Grilled Eggplant

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Hey, everyone! How are you?

Are you loving summer as much as I am right now?

This summer has been glorious food-wise and I have been taking HUGE advantage of the town’s farmer’s market each weekend. It not only serves as a good study break (T-minus 3 weeks until the big RD exam!), but also a great source of meal inspiration throughout the week.

I walked away this past weekend with a bunch of beets, a ginormous head of romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, my beloved whole wheat sourdough bread…

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…and probably the most beautiful eggplant that I have ever seen in my life. It was screaming “BUY ME”, so I grabbed it and decided right then and there that I was going to grill it (the farmer who was bagging up my purchases agreed with me).

So that’s what I did.

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I sliced up the most beautiful eggplant ever into thick rings (about ¾ of an inch thick) and then laid the slices in a colander and salted them with some kosher salt (about 1½ teaspoons for a medium-sized eggplant). This helps bring out the excess liquid in the eggplant and it also helps draw out the bitterness that eggplants are known for. After letting the eggplant sit for about 45 minutes, I gently rinsed off the salt and patted the eggplant dry. This method can be used not only for grilled eggplant, but eggplant that you are going to pan-saute, fry, or roast!

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Then I sprinkled on some olive oil, some more kosher salt, ground black pepper, and some fresh thyme leaves (totally optional).

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Yummy!

All that was left was to pop these babies on a hot grill and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

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Just what grilled eggplant should be – charred and smoky on the outside and soft on the inside! And no bitter taste, so this is a great veggie side dish to serve to your more veggie-adverse family members.

They were delicious as a side for grilled steak and absolutely amazing as the star in this sandwich I whipped up with the leftovers (more on that later this week!).

Hope you are having a great week, kiddos!

Your eggplant lovin’ friend,

C

Grilled Eggplant

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1 medium-sized eggplant

1 tablespoon olive oil

1½ + 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Leaves from 3-4 springs of thyme (optional)

 

Steps:

1. Slice the eggplant into ¾-inch slices (approximately 8-10 slices per eggplant). Lay the slices in a colander in a sink (or over a bowl) and salt the slices with 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt. Set the eggplant slices aside for 45 minutes to draw out the excess liquid and bitterness. Rinse the eggplant to remove the salt and pat it dry.

2. Coat the eggplant slices with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, the black pepper, and the thyme leaves. Place the slices on a pre-heated grill (I heat my gas grill on medium-high heat) and cook the slices for 4-5 minutes per side or until they become slightly charred and have good grill marks.

Serve the eggplant alongside your favorite main dishes or use as an addition to sandwiches, salads, or pasta!

 

Nutritional Information (1 serving):

66 calories • 8.5gm carbohydrates •ŸŸ 4gm fiber •Ÿ 1.5gm protein Ÿ• 3.5gm fat Ÿ• 0.5gm saturated fat Ÿ• 480mg sodium Ÿ• 0mg cholesterol •Ÿ 0.5mg iron Ÿ• 17mg calcium

Roasted Vegetables

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I really, really love vegetables.

Kinda goes with the whole RD2Be thing.

So when my mom made approximately five pounds of roasted vegetables this week, my heart soared and my stomach rejoiced (if internal organs were capable of emotions and thought).

I love roasted vegetables. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables, making unpleasant vegetables (like the disliked Brussels sprout) delicious and appealing to the most stubborn vegetable hater.

And roasting is super simple… chop, dump, roast, serve. Easy peasy!

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It starts with a whole load of veggies.

Carrots, red bell pepper, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and red onion. We made enough to feed an army but you can use less veggies for a more normal portion (see the recipe below). All you need to do is cut up the vegetables into equal sized chunks.

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And spread them out on rimmed baking sheets. We tossed in some red potatoes as well so we had our starch and vegetable in one dish.

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Then, for a small delicious surprise, toss in a few peeled garlic cloves. They’ll roast along with the vegetables and become golden, soft, and DIVINE. Spread on some warm bread… food does not get any better than that.

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We decided last minute that we wanted EVEN MORE veggies in our roasted vegetables, so my mom tossed in some broccoli – it added a nice amount of green to the dish!

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Drizzle on some olive oil.

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Sprinkle on some kosher salt and some cracked black pepper and then pop the cookie sheets into the oven and roast at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are brown and tender.

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Yes, please!

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Psst… the best part are the crispy Brussels sprout leaves that are on the bottom of the pan – make sure to nab them before your family does!

Now it’s all about how you want to serve them.

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We just piled the veggies onto a platter and dug in.

Or you can place them in a whole wheat wrap with a little hummus and have a quick, easy, and delightful lunch!

Or mix into warm pasta and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Or toss with orzo to make a cold pasta salad.

One dish, endless opportunities!

 

I hope you enjoy this delicious vegetable recipe!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Your crispy Brussels sprout leave stealin’ friend,

C

Roasted Vegetables

  • Servings: 4-6 people
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

½ a head of cauliflower, broken into florets

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved if they are very large

1 medium-sized red bell pepper, cut into large pieces

1 medium-sized red onion, cut into large chunks

3 medium-sized carrots, cut into large pieces

2-3 medium-sized red potatoes, cut into large chunks (optional)

Whole garlic cloves (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

 

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a high-sided cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Place all the vegetables onto the cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss vegetables to coat and arrange them into one flat layer.

3. Place cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables become tender and brown. Serve as a side or as an addition to wraps, sandwiches, pastas, etc.

Enjoy!

Sautéed Kale

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Confession: I love kale.

I love kale in a variety of dishes (like my Tuscan Winter Vegetable Quinoa Salad), but I think it truly shines in a simple sauté with garlic and hot pepper. And it couldn’t be easier.

Especially when you use pre-chopped kale. My mom grabs a big bag of the stuff when she goes to the grocery store, so all you need to do is rinse it thoroughly. It makes this easy dish so much quicker!

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If you do not have pre-chopped kale, grab some kale, strip the leaves off the stems, and roughly chop it into bite-sized pieces. Then wash it thoroughly. One (small) extra step, same result. Easy, peasy.

Then grab some garlic.

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I used four (okay, five) little cloves, which works out to about 2 regular-sized cloves.

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And mince them up nice and finely, so you get all the wonderful garlic flavor without biting into huge pieces of raw-ish garlic.

Now, let’s cook!

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Toss the kale into a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil.

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And add in the garlic, some salt and pepper, and some hot pepper flake (if you like a little heat like me).

All that’s left is to toss everything together and cook the kale until it’s wilted and delicious.

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Then pile onto a plate.

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And dig in!

What a simple (and delicious) way to eat your veggies!

Enjoy, kiddos.

Your kale lovin’ friend,

C

Sautéed Kale

  • Servings: 2-3 people
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

2 packed cups of kale, washed thoroughly and chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced finely

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, optional

 

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add in the kale and stir around for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue to sauté the kale it becomes wilted and soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately alongside your favorite dishes.

Enjoy!

Carrot-Ginger Soup

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Happy 3rd day of 2015! Can you believe that we are actually in January? Does anyone feel like Thanksgiving was yesterday? Okay, good.

I usually don’t make resolutions, but I use the start of a new year as a time to reset and to start getting back into my regular eating routine (because eating a gingerbread cookie after each meal is starting to become a little excessive).

Soup is a great way to get back into the healthy eating swing, packing vitamins and minerals in a warm, comforting package. I make many different types of soup (Greek Avgolemono, lentil, split pea), but nothing seemed festive enough for a celebratory dinner for the first soup supper of the year. Until I remembered one of my favorite soups from a local supermarket – super orange, sweet/spicy carrot-ginger soup.

Confession: I’m a carrot junkie. Seriously. My mom stopped buying carrots in August because I was eating one pound of carrots every day or so and was starting to turn orange… yes, literally orange (my hands looked like they belonged on an Oompa Loompa). I have since de-oranged and the carrot has returned to our household. Life is good!

Back to our soup making saga, carrot-ginger soup starts like may other soups…

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…with onion and garlic sautéed in a little olive oil.

Then I tossed in some parsnips.

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Which look a little like carrots and add a nice body and sweetness to the soup.

And then come the carrots.

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I used baby carrots but regular carrots work too!

The spicing of the soup is simple…

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Salt, pepper, and some nutmeg. You can’t taste it, but it adds a little somethin’, somethin’.

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Pour in some low-sodium chicken broth.

And grate in the second star ingredient – fresh ginger.

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Fresh is the only way to go here, kids. My mom buys a big chunk of ginger, peels it, cuts it up into 1-2” pieces, and freezes it. Then you always have fresh ginger to make carrot-ginger soup!

Then you bring the soup up to a boil and let it cook for 10-15 minutes until the carrots and parsnips become tender.

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Now comes the slightly dangerous part – the pureeing of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, I am super jealous. You can puree the soup right in the pot and be done with it. If you don’t, grab your blender or your food processor. Working in small batches (either filling only half the blender or filling to only the max liquid line of a food processor), puree the soup until smooth. I transferred the soup to a big bowl so that I could reuse my soup pot – it made it a little easier and I had slightly less clean-up!

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Perfectly pureed!

Now, this is the slight naughty part of this soup.

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I add a small splash of heavy cream for a little richness, but you can leave it out if you want.

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Then dish it up and dig in!

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A perfect start to 2015.

 

Hope you all enjoy this easy (and healthy) soup recipe.

Your soup makin’ friend,

C

 

Carrot-Ginger Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

4½ cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional

 

Steps:

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add in olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook until onions become tender and translucent.
  2. Add in parsnips and carrots, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until the vegetables become slightly tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in chicken stock, add the ginger, raise heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil. When the soup reaches a boil, partially cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables become tender.
  4. To puree the soup, use an immersion blender, conventional blender, or a food processor. If you are using an immersion blender, you can blend directly in the soup pot.

If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Working in batches, puree the soup and then pour into another soup pot.

  1. Place the pureed soup back onto medium-low heat until warmed though. If you desire, stir in heavy cream. Serve alongside your favorite sliced bread or crackers.