Side Dish ~ Whole Roasted Cauliflower

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I have been trying different whole roasted cauliflower recipes for a month.  I love the concept of not having to cut it into flowerets.  I have tried several that were “just OK”, but knew it was just a matter of time until I found one that I LOVED.  I finally did ~ I found this one and it is definitely a keeper: http://hilahcooking.com/whole-roasted-cauliflower/ I think what I like about it is the fact that the sauce is added at the end.  The cauliflower gets a nice toasted crunchy bake with the olive oil and salt.  I massaged the olive oil in to cover the cauliflower well and I’m not sure how much salt I added – it could have been a little more than the recipe called for.  A friend gave me some Meyer lemons, which are perfect to use in the sauce.  This recipe is on my once a week (or more) rotation ~ seriously delicious.  Just make sure you cook it enough and that it is tender, which you can test by trying to slice it with a knife. I hope you find this recipe to be as wonderful as I did.
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Main Dish ~ Sardines with Sun Dried Tomato and Capers

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Since I discovered I am at the high and unhealthy range of the bad cholesterol scale, I have been reading up on all things cholesterol in order to figure out how to get my bad cholesterol readings down to healthier levels without the use of medication, in addition to bringing my good cholesterol levels up.  In doing so, I continued to read about how good sardines are for you.  They are ridiculously rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s not only lower LDL cholesterol, they’re also potent anti-inflammatories, and they significantly reduce blood levels of artery-clogging triglycerides.  Knowing this, I went in search of a good sardine recipe and found this, which had awesome reviews:   http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sardines-with-Sun-Dried-Tomato-and-Capers/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Thumb&e11=sardine&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page&soid=sr_results_p1i3

I made it according to the recipe, but mashed up the sardines like canned tuna and mixed in the rest of the ingredients.  I also used 1/2 of the dried thyme called for as it can sometimes be overpowering.  I put the mixture on whole wheat toast.  The first bite took a minute for me to figure out if I liked it or not, but by the last bite of the sandwich, I felt this was a keeper!  It has a nice kick to it from the spices ~ although, it may be too spicy for some. I will definitely be making this again soon!

Dessert ~ Cranberry-Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

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I first saw this recipe for Cranberry-Ginger Oatmeal Cookies ~ https://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/recipepage.aspx?recipeid=478901 ~ in a Weight Watchers magazine article about desserts with unique ingredients.  The unique ingredient in this recipe was prune baby food.  What drew me in were all of the other ingredients, including chopped up crystallized ginger and cranberries.  I was not disappointed in these cookies – I almost wish I was because these were “too good” and hard to stop at just one.  I would love to figure out how to convert this recipe from cookies to bars, but they may be a recipe for a future post.

Lemon Chicken Piccata ~ Main Dish

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I found this recipe for Lemon Chicken Piccata ~ http://allrecipes.com/recipe/lemon-chicken-piccata/ ~ while looking to make something that wouldn’t require me to head to the grocery store.  What a great find it was!  I followed the recipe as shown.  The only substitution I made was to add lemon zest instead of the lemon slices as a few reviewers had noted that the slices created a tartness in the finished product.  I loved this – the pop of lemon was awesome and can be tweaked to personal preference.  It would be excellent over rice.

Main Dish ~ Apple, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza (Vegetarian)

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Apple, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/apple-goat-cheese-pecan-pizza) was really an interesting mix of textures and flavors.  I had to modify the recipe abit as I didn’t have the pizza crust, the goat cheese, or the spinach required.  I used a smaller 10-oz Boboli Whole Wheat Pizza Crust.  I added about 6 ounces of sliced apples and 3 ounces of reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, and cooked the pizza for the time required on a pizza stone.  For the dressed greens and pecans, I used the ingredient amounts called for in the recipe and did not reduce them.  This was an excellent recipe, plus very quick and easy to make.  I will definitely make this again!

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

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This blueberry kale smoothie recipe ~ ( http://www.skinnytaste.com/2014/01/blueberry-kale-smoothie.html ) ~ was a great find…and a keeper!  I bought a huge bag of pre-chopped kale over the holidays to make my Sweet Potato Lasagna recipe and I have been trying various smoothie recipes with the remaining kale.  This one has been the absolute best without a hint of the kale taste, but with all of it’s nutritional value. 
 
I made it according to the recipe, using Justin’s Maple Almond Butter in place of the peanut butter.  I used Medjool dates as I find they are the sweetest and juiciest.  The first time I made this recipe, my powerful Vitamix blender really protested.  The second time I made it, I chopped up the dates and used crushed ice instead of ice cubes.  This did the trick. 
 
Don’t let the color of the smoothie deter you from trying it! I’ve been trying to banish my sweet tooth following all the holiday festivities.  I find this recipe satisfies my sweet cravings while being healthy and filling.  Enjoy!