Quick & Easy Lunch: Tuna Salad With Chickpeas & Red Pepper

Let's talk about Quick & Easy Lunch: Tuna Salad With Chickpeas & Red Pepper.

I almost always have canned tuna in my refrigerator (solid white), and it makes for an incredibly quick lunch or dinner. You can keep it simple by only adding mayonnaise and maybe some white onions, or go all out with fun ingredients such as avocado, corn, herbs, olives, etc. Here's my latest concoction ;)

Quick & Easy Lunch: Tuna Salad With Chickpeas & Red Pepper
Serves 2-3

1 can of solid white tuna, drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, chopped
mayonnaise: the more the merrier
salt & pepper to taste
2 scallions, sliced
potato chips on the side

This salad keeps well in the refrigerator and is great for leftovers.

Tell me your favorite tuna salad combination!


Eggplant Fetteh: Syria Recipes From Home Cookbook

Love eggplant? Then I highly recommend you make Eggplant Fetteh from Syria Recipes From Home Cookbook. That's the latest cookbook featured in the Washington Green Grocer's Cookbook Club.

I made this recipe last week by roasting sliced eggplant in the oven and topping it with yogurt/lemon juice dressing (and adding sumac to it), pomegranate, broken pita chips, cilantro, and pistachios instead of pine nuts.

You really don't need the exact amounts: use as much of each ingredient as you like. Instead of mixing everything in a bowl, I made a big ass plated salad and consumed it in its entirety.


Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies: New Year, New Recipes

Remember my resolution to make more new recipes this year!? Well, Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies is the latest one I tried. I literally baked these cookies this morning before going to work.

Here's what happened:
1) I saw a link for Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies on The Nosher Facebook which led me to 
2) Hey Alma website and to 
3) Sonya Michelle Sanford's website and instagram.

I already knew I love tahini cookies, so adding chocolate chunks and salt to them made perfect sense!

The recipe was incredibly easy: I made the dough last night after eating steak/potatoes/asparagus/Prosecco dinner I made for myself for Valentine's day. The dough needed to be refrigerated for 24 hours, but overnight worked out just fine.

I scooped the dough this morning as I was getting ready for work and brewing coffee, and putting on makeup, and attempting to straighten my hair.

These cookies are so good!!! Please use chocolate chunks as the recipe mentions and not chocolate chips. Next time I'll add pecans.

I love when I make a new recipe and it works!!! I brought some to work to share ;)


Winter Salad

Winter salads can be as colorful, flavorful, and delicious as spring or summer salads.

Over the weekend I combined a few random ingredients from my refrigerator and pantry in a large bowl and liked it so much, I decided to remake it, plate it nicely and photograph it in order to share with you. You are welcome.

Winter Salad
baby spinach
Cara Cara orange segments
red pepper, thinly sliced
pecans, toasted
dressing: whole grain mustard, remaining juice from segmenting the orange, olive oil, salt & pepper


Roasted Butternut Squash & Avocado Toast on Le Creuset Dutch Oven Bread

Think bread baking is hard!? Think again! Le Creuset Dutch Oven Bread is something you can easily make on a lazy Sunday with very little effort. In fact, that's exactly what I did last Sunday as most of you were getting ready for Superbowl. 

I used this recipe from Le Creuset but added about a tablespoon of za'atar during the last rise and baked it for 10 extra minutes, and then finished it under the broiler to get the top crust really crispy.

Yes, that's my attempt at a football design ;)

Using a stand mixer made kneading this bread a breeze. The dough was super smooth, doubled in size in only 2 hours, and wasn't sticky to work with.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make the bread itself more flavorful: it needed a lot more salt in the dough itself, but that could have jeopardized the work of the yeast. I did love adding za'atar, but thought it would have gotten inside the bread itself and not just the crust.

Here's a slice of the bread toasted, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with plenty of truffle salt: I'm fancy like that.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Avocado Toast on Le Creuset Dutch Oven Bread

thick slice of bread, toasted
avocado, sliced
roasted butternut squash cubes
sour cream mixed with sriracha to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Assemble all ingredients.
Dig in with a knife and fork.

I had to slice and freeze most of this loaf so that I would not inhale all the calories at once.

Happy bread baking!


Sweet Potato, Avocado & Feta Meatless Monday Meal

If like me you stayed up to watch This Is Us last night, you may be barely awake now. But don't worry, you are minutes away from a nutritional, easy to put together, and Meatless Monday approved breakfast or lunch. Or make my Sweet Potato, Avocado & Feta recipe for dinner.

It all started when I wanted an avocado toast but did not have bread. (I eventually solved that problem by baking my own bread on Sunday: check my instagram.)

Instead, I sliced a roasted sweet potato into planks, sauteed the planks in a bit of olive oil and topped them with sliced avocado and crumbled feta.

I then topped this concoction with an Indian spice mix my friend Sangeetha shared with me (her mom made it!). I don't know exactly which spices are in this little jar, but I think there's turmeric and curry and maybe cayenne for sure. It's divine on all things ;)


Loaded Baked Potato And Cauliflower Soup From Healthyish With OXO Tools

Just as the weather was starting to warm up a bit, the cold front returned. What's better than a steaming bowl of soup for lunch or dinner? A steaming bowl of soup topped with bacon ;)

My friends from oxo sent me a copy of Healthyish cookbook, which I've already written about, with a variety of oxo tools to make Lindsay's Loaded Baked Potato And Cauliflower Soup. {Disclaimer: the book and the tools were a gift. I am not compensated in any way for this blog post. All opinions are my own as always!}

Although my kitchen is pretty well stocked, it's always fun to get new tools to play with. Also, I gave the older versions of these tools to my friend Emily. Win/win!

Pro 8" Chef's Knife - So sharp!! I think everyone needs a chef's knife, and this one did a great job cutting through large potatoes and cauliflower; plus, it's made in Germany, which is a good thing in my book when it comes to kitchen tools.

12" Tongs - perfect for taking out strips of bacon from the pan or reaching out to the top shelf of your cabinet to grab a bag of snacks.

Wooden Corner Spoon - who doesn't need an extra wooden spoon? This one has a straight side, which makes it easier to reach into the corners of your pots and pans.

Coarse Grater - perfect for any cheese or vegetable!

Swivel Peeler - cushioned handle with an extra sharp blade! This peeler handled Russet potatoes as if they were butter. 

Kitchen and Herb Scissors - my favorite part about these is that you can take them apart for ease of cleaning or to sharpen.

And now for the soup!!!

Loaded Baked Potato and Cauliflower Soup
Makes 12 cups; serves 4 to 6

True or false? The best part of a baked potato is the toppings. If you agree, then this soup is perfect for you. Starting off with bacon fat means that the entire soup is infused with delicious, smoky flavor. And, instead of just using starch-heavy potatoes, a blend of potato and cauliflower makes for a creamier, lighter soup. All this as balance for the classic baked potato toppings, naturally.

4 large slices (8 oz/225 g) extra-thick cut bacon
2 onions (12 oz/340 g), chopped (about 2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large russet potatoes (2 lbs/910 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces (about 5 cups)
1 medium head cauliflower (1 ¼ lbs/570 g), cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
8 cups (2 L) chicken stock or vegetable stock
Sour cream, chopped fresh chives, and grated Cheddar cheese, for serving

Heat a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Place the bacon slices flat in the pot and cook, turning a couple times, until crispy and most of the fat has drained from the bacon, 8 to 12 minutes total. Using tongs, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
Add the onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, and stock, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a strong simmer and cook, stirring here and there, until the potatoes are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
Purée the soup, using a blender in batches or a handheld immersion blender. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if you like.

Slice or tear the cooked bacon into bite- size pieces and sprinkle it over bowls of the soup. Serve topped with sour cream, chives, and cheese.

The only changes I made to the recipe were 1) using scallions because my store did not have chives, 2) using an immersion blender, and 3) adding a bit of cayenne powder in the end.

The soup is comforting and filling and is great for leftovers the next day. My friend Emily came over for dinner with her boyfriend Cal and we paired the soup with epic grilled cheese sandwiches cooked on a panini grill with onions, ham and tomatoes! SO good. The onions Emily cooked in leftover bacon from from the extra bacon I cooked for the soup ;)