Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad | coffeeandquinoa.com

Thank you for all your sweet comments on Monday’s post! I loved reliving our wedding day through sharing it with you. There are more photos to come, but first I thought we could use some food to tide us over.

I was up early before work last week, making this salad for a Thanksgiving potluck, when it hit me: now it feels like the holidays. I never, ever cook before work – oatmeal or a smoothie is my max! – so it’s a rare occasion that I’m shredding sprouts before my morning cup of coffee. (Should I have kept that to myself so you’d think I’m a super dedicated blogger who whips up blog recipes in the wee hours? Oops.) In real life, morning cooking is limited to the holidays, when there’s so much food to cook and so little time. Such was certainly the case last week! Somehow, slicing kale at an ungodly hour of the morning felt like something special, and I was suddenly ready for all December’s festivities. Isn’t it nice that raw vegetables can put me in the holiday spirit?!

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Sherry-Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Sherry-Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Thank you so much for all your sweet comments on Monday’s post! They mean so much. Nate and I could not be happier. Life is good!

I hadn’t counted on starting wedding planning quite so early, but venues book up fast! We had to start looking if we wanted any chance of getting married in 2014… and we may have found a place! Fingers crossed, but I think we will be getting married next fall. Hooray!

I wasn’t really looking forward to all the planning – I usually procrastinate this kind of thing until I’m completely dreading it. Luckily I have my mom, who so far is the world’s best wedding planner. How I would plan this thing without her, I have no idea. It turns out wedding planning is a ton of fun when someone else is doing all the work!

I hope you’ll put up with occasional wedding talk on here. I am slightly worried I’m not going to be able to talk about anything else for the next 10 months.

And this is the part when I transition seamlessly from wedding talk to Brussels sprouts.

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Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Remember when I didn’t eat cheese for 6 months?

Hah.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Sorry, former vegan self. Sorry but I’m not sorry. I ate a lot of cheese this weekend, and it tasted reeeeally good.

I’ve actually been craving this dish for a few weeks, since a co-worker brought in some buffalo chicken casserole for lunch. As she warmed up her leftovers in the microwave and the smell wafted through the kitchen, it was alllll I wanted.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

I had brought a salad.

Major food envy.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

I knew I had to recreate it for you guys ASAP. My one hesitation to go out of town last weekend was that I’d have to wait an extra week to bring this dish to life! Such hardships :) Luckily, that gave me an extra week to fantasize and brainstorm… making the end result positively perfect.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Nate agrees. That’s him going back for seconds.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call this dish healthy, but it is vegetarian – come on, aren’t those synonymous?! It’s loaded with veggies, replacing 1/2 the pasta and all of the chicken that would be used in a regular buffalo chicken casserole. It’s just cheesy enough to be indulgent, but still loaded with nutrients.

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

It’s like a cross between buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, and veggie pasta dish. Also known as…the tastiest thing ever. For real. I don’t think I have to try too hard to convince you on this one.

Guess who’s going to have the jealousy-inducing leftovers for lunch this week?!

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake | coffeeandquinoa.com

Boyfriend-Approved Buffalo Veggie Pasta Bake

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For pasta:

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta

1/2 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

sprinkle of ground black pepper

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced (about 5 cups sliced)

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened milk of your choice)

2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided (4-5 oz.)

1/2 cup hot sauce such as Frank’s RedHot

To top:

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

additional hot sauce

1 recipe lightened up blue cheese dressing

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Cook pasta in a large pot until slightly al dente. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.

Next, saute your vegetables. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add garlic, onion, and carrots, season with ground pepper, and saute until soft, 9-10 minutes. (The carrots will not soften up much in the oven, so you want to get them to your desired softness on the stovetop.) Add the mushrooms and saute 3 minutes more, then add the Brussels sprouts and saute another 2 minutes. Pour vegetables into the pot with the pasta and scrape pan clean.

Now prepare the roux. In the same pan, melt the butter. Stir in flour and let bubble 1-2 minutes. Stir in the milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and stir to melt. Stir in hot sauce. Pour the mixture over the pasta and vegetables and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cup of cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling. (If cheese starts to burn before 25 minutes, cover the top of the dish with tin foil and continue baking.)

Remove from oven and sprinkle with green onions. Serve in scoops, topped with additional hot sauce and blue cheese dressing.

Enjoy!

Time:

1 hour

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

Good morning!

I’m sure some of you have the day off today because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Lucky! For the rest of us, it’s just another Monday at work.

Although I didn’t have a long weekend, I did have a nice relaxing one. On Friday night, Nate and I went out for sushi and then watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which everyone at work has been talking about since it came out on Netflix. I’m glad we had some sushi to go with that movie! It would have been torturous otherwise.

Saturday we went to our first Sundance film of the year, a shorts program. We got tickets to a bunch of Sundance movies this year, all of them down here in Salt Lake City. As much as I’d like to go up to Park City, do some celebrity spotting, etc., when it comes down to it, I’m too lazy to drive up there! Or at least, sometimes I am, so I don’t want to buy tickets there ahead of time. The shorts program we saw had some funny shorts and some really weird ones… welcome to Sundance. In any case, I’m excited for the rest of our movies later this week!

Then, of course, Sunday was all about football.

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

I did manage to ignore the first football game, but then watched the Patriots vs. Ravens with some friends at our place.

I don’t have too much to say about that game. Partly because I’m from New England. And partly because I really only watched part of the 4th quarter… that’s generally how I “watch” football.

I’ll be honest… I was in the kitchen. Because no football game would be complete without some football munchies.

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

Which brings us to these potato skins. And begs the question: Have you started planning your Superbowl food yet?

If not, that’s OK, you have plenty of time. But here is something to get the ball rolling.

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

I wasn’t lying last week when I said that potato skins are kind of my new thing. Potato skins stuffed with vegetables, that is, instead of of the traditional bacon and sour cream.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these particular potato skins are some of the best things ever. After I made this batch, Nate and I proceeded to devour the entire thing. Later in the week I made them again, same result. I’ve actually now made them 3 times before posting this recipe. What I’m saying is, you might just want to make 2 or 3 batches up front, especially if you are bringing them somewhere. You will NOT regret it.

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

This is a healthy twist on a combination of two classic football foods: potato skins and buffalo chicken. Minus the chicken. I loaded the potato skins with a buffalo Brussels sprout mixture, then topped them with cheddar cheese, a light blue cheese dressing, and cute little celery and carrot sticks. Just to emphasize the whole buffalo flavor theme.

Do not be turned off by the idea of Brussels sprouts here. They are smothered in buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing, encased in a crispy crunch potato skin, and topped with more melted cheese. The emphasis, taste-wise, is not on the Brussels sprouts… but you still get their healthiness. Bonus!

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

These are a huge crowd-pleaser, and I seriously can’t emphasize enough how amazing they are. I know they take a bit of time to make, but a lot of that is just passive time, with the potatoes baking in the oven. They are SO worth it! Be sure to get the potato skins nice and crispy – we found that these skins were tons better when we let the skins get all golden and crispy-crunchy than if we took them out of the oven a few minutes too early.

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing | coffeeandquinoa.com

Buffalo Brussels Potato Skins with Lightened Up Blue Cheese Dressing

Makes 12 small potato skins

Dressing adapted from Skinny Taste

Ingredients:

For the skins:
6 small yukon gold potatoes (1 ½-2 lbs total)
olive oil
salt
pepper

For the buffalo Brussels:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup hot sauce such as Frank’s red hot
3 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts (about 10-12)

For the lightened up blue cheese dressing:
½ cup crumbled or chopped blue cheese
6 oz. non-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about ¼ of a lemon)
1 Tbsp white vinegar
sprinkle of garlic powder
sprinkle of onion powder
sprinkle of ground black pepper

For garnish:
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 carrot, very thinly sliced (optional)
1 stalk celery, very thinly sliced (optional)

Instructions:

First, bake the potatoes. Preheat oven to 375. Pierce each potato several times with a fork and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. (The foil will make clean-up from the next step easier!) Bake until the potatoes no longer feel hard when squeezed (with an oven mitt on!) – they should give slightly. This took 50-55 minutes for my small potatoes.

(If you like, you can bake the potatoes ahead of time and put them in the fridge, whole, before proceeding. I found that they were easier to scoop out this way. However, you will need to bake the skins a little longer once the insides are scooped out to crisp them up.)

While the potatoes bake, make the lightened-up blue cheese dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, mash together crumbled blue cheese and Greek yogurt with the back of a fork. (To be honest, I would do this in a food processor next time, but I hate cleaning that thing!) Once no large chunks of blue cheese remain, add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Keep covered in fridge until ready to use.

Remove potatoes from oven. On a cutting board, cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the middles (you can save the extra potato for mashed potatoes, etc.), leaving a thin layer of potato on each skin. Return to lined baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450. Bake skins at 450 for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp (10 minutes if the potatoes were hot when you put them in, more like 15 minutes if they had just come out of the fridge).

While the skins are getting nice and crisp, make the buffalo Brussels sprouts. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and saute until starting to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add hot sauce and Brussels sprouts and stir to coat. Saute until Brussels sprouts are tender, which happens quickly – about 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove golden potato skins from oven. Spoon several tablespoons of the Brussels sprout mixture into each one and top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Return to oven for 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted.

Finally, remove from oven. Top each skin with small pieces of carrot and celery. Serve with blue cheese dressing alongside, or go ahead and place a dollop on each skin.

Enjoy!

Time:

80 minutes

Wilted Spinach, Brussels Sprout and Citrus Salad

Wilted Spinach & Brussels Sprout Salad

I’m feeling like my love of green things is slightly underrepresented on this blog.

It’s also slightly underrepresented in my life lately, despite the fact that it’s January.

But let’s face it, it is January, and nothing about freezing temps (high of 17 today) makes me want to eat cold, crunchy vegetables.

And that’s why this salad has a warm dressing poured over it, wilting the spinach and making me feel slightly happier about eating raw veggies in the dead of winter.

Wilted Spinach & Brussels Sprout Salad

I came up with this salad the other morning before work, when I went to pack my lunch and realized that we had NO leftovers. That is not a common occurrence around here, because I’m pretty careful to make enormous dinners so that I can bring lunch all week.

So, boooooo, salad it was. Plus some frozen soup I found in the freezer. I was kind of bummed about it… until lunch kept me full all afternoon. That is definitely a rare occurrence.

I think it’s the Brussels sprouts that added the fullness factor?  Whatever it was, it made me realize that this is a January salad I can handle.

If you are not a fan of Brussels sprouts… please give them a second chance?

Wilted Spinach & Brussels Sprout Salad

They are pretty delightful when sliced into thin ribbons like this. Plus there’s none of that skunky flavor that you might associate with overcooked Brussels.

I used cara cara navel oranges in my salad, because I love their beautiful color and sweetness. But you could use regular navel oranges, grapefruit, or any other citrus.

Wilted Spinach & Brussels Sprout Salad

You do have to supreme it – sorry! I mean I guess you don’t have to, but that’s really the only way I like my citrus salads, because I can’t stand the pith – yuck. But totally your choice, and if you’d like to supreme it but aren’t sure how, just google it and you can find some great video tutorials.

You’ll want to adjust the vinegar in the dressing for the sourness of the citrus you choose… I could have added another tablespoon of vinegar with these oranges, but if you use a grapefruit, you may not want any vinegar at all.

And sprinkle with some pepitas for a beautiful mid-winter salad. Enjoy!

Wilted Spinach & Brussels Sprout Salad

Wilted Spinach, Brussels Sprout and Citrus Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

5 oz baby spinach (about 8 loose cups)

12-15 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

2 oranges or other citrus fruit (I used cara cara navel oranges for their pretty color!)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Instructions:

Add spinach and sliced Brussels sprouts to a large bowl.

Supreme the oranges and set aside the segments. Squeeze the juice from the remaining parts of the oranges into a small heat-proof dish. (I got about 1/4 cup of juice out of mine.)

Add the oil, vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the orange juice. Adjust the vinegar to get the acidity that you like. Microwave until hot, about a minute.

Pour hot dressing over the spinach and Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Top with orange segments (I like to add them after tossing so they don’t get torn up after I’ve so carefully supremed them!) and pepitas.

This salad is best when served immediately. It will keep in the fridge up to 24 hours, although the spinach will become more wilted.

Time:

10 minutes

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