Category Archives: Sides

Roasted Peppers and Shaved Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Personal Pizzas

Pizza is one of my favorite comfort foods, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy.  For dinner last night I made two personal pizzas from scratch in 30 minutes.

The pizza on the left (above) is one that my mom always made for us as a snack.  The red sauce is substituted with basil pesto, which is then layered with thinly sliced red and yellow sweet peppers.  We use feta cheese because it compliments the pesto.  I’m not exactly sure why to be honest, but I like the creaminess of the cheese with the herb flavors from the pesto.

Recently I have started to slowly go gluten free.  This is not for weight loss, but there are many other health benefits to reducing your gluten intake or going completely off gluten.  This is a highly controversial argument that I do not want to get into now, but for this reason I have substituted a traditional pizza crust with sprouted corn tortillas for both pizzas.  If you love flatbread than this is the move for you.  The crunch is phenomenal.

The pizza on the right (above) was inspired by my newly discovered love of brussels sprouts.  I think this is rather ironic because two months ago I would not touch the stuff.  I mean,  come on, they smell a little on the sulphuric side if you catch my drift (pun intended).

If you’re not a brussels sprouts fan yet, you must try shaving your brussels.  This is a fancy term for slicing them thinly.  I only used about 4-5 brussels because the tortilla is relatively small.  Since brussels sprouts (the “s’s” keep throwing me off) take longer to cook than peppers, I sautéed them in coconut oil over medium-low heat until they were a little brown, about 10 minutes give or take.

I also used pesto for the sauce on this pizza because  I love pesto, and who knew, but brussels taste amazing with pesto.  Here, I layered on the feta cheese before the other toppings because there are no rules when you are making a pizza.  Next, the brussels sprouts go on top.  Try to spread them out as much as possible so they roast in the oven a little more.  That will give the sprouts a nice caramelized look and flavor.

Once you have assembled your pizzas, pop those babies into the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Every oven is different so you will want to look for more brown on your sprouts and softened peppers.  The next time I do this, I think I would roast the peppers a few minutes before assembly because they were not done roasting when the sprouts were, although the pizzas were still both delicious.

The final step is to drizzle the brussels sprouts pizza with a little balsamic, and eat!

If you have any questions about the gluten free diet or options feel free to contact me.  I love a good foodie chat.

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Savory Baked Yams and Roasted Asparagus

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As a full-time college student, sometimes I find myself in a vegetable root.  Between late nights studying in the library and rushing from class to class, I just want comfort food, especially in the depth of a Wisconsin winter.

How exactly do you define “comfort food”?  I would say hot — because it’s about ten degrees outside —   cheesy, creamy and buttery.  Yes that definitely covers it.

What if I told you this dish has all the comfort without the extra fat of traditional cheesy, creamy and buttery foods?

Here is what you need to recreate this comforting winter snack or appetizer:

Baked Yams

  • 1 yam per person
  • Foil

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus per person
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Feta cheese (or preferred topping)

I love looking at a short recipe list, and this dish is as simple as it appears.

  1. Turn the oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the yam to remove dirt and pierce a few times with a fork.  Wrap in foil so the top of the yam is still exposed.  Place the yam on the middle rack.  Set the time for 80 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the white end of the asparagus (by snapping off the hard end) and toss the leftover heads in olive oil.  Arrange the asparagus heads on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. When the yam has about 20 minutes left, put the asparagus in the oven as close to the middle rack as possible (beneath the yams).
  4. Let cool for about ten minutes before serving.
  5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and feta cheese, then serve.

Salmon Burgers with Lemon Risotto

I always love a good burger in the summertime!  There is just something about firing up the grill and flipping a couple patties.  It reminds me of summer cookouts and tailgating with my friends.  One of the great things about burgers is that they are so versatile.  You can use just about any meat and stuff them with whatever your heart desires.  Personally, I’m going through a bit of a seafood phase.  I’ve never actually cooked seafood before, more specifically fish, so I thought I would start with a nice salmon burger.  I’m very pleased with the recipe I found on the internet.  It’s quick, simple and delicious.  Here is the link for Kalyn’s Kitchen “Grilled Fresh Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayonnaise“.  I made a few minor alterations to Kalyn’s recipe:

1.  I replaced the whole wheat breadcrumbs with gluten free breadcrumbs.

2.   I used scallions in place of the chives.

3.  I did not have Sriracha sauce so I substituted it with Frank’s Hot Sauce.

I was able to get about 4 large patties and 2 small patties out of the ground salmon mixture.  I also experimented with the caper mayonnaise and it turned out to be delicious.  I would highly recommend trying it with the salmon burgers.  My only thought is that the saltiness of the capers may be too overwhelming for some people, and next time I think I will put the caper mayonnaise through a food processor so the capers get pureed and more evenly distributed throughout the mayonnaise.

Now, you absolutely cannot have a barbecue without sides.  Potato salad, mashed potatoes, corn, you name it!  And since I was experimenting with the salmon burgers, I decided I may as well continue my experimentation further.  My first thought was what is a good accompaniment for salmon?  I instantly thought of lemon.  I did a little more research on the web, googling salmon and lemon, and I found quite an array of recipes for lemon salmon risotto.  Well I already had the salmon, so I went with the lemon risotto.  Before this occasion, I had never made risotto.  The task seemed daunting and too time consuming.  I am so happy that I rose to the challenge because my lemon risotto turned out beautifully.  It was citrusy and cheesy and everything that I had hoped for.  I used this “Lemon Rosemary Risotto” recipe from cookitaly.com.  Again, I made a few alterations to make the risotto my own:

1.  I used Arborio rice instead of Carnaroli.

2.  I completely forgot the rosemary when I was grocery shopping so I just left that out, and it did not affect the recipe.

3.  I cooked the rice on a lower heat for about 25-30 minutes instead of 18.  It took a little longer for the rice to reach the creamy, risottoesque consistency.  Also, I ran out of vegetable stock so I had to used a little bit of hot water to finish the stirring process.

I am so excited to make risotto again and experiment with different “add-ins” so to speak.  This recipe could probably serve 6-8 people.  Next time, I would love to try the lemon risotto with a simple, grilled salmon filet.  The salmon burger with the caper mayonnaise and the cheesy, lemon risotto was a little rich together for my taste!  However, they were both very delicious experiments.  I especially love the salmon burger because it is such a great way to introduce seafood into your diet.  Fish is so healthy when it is eaten the right way.  If you don’t care for fish or other seafood, try this burger recipe and it might just grow on you.

 

WHO WANTS LEFTOVERS!?

Confession time, I absolutely love leftovers.  You know food is really good when you are excited to eat it the next day and the next.  Well here is one idea of how you can spruce up your leftover salmon burgers: PUT IT IN A SALAD!  For dinner I made a fresh salmon chopped salad.  This was a last minute idea, so I was happy to find an abundance of ingredients in my refrigerator that go great in a salad with salmon.

  1. Iceberg and spinach lettuce
  2. Red onion
  3. Tomato
  4. Avocado
  5. One salmon patty

For the dressing, I just used leftover caper mayonnaise.  It went really well with the avocado and red onion flavors.

On a side note, my mom has this awesome bowl for making chopped salads.  You literally put everything into the bowl and use a cutting tool that resembles a pizza cutter to chop everything together.  This is a lot less work than chopping everything by hand.  I will try and find out where she bought it from.

For breakfast tomorrow, I think I will try eggs benedict with salmon.  Bon appetit!