Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Roasted Potatoes with Onions and Garlic

This is such a simple and delicious side dish that can accompany just about anything. Last week, I received baby red potatoes, garlic and big white onions in my crop share. With about 5 minutes of prep, I had the vegetables cut and ready to go in the oven. I added some Italian spices to add to the flavor, but you can easily switch up the spices to your liking and customize these potatoes however you prefer.

Recipe yields 6 servings

1 lb potatoes (I used baby red)
1 onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp thyme

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Dice the potatoes into 1/4" pieces. Slice the onions and chop the garlic. Place everything into a baking dish.

Cover the potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the spices. Toss all the ingredients together so they are evenly coated with oil and spices. Place in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes. Be sure to give it a mix after every 20 minutes, so all the different sides become golden brown.

Once the potatoes have browned and become crispy on the edges, you can remove them from the oven. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Basil Pesto Shrimp Skewers

Now that the New York heat wave has officially subsided, it is time to enjoy the BBQ once more. These shrimp skewers are a great choice for a hot night because they take only 7-8 minutes on the BBQ. Plus, seafood always makes a deliciously refreshing summer choice. Marinate the shrimp in some basil pesto before hand for a unique flavor, or just put them on the grill plain and serve with a side sauce or salsa.

Recipe yields 10 skewers

2 lbs large shrimp, cleaned
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic

In a food processor, add the basil leaves, olive oil, cheese and garlic. Pulse until it forms a smooth paste. If the pesto is too thick, add more oil, a teaspoon at a time.

Remember, we are using this pesto as a marinade, so we want it to be on the thicker side.

Add your shrimp to a bowl and top with the pesto. Mix together until all the shrimp are coated in the pesto sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

When you are ready to cook, heat up your grill. Place 4-5 shrimps on each skewer.

Lightly coat the grill in non-stick cooking spray and place the skewers in place. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side on medium heat. The shrimp cook quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on them. Once they are white through the middle with a light pink outside, they are ready to eat!

Remove from the grill and serve alongside my Balsamic Skirt Steak for a delicious surf & turf dinner. Or serve on their own with a side salad for a light and refreshing meal. Enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Spinach, Artichoke & Chicken Sandwich Melts

Whenever I am out to eat and hot spinach and artichoke dip is on the menu, I have to order it. It is one of my favorite appetizers, ever! That is how this idea came to. Wouldn't it be great if instead of having the dip as an appetizer, you could just eat it as your main dish. But maybe does it needs a little more substance? Throw in some shredded chicken and we are good to go. This sandwich combines awesome flavors that you will love. But I am going to warn you now, once you try this sandwich, you will never stop craving it. It is just that amazing!

Recipe yields 6 servings

1 lb chicken breast
14 oz can artichoke hearts
3 garlic cloves
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
2 tbsp light cream cheese
2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt & black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, shred the Parmesan cheese and set aside.

Into your food processor goes the artichoke hearts and garlic cloves. Pulse until the artichokes are broken down and there is a chunky paste remaining.

Add the greek yogurt and cream cheese to a large bowl.

Mix in your artichoke paste.

Add the spinach. Make sure it is completely thawed and strain any excess liquid before adding it to the bowl.

Add both of your cheeses. Mix it all together until all ingredients are combined.

Spread the mixutre into a large baking dish and place in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and the top is lightly golden.

While the dip is in the oven, season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to a hot pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until the chicken is cooked through.

Slice your bread and butter one side of each piece. Set aside.

Once your dip is done, remove from the oven.

Once the chicken has cooled to the touch, shred it.

Now it is time to start assembling the sandwiches. Spread the non-buttered side of bread with the dip. Add a handful of shredded chicken. Top with another slice of bread that has been covered with dip. Repeat this process until all your sandwiches are made. Remember, the buttered sides of the bread should always be on the outside.

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add your sandwiches to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until the bread is golden and toasted.

Remove to a servng dish. Serve for lunch or dinner. You can even make them bite sized and serve as an appetizer at your next party. Trust me, once you try these, you will be looking for ways to serve these whenever you can. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mexican Pizza

Swap out the ground beef for shredded chicken, pulled pork carnitas or just use a bunch of your favorite veggies for a meat-less option. These pizzas are a nice change to your usual taco and feel free to pile high the toppings, with no worries of the shell breaking in your hands.

Recipe yields 4-5 servings

8-10 small corn tortillas
2 lb ground beef
1 large yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
8 oz can tomato sauce

Shredded Monterey-Jack cheese
Sour cream
Black Olives
Shredded lettuce

Chop your onion and bell pepper.

In a large pan, add the chopped meat and cook until brown. Break up into small pieces as it is cooking.

To the pan, add the chopped onions and peppers.

Next, add your spices.

Add the tomatoe sauce and continue to boil for an additional 5-10 minutes. 

Heat a skillet and add a drop of oil. Add the tortillas and cook for 25-30 seconds on each side until crispy.

Prepare all your toppings: shred the lettuce, chop the tomato and olives and slice the avocado.

To your liking, prepare your pizza. Top the tortilla with a heaping spoonful of the meat mixture, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Angel Food Cake

Work has been crazy and I have been neglicting you all for a few days. But I think I know just the way to earn your forgiveness. Today I bring to you a light, airy and delicious angel food cake. Angel food cake may be one of my favorites because it hits your sweet spot without throwing off your entire week of eating healthy. Also, it pairs so well with fresh berries, it is a great way to up your serving of fruit for the evening. After a long week, this was just the cake I needed.

Recipe yields 1 cake

1 3/4 cups superfine sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cake flour
12 egg whites (I used a carton of egg whites because I didn't want 12 egg yolks to go to waste)
1/3 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2/ tsp cream of tartar 

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Sift together the flour, salt and 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of the sugar and set aside. 

In a large bowl, add your egg whites, water, vanilla extract and cream of tartar. Use a balloon whisk to combine ingredients until they begin to foam. 

Switch to a hand mixer and beat the egg whites while sifting in the remaining sugar. Continue to beat until medium peaks form.

Sift in 1/3 of the flour mixture and use a spatular to fold the mixture into the egg whites. Continue the folding process until all flour is incorporated.

Prepare a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter and flour. Pour in the batter and place the cake in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. The top of the cake should be golden brown.

Remove from the oven and invert on a cooling rack. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes upside down before removing it from the pan.

Slice the cake and serve it alongside some fresh berries and homemade whipped cream. A light and delicious treat, perfect for a warm summer evening.