Tag Archives: Lunch

Veggie Burgers

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There’s nothing I hate more than a cold. This past week was pretty bad health-wise for those of us at the law school. It seemed like all of my friends were sick, and my friend Amanda and I got pretty bad colds.  All of my Vitamin C  consumption just couldn’t stave off the law school germs. It probably didn’t help that I’ve been staying up late doing work for the past week and a half, but what’s done is done. I’m just hoping that I’ve fulfilled my cold quota for the year and that the germs will now leave me alone. What can I say? I’m an optimist sometimes.

After a week of soup, soup, and more soup, I was really craving something hearty last night. I spotted this recipe for vegetarian burger a few days ago on Tastespotting and pinned it within seconds of reading the ingredient list. I love black beans. Black bean soup, black bean salad, black beans burritos. You name it, I will eat it. And I love veggie burgers. I’m always looking for more ways to get in my daily dose of protein, and this was just the ticket. It’s hearty and flavorful, and you can easily adapt it to what’s in your kitchen.

The original recipe calls for quinoa, but I am somehow completely out. So I substituted farro. While the grains normally take 35 to 45 minutes to cook, Trader Joe’s now makes a great ten-minute variety. I am actually obsessed. If you haven’t tried farro yet, you definitely should. It’s nutty and filling, and Oprah has classified it as a health food (so it must be true). All I know is that I feel great eating this whole-grain, and it doesn’t hurt that it tastes fantastic!

Happy eating!

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Winter Kale Salad

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Yesterday was uncharacteristically warm, topping off at over 60 degrees with tons of sunshine and practically no wind. Given that D.C. has been in the 20s and 30s since Inauguration weekend, this random burst of warmth was quite welcome. I wore a dress for the first time in ages and gave my wool coat a break as I opted for a vest.

Don’t get me wrong; I love cold weather. But cold winter days have a tendency to put me in a rut, both wardrobe-wise and foodwise. Not only do I pile on layer upon layer of sweaters and coats, but I also feel like I need hearty, filling food to cope with the season. The problem is that most comfort food consists of rich stews, roasted chickens, and lentil- or bean-filled chili or soup. Needless to say, one gets really sick of eating the “brown” food group most of the time, and yesterday’s weather was the perfect reason to break this habit.

I tried to stick to winter-friendly ingredients–things that you can find in plentitude during the cold season. The crunchy kale pairs well with the bold flavor of blood oranges and the sometimes sharp bites of fennel. Plus, combining blood orange juice with sherry vinaigrette produces a dressing with the perfect amount of tang. And–personal health plug–this salad is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Total win.

So here’s to incorporating color into your winter menu. Happy eating.

** Side note: I’ll post the promised Smitten Kitchen side dish on Friday. I just thought the weather called for a salad post!

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Tortellini Pesto Salad

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Remember that time I had a food blog that got put on the back burner first during exams and then while I let my mother feed me over break? Yeah, I do. Sorry ’bout that. Blogger fail. BUT one of resolutions this year is to be better about blogging. That and keeping my “to do” lists organized in a Moleskine journal. Oh, and to pack my lunch more often. Don’t worry, I have already put all of these on a “to do” list.

Anyway, let’s work on two of those, shall we? Today, I bring you a tortellini salad that takes about as long to make as it does to boil some pasta. It features some colorful vegetables–which I think is what most people are hoping to add to their diet around this time of year. The best part, however, is that this salad incorporates my favorite condiment at the moment: red pesto. Made from sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, and some quality olive oil, I first fell in love with it while studying abroad and rediscovered it after picking up a jar from Eataly this past summer. My friend Amanda was kind enough to replenish my stock and to grab a jar of my favorite brand on her last trip to NYC (I have the greatest friends ever). I have yet to make my own, but something tells me that attempt is right down the road.

Happy Eating!

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Individual Turkey Pot Pies

So Turkey Day is officially over. Thanksgiving at my mom’s house is filled with tons of turkey, plenty of sides, and a whole bunch of family. This year, Liz and I took over the cooking in an attempt to give our mom a break (naturally, this resulted in her spending the day cleaning. We fail). I wound up on turkey duty, recreating the Lemony Brined Turkey that has become a staple at the annual law school Friendsgiving, and the two of us split the sides.

Needless to say, like most people, we always wind up with too much leftover turkey. So what’s a girl, who doesn’t really like turkey, to do? After Friendsgiving this year, I decided to give my leftover turkey some new life in the form of mini pot pies that I froze to make a quick meal during the impending exam season.

The recipe for the filling is inspired by the one used by my friend Sarah. If you have time, you should definitely make your own crust. If not, however, the pre-made refrigerated variety works just fine. Hope you all had a great holiday. Happy eating!

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Snacktime: Roasted Squash Seeds & Eggplant “Fries”

I’ve been doing a lot of researching and writing these days, so, naturally, this mandates an appropriate amount of snacking. These are my latest go-to snacks. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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Incredibly Easy Tomato Sauce

This is my go-to quick sauce recipe, or, as I like to call it, “weeknight sauce.” It goes on pasta. It goes on pizza. It sometimes gets used in eggplant parm. Prep takes roughly 5 minutes. Cooking averages 15 to 20. You can adjust anything and everything to suit your taste, and it can be multiplied easily to serve a crowd. It’s got a bit of a spicy kick, but feel free to tone down the heat. If you prefer your sauce to be slightly chunkier (as I did for my pizza), don’t cook the fresh tomatoes for quite as long–only about 2 to 3 minutes–or add them in with the canned tomatoes and wine. If you plan on freezing some, leave out the fresh basil.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (I use a mix of rosemary, oregano, parsley, and basil)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 scant tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ to ½ cup red wine (For some inexplicable reason, I always think this tastes best with Malbec)
  • Salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil

Directions:

  • In a medium pot, heat your olive oil until shimmering over medium heat.
  • Add in the onions and garlic and cook until just starting to soften.
  • Add the tomato paste and about half of the dried spices. Stir to coat the onions and garlic and cook about 1 minute so that the tomato paste loses its raw flavor.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes. Cook three to five minutes until softened and starting to disintegrate.
  • Add the remaining spices, the canned tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, and the wine. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in some freshly torn basil.
  • Serve warm.

Makes about 2 cups.


Napoletana Pizza

NOTE: The pizza dough HAS to rise overnight–plan ahead!

I love pizza. Then again, show me a person who doesn’t. Actually, don’t. That’s depressing. Aside from it’s amazing flavor and versatility, my absolute favorite thing about pizza is the crust. I am incredibly picky about pizza crust. It needs to have a crisp bottom with a decent amount of chew–but not so much chew that the dough gets to be more soft than crisp. Am I making any sense? I’m probably not making any sense. I’ve tried my fair share of pizza dough recipes but none of them have even come close to replicating the kind of crust that I salivate over.

Until now.

I first saw this recipe on 101 Cookbooks about two years ago (if you don’t read that blog already, go read it. It’s fantastic), but set my heart on making it early last year. I went to the store, bought some yeast, got more flour, and thought I was ready to go–until I realized I had no large food-safe plastic bags. I finally managed to procure some over a weekend at home and came back to my apartment, ready to cook—only to discover what was to be the beginning of the great cockroach and mouse infestation. Needless to say, my cooking plans were shot.

So here I am, 1 year later, in a new apartment, finally making this pizza. Is it sad that I am bouncing in excitement right now? It is so good. I don’t even have a pizza stone, and I am obsessed with it. While this might not be instant gratification pizza, it is worth every stinking moment of anticipation. Here’s to pizza. Here’s to cooking. Here’s to having another slice. Happy eating!

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Chicken Noodle Soup

So, once again, I survived finals. I think all of us were just stunned at what a difference being “done” makes. It’s incredibly what finals does to my peers and me. I never feel more neurotic than during finals season. I literally go through Post-it flags/tabs like it’s my job. As our final exams approached, it became increasingly evident that we hadn’t really learned much in a couple of our courses, and it was pretty hilarious to see the level of freakout coupled with the hopelessnes-turned-to-apathy that characterized our study sessions. Whatever it is, exams are over, and I have never been happier to say I am done with the school year! I’ve moved on to my internship–another reason for my absence–which promises to be both interesting and a lot of work. Here’s to a productive summer!

Anyway, DC weather, as usual, was pretty gross throughout the end of the semester. The only thing more depressing than studying for exams has to be studying for exams when it is rainy outside. Makes it doubly depressing. As a result, I found myself craving  soup.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of chicken soup–mostly because I feel like you tend to get a lot of broth, a lot of noodles, and not much else. But my friend Merey has a recipe to die for. It’s incredibly simple and full of flavor. And it’s perfect for blustery, rainy days.

Here’s hoping you find as much comfort in this as I did during exams. Happy eating!

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Things I Love: Bolthouse Farms Caesar Salad Dressing

I know. I know. This is not a recipe. Apologies. I swear I cook. I made a pretty kickass chicken noodle soup Sunday night that I intend to share with y’all this weekend (post-exams). In the meantime, please put up with me raving like a madwoman about things I adore.

Today, I bring you the greatest salad dressing to cross my path in a really long time. For those of you who know me well, you are probably aware that I’m not much of a salad dressing person. That’s right folks. Yours truly can eat an undressed salad. I just feel like a lot of dressings detract from the taste of the vegetables. I have been told this makes me more similar to a cow than the average human, but I don’t like my salad to taste “heavy.” When I do dress my salads (which, admittedly, I do more now than I did a year or two ago), I tend to make my own vinaigrette and use just enough to coat the leaves.

But every so often, I want a Caesar salad. The problem is that most Caesar dressings tend to weigh down the greens. Plus, if you check out the ingredients list and nutrition panel on most of those things…well, you might as well not eat the salad.

My friend Sarah suggested Bolthouse Farm’s Caesar Parmigiano Salad Dressing to me a while back, and I finally decided to try it a couple of weeks ago. I am OBSESSED. Here’s why:

  1. It’s made with yogurt.
  2. What does this mean for us salad-eaters? Lower calories! There are only 45! In 2 tbsp!!!!!!! That goes a LONG way.
  3. It’s tangy! The slightly “sour” flavor of the yogurt cuts through the density of a traditional Caesar and pairs really well with the crisp Romaine.
  4. It works as a great marinade for chicken (life lesson from my mother: marinating chicken in yogurt makes it extra soft and juicy when cooked).
  5. Most salad haters like the taste of Caesar dressing–so it’s good for a crowd.
  6. It has parm in it–so you don’t need to add any extra (though, if you are me, you’ll throw in half a tablespoon for the heck of it).
  7. Did I mention that it’s 45 calories?

Anyway, that’s my rave. Also, consider putting fresh thyme in your salads. My friend Caroline suggested this. Tried it once, never gone back.

The end. Happy law school finals week everyone!!!!

P.S. As per usual, reviews are not endorsed. This is just the result of me, hopped up on finals, enjoying a salad.


Simple Food: Greens & Eggs

We have snow! We have snow! All right, I admit it. We have a mere sprinkling, but it’s still SOMETHING. I was starting to think that the District would go an entire season without some snow that sticks! Needless to say, the streets and Metro are a mess whenever we get a dusting in D.C. so I am happily sticking around my apartment today and avoiding the cold and wet outdoors.

Breakfast and brunch are by far my favorite meals. I sometimes think that I could live off of pancakes, french toast, and biscuits. But that doesn’t exactly make for the the healthiest diet and, sometimes, you just don’t want all those carbs. As of late, I’ve been favoring brunches that mix my favorite elements of breakfast with my other favorite food group–vegetables. Today’s recipe is one that I make whenever I have a bit of time to cook, and I’m craving something fresh tasting. The sweetness of the vegetables pairs perfectly with just a tiny shaving of parmesan cheese and a runny egg. Very few things top egg yolk for a dressing/sauce, and this breakfast is a combination of simple flavors that I simply love.

Happy eating! Enjoy the snow 🙂

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