Thursday, March 14, 2013

Veggie Lasagna

World Cuisine

Western Inspired
Roasted Winter Veggies (My absolute favorite of all)
Ingredients: Two cans of white beans,1 can diced red tomatoes, 1 bunch of kale chopped,1/2 cup kalamata olives,1 sweet onion,1 butternut squash, 4 parsnips
2 cloves garlic
Pre-heat oven to 400
-In a large skillet, on med-high fry up diced sweet onion in olive oil until it's crispy-turn off heat
-Chop butternut squash into squares and slice parsnips length wise: drizzle olive oil and chopped up garlic over the veggies. -Spread butternut squash, parsnips, and onions out onto baking sheet or Pyrex baking dish. Pop in the oven for roughly 30 minutes until soft.
-In the skillet on medium heat cook the cans of beans (with liquid) and the tomatoes (w/out liquid) mixed in with the onions
-Put the butternut squash, parsnips, and onions in the large skillet with the beans, onions, and tomatoes (cook on low heat for fifteen minutes
-Add the chopped kale in last and place the lid to the skillet on top so that the kale cooks. Leave this on medium low for just a minute. Serve right away.

(Can serve over brown rice, polenta, or my favorite, with a loaf of olive bread that you heat up in the oven, with a little dish of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette)


Sautéed Chard (green or rainbow)
Ingredients: 1 bunch chard (leaves ripped from stems), 1/3 cup diced red onion, one clove minced garlic, two teaspoons olive oil, one tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, ground pepper, rock salt, 1 tablespoon fresh parmesan (optional) Cook: heat olive oil in small skillet on medium heat, throw in onions and cook until translucent, add chard and sauté for one minute or so, add garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant. Turn off heat, add parmesan, lemon, salt, pepper, and serve.
Eastern Inspired (Worth it to go and stock up on some essentials (sesame seed oil, high quality Japanese soy sauce, fresh noodles, curry sauce, and coconut milk)  from a local Asian Market. There are several in San Mateo, but my favorite is Nak’s in Menlo Park because they have Japanese, Thai, and Chinese products)
Thai Veggie Green Curry
Ingrediants:1 package of firm tofu, 4 oz of rice noodles (fresh is best from the Asian market),4 garlic cloves (chopped)1 red bell pepper ,1 onion (Thinly sliced),1 zucchini ,1-2 carrots (sliced length wise) ,1 medium sweet potato (peeled and cubed)cilantro2 tablespoons of green curry paste (best found in Asian markets) 2/3 cup of coconut milk ,3/4 cup of water,2 kefir lime leaves (Also best to go to a local Asain Market, or Whole Foods),1.5 tablespoons of fish or soy sauce, sesame oil
·       Put the rice noodles in a bowl of hot water and set aside.
·       Chop garlic and fry in 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil (add a little water if needed.) Be careful not to burn it, fry until it’s a light golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. 
·       In a large 12 inch deep non stick skillet (or wok) add another tablespoon of sesame oil. On medium heat add onion, bell pepper and sweet potato. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onion and bell soften.
Add salt, pepper, green curry paste, fish or soy sauce. Stir around for half a minute and then add coconut milk, water, zucchini, carrot, and tofu and kefir lime leaves. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the noodles and cook for another 5 minutes. Add more water if needed.
Serve topped with fried garlic and chopped cilantro. 
Veggie Noodle Stir Fry  (so many variations of this to do)
Ingredients: Fresh Ramon noodles (at Nak’s a seasoning package comes with it), shitake mushrooms, one red, one green bell pepper, four kale leaves(or baby bok choy), sesame chili oil, soy sauce
Cook: Pour one tablespoon chili oil in skillet, and stir fry the veggies (minus the kale or bok choy, put in towards the end). When crispy, turn down to medium heat, sprinkle with seasoning and soy sauce, throw in greens and mix until cooked. Boil water in sauce pan and cook noodle briefly (less than a minute), strain under cold water and mix with the veggies. Serve right away.
Southern Inspired
Veggie Gumbo
Ingredients: 2 cups of vegetable stock or chicken stock, 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of vegan butter (can be found at Whole Foods and is called Earth Balance),1 tablespoon of flour, 1/2 cup of long brown grain rice, 1 onion, 1 bell pepper (red ads a nice color) , 3 garlic cloves, 8-10 okra (enough for about a cup) ,1 bundle of mustard greens, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, 2 bay leaves, 1 can of diced tomatoes , 1/3 cup of corn (optional)

*Whole Foods has these incredible and very spicy chipotle vegan sausages by Field Roast that puts this dish over the top. If you want to add some protein, slice slice it up and brown it with a little oil in a separate pan during the last ten minutes. Then just add it to the individual serving bowls.
1. Add the Earth Balance and flour to a large stockpot on medium-high heat and keep stirring until the roux turns light brown.
2. Add the clopped onion and bell pepper and cook for about 3-5 minutes
3. Add the chopped garlic, thyme, cayenne, and rice. Stir for another 2 minutes until fragrant
4. Add the can of tomatoes (I add them with their juice- it makes the broth more of a red color)
5. Slowly pour in the broth and water and stir/wisk so that no lumps form.
6. Bring to a boil and add the chopped okra and bay leaves. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
7. Add the chopped mustard greens and corn. Add more broth or water if you want it a little soupier. Cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve it with a side of cornbread (my spicy cornbread recipe follows), it’s amazing! It makes about 4 servings. 
Roasted Chile Cornbread: (all ingredients can be quickly acquired at Whole Foods)

Ingredients: 6 habanero chilies, 2 cups flour, 2 cups cornmeal, stone-ground, 1/4 cup sugar, 7 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 cup tsp. salt, 4 large eggs, 2 cups buttermilk, 1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted, 1 cup thawed frozen petite corn, 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Turn on broil to Hi
place chilies on baking sheet and broil until blackened, about 7 minutes on each side.
Let chilies cool, and then remove stems and seeds, and chop into tiny pieces.
 Turn oven to 400
stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl beat eggs, buttermilk, and butter to blend.
Mix egg/milk mixture with flour, add chilies and onions, and stir until blended.
Spread in a buttered 9-by 13-in baking dish for 25-30 minutes.

Roasted Chile-lime broccolini

(Broccolini are those ones that are a lot thinner than regular broc, just in case you didn't know)

Two bundles of broccolini
2/3 cup Earth Balance
1/2 teaspoon rock salt
2 tbsp. chili powder
zest of one lime

turn oven to 425

Slice broccolini length wise into thin strips. About one slice down the middle, and lay out on a greased baking pan on tin foil.
In sauce pan heat Earth Balance and mix in salt. Turn off and mix in chili powder and lime zest.
Drizzle over the broccolini, coating each side. Cook for 15 minutes. It turns out really yummy and crispy.

I serve this with baked salmon, as it can cook for the same amount of time on the same heat. I just rub some olive oil, crushed rock salt, ground pepper, and thyme onto the salmon, and place in a baking dish alongside the broccoli. I also serve it with wild rice cooked in chicken broth. Super easy and yummy dinner.
Baked Beans
Ingredients: two cans of fat-free, vegetarian baked beans, 1/3 cup brown sugar, one tablespoon blackstrap molasses, 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion. Cook: heat oven to 400, grease a casserole dish with Pam, mix ingredients together, and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for about ten before serving.
Baked Fries
Ingredients: Four russet potatoes, or a small bag of fingerling potatoes, rock salt, one table spoon olive oil, (cayenne pepper optional) one teaspoon lemon. Cook: Turn oven to 400, cut potatoes length wise, thinly. Put into ziplock bag with olive oil and lemon, shake to coat, lay out evenly on greased Pyrex dish (good to grease with Earth Balance), sprinkle with salt and cayenne to taste, bake for 12-15 minutes flipping to get evenly crispy.

Summer Salads

Blueberry Mango Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing Recipe

For the quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

For the fruits and veggies
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup cubed ripe mangoes
½ cup cubed cucumbers
1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries

·       For the lemon basil dressing
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
10 Basil leaves, chopped finely
salt and pepper
·       Place the quinoa and water in a medium skillet and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or till the quinoa is cooked. Remove the lid, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature.
·       While the quinoa is cooking, combine the fruits in a bowl and refrigerate till you are ready to serve the salad.
·       Whisk together all the dressing ingredients, except the chopped basil. Refrigerate till you are ready to serve. Chop and add the basil to the dressing just before serving. If you add it earlier, it will go black.
·       Add half the dressing to the quinoa and mix gently.
·       Assemble the salad just before serving – toss the quinoa, fruits and cucumbers together. Serve other half of the dressing on the side. Serve immediately.

Tofu mixed greens
·       Ingredients: Baked/flavored tofu (Trader Joes or Whole Foods will have this-savory flavor is really good) mixed salad greens, cucumber, carrots, brown rice, sprouts, garbanzo beans, balsamic vinaigrette (favorites are Paul Newman’s, or at most Whole Foods: Lucini-Tuscan Balsamic.
·       The tofu can be eaten raw and it saves calories, but is still tasty. Cut some up and put in your salad for protein. It can also be sautéed up in a little olive oil to make it crispy. This is always good for dinners with brown rice too.
·       If several cups of brown rice are made ahead-it’s great for placing some in your salad, or heating up later with dinner.
·       Toss all this together for a big healthy salad.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Money saving tips to make amazing food

With how much I love to cook, and how picky I am about ingredients, it can get pretty expensive. So I've found a few ways to really cut down my food budget, while still making incredible meals! Here are a few things I've learned that may take some extra time, but in the end, save some serious money:

1. Local Markets: If you are lucky enough to live near ethnically diverse grocery shops, utilize them! They often have much cheaper spices and staples like beans, rice, flour, and wonderful speciality items that are hard to find elsewhere.
TIP: If you are on the Peninsula in the Bay Area, here are some great places: Namaste (Indian market in Belmont), Chavez Supermarket (Mexican markets, all over Redwood City), and Nak's (Asian market-Japanese, Thai, and even Hungarian food).

2. If you go to these markets and stock up on staples, you will save a lot of money. For example, I recently bought raw cashews (for my cashew milkshake posted) and spent $8 at Namaste whereas at Whole Foods, I had spent $20 for the same amount. 

3. Farmer's Markets are so worth it for buying all of your produce.
TIP:I go towards the end where often times deals are being made to get rid of left over items. 

Spices, rice, and other staples from Nak's and Namaste

Quail eggs from Nak's

Smoked salmon from Nak's 

Chavez Market
4. Salad Dressing:  You know how salads are just not the same when you eat them at home than in a restaurant? Well, it's clear that the dressing makes the salad, and no matter how awesome I am at cooking-most the time I can't seem to replicate my favorites. So, I've found that many (Especially family owned) restaurants will sell you their dressing for cheap, and then you can make your fabulous salads at home for a quarter of the price! 

TIP: Crepevine in SF, Burlingame, and Palo Alto have the most delicious orange and lemon vinaigrette and they will sell you practically two cups of the liquid magic for $5 a pop! Also, try this tactic with other things: salsas (like at Papalote in SF), soy chicken from (Herbivore)...whatever the item is that's hard to make at home, but will last if you refrigerate or freeze 

Spicy Basil Noodle Stir Fry

Ingredients (two servings):
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
Two sliced green onions
Two tablespoons chili sesame oil
Soy sauce (to taste-roughly 1/4th cup)
chicken broth (roughly 1/4th cup)
one tablespoon (depends on how spicy you want) *Hunan chili sauce
2 packets *fresh stir-fry noodles
2 *quail eggs
1 small green bell pepper (sliced long-wise)
1 small red bell pepper (sliced long-wise)
1 cup fresh basil leaves

*Best to find these items in Asian markets (A well stocked market like Whole Foods may have many of these items, but a local Asian market can't be beat-my favorite is Nak's in Menlo Park, CA)

Cooking Directions:

Boil water in small sauce pan
Put two packets of fresh noodles in for one minute
Strain and set aside

Heat up wok to high heat
pour in two tablespoons sesame oil
sauté bell peppers and mushrooms until clear
pour in soy sauce and chicken broth and lower to medium heat
mix in chili sauce
add the basil and stir, letting the flavors sink in for a few minutes, and then add the noodles
mix together and turn off heat.

Boil water in the sauce pan and crack the quail egg into the water
place a lid over the top and let boil for about a minute (just watch for the egg white to form and the yolk should still be yellow)
remove with a spoon (preferably one that had slits for draining the water)


Dish into bowls and sprinkle with green onions, and place the poached quail egg on top

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Favorite Healthy Recipes

 Juice Drinks (juicer required for most recipes)

Cleanse Spicy Lemonade
2 juiced lemons
½ cups water
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

(no juicer needed-just juice the lemon and mix together with water and pepper-warning: this drink is meant as a cleanser to clean you out…)

 Green Machine

3 leaves Kale
handful spinach
1 green apple
2 carrots
1 lemon

Cool Summer
1 cucumber
2 green apples
1 lime

Carrot Top 

6 carrots
one teaspoon of fresh ginger
1 lime
1 Fuji apple

Cashew Milk
4 oz raw cashews
2 cups filtered and chilled water
two teaspoons cinnamon (to taste)
one teaspoon vanilla extract (or minced vanilla bean)
1 tablespoon agave nectar

Directions: Place cashews in blender and mince, pour in cinnamon, vanilla, agave, the water, and blend. Sprinkle some cinnamon on the top and serve. Super tasty in frosted glasses left chilling in the fridge.

Pineapple Mint Mojito
½ cup of chopped pineapple
two green apples
½ lime
handful of mint diced small (hand chop or put in a small Cuisinart and mix in the juice before serving)