This page has been moved to a new address. Redirecting.... Fit Girl Fare: March 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Linguine with Shrimp, Kale, and Tomatoes

Lambeau is the best puppy. It seems like his biggest pleasure in life is to cuddle. Here are some puppy pics to brighten your day.

 Isn't he just the cutest?

I have been shopping at Whole Foods a lot lately. Yes, it can be expensive but it also has great produce and great seafood. I have also noticed that unless you're buying the exotic fruits, nice cheeses, and expensive beers, the prices are actually pretty comparable to the regular grocery store. Last week I really wanted to make something with shrimp in it and it just so happened that the shrimp at Whole Foods was on sale. I bought a pound of unpeeled shrimp but in hindsight I should've paid the extra dollar to get the already peeled and de-veined shrimp.

One thing I really like about this dish is that it tastes so fresh and light even though its a pasta dish. It also requires minimal ingredients, dishes, and time. Plus, as an added bonus, my non-fish-loving fiance really enjoyed it!

Linguine with Shrimp, Kale, and Tomatoes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves 2

1/2 pound Linguine
3-4 slices bacon
1/2 lb shrimp
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 bunch (about 4 cups) kale, washed and chopped
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Towards the end of the cooking time, reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and add it to a large non stick skillet. Cook until crispy then set aside to drain on a paper towel lined plate. Wipe out the bacon grease from the pan with a paper towel and put the pan back on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the shrimp. Cook the shrimp for a few minutes each side until it is completely pink. Just make sure not to over cook it since it will be going back into the pot, it would be best to under cook it just slightly at this point. My shrimp were pretty small so it only took like 3 minutes total. Remove the shrimp and set a side. Add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and cook until its fragrant. Then add the kale and saute for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the shrimp, the cheese, and the pasta to the pan and cook until the tomatoes get warm and the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. At this point you can decide if you want to add the pasta water. I added about 1/2 cup to mine just to give it a little bit more sauce. Sprinkle in the bacon and serve with more Parmesan if desired.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kale & Potato Fritata

Usually when I think of breakfast for dinner I think of lots of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. However, recently I have been crazy about eggs. I used to be nervous to eat a lot of eggs because of the supposed effects it can have on your cholesterol. A few weeks ago though I read that the USDA has decided that cholesterol from foods doesn't really impact your health as much as they originally though it did. For me this is great news. Now I probably eat eggs 4-5 days a week. Hard-boiled eggs especially are a great snack and make a great lunch at work.

Another great way to eat eggs is in a Fritata. A Fritata can basically be anything you want. For mine, I used kale and potatoes - it was vegetarian day, so I didn't use meat this time.

This was absolutely delicious. I served it with a salad of arugula and green onion dressed with just a little bit of salt, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It was a great dinner and would be great for brunch as well.

Kale & Potato Fritata
Total Time: 45-50 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4-6

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp oil
1/2 onion, minced
1 bunch kale (4-6 cups), washed and chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large potato, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch think rounds (I used my mandolin)
1/4 cup milk
8 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium non-stick pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the kale and cook for about 8 minutes, until the kale is completely cooked and then set it aside to let it cool. While the kale is cooking, whisk milk with the eggs in a small bowl until well mixed. In a separate cast iron pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the potatoes in one layer all over the bottom of the pan. Let the potatoes cook for about 10 minutes making sure the bottom doesn't burn. Put the kale and onion mixture over the potatoes then add the eggs. Put the skillet into oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the egg is set and cooked through. In the last 10 minutes or so of cooking time add the Parmesan cheese on top. Let it sit for about ten minutes then serve with a simple green salad.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chicken Burrito Bowls

I used to be able to go to Chipotle and order a Chicken Burrito Bowl with lots of cheese and sour cream and a tortilla on the side without even thinking about how many calories I was consuming in one sitting. When I was in college I used to drive almost an hour each way just to eat a Chipotle burrito. It was delicious and I often get cravings for Chipotle. Sometimes I indulge and go have a burrito or a burrito bowl, but I can't always justify the calories that come with one of those things. A burrito from Chipotle can have upwards of 1200 calories depending on what you put on it. 

You can't really make a burrito like Chipotle, there's just nothing like it, but this is a great, healthy alternative that definitely satisfies those cravings. In my opinion its the chicken that makes or break it. I like it when its spicy, has a nice crust on the outside, and has some little burnt parts. The best way to get a nice crust with some little burnt bits is to cook it on a hot grill, but you can get almost the same effect if you use a hot cast iron pan.

I like to load mine up with lots of toppings. Sour cream and cheese are a must have for me. Recently instead of using sour cream I have started using Greek yogurt. It is just as creamy and tangy as sour cream but it is so much better for you!

Chicken Burrito Bowl
Serves about 4
Total time: 35 minutes

For the chicken:
6 chicken breast halves
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsps. cumin
2 tsps. oregano
1 tsps. chili powder
1 tsps. garlic powder
1/2 tsps. salt
1/2 tsps. black pepper

In a medium bowl mix 1 tbsp. olive oil with all of the spices. Add the chicken and mix up until all of the chicken is coated in the spice mixture. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to so it absorbs all of the flavors. If you are using a grill, get the grill really hot by pre-heating it on high for about 10 minutes then turn the heat down to medium. Oil the grill with the remaining olive oil and then put the chicken breasts on. Flip after 4-5 minutes - there should be nice grill marks. Cook another 4-5 minutes on the other side until the chicken is cooked through. If you are using a pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until there is a nice crust on the first side. Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Let is rest for about 10 minutes then chop it up into bite sized pieces.

For the Burrito Bowls:
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 cups black beans
Chicken from above
Toppings: Guacamole, Salsa, Cheese - cheddar is a great option but if you can find it, queso fresco is a great cheese (it's kind of like the Mexican feta), onions, jalapenos, corn, Greek yogurt (as a great sub for sour cream) and any other toppings you want!

In a bowl place 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup black beans, 1 chicken breast half and any toppings you want!

Labels: ,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Kale Chips

The other day I bought several bunches of Dinosaur Kale at whole foods. The dark green, flat leaves looked perfect to make some kale chips. I had made kale chips before and I knew it was super easy so I decided to try a couple different things this time. I got a dehydrator for Christmas and had yet to use it, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity. I split the kale into two bunches - one to roast in the oven and one to put in the dehydrator.



I also wanted to see if it made a difference if I salted the kale before I cooked it or if it would taste just as good if I salted it afterwards. So I salted half of each bunch before I started cooking it and left the other half unsalted.

Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure you cut the thick rib out of the center of the kale leaf before you cook them. If you don't, the leafy part of the kale will get crispy but the rib will get chewy and make the chip less than delicious. Also, make sure the leaves are very dry. It's important to wash the kale but make sure to dry it well afterwards.

It doesn't take much olive oil to get the chips crispy. For all of my kale, I used about 3 tablespoons. I put it in a bowl and kind of massaged it into the kale for a few minutes. This is the point when I added the salt to the batches I wanted to pre-salt.

The results were interesting. The oven chips were nice and crispy and the pre-salted chips were definitely better than the chips salted after baking. It seemed to make the salt stick better when I pre salted it which I liked a lot. The dehydrated chips took a long time. I was skeptical that they were going to turn out at all. They were ok, but still kind of chewy. The oven baked chips were definitely superior - delicious and healthy!

Kale Chips
Total Time: 25 minutes

1-2 bunches of Dinosaur Kale
2-3 tbsps. of olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the kale. Remove the think rib from the center of each of the leaves. Cut the leaves into half or thirds to make a nice chip sized piece of kale. Put the kale into a large bowl and top with the olive oil and salt. I had about 8 cups of kale and I used 3 tbsps. of olive oil - you really don't need that much. Toss the kale, olive oil, and salt together so that each leaf is coated. Place the leaves on a tinfoil lined cookie sheet. They can be touching but they shouldn't be overlapping a lot. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are nice and crispy. They can be eaten right away or kept in a plastic bag for a few days.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pan Fried Cod

It was a big weekend in our household this past weekend. We got a puppy! This is Lambeau (yes, named for Lambeau Field!). He is 11 weeks old and we adopted him from Shenandoah Valley Dog Rescue.

 We are not quite sure what breed he is, but he looks like a mix between a golden retriever and some sort of shepherd. All he really does is sleep, but he is too cute.

In food news, I have decided that I am going to eat more seafood. I enjoy sushi but other than that I don't eat a lot of seafood and I don't always enjoy it. However, fish is full of omega-3s and other nutrients that you can't get from a lot of other sources. My fiancĂ© is not a big seafood lover (or eater) so I didn't want to just jump in and eat a tuna steak. I decided to start with a white, flaky fish that isn't super "fishy." We tried Tilapia one night and, since it went over well, the next week decided to try some Atlantic Cod.

FIt Girl Fare Pan Fried Cod

The cod was much different than the tilapia - delicious and still not super fishy. I've read that Atlantic Cod is a great fish to eat. There is a lot of it in the ocean so it is not usually farmed, it has lower levels of mercury, moderate levels of Omega-3s, and my fiance said it was a make-again meal!

Pan Fried Cod
Time: 10 minutes

4 cod filets
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
4 lemon wedges

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Mix the flour and spices together on a plate. Coat the cod filets with the flour mixture. Once the oil is hot, add the cod filets. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the fish is flaky. Squeeze one lemon wedge over each filet and serve immediately.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 13, 2015

Red Lentil Curry

Fit Girl Fare got a nice shout out on The Great Country Farms Newsletter earlier this week. The newsletter mentioned the Brussels Sprouts recipe from a few days ago! For those of you that don't know, Great Country Farms is a working farm about an hour outside of DC in Bluemont, VA. They have a great CSA program and I encourage you all to check them out!

Last week was the fourth Meatless Monday in our household. If I were cooking for just me, I would eat lentils and brown rice every Monday. I'm pretty sure if I cooked like that for all vegetarian meals, my fiancĂ© would order Chinese food instead. However, this past week, I really wanted lentils. So I decided to make an Indian style curry with lentils, sweet potatoes, and coconut milk.

Fit Girl Fare Red Lentil Curry

I don't have a lot of experience with Indian food. It uses some of the same ingredients as other Asian food but it is also very different. I read an article in the Washington Post not too long ago that claimed that the reason Indian food is so different from most other cuisines is because in a single dish you can have a lot of different spices that don't traditionally complement each other. According to the article, when different spices are combined like this, it creates a unique experience for your taste buds.

This curry was delicious. When he first smelled the food cooking, my fiance was convinced that the meal needed chicken. By the time he was finished with his first serving (yes, he went back for seconds!) he was convinced this was a make again meal even without the chicken.

Red Lentil Curry
Serves about 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 onion, finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. curry powder
2 tsps. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup lentils (I used red lentils, you can probably use any kind you want)
1 large sweet potato, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
Brown rice and Greek yogurt for serving

In a heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onion. Saute for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and all of the spices. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes - until the spices are aromatic. Add the lentils and the broth. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point the lentils should be tender. Add the peas and the coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes until the peas are cooked through. Serve over brown rice and top with Greek yogurt.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

When I make Brussels sprouts at home, the best parts are the leaves that fall off during cooking and get super crispy in the oven. There is a restaurant nearby that serves brussels sprout chips. They peel off the leaves and then deep fry them. They are so delicious.

I decided I was going to see if I could get the same crispiness that the deep frying creates by just roasting the individual leaves. I thought that peeling the sprouts would be super time consuming and tedious. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I peeled the whole pound in about 45 minutes with little trouble.

I found it worked best when I cored the sprout. I used a small knife to completely remove the core and the leaves peeled off pretty easily.

Fit Girl Fare Brussels Sprouts

Though they did not turn out as crispy as the deep fried chips, these were just as delicious!

 Crispy Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled up
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Wash and dry the Brussels sprouts. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Then prep the sprouts. You can either halve the sprouts or do like I did and peel off the individual leaves. It's delicious both ways! Put the Brussels sprouts in a bag with the oil and salt and pepper and mix it up until all the sprouts are well coated with oil. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and pour the Brussels sprouts on to it. Pop the sprouts into the oven for about 20-25 minutes. They should be brown and crispy when they are done. Top with the parmesan cheese and bacon.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Quick Vinaigrette

One thing everyone needs is a quick and easy homemade salad dressing recipe. Most store-bought dressings contain a lot of excess fats and sugar. There are also added preservatives to prolong the shelf life. Generally people think that salads are healthy. The truth is that if you lather your salad with store bought dressing it becomes less healthy. Then when you add in croutons and cheese the salad is basically as healthy as a cheeseburger. If I'm going to eat something that is the equivalent to a cheeseburger, I'd like to just eat a cheeseburger!

My grandmother makes the best salad dressing. Even if I use the same ingredients, I can never get my dressing to taste like hers. After many failed attempts of trying to perfect her recipe, I decided I needed to have a go-to recipe of my own. This is a light and easy vinaigrette that goes on almost any kind of salad. It keeps in the fridge for about a week but since it's so fast and most of the ingredients are things you will have on hand, I think it's easier to just throw it together as needed.

Quick Vinaigrette Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon spicy mustard or dijon
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together well. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Note: This recipe is enough dressing for a salad of about 2 hearts of romaine. Luckily, the recipe is easily scaled up!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bacon & Egg Spaghetti

Today was one of those days where I was hungry all day. I felt like I ate constantly throughout the day and yet still came home from work famished. When I get hungry like that it seems like I want to eat everything and yet, at the same time, I can't decide what to eat. It is a struggle. Usually when this happens I force my fiance to order take out or insist that we go out to dinner. Tonight, however, I did not feel like doing either of those things. I wanted something delicious and quick.

Bacon & Egg Spaghetti was one of my favorite things growing up. I will never forget one day when I was probably 6 and I had my best friend over for a sleepover. I told her we were having Bacon & Egg Spaghetti for dinner she looked at me like I was an alien. I mean bacon & eggs with spaghetti? It does sound pretty weird.

Fit Girl Bacon Egg Spahetti

For a long time I thought that this meal was pretty much a lazy person's pasta carbonara. While it may be similar, they are definitely not the same. One thing I like about Bacon & Egg Spaghetti compared to pasta carbonara is that this recipe is much lighter. I am all about volume when it comes to food. I like things that I can eat a lot of without feeling guilty. With this recipe, I can eat 2 big servings without feeling like I have to exercise for an hour to make up for it.

Bacon & Egg Spaghetti
Time: 25 minutes

5 slices of bacon
1 pound of pasta (You can use any kind of pasta you would like. I generally make spaghetti or linguine but I have made it with penne, elbows, and bowties and it is equally delicious)
1 cup frozen peas
3 eggs, whipped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Cut the bacon into small strips and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to get rid of the excess fat.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. During the last 1-2 minutes of cooking time, add the frozen peas. Before you drain the pasta, make sure to reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

While the pasta is cooking, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and then put it back into the pot. Add the eggs and the cheese to the pasta and mix well. You will notice that the egg starts to cook almost right away. Add about 1/2 a cup of the reserved pasta water and stir. Put the lid back on the pot and let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the egg can cook fully.

At this point you can add the rest of the reserved pasta water if it needs it. It should be creamy, but not watery. Add the bacon and the parsley and mix it up. Serve with some more Parmesan cheese on top if desired. Enjoy!

Labels: ,