Simple Asparagus with Roasted Feta

My mom does an amazing version of this dish where she uses shaved parm instead of feta—but I feel feta is a little more summer-y and fresh.  Either way, it was probably the only reason my sisters and I ever ate asparagus growing up… Cheese could talk me into anything! You could serve me shredded rubber tire-fire nachos with queso on top and I’d be delighted.

This recipe seemed almost too simple to post, and yet it’s stupid to avoid sharing an idea or a flavour combination because of its simplicity. “Blog food,” as I sometimes think of it, stresses me out in its attempts to be so unique that it becomes exhausting.

I also couldn’t go an entire spring season without posting a recipe featuring asparagus, It’s probably a law somewhere.

Simple Asparagus with Roasted Feta 
Serves 2 – 4
IMG_2893

2 bunches asparagus, rinsed
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 – 3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
Coarse kosher salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (You may need more than one sheet, just make sure there’s enough room for the stalks to get roasty.)

2. Clean the asparagus by snapping off the bottom of the stalks, which will break at a natural point. Discard the inedible woody parts that break off.

3. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

4. Place in oven and roast for 10-15 minutes or until just starting to brown.* Remove and sprinkle with crumbled feta. Return to oven for 10 minutes until stalks have some crispiness and feta has melted.

*Asparagus stalks can be very thick or very thin—adjust cooking times accordingly!

Brunch Caesar Salad with Sweet Potato and Smoky Toasted Pecans

Fellow eaters of the internet: brunch makes miracles. Through brunch, we are enabled to drink champagne before 11 and get sweet and savoury on the same plate. Brunch makes the impossible possible. What I’m saying is that we need to believe in breakfast salad.  This one would look right at home as a cozy brunch side, nestled in next to some home fries, or even as a balance to a sweet dish like cornmeal waffles.

It’s a mix of kale and romaine (a borrowed combo from Oh She Glows), crispy strips of sweet potato roasted with smoked paprika, and ghee-toasted pecans flavoured with liquid smoke, topped with a crispy, pan-fried sunny side up egg. The melt-y goodness of the yolk with the crunch of the kale and nuts, and the garlic warmth in the dressing is just. so. good.

If you’re not an herbivore bound or by the unforgiving laws of the Whole30, you could double down by adding crispy bacon and maybe some shavings of old cheddar to play with the smokiness of the pecans and sweet potato.

This is an easily-doubled recipe that would also make an amazing lunch or dinner too!

Brunch Caesar Salad with Sweet Potato and Smoky Toasted Pecans
Serves 2 (double at will!)
IMG_2809

4 c. romaine lettuce, chopped
2 c. green kale, chopped
1/3-1/2 c. Caesar dressing of your choice, (I like Oh She Glows’ super easy recipe)
2 eggs

1 medium sweet potato, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. unsalted pecans
1/2 tbsp. ghee (or butter)
2-4 tsp. liquid smoke (to taste)

2-4 strips bacon (optional)
Old cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Cut your sweet potato into thin strips or french fry shapes.

2. Toss sweet potato fries with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika, tossing again to coat. Spread out in an even layer on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. While the potatoes are baking, wash and chop the lettuce and kale, putting it in a large bowl.

4. For the pecans, melt the ghee in a medium fry pan over low heat, whisk in the liquid smoke. Add in the pecans and toss to coat. Turn up heat to medium, stirring until fragrant.  Remove from heat, but keep the pan  on the stove for the eggs.

5. Add the crispy sweet potato strips to the greens mixture, top with the dressing and toss thoroughly. Divide salad among bowls or plates, depending on how many people you’re serving. Garnish with pecans.

6. Add more ghee to the frying pan and crack your eggs, one per person, cooking until the edges of the whites are crispy, and the yolks are still runny. (Put a lid on to cook the yolk more thoroughly.)

7. Carefully lift the eggs out of the pan and serve one over each individual salad. Garnish with bacon and cheese, if adding. Enjoy!

Simple Mexican Shakshuka

Day 15. I’m officially half way through the Whole30 challenge. I’m going strong, and while I’m not missing too many foods, I am missing certain meals… specifically brunch. So rather than mourning the pancakes or waffles I’m not eating right now, I kicked up my breakfast game at home this weekend.

This dish is quick, simple, and it looks fancy if you carry it to the table while it’s all hot and bubbly, like delicious tomato lava. The hardest part of this shakshuka might be all of the chopping prep you have to do, but a few minutes of work will render a fragrant, saucy dish that is comforting and tasty with familiar flavours.

It’s also easy to freestyle and remix. Seriously, this is not a recipe so much as a guideline. Try subbing  crushed tomatoes for diced, substitute half for salsa, top with cheese (let me nosh vicariously), or add more veggies of your choice (corn? black beans? delicious!) into the starting sautee and really make if your own.

Simple Mexican Shakshuka
(Adapted from FoodFaithFitness)
Serves 2-4
IMG_2744

1 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 whole Vidalia onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
4-6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 to 1 tbsp. taco seasoning (I like this homemade one from Budget Bytes), to taste
3-4 c. crushed tomatoes
1-4 large eggs
Salt and Pepper
Chili flakes
For garnish: green onions, avocados, cilantro, lime, hot sauce, cheese. whatever you want!

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On the stove top, melt coconut oil in a medium ovenproof frying pan. Add garlic and onions, stirring over medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add in bell peppers, stirring until slightly softened, then add the fresh chopped tomatoes.

2. Sprinkle the vegetables with taco seasoning and stir to distribute. Add the crushed tomatoes, stirring, and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste the seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or spices to your taste.

3. Turn off the heat. Making wells in the sauce, crack 1-4 eggs into the tomato mixture making wells to hold them* (see note). 

4. Slide the pan into the oven and bake until mixture is bubbly and eggs are baked, about 10-15 minutes. (You can also cook the eggs stove top by covering the pan with a lid, with a shorter cooking time.)

5. When eggs are baked, remove from oven, spoon into dishes and garnish with your toppings of choice. Enjoy the shakshuka alone, or served with tasty sides like refried beans, rice, or tortillas.

*Note:
 if cooking for one, decide on the number of eggs you want and crack those in. After baking, carefully remove the cooked eggs with half of the tomato mixture into your bowl. Reserve the second half of the mixture for round two! Ta da, delicious leftovers. Just add fresh eggs and bake away—the reheated kind ain’t no fun.

IMG_2725

IMG_2727

Avo Nice Day Guacamole

Homemade guacamole speaks for itself and literally needs no introduction. I’ll just say if you’re a fan and you’re not making it from scratch, you haven’t truly LIVED!

I like my tomato and onion rough-chopped for more texture. If you like yours smoother, just chop up the ingredients more finely before incorporating them.

Guacamole toast is like avocado toast with a soul. There, I said it. 

Avo Nice Day Guacamole

2 small, ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 heaping tbsp. flax seed meal (optional)

1.  In a small bowl, mash up the avocado flesh with a fork, reserving at least one of the pits, and setting aside.

2. Stir in crushed garlic, as well as tomato and onion, mixing thoroughly.

3. Add lime juice and stir to combine. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your personal preference. If you’re adding flax seed meal, stir it in.

4. Enjoy immediately with nacho chips, toast, or however you usually eat your lame grocery store guacamole… just better. If you want to save yours for later, put it in an airtight container and add one of the pits to keep it from browning quickly.

Better Yet Butternut Squash Chili

Confession: I’m bad at meal planning. Unless I have a craving or a recipe I want to try, on a typical week I will go to my local grocer, get lost, and end up buying whatever’s on sale.

For the past few weeks, butternut squash has been on sale non-stop. SO, in addition to a dope burrito recipe this month, you can have this tasty vegetarian chili recipe, because spring hasn’t come to Montreal yet, and there’s something warming and comforting about a big, spicy bowl to keep you company as you sob about why spring is taking so damn long.

Don’t be afraid of the cocoa, beeteedubs. It adds DEPTH OF FLAVOUR.

Butternut Squash Veggie Chili
Serves 4-5 

1 tbsp. oil (I used coconut, but do what you want)
1 cooking onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (4 cups or so)
2 c. red kidney beans, cooked
2 c. black turtle beans, cooked
1 can diced tomatoes
4 c. vegetable stock (or water)

1. Set a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, and onions, stir to coat, until fragrant and the garlic is lightly toasted.

2. Add the spices (cocoa included!) and stir to coat and toast. When they’re smelling great but not burning, add in the butternut squash and stir. Salt and pepper at will!

3. Add beans, tomatoes, and stock or water. Bring to a simmer until chili thickens slightly and squash is fork tender.

4. Serve with sour cream, or hot sauce, or cheddar cheese, or avocado, or nacho chips, or SMARTIES for all I know. I ain’t the boss of you.

Winter’s Bounty

Sometimes, you have to be excited about salad.

Sometimes you have to be excited about pictures of that salad, and make a blog post to show more than one.

This salad, Allison Day’s Winter Chopped Salad, is just that good, okay?

I think I finally understand arugula.

Meal Prep and Momentum

Confession: I love telling stories and I love cooking, but I never read the prose part of recipes posts on food blogs… So I’ll keep this short. This weekend, I started a new fitness Instagram (#fitstagram?) to keep me motivated. (Follow me at @rilesrunswild!) This morning I woke up, geared to cook lunches and dinners for the week, so I did. This afternoon, I went for a good Couch to 5K run. I’m feeling pretty good, and I’m hoping this momentum lasts!

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas – 320 cals per serving
Serves 3-4 (how hungry are you?)


Enchiladas

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 1/2 cups black beans
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
9 small corn tortillas
1/2 cup old cheddar cheese (optional)

1 cup of Red Enchilada Sauce (adapted from Budget Bytes)
2 tbsp canola oil 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp chili powder
2 cups water
4 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Directions:
1.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss cubed butternut squash in olive oil, salt and pepper. Put into over to roast until fork tender, 15-20 minutes.

2. Get saucy! Combine canola oil, flour and chili powder in medium saucepan. Whisk until combined and bubbling over medium heat, about 1 minute.

3. Add water, tomato paste, cumin, and garlic powder to the saucepan. Whisk and bring to a simmer, letting it thicken as it heats. Stir in salt to your desired taste.

4. Sautee onions and garlic in a saucepan until fragrant. (Lazy tip: I emptied the sauce into a measuring cup and used the same saucepan.) Add black beans, a few spoonfuls of sauce and stir to combine, gently heating until warmed through.

5. Remove the squash from the oven and stir into black bean mixture. Reduce heat to 350 F.  Warm up your tortillas in the oven for a minute to increase pliability.

6. Spoon enchilada sauce into the bottom of a baking dish (9×13 or 9×9, use whatever you’ve got). Now assemble the enchiladas. Spoon some squash and bean filling into each tortilla. Roll up as snugly as possible and place seam side down in the pan.

7. Complete with the rest of your tortillas, and snuggle them into the pan together.(You may have some filling leftover. Lucky you, it’s delicious by itself!) Add the rest of the enchilada sauce over top, smoothing it into cover the tortillas.

8. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for five minutes until melted. Serve with your favourite toppings: red onion, avocado, salsa, sour cream…the possibilities are endless!

Lentil & Mushroom Stroganoff feat. Cauliflower Potato mash with fresh Spinach – 350 cals per serving
Serves 4

Stroganoff
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups (340g) mushrooms, diced
2 cups brown lentils, cooked
1/2 – 1 cup vegetable stock
1 garlic pickle, chopped
1/2-3/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
2 cups fresh spinach

Mash
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 medium red potatoes, chopped
Salt to taste
1/4 cup soy milk (or milk of your choice)
Butter (if desired)

Directions:
1. Prep the mash. Put cauliflower and potatoes into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and boil the vegetables until fork tender. Drain and then mash, adding milk, salt and butter to desired consistency and taste. Set aside.

2.  Add olive, garlic and onions to a large saucepan. Cook until fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook on medium heat until most fluids have been released and mushrooms are brown and cooked down.

3. Add lentils to mixture. Stir to combine, then add vegetable stock and simmer to desired consistency. Stir in chopped pickle.

4. Allow to cool slightly and then stir in yogurt or sour cream. (it’s okay if it “breaks”, it will still be tasty!)

5. To serve, line the bottom of a bowl with 1/2 cup fresh spinach, top with 1 cup mash, and then 1 cup of mushroom and lentil mixture.