Green Goddess Pasta

I’m renaming this recipe from Health.com. Originally, it was titled, Chicken Breast with Shaved Brussel Sprouts, but I’ve adapted. No meat this evening. Just some very healthy greens tossed on a warm swirl of light pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup broccoli, steamed and chopped, or 1 broccoli stem, peeled into pasta-like strips
  • T olive oil
  • 1 t fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper and Italian seasonings
  • 6 thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
  • 1/5 cup celery, chopped into small bits
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • 1 T fresh flat-leaf parsley leaf, coarsely chopped
  • 2 t Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 oz. whole-wheat linguini

Directions

1. Steam brussel sprouts and broccoli, unless you’re doing broccoli shreds. Then make the shreds using a vegetable peeler and microwave with just a tad of water in the bottom of a bowl for about 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring half a pot of water to a boil. Add in linguini and cook ’til al dente (better for the blood sugar, you know). Once cooked, drain in sink. Toss with a little olive oil.

3. In a new bowl, toss greens with celery, thyme, parsley, seasonings, a little more oil and lemon juice.

4. Place pasta on top of seasoned greens. Swirl noodles and top with more thyme or cheese. Serve warm. On a porch somewhere. Preferably, you should be watching the sun set after a long, fulfilling day.

Or if you’re day was less than fulfilling, well, maybe this healthy pasta dish can change that.

Solo Lemon Cupcake

When life gives you lemons, bake something.

That’s a fantastic philosophy, I think.

Lemon pies and lemon bars and lemon poppy-seed muffins have never appealed all that much to me. I’m more of a vanilla & chocolate girl. I like the rich stuff.

But I was bored with my normal routine. For once, I found myself craving cake that was light and sweet, not rich.

For those very rare cravings, I have a new light friend–who just so happens to have double appeal to me since I love the color of…

Bright, yellow lemons!

Pretty, right? Even if you’re not a fan of lighter, fruit-flavored cakes, you’ve got to admit that this one is darling.

The recipe, created entirely by Chocolate-Covered Katie (I made no changes this time), is one of her many single-lady cupcake recipes, i.e. cupcake for one.

To make a single-lady cupcake or muffin, follow these directions:

Ingredients

(makes just one cupcake)

  • 3 tbsp flour (30g) (See directions for flour notes)
  • heaping 1/16th tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp applesauce, oil, pre-melted margarine (I used French vanilla yogurt), or a combination
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp liquid (milk of choice or water)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 packets of stevia should be about right. If you use liquid sweetener, cut back a tiny bit on the other liquid.)

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 330 degrees.

-Mix the ingredients and pour into an oiled (or sprayed) muffin pan. Smooth top of batter. Bake for about 10 minutes or so.

-Alternatively, you can cook in the microwave, in a greased mug or ramekin. (Microwave times will vary, depending on the flour you use and the strength of your microwave.

For a lemony twist

Ingredients for Lemon Cake

  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice (or try lemon extract)
  • pinch lemon zest
  • olive oil
  • ingredients for Single Lady cupcake

Directions

Follow the instructions for the Single Lady Cupcake, but add in lemon juice and reduce other liquids a bit. Katie recommends subbing half of the oil/ applesauce/ margarine part with olive oil, but I subbed all with French vanilla yogurt because I think it gives the smoothest, richest overall flavor and texture.

-Also add a little lemon zest, which you can do with a knife if you’re careful

Katie also blogs about a glaze, which I didn’t try, but I’ll post below because I’m sure it would be very good if you like glazes.

Easiest-Ever Lemon Glaze

  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1 part sugar
  • optional: a few drops lemon extract

Microwave for 30 seconds, or warm in a saucepan on low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

I hope you enjoy this cupcake as much as I did.

Party Idea: Pizza Bar

My friend Sareena is one of those women who’s just adorable and doesn’t know it. This summer, she had some of us over for a pizza night (this was pre-parfait bar party, by the way). Each guest was given a … Continue reading

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

I’m a lycopene addict.

Not really, but it seems that foods with lycopene tend to be my favorites: watermelon, chicken, asparagus…

And then there’s my love affair with tomato. Pasta sauces, tomato juice, salsas, and most importantly, ketchup! Ever since I was a little girl, I’d slurp ketchup while waiting for meals to come in restaurants. Yes, that’s a little gross and embarrassing to admit.

My point is this: tomatoes are hard for me to resist. I probably eat them almost every day. And that’s a beautiful problem to have because the phytonutrient lycopene is a model cancer-fighting nutrient.

So here’s how I got my tomato fix this summer evening. Adapted slightly from Eating Well’s  Baked Parmesan Tomatoes recipe, my single-serving version, featuring my favorite kind of tomato, the Roma!

Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 3 Roma tomato ends
  • 1 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I think this might taste really good with ricotta, too)
  • 1 t chopped fresh oregano
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 t extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. If they wobble over a bit due to an uneven bottom, feel free to level the bottom by slicing off uneven edges. You may also want to hollow out the insides of the tomato if you’d like a deeper, cheesier tomato.
  3. Top with Parmesan, oregano, and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Too easy, right? The perfect side dish, maybe…

Zucchini Lasagna

I’ve tried a lot of Italian-inspired squash dishes.

Spaghetti Squash.

Italian Squash Bakes.

Involtini. (Probably my favorite.)

They’ve all been delicious and fairly simple to make.

But this one… Well, this one takes the Italian wedding cake!

And the odd thing is, it’s almost too easy and quick to taste as good as it does.

I suppose you could spend some more time sauteing the zucchini, marinating the meat, or roasting red peppers in herbs all day to go on top.

But who really has time for that? Not this grad student and teacher. So rest assured that this quick-and-easy, gluten-free lasagna for one tastes just as good as anything you’d spend all day preparing, especially when it’s laced with hunger sauce.

Ingredients

cooking spray or olive oil

4 large zucchini rounds, sliced thinly

1/2 cup tomato sauce (try my Sauce From Scratch recipe!)

3 T ricotta

1 T whole-wheat bread crumbs

Italian seasonings mix

1/4 cup meat (I used ground venison, but shredded chicken, or ground turkey or tofu would make for nice alternatives)

freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with oil or spray. Place zucchini rounds on top and grease the tops of those, too. When the oven is preheated, pop the rounds into the oven for about 5 minutes on each side.

-Meanwhile, lightly grease your ramekin and spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, mix ricotta, bread crumbs, and Italian seasonings.

-Once the zucchini are finished in the oven. Take them out and let cool slightly. Place one round on the bottom of the ramekin. Cover with ricotta mix, 1/3 of the meat, and then a layer of sauce. Repeat.

-When you get to the last zucchini round, simply top with sauce and as much Parmesan as you like. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the edges start to get crispy and the cheese has melted a bit.

Remove and serve warm.

Preservative-Free Taco Seasoning

Throughout undergrad, I ate a lot of tacos. A lot!

I never stooped as low as Taco Bell tacos, mostly making my own with the practically unlimited supply of venison and taco seasoning my father provided me with EVERY time I went home. His bachelor eating style infringed on my own, and now I’ll forever have a soft spot in my heart for the soft taco.

The problem with all those little seasoning packets I went through is that they’re loaded with preservatives and other icky ingredients that no longer factor into my eat-clean style. The good news is that I’ve finally found an easy, cheap, make-anywhere alternative, and much to my surprise, it came from Ms. Rachael Ray! Never would have pinned her as one to support clean eating with preservative-free remixes on classic store-bought favorites.

Anyway, here’s the very simple recipe…

Makes enough seasoning for 1 pound of meat.

Ingredients

1 T chili powder

1 T ground cumin

1 T onion powder

1 T garlic powder

1/2 T or less crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

The funny thing is that all you do is measure and shake. Shake it up, baby now!

I put each ingredient into a tiny baby food jar I had saved and shook it up only a few times.

True to my single-serving style, I was only cooking a quarter pound of freshly ground venison on this particular evening, so I only used about a tablespoon of the mix and saved the rest for the next time I’m craving my favorite undergrad meal.

Hmm… Maybe a taco bar + margarita night is in order?

Strawberries-n-Cream Cupcake

Surprise!

Look what just rolled off the berry patch. A scrumptious little cupcake for one.

I love this recipe because the baked in fruit keeps the dough super moist and scrumptious. Plus, I’ve adapted Chocolate-Covered Katie’s shortcake recipe with some vanilla yogurt. This, I think, makes the texture of the cupcake super smooth, creamy, and soft. Her coconut-oil version also tastes great because the oil adds a very rich flavor, but I like the creamy smoothness of this one.

Ingredients

-3 T spelt flour

-2 t stevia

-tiny dash of baking powder and salt

-1 T vanilla yogurt of choice

-1 T + 1 t non-dairy milk

– 1-2 strawberries, chopped

Directions

-Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Place paper liner in a muffin tin and set aside. Alternatively, if you’d like to microwave, do so on high for about 1 minute and 15 seconds, placing dough in side a coffee mug. But know that the cupcake won’t turn out as soft and moist.

-Mix dry ingredients, then blend in wet. Then, delicately, fold in chopped strawberry bits.

-Transfer dough to paper liner and bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Serve warm with fresh berries and cream (if you have those on hand).

Chewy Chocolate Coconut Cookies

I stumbled upon this chewy chocolate coconut cookie recipe while browsing Healthful Pursuit’s blog. Her version makes 8 cookies. Not too many, right? You could probably control yourself, right? I don’t know. These are pretty good. They remind me of … Continue reading

Pineapple Sherbert

Today, I’m thinking pineapples. Jillian Michaels, of whom I’m a fan, isn’t crazy about them because they’re very sweet, but in comparison to other sweet treats from nature (fruits, that is) they’re among the least nutritious. But the pineapple’s incredible … Continue reading