Monthly Archives: July 2013

Strawberry Avocado Salad

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This salad is something I whipped up on a hot afternoon recently, as a way to avoid cooking, and decided that it was good enough to share the recipe. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I really enjoy a good salad but I’m often too lazy to get out all the ingredients and prepare a salad. I have no problem prepping food for the meals I cook, but for some reason the idea of preparing a salad always turns me off. I’ve been trying to change that lately, and the warm weather helps.

This Strawberry Avocado Salad combines fresh summer produce with filling protein and leafy greens. I used avocado, a hard-boiled egg, almonds, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for protein and healthy fats to keep me satisfied, and fresh strawberries and a light raspberry vinaigrette for sweetness. This salad is light yet filling and makes a perfect lunch. Next time I make it I would add grilled chicken. I also think a poppy seed or citrus vinaigrette would complement the salad nicely as well.

I was recently reading that a well-balanced salad includes nuts, cheese, something sweet, and acidity. I found this to make a lot of sense and realized I already tend to base my salads around these guidelines: Nuts, for protein and healthy fats; cheese, for more protein and a salty flavor; and something sweet and slightly sour to balance each other out. Nuts and cheese do add significant calories to a salad, but if you’re eating a salad as a meal, those calories are necessary to supply you with nutrients and keep you full. Opting for monounsaturated fats whenever possible and eating those fats in moderation will help to keep your diet in check, but that being said, I think it’s okay to splurge a bit when you’re really craving something.

Strawberry Avocado Salad
makes 1 salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small stalk of romaine hearts, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 3-4 strawberries, rinsed and diced
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, crumbled
  • 2-3 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp raspberry or citrus vinaigrette
  • optional: sprinkle of parmesan cheese
  • optional: small breast of grilled chicken

Directions:

In a salad bowl, combine all ingredients and top off with salad dressing. Enjoy πŸ™‚

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Kori Coffee

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Today I’m excited because I have a cool new way of drinking coffee to share with you guys: Kori Coffee.

Kori Coffee, also sometimes referred to as Kori Kohi, is a method of preparing coffee that originated in Japan (“Kori” translates to “ice” in Japanese). Strong brewed coffee or espresso is frozen into ice cubes and then served in a glass with milk poured over it. As the coffee cubes melt, the milk slowly becomes infused with the coffee flavor and makes for one awesome iced coffee.

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I’ve seen a similar recipe floating around Pinterest but didn’t think much of it until I read more about it on the blog Honestly Yum. They explain the method a little more and use it to make an iced mocha, which also sounds delicious. I was excited when I found this method because I’ve been looking for new ways to enjoy iced coffee and this one pretty much knocked my socks off. (Except that it’s obviously too hot to even consider wearing socks in this heat.)

Traditionally Kori Coffee is also served with corn syrup or a simple syrup to sweeten. I chose to use sweetened coffee creamer in addition to my milk instead of syrup, but it’s up to you how sweet you want your coffee. You can choose to use just plain milk, or sweetened almond or coconut milk, or milk with sugar added to it – up to you! I used skim milk and So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla Creamer, which I highly recommend. It’s rich and creamy but fat free and is perfect in iced coffee.

Kori Coffee is a bit mellower than your typical iced coffee with a richer milk taste, but the coffee flavor intensifies as you sip. Definitely up there with some of my favorite coffees πŸ™‚ This method of making coffee is also perfect for the summer, because as your coffee melts, you don’t need to worry about it getting watered down!

Kori Coffee (Japanese Iced Coffee / Milk with coffee ice cubes)
adapted from Iced Mocha with Coffee Ice Cubes on Honestly Yum and Pepper.ph

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Ingredients:
makes 1 iced coffee

  • 6 – 8 oz. strong brewed coffee, frozen into 1 oz. coffee ice cubes (a standard ice cube tray will do the trick)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp sweetener of choice: your favorite coffee creamer, sugar, simple syrup, or a few tsp of stevia*

*If using sweetened milk, you can skip this ingredient.

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Coffee ice cubes and milk (I added my sweetener directly to the milk)

Directions:

Place your coffee ice cubes in a glass. Pour your milk and sweetener over the ice cubes and stir. If you wish for your coffee to start melting quickly, you can warm the milk slightly before adding it to the ice cubes. But if you live in an area with warm weather like I do, your coffee will start melting in no time πŸ™‚

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At first, your coffee will look like this. Then as the coffee cubes slowly melt…

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…It will look more like this. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Spicy Tuna Wrap

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This recipe was inspired, as you may have guessed, by the spicy tuna sushi roll. I’ve been preparing tuna salad this way for about a year now, but it only occurred to me recently that with a few extra ingredients it could taste a lot like my favorite type of sushi.

Spicy Tuna Rolls typically include tuna in a spicy sauce, something crunchy like cucumber, and often avocado. My Spicy Tuna Wrap uses teriyaki sauce and Sriracha to give the tuna a spicy Asian twist, and includes vegetables like carrots, red bell peppers, radishes, avocado, and spinach in place of seaweed. It’s perfect for when you’re craving sushi without any in reach, or for those who are hesitant to try real sushi. The spicy tuna mixture is also delicious on a salad!

To make the preparation of this wrap quicker, I recommend refrigerating your can of tuna beforehand. I do this often so I don’t need to wait for my tuna salad to chill in the fridge when I’m hungry!

Spicy Tuna Wrap
makes 1 wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1 5 oz. can of tuna, drained
  • 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (I recommend mayo for a more authentic flavor)
  • 1.5 tsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tsp Sambel Oelek chili paste or Sriracha
  • 1 tsp sweet chili sauce (honey or brown sugar would work as well)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced into strips
  • 1/3 cup assorted crunchy veggies, sliced into matchsticks (I recommend carrots, red bell pepper, and cucumber or radishes)
  • small handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 8-inch flour tortilla
  • optional: sesame seeds and red pepper flakes to garnish
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Ingredients for the spicy tuna

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ingredients for the wrap

Directions:

To prepare the spicy tuna mixture, mix together your drained tuna, mayo, teriyaki sauce, chili paste, chili sauce and green onions. Stir to combine and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour if not previously chilled.

Begin to build your wrap by spreading tuna along the middle of your tortilla in a straight line, and layer your avocado, veggies, and spinach on top. Roll up tightly and enjoy!

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Combine the ingredients for the spicy tuna in a small bowl

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And mix together until combined. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 – 60 minutes if not previously chilled.

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Build your wrap by placing the spicy tuna in the middle of the tortilla, and layering avocado, veggies, and spinach on top. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or red pepper flakes if desired and roll up tightly.

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πŸ™‚

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

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If you’re looking for a healthier burger still packed with flavor for your cookouts this summer, look no further. These chicken burgers are seriously delicious while staying light on calories.

This recipe comes from Iowa Girl Eats, and is inspired by Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers, which is found in the frozen prepared foods section of TJ stores. I used to eat those burgers all the time in college because they were perfect for a quick meal between classes or before an exam. Making these burgers at home is economical and you can even freeze them to eat at a later time. They’re also super simple and will probably take you no more than 20 minutes from start to finish.

I stayed pretty true to the ingredients in Kristin’s recipe, but tweaked it just a little to suit my taste. These Chili Lime Chicken Burgers are juicy, slightly spicy, and have a hint of lime – perfect for the summer time. They taste amazing with guacamole or salsa – especially pineapple or mango salsa! – and are a great alternative to beef or turkey burgers. They’re probably my favorite burgers to date!

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers
slightly adapted from Copy Cat Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers on Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
makes 4 burgers

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • juice from half of one lime (about 1 – 1.5 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp Sambal Oelek chili paste or 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • optional: 2-3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • to serve: buns/rolls, cheese, sliced avocado, salsa

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Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients up to cilantro. Mix together just until combined and form into 4 patties. Fire up your grill or frying pan, and once it’s hot, place your burgers on the heat (don’t forget to lightly grease the grill/pan!). Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until burgers are lightly browned and cooked throughout. Serve on a bun with optional toppings and enjoy!

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Mix all of the ingredients together and form the burgers into 4 patties.

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Grill up those burgers.

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Cook until browned and no pink remains.

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Serve with cheese, if desired (I used cheddar)…

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… and some sliced avocado and salsa. I used Newman’s Own Pineapple Salsa

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πŸ™‚

Summer Vegetable Lasagna

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This is a dish I’ve been wanting to make for a while and I’m glad I finally got around to it, but man, I could have picked a better day to do it. I made this dish on Friday, another 90ΒΊ day, and using both my stove and oven probably pushed the temperature in my kitchen to close to 100. Luckily the weather has cooled down a bit for the time being, but I know the heat will likely return soon enough. This is my first summer since I got into cooking that I live in a house with no central air, and I now realize why my mom wouldΒ  avoid cooking on hot nights in our old house.

This recipe was actually inspired by a meal I used to get at the dining hall back in college. In the vegetarian section, they often served a Vegetable Lasagna with a white sauce. I really liked all the vegetables in it, and having a white creamy sauce rather than the traditional tomato sauce I was used to growing up. Most of the vegetables I chose to use in my version are at their peak during the summer and so it seemed like an appropriate summer dish – other than having to cook in this crazy heat!

This Summer Vegetable Lasagna is filled with fresh summer vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, and spinach, and held together with a creamy garlic ricotta cheese mixture. Nixing the meat and loading up on vegetables makes this dish a lighter choice than traditional lasagna, and still tastes delicious the day after so it’s perfect for making head of time. You can use any assortment of vegetables you’d like, and switch up the sauce, too.

Summer Vegetable Lasagna
makes 1 8 x 8 dish, or approximately 6 large /9 small servings

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups assorted vegetables, sliced into 1/2-inch strips. I used:
    • 1 medium yellow onion
    • half a red bell pepper and half a yellow pepper
    • half a medium eggplant
    • half a zucchini
    • 4 baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1.5 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup scallions, chopped
  • spices: a dash of dried basil, red pepper flakes, and salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzerella cheese and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, mixed together
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Your ingredients, plus the tomato sauce and lasagna noodles

Directions:

  1. Begin by sauteing your vegetables in 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Stir often and cook for about 15 minutes, or until veggies are beginning to get tender. Add in half of the garlic, saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, and remove veggies from heat.
  2. While veggies are cooking, cook your lasagna noodles to al dente.
  3. When your vegetables and noodles are done cooking, preheat oven to 375ΒΊF and lightly spray an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. You will probably need to trim the ends of your noodles to fit in the dish.
  4. Prepare the garlic ricotta mixture by combining ricotta cheese, remaining minced garlic, scallions, and spices. Taste and adjust any spices you find necessary. Stir in beaten egg.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of tomato sauce onto greased baking dish and spread evenly. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top and spread half of garlic ricotta mixture on top, along with another 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Next, layer with half of the spinach and then half of the sauteed veggies. Sprinkle with one-third of the cheese. Repeat this process for the next layer.
  6. Top off with 3 more lasagna noodles, the remaining cheese, and a few vegetables (if desired). Bake for 20 minutes covered in foil, and then another 10 minutes uncovered or until cheese is completely melted. Let sit for a few minutes before serving, and enjoy!
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Begin by sauteing up those veggies

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and preparing your garlic ricotta mixture using the ricotta cheese, minced garlic, chopped scallions, spices, and egg. You will also want to cook your lasagna noodles during this time.

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Preheat your oven to 375 F and begin assembling your lasagna. First spoon 1/4 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of your baking dish.

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Next, lay down your lasagna noodles over the tomato sauce and then spread half of the garlic ricotta mixture on top, along with another 1/4 cup of tomato sauce (which I forgot to picture).

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On top of the ricotta, place half of the spinach and half of the sauteed vegetables. Sprinkle a third of the cheese blend on top.

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Repeat this process, and then lay down one more layer of lasagna noodles, and finish off with the remaining cheese and a few veggies if desired. Bake for 20 minutes covered, and then 10 minutes uncovered or until cheese is melted. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

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