Tag Archives: easy

30-Minute Gourmet: Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet

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I have to correct myself and say that this recipe wins the prize for most versatile, despite my praise for the One Pan Pasta I posted previously. Similar to the pasta, this is one of those recipes where you throw everything in and the rest is almost done for you. Just some light mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula to sauté the ingredients and it’s done in five minutes.

Although this recipe may seem bland (I mean, quinoa, spinach, and mushrooms don’t exactly have the reputation of being the most flavor packed ingredients out there), cooking the spinach and mushrooms brings out flavor many don’t know exists. For my version, I added ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and Sriracha to add a bit more kick to the dish, but it is really up to the palette of the chef and audience.

And the wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can alter the ingredients according to taste. I have always wanted to try kale for a bitterer, earthier taste, or chard to add some color. I use baby bella mushrooms, but portobello or shitake also can alter the profile dramatically, depending on the tastes. Lastly, something I meant to add this time around but regretfully did not, was cilantro. I, luckily, am not afflicted with the hatred of cilantro, and it would be interesting to try the combination of the earthier mushrooms with the cleaner bite of cilantro. Even if that didn’t work, the legendary combination of cilantro and Sriracha might be enough to save the dish.

Depending on how you cook your quinoa, this could takeover thirty minutes, however I have always been able to throw it together before passing the limit. Furthermore, the quinoa can be cooked previously, as it heats up in the pan once added. Cooking the quinoa the night before could make put the time stamp on this recipe at about five minutes, maybe eight or ten depending on the heat of your stove. Overall though, since cleanup is a breeze with the absence of sticky sauces and the use of only one pan (or two depending on when you cook the quinoa), the cooking time for the actual skillet recipe almost cannot exceed twenty minutes, unless you are really that determined.

 

With all that being said, here is the recipe for my Mushroom Quinoa Skillet:

 

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(Adapted from Julia’s Album)

 

Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet

  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 oz fresh spinach (to taste)
  • 2 oz fresh arugula (to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Heat butter and olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until mushrooms get soft and golden-brown color. Season with salt.

Add fresh spinach and arugula to skillet and reduce heat to low. As spinach begins to wilt, sauté with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa to the skillet and cook on low heat for another minute, allowing quinoa to warm and spinach to wilt more. Add Sriracha, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper, and mix/sauté to incorporate.

 

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30-Minute Gourmet: One-Pan Pasta

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If you are looking for a quick and versatile recipe to add to your collection, look no further. This recipe for one-pan pasta is probably my #1 go-to when I need to make something impressive. It can easily be prepped, cooked, and cleaned in less than thirty minutes, making it a perfect recipe for nearly any occasion.

 

Even beyond the speediness, its taste alone will make it one to ad to your bookmarks bar. Cooking all the ingredients together allows the water to absorb all the flavors, which is then absorbed by the pasta. Instead of having a heavy sauce coating the pasta, the recipe relies on the natural flavors to give the pasta a much lighter and subtler taste.

 

Something else I love about this recipe is that it can stand alone or be a perfect side to nearly any main course. One of my favorite pairings for this recipe is a lightly seasoned salmon. Just a light brushing of butter, salt, and pepper draw out the natural flavors of the fish, much like this recipe does for the pasta, making it a perfect match. And the recipe is highly malleable. I have tried different ingredients and found that as long as the proportions are right, there are very few ingredients that would pair poorly with this pasta. I altered my personal recipe based on food sensitivities and other preferences, so it’s good to try many different variations to develop a personal recipe for your taste.

 

One final thing I have to compliment this recipe on is that cleanup takes less than five minutes. The cutting board and knife can be cleaned while the water is heating, leaving just the pan, tongs, a fork, and a plate or bowl (unless of course you are sharing the pasta). And because there is no sauce, there is hardly any mess to take care of. Really, it is so simple it can be done in a matter of seconds.

 

 

Now onto the actual recipe I have been raving about.

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One-Pan Pasta (Adapted from Lottie + Doof  )

 

12 oz linguine

12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

3 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 sprigs of basil

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 ½ cups of water

 

Combine all the ingredients in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs until water has nearly evaporated. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

 

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Trick to Making Great Italian Pizza

Italians take food very seriously. We don’t make jokes about food, we consider it almost a sacred subject. There are some things that you cannot say to an Italian without making him or her explaining how the risotto you have just eaten is not the real one and what the real lasagne should look like. That’s why when an American friend of mine told me that she once “made a pizza” by buying a Pita bread and putting cheese on it, I couldn’t accept the fact the she believed to have made a pizza. I knew I had to do something, and there was only one thing I had to do: to make a Pizza.

Pizza is the most famous Italian food in the world, so famous that it is not even necessarily associated with Italy anymore. But in Italy, it is crystal clear that pizza is our creation, and therefore we feel like the only ones to have the right to talk about it.

In Italy, young people usually go to a pizzeria to eat pizza once a week, as the most normal social event you can imagine. It’s cheap and good, so why not? But a lot of people are able to make their own pizza as well, especially when you realize how easy it is. So, are you ready?

The first thing to do is the pizza dough. Here is what you need:

Continue reading Trick to Making Great Italian Pizza

Simple Homemade Granola

Since we’ve covered lunch and dinner, I thought it would be only natural if we paid a little tribute to breakfast. 

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Hands down. There are so many delicious oatmeal and smoothie bowl recipes that I’m dying to share with you, but I realized that there’s one thing we need to do first. This staple is something we all know and love, and is best when piled on top of all of those other delicious recipes I just mentioned. I’m talking homemade granola.

A good granola recipe is something everyone should have, especially my gluten-free peeps out there. The best part? It’s easy, its fast, it lasts for weeks and the recipe is super flexible. This is an eye-ball-it kind of recipe, and as long as you’ve got the base ratio down, you can add however many mix-ins you desire.

Personally, I have a few granola recipes I like to make. However, the one we’re doing today its the easiest to do in a dorm kitchen. It’s protein-packed, and coconut oil-based. Really filling, healthy, and delicious.

Here’s what you need…

Base:

  • 4 Hand-Fulls Rolled Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Protein Powder (I used vanilla flavored to make it a little sweeter)

Nuts & Seeds:

  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/8 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

Fruits:

  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Cherries
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries

Directions:

1. PREHEAT… the oven or confectioner’s oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. CHOP… all your dried fruits and nuts as indicated in the list above.

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3. MELT… coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then mix all the base ingredients in a bowl until completely combined. All oats should be damp.

4. MIX… nuts and seeds into base mixture. Then spread the mixture on cookie sheet.

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5. COOK… for 20 minutes on 325 degrees, stirring occasionally.

6. ADD… fruits to mixture once done cooking. This is important! If you add it before, the fruit gets really hard and dry. You could honestly chip a tooth.

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7. If you like your granola sweet, drizzle a little honey, or maybe even some cinnamon on top. Let everything cool, OR eat it hot with some cool milk. Mmmm! 

8. Finally, use this on top of everything! Or eat it dry by the hand-full. It’s a great, filling snack or meal whenever you want.

Veggie “Hand Roll” with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Hello again everyone!

This week we’re going to move out of the realm of dinner and explore a lighter, and usually more rushed, meal: lunch! The goal is to show you all that lunch doesn’t need to be a rush job. Instead, it should be the mid-day break that you look forward to. So here’s your challenge: pick a day next week that you’re going to forgo to protein bar and on-the-go yogurt and make lunch in the morning. If you need some help deciding what to make, I can help!

Today I’m sharing with you Veggie Wrap “Hand Rolls” with a Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. This recipe is an obvious play on sushi. We’re going to put a ton of fresh, crunchy veggies and hummus in a crisp seaweed wrap. Our “soy sauce and wasabi” is going to be a deliciously sweet and savory honey mustard. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s so good.

Here’s what you’re going to need to…

Wrap/Hand Roll

1 Raw Nori Seaweed Sheet

1 Red Bell Pepper

2 Carrots

2 Leaves of Kale

A heavy dollop of your favorite hummus

 

Dipping Sauce/Soy Sauce

1 tsp. Dijion Mustard

1 tsp. Honey

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FIRST… Wash your veggies well. Julienne the pepper and carrots (cut them into long, thing strips as seen below.) Cut the tough, center core out of the kale. Then, just rip the kale into bite-sized chunks.

When all is said and done, your cutting board should look like this…

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TO MAKE THE SAUCE…Put your teaspoon of both dijon mustard and honey into a small bowl. Mix it up. (How easy is that?!) You can use another kind of mustard if you have no other choice, but I strongly encourage the dijon. The difference in flavor is really noticeable.  The dijon has a kick that plays off the honey brilliantly. It’s borderline magic.

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NEXT… Toast your seaweed. You can do this several different ways. If you have a convection oven, that’s the easiest. Pop the sheet in there and toast it for about 30 seconds, or until it turns green and is flexible to the touch. The change from toasted to burnt happens really quickly, so keep your eye on it. Other ways you can do this is holding the seaweed in tongs over an open flame or in a dry pan on your stove top.

TO ASSEMBLE… Do this quickly while the seaweed is still malleable. First spread a generous heap of hummus into the middle of the wrap on the diagonal (because thats the direction you’re going to roll it.) Then, add your cut vegetables. You can put as many as you feel comfortable with. I like to really load it up. If you have extra, just make another wrap, or dip it in more hummus!

Roll it all up on the diagonal, using your fingers to scrunch in the veggies and keep the roll tight. Channel your inner Chipotle worker. Then, slice it down the middle and you’re ready to eat!

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Happy lunching everyone! Let me know how this works for you in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!

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Sweet Tooth Recipes: Oreo Truffles

I think it’s safe to say that chocolate and cookies always pair well together. In fact, it may not even be worth eating cookies without chocolate in the mix. But cream cheese too? I was hesitant when I heard that these Oreo truffles combined cheese with chocolate – however, I was very pleasantly surprised by the result. This combo cheesecake/cookie is a deliciously rich dessert that is easy to make and great to share with friends.

This is one of those desserts that’s just better made at home…and I’m not sure of any bakery in the city that makes them quite like this. If you are yearning for a chocolate dessert, but don’t have a ton of kitchen skills then try out this simple Oreo truffle recipe.

 

Ingredients:

1 Box of Oreo Cookies

1 8oz package of Cream Cheese

1 package of Semisweet Chocolate Chips

2 tbsp. of Butter

 

Directions:

1. In a food processor, or let’s be honest, in a plastic bag using your hands or a rolling pin, crush the Oreos until they form crumbs.

2. Pour crushed Oreos in a bowl and add the Cream Cheese. Using a spoon or fork, combine the cheese and Oreos until they form a dough-like solid texture.

3. Form the Oreo mixture into the small balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax or parchment paper. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm.

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4. In a separate bowl, combine butter and chocolate chips. Heat in microwave in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.

5. Take Oreo balls out of refrigerator. Dip each Oreo ball into the melted chocolate and place back onto parchment paper. Place in freezer for 1 hour.

6. If you wish, you can decorate the Oreo truffles with Oreo crumbs, white chocolate drizzle or anything else your creative mind can think up.

Here’s to the chocohalics. Eat & Enjoy.

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Time to change your mind about Brussels Sprouts

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From the blog, The Neurotic Kitchen, http://www.neurotickitchen.com/2012/10/restaurant-inspiration-ilili-brussels.html

Brussels sprouts. My mother never really cooked them when I was a kid. The first time I heard of them, I also heard that they tasted like rotten socks. And so I avoided at all cost for the majority of my life until I had them as a mezze at Ilili, a modern Lebanese restaurant in Flatiron. They were bitter, salty, sweet, and tangy all at the same time. Recently, I’ve decided to try my hand at making them. I looked up the recipe online and made them for myself and I was so surprised at how easy they were to make. There really aren’t any measurements involved, and so I’m not going to give quantities in this recipe.

All you need are brussels sprouts, a good quality fig preserve, yoghurt, and fresh, finely chopped mint.

First, blanche the vegetables by cooking them in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.

Then, on high heat, shallow fry the sprouts in vegetable oil until they become very golden brown and crispy.

Next, make a mint-yoghurt by adding the amount of mint that you’d like to the yoghurt. Mix equal parts fig preserve and water, and heat them in the microwave until you get a nice smooth mixture.

Finally, assemble your dish by layering the mint-yoghurt, and fig jam over the fried sprouts. Optional but delicious toppings are fresh grapes, cut in half, and toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped. This is a really easy recipe to make, and I hope that it changes your mind about brussels sprouts the same way it did for me!

Image taken from the blog, Marisa's Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/
Image taken from the blog, Marisa’s Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/

 

Cooking While You Sleep

Everyone knows that mornings can be a huge issue. You wake up too late, you have to do homework before class, you don’t know what you want for breakfast. For me, it’s generally oatmeal to the rescue. By generally I mean very, very often. Oatmeal is one of those things that keeps you going for the whole day, because it’s full of energy and fiber. Overnight oats are the kind of oats that sound really fancy and impress people because they have the word ‘overnight’ in them and so people assume that they’re the fancy version of instant oatmeal. Luckily, they’re a thousand times better but almost as easy to make. Actually, a lot of the work happens while you’re asleep, so it almost makes no sense not to make oatmeal this way. I used to be really intimidated by them and stuck to the ten minute kind until I figured out how to make them, and then it was like a whole new world of oats had come alive. Breakfast got better, so life got better.

peach topped oats

The magic rule here is the ratio: 1 to 1 oats to liquid – whether that liquid be water or milk (almond, soy, dairy, pick your poison). I usually use water, and use a little bit less liquid because I like my oats really thick, but the consistency is up to you. Put it in a bowl, or a container that you can put in the fridge, and add toppings. Toppings make just about any meal better, and that holds true for oats. Add a few pinches of cinnamon, a small spoonful of maple syrup, a drop or two of vanilla extract, or a spoonful of jam, depending on how flavor-y you want your oats. Then add chia or ground flax seeds, coconut flakes or something of the dried fruit variety – cranberries, raisins, mango or dried banana. I tend to like fresh fruit on top, added at the last minute, so I go with a combination of cinnamon, vanilla extract because vanilla makes everything better and chia seeds. Another favorite is raspberry jam and coconut flakes, which is seemingly not good but is actually very good.

So you have all of it in a bowl. Cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge while you sleep. Everything absorbs and melds together. Wake up, cut up some fruit or throw in some granola, and you’re good to go. Easiest homemade oatmeal ever. And it’s actually good. I like peaches on top, because they give the entire thing a fresh summery feel, but stewed blueberries or pomegranate seeds are other options that can work really well for winter. The fact that you can just put it all in a mason jar the night before and grab n go in the morning is just the flax on top of the whole situation.

SoCal Cooking: Chickpea Picadillo

In the middle of a semester, these things called midterms that screw up students’ sleep cycles, challenge the efficiency of their work habits, and worst of all, distort their eating habits. I believe the best way to combat this stress-induced state of malnourishment (or sometimes gluttony) is to make a lot of really good food, and I mean a lot. And yes, this recipe is just that. 

Picadillo itself is a Latin American and Filipino dish, usually composed of potatoes and beef with tomato sauce as the base. Picadillo is served atop something like rice or plantains. It is essentially a spicy stew with diced vegetables. The Filipino variation, the one I made, is not as thick as a stew, but a bit more soup-like, and usually eaten atop rice. The best thing about this dish is that it serves up to  6-8 people just from 40 minutes of cooking, and, most importantly, it’s versatile! Especially during the weeks of midterms, versatility and brevity are the foundations of every college student’s meal. If the midterm stress is making you feel like you can’t accomplish as much as you want or that you’re not doing as great as you want, cook this dish. You’ll get it done, do it right, and feel good.  

Chickpea Picadillo

Ingredients:

  1. 1 large white onion, diced
  2. 2 Green chili peppers, diced
  3. 4 large potatoes, cut into cubes
  4. 1 1/2 cup of corn
  5. 1 14oz can of chickpeas 
  6. 5 large carrots, chopped
  7. 3 green onions, chopped
  8. 1 clove of garlic
  9. 2 cups white rice
  10. 1 can tomato sauce
  11. 2 cups water
  12. 2 tablespoons of  black pepper
  13. 1 tablespoon of cumin 
  14. 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes

Directions:
1. Oil the pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
2. Add the garlic, cook for just a minute on medium heat.
3. Add onions, cook for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the spices, stir well, continue cooking on medium high heat. 
6. Add the corn, carrots, chickpeas, green onions, and green chiles. Cook for 6-10 minutes.
7. Add potatoes, tomato sauce, and water
8. Cook, uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

9. Spread over rice and serve!

Super Simple Trout

Pan Fried Trout with Spinach and Rice

I really enjoy fish in the winter but it can be so expensive that it is overwhelming. Cheap fish is generally also bad fish. Think tilapia. It’s gross. However, there are a few inexpensive fish including skate, cod and trout! Since trout is a mild fish it is best done simply with lemon and parsley as the major flavor profiles. Below is a super easy (hence the title) recipe for trout. I served it with some garlic brown rice and spinach sautéed with shallots. The best part about this meal aside from the yummy factor is that it reheats really well. I cooked three filets and had one for dinner then packed up the other two in a tupperware for lunch. Just microwave it covered for 45 seconds to 1 minute and then enjoy.

Super Simple Trout

  • trout filets de-boned but with the skin on
  • flour
  • parsley, chopped
  • lemon, sliced
  • butter
  • salt
  • pepper

  1. Season the trout with salt and pepper 
  2. Place pan on high heat. 
  3. Melt butter in pan, butter should just coat the bottom of the pan (~1/2 tbsp)
  4. Dip trout into flour covering both sides. Place in hot pan skin side down. Sprinkle top with parsley. 
  5. Cook until skin is browned, about 3 minutes. Trout should release easily from pan. If it sticks let it cook for 1 minute more. 
  6. Flip and cook with skin side up for about 1 minute. 
  7. Remove from pan. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon.