Appetizer Idea: Baked Egg Rolls

photo (26)

Ever admired an egg roll for its fresh veggie crunch? photo (30)

I have. What I’ve loathed, though, is the fact that the crispiness is usually fried. You know how I feel about that. NOT a fan. I love my arteries a bit too much.

Yes, so my health-snobbish ways have me trying another recipe of my own. My usual approach plays out here. I’m not drawing from any one specific recipe. Instead I snoop around on Pinterest, get a feel for how the traditional, unhealthy recipes are made, get the steps and ingredients down pat, modify to my liking, and

love it.

Everything’s better when you make it to your liking. I wanted a crispy, unfried roll with stir-fry-like veggie filling. You could modify the half-cup of veggies with rice, meats, beans, essentially anything you like. Have fun, experiment, and make it something you would want to eat.photo (28)

Again and again and again.

Ingreidents

3 egg roll wrappers (I love Nasoya)

1/2 cup stir-fry veggies

1 t low-sodium soy sauce

dash of ginger

bigger dash of red pepper flakes

optional: 1/2 t Asian dressing (like Newman’s Own Ginger-Sesame)photo (27)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a small pan, fry up veggies in soy sauce, and then mix in ginger, red pepper, and dressing if you’re using that. Saute it up on high ’til tasty coating forms, then turn down to low after a few minutes. Juices will begin to thicken. Let saute a few more minutes.

When ready, evenly distribute the veggies on the three wrappers, laying them out in a thick line. At the ends of each line, fold edges in. Flip one of the adjacent edges over and roll. You’ll roll ’til you can’t roll anymore. Flip the egg roll over on its side or seal with a dab of water so the wrapper holds (but not much).photo (31)

Bake for about 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

Hope you love it! I definitely want to try it as an appetizer for a group.

 

Moroccan Lentil Soup

SAM_5347

“Lots of lentils means lots of filling fiber.”SAM_5357

Or so wrote the editors of Eating Well in this year’s February issue. Can’t have enough of that, right? plus all the delicious spices that come with this recipe–somewhat adapted to my personal preferences–featured along a half dozen or so other soups they featured. I wanted to try them all.

Unfortunately I don’t have that much time.

I do, however, have a lot of lentils in my cupboard. And so, Moroccan Lentil Soup was in order.

IngredientsSAM_5351

  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions and carrots
  • dash of minced garlic
  • dash of each spice: cumin, coriander, ground turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cups lentils
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh kale
  • a little chopped cilantro
  • 1 big squeeze of lemon juice

DirectionsSAM_5348

-In a medium pot (yes, a pot), heat oil; sautee first two veggies and tomatoes ’til tender with garlic. Then add in spices one at a time.

-Add in liquids, cabbage, and lentils. Boil until the lentils are almost perfectly tender. Turn down to a simmer, about 10 minutes at that heat.

-Stew in the kale a few minutes before serving, along with lemon juice and cilantro.

Pretty easy, yes? And it makes one HUGE portion. Okay, maybe more like two. But with so many healthy veggies, you should probably eat the whole thing and get those vegetable serving counts in any way. It’s good for you 😉

Spring Pan Noodles

SAM_5322

Last week at my friend Sareena’s Paint’n’Pour Ladies’ Wine Night–where decorative pots were painted and wine was poured, FYI–my other friend Snezana was telling me about eating for your blood type. She’s a B+, and apparently her type likes Asian cuisine, especially rice.SAM_5327

I do not know my blood type, but if it had a food preference, it would most definitely be Mediterranean. You all know I’m a pasta+protein+veggie addict. Honestly, sometimes I have to encourage my creature-of-habit ways to try something new.

That’s exactly why this recipe (adapted from Lillian’s Spring Noodles) was sought out and tried. Yes, it is still a pasta, but it breaks my routine preference for a thick and hearty red sauce.

And you know what else I find interesting? I loved it. I’m always reminded of how much fun it is to try something new when I leave my “food comfort zone.” It’s a small challenge, but I think those are the ones that make big differences in terms of day-to-day happiness. Making myself try new things, especially fun recipes, is just about as satisfying as eating them.SAM_5325

And this dish is really good!  A nice, light veggie noodle with a little salt, and just enough ginger sweetness. You can’t beat that.

Ingredients

2 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti or rice noodles

dash of minced garlic

a few sliced onions

handful of diced cabbage

1/3 cup broccoliSAM_5309

1 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 t freshly ground ginger

1 t honey

2 T sliced carrots

2 T sliced celery

1/4 cup cucumber, sliced into sticks

optional: shrimp

DirectionsSAM_5320

-Boil noodles as directed on package. Drain water. If broccoli and shrimp are frozen, defrost in microwave now and drain in collander over noodles to remove excess water–but over noodles ensures that nutrients in broccoli water aren’t lost entirely (!).

-In a small- to medium-sized pan, simmer garlic and onions in cooking spray. Then slowly add in noodles, broccoli, and shrimp. Stir a bit. Add in half of the soy and ginger. Stir a bit more. Add in the rest of the soy sauce and ginger.

-Once noodles seem coated in soy sauce and ginger, drizzle honey over the top. Then toss in carrots.

If you’ll be serving this warm, remove from heat, plate, and sprinkle cucumber and celery on top.

If you prefer a cold noodle dish, then remove from heat and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or overnight. Top with cucumber sticks and celery prior to serving.

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup

SAM_4998
If you know me, you know Happy Fit Mama is one of my favorite bloggers. A successful young mom running her way to happiness and writing about it. What’s not to love.SAM_5001
Oh, and on Wednesdays, she shares her healthy little recipes. Oftentimes, they sound delicious, but I never get around to trying them.
But you know how much I love soup, especially soup I can freeze in mason jars and grab any time I need a quick lunch to take to work.
So I tried her Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup one Saturday sometime back. It was delicious. The recipe, which serves about six, follows…SAM_4991
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Red, Yellow Or Orange Pepper (or combination), diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 14.5 Oz Vegetable Broth
  • 15 Oz Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn
  • SAM_49971/2 Cup Zucchini, diced (optional)
  • Additional optional toppings: avocado, shredded cheese, plain greek yogurt, cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add red onion and pepper. Cook till softened.
  3. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn and zucchini (if using).
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with toppings, such as diced avocado, shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream and cilantro.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup for the Crock-Pot

SAM_4940

Remember my adorable Crock-Pot? The one with the damask pattern my mom surprised me with? I used it like crazy over winter break, and now I’m back at it again, Crock-Pottin’ away (my new favorite verb). SAM_4942

Lately, I’ve been using it a lot to create tasty soups. I’ve blogged about this before, lots actually, that I love making big portions of soup.

Yes, this sort of goes against my single-serving approach, but it’s the one kind of cuisine I (1) can’t get enough of, and (2) one that I actually like having as leftovers. Why go against my usual routine? Because soups freeze so well. They almost never taste like leftovers.

Here’s what I do: After making a big batch of soup, I portion the remaining soup out to mason jars and old glass salsa jars I’ve saved. I like to freeze in glass because it’s more sustainable, reheats well, and freezing glass doesn’t break down chemical compounds as plastic containers do. So anytime I need a quick lunch-on-the-go, I grab one from the freezer in the morning, let it thaw throughout the day (leading up to lunch), and then heat it right in the glass jar. It’s kind of fun eating soup from a little glass jar, but you can always pour it into a bowl if you don’t get a kick out of that like I do.SAM_4947

So to make this very easy Crock-Pot soup, here’s what you need and need to do:

Ingredients
4 cups water
2 cans cream of chicken (or mushroom or celery) soup
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (10 oz.)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or -10 oz. bag)
1 t garlic pepper seasoning
1.5 cups dried egg or rotini noodlesSAM_4952

Directions
-Turn the Crock-Pot on low if you have time to let it cook for 6-8 hours, high if you only have 3-4 hours.
-Stir in water, then condensed soup until well blended.
-Add in chicken, vegetables, and seasoning. Cover and cook.
-About 20-30 minutes before serving, add in the dry noodles. If you’re using the low setting, switch now to high. Serve once noodles are tender.

Garden Veggie Yogurt Dip

SAM_4857

Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is so versatile.SAM_4859

I’ve made it into ice cream, mixed it into smoothies, baked it into cakes, whipped it into pancakes, thicken pasta and taco sauces with it, and made more dips with it than I can recall.

Here’s one I really like. If you’ve ever had a craving for a thicker veggie spread for your bagel or chips or raw veggies, this one is really yummy.

And easier than it looks.SAM_4851

Ingredients

1 6-oz. serving of Greek yogurt (plain, non-dairy alternatives work just as well)

2 T finely chopped onions

1 t onion powder

1 T dillSAM_4852

slight dash of garlic powder, pepper, and paprika

Optional mix-in ideas: small carrot shavings, chopped green onions, finely diced red pepper

Directions

Simply remove the cover on the yogurt and begin adding in each ingredient until well blended. Chill about one hour. Transfer to a small serving dish.SAM_4860

Hmm… I wonder what else this could top? I’m open to suggestions.

Warm & Hearty Weeknight Shepherd’s Pie

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Love can warm you all the way through, and so can warm & hearty weeknight shepherd’s pie.

I needed something to stick to my bones. Meat and potatoes were what I needed, with a dash of fresh herbs for flavorful measure.

Ingredients

4 oz. ground meat (I used venison. Hey, it’s antibiotic free!)

1 t whole wheat flour

1 T nondairy milk

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup veggies of choice (peas, carrots, and chopped onion for me)

thyme

1 medium potato

1/4 T nondairy milk

1 t Neufchatel cream cheese

1 t crushed garlic

onion powder

rosemary

optional: 1/2 t vegan butter

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a ramekin. Set aside.

-In a small skillet, brown meat. Drain any grease. Add in ingredients 2-6 until veggies are tender and a little gravy warms. Remove from heat.

-You can prepare the potatoes while the meat browns by microwaving a diced potato for about 4 minutes. Once very soft, smash with fork; mix in ingredients 8-11. Set aside.

-Pour meat and veggies into ramekin. Spread mashed potatoes over the top ’til smooth. Top with butter and rosemary.

-Bake for about 10 minutes or until butter melts and the potatoes are a little crisp on top. Serve warm.

Carrot Pinwheels

carrot pinwheels

Lunch is always a fun challenge for me. I’ll tell you why.

The best thing I can do for myself, I think, is take a break in the middle of the day. Lunch forces me to do this. So I like to make my lunch fun, if possible, light, but filling enough to hold me over ’til dinner.

That’s why I like these carrot pinwheels. They’re cute. They’re healthy. And they’re easy to throw together–even in your office kitchen. Just throw the ingredients in your lunch bag and prepare on site.

Ingredients

-1 whole-grain tortilla

-3 oz. grated carrots

-1-2 T vegan cream cheese

-1-2 T raisins

Optional: 1 T walnuts

Directions

-Lay out tortilla. Spread on cream cheese.

-Sprinkle on carrots and raisins.

-Tightly roll the tortilla and then slice into pinwheels.

Looks like sushi, right? Like I said, easy, fun, and different. It’s a small change for lunch, but mixing it up always makes a big difference.

CrockPot Sesame Chicken

sesame chicken

Nothing was sweeter than the look on my dad’s face.SAM_4521

“You made this in that CrockPot? This is good.

He was so surprised. And that was the point.

I’ve written about this before, but one of my favorite things about cooking is cooking for my loved ones, especially my dad. The man is a laborer, been one his whole life. He works hard, and unfortunately, most of his suppers aren’t up to caliber in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t judge him for living off venison tacos and Little Ceasar’s $5 Hot-and-Ready pizzas (he is, after all, a bachelor and loving it), but I think he deserves something better. Something more satisfying. Something healthful.SAM_4513

So I made him this recipe, CrockPot Honey Sesame Chicken from The Comfort of Cooking. My dad doesn’t like anything very sweet though, so I scaled that back quite a bit and modified it for two very big servings.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1.33 pounds)

Salt and pepper SAM_4515

1/3 cup diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 packets stevia

1/4 cup ketchup

3 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 T olive oil

1 dash of red pepper flakes

1 T cornstarchSAM_4518

2 cups brown rice, optional

1-2 cups fresh cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower) or carrots

1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds

3 scallions or celery, chopped

Directions

-Begin by heating CrockPot to low. Slice chicken into smaller pieces, almost shredding (but into larger chunks). Season lightly with pepper and salt and let the cooking begin in the CrockPot.

-Meanwhile sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft and golden brown. Transfer to a medium bowl.

-In the medium bowl, start mixing in the stevia, soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Drizzle over chicken.

-Cook the chicken on high for about 1.5 hours or on low for 3 to 4. You can add a tablespoon or so of water if the chicken begins to dry out. Stir occasionally.

-Once cooked through and well-marinated, the chicken is ready to be served in pieces or can be shredded. I served mine over brown rice and veggies, which I cooked separately to keep the flavors from merging together too much. But you could add in the rice and veggies an hour or so in (plus 1/3 cup water to cook the rice).

-When finished, season with sesame seeds and top with scallions (for flavor) or celery (for crunch).

Serve warm over a bed of rice, and if you like you can sprinkle a little ginger on top because it’s oh so good for you, too!