One of my issues is coming up with recipes that my entire family will eat — kind of like disguising healthy dinners in superhero costumes.
Last month, I spent a lot of time talking about my newest healthy eating regimen. One of my issues is coming up with recipes that my entire family will eat — kind of like disguising healthy dinners in superhero costumes. After a meeting with my nutritionist, I had to update my meal plans. I needed to add more healthy proteins in my diet, like beans, lentils, nuts and chickpeas, as well as more vegetables. Aside from cholent (the way I make it is decidedly NOT healthy) or chili, I really didn’t have a lot of recipes for beans. Baked beans, maybe? Nope — too many carbs from the sugar (that’s why they taste SO good!).
Many people’s definition of fun is going to a spa or riding roller coasters; my idea of fun is going up and down the aisles of a new grocery store searching for fabulous new and healthy kosher products. It’s really a thing: When we go on vacation, Dear Husband knows to reserve a block of time for grocery shopping. So, as a pick-me-up after being weighed again (man, I really hate that BMI), and on a personal mission to discover new and exciting foods, I took a field trip to my local Whole Foods. Armed with my new knowledge and carb/protein/fat ratios, I found quite a few items at the store that fit the bill and, as a bonus they were all gluten-free.
With my upgraded action plan, I developed some epic fresh recipes and updated some awesome family staples to meet my nemesis head-on. I was boldly going where I hadn’t gone before. So take your superhero cape out of storage and put on your mask of disguise: You are about to become a culinary superhero in your home. OK, maybe that’s a little extreme — if nothing else, you’ll be able to make some great new salads and awesome food for dinner. That certainly makes you a hero in my book!
Tricolor Orange Salad
I recently found a recipe in a magazine that called for Cara Cara oranges. I wondered what made the Cara Cara oranges different from any other navel orange. After speaking to my local produce consultant, I found out that Cara Cara oranges are really sweet and delicious and are kind of pink-grapefruit-colored inside — and the beautiful, colorful Tricolor Orange Salad was born.
1 lb. romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small red onion, diced
2 blood oranges
2 Cara Cara oranges
2 navel oranges
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds
For the Dressing:
½ cup orange juice (squeezed from the oranges)
2 Tbsps. canola oil
¼ cup white vinegar
Zest of one orange
⅛ tsp. salt
Additional sliced almonds for garnish
Place the romaine and onion in a large salad bowl.
With a sharp paring knife, peel the oranges, not leaving any of the white parts. Section the oranges in between the membranes, reserving the remaining “orange carcass.” Add the orange sections to the bowl. Add the cranberries and almonds and toss to combine. Set aside.
Squeeze the juice from the “orange carcasses” into a large measuring glass or small bowl. You should have around ½ cup of juice. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until blended.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Top with additional sliced almonds.
Yaffi’s Dinner Salad with Deli
While in graduate school at Columbia University in New York, my dear married friend Yaffi and her husband used to have me and the other starving grad students over for meals on Shabbat. This is her famous salad. She used to use pieces of cut-up tongue in her salad; however, my family prefers bologna or Romanian salami. Yaffi said that when she made this salad, there was never any left at the end of the meal — it was that good. I’ve had the same great fortune when I make it, too. Thanks, Yaffi!
1 lb. romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
1 large red pepper, diced
1 8-oz. can corn, drained or 8 oz. frozen corn, thawed
1 8-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained (optional)
½ cup raisins, optional
⅓ lb. turkey bologna (or other deli meat), diced (optional)
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
For the Dressing:
2 Tbsps. olive oil
3 Tbsps. tarragon vinegar
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Pour the olive oil and tarragon vinegar over the salad. Sprinkle the salt, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper over the salad. Toss to evenly distribute the dressing ingredients. Allow the salad to sit for 5-10 minutes for the flavors to blend.
Blue Corn ‘Chorizo’ Tacos with Homemade Refried Beans
During my recent shopping excursion I found that Tofurkey make an awesome chorizo. It’s delicious! I also found cool blue corn taco shells nearby. It wasn’t hard to put them together to make a meal the family would love, while stealthily adding lots of nutritional punch. If you can’t find blue corn taco shells, you can use the more standard yellow corn ones. You can also skip the taco shells, using (blue) tortilla chips for a super taco salad — just layer the ingredients on a platter with the chips scattered around the salad and call everyone to dig in.
Note: If you can’t find Tofurkey chorizo at your local store, substitute your favorite soy-based ground beef substitute. Add a package of taco seasoning to the meat when sautéeing it with the vegetables.
For the filling:
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2 packages Tofurkey Chorizo
1 package of 12 blue corn taco shells
½ lb. romaine lettuce, cut into thin strips or 1 package of shredded lettuce
1-2 large tomatoes, diced
4 mini cucumbers, diced
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft. Add the red pepper and sauté for one minute until soft. Add the chorizo and sauté until browned. Set aside.
(modified from allrecipes.com)
2 Tbsps. canola oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cans pinto beans
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ lime, juiced
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is soft. Add the pinto beans, cumin and chili powder. Cook, smashing the beans and stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is gone, around 5 minutes. Don’t overcook or the beans will be too thick (I accidentally did this the first time). Stir in the lime juice and serve.
To assemble the tacos:
Preheat oven to 425˚.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Making sure they don’t overlap, place the taco shells on the sheet. Bake for 2-3 minutes until the shells are crispy.
Place some of the chorizo meat in a taco shell. Top with sliced lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers or any other toppings you would like to add. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.