Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mushroom-Lovers' Swiss Burgers

Mushrooms and Swiss cheese are a match made in heaven. And while some people despise this vegetable, it has always been one of my favorites. The beefy, satisfying texture of mushrooms compliment any red meat or pizza perfectly.

This burger is designed for the ultimate mushroom fan. The mushrooms in this dish are mixed into the burger filling with lots of yummy spices as well as served on top of the burger with some sweet caramelized onion. I like this burger as is, but it would also be great with a dash of A1 sauce or ketchup, if you desire.





1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced mushrooms and cook until lightly brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


3. Add thyme and white wine and cook until wine has evaporated; season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and allow mushrooms to cool slightly.


4. Place beef in a large mixing bowl and add chopped onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Top with the cooked mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Form into 4 patties and grill for 4-5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.



5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil (in the same pan you cooked the diced mushrooms in) over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and mushroom and cook until lightly caramelized, 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. (this is also a good time to toast your English muffins)

6. When the burgers are almost done, top each with a slice of Swiss cheese and allow to melt (this will take about a minute). Transfer patties to a platter.


7. To serve, place each patty on the bottom half of each English muffin, top with caramelized onion and mushroom and finish with the remaining English muffin half.

Mushroom-Lovers' Swiss Burgers
Serves 4

All you need:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, diced small
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup white wine
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 teaspoon dried chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
4 oz. sliced baby portobello mushrooms
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 whole grain English muffins, split

All you do:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced mushrooms and cook until lightly brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add thyme and white wine and cook until wine has evaporated; season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and allow mushrooms to cool slightly.
4. Place beef in a large mixing bowl and add chopped onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Top with the cooked mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Form into 4 patties and grill for 4-5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.
5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil (in the same pan you cooked the diced mushrooms in) over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and mushroom and cook until lightly caramelized, 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. (this is also a good time to toast your English muffins)
6. When the burgers are almost done, top each with a slice of Swiss cheese and allow to melt (this will take about a minute). Transfer patties to a platter.
7. To serve, place each patty on the bottom half of each English muffin, top with caramelized onion and mushroom and finish with the remaining English muffin half.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Black Bean Tacos with Avocado, Roasted Corn and Radish Salsa

Sometimes simple meals are the best meals. But just because they're simple, doesn't mean they should lack flavor or nutrition. Lately I've been thinking of different ways to use radishes because they aren't my favorite vegetable, but they're so pretty and they provide a great crunch. This salsa is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy (thanks to those pink beauties!). Delish.

The black bean burger filling is a great protein source and you can't beat the fact that it's ready in basically no time at all. Combined with the salsa and salty cotija cheese, this taco is addictive.



1. Combine salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.



2. Cook burgers according to package instructions and roughly chop. Transfer to a bowl.



3. To serve, place diced burger and salsa onto each warm tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top.





Black Bean Tacos with Avocado, Roasted Corn & Radish Salsa
Serves 4

All you need:
Salsa
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
2 large radishes (or 4 small), diced small
1/2 cup frozen roasted corn kernels, thawed
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

4 black bean burgers (such as Morningstar Farms)
1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
8 white corn tortillas, warmed

Lime wedges, for serving

All you do:
1. Combine salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
2. Cook burgers according to package instructions and roughly chop. Transfer to a bowl.
3. To serve, place diced burger and salsa onto each warm tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ginger Mojito Melon

Summer is officially here and it's time for fun get-togethers with family and friends. One of my friends shared some of her fresh mint with me and I knew I had to make something with mojito flavors. This melon salad is extremely refreshing and the fresh ginger balances everything out.

This is best served extremely cold.



1. Whisk oil, lime juice and zest, ginger, sparkling water, rum, mint and sugar in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.


2. Cut each melon in half, remove and discard any seeds and scoop flesh with a sharp 1-inch melon baller. Place all melon balls in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.




3. Pour dressing over the melon balls. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.




Ginger Mojito Melon
Serves 10

All you need:
1/4 cup canola oil
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup lime flavored sparkling water (such as La Croix)
2 tablespoons white rum
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1 seedless watermelon
1 cantaloupe

All you do:
1. Whisk oil, lime juice and zest, ginger, sparkling water, rum, mint and sugar in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
2. Cut each melon in half, remove and discard any seeds and scoop flesh with a sharp 1-inch melon baller. Place all melon balls in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Pour dressing over the melon balls. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Double Tomato Greek Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette

Tonight I taught a class on how to cook with summer fruits and vegetables. Sweet tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, bright green lettuce...the list of garden-fresh options goes on. I designed this salad to highlight those favorites. The creamy hummus vinaigrette offers a lemony bite and crispy pita acts as the perfect crunchy "crouton".

This salad is vegan, but if you want to add feta cheese for added salty goodness, feel free!



1. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.


2. Place tomato, cucumber, parsley, sundried tomato and greens in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over and toss to combine.




3. Transfer salad to a platter and top with pita chips.


Double Tomato Greek Salad with Hummus Vinaigrette
Serves 4

All you need:
Dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons Sabra roasted red pepper hummus
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 large tomato, diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup julienned sundried tomatoes
2 cups leafy greens, roughly chopped

Pita chips, broken into pieces (for garnish)

All you do:
1. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Place tomato, cucumber, parsley, sundried tomato and greens in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over and toss to combine.
3. Transfer salad to a platter and top with pita chips.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Paleo Pancakes

My recent urge to get fit is humorous for some, because I'm really not the most athletic, but hey, I'm trying. That's why I'm at least fortunate enough to know how to eat right and incorporate more quality protein into my diet. 

A while back, I learned how to make these pancakes from a friend who is a complete paleo diet guru. Because I'm so used to making pancakes with flour, I will admit I was a bit skeptical, but these are absolutely amazing! I love the fact that just 2 pancakes provide 12 grams of protein. I enjoy loading my pancakes with extra fresh blueberries and a drizzle of pure maple syrup, but feel free to top with whatever fruit/sweetener you prefer. 



1. Combine almond butter and eggs in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 30 seconds.


2. Preheat a non-stick griddle or skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter in a slow steam onto the pan (do 2 at a time) and dot with blueberries. Cook for 1 minute per side, or until fluffy and golden brown. Transfer to a platter and repeat the process until all pancakes are made.



3. To serve, top pancakes with more fresh blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Paleo Pancakes
Serves 6

All you need:
1/2 cup almond butter
8 eggs
1-1/2 cups blueberries, plus more for serving
Non-stick cooking spray
Pure maple syrup, for serving

All you do:
1. Combine almond butter and eggs in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 30 seconds.
2. Preheat a non-stick griddle or skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter in a slow steam onto the pan (do 2 at a time) and dot with blueberries. Cook for 1 minute per side, or until fluffy and golden brown. Transfer to a platter and repeat the process until all pancakes are made.
3. To serve, top pancakes with more fresh blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pistachio Parsley Pesto Pasta with Grilled Shrimp and Tomatoes

After a long week of travel, today I was in need of a simple, fresh meal. Nothing screams summer like herb pesto. I decided to go non-traditional and add flat-leaf parsley (my favorite herb) and toasty pistachios (my favorite nut) to create one addictive sauce. This pesto is great for pasta, but would also work perfectly on grilled pizza or grilled vegetables, like zucchini. 

I found some local grape tomatoes which I knew would pair perfectly with the shrimp and get even sweeter on the grill. 

Take your plate of pasta out on the deck, squeeze a big wedge of lemon all over it, pour yourself a big glass of white wine and savor the tastes, sights and sounds of summer. *sigh* 



1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, place parsley, basil, garlic, lemon zest and pistachios in a food processor or blender and process for 10 seconds. Add olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper.



4. Pour pesto over the pasta and toss to combine.

5. Thread shrimp and tomatoes onto skewers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Place pasta onto 4 plates and top each with a skewer. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.


Pistachio Parsley Pesto Pasta with Grilled Shrimp and Tomatoes
Serves 4

All you need:
12 oz. angel hair pasta
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
10 fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
16 uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
16 grape tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, place parsley, basil, garlic, lemon zest and pistachios in a food processor or blender and process for 10 seconds. Add olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour pesto over the pasta and toss to combine.
4. Thread shrimp and tomatoes onto skewers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Place pasta onto 4 plates and top each with a skewer. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.