Category Archives: Sides

Cilantro Lime Quinoa


After making those Plant-chiladas last week, I had tons of cilantro left over. So, since Trey raves about cilantro lime rice EVERY time he eats it, I figured I wouldn’t compete with Whole Foods (or Chipotle is the other place I think he gets it?) and go for the quinoa version instead. I got the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs and made this during finals week for a fresh, healthy but very easy side dish. I had it with black beans for lunch one day and with chicken and veggies for dinner.

Ingredients:

–2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

–1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
–2 cloves garlic, minced
— fresh lime juice from 1.5 large limes
–1/3 cup chopped cilantro
–1/4 tsp granulated sugar
–salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: In a large pot, bring the 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Stir in quinoa and cook until quinoa is tender and broth has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork, stir in remaining ingredients and enjoy.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

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Black Bean and Couscous Salad


I’ve had some Israeli couscous in the pantry for a while now so I finally decided to use it. If you’ve never made Israeli couscous, you should definitely try it. The couscous pieces are much larger than regular couscous. And, by the way, did you know that couscous is considered a pasta, not a grain. Sorry if you didn’t want to hear that but it’s true ;). That seems to be a common question people have. If you can prove me wrong, please do. I’m generally not a huge fan of pasta because I don’t like the slimy texture. I do, however, love the texture of couscous. We went the healthy route and used whole wheat.
I initially thought of making a hot bean and couscous salad but we liked this better cold! And, of course, we had plenty leftover.
Ingredients:
–1 cup uncooked whole wheat Israeli couscous
–1 1/4 cups chicken broth
–2 Tbsp olive oil
–juice from 1 lime
–1 tsp red wine vinegar
–1/2 tsp ground cumin
–2 cloves garlic, minced
–1 yellow onion, chopped
–1 red bell pepper, chopped
–1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
–1 can (15 ounce) of corn (or use fresh if you have time!)
–1 can (15 ounce) of black beans, drained
–salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Bring chicken broth to a boil and stir in couscous. Stir gently and let simmer for about 8 minutes or until couscous is almost ready. Then, remove from heat. Heat olive oil and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add red bell pepper and onion. Cook until onions are translucent. Fluff couscous and add veggies and the rest of the ingredients to the couscous mixture and stir and enjoy. Or, refrigerate for later!
Let me know what you think!
I also embarked on my first journey of making baby food! I was SO intimidated by the thought of making it but it was SO easy. I might blog about it for you mamas who are afraid to make it ;). Sweet potatoes were on the menu for my little cutie last night. She LOVED them. I’m so proud of my good little eater.
Feed ME!

Fruit Skewers and Yogurt Dip


On Sunday, we went to a Super Bowl party with a bunch of our dear friends. Everyone was instructed to bring a little something to eat. Per usual, I went with a healthy party treat and, per usual, we came home with almost-empty tupperware. We loved this yogurt dip. If you take it to a party, I recommend putting on a plate WITH the fruit. I think some people thought this was ranch or some kind of strange chip dip. So, the little that was leftover, I’m attributing to the idea that people didn’t know what it was. And, I didn’t advertise it too much because guess who got to eat the leftover dip–with a spoon. straight. up. Mmmm!

This dip is great with pretty much any fruit so go crazy with your own fruit ideas!

Yogurt Dip Ingredients:

–2 cups plain Greek Yogurt

–1 Tbsp sugar

–1 Tbsp Honey

–1 tsp cinnamon

–1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

Directions: Whisk all ingredients together and serve! Easiest directions ever! 🙂

Source: Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

There was one baby at this gathering so, someone got A LOT of attention! 🙂

Kale Salad


My cousin told me about this incredible salad over a year ago. After trying it at a dinner hosted by one of our good friends, well…the rest is history. We will definitely be eating this as a side ALL the time! I mean, raw kale, tasty? Do those words belong in the same sentence? This is a health nut’s dream come true. 🙂

So, I took the mommy-doesn’t-have much-time (and wants the least amount of dishes possible to clean) short cut to making this. Honestly, making it the original way doesn’t take that much longer but every second counts with my demanding baby so, I’ll give you the real recipe and keep you posted on my short cuts along the way. Sound good?

Mkay, Ingredients:

–1 bunch kale, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces

–2 slices country bread (or whatever bread you have around in my case)

–1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (I bought mine shredded)

–1/2 clove garlic

–3 Tbsp olive oil

–juice from 1 lemon

–1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

–salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Toast bread until golden brown. Break into small pieces and pulse in food processor (or if you don’t want to clean your food processor, break into tiny pieces directly over salad 😉 ). Whisk all ingredients except kale in a small bowl (or, to save time, just throw it all on top of the kale). Pour over kale and add bread crumbs, if haven’t already. Stir and serve.

Source: 101 cookbooks.com

We enjoyed this salad with this pork last week!

The next day, I had leftover kale and no time to run to the store. So, we had the same salad but used shredded cheddar cheese (rather than Parmesan) and 1/2 a grapefruit + 1/2 lemon for juice (rather than just one lemon). It was pretty darn good too!

Sauteed Collard Greens with Corn and Onion


We had this with dinner several nights ago and I am just now finding time to write about it! School is already taking up pretty much all of my free time and classes just started!

Anyway, I had lots of collard greens that needed to be eaten so this recipe just evolved in an effort to not have to throw away any food ;).We ate it as a side with chicken and sweet potatoes and it turned into a delicious, colorful meal!

{Most of the} Ingredients:

1 Tbsp butter

–1 Tbsp olive oil

–1/2 red onion, chopped

–3 cloves garlic, chopped

–1/2 bunch of collard greens

–juice from 1/2 lemon

–salt and pepper to taste

–1/3 can of corn (was a last minute decision!)

Directions: Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic. Then add collard greens and onions (note: collard greens take slightly longer to cook than many other green lettuce-types). Stir until onions begin to look translucent and collard start looking greener and tender. Add corn and stir for another couple minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

(And then there was corn!)

Bruschetta with Cherry Tomatoes


According to my mom’s chef-friend, bruschetta is pronounced brew-sKeh-tah NOT brew-sHeh-tah. Who knew!?

This was an easy appetizer to whip up for company on short notice. And, it’s pretty dang healthy unlike so many other snacks and apps. As much as I love chips and queso, I hate the feeling after indulging on grease, salt and cheese and ruining my dinner. Okay, that doesn’t always happen but point is, you feel much better after eating fresh tomatoes and olives!

I’ve been wanting to make bruschetta for a while and since we happen to have all of the ingredients at home last night, I went for it. I also had a sweet little helper in the kitchen ;).

Ingredients:

–3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, sliced into fourths

–1 handful green olives, sliced into fourths

–1 handful kalamata olives, sliced into fourths

–1/2 shallot, chopped

–2 cloves garlic, minced

–2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

–1 Tbsp basil (I used dried but fresh would be better!)

–1 tsp oregano

–2 Tbsp olive oil (plus more to drizzle on bread)

–1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

–juice from 1 lemon

–salt and pepper

–1 baguette, sliced

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all ingredients, except baguette, in a bowl and stir evenly. Place baguette slices on a pan and drizzle with olive oil (we also rubbed the pieces with garlic which is optional–you could also sprinkle garlic powder for a short cut!). Toast in oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Serve bruschetta on toasted bread and enjoy!

 

Lentil Vegetable Soup


After a cold, long run Saturday morning, I was craving a warm, healthy soup so we ended up with this delicious Lentil Vegetable Soup. (Of course, I was also craving Mexican food and a Margarita after burning so many calories. That got taken care of later in the day!)

After a couple bites of this soup, Trey looked at me and asked ‘this is really healthy, isn’t it?’ My initial thought was that he didn’t like it if it ‘tasted’ healthy so, naturally, I responded with ‘you don’t like it, do you?’ To my surprise, Trey actually really liked the soup. He said it just tasted really fresh and he was wondering how many more bowls he could eat. Portion size matters less and less as the ‘healthy’ meter increases. I mean, who worries about eating too many bowls of vegetables!?

Obv. not this guy…

.

(He was so sweet to help with chopping. The babe took an extra long nap for us so we got to cook TOGETHER for the first time in 5 months!)

After cooking and consuming several bowls of soup and way too much cornbread, our tummies were very happy. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

(Minus red wine vinegar–added after my almost-final taste test.)

(We topped off our soup with a little lemon juice and a splash of tabasco.)

–3 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed

–3 quarts water

–2 vegetable bouillon cubes

–6-8 strips collard greens, stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

–2 Tbsp canola oil

–1 large yellow onion, chopped

–1 red bell pepper, chopped

–4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

–4 cloves garlic, minced

–2-3 tsp red wine vinegar

–salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large pot, combine lentils, water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, skim any foam off the top, add collard greens, reduce heat and simmer to let the lentils cook–about 1 hour. Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and bell pepper. Cook until onions are translucent–about 8 minutes. Add carrots and cook for another 5-8 minutes or until carrots are slightly tender. Remove from heat and set aside. When the pot with lentils has 20 minutes longer to cook, add the onion/carrot mixture to the pot. Then add vinegar, salt and pepper and serve! For an extra kick, add a little lemon juice and a couple drops of tabasco. Mmmm!

Sauteed Kale


I LOVE the idea of getting as much healthy food into my body as possible. So, sauteing spinach and kale or drinking my veggies in a smoothie are all appealing to this health nut! Plus, this simple recipe for sauteed kale is quite yummy! And, who likes raw kale anyway? {I do love kale salads but if anyone tells you they like kale straight up, they are probably lying or, in my opinion, their taste buds have got some serious issues. ;)} If you tell me it’s an acquired taste, I’m ready to start working on acquiring it but, if not, I’m definitely not ready to go through the pain of consuming that bitterness regularly. Alright, onto the sauteed greatness!

Ingredients:

(Everything minus the chili powder which was an afterthought 😉 ).

–3 Tbsp olive oil

–2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

–1/2 cup water

–2 cloves garlic, minced

–1 Tbsp chili powder

–salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic once oil is hot. After about a minute, add the kale. When kale turns bright green, after about a minute, add red wine vinegar and water and stir. When the kale shrinks down and is almost tender, add chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir until kale is ready, remove from heat and enjoy!

Brown Rice and Veggie Risotto


We have been wanting Italian food lately but I’m not a huge fan of pasta (gasp!…I know it’s crazy but noodles are just so slimy) so I went for risotto. I LOVE rice–especially brown rice!

Although this took longer to make than most dishes I tackle in the kitchen, it was well worth the wait! We loved it and had plenty of left overs. Last night it served as a perfect complement to some delicious salmon!

Ingredients:

–1 quart vegetable broth

–5 cups water

–2 heads of brocolli

–2 Tbsp olive oil

–1 cup onion, chopped

–2 cloves garlic, minced

–2 cups brown rice, dry

–2 carrots, chopped

–2 zucchini, chopped

–1/2 cup peas

–2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

–1 Tbsp butter

–salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a medium pot, heat broth and water over low heat. In a separate large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of broth-water mixture and stir occasionally until liquid is almost absorbed. Make sure to maintain a simmer while rice is cooking. Continue process of adding broth-water mixture, 1/2 cup at a time until rice begins to get tender–about 25 minutes. Then, add carrots and continue process with broth-water mix. When carrots are tender, add broccoli and zucchini and cook for 5 more minutes. Then, add peas and cook for a few more minutes. Add cheese, butter, salt and pepper, stir and serve!

Source: Adapted from Whole Foods Recipes

Ring in the New Year with…an Egg Cooker!


Why??? Well, I’m glad you asked! If you’re like me, one of your many New Years resolutions is to budget better. Soooo…you’re asking me to buy something to save money!? You got it! Eggs are CHEAP, people! And, egg salad is GOOD! Eat more eggs and, overtime, you can help that budget. You’ll thank me later. And, don’t worry, if one of your other resolutions is to eat healthier or to lose weight, egg whites can help you with that too–lots of protein, little fat and not too many calories.

So, what exactly is an egg cooker? I had the same question when my roommate introduced me to this great tool a few years ago. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical at first. I could just picture some cheesy salesperson selling one of these things on a terrible infomercial. And, in my mind, infomercial gadgets should never be bought–even if the products being advertised are ‘good’, I would not want to partake in encouraging such terrible advertising.

Anyway, onto the egg cooker! Hard boiled eggs were one of the many things that seemed so easy to make but that I always called my mom about. I could never remember whether to put the eggs in the water before or after the water was boiling. Those phone calls are long gone. I still talk to my mom…just not about eggs ;).

But, more importantly, when peeling a hard boiled egg, I always got frustrated because I’d end up with and egg yolk surrounded by a thin layer of egg white since the rest would come off with the shell. Now, the shell comes off with NO egg white AT ALL. I’m not exaggerating on this. I promise. It’s amazing!

27ish dollars. Do it. You won’t be disappointed!

Egg salad recipes to come in 2012!