Advertisements

Tag Archives: blogger

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 🙂

Advertisements

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Squares

I’ve been into baking a lot more than I have been into actual cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ratatouille, or throwing together a really delicious chicken dinner or skillet. As of late, it’s been about baking, re-testing muffins, and building myself up to making cupcakes and all sorts of decadent treats. I’m not really into sugar-laden foods, which is why this blog exists: to take everyday delicious meals and recreate on the healthier side. Having simple swaps for recipes is important to me which is where these squares came from.

I like a brownie or blondie – in fact, my family actually has a “secret” recipe (why it’s always been considered a secret is beyond me but it’s a DELICIOUS cookie/blondie/brownie hybrid – it could also have been a long-time joke that it’s a secret and I’ve been misled all these 32 years… oh well). The sugar, butter, and heavy ingredients in those recipes can be too heavy for me at times, so using rolled oats is a great binder for flour. Plus, this recipe doesn’t have any sugar. The only sugar comes naturally from the chocolate chips, bananas, and a drop of maple syrup. Whole foods, real foods, and quality.

I also know that oats/oatmeal is a good food for lactation/breastfeeding, and given that I am 37 weeks and hoping to nurse the little bub, I’m testing recipes now so that I can bake them and freeze for when the bub arrives. Pregnant or not, I love oatmeal and the combination of chocolate chips with the banana is a trifecta of awesome.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas, smashes
  • 1 cup milk (can sub any kind of milk!)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

Products Used:

  • Organic Valley: egg and milk
  • Lily’s Sweets: chocolate chips
  • Thrive Market: baking soda, rolled oats.

Preheat the oven to 400*. Whisk everything in one bowl. Pour into a pre-greased 9×9 pan, adding a few more extra chocolate chips on top. Bake for 30m. THAT IS IT! Enjoy with some nut butter, whipped cream, or just as is. You’ll be making these weekly 😉

Almond Butter Cookies with Collagen and Browned Butter Chocolate Chunks

I have a very interesting relationship with cookies. Granted, they can be super delicious, satisfying, and a perfect treat around this time of year with the holidays. On the other hand, they can be very sugary and over-powering. I tried to play with the ingredients that I had in my pantry, and referred back to my first cookie recipe for “chocolate chip health cookies,” which essentially was the base of this one, except I added collagen powder and almond butter.

The holiday season always makes me want to bake, and I just recently found my grandmother’s recipe box which is FILLED with seasonal cookies. She was an incredible baker. These cookies remind me of standing in her kitchen with my mom and aunt (who’s probably reading this… hi grantie!), rolling up cream cheese rugelach, and making scotch cookies while listening to stories and running through the list of who’s receiving cookie packages this year. I’ll have to dabble in her recipe box sooner than later.

What I love about the way these cookies turned out is that they have a very short crumble and texture to them, which is resemblant of a biscotti, so clearly they are the PERFECT accompaniment for a hot cup of coffee on a lazy sunday morning. Adding a small chunk of Alter Eco browned butter chocolate (you can find this product on Thrive Market – linked here) adds a bitter sweet (haha, I made a funny..) bite that balances out the crispness of the crust on the cookie. I also used some of my favorite dairy products from Organic Valley, which is unsalted pastured butter and eggs, two staples in my house.

Here’s the rundown of what you’ll need, and a quick breakdown of the steps:

  • 1 stick Organic Valley unsalted butter
  • 2 large Organic Valley eggs
  • 1/2 cup organic Cane Sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Barney Butter almond butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups Thrive Market Non-GMO Cassava Flour
  • 2 tbsp collagen powder – I use Vital Proteins
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bar Alter Eco Browned Butter chocolate, broken into small chunks.

Preheat the oven to 375*. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, collagen powder). In a separate bowl, combine the butter with both brown sugar and cane sugar until creamy (may take a few minutes – around 4-5m). Add in eggs and almond butter. Whisk until combined.

Pour the wet batter into the dry ingredients and mix (whether with a spatula, whisk, or electric hand mixer) until fully combined and it forms a sticky batter. Roll into small cookie balls and place onto a pre-greased sheet pan. Batter should yield approximately 20 cookies. Place a small chunk in the center of the cookie and press down lightly. Bake for 20 minutes and let sit to cool, don’t worry if the cookies are a little soft, they will firm up as they cool.

These are a perfect addition to breakfast, a dessert for lunch, or simply by its own. NOMaste 🙂

Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs

Being that it’s Thanksgiving, I should probably experiment with turkey recipes, but neither my husband or I are super crazy about it, although I do have my eyes set on tying to make roasted turkey legs (i’d prefer dark than white meat from a turkey anyway). I remembered I had ground chicken in my freezer and decided to give this one a shot, because chicken meatballs can take one sharp sauces such as teriyaki and I figured why not, it’s Black Friday and I am absolutely not about to go shopping – may as well cook!

Here’s what you’ll need for the chicken meatballs:

  • 1 lb or package of ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs as a binding agent
  • Chopped veggies such as carrots, celery, and onion (aka Mirepoix – you can buy store made already which I did this time around)
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, spices, oil, and mirepoix. It will be a rather sticky blend but it will bake just fine.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with your choice of spray oil. Portion on the meatballs with a tablespoon, roll into balls and place on the tray. The mix should make around 16 meatballs. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

For the teriyaki sauce, I used Primal Kitchen’s No Soy Teriyaki but added arrowroot to thicken it up and a bit more coconut aminos. The end result is a super delicious soy-free, paleo sauce to pour over the meatballs, and pair with a side of wild rice and veggies! Enjoy!

Brooklyn Eats: Buttermilk Channel

Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn

Cuisine: American, Comfort foods

Living in Brooklyn definitely has a lot of advantages. For starters, I am in the mecca of culinary artists and trendy pop-up coffee shops. I live just on the outskirts of Sunset Park and Park Slope, so I get the trifecta of amazing authentic restaurants. What inspires me most is that on every street, you can find yourself in a melting pot of cultures. Of course, there’s nothing like homemade food to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I cannot think of a better spot than Buttermilk Channel to give me all the fuzzy feels, and a full belly.

Buttermilk Channel is on Court Street, one of the most popular (and populated) streets in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s in the Gowanus area, and has some of the best natural lighting I’ve seen in a restaurant. If you want to risk going for brunch on the weekend, I’d advise to go early, as there will most certainly be a wait. This restaurant can and will get packed, fast, and for good reason. Their food is really delicious, and consistent. I went once for lunch, and a second for brunch, offering multiple opportunities to try various items on the menu, and I barely scratched the surface, so it looks like I’ll be going for a third time. Here’s what I’ve tried:

ABC Grilled Cheese: This was one badass grilled cheese sando. It was layered with bacon, apple, and cheddar cheese smothered together between two pieces of delicious bread. I also won’t complain about the side of bread and butter pickles. #win.

Buttermilk Biscuits: I mean, I don’t know what else to say other than DAMN. These biscuits (first of all are gigantic) were so flaky, moist, and tender at the same time. I want more. ASAP.

Scramble with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions: This was a game-time decision to order, and I am really glad I did. Eggs are a staple at brunch, but this was super delicious, packed with soft scrambled eggs, sauteed peppers and onions, and tender sausage. Plus, it came with a hash-brown. No complaints here.

Ricotta, Honey, and Walnut Toast: EXCUSE ME?! A girlfriend of mine ordered this and it was just heaven. I didn’t think this was going to indulge my tastebuds as much as it did, and now I am craving it. The fresh ricotta paired with local honey and walnuts was the perfect trio of flavors. Definitely getting this bad boy again.

Warm Cinnamon Bun: I can’t explain just how delectable this was. My friend ordered this and we shared it, I ate each bite with such pleasure, that I am sure I pulled a “When Harry Met Sally” moment whilst mid chew. Sorry peeps, this cinnamon bun is legit and is a must order.

I hope these pictures help show you just how great this spot truly is, and made you drool just a tad. Don’t worry, grab a hanky, blot your drool bubble, and head over to Buttermilk Channel asap. Grab a friend, sit at the bar if you need to (say hi to the bartender Lauren for me!) and enjoy one incredible meal.