Savor the Flavor of Eating Right!

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March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’.  I believe that’s what we do everyday at Myplate2yours and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Start with real, whole food.
  2. Create a dish that suits your palate.
  3. Slow down to enjoy your meal and the people you are eating with!

What I love about eating right is the array of colors and the sheer beauty of many of these dishes … and this one is no exception!  This is the salad I made for a family birthday celebration this weekend.  I searched for the recipe on my blog, but I was surprised to find I have never shared it with you.  Well, here it is today….enjoy!!

Citrus Salad with Baby Greens, Cucumber and Avocado (serves 6)

4 cups baby arugula, spinach and/or romaine

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup (about 1 large) English cucumber, diced

3 clementine oranges, sectioned

1 pink grapefruit, sectioned with knife

1 ripe avocado, diced

2 tablespoons roasted, salted sunflower seeds

Dressing: Mix together 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Season with dash cayenne pepper; salt and pepper to taste.

Spread greens on a serving platter. Top with cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado. Arrange orange and grapefruit sections on top.   When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

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Meatless Monday: Sweet Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Curry

Sweet Butternut Squash and Chick Pea CurryYou’ll enjoy the heartiness of this meatless recipe with its slightly sweet and savory flavor.  The sweetness in this curry dish originates from a small butternut squash and a pinch of cinnamon. Prep time and cook time both require 15-20 minutes.  You can save some prep time by purchasing squash that is already peeled and diced (only 12-16 ounces needed).  You may just need to adjust the dice to make smaller.  Enjoy this delicious dinner!

Sweet Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Curry (serves 6)

1-1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

1-14 ounce can ‘lite’ coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1- 15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup sweet green peas (fresh or frozen)

Basmati rice or Naan bread

In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, ginger and garlic for about 3 minutes until onion becomes translucent. Add coconut milk, curry, tomato paste, and cinnamon. When mixture boils, add squash and sweet green peas. Cover and simmer on low until squash is tender, 10-15 minutes. Uncover skillet and add chick peas. Heat through and taste. Adjust flavor with a sprinkle of curry powder, salt, and/or a pinch of sugar. Serve on a platter surrounded by triangles of toasted naan bread or over basmati rice. Enjoy!

Mango & Black Bean Avocado Bowl

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The look of my local grocery store’s produce section is changing with the season.  I have recently found sweet mango and creamy avocado which make a great pair in this dish.  Add some black beans and toss with cilantro-lime dressing, and this outstanding salad (originally inspired from one in wholefoodsmarket.com) can escort you into the summer months!  A fun twist to this recipe is how it is served….proudly in a reserved avocado shell.  Enjoy!

Mango & Black Bean Avocado Bowl (makes 4)

2 avocados (firm and ripe)

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced

1 teaspoon lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1, 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, zest, salt, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Whisk in oil until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust sweetness, if needed.

In a separate bowl, combine black beans, mango, jalapeño, and cilantro. Add dressing to taste, reserving extra dressing in fridge. Let mixture rest for 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, halve, pit and dice avocados, reserving shells. Combine avocados with bean mixture. Add more dressing, if needed. Divide salad amongst 4 shells. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Asparagus & National Nutrition Month!

National Nutrition Month

March is a month I definitely enjoy. Besides the coming of spring (although, as I am typing, it is snowing outside), there are many things to celebrate:  St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness and National Nutrition Month.  The theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month is ‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right’ and that’s just what we do at Myplate2yours!

Spring Asparagus

Today’s recipe celebrates much of what March has to offer.  Broiled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar boasts a taste of spring, a terrific nutritional profile (especially rich in fiber, folate, and vitamin K), and it’s even green for St. Patrick’s Day.  From the time you grab the asparagus from your fridge, this dish will be on the table in less than 10 minutes.  Here’s the recipe:

Broiled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar

1 bunch asparagus spears, washed and trimmed of woody end (1-2 inches cut from bottom)

Olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat broiler.  Place asparagus spears on a baking sheet.  Lightly spritz with olive oil (or use a pastry brush).  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar over spears.  Place under broiler (about 4 inches from heating element) for 3-5 minutes (until asparagus turns bright green and some brown spots just begin to appear).  Immediately remove from heat and place spears on a serving plate.  Enjoy!

Caramelized Grapefruit

Carmelized Grapefruit

Refreshing! A new twist to an old favorite!  Yummy!

However you want to describe it, now is the time to treat yourself to Caramelized Grapefruit.  Enjoy it at breakfast, as an afternoon snack or as ‘salad’ for dinner.  It’s easy!

Caramelized Grapefruit (serves 2)

1 large ruby red grapefruit, cut in half at center and chilled

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat broiler 500 degrees.  Set oven rack 6 inches below heating element.

Run a paring knife around each grapefruit section to release.  Spread brown sugar evenly on both halves.

Arrange each half on a baking sheet and place in broiler for 2-3 minutes when sugar begins to caramelize. Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Red Beans and Rice Soup

school closedThe kids are home for another day.  It’s too cold to go to the grocery store.  What to make for dinner?  Here’s the perfect recipe: Red Beans and Rice Soup!  I’m hoping you’ll already have these items in your pantry.  What makes this soup special is homemade Cajun spices.  It’s also quick to make!  Sometimes I will garnish this soup with sweet chicken sausage, the kind that is precooked.  Just slice up a package (usually 4 or 5 links) and throw into the soup to heat at the end.  This soup will warm your heart on a very cold day!  Enjoy!

Red Beans and Rice Soup (serves 6)A mixture of beans and spices for cooking

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 small yellow bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (recipe* below)

6 cups vegetable broth

3 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups cooked brown rice

3 green onions, sliced

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat oil and sauté onion, bell pepper, and celery and until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add broth and beans and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Add rice and green onions and cook to heat contents thoroughly.  Remove from heat and season as needed.

*Cajun Seasoning

2 ½ tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Combine salt, oregano, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper in small sealed bag.  Shake to mix.  Store unused portion in the sealed bag.

Festive Accordion Potatoes

Accordion Potatoes

Today I asked my mom what dish I should bring for Christmas dinner.  She needs potatoes.  PERFECT!  I have just the recipe in mind…

Shallot-Chanterelle Accordion Potatoes are special.  Not only do they have a beautiful presentation, they are easy to make and don’t have the extra fat usually found in holiday spuds.  The prep work can be done ahead of time with a 15-20 minute oven finish at the party.  They were a hit at a recent class I taught.   I hope you, too, can enjoy them soon!

Shallot-Chanterelle Accordion Potatoes (serves 6-8)

8-10 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (size B), about 2 pounds

4 large shallots, thinly sliced

4 large Chanterelle mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)  please note:  if Chanterelle mushrooms are not available, sliced cremini mushrooms can be substituted.

2 large sprigs rosemary

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make thin slice on one side of potato to allow potato to lay flat (and not rock).  To make an accordion, cut deep slices across potato about 1/4 inch from bottom (do not cut through) and 1/4 inch thick.  Place a shallot slice into each cut.  Add a few rosemary leaves to at least 2 slits in each potato.  Place potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish.  Brush with olive oil.  Salt and pepper each potato.  Sprinkle with chanterelles and remaining shallots and rosemary leaves.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.  (or, pre-bake for 25 minutes before transporting to a party to finish with another 15-20 minutes in the oven before serving).  Enjoy!

Sweet & Savory Wild Rice Bake

Thanksgiving is upon us!  Next week will mark the 150th anniversary of celebrating Thanksgiving as a national holiday as declared by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.  Sharing a meal of thanks with family and friends is a cherished tradition that keeps our nation truly special.  In the tradition of sharing, I’ve got a recipe for you!  What makes Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Bake unique is that it satisfies many different needs at your holiday table:  it’s vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and very tasty!  It’s the dish I’m bringing to my family’s feast.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Bake (serve 4-6)

Wild Rice

1 cup wild rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 stalks celery, diced

1 small sweet onion, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped

1/3 cup toasted pepitas

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup vegetable broth

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Cook rice according to package instructions.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small skillet, heat oil and sauté celery, onion, garlic, and jalapeno until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add coriander and cook until fragrant.  Remove from heat and add pepitas, raisins and rice.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir in vegetable broth.  Fill a 9-inch square baking ban with rice mixture.  Cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes until fully heated.  Drizzle with vinegar.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin-Pear Soup

Pumpkin-Pear Soup

I’ve been on a roll with posting ‘orange’ recipes in the past few weeks: Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Baked Pumpkin Pudding, and Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil, Apple Salad.  Here’s the one I promised last week, Pumpkin-Pear Soup.  It was featured in a class I recently taught at Marcel’s, Easy Fall Soups and Quick Bread.  My friend Molly attended the class and has made this soup twice since.  The original recipe uses an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Molly uses a stand blender to puree her soup.  I’ve listed both versions in the recipe below.

The finished taste of this soup is rich and creamy.  Your family may be surprised to find there is no cream in this soup.  Molly’s was!

Pear-Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Pepitas (serves 6)

2 ripe pears

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

3 tablespoons sage leaves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

15 ounce can pumpkin puree

4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth

Juice from 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon)

Cut pears in half.  Slice one half into matchsticks.  In a small bowl, combine matchsticks with lemon juice and one tablespoon chopped sage.  Set aside. Dice remaining 1-1/2 pears for the soup.

In a stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and pears.  Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.  Add sage, allspice, salt and pepper.  Stir to heat spices.

Immersion blender version:  Add pumpkin and broth.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover partially allowing steam to vent, for 10 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Molly’s blender version:  Blend contents of the stockpot with some of the broth in a blender. Return contents to pot and add pumpkin and remaining broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.  Cover (allow a slight vent) and cook for 10 minutes.

All:  Portion soup into 6 bowls and garnish with reserved pear and pepitas.  Enjoy!!

Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Apple Salad Bowl

Sweet Potato Lentil Salad

Fall flavors abound in this recipe…roasted sweet potatoes, tart apples, and earthy lentils.  It can be served either as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish. This salad was one of the recipes I taught in class this week at Marcel’s.  It was enjoyed by all!

My next class, on Tuesday, October 29th, 6:30-8pm, is a delicious combination of easy soups and quick bread just in time for these busy fall nights.  On the menu:  Pear and Pumpkin Soup, Cajun Red Beans and Rice Soup, Apple Oatmeal Mini Loaves.  These recipes are vegetarian (although I will have some meat ‘on the side’ for any carnivore guests) and gluten-free, and all very delicious!  Click HERE to register….hope you can make it!

Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil and Apple Salad Bowl

Serves 4-5 (main dish), 6-8 (side dish)

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peel and dice

1 small red onion, large dice

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)

Salt and pepper

8 ounces mushrooms (button, chantrelle, or cremini), sliced

2 cloves minced garlic

2 stalks celery, sliced

4 small tart apples (Jonathon or Cortland), dice

1 cup cooked lentils

Balsamic glaze, if desired

Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Place potatoes and onions on baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Roast high in oven for 20 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms, garlic and celery in 1/2 tablespoon oil until mushrooms and celery are softened.  Salt and pepper, to taste.  Add apples and cook until just warm.

Pour contents of sauté pan into a large bowl.  Add roasted potatoes and lentils, stir to combine.

Serve in bowls and garnish with Balsamic glaze, if desired.