Brussels Sprout Slaw

I wish the long Memorial Day weekend continued forever, but alas, I return to the weekday routine. A number of highlights from the weekend… My mom bought a new car, which is significant because she gave me her old one! My family enjoyed Sunday Night Supper at The Bachelor Farmer (we love the place). Finally, I attended my first Twins baseball game of the season. Also, the weather was perfect all weekend, never a given.

After eating a few foods I shouldn’t have (these Texas Sheet Cake Cookies, for example), I enjoyed the light and refreshing Brussels Sprout Slaw. It works as a side dish with dinner or to bring to a party, if you do that sort of thing.

Another note is that I used my brand new mandoline for the salad! It worked very well, and I’m excited to use it again.

Brussels Sprout Slaw

4 cups shaved Brussels sprouts

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped almonds

salt and pepper

Using a mandoline, shred Brussels sprouts. In bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar. Add shredded Brussels sprouts to dressing and stir to combine. Add parmesan cheese, almonds, salt, and pepper, again stirring to combine. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

It’s that time again… Meatless Monday! It’s also time that I start interning full time and hanging out with my family. I took a one week break between finishing finals and beginning the job, and it was a long week. I loved the time and freedom, but I look forward to structure and business work will provide.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza is a favorite at my house, as it offers a low-carb pizza option. I like to make the margherita pizza detailed in this recipe, but I also tried a traditional cheese pizza for one of my picky eaters. However, margherita remains a favorite.

You should probably eat the pizza with a fork rather than pick it up. I’ve seen it picked up before, but I prefer the cleaner option of silverware. Also, the pictures show the pizza on foil. I only used foil because we were out of parchment paper, but I prefer parchment.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Servings: 2   Prep time: 40 minutes

2 cups cauliflower, grated

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 egg

1 cup crushed tomato

fresh mozzarella cheese

10 large fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two pizza stones or pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. Grate cauliflower and pat dry with paper towel to remove moisture. Mix cauliflower, grated mozzarella, and grated parmesan. Slightly beat egg and add to cauliflower mixture. Divide crust in half and spread onto each piece of parchment paper, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake crust for 12-15 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove crust from oven and add crushed tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Guacamole

Guacamole

Guacamole is a great summer dish! I’m back in Minnesota for the summer, but summer has yet to arrive in the midwest. Which is why I’m happy to say that, in my book, guac is actually a year-round specialty. I love making this for company because usually even the pickiest of eaters enjoy the guacamole, as do sophisticated foodies.

I look forward to devoting more time to cooking this summer, and I have many tasty dishes planned. The next Meatless Monday dish is Cauliflower Crust Pizza. In the meantime, I’ll make many batches of guac, tripling or even quadrupling the recipe (I promise I’ll share when I quadruple it, maybe when I triple it)!

Avocados make or break the guacamole, so choose ones that are a bit squishy but still firm to the touch. Then, grab your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!

Guacamole 1

Guacamole

2 medium avocados

1/4 cup onion

1/2 tsp lime juice

1/2 tsp season salt

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic

cilantro, to taste (I like a slightly strong cilantro taste and I use 1/4 cup)

tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients in mortar or bowl. Using pestle or fork, roughly mash the avocados and other ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Dip chips in guacamole.

Note: I find that using a mortar and pestle makes the guacamole more creamy, but if you like chunkier guac, stick with a bowl and fork.

Caprese Chicken

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This always happens after spring break. The end of the year comes so fast. Before I know it all my papers are due and I face finals week. This is a beautifully difficult place to be. I dread the busy end of the semester, but I look forward to summer.

Nevertheless, I have to eat, so I continue cooking. I added Caprese Chicken to my weeknight meal rotation, since total prep and cook time is only about 20 minutes.

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Caprese Chicken

1/2 lb chicken breast or tenderloins

1 clove garlic

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, pulled to 1 inch balls

1/2 cup fresh basil, shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dash of olive oil

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add chicken and garlic. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until one side is brown, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken, and add tomatoes and basil. Continue cooking chicken, and stir tomatoes and basil occasionally. Just before removing skillet from heat (after about 14 minutes), place mozzarella on chicken, and let mozzarella melt. Serve, with tomato juices, if desired.

Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Beet Salad

Beets! They turn my hands red every time, which consistently leads to questioning. They take forever, but my advice is this: let the beets cook as long they need. Don’t take them out early! Don’t do it! Serve the beets warm right away or chilled, but the vinaigrette tastes best at a cooler temperature.

Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

4 medium-sized beets

1/4 chopped pistachios

1 orange, zested and squeezed

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off tops and roots from beets and remove skin using a vegetable peeler. Lightly toss with olive oil and place in foil on a baking sheet, using foil to cover beets. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until beets are tender. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and cut beets into bite size pieces. In a container with a lid, mix orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss dressing with beets and top with pistachios.

Soba Noodles with Veggies

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Please welcome back Meatless Monday! For years I occasionally prepared Meatless Monday meals, but I recently decided to try cutting out meat every Monday. I choose not to eat meat on Mondays primarily because it gives me an opportunity to try new ingredients. For some they are, but soba noodles are not in my usual rotation. I also enjoy choosing fresher foods that are high in nutrients.

I won’t post a meatless meal every Monday, but when I come up with a good one I will surely share.

I saw many recipes for soba noodles, but they are new to me. Soba noodles come from buckwheat flour and wheat flour and are about as thick as spaghetti. Still, I was careful to stray too far from my usuals, so I put Brussels sprouts with them.

Soba Noodles with Veggies

9 oz soba noodles

1 1/2 cups very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts

1/2 cups roughly chopped kale

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp lime juice

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

fresh cracked pepper

parmesan cheese

Place soba noodles in boiling water and let simmer for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse, or cook according to package. In a sauté pan, heat vegetable oil and add garlic, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until Brussels sprouts are tender, about 6 minutes. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, red pepper flakes, and pepper to sauté and remove from heat. Add noodles to vegetable mixture, stirring to coat noodles in sauce. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

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Readjustment is hard, even after only one week away. I get nightly urges to go sit in the backyard hot tub like I did every day last week. Alas, one cannot vacation forever. On the bright side, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated to jump back into normal life.

Spring break marks halfway through the semester, and two of my classes changed at the mid-semester break. I just completed Global Journalism and Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, and I added Public Health and Nutrition. I’m sad to move away from communication classes, but I am interested in health and nutrition.

As promised, this is my recipe for Garlic Butter Shrimp. It’s definitely a weeknight meal: ridiculously easy and tasty. You probably even have the ingredients on hand.

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Garlic Butter Shrimp

1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled

5 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup onion

1/2 tsp chili powder

Melt butter in skillet, add chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté until onion begins to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and chili powder and cook until shrimp is no longer translucent, about another 4 minutes. Serve shrimp with remaining butter sauce in skillet.

Away from Paradise, Back to Reality

Ah, sunset walks on the beach...

Ah, sunset walks on the beach…

My excuse for disappearing for a week: I went to Clearwater Beach, Florida for spring break! One of the best things about college is spring break. Sometimes I think about not having week in college designated for traveling, and I get sad. Most of the time, though, I am content with the break I do have.

So my excuse for zero posts is I was taking a leave in paradise. After lounging on the beach and spending time in our private pool and hot tub, I feel refreshed and ready to dive back into daily life. I already have many recipe ideas I can’t wait to post!

Stay tuned for Garlic Butter Shrimp and Soba Noodles with Vegetables. Coming soon!

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi

You know how people crave chips sometimes? That happens to me with seafood. Actually, it happens with chips, too, so maybe I should think of a better example. Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi satisfies my seafood craving.

By the way, spellcheck doesn’t recognize “mahi mahi.” That’s what the bag says, so that’s what I write.

This terrible Chicago winter continues, so I have little motivation to eat meals out. Eating out means I have to go from the apartment to the car, from the car to the restaurant, from the restaurant to the car and from the car to the apartment. In “Chiberia,” that is too much. Of course, if I’m already out, I can eliminate the trip from the apartment to the car, so then I can go out.

The point of the last paragraph was that since I’m home more, I cook more. And I cook fish because I like it.

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi (1)

This is a simple pan-fried fish, and you might even have all the ingredients on hand. It’s simple, yet sophisticated; a last minute entree.

Almond Parmesan Crusted Mahi Mahi

1 pound mahi mahi, thawed

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup dijon mustard

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp onion powder

olive oil

salt and pepper

In a small, flat bowl, combine dijon mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice and onion powder. In another small, flat bowl, combine almonds and parmesan cheese. Grease skillet with olive oil. Take one mahi mahi filet, and coat it with the dijon mustard mixture. Then dip, the filet in the almond mixture. Repeat with remaining filets, and place in skillet. Cook fish until cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side.

Sweet Potato Curry Soup

Avery is my friend. She is also very often my primary taste tester. Avery is a super-baker who likes to cook sometimes. Which leads me to this post. Sweet Potato Curry Soup is Avery’s recipe, and we made it together last night.

Much deliberation went into naming this dish, since the soup has sweet potato, carrots, chickpeas and curry, which are all important ingredients. It was hard to pick just two for the name. Sweet potato and curry are the flavors that burst out most, so we decided to use them.

Sweet Potato Curry Soup uses only a few ingredients. They are a sweet potato, carrots, chickpeas, curry, chicken stock, salt and pepper.

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You will also need a submersion blender. I didn’t know I had one of those, but Avery found one in the back of the cupboard! That’s what friends are for. Providing blog content and stumbling on kitchen appliances. That was a joke; I appreciate Avery for much more than just her kitchen presence! I love cooking with friends and for friends. Food just really brings people together. Some of my best recipes come out of collaborating with other cooks!

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For all you carnivores, know that even though there is no meat in this dish, it’s a hearty soup. It will fill you up, but it usually won’t make you too full. Another plus: the soup is gluten free.

Sweet Potato Curry Soup

1 sweet potato

2 carrots

3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)

1 16 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

1 tbsp curry powder

salt and pepper, to taste

Combine sweet potato, carrots, chickpeas and stock in a medium pot. Cook vegetables until tender. Transfer vegetables and liquid to submersion blender and blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot. Add curry powder, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.