Saturday, March 21, 2015

Veggie Rice Noodle Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing


Every time I go to a Japanese restaurant, I look to see if they have that yummy carrot-ginger salad dressing. It's so good and after buying a big bag of carrots today at the farmers market, I was determined to try and make my own. The result wasn't exactly the same, but very close and definitely just as tasty. 
This is the perfect lunch or light dinner option and since it's so chock-full of fresh veggies, you can afford to have a big helping and feel good about it!


1. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Adjust seasonings as needed and set aside.



2. Place kale and carrot in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of dressing over and massage with your (clean!) hands for 1 minute to help break kale down slightly.



3. Add the red pepper, green onion, peanuts and edamame and toss to combine.


4. Add the cooked rice noodles and the remaining dressing and toss well. Serve at room temperature or keep cold until ready to serve.




Veggie Rice Noodle Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
Serves 8

All you need:
Dressing
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon sambal (or sriracha)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
Salt, to taste

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
10 oz. rice noodles, cooked and drained

All you do:
1. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Adjust seasonings as needed and set aside.
2. Place kale and carrot in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of dressing over and massage with your (clean!) hands for 1 minute to help break kale down slightly.
3. Add the red pepper, green onion, peanuts and edamame and toss to combine.
4. Add the cooked rice noodles and the remaining dressing and toss well. Serve at room temperature or keep cold until ready to serve.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Coconut-Key Lime Pie with Raspberry Coulis


Although it's still too chilly outside for my liking, seeing things begin to thaw makes me smile. While dreaming of warm weather, I started to think about my trip to Florida a few years back where my mom and I had the best Key Lime pie ever. I decided to combine those flavors with my other favorite pie - coconut cream. The result? A sweet and tangy delight.

While this pie is good all by itself, the raspberry coulis (just a fancy name for a fruit or vegetable puree) adds a beautiful color and flavor.


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine crust ingredients in a medium bowl then press evenly into a 9" pie plate. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool.




3. While crust cools, combine cream cheese, yogurt, pudding mix, lime zest and lime juice in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl and fold in coconut and whipped topping. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.



4. While the pie sets, make the coulis - place the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the raspberries break down slightly, then remove pan from heat. Carefully transfer to a blender and process until smooth (or use an emersion blender if you wish). Pour sauce into a small bowl and stir in lemon juice.



5. Serve each pie slice with a few spoonfuls of raspberry coulis.



Coconut-Key Lime Pie with Raspberry Coulis
Serves 6-8

All you need:
Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1 (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 (1 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding mix
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 3 limes
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tub frozen whipping topping, thawed

Coulis
1 (10 oz.) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine crust ingredients in a medium bowl then press evenly into a 9" pie plate. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool.
3. While crust cools, combine cream cheese, yogurt, pudding mix, lime zest and lime juice in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl and fold in coconut and whipped topping. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
4. While the pie sets, make the coulis - place the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the raspberries break down slightly, then remove pan from heat. Carefully transfer to a blender and process until smooth (or use an emersion blender if you wish). Pour sauce into a small bowl and stir in lemon juice.
5. Serve each pie slice with a few spoonfuls of raspberry coulis.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chili Garlic Shrimp with Creamy Corn Grits


Now this is a warm hug in a bowl. 

A few of my friends were recently traveling in New Orleans and their posts got me in the mood for some southern cooking. I have shrimp quite often, but I hadn't eaten grits since my trip to South Carolina years ago. The classic combo of shrimp and grits is so yummy, but often very calorie-laden. This version of grits is cheese-free and instead of cream, I used Greek yogurt. The flavor is still so delicious! 

If you have any leftover grits, they are wonderful for breakfast with a side of maple turkey or veggie  breakfast sausage.


1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in grits and cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and grits are creamy.




3. Stir in yogurt, corn, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Spread mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and cook for 25 minutes.




4. During the last few minutes the grits are cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook for 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Stir in spices and lemon juice then remove pan from heat.





5. Scoop creamy grits into bowls and top with the warm shrimp mixture.


Chili Garlic Shrimp with Creamy Corn Grits
Serves 4

All you need:
3 cups 2% milk
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 (14.5 oz.) can creamed corn
1 bunch green onion, sliced thin
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Nonstick cooking spray

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in grits and cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and grits are creamy.
3. Stir in yogurt, corn, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Spread mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and cook for 25 minutes.
4. During the last few minutes the grits are cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook for 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Stir in spices and lemon juice then remove pan from heat.
5. Scoop creamy grits into bowls and top with the warm shrimp mixture.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Toasty Chickpea and Veggie Coconut Curry


There's something about this dish that I absolutely cannot resist. Maybe it's the creaminess of the coconut milk or the nutty, toasty chickpeas or the spicy red curry paste - there are so many flavor/texture components going on here. I believe my favorite part of dinner tonight was seeing Josh get his third helping then laying on the floor for what seemed like an hour until he suddenly came back to reality... Little did he know he just ate a very healthy dinner :) My job is done here.

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chickpeas and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon.




2. In the same skillet, cook the onion and garlic for 2 minutes.

3. Add the red pepper and cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until cauliflower is slightly soft.

4. Stir in the red curry paste, grate in the fresh ginger, then pour the coconut milk over. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.





5. Finish the curry with fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro and the reserved toasted chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over rice, if desired.



Toasty Chickpea and Veggie Coconut Curry
Serves 6

All you need:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 small head cauliflower, chopped into tiny pieces
1/4 cup red curry paste
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 (13.66 oz.) cans coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Basmati rice, for serving (optional)

All you do:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chickpeas and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
2. In the same skillet, cook the onion and garlic for 2 minutes.
3. Add the red pepper and cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until cauliflower is slightly soft.
4. Stir in the red curry paste, grate in the fresh ginger, then pour the coconut milk over. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Finish the curry with fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro and the reserved toasted chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over rice, if desired.