“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” Quoted from John Lennon
I made this low calorie pizza hearty and satisfying by piling on the veggies and seasonings. I am obsessed with these whole-wheat wraps that I found at the grocery store because they are so versatile! I began with a wrap and then put on a thick layer of homemade tomato sauce. The sauce was extremely simple and quick to make. I merely sautéed sliced garlic and diced tomatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, and dried oregano. Next I topped the flatbread with very generous portions of sliced mushrooms and heaps of spinach. I finished off the flatbread with just a sprinkle of both mozzarella and parmesan cheese as well as a drizzle of basil pesto sauce. At first the flatbread looked anything but what its name entails since it was piled so high with voluminous spinach and multiple layers of mushrooms, but as the flatbread toasted, the veggies condensed and the bread became crispy. This dish rang in at under four hundred calories and it’s filled with tons of vitamins from the fresh vegetables. YUM.
This soup is phenomenal, to put it simply. Lately, with spring break and Easter, I have definitely been indulging a little more than I should be. Therefore, as of late I have been making it a priority to eat a little lighter and healthier. No word yet on any progress. Restricting myself is hard! Especially when it comes to food and especially when I spend all day every day in class describing and discussing delicious meals; torture! A great trick is to eat soup. Soup is just so satisfying. Not only is it almost always a healthy option, (unless you load up on cream and cheese) but also that the ingredient and flavor options are endless! I literally don’t get sick of soup, as you can tell by how many different kinds I make every month.
This soup is a vegan option, though you really wouldn’t know it. I wanted the meal to be hearty and filling, so I used many different tricks to achieve my goal. The first trick was that I packed in as many vegetables as I could. I made sure there was a very high vegetable to broth ratio in the pot, I hate when soup is all broth and no content. I did not want the vegetables to become mushy so I didn’t simmer the soup too long. The other thing about vegan meals is that they often lack the umami flavor. The term umami originated in Asia and is used to describe the flavor of foods that tend to be rich, savory, or hearty. Foods like this tend to be filling, which was exactly what I was going for in this soup. Mushrooms are very rich so I added plenty of them to the soup along with onions and herbs de province for depth. However, I also used a secret ingredient. The star of this meal is something called nutritional yeast. For those who are unfamiliar with it, nutritional yeast comes in a bottle and looks like powdery flakes. It is extremely healthy, especially for vegetarians or vegans who don’t get enough of certain vitamins. This is not the reason I used nutritional yeast. For me, and many others, the draw of nutritional yeast is that it tastes just like cheese! Here we have this delicious, thick and flavorful meal that tastes like a country vegetable cheese soup, yet it is also very healthy! I felt like I was cheating at life to eat something so yummy that was actually good for me. Luckily I made enough to freeze a batch. I definitely recommend this to all.
This is a simple, healthy and quick side dish that I make when I’m on the go. Carrots are very low in calories but I also think they are pretty filling. On this particular evening I was lower on funds than usual so I worked with what I had available to make dinner. Basically, all I had to use were some carrots! I quickly stir-fried the vegetable and laid it on a bed of rice.
I like to play around with different sauce combinations, usually I take more of a sweet route with some teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds, but this time I was in the mood for something with a little kick! Almost every ingredient I used here has a lot of heat so I added a small amount of Hoisin sauce and some brown sugar to take the edge off as well as to add a glaze. Each bite gave me a satisfying crunch and an accompanying burst of flavor!
This is a very healthy as well as satisfying vegan pasta dinner! The meal was filling and refreshing at the same time. I made a simple yet tasty spinach and tomato pasta sauce. I squeezed some lemon on top at the end along with a small drizzle of balsamic vinegar for sweetness. The key to this meal is to let the sauce simmer and stew so that all of the flavors from each ingredient can infuse the olive oil. I used all my patience in waiting as long as possible for the garlic to cook in the hot oil. If only my muscles looked like Popeye’s after eating this meal packed with nutrients from all of the spinach!
This soup was hearty and comforting after a long day. It is also very healthy as well as easy to make. I really wanted to make myself a roasted tomato soup, but then remembered I had a lot of spinach waiting in the fridge. I sautéed the spinach with some garlic and added it to the tomatoes stewing on the stove. While the soup simmered away, I diced up some caramelized onion focaccia bread and toasted the pieces with a little olive oil. I am sad to say that I only made a single serving of this soup because it was so good! In fact, the soup was so good that I burned my tongue really badly because I couldn’t wait for it to cool before I ate it all. The burn lasted for days but the soup only lasted for a half an hour. This is a new favorite and it is so quick and easy that I recommend all try it!
This is a little soup I created this weekend out of some of the leftovers I had lying around. It is a three onion soup with carrots and a potato “puree”. I used yellow Spanish onions, leeks, and scallions. Since I do not have a blender, I mashed the potatoes after they were cooked through from boiling. I stirred the mashed potatoes into the soup and then added the scallions last. I learned my lesson last time I put scallions in soup! They wilt and lose their color as well as their flavor if left to simmer in soup, so it is best to add them at the end. The soup was very flavorful with the varying delicate flavors of the different onions. The potato puree gave the soup a think and hearty quality that a broth soup would not normally have. This was a great pick-me-up for the damp day we had and the lack of sleep I get on weekends.
After two weeks of eating almost no animal products, my craving for cheese was starting to get a little out of hand. Devon and I wanted something creamy, so I decided to try and make a vegan risotto. As I left my internship that day, the chef told me it would be impossible to make a good risotto without dairy, so I was determined to prove him wrong! I know that the starches from Arborio rice generally give a creamy texture to risotto, however there is also usually the addition of butter and cheese. I tried to make up for the lack of the sharp parmesan cheese and rich butter by packing the dish with lots of other flavors. I began by using lots of onions, garlic, and some crimini mushrooms to add a rich, earthy flavor. I replaced the chicken broth with vegetable broth and added white wine to the rice as I continuously stirred. On the side I sautéed asparagus tips in lemon, olive oil, and lots of fresh cracked pepper. Finally, I combined the risotto with the asparagus and added sea salt as well as more lemon. juice The two key ingredients that made this recipe such a success were the coarsely cracked pepper and the lemon juice. The dish turned out creamy, yet very light and extremely flavorful! The lemon enhanced the asparagus and added a freshness while the pepper enriched the earthiness gave a punch of flavor with every bite.
I have always loved peanut sauce, but have never been able to recreate it. Actually, I do not think I have ever tried before, but more so no other restaurant has been able to recreate the sauce the way I like. I used to go to the restaurant Big Bowl with my family, which had the best peanut sauce recipe! No other restaurant could ever compare. Anyways, last night I was really craving something with peanuts and I remembered that I had some leftover rice noodles as well as lots of vegetables, so I decided to give the sauce a try. The meal was a wild success. It was really fun to make the peanut sauce because I didn’t really know how to get the flavor of the Big Bowl version, so I just kept adding random ingredients and tasting it after every addition. I felt like I was a scientist…or like Harry Potter trying to replicate one of Professor Snape’s potions perfectly to avoid punishment. In fact, that’s exactly what it was like, I guess only other Harry Potter aficionados will understand that comparison.
Sliced Red Pepper
Hot Roasted Sesame Oil
Chili Pepper Flakes
I was very happy with the result. Devon made the comment that this dish was a perfect example of what I learned from the taste testing I went to. There was a wide range of flavors in the sauce and you tasted each part at different times. With one bite of the stir fry, you first taste the smooth peanut butter with a hint of coconut, then for just a moment you taste the freshness of the lime juice before the back of your mouth feels the kick from a complicated mixture of spices. This dish was the perfect combination of salty, bitter and spicy.
Someone just look at this masterpiece! It is what I like to call a peanut butter and jelly pizza and it is superb. When I was a really little kid my family used to take me to a restaurant where they had peanut butter and jelly pizza on the kids menu. I had completely forgotten about it until one night, about a week ago, when Devon and I were starving but had nothing to eat in our apartment! All we had left in the kitchen was some pita bread…Suddenly an idea was born! I slathered the pita bread in peanut butter and jelly then baked the whole thing. The pita became crispy while the peanut butter got warm and melted. Delicious. I recommend this to all. Devon and I share this for breakfast sometimes now. It reminds me of being a little kid again.
I made this deliciously flavorful soup last week when I had a craving for some ramen. Instead of purchasing the high sodium, unnaturally flavored version sold in plastic packages everywhere, I decided to make my own fresh Asian inspired soup. I have never attempted Asian soup before because I am not very familiar with the multitude of oils and sauces used in such dishes. (for example, fish sauce? If it hadn’t been for an explanation from a Vietnamese friend of mine that the sauce indeed does not taste like the bottom of the ocean floor, I would have never gone near the concoction) However, I spent a little extra time roaming the grocery store aisles and ended up coming away with some great purchases. Namely, I was happy to find miso paste, hot sesame oil, firm tofu, and rice noodles. Instead of the usual chicken broth, this time I bought vegetable broth. I carried home my wares along with a wide selection of fresh vegetables and seasonings that I planned to chop and simmer for additional flavor.
Sliced Porcini Mushrooms
Chopped Baby Corn
Hot Roasted Sesame Oil
All turned out well but my one note is that I learned from this experience to add chopped scallions at the end of the cooking process rather than the beginning. As I simmered the soup, the scallions ended up wilting and losing their flavor instead of infusing the soup with its crunchy texture and vibrant color. In the future I will add the scallions on top as a fresh garnish. Also, this was my first time cooking with tofu. Tofu is an interesting substance, to say the least. Luckily I had my tofu aficionado roommate, Nelle, there to give me a few pointers on how to handle the soy product. I never would have known that you are supposed to “drain” tofu…this is accomplished by wrapping the gelatinous white lump in paper towels and putting a weight on top of it for as long as you have the patience for while the liquid drains out. I ended up chopping the tofu and adding it to the soup with the rice noodles. Luckily I made enough soup to set aside some portions to freeze because it was so good I cannot get enough of it! The broth turned out salty from the miso paste and soy sauce with a kick of spice from some hot sesame oil and siracha sauce. There were also some more delicate savory accents from the onions and mushrooms, which I simmered in the broth for over an hour. In fact, I might deviate from my usual breakfast of fresh fruit (it would have been grapefruit and pineapple today) in exchange for a steaming bowl of soup with my ginger peach green tea.