4×4 Veggie Rolls

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One of my favorite things to do when I’m home with a lot of time on my hands, and little to do, is to take cooking classes. I love to go to this place called “Atelier des Chefs”, meaning “Chef’s Workshop”, for their 30-minutes lunch formula. You learn how to make a recipe from start to finish and get to eat what you cooked at a communal table with the rest of the class. It’s a fantastic format! A few years back, I took a sushi/maki class there, where I learned how to “roll” for the first time.

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Shrimp Tacos!

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It’s Taco Time! I’d been meaning to make my own tacos for a little while now, but never got to it until today. It looked really easy and I absolutely love tacos so I thought it was time for me to finally try my hands at it. I’m obsessed. Now all I want to eat is homemade tacos. All you need is tortillas, a bunch of veggies, and some kind of protein and you’re all set. I went for shrimp tacos because those are usually my favorite with pulled pork ones (but who’s got time for that at home?). To be honest the highlight of these tacos is the salsa. It’s absolutely delicious and goes perfectly with tender shrimp and slices of ripe avocado. I highly encourage you to try to make your own tacos at home as well. It’s actually not intimidating at all, and you can be as creative as you’d like with the ingredients. Bon appétit!

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Prep Time: 20 min

Ingredients for the tacos:

  • 1/2 cup shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup mixed shredded red and green cabbage
  • Spicy Yogurt Sauce
  • 2 small tortillas
  • 1/4 avocado
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 lemon wedges

Ingredients for the most amazing salsa:

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 onion
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • salt, pepper
  • mild jalapeno tabasco (optional)

Spicy Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp water
  • good drizzle of sriracha

Directions:

  1. Start by preparing the salsa.  Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and salt in a bowl. Next chop the cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, fresh parsley and onion in very small pieces, and add them to the bowl. Drizzle with mild tabasco, toss everything gently, and reserve in the fridge so that the vegetables release their juices and the flavors blend together.
  2. Next, make the yogurt sauce by mixing the yogurt, olive oil, water, salt, pepper and sriracha in a bowl. Toss the shredded red and green cabbage with the sauce and set aside as well.
  3. Finally, cook the shrimp. I use frozen shrimp that I heat up in a pan with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper for about 5 minutes.
  4. To plate start with the tortillas, previously heated up in the microwave (between sheets of paper towel) or on the stove. Then add some of the shredded cabbage, a good amount of salsa, and the cooked shrimp. Top with sliced avocado and another drizzle of the yogurt sauce and enjoy!

A Midwinter Night’s Baked Sweet Potato

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Ahhh baked sweet potatoes… So simple, yet so satisfying. I don’t know why I like them so much. But there’s just something comforting about them. Sure, when I think about “comfort food”, they aren’t the first thing rushing through my mind. I tend to immediately picture a steaming bowl of mac n’ cheese, or lasagna. But they definitely come as a close runner-up. Our heater broke because of the cold last night and I couldn’t think of anything else to warm me up. This dish was just prime comfort food with ingredients that I had on-hand. Additionally, it turned out to be a great way to use some left-over beans and onions. The dressing made it all come together nicely. It added this great sweet and savory taste to the dish. All in all, this one’s a keeper if you’re looking for some warmth on a cold winter’s night. Bon appétit!

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Prep time: 35-40 min 

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 avocado (mashed)
  • 1/4 yellow onion (chopped)
  • olive oil

Peanut-Honey Mustard dressing:

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • salt, pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potato with a fork. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until you can pierce through the flesh easily with a fork.
  2. Once the sweet potato is in the oven, make the peanut-honey mustard dressing by mixing all the ingredients together until the mix is homogenous.
  3. Also meanwhile, sauté the onions with olive oil, on high heat, in a small pot for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water and let it evaporate to further soften the onions. Add the black beans and cook for about 5 more minutes on medium heat.
  4. Once the sweet potato is done, cut it in half with a knife, but not all the way, and spread both sides apart. Stuff with the black beans and onions, and top with the mashed avocado. Drizzle with the sweet and savory dressing and enjoy while it’s hot!

TIP: you can substitute lentils or chickpeas for the black beans and you can also sprinkle with cheese for extra comfort food! 

Super (Rice) Bowl

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I know what you’re thinking: “super bowl was last week… you’re a little late”. Truth is, I’ve never actually watched it. The closest I’ve come to it, was when I saw Beyonce’s performance last year. So the reference in the title is purely fictitious, and this recipe has nothing to do with the actual Super Bowl. Though I suppose one could argue that this would be a great meal to eat while watching football on TV. But anyways. Rice Bowls are so versatile! It’s incredible how much you can do with such a simple base. Though I do enjoy an occasional stop at Chipotle, nothing really compares to a homemade bowl of veggie goodness. This recipe will take you about 20ish minutes, which isn’t much more time than you’d wait in line at the famous Mexican hotspot. The “reverse” caramelized onions really add a nice sweet touch to this savory dish. It’s healthy and can be tailored exactly to your needs. Bon Appétit!

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Prep Time: 20 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup dried rice
  • 1/4 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 yellow onion (sliced finely)
  • 1/2 tomato (extra chopped)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a small pot, put water and salt to a boil. Cook the rice for the time indicated on the packaging (mine takes about 15 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, make the “reverse” caramelized onions by adding the thinly sliced onion in a dry pan over medium high heat. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the slices become brown. Next, add the olive oil and salt and let it cook for about 5 more minutes. Add a splash of water and stir until it evaporates and the onion is done.
  3. Add the black beans and cook for about 5 extra minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Mash the avocado in it’s shell.
  5. In a bowl, put the rice, beans, “caramelized” onions and chopped tomatoes. Top with a dollop of mashed avocado. Salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with tabasco.

TIP: You can also top it with some sour cream or grated cheese. Additionally, you can swap the tomatoes for corn or diced bell pepper.

DIY Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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Though I’m in college, I still enjoy an occasional fancy dish. From time to time, I just want to eat something a little more sophisticated as a reward for a hard day’s work, or even just because. I tend to wait for the weekend to indulge, because that’s when I have more time to cook. Yet, this week’s been particularly stressful, and I’m still sick, so I decided I’d spice up my breakfast with a little something special. Since I live by the words of “Don’t mess with breakfast”, this dish really hit the spot for me. It would also be perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch, or even a quick lunch. The lemon-yogurt sauce brings out the smokey flavor of the salmon and makes for a great substitute if -like me- you don’t like Hollandaise sauce. Bon appétit!

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Prep Time: 10 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 slices of smoked salmon
  • 1 large slice of multigrain bread
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil

Lemon-Yogurt Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • fresh chopped chives
  • pinch of turmeric
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Put water to a boil in a small pot.
  2. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, and water together. Add the chopped chives, turmeric, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Start toasting the slice of bread.
  4. Mash the avocado in its shell with a fork and reserve.
  5. When the water is simmering, poach the egg for about 2 minutes.
  6. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and spread the mashed avocado evenly across the slice.
  7. Arrange the smoked salmon over the avocado and top with the poached egg. Drizzle with the yogurt sauce and season to taste.

TIP: you can also replace the smoked salmon with prosciutto, another type of smoked ham, or even bacon. Yum!