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.

Meal Plan Monday: Weekend Getaway Edition

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Me and my best friends on a day trip to Rockport, MA this spring. They’ll be joining me on most of my weekend getaways this summer!

Vermont, Portsmouth, Portland, Newport, Portland, Nantucket, Vermont, Old Orchard Beach. That’s a summary of my weekend getaway schedule this summer (so far). Mind you, the summer consists of only 15 weekends (inclusive of Memorial Day and Labor Day) – so I’m keeping myself pretty busy. That seems to be the norm of New England summers – everyone escapes the city for a different destination. I guess we’re lucky that Boston is close to so many exciting places to visit – mountains, lakes, ponds, islands, oceans – everything you could want!

As much as I love to get away for the weekend, it does through a wrench in my meal planning. A weekend getaway leaves you with less time to grocery shop, plan your meals, and prep for the week. The last thing I want is to feel stressed coming back from a weekend away, so I put together a few tips to help with meal planning when you’re spending a weekend away from home.

Before you leave:

1. Freeze your leftovers so they won’t go bad over the weekend. Pay close attention to veggies and fruits that are most susceptible to going mushy while you’re away. Most vegetables will freeze well once lightly cooked.

2. Decide what you’ll eat on Monday. You might even go so far as to pack your breakfast or lunch in advance. It will alleviate the stress of transitioning back to your week after a fun summer weekend. My goal is to only eat out for one meal on Monday’s after a weekend trip – only if necessary!

Once you get back:

3. Grocery shop as soon as you can. If you can, stop at the grocery story on your way home. If that’s not possible, hit it up on Monday after work (after all, you already planned your meals for Monday anyway!)

4. Cut your budget by 30%. Since you’re only planning for Monday-Thursday/Friday, spend less on groceries so you have extra money for your trip. Cheaper items that still keep you full: beans, tofu, and brown rice.

5. Aim for 30 minutes or less. Since you won’t have much weekend time to prep, stick with meals that take less than 30 minutes to get ready. Quick to prep meals: salad, pasta, shrimp, and quinoa.

Enjoy your weekend getaways! Where are you most excited to visit this summer?

Everyday Kale Salad

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Summer is in full swing and it has left me running in circles (in a good way). I blame training for a triathlon and beautiful weather that begs for outdoor social engagements. I’ve been a little behind on my posts (and laundry, and email, and cleaning…) but I’m getting back on schedule. Because it’s been hard to keep to my usual routine, I’ve been leaning toward easy to prep meals that can keep for a while in the fridge, so that the last minute dinner with the girls doesn’t through of my meal plan for the week. Insert this kale salad. As I’ve said before, kale is my favorite leafy green for many reasons. Today’s reason is it’s heartiness, which allows you to keep kale longer than other salad greens. No more slimy mixed greens for you!

Before I jump into the recipe, I need to highlight one thing: the key here is massaging the kale. Yes, it sounds weird, but it makes a huge difference!

Everyday Kale Salad

Yield: 4 servings. Per Serving (without mix-ins): $0.53, 71 calories, 4g fat, 23g carbs, 2g protein.

Wash 1 bunch of kale (about 1 pound), remove stems, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Whisk together your favorites of the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil – I highly suggest olive oil as your base for any dressing, but you could use vegetable oil if necessary.
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or acid – I like apple cider or red wine vinegars, but you could also use balsamic or rice wine vinegar, or even lemon or lime juice.
  • 1 teaspoon syrup – honey is my go-to, but maple syrup or agave nectar works.
  • 1 teaspoon salt – go kosher or go home!

Massage the kale with your hands much like you would knead dough, until it turns a dark green. Toss in the dressing and let marinate in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Add your favorite salad mixings (pictured here – tomatoes, red onion, fresh corn, and Israeli couscous) and enjoy!

Summer Recipe Round-up

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all had a chance to relax this long weekend while enjoying some nice weather. The weather was a little unpredictable in Boston but I still had a chance to soak up some rays in between passing showers. I haven’t quite had much time to cook this weekend, but hey, sometimes that’s relaxing too!

In honor of the first official day of summer, I put together a round-up of summer recipes you can enjoy as the weather gets even nicer and backyard barbeques start popping up. Today is the start of everyone’s favorite season (come on, admit it) and there is lot of fun and good weather to look forward to. I’m looking forward to competing in a few races, taking weekend trips around New England with my friends, and the start of my farm share in a few weeks. What are you looking forward to this summer?

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Shrimp, Watermelon & Cucumber SaladCrisp, fresh and very refreshing. Best enjoyed outdoors with a wine spritzer. Per Serving: $6.36, 257 calories, 6g fat, 25g carbs, 29g protein.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce – Yes, warm lettuce is good. Per Serving: $1.93, 80 calories, 7g fat, 3.5g carbs, 2g protein.

Summer Corn GuacamoleBecause who doesn’t love guac and fresh corn off the cob? Per Serving: $0.81, 88 calories, 7g fat, 7g carbs, 1.5g protein.

Broccoli ColeslawPrefect for your next potluck barbeque. Per Serving: $2.01, 71 calories, 1.5g fat, 12.5g carbs, 3g protein.

Cheers to summer 2014!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

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In college, my most popular Google search term was probably “healthy cheap recipes for college students.” I spent a lot of time trying to make decent food at an incredibly low cost – it was a challenge. That’s how I developed one of my go-to recipes at the time, Fiesta Rice. Fiesta Rice is essentially rice with ANY type of canned vegetable in it – usually corn, tomatoes, and black beans – topped with cheese. (Looking back, I realize this dish was probably very heavy on the sodium, but at the time it felt relatively healthy.) If I felt like splurging, sometimes I’d buy a  fresh green pepper to add into the mix. It was cheap, easy to make in bulk, and pretty good considering my parameters.

When Googling these recipes, I often came across spaghetti squash as a main ingredients. I had never heard of spaghetti squash before and really didn’t know anything about it. It wasn’t something we ate growing up, Rachael Ray never used it in a recipe on the Food Network, and I can’t remember ever seeing it on a restaurant menu. Probably because it can be cooked in the microwave, it was often on the “meals perfect for college students” websites that I scoured for ideas.

I didn’t try spaghetti squash right away – it took me a long time to warm up to the idea. I still feel like a newbie using it in recipes. I’m not sure why this vegetable doesn’t get more attention – it’s just 31 calories per cup and actually looks like spaghetti and can be cooked in the microwave. I can’t think of a better low-calories noodle replacement.

This recipe felt like a natural use for spaghetti squash – Pad Thai is a favorite take out meal of mine but I often feel like it’s too greasy or heavy (and then end up regretting the purchase). This is super light, low calorie, and much less expensive than the take out version. You can also super-load it with veggies to ramp up the nutritional value. Don’t be afraid of the spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Yield: 5 servings. Per Serving: $3.60, 379 calories, 19g fat, 31g carbs, 28g protein.

Using a fork, poke holes in the skin of a 3 pound spaghetti squash. Microwave the squash for 12 minutes on high. Let sit in microwave for 5 minutes to finish cooking.

While the squash is microwaving, prepare your vegetables: julienne 2 cups of carrots (about half of a small bag of baby carrots, cut into fourths), chop 8 green onions, mince 2 cloves garlic.  2 cups bean sprouts. Cut 2 chicken breasts into thinly sliced bite sized pieces and toss in ¼ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

When the squash is done, cut it in half at the equator (not lengthwise) and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Use a fork to gently scrape out the noodle like flesh into a bowl and set aside.
To make the sauce, combine the juice from 1 lime, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, and sriracha to taste (start with a teaspoon). Heat in a small saucepan over low heat until combined and smooth. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Cook the chicken in saute pan in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside. Add carrots and 2 cups bean sprouts and cook for one minute. Add garlic and cook for another minute, then transfer the mixture to a large stock pot. Scramble 1 egg in  the saute pan and add to stock pot. Add the chicken, squash, sauce, and green onion to the large pot and cook for 1 minute to combine. Garnish with ½ cup chopped peanuts and cilantro. 

Meal Plan Monday: May 12, 2014

DSC_0290I have to be honest – this week’s meal plan is a little weak. I’m coming off of a week of being sick (flu-like symptoms: chills, aches, cough, and extremely tired) so I’m not on my A game (I didn’t even make it to the grocery store this weekend!). My meal plan last week was completely thrown off, so I have a lot of leftovers in the fridge to try to salvage. So what I’m trying to say is, take this with a grain of salt.

Last night I made a one pot pasta, inspired by my girl Madde at The Collegiate Vegan. It is exactly what it sounds like – throw a pound of uncooked pasta, a bunch of ingredients (in this case, garlic, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, onion, spinach, and olive oil) in a huge pot with 4 cups of water (I also used 1 cup of white wine) and let it cook away for 15 minutes. At the end – voila – you have a delicious pasta dish and only one pot to clean.

Tonight I’m going to make some sort of Greek-inspired dish with shrimp, artichokes, and feta cheese. These are all ingredients that were supposed to go into a salad last week that I never got around to making (due to the aforementioned flu-like symptoms). I might throw them all on top of some Israeli couscous or quinoa. I have some leftover green onions that I’m going to roast in the oven for some added texture.

Wednesday I’m digging some frozen spinach gnocchi out of the freezer, and then Friday I’m on my own. I might try to pull together some other leftovers from my fridge, or just give in and treat myself to a meal out!

 

Sunday

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
B English muffin w/ peanut butter Blueberry banana bread Blueberry banana bread Blueberry banana bread Blueberry banana bread Blueberry banana bread Scrambled eggs
L Egg salad sandwich One pot pasta Coworker’s going away lunch Greek dish with shrimp and artichokes Greek dish with shrimp and artichokes Leftovers or out Leftovers or out
D One pot pasta Greek dish with shrimp and artichokes Greek dish with shrimp and artichokes Pan fried spinach gnocchi Pan fried spinach gnocchi Leftovers or out

Leftovers or out

 

Snacks this week: Apples, yogurt protein shakes, popcorn

Grocery list: Nothing! All leftovers from last week

From the pantry, fridge, & freezer: Pasta, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, onion, white wine, garlic, olive oil, shrimp, canned artichokes, couscous, feta cheese, green onions, spinach gnocchi, banana, blueberries

What’s on your menu this week?

 

 

Orange Chicken with Roasted Bok Choy

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Greg must have been 10, meaning I was about 12, and we were all crammed around our circular kitchen table in what seemed to be a who-could-eat-the-most-the-fastest competition. Mom and Dad had ordered take-out from our favorite Chinese place. My face buried in a bowl of pork fried rice and chicken fingers, I was hardly paying attention to Greg – until he starting screaming.

“Something’s happening in my mouth!” he yelled in panic, his eyes wide with fear. He had mistaken a hot chili pepper for an orange peel in his favorite dish – orange chicken.

You’d think our response would be concern – and initially it was. My mom went to his rescue, giving him a glass of milk to counteract the heat. But once we learned what was going on, we all started laughing. Something’s happening in my mouth? He couldn’t have come up with something more specific to say? Maybe, “I ate something too spicy!”

To this day, every time my family orders Chinese (which is often) the “something’s happening in my mouth” story comes up. Although we laugh at how funny it was and tease Greg for his over-reaction, we all take extra care to examine our plates and avoid those hot chili peppers. None of us want to be the family joke for the next 15 years (notice I skipped the peppers in this recipe!).

Orange Chicken with Roasted Bok Choy
Yield: 2 servings. Per Serving: $3.28, 477 calories, 18g fat, 60g carbs, 24g protein

Cook ½ cup quinoa according to package directions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine 2 tablespoons flour with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cut 2 chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and toss in the flour mixture. Cook the chicken over medium heat in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan (this helps reduce the amount of oil you need). Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is lightly browned.

While the chicken is cooking, juice 2 oranges. Combine the juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and ½ tablespoon honey in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until bubbling, about 5 minutes. Add to the skillet with the (cooked) chicken and simmer on medium-low heat until the mixture sticks to the chicken.

Quarter 2 bok choy and remove the core by cutting the ends off at a diagonal. Put in baking dish in a single layer and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, flipping once, until the leaves are bright green and starting to brown.

Udon Noodle Soup

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For my birthday a few months ago, I went out to dinner with my sister, brother, and his girlfriend to our favorite restaurant in Boston – Symphony Sushi (or “Symph Sush”, as we call it). While I was waiting for them to arrive (I’m always early, they’re generally late) I noticed a couple girls sitting next to me eating an enormous bowl of soup. It was full of bright colored vegetables, plump udon noodles, and came with a side of veggie tempura that they were dipping in the broth. Although I typically eat sushi and only sushi at Symph, it was my birthday so I decided to branch out. I scoured the menu to see if I could find the soup from the table next door and try it for myself.

Found it, ordered it, and fell in love. I couldn’t believe I had been going to Symph Sush for years and never tried this amazing soup. I ordered it once a week for three weeks after that meal because I couldn’t get enough. Then, of course, I decided to recreate it.

You all seem to enjoy my take-out inspired recipes, so here’s another! This udon noodle soup can be made with all sorts of vegetables. Here I stuck with just greens, but you could add radishes, carrots, baby corn – whatever you like. I really wanted to make this with baby bok choy (and will next time) but the selection in the grocery store was wilted and the kale was a great substitute.

Warning: Udon noodles are not that healthy, but they are delicious! The dark green veggies in this soup definitely counteract the carb heavy udon noodles. For a lighter version, replace the udon with soba or rice noodles. You can also add any type of protein or tempura to this to up the calories and make it a more substantial meal – chicken, beef, or shrimp would be great.

Udon Noodle Soup

Drain 1 package extra firm tofu on paper towels. In a large pot, sauté 2 medium sliced zucchini in ½ tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. After 2 minutes, add 3 cups kale, stems removed and ripped into 2 inch pieces. Cook until the kale turns bright green, then add 1 cup green onions, diced into 1 inch pieces. Grate 2 cloves garlic into the pot and sauté for 5 more minutes.

Add 4 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water to the pot. When warm (about 5 minutes) add 1 ½ teaspoons lemongrass paste, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon sriracha. Bring to a low boil and adjust seasonings to taste. Add 3 ounces extra firm tofu, diced into ½ inch pieces.

Prepare 2 servings of udon noodles according to package directions (microwave, if possible). Serve warm, allowing udon noodles to sit in the soup for a few minutes before eating.

Yield: 3 servings. Per Serving: $2.73, 235 calories, 5g fat, 45g carbs, 8g protein.