A few weeks ago, Chad and I revamped our kitchen and eating habits — we’ve always eaten reasonably healthy, but we started to realize that we were consuming a LOT of junk food. In New York, I’d usually stop by a grocery store once every few days, and there were always easy takeout options that we went to in a pinch. In Houston, our routine is really different — we cook a lot more on a day-to-day basis, but since everything isn’t in walking distance of our house, we depend a lot on what we have on hand.
Which… eventually became a lot of junk food. We were caught in this cycle of me buying food, Chad not knowing what we had and grabbing less healthy options by default, and then I wouldn’t buy as many healthy options because we never ate them… big mess. But a few weeks ago, we decided to make a major effort to be all-around healthier.
So I thought I’d share with you guys one of my new go-to recipes! Quinoa is actually super easy to make — it only takes 15-20 minutes to cook and it’s a whole grain that’s packed with fiber. Pair it with some easy staples like artichokes and fresh baby spinach, and you have a quick, simple dish that’s perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner!
And, yes, I still totally cheat — there’s still ice cream in our freezer and I’ll kick and scream before giving up flavor-blasted goldfish (love them!). But overall, these are good, healthy steps in the right direction!
Artichoke and Spinach Quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Before cooking, rinse the quinoa thoroughly using a mesh strainer.
Cook the quinoa according to package directions, but replace one cup of water with vegetable stock (so, if the package calls for 4 cups of water, use 1 cup of vegetable stock and 3 cups of water). After the quinoa is cooked, stir in the artichokes, baby spinach, olive oil, garlic powder and lemon juice. Leave the mixture on low heat, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Because right now, some of you are thinking, “I’ve never had avocado served warm.”
But the thing is — you’ve been missing out. Like, desparately. Because roasted (or grilled) avocado is so incredibly delicious, you’re going to be shocked when you finally try it.
These taste almost like big thick-cut baked french fries, only a million times richer and creamier. They’re absolutely delicious. And super easy — go try it!
Roasted Avocado Slices
2 avocados, fairly firm
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Fleur de sel
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each avocado into quarters, lengthwise, discarding stone and peel. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season generously with garlic powder, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the slices are a little golden at the edges.
Ha ha, that was a joke. Neither do I! That was a long time ago!
The fact is, I’ve been so busy for the past year or two that cooking has really fallen to the wayside. I have a few tried and true staples that I make for dinner during the week and, honestly, we order a fair amount of takeout. I can’t help it — pizza is one of my favorite foods on this earth, and when I get home from a long day and still have 57 emails to respond to, the last thing I can think about is shopping for ingredients, making up a new recipe and cleaning everything up afterwards! I’m hoping to carve out more time for some special dinners this year, as soon as my schedule lets up a little bit!
But every once in a while, usually on the weekends, I still get the urge to make something new and delicious. This quinoa salad was a product of me wandering the aisles of our grocery store, trying to think of healthy ingredients that would all taste great together. Feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts? Maybe I can still cook after all. (Yum.)
Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Quinoa Salad
2 cups quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
12 ounce can of artichoke hearts, packed in water
2 tbsp chives, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the sundried tomatoes, feta, artichoke hearts, chives, olive oil and salt and pepper and stir together. Serve at room temperature or warm.
Remember back when I used to make recipe videos? They kind of fell to the wayside because 2012 was such a crazy year, but one of my goals for 2013 is to bring them back, and better than ever! I’m feeling so excited and inspired about the year to come, and I figure I should make use of that energy while it lasts!
This is a super easy, fresh, delicious corn salad that’s a breeze to make. About two years ago, I was at a party with an editor from Bon Appetit, and I asked her what her favorite recipe was — and she told me this salad. Convinced?
I’m also including the recipe below because the video goes a little quickly — but I’m so excited at how this turned out and can’t wait to do some more!
Lime Corn Salad
8 ears fresh corn, silks removed, husk on, soaked in cold water 30 minutes
1/4 cup lime juice (about two limes)
1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
Heat a pot of water to boiling. Cook the corn ears for about 5-7 minutes, or until they turn a bright yellow color. Allow them to cool slightly and then cut off the kernels from the cobs.
Mix in the cotija cheese and lime juice, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Want to know the craziest thing about this dish? The orange mac-and-cheese color in this pasta is all natural! Eveny pick eaters won’t know the difference, and you can sneak in a huge serving of healthy veggies without anyone being any wiser.
I’m going through a major baked pasta craze right now — I love making them on Sundays and then having quick, easy homemade dinners all through the week. Life has been so crazy lately, those extra few minutes on weeknights really make a difference!
I’m off to New York on Wednesday for a really awesome new project — can’t wait to tell you guys about it! I’m a little nervous about packing — it’s still so warm and beautiful in Texas (barely even cool enough for long pants), I can’t believe it’s sweater and jacket weather in the Northeast!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
1 pound macaroni pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups vegetable stock
1 large butternut squash
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
1 cup grated Parmesan
First, cut the squash in half and roast it at 450 degrees for one hour, or until squash can be poked through with a fork. Once the squash is roasted, scoop out the flesh and reserve. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F.
Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the shallot. Cook the shallot for a minute or so, and then all the vegetable stock. Once everything is warm, combine with the butternut squash and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, paprika and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.
Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Place in a baking dish and cook, covered with tin foil, for approximately 15 minutes, and serve.