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Crispy Prosciutto Caprese Salad.

Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella & Crispy Prosciutto Salad.

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This salad has all the ingredients of a classic caprese salad, but the crispy prosciutto adds a bit of a twist! With the addition of prosciutto, you don’t need to add any oil or salt to the salad- it’s really flavorful and adds all the oil/salt you need. The flavors are delicious and it’s fast and easy to make.

Serves ~3.

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz prosciutto
  • 4 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella
  • 1 cup tomatoes, quartered (I used smaller sized tomatoes)
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper

Place the prosciutto on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until it’s nice and crispy, but not burned. After you remove it from the oven, allow it to cool on a  piece of paper towel to drain any excess oil.

Add the tomatoes, basil and mozzarella into a mixing bowl with a dash of black pepper. Once the prosciutto is at room temperature, use your hands to break it into small pieces. Add the pieces of prosciutto to the mixing bowl and add in the balsamic vinegar. Toss well to combine.

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Creamy Kale Pasta.

Kale & Tomato Pasta With Low-Fat Parmesan Cream Sauce.

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This nutrient-rich kale pasta is warm, hearty and perfect for the wintertime!  If you haven’t cooked with nutritional yeast before, this is a great time to try it out. The nutritional yeast helps to thicken the sauce and also adds a cheesy flavor, minus the fat and calories of cheese. It also is a good source of protein and potassium. This allows you to cut down on the Parmesan but still have the same creamy texture.

Serves ~4.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups dry No Yolk Egg Noodles (extra broad)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast flakes (found at Whole Foods)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper

Begin by cooking the kale. Put the kale it into a roasting pan and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook it on 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

While the kale is in the oven, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and tomatoes and saute. After the kale is done cooking in the oven, add it into the pan with the tomatoes and continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the kale has wilted down. Reduce the heat to simmer, and stir in the sour cream, nutritional yeast and Parmesan cheese. Season with a dash of garlic salt and black pepper.

While the sauce is simmering, boil the egg noodles as directed on the package. After they are cooked, drain the excess water and add the noodles into the sauce pan. Stir well to combine the sauce with the noodles.

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Roasted Mozzarella Eggplant.

Oven Roasted Mozzarella Eggplant Topped With Avocado & Basil Puree.

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This dish was the result of a few random ingredients lying around my kitchen. I wanted to make cheesy eggplant dish with some fresh mozzarella I had, but I also had a couple of ripe avocados that I needed to use,  so I decided to combine all the ingredients and it turned out great! The avocado and basil puree really lighten up the cheesiness of the dish. This dish also has no added salt or oil, the mozzarella/Parmesan adds all the flavor you need! It was a yummy and filling dinner – it could also make a great appetizer for a dinner party.

Serves ~3-5 people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced
  • fresh buffalo mozzarella (enough for each slice of eggplant to have ~1 oz mozzarella)
  • grated Parmesan cheese (1 tsp per slice of eggplant, about ~1/4 cup)
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • black pepper or hot red pepper

Arrange the eggplant on a non-stick baking sheet and bake in the oven on 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

While the eggplant is in the oven, put the avocado and basil into the food processor and blend until it’s a smooth consistency. Season with a dash of black pepper (or hot red pepper if you like some spice.)

After 15 minutes, remove the eggplant from the oven and put a slice of mozzarella on each piece and a tsp of grated Parmesan on top of the mozzarella. Turn the oven off and put the broiler on high, and put the eggplant back into the oven. Watch closely to make sure the cheese melts and browns slightly at the edges, but doesn’t burn. The cheese will bubble over, this is fine and the cheese will easily come off the non-stick pan during clean up. Remove the slices from the baking sheet and top each piece with a small spoonful of the avocado and basil puree.

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Not Your Mama’s Brussels Sprouts.

Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Canadian Bacon.

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Brussels sprouts are making a comeback. If you haven’t had brussels sprouts since your mom cooked them for you when you were a kid, it’s time to give them another chance. They are so good for you and have endless possibilities in the kitchen! One of my favorite ways to cook them is with pancetta (Italian bacon) but for this recipe I decided to make them a bit healthier by using Canadian bacon, which is almost entirely fat-free, yet still packs in the flavor of ham/bacon. If you think you don’t like brussels sprouts, I dare you try these… you won’t regret it!

Serves ~4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 5 oz cooked Canadian bacon, diced (~1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp whole grain Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper

Begin by trimming and cutting your sprouts. Cut off the bottoms of the sprouts and then cut them into quarters lengthwise. Put the sprouts, along with any sprout leaves that have fallen off, into a large roasting pan and add in the Canadian bacon. In a small mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, Dijon and balsamic vinegar and whisk together. Pour this over the sprouts along with a generous dash of garlic salt/black pepper and toss well to combine. Bake in the oven on 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until the brussels sprouts are lightly browned.

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Sweet & Savory Spinach Salad.

Spinach Salad With Green Apples, Gorgonzola, Honey Roasted Almonds & Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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This sweet and savory salad is absolutely delicious!  The sweetness of the apples and the nuts are complimented nicely by the tangy Gorgonzola cheese and balsamic vinegar. The sweet and salty flavors combine perfectly to create a great everyday salad.

Serves ~3-4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bag of baby spinach (~4-5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced
  • 1/4 cup candied or honey flavored almond slices (you could also use candied walnuts or other type of nut)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper

Combine the spinach, Gorgonzola, apple slices and almonds together in a large mixing bowl and pour in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a dash of garlic salt and black pepper. Toss well to combine.

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Bacon Makes Everything Better.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates.

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I made these as an appetizer on Christmas and they were a big hit. You can’t go wrong with bacon—bacon makes everything taste better! I decided to jazz them up a bit by stuffing them with blue cheese. The blue cheese adds an unexpected zestiness. They are so easy to make and are always a crowd-pleaser.

Note: Since I made enough dates for 15 people, I scaled the recipe down for this post.

Serves ~5-7 people.

Ingredients:

  • 20 dried, pitted, whole dates (you can find at Whole Foods)
  • 1/8 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 10 slices of high-quality bacon

Begin by stuffing the dates with a small pinch of blue cheese. The dates have a small hole through the center where the pit was taken out, so you can push a small amount of cheese into that. After the dates are stuffed, cut each piece of bacon in half to create 2 smaller pieces. Wrap each date with a piece of bacon and put a toothpick through the center to hold the bacon on. Line them up on a non-stick baking sheet and cook in the oven on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the bacon is browned and crispy.

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