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Mango Lassi

It's a beautiful day outside!  Yet here I am sitting at my computer, sipping on a mango lassi.  Casual.

I finally broke down and purchased one of those personal-sized blenders.  I've been hemming and hawing for a while (i.e. over a year) since I have limited counter space and I hate to see a lot of food gadgets sitting around.  I was finally pushed over the edge by seeing frozen mango being stocked at Trader Joe's.  For some reason, this was my breaking point.  I went home and immediately researched blenders on Amazon and picked one up.

Once the blender was in my grubby little hands, I set out to make a mango lassi because...why not?  Why else did I purchase all the frozen mango from TJ's?  This drink is cool and refreshing and exactly what I need throughout this summer.  I went a bit rogue and added a few mint leaves into the blender as well, and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

If you're not a fan of the ratios in my recipe below, fear not!  You can tweak this recipe so so so easily to make it your own.  Don't like Greek yogurt?  Nix it.  Do you want more mango in your drink? Add it.  You're the boss of you!

 

Mango Lassi
makes 1 smoothie - recipe can be multiplied to make several

Print Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk (can be soy, whole, skim, almond...etc...)
  • handful of mint leaves, optional

1) Add mango, yogurt, and milk to the blender.  Blend until all ingredients are incorporated.

2) If using the mint leaves, add them at this point.  Blend the lassi for several seconds to distribute the mint leaves into the drink.

3) Pour the lassi into a glass and serve immediately.

Green Chile Beef

Before you decide that there are simply too many ingredients in this recipe....hear me out.  I, too, felt that way at first glance, but then as I took a closer look, I realized that this is sort of a plug-an-play situation.  What I mean is that there is little prep for this dish.  Honestly...you dice half an onion and a sweet pepper and that's all the work needed.  Come on now.  Come.  On!

I am the epitome of a "laid back blogger".  You probably already know that I work a 9-to-5 job.  However, things have been a bit hectic at work recently so I've actually been dialing things back over here.  I have no plans to stop blogging anytime soon.  I've actually been making quite a few new recipes chez moi, but just haven't had the time to post yet.  So anyhow, I say this to let you know that this recipe IS actually very easy to make and I totally recommend doing just that.

I slightly tweaked this dish from How Sweet Eats since I felt the need to add in a few more seasonings and also add in corn.  What's a summer without some good old corn?  Nothing, I tell you.  Full disclosure - this is frozen corn, BUT you can definitely use fresh corn if you have some on hand.  I didn't (bad food blogger!) so I had to improvise.  All's fair in the kitchen!

 

Green Chile Beef
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 red pepper bell, chopped
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef stock
  • rice for serving, optional
  • avocado, thinly sliced for serving, optional
  • sour cream for serving, optional


1) Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Pour in the olive oil.  Once warmed through, toss in the onions, bell peppers, and the garlic.  Saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

2) Place the beef in the skillet and allow to cook until browned, 6-8 minutes.  Make sure to break up the beef in order to cook the meat evenly.

3) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, seasoned salt, salt and black pepper.  Add the spices to the saucepan with the beef and stir well to incorporate.

4) Add in the green chiles and the frozen corn.  Stir well.  Cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes so the flavors can all come together.

5) Remove from heat and serve over rice.  Serve with avocado and/or sour cream on the side if desired.

--recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

White Spinach Pizza

I feel as if this pizza is a great segway into summer.  We're now starting to relax a bit more and throw together recipes that don't take a lot of time.  Who wants to be in the kitchen making food when it's nice outside?  Not me!  Unfortunately this recipe does require you to turn on the oven, but it's only for a short while, so we can handle that.  I mean, this pizza has spinach on it, so it's truly the epitome of health, right?  Let's not think about the cheese and the carbs.  Just let me live!

Speaking of living, I'm visiting the American Museum of Natural History today.  In spite of living so so sp close to NYC and being in the city practically every day, I'm the absolute worst at making sure I take advantage of everything offered.  So today I am heading back to see the dinosaurs and the mummies and of course, the Hayden Planetarium.  If I'm super lucky, maybe I'll also see Neil deGrasse Tyson (!!!).  Life goals!

But first, let's eat pizza!

 

White Spinach Pizza

Print Recipe

  • 1 package prepared pizza dough, brought to room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/8 medium red onion
  • 2 ounces goat cheese


1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2) Place the frozen spinach in the microwave.  Heat until warmed through.  Squeeze to remove excess water.

3) Add the garlic powder, salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Stir through to incorporate.

4) Sprinkle in the mozzarella and stir once again.  Set aside.

5) Stretch the pizza dough over the prepared baking sheet until it forms a 12" circle.

6) Drizzle the olive oil over the pizza and brush to spread evenly.  Add the pesto and use a brush to also spread this in an even layer.

7) Top with the spinach and cheese mix.  Add the onion slices, and then sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

8) Bake the pizza for 10-13 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your pizza.

9) Once out of the oven, sprinkle with more freshly cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.  Allow the pizza to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

--slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Salami Mozzarella Quiche

It's MDW weekend! (That's Memorial Day Weekend for the non-Americans.)  Why do we say MDW weekend when that's redundant?  Deep questions late on a Friday night while maybe listening to the Britney Spears playlist on Spotify.

I'm not gonna lie.  This quiche is (still!) totally inspired by that pizza I had at Harry's Italian in NYC.  What can I say?  I'm just craving this combo!  Again, I used salami because it's easier for me to find that sopresatta and, to be honest, I'm all about doing what's easy, yet tasty.

Soooo can this quiche possibly maybe help usher in summer?  I'm not sure how it's supposed to do that but I'm counting on it nevertheless.  Because it's cold outside and has been raining on and off for days.  Summer made an appearance for a few days two weeks ago (in which I sweltered nonstop), only to sneak away for some time on THE SAME DAY that I finally had my air conditioning unit installed.  I'm not bitter.  Not at all...
 

Salami Mozzarella Quiche

Print Recipe

  • 1 package store-bought pie crust
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 lb salami, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh mozzarella, pulled apart
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne pepper


Blind bake the pie crust:

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2) Use a fork to prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust.

3) Bake for 10 minutes.

4) Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes.  If the pie crust bubbled up slightly, just press it down gently.

 

Assemble the quiche:

1) Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

2) In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and then add the onion.  Saute until they are slightly translucent.  Set aside to cool slightly.

3) Spread the salami on the bottom of the pie crust.  Sprinkle the onions on top.  Layer the mozzarella evenly over everything.

4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper until just combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.

5) Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the quiche is set in the middle.

6) Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving.

--recipe slightly adapted from A Family Feast

Chocolate Toffee Banana Bread

It's been way. too. long. since I posted a sweet treat! Can we agree on that?  It's not because I'm trying to be healthier, though I would love to believe that.  What's really happening is I overloaded on Valentine's Day and Easter candies and so I didn't feel the need to bake something to satisfy my sweet tooth.

However, now that we're having a bit of a break from the candy-heavy holidays, I'm back!  These bananas and this chocolate are not going to eat themselves!

This venture started out with me realizing I've never before posted a plain banana bread on this site.  As you can see, unfortunately, that is still the case.  Eeep.  I started out wanted to make a plain banana bread and then I really wanted to incorporate chocolate in the batter.  And then I wanted extra chocolate in there.  But then I ran out of chocolate chips so I added toffee chips.  Done!  I'm done now!

It turned out so good though.  I'm a fan of this combination and I would recommend that you give it a shot as well!

 

Chocolate Toffee Banana Bread
makes 1 loaf

Print Recipe

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar(light or dark)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee chips (or you can use 1 cup of chocolate chunks/chips instead)


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Use cooking spray or butter to coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2) In a large bowl, mash the bananas.  Add the melted butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla.  Use a large spoon or a whisk to stir everything together well.

3) Sift together the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, flour, and cocoa powder.  Add to the bowl and stir just until combined.

4) Stir in the chocolate pieces and the toffee pieces.

5) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven for 55-60 minutes, or until the center of a toothpick comes out clean.

6) Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10-15 minutes.  Then gently turn the pan over to remove the bread from the loaf pan.  Place the bread on a cooling rack and cool until desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

--recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Turkey Taco Salad

It's Taco Time!

Can we talk about how I forgot to add the CHEESE to the salad pictured above?  If you know me, you know that cheese is my one true love.  So how did I forget to add it to my salad?  Ugh.  Fail.  Anyhow, the salad still tasted amazing and I'm including the cheese in the recipe below.  Don't forget about it like I did!

Also, happy belated Cinco de Mayo?  I didn't eat this salad on May 5th, but I never really need an excuse to eat Mexican food anyway.  This salad was the perfect combination of eating a tasty thing, but also eating something relatively healthy.  I'm being real when I say I still have leftover jellybeans from Easter that I am munching on daily.  Soooo a salad?  Yup, I need that in my life.

 

Turkey Taco Salad

Print Recipe

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • dash crushed red pepper
  • dash smoked salt - optional
  • 6 cups shredded lettuce
  • shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • for the rest of the salad - shredded lettuce, diced avocado, green onions, sour cream

1) In a large saucepan, drizzle in the olive oil.  Add in the onions and saute for a minute or two, until the onions begin to soften.

2) Then add the turkey to the pan.  Sautee until cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Drain any excess liquid.

3) Pour in the tomatoes and add the seasonings, from the chili powder down to the smoked salt (if using).

4) Allow the mixture to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

5) Place the lettuce in the plates or bowls to be used.  Add the turkey mixture on top.

6) Dress the salad with the desired toppings (I chose diced avocados, cheese, green onions, and sour cream.  Serve immediately.

--recipe slightly adapted from Real House Moms

Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Spring is here and I know it's not exactly the time to start indulging in a lot of pasta because "getting our summer body ready" season is ALSO herrrrrreeeeee.  But I would like to point out that if you must eat pasta during this time (which is something that I feel like I must do), then this should be your first choice.  It's not as heavy as you might think.  I also really like to take this to work because it fills me up sufficiently for lunch and I seldom feel the need to eat a whole chocolate bar in the afternoon.  Not that I would ever eat a whole chocolate bar in the afternoon.  I definitely have not.  Not at all.

So anywho, I'm throwing you some pasta goodness with this here baked dish.  I've made baked ziti before, but not quite like this.  Since this pasta is pretty thin, the cheese and sauce was incorporated nicely into each and every bite.  I may always need to eat my spaghetti and meat sauce in a baked form from now on!

 

Baked Spaghetti & Meat Sauce
makes 6-8 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, separated
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • basil, julienned, for topping
  • cooking spray


1) Preheat oven to 350F.

2) Use the cooking spray to prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Set aside.

3) Drizzle the olive oil into a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent.

4) Add the ground beef to the pan and allow to cook through for ~5 minutes.  Use a spoon or spatula to break up the meat as it cooks.

5) Sprinkle the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano to the pan and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

6) Slowly pour in the marinara sauce and allow the mixture to cook for 10-15 minutes.

7) In the meantime, boil the water in a large pot over high heat.  Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.  Once cooked, drain the pasta and add to the saucepan with the meat mixture.  Stir together until the pasta is fully coated in sauce.  Add salt or pepper to taste, keeping in mind that extra cheese will be added in the next step.

8) Move half of the pasta to the baking dish.  Use a large fork to twirl the pasta into 6 mounds.  Sprinkle the pasta with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

9) Repeat the previous step with the remainder of the pasta and sauce, adding another 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese on top.

10) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle another 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella on top of the pasta.  Return to the oven until the cheese is melted, another 5-10 minutes.

11) Top with basil, oregano, and freshly cracked black pepper before serving warm.

--recipe slightly adapted from Shutterbean

Butternut Squash & Cranberry Quinoa Salad

I've been in a bit of a phase lately.  It's what I'm calling my "healthy phase".  So I guess that's a good thing, right?  I'm not going to lie to you.  I'm still eating a ton of jelly beans, because It's Easter.  However, when I'm not eating way too much sugar, I'm busy balancing things out with some butternut squash and quinoa.

I've also started a Brussels sprouts addiction.  I never knew this was a thing, but its a thing.  I posted a picture of some diced and prepped Brussels sprouts on my instagram the other day (ig - @thehobokitchen).  I got a few comments letting me know of new-to-me ways to roast the Brussels.  So basically this means I'll be over here making Brussels sprouts fo' life!

Speaking of healthy ish, let's eat the heck out of this butternut squash/cranberry/quinoa situation.  We've got a bit of everything here.  All the textures and flavors keep your mind entertained when really you're just doing something good for yourself. No issues with that!

Before I let you get to the recipe, can we also just appreciate the weather today?  It's going to be in the mid-80's.  Come on Spring and Summer. Get here soon please!

 

Butternut Squash & Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Print Recipe

  • 3 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup shallot, finely chopped (~1 shallot)
  • 4 tablespoons pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 5 leaves basil, julienned
  • salt and black pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2) On a baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with the olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden.

3) Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear.  Make the quinoa per the package instructions.  Set aside to cool slightly.

4) Make the balsamic vinaigrette by whisking together all ingredients.  Season to taste. Set aside.

5) In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, butternut squash, cranberries, raisins, shallots, pistachios, and basil.  Toss gently to mix the ingredients together.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad.  Toss once more to incorporate.  Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.

6) Cover and place the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

-- slightly adapted from the Little Broken blog

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I was sort of surprised that, with all the hummus recipes I've posted over the years, I've never delved into a roasted red pepper version.  I think it due to two things -

1. I used to dislike red peppers.  I've really only started to love red peppers in the past year or two.  Once I realized this was a vegetable for me, I have been roasting and sauteing it like it's my job.  Not all of these ventures have made it to the blog, but a decent amount of it has. 

2. I've also been skeptical about roasting my own peppers at home.  This is my first foray into doing this and it was unbelievably simple!  No more skepticism here!

So let's get into it and make sure we jump on that roasted red pepper hummus train.  No excuses!
 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 medium-to-large red peppers
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
     

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2) Slice red peppers in half and remove the seeds.  Place the peppers sliced side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

3) Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.  Do not move the peppers during this time.

4) Remove the peppers from the oven.  Place on a cutting board and cover with a large bowl to steam them for 15 minutes.

5) Gently peel the skins off the peppers and place them in a food processor.

6) Add the chickpeas, peanut butter, garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings to the food processor as well.

7) Drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is running.  Add more oil or water to bring it to your desired consistency.  Taste and add more seasonings as necessary.

Zucchini Salami Pizza

I cannot claim credit for this pizza, as much as I would really love to.  This creation comes to you by way of Harry's Italian Pizza Bar (I did a review of Harry's a few years ago here).  I didn't order this pizza on that trip, but on another recent visit to Harry's, this pizza became known to me.  It was love at first bite.  I immediately knew I was going to recreate this at home because I wasn't waiting for another trip to the restaurant.  Plus, what else are food blogs for, if not to experiment at home!

Now, zucchini and salami are not at the forefront of my mind when I think of a perfect pizza topping combo, but I will say that they are amazing together.  The zucchini is crisp and fresh while the salami is salty and chewy.  These two textures and flavors combine to make a sensational pizza experience that I will be recreating every chance I get!
 

Zucchini Salami Pizza

Print Recipe

  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup diced salami
  • 2-4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds
  • 1 batch pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)

Prep the zucchini:

1) Cut the zucchini into rounds.  Stack the rounds, and then slice into matchsticks.  Spread the matchsticks out on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle the salt over the zucchini.  Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

2) After the time is up, use paper towels to blot the excess water that has extruded from the zucchini.


Assemble the pizza:

3) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

4) Spread the pizza dough over the prepared baking sheet until it is the desired size.

5) Spread the basil pesto over the dough, leaving about 1" border around the edges.

6) Place the mozzarella on top of the pesto.

7) Cover the mozzarella with the zucchini matchsticks and the salami.

8) Bake the pizza for 15 - 17 minutes, or until it reaches the desired level of done-ness.

9) Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  If desired, top with oregano, black pepper, and or basil before slicing and serving.