thai sweet chili chicken tenders.

Do you ever have recipes that you saw once upon a time ago, told yourself you’d make it in the near future, and then it sat bookmarked for eons? Just me? Well, today’s recipe takes inspiration from that very scenario! I had a recipe for sweet chili chicken bookmarked FOREVER and when I got an invite to a Spring dinner party, I knew it was time to make them. Never mind our Spring theme turned into an icy pajama party theme, as we were dealing with an ice storm warning. In mid April. I love you, upstate NY!

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You guys. I served these as an appetizer, but they would be perfect for a main dish alongside some asian slaw! These are SO yummy. The heat is super subtle and mild here, but you can up the crushed red pepper for more daring palates.

The secret to these is the refrigerator or ‘resting’ period after you bread them! Seriously. Just like in these fish cakes, resting them is essential and non-negotiable. That sounds harsh, but I want you to have successful tenders!

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Once the breaded chicken bakes, they get a quick dunk in the cooled and thickened sauce (basting them with any extra) and a quick final bake to help the sauce cling and get sticky sweet! Top with some sliced almonds and cilantro and serve! These are a great party appetizer, or serve with the aforementioned slaw or even just steamed jasmine rice.

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thai sweet chili chicken.
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats. (<– as a bonus, her recipe is GF!)

ingredients

1.5 chicken breasts, cut into 1/1.5×1.5/2 inch tenders
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 cup rice flour or all purpose flour
sea salt and pepper
2 cups panko bread crumbs (or rice chex, matzo meal)
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

sauce:
1/2 sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

directions
Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray (or brush with oil) and set aside.

In a food processor, add the almonds and process until they are a small crumb and pour into a shallow dish. Add the panko and process until small crumb and add to the almonds, seasoning lightly with sea salt and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Set aside. In a third shallow bowl, add the rice flour (or AP flour), smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper.

Using the wet hand/dry hand method (only one hand handles the chicken), dip each chicken piece into the flour, shake off excess, and then dunk into the egg mixture, and then into the panko/almond mixture, pressing to ensure the crumbs stick to the chicken. Place each piece onto the prepared sheet pan and once done breading all the chicken, refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes at minimum.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While chicken is resting, combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucier and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium/medium-low and lightly simmer for 5-7 minutes  until sauce has thickened and reduced slightly.

While the sauce is simmering, spray the tops of the chicken with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over, spray again with cooking spray and bake for an additional 7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and lightly golden brown.

Pour reduced sauce into a wide bowl and then dunk each piece of baked chicken into the sauce using tongs, ensuring to completely coat the chicken piece, and then place each piece back onto the sheet pan, topping with an extra sauce. Bake for 4-5 minutes longer, taking care to ensure the chicken does not burn.

Serve, topped with cilantro and almonds. Serves 8-10 as an appetizer, 4 as an entree.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

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spicy beef, kale + brown rice bowls.

Happy Passover and Easter weekend friends! For all who celebrate, of course. I am back after  a bit of a hiatus; I was traveling to Colorado (which is stunning!), and I was so busy and with internet service being a bit spotty, I wasn’t able to regularly check in and post!

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I’m back however, and with me I have an easy recipe I made several weeks ago. This is a super simple one bowl meal that hits all of your nutritional goals: protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. This is simply spiced with sriracha, tamari and a little aromatics, courtesy of onion and garlic. It is so flavorful!

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This does take a bit longer to use since I used brown rice, but I try to always use whole grains when I can. The thing I love about rice versus pasta (beside it being GF!) is that much of the cooking time is inactive: boil the water, add the rice, stir, pop a lid on and cook. Most brown rice takes about 40-50 minutes to cook, but check your package directions. The kale cooks with the beef, but please add once the beef (or ground turkey!)  is cooked all the way through, add seasoning, and top the rice with the beef and vegetables.

This is a great meal for meal prepping for weekday lunches! Enjoy!

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spicy beef, kale + brown rice bowls.
inspired by a recipe from HEB. 

ingredients
1 teaspoon grapeseed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
1/2 pound ground sirloin
4 cups baby kale, unpacked and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sriracha or chile garlic sauce
1 teaspoon tamari or GF soy sauce
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced

directions
Cook the rice according to package direction. When done, fluff with fork and keep warm.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and the oil. Add the ground sirloin, and cook for 7-9 minutes or until no longer pink. Add the onion and garlic at about the 5 minute mark, and continue to cook for 5 additional minutes, or until the onion has softened and the garlic is fragrant; reduce heat if needed to prevent burning.

Add the sea salt, pepper, sriracha, and tamari and stir well to combine. Add chopped kale and stir frequently for 2-3 minutes and let the kale wilt slightly.

Divide the rice amongst four bowls or storage containers. Top with beef and vegetable mixture and serve.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

 

sausage + broccoli brown rice skillet.

After making last week’s sausage sauce, I had a few links of sausage leftover that I stashed in the freezer. I was craving simple and comforting food that didn’t need a ton of effort to put together. You know what I mean? As much as I love to cook, sometimes when I know I’m going to have a really busy week I try and make a dish like this: much of the cook time is low to no hands on effort, it makes enough for multiple leftovers (if you’re feeding one or two) AND it reheats well! Exactly what I was looking for.

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I used brown long grain rice for this, which will require a longer cooking time. If you prefer, you can use quick cooking brown rice or white rice, and adjust the cook times accordingly (you’ll want to toss the broccoli and peppers in earlier if you use either of those options so it cooks all the way through).

Feel free to use your favorite veggies in this… swap asparagus for broccoli, or toss a handful of kale in!

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sausage + broccoli brown rice skillet.

ingredients
8 ounces hot Italian poultry sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 cups broccoli florets (about 2 broccoli crowns)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
splash of dry white wine or rice vinegar
scant 1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken stock (or water) plus additional 1/4 cup if needed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper if desired

directions
Heat a 3 quart skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once oil is heated, add the sliced sausage and cook, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until sausage is cooked through. Add splash of wine or vinegar and let bubble and reduce, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the rice, chicken stock, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using. Stir together, allow to come to a boil and reduce heat low, and cover, allowing mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, checking and stirring once or twice while cooking to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan (add additional liquid if needed).

After cooking for 30-35 minutes, Add the broccoli and red pepper, lightly stir and recover, allowing the mixture to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the vegetables soften, the rice is tender, and the liquid is absorbed. Let rest for a few minutes and fluff with a fork.

Serves 4.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

pasta shells with roasted cauliflower + grana padano.

This recipe is so simple, it doesn’t seem like it would be that flavorful, but magic happens once you combine the roasted cauliflower with the olive oil that you’ll infuse with lemon, garlic and red pepper. Toss that all with the cooked pasta, and top with breadcrumbs and a sprinkling of parmesan or pecorino romano and prepare to be amazed at the magical dish before you.

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I made this for a dear friend who is recovering from surgery (and she’s doing quite well, thankfully!), and I went to visit her over the weekend and brought this for us to nibble on. We laid around and watched Wonder Woman (<– surprisingly emotional!) and filled ourselves with this yummy pasta. And fried chicken and mashed potatoes that her husband brought home. It was a comforting afternoon.

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I highly recommend using a full fat, full flavored freshly grated cheese like I did here with the grana padano. Alternatively, you can use freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano. We are mixing some cheese into the cooked pasta and roasted cauliflower, and then topping the pasta with some additional cheese mixed in with the breadcrumbs before we toss it in for a little bake. The cheese is so flavorful so we don’t need to load up on it. A little goes a long way!

This reheats beautifully; we tossed it in my friend’s oven at 300 for about 20 minutes to warm (it was at room temperature when I brought it over). I would reheat for 45 minutes if you are reheating straight from the fridge (leave out on counter for 10 minutes prior to reheating to remove the chill).

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Enjoy this!

pasta shells with roasted cauliflower.
adapted from Marcella Hazan via NYT Cooking. 

ingredients
8 ounces small pasta shells (or other short pasta such as penne)
1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1/3 cup olive oil, divided plus one teaspoon
zest of 1/2 lemon plus 1 tablespoon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2-3/4 cup freshly grated grana padano or parmesan, reserving about 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
sea salt and black pepper to taste

directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a sheet pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray add the cauliflower florets. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir/mix well to ensure all cauliflower is coated with oil. Place in oven and roast for 15-18 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove when lightly golden brown and a fork can pierce through the stem of the floret. Set aside.

While the cauliflower is rooting, heat a large pot of water to a boil and season with a bit of salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.

While the pasta is cooking and the cauliflower is roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and once shimmering but not smoking, add the diced onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is softened and slightly shimmering and the garlic is fragrant. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flak (about 1/4 teaspoon) and the zest and juice of half a lemon and stir, reducing the heat to medium-low. Add this seasoned onion and garlic mixture to the pasta along with the roasted cauliflower, 1/2 cup grana padano and mix gently to combine. Taste, and add additional sea salt and/or pepper if needed. Transfer mixture to a 2 quart baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the last remaining teaspoon of olive oil, breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole and bake for 5-7 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have toasted and cheese has slightly melted. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

sesame-tahini chicken noodles.

This dish. Oh my, you guys, this. dish. More specifically, this sauce. Who knew tahini was so amazing in an Asian-inspired dish?? Chrissy Teigen, that’s who. Yes, this recipes comes from her fabulous cookbook, Cravings, which I bought for my food-loving friend MC. She almost didn’t get it because once I flipped through it, I found about 800 recipes that sounded incredible and that I needed to make. Clearly, I’ll be buying a copy for myself!

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I did however, jot down a few of the recipes to make sooner rather than later, and man, if the rest of the recipes in her book are as good as this one…. I’m a goner.

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This recipe puts a delicious, luscious twist on sesame noodles by including tahini in the dressing. It provides a nutty flavor and thick, smooth sauce. I recommend blending the sauce instead of whisking, to completely puree the garlic and help everything emulsify. Make sure to toss the noodles with the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil to help prevent them from sticking together. To round out the meal, serve with some steamed broccolini, green beans, or bok choy.  To make gluten free, use rice noodles in place of the pasta.

Most importantly: make this. It’s DELICIOUS!

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sesame-tahini chicken noodles.
slightly adapted from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen.

ingredients
sea salt
8 ounces chicken breast
8 ounces dried thin spaghetti/linguine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup grapeseed or peanut oil
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1 garlic clove, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
steamed chinese broccoli, to serve alongside, optional

directions
Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil and add a pinch of sea salt. Poach chicken for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked thoroughly, remove to a plate and let cool. Save the poaching liquid and bring it back to a boil if needed. Cook the pasta noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse.

While noodles are cooking, add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil, peanut/grapeseed oil, tahini, soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, honey, cayenne and garlic to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small bowl or jar and set aside.

Transfer noodles to a large bowl and use a clean paper roll to gently pat noodles dry. Toss noodles with remaining sesame oil.

Shred chicken and add to noodles. Add dressing and toss to coat. Garnish with scallions and serve.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

hoisin chicken stir fry with sweet potatoes + cabbage.

During these busy days of December, I rely on recipes that are super quick to whip up so I can save myself from an unhealthy meal on-the-go while running seemingly endless errands for the upcoming holidays. This hoisin-spiced stir fry definitely fits the bill of fast, simple, healthy, and oh-so-delicious!

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I normally dislike when hoisin sauce (essentially a Chinese barbecue sauce) is a major ingredient: I find that on its own, the flavor is overpowering for me. However, mixed with the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, a pinch of red pepper flake and the vegetables: the finished dish was aromatic, complex and balanced.

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The longest part of this dish is the cooking of the sweet potatoes: covering the skillet partially and slicing them relatively thin is essential to keeping the cook time under 12 minutes. Adding a splash of water helps prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan and avoiding too much browning. Once that’s done, the rest of the cooking comes together in no time flat.

I think you’ll love this creative take on a stir-fry as much as I did! It’s wonderful for using up leftover produce – as a bonus, cabbage, celery and sweet potatoes last forever in the fridge and pantry, so this is easy to whip up any time!

hoisin spiced chicken stir-fry with sweet potatoes.

ingredients
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds, then cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped into half moons
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 cups green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 medium head)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of crushed red pepper, optional

directions
Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes and onion; stir-fry until yams are just tender, adjusting heat if browning too quickly and adding water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry, about 12 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from the pan, set aside on a plate.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add chicken, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage; stirfry until chicken is cooked through and cabbage is wilted but still slightly crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in hoisin sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/2 cup cilantro.

Transfer stir-fry to serving bowl; sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

dijon tilapia fish cakes with baby arugula.

Today we’re having fish cakes! Tilapia cakes, to be exact. Why should crab cakes have all the fun??

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This recipe is lovely because it can do triple duty: a fresh first course? An elegant yet simple lunch? A light dinner? Check, check, and CHECK.

The key to successful fish cakes is to chill the cakes for thirty minutes minimum after shaping the patties. You may find that the patties are a little wet when you form them, but you’ll be amazed once you’ve let them hang out in the fridge. They really set up nicely, and will not fall apart during the cooking process; which I think is the biggest issue people (myself included, countless times) have when they try to make any type of fritter or cake. Letting them chill for 30-60 minutes is absolutely essential to the success of this recipe. When cooking them, you can press down gently with your spatula to ensure an even browning; I did not do this on my first two cakes, as I was curious about them holding their shape but once they did, I lightly flattened the subsequent patties, as it makes for a prettier presentation.

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See how the bottom cake is unevenly browned? That was my test cake. 🙂

I used 2% greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, and whole wheat panko instead of white. Both of these swaps up the nutrition and lower the calorie count, so you can feel even better knowing how healthy these are.

I served these with baby arugula tossed with a quick french vinaigrette (recipe below) and a squeeze of lemon: easy and elegant!

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dijon tilapia cakes with arugula. 

ingredients
1.25 pounds tilapia filets
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 eggs
3 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup whole wheat panko
6 ounces baby arugula
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I tend to use 4, but go up depending on how acidic you like your dressings)

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray, place each tilapia filet on the sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper and drizzle with the teaspoon of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through (opaque all the way through). Let cool and using a fork, break into medium flakes. 

In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, dijon mustard and eggs and whisk to beat the eggs and combine the mixture. Add the sliced chives and stir to incorporate. Add the flaked fish, panko, remaining salt and pepper and lemon zest and fold in to incorporate.

With a cutting board near you, form the mixture into eight cakes (about 1/4 cup each). Do not overwork; the mixture will feel wet. Place the cakes on the cutting board and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add half of the cakes (this will depend on the size of your skillet; I was able to cook 4 at a time in 2 batches). Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, pressing gently to slightly flatten. When the cake is ready to flip, it will easily move. Once golden brown on each side, remove to a plate and continue with the next batch, adding the remaining oil.

While the cakes are cooking, make the salad dressing. In a jar or small bowl, whisk the dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Toss with the arugula.

Divide the arugula amongst four plates and top each with two cakes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer.

*Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

pan roasted cauliflower steaks with Israeli couscous salad.

Cauliflower steaks? Yes. Yes! These will please even the most diehard carnivores in your life.

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I apologize on the photos; it was getting very dark once I finally plated dinner, but I couldn’t wait to share it with you! This is simple to prepare, but it feels fancy. As a bonus, it’s healthy, too!

I’ve served the pan roasted steaks on a bed of whole wheat Israeli couscous (also called pearled couscous) that was stuffed with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), shaved parmesan, ribbons of basil, and a sprinkling of fresh lemon zest. You can use white or whole wheat couscous, but I heartily recommend the whole wheat; its nuttiness compliments the cauliflower so well.

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You will have leftover cauliflower florets after you cut the steaks (I slice off the outer pieces, and then cut the steaks from the ~2 inch piece left from the middle). Don’t worry if the steaks are slightly uneven, or if they fall apart some in the pan. One of mine had a floret that wanted to come off, but I just tucked it back in when on the pan while roasting.

While the cauliflower is searing, I make the couscous and let it slightly cool and toast the pepitas. Assemble the salad while the cauliflower is roasting away, and then simply spoon the the salad on the middle of the plate, top with a steak, and garnish with some extra salt and pepper. This is SO GOOD you guys. And good for you! To make vegan/dairy free, omit the parmesan (you could sprinkle with nutritional yeast to get a simple cheesy flavor). Enjoy!

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P.S. The recipe for the remaining florets is coming up soon!

pan roasted cauliflower steaks with Israeli couscous salad.
steak cooking technique courtesy of Dan Barber via Food52.

ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, cut into 2 1 inch steaks (reserve leftover florets for another recipe)
2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for brushing the steaks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

couscous:
1 cup whole wheat Israeli or pearled couscous
1.25 cups water
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup parmesan shavings
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons basil, cut into a chiffonade
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper to season

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle the steaks with the sea salt and pepper and add to the pan, searing them for 2 minutes per side (check heat to ensure you are getting a deep golden brown but not burning). After searing, remove them to a foil lined baking sheet and brush with a bit of oil. **You can sear them one at a time if your skillet is not big enough to do both, just use 1 tablespoon oil per steak**

Place the baking sheet with the seared steaks in the oven and roast for 10-12 minutes, until you can pierce the steaks with a fork.

While the steaks are searing, heat 1.25 cups of water and a pinch of sea salt to boiling. Once boiling, add the couscous, cover and turn the heat off. Let sit for 8-10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork (couscous is done once all water is absorbed). Let sit for a few minutes, and then add to a mixing bowl.

Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add pepitas. Stir occasionally and let toast for 3-4 minutes until they are lightly golden and fragrant. Add to the couscous.

Add basil, parmesan, lemon zest and tablespoon of olive oil to the couscous and pepitas. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

Spoon 1 cup of couscous on each plate and top with a cauliflower steak. Season with additional salt/pepper if desired.

Serves 2.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

Notes: You will have about 1 cup of salad leftover. It will keep well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can cut and cook another cauliflower steak and increase servings to 3. 

 

clean-out the refrigerator stir fry.

What a title, eh? Along with soups, curries, frittatas, and salads, stir-fries are another wonderful way to use up all those odds and ends in your refrigerator. They are especially forgiving to vegetables.

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During my market shopping, I picked up a few red bell peppers because, well, why not? I figured I’d use them one way or another. When it became clear that I was going to have one leftover or go to waste if I didn’t act quickly, I soon decided to throw together a stir fry featuring that bell pepper, kale, carrots, and celery from last week’s market haul that needed to be used up before going bad, and topping it off with some leftover cooked chicken from a dinner party I had on Saturday. I had both rice noodles and brown rice in my pantry, and decided to go with rice, although you could use whatever your heart or pantry desires!

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The most important thing to remember is use what you have, and to add them to the wok or pan in order, starting with the vegetables that will take the longest to cook: carrots and onions, in my case. If using leafy greens like me (bok choy, spinach, etc.), I like to add them when I add the sauce, just to let them wilt a bit. The sauce I’m using is a very simple, all-purpose stir fry sauce, and it can be modified to your liking. I don’t add garlic or ginger to this sauce, instead I fry them in the oil at the beginning of the cooking process to infuse the oil. Garlic, ginger and jalapeño in my case, but you could use a combination of all three, or sub in scallions if you’ve got those to use. The addition of the cornstarch makes the sauce thick and glossy, and you’ll be hard pressed to believe that you aren’t eating takeout!

To make this dish gluten free, please sub dark and regular soy sauce with tamari which is naturally GF, and be use to use a GF cornstarch (you can also just leave it out, but the sauce will not be as thick).

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I hope you enjoy this as much as I do; you can feel especially good about not wasting food while making such a delicious dish!

refrigerator clean-out stir fry. 

ingredients
4 cups mixed vegetables, sorted by vegetable (I used onion, carrot, celery, red bell pepper, kale)
6 ounces cooked chicken or other leftover protein, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil

stir fry sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (use all regular, low sodium if you do not have dark soy)
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons brown or coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

directions
Heat grapeseed and sesame oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat.

While the oil is heating, make the sauce: Add together the soy sauces, oyster sauce, cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.

Once oil is shiny but not smoking, add the ginger, garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes, until the oil is fragrant but the ingredients are not burned. Add the vegetables in order of thickness/hardiness (carrots, onion, celery first for me) and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the bell pepper and any other vegetables besides greens and cook for an additional minute.

Add the cooked protein, greens and scant 1/4 cup of the sauce with 1/4 cup water. Stirring frequently, allow the mixture to cook and thicken up over 2-3 minutes (reduce heat if the mixture is thickening too quickly/starting to boil).

Remove from pan to a serving platter along with cooked rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or peanuts if desired.

Serves 3-4.

NOTES: The stir fry sauce recipe will make more than you need for this recipe. Store the remainder in the refrigerator, and it will keep well for up to four weeks.

roasted beets, cauliflower + sautéed kale over spaghetti squash.

This is the ideal meal to welcome in autumn.

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I went a little vegetable crazy at the farmer’s market over the weekend. Now that it’s the beginnings of harvest season, the offerings are so plentiful of local, fresh produce. Because of this, I walked away with items that didn’t fit into my meal planning for the week but looked so good that I couldn’t leave them behind: baby red beets, spaghetti squash, snow white cauliflower, sweet potatoes, the list goes on. I surveyed what I had, and decided to pull together a decidedly autumnal, vegan meal that looked super elegant and inviting, but was actually very easy to pull together.  Roasted beets, cauliflower and sautéed black kale over spaghetti squash.

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At risk of sounding prideful, I think I did it! This spaghetti squash topped with roasted beets, cauliflower and sautéed kale looks so impressive, is fresh, and is perfect for entertaining. A lot of the cooking time is inactive (roasting the squash and the other vegetables); the only active time is a few minutes spent sautéing the kale, seeding and pulling the squash, and assembling the dish. I used sautéed kale because I had some leftover from the week before, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. You could use spinach of any variety, swiss chard, mustard greens (although these would be spicy!), or even arugula. Use what you have! When roasting the beets and cauliflower, you can do this on one baking sheet as I did, but keep them separate, then I used two spoons to stir them around, trying to be careful to not let the beets touch the cauliflower, as the red color of the beets transfers over so easily. This was mostly for presentation and aesthetics, you don’t need to do this as pink cauliflower won’t change the flavor of the dish. 🙂

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This is vegan, gluten free, filling and uber healthy. Perfect for welcoming in fall.

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roasted beets, cauliflower + kale with spaghetti squash. 

ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
3 small beets (or 1 large), trimmed, peeled and quartered
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 bunch dinosaur/tuscan kale (can use any hardy green), stems removed and the leaves thinly sliced into ribbons
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1.5 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
zest and juice of one half a lemon

directions
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke two holes on each side of the squash and place on a rimmed baking sheet filled with an inch or two of water. Bake for one hour (check and if soft, remove from oven). Once the squash has cooled for five minutes, cut the squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Once the seeds are removed, use a fork or spoon to create the ‘spaghetti’ and pull out all the flesh into a bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Set aside.

On a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, place the cut beets on one side and the cauliflower florets on the other. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of oil over the vegetables, and season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the cauliflower together until the oil and seasonings are well distributed, and then do the same with the beets, keeping them separate. Wash your hands. Roast the vegetables for 20-25 minutes, stirring them once halfway though. Once the beets are pierced easily with a fork and the cauliflower is tender, they are done. Remove from oven.

While the beets and cauliflower are roasting for their last 5 minutes, heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the kale ribbons and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly wilted. Sprinkle the zest of the lemon and the juice over the kale and turn off the heat.

To assemble: Divide the spaghetti squash amongst four shallow bowls. Top with the kale. Add the beets and cauliflower to each bowl, season with additional salt or pepper if desired and serve warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*