Quick Roasted Green Beans

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A healthy and tasty side dish that goes from the fridge to the table in under 30 minutes. 

Hi there! It’s been a while, I know. This is a super busy time of year at work, and by the time I get home, make dinner, work out (0n a good day), shower and clean up…I’m ready for bed. But! I’m still cooking and coming up with lots of fun ideas to share, so stay tuned.

This recipe for oven roasted green beans has been a life saver over the past few busy busy busy months. It’s not often that I will finish my veggies before anything else on my plate (I’m looking at you, carbs), but these green beans are just so.darn.tasty. They are roasted at a high, but not too high, temperature for 20-30 minutes. This is longer than you might think a skinny old green bean needs to cook through, but the extra time in the oven makes the magic happen. No sad, soggy green beans here. They emerge from the oven toasted, nutty, crispy and (my personal preference) just south of burnt. If fruit is at its’ ripest right before it goes bad, these green beans are at their most delicious just before they burn. But fear not. There’s plenty of water in fresh green beans, so they will not go up in smoke while you’re busy tending to the rest of dinner. You’ve got a little wiggle room here. Like I said, a life saver.

I’ve been making a conscious effort over the past few months to eat a more wholesome diet, and this recipe has played an integral part. On Sunday afternoons, I’ll roast a pan of these, a pan of diced sweet potatoes and a bunch of seasoned chicken breasts to have for lunch throughout the week. On a busy weeknight, I can prep them and toss them in the oven in the time it takes to grill some turkey sausage or some other protein. And I have no shame in eating them cold straight out of the fridge. Green beans as snack food = a win.

img_7859To prepare these quick roasted green beans, you’ll need a pound of fresh green beans. If they are thick and the ends tough, trim them. I’ve been buying “French beans” at Costco and find that the ends are perfectly fine as they are. I like to line a half sheet pan with foil for easy clean up. Place the green beans on the pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw in some garlic powder if you’re feeling crazy. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the beans. Toss once halfway through cooking and remove from the oven when they have become browned and crispy in spots. Of course, you can cook them as long as you like, but I really do urge you to cook until well browned. If you’d like, you can finish with lemon zest or juice, or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. One final note- if making extra for meal prep, I would use two half sheet pans, as overcrowding the beans will make it hard for them to brown.

 

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You’d better believe I ate that whole bowl as soon as I finished taking pictures. 🙂

Quick Roasted Green Beans

A healthy and tasty side dish that goes from fridge to table in 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb green beans, cleaned and trimmed, if necessary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425. Place green beans on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle oil over green beans and add salt and pepper. Toss until green beans are evenly coated with oil. Spread green beans in single layer.

Roast green beans in oven 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway through. The green beans are done when they are browned and slightly charred. Don’t be tempted to take them out too early- the magic happens when they start to brown.

Serves 3-4

Bacon, Kale and Mushroom Frittata

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A healthy, Paleo friendly frittata that makes a perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings. 

The most challenging part of my 30 day Paleo adventure (you can read more about it here) is that most convenience/take-out foods are no longer options. This means I’m cooking, or planning what to cook, all.the.time. Breakfast bars, yogurt, sandwiches, pasta and pizza are out (sigh), so that means lots of chopping, peeling, slicing and dicing. Which I generally enjoy, but can require time I just don’t have. Especially in the morning. Tired of my little portion of nuts and a piece of fruit, I decided to make a healthy and hearty frittata this weekend to have for quick breakfasts during the week. A warm breakfast on a hurried weekday morning just makes me feel…better. And serves as a nice reminder that slow mornings over extra coffee are around the corner.

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Of course, frittatas can be made with whatever vegetables and meat  you have sitting in the fridge. This time around, I took advantage of the fact that bacon is a Paleo approved food and paired it with meaty sautéed mushrooms, earthy kale and sweet caramelized shallots. I prefer the veggies in my frittata to have a little color on them, so there is some time spent here stirring the shallots and mushrooms as they brown. However, this is pretty mindless work that can be done while  you tidy up the kitchen, prep other meals or simply read a magazine at the counter. The method for a frittata is simple- cook your meat and veggies as desired, scramble some eggs and pour them into the hot skillet. As soon as the eggs on the bottom start to set, transfer the frittata to a pre-heated oven to cook through. Once the frittata is cooked through, run a spatula around the skillet and under the bottom of the frittata to release it from the pan, then transfer to a cutting board and slice into wedges.

While I prepared this frittata as a make ahead weekday breakfast, it would also be a wonderful addition to a weekend brunch. Cheese is not on the list of Paleo approved foods, so I left it out this time. In the future, and definitely for a brunch, I think some goat cheese, gruyere or even parmesan would be totally delicious here. And don’t limit yourself to breakfast- served alongside a salad, this frittata would make a light and delicious lunch or dinner!

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Bacon, Kale and Mushroom Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini (or white) mushrooms
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 cups lacinato kale, chopped
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk eggs with water, salt and pepper until well blended and set aside.

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium high heat. Add bacon to skillet and cook until crisp, 10-12 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon and pour off all but 1 Tbsp of bacon fat. Return skillet with reserved fat to heat and add mushrooms and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and shallots have browned, about 1o minutes, adding a small amount of reserved bacon fat if the skillet seems especially dry. Add kale to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes, until softened and slightly wilted. Add bacon back to skillet and pour eggs over all ingredients. When the bottom of the eggs starts to set, about a minute, transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes until eggs are cooked through and frittata is slightly puffy.

When skillet is removed from oven, place an oven mitt or piece of foil on the handle as a visual reminder that it is hot (you only make that mistake once…) Run a silicone spatula around the sides of the skillet and under the frittata, to loosen it from the pan. Carefully slide frittata from skillet onto cutting board and cut into 8 pieces.

Serves 8.

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” are a low carb, Paleo friendly substitute to traditional mashed potatoes.

Like many people, I’m making a conscious effort this month to eat healthfully to try to undo some of the (fun, delicious and very festive) damage done over the holiday season. My husband Justin proposed that we do a 30 day Paleo challenge. I’ve always been reluctant to try a restrictive diet plan because my favorite foods fall within the 4 Cs: cheese, carbs, cookies and champagne. However, after partaking in those foods a little too readily over the past few months, I decided I was up for the Paleo challenge. Especially if Justin and I would be suffering through our cravings together.

Reader, you know where this is going. Hubby made it all the way to day 4 until he texted me a picture of the candy bar he picked up on his way home from work (he’s asked me to clarify that it was a Nutrageous- apparently that explains everything.) He also had not one, not two, but THREE pieces of cake at his dad’s birthday dinner last week and has been helping himself to dessert after every meal. Has anyone ever heard of breakfast dessert?

So. I’m kind of on my own now on this whole Paleo challenge. Surprisingly it hasn’t been so bad. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I was sick for the first ten plus days without much of an appetite, so I wasn’t able to miss my favorite non-Paleo foods. Since I’ve been feeling better I’ve been surprisingly satisfied and have not had any killer cravings. Needless to say, I have no intention of eating a solely Paleo style diet long term (I need my 4 Cs!), but the challenge is a good opportunity to evaluate my eating habits and to focus on making lean proteins, fruits and vegetables the building blocks of my diet.

This challenge has also been an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone in terms of meal planning and daily cooking. Normally I will make mashed potatoes once a week as a quick and tasty side. My very favorite mashed potatoes, while heavenly, are chock full of Paleo verboten ingredients such as cream, cream cheese  and butter. We’ve all seen the faux cauliflower mashed potatoes all over Pinterest and I’ve always been a skeptic. Cauliflower has always struck me as bland and…blah. Can a whir in the food processor really turn ho hum cauliflower into something that can really satisfy a comfort food craving? Over the past couple of weeks I’ve discovered that, YES, it certainly can. I can truly say that I do not miss the potatoes or decadent dairy when preparing cauliflower with this recipe. They are light and airy, creamy and flavorful. I’m a believer.

There are a few tips to ensure your cauliflower mash turns out perfectly. First, make sure that you boil the cauliflower until thoroughly tender. No al dente veggies here. Next, you want to drain it well to ensure excess moisture does not stick around. Once it’s been drained, I toss the cauliflower back into the pot in which it boiled so excess moisture can evaporate in the heat of the pot. You also want to puree the cauliflower in the food processor until completely smooth. You don’t want to see any little cauli trees in your puree. Finally, and most importantly, you need to add flavor. I add a head of roasted garlic and a couple of tablespoons of rich and fruity extra virgin olive oil. The resulting mashed cauliflower is smooth, delicious and surprisingly creamy.

I’ve served this as a side multiple times already this month. You already know I love it, but what about Mr. Paleo Quitter? These are a home run with him, too.

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to  350. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, so that the tops of all cloves are exposed. Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle salt over garlic. Fold foil over garlic to create a sealed pouch. Place foil on baking sheet and cook in oven about an hour, until garlic is soft and lightly browned. When done, remove garlic from foil and set aside until cool enough to handle.

While garlic is roasting, place cauliflower florets into large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and boil cauliflower until very tender, when a knife slides in and out with no resistance, about 20 minutes. When cauliflower is tender, drain in strainer and shake to remove excess moisture. Place florets back into hot pot and stir, allowing the heat of the pot to evaporate additional moisture.

Transfer cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves from head of garlic, taking care not to get any garlic skin into bowl. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, remaining salt and pepper. Process in food processor until cauliflower and garlic are very smooth, about a minute. Transfer cauliflower to serving bowl and drizzle remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over top.

Serves 4

Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Well hi, strangers! How is the holiday season treating you? If your days are anything like mine, it’s been a whirlwind so far. But a lovely, twinkly, holly jolly whirlwind. This time of year it’s a challenge to eat healthfully. Between parties and preparation, cookies and cocktails, it’s very tempting to say “to heck with it”, indulge with abandon and vow to do better in the new year. The problem with that strategy, of course, is that we wind up feeling a little…less than stellar during December. And in a month where we’re more likely to see old friends and family than any other, it would be nice to feel (and look) our best. Luckily, wholesome meals can easily fit into this busy holiday season. This Super Simple Skillet Shrimp is ready in a flash and is so tasty and filling you may just find the willpower to say no to the cookie tray.

Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Over the past year I’ve come to favor shrimp as my go-to salad protein. It cooks quickly and seems more inspired than plain old grilled chicken. This method has become my favorite way to prepare it. Four simple ingredients- shrimp, salt, pepper and butter, are all it takes. Since shrimp is so lean, I splurge by cooking it in a little butter. The butter solids brown and stick to the shrimp, creating a delicious crust. You’ll swear that there’s more going on, but I promise, it’s that easy. Your protein will be done within 10 minutes total and ready for whatever you have planned- salad, pasta or platter. I like to make a big batch on Sunday to put on salads throughout the week. Lunches at my desk are not quite as sad when I have yummy, and healthy, shrimp salad to look forward to.

As always, a couple of tips to make sure you get the best result: Make sure the shrimp is dry when you put it in the pan- you don’t want any residual moisture when you put it in the skillet. The yummiest part of this recipe are the brown bits of butter stuck to the shrimp and those won’t develop if your shrimp is wet. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Next, allow the butter to sizzle before putting the shrimp in the pan. The shrimp cook super fast, so if you don’t let the butter come up to temp before placing the shrimp in the pan, you won’t get those delightful browned bits. Finally, allow adequate space between shrimp while cooking. You don’t want them on top of one another. If needed, you can do it in two batches and add a tiny pat more butter if the skillet looks dry. It cooks quickly enough that the first batch will stay warm while you cook the second.

How are your preparations for the holiday going? I’ll be sharing some cookies and indulgent recipes in the coming weeks. Please let me know if you have any requests! My Grandma’s Anise Italian Cookies are always a must have. Happy Holidays, guys!

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Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp, patted dry with paper towels
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

Make sure shrimp is thoroughly dry by patting with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the shrimp.

In large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Once sizzling, add shrimp in single layer, being sure to allow adequate room between shrimp. Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes, until pink on one side and butter solids have browned and stuck to shrimp. Flip shrimp and cook an additional minute. Shrimp may be cooked in batches if your skillet is not large enough to cook them all at once.

Serves 3-4.

Super Simple Skillet Shrimp

Shredded Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

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AKA trendy vegetable salad. Kale and Brussels Sprouts have become quite the happening veggies in the past few years. Which is awesome, to be sure. As long as they are treated correctly. There’s a reason that these two nutritional superstars were relegated to garnish and grandma status for so long. When not prepared well, they can be pretty….blech. Maybe SNL said it best:

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Yeah. When treated carelessly, both brussels sprouts and kale can be repulsive. But when treated properly, they are such a treat. I’ll let you guess which route we’re going today.

I’ve only really been turned on to brussels sprouts in the past few years. I was fortunate to never have experienced the sulfurous stink of improperly cooked sprouts in my youth, but that is mostly because we didn’t eat them at all (maybe my mom had lingering memories of bad brussels sprouts past.) Roasted, almost charred brussels sprouts have thankfully been my gateway, and I’ve been head over heels ever since. Raw, shredded brussels sprouts take a little leap of faith but are so worth it. In this salad, they’re sliced super thin, courtesy of a food processor or a very sharp knife and steady hand. Tossed with kale, our other veggie du jour, they form a hearty and nutritious base for a delicious fall salad.

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Since we start with a super healthy base, we can obviously indulge ourselves a little, right? Sure we can. We’ll crisp up a few thinly sliced shallots in olive oil, toast some nutty pumpkin seeds and sprinkle some tangy blue cheese over top. Sweet cranberries and chopped apples top off the tasty additions. And we’re not done yet. Such a delightful salad deserves a yummy homemade dressing, no? Mix together some apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, almond butter, dijon mustard and maple syrup and OMG. A variation on this dressing has been my go-to for fall and winter salads ever since I tried Kristin’s version over at Iowa Girl Eats. SO delish. I promise it is worth tossing all of these ingredients into a mason jar and shake, shake, shaking to your heart’s content. Almost as easy as store bought but a thousand times more tasty.

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A few tips to make this salad as wonderful as possible: First, when trimming the root end of the sprouts, be sure to get all of the tough, woody part from the bottom where the sprout connects to the stalk. Even when shredded it can be somewhat tough, so take care of it at the outset. Next, toss the chopped apple with some lemon juice so that it stays crisp and doesn’t brown. Finally, if you won’t be eating the whole salad at one meal, don’t dress the whole thing. The sprouts and kale can wilt a bit once left in the dressing for a significant period of time (we’re talking like a day) so it’s worthwhile to dress each serving individually if you’ll consume over a few days. Oh, and maybe double the dressing recipe. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a way to use it.

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Shredded Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, tough outer leaves removed and thinly shredded, either with food processor or sharp knife
  • 2 cups chopped kale ( I used lacinato)
  • 1 apple, diced and tossed with the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp then chopped
  • 3-4 shallots, thinly sliced (or 2 very large shallots)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Almond Cider Dressing:
    • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 Tbsp almond butter
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
    • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Prepare dressing: in mason jar add dressing ingredients and shake until thoroughly combined.

Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. When oil shimmers, add shallot and fry 3-4 minutes, until golden and crisp. Remove shallots to bowl lined with paper towels.

In large bowl, combine brussels sprouts, kale, apple, bacon, shallots, blue cheese, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. Add dressing and toss to combine. If you will be eating the  salad over a few days, dress each serving as eaten.

Serves 4.