Ingredients Archives: olive oil

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas

I love healthy, simple, and easy to create weeknight meals. My daughter normally goes to sleep before my husband and I even sit down for dinner, so I really take value in a simple meal. The recipe for Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas is one of my favorites for when I need to throw together a quick, nutritious, and satisfying meal.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas

My favorite part about this meal is how easily it can be deconstructed and fed to my picky toddler – yes, we’re back in a picky eating phase again. She is obsessed with sweet potatoes, but not digging the black bean combo.

Here’s proof:

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas

She was sneaking every component of this meal, minus the beans and the actual quesadilla, of course.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadilla – Ingredient List:

1 large sweet potato
1/4 tsp garlic powder
a pinch of salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

1 15oz can of black beans
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
a pinch of salt & pepper

4 large whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese
2 tbsp fresh cilantro

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas

The quesadilla is loaded with nutritious ingredients: sweet potatoes, fiber-rich black beans and a whole wheat tortilla. It is incredibly filling, even for my carnivorous husband who looks at me wearily when I tell him what’s for dinner most nights.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas

I love the combination of the roasted sweet potatoes and the cumin-flavored beans in this recipe. If I have the time, I chop and roast the sweet potato earlier or even the day before so I can simply throw together the rest of the meal at dinnertime.

Also, a little calorie saving tip, I swap out the sour cream topper with plain greek yogurt – it’s amazing how similar the yogurt tastes to sour cream when paired with a savory dish (you won’t miss it, I promise).

Find all of the recipe details below.

Enjoy!
Anna

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Kale Grapefruit Salad

I am such a big fan of kale; I cook with it all the time, use it in smoothies, and love it in salads. One of my favorite restaurants in Tribeca serves a Kale Grapefruit Salad that I just had to recreate at home and of course, share it with you.

Kale Grapefruit Salad

Kale Grapefruit Salad – Ingredients List:

2 cups clean/de-stemmed/chopped kale
1/2 large grapefruit
1/2 cup cooked farro
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup shredded ricotta salata
drizzle of olive oil {approximately 2 tbsp} & white wine vinegar {approximately 1 tsp}

Kale Grapefruit Salad

This seasonal salad is so light and delicious, in fact my favorite part might be the cheese – ricotta salata. It has a similar texture and taste as Feta cheese, but it’s quite a bit saltier. If you are a fan of salty and sweet food combinations, you will love this salad.

Kale Grapefruit Salad

While I was traveling in California this past week, I grabbed the most delicious olive oil blend – pink grapefruit! I couldn’t wait to incorporate the unique flavor into this recipe and many more to come!

As always, leave any questions regarding the recipe in the comments!

Anna

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Crock Pot Vegetable Soup

It has been rainy, cold, and pretty miserable in New York City lately. The upside – perfect soup weather! I have been throwing together this simple Crock Pot Vegetable Soup recipe for the longest time, I think I could recreate it with my eyes closed. Until recently I made this soup exclusively on the stove top, but I couldn’t resist the set-it and forget-it ease the crock pot brings. When I start this recipe however, I do caramelize the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic on the stove first and then transfer it into a crock pot with the remainder of the ingredients – it’s hard to emulate the flavor and coloring a little browning can do. I cook this soup for three hours on low in my 4 quart crock-pot.

This recipe is simple, healthy, and great to serve to little ones – the mild flavors work well for beginners’ palates!

Simple Crockpot Vegetable Soup

Crock Pot Vegetable Soup – What You Need:

1 large carrot {peeled, chopped}
2 celery stalks {chopped}
1/2 white onion {chopped}
1 clove garlic {peeled, minced}
3 tbsp olive oil
2 {15 oz} cans of garbanzo and/or cannelloni beans
5 1/2 – 6 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
1 28oz can of fire roasted tomatoes {and the juices}
1 1/2 – 2 cups loosely packed kale {stems removed}
3 bay leaves {why bay leaves?}
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 cups whole wheat pasta or rice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese for garnish {optional}

{scroll down for full recipe instructions}

Simple Crockpot Vegetable Soup

In terms of seasoning, I salt, pepper, and taste along the way. When I caramelize the vegetables in the first stage with olive oil, I add in a few turns of salt and pepper. Next, I transfer those vegetables to the crock pot and add in the remainder of the ingredients, minus the pasta. I will add a little more salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before I shut the lid, and then taste it half way through {1.5 hours} and either add more S/P or leave it be. While it might seem like there is a lot of flavor going on in the soup, the primary ingredients are pretty mild and flavorless {I’m lookin’ at you beans}. If you are truly setting-it and forgetting-it, you can always add additional seasoning at the end of the three hours.

As for the pasta, I normally cook it entirely separate from the soup and add it in when I’m serving. If you are planning to consume the entire soup at once, it would be fine to add the pasta towards the end of the cooking process. The issue comes into play if you are planning for left overs – the pasta will drink the broth while you’re sleeping. Scary, right? My mom shared this little trick with me and I totally didn’t believe her, but she was right.

The best part about this recipe – it’s totally customizable – you can add in your favorite vegetables, beans, and pasta. Lately I’ve been serving this soup with some delicious homemade honey wheat bread.

Enjoy!
Anna

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Simple Asian Salad with a Ginger Honey Vinaigrette

Simple Asian Salad with a Ginger Honey Vinaigrette

I told you I am on a salad kick, right?

My latest obsession is a protein-packed asian inspired salad: Simple Asian Salad with a Ginger Honey Vinaigrette. The ginger in the dressing will seriously knock your socks off and probably settle your stomach at the same time.

I am a vegetarian, but you can easily add some grilled chicken or shrimp to the recipe to increase the protein even further – it already contains edamame and almonds.

Simple Asian Salad – What You Need:

For the salad {serves 4 people}:
2 cups mixed greens
1 cup cooked edamame {cook according to package}
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 large carrot {shave 1/2 cup worth of long peels}
1 cup cherry tomatoes {sliced in half}
1 small can of mandarin oranges in natural juices

For the dressing:
1 clove garlic {minced}
1 tsp peeled/chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp chopped green onion
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

{scroll all the way down to see a printable recipe card with full instructions}

Simple Asian Salad with a Ginger Honey Vinaigrette

The dressing for this salad is really delicious and my favorite part of the recipe. The ginger, garlic, and green onions really pack a punch and enhance the flavors of the soy sauce and honey.

If you are feeding little ones, prepare extra portions of the edamame, chopped tomatoes, carrots, mandarin oranges and use the dressing as a dipping sauce – two dinners in half the time!

Simple Asian Salad with a Ginger Honey Vinaigrette

The vibrant colors in this salad make it perfect for entertaining or simply cheering up your day!

Enjoy!
Anna

 

 

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Sweet Potato Vegetarian Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

Fresh into the New Year, the only things on my mind {except world peace of course} are smoothies, salads, water, exercise, and self improvement. I am kicking off 2015 with improved nutrition and increased focus on MOM – yes, I need a little love too now and again. One of my favorite seasonal dinners is a Winter Sweet Potato Vegetarian Salad with a delicious maple syrup vinaigrette.

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

Winter Sweet Potato Vegetarian Salad – What You Need:

For roasting the sweet potato:
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper

For the salad:
4 cups mixed greens or 1 cup per person
2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
2 cups cooked sweet potato cubes
dried cranberries
pepitas or pumpkin seeds
goat cheese

For the dressing:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt & pepper

{Scroll down for full recipe instructions}

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

The roasted sweet potatoes are so delicious in this salad – the taste of rosemary and the aromatics of the bay leaf really tie everything together. When roasting the potatoes remember to cut them into even-sized cubes and coat them liberally with the olive oil – don’t skimp here, use less dressing at the end if you’re looking to cut back.

When it comes to creating the actual salad, I say include as much or as little of the ingredients above as you prefer. Goat cheese can be a bit overpowering for some pallets – including mine – so I usually go a little light on the cheese. As for the cranberries, aim for the unsweetened version and use real maple syrup in the dressing {grade B is the most natural, but usually I can only find A at my grocery store}. For the rice, I usually make it the night before or throw in some leftovers – the variation pictured is a Brown Rice Pilaf from the Far East brand.

If you are feeding little ones as well, I save a bit of the sweet potato to feed to my daughter – she absolutely loves it.

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Salad with Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

What is your favorite winter salad?

Enjoy!
Anna

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Kale Polenta Lasagna

I am SO excited to share this Kale Polenta Lasagna recipe. It has quickly become a household favorite, only my husband asks me to add more cheese. This recipe is ideal for busy weeknights when time and patience is limited. At times I will make the entire lasagna during my daughter’s nap and then throw it in the oven closer to dinnertime. Additionally, you can easily prepare the kale mixture the night before and store in the refrigerator until mealtime.

Kale Polenta Lasagna

As with most of my recipes, this one doesn’t contain a lot of fat, added salt, or heavy seasoning – my daughter does not yet appreciate the taste of pepper. When searching for ingredients, I generally follow the dirty dozen list for when to buy organic – this meal includes organic polenta, cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce, kale, and mozzarella cheese. The recipe is gluten-free {polenta is naturally gluten-free}and vegetarian, but you could easily brown up some ground turkey or dice up chicken sausage to add in some additional protein.

Kale Polenta Lasagna

The kale mixture includes 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 an onion chopped, 3 cups chopped kale, 1 cup diced/chopped tomatoes {I used cherry tomatoes}, and 1 clove of garlic.

Kale Polenta Lasagna

Line the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Slice the 18oz organic polenta roll into 16 even pieces, laying 8 down over the sauce. Cover the polenta slices with the kale mixture and top with half the mozzarella cheese.

Kale Polenta Lasagna

 

Kale Polenta Lasagna

Cover with the remaining 8 slices of polenta to create a “polenta sandwich” 🙂

Kale Polenta Lasagna

Top with remaining tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes uncovered.

Kale Polenta Lasagna

And, ta-da! Kale Polenta Lasagna, so delicious and easy!

Kale Polenta Lasagna

Creating one healthy meal at a time!

Anna

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