Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Quinoa Arugula Salad

My sister just bought a house (go Angie!) and was having a little new house gathering to celebrate.  I love bringing healthy and pretty side dishes to parties for a few reasons - it helps to make sure I have a great, filling, healthy option to eat when I'm there, colorful veggies and/or fruits are a beautiful addition to a party food table, and party people tend to enjoy having a delicious dish with familiar ingredients but still something somewhat new they haven't tried before.

Fresh, easy and healthy - multiple people asked for the recipe :)

I mixed the vinaigrette separately and transported in a small glass container.  Once I arrived at my sister's house I gave it a little shake, poured over the salad and everything was ready to enjoy.

 Party time!

Quinoa Arugula Salad

by GreensForMe

  • 1-1/2 C quinoa, or whatever grains you have on hand - I also used a little bit of farro because I had some
  • 1/4 C pine nuts
  • 3 large handfuls of arugula 
  • 1/2 C Feta cheese (I like getting a block and crumbling myself with a fork - I think is cheaper and tastes fresher to me than getting pre-crumbled) 
  • 1/4 C olive oil 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar (red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar would probably work well) 
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest 
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (not required, but a nice touch) 
  • salt & pepper
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
Cook your quinoa or grains according to package directions.  Let cool in a bowl.  Toast pine nuts on stovetop in small pan for 5-8 minutes until slightly toasted, and add to bowl.

Whisk together all ingredients for vinaigrette in small bowl and set aside.

Chop arugula and add to quinoa bowl.  Add crumbled Feta and toss to combine.

Top with the vinaigrette.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Caprese Party Dish

Another farmer's market Sunday morning for me yielded some beautiful plump tomatoes, some peppery arugula and of course some Zeke's coffee :)  It was the day of my grandmother's 90th birthday party.  Grandmam is one incredible lady and I can only hope to one day be as amazing of a woman as she is.  I wanted to bring an easy party dish so decided to make a very shareable style of caprese salad, with some arugula to add some spiciness to the mix.  I've made the skewers of caprese before but this was definitely a more time saving dish to make, and I also strayed from the standard caprese salad of large layers of mozz and tomato to keep things easy to eat while mingling and partying down with Grandmam.

Farmers market heirlooms:

With the Zeke's cameo, so you know these are legit farmers market tomatoes:



Caprese Party Dish

by GreensForMe
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • 8-9 small heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 large handfuls arugula
  • 1 handful basil
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper

Start by cutting up your mozzarella and your tomatoes into cubes or bite-sized slices.  Roughly chop the arugula and basil.  Place all in a medium sized mixing bowl and drizzle with about 3 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt & pepper, toss, and place in serving bowl.  Super easy, healthy and perfect for sharing.

Happy 90th, Grandmam!  XOXOXOXOXO

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Zucchini with Roasted Mushrooms & Tomatoes

Hey everybody!  So it's been quite a long while since I've written a blog post.  Howie & I have been trying out a lot of new recipes and techniques in the kitchen and I realized how much I missed sharing my recipes with others.  Over the summer, my Sunday morning routine included browsing the farmer's market (the one under I-83 in Baltimore) sometimes walking around 2 or 3 times before I made my final selections for the day.  This recipe was inspired by the abundant summer zucchini and the gorgeous little pints of cherry tomatoes of all colors and shapes.

My favorite new toy is the veggie spiralizer.  The less I eat pasta (and get the overloaded carb induced sleepies that follow it) the less I want it.  I've found zucchini noodles to be way more satisfying, flavorful and filling in a good way than any pasta I've ever had (although I've never been to Italy - it's on the list!).  Having yet another gadget in the kitchen is not exactly what I thought I wanted, but it's been completely worth it.  I've gotten so much use out of this thing, usually once or twice a week, and it's small enough to store on a kitchen cabinet shelf when not in use.  Sweet potatoes also work great with this to make crispy & curly sweet potato fries.  The dishes I've been able to make are so good that not just me, but also Howie gobble them down, eyeing up seconds each time.  This is the one that we have:

Just look at these guys - once a veggie now a noodle:

Gorgeous farmer's market tomatoes ready to be chopped up and roasted:

Mouth watering veggies ready for the oven:

We served ours with some grilled chicken and topped the veggies with a hearty dollop of goat cheese.  The cheese starts to melt a bit into the veggies as you eat...delish!

Zucchini with Roasted Mushrooms & Tomatoes

by GreensForMe
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pint baby bella or crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced 
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 medium zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp butter (butter from grass fed cows is the best!)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • grilled chicken or shrimp, optional
  • goat cheese or parmesan cheese, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a medium bowl toss the tomatoes, mushrooms and onion and top with about 2 tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and some salt & pepper.  Give everything a good stir until the veggies are coated and spread on a baking sheet.  Roast for 12-15 minutes, or until tomatoes have burst a bit.

While tomatoes, etc. are roasting, melt some butter into a pan on medium-high heat (love my cast iron) and add garlic to lightly brown.  Spiralize your zucchini right into the pan and use tongs to mix.  Cook your zucchini on medium-high for about 10 minutes, until they soften a little.  I love it when some parts brown up a bit, but zucchini has a lot of liquid so sometimes I've found this hard to accomplish.

Use the tongs to portion zucchini onto plates, top with the tomato mixture and plop a little goat cheese on top if you wish.  Serve with grilled chicken or shrimp if you'd like, but it's really not needed.  This dish stands up very well on its own.  Salud!

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

    Spicy Lemon Broccolini

    The broccolini caught my eye at the grocery store the other day.  A lot like broccoli, but skinnier stalks with a bit heartier florets - I knew it would stand up well to being sauteed in my cast iron.  And it was just fun to mix things up a bit.  It was ready in 10 minutes, and super filling.  Howie also loved it, so I'll definitely be making it again soon.

    Spicy Lemon Broccolini

    by GreensForMe

    • 1 bunch broccolini
    • olive oil or sunflower oil
    • 1 tsp butter (I used grass fed!)
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • a pinch or two of crushed red pepper
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley & thyme)
    • salt & pepper 
    • couscous (optional)
    Get your cast iron skillet heating up on medium/medium high heat.  Add your oil, butter and garlic.

    Cook couscous according to package directions.

    Once the garlic starts to brown a bit, add your broccolini, season with salt & pepper, coriander, and crushed red pepper.  Squeeze the lemon juice in the skillet and add the red wine vinegar.  Add the fresh herbs.

    Give everything a good stir.  The broccolini should cook up pretty fast - once it starts to char just a bit, take it off the heat. 

    Plate the couscous and add the broccolini on top.  Enjoy!

    I had leftover couscous, so the next night, I made the same dish but with halved Brussels sprouts.  This time I tossed the couscous in the pan with the Brussels so it would all heat up together.  Added a side salad, and had another delicious and easy meal.  This is definitely something I will go back to time and again.

    Sunday, February 9, 2014

    Sauteed Spinach with Golden Raisins & Goat Cheese

    So I've been on a little blogging hiatus lately - I just haven't been loving most of the things I've been cooking and I want to keep the blog as a catalog of recipes that I truly enjoy.  I'm not going to waste my time (or your time, for that matter) on recipes that I'm finding to be just mediocre.  I love it when food is exciting to me, and the flavors make my taste buds happy and satisfied, making me want to come back for more.  I'll mention things from time to time that haven't worked, but I want the focus to be on things I love and I hope you'll love too.

    This is a dish inspired by an awesome Spanish inspired restaurant called Adela in Fells Point.  I love ordering something delicious at a restaurant, trying to figure out what is in it and attempting to recreate it at home (see my Carrot & Parsnip Mash, inspired by Jack's Bistro in Canton).  It helps bring the enjoyment of eating out to home, usually in a healthier and less expensive way.

    This is a great dish to pair with a simple roasted pork tenderloin, grilled chicken or baked sweet potato.  The complexity of the flavors and boldness of the goat cheese would even allow it to pair well with something heavier, like a juicy steak.  Or, you can just enjoy it on its own, like I did :)

    Sauteed Spinach with Golden Raisins & Goat Cheese

    by GreensForMe
    Serves 2
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • olive oil
    • ~1/4C golden raisins
    • 1 - 5oz package baby spinach
    • lemon juice
    • 2 spring onions, chopped
    • goat cheese crumbles
    • salt & pepper
    Heat up the oil in a medium sized skillet or cast iron pan.  Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes, until your kitchen smells awesome :)

    Add in the golden raisins, so they have a little time to heat up and soften a bit.  Meanwhile, give your baby spinach a few chops to break up some of the larger leaves.  Add spinach to the pan - you can do this a little at a time if you pan starts to overflow.  It won't take long for the spinach leaves to wilt.

    Squeeze a wedge or two of lemon juice over the cooking spinach, add a dash of salt and pepper to your liking and give everything a good stir.  There is no need to cook this long, as I've found the spinach tastes better when it is only lightly sauteed.

    Transfer your spinach to a serving bowl and top with spring onions and goat cheese.  Buen provecho!

    Thursday, December 26, 2013

    GUEST POST :: Howie's Perfect Anytime $1 Pizzas

    Hey guys!  I've been having a lot of fun cooking in the kitchen with my hubby.  He's been coming up with some excellent creations of his own and I thought it was about time he got the spotlight.  It's been fun doing the posts on my own until now but he's been the inspiration for a lot of what I do, so I'm excited to share some blog love with my man.  These pizzas are easy, super convenient and deliciously awesome, I know you'll enjoy!  -Steph

    p.s. my personal favorite toppings lately have been arugula and garlic - the deliciousness is pictured below :)

    [Enter Howie]

    I'm so impressed by Steph's cooking and her blog.  All of her time and creativity in the kitchen has rubbed off on me in a great way - I'm learning a ton and we're enjoying healthy food more than ever.   That said, at the end of the day I am still a sucker for some of the basics in life.   For those who know me, that means a few things.  Chief among those is a great breakfast, and man do I have a post coming your way soon on that.   Another food with an eternal place in my heart is amazing pizza.  The best part about the recipe that follows is that you can make a few dozen of these pizza crusts in an afternoon and freeze them, and then anytime you want whip up a gourmet pizza in less than 5 minutes hands-on time by just grabbing a crust from the freezer, topping, and popping in the oven for 10.   Makes for a super easy but interesting and tasty anytime dish, plus can easily delight (and impress) folks who drop by for a visit.

    Now, I'm not sure if my pizza affection has to do with knowing I was a ninja turtle while growing up, over-advertising in my youth ("pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime....")  or too many late nights out in NYC capped off by some of the best pies on the planet.   If I had to pin down where it all started though, I'd point to a Baltimore staple:  Joe Corbi's Personal Pizzas.  These were kits that were sold by youth sports teams, churches, etc. as fundraisers, and they contained in them everything a young man needed to create delicious, crunchy pizza sans the help of a single adult.   If you know what I'm talking about, I don't need to say more, and if you don't, the recipe here will help you create your very own, HEALTHY version of the JCPP...

    My baby's got sauce.  Now some people are dough boys, some are cheese heads, but for me, good pizza starts with the sauce.   This is why I always loved Ledo's.   I tried 3 different sauces, and the one that stood out to me head and shoulders above the rest was Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce.   I just order a 12 pack on Amazon Prime and then can have gourmet sauce on hand and ready at my beckon, any time.   Each can of sauce makes about 4 of these pizzas, so you get pretty good mileage too.

    Next comes the dough.   I tried 4 different dough mixes, and the one that wins is Namaste Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix.    Healthy, sweet yogic name, plus the easiest to make.   The trick, which I will elaborate on later, is to make the dough into VERY thin pizzas, like 1/4 inch thin.

    For cheese, we generally just pickup like a gallon bag of mozzarella from the grocery store and use it over the course of several weeks.  I also sometimes go with Daiya mozzarella.

    Topping these bad boys is the best part!   Literally whatever is laying around can be made onto pizzas. I have done garlic + arugula (yum), charcuterie and grape tomatoes, truffle oil and black pepper, and dozens of other combinations that make each time fun and unique.

    Now for the "how to."    

    Part 1 is getting a bunch of crusts made up and into your freezer for anytime grab-and-go. 

    1)   Prep the pizza dough by blending olive oil, water, and the dough mix.   Ignore the "makes X # pizzas" on the bag, since we won't be making round pies but rather personal rectangular(ish) pizzas.

          Keys to perfect crust

    • For the water, use hot water.   Also, use a power hand mixer on the dough if possible.
    • Spray a bunch of cooking sheets and make the pizzas into pies slightly smaller than a piece of paper folded in half.   This will be the perfect size rectangle pizza for a lunch or dinner with salad, and make for great sharing plates.
    • You MUST make the pies very thin -- thinner than you think -- still thinner -- more thin -- okay, there.   I'm not kidding, 1/4 inch thickness is about right.   Just keep using your spatula to paint the dough into shape and the dough blobs will eventually thin out.

    2)  Bake the dough on pans, I can generally get about 3 pizzas on a pan and use several pans at once, so you can see we're going to have a lot of pies.   Bake them for 18 minutes on 450.   Yep 450.   I do 2 batches of 3 pans with 3 crusts each, which means I can have nearly 20 pizza crusts done in just an hour.

    3)   When done, let cool and then take the crusts and wrap them in tin foil in individual wraps.  Then pop em in the freezer for anytime use.

    Part 2 is the fun part - finishing the job.

    4)   Heat oven to 415.  Grab a crust out of the freezer, unwrap it, and pop open a can of sauce.  Use a spoon to coat a thin (thinner than you think) layer of sauce onto a crust.   Saran or foil cover the sauce can and save the rest for your next pizza.

    5)   Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce.

    6)   Add on any awesome toppings you want!

    7)   Bake for 10-12 minutes on 415 degrees.

    Enjoy!   If you've done these right they will be crispy, light, and delicious.   Cut into 4 pieces and share with a guest or an amazing someone ;)

    Finally, some microcosting.   12 pack of sauce cans costs $16 and each can makes 4 pizzas.   That is a per pizza cost of $0.33 cents on sauce.   6 pack of dough mixes costs $30 and each bag makes 18 pizzas.  That's about $0.27 cents on dough.   Adding in olive oil and mozzarella, both of which are not super expensive, and you can see that we're landing on a per pizza cost of about $1.00   Not bad for something this tasty and quick.

    Monday, December 23, 2013

    Caprese Christmas Wreath

    Merry Christmas!  This is a festive variation on the classic caprese salad.  I brought this over to my Mom's Christmas party yesterday - it was super easy to put together, and the colors were so vibrant.  If you're looking for a last minute app to bring to Christmas, definitely check this one out.  I don't own very much in the way of Christmas decorations or items, but I do happen to have a couple Christmas plates.  I didn't even know I had this cute Christmas bird one, but when I saw it I knew it would be perfect.  The only thing was that the plate was square, so even though I tried to round out the sides, the wreath still ended up taking the shape of the plate a bit too much.  If you have a small round plate instead, you'll be set - although I still think the square shape was worth it for the cute bird :)

    I've also made this appetizer for other parties, sans wreath shape.  In this case, the basil leaf seems to fit best between the mozzarella and tomato instead of on the end.  It's a great colorful addition to any party table.

    I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday, and that you all get to enjoy some good quality time with family and friends.

    Caprese Christmas Wreath

    • mozzarella balls
    • grape or cherry tomatoes
    • fresh basil leaves
    • toothpicks
    • olive oil
    • balsamic vinegar
    • salt & pepper
    Pick out basil leaves that are all about the same size, wash, and let dry on a paper towel.

    Use the toothpicks to start assembling the wreath sections.  You could also randomly change up the order of the mozzarella and tomato as you go to add some variety.

    Add a second layer on top of the first to help make the wreath a bit more full.

    Whisk together about a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Spoon the mixture over the wreath.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!!