Well Dined

11Aug/160

Broccoli and Potato Gribiche

Well Dined | Broccoli and Potato Gribiche

When I was assigned Melissa's blog last month for SRC, I was reminded of all the recipes of hers that I had been wanting to make.  And I couldn't get my mind off of this warm potato salad with roasted broccoli and an egg vinaigrette.  That vinaigrette is called "sauce gribiche", which I had never heard of before.  Melissa says, "It’s an eggy French vinaigrette, apparently friends with mayonnaise, that is made from hardboiled eggs, oil, vinegar, capers, and fresh herbs."  Sign me up!

Well Dined | Broccoli and Potato Gribiche

First step - roast the potatoes and the broccoli.  Why do I only have a photo of the potatoes?  I don't know.  Melissa used purple potatoes, which looked gorgeous.  I couldn't find any, though, so I used red.

Well Dined | Broccoli and Potato Gribiche

Meanwhile, boil the eggs.  Hello, lovelies!

25Jul/161

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!

11Dec/150

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Well Dined | Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

A little bit sweet, a little bit savory, a little bit herby and cheesy - this yummy dish looks gorgeous and tastes amazing, plus it is low carb!  Both the husband and I loved it, which is sometimes difficult to achieve.  So I call this one a winner!

Well Dined | Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Start by roasting some squash halves (keep in mind that the full recipe uses 2 whole squashes, even though I only show 1).

Well Dined | Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Meanwhile, make the filling by sauteing onion, celery, garlic, and herbs; browning crumbled sausage; and then adding apple.

23Dec/140

Holiday Round-up

If you are starting to panic because Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is closing in and you don't have a dinner plan yet, fear not - I have you covered!  I have a round-up of all of my holiday recipes, from protein to sides to dessert, and even breakfast!  So please enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Well Dined | Holiday Meal

Perfect Roasted Turkey, Apple Sausage Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Cider Gravy

Well Dined | Brined and Roasted Pork

Brined and Roasted Pork

Well Dined | Slow Cooked Cider Ham

Slow Cooked Cider Ham

Well Dined | Dr Pepper Glazed Ham with Prunes

Dr Pepper Glazed Ham with Prunes

Well Dined | Garlic and Herb Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

Garlic and Herb Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

18Dec/140

Apple Butter Glazed Pork Loin

Well Dined | Apple Butter Glazed Pork Loin

Looking for yet another side to go with your Bacon Bourbon Sweet Potatoes?  Check out this pork loin glazed with Dijon mustard, apple butter, and cider and roasted over veggies and sage.  It's moist, tender, savory, sweet, and easy to make - plus it's pretty healthy!

I came up with this dish because I needed a protein to go with leftover sweet potatoes, and because I wanted to try out the recipe for the apple butter glaze.  We are members of the Frog's Leap wine club, and they sent us a little jar of apple butter along with our last shipment of wine.  They also included a recipe for a savory glaze using the apple butter, Dijon mustard, apple cider, shallot, and garlic - it sounded great!

Well Dined | Apple Butter Glazed Pork Loin

Start by placing a few carrots and an onion in a roasting pan, top with a few sprigs of sage, then pour in a little bit of apple cider (to keep the meat from drying out).  Season the pork loin with salt and pepper, and set it on the vegetables and roast it on high heat for 15 minutes.

Well Dined | Apple Butter Glazed Pork Loin

Then take it out, spread the glaze over the top, and return it to the oven at a lower temp for 45 minutes.  And that's it!  Rest and slice and you're ready to serve.  This is a great dish for fall with flavors that pair with lots of seasonal side dishes.  Enjoy!

1Dec/140

Thanksgiving 2014

Well Dined | Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

You know, I tried to be good and blog about Thanksgiving stuff before the holiday so that it might actually be useful to somebody.  I even made a few dishes in advance, but I didn't post about them in time.  Oh well!  Prepare for a lot of Thanksgiving type posts!

Anyway, we don't have any family where we live so we normally travel for Thanksgiving.  But this year we decided to switch it up and travel for Christmas, so we were on our own for Turkey Day.  We had originally planned to stay at the Inn at Little Washington (!!!), but Jasper got sick and we had to cancel.  So then I had to figure out what to make at the last minute for 2 people - initiate panic mode.  But I got my menu together on Monday, went to the grocery store on Tuesday (which was surprisingly not that crazy), and prepped on Wednesday.

Well Dined | Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

I tried to cut it down to just the basics - turkey (breast only), stuffing (half recipe), mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce (bought), and rolls (bought).  It was still way too much food for 2 people so there are lots of leftover sandwiches in my future.

Well Dined | Thanksgiving Dinner 2014 Turkey Breast

First up, the star - turkey.  There was no way I was going to roast a whole turkey for 2 people, so I bought a whole breast on the bone.  I definitely could have gone with a half breast, but now we have lots of sandwich meat!  And guys, I don't want to brag or anything, but I am SO GOOD at turkey.  Brined, air dried, stuffed with sage butter, rubbed with avocado oil, and started at a high temp - this baby was PERFECT.  It was juicy and tender with crispy skin and super crazy flavorful.  Love it.  It's also really easy to carve - you just cut along the breast bone until the meat is released, then turn it on its side and slice.

13Nov/141

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pies

Well Dined | Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pies

Melissa and I are back at it!  This time it is with a super delicious, and seasonally appropriate, roasted vegetable pot pie that is super comforting and filling.  I think even meat eaters will love it - seriously!  If you think about it, there isn't that much chicken in a regular pot pie, and it is in tiny cubes that sort of blend in with everything else.  So who's gonna miss it?  Not me!  Especially not when you top it with a killer rosemary and black pepper crust.  I'm not kidding, you guys, this crust is awesome.  I want to use it for all kinds of savory tart type things.  This recipe is labor intensive, so give yourself time.  Or make it with a buddy!

Well Dined | Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pies

So, first step - make the dough for the crust.  This involves flour, butter, buttermilk, egg yolks, and (most importantly) rosemary and black pepper.  Crack that black pepper yourself, you want the flavor and the unevenly sized bits.  The crust is what makes this dish special, so don't skip it!

Well Dined | Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pie

Next, cut up those veggies!  So, so many veggies.  We made a lot of editorial choices with this recipe - eliminate pumpkin (who needs it when there is also butternut squash?), boost the brussels, etc...  Afterwards we realized (per Melissa's husband) that replacing the carrots with parsnips would have added a nice pepperiness to balance the sweetness of the squash.  Good idea, Dave!

23Aug/142

Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Roasted Red Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes, and Grilled Artichoke Hearts

Well Dined | Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Roasted Red Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes, and Grilled Artichoke Hearts
Last month, I signed up to bring pasta salad to a potluck.  In typical me fashion, I decided that I had to make it myself.  After cruising the internet for a bit, I came across a recipe with smoked gouda, which was all I needed to be sold.  Roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts?  Total bonus.
Well Dined | Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Roasted Red Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes, and Grilled Artichoke Hearts
I choose to use gemelli for my pasta because it is my favorite and it is really structurally sound - it holds up to anything.  While that was boiling, I diced up my roasted peppers and artichoke hearts (I was lucky to find grilled ones at the store).  I had a couple of tomatoes hanging around, so I chopped those up and threw them in too.  After I rinsed the pasta in cold water (normally a big no-no, but good for pasta salads), I tossed it with the veggies and the cubed gouda.
Well Dined | Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Roasted Red Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes, and Grilled Artichoke Hearts
Then came the dressing, where I inexplicably decided to take the opposite route and go quick and easy.  I used mayonnaise and bottled Italian dressing and it came out just right - light and flavorful.  You are of course welcome to make your own dressing from scratch.  Top with fresh herbs and go!  This is hearty and fresh and super yummy - it was very popular at the potluck, thank goodness!

30May/140

Week of Meals

A friend of mine asked if I could put together a week of meals that are healthy, easy, and cost effective for a single working mother.  I thought that sounded like a great idea!  But I definitely underestimated how much work it would be.  It's hard to make food for just two people without having a ton of leftovers - so to get a different meal in each night, I had to figure out how to use ingredients in multiple dishes.  And I wanted to make sure that they were healthy, had a bit of variety, and took 30 minutes or less to put together.  It's a tall order, but I think I managed.  Each recipe is sized for two adults, and there is a shopping list included at the bottom of the post.

Well Dined | Broiled Salmon with Mustard Butter and Boiled Potatoes and Green Beans

First up - Broiled Salmon with Mustard Butter and Boiled Potatoes and Green Beans.  This meal is healthy, easy, and comes together in under 30 minutes.  I am so in love with this mustard butter (that I discovered making this recipe), I make it all the time now.  There are no grains in this dinner, and as far as starchy potatoes go, baby red-skinned are relatively low on the glycemic index.  Plus - by cooking more salmon and vegetables than you need, you will already have the ingredients you need for dinner the next night.  This meal comes first because fish needs to be cooked the same night that it is purchased for best quality.

The salmon is going to be one of the more expensive proteins for the week, but it is worth it because it is so good for you (not to mention delicious).  Gotta get those Omega-3's!  However, I do not recommend buying farm-raised Atlantic salmon as it is full of chemicals and pollutants.  Instead, I recommend buying wild Alaskan or farmed Norwegian.  The Norwegian salmon is pretty great and I can get it here in NoVA for around $15/lb, and coho goes for $13/lb (versus $29/lb for king salmon, yikes!).  If you absolutely cannot swing Alaskan or Norwegian salmon, buy another type of fish instead (cod, halibut, or tilapia would be good).

Well Dined | Salmon Nicoise Salad

For our second dinner, we use the extra ingredients from the previous night, plus a few more, to make Salmon Nicoise Salad.  The only thing you have to cook for this dinner is hard boiled eggs, and you can do those in advance if you like.  Boil more than you need, because we will use some in another dish.  Like the previous night, this meal is grain-free and loaded with healthy fats.  You can see how big one serving is in this photo - I ate the whole thing, Jasper only ate half of his.  So if this is too much food for you, plan to set aside half of it for lunch the next day.  It should travel well, just keep the dressing separate.

This is actually the most expensive meal of the week (if it is making 2 servings, and not 4), so the kind of greens you use will matter.  I used mache or lamb's lettuce, which I think is really delicious.  But there are definitely cheaper lettuces/greens out there.  A note on olives - nicoise olives are traditional, but expensive, so feel free to sub kalamatas, which taste very similar.  You could even buy jarred kalamatas to save even more.

2Apr/141

Farro Stuffed Portobellos with Goat Cheese

IMG_1367

Who would stuff a mushroom with more mushrooms?  Melissa from Smells Like Brownies and I, that's who, for our weekly vegetarian lunch get together.  Melissa had a ton of farro given to her by a neighbor that she needed to start using, and she was craving mushrooms.  So she found a recipe for balsamic roasted mushrooms with goat cheese to mix with the farro, yum.  You know how much we love goat cheese.  But then she thought, what if we put that inside of a portabella and grilled it?  And I said, why the heck not!  Mushrooms inside of mushrooms, people - it's inception with fungi.

IMG_1356

Mix up some baby bellas and tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic, thyme, garlic, and red pepper.  Careful there - we thought we just added a pinch, but it turned out spiiiiiiiiicy.  Thank goodness for goat cheese, amirite?  Then roast those babies up.

IMG_1361

Once they are roasted, mix them together with cooked farro, spinach,and goat cheese and spoon the mixture into portobello caps.  The baby bellas are going inside the mamma bella!  No?  No one else finds that funny?  Just me?  Fine.