Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIAW #56: Portabella and Sage Pita Pizza

This was going to be a longer post. But due to work, and the current all-you-can-watch marathon on xfinity right now, I haven’t been able to pull my much larger computer screen away from Aaron (or me for that matter) long enough to write a post.

Stay tuned look for this pita pizza masterpiece I couldn’t wait to share:
Mushroom and sage with good!
Otherwise, I have had a very green week with a big ole bag of arugula from Trader Joe’s and some lovely beets, sage, and thyme I got from Philly’s own Reading Terminal, Iovine Brother’s produce.
Oatmeal with dried cranberries, chia, coconut chips, almond butter, cashews, banana, yum.
Arugula salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted beets, cashews, boiled egg, chia, feta, green onions, homemade balsamic and grapeseed oil dressing.
Cucumbers with balsamic and olive oil, green onions, black pepper
Everything bagel and butter (my treat), sauteed spinach, poached egg
Snack: Braeburn apple slices
Quinoa and Mediterranean Salad, sauteed zucchini (courgettes), grilled chicken
Iced Orange Tea with fresh squeezed orange juice and lime. Sweet and still good for you!

I threw this particular pita pizza together for a quick late lunch and fell in love. Pita pizzas are about my favorite quick meal because they are so versatile. Give this easy one a go and you'll fall in love too.....

Portabella and Sage Pita Pizza
Serving: One individual pizza

1 Lebanese style pita, white or wheat
4 baby portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. crumbled feta
¼ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella
1/8 cup grated parmesan
1-2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 leaves (roughly 2 tbsp.) chopped sage
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Chili powder
Add Sautéed spinach, fresh thyme, chia seeds, or even roasted sweet potatoes! All would go well with sage; especially the sweet potatoes.


Preheat your oven for 350 degrees. On a baking sheet place pita and coat with just enough olive oil to cover the middle, leaving edges for the crust.

Sprinkle coated pita with garlic powder, and a dash of salt and chili powder, and desired amount of fresh ground black pepper. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the sage and a little of the parmesan.

Top with sliced mushrooms and rest of the cheeses. Sprinkle with the rest of the sage and more black pepper.

Bake for roughly 8-10 minutes or until cheese is just melted and crust is crispy while still soft like fresh baked bread. (You’ll know what I mean.)

The College Cuisiner


Song of the Day: I and Love and You (Live) - The Avett Brothers

What is you favorite quick, healthy-side meal?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Four Things Guest Post

Today I’m over at my friend’s Jennifer’s blog, Live Beautifully.

 Check out my addition of her Four Things series....including a few things on our wedding registry!

Make sure you let us know you stopped by!

In the meantime here are a couple updates on our upcoming wedding. Only five months away officially!
We have had our date, venue, caterer, band, dress, etc. for qutie a while now. But here is what we've been working on for the last month:
Our Engagement photos are taking care of by our amazing photographer, Kalim, who was a friend of my dad’s (also a professional photographer)
Save-the-Dates are out! Finally! Now just the invitations need done!

Red wine selected. Now we just need our wine-expert (invited guest) to come up with our white and figure out our signature cocktails which I will reveal soon with recipes once Spring is in bloom!

More updates coming soon......


The College Cuisiner

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIAW #55: Quinoa Jambalaya

There is nothing like the first one or two days after a really good grocery trip. I know that sounds silly but for those who cook, you understand that it is so nice to have ingredients at your fingertips rather than scrounging for that last but if frozen peas or grain. Last week was the end of a three and a half weeks of no-grocery-shopping.

But this week was plentiful.

Here are some of those
grocery trip provided meals:


Rolled oats, coconut chips, blueberries, cranberries, bananas,
almond milk and almond butter, chia, agave

Fried egg, kale, bell pepper, onion hash. Baked potatoes, fried tomatoes

Butternut squash ravioli, chicken sausage, peas, squash, Parmesan

Everything bagel sandwich with tempeh, arugula, tomato,
 homemade mustard, Gouda, balsamic

Quinoa jambalaya, with chicken, andouille, shrimp, veggies galore
One of those nice meal experiences was this quinoa jambalaya. It has a mix of three meats: shrimp, chicken thighs, and andouille sausage (I used the chicken kind from Trader Joes.)
I used a few different vegetables as a traditional version just for the simple fact that I did not have green bell peppers or celery. But because I love veggies, I used zucchini and mushrooms instead. Try your own mix and see what you think. This is a great meal for a family gathering or friends.

Using quinoa instead of the traditional rice-in-pot was better than expected. If you are looking for a more traditional jambalaya, try this.

Quinoa Jambalaya:
 (Makes 5-6 servings)



 1 cup quinoa
 2 cups chicken broth (gf)
 10-12 shrimps
 1 chicken thigh, diced
 2-3 links andouille sausage (I used the chicken variety)
 1 can (35 oz.) can of diced or plum tomatoes, chopped with liquid
 1 can (14.5) red kidney beans, rinsed
 1 zucchini, halved and sliced
 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
 1 small yellow onion
 6 green onions, chopped and some greens separated for garnish
 3 cloves of garlic, minced
 1 cup dry red wine
 2 tbsp. hot sauce (I used sriracha)
 1 tbsp. paprika
 1tsp. Garlic powder
 2 tsp. cumin
 Red pepper flakes
 Salt and pepper to taste
 1/2 lemon, juiced
 Olive oil
 2 tbsp. butter

Prepare rinsed and dried quinoa by toasted in medium pot for 1 minute until nutty smelling. Add 1 1/2 cup chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes. The  take off heat, without removing lid for at least 5 minutes. Open and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Toss shrimp with a little olive oil and dash of all spices. Set aside.

Meanwhile in a large pot add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter with garlic and yellow onion.  Sauté over medium heat, stirring for 2 minutes. Add spices, stir.

Add zucchini, mushrooms, and chicken. Sauté allowing to lightly brown. Add tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes. Add wine, and rest of broth (1/2 cup.)

Add hot sauce, kidney beans, and lemon. Allow to simmer lightly for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring. Season to taste. Add shrimp, mix in until pink.

Once sauce is thick and shrimp is cooked, add cooked quinoa.
Serve with rest of green onions on top and with a salad.



The College Cuisiner

What did you eat this week?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIAW #54: Brussels Sprout Som Tum Thai Salad

Now that my Spring Break is over, I suppose I have to do something productive. Ironically I feel less stressed now it’s over than before! Aaron spent his break in Russia volunteering. I spent mine working.

Who do you think had the better break huh? Well there were some good things. Lisa took me to a great Mexican Tapas restaurant in Wayne, PA called Matador. And we will definitely have to go back!

I also ate some good food and worked on my upcoming Foodie Pen Pal box. Since I had this break I thought it would be the perfect time for me to get back into pen pal mode for March.

If you haven’t heard about Foodie Pen Pals hosted by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean,
check it out now!

Some of my healthy eats:

Quinoa breakfast bowl with vanilla almond milk, bananas, blueberries,
almonds, agave, and chia seeds

Spicy vegetarian (and veggie packed) curry over quinoa

Ginger Maple glazed Salmon with quinoa and homemade brussels sprout Som Tum. 

Chicken BBQ with Som Tum slaw on a tortilla

BBQ Chicken pizza with zucchini, carrots, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, mozzarella and parm

Raw brussels sprout, tomatoes, carrots, tomatoes, grapeseed oil and balsamic, chia seeds, goat cheese

Teriyaki veggies (sprouts, carrots, peas, mushrooms, sesame seeds) over rice

Some of my more fun eats:

Portabella ravioli in a saffron crème fraiche cream sauce with sautéed mushrooms, walnuts, and balsamic (at least there is a side of spinach for the necessary greenness)

Chicken Parmesan Sliders from my work

Aaron’s welcome home Sushi dinner for $25. (steal for sushi)

Sensing a theme of ingredients?

I wasn’t sure which of my eats I should post the recipe for today, but I finally decided on my Brussels sprout som tum Thai salad.

I love raw Brussels sprouts, and as of now, it seems the rest of the blogging community does too!

Growing up in a small town, we didn’t have many options for authentic ethnic foods. That is until Pakha came to town.

Pakha’s Thai House looked like a hole in the wall. Instead you got some of the best Thai food anywhere. Pakha moved to my small town from Thailand after marrying a local businessman. Luckily, she decided to open a restaurant and all of the fresh, delicious flavors of Thailand came along for the ride. Green Papaya Salad or Som Tum was one of my favorite things on the menu. It was sweet-tangy, a tad spicy, and overall delicious. I loved the shredded green papaya, carrots, and the spicy lime dressing, even as a kid.

This is not that salad. Instead my brussels sprout Som Tum is much different but since it has the familiar flavors, I thought it only fitting to name it after my favorite Thai salad. Instead of green papaya I used raw, shredded brussel sprouts along with the carrots, tomatoes, garlic, lime, and ginger, of the traditional som tum. The sauce consists of both sriracha, hot chili, lime, and crème fraiche to cool it down. When I made the slaw it was too spicy so I added a little crème fraiche to make the heat a little more subtle.

This is definitely Asian fusion it all sense of the word-best of both sides of the world.

This is  also a make-it-your-own recipe. I like a lot of fresh ginger, but you can add less if desired. It won’t be remotely the same with dried ginger, so don’t even do it!

Try my som tum as a delicious salad, a slaw on BBQ, or with your favorite grain.

I hope you like it as much as I do.

Brussels Sprouts Som Tum Salad

Makes 2-3 servings (1 serving bowl size)


6 brussel sprouts, chopped into ribbons or strips, slightly shredded
3 large carrots, julienned 
4-5 plum tomatoes, quarted and seeded
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar to taste
½ small red chili, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. dried red chili flakes
Two generous squirts sriracha red chili sauce (or to taste)
3 tbsp. crème fraiche or low-fat sour cream, optional.
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tbsp. agave nectar (or honey)
Black pepper
Salt if needed
Chopped peanuts or cashew to top

For a vegan recipe, omit creme fraiche


Mix sprouts, carrots, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes together in a medium bowl. Add lime juice, garlic powder, chili, and black pepper.

Add sriracha, agave, and vinegar to taste. (Should have a slightly spicy, sweet and tangy flavor that is highlighted but the ginger and garlic.)

Add salt only if needed. Add crème fraiche if desired. Top with chopped nuts.

Serve chilled on top of your favorite sandwich, BBQ, or as a salad.



The College Cuisiner

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WIAW #53: Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Tapa Bake

It’s so good to be back at WIAW! It’s definitely been awhile.

So first here are some off my eats as of late and one of my favorite recipes.

March is all about “going green,” so here are some of my recipes sneaking in the green. And sometimes, not so much sneaking!

Breakfast sandwich with half eggwhites, green onions, tomatoes, arugula
Sautéed asparagus with homemade cilantro pesto

Leftover Sweet Potato and Spinach Foil Packet Taco with mac and cheese

My work...

Sweet Treats
Spanish Chickpea and spinach bake tapas
I’ve made this recipe probably 6 times now and it is about time I share it with you. The inspiration for this chickpea bake comes from my experience at tapas bars in Barcelona.
Normally the chickpea bakes are served in a single cassoulet (ceramic ramekin) and 
I first made it last year for my friend Tommy when I hosted a three person dinner party (Him, Aaron, and I) all about Spanish Tapas. The dinner was a pain in the butt, but darn, it was delicious.

I often make this along with the whole tapas meal (Aaron’s favorite,) but this is also great as a side with grilled chicken and a side salad. This is also a great vegetarian meal with LOADS of flavor. I normally make this with chicken broth, but simply switch it out for vegetable broth and you’ve got a vegan dish that’s full of healthy proteins, veggies, and a taste of Spain.
This is a gooey meal, especially with the spinach but it packs a flavorful punch especially hot out of the oven.

Note: This takes awhile to bake as the chickpeas need to absorb as the liquid. If you’ve been baking it for over an hour, scoop out some of the liquid. It’s okay, I won’t tell.

Also, as this bakes at a high heat with some acidic ingredients…don’t use your best dish.  Use either a ceramic dark colored one like this:

Or even a metal meatloaf pan. That work’s too. The reason I say this is you get a bit of a dark residual ring from the high-heat baking like in these pam commercials:

I’m sure if you grease the pan you could avoid this, but just FYI for those who really prefer a clean looking glass casserole dish.

Spanish Chickpea Bake:
Makes 4-5 sides/tapas portions


1 can chickpeas or 1 ¾ cups soaked dried chickpeas
½ bag spinach (4 oz.)
Small can diced tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, chopped (drain liquid and set aside)
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
Black pepper

2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. Olive oil


Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

In a medium pan, heat olive oil with onion and half of the garlic over medium heat. Sauté until softened and add spinach. Season with black pepper and a dash garlic powder.

Turn off heat and add rest of the ingredients to the pan. Mix well and transfer to baking dish.

Spread evenly in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Bake until most of the liquid is absorbed and chickpeas are soft and flavorful.

Serve tapas style (sharing) or as a side.



The College Cuisiner

Monday, March 4, 2013

Apple Cider Teriyaki with Chicken and Rice Noodles

Aaron and I love all types of Asian food and often we like to mix it up. I wouldn’t call it “Asian fusion” because that’s fancier than what we make but our “Korean Teriyaki” mixes all types. I stumbled across packaged rice noodles at Trader Joe’s last week and decided to give it a try. They were in the refrigerated section and came in two plastic packages. For the two of us, one 6oz. package was enough for a reasonable dinner. Of course he ate all the leftovers and wanted more!
I made two versions of this meal but much preferred the second which is featured here. I did a couple things differently this time.

First, while I love teriyaki sauce, I DO NOT like all of the added sugar. Most recipes call for nearly a cup of sugar for each recipe. I wanted to find a solution while still keeping the lovely tangy sweet flavor. My solution: apple cider. Now since it is winter it may be harder to find fresh apple cider for most of you. I found some at my farmer’s market. I like fresh, local apple cider with no extra sugar-just apples. Your sauce will agree. I’ve tried orange juice before but the extra citrus flavor added to much to the sauce. I wouldn’t recommend bottled “apple juice” as that has just as much sugar as…well, sugar!

If you come up with another idea let me know! But for me, the apple cider is definitely a keeper.
Second, fresh ginger and fresh chilies make the difference. I can do without the chili, (as one little one was ENOUGH spice for me,) but the ginger really makes the difference.
This is also the perfect recipe for leftover chicken if you have it. I used leftover char grilled chicken, cut up. It was perfect! But if not, I’ve listed regular chicken breast as the ingredient in this recipe.

Note: While this makes great leftovers, the noodles aren’t as nicely chewy as they are freshly cooked.
This is definitely a keeper, though. And you might want to consider making more as it’ll go fast!

Apple Cider Teriyaki with Chicken and
Korean Rice Noodles:
Makes 2-3 dinner sized portions


6 oz. Rice Noodles
1 chicken breast, chopped into chunks (or 1 cup, chopped leftover chicken)
3-4 large carrots, julienne cut
¾ cup favorite green vegetable-green beans, broccoli, asparagus, peas etc.
4 oz. favorite mushrooms, sliced (recommended baby portabella or shitake)
3-4 green onions, chopped, separate white and green parts
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1-2 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
Garlic powder
Black pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes or fresh hot peppers, chopped
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds


Apple Cider Teriyaki Sauce: (can make ahead of time)

¼ cup soy sauce, reduced sodium
¼ cup fresh apple cider
1 tbsp. agave nectar or honey
2 tbsp. rice or white wine
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
½ tsp. chili powder


To make teriyaki, add all ingredients together in a small sauce pan until heated. Set aside in a bowl. Noodles should still have a good bite.
Boil rice noodles according to the package and rinse with cold water in a colander. Set aside.
In a large pan, add olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, white parts of the onion, and ginger, over medium heat.  Sauté until onions softened then add mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms begin to brown. Add 1/4 of prepared teriyaki sauce and cook for two minutes, stirring.

Add carrots and green vegetable, along with chicken. Sauté until vegetables and chicken are cooked. Add red pepper, black pepper, and dash of garlic powder.
Add 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds and rest of teriyaki sauce and mix well. Add rice noodles to the pan and mix until well coated in the sauce.

Serve with green onions and extra sesame seeds on top. Eat immediately while hot.

The College Cuisiner