Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Caramelized Onion, Pear and Aged Cheddar Phyllo Tart


With fall right around the corner, I've started to see some beautiful pears at the store. The Bartlett pear I used for this tart was nicely ripened and super sweet, making it a perfect pairing for some aged salty cheddar. Puff pastry is a great go-to ingredient when you want a quick appetizer with a "wow" factor. I recommend cutting this into squares and serving it alongside fresh green and red grapes and roasted nuts.


1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.


3. Add wine and cook until it has fully evaporated and the onions are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove pan from heat. 

4. Place the puff pastry sheet on the prepared baking sheet and top with onions and pear slices. Sprinkle with cheese and fresh thyme and bake for 20 minutes.






5. Finish the tart with a drizzle of honey, then slice and serve.




Caramelized Onion, Pear and Aged Cheddar Phyllo Tart
Serves 9 (as an appetizer)

All you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup white wine 
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed 
1 ripe Barlett pear, sliced thin 
1/2 cup freshly grated sharp aged white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Honey, for drizzling 

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. 
3. Add wine and cook until it has fully evaporated and the onions are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove pan from heat. 
4. Place the puff pastry sheet on the prepared baking sheet and top with onions and pear slices. Sprinkle with cheese and fresh thyme and bake for 20 minutes. 
5. Finish the tart with a drizzle of honey, then slice and serve.
 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pan-Seared Salmon with Apple Almond Pesto


For those of you who know my cooking style, you know I'm a pesto girl. It's my favorite sauce because it's literally ready in under a minute, but it adds amazing freshness and flavor to so many dishes. With fall right around the corner, I'm ready for apple season. I like the addition of apple to pesto because it adds a tartness and slight crunchiness. And marcona almonds also play a key role in the buttery, nutty flavor. Overall, this dish is one I will definitely be making over and over again. I served mine with quinoa and roasted broccoli, but it would also work well over a bed of lightly dressed greens.



1. Combine basil, parsley, apple, almonds and lemon zest/juice in food processor for 10 seconds. Add olive oil and process for 10 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl.



2. Season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add salmon. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and flaky. Once cooked through, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.



3. Transfer salmon to serving plates and top with pesto.



Pan-Seared Salmon with Apple Almond Pesto
Serves 4

All you need:
Pesto
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 small honeycrisp apple, cored and chopped
1/3 cup roasted salted marcona almonds
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

4 (4-6 oz.) salmon filets, skin removed
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

All you do:
1. Combine basil, parsley, apple, almonds and lemon zest/juice in food processor for 10 seconds. Add olive oil and process for 10 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add salmon. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and flaky. Once cooked through, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.
3. Transfer salmon to serving plates and top with pesto.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Eggplant Caponata Pasta with Shrimp

Weeknight meals can be tricky. It's good to keep recipes like this one around because it's on the table in less than 25 minutes (and the flavors taste like it's been stewing all day).

Lots of people are afraid of eggplant, but I find it adds great texture (and nutrition) to sauces. This sauce is just the right amount of sweet, salty and spicy. Paired with the sweet, juicy shrimp and chewy pasta, it's a winner. If you want extra spice, throw in a scoop of hot giardiniera.


1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add eggplant and yellow pepper and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until lightly softened.

3. Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, vinegar, agave, Italian seasoning, capers and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.


4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the shrimp. Cook until pink (about 1 minute) and finish with fresh lemon juice.

5. Finish the sauce with parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked pasta and toss gently to combine. Scoop pasta into serving bowls and top with shrimp. Garnish with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.





Eggplant Caponata Pasta with Shrimp
Serves 6

All you need:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (15 oz.) cans fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (plus more for garnish)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp (thawed if frozen)
Juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. trottole pasta (or penne), cooked and drained

All you do:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
2. Add eggplant and yellow pepper and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until lightly softened.
3. Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, vinegar, agave, Italian seasoning, capers and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the shrimp. Cook until pink (about 1 minute) and finish with fresh lemon juice.
5. Finish the sauce with parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked pasta and toss gently to combine. Scoop pasta into serving bowls and top with shrimp. Garnish with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tofu, Broccoli and Cashew Stir-Fry with Sesame-Miso Sauce


One word for this meal: flavorful. The miso paste adds a wonderful saltiness which balances perfectly with the agave nectar and toasty sesame seeds in the sauce. The crispy tofu and broccoli add a nice heartiness and the roasted cashews add the perfect nutty, crunchy garnish. This meal is great to pack for lunch as it provides an awesome amount of protein to keep you going throughout the afternoon. 


1. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet. Toss tofu with cornstarch in a large bowl until well coated. Fry on all sides until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. 





2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the broccoli, garlic and ginger and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli is lightly softened.  


3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add the tofu back to the pan and pour sauce over. Toss gently to combine. 





4. Scoop quinoa onto serving plates and top with stir-fry and cashews.



Tofu, Broccoli and Cashew Stir-Fry with Sesame-Miso Sauce
Serves 4

All you need:
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
Cornstarch, for coating
2 packages extra-firm tofu, pressed dry and cubed 
1 head broccoli, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated

Sauce
1 tablespoon miso paste
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Cooked quinoa, for serving
Whole roasted salted cashews, for garnish

All you do:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet. Toss tofu with cornstarch in a large bowl until well coated. Fry on all sides until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. 
2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the broccoli, garlic and ginger and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli is lightly softened.  
3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add the tofu back to the pan and pour sauce over. Toss gently to combine. 
4. Scoop quinoa onto serving plates and top with stir-fry and cashews.

 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Pepperoni Rolls

Growing up in West Virginia, these pepperoni rolls were a staple. My neighbor taught me how to make them when I was in elementary school when she would have my sister and I over to her house for cooking lessons. You could also find these on the school lunch menu and any softball games at the concession stand. If you haven't tried them before, you're missing out. They're so incredibly simple, but the flavor is fantastic. I like eating them plain, but you can also serve them with a side of marinara for dipping if you're serving them as an appetizer.



1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Press each dough ball into a small circle and top with 2 slices of pepperoni and a sprinkle of colby jack cheese. Fold up the sides until completely sealed. Lay each roll seam side down on the prepared baking sheets.




3. Brush each roll with the beaten egg and sprinkle with parmesan and basil. Bake for 20 minutes.


4. Let cool slightly, then enjoy! To reheat, place in the microwave for 30 seconds.


Pepperoni Rolls
Makes 24 rolls

All you need:
24 frozen dinner rolls, thawed
48 pepperoni slices (regular or turkey pepperoni)
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried basil

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Press each dough ball into a small circle and top with 2 slices of pepperoni and a sprinkle of colby jack cheese. Fold up the sides until completely sealed. Lay each roll seam side down on the prepared baking sheets.
3. Brush each roll with the beaten egg and sprinkle with parmesan and basil. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Let cool slightly, then enjoy! To reheat, place in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Curried Chicken Salad Wraps

I'm always trying to come up with quick meal ideas that I can enjoy throughout the week. These wraps are so flavorful and simple to whip up at the beginning of the week so you can take them to work or throw them in a lunch box. These also work great for dinner with a side of sweet potato fries! I used low carb wraps, but you could use any wrap you prefer or collard green leaves for added nutrition.



1. Place chicken and ginger in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes, or until completely cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, combine mayo, sour cream (or yogurt), curry powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the cilantro, celery, green onion, cashews, cranberries and sunflower seeds and stir to combine.




3. Chop the cooked chicken and add to the bowl. Stir gently until just combined.


4. Lay each tortilla on a work surface and top with lettuce and a scoop of chicken salad. Roll up burrito-style and cut in half. Serve immediately.



Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
Serves 4

All you need:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 cup olive oil mayo
1/4 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
2 teaspoons curry powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

4 whole wheat wraps (I used low carb)
4 large romaine or red leaf lettuce leaves

All you do:
1. Place chicken and ginger in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes, or until completely cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, combine mayo, sour cream (or yogurt), curry powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the cilantro, celery, green onion, cashews, cranberries and sunflower seeds and stir to combine.
3. Chop the cooked chicken and add to the bowl. Stir gently until just combined.
4. Lay each tortilla on a work surface and top with lettuce and a scoop of chicken salad. Roll up burrito-style and cut in half. Serve immediately.

*Note: make these wraps ahead (do not cut in half) and wrap tightly in plastic wrap; keep in the fridge for up to 3 days