Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

Switching up my salads weekly is like a game to me. How can I combine my favorite toppings in different ways to make a delicious salad that I don’t mind eating all week? Usually I try to base them off salads I’ve had in a restaurant or seen on Pinterest. Last week was a Pinterest copy-cat recipe – a Mediterranean salad bowl. I added all my favorite “Mediterranean” toppings (as well as avocado…I just can’t have a salad without it…) on a big pile of greens and it was delicious! Since I topped with hummus, I don’t think it really needed dressing, but I tried to make one anyways. I used tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, a little milk, and some sriracha. Kind of random, I know. It was ok but not fantastic – so Mediterranean dressing ideas are welcome!

Also, I fully planned to make the falafels from scratch, but ran out of time. Story of my life! So the ones I used were in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s and they’re really really good. But if you make them from scratch, I’m jealous of you. Someday I will have time to do that too.🙂

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Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

Adapted from: The Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spring mix
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, diced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/8 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/8 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2-3 falafel patties
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • Dressing (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven and bake falafel (frozen or homemade).

2.) In a big bowl, add spring mix. Top with the rest of the toppings and the warm falafel. Enjoy!

Roasted Veggie Lentil Bowl

This recipe was sort of based off of this recipe of mine while also trying to recreate a grain bowl I had at B.Good. So what that means is I threw it together, hoped for the best, and it turned out really well! This makes a great lunch and can be served cold like a salad or you can heat the lentils and veggies before serving. You can also add any ingredients you’re in the mood for! I think next time I might try making a spicy vinaigrette to go with it…I like adding some heat😉

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Roasted Veggie Lentil Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils, dry
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup onions and peppers, cut into strips
  • 3 avocados
  • 6 cups salad mix
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries (or another no-sugar-added dried fruit)
  • 3/4 sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup crumbled cheese (feta, goat, etc.)
  • Salad dressing of choice (I like a classic olive oil/balsamic vinaigrette)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray and spread out butternut squash, mushrooms, and onions and peppers. Drizzle with a little olive oil and whatever seasonings you’d like. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until soft, moving veggies around every so often. Keep an eye on the mushrooms, which cook quicker!

2.) Cook lentils in a small sauce saucepan by combining 1 cup dry lentils with 2 cups water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until fully cooked. Add a little salt and remove from heat.

3.) Assemble salad in a large bowl: add 1 cup salad mix, top with about 1/2 cup lentils and 1/3 cup veggie mix (heated if you’d like), then top with 1/2 an avocado sliced, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and 2 tbsp each of sunflower seeds, dried cherries, and cheese. Drizzle with dressing of choice and enjoy!

Chocolate Overnight Oats – 2 Ways!

When you’re as busy as I am, especially heading into a new school semester, overnight oats are the perfect on-the-go breakfast. You can make them in less than 10 minutes the night before and in the morning you just grab them on your way out. I try to save time anywhere I can – yet I am still always 5-10 minutes late for everything (I’m working on that). I love chocolate, so I usually try to make chocolate-based oats, which ends up tasting like a dessert for breakfast! Here I am sharing my go-to recipe, which can be adapted to fit any chocolate-y craving. My favorites are chocolate, coconut, and almond and chocolate, banana, and peanut butter!

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Chocolate Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

1.) Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container. Top with desired toppings and leave in the fridge overnight (covered).

2.) In the morning, mix everything together. Add more maple syrup if not sweet enough. Enjoy hot or cold!

Avocado BLT Pizza

Anyone who knows me sees that I eat avocado pretty much every day (it might be an addiction). I also looooove bacon and goat cheese, which luckily doesn’t hurt my stomach at all. So this recipe was right up my alley! You might be thinking “Avocado instead of pizza sauce? What??” but I promise it’s just as glorious as it sounds. And so easy to make! This is a great recipe to whip up on a Friday night when you don’t want to cook. Just keep some pizza crusts in the freezer and you can have this pizza ready in less time than delivery!

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Avocado BLT Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust (I usually buy the frozen ones)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 slices bacon, pan fried and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • Handful of arugula

Directions:

1.) Bake pizza crust according to instructions.

2.) Mash avocado in a small bowl with garlic, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Spread on baked pizza crust. Top with halved cherry tomatoes, bacon crumbles, and goat cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese begins to melt.

3.) Top with arugula, cut into fours and enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Lightened-up Ranch Dressing

I LOVE buffalo sauce. I find it funny that I used to hate anything spicy, and now I’m buying jars of jalapenos and Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce like it’s going out of style. Oh how things change! I also love my salads, so I figured why not combine my two loves into one? I prefer making homemade ranch dressing because it’s much healthier, I know all the ingredients, and I can make it lactose-intolerant friendly. Store-bought ranch (even the ranch seasoning packets) almost always have buttermilk as an ingredient, so I have to stay away from that. Not everyone with lactose intolerance can handle yogurt, but it doesn’t give my stomach any issues, so I used yogurt as the base for this dressing. It’s so yummy and tastes even better once it sits in the fridge overnight! This is one of those “I am claiming this is a recipe but it’s really a handful of things thrown together to suit my tastes” type of recipes. Which means you can adapt it to match your tastes too – like it less spicy? Use mild buffalo. Want to make more chicken? Just up the amount of sauce when baking. Like your dressing thicker? Use more yogurt. Go wild!

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Buffalo Chicken Salad with Lightened-up Ranch Dressing

Adapted from: The Skinny Fork

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Sauce (I like hot!)
  • 1 lb. salad mix
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tbsp milk (I use soy)
  • 1-2 tbsp dried dill flakes
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Spray a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Lay out tenderloins and smother in buffalo sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Let cool and shred chicken.

2.) To make the dressing, combine the yogurt, mayo, milk, dill, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together. Feel free to add more of any ingredient as necessary, adding more milk to thin it or more yogurt/mayo to thicken. Put in a jar or container in the fridge; it will last about a week!

3.) In a large bowl, make your salad! Top salad mix with a handful of tomatoes, diced pepper and cucumber, and 1 tbsp each of sunflower seeds and blue cheese crumbles. Top with 1/4 cup of shredded chicken and the amount of dressing you would like. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (Dairy-Free!)

As I have mentioned before, beef stroganoff is my favorite meal, yet now that I am lactose intolerant I’m aiming to be dairy-free at home. But when I found a dairy-free recipe for stroganoff, I was more than skeptical. How can it be stroganoff without the sour creamy sauce?! A dairy-free version would certainly be sub par. Maybe even inedible. The secret creamy ingredient in this recipe is coconut milk. Insert more skepticism here. I LOVE coconut, but in stroganoff? Yet since the recipe got great reviews, I decided to trust the recipe creator’s promise that the other flavors would mask any coconut taste. I also really wanted to try a crock pot version of this meal, since that makes my life wayyyy easier.

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And let me tell you, it was SO GOOD. I went in with about as much skepticism as possible and came out praising Amy at Wholesomelicious for creating this seemingly-unlikely-to-impress-my-stroganoff-taste-buds recipe. I want to find her and give her a hug. Oh, and I also may have licked the bowl clean. It was that good. Coming from a beef stroganoff connoisseur, that means it is awesome – trust me!

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I actually ended up adding more coconut milk to the crock pot after taking these pictures (and eating the first bowl). I found the taste to be even better after that, making me even more excited to eat the leftovers. I also found that it looked the exact same color as my sour cream version, which made me happier. But depending how creamy you like the sauce, you can experiment to your taste. You can also add more/less beef, mushrooms, add in other veggies…I will definitely be trying some other variations! It made 5 servings for me, because I like a lot of sauce, but you could definitely get 6 servings out of this recipe.

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Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (Dairy-Free)

Adapted from: Wholesomelicious

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs stew beef
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp onion flakes/powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch
  • Egg noodles

Directions:

1.) Add beef to 6 quart crock pot and top with onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Pour broth, soy sauce, and vinegar over the beef and veggies. Add garlic and onion powders and stir. Cook on low for at least 5 hours.

2.) At the last 30-60 minutes of cooking, add the coconut milk (shake well before adding) and the cornstarch. Stir in and continue cooking on low for 30-60 minutes, until sauce is thickened.

3.) Serve over egg noodles or another pasta, rice, veggies, etc.

I’m Back! With a Baked Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

I am back! I feel like I have been away from the blog forever, and it basically has been – my last post was in February. February?! Working a million hours a week plus school plus (trying to have) a life has pushed other things to the wayside. But I am back and my first focus is better time-management to fit in more blogging! Maybe if I tell my professors this, they’ll give me less homework once fall semester starts….here’s hoping.

Life updates: I am still working my full-time research job but quit my part-time bartending gig to start clinical hours for school. It was hard to leave, and I do miss it, but I know it was the right decision in the long run. I feel much less stressed and, while I did replace it with another part-time job, the new job counts for hours for school plus it’s giving me the real-world nutrition experience I need. So far I really like it! Being in a hospital and getting to see first-hand how patient meals are planned, made, and delivered has shown me SO MUCH in just 4 short months. A good sign that I am on the right career path🙂 Oh and I got a cat! Her name is Margo and she’s pretty sassy like me. She makes a great addition to my little apartment living.

I also have recently been diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Which sounded like a death sentence to a cheese-addict like myself. However, I have found that cutting out dairy for the most part isn’t too bad. It’s allowed me to be a little more adventurous with cooking and a lot less dependent on cheese for flavor in (almost) every dish. So I am trying to be dairy-free while eating and cooking at home and saving my dairy “splurges” for special meals out, with the help of my good friend Lactaid. I never thought I’d be saying that…

So now it’s time for a recipe! This summer I’ve been eating an abundance of zucchini and squash, and I don’t hate it. My brother’s friend has a farm and I’ve stopped there when I can to get some fresh veggies. Shout-out to my friend and her mom for recommending I make baked stuffed zucchini – it was so delicious! I sort of threw together this recipe with what I had on-hand, so you can play around with it too. Add cheese if you aren’t deprived of all that is good like I am (sorry, I’m still being dramatic about my newly cheese-less life). It’s also a great freezer meal if you have tons of zucchini to use up!

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Baked Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini, cut in half
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • veggies! (I used diced onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach)
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • Spices, salt, pepper

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut both zucchini in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the “pulp” inside. Save the pulp. Place zucchini halves, cut side up, on sprayed baking dishes or cookie sheets.

2.) In a large skillet, sauté olive oil on medium heat and add garlic. Let cook for about a minute and then add in zucchini pulp and veggies. Sauté until soft, then add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Turn off heat and add pasta sauce. Stir everything together and add spices/salt/pepper, if desired.

3.) Scoop beef and veggie mixture into the zucchini halves. If there is extra filling, you can save and top off zucchini halves after baking or mix with pasta for another meal (that’s what I did!) Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Top with extra pasta sauce and cheese (if desired).