Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Asparagus and Beet Salad with Feta and Pumpkin Seeds

I'm really not one for salads. And by salads I mean big boring bowls of lettuce. 
But make it look pretty, fancy it up, and *voila* suddenly it's not just a salad it's a magical dining experience. I mean.... who would have thought roasting veggies makes them magic? Not me. Not until now. 
Completely by accident I discovered the secret of the tastiest salad in the universe. 
I realize I say that a lot; the whole "best in the universe" thing. Bear with me. It's just that it's kind of true. Unless the martians have come up with an even more amazing dish. Which may or may not be something that exists. Who am I to say?
For now though, until we have proof otherwise, this one rules the universe. 

Asparagus and Beet Salad with Feta and Pumpkin Seeds
and Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette 

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/8 tsp dried rosemary
salt & pepper

2 cups coarsely chopped beets, peeled
4 cups chopped asparagus
2 thin slices onion
4 Tbsp crumbled feta
2 Tbsp unsalted pumpkin seeds (shelled) 

Prepare vinaigrette - whisk together minced garlic, oil, lemon juice, broth, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Set aside until ready to use. (Can be made a day ahead for flavors to get stronger, if desired. Simply whisk again just before serving.)

Prepare beets and asparagus - Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Peel and cut beets and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in 425 oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the beets on the cookie sheet. 
Place chopped asparagus on cookie sheet with the beets. Bake at 425 for approximately 10 - 15 minutes - until asparagus and beets are done. 

Assemble salads - When done, remove from oven and divide the beets and asparagus between 2 serving bowls. 

Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp of the dressing. 
Top each with 1 slice of onion, 2 Tbsp crumbled feta, and 1 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds. 
Lastly, drizzle each again with another 1 Tbsp of dressing. 

Look at all that craziness....

FYI - You can serve this warm or cold. I ate half the recipe for lunch on one day, warm, and then put the ingredients in the fridge until the next day. I assembled it the next day, cold, and it was also really good. 
Personally though, warm is the way to go. 

How gorgeous is that? I mean.... for a salad
And the good news just keeps coming - according to MyFitnessPal, one serving (recipe makes 2) is - 360 calories, 15 protein, 9 fiber, 24 fat. 
(Keep in mind you will have some of the dressing left over. You only use 2 Tbsp per salad.)
Of course, as always, you can add more or less ingredients as you please - it will just change the nutritional counts I have listed here. 
So, want a magic salad? Roast your veggies. Problem solved. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rice Paper Burger Rolls

This recipe started because I was wondering how to use up some leftover rice. I have no idea how it lead to this crispy, tasty, unique roll. 
I'm glad it lead here but I still don't know how it morphed from leftover rice. 
Rice paper is my new favorite ingredient to play with. I love "the usual" rice wraps such as these raw veggie ones:

But I really, really, REALLY love them baked until they are crispy. They are a great alternative to bread plus they are super fun. They take a little rehearsing as they are a bit sticky to work with. Practice makes perfect! 
You could deep fry them for even more tastiness but I was trying to take the healthier route by baking them. FYI - they are super-de-duper lovely baked. 

Rice Paper Burger Rolls

Burger Logs
1 lb extra lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/4 of a purple onion, sliced thin
1 cup brown rice, cooked 

8 rice paper wraps
2 - 3 Tbsp sesame seeds

Dipping Sauce
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
4 Tbsp rice vinegar

green onions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
Prepare burger logs - Mix together beef and garlic in a bowl until well combined. Form into 8 log shapes and place in a frying pan sprayed with cooking spray over medium high heat. 

Cook, turning to brown all sides, until meat is done. Let cool at least 15 minutes. 
Prepare wraps - soak a rice wrap in water as per package instructions. Lay on a work surface. Place 1/8th of the red pepper, onion, and rice in the center of the wrap.

Top with one of the cooked hamburger logs. I ended up cutting mine in half to lay flatter! 

Fold in sides of wrap to cover ends of the hamburger, then roll up rice wrap. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until all the hamburger logs are used up. You should have 8. Using a basting or pastry brush, brush the tops of each roll with a little water then sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. 
Note - Try not to fill them too full or they may split while cooking. 

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Gently flip the rolls over and bake at 400 for another 10 - 15 minutes. 
While the rolls are baking, prepare the sauce - in a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce, and rice vinegar. Serve with the Rice Paper Burger Rolls. 

Sprinkle with the green onions, if desired. 

Best served warm but they are pretty good just out of the fridge - they just lose some of the crunchiness. Great for lunch or as an appetizer. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Healthified Loco Moco

Ever since Sue introduced me to the Loco Moco (See post HERE) I have been obsessed. Rice + gravy + burger + egg = a ridiculous amount of deliciousness. 
Thing is.... I'm trying to healthify my lifestyle by eating a bit lower calorie, lower carb, etc..etc... and the Loco Moco is a bit heavy. But, good news! I have healthified the recipe to make it more friendly to my lifestyle goals. Swapping out a few ingredients lessens the calories and such but does not lose any of the tummy pleasing goodness. 
It is still a hearty and delicious meal that is sure to satisfy!
Try our regular Loco Moco (HERE), or give this one a try! Let us know which one you prefer.

Healthified Loco Moco

1/2 lb mushrooms
1 lb lean ground chicken
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup oats
1 egg
1/2 cup dried tomato, finely diced

Tomato Gravy
2 Tbsp cooking sherry
1 Tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 slice onion, diced
1 cup dried tomatoes
1 1/3 cup vegetable stock
salt & pepper

3 cups cooked rice
6 eggs, fried

Prepare burgers - Place mushrooms in a food processor or blender. Pulse until finely chopped. Place mushrooms into a separate bowl, add in the ground chicken, onion, garlic, oats, egg, and dried tomato. 

Mix together well and form into 6 patties. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat mat. (The reason I lined mine with plastic wrap is I chilled them for several hours because I was prepping ahead. I just flipped them from the plastic wrap onto the silpat when I was ready to cook them!) 

To cook - preheat oven to 375. Cook at 375 for 15 minutes, flip the burgers over, then cook for 10 - 15 minutes more (until cooked through). 

While burgers are cooking, prepare tomato gravy.
Prepare tomato gravy - in a small sauce pan, place cooking sherry, oil, garlic, onion, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt & pepper.

 Cook over medium heat until bubbling - about 5 - 8 minutes. Pour sauce into a blender or food processor and process until smooth (be careful, it is hot!). 
Pour back into saucepan and keep warm over low heat until ready to use. 
While burgers are cooking you can also prepare your rice and your fried eggs!
Assemble the loco moco - Place 1/2 cup cooked rice on a serving plate. Top with 1/6th of the tomato gravy. 

Top with a chicken burger patty.

Lastly, top with a fried egg. Serve immediately. Repeat with remaining 5 servings.

Soooooo good!

This is the perfect way to enjoy a filling comfort food meal without worrying too much about nutritional counts. You can make it even more healthy by using brown rice or cauliflower rice! 
I developed this recipe after my boss at work gave me some lovely dried tomatoes she had done.

The burger patties and gravy are a great way to use up dried tomatoes! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Creamy Prawn and Dill Wedge Salad

I always used to think that wedge salads seemed so silly. I mean - it's a big ol' hunk of lettuce. How is that going to be tasty? The thing is.... wedge salads are actually really, really good. 
No. Really.
The lettuce is magically transformed when you add the dressing and toppings.
Don't believe me?
Try it! You'll see. 
Oh.... you'll see. 
You'll be converted just like me and become obsessed with how delicious and pretty and healthy they are. Or not... you know... whatevs. But still, why risk missing out? 

Creamy Prawn and Dill Wedge Salad

1/3 cup 0 fat, plain, Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayo
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp dried dill
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/4 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper

16 oz prawns, raw/peeled
1 Tbsp fresh dill
1 large head iceberg lettuce

fresh dill

Prepare dressing.

Mix all dressing ingredients together except for the cucumber.

Keep cucumber separate until ready to serve (the cucumbers release liquid and will make the dressing runny.) Refrigerate until ready to use. 
Prepare prawns - Bring water + 1 Tbsp fresh dill to a boil over medium high heat. 

Drop in the prawns and cook until prawns are cooked and are pink. Remove from water let cool. 

Chop each prawn into about 3 pieces. 
Prepare salad - Cut the lettuce in 4 and remove the center core. Place each quarter on a serving plate. (By removing the center bit you should have a nice little "bowl" or flat spot for some of the prawns and dressing to sit.)

Stir the cucumber and prawns into the prepared dressing.

Scoop 1/4 of the dressing/prawn mixture onto each quarter of lettuce.

Sprinkle with a little more fresh dill, if desired. Serve immediately.

The dill and prawns on the crisp lettuce make for a very refreshing meal for only 162 calories per serving. 
Seriously. 162, that's it. 
According to MyFitnessPal - 162 calories, 22 protein, 10 carbs, and 4 fat. How great is that? (Recipe makes 4 servings) Wedge salads are quite filling and a nice change from the usual salad. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

Easter dinner this year was, once again, at Sue's house. She has the biggest kitchen to fit the whole family. I think we had 17 for dinner this year. Sue wanted to do a bacon themed Easter dinner so 99.9% of our dishes included bacon. Including our chicken cheese ball appie above. 
We saw an adorable bean bag chicken on Pinterest and decided to try and turn it into an edible treat. She turned out pretty cute. 
We will do a post on that recipe and link it back to here. (Check back for link).
We are sharing our entire meal here, from appies to desserts, and below the photos we have done separate posts for we will share the links! 
Lets start with appetizers, shall we?

The table center was our chicken cheese ball with several homemade breads. Sue made a Swiss zopf, herb and garlic knots, gluten free mini cornmeal muffins, and wholegrain crackers. I made a hot cross loaf. 

Veggies are so much more fun to eat when they look pretty. I made this vegetable flower tray for our mom's senior's center. Perfect for spring and Easter dinner. 

Mom made her famous deviled eggs and topped them with bacon to match our bacon theme. 

Our Aunty and Uncle brought a lovely fruit and nut mix to snack on too. The gummies on top are always the first to go!
For the main course we had a whole bunch of choices!

The spread! Sue's mother-in-law made the best stuffing!

Is it possible to have too many choices? I don't think so. 

Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin! A great ham alternative. Sue cooked it just right.

That turkey tho. Crispy skin is the best, am I right?

Add bacon bits to your green beans to elevate them to a whole new level. Seriously. Do it. 

Orra made these lovely filo pastry wrapped asparagus spears with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. They work as an appetizer or a side dish. So yummy!

And, can we just take a moment to admire these bacon wrapped roast carrots?
(Check back for link to recipe). This is how all carrots should be cooked from now on. 

We made our macaroni salad into a little piggy. Because adorable, that's why. 
(The ears, tail, and snout are bologna. The eyes, black olives.) 

Sue made a pea and bacon salad that was my favorite dish of the evening. I'm adding this to my permanent salad rotation. (Check back for link to recipe.)

The desserts were plentiful this year! Our cousin Carol-Anne made a tasty gluten free pineapple and coconut square pictured in the corner of the photo that was a big hit. 

Bacon for dessert? Yes. Of course. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies (recipe HERE), Maple Bacon Ice Cream (check back for link to recipe), and Chocolate Dipped Bacon (Check back for link). 

Sue made an impressive Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Caramelized Bacon. (Check back for link to recipe.)

And she made these crazy Pecan Pie Bacon Squares that everyone was drooling over! (Check back for link to recipe.)

More Chocolate Dipped Bacon - with skor bits, almonds, and salted peanuts. (Check back for link to recipe.) 

I made the richest, creamiest ice cream ever. Maple Bacon Ice Cream! Yes, bacon works in ice cream too! (Check back for link to recipe.) 

Orra made these fun peanut butter chocolate squares and added some pretend candy bacon because she didn't want to add real bacon. Pretend bacon still counts plus it looks cute. 
Want to check out where we get some of our ideas? Visit our Easter Pinterest Board and follow us on Pinterest!