Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens

For some reason, I cannot think about beets without thinking about Dwight from The Office.

I love the show, and his character’s obsession with his beet farm is hilarious. He has a huge beet farm that he owns and operates with his crazy cousin. I just can not take beets seriously because all the other characters on the show make fun of the vegetable to get a reaction from Dwight.

But after making this salad, I definitely have insight into Dwight’s adoration of his beets. They are quite delicious!

I roasted three or four beets, but only used one for the salad. The greens to beet ratio is definitely lacking on the greens. If you are making this for more than two, I would suggest beefing up the beet greens with kale or whatever suits you.

Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens

makes two side dish portions

adapted from Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta

Ingredients

3 medium-large beets with greens

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp capers, chopped and drained

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Cut greens off beets and reserve tops. Put the beets in a oiled pan and bake  for 45 minutes to an hour, until beets are tender.

Whisk oil, vinegar, capers, and garlic together.

Peel beets. Halve beets and slice thinly. Cover with 1/2 dressing.

Rinse the greens and remove the stems. Allow some water to stay on the leaves. Place in a large pot on high heat. Stir the greens until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and toss with remaining dressing.

Arrange the greens and beets on a plate and top with crumbled feta.

Helpful products:

This little battery powered whisk makes dressing way easier to blend

Trader Joe’s sells these little frozen garlic cubes that are so convenient! They are perfectly portioned and eliminate the extra time of peeling and mincing garlic.

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Greek Chicken Kabobs

Summertime makes me want to cook outside more often…Actually that’s a lie. Summertime makes other people want to grill and then they post their pictures on pinterest. Sometime when I am wistfully drooling over their delicious looking food, I remember that we have a grill and I should use it.

Prevention magazine had a recipe for Grilled Greek Salad Skewers this month, which inspired me to do something similar. I used feta for the photos but it kept crumbling all over the grill, so I would not recommend trying to cook it. However, I did like the flavor, and would suggest crumbling some cheese over the cooked chicken and vegetables after grilling.

Greek Chicken Kabobs

adapted from Grilled Greek Salad Skewers

makes 5

1 chicken breast (6 oz), cut into 1 inch cubed

1 14 oz. can of artichokes

10 pitted kalmata olives, halved

10 cherry tomatoes

Thread the above ingredients on soaked kabobs. Spray with cooking oil before grilling, grill for 4 minutes on each side. I tried to keep the internal heat around 350.

Serve on top of a salad or with toasted bread.

I am off on a mini road trip with my mom. Hopefully we can make time to stop by some outlets. All of this graduation money is burning a hole in my pocket, and I am dying for a linen blazer and other summery work clothes.

Also, are brightly colored pencil skirts professional? My office is pretty formal, and I don’t want to bust out a brilliant orange skirt when everyone else is in black, white, and light blue. But how cute is this skirt from Ann Taylor?

source

Lemon Edamame Pasta

This weekend was relaxing calm and relaxing, especially compared to the craziness of graduation weekend. I went on a couple nice runs and walks in the neighborhood, visited with friends and Perry, and cooked some delicious meals. On Saturday, the family watched Claire dance in her last high school recital.

I have also been going to TJ Maxx and Home Goods like it’s my job! My roommate and I found an amazing apartment in Charlotte last week. It is gorgeous with high ceilings and exposed duct work; I am so excited to move in and start decorating. I am looking forward to cooking in our huge, beautiful kitchen! This week I picked up a couple pillows, platters, and some really cute ramekins (along with dried mango and raw almonds-both stores randomly have really good prices on health food).

Even though I am shopping, I am simultaneously sorting through all of the stuff I moved back home and giving away various odds and ends. I have so many clothes that I keep just in case I might wear it or need it someday, but most of that stuff has not been worn in four or five years… such as my yellow seersucker “suit” I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea lol. My extra clothing situation is compounded by the fact that my workplace is rather professional, so I will only be wearing jeans and sundresses on the evenings and weekends. This week I hope to finish purging all of my high school cast offs, and pack up only the clothes I could reasonably wear in the next couple months.

Now to the recipe: Lemon Edamame Pasta- a lovely, light, summery pasta dish.

Lemon Edamame Pasta

serves 2

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 grated parmesan

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup shelled edemame

6 oz. Cappellini noodles, cooked

salt

Directions

Whisk the oil, lemon juice, and parmesan together. Add salt to taste. Pour mixture over the pasta and edamame.

Cauliflower Pizza Dough

I feel like this blog does a great job of illustrating the fact that I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. I try not to judge any idea before a I eat it, and often encounter delicious results. I have started brewing my own kombucha, made chocolately desserts with tofu and chickpeas, baked delicious granola with quinoa, and even added carrots and spinach to my smoothies. So when I came across a recipe for cauliflower pizza dough I was intrigued, and saved the link for a day when I had more time and access to a large food processor.

On Monday when my mom asked if I had any ideas for dinner, this recipe came to mind. I looked at the recipe and comments, made some changes and started my first batch of riced cauliflower. Don’t be afraid by the long instructions, ricing cauliflower is really easy and not time consuming.  I wanted to be as clear as possible so the instructions ended up being a little long winded.

I will say that this dough is less firm than traditional dough. I added parmesan to the recipe in hopes of making it a bit more structured, which I think helped. When cooled, the pizza can be handled by the slice- but hot out of the oven, it is too cheesy not to be eaten with a fork. However the taste is barely distinguishable from wheat crust. My dad was pleasantly surprised that it tasted so good, and was a lot healthier. This recipe is a great substitute for traditional pizza; it is way lighter and easier than making your own wheat crust!

Cauliflower Pizza Dough

Adapted from Your Lighter Side 

serves 3 (or 4 not-so- hungry people)

Ingredients

1/2 head of Cauliflower (1 1/2 cups riced)

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 parmesan cheese, shredded

1 egg

dash of garlic powder

Directions: After washing the cauliflower, chop half to fit into the food processor. Process the cauliflower until it breaks down into pieces about the size of grains of rice (thus the term “riced cauliflower” :)). Microwave the riced cauliflower uncovered, without water for 7-9 minutes-My microwave at home is fairly new, so I microwaved it for 7 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450.

Let the cauliflower cool for a couple minutes before adding the 1/2 cup each of the mozzarella and parmesan, the egg, and garlic powder. Mix well.

Grease a 9 inch pizza/cookie sheet. Plop the dough in blobs around the sheet, and spread to get an even crust.

Cook for 12-15 minutes.

______________________

I topped mine with 1/2 cup of sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzorella, goat cheese, grilled chicken, and Kalmata olives before sticking it back into the oven on broil for 5 minutes.

My sister, Claire, is not a fan of goat cheese-thus the goat cheese-less section

yum

Goat Cheese and Butternut Squash Calzone

 

My undergraduate career is quickly coming to a close. I feel like these past couple months have flown by. I had my last day of classes yesterday, and finals start tomorrow!

To celebrate this closing of a chapter of my life, I decided to take a little more time on dinner. This butternut squash and  goat cheese calzone probably took about 45 minutes from start to finish, including chopping the whole squash. But the final product is definitely worth it.  It is crispy on the outside, with a  fragrant and cheesy center. Now I just have to figure out with to do with the other 4 cups of butternut squash  I have left.

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Calzones

Makes 2 large calzones

8 oz (half package) whole wheat pizza dough (I use Trader Joe’s)

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella

2 oz goat cheese

Directions

Saute the butternut in oil with the rosemary. Cook for 15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally. While the squash is cooking, divide the dough and stretch it into two rectangles. Spray the pan with oil before laying the dough down. Add the three cheeses to a bowl and combine well. Add the cooked squash to the dough, top with cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the filling, pinch edges closed to prevent any leakage. Flip the calzone over so the seams are on the bottom. Preheat oven to 350, cook the calzones for 20 minutes.

Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs

Last week I was taking a look at my Simply Recipes page and noticed a severe lack of options in the dinner department. This actually is not surprising due to my current lifestyle. I get home from classes in the afternoon and I tend to have a hefty snack, sail through the 6-8 time period without being hungry, and then snack again later at night during study time. Dinner doesn’t happen on most nights, and I am totally okay with it. GoLean and oatmeal make me perfectly happy. But in an effort to challenge myself in increasing my meal variety (because that’s kind of the reason I started this blog) I am going to endeavor to make a “real” dinner twice a week. Below is my first recipe toward that goal.

These shrimp and pineapple kabobs are perfect for a summer barbeque! A lovely combination of savory and sweet, the citrusy flavors are light and fresh, while the cayenne brings some heat. I am usually not a fan of taking the extra time to marinate meats; however, I think the marinade made a huge difference in bringing flavor to this dish.

Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs

Makes 2 servings

1/2 pound of shrimp, peeled (I used defrosted frozen)

Marinade

1 can (15 oz) pineapple chunks in juice

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade (including the juice and chunks of pineapple) in a large container. Add the shrimp and let it sit for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. Skewer the shrimp and pineapple on the kabobs. Grill for 2-3 minutes each side (I just used a Foreman Grill for about 4 minutes total).

The Foreman made grilling very simple!

I should have positioned the kabobs horizontally for better grill marks-something I will do next time!

Fish in Flames

I was afraid that I would have to write a boring dinner post for today, but luckily (kind of) my dinner proved to be really exciting and tasty.

I bought a package of Swai filets last week, and have been trying some new recipes and ways to cook them. Last night I used this great recipe, for an Asian-inspired meal. I wrapped the fish up in wax paper with green onions, ginger, frozen green beans, lemon juice, soy sauce and a drizzle of oil.

I put the wrapped fish into the oven. Then various things made me nervous, so I took it out to check on it after about 15 minutes. First of all, I wrapped it in wax paper instead of parchment paper. I don’t have parchment paper, and thought I could substitute wax paper without a problem. I was partly right. But instead of smelling like ginger-fish-deliciousness, the kitchen smelled like melting wax, which unnerved me a little bit. Also the recipe did not specify an oven temp so I kind of guessed and set it for 375, but I did not want the fish to be over or under cooked.

I had to rip through the paper in order to poke the fish and see if it was cooked and flaky. It was not. Since I had already ripped up the paper, there was no way to really rewrap the fish. I just put the whole thing back into the oven.

Then the wax paper caught fire.

All of the paper around my fish instantly transformed into flames. As I watched the fire spread from one section to literally a ring of fire around the fish, I weighed several options in my mind: was there enough liquid in the pan to let it burn itself out? should I take it out of the oven? but then where would I put it? The first thing I did was a pure gut reaction- I attempted to “blow out” the fire.

Yeah, that didn’t really work.

At all.

So instead of taking any action, I just stood dumbfounded for about ten seconds until the fire burnt it self out. The paper around the edges burnt away, but the fish seemed fine. Jenny helped me pick out some of the stray ash pieces with chopsticks. Then I closed the oven door to let it finish cooking. It turned out delicious-you couldn’t even taste the flames/ash!! 😉

Close-up of the damage:

Have you ever set something on fire in the kitchen?