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Cashew Fried Rice

We've all been there: we're in a rush, we're hungry, and we want something yummy, maybe a little salty, and satisfying. We want it fast! Sometimes, that means we end up ordering takeout. 

I work every day in a kitchen cooking for my clients, so it's rare that I'm ordering takeout. But even if that wasn't the case, I can't say I'd be a big fan. The problem with ordering out, especially greasy food, is that you have no control of what's going into what you're eating. That lack of control usually means eating a dish with more salt, fat, sugar, and calories than you need in one meal... and that can lead to feeling too full, sluggish, and tired... creating a moodier less than happy version of yourself. 

Which brings me to one of my favorite classic take-out dishes: fried rice! When you figure out how easy it is to make fried rice at home, you'll be making it all the time. Also, this recipe is a great way to use up leftover rice, (in fact fried rice is even better when you're using leftovers... fresh rice can end up too gummy when stir-fried), or if you don't have the time to make rice, you can use plain frozen brown rice that you buy at the grocery store. You could even swap leftover quinoa for the rice for an extra boost of protein!

This fried rice is full of flavor, protein, veggies, and all around goodness! It is a healthier way to satisfy those takeout cravings!

 CASHEW FRIED RICE

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup toasted unsalted cashews
  • 4 tablespoons liquid amino acids
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup Thai basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds (for garnish)

Start by dicing 1 onion and 1 red pepper.

In a large non-stick pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Once the oil is melted and the pan is hot, add 1 diced onion, and 1 diced red pepper. Cook the onion and pepper until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add 1 cup thawed frozen peas, and 2 tablespoons oyster sauce to the pan, and sauté for 1-2 more minutes until all of the veggies are coated and the peas are heated through. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and reserve.

In the same pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder to the pan. Next, add the cooked brown rice, and sauté it in the oil and spice for a few minutes, or until just warmed through. Add ¾ of a cup of toasted unsalted cashews, and 4 tablespoons of the liquid amino acids, and stir until the rice and nuts are thoroughly coated with the amino acids for 1 minute or so.

Add the reserved veggie mixture to the rice mixture. Mix both together until everything is well incorporated and heated through, about 1 more minute. 

Turn off the heat. Top with 3 chopped scallions, ½ cup of Thai basil leaves, and 2 teaspoons of black sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!

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Polenta Tots

  Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe  here .   Photo by   Vanessa Stump .

Tots served with baked crusted fish. You can find the full recipe herePhoto by Vanessa Stump.

I know most of you reading this post are above the age of 7, but come on! Who doesn't love a tot? Anything mini and bite-sized is somehow always satisfying. They may be tasty, but traditional tater tots have way too much sodium and oil and definitely don't have much nutritional value. I was trying to think of fun twists on the classic tater tot, and I came up with these polenta tots. Polenta is an inexpensive product, and contains B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin E. While it is starchy and should be eaten in moderation, it's a great alternative to heavy potato-based side dishes. 

These polenta tots are easy to make, and they are always a crowd pleaser... especially for little guys. You can serve them along with breaded and baked fish or chicken, or on their own with a fun dip (how about warm marinara?) for a fun afternoon snack or party appetizer!  

POLENTA TOTS

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 18-ounce sleeve organic polenta, cut into 1-inch rounds, and then diced into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup liquid egg whites
  • ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Lightly spray the foil with olive oil spray.

Cut the polenta into 1-inch thick rounds, and then cut each round into bite-sized squares, roughly the size of tater tots.

Add the cut polenta tots to a bowl. Add ¼ cup of liquid egg whites to the tots, and toss until the polenta is well coated. Add ¾ of a cup of finely grated Parmesan and a pinch of black pepper to the polenta, and gently toss until the polenta is coated in cheese.  

Place the coated polenta bites onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the polenta for 12 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.

 Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

Evette and I try out the polenta tots on set!

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Roasted Mushroom Bisque with Cashew Cream

The past few months have been filled with fun travel, and I've been a little off the map. We've been filming Ted 2; set life is great, but now that I'm back in LA, I'm more than ready to share all of my new favorite dishes that I've been cooking up for fall. Even LA has a little chill in the air these days...

 When the weather drops I start craving warm nourishing bowls of soup.

 This Roasted Mushroom Bisque is so satisfying and decadent but without the fat and calories in your typical creamy soup. This creamy soup is 100% dairy free, and can easily be made vegan. Instead of slow-you-down-clog-your-arteries heavy cream, I'm using a raw cashew cream to give this dish its rich deliciousness, and of course, that cashew cream is adding an extra element of protein.

 The stars of this show are immune-boosting mushrooms! Mushrooms are low in calories, and high in vitamin D. They have a meaty umami flavor, and are a great addition to any healthy diet. 

 As a BIG bonus this bisque can be used for more than just soup! If you add a little less stock to the mushroom and cashew mixture you will have a sauce that can be used for a fine-dining style pasta dish... Or use the sauce to ladle over your favorite chicken, meat or veggie dish! How about in between sheets of lasagna? So many options.

 And on that note... I'm about to go snuggle up with a warm, delicious, bowl of this goodness!

 Roasted Mushroom Bisque with Cashew Raisin Cream Two Ways

for the bisque-

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 3-4 cups homemade chicken stock (or substitute with veggie stock)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • freshly ground pink peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup Merlot/Cabernet vinegar blend (or Madeira)

for the cashew cream-

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • pinch of smoked sea salt
  • freshly ground pink peppercorn
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock (or substitute with veggie stock)

 garnish- 

  • thinly sliced fennel
  • roughly chopped parsley
  • roasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

 On a parchment-lined baking place the mushrooms. Top them with shallot, garlic and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and roast the mushrooms for 30 minutes or until browned and tender. While the mushrooms are roasting, pour boiling water over the cashews, and soak them for 30 minutes.

Once the mushrooms are roasted, cut them up into large chunks.

In a Nutribullet, or in a high-powered blender, add the chunks of cooked mushroom, shallot, and garlic, flax,  and 1 cup of the chicken stock. Blend until creamy. Once smooth, pour the mixture through a strainer and into a large cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven. Add the remaining stock, soy sauce and pepper to the pan. Heat the mixture on low. Simmer the soup for 5-6 minutes, until the soup is hot and the flavors have come together. Be careful not to boil the soup. Once heated through, add the vinegar or Madeira to the mixture. Stir, taste, and simmer for another few minutes.

 While the soup is simmering, make the cashew cream. In the same blender (it doesn't even need to be cleaned since it's all going in the same pot!), add the soaked cashews, raisins, salt, pepper and some of the chicken stock. Puree until smooth.

 Add the cashew cream to the pot of soup, and swirl it in. Ladle into a bowl. Garnish with thinly sliced fennel, fresh parsley, and pine nuts. 

 Add more or less stock depending on the desired thickness of your bisque. If you add less liquid, you can make a silky smooth purée to serve along with roast chicken, or as a sauce for pasta.

In fact,  I used some leftover bisque and cashew cream to make this fine-dining style pasta dish! Just boil some of your favorite pasta, add the thick mushroom and cashew mixture to the cooked pasta, toss gently, drizzle with truffle oil, or season with truffle salt, and serve!

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Striped Bass Ceviche with Avocado Mousse

Does anything say summer better than a bright, fresh, cool, crisp yummy ceviche?

This is a-list appetite food at its best… ceviche has the classiness of sashimi, but you don’t have to be a master sushi chef to make it. In fact, even though you start out with raw fish, the citrus juice  in the marinade technically “cook”s the fish. That’s crazy right? Ok, to really cook something you need heat, and I won’t get into the scientific mumbo jumbo, but the acid in citrus does similar things to raw fish that heat does. Anyhow, science isn’t what matters here… what really matters is that you will be LICKING the bowl after you try this.

And this dish does more than just taste good… fish like striped bass are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids (just like hemp seeds), and those omega 3’s are super helpful for a strong functioning brain and body, inside and out. Some studies have shown that eating foods rich in omega 3’s can even make your skin look better.

And let’s not forget I’m serving this bright tangy ceviche on a creamy avocado basil mousse. Avocado, with all of its healthy fat and nutrient-rich goodness, is my favorite!! Love me some fresh avocado!

There’s always  a big wow-factor when I serve this dish, especially considering how easy it is to make. And you can have fun with your plating on this one! A simple ring mold, or even an empty soup can that has had both the top and bottom cut out, can help you stack this ceviche on top of a beautiful swoosh of mousse. If you don’t have a mold, you could also plate this in a martini glass for a fun presentation!

Get ready to impress your friends with this recipe, and put a smile on everyone’s face.

STRIPED BASS CEVICHE WITH AVOCADO MOUSSE
Serves 3

For the ceviche-

  • 1 lb.  striped bass
  • ¼  cup fresh orange juice
  • ½  cup fresh lime juice
  • ½  cup pineapple juice
  • 1 small jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 3 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 tablsepoon avocado oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt

For the mousse-

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • Large handful of fresh basil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of water

Dice the fish and place the it in a bowl. Pour fresh orange juice and lime juice over the fish, and let the it “cook” in the fridge for 3 hours.

Mix pineapple juice, jalapeño, radish, shallot, oil, in a bowl and set aside in the fridge. 

Place all of the avocado  mousse ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

When you are ready to plate your ceviche, dollop a large portion of the avocado mousse on the dish you’re serving the ceviche in, use a mold to form salad or place in a cocktail glass for a fancy fun look! Squeeze out fish liquid when ready to use, and avoid excess liquid. Layer the fish with the radish salad.Top with fresh baby basil leaves and serve with baked wontons or plantain chips!

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10-Minute Butternut Mac n' Cheese

  Photo by  Vanessa Stump

Photo by Vanessa Stump

Mac and cheese baby! Yup, that’s right, our beloved mac and cheese the healthy way - and not to mention the quickest version possible! This 10-minutes meal is one of my favorite recipes from season 2 of Recipe Rehaband it's the dish I get asked about the most by my fans.

This mac comes loaded with pureed butternut squash. Butternut squash is full of immune boosting vitamin B6, fiber, and can even help with blood sugar regulation and eye health. The squash also offers great creamy flavor, and a familiar color that kids love and associate with cheese, but without all the fat that comes from using lots of cheddar.

This is comfort food on every level! So, go ahead and indulge in a nicely portioned bowl of yummy-goodness!

10-Minute Butternut Mac n' Cheese
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 box rigatoni (1 lb.)
  • 4 packets 100% Butternut Squash Green Giant Veggie Blend-Ins (or 1.5 cups pureed butternut squash)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk
  • 1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted Gluten Free breadcrumbs

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the rigatoni. Cook until tender, about 8-9 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large sauce pan add the 100% veggie blend-in butternut squash, low sodium chicken stock, reduced fat milk, grated cheddar cheese, parmesan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes and allow the sauce to start to thicken.

Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and grated nutmeg. Turn the heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is fully cooked. Stir frequently.

Strain the cooked pasta, and add it to the butternut squash sauce. Mix until the pasta is fully incorporated with the sauce.

Serve into bowls, and garnish with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.

Enjoy!

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Tuna Tartare With Avocado And Baked Wonton Chips

photo 4.JPG

Sometimes we all need to treat ourself to a classy plate of food.  When I'm in the mood for a special treat that's loaded with healthy fat and brain boosting omega-3's, I go no further than tuna tartare. This tuna tartare is made even better with the addition of creamy avocado and crunchy wonton chips.  Don't let the word "chips" fool you... these wontons are lightly coated with coconut oil spray, and they are baked instead of fried. You get the same satisfying crunch as a fried wonton, but without all the excess oil, fat, and calories. 

This recipe couldn't be easier. The trickiest part is not eating the tuna straight out of the mixing bowl before you get it onto the plate to serve to your guests.

Tuna Tartare with Avocado and Baked Wonton Chips

Serves 2-4

  • 3/4 lb. grade A tuna, about 1.5 inches thick, diced in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon or 10 sprays of liquid aminos
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, white or black
  • 5 wonton wrappers
  • coconut oil spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chia seeds

Special Equipment: one 2-3 inch ring mold

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Start by dicing your fresh Grade A tuna steak in half, lengthwise.  Dice the two halves so that you have small, bite-sized pieces of tuna.

In a bowl, add your tuna, liquid aminos, and sesame oil.  Let the tuna marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  

In a separate bowl, add your diced avocado, finely diced jalapeno, flaxseed oil, and freshly grated ginger.   Gently mix everything together; be careful not to break up your avocado too much.

Cut 5 wonton wrappers in half diagonally so that you have 10 wonton triangles in total.  Place the wonton triangles on a baking sheet. Spray each side of the wonton with coconut oil spray.  Sprinkle the wontons with a dash of ground cumin, followed by a dash of chia seeds.  Place the wontons in the oven for 3-4 minutes, take them out and flip each wonton over.  Bake the wontons for another 3-4 minutes until they are brown and crispy on both sides. Watch them carefully as they bake; they can burn easily.  

To assemble the tuna tartar, start by placing a ring mold in your serving dish.  Place the avocado mixture in the bottom of the mold, and top with the tuna. Sprinkle the top of the tuna with sesame seeds.  Lift the ring mold up and you will be left with a perfect mound of avocado and tuna.  Repeat the process, and use the rest of the avocado, tuna, and sesame seeds.  Serve with the baked wonton chips.

Enjoy scooping up each delicious bite!

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Smoked Salmon Spring Roll

salmon spring roll

We all get into snack ruts, but I like to make each meal a treat.  Eating small meals or snacks throughout the day is an important way to keep your blood sugars balanced, and your energy levels up.  

Springs rolls are one of my go-to snacks.  Rice paper is a great vehicle to fill with all sorts of fresh veggies, flavorful herbs, and light proteins. The options are endless! Today my combination of choice is: rich smoked salmon, creamy goat cheese, blanched asparagus, and fresh herbs.  But I promise, these rolls are fireworks of flavor! Visually, these are beautiful when sliced, but they also give you an energy boost between lunch and dinner.

 

SMOKED SALMON SPRING ROLL 

Serves 4-6

  • 3 sheets spring roll rice paper (preferably brown rice paper) 
  • 6 slices (approx. 8-oz.) of smoked salmon (preferably Scottish, no sugar added, low salt)
  • 6 asparagus stalks, trimmed and blanched until al dente
  • 1/2 cup arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onion sprigs, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, leaves removed from stems
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, leaves removed from stems
  • 1 lemon, sliced, served on the side
  • liquid aminos, served on the side

Prepare all of your ingredients to assemble the spring rolls: blanch 6 asparagus stalks, chop the arugula and the spinach, thinly slice the green onions, remove the leaves of the basil and mint from their stems, and crumble the goat cheese.

Fill a large bowl or baking dish with very warm water.  Assemble each spring roll one at a time by dipping the rice paper into the warm water for 1-2 seconds, to moisten and soften it.  Lay the moistened rice paper on a cutting board or flat surface. In the middle of the rice paper circle, lay down a few mint and basil leaves, two slices of smoked salmon, two asparagus spears, a third of the crumbled goat cheese, and a third of the spinach and arugula.  Leave two inches uncovered on either side of the filling, and about an inch on either end of the filing.  Fold the uncovered sides of the rice paper over the filling, wrap it tightly like a burrito. Repeat the process until you have three filled spring rolls. 

Slice the spring roll into halves or thirds, depending on how many people you would like to serve. Serve with freshly sliced lemon and a small dish of liquid aminos. To avoid excess sodium intake, use the liquid aminos sparingly; the salmon is salty and flavorful on its own.

Enjoy this fresh, satisfiying, and nutritious snack!

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