Monday, October 24, 2011

Oven Roasted Caprese Salad

I feel as though I should let you all know how much I DESPISE tomatoes. Icky!!! Some forms of tomatoes are ok: Tomato sauce= great! Ketchup= even better! Sundried tomatoes= delishhhhh. But raw, uncooked tomatoes= GROSS!!! But i have realized that I can't live on sun dried tomatoes as my tomato-y source. So as I was watching my most favorite FoodNetwork show, The Barefoot Contessa, I saw my beloved Ina make a gorgeous oven roasted caprese salad. Why not give it a shot for a dinner with friends I was attending? I was happily surprised at how easy, simple, yet DELICIOUS it was! I have now had it two nights in a row :)

You will need:
8 Roma tomatoes
16 slices GOOD Mozzarella cheese (one for each slice of tomato)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. kosher salt
1 tbs. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tbs. Splenda (or other sugar substitute)
3 tbs. fresh chopped basil (stack leaves one on top of the other, roll up like a cigar, and run your knife down the cigar.)

Preheat your oven to 275*
1. Cut 8 Roma Tomatoes in half, length wise.

2. Scoop out JUST the seeds (leave the core in, it has lots of flavor).

3. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and dress with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a TINY TINY TINY bit of Splenda (Barefoot uses sugar but I don't like the taste of cooked sugar, and Splenda is a much healthier alternative)

4. Cook at 275* for 2 hours (YES, 2!!!). Don't worry, you won't need to sit around and watch them. Just let your oven do the work. Go to the pumpkin patch (like I did :-D), take a shower, watch a movie. When the timer goes off, they're finished!
5. Let them cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes so they don't melt the mozzarella.

6. Layer the tomatoes and mozzarella, sprinkle with fresh basil, and top with a little bit more of ground black pepper.

enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Creamy Veggie Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta (yes, you may be jealous of my Missoni dishes)
Have you ever had one of those nights where you're super hungry but you have NO idea what to make?! Well tonight was that night for me. After an intense work out at the gym, I needed something that was nutritious and delicious. So I turned to this wonderful whole wheat creamy mushroom pasta recipe that I got from Bethenny Frankel (here) and jazzed it up a little bit. By now, you should be well aware of my obsession with mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus so I figured it was only appropriate for me to add them to this dish. 

This is what you need to make the pasta (this is a serving for 2 people)
1 lb whole-wheat spaghetti
6-8 stems asparagus
1 cup of broccoli
1 lb mushrooms
½ cup low sodium veggie broth (better to have low sodium because we salt the pasta water and add salt to the veggies)
¼ cup LOW FAT sour cream (we’re trying to be healthy, right?!)
olive oil
salt & pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425* (to roast the veggies) and bring pasta water to a boil. When boiled, add a good amount of salt to flavor the water (pasta has no flavor so that is why we add salt to the water!)
  2. Add pasta to boiling water and add a little bit of olive oil to the pot so the pasta doesn’t stick to itself. Let cook for about 8 minutes, until it is just al dente (has a little bite to it)
  3. Place veggies on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and balsamic vinegar (JUST ON THE BROCCOLI!) Roast in the oven for about 10-12 minutes (like I’ve said before, your nose knows when it’s ready)
  4. In a separate pan, add the mushrooms to the pan with a tiny bit of olive oil, leaving them ALONE for 5 minutes, and flipping over and cooking for another 5 minutes. Be sure NOT to over crowd the pan, sort of like kids in a sandbox. You want to make sure there is enough room for everybody to hang out.
  5. Once the veggies in the oven are finished cooking, cut the asparagus up into 1 inch pieces and add all of it to the pan with the mushrooms.
  6. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and add it directly into the pan with the veggies. 
  7. Add the sour cream and veggie broth to the pan and stir so it becomes very creamy. Add in the truffle oil (not too much or it will overpower the entire dish and you won’t taste anything else) and mix thoroughly. 

enjoy :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Date Night #2

    Pecan Crusted Salmon. Yes, I know it looks like a carrot...
For as long as I can remember, my mom has been getting on my case about eating more fish… I guess Chicken of the Sea and spicy tuna hand rolls don’t count as fish (sad face). So I decided that it’s time for me to be a big girl, and broaden my culinary horizons. Salmon is a yummy fish that doesn’t really have that icky fishy taste so I felt as though it was safe for me to try.
My boyfriend’ mother turned me on to this WONDERFUL recipe for Pecan Crusted Salmon. Because Daniel is the hungriest person I know, it was imperative for me to add some starches and vegetables to the meal. So I went to the easy yet ALWAYS delicious twice stuffed baked potatoes, and oven roasted broccoli (from this meal, too).

Oven Roasted Broccoli

This is the recipe for the entire meal for 2 people

For the baked potatoes:
2 potatoes
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400*
  2. Poke the potatoes all over with a fork (this will let the steam out and let them cook evenly throughout), place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Cut potatoes in half (let them cool, they’ll be HOT HOT HOT!!!) and scoop out inside into a bowl.
  4. Use a fork and mush the potatoes (not TOO mushy, leave some texture), then add all of the ingredients and mix together.
  5. Place the potato mixture back into the potatoes and put back in the oven for about 15-20 minutes (or until the top is golden and crunchy).
Twice Stuffed Baked Potatoes

For the salmon:
1 piece salmon (I like the one from Costco; cheap and yummy!)
¾ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup bread crumbs (do NOT use Italian style, I did and it was TOO MUCH flavor)
3 tbs melted butter
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tbs minced Italian flat leafed parsley (MUST BE FRESH!!! Dried just doesn’t taste right and is far too dry)
3 tbs FRESH lemon juice

Salmon Before
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix pecans, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, parsley, and lemon juice together in a large bowl. After mixed, add melted butter and mix until evenly coated.
  3. Place salmon on a large cookie sheet and cover with pecan mixture.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes (make sure you check every 5 minutes to make sure it’s not burnt). It will be ready once the top is golden and crunchy.
  5. Cut salmon in half, and then place it on a serving platter (I like to garnish the platter with whatever herbs I use. So for this, it was fresh parsley) 
enjoy :)