Healthy Dirty Rice

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I know, it’s been like, a month.

But on the bright side, I got great grades from all of the finals I was studying for.  When I say that, I mean that somehow I got a full 100 on my calculus exam.  If you’re sitting here stunned, just know that I have been feeling that way since I found out two weeks ago.

I seriously don’t know how that happened.

Another plus is that I’m doing great in my three week mini class.

Three weeks, three credits.  No biggie.

(Kind of a biggie).

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On the bright side, I have definitely not forgotten all about the blog.  I actually have a bunch of great stuff coming up for you guys.  And in approximately a week and a half, I will be completely off of school and lots of great stuff will be coming your way!

But first, let’s start off with dirty rice.  I can recall a few times when I was little where my mom made the boxed Zattaran’s stuff on super busy nights, but we realized pretty soon after that we were not huge fans of the boxed dinners.

Luckily, dirty rice is super easy to make at home and tastes 10x better than Zattaran’s.  This is easily a 30 minute meal (excluding the rice prep but still…).  And, if you didn’t already expect this, the recipe is healthy.  Shocker right?

*Disclaimer:  This is NOT traditional dirty rice.  Traditional stuff uses chicken gizzards and livers and other leftover chicken parts.  Now, I know that they’re just some chicken parts, but they are just chicken parts I can not wrap my head around eating.  So therefore, I went the Zattaran’s route and used ground beef.  Also, this recipe was created completely according to taste/whatever I had in my kitchen so the spices may or may not be traditional.  End of disclaimer.*

Ingredients:

2 c. cooked long grain brown rice

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp. ceyenne pepper, or to taste

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. dried mustard

1/4 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 beef bouillon cube, dissolved in 1/4 c. hot water

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Cook rice according to package directions.  Set aside when finished.

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Chop up veggies!  Yes, those are dried onions.  Yes, I forgot to buy a real onion.

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Saute the veggies until soft.

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Brown the beef.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  (Blurry picture alert.  Whoops!)

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Oh yeah, and dissolve that little guy.

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Add rice and spices to the mixture.

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Mix it all together and add beef bouillon mixture.  Let simmer until the liquid is absorbed!

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Serve to a group of very happy peeps.

Also, please note that you should adjust spices as needed for your tastes.  I decided to not use much salt since I used a beef bouillon cube.  Just taste and adjust accordingly.

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Serve this with a nice little side salad and you have a delicious dinner that will make the whole family happy!

*Vegetarian/Vegan: Replace ground beef with zucchini, tofu, eggplant, and other veggies.  Replace beef broth with veggie broth.

*Gluten Free: This recipe is gluten free

*Paleo: Replace rice with cauliflower “rice”.

XOXO Sara

 

 

 

Garlic Herb Pork Tenderloin

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I am soooo tired today.

I seriously could have slept all day.  The worst part is that I don’t think it’s even because of Daylight Savings.  I think it’s just called being a college student.

Although it is fun to blame my sleep deprivation on something besides homework, exercising, cooking, cleaning, and the list goes on and on.

Excuse me while I count down the days until Spring Break (5!!!)

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A few weekends ago I had my boyfriend over for dinner.  Typically for nice dinners, I like to do steak but lately I’ve been a little steak-ed out.  I know, is there such a thing?

(There is).

And the perfect part about pork tenderloin is that it is affordable and seems fancy.  Which is awesome if you’re having a ton of people over or something.

The best thing about this meal is that the actual prep time is only about 30 minutes, but it comes out so nicely that people might actually think you spent all day in the kitchen.

I won’t tell them you didn’t.

It’ll be our little secret.

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Ingredients:

1-1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin (I bought one of those packages of 2 and froze the other)

1/4 c. + 2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. fresh thyme

2 Tbs. fresh rosemary

2 Tbs. fresh parsley

2 Tbs. fresh tarragon

1 Tbs. lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2-1 Tbs. honey (depending on how sweet you like things)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Trim fat off of pork.  Place pork tenderloin in a freezer bag.  Whisk the other ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour over pork tenderloin.  Marinate for 4 hours-overnight.  I prefer overnight to really let the flavors meld.

Preheat oven to 350* F.  In a large skillet, heat about 2 Tbs. olive oil until it is rippling and slightly smoking.  Remove pork tenderloin from the marinade, leaving on herbs that cling.  Sear pork tenderloin on all sides until it develops a slight brown crust.

Place in a greased casserole dish.  Bake until the internal temperature reaches 145* F, about 30 minutes.

Let it rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve!  Serves about 4.

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I just love how pretty the herbs are.  Fresh herbs are the best, especially mixed together with some garlic.

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And it makes great leftovers too!

(Another bonus: pork tenderloin is a very lean meat!  Healthy, easy, and fancy?  I’m so in.)

  • Vegetarian/Vegan Option: Although this is definitely not a vegetarian/vegan dish, the marinade would be very good on veggies such as zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, and peppers.
  • Paleo: This recipe is paleo.
  • Gluten Free: This recipe is gluten free.

XOXO Sara

Philly Cheesesteak Bites

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Do you ever get a really good idea and you need to make it a reality at that very moment?

Because that is basically my life at all points in time when it comes to food and music.

It’s almost addicting, but my blog makes it all seem okay.  So thanks you guys.

Anyways, my whole point is that that is how these little beauties came to be.  First, I made a French onion soup version my mom and I created over the phone (coming soon!) and then I somehow came up with these while craving Philly Cheesesteaks one day.

I’m quite a complex character, aren’t you impressed?

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Plus, aren’t they soooo cute?  I can’t get over how much I love them.

I just started with some good quality roast beef from the deli.  I’m serious about the good quality thing.  Don’t go cheap here, you really don’t need that much anyways.

Also, look for phyllo cups or  you may have to make your own which takes forever.  Really strive to find the premade cups and your life will be a breeze.

Other than that, it only takes about 5 minutes to throw together, and they freeze.  Easy appetizer much?

How great would these be for Superbowl?  I know what I’m making next year!

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Ingredients:

2 packages phyllo cups (15 per package)

1/2 lb. good quality deli roast beef, roughly chopped

Olive oil

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/4 onion, diced (or 2 Tbs. dried onion flakes, which is what I used)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 c. provolone, shredded + 30 small slices of provolone

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Place phyllo cups on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add bell pepper and onion.  Saute until soft.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add roast beef , salt, pepper, and cheese,  and heat until cheese is melted.

Spoon mixture into the phyllo cups.  Top with provolone squares.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly bubbly.

Serves 8-12

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These make me happy.  I even ate them for dinner.  I had no shame.

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Just put them on a cute plate, and you’re good to go.  Instant people pleaser.

*For a vegetarian alternative, use mushrooms instead of roast beef.

XOXO Sara

Homemade Hummus

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Mmmm hummus.

It’s one of my faves.  But I do not love the store bought stuff.  How do you make something so healthy taste so chemical-y?  They find a way, I’m telling you.

So I made my own!  Homemade tahini and everything.

This is perfect with fresh veggies and whole wheat toasted pita bread.  I could go eat some right now, and I just might.

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I even accidentally stabbed myself with my blender to make this stuff, so sacrifice was involved.

That’s how good hummus is.  I’m willing to give some blood for it.

But somebody’s gotta do it, ya know?

Oh, did I mention how easy it is to make this?  Even homemade tahini is so simple!  Just blend up the tahini, scrape it out and make the hummus right away.  No clean up involved.  It only took me about 30 minutes, and I was on my way to Greek food heaven.  Maybe gyros will happen this weekend?  It’s so possible.

Follow the directions like this and you will have a perfectly smooth hummus!  Any other way might not end up with the best results.  Go with your gut, but keep in mind, this is my recommendation 😉

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Spoon tahini into a blender.

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Add fresh lemon juice…

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Blend away!  Let it just blend for a good two minutes.  Scrape occasionally.

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Add a bunch of chopped garlic!

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And some salt.

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And some paprika!

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And don’t forget about the olive oil.  My favorite of all the oils.

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Blend it up!  I actually used a little too much paprika so mine looked kind of reddish orange.  You do not have to make my same mistakes, but you can if you want.

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Add chick peas and blend until smooth and creamy.  (At this point, it will be thick, so add some water to get it to the desired consistency).

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Have I ever mentioned how good hummus is with warm whole wheat pita bread?  It’s da best.

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Ingredients:

2 cans chickpeas

2 Tbs. tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

8 cloves garlic (you may use less, I recommend this many though)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. paprika

1/4 c. olive oil

2-4 Tbs. water, to thin (I needed 4)

Drain chickpeas and rinse in cold water.  Set aside to drain all of the water out.

Spoon the tahini in a blender and squeeze as much lemon juice as you can in with the tahini.  Blend together for about 2 minutes, scraping occasionally.  Add garlic, salt, paprika, and olive oil.  Blend for a few more minutes, scraping sides occasionally.

Add chickpeas about 1 1/2 cups at a time.  Blend thoroughly so that the hummus is nice and smooth.  Add water to thin to desired consistency.

Makes about 4 cups.

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Delicious.

*This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free!

*Paleo: Replace chickpeas with roasted eggplant or roasted cauliflower.

XOXO Sara

Healthy Baked Potato Chips with Low Fat Garlic Parmesan Aioli

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I had to take this picture with my iPhone during dinner because I couldn’t keep these chips away from my family long enough to get a decent shot.

They’re that good.  My mom, who is trying to stick to mostly meats, fruits, and veggies couldn’t resist them.  She can’t resist any potatoes for that matter.  We call her the potato hoe.  Is that dysfunctional?  Don’t answer that.

Also, I don’t think anything is better than garlic aioli.  Seriously, it’s good on fries, burgers, sandwiches.  So much stuff.  If it wasn’t frowned upon, I would eat it by itself.

Okay maybe not.  But still, I really like it.

To change it up, I added some parmesan and also made it low fat so that I could indulge without consuming mega calories.  As for the potatoes, I just got tired of roasted potatoes covered with garlic.  So I decided on chips.

The result was amazing.

Ingredients:

Potatoes:

2 lb. red potatoes

2 Tbs. olive oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1-2 tsp. garlic powder (according to your taste)

1/2-1 1/2 tsp. onion powder (according to taste)

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular if you can’t find smoked in your local grocery store)

Preheat oven to 400* F.

Slice potatoes with a mandolin or on your food processor attachment.  Soak potatoes in ice cold water for 15-20 minutes.

See why here!

Drain the potatoes, dry them, and place them on a greased baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  Mix with your hands to make sure the potatoes are completely covered in oil and seasoning.

Lay them in a single layer on your baking sheet.  Bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy.

Low Fat Garlic Parmesan Aioli

1/4 c. low fat mayo (I recommend Hellmann’s.  You could try with Greek yogurt too but I haven’t!)

3 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. ceyenne pepper

1/3 c. Parmesan, grated

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the low fat mayo, lemon juice, ceyenne, parm, and garlic.  While whisking, add the olive oil.  You may add some milk or some more oil to get the right consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the baked chips.

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You should be jealous!

Alternatives

  • Vegetarian: Use Greek Yogurt instead of mayo.
  • Gluten Free: You’re good (;
  • Vegan: Add Veganaise or homemade vegan mayo.
  • Paleo: Use zucchini instead of potatoes and Greek Yogurt instead of mayo.

Let me know what you think.

Stay Serendipitous!

XOXO Sara