Roasted Vegetable and Spiced Chickpea Salad

Good morning!

Man, do I have a salad recipe for you. I think that if I were to ever have a restaurant, this salad would probably be on the menu. It’s interesting, it has a ton of flavor, it has all of your food groups, it’s incredibly healthy, and the various textures keeps each bite tasting a little different.

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I made this while I was at my parents house in CT yesterday. I was craving a big salad for lunch, but was also really cold in my house (my parents keep the house freezing), so I decided to add some warm vegetables on top.

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I started with a base of chopped romaine, cucumbers, and baby tomatoes.

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I then laid out chopped sweet potatoes on a pan and drizzled them with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt. I kept them very simple.

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For the mushrooms, I added them to a large bowl and covered them in balsamic vinegar. I mixed it all up with my hands to make sure the ‘shrooms were covered in vinegar, and then laid them out next to the sweet potatoes on a baking tray. Added Salt and Pepper.

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For the chickpeas, I laid out a can of them on another baking tray, added salt, chipotle chil powder, chili powder and nutmeg. I taste tested them until they were spicy enough.

I then popped both trays into a 450 degree oven (chickpeas on one tray, mushrooms/sweet potatoes on another). After about 10 minutes, everything was cooked through and crispy.

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I assembled everything and added sliced almonds and drizzles of more balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard as a dressing.

So there you have it… a quick and easy spruced up salad. Who said salads have to be boring?

How do you spruce up your salads? What are your favorite ingredients to include?

Roasted Vegetable and Spiced Chickpea Salad

(serves 1)

These are all rough measurements:

  • about a 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • small container of whole mushrooms
  • 2-3 cups of romaine
  • handful of baby tomatoes
  • 1/3 cucumber
  • 2 T slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Spices: whatever you’d like to use for the chickpeas- I used chipotle chili powder, salt, chili powder, and nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Add balsamic vinegar to mushrooms in a large bowl. Mix well, then lay out mushrooms on a foil lined baking sheet. Add S&P. Add sweet potato chunks to baking sheet. Drizzle sweet potato with a little olive oil and salt.

3. For the chickpeas: rinse and drain, then lay out on a foil lined baking sheet. Add a sprinkle of olive oil, salt, and spices (start with just a dash of each and then add more based on how spicy you want it).

4. Add everything to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until mushrooms and potatoes are cooked through and chickpeas are crispy.

5. Combine romaine, tomatoes and cucumbers. Top with roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Top with slivered almonds. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top, or dressing of your choice.

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Simple Winter Pasta in a Light Coat of Butter

When I was a kid, I used to always order a huge plate of ziti with butter and parmesan at restaurants. Tiny bit of sauce on the side, but JUST a tiny bit (I was very “particular”). Regardless of the variety of food on the menu, if you put some pasta and butter in front of me, I was cool as a cucumber.

These days, I am still fond of my pasta and butter combo. Some things don’t change…I knew what was up as a youngin’.

There’s just something about real butter, you know? It’s not necessarily the healthiest thing you can eat, but it’s so delicious. And we all deserve deliciousness.

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Real butter goes a long way. The plate you see only has half a tablespoon of butter, just enough…and totally necessary.

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The whole wheat pasta, sweet potato, peas and spinach provide wholesome nourishment, and the butter gives you that closed-eyed “mmmm” feeling of richness.

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Simply seasoned with some salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick, and you’ve got yourself a comforting winter meal.

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Topped with parm… what more could you want?

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The little kid inside of me was so happy with this meal. She even got some extra nutrition today with all the veggies. Win-Win.

Enjoy! 🙂

Simple Winter Pasta in a Light Coat of Butter

(serves 1 or 2)

  • about 1.5 cups of whole wheat pasta shells, cooked.
  • about .5 cups Maple Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • handful of spinach
  • handful of frozen peas
  • dashes of salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 T Butter
  • parmesan cheese

Mix all together in a pot over low heat. Enjoy the taste of real butter.

P.S. If you’re interested in participating in my 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge starting Feb 1st, (more info at the end of this post), remember to email me at jamiemendell@gmail.com to get signed up!

Sweet Potatoes Made Easy: Roasted with Maple and Fresh Rosemary

Good morning guys!

I’m really excited this morning. Yesterday I bought a desk that I am in LOVE with and I’m sitting at it typing away for the first time this morning. I decided I needed a desk if I were to get serious about getting anything done in my apartment, so I went on craigslist, searched for exactly what I wanted “shabby chic white desk”, and found one that fit the bill for super cheap. Not to mention that the nice couple delivered it to me from Jersey City for $15 within a few hours. The whole process went pretty much as smooth as it could have possibly gone and I’m sorta kinda obsessed with my new piece of furniture.

OKAY so now that I’ve calmed my excitement, let’s talk sweet potatoes! I almost didn’t get around to posting this because it had been so long since I made them (last Sunday), but then I thought no way, they HAVE to have this recipe. It’s a really really good one.

Allow me to introduce you to Maple Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

First of all, I just learned in my nutrition class the other day how many antioxidants sweet potatoes have. Like, they are packed. Additionally, they contain TONS of Vitamin A which is needed for your vision, bone growth and skin/membrane growth. So eat ’em up!

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The reason why I love this sweet potato recipe so much is that they are so simple to make, yet they make your kitchen smell ridiculously good and they add some serious flavor to a normal sweet potato.

All you have to do is chop up the sweet potatoes into bite sized chunks, add them to a bowl and drizzle a little bit of olive oil, maple syrup, and rosemary sprigs on top. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about a half hour.

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And then once they are done, just store them in a tupperware and eat them all week long. With anything and everything. Some examples of how I used these throughout the last week:

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Salad: bean burgers, veggies, avocado, sweet potato, spinach

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Snack: baked chicken, sweet potatoes, avocado, BBQ sauce

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Lunch: veggie stir fry with pesto

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Dinner: pasta with bean burger, sweet potato, spinach and pesto

Clearly I used up the same ingredients all week just in different combinations, but I loved having these tasty, soft sweet potatoes to add to everything.

I don’t know if I will ever make sweet potatoes any other way again. These were SO easy and absolutely delicious. So get your Vitamin A and antioxidants on! I hope you enjoy 🙂

Maple Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1.5 LARGE sweet potatoes, or 2 small ones, or however many you want. But this recipe is for what I made, which is using 1.5 very large potatoes.
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 5 or 6 fresh rosemary sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Wash sweet potatoes and roughly chop in to bite sized pieces.

3. In a large bowl, drizzle the maple syrup and olive oil on top of the potatoes. Add the rosemary leaves from the sprigs (just roughly pull off the leaves).

4. Toss everything thoroughly to coat. Lay ‘taters on a greased baking sheet (I use PAM) and pop into oven for about a half hour, or until cooked through.

2 Hours of Prep, Food for the Entire Week

I played a little game with myself yesterday. It went something like this…. “see how much food you can cook for the week in two hours. GO.”

I have 6 Final Exams coming up over the next 2.5 weeks, and knowing how little time I would have to cook, I wanted to spend a couple of hours yesterday prepping for the upcoming madness. However, I didn’t want it to take up my entire Sunday, so I gave myself two hours. It was a challenge. It was fierce. Mushrooms were flying, rosemary is probably in every little crevice of my kitchen, chocolate chips are now coating my wooden floors. I worked like a mad woman, but I ended up creating some amazing food that I know will keep me healthy and less stressed over the next few weeks.

In JUST two hours, this is what I cooked from start to finish. Oh, AND factor in the time that it took me to carry every single creation, every step of the way, from my kitchen over to my window to photograph it in the daylight. So if it took me two hours, it would take you less. Trust me!

1. Started off with sweet potatoes two ways. Maple Rosemary (left), and just plain old salted ‘taters (right). Recipe to come.

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2. Turkey meatballs. Recipe to come.

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3. Whole Wheat Farfalle Pasta

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4. Black Bean and Lentil Veggie Burgers. Recipe to come.

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5. Baked Chicken with Dill, Rosemary and Paprika

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6. Whole Wheat Couscous

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7. Chopped up Veggies, ready to go.

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8. The best– super healthy– cookies I have ever made. Banana Chocolate Chip. Recipe to come.

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I was honestly pretty impressed at the end of this. This is a TON of food that I will get through over the next few weeks and I cooked it in a tiny kitchen with a mini stove that likes to periodically shut off, four burners, and 1 cutting board. Some tips for multi tasking and getting the most out of two hours of prep work:

  • Clean as you go. My mom would be so proud to hear me say this right now. This is her trick. Do one thing, clean, get ready for the next.
  • Think ahead and use an assortment of cooking methods. In other words, don’t plan to cook a bunch of things that all require the oven. I cooked some things that required the oven, others that required the stove top.
  • Keep your garbage can out. Mine usually is stored under my kitchen sink, but when I started cooking with it out, open, and empty, it made things so much easier. It helps me easily keep things clean along the way and throw away empty cartons, wrappers, and containers as I go.
  • Plan your recipes ahead of time. I did some research over the weekend, figured out my recipes, and went to the store Sunday morning to be sure I had everything I needed.
  • Keep it simple. As you’ll see this week when I blog about the recipes, they are all pretty simple. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time, so I just stuck to basics and added a little bit of flavor to every dish.
  • Cook food that can be frozen. Aside from the fresh veggies, everything else can be frozen in tupperware. I won’t get through all of this in the next week, so it’s nice to be able to freeze some of it for the following weeks.
  • Play some music, wear some comfy clothes that you can get dirty, and *focus*! It’s amazing how much you can get accomplished when you are truly focused on the task at hand

When prepping for the week, I tried to cook a little bit of everything. A few carbs (sweet potatoes, couscous, pasta), some protein (chicken, turkey meatballs, bean/lentil burgers), I got some veggies ready to go and I of course cooked a healthy dessert. Phew. I am tired just recapping this!!

But, I do want to make a point that preparing for the week can be quick, it can be simple, and it can MAJORLY help out during really busy and stressful times. It’s doing yourself a huge favor. It’s making your life a little easier. It’s being nice to yourself. And we can all use a little more of that right?

P.S. Here is another post where I talked about what I prepped for an upcoming week. 

Do you prep on the weekends for the week? Any go-to batch recipes that you make?