Kale White Bean Vegetable Soup

The weather is warming up in NJ and it is absolutely beautiful outside. Soon enough it will be too hot to eat soup, which is a shame because so many good soup ingredients are just starting to become in season now. Last week we got parsnips and kale in our CSA box from Alstede Farms, and I just had to take the opportunity to make some soup before it got too hot to eat it.

Kale White Bean Vegetable Soup (more…)

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Cheesy Cauliflower Tots with Lemon Herb Yogurt Dip

I love snacks. I probably enjoy snacks more than actually sitting down for a meal. I especially love it when I come up with healthy snacks. After going through 3 containers of hummus this past month (there was a huge sale!!), we needed some other snacks. This is where these cheesy cauliflower tots come in. I remembered I once made delicious yellow squash tots, and this time I had a cauliflower on hand.

cauliflower tots

I used only one half of a cauliflower head to make these tots because I figured if they turned out horrible I still have the other half to dip into hummus. But these tots turned out to be delicious! (more…)

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Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread

Last week Aldo and I went to the Dominican Republic for vacation. We had an amazing time even though it wasn’t one of those relaxing vacations. We decided to rent a car and see the country instead of staying at a resort, so we had quite a few adventures and we were always busy. Sure, we went to the beach a few times, but we also rode horses to a waterfall, jumped into swimming holes (27 Charcos), explored caves, took a boat to Los Haitises National Park, rode the teleferico up a mountain in Puerto Plata, visited the Colonial Zone and the Tres Ojos in Santo Domingo, explored the Monumento in Santiago, had dinner with several of Aldo’s friends and cousins, and met up with some of his other family. Phew! We had a busy week. The saying ”I need a vacation from the vacation” is so true!

We also had a lot of delicious food in the DR – mofongo, yuca balls, quipes, tostones, piña coladas, empanadas, amazing steak and seafood, and much more. I will write more about all our adventures (food and otherwise)  on my travel blog Nonstop from JFK at some point.

Getting back into the boring old 9-5 has been tough this week. I was excited to be back home and to be able to cook again, but I also didn’t have it in me to cook anything too involved. Luckily I had most of the ingredients needed to make this flatbread. I just went to the store and picked up plain Greek yogurt and baby spinach. Everything else I actually had at home – a package of queso fresco and mozzarella, jars of artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers, and flour. And just like that, dinner was ready in less than a half hour, and it was much healthier than anything I’ve had in the last week.

spinach and artichoke flatbread (more…)

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Lemony Asparagus with Bacon

I like asparagus. But you know what else I like? Bacon.

Food wrapped in bacon is always delicious. I wanted to make something similar to the popular bacon-wrapped asparagus, but I wanted it to be less greasy. I also wanted to add a few more flavors to this side dish to make it even more delicious – that’s how the lemon and garlic got in here.

This side dish is super quick to make – 15 minutes, tops. It’s a perfect side for pasta (such as pistachio linguine) and some kind of seafood (such as the Swai Bake).

asparagus with bacon

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Pistachio Linguine

I recently bought myself a 3 pack of different nut oils – hazelnut, walnut, and pistachio oil. I’ve been using them to make salad dressings, and each oil gives each dressing a distinct delicious flavor. But the pistachio oil is by far the most delicious of those three. It is so flavorful and smells so good – kind of salty and savory and maybe a little bit of a cheesy smell, but in a good way. This oil smells so good that sometimes when I am in the kitchen I open it just to smell it.

pistachio linguine

So I’ve been thinking of ways to use it other than in salad dressings, and I decided to try to make this pistachio linguine dish. I used pistachio oil to make the garlic sauce and mixed the finished linguine with chopped pistachios for a nice texture with a crunch.

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Stuffed Pizza

I’ve mentioned a few times that even though Aldo loves my cooking, sometimes he just wishes we would just order pizza so he can stuff his face with cheesy, doughy, meaty pizza goodness. And I totally get that. As delicious as healthy foods can be, there is something about pizza that is just so good that no other food can compare.

stuffed pizza

Well, he wanted pizza and he got pizza. The other day we made a stuffed pizza. This thing probably weighed about 5 lbs total. And it fed us for a few days. And it was GOOD. If you are attempting some kind of diet, you should probably look away. Close this page. Maybe check out this salad instead. (more…)

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Buckwheat Kasha with Mushrooms and Onions – 20 Minute Side Dish

Buckwheat has been my best friend over the last couple of months. I’ve been making buckwheat as a side dish anytime we would normally have quinoa or rice. I find buckwheat to be yummier than both quinoa and rice – it has such a nice, earthy taste. Maybe it just reminds me of childhood – we never heard of quinoa in Ukraine, and buckwheat kasha was definitely a more traditional side dish than rice.

buckwheat kasha with mushrooms

In this super quick and healthy side dish I combined buckwheat with a quick saute of onions, mushrooms, and green peas. And then I drizzled it with some truffle oil, to give it that extra ”OH MY GOSH WHAT IS IN HERE THAT IS SO GOOD” flavor. I am obsessed with truffle oil and truffle salt.

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Cajun Shrimp Salad with Homemade Cilantro Lime Dressing

This salad is a lightened up version of the amazing Cajun Shrimp and Vegetables Pasta recipe. I was inspired to make this salad when I had leftover Cajun Seafood seasoning from the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Recipe Challenge.

Cajun Shrimp Salad

I used regular large shrimp for the pasta recipe, so they would blend in and be part of the dish. But for this salad, I wanted the shrimp to be the main attraction, so I used the biggest jumbo shrimp I could find. I LOVE biting into a large piece of shrimp, and then having more to go back for, instead of being able to finish a shrimp in one bite. You see how each shrimp is the same size as the avocado? Yum!  (more…)

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Chorizo Fiesta Skillet

We just got back from a long weekend of skiing at Killington in Vermont with a few of our friends. It is now our third annual trip there, and I hope to keep the ski trip tradition going for as long as our legs are able to ski.

Last year Aldo proposed to me at the top of Killington peak while one of our friends got it on video. It was a super exciting moment (obviously), and both of us cried a little bit from joy, although Aldo refuses to admit it – he blames it on the wind, or something like that.

This year there was no surprise waiting for me at the top of the mountain, but the whole weekend overall was so much fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. We had 2 great days of skiing, and 3 very fun nights of hanging out, playing games (Cards Against Humanity and Kings), and laughing harder than I remember laughing in a long time.

On our way home from Killington Aldo and I stopped at Bob’s Diner in Manchester VT to have breakfast. I had a bacon-sausage-home fries breakfast skillet with 2 eggs on top, and it was THE. MOST. DELICIOUS. BREAKFAST. EVER. It was served in a small cast iron skillet with free coffee refills and genuine smiles from the server. I love it when small town places end up having amazing food.

Inspired by Bob’s Skillet, I decided to make a similar dish at home, but just a tad healthier with all the vegetables added in and a lot less grease.

Chorizo fiesta skillet

I am pretty sure this will be my go-to dinner from now on. (more…)

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Venison Burgers

So you know how I mentioned we had 28 pounds of venison in our freezer? Well we are slowly making our way through it all! We had slow cooker chili, Mexican Lasagna, venison steak, and now I made venison burgers.

I’ve always read that you need to add fat to ground venison if you’re going to make burgers. But what is the point of adding fat to such a lean, flavorful meat? I decided to see if venison burgers would be good without adding extra fat to them.

venison burgers (more…)

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