Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Recipe: Saucy Singles Egg Bake with Goat Cheese

I believe I've already mentioned (500-ish times) that I like my weeknight recipes to be easy. Just like my men! Bazinga. Here's another that fits the bill. And if you think ahead, you can get multiple meals out it. 

This may be my favorite recipe on the blog so far. It's eggy, a little spicy, fresh and comfortable. I want to put on a cable-knit sweater and eat this every day. I call it a singles egg bake because it is cooked in single-serving ramekins, but it also makes for a great single person meal. Leftover sauce can be saved in the fridge for a few days. When you're ready to eat it, break and bake, baby.

(makes 2 individual egg bakes)
tbsp EVOO
1/8 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 clove garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes, diced
sprinkle each of crushed red pepper, paprika, chili powder
1/2 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp goat cheese (+ extra to top)
tbsp cilantro
sprinkle of sea salt
sprinkle of black pepper
scallion, diced
2 eggs
  1. Heat EVOO in sauce pan over med heat. 
  2. Cook onion until translucent. 
  3. Add garlic - cook for about one minute. 
  4. Add diced tomatoes.
  5. Stir in crushed red pepper, paprika and chili powder. Cook about 10 min (until tomatoes are soft and sauce looks juicy), stirring occasionally. 
  6. Heat oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray individual ramekins with oil.
  7. Remove sauce from heat and stir in oregano and goat cheese. 
  8. Place 1/2 of sauce in each ramekin. Push a little dent in the middle with a spoon. 
  9. Break one egg into the dent. 
  10. Bake until white is cooked but yolk is runny (roughly 10 min). 
  11. Allow dish to cool. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, scallion, cilantro and extra goat cheese.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Favorite Healthy Lifestyle Things

It's too bad that I am not Oprah. If I were, I'd be giving you my favorite salad kit. Inside a new car. Obviously.

In order for me to consistently take a healthy Mediterranean inspired lunch to work, it has to be very convenient. Thankfully I discovered the Cool Gear EZ-Freeze Collapsible Salad Kit. The kit includes a collapsible bowl, freezer tray, dressing container and snap on lid. 

It only takes a few minutes to throw my fixins in and hit the road in the mornings. The freezer tray does a great job of keeping my food cool and crisp. I drizzle EVOO on my salads instead of dressing. I fully expected the dressing container to leak oil. I was wrong. If I had to find something about the kit to criticize, it would be that there is no fork (or fork compartment) included.

I found my kit at WalMart for six bucks and some change. It's BPA free, dishwasher safe and microwaveable (if you remove the freezer tray).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Recipe: Shrimp Spring Roll 3 Ways

Tonight I'm injecting a little Asian persuasion into Turning Mediterranean because I can't think of a better, or easier, way to showcase fresh ingredients than inside a spring roll. Plus. I like eating with my hands. 

Now boil some small shrimp and let's get this party started.

Note: Amounts of ingredients will vary depending on the size of your rice paper, how full you like your spring rolls and how many spring rolls you are making. I have included photos of my ingredient plates as a reference for how much of each ingredient I put in one roll. 

Gather ingredients.

One: Strawberry Shrimp Spring Roll
(Trust me. Strawberries taste good with almost everything. )
small shrimp                               unsweetened coconut flakes
sliced strawberries                     crumbled goat cheese
slivered almonds

Two: Traditional Shrimp Spring Roll
small shrimp                              cilantro
sliced red cabbage                     sliced scallion
slivered almonds                        unsweetened coconut flakes

Three: Spicy Shrimp Spring Roll
small shrimp                               lime juice
sliced red cabbage                      chili paste
cilantro                                       sliced scallion

To assemble:
Fill a shallow dish with warm water. Dip rice paper into water, one sheet at a time, for a few seconds then place on a flat, dry surface. Allow the rice paper to sit until pliable - around one minute. Place ingredients on one side of rice paper. Do not overfill. Gently pull edge of rice paper closest to filling over ingredients and firmly tuck filling under. Roll. After one or two rolls, stop and fold ends in. Continue to roll carefully but firmly to the end. 

It is best to eat these fresh as rice paper doesn't store well. If you must transport them, wrap each roll individually so that they do not stick together.

I intended to tell you which roll was my favorite but I can't! They were all so good. Tell me, how do you roll?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Recipe: Healthy Chicken Casserole

Not really a looker but...

Y'all. This healthy chicken casserole doesn't taste a bit healthy. So garlic-y and flavorful and fulfilling. This is comfort food. Fried chicken strips who? 

Plus, after a bit of prep, you throw it in the oven and take care of business while it gets itself ready for your mouth. 

3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, brought to room temp
basil pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
almond flour
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Saute chicken bites in olive oil and Italian seasoning until just beginning to brown on all sides. 
  • Combine Greek yogurt and chicken in small casserole dish and drizzle generously with pesto.
  • Sprinkle cheese over top.
  • Add a thin layer of almond flour.
  • Bake 30 minutes. 
  • Eat! Remember, 1/2 vege, 1/4 whole grain, 1/4 lean protein.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fix Your Plate

Source of gorgeous butter lettuce: Uncle Max's garden.*
And that tasty looking chicken? Come back tomorrow for the recipe. 

Not sure how much of this or that you should be eating as you turn Mediterranean? Generally, you should fill half of your plate with vegetables (or fruits and vegetables), one-fourth with whole grains and one-fourth with chicken or fish (not fried!). 

Obviously, with half your plate being covered in vegetables, you should be consume primarily plant-based foods: fruit, veggies, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that eating this way can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. (Research is currently under way on the effect of this sort of diet on cancer.)

Fuhgeddabout refined sugar, flour and butter. Most of the time. I'm sure a slice of cake on your  
birthday and a helping of Aunt So-in-so's famous creamy, bread-y casserole at Christmas won't kill you unless you crossed her

Tips for turning Mediterranean:
  • Replace fats such as butter, margarine and salad dressing with olive oil.
  • Use herbs and spices in place of salt. 
  • Can't give up your red meat? Limit yourself to once or twice a month. 
  • Work in whole grains every day, if not at every meal.
  • Simmer vegetables over low heat instead of boiling them to reduce leaching nutrients.
  • Don't be afraid of eggs and dairy - just consume  smaller portions than the typical American. 
  • Stick with it! Your taste-buds can change. After a couple weeks of eating whole grain bread, I stopped choking it down and started enjoying it. And fruit tastes sweeter now that I have (mostly) kicked the sugar habit. 
*Not a hipster whole foods store. My actual uncle grew it in his actual garden.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Recipe: Chickpea Salad

Sometimes your grannie's 90th birthday party starts at 5:45 and you get off work at 5:00 about 45 minutes away from party central and still have to swing by your house so you need something (a) super easy (b) healthful and (c) tasty that you can throw together the busy night before and grab out of the fridge in a mad dash to be fashionably late. During those times, you need chickpea salad.

1 cup spinach, finely chopped in food processor
4 cans chickpeas
10 oz grape tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 lime

Rinse and drain chickpeas and place in a large bowl. 
Add all ingredients except lime and goat cheese. Toss.
Just before serving, squeeze juice of lime and crumble goat cheese over top. Toss again.
Eat. Remark on the freshness.

(Hack: Go heavier on the tomatoes and onion and add a jalapeno pepper or two for a sort of chickpea pico de gallo for enchilada night with your Bible study group. I did.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Recipe: Super Easy Pesto Chicken Pizza

It's possible that I forgot to photograph this pizza when it was fresh out of the oven and looking its best.
It's possible that I warmed up a slice for breakfast just so I could take a photo. The sacrifices I make for blogging.

Turning Mediterranean is not about giving up food you like to eat. It's about making food you like to eat better. It's about saying yes. Today we say yes to pizza.

Confession: I do not like pizza sauce. I've been called un-American for this very reason. Pretty sure pizza sauce is not American so I remain secure in my citizenship. For now. Basil pesto has been the basis for many a pizza in my household (the word "household" totally applies when it's just you and a cat). It's herby and garlicy and olive oily - pretty much the best things that food can be. Grab your greens and we'll hop to.

2 chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
tbsp extra virgin olive oil
tbsp chili paste
pre-made whole wheat pizza crust of your choice (I used Mama Mary's. See my crust reviews.)
basil pesto (make it fresh - your taste buds will think you the coolest)
goat cheese, crumbled
mozzarella cheese, grated
cherry tomatoes, cut into slices/chunks

Preheat oven according to directions on pizza crust.
Heat EVOO and chili paste in saute pan over medium-high heat.
Saute chicken breast strips until just cooked through.
Spread pesto over pizza crust (as thick as you like it - remember, pesto is pretty flavorful).

Sprinkle mozzarella, tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese over top.
Strategically (or not) place strips of chicken on top of the other goodness and sprinkle more mozzarella & goat on top.

Bake about 10 minutes (may vary depending on type of crust used). When the cheese is melty and the tomatoes are soft, it's time to stuff pizza in your face take sweet nibbles between healthful bites of salad.