Monthly Archives: June 2013

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip

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Before I begin with today’s post, I have an exciting announcement to make. I have recently accepted a job in the cardiology department at Children’s Hospital in Boston! I found out a few weeks ago, but I wanted to have the official offer letter before announcing anything. I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to work at such an amazing organization, doing something I really care about. My job search was very long and challenging at times, so it feels so good to know that all the hard work and waiting was worth it in the end.

Another exciting piece of news is that I just signed a lease for a new apartment, along with my friends Jill and Kathleen. We were having a rather difficult time finding a place and were growing tired of dealing with unreliable landlords/realtors, but finally we found “the one” and were able to snag it before anyone else got to it! We’re moving in September and I am so excited. Finding an apartment in the Boston area during the summer can be pretty crazy, so we were lucky to find a place we all love and one that’s in a great location.

Now that I’m done job searching and apartment hunting, hopefully I’ll have more time for this blog!

Anyway, onto the food. Today’s recipe is very simple and a no-cook recipe because it is miserably hot and humid here in Boston.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Barbara. I tried this dip at her house a few years ago and fell in love with it. The base of the recipe is just five simple ingredients: roasted red peppers, feta cheese, white beans, garlic, lemon juice and your preference of spices. Everything is thrown together in a food processor and comes together in 20-30 seconds. It tastes a bit like red pepper hummus with feta added. It’s smoky, salty, and delicious and makes a great appetizer for a party or cookout. I usually eat this dip with crackers or pretzels, but it would also be great on a sandwich or wrap.

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip
makes ~1.5 cups

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Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 1 15 oz. can of white beans (you could use cannellini, navy, great northern – up to you!)
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of half of one lemon (1-2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • optional spices: red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, basil, oregano

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Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust spices to your liking. Serve with crackers, chips, or on a sandwich and enjoy! Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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Combine all of the ingredients in your food professor, including spices. I used a pinch of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and basil.

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Pulse until combine and smooth. Adjust salt and spices to your liking.

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🙂

Green Power Breakfast Sandwich

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I felt kind of silly writing the title for this recipe, but at the same time it seemed appropriate. The title was inspired by two different things: green/”power” smoothies and also the Breakfast Power Sandwich at Panera Bread.

This breakfast sandwich includes lots of yummy healthy green foods, such as spinach, avocado, scallions, and basil pesto. It’s a filling and nutritious sandwich that is sure to keep you satisfied and give you energy. I love to eat these an hour and a half or two before the gym, or when I know I won’t be eating again for a while because they’re very filling. I’m in love with the flavor combination and have been making these at least once a week lately.

I actually never really used to eat eggs until a little over a year ago. An egg by itself kind of grossed me out and the only way I would eat it was in a sandwich. That’s when I came up with the post Ideas for a Healthier Breakfast, which also included my first photo to make it onto foodgawker about a year ago. Since then I’ve been kinda crazy over breakfast sandwiches and all the different combinations I can come up with. I went from eating eggs on a rare occasion to almost everyday. Shows how your tastes change as you get older!

I’ve also tried to photograph this sandwich on three separate occasions, and none of the photos have come out quite how I wanted them to, but oh well. Some recipes just don’t photograph well, and I still have a lot to learn about food photography. But I really wanted to share this sandwich with all of you, so here it is!

Green Power Breakfast Sandwich
serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat or 100-calorie English muffin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp basil pesto
  • small handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced thin

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Directions:

  1. In a small frying pan, cook your egg to your liking. While your egg is cooking, toast your English muffin. After flipping your egg, top with chopped scallions and parmesan cheese and cover with a lid to let the cheese melt. Remove from heat.
  2. To assemble your sandwich, first spread 1 tsp of pesto on each side of your English muffin. Put spinach leaves on the bottom piece of muffin and place egg on top. Top off with sliced avocado and the other half of the muffin and enjoy!
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Cook your egg to your liking. I like to sprinkle a garlic/pepper blend and red pepper flakes on mine.

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Top off your egg with scallions and parmesan cheese. Cover with a lid to allow the cheese to melt and remove from heat.

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Spread the pesto on your English muffin

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Assemble your sandwich by layering the spinach first, then the egg, then your sliced avocado.

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Bon Appétit!

 

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

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This is a recipe I stumbled upon on Pinterest, only to find out it comes from Ina Garten. Barefoot Contessa is one of my favorite shows on the food network. I love Ina ‘s calm demeanor and her versions of classic dishes. This particular recipe has awesome ratings on Foodnetwork.com and seemed like a perfect dish for the beginning of the summer.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables includes roasted bell peppers, onion, and eggplant, served over orzo and finished off with feta cheese, fresh herbs, and a light lemony dressing. After reading through the comments on this recipe’s Foodnetwork page, I tweaked some of the ingredients a bit and left out the pine nuts but overall tried to keep all the wonderful flavors intact. You can view the original recipe here,and you can even watch a video of how it’s done.

My mom makes an orzo pasta salad with tomatoes, black beans, corn and feta which we always enjoy at home. This recipe reminds me a bit of my mom’s orzo, but perhaps with a Mediterranean twist. I like dishes like this because they can be served hot or cold, for lunch or for dinner. You can also play around with the ingredients and incorporate your favorite vegetables or herbs. This recipe makes a large batch, so if you’re cooking for a smaller crowd you may want to cut it in half like I did.

I’m not a big fan of traditional pasta salad, but I loved this dish. The tangy dressing and salty feta perfectly balance the sweet roasted vegetables, and the combination of the basil and scallions is just right – not to mention how wonderfully colorful it is. This recipe will definitely be making an appearance at any cookouts I attend this summer.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
slightly adapted from Ina Garten’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables seen on Barefoot Contessa

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Ingredients:
serves 6 (but can be easily cut in half)

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 4 scallions, chopped + 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 8 oz. feta, crumbled
  • For the dressing:
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons – I used slightly less, closer to 2-3 Tbsp)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • salt and pepper, to taste

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Prepare the chopped vegetables and garlic by tossing them with enough olive oil to coat (about 3 Tbsp) and arrange them on a large baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until veggies are tender and lightly browned.
  2. While the veggies are roasting, cook your orzo according to box directions. After draining, transfer to a large bowl and toss with the roasted vegetables.
  3. To make the dressing, simply whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over the orzo and vegetables and stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature and then add the scallions, basil, and feta.* Serve as a side dish or for lunch or dinner.

*Ina says it’s important to pour the dressing over the orzo while it’s hot because it will absorb more of it, and I also read in the comments that letting the dish cool to room temperature makes for the best flavor.

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Toss your chopped veggies and garlic with olive oil and bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes. While your veggies are roasting, begin cooking your orzo.

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Once your veggies are tender and browned, they’re done. I cooked mine for about 35 minutes.

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Prepare the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Combine your cooked orzo and veggies, and stir in lemon dressing. Let sit and cool to room temperature.

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When your orzo has cooled, add crumbled feta, chopped basil and chopped scallions. Stir to combine.

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Serve your orzo as a side dish, or as a meal. Yum!

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🙂

Also, just wanted to mention that the other day my blog reached 100,000 views. Thank you so much to all my readers out there! It makes me so happy to be able to share my favorite recipes with all of you 🙂

Mongolian Beef

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Hello everyone! I apologize for my absence in the past week or so. Last week was a very busy week for me and I couldn’t find the time to write a blog post, let alone make nice meals for myself! I think I cooked one large meal last week and have been eating the leftovers for almost 5 days in a row… time for something new fo sho.

Mongolian Beef is a meal often found at Chinese restaurants in America made from thinly sliced flank steak and green onions in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce. I admit I’ve never actually tried Mongolian Beef from a restaurant and it’s not something that would have appealed to me a few years ago, but lately I’ve been craving an Asian-inspired meal. I’ve come across a few recipes for Mongolian Beef or other similar beef stir-fry recipes, and yesterday when I found sirloin tips on sale at the store, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

After browsing a few more recipes, I decided this one from The Daring Gourmet appealed to me most. Thinly sliced steak is sautéed in vegetable oil, and then cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce made from soy sauce, hoisin sauce, green onions, and other spices. I’ve heard hoisin sauce described as the “Chinese version of barbecue sauce” and it can be found in most international/Asian sections of grocery stores. I also threw in some vegetables for some extra color and texture, and served it over chow mein noodles.

This is one of the few times I’ve cooked steak on my own, and the first time I’ve posted a steak recipe on this blog. I really loved this meal and it inspired me to incorporate a little more red meat into my diet. It isn’t the healthiest recipe I’ve posted on here, but oh man was it good.

Mongolian Beef
adapted from The Daring Gourmet

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Ingredients:
serves 2

  • For the sauce:
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
    • 1 tsp minced ginger + 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek chili paste or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 lb. flank steak or sirloin, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1-2 tsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • noodles or rice, to serve
  • optional: sliced onion and red bell pepper for stir-frying, sesame seeds to garnish

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Ingredients for the stir fry portion

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Ingredients for the sauce

Directions:

  1. To prepare the sauce, simply whisk together all of the ingredients for it in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. If including stir-fried veggies, start by cooking them in 1 tsp oil in a large frying pan or wok until tender. Remove from pan and set aside. If serving meal with rice or noodles, prepare those at this time as well.
  3. Spread the thinly sliced steak onto a cutting board or plate and sprinkle with cornstarch. Heat the vegetable and sesame oil in your pan over medium heat and add steak. Cook until steak is browned on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the steak from the pan and set aside with the veggies.
  4. In your empty pan, pour in the sauce and let it cook over medium-low heat. When the sauce begins to simmer, whisk it gently for about 1 minute. Once sauce is thickened, stir in cooked steak and vegetables, along with the green onions. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
  5. Serve the beef and veggies over noodles or rice and enjoy!

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Start by frizzling up some veggies. Set aside.

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To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients for it and whisk together.

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Next, prepare your steak for cooking by slicing in thinly (I actually recommend slicing it thinner than I did) and sprinkle it with the cornstarch.

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Heat vegetable and sesame oil in your frying pan and saute the steak until browned, about 6-8 minutes.

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After removing steak from the pan, pour in your sauce and cook over medium-low heat. Once the sauce begins to simmer, whisk it for about a minute until it’s thickened.

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Stir in your steak, veggies, and green onions and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

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Serve your awesome meal over cooked noodles or rice and enjoy!

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🙂