Southern Goat Cheese Grits & Vegetable Bowl

Southern Goat Cheese Grits & Vegetable Bowl

Make this southern goat cheese grits and vegetable bowl! It’s a bowl of creamy stone ground grits with goat cheese melted in, topped with garlicky sauteed spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, and black-eyed peas, then topped with salsa verde! Feel free to use any seasonal veggies you like to switch it up.

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Spring Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pizza

Spring Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pizza

My black car is officially yellow, so it’s time to break out the asparagus recipes, starting with this spring asparagus and goat cheese pizza! While I am usually adamantly pro-tomato sauce on pizza, I love this pie topped with garlic oil, two cheeses, crisp-tender asparagus and thin slices of Yukon gold potatoes. Don’t be skeptical of potatoes on pizza - the crispy rounds of potato are so good! And as I’m writing this, I’m realizing proscuitto or bacon would be a very welcome addition.

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Goat Cheese Polenta with Mushroom Chickpea Ragu

Goat Cheese Polenta with Mushroom Chickpea Ragu

Would you believe you can have this bowl of creamy goat cheese polenta with chickpea mushroom ragu on the table in less than 30 minutes! Made with instant polenta and an easy protein packed vegetarian ragu, this is some serious Italian comfort food!

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Grilled Shrimp in Pil-Pil Sauce

Celebrate #120DaysofSummer by dining al fresca with this recipe for grilled shrimp in pil-pil sauce, a garlic and chili infused olive oil. Pairs perfectly with Santa Rita sauvignon blanc.

Disclosure: Thanks to Santa Rita wine for sponsoring this post as part of their #120DaysofSummer campaign. As always, thanks for supporting the brands that make Avocado A Day Nutrition possible. 

Five years ago when the hubs and I got engaged and we were just delving into wedding planning, I asked him what was important for him at our wedding.

He replied with two requests. "I want an 80s cover band, and I want to surprise you with our honeymoon destination at the wedding."

So, I turned over honeymoon planning to my fiance, the man who hadn't really traveled until we started dating and had never actually planned a trip before. Gulp.

When it was finally our wedding night, after the speeches, everyone gathered round to hear Scott announce our destination. Of course, he couldn't just come out and say it but had to taunt me with a lengthy speech filled with clues before announcing. The first clue - "After all the hard work Rachael has put into planning this wedding, I know she's going to need a drink. So the first few days of our honeymoon will be spent in what was named the best wine valley of the year."

Naturally, my mind jumped to visions of France and Italy and California. I was excited, but hoped to go somewhere more unique that I hadn't been before.

But my guesses were wrong. We were flying to Chile the next day!!! (<-- !!!!!!!!!!)

Chile was right near the top of my dream vacation list, but I had no clue it was such a famous wine producing region. We spent the first three days of our honeymoon touring it's most famous wine valleys - Colchagua, Casablanca and Maipo - sipping wine and enjoying really incredible food.

So when I started planning a recipe to pair with Santa Rita wine, one of the most well known brands and high quality brands from Chile, I knew I wanted to recreate one of the dishes we enjoyed on the trip. I immediately thought of an incredible meal we had in Santiago where we split woodfire oven baked goat cheese, spicy Chilean mashed potatoes and a giant clay bowl of tender hake cheeks in pil-pil (garlic) sauce. Instead of using hake cheeks (I don't think they sell that at Whole Foods), I swapped local shrimp, since shellfish is a natural pairing with their sauvignon blanc.

And wouldn't you know, when I looked back at my travel journal from the trip, as it turns out, we actually had a bottle of Santa Rita wine that night! How crazy is that? They were running a special promotion all over Chile that week promoting various Chilean wines by offering a bottle to take home with every bottle you ordered at restaurants. Umm, can we get something like that back in the States?

One thing we learned is that Chilean wines offer great quality for the dollar - something with taxes makes wines from Chile less expensive to buy Chilean wines in the States, so now Chilean wine is most of what we purchase!


Grilled Shrimp in Pil-Pil Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb shrimp, unpeeled
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup Santra Rita Sauvignon Blanc

Instructions:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat
  2. Toss shrimp with grill seasoning and olive oil. Season with salt if the grill seasoning does not contain any. Let marinade 15 minutes. 
  3. Skewer shrimp on wood or metal sticks. Grill shrimp a couple minutes per side until no longer pink. Remove from grill and set aside until ready to use. 
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and smoked paprika. Cook until fragrant, about 60 seconds. And wine and cook for 1 minute, then turn of heat. Stir in shrimp and combine with sauce, then serve. 

Pita with Yogurt Chickpeas and Muhammara

This whole grain pita with yogurt chickpeas and muhammara is packed with fresh Middle Eastern flavors! 

Don't get me wrong. I love hummus. But sometimes it's necessary to switch things up. A few months ago, I stumbled on muhammara at Trader Joe's. I'd seen recipes for the Middle Eastern red pepper and walnut dip, but never tried it. It's deep red color and pretty package were calling me, so in my cart it went!

Holy smokes guys. Go out and grab some muhammara immediately! It's got a rich, deep and slightly smoky flavor that's enhanced with a bit of tart sweetness from pomegranate molasses. Spread on a piece of warm whole grain pita, it's pretty much perfect.

Actually, I take that back. Spooned into a warm whole grain pita along with creamy chickpeas with yogurt and crunchy vegetables, now that's perfect!

If you're packing this for lunch, you might want to pack the chickpeas and yogurt separately because the yogurt might make the pita soggy. The pita and muhammara would also make a great base for my green falafel or bulgur and lamb kofte

If you don't have a Trader Joe's or other store that sells muhammara, this recipe from The New York Times looks pretty simple.

Chickpea and Yogurt Salad Pita with Muhammara

Makes 4

Ingredients

Chickpeas:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dijon
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pitas:

  • 4 100% whole grain pitas
  • 8 ounces prepared muhammara, or 1 cup homemade
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into thin half moons
  • 4 cups salad greens
  • 2-3 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together chickpeas and red onion, Add yogurt, dijon, parsley, lemon juice, zest, and smoked paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Warm pitas in a toaster until lightly toasted, or microwave 20 seconds. Cut pitas in half and open each half to make a pocket. Spoon 2 tablespoons muhammara into each pita half and spread evenly. Stuff with salad greens, carrot, cucumber and spoon in 1/8th of the chickpea mixture. Sprinkle in goat cheese and serve.

More pita friendly recipes:

Zucchini Chickpea Balls
Zucchini Chickpea Balls
Lentil Veggie Balls
Lentil Veggie Balls
Baked Green Falafel with Three Dipping Sauces
Baked Green Falafel with Three Dipping Sauces

Potato, Corn and Goat Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Chimichurri

Potato, Corn and Goat Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Chimichurri

Celebrate potatoes with these vegetarian potato, corn and goat cheese empanadas with avocado chimichurri dipping sauce! These empanadas are made with a whole grain crust for extra fiber and a yummy flavor! And you'll be obsessed with the creamy avocado chimichurri, which you can make extras of to enjoy over all sorts of different foods. 

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Warm Farro Salad with Kale, Caramelized Onions, Grilled Fennel and Harissa

Enjoy this warm farro salad with kale, caramelized onions, grilled fennel and harissa topped with crumbled goat cheese or a fried egg for a hearty vegetarian lunch!

Happy Monday! Gah, I'm really wishing it was another Sunday - I could use a lazy day! This past weekend my parents came in town from Virginia. Turns out its tough keeping up with 50 and 60-year olds. Friday night we went to Craft and Draft for local beers, then out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Baan Sawan. Seriously, I would go out on a limb and say it's the best Thai food outside of Thailand and I feel 110% confident putting that statement out on the internet.

On Saturday, we went shopping on Devine St for their semi-annual sidewalk sale. I snagged a really cute winter skirt and a plaid poncho which I think will replace my beige knit sweater in it's weekly rotation. Then we went out to City Roots, our local organic farm, for a pig and oyster roast. We enjoyed incredible barbecue, awesome sides (holy blue cheese coleslaw and pimento mac and cheese!) and hot roasted SC oysters. Oh, and a few too many Westbrook IPAs, hence the need for a second Sunday.

If I could drag myself off the couch to do a little meal prep for the week, I'd probably whip up a batch of this farro salad. It's kind of a mishmash between a old favorite recipe from orangette and a heirloom brown rice bowl with harissa I had while we were in Arizona last month. Then I threw in some grilled fennel I had leftover and it was a smart choice.

Chewy farro is possibly my favorite choice for grain bowls. It reminds me a bit of barley, but better. Farro is a type of ancient wheat, thought to be the oldest cultivated grain. Look for it in the bulk aisle of your local health food store, or if you can't find it, swap barley or even brown rice.

Although it takes a bit to put together the different components of this dish, it's absolutely worth it. While I served this with harissa, you could also drizzle it with sriracha. If you're feeling extra hungry, top with a fried egg.

Warm Farro Salad with Kale, Caramelized Onions, Grilled Fennel and Harissa

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 head kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • Lemon, in wedges
  • Harissa, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place farro in a medium pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place lentils in a small pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Head 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sided pot on medium high heat. Add onions, stir to coat with oil, and cook 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until deeply caramelized. Season with salt and black pepper and set aside until ready to use.
  4. Slice fennel into thick slices. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set an indoor grill pan (or outdoor grill) on medium-high heat. Place fennel on the grill and cook 5 minutes per side until charred and tender. Set aside and let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop the fennel.
  5. In a medium skillet (you can use the same one you caramelized the onions in if it's free), heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat. Add kale, stir to combine and coat with oil. Add 1/2 cup water, mince garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes, adding more water if needed, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In a large bowl, toss together farro, lentils, fennel, kale, caramelized onions. Divide between four bowls. Top with pistachios, goat cheese and serve with lemon wedge and harissa.
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh, Garlicky Bok Choy and Edamame Hummus
Brown Rice Bowl with Five Spice Tempeh, Garlicky Bok Choy and Edamame Hummus
Hippie Salad with Sprouted Grains and Tahini Dressing
Hippie Salad with Sprouted Grains and Tahini Dressing
Roasted Eggplant, Chickpea and Wheat Berry Salad with Za'atar
Roasted Eggplant, Chickpea and Wheat Berry Salad with Za'atar

Fall Freekeh Salad with Roasted Grapes and Brussels Sprouts

Fall Freekeh Salad with Roasted Grapes and Brussels Sprouts

Enjoy produce in cold weather months with this make-ahead fall freekeh salad! Toss nutty whole grain freekeh with roasted grapes and brussels sprouts, protein-rich edamame, and goat cheese, and toss with a white balsamic vinaigrette.

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How to Make the Perfect Omelette + Recipe for Simple Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelette

Learn my tricks for how to make the perfect omelette with a creamy, custardy texture, plus a simple recipe for mushroom omelette with goat cheese. 

Earlier this week, I read a really interesting article, "The Myth of 'Easy' Cooking." It got me thinking differently about the recipes I share and how I approach cooking. I encourage you to give it a read, especially if you feel like you're constantly strapped for time, running around like a crazy hot mess (i.e. me most of the time). If you're too busy to read it right now, running around like a crazy hot mess, basically, the summary is this:

Easy recipes aren't actually easy.

With the recent emphasis on clean eating, home cooking has become the gold standard of healthy eating. As someone who firmly believes in the power of whole food, I can certainly agree with that designation. In my practice, I spend a considerable amount of time with my clients teaching them how to make home cooking a realistic and regular habit.

But, we can't forget that it comes at a cost and that cost is time. Time is a precious commodity, especially for anyone with children, working a job more than 40 hours a week (hi!), multiple jobs, a long commute, or is active in their community.

With the barrage recipes marketed as easy, which I am absolutely guilty of too, it's easy (pun intended) to feel guilty for not having time to cook. Why can't I find the time to make homemade almond milk in three different flavors for the week?? The recipe says it only takes 15 minutes! And I know I'm not the only one who has taken well over an hour to cook a Rachael Ray 30 minute meal. With 19 ingredients, it takes me 30 minutes just to hunt down the ingredients in my kitchen!

The problem isn't you, it's the recipes. Not that the recipes aren't actually semi-easy or relatively quick if you've done them before. It's the fact that we're using recipes in the first place. As the author states, "real 'easy' cooking, if that’s what you’re after, is far too simple to sustain a magazine and cookbook industry. It relies on foods that can be purchased at a single point of sale and involves a bare minimum of ingredients and a small repertoire of techniques. It leans heavily on things your mom taught you."

Basically, it's not about knowing how to follow a recipe, it's about knowing how to cook. Sure, recipes are helpful for teaching people how to cook (and of course baking, which is much more scientific). But once you know how to cook, you can skim a recipe for inspiration without spending time reading it word for word. When you know how to cook, know what ingredients are extraneous and can be left out. When you know how to cook, you know what a teaspoon or a third of a cup look like, so you don't have to spend time measuring.

Inspired by that article, I plan to share more posts discussing basic cooking techniques rather than specific recipes. 'Non-recipes' that give you the basic instructions you need to create a gourmet tasting meal without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Alas, I give you a 'non-recipe' for omelettes. They've sustained me many a day! Whether it's for breakfast paired with fresh fruit or dinner with a side of toast and greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, omelettes are super simple yet feel gourmet when made with seasonal ingredients and good technique.

So, you probably know how to make an omelet, but do you know how to make a perfect omelet? Well, I probably don't either. Who are we kidding? I'm no chef! But...I do know how to make a damn good omelet, and I think that's good enough. Here are my tricks of the trade:

  1. Precook vegetables. With the exception of spinach, which wilts in approximately 2.5 seconds, there's nothing grosser than raw vegetables in an omelet. I often use omelettes as a way to use up leftover vegetables, or I'll batch cook vegetables on the weekend. Then there's the ultimate time saver - frozen, defrosted vegetables. #nojudgement
  2. Use a nonstick skillet. Save yourself the hassle. Just do it.
  3. If you can, use room temperature eggs. This is by no means a rule, because goodness knows I regularly forget to take my eggs out of the fridge in advance. But if you can, it helps give the eggs a custardy texture. Sometimes I'll put them in room temperature water to raise the temperature a bit.
  4. Beat the eggs with a fork until completely mixed and season with a little salt and pepper. Add dried or fresh herbs if you like.
  5. Heat the dry skillet on medium-high heat a minute or so before adding butter. This makes sure it's nice and hot, which will help the omelette cook quickly. On the topic, while I don't use a ton of butter, I am pro-butter vs olive oil when omelette making. It tastes so much better. The pan is ready when the foam in the butter subsides.
  6. Pour the beaten eggs into the hot pan then tilt so it covers the skillet. After it's in the pan, DON'T TOUCH THE EGGS! You want it to get a nice crust so it's important to let it sit.
  7. When the eggs are mostly set, but still a little wet in the middle, add the filling. The eggs will finish cooking with residual heat. If you cook it fully, your omelette will be dry.
  8. Immediately fold one side over the fillings using a wide spatula (I like this one). As you tilt the pan on to your plate, filled side first, flip the other side over the fillings so you've got a trifold.
  9. Cheese. This deserves a special note of it's own. Crumbly cheese like goat or feta should go one top, while shredded hard cheeses that melt and get gooey should go inside. This is not personal preference, but rather a cold, hard, scientific fact.

Now, let's talk fillings. I'd love to hear your favorites in the comments below! Here are some of mine:

  • smoked salmon + goat cheese + tomatoes + avocado
  • red onion + corn + tomatoes + sharp cheddar
  • asparagus + brie
  • spinach + sun dried tomato + pesto
  • kale + olives + feta + oregano
  • chilies + black beans + tomatoes

And of course, garlicky sauteed mushrooms...

Simple Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelette

Makes 2

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Shallot, finely chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • Butter
  • Goat cheese
  • To garnish (optional): truffle salt, chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and saute 1 minute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until liquid is released and absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from skillet, set aside and wipe skillet clean if making omelette immediately. Or refrigerate until needed, then reheat briefly in the microwave.
  2. Crack eggs into a bowl and beat until completely mixed with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place clean skillet on medium-high heat. Add knob of butter, dragging it over the pan with the tip of your knife as it melts to cover the skillet. When foam subsides, pour in the egg, lifting the skillet to spread it evenly. Cook until eggs are mostly set, but still appear wet on top.
  4. Add mushrooms in a line down the middle. Immediately flip edge of eggs over the fillings. Press down slightly to 'seal'. Slide filled side of omelette out of the skillet and on to the plate while flipping the other side over the top to make a tri-fold.
  5. Crumble goat cheese over the top, garnish with truffle salt and parsley and serve.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Pesto Brown Rice

Y'all. I am exhausted.

I hate to complain, but also, I'm so tired right now, I honestly can't think of anything else to talk about. Not even these incredible stuffed tomatoes that essentially taste like summer in a casserole dish. Well, except for that last sentence. After that, I'm out.

I haven't been staying up late, feeling stressed or working more hours than usual. I just for the life of me can't get a good, restful night of sleep!

Do any of you have a jawbone? I use it to track my workouts and steps, but mostly, I'm fascinated to see how long and how deep I sleep. Every morning, as soon as my alarm goes off, I plug it in so I can see how long and how deep I slept. I call it my sleep porn, because whenever I have an especially good night, I'd let out an deep "ohhhh yeaaaah." These things are exciting when you're 30+.

My husband thinks I'm ridiculous, judging my tiredness off my jawbone and not how I feel. His theory is that I'm getting enough sleep, but moving more at night, causing my jawbone to interpret it as light sleep. He thinks my tiredness is all psychosomatic. Is this kind of the sleep equivalent of when you focus on the scale versus how you feel?

That said, it's probably a good idea that I turn off the computer, do some light yoga, and snuggle up in bed.

Oh, and these stuffed tomatoes are awesome! Do it! Feel free to swap any whole grain you like - quinoa, millet, couscous or farro would all be great! I threw a few pattypan squash in there as well since we had some from our CSA. You could do this with zucchini too, although it might take a little bit longer to bake. Just check it with doneness after 45 minutes by poking it with a fork.

Brown Rice and Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 12 tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup pesto

  • 1/4 cup basil, slivered

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 2 cups jarred tomato sauce

  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot with a tight fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir, then pour in 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 40-50 minutes until tender.

  2. While rice is cooking, cut the tops off the tomatoes. Scoop out the insides. Cut a sliver of tomato off the bottom so they stand up straight in the casserole dish.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. When the water has absorbed and the rice is tender, let sit covered in the pot, off heat, 5 minutes. Remove the lid and let cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the pesto, basil and chickpeas. Season with salt and black pepper if needed.

  5. Spread 2 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Place tomatoes evenly over the sauce. Divide the rice mixture between the tomatoes, stuffing down into each one. Crumble the goat cheese over each tomato. Bake 35-45 minutes until tomatoes are tender.


You might also like: 

Quinoa Crusted Eggplant and Zucchini
Quinoa Crusted Eggplant and Zucchini
Vegan Eggplant Involtini
Vegan Eggplant Involtini
Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Bulgur Salad
Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Bulgur Salad

Greek Greens Frittata

Eggs are my secret to a quick, easy and delicious meal. Greek Greens frittata can be on the dinner table in less than thirty minutes! 

Back in February, when the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee dropped their recommendation to limit cholesterol, I was pretty excited. A long time egg lover (sunny side up and over, thank you!), I hate that eggs were demonized for so long. If you live in Columbia, you may have heard me yell out a Vicky Gunvalson-style "woo hoo!" when the news broke...or maybe that was your next door neighbor whose been subjecting himself to rubbery egg white omelets for years.

There's a small percentage of people considered "hyperresponders" to dietary cholesterol, usually someone with diabetes, an early history of heart disease or familial hypercholesterolemia. They should continue to limit eggs to just a few times a week. Otherwise, eggs are not only safe, but incredibly nutritious, yolk and all.

In fact, eggs are (you guessed it!) a Good Mood Food, and not just because that sunny yellow yolk makes you smile. Although it does that too :) Eggs, especially the yolks, are packed with nutrients that support brain health.

VITAMIN B12 // A deficiency in B12 can cause depression, anxiety, and lethargy, which in some cases can be severe. This vitamin plays many roles in the maintenance of the central nervous system, including the creation of neurotransmitters, DNA expression, and metabolism of fatty acids (remember, your brain is mostly fat). One whole egg contains 25% daily needs of B12.

VITAMIN D // Does more than build strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and most recently, depression. Vitamin D is needed to build neurotransmitters, for nerve growth, and seems to also reduce inflammation in the brain. Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and cognitive issues and depression. Vitamin D, which is activated by the sun, has been proposed as the root cause of seasonal affective disorder, or the winter blues. It's too early to know if vitamin D is an effective treatment, but one small study found supplementing vitamin D in women with severe depression reduced symptoms.

CHOLINE // Contained in the yolk is a nutrient called choline, which forms acetylcholine, the backbone of neurotransmitters. Most research has focused on deficiencies in serotonin as a root cause of depression - the most common antidepressants work on serotonin - but recent research indicates acetylcholine may play a role, especially for those who don't respond to traditional depression medications. Choline deficiency has also been linked to anxiety. Egg yolks happen to be an excellent source of choline, the most excellent source in fact!

OMEGA 3S // Likely the most studied nutrient for brain health, depression and anxiety and it's not just in fatty fish! Because pastured eggs significantly more omega 3 fats, it's a good reason to pay the few extra dollars.

Clearly, I'm a fan of the mood boosting benefits of eggs. But perhaps just as important - eggs are THE BEST for whipping up a quick, easy and family friendly dinner. Think omelet and a salad, veggie and potato scramble, veggie fried rice with a scrambled egg...heck, I'll throw an egg on some whole grain toast and cal it a day if I'm really pressed for time! But usually, it's a frittata that becomes my weeknight meal. We probably making one every week, either for a make ahead breakfast or dinner! This Greek inspired frittata was particularly tasty, especially when topped with a quick spicy tomato sauce. Feel free to use any greens you like, another good mood food, by the way, but we'll save that for another day!

Greek Greens Frittata

Feel free to use any greens you like. Spinach, chard and arugula would all work well. To save time, skip the tomato sauce and use jarred, souped up with a little crushed red pepper flakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces goat or feta cheese, crumbled

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pureed tomatoes

Instructions

  1. In a medium, oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add garlic and kale and saute, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 7-10 minutes depending on thickness. While kale is cooking, whisk oregano, salt and pepper into the eggs.
  2. After kale is wilted, add olives and stir. Pour eggs into the skillet, reduce heat to medium and cook without touching until mostly set. To cook the top, place briefly under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. While frittata is cooking, make the tomato sauce. In a small pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in pureed tomatoes. Simmer 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper.

More egg dishes: 

Chickpea Pancake with Fried Egg & Chili Oil
Chickpea Pancake with Fried Egg & Chili Oil
Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Kale & Cremini Mushroom Quiche with Blue Cheese
Kale & Cremini Mushroom Quiche with Blue Cheese

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

A quiche for my gluten free friends. This spinach and goat cheese quiche is made with slices of sweet potato for a crust. Best served with plenty of hot sauce! 

Earlier this year, I challenged myself to go gluten free for a month. As you regular readers know, I'm not one who feels gluten is the root cause of our ills, nor do I think it's bad for most people. I don't have any major signs of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. So why would I voluntarily subject myself to a month without pizza?

A couple of reasons. As a dietitian who works with many people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, I wanted to gain a better understanding of what it's like to live gluten free. Also, I was curious. Would I feel different? Maybe...or maybe not. I would never know without trying.

But mainly I did it because I thought it would be easy. After all, eating such a varied diet, more than half the meals we eat just happen to be gluten free, so it wouldn't be that difficult, right??

Wrong.

I've told clients a million times that gluten is everywhere, so I have no idea why it came as such a surprise to me. I suppose I thought because we purchase mostly unprocessed foods, it wouldn't be difficult to avoid...but it was.

Also, beer contains gluten. Should have thought that one through.

So what were my results? I didn’t notice a difference in my energy, mental clarity, digestion or really anything at all that month.

But, it did give me a chance to experiment with a few new foods, including this gluten free quiche made with thinly sliced sweet potatoes as a crust!

The trick here is thinly and evenly slicing the potatoes, which allows them to cook evenly without burning and helps them get a little bit crispy. If you don't have a mandoline slicer, I suggest you add one to your kitchen arsenal. Mine is fairly large, so if you don't have much storage space, they make plenty of smaller ones that will fit into any overstuffed drawer. I love them for slicing vegetables evenly, a skill I have not yet developed and for quickly julienning vegetables without a headache.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Serves 4

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup organic, whole milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 small sweet potatoes or 1 large, thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounce bag baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Whisk in the cumin and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Cook, flipping occasionally, until cooked through, browned and a little bit crispy, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the green onions over the potatoes, then top with the spinach. Cover with the lid or a cookie sheet to wilt the spinach, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and pour the eggs over the spinach and potatoes. Cook until mostly set around the edges. Sprinkle the goat cheese evenly over the top. Place the quiche in the oven to finish cooking for about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven when the eggs are set. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve, garnish with cilantro and hot sauce and slice into sixths.

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Celebrate asparagus season with my two favorite salads featuring fresh from the farmer's market asparagus! First up, mixed greens topped with roasted asparagus, prosciutto and goat cheese. Next, a tapas inspired salad with grilled asparagus and chickpeas in a smoky paprika dressing with oil-packed tuna. 

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