Tag Archives: vegetarian

Kale Salad

Kale Salad - In Her Chucks

This summer I fell in love…with kale.

Since subscribing to my CSA 3 years ago, I have been slowly warming up to this leafy green vegetable.  But over the last few months, my affection for kale has reached a whole new level.  Whether I am munching on kale chips, drinking kale juice, or dipping some sliced cucumbers in kale pesto, I just can’t get enough.  But this salad is definitely my go-to recipe.  And I have been going to it A LOT this summer.

What makes this recipe so good is the bright and complex flavors.  There is something about the mixture of sesame seed oil and soy sauce that sends me over the edge.  Add a few squeezes of fresh citrus and minced garlic and the dressing is nothing short of a party in your mouth.  And then of course, who doesn’t love the extra texture of toasted sesame seeds and perfectly ripe avocado perched on top of these leaves of glory.  Do you catch my drift?  It really is a healthy slice of heaven ;)

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced and smashed into a paste (or use a garlic press)

4 tbsp toasted sesame oil

3 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Place kale into a large serving bowl.  Add remaining ingredients (except for the avocado) and toss to coat.  Gently fold avocados into the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe makes a good portion of salad.  If you are anything like me, you might be able to scarf it all down in one sitting.  But if you find yourself with left overs, the good news is that it keeps well in the fridge overnight.  So feel free to enjoy it the next day for lunch.  However, if you plan on sharing it with friends for a bbq or potluck, you might want to double the recipe because I can promise you the salad will be gone within minutes.

I have to admit, I feel terrible that it took me so long to befriend kale.  But now that we are clearly BFFs I have no doubt we will be making up for lost time.

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Chopped Caprese Salad

Chopped Caprese Salad - In Her Chucks

After nearly three years as a loyal CSA subscriber, I can honestly say, my weekly boxes have converted me in ways I never thought possible.  Once upon a time I used to feel lost and overwhelmed by the site of unwanted veggies but now I can honestly say I am a beet buff, a kale craver and most recently a proud tomato lover.

And if it weren’t for the help of my CSA, I don’t think those conversions would have been possible.  Week after week, they provided me with bunches of soil dusted root vegetables, luscious leafy greens and perfectly plump tomatoes.  And because I wouldn’t dare waste any of it, I had to get creative.  And slowly but surely, I became more and more excited to get these items in my box.  And today, I will pretty much eat anything.

Now, I know Caprese Salads aren’t anything new.  I mean, if you’ve met one Caprese Salad you’ve met them all, right?  Well, in this case, I promise that this Caprese Salad is sure to kick things up a notch.  The secret ingredient?  Kalamata olives.  These little suckers change. the. game.

Readers, meet my new favorite salad.  New favorite salad, meet my amazing and loyal readers.

Ingredients

1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (or I like the Baby Heirloom Tomatoes from Trader Joe’s)

12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped (I use the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s)

3 oz Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

5-7 basil leaves, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or more to taste) *traditional balsamic vinegar would work fine here too

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Throw the tomatoes, cheese, olives and basil into a bowl.  Add olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add more dressing or seasoning to taste.

What I love about this recipe is that it is so darn easy!  It’s the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or pot luck or can be portioned out for a single meal.

The measurements shown above are merely suggestions.  Feel free to make this your own.  I personally prefer a balanced tomato to cheese ratio as each bite must have a piece of each before it enters my mouth.  Which is why I am obsessed with the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s because it matches the size of the tomatoes perfectly :)

So for those of who have tomatoes coming out of your ears, here is one more recipe to add to your repertoire.  I promise you will love it.  I just can’t promise you it will make it to the dinner table before it’s half eaten.

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Tomato Basil Bisque

Tomato Basil Bisque - In Her Chucks

I am a meat eater through and through.  No meal is complete without a big lump of protein on my plate.  So when I went through my Fresh Start Challenge meal plan and saw that there was a vegetarian soup on the menu, I was skeptical.  I mean, I love veggies, and I love soup, but can’t we toss some chicken in there to boost up the heartiness factor?  Well let me just say, this soup is perfect just as it is!  Not only was it incredibly delicious, but it was definitely hearty!  The quinoa and goat cheese help to bulk up the texture and give it enough protein to keep you full and satisfied without weighing you down.

Ingredients

4 large carrots, chopped,

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tsp Tamari

2 tbsp coconut oil, divided

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained

1 cup organic marinara sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 tsp honey

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (more or less to taste)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Dashes of dried thyme, rosemary and oregano

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 cups chicken broth

Prepared quinoa

Goat cheese

Preparation

1.  In a large soup pot, heat the Tamari and 1 tbsp coconut oil over med-high heat.

2.  Stir in the chopped onions, celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic, carrots and about 1/2 cup chicken.  Sauté another 5 minutes.

3.  Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, basil, broth, salt, marinara sauce and remaining spices (wait to add the remaining 1 tbsp coconut oil and nutritional yeast until the very end before pureeing).

4.  Let soup come to a boil and cook on low-med heat for about 1/2 hour, allowing all of the flavors to meld together.

5.  Pour all of the contents from the soup pan into a blender, along with 1 tbsp coconut oil and the nutritional yeast.  Blend on high for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.

6.  Portion out soup into bowls and add prepared quinoa, mix until combined.  Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Recipe slightly adapted from Amazing Grass:  Fresh Start Challenge

What I love most about this dish is how super duper easy it is to make.  Just throw everything in a pot, let it hang out for a bit and then toss it in the blender.  And with enough soup for 4-5 servings, there is plenty to share or hide away in the freezer for later ;)

PS:  Congratulations to Tiffany T for winning the Amazing Grass Giveaway!  And a big thank you to everyone who participated.  Cheers to a Fresh Start!

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What’s in the Box? Best of 2012

boxquestionintrowhite

It’s hard to believe that 2012 has come and gone.  It was a wonderful year filled with birthday parties, special memories and of course lots of fruit and veggies.  The What’s in the Box? Link Party was born in 2012 and has been rocking ever since.  I am so grateful to all the participants that have shared their delicious goodies with the rest of us.  It’s been a blast to swap recipes with you and drool over your fresh produce.

Speaking of drooling, I am totally salivating over last week’s party.  With so many people’s CSA seasons ending, we only had 4 participants, so the party was small, but boy was it mighty.  Everything from mashed root veggies, to cranberry nut bread, to homemade pizza with spinach crust and a killer party dip.  Thank you ladies for making our new year bright :)

Now on to my favorite boxes of 2012.  To be honest, it was hard to pick a top 5 because they are all pretty awesome.  But after spending hours looking through the pics and checking to see what came of the produce, I was finally able to narrow it down.  So without further ado, here are the What’s in the Box? Top 5 of 2012…

#5: What’s in the Box? #22

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So many of my favorite fruits and veggies in one place, including the star of the show…blueberries!  But really, this week it was all about Mashed Red Potatoes.  They are the best you will ever have.  And when you serve them with a side of steamed broccoli tossed with lemon juice and a small portion of protein, you have yourself the perfect meal.

#4: Whats in the Box? #36

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Summer is my favorite time of year.  I love all the delicious fruits that come my way.  Nectarines, plums, berries.  They just make me happy.  I usually eat them for a snack, but after weeks and weeks of plums and pluots, I had to throw together a few Pluot Crumbles.  It is a great dish to whip up for a summer barbecue and is sure to impress your family and friends.

#3: What’s in the Box? #34

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I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful head of lettuce.  It was so gorgeous it made me want to throw it in a vase and display it on my table as a centerpiece.  However, after a few days of marveling its beauty I caved and made a huge Strawberry Salad.  One of my favorite afternoon treats by far.  Throw in some grilled chicken and you are good to go!

#2: What’s in the Box? #31

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One word…apricots!!  I can’t get enough of them.  I think I might be able to live on apricots alone.  Well, apricots and some Braised Pork with Fennel and Pork.  I am so grateful that getting a delivery of fennel helped me to think outside the box.  I would have never purchased fennel at the store but after some creative experimentation, I found one of my favorite recipes of all time.  Try it…I promise you will become a fennel lover too :)

#1: What’s in the Box? #45

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One of the highlights of receiving fresh produce every week, is that I get to share my love for fruits and veggies with my family.  It makes me happy when Harper dives right into the broccoli without any begging, coercing or bribing.  I also love that I can whip up a healthy and yummy meal in no time.  This Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce is so easy to make and delicious to eat you will want it on your table at least once a week.  That is, as long as you have some fresh cherry tomatoes sitting around.

So those are my Top 5 boxes of 2012.  Can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for me.  I am counting down the days until my first box arrives.  T minus 6 folks…

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite boxes of 2012?  Feel free to add the links to the deliveries you loved the most.  Let’s take a walk down CSA memory lane shall we?

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!  PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post.  Thanks!


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What’s in the Box? #53

Hello, Friends :)  It has been too long.  I have been meaning to write but I was a bit preoccupied by these beautiful views…

Needless to say, our Thanksgiving in Texas was wonderful.  And being outside, exploring my sister’s horse ranch with Harper as my guide, was magical.  So much to be grateful for.

And while I was out in the wilderness, there was a raging party going on.  Last week we had a small but mighty 4 link ups!  With the holiday many folks didn’t receive a box so our party was much smaller than usual.  However, the recipes and goodies that were shared were more than enough to go around.  Sharlea from Fresh Veggies in the Desert whipped up an amazing Onion, Bacon, Butternut Tart with Cranberry Salsa with her CSA goodies.  And Megan from Clean Eats, Fast Feets, made some beautiful Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash.  Kirsten from Farm Fresh Feasts shared come budget friendly tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle your food.  And finally Annie of AnnieRie Unplugged shared her ever bountiful Thanksgiving haul.  Thanks Ladies for your participation and for keeping the party alive.  I appreciate your loyalty and support :)

After one week without a box, you can imagine how happy I was to receive this week’s delivery.  I couldn’t wait to crack it open to see what goodies were hidden inside…

This week it’s all about the squash!  Butternut, delicata…all I can think about is cutting them up, tossing them with nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil and a dash of salt and roasting them until they are deliciously tender.  A true autumn treat.

Another roasted favorite are carrots.  While I was away, I popped some carrots in the oven for dinner one night and they were a huge hit.  So simple, but so darn good!

I am giddy about those apples.  For one, it reminds me that I need to share my that apple crisp recipe (I haven’t forgotten…).  And secondly, Fuji apples are my favorite.  In fact, as I write this post I am snacking on one with a few slices of Gruyère cheese. A perfect pairing.  And when I am done with this I plan to peel one of those juicy mandarins.  A satisfying late night snack.

I love shallots.  They have such a mild flavor but they can easily transform a dish.  I used a bunch of shallots to make my Thanksgiving green beans.  Slice them thinly, saute them with lots of butter, season slightly.  Once they begin to soften, throw in the raw green beans, add some chicken broth to the pan (just enough to soak the veggies) cover the pan and steam for 5-10 minutes until green beans are tender.  Works every time!  In fact, I use this technique with a lot of my veggies.  I will probably saute my swiss chard with the shallots this week.  Might even throw in some of that garlic for an extra kick.

It’s been a while since I got some kiwi.  I usually slice it up and add it to smoothies or throw it into a fruit salad but I would really like to cook or bake with it this time.  Stay tuned to see what I come up with :)

I’m excited to get my fiesta on.  That bunch of cilantro is super fresh and fragrant.  I am thinking about making a batch of Green Rice to go along with a new taco recipe I have been dying to share with you.  Hopefully with my busy schedule, I can get my act together and get some food pics taken (if I can catch the daylight…)

And for the little head of lettuce.  A salad of course.  I might even jazz it up with some apple chunks and grated carrots if I am feeling wild one evening.

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipe, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!


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Lentil Flatbread Pizza

Cooking is one of my favorite things to do.  I love to get in the kitchen and chop, sauté, sear, mix, bake…you name it, I’ll do it.  But sometimes it’s nice to slip off your fancy pants and take it easy for a night.  But easy doesn’t have to mean that you sacrifice flavor or quality.  Easy can mean whipping up a delicious meal in less than 20 minutes with fresh and healthy ingredients.  But only if you are familiar with my buddy Joe (or as his shop is known to the rest of the public…Trader Joe’s).

If you have been reading this blog for a while (shout out to all my loyal followers!) , I am sure you have picked up on the fact that I LOVE all things Trader Joe’s.  It’s pretty much my favorite place to be and I do my best to shop there as often as I can.  And by “shop” I mean, peruse the aisles for new items to try (I told you I want to be a product tester!).  No Trader Joe’s “shopping” trip is ever complete without a visit (or two) to the tester booth.  And they deliver every time!  This Lentil Flatbread Pizza is my most recent find and it might possibly be my favorite Trader Joe’s combo to date.

Ingredients

1 Middle Eastern Flatbread

1 1/2 – 2 tsp Balsamic Glaze (plus more for drizzling)

1/3 cup Steamed Lentils

1/4 cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

1/4 cup Slow Roasted Yellow Tomatoes, chopped

1 tbsp pine nuts

Chopped parsley

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spoon the balsamic glaze over the flatbread.  Cover the glaze with a layer of lentils, followed by the cheese and tomatoes.  Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top.  Place flatbread on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crust is slightly browned and crisp.  Top with chopped parsley and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

This pizza is so versatile, it can be enjoyed anytime of day.  Pair it with a salad for a yummy lunch or make a couple, slice them up and serve them as an appetizer the next time you have company.  Your guests are sure to be impressed :)

Don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby?  Swap out some of the specialty items for products easily found at your local grocery store.  A whole wheat pita or pre-made pizza crust would be a great alternative to the flatbread.  Sun dried tomatoes would work well to replace the slow roasted ones.  And if you are feeling really ambitious, make your own batch of balsamic glaze.

So the next time you feel like you need a break from the kitchen, throw this simple dish together, pop it in the oven and enjoy an easy and delicious meal compliments of my buddy Joe!

Your turn:  What are some of your tips for getting dinner on the table on nights when you don’t feel like being in the kitchen?  Any Trader Joe’s tester booth favorites?  Looking forward to hearing your responses :)

Blog party, Linky Party

 

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Seven-Layer Bean Dip with Fresh Tortilla Chips

 

Eating clean just hit a whole new level this week.  I learned to make my own tortilla chips.  And not only were they delicious, but they were a cinch to make and are pretty healthy too…SCORE!

And if that wasn’t cool enough, I got to dunk those crisp, salty triangles of love into a rich and creamy, party in your mouth, seven-layer bean dip.  A match made in heaven, for sure :)

The key to this rockin appetizer/snack/lunch/dinner/any time of day treat, is to use the freshest ingredients.  I did use canned beans and olives (although after reading this blog post I am determined to make my own beans) but the addition of fresh jalapeños, bell peppers and cilantro brings in bright and pungent flavors.  And the vibrant colors make for a beautiful presentation.

Ingredients

1/8 large red onion, cut into thin 1-inch-long slices

1 15 oz can Pinto Beans

1 tsp chile powder

1/4 tsp ground cumin

3 jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and chopped

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced

1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin 1-inch-long slices

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup black olives, chopped

Olive oil cooking spray

6 6-inch sprouted corn tortillas

Pinch sea salt, optional

Preparation

1.  In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup water on medium-high.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add pinto beans, chile powder and cumin and stir to combine.  With a potato mashed or the back of a fork, mash mixture slightly.  Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes.

2.  Spoon pinto bean mixture into a 8-inch Square Cake Pan.  Layer  jalapeños, black beans, avocado, yogurt, bell peppers, cilantro and olives over top.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

3.  Prepare chips:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mist 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.  Stack tortillas and cut into quarters.  Spread in a single layer on baking sheets, leaving enough space between each and dividing evenly amount sheets.  Mist tops with cooking spray.  If desired, sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until crisp and edges are slightly browned.

Recipe from Clean Eating

As delicious as this dip was, the next time I make it I think try to change a few things.  For one, the jalapeños were a bit too hot for me.  I might substitute them with green bell pepper instead and then replace the red bell pepper with chopped tomatoes.  It could also use a bit of seasoning in each layer.  Nothing fancy.  Just some salt and pepper.  But I think those small changes could go a long way.

I was most surprised by the success of the Greek yogurt.  I have heard of people using it in place of sour cream before, but I had never tried it myself.  I have a strong love affair with sour cream and couldn’t imagine Greek yogurt being able to take its place.  But after this experience, it’s done.  Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream and I’m looking forward to trying it in some of my other recipes soon.

So the next time you are looking for the perfect party food, ditch the highly processed, calorie-ridden dips and reach for a fresh and healthy alternative.  Plus, I can bet that if you bust out your own homemade chips, you are sure to be the hostess with the mosses!

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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter

Can I just say, I feel really fancy right about now.  Today I made my first batch of homemade ravioli!  Yes, I used pre-made wonton wrappers, but I made everything else from scratch.  And that makes me feel proud.  So I am going to go ahead and toot my own little horn.  Beep! Beep!

When I received butternut squash in my box last week, I was overwhelmed with tons of delicious possibilities of recipes I wanted to make.  I was having a hard time narrowing them down.  I love butternut squash so much, it was difficult to know where to begin.  Luckily, my former boss suggested Butternut Squash Ravioli in a Sage Butter Sauce.  And we all know, whatever the boss says, goes ; )

So I went on the hunt for a yummy recipe that wasn’t too difficult.  And when I set my eyes on this, I knew it was perfect!  Although there are a good number of steps, they are all pretty easy.  And the best part, the ravioli freezes well, so once you make a batch, it will last you for a while.  And warming it up is a snap!

Ingredients

6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped

1 butternut squash

salt

pepper

cinnamon

3-4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

1 package of wonton wrappers (around 40 or so)

Preparation

1.  To make the sage butter, fork mash sage into butter.  Drop butter in the middle of a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log.  Refrigerate until solid.

2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice butternut squash in half and place on baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon.  Roast for about 40 minutes or until fork tender.

3.  After roasting, let cool and remove insides to a food processor .

4.  While you allow the butternut squash to cool, drizzle unpeeled garlic gloves with olive oil and roast in 400 degrees F oven for 15 minutes.

5.  Once cooled, peel garlic cloves and add them to the squash in the food processor.  Pulse until smooth.

6.  To assemble ravioli, place about 1/2 tbsp of squash puree in the middle of a wonton wrapper.  Start folding the corners to meet the middle, pinching to create a purse like effect.

7.  Place assembled ravioli on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Put in the freezer until frozen.

8.  Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag to save for later or get cooking.

9.  To cook, heat 2 tsp of oil on med-high in a skillet.  Add frozen ravioli and brown on one side.

10.  After slightly browned, add 2 tbsp water and cover, reducing heat to medium.  Let steam for 3-5 minutes.

11.  Remove ravioli from skillet and set aside.  Add sage butter to skillet, heat on med until slightly browned.  Add ravioli back to pan and coat with butter.

Recipe slightly adapted from the talking kitchen

When I tell you these little delights are bursting with flavor, they literally are.  Unlike conventional ravioli, these tiny pockets explode in your mouth, delivering a gush of butternut squash goodness.  And the butter…need I say more?  Everything in life is better with butter.

This ravioli is sure to be your new innocent pleasure.  Cause they sure aren’t guilty!

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