Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Roasted Veggies

Today I have a super simple recipe for you that you can adapt to almost any type of vegetable!  There are many delicious ways to cook veggies, so we like to mix up the cooking methods and veggies so we never get tired of eating the same exact thing!  You can eat veggies raw, steamed, grilled, sauteed (in oil), sauteed wet (kind of like boiling), broiled, or my FAVORITE way: roasted.  I think you can roast just about any type of vegetable, but here are some combinations we have been enjoying lately:
1. zucchini, squash, eggplant, onion
2. broccoli and cauliflower
3. zucchini, squash, onion, and cherry tomatoes (pictured)

Roasted Veggies

2 lb of your favorite veggies
1-2 T extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
other spices to taste (cumin is really good with broccoli and cauliflower!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut up veggies into uniform pieces.  Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (this is optional, but makes for easier clean up) and pour veggies onto sheet.  Bake for 30 min. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Green Deviled Eggs

Another recipe I shared with friends at the Fit Club games on Sunday was these deviled eggs!  They were well received by all, and I even had strangers asking to try them!  I’m not usually a big fan of deviled eggs (mayo and mustard aren’t my favorite) even though they are a staple appetizer at many family gatherings.  These eggs, however, are something I will make again and again!  Instead of the traditional mayo and mustard base for the filling, these eggs have avocado.  Yum!  I won’t say this recipe is quick, because cooking, cracking and peeling the eggs does take some effort and patience, but making the filling is very simple if you have a food processor.  These eggs are also inexpensive and require only a few ingredients.

I have heard of about a thousand “best” ways to hardboil eggs and get them to turn out “perfectly.”  I am definitely not claiming this is the best way, but I do like how they turn out when I make them the following way: Place eggs in medium saucepan and cover with cold water to just above the eggs.  Place on stove over high heat and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling hard, cook for 3 minutes.  Then remove pot from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes to continue cooking.  After 10 minutes, drain the hot water from the pot and replace with cold water, and let the eggs sit in the cold water for about 5 minutes.  Then refrigerate the eggs to peel later, or peel immediately.  I can’t say I’ve figured out a great way to peel the eggs perfectly, but this method of cooking does provide good results in terms of the “doneness” of the yolk.  The yolks will be a nice bold shade of yellow and not chalky at all.  And they never have that grey/green tint to them. 
The original recipes called for 6 eggs, 1 avocado, and ¼ cup of cilantro, but I adjusted the ratios for this recipe.  I wanted to use 9 eggs because 18 halves fit in my deviled egg carrier!

Green Deviled Eggs

9 hard-boiled eggs
1 ½ avocados
½ c cilantro (I estimated here- just use a “good amount”)
Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste

Hard boil eggs, cut in half and remove yolks.  In food processor, pulse cilantro until finely chopped.  Add egg yolks, avocado, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Process until uniformly smooth and creamy.  Scoop filling into eggs as desired.  (I used a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off and a star decorating tip inserted in the corner to make a pretty “swirl.”  You could use an actual pastry bag to pipe in the filling, or to make it even easier, just scoop the filling in with a spoon!)  Refrigerate.  These are best if served the day you make them. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars

Today was a great day!  We spent the day at the Fit Club Games cheering on fellow crossfitters from area gyms, including Crossfit Future, Crossfit New Albany, Friendship Crossfit, and Rogue, among others.  Congratulations to everyone who competed!  You all did a great job, and it was a blast watching you and cheering you on!

I made some yummy paleo snacks to share today, including the paleo banana blueberry muffins (today I made them with raspberries instead) and sweet potato salad that are already posted on the blog.  I also made homemade fruit and nut bars (very similar to lara bars) and green deviled eggs (made with avocado instead of mayo).  Everything must have tasted good because we didn't come home with many leftovers!

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the bars before they were gone.  I'll try to take a picture next time I make them.  I loved these bars, and everyone that tried them seemed to love them too!  A couple people said they liked them even more than lara bars!  And they are SO EASY to make!

I will post the recipe for the green deviled eggs soon!

*Update: I finally have a picture of these bars!

Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars

1 c slivered almonds (I used Trader Joe’s “unsalted dry roasted slivered almonds”)
1 c whole raw almonds (unsalted)
½ c whole raw cashews (unsalted)
1/3 c ground flaxseed meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Ground Flaxseed meal)
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 c dried cranberries
7 large medjool dates (I used Mariani brand from Sam’s club- they sell huge bags of these dates)
½ tsp vanilla
½ T honey
4-5 T water

Mix all ingredients in food processor except water until well ground (you will definitely still see small pieces of ground nuts, you just want it to be mostly ground up).  Next, add water and pulse until mixture is well combined and only a little crumbly.  Press firmly into 8x8 pan and refrigerate 1 hour, then cut into bars.  Store in refrigerator. (I cut mine into 12 bars, but you could make this as many or as few servings as you want.)

*I store my dates in the refrigerator, so they are pretty hard.  To make them blend more easily in the food processor, I heat up a cup of water in the microwave on “beverage setting” and once it’s done, put the dates in the hot water for about 10 seconds, then drain the water.  They’re nice and soft instantly!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

At our house we frequently have veggies and eggs for dinner, but that usually consists of a delicious, messy pile of sautéed veggies mixed around with scrambled eggs and spices.  I don’t know why, but I had never thought to change it up a little and make a frittata instead!   In my opinion, it is a much more “sophisticated” take on veggies and eggs.  After sautéing them, I made sure the veggies and bacon formed an even layer on the bottom of the skillet, poured some scrambled eggs in, and put the whole (oven proof) skillet in the oven.  It baked up beautifully into what was essentially a crustless quiche.  This is something I would be proud to serve to guests!  It also keeps well as leftovers.  I know because Rem and I both had it for lunch today.  I reheated mine in the toaster oven and it was PERFECT. 

The recipe below reflects what I used last night to make this frittata, but you could use any veggies and any meat that you think sounds good.  Tomatoes, spinach, red peppers, asparagus, broccoli, ham, ground turkey, sausage…  you get the idea.  If you have fresh herbs, those would be great in it too.  Rem’s mom once made a really great frittata with sautéed apple, and then sprinkled cheddar cheese on top!  Trust your instincts, and just use what you like.  It will be good, I promise.  I must say that the bacon really elevated this dish from good to exceptional.  I highly recommend the applewood smoked uncured turkey bacon from Trader Joe’s (it is gluten free as well as nitrite and nitrate free). 

In the recipe I say to use an electric whisk to beat the eggs.  I just used the whisk attachment on my hand held mixer.  I recommend beating the eggs this way because it makes them extra fluffy and gives the frittata a light, fluffy texture!  If you don't have this type of whisk, just beat them vigorously with a hand held whisk.  

Have a great day!  If you come up with a yummy combination of veggies, meat, and spices for your own frittata, please share it! 

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

8 slices applewood smoked turkey bacon
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ green peppers, chopped
Stems from 6 portobello mushrooms
1 zucchini, cut into thin coins, then quartered
12 eggs
¼ c water
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil and spread bacon out on sheet.  Bake for 20 min.  Turn the oven down to 350 degrees after the bacon is done.
2. While the bacon cooks, chop the veggies.
3. In a 14 inch stainless steel sauté pan (or you could use a cast iron skillet), heat 1 T evoo on medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and just starting to brown.  Add green peppers, mushroom stems, zucchini, and salt and pepper to taste.  
4. Chop bacon and add it to the veggies.  Cook until veggies are just beginning to soften.  You may want to turn up the heat to medium high for a few minutes if they don’t seem to be cooking fast enough.
5. While the veggies and bacon cook, crack 12 eggs into a large bowl and add ¼ c water, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.  Beat with an electric whisk until all yolks are combined and creamy. 
6. Turn heat back down to medium and pour eggs into the skillet.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.
7. Put skillet in 350 degree oven, uncovered, and bake 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are set on top.
8.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve!  Makes 4 large servings or 8 small servings.