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Butternut Squash and Basil Bechamel Lasagna

13 Jul

I’m not a huge lasagna fan mostly because I don’t like red sauce so I decided to try this vegetarian version. Also, I’m a huge fan of butternut squash so it was perfect! 😉

Butternut Squash and Basil Bechamel Lasagna

adapted from Batter Licker

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (1½ to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 1/2 c. 2% milk
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
8 oz. (approximately 12) no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 c. grated Parmesan

Directions:
1)Preheat oven to 400F
2)Toss cubed squash with oil, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper, and pour onto baking sheet. Roast until squash is tender, approximately 25 minutes.


3)Remove from oven


4)Transfer squash to food processor, and blend until smooth, adding another 1/2 c. water to help the blending process. Season roasted butternut squash puree to taste with additional salt and pepper, and set aside.
5)In medium pan over medium heat, melt butter. Meanwhile, heat milk in microwave (about 1 minute) or saucepan until hot. Once butter has melted, add flour, and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, whisking often, until bechamel sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in nutmeg.


6)Transfer half of the sauce to a food processor (if using blender, allow to cool before blending). Add basil, and blend until smooth. Return basil sauce to remaining bechamel sauce in pan, and stir to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
7)Preheat oven to 375F, and place rack in center of oven.
8)Lightly butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Spread 3/4 c. basil bechamel sauce over bottom of prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Spread 1/4 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 c. mozzarella. Drizzle 1/2 c. basil bechamel over the mozzarella.
9)Repeat layering 3 more times.

10)Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake for 40 minutes.
11)Remove foil cover, and sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over top of lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until sauce bubbles and cheesy top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Allow to cool before serving.

Bon Appétit!

Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

6 Jun

I have tried many fried rice recipes and this one definitely surpasses them all. It tastes a lot like the fried rice that they serve at Benihana except with an addition of shrimp.

Shrimp Fried Rice

Adapted from Average Betty

Ingredients:
1 cup white rice
2 green onions, diced
1/3 cup medium white onion, chopped
2 eggs
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb shrimp
2-4 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions:
1. Prepare one cup white rice. Allow rice to chill or come to room temperature.
2. Chop green onions, white onion, and garlic.
3. Heat pan and 1 tbs of olive oil. Add garlic and shrimp. Cook until shrimp turns pink. Set aside.
4. Saute green onion and white onion over medium heat (in your biggest, flattest skillet) with a dash of salt and a crack of pepper in a teaspoon of olive oil until tender. Set aside.
5. Cook eggs in a teaspoon of olive oil. Start with a fry and end with a scramble. Set aside.
6. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add rice to pan in small batches. Toss while cooking over medium-high heat.
7. Working quickly, turn temperature to high-medium-high heat and sprinkle soy sauce over frying rice. Toss. Add a small amount of butter. Toss. Add sauteed vegetable mixture and eggs and keep tossing.
8. Lower heat to medium-low and add shrimp, garlic and finish of soy sauce.

Bon Appétit

 

 

 

 

A Healthier “Jamba Juice Strawberries Wild” Smoothie

2 Jun


I am obsessed with the strawberries wild smoothie at Jamba. It is amazing. Whenever I go, this is what I order. So I decided to try to make it, but in a healthier way since the strawberries wild smoothie is definitely not the healthiest drink on their menu.

Strawberries Wild

Adapted from Smoothie Fun

Ingredients:
16 ounces apple juice concentrate
8-10 strawberries
1 banana
1 scoop greek yogurt (I used Fage 2% Greek Yogurt)

Directions:
1) Place everything in the blender and blend it up.

Bon Appétit!

Quinoa Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Fennel

1 Jun

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains. It is so delicious and healthy and I have been searching for the perfect quinoa recipe. Most I have tried just haven’t made the cut. But after trying this one, I fell in love. It is an asian tasting quinoa salad with mushrooms and it is delectable. 

Quinoa Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Fennel

Adapted from Diana Takes a Bite
Serves 1

Ingredients:
¼ cup quinoa
½ cup chicken broth
1 clove garlic
½ cup thinly sliced fennel
½ cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 sliced green onions, both white and green parts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Finely grated zest and juice from 1/4th a lime
Olive Oil

Directions:
1) Rinse the quinoa under cool running water, then drain well with a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Heat a wok (I used a large frying pan with no problem) over medium-high heat and toast the quinoa, shaking the pan frequently, just until the grains dry, are just beginning to color, about 4 minutes.

2) In a small, lidded pot, bring ½ cup chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook the quinoa until the grains are translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, 15 – 20 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Remove from heat and set aside.

3) Meanwhile, heat the wok again over high heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and heat until it just begins to simmer. Stir in the garlic and fry, stirring constantly, just until the garlic is golden, about 30 seconds (the garlic can burn quickly). Remove the garlic, keeping the oil in the pan, and set aside.
4) Add the fennel to the oil and fry, stirring or tossing frequently, until it is caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oil and set aside. Add the shiitakes to the oil and stir-fry until caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the green onions in with the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry just until the green onions begin to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and vinegar to the mixture and stir or toss to combine. Add the quinoa, fennel, garlic, parsley, cilantro, lime zest and juices and mix together. Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit!

I paired it with Stir-Fried Green Beans with Shrimp and Garlic.

Stir Fried Green Beans with Shrimp and Garlic

1 Jun

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Shrimp and Garlic

from Food and Wine

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound large shrimp-shelled, deveined and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt
1/2 pound green beans, thinly sliced 1/4 inch thick on an extreme diagonal
1/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1) Heat a wok until very hot.
2) Add the vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the shrimp and a pinch of salt and stir-fry until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, about 30 seconds.
3) Add the green beans and 2 tablespoons of the stock and stir-fry until the beans soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of stock along with the fish sauce and a generous pinch of pepper and stir-fry until the shrimp are cooked through and the beans are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer.
Serve right away.

Bon Appétit!

I paired it with quinoa salad with shiitake mushrooms and fennel.

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Crumb Muffins

24 May

These are my absolute favorite muffins. They have the perfect amount of banana and chocolate. They are so moist and delicious. This is one of my favorite recipes of all time.

Chocolate Chip Banana Crumb Muffins

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For Topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of butter

Directions:
1.Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl


3. Mix in the sugar, egg, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix.


4. Pour mixture into prepared muffin pan.


5. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.


6. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Bon Appétit!

Magnolia’s Banana Pudding

23 May

After trying this pudding at Magnolia’s Bakery in New York, I knew I had to try to make it. I’m not a huge pudding fan, but this banana pudding just blew my mind. It is so creamy and cakey and bananay. And btw, I am a huge banana fan.

Magnolia’s Banana Pudding

From RecipeLink
Ingredients:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas

Directions:
1) In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute
2) Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.
3) In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
4) To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas.

5) Add one third of the pudding.


6) Repeat the layering twice more.

7) Garnish with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours – or up to 8 hours, but no longer! – before serving.

It tasted exactly like the one from NYC!

Bon Appétit!