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Pan-Roasted Shrimp with Cheese and Beans Salad

Little time-consuming, nutricious and delicious - my general rule of thumb when it comes to cooking on a week day! To help kick start the week, C put together a very refreshing salad that works for both summer and winter seasons (I'm sure it would be a great addition to a bbq this summer - noted). Although the original recipe calls for Wisconsin aged cheese, this recipe turned out to be fabulous with just regular cheddar/mozarella cheese, PLUS it only took about 15 minutes to make! Chef Michael Symon - thank you.

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for shrimp
  • 2 tomatoes, diced into medium sized pieces
  • 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) cheese, cut in small dice - whichever one you prefer
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon of basil
  1. Place garlic in mixing bowl. Add pinch of salt; mix.
  2. Add lemon juice, stir and slowly whisk in olive oil.
  3. Add tomatoes, beans, cheese and basil. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Pan-roast shrimp: Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in sauté pan. Add shrimp and cook, turning until pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Add warm shrimp to prepared mixture and toss.

Delicious and nutricious! :)



Guilt Free Rutabaga Fries


Love French Fries but hate the thought of all the starch, carbs, various bad fats and total lack of nutritional benefit that go along with them? Get ready for rutabaga. Move over potato - this vegetable is part of the brassica family, which means it rubs shoulders with brocolli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and other nutritional heavyweights. Plus, rutabagas have just under half the calories of an equal amount of potato, less than a third of the carbs, and pack a whole lot of nutritional punch.
Rutabagas are full of Vitamin C (keep that scurvy at bay), potassium (hello lower blood pressure and lowered stroke risk), and have also been linked to the reduction of easy bruising (who knew!) and cataract formation.

Here's how to make rutabaga a part of your life without resorting to mashing it or realizing you're eating an almost turnip:

The first cut is the deepest: How to peel a rutabaga

Ok so to be fair..I wasn't sure either. First of all, this is what they look like pre-preparation:
I know what you're thinking: "that is not a food". But it is! And a damned good one. To get into it:
1. Rinse any dirt or wax off the outside of your 'baga.
2. Using a sharp but not too large knife (paring is good, but make sure it feels right), slice a disc of peel off the top and bottom of the vegetable.
3. Using a [in my case, butcher's] knife, cut your rutabaga in half, using the flats you created in step 2 to help this out.
4. Peel the vegetable using your paring knife, removing any tough parts (though these are fine to eat, they just taste different).

To be in 'baga french fry heaven: (preheat your over to 450)
1. Cut your halves into either slim wedges or thick french fries (they'll shrink in the oven)
2. Boil them in a pot for 3-4 minutes (at a full boil)
3. In a large bowl, toss them with canola oil (1 tbsp, but just barely) and as much salt as you like.
4. Grind a generous amount of fresh pepper over the sliced rutabaga.
5. Lay slices on a baking sheet avoiding overlap - I needed to use two different cookie sheets at one time.
6. After about 15-20 minutes (depending on your over), flip your fries. Don't be alarmed if they're getting black in spots, they're likely not burning inside at all.
7. After another 10 minutes, taste test, and take 'em out when they're cooked to your liking.

This should make between 4-6 servings of side fries, depending on the size of your original rutabaga.

Serve hot, with ketchup, vinegar, salt, or any variation thereof, and thank yourself for doing your body a favor.

Spinach Pies

Growing up in a Lebanese family, there's always ALOT of food going around and alot of recipes passed on from generation to generation. One of my favorite things growing up in this environment were the small appetizers (that us kids ultimately ate as meals because they are so filling!). The spinach pies were particular because they never tasted the same from one person to another, although my aunts all used the same recipe.

In light of this, I've decided to try my own version of the spinach pies. I asked one of my aunts for her dough recipe (because she ultimately makes the best dough) and I made changes to a spinach filling recipe I found online. Take note that this recipe takes a while the first time (it took me about 2.5 hours all in all, including the time for the dough to rise - about 1.5 hours).

Let's start!

Make the dough:
- 1 1/4 cups of warm water (the recipe says about 43 degrees C, I gauged it according to how long I could keep my finger in the water - about 10 seconds).
- 1 tablespoon of yeast (not having any yeast, I used 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 lemon juice)
- 3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour (I used half and half flour)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- a pinch of sugar
  1. Pour 1/4 of the water in a bowl. add the yeast (or mix of baking soda and lemon juice) and let it rest for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cover the bowl and let it rest for 5 to 6 minutes in a warm area.
  2. Mix the flour and the salt in a large bowl. dig a hole and add the yeast mixture. Add the rest of the water and the oil and mix with your hands.
  3. Once your ingredients are well mixed, make a big ball with the dough and transfer it on a floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough becomes elastic and smooth.
  4. Put the ball of dough in an oiled bowl (make sure the whole ball is covered in oil) and cover. Let it rise in a warm location for about 2 hours (I left it for 1.5 hours).
Spinach stuffing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- about 300g of frozen spinach
- 1 scallion
- half a cup of brick cheese (or whatever cheese you feel might be appropriate for your recipe)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- mushrooms (I cut up about 3 large ones in tiny pieces, but you can add as many as you want)
  1. Defrost your spinach in the microwave for about 6 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive in a saute pan and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 more minute. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place in a bowl. Add the onion/mushroom mixture, scallion, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Putting it all together:
  1. Once you feel like your dough has risen enough (after about 1.5 hours), take it out and make small balls with them. I split my dough in 12 pieces (yes, it did make for large pieces but it was quite filling).
  2. Take each piece and roll them out into approximately 12cm diameter circles.
  3. Take each of those circles and place them in a muffin pan to create a small bowl. put the spinach stuffing inside and fold the sides to close the pie and create a star (you can make these in any shape you want, the common shape is a triangle)
  4. Put in the oven for about half an hour, until the dough becomes a little golden. You don't want to leave it in for too long or else the dough will be too hard.
You can also make these on a cookie pan and give them whatever shape you want. I don't have a cookie pan so I had to improvise with what I had. They turned out to be amazing and they are nutricious and delicious for afternoon snacks! :)



Rice with Beans and Raisins

C and I have a new addition to our household, and the venue of a new roommate means new dishes to try out! Her excellent cooking skills definitely made my day yesterday when I got home to a recipe that I never thought would like so much!This one will surely please bean haters out there because YOU CAN BARELY TASTE THE BEANS (big plus for me) while getting the nutriciousness of it all! :) Thanks M!! :)

  • 2 medium sized onions
  • margarine/butter/oil
  • 1 cup of dried raisins
  • 1 large can of red beans
  • 2 cups of water (adjust measurement depending on rice used)
  • 2 cups of brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger
  • pinch of salt
  1. Cut your onions and caramelize them in a big pot using either margarine, butter or oil
  2. Once your onions are well caramelized, add your raisins and stir to get the flavours rolling
  3. Add the can of beans (with its juices) to the pot. Stir.
  4. As soon as the juices start boiling, add the water. *Note: it's important to not let the beans boil in their juices too much to avoid them being too mushy (=nasty)
  5. Add the salt to the water and stir well, then add the rice.
  6. Add the cinnamon and ginger
  7. Let it boil until the water is at the same level as the rice. Once you get there, lower the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for 45 minutes (or until rice is ready).
Enjoy!! :)


Avocado and Turkey Quesadilla

Sometimes my roommates and I don't have alot of time to cook, yet we still need something filling and nutritious. As such, we tried a variation of a recipe we found on SOS Cuisine, which turned out fantastic and fulfilled our hunger needs.  

What you'll need (yields 2 Quesadillas):
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 tortillas (small size)
  • 1 onion
  • Turkey cold cuts (*optional if you want to make it a vegetarian recipe)
  • cheese (whichever one you like, we used Mozarella cheese)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  1. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Cut your pepper and your onion and sauté them in a skillet until the peppers start to darken just a little bit. (Note that you could also oven-roast your peppers instead)
  3. Place 2 tortillas on a non-stick oven pan.
  4. layer half your turkey, onion, pepper, and avocado on one tortilla and layer the rest on your second tortilla.
  5. Cut your cheese into thin strips (or grate your cheese, whichever one you prefer) and top your vegetables.
  6. Cover up the layers with a tortilla and put in the oven for 2 minutes on each side. Make sure to put another pan over your tortillas so that they dont flip up!
  7. Take out and enjoy!
You can add any vegetables you like and make this recipe your own! :) Imagine this with some mushrooms and asparagus! yummy!


Rachel Ray's White Beans and Spinach Side Dish


Ok, so dear Rachel serves this as a side, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I've both eaten and served it as a main dish because it is so freaking delicious, and FAST. Moreover, I bet you didn't think you'd ever hear the words "spinach" and "comfort food" in the same sentence. Well, you just did. Did I mention this whole dish should cost you about 3$ if you already have nutmeg and olive oil on hand? Well, it will.

For a healthy, filling, and totally comfy side to any meal (she recommends chicken - I say eat this somewhere between breakfast and desert):

You'll need:
  • A can of white beans, rinsed and drained.
  • As much spinach as you intend to eat in four servings, usually, a whole package of frozen spinach (500g) or a bag of spinach as sold in grocery stores. Really though, the proportion of beans to spinach depends on how much you love spinach. I fall into the "a lot" category. Adjust accordingly - this recipe might change your mind anyways. Spinach can be frozen and thawed, or fresh; baby spinach works wonderfully.
  • Sliced garlic (about 2 cloves, minced is also fine)
  • 2 tsp-tbsp olive oil
  • 2 healthy tbsps of nutmeg (Rachel asks for less than this, but I've found that particularly when using frozen spinach, more is advisable)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and lightly fry the garlic on medium heat until golden.
Add beans and heat, stirring gently, for about 2-3 m.inutes.
Add fresh or thawed frozen spinach to pan and mix; about 5 minutes or until wilted or heated through.
Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Serve warm. Or cold. Or on pasta, rice, with tofu, or couscous. Or all the time. With everything.

Health note: White beans are rich in soluble fibre, and can help lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure. They're an excellent source of protein, and are rich in magnesium, which humans diets are increasingly deficient in. They are also a good source of iron (never mind all that spinach you just ate), and are recommended for people with a history of diabetes.

Speaking of spinach, remember that many nutrition experts recommend taking in some vitamin C with a vegetable iron source to absorb it more completely. Spinach, thankfully, is high in vitamin C, along with other important elements like calcium, Vitamin K, fiber and carotenoids.

Happy eating!

Image from The Well-Seasoned Cook
Recipe derived (but adjusted) from Rachel Ray's excellent book Express Lane Meals

20 Healthiest foods for under 1$

As I was searching through StumbleUpon, I came across this blogpost by Brie Cadman at Divine Caroline who lists the 20 healthiest foods for under 1$ - because yes, we at Stute Kitchen are broke new grads and can't always afford the best foods for our budget! Yet, Brie gives us an excellent list to keep us healthy and active all day! Think about these foods on your next grocery run!

1. Oats: High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have also been shown to lower cholesterol. And they sure are cheap—a dollar will buy you more than a week’s worth of hearty breakfasts.

2. Eggs: You can get about a half dozen of eggs for a dollar, making them one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein. They are also a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may ward off age-related eye problems. (*CK note: if you have cholesterol, it is highly recommended that you limit egg yolk intake to 2/week..just saying.)

3. Kale: This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Like most greens, it is usually a dollar a bunch.

4. Potatoes: Because we often see potatoes at their unhealthiest—as fries or chips—we don’t think of them as nutritious, but they definitely are. Eaten with the skin on, potatoes contain almost half a day’s worth of Vitamin C, and are a good source of potassium. If you opt for sweet potatoes or yams, you’ll also get a good wallop of beta carotene. Plus, they’re dirt cheap and have almost endless culinary possibilities.

5. Apples: I’m fond of apples because they’re inexpensive, easy to find, come in portion-controlled packaging, and taste good. They are a good source of pectin—a fiber that may help reduce cholesterol—and they have the antioxidant Vitamin C, which keeps your blood vessels healthy.

6. Nuts: Though nuts have a high fat content, they’re packed with the good-for-you fats—unsaturated and monounsaturated. They’re also good sources of essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and protein. And because they’re so nutrient-dense, you only need to eat a little to get the nutritional benefits. Although some nuts, like pecans and macadamias, can be costly, peanuts, walnuts, and almonds, especially when bought in the shell, are low in cost.

7. Bananas: At a local Trader Joe’s, I found bananas for about 19¢ apiece; a dollar gets you a banana a day for the workweek. High in potassium and fiber (9 grams for one), bananas are a no-brainer when it comes to eating your five a day quotient of fruits and veggies. (*CK note: they have a stack of bananas for 0.79$ at Super C and Loblaws most of the time).

8. Garbanzo Beans: With beans, you’re getting your money’s worth and then some. Not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but ’bonzos are also high in fiber, iron, folate, and manganese, and may help reduce cholesterol levels. And if you don’t like one type, try another—black, lima, lentils … the varieties are endless. Though they require soaking and cooking, the most inexpensive way to purchase these beans is in dried form; a precooked can will still only run you around a buck. (*CK note: for those of you who are bean illeterate like me, Garbanzo beans = chick peas).

9. Broccoli: Broccoli contains tons of nice nutrients—calcium, vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, and fiber. As if that isn’t enough, broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Plus, it’s low in calories and cost.

10. Watermelon: Though you may not be able to buy an entire watermelon for a dollar, your per serving cost isn’t more than a few dimes. This summertime fruit is over 90 percent water, making it an easy way to hydrate, and gives a healthy does of Vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant that may ward off cancer.

11. Wild Rice: It won’t cost you much more than white rice, but wild rice is much better for you. Low in fat and high in protein and fiber, this gluten-free rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates. It packs a powerful potassium punch and is loaded with B vitamins. Plus, it has a nutty, robust flavor.

12. Beets: Beets are my kind of vegetable—their natural sugars make them sweet to the palate while their rich flavor and color make them nutritious for the body. They’re powerhouses of folate, iron, and antioxidants.

13. Butternut Squash: This beautiful gourd swings both ways: sometimes savory, sometimes sweet. However you prepare the butternut, it will not only add color and texture, but also five grams of fiber per half cup and chunks and chunks of Vitamin A and C. When in season, butternut squash and related gourds are usually less than a dollar a pound.

14. Whole Grain Pasta: In the days of Atkins, pasta was wrongly convicted, for there is nothing harmful about a complex carbohydrate source that is high in protein and B vitamins. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest staples you can buy.

15. Sardines: As a kid, I used to hate it when my dad would order sardines on our communal pizzas, but since then I’ve acquired a taste for them. Because not everyone has, you can still get a can of sardines for relatively cheap. And the little fish come with big benefits: calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. And, because they’re low on the food chain, they don’t accumulate mercury.

16. Spinach: Spinach is perhaps one of the best green leafies out there—it has lots of Vitamin C, iron, and trace minerals. Plus, you can usually find it year round for less than a dollar.

17. Tofu: Not just for vegetarians anymore, tofu is an inexpensive protein source that can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. It’s high in B vitamins and iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many dishes. (*CK note: if you're anything like my roommate and you hate tofu, try having it in a pasta sauce. If you let it simmer long enough, it'll taste like a meatless sauce and you'll still get the protein intake!).

18. Lowfat Milk: Yes, the price of a gallon of milk is rising, but per serving, it’s still under a dollar; single serving milk products, like yogurt, are usually less than a dollar, too. Plus, you’ll get a lot of benefit for a small investment. Milk is rich in protein, vitamins A and D, potassium, and niacin, and is one of the easiest ways to get bone-strengthening calcium.

19. Pumpkin Seeds: When it’s time to carve your pumpkin this October, don’t shovel those seeds into the trash—they’re a goldmine of magnesium, protein, and trace minerals. Plus, they come free with the purchase of a pumpkin.

20. Coffee: The old cup-o-joe has been thrown on the stands for many a corporeal crime—heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis—but exonerated on all counts. In fact, coffee, which is derived from a bean, contains beneficial antioxidants that protect against free radicals and may actually help thwart heart disease and cancer. While it’s not going to fill you up like the other items on this list, it might make you a lot perkier. When made at home, coffee runs less than 50¢ cents a cup.