Saturday, August 29, 2015

Deconstructed Falafel

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods have to be some of my favorite cuisines (wonder if that will get me deported per Trump's standards) next to Indian dishes! Flavors are rich with depth like no other. 

Best of all are the vegetarian and meatless options--for any college student, or anyone on a budget for that matter, you have to consider going meatless (or stretching your meat budget) for some meals to prevent going broke--might as well taste good and be good for you! This is an easy college recipe for off-campus living. 

Enter falafel...but simplified without the mixing, the fuss, and the deep fryer! Promise! This meal will easily make 6 pita pockets stuffed with veggies, yoghurt sauce, salad and fried spicy chickpeas--completely satisfying and 'good-for-you' sandwich--a great way to skip meat and it is ultra-cheap (check out the cost on a can of chickpeas chocked full of protein and fiber…less than $2). 

Leftovers easily stored or taken for a snack later on! Leftover yoghurt sauce is awesome for baked potatoes and munching on carrots and other veggies!

If you find chickpeas on sale, stock up on a few extra cans for those days when money is tight! 

(Great recipe modified from Cooking Light Dinner Tonight Magazine 2015 Edition)

Deconstructed Falafel
Skill Level: Easy
Time: 20 minutes

Small mixing bowl 
Large 10-12" non-stick skillet


For The Chickpeas:
2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbls olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

For The Yoghurt Sauce:
1 cup plain 2% Greek yoghurt
1 Tbls of sour cream (optional if available)
2 Tbls chopped fresh mint 
1 tsp chopped dill (optional if available)
2 tsp fresh lime
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

For The Extras:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and halved slices
Cherry Tomatoes, halved or full tomatoes, sliced and halved
Red onions, thinly sliced or Green Onions
Peppers, thinly sliced
Feta Crumbles / slices / chunks
Arugula, tossed in olive oil & lemon (or plain)

6 pocket pitas, make sure the pocket is sturdy
6 whole wheat tortillas to make a Falafel Burrito

1. Wash your hands.
2. Drain, rinse, and pat dry the chickpeas.

3. Heat the olive oil over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and sear your chickpeas until golden brown. (For best results, avoid over-crowding the skillet! Make 2 batches if you have to!)

4. Prepare the spice mix and add to crispy, browned chickpeas. Continue browning.

5. Prepare your yoghurt sauce.

6. Prep your veggies.
7. Set up the assembly line!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Simple Burritos 4 College Appetites

College cooking can make a huge difference not only in the college budget, but most importantly, in the quality of food your consuming!! If all you can do is stir and heat a skillet or saucepan…miracles can occur!

Foods like burritos are super simple with just a few moves, and provide enough leftovers; or, at least enough to share with your apartment mates, or have second helpings, or whatever! You should not be hungry if you make a batch of these burritos! 

Additionally, if you have leftovers like rice, peppers, salsa, corn--these can be used and added to bulk up the burrito content and stretching your dollar…all while minimizing any food waste that you wouldn't know what to do with--try it this week! 

(A great idea utilized and revamped The Pioneer Woman. I made some variations with rice and black beans for vegetarian options; and, I simplified spices by using Rick Bayless' Red Chili Enchilada Sauce for the meat!)

Burritos 4 College Appetites

Non-stick Skillet
Medium saucepan

1 lb of ground lean hamburger meat
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pouch of Rick Bayless' Red Chili Sauce
Pinch of thyme & oregano (optional)
Salt & Pepper

1 can reduced-fat refried beans
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Large tortillas

Alternative Options and add-ins:
Fiery Black Beans
Leftover Rice
Roasted chicken
Seared peppers & onions
All the other trimmings, i.e. salsa, guac, sour cream, hot sauce

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep your ingredients, i.e. garlic, onion, green pepper, and jalapeño (optional).

3. Sear veggies in medium-large skillet until translucent.

4. Add meat, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and brown lightly.

5. Add 1/2 pouch of Red Chili Sauce to taste.

6. If you like extra spice, add some Chili powder, cumin, thyme, oregano, cayenne.

7. Heat your refried beans in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup of the seared veggies.

8. Add sharp cheddar and stir--loved this idea from The Pioneer Woman!!

9. Prep the table and ring the dinner bell!!

10. Assemble, drizzle with remaining Red Chili Sauce and sprinkles of cheese. 

Want it all gooey and melted…heat in microwave x 15-20 seconds…or just dig in!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Portabello Burgers 4 Jon

Totally excited to head over to the market this morning for some fresh produce and baked goods. Hoping to find some awesome meaty portobellos for the post today!

When possible, buying local and fresh, is the way to go…even for college students! Why? Local reduces transport costs and carbon footprints. Local supports farmers in your area. Local simply tastes better! As of late, my son, has become even more conscious of how our eating affects the environment--not going completely vegetarian, but certainly more conscious in his food choices--girlfriends have a way of suddenly changing your worldview, right? 

He has always loved to eat (hence this blog that provides him with all the recipes we make at home); and, interestingly, Jon has always loved foods that most kids cringe (and twist their face into ungodly shapes to) when mentioned. 

One of Jon's first requests when I started the blog was 'How Do I Make Those Mushrooms' instructions and recipe! Eat them plain, put them on burgers, add them to pasta! But, Jon also discovered the giant portobello grilled to perfection, drizzled with balsamic and topped off with feta or goat cheese! 

In light of Jon's mindful eating, I am posting this awesome, and simple version of a meatless portobello burger, topped with grilled red onions and Boursin (or Blue) cheese, and sandwiched between a toasted, buttery bun with arugula!

And yes…to all you doubters…this is one of Jon's favorite things to eat: mushrooms.
And yes…he is a college student who asked for this recipe!

(Adapted from Michael Symon's 5 Ingredients Cookbook)

Portobello Burgers

Grill (or grill pan)
Shallow bowl or pyrex baking dish

3-4 large fresh portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed

Mushroom Marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbls balsamic syrup (optional. If you don't have it, add a 1-2 tsp of sugar)
Lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

1 large red onion, sliced in 1/4" rounds, drizzled with olive oil, red wine vinegar
Blue Cheese or Boursin cheese
Arugula, lightly tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese
Kaiser Rolls, buttered and toasted

1. Wash your hands.
2. De-stem and de-gill the mushrooms. Remove all dirt with damp paper towel.
3. Combine the marinade ingredients into a shallow dish or pyrex baking dish.

4. Add your mushrooms and slather in marinade all around x 20-30 minutes or longer.

5. Marinate the red onion slices with olive oil, red wine vinegar (or lemon), salt & pepper.

6. Toss your arugula with olive oil, lemon, and parmesan.

7. Fire up the grill, or heat your grill pan, on MED-HIGH.
8. Sear mushrooms and onion slices 3-4 minutes per side untouched.

9. Flip the mushrooms and onion slices over for another 3 minutes.

10. Toast your buns and build this sucker high!!!

The Boursin, or Bleu Cheese, will soften and melt when everything comes together!