Archive for April, 2013

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Loaded Veggie Salad with Sweet Italian Dressing

Do you ever have those weeks where you feel like you’re running around from one thing to another and the next minute it’s bedtime and you’re beyond exhausted?  Yeah, me too.  Weeks like that make it hard for me to get in healthy and delicious meals so I like to throw together simple dishes that I know will fill me  up and give me the energy I need to make it through the day.  This salad involves some chopping (you can always use a hand chopper to speed the process along if needed) so I like to get everything prepped and ready to go ahead of time, then I can quickly throw everything together in minutes.  It’s perfect for lunch and for dinner I will sometimes switch out the pasta for a bit of cooked quinoa for a higher protein meal.

~Sarah

Ingredients:

For the Loaded Veggie Salad:

  • 2 cup chopped salad greens
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red, yellow or orange pepper
  • 1 cup cooked pasta of your choice
  • 1/2 cup crushed Smokey Bacon-y Almonds

For the Sweet Italian Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut cyrstals
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp poppy seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. In a large mixing bowl gently toss together the salad ingredients.  Drizzle with the dressing and toss one last time until evenly coated.

Yield:

Makes 3-4 servings.

Notes:

It’s best to serve only the amount of salad that will be eaten right away.  Leftover salad ingredients should be stored separately from the dressing and only mixed together when ready to serve.

I Yam Stuffed

Apr 26 2013 by | Comments (3)
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I Yam Stuffed

I can honestly say these are best stuffed potatoes I’ve ever had.  When Chef Matthew shared this recipe with me I immediately ran to the store and picked up all the ingredients.  I even made a double batch so that I could enjoy one for dinner every night this week.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

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Baked potatoes were a regular accompaniment to my meals as a child.  They were generally overcooked, slathered with a butter-like substance from a large plastic tub, heavy sour cream and a dose of salt. Not really what a growing boy needed but this counted as a serving of vegetables for me then. Adjusting to a healthier lifestyle as an adult I began to enjoy the earthy sweetness of yams, and as a chef I started to experiment with this as an ingredient in the kitchen. This is one of my favorites. It’s filled with freshness, fun, and is deliciously tasty. A perfectly balanced flavor harmony with this hearty and healthy recipe.

~Chef Matthew from Living On The Veg

Ingredients:

For the stuffed yams:

  • 4-5 yams (sweet potatoes work well too)
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper (orange, yellow or red)
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 2 tsp smoked sea salt (regular sea salt will work as well)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/4 cup diced heirloom tomatoes, optional garnish

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar (optional)
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes

Preparation:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.  Set aside.
  2. Bake the yams until fork tender, but do not overcook because that would make it difficult to stuff.  Set aside to cool until able to safely handle.
  3. Gently scoop out cooked yams and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Set yam cavities and bowl aside for later use.
  4. Add the coconut oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high. Add the garlic, ginger, and onions and cook until softened.
  5. Add in the broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, salt, basil and green onions.  Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes before adding in black pepper and kale.  Stir well.
  6. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the mixing bowl and mix well to combine with the cooked yams.
  7. Stuff each yam cavity with the mixture.  If necessary, place the stuffed yams in the oven until warmed all the way through.
  8. When ready to serve garnish with diced tomatoes (if using) and drizzle with dressing.

Yield:

Makes 4-5 servings.

Notes:

Leftover stuffed yams can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Reheat in the oven when ready to serve.

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Crispy Crunchy Chickpea Taquitos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

It’s been a very long time since I’ve had fast food of any kind but I couldn’t help but pay attention to the story on the radio the other week about the people that had lined up outside of Taco Bell on the day they released their new Cool Ranch Doritos Taco. Really?  All this fuss over a taco simply because it has a Cool Ranch shell?  I can do so much better than that!  These crispy, crunchy taquitos are definitely worth some attention and the Creamy Chipotle Sauce is so fantastically delicious you’ll never think twice about Taco Bell again!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

For the Taquitos:

  • 8 ounces 3 grain tempeh, finely crumbled (for a gluten free version sub with a leftover bean or veggie burger)
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips of your choice
  • 1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup corn, if frozen thaw first
  • 2-3 tbsp Cool Ranch Seasoning
  • finely diced onions, optional
  • Daiya cheddar cheese, optional
  • 8-10 tortilla wraps of your choice
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil, divided

For the Creamy Chipotle Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (sunflower, safflower or canola work well)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Arizona Pepper’s Organic Chipotle Habanero Pepper Sauce (if you don’t have this sauce on hand you can try any type of prepared hot sauce although the flavor will change slightly depending on brand)

Preparation:

  1. In a powerful blender add all the ingredients for the chipotle sauce and process for about 30 seconds or until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat and add the finely crumbled tempeh (I personally love using my hand chopper to get the perfect crumbled consistency).  Sauté the tempeh for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in the chickpeas and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the tempeh is golden brown and crunchy.  Add in the crushed tortilla chips and corn and give it a good stir.
  4. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp of oil over the tempeh mixture and top with 2 tbsp Cool Ranch Seasoning.  Stir well and taste the mixture.  If desired add the other tbsp of seasoning for a more pronounced Cool Ranch flavor.  Remove from heat.
  5. Place your tortillas on a flat surface and evenly spoon the tempeh mixture down the center of each tortilla in a 1 inch line.  Sprinkle with some finely diced onion and Daiya cheese if desired.
  6. Roll the tortillas into a tube and place on a lined baking sheet.  Make sure to place the tortilla seam side down.
  7. Lightly brush each tortilla top with the remaining oil if desired – this gives them a nice crunchy brown outside.
  8. Place the taquitos in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove and serve immediately with a side of Creamy Chipotle Sauce.

Yield:

Makes 12-14 taquitos.

Notes:

Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  I actually make a double, sometimes triple, batch because we love to have the sauce on hand to use as a salad dressing, veggie dip or in place of ketchup for fries and burgers.  It is seriously one of the best sauces/dressings I’ve ever tasted!

Leftover taquitos can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  They are best when reheated in the oven.

Pretty Peas with Cauliflower on Top

Apr 22 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Pretty Peas with Cauliflower on Top

The farmer’s market was full of fresh and beautiful things this weekend. One item that I went a little overboard on were the English Peas. They were so crisp and vibrant I couldn’t help myself.  Of course I could always share them with Sarah’s dog Riley. Riley loves peas but instead I’ve been using them in several different things and I thought I would share this one because it’s so pretty and flavorful.

Kristy

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp garam masala *see notes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 ground cayenne or arbol chili
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro, minced

Preparation:

  1. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely. 
  2. Once cooled transfer to a small food processor and add the nutritional yeast. Process until finely ground. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil. Add the cauliflower and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the peas and 2 tbsp of the vegetable broth. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
  4. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the skillet and place back on the heat (still on low) and add the remaining 1 tbsp oil, garam masala, cumin, chili and turmeric. Stir well. Add the tomato paste and vegetable stock. Stir until smooth. Let simmer a minute or two before adding the cauliflower and peas back into the skillet. Stir well and cook until heated through.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the walnut mixture and parsley.

Yield:

Makes about 3 cups

Notes:

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days but if you think you will have leftovers it is best to keep the walnut topping and parsley separate and only add just before serving.

*You can easily make your own garam masala by placing 2 cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces, 3 cardamom pods, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp peppercorns, 2 cloves and 1/4 tsp fennel seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly 2-3 minutes or until you smell an aromatic toasty smell. The cumin toasts the fastest so be careful not to over cook and burn it. Remove from the heat to a plate. Once cooled transfer to a spice mill and grind to a fine powder. If desired you can also add a pinch of ground nutmeg. This mixture can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 month.

Pistachio Pesto Quinoa Salad

Apr 19 2013 by | Comments (1)
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Pistachio Pesto Quinoa

I’ve always been a fan of pesto but a pesto featuring one of my favorite nuts – oh yeah.  I love this flavorful pesto salad that Chef Matthew from Living On The Veg whipped up for us this week.  It’s simple but so delicious and perfect for lunch or dinner.

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Enjoying raw pistachios in their shell has always been one of my favorite snacks.  Cracking them open takes a little effort, but the reward is well worth it.  Using them as a substitute for pine nuts can add an interestingly flavorful change to what you call a customary pesto recipe, and help your budget a bit too.  Pairing this untraditional pesto with protein rich quinoa, ripe heirloom tomatoes, and fresh spinach leaves is a surefire way to get your taste buds to become your best friends.  You can also try this pesto recipe with other dishes, such as pastas, risotto, squash noodles or use it as a spread, topping or even make a salad dressing with it, the possibilities are countless.

~Chef Matthew from Living On The Veg

Ingredients:

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

For the quinoa salad:

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups packed and chopped spinach leaves
  • 1 cup finely diced heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Preparation:

  1. Place all the ingredients for the pesto, except the oil, in a food processor.  Start the processor and slowly pour in the oil.  The pesto should be creamy but still have a bit of texture to it.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the quinoa and pesto until evenly coated.  Add the remaining ingredients in the bowl and gently toss until mixed.
  3. Serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Yield:

Makes 4-6 servings.

Notes:

Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can easily double or triple the pesto recipe and use it in a number of different ways.

 

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Spinach Salad with Spring Surprise Dressing

Surprise! The dressing for this salad is made with seasonal spring rhubarb. Now admit it, if the title of this recipe was Spinach Salad with Rhubarb Dressing you wouldn’t have given it a second look unless of course you are a rhubarb lover like I am. I grew up eating raw rhubarb snapped fresh from the plant even though it made me shudder a little with each bite because of the tartness. I wouldn’t do that now but I love using rhubarb as many ways as I can. This dressing in a favorite of mine because I like the sweet/savory combination of flavors. With it you can transform an ordinary spinach/strawberry salad into a thing of spring beauty.

Kristy

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced white button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup diced rhubarb (about 6 average size stalks)
  • 1/2 cup diced strawberries
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2/3 cup neutral flavor oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preparation:

  1. Divide the salad ingredients evenly between 4 bowls. Set aside.
  2. Place the first 9 ingredients of the dressing into a saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until the fruit is soft and tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  3. Place in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the oil and mustard and blend 5-10 seconds more until well mixed and creamy.
  4. Serve warm over the spinach salad.

Yield:

Makes 4 single serving salads. The dressing makes 2 cups so there will be plenty left over for other uses.

Notes:

Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

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Raw Chopper with Lemony Garlic Dressing

This amazingly healthy salad was actually inspired by my favorite broccoli part – the stalks!  Yup, I love the stalks of broccoli – my secret is out!  Have you ever tried them?  They actually have a very mild taste and you’ll often find that those that don’t like broccoli will happily eat the stalks.  I usually chop up the stalks and throw them in with my salads but I thought it was time that they shine and got the love they deserved.  To bring out all the goodness of the veggies I whipped up this simple but very flavorful dressing.  The tangy lemon and robust garlic pair with the crunchy vegetables and the whole salad comes together in the most delicious way.  Enjoy!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

For the Lemony Garlic Dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Raw Chopped Salad:

  • 4 cups salad greens of your choice
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli stems
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower stems and florets
  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded beets
  • 1/2 cup sprouts of your choice

Preparation:

  1. Add all the ingredients for the dressing to a blender and process for 20-30 seconds or until well blended and creamy.  You can also whisk the dressing by hand but it won’t get the same creamy texture as it does in a blender.
  2. Place the salad greens in a large bowl and top with the remaining ingredients.  Drizzle the dressing over top and enjoy!

Yield:

Makes 2 servings.

Notes:

I like to double or triple the dressing recipe and keep some on hand for whenever needed.  Leftover dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The Problem with Counting Calories

Apr 12 2013 by | Comments (7)

Calorie-Counting-Tips

At The Naked Kitchen our goal has always been in creating whole food based, sustainable, nutrient-rich recipes and meals that everyone will love and enjoy.  Counting calories, tracking fat and carbs and measuring sodium levels has never been our focus.  Instead we want to encourage people to make their food choices count rather than count their food.

After being asked repeatedly to post nutritional facts on our recipes we finally gave in and started posting the data.  Recently we stopped posting such information and many readers are left wondering why.  In general, we are not fans of nutrition facts on recipes or packaged products.  Neither label tells you anything about the health and nutritional properties of the actual food.  Take a Lean Cuisine meal – Butternut Squash Ravioli.  It has 260 calories, 7 grams of fat and 40 grams of carbs.  How can you go wrong with 260 calories?  Well, let me show you…  what’s actually contained in those 260 calories?  If you take a look at the ingredients list for this meal you’ll find that most of what you are putting in your body is modified chemicals and byproducts – yum!  There is very little real nutrition in this meal and because you aren’t feeding your body real food it will most likely be hungry again in a very short time.  I’m pretty sure  a serving size of our Butternut Squash Lasagna has more than 260 calories, 7 grams of fat and 40 grams of carbs but with one serving you are providing your body with nutrient rich butternut squash, spinach, tomatoes and macadamia nuts.

Our views on calories and their effects on our body have been skewed and misdirected for so long now that we’ve forgotten how to eat healthy.  If you have a 100 calorie apple in one hand and a 100 calorie pack of cookies in the other and you view this as the same – you can see where our erroneous judgement in calorie counting begins.  All calories are not created equal!

When calories are burned in a laboratory they are indeed created equal and the same amount of energy is released.  In a lab environment, there is no difference between 250 calories of apples and 250 calories of apple pie.  If only our bodies worked the same way.  Apples and apple pie are absorbed by our bodies at completely different rates and have different amounts of nutrients, fiber, fats, protein, carbs, vitamins – all these things affect health, weight, hunger and metabolic rate at the cellular level.  When you eat more nutrients per calorie you’ll be better protected against disease, you’ll weigh less and be less hungry.

Remember, your body will continue to crave food/calories until you supply it with the nutrients it needs.  The more nutrients you provide your body, the less hungry you will be.  Calories are not created equal which is why at The Naked Kitchen we’ll continue to provide you with recipes and meals that will nourish your body.  We hope you understand our decision to focus on real, nutrient rich food and less on nutrition facts and labels.

~Sarah and Kristy

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Mexicali Millet

Apr 10 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Mexicali Millet

Light and fluffy with a slightly nutty flavor millet has become my favorite grain not only for it’s taste but also for it’s nutritional value. It’s high in fiber and rich in B vitamins, niacin, B6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Like quinoa it is a complete protein and is gluten free.

This past week my sister has been visiting with me, escaping the cold weather of Michigan and enjoying the warm California sunshine. She happens to be a cilantro lover so I made this dish especially for her. If you happen to be a cilantro lover as well you will definitely want to give this recipe a try.

Kristy

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup millet
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 lemon, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a skillet heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the millet and toast until the grain is tan. 
  2. In a saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add 1 tsp oil and the toasted millet. Return to a boil then cover and lower heat to a simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the millet is tender.
  3. In the skillet used to toast the millet heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add the onion, pepper, jalapeño, garlic and salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the corn and cook until heated through. Transfer to the pot of millet and stir.
  4. Add the tahini and lemon juice and stir thoroughly. Add the cilantro and stir to combine.
  5. Can be served warm or chilled. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Yield:

Makes approximately 4 cups

Notes:

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

Smoky Tempeh Sandwich

Apr 08 2013 by | Comments (0)
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Smokey Tempeh Sandwich

This sandwich might just be my newest obsession.  I’ve always been a fan of tempeh but this is downright amazing!  I’ve been pairing the smoky tempeh slices with all sorts of yummy veggies like spinach, avocado, sprouts, cucumber, red pepper and onion.  One of my favorite versions is adding a slather of Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and piling on the veggies – YUM!  No matter how you top it, this healthy and delicious sandwich is sure to make meal time taste a whole lot better!

~Sarah

Ingredients:

For the Smoky Tempeh:

  •  2 eight ounce packages organic tempeh, cut lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices (a pizza cutter works great for slicing the tempeh)
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari (gluten free if needed)
  • 3 tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • dash of liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil

For the Sandwich:

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread, toasted if desired
  • toppings of your choice (lettuce, avocado, spinach, onion, tomato, sprouts, cucumber, etc)
  • 1 tbsp or so of your favorite sauce (I used some Ranch Dressing but Dijon mustard, some Pumpkin Seed Pesto or my favorite –  Sun Dried Tomato Pesto would be great)

Preparation:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, water, onion powder and garlic powder.  Set aside the marinade.
  2. In a large shallow dish lay the tempeh slices out in a single layer (if you need to overlap make sure to turn the slices every so often so that they can all marinade).  Pour the marinade over the tempeh and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Remove the tempeh slices from the marinade and place in the sauté pan making sure not to overlap the pieces (work in batches if needed).  Discard remaining marinade.
  4. Cook the tempeh slices for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned and slightly crispy.
  5. Remove the cooked tempeh from the pan and let cool on a plate lined with a couple of sheets of paper towel.
  6. To assemble the sandwich, add a couple of pieces of smoky tempeh to a slice of bread along with your favorite toppings and a tbsp or so of sauce.  Top with another piece of bread and enjoy!

Yield:

Makes enough smoky tempeh for about 4 sandwiches.

Notes:

Leftover smoky tempeh can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

My husband is a big fan of baked potatoes and he loves crumbling up the leftover smoky tempeh slices and topping his baked potato with them.  They are also great for adding to your salad as faux bacon bits!