Finally a short day! I have been on service for the past 8 weeks. That’s 560 hours of work in 8 weeks – basically what most people work in 16 weeks. Needless to say I wasn’t complaining when I got done at 3pm today. So, I figured I’d celebrate by hanging out with my little man Eli and make some fresh, delicious food. This salad was inspired by a recent post over at NaturallyElla.com. Enjoy!
Fresh Asian Salad
(Inspired by Naturally Ella’s Carrot Spring Rolls)
- 1 small head of purple cabbage, shredded
- 6 medium carrots, shredded
- 1 small bunch of scallions, chopped
- 4 ounces rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Tamari Soy Sauce
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup crushed cashews
- 1/8 cup sesame seeds
- Shred the cabbage and carrots (I used a food processor and it took a whole 5 minutes). Add chopped scallions.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Turn heat off and add 4 oz rice noodles. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Once finished, drain water and rinse with cold water.
- In a small bowl, add vinegar, oils, Tamari, garlic powder, and sugar. Whisk well. Pour over the vegetables and stir well.
- Add rice noodles, cashews, and sesame seeds to the vegetable mixture. Stir well.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve cooled. Enjoy!
I know I’ve been MIA – per my usual routine of being really excited about blogging, followed by an overwhelming about of work to do, and ending with complete neglect. Well, I’m back. At least for this one post. I am on a lighter rotation right now and was able to make a more involved, delicious dinner last night that I’d felt I needed to share with the work. Eli agreed, this dinner was hands-down delicious! He was picky all day and wouldn’t eat anything but bananas (or nanas as he calls them now). I placed a bowl of this goodness in front of his screaming face and viola! he was silent. It was glorious. The end result was one super happy (and messy) kid. I am looking forward to when he figures out how to effectively use his silverware; until then I’ll deal with the mess since that means he’s actually eating.
Roasted Butternut Squash, Onion, and Kale over Pasta with Spiced Goat Cheese White Sauce
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 large bunch of curly kale
- 2 cups cooked pasta
- 2 cups 1% or skim milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp all spice
- 1/3 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Peel butternut squash cut in 1/2 lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Cube squash and place in a sprayed cooking dish.
- Dice the onion and kale. Add to the cooking dish.
- Roast for 45 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender. Stir part-way through to prevent burning.
- Create a slurry (white sauce) by adding 2 tbsp to 1 cup of milk. Whisk well to completely dissolve. Add the remaining flour and milk, whisking while adding. Pour into a sprayed frying pan (not heated yet!). Place the pan over medium heat and stir continuously with a rubber spatula to prevent sticking. Add spices while stirring. Continue to stir until the mixture just starts to bubble. Add the goat cheese and continue to stir until melted and fully incorporated.
- Add pasta and roasted vegetable mixture to a pan. Pour white sauce over and stir completely. Enjoy!
As a kid, J and I both loved macaroni and cheese. How were we to know that it wasn’t made with real cheese? Thankfully, we’ve come to see how much more amazing this childhood favorite can be. I’ve made a number of takes off macaroni and cheese before, but this is probably my favorite. We don’t plan to feed Eli the box mac and cheese, so we’re hoping something like this will be his favorite go-to childhood meal. Give it a try – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Grown-up Mac and Cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 1% or skim milk
- 5 ounces (1/2 package) of frozen spinach thawed or 1 bag of fresh spinach cooked down
- 8 ounces gruyere cheese
- 1.5 cups elbow macaroni (preferably whole grain)
- 1 pound cooked chicken, diced
- Prepare pasta as directed on package; set aside to cool.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onion, salt, and garlic. Cook down until soft. Add vinegar and cook for 1 more minute. Set aside.
- Prepare the white sauce (slurry version)
- Pour 1/2 cup milk into a measuring cup. While whisking, slowly add flour, making sure none sticks to the bottom. Once fully incorporated, add remaining milk and whisk well.
- Spray a skillet with cooking spray and pour milk mixture into the room-temperature pan.
- Heat pan over medium-low heat, stirring continuously to prevent sticking. Continue to heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Once slightly bubbling, allow to bubble while stirring for 3 minutes (this is the thickening stage) and then lower heat to low.
- Add cheese to the white sauce and stir until fully melted. Add onion, chicken, spinach, and pasta; mix well until well incorporated.
On average, American adults consume 1.6 servings of vegetables a day. That’s equal to 3/4 cup of mashed potatoes. Pretty sad, huh? Even sadder – kids (who need vegetables for all those nutrients even more to grow and develop) only eat 1.3 servings a day. Here’s a map of vegetable intake by state:
Source – CDC State Indicator Report on Fruit and Vegetable Intake
The two most common reasons people tell me why they don’t eat enough vegetables are:
1. They don’t have time to cook vegetables
2. They don’t like vegetables
This post is about #1. If you want to solve #2 – spend some time on the site; I’m sure you’ll find a few recipes that totally change the way you think about vegetables.
A quick search will show you that there are tons of tasty vegetable recipes, but they often include ingredients you don’t have on hand or fancy cooking techniques that can take hours. This is great for a special occasion, but most days, we don’t have time for this. I know when I get home from a long day, all I want is something quick and easy (and preferably already prepared). to solve the problem, I usually make meals in advance. What’s my go-to for vegetables? Roasting. It requires minimal time and the roasting brings out vegetables flavors like you wouldn’t believe. One Sunday I spent an hour in the kitchen – 20 minutes prepping vegetables and 40 minutes roasting – and I ended up with 25 vegetable servings. 25! That is almost two servings a day for 2 people, for an entire week. I usually roast vegetables every weekend. I change-up the ingredients based on what’s on sale or what I plan to use them in. I will serve them over rice, toss with sauce over pasta, add to an egg bake, stuff into a wrap or just serve as a side dish. The options are endless and the results are always great. Don’t like eating the same thing every day? Prepare a few large pans and freeze the extra for later.
1. preheat oven to 425F
2. Chop of vegetables of choice and place in a large baking dish. Toss with canola oil and seasoning.
3. Cook for 10 minutes – stir – repeat. Do this until the vegetables are you desired texture.