Baked Portobello Mushroom Egg

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Looking back on my most recent posts and recipes, it would appear that I have become a vegetarian (kale salad and not one, but two Farm Share Fridays). I tend to favor vegetarian meals – they’re generally lighter and less expensive – but I often find myself craving something a little meatier and higher in protein. This meal is the best of both worlds – a hearty Portobello mushroom with the protein of an egg but the lightness of a vegetarian meal. It’s also very pretty – I mean, look at it.

Baked Portobello Mushroom Egg

Yield: 2 servings. Serving size: 1 cap. Per Serving: $0.90, 118 calories, 8g fat, 2g carbs, 10g protein.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wipe two Portobello mushroom caps clean with a damp paper towel (never submerse mushrooms in water – they’re like sponges). Using a spoon, scrape the gills out of the mushroom cap on the bottom side. This makes room for the egg. Place the mushroom caps in the oven and bake for about 3 minutes upside down, then lay to dry upside down on a paper towel. This releases excess moisture and par cooks the mushroom.

Crumple up tin foil into two rings just smaller than the mushroom cap and place on a baking sheet. Put the mushroom on the ring upside down. The ring should prop the sides of the cap up a bit more than they naturally fall, making more room for the egg.

Crack one egg into a liquid measuring cup, and slowly pour into the mushroom cap. The yolk will come all at once, so pour slowly. If the egg spills over the top, don’t worry – it will just be egg whites and will cook quickly. Repeat with a second egg.

Cook in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until the whites start to set and become opaque. To finish off the top, place in the broiler for about 30 seconds. Top with 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with a side of kale salad.

Loving Leftovers: Spring Rolls & Veggie Bowl

If you don’t plan ahead, cooking can take a lot of time out of your life. Although I love to cook, I only do it a few times a week. If I had all the time in the world, I would love to cook a meal from scratch every night – but that’s just not realistic between work, going to the gym, and having a decent social life. Instead, I plan ahead to make 2 or 3 different dishes in bulk and eat leftovers throughout the week.

The leftovers approach is fine by me – I have no aversion to leftovers and find it the easiest way to cook for myself without spending all of my free time in the kitchen. But I recognize that leftovers aren’t for everyone. Sometimes I can get a little bored of eating the same thing over and over.

My best advice is to reinvent your leftovers. Here I’ve prepared two dishes with almost all of the same ingredients except a few (very easy) additions. First, I made spring rolls with farro, tofu, vegetables and a peanut-mustard dipping sauce. Using a fried egg, I reinvented the dish into a veggie grain bowl using the filling from the spring rolls. You could take it a step further by adding a different protein, a new veggie, or your favorite grain to the bowl. This approach will save you a lot of time in the kitchen while also keeping your meals exciting every day.

Read more about my approach to leftovers in this post from September. How do you keep your leftovers fresh and exciting? Leave a comment with some inspiration for me and other readers!

What you need for both recipes:

  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts chopped and sautéed with ½ tablespoon soy sauce until wilted (I used the leftover Brussels sprouts centers from this recipe)
  • 1 head red cabbage, chopped and sautéed with 1 clove minced garlic and ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Farro & Tofu Spring Rolls with Peanut Mustard Dipping Sauce

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Drain a ½ block of extra firm tofu between paper towels for 20 minutes (best results if you put something heavy on top, like a large saucepan, to press the tofu). Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients above (you’ll use only half for this recipe, the rest for the grain bowl). Slice the tofu into ½ inch slices and season with salt and pepper. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook tofu in pan for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set on a paper towel to cool and cut into 1 inch strips.

Moisten 1 spring roll wrapper according to package directions. Lay on a wet paper towel on top of a cutting board. In the center of the wrapper, place the farro, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, tofu, and cilantro (about 1/3 cup total). Roll according to package directions. Repeat to make a total of 6 spring rolls.

Prepare the dipping sauce by whisking ½ tablespoon peanut oil, ½ tablespoon soy sauce, and ½ tablespoon whole grain mustard in a bowl. Store these in the fridge wrapped individually in plastic wrap (otherwise the wrappers will stick together and tear).

Yield: 3 servings. Serving size: 2 rolls. Per Serving: $2.88, 343 calories, 11g fat, 68g carbs, 16g protein.

 

Veggie Grain Bowl

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Top the leftover farro and veggies from the spring rolls with a sunny side up egg. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

 

Yield: 2 servings. Per Serving: $3.01, 339 calories, 7.5g fat, 83g carbs, 18g protein.

Cooking (un)Inspiration

My menu of meals has been pretty blah lately. Today for lunch I had a tuna sandwich with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes on the side. Healthy, yes – creative, no. I can’t even claim that I “cooked” it – I just opened the can and cut up some veggies!

Needless to say, my cooking creativity has been pretty low for the past few weeks. The winter weather is getting to me and it seems all I want to do is order in and catch up on my DVR. This is the time of year where I usually rely on a stockpile of frozen soups and pre-made breakfast sandwiches, but my supplies are low. Instead, I’ve found myself drawn towards easy to prep meals and quick to grab snacks. Luckily there was a sale on Odwalla granola bars at the grocery store this week and they’re getting me through the week.

I started to break through the my creativity block with this meal I concocted after getting home late last night: sweet potatoes and chopped asparagus sautéed in olive oil with an egg cooked over the top. YUM. It was created from ingredients in my fridge leftover from other meals. As I recently learned from this TED Talk (Phil Hansen: Embrace the Shake), sometimes it takes a little bit of restriction to get the creativity juices flowing again. The need to create something with the few items left in my fridge created a creativity challenge.

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I hope to get out of this rut and have new recipes to share next week. Any advice? What do you do when you’re in a creativity rut? I’m off to Houston, Texas for work next week and hoping the change of scenery (and weather) will speed up my creative process!

Best Meal of 2013

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December really threw me for a loop. Between Thanksgiving, traveling for work, a mini vacation, and Christmas, I felt like I was barely home. When I was home, work was busy and I never found time to go to the grocery store. So I ended up eating out (or at a hotel) almost every night this month.

Even when I went home for Christmas my family ordered out. There are so many of us (I’m one of five) that it is almost impossible to please everyone. (I don’t know how my mom did it all those years!) The one night we decided to make something at home, the oven got stuck on cleaning mode, got really, really, really hot, and then died. Woof.

Although I love spending time with my family, I was so happy to come back to Boston and get back into my routine. That’s why this egg sandwich gets my vote for best meal of 2013. It’s very simple – an over easy egg with parmesan cheese, sliced tomato, and cilantro on a sliced ciabatta roll with Dijon mustard – but it’s the first meal I’ve cooked for myself since before Thanksgiving.

I was a little afraid that a month of eating out had killed my cooking mojo – but all it took was a trip to the grocery store and some time at home and I’m back to normal! Reflecting on the past year, what was your best meal?

Have a happy, healthy New Year’s celebration!

Spinach & Fried Egg Quinoa Bowl

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Some nights, dinner just needs to be easy. When there is too much to do and not enough time cooking an elaborate dinner (no matter how delicious it may be) usually falls to the bottom of my list. It becomes very easy in those instances to choose a less-than-healthy meal – a slice of pizza from down the street or bagel bites from the corner store. For me, stress brings on cravings for unhealthy (and, ultimately, unsatisfying) food.

The solution? A filling, healthy dinner easily thrown together with kitchen staples. I usually have quinoa, eggs, and some sort of green vegetable on hand. If you don’t, use what you have. This recipe can easily be recreated with another grain or pasta and whatever fresh (or frozen) veggies you can find in your refrigerator.

Perfect for a busy week night, this recipe saves time and lends itself to ultimate efficiency. While the quinoa is cooking, you can check things off your to-do list – unload the dishwasher, tidy up your room, or pour (and finish) a glass of wine. Once the quinoa is done, it’s less than 10 minutes before you can dig in – and then get back to the to-do list!

Fried Egg & Spinach Quinoa Bowl

Cook 1/3 cup dry quinoa according to package directions. Quinoa cooks perfectly in a rice cooker, saving you the trouble of keeping an eye on the stove. When the quinoa is finished, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 cup spinach. When the spinach begins to wilt, add quinoa, ½ garlic clove (grated) and ¼ teaspoon salt. Sauté until spinach is cooked through and put aside in a bowl.

Spray the same pan with cooking spray and heat again over medium heat. To test the heat, sprinkle a few drops of water into the pan. When the water sizzles upon touching the pan, you’re ready to crack 1 egg into the pan to fry. Gently flip the egg over with a spatula when the egg whites are opaque (about 3 minutes). Continue to cook to your desired doneness. I like yolks runny, so I immediately turn off the heat and cook for about 15 seconds on the other side. Cook for up to 1 minute if you like the yolk firm.

Serve the egg on top of the quinoa spinach mixture with a sprinkle of pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Double the recipe for equally easy leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Yield: 1 servings. Per Serving: $1.87, 328 calories, 13g fat, 41g carbs, 15g protein.