Category Archives: Side Dish

Quinoa with Edamame and Eggs

I hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year.  I found myself surrounded by wonderful friends, eating delicious food and drinking amazing wine.   I watched the fireworks show downtown and it felt perfect.  However, with the new year comes all those new years resolutions.  I have never been a big believer in waiting for the perfect date to make a healthy change.  However, I do know that there are a lot of you out there.  The reason I know this is because every January 2nd, the gym looks like it the most happening place on earth.  Not that having healthy goals to bring in the new year is bad, it’s just that come February 15th, the day after everyone has overindulged for their Valentines day dinner, the gym seems to become a ghost town.  This is the way it remains until the next January when the cycle begins again.  Well, cheers to all those venturing into the gym for the first time this year.  I will see you until February and then we will meet again in 2015.

So hear is a healthy recipe for all those new years resolutions for weight loss and getting healthy.  A good source of protein, healthy fats and delicious taste.  Go ahead enjoy.  You won’t need to feel guilty about this one.  Happy 2014!!!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

•  1/2 cup cooked quinoa
•  1/2 cup shelled, cooked edamame
•  1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
•  1 large egg, fried
•  1 teaspoons olive oil
     •  salt and pepper to taste
•  1/4 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
•   hot sauce if desired

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix together the quinoa, edamame and olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.
  2. Spray a small frying pain with nonstick cooking spray.  Cook egg until whites are set, but yolk is still a bit runny.  The yoke will make a nice sauce for the quinoa.
  3. Place quinoa mixture in bowl, sprinkle Parmesan over quinoa and top with hot fried egg.  Serve with sliced avocado.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Adapted from:  thesepeasarehollow

Marinated Cheese

 

I know you may have thought I fell off the face of the Earth; but the truth is life got crazy busy.  My husband and I moved into a new house; well new to us, but old in age (built in 1896).  It is a super cute old Victorian, but it needed a lot of TLC.  Including new hardwood floors, painting every square inch, electrical, appliances and new toilets.  The house is now sparkling, but during this time it consumed every spare moment of my time.  So, as you can tell cooking was not at the top of my list after a long hard day of work.  Besides there were moments in the process that I didn’t even have appliances, making it tough to whip up much of anything.  But here I am, don’t worry.  Back from the depths of house remodeling.

What I have decided to restart my cooking adventures with was a recipe I used for a “get-to-know-the-neighbors” potluck.  I wanted to bring an appetizer, something simple yet could sit out on a counter and not go bad.  Voila, behold marinated cheese.  Delicious.  Hello, it’s cheese can you really go wrong?  I served it with crackers and it was a total hit.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.  Also, it looks so pretty on a serving dish.

Yields:  approximately 16 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 (2-oz) jar diced pimentos, drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 (8-oz) package Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, chilled

Directions:

1.  In a a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine first 10 ingredients.  Tighten lid and shake vigorously; set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Cut the block of cheddar cheese in half lengthwise.  Then cut crosswise into 1/4″ slices.  Repeat with cream cheese.  Arrange cheese slices in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on edge, alternating cheddar cheese with cream cheese.

 

3.  Pour the marinade from the jar over the cheese slices.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4.  To serve move cheese slices to a serving platter so they are still arranged in an alternating pattern standing on their edges.  Spoon some of the extra marinade over the cheese.  Serve with your choice of crackers.

Black Bean Salad

I decided to make this recipe for a baby shower I was attending and the momma-to-be was a vegetarian.  I served it with tortilla chips and it was a hit.  Full of delicious flavors and colors, with a salt and lime kick.  Also, feel free to increase the seasonings, if your a big fan of lime flavor, add more lime or if you like a bit more dressing, increase the Italian dressing.  Get creative on this one, it would be hard to go wrong.   
Also, with Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend it could be a perfect dish for the Mexican themed festivities.  Use it for an appetizer, as a filling for burritos, a side dish for a chicken meal or simply eat it with a spoon.  Either way it will be delicious. 
 


Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tortilla chips

Directions:
1.  In a medium mixing bowl combine, peppers, onion, corn, garlic and cilantro.  Add Italian dressing, vinegar and lime juice, mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve with tortilla chips.  For best flavor, place prepared salad in airtight container and place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before eating.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

 

So, I have to admit that I have a small love affair with cauliflower.  It is absolutely my favorite vegetable.  I can put it in just about anything.  So, with February as my self proclaimed soup month, I decided to make cauliflower soup. Why, not?  Cauliflower has an unbelievable amount of vitamin C, so with it being cold/flu season, the more vitamin C you can add to your diet the better.  I also learned what a roux was and how to make one.  It is a mixture of flour and butter used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.  Voila, add it to your cooking dictionary.  Also, if you prefer this to be a vegetarian soup, substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Both are delicious.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter on low heat and then adding in the flour.  Stirring constantly for 1 minute.  It will be a paste consistency.

 

2.  Next add in chicken broth, onion, garlic, salt and cauliflower.  Bring mixture to a boil.
Once boiling turn heat down to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

 

3.  In small batches, puree mixture in blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted from: skinnytaste

Pizza Bites

 
When I think of delicious game day food, I always think pizza.  Well, why not make pizza into a snack size.  No, I’m not talking about Totinos pizza rolls, I am talking about fresh bite size pizza straight out of your own oven.   I came up with these as a game day snack for the Superbowl.  I used pepperoni, because my husband is meat fanatic, but you could also make them vegetarian.  Just adding fresh basil, black olive and a bit of green pepper would be wonderful.  So, go ahead and use this recipe as a base and add your favorite pizza toppings to them.  Enjoy some good food, good friends and good football.  Go Broncos!!  Oh wait, that’s right they lost to the ravens.   Maybe next year.  


Yields: 24 pizza bites

Ingredients:

  • 11-oz can pizza dough ( I used Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough)
  • marinara sauce (I used basil and garlic flavor)
  • pepperoni
  • shredded motzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • basil leaves
  • 2 mini muffin pans
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
2.  Lightly flour counter top and lay pizza dough out and roll until 1/4″ thick.
3.  Using the open side of a cup slightly larger around than each muffin.  Cut out circular pieces of dough.

 4.  Place cut out dough in each prepared muffin pan.  1 piece of dough in each muffin.

5.  Then place 1 piece of pepperoni into each muffin, then add small amount marinara sauce into each muffin.

5.  Sprinkle each one with small amount of Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

6.  Top with a sprinkle of motzarella cheese.

Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until cheese and dough is slightly golden.

Enjoy!!! 
If your looking for some other great food ideas for the big game.  Here are a few of my favorite game day selections.
                                   
                                                             Avocado Deviled Eggs
 

Baked Crispy Edamame

If your looking for an easy party appetizer or a great side dish, then here you go.  These soybeans baked under a Parmesan cheese crust, turn a basic frozen vegetable into a delicious snack.  Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle.  However; be warned, they are addictive.  If you are making these for a party, make them shortly before the party starts, or you may end up having to make another batch, because you can’t stop nibbling.  Another good tip to remember when making these delights is that toasted edamame are best when consumed on the day you roast them.  They tend to loose some of their crunch the next morning.  You can still eat them, but they may be more chewy than crispy.  When making this recipe, make sure edemame are dry before mixing with other ingredients.  I placed them on a clean dish towel and patted them dry.  Making sure they are completely dry helps them get that crispy crunch that is so delicious.

Edamame also pack in a healthy punch.  A 1/2 cup serving of shelled edamame contain as much fiber as 4 slices of whole wheat toast and 11 grams of protein.  Step over protein bars, say hello to the new delicious high protein snack.

note:  if you don’t have time for the edamame to thaw, you can speed up this process by pouring the edamame into a stainer and running it under warm water for a few seconds.  Then spread the edamame on a clean dish towel and pat until dry. 

Yield:  roughly 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 oz) package frozen shelled edamame (soybeans), thawed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 400°.  Place edamame, olive oil and Parmesan cheese into medium sized mixing bowl.  Stir until all edamame are coated.

2.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, again stir.  Place edamame onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, in single layer.

3.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Stir edamame.  Bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is crispy and golden.  

Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potato fries, but when I have made them in the past they never seemed to get crispy.  I ended up cooking them so long in attempt to get them to be crisp, that they ended up burnt.  I came across some recommendations that included soaking the potatoes before cooking them.  I decided I would give home-made sweet potato fries one more try.  With, this recipe I included a spicy dipping sauce to go along with it.  Sweet and spicy, delish.  Well, I have to say they turned out well.  Even my husband who usually is not a big fan of anything beside old white potato fries, ate them up.

Ingredients:

For Fries:

2 sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ziplock bag

For Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise ( I use Nayonaise, it’s a low fat vegetarian version.  A bit healthier)
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

Directions:
     1.  Wash and peel sweet potatoes.  Cut potatoes into medium sized fries.  Not shoestring and not   steak fries, somewhere in between.
     2.  Place sweet potatoes in bowl of water and allow to soak for 1 1/2 hours.
     3.  Preheat oven to 425°

     4.  Put a tablespoon of cornstarch into medium sized ziplock bag.  Put half of sweet potato fries into ziplock back and close (leave some air in bag, allowing for fries to freely be tossed around). 
     5.  Shake fries until lightly coated w/cornstarch. Place coated fries onto nonstick cookie sheet.  
     6.  Repeat process until all fries are coated and placed on cookie sheet.

     7.  Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over fries, using hands toss fries to make sure all are coated with oil.
          * you can use more oil, depending on how healthy you would like them to be. The more oil you use the more crisp they will get.  But using 2 tablespoons, I was able to get them pretty darn crispy.
     8.  Arrange fries on cookie sheet, making sure there is space between each fry.  If the fries are too close, they tend to steam instead of getting crispy. 
     9.  Place into preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.
     10.  While fries are cooking, make the dipping sauce.  Mix mayonaise, Sriracha and cayenne pepper together in small bowl.  You can adjust the amount of Srirach and/or cayenne pepper depending on how spicy you want it. 
     11.  After 15 minutes, check fries and flip over.  Cook another 5-10 minutes, watch closely so they don’t burn. 

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Well let me tell you I have attempted mashed cauliflower in the past and it did not turn out so well.  It was gritty, not creamy and lacked much of a flavor.  So, when I came across this recipe I was a little hesitant to attempt this side dish again.  But, considering cauliflower is my favorite vegetable,  I was determined to give it another chance.  This recipe was a hit.  It had a smooth texture and was loaded with delicious flavor.  So, if your looking for a healthy mashed potato alternative, give this a try.  Let me know if you think it was a good as my husband and I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into smaller pieces (florets only)
  • 1 (6 oz) container nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring water to boil.  Add cauliflower to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until florets are soft.
  2. Remove cauliflower from heat and drain in colander.  Place cauliflower in food processor, add Greek yogurt, butter, garlic and shallots.  Blend until creamy.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste or any seasoning of your choice and blend again. 
  4. Transfer mixture into serving bowl and mix in Parmesan cheese while still hot.  Garnish with scallions. 

Adapted from: sproutandpea

Guilt-Free Onion Dip

This dip is incredible and literally took 2 minutes to make. Is there anyone on this earth that doesn’t like chips and dip?  I think not, but if your watching your waistline chips and dip are not part of that equation.  Well, make room on the table for chips and dip again, with this fat-free protein packed dip.  Using Greek yogurt you get the creaminess of sour cream, without all the fat.  It would make a great appetizer for any party and I guarantee you people will rave about it.  So go ahead and start dipping again.


Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 (17.6oz) container fat-free Fage Greek yogurt

Directions:

  • Place Greek yogurt and onion soup mix into bowl and mix well.
  • Dip is best when allowed to rest in refrigerator for 2 hours prior to eating.  Although if you just can’t wait, it still tastes wonderful immediately after making.
  • Serve with your favorite chips or veggies.  I used Baked Ruffles to continue with my guilt-free theme.

Vegetable Quinoa w/Garbanzo Beans

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has made a name for itself within the health community over the past few years.  With its high protein content and unique texture, it has become a popular substitute for starchier rice and pasta.  It is one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein, it also has the benefits of containing high amounts of iron, magnesium and fiber.  This grain is extremely versatile in its uses and simple to cook.  When cooking quinoa make sure to rinse it before using in your recipe.  Rinsing removes a natural coating quinoa has called saponin.  If left on, it can leave a bitter or soapy flavor to the grain.  Most boxed quinoa is pre-rinsed, but I always rinse it again, just to make sure.  So, go ahead and join the quinoa craze, it is deserving of all its praise.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1 yellow squash chopped 
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped 
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
  • Cayenne pepper if desired 

 Directions:

1.  Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 1 minutes.
2.  Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  
 

3.  In another pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Toss in garlic, zucchini, yellow squash and  onions. Saute veggies over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until desired level of tenderness reached. Then toss in garbanzo beans, tomatoes and lime juice.  Cook for 2 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.

4.  Season with cumin, salt and pepper. Fluff quinoa with fork and add to pan with vegetables.  Mix well.

5.  Sprinkle with cilantro if desired and/or a little cayenne pepper to spice things up a bit.