Zesty Mango Salsa

It’s summer, it’s hot, your hungry, i’m hungry… and lets just admit that we want something tasty and we want it quick!!  Mango salsa is one of my all time favs because you can actually put it on top of anything, dip anything into it, or eat it all by itself.  I like to add a ton of greens into mine and eat it as a salad OR put it on top of grilled shrimp or fish tacos.  I’m a little disappointed that my avocado wasn’t ripe enough to add to this because it would have been fantastic.  May I also recommend you bring this to the next event you find yourself invited to… people will be THRILLED!

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Zesty Mango Salsa 

Serves: 2 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (red or yellow)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (add a little at a time if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed (optional, but probably a good idea)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Directions

  1. combine all ingredients and serve!

 

A few notes and suggestions:

  • a ripe mango will be SUPER soft (don’t eat it unless you can leave a fingerprint on it when you squeeze it)
  • add black beans for added protein
  • add diced red or green bell pepper
  • add avocado (for obvious reasons)
  • use red onion instead of green
  • add more jalapeño if you like it extra spicy
  • serve on top of anything grilled (chicken, fish, shrimp, steak etc.)
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Apple Quinoa Kale Salad and Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

It’s fully fall here in New England… how do I know this?  I leave my house at 7am in a wool coat and come home at 5pm sweating and holding my wool coat.  New England temperature fluctuations never cease to amaze me, just be incredibly inconvenient.  But it’s all good, ya know? Especially when I have delicious food to make at home.  So, I haven’t been apple picking yet, which means I let some nice person from Whole Foods pick them for me (wink wink).  Please enjoy this quinoa salad however you wish! I served mine with oven baked spicy panko encrusted chicken, however, this would be awesome with fish or even just beans.  Luckily, kale is such a hearty beast that this salad will still taste good for lunch the next day. Our homemade dressing is as simple as it gets with just four ingredients – don’t worry all of the names are easy to pronounce!

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Apple Quinoa Kale Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves: 2 with leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 5 of your leafiest Kale leaves
  • 1 large apple, chopped (use your favorite kind or whatever is seasonally available to you!)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • Pepper to taste

For the dressing:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, tear the leaves off in small pieces from the kale stems, wash thoroughly, drain, and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the chopped apples, feta cheese, sliced green onions, and avocado.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl once cooked and toss well.  The heat from the quinoa will help soften the kale leaves.
  5. For the dressing: squeeze the lemon and lime juice into a medium bowl and add the honey.  Whisk well until combined.  While briskly whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully combined.
  6. Pour dressing over salad and serve!
Ingredients!

Ingredients!

Place all ingredients in the bowl together.

Place all ingredients in the bowl together.

Honey, lemon, and lime juice mixed together.

Honey, lemon, and lime juice mixed together.

Whisking in the olive oil.

Whisking in the olive oil.

Season with a pinch of salt and pepper!

Season with a pinch of salt and pepper!

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Ginger Sesame Almond Kale Salad

There is nothing like a fresh, homemade salad dressing!  As a person who did not grow up with it, I can truly appreciate homemade dressing and all its wonderful uses.  I can also appreciate something that so delightfully masks the bitter and mostly unenjoyable flavor of kale!  Lets be serious, it does’t taste too good if you only wash it, chop, and throw it into your bowl with a typical bottled salad dressing- not the way to go folks! Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat kale, but there are many things we can do to spice up that flavor.  I hope everyone is feeling more relieved that the Dietitian agrees that kale tastes horrible and simply needs a little TLC, nbd.  Please enjoy your next kale salad as follows!

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Ginger Sesame Almond Kale Salad

Serves: 2 (with leftovers)

Makes approximately 1 cup of dressing, Can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups washed and chopped kale
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave or honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 heaping tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries

Directions:

1.  Place chopped kale in a large bowl and keep to the side.

2. Place the next 8 ingredients in a blender, blend on high for 10-15 seconds until dressing is completely combined. Please note you can also make this in a bowl with a whisk!

3. Once dressing is complete, mix in the sesame seeds.

4. Dress the kale salad to your liking and mix in the cranberries and slivered almonds.  This salad tastes best if you let it sit for 10-15 minutes prior to serving!

Blending the dressing!

Blending the dressing!

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Roasted Pork Loin with Christmas Cranberry Chutney

Few condiments in this world offer the complimentary culinary delightfulness that a chutney can provide. The best part about it is that making one is extremely simple, can be done in about 20 minutes, and is equally as tasty when served hot or cold.  Creating and serving a chutney will spruce up any generic baked meat and turn it into an exquisite fine dining entrée. In this particular chutney I used seasonal ingredients meaning they will have the strongest flavor, contain more nutrients, and are more easily obtained as a locally produced ingredient.  Below I served it with a delicious herb encrusted pork-loin where you will learn how to get an aw-dropping sear!

The Healthy Bachelorette Porkloin and Chutney

Roasted Pork Loin with Christmas Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 oranges, zested, peeled, supremed, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • pork tenderloin
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de provence
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Juice from one small lemon

Directions:

1. Rinse your cranberries and place them in a pot with the 1/4 cup water on medium-low heat.  Meanwhile, gather your fresh ginger, peel and dice into very fine pieces and add to pot of cranberries.  Continue to zest the outside of the oranges over the pot, being careful to avoid the lighter color peel that is very bitter. Then, peel the oranges and discard.  Next step is to supreme the orange, this allows you to gather the delicious fruit while avoiding the pith, chop into small pieces and add to cranberries. Lastly squeeze the oranges over the pot with the cranberries and add the sugar, stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat until consistency is thick, similar to jam. This can be served hot or cold and stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.

2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place a skillet or sauté pan on medium heat with the butter.  Place your pork loin on a flat surface and season with herbs de provence, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and fresh ground pepper.  When searing, it is important to ensure the pan is the perfect temperature. To high will cause a lot of smoke and burning while too low will create a very unappetizing color in your meat.  So, leaving the pan on medium heat for a few minutes allows it to heat thoroughly and evenly while you do prep work. When placing the pork in the pan it should sizzle without smoking, if it smokes, just pull the pan off the burner (keeping the pork in) until it cools off a bit.

3. Once your pan is heated and ready, place the pork loin in and allow it to sear on each side for approximately 3 minutes.  Once you have a nice toasty crust, squeeze the lemon juice on top of the pork and into the pan to de-glaze the flavor that is stuck to the bottom.  Continue to place the entire skillet into the oven to continue cooking for about 30 minutes, if you are using a teflon pan, make sure to transfer the pork into an oven safe dish.  Cook the pork until the temperature reaches 145 degrees or the juices run clear.

4. I served this with some leftover brown rice and fresh spinach – enjoy!

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Fresh chopped ginger and orange zest

Fresh chopped ginger and orange zest

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Supreme your orange!

Supreme your orange!

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Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

This pasta dish is so delightfully made up of the perfect fall ingredients, making it a more than appropriate rainy weeknight dinner. I prepared it in individual ramekins for 2, however, you can double or triple the recipe and prepare it in a regular sized casserole pan.  Because I wanted this to be a quick process, I did not bake it in the oven however, you most certainly can top it with breadcrumbs and pop it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to get that excellent crust on top of it.  Combining squash and pumpkin gives this dish an excellent flavor as well as a good source of natural fiber, carotenoids, and Vitamin A.  This is a lighter mac and cheese sauce consisting of low fat milk with olive oil and minimal butter-  it is sure to impress your next dinner guests! Enjoy!

The Healthy Bachelorette: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese 

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups pasta noodles of your choice (I used whole wheat rotini)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbps olive oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp + 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup mashed butternut squash (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated/shredded parm cheese
  • Sage leaves for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Put some water to boil on the stove to cook your pasta according to package directions.

2. Measure out your butter, olive oil, flour, and milk.  Heat a sauce pan on the stove on low-medium heat and add your butter and olive oil together. Let them melt and heat slowly, do not turn up your burner – burnt olive oil is not a pleasant taste!  Once you see a light sizzle happening with small bubbles, this will happen quickly, sprinkle the flour into the pan while whisking. Continue to whisk until the flour is completely dissolved- you can see this in the pictures below. Congratulations – you have made a healthy roux! This is what will thicken your sauce, well done!

3. Let your roux heat through until it smells slightly nutty, this will take less than a minute.  Pour in your milk while whisking. Let the milk heat up until small bubbles appear at the top, whisk intermittently, you will see the mixture start to slowly thicken as it continues to lightly bubble.  It is finished once it coats the back of a spoon, 3-5 minutes.

4. Season the sauce with the garlic powder, mustard, cayenne, and black pepper. Whisk in thoroughly.

5. Next, mix in the pumpkin and butternut squash completely. Then add in the cheese, stir thoroughly until completely melted.  If the sauce is too thick for your liking, feel free to add a splash or two of milk, or more cheese, whatever 😉

6. Lastly, combine noodles with the sauce and serve immediately with sage garnish! Please note, you can also add bread crumbs and more cheese on top and broil for 2-3 minutes if  you like!

Making a healthy roux with success! Low-medium heat is best!

Making a healthy roux with success! Low-medium heat is best!

Whisking in the milk slowly to the roux.

Whisking in the milk slowly to the roux.

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Pay attention to that slow bubble!

Pay attention to that slow bubble!

Seasonings and mustard added in, whisk well!

Seasonings and mustard added in, whisk well!

Pumpkin and butternut squash going in to the sauce.

Pumpkin and butternut squash going in to the sauce.

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Add in the cheese and stir until melted.

Add in the cheese and stir until melted.

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Combine delicious sauce with your noodles!

Combine delicious sauce with your noodles!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

Healthy Bachelorette Pesto

Holy basil! As previously stated, I have A LOT of basil going on right now. It’s end of the season, and I needed to use it all up! This was actually my first time ever making homemade pesto, and I would most definitely make it again. For some reason I thought pine nuts were crazy expensive? Relative to walnuts or almonds they are expensive, but I got 6oz at Publix for only $6! Definitely reasonable for how flavorful they are. For this recipe I roasted the pine nuts, and when you cook with the pesto you smell their amazing nutty flavor. SO GOOD! Already we have used the pesto on sandwiches, pizzas, with eggs and with zucchini noodles (below).

If you are also experiencing a basil take over, definitely try this recipe!

Healthy Bachelorette Pesto

Healthy Bachelorette Pesto

Ingredients

  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Roast the pine nuts by placing them in a conventional or toaster oven on a tray or aluminum foil on 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir half way through.
  2. In a food processor, combine the basil and pine nuts. Pulse the processor until finely chopped (see below).
  3. While the food processor is running on low speed, add in the lemon juice and olive oil. Continue to run food processor until well combined.
  4. Transfer the pesto into a separate bowl, and stir in the shredded Parmesan cheese and pepper.
  5. Serve!

Healthy Bachelorette Pesto

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Traditionally, pesto recipes feature grated Parmesan cheese. While it does look a bit different, I really enjoyed how the shredded cheese melted when you cooked with it.

Last night, my good friend and old roommate Nicole came over for dinner with her awesome Spiralizer – which is totally going to be the next addition to my kitchen! We spiralized (yes that is a verb) fresh zucchini from the farmers market, then steamed it and finished it off in a large frying pan with tomatoes and the pesto. It was so easy and so good!

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What should we spiralize next?!