Go Green! 30 Tasty Recipes to Green Your Eating Routine

This is not a St. Patrick’s Day post. This is not a St. Patrick’s Day post. This is not a St. Patrick’s Day post. There, it’s official now.

I could never allow you to only eat green foods one day of the year just because a holiday made it socially acceptable. You need to eat your greens all day err day!

Kidding, I know that’s not always possible, but you do need to eat them. If not yesterday then today! You can do it! Pick a favorite and nosh away, then pick one thats new to you and tackle it like it’s your pillow at the end of a super long, super exhausting day.

Leave it to me to liken veggies to a pillow. I do love me some pillow!

Go Green! 30 Tasty Recipes to Green Your Eating Routine :: Healthy and delicious, these gorgeous green recipes are just what you need to jazz up your weekly meal plan and try something new!

St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that most Americans celebrate for one of two reasons: 5Ks and green beer. Ok fine, some of you celebrate for 5Ks AND green beer. [I call that combo a win, by the way] Food bloggers break out the Baileys and the Guinness and dump it into everything in sight, college students bar hop until they blackout [ahhh… memories] and everyone else wears green and runs around pinching each other. As an Irish-Danish-Polish-Russian token white girl, I can easily get on board with all of the above, but this is totally not a St. Paddy’s post.

This is a post about veggies. Duh…. 

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Fresh Garlic + Lemon Ricotta Flatbread Pea-zza

Toasted to perfection, this garlicky flatbread is topped with a lemony ricotta, a delicious whipped pea puree, and a hearty handful of fresh arugula. Finish it off with a drizzle of sweet balsamic glaze and you have a yummy appetizer that jumps for joy screaming “SPRING IS HERE!

Pea-zza! Toasted Flatbreads Topped with Lemony Ricotta and Garlicky Pea Puree

It’s almost here, that is. I think NC has one more cold front in it before it calms the eff down. I’m all for faking it for a few more days until Spring has officially sprung. Until then, let’s make some pea-zza!

This feisty flatbread is fresh and flavorful and, though it looks ultra fancy, it’s oh-so-easy to assemble! Both fillings can be made ahead of time, making this perfect picnic and party food or simply and easy no-fuss lunch…. 

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Pesto Potato Soup

No cream is needed for this lusciously creamy potato soup swirled with pesto for extra oomph! Light and gluten-free, you’re free to splurge a little on your choice of toppings! Keep it vegetarian with chopped green onion, red pepper flakes, and melted cheese, or channel your inner T-rex with a little crispy bacon.

Pesto Potato Soup :: No cream is needed for this lusciously creamy potato soup swirled with pesto for extra oomph! Light and gluten-free, you're free to splurge a little on your choice of toppings!

Last time we spoke I promised you nothing but gloriously green recipes from now until St. Patrick’s Day. Naturally green, I might add, since the only food coloring we need here is the vibrant color from fruits and veggies. How super crunchy of me, I know. You may come here the food, but I have it on good authority that quite a few of you stick around so I can sass you over ditching the sketch and eating your veggies.

So far I’ve served up some serious green with a Three-Cheese Spinach + Pesto Flatbread Pizza and a Cilantro, Sweet Pea, + Pistachio Hummus. Ready for round three? 

Pesto Potato Soup

Pesto Potato Soup :: No cream is needed for this lusciously creamy potato soup swirled with pesto for extra oomph! Light and gluten-free, you're free to splurge a little on your choice of toppings!… 

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Cilantro, Pea, and Pistachio Hummus

Cilantro, Pea, and Pistachio Hummus

Hummina hummina HUMMUS! 

Every year when March rolls around I like to sneak in a little theme action onto the blog. It’s usually in the form of going green for What I Ate Wednesday and an excuse for me divert some of the attention away from the Shamrock Shakes and towards green fruit and veggies. This year I’m dying to take it a step further. What if all of my recipes this month were GREEN!?

Well you’d go absolutely crazy and run away, screaming, that’s what. But what if you didn’t? Meet me halfway and let’s go green from now until March 17th. Not only will this be a festive nod to St. Patrick’s Day but it will surely get a few more veggies on your plate, and that, my friends, is why I do this.

You can green your face and your beer all your want for St. Paddy’s but gosh darn it, let’s green our plates in the meantime. Deal? Deal!

You realize you had zero choice in the matter, right?

Let’s get GREEN!

Cilantro, Pea, and Pistachio Hummus



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Three Cheese Pesto Spinach Flatbread Pizza

alternate title: how to eat an entire 5oz box of spinach for lunch with out making a frickin’ salad.

Three Cheese Spinach and Pesto Flatbread Pizza for One

What happens when you top a garlicky flatbread with homemade creamed spinach, three kinds of cheeses, and pesto, glorious pesto?

Lunch; a really, really, ridiculously yummy who-needs-a-pizzaria lunch. Or dinner. Or a tasty snack for two if you have an particularly peckish significant other hovering over your shoulder. You know what? You could make this for breakfast and nobody would judge you. It’s just too good not to.

#teampizzaforbreakfast

#teampizzaforpizza

#whyonearthamihashtagingablogpost

#ihashtaggedandicantgetup

Sorry about that. The coffee made me do it. The BUTTERED coffee. Yes I’m still riding that bandwagon.  The conductor even let me blow the whistle. Hollaaaaa!

Three Cheese Spinach and Pesto Flatbread Pizza for One

Can we get back to the pizza before I embarrass myself any further? Thanks for understanding, let’s never speak of this again. Of the hashtags, that is. We MUST speak of pizza. Often.

Three Cheese Pesto Spinach Flatbread Pizza… for one!

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Quinoa Salad with Tomato, Avocado, and Parsley

Quinoa Salad with Tomato, Avocado, and Parsley tossed in a homemade feta vinaigrette

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a blog. Behind every blog we read lies an entire life behind the curtain, an entire world really. Some bloggers choose to bare it all, while some strive to keep things as structured and professional as possible. I fall somewhere in between. Sometimes you’re greeted with a the most random of rambles. Other times I show up food in hand, no questions asked and no explanation given, just a merry little reminder to eat your veggies and a recipe to help you do just that.

The less we reveal, the more things appear all neat and tidy… a perfect little blog wrapped up with a shiny bow. Right. Cause THAT exists. [spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist]

Life is messy, chaotic even. It’s crazy wrapped in awesome wrapped in a layer of WTF and a sprinkle of sweetness for good measure.

While I may be able to craft a crazy good veggie burger with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back, my house will always be slightly [and/or colossally] messy. There will be toys and books scattered throughout nearly ever inch of my home, toilet paper unrolled as a prop for a rager of a toddler dance party, and the sink will always house at least one dish. Or twenty.

You know what? I think I’m perfectly okay with that.

Quinoa Salad with Tomato, Avocado, and Parsley

The simplicity of this salad is the perfect offset for the chaos in my life lately. It’s full of flavor, packed with nutrients, and is so stinkin’ good that you’ll forget anything else exists outside for a bit.

The recipe makes a little more dressing than you’ll actually need for the quinoa, so get excited to drizzle it over a big veggie-loaded salad the following day or simply double this recipe. I’ve been dying to make it again but literally every time I cut open an avocado I get a pouty-lipped puppy face and wind up forking over the fruit.

sidenote: my favorite veggie? Totally a fruit! A giant berry to be exact. I don’t care what you call it just please someone plant a tree full of them in my yard so I don’t have to ration the yum.

Our days of splitting an avocado are long gone now that my little monkey will eat an entire avo in a sitting. Yesterday she ate two. TWO!  I’m rambling, eh? Let’s throw some confetti for those of you who are still with me and dive on into this simple summery salad.

Healthy Quinoa Salad with Tomato, Avocado, and Parsley… 

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Crispy Chicken Thighs w/ Kumquat Relish & Freekeh Salad

That title might cause my blog to explode. Wowza! Today’s post is sponsored by Blue Apron. I’ve recently had the opportunity to try 3 yummy delivered-to-your-door meals and now I’m here to dish about it. All opinions are my own and though I’m dying to keep this short and sweet for you, I may ramble just a tad.

Of course by a tad, I mean a lot! Let’s do this!

 Blue Apron Meals Fresh Produce: Beet, Heirloom Carrot and Hazelnut Salad

-how it works-

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that sends you farm fresh ingredients straight to your door. These chef-designed meals are mapped out in easy to follow instructions on the colorful photo recipe cards, making meal prep and execution a breeze. The mix of familiar and not-so-familiar ingredients makes it exciting, and everything is clearly labeled so you won’t mix up Sriracha with tomato paste and spend the remainder of the evening fanning your face.

It kind of reminds me of those craft box subscription services, but instead of having some weird paper crane sitting around the house, you have an awesome meal to enjoy with your family. Depending on the plan you choose, each meal ranges from $8.74-$9.99 in cost and you can pick and choose which weeks you’d like to receive an order without hassle or commitment. You also get a little peek at what’s to come for the upcoming week and can decide based on that. For couples, think of it as a dinner date night delivered to your door. For families? Um hello lifesaver on a busy week with zero time to shop or plan. You can read a little more about the plans and details here.

Blue Apron Box

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Zesty Kumquat Relish and Warm Freekeh Salad :: superfoods that are SUPER good!

-first impression-

My box-o-goodies could not have come at a better time, I was almost entirely out of fresh produce and failing miserably at meal planning. I’ve also noticed that lately I’ve fallen back into a food rut of sorts. Paul has been requesting more meat dishes “for the blog” [aka for his belly] so when I noticed Blue Apron had both vegetarian and omnivore options for their meal delivery, I jumped at the chance to road test the T-Rex package. I spent so many years as either a partial or a full-fledged vegetarian, that I honestly don’t know many ways to cook meat. Aside from seafood, bacon, and a few simple poultry dishes, I’m utterly clueless.

I vowed that no matter what came my way I would cook it, and relish the chance to try something new. Little did I know that it wasn’t just the meat that would take me outside my comfort zone, but the veggies and grains too! The ingredient lineup for the meals contained freekeh, kumquats, tatsoi, tarragon, rainbow chard, and wakame, all of which I have never cooked in my life. Hello awesome!

I went through the full Jessie Spano range of emotions,

“I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so… scared!”

before settling into a calm, cool, and collected Barney Stinson:

“Challenge Accepted!”

-diving in-

The quality of the produce and ingredients was oustanding! Everything was chilled, crisp, fresh and ready to be scarfed. I was worried when the package arrived that I would have to make all three recipes back to back or risk the produce going bad, but everything kept wonderfully and I was able to space the recipes throughout the week quite easily.

Rainbow Chard

Of course the chickpea did the majority of the work!

blue-apron-little-helper-toddler-kitchen-learning-tower-1481

Paul made my sassy little sous chef a wooden learning tower so she could help in the kitchen. It’s been very well seasoned by food, paint, and crayons over the past few months and allows my little mini-me to get a hands on experience with food at an early age. Clearly she was super interested in the rainbow chard – can you blame her? It’s so vibrant!

-get cooking!-

All of the meals took around 40 minutes or less from start to finish and came with super-detailed recipe cards with step-by-step instructions and photos. With all the guesswork taken out of the equation, all we had to do is follow our handy “cheat sheets” which  made navigating all of these new-to-us ingredients a breeze.

Suddenly the once-intimidating ingredients became easy peasy to work with and I loved learning a few new chef-crafted techniques along the way. In the recipe below, I would have never thought to dice up the stem of the rainbow chard after removing the leaves from it and I adored the foil and pan trick for the crispy chicken. We expected to love the salmon dish the most since it was closest to our usual eats, but holy freekeh, batman – this dish was amazing. I already want to make it again!

Crispy Chicken Thighs w/ Kumquat Relish & Freekeh Salad

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Zesty Kumquat Relish and Warm Freekeh Salad :: superfoods that are SUPER good!




5.0 from 3 reviews
Crispy Chicken Thighs w/ Kumquat Relish & Freekeh Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken thighs [see note]
  • ¾ cup cracked freekeh
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • a few sprigs of tarragon
  • 2 oz fresh kumquats
  • 1 oz Pecorino cheese
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 TBSP champagne vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • ¼ cup almonds
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the freekeh. Cook, stirring occasionally, 18 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a bowl.
  2. While the freekeh cooks, prep your produce:
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Thinly slice the kumquats into rounds. Separate the rainbow chard leaves and stems; roughly chop the leaves and thinly slice the stems, keeping them separate. Pick the tarragon leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Using your hands or a small knife, break the pecorino cheese into small pieces. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Roughly chop the almonds.
  4. While the freekeh continues to cook, heat a medium pan on medium-high until hot. Add the kumquats, shallot, vinegar, sugar and ¼ cup of water; season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. Wipe out the pan.
  5. Next pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  6. Using the pan used to make the relish, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned chicken, skin side down; loosely cover with aluminum foil. Place a large, heavy pot on top of the foil to press the chicken down; fill the pot halfway with water. Cook, occasionally pressing the pot down, 10 to 12 minutes, or until the skin is browned and crispy. Set the pot aside. Flip the chicken; cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate, leaving any drippings and browned bits in the pan.
  7. Next add rainbow chard stems and 2 tablespoons of water to the pan you used to cook the chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute, or until slightly tender. Add the rainbow chard leaves; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to the bowl of cooked freekeh.
  8. Add the pecorino cheese and almonds to the bowl of cooked freekeh and rainbow chard. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the tarragon into the kumquat relish. Divide the freekeh salad and chicken between 2 dishes. Top with the kumquat relish.
  9. Faceplant.
Notes
This recipe calls for bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. You could also use whichever cuts you happen to have handy as well as easily adapt this dish to work with seared seafood or crispy pan-fried tofu!


Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron. For step-by-step photos check out their website!

 Crispy Chicken Thighs with Zesty Kumquat Relish and Warm Freekeh Salad :: superfoods that are SUPER good!

-the verdict-

We LOVED it! I’m absolutely making the soup again… and the freekeh salad… and the kumquat relish… and the glazed beets and carrots.. and… I think you get the point. I don’t gush for the sake of gushing, and I am seriously crushing on Blue Apron right now. P and I already decided we’re going to order again before our move, since our fridge will be beyond bare at that point and a little dropbox of food would save us from fast food blah-dom.

There’s even a full online collection of free recipes including the Pan-Roasted Salmon Ramen with Spicy Miso Broth that I’m 100% obsessed with and even a few new dishes I’d like to try such as the Seared Tofu and Soba Noodles recipe + their Warm Kale and Squash Salad.

Ohmygosh and I cannot write this review without mentioning the fact that BLUE APRON GOT MY HUSBAND TO EAT BEETS AND LIKE IT!!! I’m scream-squealing. Be very, very glad you can’t hear me right now. I’ve been trying every trick in the book to get him to even lick a beet and nothing has worked. Yet shove him in the kitchen with a Iron Chef-esque box of produce and a challenge and suddenly he’s a beet munching, rainbow chard crunching, aficionado. Hallelujah!

For those of you interested in trying it out, the first 50 people to use [this link] will receive two meals of their first Blue Apron order free! Fingers crossed they offer me the same deal when I reorder before the move!

Big thanks to the folks at Blue Apron for the reader discounts and for sponsoring this post. It was an awesome experience full of delicious food and now Paul eats beets! Cue happy dance.

Pesto Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

Pesto Penne Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

Painting my old wooden board blue was probably a mistake. I have a junkie-esque addiction to aqua and teal. I’m supposed to be mixing up my props and backdrops so my photos aren’t all carbon copies of each other, yet now that this board exists I can’t comply. I glance around my pile-o-props just long enough to keep up appearances, then grab the blue board. Every. Stinking. Time. I must be stopped.

Now I’m sure you’re shaking your head, thinking I’m being utterly dramatic but…

Blue Food Photography Board

The proof is in the pudding photo.

I should really start seeing other boards… but chances are you’re going to have to physically pry it from my hands and hide it from me to make that happen. In which case I’ll just make another! Hah!

Let’s stick a fork in me [metaphorically, people! put down the fork!] and get on to the recipe. Now THAT deserves to be forked.

Pesto Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale




5.0 from 1 reviews
Pesto Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 or 1.5 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups dry penne pasta
  • ¼ cup pesto [homemade or store-bought]
  • a handful [or more!] of fresh baby kale
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder [optional, but essential for me!]
  • any additional salt and pepper, to taste
  • parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Coat squash with olive oil and lay flat on a baking sheet.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Set a timer, measure out your remaining ingredients, and walk away.
  5. After about 25 min have passed, boil you pasta, cooking according to package instructions.
  6. Drain and return the penne to the pot, adding in the kale and pesto while the pasta is still hot. If you added extra veggies or just really love pesto, feel free to add a little extra into the pot! I won't tell! In fact, I'll join you!
  7. Reduce burner heat to lowest setting and stir to wilt the baby kale.
  8. Add your squash [which should now be perfectly roasted] and a hearty sprinkling of parmesan cheese and garnish with a little parsley for pizazz.
  9. Serve straight up or add your favorite pasta night extras for a balanced meal. Enjoy!
Notes
serves 2

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Vegetarian Triple Bean Tacos

Seasoned black beans, pinto beans, and crunchy taco-roasted chickpeas team up to take your taco game to the next level!

 Vegetarian Triple Bean Tacos

Vegetarian Triple-Bean Tacos

My love of tacos is one for the romance books, folks. Hot, steamy, and… errr I can’t finish that sentence without sounding like a total creep.

Paul and I made the mistake of watching too much Dave Attell and he has this charming little bit about doing naughty things to a sandwich that we shall never again speak of, and now we are constantly saying inappropriate things about our food. It’s bad. I should really just stick with my G-rated pal Jim instead:

I hate when I try to order a salad and my mouth says, "I'll have a double Quarter Pounder with Cheese." - Jim Gaffigan

and maybe throw in a little Ron Swanson action for good measure:

ust give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait, wait. I'm worried what you just heard was, "Give me a lot of bacon and eggs." What I said was, "Give me all the bacon and eggs you have". Do you understand?

Phew! That’s almost enough to erase the terrible, awful, no good, very bad stand-up act stuck in my head. Almost.

Oh, hello tacos, I didn’t forget about you!

Vegetarian Triple Bean Tacos

Though we’re both omnivores, Paul and I have refrained from buying ground anything for the past few months. If we can’d find meat that’s grass-fed, additive-free, and preferably local, there’s just no point. We’d just as soon wait for the opportunity to shop from a source we care about than pick up something for the sake of buying it. So when taco night rolled around I promised to whip up my famous Lentil Veggie Tacos. Only I was out of lentils… and mushrooms… and ohmygosh where are my pants!?

Kidding, but I did have to brainstorm a tasty new taco filling. Enter my awesome new Triple-Bean Tacos! I even caught the chickpea scooping some out of the bowl when I wasn’t looking. Huzzah! The smashed pinto beans hold the mixture together while the whole black beans and crunchy taco roasted chickpeas add flavor and texture. I love them! You’ll love them! Let’s make them, shall we?… 

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