Shrimp and Strawberry? Do you think I sound crazy right now? Trust, young padawans, and learn the ways of combining sweet and savory. Rice noodles, pickled veg (and mango!), basil, mint, scallions, shrimp, and strawberries are combined in a rice wrapper for the ultimate summer freshness. Served with a delicious peanut sauce for dipping - get in my face!
I had seen a blog photo ages ago that I loved on this site, but I was scared to try it because I had never made summer rolls before and it seemed finicky. Then I was over at a friend's house for dinner and that is what we made! It was a bit tricky, but not as scary as I had imagined. She was a pro, so I asked her to help me make my shrimp and strawberry rolls. Then I looked at the recipe for the photo I loved, and wasn't a big fan of the ingredients. I wanted noodles instead of cabbage, and mango instead of bell pepper. So I switched some things around.
Then we got to work! She was skeptical of my flavor combo, but ended up loving it. You can see the progression here from back to front where I put the ingredients on in the wrong order so the pretty parts didn't show, then exploded one, then finally got some decent rolls. The good news is - it doesn't matter if you don't get the best looking rolls, they still taste amazing!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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).
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.
This innocent looking container holds a magic ingredient that will take your food to the next level. What is it? Miso butter. Two ingredients - miso and butter - combine to make a perfect substance. So simple, but so good. You could just slap this on some toast and call it a day. But if you want to get a little more creative, I have a bunch of ideas for you.
First up - scallops seared in miso butter. That's it, it's that easy. I served these with my other miso obsession - miso creamed kale.
Next - broiled salmon topped with miso butter, served with miso butter glazed baby carrots and coconut-miso barley.
Moving away from seafood for a bit, I made this coconut chicken recipe and replaced the regular butter with miso butter. It made it so much better than the original, which I was already a fan of. I also used cherry preserves in the sauce because that's what I had, but apricot or peach would work better. I made a side salad with romaine, sliced radishes, blanched green beans, and a carrot-ginger dressing to go with it.
Lastly, we have a stir-fry made with miso butter. Fast, easy, and delicious. The salmon was broiled with a store-bought red miso and yuzu glaze. I'd say it wasn't any better than the salmon topped with the miso butter.
Best of all? All these meals are healthy and low-carb. Most of them are grain-free! What would you do with your miso butter?
It's been a while since I've posted a Smells Like Brownies & Well Dined vegetarian lunch team-up recipe, what with holidays and traveling and all. Now I return to you with this delicious flatbread made with hearty whole-wheat dough, tender brussels sprouts sauteed in brown butter, creamy goat cheese, and salty Parmesan and capers. So good.
We called it a flatbread instead of a pizza simply because the toppings seemed more along those lines, and they were a bit loose and not glued down by cheese. But it doesn't really matter what it is called.
I think brussels sprouts got a bad rap in the 80's when everybody was boiling them to death, gross. But when they are roasted until they caramelize or shaved thin and served raw - yum. Here we saute them quickly in some brown butter and toss them with goat cheese and capers - double yum.
Lots of freshly grated Parmesan goes on top (plus more when it comes out of the oven). It's just beautiful.
I am trying to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, my carb intake. But, man, I just really love pasta. If anybody else is struggling with this, and I'm sure there are many, this is a really great recipe. I know what you're thinking - it's not the same - and you're right, it's not. But I don't think you will miss the pasta when you discover how much flavor and texture these have!
Mmmm - veggies. I got my mandoline out, thinking it would make this a breeze, but it turns out that my particular one really sucks at using the whole length of the vegetable. So I switched to this bad boy and it worked brilliantly.
The colors! Now I really like using spaghetti squash if I have a great sauce, but this recipe has more color and flavor, making it great on its own.
Bonus - I followed the recipe and used red onion and garlic, but I think that you could use shallot in place of both and make it even simpler! Super bonus - it cooks in less than 5 minutes!
Sauteed Vegetable Julienne
adapted from Skinny Taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz zucchini, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
8 oz yellow squash, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
4 oz (1 medium) carrot, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onions and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
Increase heat to medium-high and add the remaining vegetables, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Adjust salt as needed and serve hot.
This stunning dish comes to you from my weekly vegetarian lunches with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies. Consisting of just vegetables with a little feta, this is about as healthy as you can get! It's also super filling and surprisingly delicious. I say surprisingly because let's be honest, most people don't go around graving a pile of veggies. But this is so good that even my veggie hating husband liked it! Served warm with a variety of textures and flavors, vibrant basil, and salty cheese - it really leaves you feeling satisfied.
Great on it's own as a lunch, served as a side to chicken or steak (which is what I did with leftovers), or even stuffed into a pita pocket - this is a super healthy AND yummy Summer dish. It can also become vegan quite easily. So how about it? Let's get some veggies into our lives!
So I went and bought the vegetables I wanted to use - carrots, celery, beets, fennel, and asparagus.
Then I sliced them up using the slicing blade on my food processor (a mandoline would also work) and tossed them with high quality olive oil, lime juice, and sea salt.
I actually stored the vegetables like that in the fridge and throughout the week or so that they lasted I would take out what I needed and add it to raw kale massaged with olive oil (which takes some of the bitterness out) along with watercress, grapes, pepitas, and fresh mozzarella for a delicious summer salad.
It is so healthy and fresh and keeping the vegetables raw means that you are getting the full nutritional value from them, plus they keep you super full. But this seriously tastes so good that you will not even be thinking about how healthy it is.