Category Archives: healthy

How to Roast a Butternut Squash

 Ohhhhh, there is just nothing better than butternut squash from the farmer’s market. You roast this, you can make a million different things from soups to salads to breakfast sandwiches to burritos and even pasta (but that’s our next post). I’m 100% of the mindset that it’s one of the world’s most perfect foods – super flavorful, chock full of nutrients, plus a really pretty color that sounds like something J.Crew would name the orangey version of one of their wool pencil skirts. 


Sometimes I buy a squash and roast it sections at a time, especially when I’m just making something for Brendan and me. You can do that or roast this all at once – either way, get that oven up to 425.

HOW TO ROAST A BUTTERNUT SQUASH
– 1 butternut squash
– EVOO

1. If you’re roasting the whole squash, poke a couple holes in it with a fork and throw the entire thing in the pre-heating oven. Continue reading

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion, Parmesan and a Honey-Lemon-Mustard Dressing

Up until a couple years ago, I hated brussels sprouts with a passion. When I was a kid, my mom tricked me into trying them by telling me they were “little cabbages”, which as the daughter of an Irish dad, I obviously loved. A couple bites, though, were all I needed to realize brussels sprouts don’t taste anything like “little cabbages”, and I avoided them for years after that.

But maybe these little guys just needed to be made differently, because now I freakin’ love them. Parmesan-dusted brussels are eaten like candy in our house, and this is one of my favorite salads. The key is to slice everything into really thin strips, so you can use a food processor to simplify this process, or put on a good episode of This American Life and get cutting. This salad seriously tones down the flavor of the red onion by putting the slices in water first, the whole-grain mustard seeds are perfect with the sweetness of the honey-lemon dressing, and the parmesan gives it a nice kick of saltiness. It all comes together for a beautiful, filling, totally delicious side. Oh, brussels sprouts. You guys don’t deserve your bad rep.
SHREDDED BRUSSELS SPROUT & RED ONION SALAD WITH PARMESAN AND A MUSTARD-HONEY LEMON DRESSING (recipe from Food52)
  3 cups  brussels, sliced into super thin strips
–  ½ red onion, also sliced into super thin strips
  Curls of Parmesan
–  Juice of 1 lemon
  1 tsp. honey
  1 tsp. whole grain mustard
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
  Kosher salt & pepper to taste
1.   Using a food processor or a sharp knife, slice the red onion into veeeerrrrry thin strips. Submerge in water while you assemble the rest of the salad to take out that onion-y bite.

2.  Trim the brussels, then slice them into super thin strips and put into a large bowl.

3.   Make the dressing – combine the lemon, honey, mustard, and kosher salt & pepper, whisk to combine. Add the EVOO and mix everything together.


4.   Drain and dry the onions, then add to the brussels.

5.  Just before serving, add the dressing and mix everything together. Top with curls of parmesan and enjoy.


Tropi-Kale Smoothie

 …see what I did there (sorry)?  You guys, I am officially, completely, 100% obsessed with my Nutribullet. Friends of mine who have one have been raving about it for months now, so I finally caved and got one. We’ve been throwing together smoothies for every breakfast, some snacks, etc. and I actually feel more energized than I have in weeks. This smoothie has a kale base that makes this a pretty green color, but other than that you can’t even taste it, then a bunch of fruit – mango, pineapple, banana and some orange juice too. It’s also great knowing that I’ve started off my day with a bunch of nutrients (and got to use a bendy straw, too – doesn’t everything just taste better with one??). 

TROPI-KALE SMOOTHIE (makes 2)
– 1.5 c. kale, stem removed, washed & roughly chopped (about 2 large leaves)

– 1 banana,cut into slices
– 1/3 c. frozen mango
– 1/3 c. frozen pineapple
– 1/3 c. orange juice

– water, to make this as thin as you like

1. Combine all ingredients, in order listed, in a nutribullet (or blender, but make sure to blend this really, really well). Blend until combined and completely smooth.

2. Serve and start your day off right.

Chopped Summer Nectarines, Feta & Basil with Arugula

 
I swear I could eat summer nectarines every single day. I crave them like I crave pasta. They’re perfect – sweet, healthy and really pretty, too. You can serve them in a bunch of different ways, but one of my favorite versions is a chopped ripe nectarines with feta and basil. There’s basically nothing else this needs – a little lemon juice, a little olive oil, a little salt & pepper, and you can either serve it over arugula or just eat it by itself as a great summer snack that you can throw together in no time flat.


SUMMER NECTARINES, FETA & BASIL WITH ARUGULA (serves 2)
– 3 nectarines
– 6-7 basil leaves, chiffonaded
– 1/4 C. crumbled feta
– juice of 1/2 a lemon
– couple glugs of EVOO
– kosher salt and pepper to taste
– 2 cups baby arugula

1. Cut up the nectarines into little cubes.

2. In a bowl, combine nectarines, EVOO, salt & pepper. Stir to combine.

3. Add the feta to the bowl with the nectarines. 

4. Chiffonade the basil, then add to the bowl. Combine all gently.

5. Put the arugula in a bowl and season it a little bit with Herbamare or salt/pepper. Squeeze half a lemon over it, stir to mix.


6. Divide the arugula between two bowls, then top with the nectarine/feta/basil mix. Make sure you get any juices that have collected – this adds a nice little sweetness to the dressing.

7. Serve and enjoy.

Shrimp with Lime and Cilantro over Thai Peanut Quinoa

A bag of frozen shrimp should be a household staple. You can defrost it in ten minutes, put together some of the quickest, tastiest meals ever, and you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now to get dinner ready, stat.  This recipe is soooo simple and so summery and great – shrimp, cilantro, lime & a little cumin – and you can serve it over pasta, rice, in a tortilla, or over quinoa dressed with spicy Thai peanut sauce, like we did. Shrimpy shrimp shrimp, how I love you so.

SHRIMP WITH LIME AND CILANTRO (serves 3)
– 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
– juice & zest of 2 limes
– handful of cilantro, chopped
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 2 garlic cloves, chopped
– 1 tsp. cumin

1. If the shrimp is frozen, thaw quickly by immersing shrimp in a bowl of super cold water, and changing the water approximately three times over 10-15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

2. Add shrimp to a bowl, then add the lime zest & cumin.


3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the tbsp. butter.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, approx. 90 seconds. 


4. Add shrimp to the pan and cook, approx. 2-3 minutes on each side. Don’t over cook!


5. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice and cilantro, mix well. 

6. Spoon shrimp over whatever you’re serving this with, add lime slices for garnish, enjoy.



  

Turkey Arugula Burgers

I’ve really cut down on the amount of red meat I eat, which means ground turkey is a substitute for a ton of recipes. After I got out of work early the day before the 4th of July, I came home and made these awesome turkey-arugula burgers for lunch. The onion gives them a little crunch, the dijon mustard holds them all together, and they were ready in maybe 10 minutes flat, which was just enough time for me to throw together a summer salad to go with lunch. We put these on potato rolls and mashed up some avocado to use as a base for these, which was awesome. Brendan made these killer dark and stormys and we kicked off the 4th of July weekend right.

TURKEY-ARUGULA BURGERS (makes 4)
– 1 lb. ground turkey
– 1 cup arugula
– 1/4 onion, diced
– 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
– kosher salt & pepper (maybe 1 tsp. each)

1. Get the grill (or grill pan) ready.

2. In a bowl, combine turkey, feta, onion, mustard and salt and pepper.


3. Dig in with your hands and mix it all together.


4. Form mixture into 4 equal burgers.


5. Grill for maybe 3-4 minutes on each side.


6. Serve on a bun with more arugula and mashed avocado, and enjoy the weekend.



Summer Salad: Watermelon, Avocado and Cucumber with Herbs

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, summer doesn’t really begin until I’ve had at least one watermelon (“I carried a watermelon?). They feel like such a summer indulgence, and they’re one of my favorite bases for salads. This combo of watermelon, cucumber & avocado is perfectly sweet, crunchy and creamy, and the lemon-lime dressing pulls it all together. Throw in some chopped fresh basil, mint and chives and dig in. Nobody puts Baby in the corner. 

SUMMER SALAD: WATERMELON, AVOCADO AND CUCUMBER WITH HERBS (serves 4)
– 1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
– 2.5 C. seedless watermelon, cubed
– 1.5 avocado, cubed
– 5-6 basil leaves
– 4-5 mint leaves
– small handful of chives
– Juice of 1/2 lime
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– 5 tbsp. EVOO
– 1 tsp. Herbamare, or 1/2 tsp. kosher salt & pepper mix


1. Dice the peeled cucumber (if you can’t find an English cucumber, seed a regular one and use that), and put the pieces in some paper towels to drain it a little bit.


2. Dice the watermelon into about the same size pieces as the English cucumber, wrap that in towels too, so that drains.

3. Make the dressing – juice the lemon and the lime, then add the Herbamare or kosher salt/pepper blend. Mix so the seasonings react with the acids of the lemon/lime mixture.  Add the EVOO, stir (or shake) well to combine.

4. Roughly chop up all the basil, mint and chives. 

5. Add about half the cucumber and half the watermelon to a pretty big bowl. Dice the avocado into similar-size cubes and add half of that to the bowl. Add the remaining cucumber, watermelon and avocado. 

6. Add the dressing evenly over the top of the salad. Then add herbs. 

7. Mix, serve and enjoy. This doesn’t keep well, but chances are it’ll be gone before you have to worry about that.




Roasted Chickpeas

I could write a novel about my love for chickpeas. They’re great in salads, soups, smashes and as a base for hummus, they’re packed with protein, they’re little and cute, and apparently I could have been eating these all along as a snack, which would have changed my life. Get your oven up to 425, stat. One of the best snacks ever is just 20 minutes away.

ROASTED CHICKPEAS (makes one dish – enough for 2 people)
– 1 15oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried
– Approx. 1 tbsp. EVOO
– 1/2 tsp. of Kosher Salt
– 1 tsp. cumin

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Rinse, drain and pat dry the chickpeas.

3. In a bowl, combine them with the EVOO, kosher salt & cumin. Toss to mix well until the chickpeas are coated.

4. Arrange in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan every five minutes or so, until they’re crisp.

5. Take out of the oven and let cool, then enjoy.

Mediterranean Quinoa

So…this picture is probably looking familiar at this point, but now this three-part recipe is complete. We started with the tzatziki sauce, then made the spinach and feta turkey meatballs, then this mediterranean quinoa. Then we assembled it the other way around. This was honestly one of the best things I’ve made in a while – and so incredibly healthy, filling and delicious, spiked with all those bright Greek flavors. I know I rave about quinoa a lot, but it really is one of the best vegetable-grains-disguised-as-pastas/couscous, ever. 

MEDITERRANEAN QUINOA
– 1 cup quinoa, cooked (so about 1/2 a cup, dry)
– 1/3 English cucumber, diced
– Handful of cherry tomatoes, diced
– 2 tbsp chopped parsley
– 1/3 c crumbled feta

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (make sure you rinse this really, really well first). Set aside to cool.

2. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and feta to the cooked quinoa, combine.


3. Serve with something else – this is an amazing base for spinach & feta turkey meatballs and tzaiki sauce, or even good on its own.

Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs

 

Meatballs top the list of my favorite foods, especially when they’re over pasta. My mom’s meatballs are completely amazing, so I’ve never tried to duplicate them, but I’ve got to start somewhere. I put these together based on a recipe for my Greek Turkey Meatloaf, and ended up with a lighter, brighter, Greek-er (is that a word? Anyway.) version of a traditional meatball. They were fantastic. I’m seriously convinced that a combo of spinach and feta makes just about everything better. 

– 1.5 lbs ground turkey 

– 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained pretty well 
– 1/2 tbsp chopped dill 
– Squeeze of lemon – this sounds weird, but just trust me. 
– 1/2 C crumbled feta 
– 1/3 panko bread crumbs 
– 1 egg 
– Salt & pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease a baking tray. 


2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, feta, spinach, egg, dill, lemon, salt & pepper. Dig your hands in and just mix it up – it’s kind of gross and satisfying all at once. 


3. Form turkey meatballs into approximately golfball sizes, place on the tray. 


4. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for 12 minutes more until they gain a little color and are fully cooked through. I put these on top of a mediterranean quinoa and topped them with Tzatziki sauce, and we housed them. Fantastic.