Friday, May 30, 2014

Love and Rolled-Up-Stuffed-Up Eggplant

I have a confession to make.

I usually (and by usually I mean always) wing it when I'm cooking.

I have an idea and I just throw it together. There have been times when it was not so good in the end.

THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES.




This may just be one of the best things I've ever made.

This yummy eggplant is rolled and stuffed with a mixture of mushroom, kale and garlic, then topped with a tasty tomato sauce and sprinkled with some parmesan cheese! 

You might have noticed that many of my recipes consist of basically the same ingredients...

Kale, mushrooms, garlic...sometimes broccoli, eggplant and almost always, cheese.

That is because these are the ingredients that we buy every single week.

It makes it that much easier to put something together that is healthy and tasty when you already have the ingredients.

It's my rule of thumb whenever I cook..."what veggies can I add?" and I just so happen to have tons of veggies at my disposal in the fridge.

Shopping smart is key.



This dish is vegetarian and gluten free. I served it with a brown rice/quinoa mix we had but it would be delicious with pasta, couscous or even with some grilled chicken.

It is a little tedious but it is well worth it in the end.



Ingredients
Serving: 8-10 roll-ups

For the Eggplants

2 baby eggplants
1 pack chopped mushrooms (or whole, you can chop them at home)
2 cloves garlic
Handful of kale, about 1 cup chopped
Parmesan cheese (optional)


The Sauce

1 can tomato sauce (I bought this brand, look for something low in sodium)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp half and half (optional)



1. To start, you'll want to slice the eggplant long way. Not too thin but not too thick. Once you cook it, it will shrink but you want to make sure you can still roll it.

Put it on a sheet and sprinkle the eggplant with salt on both sides and set aside.


This allows the eggplant moisture to be sucked out. If you have the time, an hour is ideal for this. But I just did it while I prepped/cooked the stuffing.

2. Begin to cook the mushrooms in a little olive oil. I chopped the mushroom into even smaller pieces so it would be easier to stuff the eggplant. Once it is almost cooked, add the garlic and kale. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper to taste! 

3. Once this is done, you can set this aside and begin to cook the eggplant.

Before you begin, wipe the salt off the eggplant. When you saute it, the eggplant will soak up any moisture so you have to use a little extra olive oil so that the eggplant isn't too dry.

4. This is the fun part. 

Add a spoonful of the veggie mix into the middle of the eggplant. 


Roll that baby up!



The sauce is pretty simple. Saute some garlic in a little oil (you can also saute onions). 
Add the canned sauce and taste. You can also use a jar sauce you like.

If it is a little acidic, add a little sugar. It probably doesn't need much salt but make it taste how you love it. Once it is done, add the half and half. 

I used half and half because I happened to have that already. You can use heavy cream if you want it creamier, or none at all. 

Delicious either way!


Pour that sauce over the eggplant and eat it up!

So so good.

So good.


Hope you enjoy! 

Lots of LOVE!

Eva


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love and Feta Dip


Feta. Dip.



You may have noticed feta cheese's entry into a few of my recipes.

I have a minor (but serious) obsession with it.

It's salty, its crumbly and it is so flavorful. 

It's actually the perfect cheese for so many dishes. 
It is filled with flavor so you can use less of it without missing out on any goodness, while also cutting down on calories and fat, especially saturated fat.


I've made this a few times and it is ALWAYS a hit. 

You can serve it as the dip, or you can even use it as a topping for a burger or sandwich. It works in many ways and is so incredibly easy. It is also pretty versatile.

If you're having a party, I dare you to try this. 
It will be one of the top 5 fave dips of the night. 



So delicious, nutritious and easy-icious.

It's fresh and light. Perfect summertime snack.



Ingredients

Feta, crumbled - 6 oz container
4 ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

French baguette (optional) 
Seasonings of your choice

You can also use chips, veggies or anything you like to dip!

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Slice up the baguette into pieces.

Drizzle with a little olive oil. You can also season with any seasoning you like. I personally added a little dried thyme. It just adds a little extra flavor.

Throw them into the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.




While these bake, begin to dice up the tomatoes. 
Add them to a bowl along with the feta. 

Begin to add the olive oil and vinegar, but don't pour them all in right away. Pour about half of the oil and half the vinegar. Mix, season with salt and pepper and taste.




If you're tomatoes are really juicy, you might be able to add a little less oil and vinegar. However, feel free to add the rest if it if it's looking a little dry.

My FAVORITE part is dipping my bread into those juices. 

I used to do this all the time when I was younger, with the leftover juice from salads.



Plate and serve! 

So freakin' good and so simple.





As always, hope you enjoy (which you will, unless you are crazy and hate feta or tomatoes) 

Just kidding. But seriously.

Hope you all have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend (and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me!)

Lots of LOVE,

Eva

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Love and Green-spiration Pasta

A few days ago, I was talking to one of my friends about eating a healthy diet...or lack there of. 

So I told her, 
when in doubt, just add veggies



However, it's important to watch our portion sizes too.

Pasta and many other grains can be, and often are, easily overeaten. 

Think about the idea of eating pasta as a side, rather than the main dish.

It is important to take that idea into consideration when eating grains, rather than thinking you need to avoid them all together. 

Carbs are you friend! Don't fear them.

When making a dish like this, you will want to fill up on the veggies and proteins, with a little less pasta.

Also very important -- say it with me now, WHOLE GRAINS.

If you're still eating white pasta on the reg, get with the times! 



Once and a while, I do love some white pasta, not gonna lie. But you better believe I feel hungry way sooner than when I eat whole grain pasta. It's just that simple.

As per usual, with this recipe (and most of my recipes), we are going to pile on the veggies! I also added leftover chicken which adds some good, lean protein!

I made this kind of spur the moment, so no ingredient photo today!

Ingredients

Whole grain or whole wheat pasta (whatever kind you like!)
1/4 cup chopped kale
1/8 cup broccoli crowns
3-4 stalks asparagus, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chopped leftover (or fresh) chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced

Optional (yet highly encouraged): a little white wine



You want to start by boiling the water for your pasta. Once it is ready to go, add the pasta and begin to cook the veggies.

Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan and begin with the asparagus, cook for about 4-5 minutes. 

Then, you'll want to add the broccoli. Add a little bit of the boiling water (from the pasta) to the pan to allow for some steam. This will really help cook the broccoli.

After you notice the two are pretty cooked, go ahead and add the kale and garlic. 

Once that begins to wilt, add some of that white wine. Just a little to soak up the flavor and make sure you let it reduce.

Don't forget to add salt and pepper, to taste!

You can add some chicken (or whatever protein you want!) at this point, if you are making it this way.




Your pasta should be just about done so you can add it directly to your pan!

Garnish it with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Try to make your veggie to pasta ratio higher on the veggie side.


And voila! Green-spiration pasta...Delish.



As always, hope you enjoy!


Lots of LOVE,

Eva



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Love and Kale&Beet Salad





This salad was DELICIOUS and so healthy.

Salads get a bad rep sometimes. I personally love them (which I am sure is no surprise) but salads can be exciting too.

The thing I love most is adding different ingredients together to make an explosion of flavor.

It doesn't have to feel or taste bland.



Many times, salads become very unhealthy, especially in restaurants.

A few things to keep in mind when ordering/putting together a salad --

1. Dark, leafy greens should be the base, if it's an option! Spinach, mixed greens, kale, etc. 
2. Unless you are craving it, avoid fried toppings like chicken tenders. Stick with lean proteins like grilled chicken, fish, tofu or hard boiled egg.
3. If you are at home, make your own salad dressing.
4. If you are out to eat, pick a vinaigrette or oil and vinegar. Of course, unless you are craving it. I love me some caesar salad, so if I want it, I'll get it! 
5. Add lots of veggies!
6. If you love cheese, use cheeses that have strong flavors. I'm talking feta, blue cheese, parmesan, gorgonzola, etc. You can use less of it without skimping on the flavor.

Make it how you LOVE it.

Nothing is quite as satisfying as making a delicious salad at home and not spending $17 like I probably would at the Whole Food's salad bar.

I go seriously crazy at that thing sometimes. It's bad.

So without further ado, I give you my Kale&Beet Salad Extravaganza!


Ingredients

This will make about 1 serving size. So if you want to make more to share, double the ingredients.

For the Salad
Kale
Spinach
(Use as little or as much of these two as you'd like)
1 Beet, boiled and peeled
1-2 mini yellow peppers (or 1/2 of a big one)
Crumbled feta (as little or as much as you'd like)

For the Vinaigrette 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt&pepper, to taste
sugar or honey, to taste

So let's start with the vinaigrette.

You want to add the oil, balsamic and mustard into a small bowl. Begin to whisk together (with a fork) and add the salt/pepper. Taste a little bit of it.

If it tastes acidic, which it will, add a little sugar or honey. Whisk and taste again.

Adding some sweetness to an acidic food will help balance that flavor. It shouldn't take too much.



Once that is done, add the vinaigrette to your kale and spinach.

Begin to massage it into the greens. Yes, I mean physically use your hands to massage it into the greens. This is especially for the kale. It helps break it down a little and soften the kale.



Set this aside as you prepare your pepper and beets.

The beets are pretty easy...you'll want to boil them until they are soft. Cool them down and peel them. Slice one up for this salad!

Once that is done, add them in and sprinkle the feta. 

Mix it all up and try not to inhale it.




Delicious!

I also added a little shredded chicken we had leftover, so feel free to add any proteins or nuts. Pistachios are amazing with this.


But as always, make it how you like it and LOVE it.

Well, that is all from me for today...I hope you enjoy!

Lots of LOVE,

Eva