Tag Archives: roasted

Why Food Works: A Dinner Party

This past Sunday I was very excited to participate in a fun dinner party, which focused on nutrition!  A Back on My Feet runner, friend, and blogger, Ericka of The Sweet Life, invited me to join other fellow bloggers for a delicious evening.  I was excited to learn a little bit more about the food that was chosen for this meal, as well as to meet new friends.

Why Food Works- group pic

From the left: Anne, me, Ericka, Sarah, Sarah, Amy

A DC Registered Dietician, Sarah, recently started up a small business- Why Food Works.  She hosts dinner parties at customer’s homes, prepares them a delicious dinner, and teaches them about nutrition.  To promote her new business, Sarah reached out to us and provided us with a free dinner, in exchange for writing about it on our blogs.

Why Food Works- Sarah

How it works:
 Where: Dinner parties are available around the DC area 
        (within a 15 mile radius from city center)
 Who: minimum of 4 guests, maximum of 8
 Price: $60 per person (the host receives 50% off); 
        $8 per person for wine pairing
 How: all food, kitchen gadgets, utensils, plates and 
        glasses included- you won't have to clean up!

Shortly after we all arrived, Sarah was ready with the appetizer and our first glass of wine.

Why Food Works 1

First, she showed us how to prepare a healthier version of a ranch or sour cream dip.  A more nutritious alternative is a Greek yogurt dip, with onion powder, garlic powder and chives.  Check out Sarah’s recipe for the Guilt Free Ranch Dip, and be sure to include this when you serve veggies next time!

Why Food Works 2

We snacked and enjoyed white wine while Sarah cooked- a perfect way to meet new friends!  Sarah and Anne are both RD’s, so we picked their brains about nutrition (what’s a healthy breakfast, steaming vs. roasting, nutritious snacks, etc), and it was great to have Sarah there to answer any questions about how to prepare the meal.  Yes, even food bloggers can learn new tricks!

Next up was the entree, which consisted of three parts: salmon cakes, risotto and roasted broccoli.

Why Food Works 3

The Savory Salmon Cakes were made using canned salmon- an affordable meal, and with greens it had an excellent flavor.

Why Food Works 4

It was topped with a goat cheese sauce that was phenomenal (goat cheese, milk, pepper mixed together)!  Sidenote: Sarah also makes her own beautiful pottery!

Why Food Works 5

I did learn something new- you can make risotto using steel cut oats!  A great way to add more fiber to your dinner.  This version included mushrooms, kale, garlic, onion and almonds.

Why Food Works 6

Lastly, the Roasted Lemon-Garlic Broccoli was delicious, and I can’t wait to add that hint of lemon next time we make ours.

Why Food Works 7

The evening ended with a No-Bake Coconut “Cheesecake”.  With a raw approach, the crust was made out of almonds and dates.  Meanwhile, the filling included Greek yogurt, coconut water, gelatin and coconut.  Sarah prepped it before she started cooking the main meal, so it set and was ready to eat after dinner.

Why Food Works 8

I still can’t decide what was my favorite part of the meal- I might have to recreate it and double-check!  This would be a perfect meal to make when we have friends over for supper club!

For anyone in the DC area, I highly recommend Sarah’s Why Food Works dinner parties.  The meal was delicious, easy to recreate what you’ve learned, and healthy.  I enjoyed learning more about why certain foods were better than others!

I thought this would be a great way to spend an evening with friends, a perfect alternative to cooking or ordering food!  Sarah has seasonal menus, or can alter various dishes to particular diets- and she’ll help you maximize nutrition by pairing foods.  If anyone is interested, I’d love to do this again!

Follow Sarah on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!

Thank you to Ericka for organizing this fun evening, and Amy for hosting it!  It was great to meet new friends!

Food Matters Project #13: Asparagus & White Bean Soup

Yes, it’s another Monday and a new Food Matter Project recipe!  Since we were visiting friends in Boston this weekend (check out our Sam Adams Brewery tour), we actually made this soup last week.  It was easy to make and very delicious!

This weeks recipe was chosen by Adrienne, of Adrienneats.  She chose the Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup with Parmesan from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out what others did here, scroll down to the comments.

This was a great soup- the beans made it very filling and gave this soup lots of flavor.  Since I was trying to use up some other produce in our fridge, I added extra veggies- so definitely feel free to swap or add more.

I can’t seems to stop buying asparagus at our Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market- this last week I walked away with 3 bunches!  The farmer selling it was wondering what I was going to do with so much (but that’s for another post)!

Remember: when buying asparagus look for firm stalks with purple tinge tips.  The ends of the stems should be fresh and moist.  It should be used soon after buying, but if it needs to stay in the fridge for a couple of days then cut off about 1 inch from the base and set the asparagus bunch upright in a container filled with some water (up to 4 days).

Asparagus and White Bean Soup
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 110)

Mark Bittman suggests puréeing the soup, to make it smoother- if you prefer chunkier soups, feel free to omit this step.  I soaked and cooked dry beans, but canned beans will also work great.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 oz pancetta, chopped
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine (recommend: Bogle Chardonnay)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & chopped
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of cooked cannellini beans
1 1/2 cups of cooked navy beans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lb asparagus
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded

Heat up the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Once the olive oil is warm, add the onion.  Sauté for up to 5 minutes, when the onions become translucent.  Then add the pancetta, sauté until the meat starts to brown.  Add the carrot, garlic and thyme, allow to cook for another 2 minutes.  Then add the white wine, stir to loosen the vegetable and pancetta pieces.

While stirring add the potatoes, stock and water.  Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Stir infrequently until the potatoes have cooked (should be soft when you stick a fork into them).

Add in the beans, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Season the soup with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Finally, puree about half of the soup in a food processor, mix both halves together.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Meanwhile, put the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Roast for about 15 minutes, or when the asparagus begins to brown.

Pour soup into a bowl, dress it with pieces of asparagus and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Squash & Bean Burritos

So this is a different take on a burrito.  Since the weather started getting colder in Washington, I’ve been craving rich, fall dishes.  This was a great dish that was very filling, full of texture and a seasonal take on a Mexican staple.

Feel free to omit certain ingredients, or add others that you like in your burritos.  This is definitely one we can all make our own, without taking anything away from the dish.

Butternut squash is definitely one of my favorite fall ingredients.  It’s very versatile in any fall dishes- from soups to casseroles.  Personally, I think it has the best flavor once it has been roasted.

Squash & Bean Burritos
Adapted from: Oh She Glows

1 butternut squash, peeled & cubed (1 inch pieces)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 cup of rice (white or brown)
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
15 oz black beans, drained & rinsed
4 tortillas or wraps
1 avocado, chopped (optional)
4 tbsp sour cream (optional)
1 cup of lettuce
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Spray a baking dish or cooking sheet with cooking spray.  Place all of the butternut squash pieces in the dish.  Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and chili powder.  Toss and coat all of the ingredients on the butternut squash.  Roast it for 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

In a small pan, cook 1 cup of rice.  Once cooked, leave it to the side.

In a skillet heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, once warm add chopped onion.  Once the onion is translucent, add chopped garlic and jalapeño.  Then add the red pepper, black beans and cooked rice.  Sauté for about 5 minutes on low heat.

Divide the ingredients between the tortillas or wraps.  In ours, we added: roasted butternut squash, the rice-bean-onion mixture, avocado, sour cream, lettuce, cilantro and cheese.  But feel free to add extra toppings (these or others)- it all depends on your tastes.

Roasted Mushrooms with Parsley

I know there are many of you out there that do not like mushrooms.  I think all of you will change your minds…once you eat this!

This appetizer can withstand the test of time, and will always be there in your back pocket when you have last minute visitors.  It’s not the trendiest appetizer (like cupcakes are for dessert), but it’s ridiculously easy to make!  It provides a great foundation for the other appetizers which you will leave out for your guests.  It’s the one appetizer than can be served warm or if it’s a little cooler it will still taste great.  It’s easy to prep ahead of time (wait to add the oil right before putting it into the over).  Good and simple is what sustains you when you have a million things to cook (or just 3!).

I tried out these mushrooms a couple of months ago- and they were a hit.  I made them again when we had friends over for dinner this past Saturday.  Both times they had disappeared!  And all of the thanks goes to Smitten Kitchen.

Roasted Mushrooms with Parsley
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

1 lbs crimini mushrooms (halved if they are big)
4 tbsp capers
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
5 tbsp butter, chopped into small pieces
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Preheat over to 450°F.  Toss the mushrooms, capers, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Pour into a oven-proof dish, or a baking sheet (that has edges).  Sprinkle butter on top.  Roast for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

Once you take them out, toss in the lemon juice and parsley.  Set it out with some toothpicks, so it’s easier to eat!