Tasty Tips

Maybe you weren’t so lucky to see my speedy marinara the other day? If not, you should go look! I have a couple little speedy tricks/ideas that aren’t really recipes on their own, so I thought I’d just make one post for all.

1. As told about in my speedy marinara post, adding baking soda to a marinara sauce sweetens it. This is an easy way to not add sugar, but still take the sharp, vinegar flavor out of the tomatoes.

2. I love lemonade, especially in the summer. I make mine with fresh squeezed lemons and sweeten with agave, mmm! What I don’t like, however, is how sour it can be. A trick someone told me a long time ago is to add sweet basil (otherwise known as basil) to the agave and lemon mixture before adding water. The basil takes some of the sharpness out of the lemon, but still leaves a great lemon flavor. I’ve played with other types of basil (thai and mint basils), and other herbs. They are a great way to spice up lemonade without adding fruit or more sweetner.

3. Caprese is one of my favorite meals! It’s a wonderful, fresh, summertime salad. However, many people are hesitant due to the calories in mozzarella, or they don’t eat cheese due to dietary restrictions. I love caprese so much though, I want everyone to be able to enjoy! Thus, my Mom (so proud of her) came up with a great subsitute- avocado! The flavors blend excellent and it’s a great healthy fat.

I hope you enjoy these tasty tips!

Do you have a magical substitute or tip to make a common recipe different? Share it!

Speedy Marinara

 

You know when you get home after a long day and all you want to do is relax. But oh, you have to make dinner too. Some days I wish I didn’t mind processed food as it would make the time from fridge (or freezer) to table so fast! Then again, YUCKY! Have you read what’s in frozen meals?! Even “healthy” ones can be scary. That’s why I make meals like this. Okay so the tomato is from a can, but it’s organic, healthy, and FAST!

Speedy Marinara
(Servings: 5)

  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tablespoon(s) garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup(s) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) basil (use freshly torn leaves if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon(s) oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) baking soda
Directions:
Heat olive oil and garlic on medium heat until garlic starts to brown.
Pour tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, and baking soda into pot. You will notice baking soda starts to bubble and mixture will taste acidic. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes over low to medium low heat.
Over time, the baking soda will cause the sauce to sweeten naturally and will stop bubbling due to it’s interaction with vinegar from the tomatoes.Serving Suggestions:
Pour over pasta or use as a pizza base. This quick and EASY sauce is so simple and good with everything!
 
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 65
Total Fat (g) 2.85
Saturated Fat (g) .4
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 535
Total Carbohydrates (g) 8.45
 

Kohlrabi with Flair

Kohlrabi….that thing that comes every week in the CSA. It’s not exciting, nor particularly tasteful. It’s just kohlrabi. It’s suppose to be easy to grow in almost any environment…and I believe it. Have you gathered I’m not quite a fan of this root vegetable? Maybe it’s because everyone seems to roast it and throw some spices or cheese on it. Call it a day at that? Maybe the first time I ate it. But you can only roast a root vegetable like that so many times…..so I decided to try spice.

What’s the one genre of food that is always full of spice and flare? Indian! Yes, what about a Kohlrabi curry?

Kohlrabi Curry(servings 2)

  • 1 large kohlrabi, cut into half inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon(s) olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 small onion, sweet, diced
  • 1/8 cup(s) water
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cumin seeds
  • 1 15 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon(s) curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
Roast at 450F for 20 minutes diced Kohlrabi.
In a pan over medium heat, heat olive oil until warm. Add water and cumin seeds. The cumin seeds should begin to shake in
the heat. This is called tempering and allows the flavor from the cumin to release.
Add the onion and cook till soft.
Add the rest of the ingredients (tomato and spices) and stir until combined. Cook on low to medium low for 5-10 minutes
allowing the spices to combine and bloom together.
 
Serving Suggestions: Serve with rice or indian flatbread.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 101
Total Fat (g) 3.26
Saturated Fat (g) .29
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 918
Total Carbohydrates (g) 14.97
 

It tastes so much better than plain old roasted kohlrabi! I promise you! When you eat this veggie curry, you’ll have to think about all the others who still just roast their Kohlrabi.

Is there something that you find bland and boring because you only know how to cook it one way?

What’s your most hated item to see in your CSA?

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

I love, love, love stuffed mushrooms! Mushrooms are a great meat substitute due to their rich texture and savory taste. Unlike mushrooms stuffed with sausage though, these mushrooms are light and relatively healthy. I won’t claim they’re the best way to get your vegetables since the spinach is combined with dairy, but veggies are always better to eat than sausage!

Stuffed Mushrooms

(Servings: 5)
  • 10 small Portobello mushrooms, stems removed (baby bellas)
  • 9 ounce(s) spinach, (1 large bag), washed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 ounce(s) mozzarella cheese, a ball of mozzarella works best, not shredded 
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, extra virgin
Directions:
Turn on oven to 350F.
Heat olive oil and garlic on medium low until garlic begins to sizzle and toast. While waiting, dice mozzarella into small cubes.
When garlic is lightly browned and sizzling, add the spinach. Regular stirring allows spinach to cook evenly. Once cooked, add the mozzarella cubes and turn heat to low. Mozzarella should lightly melt, but not liquify.
When mozzarella is completely softened and mixed into the spinach, fill each cap with the mixture. Make sure you ovetop the mushrooms as the spinach mixture will settle slightly while cooking.
When all the mushrooms are filled, place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. I chose to line mine with aluminum foil because the mushrooms will release water during cooking. I sprayed lightly with olive oil to allow easy removal of the mushrooms.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 128
Total Fat (g) 8.01
Saturated Fat (g) 3.41
Cholesterol (mg) 18
Sodium (mg) 128
Total Carbohydrates (g) 6.27

I really tried to make sure there was some cheese on the tops of the caps to brown nicely. This also helped to make sure the spinach didn’t burn.page1image19840

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Remember, the mushrooms will release water. Don’t be surprised by the liquid under them when you remove from the oven.

Last, these make a great side dish or a party dish. Eat up and enjoy!

What I Ate Wednesday – Upcoming Posts

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been MIA lately. So sorry about that! I have been pulled away from my job and normal life the past few days. I’m back though and ready to posts all of these recipes that I meant to post sooner! Look for changes to this post throughout today (Wednesday) as I create links to the pictures you see here.

As always, the lovely WIAW party is hosted by Jen at Peas and Crayons. You should check out her blog if you haven’t already!

Hopefully I can also posts some breakfast pictures. I had two bananas this morning, does that truly count as breakfast? Yeah, didn’t think so. It’s okay though because I will have amazing breakfast pictures soon. Anyways, the pictures of food that I keep meaning to post…..

Kohlrabi Curry

Speedy Marinara  (Don’t judge the picture, I played with lighting forever)

 Stuffed Mushrooms (click for recipe)

Of course it is June and we are focussing on sensible snacking. My snacks this week haven’t been perfect as I haven’t been in my normal daily activities. I have however been snacking on carrots dipped in homemade BBQ sauce! I know it sounds weird, but trust me. It’s my trade off for not eating fattening BBQ potato chips!

My “unhealthy” snacks lately are larabars and energy “waffles”. It’s not so much that they’re unhealthy, but they’re not my normal fresh, non-packaged snack.

Promise, promise, promise to start posting recipes and linking them out from here tomorrow! Sorry for my lack of ability to post lately, it was not due to my planning!

Weekend Getaway and Big News

It’s the weekend! TGIF!

I wasn’t sure this weekend would get here. It’s here though! J and I are going away for the weekend too! It’s finally a celebration gift for becoming a doctor! (wow, every sentence has ended with an exclamation mark so far)

No posts this weekend, but be on the lookout for am Indian curry and bok choy stir fry early next week. Oh, and great getaway, celebration pictures.

The big news for Crags and Veggies is a MAKEOVER!! I’m ready for a new style and venue- yep a new .com site too. It’s going to take a few weeks to get everything sorted out, but I’m positive you’re going to love the new look. It should be easier to navigate too.

Have a great weekend! What are your plans?

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Broccoli goes Jiaozi (potsticker)

As I opened up my CSA box yesterday, two thinks peaked out at me. Broccoli and cauliflower. These two babies have shown up lots this year already. I like cauliflower when cooked, especially in Indian dishes. But when it comes to broccoli? Well, I’ll eat it covered in cheese or ranch dressing- neither of which are particularly healthy for me when you take into account the quantity. So I thought, and I thought, what could I do with broccoli that would make it yummy and exciting? And then it came to me, I love potstickers! They’re so much fun to eat and are easy and cheap to make. Done…broccoli potstickers. (Jiaozi, is the traditional word for chinese potsticker.)

These little guys are tasty and easy to make! Since I only had one small broccoli, I also used my veronica cauliflower in my CSA. You could use one large broccoli or one large cauliflower if you wanted to. Add an onion, pepper, some sunflower oil, and potsticker wrappers and done….meal achieved.

No seriously, that’s all it takes to make these babies!

Broccoli Cauliflower Potstickers

Servings: 5

  • 1 small broccoli
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 medium Serrano green chile 
  • 3 teaspoon(s) sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, sweet
  • 1 small wonton wrapper
Directions:
Wash and cut broccoli and cauliflower into flourets. Steam until tender.
Carefully remove the seeds from the serrano chilie and disgard. Chop the chilie finely into small pieces. Over medium heat, add 1 teaspon of sunflower oil and cook the onion and chilie until the onion is slightly browned and clear.
Place steamed broccoli/cauliflower and onion mixture in food processor or blender. Add one teaspoon sunflower oil and process until mixture is homogenous and finely chopped.
Place small teaspoons of mixture on the center of wonton wrappers. Wipe water around square edges and fold over into a triangle shape. Push into base of triangle to make the wonton “pinch” shape. (You can do whatever shape you want, I just choose this one because it usually keeps all the goody inside.)
Heat the last teaspoon of sunflower oil over medium high heat and drop wontons in to brown. Flip wontons regularly to make sure a light brown color appears on most sides. When all wonton sides are lightly crisped, add a spash of water. I do it by eye sight, but around 1/8 a cup. Cover the wontons for one minute with a lid and then remove. If you added too much water by accident, don’t worry as you can allow the water to steam off.
Remove wontons from pan when most of the water has steamed away and let cool.
I enjoy with some light sodium soy sauce. The choice of dipping sauce is completely up to you though! ENJOY!

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Nutrition Facts (per serving, these might be slightly off due to my program not understanding wonton wrappers)
Calories 91
Total Fat (g) 3.14
Saturated Fat (g) 0.24
Cholesterol (mg) 1
Sodium (mg) 41
Total Carbohydrates (g) 11.17