Veggies

Sea Salt and Rosemary Sweet Potato Wedges

Hubs and I have been watching a documentary on Netflix called Down to Earth and it’s actually co-directed and produced by Zac Efron and Darin Olien. Obviously, you’ll know Zac Efron as an actor, but Darin has been around the health industry for a while now. He discovered Barukas, a super nut in the Savanna and has been a notable figure of health and fitness. While watching this documentary, hubs and I had a conversation about our health and ways we can continue to not only cut out refined, processed foods in our life, but make smarter choices about water, waste, and recycling. This renewed my love for plant-based, wholesome foods and recipes, and sent me into a meal prep FRENZY last weekend. Needless to say, on the menu this week are homemade burgers with a side of sweet potato wedges, which is the recipe that I’m sharing with you here!

French fries are delicious, there’s no doubt about it. However, the oils that are used to fry the potato is consistently exposed to oxygen which then takes the oil and makes it harmful to your body. Oils that are usually used to fry french fries are often canola, soybeal, or sunflower, which carry high levels of trans-fats and is often times genetically modified and exposed to pesticides. My oils of choice are often between cold-pressed organic Olive oil and Avocado oil. The beauty of these wedges is that they’re not even fried, they are baked with olive oil and have a perfectly sweet, crisp-at-the-bottom texture, with an herbed flavoring due in part to the dried rosemary.

This is such a simple recipe that it’ll become a home staple:

  • 2 medium garnet sweet potatoes, rinsed
  • Dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 400*. Take the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends. Slice them in half horizontally, then again vertically until you have four smaller quarters of the sweet potatoes. Slice them again into smaller wedges and toss into a large mixing bowl. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with dried rosemary and sea salt. Toss to fully coat and add to the baking sheet. Bake for ~20m (give or take a minute or two depending on your oven).

I cannot wait for you to give these guys a shot; they’re absolutely perfect as a side for burgers, a base for bolognese (if you follow a Paleo diet), excellent with eggs (OMG DOING THIS), and a healthy snack!

Fusilli Pasta with Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Pasta. Who says no to pasta? There’s virtually endless “pastabilities” when it comes to making pasta as a meal. You can add vegetables, a variety of meats, different sauces, different shapes of pasta, even alternative pastas such as Banza (chickpea) or brown rice pasta! It’s literally one of the most reliable pantry items that never disappoints.

I’ve wanted to try and make an easy cream sauce and figured being at home lends itself to more experimenting in the kitchen. I had a jar of roasted red peppers and some heavy cream, and decided to throw it into a blender with some dried herbs and parmesan. I will say that this sauce is heavy on the red pepper flavor, so if you aren’t a roasted red pepper fan, this may not be for you. However, I love them so this was incredibly tasty for me (my husband not so much… but hey, ya can’t win them all).

This sauce has layers of flavor: the cream, the parmesan, the peppers themselves, and then the oregano and basil added into it. Tossed with some fusilli pasta – one of my favorites – and it was exactly what my belly needed.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 package of preferred pasta
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Begin by boiling a pot of water. Salt the water and begin to cook your desired pasta until al dente and strain. Pour into a bowl. For the sauce, blend the peppers, cream, parmesan, and spices together in a blender. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. Sprinkle a little more salt, pepper, and parmesan and mix. Serve with fresh basil, a dollop of ricotta, or even some sautéed spinach or zucchini! Plus, this pasta and sauce tastes EVEN BETTER as leftovers the next day. #winning

Balsamic Penne Caprese with Spinach

Stay at home week 9. We officially have a two month old (on Sunday the 17th) and I cannot believe how time flies in a matter of a snap. I kind of wish time would go quicker so I can have family and friends over again, be close enough to hug again, enjoy a brunch cocktail at a restaurant again, but all in good time. This time spent at home with Rowen is something that not many new moms experience so I am eternally grateful to have this special bond with him, and more time with my husband too. Having more time at home also allows me to be in my kitchen more which I will never complain about.

I’m going to officially call this week pasta week, because I’ve made pasta twice already, including the dish I’m sharing on the blog today: penne pasta with tomato and mozzarella (caprese) tossed in a homemade balsamic sauce/glaze with sautéed spinach. As most recipes do, this one came to me in the shower. Don’t judge me. I think a lot in the shower and I had a vision for a lighter, vegetable-based, with a touch of sweetness pasta dinner that would be good with a variety of mix-ins. Caprese, which is simply tomato and mozzarella, is delicious on its own, so to throw it together with penne pasta, a homemade balsamic glaze, and add in some spinach, what’s not to love?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pkg penne pasta ( I did NOT make this recipe gluten free but I imagine any gluten free pasta would do, Banza in particular or Jovial – found on Thrive Market – link to the site on the banner on the right!)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pint fresh mozzarella balls “ciliegine” style (size of a cherry tomato)
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil (to sauté the spinach)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Oregano
  • Dried Basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the pasta:

  • Sauté the spinach on the stove with the butter and set aside (the spinach will wilt and become half the portion you put in).
  • Take out the mozzarella balls from its container and put into a separate bowl to let them dry. Rinse and quarter the grape tomatoes – set aside as well.
  • Prepare your pasta as described by the package and drain. Pour pasta into a large serving bowl.

For the balsamic:

  • Pour the cup of balsamic into a small sauce pan on medium heat.
  • Add in the coconut or brown sugar and maple syrup.
  • Whisk together and bring to a boil, stir for 3-4 minutes until it becomes a little thicker.
  • Turn off heat or set to a very low flame, be careful not to burn.

Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach in with the pasta and mix. Pour the balsamic sauce/glaze all over and mix together. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried basil, and oregano. Serve with a side of garlic bread, a glass of Montepulciano, and a new show on Netflix and you’ve got yourself a great evening. NOMaste 🙂

Ground Turkey and Chickpea Skillet with Roasted Veggie Medley

Good ol’ quarantine. Welcome to week 5 of stay-at-home, and getting creative in the kitchen. I accidentally bought a 5lb (YES 5LB) bag of carrots from Whole Foods a few weeks ago, and have been lucky to snag some slots at Whole Foods and Fairway delivery frantically throwing in zucchini and yellow squash into the cart, hoping that they still had it in stock. Thankfully, they did. I’m breastfeeding and while there really isn’t much science to back up cruciferous vegetables tend to make babies gassy, I still err on the side of caution and stick to spinach and zucchini for my vegetables.

I love ground turkey, and when I wasn’t much of a red meat eater (which changed the minute I tried Bistecca Fiorentina in Florence on my honeymoon five years ago), I relied heavily on ground turkey for everything. I find the key to making it tasty is a generous amount of seasoning and bone broth. That’s why I love this skillet: it has an abundance of flavor from cumin, onion, and garlic powder, a splash of dry white cooking wine (because why not?) and chicken bone broth from Kettle and Fire. I thickened the skillet with my trusty arrowroot and sprinkled some sharp white cheddar on top and broiled until it was perfectly melted. Let’s get down to business…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • For the ground turkey skillet:
    • 1 pkg or 1lb ground turkey (I like dark meat turkey – that’s where the flavor and juices are!)
    • 1 tbsp oil (I prefer Olive or Avocado oil)
    • 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1.5 cup baby spinach
    • 1/4 cup bone broth or chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock too!)
    • Splash of dry white cooking wine
    • Onion powder
    • Garlic powder
    • Cumin powder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar (or any kind of shredded cheese – this is completely optional)
  • For the roasted veggies:
    • 3 large carrots, rinsed and sliced into long quarters
    • 2 zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
    • 1 yellow squash, sliced thick

Begin with cutting/slicing the vegetables and toss in some oil then layer onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and dried basil and/or rosemary. Bake at 375* for 35 minutes.

In the meantime, grease a cast iron skillet with the oil of choice and set the heat to a medium flame. Add in the ground turkey and cook until 90% browned. Add in the garbanzo beans, spinach, and let the spinach begin to wilt – trust me it will. Add in seasonings and toss together. Pour in white wine to deglaze the skillet, and add in the broth. Turn flame up a little bit to bring to a gentle boil and add in arrowroot/thickener. Mix together until broth and turkey/garbanzo mixture becomes thick. Sprinkle cheese on top and broil for 3 minutes. Serve on top of the veggies or make a side of rice, either way, this is a perfect “what do I have on hand?” meal fit for a family at home 🙂 NOMaste healthy and safe my friends!

Roasted Broccoli Baked Mac and Cheese

Welcome to 2020: a year of uncertainty, unknown, and lack of clarity. This is also a new decade, with new memories to be made, new things to explore, new opportunities, and new experiences. It’s unfortunate what is happening in our world at this time, and while it takes us out of our comfort zones and forces us to isolate, we remember to cherish the time we have with our loved ones, FaceTime with family we can’t get to physically visit, and look for the silver lining: how lucky we are to be alive right now.

I decided to get back to simple and easy meals, some that really only require pantry or already-at-home items because while everyone stocked up on toilet paper, I was hopeful to just make sure I had enough milk, bread, and eggs in my home. I knew I wanted to make something equally delicious and comforting, so I opted for a staple: Macaroni and Cheese. My pantry always has pasta, heavy cream/milk. I had butter and flour, I also remembered I had some cheese in the house, as well as broccoli. To ramp up the fun in the MAC, I roasted broccoli and threw that in the mix too. It’s ok to drool on your screen, I won’t judge ya.

I love making pasta meals with veggies because it’s just a perfect balance of carbs: complex versus simple starch. Broccoli is a house favorite and we more often than not have it on hand at all times. I tossed the broc in some avocado oil, salt, and pepper and threw it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, right at the peak of crispiness, since I knew it would cook more and soften in the oven with the pasta. It added a whole other dimension of salt and savory to this dish that I didn’t realize I needed – this will absolutely become a freezer staple in my house.

Ok, enough narrative, here’s the deal with this recipe:

  • For the MAC:
    • 1 pkg macaroni
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2-3 cups grated cheese (cheddar: sharp and mild)
  • For the broccoli:
    • 2 cups broccoli florets
    • 2 tbsp avocado oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper
  • Products used:
    • Organic Valley butter, heavy cream, cheese
    • Rao’s macaroni pasta
    • Chosen Foods avocado oil

Toss broccoli in avocado oil (or oil of your choice) and season with salt nd pepper. Bake at 375° for 20m.  Set aside. Boil pasta to al dente (2 minutes less than package).  Strain and set aside. For the cheese sauce, you’ll make a roux, which is flour and butter whisked together. Melt butter and whisk in flour to create a paste.  Add in heavy cream and stock. Bring to a boil then simmer.  Turn off heat and melt in cheese.  Using a oven-safe dish, pour in the drained pasta, then the broccoli, and then pour in the cheese sauce and mix, making sure the broccoli is dispersed evenly and the cheese sauce coats all the noodles.

Sprinkle a little bit more cheese on top and some breadcrumbs (totally optional). Bake for 10 minutes and broil for two to get a nice golden top. Serve and enjoy! PS. There will be leftovers, which is great for working from home 🙂

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