Roasted Beet Hummus

 

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Hummus….one of my favorite foods to eat and make but I love to experiment with new flavors and new, unexpected ingredients in my hummus.  This one is not only stunningly beautiful with it’s bright purplish red color but it is an excellent combination of earthy and sweet.

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Roasting the beets makes all the difference.  Cooking them with this method brings out their natural sweetness and gives a great depth of flavor to the hummus.

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Roasted Beet Hummus
 
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Try adding this earthy, sweet and visually stunning hummus to your repertoire.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Dip, Spread, Vegetarian
Serves: 2½ cup
Ingredients
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • Juice of ½ of a small lemon (1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 beets
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water - start with 2 and add another if it is too thick
Instructions
  1. For roasted beets:
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the stems off the beats and cut off the tip end so that you can lie the beet flat on the cutting board. Peel the beets with a veggie peeler. Dice the beet into medium chunks. I cut each beet into thirds, each third into a third again and then in half. Drizzle them with olive oil and blend them with your hands to distribute the oil evenly over the beets. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes depending on your oven and the size of your dice. Check them and flip them around with a spatula after each 10 minute of cooking time. They’re done when a fork goes through them when pierced.
  3. Combine all ingredients except the water in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well blended. Add 2 tablespoons of the water and process again. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of water.

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Try using it as a spread to make these delicious and healthy little appetizers.  Perfect for Spring ‘eh?

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Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

 

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Boneless Buffalo wings, one of the best bar snacks ever invented.  I loved them in my 20’s but sadly I no longer have the metabolism of a 20 year old and not to mention it’s bikini season.  So…. I get my buffalo chicken fix with this delicious and nutritious pasta salad.  There is all of that delicious buffalo chicken flavor but without the breading, the frying and the guilt.  And, wait for it…..there’s even fresh crumbled blue cheese!  Yep, I’ve covered all the bases with this one.  You could pack it for a poolside lunch where you can wear and rock your two-piece bathing suit.

I was able to find a bottle of all natural ranch dressing made with yogurt which was good for this recipe.  You can also use my homemade Buttermilk ranch dressing.

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Buffalo Chicken Pasta
 
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Author:
Recipe type: pasta salad, side dish, main dish
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry whole wheat Rotini or Penne pasta
  • 2 cups of rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast - shredded
  • 3 stalks of celery - diced
  • 4 green onions (white and green parts) - diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 8-10 ounces of all natural bottled Ranch Dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons hot sauce (or more)
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta to al dente, rinse and set aside to cool thoroughly.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ranch dressing, blue cheese and buffalo sauce.
  3. Test the spiciness of the dressing and add more hot sauce to your liking.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the cooled pasta, chicken, celery, onion and carrot together.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir with a spatula until evenly coated.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Chopped Veggie Salad with a Thai Peanut Dressing

 

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This chopped vegetable salad is crunchy, colorful and really delicious.  There is just something about Asian inspired flavors that remind me of Spring and eating light.  This Thai Peanut Dressing is creamy and has a bit of a bite to it with the chili sauce.

I have made this salad many times and sometimes I really spend a lot of time chopping all the veggies to the same size matchsticks and other times I just chop it all up different sizes.  It’s all in the presentation I guess but either way it tastes the same…..Yummy!  I tend to serve this salad with fish, the flavors work perfectly.

This dressing is also great over rice noodles with some bean sprouts and chopped snap peas or as a sauce for pasta with shredded chicken and green onions.

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Chopped Veggie Salad with a Thai Peanut Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
  • 3 cups snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced or shredded
  • ¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into strips
  • ½ cup peanuts, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • Note: I served mine over a bed of chopped kale, stems removed (optional)
  • Dressing
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • ½ cup seasoned rice-wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup all natural creamy peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Toss all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. For the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together until the dressing is smooth in texture.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss with tongs to coat.
  4. To serve, pile a helping of salad onto a plate over the kale (if using) and garnish generously with more cilantro and peanuts. The salad gets better as it sits and will keep for up to three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Spring Crostini – Two Ways

 

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It’s finally happened after another dreadfully long winter my “Bring Spring” chants have been heard!  Spring is officially here and with it all of the beautiful dishes that remind me of this glorious season.

I was talking to a child the other day and asking her to describe Spring for me.  She stated in a matter of fact way that “it just makes you happy to be alive.”  Well…..I could not have said it any better.  With longer days, more sunshine, warmer temperatures (hopefully) and flowers about to bloom what doesn’t make it a wonderful time to enjoy life?  Hopefully life outdoors again at that!

I hosted a dinner party for my girlfriends on Friday night and what better to begin with than a bright Spring appetizer.  These little crostinis are “blooming” with bright flavor and went over really well.  In fact, they were requested at our next girls night party!

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Spring Crostini - Two Ways
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, light meal
Cuisine: Spring
Serves: 40 pieces
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette - sliced into thin rounds - I used 40 rounds for the recipe
  • 1 15 ounce container of Ricotta cheese - either whole milk or part skim
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 can chickpeas - drained and rinsed
  • 10 ounces of snow peas - ends cut off, chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts - chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning spice blend
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • Olive oil - for drizzling
  • Spicy olive oil - I used Harissa - for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Lie the baguette slices onto a cookie pan lined with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Drizzle the baguettes with olive oil and sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, Kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes until slightly browned and firm.
  4. Allow the baguettes to cool so they can be handled.
  5. Place the chickpeas in a single layer on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper or foil.
  6. Drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil and mix them with your hands to evenly coat them with the oil. Sprinkle them with the cumin and Kosher salt and pepper.
  7. Roast the chickpeas in a 400 degree oven until nicely browned and a bit crispy, approximately 12-15 minutes. Check them frequently to prevent burning them.
  8. Allow the chickpeas to cool.
  9. Mix the Ricotta, lemon zest, Kosher salt and black pepper in a bowl until creamy.
  10. Assemble the crostinis:
  11. Spread a nice layer of the ricotta mixture over the baguette rounds.
  12. Top ½ of the baguettes with the roasted chickpeas and the other ½ with the chopped snow peas and the chopped pecans.
  13. Drizzle the spicy oil onto the snow pea crostinis and the olive oil over the chickpea crostinis.
  14. Serve and enjoy!

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Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

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Spaghetti Squash, what’s not to love about it?  It’s wonderful as a main course for a satisfying dinner that will make you feel like a sinner but you’re really a saint.  I’ve shown it here two ways.  The squash in both dishes is prepared the same; by roasting it on a sheet pan.  One is served with a simple tomato sauce and the other with roasted Brussels sprouts and a drizzle of spicy harissa oil.

Once you know how to cook the spaghetti squash the possibilities are truly endless.  I like it with chick peas and roasted red peppers, mushroom gravy and served aglio olio style to name a few.  It’s a great vegetarian meal for a Meatless Monday Main course.  You could of course, add your favorite meatball or meat sauce or serve it along side a chicken breast or piece of baked fish.

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It’s a low calorie and satisfying meal.  What’s not to love?

Spaghetti Squash
 
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Author:
Recipe type: What's for dinner, main course, side dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian cuisine
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash - cut in half lengthwise
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil over the flesh sides of the spaghetti squash halves.
  3. Rub the olive oil over the squash so that it is all evenly coated.
  4. Sprinkle the squash with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Lie the squash halves, skin side up so the flesh is on the pan.
  6. Roast for approximately 40 minutes until tender, so a fork is able to completely pierce through the skin and flesh of the squash.
  7. Cool the squash enough so that you can handle it.
  8. Using a fork, shred the squash forming noodle-like strands.
  9. Serve with your favorite sauce and enjoy.

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Winter Squash, one of my favorite things about Fall

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Winter Squash is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect foods.  There many different types and all are so versatile.  They can be stuffed, used to make soups, casseroles, side dishes, desserts, and main courses.  Whether it be butternut, acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin, delicata, hubbard or kabocha they can all be roasted or baked and turned into delicious and visually stunning meals.  As far as the nutrition benefits, winter squash is one of the best plant sources for anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3s and beta-carotene that are good for boosting the immune system and warding off colds and flu.

Ok my fellow foodies, now is your chance to shine.  Please send me your favorite winter squash recipes.  I will be choosing my faves from your faves and then posting them, along with a picture of you making it if you so desire.  So get busy, I look forward to sharing this Fall classic with you!

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Roasted Butternut Squash

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I really love most of the winter squashes but by far my favorite is the butternut squash.  It’s mild taste is comforting and so delicious, I look forward to it every year!  My favorite way to prepare it roasting it in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until soft.  It’s the perfect meal with a bowl of hot soup.

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Okay Fall, I’m finally beginning to embrace you and all of the beautiful seasonal foods you have to offer.  Stay tuned for my butternut squash soup, it’s a real treat!

Roasted Butternut Squash
 
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My most favorite winter squash is by far the butternut squash. It's mild flavor is comforting and so delicious. My preferred way to cook it is by roasting it until browned and soft.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian, side dish
Cuisine: Fall comfort food
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash - peeled, cut in ½ lengthwise, seeds removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Lay the squash on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the squash (approximately 2 Tablespoons)
  4. Mix the olive oil over all sides of the squash pieces with your hands.
  5. Roast the squash for 20 minutes then move/flip it around with a spatula.
  6. Continue roasting approximately 5-10 more minutes until fork tender and slightly browned.

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Oh summer, how I’ll miss you….

tomato.layered.salad.1I told you quite awhile ago that I’m working on new ways to use all these tomatoes I have in the garden.  While my tomatoes are still growing on the vine my ideas seem to be running short.  The creative juices just don’t seem to be flowing for me lately.

Truthfully, the ending of summer is really hitting me particularly hard this year.  Summer just felt so short and chilly this year.  I’m longing to taste a fresh juicy watermelon one more time, lie by the pool and tend to my flower pots.  In an attempt to embrace the Fall season I stopped to look at all the fall and Halloween décor at my local gift shop; typically one of my favorite things to do.  Even that just seemed to make me feel rather blue.

Alas, I will eventually embrace Fall and all of the wonderful flavors that go along with it.  Squashes, pumpkin anything, apples and pears and homemade chili will soon be gracing my kitchen and I must say, the thought of them does make me smile.

So, in the tomato spirit, this is a layered tomato salad that I’ve stuffed with a chicken pasta salad.  A pretty presentation I thought; it’s even wearing a little hat!

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This is a simple tomato tossed salad.  I love tomatoes in many ways but my favorite is still slicing or chopping a tomato and eating it on it’s own sprinkled with some Kosher salt or on top of a mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette.

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5 Delicious recipes to help you love kale

Kale Collage I’ve more than made peace with kale; I’m actually enjoying it and not just because its a nutritional powerhouse but because it’s delicious.  It’s delicious in these recipes anyway! I still live by the belief that people who eat kale are beautiful.  The “kale glow” if you will. Click on the photos below for the recipes.  I hope you enjoy them and here’s to you developing a new love……for kale. kale_farro_salad swiss.chard.pasta.3 kale.pesto.crostini1 kale.pesto3 kale 1

Carrot Soup

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I came across a recipe for a chilled carrot soup but I am just not a fan of chilled soups, even in the summer.  I think you can still have a summer soup but have it be served hot.  This one has a nice bright flavor with the ginger and cilantro and it’s a beautiful color that compliments almost anything you choose to serve with it.

Carrot Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup, main dish, side dish
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of carrots - peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 large or 2 small onions - chopped
  • 1 handful of cilantro (leaves and stems) - rough chopped
  • 1 jalapeno - ribs and seeds removed - diced
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger - grated (I use the microplane)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and jalapeno to the pot and sautee until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the ginger and the cumin and sautee until combined into the onion mixture, 1 minute.
  4. Add the carrots and the broth to the pan.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil and turn the heat down to cook at a strong simmer until the carrots are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.
  6. Stir the cilantro into the soup.
  7. Use the immersion blender to blend the soup until it is a smooth consistency.
  8. Stir the yogurt or sour cream into the soup.
  9. Alternate method:
  10. Let the soup cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Transfer the soup in batches to the blender and puree until smooth.
  12. Transfer the soup back to the pot.
  13. Stir the yogurt or sour cream into the soup.
  14. Heat to desired temperature.
  15. Serve in bowls, garnishing with a dollop of yogurt/sour cream and cilantro.
  16. NOTE - Be careful when blending hot liquids. Fill the blender only ½ way and raise one corner of the lid to let the heat escape. Place a towel over the blender and pulse a few times to release the heat. Blend until smooth.

 

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