Healthy Recipes

Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage Leaves

I’ve said it before, but there is nothing like a meal full of pumpkin and sweet and savory spices in the month of October.  As the temperature starts to drop and we start to retrieve our coats and scarves from storage, there’s nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of soup.  Since Halloween is quickly approaching, and you’re going to need a festive food to eat while you watch Hocus Pocus (I know you love it), I have developed the perfect Pumpkin Soup recipe for you.  It’s my own “witches brew” full of aromatic spices and rich, pungent flavors.  A creative and impressive way to serve this soup at your Halloween party or even Thanksgiving dinner, is to hallow out small pumpkins, ladle in the soup and have your guests eat right out of the pumpkins!

 

 

Recipe Feeds 2 People

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Tablespoon of raw bacon chopped fine
  2. 1/3 Cup White Onion Finely Chopped
  3. ½ Tablespoon Butter
  4. 1 Clove of Garlic Minced
  5. 1 Bay Leaf (leave it whole.  It is just a flavoring agent)
  6. 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  7. 2 Sage Leaves (Plus a few more for Garnish- optional)
  8. ¾ Cup Pumpkin Puree
  9. ½ Honey Crisp Apple or Macintosh Apple (peeled and diced)
  10. 1 ½ Teaspoons Dark Brown Sugar
  11. ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  12. Dash of Ground Ginger
  13. Dash of Nutmeg
  14. 1 ½ Teaspoons Maple Syrup (optional-you may like it less sweet)
  15.  Salt & Pepper to taste
  16. ½ Cup Milk
  17. Garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche

Steps-

  1. Heat a medium saucepan on medium heat.  When the pot is hot put the chopped bacon in the pot.
  2. Allow the bacon fat to render and for the bacon to brown and get crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set it aside (use it as garnish later).  Leave the fat in the pot.
  3. Add the butter to the pot on medium-low heat.  When the butter melts add the chopped onions, whole bay leaf and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent. 
  4. Add the chicken stock, pumpkin puree and sage leaves.  Bring it to a simmer, stirring periodically.
  5. While the mixture is simmering, place the chopped apple in a microwavable dish and microwave it on high for 3-5 minutes or until soft and mushy.
  6. Add the cooked apple, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, maple syrup, salt and pepper to the pot with the pumpkin mixture.
  7. Allow to simmer with the lid on for 10-15 minutes to bring the flavors together.
  8. Remove from the heat and using an immersion hand blender or a regular blender, blend the soup until it is silky and smooth.  Pour the mixture back into the pot.
  9. Add the milk to the pumpkin mixture and simmer for another 5-10 minutes or so.
  10. Remove from the heat and serve! I heat up some olive oil in a pan on high heat and then fry up some sage leaves in it.  The sage gets crispy like a chip and acts as a great garnish on top of the soup.  You can also put a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream and a drizzle of honey, or even some toasted pumpkin seeds!  The opportunities are endless.

   

Mexican Quinoa Cakes with Avocado Tomato Salsa & Lime Cream

One of my favorite culinary tips is “cross utilization!” If you have leftover ingredients such as chicken, potatoes, rice, tomato sauce, you name it, you can create a whole new meal in the blink of an eye!  When I made my delicious Chicken Cacciatore (see recipe below) I used my leftover tomato sauce as a main ingredient in the dish and then served the chicken with some Quinoa.  I had a hefty portion of Quinoa leftover so instead of tossing it in the trash I used it to make a whole new creation!  This dish can be made as sort of a "California style" savory brunch dish or as a healthy dinner!  The Quinoa cakes are packed with nutrients and zesty Mexican flavors, and the salsa and lime cream on top bring some moisture and freshness to the dish. If you are a vegetarian (or even a carnivore like me) this is the dish for you! I told you healthy food does not need to be boring food! 

 

 

Ingredients- 

  1. 1 Cup of Plain Cooked Quinoa
  2. 1/3 Cup Red Kidney Beans (Canned)
  3. 2 Tablespoons Red Onion Finely Chopped
  4. 1 Small Garlic Clove Minced
  5. ¼ Cup Green Bell Pepper Diced Finely
  6. 1 ½ Tablespoons of Fresh Lime Juice
  7. A Few Dashes of Mexican Chili Powder (as much as you like)
  8. 2 Eggs Lightly Beaten with a Fork
  9. ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon of Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese (you can use whatever shredded cheese you like)
  10. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  11. 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

 

Steps-

  1. In a medium bowl break up the kidney beans slightly with a fork.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together using your hands or a fork to make sure everything is evenly combined.
  3. Heat up the Olive Oil in a skillet on medium heat.  When the oil gets hot, form pancake like circles of the Quinoa mixture on the pan.  Mine were about 4 inches in diameter.
  4. When the cakes are nice and golden brown on the bottom, gently flip with a spatula.  Cook on the 2nd side until it is golden brown and the inside of the pancake is cooked and no longer sticky inside. 
  5. Top with the Avocado Tomato Salsa and a Dollop of Lime Cream.

 

Simple Avocado Salsa-

Ingredients- 

  1. 1 Medium Size Ripe Tomato Diced
  2. ½ An Avocado Diced
  3. ½ Teaspoon Cilantro or Parsley
  4. Salt & Pepper
  5. Honey
  6. Fresh Lime
  7. Olive Oil

Steps-

  1. Stir together the diced Tomato, Avocado and Parsley or Cilantro.
  2. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top, along with a drizzle of olive oil, and tiny drizzle of honey. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Toss everything together and serve on the Quinoa Cakes, on fish, tacos, chicken or whatever you like! 

Lime Cream-

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 Cup of 0% Fat Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream (Greek Yogurt is the Low Calorie Option)
  2. 1/2 Small Lime

Steps- 

  1. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the yogurt, stir and dollop on top of the Quinoa Cakes, or even tacos, quesadillas and more!


Turkey & Quinoa Chipotle Meatloaf

The following article/recipe was created for my friends over at Happily Ever Borrowed.  Happily Ever Borrowed is "the premiere online wedding shop that rents designer bridal accessories worldwide at a fraction of the retail price!" I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes with their wonderful followers on the HEB Blog.  This recipe is a must try! Take a look!

 

Imagine that you are days away from tying the knot. Most married couples will tell you that the days leading up to your wedding can be the most exciting and the most stressful. The anticipation and the anxiety can be overwhelming as all the final details and loose ends are being tied together. All the while, the prospective bride is trying to count calories, worried that her dress may not fit! You and your fiancé need to plan a nice “wedding- plan-free” evening together so that you can take the time to enjoy each other’s company and focus on what’s really important: the joining of two hearts in the name of love!

In my opinion, there’s nothing better than sharing a delicious home cooked meal with your lovey while getting comfy on the couch and watching your favorite flick. How about the first movie you ever saw together? This will help you to reconnect by bringing back those memories of the nervous butterflies you had in your stomach, the giddiness, and the excitement of a new relationship. 

My Turkey & Quinoa Chipotle Meatloaf is the perfect recipe for you and your fiancé to share. I love this recipe because it healthy and nutritious while retaining all of the amazing qualities of your favorite comfort food—and besides, the prep work involves getting your hands dirty, which can be fun to do as a couple! Both men and women alike have given this recipe rave reviews.  While ground turkey can be dry at times, the addition of Quinoa, an egg and chipotle paste makes it incredibly moist and flavorful. A sweet and spicy Chipotle Brown Sugar Glaze joins with creamy mashed potatoes (or cauliflower if you want to cut calories) in holy matrimony! If offered “seconds” of this dish, your fiancé will certainly shout “I do!”

 

Turkey Quinoa Chipotle Meatloaf

(This recipe feeds 2-3 people) 

***You can double or triple this recipe and feed 4-6 people.  If you do this you must bake it in a regular size loaf pan (10x5x3)***

Ingredients-

Meatloaf-

  1. 2 Tablespoons of Organic Quinoa
  2. 5 Ounces Ground Lean Turkey Meat
  3. 1 Small Clove of Fresh Garlic Minced
  4. 1/3 Cup of Finely Chopped White Onion
  5. 1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  6. 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  7. 1 Heaping Tablespoon of Chipotle Adobo Sauce (Buy the can of Goya Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce and use the sauce the peppers are in.  You can also cut up one of the peppers to add the the meatloaf if you like things very spicy. 
  8. ½ Teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves Finely Chopped
  9. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  10. 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
  11. 1 Egg (lightly beaten)

Sweet Chipotle Glaze

  1. 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
  2. 1 Teaspoon Adobo Sauce (Buy the can of Goya Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce and use the sauce the peppers are in)
  3. ½ Teaspoon Ketchup

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Cook the Quinoa by bringing the Quinoa and about ½ of water to a boil.  Allow to simmer stirring occasional until it is tender and expands a little. (About 15 minutes) Put the cooked Quinoa in the fridge to cool.
  3. While the Quinoa is cooling in the fridge, heat up the olive oil in a small pan on low heat and add the garlic and onions.
  4. Cook down the onions and garlic until they soften and start to become translucent. 
  5. Remove the onions from the stove and stir in the Worcestershire, Adobo Sauce, Fresh Thyme, Salt, and Ketchup. Set aside and allow to cool down.
  6. In a medium bowl mix together the ground turkey, cooled quinoa and egg .  It is best to use your hands so the egg is fully incorporated.
  7. Mix in the chipotle and onion mixture. Set aside
  8. In a small bowl stir together the glaze ingredients: Brown Sugar, Adobo, Ketchup (add a drop of water if it’s too thick). Set aside.
  9. Cover a small loaf pan (Best to use a mini ceramic loaf pan around 5 inches by 3 inches) in aluminum foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
  10. Scoop the turkey mixture into the loaf pan and spoon the glaze over the top covering the top of the meatloaf completely. 
  11. Bake the Meatloaf in a water bath to keep it moist inside while it bakes.  This means you will place the loaf pan in another oven safe shallow dish that is slightly larger than the meatloaf pan.  Fill the dish with a little hot water so it’s about 1/3 of the way up the side of the loaf pan. 
  12. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center of the meatloaf feels firm to the touch and the ground turkey is fully cooked. For the last 15 minutes of the cooking process remove the meatloaf from the water bath and finish cooking it in the oven without the water bath.  (If you have a meat thermometer, stick it in the center and when it reaches 160F it is cooked).
  13. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it sit for about 15 minutes.  The meatloaf will hold its shape better if you allow it to cool slightly.
  14. Gently pull the foil up out of the pan releasing the meatloaf.  Using a spatula or tongs place the loaf on a serving dish. 
  15. Slice it up and serve with your favorite sides!  I love this meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a nice crisp cucumber or green salad.  Check out my recipe for Tangy Cucumber Salad, it is perfect next to this dish.

Tabbouleh

This recipe is in honor of my best friend Chris and my sister’s wonderful boyfriend Mel.  Both gentlemen are of Lebanese descent and have introduced me to some traditional Lebanese dishes that were unforgettable.  Of course there is lamb, hummus, falafel etc. but one of my favorite Lebanese specialties is Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish that may have started as far back as 4,000 years ago when the Arabs started utilizing grains like Bulgar Wheat.  There are many ways to make Tabbouleh and many ways to spell it!  Some recipes utilize much more parsley than Bulgar wheat and others predominantly consist of wheat and use the parsley as more of a flavoring agent.  I love parsley, but I find it can be slightly tough in texture, so I prefer the wheat to be the star of the dish. My version is crunchy, creamy, nutritious and extremely refreshing.  Pair it with a grilled piece of fish, lamb or chicken and you have the perfect healthy/hearty meal.  There are many health benefits to eating this dish…so much that it is known as one of the healthiest salads or sides you can eat!

 

Ingredients-


  1. 8.8 ounces of Bulgar wheat (I use the bag of Trader Joes 10 Minute Bulgar Wheat that is partially cooked)- Cook it according to the directions and cool in the fridge.  I boil mine in part water and part chicken stock to give it more flavor.
  2. 1 Cup English Cucumber Diced
  3. 1 ½ Cups Fresh Tomato Diced
  4. ¼ Cup Green Scallions Finely Chopped
  5. ½ Cup Red Onion Finely Chopped
  6. ¾ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley Chopped
  7. 4 Medium Ears of Fresh Corn
  8. ½ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  9. ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  10. 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  11. ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  12. ¾ Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  13. 2 Teaspoons Honey 

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the corn kernels off the cob.  Put all the uncooked kernels in a bowl and toss them with about 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and a dash of salt and pepper. 
  3. Spread the corn out evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Roast the corn in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or so, or until it is tender and starts to brown slightly. 
  4. Set the corn aside when it is done.
  5. In a large bowl stir together the cooked and cooled bulgar wheat, diced cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, onion, parsley and corn. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard powder and honey.
  7. Pour the oil mixture over the wheat mixture a little at the time, while tossing it with a fork. 
  8. Once the ingredients are all evenly blended together, set it in the fridge to cool.  You can eat it at room temperature, but I prefer to eat it chilled.  You should make it several hour in advance or even a day in advance so all the flavors can macerate.
  9. Serve with your favorite protein.  I enjoy mine with a nice piece of grilled fish, chicken or beef.

The Sicilian Breakfast of Champions- Spiced Greek Yogurt with Figs & Almonds

As I have discussed in my previous blog post, it is fig season, and I just can’t help but purchase a box every time I walk past the fruit stand on the corner.  The sweet, honey-like smell they give off when they are ripe, can put one in a state of trance.  After a long workout this morning I started rummaging through the cabinets for something healthy to eat for breakfast.  My friends and family can tell you that I don’t just have a sweet tooth, I’ve got sweet teeth…I just love sweets especially in the morning when I wake up and at night before bed (probably not the best habit).  What’s great about figs and honey, is they have natural sugars, so you’re still satisfying your cravings but not negatively effecting your health.  This super simple recipe can be eaten for breakfast, a lite lunch, or even as a dessert, because that is how delicious it tastes! Go Fig-ure!

It is as simple as this-

Serves 1 Person-

Ingredients-

  1. ¾ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use 0% fat Fage brand)
  2. 3-4 Black Mission Figs (quartered)
  3. 1 - 1  1/2 Tablespoons Slivered Almonds (as much as you prefer)
  4. 1/8 Teaspoon Orange Zest
  5. A Sprinkle of Cinnamon
  6. A Drizzle of Honey

Steps-

  1. Place Greek Yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Top it with the sliced Figs and Slivered Almonds
  3. Evenly sprinkle the Cinnamon and Orange Zest over the top.
  4. Drizzle the honey over the top.
  5. Enjoy and then lick the bowl clean…

Fig Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

August may mean that summer is almost over, but it also means that fig season has begun! Figs have a very special place in my heart because I grew up with a fig tree in my backyard, I make hundreds of Sicilian fig cookies with my Grandmother and sisters every Christmas, and my winning dish on Andersen Cooper’s Chopped contained fresh figs. What many people don’t realize is that they are incredibly versatile.

Figs are great by themselves, with yogurt and a drizzle of honey, in cakes and cookies, with gourmet cheeses, in chicken dishes, or in salads like you see here.

The fruity, sweet figs compliment the peppery arugula and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano perfectly.


Ingredients-

Citrus Vinaigrette-

  1. ¼ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  2. Pinch of Orange Zest
  3. 1 ½ Teaspoons Olive Oil
  4. 1 Tablespoons Red Onion (Finely Chopped)
  5. 1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  6. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  7. Dash of Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)

Fig Salad-

(Feeds 2-3 People)

  1. 3 Cups Baby Arugula
  2. 5 Fresh Black Mission Figs quartered
  3. Parmigiano Reggiano  

Steps-

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, red onion, balsamic, honey, salt and pepper. Set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the arugula and figs.
  3. Pour as much dressing as you’d like over the top of the salad and toss until fully coated.
  4. Using a vegetable peeler, shave pieces of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of each salad.

Nutella Banana Breakfast Shake

This morning I woke up extra early to get a good workout in before work, and on my way back I began to brainstorm what I would have for breakfast. Hmmm…Nutella and toast?…fruit and yogurt?...a nice cup of coffee for sure…AH HA! Ive got it! I combined some of these delicious elements into one thick, creamy, rather healthy shake, and I was ready to get my day started!  The Greek yogurt and banana in this shake gives it a great thick texture along with that wonderful protein your body needs, and that Nutella…oh that Nutella…it adds that sweet, chocolaty, nutty flavor to the shake, along with some calcium.  I add a hint of instant coffee to this drink to give me a nice energy boost!  This shake couldn’t be easier to make and truly filled me up!  A great meal replacement!

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Plain Greek Yogurt (0% fat or 2% fat is best.  I used Fage brand)
  2. ½ a Banana
  3. ½ Cup Skim Milk
  4. 1 Heaping Tablespoon of Nutella
  5. A handful of Ice Cubes
  6. ½ Teaspoon Instant Coffee Grounds
  7. Drizzle of Honey 

Steps-

  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches with Carrots, Cucumber, Avocado and a Sherry Tarragon Mayo

I recently had a dish with a Sherry Mayo on it, and it was so delicious and unique, I knew I had to come up with my own recipe and share it with my readers.   The Sherry Tarragon Mayo that I came up with is so simple to make, but the flavors are so dynamic.  The Cooking Sherry itself is slightly sweet and slightly nutty, and the Tarragon has wonderful hints of fennel/licorice, pepper, and pine that can completely transform a dish.  This mayo is perfect in a chicken salad, with sliced turkey or with salmon, as I did in this dish.  The flavorful mayo, creamy avocado slices, earthy carrots, refreshing cucumbers and sweet and spicy salmon filet all come together harmoniously on the crispy Ciabata bread.  This sandwich is perfect for a luncheon with friends, but is also hearty enough to be eaten for dinner!

 

Sherry Tarragon Mayo-

Makes about 1/3 cup of mayo (enough for 3-4 Salmon Sandwiches)

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 Cup Hellmann's Lite Mayo
  2. 1 Medium Shallot
  3. ½ Teaspoon Fresh Tarragon Leaves (Chopped)
  4. 1 Small Garlic Clove
  5. 2 ½ Teaspoons Cooking Sherry (you can get it in the grocery store)
  6. 1 ½ Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  7. Dash of Black Pepper
  8. Pinch of Salt
  9. ¼ Teaspoon White Sugar

Steps-

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until the garlic and shallot are chopped finely and everything is combined.
  2. I like to put the mayo in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or so, so the flavors really come together.

Salmon Sandwiches-

Makes 2 Sandwiches

Ingredients-

  1. Sherry Tarragon Mayo
  2. Ciabata Bread or Baguettes (Toasted)
  3. 2 Raw Salmon Filets (About .3 lbs per sandwich)
  4. 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  5. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  6. ¼ Teaspoon SIracha Hot Sauce
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. 1 ½ Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  9. Grated Carrots (I used a peeler to grate them)
  10. Thinly Sliced Cucumber
  11. Sliced Ripe Avocado

Steps-

  1. Mix the Soy Sauce, Honey, Siracha and Olive Oil together in a bowl.
  2. Place the Salmon filets in a large Ziploc bag and pour the soy sauce mixture in. Gently shake the bag and get the salmon completely covered in the mixture.  Set in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to marinate.
  3. Heat your grill pan or outdoor grill on medium/low heat.
  4. When the pan is hot, spray it with nonstick cooking spray and place the salmon filets on the pan.
  5. Grill the salmon for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until it is cooked all the way through. During the cooking process pour any extra marinade over the top.
  6. Spread a few Tablespoons (or as much as you like) of the Sherry Tarragon Mayo onto the bread slices. 
  7. Next, top the bottom slice of bread with the grated carrots and sliced avocado. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the avocado.
  8. Place the Salmon filet on the sandwich next and then top with the cucumber slices.  I put mayo on both slices of bread so that is hold everything together.
  9. Enjoy! (Click the picture of the sandwich to see more photos)

Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

I absolutely LOVE oatmeal! It is warm and hearty and oh so comforting, especially in the morning before a long, stressful day of work.   My mom will tell you that during my adolescent phase of life, I was often eating oatmeal three times a day…go figure.  I love baked oatmeal because it has this great “oatmeal cookie” like outer crust and a warm gooey center.  I add some delicious fresh fruits for their color, flavor, texture and nutrients of course!  Fruit is the most natural way to give your body the energy boost it needs to start your day!  This recipe is super easy and makes enough for about 3-4 servings, so you can make it and eat it a few days in a row for breakfast!

 

Ingredients-

  1. 1 ½ Cups of Oats (Quaker Old Fashioned Whole Grain Oats)
  2. ½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  3. Dash of Salt
  4. 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  5. ½ Cup Fresh Blueberries
  6. 1 Large Banana
  7. ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  8. ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  9. 1 Tablespoon of Butter (melted)
  10. 1 Cup Skim Milk
  11. 1 Egg
  12. ¼ Cup chopped Walnuts or Almonds (Optional)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Stir together the oats, 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Nuts (optional), Cinnamon and Blueberries.
  3. In a separate bowl mash HALF of the banana (set aside the other half)
  4. Stir the Vanilla, Egg, Milk and Butter into the bowl with the banana.  Stir until combined.
  5. Stir the milk/banana mixture into the oat mixture and mix until fully incorporated.  Be careful not to break up the blueberries! Be gentle!
  6. Slice up the remaining half of the banana and set aside.
  7. Spray a small ceramic dish or pyrex loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  You want to mixture to be about 3-4 inches high in the pan so it doesn’t dry out.
  8. Pour the oatmeal mixture into the dish and spread it out.  Place the banana slices evenly over the top.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining Tablespoon of Brown Sugar over the top.  (The brown sugar on top is optional if you are super health conscious.
  10. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the oats are nice and tender.
  11. Enjoy!!

Tropical Shrimp & Mango Stuffed Avocados

I won’t lie, I love rich, butter-filled dishes, but sometimes you just need something light, fresh and full of nutrients!  One of my favorite ingredients to cook with is avocados, because when they are ripe, they have such a wonderful creaminess that can add so much flavor and richness to a dish.  Shrimp is a healthy protein choice when cooking because it is filling but very low in calories. Shrimp is like a blank canvas, in that will absorb the flavors and colors of the marinade you put on it.  The fun part about this recipe is that the avocado also acts as the serving dish.  It is such a beautiful & colorful presentation that will take your guests on a trip to the tropics any time of year! Got Room For More?  Follow Got Room For More on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram! I would love to hear your comments and recipe requests!

Recipe Feeds 3 people

Ingredients-

  1. 25-30 Raw Deveined Shrimp (Small/medium shrimp…not rock shrimp because those are too small) (You want about 8-10 shrimp per person)
  2. 2 Ripe Avocados
  3. ½ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  4. 2 Teaspoons Honey
  5. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  7. A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  8. A dash of Coriander
  9. 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  10. 1/4 Teaspoon Ginger Paste (Comes in a small jar or use fresh grated)
  11. ½ Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  12. 2 Teaspoons Chopped Cilantro (If you do not like Cilantro then use Parsley)
  13. 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Red Onion
  14. ¼ Cup Fresh Diced Tomato (I used some red and some yellow)
  15. ½ a Very Ripe Mango Diced in Small Pieces
  16. Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt (I use Greek Yogurt b/c it is low in fat and a similar texture)

Steps-

  1. Stir together the Orange Juice, Mango, Honey, Salt, Pepper, Coriander, Red Pepper, Vinegar, Ginger, Garlic, Cilantro and Red Onion.
  2. Pour 3/4 of the mixture on top of the shrimp in a separate bowl and set the rest of the marinade aside. Put the shrimp in the fridge and let it marinate for about 15-20 minutes
  3. Remove the shrimp from the fridge and grill them on a grill pan or outdoor grill for a few minutes on each side or until they turn slightly orange and are fully cooked.
  4. Set the shrimp aside
  5. Cut the avocados in half vertically and remove the pit.  Leave the skin on!
  6. Scoop out about half of the flesh of each avocado, so that you create nice little hollow avocado bowls. Chop up whatever you remove and add with to the shrimp. Each person should receive one half of an avocado. Since this recipe is for 3 people, scoop out the 4th half completely, and dice it up.  Throw the scooped out/diced flesh into the bowl with the grilled shrimp.
  7. Toss the diced tomatoes in with the shrimp and pour the remaining marinade over the mixture.
  8. Toss it all up so that everything is fully coated in the sauce.
  9. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the semi-scooped out avocado halves and then put a nice helping of the shrimp salad in each one as if it were a serving bowl.
  10. Put a small dollop of sour cream or Greek Yogurt on each stuffed avocado and then garnish with cilantro or parsley.
  11. Serve with Corn, red cabbage slaw, a salad or just by itself! You can even use tortilla chips to scoop it out!

Hash Brown Crusted Turkey Burgers with Tomato Onion Chutney & Poached Eggs

As I was perusing the isles of my local grocery store, pondering about what I wanted to make for dinner, I stumbled upon some ground turkey meat.  I do enjoy a healthy Turkey Burger once in a while, but I do find that they can be very dry and lack flavor.  I love having a starch with my meats, especially potatoes, because they have such a comforting flavor and texture.  My friends introduced me to these great “Simply Potatoes” Hash Browns which are fresh potatoes that are already grated for you so it saves you time and labor! I crusted the turkey burgers with these potatoes, so when they cook and get crispy, they act as a barrier that locks in all the juices.  The Tomato Onion Chutney is slightly spicy from the Siracha and pleasantly sweet from the ketchup and Vidalia Onion.  I top this beautiful burger with a poached egg, because when you cut into it, the velvety, creamy yolk pours out onto the burger and acts as a sauce…and what goes better with potatoes than eggs, right?  No bread is needed for this burger, just eat is by its lonesome or pair is with a crisp, tangy Green Bean salad like I did.

 

Recipe Feeds 2 People (Makes 2 very large burgers, so you can make them smaller and feed 3 people)

Tomato Onion Chutney

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Clove of Garlic Minced
  2. 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. 1 Cup Chopped Vidalia Onion
  4. ¾  Teaspoon Siracha Hot Sauce
  5. ¼ Sea Salt (or Regular Salt)
  6.  Dash of Ground Black Pepper
  7. ½ Teaspoon Whole Grain Mustard
  8. Dash of Sugar
  9. 1 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
  10. 2 Tablespoons Ketchup

 Steps-

  1. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat and add the Olive Oil
  2. Add the Onion and Chopped Garlic and Saute until the onions are translucent and become very potent.
  3. Once the onions are tender add the Siracha, Salt, Pepper, Mustard, Sugar, White Vinegar and Ketchup. 
  4. Simmer on low heat until the liquid starts to evaporate and the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and put in a small bowl in the refrigerator to chill.

Turkey Burgers-

Ingredients- 

10-12 Ounces of Ground Turkey (I used 93% Lean)

1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Small Clove of Garlic Minced

Pinch of Salt

¼ Teaspoon Ground Balck Pepper

10-12 Ounces Grated Potatoes (Best to use “Simply Potatoes” Hash Brown Potatoes because they are pre-grated)

Flour (About ½ Cup)

3 Eggs

Steps-

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Remove the Chutney from the fridge when it is cool
  3. Using your hands, mix together the Ground Turkey, 2 Tablespoons of the Chutney, Thyme, Garlic, Salt and Pepper, in a large bowl.  Make sure it is evenly blended.
  4. Make two Large burger patties with the meat (about 1 ½ inches thick)
  5. Poke a hole in the center of each burger , fill them with about 1 Tablespoon of the Chutney and patch up the hole with the meat that surrounds it.
  6. Dip the burgers in flour.
  7. Beat one egg in a dish and pour the uncooked hash brown shredded potatoes onto a separate plate
  8. Dip the burgers in the egg and then place them onto the plate with the potatoes.  Press the potatoes all over the raw burger so that it is completely covered.
  9. Heat a large skillet on the stove on medium/high heat with about 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Canola Oil.
  10. When the pan is very hot, gently put the burgers onto the pan. You want it to sizzle! The goal is to get the outer potato crust to be crispy and brown.
  11. Cook the burgers on each side until they are golden brown and start to cook/stiffen up.
  12. To continue the cooking process I put the burgers in the oven on a pan until they are fully cooked an there is zero pink inside.  (poultry meat must be fully cooked!) Should take about 10 minutes or so.
  13. While they are in the oven, prepare the 2 poached eggs.
  14.  Heat a small pot of water on the stove until it is almost at a boil.
  15. Once the water is almost boiling, add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or Rice Vinegar.
  16.  Crack the eggs gently right above the surface of the water.  It is very important to drop them close to the water so they don’t break and lose the proper consistency.
  17. When the eggs are cracked into the water, the vinegar will cause the eggs to congeal.
  18. Shut the stove off and cover the pot for about 4 minutes or until the white of the egg are fully cooked and the egg looks like a smooth ball. You want the yolks to be runny!
  19. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon.  (If you need help making a poached egg, there are videos and more detailed instructions online, or just make an over-medium egg instead in a frying pan.)
  20. Remove the burgers from the oven and use a spatula to put them on plates.
  21. Put one Poached Egg on top of each burger.
  22. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and top with a sprig of fresh Thyme for garnish.

            Enjoy!

Guacamole with Honey & Cumin

When it is warm outside, the foods that come to my mind are barbecued foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, slaws and salads, fresh fruits and of course lots of yummy dips.  Everyone loves a good dip whether it is buffalo chicken, French onion, taco, spinach, or my personal favorite, homemade guacamole.  After researching recipes and making and eating several variations of this classic Mexican dish, I finally developed the perfect recipe.  This recipe is creamy, refreshing, savory and sweet, all in one!  The secret ingredients, honey and Cumin Seeds take this guac to a whole new level. Shout out to my Lebanese Best Friend, Chris for showing me how versatile cumin can be!   I serve this guacamole with the traditional tortilla chips, with quesadillas, or on top of a beef or turkey burger. 

Tip- Leave the avocado pit in the center of the guacamole until you serve it. This will delay the browning process.

(Makes 1 medium size bowl)

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Avocados (make sure they are ripe)
  2. 1 small lime
  3. 3  Tablespoons Red Onion (finely chopped)
  4. 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  5. Dash of Black Pepper
  6.  ¼ Cup Tomato (diced small)
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Cilantro or Parsley (minced)
  8. 1 Teaspoon of Honey
  9. 1/4 Teaspoon Toasted Cumin Seeds (you may like more so taste and add accordingly)
  10. 1/2 Teaspoon-1 Teaspoon of finely chopped Jalapeno Peppers (pickled or fresh...I used pickled)

Steps-

  1. First, cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. 
  2. Mash up the avocados until they are a nice and creamy/slightly chunky texture.
  3.  Next, squeeze the juice of the lime on top of the avocado, and stir it up right away to prevent it from turning brown. 
  4. Stir in the onion, salt, pepper, tomato, cilantro and honey until it is all evenly distributed.  
  5. Serve in a nice bowl next to some chips and salsa, put it on top of your burger, dip your quesadillas in it, or just eat it with a spoon! ENJOY!!!

 

Watermelon, Arugula Salad with Goat Feta & Heirloom Tomatoes

Who doesn't love juicy, bright summer fruits on a warm, sunny day?  This salad is super simple to make, but the flavors and presentation are incredibly impressive and eye-catching. The earthy, peppery taste of the arugula and olive oil mixed with the natural sweetness of the watermelon and the briny bite from the Goat feta cheese is simply perfection. Forget about that bland, mixed green salad or that boring Caesar, and give this a try!  Like what you see? Like what you taste?  #GotRoomForMore on Twitter and send me a pic of the Got Room For More recipes you try!

 

Ingredients

  1. 2.5 ounces of Baby Arugula
  2. 1.5 lbs Seedless Watermelon cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  3. Extra virgin olive oil
  4. ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  5. .25 lbs Goat Feta cut into small cubes (about ¼ inch thick)
  6. 1 Cup of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (orange, yellow, green and red to bring out color)
  7. Salt and Pepper

 

Steps

  1. Cut tomatoes in half if they're very small and quarter them if they are on the larger side, and put them into a large bowl
  2. Put the balsamic in a small nonstick pan on the stove on medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until it bubbles and turns into the consistency of chocolate syrup.
  3. Set aside to cool slightly while to do the next steps
  4. Toss together the arugula, watermelon, and feta in the bowl with the tomatoes
  5. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top to taste
  6. Drizzle 3 or so tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top and toss with salad tongs (you may want more or less..eyeball it. The juice from the melon also acts as part of the dressing so you do not want to over dress it).
  7. Drizzle the balsamic over the top and toss lightly
  8. Serve on its own or as a side or starter course

Grilled Swordfish with Grapefruit & Coriander

For me, two ingredients that scream summertime cookin are seafood and citrus fruits.  This recipe will show you that you do not have to sacrifice flavor to make a healthy, gourmet meal.  The freshness and tanginess of the grapefruit compliment the creaminess of the avocado and the nutty, warm flavors of the coriander.  Served over white rice cooked in fish or chicken stock, rice pilaf or couscous, this is the perfect dish to impress your friends at your next BBQ.

 

(Recipe Feeds 2 People)

Ingredients

  1. 2 Swordfish steaks (you can also use Tilapia Filets which can be more economical)
  2. The juices of ½ of a Large Grapefruit
  3. Section the other half of the Grapefruit (no skin, just the flesh)
  4. 1 ½ Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  5. A Dash of Salt & Pepper
  6. 1 ½ Teaspoons Honey
  7. 1 ½ Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                                                                    
  8. 1 Teaspoon Coriander Seeds- Lightly Toasted and Crushed up (You can put them in a bag and beat them with a meat mallet)
  9. 1/4 Teaspoon Chopped Ginger (I used jarred)
  10. 1/2 an Avocado
  11. 1 Medium Yellow Tomato Diced (you can use any type of tomato you like)

Steps

  1. In a medium sized bowl mix together the grapefruit juice, vinegar, salt & pepper, honey, olive oil, coriander and ginger
  2. With a sharp knife make a few small slits in the fish to better absorb the marinade. 
  3. Place the fish in a large Ziploc bag and pour half of the grapefruit juice mixture in  with the fish.
  4. Allow the fish to marinate in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes
  5. While the fish is marinating mix the grapefruit slices and diced tomato in the bowl with the remaining marinade
  6. Dice the avocado and mix it into the grapefruit mixture.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside
  7.  Remove the fish from the fridge.
  8. Heat up your outdoor grill or your grill pan inside your kitchen (some of us live in New York City apartments and do not have the ability to grill outside :) ) on medium/high heat.
  9. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on your grill pan or baste your outdoor grill with some olive oil
  10. Grill the fish on medium/high heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side (make sure it is cooked all the way through)
  11. Remove from the heat and place the fish on top of the rice, couscous or whichever starch you decide to make. 
  12. Top the grilled fish with the beautiful grapefruit/avocado salad and all the juices.
  13. Enjoy!

"Po-Yo" (Potato Salad made with Greek Yogurt)

There is one ingredient that is used in many popular recipes that people either love or DESPISE…mayonnaise.  Personally, I love the stuff, on sandwiches, in tuna salad or on a juicy hamburger, but it just isn't the healthiest of condiments.  When making a side dish to bring on a trip to rural Pennsylvania, I started to think of fresh, new ways to concoct popular summer sides such as potato salad and macaroni salad.  As I was strolling through the dairy isle I came across one of my favorite things, Greek Yogurt.  I used the yogurt in this recipe as if it were mayo, and to my surprise, it was simply delicious!  If you are a health nut or just not a fan of mayonnaise, I promise you, you will love this creamy, tangy, spicy potato salad recipe.

(Feeds 6-8 people)

Ingredients

  1. 3 lb bag of baby red potatoes washed and quartered (keep skin on
  2. 1 cup of 2% Greek Plain Yogurt (I prefer Fage or Chobani)
  3. 2 ½ Tablespoons Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  4.  1 ½ Tablespoons Honey
  5. The Juice of half a medium size lemon
  6. Dash of salt and pepper
  7.  1 Tablespoon White Distilled Vinegar
  8.  3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Dill
  9.  1/2 a medium red onion diced very small
  10.  1/3 Cup chopped celery
  11. 3 Hard boiled eggs chopped (If you are super healthy conscious remove the yolks)

Steps

  1. Place the quartered red potatoes into a medium size pot and fill it with cold water until the water is about 2 inches above the potatoes.
  2. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook them until they are tender and can be easily pricked with a fork (but still maintain their shape).  Do not overcook the potatoes or the texture of the potato salad will be sticky and starchy.
  3. Drain the potatoes, put them in a bowl with a paper towel on top and place them in the refrigerator.  The potatoes must be fully cooled before you dress them.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together all of the remaining ingredients except for the eggs.
  5. Remove the potatoes from the fridge and gently stir in the chopped eggs
  6. Pour the yogurt mixture over the potatoes a little bit at a time until each potato is fully coated.  You may use all of the dressing but some people may prefer it on the dryer side.  
  7. Serve next to burgers, roasted pork, sausage, hot dogs, chicken…the possibilities are endless!