Well Dined


Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

Well Dined | Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

I was approached by a representative of Nuts.com to enter their healthy summer snack contest! Woo! People are finding my blog and I get an excuse to play with cool ingredients and make a healthy snack.

I knew I wanted to do some kind of bar, but I am not enough of a baker to create a recipe on my own, so I turned to the best baker I know - Melissa from Smells like Brownies.  Together, we came up with a granola bar recipe that included cacao butter, cacao nibs, dates, hazelnuts, unsweetened coconut, almond flour, chia seeds, and oats.  Sweetened only with honey, these bars are a powerhouse of energy (they also have great texture and flavor).

Well Dined | Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

To get the most flavor, roast the hazelnuts at 350 for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan at 10 and 15 minutes to ensure that they roast evenly.  You can then rub most of the skins off with a towel.  If you really want to get rid of all of the skins, you will have to blanch them and the skins before roasting.

You will need a food processor for this recipe, but it comes together very easily.  Then you just press into a pan and bake.  The bars are a little crumbly, so if you aren't a fan of that - try soaking the chia seeds in a bit of water before adding them.

Well Dined | Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

The real MVP of this recipe is the cacao butter.  My goodness, does it smell and taste delicious.  It's like vegetable oil (or more like coconut oil in terms of healthiness and uses) that tastes like chocolate - I might be a little obsessed now.  You can wrap these individually to travel or to freeze.  You can also sub in whatever nuts you like, add more dried fruit - whatever you want!

Oh, yeah - if you make sure to use GF oats, this is totally Gluten Free!  And if you replace the honey with something like maple syrup, it's also vegan!  Enjoy!


Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

Well Dined | Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

I was looking for a dish to bring over to my friend, Melissa, who just had a baby.  This recipe immediately popped out at me - one dish, easy to transport, easy to reheat, and lot's of veggies (plus cheese and pasta, of course).  There's a reason people are always bringing casseroles!  I also liked that it uses a lot of frozen veggies, making it budget friendly and easy to make year-round.

I also may have used it as an excuse to buy this thing, which I have been wanting for a long time - so cute!

Well Dined | Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

This is actually enough for 2 casseroles - I made one for me, too!

So, we start out with ALL THE VEGETABLES.  Ever.  Just kidding... kind of.  Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, then add frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.  When those have thawed, add in shredded carrot and zucchini.

Well Dined | Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

I saw this and thought to myself, "not enough vegetables," so I added some frozen peas to the boiling pasta for the last 30 seconds.  You can use whatever shape of pasta you like, I thought bowties would be fun and cute.  I used Barilla protein plus pasta, because it boasts 17g of protein per 3.5oz serving and veggie dishes can always use some extra protein.  I also rinsed the pasta (and peas) in cold water to stop the cooking and get rid of the extra starch (something I only do for pasta salads, and pasta that is going to be cooked again in the oven).


Baked Eggs in Avocado

Well Dined | Baked Eggs in Avocado

Normally, I wouldn't advertise for warm avocado.  I mean, that's just weird.  But combined with a soft egg and runny yolk?  It becomes like butter.  This is the breakfast of champions, friends.

Well Dined | Baked Eggs in Avocado

First you will need to scoop out enough of the flesh so that your eggs will fit.  Go ahead and just eat that scooped out avocado plain, yum.  Place the avocado halves into a muffin tin or ramekins to hold them in place and catch any egg drippings.  If you want, you can add a teeny bit of water into the ramekins to prevent the spilled egg from burning.

I find that the best way to get the eggs into the avocado is to crack each one into a small bowl.  Then, carefully scoop up the yolk with a spoon and place it in the hollow.  Then spoon the white on top until it is full.  Save any leftover white for another use.

Well Dined | Baked Eggs in Avocado

Season with salt and pepper and bake in a 425 deg F oven for 15-20 min, until the whites are set.  The yolks might cook on top, but the bottom will still be runny.  Grab a spoon and dig in!

Well Dined | Baked Eggs in Avocado

If you want to totally ignore the fact that you were trying to have a grain free breakfast and spread that sucker on some buttered toast, I wont blame you.

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Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Shells

Well Dined | Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Shells

I feel like I constantly need some form of cheesy winter squash pasta on hand at all times.  It's kind of a problem.  I saw a recipe for shells with pumpkin and ricotta that sounded good, but the comments all said it came out dry and bland.  So instead of using that recipe, I decided to make a pumpkin version of my Spring Shells and Cheese.

Well Dined | Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Shells

So instead of ricotta, I made a bechamel with sage, pumpkin, Gruyere, and Parmesan.  Then I added in some sauteed spinach and shallots, for health and color.

Well Dined | Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Shells

Because adding spinach totally makes up for all the cheese and pasta, right?  I mean, I did use whole wheat shells...

Well Dined | Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Shells

Anyway, I added in some pecans for crunch.  Nuts are healthy, too, right?


Phyllo Wrapped Salmon with Pea Salad

In my ever-continuing quest for salmon recipes, I came across this one for salmon topped with goat cheese and baked inside phyllo dough - yum!  Who wouldn't want to eat that?  I wanted something pretty light to balance out the dish, so I decided on a fresh pea, feta, and prosciutto salad that was great as a side, but also good enough to eat on its own.