Thursday, February 26, 2015

Proscuitto and Manchego Cheese Flautas with Fresh Tropical Salsa


A few weeks ago, Josh and I went out to dinner at a Spanish tapas restaurant. I'm a fan of these restaurants because you get the chance to try so many different things! My favorite dish that we enjoyed that night was probably the most simple - fresh bread topped with manchego cheese, serrano ham and garlic oil. So simple, yet so decadent. 

I decided to take those flavors and build an appetizer that your guests will absolutely love. (Think of it as a gourmet grilled ham and cheese!) And because I used corn tortillas rather than bread, your gluten free guests can enjoy this as well. 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds to make them more pliable.
3. Coat a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. Lay a tortilla flat and top with prosciutto and cheese.
Tightly roll up and place in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown and lightly crisp.





4. Meanwhile, combine salsa ingredients in a medium bowl.


5. Serve flautas warm, topped with salsa.


Prosciutto and Manchego Cheese Flautas with Fresh Tropical Salsa 
Serves 4

All you need:
8 corn tortillas
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
8 oz. manchego cheese, freshly grated
Non-stick cooking spray

Salsa
1/4 red onion, minced
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup finely diced pineapple
Juice of 1 lime

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds to make them more pliable.
3. Coat a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. Lay a tortilla flat and top with prosciutto and cheese. Tightly roll up and place in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown and lightly crisp.
4. Meanwhile, combine salsa ingredients in a medium bowl.
5. Serve flautas warm, topped with salsa.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Leafy Green Pesto


Taking a trip to the farmers market at any point in the year is exciting for me, but winter is the season I believe you can be the most adventurous. This weekend, one vendor in particular had this huge, heated truck full of root vegetables and leafy greens that I couldn't wait to try. 

Although there were several winter vegetables to choose from, I went the real scary guys - e.g. celery root, rutabaga and parsnips. I remember when I worked at WIC we had this Sesame Street video about fruits and vegetables that we would play for the kids in the waiting area and the rutabaga felt left out/ignored. You have to laugh a little at the fact that that's pretty true...it's not often you find these vegetables as common staples at the dinner table. 

So here's your chance to give them a try! I think you'll be happy you did. 


1. Preheat oven to 425. Coat a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place diced vegetables in a large mixing bowl.




3. Combine kale, spinach, parsley, basil, shallot, garlic, walnuts, juice of 1/2 lemon and olive oil in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


4. Pour half of the pesto over the vegetables and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, stir, then bake 15 minutes longer, or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.




5. Carefully place roasted vegetables in the mixing bowl with the remaining pesto and toss gently. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon half over the top. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl or platter and top with more freshly grated cheese.




Roasted Winter Vegetables with Leafy Green Pesto
Serves 10

All you need:
1 celery root, peeled and diced
1 rutabaga, peeled and diced
3 small parsnips, peeled and diced

Pesto
1 small bunch kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley
5 fresh basil leaves
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus more for garnish)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 425. Coat a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place diced vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine kale, spinach, parsley, basil, shallot, garlic, walnuts, juice of 1/2 lemon and olive oil in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour half of the pesto over the vegetables and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, stir, then bake 15 minutes longer, or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.
5. Carefully place roasted vegetables in the mixing bowl with the remaining pesto and toss gently. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon half over the top. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl or platter and top with more freshly grated cheese.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Fresh Strawberry Whipped Cream


Oh, Valentine's day. While I do enjoy celebrating with my husband, I think every day should be a celebration of love (cheesy, I know). With that said, I'll take any excuse to make a chocolate treat, since we don't often have sweets around the house. 

These brownies do not disappoint. The whipped cream adds a wonderful freshness and a small brownie is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, thanks to their rich, fudgy texture. Pair this dessert with a small glass of red wine and you'll steal anyones heart. 


1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Place the black beans in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.


3. Add the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and blend well. Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Bake for 15 minutes.



4. Meanwhile, process strawberries in a blender until almost smooth.


5. Beat the cold whipping cream in a metal bowl until it forms soft peaks. Add powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness. Fold in strawberry mixture and place bowl in the fridge.


6. Allow brownies to cool. Cut into squares and top with a dollop of whipped cream and extra strawberries, if desired.


Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Fresh Strawberry Whipped Cream 
Serves 12

All you need:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Whipped cream
6 strawberries, hulled
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Place the black beans in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and blend well. Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, process strawberries in a blender until almost smooth.
5. Beat the cold whipping cream in a metal bowl until it forms soft peaks. Add powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness. Fold in strawberry mixture and place bowl in the fridge.
6. Allow brownies to cool. Cut into squares and top with a dollop of whipped cream and extra strawberries, if desired.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Warm Spiced Lentils and Greens with Caramelized Squash


Squash comes in so many different varieties, but my go-to always seems to be butternut. It's sweet flavor is taken to the next level when roasted. Combined with dark leafy greens and creamy lentils, this dish is one you can definitely say is good AND good for you (and tastes amazing). 

This is healthy comfort food you will crave. And any extras are perfectly portable for lunch the next day! 


1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

2. Add cumin, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Turn heat to high; add lentils, water, broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. With 5 minutes left, stir in the chopped greens.







3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed squash and turn heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


4. Combine lentil and squash mixture gently and serve.



Warm Spiced Lentils and Greens with Caramelized Squash
Serves 6

All you need:
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup green lentils
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced small
1 bunch greens (like collard), stemmed and chopped

All you do:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
2. Add cumin, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Turn heat to high; add lentils, water, broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. With 5 minutes left, stir in the chopped greens.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed squash and turn heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Combine lentil and squash mixture gently and serve.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with Fresh Tomato Sauce



This is what you call a "fork and knife" burger. It's got just the right amount of cheesy goodness to balance perfectly with the fresh tomato sauce and basil. This sauce, by the way, is my absolute favorite. It's so simple, but adds such great flavor to the burger. It also works well over pasta dishes or as a replacement for pizza sauce. 

Now, get your grills fired up and think sunny thoughts. You'll thank me later. 


1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they break down slightly, about 5 minutes. Add cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Carefully transfer mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Pour sauce back into the pot, cover and turn heat to low. (You can also just keep the sauce in the pot and use an emersion blender if you prefer.)




4. Place beef in a mixing bowl and add salt, pepper and parmesan. Combine using your hands and separate into 8 equal portions.



5. Flatten each portion and top half with mozzarella cheese. Place one burger on top of the other and press edges to seal.


6. Grill burgers for 3-4 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.

7. Place a bun half onto each plate and top with a burger, sauce and fresh basil.


Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

All you need:
Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 small tomatoes (on-the-vine are best), chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound 90% lean ground sirloin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
2 whole grain buns, split
10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (sliced into ribbons)

All you do:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they break down slightly, about 5 minutes. Add cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Carefully transfer mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Pour sauce back into the pot, cover and turn heat to low. (You can also just keep the sauce in the pot and use an emersion blender if you prefer.)
4. Place beef in a mixing bowl and add salt, pepper and parmesan. Combine using your hands and separate into 8 equal portions.
5. Flatten each portion and top half with mozzarella cheese. Place one burger on top of the other and press edges to seal.
6. Grill burgers for 3-4 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.
7. Place a bun half onto each plate and top with a burger, sauce and fresh basil.