Friday, August 16, 2013

Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Crispy Kale + Update

I came upon this recipe while spending totally not too much time on Pinterest. Oh boy, this stuff. YUM. My boyfriend says it is his new favorite pasta dish. I'm alright with that because a) it's delicious and b) it's easy.
I was a little skeptical at first. Crispy kale in a creamy pasta dish? Aw, what the heck, why not?
It freakin' made this dish. And I plan on making the kale just to have as a snack in the future. The key is baking it in the oven with toasted sesame oil. Goodness, the aroma!
There isn't really much to say about the preparation of this recipe, except to be sure to season it enough with salt and pepper, or it will taste too bland since sweet potato is not an especially strong flavor. I also used 2% milk instead of skim
I found this wonderful recipe here. Enjoy!

Update! I know it's been forever. I beg forgiveness. Life is, I will be taking a small hiatus during September/beginning of October, as I am relocating with my job to Salt Lake City! I'm very excited to explore a new town and to have a fresh start. I've done some research and their farmers' market there seems pretty awesome, so I'm excited to post some recipes featuring fresh, local ingredients after I get there! So, with that said, stick with me a little while longer, and I will be back with a vengeance if all goes well!

Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Crispy Kale 
serves 2-4
1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup freshly grated romano cheese + 2 tablespoons
1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (preferably noodles)
1 head of kale, leaves torn from stems
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add kale, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons romano cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat with your hands and massage kale for 1-2 minutes, until flavors are distributed. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing 1-2 times while cooking, until crispy. Remove and set aside.
Bring pasta water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions.
While kale is cooking, heat olive oil and butter oven medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add in shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, cooking for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Increase heat to medium and add in flour, whisking constantly to create somewhat of a roux. Once the roux has turned golden, add in mashed sweet potato and milk, whisking to combine. It will take a few minutes of whisking to bring the mixture together, and it’s okay if a few small bits of potato remain. Let the mixture come to a simmer in order for it to thicken a bit, but be careful because it thickens quickly. If it becomes too thick, simply add a little milk to thin it out. Reduce heat to low and stir in romano, remaining salt and pepper.
Once pasta is finished cooking, add noodles directly into the sweet potato sauce. Let sit for a few minutes, then transfer everything to a large bowl. Top with crispy kale and toss to distribute.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicken Avocado Salad

I love chicken salad, but I always felt kind of guilty because it is usually made with a lot of mayonnaise or cream, which isn't exactly the healthiest. But then I found this delightfully tasty and healthy recipe, and I may have gotten just a tinsy bit excited.
The salad still has a small amount of mayonnaise in it, just to help with flavor and consistency, but the major awesome healthy ingredient is avocado. I LOVE avocado, it's so versatile. You can even make healthy instant chocolate pudding with them! The avocado lends a great creaminess and flavor to the chicken and of course, it's super healthy.
The other thing I liked about this recipe is that is does not have celery in it. I have never like celery, but especially in chicken salad. Of course, you can feel free to add it to this recipe if you'd like!
I bought some delicious croissants from a bakery down the street from where I live, and toasted them very lightly under the broiler. French, Italian, whole wheat, white, rye..pretty much any bread would be fine with this.
This is hands down the best chicken salad sandwich I have personally ever had, and I will probably make this quite often, as it is a cheap (I figured out about $3 or so per sandwich), healthy, quick and very tasty meal that is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
This recipe did not have measurements, so I just tell you the approximate measurements that I used (enough for 2 sandwiches).

Chicken Avocado Salad
(Adapted from Becoming Betty)

4 chicken tenderloins, cooked and shredded
1 medium avocado, mashed or blended until smooth
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 green onions, thinly sliced
a tiny handful of cilantro, chopped (or more if you desire)
salt and pepper to taste
about 1/2 -1 Tbsp lime juice, or to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together, changing measurements to your taste. Serve on desired toasted bread. (Very good on croissants!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spiced Hazelnut Pumpkin Bread

It's pumpkin time of year. In other words, the best time of year. It's only halfway through October and I've already gone through 6 sugar pumpkins, and have 3 more waiting to be turned into pumpkin puree. Autumn is so my favorite season ever.
This bread originally called for pecans, not hazelnuts, but I don't think hazelnuts are used in recipes nearly often enough, and I thought that they would taste good with the pumpkin and spices.
I also used stone ground whole wheat flour to add a more hearty texture.
Another very important component of this bread awesomeness is what kind of oil is used. Mild oils like sunflower or grape-seed (which is what I used in this recipe) don't leave that odd aftertaste that oils like vegetable or canola oil can. And it helps keep the bread deliciously moist.

This bread is delicious by itself, but it is really the best with homemade pumpkin butter, which I will be posting a recipe for soon! I got the original recipe from the blog Season with Spice. Hope you all enjoy and happy Autumn!!

Spiced Hazelnut Pumpkin Bread (adapted from Season with Spice)
Makes one loaf

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup grape-seed oil
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (and more for toppings)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. In another large bowl, beat sugar and oil. Then mix in eggs, pumpkin puree, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Combine with the dry ingredients. Then stir in the chopped hazelnuts.
4. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over the top.
5. Bake until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean – should take about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Then transfer to a rack and allow to cool for ten minutes. Finally, slide bread out from pan and allow to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Avocado Chocolate Pudding (Vegan)

I was extremely skeptical about this recipe. Vegan chocolate pudding? No, I told myself, that should not work. That won't work. I tried it anyway. It worked. Ridiculously well, actually.

You can blend this up in about 5 minutes and it is ready to eat immediately. No chilling and no stove required. All you need is a food processor. Simple as dump, blend, eat.

The original recipe (found here) called for regular non fat milk. I used almond milk instead to make it vegan-friendly.
This was my first time using agave nectar, and I am very happy with it. I will probably still use regular sugar in most of my recipes, simply because of the cost difference, however.

This recipe was a huge hit with my friends, and I will be adding it to the keep file :)


Vegan Chocolate Pudding

1 medium ripe avocado
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup raw agave nectar
1/4 cup almond milk

Blend all ingredients into a blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to add more agave nectar depending on the size of your avocado. It's ready to eat immediately or you can also refrigerate.