Oven-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

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The countdown to Thanksgiving is upon us. Now is the time to start thinking about he delicious foods to that you may eat (and cook!) for any holiday parties you have planned. And I am about to share with you to a healthy and fantastic tasting vegetable that is easy to cook and makes a show-stopping side dish: brussel sprouts.

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Now, if ever there was an easy dish to cook it’s this one. Seriously simple, seriously delicious. Oh and brussel sprouts are a great source of nutrients!

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Drizzle some balsamic vinegar glaze on top, and you have yourself the perfect side dish for tonight’s dinner, Thanksgiving, and beyond!

Over Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar glaze, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove yellowing outer leaves from sprouts, if necessary. Rinse sprouts and pat them dry. Slice each sprout in half.
  3. In a bowl, mix together halved sprouts, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour sprouts onto a pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.
  4. Roast sprouts in the oven for 20-25 minutes, tossing the sprouts once or twice while they are baking. The outer leaves will be golden brown and crispy.
  5. Drizzle balsamic vinegar glaze over brussel sprouts, if desired.
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Chopped Salad

Oh my. I am becoming a New Yorker.

So picture this: my fridge is essentially empty.

Empty, you say? Like, missing real, fresh food? Sadly, yes.

This predicament is both amusing and saddening. Amusing in that I still cannot believe I find myself taking up behaviors I used to think as exclusively for the native “New Yorker” (I could have never guessed a suburbia-raised girl like me could become a successful city dweller). Despite my new-found urban identity, I am bummed by my fridge because I like to believe that I always prepare and eat home-cooked meals using fresh ingredients. After all, that is how it started when I first came to New York City. Then, slowly I might add, I started buying more “snack-like” foods. Apples and peanut butter, mixed nuts, cans of beans, hummus…you get the idea. Next, I started eating out or traveling every single weekend. Couple that with the night a week I might eat out and suddenly buying a ton of produce and racing to eat it before it went bad became too much. Living alone is stressful on your diet, people!

Anyways, my meals have depended on gauging that “just right” amount of fresh food to buy every week. A couple of apples here, some spinach and baby carrots there…just enough to get me through 4.5 days of meals. And lately most of my protein has come from non-meat sources during the week. Thank goodness I have eggs, beans, and peanut butter (but not together because that would be gross). My love for these items–and their long shelf life–help me from avoiding a nutrient deficiency and keep my energy up.

Another dependable protein item: sliced lunch meat. Although it isn’t as wholesome as cooking chicken in the oven or broiling a steak, for someone with only a couple of meals to prep at home, it’s a great go-to for something filling. Slicing lunch meat further (a.k.a. chopping the lunch meat into coarse pieces) allows it to be tossed into an omelet, thrown into soup, or-as in this instance-sprinkled on salad.

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This recipe was all too simple and the ingredients are solid, nutritional standbys. I buy the ingredients for this salad on a Monday and it will get me through exactly four days worth of lunches. Is it all I have for lunch? No. Is it a better option for lunch that ordering Chinese takeout? Yes. Just pack this salad along with some snackie-snacks (yes I got all cute and called them snackie-snacks). Suddenly, weekday eating for the single-living city-dweller became easy, delicious, and healthy. And now I am craving a bagel…oh, New York.

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Salami & Spinach Salad (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups spinach (1 bag)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 package salami
  • Olive oil and Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Rinse spinach and remove stems. Chop tomato, salami, and avocado. Toss together with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cinco de Mayo Salsa

Cinco de Mayo got me in a salsa kind of mood.

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There is something so incredibly delicious about homemade salsa. The freshness of the ingredients cannot be beat, and the way the flavors meld together is absolutely delectable.

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I am such a sucker for vibrant colors. Looks good and tastes even better!

Typical fresh salsa (what most people think of as call pico de gallo) includes tomatoes (great source of lycopene for antioxidants), onions (full of nutrients for heart health and insulin resistance), and jalapeños (its spice factor, capsaicin, is currently being studied for its effect on decreasing inflammation and contributing to weight loss). Homemade salsa with this list of nutritional ingredients is pretty darn good for you!

Now, do what I have done and add mango and avocado.

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I just took salsa to a whole new level.

The combination of spicy jalapeño and sweet mango is addicting, and the avocado just brings it all together. I have eaten this salsa with chips, on top of salads, and by the spoonful. It would also be incredibly tasty atop a filet of fish. Who knew salsa could be so versatile!

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Today, my salsa went perfectly atop some mixed greens, making the perfect side dish to my New York Strip steak!

Mango & Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 medium mango, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large jalapeño, diced
  • 2 fresh limes
  • Cilantro, to taste
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic clove, crushed (optional)

Directions:

If you pre-chop all the ingredients the recipe comes together super fast. Place all the ingredients into a bowl, squeeze the juice of two limes on top. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and fold the ingredients together. Easy as that!

Kale, Cabbage, and Raisin Spring Salad

Well hello Spring! photo (28) It is SO nice to finally feel the sun’s warmth, see flowers blooming, and yes, it even feels good to start taking allergy medicine again (if it’s the price of admission for warm weather I will happily pay). I know what you’re thinking. IMG_3115 Raisins and kale: not an intuitive pairing. IMG_3116Well then let me be the first to tell you that the flavors and textures are marvelous together. The sweet, chewy raisins and the bitter, crunchy kale….mmmmmmm I could eat salad forever when it’s this exciting!

Kale, Cabbage, and Raisin Salad (makes 1 serving)

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, rinsed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 Tbsp scallions, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar (I used 1 Tbsp balsamic, 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, toss with the dressing, and enjoy!

Fresh Chopped Avocado Salad

This salad definitely goes into the healthy category.

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Full of fresh vegetables, protein-packed legumes, and the healthy fats of avocado, this chopped salad is everything I need to feel good about my eating habits. It tastes great over some mixed greens, cooked quinoa, or completely on its own! The zesty lime flavor keeps it fresh, and you avoid the fat-laden salad dressings being sold on the market today. Plus, there’s avocado and that alone is enough to make it perfect in my book!

Fresh Chopped Salad

Ingredients:IMG_2602

  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups chopped jicama
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: red pepper flakes

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the ingredients, and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional). Mix with a spoon and serve!

Arugula Pear Salad

Confession: I used to despise any leafy green that was not Romaine lettuce.

In my youth, I was lucky (and weird) enough that I liked to eat vegetables. However, I drew the line at funny looking greens. Spinach? Nah. Kale? Never heard of it. Arugula? Aruga-what?

Alas, with maturing taste buds comes an appreciation for these unique and healthy salad additions. And a need to change-it-up often. Thus, my leafy green of the week is: arugula!

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Arugula is bitter, sharp in flavor, and tastes great when paired with ingredients that are sweeter. This salad is a refreshingly healthy dinner side dish or light lunch option. So keep your health-related New Year’s resolutions going with this recipe!

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Ingredients For Salad:

  • 5 cups arugula, rinsed
  • 2-3 pears, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup croutons

Ingredients For Dressing:

  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a bowl, mix ingredients for dressing together with a fork and set aside. Toss freshly rinsed arugula leaves with dressing. Plate a serving of arugula and top with pears slices, parmesan cheese, cranberries, and croutons.

Strawberry Fields Salad

There’s no denying it: this is the most beautiful, colorful salad I have ever made.

So this last Saturday afternoon I found myself wandering around the city (I do that a lot) and decided I should go to Union Square for the first time (I’ve never been-I know, I am clearly still a NYC newbie!). Anyways Union Square was having this incredible farmers market: I am talking fresh fruit, veggies, cheese and meat, wine and baked goods galore. Even fresh cut flowers! Needless to say, I was in heaven. I knew I had to buy something special. And that’s when I saw it: gourmet goat cheese.

I am a big cheese person, and the goat variety just might be my favorite. I love rolling it in nuts, or pesto, or spices to really jazz it up. The one I bought was already fancied-up for me: honey lavender goat cheese. Mmm mmm good. The flavor is so light and aromatic, call me one happy cheese person.

Thus, the inspiration for this salad was born! The tangy, sweet goat cheese mixes perfectly with strawberries and crunchy walnut chunks. And balsamic vinegar is the perfect topping to it all.This salad was light and flavorful and the perfect lunch to satiate me after all that walking around the city!

Strawberry Fields Salad

  • 3 cups Mixed Greens, rinsed
  • 1 cup Strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 2-3 Celery Stalks, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/8 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon each Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

 

The directions are simple: combine in a bowl, toss, and serve!

Next time you’re bored on a weekend day, look up where your closest farmer’s market is. The products are always fresh, and supporting local farmers buy buying and eating their delicious food is a wonderful and satisfying way to spend an afternoon!