Friday, April 25, 2014

Lunch Idea #1

We all run out of ideas sometimes but this is a nice quick salad that is very filling.

boiled egg
baby tomatoes
sliced avocado
crumbled feta cheese
red leaf lettuce
cooked red quinoa

balsamic vinegar
olive oil

you can also add:
chopped dry roasted pecan pieces
dried cranberries
sunflower seeds

be creative and enjoy :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Zucchini Bechamel Casserole (كوسى بالبشاميل Kousa Bechamel)

One of my favorite dishes from the Egyptian Cuisine. It's easy to make but it does take some time to prepare all the different components of this mouth watering dish.

This casserole consists of 3 layers: Sautéed zucchini slices, ground beef, and béchamel. 

3 pounds zucchini, peeled and sliced 
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar/mozzarella) 
olive oil/ghee*
salt and pepper

3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white flour
1 tsp. salt

-Sauté zucchini until golden brown and wilted. Then place in 9x13 baking dish.

Note: This step is necessary to take the extra water out of the zucchini. I have tried many methods (grilling in grill pan, pan frying, oven baking...) and I found the best/easiest/quickest method is to sauté the zucchini in a wok with a little bit of ghee or olive oil on high heat. 

-Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in skillet and sauté onion until golden brown. Add ground beef, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until beef is cooked, then place on top of zucchini as your second layer.

-Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of beef layer.

-To make béchamel: Melt butter on medium high heat, once melted add flour and whisk for a few seconds then start gradually pouring milk while whisking continuously. 

The trick to a creamy béchamel  is to whisk quickly and make sure you add milk gradually while you whisk away any lumps. Once you've added all the milk keep whisking til sauce thickens slightly then turn off heat. Don't forget to whisk in the salt! 

-Pour into baking dish. 


-Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until béchamel has a nice golden color. 
-Enjoy with a side of rice/quinoa and salad. 

*Why ghee you ask?
Because ghee is a natural unprocessed fat. It's one of the healthiest fats you can cook with. Read this article to learn more. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Orange Cake

Although I prefer not to use sugar in my baking I do still make this cake every once in a while for two reasons: 1) it's absolutely delicious 2) It's a recipe that's been in our family for years and it never fails.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup melted butter
zest of 1 orange
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

-Preheat oven to 375
-Mix dry ingredients in bowl
-Beat eggs with sugar and melted butter until fluffy
-Add dry ingredients to egg mixture gradually as you continue to mix.
-Add orange juice gradually as you mix
-Place in buttered and floured cake pan, bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup:

1 pound organic carrots, peeled and finely grated/chopped in food processor
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 TBs olive oil
2 TBs organic butter
1/2 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup chicken broth
chopped parsley for garnish

-Saute onion in olive oil and butter until golden. Add celery and saute for 2 more minutes.
-Add carrots, broth, and spices. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
-remove from heat, puree in blender.
-Serve and garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Best Almond Meal Cookies!

I have to warn you that these cookies are addictive! My family and I can never have enough of them. There's always a new batch in the oven when our supply is running low. You can never just have one of these delicious, guilt-free cookies!

2 cups almond meal (I use the Trader Joe's brand)
1 TBs ground flaxseed (optional)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. water
6 TBs melted organic butter
4 TBs honey
6 TBs semi-sweet chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350
-Mix dry ingredients together, then add cooled melted butter, vanilla, water and honey. Mix well then add chocolate chips. The batter should be able to hold its form once you roll it into balls (a heaping tablespoon for each ball). If it's too soft or sticky feel free to add a bit more almond meal, and if it's too dry you can add 1 tsp of water.
-Place rolled balls on parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Leave in pan for 10 minutes to cool before handling.

Just replace the butter with coconut oil and instead of chocolate chips you can use dried cranberries.

Tip: Best served fresh and warm!