Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese


I always see recipes for these healthier versions of dishes that are made with things like pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, etc, and I find myself skipping over them more often than not because I haven’t enjoyed those ingredients in the past.  I love pumpkin in desserts though.  The funny thing is, though, that I really WANT to like those things because they just scream Fall to me, and they are pretty healthy obviously.  I kept telling myself I just had to find the right dish for me, and this dish proved that theory!

I had no idea what to expect, whether it would taste like pumpkin and just have that cheesy texture, or if the pumpkin flavor would disappear all together like certain other alternative ingredients.  The answer is that it falls somewhere in between.  I could taste the pumpkin, but with the marscapone, garlic, onions and sage it takes on a somewhat sweet quality that takes it far enough away from that raw pumpkin taste that I really enjoyed it.  Texturally it reminded me a lot of mac ‘n cheese, but if you are hoping for that really cheesy flavor this may fall a little short.  Personally I am not a big fan of boxed mac ‘n cheese, and prefer more “grown-up” versions anyway with a variety of flavors and cheeses so I did not find it lacking at all.  Visually it definitely resembles traditional Mac ‘n Cheese.

To make more of a meal out of this I threw in some pan-fried chicken sausages and frozen peas.  I think mine were an Italian variety, but I can’t remember now that I have thrown out the package.  I imagine many of the different varieties available out there will work with this based on your tastes though.  The same goes for the peas.  You could use whatever vegetable you like, just be sure to allow for some cooking time if you are using something other than peas (I just threw them in frozen and the heat of the dish softened them up enough).

One side note…. the recipe calls for grated parmesan cheese, but I am fairly certain they meant the shredded variety.  I HATE when a recipe calls for grated and I get the powder because that’s what it’s called only to realize later they meant shredded.  It doesn’t matter that much in terms of flavor, but sometimes it does in terms of texture.  For this I just added some of it to the sauce as it heated, and then topped with a little more of the powder.

Anyway, both Jeff and I agreed this was a great dish and that we would make it again.  If you have kids that eat real food they would probably like this as well.

Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese

Serves : 4-5

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/4 cup marscapone cheese (I added about 1 T. more)
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 12 oz. whole wheat pasta (something with ridges will catch the sauce best)

Directions :

  1. In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and sage and saute until the onions are translucent.
  3. In a blender, combine the pumpkin puree and cooked onions, garlic and sage, and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the blended mixture into a saucepan and heat through.
  5. While the sauce is heating, cook pasta according to package directions.
  6. Add the mascarpone and parmesan to the pumpkin sauce and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Drain the pasta once al dente, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water.
  8. Place the drained pasta back into the pot and add the pumpkin sauce, stirring until all the pasta is coated. Add pasta water if necessary to thin out the sauce.
  9. Any add-ins should be mixed in next – I sauteed chicken apple sausages and added frozen peas to give a little more substance.
  10. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and devour.

Recipe from Bites N Brews

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Greek Chickpea Salad


I had this one up on the menu for over a week.  Each time I planned to make it something came up and it got pushed back.  That entire time Jeff complained about how he would never eat something like that, and how gross it sounded.  I decided to compromise and allow him to order something the night I finally  made it to go along with it from a local Greek restaurant.  I instructed him to get some falafel or maybe a gyro or something.  He ended up getting gyros, falafel, pita and hummus, and buffalo calamari!  Obviously a full meal in itself and thus we didn’t eat much of the salad I made that night because we didn’t want to waste the other stuff.  I honestly think that was his plan all along.

However, we did both try it.  I thought it was great, and full of flavor.  He hesitantly admitted that he also thought it was pretty good.  I ended up eating it the next day for lunch and WOW!  It was even better, as the flavors had plenty of time to marry over night.  This could seriously become one of my new favorite things to make because you can make it ahead, and eat it for days.  I also think it would be the perfect thing for a potluck or dinner party, but I would suggest maybe making it the day before just so it can get better like mine did.

I really didn’t change anything in the recipe, but I may have used a little more garlic than was called for.  I also didn’t have fresh rosemary so used dried.  I eye balled most of the ingredients so I may have been a bit generous with some of them, but that’s what I like about dishes like these.  You really can’t go wrong.  I especially loved the dressing for this.  This is not one to pass up!

 

Greek Chickpea Salad

Makes 2 lunches or 6 smaller side dish servings.

Ingredients :

  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped (I used grape tomatoes and squeezed out the seeds)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3 – 4 T. olive oil (I think I used 3)
  • juice of 1 lemon (I threw in the zest as well)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic paste (I made a paste with about 3-4 cloves and a little coarse salt)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. rosemary, finely minced and to taste)
  • feta cheese (optional)

Directions :

  1. In a medium sized bowl, toss together the chickpeas, cucumber, tomato, red onion, parsley, and kalamata olives,  In a separate bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic paste, salt, pepper and rosemary.  Taste the dressing and correct your seasonings.  Be aware that fresh rosemary can easily overpower a dish.  Add the dressing to the garbanzo mixture.  Mix lightly.  Top with optional feta cheese.

Recipe from Feral Kitchen

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Spinach & Prosciutto Frittata


Frittatas are one of those magical things that look gorgeous, taste great, and are SO versatile.  You can seriously use just about anything you want in them making it the perfect dish to use up leftover produce, meat, cheese, etc.  They also take little effort, most come together quickly, and they serve a lot of people.  All you need is an oven safe skillet, but even that is just ideal.  You could get away with making these in cake pans, pie dishes, casserole dishes, or whatever you want.  It just looks more impressive in the skillet, and saves a few steps/dishes.  I actually have been meaning to try this for a long time …. kind of shocking that I haven’t actually other than a mini version in a muffin pan …. but I was waiting until I had a cast iron skillet.  And well… now I do!

I didn’t really follow any one recipe for mine.  I looked at a few for inspiration and to get an idea of the egg to cream ratio, as well as the cook times, but after that I just winged it so to speak and put whatever I wanted in it.  It turned out pretty dang good, but I think next time I would put even more of some of the ingredients in.  I just hadn’t wanted to over-do it and have it not turn out.  Now that I know it can hold more I won’t be shy.  Since I did wing it I am going to give pretty close estimations of what I used, but I encourage you to adjust to your tastes or if you want to play it safe like me for the first time use what I put down.

I said frittatas come together quickly most of the time, and that is true, but with these particular ingredients there are a couple more steps.  You might be tempted to take a shortcut and try cooking some of them together, but I think you might run into issues if you do, so I suggest just taking the time to do each separate and do them well.  I promise it sounds like more work than it really is.  As I mentioned I used a cast iron skillet and most of the recipes I read through suggested the same, as I think it does best with the sticking factor.  Also many suggested butter as a greasing agent to really be sure it won’t stick and who am I to argue.  If you want those perfect slices of frittata that look so impressive you can handle the little bit of extra fat/calories.

Anyway, I would call my first frittata a major success and you can be sure I will be trying other variations in the future and I imagine many of them will make it on here, so be on the look out!

Spinach & Prosciutto Frittata

Serves : 4-8 (4 for like a dinner, or 8 for like a brunch)

Ingredients :

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cream (you can use milk, but the cream really makes it good!)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (you won’t need much salt because of the prosciutto and cheese so go light to start and you can always season at the table)
  • 3 oz. package prosciutto, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (basically two large handfuls, it really cooks down)
  • 5-6 crimini mushrooms (I think I would use a couple more next time)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cups grated gruyere
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan (a large grate as opposed to a fine grate)
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced (I would use a little more next time)
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded (I would use a few more of these too)
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade (basically roll them up cigar style, and slice them into thin strips)
  • 2-3 T. butter, divided

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet heat a small bit of olive oil over medium-high heat, and cook your chopped prosciutto until crispy.  Remove and place on a paper towel to drain the grease. 
  3. Next put about 1 T. of the butter into the skillet and saute your mushrooms over a medium high heat.  To really get some nice color don’t overcrowd the skillet and let them sit for a minute before you try to move them around.  When they are just about perfectly golden throw in the garlic just to take the bitter edge off and let it get fragrant.  Remove to a bowl.
  4. Wipe out any leftover bits, then place your skillet back on a medium heat and throw in your spinach.  Cook it just until it wilts down and then remove it and let cool for a few minutes.  Once cool wring all the moisture out that you can and roughly chop it.
  5. While the spinach is cooling whisk together eggs, cream, baking powder, and salt and pepper.  Let sit for about 5-7 minutes as you finish preparations.
  6. Once you have all your ingredients ready to go, heat the skillet back up over medium-low heat and run the rest of your butter around the sides, and bottom.  Pour in your eggs, and after a minute or so start sprinkling in your basil, prosciutto, mushrooms, and spinach.  Then spread the cheese evenly over and sort of press it down a little so it sinks into the eggs, which should be slowly starting to set up ever so slightly.  Spread around your olives, and tomatoes taking care to make it look pretty of course.  Once the eggs starts to firm up a bit around the edges place your skillet into the preheated oven and bake for about 5-10 minutes until fully set.  You will know this  has occurred when there is not wiggle left in the center when you lightly shake the skillet. 
  7. Turn on the broiler and allow the top to ever so slightly start to brown before removing from oven.  Let it sit for a minute or two and loosen the edges before you try to cut it and carefully remove your slices to serve.

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Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo


A title that seemingly defies the laws of physics!  We’re all familiar with the amazingness that is Alfredo.  And most of us are also painfully aware of how bad it is for you.  I can still remember the first time I made it at home and how shocked I was to find out the particular recipe (which is right up there with the best I have ever had btw) called for not one, but TWO sticks of butter, a TON of parmesan and cream.  It’s no wonder it tastes so good!  After that day I vowed to find a more guilt-free, or least less guilty version to satisfy that craving.  I actually have found some rather great alfredos, that are indeed lower in fat or calories, but far from “healthy”…… until today that is!

I won’t sit here and try to tell you this tastes as good as the full fat, cheesy, creamy version… that would be ludicrous.  I can however, in all honesty, tell you that this recipe definitely delivers on the creamy factor and the taste is surprisingly much closer to actual alfredo than you would imagine.  In case you haven’t figured out my dirty secret by now, this recipe is made with a cauliflower based sauce.  You do get that hint of cauliflower in your bite, but the texture is so rich and creamy and the garlic masks a lot of the veggie taste.  It’s not perfectly smooth like some alfredo sauces, but then again, neither are some of the other low fat versions I have tried.  For a person who is quite picky about textures I found it not only NOT bothersome, but pleasant in it’s texture.  I did cheat just a little and added some fresh grated parmesan to the sauce, in part because I had it and didn’t want it to got to waste, but also because I admit I was a doubter and couldn’t imagine alfredo without parmesan.  I only added a little… probably not even enough to notice, but I think it could be a good addition nonetheless.  It certainly didn’t take away from it in any way.

The recipe comes from a blogger in the Philippines, and there seems to be some difference in our produce from what they have over there.  So her estimation of using three small heads of cauliflower was a bit tricky to figure out.  I ended up going with about 1 2/3 heads of cauliflower, and the heads were just your average size I’d say.  I only had one box of vegetable broth on hand, which is 4 cups, but that seemed to be just enough to cover my cauliflower, which I assumed was the point since you only use about 2 cups of it later anyway.  I ended up with almost exactly that amount after the cooking process.  Unlike the recipe I was following I didn’t see a need to add any of the pasta water to my sauce, so I would just make that call when you get to that point on whether you think it is necessary or not.  The other thing I did differently was in my haste to get dinner on started and while struggling to keep my youngest out of the way I used the olive oil while sauteing the garlic and skipped the butter altogether.  I didn’t go ahead and add any extra olive oil in the blending and didn’t have any problems.  I used a food processor to blend mine which worked very well.

I took a few extra pictures of this particular dish in an attempt to prove to you how good it really was by how beautiful the sauce looked both in the skillet and on the pasta.  If someone had not told you it was cauliflower you honestly might not have figured it out.  The recipe included a nutritional calculation, and though I imagine it could vary slightly depending on ingredients used and measurements being exact, the calorie count was at only 316 calories a serving, and fat was a measly 5 g.!!!  Finally alfredo you can enjoy without the guilt!

Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves : 8          Time to make : 30 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 3 small heads of cauliflower (I used 1 2/3 heads, see note above)
  • 1 lb. uncooked fettuccine noodles
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I found 4 cups to be enough)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup starchy pasta water (see note above, I didn’t need to use any of this in mine)
  • Fresh grated parmesan (this wasn’t included in original, but is something I added, and I would just add however much you like)

Direction :

  1. Chop the cauliflower.  Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium high heat and add cauliflower.  Cook until cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes.  The softer it is, the smoother your sauce will turn out.  Meanwhile melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.  (4-5 minutes seems like a long time to me for garlic so I just did it until it started to turn golden)
  2. As the garlic and cauliflower are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the fettuccine according to package directions, reserving some oft he starchy pasta water for the sauce.
  3. Transfer cauliflower along with 2 cups of the vegetable broth to a blender (or food processor).  You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.  Add the sauteed garlic, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper, and puree until very smooth.  Once mixture is moving stream in olive oil.  Add more broth if the mixture is too thick.  When it is very smooth return it the skillet.
  4. Add the cream and cook over low heat.  Add the starchy pasta water (I didn’t need any, and I suggest adding it a little at a time if you feel it might be necessary until you reach a desired consistency) and keep warm until ready to serve.  Combine noodles and sauce in a large pot and serve immediately.

Recipe from pinch of yum

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Cauliflower Crust Thai Chicken Pizza


Don’t let the title of this one scare you off… this is an AMAZING pizza.  Not only can you not tell the crust is made from cauliflower, but it’s actually really good.  It might not hold up quite like a regular dough crust, but if I remember correctly (I made this quite some time ago, and just haven’t had time to blog about it) I was able to slice and hold it with some care.  It takes a bit of time, and it might get a little bit messy making this pizza, but it’s definitely worth the effort, and your waistline will thank you too.

Notes: Cauliflower crust doesn’t hold up well for reheating since it’s pretty moist, so plan to eat it all the first night… which is no problem lol.  It won’t smell super appetizing while you heat the cauliflower, but I promise it will taste better than it smells.  When grating the cauliflower use the large holes of a box grater.

 

Cauliflower Crust Thai Chicken Pizza

makes : 1 pizza

Ingredients :

Crust :

  • 2 cups firmly packed shredded cauliflower (about half to 2/3 of a large head)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T. (or more) Sriracha
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

Toppings :

  • 1 (7oz) jar peanut sauce (found in most Asian sections of the grocery store)
  • 2 T. peanut butter
  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (I believe I used rotisserie)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella
  • 4 green onions, green parts only, chopped
  • 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and spray a large baking sheet or pizza pan (I used a pizza pan with holes covering the bottom for ventilation) with nonstick cooking spray.  Place shredded cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for 8 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. Add egg, mozzarella, garlic, sriracha, and salt to the cauliflower, stirring to combine.  Pat the mixture into a 12-inch round on prepared pan.  Brush with the olive oil.
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.  Remove crust from oven and adjust oven setting to broil.
  4. In a measuring cup or small bowl stir the peanut sauce with the peanut butter until combined.  Spread sauce over pizza crust.  Arrange chicken over next, then sprinkle with cheese, green onions, and cilantro.
  5. Broil for 3-4 minutes, watching carefully, until cheese is melted and begins to brown.  Cut into slices and serve immediately.

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Day 138 : Macaroni Salad


We decided to have a hotdog night so I just needed something to serve with them.  A quick search resulted in this gem of a recipe.  Originally is obviously called for macaroni but I used an organic veggie spiral pasta since that’s what I had on hand and it turned out well that way since the spirals allow all the sauce to stick to the noodle better.  It also called for celery but I didn’t have any and honestly I don’t care for it.  I will list it in the ingredients list though in case someone else does.  If, like me, you choose to leave it out just increase the other three things slightly to make up for it.  I especially like the sauce, and it reminds me of the deviled egg salad sandwiches which I have also made for this blog.

The entire thing came together very quickly and easily and could easily be doubled or tripled as a potluck type thing.  You could even add cubes of cheese or some olives or pretty  much anything else you like to it.

Macaroni Salad

Serves : 4               Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 lb macaroni, cooked and rinsed in cold water until completely cooled then drained.
  • 1 cup light mayo
  • 2 T. vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
  • 1 T. mustard
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped

Directions :

  1. Combine the mayo, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until well mixed.
  2. Pour over the pasta, and veggies and toss to coat.

Published in: on May 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 129 : Cheesy Broccoli Pasta


Tonight’s recipe was supposed to be something else.  Instead of pasta, the cheesy broccoli sauce was supposed to be mixed with potatoes and stuffed back inside the baked potato shells.  Somehow  my potatoes did not turn out the way they should have and completely fell apart while I was digging them out.  There were also bad spots in some of them.  So I decided to continue with the sauce and just mix it in with some pasta.

It wasn’t bad, but I doubt it’s something I would make as stated again.  The idea was good though.  I just felt it needed a bit more flavor.  I have no idea how it would have tasted in the original recipe so I can’t really say if it was something that I just needed to adjust for the changes or not.  I would reserve some pasta water before draining just in case the cheese sauce was too thick to mix in well, but I managed ok tonight without.  It was certainly easy to make!

Cheesy Broccoli Pasta

Serves : 4                  Time to make :  20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 8 oz. pasta, cooked al dente (I used some organic multicolored shells)
  • 1/3 cup shredded low fat cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tsp. flour

Directions :

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile bring about 1/3 cup water to boil in a skillet.  Add broccoli, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in the same skillet and cook onion until soft.  Add the flour and stir.  Cook for about 30 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
  4. Add the milk, salt and pepper and whisk together, cooking for about another minute or two until thickened.
  5. Take off the heat, and add cheese, stirring until melted.
  6. Toss in the broccoli and crumbled bacon then mix in the pasta once drained.  If it’s a bit thick you can add some of the pasta water.

Published in: on May 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 113 : Ham Steaks with Pineapple Salsa & Chipotle Oven Fries


Happy Easter everyone!  Today was a great day.  Perrin woke us up this morning, super excited because the Easter Bunny had come while he was sleeping.  Then we spent the morning hiding eggs and playing with the kids’ new playhouse (an Easter gift from us).  The weather was FINALLY warm and sunny, and just perfect.  We went for a family walk, played in the yard and even got to fire up the grill!  I’m just sad to see the day end.

Dinner tonight was awesome to say the least.   We’ve had the ham before, and it is so good, especially for how simple it is.  The fries are a method I use often, but today I changed things up a bit and bought some tiny yellow potatoes and used chipotle and smoked paprika on them which was a nice combo and went well with the bit of heat from the pineapple salsa.  Not pictured here, I also made an Angel Lush Pineapple Cake with Strawberries and we had corn on the cob.  It really was a feast lol.  We even got the corn that is part yellow, part white which I think is the best, and it was grilled to perfection tonight.  (We leave it in the husk and just put some butter in that and wrap the entire thing in foil and toss it on the grill)

For the ham, I like to just hit up the deli section and ask them to cut it rather thick.  It’s usually thicker than their largest size based on the little thing they have to choose from, but I find most of them are ok with making it a little bigger upon request.  You could of course buy a ham and slice your own or whatever.  The recipe normally calls for crushed pineapple, but I really think there is a major difference in flavor between canned and fresh pineapple and if I have the option I will always go for fresh!

Ham Steaks with Pineapple Salsa

Serves : 4                 Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1.5 lbs of ham, sliced thick (you should get 4 slices about 1/2 inch thick or so)
  • 1 cup fresh diced pineapple
  • 2 tsp. jalapeno, diced (remove seeds if you want to make it less spicy)
  • 1 T. fresh cliantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. orange marmalade

Directions :

  1. Combine everything but the ham in a small bowl and mix together.  Set aside or make ahead and chill. (The longer it chills the more the flavors will marry together)
  2. Grill your ham slices until heated through and you get good grill marks on both sides (about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Serve with salsa on top.

Chipotle Oven Fries

Serves : 2-3          Time to make : 35-40 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb potatoes, washed and cut into wedges of similar size.   I like to use small reds or yellows because they are easy to prepare and roast well.
  • olive oil, enough to drizzle over potatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • chipotle seasoning
  • smoked paprika

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Arrange wedges on foil in single layer and drizzle olive oil over all of them.  You don’t have to drown them, but it’s ok to be a little generous.  The oil really helps them to brown and roast up.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.  I like to use a course salt for this and fresh ground pepper.
  4. Season with chipotle seasoning and smoked paprika to taste.  Using your hands mix them all up and spread the oil/seasonings all over them.
  5. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender and browned.

Day 78 : Feta & Herb Dip with Crudites


Time to start throwing in some healthier recipes again after all the holidays and celebrations lately!  Tonight, after a busy day running errands, we decided to have a simple and light dinner.  Crudites (pronounced Crew-dee-tay) is an assortment of raw vegetables with either a vinaigrette or dipping sauce.  It’s often seen as an appetizer, but like we did tonight it makes a great light meal served with something like a rotisserie chicken.  Neither one of use are big fans of most cooked vegetables, so this is perfect for us.  Crudites are also great for parties and appeal to everyone from kids, to vegetarians, to dieters alike.  They are simple to put together and you can even take a bit of help and get pre-cut veggies from the store if you are pressed for time.  With a little bit of effort crudites can also be a great center piece to any table scape.  You can put them in a basket as I did tonight, or you can do a more of a bouquet type presentation.  With all the different colors it looks so beautiful, and FRESH!

Tonight I used a mixture of broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, snow peas, and radishes, but you can also use bell pepper strips, asparagus, celery, green onions, or whatever else you like.  The dip was very nice and I liked the tangy-ness of the feta paired with the freshness of the herbs.  The beans gave it a nice creamy consistency, and a boost of protein of course.  I might add some lemon zest next time, or a bit more of the parsley, but as with everything you can tweak to your tastes.  Just have fun with it!  Oh and the best part… it’s pretty guilt free I’d say!

 

Feta & Herb Dip with Crudites

Serves : makes 2 cups of dip                Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (15 oz.) can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • various raw vegetables, washed and cut up in pieces

Directions :

  1. Combine the beans, yogurt, feta, lemon juice, garlic salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Add in the fresh herbs and pulse until well combined.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.