Smashed Potatoes with Shredded Brussels Sprouts

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Plated Potato Brussels

There is something about the combination of roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts that we always love––they just seem to go together synergistically: the taste together is even better than the individual elements. For this recipe we tried something new. We finely shredded the Brussels sprouts before adding them to the already roasting potatoes. The result is a delightfully flavorful and crispy side dish. And if you love potatoes but are trying to cut back on the starch a little—this is a perfect way to do it.

mise pot brussSimple ingredients create this savory dish.

prepped potGently smash the potatoes to flatten before roasting, and baste with the olive oil, paprika, garlic mixture.

Add the brussels and roastAdd the shredded Brussels Sprouts to the partially roasted potatoes and roast once more.

Smashed Potatoes with Shredded Brussels Sprouts
4 servings

1 1/4 pounds small potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating the baking sheet
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups finely shredded Brussels sprouts, firmly packed
2 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

Place the potatoes in a pot and add enough water to cover. Set over high heat, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Cook, partially covered, until just fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and combine well.

Next, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, the remaining tablespoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well, and set aside.

Once fork-tender, drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander. Place them on the prepared baking sheet leaving space between them. Using a potato masher or fork, gently but firmly press down on each potato until somewhat flattened but whole (don’t worry if they come apart slightly, simply push them back together with your fingers.)

Using a pastry brush coat the top of each potato with the oil, garlic, and paprika mixture. Sprinkle each with a couple of thyme leaves and place in the preheated oven.

Roast undisturbed until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the Brussels sprouts mixture all over the potatoes and the pan. Rotate the pan and roast again until the Brussels sprouts are crisp and browned, approximately 10 minutes more. Remove to a platter, season with additional salt and pepper, and serve hot.

Pot bruss crop

Crispy Nachos with Vegetarian Refried Beans and Cheese

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Finished nachos

When our kids were young, a number of them were picky eaters. We would constantly brainstorm—trying to come up with new ideas of what to cook for dinner. It was out of these brainstorming sessions that our nachos recipe was born! So simple, they require just a handful of ingredients—deliciously crunchy homemade tortilla chips spread with refried beans and topped with melted, mild, Monterey Jack cheese. Now that most of our formerly finicky eaters are teenagers, or in their twenties, they still ask for these nachos when they are home. They are crispy, cheesy, and pleasingly addictive.

Prepped ingredients nachosThe three main ingredients: corn tortillas, cheese, and refried beans.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.02.43 PMThe tortilla wedges are cooked until crisp.

Tortillas on baking sheet with beans and cheese 2We spread a thin layer of beans and add a small tablespoon of cheese to each wedge.

Avocado and salsa for nachosWe are big fans of salsa and avocado and like to serve them with our nachos.

Nachos with Vegetarian Refried Beans and Cheese
4 to 6 servings

Vegetable oil for frying
9 corn tortillas each cut into 4 wedges
8 ounces organic refried beans (about ½ of a can)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup shredded romaine lettuce
½ cup shredded radicchio
½ cup home-made or favorite store-bought salsa
1 ripe avocado, sliced

Line 2 large plates with paper towels.

Set a rack in the top third of the oven.

Heat 2 inches of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. (To test if the oil is hot, place a small piece of tortilla in the oil and if it sizzles it’s hot enough). Add a handful of the tortilla wedges into the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd and fry them for about 1½ minutes. Using tongs, flip the tortillas and fry for an additional 1½ to 2 minutes or until the tortillas are crisp. Remove them from the oil and place the tortillas on the paper towel—lined plate. Cover the wedges with a paper towel and pat lightly to absorb any additional oil.

Repeat with the remaining tortilla wedges.

Place the tortilla chips in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Spread a thin layer of the beans on each, then sprinkle on the cheese, covering each nacho.

Turn the oven on to broil.

Put one of the baking sheets in the oven and broil for about 2 ½ minutes, until the cheese melts and bubbles and the tortillas are lightly browned. Rotate the baking sheet midway so all the nachos cook evenly watching closely so they do not burn. Remove the pan and repeat with the second baking sheet.

Place the nachos on a platter, top with a handful of the romaine and radicchio and serve. Pass salsa and sliced avocado separately.

1st finished nachos

Crispy Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas

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Parmesan chickpeas 1

These Parmesan chickpeas are so addictive that when we make them our family and friends cannot stop eating them until the bowl is empty. And that’s OK — they are so delicious and nutritious. Only three ingredients (plus salt and pepper), and so easy to prepare––Serve these as a snack, a side, or a party hors d’oeuvre.

chickpeas and parmChickpeas, Parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil––what could be simpler.

Crispy Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas
Makes 3 cups

1 1/2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Two 15-ounce cans organic chickpeas, drained, rinsed well, and patted dry (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas)
1/2 cup firmly packed, finely shredded Parmesan cheese (not pre-grated or it will not melt)
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large baking dish. Place it in the hot oven.

In a small mixing bowl combine the chickpeas, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, the Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well until the chickpeas are thoroughly coated.

Carefully remove the hot baking dish from the oven and pour the chickpea mixture in. Use a wooden spoon to spread the chickpeas into a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes; stir them once with the wooden spoon. Continue to cook until crispy and golden brown, an additional 7 to 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired, and serve hot or at room temperature. (Do not drain on paper towel or they will lose their crispiness.)

*Once cool they also make a great salad topping.

Parmesan Chickpeas2 crop

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

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finished mozzarella sticks

These mozzarella sticks are ideal as a meal for young kids, or as a finger food or appetizer for adults. They are baked–not fried–and have a crispy, golden coating outside while the inside is soft and gooey. They are especially good dipped in marinara sauce. And the best part–they can be made in advance and stored in the freezer–perfect if you are limited for time. Bake them in the oven for about ten minutes and they are ready to serve.

cut mozzarella sticksWe cut each mozzarella stick in half, crosswise.

Combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan, garlic, and pepper.

Breadcumbs, parsley, garlic for mozzarella sticks copy

mozzarella sticks uncookedAfter coating each cheese stick in the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture, we freeze them for at least 30 minutes.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks
4 to 6 servings, makes 24 sticks

12 sticks organic low moisture, part-skim mozzarella string cheese, each cut in half
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
2 ¼ teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Organic olive oil cooking spray
1 cup homemade or favorite store bought marinara sauce

Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish. Place the eggs in a second wide, shallow dish and beat until blended. In a third dish, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and garlic, and season with pepper to taste. Mix well.

Line a large tray or container with wax or parchment paper. One at a time, lightly dip the cheese sticks in the flour on both sides (shaking off any excess), then in the egg, and next the seasoned breadcrumbs. Then re-dip each stick in just the egg, and the breadcrumb mixture and place on the lined tray or container in a single layer. Freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. This will keep the cheese from melting too fast while the coating gets crispy. (You can also keep them frozen until you’re ready to bake them.)

When ready to bake, place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly spray the bottom with the olive oil cooking spray. Place the cheese sticks on the sheet in a single layer and lightly spray the tops with oil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes, turn the sticks over, and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheese is soft, watching closely so they don’t melt.

Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce in a small saucepan.

Arrange the mozzarella sticks on a plate, and serve with marinara sauce on the side.

second plated mozzarela sticks

Quick and Easy Vegetable Fried Rice

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2nd plated fried rice

This is a super quick and easy recipe that appeals to adults and kids alike. It’s perfect to serve as a side with a stir-fry, or it can be a whole meal by itself for young kids. It’s a great dish to make if you have leftover rice in your fridge— and what we love is that the vegetables can be easily substituted. We discovered that adding the sesame oil and soy sauce to the egg before cooking gives this fried rice a savory flavor.

vegetables for fried rice in bowlsWe add carrots, broccoli, peas, and scallions.

veggies in skillit fried riceAll the vegetables are sautéed together.

fried rice. all ingredients in skillitThe rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg are added last.

Quick and Easy Vegetable Fried Rice
4 servings

1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, plus 3 drops
½ teaspoon sesame oil, plus 3 drops
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ cup finely chopped carrots
2 cups very small broccoli florets (1/2 inch)
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
4 cups cooked white or brown rice, cold or room temperature

In a small bowl add the beaten egg and stir in 3 drops of soy sauce and 3 drops of sesame oil. Mix well.

In a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat, add ½ teaspoon of the oil to the center of the skillet. When shimmering, add the egg to the oil and scramble the egg until it sets. Remove from the heat, chop the egg into small pieces and set aside.

Wipe the skillet clean, and over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. When shimmering add the carrots, stirring frequently, and cook for about a minute. Add the broccoli and cook an additional 3 ½ minutes—until the broccoli is fork tender. Mix in the peas and scallions, cook for 1 minute, and add the rice. Mix well to incorporate the rice with the vegetables. Add 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, ½ teaspoon of the sesame oil and mix well. Stir in the egg.

Spoon into individual bowls and serve.

close-up plated fried rice

Spiced Sweet Potato Crisps

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Sweet potato crisp1Sliced very thinly and with just the addition of your favorite spice, these sweet potato crisps become a delicious, nutritious stand-in for high calorie potato chips. Serve them with soups and sandwiches, or just as a healthy snack.

 

whole and sliced sweet potatoSlice the sweet potato as thinly and uniformly as you can.

sweet potato with spiceSeason with the spice or spices of your choice.

Spiced Sweet Potato Crisps
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
Organic olive oil cooking spray
1 teaspoon seasoning of choice (paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder)
Sea salt

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F.

Lightly spray two rimmed baking sheets with oil. Arrange the rounds in a single layer on the baking sheets (taking care not to crowd or overlap.) Spray the tops with a fine mist of oil and lightly sprinkle your spice of choice on each (do not salt yet as this releases moisture.)

Place one of the baking sheets on the middle rack and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the rounds, sprinkle additional spice to taste on top, and rotate the pan in the oven. Bake until the rounds are lightly browned around the edges, and tender in the middle, an additional 7 to 10 minutes. Watch them closely in the last 5 minutes as they go from golden to burnt quickly. Remove any rounds from the baking sheet that have browned and place on a cooling rack to continue crisping. Return the rest to the oven to continue baking. Once the first batch is done season with salt to taste.

Repeat with the second baking sheet and serve.

Sweet potato crisps close up

 

Perfect Kale Chips

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kalechips2 copy

Only three ingredients and so delicious. We were weary of burnt or wilted kale, so we worked on this recipe to perfect our crisp, addictive, and healthy chips. The three keys to success––make sure your kale is completely dry, spread it in a single layer on the baking sheet, and do not salt until after they are done cooking. Delicious as a snack or hors d’oeuvres, these kale chips are also wonderful in lieu of croutons in soups and salads.

kale washedIt’s very important to dry the kale completely.

kale on sheetMassage the oil into the kale before placing it on the baking sheet.

Perfect Kale Chips

4 cups packed curly kale, stemmed and torn into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the kale (completely dry) in a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil. Using your hands, massage the oil  into all the leaves. (Do not add salt before you cook. *)

Place the kale in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast until browned and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Season with salt to taste and serve.

*Salting before roasting will bring out the moisture in the kale leading to less crispy chips.

kalechip close up copy

Pesto and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

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Stuffed mushroomsThese healthy mushrooms are quick and easy to prepare, yet impressive looking and real crowd pleasers.

Basil, Pinenuts,Parm CropMake fresh basil pesto or you can use your favorite store bought.

mushrooms_criminiYou can use either cremini or button mushrooms.

Pesto and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms
8 to 10 servings

1 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
24 medium-size button or cremini mushrooms, stemmed
24 pine nuts
Organic olive oil cooking spray

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F.

Combine the pesto, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl. Using a small spoon stuff the mushrooms with the pesto mixture, being careful not to overstuff, and place a pine nut in the center of each.

Lightly spray a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil and arrange the mushrooms on it in a single layer. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and serve.

Stuffed mushrooms copy

Two Vinegar Cabbage Slaw

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slaw

In this wonderful era of uncommon salads, cabbage slaw is often overlooked––and it shouldn’t be. This is a delicious, light, and healthy coleslaw you can feel guiltless about eating and serving. We love it paired with a whole host of different dishes and cuisines—from barbecue, to Mexican dishes, to veggie burgers, to pulled pork. And of course it stands alone as a terrific salad. What we like even more––this is a terrific recipe to make ahead because it tastes just as good, or even better, the next day. This is a great side dish to add to your repertoire.

cabbage crop goodWe shred the cabbage finely with a knife.

slaw ingredWe use a box grater to shred the carrots.

Two Vinegar Cabbage Slaw
4 to 6 servings

For the Dressing
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Slaw
6 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup julienned red pepper, 1 1/2- to 2- inch slices

For the Dressing
In a glass jar with a lid or in a small mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Shake the jar vigorously or whisk in the bowl to emulsify.

For the Slaw
In a large mixing bowl combine the cabbage, carrot, and red pepper. Add 1/2 cup of the dressing and toss well. Add more dressing, as needed, to taste. Season with additional salt and pepper and serve.

Slaw closeup 1

Crispy Roast Potato and Brussels Sprouts

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Finished Bruss

It seems that we’ve all rediscovered Brussels sprouts these days. A vegetable that was often shunned when we were kids (okay, they were usually served boiled) turns out to be a favorite when roasted. This tasty roasting combo of Brussels sprouts and potatoes is a snap to make and we find that they go great along side any main course.

Brussels in colander copy

Brussel and Potato on pan betterWe spread the potato and Brussels sprout mixture  on a rimmed baking sheet.

Crispy Roast Potato and Brussels Sprouts Hash
4 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered (or halved if small)
1 pound small potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 3 or 4 sprigs
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, potatoes, oil, parsley, garlic, the chopped thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well until the Brussels sprouts and potatoes are evenly coated.

Arrange the Brussels sprouts and potatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, scatter the thyme sprigs on top, and roast for 25 minutes. Flip them with a spatula and roast for another 20 minutes—the potatoes should be golden and the Brussels sprouts slightly charred. Remove the thyme sprigs, season with additional salt and pepper and serve.

CLose up Brussels and Potatoes crop