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Red Lentil Soup.

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Anyone feeling like they need to get back into the nutritional swing of things this week? Oh, and it’s a new month in which we welcome Daylight Savings and a new season, so hey—cheers to new beginnings.

red lentil soup with hemp seedsHere’s another recipe featuring Redpack tomatoes. There’s still time to enter the giveaway. I’ll announce the winter on Thursday.

As I mentioned the other day, I’m obsessed with red lentils lately, and this soup had to happen. My favorite way to eat it right now is over steamed kale with hemp seeds sprinkled on top, but you can totally go the traditional route and just, well, eat it as is. Have a salad on the side to get in some greens, whatever. You could also try it with a poached egg on top like I did for breakfast the other day. Weird but good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups water (maybe more)
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, sauté garlic, onion, and carrot.
  2. Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer on low until lentils are tender (about 15-20 monites), stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed.
  3. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil again and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Do you like red lentils? What food(s) are you obsessed with lately? 

Pan-Seared Scallops

Happy Saturday. How’s your weekend going? Remember last week when I said I was doing the fish-on-Fridays thing? Today I thought I’d take a second to share one of my go-to recipes.

Scallops are one of my favorite types of seafood ever. I think they’re tied with salmon for top honors. They also happen to be high in protein, low in fat, and will set you back about 100 calories per serving. They’re also a great source of vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. Scallops are what I make when it seems the world is going wrong and I need a little reminder that I’m not completely powerless. In the face of sweeping change, I can still get a nice sear on some goddamn scallops. Seriously, though—these look all fancy but are so easy I’m a little embarrassed to call this a “recipe.”

farmigo scallops and arugulaThat said, here’s how I make pan-seared scallops…

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb sea scallops per person
  • Butter or olive oil for pan (I like to put olive oil in a spray bottle)

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil/butter in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add scallops. Cook until beginning to brown (usually ~2-3 minutes).
  3. Turn over and cook until browned on the other side (another 2-3 minutes) and scallops are just barely opaque in the center.
  4. Serve immediately.

Lately, my favorite way to enjoy scallops is over a light arugula salad. I’ve been getting mine from Satur Farms through Farmigo. This makes a nice lunch when paired with avocado toast. You can also sauté greens and cook up some red lentils like so.

 Do you like fish? What’s your go-to comfort food/recipe? 

What to make this Weekend

Happy Friday! How’s your week been? What are you looking forward to this weekend? I’m working at the hospital, so food-wise, we’re looking at a lot of pre-made oatmeal, salads, and the like. Pros and cons.

For people with normal lives/work schedules, weekends are a great time for food-prep and trying new recipes. I’m always on the lookout for great ideas for myself and my clients and loved this round-up I saw on The Kitchn this week. Amanda Hesser’s “Fancy Refrigerator Salad” over on Food 52 sounds pretty dope too. Apparently I say, “dope,” now. Year of Changes, what did I tell you?

Red lentil soup with egg Lately, I’m obsessed with red lentils. As I mentioned the other day, they’re one of my mainstays. Sunday night, I made pan-seared scallops with spinach & pancetta over red lentils (similar to this business from summer, 2013). Tuesday, I made a giant pot of red lentil soup (recipe coming Monday) that I enjoyed in various forms throughout the week.

I think, by far, the strangest was Thursday’s breakfast, which was enjoyed post-yoyga and errands: ~ 6oz (all that was left) of soup with some roasted cauliflower and eggplant, served over steamed kale and topped with hummus, Trader Joe’s eggplant dip, and a little goat cheese. Oh, and a poached egg because, well, duh. I feel like there needs to be a cookbook called, “Yes, you can put an egg on that.” Or “If you liked it then you should have put an egg on it.” Or “Poached Eggs: A love story.”

While we’re on the subject of morning meals, it never hurts to keep in mind that Protein + Fat + Carbs = Breakfast that actually gets you from Point A to Point B, even if you end up staying in your sweaty gym clothes until, like, 1 pm. Ah, the glamor of working from home…

It’s probably a good thing I will not have much cooking time this coming weekend, as my freezer is once again running out of room. And because I need to stop listening to Andrew Bird’s “Lazy Projector,” which has become my comfort-soup-making song as of late. I’ve got it bad, like, “listen to it on repeat” bad. Sorry, neighbors. And by that, I mean #sorrynotsorry. Le sigh, as the kids say.

What are you up to this weekend? Any cooking projects or food prep on the agenda? What song(s) can you not stop listening to? 

 

My Must-Have Kitchen Staples

A peek in my fridge

A peek in my fridge

Hey guys, hope you liked yesterday’s recipe post. You still have a few days to enter the Redpack giveaway!

The other night as I was going down the list of potential dinner options based on the ingredients I had on hand, it really showed me a lot about my style of cooking. When it comes to food, for a lot of us, there are the things we like and the things that we would feel seriously disoriented without. I love how individual it is, too—it’s like the culinary version of a desert island playlist.

When I was first learning to cook for myself as an undergrad, I had very few basics in my kitchen, relying heavily on instant oatmeal, canned soup, and popcorn. A real turning point for me, though, came in grad school, when I first read Mark Bittman’s Food Matters.

I had always suspected that healthy food could be tasty and uncomplicated, and here was a guy with the experience and vocabulary to prove it. I especially loved the chapter on how to build a well-stocked pantry to make everyday meal prep easy. Most of it even fit into my student budget. It was the beginning of a beautiful habit.

Though I go through phases, here are the five basics I always seem to rely on:

  • Olive Oil
  • Lemons
  • Oats
  • Red Lentils
  • Cinnamon

Honorable Mentions:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Peanut butter

If perishables were included in the lineup, I’d add Greek yogurt, eggs, ground flax, and kale. Oh, and white miso. And tahini. And Grade B maple syrup. And…

What are your kitchen staples? 

Turkey Meatball Recipe (and a Giveaway)

turkey meatballs cookingHappy Monday! Today I’ve got two things to share with you: A recipe and a giveaway–details at the end of this post!

Over the past few years, I’ve been challenging myself in the kitchen to make foods that used to intimidate me. Basically, this means meat, since I spent so many years only eating it in restaurants, so that explains why you’ve seen more of it on this blog in the past year or so. That night I had to give myself a pep talk to shell a lobster tail did not make it onto these virtual pages, mostly because the results were hardly photogenic, though delicious.

Well, it dawned on me recently that at almost 30 years old, I had never even attempted to make meatballs from scratch. As a woman of Italian descent, this is pretty much the most disgraceful thing ever. So, when the folks at Redpack offered to send me some of their canned tomatoes to play with, I decided to take it as a sign to get over my meatball fear.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, divided
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ¼ c breadcrumbs or 1 slice whole wheat bread, toast and crumbled
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg

Directions: 

  1. Dice half of the onion and mince 1 cloves garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add the diced onion and minced garlic Cook until soft.
  3. Add tomatoes and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the other onion half, 2 cloves garlic, and parsley.
  5. Combine parsley mixture with breadcrumbs, cheese, turkey meat, and egg. Mix well with hands and form into meatballs and place on a large plate or cookie sheet. You should end up with 24-28 balls.
  6. Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook meatballs 4-5 minutes on each side.
  7. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer another 20 minutes
  8. Serve hot over pasta or steamed greens. Top with more cheese if desired.

Redpack wants you to win some tomatoes! One lucky winner will receive a kit containing 1 28-oz can of Redpack crushed tomatoes, 1 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, 1 28-oz can of diced, 1 6-oz can of tomato paste, plus recipes.

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing to make with canned tomatoes. There are also more giveaways going on at the Redpack Facebook page.

Something Fishy

oystersSo, I totally forgot Lent started this week and neglected to come up with something to “give up “for the next 40 days. Remember last year when I gave up online shopping? Yeah, that backfired, big time. Rather than scramble to come up with something to forgo and write cheeky first-world martyrdom posts and status updates about, I think I’m going to spend the stretch of time from now until Easter Sunday practicing patience. By this I mean patience with others, patience with myself—focusing on bringing positive energy to my surroundings and maintaining a sense of calm through challenging moments.

One thing I also would like to try this year, which is new for me, is to eat fish every Friday this Lent. No one really needs to know this is more a reflection of my curiosity about new recipes than my pious Catholic ways or whatever, but hey. Who’s ready for oyster happy hour?

To get myself brainstorming, I started a new Pinterest board. Feel free to follow or offer suggestions!

Do you observe Lent? What’s your plan this year? 

What to Make this Weekend

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? Any cooking in your near future? Here are a few ideas for things to make over the next few days:

IMG_9134* I made this slow cooker black garlic pork tenderloin the other day and am so glad I did. It’s a recipe from last year I keep going back to—so nice for cold days when you want some umami in your life.

*For whatever reason, I’ve found myself talking a lot about granola lately with Rise clients. While searching for recipes to pass on, I came across this great post from Gimme Some Oven with 15 Granola Recipes. I have a recipe for a chocolate coconut version you can try too.

Side note: I’ve also been on the lookout for helpful portion-control guides, and really liked this one.

Ways to use leftover sweet potatoes from Food 52. Somehow sweet potatoes fell off my radar there for a bit, but they’re finally back. Just the other night, I had some with veggies, sausage, and an egg. Perfect weeknight dinner.

*It’s cold. Soup needs to happen.

What are you up to this weekend? Any recipes you’re looking to try? 

Keep-It-Simple Chicken Soup

chicken quinuoa soupTalking to patients and clients and, you know, being a human, it seems that winter is an intense time for a lot of people. Life gets messy sometimes, feelings get complicated. The weather does not cooperate and our immune systems play with our expectations.

There’s a lot to be said for the benefits of adequate sleep, exercise, and some form of therapy. However, I think soup is also a very important part of the winter survival process. Today I have a simple chicken soup for those weeks when you just want to hide under the covers.

For this recipe, I made my chicken in the slow cooker before I went off for an afternoon at the clinic so it would be ready when I got home. You could also use a rotisserie chicken from a store and remove the meat from the bone and trim off the skin. You could also roast your own or brown the meat and then add the rest of the ingredients—it all depends on your comfort level, time, and kitchen set-up.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cooked
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp each rosemary and oregano
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the soup: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp each rosemary and oregano
  • 8 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in slow cooker and top with broth, spices, and lemon zest. Cook on low 4-5 hours.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and spices. Cook until soft.
  3. Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add quinoa. Cover.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes. Add quick and spinach and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

What’s your favorite winter survival tip? 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

What to Make this Weekend

all the chocolateCongratulations! We’ve reached Friday and my last Valentine’s Day-related post this week.

If you’re totally sick of talking about Valentine’s Day, I totally get it. The only holiday I loathe more is  New Year’s Eve. And St. Patrick’s Day is pretty high on my sh!t list too. Oh, and the Fourth of July. Okay, so maybe I don’t really hate Valentine’s Day—I just don’t like the exclusionary vibe a lot of single folks have to navigate through.

At least it’s a good excuse to write and talk about chocolate…

Here’s a lovely collection  from The Kitchn of chocolate recipes you can enjoy all year long. Buy all the chocolate when it goes on sale Sunday and stash in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

If you are looking for Valentine’s Day desserts, check out these easy ramekin concoctions from Cooking.com. I can’t vouch for their healthfulness, but there are some tasty ideas. For a healthier alternative, check out Chocolate Covered Katie—she has some great, creative recipes!

If anyone out there is prone to aches & pains secondary to sexy time, these cherry pie balls are great for fighting inflammation (because of the tart cherries) and refueling.

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Any favorite chocolate recipes? Do you reach for certain foods after getting busy? 

 

Try this Secret-Ingredient Valentine’s Day Dessert!

chocolate avocado mousseWhether you’re into it for the mood-boost, the antioxidants, or the supposed aphrodisiac properties, chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a no-brainer. I like mine dark and bitter, but a little (very little) bit sweet. That probably says way too much about me, but hey, the truth will set you free. Or something like that.

This recipe is a heart-healthy twist on traditional chocolate mousse. However, instead of heaps of cream and sugar, it features avocado, which lends a smooth, rich texture along with a healthy dose of fiber, monounsaturated fat, and potassium to help manage your cholesterol and blood pressure-important stuff if you’re planning to grow old with the person to whom you are serving said mousse.

You can enjoy this plain, but I love it garnished with berries and a dollop of whipped cream. It would also be divine with whipped coconut cream on top!

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large ripe avocados, flesh scooped out

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp brewed coffee or espresso

1/2 tbsp sweetener of choice, such as maple syrup, honey, etc

1 bar high-quality dark chocolate melted

Fresh berries for garnish

Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

1. Process avocado, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, coffee, and sweetener in a food processor.

2. Add melted chocolate and process until the mixture resembles mousse.

3. Garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream, if you wish.

What’s your favorite kind of chocolate? 

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