Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grilled Lime Chicken & Shrimp w/ Roasted Red Potatoes

Grilled Lime Chicken & Shrimp w/ Roasted Red Potatoes... Simple dinner with things I wanted to use up.

  • A dozen fresh shrimp from the market on Sunday
  • some leftover uncooked chicken tenders 
  • a bag of little red potatoes
  • a bunch of asparagus
Other things on hand:
  • lime
  • roasted garlic pepper

Seriously Simple Folks.

I marinated the Chicken in lime, olive oil, and the garlic pepper for about 45 minutes and the shrimp in the same mixture for about 20 minutes. I simply grilled them for a few minutes on each side. Done.

I cut the little potatoes in quarters then tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and popped em in the oven at 450 for about 35 minutes. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I die.

Asparagus lightly sauteed in olive oil with a little steam action at the end.

OH! And on Sunday I made a classic comfort meal for my dining partner and myself to feast on before the work week started. Roasted mild Italian pork sausages, sauteed peppers, onions, and broccolini, and a side of whole wheat spaghetti (lazily but Dahliciously, tossed in Rao's Marinara). 

Super easy, super simple, pretty healthful.


Dahlicious Lunches

Dahlicious Lunches... This is by far the trickiest part of my week in terms of being creative, healthful, and Dahlicious. A dear friend recently suggested that I do more on my blog to help put some ideas out there of lunches that can be brought to work.

First I will admit that I am at one extreme end of the spectrum in terms of planning and ahead-of-time execution. I can't really help it, it's just the way I'm programmed. For those of you who aren't that way it may seem so handy to have that compulsive instinct to immediately prepare tomorrow's lunch the minute you get home from work. For those of you who can identify with my anxiety you know that it's sometimes a curse instead of a blessing - literally I feel anxious if I haven't made my lunch and breakfast within the first 30 that I walk in the door from work.

Anywho, enough about my craziness, and more about lunch. Well, one last thing about my craziness - I will say that chopping and assembling and organizing my lunch at the end of a long work day is actually somewhat zen like for me. It may seem nuts but coming home and zoning out on step by step tasks in a quiet apartment is actually relaxing for me.

Now to the lunch ideas.

I pretty much have 3 options when it comes to bringing my lunch:
1.) A hodge podge of snacky tidbits
2.) Leftovers
3.) A proper lunch (this is rare)

** See ideas/examples of each of these three below...

1.) Hodge Podge Lunch:
  • Chopped salads - usually at the grocery store I buy some sort of  salad bed (think shaved Brussels  arugula, etc) as well as a bunch of fresh veggies. I'd suggest veggies that can be chopped and eaten raw, and pick different things each time, depending on what looks fresh or appealing in the moment. Also grab a few fresh herbs. This week here is what I bought in this category:
    • Shaved Brussels
    • Baby Spinach
    • Heirloom tomato
    • Persian Cucumbers
    • Avocado
    • Radishes
    • Carrots
    • Fresh Mozzarella
    • Fresh Mint
    • Fresh Basil
    • Black olives
  • Protein
    • Hard boiled eggs
    • Turkey
    • Salami
    • Tuna
    • Cottage Cheese
    • Yogurt
  • Sweets
This is a lunch consisting of a Salami/Veggie Salad, Cuties, and Trail Mix

Here is a lunch wehre I went crazy with Tupperware... Lord only knows what's in these...

Here is a lunch of LOTS of chopped veggies, crumbled Feta on the side

Yesterday's lunch of turkey and Shaved Brussels salad with Carrots, Radishes, Fresh Mozzarella  Basil, and Vegan Balsamic Vinaigrette

Today's Lunch! Baby Spinach Salad with Chopped Tomato, Cucumber, Radish, Basil, Shaved Parmesan, Black Olives, Olive Oil, Lime, Black Pepper

Also with today's Salad I brought Tuna, Hard Boiled Egg, and a Protein Bite. My breakfast of Greek Yogurt and Kashi is on the right!

2.) Leftover Lunch:
  • I'm actually not sure how to suggest leftovers as they are generally just whatever is leftover from the meal you made for dinner the night before. Leftovers can be planned or random - sometimes I purposefully make extra food so that I have it for a lunch option, or sometimes I just don't finish everything I make and it ends up working out to bring it for lunch.
Here is a lunch consisting of leftover Roasted Tuna, Veggie Pasta, and a side salad of Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella:

Here is a lunch consisting of leftover Teriyaki Chicken, Baby Bok Choy, and Brown Rice:

3.) Proper Lunch:
  • In my mind a proper lunch is a sandwich or wrap or soup or something that is mainly just ONE focus piece with perhaps a little side. I don't make sandwiches all that often as I try not to have many carbs at lunch but if I do I usually make something on a hearty Ezikiel bread. I have also found that those sturdy breads hold up well when you make a sandwich the night before even if it has condiments on it. Here are some ideas for Sandwiches and Wraps:
    • Tuna Salad with Sweet Pickles, Celery, and sliced tomato
    • Egg Salad with Sweet Pickles, Avocado, and butter lettuce
    • Turkey with Cheddar, Avocado, Arugula, & Sriracha
    • Heirloom Tomato with Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Balsamic Glaze
    • Roast Beef with Shredded Carrots, Tomato, Cheddar, & Spicy Brown Mustard
Here is a lunch with the Turkey Sandwich listed above

I hope this helps those of you out there who cannot seem to figure out what the heck to bring yourself for lunch. I know it's hard but you will feel infinitely better about your health, and your bank account, if you try to bring your lunch at least a few times a week. I usually bring mine all but one day and go out to grab something on that special off day. It does help to be organized and in a routine, but you can also stock pile these things on Sunday. During the winter I often take a few hours on Sunday to make a soup for the week. I put it in separate containers that I can grab and run with in the morning. It's simple too if you organize some snacks into bags or Tupperware on Sunday that will last you through the week.

I'll be sure to continue posting lunch ideas! Hope yall have a Dahlicious Tuesday Lunch!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tuna Tuesday - Grilled with Roasted Veggie Pasta

Tuna Tuesday - Grilled with Roasted Veggie Pasta... Tuna is a total staple for me. I make it at least once a week. I enjoy it and it's easy. Tuesday night I paired it with some steamed asparagus and a quick pasta made with veggies that needed to be used. It was a Dahlicious and well rounded meal, packed with nutrients and hearty flavor - yet still left me feeling pretty light!

On the Menu:
Simply grilled Tuna with steamed Asparagus and roasted Eggplant/Mushroom Fettuccine

The Tuna:
Marinated in olive oil, lime juice and a bit of salt and pepper, seared on each side for about 2 minutes and in the oven at 400 degrees for another 10. Served with a lime wedge.

The Roasted Veggie Pasta:
This was kind of fun and easy and I totally made it up as I went along. I had two portobello mushrooms and one small eggplant that I bought last week and never used. I figured that chopping them into small bite sized pieces and roasting them would be best. I did this for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees.

Pre roast mushrooms and eggplant

Post roast

When they were done roasting I tossed them with some pasta and a very light jarred tomato sauce leftover. It was so simple and Dahlicious and such a great way to use up some veggies that needed to be cooked.

The pasta I used was new, I found it at Mariano's in the refrigerated section. It wasn't dried pasta which gave it a very fresh texture and only took a minute to cook. It was a combination of regular and spinach fettuccine and hit the spot. It was perfect to toss with the heavier roasted veggies as the thick noodles held up well, and the light tomato sauce added an acidic tang to the smoky roasted eggplant.

I served it all with a little side of heirloom tomato and mozzarella with a bit of balsamic glaze.

Hope this inspires you to make something yummy out of the tid bits in your fridge! It also worked out that I had a perfect amount left to bring for lunch the next day...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grilled Tofu w/ Fresh Veggies & Rice Noodles in Spicy Asian Sauce

Grilled Tofu w/ Fresh Veggies & Rice Noodles in Spicy Asian Sauce... This meal turned out literally exactly how I pictured it. I had been oddly day dreaming of this meal all day. I knew the veggies I had on hand to use up before my weekend getaway, and I had these rice noodles from TJ's that I've been dying to use. I also had some tofu and I was craving a repeat of that spicy/minty Asian sauce I created earlier in the week.

What I Used:
1 Carrot
1 Persian Cucumber
4 Radishes
1 block tofu
1/2 of a package of TJ's Rice Noodles (2 packages are inside the larger pack, I used half of one)
Fresh Mint leaves
1 Lime
1 Jalapeno
Sesame Oil
Low Sodium Teriyaki

How To:

The Veggies:
I wish I could tell you a great technique for slicing veggies into thin bits like this, but in truth I wish I had some knife skill background to know how myself! Side Note - I actually do a have a lovely gift card to use on some fun cooking classes nearby and I'm very seriously contemplating a knife skills session!

Anywho, I used 1 large carrot, 1 small Persian cucumber, 4 radishes , about 8 mind leaves and 1 jalapeno  Now I didn't actually end up eating all of the jalapeno or mint, but that's how much I chopped. For the veggies I mainly lopped off the ends then cut them long ways so that I had a flat side to rest them on, then went to town creating thin strips.

The Tofu:
So simple. I cut the block into 4 equal sized slabs and grilled them on both sides for about 5 minutes. I happen to like the taste (or lack there of) of plain tofu simply grilled, but you could definitely add some seasoning.

The Sauce & Noodles:
1/2 Cup Low Sodium Teriyaki, Juice of 1 Lime, a few drops of  sesame oil, a few drops of sriracha. Whisk.

For the noodles, per the instructions, I brought water to a boil, cooked the noodles for approximately 2 minutes, rinsed with cold water and drained. Voila.

I arranged my plate with the bright veggies, a pile of rice noodles, then added the grilled tofu. I sprinkled the top with fresh mint and jalapeno. Lastly, I covered my noodles and tofu with a liberal pour of the spicy sauce.

This meal was so Dahlicious. If you like spicy yet light Asian fare then I think this would be right up your alley. It was so fresh with lots of texture and flavor and very satisfying. Hope yall love this beautiful dish as much as I did!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lunch: Bright Chopped Veggie Salad & Cacao/Goji Berry Bites

Lunch: Bright Chopped Veggie Salad & Cacao/Goji Berry Bites... Lunch is a perpetual struggle for me. I like to bring creative things I will enjoy eating, but sometimes the task can be daunting. I'm also an anxious planner type, so making my lunch for Tuesday is one of the first things I do when I get home from work Monday. So with all this self inflicted pressure on myself (which I quietly love) I am constantly coming up with lunch ideas. Some I enjoy, some don't get a repeat. I will also say that chopping is something I thoroughly enjoy, especially on a Sunday afternoon with time to myself. It's almost therapeutic  So below is the salad I came up with for today. It was bright and fresh and crunchy and Dahlicious! I also brought 2 hard boiled eggs for protein and these little cacao/goji berry bites I picked up at the store.

What I Used:
1/2 large heirloom tomatoe
1 small persian cucumber
2 organic yellow & orange carrots
4 small radishes
8-10 mint leaves
juice from 1/2 a lime
olive oil
crumbled feta & balsamic reduction to taste

I picked all of these things up at the grocery store because they had either sounded good ahead of time or looked perfect upon perusing the produce section. The heirlooms looked fab so a grabbed a couple. And the bunch of carrots (yellow/orange/purple) I just couldn't resist. Radishes were on the list ahead of time because I love the spicy crunch they add yet I always seem to forget about them.

How To:
I basically gave all of the veggies a scrub and a trimming (those that had leafy greens that weren't involved in the salad - aka the radishes and carrots) and then chopped them into like sized pieces. I mostly used inch long skinny almost shreds of each. Thicker then julienne I'd say. You could dice them in any way you choose, but try to keep them similar sizes for tossing and consuming purposes. Then I gave the mint a nice chop into fine little pieces, you could tear them also - totally based on your preference. I added a tiny bit of grape seed oil (olive oil is fine too) and the juice from half of a fresh lime. I gave it a toss and put it in Tupperware for work. In two separate containers I crumbled some feta and squeezed some balsamic reduction as a side sweetener. I added it all together at lunch today and it was PERFECT.

Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did - I absolutely cannot wait for summer time and great produce at farmers markets. There is just something about bright colorful vegetables that totally puts a smile on my face. Enjoy!

Dukkah Lime Tuna w/ Fresh Mint Sesame Sauce

Dukkah Lime Tuna w/ Fresh Mint Sesame Sauce... This was one of those meals that sounds way more involved than it was. It involves ingredients you may not have but the point is that you can make variations of this based on what you do have, or rather what catches your eye at the store. I love tuna, and I love picking up a couple of super fresh high quality pieces at the store each Sunday to either sear or roast, or both! Last night I actually seared both sides then popped the fillets in the oven on broil to finish off. Below is an account of what I used and how I did it. It was DAHLISH!

What I Used:
Low sodium teriyaki sauce
Sesame Oil
Juice from 1 lime
8-10 fresh mint leaves
Dukkah Seasoning (mine is from TJ's)
TJ's Brown Rice

For the Sauce:
I really eyeballed this but I'll say about a cup of the low sodium teriyaki, a couple drops of the sesame oil, juice from half a lime, all of the mind finely chopped, and a few medium squeezes of sriracha. Whisk it together. This is your sauce.

First I cleaned, chopped and drizzled my brussels with olive oil, salt and pepper. They went in the oven at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes - I pulled them out and gave them an occasional toss to make sure they cooked somewhat evenly.

While they were roasting I marinated the tuna fillets in olive oil and the juice from the other half of my lime. I marinated them for about 20 minutes. I took them out of the fridge and let my grill pan get nice and hot.


I proceeded to sear both sides of the fillets for 2 minutes on each side on high heat. Once they had a nice crust I removed them from the grill pan and placed them on a baking dish. At that point I poured a spoonful of the sauce over the top of each fillet and dipped that side and the surrounding edges in the Dukkah. I placed them seasoned side up on the baking sheet, removed my brussels from the oven, turned the dial to broil and placed my tuna fillets on the top rack for 3-4 minutes.

I kept the brussels warm by covering the top with foil and cooked my rice while the tuna finished off in the broiler.

Once settled on the plate, I drizzled liberal spoonfuls of the sauce on my tuna and rice. It was sooo yummy. The fresh mint added a super bright note and the sriracha was the perfect amount of tangy heat. Not the kind of heat that makes your lips burn, but just enough, with the lime to give a little tickle in the back of your throat. The sweetness of the teriyaki and the subtlety of the sesame oil also added to the layer of flavors in the sauce. It was perfection - at least I thought so!

I topped it all off with a yummy dessert of plain greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, fresh green grapes, 1 crumbled piece of Natural Natives Cacao Goji Berry Snack bite, and a drizzle of organic blue agave.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lunch - Healthy Egg Salad

Lunch - Healthy Egg Salad... I've made tuna salad the last few days for lunch at work, which included pickles and celery and brown mustard and tiny bit of mayo. But last night I wanted to make something a little different and figured I'd use a few odd bit's on hand (also left over from what I was making for dinner) and it turned into a Dahlicious mayo-less egg salad.

What I used:
3 hard boiled eggs (I probably only needed two but I did three anyways)
1/3 avocado (used the rest in my dinner)
1-2 celery stocks (I also used some leaves because I like them)
3 small sweet pickles
A squeeze of spicy brown mustard (say a tablespoon)
A palm full of steamed English peas (also part of dinner)
salt and pepper to taste

How to:
While hard boiling my eggs I went to town dicing all of my other ingredients. To hard boil, just place the eggs in a pot and fill it with cold water so that it just covers the eggs. Then place it on medium/high heat until the water comes to a boil. Remove the pot from heat, cover it with a lid and let it stand for about 15-17 minutes. Then let the eggs chill, and peel away!

For the rest of the veggies I just gave everything a rough chop into bite sized pieces - the avocado, the celery, and the pickles were added to a big salad bowl while I waited on the eggs. Also, at the same time I was steaming fresh peas in boiling water for a dinner recipe I'll share later, and so I spooned out a scoop, let them cool and added them to the mix.

Once my eggs were ready I chopped them up too, yolks and all, because although yolks contain the calories and cholesterol  they also contain almost ALL of the nutrients!! Egg whites are a good source of pure protein, but there are so many great vitamins that come from the yolk, plus I like the yolk.

I added it all together and squeezed a nice bit of spicy brown mustard plus some salt and pepper and cover it a toss. The avocado and mustard create a creaminess that really is a great substitute for the mayo. Don't get me wrong I LOVE mayo, and I don't think a little hurts, but avocado seems to be a good option to sub.

Also, the crunchiness of the celery and the tang of the pickles are, in my opinion, essential  The peas also add a nice little fresh sweetness in there as well as of course a good dose of green veggie in your lunch.

All in all I am pleased with the creation. That plus leftover roasted Brussels sprouts is what I'm having for lunch - hope you've got a Dahlicious healthful lunch coming your way as well!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Whole Wheat Pasta w/Chicken & Asparagus in Panchetta/Mushroom/Wine Sauce

Whole Wheat Pasta w/Chicken & Asparagus in Pancetta/Mushroom/Wine Sauce... I made this one night earlier in the week to use up what was in my fridge. It was basically a kitchen sink pasta, I tossed in anything that was going to go bad while on vacation for 5 days.

What I had:
Chicken Tenders
Pancetta (already diced from TJs)
Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Sliced white mushrooms
White Wine
Green Onion

What I did:
First I seasoned my chicken tenders and broiled them. Less messy than in a pan, and much easier. I drizzled them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed dried oregano on each side. Then, on a baking sheet, popped them in the oven on Broil for 5 minutes on the first side, then gave them a flip and did another 3 minutes on the other side. These were not huge pieces so this was perfect timing. You might need to eyeball it with whatever you're using or slice into one to make sure it's fully cooked.

While that was going I started boiling water for my pasta and chopped up my mushrooms, asparagus, and green onion.

I got a pan nice and hot with a liberal pour of olive oil and tossed in half the container of pancetta and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. I let that brown lightly and then I added in my mushrooms. They were already sliced in the package but I cute them up into small pieces. I let that all saute together absorbing the flavors of the pancetta. Next I tossed in my asparagus, which I cut into 1 inch long pieces, avoiding using the thick hard stem part if possible.At this point I added some pepper and more crushed dried oregano. Once the veggies and pancetta were getting brown I started adding in white wine. I did this about a quarter cup at a time and let it reduce and thicken. I added almost half the bottle by the end! I also added a squeeze of lemon and a bit  (think a couple table spoons) of the starchy pasta water just to cut the acidic taste a bit and to act as a binding agent.

While this was all simmering and the pasta was almost al dente, I shredded the chicken tenders by hand.

Next, and I was reallllly trying to avoid this but I couldn't help myself. I added a little tiny bit of butter, about a teaspoon full... but it was enough to add a really great rich creaminess to the acidic sauce.

Once that was melted thoroughly I tossed in my chicken and shortly after I used tongs to fish out my pasta and added it to the saute pan as well. I gave it all a big mix and let it rest with the heat turned off for a minute, just letting the flavors coat the pasta and the chicken.

Once it was ready to serve I added in some chopped green onion. I know this is random but it was the only fresh herb I had around and it actually added a nice kick and brightness to the somewhat decadent dish.

It was perfect and hearty but besides for the butter it wasn't too awfully horrible. I did get lots of veggies and lean protein, and some whole wheat pasta never hurt anyone.

Hope this sounds as Dahlish to you as it was for me. And hopefully this inspires you to use up what you've got and get creative!

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekday Lunch: Spiced up Healthy Turkey Sandwich

Weekday Lunch: Spiced up Healthy Turkey Sandwich... Last week while doing my Juice Cleanse I had lots of time at night while I wasn't cooking to play on Pinterest and other favorite food blogs/sites fantasizing about what Dahlicious things I could make once solid edibles were allowed. I ran across some really great healthy lunch/snack ideas and I used one for the inspiration here.

The idea I found was a snack option, but it isn't really the best for me to bring to work in terms of getting squished etc. So I took some liberties and here is what I came up with.

The Inspiration Snack: Rice cake with smashed avocado, sriracha, and arugula

The Dahlicious Lunch Version: Sprouted wheat bread, sliced avocado, sriracha  grainy mustard, arugula  turkey, and cheddar. I also brought some little pickles and edamame for a side.

I made it in the morning before work because I happened to have some time, but I think I will try it again making it at night. It was super Dahlicious for lunch. The bread was sturdy and held up well all morning to the mustard and avocado. The few squirts of sriracha dded the perfect hint of heat, the grainy mustard added a great pop of tang, and the arugula made the whole thing feel healthful and bright.

Hope this is a lunch option you all will like, or may it serve as inspiration for you to create a better version for yourself, just like I did off of the rice cake snack!

Sprouted Bread

Perfect Avocado

Mustard on both halves, sriracha on one, half the avocado on the other

3 slices of turkey and one slice of cheese atop arugula

Ta Da! Lunch Time!

Here is this inspiration from Honest Fare: