Saturday, September 29, 2012

Carlye's Cobb Salad

I have always had a problem with Cobb Salad. I had judged it and the people who ate it. I wish I could tell you why, but I have no idea. But, I finally tried it for the first time about 4 months ago and I've been obsessed ever since. Bacon, cheese, avocado, what's not to love? Well, for me, what's not to love is the hardboiled eggs and tomatoes. YUCKY!!! So here is my eggless, tomato-less version of a Cobb salad. Go ahead, make fun. But, my tummy is always happy after I eat this version! I use fat free ranch and low-sodium bacon so I don't feel as guilty. But, it's still quite satisfying!

What you'll need:
1 head romaine lettuce
2 strips low-sodium bacon
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 slices oven-roasted turkey, chopped
1 small handful crumbled bleu cheese
1 tbs. fat-free ranch dressing

1. Heat a greased pan and cook your bacon (you can use turkey bacon but it's just NOT the same!). Once fully cooked on both sides, let cool and drain on a paper towel.
2. While the bacon is cooling, rinse and slide your lettuce. Place it in a bowl with the avocados, turkey, and bleu cheese.
3. After the bacon has cooled, chop and add to the bowl. Top with the fat-free ranch and toss.

enjoy :)

Ciabatta Pizza

I'm not exactly sure why, but I felt like getting a little fancy with my appetizer the other night. Instead of doing regular old garlic bread I wanted to step it up. I don't have a regular grill at Daniel's house so I bought a grill pan and was pretty excited to use it for the first time. I saw a great recipe for grilled ciabatta with mozzarella and had a few ideas of how to jazz it up. #1 prosciutto. It's light but it's delicious. #2 fresh basil. Fresh bail adds a beautiful flavor to any meal without overpowering it. And, to make it even more delicious, I was a tiny bit naughty and drizzled some truffle oil over the bread at the very end (can you sense a pattern here? I sort of LOVE truffle oil). You can certainly skip this step but I don't recommend it. Anyways, this is a lovely appetizer, or even a main course served with a side salad that will definitely impress your guests!

What you'll need:
Loaf fresh ciabatta bread
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tbs. freshly chopped basil
6-8 slices of prosciutto

1. Turn a grill pan (or a regular grill) on medium heat. Slice the bread into 1 inch pieces and cut in half.
2. Grill each piece of bread for about 45-60 seconds on ONE side (don't burn it!!!) or until it gets nice grill marks. Remove from heat and rub the fresh garlic on both sides. 
3. Place the UN-GRILLED side back on the grill and top with the sliced prosciutto and mozzarella. Cover for about 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
4. Remove from the heat, drizzle with the truffle oil and chopped basil. Serve immediately!

enjoy :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spaghetti with Black Truffle Sea Salt

Like I said in my past post, I have been feeling pretty lazy lately. I made a big pot of spaghetti Sunday night and dressed a few different tupperware containers for my lunches that week with various sauces and veggies. But Sunday night I was feeling a little bit lethargic. I didn't want a heavy sauce so I was just going to go with the good old parmesan and olive oil. Simple yet always satisfying. But it needed a little something else. BOOM! Black Truffle Sea Salt!!! Now, sea salt is more coarse than table salt so it gives an extra bite. While in Boulder visiting my sister, I always visit this great little shop called Savory. I picked up this great black truffle sea salt that is absolutely DEVINE!!! Just the tiniest bit goes a very long way. It gives a plain dish that extra something else that keeps your taste buds going WILD! Now, I know truffles are expensive (and by expensive I mean like $5,000/ounce or something ridiculous like that) so that is why I use the salts and oils. They taste great and have that perfect hint of truffles without overdoing it. Now, I only used the basil as a garnish. Don't chop it up and mix it inside, that'll be WAY too many flavors going on and your mouth might explode. Anyways, you don't have to use the truffle salt (lavender salt would be great here, too).but any salt with an exotic or unusual flavor, and it will make any plain meal POP! Be exciting, take chances! Your tummy wants to be excited! And this meal will definitely do that!

What you'll need (this WHOLE list is meant for about 4-6 portions so divide ingredients accordingly):
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. black truffle sea salt
2 tbs. olive oil
Basil (for garnish)

1. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. When finished cooking, thoroughly mix in the olive oil, coating every piece of pasta. 
2. Mix in about 1/2 of the parmesan cheese to the pasta in the pot.
3. Finally, portion out your pasta into deep bowls and sprinkle with the truffle salt and remaining parmesan cheese.
4. Top with some basil leaves for garnish and serve immediately!

enjoy :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012


So I am pretty comfortable with cooking just about anything. However, I must admit that I am pretty afraid of the grill. I like my meat pretty rare, but, sadly, I have found that that is pretty uncommon when I cook for others. Well, I decided to try and tackle meat for dinner the other night but I didn’t want to make it too difficult on myself. And if I even dared to mess up, Daniel would never let me forget so I had to make sure the meal was up to par. I picked sliders because they’re not only really good, but they’re pretty cute (obviously, our food needs to LOOK as good as it’s going to taste!). Insert pat-on-the-back here. These were PRETTY good if I do say so myself! Unlike many of my other meals, I kept them simple. But, I had to add a little bit of my fancy touch… I put the cheese on the INSIDE of the sliders (don't worry, I'll explain EXACTLY how I did it)! This added for a very pleasant surprise! Of course I had to use goat cheese and it was ooey and gooey and just wonderful. Your choice of condiments and accoutrements (grilled onions, avocados, and garlic aioli is what I used) will make them absolutely delicious! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!!!

What you'll need:
1 lb. ORGANIC ground beef (85/15)
1 tbs. garlic aioli (if you don't have, use nonfat Greek yogurt)
1 tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic salt
Kosher salt & pepper
Your choice of cheese (definitely something that melts well)

1. In a large bowl, use a fork (this will keep the meat from being overworked and getting tough) to mix together the aioli, garlic, garlic salt, pepper, and beef. 
2. For each burger, make two patties the size (and thickness) of quarters. In between each patty, put about 1/2 tbs. of your cheese and seal them together (run your fingers around the edges and roll them a little bit to make sure they're secure).
3. Heat your grill (or in my case, a grill pan) to medium-high heat and grill for about 5 minutes per side (if the patties start to separate DON'T worry!!! Mine did and they still tasted heavenly!).
4. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving. While resting, dress your buns with your toppings.


Daniel liked them :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Roasted Caprese Pasta

Very few things make me happier than a home cooked meal. When it comes to weekly dinners, it's been getting harder and harder. So in order to satisfy my tummy and my family, I have been making things in mass quantities so that we can enjoy them for a night or two and lunches in between. Last Sunday night, I made a large pot of spaghetti so I could have it for lunch the next day and dinner that night (I've been a little lazy in the morning and have preferred my extra 30 minutes of sleep, rather than making myself a fancy lunch.). We just happened to have a beautiful vine of tomatoes ready to be used. I, once again, was feeling lazy, so I went to a classic roasted tomato recipe I use all the time (like here and here) and finished it off with some pearls of mozzarella and some fresh basil leaves. It is light, refreshing, and with the weather we have been having lately, it didn't weigh me down, but filled me up and left me with a very happy tummy! P.S., you can make a large batch of the tomatoes and use them throughout the week! And, remember, you don't have to roast the tomatoes; I just heavily despise uncooked tomatoes (No, I don't know why...).

What you'll need:
1 vine roma tomatoes (about 8-10), roasted
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
Kosher salt

1. Follow one my recipes for roasting tomatoes (this one works), but this time cut them into quarters (much easier to eat in a pasta dish and you don't want to cut them when they're cooked, it'll get too messy!).
2. When there is about 15 minutes left on the tomatoes boil your pasta. Drain and toss with some olive oil (so it doesn't stick to itself).
3. When the tomatoes are finished cooking, place half in the bottom of a large bowl. To that bowl, add the pasta, chopped basil, and pearls of mozzarella (if you don't have the pearls of mozzarella, you can get a log and cut it into pieces that are relative to the cooked tomatoes). Toss, but not so much that the tomatoes break up.
4. Finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper, some whole basil leaves for garnish and serve immediately.

enjoy :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sweet Turkey-Chicken Meatballs

Very few things take the place of comfort food. And of these foods, spaghetti and meatballs are at the top of the list. I've made many different types before but these without a doubt the best I've ever made. They're turkey-chicken meatballs, but not in the least bit spicy. They were an absolute winner. Make them big in the oven, cocktail size in the slow cooker, whatever you want, they're going to be a MAJOR hit. If you have extra gloves around, this would be a really fun meal the let the kids help with. But no matter who makes the, they'll DEFINITELY be a big hit!!!

What you'll need:

1 cup panko bread crumbs
2/3 cup non-dairy creamer
2 pounds ground turkey 
1/2 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed (one package)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (or a little more if you're feeling naughty)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 1/2- 2 jars pasta sauce
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400*. In a large bowl add the ground turkey, chicken sausages (removed from the casing just by squeezing), creamer, bread crumbs, and eggs. Mix together lightly using your hands. 
2. Add to the bowl the oregano (you can leave out if you don't have) pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and cheese. Give it a good final mix.
3. Grease a baking sheet. Roll the meatballs to the size of about golf balls (they'll be big but taste great!) and place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
4. As soon as the meatballs are finished cooking (40 minutes will be perfect), immediately add them to a pot with the pasta sauce (this will add some moisture to the meatballs). Set on low. At this time, cook your pasta. 
5. Once the pasta is ready, serve with some chopped basil and topped with extra grated parmesan cheese.

enjoy :)

Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies

I recently gathered my cookbooks out of my storage unit and couldn't believe how many recipes I never tried! Clearly, I first had to bake some delicious desert. Gwyneth Paltrow came out with an adorable cookbook a few years ago and she had this great looking brownie recipe. Ok, I don't even know where to begin in describing how delicious they were. AND... they're relatively healthy! No butter, sugar, or eggs (totally vegan). They're so moist and just fall apart in your mouth. I took them to work and they were devoured within minutes! 

What you'll need:
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup maple syrup (GOOD MAPLE SYRUP!!! No Aunt Jemima crap, here)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1/2 cup fresh brewed coffee
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
Canola oil spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Sift together there dry ingredients in a large bowl (remember, sifting will ensure all of the lumps to break up). 
2. In a second bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Slowly combine the wet and dry ingredient,s making sure not to OVER MIX the batter.
3. Spray a large baking dish with the oil and pour half of the batter into the pan. Take a few handfuls of the chocolate chips and drizzle them over the top. Finish with the rest of the batter and top with the remaining chocolate chips.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes, and let cook for at least 10 minutes before serving (most DEFINITELY with a glass of milk).

enjoy :)