into half moons
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas
Shredded monterey jack cheese
Serve with Sour cream and guacamole

Directions:

  1. Combine 3 tbsp of oil with the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper and stir to form a paste.
  2. Add the peppers and onions to the spice mixture and toss until peppers and onion are well coated.
  3. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spiced peppers and onions to the pan and saute until soft. Once they are soft, add the mushrooms and saute for another 3 minutes.
  4. Serve with sour cream, guacamole and cheese.

For the Guacamole:
Ingredients:
4 ripe avocados
1/8 cup diced tomatoes, seeded
1/8 cup diced red onion
1 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste
cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. Scoop out the avocados into a bowl and mash with a fork.
  2. Add the tomatoes, onions, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper and combine well.

As always, enjoy!

Spinach, Mushroom and Onion Calzones

15 Mar

Calzone

I think of calzones as portable little pizzas. Minus the sauce of course, which is probably why I enjoy them so much. You see, I’m not a huge fan of tomato sauce. I did serve these with sauce from a jar on the side but Michael didn’t even use it. He said they were perfectly delicious without the sauce.

For the Dough
Ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
11/2 cup warm water (approx. 105o)

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour and yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and stir
  2. Continue mixing as you slowly add the water and salt. Mix until the dough forms a ball on the hook.
  3. Transfer the dough into a bowl greased with olive oil and cover with a towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place (I put mine in the oven with the light turned on) for 1 hour.
  4. Uncover the dough and punch it down. Lightly flour a countertop and lightly knead the dough into a ball. Roll the dough into a log and divide in half for larger calzones or quarters if you want small ones.

Calzone-Vegetable-Mixture

For the Filling:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups uncooked spinach
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400o
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute the onions until they are clear, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook until the spinach is bright green, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir into the vegetable mixture. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. Mix the ricotta and mozzarella in a large bowl. Add the cooled vegetable mixture to the cheeses and mix well.
  5. Roll the divided dough into circles and fill half the dough with the filling, leaving about a 1/2 inch between the filling and the end of the dough.
  6. Fold the unfilled half of the dough over to cover the filling and press and fold the edges together.
  7. Transfer the calzones to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Calzones-Uncooked

As always, enjoy!

Do-si-do Inspired Cookies

13 Mar

Do-si-dos

Who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? My favorites are the Tagalongs and Do-si-dos. What I don’t love is all the junk that they put into those cookies. As usual, I was left with not choice but to make my own. To say these cookies were a labor of love is an understatement. I have baked batches of these cookies everyday, trying to match that addictive flavor. After countless batches, I finally nailed it! While I can’t say these have less fat, I can say that they don’t have any fake junk. And, in my book that’s a success.

Another key part of this cookie was the fresh peanut butter I used. You can get freshly ground peanut butter at any Whole Foods, which is what I used to buy. But being on a tight budget, spending $5.99 per pound on peanut butter isn’t really an option. So, I’m making my own. And it’s delicious!

I must give a BIG thanks to my wonderful taste testers: my husband, my sister, brother in-law, and the plumber. Yes, you read that correctly. What can I say, Michael makes friends quickly. In addition to fixing our sink, he actually gave me some very useful feedback. I really appreciate all the cookies you ate. I’m sure it was very hard on all of you. šŸ™‚

Do-si-do-full-plate

For the Cookies:
Ingredients:
11/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 cup rolled oats, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sucanat
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk
15 tbsp peanut butter (amount will vary depending on how big or small you make the cookies)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325o
  2. Give the rolled oats a few pulses in the food processor. Transfer the oats to a bowl and mix in the flour and baking powder.
  3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sucanat, vanilla, maple syrup and coconut oil on a low setting until you form a creamy mixture.
  4. On the low setting, add the flour and oat mixture.
  5. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the almond milk.
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll a tablespoon size of the batter in your hands to form a ball.
  7. Place the ball on the baking sheet and flatten with your palm. Repeat with remaining batter.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets 180o half way through.
  9. Cool the cookies on a rack. Once cooled, pair the cookies based on size and spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on one cookie and press the other cookie into a sandwich.

Do-si-dos-close-up

For the Peanut Butter:
Ingredients:
1 lb roasted and unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp maple syrup
3-4 tbsp peanut oil

Directions:

  1. Add the peanuts to a food processor fitted with an S blade and begin to process.
  2. Add the maple syrup and peanut oil through the feed tube and process until a paste is formed.
  3. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

As always, enjoy!

Three Bean Chili and Vegan Cornbread

8 Mar

Three-Bean-Chili

It’s been pretty cold here in Chicago and nothing makes me feel warm and happy like a bowl of chili and warm cornbread.

Just a warning, I like my food a bit on the spicy side. If you don’t, you can reduce the amount of chipotles and jalapeƱo you put into the chili. The adobo sauce itself isn’t terribly spicy and neither is chili powder. That’s what helps give it the smokey flavor.

For the Chili:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry black beans
1/2 cup dry pinto beans
1/2 cup dry white beans
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeƱo, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Shredded cheddar cheese or nutritional yeast as a topping

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy stock pot over medium heat
  2. Add the onion, bell peppers and jalapeƱo to the oil and saute until the onions are clear. Once the onions are clear, add the garlic
  3. When the garlic is fragrant, sprinkle the chili powder and cumin and stir
  4. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and chipotle chilis with some of the adobo sauce
  5. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  6. Season with salt and pepper

Cornbread

For the Cornbread:
Ingredients:
11/4 cups garbanzo bean flour (you can substitute any flour you like)
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sucanat
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup milk of choice (I used Homemade Almond Milk)
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp water
1 cup frozen corn, thawed

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flax and water to make a paste
  2. Add the milk, vinegar and sucanat to the flax mixture, and stir well
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and baking soda
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the center and combine well
  5. Add in the corn and coconut oil and mix well
  6. Pour the batter into a greased 8×8 baking dish and bake until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean
  7. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing

As always, enjoy!

Chili-with-Cornbread

Very Cherry Berry Smoothie

6 Mar

Very-Cherry-Berry-Smoothie

Would you believe me if I told you that this smoothie was a green smoothie? Well, it is! That’s right, lots of kale went into the making of my all-time favorite smoothie. This shake is super fast since the Very Cherry Berry Mix comes frozen from Trader Joe’s. The main difference in my smoothie recipes is the fruit combination. My main goal is to get my greens and protein but sometimes I just want a different flavor. Although, this one never gets old šŸ™‚

Ingredients
makes 2 servings
1 cup Trader Joe’s Very Cherry Berry Mix
1/2 cup fresh or frozen mango
1 banana
4 cups kale
1/2 cup silken tofu
13/4 cup steeped green tea
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 packets stevia
4 ice cubes (optional)

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients, except the steeped green tea and chia seeds, into a blender
  2. Steep the green tea for 2-3 minutes and remove the tea bag
  3. Sprinkle the chia seeds into the green tea and let steep for 10 minutes
  4. Add the ice to the warm green tea and chia seeds to help cool down the temperature
  5. Pour the tea and seed mixture into the blender and blend

As always, enjoy!

Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

5 Mar

Pancakes-Cooked

Who doesn’t love pancakes, especially for dinner! The other night I decided to change things up and make “brinner” as Michael likes to call it. He also said that these were the best pancakes he has ever had. Another bonus is that they re-heat really well. Just throw them back on the griddle or into a skillet and you’re good to go!

Just a note, I used King Arthur flour which is higher in protein than other whole wheat flours. As a result, the flour soaks up a lot of moisture so I need to use more almond milk. If you use all-purpose flour or another type of flour, you may need to decrease the amount of milk.

Pancake-Batter

Pancakes-Cooking

Ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
21/2 cups milk of choice (I used homemade almond milk)
2 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/2 cup blueberries

Directions:
Makes approximately 12 pancakes

  1. Combine the flour and the baking powder in a large bowl
  2. In a small bowl, mix the ground flax and water together to make a paste (vegan bakers use this mixture as an egg substitute). Add the maple syrup, vanilla and coconut oil to the flax and mix together
  3. Add the flax mixture and milk to the flour and stir until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, you don’t want the batter to get thick
  4. Stir in blueberries to the batter
  5. Heat oil on a griddle or skillet over medium heat
  6. Add about a 1/4 cup of batter to the pan or griddle. The edges of the batter will begin to bubble when the pancake is ready to be flipped over

As always, enjoy!