Sesame-Ginger-Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

If you’re in a dinner rut you must try these stuffed sweet potatoes.  So many flavors and textures.  This recipe was in a recent issue of Cooking Light in a section that focused on the use of “tahini,” a rich sesame seed “butter” that can be used in everything from savory soups to desserts.  I’ve found that Trader Joes has the best tahini for the price but you can find it at Harris Teeter and some other local grocery stores.

The most time consuming part of the recipe is baking the sweet potatoes but once their in the oven, you can forget about them for an hour.  Pierce the potatoes with a knife or fork and rub with a little oil before baking at 400 degrees.

Once the potatoes are baked, remove from the oven and let them rest (and cool!) a little bit.  Now it’s time to roast your chickpeas.  Rinse and drain the beans before tossing with sesame oil, garlic powder, ground ginger, and salt.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

While the chickpeas roasted, prep your sauces.  The tahini sauce is made with tahini (make sure to stir it really well), spicy fresh ginger, garlic and rice vinegar.  It is thinned out a bit with the addition of warm water.  Whisk until creamy and smooth.  The other “sauce” is simply Sriracha mixed with a little water.

To serve, halve the potatoes and score with a knife.  Top with the tahini sauce and a sprinkle of salt.  Add the roasted chickpeas and then top with a little more tahini and some of the spicy Sriracha mixture.

stuffedswttators

Incredibly delicious.  Incredibly healthy.  Incredible filling.  This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and perfect for any night of the week.

Dijon-Herb Crusted Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

I love salmon.  I find myself ordering it when we’re out and about but I rarely cook it at home.  I decided this week that this needed to change.  Not only is salmon delicious but it’s incredibly healthy and full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Big Guy has been traveling this week for work so on Monday night I had a solo dinner date with the most delicious dijon-herb crusted salmon with a creamy dill sauce.  This recipe came together fast and had so much flavor.

The salmon is seasoned with salt and pepper before being baked for 10 minutes.  While the salmon is baking, prepare the dijon-herb crust.  The panko topping includes crunchy panko (I used gluten-free breadcrumbs), fresh herbs (I used thyme and basil), EVOO and dijon mustard.  I also prepped the dill sauce while the salmon was baking.  Simply mix together 2% Greek yogurt, fresh dill, a little milk and a splash of red wine vinegar.

When the salmon is done cooking, evenly divide the panko mixture on top of each piece and press gently to adhere.  Broil for about 1 minute.

Serve the salmon with a dollop of the creamy dill sauce.

dijonherbsalmon

On the side I enjoyed some roasted tomatoes that I threw on the baking sheet with the salmon and added a little EVOO, salt and pepper plus herbs.

I absolutely adored the crunchy herb topping and you must make the dill sauce that gives the dinner a lot of freshness and creaminess.

Salmon for the win.

Cucumber-Lox Toast

I’ve been on a toast kick lately.  This toast combo combines my love of smoked salmon with a healthy alternative to cream cheese.  (Note:  cream cheese is not “bad”)  Instead of cream cheese, 2% greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite) is used which not only makes it insanely tangy but it also amps up the amount of protein.

Here’s what you do:

Toast your bread.  (I opt for Udi’s Gluten Free bread but you can use whatever your heart desires.)

Top your toasted bread with a large dollop of green yogurt (2 tablespoons).

Top evenly with the smoked salmon and sliced cucumber.

Sprinkle with pepper and chives.

loxtoast

So yummy and filling.

What’s your favorite toast topper?

Summer Herbed Grilled Shrimp + Soft Shell Crab

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMA!!!!!!

I hope you all had a lovely long Memorial Day Weekend!  We spent the weekend at Ocean Isle Beach with my family and enjoyed lounging at the pool, dinners with family and long morning walks.  The weather was absolutely perfect and I didn’t want the weekend to end.  We headed back home on Monday morning so that we could get settled for the week and enjoy our evening.  Before we hit the road, we grabbed some soft shell crabs and shrimp to bring home so we could have a seafood feast to end a fantastic weekend.

I’ve had a craving for soft shell crab over the past month or so but we haven’t had the chance to go to a restaurant that has them on the weekend.  So last night we tackled cooking soft shell crab at home.  Turns out it’s incredibly easy!  On the drive home, I researched a few recipes and finally decided to use this recipe as my guide.  Instead of flour, I used a seafood breader that was recommended by The Island Seafood Company (where we purchase our fish and shrimp).  We also asked them to prep them (cutting off the eyes and removing the lungs) for cooking.  The crabs are simply pan fried in a mixture of bacon fat (yes!), butter and EVOO for about 6 minutes on each side.

softshell

I served the crabs with the sauce in the recipe (I ended up adding some vinegar to the sauce for some acidity) as well as cocktail sauce.

We also feasted on Summer Herbed Grilled Shrimp.  The shrimp are tossed with honey, EVOO, salt and pepper before being grilled to perfection.  Once grilled, serve the shrimp with a delicious mixture of parsley, oregano, lemon zest, garlic, EVOO and red wine vinegar.

grilledshrimp

And finally, to add some veggies, we grilled some cabbage and then topped with bacon (because why not) and a basil vinaigrette.

The perfect end to our long weekend.

 

Avo-Tahini Toast

Let’s have toast on Tuesday!  This no-cook recipe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, a snack or, in my case, dinner.  I threw this together last Tuesday night after I taught barre class and it hit the spot.  Here’s what you do:

Toast your bread.  While the bread is toasting, mash your avocado with a little bit of salt. Spread the avocado on the toast.  Top with halved tomatoes.  Top with a sliced hardboiled egg.  Top with sliced olives.  Finish with a drizzle of tahini over everything.

avotahini

Quite the upgrade from my usual avocado toast.

Creamy Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

Let’s get something out of the way:  I am not sharing this recipe because it’s beautiful.  Because let’s be honest, most casseroles are not pretty.  I’m sharing this recipe because not only is it delicious but you can make two casseroles with this one recipe – one for tonight and one for later (or for a friend!).  I made this for dinner a couple of weeks ago and then popped one in the freezer so I could take it to my sister in law and brother.

What I love most about this casserole is the lack of cream of mushroom soup.  Instead you make your own “soup” with milk and mushrooms plus a little bit of flour to thicken up the mixture.  The creaminess comes from the milk as well as the addition of cream cheese.  Instead of onions, leeks are used for a milder flavor.  I adore wild rice and totally think I need to add it into our weekly menu more often – so nutty and hearty.

Like I said, you can make one big casserole or you can split it up – one for now and one for later.  If you’re going to freeze one, stop before you get to the baking step; allow the dish to come to room temperature and then cover tightly and freeze.

wildricechikcasserole

Another great thing about casseroles – leftovers are even better since the ingredients and flavors have time to really meld together.

Do you have any favorite freezer-friendly meals?

Nutty Fried Rice

Good morning!  I am hopeful that everyone reading had a wonderful weekend.  We ended up staying in South Carolina with my brother and SIL an extra evening so we could enjoy the gorgeous weather on Sunday instead of being in the car.  And the extra baby snuggles made the drive yesterday morning totally worth it.  My newest nephew is absolutely precious.  He’s calm and hardly cries and has a head FULL of hair.  I could stare at him all day.  We enjoyed dinner out the first night at The Oak Table.  We also had a pizza night as well as a steak night thanks to my SIL’s parents.  Counting down to our next visit already!

This week is pretty typical – thankfully – and we’re preparing for my niece’s first overnight visit by herself.  Cannot wait to spoil her silly.  After we arrived home yesterday I came up with the meal plan for the week and gave Big Guy some options to pick from.  I should have known he would pick Nutty Fried Rice over ANYTHING because we adores cashews and stir fries.  This dish is full of broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and rice but has an absolutely addicting sauce that is mixed in for the ultimate nuttiness.

My favorite bites definitely included cashews – my favorite nut!

nuttyfriedrice

Just a reminder that the key to dishes like this one is to prep ALL your ingredients before you ever start cooking.  I also love that this stir fry uses precooked brown rice (Uncle Ben’s) as a timesaver.  If you’re allergic to peanuts, sub in almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower seed butter.

I promise you’re going to go NUTS for this dinner!